TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD
PLANNING COMMISSION
MINUTES - FEBRUARY 12, 2001

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on February 12, 2001. Chairman Roeper called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

Those present:

Planning Commission:

Albert Roeper, Chairman
Ron Tofel, Secretary
Edward Koch, Member
John Pazdera, Member

Others:

Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection, & Planning
Timothy Duffy, Township Solicitor
Duke Doherty, Township Engineer
Frank Fazzalore, Supervisor Liaison (joined meeting in progress)

Absent:

Deborah Gould, Planning Commission

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Mr. Pazdera moved and Mr. Koch seconded to approve the Minutes of December 11, 2000 as amended. Motion carried with Mr. Tofel abstaining.

Mr. Koch moved and Mr. Tofel seconded to approve the Minutes of January 8, 2001 as corrected. Motion carried with Mr. Pazdera abstaining.

Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Koch seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of January 22, 2001 as written.

#511 - MISKIEL/DARRAH - PRELIMINARY PLAN DISCUSSION

Mr. James McMaster was present. He noted the CKS letter and stated they will comply with Items #1, #2, #3, and #5. With regard to Item #4, Mr. McMaster presented a hand-out showing the legal right-of-way. He stated this should not interfere with the location of the proposed sewer line. He stated they will revise the Plans to show the legal right-of-way.

Mr. McMaster noted the PCS letter. They are requesting a waiver as noted in Item #1 since they are not proposing construction at this time. They intend to sell the property and let someone else build. They have shown a building envelope to show that a building could be placed on the lot. Mr. Doherty stated there is still some argument whether this is a buildable lot. He stated they must show an elevation to show that a building can be constructed on the lot. Mr. McMaster stated while they could show this, it does not mean that a home would eventually be built at that location. Mr. Doherty stated they are only looking to see that a building could be built on the lot so that if the eventual developer indicates a home cannot be built, they can show him the plan which was prepared by the subdivider. Mr. McMaster agreed to present a footprint of a house with a garage and first floor elevations.

Item #2 was noted, and Mr. McMaster stated they proposed Fee-In-Lieu of Recreation.

Mr. McMaster stated they are requesting a waiver for Item #3 since there are extensive trees in existence currently.

Mr. McMaster stated they will comply with Item #4.

With regard to Item #5, Mr. McMaster stated they are requesting that they not be required to install frontage improvements at this time and would be agreeable to putting a note on the Plan what improvements will need to be done at the time a home is built.

Mr. McMaster stated they will comply with Item #6.

With regard to Item #7, Mr. McMaster stated they have not requested a Corps of Engineers review and do not feel one is required. They would be willing to have Skelly & Loy review the site. Mr. McMaster stated this comment refers to Item #8 as well.

Mr. McMaster stated they will comply with Item #9.

With regard to Item #10, Mr. McMaster stated there was previous concern as to whether these were woodlands which would prohibit Lot #2 to be considered a building lot.

He stated their engineer counted the trees on the property other than wetlands, buffers, floodplains, and steep slopes and determined that they are below the requirement that would indicate that it be considered a woodlands. He stated that they understand that the Township has requested that the trees be counted on the entire lot, and they will do so, but noted this will take a few weeks. Mr. McMaster stated he recognizes that the Planning Commission is not likely to grant Preliminary Plan approval with this item outstanding, and they would therefore request a thirty day extension. He stated if it is determined that it will be considered a woodland, they will have to go to the Zoning Hearing Board for a Variance.

Mr. Fazzalore joined the meeting at this time.

Ms. Frick noted Mr. McMaster should refer to Ordinance 319 which is the latest Ordinance. Mr. Doherty stated he feels they need to count the trees on the entire site.

Mr. McMaster stated even if Parcel #1 is all woodlands, there is still enough land to build one house, and the question they need to prove is that there is also sufficient land to build a house on Parcel #2. Mr. Duffy stated he feels the 70% requirement would apply separately for each subdivided lot. Mr. McMaster stated he would then assume that he does not have to do a tree count on Lot #1. Mr. Doherty stated if they determine that Lot #2 is a woodlands that will require a waiver, he does not feel they should get the waiver and that they should move the lot line. Mr. McMaster stated there is an equity action based on a Court Order, and the Court indicated the Darrahs are entitled to a certain portion of the property. Mr. Duffy stated the Court Order has no bearing on this subdivision.

Mr. Roeper stated it would appear that they will have to count the entire site.

Mr. Duffy asked if they would abide by a determination on the woodlands done by Skelly & Loy, and Mr. McMaster stated they would agree to this if there is a determination based on the requirements set out in the Ordinance. Mr. Doherty stated wetlands and floodplain are a higher restriction than the woodlands so they must take these out of the calculations as far as the woodlands are concerned. Mr. Duffy stated they cannot overlay the natural resource restrictions. He stated they are not permitted to disturb wetlands at all since they are 100% protected. Mr. Duffy stated they must take the wetlands out of the equation first.

Mr. Doherty stated if it is determined that it is all woodlands, they will not be able to meet the net lot area; and they will need a Variance. Mr. Doherty stated they must also consider the setbacks from the natural resources.

Ms. Frick stated the Board of Supervisors will not accept less than a ninety day extension, and Mr. McMaster agreed to provide this.

#428-A - EDGEWOOD POINTE FINAL PLAN APPROVAL

Mr. Edward Murphy, attorney, was present. Mr. Murphy stated this project was last seen in mid-October. The Board of Supervisors granted Preliminary Plan approval subject to various conditions. In November, the Final Plans were submitted. They have now received the PCS review letter dated 1/18/01, which include the 12/14/00 CKS letter.

Mr. Murphy stated they will comply with all issues in the CKS letter. With regard to the PCS letter, Mr. Murphy stated they will comply with all items on Page #1.

Mr. Murphy noted Page #2, Item #3 which was an issue raised by the Township Public Works Director and is not an Ordinance requirement. He stated they will work on this with the Board of Supervisors regarding the need to repave Mirror Lake Road from the center line. Mr. Murphy stated the original Plan called for the installation of the off-site storm sewer line on the Patterson Farm side of Mirror Lake Road. At that time the Board of Supervisors felt they needed an additional easement from the Township in order to do this, and because of that, they moved the storm sewer to the other side of the street. Mr. Murphy stated he feels this issue will be revisited with the Board of Supervisors, and they have had some discussions about contributing the cost savings to the Township for future improvements. Mr. Fazzalore noted this discussion was with only one Supervisor.

Mr. Murphy stated he recognizes this, and hopefully this matter will be worked out so that Item #3 on Page #2 of the PCS letter will be resolved. Mr. Murphy stated all other issues are "will comply."

There was discussion on the height of additional trees which should be installed, and Mr. Tofel stated they have had success moving 15í to 18í trees.

Mr. David Miller asked what type of trees they will install, and it was noted they will install pines. Mr. Miller asked if they are indigenous, and Mr. Miller stated this is the type of tree they are replacing. Mr. Miller asked what they are doing regarding sewer and water.

Mr. Roeper noted this is shown on the Plan and, Mr. Miller was provided the opportunity to review the Plans this evening. It was noted public sewer and water are proposed.

Mr. Miller stated there are twenty properties in Edgewood Village that do not have public sewer and water; and he feels the fact that this develop can come in and get public water and sewer when the residents are living with antiquated systems, is unfair to the people living in the Village. He stated he feels sewer and water permits should be given to all of the residents and not just this one builder. He stated he would like to see a moratorium on sewer and water permits being given out until a plan is done to provide sewer and water to the entire Village. Mr. Roeper noted they are only reviewing this particular parcel. Since they have met the requirements of the Ordinance, the Planning Commission does not have the right to hold up or deny the application. Mr. Roeper stated he understands the Board of Supervisors is giving consideration to providing public sewer and water to the Edgewood Village area. He stated this is within the purview of the Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Fazzalore stated the sewering of the entire village is currently under study by CKS.

Mr. Miller stated he has heard this for years. Mr. Fazzalore stated it has been determined that there are failures in the Village, and this is the reason they are proceeding with the study.

Mr. Pazdera moved and Mr. Koch seconded to recommend approval of the Final Plan subject to compliance with the PCS letter dated 1/18/01 with the further recommendation that under Item #2 of the Final Off-Site Sewer Plan Profile, that the trees that are to be replaced be 12í to 15í in height; and under Item #3 that the Planning Commission recommends to the Board of Supervisors to look favorably on re-locating the storm sewers to the Patterson Farm side of Mirror Lake Road.

Mr. Fazzalore stated when they come before the Board of Supervisors they should have in writing what was previously discussed with the one Supervisor with whom they had discussions as noted earlier this evening.

Motion carried with Mr. Tofel abstaining.

MOTION ON ACTS 67 AND 68 OF 2000 AMENDMENTS TO THE PENNSYLVANIA MUNICIPALITIES PLANNING CODE

Mr. Roeper noted the Amendments became effective in September, 2000. He noted the information provided to the Planning Commission in their packets along with the letter from the Bucks County Planning Commission dated 8/18/00 which summarizes the changes. Mr. Roeper noted Ms. Frick only received this information two weeks ago which is why the Planning Commission is being provided the information so late. He also noted the letter from Mr. Garton which indicates that they are to be in compliance with the Acts by February 22, 2001 although this date may be extended. Mr. Roeper stated he feels they need to take action on this matter; and to this end, he provided to the Planning Commission a draft letter to the Board of Supervisors for their consideration.

Mr. Duffy stated they will have to go through the normal procedures for passing an Ordinance. He recommended that if a Committee is formed as suggested by Mr. Roeper, that they work with the Solicitorís office. Mr. Roeper stated in the past they have had a Working Committee when Ordinances of this type were considered. He added that in the past Ms. Lynn Bush did work with the Committee as did the Township Solicitor and Township Engineer. Mr. Roeper stated he had a conversation with Ms. Bush who stated the Bucks County Planning Commission could suggest individuals who could work with the Township on this. She also noted the Bucks County Planning Commission could bid for the project as well. If the Bucks County Planning Commission were awarded the bid, Ms. Bush would supervise the project.

Mr. Doherty stated Lower Makefield is not the only Township which is having a timing problem.

Mr. Roeper stated he does not feel there are going to be many large discrepancies with the exception of "forestry."

Mr. Roeper stated the new Code also states that the Township Master Plan must be updated every ten years. He noted that in late 1990 the Board of Supervisors appointed a Steering Committee to update the Master Plan and after many years of discussion it was finally adopted in 1992. He would therefore suggest that the Board of Supervisors appoint a Master Plan Committee to update the Master Plan that was adopted in 1992.

Mr. Fazzalore stated a recommendation on these items should be provided to Mr. Fedorchak so that they can be included on the Board of Supervisorsí Agenda for Monday night.

Mr. Duffy stated he feels it would be better for the Township Solicitor to prepare an Ordinance to come into compliance with the new Acts since it is fairly cut and dry.

Mr. Roeper moved, Mr. Pazdera seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that they immediately authorize the Township Solicitor to prepare draft Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances which would conform our Ordinances with the Municipalities Planning Code and requirements of Acts 67 and 68. It is further recommended that the Board of Supervisors appoint a Master Plan Steering Committee charged with the task of updating the Lower Makefield Master Plan adopted April 20, 1992 (The Committee to prepare that update was appointed in late 1990). The new Code requires that the Master Plan be updated every ten years. It is recommended that at least two members of the Planning Commission be members of the Steering Committee. It is recommended that the Board provide for assistance to the Steering Committee in the form of a Planning Consultant familiar with the Township as well as County and State requirements. It is recommended that the Board authorize the Township Engineer and the Township Solicitorís Office to work with the Committee.

Mr. Koch noted the information received on the classes to be held which will cover basic Planning and the new Municipalities Planning Code. Mr. Roeper stated he feels the Board of Supervisors would authorize payment of the fees if anyone was interested in attending.

He noted the classes will be held for three nights in Warrington. He stated if anyone is interested in attending, they should make a decision by the next Planning Commission meeting. Ms. Frick stated probably those serving on the Steering Committee should attend. She noted there is also another meeting scheduled to be held on Saturday, March 24 at the Bucks County Community College which may be more convenient, and she agreed to provide information on that meeting in the Planning Commissionís packet.

There being no further business, Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Koch seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:50 p.m.