TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD
PLANNING COMMISSION
MINUTES - FEBRUARY 26, 2001

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on February 26, 2001. Chairman Roeper called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

Those present:

Planning Commission:

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

Others:

Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning
John Koopman, Township Solicitor
Duke Doherty, Township Engineer
Frank Fazzalore, Supervisor Liaison

#479-A - TIRES PLUS (CVS PLAZA) AMENDED FINAL LAND DEVELOPMENT PLAN APPROVAL

Mr. Edward Murphy was present and stated the Plan was approved in November, 2000.

In the course of satisfying the conditions of approval, their engineer uncovered two additional waivers which were required but were not included in the approval in November. Mr. Murphy noted Item #1 of the PCS letter dated 2/16/01 and stated there is a stretch along W. Trenton Avenue where they exceed the .5 foot-candles of the Ordinance.

It does not impact any other areas of the property. PCS has recommended approval of a waiver.

Mr. Koch asked about hours of operation, and Mr. Murphy stated these were outlined in the prior approval. He stated they will be open seven days a week.

Mr. Murphy noted Item #2 of the PCS letter and stated there is a small area where the slope is steeper than four to one in the parking lot. He stated during the course of construction, they may be able to correct this; although since they are not certain they will be able to do this, they are requesting a waiver. He noted this area is not to be dedicated to the Township.

Mr. Murphy stated they will comply with Items #3, #4, and #5 in the PCS letter.

Ms. Gould asked if Falls Township has been notified, and Mr. Murphy stated they have.

Mr. Koch asked about disposal of tires, and Mr. Murphy stated this was covered in the prior approval.

Mr. Pazdera moved, Ms. Gould seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Board of Supervisors approval of the two waivers outlined in the PCS letter dated 2/16/01 and subject to compliance with Items #3, #4, and #5. With regard to Item #2, the applicant should make every effort to correct the item in the field as best as possible.

ZONING HEARING BOARD APPEAL #00-1090 - GIANT FOOD STORES INC. INCLUDES A REQUEST FOR A SPECIAL EXCEPTION

Mr. Don Marshall, attorney, was present with Mr. Vogel, Manager of Giant Foods.

Mr. Marshall stated they have pending before the Zoning Hearing Board a request for a Special Exception to permit outside storage pursuant to Section 200-39-B1 of the Zoning Ordinance. He noted this was granted to McCaffrey’s to allow display of plants and flowers. McCaffrey’s was required to maintain a six foot area to permit people to pass and to agree that all sales would take place inside the store, and Mr. Marshall stated they would agree to these conditions as well. Mr. Marshall stated the second request is for an extension of hours on Sunday from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. which are the hours which McCaffrey’s is currently open.

Mr. Roeper asked about the area to be set aside for display, and Mr. Vogel stated the displays would be set up to the left of the store.

Ms. Frick noted she provided to the Planning Commission what was approved for McCaffrey’s. Mr. Fazzalore stated it appears McCaffrey’s is only permitted to be open until 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. Mr. Vogel stated McCaffrey’s has their hours posted on the doors as 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, and they are currently open until that time.

Mr. Koch asked if Sunday is a busy day, and Mr. Vogel stated it is their busiest day, and they get numerous complaints about their operating hours. He stated they are only looking for the same hours as McCaffrey’s gets.

Mr. Fazzalore stated he is concerned about the impact this has on the need for additional police protection.

Ms. Frick agreed to look into the actual operating hours for McCaffrey’s.

Mr. Tofel asked about the number of days involved with "seasonal" sales. Mr. Vogel stated basically it will be bedding plants in the spring, Christmas wreaths, etc.

Mr. Koch moved, Mr. Pazdera seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Zoning Hearing Board approval of a waiver to extend hours of operation on Sunday from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and approval for outside display of seasonal items consistent with the level granted to McCaffrey with the understanding that the displays will be limited to the left side of the building entrance as you face the building, and with the further understanding that no special events will be conducted.

#508 - VALLEY DAY SCHOOL SITE PRELIMINARY PLAN DISCUSSION

Mr. John VanLuvanee, attorney, and Mr. Nick Casey were present. Mr. Roeper stated this is the consideration of an overlay with respect to the Valley Day School site.

Mr. Casey stated the Planning Commission was concerned about the length of cul-de-sac being requested even though from a buyer perspective, these are more desirable.

Mr. Casey showed a copy of the Plan which was previously presented to the Planning Commission which exceeded the permitted length of cul-de-sac. He stated their access to the site is limited. He showed a Plan for a loop road which permits them to have the same number of lots but gives the perception of a much less dense development. He stated they re-located the detention basin into the center of the site, and this will minimize the maintenance of the storm sewer system. He stated it also makes the basin itself more accessible for maintenance. He stated the lots also get a benefit since they will look into a landscaped basin. They are looking for input from the Planning Commission so that they can proceed with their design.

Mr. Casey stated they will also need to discuss with the Board of Supervisors the need for a waiver on cartway dimension to 30 feet with the understanding that they will pay to the Township the cost savings. They would also like consideration to be given to the elimination of the sidewalk on the interior of the road, although they will provide sidewalks in front of the lots. They would offer the costs savings from this to the Township as well.

Mr. Tofel noted Lot #17 will be the only lot without a sidewalk. Mr. Casey stated he does feel that Lot #17 will be one of the most desirable lots with or without a sidewalk.

Mr. Koch asked if they are meeting the lot area requirements. Mr. VanLuvanee stated this is something that they will have to be able to demonstrate. Tonight they are only asking if this road configuration is preferable to what was previously submitted. He stated they will then re-engineer the Plans.

A number of Planning Commission members felt that Lot #17 should have a sidewalk.

Mr. Casey stated they would be willing to provide this. Ms. Gould stated she is concerned about children riding bikes in this area, and stated she feels this entire issue should be revisited. Mr. Doherty stated if a sidewalk is put in on the interior, the Township will have to shovel this walk. Mr. Casey stated this is not a cost factor for the developer since they would have to make a payment in lieu of sidewalks.

The Planning Commission was in favor of reducing the cartway width from 36’ to 30’.

Ms. Gould asked if they are still going to take access for the sanitary easement as they discussed previously, and Mr. Casey stated they will, and they have received acknowledgment from the Railroad that they will approve the easement.

It was the unanimous decision of the Planning Commission that they were in favor of the developer proceeding with this road plan for the development.

Mr. Dan Matlack, 585 Hearthstone Drive, asked for the opportunity to review the plans; and Mr. Casey showed the Plans to the residents present this evening.

Ms. Connie Schivana stated she has contacted the Township a number of times regarding problems with her home which was built by the Quaker Group. She stated they took all the topsoil off except for a small portion. She stated there is also a tree line by her property which needs attention by the Quaker Group. Mr. Roeper stated the responsibility of the Planning Commission is to review the Plans presented to make certain they conform to the Township’s Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances. Once they have determined that they do conform, they recommend approval to the Board of Supervisors who make the final decision. Mr. Roeper stated the Planning Commission has no further influence over what happens after that point. Ms. Schivana stated this developer does not take responsibility for the homeowners’ problems. Mr. Roeper stated the Board of Supervisors is the group to which the homeowners should appeal. Ms. Schivana stated this developer does the bare minimum. She stated they also have not plowed the common sidewalks. Mr. Fazzalore suggested that the concerned residents attend a Supervisors meeting to voice their concerns.

Ms. Gould suggested that they write down their specific concerns and present them to the Supervisors. She stated the Planning Commission has no power to correct problems with developers. She advised that the Board of Supervisors meet the first and third Monday of each month. Ms. Frick stated she has looked into every complaint she has received. She stated the Township has had several meetings with Mr. Casey regarding his existing developments trying to get these items addressed.

Mr. Matlack stated his concern is that once the developer starts construction, they will leave the property bare and impact water flow onto his property. He stated his concern is based on what this developer has done in other communities in the Township. He is concerned that he is going to get a flood in his rear yard. Mr. Roeper stated they are not permitted to disturb anything in the wetlands area. Ms. Gould stated a fence will have to be installed to protect the wetlands.

Mr. Dave Young, 589 Hearthstone, stated he is also concerned that he will be in the position that the Peake Farm residents are now in. Mr. Roeper stated this developer will be back before the Planning Commission with detailed plans, and he would suggest that prior to the meeting the residents look carefully at the detailed plans showing the grading and landscaping. He stated these are available to the public at the Township Office during the day. Mr. Young asked if they could get earlier notification of the Planning Commission meetings, and Mr. Frick stated this is not possible since they do not set the Agenda until late in the week.

Mr. Koopman stated that provided the developer is building according to the approved Plans, there is not much the Township can do. He stated the Township does have storm water regulations and the developer must comply with those regulations. He stated the Township engineer is responsible for looking to see if the requirements are met. He stated the residents also have the right to hire their own engineer.

Mr. Matlack stated he is an engineer; and according to the plans, he feels he will get more water on his property. Mr. Koopman stated he should also review the Township Ordinances.

Ms. Gould asked if the developer had an opportunity to speak to the Lower Makefield Historic Society, and Mr. Casey stated they have not. He stated he wanted to address the road issue first before proceeding on any other issues. Ms. Gould noted the Historic Society meets on the third Tuesday of the month at 9:30 a.m., and they do have some concerns about this site. She stated they are also concerned about an uncapped well.

Mr. Casey agreed to contact the Historic Society.

DISCUSSION OF ACT 67 & 68 OF 2000 AMENDMENT TO THE PENNSYLVANIA MUNICIPALITIES PLANNING CODE AND MASTER PLAN UPDATE

Mr. Roeper stated at the Board of Supervisors meeting on Monday night, they discussed the memorandum, and it was agreed that the Township Solicitor would prepare the draft Ordinance to bring the Township into compliance with the new Municipalities Planning Code. He stated this will probably take four to six weeks, and the Planning Commission will receive the draft. A majority of the Board also felt adopting a special Steering Committee did not make sense, and the responsibility for preparing the Master Plan update belonged to the Planning Commission. He stated the Planning Commission should decide if they want to do it as a Commission when they meet every other week or meet as a Committee and set meetings as necessary with whomever they wish to invite in to discuss what should be done to the Master Plan. He stated the Board of Supervisors was in favor of getting a proposal from the Bucks County Planning Commission to assist the Planning Commission in updating the Master Plans.

Mr. Fazzalore stated the Board of Supervisors was not opposed to a Committee - they just did not want it to be made up of twenty people. Mr. Roeper stated he felt that they would meet first with the consultant and the Township engineer and decide what needs attention.

Ms. Frick stated this is what they did the last time the Master Plan was updated.

Mr. Roeper stated when they address different items that need treatment, they should invite in those people who are involved in those items. Mr. Roeper stated they have until April of 2002 to update the Master Plan. Mr. Roeper stated he feels it should be in final draft form by the Fall so that the Board of Supervisors has time to review it.

Mr. Roeper asked how much notice Ms. Frick needs to advertise meetings, and Mr. Koopman stated they would need approximately one week’s notice. Mr. Koopman stated they do not have to advertise the comprehensive plan until they have a final draft to present at a Public Hearing. He stated if they are going to have meetings other than on the second and fourth Monday, they would need to advertise this as a special meeting.

Mr. Doherty stated they could also put this on the Township Website. Ms. Frick stated possibly they could keep one of the Agendas lighter each month if they are going to consider the Master Plan at a regular meeting. She stated if they find that they cannot do this, they could then set up a special meeting.

It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that a letter be written to the Board of Supervisors indicating that the Planning Commission is agreeable to revising the Master Plan, and that they request the Board of Supervisors to solicit a proposal from the Bucks County Planning Commission to assist the Planning Commission in the update of the Master Plan. It would be appreciated if this could be done expeditiously.

OTHER BUSINESS

All Planning Commission members advised that they were interested in attending the meeting on March 24, 2001 at the Bucks County Community College.

There being no further business, Mr. Pazdera moved, Ms. Gould seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:55 p.m.