TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD
PLANNING COMMISSION
MINUTES - JULY 9, 2001

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on July 9, 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

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Ms. Gould moved and Mr. Tofel seconded to approve the Minutes of June 11, 2001 as corrected. Motion carried with Mr. Koch and Mr. Pazdera abstained.

#527-A - SPRINT SPECTRUM, L.P. CONDITIONAL USE APPLICATION APPROVAL

Mr. Roeper noted this is a continuation of a discussion held last meeting.

Mr. William Benner was present and stated the last time this matter was discussed there were some questions regarding the technical drawings. Mr. Benner stated he has provided this evening revised drawings that show that there will be no equipment shields.

Mr. Benner stated the purpose of an equipment shield is to protect the equipment from debris that may fall from above. He stated the original drawings showed that they would have these, but Sprint does not feel that these are necessary in the Philadelphia market; and the note showing equipment shields on the previous drawing was in error.

Mr. Pazdera stated he still has concerns with the visual aspect of the proposal. He stated the existing trees are not providing sufficient screening for the hotel or office buildings.

Mr. Benner stated the compound is not visible from the adjacent roads. He stated the owner of the Corporate Center does not share the Township Planning Commission’s concern and is satisfied with the proposed design. Ms. Gould expressed concern with the precedent being set by allowing them to proceed with the condition as it exists. Mr. Benner noted Sprint is not developing the entire compound and were they to develop an entire compound in the future, they would be amenable to landscaping. However, in this instance, Sprint does not have control over the compound other than the placement of cabinets. He noted prior Sprint projects when Sprint did comply with Township requests.

No further Planning Commission action was taken with regard to this matter.

Ms. Gould moved, Mr. Tofel seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Board of Supervisors approval of the Conditional Use Application for Sprint Spectrum at the Lower Makefield Corporate Center.

#496-N - FIELDSTONE AT LOWER MAKEFIELD SKETCH PLAN DISCUSSION

Mr. Thomas Smith III was present with Mr. Nicholas Casey from Quaker Group and Mr. David Miller, engineer. Mr. Smith stated they are present with another Sketch Plan. There were two prior Sketch Plans, and currently there is a Land Use Appeal before the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas. They are trying to reach a compromise and alleviate the need to pursue the Appeal any further.

The PCS letter dated 7/6/01 was noted. Mr. Casey reviewed past discussions regarding this site. He stated the submission they had submitted, though titled a Sketch Plan, was in his opinion, more than that since they had submitted with it a report that responded to all of the Township engineer’s comments from the previous meetings as well as drainage calculations. He also noted waiver requests including cartway dimensions which have been granted by the Township in the past and for sidewalks on the open space/detention basin area. Mr. Roeper stated it appears from Mr. Doherty’s comments that if a waiver is granted for 30 feet, the impervious surface calculations in connection with stormwater management would need to use 36 feet. Mr. Doherty stated when the applicant calculated their stormwater management, they assumed that the waivers would be granted.

Mr. Doherty stated he wants the stormwater management system to work as if it were built according to criteria. Mr. Miller stated they did analyze the stormwater based on the receipt of the waivers. They did not seek a reduction of cartway because of the stormwater, however. Mr. Doherty stated the normal procedure would be to design for all impervious surface. Mr. Miller stated they could present the calculations showing both ways, although they would prefer to have the basin designed for the 30 foot cartway. Mr. Smith stated he understands that when they submit Preliminary Plans, should show stormwater calculations based on a 36 foot cartway although they may still show on the Plan that they are seeking a 30 foot wide cartway on the interior roadway and submit a waiver request.

Mr. Casey asked if there is a desire on the part of the Township to maintain a 36 foot cartway to service these 28 lots. Mr. Koopman stated he feels there is more of a desire to be safer and err on the side of caution with regard to the stormwater. Mr. Fazzalore noted in the past they have approved some 30 foot cartways but when there is parking on both sides of the road, it is very difficult to travel. Ms. Gould stated because of the number of curves in this development, she would prefer to see a wider road. Mr. Roeper asked about Fieldstone Way, and Mr. Casey stated they had proposed it to be 30 feet, but Mr. Doherty recommended that they go to 36 feet and this was acceptable to the applicant. He also noted that they originally had proposed a boulevard entrance, but this was not desired by the Public Works Department. Mr. Koopman asked about lot size, and Mr. Smith stated they are 16,519 square feet. Mr. Pazdera noted his concern with one portion where there are a number of driveways on the curve. The Planning Commission was in favor of maintaining the 36 foot cartway throughout.

There was discussion on the request for waiver of sidewalk along the undeveloped portion of the property which would extend from Lot #1 around to Lot #14. There would be a sidewalk in front of all of the homes. Mr. Casey stated they felt they could treat this area with landscaping and then would require a minimal amount of maintenance. He noted there will be curbs. Mr. Pazdera stated they should consider if it should be continued along the basin. Ms. Gould stated she feels it should be continued along the basin of the Township property on the interior circle but not on the exterior circle. Ms. Gould asked how the Township would access the detention basin, and Mr. Casey stated they could provide access. Mr. Doherty noted this is mandatory.

Mr. Roeper stated the Planning Commission would be in favor of a waiver for sidewalks along the exterior portion of Long Acre Road extending from Lot #1 to Lot #14. It would not be in front of the basin. Mr. Doherty stated they will have to have handicap ramps on both sides of the street. Ms. Gould stated she did not feel this should be a problem.

Ms. Gould stated she feels waiving the sidewalk requirement in this area will cut down on Township maintenance of this area. Ms. Gould stated the handicap ramps should be installed at the edges of Lot #1 and Lot #14 on the Township property.

It was noted other items in the PCS review letter will be addressed with the Township engineer. Mr. Casey stated he understands that the Township may have an issue with the street names shown on the Plan, and they will have to address this issue.

Mr. Roeper noted there is a macadam walk shown into the undeveloped area, and he asked if this is going to be removed. Mr. Casey stated it will be removed.

Ms. Gould noted some buildings which are shown within Detention Basin #3, and Mr. Casey stated these will be removed.

Mr. Fazzalore noted the issue of the contaminated portion of this property. Mr. Casey stated there have been some meetings on this matter with the Township. Mr. Fazzalore stated he would like to see the Township removed from any liability in the future.

Mr. Koopman asked the status of the DEP matter. Mr. Casey stated they are not buying that portion of the property but will commit to proper closure as a condition of Preliminary approval. Mr. Koopman asked if anything has been filed with DEP, and Mr. Casey stated it has not. Mr. Casey stated once they obtain Preliminary approval conditioned upon obtaining and complying with the closure plan approved by DEP, they will coordinate the preparation of that plan and the Township will have an opportunity to provide their input.

He stated as part of the closure, there will be some fill required in certain areas. Ms. Gould stated it appears the proposal is to bury the material deeper. Mr. Casey stated the deficiencies found in the rear portion of the site documented by Skelly & Loy and DEP were that there are areas of the site that do not have an effective cap, and there are areas along the streambank that require stabilization. He stated some materials may also have to be removed. Ms. Gould stated her concern is that there are some things leaching into the earth as well. She is also concerned that children will be playing in this area. There was a discussion on a fence, and Mr. Casey stated this will be a topic of discussion.

Mr. Thomas Smith stated these are items that are regulated at a State level and will be addressed by the DEP. Ms. Gould stated she is still concerned with the potential for children to access the fields which she feels are unsafe. Mr. Koopman stated the Township has indicated they are willing to work with the developer and the developer’s submission to the DEP.
He stated the Township had originally requested that the waste materials be removed off the site, but recently has indicated that as long as there is a proper closure that meets Township and DEP requirements, the Township would be willing to work with the developer. He noted the Township has not yet seen the closure plan. He noted the Township does have its own Ordinance provisions that address environmental issues and the Township is not waiving those requirements although they are willing to work with the developer to come to a reasonable solution. Mr. Koopman stated the Board of Supervisors has indicated they would like to see a fence around a portion of Lot #29. He stated these issues are still to be resolved.

Mr. Pazdera asked if they looked at the possibility of condensing their detention basins into two rather than three. Mr. Miller stated with the existing topography, the ridgeline, etc. it was necessary to have three detention basins. Mr. Casey stated they also need to meet the new stormwater management criteria.

Mr. Tettemer, 1343 Edgewood Road, expressed concern with the availability of public sewers. He stated he and his neighbors are without the availability of public sewers at the present time. Mr. Roeper stated as they prepare the Preliminary Plans, the developer will have to discuss the sewerage question with the Township authorities and discuss the possibility of hooking in to the system. He stated he also feels the Sewer Authority would like to see this set up in such a way that the neighbors can connect. The gentleman also expressed concern with the stream that runs through his property which is impacted by rain. Mr. Roeper stated on the Preliminary Plan, they will have to designate the 100 year floodplain. He added the development being discussed is on high ground and if they can contain the water so that it does not run off any faster than it does at the present time, they will have met the Township requirements. Mr. Roeper stated this will not reduce the amount of water, but it will control it. Ms. Gould stated she would like to see the plans accommodate the adjacent homeowners on Edgewood road for sewers. Mr. Casey was shown the particular properties involved.

DETENTION BASINS (ORDINANCE SECTION 178.94) DISCUSSION AND MOTION

Mr. Roeper stated this matter refers to detention basin dedication and was referred to the Planning Commission by the Supervisors. Mr. Koopman has drafted an Amendment dated 7/6/01. Mr. Roeper stated this provides the Supervisors with the option to require dedication of the basins.

Mr. Roeper moved, Ms. Gould seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Board of Supervisors favorable consideration of an Amendment to Lower Makefield Township Subdivision Ordinance Section 178.94 whereby the Amendment would replace the present 178.94 with the draft prepared by Begley, Carlin, & Mandio dated 7/6/01.

The section should then be headed The Detention Basin Dedication and Maintenance Fund.

FORESTRY & TIMBER HARVESTING DISCUSSION AND MOTION

Mr. Roeper stated this matter is consideration of a proposed addition to the Township

Zoning Ordinance with regard to allowing forestry and timber harvesting. He noted this is a requirement of the MPC. Mr. Roeper stated the draft prepared by Mr. Koopman dated 7/6/01 has taken into consideration all of the comments which were made previously by the Planning Commission. Mr. Roeper and Mr. Pazdera advised Mr. Koopman of some minor corrections which he agreed to address.

Mr. Roeper asked if "forestry" and "landowner" should be included in the Definition Section. Mr. Koopman stated the intention was to incorporate all of the regulations for forestry and timber harvesting in one place. In each of the districts where the use is permitted it has to specifically refer to Article 10, Section 200-68. He stated they could also put the definitions in the other definitional sections. In this proposal they are all together in one place. He stated most of these definitions refer just to the forestry provisions and do not really apply to other provisions in the Ordinance. Mr. Roeper asked about tree farming and Mr. Koopman stated this would come under Nursery Use and Horticultural Use.

Mr. Roeper noted Page #4, Section B which refers to the deer population and asked if this is attempting to protect the deer population. Mr. Koopman stated this is against the deer population since they have had problems with the impact of deer on attempts to reforest certain areas. Mr. Koopman stated he does not have specifics how they attempt to stop the deer from eating the young plants.

Mr. Roeper moved, Mr. Tofel seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Board of Supervisors favorable consideration of the draft Ordinance to the Zoning Ordinance to allow forestry/timber harvesting as a permitted use in all Zoning Districts in accordance with the draft Ordinance prepared by Begley, Carlin, & Mandio dated 7/6/01.

WOODLANDS DISCUSSION

Mr. Koopman stated he has been unable to find a better Woodlands definition than the Bucks County Planning Commission model definition. He feels this definition would be easier to defend than the current Township definition. He suggested they proceed with the definition and await comments from the Bucks County Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Koopman reviewed problems they had with the existing Township Woodlands definition. It was suggested that the Planning Commission members consider this further and discuss it at a future meeting.

MPC AND COMPREHENSIVE MASTER PLAN UPDATE AND MOTION

Mr. Roeper stated the Planning Commission should consider the proposal made by the Bucks County Planning Commission to assist the Lower Makefield Planning Commission in updating the Township’s Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Roeper noted the questionnaire which has been suggested. He stated when they updated the Plan in 1990/91, they did use a questionnaire although they called it a request to the Boards, Commissions, and interested Associations for any thoughts or comments they had to the Planning Commission with respect to what should be in the Master Plan. Mr. Pazdera stated it has been suggested that this also be sent out to the community. Mr. Roeper stated they may want to discuss this further. He noted this could be costly.

Mr. Roeper moved, Ms. Gould seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that they favorably consider the proposal by the Bucks County Planning Commission dated 6/25/01 to assist the Planning Commission in the update of the Township’s Comprehensive Plan with the understanding that the total cost of the effort would not exceed $15,000.

Mr. Fazzalore asked when this is required to be completed. Mr. Roeper stated provided they are taking action, they are okay under the Municipalities Planning Code. Mr. Roeper stated he assumes it will not be until at least the end of August before the Planning Commission would have their first meeting with the representatives.

Mr. Pazdera stated they have indicated it will take three months after the initial review to complete. Mr. Roeper stated if they are going to consider a questionnaire to go out to the public, he does not feel it would be ready to send out until the end of the year.

OTHER BUSINESS

Mr. Roeper stated he received a letter regarding a proposal for a new cross-County transportation movement which would end in Falls Township and skirt Oxford Valley.

He stated he will bring this to the next meeting.

PUBLIC COMMENT

One woman asked if she could see the Plan for Fieldstone and was shown a copy this evening. She also asked about related reports, and Mr. Roeper stated these would be available at the Township; and she could contact either the Township Manager or Ms. Frick to request whatever is available for review by the public during working hours.

Mr. Sean McNamara, Countess Drive, asked when detailed plans would be available for Matrix and what the Planning Commission’s function will be. Mr. Roeper stated the Plans are presently being reviewed. He is not aware when they will make their first appearance before the Planning Commission. He does not anticipate this will take place until the end of August at the earliest. Mr. McNamara asked if the Planning Commission or the Board of Supervisors will be the first group to address the Plans, and Mr. Roeper stated the Planning Commission will be the first group to address the Plans.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned.