MINUTES - MAY 14, 2001

The regular meting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on May 14, 2001. Chairman Roeper called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

Those present:

Planning Commission:

Albert Roeper, Chairman
Deborah Gould, Vice Chairman (joined meeting in progress)
Ron Tofel, Secretary
Edward Koch, Member
John Pazdera, Member


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


Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Koch seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of March 26, 2001 as amended.

Ms. Gould joined the meeting at this time.

Mr. Pazdera moved and Mr. Koch seconded to approve the Minutes of April 9, 2001 as written. Motion carried with Mr. Tofel abstained.


Mr. Edward Murphy, attorney, Mr. Greg Glitzer, and Mr. Tom Doyle were present. Mr. Murphy stated the Planning Commission permitted them to go before the Board of Supervisors to get final directions on Houston Road, and they did receive direction from them in April. The Revised Plans are now before the Planning Commission, and they do incorporate in full the design the Sketch Plan that the Planning Commission was previously shown and reflect the prior review comments from PCS that were received in March.

The 3/19/01 PCS letter was noted. Mr. Murphy stated with regard to Item #1 on Page #1, they are proposing Fee-In-Lieu of Recreation.

They will comply with Item #2 on Page #1.

With regard to Item #3 on Page #2, they have received a letter confirming the wetlands.

Mr. Murphy stated they will comply with Items #4, #5, and #6 on Page #2.

Page #2 was noted, and Mr. Murphy stated they did previously discuss Items #7 and #8 which are waiver requests which the Planning Commission was in favor of the last time these issues were discussed.

Mr. Murphy stated they will comply with all other items in the PCS letter. He noted all approvals have been applied for and either have been received or are pending.

The Planning Commission expressed concern with the proposal to have the residents maintain the detention basin since it is on private property. Mr. Koopman stated this will have to be addressed in the Development Agreement and there will have to be disclosures.

Ms. Frick stated if the residents do not maintain it, the neighbors will most likely contact her office. Mr. Doherty stated while this is not normally done in Lower Makefield Township, it is done in others Townships and has worked. Mr. Murphy stated the Township would have an access easement off of Houston Road.

Mr. Pazdera moved and Ms. Gould seconded to recommend to the Board of Supervisors approval of the Revised Preliminary Plans for Afton Crest subject to full compliance with the PCS letter dated 5/9/01 and further recommend Fee-In-Lieu of Recreation. The Planning Commission also recommends approval of waivers under SALDO 178-56(c) and SALDO 178-93(D)(5). The applicant should make the corrections to the drawings to the satisfaction of the Township engineer prior to proceeding to the Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Brian Donnelly, 18 Olivia Drive, asked if he was permitted to see the Plans. Ms. Frick noted Mr. Donnelly did come into the office to review the Plans at the Township Building.

Mr. Donnelly was shown a copy of the Plans this evening, and Mr. Murphy noted the limit of disturbance as it relates to Mr. Donnelly’s property. Mr. Donnelly stated he is concerned about the deer population. He is also concerned that the Township has not done anything about purchasing property to be preserved as open space around his home.

Motion to approve carried unanimously.


Mr. Edward Murphy, attorney, and Mr. Paul Wojihoski, engineer, were present.

Mr. Murphy stated the property has frontage on Lindenhurst Road and access to Powder Horn Drive. He noted the PCS letter dated 5/11/01. He stated the proposal is to subdivide the property into three residential lots. Mr. Fazzalore stated he is not in favor of common driveways as they can result in problems. Mr. Murphy stated their intention was to minimize curb cuts on Lindenhurst road, but they are willing to discuss this further with the Township. Mr. Roeper stated they should look into any possible problems they may have lotting out the third lot in connection with the gas transmission line. Mr. Doherty stated he feels the driveway should be on Parcel A as it was not to be in the easement.

Mr. Murphy agreed to address the driveway issue further.

Mr. Murphy stated when they come back to the Planning Commission, they will have a fully scaled, engineered Plan.

One woman asked about the driveway in the easement. Mr. Roeper stated the Sketch showed the driveway as being partially in the easement, and it will need to be moved onto Parcel A. The woman stated her property is on one side of the driveway, and she would like to know which way they are going to move the driveway. Mr. Roeper stated they will not know the exact location until the fully engineered drawings come in. The woman asked what the size of the building envelope will be on Lot #1. Mr. Roeper stated this has not yet been established. The woman stated she would not want to look at a twenty-room home next to her property. Mr. Roeper suggested she wait until the Preliminary Plans are available as these will be more detailed and will provide more accurate distances.

Mr. Doherty stated he feels the driveway will have to move to the right, and the woman indicated this would make it closer to her property. Mr. Koopman stated it will not move onto her property, although the driveway may be immediately adjacent to her property line.

She asked if there is a limit on the size of the home permitted to be built. Mr. Koopman stated the house must comply with the Building Code and fit onto the building envelope.

It must also be a single family home and meet impervious surface requirements. He stated other than these requirements, the Township has little control over the building or the facades. Mr. Doherty stated the building envelope is smaller than it looks on the Sketch Plan because of natural resource restrictions and the gas line. The woman asked what plans the developer has for construction of the homes. Mr. Wojihoski stated the equitable owner is thinking of building his home on one lot and building homes for his children on the two other lots. The woman asked how close they can build to the homes in Dolington Estates. It was noted the minimum setback line from the homes in Dolington Estates would be sixty feet.


Mr. Ed Wild, attorney, was present with Ms. Joanne Miller. Mr. Wild stated this is a 100’ by 100’ compound, and the tower already has four users. Nextel will take the final spot on the tower, and they do meet the terms of the Ordinance. The PCS letter dated 5/9/01 was noted and all three items are acceptable. They are scheduled to go before the Board of Supervisors on May 21, 2001.

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 Nextel Communications, Inc.


Mr. Henry VanBlunk, attorney, was present with Mr. Nicholas Rose, engineer. The 4/19/01 PCS letter was noted. Mr. VanBlunk stated they are only seeking a Minor Subdivision, and they are not proposing any development at this time. He noted the Township required them to submit an Application to the Conservation District, and their Application was returned from the Conservation District.

Ms. Gould asked their intention for the property, and Mr. VanBlunk stated the owner intends to sell the property. Ms. Gould stated if there are no Plans for development in front of the Planning Commission as to what is going to be done with the property, they cannot tell them the best route to follow. Mr. VanBlunk stated if someone purchases the property, they would then have to come in with Development Plans. Mr. VanBlunk stated the landowner is allowed to subdivide his property. He stated they cannot tell the Township what they plan to develop at this time.

Mr. Roeper stated the property is zoned R-3M. He stated without a change in Zoning, they cannot put a commercial development on this property. Mr. VanBlunk stated they are aware of the permitted uses in the R-3M zone. He stated if the Planning Commission is requiring them to show that one house can be put on the lot, they will do so. Ms. Gould stated her concern is that someone may purchase the property as subdivided with one house on the four acre lot and then come back to the Township and request more houses to be put on the lot and this would result in a Major Subdivision. Mr. VanBlunk stated they would then have to comply with the Township Ordinances. He stated they would not agree to there being a requirement that there could be no further subdivision of the property.

Mr. Roeper stated he does not feel it is necessary for them to demonstrate that they can put one house on a four acre site. He stated the Township would like to know what the plans are for the future. Mr. Koopman stated the Township Ordinances require that prior to approval of a subdivision, that the Township assures itself that they are not creating a lot that is unbuildable. He stated it is possible that the owner may want to use this property for some other use, and this would require a Zoning change. He stated it may be difficult for them to get a Variance, but if the property owner purchases the tract recognizing the Ordinance Zoning requirements, he could be subject to a self-inflected hardship.

Mr. Doherty stated there could be floodplains, etc. on the lot, and they are therefore asking them to demonstrate that they can show a lot on the tract. Mr. VanBlunk stated they would agree to put something together that shows that they could support one lot. Mr. VanBlunk stated while they will do this, they want it understood that they are not restricting this to a one dwelling development. Ms. Gould stated they must identify soils, etc., and Mr. VanBlunk agreed that they will provide this.

Mr. VanBlunk noted the requirement for street trees. He stated he did not feel this would be required because their subdivision does not have any streets within the subdivision.

Ms. Gould stated Stony Hill Road and Heacock Road would require street trees.

Mr. VanBlunk stated those streets abut their development but are not part of their development. Mr. Koopman stated he feels the requirement is for street trees on roads surrounding the subdivision. Mr. Doherty stated they could also require a buffer since there are developments in the area that are reverse frontage lots and require a buffer.

Mr. Koopman stated regardless of whether there is reverse frontage or not, he feels the requirement for street trees is for interior streets and existing streets. Mr. VanBlunk stated this is a busy intersection, and there is a thirty foot setback from the intersection. He asked the Planning Commission how close they would like them to go to the intersection.

Ms. Gould suggested they prepare their plan and present it to the Planning Commission for comment. Mr. Koopman stated they would have to meet the sight triangle requirements.

Mr. VanBlunk asked if they would be required to put trees in front of the existing home, and Ms. Gould stated they would if the existing home is part of the subdivision.

Mr. VanBlunk stated the whole tract is part of the Subdivision, and Ms. Gould stated she felt Mr. VanBlunk had answered his own question.

Mr. VanBlunk stated there were also comments about sidewalks and other type public improvements. He stated they feel whoever would come in with the Land Development Plan would be required to make these improvements based on what they construct.

Mr. Doherty suggested that a Note be put on the Plan that any further subdivision or Land Development of either lot would require addressing these concerns. Mr. Rose stated they already have a Note on the Plan in this regard. Mr. Koopman stated there is a standard Note they will need to show on the Plans, and he agreed to provide this language to Mr. VanBlunk.

Mr. VanBlunk noted the water and sanitary sewer issue which was raised, and he stated he feels this would be similar to the road improvement issue, and the developer of the property would be responsible for this. Mr. Roeper stated he feels they would at least have to indicate where the access points would be, although they would not have to run the lines.

Mr. Roeper stated this would be true for both lots, and Mr. VanBlunk agreed to show this.

Mr. Fazzalore asked why they are splitting it now, and why they would not want to wait to see if the potential purchaser would not want to purchase the entire site. Mr. VanBlunk stated the applicant still wants to live on the property. Mr. Koopman asked if they could assure them that no one is going to come in and indicate that they have a hardship because they cannot use the property for a residential use. Mr. VanBlunk stated he cannot guarantee this. Mr. Fazzalore stated there are neighbors in the area who are opposed to commercial development of this tract. He stated Commerce Bank came in previously regarding this tract, and the Township did turn their request down.

Ms. Frick asked if there is someone interested in the property, and Mr. VanBlunk stated there is although he would not reveal who it is.

Ms. Debbie Korowsky, Stony Hill road, asked how difficult it is to get the Zoning changed from residential to commercial, and it was noted this is very difficult in Lower Makefield Township. Ms. Korowsky stated last summer there were surveyors all over the area.

Mr. VanBlunk stated they were on the McFadden property but not on other residents’ properties.

Ms. Sandy Nuzzolo stated she is concerned that this Subdivision will eventually result in re-zoning, and she would like to know who is interested in the property. She is concerned that they will take the Township to Court in order to re-zone the property. She stated she would like to do whatever possible to lock this in to residential construction.

Ms. Joanne Bernard, Heritage Oaks, stated as additional development has taken place in the area, the creek in the area has grown. She stated she feels there is a floodplain in the center of this property. Mr. Roeper stated a topographical survey will show what is on the property. Ms. Gould stated they will also be looking for a wetlands delineation and a certification of the wetlands.

Mr. Larry Borda, 508 Heritage Oaks, showed how the water runs in the area. He stated the water is running heavier in recent years. He stated they have not shown the existing stream on the property. Mr. Rose stated there is no stream on the property. He stated there may be a depressed area which is a swale. Mr. Borda stated there is 6" of water there now.

He stated he does not feel they are accurately showing the existing conditions. He stated there are also depressed areas on what is shown as Lot #2. Mr. Doherty stated they have listed these concerns in the review letter. Mr. Koopman stated the review letter is available for review at the Township office. Mr. Borda stated there is a great deal of heavy vegetation and he asked if this is natural resource land. Mr. Doherty stated they will address these concerns. Mr. Borda asked if the residents will receive notice in the future when this matter comes in again, and Ms. Frick stated they will.

Mr. Richard VanHorn, 584 Heacock Road, stated he is concerned with the water and has a lot of water on his property. He stated he also has well water. He stated a note on the Plan on the left hand bottom corner indicates fourteen lots, and he asked what this refers to.

Mr. Roeper stated this is the maximum number of residential units they could put on the site assuming everything is optimal. Mr. VanHorn stated he is very concerned about the impact this development will have on his mentally-handicapped child who does play in his yard.

Ms. Korowsky stated she feels most of the properties on Stony Hill Road are on well water. Mr. Roeper stated it is possible that if and when this parcel develops into dwelling units, they could bring in water and sewer to the area. They can discuss this when the next set of drawings come in. Ms. Gould stated in the past it has been a practice of the Board to make arrangements for existing residents of the area to tie into public water and sewer when it is available.


Mr. Anthony Belfield, Mr. Fenton Brown, and Mr. Kurt Rittler were present. Mr. Belfield stated they are present with the Revised Sketch Plans to address the previous concerns expressed by the Planning Commission.

Mr. Roeper stated they had indicated that they were going to use the existing house at some point in time for the School, and he stated they may want to consider some kind of connection between the existing building and the new building. Mr. Brown stated it may be that the existing building will be independent of the actual school, and they would not want to have a direct connection to the main building. They will further discuss this when they get into the planning. Mr. Roeper asked if it will remain a residence, and Mr. Brown stated it may be a potential residence for one of the teachers or for student teachers. He stated they are comparing it to a Church that has a parsonage. He stated it may also be used as an administrative office or a pre-school.

Mr. Tofel stated he is concerned with the parking and the 180 degree turn required to get into the driveway. He asked if the driveway will be one way or two way, and Mr. Rittler stated the intent at this time is for two, two-way driveways. Ms. Gould stated they must make sure the buses can negotiate the turns. Mr. Rittler stated they will look into the driveways further.

Mr. Fazzalore stated when Orchard Hill was built, he felt the developer gave Yardley enough money to install a light at this intersection. He stated a traffic light at this location would make the traffic move easier. He stated he feels someone from the Township should contact Yardley Borough about this. Mr. Doherty stated he feels a contribution was made, but he does not feel it was the full amount. Ms. Frick agreed to research the Township files on this matter. She stated the Development Agreement was done through Yardley Borough - not Lower Makefield. Mr. Roeper asked if Mr. Fedorchak could contact Yardley Borough on this issue, and Ms. Frick agreed to look into this further and discuss it with Mr. Fedorchak. Mr. Doherty stated the driveway shown on Taylorsville Road is still very close to the intersection.

Mr. Fazzalore stated on the Road Tour they did express concern with wetlands on the site.

Mr. Roeper stated they have done a study on this. Mr. Brown stated there are no wetlands on the site.

Mr. Doherty asked if there will be a cafeteria, and Mr. Brown stated there will not.

Ms. Frick asked if there will be kitchen facilities, and Mr. Belfield stated there will not.

Mr. Rittler noted the three areas of relief they are requesting from the Zoning Hearing Board. Mr. Koopman stated there is a concern on the part of the Township that they may need to request additional Variances. Ms. Frick stated they did not pay the fee to have Mr. Doherty review the Sketch Plan. Mr. Koopman stated the problem may be that they go to the Zoning Hearing Board requesting only these three Variances and then they may find that they really need more and they will then have to go back tot he Zoning Hearing Board.

Mr. Rittler asked how they could avoid this problem, and Ms. Frick stated they would have to carefully review the Ordinances or they could pay Mr. Doherty’s fee to review the Sketch Plan. Mr. Rittler stated he feels it may be helpful to have the Township engineer review the Sketch Plan. Ms. Frick asked that they advise her if they decide to do so.


Mr. Roeper stated he and Mr. Pazdera attended the Road Tour and they did stop at the Children’s House of Bucks County site. He stated they also visited Spring and Hillside where they are going to install sewers, water, and make road improvements. He stated some of the residents were there in force and were requesting 20’ wide streets so that it would not impact the existing trees. He stated the Township was not in favor of 20’ wide streets. He stated normally the Water Company puts the pipes along side the road which would have impacted the trees, and the Board of Supervisors agreed that they would urge the Water Company to put the pipe in the road bed thus saving as many trees as possible.

Mr. Roeper stated they also looked at the Grey Nun property and they are considering changing the access road to their facility. Mr. Coyne would then be able to do a project that he has wanted to do in the area. Stakes were placed to show what they would propose.

There being no further business, Mr. Pazdera moved, Ms. Gould seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 9:20 p.m.