TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD
MINUTES - NOVEMBER 26, 2001
The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on November 26, 2001. Chairman Roeper called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.
Albert Roeper, Chairman
Nancy Frick, Director Planning, Zoning & Inspection
Edward Koch, Planning Commission Member
#524 - CHILDREN’S HOUSE OF BUCKS COUNTY - INFORMAL SKETCH PLAN DISCUSSION
Ms. Susan Weir, Head of School, and Mr. Tom Sheridan, Board member and parent, were present. Ms. Weir stated they have a present enrollment of one hundred twenty students from Pre-School to Early Elementary, and they would like to be able to extend up to Sixth Grade. Since they are outgrowing their current space and approximately two thirds of their students are from Lower Makefield and Yardley, they would like to find a location in the Township to accommodate their families.
Mr. Sheridan stated they wanted to see if a site they are considering is something they should pursue. They have identified a property on Stony Hill Road which has been for sale for a number of years. Mr. Sheridan distributed information this evening and showed pictures of the property. He stated the site is twelve acres with a pond and wetlands so that it is reduced to under two acres of buildable land. He showed the structures currently on the property. They are aware of the five acre requirement for a school but they would like to propose use of the existing structures to the extent possible. He stated they would need five to six classrooms. They do want to keep the school to less than two hundred students. He stated they would keep the existing structures although they would have to do some fairly extensive renovations and maybe add an addition of one classroom on each building. They would also potentially need to bring in one modular onto the site while the work is going on. He stated there is enough space behind the homes to place the modulars. He stated they also like the site because it is private, and there would probably not be a huge amount of opposition from surrounding neighbors. He stated they had previously made application for a school on McKinley, and there was opposition from the neighbors.
Mr. Sheridan asked the Planning Commission if they feel this site is something they should consider.
Mr. Doherty stated this was the leftover piece from the Hidden Ponds Development.
Mr. Sheridan provided small copies of the Sketch Plan to the Planning Commission this evening. He noted the existing driveway is a single lane road, and they recognize that this would have to be widened. He stated the road does go through a small section of wetlands, but the owner there now indicated it has never been impassable. He stated they would have to get sixty to seventy vehicles on this driveway within a fifteen minute window. Mr. Sheridan stated they will also need to install a parking area and possibly they could install crushed stone. The area around the buildings is fairly high and dry. He noted they will also need to install a playground. He stated the property is currently on a septic system, and they would be willing to spend the $30,000 needed to connect to public sewers. He stated he understands it would involve an injector because of the grade. He stated the property also has a well, and he feels they would connect to public water as well.
Mr. Sheridan stated Lower Makefield is very restrictive as far as they are concerned because there are not many parcels that are five acres without wetlands and that are not too close to adjoining neighbors. Mr. Sheridan stated they would be a good neighbor.
Mr. Doherty was asked his opinion of the site, and Mr. Doherty stated when they discussed Hidden Ponds there were many discussions regarding the flooding which occurs on the site; and he is concerned about having a School at this location. Mr. Sheridan stated they did raise this issue with the Realtor and the seller, and they indicated it was never impassable. Mr. Doherty stated when they came in with the Subdivision, they advised the Township that it floods heavily. He stated it is controlled by the culvert under the Railroad which is not very large and would be very expensive to expand. Mr. Doherty stated they would also need a detention basin which would take another half acre of ground.
Mr. Pazdera stated he is also concerned that the access road is right next to the Railroad track and could be a safety problem. Ms. Gould expressed concern with the pond.
Mr. Pazdera noted the one section is also sitting in the setback, and he would question what they could do with it since it is non-conforming. Mr. Koopman stated he feels Zoning Hearing Board relief would be required. He also stated he feels Land Development would be involved, and they would need a significant amount of relief from the Zoning Hearing Board and the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Sheridan stated it seems that if this were a usable site, it would have been purchased by the developer of Hidden Ponds, and the Planning Commission agreed.
Mr. Roeper stated there could also be problems with expanding the historic home and this could be costly.
#529 - JEFFREY MANTO - PRELIMINARY PLAN DISCUSSION
Mr. Jeffrey Manto and Ms. Moonlight Tong, engineer, were present. The PCS letter dated 11/20/01 was noted. Ms. Tong stated because the entire piece of property is in the woodlands, they can disturb only 30%. She feels they can meet the impervious surface requirements. Ms. Tong stated she feels they can comply with the stormwater management issues. She noted there is an existing detention basin on Darby Drive which is to the rear of their property, and they are therefore requesting a waiver of having a storm detention basin for this two lot subdivision. She stated the tree removal line is approximately one hundred feet away from the wetlands. She stated if they would install a sidewalk or a deck, she does not feel the impervious surface will create any problems.
Mr. Tofel asked if it is known if the existing basin could sustain the added run off from this site. Mr. Doherty stated this was not how this was originally presented; but if they provide calculations, he does not feel it should be a problem.
Ms. Tong stated they would also request a waiver for the driveway for Lot #2. She stated they would put a note on the Plan that if the Sewer Authority wanted to come in and do any work, the owner of Lot #2 would have to restore it. Mr. Roeper stated they would have to allow room for the sewer easement; and Mr. Doherty stated this is why she is asking for a waiver. Mr. Roeper noted they would have to allow for snow removal. Ms. Tong stated they would agree to put a condition on the Deed that they will allow the Township to put the snow onto the property beside the driveway.
Ms. Tong stated they do not want to cut down more woods than they have to. Mr. Doherty stated they are showing the maximum they can clear.
Mr. Koopman asked if there is currently an easement, and Mr. Doherty stated it does not exist at the current time. The line would be owned by the Township but the laterals going to the individual properties would be owned by the homeowners including the Vincent property.
Mr. Pazdera stated he will not vote on this project as he is a surrounding property owner.
Ms. Gould stated she will not vote on this project either.
Mr. Tofel stated he would not see a problem with the driveway at the location proposed with the understanding that it be altered in such a way that they minimize any future tear up and with the understanding that if the road has to be taken up, it will have to restored by the owner.
Mr. Tofel asked if they will be subdividing these lots for the purpose of living in them or selling them, and Mr. Manto stated it would be for both purposes.
The PCS letter was noted, and Ms. Tong stated they will comply with Item #1. With regard to Item #2, Mr. Roeper stated they would request that Skelly & Loy review this matter. Ms. Frick was asked to forward Lots #1 and #2 to Skelly & Loy for their review.
Ms. Tong stated they will comply with Items #3 through #9 in the PCS letter. Item #10 is a Waiver request, and this was acceptable to the Planning Commission members who will vote on this Plan. Ms. Tong stated they will comply with Item #11, and she will follow Mr. Doherty’s recommendations.
Item #12 was noted, and they will have an Agreement that the Township can clear the snow onto the property beside the driveway. Ms. Frick stated they should make sure that this Note is on the Plan. Mr. Doherty stated they should have a metes and bounds designation so that it is reflected on the Title search. Mr. Roeper suggested this matter be discussed with Mr. Coyne to see where he wants the easement to be located.
There was discussion on Stormwater Management. With regard to Item #1, Mr. Roeper stated they will need a different set of calculations if they are now proposing to use the existing detention basin. Mr. Doherty stated he also feels Ms. Tong should re-consider the impervious surface calculations since he is concerned that future owners of the properties will be coming in asking for additional impervious surface for a deck, shed, etc.
Mr. Koopman stated they must give people room to make additions without needing to come in for Variances. Mr. Doherty stated they must show this on the Plan. He stated the maximum she can have on the lot is 18%; and while she cannot get to that percentage, she must show what they can get to. Ms. Tong agreed to come up with a percentage that is able to be put on the Plan that they will be restricted to.
Ms. Tong stated she would like to have a stone basin so that if there is run off, it will be clean before it goes down to the stream. She stated possibly this could be a trench drain so that they can comply with the Clean Water Act. Mr. Doherty stated he does not feel they will get much seepage. He stated he does not have any problem with installation of something to comply with the Clean Water Act if this is what Ms. Tong desires.
Mr. Koopman stated this would have to be installed in the buildable area.
Mr. Lynes, 1090 Bancroft, stated the basin that is in existence is a large basin and during the heaviest rains, the storm water that is collected filters into the basin at a high rate of speed but leaves the basin within a very short period of time. He is concerned about the residents on the south side of Darby where there is basement flooding. He stated if there is additional run off, he feels this will increase the flooding problem already in existence unless they can re-size the outlet so it holds the water for a longer period of time.
Mr. Doherty stated the basin was altered some years ago to cut back some of the low intensity storms. Mr. Roeper asked if it should be cut back further. Mr. Doherty stated if they keep cutting it back, there would be problems with the high intensity storms.
Mr. Tofel stated it appears that Lot #2 is pitched back to the residents on Darby. They are proposing a swale on the east side of the property to deter the water from going onto the adjoining properties. Mr. Lynes stated it is the homes on Darby that have flooded basements.
Ms. Arlene Gordon, Liberty Drive, asked if the surrounding residents could have the opportunity to review the Plan, and they were shown copies of the Plan this evening.
Ms. Frick stated they will need a 90 day Extension this evening since the Plan expires on 12/17/01. The Applicant agreed to provide the Extension this evening.
Mr. Lynes commented on the wildlife on the property including red tail hawks which he feels are on the Endangered Species List.
#335-M- OCTAGON CENTER (A/K/A MATRIX) - FINAL PLAN DISCUSSION
Mr. Marc Brookman, attorney, Mr. Russell Tepper, Mr. Chris Burkett, and Mr. Bob Rodgers were present. Mr. Roeper stated he understands they would like a recommendation from the Planning Commission this evening before they make the changes discussed at the meeting on 11/12/01 to the Final Plan. Mr. Brookman stated the changes they have indicated they would comply with are minor items, and it is possible the Board of Supervisors may have additional changes. They would therefore like to be able to make all the changes at the same time. Mr. Brookman stated if requested, they would agree to make the changes before they go to the Board of Supervisors if this is the only way they can get a recommendation from the Planning Commission. Mr. Doherty was asked if these changes could be made to his satisfaction. Mr. Doherty stated provided the Waivers that were discussed are granted, he does not have a problem with what is proposed by the Applicant.
He stated he does have a meeting with Matrix and PennDOT to go over that portion of the project.
Mr. Roeper stated normally the Planning Commission does not make a recommendation when there are this many changes that need to be made especially when it is a Final Plan; however, he agreed to poll the Planning Commission to see if they would be willing to make a recommendation this evening.
Mr. Tofel stated because of the length of the time it has been before the Planning Commission and the size of the project, he feels all changes should be made before they make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. Ms. Gould stated she feels this is the cost of doing a job, and she would like to make sure that what they are presenting to the Board of Supervisors has been reviewed by the Planning Commission and that they will comply with what has been requested. Mr. Pazdera agreed since this is standard practice for the Planning Commission. Mr. Roeper stated the Planning Commission appears unwilling to make a recommendation without having all the changes before them on the Plan. Ms. Frick noted an extension was received from the applicant.
Mr. Brookman asked how much turn around time they would need since there are not that many changes that need to be made to the Plans. Mr. Burkett stated while he feels he could get the revisions in by Monday morning, he does not know if this is fair to the Township engineer.
Ms. Gould stated she feels the Planning Commission should send clean Plans to the Board of Supervisors. She stated she feels the Planning Commission still has not resolved some issues with Matrix; and while she understands that they want to talk to the Board of Supervisors, she feels they should satisfy the Planning Commission as well or they may risk a Motion they do not want. Ms. Gould stated she is concerned with the traffic, the environment, and big box stores.
Mr. Roeper stated he feels the Planning Commission should advise Matrix tonight how they feel about these items. He stated none of these items are included in the PCS letter which Matrix has indicated they would be willing to comply with. He stated if the Planning Commission feels they should make comment on these issues to the Board of Supervisors, these should be made to Matrix and ask if they are willing to comply with them or include them in a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors and let Matrix and the Board of Supervisors resolve those issues. Mr. Roeper stated he feels the Planning Commission should pass these concerns onto the Board of Supervisors in a recommendation with an expression of their feelings. He stated he does not feel anything will be gained by carrying this matter over to December 10; and if there are problems to address, they should address them this evening and arrive at a consensus.
Mr. Roeper stated Matrix has agreed to comply with CKS and the other review letters.
Mr. Roeper stated there has been discussion on the traffic studies and a special meeting was held. He asked that Planning Commission members what they would propose.
Ms. Gould proposed that the Planning Commission ask for another traffic study.
Mr. Pazdera stated even if they have another traffic study, they are essentially maxing out the improvements; and there is no room left to make any additional improvements.
Mr. Brookman stated during the special meeting they heard from the applicant, the Township’s traffic consultant, and a resident of Middletown Township speaking on behalf of RAM. Both the applicant’s consultant and the Township’s consultant indicated that the project was over designed to cover Octagon Center’s traffic and traffic that is not related to their development.
Mr. Roeper stated he is not sure that any additional traffic studies will result in better levels of service since they cannot add any more traffic improvements.
Ms. Gould stated if another traffic study comes in which indicates traffic will be worse than anticipated, they may have to consider cutting back on the development.
Mr. Brookman stated the Planning Commission appears to be troubled over the long term; and it seems they are expecting this developer to solve the problems not only of today, but the problems of the future as well. Ms. Gould stated she wants to make sure that they are correcting the problems they are creating with their development. Mr. Brookman stated they feel their Plan meets the needs for their development and the development that has preceded them. Ms. Gould stated she is not confident the information they have given is sufficient.
Mr. Roeper agreed that Levels of Service when this project is completed are going to be poor at certain times. He asked if they could use this information as the basis for a denial to build on this piece of property.
Mr. Tofel stated the traffic improvements proposed will improve the current situation, but he is concerned about the problems in the future; and while he does not expect that the applicant can satisfy all the traffic problems in the future, he still questions why these traffic studies were done at the times they were done.
Mr. Roeper asked what the Planning Commission would do if they got another traffic study that indicated the Levels of Service would be worse. Mrs. Gould stated if this is the case, maybe they can only approve one retail store. She stated maybe the roads cannot support what the developer wants to build at this location. Mr. Roeper stated he is only asking that the Planning Commission face this issue tonight rather than put it off for another two weeks.
Mr. Brookman stated he feels the overall intersection will not go below Level of Service D.
He stated this does not relate to a pass or fail grade, but is more involved with time.
He stated both Mr. Yeager and Mr. Rodgers indicated that there would be a 150% improvement from the current time making the most difficult turning movements once the improvements are installed. He stated all they are asking for approval of is for two retail stores and a speculative office building. He stated at full build out the intersection will be at Level of Service D. He stated Phase I will only be 20% of the total construction, and they are agreeing to install all the road improvements up front.
Mr. Roeper stated the concern of the Planning Commission is with full build out. At the special meeting, they came to the conclusion that they did not believe any one of the traffic consultants with respect to the Levels of Service that would exist at that intersection ten years from now. He is not sure that any additional traffic studies will change their feelings, and Mr. Brookman agreed.
Mr. Roeper stated it seems there is a three to one division whether the Planning Commission should make a recommendation this evening.
Ms. Gould stated she does not feel the developer is willing to accommodate any of the concerns raised by the Planning Commission. Mr. Brookman stated this is not true as they have agreed to a number of changes. Ms. Gould agreed, but stated they did not agree to the changes recommended with regard to Tall Pines Lane. Mr. Brookman stated they are including $4 million worth of traffic improvements, and he feels there will be a dramatic improvement in the short term and improvement in the long term as well.
Mr. Roeper asked what the Planning Commission would like to see Matrix bring to the next meeting.
Mr. Pazdera stated he feels the Planning Commission must accept what the traffic consultants have given them even if they are not happy with what they are indicating.
He stated he does not feel another traffic study will help clear up this situation since they have already proposed all the improvements they can given the land involved.
Mr. Tofel asked if anyone has reviewed the PennDOT drawings. Mr. Doherty stated his staff has reviewed them but his office has not yet submitted their letter to the Township.
He stated he will be meeting with them on November 28. Mr. Roeper stated the Planning Commission was given a copy of PennDOT’s review in their packet. Mr. Roeper stated he feels one of the requirements the Planning Commission would pass onto the Board of Supervisors would be that the applicant must obtain a PennDOT permit, and it is not unusual for the Planning Commission to make such a recommendation. Mr. Roeper stated he is not sure that the traffic study had any influence on PennDOT. Mr. Roeper stated the Planning Commission could recommend to the Board of Supervisors that there be a new traffic study.
Ms. Gould noted proposed improvements for Big Oak Road between I-95 an the Railroad bridge. Mr. Roeper stated he feels that regardless of whether Middletown approves this project or not, that in Phase I they should install the traffic light and make all road improvements between the I-95 bridge and the intersection of Big Oak Road and Township Line. Ms. Gould stated she does not feel they can require them to do something in another Township. Mr. Roeper stated they could recommend that the Board of Supervisors approve this and that the Board work with Middletown to get this improvements installed.
This would require a PennDOT approval and a sign-off from Middletown Township.
Ms. Gould stated she is concerned that Middletown may want something above and beyond this and then it would have already been put in place at Lower Makefield’s request.
Mr. Roeper stated in order to improve that area of road and the intersection, they would have to get approval from Middletown. If Middletown does not like what is recommended by Lower Makefield and the developer, they would tell them so. Ms. Gould asked the developer if they would be willing to do this, and Mr. Tepper stated they have agreed to this. Mr. Roeper stated he has had discussions with the Chairman of the Middletown Planning Commission, and they are in agreement with this as it relates to the intersection.
Mr. Roeper stated he does not feel Lower Makefield Township should address Big Oak Road beyond that point and should only deal with the intersection Mr. Roeper noted discussions held in the past regarding Tall Pines Road. He stated the developer was willing to put in a cul-de-sac and a barrier at Big Oak Road. Three of the Planning Commission members felt Tall Pines Road should be paved completely; and he feels that if it were paved completely, the developer should have the right to close the road to public access when they are building additional office buildings during Phase II.
Mr. Roeper stated he would want there to be approval for this by PCS and the Police Department. He stated Captain Roche was particularly concerned with the barriers that would be erected at both ends. Mr. Koopman stated since this is a private road, they would have to consider if the developer has the right to close it. Mr. Brookman stated they assumed that the road would service the office buildings on the north side of Big Oak Road. They had shown on the Plan finishing the improvements up to access the first building and then providing a cul-de-sac so that the office building traffic could come in and out of the Octagon Center. They also agreed to do an emergency course of improvements on the balance of the road so the concerns of the Police Department were addressed. Mr. Roeper stated upon build out it will still be a private road, but it will carry traffic from Oxford Valley Road to Big Oak Road. Mr. Brookman stated while it could, they did not intend it to be a cut through. Mr. Koopman asked if they feel they would have the right to close the road in the future, and Mr. Brookman stated they would not since the people going to the office buildings would need it; however, they did not want it to be used as a means to avoid the intersection. Mr. Koopman stated he feels the Planning Commission should address this in any Motion they make. Mr. Tofel stated if they get approval for the first office building, he feels they should have the access go in and the cul-de-sac be installed with curbs and sidewalks. When the buildings are complete, he then feels the road should be completed and opened for public use at that time. Mr. Brookman stated this was their intention. Mr. Tofel asked if there would still be a traffic light at Tall Pines and Oxford Valley Road, and Mr. Brookman stated there would as well as a traffic light at Tall Pines and Big Oak Road. Mr. Pazdera agreed that they should install the cul-de-sac until they install a finished road. This was also acceptable to Ms. Gould.
Mr. Roeper stated this would have to be acceptable to PCS and the Police Department.
Mr. Roeper asked if the Planning Commission wants to make any comment with respect to the environmental impact of the project. Mr. Tofel stated he is concerned that they are living with the 1988 rules. He stated he is concerned with air quality and noise in relation to this project. Mr. Koopman stated they have submitted an Inventory of Natural Resources and Mr. Doherty has reviewed this. He does not feel there was an air quality review. He stated there are Township requirements with regard to noise standards which were in effect since 1988, and the Applicant would have to meet these standards.
Ms. Maureen Friedman stated she had asked that the missing thirteen acres of wetlands be re-established since they cannot do away with wetlands. She stated the wetlands are gone because of a non-compliant dam on the property. She stated she does not feel tilling or crops can do away with wetlands. Mr. Roeper stated they have documentation from the Army Corps of Engineers relating to this matter. Ms. Friedman stated the Corps of Engineers has indicated they are not aware of it. Mr. Roeper stated they have not made any objections to date. Ms. Friedman stated this is because they only submitted the Final Plan.
She stated it was on the Bellemead Plan and they constructed the non-compliant dam which made the thirteen acres of wetlands vanish. Mr. Roeper stated Bellemead obtained the necessary approvals and had a permit to make changes and mitigate the wetlands. They complied with the requirements imposed on them at the time. He stated they are not going to go back and re-do what was legally done. He stated eight to ten years has elapsed since that work was done and things change in nature from year to year. He stated they did pick up woodlands and will most likely have even more woodlands before they finish construction. Ms. Friedman stated she feels they should take down the dam. She stated it has been unattended.
Ms. Gould stated she would like to know more about the dam. Mr. Roeper stated it was installed with a legally-obtained permit. Mr. Tofel, Mr. Roeper, and Mr. Pazdera indicated they were satisfied with what had been done to date with regard to this matter.
Mr. Brookman stated at one of the meetings their engineer commented with response to the time it takes for nature to change the impact of the ground. He stated I-95 also created a change in the water course. At the last meeting they read into the record the number of studies that had been submitted to the State and the Army Corps of Engineers regarding these issues. They also submitted a plan to the Township engineer regarding stormwater management on the site and they have conformed to Township requirements and they will have to conform to the DEP requirements. He stated the State and Army Corps will address these issues and the Township will deal with the approved stormwater management plans addressing their concerns. They will continue to keep the Township advised of their correspondence to the various agencies.
Mr. Roeper asked if they wish to address the size of the buildings. Mr. Pazdera stated had the Planning Commission been given the chance earlier on in the process to provide their input on this, they would have indicated that two large retail buildings is not the best use for this site.
Mr. Tofel agreed. Mr. Tofel stated he feels there are other locations in the area where commercial would be more appropriate. He would prefer more office buildings and would even agree to there being even more office buildings to make up for any lost revenue that they would have as a result of losing the two retail buildings.
Ms. Gould stated she does not feel the Board of Supervisors was acting in the Township’s best interest and faults them with giving the Planning Commission a Plan upon which they cannot comment on. She stated there are a number of big box stores in the area which have already gone out of business and she is concerned that these buildings will not be able to be rented and Lower Makefield Township will be seen as a low-rent district.
Mr. Tofel stated he would prefer to see an empty office building than an empty commercial space. He stated there is a shortage of office space in this area, and he would support more office space.
Mr. Roeper stated he feels they should comment on the roads as presently proposed. If they are satisfied that what they have proposed fits in with what PennDOT is doing, and there is no more land to install any additional improvements they should state this. He stated he does feel they should say something about Levels of Service. He stated they should also consider if they want to recommend a further traffic study. Mr. Roeper stated the Planning Commission is required to make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors; and while an extension has been provided, he does not feel they should delay a decision. He stated the applicant has agreed to make certain changes and there are other items that the Planning Commission feels should be commented on to the Board of Supervisors.
Ms. Gould asked if PennDOT will settle anything to do with traffic. Mr. Doherty stated he does not feel they will comment on anything the Planning Commission has indicated they are concerned with. Mr. Rodgers stated the PennDOT review letter does not call for any more improvements other than additional details. They have done their own review of the traffic study and would have indicated any additional improvements they felt needed to be done. Mr. Roeper stated the requirement is that they obtain a PennDOT permit.
Mr. Pazdera stated even the Bucks County Planning Commission indicated that, provided they made all the recommendations from Parsons-Brinckerhoff, they were not opposed to the project.
Mr. Tofel stated he would like to wait for a letter from Mr. Doherty following the PennDOT review. Mr. Doherty stated the only changes he would make would be the construction details. He would not be making any significant changes with regard to lanes, etc.
Ms. Gould stated at one point the Board of Supervisors looked at the possibility that they could have an access from I-95 and now all access is from Oxford Valley Road.
Mr. Doherty stated any access from I-95 would have to be in Middletown, not Lower Makefield.
Ms. Gould stated it appears there are two members in favor of an additional traffic study and two members who do not want one so she feels the matter should be tabled.
Ms. Margo Feninstein, 970 Baron Drive, stated they should recognize that this project will be forever.
Mr. Roeper asked if they want to continue this matter until December 10, and Mr. Tofel stated he would. Mr. Roeper asked that Mr. Tofel draw up a paragraph of what he would like to see in a recommendation on this project to the Board of Supervisors.
Ms. Gould was asked to do the same.
Mr. Brookman stated he recognizes what Mr. Roeper has tried to do; and because of the legal process involved, they accept the fact that they need more time. The applicant will return on December 10. He stated even though the large retail stores are permitted under the Zoning Code, they recognize that the Planning Commission would prefer that they not be there. He stated the Board of Supervisors approved what was permissible under the Code and required as a series of conditions what the obligations were of the developer.
Given the choices, a group of reasonable individuals felt they made the best decision for the Township. In terms of the legal requirements, the Plan does comply; and large retail is permitted. He stated the Court has already addressed this. He stated they have been working on this for two and a half years. They have had seven public meetings before the Board of Supervisors and public comments were accepted at those meetings. He stated the Board of Supervisors made a decision that was difficult for them, but was compliant with the law.
Mr. Roeper stated they are not going to require additional Plans; however, they have indicated that they would have to comply with the PCS letter. Mr. Fazzalore stated this compliance would be before they go to the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Gary Cruzan, 1597 Clark Drive, read a portion of the decision from Judge Rubinstein regarding approvals from the Lower Makefield Township Zoning Board for any Variances or Special Exceptions. He stated he feels this means the project has to go to the Zoning Board. He stated under the Zoning Ordinance he does not feel a Lowe’s Home Improvement Store would be approved.
Mr. Roeper stated the Planning Commission received the Judge’s ruling this evening.
Ms. Dana Wyrick, 1512 Brock Creek Drive, read from the Judge’s decision which notes concerns raised by RAM may be genuine concerns for residents within the vicinity of the proposed Matrix Development.
Mr. Brookman stated he does not agree with the conclusions the RAM representatives have reached from reading the Judge’s decision.
#508 - VALLEY DAY SCHOOL - PRELIMINARY PLAN DISCUSSION
Mr. Nick Casey, Mr. Thomas Smith, attorney, and Mr. Phil Kashner, engineer, were present. Mr. Smith noted they do have the PCS letter dated 11/15/01. Mr. Casey provided this evening their response letter from their engineer dated 11/26/01. Mr. Casey stated they will recommend paying Fee-In-Lieu of recreation. With regard to the wetlands, Mr. Casey stated Skelly & Loy was to go out to confirm the wetlands delineation but since they did not come out, the applicant asked the Army Corps of Engineers to come out; and Mr. Casey provided a copy of their report tonight. Mr. Casey stated he also sent a copy to Skelly & Loy. With regard to improvements along Mill Road, Mr. Casey stated they understand this will be deferred to the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Pazdera stated the Planning Commission did make a recommendation what they would like to see, and the Applicant did comply with these requests.
Mr. Casey stated there was discussion on the Phase I Environmental Assessment and since there was a change in personnel at Skelly & Loy, it has taken some time to get this matter resolved. They are still waiting for a formal letter. Mr. Casey provided this evening a copy of a letter their engineer sent to Skelly & Loy dated 11/12/01.
There was discussion on the seepage bed, and Mr. Casey stated they will make the necessary revisions to the Plan. Mr. Fazzalore stated his concern is how this will be enforced. He stated the first owner will be advised of the requirements with regard to the seepage bed, but he is concerned with subsequent owners. Mr. Casey stated it will be a well-documented record. Mr. Doherty stated one of the lots is using this to control their run off since they cannot get to the detention basin. Ms. Frick stated she is concerned with what will happen if the seepage bed is not maintained. Mr. Casey stated it would only effect that individual lot. Mr. Kashner stated it is 250 feet from the basin. He stated they had too much bypass going past the basin so they had to put in the seepage bed to control the run off. Mr. Casey stated the grading is going back to a tributary of Brock Creek.
Ms. Gould asked the maintenance requirements, and Mr. Kashner stated there are actually none since it is only a depression. Mr. Tofel asked about the perc, and Mr. Kashner stated they did do perc tests, and it is good.
Mr. Casey stated with regard to the Grading Plan, they do not feel there is a slope steeper than four to one, but they will revise this if they cannot come to an agreement with Mr. Doherty.
With regard to the cartway dimensions, Mr. Casey stated they felt thirty feet would be acceptable. They are requesting a waiver from installing sidewalks along the interior (basin side) of the loop road. Mr. Casey stated thirty feet does provide more grass and results in less maintenance for the Township than does a thirty-six foot cartway. Mr. Roeper stated they have indicated they would support this waiver. Mr. Casey stated when they created the loop road, they ended up with a low point; and in order to accommodate this, they will need to request a waiver. Mr. Doherty was in agreement with this proposal.
Mr. Casey stated the Public Works Department has requested a paved energy dissipater, and this will be installed before the project is turned over to the Township.
With regard to construction details, they will make the requested change as noted in Item #1.
With regard to the Stormwater Management Report, they are requesting a Waiver from the Board of Supervisors. The Township engineer has indicated that they cannot really reduce the area along the south side of the site. All surface run off will be directed into the detention basin so they can reduce the rate of discharge by close to 30%. The only way to reduce it further would be to provide some impoundment for the water coming from off the site. The only place to install this would be in the wetlands, and they could not do this.
They are therefore requesting a Waiver.
Mr. David Young, 589 Hearthstone, stated they will not be able to get water uphill, and it will go down into his back yard. Mr. Casey stated less of an area will be draining back to that swale than currently exists. Mr. Young stated at the present time there is vegetation on the hill but if they take this out, the run off will increase. Mr. Kashner stated half of the hill will come back into the lot so that he will not get as much water even if some vegetation is removed.
The Planning Commission was in favor of this Waiver.
Under General Comments, Mr. Casey provided this evening a letter dated 11/26/01 including comments in response to the CKS letter dated 10/31/01. Mr. Casey stated information on Planning Modules were sent to Mr. Hoffmeister, and they will check on the status. The NPDES letter is pending.
Mr. Casey stated they have received the approval for sedimentation control.
Mr. Casey stated they will comply with Item #4 under General Comments.
Item #5 was noted, and Mr. Casey stated they have satisfied Mr. Yates’ concerns.
Mr. Roeper asked that Ms. Frick follow up with Skelly & Loy. Ms. Frick stated she is concerned that much of this information has not gone through the Township, and the Applicant has instead sent out information to the various agencies on their own.
Mr. Roeper asked that the Applicant make the changes to the Plan; and once they are reviewed, they can come back before the Planning Commission. Mr. Smith stated there are only two minor revisions that need to be made to the Plan other than any issues which may be raised by Skelly & Loy. Mr. Pazdera stated he is concerned that Skelly & Loy may come back with a report that may impact the Plan. Mr. Casey stated he does not feel there are any major issues. Ms. Frick stated the Skelly & Loy report was sent 6/28/01, and the Applicant only corresponded back to them on 11/12/01. Ms. Casey stated they had been in touch with Skelly & Loy before that but no one came out to confirm the line, so they contacted the Corps of Engineers to do it. Mr. Casey stated if they could not conform to what Skelly & Loy would require, they would not be able to proceed. Ms. Frick asked if the Planning Commission was going to let the Applicant go before the Board of Supervisors prior to receiving the report from Skelly & Loy, and the Planning Commission indicated they would not permit this. Mr. Casey stated they would agree not to go before the Board of Supervisors without a clean letter from Skelly & Loy. He stated he was advised by an individual at Skelly & Loy that they were reviewing it, and that they would be back to them in a timely manner.
Ms. Frick stated the only Plan she sent to Skelly & Loy was seven months ago. She asked what Plan the Applicant sent to Skelly & Loy. Mr. Casey stated the Plans that would have gone to Skelly & Loy were the Plans that were without the revisions submitted in September. Ms. Frick stated Skelly & Loy received no Plans from her after the June response letter. Mr. Casey stated the wetlands line and the buffer have not changed.
Mr. Roeper asked that the items be resolved and the Applicant come back before the Planning Commission on December 10. Mr. Roeper stated the Applicant should coordinate any submissions with Ms. Frick.
Mr. Koopman asked if they have seen the Easement Agreement, and Mr. Casey stated he feels this was provided at the last Planning Commission meeting. Mr. Koopman stated it appears it is more than a standard Grant of Easement since it seems to give the Water Company a right to connect into the line. Mr. Koopman stated he feels his office should review the Water Company Easement.
Mr. David Young stated he would like to be advised of the improvements proposed for Mill Road. Mr. Casey stated the improvements shown on the Plan are intersection improvements to create access. Any other improvements on Mill Road are being deferred to the Board of Supervisors as off-site improvements. Mr. Young asked about landscaping and maintenance issues during construction since these have been issues with the Quaker Group in the past. Mr. Young noted Peake Farm in particular. Ms. Gould stated Quaker does have outstanding issues still. She stated Mr. Young should take these concerns to the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Young stated traffic on Mill Road is also a concern because of the speed being traveled. He is concerned that additional development will add to this. He feels they should install speed bumps. Ms. Gould asked Mr. Casey to address outstanding issues he has at other sites in the Township. Mr. Casey stated the last report he got was that everything was signed off. Ms. Frick stated they recently requested dedication, so they will see if any items come up. She noted they have made some progress in some areas.
Mr. Roeper stated Ms. Bush indicated that the Bucks County Planning Commission was signing the Contract for the Master Plan Update, and it should be to the Township this week. He asked if the Planning Commission wants to schedule a meeting with a representative from the Bucks County Planning Commission in December or if they should put this off until January. It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that this be put off until January.
There being no further business, Mr. Tofel moved, Mr. Pazdera seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 11:15 p.m.