The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on September 24, 2001. Vice Chairman Gould called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

Those present:

Planning Commission:

Deborah Gould, Vice Chairman
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


Albert Roeper, Planning Commission


Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Koch seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of August 13, 2001 as amended.


Mr. Henry VanBlunk, attorney, and Mr. Nick Rose, engineer, were present.

Mr. VanBlunk stated after the last meeting, they revised their Plans pursuant to the comments made at that meeting and the comments in the PCS letter.

The PCS letter dated 9/20/01 was noted. Mr. VanBlunk stated Item #1 refers to the building delineation that the Township asked that they show to indicate that this subdivision could support a building. PCS has questioned whether they are drawing from the proper line. Mr. VanBlunk stated they were not clear whether they drew it correctly but even if they drew it from the wetlands delineation plus the buffer, they feel it would be sufficient to support a building. He stated possibly they would have to decrease the side yard by 25 feet, but there would still be sufficient room. Mr. Koopman stated the setbacks must be shown properly on the Plan. Mr. VanBlunk stated they will comply.

Mr. Doherty stated they are showing pocket wetlands away from the major wetlands.

Mr. Koopman stated the Ordinance requires setbacks from all resource protected areas, and they would therefore have to have the proper setbacks from any areas where there are wetlands. Mr. Rose stated he feels that they can work this out with the Township engineer’s office and comply with all the setback requirements. Mr. VanBlunk stated he feels Item #2 relates to these issues as well, and they will be able to meet the setbacks and will comply.

Item #3 was noted which is a waiver request for payment of Fee-In-Lieu of Recreation.

Item #4 was noted, and Mr. Rose stated the surveyor asked permission to go onto adjacent properties to the east in order to meet the Ordinance requirements; but the residents would not permit them to do so. He stated he is not sure that the Ordinance can force them to trespass. Ms. Gould stated they could contact the Board of Health to get the information, and Mr. Rose agreed to do so. Mr. Doherty stated there is a storm water management facility on the opposite side of the street which is not shown. Mr. Rose stated he did not believe that that facility was within 200 feet, but he agreed to look into it.

Item #5 was noted, and Mr. VanBlunk stated they will comply.

Item #6 was noted, and Mr. VanBlunk stated they did request a waiver from the requirement for street trees in their submission letter, and they put street trees on the Plan by mistake. He reiterated that they are requesting a wavier on this requirement since they are not sure what the buyer of the property will want to do. They feel this should be addressed at the development stage, and the Township could make a decision on street trees at that time. Mr. VanBlunk stated they recognize that a buyer will probably be coming in shortly after approval of the Subdivision, and that buyer would have to comply with the Land Development Ordinance. He stated they feel it would be better to address street trees, curbing, etc. at that time. Ms. Frick stated this is a requirement of Subdivision.

Mr. Pazdera stated he would prefer to see these items on the Plan and then they can address at a later time if the buyer wants to do something different. Mr. VanBlunk stated they are concerned that if the deal does not work out, Mr. McFadden would have to install the trees and other improvements. Ms. Gould stated it does not appear that they have three votes from the Planning Commission in support of the waiver they are requesting. Mr. VanBlunk stated they will continue to request a waiver.

Items #7 and #8 were noted which refer to the CKS letter. Mr. VanBlunk stated since they are not planning any development at this time, it would be premature to get approval for water and sewer at this time. He stated whoever purchases the land and develops it will decide how many homes they want to construct and that would determine the water and sewer requirements He stated there are water and sewer mains within reach. Ms. Gould asked if they anticipate that a major subdivision will be coming in, and Mr. VanBlunk stated this is possible, although not certain at this time. Mr. VanBlunk stated he does not feel there are any capacity restrictions which would preclude them from getting water and sewer. Mr. Rose stated if they went to the Water Company to ask them if they will service this tract, they would ask what is on the property and they will have to say nothing; and they will not then be able to get approval. Mr. VanBlunk stated this is similar to the situation with the Soil Conservation District who sent their application back to them.

Mr. Tofel stated they are only asking for a letter of commitment. Mr. Rose stated he assumes they could get a letter indicating that they would be willing to serve one house if there were one house built on the lot. Mr. VanBlunk stated they will try to get this.

Mr. Doherty asked why they keep referring to Land Development since this tract is zoned residential. Mr. VanBlunk stated at this point they are only asking for a Minor Subdivision. Mr. Doherty stated these are Minor Subdivision requirements.

Mr. VanBlunk stated the requirements do not make sense if you are not going to build anything. Mr. VanBlunk stated obtaining the Subdivision will make the property more marketable. Mr. Doherty stated he does not feel it is marketable if they cannot indicate that they can get sewer and water.

Mr. VanBlunk stated they cannot comply with all the requests made in the CKS letter since they cannot provide Planning Modules. Mr. Koopman stated he will need to review the CKS letter but at the minimum they should provide a capacity letter.

Item #9 was noted which is a waiver request for installation of curbing and sidewalks.

Mr. VanBlunk stated this would be a requirement of a future subdivider or at Land Development. Mr. Rose stated Note #12 on the Plan relates to frontage improvements on the tract. Ms. Gould noted this parcel is on two major roads and it would be a benefit to the Township to have the improvements installed. She stated the turning radius is also dangerous at this location. Mr. Pazdera stated he feels the curbs should be installed and possibly they could waive the requirement for sidewalks if there are no other sidewalks in the area. Mr. VanBlunk stated if they run along the existing curb line up Heacock and around Stony Hill Road, they would be running it in the right-of-way; and if a Major Subdivision does come in, the Township may want the road widened. Mr. Doherty stated if they decide they want curbs, they should be installed based on the design that they are presently completing from Stony Hill Road to Oxford Valley. It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that curbs should be installed. Mr. VanBlunk stated they will still request a waiver for the curbs. There was discussion on the widening proposed for Stony Hill Road, and Mr. Doherty stated they anticipate the widening to be done in late 2002.

Item #10 was noted, and Mr. Rose stated they felt they had shown everything required on the Plan. Mr. Doherty stated it does not appear that they picked up the storm drainage system on Heacock Road and at the intersection. He stated they have shown inlets but not the culverts. Mr. Rose agreed to look into this. Mr. Rose stated he felt this section referred to on-site. Mr. Doherty agreed that it does not specifically state on-site or off-site, but he noted the other Sections which do refer to 200 feet from the site. Mr. Rose stated they will comply within 200 feet as noted earlier.

Item #11 was noted, and Mr. VanBlunk stated this would be up to the Township if they want this verified. Ms. Frick stated Skelly & Loy will verify this at the developer’s expense. Mr. Rose agreed to provide a copy of their delineation to Ms. Frick to submit to Skelly & Loy.

Item #12 was noted, and Mr. VanBlunk stated they did provide metes and bounds for the large wetlands delineation, but did not do so for the small pocket wetlands. Mr. Doherty stated they like to see monuments showing they will not disturb resource protection land.

Mr. VanBlunk stated they will comply.

Item #13 was noted, and Mr. Rose stated he could take the Note referred to off the Plan, although he included it so show where some of the information came from. Mr. Rose stated the individual who did the surveying is working on their behalf and will seal the Plans. Mr. Rose stated that individual was a licensed surveyor. Mr. Doherty stated the way it was written it seemed confusing. Mr. Rose stated they are simply referencing who did the survey.

Mr. VanBlunk stated they recognize that the Planning Commission is not willing to recommend all the waivers, but they would look for a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors so that they can proceed. Ms. Gould stated they would like to see the Plans cleaned up before they make any recommendations. Mr. Koopman stated they also need to get the verification from Skelly & Loy since a change to the wetlands could change other parts of the Plan as well. Mr. VanBlunk stated he does not feel Skelly & Loy will have something out that quickly, and he recognizes that the Township does have a major project coming in so that he does not feel the November 22 deadline is realistic. Mr. Koopman stated the applicant could request an extension.

Mr. Phil Fitzpatrick, Rose Hollow, stated he received a letter from the Township about this matter and after listening to the comments, he still does not know what the Subdivision will be and whether they will be constructing one house, seven houses, or some other building.

Ms. Gould stated the Township advises adjacent property owners as Plans come into the Township. She stated the applicant has not made it clear yet as to what they plan to do with the property, although she understands some people in the area are aware of what may be done with the property.

Mr. Robert Adams, 615 W. Melissa Circle, thanked the Township for notifying the property owners. He stated this property is at a major intersection, and he asked that the Planning Commission not grant waivers since they do not know what the applicant plans to do with the tract. It was noted that this tract is zoned residential.

Mr. Larry Borda, 508 Heritage Oak Drive, asked if it is the intention of the Planning Commission to keep this tract residential. Ms. Gould stated this is not a decision that can be made by the Planning Commission. She stated the Zoning Hearing Board and Board of Supervisors would make this decision. Mr. Borda asked if there is anything specific about this tract which would make it more likely to have the zoning changed. Ms. Gould stated at this time they are reviewing it under the residential requirements. Mr. VanBlunk stated at this time they do not want to build anything and only want a Subdivision. Mr. Borda asked if the wetlands delineation is being done only by the applicant. Ms. Gould stated the applicant has done the delineation, but it will be verified by Skelly & Loy, the Township’s environmental consultants. Mr. Borda asked if the Army Corps of Engineers would make a determination. Mr. Doherty stated he does not feel they will come in at this stage in the project since they will most likely accept the designation of Skelly & Loy.

There being no further business, Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Tofel seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 p.m.