The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on January 22, 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


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


Mr. Richard Osterhout, attorney, Ms. Jane Meyer, engineer, and Ms. Chris Haddad were present. Ms. Meyer presented the Plan which proposes to subdivide the tract into two lots and to construct a new home and driveway.

The PCS letter dated 1/17/01 was noted. Mr. Osterhout stated they will be requesting a waiver from the requirement for street improvements since the adjoining properties do not have these improvements installed at the current time. Ms. Meyer showed pictures of the area which show that there are currently no curbs or sidewalks on their side of the street.Mr. Koopman suggested that the applicant write a letter to the Board of Supervisors requesting a waiver from the requirement to install the road improvements.

Mr. Osterhout noted they will comply with all items contained on Page #1 of the PCS letter. They are proposing payment of Fee-In-Lieu of recreation.

Mr. Pazdera asked what they propose to do in order to bring the impervious surface into compliance on Lot #2 which is the existing home. Mr. Pazdera stated this is noted in the PCS letter on Page #2, Item #4 at the top of the page. Ms. Meyer stated they could move the lot line over to take care of this problem.

Ms. Meyer stated they will comply with all items on Pages #2 and #3 of the PCS letter.

There was discussion on the trees on the property. Ms. Haddad noted there is a very large maple tree which will need to be removed and is in fact already starting to fall down. Mr. Tofel pointed out on the Plan a number of trees which he feels could be saved.

Page #4 of the PCS letter was noted and Ms. Meyer stated they will comply with all items as well as all items in the CKS letter.

Mr. Roeper noted they have provided an extension until May and if they come back to the Planning Commission with revised Plans and a clean letter from PCS, the Planning Commission may consider granting Preliminary/Final Plan approval.

Ms. Leanore Hilken stated she has an attorney working with her but he was unable to attend this evening. She stated she owns the adjacent property and is concerned about who will rectify any drainage problems which may occur on her property after development of this tract. Mr. Roeper asked if there is an existing drainage problem, and Ms. Hilken stated there are puddles coming off of Makefield Road. Mr. Doherty stated the contours show that Ms. Hilkenís property is the low spot. Ms. Meyer noted there is an inlet in the area. She stated she could explain to Ms. Hilken following the meeting how the water will be contained.

Mr. Hilken asked if anyone is prepared to put in writing how the problem will be corrected if there is a water problem following construction. Mr. Koopman stated the Township will review the Plans in accordance with the existing Ordinances, which do contain detailed regulations that must be followed to try to assure that there will not be a water problem following development. The Township engineer reviews the application to make sure the Ordinances are being complied with. The Township is obligated to approve the Plans if the Ordinances are complied with. Mr. Koopman stated there is no written guarantee given however that there will not be problems in the future. He stated the individual property owners may have private rights. Mr. Hilken asked if he could get a copy of these regulations, and Mr. Koopman stated these are available for a fee at the Township Building if he would like to purchase his own copy or they can be reviewed in the Township Building or at the Library. Mr. Hilken stated they are still concerned that this open land is now going to be developed. Mr. Roeper stated if the applicant complies with the Ordinances, it is the applicantís right to develop their property.

Mrs. Hilken asked if they have the right to ask that the trees be preserved and that a home appropriate to the area be built. She stated she is concerned what the impact of a small house on a half acre lot will have on the value of her $350,000 home. Mr. Roeper stated they are taking reasonable precautions to insure that the trees that will be left on the site will survive after development. He stated with regard to the type of house, they will have to rely on the good taste and judgment of the developer. Mr. Tofel noted it appears from the Plans that the new home will be located away from Mrs. Hilkenís home. Ms. Frick stated they could construct it as close as fifteen feet to the property line. Mr. Pazdera stated it appears from the Plans that the new home will be ninety feet from Mrs. Hilkenís home. Mr. Hilken stated he feels it will change how the area looks when this new home is built.

Mr. Lindsy Johnson stated he is concerned with the water run off as well since currently water can lay on the lot for days. He is concerned that water will increase in this area once the property is developed. He agreed that the water does not drain from this property to his property at the current time. Mr. Roeper stated it does not appear that there will be a problem given the grades shown on the Plan. Mr. Osterhout stated they are not permitted to increase the run off from the lot, and in fact, the engineer had indicated it may actually reduce the amount of run off. Mr. Koopman asked if the lot is graded such that it will drain to either of these two properties. Ms. Meyer stated most of the water that will be generated from the new lot will go out to Makefield Road into the seepage beds. She noted the soil is very good in this area, and the project is designed to handle a one hundred year storm. Mr. Johnson stated he feels the water will run down through his property.

Mr. Doherty stated the requirement is that the run off after development must be half the rate that it is pre-development. He stated they are reducing the area that is draining in the rear. Ms. Meyer stated the run off will go into a storm drain where it will be collected and directed to Makefield Road. Mr. Koopman stated the Township engineer does review this to make sure that the Ordinances are being complied with. Mr. Doherty stated they are setting the parameters for development with these plans.

Mr. Johnson stated in the future they would like to receive notification prior to Friday before the Monday meeting. He stated they could not tell from the Notice where the property was located. Ms. Frick stated they do include the tax parcel on the Notice. She stated the earliest they would be able to get notice would be on Friday before the Monday meeting since the earliest the Notices can be sent out is Wednesday. She stated this is a courtesy to notify the neighbors since there is no requirement to do so. She added that the Agendas are not made up until Thursday afternoon.

Mr. Roeper noted the Planning Commission is only a recommending body, and the final decision will be made by the Board of Supervisors. He added that the residents are welcome to attend the Board of Supervisors meetings as well.


Mr. Nick Casey was present with Mr. Michael Carr, attorney. Mr. Carr stated they did receive the PCS letter dated 1/19/01 but are not prepared to address all of the items this evening. He stated they have offered an extension and will probably come back at a future time to further discuss the PCS letter.

Mr. Casey stated they were previously before the Planning Commission with a Plan showing a pump station to handle the sanitary sewers. They learned that the Township did not want any additional pump stations, and they tried to find ways to service the property through gravity. They were able to establish a route that appears to be acceptable to the Pennsylvania American Water Company and to the Railroad which will allow them to tie into the system by gravity. Mr. Casey provided to Ms. Frick this evening the correspondence with the Railroad and the Water Company that relates to this matter. He stated he hopes this matter will be resolved quickly, although it may be necessary to leave this as a condition of approval to be resolved before Final.

Mr. Casey stated he did submit information to Skelly & Loy and did receive a response. He provided a copy of this letter to Mr. Doherty this evening.

Mr. Casey stated his engineer does not feel there is anything in the PCS letter that cannot be resolved with the Township engineer. He stated most of the issues deal with drainage.

Mr. Casey stated there was a request from the Historic Commission for an archeological survey. He stated he submitted Plans to the Pennsylvania Historical Review Commission which indicated that they do not feel the project will have an impact on the historic property. Mr. Casey provided a copy of this letter to Ms. Frick this evening. He showed the location of a foundation which is in an open area which they will propose to be dedicated to the Township along with the basin. He stated he does not feel any further investigation is warranted since they will be dedicating it to the Township, and they will have no impact on it during construction. Ms. Gould stated normally there is a request to the developer that they either do the study themselves, or provide funds to the Township so that the Township can do the study. Mr. Casey stated he would defer to precedence as far as how foundations of this nature are dealt with. Ms. Gould suggested that he contact the Historic Commission to see what has been done in the past with similar properties. She noted she is certain that at least one Supervisor will be interested in this matter.

Mr. Casey stated one issue which still needs to be resolved is the Ordinance stipulation which relates to length of cul-de-sac which is exceeded by this Plan. He noted they have limited frontage along Mill Road which does not lend itself to a loop road. He stated in the adjoining Subdivision, Amberwood Road was stubbed out but if they were to extend to this, they would need to cut through wetlands which is not permitted by Ordinance. They would also have to go through steep slopes as well. Doing this would preclude the issue on the length of cul-de-sac, but would have an environmental impact. He stated they are only developing seventeen homes. He stated the length of cul-de-sac is acceptable by Bucks County standards. He noted it is approximately 700 feet long. Mr. Casey stated he feels there has been precedent set in other developments in the Township; and because of the unique aspects of this site and the limited frontage on Mill Road, they would request a waiver. Mr. Fazzalore stated it appears that if they were to comply with the Ordinance, they would have less homes. Mr. Pazdera stated at the last meeting when this was discussed, the developer was asked to prepare a sketch to show how they could comply with the Ordinance. Mr. Casey stated they could prepare an overlay. Mr. Casey stated he feels that they would have the same number of lots but one lot would have a road all around it. Mr. Pazdera stated they currently have a lot that is not very appealing. He stated they were asked at the last meeting to prepare a sketch on the roadway before proceeding with any Plan revisions. Ms. Frick noted this was requested at the May, 2000 meeting and is reflected in the Minutes. Mr. Casey stated they will come back with some overlays. He noted they were pre-occupied with the sewer issue. Mr. Pazdera stated he also has serious concerns that they are asking for a waiver on the length of cul-de-sac when they have not provided any sketches on road lay outs. Mr. Casey agreed to bring back overlays. Mr. Roeper stated he feels the Emergency Services would prefer not to have a cul-de-sac. Mr. Pazdera stated he recalls that Supervisor Allan was also concerned about the length of the cul-de-sac.

Mr. Casey provided to Ms. Frick this evening a request for a ninety day extension.

Mr. John McGurrin, who lives on Amberwood Road, stated he would object to an extension through Amberwood since he feels traffic will be cutting through Mill Road Estates. Mr. Casey stated he is not in favor of a connection through to Amberwood because of environmental issues and concerns of the existing residents.


Ms. Gould noted that although she has been unable to attend the last few Environmental Advisory Council meetings, she has been receiving their Minutes and would like to advise the Planning Commission that they are working diligently on Earth Day activities.

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.