TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD
MINUTES - JANUARY 14, 2002
The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on January 14, 2002. Chairman Roeper called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. noting that while Pete Stainthorpe is the new Supervisor Liaison, he is unable to be present at the start of the meeting this evening as there is a meeting of the Board of Supervisors. He may be able to join at a later time.
Albert Roeper, Chairman
Nancy Frick, Director Planning, Zoning & Inspection
Deborah Gould, Planning Commission Secretary
REORGANIZATION: ELECTION OF OFFICERS
The meeting was turned over to Mr. Koopman who called for nominations for Chairman of the Planning Commission for 2002. Mr. Tofel moved and Mr. Pazdera seconded to elect Mr. Roeper. There were no further nominations, and the Motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Koopman called for nominations for Vice Chairman of the Planning Commission for 2002. Mr. Pazdera moved and Mr. Roeper seconded to elect Mr. Tofel. There were no further nominations, and the Motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Koopman called for nominations for Secretary of the Planning Commission for 2002.
Mr. Roeper moved and Mr. Pazdera seconded to elect Ms. Gould. There were no further nominations, and the Motion carried unanimously.
The meeting was turned over to Chairman Roeper.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Tofel seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of August 27, 2001 as written.
Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Tofel seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of September 24, 2001 as written.
Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Tofel seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of November 12, 2001 as written.
Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Tofel seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of November 20, 2001 as corrected.
#438 - APPROVAL OF PRELIMINARY PLAN OF FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF NEWTOWN
Mr. Keith Brown was present and stated some additional stormwater calculations needed to be provided to the Township engineer, and they have submitted these. He noted the PCS letter dated 1/8/02, and Mr. Brown stated many of the items are supported by the Township engineer or will be passed onto the Board of Supervisors for a decision. Mr. Brown stated there was previous discussion on the buffering between this property and the adjoining property on Stoopville Road which is in Newtown Township. He stated there was a question whether plantings would be required along this boundary and there was a question whether the adjoining property would be used for residences or for a commercial use. He stated they have learned that it will be used as a Church. Mr. Brown stated he spoke with Mr. Hardwood in Newtown Township, and Newtown Township did not require the Church in their Township to install additional plantings as they felt the tree line was sufficient. Mr. Brown stated they are asking Lower Makefield Township if they would take this same view.
Mr. Brown noted there was also a question whether Skelly & Loy had the opportunity to review all the material; and as he understands from reviewing their letter, they have reviewed the information although they are still waiting for a final word on the Environmental Impact Study which he anticipates will be received shortly by the Township. Mr. Roeper asked if the developer has agreed to make all the changes Skelly & Loy has indicated, and Mr. Brown stated they will comply with their requests.
Mr. Roeper noted the waivers being requested as noted in the PCS review letter. Items #1 and #2 were noted, and the Planning Commission was in favor of this request.
Mr. Roeper noted the Board of Supervisors will make the final decision on acceptance of Fee-In-Lieu.
Item #3 was noted, and the Planning Commission was in favor of this waiver. Mr. Tofel asked how high the hemlocks will be permitted to grow and how close they will be planted.
Mr. Brown noted this information is shown on Page #9. The Planning Commission was in favor of this waiver request.
Items #4 through #8 were acceptable to the Planning Commission.
Under Site Plans, Sheets 4 and 5 of 13, Item #1 was noted which is a waiver request, and this was acceptable to the Planning Commission.
Under General Comments, Item #2 regarding roadway millings was noted, and Mr. Brown stated he would be willing to send the Township a letter verifying this.
Mr. Pazdera noted the Bucks County Planning Commission letter regarding the non-residential accessory buildings. It was noted this will be used as a maintenance shed to house lawn equipment. It is proposed to be 20’ by 20’. Ms. Frick noted this is a Zoning Ordinance item. Mr. Roeper stated it appears they would have to get a Variance from the Zoning Hearing Board in order to permit this. Mr. Koopman stated there may be some interpretation that would allow them to have this building without going back to the Zoning Hearing Board. He suggested they discuss this matter with Ms. Frick first and then the Township Solicitor could look at it to determine whether it must go to the Zoning Hearing Board. Mr. Brown stated they discussed this previously and indicated it was a small structure and was probably not within the spirit of the Zoning Ordinance which is probably intended to prohibit a large non-residential structure to be on the property. Mr. Koopman stated he does not feel they can approve a Land Development Plan that shows a building on it that is not permitted by Ordinance. He stated the Planning Commission can recommend approval this evening subject to the applicant resolving this issue prior to going to the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Tofel seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Preliminary Plan for the First Baptist Church of Newtown dated 9/17/99, 12/18/00, and 1/31/00, last revised 11/15/01 subject to:
Full compliance with the PCS letter dated 1/8/02;
Full compliance with Skelly & Loy letter dated 1/9/02 to correct the inconsistencies on the wetland buffers on Plan Sheets 9, 10, and 11 Subsketch A on Plan Sheet 1 and also with the environmental site inspection report when received from Skelly & Loy;
Applicant will resolve prior to Land Development approval the issue as to whether the maintenance building is a non-residential accessory building. If it is, the Applicant will have to go to the Zoning Hearing Board to get a Variance. The Planning Commission would support the accessory building.
Planning Commission supports the following Waivers:
#531 - METZ TRACT - INFORMAL SKETCH PLAN DISCUSSION
Mr. Edward Murphy, attorney, and Mr. Bill Briegel, engineer, were present. Mr. Murphy stated the Plan has been submitted by Mr. DeLuca for the property which has 1250 feet of frontage on Dolington Road and 50 feet of frontage on Taylorsville Road. The property is zoned R-2 and is slightly more than 29 acres. Mr. Murphy noted the existing access and driveways which serve the four existing homes. He noted it is only 50 feet wide and the Township requires the width to be 56 feet. They are proposing 41 new home sites and one existing lot which is the existing stone house. There will be two access points - one on Dolington Road and the existing road out to Taylorsville Road. The 50 foot access is owned in fee simple by the Metz Tract. He noted the title report does not show any easements for the four existing homes which are forty to fifty years old.
There was discussion on the access point to Dolington Road. Mr. Murphy noted the one area where they could line up across from an existing road, there is a group of mature trees which would have to be removed. They also feel it may not be advisable to line up with that road as it may encourage drivers to cut through the development to get out to Taylorsville Road. Mr. Doherty stated he feels they may need a waiver for the road at the location proposed because of the distance to the Taylorsville Road intersection.
Mr. Roeper noted the possibility of increasing the length of the deceleration lane.
Mr. Koopman asked about the area on the opposite side of the stream corridor, and Mr. Murphy stated it is open space to be owned by whomever the Township decides.
He stated it is not contiguous to any other open space.
Mr. Murphy noted some outbuildings including apartments on the site which will be removed. He stated the stone farmhouse will remain.
Mr. Victor Fiori stated he lives next door to the Metz Farm and stated it is the original settlement of William Yardley. The house was built in 1692. He stated the apartments on the site were part of the duck farm on the property. Mr. Fiori stated he feels it would be a good idea to make the farmhouse visible from Dolington Road rather than blocking it off through the construction of a new home.
Mr. Doherty stated there have been water problems in this area in the past.
Mr. Doherty noted the building envelopes of the lots backing up to Dolington Road are narrow. Ms. Frick stated she is concerned with the rear yard setbacks because of the special collector road setback requirements. Mr. Murphy stated they have looked into this and while they could solve this problem by shifting the road 12 feet, they felt it was better to provide a larger lot for the historic house.
Mr. Stainthorpe joined the meeting at this time.
DISCUSSION OF HOUSE BILL NO. 1219
Ms. Frick reviewed how this Bill will impact Lower Makefield Township. Mr. Koopman noted page 5, Section 908 which seems to be the Section which will most impact the Township. Ms. Frick noted this could present timing problems with regard to approvals.
Mr. Pazdera left the meeting at this time.
Mr. Koopman stated this may have the most impact when presented with challenges to the validity of the Township Ordinances. He stated this limits the time the Township has to build a defense to an applicant’s case before the Zoning Hearing Board.
Mr. Koopman noted some of the issues relate to Planned Residential Developments and Lower Makefield does not really have these in the Township.
Mr. Roeper asked if the Planning Commission should recommend to the Board of Supervisors that they take exception to some of this since he understands the Legislature is being asked to look at this. Mr. Koopman stated there will be more timekeeping responsibility on the Township Zoning Officer to make sure these time limits are met so that they do not get into a deemed approval situation.
The Planning Commission took no action on this matter at this time.
DISCUSSION AND MOTION ON HESTON TRACT LETTER
Mr. Roeper stated he feels the Planning Commission should indicate to Newtown Township that they have no objection.
Mr. Roeper moved, Mr. Tofel seconded and it was unanimously carried to direct Nancy Frick to contact Newtown Township and indicate that the Planning Commission has no comments on the stormwater management proposal.
COMPREHENSIVE MASTER PLAN UPDATE DISCUSSION
Mr. Roeper noted the letter he sent to the Planning Commission regarding the Comprehensive Master Plan update. He stated he does not feel that they will be able to address the Plan at the regularly-scheduled meetings, and he suggests that the Planning Commission appoint a working Committee who would do the work and then report back to the Planning Commission at the regular meetings and secure necessary approvals. He noted the Committee would not be reviewing the drafts as this would be up to the Planning Commission in general. He stated the Board of Supervisors previously indicated they did not want to appoint a separate steering Committee. He has contacted Mr. Fegley who indicated if the Planning Commission felt a working Committee was in order, they should ask the Board of Supervisors for approval of this.
Mr. Roeper moved to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that they appoint a focus Committee or working Committee.
Mr. Roeper stated he would be willing to chair the Committee. He would like to have one other Planning Commission member as a full-time member of the working Committee.
Mr. Roeper stated he would send a letter to the other Township Boards and Commissions advising them of the working Committee and the Comprehensive Plan Update and solicit their interest and comments. He stated once they receive the responses, the Committee can then decide what needs to be included in the discussions since some of the ideas may not belong in a Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Roeper stated the Bucks County Planning Commission has indicated that it would be wise to send a questionnaire to a representative number of members of the community to find out what the thinking is of the citizens.
Mr. Roeper stated he would like to see a draft of the questionnaire before making any further comment on this. He stated the working Committee would review such a draft and if they felt it would be acceptable it would be up to the Planning Commission to review it and make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Roeper stated the Committee would have to participate with the Bucks County Planning Commission representatives in the work involved with this questionnaire because of limited funds.
Mr. Roeper stated he envisions a number of meetings would have to take place during the day, and there would be evening meetings as well. Ms. Frick stated she feels the majority of people they would need to work with would require that there be day meetings.
Mr. Roeper stated the target date for completion is September, so he would like to get moving forward on this project.
Mr. Tofel stated he is concerned about making a decision on this matter this evening since two of the Planning Commission members were not in attendance at this time. There was no second to Mr. Roeper’s motion.
The matter was tabled at this time and it will be considered at the next meeting.
There being no further business, Mr. Tofel moved, Mr. Roeper seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:45 p.m.