TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PLANNING COMMISSION

MINUTES - JUNE 24, 2002

 

 

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on June 24, 2002.  Chairman Roeper called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

 

Those present:

 

Planning Commission:            Albert Roeper, Chairman

                                                Ron Tofel, Vice Chairman

                                                Deborah Gould, Secretary

                                                John Pazdera, Member

                                                Michael Shavel, Member

 

Others:                                     Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning

                                                John Koopman, Township Solicitor

                                                Mario Canales, Township Engineer

                                                Pete Stainthorpe, Supervisor Liaison

 

 

YARDLEY-MAKEFIELD FIRE COMPANY - APPROVAL OF CONDITIONAL USE APPLICATION

 

Mr. Edward Murphy, attorney, Mr. John Bayane, engineer, and Mr. Bill Winslade and

Mr. Larry Newman representing the Fire Company were present.  Mr. Murphy stated an

Emergency Services Use in the R-1 District requires Conditional Use approval.  He noted

the PCS review letter dated 6/17/02 which indicates they  have satisfied the requirements

for Conditional Use.

 

Mr. Pazdera moved and Mr. Tofel seconded to recommend to the Board of Supervisors

approval of the Conditional Use for the Yardley-Makefield Fire Company. 

 

There was no public comment, and the Motion carried unanimously.

 

 

YARDLEY-MAKEFIELD FIRE COMPANY - APPROVAL OF PRELIMINARY/FINAL PLAN

 

Mr. Murphy noted at the previous meeting, the Planning Commission asked that the one

basin be relocated further to the west to accommodate the possible future relocation of

Dolington Road.  They have now shown this on the revised Plans.  They also made

revisions that were recommended in the previous PCS review letter.  Mr. Murphy noted the

new PCS review letter dated 6/17/02 and the CKS letter dated 6/12/02 and stated they have

no issues with either of these letters. 

 

Mr. Murphy stated there have been some questions about the utilities.  They will extend the

public sewer and water from the Dolington Road/ Quarry Road intersection up Dolington

Road to service their site.  It will be run along the future right-of-way of Dolington Road. 

They will stop at a location beyond their upper entrance.  Mr. Murphy noted this location

on the Plan which will permit Elm Lowne to connect to public sewer and public water. 

The Elm Lowne driveway is 200’ north of the Fire Company’s northernmost

June 24, 2002                                                                  Planning Commission - page 2 of 8

 

 

driveway.  Mr. Tofel asked if it would make more sense to run it further north at this time. 

Mr. Murphy stated this would be possible since they are both Township properties. 

 

Mr. Murphy stated Ms. Langtry has requested that there be some additional landscaping in

the center island area.  Mr. Murphy showed this location on the Plan.  He stated this area is

proposed to have a flagpole.  

 

Mr. Roeper asked if the Police Department is satisfied with the line of sight, and

Mr. Murphy stated that they are.

 

Ms. Gould asked about the facade.  Mr. Winslade stated they have solicited review by an

architectural firm in Wisconsin on some of the specifics with regard to the facade.  They

must discuss with the Board of Supervisors whether it will be brick or stone which will

impact the cost.  Architectural renderings of the proposed building were shown.

 

Mr. Tofel asked about the height. Mr. Winslade stated they are not requesting a height

Variance so they will make sure that they are below the 35’ height restriction.  The cupola

was noted, and Mr. Winslade stated this was done for aesthetic purposes only, and if this presents a problem, they will take it off.

 

Ms. Gould stated she would also like to see additional buffering in the island where the

flagpole will be located.  Mr. Murphy noted one area in the island where they could do

some buffering.

 

Mr. Roeper stated it would make sense to install the new road when they install the utilities,

but he is not sure the Township can do this at this time. 

 

Mr. Winslade stated they will sprinkler the building for potential future residency of 

fire fighters at this location.  Ms. Gould asked how many fire fighters the building could accommodate.  Mr. Winslade stated they are planning for six men and six women but they would not all be in residence at the same time.

 

Mr. Pazdera moved and Mr. Tofel seconded to recommend to the Board of Supervisors

approval of the Plans last reviewed 5/31/02 subject to compliance with the PCS letter dated

6/17/02 and the CKS letter dated 6/12/02.  The Planning Commission recommends the

Waiver requested to SALDO Section 178-93c7 with the understanding that the water and

sewer will be extended up to a point across from the southernmost access to Elm Lowne. 

The Planning Commission suggests that there be additional landscaping in the center

island.  The Planning Commission recommends that the Board of Supervisors seriously

consider the construction of the revised right-of-way of Dolington Road in connection with

this construction.

 

Ms. Langtry, Chairman of the Historic Commission and member of the Elm Lowne

Committee, extended a welcome to the neighborhood to the Fire Company. She thanked

them for the recommendations for extension of water and sewer lines and the additional

landscaping.  She stated they are also concerned about the facade and will discuss this with

the Board of Supervisors.

 

Mr. Bill Robertson asked about the plans for old Dolington Road.  Mr. Roeper stated the

Township will probably move to vacate it.  He is not sure what will happen to the land but

feels it will become Township property.  Access will have to be considered for any homes

June 24, 2002                                                                  Planning Commission - page 3 of 8

 

 

that are presently located there.  He stated Mr. Robertson should take this issue up with the

Board of Supervisors and the Township solicitor because of regulations involving

abandonment of roads. 

 

Motion to approve carried unanimously.

 

 

SAM WILLARD - INFORMAL SKETCH PLAN AND DISCUSSION

 

Mr. Sam Willard, Mr. Steve Willard, and Mr. Glenn Willard were present.  Mr. Sam

Willard stated they have eleven properties in the Township.  He presented a binder this

evening which includes maps of those properties, pictures, and descriptions of plans they

have for potential use of these properties. 

 

Section 1 shows their properties as they relate to the proposed Township Golf Course.  He

stated they have had wetlands delineations done for their properties. 

 

Section 2 shows the island they own in the River which they would like to develop for

passive recreation.  He noted various points in the area where the River can be accessed,

one of which is on land they own. 

 

Section 3 shows their property which fronts on Taylorsville Road. He noted this property

has an existing parking lot which he feels is grandfathered.  He stated they are considering a recreational use with restrooms, rental shop where people could rent bicycles and boats,  and a snack food concession area.  A picture of the parking lot currently located at the corner of Mt. Eyre and Taylorsville Road was shown and is currently used for parking.

 

Section 4 shows their property along River Road which they feel would be a good area for

children’s nature tours.  He noted an area where buses could access the property. 

 

Section 5 shows their property across from the Torongo property.  He noted this property

contains three ecosystems.  He stated they are proposing an environmental study center for

this area.  This would be an upper end camp which they feel would benefit the Township

and would be a good business use as well.  He stated this Plan includes an Event Center

which could seat 450 people.  He stated he feels the Farm Accessory Ordinance would

pertain to this proposal.  He stated it would not be similar to what is currently being done at

Shady Brook Farm.  Pictures of the area where the camps are proposed were shown in this

Section.

 

Section 6 shows their property along Taylorsville Road.  He noted the letter dated 6/20/02

which was provided this evening which relates to their request for a Use Permit for the Jug

Hill Farm and Garden Center.  He stated this would be a year-round operation as opposed

to the six week Christmas tree farm operation currently operating.  He stated one of the

owners, either himself or Steve Willard, would reside on this property.  He stated they are

not certain that this is the best use for this property but that they have two garden center operations and are familiar with this business.  He stated the big box stores are impacting their business, and for this reason, they are not sure this is how they should proceed with this property.  He stated they feel these properties should be of some service to the Township residents.

 

 

June 24, 2002                                                                  Planning Commission - page 4 of 8

 

 

Section 7 shows one of the locks in the area which has fallen into disrepair.  He stated they

do not own this, but they would be interested in contributing to a fund that would repair the

locks. 

 

Section 8 shows pictures of the impact of development.  He noted during the construction

of Clearview, the developer dug onto the Willard property.  Mr. Willard stated they want to

make sure that the Township is conscious of what can happen when the Golf Course starts

construction.  Mr. Willard stated he feels there needs to be a partnership between himself

and the Township with regard to the Golf Course construction. 

 

Mr. Willard noted Ms. Frick did make available to him this morning the current information

on the natural resource restrictions.

 

Mr. Willard stated there is nothing in the Ordinance that refers to a private recreational use. 

 

Mr. Koopman stated they will have to look at the proposed uses Mr. Willard is considering

and see how they fit into the Ordinances and where they need relief. They will also have to

determine if this relief will be supported by the Planning Commission and the Board of

Supervisors.

 

Mr. Willard stated he has had some limited discussion about his proposal with, at different times, Mr. Fedorchak, Mr. Fegley, Mr. Hackman, and Mrs. Godshalk and their response seemed favorable.  He stated this would be a unique project and a very big investment.

 

Mr. Koopman stated this area is zoned R-RP, and while a public recreation use is

permitted, it does not mention a private recreation use, so it could be presumed that this

would not be permitted and would require relief or a Zoning change.  He stated the

proposal for Jug Hill would most likely be separate and be part of an accessory farm use.

Mr. Koopman asked if they are looking for a Zoning change or requesting relief.  He noted

he was not aware that this matter was on the Agenda for this evening.  Ms. Frick stated the

item was added today at 11:00.  Mr. Willard stated they are only giving the Planning

Commission an overview at this point.  He stated they would like to know if the Planning

Commission feels this would be an asset and if they should proceed.  He asked that they

consider this project further and they will come back at some point in the future with their

attorney to discuss the matter further.

 

Mr. Tofel noted the Community Center facility and asked what he had in mind for this

building.  Mr. Willard stated he did discuss his project with the Senior Citizen group who

indicated that his property was too far away.  He stated they also indicated that they wanted

a $2 to $3 million facility.  He noted he also discussed the project with the Performing Arts

group who wanted something more than he is considering.

 

Mr. Roeper stated the Township is in the process of updating the Master Plan and one of

the recommendations they could make could be that they consider some zoning changes

and Mr. Willard’s project could be presented at that time.  Mr. Roeper stated the Delaware

Riverkeeper is interested in acquiring more land along the River.  He asked if this proposal

would fit into those long-range plans. Mr. Willard stated they have been in touch with the

individual who runs the Delaware Park and they are interested in acquiring something in the Lower Makefield area.  He stated the Boy Scouts also have been having discussions with him and they have expressed an interest in his property. He stated they are considering giving them some right to use the island property. 

June 24, 2002                                                                  Planning Commission - page 5 of 8

 

 

Mr. Tofel asked how they currently keep people off their island and other properties.

Mr. Willard stated they do “sign” the properties, but there have been some problems.

 

Ms. Gould stated she feels a private use as opposed to a public use would be better since

the project could proceed more quickly as a private use.  She noted this is an incredibly

ambitious plan. 

 

Mr. Roeper asked if they could proceed with the Garden Center since they currently have

the Christmas Tree Farm which is grandfathered.  Mr. Koopman stated he would have to

look into this further. 

 

Ms. Gould stated she would like to see the entire plan presented, but then also show a

phased plan as well.

 

Mr. Shavel stated he is very interested with the proposed use along the River since there are

very few areas where you can currently access the River.

 

Ms. Gould expressed concern with potential problems with more people in the River and

would like to be assured that there are plans in effect to help people if they get into trouble

on the River.  Mr. Willard stated they do not anticipate this operation becoming anything

similar to what is available at Pt. Pleasant.  He stated this would be more for Scouts and

other groups and offer activities for children and study.

 

Mr. Pazdera stated he feels this is an excellent project particularly as it relates to activities

for children.

 

Mr. Willard stated they are most concerned about the use of the corner where the Jug Hill

Garden Center is proposed.  He noted they have been approached by Wawa and every

major oil company about this corner.

 

 

ROSEBANK WINERY DISCUSSION AND MOTION

 

Mr. Roeper noted the letter received from Mr. Fleming regarding the Rosebank Winery. 

He stated Newtown Township does not have an Agricultural Security District.  The

property involved is located on Route 413 in Newtown.  They are proposing that it be

included with the Agricultural Security area which they presently have.  Mr. Roeper stated

it would appear on the surface that it would be possible for Lower Makefield to accept the

Rosebank Winery into the present Agricultural Security District.  He stated the Solicitor

would have to look into this.  He stated the Regulations do indicate that once this is

established, the Township has to review it once every seven years and he does not feel that

this was ever done.  He suggested that they send this to the Board of Supervisors and ask

whether or not they want to review the original application and if they do, if they should

consider adding this to it at the time of the re-approval.  Mr. Koopman stated he feels that

this makes sense legally.

 

Ms. Gould asked how this would be impacted by the fact that Lower Makefield is a dry

Township.  Mr. Koopman stated wine is considered a farm product and he does not feel it

would have any impact.

 

 

June 24, 2002                                                                  Planning Commission - page 6 of 8

 

 

Mr. Shavel stated the property is nowhere near Lower Makefield, and he is not sure it

should be included in the Lower Makefield Agricultural Security District since it is not

contiguous to Lower Makefield.  Ms. Frick stated she felt the other properties outside of

the Township that were accepted into the Agricultural Security District were contiguous to

Lower Makefield.  Mr. Koopman stated while he has not reviewed the Statute, he does not

feel that there is a requirement that it be adjacent to Lower Makefield.  He will check into

this before it is considered for adoption.

 

 

Mr. Roeper moved, Mr. Tofel seconded and it was unanimously carried to send a memo to

the Board of Supervisors stating that there has been an Application by Mr. Fleming to put a

property called the Rosebank Winery, located in Newtown Township on Route 413, into the Security Area which he presently has in Lower Makefield Township.  In reviewing this

matter, the Planning Commission noted that the original application for Mr. Fleming’s

Agricultural Security Area was approved in 1991 with additional acreage added in 1994. 

Inasmuch as the Agricultural Land Preservation Act indicates that “once established an

Agricultural Security area must be reviewed every seven years,”  it is suggested that the

Board of Supervisors determine whether or not Lower Makefield Township has the

authority to include property in another Township which is not contiguous to a Lower

Makefield Township area in an Agricultural Security District.  The Planning Commission

also recommends that the Board of Supervisors consider whether or not it is proper to

review the original Application with the possibility that, if possible, the Rosebank Winery

could be included.

 

 

COMPREHENSIVE MASTER PLAN UPDATE

 

Mr. Roeper noted the letter written by Ms. Bush which was the result of a conversation he

had with her after comments were made about the amount of money involved to send out a

questionnaire.  He had asked her what other forum could be used.  It was noted that in the

past public meetings were held and those interested in attending were given the

opportunity to discuss their concerns and interests.  He noted members of Township

Boards and Commissions were also invited to attend.  Topics covered were included in an

appendage.  Mr. Roeper stated Ms. Bush’s letter indicated what could be done instead of a

questionnaire.  Mr. Roeper stated at the 1991 meeting, when they did this, they had a

timekeeper, and people filled out cards indicating what they wanted to speak about.  The

facilitator would also have to lay down certain ground rules.  He stated the meeting in 1991

lasted approximately four hours.    Ms. Frick stated she felt that two meetings were held. 

Mr. Roeper stated one was for the general public and the other night was for the members

of Township Boards and Commissions.    Mr. Roeper noted these meetings were held

prior to the public meeting when the Master Plan Update was reviewed and the

recommendation was made to the Board of Supervisors.

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated he feels they should proceed with the mailing and also have a public

meeting.  He stated there is a group of people that will respond to a questionnaire who

would not come out to a public meeting and they should be heard from as well as the

people who come out to a public meeting.  He stated the only thing he would object to in

Ms. Bush’s memo would be taking a vote at the meeting on specific issues. 

 

Mr. Shavel stated he feels people do not tend to fill out questionnaires.  Mr. Roeper stated

the plan was to mail the questionnaire out to one out of every four homes.  Ms. Gould

June 24, 2002                                                                  Planning Commission - page 7 of 8

 

 

stated she feels they should still give the residents the opportunity to respond at a public

meeting or through the questionnaire so that they cannot state later that the Township did

not give them an opportunity to comment.  Mr. Shavel stated he feels the more heavily

developed areas will be more heavily represented in the questionnaires.  Ms. Frick stated

they were not targeting a response by address, they were doing it alphabetically, by last name.  Mr. Pazdera stated while he feels they will get more out of a public forum, the

questionnaire is in the Budget and he would recommend that they proceed with it. 

Mr. Pazdera stated he is concerned that the proposed questionnaire has been “watered

down.”  Mr. Roeper stated they sent the questionnaire, as proposed, to the Board of

Supervisors and comments were received.  These comments were then sent to Ms. Bush and a revised questionnaire was provided.  Mr. Roeper read the questionnaire as proposed and the Planning Commission felt the questionnaire covered all areas and felt that it should be distributed. 

 

Mr. Roeper stated he will prepare a memo to the Board of Supervisors and request that they

consider sending out the questionnaire.

 

 

ROAD TOUR DISCUSSION

 

Mr. Roeper reviewed the items which were covered on the recent Road Tour.

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Mr. Roeper noted the correspondence received from the Friends of Washington Crossing

inviting them to a meeting to consider planning to be held on June 26 from 7:30 p.m. to

8:30 p.m. and July 9 from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS


It was noted that at the June 3 Board of Supervisors meeting Fox Chase Bank made a

presentation and offered in exchange for permitting them to build a bank on the corner of

the McFadden property, that they would leave the balance of the property open. After

discussion, the Board indicated that they would not be in favor of re-zoning this piece of

property since it could open the door to other potential re-zoning.

 

Mr. Tofel asked the status of Matrix, and Mr. Koopman stated there was an Appeal filed

from the Amended Master Development Plan which was dismissed by Judge Rubinstein

but is now on Appeal before the Commonwealth Court.  The Appeal from the Board of

Supervisors’ grant of Land Development Approval is currently on Appeal in the Court of

Common Pleas in Doylestown.  There is a conference Friday afternoon on this.  The

Zoning Hearing Board case is also on Appeal before the Court of Common Pleas.

Ms. Frick stated no permits have been issued to Matrix.  Mr. Koopman stated Matrix is still

continuing to pursue the Appeals.  Ms. Gould asked how long their Approval if good for,

and Mr. Koopman stated Appeals stay the time frame.  He stated generally you have five

years from Approval to build, but this is stayed if you are in Appeal.

 

 

 

June 24, 2002                                                                  Planning Commission - page 8 of 8

 

 

There was discussion on the Golf Course, and Ms. Frick noted the Revised Plans have

been received and they are waiting for the review letters.  Mr. Koopman stated the Zoning

Hearing Board did grant the Variances needed based on the latest Plans.  He stated they did

not need a Variance under the Woodlands Protection Ordinance.

 

 

There being no further business, Mr. Tofel moved, Ms. Gould seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 10:05 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                                        Deborah Gould, Secretary