TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PLANNING COMMISSION

MINUTES - MARCH 11, 2002

 

 

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on March 11, 2002.  Chairman Roeper called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. and welcomed Michael Shavel, the recently-appointed new member of the Planning Commission who is taking the position vacated by Ed Koch.

 

Those present:

 

Planning Commission:               Albert Roeper, Chairman

                                                Ron Tofel, Vice Chairman

                                                Deborah Gould, Secretary

                                                John Pazdera, Member

                                                Michael Shavel, Member

 

Other:                                       Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning

                                                John Koopman, Township Solicitor

                                                Mario Canales, Township Engineer

                                                Pete Stainthorpe, Supervisor

 

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Tofel seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of February 11, 2002 as written.

 

 

#534 - LMT GOLF COURSE PRESENTATION

 

Mr. Roeper stated this is a preliminary discussion, and the Planning Commission does not

yet have the engineering reviews which are normally considered in connection with a development.  No recommendation will be made to the Board of Supervisors this evening.  He stated the Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances of the Township were primarily written to accommodate housing and commercial development and do not actually pertain to a Golf

Course design.  This is only a discussion of what is being proposed and to give the Planning Commission members an opportunity to ask any questions.  He stated a number of preliminary drawings have been submitted and are currently being reviewed by the

Township engineers.  Eventually a review letter will be submitted to the Planning

Commission;  and at that time, another public meeting will be held and further consideration will be given to the Plan.

 

Mr. William Taylor was present and stated they felt it would be important to discuss the

Plans with the Planning Commission and consider the existing Township Ordinances and

what remediation they will need.  He introduced Mr. Scott Arterburn, Mr. Jim Brazel,

Mr. Mike Moonan, and Mr. Brian Vandergheynst who are working on the Golf Course. 

Mr. Taylor showed a copy of the routing plan which is basically the final plan with the

exception of the eighth hole which will be moved further away from an existing home. 

 

Mr. Arterburn stated they are doing additional well testing at the current time.  Testing is

permitted even though there is a drought condition.  They feel this is an optimal time to do

the testing so that can see the impact on the adjacent wells.   Mr. Taylor is working on an

March 11, 2002                                                               Planning Commission - page 2 of 8

 

 

Agreement that will be used regarding impact on adjoining wells.  Mr. Arterburn stated

they are also currently working on the design for the Club House. 

 

Mr. Brazel, Project Manager, stated they will prepare a design that is able to be constructed

and receive permits.  The Plans have been designed and are being reviewed by the

Township engineer at the current time.  They will also be meeting with the PA DEP.  They

have tried to reduce the impact to the natural features on the site.  Mr. Brazel stated his firm

is also responsible for doing the engineering of all the site issues including drainage,

parking, the maintenance building, entrances, etc. 

 

Mr. Roeper asked about a traffic study and it was noted the traffic will be intermittent rather

than having a peak at any one time.  Mr. Brazel stated they have worked on a number of

golf courses,  several of which have required traffic studies.  Previous such studies have demonstrated that there was no impact on the traffic in the area and that golf courses, in general, generated less impact on traffic than would any other form of development.  Mr. Moonan stated there is no rush at the morning peak hours. It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that a traffic study would not be required. 

 

With regard to the minimum driveway width, Mr. Roeper stated they are proposing a 20’

width.  Mr. Brazel stated the road will be graded so that it can accommodate 24’, although

the paved area would only be 20’.  He stated every Golf Course entrance road they have

done is more like a large driveway than an entrance road. He stated this allows for a more

aesthetic look and a reduction in the impervious surface.  He stated they do not feel they

need a wider road to handle the traffic.  Mr. Moonan stated the effective width is 10’ on

either side so really it is 40’ although there will be a ribbon of pavement of 20’.  He stated

it also has a calming effect since the wider the road the faster the traffic.  The area

beyond the paved surface will be a grass area.  The swale will be beyond the ten feet on either side of the road.  The road will be crowned by 2% and the water will be channeled into the swales.  Mr. Brazel stated the swales act as water purifiers as well for water coming off the pavement effectively pre-treating the water before delivery to a pipe instead of simply introducing impurities into the ponds and other water systems.

 

Mr. Tofel asked if they plan to operate the Golf Course twelve months a year, and

Mr. Brazel stated even if they would not be open to the public, there would still be activity throughout the year going onto the site.  Ms. Gould asked if the Club House will be operational apart from the use by just golfers.  Mr. Taylor stated they do not anticipate having it used as a banquet/wedding facility.  The intention is to have a small grill.  The basement of the building is intended for cart storage.   Mr. Arterburn stated the total square footage is 9500 square feet.  Mr. Shavel asked if they anticipate having Tournaments at the Golf Course, and Mr. Arterburn stated there could be outings at the facility.  Mr. Shavel asked if there is sufficient parking to accommodate this, and Mr. Arterburn stated the Plan shows 176 spaces, although they feel eventually they will have 160 to 165 spaces with landscaped islands.   Mr. Arterburn stated when they reviewed the rules and regulations for a Golf Course, they indicated they would need approximately 56 spaces for an 18-hole Golf Course.  He stated this is really about one third of what they feel they should have, and he feels the Township may want to review their requirements. 

 

Mr. Roeper noted a green area adjacent to the road at the 9th fairway, and Mr. Arterburn

stated these are existing trees all of which will remain. 

 

 

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Mr. Pazdera stated he would be willing to go along with the waiver for the road width

provided the emergency services people are not against this.  Mr. Arterburn stated they did

meet with the Fire Chief who asked that they provide a pull off near the pump station to

accommodate the fire vehicles.   The other Planning Commission members stated they were

in favor of a 24’ wide paved road.   Mr. Arterburn stated on most public Golf Courses they

have done, they have opted for a smaller road because it resulted in cost savings and better

water quality.  He stated private courses sometimes go with a wider road.  Ms. Gould

asked if they would reduce the side cartways to 8’ if the paved roadway is increased to 24’,

and Mr. Arterburn stated they would.      

 

There was discussion on curbs on the interior road.  Mr. Tofel stated if the roadway is

wider, he would not have a problem with eliminating curbing.  It was the consensus of the

Planning Commission that curbing would be waived on the interior road.

 

There was discussion on the bikepath requirements.  Mr. Roeper stated they should discuss

this in connection with what they should do along Woodside Road.  He stated the Plans

were not complete in this respect.  Mr. Brazel stated they intend to install a fence as shown

and improve the entrance with widening, but other than that, they would not change

Woodside Road.   Mr. Roeper asked if they would dedicate the right-of-way, and

Mr. Brazel stated the Township would have to decide this.  Mr. Arterburn stated they feel

the right-of-way mirrors the dedicated right-of-way from Clearview Estates. The fence

shown on the drawing is 40’ off the center line.  No grading will be done within that 40’. 

 

Ms. Frick stated the fence will be one foot behind the 40’ line.  Mr. Koopman stated if they

would want a bikepath, it would have to be within that 40’ right-of-way between the edge

of the cartway and the fence.    Mr. Tofel asked if there is a bikepath at the adjacent

properties, and Mr. Roeper stated there is no bikepath at this time.  Ms. Gould asked about

the Master Plan, and it was noted the bikepath is shown on the Plan on the other side of the

road.  Mr. Brazel stated it is on the other side of the street up to the entrance of the

development.  Mr. Roeper stated it would appear there is no need for a bikepath on the

Golf Course side since there is a bikepath on the opposite side of the road. 

 

Mr. Roeper asked for further clarification on the proposed fence and asked the height and

type of fencing proposed.  It was noted it will probably be white, split-rail fence, four to

five feet in height.  Mr. Brazel stated they will check the details.  He stated the intent is

really for aesthetics.  Mr. Tofel noted a detail showing a six to eight foot fence, and

Mr. Brazel stated this is incorrect, and will be taken off the Plan.

 

Mr. Roeper noted the 17th tee is adjacent to the road, and asked about the probability of

balls going onto Woodside Road.  Mr. Brazel stated the way the hole is oriented away from

Woodside Road, they do not feel this will be a problem.  

 

Mr. Pazdera stated if the bikepath is across the street from the entrance drive, they should at

least have a curb cut on the side where the bikepath is located.  It was noted there is no curb

on the opposite side of the road either.

 

There was discussion on the requirement for curbs along Woodside Road.  Mr. Roeper

stated the Master Plan would normally call for widening, curbs, and inlets.  Ms. Gould

stated she feels there should be a deceleration lane for the entrance.  Mr. Moonan stated due

to the nature of the traffic volumes and traffic being spread throughout the day, they feel

that they will have less traffic than there would be with a normal development.  They did

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not therefore propose any acceleration/deceleration lanes.  The speed limit on Woodside

Road is posted at 35 miles per hour.  Mr. Roeper stated he also feels there should be a

decel lane.  Mr. Canales stated they are reviewing this at the current time.  Mr. Roeper

suggested that they leave this matter open at the present time.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated he

feels the Township should set the example in their own development.  Ms. Gould stated if

they are going to widen the road in the future, they should do it at the present time since

this is what they would ask of any other developer.  She stated she feels the road should be

widened and curbed.  Mr. Roeper stated he feels they should seriously consider widening,

curbing, and storm drains along the frontage.

 

There was discussion on utilities.   Mr. Roeper asked if they will have televisions in the

Club House.  Mr. Vandergheynst stated they have not made a decision on this yet.  The

heating will be either propane or electric since gas would be cost prohibitive.  The proposal

was acceptable to the Planning Commission.  Mr. Roeper stated he assumes there are

regulations which will be adhered to with regard to the use of propane. 

 

There was discussion on lighting.  Mr. Roeper stated they are asking for relief from the

foot candle requirements. Mr. Moonan stated .5 is the minimum required; and in the higher

traffic areas, they would be at least .5.  They would like relief from the .5 requirement to

help eliminate possible problems for the adjoining neighbors.  Mr. Roeper stated he

assumes they will have to have some security lighting.  Mr. Brazel stated the reason for the

request is that some of the homeowners in Clearview were concerned that here would be

lighting in the parking areas that would be visible in the evenings, so they have tried to keep lighting to a minimum.  They have not yet done the final design.  Mr. Arterburn stated the site plan shows where the lights are proposed, and they could run the foot candle analysis and see where they are.  Ms. Gould stated she feels lights should be on twenty-four hours a day for security purposes.  Mr. Tofel asked if they could have a locked gate which would eliminate the lighting problem.  Ms. Gould stated she feels there will still be people coming onto the site in the evenings such as janitorial services.  Mr. Roeper asked if they will have any lighted practice areas, and Mr. Arterburn stated this was not approved by the Board. This matter will be discussed further once the final design is proposed.

 

Mr. Arterburn stated they will be able to meet the requirements under Sections 178-57C

and 178-57D.  There was discussion on Section 178-57E, and the Planning Commission

had no objection to granting this waiver.  Mr. Arterburn stated they will have curbing on

areas where water is collected.  They will also have curb stops.  It was noted this is not the

final parking lot design.

 

With regard to the buffer yards, Mr. Roeper stated he did not feel they should wait to

address buffering until construction as requested and feels it would be better to resolve

these matters prior to construction with possible alternates if necessary.  Mr. Brazel stated

there is an existing buffer at the property and they do not want to disturb this.  He stated he

feels there are some people who may want to see the Golf Course from their property and

some who will not.  They were going to try to accommodate those requests and would

need a waiver for those areas where the property owners do not want the buffering. 

Mr. Roeper asked if they would poll the adjoining residents prior to construction. 

Mr. Arterburn stated they wanted to wait until construction since people would not know

what they would be seeing until that time.  He stated the Ordinance requires buffers

between commercial and residential properties, but this does not really apply to a golf

course.  They feel it would be better for people to see what they will be looking at rather

than simply reading it on a grading plan; and this is why they wanted to deal with this issue

March 11, 2002                                                               Planning Commission - page 5 of 8

 

 

at the time of construction.  Mr. Arterburn stated they also do not want to have to take

down the existing large trees in order to install the required buffer and berms.

 

Mr. Arterburn noted one area on the Plan where they will have to take down a minimal

amount of existing vegetation where the pond is shown and is required for stormwater management.  Mr. Roeper stated he feels the Plans should have some consistency and be reasonably clear as to what they plan to do with buffers.  He stated they could discuss some alternatives with PCS.  Ms. Gould stated she would like to see them canvass the existing neighbors and ask them what they would like to have but also given them the option to opt out of a berm at the time of construction if they desire.  Mr. Tofel stated he is concerned that if they take out the berm the golfers will then be walking onto private property. 

 

There was discussion on landscaping.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated he does not feel they need to

require any additional landscaping other than what is normally proposed for a Golf Course.

 

There was discussion on stormwater management.  Mr. Roeper stated he feels they should

wait until the review by PCS.

 

There was discussion on the proposed cart bridges.  Mr. Brazel stated they are being

designed in such a way that they do not impact the floodplain, but they still fall under the

definition of bridge, and they are therefore requesting a waiver.  Mr. Roeper asked about

the bridges ability to hold the weight of service vehicles.  Mr. Brazel stated any service

vehicle needed to access these areas would be small vehicles.  Mr. Stainthorpe asked about

ambulances, and Mr. Brazel stated the design will accommodate these if necessary.  They

agreed to provide the specs for loading of the bridges they are proposing.

 

Mr. Tofel noted Drawing 4 and asked if they are proposing tree clearing in the wetlands. 

Mt. Brazel stated they have met with DEP and the Army Corps and the way the

disturbances are occurring, they are not actually considered disturbances to the wetlands. 

It will still function as a wetlands, and the State will not require any permits. 

 

With respect to the side slopes, Mr. Roeper stated he feels PCS should comment on this.

 

Mr. Roeper stated since they are using the ponds for the detention basins, they will be

using the cartpaths to access these areas.  Mr. Moonan noted the basins are designed with a

safety shelf in case someone steps into the ponds; however he stated they do need the depth

for storage of water in the event of a drought situation.  Mr. Brazel noted the location of the

pump station and stated they do have to pump from one area to another.  Mr. Roeper stated

he feels the Board of Supervisors will have to make a decision on the maintenance fund for

the detention basins.

 

There was discussion on the inlets.  Mr. Roeper stated he does not feel this will be a problem except for those inlets required along the road and along Woodside Road as he feels they will have to accommodate the Golf Course design with regard to the other inlets. 

Mr. Brazel stated small inlets will be needed for surface drainage on the Golf Course itself and this is why they are requesting the waiver.  Mr. Arterburn stated there may be as many as three hundred small inlets and these will enter into the stormwater calculations. 

 

Mr. Neil Russo, 1512 Woodside, stated his home is near Hole #8 and they are still unsure how this hole will impact their property when you consider the definition of the arc relative

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to his property.  They would like to insure that the proposed buffer will be consistent with regard to placement of the back tee.  He stated they are pleased that they have been working with the residents on this, but would like further clarification.  He stated they are concerned with the possible noise and safety of their property. Mr. Arterburn stated he and Mr. Taylor met with Mr. and Mrs. Russo on their property.  Mr. Russo stated they want to make sure the 125’ they are now discussing is consistent with his understanding of the arc.  They would like to have them come back to their property and give them a better understanding of what is proposed.  Mr. Arterburn stated they can talk to the architect and have him put together a sketch with a bigger scale for review.  Mr. Russo asked if they are considering the widening of Woodside Road, and Mr. Roeper stated they would recommend widening up to the end of the Golf Course property to meet the widening that is already done down further on Woodside Road.  Mr. Arterburn stated he does not feel Woodside Road was curbed and widened in front of the new development, and many neighbors present agreed.  Ms. Frick agreed to look into this matter.  Mr. Russo stated some years ago he was at a meeting regarding widening of Woodside Road, and he feels wider roads encourage greater speeds.  He stated he is also concerned about lighting and the impact this will have on this area of the Township which is normally very dark.  He stated there was discussion about protecting the wells of the surrounding developments, and he asked if his property will be included in this since his property is not really part of a development.  Mr. Roeper stated his property will be included.

 

Mr. Bob Martin, 1553 Cartpath Court, stated there is no deceleration lane going into

Clearview on Woodside Road.  He stated he does appreciate the Golf Course designers

contacting them about what the residents want to see behind their homes.  He stated he

would prefer to have a buffer from the cartpath that is going across his back yard.  He

asked if there is a proposed start date for construction, and Mr. Taylor stated the tentative

schedule was to begin sometime in April, but they have missed the bidding dates for this.

Mr. Roeper stated they still need to submit Plans to the Planning Commission and then

have these reviewed by the Board of Supervisors.  He anticipates that it will be three to

four months before they get Final Approval.   Mr. Stainthorpe stated that they also have to

go to the Zoning Hearing Board and there is still an outstanding question with regard to the

ultimate cost of the land.  

 

Mr. Rich Quick, 2 Delaware Rim, asked if the existing wells will be monitored while they

are doing their testing.  Mr. Arterburn stated when they conduct the well pump test two to three wells will have meters on them on the west side and twelve to fourteen others will be hand sampled during the test.  Results will be public.

 

Ms. Sharon Desmond, 1556 Bramble, asked if the course will be lit, and Mr. Arterburn

stated the parking lot will be lit.  She asked that they explain to her how far her property is

from the Course, and she was shown her home on the Plan.  Mr. Arterburn stated they will

be staking the tees shortly, and they can contact her to look at this on the site.

 

Mr. Carl Payne, 24 Del Rio, asked about the agreement with regard to the wells.  He also

asked about possible blasting.  Mr. Taylor stated the Township solicitor is still working on

the Well Agreement.  Mr. Arterburn stated they hope that they will not have to do any

blasting because of the expense.  They feel they will be able to build without blasting

although they are not positive about this at this point.  He noted one possible location in the

area of Hole #13.  He stated there are regulations which must be followed if blasting does

have to be done. 

 

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Mr. Michael Stephano, 169 Mt. Eyre Road, asked about lighting.  He stated since there is

no night play, he does not feel there should be any lighting twenty-four hours; and if there

is a need for lighting, it should only be done with motion detector lighting.  Ms. Gould

stated they will see what the Police Department has to say about this.

 

Mr. Bob Dupcheck, 65 Upper Hilltop, asked where water from Woodside Road will be channeled to.  Mr. Moonan stated the majority of the water from the site will be picked

up at the ponds, and they will actually reduce the drainage area draining off the property. 

Mr. Dupcheck asked how they will collect water from the downward slope.  Mr. Moonan

stated they will pick up as much as they can to get it to the irrigation ponds.  He stated

inlets and pipes have been placed at the optimal areas to pick up as much water as they can. 

Mr. Brazel stated the existing grading will be changed since they need to collect as much

water as possible.

 

Mr. Steve Willard, 178 Taylorsville Road, stated he would like to see the buffers left

natural although he would suggest installation of a split rail fence to separate the Golf

Course from his property.  He noted some areas where water is coming from the site onto

his property.  Mr. Brazel stated in those areas, they will be reducing the run off much more

than currently was done when it was a farm.  He stated there will be a significant reduction

in the water going to the existing drainage areas.  He also noted turf and grass will absorb

much more water than the current ground.  Mr. Brazel stated the only place they have

proposed installing a fence is along Woodside road.  Mr. Willard stated because he has a

Christmas tree farm on his property, he would like a fence installed to keep the carts from

going onto his property.

 

Mr. Joe Jetter, 1501 Hayfield, asked the distance from the Golf Course property to his

home and was shown this on the plan.  The designers also agreed to meet with him on the

site once the stakes are placed. 

 

Mr. Dupcheck asked if they anticipate installing any netting, and it was noted that this is not

intended.

 

Mr. Tom Fowler, 48 Upper Hilltop, asked about bikepaths.  He stated a bikepath was to be

put in on Upper Hilltop by the developer but this was not done.  He stated he understands

that there was a problem with the bikepath at this location because of existing homes and

possibly they should install it on the other side.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated he would look into

this. 

 

 

MASTER PLAN UPDATE

 

Mr. Roeper stated the questionnaire to the Department Heads, Committees, etc. was sent

out on March 7 by Mr. Fedorchak.  He has a return date of April 15 to his office with the

exception of Mr. Taylor who has until June 15. 

 

Mr. Roeper noted the draft of the Residents Questionnaire.  Some minor changes were

noted which Mr. Roeper agreed to make.

 

There was discussion on Item #9, and Ms. Frick stated they do permit age-restricted

housing at the current time.  Mr. Koopman stated there are many types of age-restricted

housing, and he does not feel they have zoning which has life care for seniors. 

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Mr. Stainthorpe stated it seems that most of the land left is zoned R-1 and since over

fifty-five housing is considered high density, this would necessitate a zoning change. 

Mr. Koopman stated he does feel they may want to look into this further.  He stated over fifty-five housing is a recently popular option since it does not involve an increase in the school-age population and increases tax ratables.  Mr. Koopman stated he does not feel the Item #9 needs any modification.

 

Mr. Roeper noted the letter he sent to Mr. Fegley, a copy of which he provided to the

Planning Commission.  Mr. Roeper stated he has had difficulty working with the Bucks

County Planning Commission and has done much of the work himself.  He stated they are

going to provide the camera ready copy once it is finally decided upon.  He will send a

copy of the draft tomorrow to Mr. Fegley and ask that the Board of Supervisors give this

their final approval.

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Mr. Roeper noted the letter received regarding the D’Amato Subdivision.  He stated he

feels this deserves a reply other than at a meeting.  He asked if they should have PCS review this and formulate a reply which would then be sent out from the Planning Commission.  Ms. Gould stated she is concerned that this is setting a dangerous precedent.  She suggested that they invite this individual to come to a Planning Commission meeting and express his views.  Ms. Frick stated she will make sure this individual is on the mailing list.

 

Mr. Roeper stated he and Ms. Gould went to a seminar in Doylestown and he made

available a copy of the information they received.  He stated they were advised that the

Senate is considering a bill to bring the water legislation up to date.  He stated he feels it

will pose a problem for that section of the Township on Sunnyside Lane that is still on

wells.  He stated he feels the Bucks County Planning Commission should consider how

much of the Township is still on wells. 

 

 

Mr. Tofel moved, Mr. Pazdera seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 9:55 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                                        Deborah Gould, Secretary