TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PLANNING COMMISSION

MINUTES - MARCH 25, 2002

 

 

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on March 25, 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

                                               

Absent:                         Pete Stainthorpe, Supervisor Liaison

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Tofel seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of February 25, 2002 as written.

 

 

#534 - LOWER MAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP GOLF COURSE PRELIMINARY/FINAL PLAN DISCUSSION

 

Mr. Taylor, Mr. Hackman, and Mr. Vandergheynst were present.  Mr. Hackman stated that Zoning and Subdivision regulations were put together primarily to control development

mostly with regard to housing.  In the planning of the Golf Course, there are many

Sections of the Ordinance which are much stricter than either State or Federal law and for which they are going to ask for waivers.  He stated the Subdivision regulations give the

Board of Supervisors the ability to waive certain items,  which have been waived in the

past for housing developments as well.  They recognize they will have to go before the Zoning Hearing Board to obtain Variances, where there are issues of concern in the

Zoning Ordinance or the Ordinances can be modified, giving the Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission more flexibility.  Mr. Hackman stated some of these items are not germane when discussing them in connection with a Golf Course.

 

The PCS review letter dated 3/22/02 was noted.  Item #1 was noted and Mr. Roeper stated

the Planning Commission previously indicated that they would recommend a Special

Exception be granted. Mr. Hackman stated he feels this would have to go before the

Zoning Hearing Board.  He stated this Section is confusing since by right you can develop

public recreation but Golf Courses are listed under the Special Exceptions.  The Board of

Supervisors may decide to update the Ordinance in which case, they would update this

Section to make it clear whether or not this requires a Special Exception.  Mr. Koopman

stated if it is considered a public recreation facility, it would not require a Special

Exception.  He stated this is one of the issues that the Board of Supervisors is going to

 

March 25, 2002                                                               Planning Commission - page 2 of 8

 

 

have to consider.  Mr. Tofel asked if a public recreation facility would still apply if you

have to pay a fee.  Mr. Koopman stated he does feel it would still be considered public

recreation even if a fee is paid.  Mr. Hackman stated the organized sports teams do collect a

per player fee establishing precedence.

 

Item #3 regarding buffer requirements was noted, and Mr. Roeper stated he feels this

should be postponed until Final Plan as suggested by PCS.

 

Item #4 was noted and there was discussion on parking space size.  The waiver to permit

9’ x 18’ spaces was acceptable to the Planning Commission.

 

With regard to Item #5, there was discussion on road widening.  Mr. Roeper stated there

was previous discussion that Woodside Road should be widened from Clearview Estates

up to the Golf Course.  Any acceleration lane would not have to be curbed.  Mr. Hackman

stated there are no curbs along the frontage of Clearview Estates and he feels they should

match this.  Mr. Vandergheynst stated the curbs at Clearview stop at the end of the radii.  Mr. Hackman stated they do not anticipate they would have curbing along the driveway and questioned the need for curbs since they would not tie into anything.  No acceleration/

deceleration lanes are currently proposed.  Mr. Roeper stated at the last meeting the Planning Commission requested acceleration/deceleration lanes.  He asked if the Planning Commission members felt curbing should be provided at these lanes. Mr. Pazdera stated he

feels they should have a acceleration/deceleration lane but does not feel they need to have

curbs and should instead match what is there.  Mr. Vandergheynst stated there is no

acceleration lane at Clearview Estates although there is a shoulder at the second access. 

Mr. Roeper stated it is the request of the Planning Commission that they install the

acceleration/deceleration lanes, but not be required to have curbing.  Mr. Shavel asked

about the long-term plan for Woodside Road. Mr. Hackman stated Longshore Estates is

completed and there are no curbs on that side of the road although there is a bikepath.  He

stated there is a gravel shoulder.  Ms. Gould stated two weeks ago they discussed having at

least a deceleration lane and some Planning Commission members requested acceleration/

deceleration lanes and indicated they would agree to consider recommendations from the Police. She stated the Police report indicates that it would be prudent to have acceleration/ deceleration lanes and that plantings stay out of the right-of-way.  Mrs. Gould stated while she understands that this use is different from a subdivision and there will be less traffic, she still feels it would be best to have an acceleration/deceleration lane on Woodside Road and does not feel curbing is necessary.  Mr. Hackman stated the Golf Course, by its nature, will not have peaks and valleys of traffic.  Mr. Canales estimated that the deceleration lane would be approximately 270 feet.  Mr. Vandergheynst stated most of the declaration lanes in the area are 50 feet to 100 feet in length.  This matter will be discussed further by the engineers.

 

Item #6 was noted and Mr. Roeper stated they previously requested that the entrance road

be 24 feet in width and they would not be in favor of a 20 foot driveway.  Mr. Canales

stated the Yardley County Club has a 16 foot driveway.  Mr. Vandergheynst stated they

wanted to keep this at the more narrow width because of the environmental issues and the

cost.  Mr. Pazdera stated he is in favor of the 20 foot width.  Ms. Gould stated since

reading more information on this she is also in favor of a 20 foot width in exchange for getting more of a road around the Club House.  Mr. Vandergheynst stated they are looking into providing more of a road around the Club House.  Mr. Roeper, Mr. Shavel, and

Mr. Tofel were still in favor of a 24 foot width road.

 

March 25, 2002                                                               Planning Commission - page 3 of 8

 

 

Items #7 and #8 were noted, and Mr. Roeper stated the Planning Commission has indicated

they would be in favor of waivers for these items.    With regard to Item #8, Ms. Gould

noted there was discussion on alternate sources of heat and the fact that they were

considering propane.  Mr. Vandergheynst stated they are still looking into this.

Mr. Hackman stated he discussed this matter with the architect.  Originally they were

considering bringing in gas, and he still feels this is an outstanding issue.

 

Item #10 was noted and Mr. Roeper stated he feels this relates to the Skelly & Loy letter.

 

Item #11 was noted.  Mr. Canales stated these issues relating to stormwater management

do not relate to the Skelly & Loy report. PCS feels these items could be waived. 

Mr. Vandergheynst stated many of these waivers are needed because due to the nature of a Golf Course, they cannot meet these requirements.  Mr. Shavel asked how they can keep the ponds from becoming an attractive nuisance.  Mr. Hackman stated no one should be on the Golf Course unless they are playing golf, and they will have to police the facility. 

Ms. Gould asked about known problems at the Yardley County Club.  Mr. Roeper

stated they do get trespassers.  It was noted the Planning Commission did discuss Item C

regarding the bridge; and they indicated the bridges should be able to accommodate an ambulance, pick-up truck, etc.  Items D and E were also previously discussed, and the Planning Commission indicated they would recommend waivers.

 

Mr. Shavel asked who will maintain the Golf Course, and Mr. Hackman stated this has not

been agreed upon yet although the Golf Course Committee has interviewed some

management companies.  It is also possible that Township employees will maintain the

Golf Course.  Mr. Tofel asked if Township employees are permitted to mow at a three to

one slope, and Mr. Hackman stated he is not sure that in a normal development they have

waived this, although for the Matrix development, they did permit this slope.  With regard

to  Items #F and #6 under Item #11, the Planning Commission would recommend waivers.

 

Items #12, #13, and #14 were noted, and the Planning Commission would recommend

waivers.

 

Captain Roche’s letter was noted.  Mr. Hackman stated that Macclesfield Park previously had a locked gate and that people still were able to access the Park.  He further stated the Police then  could not access the area because the gate was locked. The gate is now kept open which permits the Police Department to patrol the area.  This is what they propose for the Golf Course as well.  He stated he does not agree with the comment that there should be a road around the entire perimeter of the Course since he does not anticipate that the Police will be driving around the entire Course.  It was noted the cartpaths are 8 feet wide. 

Mr. Tofel stated Captain Roche has indicated that these cartpaths should be able to be used

by ambulances, and Mr. Vandergheynst stated there is 10 feet of reinforced earth underneath.  He also noted there are areas of wetlands and steep slopes that they are trying to avoid.  Mr. Roeper stated he feels it is important that they be able to encircle the building, and it was noted this is their intention. 

 

Mr. Yates comments were noted, and Mr. Roeper stated he does not feel these present any

problems.

 

 

 

 

March 25, 2002                                                               Planning Commission - page 4 of 8

 

 

Mr. Roeper stated there are two memos from Skelly & Loy which vary substantially.  He

suggested they review the 3/22/02 memo which apparently is a treatise to argue against

Section 200-51 with respect to the Golf Course.    Mr. Roeper asked if Mr. Koopman feels

this is a matter for the Zoning Hearing Board of if the Board of Supervisors can waive it. 

Mr. Koopman stated Section 200-51 is a Zoning Hearing Board matter and the Township

would have to get waivers from the Zoning Hearing Board or amend the Zoning

Ordinance.  Ms. Gould stated she feels someone from Skelly & Loy should be present to

defend their position and so specific questions can be asked.  Mr. Roeper stated if this

becomes a Zoning Hearing Board matter or the Board of Supervisors proposed an

amendment it would come before the Planning Commission and at that point in time he

feels someone from Skelly & Loy should be present.  It was noted by the Planning

Commission that they would postpone this until a later time.  Mr. Hackman stated the

reason for these two letters from Skelly & Loy is they wanted the environmental

engineers to critically look at the Zoning Ordinance and the Plan as drawn and make

comments.  The first memo pointed out the different sections which do not conform to the

Ordinance, recognizing that the Ordinance was put together to control housing

developments.  The second letter was a result of reviewing each of the items in the first

letter and determining which ones made sense as they related to a Golf Course. 

Mr. Hackman stated he is in favor of changing the Ordinance allowing greater flexibility which would help with the development not only of the Golf Course, but also with development of North Park as it is currently planned.

 

Mr. Roeper noted the letter from the Bucks County Planning Commission which was just

received this evening.  He proposed that this be deferred for future discussion. 

Mr. Hackman stated most of these items have been noted by the other reviewing agencies

already.  Ms. Gould noted Page #3 of the Bucks County Planning Commission letter

regarding maintaining existing structures.  She asked which structures will be maintained. 

Mr. Hackman stated he would be willing to walk the site with the Planning Commission

and noted most of the buildings are unfortunately in very bad shape and are literally falling

down.  He stated the building in the best condition is the farmhouse which will be

maintained.  They presently have someone living in the residence and this will continue in

the future or the building will be incorporated into the Golf Course.  There is also a small

barn next to the lake that is being preserved.  They also are looking into preserving the silo. 

He stated the large barn cannot be preserved.  He further stated the Historic Society has visited the site. When the Township reviewed the site they found that weeds had grown so high that even some of the larger buildings were not visible.  He stated Ms. Langtry had agreed that most of the buildings would have to come down.  Ms. Gould stated they did not receive any correspondence from her, and Ms. Frick agreed to check with her.

 

Mr. Steve Willard, 178 Taylorsville Road, stated when they were drilling the well, he had a

problem with his water.  He stated his well was then monitored for the rest of the week.

Mr. Hackman stated this is the first time he has heard that there was a problem and they are

very much concerned about the impact on the wells of the surrounding properties.  He

stated they are paying an environmental company $14,000 to monitor the wells in the area. 

Ms. Gould stated she feels these issues must be incorporated into the Well Agreement. 

Mr. Hackman stated it will be, and this will be approved before the Final Plans are

approved. 

 

 

 

 

March 25, 2002                                                               Planning Commission - page 5 of 8

 

 

Mr. Rich Quick, 2 Delaware Rim, stated at the last meeting there was discussion about a

Well Agreement that was previously used by the Keystone Water Company.  He stated this

was not available at the last meeting.  Mr. Hackman stated this should be available for

review in the Township Office. Mr. Quick asked that his well be included in the

monitoring.  He stated he would also be opposed to an acceleration/deceleration lane on

Woodside Road and would be opposed to widening the cartpaths in the Golf Course which

he does not feel is aesthetic for a Golf Course.

 

Mr. Neil Russo, 1512 Woodside Road, stated he has not seen the Revised Plan and

Mr. Vandergheynst agreed to show this to Mr. Russo following the meeting. Mr. Russo

stated he also asked that they come out to his property to determine the actual distance from

the tee to his property. He stated they are also concerned about the cartpath.

Mr. Vandergheynst stated this has been revised as well and he will show this to Mr. Russo

following the meeting.    Mr. Hackman stated the Golf Course has been staked. Mr. Russo stated it is still hard to look at one stake and tell what the impact will be on your property. 

 

Mr. Chris Desmond, 1556 Bramble, stated he would also like to see the Revised Plans as

they relate to his property.  He would agree that the width of the cartpath should be

reduced.  He feels that if they have wider roads, it will encourage more traffic to come back

in the area.  He is opposed to Police patrols in the Woods.  He is concerned that he paid a

premium to back up to the Woods and now some of the trees will be removed. 

 

Bob Martin, 1553 Cartpath Court, stated the cartpath for Hole #16 is of concern as it relates

to his property.  He asked that it be relocated between #16 and #18.  Mr. Hackman stated they will ask the architect to look into this.

 

Mr. Patrick Frame, 16 Delaware Rim, stated he would like his well monitored as well.  He

stated he is also concerned about possible rodent infestation which is possible when

clearing is done.  Mr. Hackman stated this is the first time that they have heard this

concern, and they will ask the Golf Course consultants to look into it.

 

Mr. Joe Jetter, 1501 Hayfield, stated he has seen the stake at Hole #17 which is very close

to his home.  He asked that someone come to his property to look into this.  Mr. Hackman

stated they intend to speak to all the neighbors regarding buffers. 

 

 

#448-A - ST. IGNATIUS CHURCH DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATION REGARDING PHASING PLAN

 

Mr. Edward Murphy, attorney, Mr. John Genovesi, engineer, and Monsignor Shoemaker

were present.  Mr. Murphy stated they received Land Development approval last year for

improvements to the property. The bids came in significantly higher than anticipated, and

they are now proposing to break up the project in two phases as noted in their letter dated

March 14, 2002.  He stated the Plans are nearly identical with the only change being a

small reduction in the size of the Rectory and the inclusion of a phasing line.  Phase II

should be accomplished within two years if not sooner. 

 

Ms. Gould moved, Mr. Pazdera seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to

the Board of Supervisors approval of the phasing of the project as indicated in the letter

dated 3/14/02.

 

March 25, 2002                                                               Planning Commission - page 6 of 8

 

 

#522-A - MC FADDEN TRACT INFORMAL SKETCH PLAN DISCUSSION

 

Mr. Henry VanBlunk, attorney, was present and stated he is present on behalf of Fox

Chase Bank, the equitable owner of the entire parcel.  He stated they recognize that they

will need a Zoning change in order to have a retail branch site.  They asked the engineer to

determine what could be put on the site for bank and a use by right for the remainder of the

tract.  They also wanted some kind of recreation area for the new and existing homes in the

area.  They are looking at a low impact recreation area.  He stated they have shown an

exercise trail on the Sketch. 

 

Mr. Roeper stated Commerce Bank previously tried to obtain a Zoning change for this

parcel.  Mr. VanBlunk stated Fox Chase Bank is a savings bank and they are not looking

for a particular architectural design. Mr. Roeper suggested that they go before the Board of

Supervisors before they spend a lot of money and determine if the Board is agreeable to a

Zoning change.

 

Mr. Tofel stated it now appears that Mr. McFadden plans on leaving the property and this

was not the case previously. Mr. VanBlunk agreed.

 

Ms. Gould stated she does not feel the Planning Commission should spend any significant

amount of time on this plan until they find out how the Board of Supervisors feels about

the proposal.

 

 

#533 - MOTIVATIONAL EDUCATIONAL TRAINING CENTER, INC. AND NEW HOPE ACADEMY CONDITIONAL USE APPLICATION DISCUSSION

 

Mr. G. Michael Carr, attorney, was present with Ms. Kathy Gana.  Mr. Carr stated they

are discussing use of the Grange which is currently for sale.  Mr. Carr stated Ms. Gana has

an existing facility which needs to expand and feels this building would be ideal for her

use.  Mr. Carr stated the Zoning issues were reviewed in his letter.  He stated this use is

licensed by the State as a School but it does not fit within the Township definition for a

School.  He feels the use would be allowed in the District.  He stated once they get a

review letter, they will come back to the Planning Commission.  He noted the parking

spaces on the site and noted there is also an adjacent church for which there is an

Agreement for use of the parking lot, and they feel this will exceed the needs of their

organization. 

 

Mr. Koopman stated he has not reviewed this, but Mr. Carr has indicated that this use may

be permitted under Conditional Use and this would be under the jurisdiction of the Board

of Supervisors rather than the Zoning Hearing Board.  He stated under the Historic/

Commercial District, the Board of Supervisors was given jurisdiction of uses that would be

similar to the nature of the Village.  Mr. Koopman stated if it is a Conditional Use, it would

go to the Planning Commission for review under the Historic/Commercial District and then

go to the Board of Supervisors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 25, 2002                                                               Planning Commission - page 7 of 8

 

 

Ms. Gana stated they are currently located in the Summit Square Shopping Center.  As a

tutorial center, the State requires that it be approved as a private academic school.  She reviewed the type of tutorial work they do. She stated most of the work is one on one,

but they do have some small groups as well.  They are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. during

the week and most of their students are dropped off by their parents so the parking situation

should not be a problem. They also have programs in various schools and they have a

strong word of mouth reputation.  They also do professional development for the schools

in the area and have parent workshop with seventy percent of the students from the Council Rock/Pennsbury area.  They also have a Poets Club and a Writers Club and the teachers on staff are certified. 

 

Mr. Carr stated they do have letters available from parents who have used the School.

 

Mr. Tofel asked if they propose any additions, and Ms. Gana stated they do not. 

Mr. Tofel asked the length of the classes, and Ms. Gana stated one to two hours is

standard. She stated they are not open Saturday or Sunday during the summer but are open

during the school year as a homework help place.  They are open Sunday from 1:00 p.m.

to 3:00 p.m. or 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

 

Ms. Gould stated she feels if they meet with the Historic Commission this could strengthen

their position before the Township since this is in the Historic District.

 

Mr. Koopman asked how many people would be in the facility at any one time so that they

can insure that the parking needs are met.  Mr. Carr stated they have this information

available, and he agreed to supply it to Ms. Frick.  Ms. Gana noted there are only five

full-time employees. 

 

Ms. Frick asked if they would like to install an sign, and Ms. Gana stated they would. 

Ms. Frick stated they would then have to go before the Historic Architectural Review

Board for this.  Mr. Roeper stated they should also look at their exit signs.  He stated

there is no stopping allowed on Edgewood Road to drop off students. 

 

Ms. Frick stated it did not appear the drawing that was submitted was the updated Plan. 

 

Ms. Gana noted Harrisburg has approved the site for their use.

 

Ms. Frick asked if they have public sewers and Ms. Gana indicated there are public sewers

and public water.

 

Mr. Roeper asked about handicap access, and Ms. Gana stated they are looking into use of

a temporary ramp.   The feel the first floor bathroom could be made handicap accessible.

 

Ms. Gana noted the building has been vacant for quite some time.

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Mr. Roeper stated the Board of Supervisors looked at a Plan for Jefferson at Middletown,

the location of which was shown by Mr. Roeper on a Plan. 

 

 

March 25, 2002                                                               Planning Commission - page 8 of 8

 

 

Mr. Roeper noted the Sketch Plans for the Metz property on Dolington Road were

reviewed by the Board of Supervisors.  The Board suggested that the Manor House be on a

lot which would extend to Dolington Road so that it could be seen from the road.  There

was also discussion about combining the section of property on which the Manor House is

located with the Fiori property which is adjacent to it and they are looking into putting part

of this into a Conservation Easement and then developing a portion of it.

 

 

COMPREHENSIVE MASTER PLAN UPDATE

 

Mr. Roeper stated he had a discussion with Mr. Fegley who indicated he would be getting

back to him regarding his memo of 3/12/02 so that they can proceed with the Citizen

Questionnaire if the Board of Supervisors agrees to it. 

 

 

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:25 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted

 

 

 

                                                                        Deborah Gould, Secretary