The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the
Planning Commission: Albert Roeper, Chairman
Ron Tofel, Vice Chairman
Deborah Gould, Secretary
John Pazdera, Member
Others: Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning
Pete Stainthorpe, Supervisor Liaison
Absent: Michael Shavel, Planning Commission Member
ZONING ORDINANCE AMENDMENT DISCUSSION
Mr. Roeper stated last week he received the Agenda for the Board of Supervisors meeting
which included the discussion of a possible amendment to the Zoning Ordinance in order to
permit an age-qualified residential zoning in the Township. A draft amendment had been
prepared by the Township Solicitor. The Board of Supervisors asked that the Solicitor add
a description of an over-fifty-five community to the amendment. Mr. Roeper stated he
objected that the Planning Commission had not seen this and had not heard about this
matter previously. Mr. Roeper stated he would be opposed to an age-qualified community
in the R-1 area consisting of the two Wright farms and a portion of the Torbert farm south
of I-95. He does not feel this would be an appropriate location because of the proximity to
Route 332 and Lindenhurst Road and the impact of the noise and traffic. He noted there is
a requirement that the property be at least twenty-five acres. Ms. Gould stated she feels
that any developer would do marketing studies to determine a suitable location.
COMPREHENSIVE MASTER PLAN UPDATE
Ms. Lynn Bush and Ms. Gayle Freedman from the Bucks County Planning Commission
Mr. Roeper stated Ms. Frick has received additional questionnaires and to date they have
received 1130 which represents a 38% return. Mr. Roeper stated he did not receive the
questionnaire back from the Farmland Preservation Corporation although they have
indicated they will submit it shortly.
Ms. Bush stated they are using the 1990 Master Plan as a
template. They will be able to update
the information on the population of the Township using the recent Census information. She stated the Township grew in size from
1990 to 2000 but not as quickly as the previous decade. The average age in the Township is slightly
older than the County as a whole. Like
Ms. Bush stated that in terms of the Citizen Questionnaires they have received, most comments fall into three categories - 1) growth/management/development/traffic/open space; 2) taxes, schools, preserving infrastructure, and 3) low priority were items such as affordable housing, job availability, and flooding.
Ms. Bush stated they will set up a way to analyze the questionnaires and look at the concerns of new residents compare to the concerns of long-time residents. Ms. Bush stated they will tabulate the questionnaires and provide information to the Planning Commission.
Ms. Bush stated she feels
Mr. Tofel stated there are always
discussions about the roads including discussions about whether the Township
should be taking over some of the State roads.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated they are considering
taking over Edgewood Road so that they can reduce the speed limit lower than
the State will permit on a State road.
He stated this matter was brought to the Board by the citizens. Mr. Stainthorpe
stated there have also been discussions about taking over
Mr. Stainthorpe stated he feels
funds have been put into the State budget to construct an additional bridge
Ms. Bush noted the potential of re-zoning certain farm tracts to O/R. Mr. Roeper stated he would like to look at all the available land and review how it is zoned and consider whether they should make a recommendation that there be a modification of the zoning in certain locations. He noted he feels the Wright Farms and portions of the Torbert Farm should be considered for O/R. He noted there are also other pockets around the Township which he feels should be reviewed with the viewpoint of changing them from R-1 to R-2 or to a commercial zone. He stated he feels the Board of Supervisors would be agreeable to an omnibus zoning change rather than a change to a specific tract. He noted that the Planning
Commission is only a recommending body and the Board of
Supervisors would have the final decision.
Ms. Bush stated she feels it is appropriate to look at this at this
time. Ms. Frick stated there is a map
available of Township open space that was updated
Mr. Roeper stated he also feels they should consider what will happen with all of the Farmland Preservation land and open space in the next ten years. He stated he is concerned that there will be pressure of some sort to utilize this land in other ways. He stated he also feels finances are going to become a problem in the next four to five years. He stated people are asking for more parks, open space, and properties such as Elm Lowne which cost money. He noted Township income is also going to go down in the future. Ms. Gould stated the maintenance of historic buildings owned by the Township is going to cost the Township money as well. Mr. Roeper stated they also have a tremendous amount of open space that has been dedicated to the Township, and the cost of maintaining this to
the satisfaction of adjacent
homeowners is going to be a significant expense. Ms. Gould stated she feels
Mr. Roeper stated he also feels they should mention Rock Run dam in the Master Plan.
Ms. Gould stated they should also mention the sewering of
Ms. Bush asked if there is still discussion about a
Ms. Bush stated she did not see as much support for the historic preservation concept as she felt there would be in the questionnaire responses. She stated in the past, the Board of Supervisors expressed interest in this. She asked if the Township is still concerned about preserving some of the older buildings in new proposed developments if the Township would not have to maintain them. Ms. Frick stated the Palmer Farm structure is a good example of a historic structure which was preserved and which fits in well with the community. Ms. Gould stated she feel this needs to be addressed in the planning of a community to make sure the structure is worthy of saving and that it is done in the proper fashion without becoming an expense to the taxpayers. Ms. Bush stated she feels they can help in this regard and can make some recommendations and encourage that the historic property have sufficient land around it.
Ms. Bush noted the Farmland Preservation developments in the
Township. She stated the Ordinance was changed in the 1990’s to make it a
little harder to develop in this fashion and asked if this preference has
changed. Ms. Gould stated she feels the
Farmland Preservation developments work well and the properties also sell
well. Mr. Roeper
stated they could suggest loosening it up again to accomplish what they were
looking for originally. Ms. Bush noted Farmview in particular which is a very
successful community. She noted
people come from other parts of the country to look at this development. She stated
Ms. Bush stated one of the requirements under the MPC is that they discuss the surrounding communities and how development will impact the surrounding community.Mr. Stainthorpe noted the Matrix project and stated there has been virtually no dialogue between the Lower Makefield Supervisors and the Middletown Supervisors. Mr. Roeper stated he has had discussions with the Chairman of the Middletown Planning Commission
in the past, and they have kept
each other advised as to what was going on which might be of interest. He has never had discussions with a Falls
Township Planning Commission member nor have there been any recent discussions
with Newtown Planning Commission members.
Mr. Stainthorpe stated the Lower Makefield Township Board of Supervisors has tried to reach
out to the surrounding communities with regard to
traffic in general, but there has been no response.
Ms. Bush stated they would like to put together some of the
basic elements of the Plan and distribute it to the Planning Commission for
their review and future discussion. She noted Mr. Roeper
will be away in October and they may want to wait until his return in November. Mr. Roeper asked
about holding public meetings. Ms. Bush
stated she felt a public meeting would be advisable. She stated they will also have public
meetings when the Plan is being considered for adoption. Mr. Roeper
suggested that they hold a meeting with the representatives from Township
Boards and Commissions first and then schedule a public meeting. Since the first regularly-scheduled Planning
Commission meeting would fall on Veterans Day which is a
Mr. Roeper asked about funds expended by the Bucks County Planning Commission for the project to date, and Ms. Bush stated normally they do their work for the amount of money which was agreed upon unless something exceptional arises.
Mr. Roeper stated he has been
approached by a member of the group interested in the
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at
Deborah Gould, Secretary