MINUTES - APRIL 14, 2003



The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on April 14, 2003.  Chairman Roeper called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.


Those present:


Planning Commission:   Albert Roeper, Chairman

                                                John Pazdera, Vice Chairman

                                                Michael Shavel, Secretary


Others:                                     Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning

                                                John Koopman, Township Solicitor

                                                Duke Doherty, Township Engineer

                                                Pete Stainthorpe, Supervisor Liaison


Absent:                         Deborah Gould, Planning Commission Member

                                                Andrew Strauss, Planning Commission Member





Due to lack of a quorum able to vote on the Minutes, Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Roeper seconded and it was unanimously carried to table the Minutes of March 24, 2003.




Mr. Ken Bissinger of Schoor, DePalma and Mr. Chris McGinn were present.

Mr. Bissinger stated the property involved is twenty-five acres in size and is located at the

corner of Lindenhurst and Woodside Roads.  Mr. Bissinger stated Mr. McGinn does not

do large subdivisions, but develops high-end custom homes. 


Mr. Stainthorpe noted the shared driveway off of Lindenhurst Road and another location

where three homes will share one driveway.  He stated this is unusual for Lower

Makefield.  Mr. Bissinger stated they felt the Township might consider this because of the

busy road. He stated they can do individual driveways if this is the Township’s preference.

Mr. Roeper stated they do not like to set up situations where individual homeowners may

have disagreements over the driveway. He stated the Lindenhurst Road driveway does split

at the curb and this might be acceptable, but they would not be in favor of the other shared



Mr. Shavel asked the proposed price of the homes, and Mr. Bissinger stated the price will

be approximately  $1 million. 


Mr. Doherty was asked about the wetlands and the pipeline on the property. Mr. Doherty

stated they were not asked to review the plans, but he did look at it briefly and feels there

may be wetlands in the area.  Ms. Frick stated she did look at the recorded linen and there

were wetlands and woodlands which have now been changed on the Plan presented by the


April 14, 2003                                                                 Planning Commission - Page 2 of 4


Mr. Doherty stated the Ordinance discusses flag lots and indicates that you cannot have two

tiers.  He would therefore question Lots #6 and #7.  He stated they also cannot have more

than two flag lots per Major Subdivision.  Mr. McGinn stated they did meet with

Mr. Williams before he left, and he indicated that they could not stack them and this is why

they drew the lot lines more radial.  He stated they can fan them out more.  Mr. Doherty

noted Section 200-65-H with regard to the limitation on flag lots.


Mr. Doherty stated all setbacks must be from the natural resource disturbance area.

Mr. Bissinger stated they are aware of this.  Ms. Frick stated this is not shown on the Plan,

noting particularly the rear yard setback on Lot #1.  She stated her recorded Linen shows

this as wetlands,  and it is not shown on the developer’s Plan.  Mr. Doherty stated other

than lots #6, #7, and #8, everything is either wetlands or woodlands.  It was noted the

setbacks must be from the cleared area. Mr. Doherty stated the rest must also be in a

Conservation Easement and monumented.  Mr. Koopman asked if they have a delineation

from the Army Corps, and Mr. Bissinger stated they have not done this.   Mr. Koopman

stated the Township may also want Skelly & Loy to review this. 


Mr. Doherty noted Lot #9 which is going to be conveyed to Mr. Minehart.  Mr. Koopman

stated they will have to show something on the Plan that this is going to be consolidated. 

He stated they will also want a deed recorded.  Mr. Doherty stated they do not want this to

be considered a separate lot.


Mr. Bissinger asked about the designations on the Linen, and Ms. Frick noted WWOF

which is wetland woody old field. 


Mr. Roeper asked if the Pipeline company owns Tax Parcel #20-3-30, and Ms. Frick stated

they do. 


Mr. Doherty stated the right-of-way cannot be considered part of the lot area.  He also

stated they show building coverage of 15% and asked if this is impervious surface. 

Mr. Bissinger stated it is.  Mr. Doherty stated he feels it should be .24.  Mr. Doherty stated

on flag lots you start the building setback for the front yard where the lot meets the

minimum width in a line parallel to the road. 


Mr. Doherty stated they have not shown a detention basin.  Mr. Bissinger stated they

would like to try to do some infiltration basins on each lot.  Ms. Frick asked where these

would be located as the woodlands cannot be disturbed.  Mr. Bissinger stated they are

allowed to disturb some of the woodlands. Ms. Frick stated she feels much of what they

are permitted to disturb will be taken up by the construction of the home.  She noted

particularly Lot #3.  Mr. Bissinger stated they are aware of the Ordinance requirements and

recognize that they must provide for stormwater management.  He asked how this has been

done in the past, and Mr. Koopman stated in the past it has been done through stormwater

basins.  Ms. Frick stated she feels it will be hard to do this on each lot on this tract because

of the amount of woodlands.  Mr. Koopman stated he is aware that other Township do

provide for what Mr. Bissinger is proposing but they have not seen it in Lower Makefield. 


Ms. Frick asked that when they come in again, the lines be made clearer on the Plan with

regard to setbacks, buffers, natural resources, etc.  She stated it is impossible to determine

the extent of these items on the Plans they have presented.  Mr. Bissinger stated they

recognize this, and the next submission will be made much clearer.  Ms. Frick stated she

wants to make sure it is very clear what the homeowners will be able to do with their


April 14, 2003                                                                  Planning Commission - page 3 of 4



Mr. Roeper asked if the culvert on Woodside Road was re-built, and Mr. Doherty stated it






Mr. Roeper noted the corrected pages received from Bucks County Planning Commission. 

He stated he has also provided this evening two pages which were omitted and should be

included in the Draft. 



Mr. Roeper noted “b” at the top of the right-hand column.  He stated if they were to

recommend that the Wright Farm be re-zoned to O/R and a portion of the Matrix property

be approved for Senior Housing, would this be considered a “departure from current

zoning patterns.”  Mr. Koopman stated it would.  Mr. Roeper suggested that these words

be changed to permit them to make these recommendations.  Mr. Roeper also noted the

language which states “the majority of the remaining open land is north of I-95.” 

Mr. Roeper stated he feels it is actually northwest of I-95.  Mr. Stainthorpe also noted the

location of the Sterling Farm.  After review of the Township Map, it was agreed that it

should be changed to “northwest of I-95.”


Mr. Roeper noted pages 96 and 97 which are new.  He noted Page 96 regarding

distribution of real estate taxes. He questions what they are trying to say in this paragraph. 

Mr. Koopman stated there is more development that is now taxed and inflation must be

considered.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated it is not inflation across the board since the older homes

are not assessed any higher. He stated the new homes just cost more money.  Mr. Roeper

stated he feels Ms. Bush will have to do additional work on this section. 


Mr. Roeper noted the section regarding tax exempt properties which total $4.5 million and

asked if Farmland Preservation land and open space is tax exempt. Mr. Koopman stated

Farmland Preservation land is not tax exempt but it is minimally taxed since it is farmland. 

Open space used for Township purposes is tax exempt.  He stated there are some gray

areas.  Mr. Roeper asked about the open space corridors along streams.  Mr. Koopman

stated he does not feel these are taxed but they may have to look into this further. 

Mr. Koopman asked how they arrived at the dollar amount shown, and Mr. Roeper stated

it is probably the assessed value of the land that does not pay taxes.  Mr. Koopman stated

probably they should clarify this.


Mr. Roeper noted Page 99 particularly the table of debt obligation.  He stated the Board of

Supervisors recently approved re-financing and feels something should be included in this

section that there has been a re-financing. Mr. Koopman stated Mr. Taylor would have this



Mr. Roeper noted Page 103. He noted the new paragraph indicating possible changes in

income and real estate taxes.  He stated this was included after they saw what the impact

would be on Lower Makefield if the Governor’s plan goes through.  He stated Lower

Makefield residents will be severely impacted and taxes  could be increased as much as

67%.  He asked if this paragraph should be made stronger.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated there




April 14, 2003                                                                Planning Commission - page 4 of 4



would not be an impact on Township or County taxes.  He added there could also be

changes because of the 19 mill limit and the Township will have to consider additional

taxes or cutting expenses.  He stated they may have to consider an Earned Income Tax. 

It was noted the Township may not be able to do this if the Governor’s plan goes through

and income taxes are increased. 


Mr. Roeper noted the section on capital improvements and some minor wording changes

were noted by Mr. Roeper to be made in this section.


Mr. Koopman asked if the Planning Commission is on track for the Public Hearing which

was proposed for May 12, and Mr. Roeper stated they are.  Mr. Koopman stated he and

Ms. Frick will work on the advertisement to be included in order to meet the advertising 

requirements.    It was agreed to obtain a price from Bucks County Planning Commission

for fifty copies and a price for seventy-five copies and they will then decide how many

should be ordered.



There being no further business, Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Shavel seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:35 p.m.


                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,





                                                                        Michael Shavel, Secretary