TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PLANNING COMMISSION

MINUTES - APRIL 28, 2003

 

 

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on April 28, 2003. Chairman Roeper called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

 

Those present:

 

Planning Commission:   Albert Roeper, Chairman

                                                John Pazdera, Vice Chairman

                                                Deborah Gould, Member

                                                Andrew Strauss, Member

 

Others:                                     Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning

                                                Timothy Duffy, Township Solicitor

                                                James Majewski, Township Engineer

                                                Pete Stainthorpe, Supervisor Liaison

 

Absent:                         Michael Shavel, Planning Commission Secretary

 

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

Mr. Pazdera moved, Ms. Gould seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of January 27, 2003 as corrected.

 

Mr. Pazdera moved and Mr. Strauss seconded to approve the Minutes of February 10, 2003 as corrected.  Motion carried with Ms. Gould abstained.

 

Mr. Pazdera moved, Ms. Gould seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of March 24, 2003 as written.

 

 

#541 - CHANTICLEER PRELIMINARY PLAN DISCUSSION

 

Mr. Edward Murphy, attorney, Mr. Mike Stadulis, and Ms. Susan Menno, engineer, were

present.  Mr. Murphy stated the Plans have not yet been revised from the initial submission

in February as they wanted to get input from the residents and Planning Commission

before they proceeded with the revisions.  He stated they do not need to go through the

PCS review letter in detail as most issues are “will comply,”  although there are specific

items they wish to review with the Planning Commission.

 

Mr. Murphy stated this is a compilation of three properties and in total is slightly less than

43 acres.    It is bounded on the north by Mount Eyre Road, on the east by an existing

residence and the proposed Golf Course property,  on the south by Delaware Rim Drive

and the Sunny Knolls development, and on the west by Gatefield and Kimbles Field

developments.  Mr. Murphy stated they are proposing seventeen new single family lots and

the retention of one existing home on Mt. Eyre Road to be on a lot of 2.71 acres.  Lot sizes

for the new lots vary from 8/10ths of an acre to 5 acres. 

 

 

April 28, 2003                                                                  Planning Commission - page 2 of 6

 

 

Mr. Murphy stated they need to decide if they want to be able to go from Mt. Eyre Road all

the way to Delaware Rim.  He stated the Police Department is concerned about the 

possibility of this being used as a cut through.  Mr. Murphy showed an alternate plan that

would not have this interconnection.  He stated this alternative would also preserve the

entirety of the stream corridor. There would be no reduction in the number of units

proposed.  He stated the Ordinance does require two points of access, and they would

therefore need the cooperation of the Township to do the alternative without the

interconnection. 

 

Mr. Murphy stated the second issue they wish to discuss is with regard to the setbacks.  He

stated a 75’ minimum front yard is required, and in many cases on the Plan if they did not

have to provide this amount of front yard, they could pull the homes further forward and

disturb less of the natural resources and steep slopes.  He stated they can meet the

requirements with regard to natural resources and steep slopes even if this alternative is not

approved.  He stated while the alternative would be a decision to be approved by the

Zoning Hearing Board, he wanted input from the Planning Commission as well.

 

 

Mr. Murphy stated the third issue has to do with the changes to the NPDES.  He stated

DEP is now making recommendations regarding groundwater recharge and infiltration. 

The Township’s Public Works Department has not been in favor of this in the past when

the Township took over ownership of the basins.  He stated the Applicant is prepared to

take ownership of the stormwater system and then do something more creative which will

permit more groundwater recharge.  Ms. Gould asked the impact of the additional water on

the woodlands.  Mr. Majewski stated the recharge area would not primarily be in the area

where there are trees.  He stated there could be a combination including wetland type

basins, retention basins, seepage basins for the roof leaders, etc.  Mr. Murphy stated in this

instance they would create the systems adjacent to the streams in the open areas so that they

could outlet it to the stream.  Mr. Roeper asked if the alternative plan without the through

road would require the creation of two Homeowners’ Associations since there would be

two separate communities.  Mr. Murphy stated they would have one Homeowner’s

Association, and they would have to ride around to the other side for maintenance of the

stormwater system.

 

Ms. Gould stated she is in favor of not crossing the stream since in the past the streams

have dried up where roads cross the streams. 

 

Mr. Roeper stated the Police Department questioned the road going straight through but did

not comment on emergency access.  He stated he feels from a safety aspect having the road

go through does have some safety advantages.  Mr. Pazdera asked the length of the cul-de-

sacs which would be created with the alternative plan.  Ms. Menno stated from Mt. Eyre

Road it is approximately 1,000 feet.  The other cul-de-sac is approximately 675 feet to the

property line. 

 

There was further discussion on the stormwater system.  Mr. Murphy stated under the

current Plan, they would propose that the system be owned by the Township.   With regard

to the alternative Plan which would most likely not look like something the Township normally accepts, they would agree to maintain it in perpetuity through a Homeowner’s Association.  Mr. Strauss asked if they feel an HOA would be capable of maintaining these facilities as designed, and Mr. Murphy stated he feels they would subject to comments from PCS.  He stated it would be less intensive to maintain as they would be more 

April 28, 2003                                                                  Planning Commission - page 3 of 6

 

 

naturalized basins and not mowed, etc.  Mr. Strauss asked about the type of maintenance normally required for these types of systems.  Mr. Stadulis stated Realen has been doing the wetland marsh basins for approximately ten years -  more commonly in Chester County because of the number of high quality streams, and they are maintained by the Homeowners’ Associations. He stated the homeowners documents would include an open space management plan which shows graphically the open space and the level of maintenance required.  The homeowners documents also describe in a narrative the reason for the maintenance.  They have had good success with this in the past.  Mr. Stadulis noted that when they were getting ready to proceed with dedication of one of their other projects in the Township, the residents called them asking that they not take out the wetlands vegetation that had grown in.  Since they were required to do so by Ordinance, he advised the residents that they would have to petition the Board of Supervisors in order to permit this more naturalized basin. 

 

Mr. Strauss asked the maintenance they propose for a wetland marsh.  Mr. Stadulis stated

the basins are planted with native wetland plants.  During the winter months when the

ground is frozen you can work on the basin.  This is to be done annually or bi-annually in

order to maintain the marsh situation.  Mr. Strauss asked about the access to the basins,

and Mr. Stadulis stated it would be through an easement on private property.  

 

Mr. Murphy noted if the Planning Commission wants them to proceed with the alternative stormwater management basin, they would need a waiver.  Mr. Stadulis stated this is something the Township is going to be hearing more about on all new Applications because of the new NPDES regulations.  Mr. Murphy stated they did do some infiltration on the Metz tract.  Mr. Roeper noted Lot #10 on the original submission which backs up to the pipeline easement.  He asked if this is changed on the alternate Plan.  Ms. Menno stated it stays the same on both Plans; but if they could move the homes forward into the front yard setback, this would help this situation and preserve more land in the rear.  Ms. Frick asked if those lots will include a Note that there can be no swimming pools.  Mr. Stadulis stated if this is required, they will comply.

 

Ms. Gould stated if they decide to take the road all the way through, she would be in favor

of the Police Department recommendation about having to come to a stop or make some

type of turn.  Mr. Stadulis stated there is some concern that the new Golf Course may

change the traffic patterns in the area.

 

Mr. Murphy stated they have seen the CKS review letter, and they do not feel there will be

a problem.

 

Mr. Strauss stated he is in favor of the alternate Plan since it would eliminate the stream

crossing and there would be less disturbance.    He stated he is also in favor of the

proposed alternative treatment for the stormwater system provided there is adequate care

given the area by the Association. 

 

Ms. Gould asked how often in the past the Township has agreed to a reduction in the front

yard setback.  Mr. Murphy stated they did do it for two lots at Meetinghouse, and this was

done at the Zoning Hearing Board level. In this instance there would be approximately

seven lots involved.  He stated he recognizes this is not the norm, but in site specific

situations where they could stay out of the natural resource areas, he feels this would be a

favorable change.  Mr. Pazdera stated he would be in favor of this provided they look at it

on a case by case basis.  He stated he does feel they would do environmental harm with the

April 28, 2003                                                                  Planning Commission - page 4 of 6

 

 

road crossing, and he would be in favor of the alternative Plan and the naturalized basins. 

Mr. Roeper stated on a case by case basis he would support reducing the front yard

setbacks.  He is also in favor of the naturalized basins.  Mr. Murphy stated everyone

Statewide is facing this; and he feels it will become the norm, and the Ordinance will most

likely have to be revised.

 

Mr. Roeper stated he is torn with regard to the road going through, but because of the

stream crossing, he would reluctantly be in favor of the alternative plan with two cul-de-

sacs rather than the through road.

 

Mr. Pat Miller, 1664 Delaware Rim, asked about the lot adjacent to his home.  Ms. Menno

stated it is slightly over the minimum lot size.  Mr. Miller noted the proximity of the gas

pipeline.  He also asked about the sewer system proposed, and Mr. Stadulis showed on the

plan how they will bring in public sewer and water.  Mr. Stadulis stated they will have a

force main.  Mr. Miller noted on the Plan an area where there is a spring during the rainy

season and stated he feels if a road goes through in this area it will back up.  Mr. Stadulis

stated there are a number of regulations which must be followed when you cross a pipeline. 

He stated the water will drain into the stormwater collection system.   Mr. Miller stated he

would not be in favor of a through road.

 

Mr. Roeper asked if any additional land will be required to connect the road to Del Rio, and

Mr. Murphy stated there is an easement already in place.

 

Ms. Joan Sullivan, 1612 Thistlewood, asked how far from her property will the new home

adjacent to her be located.  Ms. Menno stated there is a 50’ foot rear yard.  Mr. Murphy

stated if they are permitted to by the Township, they would pull this home out further into

the front yard.  Ms. Sullivan stated she is not in favor of the through road because of the

potential of people cutting through and because of safety concerns.  She asked what will be

required of the developer with regard to trees, etc. to mitigate sound and visual intrusion

noting that the development property is higher than the existing homes.  Mr. Majewski

stated the Township requires street trees to be planted in all new communities.  These

would be planted every forty feet on center and are typically twelve to fifteen feet tall at the

time they are planted.  Ms. Menno stated their Agreement with the Brays also requires them

to plant evergreens along the access road.  Ms. Sullivan noted the existing vegetation

between her property and the new development and asked if they are required to install

additional buffering.  Mr. Stadulis stated since it is a similar zoning, they are not required

to install any additional buffering. 

 

Mr. Rick Studer, Kimbles Field, asked the proposed date of the start of construction.

Mr. Murphy stated optimistically the Plans could be approved later this year and

construction could start either late this year or early next year.  Mr. Studer stated he would

be very concerned with a  street going through and would prefer the alternative Plan.

 

Mr. James Weinberg, Thistlewood Drive, stated he would like to know who is developing

the property and their history of development in the Township.  He stated there is a

significant amount of traffic on Mt. Eyre Road and he is concerned because of  the speeds

being traveled and this additional access.  He noted a significant number of people come

down Mt. Eyre Road from Newtown Township to get to I-95.  Mr. Weinberg asked about

the approval process, and Mr. Roeper reviewed the process as it goes through the Planning

Commission and Board of Supervisors.  Mr. Roeper stated the road access will be

reviewed by the Police Department to insure that the line of sight is according to the

April 28, 2003                                                                  Planning Commission - page 5 of 6

 

 

Ordinance and is as safe as it can be made within the limits of the property that is available. 

Mr. Roeper stated the Township is familiar with this developer and the neighbors are

welcome to speak to them following the meeting.

 

Ms. Bernadette Couch, 1032 Kimbles, asked if the basins will be located on private

property.  Mr. Murphy stated the proposal is that they will be owned by the Homeowners

Association.  The creek would probably be open space and subject to a Conservation

Easement.  Ms. Couch stated she wants to make sure that someone purchasing the property

will not clear out the stream or mow all the vegetation down.  Mr. Roeper stated there are

specific Ordinances relating to what they can and cannot do with the stream and the stream

corridors. 

 

Mr. Barry Rush, Thistlewood Drive, noted on the plan an existing home and asked if the

developer would consider purchasing this home so the access could be moved down to

limit the impact on the existing neighbors and provide a safer condition.  The owner of that

property was present this evening and stated he is not interested in selling his home to the

developer.  Mr. Majewski stated the proposed location on Mt. Eyre Road has the best sight

distance; and if there is a speeding problem, they should contact the Police Department. 

Mr. Rush asked the proposed price of the new homes, and Mr. Stadulis stated it will be

between $700,000 and $800,000.

 

Mr. John Beechum, 1612 Thistlewood, stated he heard there might be a restriction that

there could be no swimming pools, and Mr. Murphy stated this would be for those lots that

are in close proximity to the pipeline.  He stated this may also apply to lots which have

steep slopes, etc.  Mr. Beechum stated he would be in favor of more of a buffer being

provided.  Mr. Stadulis stated this is a similar piece of property to the adjacent property and

whenever  there are homes with common abutting rear yards which are the similar type of

homes, they do not screen them.  He stated if the owners feel this is necessary, they could

plant additional trees on their own properties and also install fences.  Ms. Sullivan stated

the existing homeowners in the community would like to have trees installed to buffer their

properties to protect their view and vantage point and protect them from street traffic that

they will be forced to hear and see.  Ms. Couch stated they are trying to protect their

property values. 

 

 

MASTER PLAN UPDATE PUBLIC HEARING DISCUSSION

 

Mr. Roeper stated the Planning Commission has received the copy of the latest draft.  This

has also been sent to the Board of Supervisors and to each of the administrative heads in

the Township as well as the Chairmen of the various Boards and Commissions in the

Township.  They have been asked to comment by May 5 so that they will have those

comments available by the Public Hearing to be held on May 12.  He stated the Bucks

County Planning Commission did a good job of making the changes and including the

maps which add a great deal to the document.  He noted Map #9 will be changed and will

be enlarged to show the complete HC District rather than just the Village of Edgewood. 

Information on the refunded bonds was not included in this copy because it was not yet

available, but it will be included in the Final. 

 

Page #103 Capital Improvements was noted and Mr. Roeper stated the last sentence needs

to be changed.

 

April 28, 2003                                                                  Planning Commission - page 6 of 6

 

 

Mr. Roeper suggested that anyone wishing to speak at the Public Hearing be asked to fill

out a card to include name, address, group affiliation if any, and what they wish to speak

on.   The cards will then be sorted and organized by Mr. Pazdera.  They will then be

passed to Mr. Roeper who will then call on the speakers.  The speakers will be asked not to

duplicate remarks.  Speakers will be limited to five minutes, and Ms. Frick will act as time

keeper and alert the speaker at the end of four minutes.  Bucks County Planning

Commission personnel will be present.  Unless there are a number of cards left with

important topics still to be considered, the meeting will adjourn at 11:00 p.m.  The audience

will be advised of this procedure at the start of the meting.  At the beginning of the meeting

Mr. Roeper will also discuss the reasons for the Master Plan and during that time

Mr. Pazdera will be reviewing and organizing the cards submitted. 

 

Mr. Roeper stated the next edition of the Master Plan will be sent to neighboring

Townships. 

 

 

SET DATE FOR SECOND PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING IN MAY

 

Mr. Roeper stated in order to get the Master Plan to the Board of Supervisors as soon as

possible, he feels they should have a meeting before the end of May; and inasmuch as the

regular Planning Commission meeting date will fall on Memorial Day, he feels they should

choose a different day that week to hold the meeting.  He stated they could limit the

discussion to the Master Plan unless there are pressing items.  It was agreed that the

meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 28. 

 

 

There being no further business, Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Strauss seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 9:05 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

                                                                        Albert Roeper, Chairman