TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD
MINUTES - MAY 28, 2003
The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on May 28, 2003. Chairman Roeper called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
Planning Commission: Albert Roeper, Chairman
John Pazdera, Vice Chairman
Michael Shavel, Secretary
Deborah Gould, Member (joined meeting in progress)
Andrew Strauss, Member (joined meeting in progress)
John Koopman, Township Solicitor
James Majewski, Township Engineer
Pete Stainthorpe, Supervisor Liaison
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Shavel seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of April 14, 2003 as written.
TABLING OF MINUTES
Due to lack of a quorum able to vote on the Minutes, Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Shavel seconded and it was unanimously carried to table the Minutes of April 28, 2003.
#520 - BUCKS CENTRAL CHURCH - PRELIMINARY/FINAL PLAN APPROVAL
Mr. Edward Murphy, attorney, was present and stated an Application was first submitted
in the fall of 1998 for a place of worship.
Ms. Gould joined the meeting at this time.
Mr. Murphy stated a Special Exception was granted by the Zoning Hearing Board in late
December, 1998; and shortly thereafter, a Land Development Plan was submitted and went
through the normal review process. There was a problem with regard to storm water and
the potential need for an easement off site in order to discharge the stormwater and this
matter took a lot of time to resolve. The Church then purchased the site outright. Because
of the extended time period, the Special Exception that was originally granted in 1998 and
had been renewed a number of times did expire; and they had to submit a new application
for a Special Exception from the Zoning Hearing Board. In late January of this year the
Zoning Hearing Board did grant the Special Exception to construct a place of worship
conditioned upon the requirement that if public sewers were eventually available within
500’ of the property, a connection would be required.
May 28, 2003 Planning Commission - page 2 of 6
Mr. Strauss joined the meeting at this time.
The Plans which are now before the Planning Commission have been revised several times
to address the review comments from PCS. The Plan is the subject of the 5/22/03 PCS
review letter with which they have no issues. There are some waivers which are required,
and there is an item in the PCS letter about the possible extension of a length of sidewalk
on which the Planning Commission should comment. Mr. Murphy stated the Church has
been able to raise sufficient funds in order to start construction of the building.
The CKS letter of 5/22/03 was provided by Ms. Frick to Mr. Murphy this evening.
Mr. Roeper noted the second paragraph of this letter, and Mr. Murphy stated this is
consistent with the Zoning Hearing Board decision; and if the timing works out, they
would be happy to connect. If the timing is not right, they do intend to construct the
on-site septic system and will connect to the public sewers when they are available. They would agree to show a likely connection to the public sewer system on the Plan.
Mr. Murphy stated they would agree to review the new Preliminary Plan for the adjacent subdivision and consider where a connection could be made.
Mr. Roeper noted the PCS letter and asked Mr. Majewski if there is anything that should
not be given as a Waiver. Mr. Majewski stated he feels all the Waiver requests are
appropriate and his office would have no problem recommending approval. He stated the
Bucks County Planning Commission has recommended that the sidewalk be extended and
he does feel this should be done. Mr. Murphy stated they would be happy to comply with
Ms. Gould asked about the height of the light standards, and Mr. Majewski stated they are
Mr. Pazdera moved and Ms. Gould seconded to recommend to the Board of Supervisors
approval of the Preliminary Plans dated 5/7/03 subject to compliance with the PCS letter
dated 5/22/03, further recommend approval of Waivers to SALDO as outlined in that letter,
recommend approval for sidewalk connection as outlined in the Bucks County Planning
Commission letter and further subject to the 5/22/03 CKS letter.
There was no public comment.
Mr. Murphy asked if they would consider this a Preliminary/Final Approval, and
Mr. Majewski stated he felt the Plans were ready to be considered as Preliminary/Final.
This was acceptable to the Planning Commission, and the Motion carried unanimously.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Ms. Gould moved and Mr. Pazdera seconded to approve the Minutes of 4/28/03 as written.
Motion carried with Mr. Shavel abstained.
ADOPTION OF COMPREHENSIVE MASTER PLAN UPDATE AND MOTION TO FORWARD TO BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Mr. Roeper stated following the last meeting, they contacted the Bucks County Planning
Commission and they made all of the changes requested. He has reviewed the corrected
May 28, 2003 Planning Commission - page 3 of 6
pages and feels they are in order. PCS changed Map #9 so it now reflects the Historic
Village of Edgewood in full. Maps #6 and #7 were brought up to date to show the Farmland Preservation property as well as a number of other areas which the Township has control over or owns along streambeds, etc. Mr. Roeper stated some of these changes were in response to Mr. Strauss’ comments.
Mr. Gary Cruzan noted the Historic Village map indicates the Masonic Temple is in the
Historic District and it is not on the other zoning maps this way. Ms. Frick stated the
Masonic Temple has always been in the Historic District according to the Ordinance.
Mr. Koopman stated there is a Historic/Commercial Zoning District and that is not
necessarily the same as property that is in the Historic District. Ms. Frick noted the notation on the map indicating this. Mr. Koopman stated the Masonic Temple is zoned Residential but is it subject to the Historic regulations.
Mr. Pazdera moved, Ms. Gould seconded and it was unanimously carried to adopt the
Comprehensive Master Plan Update draft dated 5/28/03.
Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Shavel seconded and it was unanimously carried to forward the
Draft dated 5/28/03 to the Board of Supervisors for their consideration and approval.
DISCUSSION AND APPROVAL OF RESOLUTION TO BE SENT TO THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
Mr. Roeper stated he felt it might be in order to send a recommendation to the Board of
Supervisors reflecting some of the things the Planning Commission has discussed and
make recommendations so that they might be considered simultaneously with the Master
Plan. He would hope that the Board would appoint a Committee to start working on these
items in the fall.
Mr. Roeper noted the draft of a Resolution he prepared and provided to the Planning
Commission in their packets and asked for reactions. Mr. Stainthorpe noted the
information on Age-Restricted Housing and stated he felt they had already appointed a
working committee of the Planning Commission to come up with recommendations.
Mr. Roeper stated they were to do this in open session but were not able to come up with
any conclusions on what should be done. He stated he feels they will need a group to sit
down and consider this further. He stated such groups have been formed in the past to
consider Farm/Business, the Farmland Preservation Corporation, etc. Mr. Koopman
stated the benefit of this type of group is that they would get someone from the Board of
Supervisors involved from the beginning. They feel it is good to get representatives from
different groups together to work on such committees.
Mr. Shavel stated he has a problem with re-zoning anything around the area of Lindenhurst
Road because he feels this is already a difficult area; and until the problems in the area are
resolved with respect to the trucks, he does not feel they should consider re-zoning this
area. He stated he feels they should look at traffic areas first and then determine the use for
the land. Ms. Gould stated if they indicate that age-restricted housing could go in any
twenty-five acre parcel in R-1 or R-2, they should be able to geographically outline it so
that they can eliminate Lindenhurst Road. Mr. Shavel stated he feels they should look at
all open parcels in the Township. Mr. Stainthorpe noted the proposed Resolution does
reflect what was put in the Master Plan, and Mr. Shavel stated this was the one problem he
May 28, 2003 Planning Commission - page 4 of 6
had with the Master Plan as well. Ms. Gould stated if they restrict this use to parcels of
twenty-five acres or more, they are restricting this use from some large parcels in the
Township which are less than twenty-five acres. Mr. Koopman stated they must decide if
they are considering re-zoning in general or only re-zoning for Age-Restricted Housing.
Mr. Pazdera suggested that they change Paragraph 3 of the Resolution to read like
Paragraph 2 to review present permitted Zoning and permitted uses in the area between
Lindenhurst Road and I-95 fronting on the By-Pass and draft Zoning changes as
Ms. Dana Weyrick stated she feels this is a sensitive item and citizens like herself should be
included in the make up of a Committee. She stated she is still concerned that they are
considering a specific site since they previously had an attorney coming in representing a
developer. Mr. Roeper stated they have included language in this Resolution that makes
this wide open and it is not site specific. They have recommended that the working
committee consist of two members of the Board of Supervisors, two members of the
Planning Commission, Ms. Frick, Mr. Majewski, Mr. Koopman when required, and
others. These meetings would be open to the public. Ms. Weyrick stated she feels her
group should be on this Committee since then it would be more of an open government
which her group is concerned about. Mr. Stainthorpe advised Ms. Weyrick they have
listened to their comments in the past and did not push forward with the Age-Restricted
Housing. The Township is now taking the next step in reviewing this process. He stated
he does feel that they have listened to the public. Mr. Roeper stated he is also
recommending that an individual not directly connected with the Township, such as a
member of the Bucks County Planning Commission, act as Chair of the working group.
Ms. Gould stated this would be a budgetary item since they would have to pay that
individual. Mr. Roeper agreed and stated it is also helpful to have someone from the Bucks
County Planning Commission involved since they would have access to other Ordinances
used by the surrounding Townships which are sometimes difficult for Township personnel
Mr. Roeper moved and Mr. Pazdera seconded to forward the draft dated 5/28/03 as revised
this evening to the Board of Supervisors for their consideration and approval.
Mr. Strauss stated when he first joined the Planning Commission the Age-Restricted
Housing issue was before them. He stated this Resolution is broader than Age-Restricted
Housing since it includes some other zoning issues. He stated when they were previously
discussing this he asked about density, other acreage amounts, etc. He stated he also asked
if the staff could provide them information on sites available and he was advised that the
“Planning Commission is the staff.” He stated he feels a committee should be a working
committee of the Planning Commission. He asked what the Planning Commission is
giving up by following the proposal being discussed by Mr. Roeper. Mr. Roeper stated
any recommendation from the working committee would come before the Planning
Commission for consideration and then for a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.
He stated the objective is to have a working group to include members of the Board of
Supervisors and the Planning Commission so ideas can be thoroughly discussed.
Members of the committee would then go back to their full Boards in order to get their opinions with respect to items being considered. He added that the advantage of a working committee is you can discuss the politics of a particular action along with the mechanics where normally this is not done in a formal meeting of the Planning Commission.
May 28, 2003 Planning Commission - page 5 of 6
Ms. Weyrick stated this is why she does not feel they should take it out of the Planning
Commission. Ms. Gould stated this process has worked in the past. She noted they are
not closed meetings but it is a less formal setting than a normal meting. Mr. Cruzan asked if
the committee would meet during the day, and Ms. Gould stated they normally do since
they need access to the office. Ms. Weyrick asked Mr. Roeper what he meant by
“politics,” and Mr. Roeper stated assuming they would be looking at an area on
Lindenhurst Road, they would have to consider the politics involved because of the
proximity to Newtown and Upper Makefield.
Mr. Strauss stated he feels as a Planning Commission member that they do not have
available to them in this forum the type of staff support to analyze the facts and make a
factual decision independent of the politics. He feels the Planning Commission is charged
with working factually and to receive staff advice for different uses in zones and this is the
rightful duty of the Planning Commission. Mr. Roeper stated this would take a significant
amount of time on the part of the Planning Commission. He stated were he not retired, he
would not have had the time to devote to the work he had to do on the Comprehensive Master Plan.
Mr. Zachary Rubin, 1661 Covington Road, noted Table 8 of the Master Plan regarding
developable land and asked the difference between R-3 and R-3 Modified.
He asked if R-3M is already zoned for Age-Restricted Housing. Mr. Roeper stated there
is nothing at the present moment that provides for Age-Restricted Housing per se.
Ms. Frick stated lot size is the main difference between R-3 and R3M. She added that
R-3M came about approximately fifteen years ago to allow for smaller lots in the R-3 zone.
Mr. Roeper stated the working group could recommend to the Board of Supervisors that
they create additional R-4 areas and then state that they can have Age-Restricted Housing in
R-4 and make recommendations on changing various parcels to R-4.
Motion carried with Mr. Strauss abstained.
Mr. Roeper stated he is pleased to announce that Mr. Pazdera has been re-appointed to the
Mr. Roeper noted the Road Tour will take place on Friday. He stated those interested in
attending should be at the Township Building at 8:30 a.m. He asked if there are any areas
in the Township which should be included on the Road Tour, and Ms. Gould asked that
they include the proposed development on Stoopville Road (Flowers Tract). Ms. Gould
and Mr. Roeper indicated they would attend the Road Tour, although Ms. Gould stated she
will be unable to attend the luncheon following the Tour.
Mr. Roeper announced that the Board of Supervisors approved the Valley Day School
Subdivision Site Plan.
May 28, 2003 Planning Commission - page 6 of 6
There being no further business, Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Strauss seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:40 p.m.
Michael Shavel, Secretary