TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PLANNING COMMISSION

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.

 

Those present:

 

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)

 

Others:                                     Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning

                                                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.

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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

this request.

 

Ms. Gould asked about the height of the light standards, and Mr. Majewski stated they are

20 feet.

 

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

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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

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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

appropriate. 

 

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

to obtain.

 

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.

 

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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.

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Mr. Roeper stated he is pleased to announce that Mr. Pazdera has been re-appointed to the

Planning Commission

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                                        Michael Shavel, Secretary