TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PLANNING COMMISSION

MINUTES - SEPTEMBER 22, 2003

 

 

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on September 22, 2003.  Chairman Roeper called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.

 

Those present:

 

Planning Commission:   Albert Roeper, Chairman

                                                John Pazdera, Vice Chairman

                                                Michael Shavel, Secretary

                                                Karen Friedman, Member

                                                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 and Ms. Friedman seconded to approve the Minutes of September 8, 2003 as written.  Motion carried with Mr. Shavel abstained.

 

 

#544 - LIBERTY PROPERTY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP PRELIMINARY PLAN DISCUSSION

 

Mr. Bruce Hartlein, Vice President of Liberty Property, and Mr. John Hunt, engineer,

were present.  Mr. Hartlein stated the property involved is across from Lower Makefield

Corporate Center South.  They are the equitable owners of the property.  The existing

building is 30,000 square feet primarily warehouse with a small office section.  The prior

owners bottled and distributed water from this site.   A large corporation took over the

company and they stopped production at this location and no longer need the facility. 

 

Mr. Hartlein stated they propose to remove the industrial building and in its place construct

a new three-story office building similar in many ways to the building across the street at

Lower Makefield Corporate Center South.  They propose to add one additional curb cut off

Township Line Road which would line up with the Lower Makefield Corporate Center

driveway.  They also propose to move the existing driveway slightly.  They will for the

most part use the existing basin. He noted the basin was oversized and they felt this was

done because of waste water connected with the use when they were bottling water at the

site.   Ms. Frick stated she feels the basin was constructed in this way as a condition of the

Zoning Hearing Board to provide for full impervious coverage.

 

Mr. Hartlein stated they have received review letters from the Township engineer as well as

the Bucks County Planning Commission.  He noted they will comply with most items in

the PCS letter.  He noted the comment regarding sidewalks  - both internal and on

Township Line Road.  He stated there was a request for a sidewalk to service the parking

lot.  He stated they did omit a sidewalk by accident on the Plans and this will be added.

September 22, 2003                                                        Planning  Commission - page 2 of 5

 

 

Mr. Hartlein stated they have no problem with the comments regarding internal sidewalks. 

Mr. Majewski stated the Master Bikepath Plan does not call for a bikepath on this side of

the road.  Mr. Hunt stated they would request a waiver for sidewalks on their side, and

Mr. Roeper stated he did not feel this would be a problem.

 

Mr. Hartlein noted Item #2 in the PCS letter regarding the acute angles within the parking

area in front of the building.  He stated it would be difficult to work around this because

they do not have a rectangular site.  If they squared the building with the street, they would

have the same problem in the rear.  He stated because it is a triangular site, it creates a

problem.  Mr. Roeper asked if they would lose parking spaces if they turned it slightly, and

Mr. Hartlein stated they would.  Mr. Pazdera asked if they have looked at other designs for

the building.  Mr. Hartlein stated because of the triangular shape of the property and the

existing setbacks,  there are only a very limited number of places where they can place the

building.  He did look at other options and felt what they are proposing would be the most

efficient.  Mr. Majewski asked if they could take the driveway aisle for the front area and

curve it in so it is more of a 90 degree intersection.

 

Mr. Strauss joined the meeting at this time.

 

Mr. Majewski showed this option on the Plan which would result in the loss of

approximately four parking spaces.  He stated possibly they could make this up by reducing the stalls to 9’ in width if this is acceptable to the Board of Supervisors. He stated possibly the spaces in the far back corner where people may not be parking frequently could be of this reduced size.  Mr. Pazdera stated he would be in favor of whatever it takes to make the front area safer. 

 

Mr. Majewski asked about a sidewalk heading out from the building to the parking spaces

at the northern corner.  Mr. Roeper asked if there will be exits from the buildings to the rear

and sides as well as the front, and Mr. Hartlein stated they will have such exits and will

have sidewalks.  The lobby is a thru-lobby.  Handicap spaces are split between the front

and back of the building. 

 

Mr. Roeper stated Captain Roche of the Police Department has indicated he would prefer

that Exit B be opposite the exit from the development across the street.  Mr. Majewski

stated he does not feel they would have enough room to come in and turn without making

the angle too sharp.  He stated they would probably be over the property line.  He stated

possibly they could go up to the property line, but this would require relief from the

Ordinance.  Mr. Hunt stated he did not feel they could keep the driveway on their property

if they did this since they are at the very end of the triangle. 

 

Ms. Friedman stated she is in favor of lining up the driveways since there may be a light at

some time in the future, although she can see the problems with this given the constraints

of the property.  Mr. Pazdera stated he would like to be shown on paper that this cannot be

done.  Ms. Friedman asked if they could make this driveway narrower so that it is an

auxiliary entrance.   Mr. Hartlein stated he feels the other driveway will be the main

driveway since the traffic will be coming from I-95 for the most part. 

 

Mr. Strauss asked the use of the property to the north of the site, and Mr. Hartlein stated it

is Shady Brook Farm.

 

 

September 22, 2003                                                         Planning Commission - page 3 of 5

 

Mr. Shavel asked if it could be posted “no left” coming out.  Mr. Hartlein stated they do

not feel there is a conflict of left turn movements because there is 250’ separating the

driveways.  Mr. Pazdera stated he feels it will be a conflict because of the number of people

coming out at the same time.  Mr. Roeper asked that they look into this again to determine

if there is a configuration that would line up better with the opposite driveway.  Mr. Hunt

agreed to work with Mr. Majewski on this.

 

Mr. Roeper stated discussion of the sidewalks will hinge on what they do with the road.

 

Mr. Hartlein stated while there are a few other items, they can discuss these with

Mr. Majewski and they will comply with the other items in the PCS letter.

 

With regard to the ADA requirements, Mr. Hartlein stated their calculations show that

eleven handicap spaces are required.  The Township requires twenty-two.  Mr. Hartlein

stated they feel eleven is sufficient for this size building. He stated if there was a special

case with a tenant who had special requirements, they could add more. Mr. Majewski

stated what they have proposed does comply with ADA requirements.  Mr. Stainthorpe

stated at the last Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board created a Disabled Persons

Advisory Board so they should be advised that the Township takes these issues seriously. 

Mr. Koopman stated since this is a Zoning Ordinance requirement, they would have to

obtain a Variance from the Zoning Hearing Board.  Mr. Hartlein stated from their own

experience, they feel eleven is adequate and they would be willing to provide additional

spaces if needed for a special tenant.  Mr. Roeper stated he is not certain that the Board of

Supervisors would approve this, but they could go before the Zoning Hearing Board for a

Variance if they wish to pursue this reduction in handicap spaces.

 

Mr. Hartlein noted the Bucks County Planning Commission letter, Item #3, referring to the

truck loading area which is actually a service door where the dumpsters and loading facility

will be located.  He stated the only time there would be large trucks coming to the facility

would be a move in/move out situation which would be done only after working hours or

on the weekend.  They would not be permitted to move in or out during the middle of the

day.  He stated they have designed this so that the trucks can turn around.  He feels the

Bucks County Planning Commission was concerned with the small jog in this area and

impact on cars, but they would request that this be left as designed. 

 

The applicant will come back before the Planning Commission after meeting with the

Township engineer and considering the comments made by the Planning Commission this

evening.

 

 

#205-D - OXFORD OAKS SHOPPING CENTER DISCUSSION OF RECONFIGURATION OF PARKING LOT AREA

 

Mr. Roeper noted the letter to Ms. Frick from Mr. Majewski with regard to the Oxford

Oaks Shopping Center parking lot.  He stated they cannot impose anything on the shopping

center owner, although the owner has indicated a desire to comply as long as it does not

cause him any inconvenience. 

 

Mr. Majewski stated the suggestion made by Ms. Friedman regarding traffic arrows is a

good one. He stated she also suggested bumper stops, and he feels a few of these the first

couple of space could discourage some people from cutting through.  He stated the suggestion about a narrower island would not be what is normally recommended. 

September 22, 2003                                                         Planning Commission - page 4 of 5

 

 

He stated her suggestion about an alternate handicap aisle is a very good suggestion. 

Ms. Friedman stated the way it is configured now, they are asking handicapped people to

enter into the most used traffic aisle.  Mr. Majewski showed other locations on the Plan

where a handicap ramp and spaces could be located. 

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated Mr. Murphy did advise the Board of Supervisors that he would take

the recommendation of the Board to the shopping center owner.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated the

shopping center owner may agree to have this work done but may not be willing to pay for

it and it may have to be at Township expense.  Mr. Majewski has estimated that it would

cost approximately $10,000 to make these changes, and they would also need relief from

the Zoning Hearing Board.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated he feels the Board of Supervisors is in

favor of these changes. 

 

Ms. Friedman stated since the shopping center owner would be liable for any accidents,

she feels they would be in favor of this.  She would be in favor of not charging them to go

before the Zoning Hearing Board.  Mr. Koopman stated the Township and Zoning Hearing

Board could agree to waive the fee of going before the Zoning Hearing Board.

Ms. Friedman stated this is a busy parking lot and they should push for safety.  She also

suggested that the Township consider paying for some of the expenses. 

 

Mr. Strauss stated the Township has no real leverage.  Mr. Koopman stated they may have

something to trade as some of the tenants may want longer hours of operation.  Mr. Strauss stated he feels the shopping center parking lot as designed is unsafe.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated while this may be correct,  the existing Plan was approved by the Township. 

Mr. Koopman stated it was also approved by the Courts as it was by Court Stipulation.  Ms. Frick stated what they have now is actually better than what originally came into the Township.  Mr. Strauss asked if they have factual reports to back up the fact that this is an unsafe facility based on current driving patterns.   He stated he feels the request for change to the parking lot should go with a drawing and factual information to the shopping center owner and their insurance company.  Mr. Koopman stated even if a plan is approved by the

Township, he does not feel they have any right to force them to redo the parking lot. 

He does feel they can come up with a plan that the Township can agree to and send it to the

shopping center owner with a record of the accidents and advise them that the Township is

willing to work with them to make the changes. 

 

Ms. Friedman asked if there will be an impact on snow removal if they install the bumpers

being discussed.  Mr. Majewski stated this could present a problem. He stated they could

eliminate the concrete bumper stops and the arrows and this may make it more acceptable to

the shopping center owner. 

 

Mr. Majewski was asked to put together a revised drawing including the items discussed

this evening.  The Planning Commission will review this matter again next month before

making a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Mr. Roeper stated the Board of Supervisors tabled the adoption of the Master Plan and will

discuss it again on October 6.

 

 

September 22, 2003                                                         Planning Commission - page 5 of 5

 

 

Mr. Roeper stated tonight will be his last meeting and Mr. Pazdera will be the new

Chairman of the Planning Commission.  He stated it has been a pleasure working with the

Township and he provided in writing to the other members his thoughts on working on the

Planning Commission and what he sees for the future of the Planning Commission in the

coming years.

 

Mr. Pazdera stated it has been an honor working with Mr. Roeper and the Township is a

better place because of the work and effort he has put into the Township. 

 

It was noted that Mr. Shavel is also resigning from the Planning Commission.

 

There being no further business, Mr. Pazdera moved, Ms. Friedman seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:30 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

                                                                        John Pazdera, Vice Chairman