TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PLANNING COMMISSION

MINUTES – DECEMBER 13, 2004

 

 

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on December 13, 2004.  Secretary Friedman called the meeting to order at 735 p.m.

 

Those present:

 

Planning Commission:   Karen Friedman, Secretary

                                                Fred Allan, Member

                                                Cynthia Harrison, Member

                                                William Taylor, Member

 

Others:                                     Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning

                                                John Koopman, Township Solicitor

                                                James Majewski, Township Engineer

                                                Drew Wagner, Township Engineer

                                    Steve Santarsiero, Supervisor Liaison (joined meeting in  

                                      progress)

 

Absent:                         John Pazdera, Planning Commission Chairman

 

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Ms. Harrison moved and Mr. Allan seconded to approve the Minutes of November 8, 2004 as written.  Motion carried with Mr. Taylor abstained.

 

 

#557 – CHANTICLEER – APPROVAL OF REVISED PRELIMINARY/FINAL PLAN

 

Mr. Edward Murphy, attorney, was present with Mr. William Briegel, engineer.

Mr. Murphy showed the Plan which was approved as a Final Plan in the summer.  He

noted the highlighted section of the Plan that has been changed since Approval as Realen

subsequently purchased the Miller property of two and a half acres.  A Revised Sketch

Plan was shown and the road has been shifted farther to the east and further away from

the Waters of the Commonwealth.  They eliminated the flag lot #12.  The lot count has

gone up by two and they are further away from the pipeline.  Everything else on the Plan

is the same as was approved. 

 

The 12/7/04 PCS review letter was noted, and Mr. Murphy stated they have no issues

with this letter.  The Waivers previously requested are still required.  Mr. Murphy stated

they did submit this as an Amended Final Plan, but Ms. Frick stated because the new

December 13, 2004                                                     Planning Commission – page 2 of 9

 

 

parcel was not part of the original Final Plan, they had to re-submit.  Mr. Murphy stated

they submitted it as a Preliminary Plan, but would request that it be treated as a

Preliminary/Final.  Mr. Murphy stated there are no issues with the CKS letter.  The

sewers will still go the way previously discussed, and they are still waiting for the issue

of the moratorium to be resolved.  No additional Waivers are being requested.

 

Mr. Allan asked if the two new lots meet all requirements, and Mr. Murphy stated they

do.

 

Mr. Taylor asked about the contours along the Golf Course, and Mr. Briegel showed this

on the Plan and stated everything sheets down off the Golf Course toward Dyers Creek. 

He stated the water will go down the swale which will be redefined.  The location of the

detention basin was shown.  Mr. Majewski noted an area where they may need a storm

inlet, and they will discuss this further.  This comment is included in the PCS review

letter.

 

Mr. Jeff Fogel asked when the Plans will be available to the Public, and Ms. Frick stated

the Plans have been available for approximately two months.

 

Mr. Allan moved, Ms. Harrison seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend

to the Board of Supervisors approval of the Preliminary/Final Plan dated 2/27/03, last

revised 10/8/04 subject to compliance with the PCS letter dated 12/7/04 and the CKS

letter dated 11/4/04.

 

 

#543 – MINEHART SUBDIVISION PRELIMINARY PLAN DISCUSSION

 

Mr. John VanLuvanee, attorney, Mr. Chris McGinn, and Mr. Ken Bissinger, Schoor

DePalma, engineer, were present.  Mr. VanLuvanee stated they were last present in June

of 2004.  Mr. VanLuvanee stated the number of lots has been reduced by one from the

Plan presented in June.   This was due to concerns over stormwater management issues. 

He stated they have filed a revised Application to the Zoning Hearing Board.  Tonight

they would like to discuss the issue of the shared driveway that had been previously

discussed.    Previously this was a three-lot shared driveway, and they have reduced this

to two.  The Zoning  Hearing Board Application has been filed in the alternative.  A

shared driveway will eliminate the need for a Variance from the encroachment into the

wetlands and reduce it to a wetland buffer encroachment only.  He stated he feels there

was some difference of opinion on the Planning Commission over the shared driveway.  

They feel they have resolved the resource protection issue.  Mr. VanLuvanee stated they

also need Variance for utility lines. 

 

Mr. VanLuvanee noted the PCS review letter dated 12/8/04, specifically Items #19, #20

and #21.  He stated he feels with regard to Item #19 they do account for the maximum

December 13, 2004                                                     Planning Commission – page 3 of 9

 

 

impervious coverage allowed. He stated they are not seeking a Variance from resource

protection.  He stated they would prefer not to have to cut more trees down. 

Mr. Majewski stated there is room on all these lots to install additions, etc.

Mr. VanLuvanee stated he feels they can accommodate this.  Mr. Majewski stated they

would like for them to add into the building envelope how much impervious could be put

in and make sure that they account for it in the stormwater calculations.  Mr. VanLuvanee

stated they can do this. Mr. Koopman stated a lot of this tract is not able to be developed

because it is natural resources.  Mr. VanLuvanee stated he feels as part of any Variance

Application, the individual homeowner requesting the Variances would have to provide

for the stormwater increase.

 

Ms. Harrison noted Lot #8.  Mr. VanLuvanee stated this is getting conveyed to the current property owners, and there will be no new buildings 

 

Mr. Santarsiero joined the meeting at this time.

 

Ms. Frick asked if they should put a note on the Plan that the purchasers cannot exceed a

certain amount of impervious surface, and Mr. VanLuvanee stated this is one way they

could do this.  Mr. Koopman stated he feels they should look into this further to see how

they want to do this.  Mr. VanLuvanee stated they could do it lot by lot or for the entire

development.  Mr. Koopman stated he and Mr. Majewski will look into this further. 

Ms. Frick stated she feels it should be lot by lot which is easier to calculate if someone

comes in for a Variance.  Mr. Koopman stated the amount that is allowed will have to

work with the stormwater management.  Mr. McGinn stated a large area of the coverage

would be with the driveway.  He asked if they could consider having pervious paving in

the Township, and Ms. Frick stated the Ordinance does not permit this.  Mr. VanLuvanee

stated he feels the best way is to do it lot by lot.  He stated any other way would become an enforcement issue.  Ms. Frick stated it is difficult to keep track of and not always fair. 

She stated she feels it will be difficult to determine how they will calculate this if they do

not yet know the amount of the first floor.  Mr. Majewski stated he feels Mr. McGinn

needs to let them know what size house they intend to construct and to advise the

homeowners that there are limits on the size of the home.

 

Mr. Allan stated he feels there should be a letter from the developer signed by the

purchaser indicating that they understand that this is all the impervious surface they can

have.  Ms. Frick stated they do have the 190.  Mr. Allan stated for this he feels they

need  a separate document that indicates that they know how much impervious surface

they can have on the lot.

 

Mr. VanLuvanee agreed to make this proposal on a lot by lot basis and review it with

Mr. Majewski.  Mr. VanLuvanee stated this will not impact the Variance since they are

not requesting any Variances to natural resource protection.  Mr. Koopman stated they

 

December 13, 2004                                                     Planning Commission – page 4 of 9

 

 

are looking for a Variance from the buffers which are natural resource protection areas,

and Mr. VanLuvanee agreed.

 

Item #20 was noted regarding the peak discharge rate.  Mr. VanLuvanee stated with

respect to the area that is being disturbed, they are meeting the 50% pre-development

ratio.  They are not meeting it with respect to the areas not being disturbed.  He stated the

Ordinance refers to the site as a whole. He stated if they were to retain more, they would

have to take down more trees and have more of an encroachment.  He stated this is

similar to the reasons noted in Item #19.  He stated this is why they are requesting a

Waiver.  He stated this is a site specific situation because of this particular tract.

 

Mr. McGinn stated they did test for perc on the upper portion of the property, and it did

work.  He stated it did not work for the lower portion of the tract.  Mr. VanLuvanee

stated they have done a lot of work on the stormwater issue.

 

Mr. Majewski stated the Ordinance was rewritten to try to control flooding.  He stated

they are still releasing less water. Mr. Koopman  noted there were similar issues with

Chanticleer, and he asked if they have treated the Application the same as they treated

that development.  Mr. Majewski stated this Application will need a Wavier. 

Mr. Koopman stated they will also still need Variances, and Mr. VanLuvanee

acknowledged this and stated they have a Hearing date of January 18, 2005 with the

Zoning Hearing Board.

 

Mr. VanLuvanee noted Item #21.  He stated originally they had individual on-lot

detention basins on some of the lots.   It had been suggested that they consider

underground seepage beds, and Mr. Majewski has indicated there may be a water table

impact.  He stated if there is a concern with the seepage beds, they could go back to the

basins.  He asked if they would like to have them work with this with the engineers.

 

Mr. Majewski stated they had considered putting a detention basin between Lots #5 and

#6.  Mr. Koopman suggested that they continue to work with Mr. Majewski, but feels the

Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission will have to look at this conceptually

before they make a final decision.  Mr. Koopman stated he does not feel they have had

many instances where they addressed this on a lot by lot basis in the past in the

Township.

 

Mr. Bissinger stated the lots that are a problem are in the area which is heavily wooded,

and they wanted to minimize the impact on tree disturbance.   They are trying to find a

creative way to handle this rather than the typical solution of building a basin.  He noted

the creek on the tract which bisects the property.

 

Mr. Majewski stated the Township is going to have to start considering on-lot handling of

water as required by the new standards.  This promotes ground water recharge and

December 13, 2004                                                     Planning Commission – page 5 of 9

 

 

infiltration as a first line of stormwater management before you get  to detention basins.  He stated some areas on this site are fine for perc, but the remainder is marginal. There is also a high water table. 

 

Mr. VanLuvanee stated they will agree to continue to work with Mr. Majewski.

 

Mr. VanLuvanee asked about the 50% rate of run off requirement because of the

difference between how things are handled now and how they may be handled in the

future.  Mr. Majewski stated this has come up on a number of projects; and they do

recognize that for areas that are off site or areas that are undisturbed, they would not

make them reduce it to 50%.  Waivers have been given for this in the past. 

 

There was further discussion  on the shared driveway.  Mr. VanLuvanee stated they have

now reduced it from three lots to two lots sharing the driveway and eliminated the need

for a wetlands encroachment Variance.  It would be only a buffer issue.  He asked if the

Planning Commission would now look more favorably on this.  He stated from reviewing

the comments when this was discussed in June, he felt a majority of the Board was in

favor of the shared driveway if it meant less disturbance to the wetlands. 

 

Mr. Taylor stated he feels a shared driveway creates major neighbor issues. 

Ms. Friedman agreed.  Ms. Frick stated the Township  is currently involved in one of

these situations.  Mr. VanLuvanee stated if they do it correctly up front with the proper

documents, it is usually  not a problem.  Mr. Allan stated he would prefer that they

disturb the wetlands a little more as opposed to having a shared driveway. 

Mr. VanLuvanee stated he did file in the alternative with the Zoning Hearing Board to

cover this.   Ms. Friedman stated she would not be in favor of a shared driveway and

would like to see them develop this in such a way that they have the minimal amount of

disturbance.  Mr. VanLuvanee stated they did file a Plan with the Zoning Hearing Board

showing ten feet of separation.  Mr. Majewski stated possibly they could have it five feet

in this area to minimize the disturbance.  Mr. Allan stated he would be in favor of this

since it would take the Township out of the mix.  Ms. Frick stated the Variances they will

receive from the Zoning Hearing Board must be on the Plan, and the Plans must be very

clear.  She stated it is impossible for the average person to interpret the Plans with all of

the setbacks and notes on the Plans.  Mr. VanLuvanee agreed.  He asked that she set out

what she would like disclosed and they would agree to accommodate her concerns.

 

Mr. Allan asked Mr. Hackman how the water run off impacts him.  Mr. Hackman stated

it floods routinely at Woodside and Lindenhurst Roads.  He stated the water level comes

up to the point where it comes up to his garage.  Ms. Friedman stated she feels the

disturbed areas are going to impact the undisturbed areas and this is why she is concerned

about their inability to meet the 50% requirement on the undisturbed areas.

 

 

December 13, 2004                                                     Planning Commission – page 6 of 9

 

 

Mr. VanLuvanee stated this development is downstream from Mr. Hackmna’s property. 

He stated if they hold the water back it will slow down the ability to get the water off

quickly and may then back up.  Mr. Allan stated the Township must be on top of this

water situation.

 

Mr. Hackman stated the Township has gone to great lengths to protect the natural

resources, and he did not hear any discussion about the Variance they are asking for.

He asked if the Planning Commission gives input to the Zoning Hearing Board on these

matters.  He would hope that they would try to maintain the Ordinances.  Mr. Hackman

stated Lindenhurst Road is a dangerous road, and he sees two of the driveways are

coming out onto Lindenhurst Road.  He stated they have tried to keep driveways off of

Lindenhurst, and he feels the driveways should be run out to Woodside Road.  He stated

Mr. Minehart’s driveway previously went out to Lindenhurst Road, and he moved it to

Woodside Road since he was on the corner.  Mr. Santarsiero stated this concern was

expressed at the prior meeting.  Mr. Hackman stated his concern is that they are taking

this Plan to the Zoning Hearing Board as if the Planning Commission has approved it,

and the Variances will dictate how the Plan will be done.  Mr. VanLuvanee stated this is

not accurate.  He stated they are not taking it to the Zoning Hearing Board with approval

from the Planning Commission.  He stated three of the four Variances relate to utilities. 

The fourth Variance relates to the driveway which they have now discussed with the

Planning Commission.  He stated they are not reporting to the Zoning Hearing Board that

the Planning Commission has made a recommendation.

 

Ms. Friedman stated they did discuss the Lindenhurst Road driveways in June. 

Mr. VanLuvanee stated they do not really have any alternative. He stated they can meet

the sight distance requirements, and they will have to get a PennDOT permit for the

driveways.    Mr. Allan asked that they show the sight lines on the Plans.

 

Mr. Ron Seagrave, Trowbridge Drive, stated he is also concerned with the driveways on

Lindenhurst Road.  He stated one of them is almost perpendicular to Trowbridge Drive

where there is a bus stop. He stated this has been noted as an area where there have been

some near misses.  He stated the Board of Supervisors is considering traffic calming

measures at this location and to add two driveways seems to be exacerbating the

situation  Mr. Santarsiero stated they are also considering a turn in-area at this location

so the bus can pull off the road. 

 

Mr. Allan stated he feels they will need to make the driveways large enough so that the

vehicles can be turned around in the driveway so they do not back out onto Lindenhurst

Road.  Ms. Frick stated they did this on a Subdivision on Edgewood Road, and they were

required to have turn-arounds so that vehicles would not back out onto Edgewood Road. 

Mr. VanLuvanee stated Mr. Majewski did comment on this as well, and they will

comply.  They do not need relief as there is room to provide for this.

 

December 13, 2004                                                     Planning Commission – page 7 of 9

 

 

Mr. Hackman asked if they have considered an access road off of Woodside Road into

those lots so that they do not have to go out onto Lindenhurst Road.  Mr. Allan stated

they cannot get there.  Mr. VanLuvanee noted the Trans-Continental pipeline across the

middle. Mr. Hackman stated across the street they run over the pipeline numerous times. 

Mr. VanLuvanee stated there would also be a resource protection issue and they would

have to cut down several acres of trees.  The road would also be longer than permitted by

Ordinance.  Mr. Hackman suggested that if they are going to allow the driveways on

Lindenhurst Road, that they try to bring them together.  Ms. Friedman stated they will

discuss this issue along with other issues which need to be resolved with the Township

engineer.

 

Mr. Majewski asked what they would feel about a shared driveway on Lindenhurst Road

where it is more of a safety issue.  It was agreed that the Planning Commission would

still prefer them to have separate driveways, although they could be close together. 

 

 

#532-A – FLOWERS-MADANY TRACT PRELIMINARY PLAN DISCUSSION

 

Mr. David Shafkowitz and Mr. Brian Focht were present.  Mr. Shafkowitz stated they

have now named the tract Brookshire Estates.  He stated they were asked to do several

things at their last meeting with the Planning Commission, and they had indicated at that

time that they may be wiling to consider this a Preliminary/Final Plan.  He stated this is a

twenty-nine lot Subdivision on sixty-seven acres partially in Newtown Township and

partially in Lower Makefield Township.  They have worked on the lot  configuration in

terms of addressing some of the Planning Commission’s concerns.  The lots range in size

from 34,000 to 70,000 square feet.  They had been asked to obtain Zoning Hearing Board

relief; and the Zoning Hearing Board, after some deliberation, did grant the Variances

needed.    They were also asked to obtain guidance from Newtown Township on the

access out to Gauks Lane.  He stated they did submit the Plan to Newtown Township and

received reviews.  He provided tonight information related to this.  He stated one lot is

partially in Newtown Township and partially in Lower Makefield and when they revise

the Subdivision Plan, they will have to pick who will be the taxing authority for that

particular lot.  In this instance they will assign it to Newtown Township so there will be

no split taxing obligation.  All services for that lot would come from Newtown Township. 

He stated they did have this conversation with Newtown.  He stated if the Township

grants Preliminary/Final, the lay out would be fixed and then Newtown would only be

able to look at the issues which relate to what is in their Township.

 

Mr. Shafkowitz stated they will comply with the items in the PCS review letter dated

12/7/04.

 

 

 

December 13, 2004                                                     Planning Commission – page 8 of 9

 

 

Mr. Allan stated even though Gauks Lane is primarily in Newtown Township, the people

living on that street will be Lower Makefield Township residents and will be impacted by

Newtown as to who will plow the street, etc.  Mr. Shafkowitz stated they are going to

propose that this be a private street and it would be the responsibility of the lots that take

access on it to take responsibility for it.  He stated Gauks Lane in Newtown Township is

a public road.  Ms. Friedman asked if this has ever been done, and Ms. Frick stated while

it was done in Timber Lakes, about five years ago they changed it to a public street

because the residents complained that they were not getting Township services.

 

Mr. Hackman stated he believes the Zoning Ordinance says every road should front on a

public street.  Ms. Frick stated it says a public street or a road that meets Township

standards.  Mr. Allan stated he feels they should discuss with Newtown Township that

this be Lower Makefield’s responsibility and that it be a public road dedicated to the

Township.  Ms. Friedman stated the Lower Makefield Township plow would have to

plow Gauks Lane in Newtown Township to get to this area.  Mr. Majewski stated they

will have to travel about one mile from the last place they plow to get to this location. 

Mr.  Shafkowitz noted the information he provided this evening and stated some of the

Plans show taking access from Washington Cross Road rather than Gauks Lane. 

Mr. Koopman asked if they discussed this with Newtown Township , and Mr. Shafkowitz

stated they did go to a Planning Commission meeting and are scheduled to go back in

January.  They have not gone to the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors.

Ms. Harrison stated she feels Scheme 2 makes the most sense because it stays more in

Lower Makefield and adds the least amount of impervious.   This is also the shortest

distance to the main road.   Mr. Allan agreed that he would prefer Scheme 2.  He

suggested they talk to Newtown Township and advise them that Lower Makefield would

take care of the maintenance of the road if Newtown Township pays a certain amount

each year.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels there is probably precedent for this, and

Ms. Frick stated she feels this may have come up in Orchard Hill with Yardley Borough.

Ms. Frick stated they did advise Newtown Township of the meeting this evening. 

Mr. Santarsiero agreed to put this issue on the next Agenda of the Southeastern League of

Municipalities.

 

Mr. Shafkowitz stated he feels if they advise Newtown Township that Lower Makefield

would prefer Scheme 2, they can then have the Township work out a Municipal

Agreement.  He stated if the developer has to endow the problem at least initially, he

feels they would be willing to do so. 

 

Ms. Frick stated they will need an extension this evening, and Mr. Shafkowitz agreed to

provide this.

 

Mr. Allan thanked them for making the changes which had been requested. 

Mr. Shafkowitz asked if he could come back on this Plan once this issue is resolved once they go through Newtown Township, and Ms. Frick asked that he contact her.

December 13, 2004                                                     Planning Commission – page 9 of 9

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Ms. Friedman welcomed William Taylor as the new Planning Commission member

 

Ms. Frick stated this morning she received an e-mail dated Saturday evening from the

Morrisville Borough Manager inviting them to attend their Draft Comprehensive Master

Plan meeting this evening.  She stated there will be another meeting in January, and she

will advise the Planning Commission of the date.

 

Mr. Taylor noted the memo they received regarding the Board of Supervisors engaging the Heritage Conservancy to work on the Township’s historic properties.

 

Mr. Allan stated the Planning Commission is going to have to address stormwater

management issues in the Township. Mr. Koopman stated the Township needs to address

Ordinance changes regarding stormwater management which may be fairly

comprehensive.  He feels these items will be before the Planning Commission early next

year.  Ms. Friedman stated she has been working with the EAC and she did invite an

individual to come speak to the Township who deals with stormwater management.  She

would like that individual to conduct a seminar on on-site stormwater management. 

Ms. Harrison stated possibly they could invite the other Townships in the area as well

since this is a regional issue.  Ms. Friedman stated the individual’s name is Neil

Weinstein.  She stated it will cost $1,00 to $2,000 to have him do a two to four hour

seminar.  Mr. Santarsiero asked that Ms. Friedman provide him with the information so

that he can bring this up.  He stated if the other Townships are interested, possibly they

could split the cost.  Mr. Allan stated he feels the Lower Makefield Township Planning

Commission is going to have problems with future subdivision with respect to ground

water. Mr. Majewski stated there are model Ordinances that have been proposed by the

DEP and the Ordinances do have to be enacted by the Township. 

 

 

There being no further businesses, Mr. Allan moved, Ms. Harrison seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 9:25 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                                        Karen Friedman, Secretary