FEBRUARY 23, 2004
The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the
Planning commission: Karen Friedman, Secretary
Fred Allan, Member
Cynthia Harrison, Member
Others: Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning
John Koopman, Township Solicitor
James Majewski, Township Engineer
Steve Santarsiero, Supervisor
Absent: John Pazdera, Planning Commission Chairman
Andrew Strauss, Planning Commission Vice Chairman
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Mr. Allan moved, Ms. Harrison seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of February 9, 2004 as written.
#542 – FIRST NATIONAL BANK & TRUST CO. OF
Mr. Edward Murphy, attorney, Mr. Fred Ehrenfeld, President of the Masonic Lodge, and
Mr. John Parry, President of First National Bank & Trust Co. were present. Mr. Murphy
stated they would like to discuss the future use of the Masonic Hall property on
Plan was presented at that time. The property is four acres; however, because it is a
corner property and the right-of-way of Heacock and Edgewood Roads is unusually
large, the net acreage after deducting the right-of-way is less than three acres.
Mr. Murphy presented a board showing the site and the surrounding zoning. The site
itself is zoned R-02 although the property has been non-conforming since the building
was built in 1965. The surrounding properties are C-1, H/C and residential zones.
Mr. Murphy noted two parcels which are zoned R-2 but one of them has a medical office
building and the other is the fire house property.
February 23, 2004 Planning Commission – page 2 of 8
Mr. Murphy showed another board highlighting the H-C zone as it relates to the Masonic
Hall. He noted the Masonic Hall is included in the Township’s Historic District. The
nearby Woodside Presbyterian Church is not zoned H/C and no one has been able to
advise what the rationale was for the difference is zoning for the two tracts.
Mr. Murphy presented a board showing surrounding land use where they have identified
the different properties in the H/C District and the surrounding properties that abut the
Mr. Murphy stated he would like the Planning Commission to consider if the current
zoning makes sense. He stated currently it is zoned R-2; and while it does abut other
residential properties to the east, it is also adjacent to an office project and across the
street from commercial. He stated he would like the Planning Commission to consider if
the site is appropriately zoned and consider the merits of what the Masons would like to
use the parcel for in the future.
Mr. Murphy noted the Plan which was submitted one year ago which provided for a
branch bank on the southern portion of the site and suggested that the site be designated
C-1. Mr. Murphy stated C-1 was not designed to handle small tracts, but was designed
for larger tracts as opposed to the H/C which was designed to address the smaller parcels
and has smaller requirements for yard setbacks. In the H/C they wanted to develop
parcels that would give a historic feel.
Mr. Murphy stated the new Plan they are now proposing re-orients the site to a point near
the intersection of Heacock and
designated properties in
there is no proposal to modify any of the ingress/egress points from what they are
currently. They have
met with the owners of the
and reached an agreement to use their driveway and would not therefore have to create a
new curb cut. Mr. Murphy stated the parking at that location is taxed at the current time
and those property owners would be interested in reaching an agreement with the Masons
for overflow parking during the day. The Masons would be willing to reciprocate by
using their parking in the evening during the several times during the year when they
have problems with parking on the Masonic site. The other change they are proposing is
driveway through lanes have been revised so that any lights shining out would be blocked
by the existing building. They feel this arrangement will allow them to offer the Masonic
Hall as a community center to the Township until such time as the Township finds a
permanent home for a Community Center. Mr. Murphy stated the Masons would like to
stay at this location, but want to find a suitable partner so that they can continue to do so.
They are approached daily by developers wanting to purchase their site.
February 23, 2004 Planning Commission – page 3 of 8
Mr. Murphy stated Heacock and
intersections in the Township and one of the gateways to
this proposal presents an opportunity to develop a bank that would be built in an
architectural style compatible with the Masonic Hall and present a uniform streetscape.
He stated they have not yet gone before the Board of Supervisors with this plan.
Ms. Harrison noted there is a reduction in parking proposed as well as a reduction in
handicap spaces. She stated she would want to make sure that traffic from the bank will
not interfere with pedestrian traffic. Mr. Murphy noted an area where handicap parking
could be provided as well as a sidewalk. He stated they are wiling to work out the
internal circulation. Mr. Ehrenfeld stated both of their exit/entrance points to the
Masonic Hall are handicap accessible.
Mr. Allan stated he feels the intersection is horrendous at the current time. He does not
feel there is any way to install a turning lane and no way to stack cars. He stated he
would not approve anything like this at this location because of his concern with the
traffic. He stated he
feels lights will impact the residents on
Mr. Murphy stated the lights would face the building - not
Mr. Allan stated he still feels the lights will impact the residents in the area. He asked
how many cars they estimate would be coming to the bank each day, and Mr. Parry stated
he feels it would be 150 to 200 with slightly more on Friday. Mr. Allan stated he feels it
would be more than this number.
Mr. Koopman asked if the proposal is to re-zone the Woodside Presbyterian Church to
H/C, and Mr. Murphy stated it is not.
Ms. Friedman stated the way it is proposed to be sited, it does not seem like it is part of
the H/C area. She feels they are squeezing the bank into the corner and aesthetically she
is not in favor of it.
Mr. Murphy stated they felt it was a way to extend the
Village concept at this location.
Mr. Allan stated he is concerned with its proximity to the intersection because of the
number of people who run the red lights in this area.
Mr. Gary Cruzan stated he resides across the street from this site. He stated he was
opposed to the plan one year ago and is opposed to it again. He stated if they start setting
precedents by changing zoning, there will be changes and banks on every corner. He
stated there are a number of people running lights in this area. He stated there are other
commercially-zoned sites in the Township for banks so there are other opportunities in
the Township. He noted specifically the Matrix site which is zoned for a bank. He noted
there are already two banks across the street from this property.
February 23, 2004 Planning Commission – page 4 of 8
It was the consensus of the Planning Commission members present this evening that they
did not feel this property was conducive to the use being proposed this evening.
Ms. Harrison moved, Mr. Allan seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend
to the Board of Supervisors that the property not be re-zoned to H/C for the reasons
discussed in the Planning Commission member’s comments including the parking issue,
the building placement issue, aesthetics, traffic issues at the corner, and impact of lighting
on properties along
#532-A – FLOWERS-MADANY TRACT – PRELIMINARY PLAN DICUSSION
Mr. David Shafkowitz and Mr. Brian Focht were present.
Ms. Friedman stated she lives in Dolington Estates and will be excusing herself from this
discussion. She will participate as a resident only. Mr. Koopman stated since the
number of Planning Commission members remaining does not constitute a quorum, the
Planning Commission will not be able to make a recommendation this evening.
Mr. Shafkowitz noted the PCS letter dated 2/16/04. He stated he would like to discuss
specifically the wetlands/wetlands buffer issue. He stated the Plan as designed would
require Variances; however, it was suggested that they come before the Planning
Commission to discuss design alternatives and get feedback from the Planning
Commission on the disturbances. He noted the center of the plan where Core Creek
intersects the property. The Applicant is proposing a roadway in this area. There is also
a wetlands buffer area which would be impacted where they want to connect the road to
Dolington Estates. Detention basins would also be impacted. Mr. Shafkowitz stated they
met with DEP and designed the basins based on their recommendations.
Ms. Harrison stated she is concerned with the impact on the environmentally-sensitive
areas because of flooding concerns which are a problem in
Mr. Shafkowitz stated they are encroaching on the Waters of the Commonwealth.
Mr. Majewski stated he would prefer that they allow the water to go overland before it
goes into the storm system. Mr. Focht stated DEP recommended the proposed location
for the basins. Mr. Chafkowitz stated they would be willing to work with Mr. Majewski
and the DEP on this matter.
Mr. Shafkowitz noted the road proposed to cross the Creek, and stated the actual area of
distance is 130 linear feet of actual disturbance and 180 total including the woodlands.
Mr. Koopman stated they are allowed a certain amount of woodland disturbance and
asked if they are in conformance with this requirement. Mr. Focht stated they are.
Mr. Majewski asked about the width of the disturbance across the Creek, and Mr. Focht
stated they can minimize some of this if they raise the end walls.
February 23, 2004 Planning Commission – page 5 of 8
Mr. Allan asked how the run off will impact Mr. Sterling who farms the adjacent
property. Mr. Shafkowitz stated they are designing the project to conform with the
stormwater management requirements. He stated the basins will collect the water that
currently flows off the site. There will be thirty acres of open space between the
development portion and Mr. Sterling’s farm. Mr. Majewski stated he does not feel this
will impact the area which Mr. Sterling farms. Mr. Shafkowitz noted on the Plan the
area where no disturbance will take place.
Mr. Shafkowitz stated in their attempt to limit the area of disturbance, they considered
not having the road go across the wetlands at all, although there would still be utilities
that would cross the wetlands. He stated they would have to have a cul-de-sac lay out if
they were to try to limit disturbance. He presented a Plan showing this option. Mr. Allan
stated he would prefer to see the roads connected because of emergency access concerns.
Ms. Frick stated they would have to get a waiver for length of cul-de-sac if they were
going to proceed with this option. Mr. Majewski stated the Township has traditionally
liked to connect roads for emergency access; however there is also a feeling that
disturbance to the wetlands and woodlands is not desirable and it does create
maintenance problems for the Township particularly if a bridge-type structure would be
involved. The Township is now considering if in some cases, a cul-de-sac may be more
Mr. Shafkowitz stated the other area of encroachment is for
connection out to
wetlands buffer by 20 feet, and there are 80 feet of Waters of the Commonwealth being
disturbed. Mr. Shafkowitz stated they considered a cul-de-sac at this location as well
rather than making the connection out to
this is a heavily-traveled road. Ms. Friedman stated the traffic in this area will only
increase as they develop more of the upper area. Mr. Shafkowitz stated they could
sketch out this cul-de-sac option and bring it back to the Planning Commission.
Ms. Barbara McGinnis,
opening up Graystone from 532 because of the number of children playing in the area.
Mr. Santarsiero stated there are emergency-only type accesses which can be installed
which are for emergency vehicles only and not to be used by other traffic.
Ms. Judy McGale asked the proposed cost of the new homes, and Mr. Chafkowitz stated
they would be similar to Dolington Estates.
acre and two acres.
Ms. Friedman asked that the Planning Commission not permit through roads in any
capacity because of the relation of this development to 532.
February 23, 2004 Planning Commission – page 6 of 8
Ms. McGale stated she is concerned that she will now have residential properties abutting
her property and she will not have a tree line. Mr. Majewski stated he has included
comments regarding the tree line in his review letter. Ms. McGale noted that her
property is for sale.
Mr. Allan stated before the Applicant comes back to the Planning Commission, he feels
they should go before the Board of Supervisors and get their input.
Ms. McGinnis stated she would like to see a tree line between the new and existing
Ms. Friedman stated there are considerable woodlands in this area and asked if they are required to be 100% protected. Ms. Frick stated they are required to save 70% of the woodlands according to the Ordinance. Mr. Shafkowitz stated they can work with
Mr. Majewski on what would be a suitable buffer.
Mr. Majewski noted that some of the wooded area does not qualify as woodlands under
the Ordinance, and they are not required to preserve this; but he would suggest that they
carefully consider the grading in the area.
Ms. Frick asked if they should go to the Board of Supervisors at this time. Ms. Harrison
stated she would prefer more of the Planning Commission members be present to provide
input. Mr. Allan stated he would like to have them go to the Board of Supervisors and
receive input and then come back to the Planning Commission. Ms. Harrison stated the
Board of Supervisors should be advised that the Planning Commission is concerned with
the buffer so that they do not negatively impact the adjoining residents. They also have
concerns with the emergency vehicle access, the length of cul-de-sac, and the impact to
the wetlands. She stated because of the size of the project, she is hesitant to make a
formal recommendation until more of the Planning Commission members are present.
Mr. Allan stated he feels it would be good for the Applicant to get the Board of
Supervisors’ impressions before they proceed much more on this project.
Mr. Peter McGale stated
an entire neighborhood come out at this location, it will be very difficult. Mr. Shafkowitz
cul-de-sac, they will still have to make some improvements
sight problems and problems with the intersection.
Mr. Allan asked if there is any way they could connect Graystone and run it up rather
than impacting those on
a problem with the distance between intersections. Mr. Shafkowitz stated it might also
impact the wetlands in this area. Mr. Allan asked about the possibility of having
February 23, 2004 Planning Commission – page 7 of 8
discussions with those on
with closing Gauks at 532 and instead have those residents access the developer’s road.
Mr. Majewski stated they would have to meet with
would need to be done. Ms. Frick noted there are only three homes on Gauks at this
location, and they were notified about this evening’s meeting. Mr. Allan stated possibly
it would be a good idea to have a few members from Lower Makefield
Planning Commission meet to discuss this matter. Mr. Shafkowitz stated the
Ms. Harrison stated she attended the Environmental Advisory Council on February 11.
They will be involved in a Canal Day clean up on April 3 which will be a joint project
between the Yardley Borough and
They will work on an area between
9:00 a.m. and Noon, followed by a luncheon. They are also considering alternatives to the prior year’s Earth Day Celebration including having an Environmental Steward of the
Year Award to be presented at a banquet. There was also discussion about the I-95
Canal Day scheduled for July 10. There was discussion about the Brock Creek corridor
project which is a walkway from the Yardley Inn and the Magnet site. A separate
meeting was held on this which Ms. Harrison also attended. She stated this could impact
Lower Makefield as at one point it does abut
have an extension to this area as well. At the EAC meeting on 2/11 there was also
discussion about having a hazardous waste collection in
was considering a site in
company would not permit this. Mr. Fegley is still looking into this matter. There was
also discussion on the
Westinghouse twenty-five years ago. Mr. Fedorchak has applied for a grant for
remediation of the site from the Department of Community and Economic Development.
Total clean up cost could be $1 million.
Mr. Santarsiero asked how they will publicize the April 3 Clean Up Day, and
Ms. Harrison stated the Friends of the Canal are in charge of this Event. She stated in the
future she feels they could contact various groups such as the Girls Scouts and Boys
Scouts to be involved. Mr. Majewski stated they could use the Cable Channel to
publicize this event.
February 23, 2004 Planning Commission – page 8 of 8
Ms. Friedman stated zoning for Age-Restricted housing will be an up and coming issue,
and she would like the Planning Commission to have an opportunity to research this and
be prepared to discuss it in the future. Ms. Harrison asked if there are parcels available in
information on this. She and Mr. Majewski agreed to provide information on this matter
to the Planning Commission members.
There being no further business, Mr. Allan moved, Ms. Harrison seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 9:00 p.m.
Karen Friedman, Secretary