TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PLANNING COMMISSION

MINUTES - JANUARY 12, 2004

 

 

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on January 12, 2004.  Mr. Pazdera called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m. and welcomed Fred Allan and Cynthia Harrison, the newest members of the Planning Commission.  The meeting was turned over to Mr. Koopman.

 

Those present:

 

Planning Commission:   John Pazdera, Chairman

                                                Andrew Strauss, Vice Chairman

                                                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 Liaison (joined meeting in

                                                 progress)

 

 

REORGANIZATION:  ELECTION OF OFFICERS

 

Mr. Koopman called for nominations for Chairman of the Planning Commission for the year 2004.  Ms. Friedman moved and Mr. Strauss seconded the nomination of

John Pazdera.  Mr. Allan moved and Ms. Harrison seconded to close nominations, and it was unanimously carried to close the nominations.  Motion to approve John Pazdera as Chairman carried unanimously.

 

Mr. Koopman called for nominations for Vice Chairman of the Planning Commission for the year 2004.  Mr. Pazdera moved and Mr. Allan seconded the nomination of Andrew Strauss.  There were no further nomination and the nominations were closed.  Motion to approve Andrew Strauss as Vice Chairman carried unanimously.

 

Mr. Koopman called for nominations for Secretary of the Planning Commission for the year 2004.  Mr. Allan moved and Mr. Pazdera seconded the nomination of Karen Friedman.  There were no further nominations and the nominations were closed.  Motion to approve Karen Friedman as Secretary carried unanimously.

 

The meeting was turned over to Mr. Pazdera.

 

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

Ms. Friedman moved and Mr. Strauss seconded to approve the Minutes of November 24, 2003 as written.  Motion carried with Mr. Allan and Ms. Harrison abstaining.

 

 

 

 

January 12, 2004                                                          Planning Commission - page 2 of 16

 

 

FARMLAND PRESERVATION CORPORATION - HEATHER RIDGE BUFFER DISCUSSION

 

Mr. Bob Shelly, representing the Farmland Preservation Corporation (FPC), was present

and reviewed the history of the buffers of properties turned over to the FPC.  He stated the

growth of the buffers is out of control, and the FPC receives numerous complaints about

them.  He stated they would like permission to remove the growth from the Heather Ridge buffer which will make the area easier for the farmer to maintain.

 

Mr. Santarsiero joined the meeting at this time.

 

Mr. Shelly stated some residents were present at the last FPC meeting - some in favor of

removing the buffer and some who were not in favor.  Mr. Shelly stated some of the buffer

areas are impenetrable because of the extensive growth.

 

Ms. Friedman asked who was responsible for maintenance of the buffers, and Mr. Shelly

stated this is the responsibility of the Farmland Preservation Corporation.  He stated the

farmers are supposed to cut the buffers three times a season, but they have had trouble

getting their equipment into the area.  He stated he admits that the FPC is responsible for

the  condition the buffers are in.  He noted they never received a lot of complaints until

recently.  Ms. Friedman asked about the residents who indicated they did not want the

buffer changed.  Mr. Shelly stated those residents indicated they do not want to see the

farmland and are happy with the appearance of the buffers.

 

Mr. Shelly stated they would like to make the buffer what it was originally intended to be

which is a buffer and a farm lane which would permit access by maintenance equipment. 

He stated one of the issues is a cost issue as it is very expensive to take out trees that fall

down in the buffer.  He stated they also want a uniform approach rather than making a

decision house by house. 

 

Ms. Harrison asked what they want to have in the buffer, and Mr. Shelly stated they only

want to have the 25’ buffer as a grassy area. They want to take out the trees, clear the shrubs and thistle, and leave up the fence.  He stated there are also trees that the home- owners have installed in the 25’ buffer and on the FPC property. 

 

Ms. Frick stated the original intention was to have a natural planted buffer and a Type II

fence.  Mr. Koopman stated when the Development Plans were approved there was a

provision for pine trees to be planted as a screen. Mr. Shelly stated each Development had

its own plan.  Mr. Koopman stated he assumes they now want a grass buffer that would be

mowed at least three times a year.  Mr. Shelly agreed.   Mr. Shelly stated they are present this evening specifically about Heather Ridge which was planted with pine trees which have grown significantly and growing over the fences.  He stated it is not attractive. 

Mr. Koopman asked if the other Developments were also planted with pine trees, and

Mr. Shelly stated some were and some were not.  He stated Heather Ridge is probably the best Development, and the others are in even worse condition. 

 

Mr. Allan asked if they will remove the stumps and make the area flat.  Mr. Shelly stated

they will remove them or cut them down as low as they can.  Mr. Allan stated the letter

from the FPC indicated that only three people came to their meeting.  Ms. Frick stated she

did notify the entire Development about this evening’s meeting.  Mr. Allan stated he is

concerned why this was not taken care of prior to this since it was part of the Plan.

January 12, 2004                                                            Planning Commission - page 3 of 16

 

 

Mr. Tom McGowan stated he farms the property; and when you plant this extensive

amount of vegetation, there is no way to maintain it.  He stated the white pines were

planted only ten feet apart.  He stated it is impossible to trim a white pine.  He stated the

buffer is very small for the size of the vegetation that was planted.  He stated white pines

also give up acid, and the shade they create causes problems for the ground being farmed. 

He stated if they decide to replace the white pines with trees, they should use the kind of

trees that do not grow so quickly. 

 

Mr. Strauss asked if they plan to seed the area and maintain it as grass.  Mr. Shelly stated

they plan to remove the trees and leave the area natural.  He stated there are some

aggressive plant species in the area that will have to be dealt with.  They do not intend to

seed the area.  Mr. McGowan stated he does not feel it is necessary to seed the area. 

He stated they currently have Canadian thistle, multiflora rose, and white pines in the area. 

He stated once they level the stumps, the grass will overtake the entire area and it will look

like a lawn.  He will be able to mow this three to four times a year and possibly more since

it will be easy to maintain.

 

Mr. Pazdera asked the legal ramifications of changing the approved Plans.  Mr. Koopman

stated they will have to look at the original approvals; and if the Board of Supervisors

decides they want to revise the Plans and eliminate the requirement for white pines, the

Board would have the right to make this change.  The Planning Commission should make a

recommendation to the Board of Supervisors about whether the Plans should be amended.

Mr. Koopman stated he does not feel they need the approval of every lot owner in Heather

Ridge since they are only going onto Farmland Preservation land. 

 

Mr. Allan asked if this would be subject  to the tree disturbance requirements, and

Mr. Koopman stated he does not feel the areas would qualify as woodland,  although he

agreed to check into this.

 

Mr. Peter Goth, 1449 Heather Ridge Drive, stated he agrees with the Farmland

Preservation Corporation that the area cannot be maintained and it is overgrown. He did

attend the FPC meeting when this matter was discussed.  He is in favor of cutting the area

back and having it in grass. 

 

There were no other public comments at this time. Ms. Frick stated she did receive

numerous calls about this matter from people who indicated they were planning to attend

this evening’s meeting.  Ms. Harrison encouraged those present this evening to make their

feelings known.

 

Mr. Mark Selagy stated he backs up to the farmland on the corner and has buffers on two

sides of his property.  He stated the back area has a fence, but the lateral side does not. 

He stated they have been able to maintain the lateral side.  He feels part of the problem is

the fence because it precludes the people from maintaining the area.  He stated if they take

the trees out, the residents will just have a fence in their yards.  He stated without the trees,

this fence will become an eyesore.  Mr. Shelly stated there are no plans to change the fence. 

When asked about the type of fence, Ms. Frick stated it is a Type II PennDOT fence. 

Mr. Shelly stated it is a 5’ chain link fence.  Ms. Frick stated she was not aware that the

fences had been replaced with this type of fence and asked why they were replaced. 

Mr. Shelly stated the old fences deteriorated.  Ms. Frick stated the type of fence referred to

by Mr. Shelly is not what was approved on the plans.

 

January 12, 2004                                                            Planning Commission - page 4 of 16

 

A gentleman from 2039 Heather Ridge Drive asked about the possibility of thinning the

trees so that they can get between them for maintenance.  Mr. Shelly stated they did discuss

this but felt a consistent approach was best among all the properties.

 

Ms. Friedman asked the reason why the buffer was first approved.  She stated she would

be in favor of replacing the large trees with small growth shrubs.  She stated she feels there

was a reason why a planted buffer was originally required.  Ms. Frick stated the FPC

wanted the buffer to keep residents out of the area.  Mr. Shelly stated if a homeowner

would like a planted area, they could plant it on their own side of the fence.  Mr. Strauss

asked if the buffer is a lateral buffer to separate rear yards from the farm use or a vertical

aesthetic buffer.  Mr. Shelly stated when the properties were developed they probably felt it

would be a good idea to include plantings.  At some point, they must have re-considered

this since some Plans have trees and some have shrubs.  He stated in hindsight they now

recognize that this planted buffer was not a good idea.  He stated they could leave the

buffer plantings as they are, but they are not able to maintain these house by house and

leave the trees in one area and take them out in another.  He stated the FPC made a decision

that they felt it was best to remove the trees.  There will still be a 25’ buffer separating the

houses from the farmland. 

 

Mr. Koopman stated when the concept was set up there were comments from planning

consultants and the Bucks County Planning Commission was involved.  It was felt it

would be nice to have a buffer to protect the farmers and the homeowners.  He felt it was to

be a standard buffer for all Farmland Preservation developments which was to be

maintained by the farmer.  He stated they have now indicated that the Plan is not practical. 

Mr. Koopman stated for the first Farmland Preservation Development, the Board of

Supervisors set the ground rules.  He noted the Board of Supervisors does appoint the

members of the Farmland Preservation Corporation, but it is a separate Corporation.  He

stated as more and more land was dedicated to the Corporation, the FPC did have input into

the Plans; and this is probably why each development may have a different type of Plan. 

Mr. Shelly stated some of the trees that are in the buffers were not planted by the FPC and

were planted by the homeowners.  He stated these would have to come out as well since

they are on FPC property.   Mr. Shelly stated they do not yet know what the cost of this

will be and they will solicit bids once the plan is approved.

 

Ms. Harrison asked how they will stop encroachment if the trees are taken out. Mr. Shelly

stated the buffer is a line on a map and is the area outside of which the farmer should not be

planting crops. 

 

Mr. McGowan stated he farms Heather Ridge and the Leedom Tract, and at Heather Ridge

the white pines are impacting what they can farm.  At Leedom, there are shrubs; and it is

not as difficult. He stated he would be in favor of thinning out the trees if they prefer not

taking all the trees out. He stated the trees do create a wind break.  He stated there will be a

delineation since they have the buffer and the fence.  Ms. Harrison asked if they could thin

the areas out as a compromise which would make it easier to maintain and still offer a

buffer.  Mr. McGowan stated while this is a possibility in ten years they would have to deal

with this problem again because of the growth of the white pines.

 

Mr. Allan asked if they could look into a low growth planting that would not impact the

farmer so that it would also make it palatable to the homeowners.  Mr. Shelly agreed to

look into this but feels they will not be able to get agreement from all of the homeowners.

Mr. Allan stated probably they should contact someone to make sure it is done correctly so

that they will not have to come back with the same problem in five to ten years.

January 12, 2004                                                            Planning Commission - page 5 of 16

 

 

Ms. Frick asked if there is a Farmland Development that does work.  Mr. McGowan stated

Dolington Estates II backs up to the Leedom Tract where there is nothing but grass, and

this works well.  Mr. Shelly stated Leedom Estates also works well and there is nothing

planted in the buffer.  He stated while he feels nothing should be planted in the buffer, he

would be willing to discuss this at the FPC meeting tomorrow evening and see about the

possibility of a low growth planting.  Ms. Harrison suggested he come back at the next

meeting of the Planning Commission.

 

Ms. Maryanne Lang stated the trees do protect the homes from the wind.  She does not feel

they should just plow them down.  She suggested someone be brought in to suggest an

alternative plan.  Mr. Dennis Shields stated he agreed that there should be a wind break.

 

Mr. Shelly stated they must realize that this is a working farm and they have the

responsibility to maintain it as such.  If the wind is a problem, he would suggest that the

homeowners plant trees on their property. 

 

 

#551 - FLEMING - CONDITIONAL USE APPLICATION APPROVAL

 

Mr. Don Marshall, attorney, was present with Mr. Richard Walker, architect. 

Mr. Marshall stated they are requesting permission to expand their existing farm market.

This involves three parcels located in lower Makefield Township - Tax Parcels #20-12-1,

#20-12-1-1, and #20-12-1-2.  The Fleming Farm also includes substantial property in

Middletown and Newtown Townships.  They propose to add a 3,818 square foot footprint

addition to the existing farmstand as well as a 6,000 square foot greenhouse. 

 

The 1/7/04 PCS letter was noted.  Mr. Marshall noted that Item #4 is requesting the imprint

of a licensed surveyor, and they feel Mr. Walker, as an architect, meets the spirit of the

Ordinance.  Mr. Pazdera stated this will still be required when they go to the Final Land

Development Plan, but Mr. Marshall stated they feel this Application will be the Final Plan. 

Mr. Koopman stated the reason this was set up was to insure the preservation of the farm. 

He stated this will be the only review by the Planning Commission, and they will not be

back with a Land Development Plan.  Mr. Marshall stated they are adding this to an

existing facility. 

 

Item #6 was noted regarding parking.  Mr. Marshall stated they are showing the width of

the whole area to be 100’ which is oversized.  The reason they did this was because of the

number of buses that come to the farm for school trips. He stated they could comply with

the Ordinance and reduce the size, but they feel for safety reasons it would be better to keep

it wider.  Mr. Majewski stated they feel what they have proposed in their review letter will

provide a safer traffic circulation pattern and reduce impervious surface. After discussion

the Applicant agreed to comply with the PCS request.

 

Mr. Marshall stated they feel the market pre-dates the Ordinance.  He stated all parcels are

under the Act 319 provisions.  He noted his letter to the Township which lists the products

to be sold and the items which will not be sold.  He reviewed the lighting to be on the

property which will only be illuminated during business hours.  No new signs are

proposed.  Hours of operation are 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.  Mr. Paul Fleming stated they are

usually only open these hours two to three months a year.  Normal hours are 7 a.m.

to 7 p.m. 

 

January 12, 2004                                                            Planning Commission - page 6 of 16

 

 

Mr. Marshall stated under the current Ordinance for Conditional Use Approval to be

granted, they require there to be a written Agreement with the Township; and currently

there is no such Agreement.  They are agreeable to entering into such an Agreement.

 

There was a discussion on the paving.  Mr. Paul Fleming stated the driveway going into

the property has been paved for at least ten to twelve years.  Mr. Marshall stated when you

turn off the drive into the parking lot it is stone. 

 

Ms. Friedman asked if they plan to store additional mulch and stone on the property.

Mr. Paul Fleming stated they may change to a different type of mulch as they plan to carry

five mulches.  Ms. Friedman asked if the volume stored on the property will increase, and

Mr. David Fleming stated they hope it will increase. 

 

Mr. Pazdera asked what is permitted under the Ordinance to be sold, and Mr. Koopman

read this portion from the Ordinance.  Mr. Pazdera asked about the pet supplies and where

this falls under what is permitted.  Mr. Koopman stated the Application does not indicate

that they are asking for a Variance.  Mr. Pazdera stated he is concerned that some of the

items currently being sold are not in compliance with the Ordinance.  Mr. Koopman stated

the Planning Commission should include this concern in their recommendation.  He stated

there may be some issues raised about being “grandfathered.”  Mr. Marshall noted the area

is zoned Commercial.  Mr. Pazdera stated the Conditional Use specifically notes what they

can and cannot do.  He is concerned that this will turn into something simliar to a Walmart or a Genardi’s.  Ms. Frick noted at least a year was spent working on this Ordinance.

 

Mr. Allan stated there is already a wine shop at the property, and they are now indicating

they will sell deli meats, stone, etc.; and it seems more like a store than a farm. 

 

Mr. Strauss stated while a farm is a business, he is concerned about when a farm/garden

use becomes more of a landscape or garden store use.  Mr. Koopman reviewed the

Ordinance giving examples of food products.  He stated with regard to horticulture, it does

list prohibited items.  Ms. Friedman asked if there is any limit on the number of pallets they

can store on the property, and Mr. Koopman stated there is not.  Mr. Majewski stated 50%

of the property must still be used as a farm, and they do have to meet the impervious

requirements.   Mr. Koopman stated there are not any specific limitations on the mulch area

other than meeting the requirements already noted.  Mr. Marshall stated the size of the store

is limited to the size of the land, and this is a large parcel of land.

 

Mr. Allan stated he is concerned that an area landscape company recently closed; and if this

use is not profitable, he is concerned what these buildings will then be used for. 

He questions how going into a horticultural business will work at this location. 

 

Mr. Marshall stated if the Flemings were not committed to continuing their operation, they

would not be present tonight. Mr. David Fleming stated if they are able to change with the

times, they feel they can stay in the area. 

 

Mr. Pazdera asked if a more detailed footprint was available, and the L & I Plans were

shown.

 

Mr. Allan asked if it will be a barn-like structure that will be aesthetically pleasing, and

Mr. Paul Fleming stated it will be timber frame with a metal roof.

 

January 12, 2004                                                            Planning Commission - page 7 of 16

 

Ms. Harrison asked about the location of the mulch, and Mr. Paul Fleming stated they

could move this in the back at some point in the future.  They had put it at its current

location because of convenience.  Ms. Friedman stated this is why she asked if they are

going  to increase the volume as it could look out of control.  Ms. Dana Weyrick stated

she feels the mulch piles across from the Township Building look out of control.

 

Mr. Pazdera asked if they will have food prepared at the site, and Mr. Paul Fleming stated

they will.  He stated they will not have a sit down area but could have a salad bar and a

sandwich/deli area.  They currently sell muffins and pies.  There are existing picnic tables

where people could sit and eat.  Mr. Allan stated if they are going to prepare food, they will

have to get Board of Health approval; and Mr. Fleming agreed.  Mr. Koopman stated any

approval should be conditioned on this.

 

Ms. Frick asked if they have public sewers, and Mr. Paul Fleming stated this is included in

the plans.  They currently have public water.  Mr. Marshall stated there is a manhole off the

property.  Ms. Frick asked if there are restroom facilities, and Mr. Paul Fleming stated they

have these now and there will be additional facilities in the new building.  They will meet

ADA requirements.

 

Mr. Allan stated he feels the entrance needs some additional work and asked that they

“dress up” this area.  He suggested a wall or something to make it look aesthetically

pleasing at the entranceway.  Mr. Walker stated he can work on this and will “dress up” the

area, but keep it low enough so that it does not impact sight distance.

 

Ms. Harrison moved and Ms. Friedman seconded to recommend to the Board of

Supervisors approval of the Conditional use Application subject to compliance with the

limitations of the Ordinance as to what is permitted to be sold under Section 200-69D2 and

subject to compliance with the PCS letter dated 1/7/04.  There was not public comment,

and the Motion carried unanimously.

 

 

#544 - LIBERTY PROPERTY LIMITED PARTNERSHIP - PRELIMINARY PLAN APPROVAL

 

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

were present.  Mr. Hartlein stated the property is the neighbor of Shady Brook Farm. 

They plan to redevelop an existing industrial building and construct an office building on

the site.  He stated they submitted revised Plans in November and have received the PCS

letter dated 1/7/04.  He show the prior and revised Plans showing the additional sidewalk

which was requested. They have also installed the handicap spaces where requested.  There

was prior discussion about the angle of certain lanes, and they have revised these.

 

Mr. Hartlein reviewed the 1//7/04 PCS letter.  He stated Item #1 is the listing of waivers

being requested.  They will comply with Items #2 through #9.  Item #10 was noted, and

Mr. Majewski stated they will need more information on the sign to insure that it complies

with Ordinance requirements.

 

Item #11 was noted regarding the recommended improvements contained in the Traffic

Impact Study.  Mr. Hartlein stated there are two lanes in either direction and a center turn

lane.  Ms. Harrison asked why the entrance could not be put across from the light.  It was

noted there is not a light at this location.  She stated she feels driveways should be across

from each other so that if a light is installed in the future, they would be lined up. 

January 12, 2004                                                            Planning Commission - page 8 of 16

 

 

Mr. Hartlein stated it is doubtful that an additional light would be installed because the area

is already developed, and the Traffic Study does not show a requirement for a traffic light.

He stated if they lined up the driveway with the driveway across the street they would be

bringing traffic in and then forcing them to make an immediate left to get into the property. 

He stated they want the visitors to be able to have a clear driveway lane at the main entrance

and if they moved it down to the end of the property this will create an acute angle. 

Ms. Harrison stated she is concerned with the traffic in the area approximately five years in

the future. Mr. Hartlein stated he does not feel this will be a problem since there will not be

much more development in this area.  He noted their property is only a small parcel. 

Ms. Harrison stated she is concerned about traffic elsewhere on this road which will

increase in the future.  Mr. Majewski stated several members of the Planning Commission

discussed this previously and he looked at it as well.  Although the Plan technically

complies with the Ordinance, it is always better to line up driveways when possible.  The

problem at this location is because of the sharp angle at the property line, it would force the

traffic to make an immediate left after the entrance.  Mr. Allan suggested that they make this

a right turn in only, and the other access could be an exit only.  Mr. Hartlein stated at the

end of the day he feels there could be a back up with people leaving the site if they followed

Mr. Allan’s suggestion.  Mr. Hunt stated the Traffic Reports states that the driveway will

work at a Level of Service B.

 

There was discussion on the parking, and it was noted the current plan shows 548 parking

spaces. Mr. Hartlein stated they are somewhat concerned about providing sufficient

parking and will have a parking problem if they give up anything substantially below 550

spaces.   Mr. Strauss stated this is a constrained site.  He asked if they have talked to

Shady Brook about a lot line adjustment to square off the property.  Mr. Hartlein stated

while they  have not discussed this, he does not feel Shady Brook Farm would be in favor

of this. Mr. Strauss stated this would give Shady Brook Farm more frontage.  Mr. Hartlein

noted the location of Shady Brook Farm’s driveway and the location of a farmhouse. 

 

Mr. Allan asked again if they would consider making it a right in and right out only.

Mr. Hartlein asked if the development across the street has a similar restriction, and it was

noted they do not.  Mr. Hunt stated there is a 240’ separation between the driveways to

avoid conflicts with people making left turns.  Mr. Majewski stated 240’ is what the

Ordinance requires.  Ms. Harrison asked how far the driveway is from the traffic light,

but this information was not available. 

 

Mr. Hunt stated they are proposing a straight drive from the front of the site; and if they

have to move it, they will then force the drivers to go through the parking lot until they get

to the front entrance of the building.  Mr. Hartlein stated it is a triangular site and the

orientation of the building can only be within the setback requirements at a certain location.

 

Mr. Allan asked for and was shown a picture of the facade proposed.  Mr. Hartlein stated it

will be brick similar to what is across the street from the site with somewhat more glass. 

He stated most of their prospects are coming from the Princeton area and are looking for a

more sophisticated look. 

 

Ms. Harrison stated she is still concerned with traffic congestion in the future. 

Mr. Hartlein stated they have looked at this very carefully and feel what they have proposed

is safe as it does not require sharp turns upon entering the site.  He noted the constraints

within the site including the detention basin.  Mr. Hunt noted the two recommendations

included in the Traffic Study where they suggest the existing traffic signal at Township

January 12, 2004                                                            Planning Commission - page 9 of 16

 

 

Line and Stony Hill Roads be re-timed to help with weekday p.m. traffic and also to install

a northbound left turn advance phase light at the existing intersection at Yardley-Langhorne

Road.  Upon question as to who was their traffic consultant, Mr. Hunt noted they used

Traffic Planning and Design.

 

Mr. Majewski stated if they could acquire the right to use some of the Shady Brook Farm

property, it would be feasible to make adjustments; however, he feels if they were to come

in directly at the north side, they would have to make a sharp turn,  and he does not feel

this would be good planning.  He stated the angle coming off the road is the problem.

Mr. Strauss stated the Planning Commission spent a significant amount of time previously

discussing this matter.  He stated this is a small, constrained site, and the positioning of the

building and the Ordinance requirements for parking stalls also impacts the site.  He asked

if they could not consider shaving some of the square footage off the building down to

handle these problems.  He feels there is enough of a traffic issue to be of concern.

Mr. Hartlein stated short of buying some portion of Shady Brook Farm they have a

difficult situation making turns into the site because of the sharp angle. He stated the

economics of the site are important, and they have a price and a market to consider.  He

stated he is not sure whether the size of the building would have a major impact on whether

the turn could be corrected because of the shape of the property.  Mr. Allan asked if there is

a way to turn the building, and Mr. Hartlein stated they could not. He stated they did look

at different-shaped buildings, but because of the setbacks, they have to set the buildings

where they have shown on the Plan.  He stated they also wanted to create a nice

presentation when you come in. He stated they wanted to be able to see the entrance when

coming in so that drivers would know where they should go. 

 

Mr. Allan stated Yardley-Newtown Road is now timed at the By-Pass, and they will have

to re-time Stony Hill Road as well so they are all in sync.  Mr. Majewski stated the problem

with the light at Township Line and Stony Hill Road is that he does not feel it is timed

properly for the people trying to go over the Bridge at the p.m. peak.  Mr. Majewski stated

they should discuss this with the Board of Supervisors.  Mr. Hunt stated it is the opinion

of their traffic professionals that the development will not adversely impact the health,

safety, and welfare of the community if they do the recommended improvements. 

 

Ms. Friedman stated there are a number of traffic problems that have come up over time,

despite adhering to reports from traffic engineers. 

 

Mr. Strauss stated he is more concerned with the proximity of the two entrances.  He asked

again if there is any way to reduce their square footage to move the driveway and provide

more than the minimum which is required in the Ordinance.  Mr. Hartlein stated they have

relied on the Zoning Code which was prepared by the Township and on their Traffic Study

which did not express any concern with this proposal.  He stated in this case, because of

the constraints, the building, the sharp angle, and the need to have an unimpeded straight

shot to the building, they feel it is in the proper location.

 

Mr. Allan asked about the possibility of a right-in/right-out only with a diversion island

installed.  Mr. Hunt stated this is really their main driveway.  Mr. Allan stated he is still

concerned with people coming in and trying to cross this busy road.  He noted the existing

problem with driveways in the area of Shady Brook Farm from mid-September through the

Holiday.  Mr. Pazdera stated they can pass this concern on to the Board of Supervisors.

 

 

January 12, 2004                                                          Planning Commission - page 10 of 16

 

Referring back to the PCS review letter, Mr. Hartlein stated they will comply with Item #12

once they get an understanding on what the Mr. Yates is requesting regarding landscaping. 

Ms. Frick asked that they contact him to get this matter resolved, and Mr. Hartlein agreed

to do so.

 

Ms. Harrison noted Item #1 regarding sidewalks on Township Line Road.  She stated she

feels people are walking in this area, and she would be concerned with people crossing the busy street.  Mr. Pazdera stated the problem with this area is the sidewalk would not go

anywhere because Shady Brook Farm is on one side and private houses are on the other. 

 

He stated they will take Fee-In-Lieu; and if they are needed in the future, the Township

would have the funds available to install them.    Mr. Allan suggested that they install some

kind of blinking light to alert drivers when people will be entering in the a.m. or leaving in

the p.m.   Ms. Frick stated people may also be leaving this site at lunch time.  Mr. Allan

stated he feels they should install some kind of crosswalk.  Mr. Majewski stated he would

be hesitant to recommend installing a crosswalk at this location.  After discussion it was

agreed it would not be best to encourage people to cross this street.  Mr. Allan stated he still

feels they need to install some kind of blinking sign to alert drivers on the road at certain

times when people are entering or exiting the site.  Mr. Hartlein stated were they to install a

traffic light at some time in the future, they could have a pedestrian crossing at that time.

 

The Bucks County Conservation District letter dated 9/17/03 was noted, and Mr. Hunt

stated they re-submitted in November and went through Ms. Frick.  Ms. Frick stated they 

have not yet received their comments back.

 

The CKS letter dated 11/26/03 was noted, and Mr. Hunt stated they will comply.

 

Mr. Allan stated he feels that some of the trees proposed should be eliminated so that it

does not impact the sight line.  Mr. Majewski stated they do have adequate sight distance in

all directions; but it may not hurt to pull them back somewhat,  and he will look into this. 

Mr. Hunt stated the Fire Protection Consultant has asked that this be reviewed as well.

 

Ms. Friedman moved and Mr. Strauss seconded to recommend to the Board of Supervisors

approval of the Preliminary Plans dated 7/14/03, last revised 10/24/03 subject to

compliance with the PCS letter dated 1/7/04 including approval of the Waivers requested in

Item #1 (A - C) and payment of Fee-In-Lieu for Item A; and subject to compliance with the

CKS letter dated 1/26/03.  The Planning Commission brings to the Board’s attention their

concern over the location of the northernmost driveway location and asks that the Board

consider alternate options such as a right-in/right-out entrance or installing a blinking light

to be used during peak traffic periods.  The Planning Commission also recommends

re-evaluation of the landscaping at both driveways to insure adequate sight distance with

the final review to be done by the Township engineer.  The Planning Commission also

recommends following the recommendations included in the Traffic Report submitted by

the Applicant’s Traffic Consultant dated 6/16/03.  There was no public comment, and the

Motion carried unanimously.

 

 

#549 - FIELDSTONE AT LOWER MAKEFIELD (HOVNANIAN) - PRELIMINARY PLAN DISCUSSION

 

Mr. John Mahoney, attorney, and Mr. John Hako, engineer, were present.  Mr. Mahoney

stated they were advised by the Board of Supervisors to clean up the landfill prior to

January 12, 2004                                                          Planning Commission - page 11 of 16

 

 

approval  of any residential development.  Mr. Mahoney stated their primary purpose this

evening is to get comments from the Planning Commission whether they would support the

Waivers and Variances requested.

 

Mr. Hako stated this parcel is in the R-2 District.  It is 39+ acres, and they propose forty-

four single family homes. The minimum lot size is slightly more than one third acre.  They

are proposing public water and sewer.  There is an existing dwelling that will remain on a

lot of adequate size.  They have two site access points - one off Edgewood Road and one

off Long Acre Lane.  They have four detention basins.  Three are relatively small and one

larger than the rest for which they are asking relief on the depth.  A small basin will

discharge into a storm system in Edgewood Road, and the other three will discharge into a

tributary of Brock Creek or Brock Creek itself.  He noted the location of the wetlands on

the site.  There is also an existing storm pipe which needs maintenance.   They will extend

Long Acre Lane across the floodplain and will need relief for this.  Mr. Hako reviewed

how they plan to address sanitary sewers, and CKS is reviewing this.

 

Ms. Harrison asked the impact on the wetlands with the expansion of the road, and

Mr. Hako noted the location of the wetlands on the Plan.   He noted there is an existing

pipe that has the capacity to handle the flows.  The roadway crossing itself will not impact

any wetlands directly.  He noted the existing pipe which drains into a tributary, and they

will not change discharge patterns.  They will limit disturbance other than as part of the

clean up with DEP.  This is part of the ACT II requirements.  Ms. Harrison stated she is

concerned with the increase of water along Edgewood Road.  Mr. Hako stated the

Ordinance requires them to significantly reduce the stormwater run off, and they will

follow regulations and discharge only 50% of the prior flows.  He stated they will

significantly decrease any water that makes its way toward Edgewood Road.  Mr. Allan

expressed concern with the existing creek crossing.  Mr. Majewski stated the Board of

Supervisors has changed the Ordinance to address these concerns and now requires that

they reduce the run off.  Mr. Hako noted the use of a wetlands-type basin which helps limit

the increase in volume anywhere downstream. 

 

Mr. Hako stated the  Ordinance requirements allows for a 5’ maximum depth in the basin,

and they have requested that one basin be 7’ due to the restrictions on the site. 

Mr. Majewski stated these basins do have a few inches of dead storage and therefore the

calculations are conservative.  He noted two of the basins also have a better percolation rate

and will have the opportunity for infiltration and not going down to the creek.  Mr. Hako

stated this will also help with water quality.  Mr. Allan asked if they could make the basin

deeper to hold back more of the water.  Ms. Friedman asked if the basins comply with the

new ways to  handle stormwater, and Mr. Majewski stated these basins will retain water

before it flows out of the structure.  Ms. Friedman asked about opportunities to address a

heavy rainfall.  Mr. Hako stated they could make the basins larger if they were given relief. 

 

Mr. Koopman asked who will own the basins, and Mr. Hako stated they will be owned by

the Homeowners Association. 

 

Ms.  Harrison asked if these homes will have basements and if they will be problematic. 

Mr. Hako stated the homes will have basements, six to seven of which will be walk-out

basements.  Ms. Harrison asked if grading will be done to take water away from the

homes, and Mr. Hako stated they will follow Township requirements regarding grading. 

Ms. Harrison asked if these homes will be built higher than the adjoining properties so that

adjoining properties may be impacted, and Mr. Hako stated they will not.

January 12, 2004                                                          Planning Commission - page 12 of 16

 

 

Mr. Allen stated he is very concerned about the clean-up operation which will effect this

development and the adjoining property owners. He stated when they disturb this area he

wants to make sure that the adjoining property owners are not impacted. He stated he wants

to make sure everyone who purchases these properties knows what was on this property.

Mr. Mahoney stated ACT II provides a certain amount of protection from liability if you are

the owner or the remediator of the property.  Mr. Strauss stated the Township would be

involved as they will own the roads.  Mr. Mahoney stated he could bring this to the DEP’s

attention, but they do not usually deviate from the form letter which he has provided. 

Ms. Frick stated possibly they could put something on the linen.  Mr. Koopman stated this

will still not address the potential liability of the Township.  He stated they are looking into

how they can provide maximum protection to the Township.  He stated this property has a

history and there are two current Preliminary Plans on Appeal which the Township denied. 

Both of these were denied by the Board of Supervisors because the proposals did not deal

with the clean up of the landfill.  One provided for a capping of the landfill and the other

provided for developing only the front half of the site. Those proposals were submitted by

the Quaker Group.  When K. Hovnanian became involved, they proposed removing the

waste on the site and cleaning it up to DEP standards.  PCS has been attending the

meetings with the developer and the DEP.  One of the goals of the Township was to get the

site cleaned up and have a developer pay for it.

 

Mr. Allan asked what they will do with the area to be cleaned up, and Mr. Hako stated the

area will be cleaned and it will be left open.  Mr. Mahoney stated they have a technical

meeting coming up with the DEP, and they are considering a number of different scenarios.

He stated that once they get an estimate on the cost, they will know whether this is a

feasible project.

 

 

Mr. Santarsiero asked if there is a groundwater problem and asked about the materials of

concern.  Mr. Mahoney stated they do not yet know if there is a groundwater problem. 

Ms. Harrison asked if they are checking for Radon, and Mr. Mahoney stated he does not

feel this is required.  Mr. Mahoney stated he does not know the contaminants in the soil.

Mr. Hako showed the area of contamination.  Mr. Koopman stated there was concern with

iron, lead, and other contaminants.  He stated there are reports available on this. 

Mr. Mahoney reviewed the tests to be conducted according to the letter dated 8/12/03 from

Princeton Hydro.  He stated he does not feel the Township was copied on this, but he does

feel the type of testing was discussed at a meeting with the DEP.  Mr. Mahoney agreed to

provide Ms. Frick with a copy of this letter.    Mr. Strauss asked the amount of the site

impacted, and Mr. Hako stated it is approximately ten acres. 

 

Mr. Allan noted the location of the entrance and stated he is concerned with the sight

distance at this location on Edgewood Road.  Mr. Hako stated based on the curve of the

road, this would be the optimal site.  Mr. Majewski stated there is also a problem with the

profile in this location because of the hill and stated they should look into this further. 

Mr. Hako stated they have pulled back the landscaping out of the line of sight.  He stated

they do meet PennDOT sight distance requirements in both directions.  He stated they have

proposed widening Edgewood Road to a 26’ half width.  Berms will be cut back with the

widening of the road, and the sidewalk will be incorporated into the design. Mr. Majewski

stated he would like to see a profile on this and feels it still may need to be adjusted.

 

Mr. Mahoney noted Item 1 of the PCS letter dated 12/22/03 listing the Waivers being

requested.  Item 1.A. was noted, and Mr. Majewski reviewed how they could comply with

January 12, 2004                                                          Planning Commission - page 13 of 16

 

 

this request noting the use of an aerial photograph.  Ms. Frick stated for this site she feels it

is very important that they comply with this request. Mr. Mahoney agreed to look into this. 

 

Item 1.C was noted and Mr. Hako noted locations were this waiver is requested.  He stated

radii in this area are 1000’ or more and they do not feel this should present a sight distance

problem.  Mr. Majewski stated he does not have a concern with this.

 

Item 1.D was noted which relates to Lots #41 and #42 which have lot widths greater than

lot depths and this is due to the location of Long Acre Lane.  These lots back up to the

railroad tracks.  Mr. Hako noted there is a six foot high board-on-board fence from the

corner to the detention basin.  Mr. Mahoney stated they will put something in the

Disclosure Statement about the trains in the vicinity. 

 

Mr. Strauss asked if they feel it is important to connect the two parts of the development

from the north and south and suggested that they instead treat this site as two separate

projects.  He stated they may then be able to avoid floodplain disturbance, save roadway

costs, and change the configuration so that they avoid lots so close to the railroad. 

Mr. Hako stated he feels the people in the Township concerned with emergency access

would prefer that there be a connection.  Mr. Strauss stated they had a similar situation at

Chanticleer, and the Township agreed to two separate development areas.  Mr. Hako stated

this would impact the sewer system, and it would be cleaner to have the pipes in a roadway

area.  Mr. Mahoney stated they will take Mr. Strauss’ suggestion back to the developer. 

 

Mr. Allan noted a location where two houses are proposed in the northern part of the site

and asked if they could move the fours houses which back up to the railroad up to this area

and move the detention basin down.  Mr. Hako stated the basins are located at the best

location to function in a stormwater management sense.    Ms. Friedman stated she is

uncomfortable with the location of Lots #41 and #42 and the proximity to the train tracks.   

Mr. Hako stated because of where Long Acre Lane ends, they are forced to place the

homes at this location.  Mr. Pazdera stated in the past in similar situations, they have asked

that they make sure the homeowners are advised that they will not be able to put anything in

the rear yard without obtaining a Variance.  Mr. Mahoney stated they do a good job on

individual lot disclosures.  Ms. Harrison asked if they could eliminate these lots. 

Mr. Mahoney stated it is very expensive to close an unlicensed landfill, and this is the lot

count they need.

 

Item 1.E was noted and they are requesting payment of Fee-In-Lieu of Recreation.

 

Item 1.F. was noted regarding disturbance, and Mr. Mahoney stated they have to do a

certain amount of disturbance in order to remediate the landfill. He stated the clogged pipe

is also in need of maintenance.  Mr. Majewski stated they feel that since this area was a

stream channel, it should be restored to its natural state; and they should pursue this

further.  Mr. Mahoney stated he feels it is too early to state what DEP will say they have to

do.  He stated Mr. Majewski will have input in these discussions. 

 

Item 1.G. was noted regarding water discharge rate after development.  Mr. Majewski

stated to require that they reduce the flows in areas they are not touching is not fair in his

opinion. He stated they may come up to a net 50% for the entire site. 

 

Item 1.H. was noted, and Mr. Majewski stated they no longer need this Waiver.

 

January 12, 2004                                                          Planning Commission - page 14 of 16

 

 

Mr. Mahoney stated Items 1.I, 1.J, and 1.K are related, and Mr. Hako stated these are

ways to increase the storage capacity.  Mr. Mahoney stated they will look into ways to

deepen the basins.  Mr. Pazdera asked that they work with the Township engineer on this. 

The Township will not be maintaining these basins. 

 

Mr. Allan stated he would not want them to put any more water into the wetland area. 

Mr. Hako stated the water will continue to flow as it goes currently and go to Brock Creek

since it is a low-lying area. 

 

Waiver 1.L was noted, and Mr. Hako stated these will be converted to permanent detention

basins after construction.  Due to the fact that they are so shallow, it limits the flexibility

they have to install a temporary sediment riser.  He stated he has obtained Waivers on this

in the past in Lower Makefield Township.  They would like to design it in accordance with

the requirements of the Bucks County Conservation District. 

 

Item #2 is a Waiver request, and Mr. Hako stated if they consider Mr. Strauss’s request to

separate the development, they may not have to cross the area; although they will have to

disturb it to do the clean up.  Mr. Allan stated he does feel the Township will want the road

connection for emergency access reasons. 

 

Item #3 regarding core samples was noted, and Mr. Mahoney stated they will most likely

comply with this.

 

Item #4 regarding a street name change was noted, and Mr. Mahoney stated they will

comply.

 

Item #5 was noted, and Mr. Mahoney stated they feel they can change this to 40’ and will

not require a Waiver.

 

Item #6 was noted, and Mr. Mahoney stated they cannot redesign the development and

provide anything greater than 90’ for the roads along Edgewood Road. They would

therefore request a Variance.  Mr. Hako stated they cannot take the Subdivision further to

the south because of the location of the wetlands and the wetlands buffer.  This will require

a Variance for Lots #8 through #13.  Ms. Frick stated these will also be restricted lots.

She stated this should be noted on the Plan.  She stated nothing can be placed in the area of

the easement, and it must be a lawn.  Mr. Mahoney agreed to include this Note. 

 

Mr. Mahoney stated they will comply with Item #7.

 

Item #8 was noted.  It was noted that a PennDOT permit is not required for this project

since it is now a Township road. 

 

Mr. Mahoney stated they will comply with Items #9 through #12.

 

Item #13 was noted, and Mr. Mahoney stated they feel this relates to the periphery of the

Site.  It was agreed that the engineers will discuss this matter further.

 

Item #14 was noted and Mr. Mahoney stated they can move the outlet on Basin #3, but

they cannot move the outlet on Basin #2.  The Township engineer will look into whether a

Waiver could be supported in this matter. 

 

January 12, 2004                                                          Planning Commission - page 15 of 16

 

 

Mr. Mahoney stated they will comply with Items #15 through #18.

 

Item #19 was noted, and Mr. Mahoney stated they do not have a copy of the PennDOT

review letter. Mr. Majewski agreed to provide this.  Mr. Majewski stated the Township

will have to have a discussion on what they intend to do with Edgewood Road since it is

now a Township road. 

 

Item #20 relating to the bikepath was noted.  Mr. Hako stated they were under the

impression that the bikepath was on the other side of the road.  The Applicant would be

willing to provide a sidewalk if the Township desires. Ms. Frick stated Yardley Estates has

sidewalks and it was felt sidewalks would be appropriate on this site as well.

 

Mr. Mahoney stated they will comply with Items #21 and #22.

 

Item #23 was noted, and Mr. Mahoney stated this will be deleted.

 

They will comply with Items #24 through #27.

 

Mr. Mahoney noted Item #28 and stated they are not certain that the sewer design CKS is

requesting is feasible.  CKS is asking that they flow the project by gravity to a gravity line

in Salem Court.  Mr. Hako stated they would have an 800’ section of pipe in Schuyler

Drive and Salem Court and at least 400’ of that would be 15’ or greater in depth which is a

big cut for an existing road.  He stated they are still in discussions on this.  Mr. Mahoney

stated they hope that CKS will see that the applicant’s proposed design is more realistic.

 

With regard to Item #29, Mr. Mahoney stated they will re-check their calculations.

 

Item #30 was noted and is similar to #29 in that they will review the technical data

provided.

 

Item #31 was noted, and Mr. Mahoney stated they see a distinction between designing a

stormwater retention system and designing a stormwater collection system. He stated he feels they need to re-visit this issue, and Mr. Hako stated he would like to discuss this

further with Mr. Majewski.  Mr. Majewski stated while they can discuss this, the

Ordinance states if you have a collection system that goes to a detention basin, it must be

designed with capacity for a 100 year storm.  Mr. Hako stated his proposal will achieve the

objective desired.  Mr. Majewski and the applicant’s engineer will discuss this further.

 

Item #32 was noted, and Mr. Hako stated he will provide the information he has available.

 

Mr. Stephen Heinz stated what is in the dump has been there for a very long time.  He

stated the Township put some of this material in there, and the Township should help to

clean up the site.  He stated the stream on the site is a year-round stream, and it should be

dealt with in a way that will retain it as a wetlands.  He stated if they separate the tract into

two developments as Mr. Strauss has suggested, it will eliminate a portion of the roadway.

He stated they could provide for an emergency-access if necessary.  He stated if it is two

different developments, they could make the retention basins larger.  Mr. Heinz noted there

is no sewer connection proposed for his home or those adjacent to him and he asked that

these be included.  Mr. Hako stated this was a comment in the CKS letter.  Mr. Hako

stated there was no intent to put sewer lines in Edgewood Road.  He stated possibly they

could run a stub out to the road if they can do something with the basin, although they may

January 12, 2004                                                          Planning Commission - page 16 of 16

 

 

still need ejector pumps.  Mr. Heinz stated they were told that it was going to be by gravity. 

Ms. Frick stated that was probably because CKS wanted them to tie into Salem Court. 

 

Mr. Tettemer expressed concern with Detention Basin 2 and stated if they do not make it

deeper, it will flood out his property.  He stated when they dig in the area, they will see it is

gray clay.  Mr. Majewski stated they could relocate the outfall to go away from his

property.  Mr. Tettemer stated in the last eight years, they have had three 100 year storms.

Mr. Hako stated this basin is more of a water quality measure to pick up water from the

roadway.  He stated they could take it off the Plan and still have the Plan work.  He stated

they wanted to do everything possible to address water quality. He stated they could

consider substituting a sediment trap.  Mr. Majewski stated if they move the pipe and point

it to the other side, it would solve Mr. Tettemer’s concern.  Mr. Hako stated that would

force him to involve wetlands and wetland buffers, and he would need additional relief. 

 

The engineers will look into this further.

 

Mr. Allan stated if they are going to install sidewalks for this development, he feels they

should be connected to the sidewalks at Yardley Estates.  He asked if Mr. Heinz and

Mr. Tettemer want sidewalks.  It was estimated it would be 800’ to get to the other

development.  There is also a third property owner.  Mr. Mahoney agreed to look into this. 

Mr. Majewski stated they would have to get the right-of-way. Mr. Heinz stated it has

already been included and plotted out,  and funds were put in escrow from Yardley Estates

to his knowledge. Mr. Tettemer stated they did take the right-of-way for the roadway and

the sidewalks. Mr. Mahoney stated this would not include re-location of the utility poles.

 

Mr. Heinz stated he felt the Planning Commission indicated there was no need to be

concerned with sub-surface infiltration, and Mr. Heinz stated he does feel they need to be

concerned about this because there were motors and vehicles on the property.  Ms. Frick

stated Skelly & Loy and prior Planning Commission members have been on this site. 

Mr. Tettemer stated he has lived at the property for fifty years and has seen what has been

put on the site.

 

 

There being no further business, Ms. Friedman moved, Ms. Harrison seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 12:15 a.m.

 

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                                        Karen Friedman, Secretary