MINUTES – JULY 12, 2004



The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on July 12, 2004.  Chairman Pazdera called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.



Those present:


Planning commission:                John Pazdera, Chairman

                                                Karen Friedman, Secretary

                                                Fred Allan, Member

                                                Cynthia Harrison, Member (joined meeting in progress)


Others:                                     Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning

                                                Jennifer McGrath, Township Solicitor

                                                Drew Wagner, Township Engineer

                                                Steve Santarsiero, Supervisor Liaison


Absent:                         Andrew Strauss, Planning commission Vice Chairman





Mr. Allan moved, Ms. Friedman seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of June 14, 2004 as corrected. 



Ms. Harrison joined the meeting at this time.





Mr. Edward Murphy, attorney, Mr. Joe McElwee, Senior Vice President, Sunrise,

Mr. Tim Woodrow, and Mr. Joe Zacklo were present.  Mr. Murphy stated this

Application is scheduled to go before the Zoning Hearing Board.  The site has been the

subject of a number of Applications for re-zoning for different types of commercial uses. 


The site is currently zoned R-3M.  They are requesting a Special Exception for the

purpose of constructing a nursing home on the 9.25 acre site.  It will be a two-story



July 12, 2004                                                                 Planning Commission – page 2 of 6



Mr. McElwee stated Sunrise is the Nation’s largest provider of senior living services. 

They operate in twenty-five states and in other Countries.  They have eleven homes in the

Philadelphia market.  The company was founded in1981.  Mr. McElwee reviewed the

history of the company and described the type of design they construct.  They would be

willing to meet with any Architectural Review Board in the Township and work toward

providing the style the Township is trying to create.  He stated they want their residents

to be close to the services they need and to feel part of the community.  The building is

proposed to be 58,000 square feet with seventy-seven units and capacity for ninety-four

residents.  Forty percent of the building is common area.  Mr. McElwee reviewed the

interior decorating done in their facilities and discussed the services provided to their

residents.  The building is licensed as a personal care home by the Department of

Welfare.  Mr. McElwee reviewed the statistic of people living in the Lower Makefield

area which makes this area a good market for their use.  They feel Sunrise is a good use

for the community.  He stated very little traffic will be added with this use, and they will

have no impact on the School District.  They will be a tax ratable for the Township.  

Mr. McElwee stated Sunrise recently purchased Floral Vale which is a thirty-six unit all-

dementia community.  At the new facility only nineteen would be all-dementia, and the

remainder would be assisted-living. 


Mr. Murphy stated in the R-3M District they are required to have a lot minimum of five

acres for a nursing home.  They can meet all required setbacks.  They do require relief

from the Zoning Ordinance with regard to impervious surface as they are permitted 17%

and they are requesting 19.75%.


Ms. Harrison stated she is concerned with the amount of parking they have provided. 

Mr. Wagner stated they do exceed the Zoning requirements for parking.  Mr. McElwee

stated they do have significant experience with the number of parking spaces needed for

such a facility.  He stated they exceed the Township requirements, and they would prefer

not to install more parking than necessary.  They do have sufficient space to provide

additional parking if it is found to be necessary as they have a nine acre site. 

Ms. Friedman asked the largest number of staff they would have at any one time, and

Mr. McElwee stated the largest shift would have twenty-seven employees in the building. 

Ms. Friedman asked how many family events they would plan in a year.  Mr. McElwee

stated he did not feel it was practical to plan parking for special events.  He stated they

would have a Grand Opening and probably one other large family event in the year.  In

the past at their other facilities, they have contracted with another location in the area for

parking and use their own van to shuttle people if necessary.  Ms. Harrison stated if the

residents are permitted to have their own vehicles, she is concerned that there is

insufficient parking proposed.  She stated since it is an assisted-living facility rather than

a nursing home some of the residents could have cars.  Mr. McElwee stated most of the

residents they attract are frail, and either their family or their physicians have taken their

cars away.  They do have a van to shuttle their residents when necessary.  They have

never had a problem with parking at their other facilities. 

July 12, 2004                                                                 Planning Commission – page 3 of 6


Mr. Woodrow was asked the difference in impervious surface between the 17% permitted

and the 19.5% proposed, and he stated it is approximately 1,200 square feet.


Ms. Harrison asked about the timeframe for construction and the impact construction will

have on surrounding residents.  Mr. McElwee stated it usually takes eleven months to

construct, and normally there is some inconvenience to surrounding residents during

construction. Mr. Murphy stated the Township engineer will have control over where the

construction vehicles can enter and exit the site.


Ms. Harrison asked if they would consider an area for overflow parking or show that they

have the ability to install additional parking if needed. Mr. McElwee stated he feels this

would be easy to put on the Plan.  Mr. Murphy stated it would have an impact on the

impervious surface if they were required to install additional parking, but they could keep

it green and show where there would be an area where parking could be installed if the

Township deemed necessary.


Mr. Allan stated he has a problem with this use and feels it does not fit in with the area. 

He feels they should propose residences and not a 58,000 square foot building.  He stated

people will be going in and out of a busy road because of existing traffic on Stony Hill

Road.  Mr. McElwee stated their shift changes take place at 7 a.m., 3 p.m., and 11 p.m.;

and he feels they could demonstrate with a traffic study that this use should not create a

problem.  Mr. Allan stated they are adding to the volume that is already bad in this area. 

Mr. McElwee stated they feel they are adding less than any other use for this location

other than five to six single-family homes.  Mr. Allan stated he feels 58,000 square feet is

huge for this property.  He asked why they did not propose only one floor, and

Mr. Zacklo stated this would have resulted in a problem with impervious surface.


Ms. Harrison stated she does not feel there will be a problem with traffic with this use.

Mr. Murphy stated they felt Stony Hill Road would be the better location for the

entrance.  Mr. Allan stated he is still opposed to this use at this location.  Mr. McElwee stated he does not feel single-family residences across from a shopping center and a fire station are appropriate.  He stated they have come in with a use that is permitted by Special Exception.  He stated he has developed forty-two of these facilities and feels this is the perfect site in the perfect town.


Ms. Frick asked the height of the building, and Mr. McElwee stated it is thirty-four feet

to the ridge.  Mr. Zacklo stated they are below the thirty-five foot height requirement.


Mr. Pazdera stated he feels this is a good use for the site especially when it is compared

to other proposals they have seen.  He feels there will be some other issues to consider

when they come in with Land Development.   He noted particularly the wetlands and the

driveway entrance.  He would prefer that the driveway be lined up with Chestnut to get it

further away from the intersection.  Mr. Pazdera stated as far as the Special Exception is

concerned, he feels this is a good use. 

July 12, 2004                                                                 Planning Commission – page 4 of 6



Mr. Zacklo showed photos of some of their other facilities.


Mr. Wagner stated on previous Applications for this site there has been discussion about

the wetlands, and they are not delineated on this Plan.  Mr. Zacklo stated they have done

the wetlands delineation.  Mr. Woodrow stated they can present this at the next

Application.  Mr. McElwee stated they will submit a Plan that complies with all wetland

and setback requirements.


Ms. Harrison moved and Ms. Friedman seconded to recommend to the Zoning Hearing

Board approval of the Special Exception with the suggestion that they present a proposal

for additional parking if needed in the future.


There was no public comment.  Motion carried with Mr. Allan opposed.





Mr. Dave Horton from Boucher & James was present.  The PCS letter dated 7/12/04 was

noted.  Mr. Horton was provided this evening a copy of the CKS review letter dated

7/12/04.  Mr. Horton stated this site will contain the Garden of Reflection and a number

of recreational fields and facilities. 


After discussion, Mr. Allan stated he would like to have the baseball field located in the

“chimney” area to be a 90’ field rather than a 60’ field.  This is in the north section of the

Park.    Mr. Horton stated he feels the constraint of the setbacks from the existing homes

would still have to be maintained so that home plate will need to be adjusted.  Mr. Allan

asked that they move the field as far away from the existing residences as possible

without encroaching on the wetlands.  He stated they want the least amount of impact as

possible on the existing residents.  Ms. Frick noted the area on the right of this location is

Lower Makefield Township open space. 


Ms. Friedman stated the walking trail is not shown, and Mr. Horton stated this was also a

comment form PCS, and they will show this on the revised Plans. 


Mr. Horton noted Page 2 of the PCS review letter which lists Waivers being requested.

Item 1. C was noted, and Ms. Freidman noted one section where there may be a problem

with water drainage.  Mr. Horton reviewed work they will do to contain the water. 

Ms. Harrison asked if there will be any stone paths from the parking lots to the different

facilities to meet the needs of the handicapped.  Mr. Horton stated there will be handicap

parking places and paths to get to the restrooms, etc.  Ms. Harrison stated she feels there

should be a hard-packed path to get to the different recreational facilities as well. 

Mr. Horton agreed to show this on the next set of Plans. 


July 12, 2004                                                                 Planning Commission – page 5 of 6


The PCS letter with regard to Site Plan comments was reviewed, and Mr. Horton stated

they will comply with all items.  They will also comply with all items relating to the

Grading and Utility Plans and the Landscaping Plan.  Mr. Allan asked that they make

sure that they choose trees which are fast growing.


Mr. Horton stated they will comply with all items with regard to the Erosion and

Sedimentation Control Plan.  They are waiting for a response from the Conservation

District on some of these issues and would like to wait for those comments to come in

that they can revise the Plans once and include all revisions. 


Mr. Horton stated they will comply with all items listed for the Detail Plan.  They do not

intend to seed on top of the interceptor trenches.


With regard to Stormwater Management Report, Item #23 was noted.  Mr. Horton stated

their approach to stormwater is in compliance with all Ordinances, and they have

achieved a 50% release rate.  They have proposed some Best Management Practices. 

The Township engineer did suggest that they consider some more aggressive approaches

for some areas particularly around the Memorial.  There was discussion about the basin at

the back of the property, and it is suggested that now that they are increasing the size of

the ball field, they construct a more environmentally-friendly system.  The next

submission will include this along with the required Waiver request.  Mr. Wagener stated

there is not much drainage coming from the adjacent development, and there may be

some infiltration system possibilities for this area.


Mr. Horton stated they will comply with all items listed under General Comments.


Mr. Horton reviewed the letter from CKS he received tonight.  Item #1 was noted, and

Mr. Horton stated they will complete the Planning Module Request on behalf of the

Township.  Ms. Frick suggested that they discuss this with Mr. Hoffmeister.  Item #2 was

noted, and Mr. Horton stated they would like to get input on the language the Township

is looking for in this regard.  Item #3 was noted, and Mr. Wagener stated he did not see

any problem with this.  They will comply with Items #4 through #9.


Mr. Pazdera asked that they make the necessary changes and come back to the Planning

Commission for a recommendation of approval. 


Mr. Allan stated they should make sure that there are ample facilities in the restrooms to

accommodate those using the softball and baseball fields in case both of these fields are

being used at the same time.


It was suggested that Mr. Horton take the Plan to the Board of Supervisors to get their

comments as well.


There was no public comment.

July 12, 2004                                                                 Planning Commission – page 6 of 6





Ms. Harrison stated the Environmental Advisory Council participated in the recent Canal

Days.  They distributed information regarding Hazardous Waste Collections and other

environmental literature.  She stated there was a good turn out for this event, and the

EAC made its presence known to the community and did a good job at public relations.



There being no further business, Ms. Friedman moved, Ms. Harrison seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meting at 8:50 p.m.


                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,





                                                                        Karen Friedman, Secretary