TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PLANNING COMMISSION

MINUTES – MAY 24, 2004

 

 

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on May 24, 2004.  Secretary Friedman called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.

 

Those present:

 

Planning Commission:   Karen Friedman, Secretary

                                                Fred Allan, Member

                                                Cynthia Harrison, Member

 

Others:                                     Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning

                                                John Koopman, Township Solicitor

                                                Steve Santarsiero, Supervisor Liaison

 

Absent:                         John Pazdera, Planning Commission Chairman

                                                Andres Strauss, Planning Commission Vice Chairman

 

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

Mr. Allan moved, Ms. Harrison seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of April 14, 2004 as written.

 

 

APPROVAL OF ZONING HEARING BOARD APPEAL #04-1266 SPECIAL EXCEPTION REQUEST – DONALD NOWILL & SHARON CZEBOTAR (EQUITABLE OWNERS) FOR PROPERTY LOCATED AT 616 WASHINGTON CROSSING ROAD

 

Mr. Mark Reilly, attorney, was present with Mr. Donald Nowill, the Applicant. 

Mr. Reilly stated Mr. Nowill’s wife, Sharon Czebotar was not able to attend this evening

as she was seeing patients. 

 

Mr. Reilly stated they are looking for a Class 4 Home Occupation which is a Special

Exception.  He noted the property on Washington Crossing Road is two properties away

from the village Market.  The home is a two-story, single-family dwelling with a

driveway and garage.  The proposed use is for Ms. Czebotar, who is a licensed

acupuncturist, to have an office in the home where she would see patients.  They feel they

meet all the requirements for the Special Exception.

 

 

May 24, 2004                                                                Planning Commission – page 2 of 6

 

Mr. Reilly provided information this evening on the square footage of the property.  The

proposed space for the office use would be the parlor in the front of the house which

equals 364 square feet or 17.4% of the total square footage.    Ms. Czebotar would

operate the office possibly with an assistant.  There would not be more than two outside

employees involved in the use.  They do not see this as altering the residential quality of

the neighborhood.  Any signs would be in conformance with the regulations.  Mr. Reilly

noted there are parking requirements which they will meet.  There also needs to be

planting done between the dwelling and the parking area to shelter the parking from the

outside view and there is sufficient space to do this.   The use will not involve any large

trucks coming to the property.

 

Mr. Koopman asked who licenses acupuncturists.  Mr. Nowill stated his wife passed a

National exam and the State of New Jersey exam.  Pennsylvania just requires passage of

the National licensing exam.  There is not a Pennsylvania licensing entity.  Mr. Koopman

asked if Mr. Nowill knew the Federal Agency which does the licensing, and Mr. Nowill

stated he did not.  Mr. Koopman stated they should have this information available at the

Zoning Hearing Board meeting.  He stated they should also have more information on the

parking and buffering as the Zoning Hearing Board will go into more details with regard

to these matters.

 

Mr. Nowill stated his wife has been practicing for four years, and he reviewed where she

has been working.

 

Ms. Friedman stated according to the pictures provided it appears there is macadam and

she asked if this is already in place. Mr. Nowill stated it is currently in place.

 

Ms. Frick asked where they would install the buffer plantings, and Mr. Nowill stated it

would between the area on the Plan noted “concrete pad” and the home.  After discussion

it was noted that the requirement is not for buffering between this property and the

driveway, rather it is required that there be buffering between this property’s driveway

and the adjacent property.  Mr. Koopman noted Item 10.G.  Ms. Frick stated it appears

that the driveway is right up against the problem line and it may present a problem trying

to buffer this area according to the requirements.  Mr. Nowill noted the adjacent property

has an old fence which he feels the new owner will be taking down.  Mr. Reilly stated

since they do not have an impervious surface problem, they may be able to install raised

beds on the macadam driveway in which the buffer plantings could be installed. 

Mr. Koopman stated he feels they need to discuss this with the Zoning Hearing Board. 

He stated they should review the buffer requirements.

 

Mr. Allan asked the amount of parking provided.  Mr. Nowill stated they can garage three

cars and four to five cars can park in the driveway.  Mr. Nowill stated his wife sees

approximately twenty people a week in a forty hour week.  Normally she sees only one

patient at a time.  She does not currently have an assistant, but they did include this in case she would have an assistant in the future.

May 24, 2004                                                                Planning Commission – page 3 of 6

 

 

Mr. Koopman asked if they plan to live in the home, and Mr. Nowill stated they do plan

to live in the home.

 

Ms. Frick stated the buffer plantings must be five feet from the property line.  She stated

the macadam should have been five feet from the property line as well.  Mr. Koopman

stated the Zoning Ordinance does define a Type 4 buffer which is required.  He stated if

they cannot meet this requirement, they will have to request a Variance from the Zoning

Hearing Board.  Mr. Nowill stated he does understand that the new developer of the

adjacent property plans to leave the area adjacent to his left open as grass and trees.  

Ms. Frick stated a revised Plan has been brought in to the Township for that tract. 

Mr. Koopman stated he feels the property adjoining Mr. Nowill will be used for the

emergency access for the new development.

 

There was no public comment.

 

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

approval of the Special Exception and move it along to the Zoning Hearing Board.

 

 

DISCUSSION AND RECOMMENDATION ON PROPOSED AMENDMENTS ARTICLE XIX, SIGNS, SECTION 200-83 – SIGN REGULATIONS, SUBSECTION G. SIGNS EXEMPT FROM PERMIT REQUIREMENTS SO AS TO CREATE A NEW SUBSECTION 11 EXEMPTING SIGNS ON RECREATIONAL LANDS OWNED BY THE TOWNSHIP

 

Mr. Allan stated PAA came before the Board of Supervisors in March/April asking if

they could put advertising signs in the outfields in order to offset the cost of the increase

in the user fees.  The Township Board of Supervisors approved this.  Mr. Allan stated the

signs will come down in the off season.  He stated PAA will take care of putting the signs

up, taking them down, and the maintenance of the signs.

 

Ms. Friedman asked where else in the Township it would be possible that approving this

could result in things getting out of control.  Ms. Frick stated she did look into this and

could not think of any potential problems.   Ms. Friedman asked if the people involved in

the Soccer organization could put signs up as well or would the signs have to be affixed

to a fence or some other structure.  Ms. Harrison stated she does not have a problem with

the signs provided they are on a permanent structure for a specific time frame.  She stated

she feels every team will want to get in on this. 

 

Mr. Koopman stated according to the Ordinance it could be a free-standing sign and it

does not have to be on a structure.  Mr. Allan suggested that they change this that it be

required to be affixed to a permanent structure for the season of that sport only. 

 

May 24, 2004                                                                Planning Commission – page 4 of 6

 

 

Ms. Frick stated there is no permit required for this.    Ms. Friedman asked if they should

require a permit even if the permit fee is nominal.  She asked if this would give any

advantage.   Ms. Frick stated she could look into this.  She noted what is required for the

Realtors could be used in this situation which does keep some control and is a simple,

one-page form. 

 

Mr. Allan stated the PAA signs will be tastefully done.  Ms. Frick stated while they know

PAA will do this properly, they want to make sure that everyone does it tastefully. 

 

There was discussion on the requirement for fixing the sign.  Mr. Koopman suggested

that the wording be “affixed to a permanent structure for the duration of the season for

the applicant’s sport.  The applicant will be responsible for maintenance, installing, and

taking down the signs. 

 

There was discussion on how long signs could be up for soccer since they play in the

spring and the fall.  Mr. Koopman stated he feels they should have spring soccer and fall

soccer as separate signs.  It was noted that the PAA and YMS seasons could overlap. 

 

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

to the Board of Supervisors approval of the Amendments subject to modifying the

Ordinance to include limitations that the signs be placed upon existing structures,

limitations be placed so that the duration of time it can remain erected is consistent with

the duration of that particular sporting activity, that the Applicant would be responsible

for maintaining the sign, and that the written consent requirement be replaced with a

simple, one-page permit requirement with no fee.

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated he would like to do everything necessary to expedite the

Edgewood Village idea.  He stated the Historic Commission would like to meet with the

Planning Commission in a special workshop to review the issue, and he urged the

Planning Commission to do so.  He agreed to participate as well.  He asked that the

Planning Commission advise him of their schedules prior to the next Board of

Supervisors’ meeting.

 

Ms. Friedman stated if the entire Planning Commission is to participate, it would be

considered a public meeting which would need to be advertised.  Mr. Santarsiero stated it

could be discussed on a regular meeting night if the Planning Commission does not have

a large Agenda.  If this is not the case, they should schedule a special meeting.  He asked

that this be done in June.  Ms. Frick stated the meeting on the 14th of June will most

likely have a heavy Agenda. 

 

May 24, 2004                                                                Planning Commission – page 5 of 6

 

 

Ms. Harrison stated she is concerned that the Board of Supervisors is not aware of what is

discussed at the Planning Commission.  She asked if the Board of Supervisors receives

the Minutes from the Planning Commission following the meeting.  Mr. Santarsiero

stated he does receive the draft because he is the liaison.  Ms. Frick stated the Board does

receive a memo on various items.  Ms. Friedman stated she was concerned at the last

Board of Supervisors’ meeting during the discussion regarding Fieldstone when none of

the Planning Commission comments were addressed.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he is most

concerned about building homes on this tract where there was formerly a dump site.  He

stated he does not feel the Board of Supervisors is close to granting approval on this

matter.  Ms. Harrison stated she is concerned that this Applicant continues to come back

to the Planning Commission to discuss the same issues.  Mr. Santarsiero stated at this

point the Applicant has been asked to meet with the Township engineer, and must also

get approval from DEP.  Ms.  Harrison stated she feels they should limit the Applicant’s

appearance until all the approvals from the agencies have come in.  Mr. Koopman stated

there are time limits which the Township must meet.  He stated the Planning Commission

can advise the Applicant that they are not prepared to make a recommendation until they

are satisfied with the Plan.  He stated if the Applicant is not satisfied with this response,

they can go to the Board of Supervisors.  

 

Ms. Frick stated she does contact all the developers every two weeks for an update.  She

stated she did contact the Applicant for Fieldstone and asked him specifically what he

wanted to discuss at the last meeting, and he indicated he only wanted to discuss a few

items which she asked that he put in writing.  Once he came to the meeting, he discussed

additional items which were not included in his written list.  Mr. Koopman stated when

they are present again, the Planning Commission does have the right to rein them in if

they are being redundant.  Mr. Allan stated this is a serious situation because of the

remediation needed at the site.

 

Ms. Harrison stated she is most concerned with the environmental issues relating to the

site, the impact on the groundwater, and the proximity of some of the lots to the Railroad. 

She stated they did not discuss this at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting.  Mr. Santarsiero

stated they must also consider the stormwater run off.  He stated Mr. Majewski is going

to look at their calculations with regard to stormwater run off.  Ms. Harrison stated she

feels that there should be at least one less house so that there is one home rather than two

in the area which is so close to the Railroad.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he feels the Board of

Supervisors would prefer this as well.  Ms. Frick stated how they are going to run the

sewers is also an issue.  Mr. Allan stated he is also very concerned about the safety of the

entrance to the development.  Ms. Frick stated she is concerned that a number of lots do

not have a usable rear yard. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero stated he does apprise the Board of Supervisors of what happens at the

Planning Commission meetings.

 

May 24, 2004                                                                Planning Commission – page 6 of 6

 

 

Ms. Friedman stated the Environmental Advisory Council discussed the Brock Creek

Stream Bank Stabilization project and expressed concern with the age of the study and

whether that report reflected the current situation. They are also concerned whether there

is sufficient funding to complete the project.  She reported that Canal Day will be held

July 10.  The EAC will be holding a Canal Clean-Up on June 26 so that the area is in

good condition for this event.  She stated if anyone is interested in helping, they should

contact Byron Roth, Chairman of the EAC.  Ms. Friedman stated they also discussed the

possibility of a program similar to the Adopt-A-Highway Program for the Canal.  The

EAC is also considering a more regional approach to intensifying recycling and putting

information regarding this on the Website.  Mr. Santarsiero stated they could discuss this

at the new Regional Committee he has formed.  Ms. Friedman stated there has been joint

participation between the Lower Makefield EAC and the Yardley Borough EAC. 

She noted that Park & Recreation will also be putting recycling cans in all Township

Parks.  The EAC is also looking into recycling Styrofoam.

 

 

There being no further business, Ms. Harrison moved, Mr. Allan seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:35 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                                        Karen Friedman, Secretary