TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PLANNING COMMISSION

MINUTES – NOVEMBER 22, 2004

 

 

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on November 22, 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

                                                 (left meeting in progress)

                                                John Koopman, Township Solicitor

                                                Jim Majewski, Township Engineer

                                                Drew Wagner, Township Engineer

 

 

#556 – CAMERON & JEAN TROILO – PRELIMINARY/FINAL PLAN DISCUSSION

 

Mr. Edward Murphy, attorney, was present and stated the site is slightly less than ten

acres located on Yardley-Langhorne Road.  The property is immediately adjacent to

Heston Hall on the east.  There are two existing dwellings on the property.  They propose

to subdivide the property into two lots.  Both lots have access to Yardley-Langhorne

Road.  It is intended that the Flowers family will retain a portion of the property which

will be slightly less than one half acre.  Both properties are presently served by on-lot

water and on-lot sewer, and it is not intended to change this at this point in time.  No

other construction is proposed at the site at this time so all existing conditions will remain

as they are currently.  Ultimately Mr. Troilo does intend to develop the site.  He has had

one informal session with the Historic Commission to discuss working with the

Township consultant to develop a mixed-use plan to contain elements of residential and

non-residential including some expansion of Heston Hall.   Those plans have not yet been

formulated. 

 

Ms. Harrison joined the meeting at this time.

 

Mr. Murphy noted the 11/10/04 PCS review letter.  Page Two identifies a series of

waivers being sought mostly due to the fact that there is no construction proposed at this

time.  There are no improvements proposed along Yardley-Langhorne Road at this time

because no construction is anticipated at this time. 

 

November 22, 2004                                                       Planning Commission – page 2 of 9

 

Ms. Friedman noted Item 1.e. and asked if they are proposing any storm water

management.  Mr. Murphy stated when they do develop in the future, they will have to

consider storm water management for the piece that they will develop.

 

Mr. Murphy stated there is an old barn which straddles both properties.  Mr. Troilo will

recycle as much of this as he can but it will be taken down as it is dilapidated

Mr. Koopman stated the Township would like there to be a separation of 5’ from the

property line to the driveway, and Mr. Murphy stated he would recommend that the

Planning Commission make this a condition of approval.  Mr. Murphy stated they will

move the driveway or move the lot line. 

 

Mr. Pazdera noted they are showing 5’ from the rear of the barn to the property line.

Ms. Harrison stated she would like to have the barn at its present location with a ten foot setback from the rear of the barn to the property line.  Ms. Frick stated here is a requirement that there be 10’ for an accessory structure.  Mr. Murphy agreed to change this as well.

 

Mr. Allan stated he would prefer that they divide the property down the middle equally. 

He stated he would be concerned with an egress from the property so close to the corner. 

Mr. Murphy stated he will advise Mr. Troilo of this suggestion.  The current Plan shows

that lot #1 which is to be developed by Mr. Troilo will be 9.01 acres, and Lot #2 to be

retained by the Flowers family will be 0.375 acres.   There was discussion about moving

the lot line so that it would be adjacent to the woodlands which would then be a natural

buffer.

 

Mr. Murphy noted Page #2 of the PCS letter and stated they will comply with Items #2, #3, and #4. 

 

Mr. Majewski stated the Tax Map shows that a parcel had already been taken out of this

property.  Mr. Murphy stated that parcel was consolidated back into the original piece

although he is not sure when this occurred.  Mr. Koopman stated the tax records still

show it as a separate number.  He stated this would relate to whether or not this should be

considered a major or minor subdivision.  Mr. Murphy agreed to provide additional

information on the history of this subdivision.  Ms. Frick stated she felt that all lot

consolidations had to go through the Township. 

 

Mr. Murphy stated he had no further comment regarding any other items in the PCS or

CKS letters.

 

Ms. Helen Heinz stated the Historic Commission did recommend that this be submitted to

Carter VanDyke for review and this was done last Thursday.  She stated they were

concerned about the septic system knowing that sewer and water are marginal in

Edgewood village.   She stated they are also concerned about the historic structures and

did not have time to review them. 

November 22, 2004                                                       Planning Commission – page 3 of 9

 

 

Mr. Jim Keba, an adjacent property owner, stated his property is not shown on the

drawing.  Ms. Frick stated they did notice this but still sent him notice of this evening’s

meeting. 

 

Mr. Stephen Heinz, HARB, stated by approving this Plan, they are making the

assumption that the barn will be demolished and this has not been ruled on by HARB. 

He stated they did discuss this and felt it added to the property, and it would probably not

be a good idea to remove it.  They would like to have this matter referred to HARB so

that it can be handled in a more formal manner.  Mr. Murphy stated if this Plan is

approved, it does not mean that the barn will be raised as that is a separate approval. 

Mr. Koopman stated the barn itself straddles the property line as shown. 

 

Mr. Murphy was asked to advise Mr. Troilo of the discussions held this evening. 

 

Ms. Joyce Bigley, Yardley-Langhorne Road, stated they did not receive notice of this

evening’s meeting until Thursday evening.  Mr. Pazdera stated the Planning Commission

does not get notice until Friday or Saturday prior to the Monday night meeting. 

Ms. Frick stated the earliest notice they ever give is Thursday evening because of timing

for setting the Agenda.

 

 

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

 

Mr. John Mahoney, Mr. Mike Stadulis, Mr. John Hako, Mr. Jeff Gaul, and Mr. Nick

Casey were present.  Mr. Mahoney stated this is a forty-four lot subdivision which has

been before the Planning Commission previously.  He stated they did find a gasoline

additive on the site.  He stated there has been groundwater monitoring testing and the

results have been submitted to the Township.

 

Mr. Jeff Gaul stated in April they found MTBE, a gasoline additive.  They installed a

well and when they sampled in April and found MTBE, this was a significant concern. 

Skelly & Loy asked that they re-sample, and they found it again but the level had

dropped from the original level.  They sampled it again in their routine quarterly sample

in September, and it had dropped again.  He stated the DEP still felt it was important to

see if a plume existed on the site.  They sampled a grid around the well and some other

suspect areas and the levels were almost non-detectible for MTBE.  They still installed

three more wells, one upland, one in the same area, and one below grade.  These were

installed two weeks ago and they will sample them in approximately two more weeks. 

They will still follow up with a quarterly sample.  They are advising the Township and

DEP of all results.  Mr. Gaul stated they feel this may have been a one-time spill as part

of the asphalt/landscaping business or it could have been a continual problem and when

Hovnanian and the Township got the Court Order for them to stop activity on the site,

November 22, 2004                                                       Planning Commission – page 4 of 9

 

 

this then stopped the problem.  They will submit a report to the State following the first

round of sampling to get comments from them. 

 

Mr. Gaul stated they sampled the cesspool, but there was no evidence of MTBE.  There

was some slag that was observed, and they did do a sample to see if there were any

organic contaminants or heavy metals, and these were below the State levels.  He stated

they also took approximately sixteen samples from the front of the site and all were

below the State levels.

 

Mr. Santarsiero asked if they have seen any further evidence of activity, and Mr. Gaul

stated they have not; and the site is getting cleaner.  Mr. Santarsiero stated he was also

concerned with the structure owned by CSX, and Mr. Mahoney stated they have been

provided a point of contact by the Township Manager.  They have called CSX eight

times, and they will continue to try to contact them.  Mr. Mahoney stated they need to get

permission from the owner, which they feel is SEPTA, to determine what is contained in

the structure in order to get demolition costs.  He stated if it is an asbestos-containing

structure, it will be costly to remove.  He stated he does recognize that it is an attractive

nuisance.  Mr. Koopman stated he can provide them with a contact at SEPTA.

 

Ms. Harrison noted prior comments made by the Planning Commission and asked if they

have made any of the changes previously requested.  Mr. Mahoney stated they are

planning to change Lots #41 and #42 in order to avoid the need for a Variance from the

rear yard setback.  Ms. Harrison stated the Planning Commission was also concerned

about the proximity of the lots to the railroad tracks. She asked if they are going to install

a privacy fence, and Mr. Hako stated they do show a fence along the rear. 

 

The PCS letter dated 11/16/04 was noted.  Mr. Mahoney noted item #1A and stated they

were going to submit an aerial and see if this would be satisfactory.  Mr. Hako stated they

would be willing to provide any additional features that are required by the Township

engineer.  Mr. Majewski stated he feels what has been submitted is satisfactory. 

 

Item 1B was noted, and Mr. Mahoney stated there were discussions whether Edgewood

Road should be widened.  He stated if they are not going to widen Edgewood Road, he

does not feel they would need to do pavement core samples.  Mr. Mahoney stated he

understands that the Township would prefer that Edgewood Road be tapered.  Mr. Hako

stated they feel it would be better to leave the existing travel lane so that it limits speeds

as you approach the bridge.  Ms. Harrison asked about the environmental impact if they

widen the road in the bridge area.  Mr. Majewski stated PennDOT still owns the bridge,

and he does not feel they will widen it.  Mr. Majewski stated the Township must decide

what they want done to Edgewood Road. Mr. Allan stated he is concerned with the

synagogue in the area.  He stated the traffic on Saturday and other holy days is substantial

in this area.  Ms. Harrison asked if the road is wide enough to allow merging into the

lane.  Mr. Hako stated they show a widening that would allow for a 12’ travel lane in

November 22, 2004                                                       Planning Commission – page 5 of 9

 

addition to a 14’ shoulder/decal lane.   Mr. Allan stated they may want a left turn lane

onto Schuyler.  Ms. Harrison stated she is concerned people may not see this coming over

the rise, and feels they should look at this location. 

 

Ms. Frick left the meeting at this time.

 

Mr. Mahoney stated they could put funds aside to cover the cost of core samples, and the

Township could decide at some future time if they are needed.  Mr. Wagner stated they

could see what the shoulder looks like if they get the core samples.  Mr. Mahoney stated

they could post the funds, and it will remain there unless needed.  Mr. Majewski stated it

would cost approximately $500 for the core samples, and Mr. Mahoney agreed that they

would do the core samples.

 

Ms. Harrison asked if they are going to look into whether a turning lane is needed, and

Mr. Majewski stated this is something that will have to be determined at some time with

input from PennDOT and other Township representatives.  He stated he is concerned that

too much widening may encourage higher speeds.

 

Item 1.C was noted, and a waiver is no longer required as the Plan now complies.

 

Item 1.D was noted, and Mr. Mahoney stated while they can comply with the Ordinance

requirements, it would be an unusual-shaped lot because of the existing location of Long

Acre Lane.  Mr. Hako stated this is only for the depth-to- width ratio and is independent

of the rear yard setback.  Mr. Majewski stated they could comply, but it would result in a

smaller lot.  Mr. Mahoney stated they are going to re-design this so that they do not need

a rear yard Variance.  Mr. Mahoney stated the lot will still be wider than it is deep, and

they have a product that will fit on this lot. 

 

Item 1.E. was noted, and Mr. Mahoney stated there is a pipe on the site that is clogged

and in order to restore it to what it was before it was a landfill, they will have to install a

box culvert 100’ in length.  They will also have to disturb the land in the clean-up of the

landfill.

 

Items 1. F, 1.G, 1.H, 1.I. and 1.J. are stormwater management items which have been

previously discussed.  Mr. Pazdera stated they are not dedicating these to the Township

according to previous comments made. Mr. Mahoney stated if the Township would like

them, they would be willing to give them to the Township. They will do whatever the

Township prefers. Mr. Majewski stated the basins will be low-maintenance and once

established, will not need to be mowed very often.  Mr. Pazdera stated the Board of

Supervisors will make the final decision on this. 

 

Item 2. was noted, and Mr. Mahoney stated this relates to the landfill and they will need a

Variance for this.  This relates to the clean-up of the landfill.  Mr. Gaul noted the

location of the landfill on the Plan.

November 22, 2004                                                       Planning Commission – page 6 of 9

 

 

Item #3 relates to Lots #41 and #42 and they are trying to comply with this matter.

 

Item #4 relating to a name change was noted, and they will work with the Historic

Commission on this matter. 

 

Ms. Helen Heinz stated they do have an issue with the house.  She stated the Plan states

the house will remain, and the Historic Commission therefore did not comment on this. 

She now understands that it may not remain.  Mr. Mahoney stated the Harris family does

not own the property but feels they have the right to occupy the home.  Ms. Heinz asked

if it is the developer’s intention to keep the home, and Mr. Mahoney stated they would

not want to keep it.  Ms. Heinz stated they would object to it being taken down as it does

have a long history and is a 1798 structure.  Mr. Stadulis stated they should visit the site

to see the house before they make a decision.  Ms. Heinz stated while they are flexible on

this, she would like to see the house before a decision is made on taking it down.  At this

point, they would recommend that it be lotted out and try to sell it.  Mr. Casey stated

when the Quaker Group purchased the property, the Harris’ were under the assumption

that they were purchasing the property under the same conditions that had been in effect

with the prior purchaser which was not the case.  Currently they are in litigation. 

Mr. Mahoney stated Hovnanian has the property under Agreement of Sale.

 

Item #5 was noted, and Mr. Mahoney stated they will need a Variance for this.

 

Item #6 was noted, and Mr. Mahoney stated once costs are determined, they will most

likely comply.

 

Item #7 was noted regarding stormwater management near Lots #41 and #42.  Mr. Hako

stated they noted the existing conditions of water run off on the plan.  He stated they have

taken five acres of the adjacent development’s discharge and are piping it into their

internal storm pipe system and into their detention basin.  Mr. Heyman stated when the

Township approved the original development and required the storm water pipe to

discharge to the rear of the property, it inferred they were considering the stream along

Brock Creek as a permanent condition.  This permitted the stormwater discharge from

five to six lots adjacent to this property to discharge.  He stated Lots #41 and #42 will

now be the stormwater retention basin.  Mr. Majewski stated there is a note on the plan to

show that they have a system to take care of this, and Mr. Majewski stated PCS has

commented in their review letter that they should indicate in greater detail how it will be

handled.  Mr. Koopman stated before this Plan is approved, those details will be reviewed

by the Township engineer.  Mr. Majewski stated it is true that there is a low area where

they need to get rid of the water.

 

Mr. Mahoney stated they will comply with Item #8.

 

 

November 22, 2004                                                       Planning Commission – page 7 of 9

 

 

Items #9 and #10 were noted, and Mr. Mahoney stated they will narrow Long Acre Lane

where it ties into the adjoining subdivision.  Mr. Hako stated they have been asked to

investigate methods to control speeds on Long Acre Lane, and they have considered

tapering Long Acre Lane to make it so there is a narrower crossing at the bridge. 

Mr. Allan asked about a speed hump, and Mr. Majewski stated there is certain criteria

that must be made by PennDOT and they would have to do a study on the speed of the

cars in the area.  Currently there are no cars in this area so they could not justify a speed

hump.  He stated you also risk losing liquid fuels if you put in a speed hump without

meeting the criteria.  Mr. Majewski stated perhaps they could narrow down the roadway

where there are no lots which could reduce speeds.  Mr. Pazdera stated they would have

to post “no parking” signs in this area.  This was acceptable to the developer.  Mr. Hako

stated currently they are at 36’ wide cartway and asked if they would approve reducing it

to 24’.  Mr. Majewski suggested 26’ to 28’.  He stated they should also contact the

emergency services people about this recommendation.

 

Mr. Mahoney stated they will comply with Items #11 and #12.  He stated the Board of

Supervisors will make the determination regarding Item #13.  They will comply with

Item #14.

 

Item #15 was noted, and Mr. Hako stated they are recommending treated wood directly

into the ground and asked if this would be acceptable. Ms. Harrison stated she would

prefer an attractive metal street light.  Mr. Stadulis stated they felt they would use what is

used uniformly in the Township rather than a concrete base.  Ms. Harrison stated she

would prefer not to have wood.  She stated with regard to the internal street lights, she

feels there should be a street light at the four areas where they are currently shown on the

Plan. 

 

Item #16 was noted, and Mr. Hako stated what they are showing is actually more

conservative.  They will comply with the Township engineer’s request.  They have

secured the electronic copy as requested.

 

With regard to sewer, Mr. Hako stated the entire site will be served by gravity flow and

leave the site via an easement and tie into the existing systems.  This was the

recommendation of the Township Sewer Administrator.  Mr. Hako stated they will

provide for connection points to the adjacent property owners

 

Mr. Pazdera asked when they will go to the Zoning Hearing Board, and Mr. Mahoney

stated if the Board of Supervisors is in favor of the Plan as revised and if they agree to do

other things with regard to the landfill they hope to avoid going to the Zoning Hearing

Board.    He stated they hope the Township will be in favor of granting waivers in

exchange for clean up of the landfill.  Mr. Koopman stated the Board of Supervisors will

consider this in the future.

 

November 22, 2004                                                       Planning Commission – page 8 of 9

 

 

Mr. Allan asked if they have an estimate on the clean up cost, and Mr. Mahoney stated

this depends on the extent to which soil would have to be removed but they feel it will be

a seven figure clean up process.  Mr. Allan asked if they know how deep they will have

to go, and Mr. Gaul stated it will be up to 18’ near the stream.  Mr. Allan asked if there

will be much disturbance to Brock Creek, and Mr. Gaul stated there will be some

disturbance, and they will work with the Conservation District on the work to be done. 

Mr. Allan stated he is concerned how this will impact the people downstream.

 

Ms. Harrison asked if they will build the edge of Brock Creek back up, and Mr. Gaul

stated they have looked into this and the side slopes will be three to one armored with

rock on the edges to the 25 year storm and bio-engineered above that.  Mr. Stadulis stated

many of the steep slopes are there because the Harris’ kept pushing material closer to the

stream and then covered it up. 

 

Mr. Santarsiero asked if they will be leaving anything behind, and Mr. Gaul stated they

will not leave anything behind that is not permitted by DEP.  He stated there is some

Municipal waste, but the vast majority is demolition material.  Mr. Stadulis stated when

he was with Realen and they had looked at this property, they tested specifically for

methane, and found that there was no methane.  Mr. Gaul stated as part of their

requirements, DEP is requiring that they do a model of vapor intrusion even though they

know there is not a problem; however, this will provide assurance to the homeowners. 

 

Mr. Allan stated they need to advise the purchasers of Lots #41 and #42 that they can

have no decks, etc, in the rear yard.  Mr. Mahoney stated Ms. Frick has advised him of

this and a note has been added to the Plan.  She also asked that there be a note on the lot

disclosure as well. 

 

Mr. Tom Tettemer asked if they will be able to hook up to the sanitary sewers, and

Mr. Hako stated they have extended their system to a manhole in the right-of-way of

Edgewood Road and have provided a stub in the westerly direction for connection. 

Mr. Tettemer asked if it will be low enough for them to hook up.  Mr. Hako stated they

have pushed their systems down as low as they can, and Mr. Tettemer would have to run

a lateral from his property or an ejector pump.

 

Mr. Stephen Heinz, 1555 Edgewood Road, stated from looking at the Plan and comparing

it to his elevation, there is no way it will be able to flow from his property.   He has

requested that an engineer take an invert elevation to make sure it does flow.  Mr. Allan

asked that they send someone out to these properties, and Mr. Hako agreed to do so. 

Mr. Stadulis stated it may be that they cannot get gravity sewers to these locations. 

Mr. Mahoney stated they have an in-house survey crew and would be willing to send them out.  Mr. Tettemer and Mr. Heinz agreed to allow them to come into their homes.

 

 

November 22, 2004                                                       Planning Commission – page 9 of 9

 

 

Mr. Heinz stated when the improvements to I-95 come about, it might increase traffic in

the area and a left turn lane onto Schuyler may be helpful.  Mr. Heinz asked about the

Brock Creek box culvert and asked under what conditions a waterway becomes a

waterway of the United States in a pipe.  Mr. Gaul stated technically the water going

through the pipe is waters of the United States as it is part of a stream.  He stated they

would need a permit. Mr. Heinz stated Brock Creek has been in existence for a very long

time and comes from two continuously flowing streams from Yardley Estates.  He asked

if there is anyway they could deal with this as they dealt with the bridge on Sandy Run

Road.  Mr. Majewski stated Sandy Run Road is a box culvert.  What they are proposing

for this is the same as at Sandy Run.  Mr. Gaul stated they are proposing to shorten the

length of the pipe.  Mr. Majewski stated he has also suggested that if the road is

narrowed, it could shorten up the length of the culvert.  Mr. Heinz stated he feels if there

is a 100 year storm, they will have a pond that is 15’ deep.  Mr. Hako stated they have

modeled this and they do not feel it will be this deep and it may be 6’ deep.   

Mr. Stadulis stated they must get a permit for this and these issues will be raised at that

time. Mr. Heinz stated if these are constantly flowing streams and they are concerned

about the quality of water in Brock Creek, they should consider if there is a way to lift the

water when it comes off Mr. Tettemer’s property and take it around while the process is

going on.  Once it is stabilized, they can put it back.  Mr. Stadulis stated during the

landfill process and the construction process they will try to direct water around the

excavation site as much as possible ; otherwise they would have to treat it on site. 

 

Ms. Helen  Heinz stated they should talk to Mr. Tettemer about the landfill as he has

lived in the area for fifty years.  She stated she is concerned about her water supply in the

interim.  She stated they would like to have their wells monitored.  Mr. Tristan Heinz

stated when there was adjacent construction, they did lose their water.  Mr. Allan asked if

there is a way, while they are running their water lines, that they could put in a line that

would go out to Edgewood Road so that the adjacent property owners would have the

option to hook up to public water. Mr. Hako stated there is already water in Edgewood

Road at the current time.  It is a 16” main.  Mr. Stephen Heinz stated they prefer to use

their well.  Mr. Tristan Heinz asked if they have to take the stub line out to the road edge

or could they put it closer to the houses.  Mr. Stadulis stated they will look at this on the

site.

 

 

There being no further business Ms. Harrison moved, Ms. Friedman seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 9:30 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

                                                                        Karen Friedman, Secretary