TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PLANNING COMMISSION

MINUTES- APRIL 11, 2005

 

 

The regular meeting of the Planning commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on April 11, 2005.  Chairman Friedman called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.

 

Those present:

 

Planning Commission:   Karen Friedman, Chairman

                                                Cynthia Harrison, Vice Chairman

                                                William Taylor, Secretary

                                                Fred Allan, Member

                                                John Pazdera, Member

 

Others:                                     Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning

                                                John Koopman, Township Solicitor

                                                James Majewski, Township Engineer

                                                Frank Fazzalore, Supervisor Liaison

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

Mr. Pazdera moved and Ms. Harrison seconded to approve the Minutes of March 28, 2005 as written.  Motion carried with Mr. Taylor abstaining.

 

 

#550- PRIME PROPERTIES - PRELIMINARY/FINAL PLAN APPROVAL

 

Mr. George Kiriakidi and Mr. Nicholas Rose, engineer, were present.  MR. Rose stated

this is a two-lot subdivision located on Big Oak Road in the R3M Zone.  He stated the

proposal is to construct two, single-family dwellings.  There is an existing dwelling to the

left of the tract and farm property behind and to the right of the property.  There is a

swale in front of the property which they have agreed to improve down to the culvert

west on Big Oak Road.  Mr. Rose stated there was prior discussion about how much they

would be required to do with regard to detention.  Subsequent to the prior meeting,

Mr. Rose ran through the calculations and forwarded them to Ms. Frick and the Township

engineer.  Mr. Rose stated they looked at three options as to how to handle the

stormwater.  One option was as shown on the Plan, the second was to add 3% to allow

for additional impervious which would be a total of 15%, and the final option was to look

at full build out to the maximum amount which would be 19%.  All options would have

the detention area at a 3 foot depth.  Option #1 as shown on the Plan would provide a 60’

by 20’ underground stone storage area on each lot.  This allows for 12% impervious

surface.  This area as shown on the Plan is in the front yard although they feel they may

 

April 11, 2005                                                                Planning Commission – page 2 of 7

 

move it to the side or rear yards or a portion in each.  Option #2 was noted which would

add 3% to the impervious surface which would take them to 15% and this would result in

a 68’ by 20’ wide area on each lot.  This would also be the same underground system. 

The final calculation they did was for build out to 19% impervious and this required an

80’ long by 20’ wide area on each lot.  There was previous discussion on the merits of a

Waiver to permit them to go to the middle option recognizing that these are fairly

significantly larger than required by Ordinance and it may be unlikely that there would be

a full build out to 19%.  Ms. Friedman asked Ms. Frick how often homes in the Township

are built to the full amount of permitted impervious surface, and Ms. Frick estimated it to

be more than half of the homes in the Township. 

 

Mr. Allan asked how far from the stormwater system could they install a pool etc. 

Mr. Majewski stated they would recommend there be a minimum of 10’ from any

structure.  Ms. Frick stated a fence would have to be 10’ from this and the water’s edge

would be 10’ from the fence.  Mr. Allan noted one of the lots on the Plan and stated if

they are facing the road from the street, a pool would have to go on the left hand side.  

Mr. Rose stated this would depend on which side they installed the detention facility. 

He stated they could structure the stormwater system differently.  They could also tie the

front roof drains to a system in the front and the rear roof drains to a system in the rear. 

He stated once they know what they can design to, they will do this and then determine

where it would make the most sense contemplating decks, etc. in the future.  Ms. Frick

asked to where in the back they would move the detention system.  Mr. Koopman stated

once it is determined how large a system they must have, they have indicated they will

then determine where it should be put.  Mr. Rose stated the shape shown on the existing

plan is approximately half of what they would be required to provide for full build out. 

Mr. Koopman stated the Building Permit and the Plot Plan will have to show this area of

underground storage.  He asked if it will be easy to determine that what is under the grass

is the stormwater retention area.  Mr. Rose stated he assumes there will be some sort of

Disclosure Statement that would identify this.  Mr. Koopman asked if there will be

anything that is visible on the property, and Mr. Rose stated this would not be apparent

looking at the property. 

 

Ms. Harrison asked what the setback from the road is, and Mr. Rose stated it is 80’.

Mr. Taylor asked if this detention area can be put in the setback, and Mr. Majewski stated it can.  Mr. Rose noted there will not be a surface basin.  They are proposing an underground system which is excavated, stone is installed which is surrounded with filter fabric, and the area is then backfilled on top to grade level.  There will not be a depression and it will just look like yard.  Ms. Frick asked if this requires any maintenance, and Mr. Rose stated it does have an outlet pipe that allows water to go out to the swale in the street.  Ms. Frick asked if this system is used in any of the surrounding Townships.  Mr. Rose stated they have done them in Upper Makefield and Warwick.  Ms. Harrison asked the difference between this system and a French drain, and Mr. Rose stated this is similar to a French drain although a French drain is usually associated with a sewer system.

April 11, 2005                                                                Planning Commission – page 3 of 7

 

 

Mr. Allan stated he would like to see as much of this in the front yard as possible because

if it is on the side and it fills up, they might impact the adjoining properties. 

Ms. Friedman stated this would also allow the purchasers more use of their rear yard.

 

The Applicant was asked if they could install plantings over the system, and Mr. Rose

stated they could not install trees.  They could install small bushes and flowers. Ms. Frick

asked how the homeowners would be advised that trees cannot be put on top of this. 

Mr. Rose stated this could go in the Disclosure Statement.  Mr. Kiriakidi stated they do

these systems a lot and have never had these questions.  He stated any excess water that

does not permeate to the ground would go through a pipe and go out much lower than the

grade of the house.  It would not get into the homes.  Mr. Allan asked where it will drain,

and Mr. Rose stated it drains to the swale in Big Oak Road.  Ms. Frick stated she feels

they must have something on the Plan indicating that they cannot have trees over this.

Ms. Harrison stated she is concerned about what will happen with subsequent purchasers.

Mr. Rose stated they could put the shape of the restricted area on the Record Plan. 

 

Mr. Taylor asked if 3% is a reasonable amount for additional impervious surface. 

Mr. Majewski stated this is what the Ordinance calls for.  The Township prefers not to

have the original builder/owners do the build out to the ultimate.  He stated this 3%

would cover a pool and a shed.  It would be 983 square feet for these lots.  Mr. Rose

stated they would still put a Note on the Plan that if a homeowner were to seek additional

impervious surface, they would have to come to the Township for permission to do this.

Mr. Majewski stated they could also consider asking them to design the seepage beds to

the maximum allowed under the Ordinance which is 16%; and if the homeowner comes

to the Township in the future to add an additional 3% impervious surface, the homeowner

would have to provide additional stormwater management.

 

Mr. Fazzalore stated whatever they do, they need to control the water.  Mr. Majewski

stated there will be a swale along the property line to channel it to the swale in Big Oak

Road.  Mr. Allan asked about the run off from these systems.  Mr. Rose stated up to a

certain point it will fill up in the system.  Once it reaches a certain level, it goes through a

4” diameter pipe.  They will extend the outlets so it will go to the swale.  They will also

deepen the swale for approximately 500’ from the site to the culvert.  Mr. Fazzalore

noted this is in an area where they are proposing to build the Rock Run dam. 

 

Mr. Kiriakidi stated they feel they are controlling the water at least 100%.  Mr. Rose

stated their calculations show that there will be no increase and under some options they

are proposing there will be a slight decrease.  He stated if they build up to 16%, they will

not increase the flow.  If they go higher, the homeowners would have to install additional

stormwater systems.  Mr. Majewski stated he was in the area during the recent heavy

rains and there was ponding over the road in the area that they have asked the developer

to fix.  Mr. Majewski stated the idea is to minimize the impact of the development and

not increase the amount of water.  Mr. Rose stated he feels the swale will help the

April 11, 2005                                                                Planning Commission – page 4 of 7

 

 

situation.   Mr. Allan asked if they could make the underground pit deeper.  Mr. Rose

stated it is possible if they went deeper, there would be water tables that would come up. 

Mr. Kiriakidi stated he feels what will help the most is fixing the swale.  Mr. Majewski

stated they do have poorly drained soils in this area.  They are only counting the storage

between the large stones.  Mr. Kiriakidi stated the only water that is supposed to go in the

storage area is the water from the roof drains.  Mr. Majewski stated he does not feel

going deeper would help.

 

Mr. Taylor asked where the water eventually goes, and Mr. Majewski stated there is a

cross pipe that goes across the road and eventually goes to the Rock Run area. 

Mr. Taylor asked if they could take this to the detention basin on the corner, and

Mr. Majewski stated this would not work gradewise.

 

Mr. Koopman stated he assumes there will be no more or less volume of water using this

system than if there was a detention basin, and Mr. Majewski agreed.  Mr. Rose stated

they feel because it is such a small project by the time they would have installed a basin,

berms etc, it would not have looked particularly attractive.  With their plan, they can get

the same volume, but will have it underground instead of on the surface. 

 

Ms. Friedman asked if they could separate the stormwater system into two areas and get

the same results, and Mr. Rose stated they could.  She asked what the homeowners would

be required to do if they wanted to go beyond the 16% impervious surface. Mr. Koopman

stated a Note would have to be put on the Plan limiting the impervious surface to 16%

and state that if they are going to put anything more,  they will have to come back to the

Township for approval for additional stormwater management.  Ms. Friedman asked

what the stormwater management system would have to be, and Mr. Koopman stated

they would have to determine this at the time of the request and the Township engineer

would have to review their proposal and make a determination whether it can be

approved or not.  Ms. Frick asked if the homeowner reading this would recognize that

they would have to go to the Zoning Hearing Board.  Mr. Koopman stated he does not

feel this is normally a Zoning Hearing Board issue, and the homeowner would have to

come back either to the Planning Commission/Board of Supervisors and/or in house to

the Township engineer.  Mr. Fazzalore stated that while the first homeowners will

comply, he is concerned about second and third owners as they do not read their plans.

Mr. Koopman stated hopefully before someone installs impervious surface, they would

come to the Township to obtain a permit and at that point it would be flagged.

Mr. Kiriakidi stated at 15% or 16%  they should be able to install a pool, etc. and

Mr. Majewski stated he does feel they could do something on the property.  Ms. Frick

stated she is concerned because the first homeowner will most likely come in with a

request for a circular drive, patio, etc. and the impervious surface will be used up very

quickly.  Ms. Harrison stated she feels it may behoove them to make it 19% up front. 

 

 

April 11, 2005                                                                Planning Commission – page 5 of 7

 

 

She feels it would be better to consider it now than to have to address it down the road. 

Mr. Allan stated he is in favor of the underground systems as opposed to a detention

basin and he thanked the Applicant for coming in with this proposal.

 

Ms. Friedman stated it appears the Planning Commission would be in favor of providing

for 19% impervious surface.  She stated they should work with the Township engineer as

to where the system should be located.  Mr. Allan suggested that they keep it away from

the adjacent properties as much as possible.  Mr. Majewski stated someone from his

office does go out onto the site when the systems are installed to make sure that it is done

properly.

 

Ms. Harrison stated they did previously discuss fencing.  Mr. Rose stated they have

proposed fence corners at all four corners so that visually there will be no doubt where

the property lines are located.    He stated they would also have a line of trees.  They feel

it would be cost prohibitive to provide fencing all along the property.  They feel it would

be just as easy for someone to toss something over a split rail fence as it would be for

someone to walk onto the property.  Mr. Fazzalore stated they could install a PennDOT

type II fence that they require be installed adjacent to Farmland Preservation properties.

Ms. Harrison stated this will maintain the property line and not disturb the farm.  She

stated people do dump onto the farms if they do not have a fence. 

 

Mr. Kiriakidi apologized for his past behavior regarding this matter but stated he is very

much opposed to the fence idea.  He stated he does not like the way a fence looks.  He

stated if a property owner dumps onto the farm property, the Police should be contacted. 

Ms. Friedman suggested that the Planning Commission agree to the corner fences as

proposed by the developer, but request that they install enhanced plantings such as white

pines.  Ms. Friedman stated she feels that if you can see your neighbor’s back yard, you

will not dump onto it as visually you are now connecting yourself to it as opposed to a

fence which they do throw things over and forget about it.  Mr. Rose stated they have

proposed white pines already.  He stated they are not requesting any waivers on

stormwater management and are agreeing to improving the swale and feel they have been

flexible and helpful.  Mr. Rose noted the plantings they have proposed on the Plan and

asked if the Commission feels these are sufficient.  Ms. Friedman stated she feels they

should also consider some lower-growing plants.  Mr. Rose noted other plants they have

proposed.  Ms. Harrison stated she felt that they had heard that the sap from white pines

can negatively impact farm properties.  She asked that something else be installed if this

is really a problem.

 

Ms. Sandy Guzikowski, 1205 Big Oak Road, stated the vegetation does not do anything

for her.  She stated if there is not a permanent 6’ tall stockade fence, it will not prevent

problems.  She stated she gets athletic equipment, cement, stones, etc. and her mowers

then hit this debris which causes damage to her equipment.  She stated they have also had

light bulbs and pet waste dumped onto her property.   She stated if there is a fence, it

April 11, 2005                                                                Planning Commission – page 6 of 7

 

 

makes a visual separation.  Ms. Harrison stated she is concerned that if it is a fence that

you cannot see through, it will be even more of a problem since the people will then

throw things over and not be concerned because they do not have to see it. 

 

Mr. Allan asked the estimated cost of the fencing, and it was estimated to be

approximately $15,000 for a stockade fence.  Mr. Kiriakidi stated despite the cost, he

would still not be in favor of it since he does not like the appearance.  Mr. Allan asked

about Ms. Guzikowski and the developer splitting the cost of the fence.  Ms. Guzikowski

stated she would be open to paying a portion of it, and would also like to be responsible

for the maintenance of it so that the homeowners cannot take it down.  Mr. Kiriakidi

stated he would be vehemently opposed to a stockade fence, and Ms. Guzikowski stated

she should only be in favor of a stockade fence.  Mr. Allan asked about a board on board

fence, and Mr. Kiriakidi stated he would be opposed to this as well and does not feel the

homeowners would want to see this.  There was further discussion on the PennDOT

Type II fence, but most present agreed that this is not an attractive fence.  Ms. Harrison

stated she would prefer a split rail fence and if they do not want to do it all the way

around, they could break it up with a cluster of plantings.  Mr. Kiriakidi stated he feels

the corner fences and trees would look nice and accomplish what they are looking for

without going to a fence.  He noted the corners are not required by Ordinance and they

have agreed to do this.  Mr. Allan asked about a row of arborvitaes.  Ms. Guzikowski

stated they already have vegetation and the people still cut through.  She stated only a

stockade fence will help her situation.   She stated they could put the vegetation inside the

fence if they wanted it to look nicer.  Ms. Friedman stated they could have a split rail

fence with chicken wire and no plantings and the homeowners could then install the type

of plantings they want to install.  Mr. Taylor stated people could still throw debris over

this fence. 

 

Mr. Allan asked if they are going to come back and show the Planning Commission

where they are going to install the stormwater systems.  Mr. Rose stated they were

hoping to get a recommendation prior to meeting with the Board of Supervisors.

Ms. Frick noted the Board of Supervisors is not meeting again until the first week in

May. 

 

Ms. Harrison moved, Mr. Taylor seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Board of Supervisors approval of the Plans dated 9/30/03, last revised 10/29/04 subject to:

 

            1)  Compliance with PCS letter dated 12/24/04;

            2)  Compliance with CKS letter dated 11/23/04;

            3)  Stormwater management facility be constructed to handle 19%

                  maximum impervious surface;

 

 

April 11, 2005                                                                Planning Commission – page 7 of 7

 

 

            4)  Installation of corner split rail fencing proposed by the developer and

                  plantings as shown on the Plan and enhanced with additional plantings

                  as approved by the Township engineer and substitution of white pines

                  with another species.  Plantings and location of the seepage beds to be

                  approved by the Township engineer before going to the Board of

                  Supervisors.  Farmland Disclosure statement to be added to the Plan.

 

Mr. Kiriakidi asked who will come up with the Disclosure Statement and it was asked

that he prepare this and present it to the Township for review by the Township Solicitor.

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Ms. Friedman stated on April 20 from 7:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., they will have a low impact

development seminar at the Township. 

 

 

There being no further business, Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Taylor seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 9:00 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                                        William Taylor, Secretary