TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PLANNING COMMISSION

MINUTES – FEBRUARY 14, 2005

 

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on February 14, 2005.  Chairman Friedman called the meeting to order at 7:30 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, Ms. Harrison seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of January 10, 2005 as written.

 

Ms. Harrison moved and Mr. Taylor seconded to approve the Minutes of January 24, 2005 as written.   Motion carried with Mr. Pazdera abstaining.

 

 

#562 – DOGWOOD DRIVE SKETCH PLAN

 

Mr. Edward Murphy, attorney, and Mr. Wayne Kiefer, Tri-State Engineers, were present. 

Mr. Murphy stated the Sketch Plan is for a property at the end of Dogwood Drive.  He

stated the first plan shows the By –Right Plan (Sketch A) showing five lots with a

minimum lot size of 34,000 square feet which is permitted in the R-2 Zone if you do not

have public sewer and water.  Plan B was shown with the main difference being the

number of lots which has gone from five to ten.  On Plan B, they propose to provide

public water and sewer.  In order to do this, they would extend the water from

Chanticleer and come down Dogwood.  The red line is a “U” shape showing how they

would connect the public sewers through Chanticleer.  Both the red line for the sewer and

the blue line for the water are in the long-range comprehensive sewer and water plan for

the Township.  Mr. Murphy stated they have had informal discussions with Hank

Hoffmeister on this matter.  The lot size is 16,500 square feet on Plan B, and this is how

they go from five lots to ten.  Mr. Murphy stated by doing the net site density calculations

February 14, 2005                                                         Planning Commission – page 2 of 9

 

 

the maximum they could get is nine lots and Plan B shows one more than what they

could get under the Ordinance.  They recognize that this site does have natural resources. 

The point of showing Plan B is to illustrate how, if there was a desire to do this, they

might accommodate most of the people in the area to have the possibility of public water

and public sewer.  They can afford to do this Plan by getting some increased density. 

He stated he is not sure that the Township plans to extend public water and sewer in this

area in the near future.  There have been surveys done in the past to see what the interest

would be in the area to get public sewer and water, and he feels the interest has been

mixed.

 

Mr. Fazzalore stated they did the survey in 2004 and they found some non-working septic

systems, but they did not get more than 50% of the residents indicating that they would

want public sewers.  The Board decided they would go back in 2008 and re-survey.

 

Mr. Murphy stated this is why they are present tonight to suggest an alternative to

advance the timeframe for public sewer for those people who need it.  It would then be

done at the developer’s cost rather than the Township’s cost.  Mr. Murphy stated Plan B

would be approvable at some point in the future if there was public water and sewer,

although it may be nine lots rather than ten.  He stated they would like to know if the

Township would be interested in having them proceed with Plan B.

 

Mr. Fazzalore asked how the sewer line would help the people in the area where it is

proposed to be located, and Mr. Murphy showed on the Plan how this would flow.

 

Mr. Allan stated if it were to be a positive thing for the neighborhood, he would be

interested in working with the developer on this.  He stated he would not want to force

this on anyone. 

 

Mr. Fazzalore stated when this comes before the Board of Supervisors, he will comment

on the matter, but will not vote on it.

 

Ms. Friedman stated she would be in favor of having the public sewer and water and feels

she would be in favor of allowing four to five more residences in order to get the benefit

of public water and sewer.

 

Ms. Harrison stated she is concerned with the impact on the floodplain and how it will

impact adjoining residences with the increased density. 

 

Mr. Murphy stated they would need permission to disturb the wetlands for the sewer line. 

Mr. Fazzalore noted the 12’ berm in the area, and Mr. Kiefer stated this would have to be

taken down.  The berm was shown on Sketch B, and it was noted it goes through the rear

 

 

February 14, 2005                                                         Planning Commission – page 3 of 9

 

 

and middle of a number of proposed lots and up past their property.  Ms. Harrison asked

how removal of the berm would impact the drainage for the existing residences.  

Ms. Frick noted the Township engineer did not review this formally as it is a Sketch Plan. 

Mr. Majewski stated the houses on Delaware Rim Drive are higher than the existing

ground around the berm.  The water would flow into the proposed development and

would not go onto the existing residences.  The berm would need to be disturbed on both

plans.  Mr. Majewski stated under Plan A, they would only involve half the berm.

 

Mr. Fazzalore asked how many houses they could get if they extended water and sewer

from Chanticleer to Dogwood only, and Mr. Murphy stated it would still be nine to ten

homes.  They would still have to do the cul-de-sac.    Mr. Fazzalore asked how many lots

they could get without the cul-de-sac, and Mr. Kiefer stated they would get eight if they

could get flag lots. 

 

Mr. Majewski asked if they considered the Ordinance requirements with regard to

setbacks from the natural resource protected land, and Mr. Kiefer stated they included the

entire lot area as far as disturbance. 

 

Ms. Friedman asked if this matter should be discussed with Mr. Hoffmeister as it relates

to the sewers.  Mr. Koopman stated the Sewer Authority looked at the plan but once the

issue came up about having additional lots in exchange for the sewers, it was felt it

should come before the Planning Commission to see if the Township would be willing to

have additional lots in return for the public sewers.  Mr. Koopman stated the Plan was

consistent with the Sewer Authority’s Plan for ultimately sewering the area.  There are

not a lot of alternatives that would accomplish this because of the location of the low

point without having a number of low pressure systems.  He stated the Sewer Authority

does not really want low pressure systems that need to be pumped up hill.  Mr. Koopman

stated they want to have it flow by gravity wherever possible.  He stated they must

consider if they want to proceed with a trade off, as with the gravity flows you often have

to run the sewer lines down creek beds and get relief from floodplains, wetlands buffers,

or woodland disturbance.  Mr. Fazzalore stated when they were at the Sewer Authority,

they did not get into consideration of anything other than the sewers. 

 

Mr. Murphy stated they will need relief from various Zoning Ordinance provisions if they

are to proceed with the ten lot Plan, and it would be a benefit analysis.

 

Mr. Allan asked for the width of trees which would be impacted, and Mr. Murphy stated

it would be twenty to thirty feet.

 

Mr. Fazzalore stated there are also well problems in the area; and if they were to install

additional wells, it will only create more problems.  Mr. Majewski stated once

Chanticleer is built, there will be public water in the area.  This does not depend on

gravity.

February 14, 2005                                                         Planning Commission – page 4 of 9

 

 

Ms. Harrison asked if they have sewer and water hook ups available, would the existing

residents be required to hook up. Mr. Koopman stated in the recent extensions they have

done, people were not forced to hook up to public sewer unless they have a failing or

marginal system; however if they are extending a main in front of  their property, even if

they do not hook up, they are responsible for an assessment on a front footage basis for

the construction of the improvement in front of the property.  This normally increases the

value of the property.  Mr. Fazzalore stated generally they also require that if the property

is to be sold, it must be hooked up before it is sold.  He stated on River Road while all the

property owners did not hook up initially, within a year, they did.

 

Mr. Paul Ham, 27 Delaware Rim, stated his main concern is stormwater.  He stated they

looked at this lot and it was indicated that the area did not perc and was a flood zone.

He felt these were protected wetlands.  Mr. Majewski stated a stream does go through the

property and there is a floodplain associated with the wetlands to some extent although

this has not yet been delineated.  Ms. Friedman stated she understands that the existing

residences are at higher ground so they should not be impacted by the development of

this property. 

 

Mr. Jeff Flogel, 12 Dogwood, stated currently there is a drainage problem on his lot. 

Mr. Majewski stated this new development could potentially impact his development and

they would have to provide a system to control the water.  Mr. Flogel noted the location

of the detention basin on Plan B and stated it appears to be in the environmentally

protected area.  Mr. Majewski stated this is something that they have to design for when

they do the engineering.   Mr. Flogel asked about Plan A, and it was noted they would

still have to control storm water if they proceeded with this plan.  They would have on-lot

sewer and water under this Plan.   Mr. Flogel stated he understood that the property did

not perc, and Mr. Murphy stated it has perced.

 

Ms. Gloria Astorino, 25 Delaware Rim, stated she does not understand how it can perc

now when it did not in the past.  She stated she is also concerned with stormwater

drainage and the impact on her well water.  She stated they had also previously indicated

that there could be no dead end streets in Lower Makefield and her development is a dead

end street as is this new development they are proposing.  She stated she does not feel it

is good to have only one way in and one way out when you have a fire situation. 

 

Mr. Flogel stated the street they live on is not dedicated and he and his neighbors

maintain Dogwood Road.  He asked who will maintain the street for the new

development.  Mr. Murphy stated he assumes they would own to the center of the street. 

Mr. Koopman stated this is still an open issue. 

 

Ms. Joan Scherfle, 26 Sunnyside, asked how many people received letters about the

meeting this evening.  Ms. Frick stated all adjoining property owners were notified and

they went beyond this as well.  Ms. Scherfle stated she does not feel many people are

February 14, 2005                                                         Planning Commission – page 5 of 9

 

 

present this evening about this matter.    Ms. Scherfle stated they only got four days

notice of the meeting, and Ms. Frick stated this is the notice they are usually able to

provide.  Ms. Frick noted they are not required to notify residents regarding Sketch Plans,

but they did notify them in this instance.  Ms. Scherfle stated the survey previously

discussed was sent out before they had problems after the Golf Course was constructed. 

She is concerned that her well may run dry.  She stated she is now having problems with

her water when she has never had problems in the past.  She stated she has had to spend a

lot of money on her system. 

 

Mr. Fazzalore stated the original Golf Course well that went down 500 feet did collapse. 

The well that was dug would not affect any of the wells in the area because it was down

so far; however, since it had collapsed, it moved up and pulled the water from the same

level where the residential wells were located.  The Township stopped this six month ago

and have not pumped any water since last July and instead have been buying water or

have been helped by the rain.  They are drilling another well at this time.

 

Ms. Scherfle asked if the Township will reimburse her for the money she had to spend on

her system, and it was suggested she contact Mr. Fedorchak.  She stated she still has iron

and had never had this problem in twenty-five years.  She stated it had been found that

they had e-coli and they were not notified about this for one month.  She stated

Mr. Fedorchak had indicated that this was not a Township problem. 

 

Mr. Taylor stated in order to get approval from the DRBC when they dug the well, they

had to monitor approximately twenty-four wells.  They could not do them all because

they were not accessible.  They continued to monitor for a period of time.  Several wells

along the border of the Golf Course had the most problems, and they did what they had to

do until it was solved.  The well situation is under the control of the DRBC who is

continuing to monitor the situation.  Mr. Taylor stated before the new well goes into

production it will have to be approved by the DRBC. 

 

Ms. Astorino stated the reason they are so worried is because the Golf Course impacted

them.  She stated they did put a filter on her well.  She is concerned what this new

development will do to their properties.

 

Mr. Flogel stated if they have non-public systems in this new development, they are

concerned what the impact will be on their properties if they do not have public water. 

Mr. Majewski stated due to the close proximity of Chanticleer, he would recommend that

they tap into public water.  Mr. Allan stated he would not be in favor of approving this

project with sand mounds and wells.

 

Mr. Flogel asked if they will do an environmental study, and Mr. Pazdera stated he would

like to see an environmental study to see the trade off. 

 

February 14, 2005                                                         Planning Commission – page 6 of 9

 

 

Mr. Ham asked how they will outfit the property with water and sewer, and

Mr. Friedman noted Plan B shows how the lines will run.  Mr. Majewski stated the water

will most likely go down Mr. Ham’s side of the road. 

 

Mr. Flogel asked if it would be possible to build only five homes and still bring in public

water and sewer, and Mr. Murphy stated it would not be economically feasible to do so.

 

Ms. Friedman stated there is a strong consensus on the part of the Planning Commission

for Plan B but they would like to see an environmental impact study.

 

Mr. Allan stated he would like to see a compromise that works for the people who live in

the area to make sure they are not disturbed. 

 

Ms. Friedman noted there is only one ingress and egress proposed, and Mr. Pazdera

stated this is a public safety issue that must be considered.  Ms. Harrison stated if there is

public water, there could be fire hydrants on the roads as well which is important to have.

 

Mr. Koopman stated Mr. Murphy will now try to get on a Board of Supervisors’ Agenda.

Ms. Friedman suggested that Mr. Hoffmeister be in attendance to address the sewer issue.

 

Mr. Ham asked about the tree disturbance, and Mr. Fazzalore stated they must preserve

70%of the woodlands.  Ms. Frick stated they also have other natural resources. 

Mr. Majewski stated his office has not reviewed the calculations.  Mr. Murphy stated

they are going to need relief from the Ordinance in order to proceed with Plan B.

 

 

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

 

Mr. Murphy stated this Plan was before the Planning Commission last November.  There

was a fair amount of discussion and suggestions made about the size of the lot and the

location of one of the two barns that straddles the property line and its relation to both

lots.  Carter VanDyke had not yet reviewed the Plan in November, and they wanted to

give him an opportunity to do so.  Mr. VanDyke has now reviewed the Revised Plan and

has submitted a letter dated February 4, 2005.  The PCS letter dated 2/10/05 was also

noted.  Ms. Frick stated Mr. VanDyke also faxed over an addendum letter this afternoon,

and this was made available to Mr. Murphy and the Planning Commission this evening.

Mr. Murphy stated he thinks the new memo is a result of a meeting Mr. VanDyke and

Mr. Troilo had last week after Mr. Troilo received Mr. VanDyke’s first review. 

 

Mr. Murphy stated the letters from Mr. VanDyke focus on the existing barn that straddles

the property line in the back rear corner.  It was agreed by Mr. Troilo that the barn would

not be demolished and would continue to be located at that location until it could be

determined, based on how the rest of the site – Lot #1 would be developed, what to do

February 14, 2005                                                         Planning Commission – page 7 of 9

 

 

with the barn.  He stated it may have to potentially be re-located.  Mr. Koopman asked if

they are referring to the barn or the Carriage House, and Mr. Murphy stated they are both

labeled “existing barn” on the Plan.  He stated the one he is referring to is the one that

straddles the property line.  Mr. Koopman stated Mr. VanDyke refers to this as the

“carriage house” in the second memo.  Mr. Koopman stated the other barn was going to

remain all the time, and Mr. Murphy agreed.  Mr. Murphy stated Mr. Troilo has agreed

that the “carriage house” would not be demolished but kept there until an appropriate

place was found for it either on Lot #1 or elsewhere in the Edgewood Village.  It was

noted that the carriage house is in very bad shape and it was agreed that if it got to be

unsafe, it would be dismantled so that the barn timbers could be used elsewhere in the

Village.

 

Mr. Murphy stated there was also discussion on frontage improvements.  He noted the

existence of a large maple tree which is a determining factor as to what will happen.

He stated in order to install sidewalks, they would have to take out the tree and no one

wants to do this.  As noted in the 2/14/05 VanDyke memo with regard to the sidewalks,

street lights, etc., it was agreed to defer this until they see what happens with Lot #1 and

they will continue to monitor the health of the tree.  Mr. Fazzalore noted Mr. VanDyke

drew a whole Plan for the Village, and Mr. Murphy stated this is why he was asked to

review the Troilo Plan.  Mr. Murphy stated until that Plan gets a chance to further

develop, everyone felt it was foolhardy to take the tree down and do a lot of frontage

improvements at this time.  He stated they would agree that in the event Lot #1 would be

developed, whatever treatment is done along the frontage of Lot #1, it would carry over

to Lot #2 as well.  Mr. Murphy stated at this time, the only thing that is happening is the

Subdivision, and nothing is proposed as far as Land Development.

 

Mr. Allan asked about moving the lot line so that they can save more of the trees. 

Mr. Murphy stated Mrs. Flowers does not want any more of a lot than is proposed

because she wants as small a lot as possible as she cannot maintain a large lot.

 

Ms. Friedman asked about constructing the sidewalk in such a way that the tree could be

maintained and still install the sidewalks and have an area of packed gravel where you

have drainage to the roots of the tree.   Mr. Murphy stated they will most likely do this,

but they do not want to do it at this time until they see how Lot #1 will develop. 

Mr. Murphy noted Mr. VanDyke will be actively involved in the development of Lot #1

when it develops.

 

Mr. Murphy noted the PCS review letter dated 2/10/05.  Mr. Murphy stated most of these

items were already discussed in November.  Item #2 discussed the Carriage House and

what has been agreed to.

 

Mr. Murphy stated with regard to Item #3, he feels the Plan is consistent with the latest

Ordinance, and Mr. Majewski agreed.

February 14, 2005                                                         Planning Commission – page 8 of 9

 

 

Mr. Murphy stated they will comply with Item #4.

 

Item #5 was noted, and Mr. Murphy stated at this time they are only subdividing the

property; and he does not feel this is applicable.

 

There was discussion on the sewers, and Mr. Koopman stated the Township plans do call

for public water and sewer in this area in the future.  Mr. Fazzalore stated the Sewer

Authority has run into severe difficulties with the laterals in the lower end of the

Township and that is their first priority.  He stated they will have to pass a bond issue to

cover the costs of repair/replacement.  Ms. Friedman asked about the possibility of

getting Grant money for furthering public sewer and water for the Historic Village and

recommended that the Township look into this aggressively. 

 

Ms. Joyce Bigley, 1793 Yardley-Langhorne Road, stated she is concerned with the

impact on her property.  She asked what they plan to do with the property. 

Mr. Koopman stated they have not made a decision on this.   Mr. Murphy stated he feels

it may be some kind of traditional neighborhood use and will be a mixed-use plan. 

Ms. Bigley stated she does not feel a traditional neighborhood includes offices.  She

stated she feels this will bring in more traffic and they will have to have an access road. 

Ms. Harrison stated at this time they are only subdividing it into two properties. 

Mr. Koopman stated this is in the Historic/Commercial Zone and stated the uses are

consistent with what was always permitted in the Village.  He stated the only thing that

has changed is the design guidelines and zoning requirements have been updated to try to

insure that you have more of a Village concept once it is developed.  Mr. Fazzalore stated

the Village Plan that Mr. VanDyke put together shows commercial as well as townhouses

and other things.  Ms. Bigley stated she felt that was more for the area where the Giant is

located but not where she is located.  Mr. Murphy stated the Edgewood Village Plan does

show fairly aggressive development in the area of the Township where this tract is

located.   This is the March Associates Plan.  Mr. Koopman stated they will have to come

in with a Land Development Plan for this lot once they propose to develop it. 

 

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

the Board of Supervisors approval of the Preliminary/Final Plan for Cameron & Jean

Troilo, Plans dated 10/8/04, last revised 1/14/05 subject to compliance with the PCS

letter dated 2/10/05 and the Carter VanDyke letters dated 2/4/05 and 2/14/05.

 

Ms. Friedman moved, Ms Harrison seconded and it was unanimously carried to

recommend to the Board of Supervisors that the Township pursue all possible options for

funding for sewers in Edgewood Village on the basis that funding may be available

because this is a historic area recognized by the State of Pennsylvania.

 

 

 

February 14, 2005                                                         Planning Commission – page 9 of 9

 

 

RECOMMENDATION ON DELAWARE RIVER SOUTH WATERSHED – ACT 167 STORMWATER MANAGEMENT ORDINANCE AND THE NESHAMINY CREEK STORMWATER MANAGEMENT ORDINANCE

 

Mr. Majewski stated they did make the exceptions match in each of the documents so that

there is consistency between the two Plans.  He stated some legal issues were also added

as recommended by the Township Solicitor.

 

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

to the Board of Supervisors approval of the Delaware River South Watershed – Act 167

Stormwater Management Ordinance  according to the latest draft dated 2/9/05 with

additional minor changes as noted by Mr. Majewski and Mr. Koopman.

 

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

to the Board of Supervisors approval of the Neshaminy Creek Stormwater Management

Ordinance according to the latest draft dated 2/9/05 with additional minor changes as

noted by Mr. Majewski and Mr. Koopman.

 

 

There being no further business, Ms. Harrison moved, Mr. Pazdera seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:55 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

                                                                        William Taylor, Secretary