TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PLANNING COMMISSION

MINUTES MAY 9, 2005

 

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on May 9, 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 (left meeting in progress)

John Pazdera, Member

 

Others: Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning

John Koopman, Township Solicitor

James Majewski, Township Engineer

Frank Fazzalore, Supervisor Liaison

 

 

APPROVAL OF MINTUES

 

Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Taylor seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of April 11, 2005 as corrected.

 

 

DISCUSSION AND TABLING OF FENCE ISSUE

 

The memo from Mr. Fedorchak dated 3/19/05 regarding fences was noted. Mr. Koopman

stated the issue has to do with corner lots. The Zoning Ordinance states that fences in the

front yard are limited to three feet in height. Traditionally with regard to corner lots, the

Township has considered one frontage a front yard and the other street frontage a side

yard. Therefore, if you were going to install a fence on a corner lot the fence in the front

yard could only be three feet high, but on the side yard they have permitted them to have

six foot high fences. An issue came before the Zoning Hearing Board which involved a

corner lot with frontage on Harvest Drive. The owner applied for and was permitted to

install a six foot high fence on Combine Lane which the Township considered to be their

side yard. The Township issued the Permit and the neighbors were upset about this and

felt the Zoning Ordinance should be interpreted such that a six foot high fence should not

be in any yard that fronts on a street. They felt that a corner lot should be considered to

have two front yards. The neighbors appealed the Permit which was issued to erect the

fence. The Zoning Hearing Board dismissed the Appeal because of a timeliness issue but

noted that their interpretation would have been that a six foot high fence would be

permitted in the side yard under the Ordinance. They did however state that while they

May 9, 2005 Planning Commission page 2 of 4

 

 

interpreted the Ordinance this way, they felt the Township should look into amending

this. The Board of Supervisors then decided to look at this and has therefore sent it to the

Planning Commission for a recommendation.

 

Ms. Frick provided information from Falls Township as to their interpretation of this

issue.

 

Mr. Koopman stated at this point they are only asking for a conceptual idea of what the

Planning Commission feels on the matter. Ms. Frick, Mr. Majewski, and Mr. Koopman

will then work on an actual amendment to the Ordinance which would be brought back

for review if it is determined a change should be made.

 

Mr. Taylor asked about the conflict between this Ordinance and the regulations for pool

fencing. Ms. Frick stated pools are permitted to be erected in rear and side yards and a

fence is required. She stated if they are going to permit a pool in the side yard and not a

fence that is at least five feet high, this would result in a conflict. She stated lots on the

corner often have small rear yards. Ms. Frick stated this is the first time she ever

received a complaint about this issue in her years with the Township. She stated in this

instance there was a separate pool security fence but the owners also wanted a fence to

protect their small children from the street on the side. Ms. Frick stated the pool fence

must be at lest five feet high.

 

Mr. Allan stated he would also have a problem with limiting fences on a side yard if the

side yard is on a major artery.

 

Ms. Friedman asked about landscaping that would be twelve feet high. Mr. Koopman

stated this is not restricted in Lower Makefield, although it is restricted in the Falls

Township Ordinance and they do not permit there to be a hedgerow. He stated in Lower

Makefield Township as long as it is not in an easement or in the right-of-way, you can

have tall landscaping.

 

Mr. Taylor stated he feels they should leave the Ordinance in its current form.

 

Mr. Fazzalore stated if this is the first complaint that Ms. Frick has received on this issue,

he does not feel it is a problem. Ms. Frick stated she gets more complaints about the

inconsistency between the developments as different developments have different

setbacks and easements.

 

Ms. Friedman asked if there are other corner lots where this could be a problem if new

people come in and want to install fences, and it was noted that this is possible although it

is not known exactly how many.

 

 

May 9, 2005 Planning Commission page 3 of 4

 

 

Mr. Koopman stated the Planning Commission can go look at the area where the problem

started to see that situation and look at other areas of the Township and then come back

and discuss it further. Mr. Taylor stated looking at that one situation may not help with

the next instance that occurs. Ms. Frick stated the Township has been interpreting the

Ordinance this way for about forty-five years. She suggested that they also look at Upper

Makefield to see how they interpret this issue as they have larger lots more comparable to

Lower Makefield.

 

Ms. Friedman stated if they make the requirement that they can only have three foot high

fences in the side yard on corner lots, this would restrict most corner lots from having a

pool since many corner lots have a small rear yard. It was noted if it were a requirement

that the fence be no more than three feet high, they could go to the Zoning Hearing Board

to request relief. Mr. Koopman stated they could also consider a compromise that would

permit a five foot high chain link fence.

 

Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Allan seconded and it was unanimously carried to table.

 

 

MOTION REGARDING AGRICULTURAL SECURITY AREA

 

The Memo from Mr. Fedorchak dated 5/3/05 regarding Tax Parcel #20-17-47

(Clearview) was noted.

 

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

the Board of Supervisors that they include Tax Parcel No. 20-17-47 in the Agricultural

Security Area.

 

 

REVIEW OF DOLINGTON LAND GROUP PRELIMINARY SUBDIVISION PLAN UPPER MAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP

 

Mr. Majewski stated they are proposing ninety-one new lots for this 300 acre property in

Upper Makefield on the border of Lower Makefield Township. Ms. Majewski stated

originally 1200 townhouse were proposed. This Plan was denied. They then came in

with a 300 lot Plan which was the subject of a Conditional Use Application which is still

ongoing. They have now come in with a Plan for 91 homes which complies with the

Ordinances and this is the Plan now being show tonight.

 

Ms. Frick stated she assumes the Planning Commission may want to consider the traffic

impact on Lower Makefield from this development. Mr. Majewski stated the drainage is

away from Lower Makefield and there is no impact from sewers or water. The primary

impact on Lower Makefield would be traffic. He reviewed the recommendations

included in the traffic study prepared for the developer, Toll Bros., which includes a

May 9, 2005 Planning Commission page 4 of 4

 

 

traffic signal at the intersection of 532 and Stoopville with a separate left turn lane onto

532, a traffic signal at the intersection of Highland Drive and an additional lane on 532

for left turns onto Highland, and at 532 and Lindenhurst Road west on 532 adding a left

hand turn lane onto Lindenhurst Road. Mr. Majewski stated he does not feel there is

room for this because there are homes in this area. He stated the Village in the area is on

the National Register which does limit what can be done. They have also recommended

a traffic signal at the intersection of 532 and Dolington Road with an additional lane

added on 532 eastbound for turns.

 

Mr. Allan left the meeting at this time.

 

Mr. Majewski stated they are proposing wells. Mr. Koopman stated public water will be

brought up to the area of Lavender Hall. Ms. Harrison stated she is concerned that they

will be able to get more density if there is public water, but she is also concerned about

individual wells on this property.

It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that they would recommend to the

Board of Supervisors that they should have them investigate public water and address

traffic concerns in a critical manner.

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Road Tour Discussion Mr. Pazdera noted the Road Tour will be held on Saturday,

June 4 beginning at 8:30 a.m. Mr. Fazzalore stated if there is anything the Planning

Commission feels they should look at on the Road Tour, they should contact Jim Coyne.

Those interested in attending the Road Tour should advise Mr. Coyne.

 

 

There being no further business, Ms. Harrison moved, Mr. Pazdera seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:20 p.m.

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

William Taylor, Secretary