The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the
Those present: Karen Friedman, Chairman
Cynthia Harrison, Vice Chairman
William Taylor, Secretary
Others: Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection, & Planning
James Majewski, Township Engineer
Absent: John Pazdera, Planning Commission Member
Frank Fazzalore, Supervisor Liaison
TABLING APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Mr. Taylor moved, Ms. Friedman seconded and it was
unanimously carried to table approval of the Minutes of
#555 – FIORELLO GROVE PRELIMINARY PLAN DISCUSSION
Mr. Henry VanBlunk, attorney, was present with Mr. Rich Butkus, engineer.
Mr. VanBlunk stated he understands that this was before the Planning Commission as a
Sketch, but he was not involved with it at that time. He stated the Applicant proceeded
with the project based on the comments of the Planning Commission. The property is ten
acres, but they have a lot of natural resource protection land which is why they came in
with a Sketch Plan for input.
Mr. VanBlunk noted the PCS report dated
receive Approval this evening. Ms. Frick stated that they had indicated to her that they
wanted to get direction on the items other than those with which they will comply.
Mr. VanBlunk stated the Waiver previously requested is no longer needed and is
Mr. VanBlunk noted Item #2 regarding impervious surface will be corrected. He noted
their calculations were also wrong on Sheet #4 and will be corrected.
Items #3, #4, and #5 were noted. Mr. VanBlunk stated the wetlands are contained entirely within the floodplain area; and after reviewing the Ordinance, he understands
that they should use the floodplain ratio as this has the higher protection ratio; and
Mr. Majewski agreed. Mr. VanBlunk stated they had tried to break it out, but they will
change this to show the entire floodplain area listed. Mr. Butkus stated the floodplain
and the wetland calculation equal the entire floodplain area. Mr. Majewski stated he feels
they need to check this total area also. Mr. VanBlunk agreed to recalculate Items #3, #4,
Mr. VanBlunk stated it is their intent that the area labeled “open space” of 5.5 acres will
be offered to the Township. Ms. Frick stated at the Sketch Plan stage it had not been
determined whether this would go to the homeowners or the Township. Ms. Frick stated
the Minutes indicated that Mr. Koopman had suggested that Mr. Marrazzo also contact
that this area might be more beneficial to the Township. Ms. Friedman asked if there are
any maintenance issues regarding this area, and Mr. VanBlunk stated this area does flood.
He stated there was discussion that this land might be useful to the Township if the
Township proceeded with the Rock Run dam project. Mr. Majewski stated this is
approximately one half mile upstream. Mr. VanBlunk agreed to contact the School
Mr. VanBlunk stated other items in the PCS letter relate to the stormwater management
on the property (PCS Items #16, #17, #18, #23, and #28). These issues deal primarily
with Plan Sheet #3 of 6. He stated they are trying not to build a giant detention basin in
the rear yard and instead contain the stormwater on each lot which has resulted in
detention basins of only a few feet deep on each lot. He noted the land does not perc so
they are limited as to how they can manage the stormwater. He stated they will need
Waivers and this is where they would need direction from the Planning Commission. He
stated they could move the detention basins further back which would address the storm
water issues raised in the PCS letter, but they would then encroach into the resource
protected areas and would need a Variance for the tree disturbance. Mr. Majewski stated
this is a difficult site. He stated Item #28 notes the new Ordinance and the procedure that
they have to follow. He stated they need to go through the steps listed to explain why
they did what they did and show that they are following the intent of the Ordinance.
Item #23 was noted, and Mr. Majewski stated the detention basin would have the water
rising to be within about 10’ of the proposed houses on all three lots, and he does not
know how future homeowners will feel about having a lake in their back yard within 10’
of their house. He is concerned about basements flooding and a rear yard that cannot be
used. Mr. Majewski stated this has been a concern stated by residents in the past with
complaints about not being able to use their rear yards and concerns with mosquitoes.
He stated future homeowners especially do not understand why they cannot use their rear
yards and install pools, etc. Mr. VanBlunk stated they understand that this is a problem
because only the first homeowners are provided with the Disclosure by the developer and
it is the subsequent homeowners that have concerns.
Ms. Frick asked if they will provide an instruction book on how to maintain the basin.
Mr. VanBlunk stated the basins on each lot will only be two to three feet deep.
Ms. Frick stated it still needs to be maintained. Ms. Harrison stated she is also concerned
that homeowners may decide to fill it in because they feel it is their lot. Ms. Friedman
asked if they could have the retention basins moved back further and have two of them
between Lots #2 and #3 and Lots #3 and #4 and incorporate the new system of rain
gardens. Mr. Majewski stated the soil is clay with a high water table. He stated they
would need a standard detention basin at this location. He added they could put it back
further away from the houses, but they would lose one lot as they would not meet the
resource protection requirement. He stated building more than two lots is difficult if not
impossible on this tract. Mr. Taylor stated there is also a history of flooding in this area.
Mr. VanBlunk stated at this time there are three lots proposed on the ten acre tract. He
added they have not done the
engineering but possibly where
they could move the resource protection line on Lots #1 and #2 to the lot line of #3 and
put the detention basin in the rectangle they are creating. They feel this would work and
it will be one large basin for all three lots; although it would have to be built up. This
would also look much more like a detention basin so that the property owners would
know that this is something that they cannot fill in. He stated there was a comment about
trying to delineate somehow to the homeowners where the natural resource protection
area is, and this would make such delineation. He stated they would need a Variance to
encroach into the resource protected area.
Ms. Frick stated the other alternative is to lose a lot. Mr. VanBlunk stated there are
certain economics involved. He noted the builder is Joe Marrazzo. Ms. Friedman stated
she would prefer to see a Plan with two lots so that they protect more of the natural
Mr. Butkus stated with regard to the stormwater, they only failed on the two-year testing.
They passed on the 5, 10, 50 and 100 year storm. He stated he recognizes their concern
with flooding that goes on in this area. He stated there are developments in the area that
have had Waivers for this. Ms. Frick stated she has never seen a Plan like this with a
detention basin on the lot. She stated if someone wanted to have a pool, they would not
be able to fence it in. Mr. VanBlunk noted there should be no impact on the surrounding
lots on Big Oak or
VanBlunk noted the existing lot next to proposed
could be a problem if they changed the slope. He stated water is flowing onto the
properties currently. Mr. VanBlunk noted the woods in the area and stated it is mostly
underbrush and tall trees with vegetation only at the top of the tall trees.
Ms. Friedman asked how much larger of a rear yard could they provide to the residents.
Mr. Butkus stated on the Plan they have a rear yard of almost 77’ by 70’. Ms. Friedman
asked if they could put the detention basin up to the resource line to afford them the most
rear yard, and Mr. Butkus stated they could not run it behind the building setback line
because it would not grab enough water. Ms. Harrison asked how they determine the
resource protection line, and Mr. Butkus stated they are permitted a certain percentage of
tree disturbance. Mr. Majewski stated they do show less clearing than they are allowed;
however, the future homeowners can go back and later clear the rest of the woods up to
the resource protected line. This is why he asked that it be conspicuously marked with a
sign in addition to monumentation. Mr. VanBlunk stated he is concerned about what
would happen with a sign over the years.
Ms. Frick stated she is usually called by the neighbors if people cut down trees. She
noted a problem in Island Woods where there was a Conservation Easement and a
subsequent owner wanted to clear it for a pool. She stated the information needs to be on
the recorded linen. Mr. Majewski stated this is why he feels it should be monumented
and on the map and as clearly stated as possible including installing a sign indicating the
area cannot be cleared. Ms. Frick stated at the last meeting it was noted these homes will
sell for $650,000; and she feels for this price people should be provided a usable rear
yard. Ms. Harrison asked if a fence could be erected to show the area that is protected,
and Mr. Majewski stated they could ask that they agree to install a fence with a sign on it.
Mr. Butkus stated the problem is they are buying 1.6 acres and can only use .4 acres.
Mr. VanBlunk stated they could consider some kind of fence. Mr. Majewski stated even
if there is a fence, it is still not fail safe.
Ms. Friedman stated she would like to see a Plan drawn with two dwellings. She stated
she feels they are compromising the residents in all ways by squeezing three houses on
this tract. Mr. VanBlunk stated he does not feel the economics would make this feasible.
He stated they are trying to minimally impact the properties. He stated he feels it would
be better to have one basin even though they would not be in compliance. Mr. Majewski
suggested moving the basins back into the 40’ rear yard area and put two to three basins
in a series back up the hill. He stated this is not an easy property to design.
Mr. VanBlunk stated he feels every development in the Township they will see going
forward will have these types of issues.
Ms. Friedman stated the Planning Commission would like to see Plans drawn addressing
the stormwater issues before going forward.
Ms. Karen Gates stated she lives across the street on
with a property that does not perc and questions how it will empty when it fills up.
Mr. Butkus stated it will never retain water permanently but will contain it and slow it
down before releasing it. It will flow naturally to the creek. There will be three basins
and each one will flow to the next basin through pipes under the berms. Ms. Gates was
shown a copy of the plans including basins and the outlet structures. The pipe is at the
bottom of the basins. Mr. Butkus stated the water will always be moving and will not sit
in the basin.
Ms. Frick asked if they are proposing basements, but the representatives present this evening were not sure.
Ms. Carol Biros,
severe rainfall, her property is under water. She is concerned that any development in this
area will only aggravate the condition more. She asked what would alleviate the
problem other than the basins which she does not feel will solve the problem. She stated
she is also concerned with the driveways and asked if they will be on Derbyshire or Big
Oak Road and how this will impact the traffic problems at the intersection.
Ms. Friedman stated the driveways are shown on
School traffic is in this area. She noted children walk on
School. Mr. VanBlunk stated they are moving the water toward Rock Run creek. The
stormwater management is not meant to hold the water, but it will slow down the flow
during the heavy rains so that when it reaches the creek, they are not in a flood situation.
He stated during the testing, they were okay for all storms except the two-year storm.
Mr. Majewski stated a two-year storm is 3.3” of rain falling over twenty-four hours.
Ms. Biros stated the creek did overflow this year and many residents in the area were
flooded. She does not feel what the Application is proposing will resolve the problems.
Mr. Majewski stated it is not meant to solve the overall problem. Ms. Biros stated she
understands this but feels this will aggravate the problem. Mr. Majewski stated at this
point their basins do not meet the requirements and they have to revise their Plans.
Ms. Gates stated a car going west on
Derbyshire will have a difficult time seeing anyone pulling out of the first or second
driveway. Ms. Friedman asked the distance from the first driveway to the corner, and
Mr. Butkus stated it is approximately 200’ to the corner. Mr. Majewski stated the
driveway will almost line up with
the first driveway across the street on
and they do meet Township requirements. He noted there could be problems with pulling
out of the driveway because of the school buses. Ms. Gates stated the driveway on the
other side is not impacting the
people pulling off of
driving lane. Ms. Biros noted the number of School activities in the evening in this area.
She stated the potential purchasers should be notified of this.
Ms. Harrison suggested they look at the Plan and review the safety concerns expressed as
well as stormwater management issues. She also suggested that they consider combining
drainage systems. She feels they should consider two lots instead of three because of the
drainage problems on the site. Ms. Friedman agreed. Mr. Taylor stated he does not feel
there is enough useable land for the homeowners on the Plan proposed. Mr. VanBlunk
stated he feels they could still have a pool although the location where it could be located
would be limited. Ms. Frick stated she does not feel it would be possible to have a pool
and fence it in as the fence has to be 10’ from water’s edge and the pool has to be 10’
from the house. Mr. VanBlunk agreed that the location would not be ideal.
#543 – MINEHART SUBDIVISION PRELIMINARY PLAN APPROVAL
Mr. Chris McGinn was present with Mr. Mark Buchwalt. Mr. Buchwalt stated they have
gone to the Zoning Hearing Board and obtained the relief needed from the resource
protection area. They have also been meeting with the Township engineer. The PCS
this matter with the Board of Supervisors regarding the payment of Fee-In-Lieu.
Mr. Buchwalt stated they will comply with Item #2.
Item #5 was noted, and Mr. Buchwalt stated he has submitted a letter to the Trans-
Continental Pipe Line Corporation and will provide a copy to the Township.
Item #6 was noted and Mr. Majewski stated the Planning Commission did request that
they provide a turn-off area before they get to the driveway and this will need approval
from PennDOT. They did discuss this preliminarily with PennDOT who indicated this
was a good idea.
Mr. Buchwalt stated they will comply with Items #7 and #8.
Item #3 was noted. Mr. Buchwalt stated they have been asked to move the swale back
Item #4 was noted. Mr. Friedman asked if the soil is amenable to underground detention
systems, and Mr. Buchwalt stated on this site certain lots have soils that can handle this;
but for those lots that do not, they will construct underground stone beds which will drain
to the detention basin. Mr. Majewski stated this will work in this situation. Mr. Butkus
stated some items in Item #4 still need to be clarified, and he will work with
Mr. Majewski on this.
Mr. Butkus noted Page 2 of the PCS letter which lists the Waivers they are requesting.
He stated they are requesting a Waiver from doing pavement core samples on Woodside
significant widening or improvements, but they are not. Mr. Majewski stated typically if
they were concerned that the road was not built to handle traffic generated by the
development, they would want core
samples done. In this case
constructed seven or eight years so they know the condition of the Road. They also know
Item B under Waivers was noted, and Mr. Butkus stated because of the natural features of
the site, they are forced to make some lots somewhat irregular but they do make sense
with the restrictions they have on
the lots. He noted particularly
Planning Commission and engineer did not have a problem with this Waiver request.
Item C was noted where they are proposing an easement across
sewer pipe. The Township requirement is 30’ and they are proposing 20’. They
feel 20’ is ample for maintaining a storm pipe as it is not large. Mr. Majewski stated the
pipe is not very deep, and in this case, he feels this Waiver is acceptable.
Item D was noted regarding placement of the driveway for Lots #5 and #6 within the
sanitary sewer and stormwater management easements. Mr. Butkus stated if they were
not able to do this, the lots would be land locked. Ms. Frick stated if they had to go in
and repair the lines, the replacement of the driveway would have to be at the owners’
expense; and this will have to be placed on the Deed. The Applicant agreed to put this on
the Record Plan. It was noted that the length of the driveway will be approximately 800’
long. Mr. Taylor asked if the paving will be directly over the pipe, and it was noted it
Item E was noted. Mr. Butkus stated it would be very difficult for them to follow the
Ordinance because they have such a small area of impervious surface versus very large
lots. They would like to put limits on each lot as to how much impervious surface they
can construct. Mr. Majewski stated some of these lots are quite large and they would
have to handle more water than they could generate. He stated they have used a limit that
makes sense for the properties, and he stated he is comfortable with what they have
proposed subject to making some of the other revisions they have discussed. He stated
they will put this on the Record Plan as to how much additional impervious surface the
homeowners can add.
Item F regarding the release rate was noted. Mr. Butkus stated currently they sheet flow
toward the stream. They are required to have 50% less and this would be very difficult
because they are leaving so much of the land untouched. To follow the Ordinance, they
would have to go into the resource protection areas. What they have done is for areas
where they are developing, they have analyzed the pre-development condition and will
cut the run off in those areas in half using the underground basins. Mr. Majewski stated
there is flooding possibly on
cuts through the property and is sized for a 6” rainfall and beyond that it overtops the
road. This is 6” or more of rain over a twenty-four hour period. He stated they are trying
to keep the water on site. They would have to clear woods to comply with the Ordinance.
Ms. Harrison asked if the homes will be elevated beyond a flood area. Mr. Butkus noted
the area where the floodplain is location and stated they are substantially away from this
area. He stated most of the homes will be elevated and he does not foresee any problems
Item G regarding discharge points for stormwater was noted, and Mr. Butkus stated
typically it is not advisable to discharge onto an adjacent property but because they have
on-lot systems, they do have to go across some of the lots. Mr. Butkus stated
Mr. Majewski has indicated he would prefer they discharge to another location but the
only other way would be for them to run a pipe through the wetlands. Mr. Majewski
stated he is not in favor of the
current configuration with
would prefer that they try to make it work at another location. It was suggested that they
look at this again.
Item H regarding grading was noted. Mr. Butkus noted an area where they are very tight,
and they are trying to start the grading at the property line. He stated in this way they can
accommodate the driveway and also minimize the grading in the wetland buffer. He
stated this is occurring at this location because the Planning Commission had previously
asked that they have two separate driveways for Lots #5 and #6.
Mr. Taylor noted the CKS and Bucks County Planning Commission letters. Mr. Butkus
stated they will comply with the CKS comments. He stated there is an outstanding issue
with the sewer moratorium.
Mr. Taylor asked about walkways and bikepaths. Mr. Majewski noted the location of the
bikepath on the Master Plan and stated this Applicant is requesting payment of Fee-In-
Lieu. Mr. Taylor noted an area where he felt they needed permission from TRANSCO,
and Mr. Majewski stated they are still working on this. Mr. Majewski stated he feels the
Applicant should extend the bikepath down to the property line and stop and Toll Bros.
will probably have to build it down
The next property is the Minehart property and he feels Toll Bros. might need to install
that portion as well. They will have to confirm. Otherwise it would be part of the fee
this Applicant would have to pay. Mr. Majewski stated this was included in Item #1 of
the PCS letter regarding Fee-In-Lieu, and they will discuss this with the Board of
Supervisors. Mr. Hal Roberts stated there is documentation about the bikepath.
There was no public comment.
Ms. Harrison moved, Mr. Taylor seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend
to the Board of Supervisors
approval of the Preliminary Plan dated
driveways for Lots #5 and #6 have to be removed due to repair or replacement of the
sanitary or storm system, that it will be done at the sole expense of the homeowners of
the respective lot. This to be in writing and recorded on the Deed.
RECOMMENDATION OF PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO THE CODIFIED ZONING ORDINANCE RELATED TO THE DEFINITION OF FAMILY, NURSING HOME, AND COMMUNITY TREATMENT/REHABILITATION FACILITY
Ms. Frick stated Mr. Garton has asked that the Planning Commission review the
amendments proposed and make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.
Ms. McGrath stated there is a new definition of Community Treatment/Rehabilitation
Facility and this use will be permitted only in C-2, C-3 and O/R by Special Exception and
not in Residential Zones. She stated the Township is trying to protect the integrity of the
Residential Districts yet not discriminate against people protected under the Federal Fair
Housing Act. She noted under the definition of “Family” they did add a clause that
“individuals residing together in a community/rehabilitation treatment center or nursing
home shall not be considered a family except to the extent required as a reasonable
accommodation under the Federal Fair Housing Act.” She noted people convicted of a
crime are not protected under this Act. They are trying to do as much as possible to
protect the residents’ safety but do not want to expose the Township to liability under the
Fair Housing Act.
Ms. Harrison noted a property near a very busy roadway, and her concern with people
who may be living in a facility that may be prone to wander. She asked if there is
any way they can protect that environment for them and for the Township citizens.
She stated some people living in such a facility may not have the ability to make good
judgments and this could be a safety concern for themselves and others in the
community. Ms. McGrath stated she is not sure they have addressed this under the
Zoning Ordinance. Ms. Harrison asked if they could require a fenced-in area so that they
could not wander. Ms. McGrath stated for a nursing home, they could possibly amend it
to require some fencing, but they must also protect the people’s rights. She stated
hopefully most places would provide protection for their residents so that they are not out
wandering. Ms. Harrison stated having worked in some facilities, she knows large
assisted living/nursing homes would have alarm guards that people wear to warn if they
are going out of a restricted area. She stated there could also be people with psychiatric
diseases who have not taken their medication. Ms. McGrath stated there is a provision
under the Special Exception requirements that if there is a danger to the health, safety,
and welfare of the community, they could be denied or have conditions placed.
Ms. Friedman stated she also has a concern with community treatment/rehabilitation
facilities and asked how they could include the delinquent youths in this since
those eighteen and younger are not considered criminals and instead go into youth rehab
programs. She does not feel they are addressing this. Mr. Taylor stated if they are
judged to be delinquent, this would be covered, and Ms. McGrath agreed.
Ms. Friedman noted Item #2 regarding proof of compliance and asked how this relates to
the Zoning Hearing Board. Ms. Frick stated the Township was contacted by surrounding
residents of the three homes
was going on at those properties. She stated no permits were ever obtained. She did go
out and cite them and issued stop work orders. She stated they did major work prior to
the stop work orders being issued.
Ms. Friedman noted Section #200-68 Section B and asked the reasoning behind the limitation for “five’ people. Ms. McGrath stated it was previously three individuals and she feels this was probably changed as this is how it is defined under State law. Ms. Frick stated this is also the same number under the definition in nursing home. Ms. Frick stated you would have to obtain a Special Exception to have a nursing home.
Ms. Friedman asked how they would protect themselves from having nursing homes crop
up in residential houses. She asked if it would be better to reduce the number to three or
two since they will now have five adults being cared for, along with the two care-givers, visiting nurses, etc. Ms. McGrath stated if they reduced it from five, it would be contradicting the definition of “family.” Ms. Friedman stated she does not feel this is a “family” and in fact is something else. Ms. McGrath stated they also have to consider the requirements under the Fair Housing Act. It was noted that the Zoning Hearing Board would consider the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the facility and the surrounding residents when they come in for a Special Exception.
Ms. Friedman stated she is also concerned that people in wheelchairs are moving into
neighborhoods where there are no sidewalks. Ms. Harrison stated she is also concerned if
these residences are located on busy roads. She feels they should designate areas that
would still meet the Fair Housing Act, yet be in areas that have less traffic. Ms. McGrath
stated the basic premise is that they can move into any area. Ms. Harrison stated they
space per patient.
Ms. Friedman moved, Mr. Taylor seconded and it was unanimously carried to
recommend to the Board of Supervisors approval of the proposed Amendments to the
Ordinance with the following recommendations:
1) Section 200-62 should be changed to 200-68 in Section 3 of the
2) The Planning Commission expresses concern with the safety of
the residents in the facilities and the residents of the surrounding
Ms. Friedman stated the EAC is currently working on a fall environmental lecture series.
On October 16 there will be a lecture at at the
requesting that as many of the Board members participate as possible. They are also
working to encourage the use of native species and will include these on the Township
Website and Channel 16. There will also be a lecture on this eventually. They also
discussed the maintenance of drainage basins. She stated they also had the Township
purchase a publication rack which
will be in the
There be no further business, Mr. Taylor moved, Ms. Harrison seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at
William Taylor, Secretary