TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PLANNING COMMISSION

MINUTES – FEBRUARY 27, 2006

 

 

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on February 27, 2006.  Chairman Harrison called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

 

Those present:

 

Planning Commission:   Cynthia Harrison, Chairman

                                                William Taylor, Vice Chairman

                                                Dean Dickson, Secretary

                                                Karen Friedman, Member

                                                John Pazdera, Member

 

Others:                                     Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning

                                                John Donaghy, Township Solicitor

                                                James Majewski, Township Engineer

                                                Ron Smith, Supervisor Liaison

 

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

Mr. Pazdera moved, Ms. Friedman seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of January 9, 2006 as corrected.

 

Mr. Pazdera moved and Ms. Friedman seconded to approve the Minutes of January 23, 2006 as written.  Motion carried with Mr. Taylor abstaining.

 

 

#560 – FERRI TRACT – PRELIMINARY PLAN APPROVAL

 

Mr. Edward Murphy, Mr. Bill Briegel, and Mr. Greg Glitzer were present.  Mr. Murphy

stated the Planning Commission saw this Plan as a Sketch Plan, and it has been revised

two times.  In the interim they appeared before the Zoning Hearing Board and received

relief that the Township supported in terms of encroachment into the wetlands so the

wetlands would continue to be fed and expanded.  The Plan has not changed in essence

since the Planning Commission saw it at the Sketch Plan stage.  He stated it still

identifies a single point of access off Big Oak Road and a cul-de-sac with fourteen new

homes and retention of the existing home. 

 

The PCS review letter dated 2/8/06 was noted.  Mr. Murphy noted the various Waivers

being requested are shown as well as the Variance which was received.  With regard to

2.b regarding the length of the cul-de-sac, Mr. Blitzer stated in order to address this issue,

February 27, 2006                                                       Planning Commission – page 2 of 11

 

 

they have two proposed points of emergency access which he noted on the Plan.  The one

into Falls Township would be a fully-paved access.  Off of the end of the cul-de-sac

following the route of the sewer line, they would have a stabilized paver access. 

 

Mr. Murphy stated Mr. Majewski later in the letter asks about Falls Township’s position

on the emergency access.  Mr. Murphy stated Mr. Majewski is also the Township

engineer in Falls, and he would suggest that he take the Plan to them for their review; and

Mr. Majewski agreed to do so.  Mr. Murphy noted the access to Falls Township would be

an emergency-only access.    Mr. Taylor asked what would prevent people from using the

access through to Falls, and Mr. Glitzer stated they are proposing a sleeved bollard. 

The connection to Hilltop would be paved.  The secondary access out to Big Oak Road

would be a checkerblock concrete with grass growing between the gaps in the block.  The

paved area on Hilltop will look similar to a driveway and will be 15’ wide.  Mr. Glitzer

stated they could use the grass pavers in this location as well.  Mr. Majewski stated there

is room off the edge of the cul-de-sac to plow the snow in toward the open space. 

 

Mr. Murphy noted the Waiver identified as 2.c with regard to sidewalks being required

on both sides of the street.  Mr. Murphy stated since there are homes only on one side,

they are proposing sidewalks only on that side of the street.

 

Mr. Murphy noted Waivers 2.e, f, and g which relate to the stormwater management plan

and more specifically the design, construction and maintenance of the basins which are

intended to be naturalized basins with various types of wetlands plantings in the bottom

to encourage groundwater recharge and infiltration.  He stated the Ordinance has not yet

caught up to DEP requirements, and these Waivers are becoming more typically seen

now as they move toward implementing the DEP requirements.  He stated the Township

has supported these in the past to encourage compliance with the DEP standards.

 

Item #3 was noted regarding Lot #2 which meets the gross area required for lot size, but

does not meet the net lot area because they have chosen not to remove a significant

amount of woodlands.  He stated they would prefer not to remove the woodlands; and if

they do not, they are not in compliance with the Ordinance.  Mr. Majewski stated if they

move the property line over by one foot, they could meet the correct lot area required.

Mr. Murphy stated they would be willing to make this adjustment.  Mr. Murphy stated

the proposal is that all the basins and open space will be owned by the Homeowners

Association and not the Township.  Ms. Harrison stated she is concerned with the HOA

being responsible for this.  Mr. Majewski stated the basins are naturalized  and are not to

be cut every three to four weeks during the growing season.  He stated in the past Public

Works wanted a less steep basin side so it could be mowed more easily; however, since it

will not be mowed, it is not an issue. 

 

Mr. Murphy stated they will comply with Items #4, #5, #7, #8, and #9.

 

February 27, 2006                                                       Planning Commission – page 3 of 11

 

 

Item #6 was noted regarding the existing home to be retained.  Mr. Murphy stated the

existing barn is structurally unsound and will not be retained.  They would be willing to

part it out if there are timbers which were worthy of salvaging.  Mr. Majewski stated

there is also a small spring house, and Mr. Briegel stated this will be saved.  Ms. Harrison

asked if there was not prior discussion about changing the lot around the existing house

to include the barn, and Mr. Murphy stated this was not discussed to his knowledge.  He

stated the location of the barn is where their road is proposed.  He stated they cannot

create a non-conformity on Lot #1 and to install the front yard at that location, it fixed the

location of the roadway.

 

Item #10 was noted, and Mr. Murphy stated PennDOT will decide what improvements

are necessary to Big Oak Road.

 

Item #11 was noted and there was discussion on the bikepath which is proposed to be on

the development side.  There is 600’ of the bikepath existing currently on their frontage. 

Mr. Murphy stated the area where it would have to be extended across the rest of their

frontage is in wetlands, and he does not feel they would be able to get a permit for this. 

Ms. Harrison asked about the safety of the children due to the School across the street

versus the wetlands concern.  Mr. Majewski stated currently the bikepath goes to service

the School and there is a crossing and School flasher lights where they have proposed

their entrance into the site which the developer will have to relocate.  He stated extending

the bikepath further down will not serve any purpose.

 

Item #12 was noted regarding the emergency access which has already been discussed. 

Mr. Murphy stated they will solicit comments from Falls.  He stated they would also

welcome comments on the materials to be used and they will comply with those requests.

Mr. Majewski stated he feels the emergency services people should make this

determination.  He stated they also have a proposed sidewalk connection into Falls

Township, and they could possibly incorporate this into their emergency access rather

than having it side by side.  Ms. Harrison stated if it is the same as the road surface,

people may want to use it.  Mr. Majewski stated typically they put up bollards or have

some other way to address this so that this does not occur. 

 

Mr. Murphy stated they will comply with Items #13, 14, #15, and #16.

 

Item #17 was noted, and Mr. Murphy asked if the Township would like something less

than the Ordinance required 36’ cartway width.  He stated the developer would make a

contribution for the difference in cost if the cartway width is reduced.  Mr. Majewski

stated he would prefer a lesser cartway width particularly because there will be homes

only on one side.  If they permitted a 30’ width, it would save 2/10ths of an acre of

paving which would not have to be installed and would put less stress on stormwater

management.  This would also have a speed-calming effect.

 

February 27, 2006                                                       Planning Commission – page 4 of 11

 

 

Mr. Murphy noted all other items in the PCS letter are “will comply.” 

 

Ms. Veronica Bittner stated she resides on Big Oak Road next to the Charles Boehm

School.  She stated she attended the Zoning Hearing Board meeting in January and was

told to attend this meeting as well.  She stated she is requesting that she be connected to

the public sewers.  Mr. Murphy stated they are familiar with this situation and have

discussed it with Mr.  Hoffmeister.  Mr. Briegel stated they are working with

Mr. Hoffmeister to try to accommodate this request.  He stated Ms. Bittner’s property is

lower than theirs so she will have to have a grinder pump.  Mr. Murphy stated the

Township will have to make the decision on this matter.  Ms. Bittner stated there are also

two other properties impacted as well.  Mr. Briegel stated they will create a low pressure

force main and would agree to install this and bring it across Big Oak Road to the stub,

and the homeowner would then be required to tie in from their side of the street.  The

homeowners will be responsible for the cost from the stub to their home. 

 

Mr. Norm Sutton, 28 Hilltop Drive stated there is a large dead tree on the edge of the

property and a number of branches have come down nearly missing his car and home.

Mr. Majewski stated it would be the developer’s responsibility to remove the tree. 

Mr. Murphy stated it would be their responsibility to do so once they own the property as

they do not currently own it. 

 

Mr. John Bossman, Falls Township noted the location of his home on the Plan.  He stated

there is an existing aquifer in the area and the water runs down Hilltop after it rains.  He

is concerned with the additional impervious surface and the impact on the existing

homes.  Mr. Blitzer stated they will cut off a portion of this run off and take it forward 

with an underdrain system.  He feels there will be an improvement after this tract is

developed.  Mr. Murphy stated the Township engineer has reviewed their Plans.  

Mr. Bossman stated he understands from talking to Falls Township that they are not in

favor or the emergency access connection.  Mr. Bossman asked about buffer plantings,

and Mr. Blitzer stated they can provide some buffer plantings.  They would like to leave

the existing trees as much as possible and will also provide an understory and buffer

plantings even though it is not currently shown on the Plans at this time.  Mr. Murphy

stated that if Falls Township indicates that they do not want to see an emergency access,

this will be communicated to Lower Makefield Township.   He stated the Township

asked them to show this; and until they are told otherwise, they need to show it on their

Plan.

 

Mr. Wes Plaitstead, 50 Highland Drive, stated the trees shown on the Plan look much

denser than they are; and they are concerned with the cars coming through and shining

their lights into their homes.  He stated they need additional plantings.  He stated he is

also concerned about the water as they currently have a water problem.  Mr. Murphy

stated they are planning to include an understory.  Ms. Harrison stated she feels the

developer should go to Falls Township’s Planning Board so the residents can speak there

February 27, 2006                                                       Planning Commission – page 5 of 11

 

 

as well.  Mr. Murphy suggested that they ask Mr. Majewski to make these comments

known to Falls Township.

 

Mr. Taylor moved, Mr. Dickson seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Board of Supervisors approval of Preliminary Plans dated 5/31/05, last revised 1/16/06 subject to the following:

 

1)  Compliance with PCS letter dated 2/8/06 and all other review letters referenced

      in the PCS letter;

 

2)  Subject to installation of supplemental plantings in the buffer to the satisfaction

      of the Township engineer for the portion that abuts Falls Township;

 

3)  Subject to discussion with Falls Township on the composition of the emergency 

       roadway;  Planning Commission recommends their preference is concrete 

       checkerblock to be maintained by the HOA;

 

4)  Recommend reduction of cartway width from 36’ to 30’;

 

5)  Subject to review and approval of the emergency access easement through the

     Sanford and Krugloff property to a roadway;

 

6)  Planning Commission recommends approval of the Waivers requested as

     outlined in the PCS letter;

 

7)  Planning Commission recommends that the bikepath not be extended;

 

8)  With regard to Item #3, the developer is to move the lot line approximately 1’

      which would make the lot compliant with the woodlands regulations;

 

9)  Recommend Fee-In-Lieu of sidewalks on the opposite side of the road from the

     houses;

 

10) Planning Commission recommends that the Board of Supervisors request more

      information on the status of the barn and how it relates to the historic value of the

      property;

 

11) “No further development of Lot #1” should be indicated on the Linens.

 

 

 

 

 

February 27, 2006                                                       Planning Commission – page 6 of 11

 

 

#532-A-FLOWERS-MADANY TRACT PHASE II - PRELIMINARY PLAN APPROVAL

 

Mr. Murphy and Mr. Briegel were present.  Mr. Murphy stated Phase I was approved by

the Board of Supervisors last fall.  He stated he and his client did  not get involved with

this Plan until after Phase I was approved.  He noted this Plan is for Phase II.  This is an

eight lot cul-de-sac with one lot located in Newtown Township.  

 

The PCS letter dated 12/28/05 was noted.  Page #3 lists the Waivers being requested. 

Mr. Murphy stated the Township was not in favor of a through street which is why they

are requesting a Waiver.  The length of the cul-de-sac is noted in Item 1.B.   With regard

to Item 1.C., they are requesting that sidewalks be installed only on one side of the street

because there are only homes on one side of the street.  They would be willing to pay

Fee-In-Lieu of installing the sidewalks on the other side.

 

Mr. Murphy stated they will comply with Items #2 through #9, and Items #11 and #12.

 

Item #10 was noted regarding reduction in cartway width.  Mr. Majewski has

recommended a reduction to 30’ to make it consistent with the road in Newtown

Township. 

 

They will comply with Item #13. 

 

Item #14 was noted regarding the combination concrete gutter/curb which is a Newtown

specification.  Mr. Murphy stated they would prefer to do Belgian block curb in Lower

Makefield and ask Newtown Township for a Waiver to permit them to do this for the one

lot in Newtown Township. 

 

Mr. Murphy stated they will comply with the balance of the comments.

 

Ms. Linda Majewski, Gaucks Lane, stated she wanted to make sure that her property is one of the properties that is to get water and sewer coming from Lower Makefield; and

Mr. Majewski stated this is one of the issues in their review letter, and they are required

to obtain all necessary approvals between the two jurisdictions.

 

Mr. Don Knoll, 6161 Washington Crossing Road, stated there is an old structure that is

boarded up off Washington Crossing Road which is an eyesore and he asked when it will

be taken down.  Mr. Majewski stated once they start construction of Phase I, they will

need to remove this structure.

 

Mr. James English, 10 Gaucks Lane, stated they were also promised public sewers. 

He stated they are also concerned about the existing trees.  Mr. Briegel stated they are

required to provide an easement and a  stub to the property line but there is no guarantee

February 27, 2006                                                       Planning Commission – page 7 of 11

 

 

of sewage.  He stated the property owner will have the opportunity to tie into the

easement.  The developer is not obligated to get it to the home.  With regard to the trees,

the existing tree line will remain and will be supplemented with additional plantings on

Mr. English’s property as this was required by the Elliot proposal.

 

Ms. Friedman moved, Mr. Taylor seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Board of  Supervisors approval of the Preliminary Plans for Phase II dated 2/27/03, last revised 10/27/05 subject to:

 

1)  Compliance with the PCS letter dated 12/28/05;

 

2)  Compliance with all Conditions of approval from Newtown Township;

 

3)  Approval of Waivers outlined in Paragraph #1;

 

4)  Reduction in cartway width from 36’ to 30’ with the provision that the developer

     pay the Township the cost savings;

 

5)  Installation of sidewalks on only one side with the provision that the developer

     pay the Township the cost savings;

 

6)  Installation of Belgian block curbing throughout the project.

 

 

#555-FIORELLO GROVE – PRELIMINARY PLAN DISCUSSION

 

Mr. Henry VanBlunk, attorney, Mr. Rich Butkus, engineer, and Mr. Joe Marrazzo were

present.  Mr. VanBlunk stated at the prior meeting, they discussed stormwater

management issues including non-compliance with the two-year storm and their proposal

to install detention basins on each lot which would have limited what the homeowners

could build in their rear yard.    He stated based on those comments,  they have moved to

a one-basin system so that each homeowner will have a functional back yard.  They were

also then able to comply with all stormwater management issues.

 

Mr. VanBlunk stated the Plans were re-submitted and they received the PCS review letter

dated 2/9/06.  Mr. VanBlunk stated they will comply with the issues in the letter although

they do need to discuss some of them with the Township.

 

Mr. VanBlunk noted Item #4 regarding frontage improvements.  He stated there is a

sidewalk in place on Derbyshire Road.  Mr. Majewski stated the sidewalks currently go

from Big Oak Road to the William Penn School, and there is a crosswalk going across

Big Oak Road in that location.  He stated the road has existing curbs and had been

widened at some point in the past.  There is no sidewalk on Big Oak Road currently and

February 27, 2006                                                       Planning Commission – page 8 of 11

 

 

Lot #3 does front on Big Oak Road for approximately 213’.  He stated if they installed

the sidewalk now, they could then extend it at some future time down to Charles Boehm. 

It was the consensus of the Planning Commission that the sidewalks should be installed at

this location. 

 

Mr. VanBlunk stated they will comply with Items #5 through #11. 

 

Item #12 was noted, and Mr. VanBlunk stated they will comply.  He stated it should have

shown a silt fence for the erosion and sedimentation control, and Ms. Frick stated they

will have to show this on the Plan before it goes to the other reviewing Agencies. 

Mr. Butkus stated the sequence has to be revised.  Mr. Majewski stated what the

comment states is that the basin in the back of Lot #1 will be used as a sediment basin

during construction, but in the sequence of construction there is nothing that says that

after everything is done, the basin will be converted back to a normal basin and will be

desilted if necessary, and restored to its proposed condition.  Mr. Butkus stated they do

not intend to use it as a sedimentation and erosion control device.  Mr. Majewski stated

they will have to satisfy the Conservation District that a sediment basin is not needed. 

Mr. Butkus stated they will use silt fencing, and Mr. Majewski stated the Bucks County

Conservation District will have to approve this.  Ms. Frick asked what Note refers to this

situation, and Mr. Majewski stated it is the Erosion/Sediment Control Notes on Page #6,

and is Note #17.  Mr. VanBlunk stated this Note will be removed.   Ms. Frick asked if

additional notes need to be added, and Mr. Majewski stated they do not since they will

not convert the basin.

 

Item #13 was noted, and Mr. VanBlunk stated they will comply.  Mr. Majewski agreed to

supply additional information on this.

 

Item #14 was noted.  Mr. VanBlunk stated with regard to the open space parcel, under

Ordinance 307e, they do not have to show compliance with the open space, because the

area is not going to be disturbed.  Mr. Majewski stated they will still need to request a

Waiver from this provision of the Ordinance.  He stated the main point of Comment #14

is for Lots #1, #2, and #3, it appears that they are voluntarily restricting the amount of

impervious area allowed for each lot through the amount of stormwater management

that they are able to handle; but based on his calculations, this leaves no room for future

homeowners to add anything onto their house such as additions, patios, pools, sheds, etc.

He stated it appears they only have an additional 100 square feet of area available for the

homeowners.  Ms. Frick stated normally they have the developer set aside at least 3%. 

She added they did discuss this at the last meeting.  Ms. Friedman also noted the

requirement for distance from the resource protection line, and Ms. Frick stated they

discussed this as well at the last meeting and that the homes will have no usable rear yard. 

Mr. Majewski stated they are meeting the usable rear yard area in that they have the

resource protected land, the limit of where they are clearing the trees, and they do take

their setback from that.  He stated they have a minimum of 40’ clear of anything on

February 27, 2006                                                       Planning Commission – page 9 of 11

 

 

which they can install a pool, patio, shed and this is the minimum required by the

Township.  Mr. Majewski stated while this does allow some use of the property, it is only

40’.  Mr. Majewski stated this is locking the homeowner into having to go to the Zoning

Hearing Board for any relief.  He stated the developer could provide them with some

extra room up front so that the homeowner could expand it reasonably in the future. 

Ms. Frick stated with only 100’ square feet for the homeowner, she is very concerned that

the homeowners will not have any options.  She stated the developer could provide them

with some extra room up front so that the homeowner could expand it reasonably in the

future. 

 

Mr. VanBlunk stated because they have to meet the stormwater requirements, it is a

challenging site.  Ms. Frick asked about constructing two lots rather than three. 

Ms. Harrison stated the Planning Commission feels that they should reduce the

Subdivision to two lots.  Mr. Majewski stated they would have to expand their

stormwater management in order to allow some flexibility for the future homeowners. 

Mr. Marrazzo asked if there is a certain percentage they are looking at. 

Mr. Majewski stated the Ordinance states they must provide for the maximum anticipated

peak discharge and that would be what the Zoning allows for maximum impervious

surface.  He stated since the parcel is primarily wooded and they cannot build out to that

area, he feels something that would allow a homeowner reasonable use of the property

within the resource protection land restrictions that are on the Plan would be considered

reasonable.  Ms. Frick stated as the Plans exist, the homeowner could not even put a shed

on the property.  Mr. Marrazzo asked if there is a percentage that they would find

acceptable. 

 

Ms. Frick asked if they are proposing three-car garages noting that the driveway does not

go back to the third bay on any of the houses. Mr. Marrazzo stated they will have front-

entry garages.  Ms. Frick stated they are showing side entrance on the Plan. 

Mr. Marrazzo stated they  have not gotten this far yet and were going with the worst case

scenario as it relates to impervious surface.   Mr. Majewski stated if they are proposing a

front-entry garage for the houses, they would want to see an area for turn-around so that

people do not have to back out onto Derbyshire Road.  Ms. Frick asked if there will be

basements, and Mr. Marrazzo stated all three homes will have basements. 

 

Ms. Harrison stated the Planning Commission feels that they should limit it to two

buildings as opposed to three because of the limitations of the property.  Mr. VanBlunk

stated they are in compliance with the Ordinance even though it may limit what future

property owners may not be able to do.  Mr. Majewski stated they are not in compliance

since the anticipated peak discharge would be what the property ultimately can be built

to,  and ultimately it is a lot more than the storm report indicates.  He stated the

stormwater report indicates it is 3 ˝% impervious for Lot #1, 4.8% for Lot #2, and 9.5%

for Lot #3, and the Ordinance allows 19% including the property owner so they are

anywhere from 15 ˝% to 8 ˝% below what people could in theory build; and they would

February 27, 2006                                                     Planning Commission – page 10 of 11

 

 

have to request a Waiver to have less than this.  What the Plan shows now falls far short

of what is reasonably considered a hardship for this property. 

 

Ms. Friedman asked if the developer is obligated to offer the availability of 3% for the

homeowners.  Mr. Majewski stated the Ordinance allows 16% for the developer with an

additional 3% for the homeowner.  Ms. Frick stated even if the developer is installing an

addition for the homeowner, the homeowner has to sign off that they are aware that the

developer is using a portion of their 3%.

 

Mr. Majewski stated based on the developer’s Stormwater Management Report their

impervious surface calculations show that for Lot #1 they are allowing 3,615 square feet

of impervious, for Lot #2 – 3,677 square feet of impervious surface, and for Lot #3 –

3,651 square feet of impervious surface.  They are currently showing approximately 3500

square feet of impervious on each of the lots so they are basically allowing approximately

an additional 100 square feet of impervious.  Mr. Butkus asked if their stormwater

management report is showing less than what is allowed, and Ms. Frick stated they are

designing it for less that what it should be.  Mr. Butkus stated their report is in error

because it does take into account the maximum impervious surface area.  Ms. Frick asked

if they are going to resubmit this for review, and Mr. Butkus stated they will.  He stated it

is designed to handle a maximum impervious surface of 19%.  Mr. VanBlunk stated they

will resubmit the report.

 

Mr. VanBlunk stated they will comply with Items #15, #16, #17, and #18.

 

Mr. VanBlunk stated after development, they feel there will be an improvement with

regard to storm water run off.

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Ms. Harrison stated at the Environmental Advisory Council meeting they discussed

working with Birdsall Engineering.  They are also discussing having the EAC as a

Review Board and not just an Advisory Board.  They want to be able to comment on

developments.  They are also discussing changing from a five member Board to a seven

member Board with their own members acting as Liaisons to the other Township Boards

rather than the Planning Commission and the Park & Recreation Board sending liaisons

to the EAC meeting.  She stated there was also discussion about the deer problem at the

Five Mile Woods and John Heilferty, the Naturalist, discussed the negative impact the

deer are having on the vegetation.  Ms. Friedman stated several options are being looked

at but no decision has yet been made.  The Canal Clean Up will take place on Saturday,

April 8 at 8:45 A.M. and they have asked that any volunteers meet at Black Rock Road at that time.

 

 

February 27, 2006                                                     Planning Commission – page 11 of 11

 

 

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

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                                        Dean Dickson, Secretary