TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PLANNING COMMISSION

MINUTES – JANUARY 23, 2006

 

 

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on January 23, 2006.  Chairman Harrison called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.

 

Those present:

 

Planning Commission:   Cynthia Harrison, Chairman

                                                Dean Dickson, Secretary

                                                Karen Friedman, Member

                                                John Pazdera, Member

 

Others:                                     Maureen Carlton, Township Solicitor

                                                James Majewski, Township Engineer

                                                Ron Smith, Supervisor Liaison

 

Absent:                         William Taylor, Planning Commission Vice Chair

                                                Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning

 

 

APPEAL #570 – BARBARA A. BODINE – DISCUSSION AND TABLING OF

PRELIMINARY/FINAL PLAN

 

Mr. Richard Bodine was present with Lee Rockefeller, attorney, and Rich Butkiss,

engineer.  Mr. Rockefeller stated the property is located on Edgewood Road. 

 

The PCS letter dated 1/3/06 was noted.    With regard to Item #1 regarding impervious

surface, Mr. Bodine stated the house has been there since 1973.  Mr. Rockefeller stated

the proposed Subdivision has 23.5% impervious surface which is permitted under the

24% for the owner/developer.  He stated he spoke with Mr. Majewski about this matter,

and he agreed that this would apply under the owner/developer.  Mr. Majewski stated

they will need to make some minor changes to the amount of impervious surface.  He

stated they are proposing to remove a portion of the driveway and parking; but based on

his review of the calculations, they may need to remove slightly more than they had

proposed.  Mr. Rockefeller stated they will remove a part of the pull over on the side

which is approximately 145 square feet. 

 

Ms. Friedman asked how close they are to the maximum allowed impervious surface. 

Mr. Rockefeller stated they will be at 23.5% on the front lot which is in existence.  They

will remove some of the impervious surface at the pull over.  Mr. Butkiss stated the total

amount of impervious they will remove is over 1,000 square feet in order to get to the

23.5%.  Mr. Friedman asked how close they are to the maximum permitted, and

January 23, 2006                                                            Planning Commission – page 2 of 6

 

 

Mr. Majewski stated currently they are over the limit which is why they are proposing to

remove some impervious surface.  By removing the 1,000 square feet proposed, they will

be under the maximum permitted by .5%.  Ms. Friedman asked what is on the property

which qualifies as impervious surface.   She stated if they sell the property, she would

like to know what a new owner could do as there would not be the ability to install a

deck, pool, etc. as they are already so close to the maximum permitted.  Mr. Rockefeller

stated there are slate patios in the back and a walkway up the side.  He stated the house is

a stone house with a full basement.   Mr. Butkiss stated they will still have a patio and

wood deck remaining.  Mr. Majewski stated at 23.5%, they would have an additional 110

square feet on top of what they are currently showing.  Ms. Friedman asked if they could

install a pool, and Mr. Majewski stated they could but they would have to remove more

of the stone.

 

Item #2 was noted, and Mr. Rockefeller stated they will comply with regard to the

payment of the impact fee.

 

Item #3 with regard to trees was noted.  Mr. Rockefeller stated Mr. and Mrs. Bodine will

remain on the front lot.  The rear lot will be sold and built as a single-family home.  They

will comply with the requirements.   He stated the individual doing the building would be

responsible to comply with this request.  Lot #1 will remain as is.  Mr. Butkiss stated they

will comply with the size and height of trees as required.

 

Mr. Rockefeller stated they will comply with Items #4 and #5.

 

Mr. Rockefeller stated they will comply with Item #6.   He stated whoever will develop

the property will have to comply with the requirements.  He stated he feels the

stormwater management is already basically handled.  He stated currently on Lot #2 is  

stone parking, sheds, a large garage and driveway.  These will be taken down so that a

new house can be constructed.  He stated by complying with the current Ordinance for a

home, the actual impervious surface will decrease on Lot #2 and not increase at all on Lot

#1 so there will be a net decrease.  He stated the stormwater management has been

addressed by Toll Bros. when they developed the large development in the area.  He

stated Toll Bros. did have a problem with one of their homes adjacent to the Bodines

which resulted in a lawsuit as it did damage to the Bodine property.  This has been settled

and the problem corrected. 

 

The CKS letter dated 12/23/05 was noted.  Item #1 was noted, and Mr. Rockefeller stated

this was taken care of in October, and they did work with Mr. Hoffmeister on this.

 

Mr. Butkiss stated they will comply with Items #2 and #3. 

 

 

 

January 23, 2006                                                            Planning Commission – page 3 of 6

 

 

Ms. Harrison noted the Bucks County Planning Commission letter dated 10/31/05.  She

stated they have expressed concern with the impervious surface, and Mr. Majewski stated

this was addressed in the PCS letter.  Mr. Majewski stated they also recommend Fee-In-

Lieu of Recreation, and they will have to pay the required amount as set forth in the

Ordinance.  Item #5 of the Bucks County Planning Commission was noted regarding

submission of the Sewer Planning Modules, and Mr. Butkiss stated they did work with

Mr. Hoffmeister on this.

 

Ms. Friedman stated it appears the driveway entrance for the new home will be on

Yorkshire Drive, and Mr. Rockefeller agreed.

 

Mr. Garry Forshner, attorney representing the Contract Purchaser of the lot, was present. 

He stated there was a sample of a building envelope on the Plan, and they wanted to

make sure that the lot was not locked into that particular sample assuming they do

comply with the Ordinance requirements including impervious surface.  Mr. Majewski

stated this is how it typically works, and what has been shown is a representative house

model with representative grading and driveway location.  Mr. Majewski stated at the

time of the Building Permit, detailed Plans will have to be submitted showing the exact

house footprint and the grading and should be in substantial compliance with what is

being shown with regard to the Plan.  He stated they can develop up to what is allowed

by Ordinance. 

 

Mr. Forshner stated they had indicated that if someone were interested in installing a

pool, they could remove some stone from the existing lot; and he asked if this would

apply to other improvements as well.  Ms. Friedman stated this would depend on how

much they build on the lot.  They would have to comply with the maximum permitted

impervious surface.  Mr. Forshner stated they have some concerns in terms of the entire

Subdivision as to how impervious surface interplays between one lot and the other.

 

Mr. Forshner asked if there is any inherent reason why the lot line between the two lots

could not be moved.  Mr. Majewski stated if they moved the lot line, this would be a lot

line change; and they would have to go back and get approval once again from the

Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors.  Mr. Forshner stated he would like

to have this matter continued as there are some issues between the two parties to the

Contract that need to be addressed; and rather than have to come back with a new

Application, he felt it best to address those issues first and then ask for approval.  He stated he hopes that Mr. Rockefeller will concur with this request.  Ms. Harrison stated if they change the lot lines, everything would change.  Ms. Friedman stated they could not give Preliminary Approval until they see how much they will change the lot line. 

Mr. Forshner stated this is why he is asking that the matter be continued. 

 

 

 

January 23, 2006                                                            Planning Commission – page 4 of 6

 

 

Mr. Rockefeller asked that they take this under advisement the way they have presented it

assuming the line will be as shown and in accordance with what has been reviewed as he

feels this is where the line will remain.  Mr. Rockefeller stated Mr. Bodine had made an

estimate of the depth but did not understand that part of his lot in the front is actually in

Edgewood Road.  Mr. Bodine’s estimate to the proposed buyer gave more than what it

actually was.  He stated the Lot matches the others going across.  Ms. Friedman asked

how far they estimate they would move the line in order to give the back lot more.

Mr. Rockefeller stated they do not feel that they will move it at all and they feel 150 is

appropriate as it fits in with the neighborhood and matches the lines of the other lots. 

 

Mr. Forshner stated he is asking that they not vote on this at this time and instead defer it to a future meeting so he can address this issue with Mr. Rockefeller and his client.

Mr. Forshner stated he only found out about this meeting a few days ago and had not had

an opportunity to address the issue with the Township professionals.  Mr. Forshner asked

if there is any reason that the lot line could not be moved, and Mr. Majewski stated they

must comply with the Ordinance requirements. 

 

Mr. Forshner asked if there is a requirement for a certain number of parking spaces, and

Mr. Majewski stated two are required.  Mr. Forshner asked if the driveway can be

counted or do the two need to be in addition to the driveway.  Mr. Majewski stated they

cannot park in the driveway if they are blocking someone from getting out.

Mr. Rockefeller stated they do need a turn around as you cannot back out onto Edgewood

Road.   He stated by moving the line, the only turn-around they could have would be in the front yard; and he does not feel the Township would want a driveway/parking lot in the front of the house on Edgewood Road.  Mr. Forshner stated he understood that there was no prohibition from putting in a turn-around in the front yard.  Ms. Harrison stated they could have a circular driveway.  Mr. Majewski stated they could have a “k-turn” area so that you could pull out straight onto Edgewood Road.  Mr. Majewski stated Ordinance Section 200-78.C indicates that “no parking areas shall be used for any use that interferes with its availability for the parking need it is required to serve.”  

 

Mr. Forshner stated they have not seen most of the reports referred to; and while he does

not feel there were any significant issues based on what he has heard this evening, they  

would like to reserve this and that they be provided time to review the reports. 

Mr. Majewski stated since Mr. Bodine is the property owner, it would be his

responsibility to forward these.  Mr. Rockefeller agreed to send these to Mr. Forshner.

 

Mr. Rockefeller agreed to continue the matter to a future meeting of the Planning

Commission and will contact Ms. Frick as to when the matter will again be heard.

 

There was no other public comment.

 

 

January 23, 2006                                                            Planning Commission – page 5 of 6

 

 

Mr. Pazdera moved, Ms. Friedman seconded and it was unanimously carried to table the

matter to the next meeting.

 

Mr. Majewski stated they have received an Extension until April 20, 2006.

 

 

DISCUSSION AND MOTION ON THE PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE CODIFIED ZONING ORDINANCE SO AS TO ELIMINATE THE USE IDENTIFIED AS AGE-QUALIFIED COMMUNITY FROM THE LIST OF USES PERMITTED BY RIGHT IN THE GENERAL BUSINESS/INDUSTRIAL (C-3) ZONING DISTRICT AND IN THE COMMERCIAL/HIGHWAY SERVICES DISTRICT (C-2) AND OTHERWISE RESCINDING ORDINANCE NO. 355

 

Mr. Majewski stated since this is contemplated to partially incorporate the Matrix

property, there is some concern that this Ordinance without an Agreement made with

Matrix could leave the property open to development by some other developer without

the Township getting some of the benefits that they contemplated from the Matrix

Agreement.  The Township, in order to move the negotiations along, put this forward to

repeal the Ordinance to start that process.  If the proceedings would fall through, the

Township would already be in the position to repeal the Ordinance quickly if necessary. 

 

Ms. Friedman stated she felt there was a legal ramification to having an Agreement.

Ms. Harrison asked Ms. Carlton for a legal definition of Contract Zoning and how this

affects this matter.  Ms. Carlton stated Contract Zoning would be a bargaining between

parties outside the Zoning Ordinance to pre-Zone a particular area outside of the regular

Zoning Ordinance. 

 

Mr. Majewski stated the Board of Supervisors will not officially adopt the repeal of the

Ordinance, but want to have the process ready so that if everything falls through, they can

repeal it and not have to wait the required advertising days and have to go through the

review process and possibly have the property sold and have Plans submitted for

development which may not be beneficial to the Township.  He stated he does not feel

the intention of the Board is to actually repeal the Ordinance, but to be in a position to do

so if necessary.    Ms. Friedman asked if an Agreement is almost in place with Matrix,

and Mr. Majewski stated he does feel they are close.  Ms. Friedman asked if this is legal,

and Ms. Carlton stated it is.

 

Ms. Harrison asked if the Planning Commission members want any additional

information on this before making a Motion.  Ms. Friedman stated she wanted to make

sure that they are protecting themselves as a Township and wanted to make sure what

they were doing was legal.    She stated she wants to make sure that anyone reviewing the

Minutes of their past actions and then seeing that they were taking back what was

offered, will not come back and sue the Township.   Ms. Carlton stated she cannot say

January 23, 2006                                                            Planning Commission – page 6 of 6

 

that no one will sue them.  She stated she does feel that they have done everything they

were supposed to in a sequential order.   

 

Ms. Harrison stated they became involved with Matrix initially because there was some

confusion about Zoning.  She stated the Planning Commission had a great deal of

discussion about this in December, and it is now coming back to them to be repealed. 

She stated they have had some conflicting information as to legality.  Ms. Harrison stated

she would prefer to continue this and see if there is an outcome within a month. 

 

Mr. Pazdera stated he does not have a problem with what they are proposing.  He stated

he does not see the need to send anything onto the Board of Supervisors and they could

indicate the Planning Commission has “No Comment.”  Ms. Harrison stated she would

feel better with this option.  Ms. Carlton agreed that the Planning Commission can pass it

on with “No Comment.”

 

Mr. Pazdera moved, Ms. Friedman seconded and it was unanimously carried to send a

memo to the Board of Supervisors that the Planning Commission has no comment on the

proposed Ordinance.

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Appointment of Planning Commission Liaison to the Environmental Advisory Council

 

Ms. Harrison stated the next meeting of the EAC is scheduled for tomorrow evening.

Ms. Friedman stated she was advised that the meeting was canceled due to lack of a

quorum and no meeting has been scheduled at this time.  Ms. Harrison asked if they have

indicated what day of the week they will have their meeting.   Ms. Friedman stated she

feels their next meeting will be on a Monday in February not in conflict with the

regularly-scheduled Planning Commission meeting.

 

Ms. Harrison asked if there is a volunteer who would be willing to sit on the EAC to

represent the Planning Commission.. Mr. Dickson stated he would be willing provided it

is 7:30 p.m. on Monday nights.  Ms. Harrison agreed to be the Alternate.  Ms. Harrison

stated she will advise Ms. Frick of this.

 

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

 

                                                            Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

                                                           

                                                            Dean Dickson, Secretary