MINUTES – JUNE 12, 2006
The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the
Planning Commission: John Pazdera, Chairman
Dean Dickson, Vice Chairman
Tony Bush, Secretary
Richard Cylinder, Member
Karen Friedman, Member
Others: Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning
John Donaghy, Township Solicitor
James Majewski, Township Engineer
Ron Smith, Supervisor Liaison
#574 – B.P.G. PROPERTIES (FLEMING TRACT) – SKETCH PLAN DISCUSSION
Mr. Jeffrey Garton, attorney, was present with Mr. Eric Garton, engineer, and Mr. Bob
Rubiaso from Berwind (B.P.G. Properties). Mr. Jeffrey Garton stated they are showing
this evening a very rough Sketch Plan of the remnant piece that was owned by Fleming
Holdings that was created and separated from the rest of the property by the Township
Line Road improvements made by the Township approximately fifteen years ago. He
stated the size of the buildings is only conceptual. Any uses will be consistent with the
O/R District. He stated the basin area at the front of the property encompasses the
current detention basin that was constructed as part of the improvements to Stony Hill
Road and the extension of
discussions with the Township about the Township ceding the responsibility of that basin
to the developer, and their intention is to re-design the basin to create a more
environmentally-friendly stormwater system and improve the appearance since currently
it is a large hole with a concrete low flow channel. It is also designed to alleviate the
need for the Township to continue to maintain it. He stated those discussions are taking
place with the Township Manager and the Board of Supervisors. He stated they would
like the Planning Commission to comment on any issues or concerns they have. He
stated they have not yet done the engineering. He stated there is a PennDOT right-of-
way that exists and is shown on the Sketch were the yellow line is located. He stated
PennDOT no longer utilizes this as it became obsolete when the road was re-designed.
He stated there are discussions among the Township, Berwind, and PennDOT on this
matter as well.
June 12, 2006 Planning Commission – page 2 of 21
Mr. Pazdera asked for an explanation of the traffic flow as it relates to the two driveways.
He noted his concern with the proximity of one of the driveways with the intersection.
Mr. Eric Garton stated they were anticipating that this driveway would be for right-in and
right-out movements only.
Mr. Dickson asked if they considered the proposed Low Impact Development Ordinance,
and Mr. Jeffrey Garton stated they are aware that this is being discussed at the Township
level. He stated they do not have a lot of trees on the property so they would not have
those issues, but he feels the stormwater infiltration will have to be considered. He stated
to the extent that it works practically, he feels they would consider all the aspects of the
Low Impact Development Ordinance.
Ms. Friedman asked if they are proposing three buildings of similar size as indicated.
Mr. Jeffrey Garton stated this is only a rough idea as to the size and number of buildings.
He stated they have not yet done the yield calculations. He stated they will try to push
them up against I-95 as much as possible. Ms. Friedman asked how many levels the
buildings will have, and Mr. Garton stated they will probably be three-story buildings.
Ms. Friedman asked if they will be similar in size to the nearby buildings, and
Mr. Rubiaso stated this would be a product of determining how much coverage they can
put within the context of the Ordinance. Mr. Jeffrey Garton stated he feels they will
complement the other office projects that have been done by this developer over the
years. Ms. Friedman stated she likes the setback they are showing.
Mr. Dickson asked the total number of parking spaces proposed, and Mr. Eric Garton
stated they do not know the exact number at this point as it would be based on the square
footage of the buildings. Mr. Jeffrey Garton stated they will follow the parking
requirements once they know the square footage of the buildings.
Mr. Cylinder stated this is his first meeting and asked if they have presented anything on
this site previously, and Mr. Jeffery Garton stated this is the first presentation on this
project. Mr. Cylinder stated he has had many years of experience as an urban planner,
and he feels this is very premature. He stated the Planning Commission knows nothing
about the site as far as its physical characteristics, topography, water courses, buildings
on site, etc. since nothing is shown. He stated they need to have a site analysis done.
Mr. Cylinder stated what is being shown may have no relationship to what they come in
with eventually. He stated what is being shown is called “eyewash,” and is not a
legitimate presentation based on planning analysis. He stated as a member of the
Planning Commission he would like to steer people in this direction. He stated later
tonight they will be discussing something that will require people who submit plans to the
Township to follow procedures similar to what he has just described. He stated he does
not like to ask questions on Plans such as the one being presented since he knows it has
very little meaning.
June 12, 2006 Planning Commission – page 3 of 21
Mr. Jeffrey Garton stated there are no water courses or buildings on the site. He stated
their effort tonight was not to get any approval, but was to see what issues the Planning
Commission had so that the developer could deal with them during the development
process. He stated they would like to know of any problems the Planning Commission is
aware of so that they can take them into consideration. He stated they welcome the
Planning Commission input and recognize that they will be visiting the Environmental
Advisory Council and trying to make the Plan as viable as possible. They recognize that
they will have to engineer the Plan and noted the use will be consistent with the O/R
Mr. Cylinder stated he would prefer that they not spend a lot of money engineering Plans
until they know what will work on the site. He stated while it may be there is not much on the site, they should demonstrate this. Mr. Jeffrey Garton stated they are doing the soil analysis. Mr. Cylinder stated he would prefer that they come in with an analysis of the site with indications to the Planning Commission as to what the site can do and its
relationship to the area around it. He stated there should be a location map showing the
surrounding uses and Zoning, etc. Mr. Garton stated the Township was provided with a
Site Plan that does show the surrounding area, and Ms. Frick noted the Planning
Commission members did receive this.
Mr. Bush stated last fall there was a sign on this particular parcel that had some
comments indicating that if two of the people running for Supervisor were elected, this
parcel would be developed. He stated clearly the intention was that this property would
be developed regardless of who won the Election. He stated his concern is what will
happen with the rest of the Farm. Mr. Garton stated he is not aware of plans for the farm
as the Flemings own the farm. He stated the Agreement of Sale for the parcel under
discussion this evening was not yet negotiated last November. Mr. Garton stated he has
heard a rumor that the Flemings have a parcel along their frontage up for sale. Mr. Bush
asked if Berwind is the owner of the property being discussed, and Mr. Garton stated
there is an Agreement of Sale but they have not taken title. Berwind is the equitable
Mr. Dickson asked how many years ago it was that
has been friends with the Flemings for twenty-five years. Mr. Dickson stated the
development that has occurred around this area has occurred because Township Line
Road was extended. He stated over the last ten years, the development has created a
tremendous amount of traffic. He stated he noticed the number of parking spaces they
are proposing. He stated the current volume is heavy; and if they are indicating that there
will only be right turns out, this will put a tremendous amount of traffic at 332 and Stony
would have a left turn movement. The other entrance closer to
Township Line would not have the left turn. Mr. Majewski stated a traffic light may be
June 12, 2006 Planning Commission – page 4 of 21
needed at this intersection. Mr. Jeffrey Garton stated they are working on the traffic
study. Mr. Dickson stated he feels they need to look at this in the aggregate and not just
for this one development noting his concern that they may have two to three more traffic
lights in this general area. Mr. Majewski agreed this is a possibility.
Mr. Cylinder asked the number of square feet of building they are considering, and
Mr. Eric Garton stated this has not been decided, but they will stay within the confines of
the Ordinance. Mr. Cylinder asked how many parking spaces they are proposing.
Mr. Eric Garton reiterated that it will be based on the Zoning requirements.
Mr. Majewski asked what size parking stall size they are showing, noting that while the
Ordinance requires 10’ by 20’, the Board of Supervisors may opt to approve 9’ by 18’
spaces. Mr. Jeffrey Garton stated the size they are showing are 10’ by 20’.
Mr. Majewski stated generally the Board of Supervisors likes to see a certain number to
by 10’ by 20’ stalls that are near the buildings with the more remote parking areas having
the smaller stall size. Mr. Eric Garton stated they did notice that the other two office
complexes in the area have different size parking stalls.
Mr. Dickson stated there was discussion regarding a rumor about the Flemings selling
one of the additional parcels. He stated he feels since
and this intersection created which allowed several buildings to be built along with the
potential traffic; and there are occasions when Shady Brook Farm has Festivals and Fairs
and if some project is built on the remaining part of Shady Brook Farm, they will be
looking at a tremendous amount of traffic which was one of the concerns about Matrix.
He stated he feels they need to look at the whole area in aggregate and what they will
have when all the projects are completed.
Mr. Smith asked if the basin will be empty at times or will it be a lake similar to the one
at Yardley Corners. Mr. Jeffrey Garton stated for infiltration purposes, it will be more of
a pond, and there will be water in it most of the time. Mr. Majewski asked if they have
done testing yet, and Mr. Eric Garton stated they have not started yet. Mr. Majewski
stated they must notify the Township when they start testing so the Township can go to
the site as well.
Mr. Cylinder asked if the existing basin is owned by the Township, and
Mr. Jeffrey Garton stated there is an easement over the Fleming property for
the Township’s basin. Mr. Donaghy stated this is because the run off from the
roadway goes into this basin.
There was no public comment.
June 12, 2006 Planning Commission – page 5 of 21
CONSIDER PROPOSED ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 200, ARTICLE
VII GENERAL BUSINESS/INDUSTRIAL (C-3) REGARDING ZONING REGULATIONS RELATED TO
Mr. Donaghy stated he understands that this Ordinance has been changed substantially or
was going to be revised from that which had been proposed. Ms. Frick stated the only
revision she received was on 5/22/06 which was sent to Mr. Bush. Mr. Smith stated there
was some discussion of additional language they wanted to include. Mr. Donaghy stated
he understood that the Bucks County Planning Commission had made some
recommendations for additional changes; and in order to do this, it would be necessary to
amend the Ordinance and he has not seen the proposed amendments. Ms. Frick stated
she did not receive the Bucks County Planning Commission memo. It was also noted the
Planning Commission did not receive this. Mr. Donaghy stated while he has does not
have this either, he understands that his office has it. Mr. Donaghy stated he has been
advised by his office that the Ordinance may be changed significantly, and it may not be
worthwhile for the Planning Commission to review this tonight. Ms. Frick stated she
understood that this matter was scheduled for the Board of Supervisors for action at their
next meeting on June 21 and this will be prior to the next Planning Commission meeting.
Mr. Donaghy stated he was advised by Mr. Truelove that this matter was being amended
and would not be acted upon by the Supervisors at their next meeting.
Mr. Smith stated he feels the concern was to get something done before the July 4
weekend noting that it will not go into effect until some time after 7/4 because it would
have to be advertised. Mr. Donaghy stated provided it is advertised, it would be a
pending Ordinance; and even though it would not be effective
until after the
anyone who would submit an Application for a Permit would be subject to the pending
Ordinance if it has been advertised.
Mr. Smith suggested that the Planning Commission comment on what they currently
have before them. Mr. Donaghy located a note he had on this matter and stated it
indicates that this matter will be considered by the Board of Supervisors on July 19.
Ms. Frick stated they could put this matter on the Planning Commission Agenda for their
next meeting in two weeks. Ms. Frick asked that she be provided with the information
from the Bucks County Planning Commission as well as the amended Ordinance so that
she can provide this information to the Planning Commission members prior to their next
meeting on June 26.
No action was taken on this matter this evening.
June 12, 2006 Planning Commission – page 6 of 21
DISCUSSION AND MOTION ON
Mr. Majewski stated there was a question at the last meeting about what changes, if any,
there were to cell phone towers. Mr. Majewski stated the one change that was made to
the draft Ordinance was that they were going to allow cell towers as Conditional Use
within the Institutional District, which they just created. The Institutional District was
created for schools, etc. He stated the Falls Township Planning Commission had some of
the same concerns the Lower Makefield Planning Commission had that a lot of these
schools and institutional uses are located in Residential areas. He stated the Falls
Township Planning Commission recommendation was going to be that they not allow
these in the Institutional District. Mr. Majewski stated the School that would be closest
border. Mr. Majewski stated he feels the Planning Commission may want to make a
similar recommendation as is being made by the Falls Township Planning Commission.
Mr. Cylinder stated he feels it would be useful that when there is a document that is this
large, when they send this out they should show what changes have been made.
Ms. Frick stated while the Township can request this, you get what is sent out to the
Township. Ms. Frick
shown in bold print.
Mr. Majewski stated he did discuss the changes with the
Township engineer and where they were located to see if there was any impact on Lower
Makefield, and the only thing that came up was based on the question raised by
Mr. Pazdera at the last meeting which was also raised by the Falls Township Planning
Frick noted Mr. Truelove did request of
the changes on May 9, but they did not get anything additional.
Mr. Bush moved and Mr. Dickson seconded and it was unanimously carried to notify the
Board of Supervisors that the Planning Commission would object to a change that would
allow cell towers within the Falls Township Institutional Use District.
PRESENTATION OF PROPOSED LOW IMPACT DEVELOPMENT ORDINANCE
Bucky Closser, Township attorney, Mr. James Bray and Mr. Geoffrey Goll from the
Environmental Advisory Council (EAC), and Mr. Richard Watson, engineer from
Township Environmental Engineer, Birdsall Engineering, were present.
Mr. Bray noted Mr. Goll is the principal of an environmental engineering firm as well as
a member of the EAC. He stated also present from the EAC are Laura Brandt, Alan
Dresser, and Joseph Sundeen. Mr. Bray stated they are present to provide information
and answer questions. He stated this is a very comprehensive Ordinance and will take
more than one evening to consider. He stated in March of 2005, one of the members of
June 12, 2006 Planning Commission – page 7 of 21
the Planning Commission, Karen Friedman, became interested in low impact
development through Larry Kauffman who works in
EAC and the Township to see if it would be appropriate to bring him to the Township,
and he did make a presentation which was open to
communities. He stated after the presentation those in attendance felt this would be a
good concept for
Mr. Bray stated Mr. Santarsiero discussed this concept as well at the beginning of this
year. Mr. Santarsiero then asked Mr. Bray to start a Task Force to proceed with this and
they are all present this evening. Mr. Bray stated they are fortunate in the Township to
people of this caliber working on this Ordinance. He stated their goal was to have a
rough draft in place by the end of May which was accomplished. This is now up for
review and will wind its way through the legal process.
Mr. Bray stated the main concepts of low impact development are that water is treated as
an asset and not a nuisance; and secondly, the rain that falls on a piece of property, stays
on the property. He stated in preparing the Ordinance they have used many sources and
feel they have come up with the best that is available throughout the Country including
the PA BMP Manual, Act 167, and Ordinances from other communities such as Lacy
Jersey Municipalities. Mr. Bray stated they feel what they have come up with is
innovative, comprehensive, and progressive. He stated the attorney has indicated that it
is legally defensible as well. Mr. Bray stated this matter will before the Planning
Commission again on June 26, 2006.
Mr. Majewski stated their goal was to turn
He stated there are no Ordinances in the State of
that comprehensively address low impact development, although there are some in other
States. He stated low impact development is a land use development strategy containing
best management practices, conservation by design, smart growth, and sustainable
development. It also emphasis the protection and use of on-site natural features including
woods, natural drainage ways, and streams. It also uses small scale controls to manage
water as close to its source as possible which more closely mimics pre-development
hydrologic functions and is an alternative to traditional structural stormwater
management solutions such as standard detention basins.
Mr. Majewski stated a low impact development Ordinance is beneficial because it
implements many of the recommendations that are contained
Township Open Space Plan, the Comprehensive Master Plan Update, the Lower
Delaware River Conservation Plan done by the Heritage
River South Act 167 Stormwater Management Plan, the Neshaminy Creek Act 167 Plan,
Management Practices Manual. Mr. Majewski stated the Ordinance will also help the
June 12, 2006 Planning Commission – page 8 of 21
Township continue to comply with the various State and Federal laws such as the Clean
Streams Law, the Federal Clean Water Act, the
Act (Act 167) which was the first comprehensive look at stormwater management on a
State-wide basis, the EPA Phase II Stormwater Rule, and the NPDES MS 4 Permit for
stormwater discharge which the Township had to obtain in 2003. He stated the
Ordinance will also help preserve open space, manage stormwater as a resource, protect
water quality, reduce quantity of water flowing to the River, and help reduce erosion of
stream banks which causes pollution of the waters. The Ordinance will also help protect
natural resources such as water courses, wetlands, steep slopes, woodlands, and aquifers.
Mr. Majewski stated in a pre-development condition, when rain flows to the ground
typically only 10% runs off to a stream or water course, 50% is infiltrated back into the
ground, and 40% is taken up through evapo-transpiration. He stated a typical post-
development condition reverses these numbers and run-off becomes almost 50% and
infiltration is only 15% with long-term implications. He stated primarily groundwater is
drawn from wells sunk deep into the ground and from the River. If there is not water
going into the ground, there will not be water to draw from to drink. He stated water that
percolates into the ground does eventually make its way into the streams and contributes
to the base flow of the streams and rivers. Mr. Majewski stated in
of the water is drawn from wells and part directly from the
Mr. Majewski showed pictures of two different types of Subdivisions – one showing an
example of a low-impact subdivision which attempts to preserve clusters of woods,
brings the houses closer to the street compared to the conventional subdivision where
they clear out all the land, make a large, wide lawn area with houses set back further from
the roads, and provide a large detention basin used for stormwater management. He
stated for the low-impact development the stormwater management system is spread out
throughout the site. He stated a conventional development has a detention basin set at
the low point of the site and water is collected through a series of inlets and pipes and
discharged down to the detention basin. This controls flooding, but it does not address
the more frequent low-intensity storms which are approximately 95% of all storms that
occur. The detention of the water in the detention basin was meant to take care of
flooding by making sure that the peak flow out of the detention basin at any one time
mimics the pre-development conditions of the peak rate; however, as a consequent of
this, because the water is held back, the water is released over a longer period of time and
this increase in the volume of the water run-off effects streams and downstream
Mr. Majewski stated a low-impact development tries to conserve natural resources and
minimize the disturbance of areas, and since if you do not disturb areas, you do not have
to handle resulting stormwater generated. He stated the intent is also to spread the water
out and try to mimic pre-development conditions as closely as possible. This increases
the time that water takes to go from its highest point to its lowest point when it is letting
June 12, 2006 Planning Commission – page 9 of 21
out. The goal is to slow down the water and not speed it out. To do this, best
management practices are used to handle these frequent, lower-intensity storms.
Mr. Majewski stated detention basins may need to be used to control flooding problems,
but it is a combination of preserving natural resources, minimize disturbed area, and
minimize amount of impervious surface created which allows them to eliminate the need
for large scale detention basins and have smaller scale detention basins.
They are considering both Zoning regulations and Subdivision and Land Development
Ordinance regulations. They are considering reducing front yard setbacks to bring the
houses closer to the road to minimize disturbance. They also propose increasing the rear
yard setbacks so the building envelope stays roughly the same, but is shifted closer to the
road. They are also allowing open space clustering in several of the Township Zones as
well as increasing protection of wetlands, water course buffers, and steep slope areas
beyond what they currently have in the Ordinances.
Mr. Majewski stated they are proposing reducing the front yard setbacks in the R-1, R-2,
R-3, and R3M Zones. He stated in the R-1 Zone for a one acre lot, currently the
minimum setback is 75’ and their goal was to push those homes closer to the road and
they recommend that they be 50’ off the road. This will create less impervious surface as
there will be less driveway. It will also provide more usable rear yard for the homeowner
by shifting the setbacks. He stated long-term this will also result in less driveway to
maintain for the homeowners and less cost to the developer to build a longer driveway.
Mr. Majewski stated they are also proposing creation of an open space cluster option in
the RRP, R-1, R-2 and R-3 Zones which is similar to the existing Farmland Preservation
option, although that option is only available in the R-1 zone and the minimum lot area
required is twenty-five acres. He stated for the preservation of open space, they are
expanding this to the other Zoning Districts except for the R-4 Zone. They will require
51% open minimum space with a minimum ten acre site in order to qualify for this open
space cluster. This provision does not allow an increase in density. Mr. Majewski stated
for the R-1 Zone you could cluster the houses down to smaller size lots and instead of
one acre lots, you could have half acre lots which will provide more open space, reduce
the amount of impervious surface, and the Township will then have less expense in short-
term and long-term costs for paving, storm sewers, etc.
Mr. Majewski stated they also plan to expand the protection for wetlands/water courses.
Currently a minimum buffer for woods adjacent to a stream is required to be 25’, and
they propose expanding this to 50’ which is recommended in the Pennsylvania Best
Management Practices Manual, in the Neshaminy Creek Watershed Act 167 Ordinance,
and is implemented currently in the State of
minimize erosion of stream banks. He stated they have provided some flexibility to this
since they are increasing the protection of the wetlands, by allowing the developer to
have a more efficient site design; and they would allow buffer averaging so that as long
June 12, 2006 Planning Commission – page 10 of 21
as there is an average of 50’ buffer, they can augment it in some areas and reduce it in
others. He stated another benefit of increasing the buffer is that the area helps absorb
pollutants that run off before they reach the streams, and this will help the Township meet
their water quality objectives under the NPDES Permit.
Mr. Majewski stated they have also proposed the added protection for steep slopes. He
stated they currently protect slopes that are greater than 15%, and they have created a
new category – Class I Steep Slopes – which are those between 8% and 15% in grade and
these need to be protected 50%. He stated this also helps prevent acceleration of erosion.
He stated they made no changes to the Class II slopes which are 15% to 25% and the
protection of these remain at 70%, and they have added additional protection for slopes
greater than 25% which will increase protection from 85% to 100% protection. They
have allowed some flexibility in this by allowing a developer to go through a Conditional
Use Approval process to reduce the protection ratio for all three slopes if there is a
benefit to the Township, promotes a more efficient site lay out, and makes sense for a
Mr. Majewski stated for the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance, they
identified a number of items they feel tied into Low Impact Development. He stated they
propose increasing notification to surrounding property owners since there have been
complaints in the past that existing residents are not notified early enough in the process.
He stated notice requirement will now be 1000’ feet surrounding a development and this
would occur at the Sketch Plan or Preliminary Plan process. They also want to involve
the Township early on in the review process by indicating that an Applicant can come in
to the Township for a pre-Application meeting before they lay out anything on paper.
They have also proposed a site visit process where they request that the developers set up
a site visit and walk the property with the Planning Commission, EAC, and Board of
Supervisors early on in the process so that they can get a sense of what the whole
property looks like. Mr. Majewski stated he does currently walk all the sites himself but
feels it is a good idea for everyone involved to have the opportunity to walk the site.
Mr. Majewski stated they are also creating a four-step design process which he will
review in more detail later.
Mr. Majewski stated the Ordinance will also require an environmental impact
assessment. He stated currently the Township Ordinances only require an environmental
impact assessment under certain conditions; and this will now require a comprehensive
environmental impact assessment of the property, an inventory of the resources on the
site – natural, biological, historical, surface water and ground water inventory, and what
impacts the development as proposed will have on these features and what can be done to
mitigate those impacts. He stated this environmental impact assessment will be reviewed
by the EAC.
June 12, 2006 Planning Commission – page 11 of 21
Mr. Majewski stated the Ordinance also contemplates reducing the cartway widths for
new streets. It also increases street grades to allow following the natural terrain, allows
for planted bio-retention islands in cul-de-sacs, discourages the use of curbing along
streets and in parking areas, and makes sidewalks on both sides of the streets
discretionary to be decided by the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Majewski stated this is why
the pre-Application meeting/site meeting is important.
Mr. Majewski stated the Ordinance will also allow pervious paving in parking lot areas,
landscaped bio-retention areas in parking lots, encourage native plant use in new home
landscaping, encourage tree protection by requiring tree replacement for trees removed
by the developer, better define standards for open space low out, and require physical
delineation of open space areas to make it easier to recognize areas of open space to
include such physical delineations such as trees, shrubs, fences, and even signs when
Mr. Majewski stated they also propose to reconcile the Subdivision and Land
Development Ordinance with the Act 167 Stormwater Ordinances which were adopted
last year for the Delaware River South Watershed and the Neshaminy Creek Watershed.
Mr. Majewski stated they will also require zero net discharge for stormwater run off,
more clearly define soil infiltration testing procedures including Township representative
presence during the testing, and require use of non-structural Best Management Practices
before the use of structural Best Management Practices.
Mr. Majewski stated the four step define process will include – 1) Identify conservation
areas such as floodplains, water courses, buffers, woodlands, steep slopes, historic sites,
and even views which may be desirable to preserve. These must be identified on a Plan.
They will then schedule a site visit with the developer to look at these features before a
lay-out is prepared. Step 2 is to prepare a Resource Conservation Plan. Step 3 is to
locate structures and determine the road alignments and infrastructure improvements,
determine how sanitary sewer will be brought to the site, and consider groundwater
recharge infiltration, stormwater facilities, etc. Finally the last step is to then draw in the
Mr. Majewski stated roadway design is another feature of Low Impact Development
which the Ordinance addresses. He stated over the last several years, the Planning
Commission has recommended reduction of cartway widths from 36’ to at least 30’, and
this Ordinance will now quantify that reduction and they will go with a 36’ wide road
which will provide for two-way traffic, parking on the roadway, and will accommodate
emergency vehicles. He stated they have left flexibility in the Ordinance that where it is
determined for public safety and convenience, that wider roads might be necessary and
they can go to a slightly wider road. He stated they have also left flexibility in the other
direction where there may be certain instances where a 24’ wide road may make sense,
and this would be permitted. He stated this could be practical in an area where a road
June 12, 2006 Planning Commission – page 12 of 21
goes through an area where there are no houses and there is a low likelihood of on-street
parking. He stated “No Parking” signs would have to be installed in these areas so that
traffic and emergency vehicles can get through unimpeded.
Mr. Majewski stated slight reductions in standards are also proposed for industrial/
commercial roadways from 40’ to 36’ and this reduces impervious surface
installation, and maintenance costs. This also helps with stormwater management since
there is less impervious surface to handle. He stated the cost savings will be good for the
developer and good for the Township in the future since they will not have to plow the
road with three passes and they can do it with two. This will save on maintenance costs
and repaving costs in the future.
Mr. Majewski stated they also propose increasing the maximum street grades allowed.
He stated currently they allow 8% and this requires significant grading. They are now
proposing 12% on a local road and 8% on a collector road, and they can then follow the
natural terrain and minimize the disturbance to the areas adjacent to the roadways.
Mr. Majewski stated they also require that when you get to an intersection, there is a
flatter area of 4% slope required so that you still have the safety factor.
Mr. Majewski stated the Ordinance discourages the use of curbing. He stated an
advantage of not having curbs is that the water will be able to be soaked up by the
ground, it will slow the stormwater down, and there will be less need for stormwater
management. He stated when the roads are narrower, it also tends to slow down traffic.
There was further discussion of sidewalks which will be at the discretion of the
Township; and while they are required on both sides of the road, the Township will have
the flexibility to waive this where necessary.
Mr. Majewski stated they have also considered cul-de-sacs. Currently they have cul-de-
sacs with a paved radius of 60’ which is a 120’ circular area of paving. By allowing for a
bio-retention island in the center of the cul-de-sac, you can direct the run off from that
cul-de-sac area into it, provide storage for stormwater management, still provides
sufficient room for emergency vehicles to navigate around the cul-de-sac even if there are
cars parked there, and there is an opportunity to allow for groundwater recharge and
allow for storage of stormwater, and an area for snowplows to push snow during storm
Mr. Majewski stated they have identified off-street parking standards as another area that
needed to be addressed. Currently the Ordinance requires all parking lots to be paved and
curbed so that water is directed into the storm sewer system and eventually into a
stormwater detention facility. The goal is to disconnect the water generation from where
it is letting out and not having it go through the storm sewer system until it really needs to
and instead spread the water out to smaller areas distributing it among smaller facilities.
He stated this tends to slow down water run off. He stated they have proposed the
June 12, 2006 Planning Commission – page 13 of 21
elimination of curbing where there are areas where there is a detention basin near the
parking areas and let it run off as sheet flow rather than being directed through a pipe and
discharge into the detention basin. He stated they could also have a small bio-retention
area which could be ponded a few inches so that water can be stored. These are 6” to 9”
depressions which are planted with plants that can tolerate infrequent inundation of
water. He stated the ponded water will eventually infiltrate within seventy-two hours.
Where infiltration is not possible, the water can be directed eventually out to the storm
sewer system through the use of overflow pipes and underdrains. They are also allowing
the use of pervious pavement in parking lot areas although they will have to consider this
carefully to insure that it is used in an area where it will be maintained. He stated
typically this is pavement where water can seep into a stone bed below. The stone bed is
made of larger particles of stone and water is stored in and among the stone; and if it is
suitable, infiltrated into the ground or taken out through underdrains or an overflow
system to a stormwater management facility. He stated this has been used in a Park in
they will also allow for the use of grass pavers at the discretion of the Township such as
in areas of a parking lot which is used very infrequently. He stated these alternatives
materials could be used in parking stalls, overflow parking areas, driveways, sidewalks,
Mr. Cylinder asked for a definition of grass pavers, and Mr. Majewski stated it is
typically an interlocking grid and grass grows up between it. He stated it is designed to
support the load of cars and emergency vehicles. He stated there are a number of
emergency access areas in the Township which currently have grass pavers. Mr. Smith
asked for an example of an area in the Township where grass pavers could have been
used. Mr. Majewski stated it could have been used in a park-like setting where there is a
need for parking, but they would prefer not to have so much paving. He noted remote
parking at certain times. Ms. Frick asked if this needs to be cut and maintained, and
Mr. Majewski stated it does need to be cut and maintained just like grass. He stated there
have been some concerns with maintenance of grass pavers because if you do not make
the cells large enough for grass to grow, the heat from the sun burns the grass and there
may be difficulty keeping the grass maintained. He stated there are some other products
that attempt to address this including plastic cells that can be used although some of these
products have only been around for five to ten years. Mr. Cylinder stated women
wearing high heels would also have a problem with this surface. Mr. Majewski stated
this would have to be used in areas where women would not be wearing high heels.
Mr. Majewski stated use of this material would have to be considered carefully and this is
why they are in favor of having the developers come in early to discuss their plans for a
June 12, 2006 Planning Commission – page 14 of 21
Mr. Majewski stated they are also creating additional tree protection standards in the
Ordinance. He stated currently they protect 70% of the woodlands in the Township, but
do not designate which woods can be cut down. They are now encouraging the
preservation of more mature trees. They will require the developer to replace trees that
are removed with their caliper equivalent. He stated if a developer were to cut down a
10” caliper tree, they would be required to replace it with four 2 ½” trees. He stated they
would have to plant seven trees for each tree removed between 18” and 30” and 10 for
30” and above. He stated if these trees are planted throughout the site, there is the added
benefit of replacing woods that are disturbed. He stated they still can only take down
30% of the trees. He stated they will also require the use of native trees in the tree
replacement provisions. He stated mature trees equal a significant stormwater run off
reduction. Mr. Majewski stated if they do need to cut down trees, they want the
developer to take down less mature trees and if they take down 10” caliper trees, they
will then have to replace fewer trees than if they cut down larger trees.
Mr. Majewski stated in this Ordinance they are also reconciling the Stormwater
Management Ordinances adopted last year with the current Ordinance. He stated they
want to highlight some of the items highlighted in the Stormwater Management
Ordinances for both watersheds. He stated one of the goals is for zero net discharge.
He stated this is where you try to control the run-off volume from lower lever storms.
He stated in the State of
These are classified as one-year storms by the Ordinance. The goal is to take all the
water from those storms and recharge it back into the ground. This provides for
protection of water quality since these storms usually erode stream banks. He stated this
also reduces sedimentation and improves wildlife habitat and water quality. He stated as
part of the site-planning process, the Ordinance requires the use of the non-structural Best
Management Practices before they try to handle stormwater generated with structural
Best Management Practices. He stated non-structural options would include clustering of
houses, keeping the houses as close to the roadway as possible, minimizing disturbance,
reducing the amount of impervious coverage created by reducing driveway width,
parking space size, etc. After they do this, and they determine that they still have to
handle water, they can consider vegetative swales, recharge gardens, infiltration berms,
infiltration basins, water quality Best Management Practices, and ultimately detention
basins. He stated in
lot of infiltration. Infiltration testing will be required including a certain number of soil
logs per acres. He stated the testing needs to be done ahead of time to show where they
can get infiltration, They can then develop the Stormwater Management Plan to see what
they need to handle.
Mr. Majewski stated charts of various non-structural and structural Best Management
Practices are included in the Ordinance. He showed examples of structural BMPs
including a bio-retention area and a rain garden which are smaller areas that are sunk six
to nine inches below the surrounding ground where water is channeled and provides
June 12, 2006 Planning Commission – page 15 of 21
storage. He stated these can be put in median strips, between parking areas, adjacent to
buildings, and in urban retro-fit areas. He stated these areas provide storage of water of
6” to 9” before they overflow into an overflow device and are planted with a mix of soil
which will allow for percolation into the soil. He showed pictures of infiltration trenches
which reduce the need for extensive piping systems and stormwater basins. He stated an
infiltration basin can be used where the soils are suitable. He noted areas near the
Hill development. He
noted there are not a lot of areas in
this. He stated they can also use vegetative infiltration beds. When the water goes into
these areas, it is stored in the stone and perforated pipe and water is infiltrated in the
ground beneath or sent out eventually to an overflow pipe if necessary.
Mr. Majewski also noted another option is the use of a dry well/seepage pit. He stated
they have been requiring this lately for smaller sites and individual houses. He stated in
this instance you install a dry well which is either stone or an open pit where water is
stored and infiltrated into the ground. These often have an inspection port to see if it is
clogged and needs maintenance. There is also an overflow area so water does not back
up into the house. He stated it is recommended that there be a minimum ten foot setback
from the house. He stated they could also use open pipes which are put into the ground
and water is channeled through a piping system into the bed and there is the opportunity
for storage, slow infiltration, and an overflow system. There could also be a point of
discharge further down the line. Where you need to filter water, you could use a
constructed filter such as in a commercial area. He stated this would not be suitable for a
gas station where he feels a detention basin is still the best option. He stated the
constructed filter would filter out pollutants before infiltration. These are lined with sand
Mr. Majewski stated there could also be a vegetative swale and this would take water via
a larger swale that is lined with grass and possibly an under layer of stone. The water
would then flow off naturally. This provides for better water quality as the vegetation in
the area will absorb the pollutants and ground water and there is less chance for sediment
and pollutants washing off into the detention basins and ultimately into the streams.
Mr. Majewski stated a vegetative filter strip can also be used where there are gaps in the
curb or no cubs at all. He stated this would have to be a sheet flow situation.
Mr. Majewski stated infiltration berms are another BMP. He stated when water is
flowing down a hill toward a stream, rather than creating a large detention basin on the
side of a slope, and cutting down the trees, you can use low-profile infiltration berms
which are only one to two feet high and as water comes down the hill, it allows water to
build up behind it, and the water can be absorbed into the ground. This controls some of
the run off from lower level storms and works in conjunction with other stormwater
June 12, 2006 Planning Commission – page 16 of 21
Mr. Majewski stated you can also use rain barrels and cisterns into which roof leaders are
directed and the water can then be used to water the garden.
Mr. Majewski stated there are also more standard methods of controlling stormwater such
as constructed wetlands where there are areas of a detention basin which are periodically
inundated with water or have a smaller permanent pool of water, and the vegetation is
used to absorb nutrients and sediment. These act like a standard detention basins and in
larger storm events, they can store water and in smaller storm events, they filter the water
before it is discharged into the streams. Mr. Majewski stated a wet pond or retention
basin is another BMP that is used to reduce the introduction of sediment and pollutants
into the streams. He stated what they are proposing is a smaller pond area which could
be cleaned out more frequently with a small backhoe as opposed to a pond which could
require dredging of sediment which could be costly. Mr. Majewski stated there are also
dry extended detention basins which are standard basins with baffles built in or small
berms or gabions which make the water go through a longer path to get to the discharge
point; and the longer it takes for water to get out, the greater chance that pollutants and
sediment will be absorbed by the grasses before it is discharged to the receiving
waterway. Mr. Majewski stated they also discuss riparian buffer restoration and
reforestation. He stated by planting trees along streambeds, they can provide shade for
streams, provide a corridor for wildlife, stability for the adjacent areas through an
extensive root system of the trees, and filter pollutants. Mr. Majewski stated landscaped
restoration is another BMP referenced. He stated if they have meadows rather than large
lawn areas that need to be cut frequently, you have areas which absorb more water, do
not have to be cut so frequently, reduce energy consumption through less frequent
mowing, and do not have grass clippings which can alter the nutrient make-up of areas
where water is flowing.
Mr. Cylinder stated he feels this was an excellent presentation. He stated he will put his
comments in writing . He feels there may be some problems with maintenance. He
stated he also feels people may be concerned about mosquitoes. He stated they discussed
Conditional Use for slope control, and he feels it would be better to control the slopes and
control everything as much as possible through the SALDO regulations rather than
through Zoning. He stated they could also put this into deed restrictions which they
cannot do with Zoning. Ms. Frick stated many people come in and state that they are not
Subdividing; and if it is in Zoning, it can be enforced. Mr. Cylinder stated this may be
the case for an individual lot owner rather than a large development. He stated the
Zoning Hearing Board has had problems with swimming pools and impervious surface,
and he feels this should be addressed somehow based on soil conditions and topography
rather than a certain percentage of the lot. Mr. Majewski stated the Conditional Use
process is not decided by the Zoning Hearing Board - it is decided by the Board of
June 12, 2006 Planning Commission – page 17 of 21
Mr. Smith stated he agrees that this was an excellent presentation. He stated some people
may feel they are ten to twenty years too late with this. Mr. Bray stated while this may
be correct, it does not mean that they should not implement this now. Mr. Goll stated
there is also the potential for re-development, and they could then require retrofitting.
Mr. Cylinder stated if they had come up with this presentation ten to twenty years ago,
Mr. Majewski would have been driven out of the room and it would not have been
approved. Mr. Goll noted that detention basins were state-of-the-art in the Seventies, but
they now know better and understand it is not only peak flow reductions but also volume
reductions which are helpful. Mr. Cylinder stated detention basins still do a job since
prior to that time there was nothing. He stated they are now looking at something much
Ms. Friedman stated while it would have been preferable to do this twenty years ago,
every individual homeowner can do some form of low impact development on their
property and collectively this will help reduce water flow and flooding so this is relevant
Mr. Bush stated he also feels this is relevant because in
many surrounding areas there is a tear down or knock down phenomenon where
existing older homes and trees are being taken down and replaced with
“McMansions,” and this could be relevant if and when this phenomenon comes to
Mr. Majewski stated there are a number of reasons this Ordinance was not considered ten
to twenty years ago but noted
Development Ordinance and many of the key features were already in place as there was
already protection of water courses and wetlands, steep slope protections, the Farmland
Preservation clustering option; and they are now taking the next logical step making
Mr. Smith stated he wants the group to be prepared for the type of questions that will be
asked by the audience at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting.
Mr. Bray stated the EAC is also going to look into the existing basins in the Township.
He feels there is an opportunity to retrofit the basins, and they will have an active
program over the next few years picking specific basins which are capable of being
retrofitted and turned into water quality basins rather than pass-through basins. Mr. Goll
stated the EAC is also going to be looking into new developments so that if a
development comes in and they cannot meet the infiltration requirements, there might be
June 12, 2006 Planning Commission – page 18 of 21
an option for fee-in-lieu and those funds could be directed to other infrastructure projects.
Mr. Smith stated he also feels residents will be asking about the expenses to the
Township for this program and from where the funds will come, and this may be an
Mr. Bush asked about the option of not having curbing and asked the impact of this in
terms of maintenance of the roads and whether this accelerates the deterioration of the
road surface along the edges. Mr. Majewski stated in the Ordinance they do require some
edge stabilization techniques to make sure that the paving does not crumble at the edges.
Mr. Cylinder stated years ago they would extend the base of the road a few inches
beyond the paved surface, and Mr. Majewski stated this is an option. Mr. Bray stated
there are some older sections of the Township where this occurs currently, and you can
see the effectiveness of these swales.
Mr. Cylinder stated what they are talking about has created side benefits for improved
planning and improved lay outs of subdivisions and street design. He stated there is also
the possibility of connecting up the open spaces and making more pathways for wildlife.
He stated some people may be concerned with this if it means more deer will be in their
Mr. Majewski stated he is aware that these proposals may raise some concerns by
residents. He noted when he moved into his home fourteen years ago, the basin adjacent
to his home was a meadow basin planted with wildflower mix which was very attractive.
However, over the years, the Township did significantly more cutting because the
residents complained about bugs, animals, appearance of the basin, etc. He stated this
will involve education of the public. Ms. Frick stated they do try to educate the new
residents about the natural basins, but the people prefer grass over the wildflower mix.
Mr. Smith asked if the Planning Commission has any serious reservations about this plan,
but none were expressed at this time. Mr. Smith asked if they feel a special meeting is
needed of the Board of Supervisors to present this since it would be time consuming.
The Planning Commission agreed that this would be preferable because of the time of the
presentation and in order to allow for questions. Mr. Smith stated he would like the EAC
and Planning Commission to be in attendance at such a meeting and make a joint
presentation before the Board of Supervisors. While this was agreeable to those present,
Mr. Pazdera stated he would like to have this matter come back to the Planning
Commission first so that they can an opportunity to again read all the information now
that they have had the presentation. He asked that they consider this again in two weeks.
Mr. Smith stated he will advise the Board of Supervisors of this.
Mr. Cylinder stated he feels the developers will be in favor of this proposal as he feels it
will save the developers a lot of money. Mr. Majewski stated the Township has been
pushing the developers in this direction already.
June 12, 2006 Planning Commission – page 19 of 21
Mr. Smith stated because he is certain that people will be asking how much this will cost,
the Township should also be able to advise how much this will save the Township.
Mr. Majewski stated he feels it will be brought up by the public that the Township
already gets fee-in-lieu by allowing reduction of cartway; and while this is correct, it will
also be made back by the Township over the long term since there will be less roads to
plow, maintain, and repave as well as less storm sewers and curbing. Mr. Pazdera stated
he feels they need to quantify this. Ms. Friedman stated at the Low Impact Development
seminar, it was indicated that retrofitting a large retention basin cost $20,000. Mr. Bray
stated there is a pilot program in
and they estimated they saved $1500 for each basin. He stated at the Low Impact
Development seminar they indicated that the LID costs were $750,000 and conventional
stormwater mitigation was over $1 million. He stated development will not be easy for a
developer and they will have to be incredibly responsible when they develop in the
Township in the future; however, this does not preclude development, and in fact invites
the right kind of development.
Mr. Pazdera asked about the impact on engineering costs, and Mr. Majewski stated it
does cost more to engineer this up front; but when you reduce road widths, etc. it will
cost the developer less. Mr. Cylinder stated he feels they will have more saleable
housing. Mr. Majewski stated he feels an argument will be made that this will hurt their
sales as they will not be able to sell a large house 50’ off the road with no curbs and no
sidewalks. Mr. Majewski stated the developers will have the option to make their case.
Mr. Bray reported on a development in a community which was totally low impact
development and those houses commanded $50,000 more per house than a comparable
home in an adjacent community. He feels this is an attractive option from an
environmental and quality of life viewpoint. Mr. Cylinder stated he feels the open space
will make the house very attractive and more valuable because of the proximity to the
Mr. Goll stated one of the benefits to the existing developments which are
experiencing more flooding problems is that the mitigation may help alleviate their
Ms. Friedman noted Page 4 at the top – paragraph C for the Subdivision and Land
Development Ordinance. She stated she feels the EAC needs to be strategically involved
in any planning and review of new and revised developments and suggested that they add
after the first sentence which states, “review in accordance with the requirements of the
Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code” - “should include review by the Township
EAC where deemed necessary.” Ms. Frick stated the EAC will be added to the list of
reviewing agencies. Ms. Friedman also noted Page 15 Section 13 under paragraph C
where it states “where underlying soils may not be conducive to infiltration, bio-retention
areas should be incorporated.” She feels after “bio-retention areas” they should state
“implementing native plantings as a requirement where feasible.” She stated native
June 12, 2006 Planning Commission – page 20 of 21
plantings are one of the most efficient plants to use in this area. Ms. Friedman also stated
there was discussion this evening about retrofitting of retention basins and she did not see
this in the Ordinance. She stated she feels they should state, “where the opportunity
arises, retrofitting the retention basins would follow the goals of the Ordinance.”
Mr. Bray stated it does not specifically state this, but agreed that they should add this.
He added the Native Plant Ordinance is almost ready to be turned over to Mr. Closser for
his review. Mr. Smith asked if both of these Ordinances should come together, and
Mr. Bray stated he felt the feeling was that this would present some logistical problems.
He stated he was given the plant list tonight which as being worked on by one of the EAC
The Planning Commission and Mr. Smith thanked the EAC and all those on the Task
Force for the work that was done on this matter.
Mr. Smith stated on Labor Day there will be a Lower Makefield Township Community
Day and all the Boards are invited to set up an informational kiosk at the event which will
be held at the Township Complex on
Mr. Bush stated he has looked back over the years and while the Planning Commission is
scheduled to meet twice a month, they have often met only once a month. He asked about
the possibility of having a meeting only once a month with the option of having a second
meeting if necessary depending on what is happening. Ms. Friedman stated having two
meetings scheduled allows them to be prepared to be available; and if they find one
meeting is not necessary, they can cancel that meeting. Ms. Frick stated there are time
constraints and there have been occasions when developers will not provide an extension.
Mr. Bush stated he was only proposing a more formalized process whereby they would
meet the second Monday of each month and only have a meeting on the fourth Monday if
needed. Ms. Frick stated there could be a problem with timing because the Board of
Supervisors now meets on Wednesday, and the extension they would have previously
received on a Monday for the Board of Supervisors for the next Monday, no longer
works. Mr. Donaghy stated he feels they should keep the schedule as it is currently
because there could be problems with extension deadlines or many developers coming in
at the same time. He stated he feels it is easier to cancel meetings than to try to schedule
them. Ms. Frick stated if they were to only schedule one meeting per month and they
then needed to schedule a second meeting, it would have to be advertised and they would
need to meet the advertising requirements according to the MPC.
Ms. Frick stated the next meeting of the Planning Commission will be June 26, 2006, but
they will not meet on July 10, 2006.
June 12, 2006 Planning Commission – page 21 of 21
There being no further business, Ms. Friedman moved, Mr. Dickson seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 10:00 p.m.
Tony Bush, Secretary