MINUTES – JUNE 12, 2006


The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on June 12, 2006.  Chairman Pazdera called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.  Mr. Pazdera welcomed Mr. Cylinder as the new Planning Commission member.


Those present:


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





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 Township Line Road.  He stated there have been some

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 Township Line Road was extended to

Stony Hill Road, and Mr. Garton stated it was fifteen years ago.  Mr. Dickson stated he

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

Hill Road. Road.  Mr. Eric Garton stated the entrance at the upper right hand corner

would have a left turn movement.  The other entrance closer to Stony Hill Road and

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 Township Line Road was extended

and this intersection created which allowed several buildings to be built along with the

Lower Makefield Corporate Center along 332, they have created a tremendous amount of

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





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 Holiday,

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





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

to Lower Makefield would be Eleanor Roosevelt which is 0.3 miles from the Township

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 stated when Lower Makefield did their last Plan, the changes were

shown in bold print.   Mr. Majewski stated he did discuss the changes with the Falls

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

Commission.  Ms. Frick  noted Mr. Truelove did request of Falls Township a summary 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. 





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 Maryland.  She checked with the

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 Lower Makefield and other

communities.  He stated after the presentation those in attendance felt this would be a

good concept for Lower Makefield to embrace.  The EAC began to press this issue. 


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

City, Washington, the State of Maryland, Solebury Township, as well as several New

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 Lower Makefield Township into a low-impact

development community.  He stated there are no Ordinances in the State of Pennsylvania

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 within the Lower Makefield

Township Open Space Plan, the Comprehensive Master Plan Update, the Lower

Delaware River Conservation Plan done by the Heritage Conservancy, the Delaware

River South Act 167 Stormwater Management Plan, the Neshaminy Creek Act 167 Plan, 

the Pennsylvania Comprehensive Stormwater Policy, and the Pennsylvania Best

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 Pennsylvania Storm Water Management

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 Lower Makefield part

of the water is drawn from wells and part directly from the Delaware River. 


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 New Jersey.  He stated this will help

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

particular tract.


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

lot lines.


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

Upper Makefield Township which has been made with pervious pavement.  He stated

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,

and plazas.


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

areas of Macclesfield Park or Shady Brook Farm where there is a need for over-flow

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

specific site. 



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 Pennsylvania over 95% of the storms are 2” of rain or less. 

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 Lower Makefield Township a lot of the soils are not conducive to a

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

Delaware River where this is used, one of which is in Yardley Borough at the Orchard

Hill development.  He noted there are not a lot of areas in Lower Makefield suitable for

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

and peat. 


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

management measures. 


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

for today.


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 Lower Makefield.  Mr. Majewski stated this is already coming to Lower Makefield as there is an instance where a building that was built only ten years ago was taken down. 


Mr. Majewski stated there are a number of reasons this Ordinance was not considered ten

to twenty years ago but noted Lower Makefield was well on its way to a Low Impact

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

Lower Makefield Township a premier community leading the way for environmental



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 Northampton to let some basins go into a natural state,

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

open space. 


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 Edgewood Road. 


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.


                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,





                                                                        Tony Bush, Secretary