TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PLANNING COMMISSION

MINUTES – APRIL 9, 2007

 

 

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on April 9, 2007.  Chairman Dickson called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.

 

Those present:

 

Planning Commission:            Dean Dickson, Chairman

                                                Tony Bush, Vice Chairman

                                                Karen Friedman, Secretary

                                                Richard Cylinder, Member

                                                John Pazdera, Member

 

Others:                                    Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning

                                                John Donaghy, Township Solicitor

                                                James Majewski, Township Engineer

                                                Grace Godshalk, Supervisor Liaison

 

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

Mr. Pazdera moved, Ms. Friedman seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of February 12, 2007 as corrected.

 

 

APPEAL #07-1421 – STONY HILL OFFICE DEVELOPMENT, 770 TOWNSHIP LINE ROAD – APPLICATION FOR SPECIAL EXCEPTION TO PERMIT A “RESTAURANT” IN BUILDING

 

Mr. Jeffrey Garton, attorney, was present with Mr. Robert Reviaso.  Mr. Garton stated

they have filed a request for a Special Exception to permit a Restaurant as defined in the

Zoning Ordinance in Building #2 of the Lower Makefield Corporate Center South

Campus.   He stated the size of the facility is 1,500 square feet and has seating for

approximately forty.  Mr. Garton stated it is not a restaurant.  There will be no outdoor

advertising, no waitress service, and no cooking on the premises.   It is a cafeteria for

those who have office space in the building and those in the adjacent Floral Vale

property.    They will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Monday to Friday.   He stated

it is only a cafeteria, but there is no other definition; and they therefore had to apply for a

Special Exception for a restaurant use.  It is only for pick up of cold items and hot items

which are made elsewhere. 

 

 

April 9, 2007                                                               Planning Commission – page 2 of 19

 

 

Mr. Reviaso showed on a Plan the location of Building #2 as well as the location where

the cafeteria will be located.  It will be called Café 790 which is the address of the

building.  Mr. Garton stated there will be a patio where people can sit outside to eat

lunch.  There will be no advertising and no signs will be put on Township Line Road. 

They feel this will be an accommodation for those working in the area so that they will

not have to drive elsewhere to eat, and it may be a way to reduce traffic on the roads. 

 

Ms. Friedman asked how many people work in the building, and Mr. Reviaso stated in

the building which will house the cafeteria, he feels there are approximately 100 people;

but it is being provided as an amenity for the entire complex.  Mr. Cylinder asked if there

will be employees, and Mr. Garton stated there will be a cashier as well as someone to

clean tables, etc.  There will be no cooking.  Mr. Cylinder asked if there will be a

restroom, and Mr. Reviaso stated there are common restrooms in the hall of the building. 

Mr. Reviaso stated they will contract with a delicatessen operator.  Mr. Dickson stated he

assumes they will have to adhere to Health Department regulations, and Mr. Reviaso

agreed.  He stated it would have the same regulations as any other restaurant. 

 

Mr. Dickson asked if they will regulate foot traffic for people who do not work in the

nearby buildings, and Mr. Garton stated they are limited to forty seats so he does not feel

more than that would be eating in the facility.  He stated they will also have take out, and

they would take their food and leave.  He stated he does not feel they will attract people

from far away.

 

Mr. Cylinder asked if the proposal meets all SALDO and Zoning Ordinance regulations

that may apply; and Mr. Majewski stated he has reviewed this, and he does not feel they

violate any provisions.  Ms. Frick stated they are going to go before the Zoning Hearing

Board for a Special Exception.

 

Mr. Pazdera asked where deliveries would come in and how frequently they would have

deliveries.  Mr. Reviaso stated most deliveries are curbside, and there is a door to the side

of the unit.  There is a storage facility in the rear.  Mr. Reviaso stated frequency of

deliveries would depend on how busy they are.  Salads would come in the morning fully

prepared.  Mrs. Godshalk asked how soups would be handled; and Mr. Reviaso stated he

understands they are frozen when they come in, and they are then put in warmers. 

 

Mr. Reviaso stated the contractor is Barson’s Delicatessen, and they have several

locations.  Ms. Frick asked where they have an operation in the area; and Mr. Reviaso

stated the closest one he is aware of is West Conshohocken, and there is one in Newtown

Square.

 

 

 

 

April 9, 2007                                                               Planning Commission – page 3 of 19

 

 

Ms. Friedman asked if granting a Special Exception would open the Township up for any

other office space turning into a restaurant, and Mr. Garton stated they would have to

apply for a Special Exception.  Ms. Frick stated this is a permitted use by Special

Exception.  Mr. Donaghy stated anyone else in that District could come in and apply for a

Special Exception, and they would have to establish that they meet all the requirements.

 

Mr. Donaghy stated the Planning Commission’s purpose is to provide an advisory report

to the Zoning Hearing Board who will review and act on the Special Exception.  The

advisory report can take into account various planning aspects; but if they have no

problem with the proposal based on planning, traffic impact, etc. they can so advise the

Zoning Hearing Board.

 

There was further discussion on the patio, and Mr. Garton stated there will not be any

restaurant services on the patio.   He stated it is for the convenience of those in the area

who can come there and eat.  Ms. Frick asked if this area is on the Approved Final

Subdivision Plan; and Mr. Reviaso stated it is not, and they will have to do a subsequent

Application.  Ms. Frick stated she assumes they will have to come back for Amended

Land Development. 

 

There was further discussion on the hours of operation, and Ms Friedman asked if they

would not be open for coffee, etc.; and Mr. Reviaso stated they will and they would

request hours of operation from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

 

Ms. Friedman moved, Mr. Pazdera seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Zoning Hearing Board Approval of the Special Exception subject to:

 

1)  Limited to 1,500 square feet;

2)  Approximately 40 seats not to include the patio which would be

       a separate Application for Land Development;

3)  There will be no external advertising signs;

4)  All food is to be prepared off site.

5)  Hours of operation will be 8:00 a.m. 3:00 p.m. Monday to Friday.

 

 

#544-A – LIBERTY PROPERTY TRUST – REVISED FINAL PLAN APPROVAL

 

Mr. John Fenningham, attorney, and Mr. Tony Nichols were present.  Mr. Fenningham

stated they were last present on March 26, 2007; and at the conclusion of the meeting,  

there were two focuses – one of which was receiving a report from the Police Department

with regard to traffic issues.  He stated they did receive a copy of the 3/27/07 memo from

Captain Tom Roche, who indicated that they have no additional traffic concerns related

to Township Line Road.  It was noted the Planning Commission members did not receive

this, and it was provided to them this evening by Mr. Fenningham.

April 9, 2007                                                              Planning Commission – page 4 of 19

 

 

Mr. Fenningham stated the other focus was the north end, driveway drop-off area for the

patients of the practices that would be using the 30,000 square foot area of the building. 

He stated they received a Special Exception on 1/3/07 for joint use, and the two

Conditions were that there was a 30,000 square feet limitation on use, and that it be at the

north end of the building.  He stated they have met with Mr. Majewski a number of times

and have made Revised Plans.  They now have the Revised JRM Plan.

 

Mr. Nichols reviewed the history of the project.  He stated the Planning Commission had

expressed concern about coming out of the drop-off area; and they have now carved out

some parking stalls when you exit out of the drop off point, and they have made

accommodations for them elsewhere through re-stripping.  He stated now when you pull

out, there will be less cars where you would be pulling into. 

 

Mr. Fenningham stated they have left in the cross-hatched areas which Mr. Majewski had

indicated should be taken out, because they were not sure if the Planning Commission

wanted them removed as well.  He stated as noted by Mr. Nichols, toward the exit arc of

the driveway along the north end of the site, they have eliminated those parking spaces

because of the concern that the cars would exit to the area where parked cars might be

backing out of parking areas.  They have attempted to eliminate this concern.  They have

tried to present what the tenant and Applicant feel is the best way to bring the patients to

the shortest walk area. He stated the direction of the driveway is such that the passenger

side of the vehicle will be toward the door, and will allow them to exit the vehicle right at

the door entrance.  The cars will then exit one-way out the exit area and park. 

 

Mr. Nichols stated the total interior has been fully designed by the medical practice, and

they are already in for a Building Permit.  He stated what has been proposed is the best

way for them to work with their patients.  He stated they have labeled this Plan, the

Revised JRM Plan.

 

Mr. Fenningham noted Mr. Majewski did submit Option 1, Option 1A, and Option 2. 

Option 1A was shown which they would be willing to discuss with certain revisions as

they added certain things recommended by their engineer, Mr. Hunt.  Mr. Nichols stated

the biggest functional change was when each space that was initially proposed could have

been filled up, they added that the last space would be “no parking” so that if they were

full someone would be able to pull in and back out and go out since if they were all full,

it would be difficult to turn around and exit.  He stated they had more drop offs for that

reason as well.  He stated the intent is that a patient would get dropped off, helped in, and

the driver would then leave.  This area is not meant to be a parking space. 

 

Mr. Fenningham stated on both the Revised JRM Plan and Option 1A, the handicap

spaces are in close proximity to the north end entrance. 

 

 

April 9, 2007                                                               Planning Commission – page 5 of 19

 

 

Ms. Friedman stated she was sorry how their time was spent at the last meeting without

much resolution, and she thanked the Applicants for coming back to address this.  She

stated part of the problem was they semi-rejected the Applicant’s first proposal, but never

saw concrete alternatives considered.  She stated the Planning Commission was trying to

satisfy the situation to the best of their ability with not much to work with at the time,

recognizing the serious time deadline.  She stated she has since visited the site and

examined it from the Applicant’s perspective and presented an alternative which she feels would be better.  She stated she does not feel she can vote for any circular drive.  She stated they have indicated that there would be approximately 50,000 patients, and this would be approximately 160 patients per day.  She stated they indicated 1% of the patients would need this, and this would be 1.6 patients per day who would be using it.  She stated she is concerned that the circular driveway will not just address those 1.6 patients but will become a thoroughfare in this area.  She stated she is in favor of the revisions made in Option 1A which satisfies all the points that were brought up for their concerns regarding their patients and brings them much closer to the door.  She stated it also allows for a destination parking lot where you can pull into a spot, take out a wheelchair if necessary, and then walk them into the building without having someone sit in a circular driveway where other cars may want to come through.  Ms. Friedman stated Option 1A prevents you from doing a constant drive-away past the peripheral parking lot line which was a major concern. 

 

Ms. Friedman stated the only thing she would change on Option 1A is with regard to the

walk zone from the drop-off area; and she would suggest two of these a little further apart

to address both sides of the parking lot.  This was acceptable to the Applicant. 

Ms. Friedman stated Option 1A adds parking spaces to the Final Plan, and brings the

handicapped people closer to the building.  She stated Option 1A also address the issue of

not co-mingling the patients with the general office population.  She stated she is not sure

that they should align the entrance for the destination parking area in Option 1A with the

parking lot area below that.  She stated she is concerned that people may travel too

quickly straight through in this area.  Mr. Fenningham stated he believes there is a stop

sign planned for this area, although it is not shown on the Plan.  Ms. Friedman stated she

is concerned that they are fully aligned, and she would have preferred them a little

juxtaposed.  Mr. Fenningham stated there would be a stop sign at that location. 

 

Mr. Cylinder asked about Option 2.  Mr. Nichols stated there was a concern coming into

the entry which would permit drivers to turn in toward the main entrance and have

another car coming around the other way.  They felt it would be too confusing initially. 

He stated they felt the radius would be tight as well.  Mr. Cylinder stated it has the

advantage that the cars can come in and leave all facing forward without any backing up. 

He stated if there was confusion, they could put in a one-way sign. 

 

Mr. Majewski stated these Options were actually the engineered versions of the Planning

Commission proposals. 

April 9, 2007                                                               Planning Commission – page 6 of 19

 

 

Mr. Fenningham stated Option 2 did not allow for close handicap parking spaces.  He

stated while they still like the circular plan, they also are in favor of Option 1A which

seemed to solve a number of concerns.  He stated they would be in favor of Option 1A as

revised with the stall that the traffic engineer recommended and the installation of the

stop sign as noted.

 

Mr. Bush stated he also drove the parking lot since the last meeting, and he was not

comfortable with the semi-circle plan they came in with originally.  He is in favor of

Option 1A with the revisions they have proposed.

 

Mr. Pazdera stated he is still in favor of the Revised JRM Plan.  He stated he does not

like the dead-end in Option 1A and also feels everyone that is parked in the lower end

will have to walk up and cross the driveway to get to the building.

 

Mr. Dickson stated he also drove the lot and looked at the original plan.  He stated the

property is unique in that there was an existing building being modified to address the

requirements of the potential tenant.  He stated he is in favor of Option 1A and feels it

addresses what was verbalized at the last meeting.  He stated he feels this is a good use of

the building since it will not add significantly to the peak traffic in the area.

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated she is concerned with the loading area on the other side.  

Mr. Nichols stated this exists today.  He stated the loading dock for the building will

not be used for lab pick ups and drop offs, it is for large equipment.   Mr. Doris stated

lab specimens and hazardous waste materials will not be sitting outside, and there are couriers who transport the specimens.  They will be inside where the draw station is.  They will not be sitting outside the building.

 

Mr. Majewski stated he has reviewed the Options submitted and is comfortable with

either the Revised JRM Plan or the Revised Option 1A.  He stated on the Option 1A Plan,

you do have the issue with the dead end spaces; but you do have three drop-off spots as

opposed to the two previously shown so that it does address that issue. 

 

Ms. Friedman moved and Mr. Bush seconded to recommend to the Board of Supervisors Approval of the Revised Land Development Plan dated 7/14/03, last revised 1/12/07 as modified and shown on Option 1A subject to:

 

            1)  Stop signs to be placed at the exit of the drop-off area;

            2)  Create second accessory sidewalk closer to the perimeter parking

                    on the east side of the drop-off area;

            3)  Laboratory pick-ups and drop-offs to be located in a secured

                   area within the building;

            4)  Compliance with comments in the Schoor DePalma letter dated

                   2/15/07 except for those issues related to the circular driveway;

April 9, 2007                                                               Planning Commission – page 7 of 19

 

 

5)  Withdrawing the Fee-In-Lieu Waiver for sidewalks and including

                   a sidewalk at this time on Township Line Road.

 

 

Mr. Fenningham noted a fee had already been paid to the Township in lieu of sidewalks

and asked how this recommendation would impact this.  Mr. Donaghy stated he feels that

if the Supervisors acted to rescind that Waiver, the Applicant would be entitled to their

money back.

 

Mr. Bush, Mr. Dickson, and Ms. Friedman voted in favor and Mr. Pazdera opposed.

Mr. Cylinder stated he did not vote and asked why Mr. Pazdera was opposed. 

Mr. Pazdera stated he prefers the other Option and feels the lay-out approved opens it up

to problems for pedestrians walking in the area.  Mr. Cylinder stated he agrees, and he

does not feel this project is well designed.  Mr. Cylinder voted in favor.

 

Mr. Fenningham thanked Mr. Majewski and Ms. Friedman for the input they received

from them.

 

 

EDGEWOOD VILLAGE HISTORIC DISTRICT – PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE CODIFIED ZONING ORDINANCE RELATING TO ARTICLE IXA TRADITIONAL NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT (T.N.D.) WHICH IS AN AMENDMENT TO THE LOWER MAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP CODIFIED ZONING ORDINANCE OF 1966, AS AMENDED

 

Mr. Carter VanDyke was present and stated one of the questions discussed when they last

met had to do with the size of the Historic District.  He stated in the view of the Historic

Commission there were three options discussed at the last meeting, and these are shown

in the hand-out presented to the Planning Commission this evening.  He stated the

Historic Commission recommended Option 2.  He stated it was felt in the future for the

Historic District, there might be two future Zoning classifications.  One would include

the Masonic Temple and the stretch down to the Fire Hall, and McCaffreys.  A third

might be the woods which is part of the Patterson Farm.  None of the Options include the

Giant Shopping Center as they felt that would be a separate District. 

 

Mr. VanDyke stated this is the seventh version of the Overlay District, and the Planning

Commission saw the fifth version when they last met.  He stated since they last met with

the Planning Commission they have met with the Historic Commission, the Economic

Development Commission, and the Environmental Advisory Council.  They then met

with the key stakeholders and developers.  The Historic Commission has approved this

although there has been a minor change since then which was a recommendation by the

Environmental Advisory Council having to do with flat roofs.  He stated they have

incorporated the majority of comments made by the Planning Commission as noted in the

April 9, 2007                                                               Planning Commission – page 8 of 19

 

 

cover letter dated 4/7/07 other than trying to limit the number of specific uses within the

District as noted in Item #2. 

 

Mr. VanDyke stated with regard to the Overlay Map, the Historic Commission felt that

the triangular holdings between Stony Hill Road and Interstate I-95 should be included as

part of the Overlay District.  He stated the Historic Commission also felt it made sense to

reduce the size of the apartment units so that they can encourage as many apartments as

possible on the second floor.  He stated they did this as well with the size of the hotel

rooms in order to encourage these types of uses so that it is a livable environment with

people occupying the space on a twenty-four hour basis.

 

Mr. VanDyke stated per the request of the Planning Commission, accessory uses were

delineated as a separate use.  Mr. VanDyke stated there was a lot of discussion about

drive-in windows, so they have limited the number of drive-in windows and also how

they could take access off the street.  With regard to building setbacks in commercial

uses, it was changed to be 12’ back from the street curb.   He stated they also changed the

sidewalk width on arterial roads.  It was previously 5’, and it now has to be at least 7’.

 

Mr. VanDyke stated the maximum impervious surfaces was reduced to 75%.    He stated

they did an analysis of Mr. Troilo’s site, and it will probably be less than 60%, but they

kept it at 75% is to allow for small individual lots which may go through re-development

as they might need 75%. 

 

Mr. VanDyke stated Conditional Uses were amended per the Historic Commission to

eliminate “fire or demolition by neglect.”  He stated the Stipulation is that if a historic

building has to come down, it could only come down if it were for structural reasons and

not through demolition by neglect.  He stated they are looking to develop an Ordinance

which will tighten up the issues of demolition by neglect. 

 

Under Detailed Design Standards, the Historic Commission changed the Use

Composition from a maximum of 65% commercial to a maximum of 50% commercial,

and this is for uses on lots greater than 5 acres.   The stakeholders and developers had

asked that manor houses not be mandatory, and this has been changed to allow flexibility. 

They would still be permitted but they would not be mandatory. 

 

Mr. VanDyke stated flat roofs are now permitted per the request of the EAC to reduce

storm water management.  He stated you do find these in 19th Century buildings. 

 

Mr. VanDyke stated under the Parking Section, the Historic Commission developed

specific parking standards for apartment uses.  He stated currently the parking standards

require two parking spaces for every unit; but for an efficiency or one-bedroom units,

they feel one parking space would be sufficient. 

 

April 9, 2007                                                               Planning Commission – page 9 of 19

 

 

Mr. VanDyke stated storm water management shall be handled both on and off site. 

He stated in discussions with the EAC and the Township engineer, it was mentioned that

within the Historic District it will be very difficult to meet all the stormwater regulations

on site.  He stated they are also stipulating that any stormwater management must be

underground and it must be piped so that you do not see detention basins.  He stated

given the intensity of the development, it is not possible to meet all the stormwater

regulations on an individual lot and so there has been discussion about requiring up to an

eight year storm on site, and anything above that would be handled off-site as part of a

regional stormwater detention basin which the individual landowners within the Historic

Overlay District would have to contribute to.  Ms. Friedman asked where the

underground pipes would run to.  Mr. Majewski stated this is one of the issues still to be

worked out, although it must be in the general vicinity and in close proximity to where

the stormwater is generated. Any Applicant coming in would have to work this out.

 

Mr. Cylinder stated he feels more water is going to be generated after development. 

He asked how much more run off will they have as a result of this being a high intensity

development.  Mr. Majewski stated this is more akin to the Commercial District, which

has a higher impervious surface ratio.  He stated when they passed the Delaware River

South Act 167 Stormwater Management Ordinance in 2005, they went to a greater

reliance on infiltration and groundwater recharge recognizing that the larger volume of

water that is produced from run off of impervious surface cannot be handled in a lot of

the downstream areas so any Applicant will have to do their best to infiltrate the water

back into where it is generated, and this is what the Ordinance requires.  Mr. Cylinder

stated they did discuss this earlier, but he understood that it was going to be done within

the area and not transported elsewhere; and now they are hearing that they will need areas

outside of the area to handle the District’s excess water.  He asked how much land

outside of the District will be required.  Mr. VanDyke stated the area that they have been

discussing is not that far away.  He stated part of it involves improving the detention

basin adjacent to the CVS and possibly enlarging and cleaning up the pond at Patterson Farm.  Mrs. Godshalk stated she assumes they mean making it deeper, and Mr. Majewski

agreed.  Mrs. Godshalk stated she is not in favor of this on the Patterson Farm as it would

make it a lake.  Mr. Majewski stated currently the ponds at the Patterson Farm are silted

in, and one possible solution is they could dredge those ponds to restore their capacity to

hold water just as when they were originally created.  He stated currently from the run-off

from I-95 and the farm, they are almost dry in a few places; and by dredging them back

to their normal depth, this would allow for more water to be stored.

 

Ms. Friedman asked who would be responsible for the dredging, and Mr. Majewski stated

this would have to be worked out.  He stated whoever would be doing work here, needs

to come up with a way to handle their stormwater; and they are considering if they utilize

some of the Township land to handle some of their stormwater, the developers would be

required to pay their proportionate share for the expansion of those facilities and it would

not be a cost to the Township.

April 9, 2007                                                            Planning Commission – page 10 of 19

 

 

Mr. Cylinder asked if this would impede the use of this land for other purposes by the

Township.  Mr. Majewski stated one of the areas being considered is the Township-

owned detention basin off Heacock Road, adjacent to CVS.  He stated currently there is a

berm between the Township-owned basin and the CVS basin.  At the time CVS received

approval, they had plans to possibly utilize that area, remove the berm, and create

additional storage; and he is not sure why this did not go forward, although it may have

had to do with who would own and maintain that land. 

 

Ms. Friedman stated while the impervious surface ratio has changed from 80% to 75%,

she questioned whether this number is acceptable.  She stated with the size of the lots

being so small, it is a boundary that prevents everybody coming through for a Special

Exception.  She asked if it would be possible to reduce the number a little more since

there will be so much impervious surface.  Mr. Majewski stated he feels that may create

problems for those with smaller lots.  Ms. Friedman asked what is normally allowed in a

regular Commercial District, and Mr. Majewski stated he believes it is 65%.

 

Mr. VanDyke stated one of the reasons for allowing 75% in this District  was to provide

economic incentives for people to do the renovations.  He stated there is one project they

are aware of which is being renovated on Yardley-Langhorne Road, and they are having

a hard time meeting the impervious surface ratio which at this time is 65%.

Mrs. Godshalk stated they are having a problem because they want it all to be parking.

Mr. VanDyke stated there is an existing outbuilding, and they wanted to be able to use

the second floor, but it is restrictive.  Mr. Cylinder asked if they could not use pervious

materials, and Mr. VanDyke stated there are Best Management Practices, and this is what

the EAC would like to see.  He stated they did recommend that in the alleys, the alley

itself would be non-porous paving, but in the parking areas they would like to see porous

materials.   

 

Mrs. Godshalk noted the Masonic Hall, and stated she does not feel it should be changed

to Commercial.  She feels if this is being considered, the people who live around this

should have been invited. She stated the Masonic Hall has had to comply with

architectural standards according to the Village as have McCaffrey’s and Giant, but she

does not feel that piece of property should be changed in Zoning.  Mr. VanDyke stated

this is the same feeling of the Historic Commission, and that is why it is not being

recommended.  Mrs. Godshalk stated the professional building was permitted because

McCaffrey built the fire house, and they traded land where the fire house was and

McCaffrey and Giant are now at that location.  She stated the professional building was

built by McCaffrey before the homes behind it were built so those homeowners knew

what was there when they purchased their homes.  Mrs. Godshalk stated they have

allowed the Masonic Home to retain their clause of non-conforming use, and they do

comply with the architectural designs for the Village; but she does not feel it should be

included in the District.  She stated the Fire House and the professional building are not

in the Village, and she does not feel the Masonic Temple should be either. 

April 9, 2007                                                             Planning Commission – page 11 of 19

 

 

Mr. VanDyke stated the Historic Commission recommended that the whole block from

the Masonic Temple to the Fire Hall be treated later as a separate District and not be

incorporated within this District.  Mrs. Godshalk asked what they mean by a “separate

District,” and Mr. VanDyke stated more detailed design standards would be developed so

that they could allow for some controlled in-fill development if it was the pleasure of the

Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.  Mrs. Godshalk stated she does not feel

it is right to do this behind peoples’ homes. 

 

Mr. Bush stated at the last meeting, they discussed building in a mechanism to change the

boundaries for the Traditional Neighborhood Overlay District in the future; and he asked

if they have considered this further.  Mr. VanDyke stated they are considering a Phase I

and Phase II. 

 

Mrs. Godshalk asked the benefit of changing the fire house to an infill District unless the

fire house were to be knocked down to make it more valuable than it is now as a

community resource.  She does not feel this should be discussed at all unless the people

who live around this were notified that it was to be discussed.  No one was present who

lives around the fire house, the professional building, or the Masonic Hall.  Ms. Frick

stated the notifications only went out to the residents of the Historic District. 

Mr. VanDyke stated the Masonic Hall is not included in the recommendations for

change.  Mr. Dickson stated Mr. VanDyke was speaking with regard to  Phase II, the

boundaries of which do not exist yet; so they would be inviting people to come to a

meeting about something that might or might not happen.  Mrs. Godshalk stated other

Commissions have looked at this and recommended things, and now they are discussing

it this evening, and the people who live there do not know about it.  Mr. VanDyke stated

at this point they are focusing on Phase I, and Phase II is hypothetical.  The people invited this evening are those who were invited in the past.  Mr. VanDyke stated Phase II is hypothetical and to his knowledge, there is no funding to do it. 

 

Ms. Michelle Stambaugh, Historic Commission, stated tonight’s meeting was to finalize

the Traditional Neighborhood District,  and with regard to Phases II and III, they  would

not envision a commercial use on open preservation land.  She stated they were only

considering the potential of exploring it primarily from a design perspective and to look

at the Village strategically down the road.  She stated they were trying to streamline a design look. 

 

Ms. Helen Heinz stated Phase I does impact the development on Cardinal Drive so

Mrs. Godshalk is correct about notification.  Ms. Frick stated she went by those who were

in the Historic District which was the direction from the beginning.  She stated she would

be willing to notify those people on Cardinal Drive in the future.  Ms. Frick stated she

feels for the Planning Commission to move forward with the TND, she feels all the

notification required was done, and the Planning Commission agreed.

 

April 9, 2007                                                             Planning Commission – page 12 of 19

 

 

Mr. VanDyke stated he provided the Planning Commission with the hand-out because

they were the three Options that the Historic Commission considered.  He stated the

Historic Commission recommended Option 2 which does not include the Masonic

Temple.  What has been prepared in Draft 7 is proceeding with Option 2.  Option 2 does

pick up the triangular piece which  includes Tax Parcels #20-012-003, #20-012-003-001,

#20-013-002, and #20-013-002-001.  Mr. VanDyke stated the intent of that Overlay was

to allow for the existing Zoning to be underneath, but to allow the TND as a possibility.

He stated he did discuss this with those property owners after the last meeting.  Those

property owners were notified of this evening’s meeting, and some of them were present

this evening. 

 

Ms. Friedman stated she is still concerned with the 75% impervious surface permitted for

the whole District.  She stated she does not feel they have gotten a reasonable answer as

to how all of the impervious surface will be handled from stormwater management

practices.  Mr. Majewski stated it is a high number, and it does raise some concerns.

Mr. VanDyke stated currently the District requirement is 65%, and their tests have shown

that the Sketch Plans they have reviewed are less than 60%.  He stated the 75% is

probably extreme, but they put it in for the smaller tracts to allow some flexibility so that

they would not have to seek a Variance.  He stated if they are designing the whole

District for 75%, then conceivably the regional system would have to be based on the

worst-case scenario which is 75% even if some of the developments were less than that. 

He stated if they were looking at regional systems, this would impact the size of the

regional systems.  Ms. Friedman stated she is concerned with the potential that a large

development will take advantage of the 75%, and they would lose control. 

Mr. Majewski stated even at 50%, there would be some parcels which would have

difficulty meeting the requirement without spending a significant amount of money and

the money involved may be more of a limiting factor than the amount of impervious

surface permit.   He agreed that 75% may be too high. 

 

Mr. Donaghy noted Page 6 regarding maximum building coverage, and Mr. VanDyke

stated the overall impervious surface and the lot size is what covers this.  Mr. Donaghy

stated on Page 8 regarding maximum surface, it states “maximum impervious surface for

the entire site should not exceed 75% for the entire development,” and stated he is not

sure why both “entire site” and “entire development” are included.  It was noted it does

state “site or tract,” and Mr. Donaghy stated in different places it states “site,” and in

others it says “tract;” and he suggested that they be consistent.  Mr. Donaghy asked if

their intention is that each Applicant regardless of tract size would be limited to 75%

impervious surface of the tract, or is it for the entire Overlay District.  Mr. VanDyke

stated it is both.  Mr. Donaghy stated if that is the case, he does not feel it states that.

Mr. VanDyke stated possibly they should change it to “The maximum impervious surface

for the entire tract shall not exceed 75%.”  Mr. Donaghy stated they would then not be

looking at the entire Overlay District although this may not be their intention. 

 

April 9, 2007                                                             Planning Commission – page 13 of 19

 

 

Mr. Donaghy asked if there is a minimum size required for a tract to be submitted, and

Mr. VanDyke stated they do not have a minimum size tract.  Mr. Donaghy stated if

someone had a 3,600 square foot lot for Residential use, they could come in and submit

just that as a tract and it could have 75% impervious surface.  Mr. VanDyke stated in

theory in the future, this would be correct. 

 

Mr. Cylinder stated the controls are done at the individual lot level but the anticipated

surplus outflow of water is supposed to go to the Patterson Farm, CVS, or some other

location; so they are looking at controls on a development lot, but the water does go into

a common area.  He asked if the amount of water that comes out the earlier properties to

be developed approaches or exceeds the capability of the common collection area, what

would happen to the rest of the Applicants.  He stated this is akin to the sewer problems

where they cannot accept any more hook ups and no one else can develop until the sewer

system is expanded.  Mr. VanDyke stated they are trying to set up a meeting to address

those concerns.  He stated it may be that one individual will have to be willing to front

the expense; and if someone wants to tap in, they would have to reimburse that

individual.  Mr. Cylinder asked what would happen if the regional facility were not

installed large enough, and there are parcels left which cannot be developed; and

Mr. VanDyke stated they have not discussed this yet.  He stated when they discuss the

economic development that this will generate, there may also be some funding Grants to

support this.  Mr. Cylinder asked where the Grants would come from, and Mr. VanDyke

stated there could be State or Federal Grants, and future studies would have to look at

this.

 

Ms. Frick stated after review of her notes on notification, the only people who were

notified of this evening’s meeting were those on the current Historic District Ordinance

list, so that the people who are in the triangular portion who are now being considered for

inclusion, were not notified of this evening’s meeting as they were not part of the

Ordinance in November.  She stated she could add them to the list next time if the

Commission wishes, and Mr. Dickson indicated they should be notified in the future.

Ms. Frick asked about including the people on Cardinal Drive or those surrounding the

Masonic Temple.  Mr. Dickson stated he feels the comment made about Heacock

Meadows was well taken, and they should have an opportunity to come in as well since

commercial development would have an impact on them.  Ms. Frick asked how far they

should go into Heacock Meadows, and Mr. Dickson stated he feels the people that would

be affected would be those people who live on the roads that directly abut the Historic District.  Ms. Frick suggested notifying anyone within 250’ of the line, and Mr. Dickson agreed.  Ms. Frick asked what they would recommend with regard to notification related to the Masonic Temple and the medical building.  Mr. Dickson stated although one of the Options does show the Masonic Temple, it is his understanding that this is not being included in the Historic District.  Mr. VanDyke stated this is correct; and Mr. VanDyke stated if the Planning Commission is only in favor of Option 2, there would be no need to notify them at this time.

April 9, 2007                                                             Planning Commission – page 14 of 19

 

 

Mr. Bush stated they previously discussed some prospective end users including banks,

and asked how much input, if any, the prospective end users had in coming up with the

numbers such as those for impervious surface.  Mr. VanDyke stated the end users have

had no input into this.  He added, after listening to comments from the Planning

Commission he feels that they should drop impervious surface down to 65%.  He stated

the 75% was partly driven by discussions with the Economic Development Committee

which is trying to create incentives for people to do something.  Mr. Cylinder stated if

they wanted to have higher intensity development, they would have to go taller since they

cannot jam in more at ground level; and he is not sure that is what the Township wants. 

Mr. VanDyke stated the Historic Commission is very strict about building heights not

going above 35 feet.  Mr. Cylinder stated he agrees that they will have to reduce the

impervious surface to 65%. 

 

Mr. VanDyke stated the Planning Commission solicitor previously noted maximum

building coverage for Residential use, and stated he questions whether they need to have

maximum building coverage for the Residential uses, and feels they should strike this. 

He feels this would be clearer from an administrative point of view, and they should

address it by the overall impervious surface.

 

Mr. Bush asked how much they have relied on other Traditional Neighborhood

Development Ordinances, and Mr. VanDyke stated much of the framework of this

Ordinance is based on the Doylestown Ordinance as well as books they have in their

office dealing with Traditional Neighborhood Development.  He stated they also did

research on the Internet.  Mr. Bush stated the States of Massachusetts and Wisconsin

have model Ordinances for this; and some of the concerns that have been raised this

evening regarding building coverage versus impervious surface are addressed in these

model Ordinances, so they may want to look at those.  Mr. VanDyke agreed to address

these with the Planning Commission at the next meeting. 

 

Mr. Majewski stated they have referenced the eight year storm in the Ordinance, and he

feels this should be the ten year storm.

 

Mr. Jim Keba, 716 Yardley-Langhorne Road, Tax Parcel #20-14-005, stated in reviewing

Options 1, 2, and 3, he asked how Option 1 differs from the current and asked how 75%

impervious surface will affect wells in the area.  Mr. Majewski stated with regard to the

well issue, one of the requirements under the Stormwater Management Ordinance is that

the percentage of the water falling into the ground should be infiltrated back into the

ground so that it should not adversely impact their wells.  He stated beyond a 3” rainfall,

it would just run off; and they would get little or no water going into the ground because

the ground becomes saturated.  He stated it should have no impact on wells.  Mr. Keba

asked what would happen if it did impact their wells, and Mr. Majewski stated he feels

there should be something in the Ordinance to guarantee surrounding wells. 

 

April 9, 2007                                                             Planning Commission – page 15 of 19

 

 

Ms. Stambaugh stated they did this at the Golf Course.  Ms. Frick stated normally they

handle this in the Development Agreement.  Mr. Donaghy stated it is difficult to

determine the actual source of the problems. 

 

Mr. VanDyke asked if there are plans for public water in the area, and Mr. Majewski

stated he feels with the proposed intensity of development, PAWC would service the

whole area and allow for connections for the properties along the area where it is

extended.  Mr. Keba asked if this would be at the property owner’s option, and

Mr. Majewski stated it would be required for a development; but he does not feel it

would be required if they chose to remain as they are as Residential.  Mrs. Godshalk

stated normally they do a poll to see if there is enough interest.  She stated if the sewers go in, it would be written in that the current owners may not have to hook up; but whoever purchased the home in the future, would have to.  She stated this would be a good Grant to go after in order to get public sewers.  Mr. VanDyke stated he was previously only referring to Grants for stormwater. 

 

Mr. Keba asked him how Option 1 would impact his property.  Mr. VanDyke stated

the way Option 1 changes from the way it is currently is that it recommends that the area

on Yardley-Langhorne Road, opposite the Flowers Tract would be Zoned Historic/

Commercial and also be in the Overlay District.  He stated there are also a few lots on the

opposite side of the Flowers Tract that abut the Troilo piece, and they would also be

Zoned Historic/Commercial and be in the Overlay District.  He stated Option 2 includes

the triangular piece, and Option 3 includes the Masonic Temple.  Mr. Keba stated it

appears that his property would be included in all three Options, and Mr. VanDyke agreed.

 

Ms. Joyce Bigley, 1793 Yardley-Langhorne Road, noted the discussion of drainage at

CVS and Patterson Farm but stated this has nothing to do with the West Village which is

up by I-95 and includes the Troilo Tract.  She asked what will happen with the

stormwater in this location since much of the development will be in this area.

 

Mr. VanDyke stated the solution is to be worked out, but the intention is that as much as

possible it would be taken to the CVS Tract and onto the Patterson Farm.  He stated there

is a crest in the road so it could be taken through.  He stated there is also a place where

they could go underneath Stony Hill Road. 

 

Mr. Keba asked if his property is zoned Historic/Commercial would he have to install

sidewalks, lanterns, etc., and Mr. VanDyke stated they are looking to get Grants for

extending the streetscapes.  Mr. Keba asked if he had any options if he was opposed to

sidewalks on his property, and Mr. VanDyke stated he does not have to do anything with

his property; but if there is a future property owner who wishes to do something with the

property, they would then have this option.  It would not be required of Mr. Keba if he

 

April 9, 2007                                                             Planning Commission – page 16 of 19

 

 

did nothing with his property.  Mr. Keba stated they have a bikepath in the back of their

property; and if there was a sidewalk on the front of his property, he would have traffic

on both sides of his house.

 

Ms. Michelle Stambaugh, Historic Commission, stated after the discussion tonight

regarding the impervious surface, she feels the Historic Commission would be inclined to

agree that 65% would be more appropriate for the Village.  She stated with regard to the

EAC recommendation that flat roofs be permitted, all design would still be contingent on

approval by the Historic Architectural Review Board; and while she would like to

accommodate the EAC, they would not want to change the dynamics of the Historic

Village. 

 

Mr. VanDyke stated with the amount of potential development, it is going to impose a lot

of work on the HARB.  He stated his office has recommended, and actually consulted with an individual who is an architect specializing in historic structures who is involved in similar projects in other areas; and when Applicants come before HARB, they would have to pay a fee to get her to write a report. 

 

Ms. Bigley asked if Yardley-Langhorne Road  goes Commercial, would they not be

assessed Commercial taxes until it actually becomes a Commercial property, and

Mr. Donaghy stated real estate taxes are assessed by the County.  The value of the real

estate is determined by the County, and they are not likely to come in unless an

individual makes changes to their property or if there is a County-wide assessment. 

He stated at that time it would be based on the value of her real estate such as it is now. 

Ms. Bigley asked if someone were to put siding on, she assumes this would just be a

normal assessment.  Mr. Donaghy stated whenever you improve your home or other

buildings for which you obtain a Building Permit, you are subject to a County

reassessment of value; and theoretically they will assess on the highest and best use of the

property, although for single-family homes they do not tend to look at it in that way. 

Mr. VanDyke stated this is mixed use which is designed to permit Residential

development.  Mrs. Godshalk stated if someone were to install new siding or something

for which they are required to obtain a Building Permit, the County cannot reassess the

entire property; and it would only be a reassessment for the improvement value.  She

stated the County could have a complete County-wide reassessment, and then everything

would change. 

 

Ms. Helen Heinz, Historic Commission, stated a lot of the questions are coming from the

fact that they are changing some of  the properties that are zoned Historic/Residential to

Historic/Commercial and the property owners are concerned about this.  She stated this

has happened to a number of properties close to the Tomlinson Store who have decided

to go Commercial.  She stated a property owner has come to the Historic Commission to

develop their property, and it will cost $80,000 for stormwater retention on their property

according to the current standards.  She stated what is involved is digging huge tanks in

April 9, 2007                                                             Planning Commission – page 17 of 19

 

 

the yard to handle stormwater management.  Ms. Heinz stated she does not feel they want

to see everyone have to do this in order to turn their property into Historic/Commercial. 

She stated on-site septic was also required for the site.  She stated it will be prohibitively

expensive for anyone to change their home into a Commercial property under the current

Ordinance.  She stated under the TND, if there is an arrangement for regional stormwater

management, it will be less expensive to the homeowner who wants to do this. 

Ms. Heinz stated the District has qualified under the State Program called Certified Local

Government (CLG), and the Grant they are discussing includes not only underground

utilities but also the sidewalks; and Mr. VanDyke is looking into this.  She stated unless

your home is going to be Commercial, there is no way that the Township can require you

to do those kinds of on-site  improvements.  She stated properties that go Commercial,

will probably be required to make such improvements. 

 

Ms. Heinz stated there is some dispute on the Historic Commission about the Overlay

Districts which is why they brought it to the Planning Commission to look at, mainly

because the Masonic Temple is a “thorn in their side.”  She stated it was listed on the

original Register for the Historic District as a non-contributing structure in 1971 and is

one of the parcels that is not subject to the TND.  She is concerned about possible legal

challenges based on that if the rest of the Historic District is included and that property is

not.  Ms. Heinz stated she agrees that people would have to be notified if they are going

to continue the strip; and it is the opinion of the Historic Commission that they may want

to do this as a Phase II, although she feels this will take a long time.  She feels the

Planning Commission needs to make a decision whether they want to see the Historic

District extended all the way down the commercial spines of the District and do it all at

once or extend it in phases. 

 

Mr. Dickson stated he does not feel that they can act on this until they notify the

additional people previously discussed.  Mr. VanDyke was also asked to make the

changes discussed with regard to impervious surface as well as the other changes noted

this evening.

 

Mr. Bush stated there was previous discussion about certain definitions that may not

appear in this TND because they are elsewhere in the Township Ordinances, and he felt

they were going to add a general statement to the effect that to the extent that there is a

word that is used here, it is as it is defined elsewhere in the Township Ordinances.

Mr. VanDyke stated while they could do this as a reference, this will become part of the

Zoning Ordinance.  Mr. Donaghy stated because it will become part of the Ordinance,

they do not have to add what Mr. Bush has suggested.

 

Mr. Cylinder stated they have indicated they are discussing where the stormwater will go;

and Mr. VanDyke stated it has been discussed, and they are trying to set up a kick-off

meeting to get this resolved.  Mr. Cylinder asked if they are at a point where they could

show the different ways this could be handled.  He added this could impact people

April 9, 2007                                                             Planning Commission – page 18 of 19

 

 

outside the District, if those locations are going to be used to handle the District’s run off. 

He stated he feels those people should be notified as well.  Mr. Majewski stated other

than the locations he previously noted, there are other areas within the District which

could be used for stormwater storage, but he feels this discussion is premature. 

Mr. Cylinder asked if the Board of Supervisors are aware of the potential for using

Patterson Farm for stormwater management; and Mr. VanDyke stated while it has not

been brought before them formally, he feels some of them are aware of this potential. 

Mr. Cylinder stated they might want to get the Board’s feelings on this. 

 

Mr. Donaghy stated to the extent that they are looking at this, if they provide areas of

land that are owned or controlled by the Township, there should not be any preference for

any particular landowners so that if there is only a certain level that can be handled on

that site, it be for the first ones in who would get the preference for using the site and the

remainder would not and would have to deal with their own stormwater on site.  He

stated this could become a problem.  He stated it could also be that people on the other

side of the CVS that are outside of the Overlay District, may also want access to that

detention basin.  He stated if it is going to be made available, he feels there must be a

reasonable system for doing so.

 

Mr. Majewski stated Mr. VanDyke has indicated he wants to have a meeting because this

is a major policy issue, and they need to discuss it before it is brought to the Board. 

Mr. VanDyke stated he feels the professionals need to make some recommendations to

the Governing body just to get direction to know how to proceed with the study.

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated the Patterson Farm pond extends across the road, and with regard to

the Mirror Lake Development, part of that pond was filled in to make some lots eligible

for the right lot size.  She stated the pond over there is quite small, and it is private

property.  She stated they are discussing run off from the Village going into it; and if this happens, they would need to determine if the Township has the right to use that pond for stormwater overflow.  Mr. Majewski stated he believes there are easements on that pond; however, he does not feel they anticipate going that far downstream.  Mrs. Godshalk stated if the Patterson Farm pond were enlarged, it would mean that more water would be flowing off the street; and Mr. Majewski stated it would actually be less water as they would be restoring the capacity of the pond to handle the water.

 

Ms. Stambaugh asked if they could look at exploring the water run off as an irrigation

system for Patterson Farm when they have their discussions with the EAC.  Mr. Stewart

was present and stated the upper pond used to be 30’ deep, and the lower pond was 10’ to

12’ feet deep. 

 

Ms. Frick stated she does not see anything with regard to a Certificate of

Appropriateness.  Mr. VanDyke stated this would be addressed in the HARB regulations. 

 

April 9, 2007                                                             Planning Commission – page 19 of 19

 

 

Ms. Frick stated she feels they should discuss this further so that they know that if they

are in the District and want to make any changes, they need to get a Certificate of

Appropriateness.  Mr. VanDyke stated they should consider this further.  He stated they

are going to prepare a checklist for all the things which are part of the process. 

 

 

TABLING PROPOSED ORDINANCE AMENDNG PROVISIONS OF SECTION 200 OF THE TOWNSHIP ZONING ORDINANCE RELATED TO THE REGULATION OF SIGNS IN THE TOWNSHIP BY ADDING A NEW ARTICLE XIIIB THAT PROVIDES FOR THE CREATION OF AN OVERLAY ZONING DISTRICT TO BE KNOWN AS THE “SOPAS SPECIAL OFF-PREMISES ADVERTISING SIGN OVERLAY DISTRICT” WHICH SHALL ALLOW CERTAIN SPECIAL OFF-PREMISES ADVERTISING SIGNS AS A PERMITTED USE IN CERTAIN DESIGNATED AREAS OF THE TOWNSHIPAND TO MAKE AMENDMENTS TO ARTICLE XIX RELATED TO PLACEMENT OF SIGNS ON TOWNSHIP OWNED OR CONTROLLED PROPERTY

 

Mr. Dickson stated after consultation with Ms. Frick and the solicitor, it has been decided to table this matter until the next meeting as it  has not yet been advertised.

 

 

There being no further business, Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Bush seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 10:05 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                                        Karen Friedman, Secretary