TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PLANNING COMMISSION

MINUTES – FEBRUARY 12, 2007

 

 

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on February 12, 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

                                                Maureen Carlton, Township Solicitor

                                                James Majewski, Township Engineer

                                                Grace Godshalk, Supervisor Liaison

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

Ms. Friedman moved, Mr. Pazdera seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of January 22, 2007 as written.

 

Mr. Cylinder moved and Ms. Friedman seconded to approve the Minutes of January 8, 2007 as corrected.  Motion carried with Mr. Pazdera abstained.

 

 

EDGEWOOD VILLAGE HISTORIC DISTRICT – PROPOSED ZONING ORDINANCE OVERLAY DISTRICT DISCUSSION

 

Mr. Carter VanDyke, Ms. Rae Pinchuk, and Ms. Helen Heinz were present.  There was

discussion on the four e-mails which had been forwarded by Mr. VanDyke to the

members of the Planning Commission, and it was noted a number of the Commission

members did not receive this information.  A short recess was taken while copies of

various documents were made for members of the Planning Commission.

 

The Draft minutes from the meeting held on January 8, 2007 were noted which included

comments from Mr. VanDyke in underline.  Page 3 of 35 was noted with regard to

banquet facilities; and Mr. VanDyke stated the Historic Commission felt banquet

facilities would be too much for the area and requested that this, along with a tavern or

bar, be stricken from the Draft Ordinance.  He added they feel a restaurant would be more

in keeping with the residential neighborhood.

February 12, 2007                                                       Planning Commission – page 2 of 20

 

 

Mr. VanDyke stated there was a comment from the Planning Commission regarding why

there was a time limit on how long an individual could stay in a hotel room, and he stated

they were trying to avoid the possibility of the hotel becoming a boarding house. 

Ms. Friedman stated the question was where they came up with the three month limit. 

Mr. VanDyke stated this was part of a previous Ordinance.  He stated they feel one of the

advantages of the Township is that there are high-end office uses in the Township, and

these rooms could be pre-sold to local businesses.  He stated they would try to sell 60%

occupancy so that there would still be rooms available on the weekends.  Mr. Cylinder

asked how many rooms they are considering, and Mr. VanDyke stated it could be

anywhere from ten to forty.

 

Ms. Friedman noted the discussion on the “Inn” definition which was “a business that

includes a restaurant and banquet facility”; and while Mr. VanDyke addressed the

banquet facility issue she suggested that they indicate it “may” include a restaurant as the

way it is currently defined, an Inn would be required to have a restaurant.  She stated she

feels they may want to have more flexibility and possibly have an Inn which just has

rooms or rooms with a coffee shop, etc.  Mr. VanDyke agreed that this would make

sense; and they will change this.  

 

Mr. VanDyke noted the comments made by Mr. Cylinder on page 7, and he agreed that

these changes can be made as requested. 

 

Mr. VanDyke stated there was a question about the limits of the proposed Zoning

District.  Mr. VanDyke stated they listed in the Ordinance certain parcels, but they did

not include the Masonic Temple or the Township Park parcel in the first Draft because

this would be a policy issue.  He stated in some of the public sessions, members of the

Masonic Temple were present and indicated they would like to be part of the District. 

He stated a number of residents requested this as well.  Mr. Cylinder asked if it would be

more convenient in doing the planning work, if these properties were part of it. 

Mr. VanDyke stated from a planning point of view, it would make sense to have them

included provided the adjacent neighbors do not object.  Mr. Cylinder suggested that they

discuss this with the neighbors to see if there is an objection.  Mr. Bush asked if there has

been any objection to the Township park parcel being included, but Mr. VanDyke did not

know. 

 

Mr. Bush stated they did receive a map late in January showing the proposed boundaries

for the overlay area, and it does not include the older building that is in the Giant

Shopping Center.    He stated he feels this property was deemed to have historical

significance at one point.  He asked if this should not be included as well.  Mr. VanDyke

stated he did not know how they would do this without it being considered Spot Zoning. 

Ms. Frick stated only the back portion of the Lower Makefield Shopping Center is

actually in the Historic District.  Ms. Heinz stated that particular Tax Parcel is part of the

Giant Shopping Center.  Ms. Heinz stated half of the building is on the Historic Register.

February 12, 2007                                                       Planning Commission – page 3 of 20

 

 

Mr. Bush asked if it was counted as one of the seventeen historic buildings, and

Ms. Heinz stated it was not.  Ms. Heinz stated it was considered non-contributing because

at the time, they did not know how old it was.  She stated while it is owned by the Giant,

the Township leases half of it for ninety-nine years.  Ms. Heinz stated when they did the

District, an arbitrary line was drawn.   She stated a number of properties that are outside

of this line should have been included as they are dated 1890 houses.  She stated other

properties at the end, even though they were non-contributing, should also have been

included.  Mr. Bush asked since the lines were arbitrarily drawn previously, why could

they not be changed now; and Ms. Heinz stated they could be.  Ms. Heinz stated some of

the Historic Commission members felt everything should have been included all the way

down to the Fire House to make it uniform. 

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated the Masonic Temple should not be in the District because Heacock

Road was not built when they were doing the District.  She stated if they include that,

they would also have to include the office building and the Fire House.  Ms. Heinz stated

she feels they should be included since they do not know what the future uses will be. 

Mrs. Godshalk stated they back up to a Residential District.  She stated she is opposed to

expanding the District across Heacock Road. 

 

Ms. Friedman asked what criteria they used to come up with this arbitrary boundary. 

Mr. VanDyke stated they looked at bordering roads, starting with the March Associates

report.  He stated it made sense on Yardley-Langhorne Road that both sides of the street

should be included in the Overlay District.  He stated they are trying to define the

corridors of the streets that define the area of the District.  He stated one of the aspects of

a Traditional Neighborhood Design involves the scale of the structures, and they did not

want to venture into the area where the Giant/McCaffrey were located although this could

be considered in a second phase; and they could work out design standards for those

parcels if they ever wanted to re-develop something which was more in keeping with a

Traditional Neighborhood Design.  He does not feel this should be part of the Historic

Overlay at this time. 

 

Ms. Friedman noted going up Stony Hill Road toward 332, there are parcels in this area

and asked at what point they now feel the boundaries should be extended.  She noted

some of the neighbors in that area had asked if they could be included.  Ms. Heinz stated

the Children’s’ Learning Center is included and it stops at I-95.  Mr. VanDyke stated

there was a triangular piece they did not include because the residents at that time asked

that they not be included.  He stated they may have since changed their mind. 

Ms. Friedman stated including them at the current residents’ request, would only deal

with the present time; and a new resident who moves into the area may also indicate they

want to be included.  She is concerned that they will constantly be re-addressing the

project if they do not set up permanent boundaries.  Ms. Pinchuk stated if you look at the

street it is natural to go up to where I-95 cuts it off.  Ms. Friedman asked what they would

do with a resident who is in a natural boundary area but is not interested in being

February 12, 2007                                                       Planning Commission – page 4 of 20

 

 

included.    Mr. VanDyke stated this was the situation with the triangular piece off of

Stony Hill Road at the base of the bridge area where the residents indicated they were not

interested in being included; and since it might have an impact on their taxes, they did

not want to force them to be included although it would have made sense in terms of

long-term planning to include them.  Mrs. Godshalk stated a Zoning change would not

impact their taxes unless there were new buildings.  After further consideration,

Mr. VanDyke agreed with Mrs. Godshalk since in Bucks County they do not reassess

land unless there is an overall reassessment in Bucks County.  Mrs. Godshalk stated she

does not want to scare anyone into thinking their taxes will go up.  She stated the primary

change would be along the streetscape.  Ms. Pinchuk stated she does not feel there is any

reason why they would not want to be included since there is no downside.

 

Mr. Cylinder stated at the last meeting, Mr. DeSantos was asking about this. 

Mr. Matthew DeSantos was present this evening and stated he owns two of the four

parcels under discussion.  He stated originally they indicated they did not want to be

included at that point but would now like to know the reasoning why someone was

pushing for them to be included.  Mr. VanDyke stated the Commission felt it made good

sense from a Master Planning point of view to include those properties because of the

natural boundary.  Ms. Heinz stated this would ultimately be a decision for the Board of

Supervisors.  She stated the Historic Commission would like to see more regular District

lines for administrative purposes which would make it easier for the Township staff and

eliminate a lot of the confusion which has occurred in the past. 

 

Ms. Friedman asked if someone does not want to be included, how would they handle the

stormwater management problems from that property.  Mr. VanDyke stated stormwater

management would have to be done in such a way so it does not impact upon adjacent

properties.  Mr. VanDyke stated that property would be isolated as opposed to included.

 

Mr. VanDyke noted page 9 of 35 asked where they define “Traditional Neighborhood

Design,” and Mr. VanDyke stated this in the Municipal Planning Code.  He stated when

there are definitions in the MPC, those are the ones that are overriding, so they do not

have to re-phrase them. 

 

Mr. VanDyke noted that Mr. Cylinder had indicated that he assumes that increased

density would increase the value of the land, and Mr. VanDyke stated this is correct. 

He stated one of the reasons they have the Ordinance is to create incentives.  He stated

currently some of the properties there are declining in value because of the lack of

maintenance and incompetent design; and they are looking at developing Zoning

incentives that will result in people re-developing the area.  Ms. Friedman asked if they

expect any property owners to have difficulty trying to keep up with this financially. 

She stated if the property is in disarray, how would they enforce that they improve their

property.  Mr. VanDyke stated they cannot other than through basic Zoning violations. 

 

February 12, 2007                                                       Planning Commission – page 5 of 20

 

 

He stated the Historic Commission is concerned with the potential of neglect of some of

the properties, and this is another issue they will be looking at and will try to develop

language to prevent this.

 

Mr. VanDyke stated while there is no minimum lot size for the Overlay District, there is a

distinction for parcels greater than five acres which require a mixture of housing types

and mixed use development.  He stated lots less than five acres can be all one use.  He

stated the reason they made this distinction was because the Historic Commission was

concerned about existing uses such as the Church and possibly the Masonic Temple.

 

Mr. VanDyke stated there was also a discussion about the definition of “family,” and he

stated this is defined by State law. 

 

Page 12 of 35 was noted where there was a comment made that they should refer to

arterial roads as opposed to State roads, and Mr. VanDyke agreed they should do this.

 

Mr. VanDyke noted the question about banks and drive-in windows.  He stated this

would be a policy decision for the Board of Supervisors.  He stated banks are one of the

economic engines that help develop the revitalization of Villages.  He stated they have

found that banks do insist upon having a drive-in window; although the Commission

feels the drive-in windows and a driveway coming out onto the street can impact the

traffic flow and the aesthetics.  He stated their suggestion was that if the Board would be

willing to have banks come in with a drive-in window, they would have to have internal

circulation and not have access directly out onto the main streets.  Mr. Cylinder stated

this would take up a lot of space.  He stated they are not easy to design as you need to

accommodate the movement of cars.  He questioned how many more banks they need

given the number of banks already in the area.  He stated they did indicate they wanted

people to walk in this area, and suggested that they walk to the bank. 

 

Mrs. Godshalk asked if they could place a limit on the number of certain establishments

in the area such as banks or real estate offices, but Mr. VanDyke stated you cannot.

Ms. Friedman stated she feels a bank would be lot specific if they are looking to create a

traffic flow with drive-in windows and questioned how many lots in the Village could

accommodate this.  Mr. VanDyke stated he feels it could only exist on a larger lot such as

the Flowers Tract.   Mrs. Godshalk stated that tract is only nine acres.   She stated they

are proposing thirty-room hotels, restaurants, banks, etc.; and she does not feel they have

that much space.  Ms. Friedman noted that she feels a walk-up bank would be more in

keeping with the Historic concept.

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated there was previously a discussion regarding a bank in the area, and

they had proposed a separate building where you could drive up apart from the bank

which made used of tubes; and it was a very-pleasing design.  She asked if they could

indicate that they could have a drive-up area provided it is a separate building. 

February 12, 2007                                                       Planning Commission – page 6 of 20

 

 

Ms. Friedman stated she feels the Planning Commission should discuss this further as this

would be an important delineating factor for what businesses go in.    Mr. Dickson stated

a bank would be an economic driving force, but he assumes they would want to have a

drive-in accoutrement; and the Township would have to have as part of the Ordinance

that if a bank were to come in, they would have to provide a separate structure for the

drive-in that would be more in keeping with the ambience of the Village concept. 

Ms. Friedman stated they may also want to eliminate the number of drive-up windows

available as they may want more than one.  Mr. Dickson stated Mr. VanDyke had made a

reference to a McDonald’s in Maine where they were required to eliminate their drive-in

window.   Mr. VanDyke stated he will consider this in his re-draft.

 

Mr. Bush asked what the developers are contemplating in terms of banks at this point,

and Mr. VanDyke stated Mr. Troilo is contemplating two banks, and there is another

parcel where a bank is being contemplated.  Mr. Bush stated he is concerned that some

banks such as Commerce have a certain look, and Mr. VanDyke stated there is language

included about branding, and it cannot look like a National chain. 

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated with regard to the limitations, she would like to see it limited to one

window for banking and one for the ATM.    Mr. Dickson stated some banks have

provided only a walk-up ATM, and this would be more in keeping with the concept they

are discussing.  Mr. Pazdera stated he is working on a project for a bank in an Historic

District in New Jersey where they limited it to one drive-through and have the ATM as a

walk-up in the lobby.  Mr. VanDyke stated he felt this was a good idea and is also the

scale they are striving for.  Mr. Cylinder suggested that if they want drive-in windows,

possibly it should be through Conditional Use that would go before the Supervisors rather

than the Zoning Hearing Board, and that it be subject to certain Conditions.   

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated the ATM would have to be inside so that it is protected. 

 

Ms. Frick stated the rules they have on the ATMs in the Township were put on by the

Zoning Hearing Board for the specific ATM.  She stated they all have different times and

limitations.  She stated these were put on by the Zoning Hearing Board when they went

for various Variances at the shopping centers.  She stated for those they are now

considering, if they did not have to go for a Variance, there would be no time limitations

unless they adopted something with time limitations.  Mr. Cylinder stated they could do

this as well through Conditional Use.  Ms. Frick stated while this is correct, she wanted to

advise everyone that currently there are no set hours for ATMs.  Mr. VanDyke stated if

they decide they want to proceed with this as part of Conditional Use, part of the

requirements should be that they discuss the hours of operation for the ATM.

 

Ms. Friedman asked what other enterprises might possibly want to have a drive-up

window.  Mr. VanDyke stated one would be restaurants, and oftentimes Ordinances

make a distinction between restaurants and restaurants with drive-in windows and permit

February 12, 2007                                                       Planning Commission – page 7 of 20

 

 

them in different Districts.  He stated the other use would be a drug store which he feels

would be regulated by the size of the buildings, and the size would be smaller than the

10,000 to 14,000 square feet that drug stores tend to be today.   He stated he does not feel

there is a lot of pressure from the drug stores because of the drug stores already existing

in the area.  Ms. Friedman noted Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts could have a drive-up

window and may request this.  She would want them to phrase it in such a way that it

would encompass a broad ranger of uses.  Mr. Majewski stated the Ordinance does state

that drive-in windows are prohibited except for banks.  Mr. VanDyke stated they may

have to consider additional language so that someone does not come in and try to break

that.  He stated they may need a Preamble to address this. 

 

Mr. Cylinder noted a situation in another Township where there was a problem with

restaurants which were primarily serving take-out, and they had to require a minimum

number of tables per square feet of restaurant space.  Mr. VanDyke stated he feels it is

difficult to regulate this.  He noted Doylestown Borough has 54 restaurants, and almost

all of them have some form of take-out.  Mrs. Godshalk stated these would not

necessarily involve driving up to windows, and Mr. VanDyke agreed.  Mr. Cylinder

stated if they are going to have restaurants possibly they should be confined to the

interior and not along the main streets so that they can control the traffic along the main

street.  He stated putting such a facility along an arterial road will not help traffic. 

Mr. VanDyke stated in Newtown, the Brick Hotel is on the main intersection, has outdoor

dining, and has the kind of ambience they would like to see in the Village.  Mr. Cylinder

stated this takes up a lot of space.  Mr. Bush stated he feels outdoor seating at a restaurant

would be a good thing, and he does feel it would be good to have it on the main street so

that they get visibility.  He stated he feels the more residential uses should be in the back

away from the noise of the road.  Ms. Heinz noted originally the house on the corner was

a tavern, and they would like to use that house as part of the development; and it will

probably be a major restaurant so it would make sense to maintain that use as well. 

Mr. Cylinder stated the problem is the more they go in this direction, the more they get

away from a traditional neighborhood.

 

Mr. VanDyke noted page 13 of 35 where there was a discussion about “Manor Houses.” 

He stated they are trying to not have all the houses look the same which is why they are

requiring a mix of houses as to type and scale.  He stated they have introduced the

“Manor House or “Mansion House” which is a unit of four houses which in scale look

like a large single home.  He stated since it is actually four units, it is more affordable and

it changes the character of the block so that the houses do not all look the same which is

more in keeping with an Historic District.  Mr. Cylinder stated he raised this issue as they

have to have two party walls for each unit and he feels this implied a quad development. 

He stated he has worked with quads in the past, and there is no front or back to them. 

Mr. VanDyke stated they are designed so that every elevation looks like a front, and each

elevation would have an entrance.  Mr. Cylinder stated there are no rear yards.  He stated

normally they are designed with streets on all sides so that there are no yards other than

February 12, 2007                                                       Planning Commission – page 8 of 20

 

yards that are on streets.  He stated he feels the developer should have a little leeway as to

whether or not they want to build this kind of facility.  He stated he feels they are a

problem from the standpoint of traffic if there is traffic all around them.  He feels

requiring the developer to build them is being extreme. 

 

Mr. Cylinder noted the mixture they are proposing of 60%/40%, and asked if the Flowers

tract were to be developed by more than one developer, at what point they would decide

how to split up the requirements among the developers.  Mr. VanDyke stated in this case

there is only one developer.  Mr. Cylinder stated this is not a guarantee that this will

remain that way as this will be an expensive project, and the one developer may want to

sell off pieces to others.  He does not feel they will be able to anticipate what the

developers will do when they build them.

 

Mrs. Godshalk asked about the footprint of the quads, and Mr. VanDyke stated it would

be 60’ wide by 45’ deep for the entire building of four units.  Each unit would be 30’ by

22 ˝’.  Mr. Cylinder stated each unit would have a front and side yard but no rear yard. 

There would be one roof line.  Mr. Cylinder stated the scale of this would be much

different and there will be minimum side yards.  Mr. VanDyke stated they would not

have a lot of these but would have them sprinkled in to change the mix.  Mr. Cylinder

stated he is not indicating that they should eliminate them, but feels they should not be

required.  Mr. Cylinder asked about parking, and Mr. VanDyke stated it would be in a

common parking lot.  He stated they could also have garages, but not within the building. 

It would have to be a separate structure.  Mr. VanDyke stated the Historic Commission

can act as a facilitator to help develop these designs.

 

Mr. VanDyke noted the Historic Commission was considering eliminating travel

agencies.  He stated they were also considering prohibiting office uses on the first floor

which can destroy the character of a District.  He stated this has been done in many

communities in order to sustain the retail uses in a community with retail permitted on

the first floor and offices permitted on the second floor.  Mr. Dickson stated he feels they

need to avoid the problem that exists in Yardley Borough with the large number of

Realtors and the resulting loss in retail establishments.  Mr. VanDyke stated they want

there to be a continuity of door fronts so people walk from one shop to another; and by

having offices and travel agencies, it breaks this flow.  Ms. Friedman stated she feels a

Travel Agency could be considered Retail since you would be purchasing a trip.  She

asked if they could have language limiting percentages of different types of

establishments.  Mr. VanDyke stated this might also apply to banks.   He stated he feels

this would be possible provided it was uniform throughout the District.  Ms. Friedman

stated it might be appropriate to have a particular office on the first floor. 

 

Mr. VanDyke stated they did consult with the Management Team for Peddler’s Village

who indicated that they may be interested in managing the shops in Edgewood Village. 

He stated they noted how careful you must be in selecting the type of uses.  He stated

they recommended a Post Office as this would attract people to come to the area. 

February 12, 2007                                                       Planning Commission – page 9 of 20

 

Mr. Cylinder stated he feels what is being discussed is a legal issue rather than a planning

issue.  He stated they are questioning the right of someone to put in a specific use because

there is already one in the area; and he is not sure that they can do this as it would give

precedence to one user over another simply because they were there first.  Mr. Dickson stated he feels it is a Zoning issue.  Ms. Carlton stated they can set forth the parameters; and if ten dress shops fit the parameters, they could go in and it would fall into a business issue as to who could survive.  Mr. Cylinder asked if they could prohibit someone else from coming in once a certain number of one use was already there.  Ms. Carlton stated they would have to set forth the parameters, and those who fit the parameters would be entitled to go in.  Ms. Friedman asked if they could limit where they can be located – first floor versus second floor, and Ms. Carlton stated they could  zone it in this way. 

 

Mr. VanDyke asked if they could set it up by percentages.  He stated they may indicate

that 2% of the first floor can be occupied by Realtors and if another comes in after that

2% has been met, they would have to go in the second floor; and Ms. Carlton stated she

feels this could be set up in this way.  Ms. Frick stated they must make this very clear.

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels it will be up to the owner to indicate what he can have;

and Mr. VanDyke stated this would be correct for that owner’s individual parcel.  He

stated there are many parcels in the Overlay District.  He stated he was looking at the

percentages of first floor occupancy within the entire tract not only on a particular parcel. 

Mr. Bush stated they need to be careful about putting on percentages.  He stated if they

limit a certain kind of retail stores and the first floors are full which would require a

restaurant to go on a second floor, they may not want to do this.  Ms. Friedman stated

there may be a problem with percentages if they add to the District in the future, as the

percentages would be changing.  Ms. Friedman stated she feels they need to come up

with some kind of limiting factor.

 

Mr. Dickson stated he is concerned that at some point a use may not be economically

viable and someone could have a building which could no longer be rented because the

Township has restricted them to certain uses.  He stated they might then go before the

Zoning Hearing Board indicating that they have a hardship because they only had a

Realtor that wanted to come into the building but could not do this because of the

restrictions.  He stated a precedent could then be set which could cause the entire Plan to

fall apart.  Mr. Majewski stated this is why a Zoning Ordinance is a living document

which must be constantly looked at. 

 

Page 14 of 35 was noted regarding the discussion of a tavern. He noted an historic tavern

was on one of the sites, but the Historic Commission felt they should eliminate the tavern

use but keep the restaurant use which may be able to obtain a liquor license in the future. 

Ms. Friedman noted Lower Makefield is currently a dry Township.  Mr. Bush asked if

there is contemplation of a Referendum on this matter, and Mr. VanDyke stated he has

heard that this may happen in May.  It was noted this could be put on the ballot if there is

a petition with a certain number of signatures.

February 12, 2007                                                     Planning Commission – page 10 of 20

 

 

Mr. VanDyke noted the comment about Home Occupations and making this an

Accessory Use, and Mr. VanDyke stated they agreed that this is a good idea. 

 

Mr. VanDyke noted the question about stormwater management, and he stated they

anticipate that this will be underground, and they will have to take a regional approach to

stormwater management.  He stated in the document they discussed 80% impervious

surface and another 20% if they have porous pavers which seemed to indicate they could

have 100% impervious surface; and this was not their intent.  He stated they have reduced

the impervious surfaces to 75% as a maximum, but also recognize that in order to make

the sites work, there will have to be porous pavement and other things.  He stated in order

to make it more simple, they have changed this to state the maximum impervious surface

permitted is 75%.

 

Mr. VanDyke stated there was a question about setbacks, and he stated they measured

setbacks from the edge of the cartway along the State highways and arterial roads, so they

are at least 20’ back from the roads. 

 

Mr. VanDyke stated there was also a question about the roads and on-street parking. 

He stated early on in the process they worked with a professional transportation planner

who had discussed many of these ideas with PennDOT to make sure that they were in

favor of what was being proposed, and they had no problem with their proposals.  Since

then they have reviewed their intentions with the Township traffic engineer as well 

Mr. Van Dyke stated there will still have to be traffic studies to make sure everything

works.  He stated PennDOT has changed their opinion with respect to on-street parking

and now recognizes that for economic revitalization, you need to have some kind of

parking in front of the shops.

 

Mr. VanDyke noted the discussion on relocating some of the structures which has been very controversial with the Historic Commission.  He stated they have had members of the Historic Museum Commission review site plans to address this issue and he has also gone out to Harrisburg to attend seminars addressing this issue.  He stated they have been told that if an historic structure is relocated within the District, preferably on the same lot if possible, they could still maintain their tax credits.  He stated the Historic Museum

Commission reviewed the concept and advised that while the best plan would  be not to

relocate an historic structure, this is not always possible; and they are now more lax in

allowing buildings to be relocated and they would still be able to qualify for tax credits if

a developer wanted to relocate a building. 

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated the old rule was you would maintain the setbacks, but once you

move the building, you would be under the new setback regulations.  She noted this

would particularly be a problem on a State highway.  Mr. VanDyke stated the Ordinance

supersedes setbacks so it allows for close setbacks already.  He stated in this Ordinance

they are measuring the setbacks from the edge of the cartway.  Ms. Heinz stated if they

February 12, 2007                                                     Planning Commission – page 11 of 20

 

 

move the buildings, there will be a unified façade on Stony Hill Road; and they would be

set back a unified set amount rather than the varied streetscape they have today.  She

stated the use of the structure would have to be a viable use, and they hope the Board of

Supervisors will back them up on this.

 

Mr. VanDyke stated in the language they have provided in terms of some changes to the

Ordinance, the Historic Commission went through that whole section as to developing

standards for relocating a structure.  He stated one of the key items is not only the criteria

but also the location of that structure must be approved by the Board of Supervisors and

HARB and must be a viable use.

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated she would not like to see the existing structures taken out and a

bank or a thirty-room hotel put in.  Mr. VanDyke stated this is not the intent.  He stated

the Historic Commission indicated they had no problem with putting additions adjacent

to the existing structures.  However, he noted there are problems with the structures

including dealing with the internal height of the structures for retail use.  He stated they

are trying to work with architects to show that you could make changes to the interior that

would make it a one-story open frame building.  He feels what they have come up with is

the best compromise they could reach.

 

Ms. Friedman asked if they anticipate more relocations in addition to the three already

being discussed.  Mr. VanDyke stated he does feel this will happen.  He noted the white

building on the corner which was previously a gas station which may have to be moved

back 20’ for traffic reasons.  Ms. Friedman noted the three buildings they have discussed

moving and asked if they will be kept on the lots, and Mr. VanDyke stated they will be

within the same context of the same lot but will not be fronting on Stony Hill Road any

longer but will be internalized.  Ms. Friedman asked if they will remain Residential, and

Mr. VanDyke stated they do not know at this time.  It was noted these three structures

were tenant buildings.  He stated they could be used as a small retail use or coffee shop. 

 

Mr. Cylinder stated a presentation was made at one time showing these three houses

being discussed moved to an area that was previously shown as open space, and

Mr. VanDyke stated this is correct.  Mr. VanDyke stated they would front on a street and

would be clustered against other historic buildings.  Mr. VanDyke asked about the impact

on the open space, and Mr. Vandyke stated they will have less open space.  Mr. Cylinder

asked what would be put on Stony Hill Road, and Mr. VanDyke stated it would be

commercial space similar to what is in Lahaska on Route 263 in Peddler’s Village. 

Mr. VanDyke noted the location of these three properties under discussion on the Plans. 

Mr. VanDyke noted everyone agrees that these are not significant historic buildings; but

because they are old, they are contributory.  He noted one of these structures was already

relocated once to this site from elsewhere in the District.  Ms. Heinz stated there were

included in the sixteen historic structures. 

 

February 12, 2007                                                     Planning Commission – page 12 of 20

 

 

Mr. VanDyke noted page 19 of 35 with regard to the comments made about

condominiums.  He stated “condominium” is a form of ownership and not a form of

Zoning.  He stated it is the intent of this particular developer that all the residences would

be condominiums and you would own the building from the ground up, but the land

around it would be controlled.  He stated this also gives the Township more leverage

since when you look at the Condominium regulations, you can write in regulations

stricter than in Zoning. 

 

Mr. VanDyke noted Page 19 of 35 and stated the only parcel that addresses the issue of

building mix and a mixture of residences and non-residential uses is the Troilo tract.  He

stated they made the distinction of anything greater than five acres because they did not

want to have that impacted by the Masonic Temple or the Church site. 

 

Mr. VanDyke noted they did consider the percentage of mixes, and he stated there are

currently more residences proposed than there were in earlier versions which has helped

maintain the character of the Plan.  He stated the Commission felt that 60%

non-Residential was too high, and this is approximately what the Plan shows now.  They

will review this again at the next Historic Commission meeting.  Mr. Cylinder asked how

many housing units they anticipate in total, and Mr. VanDyke stated they anticipate

seventy-five units including apartments.  He stated this would just be for the Flowers

tract.  He stated with the Mesick tract, they are discussing retail on the first floor with

apartments and offices  on the second floor.  He stated they feel it is important to have a

mix of different dwelling and unit sizes so that it does not look like a typical townhouse

development.

 

Mr. VanDyke noted page 23 of 35 regarding the question of alley widths.  He noted they

show alleys as sixteen feet wide.  He stated he has a lot of experience in this regard. 

He stated his own office is on an alley that is only 12’ wide and it is a two-way alley. 

He stated there are garages on both sides so there are aprons where cars can pull over to

let another car go by.  He stated trash trucks and other vehicles are able to access the

alley as well.    Ms. Friedman stated she would defer to the Township engineer in this

regard.  Mr. VanDyke stated they should also discuss this with the Fire Department. 

He stated the alleys would not be envisioned to be for use by through traffic.  He stated

they have made it a requirement that if there are garages off of alleys, you cannot park in

front of your garage and this allows for the type of movement he has described.  He

stated the enforcement for this would be in the homeowners’ documents.  Mrs. Godshalk

asked if the townhouses would have two-car garages, and Mr. VanDyke stated they

would. 

 

There was discussion on cul-de-sacs, and Mr. VanDyke stated these are not traditional in

Historic Districts.

 

 

February 12, 2007                                                     Planning Commission – page 13 of 20

 

Page 24 was noted regarding impervious surface, and Ms. Friedman asked if they feel

75% impervious surface should be permitted.  Mr. VanDyke stated when he looked at

impervious surface he included everything including porous pavers.  He feels all the

alleys would have to be porous pavement. 

 

Mr. Cylinder asked if any of this will be dedicated to the Township, and Mr. VanDyke

stated for the Flowers tract everything is intended to be Condo.  He stated everything else

would be individual lots so that would be private.  Mr. Cylinder asked if there will be any

new streets, and Mr. VanDyke stated he did not believe so.  The Flowers Tract would be

the only one which would have any internal streets, and these would be private to his

understanding. 

 

Ms. Friedman asked if they have gone before the Environmental Advisory Council with

regard to the impervious surface, and Mr. VanDyke stated they will go before them on

Wednesday night.    He stated he will also be before the Economic Development

Committee on Monday night. 

 

Page 25 was noted regarding parking.  He stated for all Residences, parking must be

off-street and guest and commercial parking would be allowed on-street.  Mr. VanDyke

stated all garages need to be in the back and cannot stick out in the front of the house.

 

Page 27 was noted with regard to the sidewalks, and Mr. VanDyke stated the Historic

Commission felt the sidewalks would be next to the curb.  He stated they were looking at

a 4’ sidewalk with a 6” curb on top so there would be a total width of 4 1/2’.  He stated

the reason it would be right next to the curb was because there would be on-street

parking,  and they did not want people to have to step over a grass strip.  He stated if the

Planning Commission wishes, it could be a 5’ wide sidewalk. Mr. Majewski stated he

would recommend that there be a 5’ sidewalk as there needs to be a 5’ area for handicap

accessibility so that two wheelchairs could pass.  Ms. Friedman stated if they are looking

to make this a pedestrian-District, they want to make it comfortable; and whatever they

need to do to address that, would make the District more successful.  Mr. VanDyke noted

Mr. Cylinder did state many developers use Belgian block curb, so it should be 5’ in

addition to the Belgian block curb if it is used. 

 

Mr. VanDyke stated the parking for the Commercial, non-Residential is spread out and

on-street parking is being used to meet parking requirements.  He stated this means there

will not be huge parking lots.  He stated it is also a very efficient way to provide for

parking.  He stated on-street parking, particularly on arterial roads, creates a nice buffer

for the pedestrians. 

 

Mr. VanDyke noted page 27 of 35 with regard to the question about existing structures. 

He stated it is the intent that if an existing building within the District were to be

renovated, it would have to meet the street improvement design guidelines.  This would

relate to the Commercial areas, not the Residential. 

February 12, 2007                                                     Planning Commission – page 14 of 20

 

 

Mr. VanDyke noted the question relating to bike lanes, and he stated they did not address

these in the draft Ordinance, and agrees they should look into this. He stated this would

deal with cartway width.  Mr. Cylinder stated the Park & Recreation Board has a

Bikeway Plan for the entire Township and possibly they should contact them. 

Mr. VanDyke stated they can also apply for Grants for these.

 

Page 29 was noted regarding allowing goods outside.  He stated they do need to come up

with language to provide for sale racks to be put outside.  He stated usually this is done

by Permit once or twice a year. 

 

Mr. Dickson noted the memo dated 2/8/07 regarding the changes made to Draft 4 of the

Ordinance.  Mr. VanDyke stated included in this is the fact that they deleted banquet

facilities.   He stated the Historic Commission also felt it was better to change the

wording to “hotel room” as opposed to “overnight room.”  He stated there is also a

Section under Permitted Uses where they have spelled out all the uses.  He stated they

deleted travel agencies as permitted on the first floor retail area and deleted tavern or bar

as was discussed earlier this evening.  He stated they also noted that free-standing signs

must not exceed eight feet in height where previously they were permitted to be ten feet

which they felt was too large.  He stated maximum impervious surfaces were reduced to

75%.

 

Mr. VanDyke stated at the bottom of the memo is how they have addressed the

Supplemental Changes which has been changed as follows: 

 

(1) Upon the recommendations of the LMT HARB, when it has been shown that the current location of the historic structure creates extreme hardship, the LMT Board of Supervisors may grant a Certificate of Appropriateness for the relocation of an historic structure within the Edgewood Village National Historic District to a location subject to the approval of the LMT Board of Supervisors; or

 

(2) Upon the recommendation of the LMT HARB, when there has been demonstrated that a building cannot be renovated for structural reasons, fire, or demolition by neglect, the LMT Board of Supervisors may grant a Certificate of Appropriateness for the demolition of the structure provided there will be an accurate replication of the historic structure and;

 

(3)  The relocated or replicated structures must remain within the Edgewood Village National Historic; and

 

(4) There is proof that the relocated or replicated structure will not remain empty and will have an adaptive reuse that is approved by the LMT Board of Supervisors. 

 

 

February 12, 2007                                                     Planning Commission – page 15 of 20

 

 

He stated under Detailed Design Standards they changed Sub Section A and B so that it is

greater than five acres so that the Church and Masonic Temple would not be effected by

standards which really apply to the Flowers Tract. 

 

He stated with regard to the percentage of non-Residential and Residential, they have

60% non-Residential and this is something the Historic Commission is still considering.   

He stated there is a request that a minimum of 10% of the units should be apartments. 

He stated the intent is to have a mixture of income groups and to have more of a lively

downtown and some uses on the second floor. 

 

He stated with regard to the Historic and Architectural Review Board section this has

been amended to require the review by HARB of all historic structure, whether or not

they are visible from the street.  Mr. VanDyke stated moving the three historic buildings

already discussed from the main road to an internal area, does not mean that they would

not still be under the purview of HARB.

 

Mr. Bush noted Section 200.41 Sub Section 4, and stated he likes the fact that they are

requiring proof that the relocated or replicated structure will not remain empty and will

have an adaptive use approved by the Board of Supervisors.  He stated he feels they need

to be more definitive as to what the proof is, the period of time it could not remain empty,

etc.  He feels they should have tighter standards.  Ms. Heinz stated this would be a point

for demolition as well.

 

Mr. Cylinder asked if “adaptive reuse” is defined anywhere, and Ms. Heinz stated it is in

the National standards.  Mr. VanDyke stated as long as it is referred to, he feels this

would be satisfactory. 

 

Ms. Heinz stated they wanted to give the Board of Supervisors the ultimate decision on

whether or not the structures could be moved.

 

Mr. Chris Messick, stated he owns 1669 Edgewood Road and a number of other

properties.  He stated he has been working on this for three years at least.  He stated he is

concerned about any restrictions they put on the businesses that can come in which could

create a problem for him.  He stated it would make it a race to see who could get which

tenants first which he does not feel is healthy.  He stated while he and Mr. Troilo are

going to develop their sites, they are also looking for others to develop their sites as well. 

He stated he feels market demand will tell them what will be successful.  Ms. Friedman

asked how he would feel if there was nothing but Real Estate offices, banks, and travel

agencies which would make it a very limited environment on the types of businesses. 

She stated they were trying to create variety in the environment.    Mr. VanDyke stated

they are only proposing trying to limit banks, travel agencies, and Realtors.

 

 

February 12, 2007                                                     Planning Commission – page 16 of 20

 

 

Mr. Messick stated he does not feel limits make sense.  He noted there are 42,000 people

in the Township and only four to five banks; and he does not feel this is a large number

of banks.  He noted New Hope has eleven banks and only 7,000 residents. 

Mrs. Godshalk stated she feels there are eight to nine banks in the Township.  

Mr. Messick stated the local banks want to be in the Township, and they do contribute to

the community.  He stated from a developer’s standpoint any limitation would be bad. 

 

Ms. Friedman stated she feels the concept itself is a limiting factor since they are trying

to create a Traditional Historic Village.  Mrs. Godshalk stated it is not just Retail/

Commercial Zoning.  She stated this is not only a commercial area as they want there

to be a mix.  She stated they want people there to frequent the facilities in the District.

 

Mr. Messick stated he is concerned that he will have a vacancy because he cannot be in a

certain business because of these limitations.   Ms. Friedman stated they could consider in the future the possibility of a developer going before the Zoning Hearing Board for a hardship.  Ms. Friedman stated this is a work in progress, and they are not sure what will survive so she feels it will be changing as time goes along.  She stated she does not want to be so restrictive that people will not want to have a business there. 

 

Mr. Dickson stated there was a project built in Warminster in the late 1960’s that was

supposed  to be similar to this with walking paths and small boutique stores and it failed

miserably and because of hardship it became offices. 

 

Mr. Cylinder stated he feels putting houses in Edgewood Village is the key that will make

this work.

 

Mr. Matthew DeSantos, Jr. 755 Stony Hill Road, stated they would like to get more

information on the possibility of re-zoning their properties.  He asked when the next

meeting would be, and Ms. Frick stated they have not decided on this but whenever it

occurs, the residents will be notified.  Ms. Friedman stated they have indicated that they

are going to the Environmental Advisory Council and Historic Commission and will

probably fine tune the Draft, and then come back to the Planning Commission.

Mr. VanDyke stated they may want to have one more session and then initiate a Public

Hearing.  Ms. Heinz stated she feels the Historic Commission is getting ready to vote on

this.  Mr. VanDyke agreed to provide information to Mr. DeSantos on the Ordinance.

 

Mr. Bush asked if the revision to the Ordinance is going to have a provision for how the

Overlay Zone will be expanded.  He asked what would be involved to expand it at a

future point.  Mr. VanDyke stated usually this is something that is in a Master Plan. 

Mr. VanDyke stated they will discuss this with the Historic Commission and get back to

the Planning Commission.  He stated the Planning Commission could also provide some

policy directions. Mr. Cylinder asked if anything that has been proposed not in

 

February 12, 2007                                                     Planning Commission – page 17 of 20

 

 

conformance with the Comprehensive Plan, and Mr. VanDyke stated it is consistent with

the Comprehensive Plan other than the map.  Ms. Heinz stated there are some portions

that are currently left out that the Master Plan map had included, and they will need to

discuss this.  Ms. Heinz stated this has always been controversial.  She stated they could

lay out what the possibilities are and open it up for public discussion.  Mr. VanDyke

stated possibly they should go to the Public Hearing and advise that if there is no

opposition, they are also looking at other areas which they could present and they could

see what the response would be.   

 

Mr. Cylinder asked if there is a problem with combining the Hearing on the Zoning

Ordinance and a change to the Comprehensive Plan, and Mr. VanDyke stated he does not

feel they need to amend the Comprehensive Plan.  Ms. Frick stated the Comprehensive

Plan gets updated every ten years, and was last done in 2003. 

 

Mrs. Godshalk asked how it would benefit to change the Zoning and put the Masonic

Hall and Shopping Center in the District since they are already developed.  Ms. Heinz

stated there has been discussion about the possibility of tearing down the Giant Shopping

Center and re-developing that block.  Mrs. Godshalk stated they could still develop under

the present Ordinance, but if they are included in this, they could build three times more

than what they have now. 

 

Mr. Messick stated the Giant would welcome the opportunity to enter into discussions

about this with the Township.  Mr. Messick stated without relief from parking, they could

not make the changes.  Mrs. Godshalk stated both shopping centers have relief on

parking.  She stated if they are included in the Historic Village, it will be bedlam. 

Mr. Bush stated there is an advantage to putting them in the Historic Village since if it

did get re-developed, it would be re-developed consistent with the guidelines. 

Mrs. Godshalk stated she does not feel they want to build houses.  Mr. Messick stated he

did draw up a Plan with them and it would open up the parking lot, and attract foot traffic

directly into the Village. Mrs. Godshalk stated they were looking for an entrance onto

Edgewood/ Yardley-Langhorne Road, and the Township did not want this.  Ms. Heinz

stated this is just another possibility for discussion. 

 

Ms. Friedman asked if they should include the shopping center in the discussion and

review their Plan so that they can make a better decision.  Mrs. Godshalk stated she does

not feel this has anything to do with the Historic Village.  Mr. Messick stated while it is

not part of the Historic Village, he feels the Village from his section could be more than

what it can be today.  He stated he has a very limited amount of property behind the

Giant.  He stated he has two acres and all the properties opposite him on Yardley-

Langhorne Road are too shallow to build on.  He stated this is why he felt incorporating

the Giant Shopping Center would make it much stronger and more attractive. 

 

 

February 12, 2007                                                     Planning Commission – page 18 of 20

 

 

Mr. VanDyke stated the Historic Commission is excited about the Plan, but feel it should

be considered at some point in the future.  Mr. Bush asked when this would be discussed,

and Mr. VanDyke stated he feels they should adopt the Ordinance first.  Mr. Bush stated

considering it would allow them to develop it in a cohesive way and not in a piecemeal

fashion.  He stated they are related by virtue of where they sit.  Mr. Messick stated he

feels the Plan would promote the Village.  Ms. Heinz stated this goes back to the issue of

where the line was drawn, and the fact that there are historic houses on Stony Hill Road

that they did not include. 

 

Mr. VanDyke stated he will meet with the Environmental Advisory Council, the

Economic Development Commission and then the Historic Commission and plans to get

the Ordinance to as close to Final as possible.  He feels this will take a few weeks and

they would be able to schedule another meeting with the Planning Commission next

month.

 

 

DISCUSSION AND ENDORSEMENT OF ORDINANCE AMENDING THE PROVISIONS OF THE LOWER MAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP CODE RELATED TO SUBDIVISION AND LAND DEVELOPMENT TO PROVIDE FOR THE USE OF NATIVE PLANTS

 

Mr. Jim Bray was present and stated the Native Plant Ordinance has been in front of the

Planning Commission previously and was well received by the Planning Commission, the

Board of Supervisors, and the Bucks County Planning Commission.  He stated some

suggestions were made, most of which have been included in the Ordinance.  Mr. Bray

stated Mr. Majewski, the Township environmental engineer, and the several members of

the Environmental Advisory Council have reviewed the Bucks County Planning

Commission recommendations.  He stated he would like to review the points Bucks

County Planning Commission raised and advise what they have done as a result of those

comments.

 

Mr. Bray noted Comment #1 from the Bucks County Planning Commission, and he

stated they did change the wording to reflect their concern.  With regard to Item #2,

Section #3, dealing with underground utility line easements, they did change the wording

to reflect that as well.  Mr. Bray noted Page #3 regarding plantings under and near

overhead utility lines, and they incorporated the whole paragraph suggested by the Bucks

County Planning Commission.  He stated they did not recommend specific type trees to

place under the utility wires as plant location is very site specific; and in one location a

certain plant would be appropriate but may not be appropriate at another location.  He

stated they do have a list of trees and the developer’s recommendations will be reviewed

by the landscape architect and the EAC. 

 

 

February 12, 2007                                                     Planning Commission – page 19 of 20

 

 

Mr. Bray noted Item #3 dealing with Section #4 – buffer yards, and stated they were

recommending that the chart specifying planting requirements be included.  He stated this

has to do with the Farmland buffer and very little to do with the Native Plant Ordinance. 

He stated he has discussed this with Mr. Conti, and there is some controversy over the

Farmland buffers.  They felt the best way to handle this was to treat it as a separate

matter, and the EAC will meet with Mr. Conti in the near future and come up with a list

of recommendations on the buffers, but they do not want to consider it at this time. 

 

Mr. Bray noted Section #4 under Item #4 where they recommended that the Section be

revised to include minimum size for required shade trees, and they agree it should be a

minimum of 3” to 2 ˝” caliper.  He stated they also went through the whole Section and

made sure everything was in conformance to the 3” to 3 ˝” size.  They found some small

problems, and they did correct them. 

 

Mr. Bray noted Section 4 Exhibit 1, indicates the Native Plant list should be referenced,

and they did do this.  He stated with regard to Exhibit 1, the Native Plant list, they had a

specific concern with the pin oak, and they agreed this concern was appropriate; and they

amended the list to show that only certain cultivars would be acceptable.  He stated the

Bucks County Planning Commission also discussed the possibility of considering some

non-Natives, and they disagreed with this as this is a Native Plant Ordinance and

provisions are already built into the process if someone wanted to use non-Native plants. 

He stated a Wavier could be requested, and they feel this would be the right way to

proceed.  He stated they feel if they dilute the Ordinance, it would lose its strength. 

 

Mr. Bray stated tonight he is seeking the endorsement of the Planning Commission so

they can move the Ordinance forward.  He stated it is scheduled for the Board of

Supervisors for February 21. 

 

Mr. Pazdera noted one typographical error on Page 5, which was amended by Mr. Bray.

 

Ms. Friedman moved and Mr. Bush seconded to endorse the Native Plant Ordinance with

the comments and changes from the Bucks County Planning Commission already

incorporated in Draft form.

 

 

Ms. Frick stated the Planning Commission will have to see this again as normally the

Planning Commission does not make a recommendation until after it has been advertised. 

Mr. Bray stated they did receive approval to advertise from the Board of Supervisors but

they did not proceed with this since when it came back from the Bucks County Planning

Commission, they had suggested some changes.  They therefore brought it back to the

Planning Commission to get their approval.  It was his understanding that it would go to

the Board of Supervisors; and if they approve it, it would go back to the Bucks County

Planning Commission and then back to the Board of Supervisors.  Ms. Friedman stated it

February 12, 2007                                                     Planning Commission – page 20 of 20

 

 

would have to come back to the Planning Commission before it finally goes to the Board

of Supervisors for approval.  Mr. Dickson stated this is why they are only endorsing it

this evening, and not approving it.

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated they are looking for the support of the Planning Commission when

they discuss the proposed arboretum at Memorial Park adding they already have a person

willing to donate all of the trees.

 

Motion carried unanimously.

 

 

There being no further business, Mr. Pazdera moved, Ms. Friedman seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 10:30 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                                        Karen Friedman, Secretary