TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PLANNING COMMISSION

MINUTES – JULY 23, 2007

 

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on July 23, 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 and Mr. Bush seconded approval of the Minutes of May 14, 2007 as corrected.  Motion carried with Ms. Friedman abstained.

 

Ms. Friedman moved and Mr. Cylinder seconded approval of the Minutes of June 11,

2007 as corrected.   Motion carried with Mr. Bush and Mr. Pazdera abstained.

 

 

#567 – LOTUS TRACT PRELIMINARY PLAN DISCUSSION

 

Mr. Nick Rose, engineer, was present.  Mr. Rose stated this was originally proposed as a

three-lot Subdivision.  The property is located on Big Oak Road in the R-3 District

between Acorn and Pine Tree.  Aspen is behind the tract.    He noted there was also

a Plan presented at one time which included the adjacent tract, known as the Clover

Tract, but that Plan has been withdrawn.  They are now proposing a two-lot Subdivision

for the Lotus Tract.

 

Mr. Rose stated even though the Lotus Tract is in the R-3 District which only requires

10,000 square feet, their lots exceed that substantially in order to meet the environmental

restrictions.  He noted the right hand side of the tract which contains woods.  The left

hand side has some woods but also a fair amount of vacant ground.  The left hand lot, Lot

#1, is approximately 30,000 square feet; and the right hand lot is approximately 60,000

square feet, both of which are far in excess of the 10,000 square feet required. 

July 23, 2007                                                               Planning Commission – page 2 of 12

 

 

Mr. Rose stated they have been working with the Township staff and reviewers to get a

Plan that complies with the Ordinances.  He noted the recent review letters from CKS and

Schoor DePalma both of which are down to a few minor technical details and procedural

items.

 

Mr. Cylinder asked if it would be better to put the two driveways together.  Mr. Majewski

stated if a shared driveway were proposed, it would require a Waiver.  He added while a

shared driveway would result in only one access out to Big Oak Road which may be

safer, whenever there is a shared driveway there are two property owners having

ownership; and to make sure they maintain it to each others’ satisfaction can be

problematic.  Ms. Friedman asked if they could have the two driveways closer together

with a small island between; and Ms. Frick stated while this could be done, they would

need a Variance.  Mrs. Godshalk stated she would recommend that there be more of an

area for a turn-around so that they can come straight out rather than having to back out

onto Big Oak Road, as it may be difficult to turn a car around in the area they have shown

if there is a car parked in that area.  Mr. Majewski stated they have proposed turn-arounds 

of 24’ by 12’ and possibly they could increase this to 20’ so that there would be room to

maneuver around a parked car.   He stated they could also have a turn-around area in

back of the garage.  Mr. Rose stated they would be willing to provide either of these turn-

arounds rather than having a common driveway. 

 

Ms. Friedman stated in July of 2005, Captain Roche suggested a decel lane in front of the

Lotus and Clover Tracts, and Mr. Rose stated the Plan does call for Big Oak Road to be

widened in front of the two properties.  He agreed to label this more clearly on the Plans.

 

Mr. Cylinder asked about the location of the driveway for the existing home to the left of

the Tract, and Mr. Rose stated he presumes it is the jut out in front of the house.

Mr. Majewski stated this would not present a conflict with the proposed location of the

two new driveways.  Mr. Cylinder asked about the potential for shrubbery in this area

impacting the view, and Mr. Rose stated they do have a clear sight triangle on the lots.

 

Mr. Bush asked if the lot to the right is owned by the same Applicants; and Mr. Rose

stated it is not, although the owners of the Clover Tract have the same last name and are

family members. 

 

Mr. Cylinder stated moving the driveway to the other side of Lot #1 would be beneficial

as he feels nothing will be done with the ultimate right-of-way on the road; and if they

plant anything in that area, it will impact the sight distance for the people living on Lot

#1.  He feels it would be better if the driveways were next to each other rather than next

to the existing driveway on the property to the left.  Mr. Majewski stated flipping the

driveways would involve more clearing, and they were trying to maintain some of the

trees between Lot #1 and Lot #2.  Mr. Rose stated the garage is on the high side of the

house which is better aesthetically.  Mr. Cylinder stated they could shift the house to the

July 23, 2007                                                               Planning Commission – page 3 of 12

 

 

left.  Mr. Rose stated they could move the driveway over without shifting it all the way to

the other side and have the driveway come out farther from the existing property to the

left.  Mr. Majewski stated the existing driveway comes out next to their property line so

he does not feel they would plant anything to block their vision.

 

Ms. Friedman asked why the homes are squeezed on one side of the property rather than

moving them further apart from the existing dwelling.  Mr. Rose stated there are

environmental issues on the property.  He noted the woodlands on Sheet #1 of the Plans.

 

Mrs. Godshalk noted if Big Oak Road were not in its current location, this tract would be

part of the Five Mile Woods.

 

Mr. Dickson noted the 7/17/07 Schoor DePalma review letter where they are requesting a

Waiver regarding the two-year storm, post-development run-off rate indicating that

additional disturbance of resource-protected area would be required to comply with this

Section of the Ordinance.  He asked what areas would be disturbed.  Mr. Rose stated they

are proposing a substantially-sized, underground detention area in the fronts of both lots. 

Between the underground detention area, the utility corridors, and driveways, the fronts

of both lots are built out so that if they were required to do any additional stormwater

detention, it would have to be in the rear of the lot into the wooded area.  He stated the

amount of discrepancy in what they can provide is so small that perhaps they could do

some other management practice such as planting trees in the rear as an offset.

Mr. Majewski stated he would suggest that they plant additional trees to absorb

stormwater and provide a buffer for the properties in the rear and on the side.  He noted

there is a high water table in the area. 

 

Mr. Cylinder asked if they will have basements, and Mr. Rose stated he feels they will

have basements.  Mr. Majewski stated he has requested more data from their consultant

to make sure that this will not present a problem and that any sump pump systems

proposed are properly sized.  Mr. Rose agreed to provide this information.

 

Mr. Dickson noted the Schoor DePalma letter where they request that information be

submitted on rights and access to a shed noted on the Plans.  Mr. Rose stated they feel

this shed is owned by the people who live behind this property, and there is a question

whether they will be told to move it or whether they will be permitted to continue to

use it in its present location.  This would require documentation in some way.  He noted

the shed is behind a large section of woods.  Mr. Donaghy stated the shed is owned by the

people in the rear; and if the Applicant would provide by easement the right for that

property owner to continue use of it, they would have a right to do so; otherwise there

could be litigation whether or not those individuals have a right to retain it or the owner

of Lot #2 could request that it be removed.  Mr. Donaghy stated many times there are

encroachments that have been in existence for many years, and no one knew about them

until a survey was done. 

July 23, 2007                                                               Planning Commission – page 4 of 12

 

Mr. Bush noted the pipe on Lot #2 and asked what this is.  Mr. Rose stated it is a piece of

pipe that is a survey marker.

 

Mrs. Godshalk stated if the shed is going to stay at that location, this would be between

the owners as it would be a violation of the Ordinance where it is; and if the Township

approves it, they would be approving a violation. 

 

Mr. and Mrs. Lester, the owners of the shed, were present.  Mrs. Lester stated they

received a letter that their shed was on the other property line, and they had the shed

moved forward onto their property three years ago.  Mrs. Lester stated they now

understand that the shed is on their own property.  Mr. Rose stated this could be correct

since this Plan has been around for many years.  Mr. Lester stated they had a contractor

come out and move the shed and notified the Lotus’ attorney that they had moved it. 

Mr. Rose stated since the survey was done at the very beginning of the process, it was

done before the shed was moved.  Mr. Rose stated they will review this on site, and take

it off the Plan.  Mr. Donaghy stated they will have to amend the Plan.

 

Ms. Friedman stated she is still concerned with the driveway on Lot #1 being so close to

the existing adjoining property and asked how they will handle water run off to protect

the existing home’s basement from any added impervious surface.  Mr. Rose stated he

would be willing to move the driveway further way.  He also noted that it is actually

downhill from that existing house; and although it is generally flat in the area, the flow is

from left to right.  They also have a trench drain in the driveway and an inlet that

connects to the underground stormwater system.  He stated he would be willing to move

the driveway an additional 20’.  Mr. Bush asked if this will impact trees, and Mr. Rose

stated it will not.  Mr. Pazdera stated it appears that the 21” tree was noted to be removed,

and Mr. Rose stated they may be able to save it if they swing the driveway around.

Mr. Majewski noted they still have the water line, other utilities to the house, and the

driveway in this area so it will probably impact that tree no matter where the driveway is

located. 

 

Mr. Dickson stated he would like to have input from the Bodermans, who are the owners

of the adjacent residence; but they were not present this evening.  Mr. Dickson asked if a

Waiver was obtained for their property as it is only 5’ from the property line.

A gentleman from the audience indicated the home was constructed in the 1950’s. 

Mr. Majewski stated this would pre-date Zoning.  Mr. Dickson stated he would agree

with moving the driveway as recommended by Ms. Friedman as he feels it would look

better aesthetically.

 

The 7/17/07 Schoor DePalma review letter was noted, and Mr. Rose agreed to comply

will all comments to the degree that they require any changes to the Plans. Mrs. Godshalk

stated she feels they should submit a new Plan eliminating the shed.  Mr. Majewski stated

they would have to show that prior to Final.  Mr. Rose stated they recognize other minor

revisions also need to be made, and they would make all of them at the same time.

July 23, 2007                                                               Planning Commission – page 5 of 12

 

Mrs. Gail Lester stated she and her husband are very concerned with the Plan.  She stated

their home is behind Lot #2.  She stated they have lived in their home for 21 years, and

she feels the Township needs to understand that the property being discussed is an

extension of the Five Mile Woods.    She stated there is a high water table; and in the last

twenty years, they have looked at this tract and there is standing water from the spring

until early summer.  She stated when it rains in the spring, water flows in the back of her

property like a river all the way to Acorn Drive.  She stated it is a swamp.  She asked

what the Township will do in terms of water management if this project negatively

impacts her property.  She stated her property currently floods.  Mrs. Godshalk stated she

is aware that eight years ago, the foundation of one of the homes on Mrs. Lester’s street

was pushed in.

 

Mr. Steve Niles stated when he moved into his house, the houses that abut the tract being

discussed were told that they could not have basements because of the high water table. 

He stated they were told if they wanted a basement, they would have to purchase a home

across the street.  He stated the entire street has had severe water problems, and those

with basements have had to install secondary basements put in with French drains.  He

stated whenever it rains, there is a stream in his rear yard; and if they intend to install

basements on these lots, they will have problems.  He stated if they were to significantly

raise the foundation in order to accommodate a basement, he is concerned with the run

off to the existing homes.

 

Ms. Friedman asked if the water table has been assessed for this property, and

Mr. Majewski stated it has.  Mr. Rose stated they have presented this in the stormwater

management report.  He stated the back of the property is the low area, and it is higher at

Big Oak Road which is why they have the houses at that location.  He stated they have

also proposed huge underground detention areas which will take all the roof and

driveway run off so that it will not be running off the back of the property.  He stated the

nearest house to those in the rear is 170’ from the property line.  Mr. Rose stated the

Township engineer has also indicated he wanted to see tests to see if basement could be

constructed, and they will provide these.  He stated if the site will not accommodate  

basements, they will not construct them.

 

Mr. Majewski stated he has indicated he wants additional information.  He noted there is

a high water table in the area; but in the area where the homes are to be located, it has

been confirmed that there are no wetlands.  He stated in the area further to the east, there

are wetlands which is the location of the Clover Tract Subdivision which was withdrawn. 

He stated the proposed homes are approximately 200’ away from the homes on Aspen

Drive, and the storm drainage from the new homes will be directed toward the seepage

beds in Big Oak Road.  Any overflow would go through the wooded area to the wetlands

on Acorn Drive.  He stated since they are introducing surface water from the houses into

the seepage beds and combining it with the high water table, he does have some

concerns; and Mr. Rose has indicated that if it is determined that this is a problem, they

will not build basements. 

July 23, 2007                                                               Planning Commission – page 6 of 12

 

Mr. Dickson asked why the Clover Tract was withdrawn.  Mr. Rose stated the Army

Corps of Engineers and DEP came out to review the wetlands line, and when the line was

put on the Plan along with the buffers that were required, the site capacity calculations

indicated only 1.7 lots would be permitted on this property so it was no longer a

Subdivision although it is a viable lot by the Township standards for one single-family

residence.

 

Mrs. Lester stated if you walk on the Lotus tract, it is mud.  She asked what the Township

will be doing to insure that they will handle the water since they will be changing the

terrain.  Mr. Rose stated there are specific differences between a place that is wet and a

place that is a Federally-protected wetlands.  Mr. Rose stated there is 200’ between the

proposed homes and the existing homes to the rear.  He stated with modern technology,

the basement is not as problematic as it might be for an older basement.  Mrs. Lester

stated she still feels it will have a detrimental impact on her property.  Mr. Rose stated the

Township requires that the Applicant retain their water so that they do not increase the

flow onto neighboring properties.  Mrs. Lester asked about guarantees.  Mr. Rose stated

they have designed the Plans in a way that they feel is appropriate, and the Township

engineer reviews the Plan to insure that they agree that it is correct.  Mr. Majewski stated

he does not feel construction of these homes will have a negative impact on the homes to

the rear.  He stated he did review the soils logs done for the infiltration beds in the front

of the property,  and you do not have indications of a seasonal high water table until you

get to a depth of 4 ˝’ to 6’ in that area.  He stated he does know the area in general has

difficulty with water capacity, particularly in the rear where the adjoining neighbors have

a problem; but he feels where the homes are proposed to be located they should be fine. 

He stated the Developer’s Agreement could include a statement that, if during the

construction process it is determined that additional stormwater management is needed,

the developer would be required to do additional work to handle any problems.

 

Mrs. Lester asked what would happen if they do increase the water problems on her

property, and Mr. Donaghy stated ultimately they would have recourse against the

developer of the property or the property owners if they fail to properly control the flow

of water onto an adjoining site.   He stated the developer would not have to solve the

existing water problems on her site, but they cannot make the situation worse. 

Mrs. Lester asked if the Township has some kind of protection for property owners in

terms of the water table that would prevent them from having basements; and

Mr. Donaghy stated they must meet the requirements of the Subdivision Ordinance and

other Township Ordinances.  Mr. Majewski stated this is why they make them do soil

logs to see if there will be a problem; and it appears that they will be okay where they

have proposed the homes to be located although he still does have some concerns. 

 

Mr. Cylinder asked if they will go through this process again when they come in for a

Building Permit, and Ms. Frick stated off-site would not be reviewed again when they

come in for a Building Permit, and it would strictly be an on-site review by the Township engineer.  This includes the grading on site. 

July 23, 2007                                                               Planning Commission – page 7 of 12

 

 

Mr. Niles asked if these are spec homes or will they be for the Applicant’s family.

Mr. Rose stated he does not feel this has been determined at this stage.

 

Mr. Dickson asked if they have considered what will be done with the Clover Tract, and

Mr. Rose stated at this point it is a building lot and they could come in at the Building

Permit stage and come in for a Building and Grading Permit for one lot.    Mr. Dickson

asked if there was any thought to increasing the size of the Clover Tract by taking some

part of the Lotus Tract which would result in a Subdivision of two lots for the Clover

Tract.  Mr. Rose stated they did look at this, but they decided to move forward with the

Lotus Tract as a two-lot Subdivision.  He noted the Clover Tract is owned by other

family members; and while he cannot state this will not happen in the future, he was

advised that they should go forward with the two-lot Subdivision for the Lotus Tract at

this time. 

 

Mr. Cylinder asked if they could put in a provision that the lots could not be further

subdivided.  Mr. Donaghy stated they could place those restrictions on the Plans, but

when this is done it is only enforceable by the Township; and if someone came in and

asked for another Subdivision, they would not be prohibited from coming in, but the

Township at that time would have to agree to this.  He stated this provision would be

recorded on the Plans.  He stated if they were to come to further subdivide this, he

presumes it would be treated as a Major Subdivision.  Mr. Rose noted this project was

filed as a Major Subdivision as it was originally for three lots; and rather than re-do the

Application, it was still submitted as a Major Subdivision even though they only have

two lots.  Mr. Donaghy noted he was not aware of this.  Mr. Rose stated they would

request that it be considered for joint Preliminary/Final Approval at some point since

there are only two lots and relatively few review comments.

 

Mr. Niles asked about sewer and water access, and Mr. Rose stated the property would be

served by public sewer and water in front of the property in Big Oak Road.

 

Mr. Klumpe asked how many trees will be taken down, and Mr. Rose stated without the

woods, they could support nine houses by area and four to five by frontage.  He stated

there is a large area to the left of .6 acres that is not wooded.  A small piece of

approximately .2 of an acre would need to be cleared to construct the second house. 

He stated the vast majority of the woods are off to the right and to the rear and will

remain undisturbed.  He stated he does not have the exact number of trees that will be

taken out.  He stated there is not an exact number as when you have woods, you do not

have to survey each individual tree.

 

Mr. Emil Lester, 177 Aspen Road, stated he is surprised that anyone is planning to build

homes in this location.  He stated when his home was being built, he had the opportunity

to walk on the tract in rainy weather and his feet did not sink in, but after the residences

were built, he could not walk in the back without his feet sinking into the ground.   

July 23, 2007                                                               Planning Commission – page 8 of 12

 

 

He stated it is a marsh and further back it is an extension of Five Mile Woods.  He stated

they are now discussing widening Big Oak Road and installing sewers and water, and he

is concerned about the cost of this to the taxpayers for two homes.  Mr. Donaghy stated

these improvements are paid for by the developer.  Mr. Majewski stated the developer is

also required to pay for their fair share of off-site traffic improvements and pay a Park &

Recreation Fee-In-Lieu of providing recreation land to the Township.

 

Mr. Dickson asked that Mr. Majewski and Mr. Rose review the hydrology and move the

driveway and then come back to the Planning Commission.  Ms. Frick asked if they want

to see Revised Plans, and Mr. Dickson stated they would like to see the driveway

changed and the removal of the shed.  They would also like a note to be added to the

Plans that there be no further Subdivision.  Ms. Frick stated if no basements are going to

be permitted, this should also be put on the Plan.

 

 

APPROVAL OF SEWER PLANNING MODULES FOR TOWERING OAKS AND AUTHORIZATION FOR CHAIRMAN TO SIGN

 

Mr. Rick Wilson, developer, was present.  Ms. Frick stated the Sewer Planning Modules

are ready for signature by the Chairman of the Planning Commission.  Mr. Dickson stated

originally this was to be a gravity system but is now a low-pressure system.  He noted he

discussed this matter with Mr. Hoffmeister, the Sewer Administrator, who indicated he

had no concerns.  Ms. Frick also noted the Bucks County Planning Commission review

comments.  Mr. Dickson stated the Bucks County Planning Commission has signed these

as has the Board of Health. 

 

Ms. Friedman noted Comment #15, Section C in the Bucks County Planning Commission

review letter which indicated that there is an on-lot disposal system problem area east of

the site.  Ms. Frick stated she feels they wanted to note that there is a desire to bring

public sewers to that area which has been noted as a problem area as of ten years ago.

Mr. Wilson stated he has never been advised that there is a specific problem with failing

systems in that development.  He stated the system being presented was only designed for

his seven-lot Subdivision and not for any other Subdivisions.  He stated every home in

Towering Oaks has its own specifically-designed grinder pump.  Mr. Majewski stated he

does not believe the elevations are conducive for tying in the homes on Sunnyside Lane

into this system.  Ms. Friedman stated it appears that Bucks County Planning

Commission was only indicating that the area to the east is a problem area so it will not

lay blame to Towering Oaks’ situation.  Ms. Frick agreed. 

 

Mr. Bush asked the life expectancy of the individual grinder pumps, and Mr. Wilson

stated he is not certain but noted it is the responsibility of the individual homeowners and

not the Township.  He feels it may have a fifteen year or more life span.  He stated the

pumps are readily available; and in his discussions with the company that sells them, they

July 23, 2007                                                               Planning Commission – page 9 of 12

 

 

indicated they have them in stock at all times and if there is a problem, they could be

replaced easily by pulling out the old pump and lowering the new pump.  Mr. Bush stated

he has been in his home twelve years and three homes across the street from his home

have grinder pumps and some of them have had some issues with replacement. 

 

Mr. Wilson noted his discussions with the manufacturer and distributor who indicated it

was a simple process to replace the pumps that will be used.  Mr. Bush asked if the

Township could put in a level of protection for the potential homeowners regarding these

pumps.  Mr. Majewski stated Remington Vernick would have to look at this to make sure

that the homeowners are protected.  It was noted individual use of the pumps would vary. 

He stated he has been advised from developers that they have had good experience with

these over the last ten years. 

 

Ms. Friedman asked if there are health issues with failing grinder pumps. Ms. Frick stated

the Township Sewer engineer has to approve this and sign off on it as this is their

expertise.   Mr. Cylinder asked what happens if they break down, and Mr. Bush stated it

backs up into your basement.  Mr. Wilson stated it will not back up into the basement as

the pump sits in a housing that is 84” deep.  He stated there are alarms so that the

homeowner would know there is a problem, and they would replace the pump before it

would back up into the house.  Mr. Bush stated he knows from some of his neighbors

experiences that if you are not home and do not hear the alarm going off, there can be a

problem.  Mr. Cylinder asked about the impacts on adjacent homes if there is a problem. 

Mr. Wilson stated it does not have an impact on adjacent homes since they each have

their own system.  It was noted the Sewer engineer has already approved this. 

 

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

the Sewer Planning Modules for Towering Oaks and to authorize Mr. Dickson to sign the

Sewer Planning Modules.

 

 

DISCUSSION OF PROPOSED ORDINANCE AMENDING AN ORDINANCE OF THE TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD, BUCKS COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA AMENDING PROVISIONS OF SECTION 200 OF THE TOWNSHIP ZONING ORDINANCE BY ADDING A NEW ARTICLE XIIIC THAT ESTABLISHES A NEW AMATEUR RADIO OVERLAY DISTRICT WHICH SHALL ALLOW AND PROVIDE FOR THE REGULATION OF THE ERECTION AND USE OF AMATEUR RADIO TOWERS AND SUPPORT STRUCTURES IN CERTAIN DESIGNATED AREAS IN THE TOWNSHIP

 

Ms. Frick noted the Bucks County Planning Commission review letter on this matter. 

Mr. Dickson stated these were staff comments and not a recommendation as they did not

have a quorum at their meeting.

 

July 23, 2007                                                             Planning Commission – page 10 of 12

 

 

Ms. Friedman noted Paragraph 2, Page 5 Section E which states the antenna may be

placed on top of a home or housing structure.  She asked how big of a structure will be

permitted on top of a house roof and who would approve if it is a safe placement.  She

stated she is concerned about the potential for it blowing off a roof.  She stated she is also

concerned with generation of electricity to a nearby home that would be a problem.

 

Ms. Frick stated she is not aware of what triggered this Ordinance.  Mr. Donaghy stated

he understands that people within the Township who are involved in amateur radio were

looking to have specific guidelines on where they could place antennas and their

permitted size.  He stated since many of the issues relating to amateur radio and antennas

are controlled by the Federal Government, although the State and Local Governments can

get involved in placement and size as long as it does not result in the inability to use a

tower.  Mr. Donaghy stated he does not have specific information about Ms. Friedman’s

concerns with placement of such a tower on a house roof.  He stated the height

requirements will not change and it would still be 65’ measured from the appropriate spot

and the house would be considered part of that.  Mr. Donaghy stated he understands that

the higher the tower, the greater the ability to communicate. 

 

Mr. Cylinder asked the current regulations, and Ms. Frick stated the Ordinance currently

indicates that nothing can be higher than 35’.  She stated one gentleman many years ago

did want a tower, and he had been rejected because it would have been higher than 35’. 

 

Mr. Bush stated he understands that some people came before the Board of Supervisors

requesting these for emergency management purposes noting they could take the place of

other cell towers going down in the event of an emergency.  Mr. Bush stated he never

heard a response from the Police Department whether this was a real concern.  He stated

his concern is with a 65’ tower being erected next to another resident’s home.  

 

Ms. Frick asked where the proposed Ordinance came from, and Mr. Donaghy stated he

feels it is a model Ordinance for amateur radio. 

 

Mrs. Godshalk questioned the need for a 65’ tower noting she has a friend who is

involved in amateur radio and his tower is only 15’ to 20’ high and he can communicate

with Europe. 

 

Mr. Bush stated if there is no input from the Police Department as to the necessity of this

from an emergency management standpoint, he would have concerns with approving a

height of 65’.

 

Mr. Cylinder stated he feels if a tower were to fall over,  it should be placed sufficiently

far away from any property line so that it would not fall into an adjacent property so it

should be at least 65’ away, and Ms. Frick stated this is stated in the Ordinance.

He stated he does agree that he would not like to see a 65’ tower next to his property.

July 23, 2007                                                             Planning Commission – page 11 of 12

 

 

Mr. Dickson stated since the overlay District includes lots in R-1, R-2, R-3, R-3M, and

R-4 essentially this would permit someone to install a 65’ tower on one of the condos in

Heacock Meadows.  Mr. Donaghy stated if it were a condominium development the roof

would be owned by the Condominium Association although it could be a community of

townhouses that are owned in Fee Simple. 

 

Mr. Cylinder asked if the Township is legally required to provide for this.  Mr. Donaghy

stated he feels this is an issue that is controlled by the Federal Government and the FCC. 

He stated they would supersede actions of the State and Local Governments, but they

permit local Governments to put restrictions as far as height and location.  He stated he

feels someone would have to establish that a 35’ high tower is not sufficient to permit

them to operate their amateur radio facility. 

 

Ms. Friedman stated she does not feel they have sufficient information to act on this

tonight and feels they need to have an expert in who can answer their questions about

usage and needs.  Mr. Cylinder stated he feels they should also be advised about the

Township’s responsibility in allowing this.  Mr. Donaghy stated people can currently put

radio towers in the Township provided they comply with specific Zoning restrictions. 

 

Mr. Cylinder stated if the FCC indicated that 35’ would be adequate, he does not feel

they need an Ordinance.  Ms. Frick stated they have had people come in to the Township

to indicate that it is not adequate.  Mr. Donaghy stated if they were trying to challenge the

Township Ordinance, it would be up to the Applicant, but he is not aware of any pending

challenges in the Township or in the surrounding area. 

 

Ms. Dickson stated he agrees with Ms. Friedman and is not comfortable with voting on

this tonight.  Ms. Frick stated this matter is scheduled to go before the Board of

Supervisors on August 1 and possibly the Planning Commission should make a Motion

requesting that the Board of Supervisors table the matter until the Planning Commission

can look into this further.

 

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

recommend to the Board of Supervisors that the matter be tabled pending those interested

in this making a presentation to the Planning Commission justifying the proposed

requirements.  The Planning Commission also requests comments from the Police

Department with respect to the emergency management needs of the Township. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 23, 2007                                                             Planning Commission – page 12 of 12

 

 

There being no further business, Mr. Bush moved, Mr. Pazdera seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 9:30 p.m.

 

                                                            Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

Karen Friedman, Secretary