The regular meeting of the Buckingham Township Planning Commission was held January 4, 2017in the Township Building, 4613 Hughesian Drive, Buckingham, Pennsylvania.
Present: Andrea Mehling Chairperson
Patrick Fowles Vice Chairperson
Tom Baldwin Member
Rebecca Fink Member
Dr. Marc Sandberg Member
Louis Spadafora Member
Glynnis Stone Tihansky Member
John Ives Bucks County Planning Commission
Dan Gray Township Engineer
Mrs. Mehling called the reorganization and regular meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
Reorganization of Planning Commission.
Mrs. Tihansky made a motion, seconded by Mr. Baldwin to nominate Mrs. Mehling as Chairperson. The motion carried unanimously.
Mrs. Tihansky made a motion, seconded by Mr. Baldwin to nominate Mr. Fowles as Vice-Chairperson. The motion carried unanimously.
Consideration of approving Draft Planning Commission Minutes of the September 7, 2016 Meeting.
Mrs. Tihansky made a motion, seconded by Mrs. Mehling, to approve the Draft Planning Commission Minutes of the September 7, 2016 Meeting. The motion carried unanimously with Mr. Fowles abstaining from the vote due to absence from the September 7, 2016 meeting.
Consideration of recommending approval of the Preliminary Plan (plan dated 10/21/16), submitted by Crews Surveying, LLC on behalf of Sicom Systems, Inc., plan titled “Sicom Systems, Inc.”, Township File LD 2016-02, T.P. 6-4-15-2, Progress Meadow Drive, 7.36 Acres (with 0.8 acres proposed to be developed by this application for addition/renovation to existing parking lot), located in the PI-2 Zoning District. The 90-day review expiration date expires March 7, 2017.
Mr. Steve Harris, Esq., Mr. Michael Schaffer, CFO of Sicom Systems, Inc., and Mr. Adam Crews, Crews Surveying, LLC were present to discuss the proposed plan.
Mr. Harris explained the plan proposes an existing parking lot to be expanded by restriping the existing parking spaces to be smaller (as approved on the originally approved Land Development plan for Sicom Systems), and by adding additional parking spaces; all necessary to providing onsite parking for the employees of Sicom Systems. He explained that currently, due to a shortage of parking spaces, the employees park along Progress Meadow Drive, plus on overflow parking areas of grass. Mr. Harris said that Progress Meadow Drive is a dead-end road, servicing Sicom Systems and Uncle Bob’s Self-Storage.
Mr. Harris said a neighboring business owner has agreed to rent Sicom parking spaces to be used while the new parking lot is being built.
Mr. Harris noted the following issues identified in consultant reviews were “will comply”:
1) Vegetation clearing/disturbance – as noted both within Knight Engineering’s December 27, 2016 review letter and Landscape Review Consultants' December 15, 2016 review Letter;
2) Technical review issues noted within Knight Engineering’s December 27, 2017 review letter.
Mr. Harris also noted that a review had not been received from the Bucks County Planning Commission and that he was advised by the BCPC that they did not anticipate this project requiring a review based on the limited scope of the project. Mr. Ives confirmed that a review would not be provided unless it was specifically requested by the Applicant.
Mr. Harris addressed a matter of concern raised by Knight Engineering regarding the possibility of continued parking on Progress Meadow Drive after the parking lot expansion. Mr. Harris said that Sicom believes the proposed parking is more than adequate to accommodate all of the existing parking use and the vehicles that currently park on Progress Meadow Drive. He added they do not believe the road needs to be widened at this time, nor signed “no parking”. Mr. Harris said they do not want a situation where someone happens to park on the road and gets ticketed. He also noted there is plenty of room for emergency vehicle access.
In light of Mr. Harris’ request that parking continue to be permitted along Progress Meadow Drive, Mr. Gray recommended that a sidewalk be provided along Progress Meadow Drive and a walkway be installed to the Sicom building for the employees who may park on Progress Meadow Drive. Mr. Gray reminded the commission that Progress Meadow Drive was installed prior to the development of the first phase of construction on the site and that the Applicant was not required to perform any road improvements in conjunction with the original Land Development on the site.
Mr. Harris expressed hopefulness that the Planning Commission would recommend preliminary/final approval of the project, subject to their compliance with all landscaping and technical drafting issues, agreement to provide a walkway from the road into the facility, and providing parking spaces to use at the rear of the building in order to provide additional parking which will be necessary during the construction period.
Mrs. Mehling questioned access to the adjacent township owned property, intended to be used for playing fields sometime in the future. Mr. Harris said there is a path between the properties, but no parking on the township’s parcel. Mr. Gray explained when Sicom was first presented, the township was working to develop a park on the property jointly owned with the Bucks County Airport Authority to the rear of the Sicom site; and discussion was held of residents parking in the Sicom lot (during their off hours) for soccer games, etc. Mr. Gray said a single loaded strip of parking was being considered with a driveway entering from Landisville Road, which would connect to Progress Meadow Drive.
Mr. Harris agreed there was a trail approved on the property, and part of this proposed plan relocates the trail. Mr. Harris also agreed to add the sidewalk along Progress Meadow Drive, as requested, with details to be worked out between Knight Engineering and Crews Surveying.
Mr. Fowles asked if natural growth is why the additional parking is needed, and if they anticipate future growth in a few years. Mr. Schaffer replied they have made long term parking arrangements with Sportsware Plus, Inc. located adjacent to the Sicom property in order to gain more permanent parking relief for the future, adding with those spaces filled they would be at building capacity. Mr. Fowles had concerns that with growth, employees would park along the street again. Mr. Schaffer said if that happened, they would run out of space in the building and would need additional office space elsewhere. Mr. Shaffer said the business operates 24/7, with approximately 180 employees at one time on the weekdays, with staggered shifts for support personnel. He noted weekends and after hours there are perhaps 30 employees present, which leaves plenty of room available for township use, if needed.
Mr. Gray confirmed there will be a total of 160 parking spots on the site, and Mr. Shaffer said “yes”.
Mrs. Mehling asked if they received tractor trailer deliveries, and Mr. Shaffer replied “no”, more of a FedEx type vehicle which delivers to a loading dock.
Dr. Sandberg asked what was on the roof, and Mr. Shaffer said a solar installation used to supply electricity. Mr. Harris noted the building does not require a heat source as the computers generate enough.
Mrs. Manicone noted they need to show existing trees from the first phase to see if/how they can be relocated into the buffer area. Mr. Shaffer agreed.
Mr. Fowles asked if Sicom would be willing to enforce a “no parking” policy amongst its employees on Progress Meadow Drive. Mr. Shaffer said from a practical standpoint they may as they do not want their employees to park on the road, but they may still have visitors who park there. Mr. Gray pointed out that Progress Meadow Drive is a township road, and could be posted “No Parking”, if deemed necessary, by the township.
Mrs. Fink made a motion, seconded by Mr. Baldwin, to recommend preliminary/final approval of “Sicom Systems, Inc.” (plan dated 10/21/16), Township File LD 2016-02, T.P. 6-4-15-2, Progress Meadow Drive, 7.36 Acres (with 0.8 acres proposed to be developed by this application for addition/renovation to existing parking lot), located in the PI-2 Zoning District, subject to:
a. compliance with the Knight Engineering, Inc. review letter of December 27, 2016;
b. compliance with the Landscape Review Committee letter of December 15, 2016;
c. recommending a sidewalk along Progress Meadow Drive from Burnt House Hill to the parking lot entrance, with a connection to the trail leading to the township’s adjacent property;
d. recommending that SICOM enact an employee policy that employee’s may not park on Progress Meadow Drive;
e. recommending that road improvements will not be required for Progress Meadow Drive;
f. recommending that plantings will be inventoried and may be relocated into the buffer per the Landscape Review Consultant’s request;
g. the waivers from SALDO requested in Applicant’s November 16, 2016 Waiver’s Request letter are granted except those items noted above.
The motion carried unanimously.
Electronic Packet Proposal.
Mrs. Lori Wicen, Buckingham Township’s executive assistant and minute taker to the Planning Commission, presented a concept for the packet materials to be provided electronically to the Planning Commission, rather than in paper form. She said this is how the Board of Supervisors are provided with their meeting packet materials, and it has worked out very well.
The Planning Commission members agreed to review the electronic packet, as long as they may continue to be provided with two sets of paper plans for ease of reviewing in their entirety during the meeting.
The process will begin with the next planning commission meeting.
Mrs. Tihansky made a motion, seconded by Mrs. Mehling, to adjourn the Planning Commission meeting at 9:15 p.m. The motion carried unanimously.
Minutes respectfully submitted by Lori Wicen.