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Buckingham Township

Township Office
4613 Hughesian Drive
P.O. Box 413
Buckingham, PA 18912

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Board of Supervisors Work Session
7/25/2018 5:00 PM

The work session of the Buckingham Township Board of Supervisors was held July 25, 2018 in the Township Building, 4613 Hughesian Drive, Buckingham, Pennsylvania.


Maggie Rash, Chairman

Paul Calderaio, Vice-Chairman

Jon Forest, Member

Dana S. Cozza, Township Manager

Daniel Gray, Township Engineer

John Ives, Bucks County Planning Commission

Craig A. Smith, Esquire, Township Solicitor


Not Present:

Tom Kelso, Township Water/Wastewater Consultant

The work session commenced at 5:00 p.m. with Executive Session with the township consultants and a traffic engineer to discuss potential litigation issues that may be coming before the Board with regard to the Cross Keys Enterprise Zone Overlay District.

6:00 p.m. The Work Session continued in regular session. Mr. Ives departed.

McKee Tract – Revised Pre-Submission Sketch Plan dated July 19, 2018, Lower Mountain Road / Creek Road / Durham Road (Route 413), TMP 6-18-76 & 6-18-79

Ed Murphy, Esquire and Mr. Greg Glitzer of Gilmore & Associates, were present along with Mr. Fred Ebert of Ebert Engineering and Mr. Mark McGonigle from The McKee Group.

Mr. Murphy said that this project was presented to the Board of Supervisor’s two years ago, was discussed by the Planning Commission one month ago, and was modified since that discussion.  Mr. Murphy said that Mr. Glitzer will be describing the transition of the plan from the original to the current concept.  Mr. Murphy said that Mr. Fred Ebert of Ebert Engineering is present to discuss his design of the onsite sewage disposal system.

Mr. Glitzer provided project history with the following details, saying that all iterations have used the B14 Living Community zoning ordinance use:

2016 Sketch Plan

- Similar to the prototypes in the Subdivision Ordinance shown as a template for use B14.

- Based on a desktop level of understanding the soil capacities, showing the wastewater treatment site along Creek and Lower Mountain Road with a foreground of green along Creek Road and some secondary green areas, with the development in a compact fashion towards Durham Road.

- 63 units relying on 42 units for basic density permitted in B14 and 50% increase using Transferable Development Rights (TDR’s).

Mr. Glitzer stated that after starting soil testing, the soil scenario was the opposite of their original thought. Soils by Creek Road were not so well suited for spray irrigation capacity, and soils closer to Durham Road showed more promise. This led to the 2018 plan layout.

2018 Sketch Plan

- B14 living community plan – much more compact than the 2016 Sketch plan. Showing the bulk of open space towards Durham Road and development in a compact fashion along Creek and Lower Mountain Roads. Foreground green space along Creek Road and some secondary green areas, as well.

- Concern over not meeting the intent/details of B14 layouts.

- Concern over not complying with solar orientation requirements in the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance.

- 42 Mixed use – singles andvtwins. Not using TDR’s – basic maximum density based on size of site.


2018 Revised Sketch Plan

- B14 living community plan.

- More centrally located green system with a primary green in the center surrounded by units, with a secondary green. Road alignment promoting solar orientation and 80% of units in compliance.

- Less efficient with open space / tradeoff from previous 2018 plan which provided almost 8 acres of open space; this one showing 2 acres beyond the required amount.

Mr. Glitzer stated the 2018 plans rely on a lagoon for wastewater off the Durham Road setback and two spray fields. The area between the spray fields is the 50% of required fully farmed open space. He said the revised plan also shows additional farmland that could be preserved near the bend of Creek Road.

Mr. Fred Ebert explained that he visited the site with Joe Valentine, soil scientist, and they tested the entire property for suitable wastewater treatment areas. Their results of the stringent EPA method of mounding analysis and soil testing identified two areas along Durham Road. They tested by Creek Road but the areas were not suitable.

Mr. Murphy said per ordinance they are required to demonstrate to the township that there is a self-sustaining self-compliant free standing sewage treatment solution. He said they prefer the 2016 sketch with units closer to Durham Road, however due to the sewage solution they are compelled to adopt the 2018 layout along Creek and Lower Mountain Roads.

Mrs. Rash opened the conversation to the audience for their comments.

Mr. Glenn Thomson, Lovering Drive, said as a member of the Planning Commission he wanted to know what Mr. Murphy’s team had taken away from the last meeting. Mr. Murphy said they heard tons of negative comments about traffic, density, location of sewer and more that was decidedly negative. He said from a planning standpoint the centralized green on the plan from June 2018 met the original directives, however the lots lacked solar orientation, with both items focused on in the revised 2018 plan.

Ms. Lutzi Fischer, Lower Mountain Road, asked if the fact that the Planning Commission had a negative impression of the plan had any impact to the applicant’s team? Mr. Murphy said yes, however the bottom line is designing a plan in accordance with township ordinances, and they believe both of the 2018 plans meet the ordinance requirements.

Ms. Fischer said traffic is her largest concern, adding she lives on Lower Mountain Road, and knows that she cannot turn left onto Durham Road from Lower Mountain or Upper Mountain Roads. She asked why they cannot make an entrance onto Durham Road. Mr. Murphy said the Durham Road option is not one they have, unless the township would cooperate and grant relief from Township land use ordinance requirements.

Mr. Forest asked about a road connecting with Buckingham Springs. Ms. Linda Bowers, Sassafras Court (Buckingham Springs), said it is difficult to get onto Durham Road from the Springs. She also expressed her ongoing concerns about how to evacuate in case of natural disaster in this concentrated area. Mr. Forest noted there is an emergency exit onto Creek Road from the Springs. Ms. Bowers said it is locked.

Ms. Beth Ann Rinkus, Creek Road, shared concern about flooding on Creek Road that has increased in recent years. She said when Buckingham Springs was developed a retention basin was built on her property, but now the creek leading to it is 6 times the size it was due to runoff. She does not believe any more development can be accommodated along that watershed.

Ms. Rinkus stated the traffic addition of at least 3 cars per household, or 80-120 cars onto Creek and Lower Mountain Roads is a concern. She said Creek Road is a 2-lane narrow road. She stated they moved into this area for the quality of life which included farmlands, and asked is there not an option to buy the development rights?  Mrs. Rash said yes, there is that option if the property owner wants to sell the rights. Mr. Smith clarified there had not been an official offer to buy the development rights, however, there have been discussions.

Mr. Fred Prozzillo, Creek Road, said the stormwater gathers at his mailbox, and he will get the brunt of it if flooding cannot be controlled.

Ms. Barrie Barr, Creek Road, read an extended statement of why she was opposed to the June sketch and is equally opposed to the 2018 sketch. Her concerns included: overdevelopment; overburdening agricultural land; devastation of the community; impact on roads, water and environment; catastrophic for natural habitat and native wildlife; vehicle accidents – pedestrian accidents; safety hazard turning onto Route 413 from Lower Mountain Road; erosion; paved surface will create toxic water runoff into the Creek; extensive noise of construction and vehicles will impact her holistic veterinary business.

Ms. Barr had questions including: Will Creek Road be widened? Will there be a traffic light at Durham and Lower Mountain Roads? Will there be a 3-way stop at Creek and Lower Mountain Roads? Will there be a traffic light at Forest Grove and Lower Mountain Road? Will calculations be correct for major storms? Will storm sewers be adequate?

Ms. Barr said the only place for a main entry for high density development is Durham Road, diverting all traffic away from Creek Road. Ms. Barr implored McKee to preserve part of the land with the township and Heritage Conservancy, and have 10+ acre lots with large homes and walking trails. Ms. Barr asked why the Township is not fighting the development of this tract.

Mr. Smith stated the township has been to the Supreme Court on this tract three times and has ardently worked over 20 years to defend Township ordinances and this tract from inappropriate development.

Mrs. Rash thanked everyone for attending and commenting on the plans. She assured them the supervisors value their input. However, she said there are state statutes, specifically the Municipalities Planning Code, that the supervisors have to comply with. She said that there is a certain amount of discretion the Supervisors have within their decision-making process; however, the township does not own the property and can only do their best to be sure the plan is compliant with township land use ordinances.

Ms. Fischer asked who pays for all of the studies that have been discussed, and Mr. Murphy said the applicant does. She asked how do they know the reports are correct, and Mr. Forest said the township engineer reviews them.

Ms. Cathy Sorace, Creek Road, said her family has been trapped twice in the past three months due to flooding on Creek Road; they can’t get out and emergency vehicles can’t get in. She said they would not even be able to use the road for walking or biking if there is additional traffic as it is barely a 1-1/2 lane road. Ms. Sorace asked if they could access Durham Road with a roadway through the treatment plant area? Mr. Glitzer said he would anticipate that putting a road through the farmland preserve with spray irrigation would defeat the ordinance provision. Mr. Murphy said the goal is to demonstrate a fully compliant ordinance plan to the township, and they believe the revised 2018 sketch does so.

Mr. Murphy confirmed there has been communication regarding preservation since the Planning Commission meeting, and that is a financial consideration they are looking at.

Ms. Carol Mauermann, Creek Road, said putting an entrance onto Creek Road with these many houses is insanity. She said this winter they had five trees fall onto the road, the creek floods, snow falls, and they cannot get out. Ms. Mauermann said there is an emergency route through Buckingham Springs to access Durham Road and they had to use it to get out.

Mr. Bob Smith, Durham Road (corner of Lower Mountain), said preservation is his preference, but if not possible then the traffic’s best exit onto Durham Road would be through Buckingham Springs. He said anything closer to the Lower Mountain Road intersection would be corner blind, and at least at the exiting at Buckingham Springs location you can see both ways with a fair amount of sight distance.

Ms. Sara Wiley, Creek Road, said she lives right across from the Buckingham Springs emergency exit, and her understanding is that the emergency exit has a chain because it is illegal to exit onto Creek Road due to its size as basically a one-lane road. She said school buses do not come down Creek Road, telephone poles are along one side, and she doesn’t see how it could even be widened. She questioned why the developer wastes their time when the road cannot be widened.

Mrs. Rash thanked everyone for coming to the meeting and urged the residents to stay involved in the process.

Park and Recreation Update

Park and Recreation Commission members Mrs. Louise Silberg, Dr. Susan Salvesen and Mr. Stephen DeMaura were present to meet with the Board of Supervisors.

Dr. Salvesen requested an update on the trail system project. Mrs. Cozza explained that after the Ad Hoc Trail Committee meetings concluded and a draft trail system map was prepared, there was a public comment period offered on the township website. The comments were forwarded to Mr. Paul Gordon of the Bucks County Planning Commission to analyze and use to prepare the final copy of the trail map for the Board of Supervisors to consider. Mrs. Silberg asked if they could attend the meeting when the final trail map is presented?  Mrs. Cozza said yes, adding it should be done prior to year-end.

Mrs. Silberg asked how the Park and Recreation Commission can be involved once the trail plan is approved. Mrs. Rash suggested the township could prioritize and schedule one section of the trail to be focused on at a time. Then the Park and Recreation Commission / Ad Hoc Trail Committee could contact the bordering residents about it.

Mr. Forest suggested the Park and Recreation Commission could approach the residents of the Devonshire subdivision where the township envisioned the existing trail to be part of the township trail system. However the Devonshire homeowners’ association does not want anyone except Devonshire residents to use the trail. Mr. Forest said the intention was for Heritage Center residents to be able to connect to the Devonshire trail and vice versa. Mr. Forest noted the Devonshire Homeowners’ association has asked for a connector to cross Swamp Road to the other area of the Devonshire subdivision.

Mrs. Silberg noted there is only 13 miles of trail in the plan that needs to be built, and if the road crew installed some, or the township applied for a matching grant, then it would not cost one million dollars per mile. Mr. Gray said that some recent developments, such as Leaver Cable Funeral Home on Route 262/202 does not want the sidewalk/trail installed until the township does them comprehensively so they are consistent.

Dr. Salvesen asked for details on Holicong Park, Phase 2. Mrs. Cozza explained there may have been confusion on the phases, clarifying that currently the Expansion is now separated into Phase 1 and Phase 2, and the original section of the park is referred to as Phase 3. Mr. Forest said the phases have been planned to distribute the cost over several years.

Mrs. Cozza explained that baseball fields were originally planned in the Expansion Phase 2. However, the local baseball community requested a field be added at George M. Bush park instead so that all of the baseball fields would be located at one place. She said the fields in Phase 2 would be constructed as multi-purpose fields instead, and used for soccer and lacrosse.

Mrs. Cozza said when the Expansion phases are complete, the Board will revisit the original section of the park (now Phase 3), and that may be where an all-inclusive playground is installed.

Mrs. Silberg asked if the all-inclusive playground would be privately funded? Mr. Calderaio said his idea was that the township would provide the land, and the community could assist in raising money for the equipment. Mr. Calderaio said the playground should be designed with input from persons having disabilities, and should be for all ages of persons with needs from adults to children. He said there should also be equipment for typical ability persons so that persons with different skill levels would be playing together.

Mr. Calderaio said he would be working with the Park and Recreation Commission and township residents in the design of the all-inclusive playground area.

Dr. Salvesen said the Park and Recreation Commission would like to be more actively involved in brainstorming or planning township events, such as suggesting recreation activities, and in general being more informed of what’s going on with the township parks. Mrs. Cozza said in previous years the Park and Recreation Commission seemed to focus on sports and improvements to the parks and trails, and the township is open to ideas on those and recreation programs. Although Mrs. Cozza noted that ideas must be submitted with a budget in mind, so they can be presented to the Board of Supervisor’s during budget preparation meetings.  Mrs. Cozza asked to be provided with the Park and Recreation Commission’s meeting minutes soon after their meetings for open communication. Mr. Calderaio suggested the Park and Recreation Commission present their ideas quarterly for the Board to consider.

7:39 p.m. The Work Session adjourned.

8:26 p.m. The Work Session commenced.

Wycombe Baptist Church – Overflow Parking, TMP 6-24-7, 6-24-8, 6-24-11

Mr. Gray presented the Board with a request from Mark Hintenlang, P.E. on behalf of Wycombe Baptist Church to install overflow parking facilities for approximately 14 vehicles versus the 47 spaces they had planned in the 2017 land development application (which was withdrawn). Due to known stormwater issues in the Wycombe area, the Board agreed that the proposal would need to follow the Land Development procedure.

 August Meeting Dates

Mrs. Cozza asked the Board what meeting date(s) should be scheduled in August, and the Board agreed to cancel the August 8th meetings, and keep the August 22nd meetings.

9:00 p.m. The Work Session adjourned.

Approved by the Board of Supervisors on the 22nd day of August, 2018.

Buckingham Township Board of Supervisors

Maggie Rash, Chairman

Paul Calderaio, Vice-Chairman 

Jon Forest, Member

Dana S. Cozza, Secretary

Minutes respectfully submitted by Lori Wicen.


View Meeting Minutes prior to June 23, 2009