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Buckingham, PA 18912

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Meeting Minutes And Agendas

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Planning Commission
7/17/2018 7:30 PM

The regular meeting of the Buckingham Township Planning Commission was held July 17, 2018 in the Township Building, 4613 Hughesian Drive, Buckingham, Pennsylvania.


Andrea Mehling, Chairperson

Rebecca Fink, Member

Erling Salvesen, Jr., Member

Dr. Marc Sandberg, Member

Louis Spadafora, Member

Glenn Thomson, Member

John Ives, Bucks County Planning Commission

Dan Gray, Township Engineer

Not Present:

Patrick Fowles, Vice Chairperson

Mrs. Mehling called the regular meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

Consideration of approving Draft Planning Commission Minutes of the June 6, 2018 meeting.

Mrs. Fink made a motion, seconded by Mr. Salvesen to approve, as most recently presented, the draft Planning Commission Minutes of the June 6, 2018 Meeting. The motion carried unanimously.

Consideration of recommending Preliminary/Final Approval of the “Wawa Convenience Store – Easton Roads”, Lot Line Change & Consolidation Plan dated “Revised 6/22/18”, Township File SA 2018-02, TMP 06-002-014, 06-002 010 & 06-002-011, Easton & Old Easton Roads, 3 lots, located in the Cross Keys Enterprise Zone Overlay District. The initial 90-day review period expires July 31, 2018.

Consideration of recommending Preliminary Approval of the “Wawa Convenience Store – Easton Roads”, Land Development Plan dated “Revised 6/22/18”, Township File LD 2018-01, TMP 06-002-014, 06-002-010 & 06-002-011, Easton & Old Easton Roads, 3 lots, located in the Cross Keys Enterprise Zone Overlay District. The initial 90-day
review period expires July 31, 2018.

Mr. Ed Murphy, Esquire was present along with Mr. Michael Cooley and Mr. Joseph Botta, of Provco Pineville Doylestown, LP, C.J. Bock, P.E. of Bohler Engineering PA, LLC, and Mr. Pete Spizak of Traffic Planning and Design, Inc. Mr. Bill Benner, Esquire was also present representing Doylestown Electric.

Mr. Murphy explained that they are here tonight to discuss the proposal of a 5085 square foot free standing Wawa convenience store along with the lot line change plan which will consolidate 3 parcels owned by Provco Pineville Doylestown, LP, plus a small part of the
Doylestown Electric property. Mr. Murphy said this plan includes the design of a new connector road between Old Easton Road and New Easton Road (also known as Route 611 / North Main Street).

Mr. Murphy said they had submitted the land development and lot line change originally in June, and in early July revised the plan addressing stormwater comments received from Knight Engineering, Inc.

Mr. Murphy suggested they highlight the principle elements of the Wawa plan first, then focus on the engineered plan as reviewed by the township consultants, and follow with discussion regarding the suggested improvements recommended by PennDOT at the
intersection of Old Easton and Swamp Roads.

Mr. Botto said Provco Pineville Doylestown, LP is a Wawa preferred developer, has been working with Wawa for about 10 years, and are opening their 20th store in November of this year.

Mr. Botto displayed a site plan, and explained that the property total encompasses about 3 acres. He then pointed out the following items:

-   A front and back entrance

-   6 multi product dispensers containing 12 fueling positions

-   Brick columns with brick or stone fencing in the front

-   Sidewalks around the entire building

-   Streetscape lighting frontage along New Easton Road

-   An “A” frame canopy (updated from the typical slanted canopy at many Wawa stores)

-  The building to be brick or stone or a combination of both (to be decided by the Board of Supervisors)

-  A brick or stone trash enclosure in the back

-  Frontages on Old Easton, New Easton and the proposed connector road

-  Traffic Signal onto New Easton Road, full access drive from the connector road, full access entrance/exit in the rear, and a “right-in” only from Old Easton Road.

Mr. Botto said the proposed improvements to the Swamp Road / Old Easton Road intersection would be discussed separately.

Mr. C.J. Bock, Bohler Engineering PA, LLC discussed the general background on existing site conditions, including the following points:

-  The property is current depressed, with dilapidated facilities

-  The property collects stormwater from the airport property, and the proposed design will take all of the water and pipe it around to inlets to an onsite underground system designed to handle the load rates and collect additional abatement. Mr. Bock said the stormwater will be reused to spray irrigate the site.

-  A rain garden will provide a bioretention feature, and will receive runoff from the canopy over the pumps. Any fuel spills will be transmitted to the rain garden, which will provide a natural soil infiltration to filter pollutants. The inlets will have fuel removing filters, and water will be channeled into the raingarden into media and piped to the inlet. Mr. Bock said the site has zero stormwater features at this time, and they are promoting a gold star system for the site.

-  The store will utilize available domestic water and public sewer in the area.

-  Access points will be from Old Easton Road, New Easton Road, and the new collector road.

- There is a comprehensive landscape and lighting package designed. The collector road has landscaping in and of itself with street trees and decorative walls at the corners with a “Welcome to Buckingham Township” or “Welcome to Cross Keys” sign, serving as an amenity for the township.

Mrs. Fink commented the water remediation does sound “gold star”, however she had concerns about how fuel spills from the surface may end up in the groundwater, noting that benzene in particular goes through solids and is carcinogenic. Mr. Bock stated that there are special manufactured filters designed for fueling facilities to remove pollutants before reaching the run off facility. Mrs. Fink asked for proof that benzene specifically would be filtered. Mr. Bock stated that there will be double wall tanks installed and the spill buckets will be inspected daily. He added there would be a spill response plan provided to the township for review, and that the Wawa employees are trained on containment; if a spill is greater than 1-gallon emergency personnel are provided to clean the site within 2 hours.

Mr. Pete Spizak, Traffic Planning and Design, Inc., discussed the proposed traffic improvements related to the site:

-  On New Easton Road there will be a right turn into the site, along with a left turn lane at the new traffic signal onto the connector road.

Mr. Spizak explained that the Bucks County Planning Commission studied the Cross Keys area, and recommended traffic improvements to alleviate congestion. He said the proposed connector road was one the recommendations.  Mr. Spizak said PennDOT requires at least 600’ between traffic signals, and by placing the new one at the connector road, they required the elimination of the existing traffic signal at Swamp Road and Old Easton Road.  Bucks County Planning Commission then recommended the new turning process at the intersection to safely control the traffic. He said the recommendation is for stop signs and right turns only from both directions of Old Easton onto Swamp Road, with a left turn allowed from Swamp Road onto Old Easton Road when heading towards New Easton Road (Route 611), and straight through traffic allowed in both directions on Swamp Road.

Mr. Spizak said in studying the Swamp Road and Old Easton Road intersection with the proposed new design, using existing traffic volumes, PennDOT road rates, adding proposed Wawa traffic and a background growth rate, their analysis shows that when the traffic signal is removed the intersection will operate a lot better than it does today.

Mr. Murphy clarified that the proposed modifications to the Swamp Road and Old Easton Road intersection are part of a separate submission to PennDOT as a result of the study and recommendation of the Bucks County Planning Commission that originated in the year 2017 and was prepared by Gilmore & Associates on behalf of the County, not this applicant. He said the intersection design will be a decision ultimately made by PennDOT.

Mr. Spizak noted that the intersection design is a Sketch Plan that is a concept at this time, not a fully engineered plan, and is being presented for discussion and public comment. He said that the concept was submitted to PennDOT about a year ago, was reviewed, they addressed the review comments and resubmitted the study in May and just received another review letter (with all comments being “will comply”). Mr. Spizak said once Buckingham Township submits their review on the traffic study (that was submitted with the Wawa Land Development Plan), they will incorporate the comments and resubmit the study to PennDOT and Buckingham Township, and then start the actual design for roadway improvements.

Mr. Murphy noted the Wawa plan, however, is a fully engineered plan and is not a “sketch plan”.

Mr. John Ives, Bucks County Planning Commission, explained that the Land Use and Transportation Study was funded by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission under a TCDI grant. He said the Commission worked with Doylestown Township, Doylestown Borough, Plumstead Township and Buckingham Township to study how to bring economic viability into the Cross Keys area, with one of the main hurdles being traffic congestion. Mr. Ives said the traffic improvements discussed tonight were recommended by PennDOT, and discussed during public meeting open houses that were held at each municipality/borough to review the plan and receive comments from the public. Mr. Ives said the goal is to improve connectivity, aesthetics, and bring businesses into the Cross Keys area. He said that Buckingham Township was proactive in passing a Cross Keys Overlay Zoning District to allow mixed uses within the area in response to the County study.

Mr. Spizak added the County study included pedestrian and bicycle connectivity’s, with recommendations for bike lanes, sharrows, sidewalks, etc. Mrs. Mehling said that the Planning Commission definitely recommends sidewalks along Wawa, and Mr. Spizak said that following PennDOT approval of all of the road improvement plans, they would then design these features, including the design of crosswalks.

The Planning Commission reviewed the following specific June 22, 2018 waiver requests as reviewed in Knight Engineering’s July 16, 2018 letter, noting any waivers not discussed were supported:

-  2.2 SALDO § 9.2.D – requiring site improvement be laid out so as to avoid the necessity for excessive cut or fill. Applicant has indicated a maximum of 9 feet of fill is required to provide suitable building pad and parking area based on existing site topography. Recommendation that additional information be presented to the Township to support this waiver request. Mr. Murphy said this is a “will comply”.

-  2.3 SALDO § 9.7.D.5 – requiring side streets approaching intersection shall follow a straight course for a minimum of fifty feet. Additional information is required regarding the proposed connector road centerline in order to comment on this waiver request. Recommendation is deferred until PennDOT has reviewed the proposed roadway alignment and determined that it is acceptable. Mr. Murphy said they defer this item to Knight Engineering.

-  2.9 SALDO § 9.29.E.6 – requiring minimum of 10% of parking lot facility be devoted to landscaping inclusive of required trees. Knight Engineering defers this to the Landscape Review Consultants recommendation. Mr. Murphy said they will work this out to the satisfaction of the Landscape Review Consultants.

-  2.12 SALDO § 9.3.G – first floor elevation of all principal buildings shall be no higher than 1.5 feet above existing ground. Waiver Request Letter indicated proposed building will be 6.84 feet above existing ground. Renderings of the proposed building are required to be submitted, which are necessary to consider this request. Mr. Bock explained this waiver is requested because the middle of the building site is low, and the building must be higher to avoid flooding, and cannot be located at a higher position on the site due to the required setbacks.

Ms. Manicone said that all items within the Landscape Review Consultants letter of July 12, 2018 would be worked out with Wawa’s landscape architect. Mr. Murphy agreed.

Mr. Ives noted that there were no outstanding issues in the Bucks County Planning Commission’s May 17, 2018 letter, but added that connectivity is important (sidewalks).

Mrs. Fink asked if the Cross Keys Overlay District could be more of a community with plazas including items such as seating areas. Mr. Botto said they would be happy to work with the township to find an amenity area on the site. He also recommended a specific design of site lighting and fencing may spark other development along a viable redevelopment zone corridor.

Dr. Sandberg asked if there would be electric charging stations provided. Mr. Botto said there are no immediate plans for this service, however Wawa is an innovative company and could adjust as needed. Dr. Sandberg also suggested solar panels could be placed on the roof of the building. Mrs. Mehling agreed both of these items should be looked into.

Mr. Spadafora was interested in hearing more about bicycle/pedestrian access and in making the area more bike friendly.

Mr. Salvesen said from a planning perspective he has no problem with Wawa, however he does have a problem with placing another gas station in that particular area when there are already two in a close distance. He said his concern is both environmental and safety. Mr. Murphy said a gas station is a permitted use in the Zoning Ordinance within the district where the property is located.

Mrs. Mehling expressed traffic is her main concern, along with a request for a bike path and/or sidewalk access in the area.

Mr. Thomson shared concerns that with the proposed intersection changes, traffic will redirect onto surrounding roadways such as Landisville Road, Stoney Lane and Cold Spring Creamery Road. Mr. Spizak said that the traffic study did include diversions, adding that the new connector road will provide an alternate option for traffic flow.

Many concerned residents of the area were present, and their comments included the following:

- How many zoning changes were needed to put this proposed building onto this little property? Mr. Murphy replied “zero”, adding the plan complies with the current zoning ordinance which was modified since the plan was originally presented a couple of years ago in a sketch form.

- Stop light removal at Swamp Road and Old Easton Roads. Concerns that people will be unable to get onto Swamp Road, and that if they do try to cross over Swamp there will be accidents. Mr. Gray said the design shows raised curbs to direct the traffic.

- Wawa will put over 20 small local businesses who have supported Buckingham Township for years, out of business in the immediate area, with 30-60 persons losing their jobs.

- Can the Wawa go in without making the proposed road changes? Mr. Spizak replied “no”, they are tied together.

- Will the new connector road traffic signal be timed to coordinate with the existing traffic signals on New Easton Road? Mr. Spizak said “yes”.

- Why did some people in the room receive official notification of this plan submission and meeting, and others did not? Mr. Gray said according to the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance, neighbors within 1000’ from the property must be notified by the  applicant.

- Even if zoning was adhered to, how many waivers were requested? And can that be posted on the website?

- Businesses along Old Easton Road will lose business that would typically drive past their storefronts because they will be diverted onto the connector road.

- Feelings that the Biotech Center and Wawa are being considered by the township, but not the local businesses orresidents.

- Can a tractor trailer make the proposed right turn from Old Easton Road onto Swamp Road?

- Local streets will be used by people trying to get to and from the Wawa.

- Well water concerns – what if there IS a gasoline leak?

- Noise pollution.

- How many Wawa’s do we need on New Easton Road?

- How many gas stations do we need on New Easton Road?  What will the impact be on the existing gas stations in the immediate area?
- Will the Wawa be open all night? Mr. Botto said “yes, 24-7”.

- Is there a wetland on the site? Mr. Gray said the professional soil consultant’s study reported there were no wetlands.

- How will emergency services such as ambulances cross Swamp Road coming from Doylestown out towards the Wawa or the Airport? Mr. Spizak said in the design phase they will be sure the intersection accommodates emergency vehicles. Mr. Knight added that PennDOT will require that the curbs be “mountable” and able to be driven across by emergency vehicles, he also said that the new traffic signal would be preempted for emergency vehicles.

- Will the water table be tested prior to development? Mr. Bock said the township will be provided with environmental testing reports to establish a baseline. Mr. Botto said that Wawa requires a baseline in order to know existing site conditions.

- Urging the township consider the entire region and how the volume and redirection of traffic affects it all.

- Understanding expressed that Wawa is not responsible for installing sidewalks everywhere, but only on theirproperty.

- Can the residents get their own engineering company to present a traffic study to PennDOT so they can be assured it is not skewed? Mr. Gray said they could, and PennDOT would review it against their standards and procedures.

- Expressing that the proposed plan may not be the best solution, but something needs to be done.

- Feelings that emergency response would be improved by coming down Main Street and using the new connector road.

Mr. Joe Clone, Doylestown Borough Council Member, said that when the traffic plan including removal of the traffic light at Old Easton and Swamp Roads, was presented to Doylestown Borough, the residents were almost universally against it and the Borough Council discussed it as part of a public safety meeting and rejected it.

Mr. Terry Clemons presented a plan to assist bicyclists in crossing Swamp Road from Old Easton Road without a traffic signal, which included crosswalks, and proposed an ordinance be passed and signed posted saying “motor vehicles must stop for pedestrians and bicycles”.

Mrs. Mehling commented that the Planning Commission makes recommendations to the Board of Supervisors, who act on what will happen within what they are legally allowed to do. She urged the residents to attend the Board of Supervisor’s meetings and express their opinions directly to them. Mrs. Mehling said the meeting agendas are posted on the township website.

Mrs. Mehling made a motion, seconded by Mr. Spadafora, to recommend approval of the “Wawa Convenience Store – Easton Roads”, Preliminary/Final Lot Line Change & Consolidation Plan dated “Revised 6/22/18”, Township File SA 2018-02, TMP 06-002-014, 06 002-010 & 06-002-011, Easton & Old Easton Roads, 3 lots, located in the Cross Keys Enterprise Zone Overlay District.

Mrs. Mehling called the vote: Mrs. Mehling voted “aye”, Mr. Spadafora voted “aye”, Mr. Salvesen voted “aye”, Dr. Sandberg voted “aye”, Mr. Thomson voted “aye”, Mrs. Fink voted “nay”.

The motion carried.

Mrs. Fink made a motion, seconded by Mr. Salvesen, to recommend denial of the “Wawa Convenience Store – Easton Roads”, Preliminary Land Development Plan dated “Revised 6/22/18”, Township File LD 2018-01, TMP 06-002-014, 06-002-010 & 06-002 011, Easton & Old Easton Roads, 3 lots, located in the Cross Keys Enterprise Zone Overlay District, based on the following items:

a) Environmental Issues. 1) The soil tests are underway but not completed yet, 2) The applicant was unable to show how surface gas spills would be remediated for benzene and all toxic chemicals, so not to end up in ground water, noting tests for chemicals going beyond the system are done only twice a year, which seems inadequate, 3) Since three gas stations exist already within two blocks, it seems unwise planning to add another ground water pollution risk.

b) Traffic study inadequate. 1) Planning Commission and residents see the need for an expanded traffic study, since Wawa and future configurations of intersection of Rt. 313 and Old Easton road will reroute traffic to streets beyond the study, 2) Cross Keys overlay by  Bucks County Planning Commission needs updating of projected intersection plan, with current day use and resident input.

c) Planning Issues. 1) A vehicle focused business-like Wawa gas station brings more cars to an already congested area, 2) The Cross Keys Overlay District projected a vision of community use with pedestrian friendly walks and benches for gathering. Some charm remains in this area and could be enhanced by a more user-friendly flow other than a vehicle focused business like Wawa.

Mrs. Fink called the vote: Mrs. Fink voted “aye”, Mr. Salvesen voted “aye”, Dr. Sandberg voted “aye”, Mr. Thomson voted “aye” – adding the reason is not opposing Wawa specifically, but rather the traffic patterns where more work needs to be done, Mrs. Mehling voted “aye” – noting she believes the Wawa itself is a good thing and the connector road will be helpful, but she had an issue with the traffic changes proposed. Mr. Spadafora voted “nay” as he is not in support of the denial.

The motion carried.

Mrs. Fink made a motion, seconded by Dr. Sandberg, to adjourn the Planning Commission meeting at 9:55 p.m. The motion carried unanimously.

Minutes respectfully submitted by Lori Wicen

View Meeting Minutes prior to June 23, 2009