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February 18, 2014 Minutes

Planning Commission Meeting
February 18, 2014

The monthly meeting of the New Britain Borough Planning Commission was called to order by Chairman David Holewinski at 7:30 PM.  All commission members were present, except Dr. Paul Land and Mr. Michael Stanislaw.  Also present were Ms. Robin Trymbiski, Mr. Mark Hintenlang, Mr. Tom Yatsky and Ms. Lynn Bush.

Mr. William Macklem motioned to approve the minutes of January 28, 2014 meeting as written; seconded by Mr. Michael Parke.  Motion approved.

New Business:

Kirk Tract – Matthews Avenue – Sketch Plan Review
A sketch plan was submitted for a Land Development for the Kirk tract as prepared by Mr. Dean Riniker of Gilmore & Associates, Inc.  The site is located on the north side of Matthews Avenue, east of the intersection with Sand Road.  The property is zoned LI (light industrial) and is currently occupied by one commercial building (12,000 SF) and parking facilities.  The remainder of the 6.6 acre site is vacant.  It is proposed to add two additional buildings (10,200 and 19,200 existing and proposed).  There are currently no tenants identified for the new proposed space.

Discussion between Planning Commission members, Mr. David Kirk, Mr. Riniker and Mr. Kirk’s attorney, Mr. Neil Vangalen ensued.  The majority of the discussion was focused on the access and egress to the new proposed site.  Mr. Holewinski stated the barricade at Matthews Avenue prohibits access as a through street and suggested the Kirk tract be re-designed to reflect the road closure.  Mr. Vangalen declared his belief that New Britain Borough is using traffic regulations to accomplish zoning objectives.  Mr. Holewinski pointed out even if the barricade were to be removed there is a weight restriction on Matthews Avenue which prohibits trucks over 5 tons; this restriction starts at Tamenend and ends at Landis Mill.  He further reiterated that in developing the site this needed to be kept in mind.  Mr. Kirk and his attorney stated there was no other alternative to maximize the use of the property.  Mr. Hintenlang reviewed letter dated February 7, 2014 to New Britain Borough Council outlining points regarding zoning and land development issues.  The topic of access and egress was again raised suggesting the road closure be placed at the end of the property line separating commercial from residential use.  Mr. Holewinski explained by moving the barrier a dead end is created on Matthews and the loop is destroyed.  At an impasse in the discussion, Mr. Kirk suggested developing the site as an office complex eliminating the issue of trucks; however, the office complex would generate 500 plus cars needing access daily.  Mr. Holewinski stated any plans brought to the Planning Commission would be reviewed.

Old Business:

Comprehensive Plan Update
All members were able to review the existing Comprehensive Plan prior to the meeting.  Ms. Lynn Bush, along with a staff member from Bucks County Planning Commission, will be working on the plan in conjunction with the Planning Commission.  The focus revolves around the future of the Butler Avenue corridor.  Mr. Holewinski asked members to suggest changes, in writing, and forward to Ms. Bush for review.  Ms. Robin Trymbiski will provide each Planning Commission member with the Delaware Valley College student’s project plan depicting a pedestrian friendly corridor.   Mr. Holewinski will provide each member suggestions from the Historic Committee; in addition, the information from Mr. Chris Sanford will also be forwarded.  Ms. Bush will make population and projection changes.

Review and Modification of Zoning
Ms. Lynn Bush provided an outline of mixed use development including characteristics, ordinances and examples of mixed use development in Bucks County (Lantern Hill, Doylestown; Station at Bucks, Warminster; and, Sycamore Street, Newtown Twp).  Ms. Bush also mentioned Shirlington Village property located in San Jose, CA which was developed by Federal Realty Investment; details on this property will be provided at a later date.  Ms. Bush reiterated the goal of the Planning Commission to create a town center which does not currently exist.  Mr. Tom Yatsky provided additional information including best practices and examples of villages and how they work.  Mr. Yatsky provided a grid system from New Britain Borough’s zoning book.  The Commission agreed to review all the information and be prepared to discuss what fits into New Britain Borough’s current ordinances, or what changes need to be made to adapt to a mixed use site.

Mr. Cangelosi motioned to adjourn; seconded by Mr. Eggleston and the meeting ended at 8:38 PM.