December 13, 2022 Planning Commission Minutes

PRESENT – Chairman McMenamin, Vice Chair Kline, Member Farnen, Borough Manager Hegele, Assistant Secretary DeRenzis, Secretary Bollendorf, Borough Planner Kennedy and County Planner Miklos were present.

CALL TO ORDER – Chairman McMenamin called the December 13, 2022, Planning Commission Meeting to order at 7:05 P.M.

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE – Chairman McMenamin led the Pledge of Allegiance.

APPROVAL OF NOVEMBER 1, 2022, MEETING MINUTES – Vice Chair Kline made a motion to approve the November 1, 2022, Meeting Minutes. Motion was seconded by Member Farnen, all ayes. Motion carried 3-0.

NEW BUSINESS

YORK ROAD BUILDING HEIGHTS AND VACANCIES PRESENTATION – Manager Hegele gave a presentation on building heights and vacancies on York Road in order to demonstrate the various heights of buildings that are currently spread out along York Road and the very small number of vacancies remaining on York Road.

Bill Tompkins, 161 Spring Avenue, asked why CVS and Burdick’s were not on the list of vacancies. Manager Hegele stated that Burdick’s has a new owner who had their U&O and is not vacant and CVS is not listed because of the application, and we have potential development.

Cindy Giovinazzo, 33 Abbotts Lane, stated she didn’t see any of the heights for 21 -37 N. York and asked about a proposed six story building. Manager Hegele stated we can get the building heights of the businesses currently there if she would like and there is no plan for a six-story building there or anywhere in Hatboro. Ms. Giovinazzo stated she thought the developer proposed six stories and manager Hegele stated again that no one proposed a six-story building and there are tenants currently operating their businesses there as well as tenants in the apartments. Manager Hegele also stated that she will do the presentation again at a Council meeting in January if the Planning Commission votes tonight to recommend Council’s approval of the RC-2 Text Amendment Ordinance.

Tom Rochford, 212 S. Linden Avenue, asked how high one story is. Planner Kennedy stated that it varies a lot, and one good example is Gamburg’s which is 19 feet and stated the minimum range for commercial buildings would be 12 feet. Manager Hegele stated staff can take a look at the buildings and get the various heights of the first-floor commercial spaces on York Road and add it to the presentation.

Jackie Nace, 45 Abbotts Lane, stated that she did not think the height were accurate in the presentation as she doesn’t feel like the highest peak counts as demonstrating the height of business and residential use. Manager Hegele stated when she began the presentation, she had stated that the purpose of it was to demonstrate what, for example, 67 feet looks like versus 19 feet etcetera.

RC-2 TEXT AMENDMENT ORDINANCE – Planner Kennedy reviewed the newest draft which is dated 12/12/22.

Planner Kennedy reminded everyone that this does not affect the entire RC-2 district and is for only certain properties which are located between Byberry Road and Montgomery Avenue and also need to have a minimum lot size which is 25,000 square feet and therefore none of these items have changed.

Planner Kennedy reviewed the following changes that were made:

  • In Development Regulations for Lot Width, it was clarified that a lot width of not less than 100 continuous feet measured at the minimum, building set back of the York Road frontage.
  • Mix Requirement section, it was reworded and clarified regarding commercial space on the first floor. He also stated he slightly changed how the residential use was regulated on the property and no more than 40 % for non-residential space fronting on York Road shall contain office(s), community, or amenity space related to the residential use.
  • Side yard setback now states the minimum side building setback shall be 0 if there is an existing shared party wall, otherwise, the minimum building set back shall be 6 feet from a property line bordering a non-residential district. The minimum building setback from a property line bordering a residential district shall be 25 feet. He also stated there are only a few properties with a shared party wall on York Road.
  • Rear Setback has been changed and states the minimum rear building setback shall be 6 feet from a property line bordering a non-residential district. The minimum building setback from the right-of-way of a rear road frontage bordering a non-residential district shall be 14 feet.
  • Height of Buildings, a building shall not be greater in height than 4 stories or 50 feet when abutting a residential district. A building shall not be greater than 5 stories or 60 feet when abutting a non-residential district.
  • Building Height Bonus Features, in addition to the green roof a blue roof was added and stated the difference is with a green roof you retain water with vegetation which must be maintained for the life of the building while a blue roof is much simpler and holds no water.
  • York Road Streetscape Amenities, at least 75% of units facing York Road shall have balconies and to qualify the balconies shall have a minimum depth of 5 feet and shall not encroach in the public right of way. Seating Area, the seating area shall be no less than 6 feet deep and must leave a clear distance of no less than 8 feet between the edge of the seating and curb line.

Shared driveways with one or more abutting lots, proposed shared driveways must provide a cross access easement acceptable to the Borough Solicitor.

  • Parking, for retail or personal services 1 space per 200 square feet of store sales floor area plus 1 space for each employee on the largest shift. For restaurant, café, bar, or tavern, 1 space per 75 square feet of customer area plus 1 space for each employee on the largest shift.
  • Building Design, Planner Kennedy stated that he broke this section down instead of being one large paragraph and is clarified separately. He also stated that esthetics cannot be dictated and therefore he preferred to state general comments in terms of the types of building design that would be acceptable and once an application with renderings is submitted, there is a chance to make very specific comments and/or recommendations yet gives the architect some freedom with being creative with a design solution.
  • Amenities, changed from 50% to 40 % maximum regarding amenities on the first-floor nonresidential floor space.

Vice Chair Kline stated that 8 feet will leave a small walkway regarding commercial seating for restaurants and thinks the setback should be greater because of the tree boxes along York Road and does not want to create a tripping hazard and therefore recommends a minimum setback of 10 feet.

Vice Chair Kline stated she doesn’t think any resident abutted next to a commercial space should have to stare at HVAC equipment and recommends a wall/screen be placed around it. She also stated they are huge and if not roof top can be noisy and member Farnen stated that landscaping will not help with the noise.

Vice Chair Kline was also concerned with the lighting facilities and Planner Kennedy stated that he can add the applicant must conform to the SALDO.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Matt Coyle, 47 N. Penn Street, stated he thinks 8 feet is not a large enough setback regarding seating area and thinks it made be code compliant. Planner Kennedy stated the point of this is for new construction not for any restaurant that might want to open, and the building will have to push the building back if he wants to use the bonus and create a seating area.

George Forgeng, 166 W. Lehman Avenue, stated his biggest concern is that a builder will go the cheapest route and there will be ugly buildings on York Road. Planner Kennedy stated esthetics cannot be regulated unless in a historic district, but certain types of architecture can be suggested, and we can require renderings.

Rick Michael, 148 Earl Lane, asked if there is a plan in place to accommodate more cars and people which will increase the traffic because he feels it presently is a nightmare and will only get worse. Planner Kennedy stated that any proposed projects will have to do a full traffic study which includes intersections that are all around the properties and not just York Road. Manager Hegele stated that some of the timings on York Road have been changed as it is required by PennDOT after traffic studies have been completed.

Jackie Nace, 45 Abbotts Lane, asked if the traffic study would affect the number of units allowed. Planner Kennedy stated that yes it could, but it is overall a negotiation process which is part of conditional use.

Cindy Giovinazzo, 33 Abbotts Lane, thinks vehicles cutting through streets should be addressed and is concerned about the speeding. She also stated that she thinks the façade of the proposed developments should fit in with the town. She also thinks that there should be a cut off for the amount of people we allow to move into the Borough because it will make the traffic and parking worse. Chairman McMenamin stated parking was added to the ordinance for employees in addition to the customer parking.

Bill Tompkins, 161 Spring Avenue, asked if it is considered a party wall when a single building is constructed to the property line because his understanding is that it is even if they do not share a common wall and he is concerned about setbacks regarding this.

Planner Kennedy asked Pete Staz, Core Developer to explain how party walls work.

Pete Staz, Core Developer, explained party walls.

Bill Thompkins, 161 Spring Avenue, thinks that the bonuses are too high and need to be decreased.

Manager Hegele gave the building heights for 21 – 37 N. York Road.

Chairman McMenamin stated the following changes to be made to the proposed Ordinance are:

  • York Road Streetscape amenities setback changed from 8 feet to 10 feet and will read must leave a clear distance of no less than 10 feet between the edge of the seating area and the curb line.
  • Add that HVAC equipment is required to be fully screened no matter where it is placed and when abutted to residential, a wall shall enclose the equipment (remove solid fence) with a minimum setback of 25 feet.
  • Lighting facilities add must conform to the SALDO.

VOTING ITEMS

Member Farnen made a motion to recommend Hatboro Borough Council approve the RC-2 Text Amendment Ordinance with the changes made that were discussed. Motion was seconded by Vice Chair Kline, all ayes. Motion carried 3-0.

OLD BUSINESS – There was no old business.

ADJOURNMENT – Vice Chair Kline made a motion to adjourn the December 13, 2022, Planning Commission Meeting. Motion was seconded by member Farnen, all ayes. Motion carried 3-0. Chairman McMenamin adjourned the December 13, 2022, Planning Commission Meeting at 9:09 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted by:

Diane C. Hegele, Borough Manager

Transcribed by Cindy Bollendorf