Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Minutes
Devault Foods
1 Devault Lane, Devault, PA 7:30 P.M.
Monday, September 24, 2007


Board of Supervisors: Kevin Kuhn, Chairman, Paul Hogan, Charlie Philips, Hugh Willig

Planning Commission Members: Andy Motel, Chairman, Mike Allen, Vice Chairman, June Gorman, Michael Churchill, Rick Reis, Wendy Leland (arrived later)

Also Present: Mark Thompson, Esq., Tom Comitta, Surender Kohli, P.E., Linda Csete

Members of the Public Present: Tim Townes, Jack Loew, Eli Kahn, Eric Schrock, Tom Fillippo

Call to Order:

7:00 P.M.


 – None

Citizens’ Forum

No matters were brought forward.

Traditional Neighborhood Development Discussion

Presentation by J. Loew & Associates – Tyler Griffin Tract, 22.4 acres

Tim Townes and Eli Kahn presented 3 sketch plans for the Tyler Griffin tract at the corner of Charlestown Road and Route 29. Mr. Townes showed the following plans:

  1. 150,000 sq. ft. Office Building under present B-1 Zoning

    The plan shows a single point of access from Route 29. No access is shown from Charlestown Road, but when PennDOT widens Charlestown Road, J. Loew & Associates will ask for them to re-grade the manmade slopes they placed along the property during previous road improvement work, so they can plan for future access. The current plan requires no conditional use approvals.

    Mr. Kahn described the proposed building as similar to those J. Loew & Associates has built in Lionville and at the Commons @ Great Valley. This would be a three story building visible from the Turnpike that would be considered a prominent, high-end building. He said they have some users in mind that are looking for this type of location for a “signature” building, rather than being one of many companies in an office park.

  2. Age Restricted Residential Plan

    The Plan shows 14 buildings with 18 units per building for a total of 252 residences. Group facilities are shown at the back of the site, which maintains about 50% green space. The buildings would be three stories with garages underneath. Building materials would include stucco, brick and plank, and would feature peaked roofs, porches and columns to make it residential in appearance. Mr. Motel asked if the access on Route 29 can be moved to line up with the proposed connector road from the TND, and Mr. Townes said yes. Mr. Townes indicated they could do this type of development with 175 townhouses with a TND-like design.

  3. Residential Plan – Non Age Restricted showing 175 units

    This was an older plan that Mr. Townes had shown in the past. He said this plan could be done with 115 units. Mr. Kahn said a new concept that allows for more diversity in the community is a plan that is “age targeted” but not restricted. They estimate only 10-11 school children in this community.

    Mr. Churchill asked for the difference in traffic volume, and Mr. Townes said the office building would generate 1,652 trips per day rather than 650 for the age restricted plan. The non-age restricted plan would only be slightly more than 650. Mr. Townes circulated a handout Comparison Analysis that compares data on tax revenue generation and traffic for the first two plans.

    Mr. Kahn said a residential development would support the shops and restaurants in the TND 24-7, as compared to an office building which would bring business in primarily at lunchtime.

Mr. Kuhn said he was disappointed with the densities proposed for either sketch plan #2 or #3, questioning if this equates with the cost of constructing the office building. He said the increased traffic of the office park is still not a large impact on the area. Age restricted residential density was set by the supervisors at 2.25 units per net acre, and he has a hard time justifying any increase over that. Mr. Townes said they wouldn’t be able to do any residential plan with less than 100 units, and if the Board would give them a number in that area they could see whether they could make it work. Mr. Philips said he might be agreeable to 100 units but he would be amenable to an office building, too. Mr. Willig said they need to weigh both options further, and Mr. Hogan indicated he would prefer residential development on the tract. Mr. Kuhn said the Board will consider it further and get back to J. Loew and Associates.

Approval Process Flowchart

Mr. Comitta distributed copies of a flowchart he prepared to show the approval process for a TND submission. There was considerable discussion on where the new Design Review Committee comes in to the review process. The flow chart shows the committee coming in near the end of the process when the building permit and plans are submitted for review. Mr. Allen said the committee should be involved up front. It was determined that language will be added to the ordinance indicating that the best quality of materials is expected in the project, and the developer will be required to produce a draft design manual at the time of sketch plan submission at the beginning of the process.

Township Building

In response to Mr. Motel’s question, Mr. Kuhn indicated the Board does want to include a municipal building in the TND, and that it must be large enough to accommodate a meeting room and its associated electronics.

Mr. Motel asked about size, and Mr. Morgan said the building he included in his plans would include space for the township, a library, post office and police sub-station and include about 28,500 square feet. The township office portion would be approximately 10,000 square feet. Mr. Comitta said Morgan Township, Berks County recently researched this question, and the Secretary was asked to obtain a copy of the study. (Mrs. Leland arrived at this time.)

TND Area 2

The following items were addressed.

Roads – Mr. Comitta suggested that Mr. Morgan check with PennDOT on whether they will approve two mid-block crosswalks, as he’s under the impression they will only permit one. Mr. Motel asked if Whitehorse Road should have two through lanes in each direction or only one. Mr. Comitta responded that he thinks it should be one lane, with a separate turning lane. Mr. Motel suggested that a road profile of the intersection be included in the ordinance. Mr. Morgan said he’d prefer parallel parking to angle parking along the sides of the road.

Corner Building – Mr. Motel asked about the wraparound building shown at the corner of Whitehorse Road and Route 29, and the board was generally in favor of the design shown.

Anchor Stores – With regard to the size for the anchor stores, the Board reached a consensus to increase this to two 15,000 square foot spaces.

Active Recreation – Mr. Kuhn indicated that the Township would have the ability to maintain the proposed active recreation fields through the existing Parks & Recreation Board. He also suggested a small rest room building near the trail head.

Signs – Mr. Comitta said he’d have information ready for the October 9th Planning Commission meeting.

Parking – Mr. Morgan said more parking is needed near the trail head.

Turnpike – Mr. Morgan will provide information on Penn State’s cooperative program where they work with the state on stormwater management and bio design.

Spring Oaks Connector to Fillippo Tract – The connector road was shown on one of Mr. Morgan’s sketches. Mr. Comitta indicated that more buffering may be needed between the Fillippo tract and the closer set of live-work units.

Entré Computer Tract – Mr. Comitta suggested this property and other smaller parcels near the TND areas be considered “context sensitive” and be given TND-like guidelines but allow additional uses for more flexibility, and give some relief from other TND requirements.

Bike and Trail Network – Mr. Kohli confirmed that there is no possibility of a pedestrian path through the Turnpike tunnel over Route 29. The Board indicated their agreement that the bike and trail plan be included as an attachment in the TND ordinance.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete