Andy Motel*, Chairman, Mike Allen, Vice Chairman, Sarah Peck*, Wendy Leland, Michael Churchill*, June Gorman, Rick Reis, Surender Kohli, P.E., Tom Comitta, Linda Csete and those on the attached list. (*arrived later)

Call to Order:

7:30 P.M.


Mr. Allen announced that due to the full agenda, he would open the meeting with the four members present and chair the meeting until Mr. Motel’s arrival.

Mr. Allen announced that the Planning Commission met at the Zantzinger property on February 7th for the site visit required for a minor subdivision plan. Three or four members walked the property and checked out the proposed location for the Horseshoe Trail. He noted that the family has deed restricted the entire property. Citizens Forum

No matters were brought forward at this time.

Approval of Minutes

January 12, 2009 Minutes

Mrs. Gorman moved to approve the January 12, 2009 minutes and Mr. Reis seconded. Mr. Allen called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. Mr. Allen, Mr. Reis, Mrs. Gorman and Mrs. Leland were in favor.


Hartman Run LLC Sketch Plan

Mr. Allen noted that no one was present representing the applicant. There was no discussion.

(Ms. Peck arrived at this time.)

Alleva Revised Preliminary Minor Subdivision Plan

Neal Camens, P.E., of Chester Valley Engineers was present to discuss a revised preliminary/final plan dated 1/6/09 proposing to change the lot line between the Alleva’s parcel #35-4-122.3 and Tom Fillippo’s parcel #35-4-122 in order to locate the existing parking lot for the garage onto the Alleva lot.

Mr. Camens explained that this plan is simpler than the previous plan, which involved lot line changes among four lots to resolve additional setback and encroachment issues for other accessory structures situated on the properties. This plan only addresses the parking lot encroachment. For the previous plan, Mr. Fillippo would have to give up about 30,000 square feet from his parcel due to the net-out requirements. This in turn would affect his future plans for his property.

Mr. Camens said he tried to make the plan as compliant to the zoning ordinance as possible working with just the two lots. The Alleva parcel will now meet the 80,000 sq. ft. net lot area minimum requirement for a residential lot, anticipating that the garage will be removed at some future point. Access will be from the existing driveway now in use. It is located on a separate parcel owned by the Allevas. Mr. Reis suggested combining parcel #35-4-122.3 with the access parcel #35-4-136.1 to eliminate the need for a right of way. Mr. Camens said he’ll speak with the Allevas about combining the parcels.

(Mr. Motel arrived at this time.)

Mr. Allen said parcel #35-4-122.3 is located in the RC District and asked if it could be developed as such. Mr. Comitta said he spoke to township solicitor Mark Thompson on this question, and Mr. Thompson determined it could only be developed as an FR lot due to its small size. Mr. Comitta indicated that changing the zoning on this lot to FR is one of the future changes the Planning Commission wants to propose when it amends the TND ordinance. Mr. Allen asked Mr. Camens to communicate to his client that this is the township’s intention.

Mr. Camens said he’ll return to the Planning Commission after the Allevas decide whether to combine the two parcels as suggested earlier.

Holy Ascension Antiochian Orthodox Church Revised Preliminary Land Development Plan

Mr. Motel noted he received word late this afternoon that the applicant asked to withdraw from the agenda following a productive meeting with Mr. Kohli in order to make some revisions to the plan before returning to the Planning Commission.

Thompson Sketch Plan

John Thompson was present to distribute copies of a sketch plan for the Thompson property and copies of a review letter dated 10/6/08 from Showalter & Associates. Mr. Motel said the plan will just be viewed briefly this evening to show the overall concept. Mr. Thompson pointed out an emergency access connection between Tinkerhill Lane and Tinkerhill Road and provisions for a trail system. Twenty-three parcels are proposed, of which four are existing lots. He said this is in contrast to the 150 homes they previously proposed before considering an open space conservation plan. He said Schuylkill Township plans to acquire two of the parcels, lots 8 & 9 consisting of 10.5 acres, for a future park.

Mr. Motel asked how many homes will be in Charlestown. Mr. Thompson said 11 or 12, and only two of the brothers plan to build soon in Charlestown. He said a few of the family members will retain some of the lots.

This plan will be placed on the March 10, 2009 agenda for discussion after the abutting property owners can be notified.

(Mr. Churchill arrived at this time.)

Spring Oaks Traditional Neighborhood Development

Eric Schrock and Perry Morgan were present for further discussion on the sketch plan for the Spring Oaks TND. Mr. Allen said tonight the applicants will be seeking final Sketch Plan approval.  The plan includes the revisions made as a result of the January 13th Planning Commission meeting.

Mr. Allen provided some background on Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND). After the Township identified Devault as an area that could be more densely developed than other parts of the township due to its infrastructure of roads, public sewers and public water, they developed a TND ordinance for the area. The Municipalities Planning Code (MPC) allows for the creation of a TND, providing the Township with significant control over design elements, architectural features and site planning. Prior to the rezoning of the Spring Oaks parcel, J. Loew & Associates obtained an approved office park plan for that property, for which the approval time has expired. They’ve since conveyed the property to Dewey Homes, which plans to develop the property as a TND community of 184 homes. Spring Oaks is in the TND-1 area, which allows for residential development only. Mr. Allen showed the adjacent parcel owned by Tom Fillippo, which makes up the remainder of the TND-1 area. He said that parcel won’t be discussed this evening but may be developed in the future as a residential TND.

Mr. Allen said the Township formed a Design Review Committee (DRC) to work out the site plans for TND applications with the developer prior to beginning a preliminary plan review process with the Planning Commission. He said the DRC consists of himself as the Planning Commission representative, Supervisor Charlie Philips, and Township Planner Tom Comitta. The DRC meetings are held on the first Monday of the month at 8:00 a.m. at the Township Office and the meetings are advertised and open to the public. Additional meetings are sometimes scheduled. Mr. Motel said that Mr. Allen has been doing a great job on the DRC.

Mr. Motel asked if any of the neighbors were present this evening in response to the letter sent by the applicant along with a copy of the latest plan to all the surrounding property owners. Rob and Maryann Loose, 16 Great Woods Lane came forward. Mr. Motel said he is frustrated that more of the neighbors haven’t participated in the process, and said he was glad the Looses were here.

Mr. Allen explained that the plan being shown this evening is not the formal plan, but a final sketch plan for which they want a recommendation from the Planning Commission on the overall concept. Mr. Allen said he’s solicited input from the Planning Commission members in between meetings, and any comments have been incorporated into this latest plan revision. He indicated there were no serious issues brought forward. He said after sketch plan approval by the Supervisors, the engineering of the plans will be started by the applicant, and some changes will occur as a result. He confirmed with the applicant that they’ll be working toward preliminary plan approval in late spring of this year, with ground breaking expected to follow at the end of 2010.

Mr. Allen said the main roads in the development, which do not include the alleys, will be dedicated to the Township, and therefore must meet PennDOT requirements. He circulated copies of PennDOT’s Smart Transportation Guidebook published in March 2008, which provides details for “Planning and Designing Highways and Streets that Support Sustainable and Livable Communities”.

Eric Schrock displayed the revised Site Layout Plan and a concept plan superimposed on an aerial map dated 2/9/09. He pointed out the following changes since the last discussion:

Mr. Churchill asked about the connector road to the adjacent Fillippo parcel. Mr. Allen said it’s only included to demonstrate how a future link will work. Mr. Churchill asked if it will be a no outlet road for now, and Mr. Allen said yes.

Mr. Motel asked if there was anything the applicants couldn’t accomplish in designing the site due to limitations. Mr. Morgan said they were limited by the unknowns on the parcel to the west of Spring Oaks, by the three houses on the site and by the future plant expansion of Devault Foods.

Ms. Peck asked about the width of the open space along the western border of the site, and Mr. Morgan said it’s about 20 feet wide, but this is wide enough to plant trees.

Mr. Comitta said he’d like to host a tour of developments in Concordville, Thornbury and at Eagleview in Uwchlan Township, which he thinks would benefit this project. He said the Dewey Team has been 110% responsive to the comments of the DRC and it’s been a pleasure to work with them. He said the DRC can work with the applicant to finalize the sketch plan for the Supervisors. Mr. Allen said there won’t be too many additional changes. Mr. Kuhn said he’s been concerned about the three houses on Fieldstone Lane. Mr. Allen said he’s asked John Mosteller to speak with them individually to see if they can be accommodated.

Rob Loose, 16 Great Woods Lane, said he’s happy with the plan he’s seeing. He commented however that the people using the Horseshoe Trail parking lot cause headlights to shine in his windows because they’re there before sunrise and after sunset.

Mr. Reis said he doesn’t like the narrow twenty feet streets at the two curves opposite the two triangular open space areas, where he thinks people will park unsafely even though the areas will be posted no parking. He also said he doesn’t like the dead end hammerhead turnaround. He said he’d widen the roads at the curves, and make a connection for the hammerhead street. Mr. Motel said there are steep slopes beyond the hammerhead turn. Mr. Reis suggested moving the house on the downhill side of the turn and connecting it to the road below. Following some discussion, planning commission members were mixed. Mr. Motel, Mr. Allen and Ms. Peck indicated it was acceptable as shown. Mr. Reis and Mrs. Leland thought there should be a connection. Mr. Churchill said it would be better with an outlet but he didn’t think it was a big issue. Mrs. Gorman indicated she had no preference.

With regard to parking on the curves, after some discussion the majority of the commissioners thought the road was acceptable as shown. Mr. Motel pointed out it was acceptable to Mr. Kohli and Mr. Comitta as well.

Mrs. Leland moved to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that the sketch plan be approved subject to minor changes discussed this evening so Dewey Homes can move forward with preparation of the engineered plans leading to preliminary plan submission. Mr. Motel seconded the motion and called for discussion. Mrs. Leland thanked Mike Allen for spearheading the DRC and donating a tremendous amount of his time to do so. Mr. Allen said it’s been quite an effort on everyone’s part and he’s been very pleased with the process thus far. Mr. Motel echoed Mrs. Leland’s comments. He called for the vote, and all were in favor.

Genterra Alternative Access Sketch Plan for Great Valley Business Campus

John Panizza and Bob Smiley of Genterra Corporation were present to discuss a revised sketch plan for the Great Valley Business Campus showing alternative means of access.

Mr. Panizza said the sketch shows an access onto Yellow Springs Road directly across from the entrance to Charlestown Oaks. It also proposes to remove the lower portion of Yellow Springs Road below Yorktown Road and create a new road that bisects the Genterra parcel and forms a new intersection onto Phoenixville Pike across from Spring Mill Drive and the Great Valley Corporate Center. The new intersection would be signalized. The road would cross two areas of very steep slopes, which would require a variance from the Zoning Hearing Board.

Mr. Churchill said a traffic engineer’s review is needed to determine if the proposed change would create a safer condition than the present Yellow Springs Road. Mr. Smiley said the new road would have less of a grade than the existing condition. Mr. Churchill asked how the grade is at the proposed intersection with Yorktown Road. Mr. Smiley said it’s not that steep, being approximately 14 feet over a 350 foot stretch. Ms. Peck said any stacking of cars would be in a steeper area. Ms. Gorman said the traffic stacks at the intersection of Phoenixville Pike and Yellow Springs, but not all the way up to Yorktown Road.

Mr. Panizza said in exchange for the new road, he would ask for some concessions with regard to grading, would need to utilize the two level areas at the top of the site for flex space, and wants to expand the building at the southeast corner of the site. Mr. Smiley added they want to go to a 2:1 slope to minimize the amount of disturbed area for the road.

Mr. Comitta sketched a possible change to the new road, and Mr. Smiley said it would be something to consider, although they would still have the very steep slope issue. Mr. Panizza said he liked Mr. Comitta’s layout but it would add to the cost. Ms. Peck said it would allow for more buildable area. Mr. Comitta asked how they thought East Whiteland Township would respond. Mr. Panizza said he thought they might look favorably on it as they were cooperative on the zoning issue.

Mr. Allen said he’d like the sketch to better show what they intend to do on the site. Mr. Motel said flex space is permitted by conditional use, but he voiced concerns over adding to truck traffic through the township. He asked if there were any other uses that could work. Mr. Comitta suggested assisted living, using a Sunrise facility in Willistown as an example on a similar site. Mr. Allen said the new road would also mix auto and truck traffic, where in the previous plan they were separated. Mr. Panizza said they’re only mixing the traffic for about 500 feet. Ms. Peck suggested keeping the old section of Yellow Springs Road along with adding the new road.

Mrs. Gorman said while the new road could be a good alternative, she would miss traveling the more rural section of Yellow Springs Road, which is a wooded hillside. Instead, the residents would be routed through the commercial development.

Mr. Churchill said the Turnpike to the north of the site is a reasonable psychological barrier to separate commercial use from residential use, and he acknowledges that added truck traffic would be a necessary by-product of re-routing Yellow Springs Road. He said it’s a tradeoff and suggested the Planning Commission needed time to think about it.

Mr. Panizza said he’d return to the Planning Commission next month after they revise the plan to better show the proposed uses for the site. Mr. Allen suggested Mr. Panizza speak to his traffic consultant as well, to provide them with more feedback.

Tyler Griffin Sketch Plan

Tim Townes of J. Loew & Associates and Andy Eberwein, P.E. presented a revised Sketch Plan referred to as Alternative #3 for the Tyler Griffin tract at the northeast corner of Phoenixville Pike and Charlestown Road to include 80 townhomes.

Mr. Townes noted the following on the revised plans:

Mr. Motel asked about the grades from Phoenixville Pike turning left into the development, and how the traffic flow will work. Mr. Eberwein said there will only be a four to five foot drop in grade.

Mr. Motel asked what they plan for the path that leads to a circle area. Mr. Eberwein said they propose pavers in the circle area with benches.

Mr. Motel asked if they think residents will walk from this development to the TND area along Whitehorse Road, noting that since it’s part of the overall TND district it should be integrated. Mr. Kohli said a pedestrian crossing could be added to the signal at Charlestown Road and Route 29.

Mr. Motel asked about a link to the Elementary School, and Mr. Townes said there can be a sidewalk connection.

Mr. Motel asked the other members if they want to encourage some twin units on the property, and the consensus was yes. Mr. Motel said this would require an amendment to the ordinance. He suggested they also consider other features that would be desirable that may require additional amendments. Mr. Eberwein said if a shorter buffer at the top of the site were permitted it would allow them more room to reconfigure the road.

Mr. Comitta said he’d like to meet with the applicants for about ten minutes and he can show them how to alter the two straight roads.

Mr. Motel suggested the applicant return for the March meeting. Mr. Townes asked how they’ll determine when they’re ready to start working with the DRC. Mr. Motel said he should talk with the committee members, adding he felt they were one or two revisions away from beginning that process.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:35 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Planning Commission Secretary