There were no announcements.
Mr. Motel announced that tonight’s meeting is a special meeting for the presentation of the Spring Oak Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) Plan only. He explained that the Board of Supervisors adopted an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance in April 2008 to include a TND District as an overlay in the Devault area, and Spring Oak is located in Area 1 of the TND. He introduced the members of the Township’s Design Review Committee (DRC), which has been working with applicant Dewey Homes on the plan. Members include Supervisor Charlie Philips, Planning Commissioner Mike Allen, Planner Tom Comitta and Architect Dale Frens.
Mr. Allen announced that a second presentation, for the Tyler Griffin property, was originally scheduled for this evening as well, but has been tabled to give the applicant more time to prepare.
No matters were brought forward at this time.
Mr. Allen said the main purpose of the presentation this evening is to review the Spring Oak site plan and how the DRC and applicant jointly arrived at it. The information will be an overview, with engineering details and the design manual to be reviewed at later meetings. They want to receive feedback from the Planning Commission and the public before completing their preliminary plan submission, which they expect to submit on October 6th for review at the Planning Commission’s October 27th meeting. The Design Manual will take more time to prepare, and they hope to have it completed in time to distribute at the October 27th meeting.
Mr. Allen introduced John Mostoller and Eric Shrock from Dewey Companies. Mr. Mostoller then introduced William Warwick, Steve Bickel, Douglas Olsen and Seth Shapiro from Barton partners and Jason Engelhart from Langan Engineering.
The group made a 1.5 hour PowerPoint presentation on the revised site plan, followed by questions and answers. The presentation is attached to the minutes for reference.
The following questions were brought forward and responded to as follows.
Mrs. Csete asked for information on the pervious paving material proposed for the alleys. Mr. Engelhardt said the material doesn’t look much different than standard asphalt except it uses fewer fines and therefore appears a little coarser. It must be put down when the temperature is in the right range, but this is true of standard asphalt too. The surface does require extra maintenance, as it must be vacuumed on a regular basis. Since the Homeowners Association will be responsible for maintenance, this won’t be the responsibility of the individual homeowners. There is a lower weight limit for the material, so it’s best suited to the alleys and not the primary or secondary streets. Mr. Olsen said pervious paving has been used for 25+ years at the Morris Arboretum, including stormwater storage underneath. Mr. Reis asked if this material can be resurfaced, and Mr. Engelhardt said yes, as long as there’s no seal coating, which would defeat the purpose entirely. Mr. Kohli asked if it would be used for the individual driveways, and Mr. Engelhardt said no, those would be standard paving. The pervious material can take only specific anti-icing materials in winter, so it’s best reserved for use in the alleys where the HOA will be responsible and aware of any restrictions. He added that ice melts faster on the porous material. Mrs. Gorman asked if it can handle the weight of trash trucks, and Mr. Engelhardt said they’ll have to submit data to Mr. Kohli which will prove so. Mrs. Csete asked if it costs more than standard material, and Mr. Engelhart said about 20% more.
Debbie Kuhn asked if the 20% open space shown on the plan includes the retention basins, and Mr. Olsen said yes, they’re included in the calculations for passive open space. Mr. Motel asked if the water handling area near Devault Foods is a rain garden, and Mr. Engelhardt said yes.
Mrs. Gorman said she likes the way the townhouses are spaced in the southwestern portion of the site, stating it’s an improvement over previous plans. Mr. Motel added that they’ve done a good job inserting green space throughout the plan. He asked what kind of buffering will be placed between the southwestern area and the Devault Foods plant. Mr. Mostoller said that due to the steep slope that falls onto the Devault Foods property, it can’t be screened entirely, but they will show considerable vegetation there. Mr. Shapiro added that some of the townhouses in this section have detached garages, so the homes will have a sense of privacy in their backyards. Mr. Motel asked Tom Fillippo what vegetation is on the Devault Foods property at the border with the site, and Mr. Fillippo said grass. Mr. Mostoller added the grass acts as a buffer before the paving begins. Mr. Allen said the pipeline easement runs along the border and provides additional buffer.
Mr. Motel said the clubhouse area includes two old copper beech trees that he commends the developer for saving. Mr. Allen clarified that the farmhouse itself will be removed, but the foundation will be incorporated into a passive garden area, which was generally understood by those present. Mr. Mostoller said the spring house will remain as a visual reference, and that they’re still considering amenities for this area.
Mrs. Gorman asked if parking will be provided near the school bus stop, and Mr. Shapiro said yes. There was some discussion as to whether the school district will send buses into the development before the roads are dedicated, and that it was felt something could be worked out. Mr. Churchill said they should plan the development under the assumption the buses will come in. Mr. Motel asked if they plan kiosks for the bus areas and Mr. Shapiro said no. There would be some sort of covered shelter. Mrs. Kuhn noted students in the areas near Blackstone Lane will likely head to that bus stop since it will be closer than the one in the development.
Mr. Mostoller said that as part of the phased plan, they will work toward getting the roads in the front section of the site dedicated early in the process. Mr. Motel asked if the street widths are compliant with Liquid Fuel requirements, and Mr. Schrock said for the primary and secondary roads, yes. Mr. Churchill asked if they’ll meet the school district standards. Mr. Shapiro said yes, considering they will be fire truck compliant, they would also meet school district requirements.
Mr. Churchill asked about the active recreation areas for older children, noting there are tot lots for the younger ones. Mr. Allen said there are several playing fields as well as the center green area. Formal fields with standards such as goal posts are reserved for the development of TND Area 2 across the street. Mr. Motel said there should still be some active recreation here in Area 1, suggesting basketball since small groups or even one person can play.
Mr. Motel asked if the applicants feel they have sufficient parallel parking since they took some out. He noted there are still 835 spaces where 425 are required. Mr. Mostoller said he does feel there enough parking. Mr. Olsen said in addition to the street parking, each unit has a minimum of three parking spaces, and some as many as six.
Mrs. Kuhn asked if all the roads are two way streets, and Mr. Olsen said yes, except for the one coming into the community center.
Mr. Motel asked how the riparian area along Whitehorse Road will appear. Mr. Olsen said it’ll be similar to its appearance today but with additional plantings.
Mr. Schrock said they’ve worked with the Horseshoe Trail Club to bring the trail onto the site to later connect to TND Area 2, through the Tyler Griffin tract and up to the Elementary School. This will eliminate a present on-street portion of the trail on Union Hill Road. Mrs. Kuhn asked if they can accommodate horses, and Mr. Schrock said there’s little horse traffic and it shouldn’t be a problem. Mr. Mostoller added there’s a grass strip alongside the trail that can be used for horses.
Mr. Motel asked how people can cross Whitehorse Road to reach Area 2 safely. Mr. Mosteller said they’d have to cross over from the commercial center, and that they can add an easement for future use in the northwest corner of the site.
Mrs. Kuhn asked how people will get to the community garden area. She said she’s seen gardens that look good for a month or so but become weedy over time. She noted it’s close to the McIntyre and Mahoney properties. Mr. Shapiro gave an example of a garden in Rose Tree Park, Montgomery County as a very successful community garden that has a long waiting list. Mr. Churchill asked how large the area is, and Mr. Allen said about a half acre. Mrs. Kuhn asked if it’s located partially on the pipeline easement, and Mr. Olsen said yes.
Mr. Motel referred to the “street furniture” which includes benches and trash cans, asking if there will be a standard throughout the TND. Mr. Allen said the materials will be compatible but not identical. However, the sign standards and street light standards will be uniform throughout the TND.
Mr. Allen said the DRC gave consideration to whether intersections in the development should be raised for traffic calming purposes, and determined it wouldn’t be necessary throughout the site. Since the intersections will be four-way stops and the streets will have parking along the side(s), the committee felt this would be sufficient to slow down cars. He said raised intersections may be necessary at the entry points to the community.
Mr. Comitta made the following comments:
Mr. Allen said the ordinance requires five foot wide sidewalks and five foot wide grass strips. The DRC wrestled with these requirements and now think some adjustments are needed. He visited sites where the sidewalk standard width is four feet. This allows two people to walk side by side but is a little tight. He said they concluded that 4.5 feet is a good compromise. He said there are areas in Charlestown Meadows with five foot sidewalks and five foot grass strips, and the trees are set back too far as a result, and it’s not a workable streetscape.
Mr. Allen said that by going through the ordinance in conjunction with the Spring Oak project, they’re finding a few items that need to be tweaked, as a one size fits all approach doesn’t work. Mr. Motel said his plan is to make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors on all proposed changes that have accumulated on the TND ordinance as of the December 2009 Planning Commission meeting, but added that additional requests to amend the TND Ordinance thereafter are still anticipated as the present and future applicants prepare site specific plans. Mr. Allen added that Tim Townes has provided a list of proposed changes that would relate to J. Loew & Associates’ Tyler Griffin tract.
Mr. Churchill said that regarding the street trees for the alleys, there are still large areas of alleys without trees. Mr. Shapiro said these areas will be supplemented by trees on the individual lots abutting those alleys.
Mr. Kuhn asked why the neighboring properties weren’t shown on the site plan, and Mr. Schrock said they’ll be included in the preliminary plan drawings as required. They did have a drawing with this information but didn’t include it this evening. Mr. Motel also asked if next time they could show Perry Morgan’s plan that included adjacent TND Area 2 across Whitehorse Road and any other off site connections such as trails.
Mr. Allen asked the Planning Commission how to handle the preliminary plan submission, as typically the applicant would provide 18 full sets of all the materials, which in this case would be close to one hundred pages. He suggested providing only those plan sheets of interest to the Planning Commission, with full sets provided to the consultants and for the township records. The Planning Commission agreed they don’t need full copies, but will select those sheets they want after reviewing the index of drawings.
Mr. Churchill suggested the Township notify property owners beyond the abutting properties that are required to receive notice by certified mail of the preliminary plan review meeting. The Planning Commission agreed this should be done by the Township staff prior to the October 27th meeting, including a note that the plan will be available for review at the office prior to the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 P.M.