Andy Motel, Chairman, Wendy Leland, Vice Chairman, Mike Allen, Michael Churchill, Rick Reis, Surender Kohli, P.E., Tom Comitta, Linda Csete, and those on the attached list.

Call to Order:

7:40 P.M.


Mr. Motel announced that the Planning Commission held a brief executive session prior to the meeting. He also announced that the Planning Commission is seeking two new members to fill vacancies on the Commission and distributed a notice to this effect to the members asking them to pass it along to possible candidates. Those interested should contact the Township Administrator.

Citizens Forum

No matters were brought forward at this time.

Approval of Minutes

December 8, 2009 Minutes

Mr. Allen indicated there was a duplication of a phrase on page 1, last paragraph, to be removed. Mrs. Leland moved to approve the December 8, 2009 minutes with this correction and Mr. Motel seconded. Mr. Motel called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Review of Applications

Spring Oak Preliminary Plan

John Mosteller and Eric Schrock from Dewey Homes, and Jason Engelhardt, P.E., from Langan Engineers were present to review the Spring Oak Preliminary Plan last revised 12/23/2009.

Mr. Allen referenced a Spreadsheet, Revision D dated 1/11/10 entitled “Spring Oak Issues Requiring Specific Planning Commission Action.” He said it’s being used to track the various items to be addressed for the Spring Oak plan. It was broken down into sections including items under Conditional Use, Waivers and Ordinance Changes. It also noted there are no items for the Zoning Hearing Board at this time, and listed one separate landscaping item for the Planning Commission to review, as well as several items relating to PennDOT’s review of the Highway Occupancy Permit. Items completed by the Planning Commission were highlighted in green.

Mr. Allen said the Conditional Use items have both been addressed by the Planning Commission. Most of the waivers relate to stormwater management, and some of the requests have been modified since the Planning Commission recommended them in December. For this reason, a new recommendation is needed. The Supervisors are particularly looking for a good recommendation on the above ground stormwater management system waiver requests.

Mr. Allen said that some of the changes needed in the TND ordinance have already been reviewed and approved by the Planning Commission, but there are still more to examine.

Mr. Allen then turned the floor over to the Dewey team, which began with a review of the waiver requests.

Waiver Requests

Mr. Schrock referred to a sheet listing eight “Spring Oak TND Waiver Requests”.

Mr. Engelhardt said the first six items relate to stormwater management. The first and second waiver requests are to permit BMP A, B, and C to be above ground facilities, and to allow BMPs A and C to exceed the maximum water depth of five feet.

Mr. Churchill asked what limits the amount of water entering these basins, and Mr. Engelhardt said it’s not a limit but more a matter of handling. He said the soil underneath will be altered so it can absorb more water. Plantings will also handle water, and an outlet structure will take the excess. Mr. Reis asked if the culvert under Whitehorse Road will still take some of the water, and Mr. Engelhardt said while water is not being directed there, some will find its way through that culvert. Mr. Schrock said after a storm, basins A and C will appear as wet ponds. He displayed a picture showing the species of plants that would be included, which are selected for color and height variety to create a nice mix. Mr. Comitta acknowledged that these plants will work within the aesthetic parameters of the design guidelines. Mr. Churchill asked how invasive marshy species would be controlled. Mr. Engelhardt said the first 18 months are critical to the establishment of the plantings, which would help keep other species out.

Mr. Reis asked for the expected drain time of A and C after a storm, and Mr. Engelhardt said between 24-48 hours. Mr. Kohli said draining within 48 hours is required.

Mr. Kohli asked how silt will be controlled, and Mr. Engelhardt said there are upstream controls. Mr. Schrock said the Homeowners’ Association will be responsible for cleaning the “snouts” out annually. The basins themselves will be addressed every 20 years. Mr. Kohli asked if these basins will be used during construction for stormwater control, and Mr. Engelhardt said yes, adding that the plantings won’t be added until near the end of the project. Mr. Mosteller said the perimeter landscaping will be done earlier, as those upper layers are desirable for marketing purposes. Mr. Kohli said basins that are used pre- and post-construction don’t usually operate the same way afterward: a basin used during construction doesn’t perc the same way after it was used for sedimentation control. Mr. Engelhardt said after construction, they will excavate the basins and replace some of the soil. They can run infiltration tests to ensure the soil is not being compacted.

Mr. Churchill asked about BMP B. Mr. Engelhardt said it will be dryer than the other two. All three will have post and rail fencing, but will be so heavily vegetated the fence won’t be seen. A and C will have aerators, with C overflowing to A, then going to a level spreader toward the culvert crossing. Mr. Motel referred to the land development plan for the Holy Ascension Church, which obtained a zoning variance to allow them to place their basin within the 50 foot setback. He suggested the applicant consider whether it might be advantageous for them to seek a similar waiver for this plan. Mr. Engelhardt said he didn’t think this would be needed.

Mr. Motel asked if drivers along Whitehorse Road will see into the Spring Oak Community, and Mr. Schrock said the barn and model home area would be visible. Mr. Churchill asked how high the berms are in relation to the roads. Mr. Engelhardt said Whitehorse Road is about 7 feet higher than the berm. Mr. Motel asked if the slope was 3:1, and Mr. Engelhardt said yes.

Mr. Engelhardt said the third waiver is for stormwater runoff from the 2-year, 24-hour storm that will be offset by PaDEP non-structural BMP credits. Mr. Kohli said this is no problem since state regulations allow it.

Mr. Engelhardt said the fourth waiver is to allow for the rain garden berm to be within 50 feet of the property line. He said the berm acts more like a buffer than a structure in this design. Mr. Reis asked for the depth of the garden, and Mr. Engelhardt said about 3 feet. Mr. Patry noted that this waiver relates to waiver #1 with regard to the rain garden being an above ground facility.

Mr. Engelhardt said the fifth waiver is from the requirement for a minimum basin slope of under 2%. Since BMPs A and C are both wet ponds they don’t call for any slope, and likewise, BMP B was designed to be flat so it will infiltrate more. Mr. Motel agreed.

Mr. Engelhardt said the sixth waiver is for a slope ratio of 3:1 rather than 4:1, citing a contradictory section of the SMO. They said they would design the slope subject to Mr. Kohli’s recommendations regarding stabilization.

Mr. Schrock said waiver request #7 is from street tree requirements for 40 foot intervals and 3 ½ to 4” caliper trees. They discussed changes at the December Planning Commission meeting for smaller caliper trees and different spacing for the narrower grass strip areas. They propose more trees than are required by the ordinance. Mr. Churchill said although smaller caliper trees are less expensive, the substitution nevertheless makes sense for this application.

Mr. Schrock said that there are two areas that are small circular or rounded square streets that would need a sight distance waiver unless the streets were made one-way. Mr. Engelhardt said for a two-way street, a 50 foot radius sight distance is required, but for a one-way street, only a 25 foot distance is required. No waiver would be needed if the Planning Commission found a one-way plan to be acceptable. Mr. Churchill said he didn’t see a problem. Mr. Comitta asked if they had considered having the one-way access go in the other direction, and Mr. Engelhardt said they chose the direction providing the closest point of access from the entrance road. Mr. Reis asked if they would change the width of the roads if they were one-way, and Mr. Engelhardt said they hadn’t planned to.

Mr. Motel moved to recommend approval of all the waivers requested, and Mrs. Leland seconded. Mr. Motel called for further discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Preliminary Plan Review

Mr. Schrock noted that since the previous review, there had been revisions to the preliminary plan that had been treated as a “check set” that was submitted to the consultants but not widely distributed to township officials for review. Instead they had been advised that two additional sets were available in the Township office if they wished to examine them.

Mr. Mosteller began by addressing the comments on Mr. Comitta’s review letter dated 1/11/10:

3.A.i. Mr. Mosteller confirmed there will be a basketball court adjacent to the pipeline easement.
3.A. These items relating to tree preservation will be addressed at the final plan stage. Mr. Allen asked for confirmation that the beech trees will be protected, and Mr. Mosteller said yes.
3.B. Mr. Mosteller agreed they would refine the plan for landscaping as part of the screening of Devault Foods, noting that this is essential to them as well from a marketing standpoint.
3.E. Community center design details to be provided at the final plan stage.
3.F. Additional details on the Greens to be provided at the final plan stage.
3.H. Some redesign of the basins and graded embankments is recommended to provide more naturalistic contouring. Mr. Mosteller agreed to look at this again.
3.I. Mr. Schrock displayed a picture of the proposed entrance sign at Rees Road, which has granite and stone elements and a gold-toned oak tree silhouette. Mrs. Leland asked if it would be lit, and Mr. Mosteller said yes, solar powered. He said he’s open to feedback on the design.
3.J. Mr. Mosteller said a design for the piers and monuments would be provided at the final plan stage.
3.K. Construction details for various elements are to be provided at the final plan stage.
3.S. Mr. Mosteller said they prefer stamped concrete pavers for the crosswalks instead of brick pavers. They want to discuss this further and provide details on the pavers. Mr. Allen said this can be addressed at the final plan stage. Mr. Townes said stamped concrete pavers last longer if they’re installed correctly and at the right stage during construction.
3.Z. Mr. Allen said the material to be used for the trails hasn’t been finalized yet, and the Planning Commission should weigh in. He said asphalt and compacted screening are being considered. Mr. Mosteller said some paths have to be asphalt, for example, where they transition to alleys. Mrs. Leland said she prefers screening to asphalt throughout the plan. Mr. Schrock said runners, who would be using the perimeter trail, prefer screening, but Mr. Kohli was concerned with washout. Mr. Schrock referred to the Goshen Trail, which is a screened trail that requires maintenance every 5-6 years. He suggested that an escrow be required to be held for maintenance to the trails, repairing wash out areas and assessing whether any areas need to be paved or whether a pipe can be installed to alleviate the problem. Mr. Patry asked if they considered one of the newer gravel-containing plastic systems. Mr. Schrock said he was familiar with them, saying they have a polyethylene mesh in a honeycomb pattern. Mrs. Leland said the Army uses them quite a lot. Mr. Motel said it won’t be known how people will really use the paths until they’re living there. He liked the suggestion of an escrow.

Mr. Motel moved to recommend all the trails be constructed with screenings except in designated areas to include the southwest corner near Devault Foods and the trail along the Whitehorse Road frontage. Mrs. Leland seconded. Mr. Motel called for further discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

5. Mr. Mosteller said the revised EIA report will be provided.

Mr. Comitta noted the remaining items on his review letter are generally housekeeping issues or those the applicant has agreed to comply with.

Mr. Schrock then addressed Mr. Kohli’s review letter dated 1/11/2010.

4. Mr. Schrock noted that the revised plans include numerous design elements that assume various revisions to the TND Ordinance will be adopted by the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Schrock acknowledged Dewey’s understanding that any recommendation for preliminary plan approval will be conditioned on these ordinance revisions being adopted.
10. The project narrative and building plans will be submitted at the time of final approval.
12. Mr. Shrock said the utility plans can’t be revised to show the location of all boxes, meters and lines until after preliminary plan approval, because PECO won’t hold a meeting with them until this is done. The Planning Commission acknowledged this would be acceptable. Mr. Townes said sometimes a township can facilitate getting the meeting scheduled prior to this approval. Mr. Churchill moved to authorize the chairman to sign a letter of support to PECO in order to facilitate an earlier meeting. Mrs. Leland seconded. Mr. Motel called for further discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
14. Will comply.
15. Will comply.
16. Mr. Schrock said they will provide the feasibility study for the public water supply as required.
17. Mr. Schrock said a draft of required covenants has been prepared, and a final version will be provided at the final plan stage.
18. Mr. Schrock said the pipeline company, Williams, has given preliminary approval to the minimum separation distance shown on the plans, but the basketball courts have now been added adjacent to their easement and they will confirm this is acceptable. Mr. Allen asked about the future crossing of the pipeline for a connection to the Fillippo property. Mr. Schrock said there are restrictions, but they have enough area to provide a crossing.
22. Mr. Schrock said they removed the Belgium block curbing but still wanted some curbing and tapered pavement at the entrance to the alleys. Mr. Kohli recommends that all curbing be flush curb to prevent deterioration of the asphalt where it meets the curb. After some discussion, Mr. Motel said this issue wouldn’t be resolved tonight, and Mr. Mosteller indicated he is comfortable with addressing it at the final plan stage.
24. Mr. Schrock agreed that the plans will need to be revised to show how they will resolve their exceeding the maximum grade of the road near several alley exits and entrances.
31. Mr. Comitta said this item regarding sign triangles at each driveway will be addressed in the TND ordinance revision discussion to follow this review.
35. Mr. Schrock agreed Dewey will send notification letters to adjoining property owners prior to preliminary plan approval.
39. Will comply.
43. Will comply with the requirement to provide a list of all lots requiring deed restrictions prior to final plan approval.
44.c Mr. Schrock agreed to provide the location of all proposed BMPs.
49. Will comply.
50. Mr. Schrock agreed to provide design calculations for all proposes swales prior to final plan approval.
52. Mr. Engelhardt acknowledged that the area in question has been removed from the total protected area square footage.
55. Mr. Schrock agreed to provide cross sections of each alley prior to final plan approval.
58. Mr. Schrock indicated the four parking stalls will remain along Alley 3 within the Open Space Lot S, but will not count toward open space.
59. Mr. Schrock agreed to provide design calculations for retaining walls taller than 4 feet prior to final plan approval.
63. Mr. Schrock indicated the proposed outlet structures for Basins A, B and C will be 3-4 feet high.
64. Mr. Schrock said no additional screening is needed with the Smurthwaite property, but they are coordinating extra screening with Devault Foods. Mr. Reis was concerned about maintaining the screening if some of it is located on the Devault Foods property. Mr. Allen suggested putting an agreement in place providing them access to those plantings so they can maintain them.
65. Mr. Schrock said they received confirmation from the DEP that their NPDES permit is administratively complete and they’re awaiting review and approval.
66. Mr. Schrock said PennDOT’s preliminary review states a turning lane will be needed from Whitehorse Road into the entrance road. They originally wanted shoulders, but withdrew that requirement when they were told a bike path lane is being provided. Mr. Motel asked if the entrance road is in the same location as the existing farm road, and Mr. Engelhardt said no, it has been moved about 80 feet west to maximize the sight distances.
67. Mr. Schrock said they’re awaiting a response from the Valley Forge Sewer Authority on their review of the sanitary sewer system. Mr. Motel asked Mrs. Csete to contact supervisor Mike Rodgers, who is Charlestown’s representative on the VFSA board to ask if he can check the status and perhaps expedite the review.

Mr. Motel moved to recommend the Spring Oak Preliminary Plan for approval by the Board of Supervisors subject to the review comments on Mr. Kohli’s and Mr. Comitta’s review letters, both dated 1/11/2010. Mr. Allen seconded. Mr. Motel called for discussion.

Mrs. Leland asked for confirmation that this approval is conditioned on the provision of various items that are to be addressed at the final plan stage. Mrs. Csete said that these are incorporated by reference from Mr. Kohli’s and Mr. Comitta’s review letters. Mr. Reis asked about the outstanding resolution needed on the curbing issues. Mr. Churchill said the preliminary plan recommendation can be made without prejudice toward addressing any outstanding issues at the final plan stage. Mr. Reis indicated the planning commission members should have been provided with full sets of revised plans for review before this recommendation. Mr. Motel said they were made available at the township office, and directly to those who requested them. Mr. Reis said he recently requested them but they hadn’t been received yet.

There was some discussion on whether to proceed with a vote this evening or wait for Mr. Reis to examine the plans further and provide additional comments. He indicated that he was comfortable with sustaining from any vote this evening. Mr. Churchill noted that preliminary plan approval locks in a great deal of the design elements to a plan and he wanted assurance that moving forward was advisable.

Mr. Motel called the vote, and Mr. Motel, Mr. Allen, Mrs. Leland and Mr. Churchill were in favor. Mr. Reis abstained from voting.

TND Ordinance Review

The Planning Commission reviewed proposed changes to the TND Ordinance partially prompted by discussions with the developers for Spring Oak and Tyler Griffin. Tim Townes, Eric Schrock, John Mosteller and Jason Engelhardt were present for the discussion.

Mr. Comitta referred to Exhibit H, last revised 1/8/10, which is a table listing the minimum design standards for TND-1 District Streets and Alleys.

Mr. Churchill was concerned with the indication that no footage was required for clear sight triangles for driveways and intersections in the alleys. The table indicates that clear sight triangles are only required for driveways that access streets, not for alleys. He asked if this is safe. Mrs. Leland compared the Spring Oak plan to a TND neighborhood she’s familiar with in Virginia, and said that in the Virginia plan, the sight distance is a problem but in the Spring Oaks plan, there is sufficient sight distance. Mr. Engelhard said the term “clear” sight triangle means there are no obstructions whatsoever within the sight triangle such as a mailbox, lamppost or tree. Mr. Churchill agreed that a tree would not be a problem, but other obstructions, such as a hedge, would be. Mr. Motel said the specifics are considered for each individual plan, and the Spring Oak plan has acceptable sight lines. He said this doesn’t have to be addressed within the ordinance since it is examined as part of the plan review. Mr. Allen said the design manual exhibit B.3 shows what landscaping is acceptable for alleys and he is likewise comfortable with addressing the question during plan review.

Mr. Townes asked if this table would be the same for other TND areas. Mr. Comitta said there may be slight modifications.

Mr. Motel asked if Mr. Townes can provide his comments on the TND amendments in the near future, and provide a list of any additional amendments he may need for the Tyler Griffin plan in TND Area 5. The Planning Commission indicated they would prefer to include those amendments when the ordinance is revised by the Supervisors in the near future. Mr. Allen said he also has some comments, and suggested the Planning Commission discuss the matter further at their February 9th meeting.

Other Matters

Street Light Maintenance Costs

Mr. Reis brought up a concern about the future cost of maintaining the street lights in the TND district, which could be extremely expensive for the Township after the lights are dedicated. Mr. Allen said this question was raised at a previous meeting and at some point must be addressed, possibly by creating a special taxing district for the property owners in the TND to cover these additional costs.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:55 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Planning Commission Secretary