Mr. Churchill moved to approve the minutes of June 8, 2010 and Mrs. Leland seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
John Mosteller and Eric Schrock were present from Dewey Land LP for the review of selected features of the Spring Oak Preliminary Plan. Mr. Allen said that the Supervisors reviewed the Design Manual last night at their meeting and provided a few comments. Mr. Mostoller circulated a brief set of minutes from that review prepared by Bill Warwick of Barton Associates. Mr. Allen said the Board requested a historic marker be placed on the site as well as the date stone from the farmhouse in the area of the ruins. Mr. Frens added this was part of the HARB approval.
Mr. Allen also stated that the Supervisors adopted the TND ordinance amendments and they are aware there will be more changes to come.
Mr. Allen said he circulated an email to the Planning Commission postponing the lighting field test as Dewey LP needs more time to review alternative vendors. He expects to reschedule the test for the fall. He said this item won’t hold up preliminary approval as the site lighting plan issues themselves are resolved.
Mr. Allen referred to a spreadsheet last revised 6/18/10 he prepared listing Spring Oak issues that remain to be addressed by the Planning Commission and indicated those items on the agenda this evening that will require a recommendation to the Supervisors. He added that new review comments were received today from both Thomas Comitta Associates and Kohli & Associates. Mr. Allen suggested comments on these review letters be held until the end of the meeting. Review began on the agenda items. A PowerPoint presentation was displayed during the discussion.
Mr. Allen said the revised drawing shows the changes made since the lighting test was done. Lights were spaced out further as the result of an isolux diagram prepared by the vendor. The diagram was used to assess the distribution characteristics of the luminaire in addition to determining lighting levels. The lighting plan shows unshielded lights highlighted in green, back shielded lights in blue and bollard lights in orange. Mr. Allen said there won’t be a lot of light between poles but this is what the Design Review Committee (DRC) deems appropriate since there will be lighting from the houses, too. He suggested placing a blind box at any location where the planning commission thinks more light may need to be added. Mrs. Leland said considering the lighting from the Devault Food plant and other off site areas she thinks the lighting plan is not too dark. On the lighting tour she said there was a lot of light from the houses themselves, and the houses in Spring Oak will be near the road making it even more noticeable.
Mr. Allen asked if it would be easy to correct over-lighting, and Mr. Mostoller said no, except perhaps at the corners. The other areas are balanced by staggering the light standards 180-200 feet apart as is consistent with best practices and their own studies. Mr. Allen said it may come down to the vendor selected to install the lighting, as Spring City’s only option is to change the wattage. Other vendors use a different lighting system where light shines up and is reflected out and may have more options for adjusting intensity. Mr. Schrock said they found one vendor willing to replicate the Washington model, which is the model depicted in the Design Manual.
Mrs. Leland asked why there are no bollard lights in the southeastern corner of the site. Mr. Allen said the DRC didn’t want that area lit, and Mr. Westhafer agreed, saying people should use the sidewalks after dark and not the trails.
Mr. Westhafer asked how far apart the lights were in the mock up, and Mr. Allen said 180 feet. Mr. Westhafer asked why the street lights just off Rees Road were on the side with the houses instead of opposite them. Mr. Mostoller said it was due to the trail location and the fact that the first lot is vacant, and Mr. Schrock added that the monument is on the other side. Planning Commission members indicated they would still prefer it be moved to the other side of the road and Mr. Mostoller agreed to do so.
Mrs. Leland moved to recommend approval of the lighting plan based on relocating the lights along the access road to Rees Road to the opposite side, and Mr. Allen seconded. Mrs. Leland called for further discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Schrock noted that one of the supervisors noticed in the Design Manual that the height for the street poles is still shown at 16 feet and will be changed to 11 feet.
Mr. Allen said Mr. Westhafer and Tom Comitta met with representatives from Barton Partners to work on changes to the plan for the community center.
Mr. Schrock showed the traffic pattern for the drop off area adjacent to the barn (future Clubhouse), which allows for a one-way drop off lane separated from two way traffic. Two handicapped spots were added, and the median between the drop off lane and road has a recessed median with brick pavers and a retainer curb. These features define it as a drop off area, which can accommodate 3-4 cars. Mr. Mallich asked if a car can get around a parked car in that lane, and Mr. Allen said yes.
Mr. Schrock said they moved the bus stop closer to the barn. The bus stop will have a canopy that may be cantilevered. He then pointed out the grading in the recreation area and the elevations of the barn, with a garden area at the southern end.
Mrs. Leland pointed out two crosswalks that should be shown with brick pavers on the plan.
Mr. Westhafer asked for the height of the retaining wall adjacent to the copper beeches. Mr. Schrock said the highest point in the middle is about 6 feet, which Mr. Westhafer said will require a railing. Mr. Schrock said there will be fencing.
Mr. Schrock showed the location of ornamental aluminum fencing around the pool and noted that the decking around the pool had been reduced in size. A trail meanders to the picnic area, which includes picnic tables, gaming tables and grills. Mrs. Leland asked if there would be lighting there, and Mr. Mostoller said no, lighting would just be around the clubhouse as they don’t want to encourage night use of the playground.
Mr. Allen asked how late the pool would be open. Mr. Mostoller said probably until 8:00-8:30 p.m., as pools typically close a half hour before sunset. Mr. Allen said then it won’t need to be lit. Mr. Schrock agreed, noting that the building will have lights. Mrs. Leland said her family was at a park in Canada that allowed night use and it was very enjoyable. She suggested there be a few bollard lights. Mr. Westhafer said he could see this in a more urban area. Mr. Allen said the hours will be up to the HOA. Mr. Schrock said lighting could be added later since the electric service will be there. Mr. Churchill said he wouldn’t want the area lit up.
Mr. Mallich asked if they’d consider architectural lighting, or up lighting, to emphasize the ruins, but Mr. Mostoller said they don’t want to make the ruins stand out. During the day they’ll synthesize with their surroundings and not be noticeable from a distance.
Mr. Schrock showed the walls that will remain from the demolished farmhouse and other structures. He pointed out a set of existing steps that now lead to a pool. The pool will be removed but the steps will stay. Mr. Mostoller said they’ll help the pedestrian flow from the spring house.
Mr. Schrock said they may use black “horse fencing” around the retaining walls. Mr. Westhafer asked if the trees are within the limit of disturbance, and Mr. Mostoller said no, they’re significantly outside. Mr. Westhafer asked in that case, couldn’t they do 3:1 grading and eliminate the need for the walls, or have two shorter walls. Mrs. Leland said the green space would be more visible, although Mr. Allen said some play area would be lost. Mr. Mostoller said they’ll take a look at this suggestion, and if not too much ground is lost they will make the change. Mr. Churchill asked how far the trees are from the cartway, and Mr. Schrock said 30-40 feet. Mr. Schrock said the grading in this area will be one of the last things they design.
Mr. Schrock said Mr. Mallich recommended an anchor feature near the playground equipment, and they decided on a climbing rock. They’ll install a historical sign in the landscaped area that will match the signage elsewhere in the Township.
Mr. Schrock showed the front, rear, left and right elevations for the community center. The rear of the building is three stories. Mr. Allen said the side facing Whitehorse Road should be treated the same as the primary façade.
Mr. Schrock showed the ground floor plan that includes a fitness center and locker rooms. Mr. Allen asked if it will be open year round, and Mr. Mostoller said yes. The first floor will have a community room, card and meeting room, mail room, serving kitchen, foyer and vestibule. The second floor is a mezzanine. Mr. Schrock said the mail room is accessed separately from the other facilities. Mr. Westhafer suggested relocating the back door to the lockers to the corner of the building to save space. Mr. Schrock agreed this would be desirable.
Mrs. Leland asked what the pool decking will be made of, and Mr. Mostoller said they will investigate options. Mr. Churchill asked about security for the pool, and Mr. Mostoller showed the fencing and gates. The pool can’t be accessed through the community center without passing through gate checkpoints. Mr. Westhafer asked about handicapped access to the pool, and Mr. Mostoller indicated an area that will have a ramp. Mr. Westhafer didn’t like the location, and Mr. Mostoller said the area will be worked out when doing the final grading.
Mr. Mallich asked about an area with boulders that he thinks make nice anchors for the area. Mr. Mostoller said it will appear more like a rock garden.
Mrs. Leland asked how the pool was sized. Mr. Mostoller said it’s larger than for most communities as they are anticipating use from the future adjacent development on the Fillippo property.
Mr. Churchill asked about storage, and Mr. Mostoller said the auxiliary equipment for the pool will be stored in the basement of the spring house along with chlorine and other supplies.
Mrs. Leland moved to recommend approval of the recreation area plan, and Mr. Allen seconded. Mrs. Leland called for further discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Mostoller indicated that there is a playground in each phase of the plan and showed the type of equipment proposed. He referred to the review comments on Thomas Comitta Associates memo dated 6/22/10 regarding fencing, swings and mulch. He said they don’t plan to include fencing but agreed to add swings to the central play areas. He said they prefer to use mulch for the play areas rather than a unified synthetic material as recommended by TCA, primarily due to the lower maintenance costs. Mr. Mallich agreed that mulch can be just as safe if maintenance is kept up. However, in the long run, the rubber material is typically safer. Mr. Allen asked if a rubber surface would be impervious, and Mr. Mallich said this was a good point. He said mulch will be acceptable and is more concerned that the swings be added. Mr. Churchill said the play equipment looks uninteresting. He encouraged the applicants to ensure the equipment will be interesting enough. He saw a playground in Oregon where a water feature was included and it was an extremely attractive feature for the children. Mr. Schrock said they included numerous slides and parapets in the plans, both of which children love.
Mr. Allen asked if adding the swings will cause there to be too much equipment. Mr. Mostoller said the structure for the 5-12 year olds can be reduced in size. They’ll look into this. Mrs. Leland said the benches should be moved closer to the equipment, to which Mr. Mostoller agreed.
Mr. Mostoller showed a proposed wiffle ball field that includes the field, foul poles and a closed mesh fence. He asked for comments. Mr. Allen said he’s opposed to this use since it’s a structured play activity that the DRC already determined they didn’t want. That area of the site is already short of green space and should remain passive. He said there are already two big fields in the plan where games can be set up. Mr. Churchill agreed that for that location, a less structured green would be more usable. Mr. Mostoller said they’ll make the change.
Mrs. Leland asked if there should be some segregation between older and younger children, and there was some discussion on whether this was advisable. Generally the other members didn’t want separate areas for them.
Mrs. Leland asked if the playground equipment colors would be more earth-toned than the blues and reds shown in the presentation, and Mr. Schrock said yes.
Mrs. Leland moved to recommend approval of the playground plans, and Mr. Churchill seconded. Mrs. Leland called for further discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Mostoller showed a diagram for the main entrance feature off Whitehorse Road, which included stone columns with brown “horse fencing” links. Mr. Westhafer asked for the size of the features, and Mr. Mostoller said they have to prepare a scale drawing. Mr. Frens noted that the design wouldn’t be viewed head-on by commuters along the road so wouldn’t appear as large to them. Mrs. Leland asked about lighting, and Mr. Mostoller said there will be solar up lights.
Mr. Westhafer said there is a lot of plant screening shown in front of the fencing and asked if maintenance would be a concern. Also, he said the taller plants behind the fence are not needed. He said the entrance seems too articulated and busy compared to the more natural design of the development. Mr. Schrock said they need to have a rendering made. Mr. Mostoller said they’d like to hear feedback after the rendering is done. He added that a lot of the plants are grass varieties that need little maintenance and no mowing. Mr. Schrock said the landscaping will soften and appear more random over time.
Mr. Schrock then showed the smaller scaled entrance feature at Rees Road. Mr. Churchill said the central column is too big, and Mr. Schrock said it needs to rise above the fence but agreed it should be looked at. Mr. Allen asked why there’s only one monument on one side of the entrance road. Mr. Mostoller said most traffic will be coming in from Whitehorse Road, particularly when guests are traveling to the site. The monument will give them a sense of arrival. Mrs. Leland said the entrance features are much nicer than those shown previously.
Mr. Mallich said the height of the lettering may be too small at 3 inches. Mr. Mostoller said they’ll look at this when they scale the plan. He said he’s considering a dark granite background with gold lettering for the sign.
Mr. Churchill moved to recommend approval of the concept plan for the entrance features and Mr. Westhafer seconded. Mrs. Leland called for further discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Schrock said he spoke to a representative from the gas company and they were agreeable to the community gardens in their right of way provided they have ingress and egress to the area. Plant height is limited to 4 feet, so no corn will be allowed. The garden plan shows 76 raised beds that will be either 4 x 8 feet or 5 x 10 feet in size. Mr. Mostoller showed the location of the fence, which he said they may move as there is wasted space. They may have to take some beds out to do this. Mr. Mallich said they can move the beds closer together, but will need a compost area. Mr. Churchill asked if there will be a shed, and Mr. Mostoller said no. Mr. Schrock said water will be available from a “yard” hydrant at the street. The gardens would have the same chemical restrictions for fertilizer and weed killer as the rest of the development. The language for the restriction will be included in the HOA documents and will be modeled on the Deerfield HOA language.
Mr. Mallich suggested a pedestrian access gate be added, and Mr. Schrock agreed.
Mr. Mostoller said he’s concerned the gardens will take away from the look of the community if some of the plots become unkempt. Mr. Churchill said normally some of the participants take a leadership role to oversee this, and Mr. Allen added that the HOA can be involved. Mr. Mostoller said a small garden bed would fit on any of the lots, even at the townhouses, and he would prefer this to a community area that could become an eyesore. Mr. Westhafer said gardens need more sun than they can get in the individual backyards. He said vines could be planted around the fence, and a deposit required so that if an individual doesn’t maintain his plot, the HOA can clean it up.
Mr. Frens said there was discussion at the Board of Supervisors meeting last night that the fence should be 8 feet high instead of 6 feet because of the deer.
Mrs. Leland asked what material will be between the beds, and Mr. Allen said wood chips.
Mrs. Leland moved to recommend approval of the community garden plan with an 8 foot fence, and Churchill seconded. Mrs. Leland called for further discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Mostoller said most of the comments on Mr. Kohli’s review letter of 6/21/10 and TCA’s memo of 6/22/10 have been addressed. He referred to item #3.Y.iv on the TCA memo asking for detail for the pool, tot lot and wiffle bill area fencing. Mr. Mostoller said these are detailed in the Design Manual, but Mr. Mallich said more differentiation is needed.
Mr. Mostoller said item 3.G.iii (location and style of fencing and gates) have been addressed this evening as has item 3.G.v (play surface under play equipment).
Mr. Mallich said items 3.P (Planting Schedule), 3.P.ii-3.P.v (Plant Details) and 3Y.v (Privacy Fence along Devault Foods) need to be discussed. He said the privacy fencing looks discontinuous. Mr. Mostoller said it was done this way to preserve some viewshed. They’ll show this more clearly in the manual and connect the fencing in some other open spots.
Mr. Mallich said a bench referenced in item #3.B.B.i shouldn’t be a “player’s bench”.
Mr. Mostoller said they will be able to address all the comments.
Mr. Schrock referred to item #15 in Mr. Kohli’s review letter, which states that the applicant must provide proof that the owners of the Devault Packing Plant property and Smurthwaite property have been notified of the grading to be done within five feet of their properties. He said this will be provided, and that they can address the remainder of the review comments.
Mr. Frens said he’ll have review comments by Friday of this week.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 p.m.