Wendy Leland, Vice Chair, Michael Allen, Michael Richter, Andre von Hoyer, Bill Westhafer, Surender Kohli, P.E., Dan Wright, P.E., Tom Comitta, Ed Theurkauf, and Linda Csete. Paul Gluchanicz attended as a member of the public.

Call to Order:

7:32 p.m.


Mr. Kohli announced a meeting at his office tomorrow for the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors at 6:00 p.m. to meet his staff.

Approval of October 12, 2010 Minutes

The following corrections were made to the draft minutes for the October 12, 2010 meeting:

With these changes, Mr. Richter moved to approve the minutes of October 12, 2010 and Mr. Allen seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Amendments to the Codified Ordinance

Mrs. Leland said the proposed amendments to the codified ordinance were prepared by the Township Solicitor to make minor language corrections in the Zoning and Subdivision & Land Development portions of the recently adopted codified codes. The word “Penalties” was changed to “Preventive Remedies” and “Collection of Fines” to “Enforcement Remedies”. The Board has a hearing scheduled for December 6, 2010 to consider the amendments for adoption.

Mrs. Leland moved to recommend the amendments to the codified ordinance as drafted, and Mr. Richter seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Proposed Amendment to the Sign Ordinance

Mr. Comitta described the evolution of this ordinance, which originated with the Solicitor at the Board of Supervisors’ request. Mr. Motel then made some revisions that were discussed at the October 12th meeting. Further revisions resulted in Mr. Comitta’s draft dated 11/3/10, and included changes for consistency, minor housekeeping corrections, overall clarification and simplification as well as more extensive changes to Section 1404 relating to garage sales, real estate sales, special events and open houses. In Section 1405, the requirement for a permit was changed to include signs exceeding four square feet in area rather than two square feet.

The Planning Commission went through the ordinance step by step as follows.

Section Discussion
1401.A Mr. Allen thought the maximum sign area of four square feet may be too large for residential areas. Mr. Comitta said this has been in the ordinance since 1979 and the Planning Commission decided to leave this as is.
1401.B Mr. Allen asked for clarification that the requirement for any sign to be set back 1/3 the distance “of any required yard from any property line”. The language was changed to “of any required setback from any property line”.
1401.E & F Mrs. Leland thought the maximum sign area of 35 square feet for real estate sales and incidental signs is too large. Mr. Richter said some size is needed for real estate sales and he named the sign at the Ashford subdivision as an example. Mr. von Hoyer gave Deerfield as another example. The last sentence was changed from “Such unlighted signs having a sign area…” to “Such unlighted signs shall have a sign area…”
1402.B.2 Mr. Allen said allowing a sign area equal to two square feet for every one lineal foot of building frontage in commercial districts is too large. Mr. Comitta suggested changing this to allowing a sign area equal to one square foot for every one lineal foot and the Planning Commission agreed to this change.
1402.B.4 Mrs. Leland said allowing a height up to 35 feet for signs for a shopping center was too high. Mr. Comitta suggested changing this to 18 feet, similar to the height of signs at the Concord Town Center, and the Planning Commission agreed to this change.
1403.B Mr. Allen said this section, stating that any sign for commercial use in the industrial districts must be in accordance with the section on commercial signs is redundant as it’s covered in 1403.A. Mr. Comitta said this section can be stricken.
1404.A.2 Mrs. Csete pointed out a typo in the second line; “confirming sign” should be “conforming sign”.
1404.B.2.f Mrs. Leland suggested changing the requirement that signs be removed before the end of the day of the event (garage sale, yard sale and events) should be changed to “within two days after the event” to be consistent with other sections. Mr. Comitta suggested changing all to two days except open houses, for which the sign should be removed within two hours following the event.
1404.B.2.g Mr. Allen questioned the need for this section on Home Occupation Signs and Mr. Comitta agreed it could be removed as it’s covered elsewhere in the ordinance.
1404.B.2.h Mr. Richter said the requirement that the name of the realtor be included on open house signs was stricken at the October 12th meeting as well as requiring the day and time on the sign. These items will be removed.

Mr. Allen suggested removing the portion that says “The open house shall be attended by the seller or his representative during the entire advertised time of the open house” as this doesn’t relate to sign regulations. The members agreed.
1404.B.2.j Mr. Richter said the phrase “remove and impound” is redundant. Mr. Comitta will change it to “impound”.
1404.B.2.k Mr. Allen suggested adding “etc.” to the examples of security systems and warning signs, which now reads, “disclosing the existence of a security system, warning of the presence of a dog, no soliciting…”
1404.B.2.l Mr. Allen asked why private drive signs would be required to include the addresses of the residences using the driveway, and it was determined the language is interpreted as permitting this inclusion but not requiring it.
1404.B.2.m Mr. Allen pointed out there is no maximum size indicated for non-profit organization signs. Mr. Comitta suggested four square feet, to which the Commission agreed.
1404.C Mrs. Leland asked for clarification of the term “stand-pipe”, included in the sentence “No sign shall be attached to a stand-pipe or fire escape”. Mr. von Hoyer said a stand-pipe has a similar use as a hydrant and is usually attached to a building.
1404.D Mrs. Leland asked if the requirement that business signs within 50 feet of a residence be designed so as not to shine light on the residence or residential district would affect existing businesses in the township that abut residential districts. Mr. Westhafer said that disallowing light spillage is a typical requirement and it should remain in the ordinance.
1404.G Mr. Allen questioned why this section stating that no sign can be erected closer to any public park, church, school or public playground than any other structure is necessary. Mr. Comitta agreed it can be removed.
1404.H Mr. Richter said the maximum square footage for directional signs, ten square feet, is too large. Mr. Comitta suggested changing it to four square feet, which was agreed upon.
1404.H.2 Mr. Allen said this section is redundant and can be deleted. Mrs. Leland then suggested folding 1404.H.1 into 1404.H, which was agreed upon.
1404.J Mr. Comitta said the maximum size of 75 square feet for temporary or realtor signs advertising the sale of developments of ten or more acres is too large. He suggested changing this to 24 square feet. Mr. Westhafer said this is too liberal and suggested 12 square feet. No determination was made.
1404.L Mrs. Leland said the maximum size of 75 square feet for temporary signs, including signs for contractors, mechanics, painters and artisans is too large. This was changed to 12 square feet. She also pointed out a typo, where “anyone” should be changed to “any one”.
1404.M Mr. Allen said this section providing requirements for lighted signs should reference the lighting ordinance.
1404.O.5 Mrs. Leland asked for a change to the awkward language “If repairs and corrections are not timely made…”
1405 Mr. Allen confirmed the Planning Commission agreed to change the sign size at which a permit will be required from two square feet to four square feet.
1405.C The requirement for a liability insurance policy or indemnity bond for $5,000 for signs projecting over public property was discussed and the Commission decided to leave it as stated.
1405.E.1 Mr. Comitta said the reference to six square feet should be changed to four square feet to be consistent with Section 1401.A for signs in residential districts.
1405.E.3 Mrs. Leland asked for clarification of what a sign of “semi-public nature” is.
1405.E.4 The Planning Commission discussed changing this reference to six square feet to four square feet for ground signs advertising real estate sale or rental but decided to leave it at six square feet. They reduced the maximum of 35 square feet for signs in non-residential districts to 12 square feet.

Mrs. Leland said the sign ordinance will be further revised by Mr. Comitta to incorporate the discussion this evening and the new draft will be reviewed at the December 14th meeting.

Solar Energy Ordinance

Mr. Allen said he’s not comfortable with the recommendation made to the Board of Supervisors to adopt the solar energy ordinance as last revised. He spoke to Mr. Kohli prior to the meeting as to whether the Township could impose a moratorium on solar energy system applications for a few months while the Planning Commission revisits the ordinance. One item he was concerned about was the provision that the Supervisors can approve a waiver to allow solar panels in the front yard. Mrs. Csete said this is in line with the ordinance on other accessory structures, which are permitted in the front yard if a waiver is approved. Mr. von Hoyer said in that case, it’s redundant to include it in the solar ordinance. The Planning Commission was in agreement that Mr. Allen contact the Solicitor to determine whether a moratorium is an option.

Proposed Wind Energy Ordinance

Dan Wright circulated revised copies of the draft wind energy ordinance for review, including two marked up versions and a clean version. He suggested there be just a general discussion this evening as more input is needed as well as research on his part.

Mrs. Leland said she looked at some ordinances from other areas, in particular Minnesota, and noticed they have various definitions for wind generators but don’t use the term “windmill” but terms such as “wind energy conversion system” or “turbine”. Mr. Westhafer said the term “small wind systems” was used in a publication he read.

Mr. Wright referred to the marked up version of the draft ordinance, and addressed some comments from the Planning Commissioners. With regard to Mr. Allen’s comments:

Mr. Wright referred to Section 2302.A.2, which states residential systems shall not exceed 10 KW, which needs more research as it seems excessive.

Mr. von Hoyer asked whether Section 2302.A.3 should restrict lots of all sizes to only one windmill. Mr. Westhafer agreed this doesn’t make sense, since one windmill on one acre could look worse than multiple windmills on a larger property. Mr. Wright said allowing one windmill per property was approached as a starting point.

One of Mr. Westhafer’s comments questioned whether the 35 foot height restriction in Section 2302.A.5. is practical. Mr. Wright agreed and said he’d need guidance on this issue. The 35 – 45 foot height restrictions were taken from other municipal ordinances and may not make sense.

Mr. Westhafer said the Wind Energy Association provides information on smaller compact units that may be effective in this area. Mr. Richter said there are a few homes in the Allentown area that have this type of system with 2-3 foot blades. Mr. von Hoyer said there should be language in the ordinance “reserving the right to review new technologies”, noting a football-shaped system from Europe that has two spinning blades.

Mr. Richter suggested inviting an expert in wind power to speak to the Planning Commission, possibly by reaching out to one of the local companies. The commission members agreed, and Mr. Wright will try to find someone for the January 11th meeting. In the meantime, he’ll continue research.

Proposed Amendment to Zoning Ordinance – Parts 2 and 16 – Vehicular Ingress and Egress

Mrs. Csete stated that the Planning Commission was given the opportunity but opted not to formally review the proposed ordinance to include streets in the definition of structure in Part 2 of the Zoning Ordinance and to amend Part 16 with regard to vehicle ingress and egress to require that driveways and streets comply with side yard setback requirements except in the case of flag lots. Instead the ordinance was circulated to the Planning Commissioners with a request that any comments be returned directly to the Solicitor. The ordinance will be considered by the Board of Supervisors at a hearing scheduled for their December 6, 2010 meeting.

Mr. Allen moved to recommend the proposed amendment to the Zoning Ordinance, Parts 2 and 16 regarding Vehicular Ingress and Egress, and Mrs. Leland seconded. She called for discussion.

Paul Gluchanicz, Charlestown Road, said he’s concerned about the change in the definition of structure to include driveways and the reference to the terms “building” and “structure” used throughout the Zoning Ordinance, sometimes interchangeably. A change to the definition would affect net lot area and impervious coverage calculations and prohibit driveways in setbacks and eased areas. He suggested the portion of the definition of structure that states “Buildings, streets, and any other improvement shall be considered a structure, however that portion of a street which lies within any yard and is necessary and suitable for ingress, egress and access to and from the interior of any Lot shall not be considered a structure for the purposes of this definition…” be amended to include driveways. Having recently gone through the subdivision process himself, he said he is concerned the change in the ordinance could affect someone in a similar situation. He asked what the intent of the change is. Mr. Kohli said it related to the way roads in Planned Residential Developments are configured and shouldn’t affect people with properties similar to Mr. Gluchanicz’s. Mr. Allen confirmed with Mr. Kohli that driveways are defined as structures in the existing ordinance and this isn’t being changed. He suggested that Mr. Gluchanicz attend the Board of Supervisors’ meeting on December 6th for clarification.

Mrs. Leland called the vote, and all were in favor.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Township Administrator