TUESDAY, JULY 19, 2011


Wendy Leland, Chairman, Bill Westhafer, Vice Chairman, Michael Allen, Michael Churchill, Andre von Hoyer, Randy Patry, P.E., Dan Wright, P.E., Tom Comitta, and Linda Csete. No members of the public attended.

Call to Order:

7:35 p.m.

Announcements - None

Approval of April 12, 2011 & June 14, 2011 Minutes

Mr. Churchill moved to approve the minutes of April 12, 2011 and Mrs. Leland seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Mr. Churchill moved to approve the minutes of June 14, 2011 and Mrs. Leland seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


(Mr. Motel arrived at this time.)

Great Valley School District – Lighting Plan for Bus Complex at Charlestown Elementary School

Richard Krumrine, Superintendent of Buildings & Grounds for the Great Valley School District and Chris VanCampen, P.E., Consolidated Engineers, were present to request a review and recommendation for the lighting plan at the Charlestown Elementary School bus parking lot dated 6/28/11.

Mr. VanCampen referred to Mr. Kohli’s review letter dated 7/11/11, noting that items #1 and #2 need no response. For Item #3 he distributed additional detail for Fixture SC demonstrating that the illumination doesn’t exceed 0.1 foot-candles at the property line.

For item #4, Mr. VanCampen said he can comply with the minimum separation of 60 inches from the rear of vehicles to poles and will revise the plan accordingly.

Mr. VanCampen said item #5 presents a problem as they are unable to maintain the minimum average foot-candle level for the parking lot at 0.5 but can maintain 0.2 and they believe this is sufficient. He said 0.5 is a level designated when security is a concern, which isn’t the case at this location. Mr. Krumrine added that the higher minimum isn’t needed for the safety of the drivers, and they can save money operating at the lower intensity.

Mr. Churchill asked if this requirement can be waived by the Board of Supervisors, and Mr. Kohli said no, since it’s part of the zoning ordinance, they would need to obtain a variance from the Zoning Hearing Board.

Mr. Motel said the Planning Commission conducted a lighting tour in several areas, including West Chester Borough in recent years with lighting consultant Stan Stubbe. He said at 0.2 foot-candles he could read a paperback. He agreed that the higher intensity would cost more money for no good reason.

Item #6 on Mr. Kohli’s letter listed the operating times for the lights as between dusk and 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. to dawn, controlled by an astronomic time clock. Mr. Krumrine said when lighting is not needed in the evening the lights can be turned off earlier.

Mr. Motel moved to recommend approval of the lighting plan dated 6/28/11 for the Charlestown Elementary School bus parking lot subject to the comments on Mr. Kohli’s review letter dated 7/11/11 and recommending the lower light intensity of 0.2 foot-candles for the minimum average level. Mr. Richter seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Mrs. Leland asked if this minimum level in the ordinance should be reconsidered. Mr. Comitta suggested the requirement be referenced in the Zoning Ordinance but specified in the Subdivision & Land Development Ordinance so the Board has the ability to waive it without requiring the applicant to apply to the Zoning Hearing Board for a variance. Mrs. Leland will consult with the supervisors and solicitor on this matter.

Exeter Final Land Development Plan – 3222 Phoenixville Pike

Jason Honesty, Denise Yarnoff, Esq. and Neal Camens, P.E. were present to discuss the final plan for the addition of a new parking lot at the site plus a revision to the existing lot at Exeter LLC.

Ms. Yarnoff explained that the plan received preliminary approval last summer, and they can now comply with all the items on the final plan as noted in the consultants’ review letters. She began with Mr. Comitta’s review memorandum dated 7/13/11 and the only item outstanding is to clarify the note stating that an inventory of the trees to be removed must be provided. The note should also state that the inventory must be submitted to the Township for review. Ms. Yarnoff said they will comply.

Ms. Yarnoff said most issues have been resolved on Mr. Kohli’s review letter dated 7/6/11 and addressed the following:

Item #4: Steve Yuhas at the Valley Forge Sewer Authority agreed the sewer easement can be relocated as needed. Ms. Yarnoff noted there is no piping in the present location.

Item #5: Will comply by adding a copy of the Zoning Hearing Board order to the plans indicating that a variance was approved allowing parking rows with more than ten stalls.

Item #6: Ms. Yarnoff said they are still waiting for the issuance of an NPDES Permit from the DEP.

Item #7: They will comply with revising the note on Sheet 3 to indicate there are 187 parking spaces.

Item #8 & 9: Ms. Yarnoff explained that staging was broken up into 4 stages to accommodate more or less office space as portions of the building are rented out, and in order to post security for one stage at a time. She said this is permitted by waiver in the SLDO. Mr. Kohli said more detail is needed on the stages. Mr. Camens agreed to add a narrative and include what conditions trigger moving to the next stage.

Mr. Churchill asked if there is any hardship to the Township in allowing the four stages, and Mr. Wright said no, since the intent is to provide for relatively equal phases of construction.

Item #10: Ms. Yarnoff said due to the slow market and the staging, they wished to extend the time period for construction of the improvements to 15 years rather than the 3 years allowed by the SLDO.

Items #11 through #13: Applicant will comply regarding executing agreements, posting security and adding a note to the Overall Site Plan.

Mr. Motel asked about maneuverability for first responders, which was brought up at prior meetings. Mr. Camens said a tractor trailer can maneuver, so fire trucks could too. Mr. Kohli said the template was reviewed and found to be acceptable.

Mr. Westhafer asked if the stages will go in the sequence provided, and Mr. Camens said they definitely know about Phase I. Since the NPDES Permit is specific in its requirements, this order is likely to be followed, although stages 4 and 3 may switch. Mr. Westhafer said this should be noted on the plan, and Mr. Camens agreed to add one.

Ms. Yarnoff then referred to Stan Stubbe’s lighting review in his letter dated 7/13/11 and said the only issue is with Item #2, which states that building-mounted luminaires are not permitted to light parking areas. The alternative would be to mount a pole right next to the building, which isn’t reasonable. Mrs. Leland asked how long the arm is on the fixture, and Mr. Camens said 2 feet, and it has a shield and can direct the light downward. Mr. Richter agreed it makes sense to allow the light to be mounted on the building, and Mrs. Leland added it would be less expensive.

Mr. Richter moved to recommend the Final Plan for Exeter 3222 Phoenixville Pike dated 6/10/11 subject to the comments on Mr. Kohli’s review letter dated 7/6/11, Thomas Comitta Associates’ review memorandums dated 7/13/11 and 7/14/11 and Mr. Stubbe’s review letter dated 7/13/11. There was no second.

Mrs. Leland called for discussion. Mr. Comitta said the Planning Commission must make a recommendation on the request to extend the time period for making the improvements after approval. After some discussion, the Planning Commission and applicant agreed on a 10 year period. Mr. Richter amended his motion to add this recommendation to it so the motion was now stated to recommend the Final Plan for Exeter 3222 Phoenixville Pike dated 6/10/11 subject to the comments on Mr. Kohli’s review letter dated 7/6/11, Thomas Comitta Associates’ review memorandums dated 7/13/11 and 7/14/11 and Mr. Stubbe’s review letter dated 7/13/11 and to include the Planning Commission’s recommendation to allow a 10 year period for the construction of improvements following final plan approval.

Mr. Churchill seconded the motion. Mr. Motel called for further discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Stormwater Management Ordinance – revised since 6/14/11 meeting

Mr. Wright said he presented the amendments at the last Planning Commission meeting and that, along with discussion, took two hours. The revised ordinance meets the Valley Creek Watershed plan and DEP requirements. He checked with the County and DEP as to whether there is a deadline for the Township to pass the ordinance, and they indicated that as long as the township demonstrates they’re working on it there’s no problem.

Mr. Motel said there were previous changes discussed by the Planning Commission two years ago that were never incorporated into the SMO and aren’t included in the new revision. The Planning Commission wanted to include design principles for above ground facilities, and the existing and proposed ordinances require all stormwater management to be subsurface. He said this was against the recommendation of the Planning Commission.

Mr. Wright said if the Planning Commission members would like to mark up the ordinance or if they have suggestions they can transmit them to him before the ordinance is discussed further at the August 1, 2011 Supervisors’ meeting.

Mr. Westhafer questioned the minimum disturbance area of 100 square feet and how it compares to other townships’. Mr. Wright said he’s seen many ordinances with a minimum area of 500 square feet. Mr. Comitta said most are triggered at 500 although he’s seen a range of 250 to 500 square feet.

Mr. Motel said the SMO doesn’t distinguish between a small lot and a large one, and the impact of a 100 square foot shed, for example, would differ accordingly.

Mr. Churchill said the trigger for SMO requirements might be done in stages, triggering it at 100 square feet for a ¼ acre lot for example, but triggering it at a higher square footage for a 2 acre lot. Mr. Westhafer said it could be done as a percentage of the lot size, for example, covering 1% of a lot. Mr. Wright said he’d think about this, and also consider whether 100 square feet minimum is too low. Mr. Comitta said he believes London Grove Township’s ordinance goes by percentage.

Mr. Comitta asked if there is a clause in the ordinance to permit an above ground option. Mr. Wright said if it can be justified, the Supervisors can waive the underground requirement.

Mr. Motel said there should be a choice of system if water quality, recharge, and aesthetics can be demonstrated. If the Board is unsatisfied, they can then require an underground system. He said if the mandate was reversed, that all stormwater systems are required to be rain gardens, no one would agree with that. Mr. Churchill said he also disagrees with the “one size fits all” approach, and if an above ground system can function as well and provide aesthetic benefits, a person should have that option. He further noted that underground systems are very expensive. Mr. Motel agreed, and said long term maintenance must also be taken into account, and it’s difficult to assess the function of an underground system. Mr. Kohli said the property owner or HOA would be responsible for this inspection.

Mr. Westhafer asked if an underground system can fill up with silt, and Mr. Kohli said yes, but they can be flushed and cleaned. Mr. Wright said inlets can be installed to capture silt before it goes into the system, and new NPDES regulations require all infiltration beds to be reviewed and certified by an engineer.

Mr. Richter said it’s unreasonable to impose the same inspection requirements on residential property owners and small HOAs as for commercial and industrial sites.

Mr. Motel said people should be given options for stormwater management.

Mrs. Leland asked if all the Valley Creek Watershed plan requirements are incorporated in the proposed revisions, and Mr. Wright said yes. He said he’ll be presenting the ordinance to the Supervisors at their August 1st meeting, and again asked for any comments from the Planning Commission prior to that date. He said the ordinance will be reviewed further by the Planning Commission after the Board has discussed it.

Mr. Churchill asked if the Township receives stormwater management inspection reports, and Mr. Kohli said at present only an as-built is required. The new ordinance will require annual reports. Mr. Motel questioned this, saying that section 23-401.E indicates annual reports are already required. He asked if this is required under state law, and Mr. Kohli said yes. Mr. Wright said if even a small portion of a Township is in the Valley Creek Watershed, which is the case with Charlestown, the revisions must be enacted.

Mr. Wright said he’ll do the following before August 1st:

Mrs. Leland said the Planning Commission had difficulty in the past defining aesthetics for above ground systems. Mr. von Hoyer said the ordinance could allow a default to underground if the Township can’t agree on an above ground design. Mr. Churchill said people won’t want to work out an above ground plan if they sense they may not get the waiver, due to the cost. Mr. Comitta said there are more options to explore today, such as bioswales and rain gardens.

Schedule 7 Year Review of Agricultural Security Area – two new parcels have applied for inclusion

Mrs. Csete said the Supervisors appointed the following individuals to the Agricultural Security Area Committee to conduct the seven year review:

Sharon Fisher – resident/farmer
Carl Fisher – resident/farmer
Bill Andersen - farmer
Mike Rodgers - supervisor
Hugh Willig – farmer/supervisor

This committee, along with the Planning Commission, must review whether the existing ASA parcels continue to be appropriate and to review new applications to determine whether they are eligible to join the ASA. The two groups then make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, who will schedule a hearing this fall.

Mrs. Csete said the ASA committee can schedule its review concurrently with the Planning Commission, which is how it was done seven years ago. The Planning Commission scheduled the review for its September 13th meeting.

Ordinance Amendments – Stream Valley Restrictions and Wetland and Riparian Forest Buffers

This item was tabled.

Summer Scheduling

Mrs. Leland polled the group and the majority is available for the August meeting. Mrs. Csete noted, however, that the deadline for plan submissions was today, and nothing was received. Mrs. Leland said she’ll decide by Friday if the meeting will be cancelled.

Design for Common Elements in Devault

Mr. Motel said the Planning Commission should develop a design plan for the common elements in the 5 TND areas in Devault. Guidance should be provided on the appearance of the Turnpike rock wall, the underpasses and the playing fields. The other members agreed.

Mr. Westhafer said they should start with a base plan that defines the limits of the area all on one document, and then create an inventory of items to layer onto it. The designs for the known developments, Spring Oak and Pickering Grant (Tyler Griffin) can be included. Mr. Churchill said this plan would create value to the area. Mr. Motel said he met with Tom Fillippo recently, who indicated he may get started soon with Area 2 plans.

Mrs. Leland asked who should do the work. Mr. Comitta said he and Dan Mallich can work with a subcommittee and decide how to proceed. He said he’s met with Concord Township on a similar task, and Mr. Mallich has also done this before. Mr. Motel said Perry Morgan can add elements to the base.

Mrs. Leland appointed Mike Richter, Andre von Hoyer and Bill Westhafer to the subcommittee, and requested a proposal from Mr. Comitta.


Mrs. Leland moved to adjourn and Mr. Richter seconded. Mrs. Leland adjourned the meeting at 9:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Township Manager
sheet, 7/19/2011