Planning Commission: Wendy Leland, Chair, Bill Westhafer, Vice Chairman, Michael Allen, Michael Churchill, and Andre von Hoyer. Andy Motel and Michael Richter were absent.
Consultants: Daniel Wright, P.E., and Thomas Comitta
Staff: Linda Csete, Township Manager, Lisa Gardner, Recording Secretary
Public: See Attached List
Mrs. Leland made the following announcements:
After a minor change, Mr. Westhafer moved to approve the October 8, 2013 minutes, and Mr. von Hoyer seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion, there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
This item was removed from the agenda. Mrs. Leland said Frank and Kim Boyle purchased the duplex building at the base of the Turnpike Slip Ramp and will submit a sketch plan proposing to convert the two units to office space.
Mr. Michael Schurr, of JP Orleans Homes, was present to discuss a revised phasing plan for Spring Oak. He distributed a modified Master Site Plan portraying the same amount of units (184), but with a change clarifying the Rees Road cart way egress. Phase 1 is shown as yellow, Phase 2 Blue, and Phase 3 as Red. While he expects that all three phases shown will be completed as one project, the lender requires a 3 phase separation, instead of the original 2 phases. The developer has the right to interchange the building order of the last two phases.
The Township’s concern is that each phase must stand on its own in case Phases 2 or 3 aren’t completed as planned. Mr. Wright reviewed the plan and stated that Phase 1 can stand on its own and the escrow account required by the Township would be sufficient to complete any unfinished aspects. He felt all changes had merits and found the new revised Plan satisfactory. The Township Solicitor is currently reviewing it.
Mr. Schurr said there was an added benefit to the change in Quigley and Milton Roads, because it broadened the range of units available. After an approximate 70% committed point in Phase 1, the developer plans to begin permitting for Phase 2, estimated roughly at 14 months later.
Mrs. Leland moved to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that the Revised Phasing Plan for Spring Oak be approved. Mr. Allen seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Allen suggested two additions to the Recycling Ordinance. First, he would like Township wide construction recycling, the language to be included in the actual Recycling Ordinance. However, a place to send the recycled items needs to be located nearby. Next, he suggested retail establishments should be prohibited from using plastic bags and should use only compostable or recyclable containers for drinks or take out. More discussion will take place after Mrs. Leland contacts the Solicitor regarding his draft of the Recycling Ordinance to comply with Act 101 requirements.
Mr. Lance Altemose and Mr. Andrew Eberwein, P.E. of E.B. Walsh & Associates Inc. were present to discuss a revised Preliminary Subdivision Plan dated October 2, 2013, for Carol Altemose and Lance Altemose. They are proposing 19 new lots on their property (of approximately 58 gross acres) at Whitehorse and Ashenfelter Road. There are also three houses on the Homestead parcel and the fourth is a single ownership, not included in the development. Mrs. Leland asked that this single home be delineated on the drawings; Mr. Eberwein agreed to put a special notation on the plans.
Mr. Eberwein then referred to Mr. Comitta’s letter dated November 1, and essentially told Planning Commission Members he would comply with the points listed. Mr. Eberwein referred to his drawing reflecting shape and design changes since the last discussion. Major changes show the removal of the cul-de sac (Page 6, 7), a road alteration, the addition of flag lots, and also landscaping/hardscaping additions. A few points in particular were mentioned at length.
Public Water was an item in need of clarification for Mr. Eberwein (Page 7, 8a). Mr. Eberwein and Mr. Altemose had requested direction on this item at their most recent appearance to the Board, but the Board made no decision. Mr. Eberwein said that there are neighboring wells that have contaminant problems; public water is available since there are two mains on Whitehorse Road already, and using this water puts more water into the system. From a public safety view, he told Members it just made sense to use public water. Mr. Comitta said if public water is available, townships usually require hookup for public health reasons. No individual water treatment systems are necessary and there is no worry about wells being contaminated. He also said public water would not affect the density of this development.
Mr. Eberwein was hesitant to put sand mound systems in the properties, especially in the front of some yards, but instead suggested “invisible” Drip Systems. Still considered experimental by the DEP, these can be used if an alternate system site is designated. Mr. Wright said he would discuss language with the Solicitor that may allow Mr. Eberwein to put the systems on the drawing as sand mounds but actually put in Drip Systems approved as part of the building permit application process. Mr. Wright stated that the Dept. of Health has permitted these systems in the Township.
Lots 18 and 19 continue to be a source of discussion. Since the last visit, some trees have fallen (Page 5, 4.) and the orientation of the homes has changed (Page 3, 2.D.). Again, the developer stated he will comply with all the points on the letter from Mr. Comitta and follow the wishes of the Township.
On the Advance GeoServices letter, dated November 6, 2013, item 10, the Township wants to review the documents of ownership and maintenance plans for the Open Space. Mr. Eberwein said he would comply. Whitehorse Estates has received Conditional Use approval for placement of the stormwater facilities in the Open Space. Item 11 still was not satisfied, so Mr. Eberwein agreed to move a few more driveways away from the setback.
Mr. von Hoyer requested the Environmental Impact Assessment Report. Mr. Westhafer suggested moving the plantings away from the corner of Ashenfelter and Whitehorse Roads and placing them in groupings as in a revision drawing, dated February 4, 2013 provided by Mr. Comitta (without the embedded plants). Other items discussed from the Advanced GeoServices letter include;
After meeting with Mr. Wright to perform more “house cleaning”, Mr. Eberwein plans on returning to the Planning Commission in January of 2014.
The Planning Commission finalized its review of the TAC’s Land Use Assumptions Report for a 6.8 square mile Transportation Service Area within Charlestown Township. Review comments have been received from both the County Planning Commission and the Phoenixville Regional Planning Commission, but the School District and adjacent municipalities have not responded.
At the October Planning Commission Meeting, Mr. Motel asked Mr. Comitta to verify the easement overlays for growth potential at Swiss Pines. Planning Commission Members thought the maps may be overstating building ability. Mr. Comitta confirmed that the maps used were correct and the data taken from Swiss Pines was accurate.
The Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee and the County questioned the population calculations. Mr. Comitta told Members that Mr. Heinrich looked at the approved plans for the next 10 years and split the figures since some projects wouldn’t happen within the decade. Mr. Comitta stated that market reality will indeed affect the projections, and therefore a review can be done anytime the Township feels it may be necessary to adjust the Impact Fee.
Mr. Churchill asked about repercussions if the estimate is wrong. Mr. Comitta responded that in the smaller subdivisions it wouldn’t be an issue. But in the large developments, it would cost developers a lot more and they could question the fee amount. The pending $1000 Impact Fee amount, at first may seem a bit high for Township population estimates, but the Pass through Trips warrant the amount and justify the future improvements in Charlestown’s infrastructure.
Mr. von Hoyer moved to recommend the Land Use Assumptions Report dated September 10, 2013 to the Board of Supervisors and Mr. Westhafer seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
The TAC hearing has been scheduled for November 14th, after which time the Board of Supervisors can entertain a motion to adopt The Land Use Assumptions Report at their December 2, 2013 meeting. Mr. Comitta will address the Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee and the County’s response letters at the Hearing. Charlestown Township needs to adopt the Act 209 Plan by spring to confirm the $1000 Impact Fee.
Mr. Allen briefly discussed whether there would be a way to streamline submissions for small properties in the TND 2 and 3 areas.
Mr. Comitta said during codification of the Zoning Ordinance, two sections were found to be not applicable to TND 2 and 3. Part 22 sections 27-2210 and 27-2213. Mrs. Csete will fold this into the next housekeeping opportunity for revising the ordinance.
Mrs. Leland adjourned the meeting at 9:47 p.m. The Planning Commission’s next scheduled meeting is December 10, 2013 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.