Planning Commission: Wendy Leland, Chair, Michael Allen, Michael Churchill, Michael Richter and Andre von Hoyer. Bill Westhafer, Vice Chairman, and Andy Motel were absent.
Consultants: Daniel Wright, P.E., and Thomas Comitta.
Staff: Linda Csete, Township Manager, Lisa Gardner, Recording Secretary
Public: See Attached List
There were no announcements at this time.
Mrs. Leland called for nominations for the position of Chairperson of the Planning Commission for 2014. Mr. Churchill nominated Wendy Leland for Chair and Mr. Richter seconded. There being none further, the nominations were closed by Mrs. Leland. Mrs. Leland called the vote, all were in favor.
Mrs. Leland called for nominations for the position of Vice Chairman of the Planning Commission for 2014. Mrs. Leland nominated Bill Westhafer for Vice Chairman and Mr. Allen seconded. There being none further, Mrs. Leland closed the nominations. Mrs. Leland called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.
Meetings were suggested again to be held on the second Tuesday of each month with the fourth Tuesday to be held in reserve to be scheduled as needed, and all meetings to be held at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, at 7:30 P.M.
Mr. Allen moved to approve the 2014 Planning Commission Meeting Schedule with the exception of April. Since the Middle School is not available on April 8th, the alternate date of April 22nd is proposed. Mr. Richter seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion, there being none called the vote. All were in favor.
Mrs. Leland moved to approve the January 28, 2014 minutes with minor changes, and Mr. Richter seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion, there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mrs. Leland and Mr. Comitta will review the pending minutes and distribute them to Members for comment. Mr. Comitta distributed a document dated 2/11/14 entitled February 8th, 2014 Strategic Planning Session “Take-Aways”. At the next meeting, Members will discuss, add any omissions from the 16 point list, then begin to prioritize.
Mr. Tim Townes of J. Loew & Associates presented an update on the 128 room Hotel/Retail plans for Lot 1 of the Commons at Great Valley, now called the General Warren Village. The project will have a village style appearance and be in full compliance with the TND Ordinance. It will have parking in the interior, with the buildings surrounding the parking. Mr. Townes was looking for recommendation to the Board of Supervisors, so they could submit a Final Application for land development.
Mr. Tim Kiser of Bernardon Haber Holloway Architects PC, gave a more in depth description of the retail aspect and displayed concept drawings with a historical village architecture including gables highlighting the entranceways and individual shops, contemporary store fronts, and a plaza. He had drawings from different viewpoints showing Members;
Mr. Comitta thought General Warren Village designers, along with Mr. Frens and Mr. Westhafer;
Mr. Churchill suggested shade trees, a fountain, or somewhere to sit when it is a hot summer day. Members were pleased that the air conditioner units were recessed and painted in corresponding colors to blend in, and that the rooftops units and vents will be hidden by decorative cornices, etc. He also suggested bicycle accessibility
Mr. Richter wonder about the functional aspects, and questioned the location of service entrances, deliveries, and dumpsters, especially since there was no “back” of the restaurants/buildings where these type of things are usually hidden. Mr. Townes said the road was 24’ wide and deliveries would be through the front doors, since the shops themselves were rather small. Members were unclear how a developer could have a restaurant with 4 attractive sides because there was outdoor seating (as shown in the drawings). Mr. Allen felt some type of restrictions would need to insure this was going to work.
There was intent to design this while reducing the (square shape) mass of the building, and its likelihood of being seen in entirety from Route 29. To do this, designers used a mix of roof styles, cornices, and varying window sizes with a historic flare. Ms. Elena Mangigian said the hotel will be visible from the Turnpike and will not be visible from the traffic light at Route 29. But, there will be monument signs, etc. The walkway connecting the hotel to the retail zone is still in design stages.
The design of this Marriott still needs to be approved by Marriott, and it is in this process now. The floor plan, contemporary core design, and overall feel of the building’s interior, has not been discussed by the Planning Commission Members.
Mr. Allen moved to recommend the General Warren Village (Marriott Hotel and supporting retail zone) to the Board of Supervisors for approval. Mrs. Leland seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion, there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Lance Altemose, Mrs. Carol Altemose, and Mr. Andrew Eberwein, P.E. of E.B. Walsh & Associates Inc. were present to discuss a revised Preliminary Subdivision Plan dated 1/27/14 for 19 lots on 58 acres at Whitehorse and Ashenfelter Roads.
Mr. Eberwein began with stating they are proposing public water.
Mr. Eberwein addressed comments to items from Dan Wright’s letter dated 2/11/14 pertaining to the previous plan:
Comment 42 through comment 45 are new and therefor have not been resolved. They relate to a recent change in the Homestead parcel. The parcel was originally 4 houses when first shown to the Planning Commission. Mr. Eberwein said Mr. Altemose made a Homestead parcel change because he wanted his property separated from the Homestead. Therefor if Mrs. Altemose wanted to sell the Homestead (now of 3 homes), then he could still stay. It is more difficult to sell a 4 home parcel and also difficult to maintain. He will be checking for a deed and driveway easement (so he can be sure to always have a right-of-way) on his purchase papers from the 1990’s.
The exclusion of the parcel was not discussed in prior visits to the Commission. The removal of the property that surrounds Mr. Altemose’s home involves a sizable percentage of the open space for the development. The initial Member comments/suggestions were as below.
The entrance road divides land that is to be maintained by the HOA on one side and the Homestead owners on the other. The Members were concerned that as one entered the development, the 2 sides could look very different due to maintenance differences, or structures (for example fencing). But they did not want to restrict fencing, in case a future owner wanted horses. Mr. Comitta said he believed the problem was the absence of a continuous open space and a structure would split it up more. He suggested a setback on the plan to restrict interruption of view.
Members said the new owner has the ability to destroy the open space visual and restrict pedestrians. They would like the development residents to be able to access the creek. The Commission does not want the open space in jeopardy/interrupted but seamless as it was when they first saw the subdivision as a unified piece.
Mr. Wright said the Altemose’s were not proposing a development to protect the look of what is there now. There will have to be some “giving up” of open space, or the Homestead look, in any type of development.
Members said there should be at least a trail easement. But Mr. Altemose does not want people accessing his property or walking around the creek. Members said the original idea was for people to be able to access it.
Mr. Allen and Mr. Churchill questioned Mr. Altemose and were told the open space deletion does not keep this project from meeting Open Space Ordinance requirements. Mr. Churchill said now the amount of open space for 19 homes is low.
Members felt the project no longer captured the intent of the Ordinance, by dividing it into 2 subdivisions that no longer relate to each other. As stated in the Ordinance, Mr. Allen and Mr. Churchill want the sections to work together.
Mr. Comitta provided details from his 2/7/14 review letter and in many instances deferred to the Township Engineer. Other comments are as follows:
Mr. Allen said there would be no recommendation for the Preliminary Application tonight.
Mrs. Leland announced that the Planning Commission attended their Strategic Planning Session on February 8, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Chester County Historical Building in West Chester and thanked Tom Comitta for his efforts and volunteering his time. Mr. Comitta distributed 2 documents regarding “Specific Criteria” as mentioned at the Session. He also distributed 2 maps and a transect mentioned at the Session. Mr. Allen added that the Session was very helpful and thanked Mrs. Leland and Mr. Comitta for organizing the seminar.
Mr. Comitta said although Fillippo Residential is on the March Agenda, they may not be ready.
Mr. Wright said Spring Oak’s sewer line may be done by May/June.
Mrs. Csete announced the next Board of Supervisors Meeting is March 3rd; they will not make up the missed February Meeting.
Mr. Comitta said the recent Act 209 Transportation Committee Meeting was changed to conference call style due to the weather.
Mrs. Leland asked if any members want to become a member of the PA Planning Association. Mr. Comitta will send the link to Mrs. Csete so Charlestown Planning Commission Member(s) could receive literature.
Mr. Comitta mentioned the topic “To Continue to a date certain” to Mrs. Csete and again to Members, Mr. Thompson will also be contacted regarding this tool.
Members agreed that there was a need for a liaison with East Whiteland.
In the future, invitations for seminars like the Strategic Planning Session will be extended to Rick Reese and Hugh Willig.
In the future, Mr. Frens needs to be in attendance at Planning Commission Meetings for any type of architectural reviews or new project, such as the Marriott. He is to be invited to the next Board of Supervisors Meeting.
Mrs. Leland adjourned the meeting at 10 p.m. The Planning Commission’s next scheduled meeting is March 11, 2014 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.
Lisa Gardner, Recording Secretary