Planning Commission: Wendy Leland, Chair, Bill Westhafer, Vice Chairman, Michael Allen, Michael Churchill, Andy Motel, Michael Richter and Andre von Hoyer.
Consultants: Daniel Wright, P.E. and Thomas Comitta
Staff: Lisa Gardner, Recording Secretary
Public: See attached list
Mrs. Leland reminded everyone that Charlestown Day is scheduled for October 4th.
Mrs. Leland reminded everyone of Election Day on November 4th.
Mr. Motel moved to approve the July 22, 2014 minutes, and Mr. Allen seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion, there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mrs. Leland provided an update on the Marshall Hearing and other matters discussed at the Supervisors’ Sept. 2nd meeting. She stated that lot #2 is a flag lot and the owner (Mr. Cloeter) must sign any PennDOT permit application to make changes to the driveway access. Mr. Wright believes the driveway/easement will be mentioned during the next hearing. Also, the barn is set back 50 feet therefore it is restricted as an accessory building, and cannot be used to house animals.
Mr. Willig is contacting Mr. Theurkauf to research the choice of surfaces for the path at Brightside Farm. Mrs. Staas and Mr. Pittock had wanted the path to stay grass.
The Members heard from Mr. Comitta about Mr. Townes’ request for Preliminary/Final Plan approval at the last Board of Supervisors Meeting. The Board did not act on the approval because there was uncertainty regarding the applicant’s position on Fee-in-Lieu. They proposed a sidewalk loop and a donation of former railway land in place of the recreational fee. Mrs. Leland said the next step is an appraisal of the tract. Mr. Allen believed the lot had been offered in prior years, but the Board had chosen not to take any action.
The second reason the Board did not act on the approval was due to the unresolved Stormwater Management issue. Mr. Townes did not have East Whiteland’s approval to proceed. The Commission is waiting for the applicant to comply. Marriot would like to open in the fall of 2015.
Mr. Comitta said the Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 2001. There have been minor additions and modifications since then, but due to the slip ramp, recent/pending development, and Article 3, it needs to be updated.
He provided Members with a 3 part handout and explained that Carol Stauffer of the Chester County Planning Commission suggested filing for a January 2015 VPP Grant. Mr. Comitta said Devault and the Pickering Creek Valley were well protected. Since the Open Space Plan and Act 209 were up to date, the Township may be in a good situation. Next, they need to decide what is important to the Township in the next five years, and put that into the grant application.
Mr. Churchill suggested protecting the fragmented areas around primary areas already receiving consideration under the Act 209 initiative. Mr. von Hoyer asked about the amount expected from a grant and Mr. Comitta said approximately $25,000. Members are concerned about the many Township farms not protected.
Mr. Comitta told Members that they needed to consider the intensity in the FR’s. Do they want to treat them all the same, or are there attributes pointing to different levels of limitations or concentration of intensity? If a tract is closer to a higher intensity area, it may be allowed more commercial than a parcel farther away. Mrs. Leland stated since the Township was up to date, it was a good time to set new goals. A January submission is the goal.
Mr. Wright told Members that there is a trend by cellular companies to construct mini towers in the right of way, acting as a utility. Mr. Wright said there are actions the Township can take to control and limit this situation. It is a concern of the Supervisors.
Mr. Wright told Members that 50% of the roads were paved; homes on lots #30 and #31 were beginning interior work, with a few others started. The tot lot, the walking path near the buses, the Pickering Crossing sign, and 2 basins were installed (although the basins were not yet functional).
Mr. Richter told Members he did not like the appearance of the different colored tiles on the roofs. After hearing some concerns from the Planning Commission, the asphalt pile could warrant a vegetative swale, for example, to handle any concerns like toxicity or runoff.
Mr. Wright said earth work was going on now. The sanitary sewer line was in, a retaining wall, and water lines were going in too. Mr. Frens is reviewing single family and townhome plot plans with respect to design. The process was working well. The first buildings, expected in summer 2015, are in the approval process at Advanced GeoServices.
The Planning Commission reviewed the proposed amendment to be added to Section 22 of the SLDO, drafted by Solicitor Mark Thompson. Mr. Thompson wanted a more explicit ordinance, making it easier to enforce, when applicants did not comply with notes on the Final Plan.
Mr. Wright stated the Township needed an amendment to prevent problems with enforcement in future situations. Mrs. Leland questioned Mr. Wright and Mr. Kuhn (the only audience member) regarding the timing, since the Marshall application was pending. Mr. Kuhn said it couldn’t have been directed at the Marshall zoning violation because that fine was already issued. Members discussed the need for something that made all notes, over time, enforceable.
Mrs. Leland said the Marshall note worked on the Plan, because Marshalls had been fined. Mrs. Leland stated that she did not have enough time to review the draft ordinance, and wanted more time for discussion/consideration. She also was unhappy with the insertion into tonight’s agenda after it had been set by her.
Mr. Motel moved to recommend the proposed amendment as drafted, and Mr. Westhafer seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion, and after discussion, called the vote. Mr. Allen, Mr. Westhafer, Mr. Motel, Mr. Churchill, Mr. von Hoyer, and Mr. Richter were in favor. Mrs. Leland was opposed.
Mr. Comitta continued a previous discussion, originating from the February Strategic Planning Session, about how Township plan submission requirements should be updated. He gave Members a handout, an edited Part 4 of Chapter 22 from the SLDO. He read the Charlestown process for sketch plan submission aloud and said it needed to be dialed down.
Discussions about the changes were regarding:
No review letters by consultants will be furnished for the sketch plan unless the applicant requests this from the Chairperson. Mr. Comitta reminded Members that he had designed a form for office use; applicant’s requesting review letters will be aware of the need to reimburse the Township for consultant costs.
Mr. Allen said the stone veneer topic came to the Planning Commission while he was on vacation and should have stopped at the DRC. He also mentioned that Mr. Philips, of the Board of Supervisors, is on the DRC, and often stops things from needing to proceed to the Planning Commission.
Mr. Allen said he believed an issue was arising at the Pickering Crossing development. There was a request to place the air conditioner condenser units in the front yards, on only the internal townhomes. Otherwise the units were to be in the back under terraces. The problem was, it was going to be noisy for residents in their backyards/decks. The DRC‘s positon is to find a way to make it work in back, no units are to go in front (recall PECO meters).
Mr. Allen’s other updates:
Mr. von Hoyer also updated Members about neighboring developments.
Mr. Motel distributed photos that suggested better planning of “common areas” in TND Areas 2 and 3, including the rock wall and its base, replacement of damaged fencing, and additional landscaping of the various other approaches to the Turnpike. Mr. Allen suggested contacting Mr. Theurkauf to create a concept plan for areas the Township would like to plant in Devault, including the basins. With that plan in hand, the Township can then approach PennDOT and start the process to get PennDOT’s agreement to modify the language of the proposed basin agreements, i.e. that the Township can plant the basins. The Township will assume the perpetual responsibility including storm water function. The Commission would need to provide a sketch plan to PennDOT for this discussion. He hopes the Board of Supervisors will fund the estimated $5,000 necessary for the improvements.
Mrs. Leland adjourned the meeting at 10:10 p.m. The Planning Commission’s next scheduled meeting is October 14, 2014 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.