Planning Commission:
Bill Westhafer, Chairman, Michael Allen, Michael Churchill, Andre von Hoyer, and Wendy Leland. Michael Richter and Andy Motel were absent.
Daniel T. Wright and Thomas Comitta (arrived at approximately 8:00 pm.)
Linda Csete, Township Manager

Call to Order:

7:30 p.m.


Mr. Churchill announced that the former Township Engineer, Mr. Surender Kohli, passed away February 27th. He served the Township for over 40 years and was recognized for the work he did for the Charlestown Township Planning Commission.

Mr. Allen announced that the lights for the Turnpike underpass have finally been delivered.

Approval of Minutes

January 10, 2017 Minutes

Mr. Allen moved to approve the minutes of January 10, 2017 and Mr. Churchill seconded. Mr. Westhafer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Sketch Plan Review

Meyer Sketch Plan – Bodine Road

Mr. Nick Vastardis of Chester Valley Engineers and Mr. George Meyer of 2227 Bodine Road were present to discuss Mr. Meyer’s sketch plan for a 6 lot subdivision. The tract’s size is 23.8 acres, tax parcel #35-3-4. Mr. Meyer reminded the Members that over a year ago, he left with a suggestion from the Commission to use a cul de sac approach. He returned tonight with a revised sketch plan, showing 7 homes, including his own, coming off of a cul de sac from Seven Oaks Road.

Mr. Vastardis displayed Meyer’s Sketch Plan dated March 7th and discussed the following:

  1. Well water and septic to be used.
  2. Over 10 acres of Open Space.
  3. PECO has been contacted due to an easement.
  4. There is a Transco gas pipeline easement.
  5. 2 basins are on the plan.
  6. The lowest points of the property are towards the north, highest to south.
  7. Some of the Open Space, under the PECO wires, is maintained by PECO, keeping vegetation under 4 feet high.
  8. Mr. Meyer’s lot will not be in the HOA.
  9. Mr. Wright is in favor of the initial stormwater plans, the 150 square feet of Open Space, and the Bodine Road buffer.
  10. There will be very minimal effect to the Hornseys’ property by stormwater run-off.
  11. Mr. Vastardis sees no need for a Conditional Use (ex. utility easements, etc.).

Mr. von Hoyer asked Mr. Vastardis to verify the setback with PECO Energy. Mr. Churchill asked if the Township can require plantings in the PECO zone. Mr. Allen suggested a more tapered cul de sac entry that is better for truck traffic.

Mr. Meyer suggested the Open Space be maintained by the home owner adjacent to it. Mr. Wright said this is not standard for the Township. Instances such as this leave the Township at a loss when trying to navigate maintenance problems, etc. Mr. Wright was firm regarding the need to establish a precise HOA document stating responsibilities and maintenance contractor(s) or entity, etc. If Mr. Meyer would like to further pursue the idea of homeowner’s caring for their designated Open Space, Mr. Meyer and Mr. Vastardis need to contact Mr. Thompson.

Mr. Comitta will be resending his review letter dated February 23, 2017. The maintenance aspect of the Open Space was also a compliance point. Also mentioned were the importance of tree protection fencing and the possibility of tree plantings. The Horse-shoe Trail linkage and pedestrian path need to be incorporated into the Sketch Plan. Mr. Meyer said the Austrian Pines on his property are at the end of their life span and will probably be removed. The Commission reminded Mr. Meyer to be sensitive to removing trees, especially in regards to the basin areas.

Mr. Robert Greeney, Mr. Meyer’s neighbor to the north of the project, asked for runoff to be closely managed since it currently crosses Bodine Road then comes to his property, eroding his fence area. Mr. Wright has visited this site, and has seen the measures Mr. Green has taken for stormwater. Mr. Wright said the runoff must not increase, and in addition, they will go above and beyond to try to lessen the amount of stormwater coming toward Mr. Green.

Next, Mr. Meyer will contact Mr. Wright about the HOA document.

General Planning Items

Parking Ordinance

Mr. Wright presented updated parking research. At the February meeting, Mr. Wright suggested increasing figures for parking spaces at restaurants. Using his framework to adjust percentages, Charlestown only needed to change the restaurant figure from 5 spots per 1000 (gross floor area in square feet), to 9 spots. Tonight, Members discussed setting the number at 10 but requiring the applicant to keep 4 in reserve, or setting the number at 14.

Members discussed three possibilities:

  1. Simply changing the number in the Parking Ordinance from 5 to 10 or 14.
  2. Creating restaurant descriptions and setting an appropriate number for each type.
  3. Using a formula to arrive at a number (ex. 1 space for every 3 seats plus employees)

Mr. Comitta checked the ITE Manual regarding Mr. Wright’s preliminary conclusion for restaurant parking spaces. He said 14 was a good number, 16 being the highest the Manual suggested. But, since the Township was currently at a low of 5, going to 10 or 14 would suffice. Mr. Comitta researched many shopping center developers about their approach to determining the number of restaurant parking spaces. Most developers plan 11-15 parking spaces per 1000 SF GLA. Also to be considered is the type and popularity of the particular restaurant and special events. Mr. Comitta distributed a handout about the “Food Farm” in New Castle County, Delaware, as an example. The parking there was set at 10, therefore 14 was a solid figure for this Township.

Members sited a 2016 conversation with Mr. Townes. He had suggested valet or shuttle service for the P.J. Whelihan’s employees on days when he could foresee larger crowds for special events, etc. Members wish to review the data presented by Mr. Townes vs. the new Township requirement of 14. They would like to compare the figure with the restaurant’s needs, plus the parking for the Marriott and future retail stores.

Therefore, Mr. Wright will:

1-Resend Mr. Townes data to the PC

2-Update the Board about the Ordinance change at the next monthly meeting

3-Contact Mr. Thompson regarding the change for the Ordinance from 5 to 14

Phoenixville Regional Planning Commission – East Pikeland Township proposed Zoning and SLDO Amendments

Mrs. Csete referred to Ed Theurkauf’s memo dated March 15, 2017 requesting that PRPC member municipalities provide comments on East Pikeland Township’s proposed ordinances included in a packet to the Township. Comments are due by April 17, 2017.

Only Mr. Comitta had a comment, regarding the calibration of dwelling units per acre. He suggested checking the existing density since most village areas such as this come in over a figure of 5. East Pikeland is at 3.4, and he thought this was a low figure. He will draft his response and forward it to Mrs. Csete.

Alternative Energy Ordinance

Mr. Allen distributed photos of large tracking solar residential arrays that may want to be considered before the Ordinance hearing is scheduled in May or June.

Administrative Note

Any documents referred to in the minutes are available to the public upon request to the Township office.


There being no further business, Mr. Westhafer adjourned the meeting at 8:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner
Recording Secretary