Planning Commission:
Bill Westhafer, Chairman, Andre von Hoyer, Vice Chairman, Michael Churchill, and Andy Motel. Michael Richter, Wendy Leland, and Michael Allen were absent.
Daniel Wright, and Thomas Comitta
Lisa Gardner and Linda Csete

Call to Order:

7:30 p.m.


Mr. Westhafer announced the passing of Michael Rodgers on Saturday, April 7, 2018. He served on the Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors and was President of the Board of Directors of Valley Forge Sewer Authority. Donations in Mr. Rodger’s memory, which will be dedicated to conservation projects in Charlestown Township, may be made to French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, 511 Kimberton Road, Phoenixville, PA 19460.

Mrs. Csete stated she spoke to Chester County Voter Services regarding the vacancy on the Board due to Mr. Rodger’s passing. The Board has thirty days to make an appointment to the Board, then she will notify voter services of the appointment. The person will serve from May 7th, 2018 to the next election cycle, and then the position is open for election for the completion of the term from 2020 to 2023.

Mr. Churchill will be presenting the Devault Rails-to-Trails Feasibility Study at Molly Maguire’s Irish Restaurant and Pub, in Phoenixville, PA, on Thursday, April 19th. There are concerns about the project being of lower priority to the County in light of other potential trails, and he and Bob Thomas are working on how to bring this back to their attention.

Approval of Minutes

March 13, 2018 Minutes

Mr. Churchill moved to approve the minutes of March 13, 2018, and Mr. von Hoyer seconded. Mr. Westhafer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Conditional Use Application Review

Eric Davison – 3017 Phoenixville Pike

Mr. Eric Davison presented his Conditional Use Plan dated March 20, 2018 for location of an accessory structure and driveway apron in an existing non-conforming area. Mr. Wright told Members that the proposed driveway will be 24 feet wide (to allow for large vehicle access), which is a reduction from the current width for stormwater management purposes.

Mr. Davison addressed some of the comments on the Advanced GeoServices review letter dated April 6, 2018:

Comment for #1– The Board of Supervisors shall determine if the accessory structure or building may be located, erected or maintained, due to it being a side yard which abuts a street. Mr. Wright feels that this is not an issue since the roof is about 26 feet below the road surface.

Comment for #4– (This item has been resolved). The proposed building has been relocated and is now within the existing barn footprint. This (pre-existing) location closes the issue of the building being closer than 100 feet to a watercourse, per Mr. Wright.

Comment for #5– Although there is a sewer easement through his property, the sewer is not in use there. However, Mr. Davison can tie in to the sewer from Phoenixville Pike even if this easement is extinguished.

Comment for #7– A Chapter 15 Permit is required from the DEP to ensure there is no possible adverse impact to a stream.

Mr. Davison addressed comments on the Thomas Comitta Associates Inc. review letter dated March 27, 2018 by agreeing to prepare a landscape plan as stated in the code.

Mr. von Hoyer moved to recommend for approval by the Board of Supervisors, the Conditional Use Application by Mr. Davison, subject to the consultants’ review comments, plus a waiver regarding the side yard abutting the street. Mr. Churchill seconded, Mr. Westhafer called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Preliminary/Final Plan Review

Apostolic Church Preliminary/Final Plan

Mr. Allan Zimmerman from Commonwealth Engineers Inc. was present for review of the Apostolic Church Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan, last revised March 2, 2018, for an addition to the church building.

Mr. Zimmerman addressed all comments on Mr. Wright’s review letter dated April 5, 2018 as being resolved.

Mr. Zimmerman addressed all comments on Mr. Comitta’s review letter dated March 30, 2018 as being resolved. Additional comments included:

All items on page 2, Existing Condition, Tree Protection, and Tree Protection Fencing, especially in regards to the 40” DBH Bur Oak, have been resolved. Additionally, the Applicant will evaluate the health of the Bur Oak post-construction 18 months and replace it if need be.

Members urged Mr. Luginbahl to keep the lighting to a minimum and take note of the Lighting Regulations.

Mr. Motel moved to recommend for approval by the Board of Supervisors, the Preliminary/Final Plan of the Apostolic Christian Church, subject to review letter compliance, and in addition recommended granting the two waivers identified in the Advanced GeoServices letter dated April 5, 2018. Mr. Churchill seconded, Mr. Westhafer called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

This application will be on the May 7th Board of Supervisors Agenda for final approval.

General Planning

Review Conditional Use General Standards & Criteria

Mr. Comitta continued the review of Section 27-1809 of the Zoning Ordinance, entitled Standards for Approval of Conditional Uses by the Board of Supervisors, including the updates developed at the March 13th meeting.

Members were very pleased with the edits and suggestions Mr. Comitta distributed for Part 18. Administration, and for Conditional Use Standards & Criteria.

Members discussed the Specific Uses vs. Specific Standards & Criteria, and what current Conditional Uses should be deleted. Mr. Comitta told Members the non-bold Conditional Uses found on the nine-page distribution, needed to have explicit Standards & Criteria. Members discussed:

Mr. Motel motioned to recommend to the Board of Supervisors, advertising the revisions to Chapter 27-1809 of the Zoning Ordinance, “Standards for Approval of Conditional Uses by the Board of Supervisors” per Mr. Comitta’s edits. Mr. Churchill seconded. Mr. Westhafer called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

The next step for May will be to review Specific Conditional Use Standards & Criteria that Mr. Wright recommends for the Steep Slope Conservation District, and the flood Hazard District. Then in June, the discussion will be about explicit Standards & Criteria for those Conditional Uses that survive the edits discussed in April and May.

Regional Comprehensive Plan – Review of Introduction and Chapter 1

Mr. Comitta referred to the draft Phoenixville Regional Comprehensive Plan, which will also serve as the Charlestown Township Comprehensive Plan. The PRPC is reviewing part of the 10 chapters each month in preparation for their public meeting introducing the Plan in August. It was suggested that each member municipality review 2 chapters per month leading up to that meeting.

Tonight the Planning Commission reviewed the Introduction and Chapter I and had the following comments:

  1. The cover should be revised, they suggested a montage of photos from each member municipality, or Google Earth photo with an outline overlay.
  2. There should be a reference to the Open Space & Recreation Plans or Act 209 Transportation Plans for all members who have them within the Comprehensive Plan. Charlestown has both plans and they are currently addendums to the Comprehensive Plan now in place and need to remain as such when the regional plan is adopted.

Other Business

There was none.

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 9:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner
Recording Secretary