CHARLESTOWN TOWNSHIP
PLANNING COMMISSION MINUTES
GREAT VALLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL
255 N. PHOENIXVILLE PIKE, MALVERN, PA 7:30 p.m.
TUESDAY, JUNE 12, 2018

Present

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

Call to Order:

7:32 p.m.

Announcements

Mrs. Bednar, the newest member of the Board of Supervisors, was introduced to the audience by Mrs. Csete.

Approval of Minutes

May 8, 2018 Minutes

Mr. Allen moved to approve the minutes of May 8, 2018 with a minor edit, and Mr. Richter seconded. Mr. Westhafer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Sketch Plans

Lance & Victoria McCue – Lot Line Change Plan, Hillsover Lane

Mr. and Mrs. Lance and Victoria McCue of 32 Hillsover Lane were present to discuss a lot line change for their two parcels totaling 92.8 acres. They would like to redistribute the land, probably to a 56/36 acre division.

They will live on the larger lot and expect to sell the smaller lot. They are currently under easement with the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, but nothing has changed regarding the conservancy. Although Mrs. McCue has contacted them, they have not responded to her most recent attempt. This is a preliminary change; they want to keep the change somewhat flexible for the sale. When they return, they will bring a permit plan and an overhead Google Earth photo.

Ben Thompson – Lot line revisions

Mr. Ben Thompson was present to further discuss proposed lot line changes to his approved Preliminary Plan. He wishes to keep the golf course functional. His review, using an older map in need of updating, stated that he has conserved 372 acres, and has 23 building areas, 20 being for new homes. His overview included the need for screening, minor trail suggestions, dual applications to the Chester County Conservation District (since the development is in Schuylkill and Charlestown Townships), plus he mentioned the golf industry and stormwater management. The following lots were discussed in more detail (Lot #6 is 2.4 acres, Lot #19 is 3.79 acres, Lot # 20 is 2.37 acres, and Lot # 21 is 5.26 acres).

Mr. Thompson returned tonight for these goals:

  1. Thomas Comitta Associates review memorandum dated June 5, 2018
    1. Mr. Comitta questioned Mr. Thompson’s statement that the total number of lots before the approval was the same as in this version in each township. In 2013, Mr. Comitta stated there were 10 whole lots and 3 partial, and now there were 12 whole lots and 3 partials. Mr. Thompson stated a Plan that is better delineated will clarify this. Mr. Comitta asked Members twice, if this change in numbers required any special Board approval.
    2. Mr. Thompson should delineate building envelopes on the Final Plan. He should also identify and complete a list of residents with reserved rights.
    3. Mr. Thompson described his visual buffering, especially for Mr. Fillippo’s property and the presence of old trees and a stone wall. He is keeping the road as far away from the boundary as possible.
    4. Trail network will be in compliance and connect to Horseshoe Trail.
    5. Tree Replacement will be in compliance.
    6. Conditional Use will be in compliance.
    7. Mr. Thompson has not heard from his engineer, he believes he is avoiding the need for any EIA report by coming off of Mine Road but may need a future Conditional Use.
  2. Advanced GeoServices review letter dated June 1, 2018
    1. The significant change is the length of the cul-de-sac Road D, which is 2500 feet. The limit is 1000 feet. The Members discussed the need for a waiver and the need for a very well-built road due to the increase of traffic.
    2. The intersection of Road D will be changed to form a 90 degree angle.
    3. Road C will be in compliance.
Member comments from review letters and Mr. Thompson’s overview:

Mr. Allen asked Mr. Thompson to consider that the rear of some houses would back up to a driveway and not to the other homes already established (as in the first Plan). Members felt this change should be thoroughly discussed with those neighbors. Mr. Churchill questioned Mr. Thompson about handling the stormwater on the road extension he is proposing. Mr. Churchill suggested asking the Board’s opinion before spending engineering money on a waiver that could be denied.

Mr. Thompson had several reasons why he preferred the driveway in back of the homes vs. the preference of some of the Members, that wanted the back yards abutting:

  1. The driveway behind the homes will also be a maintenance road for that area of the golf course that has always been difficult to access.
  2. The driveway in back of the homes is a type of buffer, because there is a hole in the golf course close to those homes.
  3. The trail is very close to there, and Mr. Thompson doesn’t want trail walkers to wander onto the golf course for safety reasons.

Overall Members were pleased with the newest version due to:

Further Member comments:

For the waiver, Mr. Thompson was advised to talk to the Board after gathering some stormwater data (for the proposed extension). He was reminded to be careful about how much engineering money he spends at this point, since the Board can deny the waiver. The Board could deny it, and the money would be wasted. The waiver for the for the cul-de-sac extension must be part of the Land Development, so tonight Members could not officially recommend it. Mr. Thompson will get on the next Board Agenda to see about the extension and the easement for the Mine Road emergency access.

General Planning

Review Conditional Uses

Mr. Comitta provided a recap of last month’s progress. He mentioned Mr. Mark Thompson’s statement in analysis of the recommended changes to the conditional use standards in the zoning ordinance, as well as the specific conditional uses permitted in each zoning district. In an email dated June 11, 2018, Mr. Thompson stated the standards are generally consistent with other zoning ordinances he has reviewed. He agreed with all the strike-outs and additions to Section 27-1809.

It was recommended to remove from FR, the agreed upon uses of Private Club for recreational purposes and Convalescent or Nursing Homes. The use of Motor Vehicle Service Station needs to be decided. Uses permitted in I/O/B were also discussed as were uses that should be better defined such as manufacturing. Better definitions will be drafted, solar farms will be blocked.

Regional Comprehensive Plan -Chapters 4 & 5

The Planning Commission continued its review of 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 Chapters 4 and 5 and had the following comments:

Mr. Comitta and Mr. Wright discussed Steep Slope Standards and Criteria via phone and will draft the ideas that are typically given to applicants when proposing something in Steep Slopes. Members felt chapters 4 & 5 were well written and complete. A few suggestions are noted below.

  1. On page 1 of Chapter 4, add the word “highly” in front of erodible soils for item 2. in the middle of the page.
  2. Remove the words “specific microclimates” for item 3. on page 1 of Chapter 4, as this is undefined and somewhat “lofty”.
  3. Add the word “soil” in front of the word erosion in the middle of page 3, the middle of page 4, the middle of page 5, the bottom of page 10, the bottom of page 11, and the bottom of page 14 to add clarity.
  4. Add the words “continue to” on page 10 of Chapter 4, third paragraph from the bottom, so that it reads: “Development should continue to be prohibited or very severely limited on steeply sloping lands”.
  5. Change the words “artificial” to “man-made”, relative to the Exemption for slopes at the top of page 11 in Chapter 4.
  6. Reflect on various Court Cases relative to wide buffers, in the context of the second paragraph on page 13 in Chapter 4, and well as the fourth paragraph on page 14 in Chapter 4.
  7. Consider adding a reference to “Live-Work Units” (as a form of “zero commute housing”) in the Telecommuting paragraph at the bottom of page 9 in Chapter 5.

Mr. Westhafer asked about Chapter 5 Renewable Energy Systems. Mr. Kuhn stated that the residents would spend much more for electric if the Township participated in this 100%, but it had been considered by the Board.

Other Business

Ms. Leland announced that there is a Community Workshop on Wednesday, August 29, from 7-9 p.m. at the Kimberton Fire Company to review and comment on a preliminary draft of future plans and policies of the Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee.

Ms. Leland will forward to Mr. Comitta, chapters 6-10 that she has already reviewed for the Comprehensive Plan.

Ms. Leland distributed a map of a proposed plan near Paradise Street in Phoenixville, for 550 dwellings and 150 parking spots on 50 acres. This proposal was not accepted.

Administrative Note

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

Adjournment

There being no further business, Mr. Westhafer adjourned the meeting at 9:33 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,


Lisa Gardner
Recording Secretary