Mr. Motel announced that the Township’s Spring Earth Day event is scheduled for April 18th with a rain date of April 25th. There will be volunteers removing vines at Brightside.
A TCDI grant application will be completed to provide funding for a feasibility study for the Devault Trail with regard to trail ownership, liability, and maintenance. It will help planners decide if (a) each township will manage their section or if (b) townships will join together and form an authority for policing and maintenance. Charlestown Township has a lot of the trail mileage but the least of the destination points. This trail would eventually link to the Chester County Trail in Tredyffrin and to Devault with the Warner Spur. The next step would involve the acquisition of the land from (a recently more approachable) Norfolk Southern.
Mr. Allen said he reached out to Mr. Jaros to expedite the process for JP Orleans with the Devault Village at Spring Oak project. The Township is waiting for the momentum at JP Orleans to increase as spring approaches.
Mr. Motel moved to approve the minutes of January 14, 2020, and January 18, 2020, and Mr. Richter seconded. Mr. Richter called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Ms. Amy Bunten, the owner of 2061 Union Hill Road, requested a review of a proposed lot line change for parcels zoned Farm Residential at 2045 (owned by Mrs. Gail Stewart, her mother) and hers next to it, at 2061 Union Hill Road. This is the second phase of a plan to adjust lot lines after a previous plan was approved in 2019. It reduced the 2045 Union Hill Road parcel to just over 10 acres. The 2045 property still falls under ACT 319 Clean & Green guidelines.
In the second phase, 2061 Union Hill will obtain additional acreage to increase the Bunten lot to just over 10 acres (from neighboring 2045). This lot line change will help Ms. Bunten ensure the continuation of being able to raise alpacas on her land, even if 2045 is sold.
For this second phase, Mr. Wright said a technical review is not needed since it was covered in 2019, but in his letter of 1/22/20, he said the previously approved waiver requests for the first phase should be included in this second phase as well.
Mr. Richter moved to recommend the same three waivers from the SLDO so the following would not need to be undertaken as part of the approval:
He further recommended the approval of the subdivision plan dated 1/10/20. Mr. Motel seconded. Mr. Richter called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Frank Boyle proposed an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance to allow apartments above retail in TND Area 3, which is permitted in the very similar TND Area 2. His property impacted would be northeast of the corner with the Office Bar and Grille. He owns 4 properties (almost 4 acres); three have improvements. In keeping with the village and residential shopping vision, his suggestion of 4 more retail and 4 more apartments upstairs from 2 additional buildings would lessen traffic using the existing driveways, than if it remained offices (as written in the Code).
Discussion followed concerning egress, traffic, sewers, size, and quantity of structures and shops.
Mr. Comitta suggested Mr. Boyle return with a site plan, to help Members see Mr. Boyle’s vision and its surroundings.
Mr. Churchill questioned if this area was a viable residential area. Mr. Boyle said he has 3 apartments there so far, and tenants are very happy as is he, with very low turnover. He invited Members to visit the site. Mr. Richter agreed.
Mr. Westhafer stated that from the road you won’t be able to tell if it is an office above or an apartment.
Mr. Allen reminded Members that if this amendment was made, then the area would not progress to its intended vision. In the original plan, residential was portioned elsewhere.
Members noted that the Gateway’s proposed equine therapy use that was anticipated on the Epstein farm property is no longer on the table. But should an amendment developed from past equine proposals be developed in anticipation of future projects? Mr. Comitta prepared a draft ordinance for tonight and ask Members if this use should this be more appropriately permitted as a Conditional Use in the FR District rather than by right.
Mr. Churchill felt writing such an ordinance might encourage or attract larger facilities to come to Charlestown. Currently in the Township, it is not lawful to board horses in the FR district. Members discussed drafting to accommodate small operations, while not encouraging larger ones, and how to control the operation/intensity. Members agree there needs to be consideration of large properties needing to make money to prevent falling into disrepair.
Mr. Comitta’s takeaways for the group:
Member will review the draft by Mr. Thompson and discuss it at the next meeting.
The Planning Commission stated that the next step in planning for the construction of a municipal office was deciding exactly where it should be. Mr. Wright brought site maps and discussion followed regarding:
School districts must make themselves available for elections, and to avoid building an oversized meeting area, the Members do not feel the need to have an election spot within the new office building. They do not expect to include a library or a police department. Mr. Comitta distributed a research chart by New Morgan Borough, in Berks County for discussion. Members will review this for the next meeting. Mr. Comitta is to add East Whiteland’s and Schuylkill’s data to the research chart.
Members noted a wish to include the quarry on the tour next time.
Mr. Wright and Mr. Kuhn discussed with Members the Maplecroft Dairy latest project. There will be no sports building. The owner could, since it is a non-conforming use, try to obtain a Zoning Variance.
Any documents referred to in the minutes are available to the public upon request to the Township office.
There being no further business, Mr. Richter adjourned the meeting at 9:15 p.m.