“Devault” is the area of Charlestown Township surrounding the Post Office extending up toward the Charlestown Elementary School and back almost to Rees/Union Hill Roads. This area also encompasses most of the lands surrounding the PA Turnpike.
Devault lies near the intersection of all major roadways through this area. There are a number of existing business campuses and other commercial facilities nearby. Devault is one of the few areas in Charlestown that is served by sewer and water lines. The sum of these factors led the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors to the realization that development is inevitable in this area. We chose to be proactive in developing a plan for this area to mitigate the pure market forces that could otherwise lead to intensive commercial and industrial uses at this prime location.
The Planning Commission set out to identify the best way to zone the area to: (a) minimize the cost of services and impact on our taxes; (b) promote a “neighborhood feel” in use and scale; (c) be fair to the landowners; and, (d) produce an excellent result that would promote a sense of community for the area and the larger Charlestown population. This led to the adoption of an ordinance to provide overlay zoning to allow “Traditional Neighborhood Development” (TND) in Devault.
The TND is innovative in that it promotes an antidote to suburban sprawl development that consumes large tracts of land with cookie cutter development while separating the “uses” of our lives thus increasing dependence on the automobile to reach work, shop, school or worship locations. The TND typically has a street network offering multiple routes to various points in the community that promotes walking as a means of moving between uses, incorporates alleys to diminish the dominance of the auto, and mixes retail, commercial and residential uses. It has a greater concern for design, and less for use, which is normally the dominant theme in zoning. A TND creates “place-making” by its neighborhood driven designs that promote interaction of all age groups in a more compact community.