Andy Motel, Chairman, Wendy Leland, Vice Chairman, Mike Allen, Michael Churchill, Rick Reis, Surender Kohli, P.E., Tom Comitta, Linda Csete, and those on the attached list.

Call to Order:

7:36 P.M.


There were no announcements.

Citizens Forum

No matters were brought forward at this time.

Approval of Minutes

January 12, 2010 Minutes

Mr. Allen had the following corrections for the minutes:

With these changes, Mrs. Leland moved to approve the January 12, 2010 minutes and Mr. Reis seconded. Mr. Motel called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Review of Applications

Spring Oak TND - Preliminary Plan – Review final comments

John Mosteller and Eric Schrock from Dewey Homes, and Jason Engelhardt, P.E., from Langan Engineers were present to review the Spring Oak Preliminary Plan last revised 12/23/2009. The Planning Commission made a recommendation to approve at the last meeting.

Mr. Allen referenced a Spreadsheet, Revision E dated 1/16/10 entitled “Spring Oak Issues Requiring Specific Planning Commission Action” and said the Planning Commission will work on the TND ordinance changes listed on it this evening.

Mr. Motel said at the last meeting they agreed to allow time for Mr. Reis to provide final comments on the preliminary plan submission, and Mr. Reis has since circulated an email detailing his comments.

Mr. Allen wished to first address the comments on the portion of the site closest to Devault Foods, for which Mr. Reis stated there is too much development proposed in too small an area, resulting in insufficient setbacks from stormwater management and other amenities. Mr. Allen said these concerns were already addressed through waiver requests that have been recommended by the Planning Commission.

Mr. Reis said there are more buildings proposed on the adjacent Devault Foods site as shown on their phased land development plan, which will prevent reasonable buffering with Spring Oak, particularly necessary since the two properties have different uses. Although the applicant has stated they’ll coordinate a buffer plan with Devault Foods property owner Tom Fillippo, Mr. Reis said only the requirement for buffering located on the Spring Oaks property would be enforceable. Mr. Allen said an easement could be created to address this. Mr. Mosteller said that an agreement to work out a buffer plan with Mr. Fillippo could be made a condition of approval. He noted there are buffer requirements in the Devault Foods land development approval, including a 6 ft. fence, that they may want to amend. He said the buffering plan should be finalized after the final grades are determined so the sight line impacts are discernible. Then, they can better decide what combination of fencing, berming, and deciduous and evergreen trees would work best. Mr. Allen noted that the garages themselves will provide some buffering too. Mr. Mosteller said from a marketing standpoint, they realize buffering will be extremely important and they’ll need a good plan. Mrs. Leland noted that buffering is also needed to reduce the noise from the Turnpike and the exhaust fans at Devault Foods. She disagreed with Mr. Schrock when he stated the larger open space areas on the plan are further from the Turnpike and so the noise doesn’t reach them.

Mr. Motel asked Mr. Reis how far back the applicant would need to move the development to provide the buffer he thinks is needed, and Mr. Reis said even an additional 30 feet would probably be enough. Mr. Engelhardt pointed out that there is a rain garden proposed in the corner area, and the trees and vegetation proposed for it will also serve as part of the buffer. Mr. Schrock said the plan was designed with more density nearer Devault Food, so he doesn’t see the point in moving away from that corner. Mr. Motel said the Planning Commission already agreed on the total density for the site 1 ½ years ago and that shifting the development away from Devault Foods creates problems elsewhere, such as along Rees Road and that this was extensively discussed already. Mr. Mosteller said they left more buffering along Rees Road on purpose, sacrificing some market value to be more neighborhood friendly. He said Mr. Fillippo is committed to work with them when he later develops his adjacent residential tract.

Mr. Reis said another concern he has is with the trail in the plan near Devault Foods, which should have a separator from the alley. Mr. Allen said a small, low guardrail could be considered.

Mr. Reis also said the trail should be paved in other areas on the site where there is significant change in elevation due to the potential for erosion. Mr. Motel said he agrees some parts of the trail should be paved but in areas adjacent to sidewalks and alleys this wouldn’t be necessary and that the need for paving on sloped areas was also previously discussed, and the applicant would pave those areas. Mr. Reis said it’s a bad design to shuffle people back and forth from the sidewalk to the trail, and it would act to prohibit certain uses in some trail areas. Mr. Allen said they spoke earlier of providing aggregate for steep portions of the trail, not pavement. Mr. Schrock agreed, stating they discussed this at the last meeting and indicated they would post escrow funds to handle any washout areas.

Mr. Motel brought up the parking allocation issue raised by Mr. Reis in his e-mail, particularly in the area near Devault Foods where Mr. Reis suggested the area had inadequate guest parking. Mr. Allen objected to further discussion, saying the parking plan was already reviewed and approved, but Mr. Reis said there was never any discussion on the balance of parking for the different site areas, just overall numbers. Mr. Reis said there are only 12 parking spaces for 46 houses in the Devault Foods area. Mr. Mosteller said that counting the garage and driveway spaces, there are 3-4 spaces per unit in addition to the on-street parking, and he felt this was adequate for that area.

Mr. Allen referred to Mr. Reis’ concerns about the perimeter trail, which is not a contiguous trail unless it relies on segments of the Horseshoe Trail. Mr. Reis said the trail should connect behind the Smurthwaite property. Mr. Engelhardt said there’s a sidewalk there now. Mrs. Leland asked if there would be any improvements to the Horseshoe Trail along Rees Road, and Mr. Schrock said it will be cindered. Mr. Reis said the trail slopes are too steep in the northeastern square and in the “eyebrow” area. Mr. Mosteller said these areas will be contoured out during the final plan stage and if needed the trail would be paved at those locations. Mrs. Leland cautioned that there are some nice old trees in those areas among the scrub growth to the east of the so-called Phillips Square. Mr. Motel added that the issue of how to preserve the trees in that area while attempting to create a slope behind those homes that did not look man-made was discussed in the context of the conditional use and the balance point was something the applicant would certainly be focused on during the development.

Mr. Motel referenced the access road leading to the Fillippo residential tract that crosses the pipeline easement. Mr. Reis said it can’t be made usable and seems to run directly onto Mr. Fillipo’s parcel used by the Plant and not the parcel he owns in TND-1. However, a review of the map showed this was not the case and the access road crossed the pipeline and enters Mr. Fillippo’s tract in TND-1. As to the curvature of the road as it enters that tract, Mr. Engelhardt said the area is tight but they can make it work. Mr. Allen said it was important to provide this access to the adjacent property.

Mr. Engelhardt confirmed that the trail to be used as an emergency access near the hammerhead turn will be paved.

Mr. Engelhardt indicated the storm water management system will meet the ‘top of the line’ measurement that requires a post-development 10-year storm to cause less runoff than a pre-development 2-year storm.

Mrs. Leland said another consideration for buffering from Devault Foods is lighting, as the plant is a 24-7 operation. Mr. Mosteller said he’d speak with Mr. Fillippo about some mitigation of the lighting, including the possibility of some shielding.

Mr. Comitta said Doug Olsen has been sending sketches to his office showing proposed plant species for the buffers and that a modified landscape plan will be available for upcoming meetings.

Mr. Comitta again asked the Planning Commission to reconsider the direction of vehicular movement in the “eyebrow” and square areas, stating that counter-clockwise may be preferable since passengers can be dropped off at the curb abutting the homes instead of requiring passengers to get out and then cross in front of or behind the car to get to the homes.

Mr. Allen asked about curb facing, which Mr. Engelhardt said would be 6” except in the areas where PennDOT requires 8”. He said that for this scale development they felt the plan would look awkward with 8” curbing throughout. Mr. Kohli said 8” is standard but 6” will be acceptable.

TND Ordinance Revisions

Mr. Comitta circulated a revised draft of the amended TND Ordinance, dated 1/21/10. He referenced an index of changes from the previous draft, and went through them as follows.

Page 4, Section 2202.B.4 Mr. Comitta indicated that Tim Townes agreed the Tyler Griffin project in TND Area 5 can comply with Exhibit H, outlining Street and Alley Design Standards, so Area 5 was added to Exhibit H.
Page 5, 2202.C.3.c The Homeowners’ Association was added as a responsible party along with the Township for determining whether the safe viewing distance within the five foot buffer from alley paving is encroached upon. Mr. Motel suggested changing this language to indicate the Township is the responsible party until the HOA is established, at which time the Association will thereafter become responsible, not the Township. All were in agreement.
Page 7, 2202.G.2 Clarifies that the building location with respect to the build-to line shall apply to both sides of the lot on which the building has street frontage for corner lots.
Page 8, 2202.H.4 Mr. Comitta said this item requiring clear sight triangles of 25 feet was added on Mr. Allen’s suggestion that it be located in the ordinance text rather than in Exhibit H. Other additions throughout the ordinance text are there for the same reason, to put more detail in the body of the ordinance instead of in the exhibits.
Page 9, 2202.L.4 & 5 Mr. Comitta said these additions were a result of lighting consultant Stan Stubbe’s recommendations for minimum and average illuminance on cartways and sidewalks.

Mr. Mosteller said he’s concerned with whether the lighting requirements are what they want. He proposed that he and Planning Commission and Design Review Committee members plan an evening trip to several locations to measure lighting levels and decide what would be desirable. The Planning Commission agreed, and Mr. Mosteller will circulate some suggested dates.

Mr. Churchill asked if there are any standards for the lighting on the outside of the houses and garages, and Mr. Mosteller said it should be included in the design manual.

Mr. Mosteller said another consideration for the Township to keep in mind that if the roads are dedicated, the Township will be responsible for the street lighting costs.
Page 15, 2205.B.4 Mr. Comitta said this item was added to allow the maximum lot width at the build-to line to be exceeded along the secondary frontage for corner lots.
Page 18, 2208.B.1 Clarifies that the widths are measured at the build-to line.
Page 20, 2211.B.1 Same as above.
Page 23, 2215.B.1 Same as above.
Page 29, 2219.C.1 & 2 Mr. Comitta said this clarification was brought to his attention by Mr. Townes, and allows the maximum lot width at the build-to line to be exceeded along the secondary frontage for corner lots for townhouses and two-family dwellings.
Page 16, 2205.D.1 &
Page 30, 2219.H.1
Mr. Comitta explained that the section on p. 16 refers to maximum impervious surface coverage of the lot for residential uses in Area 1 (Spring Oak) to be 75%, and the section on p. 30 refers to this maximum for Area 5 (Tyler Griffin) as 50%. However, discussion with the applicants led to Mr. Comitta’s suggestion that the second maximum, for Area 5, be changed to 90%. Since those lots are all townhomes, there is a great deal of impervious coverage on them. Also, many of those townhomes are wider than those at Spring Oak. Mr. Allen asked the Dewey group if they can meet the 75% requirement, and Mr. Engelhardt responded yes. Mr. Motel said the percentage for Area 5 needs to be addressed but not until Mr. Townes is in attendance.
Exhibit B – General Manual of Written and Graphic Design Guidelines Mr. Comitta indicated there have been no changes in the last round of revisions.
Exhibits G & H Mr. Comitta said there was a fair amount of adjusting done to the District Regulations (Exhibit G) and Street and Alley Design Standards (Exhibit H). He asked that Mr. Kohli review Exhibit H in time for the February 9th meeting and indicate whether he can support the regulations listed for sight lines, vertical curves, etc. He noted that Mr. Allen proofread the two charts and minimized the number of footnotes, placing most of the previous notes in the body of the charts themselves.

Mr. Comitta said that the Township and Dewey Homes have now combined their tracking of items, and he asked that the Dewey team review Revision E of the spreadsheet one last time to make sure everything outstanding is included.

There was some general discussion on timing issues for approving the preliminary plan and the TND ordinance amendments.

The Planning Commission then returned to a discussion on the lighting requirements and whether p.7.1 of the General Manual could be removed, with these specifications to be included in the Applicant’s manual instead. The ordinance could then refer to the lighting as subject to approval of the applicant’s manual. Mr. Comitta will draft language to this effect. Mr. Motel suggested removing items 4, 5, & 6 from page 7 of the General Manual as well, as those specifications may not be suitable for other plans and sites.

Mr. Motel moved to approve the amendments to the TND Ordinance, last revised 1/21/2010 with those changes discussed this evening and to include removal of p. 7.1 from the General Manual and satisfactory language to be drafted by Mr. Comitta to replace sections 7.4, 7.5 and 7.6 of the Manual. Mrs. Leland seconded. Mr. Motel called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Review of Spring Oak Reports

Whitehorse Road Speed Study

Mr. Engelhardt gave a brief description of the report, which was put together to address sight distance questions at the entrance to Spring Oak. The 85th percentile speed was established as 47 MPH in a 45 MPH zone. He said the report proves the sight distances are adequate. Mr. Kohli said that as long as PennDOT is satisfied, there are no issues with the report. Mr. Allen moved to accept the Whitehorse Road Speed Study and Mrs. Leland seconded. Mr. Motel called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Environmental Impact Assessment Report

Mr. Engelhardt said the EIA covers all potential impacts from the site. The only item on Mr. Comitta’s 12/2/09 review of the report that concerned them is in the fiscal impact analysis and school study. He said they don’t disagree with Mr. Comitta’s methodology other than with the total market valuation of the units. Mr. Mosteller and Mr. Schrock indicated they feel the market value is greater than that estimated by Mr. Comitta. Mr. Allen said the EIA will be reviewed at the February 9th meeting, and he asked that Mr. Comitta’s review letter be re-circulated. Mr. Allen also asked the Dewey team to provide any responses to the letter prior to that meeting. Mr. Motel said he’d like to see how the township expenditures were calculated.

Stormwater Management Report

Mr. Kohli said his review has shown the stormwater management plan to be in compliance, and that only the operations and maintenance agreement needs to be reviewed. Mr. Motel said they will address this at the February 9th meeting.

Traffic Impact Study dated 12/30/09

Mr. Engelhardt provided a brief overview of the report, stating it was revised after Mr. Kohli asked that additional intersections be included. The report now covers the intersections at Route 29 & Whitehorse Road, Whitehorse Road and the Spring Oak driveway, Rees Road and the Spring Oak driveway, the intersection with Blackstone Lane and a few other driveways off Rees Road. He said all of the intersections operate within acceptable levels of service, with the exception of Whitehorse @ Route 29. However, the incremental increase is minimal. The worst movement is turning left onto Route 29 from Whitehorse Road, which presently has a level of service “F”. They propose signal timing modification, which will actually improve service over the current level, although it will still be “F”. The timing change won’t decrease the level of service for the other directions. Mr. Engelhardt said PennDOT requested a right hand turn lane into the site from Whitehorse Road, which they agreed to provide, in addition to the bike path.

Mr. Allen asked that it be reflected in the minutes that all of the required reports for the Spring Oak project have been submitted. There is just a final review left to complete.

Spring Oak Design Manual

Mr. Mosteller distributed the revised Design Manual. Mr. Allen indicated that the Planning Commission members should review the manual fully before the February 9th meeting, where formal review will begin.

Mr. Comitta said one question has been raised by Barton Associates regarding construction in a TND area. Once a project is under construction, what is the building official’s role, and who should be designated to do inspections, the Engineer, Architect, or both? Should this be specified in the applicant’s Design Manual? Mr. Churchill said he doesn’t think anything specific should be in the Manual, that it can simply indicate the builder must comply with Township regulations. Mr. Motel said inspections can be spelled out as part of the final plan approval by the Board which by that time will have a better sense for precisely what the particular project will require.

Mr. Allen asked if the Manual is now complete, and Mr. Mosteller said yes. He said it doesn’t depict actual houses, for example, but specifies the required characteristics. Mr. Churchill said he will want more details on the playground equipment and surfaces. Mr. Allen said this information is included on page L3.3. Mr. Comitta noted the Design Manual is meant to be emblematic of quality and characteristics, and that specifics are submitted at the final plan stage.

Mr. Comitta said he’ll have comments on the proposed signage at the next meeting.

Planning Commission Homework for the February 9, 2010 meeting is as follows:


The meeting was adjourned at 10:02 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Planning Commission Secretary