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

Call to Order:

7:40 P.M.


Mr. Motel announced that the Planning Commission conducted interviews with six applicants for three vacancies on the Commission, and the group that conducted the interviews forwarded recommendations to the Board of Supervisors. Appointments will be made at the March 1, 2010 Supervisors’ meeting. Mr. Motel introduced Andre von Hoyer II, one of those recommended. Mr. Motel said all six candidates had much to offer and those not appointed for the Planning Commission will be considered for other positions in the Township.

Citizens Forum

No matters were brought forward at this time.

Approval of Minutes

January 25, 2010 Minutes

Mrs. Leland moved to approve the January 25, 2010 minutes with a few minor typo corrections and Mr. Churchill seconded. Mr. Motel called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Stormwater Management Ordinance Amendments

The discussion on the stormwater ordinance amendments was tabled to March 9, 2010 to allow the commission members to review Mr. Kohli’s letters dated 2/1/10 and 11/23/09 in more detail.

Tyler Griffin Sketch Plan – Traditional Neighborhood Development

Tim Townes of J. Loew & Associates said he reviewed the following matters with the Supervisors at their February 1, 2010 meeting. At that time he presented an overview of the Tyler Griffin Sketch Plan for 80 Townhomes and a commercial building to be located in TND Area 5 at the corner of Charlestown Road and Phoenixville Pike.

Mr. Townes said that PennDOT, along with the Turnpike Commission and Trammel Crow have proposed a 3-phase road improvement plan along the Route 29 corridor that affects both the Charlestown Road and Phoenixville Pike frontages of the Tyler Griffin tract. He displayed the sketch plan for Tyler Griffin and indicated that the hatch marked areas represent the proposed taking. It comprises 1.1 acres that will allow for additional turning lanes on both roads.

Mr. Townes said Charlestown Road will have five lanes at the intersection with Phoenixville Pike, tapering to four lanes traveling north toward the Elementary School. Because J. Loew & Assoc. wants a more attractive stormwater management area than PennDOT would provide, the two parties agreed that J. Loew & Associates will provide the area for an above ground basin to PennDOT in the form of an easement, but after the road improvements are completed, the easement will be extinguished so that J. Loew will retain the right to move the basin underground when the Tyler Griffin development is constructed. Mrs. Leland asked if this basin was for the road improvements only, and Mr. Townes said no, it will also handle some water for the development, so it will be made larger to accommodate this. He noted there are 3 other basins for the development proposed. PennDOT will also have basins on adjacent property owned by Tom Fillippo.

Mr. Townes said the ground-taking by PennDOT affects the impervious coverage calculations for Tyler Griffin. The percentage of impervious coverage will increase and according to the ordinance, would cost J. Loew four units. While PennDOT would have to compensate J. Loew for the value of the four units, Mr. Townes said they’d like to work out an agreement with PennDOT instead of receiving monetary compensation. He feels the development and the Township would be better served by having PennDOT perform certain improvements related to the site in exchange for the land.

Mr. Motel said that when the zoning was changed from B-1 to TND-5 for Tyler Griffin, a density of 76 units was worked out for the site, and what Mr. Townes was saying was that this inevitable PennDOT taking would reduce this number to 72 units. Mrs. Leland asked if the proposed improvements on the plan had to be shifted north to compensate for the road widening, and Andy Eberwein, P.E., who accompanied Mr. Townes, said it will cause a shift unless the Township waives the setback requirement.

Mr. Eberwein showed they have 105 feet of setback from the closest unit to the travel lane, which would be reduced about 30 feet after the taking. He said plantings can be added to the buffer to help mitigate the loss. Mrs. Leland asked if the path shown near the road can be moved, and Mr. Eberwein said it would be difficult because of the grades involved.

Mr. Motel said the Township wants to ensure that the TND design result is what they want. He asked what other improvements could be arranged with PennDOT in lieu of monetary consideration. He said that Route 29 is presently wide and widening that road will further separate the tract on the opposite sides of the intersection where the intent and desire with this TND was always to ensure an integrated whole. Mr. Townes suggested the Township may want to ask PennDOT to provide that conduits and utility boxes be placed underground in the area of the planned-for intersection of the crossover boulevard from Whitehorse Road to Phoenixville Pike at the southeast corner and entrance to the planning community on the Tyler Griffin tract. PennDOT has already agreed to construct the entrance to Tyler Griffin and a second one from Charlestown Road. Mr. Townes said a bike path and pedestrian trail are other possibilities. Mr. Eberwein said they hay be able to provide a future link to the Spring Oak tract. Mr. Motel suggested that the Township develop a punch list of wanted items to propose to PennDOT.

Mrs. Leland asked if brick crosswalks would be possible. Mr. Townes said PennDOT won’t do that, but would only be willing to paint crosswalks.

Mr. Churchill said it’s important that the Supervisors be involved in the negotiations with PennDOT, noting that other areas in the Township need attention. Mr. Kuhn asked for an estimate of the value of the four units, and Mr. Townes said possibly a half million dollars. Mr. Kuhn suggested the Township try to work out a sort of “account” with PennDOT to provide improvements within the TND or other areas within Charlestown in lieu of this value.

There was some discussion about the pedestrian crossing from Tyler Griffin to the Entre Computer tract, which Mr. Churchill said is impractical. Mr. Motel felt it could still be made to work, if not now, then in the future. He said it’s imperative to provide for biking and walkability throughout the TND zone and he doesn’t want the Entre Computer side of the TND to become a no man’s land with no link. He asked Mr. Comitta for suggestions. Mr. Comitta said crosswalks are shown in the plan, and they will be installed. They can be painted in the “piano keys” or “Abbey Road” style, which Mr. Townes acknowledged PennDOT is willing to do. Mr. Frens asked if there could be a raised island in the middle of the traffic lanes, but Mr. Eberwein said accommodating an island would require further taking of land.

Mr. Churchill said the setback issue is another concern. Buildings will now be 28 feet closer to the right of way than previously. Mr. Motel said that’s not necessarily bad, since a TND is supposed to have a tight, close feel. Mr. Townes said that 28 feet doesn’t translate to being 28 feet closer to the cartway itself, and Mr. Eberwein added it will be 4-8 feet closer to the cartway. He said noise and visual effects can be mitigated. Mrs. Leland asked about fencing, although Mr. Townes said he preferred dense landscaping, as fences become unattractive with age. Mr. Allen said PennDOT could widen the road again years from now and take more land. Mr. Motel said he thought the chances of this are slim, but asked if there could be a restriction placed against it. Mr. Townes said PennDOT would never agree to do so.

Mrs. Leland asked the applicant to take another look at moving the bike/pedestrian path further from the road. Mr. Motel said it could be done for the pedestrian path if the bike path is separated and placed along the road. Mr. Townes said there is only a 3 foot shoulder proposed.

Mr. Motel asked the Planning Commission members if they had an issue with allowing the previously agreed density of 76 units. Mrs. Leland indicated no. Mr. Churchill and Mr. Motel said they have no issue provided the Township gets some alternate improvements from PennDOT in exchange. Mr. Motel noted the conditions at Tyler Griffin were unusual enough that there shouldn’t be any concern over setting a precedent. There was general agreement from the Commission that the 76 units would be acceptable even with the right of way taking by PennDOT.

Mr. Townes next brought up the concern over impervious surface calculations, which may prompt another revision to be considered for the TND ordinance.

Mr. Townes said that Tyler Griffin doesn’t meet the ordinance for impervious surface calculations, as some areas have 90-95% impervious coverage and are only permitted 50%. However, the overall plan remains under 50% impervious coverage. They are requesting that the ordinance be amended to allow a calculation for the average impervious coverage to be determined from the overall tract, rather than meeting the lower requirement for each lot. He said even if all the lots were at 95% impervious coverage, the overall tract would be under 50%.

Mr. Comitta said the question is whether Tyler Griffin is different enough from the Spring Oaks tract to warrant a different treatment of impervious coverage. Spring Oaks proposes fee simple lots, and he thinks the Tyler Griffin tract is different enough to work with tract density instead of lot density.

Mr. Motel asked how the green areas compare, and Mr. Comitta said the amount of green space is met or exceeded. Mr. Townes said they can even work with a maximum of 45% overall impervious coverage. Mr. Allen was concerned that the calculations for individual lots and the overall tract are not comparable. Mr. Townes said he’ll ask Mr. Eberwein to run calculations and discuss the results at the March 1st meeting.

With regard to lighting, he said he can arrange for the Spring City Lighting representative to bring in poles and lights to the parking lot outside the meeting room to display various fixture samples. This will be done at the March 23rd meeting. On that subject Mr. Motel and Mr. Allen spoke briefly about the need for meeting time and the expected demands of the applicants and it was believed a second meeting in March on the 23rd would in fact be necessary in part due to the fact that one of the winter blizzards had forced cancellation of the February 9, 2010 regular Planning Commission meeting.

Schedule Night Site Visit to Review Lighting Samples

A bus tour consisting of the Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors and representatives from Tyler Griffin and Spring Oaks was scheduled to leave from the Township Office Parking Lot at 6:30 p.m. on March 8, 2010 in order to review various lighting styles, intensities and spillage at selected developments in various neighboring townships. The tour is considered a public meeting and will be properly advertised to the public so they may likewise attend.

Spring Oak Preliminary Plan - Traditional Neighborhood Development

John Mostoller of Dewey Homes and Doug Olson of Barton Partners were present to review materials relating to the Spring Oak Preliminary Plan last revised 12/23/2009.


A review of the reports, including the traffic study, speed study, EIA, and stormwater operations & maintenance agreement were tabled to March 9th so Eric Schrock from Dewey Homes may be present. Mr. Schrock will provide responses to the consultants’ review comments in advance of the meeting.

Review of Design Manual

The Planning Commission began a comprehensive review of the Design Manual. Mr. Allen asked the Planning Commission members to add comments to their copy of the manual during the presentation. He’ll collect the manuals following the meeting so the comments can be combined and reviewed, after which time they’ll be returned to the members.

Doug Olson said the Spring Oaks group has worked on the Manual with the Design Review Committee since June 2009. Their last review of the 100 page manual was on 2/1/10. He said there are still some issues to develop or address. They received comments from the DRC and are now seeking comments from the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. He referred to a 2/5/10 memo from Helene McElroy at his office that addressed higher level changes, added language and images to be added or changed. He said their goal is to capture all remaining comments in order to obtain a positive indication that they have satisfied the requirements for preliminary plan submission and can move toward the final plan. A memo addressing this evening’s comments will be generated.

Mr. Mostoller then began a PowerPoint presentation going through the manual page by page. The following comments were made.

Page # Comments
Cover Mr. Mostoller confirmed that the picture on the cover is most representative of the actual appearance proposed for the buildings, and depicts those that will be located across from the recreation center. He noted that sketches inside the manual are meant to be representative, and not necessarily actual, images.

Mrs. Leland said the term TND should be spelled out the first time.

Mr. Motel said the picture should be bigger.

Mrs. Leland asked if there will be a lot of 2’ stone walls throughout the development as depicted in the picture, and Mr. Mostoller said no. Those that are included are shown in the preliminary plans. Mrs. Leland asked if the stone was real or faux. Mr. Mostoller said it will be stone or cut stone.
Intro-duction Mr. Olson noted they will be adding language regarding the architectural types. Mrs. Leland noted some typos, and it was agreed these would be picked up from the hand written notes on the manuals so as not to mention them during the presentation.

Mr. Kohli said a definition of major and minor modification should be included to make it clear when the developer must go back to the Supervisors for approval.
p. 4 Mrs. Leland asked if the colors represented are what will actually be done, and Mr. Mostoller said not necessarily; contrasting colors were used on the rendition to make it easier to differentiate among building types. She said she’d like the colors to reflect the actual colors.
p. 7 Mr. Mostoller indicated the existing barn will become the recreation center.
p. 8 Mr. Mostoller said all homes will be Energy Star certified.

Mr. Kohli said code references should be for 2009 instead of 2004.

p. 8 & 9 Mr. Allen noted these pages are being revised.
p. 9 Mrs. Leland asked if solar power would be available, and Mr. Frens said it will be an option. Mr. Allen said this is being discussed at the DRC meetings.
p. 11-19 Mr. Olson said the rendered images on these sheets will be replaced when they are superseded by the plan.
p. 25 Mr. Mostoller pointed out the concrete curbing and crosswalks.
p. 26 Mr. Motel questioned whether the Horseshoe Trail parking lot should be designated in some way as that was missing from this page.

Mr. Kuhn said the basketball court is too close to the neighboring McIntyre property. Mr. Mostoller said they don’t want it to be visible from the entrance. Mr. Allen said the DRC will look at this again. Mr. Motel pointed out that the homes of residents, including the McIntyres should be shown on the plan especially for reasons such as this when planning for adjacent uses like the basketball court.

Mr. Mostoller said the plantings will be more like those in the green areas designated with “2’s” on the plan instead of like those of the central green. Mr. Churchill asked who will maintain them, and Mr. Mostoller said the Homeowners’ Association.
p. 30 Mr. Churchill asked if decisions have been made regarding pervious paving, and Mr. Olson said it will be used in the alleys. Mr. Allen said the curbing issue hasn’t been resolved yet as there’s a question of whether it will sufficiently withstand traffic.
p. 31 Mr. Mostoller indicated the wide aprons leading to the alleys, which will reduce wear and tear on the grass. He added that the entrance areas to the alleys are macadam and not pervious pavement. Mr. Allen said curbing is only needed to hold the edge up on the pervious paving. Mr. Olson added there’s support underneath as well.
p. 40 Mr. Motel noted the street lights will have the Spring City design.
p. 41 Mr. Churchill thought the stop sign post is too heavy looking.
p. 42-44 Mr. Olson said these pages will be updated and expanded.

Mr. Churchill asked if there will be a variety of seating types and Mr. Olson said yes.
p. 44 Mrs. Leland said she didn’t like the entry design, and Mr. Kuhn agreed it looks “corporate”. Mr. Mostoller said they’ll look at it further.
p. 45 Mrs. Leland liked the paragraphs crafted explaining “Intent” and asked why they don’t appear earlier in the manual. Mr. Olson said they relate more to the section they immediately precede.

Mrs. Leland asked what the back entries and porches will look like. For alley loaded units, most people will enter and exit through the back. Mr. Allen said this hasn’t been worked out yet and more detail is needed.
p. 47 Mr. Kohli asked if there will be fences at the back property lines. Mr. Mostoller said that’s a good point although he doesn’t want high “privacy” fencing. Mr. Olson referred to some fence zones depicted on p. 60.

Mr. Kuhn said 3-D views of the fencing are needed to ensure the design doesn’t discourage a neighborhood feel with excessive fencing or fencing that is too high. Mr. Mostoller said the fencing has to be designed by the town architect. Mr. Kuhn asked if future fencing will have to be approved by the HOA, and Mr. Allen responded, probably.

The review of the manual beginning with page 53 will continue at the March 9th meeting.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:21 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Planning Commission Secretary