TUESDAY, APRIL 13, 2010 – draft 4/16/2010


Present: Andy Motel, Chairman, Wendy Leland, Vice Chairman, Mike Allen, Michael Churchill, Michael Richter, Andre von Hoyer II, Bill Westhafer, Surender Kohli, P.E., Dan Mallich, Linda Csete, and those on the attached list.

Call to Order:

7:37 P.M.

Announcements -


Citizens Forum

No matters were brought forward at this time.

Approval of Minutes

March 23, 2010 Minutes

Mr. Allen proposed the following corrections to the minutes of 3/23/10:

Mrs. Leland moved to approve the March 23, 2010 minutes and Mr. von Hoyer seconded. Mr. Motel called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Zantzinger Minor Subdivision Plan

Andrew Defonzo, P.E. of D.L. Howell and Megan King, Esq. were present to discuss a proposed minor subdivision plan for the Zantzinger, LaPointe and Schmidt properties on Pikeland Road.

Ms. King explained that last year a lot line change was approved to take 0.2 acres from Lot 1 and add them to Lot 2 in order to reduce the size of Lot 1 to just under two acres so it could be sold without triggering Act 319 rollback taxes. Lot 1 was then sold jointly to William LaPointe and Donald Schmidt, who owned the properties on either side.

Ms. King said that now the Zantzinger estate wishes to return the 0.2 acres from Lot 2 to Lot 1 to square off the lot, which the two neighbors wish to subdivide into two pieces so each may add one piece to his respective adjacent property.

Ms. King asked if the site walk required by the ordinance could be forgone considering that the Planning Commission visited the site last year for the previous subdivision proposal. Mr. Kohli saw no need to repeat the visit so Mr. Motel was in agreement that there was no need to perform another visit.

Ms. King said they will provide the deed copies for review and correct the names listed for the owners of Lot 1 as noted in Mr. Kohli’s 3/31/2010 review letter.

Mrs. Leland moved to recommend approval of the Zantzinger Minor Subdivision plan last revised 3/18/10 subject to the comments on Mr. Kohli’s review letter dated 3/31/10. Mr. von Hoyer seconded the motion and Mr. Motel called for discussion. There being none, Mr. Motel called the vote and all were in favor.

Spring Oak Preliminary Plan - Traditional Neighborhood Development

John Mostoller, Eric Schrock, Jason Engelhardt and Doug Olsen were present to continue the review for Spring Oaks.

Street Light Update

Mr. Allen said he’s been in touch with representatives of Spring City Lighting and they agreed to set up a demonstration of the Washington Model lights for 12-15 people in one of their production buildings on April 20th. The majority of Planning Commission members indicated they would be available. Mr. Allen referred to data sheets previously provided by Spring City, which listed 74 watt lights spaced at 180 feet and 40 watt lights spaced at 125 feet. Only the latter can be set up for the demonstration.

Mr. Churchill asked if the closer lights would be dimmer, and Mr. Allen said this wasn’t necessarily the case. Mr. Allen commented that he didn’t think they wanted lights spaced as far as 125 feet.

Mr. Allen will confirm the date and time and send the address to those planning to attend.

Mr. Mostoller circulated a handout on the items to be addressed this evening and displayed by PowerPoint.

Mr. Olsen began with a slide depicting lights from the Haverford Reserve, where the lights are 200-225 feet apart. Mr. Mostoller said the lighting level there seems very comfortable. He said the development is a good example of a newer community with similar density to that proposed for Spring Oak, and consists of townhouses and twin homes with an $800,000 base price. The lighting plan is available for the Haverford site, and it shows Hadco lights, which are similar to those of Spring City. He said the lights are spaced 140-150 feet apart on the boulevard. Mr. Allen said it appears that the Haverford development has no sidewalks, but Mr. Mostoller wasn’t sure that could be determined from this point in its construction. Mr. Kohli asked for the height of the lights, and Mr. Mostoller said 14 feet. Mr. Olsen said that height is measured from the base of the pole to the neck, and doesn’t include the fixture on top. Mr. Mostoller said Haverford has 150 watt shielded high pressure sodium lights, which Mr. Olsen said give a yellow light as opposed to metal halite or LED lights, which give a comfortable white light. Mr. Motel said the Haverford fixtures also appear to have frosted glass.

Mr. Olsen showed the lighting plan he developed working with a Spring City representative that includes 74 watt LED lights 180 feet apart on the same side of the street, but staggered on the opposite side so lights are actually 90 feet apart. He noted that for sketch purposes, the lights were shown in yellow but this wasn’t to infer that the lighting itself has a yellow tint. The plan takes two different approaches to lighting, with more lighting at the intersections and at vertical curves, and lighting spaced farther apart in other areas. He said a minimum lighting standard should be established for areas in between lights, such as 0.1 foot candle (ft-c). He said Dewey Land’s question to the Planning Commission is whether this plan seems reasonable.

Mr. Churchill asked for the longest distance between lights. Mr. Olsen said 220-250 feet. Those in the circle area are closer to 80 feet, and most falling between 150-180 feet. He showed how the lighting sketch listed these distances between lights for reference. Mr. Churchill said the lights shown at 130 feet apart might be quite bright.

Mr. Westhafer asked if there are any fixtures where alleys intersect, and Mr. Olsen said there some, but not all intersections. Mr. Allen said there are no lights in the alleys themselves. Mr. Olsen said some lights can be shifted around so they’re closer to the alley entrances.

Mr. Olsen explained how the distances between lights depends on the area of the plan, showing a section in the northeastern portion of the site where lights along a horizontal curve are closer together than those along the straight areas.

Mr. Westhafer asked if the lighting was directional, and Mr. Olsen said yes, noting that LED lighting is much more focused than other types. He said asking what the light distribution will be is a good question to pose at the visit to Spring City. Mr. Motel said some houses appear that they will be bathed in light, which the Planning Commission didn’t want. Mr. Churchill said there is too much lighting in the southern portion of the site near the basketball courts. Mr. Olsen said this was to provide a sense of security when approaching the court area. Mr. Motel asked and it was confirmed that the proposed basketball courts were not to be illuminated. Mr. Engelhardt said that 0.2 ft-c isn’t very bright, saying it was similar to the lighting in his portion of the meeting room where just the PowerPoint screen is lit. Mr. Westhafer asked for the foot-candles in the area of the central ring, and Mr. Olsen said 0.5. Mr. Westhafer said some lights could be moved further from the homes in that area by relocating them across the street.

After Mr. Olsen said there would only be two lights at the Whitehorse Road entrance, Mr. Westhafer said he thought there should be more lighting for safety. Mr. Motel said there will also be lighting on the entrance monument. Mr. Allen said there should be a balance at that intersection between the country road (Whitehorse Road) and the development. He doesn’t want to see the entrance emphasized too much. Mr. Motel said they also need to be conscious of the effect of lighting on the Sload property across Whitehorse Road from the entrance.

Mr. Motel said to keep in mind that in addition to street lights, there will be lights from sconces, porches, and the units themselves. He doesn’t want the development to be over lit.

Mrs. Leland asked if there would be a way to add a shield to a light if there is a complaint after the development is constructed. Mr. Motel said this could be asked at the visit to Spring City. Mr. Allen noted the lights aren’t staggered in the center area of the plan. He said he’ll ask Spring City if they can set up a stagger pattern in their demonstration.

Mr. von Hoyer pointed out an area that has no lighting on the eastern side of the plan, along with the clubhouse area. Mr. Motel said the first area is the walking trail, and those aren’t intended to be lit. Mr. Olsen said the clubhouse itself will have building lights.

Buffering Between the Fillippo (Devault Foods) and Spring Oak Properties

Mr. Olsen showed plans for the buffer area between the two properties, stating there’s only a thin strip of land to utilize. Mr. Fillippo has agreed to allow the buffer fencing to be located two feet onto his property to provide more room to work with. He indicated they selected several species of evergreens ranging from 4-10 feet wide yet growing 40-60 feet tall. Species proposed include cedar and cypress varieties. Mr. Mostoller said they want to plant the buffer trees during the initial stages of Phase I since this will help their marketing of the units. Mr. Olsen added that tree growth during construction is also a consideration, noting that generally the narrower species grow faster. They plan to space the trees tightly together and include a solid six foot fence behind them. Mr. Mostoller said he’s considering a brown toned PVC fencing. Mr. Allen asked whether they should consider an eight foot fence, which Mr. Motel agreed would help with noise and viewshed issues.

Mr. Westhafer asked how close the trees would be planted to one another, and Mr. Olsen said about seven feet off center. Mrs. Leland asked how tall they would be when planted, and Mr. Olsen said 7-8 feet.

Mr. Richter asked who maintains the fence if it’s on the Fillippo property, and Mr. Olsen said the Spring Oak Homeowners Association.

Mr. Schrock pointed out the distance from the closest lot, Lot 78, to the proposed Building to be added at Devault Foods. Mr. Allen said Lots 80, 81 and 82 have a less desirable viewshed than Lot 78 and they should also have sufficient screening. Mr. Schrock showed a sketch of the Lot 78 property showing how the distance to the property line is broken up by the buffer, grass area, path, alley, driveway, garage and lawn before reaching the house. Mr. Mostoller added that the peak of the garage creates a buffer too, although Mr. Allen said since the first floor of the house is elevated, this would only be true when standing outside the building.

Mr. von Hoyer asked if there would be restrictions on the new Devault Foods building, and Mr. Allen said it will have to conform to the most recent lighting ordinance and to state restrictions for truck idling.

Mr. Schrock showed a sketch of how the trees will look after five years when they’re 25 feet high. Mr. von Hoyer asked if there can be berming for the trees. Mr. Engelhardt said the general rule is that you need 3 feet of level grade for each foot of berm, and there’s not sufficient room here.

Mr. Motel said he’s concerned that the area to be planted is too narrow and the trees will grow into the path area, although Mrs. Leland said the lower branches can be trimmed to create a tunnel effect.

Mr. von Hoyer asked if they might consider combining the trail with the alley by painting a path, which is done in some California communities. Mr. Allen said the path and alley need to be kept separate for safety reasons. Mr. Mostoller said he’ll look at reducing the housing envelope by two feet to add to this area.

Mr. Mostoller said all buyers will be told of the proposed Devault Foods plant expansion when they make settlement. Dewey Homes has them sign an actual sketch plan to ensure there are no misunderstandings. Mr. Mostoller said they also sign a document that indicates they’ve been told about noise to be expected during the night. Mr. Motel said another question to look into is whether there are types of insulation or windows that help abate noise. Mr. Frens said laminated glass can decrease noise. Mr. Allen said the Planning Commission will also be working with Mr. Fillippo to see what buffering can be added to his plan when he decides to expand the plant. Mr. Churchill said he’d consider combining the buffering for both projects on the Devault Foods side if Mr. Fillippo was agreeable. Mr. Westhafer said this might allow for possible berming in some areas, although others pointed out the rain garden and sewer lines would be in the way.

Mr. Allen asked if buyers are notified of conditions during a resale. Mr. Richter said the HOA can be required to disclose them when they issue a “resale certificate”. Mr. Richter asked what the proposed new Devault Foods building will be used for, and Mr. Allen said the plan indicates it will be used for cold storage but this could be changed. Mr. von Hoyer said storage of thousands of gallons of coolant is another concern.

Mr. Motel said he scheduled a meeting with Tom Fillippo at the Devault Foods office for Friday, April 16th at 8 a.m. Mr. Allen is also attending, so one more Planning Commission member can join them without a quorum being formed. He asked the other members to let him know if any would like to join them.

Mr. Frens asked if Dewey Land would consider concrete curbing between the path and alley, and Mr. Mostoller said yes. Mrs. Leland said for pedestrian safety she prefers a wooden guardrail similar to what the Smurthwaites have. Mr. Motel, Mr. Allen and Mr. Churchill agreed, but Mr. Richter said he preferred the curbing to allow better access to emergency vehicles. Mr. Westhafer and Mr. von Hoyer agreed with curbing. Mr. Motel said the recommendation is 4-3 in favor of using a wooden guardrail.

Review Linking Alternatives from Spring Oak into TND Area 2

Mr. Mostoller asked for feedback on three linking alternatives to bring traffic from Spring Oak (Area 1) to the Retail/Commercial Area 2. He began by showing the original Illustrative Site Plan designed by Perry Morgan, which is Exhibit D of the TND Ordinance. Mr. Motel said this Exhibit is a concept plan that the Planning Commission must now relate to the applicant’s engineered plan.

Alternative 1 follows the concept plan most closely, indicating a road leading out of the Spring Oak site to a location across from the Devault Foods complex on the Fillippo property.

Alternative A, the Souder link, is located further north on the plan and cuts through the Souder property, impacting its southern border. This road, like the first alternative, would link into the road traversing the TND and heading to the Tyler Griffin tract.

Alternative B, the Whitehorse Road link, would link directly to Whitehorse Road and create a new intersection with it. Mr. Motel said he recalls that the previous owners of Spring Oak at J. Loew & Associates had indicated there were engineering challenges to accessing Whitehorse Road in that area.

Mr. Motel asked where they see their responsibility ending as to the proposed links. Mr. Allen said they must demonstrate the feasibility of potential links to provide viable alternatives to the original link.

Mr. Richter said Alternative 1 appears to undermine the previous discussion on buffering. Mr. Mostoller agreed it does open up the Spring Oak tract to an undesirable view into Devault Foods, although Mr. Allen said the road could be buffered.

Mr. Churchill said the Souder link seems to be the best alternative. Mr. Westhafer agreed it’s preferable to the Whitehorse Road link, but asked if they would want a minor connection to the alley from it.

Mr. Allen said the original link shown between the residential and commercial areas has to change now that the plan has been engineered. He sees the secondary road coming off the Souder link as awkward, and said he’d like to maintain the original link until there’s a better determination of what alternative would work. He said they may need to lose two units to accomplish this. Mr. Churchill agreed that the lot configurations can’t be finalized until the link access is determined. He said if the Souder link is used, Road C shouldn’t dead end in the alley. Mr. Westhafer suggested leaving Road C as a common area or as a future lot if it’s never used as a road.

Mr. Motel said the Whitehorse Road alternative should be eliminated and the circulation should run through the Fillippo property and into the signalized intersection. Mr. Schrock said this should be an alley connection to discourage cut through traffic. Mr. Motel said this connection will shift the equilibrium toward the center of the community, and suggested they seek additional guidance from Perry Morgan.

Mr. Allen said the original link won’t work if the Devault plant expansion takes place and that the design isn’t as good with respect to flow. He said he doesn’t want to choose an option until all the problems can be solved, to which Mr. Motel and Mr. Churchill agreed.

Mrs. Leland agreed with an earlier comment that if the original access is used, the long alley should be kept as such and not turned into a main thoroughfare. Mr. Westhafer said an island could be added to separate traffic.

Mr. Mostoller said they’re taking the preliminary plan to the Board of Supervisors on May 3rd to seek approval and if the plan has to change after that approval due to which link is selected they’re open to doing so. Mr. Churchill said he’s open to leaving the options open for now.

Mr. Allen suggested the applicants not change anything until after they meet with Mr. Fillippo on Friday. Mr. Motel added that he’d like to ask Perry Morgan to look at it as well.

Review suggested changes to plan

Mr. Engelhardt addressed several suggestions made prior to the meeting by Mr. Westhafer. The first was a suggestion to change Alley 2 from a two-way cut-through from the Clubhouse parking lot to a one-way street or else eliminate the connection completely. Mr. Engelhardt said the garage on Lot 33 would have to be rotated for easier access if the alley was one-way. Mr. Mostoller said they can look at ways to accomplish this. He asked if the road was closed off entirely, would pedestrian access through the alley still be permitted. Mrs. Leland said yes. Mr. Frens suggested bollards be placed at the entrance so cars can’t go through but bikes and pedestrians can. Mr. Mostoller said he’d prefer to cut the alley off.

The second suggestion was to rotate the homes on Lots 104, 105, 136 & 137 toward the central green instead of facing Road D, to which everyone agreed. Mr. Allen said it diminishes the importance of Road D but he does prefer it. Mr. Mostoller said adding wraparound porches will help accent Road D.

The third suggestion was to add buffering to the east side of Lot #1 by moving the house to the west, to which everyone agreed.

Alley edges specifications

Mr. Mostoller said Mr. Schrock will spend some time with Mr. Kohli to work out the plan for porous paving along the alley edges. Mr. Kohli said the porous edges should traverse the entire length of the alleys and not just be placed where the alley meets driveways. Mr. Schrock said they also have an alternative design to discuss with Mr. Kohli.

Clubhouse Area Plans

Mr. Olsen showed the plans for the Clubhouse area, which in addition to the Clubhouse itself (former barn) includes the Springhouse, to be used for children’s activities, low walled areas from former foundations to be used for picnics and grilling, and a playground and pool.

Mr. Frens said the plantings shown around the Springhouse should be eliminated so the structure can maintain its more austere, historical look.

Mr. Mostoller said he needs feedback on the overall concepts in this area so they can prepare the grading plan.

Mr. Westhafer asked if the playground area should be fenced. Mr. Olsen said the pool fencing borders it on one side, with retaining walls on the other. He thought this makes it sufficiently enclosed. He added that the tot lots in other areas of the development will be fenced. Mr. Motel asked for the composition of the retaining walls, and Mr. Olsen said they will be stone faced. Mr. Schrock added they’re not visible from the road. Mr. Mallich said Mr. Comitta has been present at previous discussions on the playgrounds. Mr. Mallich said he himself is a certified playground safety inspector. He noted there should be fencing and benches for the parents at the playground, and there may not be enough room for the swings, which need rear and forward distances of two times the height of the crossbar. He said the playground should be separated from the pass through area. He said both he and Mr. Comitta liked the corner anchor area that includes a proposed fountain. In general, some revisions may be needed for the playground relating to age-appropriateness. Mr. Motel asked if these revisions could affect the grading of the area and Mr. Mallich said possibly. His office will be providing comments.

Mr. Mostoller said this playground will be used more when the pool is open. The layout in general was intended to keep pedestrian traffic away from the copper beeches.

Mr. Westhafer said there is a lot of paving in this area and he’d like to see more landscaping. He thought the paving around the pool could also be reduced. Mr. Olsen said they could use porous pavers in some places such as the foundation areas. Mr. von Hoyer said the surface should be kept soft where possible.

Mr. Allen said that parents parking near the bus stop will have to park across the street. He also commented that some of the playground equipment is too visible from the road. Mr. Olsen said it will be down slope. Mr. Churchill said they might want to consider less equipment.

Mr. Motel said the SUV queue of parents waiting near the bus stop will be major and cause traffic snarls. He said they should attempt to work with the School District to approve additional bus stops in the community rather than just this one. The other Planning Commission members were in agreement. The Great Valley School District does not generally come into communities until the roads are dedicated, but the Planning Commission expressed a willingness to work with the applicants and help lobby the School District to allow buses into the community. Mr. Schrock showed how the bus would come in to a pull off area from the road.

Mr. Westhafer questioned whether the bus shelter needs a roof or whether a porch on the community center could be used in bad weather. Mr. Frens said the community center is meant to look like a barn and wouldn’t have a porch.

Mr. Frens suggested changing the path from the Spring House to the Community Center/Clubhouse to a soft S curve instead of a rectilinear path.

Mr. Mallich asked if the grading permit will include handicapped access, and Mr. Olsen said yes, there will be access under the bump out of the community center next to the pool.

Mr. Mallich said his office will have comments on the recreation area prepared by next week.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:55 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Planning Commission Secretary