Wendy Leland, Chairman, Bill Westhafter, Vice Chair, Michael Allen, Michael Churchill, Andy Motel*, Michael Richter, Andre von Hoyer, Surender Kohli, P.E., Dan Wright, P.E., Dan Mallich, Linda Csete and those on the attached sign-in sheet.

Call to Order:

7:05 p.m.


Mrs. Csete made the following announcements:

The link to the codified ordinances is now available from the Township website and has an excellent search function.

There are vacancies on both the Parks & Recreation Board and HARB, if anyone on the Planning Commission knows of individuals who may be interested.

Mr. Allen announced that he attended a meeting of the Transportation Management Association of Chester County (TMACC) yesterday where they gave an update on road improvement projects including the improvements to Route 29, slated to begin in Spring 2012, the Turnpike Slip Ramp, to begin this spring and conclude in Fall 2012, and Route 202 widening to begin this spring.


Mr. Motel called for nominations for the position of Chairman of the Planning Commission for 2011. Mr. Motel nominated Wendy Leland for Chairman and Mr. Allen seconded. Mr. Richter moved that nominations be closed and Mr. Motel seconded. He called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.

Mrs. Leland called for nominations for the position of Vice Chairman of the Planning Commission for 2011. Mrs. Leland nominated Bill Westhafer for Vice Chairman and Mr. Motel seconded. There being none further, Mrs. Leland closed the nominations. She called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.

Mr. Motel moved to set the meeting schedule for 2011 for the second Tuesday of the month, with the fourth Tuesday in reserve to be scheduled as needed, to be held at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, at 7:30 P.M. Mr. Richter seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.

Approval of December 14, 2010 Minutes

Mr. Allen had the following corrections to the minutes:

Mr. Motel moved to approve the minutes of December 14, 2010 and Mr. Allen/Mr. Churchill seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Tyler Griffin Preliminary Plan

Tim Townes of J. Loew & Associates was present to review selected items relating to the Tyler Griffin. Design Review Committee Chairman Mike Allen referenced Tom Comitta’s memo dated 12/28/2010, revised 1/6/2011, which provided a draft list of proposed amendments to the TND Ordinance relating to this application.

Items were discussed as follows:

#1 - #5: Clarifies that “office use” is included as a principal use in the TND 5 area and makes provisions for this use.

#6: Adds the requirement for a 35 foot non-residential use setback from the road right of way. Mr. Allen noted this had been agreed to but was overlooked in the ordinance. Mr. Churchill noted that other properties will expect the same setbacks and wanted to make sure the Planning Commission considered this.

#7: Change the minimum building setback from internal streets to be measured from the inner edge of the sidewalk and not the curb for residential buildings. Mr. Allen said this was agreed to previously due to the curvature of the roads, which Mr. Motel agreed was akin to what they determined for the Spring Oak plan.

#8: Mr. Townes clarified the 20 foot setback from the buildings to the road and the 8 foot setback from common parking to non-residential structures, and 10 foot from residential structures.

#9: Add the reference to “office use” under maximum building coverage.

#10: Mr. Allen said “Office” was added to Exhibit G and two notes were added to allow for the lot area equivalent concept and maximum impervious surface calculations for office use.

#11: Mr. Allen clarified there would be curbs in the alleys. Revisions to Exhibit H were found acceptable, that being to allow parking along alleys.

Mr. Motel asked if the ordinance amendments had to be adopted before the preliminary plan could be reviewed, and Mr. Allen said no.

Mr. Allen moved to recommend the draft ordinance changes to TND Area 5 for adoption by the Board of Supervisors and Mr. Motel seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Sidewalk along Charlestown Road

Mr. Townes distributed a small copy of the development plan and several cross-sections of selected portions of it. He said PennDOT is accommodating the inclusion of a sidewalk along Charlestown Road but he questions whether it’s appropriate since the DRC suggested it may not be necessary. He referred to the cross-section at Unit 69, and said it shows 3 retaining walls on the plan and pointed out features beginning from the center line.

Mr. Townes said he’s not opposed to including the sidewalk on the plans and would be willing to allow for it to be installed later by providing the necessary grading and a note on the plan indicating it would be maintained by the HOA in perpetuity.

Mr. Allen said the questions to consider are whether anyone would use the sidewalk, and if not, should the area be reserved for future use. He said the TMACC study has now been extended to Phoenixville Pike, and they’re looking to add bike lanes and beautification features to Route 29. He said as designed now, Charlestown Road would not be comfortable to walk since there are no protective barriers. He said the sidewalk could be moved further into the development, but this would require retaining walls in some areas.

Mr. Churchill asked if barriers can be added, but Mr. Townes said no, the 5 foot area between the cartway and sidewalk is intended as a shoulder for vehicular use.

Mr. Churchill said the sidewalk along Charlestown Road currently stops at the entrance to the development, and asks if it could be extended to the Elementary School property. Mr. Townes said it does go to the Tyler Griffin property line. He said they’ve reached out to the school district but haven’t had a response. Mrs. Leland said she’ll email them and propose a date to meet on this issue and also on the Horseshoe Trail.

Mr. Churchill asked when details on the sidewalk must be decided, and Mr. Townes said it can be addressed at the final plan stage. This includes the option of moving the sidewalk further into the development. Mr. Churchill asked if it changes other grading on the plan, and Mr. Townes said no. Mrs. Leland asked if it affects stormwater design, and Mr. Townes said no, since it will all be underground.

Mr. Westhafer asked if the interior sidewalks are public, and Mr. Townes said yes. Mr. Allen said bikers will still travel on the road rather than these paths, although Mr. Townes said children will use them.

Mr. Allen said he’s opposed to building the sidewalk as shown and would opt to either reserve it for the future or move it further into the site. Mr. Motel agreed, noting that the TMACC wants to avoid having Route 29 turn into a road with the appearance of Route 100, which he thinks building the sidewalk would promulgate. He thinks they should consider how the profile of the road should appear and how to calm and slow traffic.

Mr. Richter asked if it would helpful in the dialogue with the school district to leave the sidewalk on the plan as shown, and Mr. Townes said yes. Mr. Richter added he doesn’t see the benefit of the lower portion of the sidewalk but agrees the upper portion should remain.

Sidewalk along west side of Phoenixville Pike Entrance Boulevard

Mr. Allen asked if a sidewalk should be added to the west side of the Phoenixville Pike entrance for symmetry. Mr. Townes added that there would still only be one crosswalk, and that would be from the east side. Mr. Churchill said the sidewalk is essential on the east side but he doesn’t think it’s needed on the west and wouldn’t just add it for looks. Mr. Townes said he wouldn’t mind adding it for aesthetic balance. Mr. Allen said it would look more like a boulevard. Mr. Churchill said he was still unsure, though it would depend on how it was landscaped.

Mr. Westhafer said it would provide more access for some of the units to the retail area, although Mr. Churchill said they wouldn’t have trouble crossing the boulevard.

Mrs. Leland said she preferred the sidewalk on both sides. Mr. Townes agreed to add it.

Inclusion of Overflow Parking in Alleys

Mr. Allen said the DRC originally removed parallel parking spaces from Alleys G & J but now think they should remain. He asked for comments. Mr. Townes said the spaces were made 2 feet deeper and 4 feet longer. Mr. Townes also pointed out some parallel parking stalls near the recreation area that have been offset from the driveways. The Planning Commission had no objection.

Internal linkage of sidewalks

Mr. von Hoyer said the sidewalk approaching the office building appears to be a dead end. Mr. Townes said it would provide a potential link to TND Area 4 and to the Horseshoe Trail.

Mr. Townes said the alleys would have mountable curb with a 2:1 slope. There would be curb depressions where they meet conventional streets. Mr. Allen asked how people would cross Alley H from the sidewalks with no crosswalks. Mr. Townes said this is true throughout the site and that pedestrians are encouraged to cross at the designated crosswalks at the intersections. Mr. Churchill agreed with Mr. Allen that there should be crosswalks located at more than just the two ends of the alley. Mr. Townes showed where one or two additional crosswalks could be located, which Mr. Churchill thought was sensible.

Mr. Allen asked if a crosswalk should be added from the rec center to serve the block of houses across the street. Mr. Townes didn’t agree but showed where a link could be added.

Painted crosswalks in the alley areas

Mr. Townes said the crosswalks would be painted pavement and not brick, possibly in a large white block pattern.

Revision to Sidewalks in the Commercial Area

Mr. Allen reminded Mr. Townes that he was going to reconfigure the crosswalk leading to the entrance and he agreed he was going to change it and move the pine trees further back from it.

Mr. Churchill asked about the parking around the mail center. Mr. Townes said there are five adjacent spaces, and suggested added 2 or 3 parallel spaces on the far side. Mr. Allen agreed this would be wise.

Mr. Townes referred to one of the cross section handouts that shows spot elevations and demonstrates how water will roll away from the residential units. He said he’d like to return to the February 8th meeting to give a presentation on the Design Manual and the plans. He asked the Planning Commission members to forward him questions ahead of time so they can be addressed at the meeting. Mr. Churchill asked if they would see the lighting plans at that time and Mr. Townes was not sure they would be ready.

Mr. Motel asked when J. Loew & Associates would like to break ground, and Mr. Townes said they’re hoping to be ready in the fall, but the timing depends largely on PennDOT as they want to do portions of their improvements simultaneously. There was some discussion on the eventual cost savings of placing utilities underground, and Mr. Townes said he’d provide some numbers. Mr. Motel said it would be helpful to see a comparison on initial installation costs compared to the life costs.

Mrs. Leland asked if there were any questions or comments from the audience and no one came forward.

Blue Howell Properties Minor Subdivision Plan

Mr. Motel stated that he communicated with the applicant’s attorney, Michael Gill, Esq. earlier today and suggested this application be tabled until the Supervisors make the determination of whether the property meets the net lot area minimums for the two lots proposed.

Mr. Allen noted that when the Zeigler subdivision opposite this application was approved, the Township required shared driveways to reduce the number of driveways onto Howell Road. He recommended the same be considered for this plan if it moves forward.

Thompson Sketch Plan – Revised

Ben Thompson and Mike Beuke, P.E. from Showalter Associates were present to discuss a revised sketch showing proposed changes to the access for 4 lots that were previously shown as being accessed through the golf course. This would allow the plan to be done in two phases and keep the golf course open for a longer period of time.

Mr. Beuke said because of the two postponements of tonight’s meeting, they went ahead and submitted preliminary plans even though the Planning Commission wanted to review the revised sketch and provide comments on it before preliminary plan review started. He said he had a set of the preliminary with him in case there were any questions.

Mr. Churchill asked if there were any substantial changes made in the preliminary plans from this latest sketch, and Mr. Beuke said there was nothing major. Mr. Thompson said some of the lot lines changed but most of the building envelopes stayed the same. He noted that the conservation easement agreement with the Township allows them to make lot line adjustments. Some area was taken to create the cul de sac. There were more changes made on the Schuylkill Township portion of the plan.

Mr. Beuke said the “floating parcels” of property have now been attached to other lots as this had caused some confusion. Mr. Thompson added that most of these are in Schuylkill Township.

Mr. Thompson said tonight they wanted to continue the discussion from the December meeting now that a more detailed sketch has been circulated. A cul de sac was added off Tinkerhill Lane to service lots 4, 5, 7 & 20 temporarily so the golf course won’t be impacted until Phase 2. He said it ties in to the emergency access from the existing gravel farm road so it won’t exceed the maximum cul de sac length of 1,000 feet. The emergency access easement currently shown on the sketch plan should go from the end of Tinkerhill Road and should straddle the property line between Lots 2 & 3, terminating at the new cul de sac. Mr. Beuke said the cul de sacs will have center islands with underground stormwater management systems. Mr. Allen suggested tear drop shapes for the cul de sacs, stating that larger vehicles can navigate them more easily.

Mr. Allen said he still thinks Lot 22 has an odd configuration but Mr. Thompson wasn’t concerned there would be a problem selling it.

Mr. Kohli’s review letter dated 1/5/2011 was discussed as follows:

Item #1 – Mr. Beuke said this is informational and no response is needed.

Item #2 – Mr. Beuke said no response is needed, although Mr. Thompson wanted to correct inaccuracies, noting that 23 and not 22 of the proposed lots contain an existing or proposed dwelling, and that 11 single family units, not 10, are located within Charlestown Township, and 4, not 6 are located in both townships. He said the number of proposed and existing building and non-building lots in Schuylkill Township is still to be determined.

Item #3 – Mr. Beuke said no response is needed. Mrs. Leland asked if Lot 21, shown as a flag lot, can get access to Mine Road. Mr. Thompson said it would require a conditional use approval but they hope to do this to avoid disturbing the golf course.

Item #4 – Mr. Beuke said on site sanitary and water testing are in progress.

Item #5 – Mr. Beuke said the critical environmental areas are shown on the preliminary plans.

Item #6 - Mr. Beuke said the EIA report was submitted with the preliminary plan.

Item #7 – Mr. Beuke said the stormwater management plans have been submitted with the preliminary plans and agreed they will comply with the requirement for fully designed systems at the building permit stage for each lot.

Item #8 – Mr. Beuke said a note was added to clarify the maximum building coverage on the preliminary plans and it’s in accordance with the conservation easement agreement. 1 ½ acres will be allowed for the homestead and out buildings. Mr. Thompson said the North American Lands Trust (NALT) agreed that sanitary systems and agricultural accessory buildings can be located in the open space areas. Mr. Churchill said the plan must also meet the Township ordinances. Mr. Thompson said he doesn’t believe the agreement strays from the ordinances. Mr. Kohli said if more than 1 acre is disturbed, an NPDES permit will be required. Mr. Beuke acknowledged that each lot development will require an E & S plan.

Mr. Churchill said a problem for the Planning Commission is that the NALT agreement hasn’t been finalized, and he asks if it will be before the preliminary plan is approved. Mr. Thompson said the agreement still requires some work. He said he’ll see if Andy Johnson can attend the Feb 8th meeting. Mr. Richter asked if there are restrictions in the agreement from allowing farm manager apartments on the larger lots, and Mr. Thompson said they have to discuss this. There may be 3 lots on the Charlestown side and 2 lots on the Schuylkill side that could be affected.

Item #9 - Mr. Beuke agreed there will be notes on the plan restricting the lots from further subdivision and a maximum of 23 single family homes.

Item #11 – Mr. Beuke acknowledged they may have to address the need for a waiver for the cul de sac length.

Item #16 – Mr. Thompson showed the proposed location of the trail system. He said he discussed the ownership of the trails with Andy Johnson, who told him the land is retained by the property owner and an easement over the land for the trail is dedicated to the Homeowners’ Association. He said Mr. Johnson advised him to form the HOA now.

Mr. Motel asked the representatives from the Horseshoe Trail present this evening to participate in the discussion on the trail location. Mrs. Leland said the Horseshoe Trail representatives want to know how to connect the trails to the Great Valley Nature Center and other points. Mr. Thompson said they’d have to cross other peoples’ property to link to the Nature Center so he can’t address that. There was considerable discussion on how to link to the trail behind the Markley property on Union Hill Road. Some of that property is owned by members of the Thompson family but it is not part of the conservation plan. The Horseshoe Trail members indicated they’d like to walk the property, which Ben Thompson agreed to if they could form a small group to do so.

Regarding the internal trails, Mr. Thompson said they would be for walkers only and not horses. Mr. Motel said this is an issue that has to be addressed. Mr. Thompson said the inclusion of trails is not in the contract although they’re willing to provide them. They have concerns over property value and negligence issues and want to develop the HOA document that addresses trails before the lots are sold to multiple owners. Mr. Motel said the Township can assist with enforcement of rules for the trails. Mr. Thompson said they’re open to suggestions and want to work out potential parking issues. He asked if they should show a parking area of 3 or 4 spaces off Tinkerhill Lane, and Mr. Allen said yes.

Mr. Churchill asked what the concern is over horses on the paths. Betsy Pilgrim said as an equestrian she’s never had any problems. Sue Staas said as a hiker she doesn’t have problems when meeting up with a rider.

Mrs. Leland asked if the comments on Mr. Kohli’s review letter, page 4 would be addressed on February 8th, and Mr. Thompson said yes.

Agricultural Use Ordinance – Minor Amendment to Clarify Language

Mr. Motel referred to the draft amendment to the Agricultural Use Regulation section of the Zoning Ordinance prepared by Mark Thompson to clarify the number of animals permitted per acre. The amendment was recommended by the Chester County Planning Commission to adjust the language of the ordinance to match its intent.

Mr. Motel moved to recommend the amendment to the Agricultural Use Regulations as drafted and Mrs. Leland seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Adjournment –

The meeting was adjourned at 10:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Township Administrator
sheet, 1/25/2011