Wendy Leland, Chairman (arrived later), Mike Allen, Michael Churchill, Andre von Hoyer, Andy Motel, Michael Richter, Dan Wright, P.E., Tom Comitta, and Linda Csete and those on the attached sign-in sheet.

Call to Order:

7:35 p.m.


Mr. Allen announced that Chairman Wendy Leland would be late this evening due to a conflict with Back to School Night at the high school. Since Vice Chairman Bill Westhafer is absent this evening, he will chair the meeting until Mrs. Leland arrives. Mrs. Csete noted that a member of the ASA Committee is also at the school, so this matter may have to be moved to later on the agenda.

Approval of July 19, 2011 Minutes

Mr. Churchill moved to approve the minutes of July 19, 2011 and Mr. Richter seconded. Mr. Allen called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. Five were in favor.

Old Business

Commons at Great Valley – Offer of Land from J. Loew & Associates

Mr. Allen asked for an update on the offer from J. Loew & Associates to transfer two leftover parcels at the Commons @ Great Valley to the Township at no cost. He said the Supervisors should move forward with accepting the offer. Mrs. Csete said she’ll check on the status.


Ordinance Amendments – Stream Valley Restrictions and Wetland and Riparian Forest Buffers

Mr. Comitta referred to minor amendments he proposed to these two zoning ordinance sections as follows:

Section 27-1612 Stream Valley Restriction – remove the reference to lakes and running streams when stating no building or other structure shall be erected closer than 100 feet to the nearest bank of any watercourse.

Section 27-1618 Wetland and Riparian Forest Buffers – add the phrase “Except as required otherwise under the Stream Valley Restriction regulations of 27-1612” no building shall be erected within 50 feet of any wetland…”

Mr. Motel said these changes would make the ordinance consistent with the County, DEP and Valley Creek Watershed Plan.

Mr. Allen moved to approve the amendments to sections 27-1612 and 27-1618 of the Zoning Ordinance as proposed, and Mr. Richter seconded. Mr. Allen called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Stormwater Management Ordinance

The Planning Commission asked for the status of the Stormwater Management Ordinance. Mrs. Csete said Mr. Philips and solicitor Mark Thompson met with Mr. Wright to go over the remaining questions they had on the proposed ordinance and it was now scheduled for a hearing on October 3rd. It has been sent to the County Planning Commission for review. Mr. Wright confirmed that the latest revision allows for a range in the minimum disturbance area depending on the size of the property, which was an outstanding concern to the Planning Commission.

Spring Oak

John Mostoller and Eric Schrock were present to provide a refresher on the Spring Oak project and to go over the packet of materials they prepared and circulated to the commissioners prior to the meeting. Mr. Mostoller said the packet included the solicitor’s decision letter dated 7/20/10, and the review letters from Mr. Kohli dated 7/6/2010 and Mr. Comitta dated 6/22/10 that outline the conditions for final approval. He expects to file the final plan application in time for the November meeting and they want to be in compliance with the conditions by that time. Both he and Mr. Allen asked the commission members to make notes of anything that still needs to be addressed or clarified. Mr. Allen reminded the group they would not spend time revisiting anything that has already been approved. He asked Mrs. Csete if she could develop a punch list of outstanding items as they go along. This will appear as an addendum to the minutes.

Mr. Mostoller displayed the following slides:

  1. Overall Site Plan showing the layout of the community
  2. May 2010 punch list of 24 items that are conditions of the preliminary approval
  3. Elevations of the Clubhouse
  4. Buffer from Devault Foods, the elevations of that area and depiction of 8 foot fence
  5. Evergreen species, which will be staggered
  6. New design of roundabout leading to the Fillippo property to allow for future access. Mr. Mostoller noted this used to be a square. He also pointed out that one of the cartways shown as 16 feet will be changed to 20 feet.
  7. Trellis elevations shown from the street side and pool side. Mr. Schrock said more specifics were added to the bus stop and landscaping details per Mr. Comitta’s notes.
  8. Trellis plan
  9. Bus shelter section and elevations. Mr. Schrock said the shelter was moved per Dan Mallich’s suggestion. Mr. Richter asked for the height of the A-Line roof. Mr. Schrock said 8 feet in the front and 6 feet in the back, adding that there’s a drop off in the back. Mr. Comitta said that at the Temple/Ambler campus, they have a pergola type of shelter that is the best he’s ever seen, designed by John Collins on their staff. He said the shelter shown here is almost identical. He said he’ll see if Temple will share their construction details and material specifications.
  10. Signage for Spring Oak showing 6” capital letters and 3” lower case letters and various color styles. Mr. Allen suggested he bring a sample to the next meeting so the Planning Commission can better judge the size of the lettering. The commissioners indicated they found the colors acceptable, noting it’s the applicant’s call. Mr. Schrock said the DRC will weigh in.
  11. List of plant species.
  12. Details of plant species.
  13. Tot Lot Detail showing swing sets and specifications. Mr. Schrock said the play equipment has age and weight limits as required now, per Mr. Philip’s question. Mr. Mostoller noted this was listed as one of the conditions for final approval.
  14. Community Garden Area with a composting area, and two gates for access. One gate has access from Spring Oak and the other will have future access from the Fillippo development. Mr. Churchill asked if water will be provided, and Mr. Schrock said yes. Mr. Mostoller said the garden beds will be 4 x 8 foot raised beds. Mr. Allen asked what the framing will be made of, noting concerns over pressure treated lumber that may or may not still be a concern since their formula was changed. Mr. Comitta said the West End Community Gardens are using an alternative to pressure treated lumber although he didn’t know what it was. He asked Bill Andersen what he’d suggest. Mr. Andersen suggested either locust, which is expensive, or plastic, which may be more practical.
  15. Street Lighting – Mr. Schrock indicated that two light standards along Rees Road were moved to the opposite side.
  16. Depiction of two light levels for the street lights. Mr. Allen said the slide shows an area of .18 lighting with a .6 right next to it, which seems questionable. Mr. Mostoller said he’ll check it. Mr. Allen noted they may need to install some “dummy” boxes to fill in the lighting if there’s a need for it in the future. Mr. Allen said they want the light distribution to be more uniform and this is still in the notes. Mr. Schrock said there’s a reference to a 16 foot maximum pole height in the Design Manual, which they want to change to an 11 foot maximum. Mr. Mostoller clarified they still want to be allowed a 15 foot total height including the fixture to accommodate grade changes.
  17. Picture of the rear fireplace from outside of the building. Mr. Mostoller said feedback from Dale Frens is needed. He said the requirement for the fireplace, which extends from the rear wall of the building, is that it has a roof and foundation. Mr. Allen asked about the placement of the vent, which is in the side of the structure rather than the top. Mr. Mostoller said this is necessary because the fireplace is recessed, and even if it was flush with the building, a roof vent gives a less attractive appearance. Mr. von Hoyer asked if the vent can be raised, as it appears to be presently at chest height. Mr. Mostoller agreed they can raise it.

Following the slide show, Mr. Allen led the group through the packet of materials and referenced a two page summary he made of the information and circulated to everyone prior to the meeting. He said the review letter from Dale Frens isn’t included and asked that it be provided to them.

Mr. Allen asked if the final plans can be marked in some way so the Planning Commission can track the changes made since the Preliminary Plan. Mr. Schrock said this will be done by colorizing or clouding those portions of the plan that show changes. Mr. Schrock said they’ll also reference the consultant’s review comments by number.

Mr. Allen addressed sections of the review packet as follows to seek comments and questions from the commissioners.

TAB 2 - General Land Development Permit Schedule

Mr. Churchill said he’d like to see a construction phasing schedule. Mr. Mostoller said Mr. Comitta had brought this up in the past and they’ve been discussing the development of a two or four phase schedule.

TAB 4. Review Letter from Thomas Comitta Associates dated 6/22/2010

Mr. Allen started with comment #3.B.iii on page 3, which indicates the plans will change the fence height to 8 feet but doesn’t address the discussion from the 6/22/11 Planning Commission meeting which expressed concern over the material to be used. He said he’d like a matte material if PVC is used, not the shiny white material. He said there are many such comments in the minutes and the applicant needs to review them and discuss them with the Planning Commission if there is anything they don’t think can be done. Mr. Mostoller asked how many sets of minutes they should review, and Mr. Comitta suggested the last two sets. Mr. Allen added that the Supervisors’ minutes of 6/21/11 should be looked at as well. If there are any conflicts, they’ll work them out. Mr. Comitta added that avoiding the shiny white PVC material is critical. When the Charlestown Hunt group requested permission to replace wooden fence with it, the Board didn’t allow it. Mr. Allen asked if a review of the minutes is a manageable task, and Mr. Mostoller said yes.

Mr. Allen then addressed the following comments on the review letter:

Page 4, comment 3.F – Greens: he noted they need more design consideration.

Page 4, comment 3.G.4 – The playground surface will use organic loose material as specified in the second option listed on p.5.

Page 5, comment – The Township will review the language to be provided by the applicant for safety audit requirements for the playgrounds.

Page 6, comment 3.P.iii through v – Heights to be specified for the tree species listed. Mr. Mostoller said this has already been added to the species chart by Barton Partners.

Page 8, comment 4B – Mr. Allen asked how the reduction of the grass strip between the sidewalk and curb from 5 feet to 3 feet was resolved. Mr. Comitta said it was resolved due to TND ordinance amendments adopted 6/21/10.

Page 9, comment 8.F – Mr. Allen said Mr. Frens’ comments are needed on the architectural information on pages 70-95 of the Manual of Written & Graphic Design Guidelines.

(Mrs. Leland arrived at 8:45 p.m. and took over as Chairman).

No Page or Comment # Referenced - Mr. von Hoyer recalled that Mr. Richter wanted the lots nearest Devault Foods to be made aware of light pollution from the plant. Mr. Allen said this should be a condition listed in the HOA documents, which is why he recommends the Planning Commission review that document when it becomes available. Mr. Mostoller said it’s also part of the public offering statement, which will be reviewed by the Township Solicitor. Mr. Churchill agreed that the offering statement is the right place for it. Mr. Richter said the end consumer often doesn’t see this statement, and he wants something that they’ll see prior to closing and upon change of ownership. Mr. Motel suggested having the Township Solicitor comment on this.

Page 12, comment 9.A.v – Crosswalks – Mr. Allen said the comment in orange print to “review and confirm with the DRC” should be changed to “will comply” as to whether a crosswalk should be provided connecting the sidewalk in front of Lot 65 to the south entrance of the community center pool area.

Page 12, comment #9.E – Mr. Allen notes this comment is no longer applicable as the whiffle ball field was eliminated by a vote at the 6/22/10 Planning Commission meeting.

No Page or Comment # Referenced – Mr. Comitta said that at a DRC meeting, they discussed what will happen once the project has started and a substitute is needed for one of the materials. He said Page 1 of the Design Manual refers to the process for making modifications and he recommends the language “or approved equal by the DRC” be included so the applicant wouldn’t have to return to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors for these types of changes. Mr. Churchill pointed out that the DRC may not always be active. Mr. Allen said it’ll be in place as long as there are TND projects under construction. Mr. Mostoller suggested allowing the Township Architect to make the call, and he could refer it to the DRC or other group if he believed it necessary. Mr. Motel and Mr. Allen agreed that the Architect would be the appropriate person. Mr. Comitta suggested it be referred to the DRC “or its designee”.

TAB 5. Review Letter from Kohli and Assoc.

Comment #1 – Mr. Allen indicated that due to the 6/21/10 ordinance amendments, providing the Narrative and Building Plans as requested by Mr. Kohli prior to final approval is no longer required as this is included in the Design Manual.

Comment #2 – Mr. Allen said the Township and Tim Townes should be included in any meeting with the utility companies to identify the location of utility boxes. Mr. Richter said Comcast should be added to the list of utilities to meet with. Mr. Allen noted that all meters should be located at the backs of the buildings.

Comment #6 – Mr. Allen said he didn’t understand the reference to the minimum separation distance required by the pipeline company for the roadway crossing. Mr. Schrock said he thought this referred to vertical distance. Mr. Wright said he’ll review this question and get back to the commission. Mr. Allen noted that the HOA will be responsible for mowing the grass over the pipeline easement, but otherwise the developer must have approval from the pipeline company to do anything in the easement area.

Comment #7 – Mr. Allen asked about the practical difference between flush curbs and rolled curbs and which is preferable. He was concerned that trucks in the alleys would run over a flush curb and go onto the grass, especially trash trucks. Mr. Schrock said Mr. Kohli recommended a water stop, which is just a deep blacktop edging and not a true curb. Mr. Allen said the applicants wanted concrete flush curbs, which concerned Mr. Townes in his development at Tyler Griffin. Mr. Schrock said Spring Oak proposes porous paving, while Tyler Griffin does not. Mr. Allen asked what type of curbing is proposed at Tyler Griffin, and Mr. Wright responded it is also concrete flush curbing. Mr. Mostoller said they’ll take another look at this.

Comment #10 – Mr. Schrock said they’ll comply with the requirement to provide a list of the lots requiring deed restrictions because they contain drainage swales prior to final approval. This brought up more discussion on other items to disclose in the public offering statement or other vehicle, including disclosing these easements, and making sure buyers are aware of the future entrance connection to the Fillippo development. Mr. Comitta asked if the Fillippo property will be included in the phasing schedule, and Mr. Mostoller said no, it will be kept separate.

The Planning Commission then reviewed the Conditions of Preliminary Approval.

Condition #6 – Mr. Allen asked, wasn’t this item resolved as to how to maximize the size of the backyards for lots 5-11. Mr. Schrock said this was settled by the Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Allen then referenced his spreadsheet in green and yellow that captures the major items still outstanding, and circulated an updated copy to those present. He said some outstanding items on the list include:

Line 39 – Who owns the street lights, and so pays for the electric, maintains them and replaces those that are knocked down?

Line 46 – Notify the neighboring property owners of grading to be done within five feet of their property. Mr. Schrock said this was done by certified mail. Mr. Schrock added that abutting properties are shown on the overall site plan.

Line 47 – Stair access to garage – should it be interior or exterior? Mr. Allen suggested having Mr. Frens make a recommendation. Mr. Motel said if a unit is rented out, the owner would want exterior stairs, although Mr. Schrock said there could be an interior access way. Mr. Mostoller said he’d like to review the best practices for this. Mr. Schrock said some exterior stairs would be needed regardless.

TAB 6. Planning Commission Minutes June 22, 2010

Other items were then discussed that had been brought up at the June 22nd meeting, plus a few new items.

Mr. von Hoyer asked if the fire marshal approvals had been obtained for the location of hydrants. Mr. Schrock said Fred Alston had reviewed this and made recommendations.

Mr. Allen asked if there will be water features in either of the two wet ponds to keep them aerated.

Mr. Allen asked about school bus pick up, because Whitehorse Road is a dangerous location for a bus stop, yet school buses don’t go in to developments before the roads are dedicated. Mr. Schrock said they need to meet with the school district, and he’d appreciate support from the Planning Commission. Mr. Allen asked if there would be just one bus stop, and Mrs. Leland said the school district determines this.

At this time, ASA member Sharon Fisher arrived following her meeting at the High School, and Mrs. Leland interrupted the Spring Oak discussion to address the ASA review.

7 Year Review of Agricultural Security Area –Joint Review by the Planning Commission and Agricultural Security Area Committee

Mrs. Csete explained that the Township is conducting its seven-year review of the Agricultural Security Area and have received applications from two property owners who wish to join. The County Planning Commission received the materials for review just over a month ago but has not responded. The Township Planning Commission and ASA Committee have been asked to make a recommendation on whether one or both parcels should be included, so for this portion of the meeting, it will be a joint meeting of the Planning Commission and ASA Committee, and has been properly advertised. The ASA Committee consists of one supervisor, three farmers and one resident of the Township. She said supervisors Hugh Willig and Mike Rodgers are on the committee but are not present, and introduced Bill Andersen, Carl and Sharon Fisher, farmers. Most of the members fit more than one category as all are residents.

Both groups received a copy of each application and the draft ASA map showing where the candidate parcels are located. The first is from Karlin Northrup, at 3104 Wells Road, who wishes to add his 17.3 acre property to the ASA. The second is from Michael Dixon, who proposes adding his 10 acre property at 2010 Newcomen Road to the ASA. She said both properties are viable for agriculture and abut other parcels in the ASA. Additionally, the Dixon property is under conservation easement with NALT. She recommends both parcels be added to the ASA and asked the Planning Commission to make a recommendation.

Mrs. Leland moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors add the Northrup Parcel #35-3-62.1 and the Dixon Parcel #35-6-1 to the Agricultural Security Area, and Mr. von Hoyer/Mr. Churchill seconded. Mrs. Leland called the vote and all were in favor.

Mrs. Csete then asked the ASA Committee for their recommendation. Mr. Andersen moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors add the Northrup Parcel #35-3-62.1 and the Dixon Parcel #35-6-1 to the Agricultural Security Area, and Mr. Fisher seconded. Mrs. Leland called the vote and all were in favor.

Mrs. Csete thanked the ASA Committee for their patience this evening waiting for this matter to be reviewed.

Discussion continued on Spring Oaks. Mr. Allen asked if the applicants had done any maintenance for the copper beeches, which have been undergoing blight in the region. Mr. Mostoller said they added mulch, and Mr. Schrock said they had a tree expert come to examine them twice, and they understand they’ll need to provide a protective fence during construction.

Mr. Allen said solar panels were discussed at previous meetings as reflected in the minutes, but they’re not addressed in any review letters. Mr. Mostoller said they are mentioned in Mr. Frens’ review. Mr. Allen said the Planning Commission agreed solar panels can be installed but not on the primary side of the house even if it faces south.

Mr. Allen said the 6/21/10 minutes state that the perimeter trail will be paved, but in the documents only the portion along Whitehorse Road will be paved. This is an error in those minutes, as Mr. Schrock said he stated only steep areas would be paved.

Mr. von Hoyer asked for clarification that the school buses won’t come into the development before the roads are dedicated. Mr. Allen said they may have to dedicate the roads in phases as the homes are completed. Mr. Motel said there may be a possibility of obtaining school board approval to access undedicated roads when it’s pointed out to them how dangerous the alterative would be.

Mr. Allen asked about light levels for street lights, which was supposed to be included in an ordinance amendment to the lighting standards. Mr. Motel said he recalled this amendment being on a punch list that hadn’t gone through the adoption process yet. He said he thought they settled on a light level as low as 0.2, which Mr. Comitta will confirm. If an amendment to the lighting ordinance is needed prior to granting Spring Oak final approval, he said they will do so.

Mr. Allen said in the 6/21/11 Supervisors’ minutes, they discussed whether to allow swimming pools and left it to the Planning Commission to make a recommendation. Mrs. Leland suggested they be permitted if they can meet the zoning ordinance requirements, which Mr. Motel and other members agreed with.

Mrs. Leland asked how the HOA works in a phased project. Mr. Allen said the developer holds the votes for the lots he still owns. Mr. Richter said this is commonly done until 75% of the units are sold. Mrs. Leland asked how many are usually on an HOA board for this size development, and Mr. Schrock said five.

Mr. Allen said this meeting was very important to get the Planning Commission refreshed on this project. He asked the members to communicate any additional comments or questions they may have to him and the applicants.

Mr. Mostoller said they may wish to come in to the October 11th Planning Commission meeting with a few outstanding items, and are looking at the November meeting for the final plan review.

Reschedule November 8th Meeting

Mrs. Leland noted that the November meeting date is the same as Election Day, and at least one of the planning commissioners is involved with the elections. She proposed rescheduling the meeting until the following Tuesday, November 15th. Mrs. Csete will check with the Middle School to make sure the room is available before the change is confirmed.


Mrs. Leland adjourned the meeting at 9:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Township Manager
Bill Andersen
Carl Fisher
Sharon Fisher
John Mostoller
Eric Schrock
Addendum to the September 13, 2011 Planning Commission Minutes
Punch List for Spring Oak from discussions at the
Oct. 11, 2011 Planning Commission Meeting
  1. Bring sample of Spring Oak sign to the next meeting so the Planning Commission can review the size of the lettering (6” capitals and 3” lower case is proposed)
  2. Determine whether lumber, plastic, or other material will be used for the community garden plots
  3. Check the light level diagram to see if there is an error in one section showing a .18 light level close to a .6 light level. The lighting in general should be more uniform.
  4. Determine maximum height of street light poles – should the Design Manual be changed from allowing a 16 feet to 11 feet maximum height?
  5. Raise the height of the vents for the recessed fireplaces.
  6. Provide a copy of the Dale Frens review letter to the Planning Commission members for their review packets.
  7. Provide a construction phasing schedule as part of the General Land Development Permit Schedule
  8. Colorize the changes from the Preliminary Plan so the reviewers can more easily track them. There will also be a reference to the consultants’ review comments by number.
  9. Review the 6/22/11 Planning Commission meeting minutes and the 6/21/11 Supervisors minutes for any comments that may need to be addressed.
  10. If PVC fencing is to be used, it must have a matte finish.
  11. More design details are needed on the Greens.
  12. The Township will review language provided by the applicant for safety audit requirements for the playgrounds.
  13. Dale Frens’ comments are needed on the architectural information on pages 70-95 of the Manual of Written & Graphic Design Guidelines.
  14. The Township Solicitor is to respond to question on whether adverse conditions such as light pollution from Devault Foods should be communicated to future homeowners prior change of ownership.
  15. Add language to Page 1 of the Design Manual on how to approve modifications of a specific material, allowing for an “approved equal by the DRC or its Designee”.
  16. Include the Township and Tim Townes in any meeting with the utility companies to identify the location of utility boxes. Add Comcast to the list of utilities. Locate all meters at the backs of the homes.
  17. Take a second look at whether concrete flush curbs in the alleys are the best approach.
  18. Provide a list of the lots requiring deed restrictions prior to final approval.
  19. Who owns the street lights, and therefore pays for the electric, maintains them and replaces those that are knocked down?
  20. Are the stairs accessing garages to be interior or exterior?
  21. Meet with the School District to arrange for a bus stop within the development prior to dedication of the roads.
  22. No solar panels are to be installed on the primary face of any building.
  23. Tom Comitta will check on the status of a change to the lighting ordinance to indicate acceptable lighting levels for street lights.