Wendy Leland, Chairman, Bill Westhafer, Vice Chairman, Michael Allen, Michael Churchill, Michael Richter, Andy Motel, Andre von Hoyer, Dan Wright, P.E, Tom Comitta, Linda Csete.

Also Present:

Tim Townes, Andy Eberwein, P.E.

Call to Order:

7:45 p.m.


Earth Day

Mr. Motel explained his plan to continue beautification efforts opposite the end of Whitehorse Road in the Turnpike Right of Way on Earth Day, April 21st, and asked the members to participate in the project. He obtained suggestions from Ed Theurkauf on tree varieties to plant there, and is waiting for approval from the Supervisors to expend the funds needed. Heavy equipment, including a skid steerer and triaxle, and dirt will be available at no cost from a friend, and only a low labor cost will be charged. Mr. Motel said he thinks the project can be done for about $6,000.

Mr. Motel said the tree plan includes 6-9 foot Norway Spruce and Leland Cypress. Mr. Allen said this is a big effort, and asked how they’ll get around the fence. Mr. Motel said they’ll move the fence temporarily. Mr. Allen said the Township should support this project and not expect the Planning Commission to do the work as volunteers; they should only supervise. Mr. Churchill said they had 10 people working for about 6 hours a couple of years ago and didn’t do half this work. Mr. Motel said this will take more time than just Earth Day.

Mr. Churchill said the trees will need water. Mr. Motel said when the first trees were planted, they were taken care of during the hot weather months by the East Whiteland Fire Company and they may be willing to do this again.

Mr. Allen said it’s better to plant large trees in the fall, but Mr. Motel said the construction of the stormwater basin will start before then and the trees have to be planted now or they’ll lose their access to the planting area.

Mr. Churchill said the proposed trees are all conifers and also questioned whether the number of trees Mr. Theurkauf proposes will fit. Mr. Motel said deciduous trees including oaks and red maples were planted earlier. He said Mr. Theurkauf inspected the area before making his plan.

Mr. Westhafer suggested adding wildflowers or ground cover, and Mr. Motel said he’ll mention this to Mr. Theurkauf. Mrs. Leland said perhaps this could be done in the fall. Mr. Frens offered contact information for a juvenile group that could get involved in this project as volunteers.

Spring Oak

Mrs. Leland noted that the Final Plan for Spring Oak is on the Board of Supervisors’ agenda for April 16th for consideration of final approval.

Mr. Allen said the HOA document hasn’t been reviewed by the Planning Commission, just by himself and Mike Richter. He said Mr. Mostoller wants a meeting with him and Mr. Richter on April 13th, but he prefers not to meet with the applicant privately. Mr. Richter said he doesn’t agree with the breakdown of responsibilities between property owners and the HOA as outlined in the document, or the timing of transitioning from one to the other. Mr. Allen said there are still PECO and planning module issues outstanding.

Mrs. Csete said she’ll confirm for the Planning Commission whether this is still on the April 16th agenda. Mrs. Leland said she’ll communicate the Commission’s concerns to Board chairman Frank Piliero.

Approval of February 14, 2012 Minutes

Mr. Allen questioned a sentence on page 6 regarding a response to one of Mr. Frens’ review comments, stating the applicant “agreed to change language so windows with muntins have simulated divided light with grids adhered to the glass or grids to be between the panes of glass.” Mr. Frens said in most historic districts, the grids are glued to the inside and outside of the glass, and that’s what previous minutes regarding the Spring Oak project said. But Mr. Frens said Mr. Mostoller wanted an option of placing grids in between the glass, and he didn’t object since this is not a historic district. He thinks either way is acceptable provided that removable grids aren’t used. Mr. Allen said he’ll speak to Mr. Mostoller about what he wants.

Mr. Churchill moved to approve the minutes of February 14, 2012 and Mr. von Hoyer seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Pickering Grant Final Plan

Tim Townes of J. Loew & Associates and Andy Eberwein, P.E. were present to review the Final Plan for Pickering Grant.

Mr. Townes began by addressing comments on Mr. Wright’s review letter dated 4/3/2012 as follows. Items that have been resolved were noted as such and are not listed here.

Item #1 Mr. Townes agreed to add a note to the plan indicating why a temporary drainage easement is required and when it will be abandoned.
Item #3 Mr. Townes agreed to submit a declaration for all stormwater structures they are required to maintain.

Mrs. Leland asked if there are any stormwater structures on individual lots, and Mr. Townes said no. Mr. Wright said he wants to make it clear that maintaining these structures is the HOA’s responsibility, not that of the individual property owner. One of the requirements is to perform an annual inspection of each one.
Item #5 Mr. Townes said they should have a copy of the approved Planning Module within a month when the DEP’s approval letter is expected.
Item #7 Mr. Eberwein said he’ll work out the discrepancies with Mr. Wright between the bearings and distances shown on the plan versus those shown on the legal descriptions.

Mr. Allen said there isn’t a sanitary easement for the commercial building shown. Mr. Townes said there isn’t one, rather there’s a lateral. Mr. Eberwein said the force main isn’t shown because it hasn’t been designed yet. He plans to discuss this with Mr. Wright. Mr. Townes said they showed all areas to be dedicated to the Valley Forge Sewer Authority but the force main is a private easement. Mr. Eberwein said it will be owned by the building owner. Mr. Townes added that the VFSA doesn’t take responsibility for laterals. Mr. Motel asked if this is in the covenants, and Mr. Townes said it’s addressed as a limited common element.
Item #10 Mr. Eberwein said he and Mr. Wright are working on revising the storm drainage calculations and profiles for the storm drainage system.
Item #12 Mr. Townes said the PECO issue that they won’t allow meters in the backs of the units is quite a conundrum. For years in discussions with PECO, there was no problem, and now they changed their stance. He’ll continue working on this problem.
Item #14 Mr. Eberwein said the review of the E & S Plans is in process.
Item #15 Mr. Townes said he agrees that the escrow must be put in place prior to final plan approval, although he believes it should be required prior to recordation of the plans.
Item #18 Mr. Townes said they’ll provide copies of all required permits and approvals.
Item #19 Mr. Townes said the SLDO Agreement will be provided to be recorded with the Final Plan.
Item #22 Mr. Townes said they will show pins at all residential lot property corners.
Item #24 Mr. Townes said the missing bearing and distance for the tie line to the building for units 36-40 will be added to the plan.
Item #26 Mr. Townes said he’ll check the status of Mark Thompson’s review of the covenants and restriction documents.
Items #28 & #33 Mr. Townes said they agree to include the sanitary sewer line for the Charlestown Elementary School in the sanitary easement. Mr. Eberwein said a manhole must be added to accommodate this. Mr. Townes indicated the School District will pay for this. Mr. Churchill asked if this could cause capacity problems. Mr. Townes said an upgrade in East Whiteland Township is needed to accommodate this. Mr. Churchill noted the provision of the easement just gives the School a future opportunity to connect to public sewer, it doesn’t approve it.

Mr. von Hoyer said East Whiteland must increase their main from 8 to 12 inches. Mr. Wright said this will also affect the Spring Oak and Tom Fillippo properties. He noted he’s meeting with East Whiteland, the DEP and Spring Oak representatives on May 1st to get the Spring Oak Planning Module moving along.
Item #34 Mr. Townes said he’ll consult with the Historical Commission on road names. There will be three roads and numerous alleys.
Item #35 Mr. Townes agreed to revise the plan schedule on page 1 to indicate which sheets are to be recorded.

Mr. Wright said the applicants did a good job on the plans, meeting with his office to red line it, and by providing their response letter dated 3/13/2012.

Mr. Townes then addressed comments on Mr. Comitta’s review letter dated 3/27/2012 as follows. Items that have been resolved were noted as such and are not listed here.
Item #3.A Mr. Eberwein agreed to add the locations of the lighting fixtures to the landscape plans. Mr. Churchill said there were many discussions about not over-lighting at Spring Oak, and Mr. Allen said this plan will be the same as Spring Oak.
Item #4.A Mr. Allen confirmed that no additional lighting will be added to the commercial area, mail center or entrance sign. Mr. Townes said the entrance signage isn’t designed yet but will require a building permit for approval.

Mr. Comitta said Stan Stubbe recommended that all unknown lighting for the commercial building be subject to review at building permit time, and Mr. Townes said this would be fine.

Mr. Motel asked about porch lighting and the sconces on the sides of garage doors. Mr. Townes said they would be building mounted, and there’s language in the covenants prohibiting stronger light types. Mr. Allen said there should be a limit on wattage, and Mr. Motel suggested getting a recommendation from Mr. Stubbe.
Item #7.A Mr. Townes agreed to provide detail on the brick pavers.
Item #7.D There was some discussion about the use of pavers in some areas and painted surface in others. Mr. Townes agreed to use all pavers at the Planning Commission’s request.
Item #8.A Mr. Comitta noted that all plan sheets in a continuously numbered submission must be provided for the Record Plan.
Item #14.B Mr. Townes said he has a Horseshoe Trail Easement Agreement and will go over it with the Horseshoe Trail Club in the next week or so. He indicated the Easement itself is acceptable.
Item #15.A & 15.B Mr. Townes agreed to make the corrections to the rain garden landscape plan as suggested.
Item #16.D Mr. Frens said he has minor changes and will email them to the applicants.

Regarding Stan Stubbe’s Site Lighting review letter dated 3/28/2012, Mr. Townes agreed to add details on back-light shields to Sheet 30 of the plan.

Mr. Allen said that he hasn’t seen the revised Design Manual but if all the changes Perry Morgan said he’d make at the February meeting were made, he’d be o.k. with it. Mr. Townes said he’ll forward a copy of the Manual to Mr. Allen.

The Planning Commission then discussed the HOA documents.

Mr. Allen asked if the homeowner is responsible for all maintenance on his own lot, and Mr. Townes said yes, he has financial responsibility. Mr. Allen asked about painting a house, and Mr. Townes said the homeowner would do this at the direction of the HOA board. The community will decided these issues as they form the HOA and go forward.

Mr. Allen made the following comments:

Mr. Richter said he’ll email the rest of his comments to Mr. Townes.

Mrs. Leland asked if there were any ideas for the use for the commercial building, and Mr. Townes said not yet.

Discuss Devault Base Plan

Mr. Comitta circulated the Devault Base Plan revised 3/13/12 that now incorporates TND Ordinance Exhibit E, which shows a pedestrian and trails plan. He noted that Exhibit E needs some upgrading, and should be a layer on the Base Plan. He said the Parks & Rec Board is working on mapping all trails, and the County Planning Commission is tying in links from neighboring townships.

Other items discussed at the 12/13/11 meeting were added, including:

Mr. Comitta said Mr. Motel asked him today if he could add what Perry Morgan drew for TND Area 2, and Mr. Comitta circulated Mr. Morgan’s sketch, suggesting it be used in a 2nd step in the process. The first step would be to develop a base plan of what is currently known, and the second step would be a 5-year master plan that depicts how to enhance and beautify the village.

Mr. Motel said the base plan is to help the Planning Commission frame their discussions and take into consideration what the common areas should look like.

Mr. Churchill said the Township will get hit with applications very soon, and Tom Fillippo will be receiving offers, so he said they should spend some time on developing the master plan.

Mr. Comitta noted that the Parks & Rec Board is holding their next meeting to work on the Open Space & Recreation plan update on April 30th. Some of the tabulations performed by trail committee member Chris Galbraith indicated residents’ interest in tennis courts. They want to encourage this use in Devault, noting that no one wants it near their residence. Mr. Churchill asked if a needs assessment has been done, and Mr. Comitta said one is underway.

Mr. Motel brought the discussion back to the improvements he proposes for Earth Day at the turnpike right of way opposite Whitehorse Road. He noted there’s no landscaping plan by PennDOT for their basins, and Mr. Comitta said they’ll just grade and seed them. Mr. Motel said as far as tree varieties, the cedars they planted were hardy while the river birches were not. Now Mr. Theurkauf’s proposal is for evergreens. He said he’ll tell Mr. Theurkauf the Planning Commission wants to vary the species they add. Mr. Allen agreed. Mr. Churchill said he likes variety and deciduous trees, but noted that Norway Spruce are nice in a row. Mr. Motel said he likes a natural clustered look rather than a row of street trees. As far as the weeds growing in the embankment walls, any spraying would have to be cleared by the Turnpike Commission. He noted that vines would do well on the banks. He asked the other commissioners to provide him with additional comments within the next few days.

Returning to the discussion on the base plan, Mr. Comitta said it’s layered, and more layers can be added. Mr. Churchill suggested that the land across from “The Office” be added, which Mr. Motel said is TND Area 3. Mr. Churchill suggested showing a connection from Atwater as well.

Mr. Motel said there’s no bike path along Phoenixville Pike, which is a wider road with fewer residents than other roads.

Mr. Comitta said Mr. Wright’s suggestions from the December meeting, to produce a larger scale map and to connect street lights, sidewalks and landscaping, would be added.

Mr. Wright referred to the stormwater basin detention agreement PennDOT has asked the Township to sign, making it responsible for maintenance. He said the Supervisors won’t accept this, that the Township should only be responsible for maintaining the vegetation.

Possible Ordinance Amendments

Mr. Comitta circulated a list of possible ordinance amendments dated 4/10/2012. He referred to Item A on the list, which includes suggestions by Mr. Kohli. He said Mr. Wright will confirm this list with Mr. Kohli and seek additional thoughts from him. Item B.1 refers to moving lighting provisions from the Zoning Ordinance to the SLDO, and B.2 says to review the definitions section of the Zoning Ordinance.

Road Tour

Mr. Churchill asked if there would be a road tour conducted this spring. Mr. Wright said he didn’t know if there would be an official tour, but he and Roadmaster Jim Thompson looked at the next roads to be resurfaced and will be putting estimates together for the May Supervisors’ meeting. Possibly after that time a road tour will be organized. Mr. Churchill added that the Planning Commission hasn’t toured developments since the newer people joined the Commission. He said he’d like the newer members to think about the Planning Commission’s processes and make suggestions for improvements.


Mrs. Leland adjourned the meeting at 10:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Township Manager