TUESDAY, MAY 15, 2012


Wendy Leland, Chairperson, Michael Allen, Michael Richter, Andy Motel, Andre von Hoyer, Daniel Wright, P.E, Thomas Comitta, Linda Csete, Lisa Gardner and those on the attached sign-in sheet. Thomas Comitta arrived later at 8:20pm.

Call to Order:

7:32 p.m.


Mrs. Csete announced that the seventh annual Earth Day event was another success story. She thanked the Planning Commission for its continued efforts to beautify the Turnpike right of way opposite Whitehorse Road. Two of the Township’s consultants, Dan Wright and Ed Theurkauf, actually volunteered their time to join them. Planning Commission Chair Wendy Leland’s Girl Scout troop is planning to hang birdhouses along the Pickering Trail. Acts like this are greatly appreciated.

Andy Motel announced the contractor is starting this week on the Turnpike Right of Way. Conestoga Nursery has delivered 19 trees. Dirt is being added, trees are being planted, and also Ed Theurkauf will be there to assist.

Planning Chairperson Leland announced an event at the Freedoms Foundation in Valley Forge, PA on May 20th, 2012 to celebrate Heroes Day. Among special guests is Pennsylvania Lt. Governor James Cawley who will join with the families of fallen Medal of Honor service men and women to help honor these heroes.

Mrs. Leland provided Mrs. Csete with a copy of a letter she received from Clean Water Action. It was agreed that the two will be getting together regarding this issue during office hours.

Mr. Allen referred to the new requirements the Township must meet following the 2010 Census to update its recycling ordinance and program. Mrs. Csete has applied to the DEP for a consultant to assist in this effort.

Approval of April 10, 2012 Minutes

Mr. Motel moved to approve the minutes of April 10, 2012 and Mr. von Hoyer seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Route 29 Improvements

Mr. Allen began by discussing the metal poles for the planned future Traditional Neighborhood Development. The Township has been working with Rob Prophet of Traffic Planning & Design on a bid package for decorative poles. Mr. Allen was concerned about the detail surrounding the number of decorative poles (and their color/appearance) at intersections. He voiced concerns about this and other details i.e. guardrails and U channels, as being small issues, but ones that still need to be addressed. Mr. Wright said that 70+/- traffic sign posts are required, but Mr. Motel stated there were more than thirty and was concerned about not ending up with what was planned or envisioned. Mr. Townes said roughly the same number of signs will be out there as now. Mr. Allen is concerned about destroying the area with 30 black U channels. Mr. Townes restated, yes, there are a lot of signs, but close to same number as the original plan. He agreed to funding on some level.

Pickering Grant Final Plan

Tim Townes of J. Loew & Associates was present to review the Final Plan for Pickering Grant. Mr. Allen requested consulting reports to be available a week ahead of time. This way, there is time for the Planning Commission to review them before meetings. Mr. Allen asked Mr. Wright to be sure to have all reports ready in time or provide the Commission with some warning, so meetings can be rescheduled.

Commenting first on Mr. Comitta’s review letter dated May 11, 2012 was Mr. Daniel Mallach. Items that have been resolved were noted as such and are not listed here.

Items #9 & 16

Mr. Mallach received all updates and will provide a clean letter to the Planning Commission. He stated they have satisfied all items in May 11th review letter. Mr. Mallach just needs to put it into the Township’s formal package format for final approval.

Item #3

Conflicts with lights vs. trees are now satisfied. Mr. Allen confirmed with Mr. Townes that trees would be planted only after poles installed. This way there would be no conflicts. Trees won’t be over storm sewers, or on easements, etc. Mr. Wright is to keep watch of this.

Item #7

Crosswalk detail is satisfied.

Item #15

Discrepancy with rain garden is satisfied.

Item #4

For lighting, “less is more”, per Mr. Allen. Mr. Townes will let the Township decide what is right for what fixture as far as wattage is concerned. He stated it is a professional opinion regarding fixture brightness, in this instance being exterior garage fixtures. Mr. Motel said 25 watts was a good amount for a bulb in this fixture. Mr. Townes reminded the members that people need to see clearly at night for safety concerns and security. But since some units may have 2 fixtures instead of one, 25 watts would be fine.

Mr. Allen confirmed with Mr. Townes that they were not adding commercial exterior lighting and Mr. Townes answered affirmative.

This question arose when viewing the detailed placement of street lighting at the entrance from State Road (Route 29). It was agreed that a second light will be added at this entrance. It was further agreed to relocate the light from the entrance to the commercial area to the entrance island to appear more like the pair on the plan at the Charlestown Road entrance.

Item #14

Homeowners will have their garbage picked up in alleys. Under the HOA section, Mrs. Leland asked if cans would be kept outside and Mr. Townes said they would be brought in within 24 hours.

Mr. Townes’ response to this item was that he hopes Mark Thompson will be able to return his review of the HOA documents very soon. Mrs. Csete is to give Mr. Thompson a courtesy call so that Mr. Townes can put them into the complete package.

Items on Kohli’s and Associates letter dated May 11th.

Mr. Wright commented all technical issues were now satisfactory. The drainage item from the last meeting was looked at and it was satisfactorily addressed as long as all covenants, easements and restrictions for the project are provided prior to final plan approval in accordance with the TND Ordinance.

Item #5

The PECO meters remain a conundrum. Mrs. Leland wanted to know the reason PECO insists meters now go in the front. It is an unknown. Mr. Townes suggested another meeting with PECO. Mr. Motel would like to navigate away from anyone having legal fees for this issue.

Item #13

Per Mr. Townes they are working together with the Charlestown Elementary School to get an easement & extend the sewer pipe to the property line so roads aren’t destroyed after they have just been paved. Mr. Townes said the engineer has no problem with a manhole. Mr. von Hoyer asked if East Whiteland is increasing the size of sewer mains and Mr. Townes answered yes. East Whiteland has its needs well assessed and is already taking steps to resolve each problem. It is just going to take time. Pipe size will help with the size constraints at Sidley Hill. John Mostoller of Spring Oak has also met with East Whiteland Township on this issue. There is also a problem of leakage under Route 202 that the DEP is aware of, and also National Liberty and Liberty Property Trust issues. Mr. Wright said if they keep to the current schedule of improvements the timeline should work out regarding paving. Mr. Allen said no other permits will be issued, but for the model units a Pump and Haul agreement is fine. Mr. Townes reiterated no scheduling conflicts were foreseen. Mr. Motel mentioned changing flow requirements for Charlestown in the future.

Item #14

Mrs. Csete had just recently received a list of road names to be reviewed.

Mr. Comitta arrived at 8:20pm.

Item #9

All items were satisfied on this point. Mr. Townes assured Mr. Allen all proposed pins shall be flush with ground level so as to not create a tripping hazard, and the “pin” was really a flat marker meant to be easily mowed over by a homeowner.

Mr. Allen questioned the language in the HOA document regarding the words “ownership” as regards maintenance of open space. Mr. Townes agreed at this point J. Loew & Associates, Inc. is the “owner” and in this instance J. Loew is “client”, too. Mr. Allen was making sure the Township would not ever be financially responsible for this item and Mr. Townes assured him that perhaps the HOA, yes, but not the Township.

The Horseshoe Trail Easement was discussed next.

Mr. Townes said he read the agreement and had only a few minor questions regarding indemnity, mostly to be covered in the HOA documents. It will be attached to the easement to clarify liability if someone for example, gets hurt on the trail. Mr. Townes will wait for a response from Ingrid Canterella that Sue Staas is going to follow up with. Mrs. Leland made sure the members were all in agreement on this issue.

Mr. Allen moved to recommend approval of the Final Plan for Pickering Grant, last revised May 2, 2012 and subject to the review comments on Mr. Wright’s letter dated May 11, 2012 and Mr. Comitta’s review memorandum dated May 15th, 2011. Mr. Motel seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Mr. Allen thanked Mr. Townes for always working so cooperatively with the Planning Commission.


Open Space and Recreation Plan Update

May 29th is the next work session with the Parks & Rec Board and Trails Committee which will prepare for the June 4th presentation to the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Comitta displayed the TND Ordinance Exhibit E, which showed a pedestrian and trail plan. He thanked Sue Staas for numerical conformity of recreational amenities. Chris Galbrath surveyed residents and 251 respondents choose nature, biking, and hiking as the top three most desirable amenities they would like to see more of in Charlestown. The workshops arising from the survey moved next to the subject of where the residents wanted to see them. It was quickly obvious that although tennis was a leader in desirable activities, no one wanted courts near their homes. The same attitude is always found in studies with basketball. The survey helped Mr. Comitta see what land was already available and what would be a desirable acquisition for the future. Also, certain land is better for active vs. passive recreation. Depending on slope, forest, or already existing yet private trails, these are some of the considerations taken into account. An amphitheater was a popular suggestion. The location of a neighboring Township’s recreational amenities, such as tennis courts, is to be considered when looking at amenities but will not change the placement of parks within Charlestown.

Charlestown Park could be enhanced with an upgraded parking lot, enhanced ADA restrooms, a dog park, etc. Cost estimates are being sought.

Brightside Farm Community Gardens could use more parking, a trail, and could emerge into a Springton Manor Farm (in Glenmoore) type park. Sue Staas thought the reaction was the most surprising regarding the trail and paving. Mr. Comitta said easements and other constraints are attached to this site.

The Jenkins Property on Valley Hill Road was at first a suggested spot for a tennis court in the workshop but then Jenkins area residents were opposed to it being near them. Mr. Comitta noted that it quickly became a heated point due to assumptions about parking lot upgrades, incorrectly assumed tree removal and paving of a trail, instead of the intended walking trail. As a side note he said older residents prefer the paved trails. A smaller loop or paving is often a good option for the less ambulatory, so they aren’t excluded from nature walk sites.

Trail Committee Member Chris Lawrence said he spoke with several respondents after the Jenkins results were heard by Mr. Comitta. They spoke about the parking, and also he later spoke with other Trails Committee members about the tree removal and a paved vs. dirt path. Sue Staas thought that the group results were somewhat skewed by locals in attendance and that most residents would welcome a nature park. Mr. Motel said the Jenkins property was originally purchased with the intent to put a park in the front.

The active recreational location (Charlestown Township Park) off of Township Line Road near the Valley Forge Christian College would be easily upgraded by adding more playing fields. With developments like Spring Oak progressing, the additional fields will be beneficial. Reorienting the playing field and adding amenities is a suggested goal for this location.

Mr. Richter stated the need to take ownership of these properties with signage. Many people are not aware the sites are for public use. Mr. Comitta said signage is noted on all the displayed plans for future upgrade.

The Master Recreational Plan would have been better served if more residents would have come forward with ideas and opinions. Many of the respondents were anonymous. Mrs. Leland thanked everyone for the work with the survey and thanked Tom Comitta, and the Parks and Rec Board for their involvement.

Devault Base Plan

Mr. Comitta circulated the revised Devault Base Plan that now incorporates comments from the April 10th Planning Commission meeting. Mr. Comitta asked the Planning Commissioners if they wanted to use 6+acres or a full 7 acres. All members agreed with 7 acres. Mr. Comitta suggested all multi-purpose fields and no tennis courts. Mr. Richter said putting in a dog park satisfied a real need plus it gets the community out walking. Mr. Allen also noted the pipeline easement area may be a good spot for a dog park. Mrs. Leland reminded those present of the need for signage on fields since soccer fields can be so hard to find, especially for non-residents. Chris Lawrence asked if the Plan had embedded trail pads. Mr. Comitta responded yes, that there will be discussions for them in the future.

Lighting Ordinance Proposal from Thomas Comitta Associates

Mr. Comitta said the document dated May 15th, 2012 about Chapter 22 Lighting Regulations was the first stab at moving the lighting provisions from the Zoning Ordinance to the SLDO. Author Stan Stubbe incorporated the Township’s objectives and directed them at TND’s. Feedback was requested for Mr. Comitta and Stubbe so that they could revise to a polished version. Mr. Allen and Mr. Comitta discussed the origin of the standards within; many had come from surrounding communities. Mr. Allen suggested keeping comments in different colors for each member so that one comment doesn’t get lost within the rest. Mr. Stubbe was very surprised at the rural nature of the Township and will be receiving an electronic copy of predominant locations. Mr. Motel stated even rural Townships have popular places in need of lighting and lighting ordinances.

Mr. Comitta is to send an electronic copy of the Chapter 22 Design Standards for Lighting to the Planning Commission, and then the members are to comment and send it back to him by May 31st, 2012.


Mrs. Leland reminded everyone of the next meeting on the 12th of June, and for them to bring vacation schedules. Mrs. Leland adjourned the meeting at 9:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner
Recording Secretary
sheet, 5/15/2012