Wendy Leland, Chairperson, Bill Westhafer, Vice Chairman, Michael Allen, Andre von Hoyer, Michael Churchill, Michael Richter, Daniel Wright, P.E, Tom Comitta, Daniel B. Mallach, and Lisa Gardner.

Call to Order:

7:37 p.m..


Mrs. Leland announced that the Slip Ramp for the Pennsylvania Turnpike opened today at 3pm. Representative Andrew E. Dinneman and Governor Tom Corbett were amongst those in attendance.

Mrs. Leland told members about the First Public Transportation and Public Land Use Workshop sponsored by the Transportation Management Association of Chester County (TMACC) on Thursday, December 13, 2012 from 4-7 p.m. located at 7 Great Valley Parkway.

Mrs. Leland also noted Monday, December 17, 2012 is the date for the Outdoor Area Best Lighting Practices Seminar in Southeastern Pennsylvania starting at 7:30 a.m. at the Pennsylvania DEP office in Norristown, PA.

Mrs. Csete had emailed Mrs. Leland requesting the January Planning Commission meeting be moved to the 15th pending availability confirmation of the meeting room. That day was fine for all members.

Mr. Allen reminded everyone that the Christmas Party for the township employees, consultants and volunteers is from noon to 2 on Wednesday, December 19, 2012.

Approval of November 13, 2012 Minutes

Several changes to the November 13, 2012 minutes were made as follows.

  1. The second announcement was made by Mrs. Leland.
  2. The third announcement is to read “to review billing for the Spring Oak development and the Design Review Committee.
  3. The fourth announcement is to read “Impact Fee Contributions, as a result of development in transportation area”.
  4. The last announcement is to read “Mr. Allen stated he also attended a meeting with

Mr. Stubbe and Mr. Mallach regarding the Lighting Ordinance”.

Mr. Allen moved to approve the minutes of November 13, 2012, pending completion of the changes, and Mr. von Hoyer seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Summary Status Report: Draft Open Space, Recreation and Environmental Resources Plan

Mr. Comitta provided an update on the Open Space, Recreation and Environmental Resources Plan. He told members that the Plan went to the Chester County Planning Commission on November 16th and to the other review entities on the 19th. Therefore, the 45 day review period is over on January 4th, 2013 and the Public Hearing can be at the February 4th Board of Supervisors Meeting. Approval of the Plan can be done at the February meeting, so now Planning Commission members need to consider its adoption and any changes. Changes can be made at the time of adoption.

Elizabeth Lankenau of the Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee suggested more narrative text describing the maps, etc. Carol Stauffer of the Chester County Planning Commission suggested using it as part of the Comprehensive Plan.

Summary Review Comments - East Pikeland Comprehensive Plan

Mr. Comitta provided a brief review of East Pikeland Township’s draft Comprehensive Plan. Overall, Thomas Comitta Associates had 2 comments. The first was that all connecting East Pikeland Trails and Bicycle Routes match those in the Charlestown Township Parks, Recreation, Open Space & Trail Plan.

Secondly, it was suggested that East Pikeland strengthen the Plan for Economic Development (Chapter 5) by expanding pages 31, 42, 43, and 49 to mention the “instrument” of the Recreation Fee-In-Lieu provisions. The metrics included in Section 424.C.2 (SLDO) could change after computing the costs for various improvements. This could set the stage for adjustments to the Fee-In-Lieu cost. After the plan is adopted, East Pikeland Township might be able to more readily accomplish adjustments to 424.C.2 (SLDO), if the costs for proposed improvements are listed in the Supplement to the Comprehensive Plan.

Motion to Accept East Pikeland Comments by Thomas Comitta Associates, Inc.

Mr. Allen made a motion to accept Mr. Comitta’s comments for the East Pikeland Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Churchill seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion, there being none, called the vote, all were in favor.

Further Review Comments Pertaining to Charlestown Township

Mr. Churchill asked Mr. Comitta who charged the fee and how? Mr. Comitta said fees were charged at permitting time. Further discussion led Mr. Comitta to read from Appendix F of the Charlestown Township Parks, Recreation, Open Space & Trails Plan. “‘The Fee in Lieu to be amended in 2013 will include adjusted values per dwelling unit and per 2,500 square feet of non-residential development. The $2,500 fee per unit, and per 2,500 square feet of non-residential development established in 2001 will be increased based upon the Park improvements costs of $2,135,000 listed in Appendix C.”

Many townships prefer the Fee since the revenue helps pay for their future plans for public parks or Open Space strategies. The Fee is a revenue generator that helps a township meet public recreation goals. This does not apply if the recreation area is designated as private or for the use of HOA/development members only.

Summary Update: Act 209 Transportation Plan

Mr. Comitta updated the Planning Commission on the Township’s development of the Act 209 Transportation Plan. Last month the Board unanimously voted to authorize Heinrich & Klein Associates, Inc. to perform a Roadway Sufficiency Analysis and generate a Transportation Capital Improvements Plan.

The Board also voted to make the Planning Commission the newly appointed Transportation Advisory Committee. However Mr. Heinrich told Mr. Comitta that the Transportation Advisory Committee had to have at least 9 members, some from the community, perhaps commercial real estate agents, and local experts, that would answer to the Planning Commission and oversee the traffic study.

The Advisory Committee will identify the Transportation Service Area, project land development, draft a Land Use Assumptions Report, and estimate projected vehicular trips. This finds a cost of improvements to the newly delineated Transportation Service Area. The finalized input will then be given to the traffic engineer at Heinrich & Klein Associates. In this way, the Township can arrive at an Impact Fee. Mr. Comitta said that although there can be more than one Impact Area in a township, the intersections surrounding the Slip Ramp are Service Areas targeted right now.

Mr. Comitta will report back to the Supervisors regarding the diverse representation required for the Advisory Committee. He will also make sure the number of members needed is 9. Mr. von Hoyer and Mr. Richter volunteered to be on the new committee. The Planning Commission is forming a sub-committee to find more potential Advisory Committee members.

Review of the Planning Commission’s Tour

Mr. Comitta referred to his December 11, 2012 memo summarizing the comments made during the Planning Commission’s Tour of the Township on November 17th, 2012.

1- Post Occupancy Surveys will help establish better guidelines for the Planning Commission. Mr. Richter will contact the PA Association of Realtors to requests forms and survey questions for Charlestown.

2- Context-Sensitive Development-fit is important, in regards to features such as historic and natural settings.

3- Light Imprint Development-low key or limited development characteristic of the surroundings is beneficial to the community aesthetics.

4- Carrying Capacity-steep slopes need to be reflected in intensity on Sketch Plans. 3-D imaging should be required with development plans in the future.

5- Elbow Room-attention to grading is important, since sometimes it leaves no usable yard around dwellings.

6- Adaptive Reuse-Historic Rehabilitation and appropriate reuse are increasing in value when considering future development.

7- AT&T Building- future usage as storage is imaginable, but the tour didn’t enter the building.

It was unanimously agreed that a future Ordinance change will require developers to submit a 3-D rendering, thus giving Members a better viewpoint of things like grading, steep slope, retaining walls, and useable space around dwellings. Mr. Wright said that future consideration of a retaining wall change in the Ordinance would help make some grading and intersections safer. Mr. Churchill also stated his support for high wall controls. Mrs. Leland was pleased with the tour results, and felt as though the discussion will help the Commission steer development in a better direction.

Fillipo Tract

Mr. Allen was concerned that in the Fillipo TND-2 presentation of retail and commercial zones, there were no street scenes. Mr. Comitta read aloud from the Exhibit D-1 Development Strategy Plan for TND Districts. He suggested including Exhibit D in the Development Strategy Plan and including Mr. Perry’s drawing as a benchmark. Mr. Churchill wants a Sketch Plan from Mr. Fillipo.

Review of Draft Lighting Ordinance

Mr. Mallach of Thomas Comitta Associates, Inc. was thanked by Committee Members for his tenacious dedication to the Lighting Ordinance.

1- Page 2 Mr. Westhafer asked how the values compared to other townships and Mr. Mallach responded that they are lower. He also mentioned that as lighting ages it can dim to 70% less.

2- Page 4 Mr. Mallach will add a sketch for the Uplight Rating acronyms.

3- Page 5 Section I the sentence beginning with the wording “The underside” will now read “The side of canopies themselves may not be directly illuminated”.

4- Page 7, Section 5 b Football/Lacrosse/Soccer will now read 60 feet not 70, since 60 is the norm.

Mr. Stubbe’s December 5, 2012 Township Lighting Survey was greatly helpful providing examples of locally non-compliant lighting. Examples of unshielded or misdirected lighting (use of one floodlight to illuminate a large parking lot, instead of 2 or 3 smaller units pointed down), direct glare, and over-lighting where given. The examples would not be permitted by the language in the proposed ordinance revision. Any non-compliant or pre-existing locations can be investigated by the Zoning Officer.

Mr. Churchill suggested that the next Township Newsletter contain information about Compliant vs. Non-Compliant Lighting and the new Ordinance. This will let the residents know about the Planning Commissions efforts to set minimum standards for outdoor lighting.

Nighttime Light Survey

The Planning Commission is going to do a survey of suggested sites to obtain actual readings of Footcandles, Illuminance at Property Lines, and to measure glare. Mr. Comitta, Mr. Mallach, and two Commission members will visit the sites. Location number 3 Charlestown Hunt, on Mr. Allen’s handout entitled Nighttime Light Survey, will be divided into 2 sections in regards to density. The purpose will be to find out what values the Members actually prefer in a residential setting.

Mr. Allen wants the strengthening of the TND Ordinance to be on the agenda early in 2013 due to the Slip Ramp. Excellent examples of Adaptive Reuse buildings that blend into the community surroundings were handed out by Mr. Comitta.

January’s Planning Commission Meeting

The Planning Commission rescheduled their January meeting for January 15, 2013 at the Great Valley Middle School Choral Room at 7:30 p.m.


Mrs. Leland adjourned the meeting at 9:38 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner
Recording Secretary