Wendy Leland, Chairperson, Bill Westhafer, Vice Chairperson, Michael Allen, Andre von Hoyer, Michael Richter, Daniel Wright, P.E, Daniel Mallach, and Lisa Gardner, and those on the attached sign-in sheet. Stan Stubbe and Andy Motel arrived at 8 p.m., Tom Comitta arrived at 9:15 p.m.

Call to Order:

7:47 p.m.


  1. Mrs. Leland announced that the Township’s Earth Day event is scheduled for Saturday, April 20th, meeting at the Township Office at 9 a.m.
  2. Mrs. Leland announced that this June 1st will be Charlestown Day, organized by the Historical Society and the Parks & Recreation Board.
  3. Mrs. Leland highlighted several points from the March Board of Supervisors Meeting. She told members that prior to Planning Commission Meetings she will now be receiving a draft of the not yet approved minutes from Mrs. Csete, so that the Planning Commission can stay in sync with the actions and concerns of the Board.
  4. Mr. Von Hoyer announced the Transportation Advisory Committee is still in the formation stage.

Approval of January 15, 2013 Minutes

Mrs. Leland moved to approve the January 15, 2013 minutes and Mr. Allen seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion, there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Design Review Committee Meeting on Fillippo Residential

Mr. Allen provided an update of the DRC meeting held February 25th at the Township Office to discuss the sketch plan for Spring Oak II. Mr. Allen distributed a handout. First to be mentioned was grading, since the topic arose from a tour members took in December 2012. Mr. Wright explained that developers leveled out the entire site, with basic slopes at a satisfactory 4-5%. Retaining walls (about 2 feet high) were added and shown as dark heavy lines on page 2 (labeled CP-3). A previous road with a T intersection had been replaced by a curving road in the back, improving safety. Mr. Allen told members a cross-section including areas of interest like Spring Oak, and how neighboring sites would be integrated, would be forth-coming. But Mrs. Leland still requested a 3D image, especially of the Slip Ramp area. The topic closed after discussion regarding garage placements.

Update on PennDOT Stormwater Basins

Mr. Motel updated the Commissioners on the stormwater basins required for the PennDOT road expansion and upgrades in Devault along Route 29. The large “crater” at the corner of Charlestown Road and Route 29 will eventually be converted to an underground facility by developer J. Loew & Associates when the Pickering Grant community is constructed. The other 3 will look similar to each other and be above ground facilities.

According to PennDOT it is not obligated to follow township Storm Water Management Guidelines. The Board of Supervisors is aware of how the basins look and asked PennDOT if the Township could “plant” them. However, if so, PennDOT wanted Charlestown to sign “Basin Maintenance Agreements” providing that the township would have to assume perpetual responsibility for the function of these basins as storm water management facilities and the Township was not willing to assume such a burden. The Township plans to re-visit the issue later.

Mr. Allen commented on the continuing attempt to improve the project by working on satisfying safety lighting on the walkway under the Turnpike and decorating the Turnpike underpass.

Update on Proposed Development at Commons @ Great Valley Lot 1

This item was removed from the agenda.


Report on Lighting Survey and Draft Lighting Ordinance Review

Mr. Mallach provided an update on the February 28th nighttime lighting survey used for assisting in the draft of the Lighting Ordinance. Example sites made it very helpful in finding comfort levels, giving meanings to terms, providing benchmarks for minimums and maximums, and therefore making the Lighting Ordinance more accurate. After defining the difference between the terms illuminance and luminance, Mr. Mallach provided a Lighting Survey handout. He noted items such as the findings of Item #4 (Wawa) vs. Item #6 (Lukoil), and Item #9 the Office Bar and Grill, the site with the highest candelas but not the most objectionable.

Page 1 of the revision of the March 12, 2013 Draft Lighting Ordinance will have the definitions in the beginning. Mr. Mallach is to consult with Mr. Thompson regarding the wording changes to the Draft. Mr. Mallach will define and add the concept “Dark Sky”, then add that term after the comma that follows the word illumination in the last paragraph of the Overall Intent (pg 1). Also the concept “Sky Glow” is to be defined and added. Other suggestions to the Overall Intent are ideas of community aesthetics, nuisance, and environmentally responsible. Mr. Allen wants #3 on page 1 to be clearer about the Board of Supervisors having jurisdiction and retroactive ability.

Page 2 will have the figures lowered for Medium Nighttime Pedestrian/Vehicular Conflict Potential according to Mr. Stubbe’s guidance. He also reminded the members not to use maximums greater than or minimums lower than the IES’s suggestions. The Under-Canopy Lighting figure will be adjusted. Special consideration was taken to the sentences ending the paragraph of Item #4, except as noted below. “If deemed appropriate, higher illuminance levels may be permitted at the discretion of the Board of Supervisors.”

Page 3 returned the highlighted lower revised figures to the original higher figures per Mr. Mallach. This was suggested by Mr. Stubbe since measurements at property lines were unreasonably low.

Page 4 will have the definitions of Light Pollution, Dark Sky, and Sky Glow added.

Page 5 contained a change by Mr. Mallach after speaking with a representative of Spring City Electrical Manufacturing and Mr. Stubbe.

Page 7 Item K was discussed due to the differing colors that can be found in actual lamps, their efficiency, and varying temperatures. The upper temperature limit is to be set at 4,100° kelvin. Wording to prevent the usage of lamps in differing color temperatures at a site is to be added.

Mr. Allen noted that the TND Ordinance has a reference to the CRI (Color Reference Index) and needs to be removed.

Mrs. Leland told Mr. Comitta and Mr. Mallach that she wants all Draft Lighting Ordinance changes to cross reference the TND Ordinance. This should provide flexibility and discretion for the Supervisors. Mr. Comitta agreed and will put the metrics in the Zoning Ordinance and have it refer to the Lighting Ordinance tables.

Mr. Stubbe discussed controlling glare, and mandating cutoffs and fixtures, to solve most objectionable lighting problems. If the fixtures were of the right type and installed properly, most of the issues would not fall under the Compliance Section part D on page 9 of the Draft. It reads, “Any existing lighting that is deemed by the Township to be causing a safety hazard shall be replaced.” The members feel this statement approved by Mr. Thompson, gives the Supervisors the ability to settle complaints regarding quality of life, safety (traffic), and security within the Township. It also helps with code enforcement, permitting, and land development, since there may be instances where the lighting is being replaced, due to an addition or renovation and the entire project needs to be brought into compliance.

Application to Modify the Agricultural Security Area – Marshall Parcel #35-4-11.1

Mr. John Snyder presented an enlarged plot plan showing the Marshalls’ 12 acre property located in the center of the township. He sought approval of the Planning Commission for recommendation to the Board of Supervisors for state ASA protection of the 10+ acre agricultural parcel. This would relieve the Marshalls from any nuisance lawsuits relative to the normal effects of raising produce or owning livestock, etc.

When the audience was asked if anyone had any objections, Mr. Cloeter of 15 Alexis Lane, a neighbor, mentioned a concern. He was aware that Mr. Marshall also would like to open a Farm-to-Table operation in the barn. He asked members if being in the ASA would benefit Mr. Marshall further in obtaining his commercial kitchen project. Then the Planning Commission asked Mr. Marshall if the desire to be in the ASA was a related request. Mr. Marshall stated it was a separate issue. Mr. Cloeter was also concerned about sharing a common driveway, but members felt this had nothing to do with an ASA recommendation.

Mr. Cloeter asked if Mr. Marshall would be limited to the number of livestock if in the ASA. Mr. Cassidy, who was also with Mr. Snyder, said the number of livestock was regulated by the Zoning Ordinance and gave a list to Mr. Cloeter. Mrs. Ellen Behrle spoke in favor of protecting land for agriculture, and then Mr. Findlay agreed that Mr. Marshall’s parcel met ASA core values. Mr. Pittock of the Historical Society said he and the Society were supportive.

Mr. Motel reminded Mr. Cloeter that the Commission did not have an application yet for the commercial kitchen/Farm-to-Table project and any adaptive uses would be seen by the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Snyder said the ASA request was not a relinquishing of the venture envisioned by Mr. Marshall.

After the audience finished their remarks, Mr. Westhafer and Mr. Von Hoyer both reemphasized that the parcel met ASA requirements. Mr. von Hoyer moved to recommend that the parcel be included in the Agricultural Security Area and Mr. Richter seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion, there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Amendments to Zoning District Traditional Neighborhood Development Area

Mr. Comitta spoke to members about strengthening some sections of the TND Ordinance. The first item, “motor vehicle service station”, was mentioned previously in an email by Mr. Motel. He was concerned about excluding a recognized use. The solution was somewhere between a large (5000-6000sq ft.) retail area with gas pumps and a simple gas station where parts and service can be performed. Mr. Motel felt a gas station with 1000sq ft. of retail space where no repairs would be performed on site, would be an acceptable accommodation for amending the TND.

Another area of concern was the Fillippo update for the TND Ordinance. Mr. Comitta distributed a map that will now replace Appendix D, and will again be updated with Spring Oak II. An effort will be made to keep this map as current as possible, keeping in mind that some of these items were in stages of “proposed” only. The members would like to see a corrected slip ramp depiction, Devault Foods property lines, and any proposed changes in the next version.

Also, when reviewing the TND Ordinance, Mr. Comitta said the bike routes were added with a statement by Mr. Thompson regarding liability. No private trails would be portrayed. The Horseshoe Trail Spur change had been reflected and now all Open Space was embedded in the Map and Plan.

Summarize Action Items


Mrs. Leland made a motion to adjourn the meeting and Mr. Motel seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion, there being none, adjourned the meeting at 10:23 p.m. The Planning Commission’s next scheduled meeting is April 9, 2013 at the Great Valley Middle School Choral Room at 7:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner
Recording Secretary
sheet, 03/12/2013