Planning Commission: Wendy Leland, Chair, Bill Westhafer, Vice Chairman, Michael Churchill, Andy Motel, Michael Richter, and Andre von Hoyer. Michael Allen was absent.
Consultants: Dan Wright, P.E., Thomas Comitta, and Dan Mallach.
Staff: Lisa Gardner, Recording Secretary
Public: see sign-in sheet

Call to Order:

7:32 p.m.


Mrs. Leland made the following announcements:

She and Bill Westhafer attended a presentation hosted by the Chester County Economic Development Council that focused on development taking place in four sections of the County, including Phoenixville Borough and the Great Valley area. There are large developments coming in the near future that will be very close to and affecting Charlestown Township.

Mrs. Leland said that she was working on the 2014 Budget. Instead of a 2014 tour, in the coming year she would like to have a Strategic Planning Seminar with Tom Comitta and Gary Bender. She is planning for a Saturday at TCA’s offices in January or February 2014. After covering items such as the MPC and the Conditional Use Process, Tom Comitta would facilitate the Planning Commission’s response to surrounding developers for the next 10 years. Then she plans on a joint session with the Board of Supervisors, again at TCA’s offices.

Lighting Demonstration

Mr. Dan Mallach stated that 5 Planning Commission Members attended an evening lighting demonstration at the Fillippo Residential site adjacent to Spring Oak on Sept. 26th to view differing light levels. All four vendors displayed four similar looking acorn style lights for use at Pickering Crossing and Spring Oaks.

Dan stated that each vendor displayed a light with different wattage, which affected how the output was perceived, particularly glare. There were some that appeared warmer vs. cooler, (the pending Lighting Ordinance amendments target achieving a warmer light). The lights were different heights, which affected the distance the light traveled and again, glare.

With respect to wattage, color temperature, and other elements of the luminaire, each vendor stated that they could match or better the Township’s Standards. To confirm this, Stan Stubbe is finalizing a worksheet that he will distribute to the vendors. This will help the Township identify the compliant street lights that may be recommended for the TND zoning district.

The survey and test results showed Spring City’s lights with the highest rating and the color nearest to Charlestown’s target. These also had a more expensive initial/acquisition cost. Mr. Churchill mentioned that HOA would be responsible for the pending operation costs and warranty limits even though the developer is making the choice (most likely of a compliant but low initial cost light). Both issues are not a concern to the purchasing developer, but very important to the HOA with the burden of care.

Mr. Stubbe’s worksheet should ultimately help the PC allow the developer to choose from lights that have already met or exceeded standards and give vendors’ target criteria. A report is forthcoming.

Approval September 10, 2013 Minutes

Mr. Churchill moved to approve the Sept. 10, 2013 minutes with one minor change, and Mr. Motel seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion, there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Old Business

Review Land Use Assumptions Report – Transportation Advisory Committee

The Planning Commission conducted a review of the TAC’s Land Use Assumptions Report for a 6.8 square mile Service Area within Charlestown Township. Mr. Comitta said the Report has been circulated to the County Planning Commission, School District and adjacent municipalities for the required 45 day review period.

Mr. Churchill named intersections that are not current pressure spots on the Report but may become stressed, after potential development takes place. Some of these intersections would be just outside Township borders. Mr. Comitta stated intersections can’t be considered that lie outside of Charlestown’s border, but updating the report in five years may alleviate concerns regarding new pressure spots from development outside of Charlestown. Mrs. Leland asked Mr. Comitta to clarify the statement regarding a window for adoption of an arbitrary vs. adopted Trip Fee amount.

Mr. Comitta said Mr. Heinrich updated his analysis and confirmed that the $1,000.00 per trip fee is set at a satisfactory amount. Tom is going to check with Mr. Heinrich about why the square mile figure was targeted at just less than 7 miles. In addition, he is checking the easement overlays due to questions by Mr. Motel about Swiss Pines. Planning Commission Members thought the maps may be overstating building ability, and asked for verification.

The Planning Commission will review again and expects to take action in November, then a separate Hearing will be scheduled by Mr. Comitta after which time the Board of Supervisor’s can entertain a motion to adopt.

Review of Draft Stormwater Management Ordinance Revisions

The Planning Commission conducted its final review of Mr. Wright’s draft changes to the Stormwater Management Ordinance to comply with the recently approved countywide Act 167 Plan. Charlestown’s SMO is more stringent in most cases than the County’s but some changes are mandatory.

  1. Page 23-7 Clarification of definition for Animal Heavy Use in Agricultural Activity
  2. Page 23-9 Clarification of definition of Land Disturbance
  3. Page 23-12 to 23-16 Mr. Churchill asked Mr. Wright to look at the exemption language because it appears burdensome.
  4. Page 23-13 23-301 B. Mr. Churchill thought this was a great objective but asked Mr. Wright if it was feasible - to expect no increase of discharge.
  5. Page 23-13 D. Mr. von Hoyer wanted clarification of the definition regarding responsibility of the property owner.
  6. Page 23-16 23-302 Mr. Wright said 1000 is too small and using the current Simplified Method is a more appropriate method, reducing impact on the area and also the need for waivers.
  7. Page 23-18 B. (2) (a) Mr. Churchill noticed a large difference regarding Post-construction total runoff volume and the 2 year storm (3.2” of rain) capture and “infiltrate”. Mr. Wright said this is the most significant change for Charlestown’s SWM.
  8. 23-21 the word “around” should be “ground”
  9. Mr. Motel asked Mr. Wright about his stance on surface basins filtering better and Mr. Wright said it was important to discharge to a vegetated swale and then to a retention basin.
  10. Mr. Westhafer asked when underground basins would not the optimal solution. Mr. Wright responded that in certain places there are potential problems or geological issues that lie underneath where the basin would be, that may warrant a different approach.
  11. Mr. Westhafer wanted the word “Municipal” (and forms of) replaced with “Township”.
  12. Mr. Theurkauf responded via letter that fences should be 4 high.

Since there were no critical changes, Mr. Wright stated he would meet with Mr. Thompson and recommend the proposed changes to the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Churchill asked Mr. Wright about the phrase regarding “downstream notification even if the change is better”. Mr. Wright said the County received a list of suggestions and did not include this in its final revision. The period for suggestion now being closed, he will talk with Mr. Thompson to see if he has any suggestions.

Mrs. Leland and Mr. Churchill lead the Planning Commission in thanking Mr. Wright for his efforts.


Mr. Richter moved to recommend the proposed changes to the Stormwater Management Ordinance in accordance with Chester County Act 167, pending comments and consultation with Mr. Thompson, and Mr. von Hoyer seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

A hearing will be scheduled by the Board of Supervisors to consider adoption on December 2nd following the County Planning Commission’s 30 day review period.

New Business

TND2 & TND3 Submissions for Properties Less Than 5 Acres

Tom Comitta distributed Part 22 of TND District zoning (pages 27-195 through 27-219) focusing on 27-2210 and 27-2213 regarding Context Sensitive Design Standards for Properties less than 5 Acres in the TND District, Areas 2 and 3 as shown in the Development Strategy Plan. After a conversation with Mike Allen, not attending tonight, Mr. Comitta said Mr. Allen thought perhaps the PC is asking these residents for too much and asked if they should be given less of a burden for submissions?

Mr. Churchill asked if such a list of properties was available, and Mr. Comitta is going to obtain it for Members. Members thought until Mr. Allen clarifies at the November meeting, in most instances a case by case analysis was a reasonable course of action.

Tom is going to check further with Mr. Allen. He also mentioned a paragraph was located by codifiers, not attributable to anything, in need of “housekeeping”.

Summarize Action Items by Mrs. Leland

October Board of Supervisors Meeting Update

Mr. Kuhn advised Members that John Mostoller requested approval of the interpreted revision of the Final Amended Plan on sheets 39-43 that would permit gas meters to be located in the front of the homes at Spring Oak. Therefore, they will be requesting a Phasing Plan due to the infrastructure cost previously planned to be installed all at once. An opinion of the Planning Commission will be sought by the Board of Supervisors.


Mrs. Leland adjourned the meeting at 9:25 p.m. The Planning Commission’s next scheduled meeting is November 12, 2013 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa K. Gardner