Wendy Leland, Chair, Bill Westhafer, Vice Chairman, Michael Allen, Michael Churchill, Andy Motel, Michael Richter and Andre von Hoyer

Consultants: Daniel Wright, P.E., Tom Comitta and Gary Bender, Esq.

Staff: Linda Csete, Township Manager, Lisa Gardner, Recording Secretary

Public: See Attached List

Call to Order:

7:37 p.m.


Mr. Churchill stated that the Devault Line Rail-Trail Feasibility Study Committee met last night to establish meeting dates and discuss various trail matters. Meeting dates for 2014 will be announced soon.

Mrs. Leland stated that the Great Valley Nature Center will hold their Annual Live and Silent Auction at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center Friday, January 31. Tickets to the fundraiser are $125; more details can be found at

Mrs. Leland thanked Mr. Comitta for circulating the agenda for the Strategic Planning Session on February 8, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Chester County Historical Building in West Chester.


Mrs. Leland stated the reorganization nominations for the position of Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Planning Commission and the 2014 Planning Commission meeting schedule would be tabled until the February 3, 2014 meeting.

Approval December 17, 2013 Minutes

Mr. Churchill moved to approve the December 17th, 2013 minutes with two minor changes, and Mr. Motel seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion, there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Mr. Allen stated the Turnpike underpass lighting is still in the process of being approved by PennDOT. Also, the DRC met with Marriott applicants and discussed aesthetics and the general layout, the rest being on hold until site work can progress. They are looking at a possible February presentation to update Supervisors.

Spring Oak Lighting

Mr. Allen said he had emailed a report to members about a substitution of luminaires and poles. Since it is a different vendor, it would need to complete the Township qualification process before approval at Spring Oak. Mr. Allen will discuss this again with the Planning Commission before sending any recommendation on to the Board of Supervisors. A sample was delivered to the Township for inspection. This substitution could allow the developer to select the lesser cost replacement, while meeting all the other specifications.

Charlestown Playhouse – Preliminary Plan and Conditional Use Application

Architect Karen Beam and Engineer John Smirga were present for the continuation of the review of the Preliminary Land Development Plan and Conditional Use Application for the expansion of the Charlestown Playhouse parking lot in the historic district.

Ms. Beam displayed a revised view of the Plan that included changes discussed (such as including trees) at an earlier meeting. She described the pickup and drop off 90 students. She distributed the Charlestown Playhouse Car Pickup Schedule that now reflects a scenario of 30 seconds to move a car through the line instead of 45.

Mr. von Hoyer asked about the safety in the student loading zone. A stop sign was suggested at the Do Not Enter sign (painted on the road) facing the cars coming down the drive to drop off. Mr. von Hoyer also thought it very important to keep the line of sight very clear and to keep growth down in the area marked as Clear Line Of Sight (from the entrance of upper lot to curve as a car is exiting the facility). Mr. Richter asked for clarity regarding the handicap ramp being close to the ADA parking spot. Ms. Beam responded that the area spreads widely for a larger maneuvering area.

They will also comply with lighting and will keep in contact with Mr. Stubbe. Ms. Beam said they will comply with all items involving planting.

Ms. Beam told Members that the cost of compliance (Item #1 in TCA letter dated 1/6/14) was approximately $350,000. The boulders and swale for stormwater management suggested to direct water from the steep slope ($170,000 estimate), in conjunction with parking and curbing ($180,000 estimate), were prohibitive to a non-profit such as the Playhouse. She asked for help with the non-percolating soil situation, by asking members to think outside the box or suggest grants, etc.

Mr. Motel said the 650 feet of curbing ($14,000) was not at the discretion of the Members since it is required by the Zoning Ordinance. Mr. Wright told Ms. Beam that the boulders and swale ($170,000 estimate) were actually a way to reduce the cost of compliance. Mr. von Hoyer asked if the boulders were entirely necessary, then Mr. Wright said he may be able to help with the slope costs using vegetation.

Ms. Beam asked if Members had any ideas regarding dirt removal, because the area of disturbance was much greater due to finding a spot to spread the excess soil from site development (a $20,000 budget item). It was suggested she contact the developer at Spring Oak, Mr. Townes. He may be in need of soil and have boulders she could use in return.

After a brief discussion about the stormwater running under the road vs. over, and the effects it could have on the Anderson property, Mr. Smirga discussed the 400sqft of steep slope and Members were not in objection to the change, since the slope itself was manmade. Mr. Wright said that since the Playhouse is going before the Board with revised plans and steep slope concerns, the Planning Commission needed to make recommendations tonight.

Mr. Comitta said that once the landscape Items 1d, 3A, 4A, 4B, 5, 8B, and 11 are satisfied, plus lighting in Item 12, in the review letter dated 1/6/14, and given 1c has no other viable plan, and the maneuvering in 2A, 2B, & 2C are acceptable then his colleague Dan Mallach finds Item 3 & Item 7 acceptable and is in support of an abbreviated EIA (Item 1e).

Mrs. Leland opened the floor to comments from the public. A neighbor, Mr. Bill Davison, asked about the existing driveway and the relocation of the 15mph light. He thought it was a good plan.

Mrs. Leland closed the public comments at this time.

Mr. Churchill recommended for approval, subject to the comments of Advanced GeoServices and Thomas Comitta Associates, the Preliminary Land Development Plan and Conditional Use Review for the Charlestown Playhouse. Mr. von Hoyer seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Paul Marshall – Conditional Use Application for Adaptive Re-Use of a Historic Property

Mrs. Leland told the audience that when the time came, all comments were to be under 3 minutes long and to be new concerns or comments.

Wendy McLean, Esq. presented a proposal for Paul and Julie Marshall, requesting a recommendation for next week’s Board of Supervisors Hearing for an educational and cultural facility at the Marshall property, 2226 Charlestown Road, Malvern, PA. Applicants have not yet submitted the required Proof of Notification to all property owners within 250 feet, necessary for the pending Hearing.

Ms. McLean began by stating that the shared driveway is not going to be the access point. Applicants contacted PennDOT about adding a second driveway and the rep prepared a sketch shown to PC Members. The proposed entrance appeared to lie close to where a now covered over driveway once was. Since PennDOT prepared the drawing, Mrs. McLean felt the Marshalls would have no problem obtaining the necessary permit.

Ms. McLean referred to the Zoning Ordinance §27-1619 Conditional Use Standards for Uses Permitted in Historic Resources.

§27-1619 2 A 5

The following items were in compliance, she mentioned;

§27-1619 3 for Criteria for Adaptive Reuses

  1. Owner will comply with locational criteria
  2. Owner resides on property & will limit to 4 full-time employees
  3. Will obtain occupancy permit & will provide proof of ownership at next Board meeting
  4. Use will be 2000sqft

Ms. McLean said the SALDO work had not yet begun, but the Marshalls will provide adequate sanitation and have on-lot sewer. She also said they will be in compliance with any restrictions due to the conservation easement.

Mr. McLean addressed Mr. Comitta’s review memorandum dated 12/3/13 Item #9. She said no activity will take place outside. They will revise ventilation if it is a problem, but right now they are in the process of heavily insulating the inside of the barn. This way sound should not penetrate to the outside, especially since the activity will be on the far south side of the barn wall.

Mr. Churchill asked how many parking spots they had planned; she expected 11. They will comply with all parking items mentioned in Item #10 of Mr. Comitta’s letter. She then listed:

#12  Discussion with Supervisors was not yet done

#13  Will submit certificate for potable water

#14  Will comply with inspections

#15  The only external changes are the replacement windows and a small deck to comply with ingress and egress regulations, others changes (insulation) are internal.

In Item #17, Ms. McLean said the Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB) had no jurisdiction and that was why they had declined comment. Mrs. Csete, Township Manager, clarified that the HARB is actually a combination Historical Commission/HARB that needs to provide review comments. Ms. McLean said in view of the HARB goals, the Marshalls plan on restoring and preserving the structure.

The Natural Lands Trust letter (12/30/13) was discussed. There was dialogue regarding:

Ms. McLean said the overall meaning with caveats (just one horse, no herds, no expansion, no golf carts etc.), was that the plan complies with the easement, as found in the beginning of the fifth paragraph, page 3. The educational use is broadly defined but partnerships such as the pending one with the Great Valley School District are within the stipulations.

Mrs. Marshall told members more about the vision for the property. Mrs. Berle explained that the School District’s goal was to form partnerships within the community to provide nutritional education and find food sources in the area.

Mrs. Leland invited members and consultants to comment.

Mr. Churchill asked how the term “school age” helps define the parameters of the vision, in light of the restrictions mentioned in the NLT letter. Ms. McLean said the wetlands and ponds are highly sensitive to disturbance, and will be honored, and the mild or moderate tiers applying to the animals or size of gardens will be respected. Since the students’ ages range from elementary to senior citizen, these ranges may denote the hours of operation for that day.

Mr. Marshall said days of operation will be Tuesday through Saturday, never more than 2 seatings a day.

Mr. Marshall announced there would be one afternoon and one evening seating, not to exceed 24-26 visitors at a time (even though he could seat 100). Mr. Westhafer asked if evening hours would be educational too, and Mr. Marshall said yes because they will learn about what they are eating.

Applicants were asked about the hours. They were told the first seating could start at 11a.m. (depending on school schedule) but perhaps start as late as 1p.m., ending by 4 p.m. The evening seating would start after 4 p.m. and be done by 10 p.m. After signing up, families or cars/buses would arrive, visitors are taught the curriculum for the day, watch demonstrations, participate in a hands-on workshop or preparation, then cook and eat the meal.

Mr. Churchill asked about the off-site impacts as mentioned in #9 of Mr. Wright’s letter dated 12/3/13. Ms. McLean said once the proposed driveway is done, there will be no off-site impact because the property is already on a major collector road. Mr. Churchill asked about people being outside and the impact this would have on the neighbors, especially in the summer. She told him there may be visitors looking at the chicken coop or at the garden, but most activity will be inside. There will be no one on the wetlands area since it is protected by the barn and slope. Mr. Churchill thought it best to confine usage to the bottom side of the area, but said he noticed the entrance is at the top. Ms. Beam showed Members the pedestrian walkway/flow being towards the right and up a driveway/pathway.

Mr. Allen mentioned the double barn door as the main entry, needing to be ADA compliant. He asked Mr. Marshall if a 2 group restriction was agreeable, and it was.

The proposed driveway, the current driveway and the original covered driveway were located on a map. The Final Subdivision of this property was approved with the condition that the original driveway was to be covered and the location of the new drive moved for safety. With the PennDOT sketch, the proposed additional driveway once again moves back toward the covered/original one. Mr. Allen said he will not approve of anything moving it back towards the original. Ms. McLean said PennDOT has established a better sight distance for safety concerns.

It was later established that abandonment of the original driveway was specific for approval of the Subdivision Plan, meant to reduce access points on Charlestown Road

Mr. Allen pointed out an easement miscalculation to Ms. Beam around a flag lot and driveway area. Ms. McLean continued to say that having 2 driveways would help the traffic flow, deliveries, lawn maintenance, and privacy for everyone involved. Mr. Allen said they would need to check with the School District regarding busing onto the property.

Mr. Motel asked what the next steps were to finalize the School District agreement. In order to obtain partnerships within the community to provide nutrition education and food sourcing for the school itself, Ms. McLean needs to deliver a Conditional Use Approval letter. The Marshall’s will have to provide clearances and background checks. Members were told that other partnerships can be found at under the Community tab (Desmond Hotel and Charlestown Nature Center are two examples).

Mr. Churchill asked how they could be sure the educational component was there, since the first proposal was for a restaurant. Ms. McLean reminded Members about the unusual renewal inspections every five years (§27-1619 K & L).

Mr. Comitta said this was a complex situation and will likely involve more than one hearing. Since the planner and engineer are often asked for opinions by the Board of Supervisors, and since the Hearing is next week (and more formal with a court reporter) he offered the following advice. Have succinct and well thought out programs, incorporating details mentioned in his review letter.

Mr. Richter asked how to draw a line between educational vs. 100 people private parties on a Sunday. This creates a more commercial setting and evolves beyond the 5 days a week. Ms. McLean said “everyone is allowed to have private parties”, then Mr. Marshall said they were committed to being good neighbors. Mr. Richter said this point was hard to restrict or control.

Mr. Allen mentioned a recent event at the property, in regards to the gray area or hard line to draw that the Members had been trying to describe to the applicants. The party was quite large (Mr. Marshall said 62 were in attendance) and not educational. Mr. Marshall said it was a non-profit trade show. Ms. McLean said these types of restrictive provisions could be put into the Conditional Use. Mr. Marshall said there are 5 permits allowed from the Chester County Health Department a year, for the larger private parties.

Mr. Richter asked if he would be doing weddings and Mr. Marshall said no.

Mr. Churchill asked if he would be doing catering from there, with the food being carried off-site. Mr. Marshall said he does want to do catering, with ties to the educational aspect.

Mr. Allen asked if he would be catering corporate events and Mr. Marshall said no, unless it has an educational aspect.

Mr. Motel asked what the next steps would be with the County Health Department. Mr. Marshall needs to submit the report for potable water and provide documentation that the on-lot sanitary sewer facilities and existing well are adequately sized for the adaptive reuse. He will comply with all grease trap and other requirements, and added he only will be using a residential type dishwasher, and has 2 restrooms.

Mr. Wright mentioned the noise, glare, or odors, beyond the property line (Item #9 in review letter dated 12/3/13). Mr. Marshall said he will be using ventilation and filters, but Mr. Allen said in order not to violate the Zoning Ordinance, there could be no odor. Ms. McLean will obtain the specs for the ventilation systems, etc.

Mr. Wright discussed Item #25 (existing stormwater retention basin) and Ms. McLean said it may need to be relocated due to the proposed driveway.

Mr. Allen (§27-1809 E) asked the applicants about how this use would be in keeping with the character of the location. Ms. McLean’s reply essentially was about the subjective items always being difficult but more importantly the clear items being easily met.

Mr. von Hoyer told Ms. McLean that she was assuming PennDOT will approve the additional proposed driveway and she admitted they would be back to square one if not approved.

Mr. Allen reminded them about setback issues.

Mrs. Leland invited comments from the audience at 10:20pm.

Mr. Cloeter’s (property is 30ft. from the Marshall’s barn) main concerns were noise, parking, and the financial impact it had on his property. His liability insurance was estimated to increase by $1,800, and he felt his home and adjacent properties would decrease in resale value because of a neighbor that sounded like he was operating a restaurant.

Mrs. Cloeter said that on the evening of the large event mentioned earlier, she had trespassing problems. There was a woman walking on her property, smoking and drinking. Later after speaking with the parking attendants, the State Police were called to her home regarding harassment of the attendants. The Marshall’s plan compromises her privacy and increases her liability. Mr. Marshall felt the barn improvements and a fence or gate would resolve these types of problems.

Mr. Hanna who lives across the street likes what the Marshalls are planning on doing for the community and thinks it will enhance the area.

Mr. Takach of the Chester County Health Department said the size and construction of the on-lot sewage and water will need to be reviewed.

Mr. Nesspor said the Conditional Use should be contingent upon the approval of the partnerships, not the other way around. Ms. McLean then read aloud the letter from the School District about the partnership being contingent upon the Conditional Use Approval.

Mrs. Leland asked Mr. Cloeter, if the Marshalls made a special access driveway, would this help the situation? Mr. Cloeter said yes, it would help. Mrs. Leland reminded the Marshalls to include the entire detailed picture at the hearing. She said she would make a motion tonight, but didn’t think she would obtain a second on the motion.

Mr. Churchill thought it was a great idea, but he was not at the point where he could second a motion. Consideration needed to be given to the neighbors and the Planning Commission needed more time to make more comments and finalize conditions of approval. This was necessary for minimum local impact. He told them to remember issues with the filters, privacy problems, noise, and the items to be proven to the NLT and the County. It was important to consider the outdoor factors and to develop assurances and initiate controls, since the burden of local impact control is on the applicant.

Lastly, Mr. Bender asked the Marshalls how they saw the educational vs restaurant difference, again referring to the gray area.

Mrs. Leland closed the public comments at this time. The first conditional use hearing is this Monday, February 3rd with no Land Development Application accompanying it yet.


Mrs. Leland made a motion to recommend a creative and innovative idea for approval, for the Conditional Use Application of Paul and Julie Marshall. It is for an educational facility, specifically a culinary institute to provide agricultural, nutritional, and culinary educational programs, as an Adaptive Reuse, for the historic bank barn at the property known as “Half Hill Farm”. Approval would be subject to the following conditions:

1) Background checks and clearances of owners
2) The use will occupy no more than 2,000sqft of the barn
3) No more than 26 people at one time will participate in each program
4) A PennDOT Highway Occupancy Permit is obtained prior to commencing the use, either for a new driveway or to improve the existing shared driveway
5) With hours of operation being approximately 1-10pm
6) Must meet all NLT specifications
7) Not to be open more than 5 days a week, being Tuesday through Saturday
8) Other events to be by Chester County Health Department Permit only, not to exceed 5 events a year.

There was no second.

Motel-McGowan Minor Subdivision – Mine Road

Mr. Motel recused himself from the discussion and presented his application for a minor subdivision, changing a lot line between his property (2.44 acres) and the McGowan property (4.44 acres). Mr. Motel submitted proof of notification to the six abutting property owners of tonight’s meeting. His handout included impervious coverage and the addition of net lot area for each lot in accordance with SLDO 22-408.5 J as mentioned on Advanced GeoServices’ letter dated 1/3/14.

Mr. Motel explained that he and his neighbors agreed to the lot line change in order to eliminate the potential for either lot to be subdivided.

Members considered Mr. Wright’s comments on his review letter dated 1/3/14, in which he recommended that requested waivers be approved as follows:

Mr. Allen moved to recommend approval of the Motel-McGowan Minor Subdivision Plan dated 12/20/13 subject to the comments on Mr. Wright’s review letter dated 1/3/14, and Mr. Richter seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion, there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Mr. Churchill moved to approve the waivers for the written report and survey, and Mr. von Hoyer seconded. Mrs. Leland called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Mrs. Leland adjourned the meeting at 11 p.m. The Planning Commission’s next scheduled meeting is February 8th, 2014 at the Chester County Historical Society.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner
Recording Secretary
sheet, 1/28/2014