Planning Commission: Bill Westhafer, Vice Chairman, Michael Allen, Michael Churchill, and Andy Motel. Michael Richter, Andre von Hoyer and Mrs. Leland were absent.

Consultants: Randy Patry, P.E. and Thomas Comitta

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

Public: None

Call to Order:

7:37 p.m.


Mrs. Leland thanked Mrs. Csete for sending the Turnpike Meeting minutes from January 16th, they were very informative.

Mr. Westhafer announced that East Whiteland has approved a Wawa on Flat Road, and has also approved 2000 housing units (a township increase of 50%).

Approval January 13, 2015 Minutes

The minutes were deferred until March.


Frank Boyle –Parking Plan at 1001-1003 Yellow Springs Road

Frank and Kim Boyle were present to discuss parking for The Office Bar & Grille. At a prior visit, they had wished to convert an existing house into professional office space (and a barn into storage space) at 1001-1003 Yellow Springs Road. That would have increased the number of parking spots, so that (12) employees could park across the street. However, tonight they said that the existing house was going to stay residential and they had no plans for the barn. But, they did want to add outside seating. Mr. Boyle said they would comply with Township requirements for landscaping, lighting, buffering, etc.

They requested PC guidance since often times the parking lot is full, but there are many tables empty. The Office seats 100 and they wanted 100 parking spaces (patrons do not tend to carpool after work, the busiest time).

Currently the Office has more parking than required but less than needed. The 27 spots that would have been generated from converting the house into commercial offices, drops parking to just a few now that they plan to keep it as a residential rental. Plus, spots will be lost to outside seating.

Mrs. Boyle said the TND was planned as a walkable village. Mr. Churchill was concerned about pedestrian safety, but Members agreed that they had planned safe crosswalks, steps, and signals. Members agreed it is not safe when cars park outside of the lot, along Route 29.

At first, Mr. Wright said a standalone parking lot is an allowable accessory use, but the number of spots exceeds the acceptable amount. Mr. Boyle said they are leasing, so they are not the property owners. Then Mr. Bender said it was no longer an accessory use. Also, no one should assume that it will be permissible to park across the street at the new hotel/retail development, even though it has a crosswalk.

Mrs. Leland said she had ingress and egress concerns. Mr. Wright offered to visit the site. She asked Mr. Theurkauf if he foresaw anything like this idea in his Turnpike plans, and he did not.

The patio is a separate issue since it is on a different lot with a different owner. They would be 2 different requests.

Longford road is an abandoned Township road that Mr. Boyle plows. Mr. Comitta said there is a process to “vacate” a road, but easements would be needed.

Mr. Wright said the project would require meeting Stormwater requirements with an underground retention basin. The Boyles are willing to look into this and said there were 4 grates along Yellow Springs Road. There is also a PennDOT Stormwater facility nearby, but Mr. Wright did not believe it would be helpful in this instance.

Mr. Wright will investigate the ordinance issues and look closer at the NC1 in respect to a residential lot with a commercial parking amount. Mr. Bender said the parking may require a variance for a standalone lot. Mr. Comitta suggested varying the parking surface (ex. cobblestone) and to consider an edge treatment for Morehall Road.

Mr. Boyle was told to

Concept Review for Route 29/Phoenixville Pike Basin Improvements

Mr. Ed Theurkauf, of Theurkauf Design & Planning LLC, prepared a presentation of a proposal to design landscaping treatments for the PennDOT basins and area at Phoenixville Pike and Morehall Road. The Plan included ecological fitness, aesthetics, maintenance, and potential uses of the area. These uses were in consideration of the progress in the TND District and future Rails to Trails project. He distributed 2 plans, the Landscaping Improvements Plan and Planting Details & Specifications.

The layout and planning concept called the Devault Area Gateway Improvements had 4 targeted areas.

  1. Landscaping for Stormwater basins (3) near Route 29 including
    • Basin Bottom Rain Garden mix
      • may not be necessary since Mr. Theurkauf felt PennDOT may have used an acceptable mix.
    • Basin slope Meadow Mix
      • for the sides
      • Tall Grass Meadow Mix that would surround the other mixes
  2. Plantings for embankments on sides of the PA Turnpike
    • Evergreens (Red Cedar, Norway Spruce, White Pine)
  3. Plantings for PA Turnpike bridge abutments
    • Vines will improve the wall appearance and decrease the likelihood of graffiti
  4. Area beneath the PA Turnpike Bridge.
    • This was a popular idea with PC Members
    • After the presentation, Mr. Motel suggested:
      • Entrance spots for the largest basin/meadow
      • The fence 10” or 12” up for weed whacking
      • Moving the line going through the Trailhead Parking so a tractor could get through.

Mr. Theurkauf mentioned a more direct alignment of the trail, but a pedestrian crossing sign will be needed. He will return with a revised plan, based on the input from the Members. Also mentioned was a cost estimate of approximately $35,000 and a maintenance plan.

Mr. Motel and Mr. von Hoyer plan on approaching PennDOT to start a dialogue with this plan and the post design basin agreements. Mr. Motel asked if Mr. Theurkauf saw any type of community involvement for the installation, and Mr. Theurkauf said a lot of the planting was on slopes, so perhaps only some level shrubbery work.

Mr. Comitta will look into grant money from the Natural Lands Trust (Exelon).

Comprehensive Plan Update

Mr. Comitta began with a few edits to Saturday’s Strategic Planning Session minutes. He said he plans on consolidating and charting the Take-Away’s, emphasizing the more important points of discussion.

In anticipation of updating the 2001 Comprehensive Plan, he distributed Article III. Members are to articulate their desired general Land Use Map in a way that would allow them to say no to what type of things they don’t want in the Township. A lot of zoning changes are on the horizon along the popular corridors, but where to allow what uses will be one of the focus points. Members are to consider three growth zones, high being the university and developments, mid being the RI’s and PRD’s, and low, remembering the Township can deny use not in agreement with the Comprehensive Plan.

Discussed from Section 301. Preparation of Comprehensive Plan

(1) Revise the ultimate goals (read by Mrs. Leland at the Strategic Planning Session).
(2) Add intensity and density criteria to a plan for land use
(3) Ratify pathways and trails - Act 209 covered a lot of this item
(4) This item does not need to be reviewed per Mr. Comitta (due to Park project).
(4.2) Assign an aging schedule to Take-Away’s from the Strategic Planning Sessions

Lastly, he distributed a take home assignment using Article III. Members are to decide which key terms/items need updating on pages 1 and 2. At the March meeting, they will choose which parts are critical then notify the Board. He suggested imagining the Township 10 years from now, and then decide how to plan for that scenario, keeping it undetailed. He chose the Future Land Use Map as an example, since it is changing from parcel to parcel style, to a broader approach.

Conditional Use Discussion

Mr. Bender discussed which Conditional Uses need to have more explicit Standards and Criteria (Item 1.1 of February 8, 2014 Take-Away’s).

Mr. Bender reminded Members to encompass as many categories as possible. The group mentioned parking, patrons (visitors, customers, etc.), days and or hours of operation, buffer requirements, and movement within the lot envelope to help with specific sites.

Mr. Bender will send Members and Mr. Comitta a recommendation in writing, the Commission will review it at the March meeting, and the Board will be able to review it by April. It should be ready for action at the joint meeting planned for April or May.

Other Business

Mrs. Leland thanked Mr. Comitta by presenting him with a black and white photo of Brightside Farm, taken by Mr. Richter.

Mr. Comitta said there should be a plaque at the paymaster headquarters ruins at Morehall and Whitehorse Roads.

Mr. Comitta stated, in regards to the new Devault Area Gateway Plan, looking decades into the future, “What change could Mr. Fillippo or any property owner do to that location?”

Action Items

  1. Mr. Wright will look into the ordinance and road vacate procedure.
  2. Mr. von Hoyer and Mr. Motel will contact PennDOT
  3. Mr. Comitta will research grant information for Mr. Theurkauf’s proposal, chart Take-Away’s, and continue with the Sketch Plan procedure.
  4. A Member needs to attend the February 17th Board meeting, Mr. von Hoyer will attend in March.


Mr. Westhafer adjourned the meeting at 9:54 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner,
Recording Secretary