Planning Commission: Bill Westhafer, Chair, Andre von Hoyer, Vice Chairman, Michael Allen, Michael Churchill, and Andy Motel. Wendy Leland and Michael Richter arrived at 8:20 p.m.

Consultants: Daniel Wright, P.E., Tom Comitta arrived at 8:25 p.m.

Staff: Lisa Gardner, Recording Secretary

Public: See Attached List

Call to Order:

7:30 p.m.


Mr. Allen stated the most recent DRC Meeting was regarding the tracking of changes on TND projects and how to incorporate some of the updates into the design documents.

Mr. Allen stated he attended the Board of Supervisors Meeting on February 23rd, 2015. There was a request at that meeting for a single hook up to the Valley Forge Sewer Authority’s line along Route 401. Mr. Wright said he had found no evidence of a single user ever hooking up in like circumstances and the property owner was asked to first undertake site tests for an alternative to the existing failed system.

Mr. Allen said he was waiting for a reply from the Marriott design team.

Mr. von Hoyer announced this year’s Earth Day on April 18th. The rain date is the 25th.

Mr. Allen said it was beneficial to have a PC Member attend Board of Supervisors Meetings. There is another meeting on Thursday, March 12th .

Mr. Motel announced that a long term maintenance agreement, for the PennDOT basins in the Devault Gateway area, was no longer an issue. He is waiting for a reply from a representative of Adopt-a-Highway, and it is likely that PennDOT will allow the planting under an “adopt and beautify” permit. He will talk to Supervisors at the first meeting in April. Funding is still an issue.

Mr. Allen said on March 11th he should receive an estimate from Armor, for two lights under the Turnpike.

Mr. Westhafer said a report will be forthcoming regarding the Regional Planning Commission meeting.

Approval of Minutes

January 13, 2015 Minutes

The minutes were deferred and Mrs. Csete will recirculate them for the next meeting.

February 7, 2015 Minutes

Mr. Motel moved to approve the minutes of February 7, 2014 and Mr. Churchill seconded. Mr. Westhafer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

February 10, 2015 Minutes

Mr. Motel moved to approve the minutes of February 10, 2015 with minor changes, and Mr. Churchill seconded. Mr. Westhafer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Re-Zoning Request - McIntyre Parcel adjacent to the Village @ Spring Oak

Mr. John Mostoller, of Envision Land Use, described Fillippo Residential’s request to rezone the McIntyre property, and one out lot, currently owned by the Fillippo’s, to TND-1. This will allow for six additional lots to be added to the Fillippo residential plan, for a total of 78 units.

Tonight he described his next steps to Members. Next week he will petition for a rezoning of the parcels, and then start folding them into the Preliminary Plan. He also would like to know what the PC would like in the green zone and the field on the west side of the development. His goal was to obtain PC endorsement for the rezoning. Then he will take the first round revision to the DRC and return to the PC.

Mr. Motel moved to endorse the incorporation of the McIntyre tract into TND-1 and the Fillippo’s lot (35-4-122) as part of TND-1. If Mr. Mostoller needs to go to the Zoning Hearing Board, the PC endorsed for this instance too. Mr. Allen seconded, Mr. Westhafer called for discussion, there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Mr. von Hoyer asked about the Transcontinental Pipeline running across the north edge of the development, separating the two developments. Mr. Mostoller said they are extremely limited as to what can be done with that land. Mr. Kuhn suggested amending the Ordinance to restrict developers from building too close to long-time residents, perhaps using setback restrictions.

Planning Module – Diament-McClure Subdivision – 2130 Seven Oaks Road

Mr. Wright referred to his letter dated February 4, 2015, reviewing the Sewage Facilities Planning Module for the property at 2130 Seven Oaks Road. He said Diament Building Corp. proposes to construct a new single family home on this lot, in the approved Diament-McClure subdivision, and it meets all criteria. PC Chairman will sign after the meeting.

PennDOT Basin Landscaping

This item was removed from the agenda.

Chester County Planning Commission Request for Update to Transportation Improvement Inventory

Mrs. Csete said she was contacted by Mr. Randy Waltermyer requesting input on the Chester County Planning Commission’s update of their Transportation Improvement Inventory. A spreadsheet was provided listing existing Township projects and requesting any additions. Members responded with the following:

Members declined to include the last item on the chart for a left turn yield on green, at Phoenixville Pike and Charlestown Road as Mrs. Csete indicated she can take this up with PennDOT directly. Mrs. Csete asked if any of the proposed additions to the inventory list were identified in the Act 209 review. Mr. Comitta will review the input before it’s forwarded to Mr. Waltermyer.

West Whiteland Township Request for Review of Amendment to their Comprehensive Plan

Mrs. Csete said she received notice from West Whiteland Township of a proposed amendment to their Comprehensive Plan, requesting comments within 45 days of the February 20, 2015 letter. Members had no comment. Mr. Comitta will draft a letter thanking them for the opportunity to review for her to send out.

Take-Aways from February 7, 2015 Strategic Planning Session

Mr. Comitta gave a summary of the initiatives discussed at the second Strategic Planning Session, on Saturday, February 7th. He asked Members to study the list, and then they can discuss priorities in preparation for a joint meeting with Supervisors.

The revision of the Fee Schedule, under the Recreation Fee-In-Lieu is marked as an initial priority. Also, Mr. Westhafer asked Mr. Comitta to research Viewshed Protection, so the PC can get a fast start on this goal. Mr. Comitta believed this would require tweaking the Ordinance. Mr. Comitta handed out a map entitled Open Space & Recreational Resources; last updated May 20, 2013. Mr. Westhafer suggested getting a more defined impact area by using property lines of visually attractive properties.

Mr. Kuhn asked how to visually protect the viewsheds. Mr. Comitta suggested:

  1. Increased set backs
  2. Building height limitations
  3. The control of color and materials
  4. Tree replacement and protecting vulnerable woodlands.

Conditional Use Standards and Criteria

Mr. Comitta and Mr. Bender completed a review and analysis of the Zoning Ordinance for distribution to the Members. Mr. Bender will be at the next PC Meeting to take comments. The Planning Commission is trying to identify which Conditional Uses should be deleted, and which need to have more explicit standards and criteria. TND districts do not need review.

Primary points:
  1. Lack of standards and criteria in the Ordinance
  2. The Zoning Ordinance currently has Uses which do not conform to the Township vision, residing in inappropriate zoning areas. These Uses could be pulled from those areas, and placed in a catch-all area (k), or still reside in other appropriate areas.

    Example: Educational Uses. There are many of these institutions throughout the Township, but with approved changes, new or additional educational buildings will be allowed only in a certain area(s).
  3. Incorporate objective criteria
  4. There will be a lack of control regarding Use, unless objective criteria are added to the Ordinance. Criteria for a Use cannot be broad, because it reduces the ability to impose restrictions. Objective criteria will also reduce court challenges. Additionally, moving Uses to other appropriate areas is legally sound, since each Use has a fair representation within the Township.

  5. Consideration of a FR-1 and FR-2 District
  6. From prior mapping, all vulnerable Township land features have surfaced. The Township has a precise boundary around natural districts which are now labeled as Low Impact. However, Adaptive Reuse is currently allowed in any zone. Establishing these two districts could allow a Use in the FR-2 district, while maintaining the status of the Low Impact in FR-1.

    Mr. Kuhn asked about “spot zoning”. Mr. Comitta’s vision was for 10-20 years in the future. As an example, he asked Members to consider a situation where placing a less impactful Use bound by tonight’s suggestions, for an NC district, into an FR-2.

Closing Comments:

Regarding the actual editing of the Zoning Ordinance, Mr. Comitta reviewed the following pages:

Open Space

Mr. Motel invited Mr. Kuhn to discuss the Board’s strategy on conserving open space in Charlestown Township. He provided some background and details on the appraisal and acquisition process. Mrs. Csete distributed a map prepared by Thomas Comitta Associates last revised May 20, 2013 entitled Open Space & Recreational Resources and discussion followed. The goal is to ease and protect as many properties of 10 acres and above as possible.

Summarize Action Items

  1. Mrs. Leland wanted to set a date for the joint meeting, Mr. Kuhn was not able to at this time. The parties are considering May, with approval from Mr. Thompson, and after some projects have closed.
  2. Mr. Motel will visit the Board of Supervisors Meeting in April.
  3. Mr. Wright will look into the Ordinance and road vacate procedure (Longview Road) for the Boyle project.
  4. Mr. Comitta is working on the new Sketch Plan Process
  5. Mr. Comitta is working on Take-Away Prioritizing.
  6. Mrs. Leland and Mr. Comitta will review the Comprehensive Plan for grants etc.
  7. Mr. Comitta is to research viewshed protection, since it is an initial goal of the PC.


Mr. Westhafer adjourned the meeting at 10:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner,
Recording Secretary
sheet, 3/10/2015