TUESDAY, JULY 14, 2015


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

Consultants: Thomas Comitta

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

Public: See Attached List

Call to Order:

7:40 p.m.


Mrs. Csete stated the Township purchased the Auchincloss property consisting of 58 acres on Hollow Road, on June 30, 2015.

Approval of Minutes

June 9, 2015 Minutes

Mr. Churchill moved to approve the minutes of July 9, 2015 and Mr. von Hoyer seconded. Mr. Westhafer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

General Planning Items

Design Review Committee Item—Devault Village at Spring Oak

Mr. Jason Engelhardt of Langan Engineers presented an updated (July 10, 2015) color rendered site plan that incorporates the McIntyre and Fillippo parcels into the project and allows for reconfiguration of the open space. He gave Members a handout portraying the center green and Exhibits A and B, for three discussion topics.

  1. The Fillippo lot that will be used as active open space and borders Rees Road. This lot is wooded and sloping. At first it was discussed at a DRC meeting as a park, with the lot being cleared and including a possible dog area and benches or picnic tables, with a future Horseshoe Trail connector. But, the DRC felt as though the area was too remote to be a good gathering spot. Tonight Members suggested making sure the Trails Committee wanted the connection, and then extending the trail to the lot, but leaving it wooded as a buffer. Mr. Engelhardt said he could also take the trail along the construction route if Members decide to do this later.
  2. The revised open space parcel at the center right: Exhibit B in the handout provided a revised rendering of the civic gathering area required by the Township. It is .6 of an acre, and will be graded to a 5-6% slope, with a lower “bowl” shape at the bottom part toward the overlook. Mr. Englehardt said the center plantings will be larger to provide shade for the café area, with hard or paved surfaces and sidewalks. Mr. von Hoyer felt this area would become a dog walk spot regardless of tables and chairs in the zone. This area is currently treeless, and could be lighted if the Township desires. The slope prevents this from being an area where there could be a soccer field (for example), but Mr. Westhafer liked the openness of the prior version, with one larger space. Mr. Englehardt thought he may be able to move the trellis north to reincorporate this idea.
  3. The location of the twins on the curve: Picnic tables originally planned for the first area were moved here. Members discussed driveway lengths, visibility around the curve, and garden walls for visual separation purposes. They were most concerned with the perimeter wall. Currently portrayed as post and rail, they told Mr. Engelhardt that would not be adequate. Mr. Engelhardt reminded Members that they had not gotten that far yet in the details; it was just a preliminary drawing.

The Next Step: Mr. Englehardt said the project will be surveyed, and then they will formally redesign the Plan, with the newest suggestions, and prepare the revised preliminary plan submission for the September Meeting.

Design Review Committee Item-Pickering Crossing

The main entrance had a significant change due to an additional steep slope not foreseen by the builder. Mr. Comitta explained how grading and 3 retaining walls had changed to 4 walls for the plaza area. Mr. Churchill suggested removing some of the planting to increase the new smaller size of the plaza. Mr. Comitta said the benched area did not have a high potential for use, since it was not near the homes. Many boulders are being placed nearby, Mr. Westhafer and Mr. Churchill wanted to keep plantings to soften the hard landscaped area further.

Also discussed were sitting walls, sounds, odors, and the visibility of the asphalt plant. Mr. Comitta said the builder reoriented the sitting area near the Mail Box building so that the view was of the neighborhood, not the factory. Berm plantings that screen and soften the boulder walls were being added.

Recommendation on the Zoning Ordinance Amendment to the Traditional Neighborhood Development — Special Design Standards for Garages and In-Law Suites

Mr. Westhafer said the Planning Commission reviewed the ordinance amendment at the June Meeting and was satisfied with it, after making minor adjustments suggested by Mr. Allen. Mr. Churchill moved to recommend the Zoning Ordinance Amendment to the Traditional Neighborhood Development zoning district, adding special design standards for garages and in-law suites. Mr. Motel seconded. Mr. Westhafer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Revisit Recreation Plan to confirm that all proposed park and open space improvement projects are now included.

Mr. Comitta circulated the resolution adopted by the Board of Supervisors on July 6th that revises the Recreation Plan to include additional park and open space projects, as previously recommended by the Planning Commission. For tonight, Mr. Comitta reviewed more improvements suggested in June.

  1. Brightside Farm building, trail, stormwater, and parking improvements at about $580,000
  2. Volpi tract recreational improvements at about $575,000

Mr. Churchill suggested financial consideration for the Rails-To-Trails project. Other items had no concept plan yet, such as Volpi (a ballfield, parking and two pavilions), possible connections to Yellow Springs Road, a sidewalk or multi-use path along Phoenixville Pike connecting the Oaks, local schools and the Volpi Tract to the Devault TND. Discussion included observations that certain sections of Phoenixville Pike could easily accommodate such a connection whereas other area may be more challenging. Mr. Comitta suggested these were certainly more future oriented and could be added to the next revision of the Fee-In-Lieu.

Review Draft Vision Partnership Grant Application for Comprehensive Plan Update

Mr. Comitta circulated two documents, excerpts of the PA MPC, Article III (emphasis on Section 301), and a draft of the technical Proposal for Planning Services: Charlestown Township Comprehensive Plan 2016, dated July 14, 2016.

He asked for Members to review the documents, especially pages 14 and 15, for a 2016 work program. He and Mrs. Leland have already discussed adding a section on energy conservation and again updating the existing Comp Plan’s plan for future housing.

Next Step: Members are to provide comments by July 24, 2015.

Next Step: Mr. Comitta will begin the process of incorporating into Charlestown’s Plan suggestions taken from proactive neighboring townships’ plans.

Next Step: Submitting the application by the deadline of September 9, 2015. The Township can be awarded up to $50,000 under the Chester County Vision Partnership Program. The total contract amount cannot exceed $75,000; therefore the Township’s contribution would need to be $25,000.

Amendment to Subdivision & Land Development Ordinance - Sketch Plan Requirements

The Planning Commission continued previous discussions on what sketch plan requirements should be added to the Subdivision & Land Development Ordinance. Members discussed having a site scout, stormwater complications, an abbreviated version for smaller projects, residential vs. commercial versions, etc. Mr. Comitta will continue his research among other municipalities.

Other Items

Mrs. Csete said one bid had been received for the basin beautification project in Devault as of the end of business today, the deadline being July 15, 2016 at 3 p.m.

The August Meeting for the Planning Commission may be canceled if no applications are received by July 21st.


There being no further business, Mr. Westhafer adjourned the meeting at 9:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner,
Recording Secretary