Planning Commission: Bill Westhafer, Chairman, Andre von Hoyer, Vice Chairman, Michael Allen, Wendy Leland, Andy Motel, Michael Richter, and Michael Churchill.
Consultants: Dan Wright, P.E. and Thomas Comitta (arriving at 8 p.m.)
Staff: Linda M. Csete, Township Manager and Lisa Gardner, Recording Secretary
Public: See attached list

Call to Order:

7:30 p.m.


Mr. Churchill announced that the Devault Rails to Trails project was being promoted by Mr. Robert Thomas to the County and neighboring municipalities, and was receiving an increased amount of recognition by Chester County. Meetings continue with Norfolk Southern and trail committee members, so Mr. Churchill will keep Planning Commission Members updated.

Approval of Minutes

November 15, 2016 Minutes

Mrs. Leland moved to approve the minutes of November 15, 2016 and Mr. Richter seconded. Mr. Westhafer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Sketch Plans

Paul Matsiras – Informal Sketch Plan

Mr. David Shula of Chester Valley Engineers presented an informal sketch plan for Mr. Paul Matsiras. The proposal combines two parcels (#35-3-85 and #35-3-86) into one parcel for the construction of a single story family home, between 3000-4000 square feet.

The Turnpike is to the rear of the property, and on both sides, the property is owned by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. The two parcels are in the FR Zoning District and both are nonconforming with respect to net lot area. The gross lot area of both parcels combined is less than 80,000 square feet.

The house would be in steep slopes and the driveway would be in very steep slope, both issues requiring a Conditional Use Approval. The property would meet setback and other zoning requirements, so no variances would be needed since each lot permits a single family house as a legal nonconforming use as relates to lot size. Mr. Motel suggested they take the sketch plan to the Board for their opinion prior to submitting a preliminary plan and conditional use application.

Other discussion points:

White Horse Partners LLC

Mr. Michael McShane and Mr. Matt Bush, P.E. of JMR Engineering, were present to discuss a proposed 2 lot subdivision at 4087 Whitehorse Road. There is already a home on the 4 acres (parcel #35-4-73). They were looking for a recommendation for a variance, since the net lot area calculations would fall short of the 80,000 square foot requirement. They do not claim a hardship; however they feel the absence of impact to neighbors should provide the basis for the variance approval.

Mr. Wright stated that the lot calculations for both lots are outside of the right of way. However, they are not able to meet the net lot area requirement, nor is there a hardship. Mr. Bush was advised to research the sight distance on the state road, and the separation requirement between the two driveways. A flag lot supplies another driveway but it would not be shared. They would however be close together per Mr. Allen. Mr. Churchill suggested purchasing additional land from the side neighbor so a variance would be unneeded.

They were looking for feedback or a positive recommendation for the Variance but Mr. Motel said they simply can’t make the square footage numbers, and a hardship could not be proven. He would be unable to support the application, and other members were in agreement.


Devault Village at Spring Oak

Mr. Allen requested Members email comments on a document dated December 8, 2016 in which he lists items to be considered prior to final approval of the subdivision plan. He will bring these comments to a meeting with other PC Members and Mr. John Mostoller, in the beginning of the year. Mr. Wright will prepare a sample chart for the January meeting to track amount of impervious coverage permitted and the amount used. Then the Commission will attempt to establish a maximum allowable building area.

Also discussed:

Renewable Energy Ordinance

Mr. Comitta distributed the latest draft dated December 13, 2016, of the Renewable Energy Ordinance and discussed the changes made in red. Mr. Connelly then discussed:

TND District, Area 4

Mr. Wright stated developers intend on filling in the quarry to create usable land. TND uses were discussed, plus truck access to the site and types of fill to be used.

Mr. Thompson will be researching the site and any prior agreements, etc.

Parking Ordinance

Mr. Wright will be emailing his latest document regarding the Parking Ordinance and will collect comments for the January Planning Commission meeting.

Candidate for Position on Historical & Architectural Review Board

Mrs. Leland announced that the HARB requested a candidate from the Planning Commission, to volunteer to serve on the Historical & Architectural Review Board. This requirement is stated in the ordinance. Although there are only 4-6 meetings a year, there were no other Planning Commission Members able to meet at 4 p.m.

Mr. Motel moved to recommend Mrs. Leland as the Planning Commission Member to be appointed to the Historical & Architectural Review Board and Mr. Churchill seconded. Mr. Westhafer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor. Mr. Westhafer thanked Mrs. Leland for all her service to the Township.

Candidate for Position on Chester County Planning Commission’s Phoenixville Region Multi-Modal Transportation Plan Committee

Mrs. Csete said the County Planning Commission is looking for two representatives for the Phoenixville Region Multi-Modal Transportation Plan Committee that will begin meeting in 2017. There will be approximately 5 meetings starting in January, but the dates and times are yet to be determined. Residents Mr. Findlay and Mr. Connolly from the audience volunteered.

Action Items

  1. Comments should be sent to Mr. Allen regarding Devault Village at Spring Oak.
  2. Mr. Comitta will return in January with the final draft of the Renewable Energy Ordinance.
  3. Members are to review the Parking Ordinance document for January.


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

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner
Recording Secretary