Planning Commission:
Michael Allen, Michael Churchill, Andy Motel, Michael Richter, Andre von Hoyer, and Bill Westhafer. Wendy Leland was absent.
Thomas Comitta and Daniel T. Wright
Linda Csete, Township Manager

Call to Order:

7:30 p.m.


Mr. Motel nominated Mr. Westhafer for Chairman of the Planning Commission for 2017. Mr. Richter seconded. Mr. Westhafer moved to close the nominations and Mr. Churchill seconded. Mr. Westhafer called the vote and all were in favor.

Mr. Westhafer called for nominations for the position of Vice Chairman of the Planning Commission for 2017. Mr. Motel nominated Mr. von Hoyer for Vice Chairman and Mr. Richter seconded. There being none further, Mr. Westhafer closed the nominations. Mr. Westhafer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.

The 2017 Planning Commission meetings were set for the second Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. The fourth Tuesday will be held in reserve and scheduled as needed. Meetings will be held at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154 with the exception of the February 14th meeting, to be held in the Library.

Approval of Minutes

December 13, 2016 Minutes

Mr. Motel moved to approve the minutes of December 13, 2016 and Mr. Allen seconded. Mr. Westhafer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

General Planning Items

Devault Village at Spring Oak

The Planning Commission discussed the draft list of items to be considered prior to final approval of the subdivision plan. Mr. Allen plans to compile tonight’s responses to these open issues, contact the applicant with resolution points, and then the Township should receive an update from the applicant at a future monthly meeting. The applicant will need to meet with the DRC, comply with suggested DRC revisions, and then they will bring a complete set of documents to the Board of Supervisors. The last time the PC met with this applicant was approximately six months ago.

Comments regarding Stormwater

#1 & #2 Mr. Wright explained the attempt to build into the Plan, reasonable excess impervious square footage for supplements such as additional driveway (in most cases), sidewalks, and porches, etc. He distributed Lot Impervious Table that is to be combined with what the applicant already has provided. In this way, each lot will be listed with the percent of impervious coverage, and also with the maximum ten percent added in area (for stormwater compliance). This will provided each prospective buyer with simple yet specific information for the ability to add on to each particular property in regards to percent of coverage (and zoning ordinance consideration). This ten percent may be added on at the point of sale or as a later improvement to the property, but will not be transferrable to another lot. Members discussed how to word this on the Plan. Mr. Wright stated that since he is reviewing lot descriptions, he could also put this information on the deeds. Lastly, Mr. Wright reminded the Commission that there is also a favorable buffer percentage above and beyond the ten percent.
#3 Mr. Thompson will be asked to review a statement for the Design Manual and Engineering Document about the 75% maximum impervious coverage.

Comments regarding Other

#1 It was agreed that there shall be no sewer or storm water manholes on any public open space area.
#2 It was agreed that all areas designated for use as active open space shall have a maximum slope of two percent. Mr. Comitta suggested clarification for undefined areas.
#3 It was agreed that all roads, alleys and utilities are to be constructed as part of Phase 1.

Comments regarding Design Manual

#1 It was agreed that the Engineering Documents shall depict all desired features regarding dwelling location, stormwater assignments, house type/style, garage locations and if attached or detached, etc.
#2 & #3 It was agreed that 2-car garages may be placed under a home but only on those specific lots designated on the approved Engineering Documents. No 3-car garages are permitted.
#4 It was agreed to allow up to 3 In-law-suites over garages. This is ten percent of the total number of single homes.
#5 It was agreed 2-car garages may be attached or detached as shown on the approved Engineering Documents and as shown in the Design Manual (modified to show this feature).
#6 It was agreed 2-story detached garages are permitted only on single family and twin homes as shown on the approved Engineering Documents.
#7 It was agreed that only 10 two-story detached garages are permitted.
#8 Mr. Wright is to research specifics regarding whether an interior hose bib requires a drain in a garage floor. A hose bib is permitted on the exterior of any garage.
#9 It was agreed that the rear faof houses overlooking the valley that are exposed to public view shall have special aesthetic treatment. Per TCA, the desired lot numbers should be listed and memorialized as a graphic exhibit attached to the Resolution.
#10 It was agreed that there shall be no more than two units in a row having under unit garages. The unit to either side shall have either an attached or detached garage.
#11 & #12 Mr. Allen will re-word this statement about exact home type and style, and living space, to make the applicant exactly define what type of home is going onto each property, its size, what type of garage, etc.
#13 Per Mr. Wright it has already been established that roads to be dedicated to the Township shall be noted on the Engineering Documents.
#14 Child safety improvements near the slip ramp area/overlook are to be scrutinized per Tom Comitta.
#15 Further definition of “there shall be no additional paving added to driveway for any reason” needs to be conveyed to the buyer in respect to #1 in Stormwater Management

Mr. Allen will be integrating and re-wording the entire document including the bulletins not discussed. The applicant agreed to incorporate all current Spring Oak Bulletins into the Engineering Documents and Design Manual as appropriate at a prior meeting.

Comments regarding HOA

#1 & #2 The phrase (and the location, and its placement) The HOA document shall clearly state all of the existing environmental nuisance elements, including but not limited to: Pennsylvania Turnpike, Devault Foods, the Transcontinental pipeline, the asphalt plant, and the quarry.” is a high priority for the Charlestown Township Planning Commission. It is to be reviewed by Mr. Thompson, re-reviewed by the PC, then bolded and placed in a highly visible (within the first three pages) buyer and/or HOA document(s). Mr. Motel, advocating this, was told that Mr. Thompson has a draft of this in his possession for review written by Mr. Comitta.

Parking Ordinance

Mr. Wright presented data distributed at the December meeting. In comparison to commercial establishments in other townships, Charlestown Township’s parking percentage is low. Tonight’s main concern was the usage category of Restaurants. This is due to a PJ Whelihan’s coming soon, adjacent to the Marriott Residence Inn on General Warren Boulevard.

Mr. Wright discussed the current formula (spaces being designated by the restaurant’s square footage). But, that does not take into consideration the intensity of the purpose of the use. For example there are some very small restaurants, some with standing bars, and some that draw a very large crowd. Therefore the intensity changes the number of spaces needed depending on the type of restaurant.

Mr. Wright suggested increasing some of the figures for parking at restaurants. Using his framework to adjust percentages, Charlestown only needs to change the restaurant figure from 5 spots per 1000 (gross floor area in square feet), to 9 spots. Mr. Richter suggested the Township also define the different types of restaurants. Mr. Wright will return with a revised draft, with the new figures and definitions of the different types of restaurants allowed in the Township.

Members feel that parking will be a problem at PJ Whelihan’s since the hotel and the new restaurant have peak hours that coincide. Although the hotel estimates needing 1.2 spots per room, PJ Whelihan’s has been known to draw a large crowd. The applicant has discussed his parking plan options with the PC since the site has limited opportunity to park.

Alternative Energy Ordinance

Mr. Comitta told Members that a member of the Board of Supervisors may have a comment on the ordinance. A hearing may be scheduled on the April Board of Supervisors agenda.

Schedule Annual Strategic Planning Session

The Annual Strategic Planning Session, held jointly with the Board of Supervisors, has been scheduled for March 4th at 8:30 a.m. at the Marriott at 10 General Warren Blvd.

Action Items

  1. Mr. Motel is to advocate the high priority of the HOA existing environmental nuisance elements.

Administrative Note

Any documents referred to in the minutes are available to the public upon request to the Township office.


There being no further business, Mr. Westhafer adjourned the meeting at 9:22 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner
Recording Secretary