Planning Commission:
Bill Westhafer, Chairman, Michael Allen, Michael Churchill, and Andy Motel. Wendy Leland arrived at 7:40, and Michael Richter and Andre von Hoyer were absent. Mr. Churchill left at 9:05 p.m.
Daniel Wright, Daniel Mallach, and Thomas Comitta (arrived at 8:30 p.m.)
Linda Csete and Lisa Gardner

Call to Order:

7:34 p.m.


Mrs. Leland reminded Members to vote for judges and school board members on Election Day, November 7th.

Approval of Minutes

September 12, 2017 Minutes

Mr. Westhafer moved to approve the minutes of Sept. 12, 2017 as modified, and Mr. Churchill seconded. Mr. Westhafer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Sketch Plans

Dickson Property at 4190 State Road

Mr. Jack Robinson, consultant for Mr. Roland Dickson, came before Members to obtain their comments on a subdivision sketch plan. The property at 4190 State Road, a.k.a. Route 29, is across from Dickson Drive. In total, it proposes 4 lots from a tract size of 12.65 acres. Four lots were suggested, one smaller parcel not sub-dividable, and another parcel with three building lots. Mr. Robinson asked the PC to consider the slope relief needed to proceed with this project.

There is a railroad track parallel to Route 29 he said he would cross once for the driveway for the stand alone lot, and then a second opening would be for the shared driveway of the other three lots. Charlestown Township’s Zoning Ordinance allows for a 3 home maximum for shared driveways. A driveway supporting four homes would require building the road to township standards and additional conditional use approval for steep slopes, which he stated he wanted to avoid because he already needs conditional use for slope relief on lot 2, and the stand alone lot.

Mr. Robinson further described accesses, slopes, setbacks, driveway lengths, septic systems, and a conversation with Norfolk Southern Railroad about the crossings. The Members asked Mr. Dickson if he had any dialogue with representatives from the quarry. He has not, although it is approximately 400 feet away.

He plans on accessing the three lots with a driveway directly across from Dickson Lane, organizing the intersection. However, Members thought two crossings/driveways may not, in this instance, make the most sense, and urged him to consider just one driveway crossing. Mr. Mallach suggested a thorough visit after vegetation dies down for Members and the owner.

Final suggestions to the applicant from Township consultants and Members included:

Update on Devault Village at Spring Oak

  1. Mr. Allen met with Mr. Mostoller today regarding the design manual.
  2. Mr. Allen said that the codification has been completed. A “marked up” version of the design manual, highlighting any differences from the template, should be in his possession by the middle of next week.
  3. Mr. Allen will make sure the manual is distributed. The Design Review Committee will review it for at least a week.
  4. This review is not to challenge the document but primarily meant to perform housekeeping edits.
  5. On November 6th the manual will be presented to the Board, it will not be presented at final approval.

2018 Budget

Mrs. Csete asked if the Planning Commission had any comments or suggestions related to the preparation of the 2018 Budget. Mr. Westhafer thought there could be legal fees associated with the review of conditional use procedures, and for changes to the Jenkins property (to make it more attractive to buyers). The portion of the Volpi property retained by the Township was mentioned as far as future development for playing fields or other public use. Nothing is planned at this time for 2018. Mrs. Csete will receive emailed comments until about October 20th.

Wireless Communications Ordinance

Mr. Wright provided details on the proposed Wireless Communications Ordinance scheduled for a hearing before the Board of Supervisors on November 6th. Mr. Wright distributed pictures and a map of the proposed placement of the towers. Although the tower company, Crown Castle, only plans on four towers, the Township wants to control placement (preventing haphazard placement), control the amount of towers, and in what district. The draft ordinance, by Mr. Thompson, in one section defines, allows, and isolates the towers to the I/O district. The draft does not permit towers in the FR or other residential areas, and all towers would go through a standard building permit process.

Mr. Wright said studies have shown there is no adverse impact due to these utility towers. PSATS has recommended townships control them, and many other townships are now adopting ordinances to regulate placement, etc. Mr. Thompson developed this draft ordinance from researching what other townships are adopting. The towers provide very minimal revenue to municipalities.

Members discussed approving the draft with added controls for quantity, or further placement controls such as distance between towers. However, Members also realize that residents may enjoy better cell phone coverage with these towers. The towers are planned along major thoroughfares within the right of ways. Two towers are proposed on a state owned road, and one on a Township road. A fourth was proposed on a private road. Members decided to recommend allowing them outside the I/O district, on a case by case Board of Supervisors approval.

Mr. Churchill moved to recommend the adoption of the Wireless Communications Ordinance urging the Board to (1) consider the provision in residential areas in a case by case approval, (2) with horizontal controls in the I/O district, (3) an adjustment to the screening wording according to Thomas Comitta Associates, Inc., and (4) with housekeeping edits. Mr. Motel seconded. Mr. Westhafer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Review Conditional Use Procedures

The Planning Commission began a discussion on what changes are needed to the conditional use section of the Zoning Ordinance. Mr. Comitta discussed two handouts, one dated March 9th, 2015 and one dated October 5, 2017. In March of 2015 the Planning Commission reviewed and edited the general standards and criteria for the section in great detail. In October of 2017 Mr. Comitta revisits the subject with further considerations and discusses actions of other municipalities.

Members decided to review the documents for the next meeting and then have Mr. Thompson draft an amendment to the Zoning Ordinance with the first set of changes. Then, the Members will fine tune the new version of the Ordinance, using closer scrutiny. Mrs. Csete is to research any actions taken, especially regarding Adaptive Uses and distribute via email.

Other Business

Mr. Allen went on a tour of the Spring Oak Community Center that was developed in the historic barn on the site. Discussion followed about the clubhouse, trail, and fencing.

Mr. Wright told Members that the Brightside Farm Trail paving was set for October 23rd. The trail was going to be 8 feet wide, and he had walked it recently. The grading is especially nice.

Mr. Allen reminded Members, that when considering lighting placement in the future, a set of three is usually more appealing to the eye than two as is the case in the turnpike tunnel over Morehall Road.

Administrative Note

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

Action Items


There being no further business, Mr. Westhafer adjourned the meeting at 9:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner
Recording Secretary