Planning Commission:
Andre von Hoyer, Vice Chairman, Michael Allen, Michael Churchill, Wendy Leland, and Andy Motel. Michael Richter and Bill Westhafer were absent.
Daniel Wright, and Thomas Comitta
Lisa Gardner and Linda Csete

Call to Order:

7:35 p.m.


Mr. Motel thought it positive to receive a response to Charlestown’s crosswalk request from East Whiteland Township. Even though they cited safety concerns as a reason to decline the current request, they expressed an interest in working together on Route 29 corridor issues in the future.

Mr. Churchill stated that since the last meeting, Adelphia Pipeine, the new owner of a 40+ year old oil pipeline in the Township, submitted an application to change it to a pressurized gas pipeline. Today was the last day for comments. Since it impacts Charlestown Township, Mrs. Csete stated that the Township filed to take intervener status.

Mrs. Csete stated that there were handouts tonight: the winter newsletter, Earth Day flyer, Annual Report, and a flyer regarding an open house for the Phoenixville Regional Multimodal Transportation Plan.

Mrs. Leland stated that a draft of the 2017 Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee Report was available along with a map of the streams they recently named. The streams were named after diligent historical research.

Mrs. Leland and Mrs. Csete attended a meeting called by the Great Valley School District to discuss planning items related to new residents in East Whiteland and Charlestown Township. Due to Atwater being only 20% built yet already creating 70 new students for the district, representatives were adamant that Charlestown Township will be affected by redistricted due to the climbing enrollment.

Mrs. Leland contacted the Grange with a proposal to use their facility as a Township voting center. They denied the request.

Mr. Wright was asked to clarify an action item from the last meeting. A map had portrayed an approximate 250 foot stretch of Bodine Road, from Foster Road to Seven Oaks Road, as a state road. He said this stretch was indeed a state road.

Mr. Wright said resolving the stormwater issues is on PennDOT’s “to do” list. He believes that a larger size stone would keep the bed from washing out.

Approval of Minutes

January 9, 2018 Minutes

Mrs. Leland moved to approve the minutes of January 9, 2018, and Mr. Motel seconded. Mr. von Hoyer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Sketch Plan

Thompson Sketch Plan

Mr. Ben Thompson displayed the Thompson Sketch Plan explaining that he would like to make lot line changes to the Plan. The change reflects the desire to preserve the Pickering Valley Golf Club and lower the impact on the environment. Once he has PC conceptual agreement, his next step will be to get an engineered set of plans. 23 lots are permitted straddling Charlestown and Schuylkill Townships. The original Plan stalled before obtaining Board final approval.

Mr. Thompson referred to the Advanced GeoServices review letter dated 2/7/18:

#1 Mr. Wright will support a waiver for a cul-de-sac pull off or something of this manner.
#2 Will comply to revise an intersection to a 90-degree intersection.
#3 The lot line between lot 7 and 12 is not along Township boundaries. However, Mr. Thompson stated that the lay of the land, emergency access, and stormwater management were more important dividing factors than a convenient township line for boundaries. Mr. Wright stated it is preferred to have a property not dissected by a township boundary, but not essential. The inconvenience would be for the taxpayer. Mr. Thompson said that he has 4 properties with 9 tax parcel numbers, but no building envelopes straddle a township line.
#4 The emergency access has already been proven.

Other points of discussion:

Mr. Churchill was concerned that the 3 large lots, one being the homestead, and the other two large farm home lots (50-60 acres each), would become inaccessible as Open Space unless placed under an easement. He suggested starting by contacting the North American Land Trust to protect them.

Mrs. Linda Huggler asked about the Thompson Trail. Mr. Thompson described how it goes along the road between the Filippo property back to Mine Road. All trails will be shown.

Mr. Thompson referred to items on the Thomas Comitta Associates review letter dated 2/6/18, although he just received it tonight. Mr. Comitta suggested a minor shift of the access way, away from the Filippo property. The private road is 5’ and the trail is 10’ and it is tight. A minor adjustment could make a big difference in consideration to the Filippo property.

Next, the applicant is to:

  1. Return with revised plans with trail progression.
  2. Return with a Filippo representative or letter, etc.
  3. Contact the NALT regarding protecting the 3 larger areas.
  4. Investigate the need for a Steep Slope Conditional Use.
  5. Get a revised environmental impact assessment.

J. Loew & Associates – Informal Sketch for Additional Parking at P.J. Whelihan’s

Mr. Tim Townes of J. Loew & Associates presented an informal sketch of proposed additional parking for the P.J. Whelihan’s in the Commons at 12 General Warren Blvd. He portrayed a site Plan dated January 18, 2018, where parking could be added cross street (in East Whiteland Township) and also to the south of the complex near tenant s1-4. The shuttle Mr. Townes thought would be an option, is no longer an option. P.J.’s now has their employees park in the USA Coil parking lot per an agreement with that company.

With this expensive option, he will need to relocate a rain garden and change a berm from 8’ high to 4’ high. This will create 34 spots surrounding the restaurant and provide 39 more across the street. Mrs. Leland thinks this Plan is dangerous since customers will be crossing the street. Mr. Comitta suggested layered parking (garage) or deck parking (one layer over the water garden). Members were concerned about seeing too many cars from Route 29. Lastly, Members suggested leveling the un-rented stores, but Mr. Townes thought that and all other options were too expensive.

Mr. Wright stated that the proposed change would not be an easy project. But, the largest part of the problem was that the impervious coverage was at a maximum. He will be in contact with Mr. Townes for engineering.

Next, Mr. Townes will prepare a site line sketch so the Members can see what increased parking would look like from the roadsides, with plantings and revised grading.

General Planning

Environmental Advisory Committee Formation

Ms. Carol Armstrong addressed the Planning Commissioners concerning discussion points for the formation of an EAC. She reiterated that the group would advise the Parks and Recreation Board, and PC, but only address the Board if requested.

Mrs. Csete is obtaining approval to share the resumes sent in from residents who would be interested in joining the EAC with Ms. Armstrong. Mr. Richard Findlay, and Mr. Pete Goodman, were also in attendance.

Proposal points and suggestions:

  1. Make the discussion points into something more succinct and mission oriented.
  2. Show how the communication will flow.
  3. Mr. Churchill suggested capitalizing on their talents and skills when addressing the Board.
  4. Meet to set up focus and outputs.
  5. Establish a monthly meeting schedule, with a 6 - 12 month trial period.
  6. Show how the estimated 10 (7 voting) members would develop action plans which identify priorities and action items for buildings, energy, invasive species, recycling, plastic bag management, stormwater management, and education. The PC is reactionary towards these issues.
  7. Discuss grant writing.
  8. Establish how the EAC will be beneficial to Charlestown Township.

Lastly, Mr. Allen suggested that the PC be present at the Board of Supervisors Meeting for the presentation of the newly refined list.

Review Conditional Use General Standards & Criteria

This item was tabled.

Other Business

There was none.

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. von Hoyer adjourned the meeting at 10:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner
Recording Secretary