Mrs. Csete announced that due to the absence of two Planning Commission members, Mr. Richter assigned voting status to Mr. Walker for the review of the waiver request
Mr. Churchill moved to approve the minutes of April 9, 2019, and Mr. Walker seconded. Mr. Richter called for discussion, and there being none, called for a vote. All were in favor.
Ms. Laurie Ann Lee and Mr. Nick Vastardis, P.E. were present to request a recommendation for a waiver from the Stormwater Management Ordinance to permit the construction of an above-ground stormwater basin at 4 Whisper Lane. They are hoping for a recommendation for approval at the June Board of Supervisors meeting. Mr. Vastardis addressed comments on the consultants’ review letters as will comply. Other points discussed:
Mr. Richter moved to recommend the waiver from the Stormwater Management Ordinance and recommend approval to the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Churchill seconded. Mr. Richter called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Thomas Lull of Diament Building Corporation was present to request a recommendation for a waiver from the Stormwater Management Ordinance to permit the construction of an above-ground stormwater basin at 2100 Foster Road. Mr. Munro, of Munro Ecological Services Inc., distributed a drawing of the pond. It will be filled with a well, operating a sensor pump when the level drops. If it is cheaper to pipe water in from a different well, that will be used, whichever is cheaper.
This will not impact any neighbors.
The topsoil will be used around the perimeter.
Estimated size is 100” x 200” with the deepest zone being 8’.
There will be a 30mil vinyl liner with soil on top.
There is an easement on the Feiner property from the French and Pickering Trust. It gives the owner the right to build ponds equal to or less than 2,000 square feet and also confers upon the Trust and the Township approval of ponds larger such as Feiner’s. The Trust has issued a letter in favor of pending approval.
Mr. Churchill moved to recommend a waiver from the Stormwater Management Ordinance to permit the Feiners to build an above the ground stormwater basin/pond larger than 2,000 square feet. Mr. Richter seconded. Mr. Richter called for further discussion and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.
Mrs. Csete referred to the 4/11/19 request by West Whiteland Township for a review of their Township Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan as required by the PA MPC.
After viewing the proposed Bicycle and Pedestrian Connections Map, the Planning Commission had no comments to relate to West Whiteland Township.
Mr. Motel distributed a copy of Sen. Killion backs passage of ‘Farming First’ bills to Members. Members discussed loose definitions and the resulting unintended consequences for bills 583 and 453.
Discussion about municipal control vs. the bills that try to ease restrictions on the use of farmland for farm-related tourism and entertainment activities. The senators want to set “commonsense safety standards and remove costly requirements for barn weddings and other social events of farms.” The new term, Agritourism Activity could mean converting properties in Charlestown Township’s FR district into commercial operations.
Also, the impact of labeling a “historical agricultural building” as a building initially constructed before January 1, 1999, as an agricultural building, etc. was further discussed. The term “Farm” itself is very loosely defined per Members and opens up many concerns.
Mr. Motel wondered about the impact of writing a letter to inform senators of the damage that could take place for counties that are unlike the more rural counties where the bills originated. These bills, in parts of Pennsylvania, are welcomed, but in other counties, they could frustrate the control of local municipalities. Mr. Churchill and Mr. Richter discussed taking an official PC stance, but Mr. Churchill also suggested informing residents and encouraging them to write their representatives to oppose the bills at a state level.
The Planning Commission officially encourages Charlestown Township to adopt a resolution to not limit the ability of local municipalities, as it is not in the best interest of residents of this Township, to control zoning, and we encourage residents to contact their state legislators regarding the adverse impact of Bills 453 and 583.
Ms. Leland announced the 2019 Celebration of Sarah Peck, a local planner that was recognized by Chester County for her accomplishments and a former Charlestown Planning Commissioner.
Mr. Comitta discussed his review comments in a memorandum dated 5/8/19 on the Phoenixville Regional Comprehensive Plan draft report as follows:
Mr. Theurkauf will take Ms. Leland’s and Mr. Comitta’s comments to the PRPC. There is no need to update the Township’s Comprehensive Plan since the Regional Plan will be adopted in its place. The Township looks to the Regional Plan for immunization but will not be giving up municipal control by doing so. After the Regional document is passed, Ms. Leland questioned Mr. Comitta about the Charlestown comments. Mr. Comitta explained that if there is anything that doesn’t match the Regional Comprehensive Plan the Township Board can use the Township’s original 2001 Comprehensive Plan and its updates by including certain language in the adoption resolution. When the Board of Supervisors composes the Resolution for the Adoption of the PRCP, Mr. Comitta explained it would be appropriate to add words to indicate that “...in addition to the PRCP, Charlestown Township will consider the 2-4-13 PROSTP, the 7-7-14 Act 209 Plan, and those portions of the 12-3-01 CP that are not superseded by the PRCP, as the Charlestown Township Comprehensive Plan”.
Mr. Comitta referred to his chart dated May 14, 2019, called Zoning Ordinance Amendments. It listed probable and possible Conditional Uses to be considered for one or more zoning districts. He explained that it was primarily a list of deleted and added Uses. Short Term Lodging not being in the R-1 box was discussed since it is easily absorbed.
He also referred to a page entitled Chapter 27 Zoning Revisions (revised 5/14/19). The word “morals” will be removed from item D.
Next, he discussed the third handout entitled Conditional Use Standards and Criteria with Members. The definition of Transient Visitor was discussed and a change to the wording on Page 4 #6 should read 27-407.
FR District Short Term Lodging was discussed at length. The goal was to be able to police or enforce a no party house or prevent a change in the environment of a location due to rentals.
Transient Visitor discussion points:
R-1 District Group Homes discussion was led by Ms. Leland and Mr. Richter:
Add dormitory as an excluded Use in Group Home.
At the end of the discussion, several options were given by Mr. Comitta.
Members chose for Mr. Comitta to contact Mr. Thompson and request his presence at the next PC Meeting for Transient/Short Term Lodging. The Board will hear the rest of the changes and Mr. Kuhn will communicate with other Board Members about the trouble spots. Members will receive comments via email and try to have this on the next agenda. A recommendation will be made once all elements are in place.
The Planning Commission tabled the discussion regarding proposed amendments to the Noise Ordinance.
Any documents referred to in the minutes are available to the public upon request to the Township office.
There being no further business, Mr. Richter adjourned the meeting at 9:45 p.m.