Tuesday, October 8, 2019


Planning Commission:
Michael Richter, Vice Chairman, Andy Motel, Michael Churchill, Wendy Leland, Matt Rogers, Dan Walker, and Bill Westhafer. Andre von Hoyer, Chairman, was absent.
Daniel Wright, P.E., Dan Mallach
Linda Csete, Manager and Lisa Gardner, Recording Secretary
See attached list.

Call to Order:

7:30 p.m.


Mrs. Csete introduced Ms. Marie Stone, the new assistant secretary for the Township.

Mr. Richter appointed Mr. Walker as an official voting member for the evening.

Mrs. Leland attended a recent Great Valley School District Community Meeting. There will be three more meetings regarding the feasibility study of Great Valley School Districts’ current buildings and to make future recommendations for facilities. To register or find more information visit for the meeting dates of October 15, November 12, and December 9, 2019 (or call 610.889-2100).

Mrs. Leland attended a presentation with Mr. Theurkauf called Return on Environment hosted by the Chester County Planning Commission. A document will be distributed among Members with information about understanding the benefits of open space.

Mrs. Leland discussed a newspaper article about Sarah Peck, a former Planning Commission member, who was recognized for her part in establishing a pocket park in Downingtown.

Mr. Churchill questioned the procedure for voting since he was absent at the last meeting and Mr. Walker was able to vote in his place. Mrs. Csete will recirculate the information researched about the municipal procedure.

Approval of Minutes

September 10, 2019 Minutes

Mr. Motel moved to approve the minutes of September 10, 2019, and Ms. Leland seconded. Mr. Richter called for discussion, and there being none, called for a vote. All were in favor.

Plan Review

Bunten-Stewart – Lot Line Change, Union Hill Road

Mr. David Shula P.E., of Chester Valley Engineers, and Ms. Amy Bunten, owner of 2061 Union Hill Road, were present to review a minor subdivision plan proposing a lot line change for parcels zoned Farm Residential at 2045 (owned by Mrs. Gail Stewart, her mother) and hers next to it, at 2061 Union Hill Road.

Mr. Shula gave a summary of the 2-stage lot line change to decrease the mother’s lot to just over 10 acres so it still satisfies ACT319 Clean & Green guidelines. The daughter will obtain acreage in yearly phases, to help her ensure the continuation of being able to raise alpacas on her land, even if 2045 is sold. All plans were in order and Mr. Wright had no further items to discuss. The waiver requests are noted on the plan.

Mr. Motel moved to recommend approval of the Bunten Minor Subdivision Plan last revised September 17, 2019, in compliance with the review letter from Advanced GeoServices dated September 30, 2019. Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Richter called for discussion, and there being none, called for a vote. All were in favor.

George Meyer Preliminary Subdivision Plan

Mr. Nick Vastardis, P.E., and Mr. George Meyer were present to review a minor subdivision plan for 6 lots on 23.8 acres at 2227 Bodine Road. Mr. Meyer’s new plan is for a conventional lot development, for which he has received Conditional Use approval.

Mr. Vastardis referred to Mr. Wright’s review letter dated September 23, 2019, and commented on items listed:

#4 Waiver requested for Environmental Impact Assessment for sections K, L, M, and N.
#9 Waiver requested for an island or planting area within the bulb of cul de sac since only 4 homes would be impacted. The Members suggested Mr. Meyer visit some local examples of islands being used to slow traffic or increase the aesthetic value of neighborhoods. Mr. Mallach suggested a cluster of River Birch trees with ornamental grass (requires only one spring cut per year) around the trees as the bulb landscaping.
#12 Mr. Wright wants dimensions for the existing right-of-way.
#13 Mr. Vastardis requested a waiver for a 22’ not 24’ width road, since it will not be dedicated to the Township. The small HOA will be responsible for plowing, besides caring for the island.

The rest of Advanced GeoServices’ letter was deemed “will comply” by Mr. Meyer.

Mr. Vastardis referred to Mr. Comitta’s review letter dated October 1, 2019, and commented on items listed:

#1 3 Comments regarding screening were deemed “will comply” by Mr. Meyer. Mr. Mallach mentioned visually softening the Horseshoe Trail on the border of the development.
#4 9 Comments regarding trees, including street trees, tree removal, replacement, and protection, were deemed “will comply”. Mr. Vastardis thought the 3D image would not give a true reflection of the development and requested a waiver. But Members said the elevations and vertical site sections would be a great help to visualize what Mr. Meyers plans, and may help the Applicant screen more effectively. Mr. Mallach suggested a planting list per lot for buffering/screening, and to help the developer understand Township expectations. This would compensate for the 11 trees that are being replaced. Mr. Mallach stressed the need for year-round buffering vs. deciduous trees only.

Ms. Allyn Greeney, who resides opposite Mr. Meyer’s property, was very concerned about stormwater. Mr. Wright said that after this development is built, there will be less water on Bodine Road due to strict Township and County regulations. Mrs. Csete is emailing her a copy of Mr. Wright’s letter at her request.

Mr. Hornsey asked if the row of trees was staying along the road near the power line, wishing to to confirm they are not being removed. Most of the trees are staying, and Mr. Wright said that the roads are not being widened either (as a waiver to the SLDO) to reduce the removal of vegetation.

Ms. Leland asked Mr. Meyer if he considered shared driveways and Mr. Meyer said no. Detached garages were also briefly discussed. There was a discussion about changing the driveway width from 10’ to 9’ to help with stormwater management figures. Members discussed having 9’ wide 300 feet long driveways with pullover zones instead of driveways 10 feet wide the entire length.

Mr. Wright agreed with all waivers requested. Members suggested Mr. Meyer’s return next month with a revision that complies with the engineering (ex. water handling) and review comments discussed this evening for further review.

General Planning Items

Schedule Bus Tour of Township for Joint Meeting of Planning Commission and Supervisors

A bus tour was scheduled for Saturday, January 18, at 9 a.m. for Members of the Planning Commission and Supervisors, along with consultants Mr. Wright, Mr. Comitta, and Mr. Theurkauf, Township staff members, and any public interested. The snow date is January 25th.

Mrs. Csete will inform the Board of the date and advertise the meeting. The bus route will start at the Township Office, with an estimated length of 3-4 hours.

Swiss Pines-Full Circle Healing Center

Ms. Donna Kimmell introduced an idea to Members to see if she should proceed with the costly engineering involved in the initial stages of a large project. She distributed a packet called Swiss Pines-Full Circle Healing Center for sexually abused women to recover from trauma. She plans on taking over as trustee for the Bartschi Foundation/Swiss Pines and summarized goals below:

Short term goal–
to heal/transform humans and optimize biodiversity of the land near and including Swiss Pines.
Long term goal–
to make sure the land is protected in perpetuity with an endowment and plans for success.
Points of the proposal:
  1. It would not treat addictions.
  2. The average stay would be 28 days due to insurance and coverage reasons.
  3. Reopens gardens to the public.
  4. Mansion would support symposiums, training, and workshops, plus house guest healers, speakers, celebrities, or other overnight guests.
  5. The barn would include a dining area, treatment areas, and be off-limits to the general public.
  6. Swiss Lane housing would be for staff such as a nurse, chef, etc., as would the barn on Bird Lane.
  7. The farmhouse on Charlestown Road next to the Japanese Gardens would be offices.
  8. The barn at the Great Valley Nature Center would be for outpatient treatment.
  9. The Epstein property on the eastern part of Charlestown Road would be for equine therapy, regenerative farming, intern farming, etc.
  10. The only new structures would be an indoor riding ring and a greenhouse.
  11. The project will be zero carbon and zero waste.
  12. The properties mentioned (including the Naylor property) will be combined into one tax parcel in an irrevocable trust governed by a non-profit group that has not officially been formed.
  13. Ms. Kimmell is the visionary, she is currently interviewing for a medical director to run the facility.
  14. 300 people are estimated to be on the proposed grounds a day.
  15. Someone on the team will handle licensing, and governmental compliance.
  16. Ms. Kimmell’s current entity is for profit but is becoming non-profit.
  17. She estimates a 2-year time frame, with a 35-million-dollar price tag. She does not have all of her funding lined up.
Points made by Members:
  1. Mr. Richter asked about security for the residents.
  2. Members mentioned there not being public sewer on the grounds.
  3. Mr. Kuhn asked about the current residents, the irrevocable trust, and discussed the existing conservation easements already in place.
  4. Mr. Westhafer asked Ms. Kimmell if she checked the zoning since the properties are all Farm Residential. She had not, but realizes the zoning would need to be changed.
  5. Mr. Kuhn said it takes a very good reason to change something zoned FR to Institutional.

Members stated that there were many facets of this to be considered, but suggested she return with:

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. Richter adjourned the meeting at 9:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner
Recording Secretary