Mrs. Csete announced the award of two grants to Charlestown Township. One grant awarded jointly with East Whiteland Township was for $540,537. These funds from the DCNR are for the acquisition of the 142-acre Balderson Tract owned by Spring Ridge Management. It borders Phoenixville Pike and Route 401 and is located across from the Great Valley High School. The Charlestown section borders Charlestown Oaks. 57 of the acres are in Charlestown.
The second grant for $2.11 million is to improve the intersection of Valley Hill Road and Route 401. The DVRPC will fund improvements, including turning lanes. PennDOT will handle the design work and manage the project. It will take approximately 2-3 years to complete. Some property acquisition will be needed to expand the lanes, and this is the part of the timeline that is most difficult to predict.
Planning Commission Members thanked Mrs. Csete for always providing digital and hard copy packets for the meetings.
Mr. Westhafer moved to approve the minutes of November 12, 2019, and Mr. Rogers seconded. Mr. von Hoyer called for discussion, and there being none, called for a vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Russell Becker was present with a Conditional Use Application requesting approval to construct a garage with an in-law suite on his 2.3-acre property at 2130 Conestoga Road.
Mr. Becker will need to acquire Board approval during the Conditional Use process if the accessory building on the lot exceeds 50 percent of the ground floor area of the permitted principal structure (Item 4 from the November 22, 2019 review letter by Advanced GeoServices).
Mr. Richter moved to recommend approval of the Conditional Use Application for Mr. Becker and Mr. Rogers seconded. Mr. von Hoyer called for discussion, and there being none, called for a vote. All were in favor.
The Planning Commission continued discussions on how to develop entrance signage for roads as travelers enter the Township. In a prior meeting a larger entrance sign was discussed for the Devault area on Route 29. Mrs. Csete reminded Members that during the Joint Session for 2019, the subject of signage had surfaced due to complaints. However, the complaints were about changes happening in neighboring townships and not Charlestown. Due to this, Members thought marking the major gateways may be a good idea. Numerous smaller signs are already in place that currently mark roads such as Route 401, Phoenixville Pike, and Township Line Road.
The Planning Commission began a review of the use regulations for the I District [Institutional District] Section 27-802. Mr. Motel referenced Chapter 27 Part 8 regarding the Institutional Districts that includes 46 Township acres and areas neighboring the Park. Mr. Kuhn suggested the Members review Mr. Dettore’s report drafted prior to the most recent Park improvements. There are not easements in the focused area, but there is public sewer and water.
Mr. Comitta discussed changes to the zoning of the Institutional Districts. He suggested changes by comparing terms in Uses vs. local maps. Therefore, some outdated language was stricken and any differences were edit in or out. He said the Board can limit the “disposal” of small acreage or “shedding”. But his concerns would be (1) continuing the good balance of green acreage vs development, and (2) a push for expansion of Conditional Uses by applicants. He also suggested discussion about vision and Strategic Plans with the large landowners.
Mr. Richter mentioned roadways in these districts that needed limits for noise, vision, and impact of future development. Special Regulations will be expanded by Mr. Comitta to include a width or buffer zone especially concerning the Park and its local roads (keeping in mind that parking is not a buffer). Language will be added to Special Regulations for recreational areas to be included when planning land improvements or development in these districts.
Mr. Kuhn told Members that the Board was giving the PC the concept plans for the new Township Office to review. The current idea is to use the 6.2-acre property across from the post office. However, if there was a land swap with Mr. Fillippo then it would leave Mr. Filippo with a larger contiguous area to develop, which may be beneficial to both parties. Mr. Dettore will review the project with Members and bring them up to date per Mr. Kuhn.
Land use is a large unknown, since many factors like parking, elections, athletic fields, pavilions, and a police substation are also being considered. The Board is not in favor of a large impervious area that would only be used once every four years for a presidential election, yet a venue is needed for voting. These are some of the things the PC is to consider when reviewing the plans.
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 9:08 p.m.