Via Cisco WebEx 7:30 p.m.


Planning Commission:
Andre von Hoyer, Chairman, Michael Richter, Vice Chairman, Michael Churchill, Wendy Leland, Andy Motel, Matt Rogers, Dan Walker, and Bill Westhafer.
Daniel Wright, P.E., Mark P. Thompson, Esq., and Thomas Comitta
Lisa Gardner, Michael Allen, and Linda Csete. Marie Stone was absent.
See attached list.

Call to Order:

7:35 p.m.


Ms. Leland reminded attendees that the 15th Anniversary of Earth Day is the 22nd. Please do your part by donning a safety vest and clean up some litter along Township roads. The Roadmaster will pick up the refuse, just called the office. Also, please send pictures of your activities to Mrs. Csete for the Newsletter or website.

Approval of Minutes

February 11, 2020 Minutes

Ms. Leland moved to approve the minutes of February 11, 2020, and Mr. Rogers seconded. Mr. von Hoyer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

March 10, 2020 Minutes

The meeting was canceled due to the school closing to outside groups, there are no minutes.


Sketch Plans

Frank Boyle – Proposed Zoning Amendment

Mr. Boyle requested consideration of a zoning ordinance amendment that would permit apartments above retail in the TND Area 3 Zoning District, which is currently permitted in Area 2 only. He began by breaking down the 10 parcels by usage in TND 3 (after removing the parcels owned by the Turnpike).

Mr. Boyle’s points:

  1. He needs proper zoning to proceed with his vision.
  2. He needs to obtain a survey of parcel 35-4-117.
  3. There are many apartments in the area, it is not an introduction of a use.
  4. He would like to know what he is allowed, to get an idea of what he can build.
  5. Sidewalk placement was something he had not yet solved.
  6. Sewer will need to be obtained.
  7. He is envisioning:
    1. Smaller buildings, with a softer streetscape (picture displayed).
    2. 2 retail in the lower units with a courtyard between and apartments above.
    3. Luxury apartments with less than 3 bedrooms and high-end amenities.
    4. Reduced signage.

Members points:

  1. Consider parking for retail and tenants.
  2. Mr. von Hoyer agreed that upstairs retail is not a popular trend.
  3. Retail space above provides, allows, and directs new Township retail to a desirable zone.
  4. Mr. Churchill did not think anyone would miss having that retail and there is plenty of commercial office space available.
  5. Mr. Westhafer liked the small-scale idea and believed the residential above was a good fit for the area near The Office Bar and Grille.
  6. Stormwater will need to go underground.
  7. Put into writing what is envisioned for the streetscape for this TND 3 and its aesthetics.
  8. Mr. Churchill told Mr. Boyle that the Devault Rails-to-Trails project could be routed to make it appropriate for the Township. Mr. Boyle thinks it currently runs along Route 29 and passes the Office Bar and Grille on the east side.
  9. It is customary for the Members to consider the next/future owner and what could or would happen if Mr. Boyle sold the property. Discussion followed regarding the possibilities of a retail owner wanting to expand, interchanging the apartment for the retail, complaints from other tenants, pressure to convert all to apartments should the retail fail, or two apartments sandwiching a commercial business on both floors of one building. What would this look like and should it be prevented?
  10. Mr. Comitta suggested setting standards by (1) submitting a drawing, or (2) putting these envisioned points into a Land Development Plan. This way the concerns are addressed, and the Board of Supervisors could see Mr. Boyle’s vision. Mr. Boyle thought the upfront expense of a Land Development Plan was unnecessary for a simple change to the TND 3.
  11. Mr. Richter suggested limiting the number of vehicles and Members also discussed density in agreement with Mr. Boyle.

The Commission was adamant to protect the outcome of what Mr. Boyle envisions and to protect it by restricting its ability to change into something undesirable if Mr. Boyle would sell. The impact of his vision, to other parcels is minimal and Mr. Boyle felt it could be a blanket amendment. Mr. Boyle was urged to return to the Members with an articulated presentation so Members knew exactly what they would be recommending to the Board. Mr. Comitta offered to send Mr. Boyle a draft for him to fill in, therefore, avoiding the cost of an attorney. Mr. Wright confirmed this process, and after completion of the draft, it should be sent to Mrs. Csete to circulate for the next agenda.

General Planning Items

VFSA Needs Analysis

This item was removed from the agenda.

ARLE Grant Application for Improvement of the Intersection at Phoenixville Pike & Yellow Springs Road

Mr. Randy Waltermyer and Mr. Chris Lincoln of Traffic Planning & Design updated the Commissioners on a meeting held at East Whiteland Township on March 5th. A joint effort to seek a grant for improvements to the Phoenixville Pike and Yellow Springs Road intersection was discussed. There is a grant from PennDOT due in June that the consultants are hopeful of receiving since COVID 19 may reduce competition and the state looks favorably upon joint requests.

The addition of a left turn lane onto Yellow Springs Road is proposed. Consultants discussed additional improvements that East Whiteland brought to the table for Sidley Road including a new right turn lane and the replacement of rolled curbing on the south side of Phoenixville Pike to full curb to improve water handling for the adjacent residents. These changes may lead to pushing the grant above or outside of the scope of the grant or lead to East Whiteland taking over the ownership of their intersection’s light. The intersection is in East Whiteland but traditionally Charlestown has owned the light. PennDOT has an interest in the intersection since it owns the road beyond the intersection itself.

The designers discussed the challenges which include property owner push back and 2 mailboxes that need to be relocated on the north side of Phoenixville Pike. However, all work will be done in the existing Right of Way. There will still be anticipated pushback from a resident owning Sidley and Route 29 land at that intersection. The benefit of having stormwater control measures added may change homeowner resistance.

Ms. Leland was hopeful the Township could not only end the responsibility of the traffic light in East Whiteland, but add bike lanes, room for nearby track teams, and a sidewalk. Consultants named the many moving parts to this grant, and even the possibility of East Whiteland needing to cover some cost themselves, to fit into the parameters of the grant (stormwater curbing, etc.). But, at this time the next step is to meet with East Whiteland again to show them the project and get the grant application submitted by June. Mrs. Csete was concerned about being able to achieve this within 7 weeks during the COVID 19 measures, therefore, Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Waltermyer will contact East Whiteland in advance of their tentative May 7th transportation meeting.

Mr. Churchill and Ms. Leland suggested a subcommittee be formed to discuss an operating agreement with East Whiteland and their traffic consultants, McMahon Associates, Inc. Ms. Leland stated all players were in place and suggested the Township proceed.

Equestrian Uses – Zoning Ordinance Amendment

Mr. Thompson drafted a lightly regulating ordinance regarding equestrian uses in an attempt to provide more explicit standards. Currently, residents may have 10 horses on 20 acres and up to 40 horses using a sliding scale. If there are fewer horses and acreage, it is a Use by Right. It is not legal to unreasonably restrict agricultural activities, so the Township needs to differentiate between uses.

Since many residents own less than 20 acres in FR the Uses by Right need to be listed. Mr. Comitta stated it would be wise to list them and handle the events and larger gatherings with Conditional Use.

He suggested the Members use Mr. Thompson’s March 6th draft and list (a) Use by Right activities and (b) Conditional Use events.

Ms. Leland questioned stream crossing and trail riding and after some discussion, Members decided equestrian residents need to be contacted for their input. Mr. Motel was nominated as the member of the subcommittee to contact equestrians by Mr. Churchill and Ms. Leland.

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 9:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner
Recording Secretary