Via WebEx


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 (arrived 8:05 pm)
Michael Allen, Beth Martin, and Linda Csete. Lisa Gardner was absent.
Mike Keffer, Lou Rubenfield, Pete Goodman, Melissa Dicranian (was able to hear the meeting but unable to speak through the system), Marc Kaplin Esq. (arrived later) and 3 others.

Call to Order:

7:30 p.m.

Announcements - None

Approval of Minutes

May 12, 2020 Minutes

Mr. Motel moved to approve the minutes of May 12, 2020, and Mr. von Hoyer seconded. Mr. von Hoyer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Spring Oak Amended Final Subdivision & Land Development Plan

The Planning Commission reviewed an amended final plan for Spring Oak that proposes to revise the lot configuration for 4 townhouse units on Lots 97-100. The easterly lot lines for lots 97, 98 and 99 would move 1.83 feet to the east to prevent Lot 97 from encroaching on the westerly side yard setback.

Mr. Allen noted that the Design Review Committee has reviewed the plan and had no objections to the proposed change.

Mr. Motel moved to recommend approval of the amended final plan for Spring Oak last revised 5/5/20, and Ms. Leland seconded. Mr. von Hoyer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Equestrian Uses – Zoning Ordinance Amendment

Members continued their discussion on the equestrian use ordinance following input they received EAC member Melissa Dicranian, an equestrian involved with the local horse community.

Mr. Thompson started with some background on how the zoning ordinance was modified two years ago that included removing “educational use” from the Farm Residential District. It was determined that equestrian use needed to be reinstated as a use that is agricultural by nature. He said the draft ordinance addresses equestrian use and riding academies but not events, which will be addressed separately.

Mr. Motel said in speaking with Ms. Dicranian that the properties in Charlestown, limited for access by the road network, aren’t good candidates for major events and he then commented that this indicates no compelling need to provide for this use.

Mr. Churchill questioned how to differentiate between riding lessons given by the property owner or person boarding horses at the location versus a more intense business-based educational program. Mr. Thompson agreed that this is a matter of degree that has to be better defined.

Mr. Allen referred to Section 4.2.F requiring a building setback of 250 feet from the property lines, which he said would be difficult to meet for most properties.

Ms. Leland asked about Section 4.2.E allowing a maximum of 20% impervious coverage, noting that many farm owners have gravel drives and lots. Mr. Allen said former township engineer Surender Kohli said that counts as 75% toward impervious coverage.

Ms. Leland said Section 4.2.H doesn’t mesh with the present zoning ordinance with regard to number of horses permitted per acre, so this will need to be adjusted.

Mr. Churchill asked why the property minimum is 10 acres when 5 acres should be sufficient. Mr. Thompson pointed out that since 4 acres are needed to have 1 horse, then 1 additional horse per additional acre, a 5 acre property could only have 2 horses.

Mr. Comitta noted that the requirements for an arena are in Section 4.2.D and need to be examined for maximum square footage. The proposed ordinance says 30,000 sq. ft. while Ms. Dicranian told him a state of the art arena is about 100,000 sq. ft. Mrs. Csete also noted there’s no definition for “Arena” in the present ordinance.

Ms. Leland said she was in favor of the lighting and noise regulations specified in Sections 4.2. J & K.

There was discussion on whether to recommend just Sections 1 & 2 tonight, and address Section 3 on riding academies separately, and they decided they preferred to address both in the same ordinance. Therefore, the subcommittee consisting of Mark Thompson, Tom Comitta, Andy Motel and Melissa Dicranian will discuss the proposed changes prior to returning to the Commission for the August 11th meeting.

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 8:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Township Manager