Via WebEx
TUESDAY, JULY 14, 2020


Planning Commission:
Andre von Hoyer, Chairman, Michael Richter, Vice Chairman, Michael Churchill, Wendy Leland, Andy Motel, Dan Walker, and Bill Westhafer. Matt Rogers was absent.
Daniel Wright, P.E., Gary Bender, Esq., Mark P. Thompson, Esq., Tom Comitta, and Dan Mallach.
Michael Allen, Beth Martin, and Lisa Gardner. Linda Csete was absent.
Mike Keffer, Lou Rubenfield, Adam Lowe, Alyson Zarro, Esq., Michael Gill, Esq., Rick Rosenberry of Maser Construction, John Jaros, Esq., Tom Fillippo, Lorraine Fillippo, Kevin Kuhn, Susan Bednar, Adam Keiper, Michael Keffer, and others.

Call to Order:

7:35 p.m.

Announcements –


Approval of Minutes

June 9, 2020 Minutes

Ms. Leland moved to approve the minutes of June 9, 2020, and Mr. von Hoyer seconded. Mr. von Hoyer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Commons GV 1 for Turning Pointe Dance Centre – Conditional Use Application

Ms. Alyson Zarro, Esq., of Riley Riper Hollin & Collegreco, was present for a review of the Conditional Use Application for the Turning Point Dance Center. The studio’s owner, Jeneane Blence requests a recommendation for the approval. She would like to use 4000 square feet for educational use within the General Warren Village retail space zoned TND-3.

The studio would like to move to the GWV to obtain better parking and updated facilities. There are 5 employees, and the hours are mostly after school, with some classes Saturday mornings. About 12 students are in a 1-1.5-hour class with no more than 2 classes running concurrently. There are not camps, recitals, bus drop-offs, or anything that concerned the Members.

Mr. Churchill moved to recommend approval of the Conditional Use Application for the Turning Pointe Dance Centre, and Ms. Leland seconded. Mr. von Hoyer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

PA Turnpike Commission – Maintenance Facility Land Development Plan

Mr. Michael Gill, Esq. and Mr. Rick Rosenberry, of Maser Construction, were present for a review of the PA Turnpike Commission’s Land Development Plan for a new maintenance facility along the eastbound lane of Route 76 near the intersection with Valley Hill Road. It is generally located between Valley Hill Road and Yellow Springs Road near the Aqua water tank (which would remain to the west). It is roughly ¾ of a mile from the current one but on the other side of the TP. There is already an access drive nearby along with lots consolidated by the TP.

Points discussed:

  1. The 1954 facility is functionally obsolete and the new one will better satisfy DEP requirements, better handle runoff from the 12-16 vehicles, and keep the 100% of the salt dry.
  2. Mr. Gill stated it was critical to the mission of the Turnpike for this new facility to exist. It is a permitted use if determined the facility is an essential function.
  3. Mr. Gill stated that tonight they were not here to discuss the details in the review letter, but to move formally toward a recommendation to the Board of approval after a resubmission. The TP and the Township are both created by the state. The TP can’t ignore the Township’s ordinances while building the project, but the Township cannot prevent the structure to exist if it has to exist. Each entity has a certain authority, and therefore tonight, details of review letters will not be addressed individually.
  4. There is already a 14’ by 400’ existing shoulder to enter the area.
  5. The building is planned above the TP in elevation, there is a 40’ change in grade.
  6. There is an 8’ southern retaining wall with a barrier along the top. This minimizes a southern land disturbance.
  7. Water and sewer will be by gravity from Charlestown Oaks tie-in.
  8. No part of the building will be in steep slope but the utility easement will go through it.
  9. There is only a 28’ driveway clearance for the truck traffic but Mr. Gill did not see this as an obstacle.
  10. Mr. Gill stated the resubmission would contain the grading, elevations, and locations of the surrounding properties and developments that the Members suggested he include next month.
  11. Noise and lighting from the facility are large Township concerns.
  12. The maintenance shed is a drive-thru double-doored area.
  13. The salt shed is lower and this is a sound buffer, and the closest property is 700 feet.
  14. Members were concerned about year-round vehicle and equipment storage.
  15. 16,000 gallons of diesel fuel will be kept underground onsite.
  16. Due diligence by the TP and the Township will be done regarding any environmental impact.

A few details were discussed from the Advanced GeoServices June letter:

#3 20% impervious surfaces are limited to 20% so the 19.6% that the Turnpike proposes meets this requirement. However, there is a 20-acre lot to the south that will remain untouched, this could be figured into the equation.
#4 They are a non-conformity with regard to a front yard setback as well as rear and side yard setbacks.
#5 Steep slope
#6 The focus of the activity is on the southside of the building so they don’t want the employee parking there, but on the northside. That way the employees enter the grounds and immediately park and not circulate with the TP vehicles.
#8 Mr. Gill said the cost is too high to replace every tree on the forested lot.
#9 Mr. Buser wants to reduce the obstacles for plowing the paved areas. The landscaping caps for parking need to be a point of later discussion. The more paving here, the less the highways are paved.

The Stubbe Consulting letter dated June 19, 2020, was discussed along with the TCA letter dated June 22, 2020.

  1. The facility is manned 24/7. From October to April there are 3 shifts, and a skeleton crew to cover accidents, or deer, etc., in other months.
  2. The lighting was discussed and in some locations 40’ lights will be necessary. In other locations, the 20’ lights can be used. When the facility isn’t at peak, the lights can be off.
  3. Backside shields can be added to protect nearby residents including Charlestown Oaks, and Deerfield.
  4. They are willing to use a softer yellow light and reduce the Kelvin to 3000. They will take a closer look at the lighting and its impact on neighbors.
  5. Mr. Mallach stated that the building, parking, and lighting fixtures were not visible. Although Charlestown Oaks is in the line of sight, you can’t see it. It will be visible from the TP.

One question asked via WebEx Chat was why does the south perimeter have a different edge as a retaining wall. The answer was the north requires a retaining wall but and the south has no rationale for a wall and there is minimal disturbance. One member on Chat was unhappy that the trees were not being replaced as they are a natural resource. There were questions regarding elevations, noise and light buffering, and changes in grades, but this will be addressed when the resubmittal includes more visuals and cross-sections and depictions.

Devault Foods Final Land Development Plan

Mr. John Jaros, Esq. and Mr. Michael Keffer, P.E. of Light-Heigel Associates, were present for a review of the Final Land Development Plan for Devault Foods in the B-1 Zoning District (east of Whitehorse Road). Mr. Jaros noted that the property received conditional preliminary approval in June 2005. The plan shows a proposed demolition of an 11,483 square foot building and enlarging of the remaining 74,649 square foot building by 60,900 square feet. Parking areas will be reconfigured and expanded. Expansion of inside cold storage will allow existing exterior refrigerator trailers to be removed.

Mr. Wright, of Advanced GeoServices discussed a few important points from his letter dated June 22, 2020.

  1. The applicant needs to demonstrate an impervious coverage that complies with the 60% impervious coverage or request a variance. This is still an open issue from 2005.
  2. They need a new NPDES permit.
  3. The impervious surface coverage needs to be updated to use the Net Lot Area Per the Zoning Ordinance.
  4. Stormwater facilities will need to be larger since the figures are from 2005.
  5. Steep Slope revisions need to be in the plan.
  6. A detailed Environmental Impact Assessment is to be included and of great interest to the Township.
  7. A detailed traffic flow within the facility is to be included.
  8. The next drawings are to include proximity of Spring Oak, heights, and distances from property lines.
  9. Docks and trucks appear to be 100’ from Spring Oak property line and 200’ from the northeast side of Pine Lane. The new dock should be moved farther away from Spring Oak. Be aware of setbacks with a building 38’ high.

Mr. Keffer responded:

  1. From 2005 to the 2020 plan there has been a change in production within the facility. The major additions are now for loading docks, parking, and storage, not production. Production and support facilities are eliminated from the additions. Trailers on site, deliveries, and activity should decrease near Spring Oak.
  2. The change to refrigerated warehouses negates refrigerated trucks.
  3. Additions have been planned for the wastewater treatment plant, stormwater, lighting, landscaping.
  4. To lower the impervious coverage figure to under 60, the two residential buildings will go.
  5. A retaining wall will allow for a dock area.
  6. Net lot area includes the steep slopes (item#4 in the review letter).
  7. Mr. Keffer said he will comply with the Subdivision and Land Development comments in 6 & 7. He is in the process of filing copies of all required permits, approvals, and agreements, etc. There is no deed of dedication.
  8. Tomorrow they will meet regarding the NPDES, erosion control, and BMP’s.
  9. To stay consistent with the Preliminary Approved Plan isn’t best for Devault Foods anymore, and it can be even better for its neighbors.
  10. Renderings of conceptual improvements with less impact on neighbors may be made.
  11. Stormwater facilities are underground except 2 depression in the front draining into Devault Lane.
  12. They are currently talking with VFSA.
  13. They will reinvest into the facility with new equipment to reduce impact. New building designs include screened walls around old rooftop equipment which will be decommissioned when the new ground filtration equipment is installed.
  14. This odor improvement will help the new and old building.
  15. Complains about the noise-Mr. Wright told Members that the sound engineer was not in favor of sound walls and that mufflers at the facility would be most beneficial. Mr. Keffer was sure their sound engineer would find a complete solution.
  16. Newer technology in lighting will also benefit Spring Oak.
  17. A traffic study will be included in the new rendering. Alterations are possible to the plant’s traffic flow on a plan change.
  18. There are currently between 200-250 employees and they expect only a 10% increase.


  1. Ms. Leland applauded the newer revision because the traffic goes toward the Turnpike and also the refrigerated trailers would no longer be needed.
  2. Mr. Churchill thought this was a great opportunity to decrease the impact of the plant on neighbors.
  3. Mr. Motel reminded Mr. Keffer to consider fire trucks and responders when planning the traffic flow. Mr. Keffer said there was an access road on the northeast side and a southern road.
  4. Mr. Motel liked consolidated employee parking and better traffic flow.
  5. Resident-the new building will be closer to Spring Oak and 38’ high, what is the current height? Answer: average height is 38’.
  6. Mr. Allen asked if the southeast pretreatment area is restricted from future development. Answer: It is not to be disturbed.
  7. Mr. Rubenfield said he is surprised that the Township and Planning Commission are still allowing this (approved plan) to proceed considering the change in the area around the plant (Spring Oak), the noise, smell, and light problems, etc. Mr. Jaros reminded Mr. Rubenfield that Devault Foods has been there since the 1940’s and he should have researched the Preliminary Plan and read the disclosure that was provided to the prospective residents of Spring Oak. They were legally supplied with a statement. Mr. Rubenfield said the realtors told buyers that the plant was moving to Coatesville.
  8. Mr. Richter questioned the open area/parking lot where current refrigerated trucks are stored. He was concerned that it wouldn’t be kept clear and questioned pick up and drop off times. The need for policies and the administration was mentioned.
  9. Ms. Bednar said the policies agreed upon are not always followed through. she did not want that open area to become a place where trucks or trailers are parked in future and asked if another area further from Spring Oak could be adapted for truck parking.
  10. Mr. Keffer said this is the engineered truck turn-around and backing up area. However, it is very close to Spring Oak and could be noisy. Moving the dock so activity is less there was discussed.
  11. Devault Foods may move the new addition to the large paved area away from Spring Oak but Mr. Keffer said they already have revisions in mind that will shift docks even farther away too.
  12. Resident-will the rooftop equipment on the new addition be near Spring Oak? Answer: No, the equipment will be on the ground but handle air from both the older and newer buildings. The old units will be disabled but screened.
  13. Resident-Will there be an increase in shipping, more trucks, more idling, therefore more noise pollution? Next, Mr. Nathan was concerned about the haphazard parking of trucks, and the noise. Mr. von Hoyer asked that noise complaints not be addressed at the Planning Commission Meeting.
  14. Mr. Allen thanked Mr. Keffer for all the reports. He asks that all documents be identified in correspondence by date, and to include page numbers.

Mr. Bender said the Applicant wants the newest yet to be seen rendering to be an amendment to the Final Plan. The new rendering is a substantial improvement for all involved. The most recent rendering suggested by Devault Foods backs away from Spring Oak and portrays a widening buffer area between the property lines. Forcing the Preliminary Plan, (that is closer to Spring Oak and makes the residents wary,) would be in no one’s best interest. Mr. Wright showed paving within 20’ of the property line, very close to the berm but still an improvement considering buffering.

Mr. Jaros stated that the Final Plan approval needs to be close to the Preliminary Approved Plan. But, as the changes draw the Plan farther from the Preliminary Approved Plan, they want to pursue the newest alternate since its better for all. Therefore, he will pursue the Final Plan recommendation and will come back with the rendering as an amendment. The Final Plan would include the revision and the amendment.

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 10:55 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner
Recording Secretary