Via WebEx


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

Call to Order:

7:35 p.m.

Approval of Minutes

July 14, 2020 Minutes

Ms. Leland moved to approve the minutes of July 14, 2020, and Mr. Churchill seconded. Mr. Richter called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Saturday night’s Drive-In Movie Night is sold out at the Technical College High School Pickering Campus. The event was hosted by the Charlestown Park & Rec Board.

Mr. Richter emphasized the importance of muting phones or computers. The chat feature of WebEx is to be used to submit questions for the meeting.


Devault Foods Final Land Development Plan

Mr. John Jaros, Esq. and Mr. Michael Keffer, P.E. of Light-Heigel Associates, were present to continue the review of the Final Land Development Plan for Devault Foods in the B-1 Zoning District (south of Whitehorse Road).

First to speak was Mr. Bender who was retained by the Township; he began with a review.

  1. In 2005 the Preliminary Land Development Plan was approved which means that due to State law, the Applicant is protected and all ordinances put into effect after 2005 do not control this Plan.
  2. The Applicant is entitled to a Final Approval of the Plan and the Township must approve it - if it conforms to the Preliminary Plan.
  3. The Final Plan was filed in June 2020.
  4. Following this, many informal meetings to improve the Final Plan’s impact for all three parties (Applicant, Township, neighbors) took place.
  5. Tonight, an Alternate Plan that has come from these meetings (that took place since the last Planning Commission Meeting) will be discussed.
  6. If the Township would recommend the Alternate Plan, Devault Foods would need to start over.
  7. The Applicant does not want to start over and filing the Alternate would require the Applicant to withdraw the 2005 Plan already approved.
  8. Instead, the Applicant is willing to withdraw the original Final Plan once it’s approved by the Board and then engineer and record the Alternate Plan as an amendment to it.
  9. Mr. Bender reminded the audience that the ongoing noise, traffic, and odor issues and complaints about Devault Foods are not part of the expansion application, and are being handled at the Board of Supervisors, not the Planning Commission. They will not be a part of this evening’s meeting. The newer plan should help to alleviate noise, odor, and lighting complaints.
  10. There has been a Notice of Violation for noise and it has been appealed to the Zoning Hearing Board. A Township acoustical consultant is working with Devault Foods on current noise issues.

Mr. Wright emphasized that Spring Oak residents’ input has been incorporated into this Alternate Plan. He felt Devault Foods had a good understanding of their concerns and has engineered solutions into the design.

Mr. Keffer discussed the Alternate Plan’s improvements:

  1. The new docks are on the south in the drawings and much farther away than even portrayed at the last PC meeting.
  2. The building was shifted farther from Spring Oak by a significant amount.
  3. Parking was moved to the north instead of 50 spots near the east.
  4. Docks were changed to face the Turnpike, given architectural improvements, and screened from Spring Oak.
  5. Landscape buffering was added to the setback
  6. No more refrigeration trucks on the Spring Oak side, it is inside the proposed new warehouse building.
  7. Parking is not on the west side and there is only a fire lane(to be restricted). That lane is necessary for emergency services.
  8. Truck traffic enters from the northwest and heads south towards the Turnpike side of the plant.
  9. New north and west employee parking will be moved from the south.
  10. A larger buffer area will be added near Spring Oak.
  11. Estimated ground break is summer or fall 2021 and finishing in about a year.
  12. The facade will depend on the building’s refrigeration needs. The building will be no higher than 38’, which is the limit, but probably between 32-35’ high.

Mr. Rogers complimented the massing and green space changes and the truck traffic flow.

Mr. Westhafer complimented the collaboration that went into this Plan and the results. He suggested reducing expenses by paving less of the southeast corner fire lane area. He also suggested relocating parking near the Whitehorse Road entrance and segregating office and post office and pedestrian traffic from trucking traffic.

Mr. Richter had the Applicant clarify that the wastewater plant is not being rebuilt twice the size, but being rebuilt the same size, right next to the old one. No improvements are planned for this road.

Ms. Leland asked about an additional access road for Spring Oak residents. The Applicant stated they planned on leaving it as green space but the Township can improve it if they want. They plan on landscaping the area.

Mr. Churchill asked if the changes to the plan would mitigate the truck, noise, and odor complaints, and if the new facility would cause additional odors, etc. Mr. Jaros said that some of the technology was 40 years old but many advancements are being considered and are in the Alternate Plan. An acoustical, refrigerant, and lighting consultant, are all being utilized. However, the presence of the Turnpike and its noise complicates a few things. Devault Foods can’t build too close to the Turnpike since the Turnpike might expand.

Mr. Jaros stated the Plan could not and would not please everyone and every complaint. But, this Alternate addresses several of the issues.

Mr. Kumar asked about the new vegetative buffers that were being added. Mr. Keffer showed him the new landscape plan that showed a combination, and a thicker, wider planting area extending into the meadow. The Township landscaping architect will work closely with the Applicant for an effective berm. Mr. Kumar also made sure the new building would be refrigerated and not be used for cooking.

Mr. Rubenfield had the following comments:

Siva Nathan asked what the minimum buffer requirement is for Industrial against Residential properties. Mr. Wright said that although there is no official amount, there is a requirement that impervious can’t be closer than 20 feet and the original Plan was at 20 feet. The Alternate is farther away.

Tonight, Mr. Keffer was looking for a recommendation of approval of the Final Plan with the understanding it will be amended with the Alternate Plan that was displayed and discussed. The Alternate plan will then be fully engineered and after approval by the Township, and they will withdraw the original final plan that was based on the 2005 preliminary plan and pursue the Alternate Plan. Mr. Motel expressed his appreciation of the efforts of everyone who brought their concerns (especially since the 2005 Preliminary Plan) to the table and worked cooperatively for a successful solution.

Mr. Motel moved to recommend approval of the Original Final Subdivision and Land Development Plan for Devault Foods’ plant expansion as shown on the plan by Light-Heigel and Associates last revised August 7, 2020 subject to three conditions:

First, the Applicant complies with the review comments of:

The second condition -which this Applicant has verbally agreed to - is that the Applicant will pursue approval of the Alternate Plan as shown on the rendering prepared by Light-Heigel and Associates (last revised August 7, 2020) during which time the Applicant will not record the Original Plan and the Applicant agrees that if final, unappealable approval is obtained from the Township for the Alternate Plan, the Applicant will withdraw the Original Plan and pursue construction of the Alternate Plan.

Third, the Applicant agrees to accept and memorialize these conditions in a written agreement with the Township before the Applicant obtains Final Plan approval of the Original Plan by the Supervisors.

Mr. Rogers seconded. Mr. Richter called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

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 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner
Recording Secretary