Via Webex


Planning Commission:
Andre von Hoyer, Chairman, Michael Richter, Vice Chairman, Wendy Leland, Andy Motel, Matt Rogers, Dan Walker, and Bill Westhafer. Michael Churchill was absent.
Randy Patry, P.E., Mark P. Thompson, Esq., and Daniel Mallach.
Linda Csete, Michael Allen, Beth Martin, and Lisa Gardner.
Michael Gill, Esq., Rick Rosenberry of Maser Construction, David Rentschler, Vincent Buser, and Rocco Caracciolo, Bud Haly, Pete Goodman, Gary Graham, Susan Bednar, Lauralyn Gibson and others not identified via Webex.

Call to Order:

7:36 p.m.

Announcements - None

Approval of Minutes

August 11, 2020 Minutes

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


Haly Subdivision Plan

Mr. Walter Haly and Mr. David Rentschler of JMR Engineering LLC presented a subdivision plan to adjust lot lines on Mr. Haly’s three FR tax parcels on Dickson Drive (35-4-46, 35-4-46.14, and 35-4-46.15) totaling 6.5 acres.

Mr. Rentschler responded to comments on Mr. Wright’s review letter dated 8/31/20 as follows:

#8 The pool will be demolished.
#9 Lot 1 will use Dickson driveway access.
#10 A report that verifies wetland areas will be submitted.
#11 The pool house will stay but receive an addition onto the front of the structure.
#12 There will be no encroachment on the wetland area.
#13 This is not technically a lot line change but a subdivision plan that will request many waivers.
#14 and #15 Will comply.

Mr. Motel asked why Mr. Rentschler stated the zoning was unique. He replied that the existing non-conforming lots from 1978 zoning requirements needing 50,000sq. ft. lot areas, are now revised, and the two smaller lots are now larger and more compliant under current zoning. Lot #2 will no longer be a flag lot.

Mr. Allen questioned the Open Space comment in Advanced GeoServices letter. Mr. Patry stated the original 1970’s plans had an open space design in mind. The current application meets some current requirements but lots are now less non-conforming with the new application using current zoning requirements. No additional zoning relief is needed.

The existing pool house is approximately 800sqft with two baths. The porches and a large parking area will be demolished. The building, formerly a pool house, will receive the addition and use the driveway off of Dickson Drive. The existing driveway encroaches on the open space plan. Therefore, Mr. Mallach suggested obtaining an easement from Hollow Run Farm HOA. Mr. Haly said no wetland will be encroached and the existing wetland report will be verified.

Mr. Haly responded to comments on Mr. Mallach’s review memorandum, which contained one note on vegetation protection. Mr. Haly said he will comply with the recommendations for tree protection fencing and protection of all vegetation within 50 feet of construction.

Ms. Leland moved to recommend approval of the Haly subdivision plan dated 8/10/20 subject to the consultant’s review comments, and Mr. Westhafer seconded. Mr. von Hoyer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Planning Commission members commented that the SLDO should require a narrative that would have explained the rationale for this application, and will look into making this a requirement moving forward.

PA Turnpike Commission – Maintenance Facility Land Development Plan

The following representatives were present for tonight’s second formal presentation to the PC.

They return for a resubmission discussion of the PA Turnpike Commission’s Land Development Plan for a new maintenance facility along the eastbound lane of Route 76 near the intersection at Valley Hill Road. It is 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 facility but on the other side of the highway. There is already an access drive nearby along with lots consolidated by the Turnpike.

Mr. Michael Gill, Esq. returned with new revisions and comments. They noted they have put in a request for a preliminary opinion for use of the property since it is in the FR district, which may clarify which requirements of the ordinance must be followed. For this evening, they wish to discuss some design questions on Mr. Wright’s review letter. The comments on the review letter are already considered by the applicant as will comply or have already complied, if not discussed.

  1. Setback-the Township is treating the Turnpike as a “street”. Discussion followed regarding zoning compliance.
  2. The front employee access is 68.5’ from the Turnpike’s right of way, with a requirement of 75. This issue is outstanding and the TP will either tell the PC why it must be 68.5 or inspect the meaning of street in this instance.
  3. Storm water is close to compliance.
  4. Lighting pole protection will be seen on the next plan.
  5. Lighting:
    1. Dimming or motion detectors may be used for the necessary 24/7 lighting.
    2. The salt shed is the winter storm area and will need to be controlled manually.
    3. 3 areas are left to be illuminated-access roads, the fuel island, and the building.
    4. A problem results from the large area using a single lighting control system that needs many sensors (costly). Plus, the road coming off the Turnpike will not be dimmed. They are considering the other lights running at a dim level, then with motion, they will go to full power.
    5. There was further discussion on lighting technology, controlling headlight glare, and light seen from afar.
  6. The Turnpike does not want to use toll payer monies for fees in lieu of landscaping and offered to set aside 20 prime forest acres in a conservation easement.
  7. This will prevent the use of these acres from being a prospective part of the Turnpike widening project.
  8. This offer should also be in lieu of parking lot landscaping and put the Turnpike Commission into compliance. Mr. Mallach suggested researching the possibility of including some smaller trees for parking islands, etc.
  9. Mr. Mallach wondered if the same win-win situation could be obtained for other properties owned by the Turnpike in Charlestown. But Mr. Buser stated that tonight’s team is not the highway division of the Turnpike and cannot address that. This would need to be discussed with the team that is handling the widening project.
  10. There were plans to use these 20 acres, removing the trees, and dumping road construction debris there instead.
  11. There are several properties, some containing pipeline and recreation trails within the Township that are owned by the Turnpike Commission.
  12. There has been dumping and off-road vehicles on the property.
  13. These 20 acres are also a buffer for Charlestown Oaks.
  14. There would be a gate to limit access.
  15. Mr. Gill said there would be requests for waivers for replacement landscaping, recreation waivers, and a conservation waiver since the contents were already presented.
  16. Mr. Gill wanted to present to the Board in October subject to resolution of tonight’s issues.
  17. The salt shed is 41’7”, the L-shaped building without a flat roof is 34’5” high, and the small building next to the shed is 29’6” high.

Mr. Allen asked about the need for 40’ light poles and discussed light spilling toward neighbors. He pointed out the neighbors across the Turnpike, although 700 feet away, will still see the lights. He felt the motion-activated lights might be annoying. Mr. Buser said it was better to have 40 poles with cut-offs because 20’ lights are conical and the disbursement of the illumination was better with fewer rows of light poles. They did not want to have more light poles, nor more poles in spots where they don’t want them. They felt the taller ones spilled less light. The topography helps shield Charlestown Oaks due to a 75 foot change.

Mr. Buser felt that Deerfield to the east may not have a practical solution like Charlestown Oaks. Mr. Mallach and the Members felt that putting back shields on the l.e.d. lights may need to wait until the Deerfield residents can see the illumination impact. Mr. Westhafer suggested fixtures in islands, using a minimum height for lighting the back area and using lower poles for the driveway. The applicants will consider customizing poles for adequate coverage for different widths of pavement. Further discussion regarding light levels, light spillage, illumination of other areas vs. amount of illumination, and keeping light below the ridge of the building continued. Mr. Allen thanked the team for the effort made to reduce the impact of lighting from the new facility.

Mr. Allen asked what could be done about the backup alarms, understanding the need for safety, and following the law. The applicant stated they would look into what mitigation could be done. Ms. Leland was told that the stormwater preparation and figures were very good, by Mr. Mallach. Mr. von Hoyer and Mr. Mallach asked for delineated easements on the plans and to include an aerial photograph as an exhibit.

Mr. Patry said Advanced GeoServices will be sure to require the entire parcel to be shown on the Plan and will obtain details regarding the “highway vs. street” issue.

There were no questions from the audience.

Mr. von Hoyer asked if the PC was ready to form a motion but Mr. Westhafer was not ready to since lighting is a key issue. He felt the plan was not close enough to be considered. Mr. Gill was adamant to present to the Board saying the site layout was not going to change, only the illumination under the guidance of safety. He suggested returning to the PC to update and reshare the lighting and landscaping. But that would be after proceeding to the Board with a PC recommendation. Mr. Motel agreed with Mr. Westhafer’s position, as did Mr. von Hoyer. Mr. Westhafer wanted to see the revision first.

Mr. Thompson said that no recommendation is required to proceed to the Board. Mr. Wright, Mr. Stubbe, and Mr. Gill will connect. Then Mr. Gill will give an initial Board presentation, continue with the PC, then proceed to the next Board meeting. Mr. Gill will tell the Board that the PC is discussing landscaping and lighting again with them in October, but the Board consideration of the Plan is requested.


Mrs. Csete requested emails from Members regarding any ideas they had that would impact the budget for 2021. They are to include any new events or tours, and any new planning expenses. Mr. von Hoyer suggested adding the cost to reserve conference rooms for 2 or 3 meetings at the Desmond. Suggestions should be sent to Mrs. Csete by October 15.

Mr. Goodman offered to be the tour guide for any walks to the forest discussed by the Turnpike Commission.

General Planning Items

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 9:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner
Recording Secretary