Desmond Hotel and Via Webex


Planning Commission:
Andre von Hoyer, Chairman, Michael Richter, Vice Chairman, Andy Motel, Dan Walker, Bill Westhafer, and Michael Churchill. Wendy Leland and Matt Rogers were absent.
Daniel T. Wright, P.E., Thomas Comitta, and Daniel Mallach.
Linda Csete, Michael Allen, Beth Martin, and Lisa Gardner.
Public via Webex:

Call to Order:

7:04 p.m.

Announcements - None


Mr. Thomas Comitta presented a history of the TND zoning district, which is incorporated in the minutes in its entirety. Also included, are considerations for the future of Charlestown Township and growth within the next 10 years in the uncommitted TND areas (page 12). Important points included the top five Key Design Elements (see page 6):

  1. Networked system of interconnected streets.
  2. Sidewalks, crosswalks, pedestrian paths, or walkways.
  3. Open space or parks.
  4. Porches, porticos, or colonnades.
  5. Infrastructure such as fences, gazebos, pavilions, and lighting.

The presentation ended with 4 comments from Mr. Comitta.

  1. He said an equation could be developed to determine how many apartments are suitable in a particular area.
  2. He asked what is the point where a design change returns to the DRC that is already a field change?
  3. He asked how to add more initiatives, strengths and weaknesses to the list of Consideration for Enhancements & Next Steps, as they learn and build on experiences.
  4. Lastly, he suggested discussing the middle of the chart on page 13 in a future meeting to obtain more green space and define necessary metrics.

Certainly, a need for maintaining detailed notes at DRC meetings was vital in addition to formalizing a process for scheduling construction meeting at sites. A list, emerging from tonight, will be created for navigating the next 10 years.

Comments, Questions & Answers

How do we connect all TND’s and take the plans from the past into the future? (Mr. Motel)
Residents are unaware of the vision the Township has for TND’s. The desire to decrease the necessity of an automobile and increase pedestrian traffic, to decrease urban sprawl and return to a more traditional neighborhood “front porch” design, was successfully introduced into the Township with this zoning tool. New ideas like the hotel were incorporated into the overall vision because it fitted into the overall vision.

Mr. Allen asked that fundamentals not be forgotten and that surroundings be considered, since it is easy to become focused on the development or project and lose sight of the vision or entire overlay. A key point to remember is that TND 2 will be the hub or heart and connect the Township to the Devault area.

Mr. Wright believes construction or DRC meetings are working well and that well established procedures and protocols can be adopted for the TND2. Lifestyle changes are welcomed in these walkable communities but the communities need to be joined for a sense of unity.

Ms. Quigley felt much time and effort could be saved if everyone was on the same page, thus the construction/DRC meetings. She suggested designation points or commercial destinations to help buildup porch communities.

Mr. von Hoyer agreed with Mr. Wright’s comment and thought a commercial center, or entertainment/gathering space could draw residents together.

Mr. Westhafer expanded on that idea suggesting a “place”, with a town center something like nearby Eagleview.

Mr. Motel discussed pushback from Spring Oak, especially the recently mentioned access road. He wants the Township to keep the original encompassing vision in mind as they look at new applications.

Mr. Comitta observed that it is critical that Devault Foods is reserving the right of way (access road) that leads to TND2 and the other connections. He discussed sharing the need for connectivity with the next applicant and including at least the top 3 of the Key Design Elements (page 6). Also, it would be helpful to mention the need for a town center in any discussion. Everyone agreed this discussion needed to be very early in the process of the plan.

Mr. Richter reminded the audience that a walkable path to a building isn’t a necessity. An area with electric hookup, or a park like atmosphere with infrastructure, such as in Eagleview, would suffice. Mr. von Hoyer felt there may be some friction due to communities not being able to use each other’s amenities even though they are closely connected, etc.

Mr. Kuhn began a discussion about mandating a clubhouse in next ordinance. Mr. Allen stated that any discussion resulting in a conclusion needs to be specific so that it is interpreted the same by the builder, inspector, etc. Mr. Wright said if the building code enforcer clearly understands the DRC demands then infringements can be caught early vs. only verifying code compliance. Tight communication with the DRC or Ms. Quigley is critical.

Mr. Churchill felt it wasn’t reasonable to have the next TND applicant pay for what Charlestown needed to unify communities, or have them pay for a plan that would complete the Township’s TND vision.

Returning to the 2 starting points by Mr. Comitta:

Mr. Comitta learned from Mr. Wright that functional items, not DRC/outlier details agreed upon in a construction review meeting, are what triggers Mr. Wright during an E&S inspection. Ms. Quigley doesn’t go to the sites. She approves on paper what architecture and materials are used correctly. Did there need to be an additional visit to the site or should being firm with a project manager for compliance be enough? Connecting the approved drawing and submittals should equal what is built with no work stoppages but the Township has caught field changes from approved designs (in some developments more than others). For example, Pickering Crossing had a precise vision with a detailed design manual but Spring Oak was built according to market demands. So, the next developer needs to get all things right.

A next step per Mr. Motel is to remember that the Township owns 6 acres in Devault TND-2 but a town center is a need, not a necessity to be provided entirely by the developer. Mr. Comitta will reach out to the next applicant for dialogue regarding top design elements. Discussion followed regarding the type of discussion being a PC meeting, an informal meeting, or DRC, etc.

Mrs. Csete felt the process was a bit disjointed and Mr. Comitta suggested emailing each other to try and share further thoughts to arrive at a procedure.

Mr. Richter suggested the Township take the responsibility to add a community center that includes a voting area and a Township office. Discussion followed about the responsibility being shared.

Mr. Rubenfield of Milton Drive, Spring Oak, was against the access road/right of way to his area due to traffic coming from Devault Foods. He was in favor of a common commercial area.

Keeping in mind Mr. Richter’s comment about residents not looking outside of their own communities, it was noted by Mr. Mallach that the communities are divided first by postal zip codes, and secondly by how they were marketed. This alone creates division and there should be an effort to bring all the developments under a Devault umbrella to conceptually re-identify them as Devault area communities (ex. by using Devault in the names of current and future developments).

Mr. Wright said the quarry is still active and it is not slowing down. It is systematically filling in quarried area with clean fill but it will be at least 25 years until it is ready to explore other uses.

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. Comitta adjourned the meeting at 9 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner
Recording Secretary