Mr. von Hoyer announced that a subcommittee consisting of himself, Matt Rogers, Dan Wright, Mike Allen and Tom Comitta will be meeting next week to review issues related to zoning district TND-3.
Mr. von Hoyer moved to approve the minutes of January 12, 2020, and Mr. Motel seconded. Mr. von Hoyer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
The Planning Commission discussed comments on the Phoenixville Regional Planning Commission (PRPC) review of the amendments proposed to equestrian uses in the Zoning Ordinance.
Mr. Comitta remarked the issue is to decide whether to keep the event center as part of the ordinance. He reminded the committee that in 2019 Supervisor Charlie Phillips was concerned about an event center and how Ludwig’s Corner turned out.
Mr. Churchill revised the draft further to:
Mr. Churchill asked that, given Mr. Theurkauf’s view that events with large numbers of spectators are out of scale with the rural/residential community, should the PC just drop the Equestrian Event Center category? No one holds these events on properties as small as 40 acres; they are more fit for places like the Kimberton Fair grounds or what used to exist at Ludwig’s Corner.
Mr. Churchill expressed that the Ordinance could be changed to comply with the suggestions and try to make the event center less intrusive. The number of days of each event could be cut down. He discussed this with Melissa Dicranian and Mr. Galbraith, who felt it would be sensible take out the event center, as expressed by Charlie Phillips. If not taken out, look at the parking for events. Mr. Churchill recommended taking the event center out of the Ordinance.
Mr. Motel agreed with removing the event center. He thanked Mr. Churchill for all of his hard work on the Ordinance.
Mr. Comitta will cleanup the Ordinance as discussed tonight making the changes to Section 5, including the removal of the Event Center and related definitions.
Mr. Churchill moved to recommend to the Board of Supervisors, the Equestrian Ordinance, with edits suggested tonight, and Mr. Motel seconded. Mr. von Hoyer called for discussion and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Comitta began by questioning whether the numbers in the Common TND Open Space Requirements chart should be increased. The Planning Commission wondered about the placement of the open spaces, using counts of buildings as a guide where to place them, for example, 12 units and then an open space element such as a plaza, green/square, mini-park/plaza or neighborhood park. The concern is how Devault Village will look, and to plan now for how the Planning Commission would like to see TND2, TND3, and TND4 to be arranged in regard to open space placement.
Mr. Comitta said he aligned the chart for TND areas 1 and 5 with what had been constructed at Spring Oak (area 1) and Pickering Crossing (area 5) and then interpolated for the undeveloped areas 2, 3, and 4.
The Planning Commission commented on the two completed TND communities, beginning with Spring Oak. In Spring Oak, the open space is on the periphery which potentially increases the density of the buildings.
Mr. von Hoyer commented that he liked the idea of limiting the number of units between green elements so that everyone has access to them but noted that when he went through Spring Oak there seemed to be lots of manhole covers on the field which would inhibit playing soccer, for example. Mr. Comitta noted the “D” shaped open space in Spring Oak contains an inlet and is at a higher slope (6%) than anticipated. Mr. Allen noted this is a problem with design. Mr. Churchill said this is not an ordinance problem as much as paying attention to what a developer is allowed to do.
Mr. Wright mentioned how the row of townhouses at Spring Oak along the line where Beyond Meat is located creates a buffer for the rest of the community. The green space all around Spring Oak gives a look of open space to the road as you pass by. Mr. Comitta points out a higher number of green areas in the northwest area of the site and in the future they should ensure more small spaces are interspersed throughout a site.
The Planning Commission then looked at Pickering Crossing, with Mr. Churchill pointing out more interspersed small greens, but asked whether people are using them.
Mr. Churchill said he feels people appreciate intermittently placed open spaces but expressed concern over being too specific in the ordinance rather than negotiating with the developer on a case by case basis. Requirements set in stone may not translate from one location to another depending on topography and other site features.
Mr. Comitta said to design a better open space network, TND areas 2, 3 & 4 need to be more prescriptive. He said that otherwise the Design Review Committee is left negotiating with the applicant a more reactive than promulgative manner.
Mr. Comitta stated that they can’t be assured they’ll have bona fide applicants for TND 2, TND3, and TND4 as they did with professionals Barton and Perry Morgan for Pickering Crossing and Spring Oak respectively. Therefore, the Township needs to be sure the builders are onboard prior to any work session. He believes that by adding more prescriptive requirements to the text and adding minimums to the chart numbers there’ll be no question to what the Township is looking for. He also mentioned adding wording to allow for flexibility.
Mr. Allen said to leave the chart numbers as is and allow flexibility to the open space types to be configured. He would like to see the Planning Commission have more control, then reconfigure as necessary.
Mr. von Hoyer commented that some areas, because of topography, will necessitate moving the buildings to the outside of the development, so we need to be flexible.
Mr. Comitta will tweak the chart and ordinance language and have it ready for the March meeting for further discussion.
Mr. von Hoyer asked Mr. Westhafer to comment on the email from the Supervisors requesting their review of solar panels. Short discussion followed with members commenting on what they knew about newer panel designs, including solar shingles. Members will review at a future meeting to consider any amendments to the current regulations.
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 8:21 p.m.