Great Valley Middle School Room 154
255 North Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, Pa
Tuesday, November 9, 2021


Planning Commission:
Andre von Hoyer, Chairman, Andy Motel, Dan Walker, and Bill Westhafer. Mike Richter, Vice-Chair, Matt Rogers, and Michael Churchill were absent.
Dan Wright, P.E., Thomas Comitta, Daniel Mallach. and Greg Richardson.
Michael Allen, Linda Csete, Beth Martin, and Lisa Gardner

Call to Order:

7:30 p.m.


Mr. von Hoyer introduced Ms. Wendy McLean, new counsel for the Charlestown Planning Commission.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. von Hoyer moved to approve the minutes of October 12, 2021, with two minor edits, and Mr. Westhafer seconded. Mr. von Hoyer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Zoning Amendment Request

Proposal to Add Research & Development to NC-2 District

Ms. Gina Gerber, Esq., along with Mr. McDevitt and Mr. Devine of Warren Avenue Investors, continued the discussion about adding research and development as a permitted use in the NC-2 zoning district. The building under consideration for rental by the applicant is 20,000 square feet but may expand to 30,000 in about ten years. They estimate that 60% will be lab space and 40% will be office space.

Ms. Gerber indicated she met with Mr. Wright, Supervisor Kuhn, and Mrs. Csete, on October 27th to review the request. She distributed a red-lined version of the suggested amendment and explained the thinking behind changing the definitions. The impact could be felt on other uses in the Township, but Mr. Wright agreed with the wordsmithing.

Mr. Motel moved to recommend amending Part 2 Definitions, Section 27-202 in Definition of Terms to replace “Laboratory” with the edit “Laboratory for scientific research and development”. Also, to allow “Laboratory of scientific research and development” as a permitted use in the NC-2 zoning district. Mr. Westhafer seconded. Mr. von Hoyer called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

General Planning Items

Traffic Improvements in TND Area 3

Mr. Greg Richardson, of Traffic Planning and Design, reported on a meeting with Mr. Motel, Mr. Allen, and Mr. Wright, to discuss possible rezoning of a portion of the TND-3 district. The TND-3 district is the area surrounding the Post Office extending westward toward the Charlestown Elementary School and northward to Rees/Union Hill Roads. This includes most of the lands surrounding the PA Turnpike and the intersection of PA Route 29 and Yellow Springs Road/Warner Lane. Mr. Richardson said he reached out to PennDOT for feedback on design aspects along Rt. 29 and Yellow Springs Road.

He commended the PC for taking a proactive approach on the area and discussed 4 main points covered by PennDOT. Many of these points were covered by Mr. Paul Lutz.

  1. Vehicular Access to the State Roads- Limit access to lower classified roads, reduce the driveways in proximity to signalized intersections, consider restricted turning movements of vehicles (ex. awkward turns), and limit the amount of access to the area (ex. by combining driveways).
  2. Pedestrian Access to the State Roads- A vital concern for the PC as walkable, easy access, and safe movement in the TND-3. If developed responsibly PennDOT reminded Members to consider how to arrange parking, alleys, and stores, etc.

    Mr. Richardson admitted that the reps at PennDOT had not visited the site nor were they aware of the topography of the area. They used more of a birds-eye view in their analysis and found signals, crossings, and ramps not placed optimally. This is why #3 is a more difficult challenge.

  3. Improving the performance of the intersection at Route 29 and Yellow Springs Road, and Route 29 vs. Warner Lane- The safety concerns are best approached as a “corridor” viewpoint when re-addressing PennDOT, not intersection by intersection per Mr. Richardson. He suggested:
    1. Gather local data and videos. Although many of the accidents are not reportable or are simply near misses, informative proof still provides weight when requesting a safety study.
      • He warned that this will likely be met with more signage or pavement markings.
      • Mr. Frank Boyle, an owner of some of the properties surrounding The Office Bar and Grille, suggested green islands that are traffic calming devices (visual aids to slow drivers).
      • The Members also noted that another problematic corridor exists at the intersection of Charlestown Road and Coldstream Road, since traffic stacks up on Coldstream Road (the lower classified road).
  4. Lastly reducing the speed limit from 45 to perhaps 30 or 35mph– Mr. Richardson stated that this usually required proving accidents being caused by high speeds. The Township could request a speed study with the safety study. PennDOT had no suggestion regarding slowing down the traffic.

Next Steps:

Mr. Richardson suggested since they were looking for innovative ways of improving this corridor, to consider a discussion with Mr. Patel. He is a PennDOT district engineer and has innovative ideas. Mr. Motel, Mr. Allen, and others will meet with Mr. Richardson and Mr. Patel.

Therefore, Mr. Richardson will contact PennDOT to set up the discussion. He will need proof (videos etc.) of the problem spots, the PC’s ideas (like traffic calming), and the PC’s vision for the area. Bringing these to the discussion table along with a letter from a local representative or state senator would fast-track the process. The goal is to obtain a safety (and speed) study of the corridor from the Township border near the Marriott on General Warren Boulevard to Charlestown Road and Route 29.

General Planning Strategy Discussion

Ms. McLean Esq. began with some background. Her initial suggestion to the PC was to adopt the International Fire Code as approved for Pennsylvania. Mrs. Csete will follow up with Mr. von Hoyer. Then she advised considering transferable developer rights in conjunction with the Phoenixville Regional Comprehensive Plan, to develop across municipal boundaries. She will review the 10-year plan for the Township.

Mr. Comitta will send Ms. McLean the 2000 Comprehensive Plan where TDR work was left off for her review so that now the Township can consider whether to continue that approach.

She also mentioned considering a Small Cell Wireless Ordinance since there have been changes in federal regulations.

Mr. von Hoyer was told the PC could have executive sessions for certain things, two examples were tutorials and real estate matters.

Update – Design Manual for Devault Village at Spring Oak

Mr. Allen provided an update on the Design Manual for DVSO following a Design Review Committee Meeting on November 5th at the township office with Ms. Carol Quigley, Mr. Comitta, Mr. Richter, Mr. Wright, and Mr. Philips. The manual was recommended by the DRC, finished and ready to be approved by the PC. They are accepting edits, but the PC had recently reviewed it before the few architectural changes made. The garages designs were updated and solar panel restrictions were removed. The DRC distributed the packet containing 5 homes with the sub-designs that followed due to elevation changes. Changes are reflected by “a #2” on the upper right corner of the page. The manual will go to the Board for final approval per Mrs. Csete.

Impervious coverage adjustments will be made between the Township and JP Orleans at a meeting on Monday the 15th, at 2 pm, at the Desmond in Malvern, PA.

There will be no additional Rees Road access and the construction road will be gated and locked as open space. It will only be opened in case of an emergency.

Fee-in-Lieu – Update Fee Schedule for 2022-2026

Since the new 2020 Census Figure of 6,001 has been obtained, Mr. Comitta will propose an updated fee schedule at the December 14th meeting. This would be for the Recreational Fee-in-Lieu requirements for future development when that development doesn’t propose recreational elements. The last census figure from 2010 was 5,671.

Natural Resource Protection Ordinance Revisions

Discussion continued on revisions to the ordinance about natural resource protection.

Other Business

Mr. Comitta distributed a November 9, 2021, Open Space & Recreational Resources Map listing the Percent of the Township Preserved at 40.3%.

Mr. von Hoyer stated that PC Members may contact Ms. McLean at will and he discussed the dynamics of her working with the PC and other consultants for the Township.

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 10:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner
Recording Secretary
sheet, 11/9/2021