Schuylkill Township
Planning Commission
MEETING DATE: February 21, 2018

Jim Reading called the meeting to order at 8:00pm.  This is the first meeting of 2018.  Members of the Planning Commission in attendance were: James Reading, Morris Quigg, Erich Rahe, Michael Bauer, Curtis English. Barbara Cohen was not in attendance.  John Sartor, Township Engineer from Gilmore & Associates was in attendance. Morris Quigg made the motion to reappoint Jim Reading as Chair and Eric Rahe as Vice Chair. Curt English seconded the motion. All approved.  Curt English was reappointed to be the Regional Planning representative. All current appointed Board of Supervisors were in attendance in the audience. (M. Majewski, S. Guerrette, F. Parry, J. Morrison, M. Donovan)

Eric Rahe made the motion to approve the minutes from the December 20, 2017 meeting. Jim Reading seconded the motion. All approved.

Sedgely Farm / Reeves Property – Mr. Todd Pohlig gave a presentation of the plans from start (buy-rite) to the present plan J which proposes 90 new housing units. Four existing homes, three of which are historic, on the site will remain. Plan J has been slightly revised to shift the single family homes in northern half of community to the east, closer to the reservoir to preserve more trees on the site. There is over 35% of designated open space. Sidewalks are being proposed from Route 23 down the main access road and around through to connect to East Philip Drive.  There is a proposed public trail leading to a viewpoint of the reservoir on the northern side of the development. Stormwater management will be all throughout the site in forms of shallow basins with vegetation. Pohlig is working with AQUA PA to create an innovative water quality management system.  The open space and property surrounding the carriage homes and twins will be maintained by the community HOA.  Pohlig will need to secure all new environmental clearances and is in the process of doing that.  PennDot permits will also need to be obtained with updated traffic counts.  The development is within the Townships’ Act 537 and will have public sewer and public water. Pohlig stated the development is not age restricted, however they are targeting an older “50+ empty-nester” market.  The first floor master bedrooms, and small to no yards (carriage/twins) will limit the market.  Pricing is estimated to start at $500,000 for the twins, $600,000 for the carriage homes and $800,000 for the single family homes.  Morris Quigg asked about second egress onto East Philip Drive, currently a township cul de sac.  John Snyder confirmed that they own frontage onto East Philip Drive and they will have egress to the Sedgely development from East Philip Drive. It will be a deeded restriction that the access will be controlled by gated entry for entering and leaving the development.  It will not be able to be used as a “cut through” by the public.  Discussion ensued with members of the audience and supervisors regarding the legal use of the cul de sac.  Township Solicitor William Brennan was not in attendance and access questions were deferred until the next Planning Commission meeting.   Residents of Dorchester Way asked how wide the main access road will be to the development, as it runs behind their properties.  John Snyder stated that the access width to Route 23 is 50’ wide.  They are proposing the roadway be 24’ wide instead of the ordinance requirement of 28’ to allow for more green area.  Pohlig wants the development roads to be dedicated township roads when the development is completed.  Discussion about road improvements on Route 23 and Whitehorse Road/East Philip Drive were deferred to the March Planning Commission meeting. Pohlig will have his traffic engineer available for questions and traffic report presentations.

Mr. John Snyder discussed that this is the first development being proposed under the PRD ordinance (Planned Residential Development) and that all procedures in the townships standard ordinance do not apply.  The developments tentative plan is unlike anything in Article 5, in that being it’s a detailed sketch plan without formal engineering.   As per the PRD procedures, within 60 days the tentative sketch plan will go before the Board of Supervisors twice, the Planning Commission twice, the Environmental Advisory Council twice, and the Historic Commission twice. The Board of Supervisors must hold a hearing within the 60 days. After the hearing and approval a final fully engineered plan will be submitted to the township to be reviewed for compliance with the PRD ordinance.    Pohlig will attend the March 21, 2018 Planning Commission.

Pickering Valley Golf Course – Mr. Ben Thompson came before the Planning Commission seeking approval of a conceptual plan revising the development on part of the 372 acre property that spans Schuylkill Township and Charlestown Township.  The property contains a functional public golf course and multiple single family homes.    In 2011 Mr. Thompson received preliminary plan approval from the Planning Commission for the development of the golf course. In 2013 the approved plan showed large 10 acre lots.  The new conceptual plan that Mr. Thompson is seeking approval for will keep the Pickering Valley Golf Course open and move the proposed new houses into a cluster type development on the back (western side) of the golf course.  There will only be 11 houses on the Schuylkill Township side of the property and 13 on the Charlestown Township side.   Sites will have public water and on lot sewage. Onsite testing has been completed and was successful.   PVGC has entered into a conservation agreement with Natural Lands Trust, there will be no further subdivision or development than what this conceptual plan shows.   None of the proposed homes will require any form of Zoning Hearing Board relief.   Stormwater Management will be designed for all the homes, not onsite for each individual lot.  Lot size ranges from 2.3 acres to approximately 4 acres. This meets the minimum FR district lot size regulation.  Motion made by Jim Reading to approve the new conceptual plan that Ben Thompson presented to keep the Pickering Gold Course open.  Eric Rahe seconded the motion.  All approved.

Pickering Woods / CCIU / Pulte - The property is currently owned by the Chester County School Authority and is zoned Commercial. Pulte developers has 39 acres under contract and is proposing a 141 unit townhome community in the rear of the CCIU School property.  They are requesting a zoning change to residential. The preliminary plan previously presented had the main access to the development coming off of Buckwalter Road.  The revised plan presented tonight shows that entrance has been removed. There will be no access to development from Buckwalter Road. The new entrance will be on Charlestown Road and will be approximately 350 feet north of Buckwalter Road.  There will be an emergency access entrance off of the CCIU school property.  Pulte is targeting a “young professional” demographic.  Traffic studies estimate 66 vehicle trips during peak morning rush hour and 80 trips per peak evening rush hour.   Estimating that the development will add 1025 vehicle trips per day.  The roads in the development will be private.  Townhomes are approximately 24’ wide, 60’ deep, and each have a 2 car garage that faces the street.  70% of the property will be green space. Property will be serviced with public water and sewer.   Ed Brennan, resident of Buckwalter road, spoke about the impact that this development will have on the wetlands that is next to his property.  Pulte advised that there are 50 foot buffers required and that no land disturbance would take place near the wetlands.  Ed Brennan stated having a commercial district is beneficial to the township, as commercial properties have the potential to provide jobs to the residents.  Mrs. Morris of Buckwalter road pointed out that the schools are already overcrowded and to sell off school owned land for more homes doesn’t make sense. Other residents in attendance agreed. They feel it should remain commercial zoned and the school should consider keeping the land for future school use.  A resident stated that this plan doesn’t conform to the Comprehensive Regional Plan of low density housing. Eric Rahe explained that the Regional Plan does not supercede Township Zoning Ordinance.  Jim Reading stated to the audience that the school will sell the property, and it could end up being a big box store, strip mall, manufacturing plant, etc.  That if they do not recommend the re-zoning request it does not mean the property will remain as it is currently.   Jim Reading stated that the Board of Supervisors ultimately makes the decision to re-zone an area.   Morris Quigg said the Planning Commission should vote on whether to accept or reject the proposed townhome plan. Mike Bauer made the motion to not accept the plan and keep the property zoned as commercial. Jim Reading seconded the motion.  All approved.  The Planning Commission will recommend to the Board of Supervisors that the property remain commercial and the Pickering Woods plan is not accepted.

There being no further business for discussion, the meeting was adjourned at 10:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Kimberly Yocom
Zoning Administrative Office

Next meeting: Wednesday April 18, 2018