The Schuylkill Township Planning Commission held their regularly scheduled meeting at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at the Township hall. Members of the Planning Commission present were Mr. Jim Reading, Mr. Morris Quigg, Mr. Eric Rahe, Mr. Michael Bauer, and Mr. Curt English. Mr. Reading chaired the meeting. Mr. Bauer arrived after the reorganization portion of the meeting. Also in attendance were Mr. Parry, Mrs. Majewski, Mrs. Guerette and Mr. Morrisson from the Board of Supervisors.
Reorganization: On motion by Mr. Quigg, seconded by Mr. Rahe, and passed, Mr. Reading was named Chairman of the Planning Commission for 2017. On motion by Mr. Rahe, seconded by Mr. English, Mr. Quigg was named Vice-Chair of the Planning Commission for 2017. On motion by Mr. Quigg and seconded by Mr. Rahe, Mr. English was named Planning Commission liaison to the Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee for 2017.
On motion by Mr. Quigg and seconded by Mr. English, and passed, the Planning Commission approved the minutes of October 19, 2016. There were no Planning Commission meetings for November or December 2016.
Mr. Fred Parry thanked the Planning Commission members individually for their time and spirit of volunteerism. He stated that the Board of Supervisors values their opinion. Mr. Parry went on to say that although there is a Board liaison to the Planning Commission and that other Board members also attend the Planning Commission meetings at which they may have dialog regarding agenda items, it is ultimately up to the Planning Commission to make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors. On a final note, Mr. Parry stated that the Planning Commission should actively seek to fill the two vacant seats on the commission.
Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee (PRPC) – Mr. Rusty Strauss, East Pikeland Board of Supervisor member, East Pikeland Planning Commission member and member of the PRPC, came before the commission to give a brief overview of the regional planning committee. Mr. Strauss stated that the purpose of the committee was to protect unique historical, cultural and aesthetic resources; promote economic vitality, implement growth management practices, preserve open space, develop multi-model transportation choices; encourage walkable communities; maintain and improve recreation options and address the specific needs and unique conditions of each municipality in the region. Mr. Strauss advised that the two main documents of the PRPC are the Intergovernmental Cooperative Implementation Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Plan that was adopted in 2008.
Mr. Strauss stated that the PRPC applied for and received a Vision Plan Partnership Grant (VPP) from Chester County to update the regional comprehensive plan He advised that the PRPC is looking for the cooperation and involvement of each member municipal planning commission during the update of the plan.
Mr. Strauss advised that the PRPC reviews municipal ordinances that pertain to land use and density to make sure that a proposed ordinance is consistent with the regional comprehensive plan. Based on a set of parameters, the PRPC also reviews certain land development projects to ascertain whether or not the projects are consistent with the regional comp plan. He stated that the role of the PRPC is not an adversarial with developers but purely advisory.
Benefits of the PRPC were discussed. Communication among the member municipalities; protection of natural resources; sharing of land uses; transfer of development rights and revenue sharing are some of the benefits. Mr. Strauss stated that the member municipalities have moved in the direction of using the regional comprehensive plan as the municipal comprehensive plan. He stated that doing so saves the municipality with updating its own comp plan. Each municipality can add an addendum to the regional comp plan to protect unique features within the municipality. Schuylkill Township has not moved forward with signing onto the regional comp plan as the municipal comp plan and has reserved the right to do so later.
Lastly, expansion of the PRPC was discussed. Expansion would include contiguous municipalities or non-contiguous municipalities within the same school district. A unanimous vote is required from participating municipalities. Existing and new member municipalities must adopt the amended regional comp plan.
In other matters,
Jim Morrisson relayed to the planning commission that the Township purchased a 19 +/- acre conservation easement along Pawling Road from Nolen Properties the developer of Valley Forge Apartments. The cost of the easement was $220,000. Mr. Morrisson stated that working with the developer, the Township saved $800,000 in acquiring the easement. Mr. Morrisson stated that since the inception of the Open Space Committee in 2007 (the referendum to impose the Open Space Tax was in 2006) the Township has conserved about 270 acres.
Mr. Reading requested that the Township advertise on its website that there are two open seats on the planning commission.
There being no other business, the planning commission adjourned at 8:59 pm.