Schuylkill Township
Planning Commission
MEETING DATE: March 16, 2016

The Schuylkill Township Planning Commission held their regularly scheduled meeting at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16, 2016 at the Township hall.  Members of the Planning Commission present were Mr. Morris Quigg, Mr. Eric Rahe, Mr. Michael Bauer, and Mr. Curt English. Mr. Reading and Mr. Lombardi were not present. Mr. Quigg chaired the meeting.  Also in attendance were Mrs. Cohen, Mrs. Majewski and Mr. Morrisson from the Board of Supervisors and Mr. John Sartor, Township Engineer from Gilmore & Associates.

On motion by Mr. Rahe and seconded by Mr. Bauer, and passed, the Planning Commission approved the minutes of February 17, 2016.

Nolen Apartment Complex – Mr. Jim Nolen, developer, and Mr. Dan McKenna, engineer from Wilkinson & Associates came before the Planning Commission to request an additional waiver and final approval for the plan entitled Valley Forge Meadows Company, Inc. Proposed Apartment Complex.  Mr. McKenna stated that development of the 29.79 acre tract is on the Pawling Road side of the stream that runs through the property. He advised that there are outstanding issues that need responses – code review for ADA access, building setback and sump pump discharge.  Additionally, an NPDES plan has been submitted to the Chester County Conservation District for review and approval. Mr. McKenna stated that a stormwater management maintenance agreement is currently being completed for Township review. Mr. Sartor advised that all stormwater issues have been resolved.

An elevation concepts plan has been submitted to the Township that depicts two structure styles for the proposed apartment buildings. Mr. Rahe questioned if the drawings were binding. Mr. Nolen stated that generally speaking what is shown on the plan is what the buildings will look like.

Mr. McKenna requested a waiver of Section 402.B.7 of the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO) requiring the location, size and species of all existing individual trees be shown on the plan. This waiver was granted during preliminary plan approval but per ordinance must be requested again during final approval of the plan.

Mr. Rahe questioned the incline at the driveway entrance to the site shown on previous plans. Mr. Sartor stated that the matter has been resolved. Mr. Morrisson inquired about the conservation easement that was also shown on previous plans.  Mr. Nolen stated that he has taken the conservation easement out of the land development process. He advised that the conservation easement will follow after the subdivision process.  The easement area will not be subdivided from the developed area.  The proposed loop trail will not be paved but will be crushed stone.

On motion by Mr. Rahe, seconded by Mr. Quigg, and passed the Planning Commission recommended that a waiver of Section 402.B.7 of the SALDO be granted by the Board of Supervisors.

On motion by Mr. Bauer, seconded by Mr. Rahe, and passed, the Planning Commission recommended that the Board of Supervisors grant final approval to the Valley Forge Meadows Co. Inc. Proposed Apartment Complex plans dated August 22, 2014 and last revised February 22, 2016 conditioned on all items being addressed by the applicant in the March 11, 2016 Gilmore & Associates review letter.

1757/1763 Rock Hill Lane Lot Line Revision – Mrs. Christy Sammi, owner of 1757 Rock Hill Lane and Mrs. Lisa Wollan, owner of 1763 Rock Hill Lane, came before the Planning Commission with a proposed lot line revision between the two lots.  Mrs. Wollan stated that plans show the existing lot line as a straight line between the properties. She stated the plan submitted for the lot line revision shows the lot line is curved in the middle of both lots. When the line is redrawn, the backyard encroachment will be extinguished. There is no house and only a portion of the parking area for 1763 Rock Hill Lane where the lot line needs to be shifted so that the parking area is shown on the correct lot. Mr. Rahe stated that this lot line revision appeared to preserve the existing features on both properties. Mr. Quigg advised that the plan should be submitted concurrently to the Township Engineer and the Chester County Planning Commission for review.

Valley Park “Park” – Mr. Sartor stated that since discussion about the park at last month’s meeting, his office did a minor revision to the engineered plan to eliminate the retaining wall. The revision shifted the upper parking lot closer to Valley Park Road.  Since this was a deviation from the approved concept plan, the plan revision was brought back to the Valley Park Committee for review and approval. The committee accepted the revision and felt that the removal of the retaining wall was in keeping with the vision of the park as a natural setting. Mr. Quigg stated that elimination of the retaining wall will remove additional costs in constructing the park. Mr. Bauer questioned if the crushed stone lower parking lot is considered pervious or impervious. Mr. Sartor stated that crushed stone is considered impervious since the stone tends to knit together and does not allow for drainage.

The waivers, variances and special exceptions as discussed last month remain with the exception of the variance from Section 370-73.A(3)(a) for the installation of the retaining wall. Mr. Bauer questioned why the Township is planning for the installation of the lower parking lot which is considered Phase 2. Planning for and showing Phase 2 on the engineered plans helps with grant applications since it shows that the Township is thinking ahead to the future use of the park. Mr. Rahe stated that there is efficiency in getting a master plan approved.

Mr. Sartor stated that the next step is to discuss the engineered plan and the waivers, variances and special exceptions needed at an upcoming meeting of the Board of Supervisors.  Once the Board approves the plan and considers the waiver requests, the Township can then go before the Zoning Hearing Board for the variances and special exceptions needed. If a favorable ZHB opinion is rendered, then the Township can begin to seek grants for what will be a shovel ready project. Mr. Morrisson stated that the Township Solicitor and the Township Engineer can make a strong argument before the ZHB for the relief needed.

On motion by Mr. Rahe, seconded by Mr. Bauer, and passed, the Planning Commission recommended that the Board of Supervisors approve the amended plan for Valley Park “Park” with regard to the shifting of the upper parking lot and elimination of the retaining wall and that the balance of the engineered plan remains the same as the plan presented to the commission last month.

Phoenixville Regional Comprehensive Plan – Mr. English, the Planning Commission Liaison to the Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee (PRPC), stated that Mr. Theurkauf, the land planner for the PRPC is looking for endorsements from each member municipality regarding the Regional Comp Plan as being the official comp plan for each municipality. He advised that there is hesitation by the member municipalities to provide that endorsement. Mr. English advised that the Borough of Phoenixville has no intention of adopting the regional comprehensive plan as its official plan since they just went through a comprehensive plan update for the Borough. He stated that the Township will have input in the updating of the regional comp plan and will have the ability to enhance the plan to capture specifics inherent to Schuylkill Township. He advised that the municipalities with the exception of Phoenixville Borough has signed the implementation agreement for the existing plan.

Mr. Quigg questioned how the Township can show its commitment for a plan that has not been updated.  Mrs. Cohen stated that not signing onto the regional comp plan does not harm our position on the PRPC. Mr. Quigg questioned if the Township can add an addendum to the comp plan after it is adopted.  Mr. Morrisson was unclear if that could happen since the regional comp plan and the addendum would have two different adoption dates.  Mrs. Majewski stated her understanding from Mr. Theurkauf was that an addendum could be adopted after the comp plan.

Mr. English stated that the Township should keep on the path with the intention to adopt the regional comp plan. Mr. Morrisson stated that the Township should adopt the plan in some form. He stated that if municipalities do not do that then the region’s chances to receive a grant to update the regional comp plan are reduced.

On motion by Mr. Rahe, seconded by Mr. Bauer and passed, the Planning Commission recommended that the Township be a part of the process to develop the conceptual framework to be written by the PRPC consultant in the creation of the update to the regional comp plan.

There being no further business for discussion, the Planning Commission adjourned the meeting at 9:15 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary R. Bird
Township Manager

Next Meeting April 20, 2016