Schuylkill Township
Planning Commission
MEETING DATE: November 15, 2017

The Schuylkill Township Planning Commission held their regularly scheduled meeting at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 at the Township hall.  Members of the Planning Commission present were Mr. Jim Reading, Mr. Eric Rahe, Mr. Curt English and Mr. Mark Donovan. Mr. Quigg and Mr. Bauer were absent from the meeting. Mr. Reading chaired the meeting.  Mr. Fred Parry and Mr. Jim Morrisson from the Board of Supervisors were present at the meeting.

Nolen Property – Pawling Road – Mr. Michael Sodl of Wilkinson & Associates, Inc. came before the Planning Commission to present a revised development plan for the Valley Forge Meadows Co., Inc. property on Pawling Road.  Mr. James Nolen, principal of Valley Forge Meadows Co., Inc. was also present.  Mr. Sodl explained that the township had on July 6, 2016 granted conditional final approval for a 72 unit apartment complex to be built on this property.  The new plan will replace the 72 apartments with 32 townhomes.  The townhomes will occupy the same building footprint as the apartment buildings.  There are no substantive changes from the apartment complex development plans other than those for which waivers are being requested; Waiver 1: Section 502.B.3. – to permit the design of vertical curves in accordance with AASHTO Green Book and the use of K values for 25 MPH for private roads; Waiver 2: Section 503.F. – To permit vehicular parking perpendicular to curbs on private roads; and Waiver 3: Section 510.E.11.A. – To permit underground stormwater basins within 50’ of a building as the proposed townhouse units do not have basements below ground level.  Basin is located downstream of townhouse building #8, and the maximum water level in the basin and through emergency spillway is several feet below the lowest floor elevation.  Mr. Sartor, the Township Engineer, advised the members of the Planning Commission that Gilmore & Associates, Inc. has reviewed the townhouse development plans as noted in the November 9, 2017 Final Plan – First Review letter submitted to the Planning Commission and recommends approval of the requested 3 waivers.

Upon motion by Mr.  Rahe, seconded by Mr. Donovan and unanimously passed, the Schuylkill Township Planning Commission recommends granting of the following waivers for the subdivision plan titled “Valley Forge Meadows Company, Inc. Proposed Townhouse Residential Development, Schuylkill Township, Chester County”, Tax Parcel 27-6-1217 as prepared by Wilkinson & Associates, Inc., and dated September 27, 2017 and last revised October 27, 2017.

Waiver 1: Section 502.B.3. – to permit the design of vertical curves in accordance with AASHTO Green Book and the use of K values for 25 MPH for private roads;

Waiver 2: Section 503.F. – To permit vehicular parking perpendicular to curbs on private roads; and

Waiver 3: Section 510.E.11.A. – To permit underground stormwater basins within 50’ of a building as the proposed townhouse units do not have basements below ground level.  Basin is located downstream of townhouse building #8, and the maximum water level in the basin and through emergency spillway is several feet below the lowest floor elevation. 

Upon motion by Mr. Donovan, seconded by Mr. Rahe and unanimously passed, the Schuylkill Township Planning Commission recommends granting of conditional final approval for the subdivision plan titled “Valley Forge Meadows Company, Inc. Proposed Townhouse Residential Development, Schuylkill Township, Chester County”, Tax Parcel 27-6-1217 as prepared by Wilkinson & Associates, Inc., and dated September 27, 2017 and last revised October 27, 2017; said approval to be conditioned on adequately addressing all comments in the Gilmore & Associates, Inc. final plan review letter dated November 9, 2017 to the satisfaction of the Township Engineer.

10 Jug Hollow Road/Ember Lot Line Adjustment - – Mr. Michael Sodl of Wilkinson & Associates, Inc. came before the Planning Commission to present a request for a subdivision lot line adjustment for Tax Parcel 27-6-205.1, 10 Jug Hollow Road and Tax Parcel 27-6-206, 590 Valley Park Road.  Mr. Sodl explained that the purpose of the lot line adjustment is to create more traditionally shaped lots and that neither parcel has room for any future development due to environmental encumbrances and setback requirements.  Mr. Rahe noted that the existing lots are non-conforming and questioned whether the lot line revision will change this status.  Mr. Sartor responded that 3 non-conformities will be worsened with the lot line revision; the minimum developable lot area, maximum building coverage and maximum lot coverage.  Mr. Sartor said that Gilmore & Associates will defer to the Township Solicitor as to what, if any, zoning relief may be required for these non-conformities.  Mr. Sartor added that consideration should be given as to whether any precedents will be set.  Mr. Rahe asked about existing water and sanitary sewer facilities; Mr. Sodl responded that these will be shown on the plan for both lots and the line revision will not affect these facilities.  Mr. Sartor mentioned that legal descriptions signed and sealed by a Pennsylvania-licensed Professional Land Surveyor should be submitted for each proposed lot.

Upon motion by Mr. English, seconded by Mr. Reading and unanimously passed. the Schuylkill Township Planning Commission recommends granting conditional final approval to the plan titled “Stuart Ember Lot Line Adjustment” prepared by Wilkinson & Associates, Inc. dated September 20, 2017 and last revised November 7, 2017; said recommendation to be subject to the Township Solicitor’s findings for any zoning variances and subject to those variances, and conditioned upon all items being addressed from the Gilmore & Associates, Inc. review letter dated November 9, 2017 to the satisfaction of the Township Engineer.

Valley Forge Crossing - Valley Forge Conference Center-Senior Residences – Mr. Lou Colagreco, representing the Endeavor Property Group (EPG) came before the Planning Commission with a revised concept plan presentation and a proposed draft Congregate Care “CC” Zoning Ordinance and Map Overlay for the former approximately 50 acre National Christian Conference Center now owned by the University of Valley Forge (UVF).  The property is currently zoned Residential – R-1.  Mr. Peter Monaghan of the EPG was also present.

Mr. Lou Colagreco, representing EPG, advised that the development of the property would be a continuing care retirement community that would include independent, assisted living and personal care type living along with townhomes, carriage homes and apartment “villages” located on the property. Mr. Colagreco stated that there is a total of 345 living units.

Traffic Planning and Design (TPD), has developed a traffic study incorporating the Township Engineer’s comments and PennDOT’s comments to the scoping application. The traffic study includes the following intersections: Country Club/Route 23; Flintlock Lane/Route 23; Eastgate Drive/Route 23 and Valley Park Road/Route 23.

Mr. Colagreco advised that discussion this evening concerned whether a zoning change application to allow a development of this type would be considered by the township and added that the fiscal impact assessment prepared for EPG shows for the Township, revenues of $304,100 versus costs of $257,400 to $261,800, or a net fiscal gain of $42,300 to $46,700 annually. $21,000 of this surplus is reserved for the Township’s Open Space Fund. 

Several commission members expressed concern over the increase in maximum allowable density permitted under the proposed CC ordinance and Mr. Rahe stated he would like to see the specific numbers for the proposed concept plan.  Mr. Donovan stated that he had reservations on the size and scope of the proposed zoning change and said he would prefer this be brought before the Board of Supervisors in January or February of 2018 for discussion prior to any recommendation from the Planning Commission.  Discussion ensued regarding traffic impacts on surrounding neighborhoods from the proposed development.  Mr. Colagreco advised that at this point EPG is trying to see what improvements are feasible with PennDOT and that the Township’s Traffic Engineer will be included in the development process.

Mr. Morrisson asked if the proposed draft CC Ordinance conforms to the Pennsylvania Municipal Planning Code.  Mr. Colagreco responded that the draft ordinance was designed around the EPG concept plan and that it was just a template for the Township’s use.

Mr. Keith Wickstrom, 27 Flintlock Lane, expressed concern about the location of townhomes adjacent to Flintlock Lane, stating that the structures are 3 to 4 times larger than the homes on Flintlock with the highest point of the subject property being 10’ – 15’ above grade on Flintlock.  Mr. Wickstrom said that zoning should protect the character of a community.  Mr. English asked if Mr. Wickstrom’s concerns could be addressed through landscape setbacks, buffers and screenings being incorporated into the proposed ordinance.  Mr. Wickstrom questioned whether the proposed CC ordinance would be considered spot zoning.  Mr. Colagreco advised that the Township Solicitor should weigh in on that question.

Mr. Reading asked about the impact study review.  Mr. Colagreco said the fiscal impact is minor.  Townhomes and carriage homes will be sold; apartments will be rentals.  About half the units will be independent living and half will be assisted living. With the highest level of assisted living, the targeted residential audience will have strong insurance and strong income.  Mr. Morrisson stated that the proposed CC ordinance does not appear to meet the continuing care retirement model because skilled nursing care is not included.  Mr. Monaghan replied that the trend is turning away from skilled nursing due to complexities in care and liability laws; presently most models stop at personal and memory care. 

Mr. Colagreco asked what the next step should be for EPG.  The Planning Commission recommended that the inadequacy of the buffering of the townhomes on the Flintlock Lane side of the proposed development be reviewed and addressed and that EPG should present a revised sketch plan to the Planning Commission at their December 20, 2017 meeting.

There being no business for discussion, the meeting was adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Madeline M. Harbison
Township Secretary

Next Meeting:  December 20, 2017