The Schuylkill Township Planning Commission held their regularly scheduled meeting at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 15, 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. Also in attendance were Mr. Parry, Mrs. Majewski, Mrs. Guerette and Mr. Morrisson from the Board of Supervisors and Ms. Mary Lou Lowrie, the Township Engineer, from Gilmore & Associates.
On motion by Mr. Quigg and seconded by Mr. English, and passed, the Planning Commission approved the minutes of January 18, 2017. There was no Planning Commission meeting in February.
Ordinance Amendments – Mr. Morrisson gave a brief overview regarding the ongoing work of the Ordinance Committee. He stated that the ordinance amendments for discussion with the Planning Commission were to clarify, remove or replace wording or certain sections of the Stormwater, Zoning and Subdivision and Land Development Ordinances.
Chapter 299 – Soil Erosion, Sedimentation and Grading Control. Ms. Lowrie stated that Chapter 299 should be rescinded. The ordinance adopted in 1974 is outdated and has been superseded by Chapter 310, Stormwater Management, Chapter 320, Subdivision & Land Development, and Chapter 370, Zoning.
Zoning Ordinance Amendments.
Section 370-37. APO-II – Mr. Jim Nolen who recently received approval to build 9 apartment building, each with 8 apartment units, on 10 acres off of Pawling Road is now proposing to build 32 townhomes instead. The townhomes would be built approximately in the same footprint where the apartment buildings were proposed. Townhomes are not a use permitted by right or special exception in the APO-II zoning district. Mr. Bauer questioned why the definition of multi-family housing wouldn’t be changed to add townhomes. Mr. Rahe stated that townhomes are multi-family. Mr. Quigg stated that the change in the ordinance is to satisfy one developer. Mr. Morrisson stated that changing the definition of multi-family to incorporate townhomes would make the definition broader. He advised that Mr. Nolen has helped in showing us that our ordinance definition needed to be amended. Mr. Morrisson stated that it is generally accepted in ordinances from other municipalities that multi-family covers townhomes. Ms. Lowrie disagreed with his opinion about the multi-family definition. Townhomes are not multi-family; townhomes are separate structures that are connected in a series of three or more buildings. Multi-family housing is multiple dwelling units contained in one structure. Mr. English stated that APO-I uses could be added to APO-II. Mr. Reading stated that by adding townhomes there would be less residents and less traffic which means less impact on township services such as police and possibly the school district. Mr. Reading stated that the Planning Commission is comfortable with the ordinance change presented that allows townhomes in the APO-II zoning district by adding the word “townhomes” to Section 370-37.
Section 370-73. Flood Hazard District. Clarification and renumbering of the ordinance has been provided. Mr. Rahe questioned if making changes to Section 370-73 makes it harder for residents to build in flood hazard area. Mrs. Majewski stated that FEMA does not allow anything to be constructed in a flood area.
Section 370-128. Fences and Walls. Clarification and renumbering of ordinance sections has been provided.
Section 370-223.F(2)(a). Article XXVIII Natural Resource Conservation Overlay District. The wording “water feature exists” was added to the ordinance section. Mr. Morrisson questioned if water feature was a defined term.
Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance Revisions –
Ordinance Sections 320-18.C(2)(b) Preliminary plan, Existing features Inventory, Built features; 320-18.D(6) Preliminary plan, Proposed features; 320-18.D(25) Historic resource impact study; 320-19.C – Final plan; 320-20.I General; 320-22.B(4)(e) Streets, Street alignment, and Street grading; and 320-22.C(1)(d) Streets, Right-of-way width, Paving width and curbing, Classification, Single-access streets. Clarification and renumbering of ordinance sections has been provided.
Section 320-22.D – Street paving. Street paving specifications have been updated including minimum compaction depths for various road paving courses. Mr. Reading stated that the paving specifications are onerous for private roads. Ms. Lowrie advised that a developer could request a waiver of the ordinance section from the Board of Supervisors.
Sections320-23.C(1)(b) Alleys, driveways and parking areas, Parking areas, Off-street parking, Curbing; 320-24.B(1) Sidewalks and curbs, Curbs; 320-25.D Blocks-Crosswalk; 320-29.B Survey Monuments; 320-38 Grading, excavation, erosion and sedimentation control – various subsections; 320-40.A Vegetation Preservation; and 320-62.A Inspection of work and materials. Clarification of ordinance sections has been provided.
Section 320-28.D(2) Drainage. This section is covered under Chapter 310 Stormwater Management and Chapter 370, Zoning, Natural Resources Conservation Overlay District and should be deleted.
On motion by Mr. Rahe, seconded by Mr. Bauer, and passed, the Planning Commission recommended that the proposed ordinance amendments as discussed be passed along to the Board of Supervisors for their consideration.
There being no other business, the planning commission adjourned at 9:10 pm.
Next Planning Commission Meeting: April 19, 2017