MEETING DATE: September 21, 2011

The Schuylkill Township Planning Commission held their regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, September 21 at 8:00 pm at the Township hall.  Members of the Planning Commission present were Mr. Reading, Mr. Seib, Mr. Hernon, Mr. Keogh and Mr. Lombardi.  Mr. Quigg was not present.  In attendance were Mr. Morrisson and Mr. Vutz of the Board of Supervisors, Mrs. Momyer and Mr. Gregory of the Historical Commission and Mrs. Gregory of the Environmental Advisory Council. Mr. Sartor the Township Engineer from Gilmore & Associates and Mr. Brennan, the Township Solicitor were also in attendance.

On motion by Mr. Seib, seconded by Mr. Lombardi, and passed, the Planning Commission approved the minutes of July 20, 2011.

Historic Site Overlay District Amendment – Mrs. Momyer stated that Mr. Brennan has met with Mr. Sweet the consultant who has developed the amendment to the Historic Overlay District to work out ordinance language issues. She advised that the Historic Inventory that consists of over 200 properties has been completed and that map of those properties is being finalized. Mr. Brennan stated that the proposed amendment has been reviewed in context with other historic preservation ordinances in Chester County.  He advised that it is difficult to find a balance between too much regulation and the need to preserve historic buildings. He stated that in the Philadelphia region preservation is a big issue.

The proposed amendment shows two classes of historic structures. A Class I property is a property that is a site or has a structure that  is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has received a determination of eligibility for the National Register or is deemed by Chester County to meet substantially the National Register criteria under the Chester County Certification Program.  A Class II property is a property that is a site or has a structure that does not presently qualify under the criteria for designation as Class I, is included in the Schuylkill Township Historic Resources Survey, and represents sufficient historic significance as to warrant, in the judgment of the historical commission, the protections and incentives offered by the proposed ordinance. The current ordinance contains a Class III property category that contains buildings or structures that are 50 years old or older and not included in Class I or Class II. Class III has been eliminated in the proposed ordinance.

Mr. Brennan advised that the Historic Overlay District amendment is not changing the base zoning of the properties.  Mr. Brennan briefly outlined the ordinance for the Planning Commission. He stated that one of the issues that has not been resolved is the definition of an Inn.  Section 907 of the proposed amendment discusses additional use opportunities in various zoning districts for historic properties. These additional uses would be permitted by right or by conditional use provided that the historic structure is which the additional use is proposed is preserved. Mr. Brennan stated that an Inn could end up having a liquor license and noise could result. He questioned to what extent uses be expanded to accommodate historic properties.

Mr. Brennan stated that the proposed ordinance also contains a section regarding Demolition by Neglect.   This type of demolition constitutes a violation of the ordinance. He stated that the ordinance may not have any effect on structures that already may be in disrepair prior to this ordinance being enacted by the Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Hernon questioned Section 900 that discuses preserving the exterior appearance of an historic structure versus Section 905.D regarding demolition by neglect that discusses the interior of a structure.  The disrepair of the interior of a structure can have a negative impact on the exterior of a structure.  Mr. Keogh questioned if there was anything in the ordinance that would alert a new property owner to the historic overlay that has been placed on the property.  Mrs. Momyer stated that there was positive feedback from the property owners that were part of the historical survey.  Some property owners wanted to preserve the historical nature of their properties. Mr. Gregory advised that many of the property owners provided the historical commission with historic information that they had on the property or the structures. 

Mr. Brennan stated that the ordinance as drafted needs to be have the zoning and subdivision and land development ordinance sections separated into two separate ordinances.  He advised that the zoning ordinance portion of the proposed ordinance also needs to have language to repeal the current ordinance in Article IX and the historic overlay language in Ordinance 2005-02.

Mr. Seib questioned how the ordinance would be implemented.  Mrs. Bird replied that implementation is through the Township Zoning Administration Officer and the Code Enforcement Officer.  Mr. Morrisson stated that the Township is beginning to look into possibly adopting portions of the property maintenance code which could be used in conjunction with the ordinance to protect structures.

On motion by Mr. Keogh, seconded by Mr. Seib, and passed, the Planning Commission recommended that the Board of Supervisors consider adopting the revised Historic Overlay Amendment.

Aqua PA, Pickering Treatment Plant Chemical Building – Mr. David Hughes of Aqua PA, Mr. Brian Swift of CET Engineering and Ms. Denis Yarnoff of Riley Riper, representing Aqua PA came before the Planning Commission to discuss the Gilmore & Associates review letter dated September 16, 2011. Ms. Yarnoff stated that Aqua can comply with everything in the letter although they would be requesting a number of waivers. Mr. Swift stated that the proposed chemical building would be sprinklered and the chemicals that would be contained in that building would not be co-mingled.  There will be a six inch water line for the sprinkler system. He stated that the chemicals to be placed in the proposed building are already housed on site at the Aqua treatment plant in another building. He advised that the fire marshal is aware of the chemicals on site now. Mr. Swift advised that the plant is managed 24/7 so there is always someone on site. He stated that Aqua PA will meet all zoning ordinance requirements of Section 1808.F amended per Ordinance 02-08 to ensure that contaminants will not be discharged into the environment.

Waivers requested:

  1. Sections 301.B, 302.A and 401 requiring a preliminary plan prior to a final plan.  Aqua PA is submitting a preliminary/final plan.
  2. Section 401.C.1.a requiring that contours be shown based on a site survey, and shall be based on the Township Sanitary Sewer Datum of the 1929 mean sea level datum. Aqua PA is using data based on a marker at the Pickering Plant site.
  3. Section 401.C.1.c requiring that for any parcel that contains hydric soils or soils with hydric inclusion, a wetland study shall be submitted.  Mr. Swift stated that there are hydric soils present on the Pickering Plant property but not near the site of the proposed chemical building.
  4. Sections 401.C.1.d and 402.B.7 requiring the location of existing individual tress shall be shown on the plan.  Aqua Pa is showing a natural tree line buffer on the plan that will remain undisturbed.
  5. Section 401.C.2.a requiring within 400 feet of the subject property and within 400 feet of the subject property that built features be shown on the plan.
  6. Section 401.C.2.b requiring measured distance from the centerline of the street to the existing buildings to be shown on the plan.
  7. Section 401.D.24.b.(4) requiring an Environmental Impact Assessment.
  8. Sections 402.C, 500.H and 502.C.2.c requiring dedication of street right-of-way.  No new streets are proposed.  Aqua PA is adjacent to Valley Forge Road (S.R. 23) which is a State Road.
  9. Section 504.A requiring sidewalks to be provided along all streets.
  10. Section 509.A requiring that monuments shall be provided at right-of-ways. There is existing monumentation.
  11. Section 514.C.2 and 514.C.3.a requiring a landscape screen for the proposed chemical storage building as the adjacent properties are residential.  There is an existing tree buffer on site.

Aqua PA is not connecting the chemical building to sanitary facilities so no sewage planning module is required. No waiver of this section is needed.  Aqua PA will provide as-builts for the chemical building once the project is completed. Aqua PA will be utilizing a TerreKleen system to maintain inlets. The TerreKleen system is an oil/water separator. Even though the project requires storrmwater management and erosion and sedimentation protection, the consensus of the Planning Commission was that an escrow would not be required for the project. However, Aqua Pa agreed to compensate the Township for the Township Engineer’s inspection of the proposed stormwater management system installation.

On motion by Mr. Reading, seconded by Mr. Keogh, and passed, the Planning Commission recommended that the Board of Supervisors approve the waivers as requested by Aqua PA for the proposed building of the chemical storage building.  On motion by Mr. Keogh, seconded by Mr. Seib, and passed, the Planning Commission recommended that the Board of Supervisors grant conditional preliminary/final approval for the Aqua PA Chemical Storage Building Land Development plan.

Thompson Property Subdivision – Mr. Ben Thompson and Mr. Beuke of Showalter Associates came before the Planning Commission to discuss changes to their previous request for waivers that the Planning Commission recommended approval for on March 16, 2011.

Revised Waiver Requests:

  1. Section 401.C.1.d requires location of individual trees. The existing tree survey was conducted within the proposed street right-of-ways as shown on the plans.  A partial wavier is now being requested to allow no additional tree surveying beyond the proposed street right-of-way.
  2. Section 401.D.15 requires the location on the plan of all vegetation which is to be preserved or removed and the locations of proposed grading and other earth disturbances as they relate to a Tree Protection Zone. A partial waiver is requested to allow no additional tree surveying beyond the proposed street right-of-ways.
  3. Section 402.B.7 requires the final plan to show the location of individual trees on the plan. A partial waiver is requested to allow no additional tree surveying beyond the proposed street right-of-way.
  4. Section 402.B.8.b(1)(g) requires that proposed street trees, fire hydrants and street lights be shown on the plans. No public water or street lighting is proposed.
  5. Section 402.B.8.b(2)(a) requiring profiles to be submitted along all proposed streets. A partial wavier is requested to show no profile along the existing entrance drive from White Horse Road to the proposed improvements. The existing driveway in certain sections will be paved with recycled material that will consist of a combination of milled material from the roadway and BCBC for a road depth of 8 inches from its intersection of White Horse Road to approximately station 27+00.
  6. Section 502.C.1.b pertains to rural street requirements. A partial wavier is requested to allow for a 16 foot wide private street for lots 12, 13 and 14.  The consensus of the Planning Commission was that the street shall be 18 feet wide.
  7. Section 514 sets forth standards for screening, landscaping and buffering. A wavier from this section is requested to show no screening, landscaping or buffering since the site is required to maintain its rural character.
  8. Section 514.D requiring landscaping. A waiver is requested in view of the fact that the Conservation Agreement requires the site to maintain its rural character.
  9. Section 514.D.4 requiring that street trees shall be planted along all new public roads within a proposed subdivision. Per the Agreement for the Sale of Development Rights per Resolution 2010-17, relief is granted for this ordinance item in order to be consistent with the rural and conservation concept and objectives of the plan.

Waivers Withdrawn:

  1. Section 502.D sets forth the requirements for street paving. This waiver is withdrawn since the proposed pavement structure will comply with Schuylkill Township’s requirements..
  2. Section 508.D.2 requiring a 25 foot easement around all natural drainage courses. This waiver is withdrawn since each natural drainage course has multiple restrictions including the flood hazard and wetlands district affecting them that far exceed this requirement.
  3. Section 514.B.9 requiring landscape plan approval prior to issuance of the building permit.  This has been withdrawn since landscaping is now proposed.
  4. Section 514.B.10 requiring maintenance of proposed landscaping. The wavier is withdrawn since no landscaping is now proposed.
  5. Section 518.I.3 requiring an easement around all natural drainage courses. The waiver is withdrawn due to the fact that each natural drainage course has multiple restrictions affecting them that far exceeds this requirement.

New Waivers:

  1. 401.C.1.d requiring that a certified arborist or other similarly qualified professional approved the by the Township Supervisors review the location of existing individual trees and tree clusters. A waiver is requested to allow a landscape architect in place of a certified arborist to review the location of existing vegetation.
  2. Section 502.C.1.d(2)(e) requiring that a cul-de-sac be no more than 500 feet in length. Road “A” cul-de-sac is proposed to be approximately 4,020 feet long.  Two emergency access points are to be installed along Road “A”.

On motion by Mr. Lombardi, seconded by Mr. Seib, and passed, the Planning Commission recommended to the Board of Supervisors approval of the revised waiver requests, the withdrawn waiver requests and the new waiver requests as presented this evening for the Thompson Property subdivision plan.

There being no further business for discussion, the Planning Commission adjourned at 10:00 pm.

Respectfully submitted,


Mary R. Bird
Township Manager

Next Planning Commission Meeting:  October 19, 2011