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8-16-16 Minutes

Planning Commission
8-16-16 Minutes


PLANNING COMMISSION:                                             LOWER ALLEN TOWNSHIP

REGULAR MEETING:                                                      AUGUST 16, 2016

 The following were in ATTENDANCE:

Brett McCreary, Chairman Daniel Flint, Community Development
Geir Magnusson, Vice-Chairman Peddrick Young, Commissioner
Dr. Jean Dyszel, Secretary John Eby, Building and Zoning Coordinator
Brian Wickenheiser Julie Echterling, Recording Secretary           
David Clovsky Steve Hoffman
Michael Washburn  


Mr. McCreary called the August 16, 2016 Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission to order at 7:00 pm


Approval of Minutes

Mr. MAGNUSSON made a motion to approve the minutes from the July 19, 2016 meeting.  Mr. CLOVSKY seconded the motion.  Motion carried 6-0.


SLD Docket No. 2016-05:  Final Minor Subdivision Plan for Capital City Mall Restaurant Addition:

Proposed construction of a 7,000 square foot addition for a restaurant, bringing the total area of the mall to 710,802 square feet.

Applicant Presentation

Mr. Rainer, Pennoni Associates, stated this plan would add 7,000 feet to the former Old Navy location.  There would be a bump out of the building of 51 feet which will reroute traffic and the fire lane.  Utilities will be reused and natural gas service will be brought in for the restaurant.  This addition will result in 53 parking spaces being lost.  The required number of parking spaces for the mall is 2,031 and the mall will be at 2,882 after this buildout.  He stated the increased traffic for the restaurant will be 14 new trips during the evening hours and 20 on Saturday.  They have received the County, Authority, and Township comments and have no problems addressing their comments.

Township Staff Comments

Mr. Flint stated this plan has no stormwater impact based on the design, which uses existing impervious area for the addition. He stated the whole mall needs to be looked at versus just this use for traffic impact purposes. He stated the comments were for notations on plan.

County Planning Commission Comments

Mr. Hoffman commented about islands at the end of the parking areas and Mr. Flint stated they aren’t requiring them as they aren’t adding to the parking lot but taking away.  Mr. Hoffman asked about metes and bounds.  The applicant has no problem addressing this comment.

Commission Member Question and Answer

Mr. Magnusson asked what restaurant will be going into the space.  Mr. Chris Mrozinski, PREIT, stated he is unable to provide that information.  Mr. McCreary asked about the size of the restaurant in comparison with Garfield’s and the sewer issues.  Mr. Flint stated the Authority looks at the mall as a whole versus one project.  Commissioner Young asked about the alcohol license.  Mr. Mrozinski stated there is one.

Public Comments:

There were no public comments.

Action:  Recommendations on requested waivers and on the Plan

Mr. WICKENHEISER made a motion to approve SLD Docket No. 2016-05:  Final Minor Subdivision Plan for Capital City Mall Restaurant Addition subject to Township and County comments.  Mr. BASHORE seconded the motion.  Motion carried 6-0.


Wireless Communications Facilities

Mr. Eby provided background/history of the wireless communications regulations for the Township and federal/state requirements.  He spoke about new technology including smaller towers being put in the right of way.   Staff has worked with the County and Cohen group on revising this amendment to deal with the new changes and technology.  He will be back next month to discuss the amendment and look for the Commission’s recommendation to take to the Board for their public hearing scheduled for September 26th.

He stated Mr. Hoffman went through the proposed amendment and suggested changes to some of the text to clear up some of the language.  He provided a handout to the Board of the proposed changes from the County.  Mr. Hoffman looked through the amendment as an applicant of a large tower and small tower and came up with 15 comments.  He spoke about the definition of wireless support structure which he felt excludes non-tower support structures such as utility poles, water towers, street lights, etc.  He spoke about the language in the Broadband Act and how it works.  Mr. Eby stated at the next meeting he will provide a document outlining the text that was tweaked, policy changes, and the dynamics of the process.

Mr. Clovsky asked about the FCC regulations.  Mr. Hoffman stated there are regulations with the FCC with these towers but land issues are regulated by the local municipalities.  Mr. McCreary asked why this is an issue now.  Mr. Hoffman spoke about a community that had all their utilities underground per a restriction in their deed and one day they had these mini cell towers in the right of way.  He spoke about other municipalities wanting to get ahead of this issue and engaged the Cohen group to help with change in the ordinances to help regulate these towers in the rights of way.

Mr. Eby spoke about the ordinance with large towers on church steeples and water towers versus building a church or tower for the pole.  He stated they are trying to be prepared for when someone wants to build the small towers.  Mr. Bashore asked what they want this Commission to do.  Mr. Hoffman asked them to review the ordinance and his comments.  He stated he looked at all the scenarios and tried to ensure the ordinance addressed each of them.  Mr. Flint stated the Public Hearing is on September 26th.  He stated action will be asked for at the next meeting on the ordinance with an approval/disapproval/changes which will be presented at the public hearing.

Mr. Clovsky asked if there are any areas where the Township would be liable for anything.  Mr. Eby spoke about the conservative approach the Cohen group took in their ordinance to protect the municipalities.  Mr. Magnusson asked about satellite.  Mr. Hoffman spoke about the costs associated with satellite phones.

Mr. Eby stated item number 7 is not something they need to consider when reviewing Mr. Hoffman’s comments.  The Board of Commission decided in May that they will make the decisions versus including the language of reasonable person.

Mr. Hoffman stated there are four scenarios to consider.  The four are tower structure, non-tower structure, tower base in the right of way and tower based out of the right of way.  Dr. Dyszel asked them to be consistent with headers and the ordinance to make it easier to understand.  Mr. Eby spoke about changing the outline after speaking with Mr. Flint.  Discussion ensued. 

Mr. Clovsky asked if there are sites where a tower is banned.  Mr. Eby spoke about the hierarchy with existing buildings, commercial areas, and hearings for residential areas.  He stated there are no areas that are banned per say.  An updated ordinance will be sent to the Commission prior to the next meeting for review and discussion at the September meeting.


The next meeting is scheduled for September 20, 2016 at 7:00pm. 


The regular meeting of the Planning Commission adjourned at 7:54pm.