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9-20-16 Minutes

Planning Commission
9-20-16 Minutes


PLANNING COMMISSION:                                             LOWER ALLEN TOWNSHIP

REGULAR MEETING:                                                      SEPTEMBER 20, 2016

The following were in ATTENDANCE:

Brett McCreary, Chairman Daniel Flint, Community Development
Geir Magnusson, Vice-Chairman Peddrick Young, Commissioner
Brian Wickenheiser Thomas G. Vernau, Township Manager
Samuel T. Bashore John Eby, Building and Zoning Coordinator
Michael Washburn Julie Echterling, Recording Secretary           
ABSENT Steve Hoffman
Dr. Jean Dyszel, Secretary  

Mr. McCreary called the September 20, 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 August 16, 2016 meeting.  Mr. WICKENHEISER seconded the motion.  Motion carried 6-0.


SLD Docket No. 2016-06:  Final Minor Land Development Plan for Warrell Corporation Wastewater Treatment System:

Proposed construction of a 515 square foot addition on the existing 171,259 square foot building at 1250 Slate Hill Road, to contain wastewater treatment equipment.

Applicant Presentation

Ms. Carla Berman, Warrell Corporation, provided a report that was presented at the July Sewer Authority’s meeting.  She spoke about the existing system and the short term changes proposed.  She stated phase one changes included a new caustic injection system for the mixing chamber for pH Control.  She stated the compliance date for Phase One is December 18th.   They need to expand the building to be in compliance.  She discussed some of the test results provided in the report including the LATA FOG Data.  She stated the budget for the long term system would be around $558,000.   She discussed option three as the system they will be utilizing as outlined in the report provided to the Board.  She discussed their proposed schedule for their plan.

Township Staff Comments

Mr. Flint stated this plan was being presented because they are expanding their building.  He showed the Board the location of the building and where the addition would be located. 

County Planning Commission Comments

Mr. Hoffman stated the County’s comments were minor in nature.

Commission Member Question and Answer

There were no questions or comments.

Public Comments:

There were no public comments.

Action:  Recommendations on the Plan

Mr. WICKENHEISER made a motion to approve SLD Docket No. 2016-06:  Final Minor Land Development Plan for Warrell Corporation Wastewater Treatment System with proposed construction of a 515 square foot addition on the existing 171,259 square foot building at 1250 Slate Hill Road, to contain wastewater treatment equipment subject to Township and County comments.  Mr. WASHBURN 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 why the changes were necessary.   He has worked with Mr. Hoffman with their suggested changes.  There is a public hearing on the ordinance scheduled for September 26th.

He provided two flowcharts outlining the process of installing a new wireless communication facility.  One outlined the current process and the second outlined the process with the proposed ordinance changes.  He spoke about the current flow which fails to address the non-tower antennas and is missing some of the new regulations.  He went through the flow with the proposed ordinance changes.  Mr. Wickenheiser asked if the flow and process were consistent with other municipalities.  Mr. Eby said no as they used the Cohen Group’s suggested language along with the County Planners input.

He provided the Board copies of the Wikipedia printout of distributed antenna systems.  He spoke about the pictures in the report and how they would relate to the ordinance.

Mr. Eby went over the Ordinance 2016-04 page by page with the Commission.  Below are the items he reviewed:

Page 1 – The old definition(s) are being removed.

Page 2 – Mr. Eby reviewed item number eight (Non-Tower WCF) and item 11 – Substantially Change or Substantial Change – Pa statue.

Page 3 – Item 12 -Tower Based Wireless Communication Facility (Tower-based WCF).  Mr. Eby stated this addresses any issues with underground utilities communities.  Mr. Hoffman gave an example of adding to an existing street light versus changing the street light so it can hold an antenna.  Mr. Vernau spoke about the purpose of the ordinance which was to limit large towers in certain areas in the Township.  He gave the history of why this is important and stated no one is against antennas and poles, but are cautious about where they should be located.

Page 4 – Item B. (1) b. (1) Preferred order of location of proposed non-tower WCF.  Mr. Eby spoke about the increased demand for coverage and the Township’s responsibility to protect the public. 

Page 5- Discussed the preferred order of locations continued from page 4.  Items e-h, Mr. Hoffman believes they shouldn’t be in the ordinance as they are regulated by outside agencies (FAA, FCC).  He spoke about being in compliance with all regulations language.  Mr. Eby feels there is no harm in having it in and it can be amended in the future.  Mr.  Vernau believes it is better assume applicants don’t know the regulations and to have it in the ordinance.

Page Item 7-(2) and (3) Mr. Eby spoke about Non-Tower WCF that do and do not substantially change the physical dimensions or the wireless support structure.

Page 8-Item b – Conditional Use Required – Mr. Hoffman referenced page five and spoke about the confusion he found with this item.  He stated page five says residential area is the only conditional use hearing however, item b says everywhere is a conditional use hearing.  Item f-Development Regulation with non-tower WCF shall be co-located on existing Wireless support structures.  Mr. Eby discussed this section and how it seems like a contradiction with the definitions.

Page 9-Item h-Mr. Eby spoke about the non-commercial usage exemption which exempts satellite dishes.

Page 10-Item (4) a.  Mr. Eby and Mr. Hoffman spoke about the co-location paragraph.

Page 12-Item (1) c. Certain Zoning District Conditional Use Authorization Required.  Mr. Eby discussed this paragraph.

Page 18-Item (2) a. (1) & (2) Tower Based WCF – Mr. Hoffman pointed out one says 75 feet and the other says 100 feet for underground utilities. 

Page 19-Item (3) Tower Based WCF – Mr. Eby pointed out this paragraph to the Commission.

Page 22-Item (3) a. (1) Mr. Eby pointed out the text says 100 feet with all underground utilities.

Page 23-Section IV. Miscellaneous – Mr. Eby stated this is the typical legal statements for ordinances.

Mr. Wickenheiser asked if a table of contents would be added.  Mr. Eby stated in the future it can be added.

Mr. David Kerr, AT&T, commended the Township’s Staff for the hours they spent on this complex issue.  He spoke about the demand for more wireless coverage and trying to meet the demands of the public.   He spoke about how home health, cars, and various devices are very dependent on technology.  He stated the definitions in the ordinance conflict with the law.  He spoke about items in the ordinance that are not authorized by Pennsylvania law.  He stated they have sent a letter of their concerns to the Township. 

Mr. Eby stated the mentioned letter would be part of the public hearing.  Mr. Vernau spoke about the letter from AT&T being forwarded to the Cohen group whose approach is for protecting the municipalities.  He is hoping someone from Cohen will be there at the hearing.  Mr. Vernau spoke about why the municipality is being proactive with a recent incident of a contractor putting antennas in the front lawn of residents.

Mr. Eby went over the history and timing of the ordinance including changed regulations.  He spoke about the updates for the safety of the public.  He believes it is better to get something on the books and amended in six months.  Mr. McCreary spoke about what discussions could take place between AT&T, Township and Cohen before the hearing.  He discussed his frustration with a recent plan that needed to be passed with an urgency and then nothing has been acted on or built since their approval.  Discussion ensued.

Mr. WICKENHEISER made a motion to recommend that the Board the Commissioners adopt the current version of Ordinance 2016-04 to protect the Township.  Mr. CLOVSKY seconded the motion.  Motion carried 6-0.


The next meeting is scheduled for October 18, 2016 at 7:00pm. 


The regular meeting of the Planning Commission adjourned at 8:28 pm.