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12-20-16 Minutes

Planning Commission
12-20-16 Minutes


PLANNING COMMISSION:                                             LOWER ALLEN TOWNSHIP

 REGULAR MEETING:                                                      DECEMBER 20, 2016


The following were in ATTENDANCE:

Brett McCreary, Chairman Daniel Flint, Community Development
Geir Magnusson, Vice-Chairman Maryellen Banks, Recording Secretary         
Brian Wickenheiser Peddrick Young, Commissioner
David Clovsky
Samuel T. Bashore
Michael Washburn
Dr. Jean Dyszel, Secretary Steve Hoffman


Mr. McCreary called the December 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 October 18, 2016 meeting.  Mr. BASHORE seconded the motion.  Motion carried 6-0.


SLD Docket No. 2016-08:  Final Minor Land Development Plan for Capital City Mall Retail Reconstruction:

Proposed removal of 101,476 SF and reconstruction of 100,000 SF of retail space.

Applicant Presentation

Mr. Charlie Courtney, McNees Wallace, introduced the plan to the Board.  He stated the plan includes the reconfiguration of the retail space.  He stated the plan changed from totally demolition to rebuilding and renovating the existing building.  They have updated plans addressing the comments they received.  He stated the renovation is an important part of the mall.  They are not able to identify the tenants moving into this area. 

Mr. Craig Raynor showed the Board an outline of the mall and the area to be developed.  He showed the area that is scheduled for demolition and what would be reconfigured.  The proposed layout has been revised from one store (Sears) into multiple stores.  The water and sewer lines are being moved while the rest of the utilities should be unchanged.  He showed the parking spaces between the original plan versus the new plan.  The net of the new plan is a loss of 42 parking spaces.  The new plan reduces the impervious coverage by over 3,000 SF.   He described the differences between the original and revised plan.  He stated they have submitted their plan to the Authority.

Township Staff Comments

Mr. Flint stated the comments the Board received in their packet are from the original plan versus the new plan.  He stated not much has changed for the comments.  The change the in the parking places shouldn’t be an issue since there is more for the mall.   The comments were minor in nature.

County Planning Commission Comments

Mr. Hoffman spoke about the new parking spaces which were part of the original plan.  The rest of the comments were minor in nature. 

Commission Member Question and Answer

Mr. McCreary asked why they are taking parking spaces away with moving the loading dock.  Mr. Raynor spoke about the new loading dock location versus the prior location.  He stated both loading docks would be used by tractor trailers.  Mr. McCreary asked if the trailers would be loading during the day.  Mr. Courtney stated one loading dock isn’t enough with the additional stores. 

Mr. McCreary stated since they just dropped off the plans are they expecting approval.  Mr. Courtney stated there was discussion with Mr. Flint about the plans.  He stated the changes between the original versus new is less disturbance.  He spoke about the importance of moving forward.  Mr. McCreary stated they must rely on Mr. Flint because we haven’t seen the new plan. 

Mr. Wickenheiser asked about the docks.  Mr. Raynor stated there would also be a compactor in the location.  Mr. McCreary asked Mr. Flint if he is comfortable with the plan.  Mr. Flint stated he has seen the plan before tonight.

Public Comments:

There were no public comments.

Action:  Recommendations on requested waivers and on the Plan

Mr. WEISNEHAUR made a motion to approve SLD Docket No. 2016-08:  Final Minor Land Development Plan for Capital City Mall Retail Reconstruction, proposed removal of 101,476 SF and reconstruction of 100,000 SF of retail space pending final review by the Township and subject to Township and County comments.  Mr. BASHORE seconded the motion.  Motion carried 6-0.


Proposed rezoning of three parcels on the east side of Lisburn Road, south of the PA Turnpike, from R-2 Single Family Rural Residential to R-3 Multi-family Residential.

Mr. Eby showed the Board the location of the proposed rezoning area which is located across the street from the current Arcona Development.  He stated the one property is 30 acres.  He showed the Board other R-3 zoned locations on Lisburn Road including Stone Gate, Meridian and Arcona.  He showed the Board the triangle property which he thought was deeded to the Commonwealth which he was unable to find a deed to them for this property.  He spoke about the difference between the R-2 and R-3 zoning.  He stated if you recommend there is a building height limit of 35 feet versus 75 in the R-3.  He stated the open space development would go away with a change in zoning for this area.  He showed the Arcona plan which showed the density. 

Mr. John Melham, landscape architect, is representing the clients.  He stated if Arcona had not come along they would have stayed the same.  He spoke about the Arcona plans and their commercial development.  He spoke about the roundabouts for Arcona are all surrounded by high density areas.  He stated the property owners approve of the Arcona development but their properties are not in line with the development.  He stated they can’t stay the same with Arcona development especially with the roundabouts.  He spoke about the options under R-2 which they feel won’t work for the property.  He stated that the R-3 zoning would allow for a healthcare/elderly care center which interests them.  He stated the property is under contract with a large national medical provider for such a use.  He believes it would help and compliment the Arcona development and their town concept within the Township.

Mr. Flint stated this is here for the comments from the Planning Commission.  Mr. Hoffman spoke about the R-2 and the TND which requires 50 acres and stated this property is stuck in the middle of the turnpike and Arcona.  He stated when you look at the zoning you have to look at all the uses in the R-3 not just what was suggested because it could change.  He spoke about the terrain of the land and the western part of the property.  He showed the property and where the trees are, as noted in the Comprehensive Plan as a sensitive feature of the Township.  It would abut part of the open space to Arcona including trails.  They suggested split zoning the property which would allow the back side to remain residential.  Mr. Chiodo, landscape architect for one of the land owners, went to the County Planning Commission meeting and thought the R-3 and the density gave the most flexibility to preserve land and connect their trails to the Arcona trails.  Mr. Hoffman showed the Board the land and where the building and preserved land could be located.   

Mr. Melham stated he has a slope plan he showed and explained to the Board.  He asked the Board to consider rezoning for both properties.  Mr. Clovsky asked about the People’s Sanctuary.  Mr. Chiodo stated the owner is well respected in her field and she bought the property for seminars and for a rural area.  Mr. Clovsky asked if you weren’t willing to put single family homes next to the Turnpike why would you put a nursing home there.  Mr. Chiodo spoke about plans and buffers that would help with the sound.  Mr. McCreary stated he believes Charter Homes should have bought this property.  He has been on this Board and seen developers come in and put the maximum amount of development allowed on properties and it makes him nervous.  He spoke about other development in the Township which hasn’t blended with their surroundings.  Mr. Chiodo wishes Charter would have bought it also.

Mr. Eby stated the Planning Commission is to make a recommendation about the rezoning.  The public hearing for this request is January 9th.   Mr. Bashore asked how they could determine the line for R-2 and R-3 zoning with the properties with the eastern versus western side.  Mr. Eby stated the request is for both to be rezoned and the property lines would be the determination.  Mr. Melham spoke about concerns about splitting the properties.  He spoke about another issue he dealt with, a prior TND with a prior client.  Discussion ensued.

Mr. Wickenheiser made motion to recommend the change from R-2 to R-3 rezoning.  Mr. Bashore seconded the motion.  Motion carried 6-0.


PA American Water Capital Campus Expansion.  Proposed construction of 68,643 SF office building at 852 Wesley Drive.

Mr. Joel Mitchell, PA American Water, stated they are planning to relocate their corporate office from Hershey to Wesley Drive.  They purchased the adjacent lot next to their existing office.  They are planning construction in addition to the current building.  Mr. Tim Diehl showed the Board the location of the property and layout of the proposed construction.  Currently there is 20,000 square feet of office space which will be expanded to a three story 68,000 square foot office building.  He showed the Board the location of the parking for the building.  They were at the Zoning Hearing Board last week for a special exception for parking reduction requirements and height variance.  They will have 240 parking spaces with 140 employees and in house training of 60 at one time.  They also received a variance for height for their three-story building.  He stated they will be submitting a land development plan for this expansion.  He asked for feedback and waivers from the Board.  They are asking for a waiver from curbing to maintain the drainage patterns already there.  He spoke about the stormwater management measures that would be part of their plan.  Mr. Clovsky spoke about the issue with water on Wesley Drive and Bethany Village.  Mr. McCreary asked where the sidewalks would be located.  Mr. Diehl showed the Board where the sidewalk would be located which would be setback compared with the normal location of sidewalks.  He spoke about how the parking lot would be screened and elevated.  Discussion ensued. 

Mr. Flint reminded the Board this was a sketch plan and the primary thing to consider tonight is the waivers.  He stated the waivers have a significant impact on their plan and the applicant would like action so they can complete their plan.  He spoke about the sidewalk and the extent of the sidewalk in the area.  He stated the installation of sidewalk at this location will be a nice addition and is further away from the road.  He stated the Township requires curbing which is normally important for new development.  He stated PennDOT doesn’t like curbing on their roads and have been getting away from them because of stormwater. 

Mr. WASHBURN made a motion to recommend approving the waiver from the requirement of installing curbing in the front of the property.  Mr. MAGNUSSON seconded the motion.  Motion carried 6-0.

Mr. WASHBURN made a motion to recommend approving the modification of the requirement of installing concrete sidewalks in lieu of the applicant installing bituminous sidewalks along the frontage.  Mr. MAGNUSSON seconded the motion.  Motion carried 6-0.


Mr. Flint spoke about the RFP for the Comprehensive Plan.  He spoke about having a Steering Committee and liking to have a member of the Planning Commission on the Steering Committee.  Mr. Clovsky volunteered.

May Meeting

Mr. Flint stated the May meeting will be held on Wednesday May 17th due to the primary election being held on Tuesday May 16th.


The next meeting is scheduled for January 17, 2016 at 7:00pm.  Mr. Flint stated this meeting maybe cancelled.


The regular meeting of the Planning Commission adjourned at 8:49 pm.