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12-19-17 Minutes

Planning Commission
12-19-17 Minutes


PLANNING COMMISSION:                                             LOWER ALLEN TOWNSHIP

REGULAR MEETING:                                                      DECEMBER 19, 2017


The following were in ATTENDANCE:

Brett McCreary, Chairman

Geir Magnusson, Vice-Chairman

Daniel Flint, Community Development

Peddrick Young, Commissioner

Samuel T. Bashore, Secretary Julie Echterling, Recording Secretary           
David Clovsky  
Michael Washburn  

Mr. McCreary called the December 19, 2017 Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission to order at 7:00 pm.


Approval of Minutes

Mr. BASHORE made a motion to approve the minutes from the October 17, 2017 meeting.  Mr. CLOVKSY seconded the motion.  Motion carried 5-0.


SLD Docket No. 2017-06: Revised Overall Master Plan (OMP) for Arcona.

Mr. Anthony Faranda-Diedrich, Charter Homes, stated his goal was to introduce the new plan to the Board and obtain feedback.  He showed the Board the master plan on the screen including the Highpoint development and Strong Road.  He stated they are getting ready to break ground on the apartments and hopes to have Strong Road completed in April. For the future phase, on the western side, they will be doing more conventional single-family homes with a potential plan for a senior community.  They have been working with the Township and PennDOT on the roundabouts for Lisburn Road through the permitting process. Construction will be done over the summer months for both roundabouts with Strong Road being used as a detour.  He stated the only change worth talking about is the overall absorption on the plan.  He stated the plan is for about 900 homes and is staying consistent.  There was some fluctuation in the commercial area.  There was 40,000 square feet of commercial space.  They are adjusting downward the square footage for commercial and are being very specific about the usage of those spaces.  Mr. Flint stated the TND requires that when a new phase is proposed, they must present an updated Overall Master Plan.

Below are items Mr. McCreary asked about and Mr. Faranda-Diedrich answered:

  • The ribbons on the property. He thinks it is for the pipeline and will look into it
  • The Leshers’ farm and barn.  He stated Charter is not buying the farm and barn, but it is up to them.   
  • Are they are still planning on having 80-90 acres of open space and what will be there? Yes, there will be the open space and there will be a nature trail which is already cut in. 
  • Is there an issue with the nature trail being on private property? Yes, and he has spoke to the resident about the issue with their fence and is working to resolve this issue.
  • The for-sale realtor’s signs on the property. He stated they are trying to attract users to the property and stated their intent is to build the sites.  He spoke about the process and stated parts of the development could be sold down the road, but they would work closely to ensure the character. 
  • Asked about Rossmoyne Elementary School relocating. They are talking with the school district, but the talks are preliminary.
  • Are the billboard signs at the Turnpike temporary? He stated they are leasing them after working with the family and PennDOT for the road access.

SLD Docket No. 2017-07: Preliminary Subdivision and Land Development Plan for Arcona Phase 2.3. Proposed mixed-use development of 13.331 acres with: 99 attached single-family dwelling units; 12,000 square feet of commercial space; and 1.75 acres of open space.

Mr. Faranda-Diedrich, showed the Board the location of the new phase on the map.  He stated they have revised the site plan since they submitted the plan.  The plan includes 13 acres and the centerpiece will be a ½ acre of green space.  The plan includes an extensive commercial space and two types of townhouses.  One type will be larger, with master bedrooms on the first floor, targeting those looking to downsize.  The second type will be standard townhouse targeting for first time buyers.  The commercial property will include a brewhouse/restaurant and a combination of retail/office with a coffee house.  He stated the restaurant would have open bay doors that would allow outdoor dining.  He spoke about revisions to include a pizza/food establishment with an office on the second floor. 

He showed conceptual pictures of what the building and townhomes would look like.   He spoke about the old English setting for the townhomes with first floor masters and a two-car garage in the back.  The roads would be a hard surface, not paved, and they are considering special surfaces for these roads.  He highlighted the features of the plan and the green areas.  They are working with the Township with ensuring access for trash and fire vehicles.  They have met with Staff on this plan and they are working on the Staff comments.

Township Staff Comments

Mr. Flint stated they provided initial comments which is why the plan was changed.  He stated they are asking for a modification to the width of the street.  He discussed the proposed street widths and the issue of them not being wide enough.  He stated they need a way to enforce no parking on the private streets especially with the smaller width requested and emergency vehicles.  He spoke about dead ends and they are working on this issue.  A detailed review will be done on the plan for next month’s meeting.

County Planning Commission Comments

Mr. Hoffman was not at the meeting tonight.

Commission Member Question and Answer

Mr. Clovsky asked about parking for the restaurants, townhouses and handicap access for the commercial properties.  Mr. Faranda-Diedrich showed the parking for the businesses will be behind the buildings.  He stated the townhouses would park in the two car garages or small off-street parking pockets.  The buyers would be aware that their vehicles need to be parked in the garage and would be disclosed at purchase.  He stated they are not required to have an elevator for the two-story buildings.  Mr. Flint stated this would limit the business able to use the space.  Mr. Washburn asked about snow removal with the potential cobblestone on the back of the townhomes.  Mr. Faranda-Diedrich stated it wouldn’t be cobblestone but they are working on what material it will be that can hold up to the elements.  Mrs. Echterling asked about drive throughs and quick access for picking up coffee at the business.  Mr. Faranda-Diedrich stated there would not be drive throughs and explained the way traffic would flow which is behind the shop not in front.


Presentation: Draft 2018 Comprehensive Plan

Mr. Troy Truax, Michael Baker, Inc., presented the final draft of the plan.  He provided the background of how the final draft of the plan was completed including the Citizen’s Advisory Committee, survey, stakeholders, vision week and Staff and Board input.  He discussed the process they used to come up with the goals and implementation steps for the plan.  He explained about the schedule and how the documents are available with the plan including a detailed plan and an executive summary.

He reviewed the following Township’s goals and strategies:

  1. Enhance the Township’s existing residential neighborhoods and community parks.
    • Strategies: Protect the existing quality, character, and livability of neighborhoods.  Maintain the quality of Lower Allen’s parks and provide expanded passive and active recreation amenities.
  2. Promote and balance open space preservation and the development and redevelopment of commercial and industrial areas.
    • Strategies: Promote enhancement and preservation of open space in the Township. Encourage revitalization of existing commercial and industrial corridors by redeveloping or reusing properties.  Facilitate increased economic development transactions through the Township Development Authority.  Improve and strengthen the image and identity of the Township.
  3. Expand pedestrian and bicycle connections throughout the Township.
    • Strategies: Create well-connected and safe bicycle and pedestrian networks that support the vision and goals of the Township’s Comprehensive Plan.  Improve the safety and walkability of the Township’s neighborhoods.  Routinely integrate bicycle and pedestrian improvements as part of the road and bridge project delivery process.
  4. Maintain the Township’s existing transportation infrastructure.
    • Strategies: Improve level of service and safety on congested corridors and intersections.  Enhance access to public transportation and ride-share opportunities.  Improve performance of rail and truck freight facilities for improved goods movement.

He spoke about the quality of the parks.  He spoke about the dedication of the plan to James Chianos who passed away recently.  He stated the document will become public tomorrow.  A public hearing is scheduled for February 12th to receive public comments.  He thanked everyone for their work on the project.

Fair Oaks Sewer Extension: Sewage Facilities Planning Module Component 4A – Municipal Planning Agency Review

Mr. Flint provided background on the Fair Oaks neighborhood which was built with private sewer and water.   There have been some failures of the private sewer systems and there is limited space, because of the large oak trees, to repair/replace the systems.  Paving has been delayed, knowing public sewer would be coming.  The Sewer Authority is looking to install public sewers in 2018.  He discussed the DEP planning module process which requires the review and approval of this request so that it can move forward.

Mr. WASHBURN made a motion to approve the Fair Oaks Sewer Extension: Sewage Facilities Planning Module Component 4A.  Mr. BASHORE seconded the motion.  Motion carried 5-0.


The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 7:00pm.  Mr. McCreary thanked Commissioner Young for his years of service with the Planning Commission.  Commissioner Young stated it has been his honor and privilege working with the Board.  He spoke highly of the Planning Commission members.


The regular meeting of the Planning Commission adjourned at 8:26 pm.