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Home»Planning Commission Minutes»Planning Commission
6-21-2022 Minutes

Planning Commission
6-21-2022 Minutes


The following were in ATTENDANCE:  
Brett McCreary

Sam Bashore

Jay Blackwell

David Clovsky

Jeffrey Logan

Michael Washburn

Brian Wickenheiser

Ryan Rhoads, P.E., Township Engineer

John Eby, Building and Zoning Coordinator



Commissioner Dean Villone




Chairman McCreary called the June 21, 2022 Regular Meeting of the Lower Allen Township Planning Commission to order at 7:00 pm. He announced that proof of publication was available for review.


Mr. BLACKWELL moved to approve the minutes, from the May 18, 2022, Regular Meeting. Mr. WASHBURN seconded. The motion carried 7-0.


Mr. Rhoads provided an overview of the plans that had been previously approved.

Mr. Rhoads reported that the Board of Commissioners approved:

 i) Approved Arcona 8.1 Revised on May 23, 2022

ii) Approved Lot Line Adjustment for Capital City Carwash on June 13, 2022

Mr. Rhoads reported the following plans had been recorded on June 15, 2022:

  i) Arcona Lot 505

 ii) Arcona Banner Agreements

iii) Revised Arcona 8.1

iv) 2500 Gettysburg Road Warehouse

 v) Lark Meadows

vi) Capital City Carwash

Chairman McCreary announced that Major Subdivision and Land Development Plan SLD-2022-01 had been moved to the end of the agenda at the request of the applicant.

Major Subdivision and Land Development Plan SLD-2022-04

Mr. Rhoads presented an update on SLD 2022-04 Arcona 8.2. Charter Homes has requested that the Planning Commission table the plan and accept a 30-day extension to render a decision. Mr. Rhoads explained that staff had met with them twice regarding the plan.

Mr. WASHBURN motioned to table the plan and accept a 30-day extension on SLD 2022-04. Mr. LOGAN seconded. The motion carried 7-0.


Minor Land Development Plan LD- 2022-07 LA Commons Condo 1

Application Presentation

Mr. Chirag Thakkar and Mr. Ashwin Gubbi Kotte, from Arna Engineering, presented the plan, requesting approval to Condo #1, which was previously planned as a Starbucks location. The tenant will now be a jewelry store. The tenant will utilize the first floor as retail space with storage on the second floor. The special exception request to reduce the required amount of off-street parking and a variance to eliminate the requirement for off-street truck unloading spaces were granted by the Zoning Hearing Board.  The applicant’s variance narrative indicates that the proposed jewelry store will receive deliveries in vans that can park in regular parking stalls, and duration of delivery will be short-term.

The applicant is seeking four waivers:

Item B5 – Sidewalks shall be required along all street frontages.  This waiver has been granted for the overall development.

Item B10 – Planting islands shall be designed to collect stormwater runoff from adjacent paved parking areas. The applicant demonstrated on the plan a shift of boundary.

Item B11 – Each parking space adjacent to an island at the end of a parking row shall have an additional two feet of paving provided in addition to the required parking space width to allow access to the vehicle. The applicant showed that the additional two feet were unnecessary due to the adjustment to Item B10.

Item D1 – Provide a traffic analysis to show that the increase of retail space will not exceed the original planned trip generation for the overall LA Commons Transportation Impact Study. The applicant explained that the waiver was granted previously for the initially submitted plan and the new tenant will have a considerably reduced traffic requirement.

Township Comments

Mr. Rhoads noted there were no issues with the waivers requested, adding they had been previously granted. The applicant will need to submit the updated traffic analysis demonstrating the decrease in traffic.

Mr. Eby commented on the recurring need for applicants to seek special exception to the required parking. He explained that staff were seeking a funding opportunity for a future project focused on a zoning overhaul to address the subdivision and land development code issues that present themselves in redevelopment projects.

County Comments

Comments were addressed in the township comments, and all complied.

Commissioner Members Comments

Mr. McCreary asked about the type of delivery vehicles used to deliver merchandise to the business. The applicant explained that most deliveries were handled by FedEx.

Mr. Wickenheiser asked about the fire code requirement for truck 12 access. Mr. Eby explained that the building permits access to all four sides of the building within 150 feet with hose access, in accordance with the fire code.

Mr. Bashore asked for clarification on the exemption for sidewalk requirement in the overall plan. Mr. Eby explained that the common roads internally within the development. There are no sidewalks along Gettysburg Road.

Public Comments – none

Action: Recommendation of the proposed plan

Mr. WASHBURN motioned to grant a waiver for Item B5. Mr. BASHORE seconded. The motion carried 7-0.

Mr. WASHBURN motioned to grant a waiver for Item B10. Mr. LOGAN seconded. The motion carried 7-0.

Mr. WASHBURN motioned to grant a waiver for Item B11. Mr. CLOVSKY seconded. The motion carried 7-0.

Mr. WASHBURN motioned to grant a waiver for Item D1. Mr. BLACKWELL seconded. The motion carried 7-0.

Mr. WASHBURN motioned to approve Minor Land Development Plan LD- 2022-07 LA Commons Condo 1 with respect to the comments. Mr. BASHORE seconded. The motion carried 7-0.

Lower Allen Township Act 167 Stormwater Management Ordinance

Mr. Rhoads presented the item. Lower Allen Township needs to adopt a revised stormwater management ordinance that is a requirement of our Phase II, NPDES MS4 permit held with PADEP. This ordinance will replace our existing stormwater management ordinance and is modeled after the PADEP 2022 model stormwater ordinance.

A summary of the main changes are as follows: Ordinance adoption must include implementation of Post Construction Stormwater Management Best Management Practices, including sanctions for noncompliance. In addition, encourage and expand the use of Low Impact Development in new development and redevelopment, focusing on riparian buffers.

Changes to the allowable discharges authorized by our permit include:

  • Fire Hydrant Flushing/Hose Testing – Total Residual Chlorine must be removed from water prior to discharge.
  • Residential vehicles wash water where cleaning agents are not utilized.
  • Dechlorinated pool water is no longer a permissible discharge.

The Township and County Planning Commissions and Lower Allen Township Stormwater Authority may review and comment prior to a public hearing on August 8, 2022. The Board of Commissioners is required to act by the end of September.

Mr. LOGAN offered a motion to recommend approval of the Act 167 Stormwater Management Ordinance. Mr. WASHBURN seconded. The motion carried 7-0.


Major Subdivision and Land Development Plan SLD-2022-01 Tommy’s Carwash 

This is the third presentation before the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission had previously recommended not to approve the plan. The Board of Commissioners asked them to revise their plan and resubmit it to the Planning Commission. The applicant revised their Traffic Impact Study to make both entrances right- in-right-out and have added sidewalk. They do not have their Highway Occupancy Permit yet, however the planning commission is not permitted to wait for outside agency approval before making a recommendation. Tommy’s Express Carwash is part of a national franchise, located at the corner of Gettysburg Road and Hartzdale Drive, across from Batteries Plus.

Applicant Presentation

Mr. Dave Goetz, the attorney representing the developer presented the item, joined by Mr. Jared Neal, traffic engineer, and Greg Holtzman, project manager for the site.

Mr. Goetz explained that the application for the HOP was amended to only allow a right in and out entrance from Gettysburg Road, as well as a pork chop traffic tool to prevent left turns out of the property, which is the same onto Hartzdale Drive, where all traffic must turn right. He also discussed the provision of updated trip generation numbers, which he noted was accepted by the township engineer, Christopher Bowers. He also noted an application to DEP, which is in process. Finally, he made an effort to give assurance of compliance with the sound ordinance. He said a note will be added to the plan that they will comply with the township ordinance. Next, he noted the three waiver requests:

192-30- Preliminary Plan Submission 

192-58. E (10) – Parking Lot Planting Islands Designed to Collect Stormwater 

192-59.C (2) – Parking Spaces Adjacent to End Islands shall be an Additional 2’Wide 

Mr. Rhoads asked for an update on the status of the scoping application for the HOP with PennDOT. Mr. Jared Neal explained that the application had been submitted a few months ago and a meeting had been held to review components of the project. He added that the township and the county were included in the meeting. He commented on a recent conversation with PennDOT regarding access points and stated he believes they can continue forward.

Township Staff Comments

Mr. Rhoads noted zoning comment A1, that the plan is still showing the future access driveway. Construction of the future access drive shown on the plan will require screening along adjacent residentially zoned and used neighboring properties. The plan must show the landscaping for that area. He also noted traffic comment D4: The applicant shall evaluate the need to restrict turning movements at the driveway located on Gettysburg Road (S.R. 2014). The proposed access onto Gettysburg Road may be within the functional area or corner clearance of the signalized intersection of Gettysburg Road (S.R. 2014) and Hartzdale Drive.  Of particular concern is the left-turn exiting the site onto Gettysburg Road (S.R. 2014).  Queuing from the traffic signal and sight distance at the driveway access should be considered. 

Mr. Rhoads noted that the waivers have been acted on already and did not require anything further.

Mr. Eby asked for clarification on the proposed pork chops. Mr. Neal acknowledged these types of traffic tools do not preclude turns but instead deter them. He added that discussions with PennDOT have included the need to investigate a design of something that is more substantial such as a pistol style pork chop. He added that a guard rail was not under consideration.

Commissioner Members Comments

Mr. Logan inquired as to the total width of the access from Gettysburg onto the site. Mr. Neal replied it was between 24-28 feet.

Mr. Clovsky asked whether the lighting would bleed out onto the roadway. Mr. Greg Holtzman noted that the photometrics for the plan was compliant with ordinance and that the light would be directed straight down.

Public Comments

Rob Staiger, owner of the Capital City Carwash on Hartzdale Drive shared comments from the nearby neighbors and some of the local businesses. He expressed concern regarding the safety of the additional traffic at the Hartzdale and Gettysburg Road intersection, as well as the existing issues at the Walmart driveway on Gettysburg Road. He urged the planning commission to wait for the PennDOT traffic study before rendering a decision and noted that area businesses were submitting letters to the traffic study.

Joseph Swartz, resident at 1706 Letchworth Drive, expressed his opinion that the proposed plan does not align with Lower Allen Township’s comprehensive plan for the Gettysburg Road Corridor, which prioritizes the preservation of green space, mixed use development, as well as to safely accommodate all modes of travel, including motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians. He expressed that this plan does not come close to safely accommodating any mode of travel.

Scott Staiger, expressed concern over the plan concerning the traffic study. He challenged that the information provided to support the traffic study which relied on a carwash in Chambersburg opened for just a few months and based on February of 2020. He emphasized the very high-volume nature of an express car wash, which is quite different from the standard car wash concept in the past. He provided a great deal of information on volume at these types of carwashes, available on the Tommy Carwash website. He also expressed concerns over stacking, both internally on the site, as well as out onto Hartzdale and Gettysburg roads. Citing a variety of safety concerns, he asked that it be passed to the Board of Commissioners with a recommendation not to approve.

Mr. McCreary thanked everyone for their comments, noting the significant amount of information to be digested and analyzed.

Mr. Eby noted that the Board of Commissioner had not yet vetted the merits of the plan, and that approval by the Planning Commission was an issue of timing. He said that they could pass along a recommendation to the Board of Commissioner with concern and pending certain other approvals.

John Eby – BOC has not vetted the merits of the plan. Just a timing extension. The Planning Commission can pass along a recommendation to the BOC with concerns and pending certain other approvals.

In their response to the comments, Mr. Geotz, representing the applicant, noted that the absence of outside agency approval is not a valid reason to reject the plan. They also noted that the plan reduces the number of driveways along Gettysburg Road. He stated that the carwash is permitted under township ordinance and noted the traffic engineer’s review and acceptance of the plan.

Mr. McCreary noted that while they are full movement driveways, the three existing driveways are very low volume.

Mr. Neal stated that if letters from neighboring area businesses were submitted to PennDOT, they would be considered. He said that the traffic study is based on current volume counts and projected out, noting that cueing and sight lining are evaluated. He stated that the trip generation is based on industry standards and brand data.

Mr. Bashore asked how the lighting from headlights of cars stacked within the site would be mitigated. Mr. Greg Holtzman replied it would be addressed by landscaping.

Mr. Logan expressed concern and asked Mr. Neal about the percentage of cars projected to engage in U-turns after exiting the property.  Mr. Neal said the expected rate is about 26% based on projections. Mr. Logan noted that 1 in 4 cars is a lot

Mr. McCreary expressed a significant hesitation about the plan due to safety concerns but noted the obligation of the Planning Commission to pass it along to the Board of Commissioners for consideration.

Mr. LOGAN motioned to approve Major Subdivision and Land Development Plan SLD-2022-01 Tommy’s Carwash, with respect to county comments, township comments, and conditioned on PennDOT HOP approval, with concerns regarding safety and traffic. Mr. BLACKWELL seconded. The motion carried 7-0.


Mr. Rhoads noted that July submissions were due June 20, 2022, and that Arcona 8.2 would be on the next agenda.

Mr. Rhoads also announced his upcoming resignation.

NEXT MEETING                              

The next meeting is scheduled for July 19, 2022.


The meeting was adjourned at 8:47 PM.