HAMPDEN TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION
March 13, 2014 7:30 p.m.
Planning Commission Members Chairman Phil Klotz
Vice Chairman Ronald Stephens
Member Craig Mellott
Member Justin Leventry
Member Claudia Williams
Commissioner Liaison Nathan Silcox
County Planning Commission Jeffrey Kelly
Township Staff Manager Keith Metts
Assistant Manager David Blechertas
Assistant Zoning Officer Darrell McMillan
Assistant Director of Public Works Jeremy Miller
Pledge of Allegiance
Chairman Klotz led the audience in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Call to Order by Chairman Klotz
Chairman Klotz called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. and stated Proof of Publication was available for public inspection.
Approval of the Minutes
MOTION by Vice Chairman Stephens to approve the Planning Commission Meeting Minutes of
January 9, 2014. The motion, seconded by Ms. Williams carried unanimously. The February Planning Commission meeting was cancelled.
Final Subdivision and Land Development Plan for The Oaks Phase 1, located on the west side of Lamb’s Gap Road, 6 lots, 2 open space lots, 6.39 acres, zoned R-C, owned by Don Erwin, submitted by Hanover Engineering Associates, Inc.
Randy Wright from Hanover Engineering Associates was present to speak concerning the Oaks Phase 1 final plan.
Chairman Klotz asked if Mr. Wright agreed to the comments provided by staff and the County. Mr. Wright replied that he did.
Mr. Miller said there is a preliminary plan that has conditional approval and is still waiting for all the conditions to be met and receipt of final signed drawings. He said one thing that is missing is the profiles for some of the steeper driveways; the Township needs proof that all lots are buildable. Mr. Miller said that Mr. Wright indicated he would provide that information shortly.
Mr. Miller said this is phase one and there was not a cul-de-sac proposed; they are proposing to use a portion of Phase 2 as a turnaround. Chairman Klotz asked if emergency vehicles would navigate the proposed turn around until the second phase was built. Mr. Miller said he believed so, but would double check. Mr. Wright said he provided the turning movement document, which included Township emergency vehicle specs.
Mr. McMillan said the Township is asking for verification that emergency vehicles be able to access steep driveways for Lots 11, 12, 14, and 15.
Manager Metts asked if the Township received an answer concerning hydrant locations. Mr. Wright said they would shift one at the end of Phase I, pending Pennsylvania American Water approval.
Mr. Kelly said he had one question on County Comment #3 regarding the reference to stormwater notes. Mr. Kelly said he did not see stormwater note 11 and 13 on the plan given to the County. Mr. Wright replied that he would check that and make sure it is on the plan.
Commissioner Silcox asked if there has been interaction with the neighbors adjacent to the plan. Mr. Wright said he did not know if Mr. Erwin has had a chance to meet with them yet. Commissioner Silcox requested that this happen prior to the next Board of Commissioners meeting. Mr. Wright said he would pass that information to Mr. Erwin.
Chairman Klotz said Engineering Comment #12 stated that the plan identifies Protected Woodland Areas that are provided as part of the stormwater management calculations and that permanent protections should be provided for these areas. Chairman Klotz asked if there would be deed restrictions to accommodate this comment. Mr. Wright replied it would be protected with easements. He said that comment came up as a condition on their preliminary plan approval. He said they have taken all the areas to be preserved and put an actual Meets and Bounds easement around them.
Chairman Klotz asked if there has been a covenant and restrictions on size of homes. He asked if that has been prepared yet with the final plan presentation. Mr. Erwin replied not yet. Chairman Klotz asked if the draft should be submitted to the Township for review as part of the final plan. Manager Metts said it could be submitted but the Township does not weigh in on the requirements of Homeowners Association. He said they have been asked multiple times if the Township gets involved with that. Mr. Wright said there would be a HOA and it would automatically require covenant and the paperwork that goes with the HOA. He said he did not think anyone could buy a lot without being fully aware of the HOA and restrictions.
MOTION by Vice Chairman Stephens to recommend approval to the Board of Commissioners the Final Subdivision and Land Development Plan for The Oaks Phase 1, located on the west side of Lamb’s Gap Road, 6 lots, 2 open space lots, 6.39 acres, zoned R-C, owned by Don Erwin, submitted by Hanover Engineering Associates, Inc., conditional upon the favorable resolution of the preliminary plan comments and an official approved preliminary plan before the final plan is acted upon, notification to the Board regarding discussions between the developer and neighboring property owners, and all new County and Township staff comments. The motion was seconded by Mr. Leventry.
Discussion on the motion:
Commissioner Silcox asked if Mr. Erwin had met with any of the neighboring property owners since the previous plan submission. Mr. Erwin replied that he met with Mr. Bowen, who fronts on Lamb’s Gap Road, and discussed the development directly behind his house. He said he met with Mr. and Mrs. Isenburg and Ms. Miller. He said as late this afternoon he met with Jerry Engelman, the concerned resident that was present at the January 9, 2014 Planning Commission meeting and his immediate neighbor, Mr. McFarland. Mr. Erwin stated they walked the property line, identified the property pins and discussed the potential of site incursions. Mr. Erwin said there is a minimum of a ten or fifteen feet fall from the back property line to Mr. Engelman’s property. He said there is a full line of mature trees. Mr. Erwin said where the future house would possibly sit and where the current homes are, it would almost be impossible or very difficult to see the new home built on the lot. Mr. Erwin said it was a very cordial meeting. Mr. Erwin said he has spoken to everyone that is immediately adjacent to the proposed development with the exception of one property owner because they were not home when he stopped by.
Ms. Williams asked if it was a combination of distance and tree line in the neighboring property owner not being able to see the future house. Ms. Williams asked if the tree line in particular would have a seasonal issue with leaves falling. Mr. Erwin replied that was discussed earlier that afternoon. He replied it would be the site distance of about approximately 250-300 feet from the property line, the elevation and a mature stand of trees.
Vice Chairman Stephens stated that he would like to remove his comment from the motion concerning discussions between the developer and the neighboring property owners. The motion carried unanimously.
Chairman Klotz wanted to recognize some guests in the audience. Nate Richwine and Nick Richwine from Enola were both present from their Boy Scout troop attaining a merit badge by coming to a Township meeting.
Amanda Chubb, a junior commissioner with Hampden Township, was also present. She said she has been attending different Township meetings.
Chairman Klotz said throughout the meeting he would be asking for public involvement as part of the required Sunshine Act. He said it gives the public a chance to speak on items or plans.
Request for a Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment to Chapter 27, Parts 12 Commercial-General and Part 13, Commercial-Limited
James Ross, a Township resident and an associate broker with NAICIR, was present to speak concerning the request suggesting a change in zoning ordinance with regards to the Commercial Limited use. He said the change specifically related to restaurants and convenience stores. He said the zoning of Commercial General and Commercial Limited are very similar. He said the CL zone does not permit convenience stores with gasoline and does not permit restaurants with a drive through window and/or outdoor seating. He said they are looking to open a window of additional growth opportunities within the Township.
Chairman Klotz said the Planning Commission received the letter request and clarified that this is an informal request at this point. He said the Planning Commission members were happy to entertain the letter and provide a recommendation.
Manager Metts said as the Township Manager and Zoning Officer he does not have the ability to vote on any changes in policy, but would speak on his own observations. He said those zoning classifications and uses in place for some time now with the idea of providing a buffer between the more intensive uses of the C-G zone and Commercial Limited when it abuts other less intensive zoning classifications. He said for that purpose he would not support the request. He said that the Township is reviewing and updating the 1994 Comprehensive Plan and additionally undertaking the study with the assistance of a land use planner for what the Commissioners have referred to as the Special Development District. He said the envisioned footprint of that district is well within the majority of the Commercial Limited zoning classifications. He said that work would progress through the remainder of 2014 at least. He said there would be many months of public meetings and focus groups where the land use planner would be asking for input. He said Mr. Ross is more than welcome to attend any of those meeting and the Comprehensive Plan workshops.
Mr. McMillan said there are more differences between C-L and C-G than just what was stated previously. He said there are multiple uses permitted in the Commercial General zones that were removed from to create the Limited Zone, which was done around 1992/1993.
Mr. Kelly said he knows that the Township’s limited zone indicates less intensive uses. He said if the Township would entertain changing, he thought there should be additional requirements such as buffering or screening in addition to what the Township has now.
Mr. Mellott said it seemed like those two uses, the drive through restaurants and gas station convenience stores were the most controversial to residential zones.
Mr. Leventry said those uses were not omitted by accident. He said the Township would have to take a careful look at changing that.
Vice Chairman said that the uses were divided for a purpose and the Township would be starting to reverse that purpose.
Ms. Williams said that a statement of interest in the uses is different and falls short of what the potential value to the Township is. She said in order for the Commission to do a thoughtful risk benefit analysis, the Township needed more information before providing any recommendation.
Commissioner Silcox asked if the Township’s zoning districts are generally in line with other municipalities. Mr. Kelly replied they are generally in line with a lighter and heavier commercial zoning area. Mr. Ross said in Dauphin County, Swatara Township has a combined commercial zoning area.
Mr. Ross said there is more property frontage in the Commercial Limited zone than there is in Commercial General in the Township. He said it is not just his interest as a real estate firm; it is also the many people that they represent that live in the Township. He said by way of example in the Commercial Limited zone, hotels and motels are permitted uses. Mr. Ross said those types of uses are still higher volume use.
Commissioner Silcox asked if Mr. Ross was making any similar types of requests to other municipalities. Mr. Ross replied no, that he is doing work in the West Shore area, particularly Hampden Township.
Chairman Klotz said if you look at the provisions of the ordinance, it gives the purpose of commercial general and commercial limited. He said adding the additional use requests could generate more traffic. He said it might create more of an impact on the commercial limited area potentially. He said he is hesitant to recommend any kind of change that might be considered in the comprehensive manner.
Chairman Klotz said the Township is in the process of updating the Comprehensive Plan. He said the Commissioners have been working on the Special Development District for about two years. He said they have to look at this in the context of all the land uses in the Township under a future zoning scheme that might occur.
Chairman Klotz said the other purpose of the Commercial Limited zone is to transition between the residential uses and the Commercial General or Industrial zones. He said to erode that would be contrary to intent of the zoning district.
Chairman Klotz said the important thing is getting input because the Township is in the process of updating the Comprehensive Plan and working on the SDD. He said the comments discussed at this meeting would be taken into consideration. Chairman Klotz said Mr. Ross is welcomed to attend and participate in those meetings.
Mr. Ross said from 581 to the north side of Skyport Road is zoned Commercial Limited but does not seem in line with the zoning. He said he is not speaking about a particular property in that area, but the whole corridor.
Manager Metts said if Mr. Ross was interested he could be put on the email list for notifications for updates to the proposed Special Development District to keep him in the loop and future scheduled meetings. Mr. Ross said he would appreciate that.
Mr. McMillan said the Commercial Limited zoning district was created to put over top of the existing commercial General area. He said they used it mainly as a buffer between residential A-O and A-O-L. He said there have been a few changes from C-L back to C-G in the recent past. He said it affects certain areas but does not blanket the whole Commercial Limited. He said many of the businesses on the Carlisle Pike were previously zoned Commercial General.
MOTION by Ms. Williams to recommend to the Board of Commissioners consideration the Request for a Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment to Chapter 27, Parts 12 Commercial-General and Part 13, Commercial-Limited in the context of the larger redevelopment process. The motion, seconded by Vice Chairman Stephens.
Discussion on the Motion:
Mr. Mellott said the Planning Commission would not consider rezoning the Commercial Zoning District. He said the Township should take Mr. Ross’s points into what the Township is doing in the broad scale.
Manager Metts said for clarification, the request technically to consider amending the permitted uses within the Commercial Limited district as opposed to a rezoning. Chairman Klotz replied that was correct. Manager Metts said there is nothing saying that this is not an appropriate request and/or the idea of rezoning a particular tract to Commercial General. He said his reservations were based upon the idea of maintaining the Commercial Limited district moving forward and have the two uses added seemed to be a significant change, but one that can be considered moving forward with the Special Development District and the Comprehensive Plan.
The motion carried unanimously.
Request for Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment to Chapter 27, Part 9, Section 904, to simplify building height requirements when the Office-Park zone abuts a residential zone
David Getz, attorney with Wix, Winger & Weidner, along with Paul Toburen of Pinnacle Health and Tom Godfrey from Dawood Engineering were present.
Mr. Getz said they came across some odd language in the Office Park Zoning district concerning what it means to have a setback, where a building can be, and how tall the building can be. He said this language is only in the O-P district. He said that in the O-P district the maximum building height is 100 feet, except when it abuts a residential zone. He said that is when you get into the geometric description.
Mr. Getz said they looked at the Special Development District draft ordinance that had been previously considered. He said in that ordinance for many of the areas being considered the setback line it is at 50 feet and then one foot additional every foot back from the setback not to exceed 100 feet.
Mr. Kelly said there were two major issues here, the height of the setback line is 50 feet and the one foot height addition for every one foot the building is placed behind the setback. He said the 50 foot height at the setback is a concern because it is a higher setback than any other zone in the Township. He said the other commercial zones have a 40 foot height at the setback line and 35 feet when adjacent to a residential zone.
Mr. Kelly said he looked at the 32 degree angle height as listed in the O-P zoning district and a building that would be at the 40 foot setback would be at a 35 foot height. He recommends the height of the setback be consistent with the other commercial zones. He said the building that abuts a residential zone would be similar in scale to the residential zone.
Mr. Kelly said he looked at other Townships and they have various ways of determining it. He said the only other Township similar to Hampden Township’s OP district is East Pennsboro Township. He said Lower Allen, Silver Spring, and South Middletown Township all have a little more stricter requirement, one foot increase to a two foot setback.
Mr. Kelly said if the applicant reduced the height to 40 feet and 40 feet setback, it would equal.
Manager Metts asked if there was any difference with the idea that the setback requirements are less than what is required in the O-P district. He said, for example, having the rear yard at 40 feet, side yard 40 feet, and front yard is 80 feet. He said in Commercial General, side yards are 10 feet, front yard 35 feet and rear yard 30 feet. He said that maybe the setback requirements and yard regulations are stricter in the O-P district. Mr. Kelly agreed that the setback is a little stricter than the other commercial zones. Mr. Kelly said that with the 35 degree angle a 100 foot tall building would be setback 150 feet. He said under the request at 50 feet high and a 40 foot setback, if you go back up to a 100 feet it would be 90 feet tall. He said the proposal is much less strict.
Mr. Kelly said the proposal is consistent with the idea the Comprehensive Plan tries to avoid those future land use conflicts.
Mr. Mellott asked how the applicant came up with their proposal numbers. Mr. Getz said their methodology was based off language from the SDD draft ordinance. He said they are looking for some clarity for future planning.
Manager Metts said recognizing this evening he was asking if the Planning Commission had any recommendations for the applicant to go back to the Board of Commissioners and request a public hearing. He said the area that they are looking to perhaps develop is adjacent to an undeveloped Residential Towne zone. Manager Metts said in the spirit of making contact with the property owner concerning their future request to schedule a public hearing. Mr. Getz replied that they could.
Mr. Mellott asked staff if there were concerns about the text amendment as written. Manager Metts said the proposal is a lot easier. Mr. McMillan said other than the proposed SDD, that it not an ordinance, the O-P district is the only district that has these two requirements.
Chairman Klotz said in looking at the implications of the proposal, he researched other municipalities’ ordinances in and out of the area. He said he found percentages and formulas that used geometry and simple provisions. He said the main concern is the impact on neighboring land uses. He said he appreciates the simplicity of the proposal. Chairman Klotz said he was leaning towards the 40 foot height as opposed to the 50 foot height at the setback line.
Mr. Getz asked if they are agreeable to changing the text amendment request to 40 feet. Mr. Godfrey agreed.
MOTION by Vice Chairman Stephens to recommend to the Board of Commissioners the Request for Zoning Ordinance Text Amendment to Chapter 27, Part 9, Section 904, to simplify building height requirements when the Office-Park zone abuts a residential zone with consideration given to allow a 40-foot building height at the building setback line rather than the originally requested 50-foot building height at the setback line in the Office Park zoning district when abutting a residential zoning district, which is supported by the March 12, 2014, comments by the Cumberland County Planning Department. The motion, seconded by Ms. Williams, carried unanimously.
Brandywine Extension Phase II, Sewage Facilities Planning Module, Component 4A-Municipal Planning Agency Review
Mr. Miller said the review is in regards to the Brandywine Development, which was previously approved by the Board of Commissioners. He said the development is required to serve properties with pubic sewer a pumping station. He said Department of Environmental Protection requires a planning module be approved. He said part of that process is to have a planning module review and confirm that it is consistent with the zoning and land development ordinances.
Mr. Miller asked the Planning Commissioner to authorize the execution of the planning module.
MOTION by Vice Chairman Stephens recommended approval to the Board of Commissioners the Brandywine Extension Phase II, Sewage Facilities Planning Module, Component 4A-Municipal Planning Agency Review. The motion, seconded by Mr. Mellott, carried unanimously.
Good and Welfare
Chairman Klotz asked if the Comprehensive Plan is now in the Commissioners’ ballpark. Manager Metts said that is correct. He said the Commissioners have been pleased with the work that has occurred. He said he is waiting for guidance as to when the Special Development District would kick off again.
MOTION by Vice Chairman Stephens to adjourn the Planning Commission Meeting. The motion, seconded by Mr. Mellott, carried unanimously.
Chairman Klotz adjourned the meeting at approximately 8:45 p.m.
Rita Finkboner, Recording Secretary