Meeting Minutes

February 12, 2015 7:30 p.m.


Planning Commission Members

Chairman Ronald Stephens
Vice Chairman Craig Mellott – Absent
Member Tracey Vernon
Member Claudia Williams – Absent
Member Phil Klotz

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 Stephens led the audience in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Call to Order by Chairman Stephens

Chairman Stephens called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. and stated Proof of Publication was available for public inspection.
Audience Participation

There was none.
Approval of the Minutes

MOTION by Mr. Klotz to approve the Planning Commission Meeting Minutes of
January 8, 2015. The motion, seconded by Ms. Vernon, carried unanimously.
Old Business

Hampden Township Comprehensive Plan Update

Peter Simone of Simone and Collins was present to speak concerning the Hampden Township Comprehensive Plan update.

Mr. Simone said he was looking for additional comments the Planning Commission members might have regarding the draft update. He said there would be a couple weeks still available for review and changes. He said the schedule is to have the members recommend approval at the March 12, 2015 Planning Commission meeting. He said he hopes that the Board of Commissioners would then schedule a public hearing at the April 2, 2015 Board of Commissioners’ meeting. He said the tentative date for the public hearing would be May 28, 2015.

Manager Metts asked for a date by which comments and changes can be submitted for the Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Simone responded by February 28 for minor changes and as soon as possible for anything major.

Mr. Simone said there is an important transportation element. He said there is a list of proposed improvements in the Plan. He said the major ones were the Carlisle Pike, Trindle Road/US 581 interchange, and the extension of Sporting Hill Road to Simpson Ferry Road. He said that in the northern part of the Township, improvements would be mainly traffic lights. He said last year a new transportation bill was passed that assures money in the State budget for transportation improvements.

Mr. Simone said they looked at some of the large undeveloped parcels that remain in the Township. He said they came up with some land use recommendations. He said the major land use initiatives involve the southern part of the Township, the mixed use and overlay-zoning district, currently being drafted. He said that is a major change but the intent is to give the property owners more opportunity to redevelop. He said in the northern portion of the Township, there would be an urban mixed-use limited district.

Mr. Simone said he would provide a revised copy of the mixed-use ordinance to the Township in the next couple of weeks. He said the hope is to adopt the ordinance after the Comp Plan has been adopted.

Mr. Simone said there was a meeting about the official map. He said it is possible the Township would apply for a grant to help put it together. He said Simone Collins or the County could help the Township with making an official map.

Mr. Simone said they tried to take all of the recommendations for the Comprehensive Plan and put it into a table to be easily found.

Mr. Simone said he wanted to point out that the Township Solicitor had a comment regarding one line of the Comp Plan . He said it is under Existing Transportation, Chapter 9, of the Comp Plan. The Solicitor asked whether some of the transportation data should be in the Plan. He said there is one line in Section 9.2 that the Township may want to remove all together.

Manager Metts asked what should be a big focus for review for staff and the Planning Commission members. Mr. Simone said Future Transportation Plan, Community Services, Emergency Services, and Stormwater Quality are some of the main issues.

Mr. Kelly asked when the County would officially review the Comp Plan. Mr. Simone replied in the beginning of April.

Mr. Klotz said having the accident data is beneficial to transportation improvements. He said it is a value to at least have it handy to refer to when reviewing plans.

Chairman Stephens said the next five items on the agenda under old business are tabled.
New Business

Request consideration from Chris Land, LLC for a Conditional Use Application located at
4417 Valley Road

Esch McCombie, McNees Wallace & Nurick, was present to speak concerning the Conditional Use application from Chris Land, LLC located at 4417 Valley Road.

Mr. McCombie said Sunbelt Rentals, the second largest equipment rental company, reached out to Chris Land to reuse the property. He said this location would bring in ten jobs the first year and an additional 7-10 jobs in subsequent years.

Mr. McCombie said the front portion of the building would be used as a retail store for the sale of lawn and garden equipment, products, and supplies. He said the rear portion of the property would be used for the rental of various contractor equipment as defined in the pending text amendment.

Mr. McCombie said the facility, which is in the Commercial Park Limited District, is surrounded on three sides with CP-L, with the Apartment Office District across Brim Lane.

Mr. McCombie stated they are adding an additional accessible parking space in the parking lot. He said that along Brim Lane, there is vegetation that would remain as a screen and the applicant would install a six-foot privacy fence around the outdoor storage area in the back of the property.

Commissioner Silcox asked what type of vegetation is currently used as a buffer. Mr. McCombie said he was unsure but on Google Maps, they appear to be large deciduous trees.

Manager Metts asked how many parking spaces would be required for Sunbelt Rentals. Mr. McCombie said they will have approximately 72 parking spaces, but 58 are required.

Manager Metts asked what their hours of operation would be at this location. Mr. McCombie replied Monday through Friday from 6 am to 5 pm. He said this location would be closed Saturday and Sunday.

Mr. McMillan said he drove along Brim Lane the previous week and there are evergreen trees, but many of the trees are deciduous and some have fallen down. He said there is an existing fence along the side of the property but it is in disrepair. He said the applicant needs to look at that whole area and clean it up.

Manager Metts said the intent of the applicant would be to have the Public Hearing regarding the text amendment and the Conditional Use occur on the same evening, with the text amendment being held first. Mr. Klotz asked if both items have been advertised; Manager Metts responded yes.

Mr. Miller said there should be a permit for the driveway because it exits Valley Road, a State road. He asked that it be confirmed that there is a permit for driveway access from PennDOT and there would be no amendments required.

MOTION by Mr. Klotz to recommend approval to the Board of Commissioners the request for consideration from Chris Land, LLC for a Conditional Use Application located at
4417 Valley Road. The motion, seconded by Ms. Vernon, carried unanimously.

Request for an ordinance proposing to amend the Hampden Township Zoning Ordinance and Chapter 8 of the Code of Ordinances to eliminate use of the Plan Review Board

Mr. McMillan said the Plan Review Board is an in-house staff board that was created in the 1970s. He said the duties of the Board are to perform a cursory review of nonresidential applications. He said what staff is finding now is that the Board is going over Certificate of Use, Sign, and Commercial Zoning Permits that have already been reviewed by staff but were just waiting to be issued.

Manager Metts said the Township Solicitor and Board of Commissioners are in support of the recommendation from staff that the reference and responsibilities of the Plan Review Board be absolved.

Chairman Stephens asked what type of plans or projects would still need reviewed if the Board does not exist. Mr. McMillan said staff has since created some other things that replace the need for the Board. He said they now have in house staff and developer meetings to review plans. He said the new stormwater ordinance could address other issues that may come up.

Manager Metts said under the Municipal Planning Code if a plan rises to the occasion and requirements of land development, the plan will be presented before the Planning Commission for recommendation. He said otherwise, staff has the skillset and capability under the approved ordinances and regulations to approve plans without the formality of a biweekly meeting of the Plan Review Board.

MOTION by Mr. Klotz to recommend approval to the Board of Commissioners the request for an ordinance proposing to amend the Hampden Township Zoning Ordinance and Chapter 8 of the Code of Ordinances to eliminate use of the Plan Review Board. The motion, seconded by, Ms. Vernon, carried unanimously.
Good & Welfare

Mr. Miller said staff is working on a number of changes to the Zoning and Land Development ordinances for the future.

Commissioner Silcox said Representative Grell has introduced House Bill 33 introducing legislation allowing an alternate Planning Commission member.

Chairman Stephens said it would be a good idea to know under the law what the Planning Commission can and cannot discuss and when. Manager Metts asked if Chairman Stephens was referring to the Sunshine Law. Chairman Stephens replied yes.

MOTION by Mr. Klotz to adjourn the Planning Commission Meeting. The motion, seconded by Ms. Vernon, carried unanimously.

Chairman Stephens adjourned the meeting at approximately 8:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Rita Finkboner, Recording Secretary