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Pen Argyl Borough Monthly Minutes | Archive

Thursday 22nd of September 2022 - 7/22/2022 Planning Commision Minutes

Date: September 22, 2022



Title:               Pen Argyl Borough Planning Commission Meeting

Location:        Lookout Volunteer Fire Company's Social Hall 123 South Main Street, Pen Argyl, PA 18072

Time:              7:00 pm


Attendees:      Craig Reduzzi, Chairman

Eric Mesko, Secretary

Stephen Marhevka, Commissioner Peter Layman, Borough Solicitor Steve Walsh, Dynamic Engineering Justin Huratiak, Owner/Developet Daniel Wilusz, Borough Engineer Robin Zmoda, Borough Manager Ron Kimes, Borough Zoning Officer

Public Attendees (Sign-In Sheet for Speakers attached)




1)     Meeting opened with a Call to order, Pledge of Allegiance, and Roll Call for attendance.


2)     Approval of the Minutes Mr. Mesko made a motion to accept the minutes of the Planning Commission meeting of July 20, 2022. Motion was seconded by Steve Marhevka and the motion passed with all in favor.


3)     Review of Zoning Ordinance amendment- Mr. Wilusz explained that the Planning Commission has been asked to review and provide comment on revisions to the Borough Zoning Ordinance. The Borough is considering amending the ordinance to allow for the conversion of existing buildings into apartments in the Light Industrial, Commercial District (Ch 108, Article VI, Sect 108-21L), and also modifying the table of minimum requirements for parking areas for accessory garages or parking areas to provide for changes to the minimum parking spaces for certain uses. (Ch 108, Article VII, Sect 108-26). After a brief discussion, the Commissioners made a motion in favor of the zoning amendments and suggested that the amendment approval process proceeds on to the Borough Council. Mr. Mesko officially made the motion, Mr. Marhevka seconded, and the motion passed with all in favor.


4)     Land Development Plan Application by Huratiak Homes, LLC (410 South Main Street Development)

-Steve Walsh from Dynamic Engineering started presentation of the latest revisions to the plans, based on discussions as previous Planning Commission meeting and discussions with the Borough Engineer.


-Mr. Walsh then gave an update/overview of the anticipated waivers that may be requested on the project. Mr. Walsh indicated that the Applicant is no longer going to be requesting the waiver from Section §93-15.D(14) (to allow the omission of all existing sewer lines, septic systems, storm sewers, waterlines, community water supply wells within 400 feet of the project, private water supply wells within 100 feet of the project, fire hydrants, utility transmission lines, culverts, bridges, railroads, other man-made features, watercourses and wetlands within the proposed subdivision and immediately adjacent to the subdivision tract, from the plan set). The other waiver requests are still relevant to the project.


-Mr. Layman reminded the Commissioners that a waiver from Section §93-15.B(1) & Section

§93-15.B(2) was previously recommended on July 20, 2022.


-Mr. Walsh then discussed the request for a waiver of Section §93-17.C(31), and Section

§93.27.B.(2)(b)[2], relating to larger tree location and replacement. Mr. Walsh explained their reasoning for a modified tree counting method and their calculations tree tree replacement, including an exact accounting of tree within a 25-foot buffer area along certain portions of the boundary lines. No action from the Commissioners was discussed.

-Mr. Walsh then discussed the request for a waiver of Section §93.27.B(2)(j) (to allow finish slopes on all cuts and fills to exceed 33%). Mr. Walsh then reviewed a provided exhibit plan, which showed the areas of steep slope that they anticipated for the site design. He indicated that the design was limiting all slope within the site to 33%, except for those shown in orange shading on the “steep slopes” Overall grading plan. Mr. Wilusz indicated that the steep slopes, as depicted by Mr. Walsh’s plan, were limited to drainage features, and most would be within fenced areas and others are shown to be protected for safety concerns. Mr. Wilusz indicate that this request was not “atypical” for a design such as this. The PADEP approval will require that these steep slope areas are designed to be protected from excessive erosion, and a PADEP approval and permit will be required for this project. After a discussion from the Commissioners and consultation with the Engineer and Solicitor, Mr. Mesko made a motion to recommend the granting of this waiver request to Council to allow for steep slopes in excess of 33%, up to 50%, only in areas as depicted on the Dynamic Engineering Overall Grading Plan, last revised on August 24, 2022. Mr. Marhevka seconded, and the motion passed with all in favor.

-Mr. Walsh then discussed the request for a waiver of Section §93-20.B.3.(c)[l] (to allow greater than the maximum 30 foot width access roads along the street line for multifamily residential projects. Access roads within the property boundary are 24 feet in width). Mr. Walsh explained that this waiver was only for the very end of the entrance drives, where they flare out to accommodate emergency and other larger vehicles. It was discussed with the Borough Engineer, that this waiver request was common and necessary for the safe access of large vehicles into and out of the site. Without the extra width at the end of the roadways, large vehicles would be either off the road, or would enter into the other lane, both of which are safety concerns. After a discussion from the Commissioners and consultation with the Engineer and Solicitor, Mr. Mesko made a motion to recommend the granting of this waiver request to Council. Mr. Marhevka seconded, and the motion passed with all in favor.

-Parking discussion. Mr. Wilusz questioned the location of parking spaces be verified to comply with the needs of each building and the units within. The design should take into account that the residents will not want to overflow park in areas too far from their individual units. Mr. Walsh indicated that has been considered in the latest design plans, which shirted some of the garages as well.

-Mr. Walsh indicated that this is not a 55+ community. The residents can be families with children. Mr. Huratiak indicated that in their design, based on previous experiences with similar communities, they anticipate about 26-28 school age children to live in the community.

-Mr. Walsh provided a water availability letter from PA American Water indicating their ability to provide water for domestic and fire use for the project.

-Atty Layman next discussed the review timing for the project. Since the project was first received at the Planning Commission meeting on July 30, 2022 and one 30-day extension was already granted by the Developer. The deadline for a decision by the Planning Commission is currently required by October 19th, 2022 (11/18/22 for Borough Council). Since the next Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for October 20, 2022, Mr. Layman suggested that another extension for action be requested from the Applicant. Mr. Huratiak agreed to a 60-day extension on the project review actions, so that date is now January 17, 2023.

-Atty Layman then gave an update on the status of the Sanitary Authority’s review of the project. It was decided that a full Component #3 is required from the PADEP for the project sewer planning design.

-Chairman Reduzzi then brought up the capacity of the local roads. Mr. Reduzzi is very concerned about the ability of the local roads to contain the increases in traffic associated with this development. The roads in that area barely handle today’s traffic and State trucks, an additional 600+ cars would be too much for it to handle.

-Mr. Walsh indicated that the development has looked at the possible replacement of the culvert across South Main St in front of the sewer treatment plant and has considered that in its design. Mr Walsh also indicated that all the stormwater drainage off South Main Street and Middletown Road will be collected and managed by the stormwater features of the new development. The stormwater in this area currently just sits along the roadway and is deteriorating the edge of the roads. Collecting and managing the stormwater will increase the life expectancy of any roadway repairs along South Main and Middletown Roads.

5.) Public Comment: The discussion was then turned over to any Public Comment (limited to 5 minutes each by Chairman Reduzzi.).

-Jerry Lennon (36 Crestmont): Mr. Lennon indicated that he was an original Dotta builder. He built his own home in the Dotta development many years ago. Mr. Lennon indicated that at the time of his construction efforts, he was told that the area behind his home, west of Crestmont Street as an easement that was provided as a buffer to any future development. Mr. Lennon then provided documents from the County tax map, ESRI World Street Map, Wikipedia, and others. Mr. Lennon indicated that the maps provided showed that the eastern property line on the Dynamic plan for the development may not be shown properly. According to Mr. Lennon, there is no easement, and the Municipal boundary line does not agree with his provided mapping. Mr. Wilusz indicated that Isett would again double check all the boundaries shown on the Dynamic mapping. Justin Huratiak indicated that a final title search will also be forthcoming as part of the purchase agreement. Mr. Lennon also indicated that any replacement trees should be hardwood trees, not just softwood (evergreen) trees.

-Lisa Wood (1118 Candlewood): Ms. Wood asked about the buffer along the Crestmont. Ms. Wood indicated that the properties along Crestwood all have berms to divert water from coming onto their properties from the Huratiak site. Ms. Wood asked if an NPDES permit from PADEP has been filed yet. Ms. Wood then asked Mr. Huratiak about what positive impact this site would have on the area. Mr. Huratiak responded that this area, the Slate Belt community needs easier living residences, such as those that this site design provides. Ms. Wood wanted to again know

about “the dream” development, and what percentage of Slate Belt citizens have become residents within “the dream”. Mr. Huratiak indicated that about 1 in 12 units have school age kids, which adds up to about 21 children. 12 of those children were previously enrolled in Slate Belt schools.

-Karen Nelson (351 Crestmont): Ms. Nelson asked about light pollution and noise pollution. She asked if the eastern driveway of the site can be moved to the west, so that a larger buffer would be provided to the rear of the homes along Crestmont Street. Ms. Nelson asked about the overflow parking areas. Mr. Walsh indicated that the parking in areas have been moved away from the Crestmont buffer area. Ms. Nelson is worried about any remaining trees in the buffer area falling down on existing residences as they are opened up to the winds once the sites other trees are removed. Mr. Huratiak indicated that the root structure of any tree to remain would be considered and protect for just that reason. He does not want any trees, which they leave as remaining buffer trees, to fall over, either.

-Jill Frawley (30 Flory): Ms. Frawley has stormwater concerns. She asked how water from neighboring properties will be addressed. Ms. Frawley indicated that there are water problems everywhere and that the road along South Main Street is ruined by the water drainage. Ms.

Frawley asked about the maximum building height which is incorporated into the design. Mr. Walsh responded that 40 feet is the maximum height.

-Rich Miller (40 Flory): Mr. Miller suggested if the ordinance requires 1 to 1 replacement of trees which are removed from the site, maybe some of the replacement trees could be provided elsewhere if they don’t fit on the site. Mr. Miller indicated that he was very concerned about traffic and wanted to know how much the applicant forecasted would be headed onto Flory Ave from the site. Mr Miller reiterated that the roads in Dotta and Flory are only local roads and should not be collecting all this traffic. Mr. Miller asked about traffic calming and wanted to know if any traffic calming techniques would be considered for pedestrian crossings at Weona Park.

He specifically wanted a signalized crossing considered between the park and fire station. Mr. Miller again suggested the development should be tighter into the middle. Mr. Miller suggests that the development would be better with more green space and trees around the outside. Mr. Walsh indicated that they looked at compressing the site into the center and found that there would be more impervious surfaces as more roadways and parking areas would be required.

The current design is the most optimal way to provide the number of units requested by Mr. Huratiak in the design. Mr. Miller asked about number of residents per unit and number of school ages children to be added to the schools. Mr. Huratiak indicated that it would be about

1.7 people per unit across the site, and about 27-30 school kids. Mr. Miller then asked about the stormwater basin. He wanted to know if there was extra room for some of the bigger storms we’ve been getting lately. Mr. Walsh indicated that there is “free board” in the basin as is required by the ordinance.

-Barry Dutt (408 Crestmont): Mr. Dutt stated that he was a long-time resident of the area. Mr. Dutt challenged the developer to consider the residents on Crestmont with the design. He indicated that the resident of Crestmont are now faces with noise and light pollution at the immediate rear of their homes. Mr. Huratiak, and Mr. Walsh indicated that the design as presented does take into account providing a buffer specifically for those residents along Crestmont Street.

-Robert Rute: Mr. Rute asked if the sewer treatment plant would be buffered and would like this area conserved.

-Atty Layman then explained that this area was set aside for a multi-family residential use, as Mr. Huratiak has proposed. The Borough has areas up along the mountain, where development would be very difficult to develop as a conservation area.

Close of Meeting Mr. Reduzzi then asked if there were any other comments from the public. There were none.

-Mr. Mesko made a motion on the application. He motioned that action on the application should be tabled, on the condition that an Official extension of 60-days be granted by the Applicant within 7 days, in the alternative a recommendation to deny the application for failure to comply with the Engineer’s letter of September 19th. Mr. Marhevka seconded the motion, and the motion passed with all in favor.

-Mr. Mesko made a motion to close the meeting. The motion was seconded by Steve Marhevka and the motion passed with all in favor. The meeting was closed at approximately 8:45pm.



Recorded by: Daniel Wilusz, P.E., Borough Engineer


Copies: Pen Argyl Borough, File