The Moore Township Planning Commission met Monday, June 27 to discuss various plans and ordinances in the township after not having a quorum at the May meeting. Chairman John Becker began the meeting by addressing last month’s lack of a quorum and reminded the board to give more notice when they won’t be present at a meeting.
A previous major land development submitted under the name Valley View Estates was asked to change their name to Ashwood Construction Whitetail Acres by the commission. They previously submitted the development without the proper fees, but they resubmitted their application with the proper requirements. The commission formerly accepted the submission at the meeting with a Keystone Engineering review letter dated May 19, 2022. Since they were not at the commission’s June meeting, the applicants will be required to submit an extension, and Secretary Jason Harhart will give them a courtesy call to let them know in the coming week.
A letter to extend Nico DelSerro’s major subdivision application to November 11 was denied due to the request being in the middle of the month and also because the commission has not seen any activity since the Board of Supervisors denied their request for substantial relief. Instead, the Planning Commission voted to give them an extension until August 31 and will need to see a new submission by the July meeting or their plans will be denied.
The Water’s Edge at Wind Gap/Southmoore Business Center land development submission was also unanimously granted an extension by the commission until October 31. The Moore Township Zoning Hearing Board is due to meet Wednesday, July 6 at 6 p.m. in the Moore Elementary School multi-purpose room, located at 2835 Mountain View Dr. to discuss the Water’s Edge at Wind Gap Industrial Development for Warehouse Use property proposal appeal of the determination of the Zoning Officer and challenges the substantive validity of various sections of the Township Zoning Ordinance.
Muschlitz Excavating was also granted an extension of time to October 31 by the commission following a Keystone Engineering review letter dated June 23 discussing the land development’s septic system, storm water drainage, and additional parking spaces that will be needed for compliance. Owner Jack Muschlitz is proposing a 1,960 square foot two-story office expansion facility at 615 Moorestown Rd., which will be located at the rear of the facility. They will be adding storm water management and an additional 20 parking spaces for approximately 60 total parking spaces for the size of the site.
Muschlitz has also encountered an issue with establishing a required screen dimension since PPL Electric Utilities cut down trees on the property due to the trees being in the high-tension power line easement back in 2008. When Muschlitz originally built their building in the early 2000s, they were required under the ordinance to plant a buffer yard of trees between their building and their residential neighbors, which they properly did. Since PPL Electric Utilities removed the trees that provided the buffer, their proposed addition requires them to re-establish the buffer yard. Secretary Harhart explained that the neighborhood concerns were primarily centered around wanting to know when the trees would be put back up. Chairman Becker stated that Muschlitz will have to work with PPL Electric Utilities because a buffer needs to be established. Township Engineer Kevin Horvath added that certain plantings are required or allowed within the easement, but not underneath the wires. His suggestion was that it would be helpful to show where there would be some alternate plantings to provide substantial buffering, which would be a step in the right direction.
Harhart stated, “If PPL Electric Utilities does not allow Muschlitz to plant a buffer yard in that area, they will have to ask for a variance in front of the Zoning Hearing Board.”
Under old business, the agritainment/agritourism zoning ordinance was brought up for further discussion, which was sent with notations by Township Solicitor David Beckenstoe to the Planning Commission by the Board of Supervisors after they discussed it during their April and May meetings.
The ordinance would help struggling farmers to augment their income and be able to continue farming. Backenstoe added that some of the possible options would be for farmers to host private weddings, gatherings, wineries, corn mazes, and petting farms for entertainment and tourism purposes that would supplement additional income. Backenstoe prepared a draft for the commission to review based on the similarities of the township to the North Whitehall agritainment/agritourism zoning ordinance and added that the township can review the draft and decide whether they would like a more comprehensive or less comprehensive ordinance. Planning Commissioner Judith Rodwin stated that she has not done economic research on the subject and would like to do so before formally voting on anything. The township commission will continue the discussion on the agritainment/agritourism zoning ordinance next month.
Next, the Planning Commission continued the discussion regarding the Moore Township Land and Environmental Protection Board’s request to update the ordinance to include the Land and Environmental Board in the review process. Thomas Roberts from the Land and Environmental Board expressed that this process would allow an extra set of eyes to ensure the preservation of lands. However, Chairman Becker felt this added review would slow down or even add an extra month onto the submission application process.
Planning Commissioner John Wetzel stated, “I argued against this before since the SALDO is already comprehensive, so it is unlikely that we miss anything.”
Rodwin chimed that she would like to investigate this further and the commissioners decided they will continue the discussion next month.
Township Engineer Horvath also requested that the commission make a motion to have applicants provide email addresses for electronic correspondence on the application forms and to have applicants submit full plan sets in electronic digital format along with standard paper plans, which was approved unanimously.
Last, Chairman Becker sadly informed the commission that he will be resigning from his position at the end of the year because he has other issues he needs to deal with. He will be presenting the Board of Supervisors with a formal letter at their next meeting.
The next Moore Township Planning Commission meeting will be held Monday, July 25 at 7 p.m. in the municipal building, located at 2491 Community Dr.