Members of the planning commission and board of supervisors met to discuss Robal, Devault Planning Area and transferred development rights (TDR) at a joint meeting held at Great Valley Middle School.

The two proposed developments of Devault and Robal Associates have been in planning stages for an extended time and undergone several revised plans without having found a definitive solution.

Development of the Robal Associates property at Sycamore Lane has been revised several times changing configuration and number of homes. The plan currently contains a proposed 19-single-family homes in a cluster to provide open space around.

"This is probably a better alternative to what we've seen to date," said Mike Allen, planning commission chairman.

There seemed to be a general consensus, however, between both boards that an improvement upon the previous plans was not sufficient.

"You're saying that this is the best out of the bad," said Michael Rodgers, vice chairman of the board of supervisors. "This is still not good."

"Why all the creativity to jam 19 units into a parcel that can only fit 14," Supervisor's Chairman Kevin Kuhn asked rhetorically. "How am I doing my job allowing you to do that?"

Township officials were concerned with disturbances to trees along Sycamore Lane, whether the homes would have sewer and water service and storm water management.

"The major concern of residents on Sycamore Lane is what's going to happen to trees rather than how many houses are going in," said Paul Hogan, member of the board of supervisors.

The 30-acre plot currently does not have sewer or water connections and installing would disturb trees as well as storm water runoff may affect them and Sycamore Lane's road surface.

In other news, the Devault Planning Area was discussed as to what kind of development will be created in the area that is zoned as light industrial.

The proposed plan has been through numerous changes, though it is still expected to have mixed development. Thomas Committa, township planner, made a presentation of the changes and possible solutions that have been conceived for the site.

Plans vary from creating retail space that would provide a walking area and village-like atmosphere to office space, townhomes or industrial space.

"We need to make some decisions," said Charles Philips, board of supervisors member. "We need a plan so when someone comes in we can say that doesn't fit with our plan."

The Pennsylvania Turnpike is near the site and expected to expand or at least bring more development to the area for which the township officials want to be prepared.

Officials then discussed the benefits of added residents with homes versus the addition of offices and retail that would bring in revenue but not permanent persons. Residential development would likely raise the township's population by an estimated 1800 people.

Commuters, with around 2,500 parking spaces, in the one-million square-foot tract will increase traffic altering the character of the township. Charlestown may also require its own fire and police services, which currently are provided by neighboring townships and state sources, in the event that population or incidents increase.

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