BERKS COUNTY PLANNING COMMISSION JUNE 8, 2011
BERKS COUNTY SERVICES CENTER
633 COURT STREET, 14TH FLOOR
READING, PA 19601-4309
1. CALL TO ORDER
Joseph Griffin, Chairman, called the regular monthly meeting of the Berks County
Planning Commission to order at 3:00 p.m. The meeting was held on Wednesday, June 8, 2011
in the Planning Commission offices on the fourteenth floor of the Berks County Services Center,
The following members were present:
Joseph Griffin, Chairman
Peter F. Giorgi, Esquire, Vice-Chairman
James C. McCarthy, Secretary
Lloyd W. Hopkins, Jr.
Lee C. Olsen
Douglas P. Rauch, Esq.
Not in attendance:
James L. Mason
Mark C. Scott
Heidi B. Masano, Asst. County Solicitor
Glenn R. Knoblauch, Exec. Director
Cheryl A. Auchenbach, Planner III
Beth Burkovich, GIS Analyst
Michelle D. Franklin, Planner III
Michael D. Golembiewski, Trans. Modeler
Ashley J. Mazurek, Planner II
Matthew F. McGough, Planner II
Amanda M. Timochenko, Planner II
Pauline R. Klopp, Office Support V
Robert H. Bernstel, Bern Twp. Mun. Auth. Chairman
Bill Murray, Western Berks Water Authority
John Spitko, SSM Group, Inc.
Keith Smoker, Reading Eagle
2. PUBLIC COMMENT
There was no public comment.
3. APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF MAY 11, 2011
Mr. Rauch mentioned that the word “of” was missing from the first sentence under Other
Reviews - Item B. Upper Bern C2P2 Grant.
MOTION: Mr. McCarthy made a motion to approve the minutes, as amended, from the May
11, 2011 meeting. The motion was seconded by Mr. Olsen and passed
4. REPORTS OF OFFICERS AND COMMITTEES
A. Chairman’s Report
Chairman Griffin’s report was focused on time lines for projects: short term, mid-
term and long term. Mr. Griffin discussed the relative differences in priorities and
strategic solutions based upon time lines.
B. Executive Director’s Report
Mr. Knoblauch mentioned that tomorrow at 11:30 the Ride to Prosperity Press
Conference is being held at the Gateway Building. Mr. Knoblauch will report on what
the Industrial Sites and Infrastructure Work Group has accomplished.
We’re kicking off linking planning and NEPA training. Transportation planning is
changing and you are expected to a lot more of the environmental assessments and
environmental feasibility of projects up front before a project gets on the TIP. Alan Piper
is undergoing a level of training in Harrisburg for three days this week. In July other
staff will be going to Allentown for training.
Mr. Knoblauch thanked Planning Commission members who had forwarded
comments back to him on the Draft Sewer and Water Regionalization Study. A meeting
was held with the consultants about the concerns expressed and all comments were
passed onto the consultants.
5. UNFINISHED BUSINESS
There was no unfinished business.
6. NEW BUSINESS
A. Items Which Require Action
1. Subdivision Reviews - None
2. Other Reviews
a. Lancaster County Conservation District – Kurtland Farm Pennvest Application
Ms. Mazurek informed the Commission that a request for a letter of support
was received for a Pennvest Application to install stormwater management
facilities and a riparian buffer at Kurtland Farms in Caernarvon Township. The
application is being submitted through the Lancaster County Conservation
District, since the farm is located in the Conestoga River Watershed, which is part
of the greater Chesapeake Bay Watershed.
The project involves the installation of manure storage, lagoon cover, manure
separation system, composter and riparian buffers. The goal of the installation of
these improvements is as follows: manage the quantity, velocity and direction of
resulting storm water runoff in a manner which adequately protects the health and
property of residents from possible injury as required by the Storm Water
Management Act. The improvement of water quality within the Chesapeake Bay
Watershed is a major concern and there has been considerable pressure from the
EPA to complete projects of this nature. The total estimated cost for the project is
Staff prepared a letter of support with the following statement: “The Berks
County Comprehensive Plan Vision 2020 identifies this parcel as Agricultural
Preservation. The project is consistent with the goals and objectives of the Vision
2020 Plan. Protection and improvement of the water quality and riparian buffers
are specifically recommended in the plan.”
MOTION: Mr. McCarthy made a motion to approve sending the letter as written. The motion was
seconded by Mr. Schlouch and passed unanimously.
b. Bern Township Municipal Authority – Water Allocation Subsidiary Permit
Ms. Mazurek informed the Commission that Bern Township
Municipal Authority’s application for a subsidiary water allocation permit
was received for review. The Bern Township Municipal Authority is
requesting that their purchased bulk finished water, which they currently
accept from the Reading Area Water Authority, be supplied by the
Western Berks Water Authority (WBWA) for various portions of their
service area. The reasons for the reallocation include: addressing pressure
problems, financial savings, secondary supply and firefighting capabilities.
The requested water allocation is for 500,000 gallons per day. The project
area includes the following County facilities: Berks County Prison, Old
Berks Heim, Youth Detention Facilities, the Berks Heim Annex, the New
Berks Heim, the Berks County Farm Agricultural Center, 4-H Center, the
County Fairgrounds, County Sports Fields, Vo-tech School, County
Wastewater Treatment Plant and Camp Joy. The existing connection with
the Reading Area Water Authority at Van Reed Road and North West
Reservoir will stay in place for emergency use only. All agreements
between all parties have been signed. WBWA has excess capacity and
transfer ability for bulk users. The construction of the proposed supply
line is estimated for late summer 2011 with activation being in fall 2011.
Staff prepared a letter stating that the proposed project is consistent
with both the Berks County Sewer and Water Regionalization Study of
1998 and the County Comprehensive Vision 2020 Future Land Use Plan.
MOTION: Mr. Schlouch made a motion to approve sending the letter as written. The motion was
seconded by Mr. Olsen and passed unanimously.
3. Reports for Approval
a. Land Development & Subdivision Activity Report 4/20/11 – 5/17/11
b. Endorsed Land Development & Subdivision Activity – May, 2011
c. PA DEP Land Use Questionnaire Listing
d. New Housing Unit Construction – First Quarter, 2011
Discussion took place on the Housing Unit Data Sheet. Some people would
like to see more housing units whereas some people would like to see less. Mr.
Knoblauch mentioned that the Planning Commission should be more concerned if
the new housing is taking place in a Future Growth Area.
MOTION: Mr. Hopkins made a motion to approve the reports for distribution. The motion was
seconded by Mr. Schlouch and passed unanimously.
B. Items for Review and Discussion
1. May, 2011 Staff Activities
2. May, 2011 Review Actions
3. May, 2011 Statement of Expenditures, Encumbrances & Appropriations
These are just informational items for the Planning Commission to review.
A. Climate Change Impact on Planning Policies & Programs
Mr. Knoblauch mentioned that at the March Planning Commission meeting the Chairman
requested that staff prepare a background memo assessing the implications of climate change
on the Commission’s activities and regional planning policies. Mr. Knoblauch had taken the
American Planning Association’s document “Policy Guide on Planning & Climate Change”
and used those guidelines to assess our Comprehensive Plan, any other plans and/or activities
and programs. His conclusions are as follows:
- The core elements of mitigating climate change in the APA guidance – building at higher
densities, land preservation, and limiting vehicles miles traveled – are recognized and
very much a part of our planning program.
- The Commission (and RATS) has shied away from advocacy and commenting on
national issues involving climate change. Likewise, we have not been aggressive in
promoting our overall planning program as a remedy for climate change. Rather, we
have justified our policies and programs on the basis of maintaining quality of life and
- Finally, while we do not cover all the bases in detail, I do not see any obvious conflicts
where our policies discourage methods that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
A brief discussion was held and Mr. Hopkins suggested sending APA’s “Policy Guide on
Planning & Climate Change” document to the municipalities.
Mr. Griffin mentioned that he would write a formal response to Mr. Knoblauch’s
memorandum and discuss his response with Mr. Knoblauch.
B. House Resolution 71 – Act 537 Review Update
Mr. Knoblauch mentioned that this resolution is a carry-over from last year. The
resolution is directing the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to review the
Commonwealth’s sewage facilities management program authorized under the Pennsylvania
Sewage Facilities Act. This resolution will probably move forward as per information from
CCAP and there are a lot of agencies/organizations that might be expected to help provide
dialogue for this.
C. US 422 Tolling Study
Mr. Knoblauch mentioned that the money generated from the possible tolling of 422
would be used for highway improvements to 422, plus capital costs for passenger rail from
Wyomissing to Philadelphia. Future steps to take include:
- Public open houses to update citizens and stakeholders;
- Pennsylvania legislation to authorize local tolling authority;
- County ordinances to establish a multi-county toll authority;
- Agreement between Pennsylvania, the new multi-county authority, and the Federal
Highway Administration (FHWA) on managing and operating the roadway;
- Financial agreement among Berks, Chester, and Montgomery counties, and SEPTA
on transit operating costs and local contributions;
- State appropriation to fund increased operating costs to the future transit provider;
- Agreements with Norfolk Southern for track usage, improvements, and operations.
Mr. Griffin asked if a representative from DVRPC could come to a future meeting. Mr.
Knoblauch mentioned that Barry Seymour, Director of DVRPC, has offered to come and
brief the County Commissioners and Planning Commission. Mr. Knoblauch is trying to
schedule that meeting.
MOTION: Mr. Hopkins made a motion to adjourn and the meeting adjourned at 4:00 p.m.
Joseph Griffin, Chairman James C. McCarthy, Secretary