2011 Planning Commission Annual Report

 

City of Reading

PLANNING COMMISSION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2011

ANNUAL REPORT


 

      CITY OF READING, PEN NSYLVANIA      

PLANNING COMMISSION 815 WASHINGTON STREET

READING, PA 19601-3690

(610) 655-6443

 

 

 

March 1, 2012

 

Francis G. Acosta, President City Council

Room 2-24, City Hall 815 Washington Street

Reading, PA 19601-3690

 

Dear President and members of City Council:

 

In accord with the provisions of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (Act 247 of 1968, as reenacted and amended), the City of Reading Planning Commission respectfully submits its Annual Report for 2011. The Report outlines the Commission’s activities throughout the year.

 

The Planning Commission will continue to administer the City’s Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance, and those other functions delegated to it, in an effort to improve the quality of life in the City of Reading.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

Andrew W. Miller Planning Office

 

 

 

 

 

 

  


S U M M A R Y

 

Section 207 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code requires the Planning Commission (the municipal planning agency) to keep a full record of its business and submit an annual, written report of those activities to City Council (the governing body”), by March 1st of the following year.

 

The City of Reading Planning Commission held eleven (11) regular monthly business meetings in 2011. The meetings convened on the fourth Tuesdays of each month, in Room 1-06 (the “Penn Room”) of City Hall. A scheduled December 27th meeting, which would have been the twelfth, was cancelled for lack of a quorum. The complete record of the Commissions regular meeting activity is logged in the official written minutes, on file in the Planning and City Council offices. Additionally, recordings of each meeting have been catalogued in digital audio (.wma) format.

 

This report was reviewed, and approved for its general content by the Planning Commission at its February 28, 2012 meeting (resolution #9-2012).

 

 

Written reviews, identifying defects and corrections required by the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance, as well as the suggestions and opinions of the Planning Office staff, were prepared by the Planning Office and sent (typically by electronic mail) in response to all qualified applications for subdivision and/or land development. Certified copies of approved and recorded plans are on-file in the Planning Office.

 

S U B D I V I S I O N A N D L A N D D E V E L O P M E N T

 

The Planning Commission‟s primary role continues to be the administration and enforcement of the Citys Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (Chapter 22 of the “Codified Ordinances”). What follows is a list and brief summary of the proposals brought before the Commission in 2011, organized first by category, then chronologically. Only those proposals having satisfied the preliminary-plan application requirements, at a minimum, have been included. For an exhaustive listing of all business brought before the Commission, including proposals in the sketch phase and any since withdrawn, see the “2011 Activity Summary”, attached, or the meeting minutes on-file.

 

COMMERCIAL & INDUSTRIAL

 

Quaker Maid Parking and Trailer Storage final annexation and land development plan

First submitted in January 2010, this plan for additional employee parking and tractor trailer staging, at those parcels known as 513-533 Crestmont and 512-524 Arlington Streets, was tabled for a year pending a zoning map change (enacted August 24, 2010, Bill No. 43-2010) and some other prerequisite approvals. The site was formerly made up of homes (on the Crestmont Street side), that had since been demolished, and the Grab-A-Cab taxi service (on the Arlington Street side). Approval was granted January 25th (resolution #1-2011). The plan is on-record with the Berks County Recorder of Deeds; Instrument No. 2011010262. Construction is complete.

 

Lancaster Avenue Super Market final annexation and land development plan

This plan proposed a consolidation of 413 and 425 Lancaster Avenue, and demolition of the former Golden/Masano automobile dealership buildings thereon, for the construction of a Bottom Dollar Food grocery store. First submitted in September 2010, approval was delayed pending a highway-occupancy permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (for the driveway reconfigurations) and the erosion- and sedimentation-control plan approval from the Berks County Conservation District. Final approval was granted February 22nd (resolution #19- 2011). The plan is on-record with the Berks County Recorder of Deeds; Instrument No. 2011018936. A new legal description combining the  constituent parcels was recorded as Instrument  No. 2011019993.  Construction is complete. An occupancy permit was issued December 8th. The store was opened to the public on December 16th.

 

PriceRite Expansion final land development plan

This plan proposed an approximately 6800-square-foot expansion of the existing grocery store in the “Reading Station Outlet Center” on that parcel known as 600 Spring Street.  The addition was a part of an interior remodeling


and energy-efficiency effort. Final approval was granted April 26th (resolution #45-2011). The plan is on-record with the Berks County Recorder of Deeds; Instrument No. 2011016132. Construction is complete. An occupancy permit was issued November 22nd.

 

Building 84 ESR South Addition (Carpenter Technology Corporation) final land development plan

The first of a few plans in what became a storied year for Carpenter, this plan proposed an approximately 969- square-foot addition proposed for the existing Building No. 84 on that parcel known as 101 Bern Street. This latest expansion (the Planning Commission reviewed another in 2007) houses electrical equipment and additional furnaces related to Carpenters “electro-slag remelting” operations. Approval was granted May 24th (resolution #53-2011). The plan is on-record with the Berks County Recorder of Deeds; Instrument No. 2011020175. Construction is complete.

 

Building 84 ESR North Addition (Carpenter Technology Corporation) final, and revision land development plans This plan first proposed a 3930-square-foot addition to the existing Building No. 84 at 101 Bern Street and, in its revised form, added the installation of an adjacent “dust collector” building.  The final plan was approved on June 28th (resolution #59-2011), and recorded July 1st (Instrument No. 2011024570).  The revision plan was approved July 26th (resolution #62-2011), and was recorded August 4th with the Berks County Recorder of Deeds; Instrument No. 2011029066. According to company officials, construction is “95% complete”.

 

Family Wash Day Laundromat final land development plan

Family Wash Day Super Laundry proposed a laundromat in a 2180-square-foot addition to the approximately 3978- square-foot existing and vacant building (formerly Cingular Wireless) on that parcel known as 209 Lancaster Avenue. Approval was granted June 28th (resolution #60-2011). 77 washing machines are intended. The plan was never recorded. Section 513.a of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code requires developers to record their plans (with the county recorder of deeds) within ninety (90) days of final approval. Demolition and construction activity began in December. The masonry walls of the addition are in place.

 

Building 147 ESR Storage Building (Carpenter Technology Corporation) final land development plan

Carpenter proposed an approximately 2520-square-foot storage building on the west side of Building No. 84 on that parcel known as 101 Bern Street. Approval was granted October 25th (resolution #82-2011), and recorded November 29th with the Berks County Recorder of Deeds (Instrument No. 2011044516). Progress was undetermined at the time of this writing.

 

Building 118 Proposed Expansion (Carpenter Technology Corporation) final land development plan  Carpenter proposed a 41,411-square-foot addition to their existing Building No. 118. It crosses from Muhlenberg

Township into the City of Reading on a parcel identified on tax maps as something Leiszs Bridge Road. A zoning map change, from Residential 1‟ (R1) to Heavy Manufacturing‟ (HM) was required, and effected by the adoption of Bill No. 51-2011, October 10th. Given that only 3,620 of that proposed 41,411 square feet occurs in the City, the Planning Commission deferred to their contemporaries in Muhlenberg, waiving their review on October 25th (resolution #83-2011). The plan was recorded with the Berks County Recorder of Deeds on October 26th (Instrument No. 2011040004). The steel framing is under construction.

 

Jet Set Restaurant Parking Area parking lot land development plan

The Jet Set Restaurant Parking Area, in order to satisfy conditions imposed by the Zoning Hearing Board in approving the restaurant (Appeal No. 2011-27, July 13th), proposed a 28-space surface parking lot on that

0.2 acres known as 109 Peach Street and 116 South 9th Street. The plan has been tabled pending a highway-occupancy permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) for the already-constructed driveway from South 9th Street (SR2007). Requests for extension of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code‟s time limits (§508.3) for plan review have been provided by the applicant, as necessary. Excavation of the site began August 31st.

 

RESIDENTIAL

 

Acevedo Downing St. Subdivision final subdivision plan

Norberto and Alicia Acevedo first proposed this subdivision of 2316 Downing Street in September 2010, with the intent of building a second, neighboring house for their daughter.  Approval has been delayed pending additional


feasibility testing for on-lot sewage disposal, and the resolution of an encroachment by the neighbor from the south. Formal extensions (six, and counting) of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code‟s time limits have been periodically granted in order to keep the plan active.

 

INSTITUTIONAL & UTILITY

 

Additions and Renovations: Amanda Stout Elementary School and Benners Court final subdivision and land development plan

This plan detailed the renovation and expansion of the Amanda E. Stout Elementary School at 301 South 10th Street, and a 29-to-1-lot consolidation of it and those parcels previously known as 1035-1061 and 1034-1060 of the vacated Benners Court. First submitted in July 2010, the plan was granted final approval at the January 25th meeting (resolution #2-2011), and reaffirmed April 26th (resolution #48-2011). Benners Court and Maple Street were vacated by City Council in August 2010 (Bill No. 54-2010). The plan was recorded with the Berks County Recorder of Deeds on April 28th (Instrument No. 2011016131). In the estimation of the Citys building inspectors, construction progress is at “about 40 percent”.

 

Sylvania Homes II: Accessible Housing (Reading Housing Authority) final subdivision and land development plan This plan proposed three-lot annexation/subdivision and  five „garden apartments‟ at 1001  Liggett Avenue (incorporating 427 Margaret Street and the unopened 1300 block of Sheridan Street). First submitted in June 2010, the five units are designed as „handicapped accessible. Preliminary and final plan approvals were granted May 24th (resolution #55-2011) and June 28th (resolution #58-2011) respectively, following delays in the applicant‟s petition to vacate the unopened block of Sheridan Street (see City Council‟s Bill No. 9-2011, February 14th, following the Planning Commissions comment, January 25th). The plan was never recorded. Section 513.a of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code requires developers to record their plans (with the county recorder of deeds) within ninety (90) days of final approval. The construction is all but complete, and an occupancy certificate pending.

 

Reading School District Maintenance Building final land development plan

This plan proposed a new 16,366-square-foot building on that parcel known as 717 Tulpehocken Street.  It replaces a building destroyed in a July 2009 fire. First submitted May 9th, the plan was granted preliminary and final plan approvals July 26th (resolution #63-2011). The plan was never recorded. Section 513.a of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code requires developers to record their plans (with the county recorder of deeds) within ninety (90) days of final approval. The Citys building inspectors estimate the construction to be at “about 85 percent” complete.

 

South Campus Project (Alvernia University) revision-to-record land development plan

This plan altered the locations of two of the four previously-approved residence halls, and included a new “campus community center” for that (unnumbered) parcel on Greenway Terrace First submitted July 13th, the plan was approved August 23rd (resolution #69-2011), which supersedes the approval of October 14, 2008. The plan was recorded with the Berks County Recorder of Deeds on October 4th (Instrument No. 2011036745, which supersedes that earlier plan recorded as Instrument No. 2010003647). Construction is underway.

 

Fire Training Center Subdivision (County of Berks) final subdivision plan

This plan proposed a 9.9-acre subdivision from the parent tract (generally the area known as Angelica Park) for the purpose of conveying the existing firefighter-training facility at that parcel known as 895 Morgantown Road. First submitted June 13th, review was temporarily suspended while terms of the transfer between the City of Reading and County of Berks were clarified. The plan was approved September 27th (resolution #77-2011). Excavation is underway. The plan was recorded with the Berks County Recorder of Deeds on October 14th (Instrument No. 2011038275). The deed has apparently not been, nor are the new parcel lines reflected in the Countys maps.

 

9th & Green Streets Apartments (Berks County Redevelopment Authority) - final subdivision and land development plan

This plan proposes a five-lot annexation/consolidation and a six-unit apartment building on those parcels known as 503-513 North 9th Street. First submitted November 3rd, review has stalled as the applicant considers possible alternate locations. The necessary  extensions of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code‟s have been offered, pending that decision.


Modifications

Section 512.1.d of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code requires the Planning Commission to keep a written record of all action on all requests for modification/waiver of the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance. Those waivers formally granted may be summarized in this report, but are further explained and notated in the meeting minutes and on the title sheets of the record plans themselves.

 

Z O N I N G

 

Conditional Uses

Sections 603.c.2 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code and 27-301.B.3 of the Citys Zoning Ordinance give the Planning Commission an opportunity to comment on any applications for conditional uses” as classified by the Zoning Ordinance. There were three (3) such applications reviewed in 2011.

 

1457 North 9th Street - §603.c.2 conditional use review (conversion)

On June 28th, the Planning Commission recommended City Council‟s approval (resolution #61-2011) of this three- unit application, based on the off-street parking provided for two units, and available on-street sufficient to cover the third. Council held its hearing July 12th, and ultimately approved a two-unit conversion (denying a third unit) on July 25th (their Resolution #143-2011), with the following conditions: (1) proof of building-code compliance, (2) additional garage doors providing access to a minimum of three off-street spaces, (3) the enforced use of that off- street parking, (4) leasing of additional off-street parking as necessary to serve the tenancy and (5) the removal of one of the three kitchens.

 

334 McKnight Street - §603.c.2 conditional use review (conversion)

On July 26th, the Planning Commission recommended City Council‟s denial (resolution #64-2011) of this two-unit application, based on information insufficient for verifying the prescriptions of the Zoning Office. They agreed to review any additional information that might be provided. Council held its hearing on August 2nd, and ultimately denied the second unit September 12th (their Resolution #161-2011), and ordered a deconversion within six months. The owners also sought, and were granted a use variance by the Zoning Hearing Board for an automobile- repair garage (Appeal No. 2011-29, September 14th).

 

132 West Oley Street - §603.c.2 conditional use review (group home)

On July 26th, the Planning Commission recommended City Council‟s denial (resolution #65-2011) of this application for a group home, based on a lack of verifiable compliance with the standards of the Zoning Ordinance, including off-street parking. Council held its hearing on August 2nd, and ultimately approved the group home September 12th (their Resolution #162-2011), with the following conditions: (1) proof of building-code compliance,

(2)    a limit of three residents and (3) no personal vehicles by residents permitted.

 

Zoning Ordinance Amendments / Zoning Map Changes

Section 609.c of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code gives the Planning Commission a 30-day period in which to comment on proposed zoning ordinance amendments and/or map changes. There were two (2) such proposals considered by the Commission during 2011.

 

 the petition to rezone ???? Leiszs Bridge Road, R1 to HM - §609.c zoning map change review

On August 23rd, the Planning Commission reviewed the petition of Carpenter Technology Corporation to rezone a corner of their property  crossing the City-Muhlenberg Township boundary. The street address (number)  is undefined by the Countys parcel records. Carpenter requested a reclassification from Residential 1 (R1) to Heavy Manufacturing (HM), for the purpose of a building addition which would extend into the Citys jurisdiction. Carpenter had long been operating a “forge-finishing” operation from the existing Building 118 on the majority of the parcel in the Township, and  with appropriate zoning there. After considering the neighboring uses and topography, the Commission recommended that City Council enact the rezoning (resolution #75-2011). A public hearing was held September 20th. And Council adopted the map change October 10th (Bill No. 51-2011). Later, the Planning Commission waived its own formal review of the land development plan, deferring to Muhlenberg (resolution #83-2011, October 25th). According to Carpenter‟s numbers, the existing building measured about 187,060 square feet; the addition would add another 41,411 square feet, 3,620 of which would cross into the City (i.e. 9% of the new, or less than 2% of the whole).


 the “a me nd me nt to the Zo ni ng Or d ina nce s co nd itio nal -use application procedures - §609.c zoning ordinance amendment review

On September 27th, the Planning Commission considered a move by City Council to revise and clarify the application procedures for conditional-use zoning permits.   The new procedures reflected changes in the local

housing regulations. The Commission supported the zoning amendment, but recommended certain clarifications as well as a more-consistent application form (resolution #79-2011). A public hearing was held October 18th. Council enacted the amendment on October 24th, with an effective date of January 1, 2012 (Bill No. 53-2011).

 

R E D E V E L O P M E N T

 

Blighted Property Review Committee recommendations for reuse

Through 2011, the Planning Commission continued to advise the Blighted Property Review Committee and the Redevelopment Authority on the appropriate reuse of properties certified as blighted by the Review Committee. The Commissions input is a required step in the Review Committee‟s procedure, per the enabling statute, and its recommendation must be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance. On January 25th, the Commission made recommendations for twelve (12) properties so certified (determined November 16, 2010 and certified November 20, 2010).

235 North 3rd Street recommended demolition, reuse per applicable zoning (resolution #3-2011)  257 North 3rd Street recommended rehabilitation, reuse per applicable zoning (resolution #4-2011) 207 North 4th Street recommended rehabilitation, reuse per applicable zoning (resolution #5-2011) 213 North 4th Street recommended rehabilitation, reuse per applicable zoning (resolution #6-2011) 300 North 4th Street recommended rehabilitation, reuse per applicable zoning (resolution #7-2011) 302 North 4th Street recommended rehabilitation, reuse per applicable zoning (resolution #8-2011) 304 North 4th Street recommended rehabilitation, reuse per applicable zoning (resolution #9-2011) 306 North 4th Street recommended rehabilitation, reuse per applicable zoning (resolution #10-2011) 310 North 4th Street recommended rehabilitation, reuse per applicable zoning (resolution #11-2011) 1459 Fairview Street recommended demolition, reuse per applicable zoning (resolution #12-2011) 930 Penn Street recommended demolition, reuse per applicable zoning (resolution #13-2011)

932 Penn Street recommended rehabilitation, reuse per applicable zoning (resolution #14-2011)

 

On March 22nd, the Planning Commission affirmed the „b light d esi g natio n s of ten (10) properties (determined December 16, 2010, and certified February 17th):

363 North 2nd Street certified as 'blighted' (resolution #24-2011) 104 North 4th Street certified as 'blighted' (resolution #25-2011)  239 South 6th Street certified as 'blighted' (resolution #26-2011) 1158 Buttonwood Street certified as 'blighted' (resolution #27-2011) 644 North Front Street certified as 'blighted' (resolution #28-2011) 158 West Green Street certified as 'blighted' (resolution #29-2011) 1121 Birch Street certified as 'blighted' (resolution #30-2011)

127 North Front Street certified as 'blighted' (resolution #31-2011) 121 North 3rd Street certified as 'blighted' (resolution #32-2011) 431 Buttonwood Street certified as 'blighted' (resolution #33-2011)

and made recommendations on the appropriate reuse of three (3) properties previously considered, but for which

new recommendations were requested on procedural grounds (from the Review Committee‟s first batch‟ certified

September 17, 2009):

343 McKnight Street recommended residential reuse (resolution #34-2011) 360 McKnight Street recommended residential reuse (resolution #35-2011) 127 Walnut Street recommended residential reuse (resolution #36-2011)

 

And on August 23rd, the Planning Commission both affirmed the b li g ht d esignatio ns and recommended the appropriate reuse of five (5) properties (628 North Front was certified September 17, 2009… 644 North Front was certified February 17th… the rest certified July 14th):

628 North Front Street certified blight, and recommended residential reuse (resolution #70-2011) 644 North Front Street certified blight, and recommended residential reuse (resolution #71-2011)


737 North 4th Street certified blight, and recommended residential reuse (resolution #72-2011) 600 North 3rd Street certified blight, and recommended residential reuse (resolution #73-2011) 602 North 3rd Street certified blight, and recommended residential reuse (resolution #74-2011)

 

C O M P R E H E N S I V E P L A N N I N G

 

Section 303 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code requires the Planning Commission to review certain public actions as they relate to policies set forth in its Comprehensive Plan. The following entries detail the extent to which such review opportunities were given.

 

STREETS & PUBLIC GROUNDS per Section 303.a.1

 

the petition to vacate the unopened Sheridan Street, between Liggett and Scott Streets - §303.a.1 review

On January 25th, the Planning Commission briefly considered this proposed change in street topography related to the Reading Housing Authority‟s Sylvania Homes II Accessible Housing” project (see the summary under the SUBDIVISION AND LAND DEVELOPMENT” heading). The Commission had already reviewed that preliminary plan, and recommended (resolution #18-2011) City Council act to vacate the block. Council adopted the vacating ordinance February 14th (Bill No. 9-2011).

 

 the petition to rename Avenue A, Glenside Homes - §303.a.1 review

On March 22nd, the Commission considered the request of the Reading Housing Authority to rename Avenue A in its Glenside Homes” apartment complex for the late-State Senator Michael A. O'Pake. O'Pake, who had represented the 11th District from 1972 until his death in December 2010, grew up in the Glenside neighborhood. The Commission sensed a rush to memorialize the senator with several such re-namings, and preferred a more coordinated approach. They supported the sentiment, but ultimately voted to express neutrality with regard to this particular petition (resolution #37-2011). The Authority eventually withdrew the petition, noting that O'Pake hadnt lived on Avenue A.

 

 the petition to vacate portions of Eastman Road and Durham Street - §303.a.1 review

On April 26th, the Commission considered the petition of Jim Dauti, owner of 2311 York Street, to vacate the unopened portions of Eastman Road and Durham Street that border the parcel. Doing so would increase the size of the parcel enabling home construction. While no subsurface utilities were at stake, the petition was somewhat complicated by the fact that the cartways of those streets formed the municipal boundary between the City and Muhlenberg Township. With the Township‟s agreement to reciprocate, and the written consent of the one other adjoining landowner (Carpenter Technology Corporation), the Commission recommended that City Council effect the vacation (resolution #46-2011). City Council did so, on June 27th (Bill No. 27-2011).

 

 the Franklin Street Station Rehabilitation Project (Berks Area Regional Transportation Authority) - §303.a.1 review

On May 24th, the Commission heard the presentation of the Berks Area Regional Transportation Authority for an inside-and-out rehabilitation of the erstwhile train and bus station at 100 South 7th Street (closed since 1981). The Authority plans to use the reopened station for its busses, and trains, should passenger service ever be extended from its current terminus in Norristown. No formal resolution was made, though the Commission supported the historically-sensitive effort. The Citys Historical Architectural Review Board reviewed the design on June 21st (their resolution #44-11) and November 15th (their resolution #104-11).

 

 the River Road Extension (Department of Public Works) - §303.a.1 review

On August 23rd, the Commission heard the presentation of the Citys Department of Public Works based upon a consultant‟s preliminary evaluation for a proposed industrial collector‟ route extending from Spring Street through the former Dana Corporation properties to Centre Avenue, via Union Street. In recent years, those properties have been remediated and marketed toward new manufacturing/industrial interests by the Montgomery County-based Industrial Investments, Inc. The subject of speculation since the 2005 “Berkshire Bottling” project highlighted the need for additional traffic capacity in a redeveloped riverfront, this marked the first formal step toward design, funding and prioritization. The Commission recommended proceeding with the preliminary and environmental design phases (resolution #76-2011). Additional design and funding details are being considered


before the plan is formally presented for City Councils endorsement. On February 24, 2012, Carpenter Technology Corporation announced their purchase of the approximately 50-acre property from Industrial Investments. The land abuts Carpenter‟s other „east shore‟ properties. Their position on the road extension has yet to be made known.

 

PUBLIC STRUCTURES per Section 303.a.2

Nothing of the “public structure” category was presented to the Planning Commission during 2011. The Franklin Street Station project was classified as it was because the plan included changes to the street/curbline topography at its Franklin and Chestnut Street driveways.

 

ORDINANCE AMENDMENTS & CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS per Sections 303.a.3 and 609.c

Refer to the “Zoning Ordinance Amendments/Zoning Map Changes”, under the ZONING heading, for a full account of the ordinance amendments‟ reviewed by the Commission. No capital improvements budget was presented to the Planning Commission in 2011.

 

 the Ricktown Arts District: proposed redevelopment area and/or zoning overlay

Though not so classified at the time of its presentation, the Commission, on January 25th, heard the Community Development Department describe plans for a nine-block arts district” (bounded by North Front, North 4th Street, Washington and Buttonwood Streets). Several potential funding sources were named: Pennsylvania‟s Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) program, the Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 (NSP2), a Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI) grant, Section 108 loan guarantee, the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) grant, et cetera. In July, City Council earmarked $75 thousand from its Major Systems Rehabilitation Program. A more-detailed presentation was promised at a future meeting. No formal resolution was made.

 

PUBLIC WATER & SEWER INFRASTRUCTURE per Section 303.a.4

 

 the Sewage Treatment Plant Disinfection & Hydraulic Modifications (Joint Municipal Authority of Wyomissing Valley) - §303.a.4 review

On April 26th, the Commission reviewed a plan by the Wyomissing Valley Authority to replace a chlorine-based disinfection system with ultra-violet technology in their treatment plant at 601-701 Old Wyomissing Road. The project was motivated by the Authoritys renewal of their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit, which lowered the allowed chlorine discharge to the Wyomissing Creek. The Commission acknowledged the presentation, and offered to document the same in whatever way the Authority needed in their pursuit of the necessary permits (resolution #51-2011).

 

O T H E R B U S I N E S S

 

Membership and Offices

The Planning Commission is currently short one of the five billets established by ordinance.  Brian D. Bingaman resigned, by a letter dated June 6th. The current, active members and their terms are as follows:

 

Ø  Ermete J. Raffaelli, Chairman – reappointed to the Commission, with a term ending April 1, 2012 (Council‟s Resolution No. 100-2008)

Ø  Brian J. Burket, Vice Chairman appointed to the Commission, with a term ending April 1, 2014 (Council‟s Resolution No. 108-2010)

Ø  Michael E. Lauter, Secretary - reappointed to the Commission with a term ending April 1, 2013 (Council‟s Resolution No. 76-2011)

Ø  Wayne Jonas Bealer, Assistant Secretary reappointed to the Commission with a term ending April 1, 2014 (Councils Resolution No. 121-2010)

 

Section 207 of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code allows the Commission to elect its own officers. The Commissions by-laws state that such an election shall be held annually, at the May meeting. On May 24th (resolution #56-2011), the Commission did so, filling the positions as noted above.

 

On March 22nd, the Commission appointed its representation to City Council‟s “redistricting commission”, an ad hoc board established to revise the six City Council district boundaries, for proportion based on the 2010 United


States Census. Brian Bingaman and Brian Burket were appointed (resolution #41-2011). Wayne Bealer took Brian Bingamans place upon the latter‟s resignation.

 

On April 26th, the Commission reappointed Wayne Bealer as its representative on the Blighted Property Review Committee (resolution #50-2011), a position he had held since his first appointment February 20, 2007.

 

On September 27th, following a decision to do so on March 22nd (resolution #43-2011), the Commission honored a former member, Frederic “Fritz” Rothermel, for a combined 37 years of service as a City employee and Planning Commission member. He had worked 28½ years in the Citys Planning Office, retiring July 25, 2001, and an additional years as a volunteer member of the Commission, resigning October 26, 2010.

 

Community Involvement

 

Ermete Raffaelli serves as a member of the South Mountain YMCA Board of Directors. Mr. Raffaelli also serves as the President of the Reading Hose Company No. 1.

 

Michael Lauter serves as Executive Director of the Centre Park Historic District.

 

Wayne Jonas Bealer serves as the Planning Commissions representative on both the Blighted Property Review Committee and Vending Licensing Board, and serves as Acting Executive Director of the Violence Prevention Center of Berks.

 

Brian Burket is a member of the Greater Reading Young Professionals Network (GRYP), serving on its Legislative Impact Committee

 

2012 PROJECTIONS

 

Subdivision/Land Development Ordinance and Official Map

The update of the Citys Subdivision/Land Development Ordinance stalled in early 2011. While the body of the proposed ordinance was generally complete, its publication and adoption was delayed in anticipation of additional

„appendices‟; other local design standards and specifications, the authority of which would be strengthened by inclusion in the ordinance.

 

Comprehensive Plan

A request for proposals‟ for consultation in the update of the Citys Comprehensive Plan, last revised in 2000, was advertised in late October. It was withdrawn shortly thereafter, when it was determined that it should include greater focus on housing and open space issues, and address the Ricktown Arts District.

 

 

As noted above, by project, the recording of approved plans continues to frustrate the planning staff. Although required by state law and local ordinance, a number of land developments every year are constructed without fulfilling this obligation. This can have a number of consequences, the most typical and immediate being: (1) leaving the City without the financial surety (escrow) guaranteeing, at a minimum, the restoration of development- related impacts to public grounds and rights-of-way, and (2) subdivisions, annexations, dedicated and/or vacated streets, and other parcel-boundary changes are not reflected in the cadastral maps without a municipally-approved plan and legal descriptions being recorded with the County. The Citys building inspectors have taken the position that they are unable to withhold building permits on this basis, or any other not specified in their respective building codes.

 

The Planning Commission will continue to administer the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance, and perform those zoning functions delegated it by law and/or ordinance. The Planning Commission and Planning Office each look forward to broader roles in the master planning of the City of Reading.


 

 

City of Reading Planning Commission 2011 Activity Summary

 

DATE

RES#

SUBJECT

ACTION                                    PLAN BOOK

Jan. 25

Jan. 25

Jan. 25

Jan. 25

Jan. 25

n/a

1-2011

n/a n/a

2-2011

Ricktown Arts District: proposed redevelopment area and/or zoning overlay

Quaker Maid Parking and Trailer Storage - final subdivision/land development plan

Lancaster Avenue Super Market final subdivision and land development plan Family Wash Day Laundromat final land development plan

Additions and Renovations: Amanda Stout Elementary School and Benners Courtfinal

heard the concept presentation

approved the final plan, 5-0                                    2011010262

tabled the final plan, 5-0 tabled the final plan, 5-0

approved the final plan, 5-0                                    2011016131

Jan. 25

3-2011

recommendation for reuse-235 North 3rd Street (blighted property)

recommended demolition, reuse per zoning, 5-0

Jan. 25

4-2011

recommendation for reuse-257 North 3rd Street (blighted property)

recommended rehabilitation, reuse per zoning, 5-0

Jan. 25

5-2011

recommendation for reuse-207 North 4th Street (blighted property)

recommended rehabilitation, reuse per zoning, 5-0

Jan. 25

6-2011

recommendation for reuse-213 North 4th Street (blighted property)

recommended rehabilitation, reuse per zoning, 5-0

Jan. 25

7-2011

recommendation for reuse-300 North 4th Street (blighted property)

recommended rehabilitation, reuse per zoning, 5-0

Jan. 25

8-2011

recommendation for reuse-302 North 4th Street (blighted property)

recommended rehabilitation, reuse per zoning, 5-0

Jan. 25

9-2011

recommendation for reuse-304 North 4th Street (blighted property)

recommended rehabilitation, reuse per zoning, 5-0

Jan. 25

10-2011

recommendation for reuse-306 North 4th Street (blighted property)

recommended rehabilitation, reuse per zoning, 5-0

Jan. 25

11-2011

recommendation for reuse-310 North 4th Street (blighted property)

recommended rehabilitation, reuse per zoning, 5-0

Jan. 25

12-2011

recommendation for reuse-1459 Fairview Street (blighted property)

recommended demolition, reuse per zoning, 5-0

Jan. 25

13-2011

recommendation for reuse-930 Penn Street (blighted property)

recommended demolition, reuse per zoning, 5-0

Jan. 25

14-2011

recommendation for reuse-932 Penn Street (blighted property)

recommended rehabilitation, reuse per zoning, 5-0

Jan. 25

15-2011

review the draft November 23, 2010 meeting minutes

approved the November 23rd minutes, 5-0

Jan. 25

16-2011

§508.3 agreement to extension-Acevedo Downing St. Subdivision - final subdivision plan

agreed to review period extension, 5-0

Jan. 25

17-2011

§513.a approval reaffirmation-Barley Square - final land development plan

reaffirmed final plan approval, 5-0                                     2011004227

Jan. 25

18-2011

§303.a.1 review-petition to vacate the unopened Sheridan Street, between Liggett and Sco

recommended City Council’s approval, 5-0

Feb. 22

19-2011

Lancaster Avenue Super Market – final subdivision and land development plan

approved the final plan, 5-0                                    2011018936

Feb. 22

20-2011

review the draft December 28, 2010 meeting minutes

approved the December 28th minutes, 5-0

Feb. 22

21-2011

review the draft January 25, 2011 meeting minutes

approved the January 25th minutes, 5-0

Feb. 22

22-2011

review the draft 2010 Planning Commission Annual Report

approved the 2010 Annual Report, 5-0

Mar. 22

Mar. 22

Mar. 22

23-2011

n/a

24-2011

§508.3 agreement to extension-Family Wash Day Laundromat final land development plan PriceRite Expansion final land development plan

certification of blight-363 North 2nd Street (blighted property)

agreed to review period extension, 5-0 tabled the final plan, 5-0

certified as 'blighted', 5-0

Mar. 22

25-2011

certification of blight-104 North 4th Street (blighted property)

certified as 'blighted', 5-0

Mar. 22

26-2011

certification of blight-239 South 6th Street (blighted property)

certified as 'blighted', 5-0

Mar. 22

27-2011

certification of blight-1158 Buttonwood Street (blighted property)

certified as 'blighted', 5-0

Mar. 22

28-2011

certification of blight-644 North Front Street (blighted property)

certified as 'blighted', 5-0

Mar. 22

29-2011

certification of blight-158 West Green Street (blighted property)

certified as 'blighted', 5-0

Mar. 22

30-2011

certification of blight-1121 Birch Street (blighted property)

certified as 'blighted', 5-0


City of Reading Planning Commission 2011 Activity Summary

 

Mar. 22

31-2011

certification of blight-127 North Front Street (blighted property)

certified as 'blighted', 5-0

Mar. 22

32-2011

certification of blight-121 North 3rd Street (blighted property)

certified as 'blighted', 5-0

Mar. 22

33-2011

certification of blight-431 Buttonwood Street (blighted property)

certified as 'blighted', 5-0

Mar. 22

34-2011

recommendation for reuse-343 McKnight Street (blighted property)

recommended residential reuse, 5-0

Mar. 22

35-2011

recommendation for reuse-360 McKnight Street (blighted property)

recommended residential reuse, 5-0

Mar. 22

36-2011

recommendation for reuse-127 Walnut Street (blighted property)

recommended residential reuse, 5-0

Mar. 22

37-2011

§303.a.1 review-petition to rename Avenue A, Glenside Homes

communicated neutrality, 5-0

Mar. 22

38-2011

§513.a approval reaffirmation-Victor Emmanuel Parking & Banquet Hall Addition

reaffirmed final plan approval, 5-0                                                           2011014036

Mar. 22

39-2011

§513.a approval reaffirmation-2nd Street Learning Center (Opportunity House)

reaffirmed final plan approval, 5-0                                                           2011012583

Mar. 22

40-2011

§508.3 agreement to extension-Sylvania Homes II Accessible Housing

agreed to review period extension, 5-0

Mar. 22

41-2011

appointments to the City Council redistricting commission

appointed representation, 5-0

Mar. 22

42-2011

review the draft February 22, 2011 meeting minutes

approved the February 22nd minutes, 5-0

Mar. 22

43-2011

recognition of Fritz Rothermel's service to the Planning Commission

voted to recognize Fritz Rothermel, 5-0

Mar. 22

44-2011

request resources for review of the City’s Comprehensive Plan

communicated request for resources, 5-0

Apr. 26

n/a

Family Wash Day Laundromat final land development plan

tabled the final plan, 5-0

Apr. 26

45-2011

PriceRite Expansionfinal land development plan

approved the final plan, 5-0                                                          2011016132

Apr. 26

n/a

Building 84 ESR South Addition (Carpenter) final land development plan

tabled the final plan, 5-0

Apr. 26

46-2011

§303.a.1 review-petition to vacate portions of Eastman Road and Durham Street

recommended City Council’s approval, 5-0

Apr. 26

47-2011

§508.3 agreement to extension-Acevedo Downing St. Subdivision

agreed to review period extension, 5-0

Apr. 26

48-2011

§513.a approval reaffirmation-Additions and Renovations: Amanda Stout Elementary

reaffirmed final plan approval, 5-0                                           2011016131

Apr. 26

49-2011

review the draft March 22, 2011 meeting minutes

approved the March 22nd minutes, 5-0

Apr. 26

50-2011

appointment to the Blighted Property Review Committee

reappointed representation, 4-0-1

Apr. 26

51-2011

§303.a.4 review-review of the proposed Sewage Treatment Plant Disinfection & Hydraulic

acknowledged review, 5-0

May 24

n/a

§303.a.1 review-Franklin Street Station Rehabilitation Project (Berks Area Regional Transp

acknowledged review

May 24

n/a

Reading School District Maintenance Building preliminary land development plan

tabled the preliminary plan, 4-0

May 24

52-2011

Building 84 ESR South Addition (Carpenter) final land development plan

granted waivers, 4-0

May 24

53-2011

Building 84 ESR South Addition (Carpenter)final land development plan

approved the final plan, 4-0                                                          2011020175

May 24

54-2011

Building 84 ESR North Addition (Carpenter) final land development plan

granted waivers, 4-0

May 24

n/a

Building 84 ESR North Addition (Carpenter) final land development plan

tabled the final plan, 4-0

May 24

55-2011

Sylvania Homes II Accessible Housing (Reading Housing Authority) - preliminary subdivisi

approved the preliminary plan, 4-0

May 24

56-2011

§207 nominations-2011 Planning Commission office holders

elected the proposed slate, 4-0

May 24

57-2011

review the draft April 26, 2011 meeting minutes

approved the April 26th minutes, 4-0

Jun. 28

58-2011

Sylvania Homes II – Accessible Housing (Reading Housing Authority) - final subdivision

approved the final plan, 4-0                                                       xxx page xxx

Jun. 28

59-2011

Building 84 ESR North Addition (Carpenter)final land development plan

approved the final plan, 4-0                                                          2011024570

Jun. 28

60-2011

Family Wash Day Laundromatfinal land development plan

approved the final plan, 4-0                                                       xxx page xxx

Jun. 28

61-2011

§603.c.2 conditional use review-1457 North 9th Street (conversion)

recommended City Council’s approval, 4-0


City of Reading Planning Commission 2011 Activity Summary

 

Jul. 26

62-2011

Building 84 ESR North Addition (Carpenter)revision-to-record land development plan

approved the revision plan, 4-0                                                          2011029066

Jul. 26

63-2011

Reading School District Maintenance Building final land development plan

approved the preliminary and final plan, xxx page xxx

Jul. 26

64-2011

§603.c.2 conditional use review-334 McKnight Street (conversion)

recommended City Council’s denial, 4-0

Jul. 26

n/a

South Campus Project (Alvernia University) revision-to-record land development plan

tabled the revision plan, 4-0

Jul. 26

65-2011

§603.c.2 conditional use review-132 West Oley Street (group home)

recommended City Council’s denial, 4-0

Jul. 26

66-2011

§508.3 agreement to extension-Acevedo Downing St. Subdivision

agreed to review period extension, 4-0

Jul. 26

67-2011

review the draft May 24, 2011 meeting minutes

approved the May 24th minutes, 4-0

Jul. 26

68-2011

review the draft June 28, 2011 meeting minutes

approved the June 28th minutes, 4-0

Aug. 23

n/a

Jet Set Restaurant Parking Area parking lot land development plan

tabled the parking plan, 4-0

Aug. 23

69-2011

South Campus Project (Alvernia University) revision-to-record land development plan

approved the revision plan, 4-0                                                          2011036745

Aug. 23

n/a

Fire Training Center Subdivision final subdivision plan

tabled the final plan, 4-0

Aug. 23

70-2011

certification/recommendation for reuse-628 North Front Street (blighted property)

recommended residential reuse, 4-0

Aug. 23

71-2011

certification/recommendation for reuse-644 North Front Street (blighted property)

recommended residential reuse, 4-0

Aug. 23

72-2011

certification/recommendation for reuse-737 North 4th Street (blighted property)

recommended residential reuse, 4-0

Aug. 23

73-2011

certification/recommendation for reuse-600 North 3rd Street (blighted property)

recommended residential reuse, 4-0

Aug. 23

74-2011

certification/recommendation for reuse-602 North 3rd Street (blighted property)

recommended residential reuse, 4-0

Aug. 23

75-2011

§609.c review-petition to rezone ???? Leiszs Bridge Road, R1 to HM (Carpenter)

recommended City Council’s adoption, 4-0

Aug. 23

76-2011

§303.a.1 review-River Road Extension (Public Works)

recommended proceeding to design, 4-0

Sep. 27

77-2011

Fire Training Center Subdivisionfinal subdivision plan

approved the final plan, 4-0                                                          2011038275

Sep. 27

78-2011

§508.3 agreement to extension-Jet Set Restaurant Parking Area

agreed to review period extension, 4-0

Sep. 27

79-2011

§609.c review-amendment to the Zoning Ordinance’s conditional-use application procedures

recommended City Council’s adoption, 4-0

Sep. 27

80-2011

review the draft July 26, 2011 meeting minutes

approved the July 26th minutes, 4-0

Sep. 27

81-2011

review the draft August 23, 2011 meeting minutes

approved the August 23rd minutes, 4-0

Oct. 25

82-2011

Building 147 ESR Storage Building (Carpenter)final land development plan

approved the final plan, 3-0                                                          2011044516

Oct. 25

83-2011

Building 118 Proposed Expansion (Carpenter)final land development plan

waived review, 3-0                                                          2011040004

Oct. 25

84-2011

review the draft September 27, 2011 meeting minutes

approved the September 27th minutes, 3-0

Nov. 22

n/a

9th & Green Streets Apartments (Berks County Redevelopment Authority) - final subdivisio

tabled the final plan, 3-0

Nov. 22

85-2011

§508.3 agreement to extension-Acevedo Downing St. Subdivision

agreed to review period extension, 3-0

Nov. 22

86-2011

review the draft October 25, 2011 meeting minutes

approved the October 25th minutes, 3-0

 

n/a = no action, not applicable, or not assigned xxx page xxx = recording required