Board of Supervisors
The Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors held their regular monthly meeting on Monday, November 4, 1996 at the Charlestown Elementary School, Charlestown Road, Devault, Pa.
|John B. Sauser, Chairman, Robin J. Kohn, Vice Chairman, Irene W. Ewald, Member, James E. McErlane, Esq., Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Linda M. Csete, Secretary, and those on the attached attendee list.|
The Chairman called the meeting to order at 8:00 P.M. and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
Mr. Sauser announced that on October 26, 1996, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held at Charlestown Park to open the newly constructed Intermediate Soccer Field, which he attended along with Rep. Carole Rubley, County Commissioner Andrew Dinniman, members of the Township Parks & Rec Board along with a large group of soccer players and their families. He noted that it was an excellent commemoration of the efforts of the private-public partnership involving the County, Township and Soccer Club’s considerable efforts in this successful project.
Mrs. Ewald extended a welcome to the Valley Forge Christian College students and other township residents who came to attend the meeting.
Mr. Sauser tabled the approval of minutes from October 7, 1996 and October 21, 1996 to the November 18, 1996 meeting.
Mrs. Ewald asked the Secretary to make sure the Tax Collector reviews the most recent Real Estate Transfer Report, which arrived later than usual and may not have been complete.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for October 1 - 31, 1996. Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. Sauser moved to approve the Accounts Payable Report for November 4, 1996 as submitted. Mr. Kohn seconded. A roll call vote was taken. Mrs. Ewald voted nay, citing reasons discussed at last spring’s personnel meeting, and objected to check #8643, #8644 and #8645 for the Roadmaster’s salary and expenses. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Kohn voted aye and the motion carried.
Ms. Ewald asked Mr. Kohli to investigate weekend construction taking place at the Millmore property, where it appears that water is being discharged into a nearby stream through a pipe. She also noted a pipe discharging into a stream near construction at the Rapps Run subdivision near Bodine and Foster Roads. Mr. Kohli responded that he’ll look into both matters.
Mr. Sauser asked for an update on the Stevens’ inquiry into timbering taking place on the Feeney’s Bodine Road property. Mr. Kohli stated that the Feeneys currently have a sketch plan for a subdivision on this property and that they and their forester have been advised that no harvesting of trees can take place until they submit a plan as part of the overall subdivision plan.
Mr. Sauser asked for the status of the Matsinger judgment, and Mr. McErlane responded that his office is following up on the matter.
Mr. Kling reported that the Planning Commission recently reviewed the Zeigler subdivision application and the Commission encouraged the applicant to proceed with revised plans in accordance with items discussed. He also stated that the Somerset subdivision application for a subdivision along Hollow Road has been reviewed and that the applicant was advised to return with a revised plan.
Mr. Rittenbaugh was not in attendance.
Mr. Alston reported that during the month of October there were two wires investigations, one odor investigation, three vehicle accidents, one dwelling, two vehicle fires, one fuel spill and one leaves fire. He observed an orderly fire drill at the Charlestown Elementary School and patrolled with Townwatch on Mischief and Halloween nights without incident.
Mrs. Ewald asked if the cause of the overturned tractor trailer accident was known, and Mr. Alston stated that the police report indicates that a car passing in a no passing zone ran the truck off the road.
Mr. Alston cautioned residents to watch for deer and reminded them to clean their chimneys before using them this season.
Mr. Connolly referred to a memo faxed to the Township office this afternoon by Gary Mooney of the Phoenixville Area Soccer Club, to which the Board responded they needed time to review.
Mr. Connolly referred to his memo dated November 4th regarding PA Department of Conservation Natural Resources Grants available to the Township. He offered his time in working with the Board to select any projects of interest and to prepare grant applications.
Mr. Sauser stated that he attended the October 24, 1996 meeting of the Joint Board and that the 1997 budget was presented along with a discussion of plans to complete odor control measures in 1997 and to continue with plant upgrades.
Marcia Solda, Valhalla Farm, asked if there is currently a Roadmaster and why the previous Roadmaster resigned. Mr. Sauser responded that although no specific fault was found with Mr. Rittenbaugh’s work, there was the appearance of a conflict due to his son’s firm receiving the 1996-97 road contract with the Township. Mr. Sauser said that the Board has yet to appoint a replacement.
Ellen Behrle, 11 Moses Way asked if the road contract for 1996-97 has been accepted, and Mr. Sauser responded that the contractor has met all qualifications and the contract has been accepted.
Mrs. Behrle asked for a Broadwater Lane construction update. Mr. Kohli stated that negotiations with the Rectenwalds is ongoing, and that drawings to construct the emergency access should be submitted as soon as a conclusion to these negotiations is reached. If no agreement is reached with the Rectenwalds, Realen Homes must use their 50 foot easement and perform substantial tree clearing.
Janet Baldwin, 2106 Bodine Road, announced that the Historical Society is hosting a presentation of the History of Charlestown Village at the Charlestown Playschool at 8:00 P.M. on November 6th by Jane Dorchester. Mr. Sauser commented that since the Township paid for the research undertaken, a presentation should be made to the Board of Supervisors.
Mr. Sauser stated that recommendations submitted by the Re-numbering Committee need further review before the Board considers the adoption of revisions to the plan. He tabled this item until the November 18, 1996 meeting. Kevin Kuhn commented that the recommendations of the re-numbering committee should be presented to the Board as prepared, and not re-synthesized by one member for the Board’s consideration. Mr. Sauser stated that all three Board members received the recommendations and that the other two provided no feedback.
Mrs. Behrle asked if she could hear a decision on her private lane, for which the residents requested a change to Moses Way. Mrs. Ewald suggested providing an extension to the grace period for the residents on private lanes until all changes and corrections can be made and the street signs provided. She moved to grant an extension to January 31, 1997. Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. Sauser moved to accept the proposal by Anderson Signs, which offered the lowest of three bids, of $75.00 per sign for approximately 40 signs. Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. Sauser and Mrs. Csete will attend the November 14, 1996 Fall Convention.
In accordance with the 1996 budget, the Board accepted the Alston Computer Technologies proposal for a new 133 Mhz Pentium Processor hardware and software package, including delivery and installation for $2,710.00.
Four sealed bids were received by the Township for sodium chloride for the 1996-97 winter season. The bids were read as follows:
Mrs. Ewald moved to accept the lowest bid, that of Oceanport Industries. Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor.
Louis J. Colegreco, Esq., representing Pennrose Properties was present along with Richard Barnhart, President, Pennrose Properties, Valley Forge Christian College Vice President Capezia, Mark Dambly of Halladay Properties, C.J. Fredericks, planning consultant to the VFCC, and Jim Maza, Esq., counsel for the VFCC to discuss a proposed zoning change on a portion of the College property.
Mr. Colegreco explained that the college proposes to rezone a portion of its campus, approximately 21-22 acres, for apartment use. They propose a density of approximately 8 units per acre, which translates into roughly 160 units. In response to Mr. Kling’s question, Mr. Fredericks stated that the concept plan was developed using an aerial survey of the site. He indicated high and low points on the plan along with a ridge line and showed the proposed access points. Mr. Kling stated his concern over the large amount of fill dirt brought to this portion of the tract from the old Army Hospital site.
Mr. Colegreco noted that their earlier proposal planned to rezone a 32 acre tract for approximately 260 apartment units. The 10-11 units now excluded from the plan may be targeted in the future for student housing. Mrs. Ewald asked on what basis these changes were made, and Mr. Maza responded that the concerns of the Board and community were taken into consideration.
Mr. Sauser commented that the prior traffic study was questionable and advised the College to provide a study that factors in future development and growth in the area. He suggested that the applicant work with the township consultants in developing their proposal and that an escrow account be established to cover their costs.
Mr. Colegreco requested that a hearing date be set for the zoning ordinance amendment proposal, acknowledging that first the County and Township Planning Commissions must review the submission.
Mr. Kohn moved for a brief recess, and Mrs. Ewald seconded. The Board recessed at 9:13 P.M. and was called to order at 9:27 P.M.
Mr. Sauser stated that it’s not possible to schedule a hearing date with the Board before a formal application is made and reviewed by the Planning Commission because to do so would place unreasonable pressure on the Planning Commission. Mrs. Ewald asked Mr. Kohli to review notification requirements and he did so. Mrs. Ewald stated that although it’s not required, she would like to request that the applicant notify all property owners within 1,000 feet of the property of the hearings when scheduled.
Student representative Rene Bova expressed the magnitude of the students’ concern for the project, which will better the institution that has given a great deal of service to the community over the past 50 years.
Mr. McErlane explained that Charlestown Township required the developer, as part of the plan approval, to sign an agreement that no parcels in a phase are to be conveyed prior to the posting of security for that phase. Since escrow has been posted for Phases II and V, the developer is now requesting that the Township terminate this agreement against conveyance for these two phases.
Mrs. Behrle asked what effect this termination agreement may have on the Broadwater Lane access issue and Mr. McErlane responded that the two issues are unrelated. Mrs. Ewald was concerned about the increase in Charlestown Hunt residents at this time of the year when icy conditions could make an emergency access critical. Mr. McErlane stated that, to address this concern, the Board may elect to limit the number of Certificates of Occupancy to be granted prior to the completion of the access.
Mr. Sauser moved to accept the Termination Agreement. Mr. Kohn seconded on the basis that without additional certificates of occupancy, the lots can’t be sold, simply marketed. Two were in favor. Mrs. Ewald did not vote.
Some discussion was held on how to best proceed with completing the emergency access, which Mrs. Ewald stated she would like to see finished before the winter.
Mr. Sauser referred to a notification that the Public Official’s Liability Insurance Policy will expire on December 23, 1996 unless the board adopts a required sexual harassment policy, for which a sample policy was provided. Mr. Sauser suggested that the solicitor review this sample policy, revise it as necessary and prepare a resolution adopting it. The matter was placed on the November 18, 1996 agenda.
Mr. Sauser announced that a budget planning session was held on October 26, 1996 and that a draft budget for 1997 has been prepared. The General Fund Revenue total is shown as $890,170, as are the Expenditures. He noted that the Budget allows for a reduction in real estate taxes of 1 mil, which, in conjunction with similar reductions the past two years, brings the millage back to the level it was prior to a 35% increase made a number of years ago. Mrs. Ewald commented that this tax increase took place at a time when developers owed the township over $100,000 in review fees, which has now been collected. Since that time, steps were taken to improve the escrow process.
Mr. Sauser moved to approve the advertising of the Proposed 1997 Budget. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald proposed the appointment of an independent auditor to audit the 1996 township books. She stated that an independent auditor will make recommendations on improving financial management, and adopting such recommendations in the past has been greatly beneficial. Mr. Sauser stated that he believes this to be an unnecessary additional expense as the elected auditors do a fine job and the books are routinely in good order.
Mr. Kohn agreed with Mrs. Ewald that a professional audit is warranted. Mr. Sauser then suggested that the elected auditors be asked to submit their recommendations for an independent auditor. Mrs. Ewald stated that the Board of Supervisors should reserve the right to make the appointment. She stated her concern that the full Board be included in all decision making processes.
Mr. Kohn moved to appoint an independent auditor to audit the township accounts for 1996, and to invite recommendations from the elected auditors for the Board’s consideration. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. Kohli suggested tabling this item to allow him additional time to review the request.
Mr. McErlane stated that he received a fax from Rouse Chamberlin Ltd. this afternoon requesting the approval of a termination agreement for Phase II of Whitehorse at Charlestown, for which the escrow has long been posted and construction begun. Mr. Sauser moved to authorize the solicitor to execute the agreement after the Board has time to review the document and provide him with a consensus. Mr. Kohn seconded and the motion carried.
Mrs. Ewald moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:30 P.M. Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor.