CHARLESTOWN TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
The second regular business meeting for June was held June 16, 1997 at the Charlestown Elementary School. Robin J. Kohn, Vice Chairman, Irene W. Ewald, Thomas F. Oeste, Esq., Linda M. Csete, Secretary, and those on the attached attendee list were present.
The meeting was called to order at 8:05 P.M. and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
There were no announcements.
Mrs. Ewald referred to check #1132 to Petty Cash for $400.00 and made a motion to use a portion of these funds to purchase a pear tree to be planted at the Rapp House and dedicated to the memory of Polly J. Quigley, who gave many years of service on the Historical Commission. She then moved to approve the Accounts Payable for June 17, 1997. Mr. Kohn seconded both motions and both carried.
Mr. Kohn moved to accept the proposal from BABB Inc. for insurance coverage from Titan Insurance Company subject to acknowledgment that coverage by the carrier is similar to the coverage for last year and there are no exclusions. Mrs. Ewald seconded and the motion carried.
Mr. Kohn and Mrs. Ewald opened the 7 paving bids for Blackberry Lane, Pickering Road and Pickering Spur, with the following results:
|Reid Paving Company||$89,212.50|
|Brandywine Paving & Excavating||111,980.00|
|Chester County Sealcoat & Paving||105,500.00|
|Delaware Valley Paving||95,757.00|
|Rittenbaugh Construction Inc.||82,720.00|
|Charlestown Paving & Excavating||85,040.00|
Mr. Kohn stated that Rittenbaugh Construction Inc. is the apparent low bidder, which will be verified by the Township Engineer prior to the awarding of the bid. Also, the township has been advised by the Solicitor that there is currently an injunction against the Department of Labor and Industry calling for the resolution of its method of determining the prevailing wage. No actual work can be performed until this issue is resolved at the State level.
Noise Complaints: Mrs. Ewald stated that the Township has continued to receive noise complaints with regard to the asphalt plant at Great Valley Materials. The Township phone log indicates calls being received at all hours of the night reporting that the plant is in operation at these times. She stated that the May 1, 1989 Conditional Use Approval for Riverdale Quarry (and its successors) appears to be in violation. She read from the Conditional Use Approval document which details hours of operation permitted for mineral crushing activities as well as various additional restrictions such as the number of trucks to go in and out, the number of employees and requirements on dust control. Mr. Kohn stated that many of the complaints refer to the trucks’ back up alarms, which are required by OSHA but may exceed the decibel level at the property line that is allowed by the Township Ordinance. The Township Engineer is in the process of arranging for independent testing of the decibel level to determine whether the operation is in compliance. If it exceeds the allowable level, the township can cite the owner and compel them to take corrective action.
Blasting Complaints: Mrs. Ewald continued to read from the same document with regard to blasting activities. Mr. Kohn explained that independent testing at five selected locations (in addition to the township office location) is being put into place and the blasts will be monitored over a period of months to determine if the quarry is in compliance with federal restrictions. After the data is collected, a decision can be made on how to proceed.
Mr. Kohn asked the residents to assist the Township by reporting any objectionable noise and to try to differentiate between the quarry operation and the asphalt plant operation since they each work under a different set of restrictions.
Residents’ Comments: Gerri Weits stated that dust is frequently excessive after quarry blasting.
Jack Kelley asked whether there were any limitations on hours of operation at the asphalt plant other than for the mineral crushing activity, and Mr. Kohn responded that all the operations would fall under noise restrictions.
Joe Sapone asked for the zoning classification for the quarry and the land they purchased from the Stewarts several years ago. Mrs. Ewald responded that it’s included in the Limited Industrial Zone but had been grandfathered prior to the adoption of the Zoning Ordinance.
Leila White asked if the traffic pattern for the trucks could be designed to eliminate or reduce the need for backing up and consequently, the back up alarm noise. Mr. Kohn responded that while this may stop some of the noise from the trucks, it wouldn’t help eliminate the alarm sounds from the loaders that necessarily go forward and backward in their operations.
Ellen Behrle asked if the township has requested the records which are required to be provided as stated in the conditional use approval document.
Several residents pointed out that the intensity of use at the quarry and asphalt plant has increased in recent years and it’s this increase that they find most objectionable.
Devault Crushed Stone Zoning Hearing: Mrs. Ewald read from the Application for Zoning Hearing filed by Allan B. Myers Inc. on behalf of Devault Crushed Stone and scheduled for July 2, 1997. Mrs. Ewald moved to authorize the Township Solicitor and Engineer to attend this meeting and vigorously oppose any variance approvals until the Land Development Plan for the site is approved. Mr. Kohn seconded and the motion carried.
Great Valley Materials - Conditional Use Approval Expiration of May 15, 1997: Mrs. Ewald stated that Great Valley Materials had been granted an extension to May 15, 1997 for moving sound barrier walls back to the 20’ setback line on their property and complete planting as outlined in the decision. She requested that the Solicitor verify whether the work has been completed, and if not, to notify Great Valley Materials that they must do so within seven working days.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Escrow Release #6 for Phase III of Charlestown Brae in the amount of $37,106.08. Mr. Kohn seconded and the motion carried.
Mr. Oeste stated that he has reviewed both the Subdivision and Land Development Agreement and Financial Security Agreement submitted by Charlestown Oaks Inc. and found them to be satisfactory. The Subdivision and Land Development Agreement includes Exhibit A, which is the Approval with Conditions granted by the Board on May 1, 1995. Mrs. Ewald moved to approve both agreements with the proviso that all representations made by the developer before this board and during public hearings are included in that agreement. Mr. Kohn seconded and the motion carried. Mr. Oeste will hold the agreements in escrow until the funds are posted as required, after which time the agreements will be recorded at the County Courthouse. Frank Iacobucci Jr. provided details on improvements to be made over the summer which must be coordinated with the Great Valley School District.
Howard White requested a response on the petition submitted to the township on May 3, 1997 requesting that Union Hill Road be restricted to local traffic only during rush hours. Mr. Kohn explained that the Township is in the process of seeking PennDOT approval for a four-way stop sign at the intersection of White Horse Road, Rees Road and Union Hill Road, which would serve to better move the traffic from Union Hill to White Horse Road and possibly alleviating the back up problems on Union Hill. Mrs. Ewald stated that the four way stop is looked upon as an interim solution to the problems at the intersection and is hoped to decrease the accidents there. Mr. Kohn suggested that the four way stop be the first solution attempted. Without a local police force, he questions whether a local traffic restriction on Union Hill Road could be effective.
Mrs. Ewald provided information on the plan to improve the intersection, which is scheduled for 1998. Following a resident’s request, the Secretary was asked to contact the Roadmaster to request that PennDOT re-stripe Route 29 from Charlestown Road to Pothouse Road.
Mrs. Ewald referred to recent correspondence and phone calls regarding the Turnpike Commission’s continued study of Route 29 as a possible location for a slip ramp. She requested that the solicitor communicate in writing to the Turnpike Commission to reiterate the Township’s position opposing a slip ramp in Charlestown.
Mrs. Ewald displayed photographs taken by Sycamore Lane residents along with their request that the township compel several property owners to mow their properties, and in the case of the Korean Church property, remove debris resulting from a barn fire two years ago. Ellen Behrle also requested that a representative of the township visit the site to review these problems as well as inspect several rotted sycamore trees that are in danger of falling. Mrs. Ewald and Mr. Kohn agreed to a site visit. Charles Conwell, 18 Sycamore Lane, stated that the road crew recently cut down the ferns he planted along the road and left lying on the ground. Mr. Kohn responded that the ferns were planted in the right of way. Mrs. Ewald stated that the Roadmaster will be notified to have the cuttings removed. Debbie Kuhn suggested that property owners place a small sign on their property indicating “Owner Maintained Property” so the road crew could avoid cutting down people’s plants. Mrs. Ewald stated that such signs are usually placed by property owners so PennDOT avoids spraying these areas but could possibly work for this purpose as well.
Mr. Kohn will discuss the problem of several warped private lane signs with Anderson Signs in order to have them replaced.
Mrs. Ewald stated that the conditional use hearing for the Naylor property has been scheduled before the Board for July 7, 1997. Because the application is still under review by both the Planning Commission and the Historical & Architectural Review Board, she suggests that the applicant be notified that either the hearing be re-scheduled until after recommendations are received by these two entities, or that the hearing be opened and then continued. Mr. Oeste will communicate with the applicant’s attorney.
Mrs. Ewald referred to a memo dated June 16, 1997 from Charlie Philips, HARB member and agreed that minutes of the HARB meetings should be taken. Mrs. Ewald stated that she feels that the HARB should have advice of council and Mr. Kohn agreed that the township solicitor should attend the meeting.
Mrs. Ewald referred to the Court Order & Stipulation dated February 23, 1993, page 9, Item #11, which states that “No sand mounds, no shared or off-lot sanitary sewage systems will be depicted in the Final Plan or proposed in connection with any lot.” Rouse Chamberlin currently has a conditional use application before the Planning Commission requesting approval for two in-ground septic systems in steep slopes and one sand mound system. Mr. Oeste will communciate with the Township Engineer and Rouse Chamberlin Ltd. with regard to the prohibition on sand mound systems, which the Supervisors intend to uphold.
Mr. Oeste was asked to respond in writing to the Great Valley Nature Center denying their request for waivers from the need to obtain both conditional use approval and land development approval along with paying the requisite application fees. Mrs. Ewald and Mr. Kohn agreed that the Board must be consistent in its procedures to alleviate the perception or realty of unfairness.
Mr. Oeste stated that he received a letter today from Bob Dwyer of Realen Homes which indicates their plan to complete the Broadwater Lane access by widening the road within the western side of their easement. Mrs. Ewald responded that PennDOT won’t approve the access point onto Charlestown Road that would result from this option. Mr. Oeste stated that even though Realen won’t encroach further onto the Rectenwald’s property, there is still the matter of the encroachment that has already occurred and needs to be resolved. Mrs. Ewald reiterated the Board’s request that a Realen representative other than Mr. Dwyer be selected to work with the Rectenwalds.
Mr. Oeste will incorporate a fine into the stipulation proposed by the Jones’s attorney that the landscape business at this residential property be moved by August 1, 1997.
Mrs. Ewald will contact Tom Comitta with regard to the Sproule Development Company Act 537 planning module, which she recalls was deemed approved by the DEP in September 1991.
Mr. Kohn described the location of the proposed at-grade rail crossing and gave some background into J. Loew & Associates application to Conrail for approval of the crossing, which would enable Warner Lane to be reopened and would extend from Phoenixville Pike to Route 29. Mrs. Ewald credited Vincent Kling for his vision in suggesting this alternative several years ago. Mr. Oeste will work with Tim Townes of J. Loew & Associates on the agreement drafted by Conrail.
Mrs. Ewald acknowledged that Mr. Oeste has already responded to Mr. Fillippo’s letter of June 6, 1997 so no further response is needed.
Grace Merryman commented that she is opposed to a Wawa at the proposed location at the northeast corner of Route 29 and Whitehorse Road. Mr. Kohn explained that a zoning change would be required in order for Wawa to develop this land and that it’s not a by right situation; the township has the capability of denying or approving any proposed zoning ordinance amendment.
Mr. Oeste will advertise this ordinance proposing to combine the Historical Commission and Historical & Architectural Review Board for the July 7, 1997 meeting.
Jack Kelly reported that some dumping is taking place at the entrance to Hollow Run Farms. The Secretary was asked to ascertain who owns the property and notify them of the problem.
Stephen Schlichter asked the Supervisors to bear in mind current traffic problems as discussed this evening and the effect that any future approval for apartments at the Valley Forge Christian College would have on them.
Joe Sapone commented that he was working outside a few weeks ago and was able to observe the road crew during their spring clean up on Union Hill Road. He stated that the use of their time was not economical and it took them four days to clean up the road. He also noted that they cut down his day lilies.
Mrs. Ewald moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:16 P.M. Mr. Kohn seconded and the motion carried. The next meeting will be held at the Charlestown Elementary School at 8:00 P.M. on July 7, 1997.