CHARLESTOWN TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
The first regular business meeting for November was held November 3, 1997 at the Charlestown Elementary School. John B. Sauser, Chairman, Robin J. Kohn, Irene W. Ewald, Thomas F. Oeste, Esq., Gary Bender, Esq., Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Linda M. Csete, Secretary, and those on the attached attendee list were present.
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 P.M. and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
Mrs. Ewald had the following announcements:
On October 17th, she and the Fire Marshal inspected the CONRAIL rail line traversing the township. The purpose of the inspection is to check the tracks and surrounding areas for any visible hazards.
She attended the dedication of a new dormitory at the Valley Forge Christian College, which was renovated from an existing building that had previously been in poor condition. She described the work as beautifully executed. She said that the VFCC was able to reduce costs from $2.5 million to $900,000 by using volunteers for much of the labor. The long range plan is to rebuild the entire facility in this manner.
The Chester Springs Art Studio show is running from November 2nd - November 23rd in historic Yellow Springs.
The Road Tour was held on October 24th and was attended by Mr. Kohn, Mrs. Ewald, Mr. Kohli and Mr. Thompson for the purpose of inspecting all roads in the township and determining where paving or repairs are needed.
Mrs. Ewald congratulated Janet Baldwin, winner of the 1997 Charlestown Green Award for her contribution to historic preservation and the betterment of Charlestown.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the minutes for the October 6, 1997 Board of Supervisors’ meeting. Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. Sauser moved to approve the minutes for the October 20, 1997 Board of Supervisors’ meeting with the correction of the word “appealed” to “repealed” in the first sentence of the penultimate paragraph on page 1. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for the period of October 1 - 31, 1997, and Mr. Sauser seconded. All were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the General Fund Accounts Payable for November 3rd. Mr. Sauser asked for clarification of Emory Todd’s invoice before sending payment and the remaining Board members agreed. Mr. Sauser then seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Mr. Sauser moved to approve the Phoenixville Pike Improvement Fund Accounts Payable for November 3rd. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to amend the 1997 Budget by transferring $300,000 from General Fund Account # 306501-3 held by PLGIT to the Open Space Fund #306504-2 also held by PLGIT for the purpose of expending $470,000 for the acquisition of open space. Mr. Kohn seconded. The motion passed with Mr. Kohn and Mrs. Ewald in favor, and Mr. Sauser opposed.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve check #1332 in the amount of $423,000 to T.A. Title Insurance Co. for the remaining payment due for the acquisition of the 20 acre Pyle Farm tract on Yellow Springs Road. Mr. Kohn seconded the motion. Mr. Sauser called for discussion. He stated that this is an exorbitant price to pay for this small piece of property and that he cannot support the acquisition. Mr. Sauser voted nay, and Mr. Kohn and Mrs. Ewald voted aye. The motion passed.
Mrs. Ewald moved to advertise the Township’s intention to appoint an independent auditor to audit the books for the year 1997. Mr. Kohn seconded. The motion passed with Mr. Kohn and Mrs. Ewald in favor and Mr. Sauser opposed. Mr. Sauser commented that he believes an independent audit to be too expensive for the size of the Township budget and that it is therefore inappropriate. The Secretary will advertise prior to the deadline of December 1st.
Mrs. Ewald forwarded a copy of a resident’s comment regarding the proliferation of signs in the township and requested that he respond.
Mr. Zeigler stated that no actions were taken at the last Planning Commission meeting.
Mr. Kohn complimented the Roadmaster on his quick response to the replacement of a missing stop sign at Hollow Road and Rt. 29, which was reported in the afternoon and replaced by the following morning. Mrs. Ewald suggested that road sweeping be scheduled to clean up from the storms over the past weekend.
Mr. Alston added to his written report by stating that the Emergency Operations Center was activated on October 10, 1997 by an emergency alert at the Limerick Generating Station and was open from 1:00 A.M. to 3:30 A.M.
No one from the Parks & Recreation Board was in attendance. Mrs. Ewald stated that she has the name and address of a potential volunteer coach to forward to the Phoenixville Soccer Club.
Mr. Winckelman stated that the VFSA meeting minutes for October have been circulated.
Mr. Sauser called for a recess at 8:00 P.M. to discuss the conditional use hearing for Sprint Spectrum. The meeting reconvened for the hearing at 8:22 P.M.
The proceeded were taken by a court reporter. The hearing will continue on December 1, 1997.
John DiLello began to make a statement with regard to the Ferguson Subdivision Plan and Mrs. Ewald cautioned him that, since he has a quasi-judicial role as a member of the Zoning Hearing Board, he may wish to consult with the Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor before commenting on a matter that could possibly come before the Zoning Hearing Board at some time in the future. Mr. Sauser asked for the Mr. Oeste’s opinion, and Mr. Oeste acknowledged that this circumstance is within the realm of possibility and Mr. DiLello must determine whether he wishes to proceed for himself. Mr. DiLello then continued with his statement that he doesn’t see why Mr. Ferguson should shoulder the responsibility of a deed restriction on the sale of his property. It adds insult to injury since Mr. Ferguson is not putting any additional houses on the property which he’s dividing into three 10+ acre parcels instead of 3 acre parcels.
Mr. Sauser stated that he spoke with Great Valley School District Business Manager Chuck Linderman about the move of the EOC from the Elementary School to the High School. Mr. Linderman stated that the move was coordinated by David Wren for the School District and Charlestown’s Emergency Operations Control Coordinator, Bob Wert. Mr. Linderman stated that there is no longer room available at the Elementary School, which is why they proposed the alternative location. Mrs. Ewald voiced her disappointment that Mr. Wert didn’t respond to the Township’s memo requesting verification that he participated in the move. She stated that the Township owns a building, part of which is currently being used by the Soccer Club, which may be suitable for use as the EOC. She suggests that the Board inspect the building prior to the next meeting on November 17th. The Board agreed to meet Friday, November 7th, at the clubhouse to determine its suitability.
Darwin Ferguson was present to discuss his plan which proposes a 3 lot subdivision on Merlin Road with each lot in excess of 10 acres in order to maintain status as Act 319 properties.
Mr. Oeste referred to a draft document prepared by Mr. McErlane that addresses language for deed restrictions on the properties to take effect at the time of sale. Mr. Ferguson stated that he didn’t speak with Mr. McErlane regarding the document, didn’t participate in it and was not in agreement with it. He only spoke to Mr. McErlane late this afternoon, after the draft had been prepared.
Mr. Ferguson stated that the plan is in conformance with the zoning ordinance and requested approval. He asked the Board to show him in the Ordinance where it requires him to deed restrict his properties. Mr. Sauser responded that the plan complies with the exception of the waiver needed on the construction of the driveway, which exceeds the 1,000 foot maximum by 50 feet and would not be built to township specifications. The Board of Supervisors has the authority to grant or deny the waiver and consequently, the subdivision, on this basis.
Mr. Ferguson stated that by imposing deed restrictions on his property, he loses bargaining power with prospective buyers. The Township may force him to subdivide further if his costs are escalated by legal entanglements. Mr. Kohn questioned Mr. Ferguson’s true intent to keep the parcels at their currently proposed size if he is unwilling to deed restrict them. He feels that the agreement proposed by Mr. McErlane is not restricting him as much as he perceives. Mr. Kohn moved to approve the subdivision upon the condition that the properties by restricted from further subdivision as recommended by the County Planning Commission. Mr. Ferguson restated his position that he is unwilling to deed restrict the properties. There was no second.
Mrs. Ewald moved to table the matter until November 17th. Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor.
Bids for Salt were received as follows:
|Cargill Salt||$33.93/Ton Delivered thru May 31, 1998|
|Morton Salt||$35.12/Ton Delivered thru April 15, 1998|
|Oceanport Industries Inc.||$39.40/Ton Delivered thru March 31, 1998|
There was some discussion on the reliability of delivery in the event of a severe winter such as the one experienced in 1993 when Oceanport Industries provided outstanding service to the township when most other municipalities were unable to obtain salt. Mr. Sauser moved to accept the low bid from Cargill Incorporated. Mrs. Ewald amended the motion to accept the low bid provided Cargill demonstrates their ability to supply during a severe winter. Mr. Kohn seconded the amended motion and all were in favor.
Mr. Sauser referred to Dale Frens’ recommendation for a mason to repair a section of the wall at the Revolutionary War Cemetery. The proposal from Kent Spotts is to perform approximately two days’ work repointing the wall for a cost of $850.00. This work would serve as a sample the Township could review in order to decide if this procedure, much less expensive than the alternative of mortaring, would be acceptable for the rest of the wall. Mrs. Ewald referred to Neal Kerrigan’s Eagle Scout project, which was to develop the plan for restoring the wall. In addition to the wall itself, several trees need to be cut down due to the interference of their roots with the wall. Mr. Sauser suggested spraying the trees to kill them and then removing them since otherwise they have a tendency to grow back. There was some consideration that the work may be better performed in the Spring. Mr. Kohn moved to approve the proposal from Kent D. Spotts with a start date to be determined after further consultation. Mrs. Ewald seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the proposal by Guardian Services for providing off-site storage for older Township files. Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor.
The budget meeting was scheduled to follow the November 17, 1997 Board meeting. Mrs. Ewald suggested that the Treasurer prepare draft appropriations. Mr. Sauser asked the Treasurer to calculate a range of millage rates that will work with the recently re-assessed values.
Charlestown Hunt Escrow Release #1 for Phase IV and the Harron Communications request were tabled.
Mr. Sauser referred to resident complaints at Charlestown Hunt. Mr. Kohn suggested that a roundtable discussion meeting be arranged so that the Township could meet informally with the residents. He noted that the majority of complaints were not matters of code compliance, so the Board would be acting only as a liaison between the residents and developer.
Mr. Sauser stated that the Guenthers on Pickering Dam Road have complained about traffic speeds on Charlestown Road near their intersection, where accidents frequently occur. Mr. Sauser asked the Secretary to obtain accident reports from the State Police. Speed enforcement will be requested, and PennDOT will be asked to review signage and whether there is anything more that can be done to improve the situation.
Stephen Schlichter asked if the Board supports the County Planning Commission’s Landscapes plan. Mr. Sauser stated that the Planning Commission should review it before it comes to the Board for consideration. Mr. Kohn stated that he’s been studying the plan and would consider talking with the County about the possibility of subscribing. He noted that there are some benefits to regional planning and joining with the County may be to the Township’s advantage. He did note that cluster housing, an aspect of the county’s plan, requires public sewer and water, which would be a major concern for Charlestown.
Mrs. Ewald is concerned with the loss of local control and feels the Landscapes plan is too vague at this time and is uncertain as to where it might lead. She would prefer to lose potential grant moneys than to sacrifice local control.
Ed Finn, a Tredyffrin Township resident, complained about the lack of a local police department in Charlestown. As a property renter on Phoenixville Pike in the township for his construction business, he has experienced numerous vandalism incidences to which he feels the State Police are unresponsive. Mr. Sauser responded that the majority of township residents don’t support the idea of a local police department. Mrs. Ewald suggested Mr. Finn contact the Charlestown Townwatch organization for assistance.
Debbie Kuhn commented that the State Police have been unresponsive to her reports of individuals removing campaign signs from the township in the middle of the night, often shining lights into residents’ windows while they do so.
A resident reported that the street sign for Yellow Springs & Hollow Roads has been damaged. The Roadmaster will be notified.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:20 P.M.. The next meeting will be held at the Charlestown Elementary School at 7:30 P.M. on November 17, 1997.