The first regular business meeting for April was held April 6, 1998 at the Charlestown Elementary School. John B. Sauser, Chairman, Robert C. Wert, Vice Chairman, Irene W. Ewald, James E. McErlane, Esq., Linda M. Csete, Secretary, and those on the attached attendee list were present.
The meeting was called to order at 7:40 P.M. and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
Mr. Sauser announced that on Friday, March 20th, two Supervisors, several members of the Planning and Historical Commissions, Parks & Rec Board members and several residents met Penn Dot representatives at the historic Ice Dam Bridge over Route 29 to discuss ideas and suggestions for the planned reconstruction of the Bridge.
Mr. Sauser announced that the Board of Supervisors, along with the Planning Commission Chairman and one Planning Commission member, met at Mr. Kohli’s office on March 23rd where the Board conducted interviews with six candidates for the position of Township Planning Consultant.
Mr. Sauser reminded the public that the County Health Department urges residents to have their well water tested every Spring and it’s again time to do so.
Mrs. Ewald stated that she attended a meeting at the East Whiteland Fire Company during which Chester County Emergency Services representative Stephen Webb met the Fire Company to discuss the County’s plan to redistrict ambulance territories. Supervisor Ed Galante of East Whiteland Township also attended. At this meeting, the East Whiteland Fire Company produced figures showing that the county response time data was flawed. They recommended to Mr. Webb that the County address the data question, involve Townships in the planning process and suspend implementation of the current proposal. She reported that as a result of this meeting, the County Commissioners have decided to postpone their implementation plan, citing possible faulty data and the need to confer with the Townships first. She praised the Commissioners and County Emergency Services director Ed Atkins for this decision. Mrs. Ewald noted that the East Whiteland Fire Company has an excellent record, arriving at the scene in an average of 6 minutes after receiving a call. Act 45 requires that ambulances be deployed in ten minutes or less, and the East Whiteland Fire Co. is clearly doing far more than simply meeting this requirement.
Mrs. Ewald announced that she presented Neal Kerrigan with the Supervisors’ Award for Community Service at his Eagle Scout ceremony on March 29th.
Mrs. Ewald stated that she and Mr. Kohli met with Frank Iacobucci Jr. to discuss several issues relating to Charlestown Oaks, including extensive logging on an adjacent site that may negatively impact their marketing efforts, a building that exceeds the height limitation imposed by the zoning ordinance, and architectural style concerns.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the minutes of the March 2, 1998 as submitted. Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. Sauser moved to approve the minutes of the March 16, 1998 as submitted and Mr. Wert seconded. All were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for March 1 - 31, 1998 and Mr. Wert seconded. All were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald suggested that in the future a note be placed in the Accounts Payable indicating that Mr. Wert opts to direct his compensation of $50.00 per meeting to additional federal tax withholding in order to clarify why he is not receiving a check each month.
Mrs. Ewald questioned charges on the invoice from Rittenbaugh Inc. for March, asking Mr. Thompson to review the use of three men and three hours to install two signs, which she believes appears to be excessive. She also asked for clarification on work performed on Aldham Road. Mr. Thompson responded that two dead trees were removed along with some blacktop which had been dumped in the area. Mrs. Ewald questioned whether the trees were on private property, but Mr. Thompson stated that PennDOT informed him they considered the trees to be in the Aldham Road right of way of approximately 18 feet from the center line, and therefore the Township’s responsibility.
Mr. Sauser moved to approve the Accounts Payable for April 6, 1998 and Mr. Wert seconded. All were in favor.
Written reports from the Zoning Officer, Roadmaster, Fire Marshal and Planning Commission Chairman, along with minutes from the Valley Forge Sewer Authority Board have been circulated.
There was no Parks & Recreation Board report submitted but Mr. Sauser stated that he recently spoke with Mr. Connolly with regard to several issues at Charlestown Park. There is a water run-off problem on the fields traveling from the Pee-Wee soccer field over the Intermediate Soccer Field, which will require mitigation in the form of a drain or pipe. The waterworks located near Township Line Road also needs to be reviewed as it’s sending water into a French and Pickering Creek tributary. Mr. Sauser suggested incorporating these matters into the upcoming road tour, which will be scheduled at the April 20th meeting.
Mr. Alston stressed that the only burning permitted in the Township is containerized burning. He told residents to call him before they plan to burn any large quantity of materials.
Mr. Sauser stated that the Board members have been invited to an annual meeting and tour at the Valley Forge Sewer Authority and were given a number of possible Saturday dates for scheduling the meeting. Mrs. Ewald indicated that she is unavailable on Saturdays. Both Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert tentatively indicated their availability for May 2nd, which the Secretary will communicate to the VFSA.
Stephen Schlichter asked for the status of the Planning Consultant interviews, and Mr. Sauser indicated that the finalists will meet with the Planning Commission at their April 14th meeting after which a recommendation will be made to the Board. He indicated that the Board members were polled to determine the candidates still under consideration.
Bob Jones asked for details on the now suspended County ambulance territory proposal and the impact it would have had on Charlestown. Mr. Alston indicated that the proposal took away some areas from the East Whiteland Fire Company and assigned them to the West End Fire Company. These areas included Route 401, a portion of Howell Road, Route 29 & Phoenixville Pike and Newcomen Road.
Russell Hanscom asked about the closing of Yellow Springs Road and why signs are often in place indicating the road is closed when it is in fact open. Mr. Sauser responded that even when no work is being performed there may be dangerous conditions such as equipment on the road or disturbances in the roadbed itself. Mrs. Ewald stated that stormwater pipes and electric lines are being installed in stages over the next several weeks. Mr. Alston indicated that the road is officially closed until July 4th except in the evenings for emergency services. He added that they have the right to close the road to perform this construction related work.
John Gomes of Phoenixville was present to express his interest in the position of Animal Control Officer. Mr. Sauser provided a brief description of duties including collecting secured stray pets and removal of deed deer. The position pays $15.00 per hour plus $.30/mile.
Mrs. Ewald asked for Mr. Gomes’ qualifications, equipment and protection used. Mr. Gomes responded that he has a truck, restraints, poles and gloves for the job. He described himself as a hunter, fisherman and trapper well acquainted with various animals in addition to working at a zoo for a period of time.
Mrs. Ewald asked if he has had rabies vaccination shots, as the job sometimes puts the animal control officer in contact with raccoons and foxes that could be infected. Mr. Gomes responded no.
Mr. Sauser asked the Secretary to obtain information on adding the animal control officer to the Workers’ Compensation coverage as well as finding out about general liability with respect to both the employee and residents.
Mr. Wert moved to appoint John Gomes for Animal Control Officer. Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor. Mrs. Ewald asked the Secretary to check the job description for this position.
Mr. Sauser nominated Mary Ellen Joos for the open position left by Polly Quigley on the Historical Commission and Mrs. Ewald seconded. The term for this position ends 12/31/2000. Mr. Sauser then nominated Sheila Klement for an additional seat on the Historical Commission and Mr. Wert seconded. All were in favor.
Mr. Sauser referred to Dr. Moskowitz’s letter of March 20, 1998 requesting a one year extension on his conditional use approval for a home office on Union Hill Road for his psychology practice. Mr. Sauser explained that the Moskowitzs have planned to build a home on their Union Hill property for several years but have not constructed it yet. Mr. Sauser moved to extend the conditional use approval for an additional year. Mr. Wert seconded and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Charlestown Oaks Inc. Escrow Release #6 in the amount of $9,430.00. Mr. Wert seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. Sauser stated that he spoke with Walt Green of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, which is renewing interest in building a slip ramp somewhere along Morehall Road either in Charlestown or East Whiteland Township. Mr. Green indicated that a position within Charlestown was preferable, but a point further south along Morehall Road in East Whiteland could be utilized if Charlestown denies their request. Mr. Sauser described a slip ramp as a limited access on and off the turnpike for automobiles only. There would be no toll booths but a smaller checkpoint where commuters would use a card to gain entry or exit.
Mr. Sauser stated that Mr. Green indicated a proposed business park to be located in East Whiteland Township at the site of the Warner Quarry, with a small portion of the site located in Tredyffrin Township. Between this proposed business park and the Spring Oaks Business Park now in the final plan review phase in Charlestown, a considerable amount of extra traffic in the area will be generated. While J. Loew & Associates has a traffic plan for their proposed Spring Oaks, they’re unable to widen the turnpike underpass, which would remain a bottleneck. The Turnpike Commission is indicating that in exchange for approval of a slip ramp, they would be willing to widen this underpass.
Mrs. Ewald stated her concern over widening the turnpike underpass, which will invite excessive traffic on the secondary roads in the township which range from 16 to 20 feet in width. She believes that widening the underpass will encourage widening of the township roads to four lane highways. She stated that the reason it wasn’t made wider to begin with was to reduce flow into the Route 29/Phoenixville Pike intersection.
Mr. Sauser suggested setting up a meeting with township officials and the Turnpike Commission to obtain facts. Mrs. Ewald suggested that the Board discuss the matter before holding a meeting with the Turnpike Commission in order to develop a unified approach, but Mr. Wert agreed with Mr. Sauser that information gathering should be the first step. He noted that some police data indicates that crime increases near turnpike access points and this should be considered. He commented, however, that if the turnpike is going to position a slip ramp somewhere along Morehall Road whether or not Charlestown approves, it may be prudent to consider the issue with an open mind. If there are benefits attached to placing it in Charlestown rather than just over the border, they should be taken into consideration.
Mr. Sauser will contact Walt Green at the Turnpike Commission and request a presentation before the Board. Mrs. Ewald suggested that written documentation be sent ahead of the meeting for the Board’s consideration and review and the other Board members agreed.
John Panizza requested a vote on the Subdivision Escrow Agreement submitted last month for the Board’s approval for the Somerset Subdivision. He acknowledged that an agreement had yet to be finalized with Christopher Zaro, one of the abutting landowners. Mr. Panizza requested that the Board vote on this matter and hold the document until the other private agreement was made. Mr. McErlane noted that there is a question on the tri-party agreement with regard to Pennfield Knoll Associates Inc. Mrs. Ewald indicated that the Zaro agreement needs to be settled before the tri-party agreement is signed because it speaks to a serious roadway issue, namely, where to split the road from the entrance to Somerset and the continuation of Chesterfield Lane.
Mr. Panizza indicated his urgency in obtaining the tri-party agreement approval due to a settlement scheduled for next week, however, the Board tabled the matter until April 20th to allow time for the Zaro issue and other minor questions to be settled.
Mr. McErlane produced sets of Mr. Oeste’s comments on the Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions, which will require some minor changes.
Mrs. Ewald asked who the builder will be and Mr. Panizza responded that the builder is Vincent D’Anunzio.
Mrs. Ewald indicated that there were a number of other items in need of discussion, some of which included:
Mrs. Ewald said these issues should be discussed publicly and suggested adding them to future agendas. She believes there is business of the Township that is not being addressed. Mr. Sauser disagreed with her statement but suggested that she submit a list of items to him for his consideration.
Mr. Wert stated that Round Ten of the Chester County Parks and Recreation Grants Program now has 50% matching funds available to municipalities for land acquisitions, greenways, and park facility improvements. He suggested that the Planning Commission consider this program in conjunction with their review of “Landscapes”, as grant funding is available only to those municipalities that sign on to the County’s Vision Partnership outlined by “Landscapes”. Mr. Sauser agreed with Mr. Wert and stated that he’s spoken to Mark Connolly, who will develop a set of recommendations for the Board’s consideration. Mr. Wert suggested that a representative from the County Planning Commission be invited to make a presentation on “Landscapes” and Mr. Zeigler commented that he’ll request this from the County for an upcoming Planning Commission meeting with the Supervisors invited to attend. Mrs. Ewald stated her concern over the Vision Partnership, warning her fellow Board members that there are strings attached to joining it and taking part in the County grant programs. Mr. Wert disagreed, stating that he read the County Comprehensive Plan, “Landscapes”, and doesn’t see the strings. He noted that Charlestown residents pay considerable taxes to the County and the Board of Supervisors has a responsibility to determine whether they should get some of them back in the form of grants.
Mrs. Ewald noted that the County Landscapes 2020 workshop scheduled for April 29th plans to address some of the problems encountered thus far with the program.
In response to the Secretary’s question on a proposed addition to the list of private lane names to be incorporated into the Township’s Addressing Plan, Mr. Sauser placed the matter of scheduling the Ordinance Amendment for advertising on the April 20th agenda.
Ellen Behrle asked whether the presentation by the County Planning Commission on “Landscapes’ would be public, and Mr. Sauser responded affirmatively. Mr. Wert commented that the Board should concentrate on how the program operates, which is the key to determining its efficacy, and not on the composition of the Commission itself, a subject that has been raised in the past.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 P.M. The next meeting of the Board of Supervisors will take place on April 20, 1998 at 7:30 P.M. at the Charlestown Elementary School.