CHARLESTOWN TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
The first regular business meeting for February was held February 1, 1999 at the Charlestown Elementary School. John B. Sauser, Chairman, Robert, C. Wert, Vice Chairman, Irene W. Ewald, Member, Thomas F. Oeste, Esq., Thomas J. Comitta, 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.
Two members of the Philadelphia Continental Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution presented a U.S. Flag to be flown at the Revolutionary War Cemetery. Col. Herbert Armstrong stated that the SAR has been working with Charlestown since 1924 on preservation and other issues at the cemetery.
Mr. Wert received a Community Service Award from the Township for his 15+ years as Coordinator of Charlestown’s Emergency Operations Control from which he resigned last month. John McNamara from the Chester County Emergency Services Department presented a plaque in recognition of Mr. Wert’s efforts and read a letter of appreciation by his department head, Edward J. Atkins. Many members of the EOC as well as PECO representative Henry Taminini were also present to extend their appreciation to Mr. Wert. Mr. Wert expressed his gratitude to the many members of the EOC for their volunteer efforts, and Mrs. Ewald introduced Mr. Wert’s mother, Anna Wert, and his wife, Grace Wert, who have also been greatly involved with the EOC over the years.
Mr. Sauser announced that a request by the Secretary for reimbursement for computer training to take place next month will be added under “Other Business.” A second item, a proposed resolution to develop an Action Plan for the Y2K problem, as recommended by Pennsylvania’s Lt. Governor, will also be added to the Agenda.
Mr. Sauser referred to a letter from the State Police offering to meet with Township residents, and requested feedback from the public on whether there is interest so arrangements can be made.
Mr. Sauser announced that the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has set the date for the public meeting on the proposed slip ramp. It is scheduled for Thursday, February 25th at the Great Valley High School cafeteria from 4:00 P.M. - 9:00 P.M. He stated that the Great Valley School Board has a motion on the table to communicate their position on the slip ramp issue to the Turnpike Commission and various public officials. Mr. Sauser suggested that residents encourage them to move forward.
The Secretary was directed to send a packet of information to surrounding townships and the Great Valley School District encouraging them to join Charlestown in formally requesting a public hearing from the Pa. Turnpike Commission on the proposed slip ramp. Mr. Sauser read aloud Mr. McErlane’s letter of January 29, 1999 to the PTC requesting a hearing.
There were no comments.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the minutes of the January 4, 1999 reorganization meeting and Mr. Wert seconded. All were in favor.
Mr. Wert moved to approve the minutes of the January 4, 1999 business meeting and Mr. Sauser seconded. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.
Mr. Sauser tabled approval of the minutes of January 18, 1999 to allow more time for review.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for January 1 - 31, 1999 and Mr. Wert seconded. All were in favor.
Mr. Wert moved to approve the February 1, 1999 Accounts Payable and Mr. Sauser seconded. All were in favor.
Reports from the Planning Commission, Historical Commission, Roadmaster and Fire Marshal are on file. There was no Parks and Recreation Report. Minutes from the last meeting of the Valley Forge Sewer Authority are on file.
Mr. Kohli stated that he will respond to a letter from Tina Daly recently received.
He noted that there have been several complaints on quarry blasting recently and that he continues to monitor the reports submitted by Independence Construction Materials, which have all been in compliance with federal regulations. Mr. Sauser noted that prior to a change in management at the quarry, they had agreed to develop a serial blasting method that would reduce the impact of the blasts. Mr. Kohli will follow up on this and also on a complaint by Joanne Proctor of Union Hill Road whose chimney partially collapsed on January 20, 1999 during a blast. She also reported that her well water is routinely muddy for days following a blast.
In response to Mrs. Ewald’s inquiry, Mr. Kohli will have information on an abandoned house on Charlestown Road by the next meeting.
Mr. Sauser congratulated Mr. Philips on his appointment as Planning Commission Chairman for 1999. Mr. Philips stated that a number of subcommittees were formed at the January 26th meeting and that a list is available of their members and assignments.
Mr. Sauser stated that the Historical Commission has drafted a survey to be sent to all residents inviting their opinions on proposing an ordinance that would protect historic structures throughout the township. He said he would like to incorporate this survey in a township newsletter to save postage costs, and anticipated that this could be done by mid February.
Mr. Thompson reported that two residents of Valley Hill Road complained about a collapsing shoulder of that road in front of their properties due to runoff problems. PennDOT has since ditched Valley Hill Road in an effort to mitigate the situation.
Mr. Wert asked if the burning ban is still in effect, and Mr. Alston responded affirmatively. He said that there have been numerous brush fires recently in the County and that in spite of recent rains, conditions remain extremely dry.
Mr. Jones reported that the Parks and Rec Board met jointly with the Planning Commission on January 26th to discuss development of a Master Plan for Charlestown Park and other township open space. Mr. Sauser noted that the Round 10 Grant Contract with Chester County is in order and has now been fully executed.
Mr. Winckelman reported that the application for construction of a containment building in Schuylkill Township was denied by their Zoning Hearing Board due to its proposed height exceeding the 35 foot limit.
Mr. Oeste opened the hearing and identified the following exhibits:
|•||B-9||Planning Commission Report dated 1/26/99|
|•||B-10||Revision of 10/9/98 Draft Ordinance entitled “An Ordinance Amending the Charlestown Township Zoning Ordinance of 1979, as Amended, Adding a Definition of Open Space Option; Permitting the Open Space Option as a Conditional Use in the Farm Residential District; and Creating Regulations for the Open Space Option,” dated 2/1/99 in draft form|
|•||B-11||Revision of 10/9/98 Draft Ordinance entitled “An Ordinance Amending the Charlestown Township Zoning Ordinance of 1979, as Amended, Adding a Definition of Open Space Option; Permitting the Open Space Option as a Conditional Use in the Farm Residential District; and Creating Regulations for the Open Space Option,” dated 2/1/99 in final form|
|•||B-12||Map entitled “Proposed Acreage Analysis dated 10/9/98 and last revised 2/1/99 identifying eight parcels eligible for the open space development option as proposed by the Ordinance.|
Mr. Oeste noted that the revised ordinance includes an addition, Section 404(B)2, which informs the reader at an earlier point in the ordinance that the permanent open space requirement is 40%. Provision on shade trees was changed in accordance with earlier agreed to suggestions from the County Planning Commission and Mr. Smiley of General Residential Properties Inc. Mr. Oeste described the other modifications as legal and language clarifications of a minor nature.
Mr. Oeste noted that following the opening of the hearing on January 18, 1999, several questions were referred back to the Planning Commission and addressed at their January 26, 1999 meeting.
Mr. Comitta displayed the revised “Proposed Acreage Analysis” Map, explaining that three properties inadvertently left out of the first draft have now been added. They include the Andersen tract and two parcels owned by Henriette Bumeder. Three parcels have been deleted due to the proposed change requiring that all parcels abut 20+ acres of publicly owned open space. The earlier ordinance allowed the abutting open space to include privately owned parcels under conservation easement. This was deleted from the revised ordinance for two reasons: first, to ensure access to the open space which may provide connecting trails and/or recreational facilities, and second, to avoid the possibility that a property owner would combine an eased and non-eased parcel and claim the eased parcel satisfied all or a portion of the open space requirement.
Mr. Sauser asked for the approximate change in net acreage of eligible properties due to the changes outlined above, and Mr. Comitta responded that there is an increase of about 50 acres. Mr. Sauser stated his concern that since the revision now omits below grade on-lot disposal systems and stormwater management basins, it may be too restrictive to be attractive to developers. Mr. Comitta responded that one reason for the change was to make it compatible with Article XV of the Zoning Ordinance, which outlines general provisions for open space and does not now permit these uses. Mr. Comitta stated that Article XV was discussed at the January 12, 1999 Planning Commission meeting, at which time he pointed out that it is in need of revision. Planning Commission Chairman Charlie Philips added that the Commission determined it would be best to revise Article XV at a later time so as not to prolong the hearing process on the current proposed ordinance. They unanimously recommended that the proposed Open Space Ordinance be adopted. Revisions can be considered at a later date in conjunction with Article XV.
Mrs. Ewald stated that her concerns at the January 18, 1999 have been satisfactorily addressed and that she now feels comfortable supporting the proposed ordinance.
Mr. Sauser opened the floor to public comments. Mr. Panizza stated that with the added restriction created by disallowing below grade on-lot systems and stormwater management basins in the open space, the ordinance is no longer attractive to developers. He requested that the Board consider increasing the percentage of land in the open space acreage that is permitted to contain critical environmental areas from 25% to 30%. Discussion followed with input from Mr. Comitta.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Open Space Option Ordinance last revised 2/1/99 with the addition of the words “Open Space Option” before the word “Ordinance” in the last sentence of Section 4 and in Section 5 and to change the percentage of minimum open space acreage that may contain critical environmental areas from 25% to 30% in F(1) of Section 3, which adds Section 404 to the Zoning Ordinance of 1979, as amended. Mr. Wert seconded and the Open Space Option Ordinance (#80-99) was unanimously adopted.
The Secretary was directed to provide a resident with information on how to pursue a loss he reported as due to a township contractor’s activities through that contractor’s insurance company.
Mr. Sauser stated that a motion and second remain on the table from the 1/4/99 Reorganization Meeting to appoint the law firm of Garthrop, Greenwood & Halstead, P.C. as special counsel to the Board of Supervisors and Andrew Rau as chief counsel. Mr. Sauser provided an opportunity for public comment. Mrs. Ewald said she’d like to discuss this personnel matter in executive session. The vote was deferred until an executive session could be held.
Mr. Sauser referred to a letter dated January 15, 1999 from John C. Snyder, Esq., in which he requested a five year extension of the Conditional Use Approval and Certificate of Appropriateness on behalf of Russell and Suzanne Naylor granted in September 1997, which currently expire on March 1, 1999. Mr. Sauser referred to Historical Commission member Rosemary Philips’ letter which provided comments on this request and suggested an extension of one year to the present owners only. Mr. Sauser stated that the Board’s standard practice with similar requests is to limit extensions to one year periods, and so moved to grant the extension on the Naylor Conditional Use Approval and Certificate of Appropriate for a one year period from March 1, 1999 for the current owners only. Mr. Wert seconded and all were in favor.
In response to a request from the Township Secretary, Mr. Sauser moved to approve payment for a 6-hour computer course scheduled for next month. Mr. Wert seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. Sauser stated that the Lt. Governor’s correspondence on Y2K provided a sample resolution they recommend municipalities adopt, which contains the outline of an Action Plan to be put into place for dealing with the Y2K problem. Mr. Sauser summarized the contents of the resolution and then moved to approve it. Mr. Wert seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. Wert suggested that the Board consider appointing a “Complete Count Committee” as recommended by the Governor’s Center for Local Government.
Vanessa Weisman, 2 Sawgrass Lane, requested background on the PA Turnpike slip ramp issue, which Mr. Sauser provided.
(At 10:00 P.M., the Board recessed to Executive Session. The meeting was called back to order at 10:30 P.M.)
Mr. Sauser called for a vote on Mr. Wert’s motion to appoint the law firm of Garthrop, Greenwood & Halstead, P.C. as special counsel to the Board of Supervisors and Andrew Rau as chief counsel. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were in favor and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.
Mrs. Ewald moved to appoint Gary Bender as special counsel to the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Wert proposed to amend the motion to allow Mr. Bender to continue with those matters currently under assignment to him, and Mrs. Ewald accepted the amendment. Mr. Wert seconded. Mr. Wert and Mrs. Ewald were in favor. Mr. Sauser did not vote.
Mr. Sauser announced that the Board will meet in Executive Session on Wednesday, February 12, 1999 at 7:30 P.M. to discuss litigation matters.
Mr. Sauser adjourned the meeting at 10:30 P.M. and stated that the next meeting of the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for February 15, 1999 at 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Nature Center, but may be canceled if business items remain small in number and can be deferred to the March 1st meeting.