CHARLESTOWN TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
The first regular business meeting for July was held July 12, 1999 at the Charlestown Elementary School. John B. Sauser, Chairman, Robert, C. Wert, 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 were present.
The meeting was called to order at 7:45 P.M. and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
Mr. Sauser announced that the Board of Supervisors met in Executive Session on July 1, 1999 to discuss open and potential litigation issues.
Mrs. Ewald announced the passing of former Township Secretary, Ruth W. Buckwalter, who served as Secretary-Treasurer in the 1960’s and later returned to serve as Secretary from 1990-1995. Both she and Mrs. Csete offered remembrances of her. Mr. Sauser proposed that a tree be planted as a living memorial to Mrs. Buckwalter, and Mr. Wert and Mrs. Ewald agreed. Mrs. Baldwin suggested planting the tree on the Rapp House property, where a tree in remembrance of her husband William Buckwalter, a former Township Supervisor, already stands.
Mrs. Ewald announced that she attended the Great Valley Nature Center’s 25th Anniversary Dinner and presented three awards on behalf of the township to the Nature Center’s founders, Arnold Bartschi, accepted by Henrietta Bumeder, the Wentzs, accepted by Eleanor Wentz, and the Morrises, accepted by Eleanor Morris.
Mrs. Ewald announced that she attended a recent East Whiteland Township Board of Supervisors meeting.
No items were brought forward at this time.
Mr. Sauser moved to approve the minutes as written. Mr. Wert proposed a correction to the first sentence in the second paragraph under “Roadmaster” from “… and must be moved as it creates a line of sight problem” to “… and must be moved as it does not provide adequate warning of the narrow bridge.” Mr. Sauser amended his motion to include this correction and Mr. Wert seconded. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for June 1 - 30, 1999 and Mr. Wert seconded. All were in favor.
Mr. Wert questioned the Rittenbaugh Inc. invoice dated 7/7/99 for $21,206.00 and several associated bills for materials. He noted there was extensive work performed on the shoulders of Wells Road and that Mr. Kohli said some of the edging work appears to be excessive. Mr. Wert also questioned whether some of the materials needed to finish this job were needed because of wear and tear over the winter when the job was left unfinished. Mrs. Ewald expressed concerns on the total cost of paving Wells Road, $60,478.91, when the original projections were much lower. Both Mr. Wert and Mrs. Ewald commented on the high costs shown for general roadside maintenance as well. Mr. Sauser said these concerns are the result of the way work has been assigned and is not a reflection on the bidding process itself. He said the Board must decide what degree of roadside maintenance is desirable, as this is a labor intensive, and thus costly, undertaking. Mr. Wert stated that the costs are not being effectively managed and that he’d like to meet with Mr. Thompson before approving the road related invoices.
Mr. Wert moved to approve the Accounts Payable for July 12, 1999 with the exception of checks #2226 through #2231, to be held until the Board has an opportunity to meet with the Roadmaster. Mrs. Ewald seconded. Mr. Wert and Mrs. Ewald were in favor and Mr. Sauser was opposed.
Reports from the Zoning Officer, 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 a site meeting was held on July 5, 1999 at Bridge #178 with John Foster representing the Stonorov family. The bridge construction project is being scheduled to begin on or about August 2, 1999. Mr. Kohli stated that this morning’s site meeting at the Route 29 Bridge must be rescheduled as no Stonorov family representative was in attendance.
Mrs. Ewald asked for the status of the signalization of two Conestoga Road (Route 401) intersections, as she wants them to be functioning by the start of school. Mr. Kohli stated that PennDOT is undertaking a traffic study for Route 401 & Valley Hill Road, to determine whether the intersection qualifies for signalization. He will check on the status of the Route 401 & Newcomen Road application. Mr. Wert asked if Mr. Kohli would also remind PennDOT to follow through with the milling on Coldstream Road and with the Township’s signage requests for the bridge on Pikeland Road near Hollow Road.
The Board discussed Congressman Weldon’s offer to further pursue a waiver allowing a reduction in the parapet wall height for the Route 29 Bridge from 42” to 32”. Mr. Sauser will contact him and request his assistance.
The Pa. Historical and Museum Commission’s letters to Janet Baldwin and to Senator Jim Gerlach stating its rationale for denying the formation for a historic district in the Devault-Cedar Hollow area were discussed. Mrs. Baldwin said the Historical Commission might apply for acceptance in the national historic register for the Grange Building and the Devault Beever House as an alternative strategy.
Mrs. Baldwin explained details on Kory Berrett’s proposal to repair the Samuel Kennedy ledger memorial dated June 7, 1999, stating that the Historical Commission recommends the Supervisors’ acceptance of the proposal. Mr. Sauser opened the floor for public comment. There being no comment, Mr. Sauser moved to approve the expenditure of $2,000.00 for the repair and repositioning of the Kennedy ledger to be taken from the Cemetery Fund. Mr. Wert seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. Thompson was on vacation.
Mr. Alston cautioned against burning, as the current drought conditions are worsening and may result in a 30-day countywide burning ban shortly. If the County Commissioners take this action, it will supercede all township regulations. Mrs. Ewald stated that a drought emergency declaration is expected as well, which will place restrictions on water usage.
Mr. Alston invited interested members of the public to join the July 22, 1999 exercise at the Emergency Operations Center at 7:30 P.M. Members of the County EOC and PECO representatives are expected to attend this exercise in order to prepare for the September Limerick Nuclear Power Plant drill.
Mrs. Ewald announced that the Ozorowski case against the VFSA has been dismissed.
The following items were tabled until the August 2, 1999 meeting: Chester Valley Engineers Base Map Proposal: Tom Comitta Associates Park Master Site Plan Proposal, and Yellow Springs Open Space Parcel Potential Uses.
Mr. Kohli stated that he has confirmed that the emergency preemption equipment listed on Signal Service Inc.’s Price Quotation dated 5/19/99 can be expanded and utilized when the Route 29 signal is upgraded in the future. He said that a remote device to detect emergency vehicles may need to be installed on the PA turnpike to transmit the signal to the traffic light when vehicles approach from the Route 29 south of the bridge and are blocked by it. A remote head would be in the $500-700 price range.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Signal Service Inc.’s 5/19/99 quotation for installation of a new Y2K compliant controller assembly and four-way emergency vehicle preemption for $12,410.00. Mr. Wert seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. McErlane stated that he has no record of a vote following the January 1998 hearing to approve an Ordinance Amending the N-C Zoning District. He recommended the advertising and scheduling of another hearing. Since Tom Comitta has recommended changes to the parking requirements contained in the draft amendment, both the Chester County Planning Commission and Township Planning Commission will have an opportunity to review the changes prior to the hearing. Mrs. Ewald moved to advertise the hearing for August 2, 1999 and Mr. Wert seconded. All were in favor.
Chuck Dobson, P.E. of Chester Valley Engineers presented the 5/19/99 2-lot subdivision plan for the 54.5 Great Valley School District parcel on Yellow Springs Road. Present from the School District were: Rita S. Jones, Pat Lang, Maria McDevitt, Kathy Pettiss, Carol A. Krisch and Bill MacLaughlin. Lot 1 will be retained by the School District for use as athletic fields, and Lot 2 will be offered for sale. No improvements to either lot are proposed at this time.
Mrs. Ewald expressed her desire to foster cooperation between the School District and the Township and asked if the School District would entertain discussions with regard to the Township’s possible acquisition of Lot 2. Dr. Jones agreed that this could be discussed in the future.
Mr. Sauser asked what the development potential is for the 25 acre Lot 2 and some discussion was held on its possibilities. He said that depending on how the parcel is developed, there are offsite impacts and deed restrictions to consider.
Mr. Wert asked about the footnote on the plan under “Form B – Request for Non-Building Waiver: stating, “as of the date of this plot plan recording, the subdivision described herein is and shall be dedicated for the express purpose of recreational use. No portion of this subdivision has been approved by Charlestown Township or the Department of Environmental Protection for the installation of sewage disposal facilities…” Dr. Jones affirmed that at the present time, the School District is only considering fields for the site. Twenty or thirty years from now this might be different. Mr. Wert clarified that this would require a separate approval process.
Mr. Wert asked if there were any discussions with the Planning Commission about providing an easement across both lots for trails to connect to the Township’s adjacent 20 acre parcel. He said he’d like to have an easement running along Yellow Springs Road on both parcels.
Mr. Wert suggested placing such an easement on Lot 2 and accepting good faith language for future access through Lot 1. Dr. Jones responded that she is willing to discuss an easement for Lot 1 but her direction from the School Board is not to restrict Lot 2 in any way.
Wendy McLean, Sam Hill Road, requested that the School District consider the following two easements. First, she suggested an easement to include the flood plain and steep slope area to prohibit it from being overly maintained, by implementing a management plan in order to provide a wildlife habitat. Second, she suggested a form of façade easement on the farmhouse and stone barn, both historically significant structures. She offered to draft the easement language on behalf of the School Board at no charge. While she questioned where a trail would lead when it reached the end of Lot 2 considering its steep embankments in that area, she stated she is not opposed to it. Neighbor Jacob Merriwether was in agreement with all three easements proposed.
Ms. McLean also commented, with respect to earlier remarks on the development potential, that she believes development on Lot 2 would be limited to approximately 6 houses due to the septic conditions.
Dr. Jones asked if the plan was in order technically and if there is any basis for denial if voted on this evening. Mr. Wert responded that since this was the Board of Supervisors’ first opportunity to publicly review the plan and speak with the School Board, he would prefer to wait until August 2, 1999 by which time easement language and residents’ issues could be worked out. Dr. Jones responded that the School District may opt to sell the entire parcel instead of waiting until August 2.
Mr. Sauser called a recess for an executive session at 9:40 P.M. The meeting reconvened at 10:00 P.M.
Mr. Sauser moved to approve the Great Valley School District Subdivision Plan dated 5/19/99 subject to the following three conditions:
Approval is subject to the Great Valley School District’s acceptance of all three conditions; otherwise the plan is rejected.
Mr. Wert seconded and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Sewage Facilities Module, Form B – Request for Non-Building Waiver for the Great Valley School District. Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. Kohli explained that the lot line change intends to improve the lot configurations that weren’t possible with the original Zeigler subdivision due to difficulty in obtaining satisfactory perc results. Due to more recent testing, the percs have now been obtained, allowing more standard lot lines for the two parcels. Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Fieldstone Partners 5/12/99 Lot Line Change Plan for Fieldstone Partners. Mr. Wert seconded and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Sewage Facilities Module, Form B – Request for Non-Building Waiver for Fieldstone Partners. Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald suggested extending the current road equipment & labor contract expiring 9/30/99 to the spring to bring the expiration date in line with that of other municipalities. Mr. Sauser stated that counsel has advised that the present contract can’t be extended and that the bidding process must take place. He then suggested bidding the next equipment and labor contract as a 21-month contract, to expire June 30, 2000. Mr. Kohli suggested bidding the contract for twelve months with a clause that it may be extended.
Mr. Wert moved to advertise the road materials, equipment & labor bids for a twelve month period beginning 10/1/99 and ending 9/30/00, with the Board’s option, to be decided upon during the last 60 days of the original 12 month contract period, to extend the contract an additional 9 months with prices to remain in effect to 6/30/00. Mr. Sauser seconded. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.
The September meeting was rescheduled to Monday, September 13, 1999 due to the Labor Day Holiday.
Bernadette Kearney of Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lyon was present along with her clients, Mr. & Mrs. Meyers, to request guidance on obtaining approval to construct a house on a 8 acre Sycamore Lane property. The property is located along a portion of Sycamore Lane that is a private road, and building the house would exceed the limit of 3 houses accessing a private road as there are already more than 3 houses accessing it as legal non-conforming uses. The Meyers propose to restrict their property from further subdivision, with some outlined exceptions, in exchange for a waiver on this issue. Mr. McErlane stated that the Township’s policy on adding a fourth driveway to a private lane is to refer the matter to the Zoning Hearing Board.
Mrs. Baldwin asked for an explanation of the activity at the 76+-acre parcel at Newcomen Road and Route 401. Mr. Kohli stated that William Kay, the current owner, is undertaking soil testing in order to determine what options are available for septic systems. The property is under agreement of sale to Toll Brothers.
Mrs. Ewald moved to adjourn the meeting and Mr. Wert seconded. All were in favor and the meeting adjourned at 10:35 P.M. The next meeting of the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for August 2, 1999 at 7:30 P.M. at the Charlestown Elementary School.