CHARLESTOWN TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
The second business meeting of the Board of Supervisors was held November 15, 1999 at the Charlestown Elementary School, 2060 Charlestown Road, Devault, Pa. John B. Sauser, Robert C. Wert, Irene W. Ewald, Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Thomas F. Oeste, Esq. , Ed Theurkauf, Linda M. Csete, Secretary, and those on the attached attendee list were present.
The meeting was called to order at 7:35 P.M.
Mr. Sauser announced that the Altemose Curative Amendment Hearing has been rescheduled to 12/6/99 due to scheduling difficulties. Joseph A. Ryan, Esq. asked if his clients would have a full three hours at the rescheduled hearing and Mr. Sauser responded that there is a busy agenda that evening and he can make no time commitment. Mr. Ryan asked what date will be scheduled for the hearing continuation, and Mr. Sauser answered that he’s not prepared to set a date at this time. Mr. Ryan distributed a letter dated 11/15/99 to the Board, which Mr. Oeste read in its entirety. Mr. Oeste clarified that he did not communicate with the applicant that three hours would be available for the hearing on 12/6/99 but indicated when he asked for the witness list that one witness could be heard that evening.
Mr. Sauser added “Planning Commission Vacancy” to this evening’s agenda under New Business and tabled “Chester County Park Land and Open Space Acquisition Grant – Round X” Declarations, Covenants and Restrictions” to 12/6/99.
Kevin Kuhn said he spoke to Mr. Wert with regard to the Planning Commission Vacancy and Mr. Wert agreed that the appointment should be postponed until the new Board is seated in January. Mr. Wert acknowledged this but said that since Mr. Sauser was interested in advancing the issue he agreed to consider it now. Charlie Philips said the vacancy has been advertised on the Website and that the Planning Commission is in the process of scheduling interviews to be conducted during December.
Mr. Sauser explained that two actions were taken at the November 8, 1999 that must be ratified this evening since the November 8th meeting had not been advertised for conducting general township business but only announced as a continuation of the Deerfield Conditional Use hearing.
Mrs. Ewald requested that the Hochwind matter be discussed in executive session and Mr. Sauser denied the request. Mr. Sauser read from the draft minutes of 11/8/99, “Mr. Hochwind’s Application #4-99 is a variance request that would permit access to Parcel #35-2-4 on Lindsay Lane and renovation and expansion of existing buildings on that parcel. Mr. And Mrs. Hochwind’s application #6-99 is a variance request for parcel #35-2-2.15, that would permit the granting of an easement providing access to parcel #35-2-4.”
In accordance with the Sunshine Act, Mr. Sauser repeated his motion of 11/8/99, moving to instruct the Solicitor to withdraw his appearance on behalf of the Township for application #4-99 and not plan to appear for application #6-99. Mr. Wert seconded.
Mrs. Ewald requested that the Solicitor read the contents of a letter into the record, and Mr. Wert disagreed, stating that it is irrelevant. Mrs. Ewald stated that the letter was a request that Mr. Sauser recuse himself from acting on this issue due to perceived bias in favor of the applicant. She stated her concern that another applicant is before the Zoning Hearing Board on a similar issue and that this action may prejudice that case. Mr. Wert confirmed with Mr. Oeste that Mr. Oeste determined in the executive session on 11/8/99 that the Chairman had no conflict relating to the Ethics Act with regard to his actions on the Hochwind matter. Mr. Wert stated that he accepted the Solicitor’s opinion and called the question. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.
Mrs. Ewald moved to postpone providing instructions to the Zoning Hearing Board with regard to the Guiser-Myers application in order to allow the new Board to provide them since the hearing itself is scheduled for a date after the New Year. Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. Sauser restated his motion of 11/8/99, moving to approve PennDOT’s plot plan dated 8/30/99 depicting an area of acquisition to be deeded over to PennDOT, 2 construction easements and a right of way. Mr. Wert seconded. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed, stating that she preferred to continue the attempt to obtain a waiver allowing a 32” parapet wall instead of the required 42” wall. Mr. Wert said that counsel advised the Board to move forward and take action, as attempts to gain the waiver were unsuccessful. Mr. Wert said the Township could jeopardize the other concessions granted by PennDOT by delaying further.
Commons at Great Valley Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan for Lots 16-17-18 and Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan for Lots 16 & 17
Mr. Wert moved to approve the Commons at Great Valley Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan for Lots 16-17-18 and Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan for Lots 16 & 17 dated 10/14/99 subject to Mr. Kohli’s review letter dated 11/15/99 and Mr. Comitta’s review letter dated 6/8/99. Mrs. Ewald moved to table the matter until 12/6/99 to allow the applicant to comply fully with all review comments. Mr. Sauser seconded Mr. Wert’s motion. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.
Mr. Sauser stated that there is a vacancy on the Planning Commission due to a recent resignation. He moved to nominate Robert Jones for the position. Mr. Wert said Mr. Jones spoke to him about the position and that he suggested Mr. Jones speak to Charlie Philips and Kevin Kuhn. Mr. Kuhn indicated that he has spoken to Mr. Jones. Mr. Philips also acknowledged that he spoke with Mr. Jones, but said that other candidates have expressed an interest in the position and the Planning Commission would like to consider them during December and then make a recommendation to the Board. Mr. Wert asked if the Planning Commission can function with this vacancy in the meantime. Mr. Philips responded yes, that their major tasks for the year are complete and there is little left to cover. Mr. Wert said that in light of this information, he will not second the motion. The motion died for lack of a second. Mrs. Ewald encouraged Mr. Jones to apply to the Planning Commission, which would consider his credentials without prejudice. Mr. Philips agreed with her statement.
Mr. Oeste reconvened the hearing, which had been continued from November 1, 1999. The proceedings were recorded by a court reporter. The hearing was concluded and the record closed. The Board will draft a decision ready for the 12/6/99 meeting
Mr. Oeste reconvened the hearing, which had been continued from November 8, 1999. The proceedings were recorded by a court reporter. The hearing was continued to December 6, 1999 at 7:30 P.M. at the Charlestown Elementary School.
Mr. Oeste reconvened the hearing, which had been continued from November 1, 1999. The proceedings were recorded by a court reporter. The hearing was continued to December 6, 1999 at 7:30 P.M. at the Charlestown Elementary School.
Mr. Sauser agreed with Mr. Wert’s suggestions for changes to the draft budget prepared by the Township Treasurer, including a reduction in the tax millage to .4 mils. In order to accommodate these changes, Mr. Sauser proposed transferring $60,000 from the Municipal Office Fund to the General Fund and balancing any difference in the Road Maintenance fund.
Mrs. Ewald objected to the changes, repeating her suggestions that line item #404.11 for legal expenses be increased to $200,000 and any carryover beyond the base amount be transferred to the Open Space Fund.
Mr. Wert provided an explanation for the changes he proposed, including several administrative categories to provide more support to the expanded Board and more frequent communication to the residents. He agreed with the Fire Marshal’s recommendation that the Kimberton Fire Company be provided with a one time additional donation of $10,000 needed for equipment and that an annual donation increase of $10,000 to the East Whiteland Fire Company be made to cover the costs of providing service to the increasing number of Charlestown Township homes in their territory. He stated that the tax decrease is warranted due to a continuing excess in the carryover figure, which continues to grow. He said the reduction to .4 mils would be a measurable but modest decrease.
Mrs. Ewald questioned the increased donations to the Fire Companies, stating that a comparison of what other Townships provide should be made in order to assess whether Charlestown’s donation figures are excessive. She said Charlestown’s practice has always been to make a lump sum contribution that is intended to cover the fire companies’ needs, including new equipment. She disagreed with lowering the tax millage at a time when the new Board may enter into negotiations with the School District to acquire property. She said this may make it necessary for the new board to revise and re-adopt the budget in January. Mr. Oeste said the new Board can change the budget up to 10% of its aggregate.
Mr. Sauser moved to direct the Treasurer to advertise the 2000 Budget for consideration and adoption at the December 20, 1999 meeting and Mr. Wert seconded. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.
Mr. Sauser moved to forward the reference form drafted by Mr. Thompson to PennDOT, as requested as part of the process of evaluating the certification application for Rittenbaugh Inc. Mr. Sauser seconded. Mrs. Ewald objected to the excellent ratings, citing the Wells Road paving job this spring. Mr. Sauser called for the vote. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were in favor and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.
Mr. Sauser moved to deny the Land Development Plan for Independence Construction Materials subject to the receipt of a 90-day extension to the plan review deadline. Mrs. Ewald amended the motion to include an instruction to the Solicitor that he communicate with the applicant’s attorney that the review process must resume and conclude in a timely manner. Mr. Sauser accepted the amendment, and Mr. Wert seconded. All were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald asked for clarification on whether the School District currently has a subdivision plan for their 55 acre Yellow Springs Road property in the review process. The Secretary responded no. The Board instructed Mr. Oeste to communicate with the School District’s counsel with regard to reinstating their withdrawn plan. Mr. Sauser agreed that Mrs. Ewald may communicate with School Superintendent Rita Jones if she wishes.
Kevin Kuhn invited Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert to a briefing session in which the supervisors-elect would like to exchange information as part of their preparations for next year.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:15 P.M.