The fourth business meeting for March was held March 27, 2000 at the Valley Forge Christian College Memorial Chapel. Irene W. Ewald, Chairman, Hugh D. Willig, Vice Chairman, Michael J. Rodgers, Paul J. Hogan, Thomas F. Oeste, Esq., Gary C. Bender, Esq., Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Ed Theurkauf, Linda M. Csete, Secretary, and those on the attached attendee list were present.
The meeting was called to order at 7:50 P.M.
Mrs. Ewald announced that the Board met in executive session prior to this evening’s meeting to discuss future scheduling for the Toll Brothers application and to obtain other advice of counsel.
No items were brought forward at this time.
Mr. Hogan moved to approve the minutes of March 20, 2000 and Mr. Willig seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and comments from the public. There being none, she called the vote and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald explained that the Township acquired the 20.6 acre Yellow Springs Road parcel from the Pyle family approximately three years ago. Since then, the Township has had renewable holdover agreements with the Pyles allowing them to cultivate the land in exchange for their maintenance of the property. The current agreement ends in July, but if the land were currently under cultivation, harvesting would take place later in the fall. This incongruity must be addressed.
Mrs. Ewald asked her fellow Board members to consider starting the process to rezone the property for open space recreation usage by forwarding the matter to the Planning Commission and Parks and Recreation Board so it would be ready for some use next year. The land would need to be prepared this year for use in 2001 as it presently is furrowed and contains crop remains from past seasons.
Mrs. Ewald said the land could be converted into turf this year if the Pyles weren’t cultivating the ground, but Mr. Willig disagreed, saying nothing should be done until a use for the land is determined.
Mr. Hogan asked if Mr. Pyle could continue to farm the land this season even if the property was rezoned, and Mrs. Ewald answered yes. Mr. Rodgers said the holdover agreement could be extended through the harvest, at which time the Township would take control of the parcel.
Mrs. Solda asked if the adjacent parcel owned by the School District should be taken into consideration when planning for the Township’s parcel. Mrs. Ewald said at this time the Township can only address the land it presently owns.
Mrs. Ewald said suggestions for use of the land have been proposed in the past, including an agricultural use and an equestrian center. Mr. Hogan suggested asking for additional public input. Mrs. Ewald suggested a horticultural use surrounding the Rapp House, such as flower gardens. Mr. Willig indicated that he’d like to see some of the land kept as a meadow similar to portions of Valley Forge National Park.
Mr. Hogan recommended that the matter be referred to the Planning Commission and Parks and Recreation Board for consideration. The Secretary will memo both groups and send a letter to the Pyles with regard to the Holdover agreement and suggesting they meet to discuss the situation.
Mark E. Stabile was present to request that the Board act on his proposed holding tank agreement relative to his new house constructed at 42 Lady Kirby Lane off Conestoga Road. Although this lot had originally been approved for a sand mound septic system in April 1999 with house construction beginning in June 1999, the subsequent Chester County Health Department sand mound tests have all failed. Mr. Stabile is requesting that the Township permit him to use his septic tank as a temporary holding tank until the sand mound system can be installed when the weather is drier.
Mr. Willig asked what the process would entail if the Board decided to approve signing the agreement. Mr. Oeste responded that the Board would need to pass a holding tank ordinance, at least a 60-day process. The ordinance is needed because the Township’s current Act 537 Plan does not authorize holding tanks, nor does it prohibit them. The Board is obliged to follow the Act 537 Plan for all township properties. Mr. Stabile said the agreement is designed to work without an ordinance in place and remains in effect in the event one is passed. Mr. Oeste maintained that it must be included in the Act 537 plan and Mr. Kohli agreed.
Mrs. Ewald said she’s concerned that approving the agreement would set a precedent and expressed her deep reservations on proceeding. She welcomed Mr. Stable to the Township but regretted that she is reluctant to support his request. Robert Kirby, Lady Kirby Lane, asked what Mr. Stabile should do in the meantime, as the house is completed. Mrs. Ewald asked what he is doing at present, and Mr. Stabile responded that he’s paying a month-to-month apartment lease along with the house mortgage, an expensive situation. He said the need for the temporary holding tank is a matter of following proper construction techniques for the permanent system. If the sand mound system is installed during wet conditions, it will fail, but if they can wait for dryer conditions, it will work. The County provides for relief from his current situation with the solution of permitting a temporary holding tank.
Mr. Kohli noted that the house has been under construction for nine months and there were opportunities to construct the tank during drier weather at some time during this period. Mr. Stabile said changes to designs in the house construction, including a driveway relocation, held up the septic installation. Mr. Hogan said Mr. Stabile’s contractor has the burden of responsibility in this case for not moving along as he should have.
Mr. Kohli said that he doesn’t want to create a holding tank process in the Township since the Township will have the burden of monitoring the system and maintaining records. Mr. Willig said that according to items #6 & #7 on the proposed agreement, the township is responsible for assuring the proper maintenance and operation of the holding tank system. Mr. Stabile agreed but added that the County has jurisdiction over the system and approves its design. They are continuing to make inspections to determine when the temporary system can be replaced with the sand mound system.
Mr. Willig asked who is responsible for the sand mound system installation, and Mr. Stabile answered that the system was designed by a professional company that is responsible to his builder, Alan Greaves.
Mr. Hogan moved, with reluctance, to disapprove signing the proposed agreement. Mr. Rodgers seconded, also voicing his reluctance to take this measure. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and then the public. There being none, she called the vote. Mrs. Ewald, Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Hogan were in favor, and Mr. Willig was opposed. The agreement was not signed.
The proceeds were recorded by a court reporter. Mr. Hogan left the meeting at 10:30 P.M. The hearing was continued to April 3, 2000 at 9:00 P.M. at the Valley Forge Christian College Memorial Chapel and an additional date of April 17, 2000 was added to the hearing schedule.
Mrs. Ewald said that PennDOT has responded to the Township’s requests for two traffic signals to be installed, one at Route 401 & Valley Hill Road and one at Route 401 & Newcomen Road. The Board must decide whether they wish to have the Township Engineer or PennDOT design the plans. Mr. Kohli recommended that PennDOT design them and he will work with them. The next step for the Board is to pass resolutions applying for the permits. These resolutions will be prepared for the April 3, 2000 meeting and were scheduled for that agenda.
Mrs. Ewald asked how long the process is expected to take. Mr. Kohli said that PennDOT would take approximately a month to design the signals after receiving the applications.
Mrs. Ewald adjourned the meeting at 10:50 P.M.