APRIL 17, 2000

The third regular business meeting for April was held April 17, 2000 at the Valley Forge Christian College, Building #11. Irene W. Ewald, Chairman, Hugh D. Willig, Vice Chairman, Paul J. Hogan, Kevin R. Kuhn, Michael J. Rodgers, Thomas F. Oeste, Esq., Gary Bender Esq., Ed Theurkauf, Linda M. Csete, Secretary, and those on the attached attendee list were present.

The meeting was called to order at 7:40 P.M.


Mr. Rodgers announced that he became aware of a surplus property program sponsored by the state while attending the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors annual convention in Harrisburg last week. He recommended that the Board register in order to be eligible for purchasing various types of road and office equipment at greatly discounted prices.

Mr. Hogan said the Evening Phoenix recently ran a photo of the children who participated in a clean-up of Charlestown Park last week but the caption didn’t mention the Township’s or Christian College’s involvement.

Citizens’ Forum

No items were brought forward at this time.

Minutes of April 10, 2000

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of April 10, 2000 and Mr. Willig seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and then the public. There being none, the vote was called and all were in favor.

Old Business - None

New Business

Schedule Hearings

The Board scheduled both the Late Spring Developers and the Stoudt Conditional Use hearings for May 1, 2000.

Curative Amendment Hearing - Altemose

Mrs. Ewald stated that representatives of the applicant notified the Township in advance they would not be available tonight and requested a continuance. The hearing was continued to May 15, 2000.

Miles Conditional Use Hearing

The hearing was opened and the proceeds were recorded by Tom Corcoran, Court Reporter. Mrs. Ewald stated that representatives of the applicant notified the Township in advance they would not be available tonight and requested a continuance. The hearing was continued to May 15, 2000.

Great Valley Nature Center Conditional Use Hearing

Mrs. Ewald stated that representatives of the applicant requested a postponement to April 24, 2000. The hearing was rescheduled for April 24, 2000.

Hearing - Toll Bros Inc. - Tentative Plan and Conditional Use Application for Charlestown Meadows; Continuation

Mrs. Ewald requested the applicant plan to end tonight’s proceedings at approximately 9:00 P.M.

The proceeds were recorded by Tom Corcoran, Court Reporter. The hearing was continued to April 24, 2000 at 7:30 P.M. at the Memorial Chapel, Valley Forge Christian College.

GIS (Geographical Information Systems) Presentation: Gilmore & Associates

Donald A. Borden, Vice President, and David A. Tobias, GIS Manager, of Gilmore and Associates were present to provide an overview of their GIS services and a software package called GeoPlan. Mr. Borden described Gilmore & Associates as a civil engineering firm in Bucks County of approximately 80 employees. He estimated 50-60% of their concentration is in municipal consulting, with 25 years experience in this area. This experience allows them to apply GIS to specific municipal needs such as Act 537 planning, crime management, and traffic data. They are presently working on a GIS program for West Goshen Township and are beginning work on mapping for Schuylkill Township. Needs analysis studies are underway for East Goshen and Westtown Townships. 50% matching funds are available for some applications from the County’s Growing Greener program.

Mr. Kling asked how GIS data for a township is related to neighboring townships, as data on their topography and stormwater systems would be pertinent to building an accurate database. Mr. Borden said that the system works best with intermunicipal cooperation. Even without it, a township can invest in the County GIS data for its surrounding townships and incorporate that information into its own program.

Mr. Kling asked if Gilmore & Associates works with school districts, and Mr. Borden said the Central Bucks School District is utilizing their data for redistricting and bus routing. The data can also be used when considering new school locations.

Mr. Tobias began a visual presentation that projected his computer screen, depicting the West Goshen Township program, for the audience. He explained in general terms that a GIS system is comprised of geographically referenced information. This information can be analyzed and manipulated with the computer, and hard copies can be printed out. Clicking on an area of a road, for example, can provide such information as the diameter of a pipe running under the road, the date it was resurfaced, the location of manholes, etc. The system has the ability to answer compound queries. He gave the example of asking the computer to show all parcels under two acres zoned R1. Queries can be more complicated than this, with multiple parameters.

Computer hardware needed to run a GIS system is a basic PC. In addition to the GIS software, a Microsoft Office Suite package is recommended.

A GIS system is one of layered information. Mr. Tobias said a municipality may start with a few specifics and gradually implement additional data in phases to work with their budget.

Three main types of graphics are points (manholes, street lights, signs), lines (sewer, power, streams, edges of pavement), and polygons (parcels, building footprints, floodplain data, subdivision outlines).

Information already available on disk or hard copies are digitized for the GIS system, such as aerial maps and approved subdivision plans.

Mr. Kohli asked if improvements to a parcel are shown on the properties and Mr. Borden said no.

Three dimensional viewing and query capacity is available. Mr. Kohli asked if topographical information is available from the county. Mr. Tobias said not really; his firm had to develop their own as the county’s data was cost prohibitive. Mr. Borden briefly explained the county’s use of orthophotography, which provides horizontal and vertical points on their aerial maps. Accuracy of the map increases with the number of these control points. Mr. Theurkauf stated his concern that new parcel information match existing information and how to tie it in. Mr. Tobias said some townships require the developer to tie into mile-apart grid points to make tie-ins more accurate. Mr. Borden said the township can modify its ordinances to require this data to its specifications. Mr. Tobias said some data that can’t be tied in with a great degree of accuracy, such as FEMA data, which was added to the West Goshen Township system to be used only as a planning tool that doesn’t replace hard copies of maps.

Mr. Tobias then described the software package known as GeoPlan. He said it serves as the administrative side of the system, whereas the GIS serves as the information management side. For the GeoPlan program, hard copies of various data already available to a municipality are incorporated into the system. It can be used to track name changes, permits, code violations, etc., with some areas available to the end user for editing, and others as read-only. Using Microsoft Access, authorized municipal personnel can make changes to the data and the data categories. Mr. Philips asked how long it takes to develop a usable system, and Mr. Borden said approximately 1 to 1 2 years, depending on the complexity.

Mr. Tobias demonstrated the use of digital camera photography, which can also be incorporated into the system to depict physical features of areas of a municipality. Mr. Kuhn asked who would use the system at the Township, and Mr. Borden responded that the Planning Commission, Board of Supervisors, Township personnel, zoning officials and Roadmaster would all use it. He said existing personnel can be trained to use the system and no additional staff is required. Read-only portions of the system can be made available to the public so they can access it on their own, possibly in the municipal office lobby. State grant money is available for this purpose.

Mr. Kuhn asked if the ordinance changes in submission requirements from applicants hold up in the court. Mr. Borden said he doesn’t know of any challenges at this point in time.

Other Business - None


Mrs. Ewald adjourned the meeting at 10:55 P.M. The next meeting of the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for April 24, 2000 at 7:30 P.M. at the Valley Forge Christian College.

Respectfully Submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Township Secretary