The first regular business meeting for July was held July 10, 2000 at the Valley Forge Christian College, Building 56, Room 102. Irene W. Ewald, Chairman, Hugh D. Willig, Vice-Chairman, Kevin R. Kuhn, Michael J. Rodgers, Paul J. Hogan, Thomas F. Oeste, Esq., Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Edward Theurkauf, Planner, Leah J. Campion, Assistant Township Secretary, and those on the attached attendee list were present.
The meeting was called to order at 7:40 p.m.
Resolution No. HR-564
Mrs. Ewald announced the Board would vote tonight to adopt a new resolution pertaining to the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s plans for a new interchange. Mr. Willig said it is a joint resolution with East Whiteland, Tredyffrin, and Schuylkill Townships then read the resolution in its entirety. The Board of Supervisors of Charlestown Township would oppose any efforts by the Turnpike Commission to construct an interchange without providing proper information to various boards and bodies. The public and the municipalities would then have the opportunity to discuss with the Turnpike Commission their questions and concerns in a public meeting.
Mrs. Ewald reported that East Whiteland had passed a similar resolution of its own, and Schuylkill Township had drafted a letter to the governor stating that pertinent information from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is not forthcoming, and the opinions of the surrounding communities are not being considered. Mrs. Ewald had copies of the resolution and letter to the governor for review.
The Board unanimously moved to adopt the resolution, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and public. There being none, she called the vote, and all were in favor.
Attorney Roman Koropey was present to represent Ms. Leslie and Tom Wulk in their request for public water at their Whitehorse Road parcel, Four Oaks Farm Subdivision, because of a dry well. He said the situation would set no precedent because the clients would be taking full responsibility with no harm to the Township. Mr. Koropey had been in contact with the Township solicitor to discuss the Township’s concerns of allowing Ms. Leslie public water. He then noted the letter delivered to Ms. Leslie on July 10 signed by Mrs. Ewald stating her request had been denied.
Mr. Koropey had concerns over possible violations to the Sunshine Act. He urged the Board to either vote tonight on the issue or hold an open meeting for the Township and Ms. Leslie to discuss their positions. In light of the denial letter, he urged the Board to reconsider Ms. Leslie’s request. Mr. Koropey recognized the Board’s authority over the zoning ordinance, but could find no provision that allows them the authority over denying or providing public utilities.
Mr. Koropey said he previously discussed with Mr. Oeste the possibility that Ms. Leslie would be willing to drill another well if the Board would allow her public water in the event that the second well came up dry.
Mr. Oeste recalled at the previous Supervisors’ meeting, the Board held an open discussion with Ms. Leslie, and the majority of the members were not in favor of allowing public water. The issue of drilling another well could be discussed this evening. The new information available is Ms. Leslie’s proposed agreement to drill another well, and if no water were found, she would be allowed public water. Mr. Oeste asked Mr. Koropey if a letter stating this agreement would be provided by Ms. Leslie. Mr. Koropey said yes, but it had been stopped by the receipt of the denial letter.
Mr. Kuhn said there had been a previous discussion, and he thought the Board was waiting for Mr. Oeste’s guidance. He did not agree with sending the denial letter. He believed no precedent would be set since the Whitehorse Meadows and Whitehorse at Charlestown subdivisions were provided with public water.
Mr. Hogan asked Mr. Oeste if a precedent would be set. Mr. Oeste said possibly, but there was no easy answer. The Township would not be strictly bound legally by allowing public water, but could run into the issue with another homeowner. That other homeowner could say they also were entitled to public water if their well came up dry, just because the allowance had been given previously. The other homeowner could use Ms. Leslie’s situation as a precedent.
Mr. Willig asked what if the water line did not exist along Whitehorse Road. Mr. Oeste responded the Township would have no obligation to the property. The subdivider took on the responsibility of ensuring water was present when the subdivision occurred.
Mr. Kuhn asked about the harm in setting a precedent for homes with dry wells and a water line in front of their house. Mr. Kohli said the Whitehorse water line is only a transmission line. The franchise was not expanded in that area. Mr. Kuhn asked about the Whitehorse at Charlestown. Mr. Kohli said the franchise was expanded to only include Whitehorse at Charlestown and Whitehorse Meadows.
Mr. Rodgers commented that in all the years he lived in his house and the nine children he raised there, he never had a problem finding water. There has to be water on the property somewhere.
Mr. Willig felt Mr. Kuhn had a valid point. He felt the Board needed to make a decision one way or another and didn’t feel Ms. Leslie’s agreement to drill a second well was an option.
Mr. Kuhn asked the Board why a precedent could be set for contaminated wells and not be set for the absence of water. Mrs. Ewald reminded him that those wells he is referring to were a very special case because of the extremely high levels of volatile contaminants in the soil around the wells. Mr. Kuhn said he happens to like well water, but asked again about the danger of setting a precedent. Mrs. Ewald said she has no reason to believe there is no water on the property.
Mr. Koropey said the Board could adopt a resolution granting relief if water is not found even if the land had already been subdivided. The danger here is that someone owns the land the Township approved, and it is uninhabitable.
In her statement, Ms. Leslie referred to Section 103D of the Zoning Ordinance that had been noted in her denial letter.
Ellen Behrle, Moses Way, asked what harm is done to the Township in granting public water. Mrs. Behrle sees the potential liability for the Township in a lawsuit that expends tax- payers money. She felt unless there is a good reason to fight, do not fight.
Vincent Kling, Planning Commissioner, asked what good is having the capacity in the ground on Whitehorse Road without a water source. Mrs. Ewald responded that she had spoken with Philadelphia Suburban Water. The pipe is only for transmission of water from the Pickering Reservoir to an area of Uwchlan Township. Mr. Kling recalled that the ordinance says no land will be sold unless there is a water source, public or on-site.
Mrs. Ewald called a 10-minute recess, and the Board reconvened at 8:20 p.m.
Mr. Hogan moved to deny Ms. Leslie public water. Mr. Rodgers seconded, and Mrs. Ewald called for discussion. Mr. Willig commented he has four wells on his property and two are dry. He knows how bad it is to run out of water. He can sympathize with that dilemma, but he is also concerned for what the allowance could do to the Zoning Ordinance.
Mr. Hogan suggested that Ms. Leslie hire a dowser. Mr. Kuhn said he grew up with city water, but likes well water. He too has had dry wells in the past and knows how frustrating it can be.
Mr. Koropey urged the Board to solve the problem. He asked that they not let the situation become bigger than it needs to be. He believes the situation is individual and unique with a very simple solution.
Mrs. Behrle felt there was no evidence placing the zoning ordinance in jeopardy and thought the legal fees would be a downside for the Township. Mr. Hogan responded the fear of litigation was not a reason to grant Ms. Leslie’s request.
Mrs. Ewald called for any other discussion. There being none, she called the vote.
Aye-Mrs. Ewald, Mr. Hogan, Mr. Rodgers
Nay-Mr. Kuhn, Mr. Willig
The motion carried, 3 to 2, request denied.
Al Fuscaldo, Esq. was present on behalf of his clients, Steven and Christine Myers, regarding issues over access to their eight-acre parcel off Moses Way. Mr. Fuscaldo announced the Myers had reached an agreement with Mr. Moses and the Behrles that will result in an amicable solution. He would send a letter to the Township documenting the agreement. Mrs. Behrle said she was here with Mr. and Mrs. Moses and thanked the Board for their guidance in attaining a solution that could work for everyone. Mrs. Ewald asked Mr. and Mrs. Moses if they were satisfied with the proceedings, and they said yes.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the minutes of June 19, 2000. Mr. Kuhn seconded, and Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and audience. There being none, she called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for the month of June. Mr. Hogan seconded, and Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and audience. There being none, she called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mr. Willig moved to approve the revised Accounts Payable for July 3, 2000 that included checks for PSATS and Kohli and Associates. Mr. Hogan seconded, and Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and audience. There being none, she called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mr. Kohli said he submitted his report to the Board that answered various questions on activities on Pine Drive, Charlestown Road, Green Lane Road, and Valley Hill Road.
Mr. Kuhn asked if there should be curbing and a spillway for the culvert in the Burch subdivision. Mr. Kohli responded the area would be engineered to insure positive flow and grading.
Dorando Faggioli, Roadmaster, noted problems on Blackberry Lane. He asked why the width of the roll curve for a present developer over in the subdivision had been changed from 10 feet to 18 inches. Mrs. Ewald said she would like to review the situation with him and Mr. Kohli.
Janet Baldwin, Historical Commission, asked if Toll Bros. owns the land at Route 401 and Newcomen Road. She had noticed some clearing. Mr. Oeste responded that Toll Bros. is the equitable owner. Mr. Kohli said he was not aware of any clearing. Fred Alston, Fire Marshal, said some clearing had been done for a fireworks display a couple weeks ago.
Bob Curtin, 2010 Newcomen Road, said a neighbor had a party and a fireworks display the last week in June and has done so in past years as well. The neighbor receives permission from the owner of the property. Mr. Alston said the neighbor provided certificates of insurance and complied with the ordinance.
Mr. Kling reported the members had a good discussion at their last meeting on the Toll Bros. development. Mrs. Ewald asked how the Comprehensive Plan was progressing. Mr. Kling said they had been working well with Tom Comitta and have agreed with direction from the governor to work with other townships when planning new development.
Mrs. Baldwin thanked the Board for rectifying their budget problem. Mrs. Ewald urged Mrs. Baldwin to go ahead and purchase the maps they needed.
Mr. Faggioli reported he feels the contractor is not able to fulfill his contract with the Township and seems unable to be supervised by a working Roadmaster. Mr. Faggioli said it seems the contractor wants out of his contract.
Mr. Kuhn asked if Mr. Faggioli, Mr. Rodgers, and Mr. Oeste were all working on this matter. Mr. Faggioli said yes. Mr. Hogan asked when the contract expired, and Mr. Faggioli said September or October.
Mr. Faggioli reported all roads were repaired at this time but he is beginning to have a problem on Crown Oak Drive. Mr. Hogan noted a cave-in had occurred on Sycamore Lane. Mrs. Ewald commended Mr. Faggioli for his skill and patience with the road contractor, and Mr. Rodgers agreed he had done a good job.
Mr. Alston reviewed his report and reminded everyone to be alert for children playing in the streets and to mind lights and stop signs. He reported a bad accident on Route 29 where a tractor-trailer had gone through a guardrail. The driver survived the accident.
Mrs. Ewald asked if a recommendation should be made to PennDOT to repave the curves on Coldstream Road. Mr. Alston said yes, and suggested that repaving and remilling of Route 29 are included in the request.
Mr. Alston noted he had received no communication from Tom Oeste on the new Hazardous Materials Ordinance. Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Oeste if they could get a commitment from him to address the ordinance. Mr. Oeste said he could have a draft ready by the first Board meeting in August. Mr. Alston said he had issues with the existing ordinance because it only called for voluntary reporting of hazardous materials. A new ordinance is needed to make a report mandatory. Mrs. Ewald asked Mr. Oeste to make haste in light of a bad accident in the city of Chester involving hazardous materials.
Mr. Hogan said he asked Mrs. Campion to send for playground safety handbooks from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission so they could be made available to new developers and consultants. He suggested cutting the weeds around the stakes for the sugar house at the Great Valley Nature Center so they could be seen.
Court reporter Bill Handy was present to take official minutes.
Mrs. Ewald asked for the members’ opinions if Mr. Frens should consult Mr. Panizza in restoring the Cornog-Suplee House. Mr. Hogan felt the Board should encourage Mr. Frens to work with John Panizza since he was making the effort to preserve a piece of historic architecture. Both Mr. Kuhn and Mr. Rodgers agreed. Mrs. Ewald asked Mrs. Campion to draft a letter to Mr. Frens acknowledging his letter and encouraging him to proceed.
Mrs. Ewald said the Board encourages a speed reduction for Whitehorse Road. Mr. Kohli said the request would be made to PennDOT.
The Board moved unanimously to adjourn. The meeting adjourned at 10:20 p.m. The next business meeting will be held July 17, 2000 at 7:30 p.m. in Building #11 of the Valley Forge Christian College.