August 7, 2000

The first business meeting for August was held August 7, 2000 at the Valley Forge Christian College, Memorial Chapel. 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., Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Ed Theurkauf, Planner, Linda

M. Csete, Township Secretary, Leah J. Campion, Assistant Township Secretary and those on the attached list were present.

The meeting was called to order at 7:35 P.M.


Mrs. Ewald announced that executive sessions were held on July 24, 2000 and July 31, 2000.

Citizens’ Forum - Non-Agenda Items

No matters were brought forward at this time.

Approval of Minutes - July 24, 2000

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the minutes of July 24, 2000 with a correction on page one, in the first sentence of 2nd paragraph under Citizens’ Forum to read 150 feet instead of 50 feet, and Mr. Kuhn 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

Pyle Farm - Offer for Purchase

Mr. Bender explained that the Board has drafted an Agreement of Sale, constituting an offer for purchase of a 55 acre parcel on Yellow Springs Road presently owned by the Great Valley School District. He explained that if the Board decides to execute the document, the School District is expected to consider the offer at their August 21, 2000 meeting. Although unable to disclose the terms at this time, Mr. Bender said the Board believes their offer represents the fair market value of the parcel, adding that the offer includes other proposed conditions. Mrs. Ewald asked for a motion, and a motion was made by acclamation to sign the agreement. Mrs. Ewald asked if there were any questions from the public. There being none, two copies of the agreement were signed and turned over to Mr. Bender.

Termination of Road Contract

Mr. Oeste outlined the status of the Township’s Equipment Rental Contract with Rittenbaugh, Inc., referencing his letter of July 25, 2000 to Mr. Rittenbaugh’s attorney, Lawrence Sager, Esq. in which the Township offered to pay Mr. Rittenbaugh the calculated amount due for work performed without offset for claims by the Township, upon receipt of Rittenbaugh’s resignation as Township road contractor and subject to the execution of a mutually satisfactory release and the continued effectiveness of Rittenbaugh’s performance bond. If not acceptable to Rittenbaugh Inc., the alternative outlined in the letter is that the Township will terminate the contract for breach, pursuing available legal remedies including a claim against the bond. Mr. Oeste said that no response has been made, and that the Board may choose to defer the matter or terminate the contract for breach. Mr. Rodgers, the Roadmaster Liaison, concurred with Mr. Oeste’s report.

Mr. Kuhn moved to terminate the Equipment Rental with Operators Contract between the Township and Rittenbaugh Inc. for breach of contract. Mr. Rodgers seconded, and Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and the public.

Adam Sager, Esq. was present on behalf of Rittenbaugh, Inc. and said there is a disparity between what the Township determined is due ($6,297.50) and what Rittenbaugh Inc. calculates as due ($11,358.50) He said his father, Lawrence Sager, Esq. responded to Mr. Oeste’s letter on July 26, 2000 stating that he would be out of the country and requested the matter be tabled until August 10, 2000. Mr. (Adam) Sager requested the Board withdraw its motion and table the matter as previously requested.

Mr. Kuhn said the termination of the contract and resolution of the amount due are two separate issues. The amount due can be resolved at a later time, but the breach of contract is a matter of health and safety, due to Clarence Rittenbaugh’s failure to respond within the proscribed time limits of the contract when emergency work is to be performed.

Mr. (Adam) Sager said Mr. Rittenbaugh is willing to continue with the contract while resolving the payment due. Mr. Willig responded that continuing as he has in the past is not acceptable since he hasn’t met the requirements of the contract. Mr. (Adam) Sager then suggested the Board terminate the contract without prejudice and pay Rittenbaugh Inc. the $6,297.50 the Township claims is due. Mr. Oeste pointed out that the Township’s calculation of $6,297.50 due isn’t payable without Rittenbaugh Inc.’s resignation, as it is a settlement in exchange for the resignation and complete mutual general release.

Mr. (Adam) Sager said his client wants time to review the documentation on the $6,297.50 due, and Mr. Kuhn responded that he already has all the information.

Mrs. Ewald called the vote, and the motion passed 5-0.


Reports from the Treasurer, Zoning Officer, Planning Commission, Historical Commission, Roadmaster and Fire Marshal/EOC coordinator are on file. Minutes from the Valley Forge Sewer Authority for July are on file. There were no reports from the Parks & Recreation Board or Turnpike Commission Advisory Committee for July.

Treasurer’s Report July 1 - 31, 2000

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for July 1 - 31, 2000 and Mr. Hogan 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.

Accounts Payable Report August 7, 2000

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Accounts Payable for August 7, 2000 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and then the public. Mr. Kuhn expressed a concern over the cost of general planning, which has now exceeded its budget for the year. Mr. Philips explained that the planner has been asked to prepare several ordinances and various presentations that have arisen in conjunction with the ongoing comprehensive plan work. Mrs. Ewald asked Mr. Philips to advise the Board if an amendment to the budget is needed in light of the additional matters that have developed this year. Mr. Kuhn again expressed an interest in controlling these costs. Mrs. Ewald called the vote and all were in favor.

Zoning Officer

Mrs. Ewald asked Mr. Kohli if the final traffic signalization plans for the two Route 401 intersections can be expected from PennDOT on Thursday when the Board will meet with PennDOT officials at Mr. Kohli’s office. Mr. Kohli responded that he’s not certain they’ll be ready, as PennDOT is reviewing the Township’s two recent requests that require a response prior to the finalization of plans. He expects this to be completed shortly, and then the final plan can be provided. Following the final plan completion, PennDOT will design specifications and prepare construction drawings.

Planning Commission

Mr. Philips said the Planning Commission has been concentrating on the Comprehensive Plan review along with several subdivision and land development applications. He said the Planning Commissioners were nonplussed over the Toll Bros. Inc. letter expressing a lack of cooperative effort from the Commission. Mr. Philips reported that the Planning Commission has been extremely cooperative with all developers in the past with mutually beneficial results. He said they were unanimous in their offense taken at the Toll Bros. Inc. attorney’s remarks.

Historical Commission/HARB

Mrs. Baldwin reported that in July the HARB approved plans for a garage addition for the Mohler residence in Charlestown Village. The Commission also discussed the Scipiones’ plans for their historic house (formerly Duncan house) on Pikeland Road and were pleased with the plan.


Mr. Faggioli said that a new bid process must be initiated for an Equipment Rental with Operators Contract immediately. Mr. Rodgers suggested dividing the bid into two separate contracts, one for paving and snow removal work, and one for mowing and tree work. Mr. Faggioli agreed with this approach. Mrs. Ewald commended the Roadmaster on the difficult job he’s undertaken this year, along with Mr. Rodgers as roads liaison. At Mr. Faggioli’s inquiry, Mr. Oeste said the Township can move forward with work on Crown Oak Drive.

Mr. Philips asked for the Township’s help in communicating concerns on Hollow Road to PennDOT. He reported that high rates of speed, lack of mowing leading to sight line problems, and crumbing road edges have created a hazardous situation. Mr. Faggioli will communicate with Mr. Tritle, P.E. at PennDOT regarding these issues.

Mrs. Behrle, board member for the Great Valley Nature Center, said the Nature Center is ready to pave their lower parking lot along Hollow Road for the second time. She reported that the washouts of the existing paving are due to the retention basin at Dickson Drive, which isn’t draining properly. Mr. Kohli will check on the basin and contact the homeowners’ association for Hollow Run Farms.

Mrs. Behrle asked for permission to pave the first 15-20 feet of the non-wetland side of the existing parking lot, since the stone now placed in this area makes it difficult for cars to pull out. Mr. Kohli said paving the first 25 feet is acceptable, and is in fact required by the ordinance, so the Nature Center may proceed.

Fire Marshal

Mr. Alston read his report aloud. There were 5 false automatic alarms, one call to assist police, one trees and wires fire and five vehicle accidents.

Emergency Operations Center

Mr. Alston read his report aloud. The EOC was moved on August 4, 2000 to an area at the DecisionOne building on Phoenixville Pike.

Parks & Recreation Board

Mr. Hogan reported that the Parks & Rec Board plans to advertise bids prior to August 15, 2000 and hold a pre-bid meeting on August 18, 2000 for two projects: lighting and trails. The bid opening is tentatively scheduled for September 11, 2000.

Mr. Hogan read a draft letter to the U.S. Department of Education endorsing the Valley Forge Christian College’s interest in obtaining 18 acres adjacent to their property from the U.S. Government. He also discussed possible plans for a military museum to be housed in this area, and Mrs. Ewald added that the Willow Grove Naval Museum is being closed and someone may want to contact them as well.

Mr. Philips said the Planning Commission has formed a subcommittee comprised of Mr. Davison and Mr. Kling, who have been working with the Parks & Rec Board on a minimal use plan for the Township’s 20.6 acre Yellow Springs Road site and will now consider the adjacent 55 acres. Mrs. Ewald said the Board encourages them to continue.

Valley Forge Sewer Authority

Minutes for July are on file.

Turnpike Commission Community Advisory Committee

Mr. Philips reported that the Turnpike Commission has decided to extend the meetings of the CAC for an additional year in response to requests for more facts. He noted that the PTC appears to be undertaking traffic counts on Hollow Road and stated his concern that traffic numbers in the summer are always lower. Mr. Kuhn said the Township should be doing its own traffic counts and comprehensive traffic study. Mrs. Ewald said she understood that the Board was working with adjoining municipalities on this issue.

New Business

Appointment: Planning Commission Secretary

Mrs. Ewald explained that when the assistant Township Secretary was appointed, Secretary Linda Csete planned to gradually pass on the responsibility of attending the Planning Commission meetings and writing minutes to this individual. Mrs. Ewald said Mrs. Csete’s performance as Planning Commission Secretary has been very good for a number of years and wished to recognize her work in this regard. She then made a motion to appoint Leah J. Campion to the position of Planning Commission Secretary. There was a unanimous second and the motion passed.

Salary Adjustment

Mr. Rodgers moved to increase the salary for the Assistant Township Secretary and Planning Commission Secretary to $13.00/hour. Mrs. Ewald seconded, and called for discussion from the Board and then the public. There being none, the vote was called, and all were in favor.

Reschedule August 4, 2000 Meeting

The August 4, 2000 meeting was rescheduled to August 28, 2000 at 7:30 P.M. at the Valley Forge Christian College Memorial Chapel due to the Labor Day Holiday.

McClure Subdivision

Vic Kelly, Commonwealth Engineers, was present to discuss the McClure subdivision plan, which had recently been recommended for approval by the Planning Commission subject to Mr. Kohli’s review comments. It was determined that a revised plan incorporating these review comments had not been submitted prior to the meeting. The matter will be considered at a future meeting once the plans can be properly reviewed. Mr. Kuhn asked if Mr. McClure would consider deed restricting the property from further subdivision, and Mr. Kelley responded no, not at this time, although no construction is proposed.

Schuylkill River Conservation Plan

Mrs. Ewald read in its entirety a draft letter to the Natural Lands Trust providing the Township’s endorsement of its Schuylkill River Conservation Plan. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve signing the letter and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and the Public. There being none, the vote was called and all were in favor.

Late Spring Developers Land Development Application Review Deadline

A representative of Late Spring Developers agreed to extend the deadline for the Board’s review and decision of their land development application plan to October 10, 2000.

Performance Automotive - Overview of Zoning Hearing Board Application

Paul McDonald, Vice President of Performance Automotive, provided an overview of his application to the Zoning Hearing Board for a variance to permit his business at a Phoenixville Pike location in the LI-1 District. While motor vehicle service stations are permitted in the LI-2 District, they are not permitted in LI-1. Mr. McDonald described the business as providing service, storage, and pre-owned auto sales for high-end cars such as Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguars, etc. He said no cars are left out at night and that the operation is very clean due to the nature of the business and clientele. Mr. Kohli asked if the company does paint and collision work, and Mr. McDonald said no, but they do perform routine maintenance and mechanical work. Mr. Kuhn asked if there are similar uses in the area, and Mr. Kohli said there are manufacturing and assembly uses permitted in the LI-1 District. Uses near the proposed site include a trucking company and several contracting companies, some of which are grand fathered non-conforming uses. Mr. Kuhn asked if noise will be an issue, and Mr. McDonald said the Planning Commission reviewed an abbreviated EIA report that addressed noise abatement issues. He said the Planning Commission was satisfied with the report. Mrs. Ewald said the Board will take Mr. McDonald’s information under advisement and make a recommendation to the Zoning Hearing Board.

Escrow Release Requests - Commons @ Great Valley Lots 16 & 17

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve escrow releases #5 & 6 for Lot 17 of the Commons @ Great Valley, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and the public. There being none, she called the vote and all were in favor.


Late Spring Developers - Conditional Use Application

The hearing was opened and Jane Opie, Court Reporter, took the proceeds. The record was closed.

Spring Lane Farms - Conditional Use Application

The hearing was opened and Jane Opie, Court Reporter, took the proceeds. The applicant was not present and the hearing was continued to September 18, 2000.

Document Solutions, Lot 4, Commons @ Great Valley Conditional Use Application

The hearing was opened and Jane Opie, Court Reporter, took the proceeds. The record was closed.

Toll Brothers - Conditional Use and Tentative Plan Application

The hearing was opened and Jane Opie, Court Reporter, took the proceeds. The hearing was continued to 8/14/00, 7:30 P.M. at the Valley Forge Christian College.

Other Business

Agenda items Office Hours and Employee Handbook were tabled indefinitely.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:35 P.M. The next meeting will be held on August 14, 2000, 7:30 P.M. at the Valley Forge Christian College.

Respectfully Submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Township Secretary