The first business meeting for October was held October 2, 2000 at the Great Valley Middle School. Irene W. Ewald, Chairman, Hugh D. Willig, Vice Chairman, Paul J. Hogan, Kevin R. Kuhn, Michael J. Rodgers, Thomas F. Oeste, Esq., Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Ed Theurkauf, Planner, Linda M. Csete, Township Secretary and those on the attached list were present.
The meeting was called to order at 7:45 P.M.
Mrs. Ewald announced that the Board met with their Solicitors in executive session at the Township office at 6:30 P.M. this evening to discuss legal matters.
Steven Beaver, Wells Road, stated his concern with hunters, largely from out-of-town, parking on the Pyle Property in order to trespass on adjoining properties behind it to hunt deer, which favor those areas due to the woods. Mrs. Ewald said that the Township, as equitable owners of the Pyle parcel, will ask the Parks & Recreation Board to post No hunting signs. Also, Tom Pyle, who will continue to live in the house on the Pyle property through this winter, should be asked not to grant permission to hunters to access the property. Mr. Hogan said he’d arrange to close off a large opening that leads from a trail on the Pyle property to adjoining ones.
There was some discussion of a controlled hunt on the Pyle parcel, as a herd of over 76 deer has been counted there that should be thinned out. Mr. Hogan said he is in favor of a controlled hunt. Mrs. Ewald noted that the present Ordinance doesn’t allow hunting on Township parkland. Mr. Beaver asked if he could patrol the area on behalf of the Township to keep hunters out. Mr. Rodgers said this would require permission from the Pa. Game Commission, and suggested Mr. Beaver look into becoming a Deputy Game Warden. Ellen Behrle, Moses Way, agreed that a program should be put into place to thin the herd via controlled bow hunting. Mr. Beaver recommended a group called the Tri-County Bow Hunters, and offered to bring a member to the next meeting to discuss this issue further. Mr. Kuhn said he thinks it’s too late to do for this year but would be in favor of it for next year, noting that this would give Charlestown residents an opportunity to join this organization and participate in the controlled hunt. Mrs. Behrle suggested posting an invitation on the website to allow bow hunting from Monday through Friday with written permission from the Township for this season, since bow season continues until Thanksgiving. This matter will be discussed further at the October 16, 2000 meeting.
Mrs. Behrle, along with Mr. and Mrs. Moses, asked for an update on this matter from the Board, noting that the Myers requested another extension on the Board’s deadline to decide their building permit application. She said the Myers indicated a desire to work further with the neighbors, yet she said they have been difficult to reach and haven’t communicated with her or the Moses’ for over a month. Mr. Oeste said he spoke to the Myers’ attorney, Mr. Fuscaldo, a week ago, at which time Mr. Fuscaldo requested an extension to October 16, 2000 and faxed a letter to this effect to Mr. Oeste. Mr. Oeste said he spoke to Mr. Fuscaldo today and was told he was trying to obtain information from the Myers’ Title Company before proceeding, and that he has spoken with Mr. Clemm, attorney for the Behrles and Moses’. Mrs. Behrle said Mr. Clemm has not heard from Mr. Fuscaldo.
Mr. Hogan moved to deny the Myers building permit application, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. The Board removed to Executive Session for 15 minutes.
Mr. Hogan withdrew his motion, and then moved to set a final deadline of October 16, 2000 for the Myers to resolve their outstanding access issues with the neighbors who share Moses Way. The Board will not accept any further extensions, regardless of whether the title company information becomes available. The Board will make a decision on October 16, 2000. Mrs. Ewald seconded the motion and called for discussion from the Board and the public. There being none, she called a roll call vote per Mr. Rodgers’ request. Mrs. Ewald-aye; Mr. Willig-aye, Mr. Hogan-aye, Mr. Kuhn-aye, and Mr. Rodgers-aye. The motion passed unanimously. Mr. Oeste will communicate with Mr. Fuscaldo.
Nicholas Fiore, 3199 Phoenixville Pike, said that truck noise has increased tremendously since Philadelphia Suburban Water Company replaced the water line under Phoenixville Pike last year. The road has been left in an uneven, rippled state, with a raised manhole at the base of his driveway. When trucks hit this area, it creates extremely loud collision-like noises. He said speaking to PSW last fall has not brought a resolution, although a representative agreed further work was needed. Mr. Kohli said that since the PSW work is under a PennDOT road occupancy permit, PennDOT is the overseeing agency. He will arrange to meet with Mr. Fiore and PennDOT representatives to resolve the issue.
Mr. Willig moved to approve the September 18, 2000 minutes as written, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and the public. Mr. Rodgers said that page 4 of the minutes under A2000-2001 Equipment Rental-Bid Proposal doesn’t reflect his nay vote because the Chairman didn’t call for opposed votes. Mrs. Ewald acknowledged that Mr. Rodgers wanted to vote nay on this motion but wasn’t given the opportunity when the vote was called. Mrs. Ewald called the vote to approve the September 18, 2000 minutes, and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurers’ Report for September 1 - 30, 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.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the Accounts Payable Report for October 2, 2000 with check #2956 to Waterloo Structures Inc. to be held until the storage shed is delivered, installed and inspected. Mr. Hogan seconded and Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and then the public. Mr. Kohli advised Mr. Rodgers to be certain the shed is properly anchored. He will provide information on this. Mrs. Ewald called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mr. Kohli distributed information to the Board from the Turnpike Commission on their plans to widen the bridge over Route 29 as well as the bridge over Phoenixville Pike at Chuck’s Wagon. He said the plans for Route 29 show widening the road to a tight four lanes with abutments on either side.
Mr. Kuhn asked if the Turnpike Commission has taken down its communications tower, and Mr. Kohli said since no permit is involved, Mr. McErlane would be the one to ask.
Mr. Kohli said he reviewed Del Val Soils EIA report for the Pyle farm and found it acceptable.
Mrs. Ewald asked why PennDOT has not yet issued the permit for signals at Route 401 and Valley Hill Road. Mr. Kohli said he checked with PennDOT today and they acknowledged receiving the Township’s application. He will follow up, but cautioned the Board that the process will still take 4 to 5 months before signals are installed and in use due to the bidding process and design needed for the advanced warning mast arms. Since the winning bidder must undertake the designing of the mast arm, there’s no way to expedite the design and manufacture process by ordering it ahead of time. The project cannot go out to bid until the Township receives PennDOT’s approval.
Mr. Kohli noted that a similar lag time will occur for the 4 way stop at Newcomen and Route 401 because an advanced warning signal on a mast arm is needed here as well. Bidding is required since the signal is expected to exceed $10,000.
Mr. Philips reported that the Planning Commission’s meeting on September 26, 2000 concentrated on the comprehensive plan update. Progress is being made and the project will shift into high gear over the next few months. The GIS maps being generated by Thomas Comitta Associates will be excellent tools for visualizing and coordinating projects and include the capability of producing computer simulations. The Planning Commission recommends a permanent display of these maps when ready. Mr. Comitta suggested a December Saturday session with the Board at his office to go through a computer simulation exercise to help focus future development and preservation plans.
Mr. Philips said there’s been no response from the County Planning Commission to Mr. Comitta’s letter on the Township’s compliance with Landscapes following the Board’s adoption of the amendment to the Open Space Option extending its eligibility to 25+ acre historic properties.
Mr. Philips asked for the Board’s feedback on Ed Theurkauf’s sketch depicting the Dixon tract as being subdivided using the Open Space Option. He said the Planning Commission found it to be more appealing than the by-right plan proposed by the applicant, with less intrusion into constrained areas. He commended Thomas Comitta Associates for their proactive approach.
With regard to the Brooklands subdivision, Mr. Philips said the Planning Commission subcommittee met twice with General Residential Properties Inc. and has been trying to work out a 6-7 lot plan that will remove 2 lots along the turnpike and possibly a third located in a ecologically sensitive view shed area near the road. Mr. Theurkauf said that this will address most of the technical reservations his firm had on the subdivision. Mr. Theurkauf said Mr. Panizza has agreed to address the review comments by Comitta Associates and has agreed to the removal of the 2 lots. Mr. Willig asked if they are working under the constraints of the old plan, and Mr. Philips responded yes, due to the conditions of the existing conditional use approval, but some mitigation of the old plan is possible. Mr. Kuhn asked if the forthcoming plan will be considered a new submission, and Mr. Philips said yes, and that it will need guidance from the Board. Mr. Kohli said the subcommittee is trying to come to terms on the basics so the plan can move forward at a reasonably quick pace. Mr. Kuhn was concerned that the applicant not assume the Board is promising him 7 lots by working these matters out by subcommittee. Mr. Kohli agreed, but commented that 7 lots should be able to work. Mrs. Ewald asked about the stormwater basin previously proposed at Foster Road, and whether the problems with it have been overcome. Mr. Kohli said that it is being addressed. Mrs. Ewald suggested a conservation easement in favor of the township along the stream banks due to the large old trees there and the sensitivity of the banks. Mr. Philips said the Planning Commission has discussed this and believes it will be possible with the reconfigured plan. Mrs. Ewald compared the area in value to similar environmentally sensitive one in East Whiteland Township that was converted into a wildlife sanctuary by the Township.
Mr. Philips said the Planning Commission will make a recommendation on the Official Map at next week’s meeting. Also, a response to Mr. Fulton’s CAC comments will be prepared, and a draft of a water resources ordinance by Thomas Comitta Associates will be discussed.
Mr. Philips asked for the status of the billboard ordinance, and Mr. Kuhn said it’s moving along.
No one was present from the Historical Commission to report.
Mr. Rodgers reported for Mr. Faggioli, stating that a large limb fallen on Wells Road was removed, and that PECO will take care of a limb reported hanging over wires on Pickering Dam Road.
Mr. Willig asked for the status of the upcoming Blackberry Lane paving project. Mr. Rodgers said a bend in that road will be straightened out to the extent possible and that paving is scheduled for October 30th. He’ll send the letter of intent to Delaware Valley Paving shortly and have the contract signed.
Mr. Philips said the weeds at Hollow and Charlestown Road are still causing sight distance problems, and Mr. Rodgers said he’ll take care of it.
Russell Hanscom said there’s a similar problem with visibility due to brush and limbs on Pikeland Road approaching Hollow Road, and Mr. Rodgers said he’ll check it.
Mr. Alston reported 2 automatic alarms, one dwelling fire, one wires fire and ten vehicle accidents during the month of September. He warned residents to be careful of deer on the roadways. He is presently working on drafts of a fire control ordinance and hazardous materials ordinance.
Mr. Alston reported that the new EOC is coming along and said donations of furniture or a computer, 133 or better, are needed.
Mr. Hogan said he hiked the trail at Charlestown Park this weekend in conjunction with preparing for the trail paving project. Mr. Connolly said a draft bid package would be ready for the Board’s review on October 16th, with a mandatory pre-bid meeting to be held October 20th and the bid opening scheduled for November 6th. Bid packages will be made available at the pre-bid meeting. Mr. Connolly said he’ll contact potential bidders as well as place the legal advertisement. Several neighboring townships have recently installed macadam trails, and Mr. Connolly will contact these contractors as well. November 20th will be the start date, with an alternate spring date if weather, scheduling or pricing is a factor. He suggests carrying over the budget numbers to 2001 since invoices will most likely be paid in 2001. Mrs. Ewald asked about bidder qualifications, and Mr. Theurkauf said they’ll be included in the bid package.
With regard to the Pyle Farm property, Mr. Connolly displayed a sketch of a perimeter trail, which would provide access to the proposed Heritage gardens at the Rapp House as well as to a future playing field. He proposed that Ernie Pyle mow the trail area and plant a trail mix. The Board was amenable to having Mr. Pyle mow the trail, a good way to provide a flexible trail in the beginning that can be easily altered as needed. Mr. Connolly indicated a second trail for equestrian use that may be able to interweave with the walking trail. He said John Foster recommended a meadow mix on the farm to filter out the residue of agricultural chemicals used in the past, and proposes to plant this mix in early spring. He asked about the clearing work PennDOT recently did along the road at this property, and Mr. Rodgers said they plan to widen Yellow Springs Road approximately 3 feet on this side from Route 113 to Hollow Road. Mr. Connolly pointed out a proposed area for parking adjacent to the proposed playing field behind the Heritage gardens. Mr. Kuhn commented that the deer will be a problem if the gardens aren’t fenced in.
Mr. Winckelman stated that the minutes of the September 11, 2000 of the VFSA are on file.
The next meeting of the CAC will be held on October 24, 2000.
The Board scheduled the Budget Workshop meeting for October 30, 2000 at 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School. The Secretary will advertise the meeting and make arrangements for use of the meeting room.
The Treasurer summarized her recommendation to cash in the 4 C.D.’s currently held by the Township that mature this month. Interest rates are rising at a pace that will most likely make locking in to a fixed C.D. rate inadvisable, therefore, the C.D.’s should be cashed in and returned to their respective PLGIT funds rather than be reinvested. These C.D.’s are in the State Fund (2 C.D.’s), Stormwater Management Fund, and Phoenixville Pike Improvement Fund.
Mr. Kuhn moved to cash in the 4 C.D.’s and return them to their respective accounts in the Pennsylvania Local Government Investment Trust (PLGIT), and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and the Public. Mr. Hanscom agreed with the recommendation made by the Treasurer. Mrs. Ewald called the vote, and all were in favor.
Resolution to Approve Application for Permit to Install and Operate Flashing Warning Devices: Route 401 & Newcomen Road
Mr. Hogan read the Application aloud in its entirety. Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Resolution #567-00, making application to PennDOT for approval to install flashing warning signals approaching Route 401 & Newcomen Road, where a four-way stop will be created. Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and then the public. Mr. Oeste asked if West Pikeland Township has passed a similar resolution, and the response was no. The Secretary will contact West Pikeland Township. Mr. Oeste asked if a written agreement between the two townships exists for joint maintenance of the signals. Again, the response was no. Mrs. Ewald withdrew her motion. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the application to PennDOT for approval to install flashing warning signals approaching Route 401 & Newcomen Road, where a four-way stop will be created, subject to West Pikeland Township passing an identical resolution including language stating that the two townships will share installation and maintenance costs 50/50 and that West Pikeland Township will acquire two easements needed in order to properly install the signals. Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and then the public, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald asked if a letter granting the Township an extension on the review period for the Late Springs Land Development Plan had been received. The Secretary responded no, saying she spoke to Mr. Santoro approximately two weeks ago requesting it. A memo had been previously sent to the applicant, notifying him that the previous extension period was approaching its deadline. Mr. Kohli said the Planning Commission recommended the plan be approved subject to compliance with Mr. Kohli’s review comments and the conditions of the Conditional Use Approval. A revised plan showing these changes has not been submitted.
Mrs. Ewald moved to deny the Late Springs Developers land development application due to the failure of the applicant to revise the plans in accordance with the conditional use approval dated 9/18/00. Denial is subject to receiving a letter of extension from the applicant no later than Friday, October 6, 2000. Mr. Willig seconded the motion. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and then the public, and there being none, called the vote. Four were in favor; Mr. Hogan abstained.
Mr. Oeste provided details of the lease agreement proposed between the Township as lessors, and Ernie & Marian Pyle, as lessees. Additional items to be considered for inclusion into the standard lease agreement are:
Board comments were as follows:
Mrs. Ewald said specific language dealing with the transfer of animals from the property prior to the end of the lease is needed. The lease period is proposed to end March 1, 2001.
Mr. Willig said a schedule of milestones to be met should be developed based on the Township’s priorities.
Mr. Kuhn said the hunting issue should be dealt with. He wants all cats and abandoned equipment removed before the Township takes possession of the property. He wants the Township to receive rent and is opposed to a services in-lieu of rent arrangement.
A discussion on fair market value for rent was discussed. Mrs. Ewald proposed a reduced rent of $800.00 per month plus services and Mr. Kuhn agreed this would be acceptable to him. Mr. Rodgers agreed to a minimized rent with services. Mr. Hogan stated he thinks the Pyles’ services is sufficient without rent due to the poor condition of the property. Mrs. Ewald offered to work with Mr. Hogan, local realtors to determine a fair rent, and to contact Jim Thompson for help in determining what their maintenance services are worth. An update will be ready for mid-December. Mr. Willig said he wants firm dates established in addition to the March 1, 2001 lease end in order to get everything accomplished, and suggested meeting with the Pyles to discuss it.
Mrs. Ewald asked the Secretary to obtain a copy of the draft agenda including guest speakers in order to determine who wishes to attend the convention.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve Escrow Releases #7 & #8 for Lot 17 of the Commons at Great Valley. Mr. Rodgers seconded the motion. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and then the public, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Hogan said Township resident Marge Crawford accompanied him on the two park tours this weekend and that she expressed an interest in a position on the Parks & Recreation Board. Mr. Hogan invited her to submit a resume and letter of interest to the Board.
The Board directed Mr. Oeste to advertise the Billboard ordinance for the November 6, 2000 meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:50 P.M. The next meeting will be held on October 16 2000, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School.