The first business meeting for January was held January 2, 2001 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Hugh D. Willig, Chairman, Kevin R. Kuhn, Vice Chairman, Irene W. Ewald, Paul J. Hogan, Michael J. Rodgers, James E. McErlane, Esq., Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Ed Theurkauf, Planner, Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator and those on the attached list were present.
The meeting was called to order at 8:40 P.M.
Mrs. Ewald had three announcements:
Ellen Behrle, Moses Way, asked for clarification on the Planning Commission appointments made during reorganization and Mr. Kuhn responded.
Mr. Rodgers asked for clarification on insurance coverage limits. Mrs. Csete will confirm figures with the Township’s insurance provider and get back to the Board.
Philip Staas announced that the elected auditors will hold their reorganization meeting tomorrow night at 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the minutes of December 18, 2000 with one correction on page one referring to Route 422 instead of Route 322. Mr. Kuhn seconded and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Accounts Payable Report for January 2, 2001 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mrs. Ewald noted for Mrs. Baldwin’s information that a donation to the Historical Society is being made to help defray winter heating costs at the Rapp House. Mr. Kuhn asked why the Internet bill is so high, and Mrs. Csete responded that it contains the annual mailbox fees. Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.
Mr. Kohli said he will meet with Al Derkas to go over his water-related concerns on Sycamore Lane. Mr. Kuhn asked for the timetable for improvements at Route 29 and Phoenixville Pike, and Mr. Kohli responded that the Turnpike Commission plans to widen the two overpasses in the fall of 2001. The roads will generally remain open during this process with a possibly of brief (less than one day) closures. The future closing of Route 29 for replacement of the Ice Dam Bridge has yet to be scheduled by PennDOT.
Mr. Philips reported that the Planning Commission continues to work on the Comprehensive plan and expects to complete and present it this year. Work sessions should be concluded by April-May with public hearings to follow.
He announced that the Chester County Planning Commission has approved a Visions Partnership grant of $30,000 toward the plan and has recognized the Township’s efforts to work with the County Landscapes plan.
He announced that the Planning Commission will conduct interviews for the vacancy on the commission, and requested that an ad be placed in the newspaper and on the website inviting interested citizens to apply by submitting a letter and resume to the attention of the Planning Commission Secretary at the Township office address.
Mrs. Baldwin stated there was no meeting held during the month of December. The next meeting will be held on January 16, 2001 at the Township office at 4:00 P.M. She announced her intention of resigning as Chairperson, and a new Chairperson will be elected at this meeting. She thanked the Board for the contribution to the Historical Society for the Rapp House heating expenses, adding that the Commission does a lot of work at that location.
Mrs. Ewald said she had two calls with regard to historical issues. The first was a report that the windmill on Wells Road has been removed. She said there also was a windmill at the Pyle farm in the past and asked for the Commission to make a recommendation on whether it should be replaced.
The second question was about the water pump and well at the Rapp House. Mrs. Baldwin said the well is filled in and capped. The County Health Department disallowed its use, as it is too close to the road. Mrs. Ewald asked if the Commission is interested in drilling a new well, and Mrs. Baldwin said yes. Mr. Willig said this could be considered in conjunction with park infrastructure improvements.
Mr. Faggioli said Melchiorre Construction Co. has been doing an excellent job, providing timely responses with the proper equipment. He will work with them on regulating their cinder spreaders for a reduced and more even application of materials. He said the new shed has been installed at the Township yard and Mark Cabot has been organizing the sign inventory and they’ll work together on installations. Mr. Cabot will also be involved in installing the fire hydrant signs.
Mr. Alston provided highlights from his year 2000 summary report. Mr. Kuhn asked for the status of the new fire control ordinance and hazardous material reporting ordinances. Mr. Alston said he and Mr. Oeste are back on track with the drafting of these documents.
Mr. Hogan said the last meeting was held at his home and the board members allocated certain responsibilities amongst themselves as follows:
Marge Crawford: Trails
Jim Quay: Charlestown Park
Mark Connolly: Brightside/Pyle Park
Louise Cantrell-Kehoe: Publicity
The Parks & Rec Board proposes to hold a series of Saturday Open Houses at the Pyle farm for residents to visit and offer suggestions on future improvements at the Park. The Board plans to submit an article for the next Township newsletter.
Mr. Hogan said Josh Lord removed the downed tree at the Revolutionary War Cemetery and that he did a good job with no damage to the sensitive site.
Mr. Hogan said he spoke to Al Emma, who is developing a lot on Dobbs Lane where a number of oak trees have been removed. He arranged for Mr. Emma to drop off the trees at the Township yard, where Mr. Hogan proposes to make the firewood available to the public. He said Mark Cabot could cut the trees down and possibly sell the firewood and use the funds for open space improvements. Other developers could follow suit.
Mrs. Ewald asked when the children’s playground at Charlestown Park will be expanded. Mr. Hogan responded that he has no immediate plans; he’s waiting for completion of the trails and lighting. Mr. Hogan asked what his budget is for playground equipment. Mrs. Csete will look into it and get back to him. Mr. Theurkauf mentioned some decentralizing of playground equipment, and Mr. Hogan agreed that some equipment could be constructed in other areas, such as the snack bar area.
Mr. Faggioli asked if the Township is planning to retain the Pyle property, and Mrs. Ewald and Mr. Kuhn responded, absolutely. Mr. Hogan said he approaches planning for the park with the assumption that the township will own it forever. Mr. Faggioli asked if visitors will be able to visit the house on the site, and Mr. Hogan said no, as there is a lease in place through March.
Mr. Philips: the Great Valley Nature Center needs more space for its camp programs and may be interested in utilizing a portion of the Pyle property.
Mrs. Ewald: She and Mr. Hogan visited Springton Manor and were impressed with its appearance and the way it was run. She said it was something for Charlestown to aspire to.
Mr. Rodgers: Hold a town meeting at the park to receive citizens’ suggestions. Mr. Willig said some ideas should be developed first.
Mr. Faggioli: Utilize one of the barns for storage of road materials, as the shed at the township yard is too small. A base could be put down to prevent road salt from leaching into the ground. Mr. Hogan agreed that a second storage location might make sense.
Mr. Willig: The Parks & Recreation Board, along with the Planning Commission should develop a list of ideas for a presentation.
Mr. Hogan: Post a list at the Pyle open house for public comment.
Mrs. Ewald: Include a questionnaire with the newsletter.
Mr. Kuhn: Set up a chat area on the Citizen’s website, noting that there was one in the past that has been dormant.
Sue Staas: Invite the Phoenixville Newspapers to feature an article on the park. Mr. Hogan will look into this.
No one was present from the VFSA board to report.
Sue Staas reported that there has been no new activity.
The hearing was opened and Mark Hagerty, Court Reporter, took proceedings. The matter was continued to February 5, 2001.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve Contract #2 with the SPCA, a limited boarding contract that works in conjunction with the duties of the Township’s Animal Control Officer. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to set up the fund as a separate account, that being a subsection of Section IV (Open Space) per the Township Budget. The Board discussed limiting the contribution to open space improvements only. Mr. McErlane said this Board can limit the funds now, but another board can change its purpose in the future.
Phil Staas asked the solicitor to clarify whether any fund set aside for capital projects is difficult to change. Mr. McErlane said a future board could change a capital fund to be used for capital projects other than that originally designated. He added that this new fund doesn’t necessarily have to be considered a capital fund.
Mr. Staas said the Township must prepare a detailed financial plan for this money. Mr. Kuhn said this is a separate issue from the one under consideration, and noted that a plan was in place for Charlestown Park and one will be developed for Pyle Park.
Mrs. Ewald said examples of future expenditures to come out of this fund would be: fencing, general clean up and maintenance, installation of a well, rest room facilities, and parking. Donated work, possibly with the Army Corp of Engineers, will be sought to reduce costs.
Mr. Willig seconded Mrs. Ewald’s motion. He called the vote and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Escrow Release #10 Lot #17 of the Commons at Great Valley and Mr. Kuhn seconded. All were in favor.
Mr. Rodgers questioned whether the Road contract with Melchiorre Construction includes mowing. He believes it was not part of the bid award on November 6, 2000. He suggests the Board advise the contractor by letter. Mrs. Ewald said she understands the contract is signed as awarded in its entirety and further, the bid bond is in the full amount of $265,100. Mr. Kuhn referenced a memo dated 11/6/00 from Mr. Rodgers advising the Board to withhold mowing from the contract. Mr. McErlane said the vote takes precedence over the signed contract. The Board may vote again on the contract to delete mowing if they wish to do so. Mr. Kuhn said the 11/6/00 minutes state the Board’s intention is to re-bid, but Mrs. Ewald disagreed. Mr. Hogan moved to review the bid and take a new vote. Mrs. Ewald seconded. Mr. Kuhn said he’d like to review the 11/6/00 minutes first. Mr. Hogan withdrew his motion and made a new motion to include the mowing with the bid award. There was no second. Mr. Kuhn moved to table the issue. Mr. Willig seconded Mr. Kuhn’s motion and called the vote. Four were in favor, with Mr. Hogan dissenting. Mr. Willig said the Melchiorre contract stands in the interim.
Mr. Philips asked if counsel may be used during the Planning Commission meetings, and Mrs. Ewald said yes; just contact the Board with the request.
Mr. Hogan asked if someone would be available to take minutes for the Parks & Rec Board over the next few months. Mrs. Csete will check into it and get back to him.
There was some discussion on submitting articles for the next Township Newsletter and developing deadlines.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 P.M. The next meeting will be held on January 22, 2001, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, room 154.