November 19, 2001


Kevin Kuhn, Vice-Chairman, Paul Hogan, Mike Rodgers, Irene Ewald, Thomas F. Oeste Esq., Gary Bender, Esq., Surender Kohli, P.E., Ed Theurkauf, Linda Csete, Township Administrator, and those on the attached attendee list.

Mr. Kuhn called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.


Mrs. Ewald announced that she attended the 11/14/01 meeting of the Open Space Commission and found it very interesting. She suggested the Board provide them with some direction. She wished everyone present a Happy Thanksgiving.

Mr. Kuhn announced that the Board held an executive session on November 5, 2001 following the business meeting at the Great Valley Middle School to discuss real estate matters and potential litigation. An executive session was also held on November 12, 2001 at the Township office to discuss legal matters.

Citizens Forum for Non-Agenda Items

No matters were brought forward at this time.

Approval of Minutes

Minutes of November 5, 2001

Mr. Kuhn tabled the approval of the 11/5/01 minutes to December 3, 2001.


Accounts Payable Report – November 19, 2001 General Fund

Two items were listed on the November 19, 2001 representing re-issues of two checks dated November 5, 2001 that were voided when errors were discovered by the Treasurer. Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Accounts Payable report for the General Fund for November 19, 2001 and Mr. Rodgers seconded. All were in favor.


Altemose Conditional Use Application

The hearing was opened and Tom Corcoran, Court Reporter, took proceedings. The matter was continued to December 17, 2001 with an emergency date of January 21, 2002.

Spring Lane Farms Conditional Use Application

The hearing was opened and Tom Corcoran, Court Reporter, took proceedings. The matter was continued to January 21, 2001.

Old Business

Spring Lane Farms Subdivision Plan – Options

John Panizza, Chuck Dobson, P.E., and Bob Smiley were present from Genterra Corp. to discuss development options for the 38 acre Spring Lane Farms parcel off Hollow Road. Mr. Kuhn asked for a brief summary of the plan, and Mr. Smiley provided an overview of the currently proposed 12 lot subdivision. The existing historic house and other structures (pool, barns, garage, tenant house, tennis court) would be placed on a large lot of approximately 13 acres with the remaining lots sized at 80,000 – 100,000 square feet net of constrained lands. Mr. Panizza said he is hopeful that this plan will provide the basis for a settlement between his firm and the Township. A cul de sac under the maximum 1,000 feet in length serves the lots. The first third of the driveway follows the existing driveway for the historic house, then bisects the western field in order to avoid wetlands and flood plan areas. The 11 new lots are primarily located in woodlands, with 9 lots completely wooded. None of the proposed houses will be seen from Hollow Road with possibility one exception. Mr. Panizza said this plan evolved from multiple sketch plan iterations with the Planning Commission. They also tried to work out an “Open Space Option” plan but it didn’t seem to work as well, particularly for tree protection.

With regard to the current plan,Mr. Theurkauf said he sees the critical issues to be the view from the house, the loss of trees, concerns with erodable soils in slopes and possible interior forest fragmentation.

Mr. Panizza compared the proposed plan to the Somerset subdivision across the road, which has 10 lots on 31 acres. Spring Lane Farms has 12 lots on 38 acres. Mr. Kuhn said he’s less concerned with the number of lots than with a determination of how many fit the site. He wants to see the historic house preserved with a nice setting, and would prefer not to have the 3 lots shown at the back of that parcel.

Mr. Panizza said an alternative plan would be to subdivide in two stages. First, he would subdivide into two lots to separate the homestead lot from the remaining parcel. The homestead would be marketed separately. The remaining parcel could then be subdivided with a road proposed further from the homestead lot to the west. This would require a wetland crossing that isn’t possible with the current plan because the existing road has less environmental impact. If the existing road was unavailable, the wetland crossing could be done, which would also have the benefit of allowing the road to align with Somerset Lane across Hollow Road.

Mrs. Ewald said various people have contacted the Township and Mr. Panizza looking to buy the entire parcel. She provided him with the name and phone number of an individual who recently inquired at the Township office. She prefers seeing this parcel preserved as a horse farm. Mr. Panizza said he’s only spoken to one individual in the past four years with regard to purchasing the property and will contact the new name tomorrow. He said the property has been on the market for years with little interest, but he continues the effort of trying to market it as a whole.

Mr. Panizza said he would also consider a conservation easement plan if he can find tax credit motivated buyers. He asked for guidance from the Board as to which way to proceed. Mr. Kuhn asked what the Planning Commission’s feedback had been. Mr. Smiley said they wanted to limit the disturbance of trees, protect the view from Hollow Road and protect the viewshed for the historic house. Mr. Panizza said they discussed half a dozen sketches with the Planning Commission and the current plan was considered the lesser of evils. Mrs. Ewald wasn’t satisfied with this outcome and asked why there wasn’t more leadership from the Planning Commission on a better plan.

Mr. Rodgers asked if this site would be suitable for a TDR exchange. Mr. Panizza responded, yes, noting that frequently more “paper lots” are netted than are possible with actual design. These lots would then translate into units to be transferred as development rights to another parcel. He said he would need a suitable conversion rate, and that the Great Valley Business Campus (Volpi tract) would be a possible receiving site as it is in the LI district.

Mr. Panizza asked the Board to continue considering options, and he agreed to return to the Planning Commission for further discussion per the Board’s recommendation. Mr. Kuhn and Mr. Rodgers both indicated they’d like to see the current plan reconfigured to eliminate lots 9 & 10 behind the historic house.

Mr. Panizza agreed to provide a letter extending the deadline on starting the conditional use hearing to January 21, 2002.

Deerfield Proposed Settlement Stipulations

Mr. Panizza reviewed his letter dated 11/14/01 to the Chairman and Solicitor outlining seven suggested changes to the Deerfield Settlement Stipulation last revised 10/26/01.

The following understanding was reached between the Board and Genterra:

Item # from 11/14/01 letter Suggested Changes Outcome
Page 4 last paragraph of #1 Add the word “reasonable” before “…comments and recommendations of Surender Kohli.” Agreed by both parties.
Page 7 third line of #8.a Add the word “system” after “…approved secondary…” Agreed by both parties.
Page 7 seventh line of #8.b Add “within a designated area of the open space” after “…open space area…” The Board agreed to add the language followed by “as shown on the plan”, for a maximum of 3 lots within the 50 foot open space buffer. Genterra agreed to this further change.
Page 8 second sentence of #11 Reword to “If the existing embankment along Valley Hill Road is disturbed, it will be restored to its existing elevation” Agreed by both parties.
Page 9 third line of #12 Add “to the greatest extent possible” after “…stormwater design”, to the 4th line after “will be recharged” and to the last line after “…2 feet”. The Board was not willing to change the language. Genterra agreed to keep it as stated with the understanding that the Board would provide a little leeway.
Page 9 second line of #16 Either add “buffered to the satisfaction of the Township” after “…play structures” or change “300 feet” to “250 feet” The Board said the 300 feet is critical to the viewshed and would not agree to any change. Genterra agreed to keep this section as is.
Page 10 first line of #17 Leave in “and those sewage disposal systems shown on the Settlement Plan” and add “on Lots 16-20, 25, 26, and 29-32” after “…shown.” Agreed by both parties.

Vincent Kling outlined his concerns with the septic system arrangements, speaking on behalf of the Civic Association as President and as a former member of the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Oeste will redraft the Stipulation and make it ready for approval for the December 3, 2001 Board meeting.

Brooklands Proposed Settlement

Mr. Panizza agreed to an extension to the decision deadline of 12/17/01 in order to allow time for Mr. Kohli to review the revised plan, which has yet to be submitted to the Township.

Valley Forge Sewer Authority Addendum to the Treatment Plant Agreement for the Purpose of Permitting and Administering the Sale of Reserved Capacity among the Parties

Mr. Kuhn executed the document, which was previously approved at the October 15, 2001 meeting.

Spring Oak Offsite Traffic Improvements

Tim Townes of J. Loew & Associates displayed the traffic improvement plan including signalization and lane widening for the intersections of Yellow Springs/Warner Lane & Route 29, Whitehorse Road & Route 29, Warner Lane & Phoenixville Pike and Phoenixville Pike/Charlestown Road & Route 29. These improvements are required as part of the final plan approval for the Spring Oak Business Park, but since Trammel Crow has already broken ground on the Atwater Project in East Whiteland/Tredyffrin Townships, they are anxious for this process to begin immediately. To that end, J. Loew & Associates and Trammel Crow have discussed a coordination of efforts. J. Loew will fund their portion of the improvements directly to Trammell Crow, who will undertake all of the highway improvement work for both Atwater and Spring Oak and act as project managers. J. Loew would be looking to obtain the Phoenixville Pike Improvement Funds from Charlestown that have been earmarked as part of the improvement of the Phoenixville Pike/Charlestown Road & Route 29 intersection. Mr. Townes noted that the successor to Conrail, Norfolk Southern, has been questioning the approved at-grade rail crossing permit for Warner Lane and there may be some issues with it in the future.

Mrs. Ewald asked about incorporating the existing tunnel at the Turnpike Bridge over Route 29. Mr. Kohli said it will be removed with the widening work being done by the Turnpike Commission; however, there will be room for a pedestrian sidewalk under the new bridge. This work is unrelated to the traffic improvements under discussion with Mr. Townes.

Mr. Townes said that if an agreement is reached, J. Loew & Associates will assign their PennDOT permits for these intersection improvements to Trammel Crow. He noted that this approval is expected by the end of the year.

There was some question about monitoring, inspections, and escrow posting. Mr. Townes said that according to the MPC, no escrow is required for any improvements undertaken prior to final plan approval. Mr. Kohli said there wouldn’t be any occupancy permits issued for Atwater until all the road improvements are completed. Mr. Townes said PennDOT will handle the inspections for all the work except the Warner Lane improvements. Mr. Kohli would handle this. Mr. Townes agreed to post escrow for all the intersection inspections and for the inspection of Warner Lane, the only Township road in the plan. Mr. Kohli said all the traffic signals are in Charlestown and Charlestown needs to control the inspections. Mr. Townes said he’d agree that Trammel Crow is obligated to meet all Charlestown requirements. Lenni Electric will be doing the work.

Mr. Oeste will draft a letter to be circulated to the Board for review outlining the matters discussed. It will be in the form of a letter agreement to be countersigned by J. Loew & Associates.

New Business

Spring Oak - Scheduling of Conditional Use Hearing

The hearing was scheduled to open on January 21, 2001. Mr. Townes will provide a letter of extension to the Township, as this date is more than 60 days past the application date.

Appointment to the Brightside Farm Committee

Mr. Kuhn said the Historical Commission/HARB recommended that one of their members be appointed to the Brightside Farm Committee (BFC) to be involved in any work to be done to the historic farmhouse. They further recommended that Dale Frens be the member appointed. Mr. Hogan moved to appoint Mr. Frens to the Brightside Farm Committee, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion. As a member of the BFC, she said the members had discussed their concerns over this appointment. She said the committee values the input and recommendations it receives from Mr. Frens as a Historical Architect, but they feel there are numerous general matters the committee handles that wouldn’t require his participation and the subsequent expense to the Township. She said BFC chairman Bob Elmer asked her to convey that the committee feels the appointment would not be cost effective and that the BFC would like to utilize Mr. Fren’s talents on an as-needed basis and not as a regular member. Mr. Kuhn asked if another member of the Historical Commission/HARB could be considered. Mrs. Ewald felt this would be unnecessary as then two people from the Historical Commission/HARB would be involved. Mr. Kuhn moved to table the appointment. Mrs. Ewald seconded. Three were in favor, and Mr. Rodgers was opposed.

Proposed Budget 2002 – Authorize Advertisement

Mrs. Ewald moved to authorize the Secretary to advertise the proposed 2002 Budget as revised 11/19/01 for consideration of adoption on December 17, 2002. Mr. Kuhn seconded and all were in favor.

Mr. Kuhn noted that the Board should take more care in holding to the budget next year, as several categories were overrun in 2001. Mrs. Ewald said sometimes additional expenditures are unforeseen or otherwise in the best interest of the Township. She suggested the Secretary prepare a revised 2001 budget for approval prior to the end of the year.

Intent to Appoint a Certified Public Accountant – Authorize Advertisement

Mrs. Ewald moved to authorize the Secretary to advertise the Board’s intention to appoint a CPA to audit the 2001 accounts. Mr. Kuhn seconded and all were in favor.

Escrow Release #2

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Escrow Release #2 for Michael Allen and Mr. Kuhn seconded. All were in favor.

Escrow Release #6

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve Escrow Release #6 for the Commons at Great Valley Lot #15 and Mr. Hogan seconded. All were in favor.

Other Business

Repository Property

Mrs. Ewald brought to the members’ attention that the Township received a notice that a small parcel is available for purchase from the County Tax Claim Bureau. They will accept any offer since the property wasn’t sold at judicial sale. She recommends the Board purchase the property and requests that Mr. Oeste investigate the procedure and advise the Board. The members agreed.

Tax Upset Sale on the Brightside Farm

Mrs. Ewald brought to the members’ attention that the Township received a notice that the 55 acre Brightside Farm was being put up for upset sale on December 5, 2001 due to tax delinquency. These taxes should have been removed from the rolls prior to the Township’s purchase, as the title was to come free and clear. Mr. Oeste will check with Mr. McErlane on this matter.

Tenant Lease for the Brightside Farm

Mr. Oeste stated that he distributed a draft lease and later incorporated the Board Members’ comments into it. He said the lease provides adequate protection for the Township. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the lease agreement with the Binghams, with a move in date to commence at their convenience any time following the installation and approval of smoke detectors. Mr. Hogan seconded and all were in favor.


Mr. Kuhn adjourned the meeting at 12:00 midnight.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Secretary