The first business meeting for January was held January 7, 2002 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Hugh D. Willig, Chairman, Paul J. Hogan, Vice Chairman, Irene W. Ewald, Kevin R. Kuhn, Thomas F. Oeste, Esq., Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator and those on the attached list were present.
The meeting was called to order at 8:40 P.M.
Mr. Willig said he spoke to Lt. Teper of the Embreville Barracks of the State Police, and has arranged for a presentation of the annual report followed by questions and answers from the public at the January 28, 2002 meeting. A follow up meeting will be scheduled if public interest warrants it, with a notice to go out to all residents. Mrs. Ewald suggested the Board include traffic issues at that time and that such a meeting wait until the threat of winter weather has passed.
Mr. Kuhn said he spoke to the Roadmaster regarding his frustrations in contacting the Road Contractor to handle the snow and ice storm that began last night. He suggested the Solicitor write a letter to Melchiorre Construction Company putting them on notice that if they do not respond within the time limit specified in the contract, an alternate contractor will be contacted and they will be back charged. Mr. Kuhn said this situation occurred several times last year as well and he finds it inexcusable. Mrs. Ewald said an accident occurred on Bodine Road early this evening and the ambulance and state trooper who responded couldn’t get to the car except by walking to it. The Board agreed to direct Mr. Oeste to write a letter to the contractor, to be followed by a meeting to discuss the problem.
Mr. Davison said that the Asplundh Company tied up traffic on Charlestown Road excessively one day due to the fact that this road is more heavily traveled while Route 29 is closed for the bridge repair. He asked if PennDOT could be asked not to permit non-emergency work of this nature while the detour is in effect. Mrs. Ewald said she will draft a letter.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of 12/17/01 and Mrs. Ewald seconded. All were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Accounts Payable Report for 1/7/02 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion. Mrs. Ewald asked to review the Independence Construction Materials invoices, and upon doing so, found them satisfactory. Mr. Kuhn asked about the payments to the Internet provider and Electric Meter #1 at the Brightside Farm. Mrs. Csete will research the first bill, and the Brightside Farm Committee will look into the second. Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.
Mr. Kohli said he is still waiting for an estimate and contract for the traffic signal at Phoenixville Pike/Sidley Road/Yellow Springs Road from the Iacobucci Organization.
Mr. Kuhn said the issue of blocking the Horseshoe Trail between the Moskowitz and Davis properties on Union Hill Road has not been resolved. Both parties claim the trail belongs on the other’s property. Markers have been moved and Dr. Moskowitz has begun constructing a wall blocking the trail. Mr. Kohli said an easement for the trail is not shown on the Markley subdivision plan. He is obtaining a copy of the deeds from Priscilla Crowell to see it if is shown there. Mr. Kuhn said an alternate would be to re-route the trail along the road and bring it up on the Markley property owned by the Charlestown Historical Society, but several members were concerned about safety. Mrs. Ewald offered to call Dr. Moskowitz about the trail.
Mr. Davison reported that the Planning Commission met on December 11, 2001 and recommended two lot line change applications for approval. The first is for two lots in the Whitehorse Meadows subdivision and the second for two lots in the Spring Meadow Farms subdivision. The Seibert-Winnich sketch plan was discussed and the Fire Ordinance was reviewed and recommended for approval. Mr. Davison questioned the Board as to whether they directed Mr. Panizza to appear at the 12/11/01 meeting with a sketch plan that had not been on the agenda nor submitted in advance. The Board responded that they asked Mr. Panizza to go to the Planning Commission but did not indicate that the usual sketch plan submission process was waived. Mrs. Ewald said he was also told to pursue two interested parties who were considering the purchase of the entire tract. Mrs. Ewald also noted that Mr. Panizza sent a letter to the Planning Commission that made it sound as though the Planning Commission had committed to working on a TDR with him. Mr. Davison said this was not the case and the Planning Commission minutes will reflect it.
Mr. Philips said the Historical Commission has not met since the last report. The only outstanding issue is that of the Old Mill. Mr. Kuhn said the Board has received a fax copy today of a proposed agreement of sale from Gary Bender, Esq. Mr. Bender requests a response from the Board Members as soon as possible, preferably tomorrow, so he can respond to the attorney for Swiss Pines. The agreement provides for access to the Mill through Swiss Pines, and allows for Swiss Pines to perform the stabilization work with a reimbursement from the Township. The Board was in agreement that once an agreement is in place they will move forward immediately.
Mr. Faggioli was not present. His report is on file.
Mr. Alston provided highlights from his year 2001 summary report. He attended two seminars in December, one sponsored by PEMA that provided an excellent review of the response to Flight 193, and an N.F.P.A. Standards seminar. He reminded the public that the burning ban remains in effect. Mr. Kuhn asked for a rough estimate of what percentage of false alarms are repeat offenders. Mr. Alston said at least 50%, probably higher. He said once the new ordinance is in place, he will be able to track this. Mr. Willig asked if a permit is required at the time of security system installation. Mr. Alston said no, but it will be required when the ordinance is passed. Mrs. Ewald said the ordinance makes no mention that parking is not permitted on any township roads. Mr. Alston said he can’t find an ordinance on file to support this prohibition. Mr. Kohli said in order to enforce no parking on township roads, signs would have to be posted. Mr. Alston said that at present, any car blocking a public road can be towed.
Mr. Hogan said he attended the hound chase at Brightside Farm on New Year’s Day. Approximately 15 people and 15 dogs were there, flushing out a few rabbits and quite a bit of trash from the property. An extensive cleanup effort, with the use of a backhoe, is needed.
Melchiorre Construction Co. hauled broken concrete to the park for use in the construction of the geothermal playground. Mr. Hogan is also putting up a tire swing.
Mr. Hogan said he spoke to Bill Werkheiser of the Christian College, who continues to express an interest in rebuilding the pond at the park. He said in the past, the pond was stocked with fish and children fished and ice skated there. The run off from their new dormitory project could be routed to the pond. Mr. Hogan requested a proposal from the College.
Mr. Hogan reported that another sycamore tree died along Sycamore Lane. He asked if the Township could provide funds for 4 more trees to replace those recently lost. There is only $500.00 left in the Sycamore Lane Protective Association fund. Mr. Kuhn said he is not in favor of purchasing trees for private property, which, although in the road right of way, this is. Mrs. Ewald said she supports the request due to the scenic nature of the road, which should be given a special designation. She suggested funding the purchase from the Open Space Improvement fund.
Mr. Hogan said he received 3 estimates on fence repair at Charlestown Park. Two were in the $9,000 range, and one was approximately $2,500 but was incomplete. He’d like to repair the entire length of fence at the park. Mr. Kuhn suggested getting a 3rd good estimate before making a decision.
Mrs. Ewald said she’d like to have the fence along Pickering Dam Road repaired as well. Mr. Hogan said he’d look into getting estimates but preferred to keep the the two projects separate.
Mr. Hogan said he has not made progress with the Stonorov family in getting permission to remove the trees on top of the Ice Dam. Mr. Willig suggested sending them a letter of intent saying if the Township doesn’t hear from them it will proceed by a certain date. Mr. Hogan will draft a letter after the Secretary circulates a copy of the deed for this property to the Board members to check for restrictions.
Mrs. Ewald said the committee has not met since the last report.
No one was present from the VFSA board to report.
Mr. Kuhn said the Turnpike Commission outlined a revised proposal to bring the slip ramp in parallel to Route 29 to enter into the corporate center halfway between Flat Road and the Commons at Great Valley. He said this proposal was better received by the attendees, but more traffic data is still needed. Mr. Kuhn suspects the committee meetings are nearing an end, with perhaps one or two remaining. There was general discussion on the slip ramp issue. Mr. Kuhn asked for East Whiteland Township’s position, and Mr. Willig said he is under the impression they are keeping an open mind. Mr. Philips stressed the need to undertake a township wide traffic study as he suspects traffic coming from the west will be exacerbated by a slip ramp and counts are needed now. Mr. Willig suggested the Township work on the specifications and scope of the traffic study with Mr. Kohli. If the study is done before the Route 29 Bridge re-opens, some portion of the study will have to be re-done afterward. Mrs. Ewald moved to direct Mr. Kohli to put a Request for Proposal together for a township wide traffic study. Mr. Kuhn seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. Willig read the ordinance in its entirety, assigning the name Wheelock Lane to the private driveway located between 4141 and 4169 Howell Road. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve Ordinance #99-02 and Mrs. Ewald seconded. All were in favor.
Mr. Kohli recommended that the Board proceed with the Signal Service Inc. traffic signal maintenance contract for 2002. Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Traffic Signal Maintenance Contract with Signal Service Inc. for the period of 2/1/02 - 1/31/03, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. All were in favor.
Mr. Kohli said the Planning Module documents for Brooklands were in order and recommended approval. Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Brooklands Sewage Facilities Planning Module by Resolution #588-02. Mr. Kuhn seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn said the Board should take a serious look revenue sources for the purchase of open space, as a large acquisition will not be possible with existing funds. He suggests having someone come in to make a presentation to the Board of various taxing methods. He said Berkheimer Associates gave him an estimate of 50% a year ago when he asked what percentage of Charlestown residents were paying earned income tax elsewhere. Mrs. Ewald said additional revenue should be obtained by changing the 2002 tax rate to .75 mills as previously suggested. She feels an earned income tax would be too burdensome and may discourage the people who purchase large tracts in the township from coming in. Mr. Kuhn said a ¼% earned income tax would amount to a tax of $250.00 for someone earning $100,000 per year. Mr. Willig said he wasn’t enthused about an earned income tax and would like to investigate other options.
Mr. Willig reminded the Board members that PennDOT has veneer samples at their construction trailer at the Route 29 Bridge and is waiting for approval from the Board. Mr. Kuhn has seen them and said he prefers the lighter veneer. Mrs. Ewald and Mr. Hogan said they’ll stop in and take a look at the samples. Mrs. Ewald said if she doesn’t get a chance to stop by the trailer, she’ll follow Debbie Kuhn’s suggestion that the lighter veneer is preferred.
Discussion was held on scheduling future executive sessions but none were scheduled at this time.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:30 P.M. The next meeting will be held on January 28, 2002, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, room 154.