The first business meeting for February was held February 4, 2002 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Hugh D. Willig, Chairman, Paul J. Hogan, Vice Chairman, Irene W. Ewald, Kevin R. Kuhn, Michael Rodgers, Thomas F. Oeste, Esq., Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Ed Theurkauf, Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator and those on the attached list were present.
The meeting was called to order at 7:35 P.M.
Mr. Kuhn announced that Mr. Willig, Mr. Rodgers and himself attended a Transportation Management Authority meeting on Friday, February 1, 2002, which was a seminar to discuss traffic congestion in the Great Valley area but was primary a PA Turnpike presentation on the proposed interchange. Representatives from Traffic Planning & Design provided an overall regional review. Mr. Willig said the most surprising statistic was that they found 35% of traffic coming into the Great Valley is from Berks County. Mrs. Staas and Mr. Kuhn commended Mr. Willig for his remarks at the meeting, the only dissenting view from the general support given the interchange. Mr. Willig said the Turnpike Commission is meeting for a vote to approve the project on February 6th.
No items were brought forward at this time.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of 1/28/02 and Mr. Rodgers seconded. All were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for January 1- 31, 2002 and Mr. Rodgers seconded. All were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Accounts Payable Report for 2/4/02 and Mrs. Ewald called for discussion. She questioned the purchase of road materials from Cedar Hollow Quarry and Hanson Aggregates. Mr. Hogan said he ordered the Cedar Hollow materials for the geothermal playground project at Charlestown Park, and noted that the broken concrete material was provided at no charge, and the invoice is for delivery only. Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Accounts Payable Report for 2/4/02 with the exception of check #3879 to Hanson Aggregates. Mr. Faggioli said he orders approximately 200 tons a year from Hanson, as they are the only source for washed chips, which is the preferred material for anti-skid. It’s used by PennDOT as well. Mrs. Ewald asked the Secretary to determine if anti-skid material was bid and under contract with another supplier for the current contract year. Mr. Faggioli said other suppliers’ stone creates too much dust and results in more sweeping work at the end of the winter season. Mr. Rodgers seconded Mr. Kuhn’s motion. Mrs. Ewald said the Board has a responsibility to object to inappropriate spending. She has asked the Roadmaster to review the past road invoices with her in private but although promised, has not taken place. She also wanted to discuss the poor quality materials used at the Pyle Farm. Mr. Rodgers said these were base materials that had been covered over, but Mrs. Ewald said they were to be removed, not covered. Mr. Willig called the vote. Four were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed for the reasons stated.
Mr. Kohli stated that his permit report for January has been submitted and is on file. Mr. Kuhn asked for the status of the Horseshoe Trail located between the Moskowitz and Davis properties on Union Hill Road. Mr. Kohli said he’s completed the final inspection for the Moskowitz residence but hasn’t issued the final Occupancy Permit. He said there is no Horseshoe Trail easement shown on the original Markley subdivision plans or on the Moskowitz plans. Mr. Theurkauf said he spoke to Dr. Moskowitz last week and he agreed to a meeting to discuss the issue. Mrs. Ewald added that she also spoke to Dr. Moskowitz and that he seems open to considering options. Mr. Kuhn asked if the Township can utilize the road right-of-way along Union Hill Road to re-locate the Horseshoe Trail if necessary, and Mr. Oeste responded yes.
Mr. Davison reported that the Planning Commission met on January 8, 2002 to reorganize and review a sketch plan for Spring Lane Farms. Implementation for the Comprehensive Plan was also discussed. At the January 22, 2002 meeting, the Commission discussed the Spring Oaks Business Park plan and further discussed the Comprehensive Plan. He requested a joint meeting with the Supervisors on February 26, 2002 to discuss the Official Map, Comprehensive Plan Implementation and other issues. The majority of board members indicated they can attend that meeting.
No one was present from the Historical Commission to provide a report.
Mr. Faggioli reported that two snowfalls were taken care of on township roads in January. The Township yard was cleaned up and improvements made. Since the winter has been unusually mild, he proposes to lay a prep coat on Howell Road before the spring, estimating he will need 200 tons of material. Mr. Faggioli said that doing the work now will prevent the road from breaking up and will save money when the final work is done in the spring. Howell Road will need considerable base repairs. Mr. Kuhn apologized to Mr. Rodgers for not considering this issue at the end of the last meeting, which ran late. He said this would be part of the overall project to repave Howell Road, and that it makes sense to proceed when the contractor isn’t busy and may be open to negotiate a little. Mr. Willig asked for clarification that this is work that would be needed in the spring regardless, and Mr. Rodgers said yes, plus it would have the benefit of preventing further breakup of the road in the meantime. Mr. Faggioli added that he’d like to repair two drains on Howell Road at the curve near Ashenfelter Road at this time too. Mrs. Ewald said she can’t approve this work because of gross misspending in the past. She wants an opportunity to clarify the bills first. Mrs. Ewald referred to a letter received from a resident whose father-in-law fell into a hole next to Buckwalter Road and the creek. Mr. Faggioli said he was at the site within 20 minutes of the phone call that notified him of the problem, and that ballast was temporarily placed in the hole until repairs can be scheduled. He said he typically responds within ½ hour of being notified of road problems and responds to the caller with a timeline on repairs after speaking with the contractor. Mrs. Ewald said she has asked for a meeting with the Roadmaster to go over the invoices from 2001. The Secretary said all 2001 invoices are with the Auditor at present. She will notify Mrs. Ewald and Mr. Faggioli when they are returned and available for review.
Mr. Alston read his January report. There were five automatic fire alarms, three odor investigations, one mulch fire, one wires fire, one fuel spill, one vehicle fire and five vehicle accidents. He reported that the county is close to a drought emergency and that the burning ban in the township remains in effect. He reminded the public to store ashes from the fireplace or wood stove in a metal container outdoors for two weeks before disposing of them. For the EOC, Mr. Alston reported that the installation of new monitors is nearly complete, and that the biennial drill for the Limerick Generating Station Emergency Planning Zone has been rescheduled for May 7, 2002.
Mr. Hogan referred to his e-mail with regard to the President’s call for all communities to create an assessment list of emergency related resources, such as trucks, plumbers, electricians, etc. Mr. Alston said these resources are identified in the Emergency Plan and it is in the process of review and revision.
Mr. Hogan said the Parks & Rec Board requests guidance from Mr. Theurkauf on selecting trees for Charlestown Park along the trail. He made arrangements for contractor Josh Lord to remove 6 stumps along the trail and 2 at the Playground. He also plans to write a letter of appreciation to his contact in Idaho who provided $1,000 worth of engineered wood fibers for his playground project. Mr. Hogan reported that his geothermal theory appears to be working, although colder temperatures are needed to better test it. He said last week the playground surface was 5 degrees higher than the 35 degree air temperature. He thinks his idea will work to provide a warmer, softer playing surface for the playground in freezing temperatures.
Mr. Davison said that St. Patricks remains interested in developing a field on the 6.3 acre parcel across from the Township Office. They’re in the process of developing a plan. Bob Jones recommended that the field be cut and seeded now so it is in good shape for the fall. Mrs. Ewald was concerned about ruts in the field. Mr. Davison said that these will be more apparent after the field is cut, then leveling and seeding can be done. Mr. Kuhn asked if the road contractor might be willing to donate some time for grading work. Mr. Faggioli said he probably would, and that Delaware Valley Paving will donate the use of a roller.
Mrs. Ewald announced that an Open House will be held at the Farm on Sunday, February 12, 2002 from 2:00 - 4:00 P.M. Members of the various Boards and Commissions and volunteers who worked on the farm have been invited.
Mr. Rodgers reported that there was not a quorum present at the last meeting, but there has been a lot of back and forth communication on the issue of expanding the system in East Pikeland Township. Estimates varied from 3.8 million to 5.2 million, and a meeting has been called for February 6th to determine what is included in the 3 estimates. The VFSA hasn’t made a decision yet on whether it will fund this expansion. He said the expansion is the result of re-zoning in East Pikeland Township between Route 23 and Route 724 for high density residential and commercial uses. Mr. Rodgers said he is opposed to the VFSA funding the expansion and that the usual way of handling this type of expansion is for the developers to fund it or for the township in question to float a bond issue and fund it themselves. He said there is sufficient capacity for the project, which is estimated to use 342,000 galloons per day out of a 9.2 gallon per day excess capacity.
Sue Staas said the Township members of the CAC are drafting a final report to the Board, which will be submitted to them in a few days after all members have had an opportunity to review and comment on it. The Turnpike Commission has disbanded the CAC after holding 10 meetings over a 1 ½ year period. Mrs. Staas said the Turnpike Commission is meeting to vote on the slip ramp on February 6th, and the assumption is that it will pass. She said a slip ramp may alleviate traffic coming through Charlestown from the West, but only time will tell what the effect will be here. A Memorandum of Understanding will be issued between the County and the Turnpike Commission, which she hopes will give Charlestown a small voice in the process. Mr. Kuhn said the plan has been revised and now shows widening of Route 29 from Flat Road to Charlestown Road. Mr. Rodgers said he’d like to have tunnels under Yellow Springs Road and Whitehorse Road rather than overpasses. Mrs. Staas asked if there will be room for sidewalks in the underpasses on Route 29 and Phoenixville Pike. Mr. Kohli responded that there will be 8 foot wide shoulders that can accommodate sidewalks, but none are proposed at present. The Township would go through PennDOT to request them after the bridge widening project is completed. Mr. Willig thanked the members of the CAC for all their efforts.
John Martin reported that the Zoning Hearing Board reorganized last week and that he was re-elected Chairman. Cathy DiFillippo was elected Vice Chairman, and Mr. Hagner was reappointed as Solicitor. He said the Zoning Hearing Board members plan to take retired member Harry Nagel out for dinner to show appreciation for his contributions in his many years on the Zoning Board. Mrs. Ewald recommended the Board consider Anita LaBarge for an appointment as Alternate to the Zoning Hearing Board, and the members agreed that she could be contacted.
Mr. Willig said discussions on the Fire & Hazardous Materials Ordinance left off at the last meeting with two unresolved issues. First, is Charlestown Oaks grandfathered from Section 12 of this ordinance that would require automatic sprinklers in multi-family dwellings, and second, will the statewide building code expected to take effect later this year require that Section 12 be rescinded if adopted.
Mr. Willig said that in research since the last meeting, the Board has come to realize that the statewide building code would in fact negate Section 12 of the proposed ordinance; therefore the question of grandfathering Charlestown Oaks is no longer an issue. Mr. Oeste said the Labor & Industry Bureau is still working on requirements for the statewide code, which is expected to be ready in the fall of this year or possibly early 2003. Mr. Kohli said the International Building Code and International Residential Codes were published in 2000 and that L & I has to finalize their code and adopt it.
Mr. Hogan read the following statement he prepared:
We hear from our attorney that the state will not mandate sprinkler systems in multi-occupied dwellings in Pennsylvania, so we will unfortunately have to remove that section from the new fire ordinance. A few weeks ago I attended a meeting in New York hosted by Ford Motor Company. They are starting a program to recycle 40 or 50 million rejected Firestone tires into playground surface materials. The Ford Representative opened the meeting with telling us that young Bill Ford called him into his office last year and gave him a new job challenge. “Stay ahead of all the new rules and regulations that are coming out of Washington. Don’t wait to be forced into something. Anticipate, and get ahead of them.” I ask the residents of Charlestown Oaks and the developer Sal Lapio to get ahead of the game – supply sprinklers in the new section BEFORE the state catches up and mandates them. Think of the safety of the new residents and not drag back to satisfy those who want to retard safety for purely economic reasons. How will you feel if a child in the new unit dies from fire because there was no sprinkler? Think of the future, not the past. Thank you.
Mr. Rodgers said the Board should ask the builder to include automatic sprinklers as an option.
Mrs. Ewald asked if any members of the audience had ever seen a person carried out in a body bag. Mr. Parisi said he’s seen more than she has and objected to her comment and accused her and Mr. Hogan of grandstanding.
Bill Fell said that now Charlestown Oaks and Sal Lapio Homes will not be required to have automatic sprinkler systems in the new phase, so all of Charlestown Oaks will be united as neighbors.
Steve Lupin, Esq. thanked the Township Solicitor’s office for their professionalism in discussing this issue with him this past week. He said that Act 45, Section 303.b.2, the enabling statute for the statewide building code, states that any ordinance more stringent than the Code passed after 7/1/99 would unquestionably be preempted. Mr. Kuhn asked if the Township could appeal, and the response was yes.
Mr. Willig said he would have more respect for Sal Lapio homes if they had come directly to the Board to make their arguments. By going through the Charlestown Oaks Homeowners Association and providing the residents with a false argument about a separation among the homeowners, people were stirred up unnecessarily. He said it was unconscionable.
Jim Hunt, Sal Lapio Homes, said his office attempted to find out when the ordinance would be on the agenda. He had contacted the Solicitor’s office and the Township office and received no response. The Secretary said that the Township office did respond to all inquiries but that information was not available at that time. Mr. Oeste said that the ordinance was properly advertised as required, which is to advertise one time at least seven days prior to the hearing. Mrs. Ewald said this ordinance is the result of two years of work. Multiple drafts have been circulated and revised. The Fire Marshal had to go to the two fire companies serving the township for their input. Comparisons were made to other townships’ ordinances. Finally, the Solicitor prepares the ordinance in legal draft form. She said she agreed with Mr. Willig that Sal Lapio Homes could have been more forthright. To elicit an emotional reaction from the residents was tacky. She said the public is always welcome to come to the public Board meetings and express their views. Mr. Willig said the Board has no desire to be at odds with the residents of Charlestown Oaks. He feels the residents were put between the Board and the Builder intentionally by the builder and agreed with what they were told. Mrs. Ewald repeated her comment of last week saying that she thinks of Charlestown as a whole community, and that Charlestown Oaks residents shouldn’t feel separate from the community at large.
At this time, Mr. Willig began the review of the Ordinance. Mr. Kuhn asked for clarification on Section 4.a.ii permitting a ceremonial fire if it complies with requirements outlined in section 4.b. Won’t the requirement to notify the fire dispatchers be burdensome on the fire companies? Mr. Alston responded that it was the dispatchers who recommended this requirement. The responsible party is required to notify the dispatcher with their name, address and phone number. Mr. Hogan asked how a ceremonial fire can be held in an “incinerator or proper receptacle”. Mr. Alston said that a properly arranged area surrounded by rocks would be acceptable. Mr. Willig asked what type of fire does not require advance notification, and Mr. Alston responded, only fires under Section 4.a.iii, which are solely for cooking food.
Mr. Kuhn asked if residents holding fireworks displays in the past obtained licenses first. Mr. Alston responded that they weren’t required, but he has been in contact with the licensed pyrotechnician who performed the displays and will notify him of the new ordinance requirements.
Mrs. Ewald asked for details on Section 6 relating to automatic fire alarms. Mr. Alston defined a false alarm as a signal activated by an automatic protection device given to the fire department which is determined not to be the result of an emergency.
Mr. Kuhn asked who is responsible for marking fire lanes as described in Section 7. Mr. Alston said the property owner must mark them within 10 days of written notification.
Mr. Kuhn asked why Section 11 doesn’t require interconnected smoke detectors. Mr. Alston said the language ending with “…of an approved type.” does do this. Mr. Kohli verified that the language is correct.
With regard to Section 13 of the Draft, Mr. Alston described several hazardous materials incidents which occurred in the past year or so in the Township. Until now, there has been no required reporting of the storage of hazardous materials, although he had some information provided voluntarily.
Mr. Kuhn asked if the Fire Marshal will be empowered to issue citations as outlined in Section 19 on Enforcement: Penalties, and he said yes. Mrs. Ewald suggested that the Township contract with a towing company for those incidents when a vehicle must be towed. Mr. Oeste will check to see if a letter agreement is acceptable.
Mr. Willig moved to adopt the Fire Control and Hazardous Materials Ordinance with a correction to Section 4.a.iii to read “thirty feet” instead of “fifty feet” and with Section 12 stricken from the Ordinance. Mr. Kuhn seconded, and all were in favor.
Mr. Fell, Charlestown Oaks Homeowners Association, asked where legal notifications are advertised, and Mr. Willig responded that they are advertised in the Daily Local News. Mr. Fell said there are other Charlestown Oaks issues that he’d like to bring to the Board in the future. Mr. Willig said to go through the Township Secretary to have a matter placed on the agenda, allowing sufficient time for the Board to review the issue. Minor issues can be brought forward as non-agenda items at the Citizens’ Forum.
The Secretary read the main sections of the proposed Resolution to establish fees and fines associated with the Charlestown Township Fire Control and Hazardous Materials Ordinance of 2002. Mrs. Ewald moved to adopt the Resolution, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. All were in favor.
Mr. Oeste said he’s looked over the Intergovernmental Cooperation Planning Agreement for the Phoenixville Region, and aside from a few typos, had two comments. First, in Section 8, clarification is needed on how much money a withdrawing municipality gets, which should read that it will receive “its prorata share of fees” refunded to them. Second, he suggested that the solicitors of all the municipalities in the group cooperatively review the agreement so uniform changes can be made. He offered to coordinate with the other solicitors. Mr. Oeste’s comments will be related by Mr. Rodgers to the group at its next meeting on February 6, 2002.
None of the board members will be attending the Convention.
The hearing was scheduled to open on February 25, 2002. Mr. Oeste will be advising the Board on new requirements for conditional use hearings that have been recently added to the MPC. The Secretary will notify the applicant and advertise the hearing.
Mr. Rodgers asked if it’s still necessary to hold two meetings per month. Other members indicated they felt there is still too much business to drop to one meeting per month.
John Panizza, Genterra Corp., was present to continue discussing an alternative sketch plan he would like to have considered by the Board as a settlement plan for Spring Lane Farms. He displayed a sketch plan that includes revisions made since the last meeting with the Board on January 28th. The revised plan shows the woods preserved to the eastern end of the site, noting that this is similar to the Wyndham subdivision.
Mrs. Ewald said the revised sketch is not what she expected. She thought the road would be moved, and that some plans would be made for adaptive re-use of the two structures now shown on Lot #9.
Mr. Rodgers asked Mr. Panizza to consider eliminating Lot #5. Mr. Panizza said he is unable to drop any more lots from the plan. Mr. Kuhn asked if, instead of a large lot for Lot #5, primarily comprised of woods in the back, the lot could be reduced to the size of the other lots with the treed area separated as a conservation area. Mr. Panizza said he could do this. Mr. Kuhn asked what this land might be worth as a deed restricted portion of the homestead lot, and Mr. Panizza estimated $70,000. Mr. Kuhn asked if this is enough value to offset the value of Lot #5 and perhaps eliminate it. Mr. Panizza said no.
Mr. Kuhn asked why the cul de sac couldn’t be brought further up the hill into the site to eliminate the need for the two shared driveways extending from the end of it, each serving 3 lots. Mr. Panizza said this would create the need for considerable clearing. He said the road with the two shared driveways has been used elsewhere and has worked well in Wyndham and Oak Hill, two of his previous plans in the township.
Mr. Kohli said that if the road were to remain private, the design could be for a narrower road with a flush curb. Mr. Panizza indicated that he intended to offer the road to the Township for dedication, adding that as a private road it would be too much for nine property owners to maintain. Mrs. Ewald asked what similar roads in the Township are private, and Mr. Kohli said Heatherwood Drive (serving 6 lots) and Rapps Run (serving 7-8 lots).
Mrs. Ewald said she’d like to encourage Mr. Panizza’s negotiations with two potential buyers. Mr. Panizza clarified that both were interested in the homestead lot only, not the entire parcel.
Mrs. Ewald suggested that the Open Space Commission consider the property for acquisition. Mr. Kuhn said he would not be in favor of this, seeing it as unrealistic due to the cost.
Mrs. Ewald asked about the two structures shown on Lot #9. Mr. Panizza said he has no plans for adaptive reuse of these buildings. Mr. Theurkauf said one is a barn in poor condition and the other a storage shed in good condition. Neither is historically significant. Mrs. Ewald said she thinks the location of Lot #9 intrudes too much on the homestead.
Mr. Theurkauf suggested relocating Lot #5 between lots 6 & 7 with an access between lots 6 & 7.
Mrs. Ewald said she doesn’t like the road location, which is in a wet area. Mr. Panizza said the road will not be a problem, noting that Jamie Lane in the Panilquin subdivision is similar, was built well and never had any problems.
Mr. Kuhn asked if Mr. Panizza would consider deeding the wooded area at the back of the site to the Township. Mr. Panizza said he’d prefer to offer it to the buyer of the homestead lot, lot #10, as a conservation easement they could then restrict and deed to the Township, in order to provide them with a tax deduction. He said if he could work the timing out on this type of transaction he’d like to do so. Mr. Kuhn said he believed it is the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust that holds the easement on the adjacent Burch tract and suggested they be considered to hold the easement. Mrs. Ewald said either way was acceptable; Mr. Rodgers said he preferred the Township own it. Mr. Theurkauf noted that, as mature woodlands, there would be zero maintenance required of the land.
Andy Motel, Planning Commissioner, said that the proposed houses for lots 8 & 9 will be seen quite clearly from the road. Mr. Panizza said they could be buffered to reduce the visual impact. Mrs. Ewald asked if they could have restricted building envelopes, and Mr. Panizza said he could do this. Mrs. Ewald asked who the builder would be, and Mr. Panizza said probably Vince D’Annunizio.
Mr. Panizza said he’d like to get an agreement from the Board that the revised sketch plan, with further revisions as discussed, could be used as the settlement plan. He’d like to prepare it along with a narrative for the Board’s later approval. Mrs. Ewald said the revised sketch was a step in the right direction, but she didn’t agree to it as a settlement plan. She wants to see the road moved, lot #9 eliminated and the upper woods and slopes preserved. Mr. Panizza said he’s willing to restrict the backyard area on lot #9 as well as increase the back setback line and provide additional buffering, however, he still intends to remove the two structures. He also said he can reduce the size of lot 5 and ease or deed the back area of that lot. He said that with waivers, he could make the road narrower, like Somerset Lane. The cul de sac could be moved back to some extent with lots 4,5 6 and 7 reconfigured. Mrs. Ewald questioned the alignment of the road accessing Hollow Road, and Mr. Panizza said it’s positioned there to intersect with Somerset Lane. Also, this allows the proper distance from another nearby existing road.
With no further discussion, Mr. Panizza said he plans to proceed and prepare the revised sketch as a settlement plan and will return with it and an accompanying narrative for the Board’s consideration.
Mrs. Ewald moved to adjourn into Executive Session. Mr. Willig seconded and all were in favor. The meeting was adjourned at 10:30 P.M. The next meeting will be held on February 25, 2002, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, room 154.