The first business meeting for May was held May 6, 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., 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. Hogan stated that he provided an outline of various park issues to the other board members for further discussion this evening.
Mrs. Ewald offered congratulations to Martine Tranie and family, who recently became U.S. citizens.
Mr. Willig announced that the Court signed the Charlestown Meadows order on 4/16/02.
Mr. Willig announced that the Board held an executive session to discuss legal matters on 4/29/02 at the Township office.
Mr. Willig announced that the Board will hold a special meeting on May 13, 2002 to hear a presentation by Trammel-Crow on the road improvements associated with the Atwater Development. Mrs. Ewald suggested that the Board arrange for a traffic consultant to attend the meeting on behalf of the Township. Mr. Kohli said it may be preferable to use the meeting for information gathering purposes and then engage the traffic consultant if needed. There was some discussion on the improvements underway for Warner Lane.
No one came forward at this time.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the minutes of 4/15/02 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of 4/22/02 and Mrs. Ewald seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for April 1 –30, 2002 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
The Treasurer indicated that check #1056 for $95.00 payable to the Chester County Planning Commission was added to the Report to cover the County’s review of the proposed Baughman Mill subdivision plan. Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Accounts Payable Report for 5/6/02 as revised and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
The Zoning Officer stated that the Building Permit report for April is on file. Mr. Kohli said he’s been working with Mr. Hogan and PennDOT officials on removal of trees breaking up the walls of the Historic Ice Dam on Route 29. The dam is adjacent to PennDOT’s bridge reconstruction project, and they have indicated their willingness to assist with part of the tree work since their heavy equipment will be available at the location.
Mr. Kohli reported that he has spoken to Mr. and Mrs. Coyle, and is in the process of reviewing their permit for a driveway expansion on Green Lane Road. He confirmed that they are not running a business from that location.
Mr. Kohli reported that the signalization of the intersection of Yellow Springs Road, Sidley Road and Phoenixville Pike is underway and should be completed by the end of May.
Mr. Davison reported that the Planning Commission reviewed plans during the month of April for Spring Mill Associates, the Christian College, Martellucci, Robal, and S.G. Souder. The Commission held a joint meeting with the Board of Supervisors on April 23rd to discuss implementation of the comprehensive plan, which Mr. Davison said was very productive.
Mr. Davison announced that Planning Commissioner Wendy Leland, a Lt. Colonel in the Army reserves, has been deployed to Afghanistan. He asked everyone to keep her in their prayers and offer support to her husband Doug and their family during her absence.
The Secretary reported that the Historical Commission report is on file.
The Secretary reported that the Roadmaster’s report is on file.
Mr. Alston read his April report, stating that there were three automatic fire alarms, one smoke investigation, one mulch fire and six vehicle accidents. He announced that the biennial EOC drill is being held tomorrow.
Mr. Hogan asked for input on the fencing at Charlestown Park. There are numerous options including repairs, replacements and removal depending on which section is considered.
Mr. Hogan said he and Mr. Kohli met at the Ice Dam today and proposed that Mark Jones be hired to remove the fencing at that location and remove some of the fallen trees and brush prior to letting the contract out on the major tree removal project.
Mr. Hogan said that volunteers at the Brightside Farm have removed all the plastic as needed, and during their clean up efforts discovered a secluded grove that could be good for a picnic area next year. They also discovered a broken up house, an abandoned sawmill, and various oak beams that may be reusable. He said Alix Coleman believed the sawmill to come from the historic Anselma mill. Mr. Kuhn suggested that, if verified, the mill is returned to them if they are interested.
Mr. Elmer provided a written report to be distributed to the Board members.
No report was given, as Mr. Rodgers was absent from tonight’s meeting.
Jane Opie, Court Reporter, took the proceeds. The hearing was opened and testimony given. The record was closed, and a decision is due within 45 days.
Jane Opie, Court Reporter, took the proceeds. The hearing was opened and testimony given. The record was continued to May 20, 2002, 7:30 P.M. to determine if any additional information will be needed prior to closing the hearing and rendering a decision.
The hearing was deferred until later in the meeting to allow an opportunity for the applicant’s attorney to arrive.
Abby Schiff, Esq. was present representing Mr. and Mrs. Winnich. Lewis Patriello, Esq. was present representing Dr. and Mrs. Seibert. Ms. Schiff provided some background on the 2 lot subdivision, which was approved subject to the execution of a Horseshoe Trail agreement and compliance with Mr. Kohli’s review comments. She indicated that the revisions have been made and approved by Mr. Kohli. The plan proposes a lot line change increasing the size of the Seiberts’ lot (Lot #1) from 6.4 to 15.53 acres, and decreasing the size of the Winnichs’ lot (Lot #2) from 13.43 to 4 acres. The plans were executed by both the Seiberts and Winnichs, after which time they first received the proposed Horseshoe Trail Irrevocable Perpetual License Agreement from Mr. Oeste’s office. The Winnichs are under an agreement of sale to Mr. and Mrs. Bureski, who have agreed to sign the agreement with some proposed revisions. The Seiberts have objected to signing the agreement primarily over liability concerns although they indicated the existing trail on their property could remain.
Mr. Patriello said the Seiberts see the trail as a liability, with questions over who may use it and when. The riding clubs indemnify to hold harmless, but if the clubs have no assets, the indemnification is meaningless.
Michael Main, developer of Whitehorse Meadows and Spring Meadow Farms, said he conducted legal research years ago on the trail issue and determined that delineating the trails actually corrected and limited his liability. Mr. DelBello, Esq. added that he approached the delineation as an easement in gross, to be used by the general public. It was delineated by description and not survey.
Mr. Willig asked why the Seiberts didn’t object to the easement for the trail at the time of subdivision plan review and approval, as the matter was discussed from the onset of the Planning Commission’s review. Mr. Oeste said that easement language was a condition of the approval, and they must have been aware of it at that time.
Mr. Kuhn said the Horseshoe Trail goes from Valley Forge to Harrisburg and beyond, and is extremely important to the Township. Mrs. Ewald added that the trail attracts people to the Township who wish to maintain larger parcels of land for equestrian use. She offered to provide names of contacts the Seiberts may wish to speak with about the history and usage of the Trail. Mr. Patriello said his clients are not impeding anyone’s use of the existing Trail through their property, but are not willing to sign a memorial easement agreement.
Mr. Oeste said he will review the “Recreational Land Use Act” which may provide some insight into the question of liability.Ms. Schiff asked the Board what it will do if an agreement on the Winnich lot is all that is attainable. Mr. Willig said the Board will have to do something at that time. Mr. Oeste clarified the Board’s position by stating they would take the situation under consideration.
Bob Smiley of Genterra Corp. was present to discuss two possible settlement sketch plans for Spring Lane Farms:
Sketch Plan #1 last revised 2/1/02: This sketch showed a longer cul de sac road and 10 lots including the homestead lot. Lot #5 is located in a sensitive wooded, sloped area at the southern end of the parcel, and Lot #9 is closest to the existing house and would necessitate the removal of several accessory structures to that house.
Sketch Plan #2 last revised 2/11/02: This sketch showed a shorter cul de sac road and 10 lots including the homestead lot. The southern wooded area is more protected than in Sketch Plan #1, and Lot #6 is moved to the northeast, making it more visible to the existing homestead. Comments were as follows:
Mr. Kuhn: move lot #9 away from the house on either plan. Move lot #6 away from the house on Sketch Plan #2, possibly to the eastern corner.
Mrs. Ewald: proposed asking the developer for a donation to the Township of all or one of the lots, or that the Township purchase a lot.
Mr. Willig: On Sketch Plan #2: move lot #5; lots #6 and #9 are problematic.
Mr. Hogan: Eliminate Lot #6 on Sketch Plan #2.
Mr. Theurkauf: prefers Sketch #2, as it stays further out of the woods. He said the tree replacement ordinance could be utilized to buffer Lot #6 from the main house.
Mr. Kohli: eliminate lot #6 on Sketch Plan #2.
Mr. Smiley asked if the Board would consider Sketch Plan #2 if Lot #6 is eliminated. Mr. Hogan and Mr. Kuhn answered yes. Mr. Willig said this would bring him closer to a settlement plan. Mrs. Ewald said no.
Mr. Oeste said the Board must eventually decide if it will accept any settlement plan or wait to have the matter resolved in court.
Jane Opie, Court Reporter, took the proceeds. The hearing was opened and continued due to the unavailability of the applicant’s witness. The hearing was continued to May 20, 2002, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, 7:30 P.M.
Vic Kelly, P.E. of Commonwealth Engineers, and Bill Werkheiser, of the Valley Forge Christian College were present to seek approval of the preliminary/final land development plan for a new dormitory facility at the College.
Mr. Kelly displayed the plan for a new 66-room dormitory facility consisting of two buildings located on 3rd Avenue. He also showed the master plan detailing buildings to be removed or remodeled, and new buildings to be built. Mr. Kelley referred to review letters from Mr. Kohli and Mr. Theurkauf, both dated 5/3/02, and stated they will comply with all items.
With regard to item #1 on his review letter, Mr. Kohli asked for the status of the Planning Module. Mr. Kelly said that they submitted a request for exemption to the Borough of Phoenixville Sewer Authority, which has been granted in the past by the DEP for VFCC projects. Mrs. Ewald asked why they can claim exemption. Mr. Kelly said the main reason is that the flows have decreased from the past use of the property when it was the Army Hospital. Even with the anticipated increases from new dormitories, the use remains far below the previous use. Mr. Kohli suggested that a note regarding the requested exemption be placed on the plans.
With regard to item #3 on his review letter, Mr. Kohli said the Planning Commission indicated their willingness to accept a waiver of the EIA report until it was time for the Certificate of Occupancy to be issued. Again, he suggested a note be added to the plan, and recommended that the Board of Supervisors review the EIA.
With regard to item #5, Mr. Kohli said the Board should review a proposed note on the plans that would read that the applicant proposes that no stormwater management plan is needed prior to the construction of the dorms because the overall impervious coverage has not increased. The note adds that a comprehensive stormwater management plan will be provided for any new proposed development.
Mr. Willig asked for the timetable on completion of the master plan, and Mr. Werkheiser responded approximately 15 years. He gave an overview of the plan.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan last revised 4/18/02 for the Valley Forge Christian College Dorms, subject to the consultants’ review comments, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Oeste clarified that a stormwater management plan will be provided as well as EIA report for the Board’s review prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy. Mr. Theurkauf noted that the lighting consultant is now satisfied with the lighting plan. Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.
Mr. Oeste provided a summary of the draft Decision and Order for the Spring Oak Associates Conditional Use Application, which approves the application subject to five conditions. Mrs. Ewald asked why the Board is considering approval of the application when the developer has indicated his intention to come in with a new plan. Mr. Willig responded that no new plan has been received, and the Board has a decision deadline on the current application. Mrs. Ewald said the preliminary plan approval for Spring Oaks was given over 5 years ago. Mr. Oeste said that in that case, any new ordinances can be applied to that plan. Mr. Kohli added that the final plan being reviewed currently must comply with all existing ordinances.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Decision and Order for the Spring Oak Associates Conditional Use Application to be made effective as of May 15, 2002. Mr. Kuhn seconded, and Mr. Willig called for discussion. There being none, he called the vote, and all were in favor.
The Board scheduled the following dates for additional Visioning sessions for the Brightside Farm: June 10, July 22, and September 23, 2002, all at 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School. The two latter dates are tentative.
Mr. Willig tabled this item to May 20, 2002 due to Mr. Rodgers’ absence.
Mr. Oeste referred to a draft “Intergovernmental Cooperative Planning Agreement for the Municipalities of the Phoenixville Region”, which include the Borough of Phoenixville and the Townships of Charlestown, East Pikeland, East Vincent, East Whiteland, Schuylkill and West Vincent. A primary objective of the group would be to develop a joint comprehensive plan.
Mr. Oeste said that the solicitors representing the municipalities interested in forming the regional commission have reached a consensus on the language for the agreement, which must be passed by Ordinance by the individual municipalities. He said each municipality may withdraw at any time but would be responsible for any financial commitment made while it was a member.
Mrs. Ewald asked why the Board would consider entering in the agreement. She said she finds the agreement onerous and that the other Townships in the group will take advantage of Charlestown. Mr. Oeste said that any decisions on approving a joint comprehensive plan would occur later in the process, and the Township can withdraw if it chooses to do so at that time, or at any time. Mr. Kuhn said the Board already voted to sign this agreement by a 4-1 vote, but it was not done by Ordinance as required, and so must be revisited.
Mr. Willig asked if there are any penalties for withdrawing from the group other than paying for what they might participate in while a member, and Mr. Oeste said no. Mr. Willig asked if the remaining members can gang up on a withdrawn member. Mr. Oeste said that the remainder can enter into a joint comprehensive plan, but he sees no potential adverse impacts from it. Mr. Kuhn said a developer may perceive it easier to go to a single municipality as opposed to a joint group.
Mrs. Ewald said she believes this issue should be placed as a referendum on the November ballot in order to educate the public on what a joint agreement would involve. She said Charlestown would give up its sovereignty. She said that when dealing with agencies like PennDOT, Harrisburg governmental departments or PSATS, Charlestown is insignificant. She believes the Board represents the people in the Township better than a multi-municipal group will. Mr. Willig asked her to back up her statements with specifics. Mr. Kuhn said she hasn’t attended any of the meetings of the group thus far, including the two recent meetings hosted by Charlestown Township. Mrs. Ewald said she doesn’t attend because she doesn’t support joint planning efforts. He said he believes she doesn’t understand the process, and Mrs. Ewald countered that the other group members want to make Charlestown’s decisions for them. Mr. Willig said there are two strong voices in the group who are the biggest proponents of open space in the region. The minority voices in the group will be able to speak as a majority and carry more weight. Mr. Willig said he believes the Township residents are kept informed of Township business well enough at this juncture without making this a referendum issue, although he would consider one at the point in the future when the Board may be considering approving a joint comprehensive plan. He noted that business matters are conveyed in the official minutes, the citizens’ website, Loretta Watson’s Charlestown Green report, and through reporting in the Phoenix. He said the existence of the group is well known. Mrs. Ewald repeated that she is very concerned about signing any joint agreement. Mr. Kuhn said this is just an agreement agreeing to discuss joint planning issues.
Mr. Willig moved to advertise the Ordinance to Sign an Intercooperative Agreement with the Phoenixville Regional Planning Commission to be considered on May 20, 2002. Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for additional discussion, and there being none, called the vote. Three were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.
Mrs. Ewald moved to authorize the advertisement for Bids for removal of trees at the Historic Ice Dam, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion.
Mr. Hogan said the Township may be doing some of the work separately that is listed in the proposed bid package. He suggested listing these items as line items with an option to strike, including the removal of the chain link fencing, and some fallen tree cleanup. The Secretary asked for clarification on whether the bids must comply with the Prevailing Wage Act and Mr. Oeste responded no, as the cost will be well under the $25,000.00 amount triggering the requirement. The Secretary asked who will be responsible for inspections and approval of the work for payment. The Board determined that both Mr. Hogan, Supervisor and Parks & Rec Liaison and Mr. Kohli would be responsible, with Mr. Hogan as the point person.
Mr. Willig called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to sign the addendum extending the deadline on the Round 10 County Parks & Recreation Grant for Park Improvements to 12/31/02, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. All were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn said he spoke to Parks & Rec Chairman Mark Connolly about the need to re-bid the basketball court construction project at Charlestown Park. Due to redesign work, there is no need to construct a detention basin, which will reduce the cost of the job. Mr. Willig said that in the case of a re-design, it is acceptable to reject all bids and re-bid a project.
Mr. Kuhn moved to advertise a re-bid for the Construction of Basketball courts at Charlestown Park, and Mr. Willig seconded. All were in favor.
Mr. Theurkauf said the contract was let out to bid too soon, against his recommendation. He said he can’t determine when the bid package will be ready because he is waiting on details on the basketball standards from Mr. Connolly.
Because a schedule couldn’t be set at this time for the bid deadline and award, Mrs. Ewald moved to rescind the prior vote. Mr. Hogan seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. Kohli said he needs input from the Board on the road bid documents. Mr. Willig said the Board wants him to review the contracts and compare them to the way they used to be prepared in order to develop an attractive bid package that will lead to a workable cost effective contract. The Secretary will supply him with costs of equipment rental and materials from previous years. Mrs. Ewald said Howell Road is most likely the only road the Board plans to resurface this year, and then added that the area of Yellow Springs Road from Charlestown Oaks to the Turnpike Bridge should be considered. Mr. Kuhn suggested a portion of Union Hill Road, and Mr. Willig named a portion of Pickering Road.
Mr. Kohli said that the existing contract indicates that resurfacing projects may be bid separately, and sees this as a problem. Mr. Willig suggested that instead of this language, it should be made clear to the contractor that cost estimates must be provided before paving work is done. Mr. Kohli said this can be done without any special language in the contract; the Roadmaster would simply make the request for time, materials and equipment needed for the job.
Mr. Kohli said he’ll have the documents drafted for the next meeting. There was general discussion on the best methods for supervising and monitoring the contractor’s work.
Mr. Kuhn said that the Parks & Recreation Board met with the Open Space Commission to discuss a possible grant application to the County to secure the Horseshoe Trail through easements. The project total is estimated at $100,000, with 50% to be reimbursed by the County.
Mrs. Ewald moved to authorize the Parks & Rec Board to draft an application to the County under Round 14 for a plan to secure easements for the Horseshoe Trail. Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
There was some discussion on the re-routing of the Horseshoe Trail on Union Hill Road. Mr. Oeste will check into the nature of the Mobil Pipeline Easement, to determine if the trail could be placed there. He will also determine the width of the road right of way for Union Hill Road at the Moskowitz and Davis properties and draft a letter to Dr. Moskowitz informing him that the road right of way will be widened and cleared to allow the trail to go alongside the road in front of his property as an alternative to going between his and Mr. Davis’ property.
Mrs. Ewald said she believes there are errors on the County’s zoning map of the Township. Mr. Theurkauf said his office will review the map, and the Secretary was asked to notify the County by letter that the map is under review due to possible errors.
Mr. Kuhn moved to authorize the Secretary to submit the Vision Partnership Planning Grant Application for zoning ordinance and subdivision & land development ordinance amendments to the County, and Mrs. Ewald seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn read from the Press Release for the Countryside Exchange. The group proposes to bring in international volunteer professionals to Chester County for ten days in October to facilitate an exchange of ideas and focusing on improving cooperation and communication on a multi-municipal basis. Signing up for the Exchange will cost an estimated $2,000-4,000 per municipality. Mr. Kuhn asked the Board to consider authorizing the expense of up to $4,000 and signing on with the Exchange. He said the activity is endorsed by County, which pays a portion of the costs as well. Mrs. Ewald stated her opposition to paying an outside agency for this purpose and that she sees no benefit to it.
Mr. Kuhn moved to participate in the Countryside Exchange and to appropriate up to $4,000 in funds for that purpose. Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Willig said he’d like more time to consider the matter, and tabled the vote until the May 20th meeting.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Escrow Release #12 for Phases I & II of Charlestown Oaks in the amount of $266,889.19 as revised by Mr. Kohli from the original amount requested of $380,497.77. Mr. Kuhn seconded and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Escrow Release #2 for Phases III-VI of Charlestown Oaks in the amount of $768,989.52 as revised by Mr. Kohli from the original amount requested of $1,140,042.30. Mr. Kuhn seconded and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Saddlebrook Sewage Facilities Planning Module by Resolution #592-02. Mr. Kuhn seconded and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Financial Security Agreement and the Subdivision & Land Development Agreement for Brooklands. Mr. Kuhn seconded, and all were in favor.
Mr. Willig referred to PSW’s proposal to install a 12” water line extending to the Charlestown Elementary School in light of the fact that the Township approved the water line extension with an 8” line. This decision was based on the fact that Mr. Kohli determined an 8” line is sufficient to service the school. The Board directed the Secretary to send a letter notifying the School District that the Township supports the installation of an 8” line as previously determined and not a 12” line.
Mr. Willig referred to a copy of Senate Bill 1413 provided to the Board by Tina Daly, who requested that the Board oppose the bill. It includes language to prohibit local authorities from passing ordinances limiting certain types of Agricultural Activities. Mrs. Daly’s primary concern is limiting sludge activities. Mr. Willig moved to direct the Secretary to send a letter opposing this bill to Charlestown’s representatives, state Senators, and PSATS. Mrs. Ewald seconded, and Mr. Willig called for discussion, and then the vote. All were in favor.
The Board adjourned at 10:55 P.M. The next meeting will be held on May 13, 2002, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.