Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of May 13, 2002 Ė approved 5/20/02

A special meeting was held May 13, 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 J. Rodgers, James E. McErlane, 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.

Presentation by Trammel-Crow on the Atwater Corporate Park

Mr. Willig introduced representatives of Trammel-Crow and its consultants, who had been invited to make a presentation of the proposed traffic improvements relating to the Atwater Corporate Park to Charlestown Township.

Louis J. Colegreco, Esq., council for Trammel-Crow, began with introductions. He said Jeff Holcolm, the Principal for Trammel-Crow responsible for Atwater, would begin with a brief overview. Don Jacobs, traffic consultant for Trammel-Crow from Traffic Planning & Design, would then review the three phases of proposed traffic improvements. Last, a computer generated traffic simulation of current conditions and 2012 build out conditions would be presented.

Overview

Mr. Holcolm said Trammel-Crow acquired the property from Waste Management Inc. of Chicago in late 2000. They have received subdivision approval from the two municipalities the site is located in, with 4 lots in Tredyffrin and 11 in East Whiteland Township. Prior to Waste Managementís ownership, the site was a limestone quarry which began as a strip mine in 1918 by the Warner Quarry. Originally lime was mined for agricultural use and later changed to a more intense use during World War II that brought significant contamination to the site. Later, gravel was mined at the quarry. In 1972, the Mining Act was passed, requiring that mining operations declare an after-use to their operation. The Warner Quarry chose to create a water impoundment (lake), and as subsequent owner, Trammel-Crow chose to stay with this use, and as such is subject to all Bureau of Mines state permitting requirements, and a reclaiming of all slopes post-1972. He noted that much of this grading work is taking place presently. Up until February 2002, mine closure work was underway, which included shaping of spillways and banks, environmental clean-up and massive amounts of earth moving and removal to shape the bowl of the lake. Atwater will handle regional stormwater management for surrounding sites, and the system has been designed for capture by the lake and eventual pumping into the exceptional valley stream system.

Mr. Holcolm indicated the interior road circumnavigating the lake on the Illustrative Vicinity Map, and showed the two access roads into the project. The first access to be completed will be the northern entrance off Yellow Springs Road in Tredyffrin Township. The second entrance off Morehall Road (Route 29) will be completed in the latter part of 2003. Final build-out is targeted for 2012-2013.

  1. Atwater Roadway Improvement Phasing Plan

Mr. Jacobs explained that the traffic improvements relating to the Atwater project were designed for completion in three phases as displayed on an Atwater Roadway Improvement Phasing Plan. The three phases were depicted in green, red and yellow as follows:


Green Phase:

 This first set of improvements is scheduled for completion by the end of summer 2002, and incorporates all the improvements proposed by Jack Loew & Associates as part of their requirements for final approval of the Spring Oaks Business Park in Charlestown on Whitehorse Road. The Spring Oaks project is not as far along as Atwater, which led Trammel-Crow to propose taking over construction of these improvements and incorporating them in the earliest phase of their own project. Either project, Spring Oaks or Atwater alone, would require the same improvements depicted in green on the Plan. This set of improvements includes:

  1. Yellow Springs, Warner Lane and Route 29: New signalization and road widening to allow left and right turn lanes.
  2. Warner Lane & Phoenixville Pike: Warner Lane will be opened through to Phoenixville Pike and signalized at that intersection as well as adding left and right turning lanes. This will allow Warner Lane to act as a connector road that will alleviate some of the traffic from the Charlestown Road/Phoenixville Pike and Route 29 intersection.
  3. Whitehorse Road & Route 29: New signalization and road widening to allow left and right turn lanes.
  4. Charlestown Road/Phoenixville Pike and Route 29: This existing signalized intersection will be upgraded to include full turning lanes and widening of Charlestown Road leading up to the Elementary School.

Red Phase:

 This set of improvements is targeted for completion in 2003 and includes:

  1. The signalization of the new Atwater entrance opposite General Warren Boulevard
  2. Widening of Route 29 from the Great Valley Parkway to Yellow Springs Road with two lanes in each direction and auxiliary turn lanes

Yellow Phase:

 This set of improvements is targeted for completion in 2005 and includes:

Widening of Route 29 from Yellow Springs, under the Turnpike Bridge heading north on Route 29 and continuing up Charlestown Road. Charlestown Road will taper back to two lanes before reaching the Elementary School, and be designed according to PennDOT standards.

  1. Traffic Simulation

Mr. Jacobs showed a computer simulation of morning peak hour traffic as it exists currently, and then a simulation of traffic after all the improvements and build-out occurs for Atwater for 2012.

  1. Questions and Answers

  1. Paul Hogan asked if the slip ramp traffic had been factored into the simulation. Mr. Jacobs said a simulation including the slip ramp is being worked on; however, the present simulation does not include it. Mr. Colegreco said they were advised by PennDOT not to assume that the slip ramp would be constructed. Mr. Jacobs added that new traffic study data including the slip ramp would have to be provided by the Turnpike Commission, which would be responsible for those improvements.
  2. Saul Kun asked what the peak hour traffic rate is at Phoenixville Pike and Route 29 now and with the improvements. Mr. Jacobs responded 2,241 cars now, and 2,864 in 2012, reminding that the opening of Warner Lane will take some of the traffic from this intersection.
  3. Mr. Kun asked how many would be employed at Atwater, and Mr. Jacobs answered 8,000 to 12,000 people, depending on the market and what types of businesses go in to the park.
  4. Mr. Kun asked what the peak hour traffic rate is for Warner Lane and Yellow Springs. Mr. Jacobs responded 2,171 existing, and 3,610 in 2012.
  5. Mr. McErlane asked how peak traffic counts are calculated, and Mr. Jacobs said the heaviest hour flow between 7:00 A.M. and 9:00 A.M. is broken out.
  6. Mr. Kun said the slip ramps are coming because of Atwater. He asked if Trammel-Crow donated money to the Pa Turnpike Commission in the last ten years.
  7. Stephen Winckelman asked if there would be any changes to Church Road in East Whiteland, and Mr. Jacobs answered no. There will be no access for Atwater from Church Road.
  8. Amy Bunten asked what work is being done on Church Road now, since there are to be no traffic improvements. Mr. Colegreco answered that sewage lines are being installed.
  9. Kevin Kuhn asked if there is an exit onto Yellow Springs Road from Atwater, and Mr. Colegreco answered yes, but there will be no right turn allowed out of the site, nor left turn into the site, so traffic will be directed toward Route 29 and will discourage traffic from coming down Howells Road to Yellow Springs.
  10. Mr. Winckelman asked if the Yellow Springs Road entrance is in Tredyffrin, and Mr. Colegreco said it is mostly in East Whiteland.
  11. Gil Mariano asked if both accesses were opening at the same time, and Mr. Colegreco said no, that the north entrance would be used initially for emergency access only, after Building 12 in Tredyffrin is occupied.
  12. Mr. Davison asked about the size of the tract that lies within Charlestown, and Mr. Colegreco said it is part of Lot 13, very small, and non-developed. Mr. Holcolm added that itís a tiny triangle of land.
  13. Mrs. Ewald asked what will happen to the Charlestown Saloonís parking. Mr. Colegreco said the parking lot currently encroaches on PennDOTís right of way and will have to be moved and reconfigured elsewhere on their property.
  14. Mr. Kun asked if all the water runoff will go into the lake. Mr. Holcomb responded that the vast majority of it does.
  15. Mr. Kun asked who monitors the quality of the lake, and is it lined with an impervious material? Mr. Holcolm said the lake is not lined, and Trammel-Crow is responsible for monitoring the quality via monitoring wells, and must send regular quarterly reports to the DEP. Mr. Winckelman commented that if this water feeds into Valley Creek, it must be watched carefully.
  16. Mrs. Ewald said water from the Balderston tract in East Whiteland flows underground to the Warner quarry site, which is a superfund site. It used to flow to the quarry, where the sun burned off the waste materials as something of a self-cleaning process. She questioned how this water would now be handled. Mr. Holcolm said Atwater must continue to pump from the site and will monitor and stabilize TCEís.
  17. Mr. Kun asked if the Township can have reports on this monitoring activity. Mr. Holcolm said this is public information available from the DEP.
  18. Mr. Kun asked how many wells are involved in the monitoring system, and Mr. Holcolm responded there are 5 on site and 3 off site. Mr. Kun said they need a well to monitor every known underground stream. He said more wells are needed to monitor the water, and the project should be stopped.
  19. Mrs. Ewald asked how many acres comprise Atwater and Mr. Holcolm answered 388 acres, including the lake.
  20. Mrs. Ewald asked if the Township could get a complete set of documentation on the water monitoring. Mr. Colegreco responded that these materials are available from the state agencies and the Valley Creek Coalition.
  21. Mrs. Ewald asked if the Township could get the traffic flow data. Mr. Jacobs said the traffic study was done for the Townships the project is in, and it covered Charlestown. Mr. Colegreco said this information is available from PennDOT. Mrs. Ewald said she expected a better response, and Mr. Colegreco said he would discuss the requests with his client and get back to the Township.
  22. Mr. Allen asked if timing data was available on cars traveling through the intersections. Mr. Jacobs said the Route 29 & Charlestown Road intersection is presently rated FFF, meaning it takes 200-300 seconds for a car to go through. The expected rating in 2012 will be D, a range of 35-55 seconds.
  23. Mrs. Ewald asked how it can be that traffic will only increase 50% when there will be 8,000-12,000 more cars. Mr. Jacobs said this is what the Yellow Phase improvements address.
  24. Mrs. Ewald said the project is channeling traffic through Charlestown, which doesnít have the infrastructure to support the traffic improvements shown. Mr. Jacobs said the only way to take traffic off the smaller roads is by improving the bigger roads through widening, signalization and the possible addition of the slip ramp.
  25. Mrs. Ewald asked what parts of Charlestown were studied and what specs were used. Mr. Jacobs said the portion of Charlestown shown in the simulation was the area studied, and that the developer met with PennDOT to discuss the study.
  26. Mr. Willig asked for background information. Was Atwater solely considered, or were other projects taken into account. How much growth is predicted? Mr. Jacobs said other development, such as Spring Oaks, was taken into account as well as the SMS expansion and Wyeth Amhearst and a general background factor, to come to a 30-35% growth estimate over 13 years at 2.5-3% per year.
  27. Mr. Rodgers asked if the population growth to the north of Charlestown was considered, and Mr. Jacobs said it is part of the estimate. He noted that 35% of the traffic comes from areas that use Route 422, Route 202 and the Turnpike.
  28. Mr. Willig asked if the widening of Charlestown Road has been reviewed and approved by PennDOT. Mr. Jacobs said yes.
  29. Sue Staas asked how oil spills from any accidents will be contained so as not to pollute the lake. Mr. Holcolm said Trammel-Crow must employ best management practice techniques that route stormwater through filter sites and fringe wetlands. The wetland work was not required but was designed voluntarily by Trammel-Crow to promulgate them.
  30. Mrs. Staas asked where pollution studies and well monitoring data can be obtained, and Mr. Holcolm answered from the Bureau of Solid Wastes in Conshohocken and the Bureau of Mines in Pottsville.
  31. Jacob Merriwether asked if Trammel-Crow was involved with the EPA for Act 2 cleanup. Mr. Holcolm answered no, but noted that these reports are at the Bureau of Solid Wastes when Waste Management did the cleanup. The cleanup cost $7.5M and involved the removal of storage tanks, spill cleanup, and removal of soil.
  32. John Martin asked where the employees for Atwater are expected to come from. Mr. Holcolm said the project is a high-end product, and some employees will be local while others will come from outside. He anticipates uses such as financial services, pharmaceutical R & D, professional offices, etc. Typically in other parks, 30% of the employees come from outside the area, and 70% come from the suburbs or are transferees.
  33. Mrs. Ewald asked what companies have committed thus far, and Mr. Holcolm answered, Allstate Insurance.
  34. Mr. Hanscom asked what the total cost of the project is. Mr. Hanscom responded it comes to about $160.00 per square foot, not including the offsite costs of approximately $7.5 M.
  35. Mr. Hanscom asked if Atwater is a separate corporation from Trammel-Crow and Mr. Holcomb answered yes, but Trammel-Crow must back up the project.
  36. Mr. Willig asked what is your understanding of the permit process to make improvements on Warner Lane. Mr. Colegreco responded that the two access points are PennDOT roads and therefore regulated by them. As far as the interior of Warner Lane goes, he understands that those improvements were approved for J. Loew & Associatesí Spring Oaks project, and that Trammel-Crow is simply their subcontractor.
  37. Mrs. Ewald asked for a cooperative joint effort to encourage a branch of the State Police in the Devault area.
  38. Mr. Kun asked the Board to be particularly diligent in researching the water quality through the EPA and ensure that all necessary current and future precautions are taken.
  39. Debbie Kuhn asked if Flat Road is going to be closed. Mr. Jacobs said that will be determined by East Whiteland Township, which is currently undertaking a traffic study. He noted the road is a one-way road now and was not part of their analysis for Atwater.

Mr. Willig thanked the presenters for their time. The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 P.M., and was reconvened at 9:35 P.M.

Traffic Issues: Whitehorse, Union Hill and Rees Roads

A discussion was held on traffic control for Union Hill and surrounding roads. The Board directed Mr. Kohli to look into the possibility of speed bumps and other means of reducing speed on Union Hills and other roads. Particular concern was noted at morning rush hour, when school buses are on the roads and commuters have reportedly passed them. Mr. Kohli will provide a report with options for speed control at the June 17th meeting.

The next meeting will be held on May 20, 2002, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.

Adjournment

Mr. Willig adjourned the meeting at 10:50 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,


Linda M. Csete, Township Secretary