The first business meeting for October was held October 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, Michael Rodgers (arrived later), Thomas F. Oeste, Esq., 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.
Mrs. Ewald announced that the Charlestown Historical Society Patron’s Dinner held last month was a successful and enjoyable event. Charlie Philips said the tour of the Rapp House, a stop on the Chester County Day Tour on October 5, brought about 400 people to the house and was also a success.
Mr. Willig announced that the County has extended the burning ban through the end of October and that Charlestown Township is obligated to comply. Fire Marshal Fred Alston added that it will likely continue beyond October.
Mr. Philips said the used car displayed for sale at the corner of Charlestown and Hollow Roads has been moved up and is blocking the sight lines at the intersection. Mr. Kohli said he will follow up.
Richard D’Ginto, Jamie Lane, was present to share information he obtained from PennDOT on the curve on Coldstream Road where a minor school bus accident took place last week. He asked the Supervisors to do what they can to get the speed limit reduced. Mr. D’Ginto said he spoke to Dennis Tiley at PennDOT, who recommended the following: placement of warning signs far enough ahead of the curve for drivers to see, increased size of signage, warning graphics on signage, trimming of shrubs affecting the sight lines, road reflectors, and conducting of skid tests to determine if milling is advisable. Mr. Kohli said the speed limit was reduced from 55 MPH to 40 MPH after the Township requested a traffic study from PennDOT for Coldstream Road; however, he recently spoke to Don Fein and learned no work order had been issued to post the signs. PennDOT will follow up. Mr. Kohli was also told that PennDOT will not post a “dangerous curve” sign, just a standard curve sign with an advisory speed, and added that a skid test was conducted in 1999 and the results did not warrant milling of the road according to the study. Mr. Kuhn added that the Township asked PennDOT to remove the bicycle path on Coldstream Road but this request was denied. Mrs. Ewald said the Township also requested a study for a three-way stop sign at Coldstream Road and Township Line Road, but bordering East Pikeland Township vigorously opposed it. She said the road has been a real problem and that the Township has documented 31 contacts with PennDOT over the past three years on it. She said the Township wanted the speed limit reduced to 35 MPH but the studies warranted a reduction only to 40 MPH. Mr. D’Ginto exchanged his information to the Board for the Township’s packet of correspondence from the past three years.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes for 9/16/02 and Mr. Hogan seconded. All were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for September 1 - 30, 2002 and Mrs. Ewald seconded. Mr. Willig called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Accounts Payable for October 7, 2002 for the General Fund and Mrs. Ewald seconded. Mr. Willig called the vote, and all were in favor. Mrs. Ewald then noted her objection to check #1347 to the Countryside Exchange for $3,000.00 since it relates to funding of regional planning efforts which she opposes.
Mr. Kohli said his building permit report for September is on file. He reported that a settlement has been reached with regard to PSW’s installation of a water main on Charlestown Road and that the contractor is working according to the plan.
Mr. Philips asked if the noise ordinance prohibits contractor noise on the weekends as he heard a bulldozer all day Saturday and Sunday with the back up alarm continuously beeping. Mr. Kohli said on Saturdays, contractors may work from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM but Sunday is restricted. He’ll provide further information. Mr. Philips asked how to report this type of noise over the weekend and Mr. Oeste said to report it to the Zoning Officer on Monday and he’ll follow up.
Mr. Philips reported that the Planning Commission met on September 24, 2002 to discuss the Official Map Ordinance hearing held by the Board on September 16, 2002 and to continue work on ordinance revisions. Two developers spoke about the height restriction calculations for residential housing, which they feel creates grading problems. They were recommending the calculations be taken from the mean grade instead of the lowest-grade level. Mr. Philips said the Planning Commission hasn’t formed an opinion on this yet and is still researching it. Mr. Philips said he wished more residents would attend the meetings, with continuing discussions taking place on Transfer of Development Rights. He said TDR is a strategy tool but challenging to develop, and input from the Board members and residents would be welcome. In conjunction with the Historical Commission, Mr. Philips said the Planning Commission is developing a list of uses for historic structures outside the Historic District in order to encourage their preservation. He said the Planning Commission next meets on October 8th and has numerous plans to review.
Mr. Philips reported that the Historical Commission is looking at changing their meeting date and will advise the Board if this is decided. Mr. Kuhn asked about progress on the Mill. Mr. Kohli said the Commission is waiting for the contract to be approved for tree work, and this contractor will be used to clear the vines and brush from the structure. Mrs. Ewald asked if there was any agreement with Henriette Bumeder that there would be no tree removal on this property. Mr. Philips, Mr. Kuhn and Mr. Kohli recalled no agreement. The Secretary will check the Agreement of Sale for any such language.
Mr. Kuhn said the Open Space Commission hasn’t met since their presentation to the public on September 16th so there is nothing new to report.
The Roadmaster’s report for September is on file.
Mr. Alston read his report for September in its entirety. He reported two automatic fire alarms, one brush fire, one power line down, one odor investigation, one gas release investigation, one fire drill and eleven vehicle accidents. He reminded the public to call 911 directly, and not the fire department, when there is an emergency.
Mr. Hogan reported that Mark Cabot will pick up trash that is accumulating on Township Line Road alongside the Park. He continues to collect used utility poles with the hope of constructing a guardrail along Township Line Road, but some are not in good condition and are not uniform in size. He wants to get pricing for new poles. Tim Townes of J. Loew & Associates offered to work with him as he may have access to additional poles. Mr. Hogan said Mr. Cabot will examine the fence along Township Line Road that has two sections missing.
Mr. Hogan announced that the Boy Scouts will do their annual clean up at the Revolutionary War Cemetery on Saturday October 12th and anyone is welcome to join them.
Mr. Hogan distributed pictures of the Brightside Farm he took that might be suitable for a new Township logo. Mr. Hogan said Mark Cabot will remove rocks on the trail that are a hazard for walkers and the mower.
Mr. Merriwether presented the Farm Committee’s report for the month of September. He said several members of the Committee, plus Newell Burdick, are also members of the Historical Society and participated in the cleanup for the Rapp House to prepare it for Chester County Day. He announced that he posted a photo taken from John Pierce’s 1969 painting of the Mill on the website.
Mr. Merriwether outlined the Committee’s main focus on cleanup of the Dairy Barn, the Bank Barn and the Quonset hut. He said the committee appreciates the time and effort Mark Connolly made to obtain and work up price quotes for cleaning of these structures though unfortunately there are inconsistencies in the estimate with regard to scope of work, lack of time estimates, and lack of Workmen’s Compensation Insurance. Some committee members have proposed using migrant workers for this work to save money and have asked the Secretary to investigate whether there is a federal exemption to relax the Township’s insurance requirements. The Secretary said she is not comfortable investigating this as an option. The Solicitor will provide an opinion. Mr. Merriwether said the Committee has no close deadline but would like to have the cleanup completed by early spring so a public event can be held there. Mrs. Ewald thanked the volunteers for all their efforts.
Mr. Rodgers arrived at the meeting at 8:15 P.M. directly from ongoing union negotiations at the Valley Forge Sewer Authority. He said negotiations with the Teamsters’ Union are going slowly. He also reported that the VFSA has agreed to pay Phoenixville Borough for handling the sewage for the new Wawa proposed at Routes 113 & 23, which is in the VFSA territory but too costly for them to provide the service directly.
Mr. Kohli said he and Mark Connolly agreed that the bids should be compared without either “deduct” option, due to inconsistencies among the bidders on those options. According to his analysis of the results, Dan Malloy Paving is the low bidder. Mr. Kuhn moved to award the contract for the Construction of Basketball Courts at Charlestown Park to Dan Malloy Paving, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Four were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed on the grounds that she believes basketball courts are inappropriate at that location.
Mr. Kohli said Lord’s Tree Service did not bid all items so his bid was not accepted. Kirk’s Landscaping, after recalculating manpower consistent with the bid documents, was slightly lower than C.M. Jones’ bid; however, they did not provide Worker’s Compensation Insurance documentation. Therefore, the only qualified bid was from C.M. Jones at $35,475.00 for the contract period. Mrs. Ewald moved to award the tree contract for the period of October 1, 2002 – June 30, 2003 to C.M. Jones. Mr. Kuhn seconded and all were in favor.
The Secretary reported that there were four responses to her written request for salt bids mailed out on 9/2/02. Two of these responses, from Morton Salt and North American Salt, were no-bids. Two sealed bids were opened as follows:
Oceanport Industries $34.10 per ton delivered, minimum of 22 tons.
Cargill Salt Company $39.95 per ton delivered
Mr. Willig moved to accept the bid from Oceanport Industries for $34.10 per ton and Mr. Rodgers seconded. All were in favor.
Steve Romano, Esq. presented the Preliminary/Final Plan for the Martellucci two-lot subdivision, 4099 Howells Road. He opted for a drip irrigation septic system instead of a sand mound system in order to protect trees and minimize re-grading. He said Mr. Kohli was agreeable to determining the actual dimensions and location of the system to be set in the field. Mr. Rodgers asked why they opted for a drip system, and Mr. Romano responded that the Planning Commission convinced him and Mr. Martellucci that it would be less visually prominent, more economical and longer lasting than a sand mound system. He said he and Mr. Martellucci were initially concerned with the trenching for a drip system that would kill or damage tree roots, but have since learned that a newer auger system allows for a shallower implantation. Mr. Romano said Evans Mills Environmental estimated it would only need to be about a foot deep. Mrs. Ewald asked about freezing, and Mr. Romano said the circulation pump prevents this from occurring. Mrs. Ewald asked whom on the Planning Commission promoted the drip system and Mr. Philips responded, the Commission as a whole did. Mr. Romano agreed their interest seemed to be unanimous. Mr. Rodgers asked if the plan allowed for an alternate septic site, and Mr. Romano said yes, they have percs for two locations. Mr. Willig asked where else in the Township drip irrigation is being used. Mr. Kohli said there are two across from the Martellucci property on the former Zeigler tract. Mr. Kuhn asked if the Planning Commission had any issues with the plan and Mr. Philips said no. Mr. Kohli noted that the Planning Module must still be processed and approved but likewise he had no other comments.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Preliminary/Final Martellucci subdivision plan last revised 9/18/02, subject to Mr. Kohli’s review letter of 10/1/02. Mr. Rodgers seconded and all were in favor.
John Diament and David Hitz presented the Preliminary/Final subdivision plan for the 2-lot Diament/Hitz subdivision located on Rapps Run Drive. Mr. Kohli said this would add one lot to a private driveway already serving two lots, and will be maxed out at three. Dr. Hitz said the two lots will be restricted against further subdivision. One will be a 4.6 acre lot and the other approximately 10 acres. Mr. Theurkauf said he had no outstanding issues on this application. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan last revised 9/20/02 subject to the comments in Mr. Kohli’s review letter dated 10/1/02. Mr. Kohli said the shared driveway easement and maintenance agreement must be submitted, approved by the Solicitor and recorded. Mr. Rodgers seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. Willig moved to approve the Diament/Hitz Sewage Facilities Planning Module by Resolution #595-02. Mr. Rodgers seconded and all were in favor.
Tim Townes of J. Loew and Associates presented the Final Plan last revised 9/24/02 for Spring Oaks Business Park. He said he received the Planning Commission’s recommendation for approval on August 28th. Two items the Planning Commission recommended were the inclusion of a pedestrian walkway, which Mr. Townes highlighted on the displayed concept map. He said he wanted to ensure the Board agreed with the location before it was added to the actual plans. It was shown as following along Whitehorse Road and continuing through an open area adjacent to Lot #5 and connecting with the interior concrete sidewalk. He proposed to make the walking trail an asphalt trail five feet in width and approximately 460 feet in length, connecting to the 2,000 foot long interior sidewalk. Mrs. Ewald suggested making the trail 8 feet in width, and Mr. Theurkauf agreed this is the most comfortable width for two people passing one another on the trail. Mrs. Ewald suggested adding two or three benches on the trail and sidewalk. Mr. Townes agreed to increase the width to 8 feet and to add a few benches at locations to determined in the field.
Mr. Townes indicated on the plan where J. Loew & Associates is willing to show a possible future right of way, 50 feet wide, that could be used as a private road connection to the adjacent Fillipo tract in the event it is ever developed in a manner consistent with Spring Oaks. He would reserve a right to this road in the Spring Oaks Covenants.
Mrs. Ewald asked about parking for Spring Oaks, and Mr. Townes said the parking is provided for at 5 spaces per 1,000 square feet as required by the Ordinance.
Mr. Kuhn asked if the emergency access to Rees Road remains on the plan, and Mr. Townes said yes.
Mr. Kohli said that a letter from the DEP is still outstanding, and suggested no action be taken on this plan until the meeting on October 21st. Mr. Townes asked that the issue of outstanding funds being held by the Township for the Phoenixville Pike improvements also be discussed at that time.
Mr. Kuhn said nothing the Township has attempted to do to slow traffic on Union Hill and Rees Roads has worked and he believes it is time to install speed bumps. A motorist passed a school bus at a stop on Union Hill Road last week, and other incidents have been reported. Mrs. Ewald said she is opposed to the use of speed bumps, and Mr. Willig said he is resistant to the idea. Mr. Rodgers said they have to be placed properly to slow down traffic and gave Sidley Road in East Whiteland as an example. He said he would consider them. Mr. Kohli said they should be 250-300 feet apart to be effective. Mr. Kohli said that the steep incline on Union Hill Road will make this a safety issue in winter weather, and be a problem for maintenance equipment such as snowplows. Mr. Hogan suggests speed dips instead. He added that the school buses should stop in the middle of the street to block all traffic. Mr. Theurkauf said he believes speed bumps are a liability because they slow down ambulances and other emergency services. Mr. Philips suggested looking into regional police support for traffic control. Mr. Rodgers said he checked with Schuylkill Township in the past, and the estimated cost for a part time officer for one year was in the $75,000-$100,000 range. Mrs. Ewald suggested making the roads one way during rush hours, but Mr. Kuhn said this would be too inconvenient to residents and poses an enforcement problem. Mr. Kuhn said he wants to get traffic off these roads and back onto Route 29. Mr. Kohli said he’ll look at alternatives to speed bumps, but other than police enforcement, he doesn’t see any options. He suggested waiting 3-4 months until all the Route 29 intersection improvements are made to see how much traffic this takes off these roads.
Mr. Kuhn moved to put speed bumps in Union Hill and Rees Roads. Mr. Rodgers seconded. There was no vote.
Mr. Rodgers moved to direct the Engineer to conduct a study on where speed bumps could be placed on Union Hill and Rees Roads. Mr. Kuhn seconded. Four were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed. Mr. Kohli will mark the road with paint where the speed bumps would go.
The Secretary explained that since April, all checking account activities have been handled out of the PLGIT General Fund Account and PLGIT State Fund Account, now that PLGIT offers the service and provides checks compatible with QuickBooks Accounting software. The two checking accounts for the General and State funds currently held at Malvern Federal Savings Bank are no longer needed and haven’t been active since April. There are no outstanding checks on these accounts, and she recommended that the Board approve a letter to Malvern Federal Savings Bank requesting that the accounts be closed and the balances sent to the Township office. Closing these accounts will also satisfy the Auditor’s Management Letter for 2001 in which he recommended an alternate banking source for the checking accounts since Malvern Federal Savings Bank won’t provide year end statements closing on December 31, 2002 as other commercial accounts do. The checking feature on the PLGIT accounts satisfies this requirement.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the letter to Malvern Federal Savings Bank closing account #033003864 and #033003872, and Mr. Hogan seconded. All were in favor.
The Board set a date of Tuesday, October 29th, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School for the 2003 Budget Work session. There was some discussion on the proposed budget figures drafted by Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Faggioli for road maintenance and paving for 2003, which will be dealt with further on October 29th.
The Board determined that they would not conduct a formal road tour but would check the roads Mr. Rodgers proposed paving on their own. Mrs. Ewald said it’s more important to conduct a road tour in the spring after the winter season.
Mr. Willig, Mr. Hogan, Mr. Kuhn, Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Kohli will attend the Chester County Association of Township Officials Convention on Thursday, November 7th, 6:00 P.M. at the Desmond Hotel.
Mr. Oeste presented a list of 9 dates the Altemose’s final witness has available for the continuation of their Conditional Use Application for the construction of a retirement facility on Whitehorse Road. Only one of these dates is a regularly scheduled date for Board meetings. After some discussion, the Board asked Mr. Oeste to confirm whether the applicant would be available on either November 4, 2002 or December 2, 2002. The Secretary will advertise once the date is determined.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Sal Lapio Homes Escrow Release Request #4 for $422,841.37 and Mr. Willig seconded. She made her motion subject to the understanding that subsequent escrow releases may be delayed if complaints continue to be received at the Township office about subcontractors beginning work prior to 7:00 A.M. per the Township’s ordinance. Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor. Mr. Kohli said residents should get the name of any truck and its license plate number, when possible, when reporting noise ordinance violations.
Mr. Theurkauf noted that Londonderry Nurseries is working on a revised landscaping proposal and is expected to submit it to the Township later this fall for consideration of modification to the Charlestown Oaks Final Plan.
Mr. Hogan will speak with Priscilla Crowell regarding her concerns with the Official Map in response to a letter she sent directly to Mr. Willig earlier today.
Mr. Willig will contact Michael Dixon to obtain permission for Toll Brothers to video a portion of this ground conditions per the settlement stipulations for Charlestown Meadows.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:35 P.M. The next meeting will be held on October 21, 2002, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.