The first business meeting for December was held December 2, 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., Gary Bender, Esq., Surender Kohli, Ed Theurkauf, Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator, Melanie M. Lammers, Recording Secretary, and those on the attached list were present.
The meeting was called to order at 7:34 P.M.
Mrs. Ewald was pleased to announce the upcoming wedding of her son Andrew Ewald to Shannon Marshall. The wedding is to be held in May, 2003.
Mr. Willig announced an Executive Session was held after the last meeting to discuss personnel issues. He also announced the resolution for Charlestown Meadows would be added to the Old Business portion of the agenda.
Mr. Willig called for any Citizen’s Forum items, but there were none.
Mr. Willig moved to appoint Mr. Harry Nagel as the Zoning Hearing Board Member for the remainder of the calendar year. Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn moved to appoint Mr. Fred Alston as the Roadmaster for the remainder of the calendar year. Mrs. Ewald seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion. Mrs. Ewald suggested that Mr. Alston be appointed retroactively to November 18, 2002, and Mr. Willig called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes for 11/18/02 and Mrs. Ewald seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion. Mrs. Ewald requested that more detail be provided on her remembrance of Walter Lamb, including the fact that he had all his land placed under conservation easement with the French & Pickering Creeks Trust and that he was a leader in the establishment of the Middle Pickering Rural Historic District in Charlestown. Mr. Kuhn pointed out that Phil DeFranco is the Charlestown Historical Society President, not the Grange President. Mr. Kuhn also identified his being misquoted with regards to the Traffic Calming issue. The draft read that Mr. Kuhn said posting a “no left turn sign on Route 29 would be too dangerous…” He corrected it to read “posting a one-way sign on Union Hill would be too dangerous…”
Per the above changes, Mr. Willig called the vote, and all were in favor.
The Treasurer’s report for November is on file. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Treasurer’s report for November 1-30, 2002 and Mrs. Ewald seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
The Accounts Payable report is on file.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Accounts Payable report, but Mr. Hogan disagreed with work that had been performed at Woolen Mill. Both Mrs. Ewald and Mr. Hogan feel the quality of work by the vendor is poor. Mrs. Ewald suggested that approximately $4000 is enough to warrant a meeting to discuss this issue further. Mr. Hogan agreed and indicated he would like to be present at the meeting with the vendor. . Mr. Kohli added that he was satisfied with the job, which was intended as a temporary measure to secure the windows. Mr. Willig’s recollection was that the windows would be boarded up temporarily, but that the stone work would not be a temporary solution. Mrs. Ewald reiterated the need for further discussion and requested this item be added to the December 16, 2002 agenda. She stated that approval of payment of check numbers 1475 and 1477 should be rescheduled to December 16th.
Mrs. Ewald questioned check number 1468 in the amount of $25.02 to Cedar Hollow Recycling. She was concerned as to why this vendor was being used when the Township is not under contract with them. Mr. Kuhn asked Ms. Csete if she could recall what this expense was for. Ms. Csete indicated it could be for materials not available from the contracted vendor, but would have to confirm. Mrs. Ewald would like check number 1468 held until clarification of expense and authorized of that expense can be determined.
Per the above-mentioned issues regarding check numbers 1468, 1475, and 1477, Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Accounts Payable report, and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. Mr. Kuhn was opposed.
Mr. Kohli reported that he denied a set of building permit applications for the construction of billboards on the former Volpi tract as they didn’t meet the Ordinance. He hasn’t heard anything back from the applicant at this point.
Mr. Davison reported on the following. Details of all topics can be found in the November 12, 2002 Planning Commission meeting minutes.
1) Baldwin and Joos Minor Subdivision applications
2) J. Loew & Associates Devault Village plan
3) Robal & Associates sketch plan
4) Jeannine Winsness Children’s Hospice presentation
The Historical Commission report for November is on file.
Mr. Kuhn said the Open Space Commission met in November to discuss coordinating with the Board to communicate further with Township residents in order to help raise funds for open space.
Mr. Kuhn reported that a presentation was made to East Pikeland regarding the Valhalla Farm grant cooperation. Charlestown Township is asking for a $200k contribution, but there is no commitment yet.
The Roadmaster report for November is on file. Mr. Alston, at the request of the snow removal vendor, requested the installation of a portable generator to supply lighting on the salt shed. Mrs. Ewald asked how crews were able to work without lights in the past, and Mr. Alston indicated they used their headlights and flashlights.
Mr. Alston added that, being portable, the generator could also be used to backfeed traffic light outages. When Mr. Kuhn asked if the lights were configured to be backfed by the generator. Mr. Alston replied no, but indicated they could easily be configured to do so, and added it runs off of a 110v outlet.
Mr. Hogan asked if the generators currently used by the Township are routinely exercised. Mr. Alston said they are not, but suggested they would be once the weather gets warmer.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the generator expense and Mrs. Ewald seconded. Mr. Kohli added that the fixtures installed should be consistent with other like fixtures and should be shielded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald commended Mr. Alston for stepping in and taking over the Roadmaster position. She requested that he look into more cost effective measures of pipe and drain cleaning/maintenance. Mr. Alston indicated he would do so in cooperation with Mr. Kohli.
The Fire Marshal report for November is on file. There was one automatic fire alarm, one odor investigation, one electrical appliance, one controlled burn and one vehicle accident reported from the East Whiteland Fire Company. The Kimberton Fire Company report was not yet made available.
Mr. Kuhn noticed the East Whiteland Township Fire Department received a 70% funding cut and asked why. Mr. Alston was unsure as to the reasons, but is looking into the matter.
Mr. Hogan reported on the basketball court being built at Charlestown Park. He indicated a $9,300 extra expense for additional grading and drainage work that was required on the second day of the project. Mr. Kohli had visited the site and agreed that mud removal and subsequent stone/soil fill was required in order to stabilize the soil. Mr. Kohli added that the fill consisted of 417 tons of stone. Mr. Kuhn questioned the cost of materials, but was satisfied with Mr. Kohli’s explanation of the expense.
Mr. Hogan reported the need for a fence around the basketball court. He quoted prices of $4,800 for a 3-foot fence and $8,500 for a 6-foot fence. Mr. Theurkauf will check into what the standard height is and will research various types of fencing to determine what is durable as well as, if possible, aesthetically pleasing.
Mr. Kohli said the binding for the basketball courts could be laid now, but the top would be laid in the Spring.
Mrs. Ewald mentioned she received a call from a resident regarding the loss of trees due to the basketball court installation. She asked if anything could be learned from this project to be used in future projects. Mr. Hogan indicated the same type of trees are to be planted along the road. Mr. Theurkauf added that trees are not part of this project. Mr. Hogan asked if trees can be taken from the Iacobucci open space contribution funds. Mrs. Csete said this is not in that budget for 2003, and all will be used up for the Mill Project.
Mr. Hogan mentioned that former resident Ellie Wentz, was appalled the walking trail is being cut off at the Seibert property. He suggested she write a letter to the Board.
Mr. Hogan requested that the Solicitor provide a letter of agreement to Mrs. Wallace with regard to allowing access to her property to create a modest memorial at the ruins of the Longwood School. Mr. Oeste indicated he will take action on this.
Russ Hanscom thanked the supervisors for arranging the barn cleaning and for writing a thank-you letter to the J. Loew & Associates, who volunteered the time of one of their contractors at no cost to the Township for this job.
Mr. Hanscom indicated that two signs are planned to be posted at Brightside Farm. One is to indicate the property is the future site of a Township park, and the other to discourage people from driving through the fields.
The Valley Forge Sewer Authority meeting minutes, dated October 14, 2002, are on file.
The Board members executed the final draft of resolution #596-02 approved at the 11/18/02 meeting, with the following minor changes:
The phrase “and the Board of Supervisors” is to be added to the end of the last sentence of both #1 and #2 of the Terms and Conditions.
A court reporter was present for this hearing.
Mr. Oeste referenced the admission of A1-A27 and indicated the admission is reserved until resident Saul Kun can get copies and have time to review them since he is a party to the proceedings.
Mr. Ryan rested his case. Mr. Oeste announced that the hearing will be continued until January 27, 2003, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School at which time there will be the presentation of evidence from the Township Planning Commission and others. If inclement weather causes the January 27 meeting to be cancelled, it will be rescheduled to February 24, 2003.
This issue was tabled until the next meeting.
Mr. Kohli referred to the 2-lot subdivision plan prepared in 1998 by the Great Valley School District, which was recommended by the Planning Commission but withdrawn by the School District when they decided to sell the property. He suggested this plan be used as the basis for the Township to delineate the structures on the 55 acre Brightside Farm parcel as required to obtain the $450,000 approved acquisition grant from the County. He said he can obtain a copy of the plan and retitle it “Delineation lot line plan” and confirm with the County that it will be acceptable. The Board agreed by consensus that he should proceed.
Mr. Kuhn asked who would be putting the package together to submit to the county. Mr. Kohli indicated he will compile the plan based on the information obtained.
The Board directed the Secretary to advertise the Cottone conditional use hearing for January 6, 2003, with an emergency date of January 27, 2003. Mr. Cottone seeks to construct a swimming pool in steep and very steep slopes. His property is in the Eastwick subdivision, which had originally been approved with a set of conditional uses delineating where steep slopes can be disturbed. This application will disturb slopes beyond that area.
Mr. Kuhn brought up the basketball court, indicating he felt the fence would need to be higher than 6 feet and will cost at least $10k. Mr. Theurkauf will research fence options and report back to the Board. Mr. Hogan proposed using the 8-foot fence already in existence around the park. Others were in agreement with looking into this option as long as the fence was not rusted and in need of repair.
Mr. Kuhn was not comfortable with the Brightside Farm Budget. He strongly feels the funds should not be allocated until a use for the buildings has been determined.
Mr. Willig confirmed the budget was based on 1 mil.
Mr. Willig inquired as to whether anyone has called to ask questions about the budget which had been advertised and made available at the Township Office for 20 days. Ms. Csete answered that no one other than one of the elected auditors has called or stopped in with questions. Mr. Willig expressed his concern that there were very few members of the public present to comment.
Mrs. Ewald noted that some people have called her and asked for a tax adjustment, stating that keeping the same tax rate for many years is not realistic.
Mrs. Ewald asked Mr. Oeste what can be included in a separate levy for Fire Protection. Mr. Oeste recited the Fire Protection ordinance. There was discussion by all Board members and Mr. Oeste regarding the handling of Fire Protection funds. A designated millage to cover proposed 2003 contributions would come to .125 mils for the two fire companies serving Charlestown. Mr. Oeste said a separate millage is usually only done when a township is at the millage limit in order to assess additional tax for this purpose. It was determined that the best thing to do was to continue tracking the Fire Protection funds as they are currently tracked without a separate millage.
Mr. Kuhn asked if anyone else had a problem with authorizing $80k for the Brightside Farm. Mr. Willig indicated he had no problem approving the allocation, however, was not necessarily in favor of approving the spending until determinations of the future property usage was made. Mr. Kuhn suggested moving it to the General Fund so it would not appear to be definitely slated for use by the Brightside Farm.
Mrs. Ewald was in favor of the “Clean up, fix up, paint up” approach. She said there has been lots of volunteer labor and that the fix up process should continue. She recommended the open wires be connected for safety purposes. Mr. Kuhn was in favor of making the buildings safe, but was under the understanding that the plan was to maintain the property, not invest in it until its use was known.
Mrs. Ewald asked whether the $99,200 remaining in the General Obligation Bond Fund could be used for open space improvements at the Brightside Farm and Charlestown Park, as it was recommended in an e-mail by Tim O’Neill that these funds be expended rather than returned to the lender at the November 2003 deadline. Mr. Oeste said he will clarify with Tim O’Neill at his office. Mr. Kuhn asked if the $450k, Brightside Farm County Grant money, is separate from the bond money. Mrs. Ewald believes it is separate and asked that this be researched. Mr. Kuhn reiterated that he has no issue with allocating Brightside Farm or Parks and Recreation monies, but would rather have them in the General Fund.
Mrs. Ewald said another need at Charlestown Park is to relocate the entrance road and reconstruct the road with curves to slow traffic, and to expand the children’s playground. She added she would support it if it could be used for a capital improvement.
Mr. Willig said if the budget is passed, decisions on the farm must be made with a clear conscience. Mr. Kuhn indicated all projects must have Board approval, and Mr. Willig confirmed.
Mr. Willig questioned why $99k from the ‘Return Balance of Funds to Lender’ category couldn’t be used to offset other expenses. Mr. Kuhn added the money can’t be moved to the general fund, because it must be used for capital improvements.
Mr. Kuhn asked Ms. Csete if she was comfortable with this budget into the year 2004, and she confirmed she was.
Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Oeste if a referendum for an Earned Income Tax must be done at the Primary Election in 2003 or whether it could wait until the General Election in November 2003. Mr. Oeste said it could be either, as long as there is time to advertise for 3 successive weeks and for the Board to enact a tax levy afterward.
Mrs. Ewald moved to set the millage rate for 2003 at 1.0 mils and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig read the Tax Levy Resolution #597-02 in its entirety. Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the draft budget for 2003 as presented and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Willig read Budget Resolution #598-02 in its entirety. Mr. Willig called the vote. Three were in favor and Mr. Kuhn was opposed for reasons stated with regard to the Brightside Farm.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:50 P.M. The next meeting will be held on December 16, 2002, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.