Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of March 17, 2003

The second business meeting for March was held March 17, 2003, at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Paul Hogan, Chairman, Hugh D. Willig, Vice Chairman (arrived later), Irene W. Ewald, Mike Rodgers, Kevin R. Kuhn, Thomas Oeste, Esq., Gary Bender, Esq., Surender Kohli, P.E., Ed Theurkauf, Tom Corcoran, Court Reporter, 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 7:30 P.M.

Announcements

Mr. Hogan said he heard a strong rumor that the Devault train line will be shutting down due to lack of business for National Sweetener Corp and said it should be considered for a rails-to-trails program.

Mr. Hogan indicated he sent a letter to the State Police regarding an incident on Hollow Road in January.

Mrs. Ewald announced that Mr. Kohli, Mr. Alston, Mr. Rodgers, and she had paid a visit to the former AT&T site which could serve as a bomb shelter. She said they were given a full tour, and she noted the building was large, approximately 46,000 square feet, had no windows, and had large generators. She said it had been offered to the Township years ago, at which time the Township did not feel there was a need to acquire it.

Citizenís Forum - Non-Agenda Items

There were no Citizenís Forum/Non-agenda items brought forward.

Approvals

Minutes of March 3, 2003

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the March 3, 2003 minutes as written, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Hogan called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Old Business

Toll Brothers - Public Water Request

Chris Schubert, Esq., attorney for Toll Brothers, Inc., asked if he could precede the public hearings, as his business would only require five minutes of the Boardís time.

Mr. Schubert referenced a letter from Mr. Kohli to Mr. Hogan, dated March 12, 2003. This letter requested that Mrs. Csete, under the authorization of the Board of Supervisors, send a letter to the Public Utility Commission. The purpose of the letter is to request that the Philadelphia Suburban Water Company franchise be extended to include the Charlestown Meadows development in compliance with, but limited to, the pipe sizes noted in this letter. Additional details of this letter can be found on file in the Township office.

Mr. Schubert came before the Board in order to ask them to grant this authorization. Mr. Hogan indicated that if Mr. Kohli was satisfied, he was also. Mrs. Ewald indicated she just received Mr. Kohliís letter that day and expressed that sheíd like the opportunity to review it with Mr. Kohli prior to making a decision. She added she has no problem in proceeding on Mr. Kohliís recommendations, but that she had some questions. She questioned why the end of the line terminates at Route 401 and Jacqueline Drive. She questioned whether there is a fire hydrant at this intersection or whether the line is being taken to Route 401 for extension purposes. She indicated her questions are reasonable and as soon as she is satisfied, she is willing to have Mr. Kohli make the recommendation on how to proceed. Mr. Hogan felt Mr. Kohli made his recommendation within the March 12, 2003 letter. Mrs. Ewald noted that Mr. Kohliís letter said that if anyone had any questions, they should talk to him. Since Mr. Kohli was not able to attend the meeting, she would like to wait until she has had a chance to speak with him. Mr. Hogan asked what the feeling of the rest of the Board is. Mr. Kuhn answered he has no problem going along with Mr. Kohliís recommendation, but added that if Mrs. Ewald has questions, she should be given the opportunity to get answers to them prior to making a decision.

Mr. Schubert requested that this be approved, conditioned upon satisfying Mrs. Ewaldís questions. Mrs. Ewald indicated she felt this did not need formal action by the Board, but could be handled administratively, and Mr. Oeste concurred.

Mr. Schubert asked Mr. Panczner if he knew why the line terminates at Route 401. Mr. Panczner indicated it is due to a fire hydrant at that location. Mrs. Ewald said no one is interested in delaying this an additional two weeks, therefore, she agreed to take another look at Mr. Kohliís letter to see if she can provide her authorization prior to Mr. Kohliís return.

Hearings

Altemose Conditional Use Application

Mr. Oeste announced this is a continuation of a hearing for an assisted living facility. The hearing was recorded by Mr. Tom Corcoran, Court Reporter.

At 8:53 P.M., Mr. Willig arrived and Mr. Hogan called for a short break. The meeting reconvened at 9:03 P.M. at which time it was decided that the cross-examination of the witness would be continued to a future meeting. Mr. Oeste asked if any others present would like to ask questions, but all deferred until a later date. Mr. Oeste announced the hearing would be continued to April 21, 2003, at 7:30 P.M. in Room 154 of the Great Valley Middle School. He added that if the meeting needed to be cancelled due to inclement weather or other emergency, the hearing would be continued to the third Monday in May.

Old Business (contíd.)

Deerfield Settlement Stipulation

Mr. Charles Dobson, P.E., indicated he and his client are in complete agreement with the terms spelled out in Mr. Oesteís draft letter to Mr. Dobson dated February 11, 2003, and asked if the Board members were also in agreement with it.

After some discussion, Mr. Kuhn moved to approve, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Hogan called for discussion. Mr. Willig asked where things stand upon approval of the stipulation agreement, and Mr. Oeste indicated the applicant will go forward with their Preliminary Plan which the Board will review.

Mr. Oeste indicated he would change Section Number 501.6.2.11.1 to 501.6.2.11 in Paragraph 9. Mrs. Ewald recommended approval subject to the above-mentioned change. Mr. Hogan called the vote and all were in favor.

Preliminary Subdivision Plan - Pikeland Road

John C. Snyder, Esq., said he did not feel there were any more outstanding issues. Mrs. Ewald asked if he was in agreement with the language with respect to trails. Mr. Snyder responded he had not received any language regarding trails. Mr. Oeste indicated the language was distributed to the Board but not to Mr. Snyder.

Mr. Snyder said he could not bind lot #10 any more than what was in the prior note, but said he would take a look at the trail language. Mrs. Ewald suggested the Board give approval based on the trail language being part of the conditions.

Mr. Snyder read the trail language and stated he feels that telling Mrs. Scipione she cannot subdivide her property unless she puts a trail in that location is unfair. He added he is not authorized on her behalf to say she will agree to it. He said she has told the Board she will consider it and will take a look at it in the field when appropriate, and feels that is all that can be asked of her.

Mr. Kuhn asked if Mr. Snyder would grant an extension, and Mr. Snyder said he is not sure he could do that, because it is his feeling that what the Board is asking for is not a requirement in order for Mrs. Scipione to subdivide her property. He reiterated he cannot bind her to the obligation to grant the Township an easement.

Mr. Willig questioned Mr. Snyderís implied assumption that it is the intention of the Board to make this trail intrusive. Mr. Snyder responded he did not intend to imply that was the Boardís intention, but that the Board should trust Mrs. Scipione to work with them on this issue.

Mr. Kuhn recommended that the trail be located and marked now. His feeling was if Mrs. Scipione could not see the trail during times of no vegetation, then she should not have an issue with having the trail run through a portion of her property. Again Mr. Snyder stated he could not accept a note on her behalf that obligates her to allow the trail. Mrs. Ewald responded that the Board can, in fact, give Mr. Snyder a condition of approval which he then has the option of accepting or not accepting. Mr. Snyder stated the Board can give him a condition of approval if they have a basis for it in the law.

Mr. Kuhn asked if Mrs. Scipione understands the risk of waiting until there is vegetation in that location. Mr. Vaughan indicated he was in agreement with Mr. Snyderís position. He said he asked Mrs. Scipione to attend the meeting, but she was not present.

Mr. Theurkauf indicated Mrs. Scipione gave her word to work with the Board on this issue at the October 8, 2002 Planning Commission meeting. He said he thought having Mrs. Scipione walk the land was a good idea and a good way to resolve the issue. He said he suggested they get to work on finding a solution, but has yet to hear from anyone.

Mr. Kuhn suggested delaying until they could get Mrs. Scipione to walk the property, and said as far as he was concerned, it could be done within that week. Mr. Willig asked what can be done between the Preliminary and Final Plans, and Mr. Oeste said nothing can be added to the Final Plan that isnít on the Preliminary Plan.

Mrs. Ewald said she appreciates the fact that Mrs. Scipione attended the Planning Commission meetings, but said she should have come to the Board meeting as well since they are the decision-making body. Mr. Vaughan said he would have no problem calling her the next day in order to get her out to take a look at the property. His concern is that, after doing all of this, a place for the trail may still not be possible. Mr. Kuhn agreed that possibility exists, and stated that if that does become the case, at least everyone tried in earnest.

Mr. Theurkauf said it is his inclination that the trail would not be able to be kept uniformly close to the road, however, he feels the impact on visibility would be minimal, if existent. He said he is interested in meeting with the property owner on-site to hear her specific concerns and determine if there is a practical way to address them.

Mr. Hogan asked if it was possible to board-walk over the wetlands, and Mr. Theurkauf said itís possible, but would incur additional cost and maintenance. In his opinion that may be more invasive.

Mr. Snyder said Mrs. Scipione is not concerned about seeing people go through the back of her property. She is more concerned about those people being able to see her activities in her backyard. Mrs. Ewald agreed that those are real and legitimate concerns that need to be worked out. Mr. Snyder indicated that is what Mrs. Scipione is doing by having the note on the plan. Mrs. Ewald asked Mr. Theurkauf if there is another route on the property that doesnít include that lot. He answered there is, but that alternative would impact five residents which was originally deemed to be unacceptable to the applicant.

Mr. Kuhn asked if best efforts could be made to tag trees delineating a proposed trail within the next five days. He added he is not very comfortable with the language on the plan. Mr. Snyder said he thinks Mrs. Scipione has made a commitment to work with the Township and said he would help in any way he can to get her to allow the trail.

Mr. Hogan asked if Mrs. Scipione is sympathetic to having a trail. Mr. Vaughan responded that she is, but she is concerned about the impact on her. Mr. Kuhn asked if a buffer around her property could be delineated and a note could be added to specify the trail must be within the trees.

Mr. Kuhn referenced the trail language written by Mr. Oeste and pointed out that it said the trail would meander through the woods. He added that if the trail cannot be kept within the woods, as far as he was concerned, it could not be required, but that the Board will have given it their best shot. He said he is not interested in creating a privacy issue for Mrs. Scipione.

Mr. Snyder asked who would make the decision as to firm footing and visibility, and Mrs. Ewald responded it would be decided between the Board, their consultants, and the homeowner. Mr. Kuhn added, as far as he was concerned, Mrs. Scipione would be the decision-maker.

Mrs. Ewald said she would like to talk to Mr. Oeste regarding this issue and then made a motion to approve. Mr. Oeste indicated he had a few issues with note #39 which deals with the slopes on lot 33. He feels the note has to be specific and would like it to contain verbiage stating that construction wonít be done in slopes in excess of 15% and that the homeowner could not come back to submit a conditional use application. He said this would be one condition of approval. Secondly, Mr. Oeste said the Homeowners documents will need to be approved by the Township, specifically with regards to stormwater maintenance. Finally, Mr. Oeste said he would like to see Lot #11 deed restricted so it can never be built on. Mr. Snyder said he has no issue whatsoever with any type of restriction the Township wants placed on Lot 11.

Mr. Kuhn asked what the time clock was on this subdivision plan, and Mrs. Ewald said the deadline was tonight. Mrs. Ewald confirmed with Mr. Oeste that the above-mentioned three issues, along with the trail issue, the Kohli letter dated March 5, 2003, and the Tom Comitta and Associates letter dated January 23, 2003 were all that were outstanding at this time. Mr. Oeste suggested finding out what in the January 23, 2003 Tom Comitta letter the applicant is willing to comply with. Mr. Oeste asked for a two-week extension to iron out these issues. Mr. Snyder indicated he had already given an extension previously and didnít want to extend further.

There was some discussion regarding the landscaping of the development. The Township would like a buffer of meadow grasses, etc. along Pikeland Road in order to have the development blend with the current landscape of the Township. Mr. Vaughan was not in agreement with the Township dictating how someone maintains their front yard. Mr. Allen said the Township is trying to minimize the impact of manicured lawns. Mr. Oeste said the Township ordinance still requires the developer to do tree replacement, and Mr. Snyder said they have a landscape plan to show that. Mr. Theurkauf said his concern had more to do with the fact that three-inch caliper trees, for many reasons, cannot replace mature trees. He added that he has seen nothing to document the health of these trees, which the applicant says is poor, and wants tree protection measures added to the plan.

Mr. Willig indicated more effort should be made to save mature trees. Mr. Kuhn said if trees are being replaced per the Township ordinance, he did not feel this plan could be held up due to that issue. Mr. Snyder said each tree situation is unique and must be dealt with in the field. Mr. Vaughan said he is interested in saving trees that are worth saving and that he has done so in the past. Mr. Willig said the Board is not approving Mr. Vaughanís past performance, but rather they are approving this plan. Mrs. Ewald said they would just like to see it on the plan.

Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Oeste to frame a motion based on the conditions discussed. Mr. Oeste said the following items will be conditions of approval:

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve based on the conditions outlined by Mr. Oeste, and Mr. Kuhn and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Hogan called the vote and all were in favor.

New Business

Schedule of Conditional Use Hearing for Subdivision Services/Outdoor Advertising

The Conditional Use hearing for Subdivision Services/Outdoor Advertising was scheduled for April 21, 2003.

Schedule of Hearing for Proposed Zoning Amendment by Performance Auto

The hearing for a proposed zoning amendment by Performance Auto was scheduled for April 21, 2003.

Other Business

Mrs. Ewald asked Mrs. Csete to make the Board aware of a petition that was received. Mrs. Csete indicated a petition was received from Mr. Joe OíBrien regarding the Traffic Calming recommendations for Union Hill and Rees Road. The traffic calming recommendations call for three speed bumps and one speed table on Union Hill Road and two new speed tables on Rees Road. There were 114 signatures gathered from residents of Charlestown Township who were opposed to the above-mentioned traffic calming measures.

Mr. Kuhn said he noticed there was a lengthy conversation in the phone log regarding a rent-a-cop. He said it is good information to have, but not an area he is interested in pursuing. He added he would be interested in what the cost of using East Whiteland for speed control would be. Mrs. Ewald suggested Schuylkill Township rather than East Whiteland, since they are more like Charlestown Township. Mr. Willig asked if something couldnít be done by utilizing the State Police rather than going to one of the Townships, and Mrs. Ewald suggested asking the State Police to provide their annual summary report of their services to the Township. She asked Mrs. Csete to circulate the latest report on file. Mr. Kuhn stated that if the Board is going to rethink the speed bump/speed table proposal on Union Hill and Rees Roads, there should be some sort of alternative plan.

Ms. Loretta Watson indicated that the Open Space Commission arranged for a presentation in conjunction with the Historical Society and changed the date after the Historical Society had announced it in their newsletter. This conflict caused the Historical Society to have to mail postcards to the residents to notify them of the date change. Ms. Watson was requesting the Board reimburse the Historical Society $67.29 for the postage required for the additional mailing. Mr. Kuhn asked her to call Mr. Motel and work it out with him.

Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 10:49 P.M. The next meeting will be held on April 7, 2003, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.

Respectfully submitted,


Melanie M. Lammers
Recording Secretary