The third business meeting for July was held July 31, 2003, at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Paul Hogan, Chairman, Irene W. Ewald, Mike Rodgers, Kevin R. Kuhn, Mark Thompson, Esq., 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.
Mr. Kuhn announced that Mr. Vincent G. Kling recently received a prestigious Philadelphia architectural award.
Resident, Ginny Durkin voiced her interest in becoming a member of the Zoning Hearing Board. It was decided this topic would be discussed at the end of the meeting.
Mark Thompson, Esq., explained that the Board of Supervisors has two options; they can enact an Earned Income Tax up to 1% and/or enact a 0.5% tax to be used solely for the use of Open Space preservation over and above the 1%. He said that to do the first option, an ordinance would need to be passed. He said the second would require a referendum be put on the November ballot. He added that if the referendum were to pass, the tax would be enacted.
Mr. Kuhn said there was some confusion, as the Board had already passed on its intent to enact a 0.5% Earned Income Tax at the prior meeting. He said this meeting was to pass an ordinance to put a referendum on the November ballet asking residents to vote as to the use of those fundsóto solely dedicate them, or not, for the purpose of open space preservation. He felt the referendum, as written, would imply the Township was asking residents to vote on whether they wanted an Earned Income Tax, not simply whether to use it for Open Space preservation. He was very concerned that residents would be confused by its purpose and asked if there were another way this could be accomplished. Mr. Thompson said this is the only way, via Act 153, that the funds could be dedicated to Open Space preservation. He explained that the Township can impose up to a 1% Earned Income Tax outside of the Act 153 tax, but to impose a tax to be specifically dedicated for Open Space preservation, it must be done via Act 153 and the other 1% could be imposed later if the Board so chose. Mr. Kuhn was concerned and said this was not the intent of the Board. He said the Boardís intention was to only impose a 0.5% Earned Income Tax, and to ask the residents, via referendum, if the monies collected from that tax should be sole dedicated to Open Space preservation. He added that additionally, it was the desire of the Board to prevent future Boards from being able to change the use of these funds, unless by a new referendum. Mr. Thompson indicated that this is the most bullet-proof method to ensure the funds will be used for Open Space preservation, but that it does not bind future Boards, as they can simply repeal this tax and institute another tax which is not slated for Open Space preservation if they so choose. Several Board members agreed with Mr. Kuhn and were not comfortable with putting the current referendum out to voters.
After some discussion, Mr. Rodgers moved to not have the referendum on the November ballot, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Hogan called for discussion. Mrs. Ewald said she thought the referendum should be put on the ballot as written. Mr. Hogan called the vote. Three were in favor, and one was opposed.
One-year resident of Charlestown and mother of four, school-aged children, Ginny Durkin, voiced her interest in becoming a member of the Zoning Hearing Board. Mrs. Ewald asked Ms. Durkin if she was aware of what the Zoning Hearing Board does, and Ms. Durkin responded with some ideas of what she thought they did.
Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Thompson to explain the role of the Zoning Hearing Board. Mr. Thompson said the role of the Zoning Hearing Board is to interpret the Zoning Ordinance developed by the Board of Supervisors and to consider applications for variances. He said it mainly provides an interpretation function and is a quasi-judicial functional Board.
Mrs. Ewald said this task requires legal interpretation and a broad-based knowledge and recommended Ms. Durkin explore other options for serving the township. Mr. Kuhn disagreed, stating that there are others with a lot of experience currently on the Zoning Hearing Board, as well as an attorney; therefore, he felt anyone with a logical thought process could fulfill the duties of a Zoning Hearing Board member. He added that there are two appointments to make to this Board and said Ms. Durkinís enthusiasm was appreciated. Mr. Rodgers also said he was glad she showed an interest.
Mr. Kuhn moved to adjourn the meeting, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 8:23 P.M. The next meeting will be held on August 4, 2003, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.