The first business meeting for October was held October 4, 2004, at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Kevin R. Kuhn, Chairman, Mike Rodgers, Vice Chairman, Paul Hogan, Charlie Philips, Hugh Willig, Surender Kohli, P.E., Thomas F. Oeste, Esq., Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator, and those on the attached list were present.
The meeting was called to order at 7:00 P.M.
The Supervisors and Township Administrator met with the chairpersons of various township boards as well as the Roadmaster/Fire Marshal to review budgeting and spending guidelines for 2005. Budget projections are due by October 15th in order to prepare a preliminary budget for review at the Supervisors’ October 25, 2004 budget work session. The Supervisors have also requested that each department prepare a five-year plan over the next six months in order to improve long range planning efforts. In attendance were:
Rosemary Philips, HARB Chairman
Andy Motel, Open Space Commission Chairman
Michael Allen, Planning Commission Chairman
Fred Alston, Fire Marshal and Roadmaster
Suzanne O’Brien Riley, Parks & Rec Chairman
Alix Coleman, Chairman of the Brightside Farm Committee, arrived later in the meeting and will be briefed separately.
There were no announcements.
No citizen’s forum items were brought forward.
Mr. Willig moved to approve the minutes of September 20, 2004, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion. Mr. Philips noted that he is listed as motioning to adjourn the meeting but wasn’t present. With this correction, Mr. Kuhn called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the September 1 – 30, 2004 Treasurer’s Report, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the October 4, 2004 General Fund Accounts Payable report, with the exception of check #3007, which appears to be a duplicate. Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Willig moved to ratify the transfer of $80,000 from the General Fund to the Open Space Improvement Fund on October 1, 2004, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Willig moved to approve the October 4, 2004 Open Space Improvement Fund, Accounts Payables report, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
The Board congratulated township residents David Reis, Matthew Neri and Andrew Hall, who achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and led their Eagle Scout projects in Charlestown, including the design and construction of an Observation deck overlooking the wetlands and other scenic natural areas at Charlestown Park, birdhouses for the Great Valley Nature Center, and bridges at the Nature Center. Supervisor Charlie Philips, himself an Eagle Scout, presented each Eagle Scout with the Good Citizenship Award on behalf of the Board of Supervisors, after which time photos were taken.
Mr. Kuhn listed which reports had been received and asked if anyone had any additional comments or questions. There being none, Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the reports, and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion. Mr. Philips had a question on the Plan Status Report and whether there was a time extension for one of the applications. Mr. Oeste confirmed he had received the extension. Mr. Kuhn called the vote and all were in favor.
There was no Old Business.
Mr. Hogan asked if Mark Cabot could be directed to do the work on the calf barn that was estimated last month to cost about $2,000 for labor and materials. Mr. Rodgers asked if the repairs were proposed only because Newell Burdick has been keeping calves there. Mr. Hogan responded that the repairs are needed regardless. Mr. Kuhn said his recollection is that this structure wasn’t high on Dale Frens’ list of recommendations for improvements at the Farm, and suggested that Mr. Burdick provide volunteer labor for the job. After some discussion, the Board reached a consensus, Mr. Rodgers dissenting, that the Township would cover the cost of the materials, and Mr. Cabot and Mr. Burdick would work together to affect the repairs.
Suzanne Riley, Chairman of the Parks & Rec Board, explained the proposed scope for a fencing project that will have to go out for public bid since the estimated cost will exceed $10,000, with initial estimates between $13,500 and $15,000. The Valley Forge Christian College has pledged $5,000 toward the fencing. The proposal is for 400 feet of commercial grade black aluminum fencing between the basketball court and its parking lot, and along Academic Way beside the basketball court and tot lot. The quote is to include installation. Mr. Philips moved to advertise the bid for opening at 2:00 P.M. at the township office, to be awarded at the October 25, 2004 meeting. Mrs. Csete indicated she needs a sketch plan to accompany the bid package, which Ms. Riley will obtain.
Ms. Riley said the Parks and Rec Board is looking into the cost to replace the five deteriorated benches at the tot lot with new ones made either of composite material (trex type) or other weather resistant material such as cedar. To conform to new ADA requirements, the benches must have arms. The Board indicated their preference for the composite material, which are higher priced initially at about $600 each, but will require less maintenance as time goes on.
Ms. Riley noted other matters at the Park which need attention, including 4 dead trees to be removed, and heat sealing for the walking path. She reported that recently new mulch was put down in the tot lot, and that all the swings and swing chains have been replaced. For next year, they would like to include a portapotty in their budget as that arrangement worked out well this year.
Mr. Robert A. Bruce was present to provide an overview of his application to the Zoning Hearing Board for a variance to allow the construction of a garage/artist’s studio addition to his house at 2056 Seven Oaks Road. The proposed addition would encroach on the 100 foot setback from a wetland area. Due to the triangular shape of the lot and the location of his septic system, Mr. Bruce said there was no alternative area for this structure. Mr. Philips was concerned that allowing this variance would set a precedent, particularly as the 100 foot buffer requirement is a recent zoning change. Mr. Kuhn said he is more concerned with new subdivision and land development plans than with this type of situation. Mr. Kuhn asked about the stormwater run off. Mr. Bruce responded that there is an E & S plan that shows the drainage and provides a catch basin, which is outside of the buffer area. After some discussion, the Board decided to take no position on the application, provided the basin be constructed as an underground basin.
Mrs. Csete explained that Charlestown’s Agricultural Security Area (ASA) was first established in 1998, and has now come up for its first seven-year review as required by the state. At this time, the existing parcels forming the ASA are reviewed to determine whether they still qualify, and new parcels may be added. All property owners with over 10 acres of land have received a mailing explaining the ASA and inviting them to join by completing a form to be returned to the Township Office.
The ASA is reviewed by the County Planning Commission, Charlestown’s Planning Commission, and an ASA Committee to be appointed by the Supervisors. This committee must include 3 area farmers, one resident, and one supervisor. Mr. Kuhn moved to appoint the following individuals to serve on the ASA Committee for the Seven Year Review:
Janet Baldwin – resident
Marcia Solda – farmer
Bill Andersen – farmer
Michael Rodgers – supervisor
Mr. Philips seconded. With no further discussion, Mr. Kuhn called the vote and all were in favor.
The Board will continue to seek an additional farmer willing to serve on the committee to complete its formation. Mrs. Csete will contact Jim Thompson and Carl Fisher to see if either of them would be interested. After the reviews are completed, the next step will be to hold a public hearing for the re-adoption of the ASA, targeted for January 2005.
Mr. Rodgers moved to adopt Resolution #634-04 authorizing the scheduling of a public hearing for November 15, 2004, 7:30 P.M., at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA on a proposed Zoning Ordinance and Zoning Map Amendment establishing four new zoning districts and changing the zoning classification of certain property from LI-1 and LI-2 to FR, I/O, RC, B-1, and LI/B. Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion. There being none, he called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mr. Hogan moved to approve making application for a matching grant from the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau for additional work to be done on the Charlestown Woolen Mill. This work would include site lighting, cleaning of the head race and restoring the head gate, parging of the interior side of the stone walls, reinstallation of the mill equipment, floor framing and partial flooring. The grant amount requested is $75,000, half of the projected total cost of $150,000. Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion. There being none, he called the vote, and all were in favor.
The Board directed the Administrator to send a letter to PennDOT requesting a stop sign study for the intersection of Foster and Bodine Roads. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion. Mr. Alston said that due to the vertical curve on Bodine, the stop sign wouldn’t deter speeding since it won’t be seen for much distance. Also, he recalls PennDOT turned down this same request made about 1 ½ years ago. Mr. Kuhn asked that Mr. Wright on Bodine Road be sent a copy of the previous PennDOT request and the new one, and that Mr. Alston conduct traffic counts to get preliminary information prior to PennDOT’s study, which will take more time.
The following bids for Sodium Chloride for the 2004-2005 Winter Season were opened and read aloud:
Northern American Salt Co. – no bid
Oceanport Industries – $54.50 per ton delivered
Cargill Deicing Technologies – no bid
International Salt Co. – $54.29 per ton delivered
The bids will be turned over to Mr. Kohli for review, and the bid award will be made at the November 1st meeting. Mr. Alston commented that International Salt had serious supply problems last year, and that Oceanport, while faced with similar supply problems, provided better service on their salt contracts.
Mr. Hogan moved to enter into an agreement for appraisal services with Tom Bearoff, Bearoff & Company, for 270 acres of land in Charlestown Township owned by members of the Stonorov family, in order to determine the market value of the property to facilitate acquisition of development rights and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion. There being none, he called the vote, and all were in favor.
The Board agreed to send a letter drafted by Mr. Kuhn to Stockton Illoway, President of the French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, outlining modifications to the Baughman Farm easements presently held by the Trust, in order to facilitate the sale of the property. Mr. Kuhn provided the Secretary with a revised draft that includes edits suggested by Rosemary Philips.
Mr. Kuhn described water run off problems being experienced along Charlestown Road at Swiss Pines, and expressed his concern over this condition once freezing temperatures arrive. He proposed contacting PennDOT and requesting that they look into the matter and take corrective measures before winter. Mr. Alston said he is meeting with PennDOT tomorrow with regard to other matters and will add this to the discussion.
Mrs. Csete asked for a count of board members planning to attend the November 4th convention of the Chester County Association of Township Officials, to be held at the Mendenhall Inn. Governor Rendell is listed as guest speaker. Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Philips plan to attend, and the other members will respond shortly.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve Escrow Release #2, for Phase I of Charlestown Meadows in the amount of $878,686.02, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion. There being none, he called the vote, and all were in favor.
Bill Dion of Pulte Homes introduced himself to the Board, as his firm has purchased the Deerfield subdivision and will be working with the township and seeking various approvals in the future.
Brightside Farm Committee Chairman Alix Coleman was present for a discussion on program planning at the Farm. Mr. Kuhn said Mr. Philips expressed interest in chairing a subcommittee to focus solely on program design for the property. The subcommittee would include a member of the Brightside Farm Committee, Historical Commission, and possibly others. There was some discussion on how to approach the planning: fix up the buildings and then plan uses, or vice versa. Mr. Willig noted that Frens and Frens’ report originally stated that the individual buildings were not of great historical value, but taken as a whole, the farm is a good example of a late 18th century – early 19th century farm. Mr. Kuhn expressed interest in planning uses that keep it like a farm, and Ms. Coleman agreed that she doesn’t see it as a recreational park, but should instead have projects like the community gardens that were a great success this year. She suggested looking at the estuary around the springhouse, which is very picturesque and could be cleaned up and planted with marine-type specimens. She also suggested a horticultural use for the barn, to be used for flower drying over the winter months. The Board recommended doing some research on similar facilities elsewhere, and what types of programs they have implemented.
Ms. Coleman mentioned that quotes were solicited for additional electric work needed at the farm to switch out a fuse box for a breaker panel. Davidson Electric will do this work for $1,125.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:48 P.M., after which time the Board went into Executive Session to discuss legal matters. The next meeting will be held on October 18, 2004 at 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.