The first business meeting for March was held March 7, 2005, at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Kevin R. Kuhn, Chairman, Mike Rodgers, Vice Chairman, Hugh Willig, Charles Philips, Tom Oeste, Esq., Surender Kohli, P.E., 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.
Mr. Kuhn announced that Mr. Hogan came out of the Intensive Care Unit late Friday. He had pneumonia and a yeast infection in his throat, but is now in a regular room. Mrs. Csete offered a Get Well card for everyone to sign.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the February 7, 2005 minutes, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Willig moved to approve the February 1-28, 2005 Treasurer’s Report, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion. Mr. Philips asked Mrs. Csete to go over the Earned Income Tax information provided by Paul Robinson of Centax when she spoke to him earlier today. Last year, the Township estimated receipt of an estimated $450,000 in Earned Income Tax revenue, but only received $250,000. She explained that Berkheimer Associates collects earned income tax in various municipalities, as does Centax. The two tax collection agencies have a reciprocal agreement by which funds are transferred between them. This transfer did not take place as quickly as anticipated, which caused the lower receipts in 2004. The money has now come in. The Township’s revenue is now on target for last year; however, the 2004 figures won’t reflect it. The $600,000 for this year should be in by the end of this year should be very close to what was budgeted.
Mr. Kuhn said he contacted Centax a few weeks ago regarding 2005 earned income tax return forms not being received by township residents. Mr. Robinson acknowledged that approximately 80% of what has been coming in has been on generic forms from CPA’s, so they re-mailed the final return forms to each resident of Charlestown, with a memo attached explaining that there had been a problem with the first mailing.
Mr. Kuhn called the vote for approval of the February Treasurer’s Report, and all were in favor.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the March 7, 2005 Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Philips moved to approve the March 7, 2005 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable Report, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the March 7, 2005 State Fund Accounts Payable 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 accept the monthly reports, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Rodgers said the Valley Forge Sewer Authority report was not approved yet; it will be available next month.
Mr. Kohli had distributed information previously to the Supervisors outlining the requirements for setting up the Board of Appeals. It is now up to the Board of Supervisors to appoint the individuals in the Township to serve on this board. Mr. Kuhn said Lee Ledbetter of Schuylkill Township indicated previously they are willing to form a joint board if Charlestown is interested. Mr. Kuhn asked how many members need to be on the Board of Appeals and when it has to be in place. Mrs. Csete said it is a 5 member board and should be formed as soon as possible. Mr. Oeste said to keep in mind that this is something that is hardly ever used, so serving on the board shouldn’t be very time consuming for its members.
Mr. Kuhn asked if anyone would like to champion getting this Board together. Some Board members said they would make calls and try to pull something together by May 1, 2005. Mr. Kuhn asked if it is for a one-year term, and Mr. Oeste said there is no defined limit. Mr. Kuhn asked Mrs. Csete to summarize the purpose and requirements and have it posted on the Township’s web site to invite interested residents to come forward.
Mr. Oeste said a decision was drafted which approves the application subject to the following seven conditions:
Mr. Oeste said the applicant would still need to obtain a variance for disturbance of very steep slopes from the Zoning Hearing Board.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the Devault Foods Conditional Use Application subject to the above-mentioned conditions, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
The applicant thanked the Board.
Mr. Philip said he sent a note to Mr. Kuhn recommending that since the budget has been approved and there are already plans for the stabilization of the school, the project should get underway under Mr. Alston’s direction. Mr. Kuhn confirmed the project consists of capping the stones of the remaining walls, signage, cleanup, and fencing. Mr. Kuhn asked if there is a more specific scope of work or if one is needed.
Mr. Kuhn said he would like to delay the Mill parging discussion until Mr. Hogan is present, unless too much time passes. He asked Mrs. Csete to add it to the next agenda. He said if township employees are brought in for that project, it might be good to have them move over onto the Longwood School project rather than have it go out for bid. Mr. Philips recommended addressing the two projects separately, and Mr. Willig agreed.
A woman asked what is being stabilized. Mr. Philips said they would be capping the rest of the ruins to keep them from falling down. He said the Township is not looking to restore the structure, but rather to memorialize the location. The woman asked for what purpose, and Mr. Kuhn said because of its historical significance. Mr. Kuhn asked Mrs. Csete to obtain a draft scope of work and specifications from Dale Frens to incorporate into a bid package.
Mr. Philips moved to approve asking Mr. Frens to put together the scope and specifications for a bid package for the Longwood School, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Michael Desfor said he and his wife own and operate a boarding, training, and competing horse business. He said they spend 30-35 hours per week on the road with 60-65% of the horses showing. He said all of the horses are privately owned by 5-6 families. They provide 1-2 person riding lessons. They would like to be a high-reaching operation that caters to those who want to ride at a top level. Mr. Desfor said his wife, Carolyn, as well as her parents, have competed in and won at prestigious events, and the entire family is involved in some aspect or another.
Mr. Desfor said he would like to take the side field at the corner of Merlin and Yellow Springs Roads and build an 80x200 foot arena with a 36x80 foot attachment containing stalls, a tack room, and an observation room. He said it would enhance what they do presently and would allow for year-round training.
Mr. Desfor said he knows issues have been raised as to whether this is an agricultural use. He said they are a young couple who have put everything into their acquiring of this property and they hope to stay for a long time by establishing this business to help support it. He said the neighbors all around him do similar activities for revenue-generating purposes. He believes it is a proper agricultural use. He said he is about one year behind where he thought he would be in the process and wants to get this done. Mr. Kuhn said his understanding of this process is that the Board wants to foster this type of use in Charlestown Township, but not at any price.
Mr. Kohli and some Board members raised issues that this property is zoned Farm Residential and the horse density on the property and the high groundwater issues and setbacks for structures may be issues.
Mr. Kohli said Mr. Theurkauf sent a memo out defining the density/wetlands problems. Mr. Kuhn asked if the Township ordinance specifies what the required acreage needs to be. Mr. Kohli said it is not spelled out, but the lot area definition is spelled out and takes the net of certain areas such as wetlands, steep slopes, etc. He said the ordinance requires a minimum of four acres for the first horse and one acre for each subsequent horse. He added that the building is quite large and would sit on the corner of Yellow Springs and Merlin Roads. He said it is in line with the 100-foot setback, but that there are other issues to be dealt with.
Mr. Kuhn asked far apart we are with the number of horses versus what the land will support under the ordinance. Mr. Kohli said Mr. Theurkauf’s memo indicates that of the 46 acres, only 14 are available for pasture. The rest is taken up by flood plains, wetlands, existing buildings, etc.
Mr. Philips questioned whether this is the only place the building can be erected.
Mr. Philips asked if this is a business, and if it is allowed under the ordinance. Mr. Kuhn said it is a business and personally thinks it of a nature the Township wants to foster. Mr. Willig asked if it is defined as a business in the same way as a farm is defined as a business. Mr. Oeste said he would have to look at it.
Mr. Philips said his concern is that the operation could become something else later. He is also concerned with the stream’s water quality. Mr. Kuhn said the Board must determine if the intent proposed is acceptable to the Township. Mr. Kohli said the applicant should look into whether the building could be located somewhere else on the site. Mr. Allen said there could be stormwater problems with a building that large. Mr. Philips asked if it could be placed somewhere else, and Mr. Desfor responded that it is located well over 200 feet from the stream and is not encroaching on any wetlands. He said it allows them to keep the most amount of field space and he envisions it being tree-lined. Mr. Philips said he would rather have it moved farther from the road. Mr. Allen said it is about 23,000 square feet in size. Mr. Philips said he does not have a problem with the facility, but has a problem with the size of the building being so close to the road.
Mr. Willig said he can understand not wanting to use up the pasture with the building, but said the adjacent high-quality stream must be considered. Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Desfor to present his proposal to the Planning Commission first. Mr. Kuhn asked if it would be a Conditional Use application. Mr. Oeste said he would talk to Mr. Kohli. He said they may need a variance, but first wants to learn more about what they are doing. Mr. Oeste said it does not fall strictly within the definition of agriculture, but does not know if it may be something that can be done under the Conditional Use process. Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Oeste for an opinion letter as to whether this is a Zoning Hearing Board issue or a Conditional Use issue. Mr. Kuhn said he would like to see a compromise. Mr. Philips agreed, but stated the Board needs to be careful. Mr. Kuhn said he thinks this is a Conditional Use issue rather than a Zoning issue, and said he is in favor of trying to make the situation work considering it will keep 30-50 acres in farmland. He asked Mr. Oeste to look into how this can best be handled.
The hearing was scheduled for the April 4, 2005 meeting.
Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Kohli to provide an update on the Sal Lapio roof issue at Charlestown Oaks. Mr. Kohli said the ice damming that occurred for one of the homeowners is a rare event. Mr. Willig asked if it was observed as ice damming or if that is just what Sal Lapio says it is. Mr. Kohli said he was not told they had any other leaks or problems.
Mr. Kohli said quite a few trees have been planted and now that it is time for dedication, the Sewer Authority will not accept unless the trees are removed from its right of way. He said the Township can have the trees or they will be discarded. Mr. Kuhn asked if they could be used at the park, and Mr. Willig said some of them could be used there. Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Kohli to talk to the developer to find out if they agree to pay the Township for their removal. Mr. Kohli said the issue is that they have already spent money and time on these trees and are unlikely to agree. He said they plan to remove them as expeditiously as possible. It was decided that Mr. Kohli will allow the developer to proceed accordingly.
Mr. Philips asked for follow-up on the group interested in finding a location to construct an indoor sports complex. Mr. Fillippo of Devault Foods indicated they are now in the process of conducting a feasibility study. One idea was to incorporate a senior citizen center with the indoor sports facilities. He said the budget was about $3,000,000 on the facility and that they are looking at one of his Devault properties.
Mr. Fillippo said, in thinking out of the box, it could potentially be combined with a Township building and offices. Mr. Philips suggested they keep going and have conversations with Board. Mr. Willig said he assumes they would not think of coming to the Board until they had a site selected. Mr. Philips said the Board is still interested in seeing what can be done.
Mr. Kuhn talked about holding a joint meeting to discuss the Jenkins property. He said he does not agree with the Planning Commission on taking down the house on the property. Mr. Kuhn said he would like to make a decision one way or another. He said he is not inclined to take house down, but that is just his opinion. Mr. Allen said he does not see the value in retaining it. He thinks the plan works better with it out of there. Mr. Rodgers said he thinks taking the house down would be more advantageous. Mr. Philips asked if they should instead go to three lots so they have more park space. Mr. Kuhn was not in agreement with that. He asked for input from other Board members. Mr. Allen thinks the Township will get the necessary money out of it regardless, so he suggested they look at what is the best plan. Mr. Willig asked for it to be sketched out to see how it lays out. Mr. Kohli will talk to the designer to get a sketch without the house.
Mr. Philips moved to adjourn the meeting, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 8:43 P.M. The next Board of Supervisors meeting will be held at 7:30 P.M. on March 21, 2005, in room 154 of the Great Valley Middle School.