The first business meeting for July was held July 11, 2005, at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Kevin R. Kuhn, Chairman, Mike Rodgers, Vice Chairman, Hugh Willig, Charles Philips, Paul Hogan, James E. McErlane, Esq., Mark Thompson, Esq., Surender Kohli, P.E., Tom Comitta, Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator, and those on the attached list were present.
The meeting was called to order at 7:32 P.M.
Mr. Hogan was happy to announce he and Jean Helker are getting married next month.
No matters were brought forward at this time.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the June 6, 2005 minutes, 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 June 1 - 30, 2005 Treasurer's report, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and Mr. Philips asked for an explanation of the various phone and internet accounts, which was provided by Fred Alston and the Secretary. Mr. Kuhn then called the vote and all were in favor.
Mr. Philips moved to approve the July 1, 2005 Operating Fund Payroll 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 July 11, 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. Rodgers moved to approve the July 11, 2005 Open Space 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 as submitted, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion. There being none, Mr. Kuhn called the vote. All were in favor. Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Alston if a response was required to the letter from University MedEvac dated June 13, 2005, and Mr. Alston responded no. Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Alston if he saw the memo from Vince Pompo, Esq. regarding liability when taking over a road from PennDOT, and Mr. Alston said yes, and he would review it.
Jim McErlane, Esq. opened the hearing for the application, and the proceedings were recorded by Tom Corcoran, Court Reporter. The following witnesses gave testimony:
The following exhibits were entered into the record:
By the Township:
|•||T-1||Proof of Publication in the Daily Local News;|
|•||T-2||Memorandum date 7/7/05 from Thomas Comitta Associates.|
By the Applicant:
|•||A-1||Set of 12 color photographs of the site;|
|•||A-2||Sheet 3 of 6 from plan set #04-0600 dated 6/22/05 titled Improvement Site|
|•||A-3||Response Letter from Mike Keffer dated June 29, 2005 addressed to|
|•||A-4||Letter of notification sent to adjacent property owners with green return receipt cards.|
The hearing was closed, and the Board will render a decision within 45 days.
The proceedings were recorded by Tom Corcoran, Court Reporter. Mr. McErlane provided a summary of the conditions listed in the draft decision for the Bradco Supply Corporation Conditional Use application. Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the Draft Decision with the following change:
Condition # 7: Delete “Bradco shall advise those trucks making deliveries overnight that there are residences on the north side of Phoenixville Pike, and if they are to keep their motors running overnight, to move to an area where there will be least disturbance to neighbors.”
Replace with: “Bradco shall advise those trucks making deliveries overnight that there are residences on the north side of Phoenixville Pike, and they shall comply with the noise regulations under Section 1616 of the Zoning Ordinance. There shall be no motors running overnight.”
Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn explained that the Board has the option of joining a joint Board with Easttown Township, Malvern Borough and East Whiteland Township, which invited Charlestown to join them in a letter from Manager Terry Woodman at East Whiteland Township dated June 20, 2005.
Mrs. Csete stated that the Township has received three letters of interest from residents volunteering to serve on the Uniform Construction Code Board of Appeals. These individuals are: Glenn Boekell, builder, Thomas Babacz, P.E. and Bill Westhafer, architect. John Lackovic, present at this evening’s meeting, has expressed his interest verbally at a prior meeting.
After some discussion, the Board decided that since they have sufficient interest from residents in serving, they prefer to form their own UCC Board of Appeals. Mr. Willig will contact the applicants and make recommendations for the August 1, 2005 meeting. Mrs. Csete stated that the new board must also appoint its own solicitor.
Mr. Philips had previously distributed the Final Report of the Brightside Farm Strategic Planning Committee to the Board members. The committee was formed for the sole purpose of investigating and developing a list of potential uses for the 55 acre farm and adjacent 20.6 acres on Yellow Springs Road that are owned by the Township known as the Brightside Farm. The Board had tabled this matter to tonight from the June 6, 2005 meeting in order to review the report further prior to beginning discussions.
Mr. Philips provided a summary of the report recommendations, and the report is incorporated into the minutes in its entirety. Mr. Kuhn noted that although the portion of the farm that was purchased with county funding has restrictions against farming activities, the County may be willing to work out certain proposed uses involving agriculture with the township. The current operation of growing and mowing hay is acceptable because the primary function of this operation is to maintain the condition of the field.
Mr. Philips clarified that item #6 will be amended as the intention was not to recommend an immediate replacement of the current farmer but to recognize that a replacement may be needed at some time in the future. The Board was in consensus.
With regard to recommendation #1, to place an easement on the area of the farm containing the farmhouse and other structures, Mr. Kuhn voiced a concern not to be too restrictive, but to focus on the façade and restriction of future development. The Secretary will request recommendations from the Planning Commission, Open Space Commission and H.A.R.B. on language for the easement.
Mr. Kuhn felt it isn’t necessary to rush to get projects started, but maintenance needs must be addressed, as evidenced by Mr. Alston’s memo regarding the condition of the farmhouse windows.
Resident John Pittock asked if recommendation #2 to create a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program was practical given the number of others in the area. Mr. Willig said that the others have long waiting lists speaking to the growing interest in these programs. Mr. Pittock commented how much he enjoys gardening at the community garden at Brightside and asked if this would continue. Mr. Philips responded that the committee wants to keep this program, which continues to be very successful.
Mr. Pittock commented that as a 15-year resident of the township he feels the residents are extremely fortunate that the supervisors saw fit to purchase the Brightside Farm, and strongly supports converting the buildings for community use. He referred to Springton Manor as a good example of an educational use that could be done at Brightside on a smaller scale. He concluded his comments with an offer to volunteer for future projects relating to the Farm.
Russ Hanscom commented he was pleased to see the detailed report on the window assessment and recommendations, and asked if the proposed work was feasible. Mr. Kuhn said it would be discussed later in the meeting under New Business.
The Board discussed a revised list of proposed properties including a color-coded map indicating their locations, which the Open Space Commission recommends be added to the Township’s Official Map. Open Space Chairman Sue Staas stated that the list was pared down after focusing on viewsheds. Mr. Philips referenced his email of 7/11/05, which pared the list down further after focusing on contiguous parcels, those along roads, and those over 10 acres. He recommended adding the “Volpi” property and the Great Valley School District parcels which include the Charlestown Elementary School.
Mr. Kuhn asked the Secretary to forward the list of properties coded in red and blue, with the addition of the Volpi and School District parcels, to Mr. Comitta’s office for preparation of a proposed modification to the Official Map. Mr. Philips moved to direct the Secretary to advertise the hearing for the amendment of the Official Map for the soonest meeting date possible after following through with the other requisite steps in the process prior to that date. Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mrs. Staas explained that the Open Space Commission has found it impossible to work within the parameters of the County’s Horse-Shoe Trail Easement Grant for obtaining trail easements. If it will not be pursued, the county requires a resolution to this effect be passed withdrawing from the contract. Mr. Rodgers moved to approve Resolution #650-05 releasing the County from the Round 14 Acquisition Grant agreement, and Mr. Willig seconded. All were in favor.
The following bids for road labor, equipment and materials had been opened on June 6, 2005:
|Road Labor & Equipment|
|1.||Melchiorre Construction Company||$398,750|
|Bituminous Materials – F.O.B. Plant|
|1.||Glasgow Inc.||$ 71,865|
|2.||Highway Materials||$ 72,250|
|3.||Independence Construction Materials||$ 59,000|
|Stone Materials – F.O.B. Plant|
|1.||Glasgow Inc.||$ 7,740|
|2.||Highway Materials||No Bid|
|3.||Independence Construction Materials||$ 5,675|
The documents had been turned over to Mr. Kohli for review, and his recommendations outlined in his letter dated 6/28/05 are to award the stone, bituminous and equipment/labor contracts to the lowest bidders, being that the bids were found to be in order. He noted that the amount for Melchiorre’s bid was significantly higher than this year’s contract primarily due to the increase in hours outlined in the bid specifications.
Mr. Rodgers moved to award the stone and bituminous materials contracts to Independence Construction Materials, and the labor and equipment contract to Melchiorre Construction Company. Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor. The Secretary will follow through with obtaining the Performance and Payment Bonds from the awarded bidders.
Christopher Schubert, Esq. was present on behalf of Paul and Alexis McCarthy to request an extension to their Conditional Use approval granted September 15, 2003 for construction in a high ground water area and to their Zoning Hearing Board decision approved April 20, 2004. Mr. Willig moved to extend the deadlines for both approvals to July 11, 2006 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
David Gifford, Esq., Eddie Scott, Realtor, and Dave Fiorello, P.E. were present seeking subdivision approval of the Stonorov subdivision, which proposes to subdivide various parcels on 270 +/- acres into 8 parcels, consisting of 55 acres next to the Charlestown Playschool, 60 acres including Betty Stonorov’s home, and three parcels of 40 acres, 44 acres and 45 acres. The remaining three parcels are smaller parcels with homes owned by various family members.
Mr. McErlane referenced a draft Declaration of Restrictions and Covenants, which will create a chain in the title as property transfers occur in the future. The Declaration references notes on the subdivision plan that could otherwise be overlooked by future property owners. Mr. Gifford agreed that the draft declaration is consistent with prior discussions.
Mr. Philips moved to approve the Stonorov subdivision plan, last revised 5/17/05, subject to the consultants’ review comments; subject to the purchase of development rights on terms satisfactory to Charlestown Township; and subject to review and approval of a certain Declaration(s) of Restrictions and Covenants to be submitted and to the simultaneous recordation thereof. Mr. Rodgers seconded, and the motion passed unanimously.
It is anticipated that recordation will take place within 30 days.
Sean Marshall, P.E., of Orbital Engineering and Vincent Boser of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission were present to request approval of an exception to the Charlestown Township Act 537 Plan in order to permit them to tie into public sewer for their Devault Maintenance Facility accessed from W. Valley Hill Road. There are approximately 22 employees at this facility. Mr. Marshall stated that the existing sewerage system was constructed in the 1950’s and is in need of an upgrade. Preliminary studies conducted by the PTC indicate a new on-lot system is not practical due to existing subsurface soil conditions, as outlined in Mr. Marshall’s letter to the Township dated June 24, 2005. Two sketch plans were included with the letter, each of which shows to potential routes to tie in to public sewer.
Mr. Marshall explained that a conventional in-ground septic system is infeasible, and the DEP will not allow replacing the present, functioning system with an experimental system. This is only permitted after the current system has failed. Mr. Kohli disagreed, stating there are options available. Neither a drip irrigation nor pressure dosing system is considered experimental, and would be permitted. He recommended the PTC investigate purchasing a portion of adjacent property and installing some form of on-lot system. This alternative would still be drastically less expensive than installing public sewer.
Mr. Boser said that the existing maintenance shop has roof and floor drains tied into the stormwater management system, which is in non-compliance with current regulations. If public sewer were permitted, the floor drain system would be tied into the sanitary system. Mr. Kohli said the Valley Forge Sewer Authority would require pretreatment before taking this drainage.
Mr. Kuhn asked if there was a cost estimate available for the proposal, and Mr. Boser responded, not yet. Mr. Kohli reiterated they need to perform alternate analyses.
Mr. Willig stated his concern over the number of properties that would be disturbed if a public sewer line was brought to this site. Mr. Philips said simply that he doesn’t want public sewer anywhere near the Farm Residential zoning district and is opposed to granting an exception. Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Philips were in agreement. Mr. Boser said the VFSA was receptive to their request, but Mr. Rodgers clarified that the VFSA can only state whether they do or do not have the capacity to handle a proposal, not approve of it.
Mr. Boser said they anticipate failures in the present system that will be caused by the drainage system. Mr. Willig said the PTC hasn’t looked at the big picture. With the anticipated interchange project in Devault, why not relocate this facility to that area, which provides public sewer? He said the PTC will get continuous strong resistance to their current request. He asked if the turnpike commission can condemn land in order to bring in public sewer to their present location, and Mr. Boser responded they cannot condemn land for non-highway purposes.
Mr. McErlane suggested the PTC hold further discussions with the county on other available options. Mr. Kuhn encouraged the PTC to work with Mr. Kohli and the County on this matter.
Mr. Kuhn voiced disappointment that the H.A.R.B. recommended approval of Ms. O’Donnell’s proposal to remove stucco from her home in Charlestown Village after they were resistant to similar requests for the Charlestown Woolen Mill and Baughman General Store. Further, hearing procedures weren’t followed in accordance with the Ordinance.
H.A.R.B. Chairman Rosemary Philips said the applicant/owner of the property had begun removing the stucco before realizing this work can’t be done in a historic district without first obtaining approval from the Township. About half of the stucco has been removed so far. She ceased work once she was informed by the H.A.R.B. that there was a procedure to follow first. Mr. Philips said he’s concerned about setting a precedent by approving this Certificate, as it suggests a person may believe it’s easier to move forward with a project and come to the Township afterward for forgiveness and reluctant approval than to follow proper procedure.
Mrs. Philips addressed Mr. Kuhn’s comments about the Woolen Mill and General Store, explaining that the woolen Mill was being restored to a specific point in time when the structure had stucco. The General Store work was intended to preserve the original facade of the building. In the case of Ms. O’Donnell’s house, there is no documented evidence that the structure always had stucco. On one of the gable ends, the windows appear to have been set to allow for stuccoing, but at the opposite end, the windows are flush with the stone. It isn’t possible to determine if the house always had a stucco surface. Mr. Kuhn asked if the window frames were constructed at different times, and Mrs. Philips said no. The H.A.R.B. determined that removing the stucco is a matter of the owner’s personal taste and to permit it. Further, the H.A.R.B. approved a waiver of the 30 day requirement for notification as outlined in the Ordinance. The ordinance states that the final hearing can be waived and just a preliminary hearing held if the work proposed is minor. Mr. Kuhn asked if the H.A.R.B. decision was unanimous, and Mrs. Philips said yes, with the addition of the two conditions regarding colors and test patches.
Mr. Kuhn said he disagreed with the H.A.R.B.’s recommendation and that the applicant should be informed to replace the stucco. Mr. Philips agreed, reiterating his concern with setting a precedent. Mr. Kuhn asked what the H.A.R.B.’s decision would have been if the applicant had applied to them before starting this work. Mrs. Philips said they would have gone through the same review process and come up with the same decision.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the Certificate of Appropriateness for Susan O’Donnell, and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Kuhn called the vote. Mr. Willig, Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Hogan were in favor. Mr. Kuhn and Mr. Philips were opposed.
Mrs. Philips said she and the Secretary have spoken of sending a mailing to all Charlestown Village residents reminding them of the requirements for a review prior to performing work on their structures. A newsletter article was also suggested.
Mr. Kuhn explained that James and Patricia Reed request a re-naming of Longview Farm Lane, on which they have three buildings addressed. There are no other property owners with parcels on this lane. The Reeds have reported difficulties in the past with deliveries, and more seriously with a 9-1-1 call, due to a similarly named Longview Lane in Malvern Borough. They propose a new name of McQuail Lane, in honor of Jamie Reed’s mother, Johanna McQuail Reed. Mr. Philips moved to adopt Ordinance #650-05, 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 Resolution Authorizing the Phoenixville Area Regional Planning Committee to Make Application for a Grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development’s Land Use Planning and Technical Assistance Program. Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
In an e-mail dated 7/5/05, Mr. Alston outlined the quotes he received from three fence companies for installation of approximately 400 feet of 3 rail, pressure treated fencing at the Longwood School as follows:
|C.M. Jones||$13.50 per lineal foot|
|Rusticraft Inc.||$10.00 per lineal foot plus cost to clear fence lines|
|Abel Fence Inc.||$10.75 per lineal foot|
Mr. Alston recommended the Abel Fence bid, which includes the clearing of the fence lines, making it the lowest bid.
Mr. Alston then outlined the two quotes from landscape firms he obtained for removing saplings at Longwood School, plus removal of deadwood from the oak tree and chipping the brush into the woods. The quotes were as follows:
|J & K Landscaping||$1,100.00|
Mr. Alston recommended J & K Landscaping for this work.
Mr. Rodgers moved to accept the Abel Fence Inc. quote for fencing and the J & K Landscaping quote for tree work at the Longwood School. Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor. It was clarified that no work is being done on the school ruins itself.
Mr. Alston explained that he received quotes from two landscape firms for removing low deadline and hazardous branches from approximately 20-25 trees in Charlestown Park, particularly along the walking paths where they present a safety issue. The quotes were as follows:
|J & K Landscaping||$2,700.00|
Mr. Alston recommended J & K Landscaping for this work. Mr. Philips moved to accept the J & K landscaping quote for tree work at Charlestown Park. Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Alston explained that he has discussed the street lights along Charlestown Road in front of the Elementary School with David Renn of the Great Valley School District. Mr. Renn is in agreement that the old, unattractive street lights are no longer needed since the renovations at the school include bright lighting that illuminates the building and grounds to the extent needed. The removal of these lights will reduce the Township’s electric costs. Mr. Rodgers moved to authorize Mr. Alston to remove the street lights along Charlestown Road in the vicinity of the Charlestown Elementary School, and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn stated that he requested the drafting of a bid package for the lots at the Jenkins property from Glenn Diehl, Esq. The Secretary confirmed there has been no response from Mr. Diehl. The Board discussed whether to bid the four lots together or allow bids on any combination of lots. The latter option would require each party to contribute to an escrow fund to pay for the road improvements. The Board determined it has more options by allowing bidders to bid on one lot, all, or a combination, and that the bid documents would include a reference about contributing to the road improvements. Mr. Kuhn will communicate the Board’s wishes to Mr. Diehl, and asked the other board members to provide him with names of bidders.
Mr. Kuhn announced that he will recuse himself from the hearings on the Great Valley Pet Hotel because the owners are clients of his. Mr. Philips moved to schedule the Conditional Use Hearing for the Pet Hotel for Monday, August 1, 2005, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Mr. Rodgers seconded, and all were in favor.
Mr. Philips moved to approve Escrow Release #4 for NVS Custom Homes in the amount of $14,260, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
The Board complimented Mr. Alston on the thoroughness of the report he obtained from Paul W. Hoff dated June 29, 2005 assessing the condition of the windows on the Brightside Farmhouse and outlining various proposals. The Board suggested that the H.A.R.B. review the report and make a recommendation to the supervisors for consideration at their August 1, 2005 meeting.
Mr. Kuhn scheduled a discussion of the contract renewals for the Phoenixville Area Soccer Club and Phoenixville Marion Youth Club for the August 1, 2005 meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:35 P.M. The next meeting is scheduled for July 18, 2005, 7:30 P.M. in Room 154 of the Great Valley Middle School.