The second business meeting for September was held September 19, 2005, at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Kevin R. Kuhn, Chairman, Mike Rodgers, Vice Chairman, Charles Philips, Paul Hogan, Hugh Willig, James E. McErlane, Esq., Gary Bender, Esq., Surender Kohli, P.E., Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator, and those on the attached list were present.
The meeting was called to order at 7:31 P.M.
Mr. Kuhn announced that an executive session was held September 15, 2005 to discuss legal and employee matters.
No matters were brought forward at this time.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the September 12, 2005 minutes, and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. McErlane opened the hearing for Robal Associates, and the proceedings were recorded by Mark Hagerty, Court Reporter. James Tupitza, Esq. represented the applicant. Mr. Bender stated his witness from Thomas Comitta Associates was unavailable this evening and asked for a continuance at which time he would be able to present testimony from that witness, plus Mr. Kohli, and one other.
The hearing was continued to October 17, 2005 at 7:30 P.M. in Room 154 of the Great Valley Middle School.
Mr. McErlane opened the hearing for Robal Associates, and the proceedings were recorded by Mark Hagerty, Court Reporter. James Tupitza, Esq. informed the Board that his client, Carl Lillmars, has decided to withdraw the application at this time. The Board of Supervisors accepted the request to withdraw, and the hearing was closed.
Jim McErlane, Esq. opened the hearing for Allan A. Myers, and the proceedings were recorded by Mark Hagerty, Court Reporter. No testimony was given as the applicant had previously requested a continuance. A date for the continuance was not set.
Mr. McErlane circulated a revised draft decision, which indicates that the decision includes all representations made in the official record. He summarized the application, stating that the Desfors are seeking approval to use their property for an equestrian educational program, which will include the construction of an 80 x 200 foot indoor riding ring for which the location will be reviewed during a subsequent land development process. The Desfors reside on the property now in a higher area of the 46 acre tract, and propose to construct the barn in a lower area nearer the intersection of Merlin and Yellow Springs Roads. The conditional use approval was granted at last week’s meeting and the document presented this evening is the formalized written version of that decision.
Mr. Philips suggested that, in consideration of the strong support the Desfors received from their neighbors with regard to their proposal, much of which could be credited to their interest in seeing the land used in a way encouraging the preservation of open space, the Desfors consider placing an easement on their property to preserve it permanently. Mr. Kuhn agreed this would be a great gesture but felt it was asking a lot of the applicant. He added they are certainly welcome to donate such an easement if they wish to. Mr. Desfor said he’s already speaking with the French & Pickering Creeks trust regarding preservation options.
The decision was executed and provided to the Applicant.
Mr. Hogan stated that he hasn’t had time to look into whether a rural-based evacuee from Hurricane Katrina could be placed in the farmhouse and said he needs a little more time. Mr. Kuhn said he’d like to see something worked out but feels a deadline should be set, after which time the township would move forward with seeking a tenant. A date of October 17th was decided. Mr. Kuhn suggested that Secretary contact the individual who has expressed interest in renting the farmhouse and begin gathering preliminary information for processing so a decision can be made quickly if this option is taken. Mr. Kuhn will contact realtor Pat Thomas to confirm what an appropriate monthly rent should be, as there is some disagreement among board members, who have named rents ranging from $1,000 and $1,500 per month, plus utilities.
Mr. Kuhn said Aliena Gerhard is involved with a “save the pets” program that may be looking for a place for larger animals, and suggested they speak to the Charlestown Historical Society about placement at the Markley House as a possible fit.
Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Kohli what the structure of fines is under the Demolition by Neglect Ordinance, with regard to the Devault Beaver House and Volpi House, whose owners have ignored the township’s notices to secure the structures. Mr. Kohli said fines start at $500.00. He added that Genterra Corp. has filed a demolition permit application for the Volpi house, although the Secretary added that the application is incomplete and more details are needed for processing. Mr. Kohli said the owner of the Devault Beaver house has already gone through the HARB review process, submitted all required documentation, and obtained a demolition permit. Although the permit has expired, it would be a relatively routine matter for the owner to renew it.
Mr. Philips said enough notices and reminders have been sent and proposed that they be given a brief grace period to respond, and if there is no response, pursue them through the court by imposing the fines. Mr. Kohli said he could send zoning enforcement notices, after which action can be taken in two weeks.
Mr. Philips expressed frustration that the Devault Beaver house owner was approached by an individual who wanted to buy the house and convert it into a restaurant, and the owner wouldn’t even talk to him. He said if they want to renew their demolition permit, the township should first ensure that the architectural renderings are up to date. With regard to the Volpi house, Mr. Philips said the township paid its historical architectural consultant, Dale Frens, to provide Genterra with architectural drawings, and yet they have been uncooperative in return.
Mr. McErlane asked whether Genterra was speaking to the township about a business campus project for the Volpi property, and Mr. Allen responded that a sketch plan had been submitted and discussed at the Planning Commission’s September 13th meeting. The applicant was told that demolition of the house as part of that project is unacceptable.
Mr. Kuhn asked the solicitor and Mr. Kohli if they knew of any other municipality’s ordinance for historic resource protection that was tougher than Charlestown’s and neither was aware of one. Mr. Kohli will notify both owners by certified letter that they are in violation of the ordinance.
Mr. Willig moved to authorize the Treasurer to make disbursement of $2.6 million from the Series 2005 bond proceeds to the Stonorov Family in accordance with the instructions provided to the Township by the family’s counsel. Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn explained that this is the final transaction in the procurement of approximately 270 acres from the Stonorovs, where the family will retain five homesteads while preserving the balance as permanent open space. The total cost was $3.1 million. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.
The Treasurer noted that Toll Bros. owes $8,022.99 to the Township for reimbursable review fees that have accumulated since March of this year, and asked that any escrow release approvals be held until those fees are paid. She said she’s been in contact with Toll representatives over the past several months, and was told last week that a check would be approved and forwarded to the Township on September 16th and is therefore expected shortly. The Board tabled the escrow release requests, and Mr. Kohli will contact Toll representatives regarding the delay.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:05 P.M. The next meeting is scheduled for October 3, 2005, 7:30 P.M. in Room 154 of the Great Valley Middle School.