The second business meeting for March was held March 20, 2006 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Kevin R. Kuhn, Chairman, Michael Rodgers, Vice Chairman, Paul Hogan, Charlie Philips, Hugh Willig, Mark P. Thompson, Esq., Gary Bender, Esq., Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator, and those on the attached list were present.
The meeting was called to order at 7:30 P.M.
Mr. Kuhn announced that resident Lee Raden once again took major awards at the Philadelphia flower show, and said he attended the show and Mr. Raden’s displays were excellent.
Mrs. Csete announced that the Township will sponsor an Earth Day roadside cleanup on Saturday, April 22, 2006, meeting at 9 AM at the township office to pick up vests, gloves, trash bags, and instructions.
Mr. Philips asked for the status of the trash bin at a Yellow Springs Road property, which was to be removed. Mr. Kohl said he called the owner of the property again today and left a message. Mr. Philips said it was time to issue a citation to the property owner, and Mr. Kohli will look into how to handle it.
No matters were brought forward at this time.
Mr. Hogan moved to approve the March 6, 2006 Business Meeting minutes and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Thompson opened the hearing for the Official Map ordinance and the proceedings were recorded by Tom Corcoran, court reporter. Mr. Kuhn explained that the ordinance was recently revised, and in order to allow time for the residents to review the revisions, the hearing would be continued to a later date. The hearing was continued to May 1, 2006, 7:30 P.M.
Mr. Thompson opened the hearing for the Allan A. Myers curative amendment application and the proceedings were recorded by Tom Corcoran, court reporter. No testimony was given. The hearing was continued to April 17, 7:30 P.M.
Mr. Thompson opened the hearing for Frank A. Piliero, and the proceedings were recorded by Tom Corcoran, court reporter. No testimony was given, as the applicant contacted Mr. Thompson this afternoon and requested a continuance. The hearing was continued to April 17, 2006, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, room 154.
Mr. Thompson opened the hearing for Robal Associates conditional use application and the proceedings were recorded by Tom Corcoran, court reporter.
The following witnesses gave testimony:
The hearing was continued to April 17, 2006, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, room 154.
This matter was tabled to April 3, 2006 at the request of the applicant.
Ms. Gerhard provided a brief overview of the two properties. She said she and Mr. Kuhn made a site visit to the Reed property two weeks ago to begin discussions on a possible easement acquisition with the owners. The parcel is approximately 19-20 acres in size and is adjacent to the Turnpike on one side. It is near the Michael Bowell property and has one landlocked parcel between them and the McDevitt property.
The Alix Coleman property is adjacent to other eased property, which makes it eligible for more grant funding. It also contains a water course, another desirable feature for preservation. The state grant application is due April 14th, making it critical that a timely appraisal be obtained. Mr. Philips asked for the acreage of the parcel, and Ms. Gerhard answered 16.2 acres. The Reeds would like to reserve the right for one additional house on the property.
Mr. Rodgers asked if the Reed parcel opposite the turnpike was also available, and Ms. Gerhard responded that it is still held in the estate of the mother.
Mr. Philips said the Coleman property is more strategic, and that he was not in favor of acquiring an easement on the Reed property. Mr. Kuhn said the Reed property is listed on the proposed official map. Mr. Philips said that placing it on the map only ensures the township have an opportunity to negotiate for an easement; the township still has the right to decline the acquisition. Mr. Kuhn said that the township is in the process of obtaining an appraisal on the McDevitt property, and the proximity of the Reed parcel to it makes it of more interest. Mr. Philips said he would go along with having an appraisal done but wanted to make it clear he doesn’t consider that a commitment to acquire an easement on the property afterward.
Mr. Rodgers asked how much the appraisals will cost. Mr. Gerhard said the cost depends on various factors. The Burgoon appraisal was $7,500, and the estimate for the Coleman property is $3,500. Mr. Kuhn noted the appraisal for the Jenkins property was $2,500.
Mr. Rodgers moved to authorize the MAI appraisals for both the Coleman and Reed properties, and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.
The Chairman directed the Secretary to respond to an email inquiry from a citizen’s group who claimed township officials were removing their “Caution: Deer” signs that they posted along state roads with PennDOT’s permission. The Roadmaster confirmed that no one associated with the Township had removed their signs. Mr. Kuhn said the letter should also ask for a copy of the PennDOT approval. Mr. Kohli confirmed that a township road sign permit is not necessary since they are considered “hazard” signs that are posted in the right of way of a state road.
Mr. Kuhn referenced a letter dated March 17, 2006 from VFCC President Don Myer requesting a letter of support from the township for the College purchasing a 19 acre parcel formerly owned by the Valley Forge General Hospital that is adjacent to the college. They plan to utilize the additional acreage for athletic fields not only for the college, but the greater Phoenixville community. The Board directed the Secretary to prepare a letter of support.
Mr. Kuhn asked if there was an update on a resident’s inquiry as to whether a field would be available for playing cricket. Mrs. Csete responded that the group looked at the field on Whitehorse Road owned by the township but were not interested in making any improvements to it themselves. They are looking for a ready surface, which the Township doesn’t have available. She said she referred them to the Christian College, which may be able to make their ball field available.
Mr. Kuhn asked if the Board would like to consider amending the SLDO to require applicants to provide a disk or other form of electronic file when submitting plans for subdivision or land development. Board members were in agreement that this is advisable, particularly in light of the township’s plans to set up a GIS system. There was some discussion over whether applicants should be required to submit a disk for each plan and revision, or just submit a copy of the final recorded plan at the end of the approval process.
Mr. Philips asked for the status of the township obtaining a GIS system. Ms. Gerhard responded that she met with a representative of the County last week regarding GIS, and obtained quotes on the software today. She will forward them to the Board for review. A discount is available to the township as a municipality, and there are a variety of alternatives to choose from. She recommended that a plotter not be purchased as part of the system, as they cost about $10,000. Mr. Willig agreed that most of the time, 11 x 17 size copies will be sufficient, and when larger copies are needed they can be sent to a printer such as Kinkos. The computer system itself won’t be that costly; any good system is sufficient to handle the GIS applications.
Ms. Gerhard said the software company, ERSI, is the system the County uses, and they offered to do a presentation for the Board. They also provide training courses, and she is aware that the Roadmaster is interested in public works applications.
Mr. Kuhn asked Ms. Gerhard to contact Tom Comitta’s office to see what layers of information they have available that were developed through their office for Charlestown.
Mr. Kuhn referenced the open space development requirements for the FR District, and suggested the Board re-examine how the open space is set up. Approved plans such as Deerfield and Ashwood (Dixon) have their open space managed by their homeowners associations, but there are no formal easements held that are overseen by a third party such as a land trust organization. He asked Mr. Thompson if a trust could hold an easement on open space held by an HOA and Mr. Thompson said yes.
In regard to third party monitoring of eased open space, Mr. Kuhn said the French and Pickering Creeks Trust has suggested the monitoring agent be remunerated with a percentage of the value of the property to be placed under easement. Mr. Kuhn asked Ms. Gerhard to inquire of other municipalities how they calculate monitoring fees.
Ms. Gerhard suggested developing some language consistency to the conservation easement agreements that will be employed in the township, even though more than one trust organization may be utilized, acknowledging that some modifications will be necessary for individual agreements.
Mr. Rodgers repeated a concern he voiced at the March 6th meeting that the township investigate raising the 40% required open space to 50% for open space developments. Mr. Motel said it would be hard to increase it considering the constraints on most of the properties and the need for a reserved secondary septic site on each lot. The matter will be discussed further at the April 11th Planning Commission meeting. Mr. Motel added that the Planning Commission will have a presentation on Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) at the April 11th meeting as well.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:22 P.M. The next meeting is scheduled for April 3, 2006, 7:30 P.M. in Room 154 of the Great Valley Middle School. The Board held an executive session following the meeting to discuss legal matters.