The first business meeting for August was held August 6, 2007 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Kevin Kuhn, Chairman, Paul Hogan, Charlie Philips, Mark Thompson, Esq., Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator, and those on the attached list were present.
Mr. Kuhn called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M.
John Grove, 122 Avon Court, was present to discuss the next step in the zoning appeal process to permit the construction of decks on his building unit in Charlestown Oaks. Mr. Kuhn placed this item for discussion under New Business.
Linda Beisty, 61 Sagewood Drive, said she is concerned about the pin oaks planted near the bottom of the steep hill behind her townhouse building, Unit 26. There are four units in the building, and she said she was speaking for the other three owners as well as herself. She said pin oaks grow very large and drop “strings” in the spring that clog gutters and drop acorns in the fall that can damage the roof. Since they lose their leaves later than other trees, landscapers have already cleaned up the community each fall and the property owners are left to deal with clean up on their properties and decks. She asked Toll Brothers to make a substitution with smaller ornamental trees but was told any changes to the approved plans would have to be done by the Township. She said Toll indicated they would be willing to relocate the trees and plant smaller species behind the building in their place. Mr. Kuhn asked if the Homeowners’ Association has been asked for a recommendation, and Mrs. Beisty answered no, as they have just recently formed a landscaping committee. Mr. Kuhn indicated he was amenable to the requested change provided the HOA signs off, and the other board members were in agreement.
Mr. Philips moved to approve the minutes of the July 2, 2007 meeting, and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Hogan moved to approve the July Treasurer’s 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 August 6, 2007 Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mr. Hogan moved to approve the August 6, 2007 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable Report, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Philips moved to accept the July monthly reports and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion. Mr. Philips said that Mr. Alston did a terrific job resolving the Route 29 traffic light timing with PennDOT. Mr. Kuhn called the vote and all were in favor.
Mr. Thompson opened the hearing for the Robal Associates Curative Amendment application, and the proceedings were recorded by Tom Corcoran, court reporter.
At the Applicant’s request, the hearing was continued to September 17, 2007, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School. No testimony was given.
Mr. Thompson opened the hearing for consideration of the Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) Ordinance, and the proceedings were recorded by Tom Corcoran, court reporter. Comments were heard from Jim Marlowe, representing Dr. and Mrs. Stewart of Union Hill Road.
Perry Morgan, AIA, gave a brief presentation of a revised sketch plan showing changes in the layout for Area 2 of the TND, including the Spring Oaks property. Mr. Philips moved to accept the density figure recommended by the Planning Commission of 183 units for Spring Oaks, and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
The hearing was continued to September 17, 2007, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School.
John Grove was present to provide an overview of his application to the Zoning Hearing Board that he made jointly with his three neighbors in the same townhouse building. He submitted the application earlier today at the Township office. According to the approved plans for Charlestown Oaks, this particular townhouse building of six units was not permitted to have decks because they would encroach on a 100 foot buffer area. However, one of the units was inadvertently approved for a deck, which has since been constructed. The other property owners are now requesting a variance to permit them to have decks as well. The Board decided to take a neutral position on the application, which will be scheduled for a hearing with the Zoning Hearing Board.
Robert Wert was present to provide an overview of his application to the Zoning Hearing Board appealing the Notice of Violation dated 6/27/07 he received from the Zoning Officer for parking and storing of commercial vehicles and equipment used for a tree and landscaping business.
Mr. Wert stated that no business is being operated from his property at 48 Chesterfield Lane. He permits his son-in-law to park his truck and other equipment used in his landscaping business on the property overnight for security reasons. He said they made a stone parking area that is screened by evergreens along the property line. The equipment is frequently, but not always, parked there overnight.
Chris Zaro, a neighbor to the Werts, said they are also grinding tree limbs on the site, but Mr. Wert said this was work done on his property on his own trees, not as part of the landscape business. Mr. Zaro disagreed with Mr. Wert on the visibility of the equipment from the Zaro property. Richard Ashenfelter, another neighbor, said his only concern is whether the use is permitted by the zoning ordinance; the actual parking of the equipment does not disturb him.
The Board reached a consensus that they would take a neutral position on the application, and directed the solicitor, Mark Thompson to attend the hearing to represent the Zoning Officer.
The Secretary indicated the Township received a request from the Hollow Run Farms Homeowners’ Association for permission to have PECO install a street light at the corner of State Road and Dickson Drive, with the association responsible for the installation and electricity costs. PECO requires that the street light account be in the Township’s name, so the HOA would have to be billed for the costs. No one was present on behalf of the Association. After some discussion, the Board decided they would be opposed to installing a utility pole at this location as they question the necessity of the light and don’t want to become involved with the billing and reimbursement process that would be needed. Their suggestion is that the HOA install lampposts, not a street light, per se, in the Dickson Drive right of way. This would not require any approvals from the township and could be handled privately by the HOA.
Mr. Kuhn moved to award the contract for Phase I improvements for an Athletic field at Charlestown Park to Lechmanik, Inc. in the amount of $218,034.00 and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
The Secretary indicated that contract forms have been received from the DCED requiring signatures to accept a $5,000 grant awarded by them for the Charlestown Park field project. Mr. Kuhn moved to execute the DCED contract #C000029028 under the Regional Economic Development District Initiative and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Fire Marshal Fred Alston said an ordinance is needed to assure that communications are maintained within buildings in the township for emergency services. The amendment was first proposed in 2003 but hasn’t been enacted. The draft ordinance follows the model ordinance prepared by the County.
Mr. Kuhn asked if a commercial building undergoing a re-fit would be required to come into compliance with the ordinance, and Mr. Alston said yes. Mr. Kuhn asked if there is a deadline to come into compliance, and Mr. Thompson said 90 days from the date of notification. After some discussion, the Board determined the ordinance would not be part of the Zoning Ordinance but instead would be a stand-alone ordinance.
Mr. Philips moved to scheduled advertising for a hearing to consider the ordinance for September 4, 2007 at 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn moved to pass Resolution # 684-07 supporting the enactment of current legislation before the General Assembly of Pennsylvania known as the Returnable Beverage Container Act and also known as Senate Bill No. 1035 as a means to promote the recycling of beverage containers and prevent litter in the Township and Commonwealth. Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor. A letter will be sent to the other municipalities in Chester County enclosing a sample resolution, other correspondence and literature to invite their support in this effort.
Mr. Thompson indicated that he coordinated with the Township Engineer to draft an Installation and Maintenance Agreement for Individual On-Lot Disposal Systems to be used by developers to meet the requirements of the Township’s Act 537 Plan and the DEP. Mr. Thompson said Dave Norcini of Bala Investments had raised a question over the requirement that a professional engineer certify the system, and Mr. Kohl had suggested a change to add “sewage enforcement officer, system designer or maintenance contractor” in order to make this requirement less onerous. Mr. Thompson suggesting adding that the County or DEP certify the system, and if they won’t do so, the developer can obtain certification from a P.E.
Mr. Kuhn said the following sentence from item #8 is unnecessary and should be removed, “the Maintenance Contractor’s report shall include the average daily flow from water meter readings,” because very few on-site septic systems are on properties with public water service in Charlestown.
Mr. Philips moved to approve the draft Installation and Maintenance Agreement for Individual On-Lot Disposal Systems, subject to the changes discussed this evening, and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
The Board discussed the establishment of a crime tip reward fund in response to recent vandalism that has taken place in the Township, including several thousand dollars’ worth of damage to road signs as well as two incidents of vandalism at Swiss Pines. Mr. Kuhn said he spoke with the State Police and discussed the possibility of the Township offering a reward.
Mr. Thompson indicated that the Second Class Township Code does include provisions for offering rewards leading to the conviction of a crime.
Mr. Philips voiced several concerns over the establishment of a reward program, including how to define crime/vandalism, how to monitor the program, and how to determine who gets a reward.
Andy Motel, Planning Commission Chairman, said some of the criteria could be that a police report is filed, the damages exceed a given cost, and the property owner offer a reward, to be posted in escrow with the Township, with the Township offering a match up to a certain figure. He said the Board could exercise its discretion on when to pay out a reward. Mr. Philips said he’s very concerned about the question of fairness with the Board making arbitrary judgments on which incidents and individuals are eligible for a reward.
Mr. Kuhn suggested the Board members consider this issue further, and continue discussions at the September 4th meeting.
Mr. Kohli distributed a letter dated August 1st from John Panizza of GenTerra Corporation responding to his letter about tree clearing performed on the 53 acre Volpi tract without an erosion and sedimentation control permit. Mr. Panizza said the work had proceeded under a sub-contractor without his knowledge and once he was informed he restored the area as much as possible afterward. The Board directed Mr. Kohli to issue a citation for this summary offense.
Mr. Philips moved to adjourn the meeting and Mr. Hogan seconded. All were in favor. The meeting was adjourned at 10:10 P.M. The next meeting is scheduled for September 4, 7:30 P.M. in Room 154 of the Great Valley Middle School.