A business meeting was held April 7, 2008 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Kevin Kuhn, Chairman, Charlie Philips, Vice Chairman, Michael Rodgers, Paul Hogan, Hugh Willig, Mark Thompson, Esq., Tom Comitta, Linda Csete, Township Administrator, and those on the attached list were present.
Mr. Kuhn called the meeting to order at 7:30 P.M.
Mr. Philips said he and Rosemary Philips, HARB Co-Chairman, visited various historic properties to take pictures to update the Township’s historic records. He said they contacted the owners in advance and he appreciated their cooperation. Many were glad to see that the records were being updated.
Mr. Kuhn announced that the Board will hold an executive session following adjournment this evening to discuss real estate matters.
No matters were brought forward.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the minutes of the March 3, 2008 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 March 2008 Treasurer’s 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 April 7, 2008 Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion. Mr. Philips asked about the tree work recently performed at Charlestown Park, stating that he saw the recent Township News article on park liability matters. He asked if there is anything else at the Park that needs attention. Mr. Hogan said that the wood chips under the play equipment were recently rototilled, which keeps the material soft, and that a see-saw and swing chain were each replaced. He also obtained an inventory of trees from Josh Lord listing those in danger of falling. Mr. Kuhn called the vote and all were in favor.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the April 7, 2008 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable Report, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mr. Rodgers moved to accept the March monthly reports and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Philips said he, Rosemary Philips and Linda Csete met with consultant Peter Dajevskis to review his signage proposal after being appointed as a committee by the Board to do so. The proposal ranges from design work and sign fabrication to the final installation of 9 signs for historic sites in the Township. He said the meeting was very successful, and the result is a recommendation from the committee to move forward with the project by accepting the proposal. Most of the nine sites have a minimal pull off area, so the sign type recommended for them is a two-panel sign that can be read both from the car and by standing and reading additional information from the top panel. He said the signage is long overdue and will be good for the Township. The project is within the budget limits.
Mr. Kuhn asked about the wording for the signs. Mrs. Philips said the Historical Commission has drafted all the wording, but the consultant can react to the language and use their expertise to make suggestions.
Mr. Kuhn moved to accept the Dajevskis proposal, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for comments, and their being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mike Wolf of Boenning & Scattergood was present along with the Township’s bond counsel, Tim O’Neil, Esq. of Lamb McErlane, PC, to review the proposal from Phoenixville Federal Bank & Trust for a 4.8% fixed rate loan to replace the current bond issue from the New Garden Authority.
Mr. Wolf reviewed the original bond issue, which took place in November 2000 to borrow $2.1 million. Mr. Kuhn confirmed that these funds were primarily used for the purchase of the 20.6 acre portion of the Brightside Farm.
Mr. Wolf referred to a graph depicting the variable vs. fixed rates from 2000 to present, noting that the Township did very well with paying low interest until recently when the bond market bottom fell out. The Township has saved about $55,000 per year for 7.5 years, over $400,000, by having a variable rate rather than fixed. However, he explained that this type of bond resets its rate every seven days, and the rate recently shot up to about 8% for a few weeks. Due to the present financial climate, the time is now right to refinance the principal balance due at a fixed rate. He obtained a proposal from Phoenixville Federal Bank & Trust, which in addition to the attractive 4.8% fixed rate, allows for payout upon 30 days notice with no penalty. He said this is one of the most attractive offers he’s seen in the past twenty years. Typically there are higher up front costs, a five year call requirement, and other constraints.
Mr. Rodgers asked if a variable rate might again be advantageous in the future. Mr. Wolf said looking forward is a complete unknown, and he doesn’t want to see the Township paying interest above the red line indicated in the variable v. fixed graph. The Township could go back to a pool lender for a variable rate if circumstances looked favorable in the future. Closing for the new loan is tentatively scheduled to take place prior to May 1st. The refinance amount is $1,854,000, which includes all costs, and will be paid off at the same time the original variable loan would have been.
Mr. O’Neil said that in order to move forward, the Board must adopt an ordinance to incur the debt in accordance with the Local Government Unit Debt Act. The ordinance states the Township has sufficient borrowing capacity to handle the debt. Prior to closing on the loan, the Department of Community Affairs must also grant approval, and the application for this approval has been prepared.
Mr. Kuhn asked if the loan can be resold by the bank. Mr. O’Neil said yes, but all the terms would remain in place. As a negotiable property, the bank has the right to sell it if they choose.
Mr. Kuhn asked if there were any comments from the audience. No one came forward and Mr. Thompson closed the hearing.
Mr. Rodgers moved to adopt Ordinance #144-2008 and Mr. Philips seconded. There being no other discussion, Mr. Kuhn called a roll call vote as follows:
Mr. Kuhn – Aye
Mr. Hogan – Aye
Mr. Rodgers – Aye
Mr. Philips – Aye
Mr. Willig – Aye
The motion carried.
Mr. Thompson opened the hearing and the proceedings were taken by Mark Manjardi, Court Reporter.
Mr. Thompson entered the following exhibits into the record:
|B-1||Copy of letter dated March 20, 2008 by Mark Thompson, Esq. to Daily Local News enclosing Public Notice of and the full text of the proposed Ordinance and requesting publication.|
|B-2||Proof of Publication from the Daily Local News|
|B-3||Copy of Public Notice|
|B-4||Copy of letter dated March 20, 2008 by Mark Thompson, Esq. to the Chester County Law Library enclosing copy of proposed ordinance|
|B-5||Copy of letter dated March 7, 2008 from Mark Thompson, Esq. to the Chester County Planning Commission|
|B-6||Copy of Act 247 County Referral|
|B-7||Copy of the Proposed Ordinance|
|B-8||Copy of review letter dated 4/3/08 from the Chester County Planning Commission|
Mr. Kuhn asked if there were any comments from the audience. No one came forward.
Mr. Comitta provided an explanation of the proposed definition.
There being no further comments, the hearing was closed. Mr. Kuhn moved to adopt Ordinance #145-2008 and Mr. Philips seconded. There being no other discussion, Mr. Kuhn called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Thompson opened the hearing and the proceedings were taken by Mark Manjardi, Court Reporter.
Mr. Thompson entered the following exhibits into the record:
|B-1||Letters dated March 6, 2008 to all property owners within the area proposed to be rezoned.|
|B-2||List of property owners addresses within the area proposed to be rezoned|
|B-3||Letters dated March 7, 2008 from Mark P. Thompson, Esq. to property owners|
|B-4||Letter dated February 1, 2008 from Mark Thompson, Esq. to Chester County Planning Commission enclosing Act 247 Notice and Proposed Ordinance|
|B-5||Letter dated February 1, 2008 from Mark Thompson, Esq. to Charlestown Planning Commission enclosing Act 247 Notice and Proposed Ordinance|
|B-6||Letter dated March 20, 2008 by Mark Thompson, Esq. to Daily Local News enclosing Public Notice of and the full text of the proposed Ordinance and requesting publication.|
|B-7||Proof of Publication from the Daily Local News|
|B-9||Letter dated March 20, 2008 by Mark Thompson, Esq. to the Chester County Law Library enclosing copy of proposed ordinance.|
|B-10||Verification of Posting by Mark Cabot dated March 29, 2008.|
|B-11||Proposed Ordinance with Exhibits A, B, C, D, D-1, E and F.|
|B-12||Proposed Zoning Map|
|B-13||Review letter dated February 28, 2008 to the Charlestown Township Secretary, Linda Csete from Chester County Planning Commission.|
Mr. Kuhn read the following written communications from residents into the record:
|C-1||Comment submitted 3/20/08 to the Citizen’s Website by Denny Parisan|
|C-2||Letter dated 3/29/08 to the Supervisors from Dr. & Mrs. William G. Stewart Jr.|
|C-3||Email dated 3/30/08 to the Supervisors from Dr. and Mrs. William G. Stewart, Jr.|
|C-4||Email dated 4/5/08 to the Supervisors from Gil Mariano|
There being no further comments, the hearing was closed. Mr. Hogan moved to adopt Ordinance #146-2008 and Mr. Philips seconded. There being no other discussion, Mr. Kuhn called the vote. All were in favor.
Pramod Nagarajarad was present to discuss his organization’s interest in using a portion of the Township’s 6-acre parcel in Devault for a cricket field. He said the group has members from all over the region, and they’re looking at numerous locations for fields.
Mr. Nagarajarad said they need a 120 x 120 yard flat surface, and briefly described the game of cricket to the Board.
Mr. Kuhn asked if the cricket group would prepare the field and address parking needs, as the Township would not cover these costs. Mr. Nagarajarad said he doesn’t have the costs yet, and that the group wanted to wait to hear whether they had the property available before looking into this. He said that obtaining approval for use of a site doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll take it.
Mr. Kuhn suggested looking at an area behind the Rapp House at the Brightside Farm. He said if the Township has the space, he’d love to see the land used. Mr. Philips suggested if the Board agrees, to have Mr. Nagarajarad visit several locations and determine which is the most appropriate for their use.
Mr. Willig suggested they also contact CAT Pickering, the Christian College, Kimberton Youth Club, and East Pikeland Township, which just acquired property near Rt. 724, and the Charlestown Hunt Homeowners Association, which has a multi-purpose field.
Mr. Hogan asked if the dimensions for the field could be staked out. Mr. Nagarajarad responded the size is 120 x 120 yards. Mr. Hogan asked again that the area be staked.
Mr. Motel asked if the cricket club will maintain the “pitch” area themselves, and Mr. Nagarajarad said yes. Mr. Motel asked if the club will assume all cost burdens, and Mr. Nagarajarad said yes, then asked if the Township could provide equipment and manpower to flatten the field. Mr. Kuhn said only if the township’s contractor wishes to volunteer to do the work.
Mr. Nagarajarad asked if the trees could be removed at the Devault property if necessary. Mr. Kuhn said they act as a buffer to the quarry property, and he thinks they can find sufficient area for the field without doing this.
Mr. Kuhn asked if the club has liability insurance, and Mr. Nagarajarad said yes.
The Board agreed that Mr. Alston will take Mr. Nagarajarad to the Devault site and the Brightside Farm to look at them for a potential cricket field.
Open Space Director, Aliena Gerhard, gave an update on the Norfolk-Southern line and a possible rails to trails conversion. She said she spoke with the Chester County Open Space Planner, Jake Michaels, and he had some good ideas. She referenced a letter sent by a member of the Rails-to-Trails Group to the Phoenixville Regional Planning Commission. She said that the rail company has notified the County that they are considering abandonment of the line.
Ms. Gerhard said that County resources may be helpful to the Township with regard to deed research, engineering studies and GIS work. At the same time, a feasibility study is underway for a possible commuter line on the same rails, and the report is expected to come out later this month. In that event, it may still be possible to have a trail alongside the line.
Ms. Gerhard said the next meeting of the Rails-to-Trails group is April 21st, as they meet the 3rd Monday of each month at 7:00 P.M. at the Township office. Mr. Michaels is attending the next meeting. She asked the Board for authorization for the Rails-to-Trails group to pursue the matter further. Mr. Kuhn so moved, and Mr. Philips seconded. All were in favor.
Mr. Philips added that Jane Dorchester may be called upon to assist in deed research.
The Administrator referenced the bid results opened at the March 3, 2008 meeting, which have now been reviewed by the Solicitor. The low bidder, ProMark Landscaping Inc. meets the Township’s insurance requirements and uses zero turn finish mowers. They also agreed to provide a per-mow price of $480.00. Mr. Rodgers moved to award the 2008 mowing contract to ProMark Landscaping Inc., Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for comments, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
The Administrator referred to her memo to the Board on the Township’s support of clean energy. She drafted a resolution to this effect as well as a newsletter article that could be included in the spring or summer edition. She referenced a spreadsheet she prepared dated 2/5/08 that shows the additional monthly cost to the Township if they obtained varying percentages of their electric from wind power, ranging from an additional $26.80 for 25% wind energy to $133.99 for 100% wind energy.
Mr. Kuhn said the board must weigh their fiscal responsibilities with their support for green technology. Mr. Philips pointed out the Township should provide an example in this arena considering they are encouraging green building techniques and practices in the new TND District.
Mr. Philips moved to adopt Resolution #696-08, stating the Township’s support of renewable energy and committing to purchasing 20% of the Township’s electric needs from renewable energy sources by the year 2010. Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Jessica Greenfield was present to provide an overview of her zoning hearing board application to allow an extension to be built onto her existing deck at 21 Sagewood Court in Charlestown Meadows. Mr. Rodgers said it wasn’t clear what relief is being requested. Ms. Greenfield said the extension will encroach on the back yard setback and open space. Mr. Kuhn said the Charlestown Meadows HOA denied the application, which goes to them first. He asked the Solicitor if the Township can override this denial, and Mr. Thompson said no. Ms. Greenfield said she was told otherwise by the HOA. Mr. Kuhn suggested that Ms. Greenfield go back to the HOA and get something in writing from them indicating they are willing to approve the request provided the Township allows a variance. Then, she should contact Mr. Kohli, the Zoning Officer, to determine exactly what relief is being sought. Mr. Thompson suggested she withdraw her application for the time being so that her application and escrow payments can be refunded.
Mr. Kuhn asked for approval for a letter to be sent to all township residents regarding the upcoming referendum on increasing the Earned Income Tax an additional .5% to be used for open space acquisition. After a few minor changes, the Board reached a consensus to have the letter printed and mailed to all residents.
Mr. Kuhn said the Solicitor drafted a Use Agreement for the Woolen Mill in response to a request from a Township resident to rent the Mill building for a wedding reception this summer. Mr. Kuhn said the charge for use of the facility remains to be set. The Administrator said she contacted the Township’s insurance broker and is still waiting for specifics, but that he did have numerous liability-related concerns. Mr. Kuhn asked how traffic control can be handled. Mr. Alston said the lessors would make arrangements directly with the Kimberton Fire Company.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve Nancy Long’s request to use the Mill for a wedding reception, pending preparation of a final agreement, with the security deposit for renting the facility to cover the cost of the lessor’s insurance deductible. Mr. Kuhn seconded the motion and called for discussion. There being none, he called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn questioned whether meetings of the Design Review Committee must be advertised as public meetings. Mr. Thompson said they do, as the group constitutes an official committee created via township ordinance. Information only sessions could be held without advertisement.
Mr. Willig said that all member municipalities have now adopted the regional comprehensive plan and signed the implementation agreement. The group now moves into the implementation phase. This group will implement the plan and perform application reviews. He said each municipality must appoint members to the implementation group, and indicated that both he and Mr. Reis are interested in continuing to serve. Mr. Kuhn said he appreciated their service in this regard.
Mr. Willig said Jim McMaster will provide a list of items to attend to. The group also needs to appoint its Planning Consultant.
Mr. Philips moved to appoint Hugh Willig and Rick Reis to the Phoenixville Regional Planning Commission implementation committee, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:20 P.M. The next business meeting is scheduled for May 5, 2008, 7:30 P.M. in Room 154 of the Great Valley Middle School. The Board went into executive session to discuss real estate matters.