The first business meeting for January was held January 5, 2009 at the Great Valley Middle School, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern PA, Room 154.
Mr. Philips called the meeting to order at 8:00 P.M.
Mr. Rodgers said the Valley Forge Sewer Authority union may go on strike. The board gave the union its final offer, and a vote to accept or reject it was expected January 1st but did not take place. Mr. Rodgers said the VFSA is prepared in the event of a strike.
Barbara DeWilde thanked the Board, Mrs. Csete and Mrs. Bird for allowing the Historical Society to leave some of its calendars for sale at the Township Office. She said 400 were printed and only 25 remain to be sold. They’ve been very popular with both residents and former residents. She said Jacob Merriwether did a phenomenal job designing the calendar. Pictures were selected from the 125 paintings of Charlestown scenes that were exhibited at the Society’s art show last spring.
Mrs. DeWilde said the Society’s Art Show was such a success last spring that people wanted another this year. The date of Saturday, May 16th was set for the show at the Charlestown Elementary School, which will include fine arts from Charlestown artists. She commended Debbie Kuhn for her help in setting up the last show and her willingness to be involved in this year’s. She said the Elementary School principal and others were very kind in hosting the shows. In response to numerous comments from the last show, this year there will be art for sale with a commission to go to the Society to offset costs.
Mrs. DeWilde asked about the catch basins at the Deerfield Subdivision, particularly the large double basin near Green Lane that has been eroding. Mr. Kohli explained that the roads surrounding the subdivision, including Yellow Springs, Green Lane, and Valley Hill Road, will be repaved by PennDOT in the Spring. The work was postponed from the Fall due to budgetary constraints. The basins were constructed at a level to match the future higher pavement base. Mr. Kohli offered to meet with Mrs. DeWilde on site to show her what will be done. He added that he also plans to meet with William Coyle regarding his concerns.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of the December 1, 2008 meeting, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the December 2008 Treasurer’s Report and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Willig moved to approve the January 5, 2009 Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the January 5, 2009 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mr. Hogan moved to approve the January 5, 2009 Liquid Fuel Tax Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mr. Rodgers moved to accept the December monthly reports and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion. Mr. Philips said the Design Review Committee continues to meet with Dewey Homes representatives on the sketch plan for the Spring Oaks TND, and they will be looking for sketch plan approval from the Planning Commission at their February 10th meeting. After approval, they’ll prepare and submit a preliminary plan.
Mr. Philips called the vote on accepting the reports, and all were in favor.
Mrs. Gerhard asked the Board to consider whether the proposed reserved building site shown on the Bernhard conservation plan is acceptable. It will comply with all the Township ordinances. She indicated it’s out of view from Green Lane Road. Mr. Rodgers asked where the driveway will be located, and Mrs. Gerhard said it was not determined yet. Mr. Willig asked for the size of the parcel. Mrs. Gerhard said the entire proposed easement is 20 acres. The first appraisal came in very high, and a second appraisal that conformed to the County’s standards came in lower. The Board offered a total of $390,000 for the easement, including $55,000 to be reimbursed from the County. This amount is still much lower than even the second appraisal.
Mr. Philips asked why the building envelope is shown at 1.4 acres. Mrs. Gerhard said this is a typical size for building envelopes, pointing out that the lot itself is about 4 acres in size.
Mr. Willig asked for a legend to be included on the conservation plan that includes the size of the lots and any potential subdivision. Mr. Kuhn asked if the conservation easement is to be recorded on all three parcels, and Mrs. Gerhard said yes.
The Board was in agreement with the location and size of the building envelope.
Mrs. Gerhard said she forwarded a draft agreement to Mr. Thompson for review to be used for landowners offering to sell an easement to the Township. It outlines which party is responsible for which costs, timing of payments, and what happens if the landowner withdraws after the Township has incurred costs. She asked the Board to look it over thoroughly, and to also provide comments on the agreement for landowners offering to donate an easement. That agreement specifies that the landowner is responsible for all costs incurred by the Township if they withdraw their offer.
Mrs. Gerhard indicated that the closing on the Stevens easement is expected to take place by January 15th. Mr. Thompson said he’s spoken with the Stevens’ attorney and things are progressing well. Mr. Kuhn asked Mrs. Gerhard that, when working with property owners, more formal letterhead correspondence be used instead of email correspondence.
Mr. Thompson indicated that he’s waiting for Schuylkill Township’s solicitor to get back to him with comments on the revised agreement of sale before responding to the Thompson family attorney.
There was considerable discussion on the best way to hold easements on certain Township property, such as the Pickering Preserve and the Brightside Farm. Mr. Thompson indicated the solicitors’ office holds the opinion that an easement is stronger as time goes on when there are more organizations involved, such as a land trust, in addition to the Township and/or County. There was discussion on the cost of monitoring charged by the land trusts and whether their involvement is needed in every circumstance. Mr. Philips asked Mrs. Gerhard to work with Mr. Thompson to review legal options.
Mr. Philips asked the Board Members to continue their positions as liaisons in the following areas:
Mr. Rodgers - Valley Forge Sewer Authority
Mr. Hogan - Parks & Recreation
Mr. Kuhn - Open Space Acquisition
Mr. Willig - Regional Planning and Brightside Farm
Mr. Philips - Design Review Committee
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Sewage Facilities Planning Module for the Holy Ascension Antiochian Orthodox Church, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Thompson said the Township and his office have received the preliminary report from Keystate Publishers, and the next step is for his office to provide a comprehensive response. He said this should be completed by the end of January. Following that response, Ken Rotz of Keystate Publishers will provide a draft document, which will again be reviewed by the solicitor’s office, the township supervisors and Mr. Kohli. The final document will be prepared along with the codification ordinance. He expects the whole process to take about three months.
Mrs. Csete provided some details on the proposed contract and recommended its approval. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the 2009 S.P.C.A. Animal Control Contract, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Kohli said the request was in order. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the final escrow release for the Commons @ Great Valley Lot 15, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve Escrow Release #3 for Phase I and #2 of Phase II of the Deerfield Subdivision, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Philips asked when the hedgerow will be planted at Deerfield. Mr. Kohli said there is no set timetable, but he will pursue this in the Spring. Mrs. DeWilde asked who is responsible for maintaining the field across from the Hanscom property at the northeast side of the old Pyle Farmhouse. Mr. Kohli said the developer is responsible at this time, and after the development is completed, the Homeowners Association will be responsible. He’ll check the HOA documents to see what they are required to do for maintenance.
Mrs. Csete indicated that there are $3,205.35 in review fees to be reimbursed to the Township that remain outstanding. Mr. Philips moved to approve Escrow Release #1 for Phase the Apostolic Christian Church, subject to receipt of the outstanding review fees, and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn asked why the delinquent tax notices from the County on the Brightside Farm can’t be resolved after years of correspondence with the tax office. Mr. Thompson said these taxes were due from a period prior to the Township’s acquisition of the land when the School District owned it. The township and school taxes were exonerated, but the county tax remains on the record. He’s sent several letters to the county solicitor requesting them to be discharged, and will follow up.
Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Kohli if anything can be done following a letter received from PennDOT saying the 4 way stop at the Pikeland and Charlestown Road intersection is unwarranted. Mr. Kohli said he has a call in to PennDOT and is waiting to hear back.
Mr. Hogan asked for approval of a proposal from Lord’s Services for tree work at Charlestown Park needed following recent storm damage. Mr. Rodgers suggested obtaining another bid, and Mr. Hogan agreed. The Board asked Mrs. Csete to provide them with the total costs for tree work last year, which may prompt the need to go out for bid this year.
Mrs. Csete said she spoke to Alan Underkofler on Friday to discuss the construction of the official website for the Township. The Board suggested she set up a meeting with Mr. Underkofler, Mr. Kuhn, Mr. Willig, Jacob Merriwether and herself to get the process underway.
Mr. Kuhn moved to adjourn the meeting and Mr. Rodgers seconded. All were in favor. The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 P.M. Mr. Philips announced that a brief executive session would be held following the meeting to discuss legal matters. The next business meeting is scheduled for February 2, 2009, 7:30 P.M. in Room 154 of the Great Valley Middle School.