The first business meeting for November was held November 1, 2010 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA.
Supervisors: Charlie Philips, Chairman, Hugh Willig, Vice Chairman, Frank Piliero,
Consultants: Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Dan Wright, P.E., Mark Thompson, Esq., Tim O’Neill, Esq.
Staff: Linda Csete, Administrator, Fred Alston, Public Works Superintendent
Public: See attached sign-in sheet
Mr. Philips announced that the Great Valley Nature Center will hold its annual auction party on Saturday, December 4th and encouraged those present to attend. The event will be held this year at the Nature Center and is always a very nice affair.
Joseph End, Bodine Road, thanked the Township for the progress made on ensuring the construction on the property next to his is being done right. He asked for follow up on lighting consultant Stan Stubbe’s August review letter that indicated the lighting for that property is still non-compliant. Mr. Kohli agreed that Mr. Stubbe’s letter indicated changes were necessary to the lighting and he will make sure the owner complies.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the minutes of the October 4, 2010 business meeting, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the minutes of the October 18, 2010 business meeting, and Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the October 2010 Treasurer’s Report and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Piliero moved to approve the November 1, 2010 Operating 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 approve the November 1, 2010 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Rodgers moved to accept the October reports as submitted, and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion.
Mr. Philips said he asked Mr. Alston to get information on brining equipment and supplies. Mr. Alston said he and Pete Melchiorre met with public works representatives from West Chester Borough to see how their road salt brining equipment worked since Charlestown is considering using brine solution this coming winter to handle moderate icing and snow falls on the township roads. They’ll be visiting Upper Dublin Township later this week, which also has the equipment. He said Willistown is also considering brining.
Melchiorre Construction Co. is considering installing a brine maker to supply the material since Schuylkill, East & West Pikeland, East & West Vincent and Phoenixville Borough are all considering purchasing the equipment and would need a supplier for the brine. He said he didn’t approach West Chester Borough or the Turnpike Commission about supplying brine but he feels confident there will be a substantial supply available.
Mr. Alston said he obtained two proposals for a brine dispenser for the Township truck. One quote was for a lower quality device with no baffles and a smaller capacity. The other proposal was for a 175 gallon unit with baffles that costs just under $5,000. It takes 50 gallons to cover one mile. The brine, a 23% salt solution, costs about $0.10 per gallon. Mr. Rodgers asked what West Chester Borough charges West Goshen Township for brine, and Mr. Alston said he’d find out.
Mr. Piliero asked to confirm that the current road contractor, Melchiorre Construction Co., included brining equipment as part of their bid. Mr. Alston said yes, but with 37 lane miles of township roads to treat, he thought he could handle the western portion of the township, particularly cul de sacs and smaller two-lane roads, to save money. Mr. Willig said he would prefer that Mr. Alston act as a back-up for the contractor, for times when they have to act quickly. He said he doesn’t want brine application to be a primary responsibility of the Roadmaster but rather have him overseeing work on the roads.
Mr. Philips asked if Mr. Alston had an idea of the savings they might see if they used his truck for some of the brining work. Mr. Alston said the contractor’s rental with a driver is $100.00/hour while he would be working as part of his regular hours. Mr. Piliero asked how many hours he would expect to put in, and Mr. Alston said maybe 3-4 hours. Mr. Piliero said he’d have to do the job ten times to pay for the equipment.
Mr. Rodgers suggested that for the first year they should let the contractor apply the brine and evaluate the results. Mr. Piliero said the Township needs to secure a brine supply first before buying any equipment. The Board agreed that for this coming winter, they would see how brining works using just the contractor’s services, and rethink the matter once results can be better measured.
Mr. Philips asked Mr. Kohli if there was any update on 8 Ashwood Lane, where a buffer had been removed contrary to deed restrictions for that development. Mr. Kohli said the property owner will be filing a plan for replacing the buffer for Mr. Theurkauf’s review.
Mr. Philips asked about Mr. Kohli’s 10/20/10 As-Built Review of the Deerfield subdivision, which included the stormwater management system. Mr. Kohli said some calculations are still needed from the developer to complete the review.
Mr. Philips asked about the landscaping at Deerfield, specifically if the buffer has been planted. Mr. Kohli referred to Mr. Theurkauf’s 11/1/10 review letter, which confirmed that all required landscaping has been installed but some plants and trees have died or are otherwise deficient and have to be replaced.
Mr. Philips called the vote on acceptance of the reports, and all were in favor.
Mike Wolf of Boenning and Scattergood provided details on the proposed bond issue of $14,960,000 that would refinance the 2005 bond issue and 2008 loan and provide approximately $5,000,000 in additional funds for open space acquisition.
Mr. Wolf said Charlestown received an A+ rating, which was upgraded to AA+ after purchasing bond insurance. He said that under the present economic climate this is the best rating that can be obtained by the Township. A triple A rating is typically given to municipalities with a great deal more commercial and retail businesses to generate tax revenue.
Mr. Wolf reviewed the material in the Bond Purchase Agreement between Charlestown Township and Boenning & Scattergood as follows:
Exhibit D: Shows that refinancing the 2005 Bond Series results in a net present value savings of $290,552.93.
Exhibit C: Shows the three components of the $1,495,301.80 bond issue, which includes paying back the 2008 loan in the amount of $1,714,561.34, paying back the 2005 bond series in the amount of $7,950,000 and providing $5,000,000 for new open space projects. The 2010 Bonds will be the only bonds outstanding after settlement in December.
Exhibit B: Shows the coupon rates for the 2010 bonds to range from 2% - 4.1% through 2030.
Mr. Wolf said the average debt service per year will be $1,090,000, which will be paid from a combination of the dedicated .5% earned income tax with a small balance to be paid from the unencumbered remaining .5% earned income tax.
He provided information on the terms and conditions of the bond issue.
Bond Counsel Tim O’Neill explained the proposed ordinance required by the Local Debt Act that will authorize the incursion of the new debt. He said that the 2008 loan was taken out to replace the 2001 bond series which had a variable rate. Since rates have become more attractive now, it’s sensible to refinance both the 2005 bond series and 2008 loan.
He referred to the previously circulated Official Statement, which is a redlined version that the Board should review within the next week before it’s finalized. The Statement recites the price of the bonds, notes the establishment of a sinking fund, and states the Township will observe the various tax laws, one of which is to demonstrate a reasonable expectation that the funds will be expended within three years. Application to the Department of Economic and Community Affairs will be made to allow the debt to be self-liquidating by using the Earned Income Tax funds to service the debt.
Mr. O’Neill suggested a minor change to page 4 of the Ordinance and said closing is scheduled for early December with the bonds to be called back by December 15th.
Mr. Willig moved to pass Ordinance #161-2010 with the change recommended by Mr. O’Neill and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, Mrs. Csete called a roll call vote as follows: Mr. Philips-aye, Mr. Willig-aye, Mr. Piliero-aye, and Mr. Rodgers-aye.
Mrs. Csete referred to the recommendation by Mr. Kohli in his letter dated October 6, 2010 that named Oceanport Industries as the lowest responsible bidder to provide road salt to the Township for the 2010-2011 season. Mr. Rodgers moved to award the road salt contract to Oceanport Industries, and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Bill Coyle, Valley Hill Road, was present to discuss runoff problems he’s experienced from the Deerfield development after heavy rains. He’s also had runoff from Valley Hill Road since it was widened by PennDOT this summer.
Mr. Coyle said that years ago he had a problem with water running down his driveway when it was off Valley Hill Road. He later relocated the driveway to Green Lane Road, but water still enters his property across the lawn where the driveway used to be. Runoff has increased there since the paving was done. Mr. Alston indicated that PennDOT didn’t pave the entire road but only portions of it. Mr. Kohli said that Pulte Homes had an agreement with PennDOT to pave the road, but the top course wasn’t completed after they ran out of funds. PennDOT rescinded their permit and chipped the rest of the road. Mr. Willig asked if the problem would have been prevented if the top course had been completed as originally agreed, and Mr. Kohli said yes, dscribing how the work should have been done. He said PennDOT was supposed to correct it.
Mr. Piliero said his daughter, who lives nearby, is also having runoff problems on her property since Valley Hill Road was paved. Mr. Coyle asked if a pipe could be sent under the road, but Mr. Kohli said the NPDES permit won’t allow it.
Mr. Philips requested that a meeting be set up with PennDOT officials to see what can be done to ameliorate the problem. Mr. Thompson said he’ll draft a letter to PennDOT with Mr. Kohli’s input to make arrangements.
Mr. Coyle then described the runoff problem from the Pulte development at Deerfield. He said after the stormwater basin is dry it still drains to his property from underground for over a week, causing his pond to silt up over time and for once-usable ground to become too marshy to walk on. Mr. Kohli said once the basin is stabilized this should be corrected.
Mr. Motel asked if it’s possible the basin itself is silted and not functioning propery. Mr. Kohli said they’re waiting for information from Pulte for review and they need to make sure the 4-ways are kept clean. They’re in the process of checking the As-Built Plans for the stormwater management system.
Mr. Kohli said he’ll soon review the As-Built Plans for the basins at Deerfield to determine if there are any deficiencies causing the additional runoff onto Mr. Coyle’s property. Mr. Motel suggested contacting the County to see if NPDES approvals can be held back, and Mr. Kohli said he’ll do so.
Mr. Willig advised Mr. Coyle to keep a diary of rainfall and subsequent runoff for the time being until the problems are resolved.
Mr. Philips asked Mr. Kohli to update Mr. Coyle as details become available.
Carol Altemose and Lance Altemose were present to discuss their request for public water service to their property at Whitehorse and Ashenfelter Roads where they have proposed a 23 lot subdivision.
Lance Altemose said they went to the Planning Commission with the sketch plan and have now revised it to include some of the recommendations, including the addition of a second entrance to the development and increased setbacks for the houses proposed along Whitehorse Road. He said they plan to return to the Planning Commission with the revised sketch, but in the meantime they wished to request public water service from the Board.
Mr. Altemose said public water service would enhance safety for the new community by allowing for hydrants, and would negate the requirement of having to provide the 100 foot setback from each well and septic system for the lots.
Mr. Philips said there are other larger developments in the Township that are able to provide on-site water and questioned why public water would be necessary here. Mr. Altemose said there is already a water main on the property, and noted that the adjacent development, Michael Main’s Whitehorse Meadows was granted approval to expand the public water franchise area to include it. He added that when Mr. Main developed that property he removed a cistern that provided access to water for firefighting. Mr. Willig said an alternative would be to install sprinklers in the houses, which Mr. Altemose acknowledged may be required by the State by next year as a law requiring it has been proposed.
Mr. Willig asked what the yield is for water on the property. Mr. Altemose said they haven’t conducted testing yet. He said they built a new well for the existing house fifteen years ago and didn’t have a problem. Mr. Willig asked for the elevation from the creek to the house, and Mr. Altemose estimated 200 feet. He noted he didn’t think accessing on-site water would be a problem but felt public water service would be more reliable.
Mr. Willig asked if the subdivision plan would be designed differently depending on whether there was public water. Mr. Altemose said it would be easier to plan the development but it wouldn’t likely be different.
Mr. Philips expressed his opinion that since the lots are of sufficient size to provide a well, a septic system and a backup septic site, the Board shouldn’t consider expanding the public water franchise unless a problem had been demonstrated.
Mr. Altemose said well water depletes the ground water, but Mr. Philips said since the septic is on-site as well, the aquifer is recharged.
Mr. Altemose asked why the franchise was extended for Mr. Main’s development, and Mr. Philips responded that it was another board that made that decision years ago, and it doesn’t have any bearing on this request. He said the Board decides this on a case by case basis. Mr. Altemose noted a few other properties in the area that have public water access, but Mr. Philips said they only granted it after the owners showed a hardship.
Mr. Altemose said the Board has the ability to change the service area and he doesn’t see the harm in doing so here, noting that the property is at the edge of the township. He said the property was once part of the property developed by Michael Main.
Mr. Philips asked the other members for their input. Mr. Piliero said he had nothing to add and was in agreement, as was Mr. Rodgers, that the water should be on-site unless a hardship is demonstrated.
Mr. Altemose said there may be liability for the board in denying public water access, but Mr. Willig said no precedent is set by extending it to one property and not another.
Mrs. Csete said she spoke at length with Joe Bonisera, the actuary for the Township Pension plan along with Diane Calhoun, PSATS Director of Insurance Services on how to improve returns on the plan. The plan is a Defined Pension Plan, started in 2001 for her as the only full time employee at that time. They have 3 portfolios to choose from that include conservative, moderate and more aggressive plans. Charlestown has opted for Portfolio B, the moderate plan. The actuary and PSATS director recommend staying with Portfolio B but shifting to a new model that includes fund options from Vanguard and is designed to reduce volatility and improve performance. She asked the Board to consider authorizing a change in the asset allocation as recommended in her memo to the Board dated 10/21/10, and the Board agreed to do so.
The Board authorized the Secretary to advertise the proposed 2011 Budget for consideration of adoption at the December 6, 2010 Board of Supervisors meeting, 7:30 P.M. in Room 154 of the Great Valley Middle School, 255 North Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA.
The following hearings were scheduled for December 6, 2010 for 7:30 P.M. in Room 154 of the Great Valley Middle School, 255 North Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA:
Mr. Thompson said he circulated the draft ordinance to the Board prior to the meeting and it consisted of minor adjustments as a follow up to the codification approved at the October 4, 2010 meeting.
Planning Commission Chairman Andy Motel was present to explain the recommendations made by the Planning Commission on various ordinances reviewed in recent months.
Mr. Motel said the Planning Commission held a number of meetings to review the Agricultural Use section of the Zoning Ordinance in depth, with a great deal of input from the public. The recommended changes are as follows:
Mr. Motel said in the interest of providing for sustainable agriculture on smaller lots, the Planning Commission proposed allowing property owners to keep chickens, on lots smaller than 4 acres. Mr. Philips asked why roosters are allowed on 4+ acre properties since they can be a nuisance. Mr. Kohli and Mrs. Csete both indicated they had never received complaints about noise from roosters in the Farm Residential district. Mr. Thompson indicated some of the language will be adjusted prior to advertising. Mr. Philips asked if Section C allowing up to 6 hens in the Historic District belonged here or in the Historic District portion of the Ordinance, and Mr. Thompson said it made sense to put it here in the new Section 1620. The Board added the language that up to 6 hens would be permitted in the Historic District “regardless of lot size”.
Mr. Motel said the definition of Impervious Surface was amended to include solar panels and solar energy collectors.
Mr. Motel said Dan Wright revised the Planning Commission’s basic draft and made numerous changes they reviewed at their October 12th meeting. The ordinance doesn’t permit stand-alone solar farms but instead allows solar energy systems as accessory uses in all zoning districts. The use would be permitted by conditional use in all districts except Farm Residential, Traditional Neighborhood Development, and Residential-1 where they will be permitted by-right.
Mr. Thompson indicated he has reviewed the ordinance. Mr. Motel indicated a few mark-ups he made that he’d like to include in the draft to be advertised as follows:
Mr. Thompson drafted this ordinance at the Board’s request to clarify that a street or road is a structure and must comply with side yard setbacks. Mr. Motel indicated the Planning Commission will provide comments on this ordinance via email to Mr. Thompson rather than review it at their November 9th meeting due to time constraints.
With regard to other ordinances under review by the Planning Commission, Mr. Motel indicated they are still working on the sign ordinance and wind power ordinance. Mr. Philips thanked the Planning Commission for their extensive work on all these ordinances over the past several months.
The Board authorized the Secretary to advertise the Board’s intention to appoint a certified public accountant to conduct the 2010 audit.
Mr. Alston said the post and cable guide rail behind the Longwood School is in severe disrepair and is a safety hazard due to the deep ravine off the side of Bodine Road at Valley Hill Road. He obtained two estimates, the lesser for $6,000 from Collinson, Inc. to replace 238 feet of guide rail. An additional $1,000 would be spent having the road contractor, Melchiorre Construction Co., remove the existing post and cable. He requested authorization to proceed.
Mr. Rodgers moved to authorize the replacement of the post and cable guide rail at Bodine and Valley Hill Road with guide rail to be installed by Collinson Inc., and Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Alston said he wants to purchase a radar recorder unit to be used to measure vehicle count, travelling speeds and direction of travel. The device mounts easily on a pole and the results can be downloaded onto a computer. He said he anticipates that when the turnpike bridge over Bodine Road is re-opened, complaints of speeding will result. He said he has earlier speed data to compare with any new counts. The recording unit now owned by the Township is labor intensive and can’t be used in all weather conditions. He has a buyer who will pay $500 for it. He asked if the Board would consider the new unit at $3,500.
The Board determined they’d like to look into alternatives, such as renting a unit or partnering with another municipality, as they’re unsure of how much use the device would get. They indicated they would be interested in seeing a demonstration first.
Mr. Philips adjourned the meeting at 10:00 p.m. The next business meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 15, 7:30 p.m. at the Charlestown Township Office, 4030 Whitehorse Road, Devault, PA.