The first business meeting for June was held June 6, 2011 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA.
|Supervisors:||Hugh Willig, Chairman, Charlie Philips, Kevin Kuhn, and Mike Rodgers, Members|
|Consultants:||Surender S. Kohli, Dan Wright, P.E., Mark Thompson, Esq.|
|Staff:||Linda Csete, Manager, Fred Alston, Public Works Superintendent|
|Public:||Steven Sugarman, Esq., Carol Krus, Michael Allen, John Diament|
Mrs. Csete made the following announcements:
The Township has begun its 7 year review of the Agricultural Security Area and has now posted the required 5 notices in areas around the Township and notified all eligible landowners that they have an opportunity to join. She received one form back for approximately 17 acres. Anyone with questions can call her at the township office or check the website for FAQs and links to the Agricultural Security Law.
She attended the May 10th meeting of the Chester County Tax Collection Committee, where progress is slowly being made to bring earned income tax collection up to speed. Charlestown’s receipts are down about 10% year-to-date compared to 2010, but they should catch up within the next month.
The 3rd annual Bark for Life Event, sponsored as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, will be held this Sunday, June 12th from 1 pm – 4 pm at Charlestown Park.
The July Board of Supervisors meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 5th, a day late due to Monday being Independence Day.
The July Planning Commission meeting will be held a week later than usual, July 19th to accommodate her schedule, which is much appreciated.
The Board of Supervisors held an executive session following the May 16th meeting to discuss real estate and personnel matters.
Mr. Kuhn said he met Mike Wolf, the Township’s bond consultant from Boenning and Scattergood, at a Jaguar event at the Desmond last weekend, and Mr. Wolf said the Jaguar group planned their driving course to Valley Forge to go through Charlestown due to the scenic vistas.
No matters were brought forward from the public.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the minutes of the May 2, 2011 business meeting, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of the May 16, 2011 business meeting, and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Philips moved to approve the May 2011 Treasurer’s Report and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mrs. Csete provided some background on the insurance process and indicated the overall cost is just under 10% higher than for 2010 primarily due to the increase in population shown by the 2010 Census. She said service continues to be excellent from the insurance brokerage firm, Simkiss Companies and specifically from Ken Moyer.
Mr. Philips moved to approve the Scottsdale insurance proposal obtained through Simkiss Company for the period of 6/11/2011 – 6/11/2012 and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the June 6, 2011 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Rodgers moved to accept the May reports as submitted, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mr. Philips said there are various signs along Charlestown Road that should be removed, including election signs and advertisements for mulch and bus drivers.
Mr. Philips said that as a Board, the Supervisors owe the Charlestown Historical Society (CHS) a major apology for their incorrect interpretation of the historical resources protection ordinance that led them to notify the CHS that the wagon shed at the Markley property was in violation due to demolition by neglect. Since this structure isn’t listed on the Historic Resources Map, the ordinance doesn’t apply to it.
Mr. Kuhn disagreed that the letter sent by the Township was off base. He said the very fact that the structure is a wagon shed connotes its historic significance.
Mr. Willig said the letter addressed more than the wagon shed, it addressed the whole property, including the barn. Mr. Philips said they are making progress on the other structures.
Mr. Kuhn said the property was left to the CHS by the founding member of that organization along with sufficient funds to maintain it. Further, the CHS is supposed to champion historic preservation.
Mr. Willig said the Board needn’t apologize for the letter, which addressed more than the wagon shed, although he agreed they overstepped on that aspect. Mr. Kuhn said the Historical Commission missed the boat in omitting the wagon shed from the historic resources list.
Mr. Kohli said the letter didn’t mention specific buildings, although the Board mentioned it at their meetings, and he repeated that they owe the CHS an apology regarding the shed. The Township has no enforcement rights over it, although the French & Pickering Creeks Trust does because of the easement they hold.
Pam Brown, Conservation Director for the French & Pickering Creeks Trust, said it’s been a struggle to get a response from the CHS and having the Township work with the F & P as a team has been very helpful. Mr. Philips encouraged the F & P to rigorously enforce its requirements on the Markley property.
Mr. Philips asked if there was an update for the Grange building. Mr. Kuhn said he hasn’t spoken to Polly Hagan since the letter was sent on May 17th in which the Township offered to purchase the building.
Mr. Kuhn said once again he’s taken aback by the high cost of road sweeping after seeing Melchiorre Construction Co.’s May invoice for $33,000, mostly for sweeping and inlet cleaning, particularly since over $15,000 was charged for this in April. Mr. Alston said some of the charges this month were for other repairs on Mine Road and Benburb Road, including a cross pipe replacement on one of them. He said since the winter was bad, more material was put down on the roads, which leads to more sweeping.
Mr. Kuhn said he attended the site meeting on May 25th for the contractors bidding on the abutment repair contract, and that while the bids will be opened this evening, no decision will be made until after the bids are turned over to Mr. Kohli for review.
The following bids were opened for the project to stabilize the abutments of the Pickering Creek Foot Bridge:
|Mar-Allen Concrete Products||44,000|
|Bill Anskis Co.||59,000|
|Eastern Granite Co.||35,096|
The bids were turned over to Mr. Kohli for review and a recommendation for a bid award at the July 5, 2011 meeting.
Builder John Diament was present to explain the Staneks’ request. They propose to build a single home on Lot 4 of the Eastwick subdivision with a combination of above and below ground stormwater management facilities. The ordinance requires that all stormwater be underground unless a waiver is granted by the Board.
Mr. Diament said they want to build a farm pond as part of the stormwater system. Drawings of the system and the house plans were submitted to the Township for review, and he displayed them along with the landscape and site plans for the Board. He said they plan to submit the building permit application for the house within the next month.
Mr. Diament said the pond would be lined and would be partially used for above ground stormwater management. The bank would be increased to allow more water collection, and the pond would also have geothermal use.
Mr. Diament said his engineer, Christopher Della Penna, responded to Mr. Kohli’s review letter dated 5/11/11 with a letter dated 6/2/11. Mr. Kohli said he hasn’t had an opportunity to review the response yet.
Mr. Diament said they don’t have an issue with any of Mr. Kohli’s comments. He said the homeowners want the pond for aesthetic reasons. The pond would be fed by the gutters and a bio filter will keep out geese and otherwise keep the pond clean. Mr. Philips asked if the pond could dry out. Mr. Diament said since it’s lined, this isn’t expected to be a problem, but if the need arose a dedicated well would feed it.
Mr. Philips asked if the subsurface portion of the system will handle a two year storm, and Mr. Diament said yes. He said the pond was designed by John Monroe from the University of PA, and the Chester County Conservation District and DEP are currently reviewing the plan.
Mr. Philips asked for the size of the property, and Mr. Diament said 8 acres. Mr. Philips asked if there is a deed restriction on the property. Mr. Kuhn said the Eastwick subdivision provided for a deed restriction against further subdivision for each lot for ten years after a use & occupancy permit was issued or a maximum of fifteen years after the original Eastwick subdivision approval, which will be 2013. Mr. Diament said the building envelope on this lot is in a restrictive envelope and there’s no other unrestricted area that could provide another home site, primarily due to the steep slopes.
Mr. Philips asked if a conditional use approval will be needed to construct the pond, and Mr. Diament said no, they just need the waiver to allow for the above ground system. Mr. Philips said he has no problem with the waiver provided they keep water in the pond at all times. He said a pond is an aesthetic feature. Mr. Diament said there will be an automatic leveler in addition to a dedicated well to maintain the water level.
Mr. Kuhn asked about the outflow during a rainy period, and Mr. Diament said this was provided for by the engineer.
Mr. Kohli asked if the pond will be fenced. Mr. Diament said the entire property will likely be fenced but they don’t plan to have a fence around the pond itself. He said there is no 3:1 slope, and there will be lots of marsh plantings. Mr. Philips asked if there is a vegetation plan, and Mr. Diament said he has it with him. Mr. Philips asked how the pond will be maintained, and Mr. Diament said the plan provides for sustainable plantings and should be well maintained.
Mr. Philips said a stormwater maintenance agreement will be required, which Mr. Thompson confirmed. Mr. Diament said he’s aware of this requirement.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve a waiver for the E & S Plan for Lot 4 of the Eastwick Subdivision from Stormwater Management Ordinance section 23-303.D.1., and a waiver from Note 13 of the recorded Eastwick Subdivision Plan last revised 1/15/94. The approval is further subject to compliance with Mr. Kohli’s 5/11/11 review letter and execution of a stormwater maintenance agreement. Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for further discussion. Mr. Kohli said his office will review the NPDES permit and CCCD approval along with the response letter from Mr. Della Penna prior to issuance of the E & S approval. Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.
Mr. Thompson said Toll Brothers has requested a final release of escrow funds for all three phases of Charlestown Meadows. Mr. Kohli referred to his letter dated 6/6/11 reviewing the completion of improvements for Charlestown Meadows, which concludes with the recommendation that the Board not release the bonds, totaling $517,296.59, until all outstanding items are addressed and revised as-built plans are provided. He said the punch list was developed following a walkthrough of the site he conducted with Toll Brothers representatives.
Mr. Kuhn asked if the Township or the HOA can call in the bond if Toll Brothers doesn’t make the required repairs, and Mr. Thompson said it would be the Township’s action. Mr. Thompson said Mr. Kohli’s letter indicates that the HOA is to sign off on the release of the bonds as a condition of Township approval. While this isn’t a requirement of the escrow agreement, the agreement states that all work is to be done in a workmanlike manner, and this determination is to be made by Mr. Kohli with whatever input he requests.
Mr. Philips moved to withhold the bond releases until the outstanding items are repaired. Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Steve Sugarman, Esq. stated that he represents the Charlestown Meadows Homeowners Association and asked for confirmation of the bond amount, which Mr. Thompson provided. He then asked if the amount being held will be sufficient to make the repairs. Mr. Kohli said yes, and that Toll Brothers can make the repairs or the Township can make them and release the difference.
Mrs. Csete said Devault Foods has requested another one year extension to the deadline for filing the Phased Final Plan associated with the five phase Preliminary Plan that was conditionally approved in June 2005.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve a one year extension to the Preliminary Plan and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion. There being none, Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.
Pam Brown from the French & Pickering Creeks Trust discussed the draft easement agreement for the buildings at the Brightside Farm in order to to obtain some input from the Board. Mr. Kuhn said there’s been some back and forth with Mr. Thompson on some of the provisions of the agreement.
Mr. Thompson said he was concerned with language that changes at the Farm would be “subject to review”, and he wasn’t comfortable with some of the items on the list such as changing the access drive, removing vegetation or trees, and parking. The agreement would require giving a 30 day notice to the Trust. Another item stated that the Trust is to be reimbursed for consultant’s review expenses, although he said in speaking with Trust officials they’ve indicated this isn’t commonly done. In this case, he said the provision should be removed. Pam Brown said Claire Quinn has responded to Mr. Thompson’s email regarding these concerns and added some language to address them. She said the Township would not be charged for reasonable review, which is usually handled over the phone. This provision is for extraordinary costs of review that can’t be handled in house.
Mr. Kuhn said Mr. Thompson was concerned with the indemnification language. Since the Township is the property holder, they can’t sue themselves, but if the property was sold, this language would become relevant again. Mr. Thompson said it needs to be made clear that the Township isn’t responsible to indemnify itself. Ms. Brown said this language is in the agreements with other townships. Mr. Thompson said his concern is that the Board be aware of what is subject to review. He realizes the Township enjoys a cooperative relationship with the French & Pickering Trust, but the situation could change in the future with future boards.
Mr. Kuhn said the Township’s primary concern is to protect the property from further subdivision and additional housing, but after that they’re looking for flexibility. The other Board members agreed.
Ms. Brown said the Trust doesn’t charge for reviews or monitoring since their Board includes experts who provide these services pro bono.
Mr. Kuhn said his biggest concern is that the Township doesn’t know what it will do ultimately with the property, although any changes would be related to open space and recreational activities. Ms. Brown said many allowances are included in the agreement. For instance, connections to other natural trails are permitted. Mr. Kuhn asked if pervious surface is permitted and Ms. Brown said no, just gravel, grass or dirt trails that can be accessed by horses. This property in particular is adjacent to the Horseshoe Trail. Mr. Kuhn said the Township has an asset at the other end, Charlestown Park, but no similar asset where the Farm is located. They discussed trail improvements at last month’s meeting. Ms. Brown said a crushed stone trail would likely suit their needs.
Mr. Thompson asked if some of the items listed as “subject to review” could be eliminated. Ms. Brown said she’ll speak to Claire Quinn about it.
Mr. Kuhn asked for the Board’s input as to whether they can move forward once the solicitor is satisfied, and they indicated yes.
Mr. Kuhn then referred to the Hevner property, and Ms. Brown said the Trust is close to an agreement. They plan to resubmit for a PALTA grant of $6,000 to help defray costs, and a $5,000 stewardship donation will be needed.
Mr. Kuhn said the Gill property easement is moving forward and the appraisal process will be started soon. Mr. Kuhn asked if the Manager can execute this when the time comes, and Mr. Thompson said yes, following the Board’s approval.
Mr. Kuhn asked about the status of the Muldoon property, and Ms. Brown said they’re working cooperatively with the Trust on various issues.
Mr. Thompson said he circulated the draft conditional use decision for the Thompson property earlier today. He said Mr. Willig had a question on Item #8, typically part of the standard language, which gives a deadline of 18 months for the completion of improvements whereas the subdivision is given a 5 year deadline. He deleted this language as a non sequitur.
Mr. Kuhn asked if the subdivision must meet future ordinances that are passed during the five year period prior to the commencement of construction of the improvements. Mr. Thompson said the approval can’t be disallowed, but new ordinance provisions can be applied.
Mr. Thompson reviewed the conditions of approval with the Board. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Thompson conditional use decision and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion. There being none, Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.
Mrs. Csete referred to the draft letter she circulated to the Board, Mr. Kohli & Mr. Thompson acknowledging to PennDOT that the Township would cover the cost of the traffic signal pole upgrades at the Route 29/Whitehorse Road and Route 29/Charlestown Road intersections.
There was discussion over the cost of the upgrades, which started at $70,000-$80,000 and was more recently estimated at $133,000 while a firm number has still not been determined. Mr. Allen said he’s spoken to Kent Lazar at Spring City Manufacturing about it and was told the increase was due to additional poles being required for ADA compliance, and an increase in the cost of materials. He’s been trying to reach Rob Prophet at PennDOT to clarify after Spring City more recently estimated the upgrades at $200,000. He said the Township needs to retain the right to withdraw from the agreement.
Mr. Kuhn asked if they should consider going back to the idea of just painting the standard poles with black powder coating. He noted that the cost of the upgrades will affect insurance costs. Mr. Allen said another option could be to just upgrade the poles in the more critical areas.
Mr. Kuhn asked if Spring City can give final numbers on the upgrade cost. Mr. Allen said they supposedly provided this to PennDOT.
Mr. Willig asked if they should consider buying the poles themselves and being reimbursed for the basic pole cost. This could be a way to better control the price. Mr. Allen said he’ll discuss this with PennDOT.
The matter will be discussed further at the July 5th meeting.
Mrs. Csete referred to the draft resolution she circulated to the Board, Mr. Kohli and Mr. Thompson that the Board resolves to execute the Sidewalk Maintenance Agreement for State Road 29 Section AL2. She indicated that Mr. Kohli has reviewed the agreement and found it acceptable.
She then indicated that she attempted to prepare a draft of the Traffic Signal Maintenance Agreement that will be a joint agreement with East Whiteland Township; however, a substantial amount of information is still needed to complete the document before it can be processed by both Townships.
Mr. Alston said he prepared both of these agreements some time ago and sent them to Mr. Thompson for review. The Board asked Mr. Thompson to review the agreements and provide comments before they take any action.
Mrs. Csete said she received a call from Keystone Collections on June 1st and was informed they mistakenly processed approximately $100,000 in 4th quarter 2010 EIT returns and final 2010 EIT returns that should have been sent to Central Tax Bureau (Centax) for processing. Keystone asked how to have the total payout returned by the Township to their company, proposing either a wire transaction or having the Township issue a refund check. These funds would be returned to the Township by Centax after they processed the returns.
Mrs. Csete indicated she preferred that Keystone work out the situation directly with Centax since the error originated with them. Specifically, she recommended that Keystone be told to remit the funds to Centax and deduct the amount from future payments made to Charlestown. The Board was in agreement to handle the matter this way.
Mrs. Csete referenced a letter dated 6/3/11 from an environmental law firm requesting permission for the Pennsylvania Environment Ride, a fundraising bike ride, to traverse Charlestown Township on Sunday, June 26th. Mr. Alston said he reviewed the proposed route and found it to be acceptable, providing that if the group marks the roads they use a paint that will wash off after it rains. The Board was in agreement to approve the request and Mr. Willig signed the request form.
Mr. Kohli said he’s waiting for the Schuylkill Township Zoning Officer’s letter listing any violations at the property and will take action once it’s received.
Mr. Kuhn said he spoke to an individual who may be interested in renting space at the Brightside Farm for an equestrian center and proposed a 5 year lease at $4,000 per month. Mr. Philips suggested that the Board listen to her proposal and Mr. Willig said to ask her to send a letter of interest.
Mr. Philips referred to a 5/19/11 article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about a program that matches farmers to available land and wanted to bring it to the Board’s attention as a possibility for the land at the Brightside Farm. The program was initiated by Eleanor Morris.
Mr. Philips asked for an update on re-establishing the buffer for Lot 8 of the Ashwood subdivision after the owners removed it against the requirements of the subdivision approval. Mr. Kohli said this is being monitored by Thomas Comitta Associates.
Mr. Alston said the Township received one ARLE grant and he recently heard another grant round is available. He asked for the Board’s preferences and said he’d be glad to make another application. Mr. Philips said he could try for the guiderail grant that was denied previously. Mr. Alston said a battery backup will be needed at the Route 29 and Warner Lane signal and could be a candidate prroject since it’s not included as part of PennDOT’s Route 29 improvement project.
Mr. Kuhn mentioned re-fencing of the Pickering Preserve along Pickering Dam Road. Mr. Willig said perhaps that fencing could just be removed, but Mr. Kuhn said a pull off area is needed there. Mr. Willig then suggested post and rail guiderail, and Mr. Alston said this could be requested for other roads, including Mary Hill and Bodine Road.
Mr. Kuhn asked for an update. Mr. Wright said the site meeting with Dan Malloy Paving took place earlier today, and they will provide a paving schedule. They expect to start just after the July 4th holiday. Mr. Wright said he and Mr. Alston looked at Pickering Road and saw the need for additional cross piping. He’ll circulate a memo on the site meeting and the changes to the project.
Mr. Willig adjourned the meeting at 9:25 p.m. The next business meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 5, 2011, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 North Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA.