The first business meeting for July was held July 1, 2013 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA.
|Supervisors:||Frank A. Piliero, Chairman, Michael J. Rodgers, Vice Chairman, Kevin R. Kuhn, Charles A. Philips, and Hugh D. Willig|
|Consultants:||Dan Wright, P.E., Mark P. Thompson, Esq.|
|Staff:||Linda Csete, Manager, Jim Thompson, Roadmaster, and Lisa Gardner, Recording Secretary|
|Public:||See attached sign-in sheet|
Mr. Philips said there was an Executive Session prior to the Board of Supervisor Meeting on June 3rd to discuss real estate and legal matters.
Mrs. Csete thanked Mr. Philips for taking the meeting minutes on June 17th.
Mrs. Csete said the Township Office would be closed Thursday and Friday for the observance of the 4th of July holiday.
There were no items mentioned.
Mr. Philips moved to approve the minutes of the June 3, 2013 Business Meeting and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Piliero called for further discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Philips moved to approve the minutes of the June 17, 2013 Business Meeting and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Piliero called for further discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the June 2013 Treasurer’s Report and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Philips moved to approve the July 1, 2013 General Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the July 1, 2013 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote, all were in favor.
Mr. Philips moved to accept the June 2013 reports #1-14 as submitted, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Piliero called for further discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Philips stated he had received via mail the “Guidelines for Charlestown Village”, and motioned for approval. Since the document was received by the Township Office on June 27th, other Members requested additional time to review before voting. The motion was withdrawn and the item requested for the next meeting’s agenda.
There was none.
Mrs. Csete said the Township received a letter from the County Tax Claim Bureau requesting approval to sell a parcel to the lowest bidder. The parcel is a long narrow strip on the south side of Dickson Drive. By taking no action, the property will be sold to the lowest bidder by default. No motion was made.
Mr. Kuhn made a motion to not object to the sale of Parcel No: 35-4-47.4 and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn said he met with Dale Frens, Farm Manager Alix Coleman, and the new tenants at Brightside Farm on June 12th. They reviewed items for rehabilitation of the farmhouse. Mr. Kuhn said he did not get the appraisals (current and projected value after improvements) yet because the Board may want to determine if it was going sell the farm or preserve it before moving forward with appraisals. Mr. Kuhn told Members that at this time, their job may be to just preserve the site until a future project/vision is decided.
Mr. Kuhn and Mr. Piliero began to discuss the cost of repairs vs. how the property fits into Charlestown’s view on recreation and Township preservation. Mr. Kuhn discussed the cost estimate for rehabbing the farmhouse, prepared by Dale Frens. The estimate showed approximately $140,000 for repairs, and approximately $55,000 for recommended farmhouse upgrades (for residential rental use). Alix Coleman and Rosemary Philips requested at least safety measures to be made, for the current expected tenants. All Supervisors were in agreement that structural integrity/safety was a priority.
Alix told the Members about the farmhouse. It was originally part of 1,000 acres owned by William Penn in 1713, and has a rich historical background. The site now has additional acreage, an eased 20 acres that prohibits development. Mr. Piliero said regardless of the potential use, the historical value was tremendous, and felt this was the audience’s attitude. Rosemary Philips said it was unique because it contained all the buildings from the agricultural period.
Mr. Wright suggested the Board consider their view of Open Space. Was their view simply open space, fields, and undeveloped land or was it open space with a perspective that included, for example, the character of old farm houses?
Mr. Willig said that the house may one day be used as more than a rental home. Since it is in the center of the township, and has such a historical and agricultural significance, it has come to represent the Open Space and View Shed vision in Charlestown since about year 2000. This was a valuable Township property. Mr. Pittock added that this type of resource enhanced the quality of life in Charlestown.
Simply stating options, one option would be to make it safe enough to sell, but then it wouldn’t make any profit. Or, consider it an asset and repair it regardless of the price. Another option discussed, was to make it safe and habitable, but leave upgrades for a long term plan. Also discussed were the parameters of selling, including a provision that the land cannot be leased for profit, but the home and out buildings would not have this restriction. Mr. Philips reminded the Board that the farmhouse renovations would only benefit the renters, and not the community, unlike any dollars spent on Grange improvements, for example.
Rosemary Philips of HARB said their historical architectural consultant Dale Frens had recently visited the site. Mr. Frens said the first priority was to stabilize the house, bank barn, and springhouse. He would also expand the cost estimate to a 5 year plan for the Township, with the first year focusing on safety and security. Modest repairs to windows, down spouting, gutters, and grading would be initial projects, with the other buildings being “mothballed”. He estimated the cost at $100,000 for the house and another $100,000 for the outbuildings. The next priorities would then be charted, to keep ahead of the accelerating deterioration. Constant maintenance costs also need to be considered. The Board of Supervisors agreed on the need of a 5 year plan. Mr. Frens said he could also incorporate the other historic locations listed on tonight’s agenda in the plan.
Mr. Piliero made a motion to have Dale Frens draft a 5 Year Individual and Cumulative Renovation and Repair Expenditure Plan to prevent further deterioration of the Brightside Farm buildings, the Woolen Mill, the Volpi Property, and the Grange. Mr. Kuhn will obtain an appraisal of the Farm for renovation and sale information that is also necessary for insurance reasons. Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there was none. He called the vote, all were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn made a motion for the Brightside Farm improvements including “mothballing”, not to exceed $200,000 for 2013. Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
After the motion, Mrs. Leland, Chair of the Planning Commission and HARB member, asked the Board if they agreed that the preservation of this property was paramount. Mr. Kuhn and Mr. Piliero were in agreement. Mr. Philips said he may consider a proposal to sell it someday, but the buyer would be required to preserve it as a historical resource. Mr. Willig stated if it came to be that the property was going to be sold, he would want a stipulation requiring it to be preserved it in its entirety, as it is now.
Mr. Kuhn said he obtained an estimate from Richard Frunzi for the mill equipment installation and energizing. Tasks #1 & #2, totaling $15,500.00 should be done together. The last three items can be done as standalone projects for an additional $17,500.00. The total estimate equaled $33,000. The benefit of doing the full scope is that the Brightside barn can then be cleared of all mill equipment.
Supervisors need to review the Woolen Mill Improvements Budget alongside the requested cost estimate, schedule for improvements (both by Dale Frens), and Mr. Frunzi’s quote. After the signage is in place, the goal is to have the equipment usable for demonstrations. The first priority at the Mill will be to fix the damage being done by moisture and storm runoff.
Mr. Philips announced the purchase of approximately 53 acres of Subdivision Services property commonly referred to as the Volpi Property. It was executed on June 27th for a total of $876,129.23. Mr. Kuhn suggested mothballing the building to prevent deterioration. The Board discussed how to secure the historic house on the property. Rosemary Philips said the previous owner had an official letter of Determination from the National Register for Historic Places, but no further action had been taken.
Due to the historic nature of the site, Dale Frens will perform a site visit, and prepare an estimate for stabilization. This item is to be addressed at the August meeting.
Mr. Kuhn informed Supervisors that the process is in motion, but moving slowly, towards an Agreement of Sale and Purchase of the Grange Building.
Mr. Kuhn provided an update on the Improvement Plan for Charlestown Park that is being prepared by J.D. Bravo Co. Mr. Kuhn said he, Mr. Willig, and Mr. Jones met with Robert Gallante of J.D. Bravo at the site this morning. Mr. Kuhn said parking is one of the bigger challenges. Mr. Jones had been authorized by the Board to speak with the Phoenixville School District Superintendent about purchasing a parcel that runs parallel to the picnic pavilions. The parcel is located in Schuylkill Township.
Due to the topography and disturbance issues, the parking and pavilion work should be done at the same time. Per Mr. Willig, the Plan’s parking areas (parking counts done by J.D. Bravo) may not be adequate. Discussion with various program directors (ex. soccer and youth clubs) about scheduling will hopefully decrease the chance of “over-paving” or over parking.
Mr. Thompson’s opinion was sought regarding property negotiation and acquisition. Then questions regarding other sites on this agenda were mentioned and it was decided that there would be an Executive Session after tonight’s meeting to discuss real estate matters.
Fran Rodgers said there were vacancies in HARB and nominated Nancy Long as a new member to take the longest vacancy term available.
Mr. Philips made a motion naming Nancy Long as the newest member of HARB to fill the longest vacancy and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Piliero adjourned the meeting at 9 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 5, 2013, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 North Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA.