Minutes were recorded for the meeting on August 14thth, 2019 at the Great Valley High School Library, 225 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA 19355. Meeting was held from 6:00 p.m. – 7:50 p.m.
Attendees were Carol Armstrong (vice Chair), Veda Maany (secretary), Richard Findlay, Daniel Walker. Pete Goodman (Chair) and Greg Nesspor were absent. Megan Solomon was present as guest (from Charlestown Oaks)
The meeting was called to order by Armstrong and opened at 6:05. The previous meeting minutes were reviewed electronically prior to the meeting by members. A motion to approve was made by Findlay, seconded by Walker. The minutes were then adopted by unanimous vote.
We reviewed articles written by the EAC in the most recent township newsletter. Next deadline is in October.
Septic update: Findlay reports there is now a running three-year log. Next step is to obtain from Linda an updated registry of noncompliance. Then draft a letter to be sent out addressing noncompliance. Residents will have a chance to send in a receipt to show compliance in the event that it was overlooked.
We did have an article in the past newsletter about Stream naming accomplishments by Schuylkill township. Naming streams in Charlestown will be a future project, perhaps in the fall. We will have to refer to the presentation from last year regarding the specific steps and requirements.
Regarding the current status of the Green Business Award, Armstrong is awaiting from Walker a review of the current businesses list. The plan then is for the EAC to mail out our questionnaire form to those businesses. A fillable form for this questionnaire is on the township website as well.
Walker provided updates on the Turnpike Soundwalls. Mark Thompson has drafted a noise ordinance; its purpose is to set a decibel limit to noise generation to which the turnpike will have to abide. The ordinance will be available for all to review in September. However, the turnpike commission has delayed the project for now. There is also the issue of the planned new maintenance facility. It will involve expanding the Aqua-line and sewage line. The turnpike commission has deemed the current facility to be outdated and inadequate. Walker also reports that the commission claims they had installed the walls in Tredyffrin based on density and noise studies, not litigation. Our sound ordinance is based on WHO recommendations on noise threshold.
Armstrong reported some updates on the riparian buffer grant for Pigeon Run on Brightside Farm. Jeanine Ortiz from Audubon Society has offered to provide plant material for the project, and is interested in having a table on Charlestown Day on September 14th. Also, Austin Unruh will be doing restoration for us. Victoria Laubach of GVWA asked him to devise a plan outlining our plant needs to provide to Conservation District whom GVWA is applying for a grant for our project. The grant will also provide educational signage. We discussed a good dead rate of trees. If well planned and executed, we should expect a 70-90% survival rate. We discussed our soil sampling results from Penn State Ext and received some recommendations for our soil needs from Calen Wylie of the Stroud Water Research Center Restoration Program. The Brightside riparian buffer planning partners made several compromises with the current stakeholders at Brightside regarding concerns about not shading the hay fields and reeds, or the CSA plots.
Our next Community Education Series will be presented by Maany titled the “Environment and Our Health”. Date will be Monday September 23rd at 7 pm in Charlestown Playschool since the choral room is not available. We will advertise on Facebook, Nextdoor.com, ask Linda to put on website. Have Findlay send out to our email list as well as to P&R. Also inform the Historical Society (Barbara). Carol will bring urn, glasses, and cloth napkins. Perhaps Goodman’s wife will make cookies. Findlay will create a signup sheet to collect names of those present. We will have Armstrong be the introductory MC. Since there are no lights in the parking lot, we will help people escort to their cars after the program. Obtain AV equipment and screen from Goodman. EAC members should come at 6:30 to help set up.
With regards to our previous discussion about our township ordinance consistency with Pennsylvania State Code regarding Riparian buffers. Since our last meeting, Dan Wright has provided some more details via email which confirms that our local ordinance is not in compliance with the state. Our next step is addressing this inconsistency with the BoS. The current ordinance will need to be rewritten and publicly noted. We will ask Linda to put it on the BoS agenda for next month.
We reviewed the BoS August discussion of the current renewable energy resolution – Andy motel and Michael Churchill from PC were also present. One of the changes made to the resolution is to eliminate language about setting a specific date or a deadline for transitions to renewable energy sources. Much discussion ensued. Churchill spoke strongly that setting dates implies a sense of urgency. It is important for PC and EAC to work together on this project. Some townships/boroughs around us are emboldened to create ordinances that go even against state law (i.e. West Chester Borough and ban on single use plastics) It would be interesting to observe what happens in these other towns. It’s up to the EAC in conjunction with the planning commission to put forth any ideas about renewable energy. How do we encourage people to use renewable energy– strongly suggest vs a mandate?
Chester county is having an upcoming clean energy tour - Armstrong has signed up for passive solar tour- date is sat oct 19th. Will visit public buildings, private homes, and companies.
Per Armstrong, currently there is a committee formed in Pennsylvania made up of senators and state legislators that is looking into ordinance bans or taxes on single use plastics, and their effects on state economics and human health. A good number of these members have positive voting records on environmental issues.
Bird Town is on hold until they re-open the program. Nespoor applied for individual level bird habitat and got approved. Local Audubon is still functioning. The individual application than the municipal application - there is a modest fee. You receive 2 metal plaques. We are encouraging township residents to apply as one of the Bird Town requirements options is to have 1% of the homes receive the Bird Habitat designation.
Findlay– tomorrow Parks and Rec meeting will bring up again collaborating/merging our email volunteer list – we want to make a website platform to communicate with those who have signed up for communications.
Armstrong proposes the consideration of Charlestown Park as a DCNR pollinator site. There is concern about our Pennsylvania’s forest succumbing to fungus, infections, and noxious invasive plant species. One strategy is to increase pollinator gardens for insects. There is incentive for businesses and residential properties. DCNR have reached their limit for individual applications but still accepting applications for public sites. Charlestown park may be a good candidate. The program requires that we create certain habitats where DCNR would make assessments and recommendations on how to change the landscape. DCNR would provide some funds to make changes that may need to be matched. There is also Brightside Park, the Mill, Great valley high school, Malvern TCE Superfund Site-Chemclene, and historic sites. Findlay will bring this topic up with P&R tomorrow night. Aim to send in application by deadline.
Topic of recycling. We asked – do our trash companies comply with Chester County rules? How do they work with the vendors? Our guest Megan Solomon reports that a big problem with recycling that ends up in the landfills is due to contamination . Armstrong reported that the County Solid Waste Authority also reported that a major cause of contamination is putting out for recycling items that are made of multiple materials, which is another type of contamination. Does Chester County have an easily accessible guide on recycling requirements? How to best inform people and provide information on the differences between the different vendors and trash companies. Mixed paper and glass do not currently have any recycling value as reported in Radnor township.
We discussed testing of our water from our wells- Maany and Armstrong have done some formal testing; Armstrong reported the lab found low-level formaldehyde.
Future Community Lecture Series – how many do we want to do a year- three a year? We discussed some topic ideas; “cooking with invasives” by prior chef who does watershed work – a great way to eliminate invasives without use of pesticides. Invite Vice president of PA Lehigh Valley Native Plant Society to discuss the idea of foraging. Armstrong can present a talk on plastics. Megan Solomon could discuss composting and recycling as ways of reducing waste. Another topic is “connecting with backyard wildlife”. Any other ideas we should email Armstrong to keep a log in the minutes.
BoS Update: There was a MS4 report at the most recent Bos meeting– Phoenixville regional plan has been approved at regional level now goes to the township level.
P&R: In process of repairing the trails. Pickering trail has permeable membrane where they pile stones in it. Constructed boardwalks where there is a lot of runoff. 3 boardwalks were built in one morning. Frank Beyer is the trail captain and has a list of volunteers from Sue to help with trails. Thought there was a call for help 3 months ago to clean up trails. Then the focus went to repairing Pickering trail and nature walk in Charlestown Park. They have Davy do some cutting on the Pickering trail. Some discussion about getting machines to get invasives out. One of our weaknesses is the planning process doesn’t incorporate costs of future issues and maintenance. For instance, the Mill cost a lot to rehabilitate but is hardly open because there are no volunteers.
How does one reach out to community to garner interest in volunteering– should we utilize social media?
Meeting was adjourned at 8 pm.