The Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors held their regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Monday, May 7, 1990, at 8:00 P.M. at the Charlestown Elementary School.
|Irene W. Ewald, Chairman; John C. Martin, Jr. Vice Chairman; Vincent G. Kling, Sr., Member; Margaret A. Gallagher; Harold F. Pyle; Surender Kohli; John D. Snyder; and the attendees on the attached list.
Mrs. Ewald called the meeting to order at 8:15 P.M.
Mrs. Ewald announced that an Executive Session was held on May 1, 1990 to discuss personnel and real estate matters. She announced that the Board had accepted the resignation of Mrs. Gallagher and thanked her for her service. Beginning May 21 the Township office will be located on the first floor of the farmhouse of the Nature Center. The address will be Post Office Box 507, Devault, PA 19432 and after May 18 the phone number will be 935-2060. Resumes are being accepted for the Secretary/Treasurer’s position.
Mr. Kling made a motion to approve the minutes of the April 2, 1990 meeting. Mr. Martin seconded the motion. It so carried.
Mr. Kling made a motion to approve the minutes of the April 11, 1990 meeting. Mr. Martin seconded the motion. It so carried.
Mr. Kling made a motion to approve the April 1990 Treasurer’s Report. Mr. Martin seconded the motion. It so carried.
Mr. Martin made a motion to approve the May 7 Accounts Payable in the amount of $55,682.61 from the General Fund and $4,117.00 from the State Fund. Mrs. Ewald seconded the motion. It so carried.
Mr. Kohll distributed a list of permits issued in April. Mr. Kohli noted that an applicant is coming to the Planning Commission Meeting tomorrow night to request permission for a day care center in the LI District at Charlestown Road and Phoenixville Pike. This is not a permitted use. Mr. Sanchez, the applicant, said someone is interested in leasing the property for up to ten years to use as a day care center. Mrs. Ewald asked him to keep the Supervisors informed.
Ms. Mary Jane Duncan gave a Townwatch Report. A copy is attached.
Mrs. Ewald thanked Mr. Bob Kirby for his tremendous effort in coordinating the spraying. Mr. Kirby thanked Mr. Martin for his leadership and accessibility, Mr. D’Ginto and Mr. Grimm, front Townwatch, and Mrs. Gallagher for their help. Mr. Kirby said it is not too early to think about next year. Planning will start in July. Mr. Martin thanked the Board of Supervisors of South Coventry Township who took the lead in organizing a consortium of townships and advertising for bids for the spraying. This allowed Charlestown to spray more acres than the State| could do and at a much lower price since many townships and more acres were involved.
The Supervisors signed the building envelope change for Lot 8 in Four Oaks Farm.
Mrs. Ewald said the escrow and road dedication are the only holds the Township has on a developer. Mr. Philip Fretz read a letter from the Homeowners’ Association. The Homeowners’ Association does not see the need for a dry hydrant. Mrs. Ewald said if it is installed now the developer will pay for it. Mr. Dobson, Kimberton Fire Chief, said manpower is extremely limited and therefore a tanker may not be able to get to a fire on a timely basis. With a dry hydrant the water is there. Mr. Dobson feels the dry hydrant is a necessity and he said he would be happy to discuss it with the homeowners. Mrs. Ewald asked that the Homeowners’ Association send the Supervisors a letter indicating if they would like the developer to pay for the hydrant. The Supervisors feel it is a health, safety and welfare issue. The Board intends to accept the roads at next month’s meeting if the outstanding issues are resolved.
Mr. Martin said the Great Valley School District will not enter an undedicated roadway. Mr. Martin received a complaint from Mr. Oppasser, a resident of Three Ponds, saying that the school bus backs up on Pikeland Road and he feels this is unsafe. He also feels the road should be dedicated since all the residents are paying taxes. He feels the Supervisors’ concerns are separate from the road issue. Mrs. Ewald asked Mr. Snyder to notify the School Board of the Supervisors’ intent to dedicate the road when matters have been settled which have no relation to the quality of the road.
Mr. Martin asked if the residents prefer the landscaping as it is now. He feels a three way meeting between the Supervisors, the residents and Rouse/Chamber1 in might be helpful.
Mr. Kohli said there is a fence along Pikeland Road which is in the road right-of-way. It should be relocated. He also noted that the storm drains have been cleaned.
Mr. John Evans, the owner of the lot with the ponds, was told the landscaping plan had shown some spacing of the trees which were intended to achieve a buffer from Pikeland Road. Some of the plantings were done differently and do not create a cluster effect. The correct number of trees is there but they are not planted closely enough to create a grouping. Mr. Kling said it is difficult to remove and replant trees. He feels that supplemental trees should be added to make a group effect.
Mr. Flood, the Project Manager at Three Ponds, said the landscaping was done in late Fall 1987 and it was done according to the approved landscaping plan at the time. The trees were spaced as they are so that as they mature they will have enough room to grow. In January 1988 the Township landscape architect checked the work and he said there was not the right number of trees and some of them were damaged. He did not say the trees were too far apart or in the wrong position. The developer addressed all the points in his letter. He does not feel that now, two years later, the developer should be held responsible. Mrs. Ewald said the plantings should have been done right. It was an oversight on the Township landscaper’s part that this point was not addressed in 1987. Mr. Flood feels harm will be done to the trees. The developer has spent an additional 525,000 to landscape. Mr. Martin asked Mr. Flood if he felt the Township has waived its right to change the plan because of its inaction over the last two years. Mr. Colagreco said this could be an argument. The lots have all been sold by Rouse/Chamberlin in and Rouse is not in control of them.
Mrs. Ewald told Mr. Flood the Supervisors read all documents presented and to bring documents to a meeting and expect action on them Is not possible. Mr. Flood said this is the fourth time he has presented the documents. The only difference Is that the date keeps changing.
Mr. Krausser noted that since each property Is Individually owned some property owners may not want their property touched In any way.
Mr. Colagreco said the applicant Is proceeding In good faith. In the review process of the compromise or settlement plan there were some items on the last sketch plan that concerned the Board and Mr. Kohli. Before the plans are changed to address these concerns it would be helpful to sit down with Mr. Kohli to make sure his concerns are being addressed. Mrs. Ewald said the Board, Mr. Kohli and Mr. Snyder would be glad to meet with the applicant.
An extension until June 4, 1990 for a Supervisors’ decision on the Heatherwood Plan on Howe11 Road was received.
The Planning Commission and Township consultants have been working for some months on a set of revisions to both the Subdivision and Zoning Ordinances. They are primarily to bring the ordinances into compliance with the Municipalities Planning Code which was amended in 1988. Some minor corrections still have to be made to the May 1, 1990 revisions. If the Board authorizes it the final changes will be made and copies will be forwarded to the Chester County Planning Commission for their review and a public hearing will be advertised. The County has thirty days to review them. After the Township receives their review letter the Board will hold a hearing and take action on these amendments. Included will be a requirement for all residents to post house numbers that can be seen from the roadway. Mrs. Ewald made a motion to have counsel make the suggested changes, send them to the Supervisors for their review, schedule them for advertisement and schedule a public hearing. Mr. Kling seconded the motion. It so carried.
Mr. Martin said their used to be an RA district along Buckwalter Road. When the 1979 Ordinance was enacted a PRO was created In that area with an alternative of FR. He thinks this should be changed to RA.
Mrs. Ewald said that at the Executive Session held in January the intention to revise the ordinances was discussed at length. Counsel was asked to prepare ordinances but when they were read into the record at the February meeting only two were approved for advertising. One concerned the procedure required for a revision to a plan and the other was a method by which trees could be preserved during the construction process. Unfortunately, the wrong set of papers was sent to the paper to be advertised. Part of what got published were simply internal documents for discussion that were revised because the Board had concerns and questions. Mrs. Ewald urged the entire community to pay attention to the ordinances and come to the public hearings. Mrs. Ewald told Mr. Colagreco the lot area ordinance was not approved for advertisement. Mr. Martin made a motion that the ordinances be advertised next week and that they will be available in Mr. Kohli’s office during normal working hours and all the Supervisors will make them available after May 21. Mrs. Ewald seconded the motion. It so carried.
Mr. Pyle said many road signs have been removed. He feels it is a dangerous situation not to have road signs. Mr. Kling said he also noted how many signs are down. A discussion of different styles of signs took place. Mr. Pyle told Mrs. Ewald she would probably be getting a call from a sign company. Mrs. Ewald said they would be invited to show a sample of their signs.
At this point Mrs. Ewald said there would be a five minute break.
Mrs. Ewald said that more than 130 students from Great Valley High School’s Ecology Club and Student Council spent more than six hours on April 28 cleaning Charlestown’s roads and streams and the job they did was truly phenomenal. Mrs. Ewald will prepare a Certificate of Appreciation to be presented at a School Assembly. In appreciation of the students’ efforts the Board agreed to pay an honorarium to the Great Valley Ecology Club in the amount of $500.00.
This fire on April 24 was one of the largest in Charlestown’s history. Mrs. Ewald went to the scene and observed the volunteers working. She thanked them for being environmentally sensitive. Mrs. Ewald invited Conrail to come to this meeting. They did not respond. Mrs. Ewald will write and insist they come to the June 4 meeting. She has asked Mr. Snyder to contact the EPA regarding railroad ties with creosote that litter the line. They burned in the fire and she feels this is not environmentally safe. She feels faulty maintenance on the part of Conrail caused the fire and she wants Conrail to explain why this happened and assure the Township that it will never happen again. There are also ties hanging over the edge of the railroad overpass on Union Hill Road. Mr. Snyder was asked to check to see who regulates the railroad and to prepare some correspondence within the next few days.
Mr. Darin Fitzgerald, Fire Chief of East Whiteland Fire Company, thanked the Supervisors for their letter of appreciation. He said the apparatus coming in from other areas had a difficult time with the numbering. It was a definite problem to try and direct apparatus to specific spots. He urged the Supervisors to continue working on the renumbering system. Mrs. Ewald said the Supervisors are proposing an ordinance which will require residents to prominently display their house numbers. She told Mr. Fitzgerald someone from the fire company is putting out information regarding duplicate numbers which is not accurate. She feels a little more training and clarification of how to find the roads and numbers is needed. She asked Mr. Fitzgerald to meet with the Supervisors and explain his mapping system, how dispatching is done and how the communications center is set up. The Township takes this very seriously. Both Mr. Fitzgerald and Mr. Dobson said they would meet with Mrs. Ewald. Mr. Dobson stressed the need for a good numbering system and a good display of the numbers that are available now. Mrs. Ewald said the Township wants to take its time with renumbering and make sure it is done right.
The Planning Commission has reviewed this use for an approved building lot on steep slope. The front of the property is in flood plain which .must be crossed to get to the proposed house. Mr. Bullard, the builder, has received a permit from DER. Mrs. Ewald said the Township is concerned for this environmentally sensitive area. Mr. Bullard was told he would be watched very carefully and that he should work with Mr. Kohli. Mrs. Ewald made a motion to approve this Conditional Use pending Mr. Comitta’s approval after his final review. Mr. Kling seconded the motion. It so carried.
At previous meetings of the Schuylkill Township Zoning Hearing Board approval was given to continue the two existing business on the site – a carpet store and a gym but they cannot expand. There will be a third hearing on May 10 regarding a salad dressing processor. Some neighboring Charlestown residents asked if the Supervisors would attend this meeting to uphold the Township’s Zoning Ordinance. Mr. Martin said Charlestown granted a Use and Occupancy Permit for the building as an accessory use for a grocery store. Mrs. Ewald said in 1977 the building was an accessory building for. a farm bat the farm no longer exists. Mr. Snyder said the municipal boundary should be determined. Mr. Kohll will contact the Schuylkill Township Zoning Officer to get a copy of the map which was entered into the record at the Zoning hearing. Mrs. Ewald would like to see what part of the building and which use of it is in Charlestown. Mr. Kling said the commercial use is not in keeping with the surrounding land use and he feels Charlestown should not permit a non-conforming use to expand.
Mr. Martin made a motion to approve a rental agreement with the Nature Center for $6,000 per year which will include utilities for two years with the right to renew for a third year but in the third year the Township would pay any increase in utilities over the first year. Mr. Kling seconded the motion. It so carried.
Mr. Martin made a motion to authorize advertisement of bids for equipment, bituminous and stone. Mrs. Ewald seconded the motion. It so carried.
Mr. Kling made a motion to approve Escrow Release #5 for Oak Hill in the amount of $53,626.50. Mr. Martin seconded the motion. It so carried.
Mr. Kling made a motion to reapprove the Rolling Meadows Subdivision on Mine Road. It was originally approved on February 5 but Mr. McErlane has not finished reviewing the covenants and the ninety days for getting the plan recorded have elapsed. Mrs. Ewald seconded the motion. It so carried.
The Phoenixville Area Soccer Club contacted Mrs. Ewald concerning possible contamination of land near the land they use at the former Valley Forge Army Hospital. Parents are concerned for the safety of their children. The Soccer Club wanted to go on record and have some testing done. The soccer field is in a diametrically opposite corner of the property approximately one mile from the area where the army hospital was burning x-rays and other waste and downhill from it. Mr. Richard Kling of RMC Environmental Services of Pottstown conducted the tests. Mrs. Ewald received a telephone report on the composite testing for lead, silver, mercury, cyanide and zinc. There are no U.S. guidelines for these kinds of elements in the soil. There are Canadian, Dutch and British guidelines. Mr. Kelley said the state of New Jersey has guidelines. When the written report is received it will be made available. The Soccer Club wants to share the results with the community. Core samples were taken from the small and large soccer fields, the berm and the pond. The key test was a sediment test in the pond because of the lay of the land. The Township does not know the area is safe but neither does it have any reason to believe it is unsafe.
Mr. Kling reported that at the Eastern Chester County Regional Planning Commission Meeting traffic bottlenecks were discussed-what can be done to fix them and what kind of budget is available. The impact of Churchill on the area was also discussed. Bach township represented mentioned its own particular problems.
Mr. Martin mentioned he received a letter from Evelyn Hall encouraging the Supervisors to provide some kind of house numbering because she feels her house would be hard to find in an emergency. Mrs. Ewald said the Planning Commission is working on this matter and a proposed ordinance will require that all houses be clearly numbered.
Mr. Carrow said there has not been much action by the builder. He asked that the matter be continued as old business until the matter is cleared up. Mr. Carrow was given a copy of a letter written by Mr. McErlane to Mr. Muhly on April 26 giving Mr. Muhly two weeks to comply. Mr. Carrow said he would be satisfied if Mr. Muhly complies with the items in Mr. McErlane’s letter. Mr. Carrow and Mr. Kelley will be copied on all correspondence.
Mr. Rick Reis of Benburb Road is still not satisfied with the condition of his property as a result of the Benburb Road work. Mr. Kohli said he is working with the contractor. Mr. Reis asked if the bidders could inspect the site before bidding on the Marian Road work so they can see exactly what is required. Mr. Kohli said once the bid is submitted it will be evaluated.
There was no further business and Mr. Martin made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 11:00 P.M. Mr. Kling seconded the motion. It so carriers.