CHARLESTOWN TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
The first regular business meeting for September was held September 13, 1999 at the Charlestown Elementary School, 2060 Charlestown Road, Devault. John B. Sauser, Chairman, Robert, C. Wert, Vice Chairman, Irene W. Ewald, Member, James E. McErlane, Esq., Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Linda M. Csete, Secretary, and those on the attached attendee list were present.
The meeting was called to order at 7:45 P.M. and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
Mr. Sauser announced that the Board of Supervisors held an executive session on August 30, 1999 to discuss pending litigation issues with the Solicitor.
Mr. Sauser announced a Drug & Alcohol Expo hosted by the County is being held on October 10, 1999 in Thorndale and they are looking for community support.
Mrs. Ewald announced that she participated in opening ceremonies at Charlestown Park for the Phoenixville Marion Youth Club’s new season kick-off. Five to six hundred youngsters participated in the peewee football and girls’ field hockey events. She is proud that the Township sponsors such a fine project.
Mr. Sauser said the County is sponsoring public meetings to introduce its $75 million initiative for Open Space & Recreation. The regional meeting for the area including Charlestown Township will be held at the Tredyffrin Township Municipal Building on September 22, 1999 at 7:00 P.M.
Mr. Sauser moved to approve the minutes as written and Mr. Wert seconded. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for August 1 - 31, 1999 and Mr. Wert seconded. All were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Accounts Payable for September 13, 1999 and Mr. Wert seconded. All were in favor.
Reports from the Zoning Officer, Roadmaster and Fire Marshal are on file. There were no reports from Parks and Recreation, the Planning Commission or Historical Commission. Minutes from the last meeting of the Valley Forge Sewer Authority are on file.
Mr. Sauser noted that Mr. Kohli’s August report is on file. Mr. Kohli announced that the Zoning Hearing Board will meet this Thursday, September 16, 1999 at 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Nature Center to conduct hearings for the Hochwind and Guiser/Myers applications. Both applications seek relief from the Zoning Ordinance to allow access from their parcels onto private drives to which there are already three or more users. A representative from the Solicitor’s office will attend on behalf of the Township.
With regard to the County’s request for input on PennDOT’s updated 12-year plan listing proposed projects, Mrs. Ewald suggested that Mr. Kohli add safety improvements to the intersection of Pikeland and Hollow Roads. Mr. Kohli said the Planning Commission will review the list tomorrow night, after which time he’ll submit the recommended changes to the County.
Mr. Philips reported that there was no meeting held in August. Two meetings will be held in September, the first on September 14, 1999 to deal with general planning issues and the second on September 28, 1999 to conduct plan reviews.
Mr. Kohli indicated that J. Loew & Associates intends to withdraw current plans for several outstanding applications pending for lots in the Commons at Great Valley subdivision. Revised plans have not been submitted as anticipated. Mrs. Ewald moved to deny the Commons at Great Valley Land Development Plan dated 4/30/99 for Lots #13-14-15, the Land Development Plan dated 4/30/99 for Lots 16 & 17, the Subdivision Plan dated 3/10/99 for Lots 16-17-18, and the Conditional Use Application dated 4/30/99 for Lots 13 through 18 pending receipt of a letter withdrawing the application. Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor. The Secretary will communicate with the Applicant.
Mrs. Baldwin reported that the Historical Commission met twice in August with Tom Comitta, Surender Kohli and Dale Frens in attendance to work on the draft Historical Resources Ordinance. As part of this process, the Historical Commission has been upgrading the list of historic properties and the accompanying map.
Mr. Thompson reported that PennDOT representatives said they’d take care of Dr. Swartley’s water run-off problem but didn’t indicate a time frame. The Board suggested sending a letter to PennDOT requesting specifics.
PennDOT’s refusal to mill the dangerous curve on Coldstream Road was discussed. The Solicitor was directed to send a letter to Bill Tritle, P.E. to encourage PennDOT to reconsider.
Mr. Alston stated that the burning ban will remain in effect until further notice. He provided an update on the Chemclene hazardous materials incident last month, reporting that he checked all surrounding Charlestown Township neighborhoods and determined that there was no need to evacuate any residents due to an absence of smoke or other effects from the site.
Mr. Alston announced that the biennial Limerick Nuclear Power drill will take place on September 14, 1999. Members of the EOC will remain at the Center from the time of their page to shut down of the drill.
Mr. Sauser said the Kimberton Fire Company has requested an additional contribution in the 2000 Budget to cover a portion of the additional $38,850 cost of adding a compressed air foam system to the new engine being acquired. He asked Mr. Alston to request additional information and make a recommendation to the Board.
Minutes from the August meeting are on file.
Mrs. Baldwin requested an update on the replacement of Bridge #178 over Pickering Road and was given details by Mr. Kohli.
Hearing: Amendment to the Ordinance Naming Private Driveways and Roads
Mr. Sauser opened the hearing and produced proof of advertisement. The unnamed driveway off Conestoga Road adjacent to Whispering Woods Lane now requires a name due to a second house being constructed that will access the driveway along with the existing Kirby residence. According to the Township Ordinance, driveways serving two or more parcels must be named. Mr. Kirby requested that instead of the initially proposed “Kirby Lane” the name “Lady Kirby Lane” be considered. Mr. Sauser asked the Fire Marshal for his opinion, and Mr. Alston responded that for private lane names, the simpler the better; however, he had no objection to “Lady Kirby Lane”. Mr. Sauser read the Ordinance in its entirety and asked for comments. Hearing none, the record was closed. Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Ordinance #81, “An Ordinance Amending Names Assigned to Private Driveways and Private Roads” to add “Lady Kirby Lane”. Mr. Wert seconded and all were in favor.
Hearing: Amendment to Zoning Ordinance - Neighborhood Commercial District
Mr. Sauser opened the hearing and continued it to October 4, 1999 to allow sufficient time for review comments from the Chester County Planning Commission
Mr. McErlane provided some background on the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission’s Zoning Hearing Board application requesting permission to install a 360 foot communications tower to replace the 20+ year old 250 foot tower. The Turnpike Commission had filed a lawsuit against the Township following the Zoning Hearing Board’s denial of the application. A settlement agreement has now been negotiated and drafted that will allow the construction of the new tower, which will be built to current standards including a design causing the tower to collapse into itself in the event of high wind or other catastrophe. The Tower will be for governmental use only, and the Turnpike Commission will be required to pave the access road off Bodine Road.
Mr. Sauser moved to approve the settlement agreement with the understanding that language pertaining to the paving of the access road will be added by the Township Solicitor Mrs. Ewald amended the motion to include “subject to the Board’s review of the final language” and Mr. Sauser accepted the revision. Mr. Wert seconded and all were in favor.
Mr. McErlane referred to the lawsuit filed by Omnipoint Communications after the Zoning Hearing Board denied their application to co-locate on the PA Turnpike tower. He said the Omnipoint Communications lawsuit will be a moot point after the settlement with the PA Turnpike Commission is finalized, because Omnipoint will no longer have the right to use the tower.
Mr. Sauser reported he spoke with Seth Lieberman of Key Management in Glenside, PA, the consultant firm hired by the Turnpike Commission to conduct the Citizen’s Advisory Committee meetings. Mr. Lieberman told him that Charlestown Township will be permitted to submit two names and two alternates for the committee, which will give the Township equal representation to the other interested parties. Mr. Sauser voiced his disappointment that Charlestown isn’t afforded more representation as its residents have the most at stake.
Mrs. Ewald recounted her conversation with Mr. Lieberman, voicing concerns over the conversation and his responses. She didn’t get a clear answer on the purpose of the committee, which has no budget, no power, and no ability to make recommendations. She said that in addition to the Townships of Schuylkill, Tredyffrin, East Whiteland and Charlestown, two businesses have been invited to provide names. She noted that the School Districts have not been included in the process. Sue Staas suggested that the Township’s letter to the Turnpike Commission naming its nominees include a request for inclusion of the various School District representatives.
Mr. Sauser stated that Key Management is acting as a facilitator and will proceed with no predisposed opinion on the matter. He sees them as a conduit for communication between the Turnpike Commission and the Township. Mr. Wert said he agreed that Charlestown Township should have additional representation. He remains critical of the process itself but feels that Charlestown should participate on the committee. He suggested providing more than 4 names in prioritized order, with instructions to pass over any names submitted and accepted from the lists of other participants. Names will represent individuals with different areas of expertise. After some discussion, the following prioritized list was agreed upon:
Mr. McErlane will write a letter providing this list to the Turnpike Commission along with incorporating the Board’s instructions.
Mr. Comitta displayed one existing conditions and one proposed plan for Charlestown Park. He said he met numerous times with the Parks & Recreation Board and the Planning Commission to develop a series of plans ending in the present one on display. The plan will be presented to the Planning Commission September 14, 1999 and to the County Parks & Rec Board on September 15, 1999. The Township Parks and Rec Board will then meet on September 27 and October 25, 1999 to make any revisions.
Proposed improvements include: expansion of Soccer Field #3 to accommodate peewee soccer, a girls’ field hockey field, expansion of the north parking lot with a nearby activity center and amphitheater, a wounded Veterans’ memorial, rest room facilities, landscaping surrounding the wetlands and meadow areas, volleyball, horseshoes, basketball courts, expanded play area, split rail fence along E Street which will be developed into a pedestrian promenade, and a paved inter connected trail system. Parking needs were discussed at length.
Mrs. Ewald commented that she’d like to see a larger tot lot. Mr. Wert asked about the fitness trail and handicapped access, both of which are provided for in the plan. On the question of paving the trail, Mr. Connolly commented that a paved surface is suitable for jogging and walking and is the least expensive option to install and maintain. It has the added benefit of providing year-round use, as other pervious surfaces, such as wood chips, would be too wet a great deal of the time.
The Master Site Plan will be formally presented to the public at the October 12, 1999 Planning Commission meeting and placed as an exclusive item on the Board of Supervisors agenda for review. Phases for the plan would be designated and cost estimates for each phase developed by Mr. Comitta, after which time funding options could be pursued.
The following bids were received in three categories. Mr. Kohli will review the bids and make recommendations for awarding them at the October 4, 1999 Board of Supervisors meeting.
|Independence Construction Materials||$9,213.75 delivered|
|Glasgow Inc.||$9,258.75 delivered|
|Independence Construction Materials||$42,620.00 delivered|
|Glasgow Inc.||$47,830.00 delivered|
|Highway Materials||$48,600.00 delivered|
|Macanga Inc.||$160,000.00 (not all items bid)|
|Delaware Valley Paving Co.||$200,550.00|
Mrs. Ewald recommended accepting the high bidder for the Labor/Equipment Contract. Mr. Sauser recommended accepting the responsible low bidder for all three contracts.
Mr. Wert moved to extend the Labor/Equipment Contract with Rittenbaugh Inc. to October 4, 1999 to allow sufficient time to evaluate and award the current bid. Mr. Sauser seconded and amended the motion to extend the contract to October 11, 1999. Mr. Wert accepted the amendment. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were in favor and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.
Mike Honan, P.E., Project Manager for Rouse Chamberlin Homes was present to discuss the dedication of Saw Grass Lane and a portion of Great Woods Lane in Phase III of the Charlestown Brae (Whitehorse @ Charlestown) subdivision. He indicated that some revisions to the submission will be made per Mr. Kohli’s review comments listed in his letter of September 13, 1999.
Discussion was held on Item #7 of Mr. Kohli’s letter, referring to the road right of way extending from Great Woods Lane to the Zeigler subdivision. Instead of vacating the right of way and offering it for dedication to the Township, the Board indicated its preference for Rouse Chamberlin to vacate the right of way and transfer one half to each of the adjacent property owners (Lots 21 & 22) with an easement granted to Charlestown Township. Mr. Honan will pursue this with the property owners.
Mrs. Ewald moved to accept the Deed of Dedication for the roads in Charlestown Brae, Phase III subject to all items listed on Mr. Kohli’s letter dated September 13, 1999 including the right of way issue. Mr. Wert seconded and all were in favor. Recordation will not take place until all items are satisfied.
This item was tabled until the October 4, 1999 meeting to allow Mr. Kohli and Mr. Thompson to review the agreement.
Mrs. Ewald moved to purchase Certificates of Deposits as recommended by the Township Treasurer in her memo of August 16, 1999 pending a review of the depository by Emory S. Todd, CPA. Mr. Wert seconded and all were in favor.
The Board agreed to the wording on the Plaque for Bridge #178 to remain as proposed by the County of Chester’s Engineering office.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Escrow Release #1 for Pennfield Knoll Associates Inc. in the amount of $212,638.65. Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to deny the Devault Crushed Stone/Independence Construction Materials Land Development Plan dated 10/13/95 pending the receipt of a letter granting the Township an extension in the review period past the current extension in effect through 10/4/99. Mr. Wert seconded and all were in favor. The Secretary will communicate with the Applicant.
The Board of Supervisors signed a letter of congratulations to the Valley Forge Christian College on attaining the second of the three goals in the accreditation process.
Mr. Wert proposed drafting a resolution for the C.C.A.T.O. fall convention that would facilitate mechanisms and provide expertise for the floating of public bond issues at the County and Township levels for the acquisition of open space.
Mr. Martin suggested a resolution be drafted by the Township Solicitor to change the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania statutes to require that the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission hold public hearings on any proposed construction projects, including interchanges and slip ramps, and that any subsequent construction be consistent with regional planning processes.
Mr. Sauser moved to direct that the two resolutions be drafted as discussed. Mr. Wert seconded and all were in favor.
Ellen Behrle reported that construction at Charlestown Hunt is routinely beginning prior to 7:00 A.M. and that work continues inside the buildings in the evenings as late as 12:00 midnight. Because the decibel levels aren’t exceeded, the current zoning ordinance doesn’t prohibit the noisy inside work at any hour. She asked that the Board consider amending the ordinance.
Marcia Solda reported that she and several others came from the Great Valley School District meeting this evening and the School Board Chairman Mr. Esty announced that they had withdrawn their application for subdivision of the 55 acre parcel on Yellow Springs Road and were planning to sell it in its entirety. Mr. Connolly was also present and said he requested that discussions between the School Board and the Township Supervisors be entertained on the Township’s possible acquisition of this property. He reported that Mr. Esty seemed to be amenable to the suggestion. Mrs. Behrle suggested that the Board go forward to open a positive dialog with the School District and continue to investigate funding options. Mr. Sauser said he’ll make another attempt prior to the next School Board meeting to set up a joint meeting. Mr. Wert said that if the School District has a need for playing fields that aren’t being met, the record needs to be set straight as to what is available to them from the Township. The Secretary was asked to prepare a chronology of events with regard to the School District’s submissions, requests and reviews.
Mrs. Behrle asked for each Board member’s stand on the possible acquisition of the 55 acre parcel, which she noted can be sold to the Township without requiring the School District to go though a bidding process. Mrs. Ewald stated she is strongly in favor, and indicated she’d like to acquire the adjacent “Deerfield” tract as well. Mr. Wert was in favor of acquiring the 55 acre parcel but voiced concern that public input be garnered and considered prior to taking any action. Mrs. Behrle said the next Charlestown Green newsletter will explain the program in detail and include a poll for the citizens. Mr. Sauser said he looks favorably on the possibility of acquisition but is opposed to any increase in taxes. Mrs. Behrle mentioned several funding opportunities, including the formation of a municipal land trust. Mr. Connolly indicated that the grant process with the County is relatively simple, not requiring a plan when acquiring open space. Bob Jones asked for the Board’s permission for members of the Parks and Recreation Board to speak with the County Commissioners to brief them on the Township’s interest in acquiring the School District parcel and they agreed.
Mrs. Ewald moved to allocate the recent $75,000 transfer tax received following the sale of the “DecisionOne” Building to the Open Space Fund. Mr. Wert seconded and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to adjourn and Mr. Wert seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 P.M. The next meeting of the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for October 4, 1999 at 7:30 P.M. at the Charlestown Elementary School.