|Hugh Willig, Chairman, Kevin Kuhn, Vice-Chairman, Paul Hogan, Mike Rodgers, Irene Ewald, Tom Oeste, Esq., Surender Kohli, P.E., Ed Theurkauf, Planner, Leah Campion, Secretary, and those on the attached attendee list|
The meeting was called to order at 7:35 p.m.
Mr. Hogan stated stone work has begun on Bridge #178, Pickering Road.
Mr. Kuhn announced the Board had an executive session prior to tonight’s meeting to discuss real estate issues. He noted Township resident Lee Raden took a first place honor at the Philadelphia Flower Show.
Mrs. Ewald wished “Miss Betty” Stonorov a happy 95th birthday and praised her work with children at the Charlestown Playhouse.
Mr. Willig noted an executive session held on February 26 where legal issues were discussed. He stated Toll Bros. has brought a civil rights action against the Township, and also against the Board members as individuals, based on its decision regarding Charlestown Meadows. He asked Mr. Oeste to explain the recent Commonwealth Court Decision involving the Turnpike Commission. Mr. Oeste stated the Court found in favor of the Turnpike Commission citing the Philadelphia Extension Act. The Act gives the Turnpike authority to build slip ramps in the extension area. No further legislative action is necessary. A petition will be filed for re-argument, but it may or may not be granted.
No items were brought forth at this time.
Jane Opie, Court Reporter, was present to record the proceedings. All hearings were opened and continued.
1) Spring Lane Farm Conditional Use Application – continued to May 7
2) Saddlebrook Conditional Use Application – continued to April 2
3) Emma Builders Conditional Use Application – continued to April 16
4) Altemose Conditional Use Application – continued to April 16
Lt. Bill Teper, new station commander for the Embreeville Barracks thanked Mrs. Ewald for the invitation to present this evening. Trooper Matthew Carr was also present. Lt. Teper reaffirmed the State Police’s commitment to Charlestown and read the numbers for Township incidents for year 2000 totaling 891.
Mr. Hogan asked the total for 1999. Lt. Teper said he had not brought those numbers with him. Mrs. Ewald asked him to compare Charlestown’s numbers with other townships. Trooper Carr stated Charlestown is middle of the road. Mrs. Ewald stated that East Pikeland has roughly the same population but a different demographic and had many more incidents, even with a township police department.
Mr. Willig asked what incident total the Township would need to justify its own police department. Lt. Teper said it was entirely the Towship’s decision and stated the State Police have no problem enforcing Charlestown.
Mrs. Ewald asked Lt. Teper to give an update on the vandalism that occurred in October. The property owner and neighbors were present at the meeting. Lt. Teper stated a burglary occurred at the Kelly residence, Old Farm Lane, on October 29. He noted the details would be limited because the investigation is ongoing and confidential.
Both juveniles and adults were involved in a large party at the home, alcohol was present, and a great amount of damage occurred both inside and outside the home. The crime unit at Embreeville has made the investigation a priority. At this point, over 75 juveniles have been interviewed, but no arrests have been made because of many conflicting statements. Lt. Teper was confident arrests would be made by the end of the investigation. Mrs. Ewald asked for a resolution time frame. Lt. Teper did not know at this point. Mrs. Ewald asked how the Township could help. Mr. Teper urged citizens to report suspicious vehicles and persons at any time, anywhere in the Township and advised them not to take matters into their own hands.
A question and answer period followed the discussion.
Lt. Teper noted the Police have been present recently during morning and evening rush hours to enforce traffic laws. A question was raised about response time, and Lt. Teper stated it depends on the incident. Their goal at Embreeville is 15 minutes or less. Charlestown is regularly patrolled as a part of Patrol Zone 18.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the minutes of February 26, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for comment. There being none, he called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Accounts Payable, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for comment. There being none, he called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for comment. There being none, he called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mr. Kohli said the Korean Church on Sycamore Lane cleaned up two buildings on the site. Mr. Hogan said the improvement is slow but seems to be progressing OK. Mr. Kuhn noted the state of disrepair on Mine Road and Oak Lane caused by both weather and construction vehicles. Mr. Kohli stated the roads currently have no weight limits, so it is hard to regulate deliveries. Mr. Oeste suggested an ordinance that would require a contractor to provide escrow with the building permit in case of road damage.
Mr. Kohli stated regulation would be difficult because presently, water draining on Oak Lane is the biggest problem, not construction vehicles. Mine Road was destroyed before contractors’ trucks started using it to access new homes being built at the end of the road. Mrs. Ewald asked when the roads were last paved and asked Mrs. Campion if the road history log is up to date. Mrs. Campion said yes, and Mrs. Ewald felt the Board should have a disk containing the log. Mr. Hogan stated he and the Roadmaster spoke with the current builder on Mine Road who said the construction would continue through the summer. Mr. Hogan felt discussion of road improvements should wait until construction of the home is complete.
Bill Davison, Chairman, noted plan review items from the first February meeting and Comprehensive Plan discussion from the second.
Mr. Kuhn mentioned the meeting on March 20 at 4 p.m. where Dale Frens would report on the status of the Mill.
Mr. Hogan reiterated the work on Bridge #178, and said logs and reflectors had been placed at the sewer outlet on Blackberry Lane. He noted potholes at Coldstream and Township Line Roads that Mark Cabot had been asked to fill and asked citizens to report potholes so they could be filled as soon as possible.
Sue Staas, Hana Lane, asked about orange numbers sprayed on trees along Hollow Road. Mr. Hogan said he would try to find out who put them there.
Fred Alston, Fire Marshal, reviewed his incident report. He cautioned citizens about disposing of cold ashes and reviewed the safety precautions. Mr. Hogan noted that Mr. Alston was working hard at his other job installing a new computer in the Township Office.
Mark Connolly, Chairman, said the water supply to Charlestown Park must be addressed because of the condition of the fields. He wants to look into tapping into the Valley Forge Christian College water main. The PMYC football club asked for work to begin on field #7 on the master site plan because there is interest in using it for lacrosse. Mr. Connolly asked the Supervisors to discuss construction of a field.
Mrs. Ewald asked if the Township really wants a field in that location. Mr. Connolly said the Park is very active and could benefit from a low-impact field. The technical aspect must be looked at. Mr. Kuhn asked if the Board had signed off on the conceptual master plan. Mr. Connolly said yes, the concept plan was a build-out plan and field #7 was shown as an option. Mrs. Ewald asked if the football field could be used for lacrosse. Mr. Connolly said there would be turf issues for fall to spring maintenance. Mr. Kuhn asked if field #7 had to be at Charlestown Park. Mr. Connolly said not necessarily, but there would be parking issues at the other Township-owned sites. Mr. Connolly said field #7 is simply an option because of the interest. Mr. Hogan said lacrosse gives both males and females an opportunity to play, and the park is a good location because of the snack bar and bathrooms. Mr. Willig agreed. Mr. Theurkauf noted that field #7 has less grading and environmental impacts than the present fields. There would be a potential benefit with the option to manage the park on a field rotation basis.
Mr. Connolly noted the open space along the Pickering Creek and recommended naming it the Pickering Preserve to distinguish it from other open space. Mr. Willig said that was fine.
Mr. Connolly asked the members to discuss selective tree removal along the ice dam because of trees contributing to the decay of the stone wall. Mrs. Ewald said there are deed restrictions on that land and suggested everyone read the deed before making any decisions. Mr. Willig said the choice must also be made between preserving the dam and preserving the trees.
Mr. Connolly said the Fish and Game Commission would be willing to improve the parking area along Route 29 after replacement of the ice dam bridge by PennDOT. He suggested allowing the Commission to fix the area, or the Township should put up guard rails and signs stating “No Parking”. Mrs. Ewald reiterated that the Board should read the deed restrictions. She mentioned the opposition by Pickering Dam Road residents to stocking of the creek in 1997 and suggested revisiting the issue to determine whether or not stocking should continue.
Mr. Connolly said Parks & Rec would begin in April on 1st and 3rd Saturdays a walking tour of the Pyle parcel. He said a land policy is needed for the parcel and farm gates should be installed at the driveways to prevent the public from parking near the main house. Mr. Willig agreed parking should be away from the house.
Mr. Connolly stated the Soccer Club would like a regulation, lighted field at the park. The cost of the project would be around $60,000, and the new light poles would be 70 feet high and require an ordinance change. The higher poles would reduce glare and spill on surrounding properties and make it easier for players to see on the fields. He requested that the Planning Commission review the proposal. Mr. Kuhn asked the height of the current poles, and Mr. Connolly said 40 feet. Mrs. Ewald said the lights are glaring presently and the poles are already tall enough. Mr. Connolly said the new poles would have very little impact at night. Mr. Willig asked when the approval was given for lighted fields. Mr. Connolly said the grant application gave approval, and the fields are presently lighted. Mr. Connolly said a lighted field sees a great amount of use.
Mrs. Ewald said the contracts with PMYC have strict regulations for field lighting. She asked when the lighting was approved because the contract is very specific. Mr. Connolly said the issue is not really lighting because the new poles reduce the impact of spillage. Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Connolly to show them an example of a field with 70-foot poles. Mrs. Ewald told him to look into an alternative to 70-foot poles. Mr. Kuhn asked if more coverage could be achieved with lower poles. Mr. Hogan said lower poles cause more spillage. Mr. Willig suggested the Board review the lighting proposal and the master plan. Mr. Hogan said it is important to provide a premier field for the kids in the area. Mr. Connolly hoped a decision could be made soon so lights could be installed before the soccer season begins in August. Mr. Theurkauf said the current fixtures have a much greater off-site impact than those proposed. He felt the lights should be done correctly if lights are desired; if not, the fields should be unlit.
Mr. Connolly requested that a letter be sent to residents along the Horseshoe Trail noting where the Trail is located and introducing the Parks & Rec Board. The Board could, in the future, address issues of owners along the Trail. Mr. Kuhn asked if the Township could convince owners along the Trail to provide an easement for it to the Township. Mr. Connolly said the funds for the easement could be obtained through a County grant. Mr. Kuhn said the Trail is currently informal and should have the same classification as a pipeline easement.
Mr. Rodgers reported that the Authority approved connection of Charlestown Oaks Phase II.
Mrs. Staas noted the upcoming meeting on March 21 at 7 p.m. at the Desmond Hotel. The CAC hopes to recommend that the Turnpike produce three new options for induced traffic calculations.
There was some discussion on Trammel Crowe’s Atwater development and requirements on presenting to the Township since 5 acres of the office park are in Charlestown. Mr. Kohli said the Township should send a letter requesting a presentation. Mr. Oeste said Trammel Crowe is legally bound to make a presentation to Charlestown even if the improvements in the Township only consist of road improvements. Mr. Willig asked what authority the Township has to approve or disapprove their development. Mr. Oeste said the Township could only pass judgement on the road improvements.
Ms. Thompson said their original proposal was a garage built in the front yard and in steep slopes. They have since moved the garage out of the steep slopes. Mr. Kohli said Ms. Thompson no longer needs a variance, only the approval of the Supervisors to construct the garage in the front yard. Mrs. Ewald asked about a buffer. Ms. Thompson said there is an existing buffer along the road that will be torn out and replaced and another buffer near the property line would be planted. Mr. Kohli said the applicant would have to submit a corrected site plan. Mr. Davison said the Planning Commission would not object to the proposal. Mr. Willig said the plan was fine with the Board as long as Mr. Kohli approved it.
Mrs. Ewald moved to reduce the number. Mr. Kuhn seconded, and Mr. Willig called for comment. There being none, he called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mr. Davison said representatives from the Commission and Board met with two applicants and decided to recommend Rick Reis for appointment. Mr. Hogan said he had not yet read Mr. Reis’s resume. Mrs. Ewald wanted additional interviews. Mr. Kuhn did not feel that was necessary since the position had been advertised and only two responses were received.
Mr. Rodgers moved to appoint Rick Reis, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mrs. Ewald moved to table, and there was no second. Mr. Kuhn asked why, because the search has been going on since the beginning of the year, and no one else is interested. Mr. Willig said it is ultimately up to the Board, but agreed the time period has been lengthy. Mike Allen, Planning Commission Vice-Chairman, felt the Commission should appoint someone as soon as possible. Mr. Willig asked if any of the members who were not at the interview session talked to Mr. Reis. He suggested setting up a meeting with him. Mr. Davison said he provided Mr. Reis’s phone number to those members not at the interview at least a week ago, and asked if anyone called him. Mrs. Ewald said she would not do that and wanted to hold an interview at a public meeting. Mr. Kuhn said a public meeting is not necessary; interviews have never been conducted that way before. Interviews should not be held in public.
Mrs. Ewald said the interviews had been held without an invitation to the entire Board. Mr. Kuhn disagreed with her statement. Mr. Davison asked Mrs. Ewald if she objected to the process, and she said yes because Board members were excluded. She said an interview should be scheduled and placed on an upcoming agenda.
Mr. Willig said he has no issue with the Planning Commission holding an interview and making a recommendation. Their action was appropriate, and a decision needs to be made. He suggested the three Supervisors not at the interview should meet with Mr. Reis. Mrs. Ewald agreed.
There was a motion left on the table, but no vote was called.
Mr. Oeste said he reviewed other townships’ ordinances and said members must be appointed byordinance if tax dollars would be used. He also suggested reducing the number of members. Mr.Kuhn said the number is around 10 presently and could be reduced. Mr. Oeste said he would advertise for the April 16 meeting.
Mrs. Ewald said the Board should proceed as well with the Environmental and Horticultural Ordinance. Mr. Kuhn did not agree and stated he had not seen a synopsis or details on this group. Mr. Willig said the goals of the ordinance must be made clear. Mrs. Ewald said the committee would be project-oriented taking on interests such as composting, a heritage garden at the Rapp House, and other horticultural interests in the Township.
Mr. Willig recalled discussing the idea about a year ago, but found no clear purpose yet developed. Mr. Kuhn said the idea seems very loosely defined, and Mrs. Ewald said the Open Space Committee seems loosely defined as well. Mr. Kuhn disagreed and stated a list of clear, broken down purposes were provided for the Open Space Committee. Mr. Willig asked if Mrs. Ewald has a list of interested residents, and she said yes. Mr. Willig felt this item should be kept separate from the Open Space Committee but asked Mrs. Ewald to keep working toward developing goals for it.
Mrs. Ewald presented East Whiteland’s Civility Resolution as a model and stated the best time to pass such a resolution is when a board is already civil and ethical. She felt the resolution depersonalizes the process. It is a non-controversial policy statement.
Mr. Kuhn disagreed and stated he would not sign such a resolution. He felt a non-written statement was already in affect when three of the five members ran on a platform to agree to disagree and be civil and act accordingly. Mr. Rodgers noted that many of the items in the resolution are present in the Township Supervisor’s Manual. Mr. Kuhn said East Whiteland’s situation and decision to adopt a civility resolution was extreme.
Russell Hanscom, Valley Hill Road asked for an update on the status of the development. Mr. Willig said Mr. Panizza stated his disagreements recently with many of the conditions of the conditional use approval handed down over a year ago. The Board responded and is close to a point of resolution for those disagreements. Mr. Panizza submitted a by-right plan to the Planning Commission and said his investors were pushing for that option. Mr. Panizza hopes to work out a plan using the Open Space Option. Mrs. Ewald said in talks with Mr. Panizza, it is clear he misunderstood many of the conditions, and that is being resolved presently.
Mr. Allen said he possessed an agreement of sale, but could not settle until the escrow agreement is approved for the common driveway. Mrs. Ewald asked how many driveways are involved. Mr. Allen said one with four lots on it. Mrs. Ewald asked if anything was changed from the plan approved a few years ago, and Mr. Allen said no.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the escrow agreement. Mr. Willig seconded and called for comment. There being none, he called the vote, and all were in favor.
There was some discussion on the grant status for the parcel.
Mr. Kuhn asked the status of the clean-up and lease agreement. Mr. Hogan said Mr. Pyle plans to come back to the property periodically after the lease is up to clean up. Mr. Willig said once the family leaves, they would not be allowed to come back to claim items. Mrs. Ewald said she would follow up with the Pyles, and Mr. Kuhn suggested she re-explain the lease to them.
Mrs. Ewald asked about the status of the situation with Allan Novak, and Mr. Oeste said since he sent Mr. Novak a letter, he has not heard from him.
Mrs. Ewald noted a copy of Radnor Township’s sign ordinance she requested and suggested Mr. Oeste looks at it to see if any items are useful to the Township.
There was consensus to adjourn. Mr. Willig adjourned the meeting at 10:30 p.m.