The second business meeting for October was held October 21, 2002 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Hugh D. Willig, Chairman, Irene W. Ewald, Kevin R. Kuhn, Michael Rodgers, Thomas F. Oeste, Esq., Ed Theurkauf, Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator and those on the attached list were present.
The meeting was called to order at 7:35 P.M.
Mr. Kuhn announced that Charlestown Township hosted the Countryside Exchange group via a tour of the Township last week. He also attended a meeting with the Exchange last night hosted by the French & Pickering Creeks Trust. There will be an additional meeting on October 23, 2002 at the Ridge Fire Hall. He described the group members as seven planners from Canada, England and Scandinavia who are examining three regions of Chester County, including the Phoenixville region of which Charlestown is a part. The group is looking at three aspects of planning: livable communities, revitalization of Phoenixville Borough, and sprawl control. They will present a formal report in approximately 8-12 weeks.
Mr. Willig announced that executive sessions were held on September 23, 2002 and October 14, 2002 to discuss legal matters. A budget work session will be held at the Great Valley Middle School, 7:30 P.M., October 29th and is open to the public.
Mr. Willig announced that the County Commissioners have lifted the burning ban, but stressed that Charlestown Township’s Fire Marshal has not. Charlestown is still under a burning ban.
Clarence Rittenbaugh, Benburb Road, requested that the Board consider an ordinance to eliminate on-street parking in Charlestown and prohibit the parking of abandoned vehicles on properties in the Township. Mrs. Ewald responded that the Township Solicitor is presently drafting a “No Parking” ordinance, but that the abandoned vehicle request is a little more difficult to handle. Mr. Rittenbaugh said the situation he’s concerned with involves two vehicles of a deceased person that are just sitting out front of a Benburb Road property. Suggestions were made to contact the next of kin and propose a donation to one of the various groups that accept old cars and can be used as a tax write-off. Mr. Kuhn said he’s familiar with the regulations in Thornbury Township, Delaware County, where they have an ordinance that vehicles must have current tags. Mrs. Ewald suggested speaking with the family as a first step.
Mr. Kuhn asked who would enforce a parking ban. Mrs. Ewald said Mr. Oeste would make provisions for this in the draft ordinance. Mr. Oeste said signage would be needed in order to enforce the ordinance. He will look into the legality of posting signs just at the entrances to the Township.
Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the minutes for 10/7/02 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. All were in favor.
Tim Townes of J. Loew and Associates presented the Final Plan last revised 9/24/02 for Spring Oaks Business Park. He indicated that following his discussion with the Board two weeks ago, he has drawn in the location of an 8’ macadam walking path with benches positioned in three areas along the path. The path will start at the cul de sac bulb and meander along the western property line to meet with the sidewalk at Whitehorse Road and Spring Oak Boulevard. The benches were shown at one location that may be a bus stop in the future, one at the halfway point, and one at the cul de sac. There will be bollards at both ends of the trail to prevent vehicle access.
A second update to the plan shows a crosshatched area indicating a possible future right of way for access to lands owned by Thomas Fillipo. There will be a note in the covenants that J. Loew Associates will retain the rights to this area.
Mr. Townes said he received a letter from the Chester County Conservation District finding the E & S Plan last revised 10/21/02 to be adequate.
Mr. Kohli and Mr. Theurkauf indicated their items have now been addressed or will be addressed in the final revision.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Spring Oaks Final Subdivision Plan, subject to the addition of the possible future right of way, approval of the NPDES approval, the Engineer’s and Solicitor’s review of the covenants document, an approved PennDOT highway occupancy permit, and the consultants’ review comments. Mr. Rodgers/Mrs. Ewald seconded.
Mr. Willig asked if the Stewarts had any additional comments, and Dr. Stewart said no. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and a woman asked about traffic impacts. Mr. Townes said the proposal calls for 400,000 square feet of office space with 2,000 parking stalls on the 65 acre project. Mr. Willig said most of the improvements now underway along Route 29 are associated with this plan. He called the vote and all were in favor.
Mr. Townes explained that since 1991, the Spring Oaks project called for intersection signalization for Yellow Springs Road & Route 29, Whitehorse Road and Route 29, and the extension of Warner Lane to Phoenixville Pike with full signalization. In addition, J. Loew and Associates, in conjunction with other developers, made contributions to the Phoenixville Pike Improvement Fund to be used toward the Township’s 20% match with PennDOT for the upgrade of the signal at Charlestown Road/Phoenixville Pike and Route 29. The plans have been approved and the project is currently under construction. The original plan was for the funds to be turned over to J. Loew and Associates for this construction, but due to Trammel-Crow’s more immediate need for the same traffic improvements, J. Loew and Associates made an agreement with them for Trammel-Crow to undertake the improvements in their stead, with the understanding that the amount of the escrowed funds would be turned over to them. Trammel-Crow is working under the approved permits in place, which in turn were approved based on the Township Engineer’s design. Mr. Townes said he arranged a contract with Trammel-Crow as a one lump sum agreement. Mr. Townes acknowledged that the Township expressed some concerns over long term maintenance of these improvements, but he stated that the positive fiscal impact of Spring Oaks on the Township’s tax base will more than carry these costs, estimated at $2,000 per year per signal. He said he has agreed to pay the amount in the escrow fund, $158,000+, to Trammel Crow regardless of the Township’s agreement to release the funds to J. Loew.
Mr. Kuhn said if a previous Board agreed to release the funds to J. Loew Associates upon completion of the improvements, the present Board should follow through. Mrs. Ewald asked what J. Loew Associates’ original contribution was to the fund, and Mr. Townes said $60,000. Mrs. Ewald said a portion of the fund should be retained for maintenance, and proposed $30,000. Mr. Kuhn said contributions toward maintenance weren’t part of the original agreement. Mr. Townes indicated his firm would be willing to make a separate contribution of $10,000 but requests the entire escrow fund balance be turned over to them.
Mr. Kuhn moved to release the total escrow fund amount to J. Loew Associates with the exception of $10,000. Mr. Willig suggested that any contribution be kept as a separate transaction. Mr. Kuhn amended his motion to releasing the total escrow fund amount to J. Loew Associates when all work is complete, as outlined in the original agreement. Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called the vote. Mr. Willig, Mr. Kuhn and Mr. Rodgers were in favor. Mrs. Ewald was opposed.
Tim Townes of J. Loew and Associates presented an offer from his firm to supply and cover the cost of a contractor to undertake the cleaning of the Dairy Barn at the Brightside Farm as a public service. The contractor is one they use in their own projects and is fully insured for liability and worker’s compensation. He said he would supply 4-6 workers, equipment and a dumpster for one day. The Board accepted the offer, and the Secretary will notify the chairs of the Brightside Farm Committee that they should contact Mr. Townes to follow through.
John Panizza was present from GenTerra Corporation to revisit an item in the Deerfield Settlement Stipulation that requires drilling of wells on skipped lots to avoid a situation where a lot would be unusable due to a lack of water supply. Unusable lots would revert to open space or be merged with an adjacent lot. Mr. Panizza said the problem with this requirement is that if two lots are separated by numerous lots in between, the builder would have to drill a well on all the lots to determine whether they each support a well. He proposes instead to change the requirement so that only the adjacent lots to a proposed building site would have to be drilled, in order to avoid having to drill 10-15 wells as a condition of one building permit application. Mr. Oeste read from item #9 of the Settlement Agreement. Mr. Panizza agreed that any lot found not to support a well will be combined with an adjacent lot. After some discussion, the Board directed Mr. Oeste to draft a revision to the Agreement to address this issue to be ready for discussion at the November 4, 2002 meeting.
John Dorward was present to discuss problems he’s experienced with constructing his house at 3175 Blackberry Lane. Mr. Kohli rejected their original site plan, which did not address stormwater management. In response, the Dorwards’ engineer drew up a plan that included a stormwater management basin, but they were unhappy with this because of the tree disturbance it would cause. Mr. Kohli suggested revisions that included a drainage trench the length of the driveway instead of a basin, but the Dorwards said this would cause the removal of 10-13 mature trees. A second issue was that Mr. Kohli requires the installation of roll curbing along the entire front of the property, which they feel this will cause drainage problems and detract from the natural beauty of the area. The Dorwards request that they be permitted to proceed with their engineer’s original site plan and receive a waiver from the rolled curbing requirement. Mr. Kohli said he provided guidance toward design options, but it is the applicant’s responsibility to provide an adequate plan that meets the Township’s requirements. Mr. Willig said the Dorwards’ engineer needs to meet with Mr. Kohli on this issue, which is not a Board issue. He and other Board members made it clear that the Township will not relax its requirements on these issues. Mr. Kohli said he would be happy to look at alternative designs.
The Secretary explained that an ordinance containing three amendments to the Zoning Ordinance has been reviewed and recommended to the Board by the Planning Commission, as well as the Chester County Planning Commission, and is now ready for the Board to consider for adoption following a public hearing. The Title of the Ordinance reads “An Ordinance amending the Charlestown Township Zoning Ordinance, as Amended, to Update Article I to be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan Update, to Provide for a Revised Definition of the Term “Net Lot Area” within Section 201, to revise Section 1611 Stream Valley Restriction, to add a new Section 1617 Wetland Buffers, and to provide for an effective date of the said revisions.” The Board scheduled the hearing for November 18, 2002 at 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School.
Mr. Oeste indicated the Altemoses’ attorney will be available on December 2, 2002 for the continuation of their conditional use hearing. The Board scheduled the hearing for December 2, 2002 at 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School.
Mr. Kuhn asked for the status of the speed bump study for Rees and Union Hill Roads. Mr. Kohli said he did the field study last week and is examining field design for the best distance between bumps. He will have a report ready for the November 4th meeting.
The Board directed Mr. Kohli to work with Mr. Theurkauf, Mr. Oeste and the Chester County Parks & Recreation Department on the delineation of approximately 5 acres including all structures on the Brightside Farm in order to be eligible for a county acquisition grant already approved in the amount of $450,000.
Mr. Kuhn will contact photographer Neila Kun and ask her to take a black and white photo of the bank barn at the Brightside Farm for use in developing a logo for the Township stationery.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 P.M. A budget work session will be held on Tuesday, October 29, 2002 at 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School. The next business meeting will be held on November 4, 2002, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. The Board members remained to meet in executive session.