The first business meeting for June was held June 1, 2009 at the Charlestown Township office, 4030 Whitehorse Road, Devault, PA 19432.
Mr. Hogan said the boy scouts installed ten benches at Charlestown Park this past weekend, and suggested the Board send a letter thanking Eagle Scout Jake Segal for his leadership in this project.
Mr. Philips said he’ll be meeting with Jake Townes to discuss his Eagle Scout project, which will involve clearing the viewshed at the Woolen Mill property toward the Village. The historical interpretative sign will be installed there.
Mr. Kuhn said he spoke to Barbara Cohen regarding the placement of the Ferris Wheel basket, noting that Schuylkill Township has displayed one at their township building. He said Mrs. Cohen wants to speak with the Valley Forge Christian College about placing it there. Mr. Kuhn said he was amenable to this, provided the Heritage Center understands the basket will be their responsibility.
Mr. Kuhn said he’s meeting with County Commissioner Terrance Ferrell this Thursday to discuss the Township’s open space program and grant funding from the County.
Barbara DeWilde expressed thanks on behalf of the Historical Society to the Administrator for including their articles in recent Township newsletters. She said the recent Art Show was a great success, meeting their two objectives of bringing township residents together and celebrating the artists. She said high school orchestra students performed for over an hour at the event and she’ll be thanking the School District for this and their providing the location for the show later this evening at their board meeting. She thanked all who came to the Art Show.
Mrs. DeWilde asked about the basins at the Deerfield development, stating that she often walks by there and the water is pooling rather than draining. She met with Bart Davis from Mr. Kohli’s office as well as with public works superintendent Fred Alston about the problem. She said Mr. Davis explained that the basins will be working properly when the developer completes construction. Mr. Kohli said there are sufficient funds in the developer’s escrow account to complete this project. Mr. Philips added that Mr. Kohli will inspect the grading and basins to ensure the work is done to the Township’s satisfaction before the developer receives their final escrow release. Mrs. DeWilde asked for the timeline for this work, and Mr. Kohli said it depends on PennDOT, as the developer’s work will be done in concert with their plan to pave Valley Hill Road. This work was scheduled for next year, but funding is no longer available. He said the Township has no control over when this will take place. Mr. Alston said the drainage down the hill isn’t aligned with the drainage across the road, but it will be corrected when the finish work is done. Mr. Willig said in the meantime, the erosion problem should be corrected. Mr. Kohli said approval is needed from the Chester County Conservation District to perform work on the temporary basins, and said he’ll follow up.
Mrs. DeWilde said line painting is needed for the major roads, particularly on Valley Hill Road west of Route 401, Church Road, Merlin Road and Wells Road as they are difficult to see at night, particularly in fog. Mr. Kuhn said some of the roads are state roads and are maintained by PennDOT. Mr. Willig asked for the requirement for double yellow lines, and Mr. Kohli said the road must be a minimum of 24 feet wide. Mr. Willig asked if these roads aren’t already striped, and Mr. Alston said Church Road and Merlin Road are. Mr. Kuhn said he doesn’t care for the look of double line striping and doesn’t think visibility is a problem. Mr. Philips said people drive faster when the road is striped, but Mr. Willig disagreed, saying the single yellow stripe on Rees and Union Hill Roads had a traffic calming effect. Mr. Willig suggested white lines down the edges of the roads rather than yellow stripes. Mr. Rodgers agreed.
Mrs. DeWilde asked about the timing on the traffic signal at Route 401 and Valley Hill Road and whether there can be a delay so those traveling west on Valley Hill have more time to turn left. Mr. Alston said the lights were coordinated when the new controller was recently installed, and traffic is moving smoother than it had been prior. He said the PennDOT permit doesn’t allow for what Mrs. DeWilde suggests. The signal is coordinated during rush hours and works freely at all other times.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of the business meeting held May 4, 2009, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion. Mr. Rodgers said he wanted to change his vote on the Cloetingh’s request for public water from “abstain” to “oppose”, the reason being that the Cloetinghs hadn’t proved a hardship. He said the well produces three gallons per minute from a 500+ foot deep well. That gives him about 1,000 gallons of storage on site. Further, Mr. Rodgers expressed concern that it would create a precedent allowing expansion along Whitehorse Road. He recalled that about two years ago, a subdivision was submitted to our Planning Commission for an 85 acre parcel along Whitehorse Road. Mr. Kuhn said he can’t change a previous vote. Mr. Rodgers said he checked with the Solicitor, who said he can change it. Mr. Philips asked that the May 4, 2009 minutes be amended to show Mr. Rodgers’ opposition. He called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mr. Hogan moved to approve the May 2009 Treasurer’s Report and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
The Administrator provided some background on the insurance proposal and indicated the cost is very close to that of the previous year. She added that service has been excellent from both Ken Moyer at Simkiss and from the Scottsdale Insurance Company. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the insurance proposal from the Simkiss Company for the period of 6/11/2009 - 6/11/2010 and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the June 1, 2009 Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the June 1, 2009 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mr. Philips asked the Administrator for an update on the budget vs. actual to date. Mrs. Csete said that revenues are lower than expected, primarily due to the decrease in real estate transfers. Spending is also down, however, so the budget is in reasonably good shape. She advised that spending continue to be very carefully monitored, and that further analysis in August similar to that she performed last year will provide a better overall picture.
Mr. Rodgers moved to accept the May monthly reports and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
John Martin, Chairman of the Zoning Hearing Board, said he and his fellow members wanted to bring an issue to the Supervisors’ attention regarding an area of the Township adjacent to Tyrone Farms. He said a recent application by the Wrights on Pine Drive started the discussion. Properties on Pine Drive, Crestview Road and the upper half of Maryhill Road are zoned Farm Residential, but the lots are under the minimum lot size for FR. This triggers the need for any resident to seek a variance in order to obtain approval for any improvement to their property due to the expansion of a non-conforming use. In many cases, the larger setbacks required for FR properties also cause a problem. He asked if the Board might consider either a zoning change or some relief from the zoning hearing board fees for these properties. Mr. Thompson said the fees can’t be waived or reduced for selected properties; there must be uniform fees. Mr. Philips suggested the Planning Commission review this issue, and Mr. Willig agreed. Mr. Martin said he’ll coordinate with the Planning Commission Chairman.
Mr. Thompson opened the hearing for the Holy Ascension Orthodox Church conditional use application and the proceedings were recorded by Tom Corcoran, court reporter. He read a letter dated 6/1/09 from Wendy McLean, Esq. requesting that the hearing be continued to July 6, 2009 and that the Board accept their offer to extend the deadline for preliminary plan approval to that date as well. Mr. Rodgers moved to continue the hearing to July 6, 2009, at 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Mr. Philips seconded. He called the vote and all were in favor. The record was closed.
Mr. Philips moved to accept the deadline extension for preliminary plan approval for the Holy Ascension Antiochian Orthodox Church to 7/6/09, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Neal Camens said his client will agree to a deed restriction requiring that the existing garage straddling two lots of the proposed subdivision be taken down before the lots can be sold to separate owners. He agreed to add a note to the subdivision plan to this effect.
Mr. Thompson said that if a declaration of covenants is recorded in the deeds for both parcels, the garage may remain as a non-conformity as long as the lots are in single ownership. He said he can draft this language and suggested that approval of the plan be considered at the next meeting after the declaration is reviewed by the Board. Mr. Camens asked if the Board might consider approval this evening conditioned on acceptance of the language, and members indicated they were comfortable doing so.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the preliminary/final subdivision for Tom Alleva, subject to the inclusion of a note on the plans and a separate declaration to be recorded that addresses the non-conforming garage as agreed upon this evening. Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Philips began the discussion of relocating the entrance to the Cemetery to Pickering Road, where a small parking area could be created. He said the historical sign recently developed for the site should be placed in that area. Mr. Kohli displayed a site plan of the property.
Mr. Philips said the Historical Commission should be asked to make a recommendation on the parking lot relocation and where to create the new entrance into the Cemetery. Mr. Hogan and Mr. Kuhn agreed that relocating the entrance to Pickering Road makes sense. Mr. Kuhn said the Township should look into grant funding for the improvements. Mr. Philips offered to act as a liaison between the Board and the Historical Commission. He said a master plan should be developed for the property.
Mr. Rodgers asked how many cars could be parked in the proposed area, and Mr. Kohli said about 10-12 cars. Mr. Hogan said they shouldn’t eliminate the upper pull off from Charlestown Road because the Playschool uses it for a turnaround/staging area.
Mr. Kuhn moved to appoint Mr. Philips as the point person on this project, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor. The Administrator reminded the Board that the budget for the Cemetery this year won’t be sufficient for this project. Mr. Philips said they’ll focus on developing a plan this year with the work to be done in 2010.
Mr. Philips said when the Deerfield subdivision was approved, a hedgerow was to be maintained in the open space behind the Pyle farmhouse. Mr. Kohli said that area would be restored after the stormwater basin work is finalized. Mr. Philips indicated he’d like to see something done sooner, and Mr. Kohli said he’d check on whether some work could be started now. Mr. Philips asked if Ed Theurkauf would be involved with the replanting, and Mr. Kohli said yes, he would be involved in each step of the process and would approve the work.
Mr. Kuhn said a separate issue at Deerfield is the problem discussed at the May 4th meeting. Individual property owners have been cutting down the buffers on their own properties, which is contrary to notes on the approved plans and the covenants and restrictions on their lots. The property owner who attended the previous meeting had performed minimum work, which looked fine, but an adjacent neighbor performed extensive clearing and created a lawn in place of his buffer. Mr. Kuhn said the buffers were meant to absorb some of the noise from the adjacent Turnpike.
Mr. Kohli suggested the Township have the Deerfield HOA deal with the clearing issue. Mr. Philips said the Township should be consistent with how it addresses this issue here and in other developments with similar restrictions. Mr. Willig said that at Deerfield, the intent was to leave the buffer areas natural. He suggested allowing the property owners to remove invasive species such as poison ivy and floribunda rose, but maintain the other native species.
Mr. Kuhn suggested that the Township send a letter clarifying this issue for the affected property owners, to which Mr. Philips agreed. Mr. Kohli suggested that the owners be told they cannot clear their properties behind the designated line of disturbance, referencing the HOA covenants and subdivision plan, and copying the HOA and Pulte Homes. The Board asked the Administrator to draft the letter.
Mr. Thompson said that he spoke to Ken Rotz of Keystate Publishers and recently transmitted the Township’s comments on the proposed outline of the code book and the answers to several zoning related questions to Mr. Rotz. The next step is for Keystate to prepare the draft code book for the Township’s review. This should be ready by mid to late June. After the book is prepared, everyone will review it before moving on to its adoption by ordinance. Mr. Thompson said this it should be possible to do so by the end of the summer.
Mr. Philips asked for an update on PennDOT’s assertion that they are not bound by the stormwater management ordinances of any local municipalities where they have construction activities. Mr. Thompson said his office has been reviewing this issue and will circulate a memo.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve Devault Foods’ request for a 12 month extension on the approval of their Preliminary Land Development Plan now expiring 6/30/09, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for comments, and their being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn moved to appoint Dale Frens as Architectural Consultant to the Design Review Committee, and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Philips called for comments, and their being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Philips asked if there is some way to better inform new home owners of any covenants and restrictions on their properties. New residents also are frequently unaware that the roads in their community may be privately owned by their Homeowners Association rather than the Township, which leads to maintenance questions for them later on. Mr. Willig asked if the Board could make it a condition of subdivision approval that developers be held responsible for monitoring covenants and restrictions on the individual properties until they complete the development and leave the site. Mr. Thompson said yes.
Mr. Kuhn said each municipality must appoint an individual to serve on the County’s committee that will study the changes proposed by Act 132. The Act is intended to provide greater efficiency in tax collection by consolidating it at the county level. Mr. Kuhn asked how this might affect cash flow. The Administrator said that there might be an initial slowing of cash flow but she would expect an improvement in the long run because the need for the majority of reciprocal tax exchanges amongst the municipalities in the county would be eliminated. She said the appointment will be included on the agenda for July 6th. Mr. Kuhn suggested that John Martin, who served on the School District’s recent tax committee, would be a good candidate and may be interested in serving.
Mr. Rodgers moved to adjourn, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for comments, and their being none, called the vote. All were in favor. The meeting was adjourned at 8:55 p.m. The next business meeting is scheduled for July 6, 2009, 7:30 P.M. in Room 154 of the Great Valley Middle School. Mr. Philips asked the Administrator to confirm that the meeting room is available.