Charlestown Township
Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC)
Great Valley High School Library
Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Due to the COVID pandemic in-shelter orders, the meeting was held remotely via CiscoWebex

Attendees present were:
Pete Goodman, Daniel Walker, Carol Armstrong, Meg Solomon, and Veda Maany, and resident Rajat Tandon, and Mark Connolly (Phoenixville Area Energy Transition Plan).

Pete Goodman (chair) opened the meeting at 6:16 pm.

There was unanimous approval of June minutes and July minutes were unanimously approved after some minor revisions.

Follow-up presentation by Mark Connolly

Presented updates on the Phoenixville Area Energy Transition Plan, an initiative to develop a community wide Energy Transition Plan involving local townships and municipalities. Thus far 3 local EACs are involved. The deadline for VPP grant application is end of September, thus creating some urgency to obtain Board of Supervisor consideration for potential matching funds approval. Mark Connolly emphasized that the project is not attempting to regulate energy usage; it is more of asking what is a township’s priority and interest in eliminating greenhouse emissions. East Pikeland has committed the money for VPP grant if there are at least 3 townships involved. They would also be willing to manage the grant. Also, can change be instituted on a residential level? After the presentation, EAC members shared their viewpoints; how viable is the grant? Is the township in the position to pursue clean energy? Goodman agreed to draft a summary of our response to present to the Board of Supervisors.

New Turnpike Facility

Walker was not part of PC meeting last night. No change in plans since July. EACs issue is cutting trees and trees have already been cut, noise, near residential properties, elevation of the new building. PTC says ground level requires too much removal of material. Elevated is their solution but will cause more issues for residents etc. Ground level would be much better. Per Pete, they say they are decommissioning the old site which he feels is inaccurate since they will still need west bound access. We have concerns that they are going to do whatever they want regardless of what Charlestown Township ordinances say. Armstrong pointed out this is zoned as farm/residential. This would be an industrial site. Why can’t they look at other more appropriate site like on Phoenixville Pike. Other issues - if they are claiming hardship to change from what they want, they need to produce a hardship report. Is their hardship really greater than our hardship? Mitigate the trees being cut down must occur. Other impacts - ground water, property value, safety impacts, noise, traffic. We need to be more demanding of what they are planning to do. Not likely there would be no impact from the salt. There would be health and medical treatment costs as well. Breaking a lot of our ordinances. Dan Wright made the argument that the zoning is inappropriate.

Vincent Patrone, PSU forest architecture. He is willing to come to planning commission meeting.

Goodman will draft a letter to Planning Commission and copy the Board of Supervisors with all of our concerns and we will all review. Goodman will send via email and Walker will take to next planning meeting to present our view.

MS4 Program

Goodman will keep discussion going with Dan Wright. If anyone else interested, they are welcome to join. The plan to meet MS4 requirements wasn’t explained very well. He claims 15,000 dollars per township which is a drop in bucket. Other townships spending much more so questionable scope. Mandated by DEP. Most of Valley Creek is not in our township. Has to be a pollution reduction plan - had to reduce by 10% the sediment in Valley Creek. Their plan is to use street sweepers to mitigate the issue. Walker and Armstrong are interested in getting involved, along with Goodman

Brightside Farm Park

Goodman and Armstrong met with PA Association Conservation District representative Cori Trice, Vic Laubach and Contractor Austin Unruh on site. Grant will cover planting trees that produce fruit and would also expand forested area. Discussed ideas about phase 2 planning. Goodman also brought up the lawn mowing and dealing with invasives. Charlestown Landscaping could do what we want. Davey Tree Co (township’s tree people) to remove Ailanthus trees and possibly treat for Spotted Lantern Flies. Parks and Rec, Chris Lawrence, was contacted the tree removal. Pete needs to get prices from Charlestown Landscape for mowing and brush hogging. Replace invasive trees with native.

All has to be done by June 2021 so we have this fall and next spring as grant ends in June. Corner of Valley Hill and Yellow Springs - old spring in that Deerfield open space. Someone was weed whacking right at spring head and spring bottom. Pete called the landscaper to ask him to stop this activity. Landscaper indicated that he gets his orders from the property manager of the Deerfield HOA. Pete called the property manager and she said to send her a proposal. Riparian Buffer should be built along the steam/spring. Pete will put something together and send to us for review. We will then send to HOA.

Community education series

BoS member requesting that we have template for educational seminars for our township. Goodman will follow up.

Nature News Changing release months for Nature News: January, April, July, October

Harvesting seeds at Brightside

Armstrong points out there is a lot of common milkweed all around the buffer. Suggest doing an activity with kids. Maybe late Sept. Harvest the seeds and plant more of them. Carol will do experiment after mowing is complete to create ’multiple patches ’with seed mix from Ernst. Should discuss further in Sept meeting.

Inventory of township property is ongoing. Goodman reviewed Parks and Rec plan but didn’t provide much new information.

Parks and Rec thinks that doing tree ID as a Charlestown Day’ event is not secure enough.

Tree planting in commemoration of previous EAC members Findlay and Nespoor at Brightside. Goodman will approach Austin Unruh to see if he can provide the trees. Findlay asked that his name be removed from the board email list but that it remains on the volunteer list.

Next scheduled meeting on Wednesday, September 9th via CiscoWebex.

Meeting was adjourned at 8 pm.