Charlestown Township
Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC)
Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Due to COVID pandemic shelter in place orders, the meeting was held remotely via Cisco Webex

Attendees present were:
Pete Goodman, Daniel Walker, Carol Armstrong, Meg Solomon, and Veda Maany.

Pete Goodman (chair) opened the meeting at 6:05 pm.

Minutes were approved on a motion by Armstrong, seconded by Solomon and were approved unanimously.

There are several Ailanthus trees at Brightside, a few of which borders residential property. Goodman and Chris Lawrence are in discussion about approach to removal. There are different methods to treat the trees: slash and treat or just remove which causes root sprouts. Township may cover the cost. The recommendation seems to be treat first and then take down.

Discussion over EAC budget for 2020-2021. Goodman suggests we Increase Brightside budget to $2000 instead of $750. Delete Adelphia gateway allocation ($100). This is due October 15th for approval- we can discuss over email and have a decision by our next meeting. Miscellaneous expenses can cover other small projects.

Riparian buffer project Armstrong and Goodman had a meeting with Viki (GVWA), Cori (CCCD) and Austin to discuss future plans. We need to find someone who can remove the invasives. Discussed other ways to approach the different sections along the stream for phase 2 with agreement amongst stakeholders. A large area needs to be mowed and invasives removed before new plantings but access is an issue. A talk with the mower revealed that he could also clear the area. We have the funds ready and Austin is prepared to plant in the fall, but all the above needs to be done before he comes. Goodman has spent a great deal of time in discussion with Davey Tree. There is a timeline we need to keep - may need to recruit volunteers as we need to be on site so we can protect the existing planted trees. What should be the mowing schedule? Get from Austin. Do we do invasive mowing and then a planting mowing later or we just do a single mowing? We have to make a lot of decisions within the next couple of weeks. Details can be discussed more later.

Community Education series Consider a webinar. Solomon can do a webinar on reducing kitchen waste and plastics- consider a good timeline for her to get prepared. Pursue something with Lori Haynes for tree identification or put on hold in spring. We should do on a zoom platform so we can do a Q&A.

Buffer ordinance township/state consistency Not much progress has been made. Need to cross reference in Charlestown ordinances and create links they are referring to. Armstrong points out that Theurkauf has a presentation of zoning ordinances but did not think the timing was right for that. Our goal - once we are clear on the ordinances and what we want to propose to the township, we will write a letter to the Planning Commission. Goodman is working with the Tredyffrin Stormwater Task Force on tree ordinances so we can see what will come out of that that might be relevant and use for our township. Township Manager Csete was also keeping track of ordinances that we can review when we are ready. What is our timeline/deadline? Walker agrees that the end goal of presenting to Planning Commission makes sense. We can address the tree ordinance as a separate issue so we can wrap up the riparian buffer ordinance. Goodman agrees.

Nature News October is next release date. Some topics are seed harvesting (Maany and Armstrong will evaluate Brightside for harvesting in next 2 weeks). There was something in the Sierra newsletter we can reference. Topics for Nature News are just those relevant to EAC- it is more blog than newsletter.

Include photos of the farm. Should be assembled before Oct. 15th date.

For October 15th deadline township newsletter Maany will contribute an article about etrash. Discuss the township Green energy resolution-Armstrong will send out a synopsis for all of us to review as potential newsletter. Goodman may try to write something up about green energy.

Township ownership of land parcel Incidentally, Armstrong, Walker and Goodman met with township engineer for another issue -MS4 plan- they did come across a little parcel of land that the township owns along Phoenixville Pike along the railroad tracks on south side that might have use as a rail to trails parking lot.

Charlestown day is canceled. Consideration of small events may not be feasible. We should just plan amongst ourselves.

New Turnpike Facility Goodman summarizes: After presentation by turnpike attorney it appears that the have a green light to go ahead and it may be beyond our control. One positive thing is that turnpike will offer a 20-acre parcel to put a conservation easement on it - as a bribe for not meeting the tree ordinance for trees that they want to remove and not replace. The issues we addressed in our letter were not discussed. Their argument is that it is a bad use of public funds since we are both government agencies we should get along and agree. There was a fair amount of talk about the lighting and discussion of sound. They made it clear that this is a 24/7 operation and they need an industrial building. No mention about zoning. Attorney made request for preliminary opinions (does that refer to the zoning issue?). Walker states they never mentioned zoning- there are regulations that are part of zoning that they simply can’t meet. Mark Thompson and turnpike attorney have already been in negotiations over issues. The question is - Who has superiority? Does the township have executive decision making over legislative mandate? We are not privy to any of this discussion. The latest update is that turnpike will do another presentation for the Planning Commission and BoS next month. We should include this update in township newsletter to inform residents. Armstrong can write up a draft- we will wait to add in what comes out of the Bos and PC meetings coming up. Maybe we can just add a quick blog in nature news about it as well. Bos meets Oct. 5th where we can update it within a week so we can send out in Nature News and also on

MS4 Program Goodman, Armstrong and Walker met with Dan Wright about a MS4 discussion- provided with good information. Their approach to MS4 permitting is sound and educational.

Deerfield riparian buffer proposal Armstrong and Walker gave feedback on Goodman’s proposal (it is long). Goodman will work on final product.

Next scheduled meeting on Wednesday, October 14th via Cisco Webex.

Meeting was adjourned at 8 pm.