|| Neighborhood News Archives|
Past news of events in and around Charlestown
|News for February 2000
Thursday, February 24, 2000 (From Loretta Watson, Charlestown Green)
Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting
February 21, 2000
This meeting, held at the Valley Forge Christian College, was called to order at 7:35 p.m. Present at the Supervisors' table were: Leah Campion, Linda Csete, Paul Hogan, Hugh Willig, Irene Ewald, Kevin Kuhn, Mike Rodgers, Tom Oeste, Esq., Surender Kohli. Roger Bender, Esq. arrived later in the meeting.
An award of good citizenship was presented to Matthew Dahl, in the presence of his proud parents, for his action in returning $2000 cash that was found by him and several friends.
There were no other announcements by the Board. The Minutes of February 14, 2000 were approved. A check payable to escrow agents, Gary Bender and Ross Unruh, was also approved which forms the second escrow payment on the township's pending agreement to purchase the 55-acre Pyle farm (Brightside Farm). There was no further information available at this time.
Citizens' Forum on Non-Agenda Items:
Mr. Altemose commented that he is still unable to gain entry to the 2nd floor township offices in the Devault Building so that he may view public records. Mrs. Ewald said the Board would consider the problem and get back to him.
Mr. Bob Jones of the Charlestown Civic Association presented a written request asking the Board to consider an 18-month moratorium on building in the township, during which time the comprehensive plan could be revised. Mrs. Ewald responded that the Board could not make a decision on that matter at this time.
In regard to the possible restrictions on Union Hill and Rees roads, a resident voiced doubts that the rate of speed of the vehicles alone is the main problem during rush hours, but felt that timing of the light at 29 and Charlestown Road is a problem which could be fixed. Mrs. Ewald thanked all the residents for continuing to take interest in the issue, and that traffic studies have been requested. Mr. Hogan stated that some school children blindly cross in front of the school busses without regard to the traffic and suggested the busses stop in the middle of the road to help block traffic from passing around the bus.
Mrs. Hassinger reported that she travels Union Hill at about 7:30 a.m. and has not seen a school bus incident and said that closing residential roads would put undue pressure on the main arteries which are already heavily traveled.
Another resident questioned the notification of residents to attend a previous board meeting. Mrs. Ewald stated that the group invited were the residents along Union Hill and Rees who had initiated the request for action and they were simply invited to the meeting to air their concerns, and there was no requirement or need to notify all township residents that an issue had been raised. As word of the issue spread, more residents would come to the meetings and voice concerns.
Another resident said he hasn't seen the 60-mph speeds, inability to exit driveways, and heavy traffic on the subject roads in the early morning. He feels that the issue is speed and reiterated his comments from a previous meeting that the State Police should arrest the speeders.
Mrs. Wilhelm reported that she goes to King of Prussia every day and used to drive Creek Rd before it closed. She now uses Union Hill and feel that closing that road would make her take Pot House and Valley Park roads which are always backed up. She travels from 8 to 9 a.m. and doesn't see the heavy traffic on Union Hill.
Pam Elters from Buckwalter Road feels that if a precedent is set with Union Hill/Rees, then other roads will be closed off also.
Kevin Kuhn responded that the issues are complicated by the building of the new Middle School and the plans of the Turnpike Commission. A comprehensive study may warrant a decision to restrict roads.
A resident objected to the validity of the proposed studies since they are only "local" and not "township wide."
Mrs. Ewald reiterated that the turnpike is threatening to put a turnpike interchange in Charlestown to divert Valley Forge traffic here.
Another comment from a resident was that if people are breaking the driving laws, they should be dealt with under law. Another comment dealt with the effect of limiting traffic on Howell Road.
A question was asked if there is any way to determine how many residents are coming in from out of the township during the rush hours.
More comments centered on the thought that Creek Road should be opened and the lights at Pot House and Valley Park Roads should be retimed before changes occur in Charlestown Twp. (these are Schuylkill Township concerns). At this point Mrs. Ewald reminded everyone of the imminent closing of White Horse Road during March for pipe installation.
Bob Jones asked the Board to vote on sending a post card to all township residents when special issues are to be discussed. The Board reminded everyone that there is no requirement or responsibility to go to that length to notify citizens of issues since the agenda is posted, the notice is published in the paper, and citizens have the means to acquire the information. The expense of doing special mailings would be prohibitive anyway.
In regard to the intersection of 29 and Charlestown Road, Mrs. Kuhn requested that improvements be requested or expedited through PennDOT. The response was that the township was planning to handle the improvements themselves and also is endeavoring to have the light retimed.
Mrs. Neumeister asked that the township not make any new traffic restrictions until the studies and public hearings are complete. Mr. Oeste said that, in the meantime, some things may have to be done in the usual course of running the township. Mrs. Ewald stated there is a definite process which is being followed before any restrictions can be imposed.
A resident questioned why the State Police could not sporadically visit the trouble areas. Mr. Kuhn responded they respond to emergencies but due to lack of resources and the low priority, they can't monitor this issue.
A resident questioned the Spring Lane Farm matter (General Residential Properties project) and Mrs. Ewald directed him to a letter sent to Mr. Panizza.
Mr. Altemose inquired of the solicitor whether the township must follow BOCA codes, state fire and labor codes, and ADA acts, to which Mr. Oeste responded that when legally required to do so the codes are followed.
A resident asked if the State Police had been contacted in regard to participation in the Union Hill/Rees issues and the response was that the information has not be determined yet. Mr. Saul Kun commended the Board for acknowledging problems on Union Hill and Rees and for trying to address them.
Under Old Business:
Mark Connelly was interviewed last week. He was nominated and approved for reappointment to the 5-year position on the Parks & Recreation Board.
Mr. Russ Hanscom was interviewed last week. He was nominated and approved for a 1-year term on the Vacancy Board.
Tom Babacz was also interviewed and his nomination was approved for his reappointment to a 5-year term to the Valley Forge Sewer Authority Operating Board, owned by Charlestown, East Pikeland, and Schuylkill townships.
Kathy DiFillipo (spelling?) was previously an alternate on the Zoning Hearing Board. Her nomination for a 3-year permanent position was approved.
Joe Bateman, the Executive Director of the Valley Forge Sewer Authority, came to present detail on the Act 537 Plan. State law requires municipalities to plan facilities for handling of sanitary sewage. The EPA, Charlestown and Valley Forge Sewer Authority all work together on the project. This 537 plan becomes the township policy for sewage handling and can specify the places for new or improved service. The VFSA then has the obligation to build or improve the service per the approved plan. The State's role is to administer the law after the plan is approved by the State.
An additional plan, the Regional 537 Plan, is also required, which will summarize all the local 537 plans. The financial impact and the overall needs will be submitted to the municipalities. He commented that this general area is undergoing heavy growth.
VFSA presently has no capacity available for any new expansion in Charlestown Township. There is a "sharing mechanism" with other townships and the other townships have "usurped" Charlestown's capacity at this time.
In response to a question regarding regaining capacity, the sharing communities are obligated to give up "leased" capacity (capacity taken from other municipalities) and pay dollars for new capacity at their own expense. This would enable Charlestown to regain its "usurped" capacity and make it "whole" again regarding future capacity.
The limit by law is 8 million gallons of treated sewage into the River per month; now the amount being dumped is 7 million.
Mr. Altemose asked that the township explore the process of burying the pipes in people's property in order to avoid tearing up roads or taking down trees.
Returning to the night's Agenda, the Board decided that Kevin Kuhn, Durando Faggioli, Paul Hogan, and Mike Rodgers would attend the Chester County (CCATO) Spring Convention on March 2nd.
Budget Amendment - a minor budget amendment was proposed in that $2000 would be transferred from the Road Maintenance expense account to the Township Supervisors' expense account. Mr. Oeste suggested this be tabled until a future meeting due to restrictions on when transfers may occur.
Altemose Curative Amendment Hearing - Mr. Altemose was represented by Joseph P. Ryan (cousin and partner to his usual attorney Joseph A. Ryan). The hearing started at 9:20 p.m. with Jeffrey Miller giving testimony in his role as an expert on sewage issues. Mr. Miller explained the background information he obtained prior to tonight regarding other facilities for senior living and/or assisted living in the area as to population, water use, soil types, amount of sewage required, and other details for comparison and calculating what the proposed facility would require for its 1785 units. The proposal he gave took into account the facilities' contracting-out of its laundry, and did not take into account any auxiliary services such as shops, services, or restaurants at the facility, since he felt these would not materially change his figures if usage was only by residents or staff. His estimate was that the proposed facility would generate 50 gallons per capita per day of waste water from residents and staff.
He examined three types: sub surface, drip irrigation, and spray irrigation. Mr. Miller stated he could design an adequate "drip irrigation" system which would pass regulations and be able to be submitted for a permit. He would have to prove that the system would not adversely impact the area or groundwater. There are two streams on the property. One stream was not considered for use in the system because of its direction, but the other could be considered later if necessary.
The location of the proposed system would be along Ashenfelter in the southern part of the property. A small control building of 20 x 20 feet would be necessary.
In response to a question, he stated one other drip irrigation system was installed in Chester County at Routes 926 and 202 by Hovanian Builders. South Coventry, Pocopson, and Upper Uwchland Townships are considering drip irrigation systems at this time. Malfunctions can be spotted by unusual wetness of the soil indicating a broken pipe, or a rise in the pounds of pressure needed to pump effluent.
Storm water was not considered in the calculations, but depending on the storm water methods used this may cause an impact on the sewage system. In response to questions, the wetlands were shown to be on the property along White Horse Road, and they are not in the area of the proposed system.
Information regarding surveys conducted and test kits were requested by Mr. Bender. In answer to Mr. Kun's questions, the level of purity achieved would be "2nd level" and this meets standards of safe drinking water and should not affect wells in the area. In obtaining permission to build this system the area's wells would be tested to determine any possible future impact from the proposed system.
Due to the late hour this hearing was suspended. Discussion regarding future witnesses and time requirements resulted in this hearing being continued to March 20.
Adjournment at 10:40 p.m.
Friday, February 18, 2000 (From Loretta Watson, Charlestown Green)
Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting
February 14, 2000
The February 14th Township Supervisors' Meeting was held at the Charlestown Elementary School and came to order at 7:30 PM with recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Present for the Township was Linda Csete, Kevin Kuhn, Irene Ewald, Hugh Willig, Mike Rodgers and Tom Oeste, Esq. Absent was Paul Hogan. Mr. Kohli arrived later in the evening. After an announcement regarding the holding of an executive session of the Board, Mrs. Ewald reminded all present that the next meeting on February 21st would be at the Valley Forge Christian College (see below for directions).
Hugh Willig said that he had spent Friday morning watching traffic at Union Hill/Rees Roads but admits he did not see the volume expressed at prior meetings. He plans another visit shortly to get another view.
Mr. Rodgers said a sinkhole was discovered on Dickson Road and will get this attended to as soon as possible. Mrs. Ewald asked that the township engineer, Mr. Kohli, be involved with this project.
Kevin Kuhn presented a letter he had received from Philadelphia Suburban Water announcing work installing pipes on White Horse Road in the vicinity of Phoenixville Pike which will close the road during the month of March. Detours will be set up and will by law go to other State roads.
Mr. Philips of the Planning Commission asked if they were still able to have Planning Commission meetings at the Elementary School, to which Mrs. Ewald replied that they could if they chose to do so. Mr. Philips agreed to attend the February 21st meeting with other Planning Commission members to get a feel for the new space and make the decision regarding meeting locations in the future. Mr. Philips asked that this writing reflect that Planning Commission meetings will be held at the Charlestown Elementary School until further notice.
Mr. Willig had two letters from Charlestown Hunt residents covering a variety of homeowner complaints and stating that no cooperation had been received from Realen. The question arose as to whether the township had any jurisdiction over these matters, and Mr. Oeste offered that some of the issues involved were "quasi-improvements" and are covered by the escrow lodged with the township, and this money must not be released to Realen until repairs are made, especially if issues involve the storm water drainage basins. Home building related issues are properly pursued through the warranty agreement with Realen. The Board will take the matter under advisement as to any involvement.
The subject of the Transportation Management Agency (TMACC) luncheon on Friday , 2/18, came before the board. This luncheon will involve local businessmen and the Transportation Agency and it was felt that strong representation from Charlestown Township would be beneficial. Therefore, Tom Oeste, Esq. and Jim McErlane, Esq. would attend (at no hourly fee to the township since the township was paying their two $30.00 luncheon fees) along with several of the members of the Board of Supervisors.
There were no comments made by anyone present for the Citizens Forum for Non-Agenda items.
The first item on the agenda was the motion to approve a new Assistant Township Secretary, Leah Campion. Upon approval by the Board, Ms. Campion took her seat at the Supervisors' table.
Next item was to pick up an item that was missed at a previous meeting: setting the mileage reimbursement rate for the Roadmaster. Motion was made and approved to set the rate at 30 cents per mile.
An Accounts Payable issue was next. A check was up for approval in the amount of $25,000. The background of this issue is that the township has made an offer to the School Board to purchase the 55-acre Pyle tract on Yellow Springs Road. The check is for payment of the escrow amount and would be sent to township attorney Mr. Bender who was instrumental in working out the negotiation and drawing up of the agreement with the School District's attorney, Mr. Ross. As of this time, the School District has not accepted the offer. Motion to send the check was approved. The Board noted that since negotiations are still ongoing, they cannot divulge any details of the offer at this time.
The Board's official minutes of the February 7 meeting were approved.
The Resolution #554-2000 to appoint an independent auditor for the year 2000 was brought before the Board. Henry S. Todd was nominated and approved. It was noted that this had been duly advertised in January. Phil Staas brought to the Board's attention some concern from citizens that the elected auditors were not being used.
Next was the "537 Plan" discussion. A copy of the 537 Plan was prepared for the township which deals with proposed sewer service installations within the township. Both the Township and the County must review and approve these plans along with the DEP. Mr. Kohli gave a detailed explanation of how the plan operates and some explanation of "capacity" issues regarding the Valley Forge Sewer Authority and surrounding townships. He advised the Board to go through the plan and see if it conforms with current Township planning.
Mrs. Ewald brought up questions regarding possible archeological considerations while the pipes were being laid. Mr. Kohli suggested a review of the proposed sites to try to determine if any known archeological areas existed in the areas so the Authority could be notified. During this discussion the memorial being built to the Mennonites at their cemetery site on Pikeland Road was mentioned, and the question of whether a building permit was issued arose, which will be checked. Mrs. Ewald also asked that the Board look into shed revamping activities of Miller Concrete to be sure they are complying to ordinances.
The 537 Plan discussion continued in regard to the sand mound sewage facilities used along Howell Road and conjecture regarding whether sewer pipes would become necessary years down the road if and when the mounds failed. It was noted that the township cannot disallow sand mounds since the County allows them under certain soil conditions.
The next agenda item was the Plan Review Process Discussion. Mrs. Ewald reported that this Board does not favor "piecemeal" submission of plans and revisions. Mrs. Csete briefly reviewed the standard process of what an average homeowner must do when requesting a subdivision decision. Mr. Oeste reiterated the requirements of the township to make a decision in these matters in 90 or 120 days from submission of the final plan. Mrs. Ewald suggested the ordinance be amended to provide for a "submission for completeness review" rather than the submission as a revision to the plan. There was discussion regarding how the board could determine if submissions were "complete" and ready for further review, but the question of the completeness of the contents of each submission would have to be determined separately. Also, discussion arose as to the proper time to accept the submission for official filing with the township. Mr. Philips urged the Board to be sure that the steps in the policy are clear and that issues of completeness are clarified.
Traffic Accident Review. State Police reports were received for January and February covering false alarms and auto accidents. A list, prepared by Linda Csete, detailing all reported accidents for 1999 showed repetitive accident locations mostly on Charlestown, Coldstream, and Route 29. Speed limits on these roads will be examined along with the possibility of installing rumble strips in the most dangerous areas.
Mr. Kuhn questioned the costs for the expanded traffic studies planned for Union Hill/Rees/White Horse roads and possibly Hollow Road. Various ideas were offered as to how to do the study, but Mr. Kuhn stated that the Board needed "baseline" figures of the current traffic patterns recorded hour by hour. A suggestion was made as to whether we could go to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission for studies and another question was asked whether Schuylkill Township had been approached regarding their traffic concerns on these roads. Mrs. Ewald authorized contact with these two sources.
Cellucci Extension Request - Mr. Cellucci's flex building on Phoenixville Pike has been approved routinely over the years; however the board would like to make a review of the current proposed plans for the property. Therefore, the extension request is being denied.
The conditional use (steep slope construction) requested by the Great Valley Nature Center will be heard on March 6, 2000.
Escrow Release No. 10 for DHR, Ltd. development on Howell Road was approved pending receipt of the outstanding amount owed to the township.
Escrow Release No. 1 for the Commons at Great Valley, Lot #17, was approved.
Under Other Business, Mr. Kuhn asked to set a date in April or May when the Board would accept additional properties into the Agricultural Security District. This issue was placed on the agenda for the May 1st meeting. Mrs. Baldwin made a request on behalf of some West Chester residents for the specific steps involved in adding properties to the District.
Mr. Kuhn brought up the subject of the community maps being proposed by an outside firm for the purpose of advertising certain business establishments. Mrs. Ewald warned that it would take hours of work to prepare the road information for the map; and Mrs. Csete reminded the Board that the Township has a map with all of the private roads marked already (although additions are handwritten) Mr. Philips urged that the maps need updating, especially the road maps.
Mrs. Baldwin asked the Board to find out if the bridge on Route 29 would be closed for repairs this spring; but, apparently, word is that the requests for bid are not out yet.
Mrs. Ewald again reminded everyone that the next meeting would take place at the Christian College. (Directions)
The meeting adjourned at approximately 10:45 p.m.
Saturday, February 12, 2000 (From Loretta Watson, Charlestown Green)
Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting
February 7, 2000
The February 7th meeting, held in the Charlestown Elementary School, came to order at 7:43 p.m. with the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. Chairman Irene Ewald began by noting the absence of one supervisor, Mr. Paul Hogan, due to personal commitments that evening; and then called for the Citizens' Forum for Non-Agenda Items, for which several attendees had signed up to speak.
The lively period of interchange of ideas began with Laura Neumeister, a resident of Charlestown Hunt, who felt that limiting the use of Union Hill and Rees Roads was not the answer and that the Board should consider the whole township in this matter, wherein there are other roads with similar traffic problems. Next was Ellen Behrle of Sycamore Lane who commended the Township for its snow removal efforts this past week and commented also that, although she feels Union Hill/Rees makes a good shortcut, the roads present a dangerous situation with the heavy traffic during rush hours. Durando Faggioli, Township Roadmaster, a 50-year resident of this township, remarked that the traffic along the two roads in question is "horrendous" and school children cannot access their school busses without direct intervention by adults, all of whom step into a dangerous situation. Many other residents from the affected roads and other areas of the township spoke. A petition was presented to the Board with signatures of many Charlestown Hunt residents opposed to the proposed road restrictions.
John Panizza, of General Residential Properties, speaking on a different matter, asked if a decision would be rendered this evening regarding his Spring Lane Farm project, to which Mrs. Ewald responded that no decision had been reached yet. He also asked whether a conditional use hearing could be scheduled for March 6, which was scheduled.
Back on the subject of Union Hill/Rees roads, mention was made that the proposed action would force people to use Hollow Road in an effort to avoid using the Phoenixville Pike/Charlestown Road intersection. Dr. Stewart presented the figures he gathered in his informal survey the morning of February 7 from in front of his home on Union Hill Road being a count of 647 cars during the one hour of 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.
A resident near the school bus stop at Tinker Hill Road asked for consideration for everyone and a short-term solution. Her suggestion was stop signs along Union Hill. Another resident on Union Hill described Rees/Union Hill as a "cut-through" for motorists going to work and he approves of the proposed restrictions and thanked the Board.
Mention was made that when the school bus goes under the railroad tunnel, cars speed through at 40 mph barely missing the bus. The situation was serious enough to cause a bus driver to quit because of the liability involved.
A resident speculated that the problem started when the improvements were underway at Phoenixville Pike/Charlestown Road and possibly revealing the extent of this traffic problem would help in the slip ramp opposition.
Mr. Bob Davis of Union Hill said that traffic is so bad that one day he could not drive his children to the bus stop as he always does since he was not able to exit his driveway -- no cars would stop to let him out. Also there were complaints about trash being thrown out of the cars.
Mrs. Baldwin brought up the point, yet unconsidered, about what would happen when PennDOT closes Route 29 to repair the ice dam bridge (a mile or two from Union Hill). This would surely divert traffic to the other roads.
A suggestion was made to have the state police sporadically patrol the road. Residents even offered their driveways as parking spots for the police cruisers.
Supervisor Kevin Kuhn admitted that he uses the back roads also but is in favor of the restrictions. The first step would be a traffic study. He said he is in favor of making Hollow Road a one way; and remarked that he felt the township was being used as a "doormat" by residents passing through. He agreed that the study could have an impact on the slip ramp situation.
Supervisor Hugh Willig also admitted to formerly using the Union Hill shortcut as a path to Center City, and felt that these restrictions will simply force motorists to find other routes and adjust their schedules. He supports the proposal due to the quality of life and safety issues.
Supervisor Mike Rodgers lives in the western part of the township but uses Union Hill occasionally to visit family, and feels safety is of the utmost importance and favors the restrictions.
Mrs. Ewald commented she lives in an isolated street but has used the short cut to drive to Devon in her commute to her job which brings her back too late to be part of the rush hour traffic. She felt that the basic problem started with the dangerous conditions surrounding the school bus, and attempts to alleviate the problem with a reduced speed limit was not effective. She urges that we try the proposed restrictions for four to six months and judge from there. However, she underscored a bigger problem which is the proposed turnpike slip ramps which would dump a large amount of Valley Forge traffic in Charlestown and urged citizens to stand and work together on the issues - stating that the "answers" are right here in this room.
Township Engineer Surender Kohli spoke about a possible PennDOT study to get current Hollow Road auto counts and compare them to the count after the restrictions are in place. Points of study include auto counts, road configurations, trucks vs. autos, etc.
A resident was adamant in his belief that speed was the root of the problem and we need to have the state police enforce the speed laws. Mrs. Ewald mentioned that the police a reluctant to try this since there is no place to pull cars over or straight-ways to get a "bead" on the speeders. Another resident suggested speed bumps (which later commentary from the Fire Marshall revealed this to be a bad idea in view of the bumps causing delays for emergency vehicles responding to calls.)
Mrs. Behrle urged that we put the matter into perspective in that the huge amount of traffic is a major issue for residents on Union Hill/Rees and that the proposed restrictions would only inconvenience us twice per day (during the restriction hours).
Mrs. Ewald thanked everyone for their input and stated that a decision could come from the board in about three weeks. She also announced at this time that next week's meeting will be at the Charlestown Elementary School; but, after that date, all public supervisors' meetings will be at the Valley Forge Christian College.
Turning to the night's Agenda, Mrs. Ewald asked for a motion to approve the Minutes of January 31. And after some brief comments, it was approved. Mr. Willig wanted to add some clarifying language regarding last week's comments by Mr. Neill, in the area of recouping the full market-value purchase price of land after selling only 1/2 of the "by right" number of lots allowed.
The Treasurer's Report of Jan. 1 to 31 was approved . Accounts Payable in the amount of $85,000 was approved after brief discussion of the road bills. Mrs. Behrle, of Delaware Valley Paving, took a moment to comment on the current bidding procedures for road work.
Monthly reports were received from the Zoning Officer, Planning Commission, Historical Commission, Roadmaster, the Fire Marshall, the VF Sewer Authority, and Turnpike Comm. Citizen's Advisory Council. Mr. Faggioli, Roadmaster, remarked that 5.1 inches of snow fell last week and that the township used 300 tons of salt. He would make sure we have sufficient salt supplies for the rest of the winter. Fire Marshall, Fred Alston, reported five false alarms and approximately 10 auto accidents, which he attributed to speeding motorists. No one from Parks & Recreation Board was present to give/comment on its report.
Mr. Kuhn announced the upcoming Turnpike Commission CAC meeting at the Desmond Hotel, February 23, at 7 to 9 p.m. All are welcome, although you may only listen and not participate. Mrs. Ewald commented that the Turnpike has hand picked the participants and the committee is heavily weighted against Charlestown and its interests. Citizens should attend and take note of the happenings.
Township solicitor, Mr. Oeste announced that a responsive pleading of New Matter has been filed in the township's case against the turnpike commission which closes the pleadings, and the discovery phase should begin shortly.
Keeping with the Agenda, next was the Conditional Use application and Preliminary Subdivision Plan of the Brooklands development on which the township has been asked to decide. Much discussion ensued regarding the conditional use, which was previously decided, but no decision has been made on the preliminary plan due to logistical problems encountered by the developer. The township asked Mr. Panizza to confirm that only one plan along with some revisions exists before the township at this time. Mr. Panizza offered some background information to clarify any confusion over the issues and agreed there is one plan but with the revisions as requested by the township and consultants; and a fully revised plan will be provided. This raised the question of whether the 90-day clock starts again on receipt of the revised plan or whether the township is bound by previous time constraints. Mr. Asimov spoke on behalf of his client, GRP, and reiterated that GRP is complying as much as possible considering that the last requirement (percolation test on Lot 8) has been delayed by agency restrictions and the weather. GRP asked for a compromise time period so that the parties could meet their obligations in the matter. After more discussion, an extension was granted to March 20 for submission of the "Preliminary/Final Plan" which will start another 90-day clock for action by the township.
Fire Marshall Fred Alston presented his preliminary draft of a new fire ordinance with changes covering various items such as open burning, fireworks, automatic alarms and fines (fines to be determined case by case), vehicle parking in fire lanes, and towing provisions. A preliminary HazMat ordinance was also presented. A point of importance in the HazMat ordinance is that when hazardous materials are brought into the township, the township must be notified, even if the amount present does not meet notification requirements to other agencies and jurisdictions. Mrs. Ewald said further review of these ordinances will take place at the April 3 meeting.
Due to the late hour, Mrs. Ewald moved the remaining items to the next meeting agenda, with the exception of the Deerfield matter. Matters moved were: Traffic Accidents review, March 2nd CCATO Spring Convention, John R. Cellucci Extension Request - Land Devel. Plan approved 1991, and Scheduling of Conditional Use Hearing for Great Valley Nature Center; construction in steep slopes.
The Deerfield (General Residential Properties) conditional use application was approved with 21 conditions to be met as set forth in the Decision.
A motion to adjourn was approved at 10:30 p.m.
Monday, February 7, 2000 (From Loretta Watson, Charlestown Green)
Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting
January 31, 2000
This meeting of the Board of Supervisors at the Charlestown Elementary School began at 7:50 p.m. with a Pledge of Allegiance and announcement by the Chairperson, Irene Ewald, that an Executive Session had been held for 20 minutes prior to this commencement to discuss personnel matters.
Present was Irene Ewald, Chairperson, Kevin Kuhn, Mike Rodgers, Paul Hogan and Hugh Willig, Supervisors, Tom Oeste, Surrender Kohli, and Linda Csete.
The Citizens' Forum for Non-Agenda Matters was opened. Mr. Panizza, of General Residential Properties, Inc., asked if the Board would be ruling on his question already before the Board regarding relocation of the planned road for his Spring Lane subdivision. Mrs. Ewald responded that the Board would not have a ruling at this meeting but would be in a position to rule after they had studied information coming out of tonight's presentation by Mr. Neill. In reply, Mr. Panizza stated that time on the project is tight and, therefore, he would try to pursue the matter of using Road A or Road B in Spring Lane through the DEP but may also require a ruling from this Board. On his Deerfield development, he is agreeing to follow the conditional use ruling but would ask the Board to accept his preliminary plan even though all lots have not been percolation tested at this time due to weather constraints and regulations regarding timing of the tests. Mr. Philips of the Planning Commission commented that the Planning Commission's approval would require all percs eventually. Mrs. Ewald said that the Board would take this under advisement. Mr. Kling stated that this property may present problems with water dissipation and the Board is wise to take the matter under advisement.
There were no other non-agenda matters brought up.
Next on the agenda was approval of the January 24th meeting minutes, which was granted subject to two amendments, as follows. Mr. Rodgers requested that missed information be inserted regarding the Roadmaster Account being over-budget in 1999 by 50%. Mr. Kuhn suggested that clarification be made in the matter of the Turnpike Citizens' Advisory Council regarding the difficulties which would be encountered by a Court Reporter in attempting to accurately transcribe the meeting.
Next on the Agenda were the rates of pay for the Year 2000.
Motion was made and approved to set the Roadmasters' salary at $9,000. The Animal Control Officer gained a slight increase in salary plus 15 cents per mile, and the Planning Commission Secretary's salary remained the same at $17/hour. The Secretary/Treasurer of the Township was given a salary of $35,000.
Mrs. Ewald then introduced to the Board and other township representatives in attendance, Mr. Jim Neill. Mr. Neill is a practicing attorney in Bucks County, hailing originally from Portland, Oregon, and has become quite familiar with land planning in Bucks County in and around the New Hope area. His experience was gained through development of his own land and then of approximately 1,000 acres comprising other individual parcels over the years. He explained various problems he had to overcome with township ordinances, topography, time considerations, and conservation issues. Mr. Neill explained his method of putting part of the parcel into conservation and developing the rest, but still providing fair market value to the landowner selling the plot, and possible tax deductions to the new owners because of the conservation easement. A question and answer period followed, and the Board agreed to obtain sample ordinances from the various townships in Bucks County to study in regard to conservation-directed development. It was suggested that this particular alternative method presented by Mr. Neill may not work for all properties here in the township but may be useful to some present landowners as an optional means of handling development of their parcels.
The Board thought it would be a good idea to create a committee to study this idea and introduce it to large landowners as an effort to educate them to their options, as proposed by Mrs. Solda.
As there was no other business presented to or by the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 10:00 p.m.
Continued in Archives