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March 16, 1998

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News for April 2000

Friday April 28, 2000  (From Loretta Watson, Charlestown Green)
Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting
April 24, 2000
Present on behalf of the Township: Irene Ewald, Chairman, Hugh Willig, Paul Hogan, Kevin Kuhn, Mike Rodgers, Tom Oeste, Esq., Surender Kohli, and Linda Csete.
The meeting at the Memorial Chapel of the Valley Forge Christian College was called to order at 7:40 PM by the Chairman. Announcement was made that the Board had conducted an executive session prior to this meeting to discuss with Tom Comitta and Ed Theurkauph some park planning and ordinance issues. No decisions or deliberations were made at that session.
The second announcement concerned future hearings for Toll Bros. which are set for Wednesday, April 26, and if necessary Thursday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. Hearing on the Charlestown Meadows matters will be completed at that time.
There were no comments from the public on non-agenda issues. The Board then moved to approve their Minutes of April 17, 2000.
Mr. Oeste took the floor to open the hearing to consider the conditional use application of the Great Valley Nature Center (GVNCC) who is requesting approval to construct a "maple sugar house" on an area now designated as 15 to 25% steep slope. The Nature Center is located in Charlestown Township in the area designated Farm/Residential zoning. Mr. Oeste reviewed the exhibits on record for this matter, then asked if anyone present wished to become a party in the matter. There were none, so he called Mr. Tom Pascocello as representative of GVNCC to present their case. Mr. Pascocello offered as evidence copies of about 20 letters sent to surrounding property owners. He described the purpose of the Nature Center and their desire to build the maple sugar center for educational purposes. An aerial view of the Nature Center and site plan dated 8/19/99 were placed into the record, showing the proposed building. A letter from T. Comitta Associates was also entered on the record.
The maple sugar center would be a 14 x 18 foot building with an attached porch built on pilings, and would be used for demonstrating the process of making maple syrup. This particular location was picked due to its close proximity to maple trees and the suitability of the area for teaching programs about the indians and the colonial era.
Mr. Kohli advised that the building must meet flood hazard set back requirements and that due to its location, no heavy equipment can approach the site. All the materials must be hand carried to the site. This site, near the pond and springhouse, was acquired through a donation from a Charlestown resident. Some discussion revealed that the actual slope of the property is believed to be between 15 and 20% with some areas being 25%. This high amount of slope would be considered acceptable for agricultural purposes. Mr. Kohli also advised the board that there was not enough land area at a 25% slope to affect the application adversely, and said that with only 16" augur drilling for the cement based pilings, there would not be much environmental disturbance of the land. Mrs. Ewald asked if the building could be placed in other areas were education was being conducted on subjects such as indian history. Mr. Pascocello reiterated that this location was chosen due to its proximity to the maple trees.
Since there were no further questions, Mr. Oeste advised that a decision would come within 45 days, and the board asked to visit the site.
Mr. Oeste then opened the hearing for Toll Bros. Charlestown Meadows conditional use application and development. After discussion of the order of witnesses and the two additional hearing dates of 4/26 and 4/27, Mrs. Ewald asked for a break, so the board could discuss the matter with counsel in private.
Upon return, Mr. Bender, counsel for the Planning Commission, asked that the applicant present his environmental report, but Mr. Lunning (counsel for Toll Bros.) preferred to present this report at a later time. Mr. David Babbit, a professional land planner, came forward to testify for Toll Bros. He gave his background and credentials. He submitted to the record an Environmental Impact Report and a PRD document according to ordinance requirements, which were prepared jointly by his office and other consulting organizations.
Next Mr. Bender called Surender Kohli, Charlestown Township Zoning Officer and Engineer, to testify as an expert in civil engineering. Mr. Lunning offered an objection to some of the proposed testimony because Mr. Kohli was not a traffic expert.
Mr. Kohli said that flood hazard and high ground water history was reviewed with respect to this site and the general area is susceptible to flooding with water running towards Route 401. Data necessary for the study is soil evaluations. A commonwealth waterway is located on the site with a stream. Mr. Kohli noted that no study was done (by the applicant) to check the amount of the flooding on the property. Also, the boundaries of the flood hazard area would need to be established. These areas have a 25 foot set back requirement. Compliance cannot be determined without a hydrological study. Also, no wetlands report has been submitted.
Regarding the sewage issue, the township ordinances cover any system administered or operated by the VFSA or any other organization for treatment and disposal of waste. A letter from VFSA dated 4/13/2000 was produced that stated progress has been made toward early May approval of sufficient capacity for the proposed site. In explanation of the capacity issue, Mr. Kohli explained that the partner municipalities of Schuylkill, Charlestown, and West Pikeland townships share sewer capacity out of the pool of capacity. The borrowed capacity must be returned to the pool and made available for use by the lending municipality (in this case, Charlestown).
Mr. Kohli advised that applicants must submit to the township a typical building layout with elevations and materials proposed for construction so architectural and aesthetic appeal can be determined. Also building lengths and widths must comply along with the space between buildings. Parking and lighting plans have not been made clear for this proposed site. Phasing requirements must conform to ordinance, which limits building to 25%. General requirements for open space is 50% and the proposed plans show a 50.2% open space, but conditional uses proposed (such as the water/sewer facilities) reduce the open space available.
Findings regarding the parking requirements show that the applicant must not exceed 5% grade. Several areas of parking exceed the 5% grade. Also, backing up of vehicles over sidewalks is not permitted. Mr. Kohli noted on applicants' plan the parking areas that were not in compliance and added that the size of the spaces were smaller than required.
On the Charlestown Meadows density plan, it was not clear as to the amount of space provided for enjoyment by each unit as a "yard" as opposed to the open space required for the site.
Planned storm water basins near the entrances at 10 to 11 feet deep were considered excessive by Mr. Kohli. Underground seepage beds or another method under "Best Management Practices" for controlling water runoff over Route 401 was recommended for consideration, since the water quality downstream is considered to be important.
Mr. Kohli responded that the township has worked with PennDOT to establish a traffic signal at Route 401 & Newcomen, but no road improvements (such as turn lanes) were being proposed in addition to the installation of the signal itself. Mr. Kohli queried how the fact that no road improvements were planned would impact the applicant's traffic impact findings. As to the site and development plans, additional approvals from other regulatory agencies, county and State, are required. Mr. Kohli's most significant concerns were flood hazard areas, traffic considerations and storm water management, which he detailed in his 21 page report.
Mr. Lunning then questioned the witness regarding sewer considerations and the issues of approval from the DEP for re-rate and capacity allotment. Mr. Kohli explained that changes and improvements at the Sewer Authority plant are in progress and the DEP would be expected to approve the re-rate of capacity in May and, for the proposed 199 units, capacity would be available by the end of the year. Partner townships of Charlestown, Schuylkill and West Pikeland form the Valley Forge Sewer Authority. Mr. Lunning pursued that there is no provision in the present Act 537 plan for appropriate sewer capacity in Charlestown for this development.
Discussion regarding the zoning ordinances and compliance by the applicant ensued, specifically regarding the backing of autos over the sidewalks. Mr. Kohli advised that a turn around area could be provided so vehicles could pull out across the walks. Comparison was made by Mr. Lunning to Charlestown Hunt and Charlestown Oaks, which have requested waivers in their construction in this regard. Speculation was made whether a waiver could be granted to Toll Bros. Mr. Kohli said that the over-all project must be viewed.
Flooding from the side over Route 401 was reviewed. Testimony stated that flooding causes dangerous freezing on Route 401. The majority of the site acreage drains to that area, per Mr. Kohli's observation, and combines with the normal water runoff on 401. The pipe running under 401 to capture runoff is probably property of PennDOT. An access permit from PennDOT and improvements would have to be done by Toll Bros. to control the storm water and this would be part of the road access permit approval process required by the State to access the state road in a development situation. Mr. Kohli stated in response to Mr. Lunning's inquiry that Charlestown has been in contact with PennDOT from time to time over the problems.
Regarding stormwater management, Mr. Kohli was asked to show in the ordinances where "Best Mangement Practices" are required. The response was that these are called for in the Municipalities Planning Code (MPC). Mr. Kohli stated that basins should not be as deep as planned and should have fencing for safety.
Mr. Kohli was queried as to his understanding of the proposed design standards and the architectural materials to be used.
Kevin Kuhn, Supervisor, asked if Charlestown Township has always had this sewer capacity set aside for the 401 and Newcomen site in the 537 plan.
Mr. Sidarsky, a party, asked about the distance of the proposed dwelling from the property line. The distance is approximately 150 feet. He also asked about water flow through the underground pipe and whether the property owner across 401 would be involved. Mr. Kohli said that the size of the pipe could be increased, or the water could be controlled to limit flow. Easements could probably be obtained from the owner.
Mr. Kohli mentioned that no building permit for the residences could be issued until the site's roads were in a proper state of completion. He speculated that VFSA capacity could be available before the first residence is constructed in this development. He reminded the applicant that with regard to the detention basins, the point is to detain the water flow and modifications could be made to them and the site to reduce runoff.
Mr. Sidarsky rose again to ask if widening of 401, if any was done, would cause worse water problems, and the response was that the state would require explanation of additional water runoff treatment should more road width result.
Mrs. Ewald then asked for continuance to April 26 in the Valley Forge Christian College Memorial Chapel.
Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.
Saturday April 22, 2000  (From Loretta Watson, Charlestown Green)
Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting
April 17, 2000
Present: Chairman Irene Ewald, Supervisors Hugh Willig, Kevin Kuhn, Paul Hogan, and Mike Rodgers, Township Engineer/Zoning Officer Surender Kohli, Township Counsel Tom Oeste, Esq., and Secretary/Treasurer Linda Csete
The meeting was called to order at 7:45 p.m. by Mrs. Ewald. at the Memorial Chapel of the Valley Forge Christian College. An announcement by Mike Rodgers concerned his attendance at the Township Supervisors' Convention where he learned that a state agency exists for surplus property from the government. Equipment can be purchased for 8 to 10% of value. Items range from heavy equipment to office equipment. He would recommend that Charlestown Township get on the eligibility list, and Mrs. Ewald urged him to follow through with the paperwork.
Mr. Hogan announced that the Phoenix finally published a picture of the Charlestown Park Clean-up effort but credited the task to the children and did not mention Charlestown Township.
No one offered any issues in the Citizen's Forum for Non-Agenda items.
The Board moved on and approved their April 10, 2000 minutes.
Under New Business: The Board needed to schedule hearing dates for the Conditional Use Application filed by Stoudt and the first Monday in May (May 1, 2000) was approved for starting the hearing. The same date was approved to begin the hearing on the Late Spring Builder's conditional use application.
In the matter of the Altemose Assisted Living Facility application, Mr. Oeste opened the hearing and reported that the applicant's witness could not attend tonight's meeting, and the matter would be continued to May 15, 2000 at 7:30 p.m. in the Valley Forge Christian College - Memorial Chapel.
The Conditional Use Application of Miles was continued to May 15, 2000, per a request for continuance from the applicant. Discussion revealed that the 60-day period has run, and this matter is being run on continuances.
The Great Valley Nature Center also requested a continuance to a future date, and this hearing will begin on April 24, 2000.
The continuation of the hearing on the application of Toll Bros. to build Charlestown Meadows and install a drip irrigation system for wastewater handling was reopened by Mr. Oeste. John Jacobs, the witness for Toll Bros. continued his testimony as the traffic expert. Mr. Bender, counsel for the Township Planning Commission, reported that he had finished his examination of the witness, so Mr. Steve Loving, representing Citizens for West Pikeland's Future, began questioning the witness. He asked about the method used to achieve the study and was the study conducted using factors from outside the data presented here? Mr. Jacobs responded that background growth of existing traffic is multiplied 27.5% and expected development (Charlestown Meadows') traffic is also factored in. The figure of 27.5% growth for the year 2010 came from PennDOT's report for standard growth factors, the latest census data (1990-1994) showing a decrease in township population (italics added), a recent traffic study in township derived from the Spring Oaks-Whitehorse development. Some data from 1992 was compared to the 1999 counts. Mr. Loving continued with numerous questions regarding the mathematical calculations (too technical to relate here).
Mr. Eppleman, another party to this action, asked about the grading system for cars per hour in the intersection. Mr. Jacobs explained the grading system labeled "A" to "F", which measures delay in traffic movement through intersections. Mr. Eppleman also queried the location of the proposed development in relation to Newcomen Rd. Also, he asked about how many vehicles would be leaving the site and going east to Great Valley Corp. Center and the answer was 49 vehicles.
A question from Mrs. Watson asked, since the Corporate Center is the major cause of the congested roads, including Conestoga Road, if the traffic study included an estimate of future growth of the Great Valley Corporate Center in its calculation of the number of future vehicles on the road, and the answer was that no specific study of the Corporate Center was done, but a figure of 275 additional cars per year (NOTE: from all sources in the region) was factored in to arrive at the 27.5 % growth rate over 10 years.
Mr. Kling asked about the design of the intersection into the proposed site and the turning radius anticipated. Mr. Jacobs reported that 90 degree right turns were favored over angular approaches to aid in ability for the driver to see oncoming traffic. Also Mr. Kling inquired if any provisions were considered for school busses and the number of children expected from the site. Since there were no demographics available for the site there was no calculation of the type or number of residents expected to be living here
Mr. Curtain asked about the signalization of Conestoga and Valley Hill Roads and whether that light would impact the Newcomen Road signal. The witness felt that there would be no impact, and that traffic would not back up from Valley Hill to Newcomen because of the lights.
A question was posed as to why the hours of 4-6 p.m. were chosen to do the traffic study. The witness said that the hours are guidelines from the Institute of Traffic (IT Guidelines) In the study, the highest hourly count, calculated in 15-minute intervals, through out the 2-hour study is used as the count for the intersection.
A question concerned whether the speed or volume of traffic in the morning was considered. Mr. Jacobs responded that analysis always assumes the smooth operating conditions, meaning there are no restrictions or slowdown of traffic. Any traffic delays that are presently encountered between the site and Route 202 would not be a developer's issue but one to be addressed by the Township or the State.
Mr. Skerchock asked about flow patterns studied on the two days of the study. Answer was one day all cars passing (east & west) through Newcomen/401 intersection were counted at 7 to 9 a.m. The next day they were counted between 4 to 6 p.m. The only traffic signal given consideration in this study was that actually planned for Newcomen and 401. Mr. Skerchock continued his questions regarding the provision for turn lanes from westbound Conestoga into the development. Mr. Jacobs reported the lane would be 100 feet long with the standard taper which would accommodate about 4 cars in the lane. A concern came up regarding the curve and hill on 401. The witness said he would recommend a sign with a corresponding red signal to indicate the status of the light ahead to warn oncoming traffic of the impending stop ahead.
Mr. Eppleman posed another question regarding calculation of the total number of cars in the development and how many were assumed for this study? The witness said that standard rates were used. A residential condo or townhouse would generate 5.8 trips per day per unit. A single-family home would likely generate 1 trip per hour per unit at rush hours.
Supervisor Rodgers asked what side of the road would be taken to accommodate the turn lanes, being that the road was narrow? The witness said they had not been designed yet, but assumed the "site side" would be used.
In review, the Toll Bros. attorney, Mr. Schubert, clarified data by asking questions regarding the authoritative manuals used in the study and their validity and general acceptance in the industry. Also, the distance between Valley Road and Newcomen road was measured and thought to be approximately 4200 feet, with the site driveway on Conestoga being 930 feet from Newcomen and 3300 feet from Valley Hill.
Mrs. Ewald asked if anyone from West Pikeland Township was here and could they estimate the time they would require for their witnesses? Since the West Pikeland representatives had left the meeting at this point, Linda Csete was asked to contact them in follow up. The other parties to the action were also asked to advise the township of the times they would need.
At 9:15 p.m., Mr. Oeste continued this matter to April 24, 2000, at 7:30 p.m. in the Memorial Chapel of the Valley Forge Christian College.
Nearly all of the attendees of this meeting left at this point, leaving the Township Officials and the representatives of Gilmore Associates, who were prepared to give a demonstration.
This presentation centered on software currently being used by West Goshen Township, and East Goshen and Westtown townships are also considering it's merits. There are two sections of the software, the Geo Plan and the GIS.
The Geo Plan was developed by a Pittsburgh company and covers many items such as software for zoning and permits. The software can be designed to help a municipality in preparing their required reports, such as the Act 537 studies. Currently, thinking is going toward a regional approach, covering several townships, which would enable better planning and cooperation between townships. Gilmore is working on obtaining county and state grant money to fund the work required to create the software tailored for each township's needs. Matching funds at the rate of 50% would be required from the township. Examples of data that can be included is a section containing all traffic studies done in the region so the end users in the township could access and compare data. Another example is that land use information from the county could be cross-referenced with traffic patterns and studies. Bus routes and school locations are being determined in Bucks County using GIS information. Geo Plan can cover complaints, violations, building permits, zoning, etc.
GIS is an organized collection of hardware, software, people, methods and data and is designed to capture geographic data (e.g., for fire hydrants, property ownership changes, etc.). It can, for instance, show parcels greater than two acres (Zone R1) and within 1500 feet of public sewers, or all roads resurfaced during a period, or all valves serviced. Tax parcel numbers, manhole numbers, and hydrant numbers can be searched. Tax parcel maps and developer's plans can be added to the system. Specific data regarding each tax parcel is accessible from a main database in the system. Zoning maps can be added as well as aerial photos. A seamless, county-wide area can be entered with drawn-in parcel boundaries, and the parcels can have specific data on record. Mapping squares, or tiles, show 5000 x 5000 square feet, cost about $100 each, and usually 30 tiles can cover a township's area.
The system can produce three-dimensional views showing land surface, improvements and underground features. Specific topography of the township can be mapped by the use of "ground measurement points"
The GIS portion of the software is where all the data is entered into the database, including photos, which supplement the area maps in the Geo Plan. Townships use GIS to manage their paperwork quickly, such as letters to residents. Development plans can be scanned digitally and put into the system. Access to the system can be granted to the public along with restrictions of "read only rights" for certain information.
The programs use Microsoft software and PC Anywhere 99. The software runs about $1,000 per license. Implementation can be spread over many years.
The demonstration ended and the meeting was adjourned at approximately 10:30 p.m.
Monday April 15, 2000  (From Loretta Watson, Charlestown Green)
Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting
April 10, 2000
Present for the Township: Linda Csete, Irene Ewald, Hugh Willig, Kevin Kuhn, Mike Rodgers, Tom Oeste.
This meeting in the Memorial Chapel of the Valley Forge Christian College was called to order at 7:45 p.m. by the Chairman, Irene Ewald. An announcement by Mr. Kuhn concerned the Governor's request that everyone respond and file their census information.
There were no speakers at the Citizen's Forum for Non-Agenda items. The Board approved its Minutes for the April 3, 2000 meeting.
The Board discussed two proposed ordinances. The first was for the Historic Open Space Planning Ordinance concerning development of historic lots of 25 acres or more. This proposed ordinance will be readvertised to the public and the 150 or so historic property owners in the township will be invited by letter to attend the Supervisors' meeting of May 1 when it will be discussed further.
The second proposed ordinance concerns the Planning Commission being increased in members from 7 to 8. This was approved by the Board.
The hearing was opened to present further testimony on behalf of Charlestown Meadows. This is Toll Bros.' proposed development at Route 401 and Newcomen Road. Last week's witness, Mr. Tatman was brought forward for further questioning by the Board and parties to the action. Mr. Allen asked about freezing of the pipes. The answer was since the emitter tubing is 6 to 8 inches below the surface in the wooded area, it will be less likely to freeze than if it were in an open meadow. The effluent running through this tubing will be supplied by pipes buried three feet underground. A series of valves will control the flow to keep the liquid from freezing.
The two filters for the effluent will run together, and can run independently for a short period of time.
In answer to a question regarding a recommendation by another source that a 25 foot swath of trees should be removed for the system, Mr. Tatman advised that no clear-cutting of trees would be necessary for the pipes or tubing and in the installation of same, minimal tree removal will be done.
Mr. Kling asked what percentage of leaching field would be in the woods and the open areas. Mr. Tatman responded that the design is not complete, but he felt most of the system would be in the wooded area. The trenches for emitter pipe would be machine dug in the woods and open area.
Mr. Kuhn asked what guarantee there would be that the system won't fail due to design flaws. Mr. Tatman responded that the DEP issues the permits, and if there are any problems they must be worked out with the DEP. Mr. Kuhn continued with a question regarding whether any parts of the system would lend themselves to trouble. Mr. Tatman stated there is no long track record established for drip irrigation, however, the DEP is very satisfied with the system's capabilities.
Mr. Bender, counsel representing the Planning Commission, asked about the DEP's regulation of April 1999 regarding the loading rate per foot of emitter pipe. The loading rate of 4.6 gallons would be divided into the estimated gallons per day (60,000) to get the linear feet of pipe. Mr. Tatman said that zones would be used to divide the pipe. Two zones are the minimum length allowed and the zone's width and length are considered. Mr. Bender calculated 176,400 feet would be required and described the provision that the horizontal linear load requirement is based on calculation involving gallons per day divided by length of field and load must be less than 4.6 gallons. Mr. Tatman responded that this project has not been designed yet, but the number of zones will be important for performance. Mr. Bender also noted regulations state that the zones must be laid out in rectangular shapes.
A question from another resident/party involved the measurement of cleanliness of the water put into the ground The answer was that three levels of treatment would be applied which creates water 95% pure. The percentage of purity will not decrease over time and the DEP will maintain the level of cleanliness through testing. The owner of the system will hire an operator to perform testing. Also, additional equipment, not required by the DEP, is being planned for this system to ensure the "highest level of assurance" that there will be no problem.
Mr. Boekell asked about the Little Washington Wastewater plant's experience. The response was that they are a subsidiary of Philadelphia Suburban Water Co. and have been operating several places in Pennsylvania. Mr. Boekell continued with a question of whether they are "learning as they go" since the technology is so new. Mr. Tatman responded that they are capable, and he would recommend them. A further question was about the valves and where they are, and the response was that they could be either at the treatment facility or in the drip field. A question arose whether the residential swimming pool would be drained and if this has been considered. Mr. Tatman responded that the pool water has been calculated into the 60,000 gallons per day. A comment from Mr. Boekell concerned the witness's report that he was not aware of any surrounding residential waste treatment problems, whereupon the witness stated that members of his staff investigated several sources and found that no problems were present in that regard. Another question covered the requirement of 20" of acceptable soil under the emitter pipes and the report that further below this level some soil was found to be mottled (indicating at some time a high water condition). Mr. Boekell queried whether the acceptable soil could become mottled over years of effluent running through? Mr. Tatman responded that a hydrogeological report would be done for the DEP which will cover these.???ects of soil suitability.
Mrs. Skerchock inquired about the daily checks by the operator and whether they would also occur on weekends and holidays and what are the qualifications of the person? Answer was that the recommendation will be for a licensed, wastewater engineer who will visit the site 365 days per year. The wastewater treatment plant would be responsible for providing the operator, and all test results from the monitoring wells is filed with the DEP and would be available to the public.
Another question covered the "all natural" treatment. which means no chemicals. What is the possibility of pets or other animals contacting (effluent) in the soil and the harmful bacteria. Answer was "probably less" than with other septic systems in backyards. The effluent is cleaner. Mr. Tatman stated he did not know what disinfectant requirements were in place from the DEP, but when effluent moves through soil, the bacteria dies.
In response to other questions - the cost to operate the system is about $400 per year per unit. The effluent tubing is designed in Israel, although there is a South American manufacturer also. The method of spray irrigation is the cheapest method, but this project is not using spray due to the tree removal and the amount of open land and the large basin that is required. Key risks that could go wrong with the drip system in the area of health and environment would be a ponding of the water, but this is not foreseen as a great risk here. Ponding could be caused by soil not absorbing or moving the water fast enough.
The holding tank was queried as to its strength, but the witness is not a structural engineer and could not answer. Mr. Tatman assured everyone that Toll Bros. is urging that the system "far exceed" the minimums imposed by the DEP so that it will be fully suitable for the homeowners.
At this point Mrs. Ewald called a short break in the proceedings so that everyone could enjoy the excellent baked goods supplied by a resident who was recently approved for an in-home bakery business.
The hearing was called back to order and Mr. Tatman was still under redirect from the Toll Bros' attorney, who asked that he clarify the buffer area near the homes. The DEP requires 10 feet from property lines, but this project will have 25 feet from outside property lines. There is no DEP requirement for Mr. Tatman to contact adjacent homeowners. Mr. Schubert presented a ring binder to Mr. Oeste for the record which contained the specifications of the manufacturer of the emitter pipe. Mr. Schubert reviewed that about 8 acres was recommended by the DEP, but 10 acres will be used; and, further, that no effluent would be in the areas of the tennis courts or recreation areas. No recreation sites are proposed to be installed in the drip area. Also explained by the witness was that if the 300,000 gallon holding tank is filled, there is "excess" area of emitter pipe which would be used to slowly empty it over approximately 23 days.
Mr. Kuhn inquired as to the equipment warranties. The witness responded that 2nd class townships can require an 18 month warranty, which is 6 months more than a normal warranty.
Mr. Don Jacobs was sworn as the next witness and appeared as a traffic consultant. The witness said his role was to prepare a traffic study for access to and from the site and the impact on the area. A traffic report was presented to the Board. The traffic was measured at 401 and Newcomen from 7 to 9 a.m. (6/9/99) and 4 to 6 p.m. (6/8/99), which were determined to be the "peak" hours. Flow was 950 vehicles in the morning eastbound. There were no unusual circumstances and the schools were in session for Great Valley and Downingtown.
Conditions calculated for the year 2010 without development of this site was determined at an increase of 2.5% per year for 11 years (or 27.5% more traffic).
The acceptable level of service by PennDOT for access to a state highway is "D" level which is an average of 20 to 30 seconds of delay in getting one car through the unsignalled intersection. At present, Newcomen with the stop sign is at D in the a.m. and C (less delay) in the afternoon.
In 2010 a projected level of F and E will be expected at Newcomen, indicating a delay of 30 to 45 seconds for E and over 45 seconds for F, per vehicle. Expected increase of 1.7% in a.m. and 1.6 % in p.m. of site generated traffic.
A traffic signal will be installed by PennDOT at 401 and Newcomen in the near future. Due to site distance problems (on 401), a westbound left turn lane would be recommended and this would require road widening. Also, a right turn lane for northbound on Newcomen road is recommended. Signalization of the intersection would bring about a service level of D or better in the a.m. and C in the p.m., which results in no change to the level of service with the development in place.
Site driveways would have an A level of service onto Newcomen and, onto Conestoga, C in the morning and A in the evening. A left turn lane at the Conestoga entry site is recommended. No adverse impact is expected due to the proposed improvements.
Mr. Bender asked about site distances which exceed PennDOT's acceptable distances. The witness responded that the Newcomen exit driveway ("driveway B") is placed to align with the existing Stonecroft Road 600 feet down Newcomen Road. If the exit is offset from Stonecroft, he would recommend 200 feet for offset.
The witness said he had no information about price or marketing strategies of the homes; and therefore, he could not predict (outside of national averages) how many cars will be at the site.
Mr. Bender asked if prior years' traffic patterns were considered in developing the 2.5% yearly growth factor. The witness stated the type of roadway and the traffic study performed for Spring Oaks development was considered. Previous 1992 counts were used from this intersection, which was predicted then as less than 2% of growth.
The present volume of traffic eastbound on Conestoga is 950- vehicles per hour. In 2010 "no build" 1,211 vehicles per hour. In 2010 "build" would result in 1,212 vehicles per hour.
A right turn lane from the site entrance on to Conestoga Road was not proposed, but the witness felt it would be advisable.
Mr. Jacobs' testimony will be continued on April 17, 2000. Also, Mr. Bender will call, as township witnesses, Mr. Kohli and Mr. Comitta. The hearing adjourned at 10:30 p.m.
The Board briefly discussed the matter of Whitehorse at Charlestown which was continued from tonight's agenda to the next meeting due to an ongoing study of the issues. The meeting was adjourned at 10:35 p.m.
Monday April 10, 2000  (From Loretta Watson, Charlestown Green)
Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting
April 3, 2000
The April 3, 2000, Board of Supervisors' meeting was called to order at approximately 7:45 p.m. at the Valley Forge Christian College, Memorial Chapel. Present at the Supervisors' Table for the Township was Leah Campion, Asst. Twp. Secretary; Linda Csete, Secretary/Treasurer; Surender Kohli, Zoning Officer/Twp. Engineer; Tom Oeste, Esq., Solicitor; Irene Ewald, Chairman and Kevin Kuhn, Hugh Willig, Mike Rodgers, and Paul Hogan Supervisors.
Announcements were

  • Mrs. Ewald attended the East Whiteland Fire Co. banquet, and she praised the good work of the organization  
  • Mr. Oeste announced that the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Charlestown's petition for reimbursement of fees in the amount of about $14,000, and that Mr. Altemose has filed for reconsideration  
  • Paul Hogan attended the Charlestown Elementary School's production of HMS Pinafore, which he enjoyed very much.
Mr. Corky Rittenbaugh was a speaker at the Citizens' Forum for Non-Agenda items and made a request that he and his attorney have a private meeting with the Board of Supervisors. The Board deferred and suggested that the meeting be between Mr. Oeste, Mr. Rittenbaugh and his attorney, since it is in regard to a contract matter. He also presented to the Board a page regarding an incident on Sycamore Lane.
The Minutes of March 27, 2000, were approved, as was the Treasurer's Report for March 1 to 31, 2000. The Accounts Payable list was approved after Mrs. Csete added an item in regard to Mr. Kuhn's attendance fee for a Spring Convention. A brief discussion took place between Mr. Rittenbaugh and the Board over some March invoices that are awaiting payment; and further discussion ensued between Mr. Rittenbaugh and Mr. Faggioli regarding some jobs and equipment.
Committee Reports: The Zoning Officer, Mr. Kohli, presented to the Board a list of building permits for March. Mrs. Ewald asked about several damaged houses in the township and how long it would be before the township could step in, and Mr. Kohli responded that the insurance companies had to decide first regarding rebuilding or demolishing.
Planning Committee - Mr. Kling reported that Deerfield (General Residential Properties' project at Yellow Springs and Hollow Road) is attempting to work out a drip irrigation system, and a meeting is scheduled with County representatives. A similar system has been approved by the county which runs on gravity flow for a project of approximately 26 residential units.
Historic Commission Report - In the written report submitted was a recommendation that the Board approve the Historic Ordinance pertaining to sites of 25 acres or more whereby the building lots would be smaller than the "by right" size, and clustered, in order to achieve more open space. This must be reviewed by Mr. Comitta before discussion at the May 15th Board Meeting.
Roadmaster - Mr. Faggioli advised that the recent storm had caused problems on Sycamore Lane. The Dickson Drive pipe leak was repaired and the road restored. Mr. Faggioli suggested that in the future he be able to use a plastic pipe liner (as used by PennDOT) to prevent leaks from occurring. He also reported that Hollow Road now has a temporary patch in a trouble spot. Marsha Solda asked for help in controlling the speed of traffic along Merlin Road and brought up the situation of the speed signs that keep disappearing. Apparently, her signs which she installed for 25 mph were removed by state crews. PennDOT is planning to widen a part of Merlin and has removed some trees. Mrs. Ewald asked Ms. Campion to research a 1996 Merlin road problem. The state police will be asked to monitor this road and Mr. Faggioli will check on the speed signs.
Fire Marshall - Mr. Alston reported that we are ahead on rainfall this year. He asked residents to be sure to mark their driveways with house numbers for emergency purposes. A change in fines will provide that the fourth incident in a rolling 12 month period will be $300 fine. He advised that due to the windy conditions, burning outdoors is still unsafe, and he urges caution;. Again, he implored that drivers watch for the deer which are moving about. Another incident concerned some rocks which fell onto Route 29 near Aldham road and caused damage to a car that ran over them. Additionally, he was pleased to report that the state police have shown more help and cooperation. Finally, the heavy rains have caused damage near the railroad tracks at Aldham, and he will contact Norfolk-Southern for assistance.
Parks and Recreation Board - Per Mr. Rodgers, a clean up effort was successful at the Charlestown Park where volunteers cleared debris and did some painting.
Sewer Authority - No report.
Turnpike Commission Citizens' Advisory Committee - Sue Staas -presented a packet of info to the Board in follow up to the last Turnpike / Citizens Advisory Council meeting. This packet was a review of items discussed at the last CAC meeting along with a list of questions posed to the turnpike for future response. The handout to the attendees is attached to these minutes. A correction to these minutes concerns the mention of widening the turnpike bridge over "Phoenixville Pike," which should read "Morehall Road."
Representatives to these meetings on behalf of Charlestown are Charles Phillips, John Martin, Kevin Kuhn, Wendy Leland, and Sue Staas. Kevin Kuhn added that Trammel Crow Co. is hoping to widen Morehall Rd to four lanes in the vicinity of Phoenixville Pike (in conjunction with their proposed office project at the quarry along Yellow Springs Rd.) The next turnpike meeting is April 12.
Other Business: The Board discussed whether to renew two CD's of $85,000 each. Some of the money is state money for "liquid fuel", and the rest is money set aside for improvements on Newcomen road and Blackberry Lane. Therefore, one CD will be rolled over with the bank, and the other will be rolled over for a shorter term through PLGIT in anticipation of it being used for the Newcomen Rd and/or Blackberry Lane projects.
An amendment to the Budget was discussed to move $2,000 between accounts to pay for Supervisors' expenses. This was originally meant to be done at the beginning of the year during the budget review, but regulations concerning transfers prohibited it's being done until now. This will not change the over-all budget amount.
Charlestown Park, Round X, Park Facilities Grant - The Board approved an addendum to extend the contract time from June 30 to December 31. Mrs. Ewald said this would help the township in applying for grant money.
Traffic signals at Route 401 and Newcomen and Route 401 and Valley Hill were approved by PennDOT. Applications and survey information must be sent to PennDOT for their use in designing the installations. Warning signs to drivers approaching the lights will be at the discretion of PennDOT.
Whitehorse at Charlestown. Rouse Chamberlin representatives were present (Mr. Colegreco) and asked the Board about the procedure to vacate a road. The rule is that the Township first has to accept a deed of dedication for the road and then it can be vacated. This strip of property will be divided among the homeowners along it. During this discussion, Mr. Faggioli mentioned that extremely heavy water runoff has been occurring on Rees Rd. He felt it has been happening since these homes went in, and he would like to see something (possibly a retention basin) installed to control the flow. Rouse Chamberlin reps said that since the properties have been conveyed to homeowners, they would have to be contacted. Rouse could not now go back and make adjustments to the previously approved grading. Mr. Kohli felt that there has always been some runoff and it may not be due to the houses.
Mr. Colagreco reminded the Board that they were at this meeting in regard to the road vacation and needed to schedule a date for hearing, and that they will cooperate in the investigation of the water flow.
Mr. Kohli proposed an 18-month bond to the township upon receiving dedication of the road to provide money to fix any problems which may crop up over the subsequent period. Mr. Kohli was asked where the excess water could be coming from, and he said he had some ideas about changes that were made to the site that could have affected the runoff. Mr. Faggioli stated that in 50 years he has not seen this heavy of flow. Mrs. Ewald said the township would look into the water problem before the road dedication would be handled.
Escrow releases #16 and #17 for Commons at Great Valley were approved. The escrow release for Maplewood, Inc. (Spring Meadow Farms) was approved.
Spring Lane Farm, conditional use application hearing.
Mr. Oeste opened this hearing regarding a 38-acre tract off Hollow Road. Request is made to construct roads, driveways, and other infrastructures. Attorney Asimov, for General Residential Properties, introduced exhibits and said more testimony would be presented at a future hearing when more time could be allotted. The witness, Mr. Charles Dobson, a licensed professional engineer for General Residential Properties, presented an aerial photo of the site and surrounding area. It is located on Hollow Road across from General Residential Properties' "Claremont" development, which was previously known as Somerset.
The existing features of the site are sections of wooded area in the north and south and a meadow area in the center. A historic residence and outbuildings are also on the site. Steep slopes are approximately a fourth of the site in the southern wooded area, and a wetlands area borders Hollow Road to the north. High-ground water areas run west to east in the northern central area across the property. The driveway to the dwelling is lined with large trees and crosses a small stream to the residence, barn, carriage house and outbuildings.
An environmental impact assessment report by R. Douglas Stewart & Associates was given to Mr. Oeste.
Eleven new dwellings plus the existing residence are planned for the site, with the new residences situated in the center (meadow) part of the site and these will be accessed by a 1,000 foot cul-de-sac starting at the existing driveway and turning to the west. Three shorter roads will run off the cul-de-sac with no more than three homes on each, per township ordinance. Lots will be 80,000 sq.ft. or more.
Another drawing presented to the Board delineated planned improvements and water drainage, showing the high water, flood plain, and steep slope areas.
At this point, the testimony was stopped, with more to be presented on May 1. The applicant will be required to notify adjoining property owners of the hearing date. Any exhibits to be presented at that hearing should be sent to the Board in advance, if possible.
Mr. Kling asked the Board if the Planning Commission could review the applicant's submissions for the conditional use request.
The next hearing of the evening concerned Toll Bros.' application for Charlestown Meadows. Mr. Oeste announced that this was a continuation of the hearing and cross examination of last week's witness, Mr. Tatman, of Tatman and Lee, of Wilmington, Delaware, who explained the wastewater treatment system which is planned for the site. (Charlestown Meadows is proposed to be built at Route 401 and Newcomen Road.)
Mr. Bender, counsel representing the Charlestown Township Planning Commission, stated that Laurel Mueller has received an okay from Mr. Schubert (counsel for Toll Bros.) to conduct additional soil tests, and she will be accompanied by Mr. Palkovics (the soil expert presented last week) during the testing.
Mr. Tatman opened with reference to a community called Bridlewood, Thornbury Twp., that uses the drip irrigation system, although it originally started out with a spray irrigation system. Drip irrigation started being used in Pennsylvania as an approved method in early 1999. Tatman & Lee endeavored to learn as much as possible about the new method and made the decision based on investigation of the site which system would be appropriate for Charlestown Meadows.
DEP guidelines state that 200 feet must be examined between the irrigation system and the property line. Mr. Tatman stated that with this level of treatment (three levels of filtration/treatment), a 25 foot buffer from the exterior property line to two-feet from the outermost drip tube is provided. Buffer area between irrigation and property lines of homes in the project is about 50 feet. Although the DEP does not require a storage tank for this system, Toll Bros. is providing a stainless steel tank which would store five days' of effluent (est. 60,000 gals. per day) which would be useful in the event any problem occurred with the system.
Mr. Bender asked if wells had been monitored by the witness; and he replied he had not. Had any sewage problems on adjacent (residential} sites been investigated? The witness said he had no knowledge of any problems.
Mr. Tatman stated that in this situation, eight acres would be suitable for the drip system, but ten acres is being used for irrigation pipe.
In answer to a question regarding temperature of the effluent, the witness stated in the winter the effluent would be around 50 degrees. Since the system will not be below the frost line, there are concerns that effluent may freeze. Ground in the wooded areas does not "freeze shut" due to roots and leaves on the ground. Water constantly moving through the system would help prevent freezing.
Maintenance includes periodic "backwashing" of the system, using control valves to send the effluent onward through the loop from the drip field back to the treatment area.
The witness said that the surface of the wooded area would be safe for all normal activities. Mr. Oeste asked the witness about previous testimony at a different hearing where he voiced concerns regarding active recreation such as baseball fields. Per the witness's current beliefs and further study, a slower rate of dispensing the effluent would make the ground okay for activities such as a baseball field; however, he stated that no ball field is planned for this site.
Upon a question how the effluent is regulated, the witness stated that emitters inside the tubing regulate the amount released. The vacuum relief system should be adequate to prevent any soil from being drawn backwards into the tubing.
When questioned about his preference, Mr. Tatman stated that if it were possible to fit it in, he would prefer the spray irrigation over the drip irrigation. However, spray requires 80 to 90 days of storage facility, as opposed to the five days' storage being provided here. With spray irrigation, four acres of trees would have to be removed to provide a spray field and a large storage lagoon would be required.
Mr. Kling inquired as to whether better dissipation would be achieved using open ground rather than the wooded area, and Mr. Tatman responded he didn't think it would make a difference.
The witness explained that there are sixteen drip zones, each having sub zones, and the likelihood of all failing at the same time was very, very small. He explained that if any failure did occur, the section of tube would be dug up and replaced.
The parties to the action, mostly residents in the area of the project, asked questions concerning the health of the trees, storage and disposal of the stored effluent, and the size and capacity of the system in use at Bridlewood (which Mr. Tatman stated was designed for handling 100,000 gal. of effluent per day). The witness stated that conditions of standing snow and ice would actually help the system in that it would insulate it from freezing. He stated that no chemicals are proposed to be used in this system, although chemicals could be used as an alternative method Monitoring wells will be dug around the property. The DEP is kept advised of test results at the monitoring wells, and this provides the assurance that nitrogen levels are less than 10 ppm. The nitrogen will be addressed during the treatment of the effluent, so very little nitrogen will be emitted into the ground.
Since it was 11:30 p.m., Mrs. Ewald halted the testimony and stated that additional questions would be allowed to be asked next Monday night.
A party who would not be available next Monday night brought up questions about the Little Washington Wastewater Treatment Co., who is planning to assume control of the system. Any financial or other company information that is needed can be asked of Anthony Donatoni of Philadelphia Suburban Water Co.
This hearing will be continued on April 10, 2000, at the Valley Forge Christian College, Memorial Chapel.
Mrs. Ewald adjourned the meeting at 11:45 p.m.
Monday April 3, 2000  (From Loretta Watson, Charlestown Green)
Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting
March 27, 2000
The meeting of the Board of Supervisors of Charlestown Township was called to order at 7:50 p.m. by Chairman Irene Ewald in the Memorial Chapel of the Valley Forge Christian College. Supervisors present were Mrs. Ewald, Hugh Willig, Michael Rodgers, Paul Hogan. Absent was Kevin Kuhn. Also present for the township was Linda Csete, Surender Kohli, and Tom Oeste.
Mrs. Ewald opened the meeting with the announcement that an Executive Session of the Supervisors had been conducted just before this meeting to clarify the status of the agenda items.
There were no speakers at the Citizens' Forum for Non-Agenda items.
The Board approved its Minutes for the March 20, 2000 meeting.
Rezoning: Pyle Property was next on the agenda. Mrs. Ewald explained that the township's purchase of the 55 acres at Yellow Springs and Hollow Road is under a "Hold Over Agreement" with the farmer so he may continue to plow and plant the field. Since this agreement ends in July, an extension may be necessary to allow completion of the farming process for this year. Discussion among the supervisors involved an inquiry by Paul Hogan whether the land can continue under the farming arrangement until plans are formed for its ultimate use. The response was that if the land was not maintained by the farmer, the township would be responsible to maintain it. Hugh Willig queried the possibility of allowing it to revert to meadow. Paul Hogan added that "turf" would sell at a good price. Mrs. Ewald wondered if some of the property could go toward public use; and, in any event, a meeting with Ernie and Marian Pyle would help to determine some uses. Mrs. Ewald noted a suggestion to plant a horticultural garden near the Jacob Wisner House at Yellow Springs and Hollow Road. The Board's discussion then centered on when the township could take control over the property, and Mr. Rodgers suggested that the current crops be finished, then take control It was determined that the Parks & Recreation Committee and the Planning Committee would have a meeting with the Pyles to look into solutions. Mrs. Ewald made a statement that this issue does not include the 55 acres currently owned by the School District (Note: A couple of years ago, the township purchased some acreage bordering the 55 acres, along Hollow Road; and. apparently, this is the subject ground.
Kirby Lot #2 was moved up on the agenda since it would be a quick matter, allowing Toll Bros. to have the balance of the meeting time.
Applicant, Mr. Stabile, addressed the board reviewing his request to use the in-ground septic tank as a holding tank temporarily until the sand mound system could be installed. This would be when the ground was dry enough to ensure that the system would function properly. (The County has approved his system but advised against its installation until the ground was in proper condition and had suggested the applicant get permission from the township to use the tank as a temporary holding tank, pumping it out periodically.) Hugh Willig asked about the time required to create a "holding tank" ordinance to cover the situation, and the response from Mr. Oeste was that it would involve a minimum of 60 days to enact. The township must include the Kirby Lot #2 sewer plan on its Act 537 plan if approved. Mr. Stabile said that his expenses to maintain the property, which has a mortgaged new home on it, along with utilities and the additional expenses of maintaining an apartment for him and his fiancÚe were high and he was only asking that the county's advice be followed and he be able to use the septic tank temporarily as a holding tank until the ground is dry enough for installation of the sand mound system. Mr. Kirby was advised that the existing tank is large and would not require frequent (weekly) pumping. Mrs. Ewald stated that she had felt some objections when the matter was introduced at last week's meeting and that she was still in favor of a denial. The Board approved a motion that this request be denied.
Toll Bros - Charlestown Meadows, Tentative Plan and Conditional Use Application. Discussion ensued regarding future witnesses and hearing dates and the decision was made that hearings will be on April 17 and April 24.
Mr. Schubert, attorney for Toll Bros., inquired about letters from the township's consultants who are reviewing the plans would be submitted for Toll Bros review and possible rebuttal. Mr. Bender, attorney representing the Planning Commission, thought that the township would have a chance to present its testimony on April 17 or 24 and some reports would probably be available by then and would be supplied to Toll Bros. Mr. Theurkaupf advised on behalf of Tom Comitta's office that a report would be issued from that office.
The applicant would be able to request an extension of time if needed for rebuttal.
Mr Schubert then referenced a letter he heard was being circulated, possibly from a party to the action. The Board said they had not seen such a letter and would not accept an unsigned letter in any case. Mr. Oeste then cautioned all parties that submissions for this matter would properly be entered via the Board of Supervisors.
Dr. William Palkovics, of Doylestown, an expert in soil science, was sworn in as a witness for the applicant. His expertise addresses classification and mapping of soils in the area, and also hydrogeology. Dr. Palkovics, along with others, conducted the studies on the property and confirmed the final analysis. His focus was on the high-water table and flood plain district in the township ordinance. The township map indicates two areas: flood hazard area and high water table. His test delineated the soils of the specific areas. (Determination of ) Flood hazard and high-water table is based on the USDA soil conservation service mapping. FEMA maps do not indicate flood-prone soils or a flood hazard area. Methodology used is the same as the USDA soil conservation service. Test excavations and hand borings were used.
Present FEMA overlay maps are not believed to be accurate. High-ground water and flood-prone soils (warsham type) was not present. However, glenmil soil was present, which has some erosion quality.
The Plan revision is indicative of actual soil conditions present. (A wetlands delineation is underway by the Army Corps of Engineers.) Dr. Palkovics defined his term "redux" as being a short form of reduction oxidation, which determines how much oxygen is in the soil.
Mr. Bender asked if Dr. Palkovics had any direct input in preparation of the site plan. His response was that his report may have had impact, but he had no direct input. Dr. Palkovics stated that the soil found is glenmil which, according to the zoning ordinance, is high-water table soil and there is no flood hazard soil present in this specific area. He did not do a hydrologic study or study water run-off measurements, only addressed the soil classes. His office performed a wetlands evaluation, where soils, hydrology and vegetation are covered. The soil tests and borings were done over the summer and fall of 1999. The weather was dry during the period.
Dr. Palkovics added that warsham soil is not a flood hazard soil and was not found on the site. A study produced in 1963 (from another consultant) showed warsham soil, but the Dr. felt this was not accurately reported. Soils do not change much over 30 years but can take 500 to 1000 years to change. The wetlands study, for full determination, will be reviewed on site by an Army Corps representative.
In answer to a question, Dr. Palkovics stated that 12 backhoe tests pits were performed along with numerous hand auger testing.
Soil classifications may be indicative of a high water table. The markers placed on the property from testing indicate the borders between soil types.
The parties to the action were polled for questions. Mr. Gupta asked when the determination was made that the 1963 report was incorrect. The determination was made in December 1999. Also, he asked if soils would change if vegetation was removed. Answer was that absence of vegetation would allow erosion of the top soil, but the underlying soils would not change. Mr. Hawn asked if samples were taken from the southwest area and what was determined. Answer was that primarily glenmil soil was found which is suitable for waste water disposal. It is well-drained, permeable soil. Mr. Hawn asked waste in the SW area would affect the rest of the site if it runs North or NW (downhill). The answer was that all soil testing for on-site sewage disposal must meet state requirements. State representatives and a state soil scientist confirms and reviews the consultant's work and testing of the site and determines if it is in compliance.
Present soils have been accepted by the state for sewage disposal. Hydrological studies regarding ground water and water flow are done to insure no adverse impact to the environment. No permit issues without approval of the DEP. Dr. Palkovics said it was not advisable or necessary to do soil samples on adjoining sites to the subject property.
Nitrates must be addressed and whether nitrate will be increased in ground water to unacceptable level.
Dr. Palkovics was asked what would be the result if the soil failed to absorb properly, and he responded that a malfunction could result in possible odor but he could not elaborate on symptoms of malfunction. Permit process takes into consideration the total impact as to nitrates, absorption, etc. Mr. Schubert advised that there would be a witness who was better able to answer these questions.
Mr. Hawn asked if the witness was aware of any drip irrigation system failures which affected contiguous sites. The witness answered that experience with these systems are that it is a viable and desirable means of sewage disposal.
Mr. Boekell asked if bands of soils can run to a contiguous property. The witness answered that they could but he would be guessing without actual studies. Mr Boekell asked, on a scale, how acceptable is the soil in the proposed area. The answer was that the soil is determined acceptable or not acceptable and would have to be acceptable for permits to issue. Another question was regarding the effect of freezing on the system The witness said that although he does not have full expertise, reports are that th4e system continues to function due to the heat in the effluent. Mr. Boekell continued with a question of how this system could be approved for 200 residents, when contiguous lots would require an elaborate system of drip field, sand mound, etc., for a few people. The witness claimed a lack of expertise and did not answer.
Another party asked what is the effect of a house on a flood hazard area? Mr. Schubert objected since no houses will be built on a "flood hazard area." Dr. Palkovics stated there is no flood hazard area on the site. Further, the witness stated he is not aware of any buildings proposed in any flood hazard areas.
Mr. Kling asked if the study has gone far enough to determine if a common septic system could be used. The answer is that the study indicates open space is acceptable for drip system. The Chester County Health Dept. does not get involved with large-scale community systems -- the state has jurisdiction.
Mr. Kling asked if the witness was aware of the stages where government approval is required. The witness stated that testing parallels the approval process. Township must forward its 537 plan to the state with some degree of approval of the proposed site.
Mr. Kling continued with the question if red flags arose as to acceptability, would this be brought forward as early as possible in testing? Dr. Palkovics stated yes, he is acting independently. The witness stated that the type of system used is an engineering concern but the soil acceptability is his domain. He would refer specific questions regarding the drip irrigation system to the next witness.
Mrs. Skerchock asked about testing and the response was that backhoe testing was done to six feet and hand auger testing to three feet. She continued that the property was stripped of vegetation in June 1999 and did this interfere with the evaluation? Dr. Palkovics stated that absence of vegetation would not impact his study. He continued that testing is independent of surface wetness, so dry spells would not affect the evaluation of soils. A question was asked about how far down during a long dry spell would you need to go to find moisture? Mr. Oeste rephrased the question for the party, asking: What is the effect of soil type and the suitability for sewage disposal? Dr. Palkovics answered that redox level is used to evaluate the soil.
Mrs. Ewald paused to ask Mrs. Skerchock about the "bulldozing" of the property to which she referred. Dr. Palkovics responded that he was not aware of any bulldozing of the site in June or July, although he notice some surface cutting of vegetation.
The Dr. advised that regulations require 20 inches of suitable soil from the drip pipe down. Of the 19 test pits, 2 did not have 20 inches of suitable soil. Some pits were labeled limited zone, where less effluent can be deposited. Ten of 19 pits have limitations.
Ground water mounding is a term to determine effect of liquid effluent on level of water table. Refers to underlying ground water table as measured by wells.
Soil Clogging is reference to obstruction of permeability due to clogging of soil pores. Dr. Palkovics deferred a subsequent question regarding soil problems to the drip irrigation expert.
Dr. Palkovic's company has not been involved with ground water testing on the site.
Mr. Gupta asked a question of whether the witness would bring up a problem to Toll Bros, being they were a big client. Dr. Palkovics said he definitely would, since he works independently of any organizations.
Another resident posed the question of whether flood area existed along Newcomen Rd. where there is extremely wet soil. Dr. Palkovics said you could have wet soil conditions, but it would not indicate a flood area.
In response to other questions, the witness said that USDA soil criteria indicates soils suitable and a hydrologic study would not be necessary to determine suitability.
Mr. Tatman, an expert in waste water treatment and disposal was the next witness. He was retained by the applicant to do design of waste water disposal for the project. Method proposed would be where wastewater would run by gravity sewers to one point, go through screening, SBR process, filtration, disinfection, and then drip disposal. Valley Forge Sewer Authority was contacted, but there was no capacity available. Stream disposal or land application was considered. DEP requires that land application be ruled out first. There is not adequate land surface for a surface system for 199 residences.
Drip irrigation receives three levels of treatment, including nitrogen reduction to less than 10 ppm for drinking water) and is filtered again. It is then sent through plastic piping to tubing 6 to 12 inches below ground surface and emitted by a controlled application. Mr. Tatman displayed a section of irrigation pipe showing the holes and emitter mechanism. Mr. Tatman said that due to soil and hydro studies, site meets all DEP requirements for a drip irrigation system.
An April 19, 1999, letter from the DEP set forth requirements for drip irrigation systems of 20 inches of acceptable soil. Only two sites tested do not have 20" but these are outside the drip irrigation area. Mr. Schubert asked the witness what the viability of the system was, and the answer was that the site meets all DEP requirements.
DEP was present during studies which included a preliminary hydrological study. A more complete hydro study is under way at the DEP's request.
The witness said that Thornbury Township has a similar project to this one which his company designed, but they use spray irrigation. The township changed the system to drip irrigation and it has been operating for 5 months. Delaware Valley College has had a drip irrigation system in a wooded area for 2 -1/2 years. Majority of this proposed drip system is in wooded area. Effluent is dispersed at 2 foot intervals. Very little damage is done to root systems when the pipe is installed. Result is a reliable source of water for tress and enhances growth.
Mr. Tatman said that emitted water is safe for bodily contact but not of drinking quality. However, water that goes through the drip system and leaves the property in any direction is suitable for drinking water and admission to ground water.
Mr. Tatman advised that Little Washington Waste Water Treatment was in a position to be able to manage the system.
This witness will return on April 3, 2000, for cross examination. He will appear at approximately 9:00 PM after other unrelated matters are heard by the Board.
Hearing was adjourned.
The Board briefly discussed a letter received from PennDOT stating that the traffic signals for Route 401 and Newcomen and Route 401 and Valley Hill were approved for installation and Penn DOT will design them.
The meeting adjourned at approximately 11:00 PM.
Continued in Archives

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