Duly advertised in The Pottstown Mercury and posted at www.schuylkilltwp.com
Board of Supervisors
Martha Majewski – Chair, Fred Parry – Vice Chair, Jim Morrisson – Treasurer, Mark Donovan – Member, Susan Guerette - Member.
William Brennan, Esq.-Township Solicitor, Madeline Harbison – Township Secretary, E.J. Mentry – Township Manager, John Sartor, P.E. – Township Engineer.
Other Township Representatives Present
Rick Beittel, President, Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company, Nick Cinciripino – Schuylkill Township Roadmaster, Bob Cooney – Schuylkill Township Open Space Commission, Curt English – Schuylkill Township Planning Commission, James Fetterman-Chief, Schuylkill Township Police Department, Bob Mauch – Chair, Schuylkill Township Open Space Commission, Jim Shaughnessy – Schuylkill Township Recycling Coordinator
Call to Order
The monthly public business meeting was called to order at 7:40 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance. The meeting was chaired by Supervisor Majewski. Supervisor Majewski announced that executive sessions were held on March 25, 2019 to discuss land acquisition matters; on March 28, 2019 to discuss litigation matters and this evening at 6:30 p.m. to discuss litigation matters.
Appearing before the Board
Peter Monahan – The Endeavor Group, Alyson M. Zarro, Esq. – Riley Riper Hollin & Colagreco, Timothy J. Brennan, PE – Nave Newell, James E. Hartling – Urban Partners
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Donovan, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the Consent Agenda.
Board Member Reports
Supervisor Donovan reported that the Township’s Planning Commission tabled their discussion and recommendation regarding the repeal of the PRD ordinance to their April 2019 meeting. He advised the Board that the Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee (“PRPC”) has approached a neighboring municipality regarding membership in the PRPC.
Supervisor Majewski reported that the clean up campaign sponsored by the Township Environmental Advisory Council was a success and resulted in 1,300 pounds of trash removed from Route 29 along Pickering Creek.
Treasurer’s Report and Payment of Bills
Supervisor Morrisson, Treasurer, reported to the Board that as of February 28, 2019, the Township’s general fund shows a balance of $2,786,626.98. Supervisor Morrisson reported that the bills for March 2019 have been reviewed and he recommended payment of these bills.
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the Treasurer’s Report for the period ending March 31, 2019 and authorized payment of Township bills for the period ending March 31, 2019.
Board Discussion Items
Jeffrey A. Kowalczyk C.P.A., C.F.E., C.G.A.P. – Partner, Barbacane Thornton & Company, LLP (“Barbacane”) presented the 2018 Schuylkill Township Annual Audit and Financial Report, commenting that this was the 8th year. Barbacane has conducted the township’s annual audit. Barbacane conducted audits for the Township General Fund, Open Space Fund, Capital Roads Fund, Municipal Complex Fund, Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company Capital Fund and Pension Plans (2). The Tax Collector audit will be conducted in April. The Auditor’s Report notes the Township is meeting all expectations and requirements, there are no significant remarks regarding internal controls and the staff are following all processes and procedures as needed.
Subdivision / Land Development
Valley Forge Hotel and Conference Center Property Development Plans
Ms. Zarro opened the presentation on the proposed continuing care retirement facility (“CCRC”) on the University of Valley Forge (“UVF”) property located at 1485 Valley Forge Road (UPI #27-6-118); commenting that this proposed development with a mix of townhomes and apartments totaling 305 units was before the Board in 2018. At that time, the Board declined to make the zoning change required to move the proposed development forward. Ms. Zarro explained that The Endeavor Group has spent the last several months exploring several options for the development which would address the concerns raised last year. Mr. Monahan explained that The Endeavor Group had listened to the issues raised by the Board and residents and part of the presentation tonight was to address those issues. Mr. Monahan briefly recapped the issues starting with the question of could open space funds be used to purchase this property. Mr. Monahan said while this was technically possibly, it was not realistic given the UVF’s financial obligation on the property. He went on to say that no access is planned via Flintlock Lane, another major concern. A donation of the property is not feasible, again due to UVF’s financial obligation. The Endeavor Group would solicit residents’ input during the development of the CCRC. Attention would be paid to traffic issues relating to the CCRC during the development process. There would be public access to open space and/or parks within the development. Ms. Zarro gave an overview of the zoning as it applies to current and future potential uses for the UVF property; stating that it is currently zoned R-1 allowing for single family homes; the proposed CCRC development would require substantial zoning variances or a zoning change. Mr. Brennan of Nave Newell presented two proposed concepts, the first being the CCRC with 305 units comprised of townhomes and apartments with the units concentrated at the western portion and front of the property with 21-acres of open space at the back of the property. There is a 100-foot offset from neighboring properties. This concept will repurpose the two existing buildings and will include a public dog park or playground and public trails. Access is planned via the existing driveway. This option would have lower peak hour demands on traffic. An easement would be granted for the township’s proposed Schuylkill Freedom Trail. The second concept is for an active adult community with 157 townhome units with 20 +/- acres of open space at the rear of the property. This option would demolish the two existing buildings. It includes the public dog park or playground and trails. The existing driveway would be used and there is a 50-foot offset around the entire perimeter of the property. Mr. Monahan discussed traffic and The Endeavor Group’s plans to review possible solutions to residents’ concerns. Mr. Hartling discussed the fiscal impacts of the current and future potential uses of the UVF property. Discussion ensued regarding traffic issues, the potential impact of the proposed concept plans, and the fiscal impact conclusions presented.
Robert Mauch – Chair, Schuylkill Township Open Space Commission, advised the Board that he is opposed to any zoning change for this property.
Richard Huey – 4 Ferry Lane, stated his support for the proposed CCRC and commented that it would be desirable to have Ferry Lane & Route 23 intersection improvements.
Dr. Alan Fegley – Phoenixville Area School District Superintendent, advised the Board that the school district is in support of the proposed CCRC development noting the positive tax impact, possible interaction between students and the facility, jobs and other social benefits. Dr. Fegley informed the Board that a letter of support for the proposed CCRC is forthcoming.
A resident of Flintlock Lane questioned the age of the traffic study and asked how the issues would be rectified specifically. Mr. Monahan responded that it is a long process involving PennDOT, traffic studies and investigation.
Elias Karkalas – 80 Flintlock Lane, questioned whether cul-du-sac requirements are being met in the proposed concept plan.
Robert Cooney, 10 Loch View Lane, mentioned his history with the property noting that it was his playground as a boy and young man and stated his belief it should be preserved. Mr. Cooney requested clarification on several points of the concept plan, i.e., usage and traffic numbers.
Seamus Mulryan - 840 Glenn Court, stated his opposition to granting any variances for the property.
Sarah Smith - 1497 Valley Forge Road, voiced her support of the concept plan mentioning specifically the public access to parks and trails and improved values for surrounding properties. Supervisor Guerette questioned whether Ms. Smith had any financial interest in the proposed concept plan either direct or implied. Ms. Smith said she has had no formal or informal offer from the developer but that her property is currently for sale.
Anita Schmitt - 30 Amherst Court, stated her opposition to rezoning and commercialization of the township.
Keith Wickstrom - 27 Flintlock Lane, stated that he is opposed to the density of the CCRC development; his belief is that there is more potential for this property and the existing buildings.
Restoration of Passenger Rail Service to Phoenixville
Manny Dematis of The Mayor’s Task Force on Rail Transportation addressed the Board on the effort to restore commuter rail service to Phoenixville. The Mayor’s Task Force has about 30-40 residents from East Pikeland, Schuylkill and Phoenixville serving. Barry Cassidy was hired by the task force to create a plan for financing and implementation. Mr. Dematis summarized past efforts to restore rail service to the community and mentioned that while ridership is not an issue, the cost of new lines discouraged pursuit of restoration. Presently, with the use of existing lines and the law allowing communities to fund their own rail lines through tax dollars, it may be possible for rail service to be restored. The total cost would be divided among the communities who wish to participate. Once the task force has formulated a plan, it will be presented to relevant communities to gauge whether they wish to participate. Mr. Dematis asked the Board if Schuylkill Township would be willing to appoint a Supervisor to serve on the task force. The Board advised Mr. Dematis that Supervisor Donovan was previously appointed as its representative to The Mayor’s Task Force on Rail Transportation. Mr. Dematis mentioned there would be a Town Hall meeting on Monday, April 22, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. at Columbia Station. Discussion ensued on proposed stops and financing of a rail line.
Valley Park Park Update – Mr. Mentry advised the Board that the township has been awarded a $100,000 DCNR grant with conditions. He and the township engineer have been working over the last couple of months to satisfy their requirements and hope to get the green light within a few weeks. PECO will be cutting some trees which were originally included in the contract. An issue has arisen with the PennDOT HOP which will be discussed at meeting with PennDOT next week.
Franchise Fee Renewal Agreement with Cohen Law Group – Mr. Mentry said that the Board has approved participating in a multi-municipal engagement for a fee up to $6,500 and informed the Board that as of last week, 23 municipalities had entered into the agreement which will result in the 30% discount allowed in the agreement for a total fee of about $4,500.
Township Bank Accounts – Mr. Mentry advised the Board he wanted to add Univest Bank & Trust to the Township’s approved depositories and upon this addition, to move certain township funds into higher yield money market accounts
Upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Parry, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved the transfer of certain township funds into higher yield money market accounts.
S.R. 23 Sidewalk Project – This agenda item was tabled to the May Board of Supervisors Meeting
Open Space Commission (“OSC”) Appraisal Request – Mr. Mauch advised the Board that the OSC is seeking approval to engage an appraiser for a property known as “Parcel O” for an amount not to exceed $15,000.00 of township open space funds. Mr. Mauch briefly described the attributes of the property and its importance in the township’s goal of conserving open space within the community.
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and authorized the engagement of an appraisal for “Parcel O” for a not to exceed amount of $15,000.00.
PSATS Proposed Resolutions, By-Laws, and Nominations
Upon motion by Supervisor Morrisson seconded by Supervisor Guerette, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and authorized the Township Manager, as the township’s voting delegate to the 2019 PSATS conference, to vote in accordance with the PSATS recommendations on the 2019 Proposed Resolutions, By-Laws Changes, and Nominations at the 2019 Annual Conference.
Zoning Ordinance Design Flexibility Analysis
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry seconded by Supervisor Morrisson, and passed, with Supervisor Guerette dissenting, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved the Natural Lands proposal to conduct a review and issue a report on the effect of repealing the PRD ordinance at a cost not to exceed $2,500.00.
Resolutions / Ordinances
Resolution 2019-09 Depositories and Signatories
Resolved upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township does hereby adopt and approve Resolution 2019-09 Depositories and Signatories thereby superseding Resolution 2019-01.
Resolution 2019-10 Establishing a CBIZ InR 457 Deferred Compensation Plan
Resolved upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Parry, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township does hereby adopt and approve Resolution 2019-10 Designating CBIZ InR Advisory Services to Provide Additional Consulting Services for the Investment of 457 Assets for Public Employees.
Advertisement of Proposed Ordinance 2019-02 To Amend the Code of Ordinances of Schuylkill Township to Repeal Chapter 252 Planned Residential Development.
Upon motion by Supervisor Donovan, seconded by Supervisor Guerette, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved the advertisement of Proposed Ordinance 2019-02 To Amend the Code of Ordinances of Schuylkill Township to Repeal Chapter 252 Planned Residential Development. The Township Solicitor and Mr. Cooney engaged in a discussion on the delay in the proposed ordinance being put before the Board for a vote.
Discussion: Proposed Ordinance Changes to SALDO Section 320-22
Supervisor Guerette advised the Board that she requested this be on the agenda in order to correct what she perceives as inadequacies in this section of the township’s SALDO; she stated that in her opinion the language changes proposed and presented by a township resident were very good and requested the Board consider putting the changes before the township’s Planning Commission. Supervisor Morrisson questioned the Township Solicitor on the legalities of making these changes. Mr. Brennan responded that he has some concerns about the specificity of the changes at this time, namely regarding cul-du-sacs, considering other matters currently before the Board. Supervisor Guerette commented that she believes certain deficiencies have become apparent and need to be corrected. Discussion ensued regarding some of the specific language changes, implications of the change, adherence to the Municipal Planning Code and processes to be followed. The Board instructed the Township Solicitor to review the proposed SALDO Section 320-22 changes and requested that it be placed on the Schuylkill Township Planning Commission agenda.
Mr. Mauch addressed the Board on a matter which has come up regarding the Eagles Pointe at Sedgley Farm property; that being why did the township not purchase this as open space. Mr. Mauch commented that Sedgley Farm, is under an agreement of sale (with a developer) that has been in place since before the creation of the OSC and before the passage of the open space referendum. Once a landowner has an agreement of sale with a builder, the law prohibits us from interfering with that agreement. The township has been and is prohibited by law from discussing open space options with Sedgley Farm’s landowners while the agreement of sale is in place with a developer.
Agendas for the March Board of Supervisors Work Session
The Township Manager informed the Board that the Township’s Facebook™ page is live and invited residents to visit.
Nothing to report.
There being no further business before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 10:25 p.m. upon motion of Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Parry and unanimously passed by the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township.
Next Board of Supervisors’ Meeting
Board of Supervisors Work Session................................... Thursday April 25, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.
Board of Supervisors Regular Business Meeting................. Wednesday May 1, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.