SCHUYLKILL TOWNSHIP
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
MEETING DATE: April 5, 2017

Duly advertised in The Pottstown Mercury and posted at www.schuylkilltwp.com

In Attendance

Board of Supervisors

Fred Parry - Chairman, Barbara Cohen – Vice Chair, Martha Majewski – Treasurer, Susan Guerette, Jim Morrisson

Township Administration

Mary Bird – Township Manager, William Brennan, Esq.-Township Solicitor, Madeline Harbison-Township Secretary, John Sartor, P.E.– Township Engineer

Other Township Representatives

Curt English-Schuylkill Township Planning Commission, Chief James Fetterman-Schuylkill Township Police Department, Robert Mauch-Chair Schuylkill Township Open Space Commission, Sandy Momyer-Chair Schuylkill Township Open Space Commission, Jerry O’Dell-Chair Schuylkill Township Environmental Advisory Council, Evan Taylor – Schuylkill Township Fire Marshall and Fire Chief Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company, Morris Quigg-Schuylkill Township Planning Commission

Call to Order

The monthly public business meeting was called to order at 7:37 p.m. with Supervisor Parry leading the Pledge of Allegiance.  The meeting was chaired by Supervisor Parry.    

Supervisor Parry informed meeting attendees that an executive session had been held prior to the public meeting and that litigation and personnel matters had been discussed.

Supervisor Parry advised the audience that meeting attendees not on the agenda who wished to address the Board of Supervisors will wait to be recognized by the Chair, then proceed to the microphone and identify themselves for the record.  Supervisor Parry further stated that statements to the Board will be limited to 3 minutes and comments by unrecognized persons will not be acknowledged.

Consent Agenda

  1. Approval and acceptance of the Minutes of the March 1, 2017 Board of Supervisors Regular Business Meeting and the March 24, 2017 Special Workshop Meeting.
  2. Acceptance of all departmental, committee, commission and council reports as posted and received by the Board of Supervisors for the month of March, 2017.

Upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township accepted and approved the March 1, 2017 Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting Minutes, the March 24, 2017 Special Workshop Meeting Minutes, and all departmental, committee, commission and council reports as posted and received by the Board of Supervisors for the month of March 2017.

Board Member Reports

Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee – Supervisor Cohen reported that Mr. Edward Theurkauf, consultant to the PRPC, laid out the strategy for developing the new comprehensive regional plan.

CCATO Conference – Supervisor Morrisson gave a brief update on the opioids issue in our area as presented at the CCATO conference and emphasized that education is key in developing a program within the township.

Tax Collection –Supervisor Majewski informed residents that the tax bills were mailed on March 1, 2017 and property owners who have not received their bill should contact the tax collector immediately.  Supervisor Majewski also reminded residents that it is their responsibility to forward tax bills to their mortgage companies.

Treasurer’s Report and Payment of Bills

Supervisor Majewski, Treasurer, advised the Board that as of March 31, 2017, the Township’s general fund shows a balance of about $3.4 million.  Supervisor Majewski reported that the bills for March 2017 have been reviewed and she recommended payment of these bills. 

Upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Guerette, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the Treasurer’s Report for the period ending March 31, 2017 and authorized payment of Township bills for the period ending March 31, 2017.

Announcements

The Chester County Planning Commission Multi-modal Committee will hold a public meeting at the Colonial Theater in Phoenixville on Thursday, May 25, 2017 from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.  The Phoenixville Region Multimodal Transportation Plan will identify potential capital improvements and programming initiatives to increase the safety and efficiency of the transportation network regardless of age, ability, or mode of travel.

The Schuylkill River Heritage Center will present Pottstown Industrial Legacy on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.

The Schuylkill Township Environmental Advisory Council is sponsoring a Great American Cleanup event on Saturday, April 29 at the township’s Pickering Preserve and is looking for volunteers.

Supervisor Parry reminded residents that April 17th was the deadline for voter registration and the municipal primary is Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

Board Discussion Items

Old Business

Legal Matters

Solicitor Brennan reported to the Board that he had attended a meeting regarding the Tredyffrin Township Force Main settlement agreement and all parties are continuing to work towards resolution of outstanding issues.

Amended and Restated Indemnity Agreement: Highway Occupancy Permit for Certain Off-site Stormwater Management Facilities in Schuylkill Township

Upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the Amended and Restated Indemnity Agreement: Highway Occupancy Permit for Certain Off-site Stormwater Management Facilities in Schuylkill Township to allocate the rights and responsibilities between Schuylkill Township and the Phoenixville Area School District for the maintenance, repair, replacement and reconstruction cost of the stormwater management facilities constructed to provide for the Phoenixville Area School District’s indemnification of Schuylkill Township for any and all liability related to the matters set forth in this Agreement.

Withdrawal of Phoenixville Area School District’s Conditional Use Application for the Meadow Brook Barn Demolition

Upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township accepts the withdrawal of the Phoenixville Area School District Condition Use Application (“Application”) for the Meadow Brook Barn demolition and, pending re-submission of said application, authorized the waiver of the $5,000.00 application fee for any such re-submission.

Supervisor Cohen explained that the PASD was withdrawing the demolition application because the Meadow Brook Barn task force comprised of representatives from the school district and the township has reached a point where input is needed from the Board of Supervisors; such input could not be solicited with the legal proceeding of a conditional use hearing before the Board.

New Business

Public Hearing: Conservation Easement Acquisition on Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge Property.

A public hearing for consideration of a conservation easement acquisition on a portion of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge property was opened at 8:01 P.M. by the Township Solicitor, Mr. Brennan.  Mr. Brennan explained the hearing is required by law to present the details of the transaction to the public and allow their input to the Board regarding the matter.  Mr. Brennan invited Mr. Robert Mauch, Chairman of the township’s Open Space Commission, to present the details of the conservation easement transaction. Mr. Mauch stated that the Open Space Commission is recommending the funding of a conservation easement on a portion of the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge property on Valley Forge Road (Tax Parcel ID: 27-6-120 +/- 75.1 acres).  The conservation easement will protect from development about 41.6 acres of the property including the Medal of Honor Grove.  Mr. Mauch advised that the appraised value of the 41.6 acres is $2,215,000.   $1,415,000 of the acquisition cost is to come from the township’s open space funds and $800,000 through a grant from Chester County.  Mr. Mauch said the easement would be held by the Natural Lands Trust which will monitor and enforce in perpetuity the terms of the conservation easement agreement.  Mr. Mauch further explained that this is an acquisition of the development rights on this property, not the property itself which ownership will remain with the Freedoms Foundation.

Mr. Brennan opened the floor to questions from the Board.  Supervisor Parry asked Mr. Mauch to confirm that the Open Space Commission is recommending that the Board proceed with the conservation easement acquisition on the Freedoms Foundation property.  Mr. Mauch replied that the Commission is recommending the transaction.  Mr. Brennan asked Mr. Mauch if a closing date for the transaction has been proposed; Mr. Mauch informed the Board that the proposed date is Thursday, April 13, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. in the township building. Mr. Brennan asked for questions or comments from the public.  There being none, Supervisor Parry called for a motion on the proposed transaction.

Upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the Grant of Conservation Easement Agreement by and between Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge and Natural Lands Trust, Inc. for an easement on a portion of UPI #27-6-120 as described in Exhibit A of said agreement and depicted on the Conservation Plan, Exhibit B, dated April 12, 2017 and hereby agrees to tender the sum of two million, two hundred fifteen thousand dollars ($2,215,000.00) for the purchase of the conservation easement.  The sum of $1,415,000 in township open space funds has been used to purchase this conservation easement as provided by Schuylkill Township Ordinance 2006-13.  $800,000 in County funds have been granted to Schuylkill Township for the purchase of this Grant of Conservation Easement.

Mr. Brennan closed the public hearing at 8:10 p.m.

Upon motion by Mr. Parry, seconded by Mrs. Cohen and passed, the Board of Supervisors of

Schuylkill Township appointed Supervisor Morrisson as the authorized and designated township representative and signatory for the Grant of Conservation Easement Agreement (“Grant”) by and between Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge and Natural Lands Trust, Inc. and the closing transaction for said Grant.

Zoning Hearing Board Member Appointment.

Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Cohen, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township appointed Marilyn N. Gural, a resident of the township at 50 Horseshoe Pointe Drive, as First Alternate Member to the Zoning Hearing Board.  Ms. Gural’s term will expire in January of 2018.

Planning Commission Member Appointment.

Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Cohen, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township appointed Mark J. Donovan, a resident of the township at 26 Flintlock Lane, as a Member of the Schuylkill Township Planning Commission.  Mr. Donovan’s term will expire in January of 2021.

Uncollectable Real Estate Property Tax Liens

Upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Cohen, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township authorized and approved the exoneration of uncollectable Real Estate Property tax liens on certain parcels in the township as requested in the

February 27, 2017 letter from the Chester County Tax Claim Bureau. The sum total of the uncollectable liens is $452.63 for a period from 2010 to 2016.

Resolutions / Ordinances

Submission to Chester County Planning Commission Certain Amendments

Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and authorized the submission to the Chester County Planning Commission for review and recommendation certain amendments to Schuylkill Township Ordinances: Chapter 370 – Zoning and Chapter 320-Subdivision, and the rescinding of Chapter 299 – Soil Erosion, Sedimentation and Grading Control.  Supervisor Morrisson explained that these amendments concerned language clean-up and the removal of repetitious language.

Advertisement of Proposed Ordinance No. 2017-02:  Communication Amplification

Upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Cohen, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and authorized the advertisement of proposed Ordinance No. 2017-02 to establish minimum regulations applicable to emergency communication systems.  Supervisor Morrisson recommended changing the word “amending” in the title of the ordinance to “adding” since this is a new ordinance for the township.  Supervisors Majewski and Guerette expressed their concerns regarding enforcement of the testing requirements contained within the Ordinance and identification of those structures requiring amplification.

Resolution No. 2017-07:  Amending Procedures and Rules for Compliance with the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law

Resolved upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed by the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township that the township’s procedures and rules be amended for compliance with the Pennsylvania Right-to-Know laws.

Subdivision / Land Development

Nothing to report.

Additional Business

Whitehorse Road-Phoenixville, LLC Conditional Use Applications

Upon motion by Supervisor Morrisson, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and authorized the engagement of outside legal counsel, William J. Bolla of High Schwartz, LLP, to represent the Schuylkill Township Planning Commission and Historical Commission to defend township ordinances in the matter of a proposed convenience store.

Appointment of Voting Delegate to PSATS Spring 2017 Convention & Educational Conference

Supervisors Morrisson requested that he be appointed as the Schuylkill Township voting delegate to the PSATS Spring 2017 Convention & Educational Conference.  Supervisor Parry commented that he believed this had been done in a previous meeting but moved to appoint Jim Morrisson as the township’s voting delegate to the 2017 Spring PSATS Educational Conference and Convention.  There being no second, the motion died.  Supervisor Guerette advised Supervisor Morrisson that she has not had time to review the matters to be voted on at the conference and was not prepared to nominate a voting delegate at this time.  Supervisor Parry suggested that a special meeting be scheduled prior to the conference to appoint the township’s delegate and suggested it be held immediately prior to the Planning Commission meeting on April 19, 2017 and instructed the township manager to follow up on availability of Board members.

Public Participation

Mr. James Keller – 22 Second Street, presented to the Board his repeated complaints about no playground in his manufactured home community and other issues he has with Mr. Andrew Fifer.  Mr. Keller went on to voice his objection to what he perceived as unwarranted police intervention with certain of his activities at the YMCA.  Mr. Keller than asked if turn arrows would be installed on the light at Pothouse and State Roads.

Ms. Marie McKnight, 20 Bantry Lane, asked if an application has been received by the township for rezoning of the University of Valley Forge property on Route 23.  When told that no official application has been submitted, Ms. McKnight asked how residents could be notified when and if this matter came before the Board; the township manager informed Ms. McKnight that any rezoning application would have to go before the Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors for review and discussion.  The agendas for these entities are posted on the township website 3-5 days prior to the meetings and are also distributed via the township’s email list.

A resident asked if the above referenced property was still owned by the University of Valley Forge; he was informed that the township was not aware of any transfer of ownership but property deeds may be researched at the Chester County Recorder of Deeds website or office.

Ms. Kathleen Lex- 165 Country Lane, asked if in these circumstances, would the Board put the interest of the residents first or bend to pressure from the developer.  Mr. Brennan strongly replied that the Board’s responsibility is to act in the best interest of the entire township in a public manner.  Supervisor Cohen advised that residents should always make certain of the facts surrounding any transaction in the township and not rely on rumors.

Mr. Robert Opiela- 1270 Ridgeview Lane, asked for a copy of the minutes from the March 24, 2017 special workshop meeting.  The township manager informed Mr. Opiela that the minutes would be posted on the township website.

Mr. James Keller – 22 Second Street, asked why the township had not purchased the Meadow Brook Golf Course as open space and expressed his concerns about potential emergency response issues at the Early Learning Center.

Supervisor Parry called for a five minute recess at 9:00 p.m.

Executive Session

An executive session was called to order at 9:10 p.m. upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Guerette and passed. Present were Supervisor Cohen, Supervisor Guerette, Supervisor Majewski, Supervisor Morrisson and Supervisor Parry. Also present were the Township Solicitor, Mr. Brennan, Township Engineer, Mr. Sartor, Township Manager, Ms. Bird, and Township Secretary, Mrs. Harbison.  The public meeting resumed at 9:25 p.m. Supervisor Parry reported that litigation and personnel matters had been discussed.

Adjournment

There being no further business before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 9:26 p.m. upon motion of Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Guerette, and unanimously agreed by the Board of Supervisors.

Next Board of Supervisors’ Meeting

Board of Supervisors Regular Business Meeting.................. Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 7:30 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Madeline Harbison
Township Secretary