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, Susan Guerette
William Brennan, Esq.-Township Solicitor, Madeline Harbison – Township Secretary, John Sartor. P.E.-Township Engineer
Other Township Representatives Present
Rick Beittel-President Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company, Nick Cinciripino-Schuylkill Township Roadmaster, Curt English – Schuylkill Township Planning Commission, Chief James Fetterman-Schuylkill Township Police Department,.
Appearing before the Board
Norman Vutz – Valley Forge Sewer Authority
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 an executive session was held on Monday, July 30, 2018 for Board deliberations on the Sedgley Farm Planned Residential Development Tentative Plan Application.
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
Environmental Advisory Council – Supervisor Majewski informed the Board that volunteers from the Phoenixville Area High School’s Environmental Club joined the EAC for rain garden maintenance at the municipal complex. The EAC has set a tentative date of October 27th for a fall cleanup program on Route 29 between Buckwalter and Pothouse Road. This will be confirmed at a later date.
Grants Update – Supervisor Majewski updated the Board on the progress of various grant applications.
Treasurer’s Report and Payment of Bills
Supervisor Morrisson, Treasurer, reported to the Board that as of July 31, 2018, the Township’s general fund shows a balance of $4,113,048.23. Supervisor Morrisson reported that the bills for July 2018 have been reviewed and he recommended payment of these bills.
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Donovan, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the Treasurer’s Report for the period ending July 31 2018 and authorized payment of Township bills for the period ending July 31, 2018.
Board Discussion Items
Settlement Agreement/Mary R. Bird
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Donovan, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the Settlement Agreement & General Release as drawn up by Township employment counsel and signed by Ms. Bird on July 8, 2018.
Discussion: Whitehorse-Phoenixville, LLC (“Wawa”) Zoning Hearing Board (“ZHB”) Application – The Township Solicitor briefly summarized the application and reminded the Board that the relief requested in this ZHB application is a condition within the Decision rendered by the Board of Supervisors on the Wawa Conditional Use Application. Mr. Brennan advised the Board of Supervisors that they take no position on the Wawa ZHB Application. Supervisor Morrisson raised several points which he thought should be brought up at the Wawa Zoning Hearing. The Township Solicitor advised that as the Board is acting in a judicial capacity in the Wawa conditional use application process, the Supervisors, either individually or collectively, should refrain from participating and/or commenting at the hearing. The Board concurred with the exception of Supervisor Morrisson.
Discussion: Valley Forge Sewer Authority Valley Creek Trunk Line Sale
The Township Solicitor reported that the trunk line sale was proceeding. Schuylkill Township’s concerns regarding the sale have been the effect on issues of capacity, do we have to receive anything and generally what is the Township’s role in this transaction. Schuylkill Township’s financial exposure is a small percentage; about 0.14% - 0.18%; that is the amount contributed for costs and will be the amount received once the sale is finalized. Mr. Brennan stated he is satisfied there is no material risk to the Township if the sale goes forward. Mr. Norman Vutz, Schuylkill Township’s representative on the VFSA Board, added that the sewer authority had some concerns about the conditions of the sale in as how it might affect the 3 owning and 5 partnering municipalities of the VFSA. Mr. Vutz said the VFSA legal counsel reviewed the sale solicitation documents to ensure that none of the terms of obligations on the partnering municipalities will change and approved them but the sale solicitation has not yet been issued.
Discussion Valley Forge Sewer Authority PACT TWO Litigation Settlement
Mr. Vutz informed the Board that the PACT TWO Litigation has been settled with the VFSA engineering firm, Buchart Horne, paying the largest share of the award.
Mr. Vutz reported on several other matters at VFSA; preparation to go out to contract for installation of a fine screen filter which will require the relocation of the entrance gate to the plant. Mr. Vutz added that this relocation will not affect access to the Township’s compost yard located on the VFSA grounds. A sinkhole created by a sewer line failure on Sangill Lane was repaired. Mr. Vutz advised the Board that the VFSA was organized in 1988 with a fifty year lifetime; the articles of incorporation will expire at the end of 2018. A letter will be issued shortly to the three owing municipalities requesting consideration to reorganize the VFSA for another fifty years. Mr. Vutz recommended approval of the reorganization
Discussion Stormwater Issues
The Board invited Mr. Brennan to open the discussion with a legal overview. Mr. Brennan advised the Board that this is a complicated issue; that the main concern is the difference between public and private, and the general consensus is the township is not authorized, entitled or, by law, allowed to expend public funds to repair private stormwater issues on private property. Additionally, if a municipality enters onto private property to make a repair, it may conceivably own the problem forever. Under common law, a municipality is liable for injuries due to negligent construction of a storm drain system or for failure to keep a system in good repair, but not for claims relating to the inadequacy of the system. In a flooding event, the law is clear that the township is not legally responsible for flooding resulting from an overburdened stormwater system. Instances where a municipal entity might be liable would be where it has constructed a dam or some other facility which failed and the failure can be directly attributed to the township’s construction and ownership of the facility. Mr. Brennan reminded the Board that in the 1992 lawsuit brought by a resident against the township claiming damage due to inadequate pipes, the Chester County Court ruled in favor of the township. Mr. Brennan concluded with the comment that prevailing law in Schuylkill Township is if the Township did not cause the problem directly, it is not responsible for making repairs. The Township Engineer, Mr. Sartor, continued the discussion with a recap of the 2014 directive by the then sitting Board of Supervisors to undertake a township-wide stormwater issues study in the Township’s rights-of-way only. Upon completion of the study, a scope of work was drawn up; it was refined in 2016 and again in 2017. Mr. Sartor said further discussions with the Roadmaster and Township Manager on where stormwater problems were being experienced throughout the township identified 9 priority locations with the top 2 being Oakwood Lane and Paul Lemen Drive. Design work is completed for Oakwood and is in progress for Paul Lemen. Discussion ensued regarding various aspects of the study and design plans. Supervisor Donovan said he would be interested in investigating some kind of grant incentive rebate program for residents’ stormwater issues. Mr. Brennan responded that a few years ago, the township had investigated available grants for a resident’s application for help; 3 types of grants are available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”). The application requirements are somewhat onerous and the amounts of the grants are not large. Supervisor Donovan said he was considering a grant program funded by the Township. Mr. Brennan said this may violate the law against using public funds on private property and said this would require research and further discussion. Supervisor Morrisson suggested the Board continue the stormwater issue discussion at its August 23rd work session. The Board concurred and asked the Township Engineer to bring the map of the municipal stormwater management facilities to the meeting.
Mr. Stephen Hirsch, 55 Clivedon Lane, addressed the Board on behalf of the residents of this cul-du-sac. Mr. Hirsch said there were severe drainage issues on their properties which were causing extensive damage. Mr. Hirsch said they were requesting advice and support from the Board. The Township Engineer and Roadmaster were instructed by the Board to investigate the issue. The Township Solicitor stated to the residents that nothing said or done at this meeting represents any commitment, promise or warranty of any kind by the Township, and the Township must reserve all rights in this matter in order to protect its citizens and taxpayers. Mr. Stephen Hirsch and Ms. Renata Lindsay of 55 Clivedon Lane and 45 Clivedon Lane, respectively, gave express permission to the Township to enter onto their properties for the purpose of investigating stormwater issues.
Ms. Virginia Foseid, 772 Pickering Lane, addressed the Board on the neighborhood’s stormwater runoff issues and asked if their location could be placed on the aforementioned priority list.
Mr. William Wicklow, 762 Pickering Lane, reiterated his request for consultation and project management assistance from the Board on this issue for Pickering Lane residents.
Supervisor Parry suggested that the Township sponsor a seminar on stormwater management for its residents. Supervisor Majewski was in favor of this idea. Mr. Sartor reminded the Board that this was done several years ago and the turnout was very low. Supervisors Parry and Majewski thought the idea should be pursued.
Mr. Albert Giovenella, 786 Pickering Lane, stated his opinion that the runoff from White Horse Road was the major issue on his property. Mr. Giovenella said he has contacted the state with no success. Supervisor Guerette suggested to this resident that this may be better addressed at the next Work Session meeting.
Discussion ensued regarding what constituted “township stormwater.”
Landscapes 3 Map Recommendations & Schuylkill Township Participation in Landscapes 3
Discussion ensued between the Board and Mr. Curt English of the Schuylkill Township Planning Commission regarding various suggested amendments to the draft Landscapes3 Schuylkill Township Map (the “Map”) and whether the Township was bound in any way by the Map and the Landscapes3 Plan language. Mr. English stated it was a non-binding planning document only. Supervisor Guerette requested that language to that effect be submitted with the Map. Supervisor Morrisson spoke about the various recommending bodies at the township and county level and brought up the Reeves property as an example. Supervisor Guerette cautioned Supervisor Morrison that the Board should not be discussing that particular property; this caution was seconded by the Township Solicitor and the Chair. Supervisor Morrisson objected to the caution.
Upon motion by Supervisor Morrisson, seconded by Supervisor Donovan, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved the amended Landscapes 3 Schuylkill Township Map as amended by Supervisor Morrisson and Mr. English. Further, the Board authorized the submission of the Map to the Chester County Planning Commission and Schuylkill Township’s participation with the Landscapes3 Plan with the notation that none of the Map designations of rural, suburban, urban and any other labels to be included on the Map commits the Township to any predetermined form of development within those areas and that the Township’s Zoning Ordinance, and its Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance takes precedence over any description, label and/or notation included in the Landscapes3 Plan with respect to Schuylkill Township and within its boundaries.
Natural Lands Ordinance Review Timeline
Supervisor Morrisson summarized the ordinance review project and asked the Board to place the ordinance review on the September, October and November work session agendas with a start time of 7:00 p.m. Discussion ensued regarding the organization and procedure of the review meetings.
Nothing to report.
Supervisor Donovan said the festival is on track and mentioned that volunteers are still being sought. Supervisor Parry asked about required permitting; the Township Solicitor explained that special event permits are required in order to inform Township officials of what is happening. As all officials and participants have been involved in the planning of the event and collectively signed an indemnity agreement, all permitting requirements have been met.
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved the Schuylkill Freedoms Festival as identified by the Sponsor, Chaplin’s of Spring City, PA, consistent with and understanding that all requirements of the special event permit have been met in the preparation for the event.
Authorization of Curb Repair on S. Spring Lane
Mr. Cinciripino, Township Roadmaster, described the issue on S. Spring Lane caused by a washout of about 300’ of curb. Mr. Cinciripino explained that this repair is out of cycle with the Township’s five year plan but that road was beginning to be undercut and requested that the Board approve the curb repair at about $55.00 per linear foot.
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved the S. Spring Lane curb repair.
Issuance of a Request for Qualifications (“RFQ”) for Third Party Plan Review/Building Inspection/ Code Enforcement Services
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Donovan, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved the issuance of a RFQ for Third Party Plan Review/Building Inspection/Code Enforcement Services.
Acceptance of the 2019 Financial Requirement and Minimum Municipal Obligation for the Police and Non-Uniform Pension Plans
Upon motion by Supervisor Morrisson, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the 2019 Financial Requirement and Minimum Municipal Obligation for the Police Pension Plan in the amount of $293,354.00 and Non-Uniform Pension Plan in the amount of $33,346.00.
Approval of Certain New Schuylkill Township Police Department Standard Operating Procedures (“SOP”)
Upon motion by Supervisor Morrisson, seconded by Supervisor Parry, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the new Schuylkill Township Police Department’s SOP for Body Worn Cameras, Mobile Fingerprint Identification Devices, Electronic Control Weapons, and Mobile Video Recorders.
Resolutions / Ordinances
Consideration of Acceptance of Certain Amendments to the Township’s Subdivision & Land Development Ordinance Chapter 320 and Zoning Ordinance Chapter 370
Upon motion by Supervisor Donovan, seconded by Supervisor Guerette, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and authorized forwarding the SALDO and Zoning Ordinance Amendments as identified by the Township Engineer to the Schuylkill Township Planning Commission for review and recommendations.
Consideration of Amending Schuylkill Township Ordinance Chapter 18: Environmental Advisory Council §18.3 Membership
Supervisor Majewski explained that because their level of community activity has significantly increased, the Environmental Advisory Council is requesting an expansion of their membership by adding two non-voting members as alternates.
The Township Solicitor was directed to draft an ordinance amendment to expand the member of the Environmental Advisory Council for consideration by the Board at the September 5, 2018 business meeting.
Subdivision / Land Development
Nothing to report.
Phoenixville Region Multimodal Plan Acceptance
Discussion ensued regarding the Multimodal Plan parameters.
Upon motion by Supervisor Morrisson, seconded by Supervisor Donovan and passed, with Supervisor Guerette and Supervisor Parry opposed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township accepted the Phoenixville Region Multimodal Transportation Study June 2018 and instructed the Township Secretary to submit the letter of acceptance to the Chester County Planning Commission.
August 23, 2018 Work Session Agenda
Stormwater issues will be discussed at the August 23, 2018 work session.
Supervisor Majewski informed the Board that she investigating the Township’s eligibility to apply for the 2018 PECO Green Region Grant for the Valley Park construction project.
Distributed Antenna Systems
Supervisor Morrisson advised the Board that the Pennsylvania legislature is again working on HB 2564 Providing for Small Wireless Facilities Deployment. Supervisor Morrisson said he believes there are some detrimental issues contained in the bill such as municipal control of rights-of-way and suggested permitting fees which would not cover municipal costs.
Mr. Kenneth Zimmerman, 702 E. Anderson Avenue, expressed his concerns about the new culvert installed by PennDOT on S. White Horse Road. Mr. Zimmerman added that he wanted to thank the Schuylkill Township Roads Department for the excellent job they do in the Township. He said his one suggestion is that perhaps less salt could be put down on the roads in winter.
An executive session was called to order at 10:20 p.m. upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson and passed. Present were Supervisor Donovan, Supervisor Guerette, Supervisor Majewski, Supervisor Morrisson and Supervisor Parry. Also present were the Township Solicitor, Mr. Brennan and the Township Secretary, Mrs. Harbison. The public meeting resumed at 10:45 p.m. Supervisor Majewski announced that personnel issues were discussed.
There being no further business before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 10:45 p.m. upon motion of Supervisor Morrisson, seconded by Supervisor Guerette and unanimously agreed by the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township.
Next Board of Supervisors’ Meeting
Board of Supervisors Work Session................................... Thursday August 23, 2018 at 7:30 pm.
Board of Supervisors Regular Business Meeting................. Wednesday September 5, 2018 at 7:30 pm