Duly advertised in The Pottstown Mercury and posted at www.schuylkilltwp.com
Board of Supervisors
Fred Parry - Chairman, Barbara Cohen – Vice Chair, Martha Majewski – Treasurer, Susan Guerette, Jim Morrisson
William Brennan, Esq.-Township Solicitor, Madeline Harbison – Township Secretary, John Sartor, P.E .- Township Engineer
Other Township Representatives Present
Mark Donovan-Schuylkill Township Planning Commission, Curt English-Schuylkill Township Planning Commission, Chief James Fetterman-Schuylkill Township Police Department, Evan Taylor-Schuylkill Township Fire Marshal/Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company Chief.
The Honorable Andrew Dinniman, Pennsylvania State Senator
Call to Order
The monthly public business meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. with Supervisor Parry leading the Pledge of Allegiance. The meeting was chaired by Supervisor Parry. Supervisor Parry advised attendees that the meeting was being videotaped by the township and asked that anyone else recording the meeting make it know to the public.
Supervisor Parry, on behalf of the Board of Supervisors, read a Resolution of Appreciation for Supervisor Cohen’s ten years of service to Schuylkill Township and presented Supervisor Cohen with a commemorative plaque. Supervisor Parry also presented Supervisor Cohen with a Certificate of Appreciation from Representative Warren who was unavoidably detained.
Resolution No. 2017-13: Appreciation of Service
Resolved upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township does hereby commend Barbara H. Cohen for her time-honored legacy of dedication, enthusiasm and outstanding public service given to Schuylkill Township for the past 10 years.
Senator Dinniman presented Supervisor Cohen with a senatorial Certificate of Appreciation and spoke to her many accomplishments over the years. Senator Dinniman specifically commended and thanked Supervisor Cohen, the Board of Supervisors and Schuylkill Township for the successful preservation of the Medal of Honor Grove at the Freedoms Foundation. Supervisor Cohen thanked the Board and the Senator for the recognition.
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.
Upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the Consent Agenda.
Board Member Reports
Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee (“PRPC”) – Supervisor Morrisson reported that the Schuylkill Township Environmental Advisory Council (“EAC”) presented to the PRPC the township’s unnamed streams project at the November 29, 2017 meeting. The presentation was well received. Supervisor Cohen advised the Board that on May 15, 2018 at the Schuylkill River Heritage Center, members of the township’s EAC and Historical Commission would present “Runs to the River”, a description of the unnamed streams project and the history behind certain waterways’ names. Supervisor Cohen commended the EAC and the township’s Historical Commission for their efforts on this project.
Supervisor Morrisson added that the PRPC continues its work on the revision of the regional comprehensive plan; at the November 29th meeting, the Committee reviewed the environmental resource and energy conservation plans. Supervisor Majewski asked when the next public comment meeting would be held; Supervisor Morrisson responded that a date has not yet been determined but that the public is welcome to attend the monthly PRPC meetings held the last Wednesday of each month.
Supervisor Parry commended Daniel Proctor who completed his Eagle Scout community service project at the Medal of Honor Grove. Dan Proctor’s project was to relocate the Medal of Honor plaques scattered throughout the Maine acre and arrange them in an orderly fashion along the path to the Maine obelisk. They are arranged chronologically as to when the Medal of Honor was awarded. He did a great job managing the project and the Maine Acre is much improved because of his efforts.
Supervisor Parry commented that Jerry O’Dell would be resigning from the Township’s Environmental Advisory Council after 10 years of dedicated volunteer service.
Supervisor Parry recognized the Schuylkill Township Emergency Operations Center volunteers and thanked them for their outstanding performance during the recent Limerick emergency exercise.
Treasurer’s Report and Payment of Bills
Supervisor Majewski, Treasurer, advised the Board that as of November 30, 2017, the Township’s general fund shows a balance of $3,448,023.69. Supervisor Majewski reported that the bills for November 2017 have been reviewed and she recommended payment of these bills.
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Cohen, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the Treasurer’s Report for the period ending November 30, 2017 and authorized payment of Township bills for the period ending November 30, 2017.
Supervisor Majewski, Treasurer, presented the Board with the balanced proposed 2018 Budget as advertised by the Supervisors in the Wednesday, November 8, 2017 publication of The Pottstown Mercury. Supervisor Majewski noted that the proposed budget does not require a township property tax increase. Supervisor Majewski advised the Board that no Tax Anticipation Loan would be needed for the beginning of 2018 and recommended that the 2018 Budget be approved for adoption.
Lee Tress, 123 Ferry Lane, was recognized by the Chair. Mr. Tress questioned the budgeted monies for traffic studies and why it was not spent investigating the traffic issues on Ferry Lane and Pawling Road and also the intersection where the proposed convenience store may be located. Supervisor Cohen explained to Mr. Tress that developers are responsible for conducting traffic impact studies for any proposed project and that the monies allocated in the budget for traffic studies are for township purposes, not developments.
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and adopted the 2018 Schuylkill Township Budget as advertised.
Supervisor Parry made the following announcements:
The Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company has elected a new fire chief, Rafael Henin.
The continued conditional use hearing for the proposed convenience store will be Tuesday, December 19, 2017 at 6:00 p.m. in the Township Hall.
Board Discussion Items
Nothing to report.
Update: Charlestown Road/Pothouse Road/Bridge Street Intersection Traffic Signal Project
The Chair invited the Township Engineer, Mr. Sartor, to discuss the traffic signal improvement project. Mr. Sartor informed the Board that he expects the project manual and plans to be completed by the January 2, 2018 Board meeting for the Supervisors’ review at which time the project timeline will be put before the Board with a request to approve advertising a request for bids in January and anticipating a construction contract award in March.
Update: Oakwood Lane & Paul Lemen Drive Stormwater Drainage Projects
Mr. Sartor explained that there are actually two projects on which Gilmore & Associates has been working; the first of which is the overall stormwater improvements project. The plans for the improvement project were completed and given to the Township Manager and Roadmaster on September 27, 2017. Mr. Sartor went on to say that in the interim, Gilmore has identified a low volume road grant program offered by the Chester County Conservation District for which this project could be a candidate. Information on the grant was presented to the Township Manager; applications for the grant will open in March of 2018.
Supervisor Morrisson questioned the Township Engineer about the Route 23 sidewalk survey and engineering documents; inquiring if the design work was going ahead in anticipation of the grant. Mr. Sartor said that was correct; that preliminary feedback from the DVRPC was positive regarding the township’s application. Supervisor Guerette questioned why the Township Engineer was going forward on the design work without the grant being awarded. Mr. Sartor explained that the grant was for construction and a prerequisite was to have a “shovel-ready” project; that is, all the engineering and design work completed beforehand. This is, in essence, the township’s “match” for the grant funding and the Board had in fact approved the preliminary engineering work.
Nothing to report.
Resolutions / Ordinances
Consideration of Proposed Resolution No. 2017-14: Prohibiting of Category 4 Casinos within Schuylkill Township
Resolved upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township adopts this Resolution in accordance with §305.1 (A.1) (1) of Act 42 of 2017 to prohibit the placement and operation of a Category 4 licensed facility within the boundaries of Schuylkill Township.
Subdivision / Land Development
Phoenixville Area School District Early Learning Center (“ELC”) – Escrow Release #7
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Cohen, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and authorized Escrow Release No. 7 for the Phoenixville Area School District Early Learning Center located at 1 Phantom Way, Phoenixville, PA (UPI #27-5D-1) in the amount of one hundred two thousand, nine hundred eight dollars and twenty-five cents ($ 102,908.25) as recommended in the Gilmore & Associates, Inc. letter of November 8, 2017 (File No. 13-12010T1). The amount remaining in the escrow account will be $1,393,462.46.
Lot Line Adjustment – 10 Jug Hollow Road (Ember) UPI 27-6-205.01 & UPI 27-6-206
On behalf of the applicant, Stuart Ember-10 Jug Hollow Road, Mr. Michael Sodl, P.E., addressed the Board on Mr. Ember’s behalf regarding the proposal to adjust the property lines for 10 Jug Hollow Road and 590 Valley Park Road. No new parcels or construction are planned. Both parcels will keep existing dwelling structures and ingress/egress points. The subdivision will not affect existing sewer and water supplies to either property. Mr. Sodl commented that both lots are currently non-conforming and while some of the non-conformities are improved by the lot line adjustment, there are three which will be worsened for Lot 1; specifically, the developable lot area, maximum building coverage, and maximum lot coverage. Discussion ensued regarding several aspects of the revision plan being presented. The Township Solicitor advised the Board that this matter should be referred to the Zoning Hearing Board because the lots are a non-conforming use and zoning law states no non-conforming use may be made worse by a new plan. Mr. Brennan explained that according to the 10 Jug Hollow Road lot line revision plan presented, three of the present non-conformities will be made worse by the revision; by law the Board of Supervisors does not have the power to grant waivers and/or relief for zoning issues. Discussion ensued regarding a possible readjustment to the proposed lot line revision to correct the worsening of the non-conformities. Mr. Ember addressed the Board stating that this particular lot line revision was a special case; the lots cannot be further developed due to existing environmental conditions and petitioned the Board to approve this revision without referring it to the Zoning Hearing Board.
Upon motion by Supervisor Guerette, seconded by Supervisor Parry, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved the plan and authorized a zoning exclusion for the lot line revision for 10 Jug Hollow Road/590 Valley Park Road, UPI 27-6-205.01 & UPI 27-6-206, as presented in the Wilkinson & Associates, Inc. plan titled “Stuart Ember Lot Line Adjustment 110 Jug Hollow Road Phoenixville PA 19460”, dated September 20, 2017 and last revised November 7, 2017. Mr. Brennan, Township Solicitor, advised the Board of Supervisors that there were issues about whether this action taken by the Board is appropriate.
Conditional Final Plan Approval – Valley Forge Meadows, Inc. Townhomes Development (Nolen)
Mr. Michael Sodl, P.E., of Wilkinson & Associates, Inc. presented a revised development plan for the Valley Forge Meadows Co., Inc. property on Pawling Road. Mr. James Nolen, principal of Valley Forge Meadows Co., Inc. was also present. Mr. Sodl explained that the township had on July 6, 2016 granted conditional final approval for a 72-unit apartment complex to be built on this property. The new plan will replace the 72 apartments with 32 townhomes. The townhomes will occupy the same building footprint as the apartment buildings. There are no substantive changes from the apartment complex development plans other than those for which waivers are being requested; Waiver 1: Section 502.B.3. – to permit the design of vertical curves in accordance with AASHTO Green Book and the use of K values for 25 MPH for private roads; Waiver 2: Section 503.F. – To permit vehicular parking perpendicular to curbs on private roads; and Waiver 3: Section 510.E.11.A. – To permit underground stormwater basins within 50’ of a building as the proposed townhouse units do not have basements below ground level. Basin is located downstream of townhouse building #8, and the maximum water level in the basin and through emergency spillway is several feet below the lowest floor elevation. Mr. Sartor, the Township Engineer, advised the Board that Gilmore & Associates, Inc. has reviewed the townhouse development plans as noted in the November 9, 2017 Final Plan – First Review letter submitted to the Planning Commission and recommends approval of the requested 3 waivers.
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Cohen, and passed with Supervisor Guerette abstaining due to unfamiliarity with the project, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township granted conditional final land development approval to the subdivision plan titled “Valley Forge Meadows Company, Inc. Proposed Townhouse Residential Development, Schuylkill Township, Chester County”, Tax Parcel 27-6-1217 as prepared by Wilkinson & Associates, Inc., and dated September 27, 2017 and last revised October 27, 2017 with the following waivers: Waiver 1: Section 502.B.3. – to permit the design of vertical curves in accordance with AASHTO Green Book and the use of K values for 25 MPH for private roads; Waiver 2: Section 503.F. – To permit vehicular parking perpendicular to curbs on private roads; and Waiver 3: Section 510.E.11.A. – To permit underground stormwater basins within 50’ of a building as the proposed townhouse units do not have basements below ground level. Basin is located downstream of townhouse building #8, and the maximum water level in the basin and through emergency spillway is several feet below the lowest floor elevation. The final approval is conditioned on the following items: 1) Adequately addressing all comments in the Keystone Municipal Services (“KMS”) letter dated June 27, 2016 to the satisfaction of the Township Code Enforcement Officer; 2) Adequately addressing language required to be included on the Record Plans to address driveway improvements and maintenance, and any other required deed restrictions, covenants, etc., to the satisfaction of the Township Solicitor, which may require review of HOA documents; 3) Adequately addressing all comments in the Gilmore & Associates, Inc. letter dated November 9, 2017 to the satisfaction of the Township Engineer; and 4) Providing a copy of the NPDES permit.
Supervisor Morrisson asked the Township Secretary for the status of the new website. Ms. Harbison replied that a beta version should be ready in January 2018. Supervisor Morrisson stated he would like input on the website prior to it being published.
Supervisor Morrisson recommended that the Planning Commission and other advisory commissions provide a written recommendation of action(s) taken to the Board immediately after their meetings.
Upon motion by Supervisor Morrisson, seconded by Supervisor Cohen, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township recommended the procedure be adopted by all township commissions and councils to provide written recommendation of action(s) taken to the Board of Supervisors immediately after their meetings outside of the regular meeting minutes.
Supervisor Morrisson recommended that the Township investigate lowering the speed limit to 35 MPH on Valley Forge Road/Route 23 between White Horse Road and Starr Street and requested that the Schuylkill Township Police Department look into this and that PennDOT be petitioned towards this end. Mark Donovan, Planning Commission member, inquired whether this matter could be addressed by the developer of the proposed convenience store at the White Horse and Valley Forge Road intersection, should the application be approved. No action was taken by the Board.
Nothing to report.
Supervisor Parry called for a five minute recess at 8:55 p.m.
An executive session was called to order at 9:12 p.m. Present were Supervisor Cohen, 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 9:05 p.m. Supervisor Parry reported that litigation and personnel matters had been discussed.
The Chair allowed an additional public comment period to late-comers to the meeting.
Laurie Griggs, Spruce Grove Lane, complimented the Schuylkill Township Police Department for their efforts in the township.
Peter Mercuri, President Pickering Glen Homeowners Association, listed several complaints about the Phoenixville Area School District’s Early Learning Center project and questioned the return of escrow monies to the school district. Mr. Mercuri then added his grievances against neighboring property owners adjacent to the Pickering Glen Development.
There being no further business before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 9:54 p.m. upon motion of Supervisor Guerette, seconded by Supervisor Cohen, and unanimously agreed by the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township.
Next Board of Supervisors’ Meeting
Board of Supervisors Organization Meeting......................... Tuesday, January 2, 2018 at 7:00 P.M.
Board of Supervisors Regular Business Meeting to immediately follow