Duly advertised in The Pottstown Mercury and posted at www.schuylkilltwp.com
Board of Supervisors Members Present
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.
Township Representatives in Attendance
Jason Cole – Schuylkill Township Fire Marshall/Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company Chief, , Curt English – Schuylkill Township Planning Commission, James Fetterman–Schuylkill Township Chief of Police, Robert Mauch – Schuylkill Township Open Space Commission, James Shaughnessy – Schuylkill Township Recycling Coordinator
Call to Order
The regular public business meeting of the Schuylkill Township Board of Supervisors 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 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 said that statements to the Board will be limited to 3 minutes and comments by unrecognized persons will not be acknowledged. Supervisor Parry reminded meeting attendees that any proposed agenda items must be submitted to the township manager for consideration no later than 12:00 noon on the Wednesday preceding any given Board meeting and that late submissions will be not be placed on the current agenda but held for a subsequent meeting unless approved by the Chairman of the Board.
Supervisor Parry reminded residents that today was Pearl Harbor Day and asked for a moment of silence in honor of the country’s military personnel.
Upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and passed, with Supervisor Morrisson abstaining due to his absence from the previous month’s meeting, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township accepted and approved the November 2, 2016 Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting Minutes, and all departmental, committee, commission and council reports as posted and received by the Board of Supervisors for the month of November 2016.
Board Member Reports
Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee (“PRPC”): Supervisor Cohen informed the Board that The Hankin Group presented their plans to build a town center with shops and a restaurant at Weatherstone in West Vincent Township. Weatherstone is a mixed-use community at Routes 100 and 401 in Chester Springs with a substantial amount of the 300-acre site to remain as open space. Supervisor Cohen also reported that work is continuing on the update to the regional comprehensive plan.
Real Estate Taxes (“EAC”): Supervisor Majewski reminded residents that their township real estate taxes are due by December 31st and that failure to pay may result in liens on their property.
Environmental Advisory Council (“EAC”): Supervisor Majewski reported the Audubon Great Backyard Bird Count is February 17 – February 20, 2017 and the EAC Birdtown liaison, Mary Ellen Heisey, will be holding a workshop for those interested in participating in the Count on February 4, 2017, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. at the township building. Supervisor Parry commended Mr. Tom Heisey of the EAC for his outstanding work on the township’s unnamed streams project.
Supervisor Parry informed residents that the township has prepared a balanced budget for 2017 with no tax increase for its residents for the 9th year in a row. Supervisor Parry expressed his disappointment that no residents were present for the review of the draft budget at the November board meeting.
Treasurer’s Report and Payment of Bills
Supervisor Majewski, Treasurer, advised the Board that as of November 30, 2016, the Township’s general fund shows a balance of about $3.7 million. Expenditures for the year are at around 70% of the 2016 budget. Supervisor Majewski reported that the bills for November 2016 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 November 30, 2016 and authorized payment of Township bills for the period ending November 30, 2016.
2017 Schuylkill Township Budget
Supervisor Majewski reviewed the budget approval process and informed the Board that the proposed budget had been duly advertised in The Pottstown Mercury. Supervisor Majewski stated there was no need for a tax anticipation note, and reiterated that it was the 9th year without an increase in the township tax rate.
Upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Cohen, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the 2017 budget.
Supervisor Parry made the following announcements:
Friday December 9 - Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company’s Tree Lighting Celebration at 6:30 p.m.
Route 252 in Valley Forge Park and the Knox Covered Bridge on Yellow Springs Road has re-opened.
Supervisor Parry warned residents about the theft of packages being delivered and left in front of homes.
Board Discussion Items
Solicitor Brennan stated that he had one item to discuss in executive session but he has nothing for public discussion.
Retention of Special Counsel for Open Space Transactions
Supervisor Cohen made a motion to engage special counsel for open space transactions on an as-needed basis, Supervisor Morrisson seconded. Supervisor Parry called for discussion. Supervisor Morrisson stated that every field had areas of specialization and the Open Space Commission feels that the township may be best served by obtaining the services of counsel, specifically Wendy McLean of Lentz, Cantor & Massey, Ltd., specializing in conservation easements. Supervisor Parry questioned whether this was a sound fiscal decision. Supervisor Cohen added that the “as-needed” component of the motion should be strongly emphasized as the township solicitor is highly competent and the Open Space Commission should not engage outside counsel unnecessarily. Supervisors Parry and Cohen questioned whether the Board would be setting precedent for each township committee and commission to contemplate engaging special counsel. Supervisor Morrisson said the Open Space Commission has more specialized needs and engages in high dollar transactions which predicates the need for certain outside legal services.
Upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved the engagement of Wendy McLean, Esq. of Lentz, Cantor & Massey, Ltd. as special counsel for conservation easements and other related transactions on strictly an as-needed basis.
Traffic on Tullamore Lane –Weyhill Development
The Chair recognized Mr. Dennis McKnight - 20 Bantry Lane. Mr. McKnight recapped the issues which brought him before the Board, stating that the heavy volume of traffic and speeding motorists using Tullamore Lane as a cut-through during rush hour had raised the concerns of the Weyhill residents regarding pedestrian and vehicle safety. Mr. McKnight said that the immediate response of the township to his initial email was greatly appreciated and a significant decrease in traffic was observed. Mr. McKnight went on to say that he fears that the traffic and speeders will return and asked if the Board would consider additional traffic calming measures; specifically, the installation of speed limit signs of 25 MPH and possibly restricting access on Tullamore Lane to residents only during rush hours. Ellen Jantzen, 15 Galway Lane, was invited to speak. Ms. Jantzen said she thought that no through traffic should be allowed on Tullamore Lane from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on weekdays, and the speed limit on Tullamore should be set at 20 MPH. Supervisor Parry assured Mr. McKnight and Ms. Jantzen that the Board would review the issue with the Roadmaster and Chief of Police. Aaron Kern, 1480 Waterford Lane, told the Board that residents are very concerned about this traffic and speeding issue because of the large number of young children who live in the Weyhill development. Supervisor Cohen thanked the residents for bringing their concerns to the attention of the Board. Chief Fetterman informed the Board he and the assistant township manager had discussed the issue and it was determined that 25 MPH speed limit signs could and would be installed on Tullamore Lane. Marie McKnight, 20 Bantry Lane, addressed the Board stating that this is not a new problem and the neighborhood’s concerns are real; speeding vehicles and aggressive drivers are a significant danger to pedestrians on Tullamore. A resident of Powderhorn Lane commented that traffic volume, speeding vehicles and aggressive drivers are a common problem in many township neighborhoods.
Appointment of Two Schuylkill Township Representatives to the Chester County Phoenixville Region Multi-modal Map Transportation Steering Committee
Supervisor Parry called for nominations to the county’s multi-modal map steering committee; Supervisor Cohen offered to serve as one of the representatives. Supervisor Majewski put forward the Environmental Advisory Council’s recommendations for the committee members; herself and Michael Roscoe with Michelle Garg as an alternate, stating that because she, Mr. Roscoe and Ms. Garg had been working on the township’s multi-modal map for the past year, the EAC thought bringing that experience to the committee would serve the township well. Supervisor Cohen offered to stand as alternate to Supervisor Majewski on the county committee.
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Guerette, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors appointed Supervisor Martha Majewski and EAC member, Michael Roscoe as the primary township representatives to the Chester County Phoenixville Region Multi-modal Map Transportation Steering Committee and further appointed Supervisor Barbara Cohen and EAC member Michelle Garg as alternate committee members.
Schuylkill Township Draft Multi-modal Map-Environmental Advisory Council (“EAC”)
Supervisor Majewski explained that as the EAC chairman, Jerry O’Dell, was unable to be present, he had asked her to present the initial draft multi-modal map to the Board. Supervisor Majewski said that the multi-modal map has several components; existing trails, proposed trails, trail easements, existing sidewalks, proposed sidewalks, bicycle trails and public transportation in the township. Supervisor Majewski said that the bicycle route information was obtained from PennDOT and the public transportation information came from SEPTA. Supervisor Majewski advised the Board that the map was presented to the Planning Commission in October and several suggestions put forward by the Commission were incorporated, i.e., incorporating The Freedoms Foundation Medal of Honor Grove trails on the map. Supervisor Parry asked if the draft multi-modal map should be put on the website. Supervisor Majewski explained that the impetus for creating the township multi-modal map came from the Regional Planning Committee and that eventually, the township’s map would be incorporated into a region-wide multi-modal map which would be on the township’s website. Supervisor Parry asked if a public meeting should be held to discuss the map; Supervisor Majewski explained that the information on the map is existing/proposed trails and easements, sidewalks, etc.; it does not include “wish list” items. Supervisor Majewski told the Board that the EAC has completed the work on the draft map and requested approval for the next step in the process which is to submit the hand-drawn draft to Gilmore & Associates, Inc. to prepare a final electronic draft for the Board’s consideration. Supervisor Guerette asked if the cost of Gilmore’s work to translate the map into electronic format was known. Supervisor Cohen made a motion to approve sending the hand-drawn draft map to Gilmore, Supervisor Morrisson seconded the motion. Supervisor Guerette advised she was opposed to this action without knowing the cost of the work. The motion was not approved.
Upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson and passed, with Supervisor Guerette dissenting, the Board of Supervisors approved and authorized Gilmore & Associates, Inc. to translate the hand-drawn draft of the Schuylkill Township Multi-modal Map into electronic format under the guidance of the Environmental Advisory Council at a not-to-exceed cost of $1,000.00.
Resolutions / Ordinances
Resolution 2016-26: Signatory Authority Traffic Signal Approval
Resolved by the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township, upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Cohen, and unanimously passed, that the Township Manager of Schuylkill Township is authorized and directed to submit an Application for Traffic Signal Approval for the Pothouse Road/Charlestown Road/Bridge Street, Phoenixville, PA Traffic Signal Improvements to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Subdivision / Land Development
305 Kimberton Road (FB Storage L.P.) – Letter of Credit Reduction #1
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and authorized Letter of Credit Reduction No. 1 for the FB Storage, L.P. self-storage project located at 305 Kimberton Road, Phoenixville, PA (UPI #27-2-81) in the amount of four hundred sixty-nine thousand, seven hundred forty dollars and eighty-one cents ($469,740.81) as recommended in the Gilmore & Associates, Inc. letter of December 1, 2016 (File No. 14-01069T1).
Conservation Easement Acquisition Proposal for Parcel G
Supervisor Parry questioned the timing of the proposal. Robert Mauch, Chairman of the Schuylkill Township Open Space Commission (“OSC”), was invited to address the Board. Mr. Mauch provided an overview of this transaction and explained that the property owner had requested that the agreement be finalized prior to December 31, 2016 for tax purposes. Mr. Mauch said that standard due diligence on the transaction was in process but there is a great deal to be accomplished prior to bringing the conservation easement agreement before the Board. Supervisor Parry asked if there was enough time for the OSC to review any agreement for recommendation to the Board; would special meetings be required to complete the process. Mr. Mauch explained that once due diligences are done and the agreement language is deemed satisfactory, the agreement will be presented to the OSC at a special meeting on December 21, 2016. Supervisor Cohen asked what Mr. Mauch needed from the Board of Supervisors this evening. Mr. Mauch responded that the OSC was requesting approval of the Natural Lands Trust (“NLT”) Conservation Easement Acquisition Proposal for Parcel G and petitioning for a date for a public hearing for consideration of approval and acceptance of the Conservation Easement Agreement for Parcel G. Supervisor Parry stated he was not happy that this transaction is taking place under such severe time constraints and is not in favor of moving forward under these condition. The township solicitor advised the Board he had several questions on the matter that would be best addressed in executive session. Supervisor Parry questioned the additional expense of bringing NLT into the transaction; Mr. Mauch responded that NLT fees would be paid from open space funds. Supervisor Guerette asked exactly what the Board would be approving-what is the proposal; Mr. Mauch responded that the easement would protect about 19 acres; the NLT agreement is non-binding as far as purchasing the easement, however, the township would be obligated to pay NLT for their services; they manage every aspect of the due diligence required for the transaction. Supervisor Parry asked why we wanted to purchase an easement on this particular property. Mr. Mauch responded that it would serve as a natural scenic buffer between two developments; it is a wildlife corridor and provides a significant view shed. Supervisor Parry said there were several issues which needed to be discussed in executive session and requested that Mr. Mauch, Mr. Jack Stefferud of the Natural Lands Trust, and the legal representative for the owner of Parcel G participate in the portion of the executive session dealing with the conservation easement transaction.
No agenda items.
Mr. Tom Cehula, 94 N. Whitehorse Road, informed the Board that the street signs at the intersection of Second Street and N. Whitehorse are inconsistent; one showing the spelling of the road as one word, “N. Whitehorse” and the other two words, “N. White Horse”. Mr. Cehula said he believes the one word spelling is correct. Mr. Cehula questioned the inclusion of the proposed trails and sidewalks from the feasibility studies conducted by the township on the multi-modal map currently being constructed; stating that he finds it disturbing as a taxpayer that it appears these proposed trails and sidewalks from the studies, which will require “astronomical” amounts of money to build, are being slowly “being etched in stone.”
Mr. Jim Keller, 22 Second Street, asked why there was no playground in his mobile home park.
Mr. Chris Perillo, 429 Greene Lane, expressed his dissatisfaction and concerns regarding the volume and speed of traffic using roads in the Moorehall development to bypass the traffic light at the intersection of Route 23 and Whitehorse Road. Mr. Perillo requested that the Board install three removable speed bumps on Moorehall Drive. Supervisor Parry said the Board would take Mr. Perillo’s suggestion under advisement. Mr. Perillo said he would follow up with the Board at their next meeting.
Mr. Jack Urie, 95 Kleyona Drive, recapped the traffic issues faced by the residents of Kleyona Avenue over the years and advised residents in attendance that the Board had authorized the installation of two stop signs which were effective in addressing the speeding issue. Mr. Urie said he was opposed to speed bumps being installed on Kleyona stating that he believes that drivers will not reduce their speed going over these bumps which will create a potentially hazardous situation.
Ms. Ellen Jantzen, 15 Galway Lane, asked about the status of a property at the corner of Country Club Road and Route 23 which appears to be rapidly deteriorating and stated her concern about the property being re-zoned as a commercial property. Supervisor Parry advised Ms. Jantzen that the property owner had approached the township to ask about subdivision requirements some time ago, but there had been no recent activity. Ms. Jantzen asked how the public could find out about re-zoning if it should come up; she was advised that it would be on the township website.
A resident asked about restricting access on township roads with traffic problems. Chief Fetterman said he did not think that could be done on public roads.
An executive session was called to order at 9:15 p.m. Present were Supervisor Cohen, Supervisor Guerette, Supervisor Majewski and Supervisor Parry. Also present were the Township Solicitor, Mr. Brennan, and Township Secretary, Mrs. Harbison. By invitation for a discussion on a conservation easement acquisition proposal, Mr. Robert Mauch of the Open Space Commission, Mr. Jack Stefferud of the Natural Lands Trust and Parcel G property owner’s legal counsel were also present. Supervisor Cohen excused herself from the Board meeting at 10:00 p.m. The executive session closed at 10:05 p.m. Supervisor Parry reported that legal matters had been discussed.
Upon motion by Supervisor Morrisson, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and passed, with Supervisor Parry dissenting, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the December 2, 2016 Natural Lands Trust Conservation Easement Acquisition Proposal for the property identified by the Schuylkill Township Open Space Commission as “Parcel G”. Supervisor Cohen was not present for the vote.
Upon motion by Supervisor Morrison, with respect to the Board’s proposed acquisition of a conservation easement over +/- 19.48 acres of ground, being a portion of UPI # 27-06-1217, located on the North side of Pawling Road and East side of Revolutionary Boulevard owned by Valley Forge Meadows Company, Inc., the Board of Supervisors authorizes the township to proceed with action toward acquisition of a conservation easement in a form to be approved by the township solicitor, special counsel to the Open Space Commission, and the Open Space Commission provided that all necessary and appropriate conditions to the acquisition are satisfied, and that the public hearing as required by the open space law concerning the proposed acquisition shall take on December 28, 2016 at the Schuylkill Township building commencing at 4:00 p.m. Further, public notice of the public meeting and public hearing shall be advertised as required by law, and following the public hearing, the Board of Supervisors may approve and execute the conservation easement document. Supervisor Parry seconded and the motion was approved. Supervisor Cohen was not present for the vote.
An executive session was called to order at 10:15 p.m. Present were Supervisor Guerette, Supervisor Majewski, Supervisor Morrisson and Supervisor Parry. Also present were the Township Solicitor, Mr. Brennan, and Township Secretary, Mrs. Harbison. The executive session closed at 10:25 p.m. Supervisor Parry reported that litigation and personnel matters had been discussed.
There being no further business before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m. upon motion of Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson, and unanimously passed by the Board of Supervisors.
Next Board of Supervisors’ Meeting
Board of Supervisors Organization Meeting:........................ Tuesday, January 3, 2016 at 7:00 PM
Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting:................ Tuesday, January 3, 2016 immediately following Organization meeting