SCHUYLKILL TOWNSHIP
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
MEETING DATE: February 3, 2016

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

Board of Supervisors Members Present

Fred Parry - Chairman, Kevin Handforth – Vice Chair, Martha Majewski – Treasurer, Barbara Cohen, Jim Morrisson

Also Present

Mary Bird – Township Manager, William Brennan, Esq.-Township Solicitor, Madeline Harbison-Township Secretary.  The Township Engineer was excused from the February meeting.

Township Representatives Present

Nicholas Cinciripino-Schuylkill Township Roadmaster, Curt English–Planning Commission, Chief James Fetterman-Schuylkill Township Police Department, Morris Quigg-Schuylkill Township Planning Commission, Kyle Shirkness-Schuylkill Township Tax Collector, Jim Shaughnessy-Schuylkill Township Recycling Coordinator

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 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 January 4, 2016 Board of Supervisors Reorganization Meeting and the January 4, 2016 Board of Supervisors Regular Business Meeting.
  2. Acceptance of all departmental, committee, commission and council reports as posted and received by the Board of Supervisors for the month of January 2016.

Upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Handforth, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township accepted and approved the January 4, 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 January 2016.

Board Member Reports

Clothier Springs Road Traffic Issues – Supervisor Handforth reported that the Schuylkill Township police have issued numerous citations to drivers exceeding the speed limit on Clothier Springs Road and that a guard rail will be installed on the road in the area of 515 Clothier Springs Road.  Supervisor Handforth said the situation would continue to be monitored by the township’s police department

Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee (“PRPC”) – Supervisor Cohen reported that Edward Theurkauf, planning consultant to the PRPC, met with the Schuylkill Township Planning Commission to discuss the pros and cons of adopting the Regional Comprehensive Plan as the township’s Municipal Comprehensive Plan.  Supervisor Cohen said that Mr. Theurkauf’s report confirmed that regional planning systems are used throughout the Commonwealth and there is no problem with municipalities having supplemental ordinances after signing on with regional planning.  Supervisor Cohen reiterated to the Board the perceived advantages to a regional planning system, citing coordination of land use, regional systems, inter-municipal cooperation and greater funding eligibility in grant applications.  Supervisor Cohen added that under a regional planning system, Schuylkill Township could focus its planning and resources on unique, local issues.  Supervisor Morrisson added that according to the PRPC’s solicitor, a regional planning system affords greater legal protection to participating municipalities.  Supervisor Morrisson said he is in favor of the regional planning system but cautioned that should the township decide to adopt a regional comprehensive plan, it should first revisit and review its municipal plan to ensure that the good elements contained therein are not lost.  Supervisor Parry said that it was his opinion that the Board should not address this until the Planning Commission weighs in on the matter.

Environmental Advisory Council (“EAC”) – Supervisor Majewski informed the Board that the EAC would be presenting at the March 24, 2016 Township Forum at the Phoenixville Country Club.  Supervisor Majewski said that while the exact nature of the presentation is still being developed, it would focus on the natural resources of the township and homeowners’ opportunities to participate in planned programs.  Supervisor Majewski reported on the status of the township’s response to the Water Quality Standards Review Stream Redesignation Evaluation Report (the DEP’s official response to the Exceptional Value (“EV”) Upgrade Petition Green Valleys Watershed Association submitted for the Pickering Creek in 2005) stating that the township has been granted a 30-day extension for its response and that Steve Kunz of the EAC is working on the township’s submission.

Treasurer’s Report and Payment of Bills

Supervisor Majewski, Treasurer, advised the Board that as of January 31, 2016, the Township’s general fund shows a balance of about $2.7 million.  Supervisor Majewski reported that the bills for January 2016 have been reviewed and she recommended payment of these bills.    

Upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Handforth, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the Treasurer’s Report for the period ending January 31, 2016 and authorized payment of Township bills for the period ending January 31, 2016.

Announcements

Supervisor Parry made the following announcements:

The final Public Information meeting regarding the Schuylkill Freedom Trail Feasibility Study will be held on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. in the Schuylkill Township Hall.

The Township administration and roads departments will be closed on Monday, February 15, 2016 in observance of the Presidents’ Day holiday.

Due to the holiday, the Historic Commission’s February meeting will be held on Monday, February 22, 2016 at 7:00 PM in the Township Hall.

The Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company’s semi-annual Soup Sale is Saturday, February 20th from 9 AM – 1PM at the main station on Valley Park Road.

March 5th is the Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company’s Pancake Breakfast fundraiser from 7 – 11 AM.  Support your local fire fighters – come and eat the best pancakes in the area.

March 19th – the annual Egg Hunt will be held at the Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company main station.

March 24th - Springtime in Schuylkill, a presentation by the Schuylkill Township Environmental Advisory Council highlighting the important natural features of our Township will be held at the Phoenixville Country Club.

Supervisor Cohen informed residents that in 2016, Chester County is celebrating 300 years of iron and steel making with celebratory events taking place throughout the county.  The Schuylkill River Heritage Center is hosting a special event on Tuesday, March 15, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. with representatives of different sites who will be announcing their plans for the celebrations.

Board Discussion Items

Old Business

Legal Matters

Solicitor Brennan advised the Board he had two matters which should be discussed in executive session, the Tredyffrin Township Zoning Hearing Board ham radio tower case and a certain zoning case in Schuylkill Township.

Jim Keller – Manufactured Home Park Complaints

Mr. Keller was not in attendance; nothing to report.

New Business

Supervisor Parry announced his intention of scheduling a retreat for the Board of Supervisors on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at 8:45 a.m. in the Schuylkill Township Hall.  Supervisor Parry said topics for the Board of Supervisors’ retreat are code of conduct/ethics, commissions, agenda items, budget, open space, trails, township building expansion, township administration organization, and any other topics as may come before the Board. 

Resolutions / Ordinances

Resolution 2016-07: In Appreciation of Galloway Morris’ Service on the Zoning Hearing Board

Supervisor Parry read Resolution 2016-07 which commended Mr. Morris for his service to the township during his tenure on the Zoning Hearing Board.

Upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Handforth, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors approved and adopted Resolution 2016-07 A Resolution of the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township Chester County to Honor Galloway Morris for Meritorious Service to Schuylkill Township.

Resolution 2016-08: In Recognition of Outstanding Performance by the Schuylkill Township Roads Department, the Schuylkill Township Police Department and the Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company

Supervisor Parry read Resolution 2016-08 in recognition of the outstanding performance of the township’s Roads and Police Departments, and the Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company during the 2016 Winter Storm Jonas.

Upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Handforth, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors approved and adopted Resolution 2016-07 A Resolution of the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township Chester County in Recognition and Profound Appreciation of Outstanding Performance.

Subdivision / Land Development

Escrow Release #1 for the Mortimer-Sparhawk 2-Lot Subdivision: S. Second Avenue (PID# 27-3P-15 and PID# 27-3P-15.1).

Motion. On a motion by Supervisor Handforth, seconded by Supervisor Cohen, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors approved Escrow Release #1 for the Mortimer-Sparhawk 2-Lot Subdivision on South Second Avenue, PID# 27-3P-15 and PID# 27-3P-15.1, in the amount of forty-six thousand six hundred fifty-six dollars and ninety-six cents ($46,656.96) in accordance with the recommendation of the Township Engineer, Gilmore & Associates, Inc., in their letter dated February 8, 2016 (File No. 07-03074T1).

The Chair recognized Mr. Thomas Cehula, 94 N. Whitehorse Road.  Mr. Cehula asked if any escrow monies would be held from this project in order to install sidewalks and questioned why it was not a requirement that they be built at the developer’s expense.  The Township Manager, Mary Bird, explained that money is held in escrow for specific items on any approved plan and is released as those items are completed.  Mrs. Bird went on to explain that the township cannot arbitrarily take escrow monies for any use that has not been specified on the development plans.  Mr. Cehula suggested that the Board consider making sidewalks a requirement for any development.

Two Minute Reports

Nothing to report.

Additional Business

Nothing to report.

Public Participation

Laurie Griggs Williams, 805 Spruce Grove Lane, complimented the Board on its current practices and thanked the Roads Department for their work during the storm.  Ms. Williams expressed her appreciation for the video-recording of the Board meetings as well.  Ms. Williams voiced a complaint about the conservation easement agreement held by the Natural Lands Trust on the property at 5 Mill Road and which is owned currently by Doctors Kellen and Asha Kovalovich.  Ms. Williams claimed the fencing in place around the property is in violation of the conservation agreement and that by this agreement, the property owner is required to mow the property once a year or every two years.  Ms. Williams said the township should look into having the land mowed and the fence removed.  Ms. Williams then commented on the sidewalk feasibility study, claiming that money is being wasted on putting sidewalks in low-volume areas and that they should be placed in high-traffic areas. 

Jeffrey Tress, 100 Kleyona Avenue, voiced his opposition to any sidewalk installation on Kleyona Avenue, citing drainage issues, residents’ loss of privacy and quiet neighborhoods, the taking of private property, and potential narrowing of the cartway.

Jack Urie, 95 Kleyona Avenue, extended his appreciation to the Roads Department for the tremendous job they did in clearing the roads during the storm.

Thomas Cehula, 94 N. Whitehorse Road, objected to the installation of sidewalks in the township and voiced his frustration with the feasibility study task force in that he did not get answers to his questions at the recent public information forum; specifically, the projected cost of the proposed sidewalks.  Mr. Cehula stated that he considers the project a waste of taxpayers’ money and that sidewalks should be installed by developers at the developers’ expense.  Mr. Cehula closed by saying that the supervisors are public officials elected by residents and their actions should be dictated by what taxpayers want, not what the supervisors want.  Supervisor Morrisson responded to Mr. Cehula’s comment regarding the projected cost of the project, stating that the feasibility study was conducted to determine the best route and estimated cost for a sidewalk installation and assured Mr. Cehula that once the draft report is completed, it would be available for residents’ review.  Supervisor Parry advised Mr. Cehula that the feasibility study was undertaken with grant money and noted that it was his observation from the February 2nd public information meeting that most residents in attendance were against the installation of sidewalks in the township.  Supervisor Parry went on to say that in this matter and others, the Board must look not only at what the township needs today but what it may need in the future.

Supervisor Parry called for a five minute recess at 8:35 p.m.

Executive Session

An executive session was called to order at 8:40 p.m. upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Handforth and passed. Present were Supervisor Cohen, Supervisor Handforth, Supervisor Majewski, Supervisor Morrisson and Supervisor Parry. Also present were the Township Solicitor, Mr. Brennan, Township Manager, Ms. Bird, and Township Secretary, Mrs. Harbison. The executive session adjourned at 9:25 p.m. upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Handforth. Supervisor Parry reported that litigation and personnel matters had been discussed.

Upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Handforth, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors approved and adopted Resolution 2016-09 authorizing the filing of a grant application with the following language inserted in Paragraph 4 of the resolution, “WHEREAS, the municipality will have available three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000.00) which is more than the amount of its required match to complete this project.”

Adjournment

There being no further business before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 9:25 p.m. upon motion of Supervisor Handforth, seconded by Supervisor Cohen, and unanimously agreed by the Board of Supervisors.

Next Board of Supervisors’ Meeting

Board of Supervisors Re-Organization Meeting:................ Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 7:30 PM

Respectfully submitted,

Madeline Harbison
Township Secretary