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, Jim Morrisson; Susan Guerette
William Brennan, Esq.-Township Solicitor, Madeline Harbison-Township Secretary; Mary Lou Lowrie, P.E. – Township Engineer.
Township Representatives in Attendance
James Fetterman–Schuylkill Township Chief of Police, Jim 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.
Schuylkill Township Freedom Trail Feasibility Study
Mr. Chris Green of Gilmore & Associates presented the draft Freedom Trail Feasibility Study to the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Green advised that the trail steering committee held eight committee meetings and three public meetings during the course of putting the study together. The trail is an attempt to make a connection from the Valley Forge National Historic Park to the Borough of Phoenixville where it will ultimately connect with the Schuylkill River Trail that will create a 14 mile loop trail. He stated that field work was also conducted that included looking at the Norfolk-Southern rail corridor and larger roadways for opportunities to work within rights-of-way and private property parcels such as Aqua and Freedoms Foundation.
Mr. Green advised that currently there are a number of obstructions with creating the trail: 1) the significant grade on Valley Forge Road; 2) the disinterest in the trail by Norfolk-Southern; 3) no room for pedestrian facilities on Pawling Road bridge; 4) safety concerns with the Aqua Pennsylvania and McAvoy Brick property; and 5) safety of visiting students to the Freedoms Foundation in conflict with trail users. Due to these concerns there is not a continuous off-road ten foot wide trail. The VFNHP although on board with the trail connection to the park does not want a paved trail on their property. The park would prefer a gravel trail that they would maintain.
The trail will start at the Joseph Plum Martin trail in the VFNHP and end at the Borough of Phoenixville/ Schuylkill Township municipal boundary line on South Second Avenue. Mr. Green stated that some phases of the trail have been coordinated with sidewalk areas shown in the sidewalk feasibility study that was recently completed by the Township. There are overlapping corridors between the two studies.
There are two roadway areas where vehicle travel lanes will need to be narrowed or adjusted to allow for pedestrian use: 1) the culvert bridge near Route 252 would require the travel lanes to be narrowed to 11 foot wide to accommodate bike and pedestrians and, 2) the Aqua dam bridge travel lanes would also need to be adjusted to allow for bicycles and pedestrians on the south side of the bridge.
Freedoms Foundation currently does not want the trail on their property. The feasibility study had originally shown the trail to enter the foundation property, link to the Medal of Honor grove and then enter the University of Valley Forge property and then exiting onto Valley Forge Road. The feasibility study plan now shows the trail traversing along Valley Forge Road up to the Ferry Lane/Valley Forge Road intersection. MSupervisor Cohen stated that Mr. DeYeso, President and CEO of Freedoms Foundation may change his mind about the trail traversing the foundation property. She stated that she will continue to have conversations with him.
Mr. Green stated that the 4-way intersection of Ferry Lane/Valley Forge Road/Country Club Road is a critical intersection in the study. Pedestrian crossing is needed since the trail crosses over to Country Club Road to then traverse to Maisfield Road. The trail would then ultimately go through the Aqua Pennsylvania property next to the fenced in reservoir and would then exit onto the south side of Valley Forge Road.
The next Valley Forge Road crossing would be at Dorchester Way and Moorehall Drive crossing from the south side to the north side of the road. From there walking on established sidewalks in the Moorehall development to South Second Avenue.
The total cost to implement the Freedom trail including design costs is approximately $7,680.000. The most costly segment of the trail is the portion along Route 23 from the Freedoms Foundation to Ferry Lane with an approximate cost of $4,420,000. The Township will need the assistance of Federal and State grants for implementation of any segment of the Freedom Trail.
Resolution 2016-23: Resolved by the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township, upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson, and unanimously passed, that the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approve and accept the Final Draft of the Schuylkill Township Freedom Trail Feasibility Study and its associated appendices dated August 2016 conditioned upon the insertion of a cost comparison between the proposed trail segment along the west side of Valley Forge Road and the alternative routing through the Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge property on Page 49, Phase III: Segments B & C.
Upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Cohen, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township accepted and approved the September 7, 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 September 2016.
Board Member Reports
Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee (“PRPC”): Supervisor Cohen advised the Board that a presentation was made to the PRPC by the Phoenixville Green Team on municipalities developing a regional trail system
Planning Commission (“PC”): Supervisor Morrisson reported that at the most recent PC meeting, The Endeavor Group presented an updated concept plan for a proposed Continuing Care Retirement Community on the former National Christian Conference Center property. Supervisor Morrisson said the plan was not well-received by neighboring property owners.
Environmental Advisory Council (“EAC”): Supervisor Majewski announced that on Saturday October 29th, the EAC would be sponsoring a litter pickup on Valley Park Road and asked for volunteers to meet at the Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company at 8 AM on October 29, 2016.
Treasurer’s Report and Payment of Bills
Supervisor Majewski, Treasurer, advised the Board that as of September 30, 2016, the Township’s general fund shows a balance of just over $4.1 million. She went on to say that the township is 75% through the fiscal year and has expended only about 59% of its budget as of September 30, 2016. Supervisor Majewski reported that the bills for September 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 September 30, 2016 and authorized payment of Township bills for the period ending September 30, 2016.
Supervisor Parry made the following announcements:
The Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township proclaims October 9 through 15, 2016 as National Fire Week in the township and urges all residents of Schuylkill Township to take personal steps to increase their safety from fire by replacing their smoke alarms at least every ten years, and to support the many public safety activities and efforts of the Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company’s fire and emergency services during Fire Prevention Week 2016. Supervisor Parry reminded residents that Monday, October 10 is the Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company’s National Fire Week Open House.
Monday, October 17 - Route 252 is expected to re-open.
Thursday October 27th – Township-sponsored seminar on Reverse Mortgages presented by Penna. Dept. of Banking & Securities. 7:00 pm at the Schuylkill Township Hall.
Tuesday, November 8, 2016 – General Election. Supervisor Parry strongly encouraged township residents to exercise their right to vote.
Mr. Shaughnessy informed residents that the township compost yard would be open for leaf waste drop off only on the following Saturdays from 8:00 AM – 12 PM for fall cleanup: November 5th, November 12th, November 19th, and December 3rd.
Board Discussion Items
Solicitor Brennan reported that while there are on-going legal matters, he has nothing for public discussion.
2016/2017 Equipment Rental & Snow Removal Bid Opening and Contract Award
Supervisor Majewski announced that one (1) bid was received in response to the Request for Proposals for the Schuylkill Township 2016/2017 Equipment Rental & Snow Removal Contract.
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Cohen, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors approved and authorized the award of the Schuylkill Township 2015/2016 Equipment Rental and Snow Removal Contract to Cedar Springs Construction Company in an amount not to exceed $284,100.00, and in accordance with their proposal submitted on October 5,
2016 pending a bid compliance review by the Assistant Township Manager and Roadmaster.
Appointments to Zoning Hearing Board
Upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township appointed Mr. James Lombardi, township resident, to the Schuylkill Township Zoning Hearing Board to fulfill the unexpired term of Susan Guerette per the recommendation of the current Zoning Hearing Board members. Mr. Lombardi’s term will expire in January 2017.
Upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township appointed Mr. Sean Dempsey, 1st Alternate Member, as a full voting member of the Zoning Hearing Board for the remainder of his term per the recommendation of current Zoning Hearing Board members. Mr. Dempsey’s term will expire in January 2018.
Resolutions / Ordinances
Resolution 2016-24: Act 537 Plan Revision
Resolved by the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township, upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Parry, and unanimously passed, that the township adopt and submit to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for its approval as a revision to the “Official Plan” of Schuylkill Township, the Tredyffrin Township “Act 537 Supplement for Wilson Road Force Main” dated July 2016, which provides for sewage facilities serving a portion of Schuylkill Township.
Resolution 2016-25: Signatory Authority Traffic Signal Approval
Resolved by the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township, upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Parry, and unanimously passed, that the Township Manager of Schuylkill Township is authorized and directed to submit the Application for Traffic Signal Approval for a School Warning Device at Main Street (Rte. 29) and City Line Avenue, Phoenixville, PA to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.
Subdivision / Land Development
Phoenixville Area School District Early Learning Center – Escrow Release No. 3
On motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Cohen, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and authorized Escrow Release No.3 for the Phoenixville Area School District Early Learning Center project in the amount of seven hundred seventy-two thousand, seven hundred eighty-five dollars and twenty-four cents ($772,785.24) as recommended in the Gilmore & Associates, Inc. letter of October 3, 2016 (File No. 13-12010T1).
House Bill 782
Supervisor Morrisson requested that a letter be drafted to the attention of Representative Warren Kampf outlining the concerns of the Schuylkill Township Board of Supervisors in regard to House Bill 782 Amending the Uniform Construction.
On motion by Supervisor Morrisson, seconded by Supervisor Cohen, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township authorized and instructed Supervisor Morrisson to draft the township’s letter to Representative Warren Kampf expressing the Board’s opposition to House Bill 782 as written and requesting that Representative Kampf work with certain members of the PSATS organization in order to correct perceived deficiencies in the aforementioned bill.
Mr. Jim Keller, 22 2nd Street, expressed his dissatisfaction with the denial of his request to be placed on the agenda and reiterated his complaints about the manufactured home community in which he lives. Supervisor Parry advised him his comments would be taken under consideration.
An executive session was called to order at 9:25 p.m. Present were Supervisor Cohen, 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 10:10 p.m. Supervisor Parry reported that litigation and personnel matters had been discussed.
On motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Parry, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township appointed Madeline Harbison, Township Secretary, as Interim Assistant Township Manager until the Township Manager returns to active duty or until such time as the appointment is amended by the Board of Supervisors.
On motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and appointed as special labor counsel, John P. McLaughlin, Esq. of Campbell Durrant Beatty Palombo & Miller, P.C. per the terms of the engagement letter dated September 2, 2016 until such time as amended by the Board of Supervisors.
There being no further business before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 10:15 p.m. upon motion of Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Parry, and unanimously passed by the Board of Supervisors.
Next Board of Supervisors’ Meeting
Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting:....................... Wednesday, November 2, 2016 at 7:30 PM