Duly advertised in The Pottstown Mercury and posted at www.schuylkilltwp.com
The Schuylkill Township Board of Supervisors held a special meeting on Wednesday September 19, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at the Schuylkill Township Municipal Hall, 111 Valley Park Road, Phoenixville PA 19460. Martha Majewski, Chair, called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. In attendance were Board of Supervisors members Fred Parry, Martha Majewski, Jim Morrisson and Susan Guerette. Supervisor Mark Donovan was excused from this meeting. Township Solicitor, Kenneth Butera, Jr., Esq.., Township Engineer, John Sartor, P.E., Township Roadmaster Nick Cinciripino and Schuylkill Township Police Chief Jim Fetterman were also present. Ms. Dierdre Wood, Executive Director of the YMCA, and an associate were in attendance at the invitation of the Board.
Supervisor Majewski advised that the meeting had been properly advertised and that the purpose of the meeting is discuss a serious issue of erosion and road subsidence on Creek Road and to explore possible repair solutions.
Mr. Sartor advised the Board that the roadway failure is a major concern. His observations during a site visit to the affected portion of the road indicate that severe cracking and subsidence of the roadway pavement and erosion of the road embankment slope has occurred due to the continuing heavy rain events over the last few months and the resulting flood stage high-velocity waters flowing along this segment of Creek Road in the Pickering Creek. The erosion issue has been compounded by an extensive logjam which exists in the creek immediately adjacent to the road. The logjam causes a “damming” effect of floodwaters in Pickering Creek, resulting in a whirlpool effect near the embankment and causing the soil embankment to erode. The erosion has exposed the metal guiderail posts which appear to be leaning, and the loss of embankment soils due to erosion and the movement of the edge of the road has caused large longitudinal cracks in the pavement surface. The cracks allow rainwater to drain through, adding to the loss of embankment soil. The township had authorized Gilmore & Associates, Inc. (“G&A”) to conduct a site survey and take soil borings to determine what the township’s repair options would be. Greg Sullivan, P.E., geotechnical services manager for G&A, outlined some of the initial ideas but said nothing could be decided until the results of the soil testing were available. Mr. Sullivan cautioned that any repair solution will have a number of construction complications due to inadequate access for equipment and overhead wires. It was advised that while at this time the road was not in danger of complete failure, the first step the township should take as soon as possible is to stabilize the roadbed. Mr. Sartor advised the Board that removal of the logjam was imperative because it will continue to undermine any new stabilization efforts if left in place. Mr. Sartor told the Board that before any work could be done in or around the Pickering Creek, an emergency DEP permit would have to be obtained.
Supervisor Guerette asked on whose property the logjam was located; Mr. Sartor responded that the affected portion of Pickering Creek was on YMCA property. Supervisor Guerette asked if the logjam is on YMCA property, isn’t it the YMCA’s responsibility to remove it. Mr. Butera advised that under the 2nd Class Township Code, any person causing an obstruction which interferes with or causing damage to a municipal roadway and does not remove that obstruction upon notice from the Board commits a summary offense. The Board may issue a Notice of Violation to which the person or property owner has 15 days to respond. If no action is taken, the township may have the right to enter onto the property to remove the obstruction and charge the property owner and possibly levy additional penalties. Supervisor Majewski inquired of Ms. Wood if the YMCA was prepared to remove the obstruction. Ms. Wood said she would have to consult with counsel and consultants before responding. Supervisor Majewski said that the state was offering grant money to help clear debris from waterways and suggested the Township Engineer explore the opportunity. Mr. Sartor added that perhaps the township could partner with the YMCA on any such grant application.
Upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Parry, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township authorized and instructed the Township Engineer to investigate the state’s disaster recovery grant program as to its applicability to the Pickering Creek logjam issue.
Upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Parry, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township authorized and instructed the Township Engineer to obtain with all possible urgency an emergency permit from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection for construction work required to repair Creek Road.
Upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Parry, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township authorized and instructed the Township Solicitor to issue a Notice to Abate Nuisance to the Phoenixville YMCA organization.
Supervisor. Majewski called for a motion to adjourn. Supervisor. Guerette so moved, Supervisor. Morrisson seconded and the motion passed. The meeting was adjourned at 7:55 p.m.