MEETING DATE: June 27, 2019 -- Public Work Session

Duly advertised in The Pottstown Mercury and posted at

The Schuylkill Township Board of Supervisors held their public work session on Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.  This is an informal meeting to discuss township related business with the public without making any motions or voting on any discussed items.  The work session was called to order at 7:00 p.m. by Board Chair Martha Majewski.

The working meeting’s agenda was a review of certain Township Zoning Ordinance Changes and/or Improvements to Chapter 370, Subdivision and Land Development Changes/Improvements-Chapter 320, Traffic Impact Fee/Act 209 Study; Stormwater Improvements and the Route 23 Sidewalk project.  In attendance were Supervisors Mark Donovan, Susan Guerette, Martha Majewski, Jim Morrisson, and Fred Parry.  Also attending were Township Manager, E.J. Mentry, and Township Solicitor and William Brennan, Esq.

Conservation Subdivision Overlay: Mr. Mentry informed the Board that the Natural Lands has completed the draft SLDO and Zoning amendments to the Schuylkill Township Code.  The Township’s Planning Commission reviewed the completed draft at their June meeting and recommended approval.  Mr. Mentry advised the Board that the Township Solicitor has reviewed the draft amendments for formatting only – not content – and recommended that the Board allow enough time for a thorough legal review prior to beginning the adoption process.  The Board concurred and instructed the Township Manager to include this matter on the July agenda of the Board of Supervisors meeting.

Tree Removal/Replacement Ordinance:  Supervisor Guerette informed the Board that she wants the proposed tree ordinance to move forward quickly; that, in general, the ordinance implementation process is too protracted.  Supervisor Guerette stated that Schuylkill Township should simply adopt East Pikeland’s tree ordinance.  The Township Solicitor advised the Board that he has not seen the East Pikeland ordinance and asked if the Chester County Planning Commission had commented on said ordinance.  Mr. Brennan further advised the Board that adoption of a tree ordinance at this time would not impact any development currently before the Board.  The Board directed the Township Manager to send the East Pikeland tree ordinance language to the Township Solicitor and to determine where in the Township’s Zoning Code such an ordinance would be inserted.

The Board instructed the Township Manager to also move ahead with Accessory and Setback ordinance amendments.

Traffic Impact Fees (“TIF”) (Act 209 Study) – Mr. Mentry reiterated that TIF is more common in municipalities with major interchanges or an anticipated influx of development.  The presence of Route 23 in the Township would make it a candidate but without much potential development, the cost of the study may not be cost-effective.  In order to levy TIF, the Township must conduct an Act 209 Study, the first step of which is to identify the area(s) it anticipates growth will occur.  This will determine the cost and scope of the study.  The study is usually a 1-2 year process and, depending on the scope, would cost between $50,000 - $100,000 but there may be grants available to offset some of this cost.  The Township Solicitor mentioned that TIF are generally targeted to commercial development and added that there has been no significant development in the Township for about 10 years.  Mr. Mentry stated that if a TIF is enacted, any monies collected must be used for traffic improvements, not road maintenance, and that the TIF could be used on state roads.  Mr. Mentry said the Board may want to consider implementing the TIF process because then a study would be in place and would only have to be updated from time to time and there are still some significant undeveloped parcels in the township.  Additionally, once the resolution to commence the traffic study is adopted, an interim TIF can be put in place.  A traffic engineer must perform the study and a scope of work should be in hand before passing the resolution.  Discussion ensued regarding the pros and cons of implementing TIF. Mr. Mentry suggested to the Board that he set up a presentation regarding TIF and the implementation process at the July work session. The Board agreed.

Paul Lemen Drive Stormwater Improvements – Mr. Mentry advised the Board that the gabion baskets put in place last year on the upper section of Paul Lemen Drive failed during last weeks heavy rains and that the stormwater control plan needs to be reworked.  There is no option strictly in the Township’s right-of-way; some easements will be required.  The three options for the Board to consider are (1) stopgap measures can continue to be put in place to slow down the water (about $90,000); (2) a pipe can be run down the ditch (this option not fiscally feasible as it would cost in the neighborhood of $1,000,000; or (3) run a pipe in the right-of-way under the road to the culvert at the bottom of Paul Lemen Drive at a cost of about $350,000.

Option 1, initially the least expensive, will save the road but will not prevent erosion on neighboring properties.  Additionally, there will be add-on costs of on-going maintenance and necessary easements. Option 3 means more control, less maintenance and no easements.  Supervisor Donovan asked about the lifespan of the various options and suggested a cost analysis be done.  The Board requested that further discussion be held with the Roadmaster and the Township Engineer at the July Board meeting.  Several residents voiced their frustration with stormwater issues in the Township.

Rt. 23 Sidewalk Project – MTF Grant Resident Notification Letters – Mr. Mentry informed the Board that the notification letters to residents were prepared and ready to go and the grant application is on track.

Stormwater Management – Simplified Approach – Mr. Mentry informed the Board that the review and research into the incorporation of the simplified ed approach to stormwater management into the Township’s Act 167 Ordinance is in progress but that it will take some time.  Updates will be provided to the Board on a regular basis.

Recreation Fees-In-Lieu – Mr. Mentry reiterated that the Township already has a Recreation Fee-in-Lieu (§320-27) in place but the Board may wish to consider updating the 1992 Open Space, Recreation and Environmental Resources Plan.  Depending on how comprehensive an update the Board wishes to undertake, it will cost between $15,000 for a quick update up to $60,000 for a complete re-write.  He will receive a rough scope of work for the update from Natural Lands for the next work session. 

Plastic Bag Restrictions – Supervisor Guerette informed the Board that she is still working on a draft ordinance for plastic bag restrictions in the Township and is currently waiting for some suggested language from other municipality.

Chapter 303 Solid Waste – Ms. Yocom indicated that this chapter of the Zoning Ordinance is out of date and ineffective and recommended it be updated.  The Board instructed the Zoning Officer to begin a review and present her recommended changes at a future date.  It was suggested that she work with the Township’s Recycling Coordinator, Mr. Jim Shaughnessy, on any revisions.

Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee Supervisor Donovan advised the Board that West Vincent Township has requested membership on the PRPC and that the Committee will be requesting a resolution of approval from all participating municipalities.

An executive session was called at 8:50 p.m. for discussion on certain litigation matters.  The public meeting was reconvened at 9:10 p.m.

The meeting adjourned at 9:10 p.m.

The next work session date is July 25, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Madeline Harbison
Township Secretary