Duly advertised in The Pottstown Mercury and posted at www.schuylkilltwp.com
Board of Supervisors Members Present
Fred Parry - Chairman, Martha Majewski – Treasurer, Barbara Cohen, Jim Morrisson; Susan Guerette (sworn in during meeting)
Mary Bird – Township Manager, William Brennan, Esq.-Township Solicitor, Madeline Harbison-Township Secretary, MaryLou Lowrie, P.E.-Township Engineer
Township Representatives in Attendance
Jason Cole–Schuylkill Township Fire Marshall/Valley Forge Fire Company Chief, Sean Dempsey – Zoning Hearing Board, Curt English–Schuylkill Township Planning Commission, James Fetterman–Schuylkill Township Chief of Police, Susan Guerette–Zoning Hearing Board, Sandy Momyer – Historical Commission, Uday Patankar–Zoning Hearing Board, Morris Quigg – Schuylkill Township Planning Commission
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 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.
Appointment of New Board of Supervisors Member
Supervisor Parry explained that a new member was being appointed to the Board of Supervisors (the “Board”) due to former Supervisor Handforth’s resignation on July 7, 2016. On behalf of the current Board members, Supervisor Parry stated that it was gratifying to see the number and high caliber of the candidates who applied for the open supervisor seat and thanked the seven applicants for their willingness to serve their community. Supervisor Parry added that while only one of the candidates would be serving as a member of the Board of Supervisors, there were other commissions and boards in the township with vacancies needing to be filled. Supervisor Parry called for nominations from the Board to fill the present vacancy.
Supervisor Majewski nominated Susan M. Guerette to fill the current vacancy on the Schuylkill Township Board of Supervisors. Supervisor Cohen seconded the nomination. Supervisor Parry asked for further nominations, comments or discussion by the Board. There being none, Supervisor Parry called for the vote. The nomination of Susan M. Guerette to the vacant seat on the Schuylkill Township Board of Supervisors was approved and accepted by a unanimous vote.
Susan M. Guerette, 129 Magnolia Drive, Phoenixville PA, was duly sworn as a Supervisor of Schuylkill Township, Chester County before Mary R. Bird, Notary Public.
The Board of Supervisors accepted Ms. Guerette’s resignation from the Schuylkill Township Zoning Hearing Board effective immediately.
Conditional Use Hearing
At 7:40 p.m. The Township Solicitor, Mr. Brennan, opened the hearing on Application No. 2016-01. Applicant & Owner: Phoenixville Area School District. Premises: Chester County UPI No. 27-5D-10 located at 10 Campbell Lane, Zoned PFZ – Public Facilities Zone, Existing Improvements include a Farmhouse and Barn. Applicant proposes to demolish the existing barn pursuant to the Schuylkill Township Zoning Ordinance Section 370-55.B. Court Reporter Thomas Cocoran recorded the proceedings.
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Cohen, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township granted the joint request of the Phoenixville Area School District and the Schuylkill Township Historical Commission to continue the hearing to Wednesday, September 7, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. in the Schuylkill Township Hall.
Mr. Brennan closed the hearing at 7:41 p.m.
Upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township accepted and approved the July 6, 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 July 2016.
Board Member Reports
Environmental Advisory Council (“EAC”): Supervisor Majewski reported that the EAC would be doing some cleanup work at the Pickering Preserve Butterfly Garden on Saturday, August 5, 2016 at 8:30 a.m. and invited members of the public to attend.
Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee (“PRPC”): Supervisor Morrisson advised the Board that the PRPC has approved, and is ready to submit the grant application to Chester County for the proposed updating of the regional comprehensive plan.
Treasurer’s Report and Payment of Bills
Supervisor Majewski, Treasurer, advised the Board that as of July 31, 2016, the Township’s general fund shows a balance of about $4 million. She went on to say that the township has expended almost 32% of its budget as of July 31, 2016. Supervisor Majewski reported that the bills for July 2016 have been reviewed and she recommended payment of these bills.
Upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the Treasurer’s Report for the period ending July 31, 2016 and authorized payment of Township bills for the period ending July 31, 2016.
Supervisor Parry reminded his colleagues of the September 19th ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the new Sullivan’s Bridge, the pedestrian/bicycle crossing in West Norriton and Montgomery Township.
Supervisor Parry advised everyone participating in the Pokémon GO™ game to exercise caution and remain aware of their surroundings at all times.
Route 29 (State Road) in Schuylkill Township will be closed between July 25th and August 26th from Pothouse Road to Campbell Lane.
On August 5th through August 14th, Route 23 (Schuylkill Road) will be closed and detoured between Valley Forge Road and Township Line Road for bridge rehabilitation.
The Wilson Road force main rehabilitation project in the area of Valley Forge National Historic Park will likely not be completed until the end of 2016. All closures and detours will remain in effect until the entire project is complete, including Route 252 and Valley Forge Road.
The Zoning Hearing Board will not convene in August.
The Planning Commission will not meet in August.
Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company invites township residents to their Chicken Barbecue Fundraiser on Saturday, August 27th at the Substation on Pothouse Road. Take-out orders only. Visit the fire company website for more information.
The Schuylkill Township administration office and roads department will be closed on Monday, September 5th in observance of the Labor Day holiday.
Save the Date! Do you have questions about crime in our community? Join the Schuylkill Township Police Department on Thursday, September 15th for a presentation and discussion on issues facing our community. 7:30 p.m. at the Phoenixville Country Club.
Supervisor Cohen invited residents to attend a free event at the Schuylkill River Heritage Center on Tuesday, September 13th when the center will be hosting a presentation by Adam Levine, Philadelphia Water Department historian, on the transformation of the Schuylkill River.
Board Discussion Items
Solicitor Brennan advised the Board that there are a number of pending matters but there is nothing for public review.
Discussion with Property Owner 842 E. Philip Drive
Mr. Uday Patankar, 842 E. Philip Drive, addressed the Board regarding issues with the contractor Citadel Homes, LLC which is constructing a residence on the neighboring property, 840 E. Philip Drive, and with which he shares a driveway. Mr. Patankar recounted hygiene issues on his property which have come up due to this contractor, his employees and/or subcontractors and requested that the Board consider drafting an ordinance which requires sanitary facilities on all construction sites. Mr. Patankar stated that it was his opinion the contractor is flaunting township ordinances in several areas and asked that his work be thoroughly inspected and checked prior to issuing any Use & Occupancy certificate for the residence under construction.
Supervisor Parry asked the Township Solicitor what recourse was available to the township. Mr. Brennan reminded the Board that the township has taken a number of actions against Citadel Homes, LLC for various code infractions and that pertinent regulatory agencies are being kept informed as to the contractor’s activities.
Appointment of Board of Supervisors Vice Chair
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township appointed Barbara H. Cohen as Vice Chair.
Appointment of Environmental Advisory Council (“EAC”) Member
Upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township accepted the resignation of Mr. Ayut Patel from the EAC and approved the appointment of Mr. Thomas Heisey, Oakwood Lane, Phoenixville, as a full member of the EAC.
Supervisor Majewski informed the Board that the EAC now had a vacancy for an associate member. Supervisor Morrisson added that there are openings on several commissions and residents should check the website.
Resolutions / Ordinances
Resolution 2016-21: Membership in the Central Westmoreland Council of Governments
Resolved by the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township, upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Parry, and unanimously passed, that the Township will become a permanent associate member of the Central Westmoreland Council of Governments for the period September 30, 2016 to September 30, 2018.
Resolution 2016-22: Automated Red Light Enforcement Program Project Funding Agreement Signatory Authority
Resolved by the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township, upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Cohen, and unanimously passed, that the Township Manager be authorized and directed to sign the Automated Red Light Enforcement Program Project Funding Agreement on behalf of the township.
Ordinance 2016-02: Amending No Parking on Certain Streets to Include Livingston Street and Wilmer Avenue
Upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township ordained and enacted Ordinance 2016-02 amending Chapter 340, Vehicles and Traffic, Section 1. Chapter 340. Article II. Traffic and Parking, Section 340-21 to include no parking on the following streets: Livingston Street North and South between Charlestown Road and Wilmer Avenue; Wilmer Avenue West From Livingston Street to 1216 Wilmer Avenue; and Wilmer Avenue East between Livingston Street and West Pothouse Road.
Subdivision / Land Development
No agenda items.
Supervisor Majewski recounted that while attending a Chester County event, she had a conversation with Assistant District Attorney Michael Noone during which he complimented the Schuylkill Township Police Department on their professionalism, dedication and inter-agency cooperation.
Mr. David Faggioli, Delaware Valley Properties II, LLC 330 Pawling Road, addressed the Board regarding the site plan required by the Board. Mr. Faggioli stated that this was an undue burden and financial hardship and he felt that his building permit and approved plans should suffice. The Township Solicitor advised the Board that the submittal of the plan was required by the Board, and agreed to by Mr. Faggioli, as a further condition at its March 2, 2016 meeting at which Mr. Faggioli petitioned the Board for an expansion to the original conditional land development waiver granted on November 4, 2015. The Board reiterated to Mr. Faggioli that a site plan drawn to the specifications provided to Mr. Faggioli by the Township Engineer must be submitted by Mr. Faggioli to the Township.
Mr. Peter Mercuri, President Pickering Glen Homeowners Association, Mr. Mercuri congratulated Supervisor Guerette on her appointment to the Board and added his appreciation for the services provided by the Schuylkill Township Police Department and Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company. Mr. Mercuri presented to the Board various complaints against the Phoenixville Area School District’s Early Learning Center construction project. Supervisor Majewski told Mr. Mercuri that issues with the school project should be presented to the Phoenixville Area School District. The Township Solicitor reminded Mr. Mercuri that in the matter of plan approvals for any project, the township is bound by its ordinances. Mr. Brennan further explained that if a developer such as the school district presents a plan which meets all the requirements in its ordinances, under the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Municipal Planning Code, the township is obligated to approve the project. The approved plan is not a township project and the township cannot act as an insurance policy for property owners who have issues with the developer or the development process. Mr. Mercuri then raised issues concerning the Pickering Glen trail and neighboring property owners stating the township has done nothing to assist the residents of Pickering Glen with these problems. Mr. Brennan reminded Mr. Mercuri that the township sued the Pickering Glen developer over the trail construction and subsequently turned over the entire damages award from the suit to the Pickering Glen Homeowners Association; additionally, a successful suit was brought against the neighboring property owner to prevent further subdivision of that parcel – this also benefited the Pickering Glen development. Supervisor Cohen further reminded Mr. Mercuri of the additional monies which were donated by the township in 2011 to the Pickering Glen Homeowners Association for their use in repairing the development’s trail.
Mr. William Mertz, 565 Clothier Springs Road, asked the Board for an update on his request that action be taken regarding the speeding issue on Clothier Springs Road. Chief Fetterman advised that extra patrols were being made on Clothier Springs Road and numerous tickets have been written. Chief Fetterman said he would continue with the special patrols as his department resources allowed. Mr. Mertz asked why a speed hump could not be installed. Ms. Bird, Township Manager, responded that the Roadmaster has looked into this request and advised that it was not a good location for a speed hump because of the hill. Mr. Mertz disagreed with that finding and repeated his request to have a speed hump installed. Supervisor Parry said the township would continue to monitor the situation.
Mr. John Mraz, 34 Meadowbrook Lane, congratulated Supervisor Guerette on her appointment to the Board and thanked the sitting Supervisors for interviewing him for the appointment. Mr. Mraz expressed his dissatisfaction with the recent interview procedure and the manner in which the selection of the new supervisor was conducted, stating his qualifications for the appointment and his opinion that the process was not performed as required in the Township Supervisors Handbook. Mr. Mraz mentioned the two conceptual projects - a proposed subdivision at the technical high school property and a proposed CCRC at the former Christian conference center property - and the draft Schuylkill Township Freedom Trail feasibility study presented at the July 20, 2016 Planning Commission meeting, and told the Board the public should be kept abreast of projects such as these as well as the cost of the trail installation being proposed by the township. Mr. Mraz then criticized the Board of Supervisors for not attending school district meetings.
Mr. Thomas Cehula, 94 N. Whitehorse Road, asked if there were any developments with the Sidewalk Committee since the acceptance of the feasibility study. Supervisor Morrisson advised Mr. Cehula that the Sidewalk Committee was on hiatus for the summer but that meetings would resume sometime in the Fall. Mr. Cehula asked if there were any openings on the sidewalk committee, Supervisor Morrisson replied there may be and requested that Mr. Cehula be added to the roster for the committee.
Supervisor Parry called for a five-minute recess at 9:25 p.m.
An executive session was called to order at 9:10 p.m. upon motion by Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed. Present were Supervisor Cohen, Supervisor Guerette, 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 closed at 9:35 p.m. upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Cohen, and unanimously passed. Supervisor Parry reported that litigation and personnel matters had been discussed.
On motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Cohen, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township appointed Township Secretary Madeline Harbison as Assistant Township Manager for the period August 18, 2016 through September 30, 2016 or until the return of the Township Manager to active duty, whichever is sooner.
There being no further business before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 9:35 p.m. upon motion of Supervisor Cohen, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson, and unanimously passed by the Board of Supervisors.
Next Board of Supervisors’ Meeting
Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting:....................... Wednesday, September 7, 2016 at 7:00 PM