SCHUYLKILL TOWNSHIP
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
MEETING DATE: April 4, 2018

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

In Attendance

Board of Supervisors

Martha Majewski - Chair, Fred Parry – Vice Chair, Jim Morrisson – Treasurer, Mark Donovan, Susan Guerette

Township Administration

William Brennan, Esq.-Township Solicitor, Madeline Harbison – Township Secretary, John Sartor, P.E .- Township Engineer

Other Township Representatives Present

Rick Beittel-President Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company, Chief James Fetterman-Schuylkill Township Police Department, Robert Mauch-Chair Schuylkill Township Open Space Commission

Appearing before the Board

Jeffrey A. Kowalczyk, CPA CFE - Barbacane Thornton & Company

Ann Hutchinson, AICP – Natural Lands Trust

Call to Order

The monthly public business meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance. The meeting was chaired by Supervisor Majewski.     

2017 Audit Report

Mr. Kowalczyk presented the 2017 Schuylkill Township Annual Audit and Financial Report. Barbacane Thornton conducted audits for the Township General Fund, Open Space Fund, Capital Roads Fund, Municipal Complex Fund, Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company Capital Fund and Pension Plans (2). The Tax Collector audit will be conducted in April. The Auditor’s Report notes the Township is meeting all expectations and requirements, there are no significant remarks regarding internal controls and the staff are following all processes and procedures as needed.

Consent Agenda

  1. Approval and acceptance of the Minutes of the March 14, 2018 Board of Supervisors Regular Business Meeting Minutes.
  2. Acceptance of all departmental, committee, commission and council reports as posted and received by the Board of Supervisors for the month of March 2018.

Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the Consent Agenda.

Board Member Reports

Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee (“PRPC”).  Supervisor Morrisson reported that the PRPC continues to revise the Regional Comprehensive Plan (the “Plan”), the draft of which is about 70% completed.  Supervisor Morrisson outlined the different sections of the Plan being revised by the PRPC.  Supervisor Donovan added that Chester County Landscapes 3 will be holding a series of public meetings, the first of which is April 10, 2018 at the New Garden Township Building in Landenberg, PA.  Supervisor Morrisson said the second Landscapes 3 public meeting will be held on May 1, 2018 at Penn State Great Valley at 5:30 p.m.

Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company Supervisor Guerette reported that the Township would be funding half the cost of the fire company’s radio repeaters rental at a cost of about $330.00 per quarter.

Schuylkill Township Environmental Advisory Council (“EAC”).  Supervisor Majewski reported that the EAC is holding their spring clean-up campaign on Saturday April 28, 2018.  The clean-up will target Pothouse Road between Township Line Road and Charlestown Road.  Supervisor Majewski thanked the Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company Fire Police for their assistance in traffic control for this event.  Supervisor Majewski added that the EAC is considering changing the start time of their monthly meetings to 7:00 p.m. and will make a decision at their April meeting.

Treasurer’s Report and Payment of Bills

Supervisor Morrisson, Treasurer, advised the Board that as of March 31, 2018, the Township’s general fund shows a balance of $3,076,061.38 and reported on the remaining Township funds.  Supervisor Morrisson reported that the bills for March 2018 have been reviewed and he recommended payment of these bills. 

Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the Treasurer’s Report for the period ending March 31, 2018, and authorized payment of Township bills for the period ending March 31, 2017.

Board Discussion Items

Old Business

Legal Matters

Mr. Brennan advised the Board that there was nothing to report in public session. Mr. Brennan noted that the public hearing to render the Board of Supervisors’ decision and vote on the Whitehorse-Phoenixville, LLC (Wawa) will be held on Wednesday, April 18, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. in the Township Building.

Ordinance Assessment Report – Natural Lands Trust (“NTL”).  Supervisor Morrisson summarized the process by which it was determined that a review of the Township’s ordinances in regards to open space preservation was needed and invited Ann Hutchinson to present the findings of the Natural Lands Trust.  Ms. Hutchinson gave a brief history of the NTL and proceeded to present different examples of how the different areas on which the NTL reported in the March 8, 2018 Schuylkill Township Land Use Ordinance Assessment, those being Implementing Comprehensive and Open Space Plans; the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance; and, the Zoning Ordinance, have been implemented in other municipalities.  The Assessment was conducted with an eye towards ensuring water quality and managing growth in a manner that conserves the special places and rural character that contribute to residents’ quality of life in Schuylkill Township.  The summary of the report is that in order to adopt conservation design standards as explained in the report, the most critical amendments required to the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance are 1) Article IV, Information to be Shown on Subdivision and Land Development Plans, would be amended to require a Site Visit, the Four-Step Design Process, a Context Map and a suggestion that the Natural Features Inventory is submitted at the Sketch Plan phase; and 2) Article V, Minimum Design Standards, would be amended with Design Standards for Open Space in Conservation Subdivisions.  The Zoning Ordinance would be amended such that 1) Conservation subdivision would be permitted by-right, versus by Conditional Use, in the FR, R1 and R2 zoning districts, and apply to tracts of seven or more acres, perhaps as small as five acres in the R1 and R2 districts, 2)Full density, by-right subdivision is allowed only when conservation design standards are followed, 3) Developers who choose not to follow a conservation design pattern could do so, but at half the maximum density, and 4) Open space is required to be at least 50% of the Developable Area/buildable land plus all environmentally constrained land.  Discussion ensued regarding various aspects of the implementation of the NTL’s recommendations, and the benefits and drawbacks thereof.

State Route 23 Traffic Study and Traffic Light at State Route 23 and State Route 252

Supervisor Morrisson stated his concerns regarding the timing of the traffic signal at SR 23 & SR 252 and invited Chief Fetterman to share the results of his meeting with Upper Merion Township wherein the traffic signal is located.  Chief Fetterman explained that the main issue is volume on SR 23 & SR 252 and Upper Merion will approach PennDOT to discuss possible timing adjustments.  Supervisor Morrisson then discussed the SR 23 traffic study conducted by Chief Fetterman for the section between White Horse Road and Starr Street.  Chief Fetterman stated that his study reviewed accidents from 2015 through 2017; there were 36 accidents, the majority were not attributable to speed but rather to distracted drivers.  The Board concluded that PennDOT should not be approached at this time regarding lowering of the speed limit on this section of road.

Procedure for Processing Ordinance Amendments

Supervisor Morrisson discussed his proposed procedure for processing ordinance amendments; he was reminded by Supervisor Guerette that the procedure had been decided upon at the last Board meeting and that the ordinance committee was disbanded by the Board.  Ordinance amendments would be discussed by the entire Board at monthly working sessions.  Discussion ensued regarding the working sessions schedule and procedures.  The Board concurred that the working sessions would be held on the fourth Thursday of each month, as needed, at 7:30 p.m. No votes will be taken at the working sessions; decisions would be deferred to the regular monthly business meetings.  The Township Secretary was instructed to revise the meeting schedule and advertise as required.

Music Festival Update

Supervisor Donovan reported to the Board that the committee is currently setting up a date in April for a planning meeting but that a name has been chosen for the festival, the Schuylkill Freedoms Festival. He stated that he would have full report at the May meeting.  Mr. Cooney updated the Board on his meetings with other municipalities on how they stage similar events.    The Township Solicitor advised that there were some questions which needed to be resolved, i.e., the event must be placed in a category such as a community arts allocation, and is the Township the sponsor of the event or a contributor; i.e. who is responsible, and should a non-profit corporation be set up to cover the event.  Discussion ensued regarding responsibility and liability.  Supervisor Guerette asked what financial responsibility the Township would be taking on; Mr. Cooney said the Township would cover the cost of any police presence required; EMT services and any additional insurance required by the Township’s carrier.  Mr. Brennan reiterated his concerns about the scope of responsibility and asked that the festival committee clarify the situation.  Supervisor Donovan was tasked with investigating how second class townships put on these events.

New Business

Appointment of Environmental Advisory Council Associate Member

Upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Parry and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township appointed Harmonie Hawley, a resident of the Township, to the Schuylkill Township Environmental Advisory Council for a term to expire in January 2021 as recommended by the EAC.

Letter of Support for the EAC Unnamed Streams Project

Upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and authorized Supervisor Majewski to issue a letter of support for the EAC Unnamed Streams Project.

Resolutions / Ordinances

Consideration of Adoption of Proposed Ordinance No. 2018-01: To Modify the Township’s Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (“SALDO”) concerning Consideration of Applications

Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson, and unanimously passed, the public meeting was adjourned.

Upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson, and unanimously passed, the public hearing to consider the adoption of Proposed Ordinance No. 2018-01: To Modify the Township’s Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance concerning Consideration of Applications was opened.

Mr. Brennan explained the hearing was to consider the enactment of a change to the Township’s SALDO by which land development plans are distributed among the various boards and commissions for review and recommendations.  Mr. Brennan asked for public comment or testimony; there being none he requested the Board consider a motion.

Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and enacted Ordinance No. 2018-01: To Modify the Township’s Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance concerning Consideration of Applications.

Upon motion by Supervisor Morrisson, seconded by Supervisor Donovan, and unanimously passed, the public hearing was closed.

Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson, and unanimously passed, the public meeting was called to order.

Consideration of Proposed Resolution No. 2018-10: Application for DCNR Grant for Valley Park Park

Resolved upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township adopts this Resolution No. 2018-10 by which it authorizes Supervisor Majewski to submit an application to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources grant program for funding for the Valley Park Park development project.

Subdivision / Land Development

Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee Review of Sedgley Farm Tentative Plan

Discussion ensued regarding the advisability of a review by the PRPC.

Upon motion by Supervisor Morrisson, seconded by Supervisor Majewski and passed, with Supervisor Parry and Supervisor Donovan dissenting, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved the review of the Sedgley Farm Tentative Plan by the Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee.

Additional Business

Supervisor Morrisson asked to open a discussion on obtaining RFPs for the revision of the Township’s ordinance as they relate to open space.  Discussion ensued on what the scope of work would be and what deliverables might be expected.  Mr. Sartor advised that the Township may want Gilmore & Associates, Inc., in its role as Township Engineer, to assist in the review and discussion of any ordinance language deliverables from the consultant.  Supervisor Majewski suggested that the goals be part of the discussion at the Board’s first working session.

Discussion was held regarding a possible date for the next public hearing on the Sedgley Farm/Pohlig Builders, LLC Tentative Plan.  The Board concurred that the next hearing would be held at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, April 30, 2018, possibly at the Phoenixville Middle School, with subsequent dates of May 9th and May 10th, if needed.

Announcements

April 12, 2018 – Wildflower Presentation Phoenixville Country Club 7:30 p.m.

April 28, 2018 – EAC Spring Cleanup

May 5, 2018 – Community Shred Event 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the CCIU CAT Pickering Campus

Public Comment

Rick Beittel, Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company, asked if West End Ambulance could bring items to the Community Shred Event.  He told Supervisor Donovan that EMT coverage for the music festival would be $750.00.  Mr. Beittel thanked the Board for looking into the timing of the light at SR 23 & SR 252; at the time the Phoenixville area loop system first went in, Upper Merion was contacted regarding this issue because of the fire company’s egress/ingress issues but no action was taken at that time because of the age of the existing signal.

Executive Session

An executive session was called to order at 10:20 p.m. upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Parry and passed.  Present were Supervisor Donovan, Supervisor Guerette, Supervisor Majewski, Supervisor Morrisson and Supervisor Parry. Also present were the Township Solicitor, Mr. Brennan and the Township Secretary, Mrs. Harbison.  The public meeting resumed at 10:20 p.m.  Supervisor Majewski announced that personnel issues and potential litigation were discussed.

Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Guerette and passed, with Supervisor Morrisson dissenting, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township appointed Supervisor Donovan as the Schuylkill Township member and Supervisor Guerette as the alternate member on the Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee, replacing Supervisor Morrisson and Supervisor Donovan, respectively.

Adjournment

There being no further business before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 11:20 p.m. upon motion of Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Guerette and unanimously agreed by the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township.

Next Board of Supervisors’ Meeting

Board of Supervisors Working Session................................. Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 7:30 P.M.

Board of Supervisors Regular Business Meeting.................... Wednesday May 2, 2018 at 7:30 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Madeline Harbison
Township Secretary