SCHUYLKILL TOWNSHIP
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
MEETING DATE: August 7, 2019

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 – Member, Susan Guerette - Member.

Township Administration

William Brennan, Esq.-Township Solicitor, Madeline Harbison – Township Secretary, Mary Lou Lowrie, P.E. – Township Engineer, E.J. Mentry – Township Manager.

Other Township Representatives Present

Curt English – Schuylkill Township Planning Commission, James Fetterman-Chief, Schuylkill Township Police Department

Call to Order

The monthly public business meeting was called to order at 7:35 p.m. with the Pledge of Allegiance. The meeting was chaired by Supervisor Majewski.  Supervisor Majewski announced that an executive session was held immediately prior to this evening’s meeting to discuss litigation, personnel, and contract negotiation matters. 

Appearing Before the Board

Mr. Scott Nelson, Ph.D., Constituent Advocate for U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan appeared before the Board on her behalf.  Mr. Nelson advised the Board that Representative Houlahan would like to be a resource for municipalities in her district, i.e., in the area of federal and state grants, etc.  Mr. Nelson invited the Township and its residents to contact him at Representative Houlahan’s office in West Chester with any concerns or wants so Representative Houlahan can be an advocate for her constituents’ needs.

Resolutions of Appreciation

Resolved upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Donovan, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township does hereby adopt and approve Resolution 2019-15 wherein the Board of Supervisors, on behalf of the residents of Schuylkill Township, recognizes and extends its appreciation to Uday Patankar for his commitment to, support of, and distinguished leadership in community affairs in Schuylkill Township both as a Zoning Hearing Board member and former Supervisor.  Supervisor Majewski read the full text of the Resolution into the record and it is incorporated herein by reference.

Resolved upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township does hereby adopt and approve Resolution 2019-16 wherein the Board of Supervisors, on behalf of the residents of Schuylkill Township, does hereby commend and thank Sandra Momyer for her time-honored legacy of dedication, enthusiasm and outstanding public service given to Schuylkill Township as Chair of the Historical Commission for the past sixteenyears.  Supervisor Parry read the full text of the Resolution into the record and it is incorporated herein by reference.

Mrs. Momyer thanked the Board for their support over the years and recognized the members of the Historical Commission with whom she has worked, both since the inception of the Commission and more recently.

Consent Agenda

  1. Approval and acceptance of the Minutes of the June 27, 2019 Board of Supervisors Work Session, the July 3, 2019 Regular Business Meeting and the July 25, 2019 Work Session. 
  2. Acceptance of all departmental, committee, commission and council reports as posted and received by the Board of Supervisors for the month of July 2019.

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 Donovan reported that West Pikeland Township has been accepted as a member of the PRPC and the municipality will be added to the Comprehensive Plan at the regional level.

Treasurer’s Report and Payment of Bills

Supervisor Morrisson, Treasurer, reported to the Board that as of June 30, 2019, the Township’s general fund shows a balance of $3,796,552.90.  Supervisor Morrisson reported that the bills for July 2019 have been reviewed and he recommended payment of these bills. 

Upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Parry, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the Treasurer’s Report for the period ending July 31, 2019 and authorized payment of Township bills for the period ending July 31, 2019.

Board Discussion Items

Old Business

Phoenixville Train Committee/Commuter Rail Project Update

Mr. Barry Cassidy summarized the progress of the Train Committee to date and reviewed some of the objective and financing changes which have occurred as a result of negotiations with SEPTA and Norfolk Southern, i.e., schedules of train runs and car service, etc.  Mr. Cassidy said he was contacted by Mr. John Robert Smith, former chairman for Amtrak, and subsequently met with Mr. Smith in Washington, D.C. regarding possible federal grant funding for the project.  Mr. Cassidy discussed several other sources of grant funding but said it is still very early in the process.  Mr. Cassidy provided to the Board a copy of a studies done by SEPTA in March 2018 and Thomas. E. Frawley Consulting, LLC in July 2019 as well as list of potential new development sites which could be tapped for a value capture tax strategy in support of the train project.  Supervisor Guerette questioned whether the proposed tax revenues outlined by Mr. Cassidy took into consideration the costs incurred by the school district and municipalities in supporting the new developments.  Supervisor Majewski asked if the school district has agreed to funding for the commuter rail.  Mr. Cassidy said no, that Schuylkill Township is the first municipality he has approached.  Mr. Cassidy then discussed potential station sites and mentioned that at this time, the conference center property in Schuylkill Township appears to be the best candidate.  Discussion ensued regarding train schedules, number of trips. stations and ridership.

Supervisor Majewski asked Mr. Cassidy what he wanted from the Board this evening. Mr. Cassidy presented a draft letter of support to Ms. Elizabeth Smith, Strategic Planning Director for SEPTA and requested that the Township provide to the Committee this or a similar letter of support to the train committee.  Supervisor Guerette questioned what the letter was needed for; was it for grant submittals?  Mr. Cassidy said it was needed in order to have SEPTA take the lead in dealings with Norfolk Southern.  The Township Solicitor said that while the Township was interested in the commuter rail project, it was, in his opinion, premature to make a formal fiscal commitment to the project.  Mr. Norman Vutz was recognized by the Chair and he advised the Board to be cautious about committing to anything based solely on the Frawley report and said that, based on a conversation he had with an engineer who negotiated with Norfolk Southern for commuter service on Norfolk Southern rails in Ann Arbor Michigan, perhaps the Train Committee should rethink its approach to SEPTA and Norfolk Southern as they will be the major players in any commuter rail project.  Discussion followed regarding the proposed value capture strategy for funding the rail project.  The Board thanked Mr. Cassidy for his presentation but took no action at this time.

Creek Road Easement Agreement

Mr. Mentry advised the Board that this was part of the Creek Road stabilization project undertaken by the Township in January of this year.  As part of the stabilization, rip rap was installed in the right-of-way and along the creek bank which is part of the Phoenixville YMCA (the “Y”) property.  The Y requested the easement agreement stipulating that the Township was responsible for the repairs done; specifically, maintenance of the rip rap and that the Township could only enter the property from Creek Road.  The agreement has been approved by both the Township Solicitor and the Y’s attorney and signed by the Y.

Upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the Easement Agreement RE: Creek Road Embankment Stabilization Project for a permanent easement for maintenance access purposes to a certain portion of the property located at 400 E. Pothouse Road, UPI # 27-5-47E.

Valley Park Improvements Construction: Payment Application No. 2 – James R. Kenney Excavating & Paving, Inc.

Upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and authorized Payment Application No. 2 to James R. Kenney Excavating & Paving, Inc. for the amount of one hundred two thousand, six hundred seventy-five dollars and sixty cents ($102,675.60) per the July 29, 2019 recommendation of Gilmore & Associates, Inc. (File No. 18-11029T).

Chaplin’s Schuylkill Freedoms Festival (the “Festival”)

Mr. David Demey addressed the Board on the matter of a possible donation by the Township to the Festival regarding police and EMs services.

Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Guerette, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and authorized the waiving of fees for Schuylkill Township’s Police Department coverage at the Festival and to reimburse Chaplin’s, L.L.C. for EMS coverage for a not to exceed amount of one thousand eight hundred dollars ($1,800.00).

Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Guerette, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the 2019 Assignment and Indemnity Agreement by and between Schuylkill Township, Chaplin’s, L.L.C., and the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge.

New Business

Township Line Road Stabilization Project

The Township Manager advised the Board that there is serious subsiding of the roadbed on Township Line Road and that it is urgent that the road be stabilized immediately.  Mr. Mentry informed the Board that the cost is estimated to be about eighty-five thousand dollars ($85,000.00) based on a quote from the Township’s equipment rental contractor but there may still be some unknowns regarding the condition of the roadbed.  Mr. Mentry said he and the Roadmaster are recommending that the Paul Lemen Drive project be tabled until next year and that the funds budgeted for that project be diverted to Township Line Road because of the urgency of the problem.  Discussion ensued regarding the road repair process.

Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and authorized the immediate repairs to Township Line Road using the monies originally budgeted for the Paul Lemen Drive project and tabled the Paul Lemen Drive stormwater project to 2020.

2020 Financial Requirement and Minimum Municipal Obligations for Schuylkill Township Pension Plans

Upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Parry, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the 2020 Financial Requirement and Minimum Municipal Obligation for the Schuylkill Township Police Pension Plan in the amount of two hundred thirty-three thousand three hundred twenty-seven dollars ($233,327.00) and the Schuylkill Township Non-Uniform Pension Plan in the amount of forty-one thousand forty-three dollars ($41,043.00).

Police Vehicle Purchase

Supervisor Majewski moved to approve the purchase of a police vehicle in the amount of forty-two thousand dollars ($42,000.00); Supervisor Parry seconded the motion.  Discussion ensued regarding the cost of and the need for an SUV-style vehicle as opposed to a smaller, more fuel-efficient model.  The matter is tabled until the September 4, 2019 Supervisors’ meeting.  The Board instructed Chief Fetterman to explore options for a more fuel-efficient vehicle and provide the information at the September meeting.  The motion was denied 4 to 1 with Supervisor Parry in favor of the purchase.

Advertising for Public Hearing - Application CU 2019-01 for Demolition of a Class II Historic Resource

Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Guerette, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and authorized the Advertisement of a Public Hearing for September 4, 2019 to hear testimony and solicit public comment on, and possibly to render a decision on Conditional Use Application CU 2019-01: Demolition of a Class II Historic Resource (100 Country Club Road).   The Board instructed the Township Manager to send the Application to the Schuylkill Township Planning Commission for comment and recommendation.  Discussion ensued regarding 100 Country Club Road and the property owner’s future building plans.

Advertising for Public Hearing – PRPC Regional Comprehensive Plan

Upon motion by Supervisor Donovan, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and authorized the Advertisement of a Public Hearing for September 4, 2019 to solicit public comment on and consider adoption of, and possibly adopt a Regional Comprehensive Plan as revised by the Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee.

Hunting in Pickering Preserve during the 2019 – 2020 Deer Archery Season

The Township Manager reported that two groups had requested permission to hunt the Preserve for the upcoming season, Suburban Archers and Whitetail Associates.  Both groups have hunted the Preserve at different times in the past – most recently for the 2018 – 2019 season, Suburban Archers was in the Preserve. Supervisor Morrisson mentioned some issues in Pickering Preserve, i.e., steps permanently screwed into trees, etc., which were reported by Suburban Archers during last year’s hunting season.  Mr. Patrick Jennings of Suburban Archers was recognized by the Chair and advised the Board that the report had been submitted at the suggestion of the then acting township manager as an assurance that any damage to the trees or preserve had not been perpetuated by Suburban Archers. Supervisor Guerette questioned the Chief of Police on whether any complaints about Suburban Archers had been received; there were none. Mr. Robert Cooney, a resident, was recognized by the Chair. Mr. Cooney objected to Suburban Archers being represented at tonight’s meeting and Whitetail Associates not.  Mr. Mentry explained that both groups were made aware that this item was on tonight’s agenda.

Upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Guerette and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and authorized Suburban Archers for deer archery hunting (Antlered and Antlerless) during the 2019-2020 bow hunting season (WMUs 5D from September 21 - November 29, 2019 and December 26, 2019 - January 26, 2020; state-wide October 5 – November 16, 2019 & December 26, 2019– Jan. 20, 2020) solely within the boundaries of township-owned Pickering Preserve under the rules and regulations of Schuylkill Township and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Resolutions / Ordinances

Advertisement of Proposed SLDO Ordinance No. 03 Amending Chapter 320 Article V Minimum Design Requirements §§320-22.A.(5), 320-22.A.(6), 320-22.A.(7), 320-22.A.(8), 320-22.A.(9), 320-22.a.(6), 320-22.C.(1)(d), and 320-22.C.(1)(d)[2][a].   This item was tabled to the September 4, 2019 Supervisors’ meeting by the consensus of the Board of Supervisors.

Advertisement of Proposed SLDO Ordinance No. 04 Amending Chapter 320 Article II. Terminology §320-9, Article III. Plan Processing and Construction Procedures, and Article V. Information to be Shown on SLDO Plans.  This item was tabled to the September 4, 2019 Supervisors’ meeting by the consensus of the Board of Supervisors.

Advertisement of Proposed Zoning Ordinance No. 05 Amending Chapter 370 Article II. Terminology; Establishment of Districts §370-7; Article III, FR Rural Density Districts; Article V. R-2 Medium Density Districts §§370-26, 370-166, and 370-168; and the addition of Article XXIX. Conservation Overlay District.  This item was tabled to the September 4, 2019 Supervisors’ meeting by the consensus of the Board of Supervisors.

Subdivision / Land Development

Nothing to report.

Additional Business

The Township Secretary asked if the Environmental Advisory Council (“EAC”) would be able to identify companies in the area certified to deal with spotted lanternflies.  Supervisor Majewski said she would forward the request to the EAC Chair.

The Township Manager informed the Board that he has received a proposal from Natural Lands for the review and planning assistance with the proposed tree protection ordinance.  The proposal is for a not-to-exceed amount of five thousand dollars ($5,000.00); 75% of this fee would be covered by the William Penn Grant.  Thus, the net cost to the Township would be one thousand two hundred fifty dollars ($1,250.00).  Mr. Mentry asked if the Board wished to act on this proposal tonight or table it until the September meeting.  Supervisor Guerette said she was not in favor of a drawn-out review process.  Mr. Mentry said he could ask for an expedited review process. Supervisor Majewski noted there were items in the proposal which were not needed, such as Natural Lands’ presence at a public hearing on the proposed ordinance.  The Board suggested Mr. Mentry should approach Natural Lands for a revised proposal.

Upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Parry and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township authorized the Township Manager to request a revised proposal from Natural Lands Trust for review only of the proposed tree protection ordinance with a net cost to the Township not to exceed one thousand two hundred fifty dollars ($1,250.00).

Agenda for the July Board of Supervisors Work Session

  • Thursday August 22, 2019 7:00 p.m. – Continued discussion on July work session items.

Announcements

  • No Schuylkill Township Planning Commission Meeting in August
  • Postponed until further notice - road work on Pawling Road for sanitary main repairs.
  • August 26th – First day of school.  Please drive carefully and always stop for a school bus when its signals are flashing.

Save the Dates:

  • September 12th – Annual Schuylkill Township Police Department Community Meeting.  at the Phoenixville Country Club.  Look for details in your mailbox soon.
  • October 15th – Free “Stop the Bleed” training at the Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Department.  More information will be available at a later date.

Public Comment

Nothing to report.

Adjournment

There being no further business before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 9:10 p.m. upon motion of Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Guerette, and unanimously passed by the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township.

Next Board of Supervisors’ Meeting

Board of Supervisors Work Session................................... Thursday August 22, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.

Board of Supervisors Regular Business Meeting................. Wednesday September 4, 2019 at 7:30 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Madeline Harbison
Township Secretary