Duly advertised in The Pottstown Mercury and posted at www.schuylkilltwp.com
Board of Supervisors
Martha Majewski - Chair, Fred Parry – Vice Chair, Jim Morrisson – Treasurer, Mark Donovan, Susan Guerette
William Brennan, Esq.-Township Solicitor, Madeline Harbison – Township Secretary, John Sartor, P.E .- Township Engineer
Other Township Representatives Present
Chief James Fetterman-Schuylkill Township Police Department, Lt. William Fitzsimmons-Schuylkill Township Police Department, Patrol Officers – Schuylkill Township Police Department
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.
Supervisor Majewski announced the promotion of Brian McCarthy from patrol officer to corporal for the Schuylkill Township Police Department. Present for the swearing in ceremony were Corporal McCarthy’s family, friends and fellow officers. Chief Fetterman, Lt. Fitzsimmons and Supervisor Parry spoke about Corporal McCarthy’s service to the township since joining the Schuylkill Township Police Department in 2010.
Presentation – Valley Forge Crossing/The Endeavor Group
Mr. Lou Colagreco, legal counsel to The Endeavor Property Group (“EPG”), came before the Board of Supervisors (“BOS”) with a concept presentation for the former 50 acre +\- National Christian Conference Center currently owned by the University of Valley Forge (“UVF”). This property is currently zoned Residential R-1. Mr. Peter Monahan of EPG was present.
Mr. Colagreco explained that EPG has presented several iterations of the proposed development and zoning concept to the Schuylkill Township Planning Commission (“PC”) over the past five months incorporating the PC’s, township officials’ and residents’ comments into each revision. In December, the PC recommended that EPG bring this concept before the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Colagreco explained that before the BOS this evening is a request to amend the Township’s Zoning Map to include a Congregate Care Retirement Community overlay district, a use that at present does not exist in the township. Mr. Colagreco advised that under this overlay, the development of the property would be a continuing care retirement community that would include independent, assisted living and personal care type living along with townhomes, carriage homes and apartment “villages” located on the property. Mr. Michael Rosen, AIA, LEED AP ND, of Michael Rosen Architects reviewed the process and input which resulted in the current concept plan which has a total of 305 living units including 60 townhomes, 160 apartment homes and 85 assisted living units with 73.5% of the site remaining undeveloped as common open space with public trails on the property and allowances for extension of current trail systems.
A recommendation from the township was that EPG prepare by-right sketch plans of alternate uses for the UVF property under its current zoning. Mr. Colagreco explained that although there are a number of hypothetical concepts, tonight’s presentation is focusing on three likely uses under the current R-1 zoning. Mr. Paul Lepard, RLP, PP of Nave Newell Engineering commenced with a single family detached residential development which would allow about 21 single family lots with a public road but makes no allowance for open space preservation on the property. The second option is a hybrid plan which would subdivide the property preserving about 25 acres for the continuing operation of the existing convention center leaving about 19 acres resulting in 12 individual residential building lots. Mr. Lepard asked the Board to keep in mind that while both of these alternate plans provide for open space according to township ordinance, it is significantly less than that being offered in the CCRC concept plan and it is limited to benefit the residents of the community only versus a public access opportunity with the proposed retirement village. The third use allowed under the R-1 zoning is a satellite facility to the existing UVF campus as either a residential campus or a combination residential/classroom facility. The plan presented is a residential campus with a dining facility, student union facility and recreation fields with a 420 unit residential capacity in 3 buildings. Mr. Colagreco summarized the fiscal analysis plan for each plan presented; a CCRC development would result in a net benefit to the township of about $35,000 and the school district’s net benefit is about $1.6 million; a single family home development would give the township a net benefit of about $5,000 and the school district would see a deficit of about $38,000; and with the college continued use option, the property becomes exempt from property taxes but still requires services resulting in a deficit to the township of about $250,000 and the school district would see a net benefit of about $1,000. The mixed use option benefits the township with about $15,000 annually and the school district’s benefit would be about $156,000.
Matthew Hammond of Traffic Planning & Design summarized the traffic impact study done for the CCRC concept explaining that the parameters of this study were coordinated with PennDOT and the Township’s engineer. The results of the study indicated that the CCRC concept would result in about 80 trips in the morning peak hour (7 AM – 9 AM) and about 88 in the evening (4 PM – 6 PM). He advised that if the project moves ahead, they will be looking at nearby intersections to see if any traffic improvements can be done and review issues presented by residents for viable solutions, i.e., cut-through traffic.
Mr. Colagreco closed the presentation by stating that the CCRC concept appears to be the highest and best use of this site, both meeting a perceived demographic need in the community and the township’s objectives of preserving open space and providing public trails.
Supervisor Morrisson noted that the continued use of the property by UVF as a residential/classroom facility would require a special exception from the BOS. Mr. Colagreco responded that a special exception is a use provided by-right which requires zoning board approval, not BOS approval. Supervisor Guerette asked for clarification in that an educational use for the subject property would require some kind of zoning relief; Mr. Colagreco concurred. Supervisor Donovan asked the target market price for the CCRC units; Mr. Peter Monahan of EPG responded that it is very early in the development process of this concept but that the townhomes would be in in the $450,000 range and carriage homes $550,000. Supervisor Donovan asked if the target market would be township residents or outlying communities; Mr. Monahan responded that could not be determined. Supervisor Donovan questioned the Township Solicitor on whether the BOS was required to take action this evening. Mr. Brennan asked Mr. Colagreco to confirm that no formal filing of plans or MPC filing has been made and therefore there is no deadline to meet on taking any action; Mr. Colagreco concurred. Mr. Brennan responded to Supervisor Donovan that there was no need to take action immediately. Supervisor Parry stated that this matter was not before the BOS for approval this evening but rather for informational purposes and any formal submission would have to go through the normal processes. Mr. Brennan invited township residents’ comments at this time.
Dennis McKnight, 20 Bantry Lane: Opposed to concept based on the altering of the character of the neighborhood, a perceived negative effect on property values and increased traffic volume. Marie McKnight added her opposition due to removal of open space from the township.
Ellen Jantzen, 15 Galway Lane: Opposed to concept based on the removal of open space from the township, density of the development and increased traffic volume.
James Graves, 35 Eastgate Drive: Opposed to concept based on increased traffic volume and questioned findings of the EPG traffic study.
Stanley Barry, 45 Flintlock Lane: Opposed to concept based on increased traffic volume and removal of open space from township.
Andrew Jacob, 54 Flintlock Lane: Opposed to concept based on increased traffic volume and removal of open space from township.
Deb Woolson, Curator, Medal of Honor Grove-Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, read a letter, incorporated herein by reference, from Mr. Wallace Nunn, Chairman of the Board of the Freedoms Foundation noting their opposition to this concept based on traffic and proximity to the Medal of Honor Grove memorial.
Lonni Cirino, 20 Summer Hill Lane: Opposed to concept based on increased traffic volume, questioned findings of the EPG traffic study.
Eileen Murray, 58 Powderhorn Drive: Opposed to concept based on increased traffic volume, questioned findings of the EPG traffic study.
Maarten Persenaire, 270 Country Lane: Opposed to concept based on removal of open space from township. Questioned whether EPG traffic study accounted for increased building in Phoenixville.
Mark Bean, 1465 Tullamore Lane: Opposed to concept based on density of development, removal of open space from township and questioned the benefit to the local community.
Richard Weinstein, 68 S. Forge Manor Drive: Opposed to concept based on increased traffic volume and removal of open space from township. Would like an archeological study for the site prior to any kind of development.
Brian Broker, 111 Magnolia Drive: Opposed to concept based on increased traffic volume and questioned the findings of the EPG traffic study. Stated increased tax revenues are beneficial but wants township to explore options other than development.
Keith Wickstrom, 27 Flintlock Lane: Opposed to concept based on removal of open space from township and increased traffic volume. Encouraged UVF to pursue alternate uses for subject property with particular attention to preserving open space.
Kathy Lex, 465 Freedom View Lane: Asked if BOS is willing to vote now on matter.
Mr. Brennan responded that no formal application has been made to the township for the EPG development concept; the developer is simply gauging the township’s BOS and residents’ reaction to their proposal. Additionally, zoning is a legislative act, not a judicial one; the BOS sets the law to establish zoning districts and EPG is proposing a change to the law. So the immediate issue being considered by the BOS is should the zoning be changed; however, no formal request for this change has been submitted to the township by EPG. Mr. Brennan said while it might be unusual he did not believe it to be illegal for a motion to be considered which in essence would say the BOS has no interest in changing the zoning at this point in time. Mr. Brennan advised the BOS that this did not preclude the developer from filing a formal application and request for rezoning with the township.
The Chair recognized The Reverend Shuhan Teberian, J.D., UVF Vice President of Operations. Reverend Tieberian briefly described UVF’s long-term mission which includes improving the housing of its students. The current options to achieve this goal are to liquidate assets to improve existing housing on the main campus or establish housing in another location. Of the alternate options presented this evening, the only viable choice is to build housing for about 500 houses. Supervisor Guerette interjected that student housing on the subject property would require a special exception from the Township’s Zoning Hearing Board. Reverend Teberian acknowledged this but restated that the 21 residential lots option is not fiscally possible for UVF to consider to further their long-term development. Supervisor Morrisson advised UVF to look into a possible combination of residential development and open space conservation.
Upon motion by Supervisor Donovan, seconded by Supervisor Guerette, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township affirmed that the Board is not in favor of amending the Township’s Zoning Map at this time.
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.
Treasurer’s Report and Payment of Bills
Supervisor Morrisson, Treasurer, advised the Board that as of January 31, 2018, the Township’s general fund shows a balance of $2,971,853.18. Supervisor Morrison reported that the bills for January 2018 have been reviewed and he recommended payment of these bills.
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Guerette, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the Treasurer’s Report for the period ending December 31, 2017 and January 31, 2018, and authorized payment of Township bills for the period ending January 31, 2017.
Board Member Reports
Chester County Multimodal Transportation Task Force. Supervisor Majewski reported that a public meeting will be held on Thursday, February 15, 2018 at the Chester County Intermediate Unit Pickering Campus. Supervisors Parry and Morrisson will be in attendance
Environmental Advisory Council. Supervisor Majewski announced that the EAC will give a presentation on their unnamed streams project at the Schuylkill River Heritage Center on May 15, 2018.
Open Space Commission. Supervisor Morrisson reported that the OSC is requesting that the Township put in place a process which would require developers to present their plans to the OSC prior to coming before the BOS. He
Regional Planning Committee. Supervisor Morrisson advised the BOS that work on updating the regional comprehensive plan is continuing on schedule. He reported that the Phoenixville Green Team made a presentation at the last meeting on the concept of Chester County municipalities setting a goal of residents using 100% clean energy by 2035.
Historical Commission. Supervisor Guerette reported that the HC is still working on the Meadow Brook Barn preservation project.
Board Discussion Items
FBW Storage, L.P. Tax Appeal. Mr. Brennan advised the Board that a settlement has been reached and requested that the BOS approve the signing of the settlement stipulation.
Upon motion by Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the Order of Settlement for UPI# 27-2-81, a property located at 305 Kimberton Road, Phoenixville, PA 19460 and owned by FBW Storage, L.P. and further authorized the Township Solicitor to sign the Settlement Fixing Assessment.
25 Jug Hollow Road/Demolition by Neglect. Mr. Brennan advised the BOS that, in response to a citation letter issued by the Township’s Code Enforcement Officer under the Historical Resource Protection ordinance, the property owner has requested a ninety-day extension in order to facilitate a closing on the property. This extension has been granted by the Code Enforcement Officer. Dorothy Bedford, a representative of the Historical Commission (HC), indicated that the extension was acceptable to the HC.
Phoenixville Country Club Events. Supervisor Majewski reported that the following dates have been reserved for the Township’s events at the country club: March 15-EAC presentation, June 7-HC presentation, September 13-Police presentation, and November 3-Founders Day celebration.
Discussion: Amphitheater Events/Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge. Supervisor Majewski invited Mr. Bob Cooney to present a concept for this venue. Mr. Cooney’s suggested that the Township host a music festival in conjunction with “Chaplins” a music venue and recording studio based in Spring City, PA. The BOS invited Mr. Cooney to form a Task Committee to explore the feasibility of the music festival concept and appointed Supervisor Donovan as the BOS representative to the task committee. Supervisor Majewski instructed the committee that all aspects of such an undertaking were to be researched and brought back to the BOS including the cost to the township of staging the event, i.e., advertising, artists, clean-up, crowd control, insurance, power supply, sanitary facilities, security, waste facilities, etc., and investigate all associated risks and liabilities to the township and to the Freedoms Foundation. Supervisor Majewski asked the Township Solicitor about legal implications; Mr. Brennan said there were the obvious liabilities such as alcohol and drug use, bodily injury, etc.; the key issues are whether it is safe and can it be staged without the township losing money. The Solicitor asked the BOS to seriously consider whether this was a direction in which they wanted to go; is it a function of local government to provide entertainment to residents.
Resignation of Elected Tax Collector and Appointment of a New Township Tax Collector
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Morrisson and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the resignation of Kyle D. Shirkness, Schuylkill Township Tax Collector, effective February 7, 2018.
Upon motion by Supervisor Majewski seconded by Supervisor Parry and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township appointed Aaron M. Kern, a resident of the Township, as Schuylkill Township Tax Collector effective February 7, 2018, conditioned upon the acceptance of Mr. Kern by the Township’s bonding company.
Mr. Kern was sworn in as the Schuylkill Township Tax Collector by Supervisor Majewski, witnessed by Madeline Harbison, Township Secretary/Notary Public.
Resignation of Schuylkill Township’s Valley Forge Sewer Authority Board Member and Appointment of a New Valley Forge Sewer Authority Board Member
Upon motion by Supervisor Morrisson, seconded by Supervisor Parry and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and accepted the resignation of Daniel Reese, Schuylkill Township Valley Forge Sewer Authority Board Member effective February 28, 2018.
Upon motion by Supervisor Majewski seconded by Supervisor Parry and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township appointed David Demey, a resident of the Township, as a Schuylkill Township Valley Forge Sewer Authority Board Member, effective February 28, 2018.
Release of Funds from Township Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company Capital Fund.
Upon motion by Supervisor Parry, seconded by Supervisor Guerette and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and authorized the release of twenty-eight thousand, two hundred fifteen dollars ($28,215.00) from the Township’s Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company Capital Fund for the purpose of replacing the ceiling insulation at the main station on 630 Valley Park Road.
Discussion – Requiring Developers to Appear before the Open Space Commission and Regional Planning Committee (“PRPC”)
Discussion ensued about the current review process under the Township’s Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (“SALDO”) and the correct procedure to make any changes. The BOS instructed the Township Solicitor to draft an ordinance to amend the SALDO § 320-12 appropriately. Further discussion ensued regarding whether it was necessary to amend the 2007 resolution which established the Open Space Commission. Supervisor Majewski noted that there are certain thresholds to be met before a developer must go before the PRPC and suggested that the BOS liaison to the PRPC keep that Committee apprised of new developments in the township.
Resolutions / Ordinances
Consideration of Proposed Resolution No. 2018-08: Application for Traffic Signal Improvement at Pothouse Road and State Road (Route 29)
This agenda item is tabled until the March 7, 2018 BOS meeting.
Subdivision / Land Development
Nothing to report.
Chester County Municipal Grant for Valley Park Park. Supervisor Majewski thanked the Township Engineer for the efforts in getting this grant prepared for submission.
Schuylkill Highlands Grant Program for Valley Park Park. Supervisor Majewski requested BOS input on the submittal of a grant application to the Schuylkill Highlands Grant Program for about $15,000. The funding, if approved, would be used in Valley Park Park. The BOS concurred that a submittal should be made.
February 8, 2018 – The continued Conditional Use Hearing for a proposed convenience store in the Township will be held at 6:00 p.m. in the Schuylkill Township Municipal Building.
February 15, 2018 – The Chester County Planning Commission will hold a Multimodal meeting at the CCIU Pickering Camps at 5:00 p.m.
February 17, 2018 – Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company Soup Sale Fundraiser will be held from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the main station.
March 3, 2018 - Valley Forge Volunteer Fire Company Pancake Breakfast Fundraiser will be held from 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. at the main station.
Nothing to report.
An executive session was called to order at 10:53 p.m. to discuss personnel matters. 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 11:00 p.m.
Upon motion by Supervisor Guerette, seconded by Supervisor Majewski, and unanimously passed, the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township approved and authorized the payment of overtime to Township employee, Marc Faulkner in the amount of three thousand eight hundred forty-six dollars and eighteen cents ($3,846.18).
There being no further business before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at 11:00 p.m. upon motion of Supervisor Majewski, seconded by Supervisor Parry and unanimously agreed by the Board of Supervisors of Schuylkill Township.
Next Board of Supervisors’ Meeting
Board of Supervisors Regular Business Meeting.................... Wednesday March 7, 2018 at 7:30 P.M.