SCHUYLKILL TOWNSHIP
BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
MEETING DATE: May 7, 2014

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

Board Members in Attendance:

Fred Parry-Chairman, Martha Majewski-Treasurer, Jim Morrisson, Kevin Handforth

Mrs. Barbara Cohen was not in attendance with an excused absence.

Also in Attendance:

Mary Bird – Township Manager, William J. Brennan, Esq.-Township Solicitor, Madeline Harbison-Township Secretary, Mary Lou Lowrie, PE – Township Engineer,

Township Representatives Present:

Nicholas Cinciripino – Roadmaster, James Fetterman – Chief of Police, Sandy Momyer – Chair, Historical Commission, James Shaughnessy – Recycling Coordinator, Evan Taylor – Deputy Fire Marshall

Appearing Before the Board:

Mr. Luke Jennings - Resident

Mr. Brock Riffel - Resident

Call to Order and Pledge of Allegiance

Mr. Parry called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. and notified the audience that the meeting was being videotaped by the Township.

Mr. Parry announced that Mrs. Bird has returned to her duties as Township Manager and welcomed her back on behalf of the Board and residents. Mr. Parry extended the Board’s thanks and appreciation to Mr. Norman Vutz for stepping in as Interim Acting Manager during the Township Manager’s absence.

Minutes & Reports

  1. Approval and acceptance of the Minutes of the April 2, 2014 Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting.
  2. Motion. On a motion by Mr. Handforth, seconded by Mr. Morrisson, and passed, the Board of Supervisors approved the April 2, 2014 Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting Minutes.

  3. Acceptance of all departmental, committee, commission and council reports as posted and received by the Board of Supervisors for the month of April 2014.
  4. Motion. On a motion by Mr. Morrisson, seconded by Mr. Handforth, and passed, the Board of Supervisors accepted and approved all departmental, committee, commission and council reports as posted and received by the Board of Supervisors for the month of April 2014.

Board Liaison Reports

Nothing to report.

Treasurer’s Report and Bills to be Paid

Ms. Majewski reported that the Treasurer’s Report for April 2014 showed a General Fund Balance of $1.6 million.  Ms. Majewski informed the Board that that she has reviewed the Township’s bills for the period ending April 30, 2014; they are in good order and recommended payment of these bills.

Motion. On a motion by Mr. Handforth, seconded by Mr. Morrisson, and passed, the Board accepted and approved the Treasurer’s Reports for the period ending April 30, 2014, and payment of Township bills for the period ending April 30, 2014.

Announcements

Mrs. Bird informed the Board that Schuylkill Township has been awarded a 902 Program Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in the amount of $112,000.00.  This grant is to be used to offset the cost of the new Township composting yard.  Mrs. Bird thanked Mr. Cinciripino for his assistance in preparing the grant application.

Mr. Parry reminded residents of the Township programs being held at the Phoenixville Country Club:  June 12, 2014 – an evening with author, Janet Uhlar; September 10, 2014 – WHYY/PBS radio host, Mike McGrath; and November 1, 2014 – Schuylkill Township’s Founders Day celebration.

Public Participation (any topic that is on the agenda for discussion)

Several residents spoke in favor of the feasibility study for a sidewalk installation on Route 23 between Whitehorse Road and the Borough of Phoenixville.  Ms. Kati Matilla said she would like to be able to walk to amenities in the area but with no pedestrian walkways available in the Township, it is too dangerous.  Mr. Paul O’Leary also mentioned the danger to pedestrian traffic along Route 23 and added that a sidewalk would provide invaluable access to the Borough of Phoenixville, adding to Township residents’ quality of life and would provide a further link between Phoenixville and Schuylkill Township.  Mr. John Moffa said that in addition to recreational activities, sidewalks would provide an element of safety for school children at bus stops.  Mr. Kevin Black and Mr. John Dean requested that in addition to the sidewalk feasibility study, the Township look into traffic calming measures for Route 23 side streets such as Kleyona Avenue.

BOARD DISCUSSION ITEMS

Old Business

Legal Matters

Mr. Brennan informed the Board that, as directed by the Board, he was representing Schuylkill Township’s interests at the Tredyffrin Township Zoning Hearing Board matter of a proposed ham radio tower at 1240 Horseshoe Trail.

Mr. Brennan said there were two personnel and legal matters to be addressed by the Board in executive session.

New Business

Discussion:  High Point Lane/Horse-Shoe Trail Erosion Issues

Mr. Luke Jennings, a Township resident, member of the Horse-Shoe Trail Conservancy (“HSTC”), and former Board member of the Valley Forge Mountain Association (“VFMA”), presented an overview of the erosion issue affecting the Horseshoe Trail and several properties on High Point Lane.  Mr. Jennings said that most of the erosion damage is on the Schuylkill Township side of Valley Forge Mountain, but about 30% of the runoff comes from the Tredyffrin Township side.

Mr. Jennings informed the Board that a task force formed by the HSTC and VFMA is seeking grant funding from Chester County, the Commonwealth and various philanthropic organizations for a study on how best to repair the existing damage to private property caused by stormwater runoff; prevent future erosion; reduce the volume and velocity of stormwater runoff from the mountain, and allow for the repair and restoration of the historic Horse-Shoe Trail.  Mr. Jennings concluded by saying that while the HSTC/VFMA task force does not expect the Township to pay for repairs and/or restoration of private property, it is requesting an endorsement by the Board of Supervisors for this project.

Ms. Majewski asked Mr. Jennings if this issue had been brought to Tredyffrin Township as well. 

Mr. Jennings responded that the task force wanted Schuylkill Township’s position first in order to present it to Tredyffrin.

Motion. On a motion by Mr. Morrisson, seconded by Mr. Handforth, and passed, the Schuylkill Township Board of Supervisors extends its support and encouragement to the Horse-Shoe Trail Conservancy and the Valley Forge Mountain Association in their efforts to reduce the stormwater runoff and erosion issues on the eastern slope of Misery Mountain (aka Valley Forge Mountain) with no commitment, express or implied, that Schuylkill Township will take part in this project either financially or otherwise.

Discussion:  Stormwater Concerns 1637 Jones Lane

Mr. Brock Riffel, property owner of 1637 Jones Lane, thanked Mrs. Bird and the Supervisors for their time in addressing his issue.  Mr. Riffel then outlined his analysis of the stormwater runoff issue on his property; stating that approximately 9 acres of watershed contribute stormwater to the Horseshoe Trail inlets which then convey this runoff across his property leading to flooding and erosion, tree loss as well as loss of time and money.  Mr. Riffel petitioned the Board to initiate a study to investigate his complaint and enact a drainage easement across his property to construct and maintain a stormwater management system to safely convey the runoff across his property.

Mr. Parry said the Board would review Mr. Riffel’s request but no action would be taken at this time.

Resolutions / Ordinances

Advertise an Ordinance Adopting Minimum Standards Applicable to Emergency Communications Systems within Structures (“Amplification Ordinance”)

Mr. Brennan explained to the Board that the reason for re-visiting the advertisement of the amplification ordinance is that the West Bradford ordinance used as a model for drafting the Schuylkill Township ordinance was shot down by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, and it was deemed prudent to not expend township funds advertising an ordinance which could not be enacted.  Mr. Morrisson added that it may not be necessary to enact an amplification ordinance as this communication issue is already addressed in the Universal Construction Code and the Fire Code.

It was the consensus of the Board that this agenda item should be tabled to a future date subject to a review of the need for the ordinance.

Advertise Amendment to Article IX Zoning Ordinance Historic Resource Protection Standards

Mr. Brennan stated that the advertisement of this ordinance amendment was before the Board again at the request of the Historical Commission Chair, Ms. Sandy Momyer, in order to add bridges of historical value to the Township’s historic resource inventory list.   Ms. Momyer then briefly reviewed the additions to the inventory.

Motion. On a motion by Ms. Majewski, seconded by Mr. Morrisson and passed, the Board of

Supervisors approved the advertising of the Amendment to Article IX Zoning Ordinance Historic Resource Protection Standards, § 370-53 D.(5) Revisions to Historic Properties Map.

Resolution 2014-08: Authorizing Application for the Transportation and Community Development Initiative (“TCDI”) Grant Funding for a Proposed Route 23 Sidewalk Feasibility Study

Mr. Morrisson explained this sidewalk study would be consistent at multiple levels with the Township’s and Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee’s comprehensive plans as well as the Chester County Landscapes plan; all of which promote walk-able communities.  Mr. Morrisson mentioned that the Township was applying for this grant to conduct a study only, not engineering or construction.  Mr. Morrisson added that it was not a given that the Township would be awarded the funding

Motion. On a motion by Mr. Morrisson, seconded by Ms. Majewski, and passed, the Board of

Supervisors approved the application for the TCDI grant funding to offset the cost of a feasibility study for a sidewalk on Route 23 to link the Township to commercial and recreational areas within the Borough of Phoenixville with the understanding that the Township must provide 20% of the total cost of such a study as a matching amount.

Mr. Morrisson, Ms. Majewski, Mrs. Bird, and the Township Engineer were appointed by the Board to serve as the grant committee for drafting and submitting the TCDI grant proposal

Subdivisions/Land Development

Nothing to report.

Two Minute Reports

Nothing to report.

Additional Business

Nothing to report.

Public Participation (any topic not on the agenda for discussion)

Mr. James Keller, 22 Second Street, presented a list of perceived code violations at Phoenix Mobile Homes, the community in which he has resided for 24 years.  Mr. Keller stated that he believes the community to be very unsafe; that he has reported issues such as a sewer line leak, buried gas tanks, and a large feral cat population to both the Township and County Health Department but he does not feel his complaints have received the level of response warranted from these agencies.  A second resident added his support to the feral cat complaint.

Executive Session

On a motion by Mr. Handforth, seconded by Mr. Morrisson, and passed, the Board moved into Executive Session at 8:50 p.m.

The public meeting was reconvened at 9:40 p.m.  Mr. Parry reported that personnel and litigation matters had been discussed.

Motion. On a motion by Mr. Morrisson, seconded by Ms. Majewski, and passed, the Board of

Supervisors approved the appointment of Mr. Patrick M. McKenna, Esq. as solicitor to the Zoning Hearing Board at a rate of $150.00 per hour.

Motion. On a motion by Mr. Parry, seconded by Mr. Handforth, and passed, the Board of

Supervisors relieved Mr. Norman Vutz of his appointment as Interim Township Manager and once again extended the Township’s appreciation for his dedicated service.

Adjournment

There being no further business before the Board of Supervisors, the meeting was adjourned at 9:40 p.m. on a motion by Mr. Handforth, seconded by Ms. Majewski, and passed.

Next Board of Supervisors’ Meeting

Regular Board of Supervisors Business Meeting:................. Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 7:30 PM

Respectfully submitted,

Madeline Harbison
Township Secretary