253 Municipal Drive Thorndale, PA 19372
October 12, 2017 7:30 PM
Call to order and pledge of allegiance.
Attendance – Jennifer Breton-President, George Chambers-Vice President, John Contento-Commissioner, Joshua Young-Commissioner, Chuck Kramer-Commissioner, Kristen Denne-Township Manager, Carol Schuehler-Township Engineer, and Jennifer Schwed-Recording Secretary.
Absent - Kristin Camp-Township Solicitor, Chuck Wilson-Township Treasurer
Commissioner Breton noted there was an Executive Session meeting held prior to tonight’s meeting to discuss personnel and legal matters.
Township Manager-Kristen Denne
Township Manager Kristen Denne provided an update on the 2016 Financial Audit stating she is waiting for the final copy of the audit report from Maulo and Associates.
Ms. Denne discussed the lease renewal for Griffith Farm with the Board. The lease is for 2018.
Commissioner Breton entertained a motion to authorize the lease renewal in the amount of $31,356. Motion was made by Commissioner Young and seconded by Commissioner Chambers. The lease renewal was approved, 5-0.
Ms. Denne explained the lease with Henkels & McCoy, Inc. is ending and they do not wish to renew. She was contacted by a pipeline company interested in leasing the property for 6 months beginning November 1st. The board discussed whether the company would use the lot for supply storage or as a mobilization site, which Ms. Denne confirmed it would be used primarily for mobilization with some storage. The Board requested if a large quantity of materials is stored at the site, to increase the rent amount. Commissioner Kramer requested the lower entrance be maintained after rain storms by clearing accumulated gravel.
Following the approval of the lease renewals, the Board discussed the application of the income from the leases. It was noted that there had been past consideration for the development of the Griffith Farm property into a park with accessible parking, walking trails and playground equipment. Commissioner Breton suggested further research be done on the idea for a future meeting including a cost analysis, source of seed money and community interest.
Ms. Denne explained that work being done by CTMA/ Municipal Authority on Dogwood Lane, Scott Drive and Acorn Street has been halted due to the contractor hitting rock and needing special equipment to complete the work. Paving will be done in March 2018.
Ms. Denne noted an ongoing issue with tractor trailers parking on business Route 30/Lincoln Highway in front of the Colonial Hyundai Dealership when they are trying to make deliveries. It was explained that the trucks cannot safely enter the parking lot. Ms. Denne suggested adding a turning lane to alleviate the blind spot created at the entrance to Wedgewood Estates when the trucks park there. She also noted tractor trailers often use the center lane on Route 30 for parking to make deliveries to other businesses in the township. Ms. Denne asked the Board for guidance on how to address the problem. The Board instructed Ms. Denne to notify local businesses of the township’s intent to enforce citations for parking on the highway.
Township Engineer-Carol Schuehler
Township Engineer Carol Schuehler provided a memo for the HandiCrafters sketch application outlining tentative plans for the property improvements that would expand their facility on Barley Sheaf Rd. Plans include the demolition of existing buildings on the lot and an encroachment into the riparian buffer zone which would need special approval. Ms. Schuehler noted that the sketch plans were viewed favorably by the zoning commission.
Ms. Schuehler provided a status update on the Road Program noting work that is underway. She also noted the halt in paving at Dogwood, Acorn and Scott due to the Municipal Authority hitting rock during their project and anticipates presenting a change order in the spring to complete the paving.
Resident Tony DiSario asked if there would be a sidewalk installed as part of the HandiCrafters project. Ms. Schuehler noted that was part of the sketch plan.
Bill List – Checks 40612-40659
Commissioner Breton entertained a motion to approve general checks 40612 through 40659. Moved by Commissioner Chambers and seconded by Commissioner Young. Vote passed, 5-0.
Boards and Commissions Updates
Commissioner Breton entertained a motion to approve and acknowledge receipt of the Planning Commission Minutes from July 18, 2017. Moved by Commissioner Young and seconded by Commissioner Kramer. The Minutes were approved, 5-0.
Parks and Recreation-Commissioner Young asked for volunteers to help with the Halloween Party on October 28th at 1:00. He also noted that the Holiday Party and Tree Lighting will be held on December 3rd. The times are tentatively 3:00 for the Holiday Party and 5:00 for the tree lighting.
Municipal Authority-Commissioner Chambers noted the sewer and road projects halted on Dogwood, Scott and Acorn due to the contractor hitting rock. Manager Denne said she would contact the county to inform them of the delays.
DARA-Commissioner Young noted a discussion held about possibly suspending flood insurance in favor of self-insuring. A cost analysis showed that investing the premiums could produce a higher return.
Fire Board-Commissioner Young informed Manager Denne that the finalized Fire Agreement would be forthcoming.
Historical Commission-Ms. Tindaro discussed the last meeting held noting the resignation of Lois Demcheck and Doreen Jacoby, who were long time members of the Historic Commission Board. Doreen moved to Lancaster County and Lois noted lack of time. They were recognized at the meeting for their service.
Civil Service-Commissioner Kramer noted openings in the police department. New roles have been created and existing officers have been notified if they want to apply. It was advertised that on December 9th the police department would conduct testing for patrol men. The Deputy Chief opening has also been posted.
Commissioner Kramer, who sits on the Golf Committee, discussed a letter received from Jim Mayrides, who lives on the golf course. Mr. Mayrides’ home has been getting damaged by golf balls. The resident presented several possible solutions to alleviate the problem. Commissioner Contento noted his own experience with his home being hit by golf balls. Generally, there is no recourse for damage. After discussion, it was agreed that Commissioner Kramer should go back to the Golf Committee and explore improvements to the course to increase safety for residents.
Commissioner Kramer noted that West Brandywine is currently seeking to exit the Coatesville Area School District. Constituents have contacted Commissioner Kramer with concerns about losing tax revenue. Mr. Kramer asked the Board whether there are proactive steps to plan for such an event. The likelihood of West Brandywine successfully seceding, as well as suggestions to be available to assist the Coatesville Schools and their Board with improving were mentioned.
Commissioner Kramer counted 31 vacant businesses on Lincoln Highway in Caln Township by observing them while driving. He expressed concern over the empty storefronts and noted 3 issues mentioned by developers. The issues were codes, engineering and the Township Board being too restrictive. Commissioner Kramer asked the Board for input on how to make the township more “developer friendly” and ease restrictions. Commissioner Young discussed how he and Township Manager Denne were exploring how to change codes allowing businesses to occupy retail spaces “by right” verses “conditional use”, which is a more restrictive code. Changing this code could encourage more developers to occupy space in the township. Commissioner Young said the idea of a Lincoln Highway group which operates like a homeowner’s association for the property managers of the businesses in Caln along Route 30 was in process to allow practices to stabilize and be more uniform. Township Manager Denne has started a “developer day” each Tuesday which allows for open discussion and on-site management of issues developers face. She noted she sees 3 to 4 developers each week on a range of issues from businesses to homes. Commissioner Contento noted providing developers with an ADA inspection checklist as a tool to help new businesses avoid costly delays. He also noted standardizing items that businesses consistently come forward for variances such as signs. To better inform residents of development in the township it was suggested that the Planning Commission Minutes be posted to the township website.
Commissioner Breton called for any public comments.
Dana Jackson and Carol Houck of the Wedgewood Estates Homeowners Association presented a letter to the Board of Directors and spoke about the project to install sidewalks along Lincoln Highway in front of Wedgewood Estates and Wedgewood Shopping Center. The President and Vice President of the association expressed in the letter and verbally the community’s strong opposition to the sidewalk project citing liability risks, and increased maintenance costs. The letter requests a meeting with the township engineer to better understand the implications of the project. Commissioner Contento said that a copy of the sidewalk design should be provided to the association and the board for review. The sidewalk is being paid for by a federal matching grant (CDBG Program). The Board discussed the possible repercussions of backing out of the grant noting a loss of approximately $15K and $20K in preliminary planning and approvals. Commissioner Young asked Township Manager Denne to look into how much is invested in the project, the expiration of the grant, and the likelihood of obtaining an easement from the residents in Wedgewood Estates and the Wedgewood Shopping Center for the next meeting.
Commissioner Breton entertained a motion to adjourn the October 12, 2017 meeting at 9:13 PM. Moved by Commissioner Young and seconded by Commissioner Kramer. Vote passed 5-0.
Respectfully Submitted by,