• Marta Kathryn Driscoll

What's in a Public Comment?

September 28th, 2020 - Chester Heights Borough Council Meeting



The minutes written and approved by the Chester Height Council are the only official legal record of the borough monthly meetings. The position of the sitting council majority has been to disregard Resolution 10-19-B and to NOT disclose the context of the public's comments. This decision fails to protect the integrity of our local government as it serves to silence the public and to hide community concerns from the official record. I will therefore endeavor to include public comments in my meeting notes when possible. Tonight's public comment can be found at the end of this post.

ZONING HEARING (9/29/2020)

Car Wash at the Corner of Valleybrook Rd. and Route 1

(Old Ennis Property)

Tomorrow night on September 29th, 2020 -7 pm a zoning hearing board meeting will be held at the Village of Valleybrook Clubhouse to determine if the proposed Carwash fits the use definition per the zoning code. The meeting will be limited to 25 people and a zoom call-in number will be available for others to attend.


Join the ZONING ZOOM MEETING.

Meeting ID: 999 8965 2506

Passcode: 996302


More information about the Carwash can be found here Chester Heights Neighbors Alliance. You can also review the official zoning hearing notice here: Copy of Borough Notice


Tonight Council authorized the Alternate Solicitor, Peter Rohana, and Engineer, Matt Houtman to attend the September 29th Zoning Hearing Board Meeting. The Borough plans to have our own traffic study done should the zoning hearing board approve the request.

Committee to Reestablish Rail Service to West Chester

Council approved Dave Firkser request to send a letter of support to the West Chester Railroad Committee to reestablish the Rail Service from the new Wawa station to West Chester by extending the Septa line. This letter was part of an initiative to apply for grant funding from Chester County. At this time, the committee is only seeking a letter of support and not a commitment of funds. You can learn more about this initiative HERE.


PECO Green Grant

Councilwoman Lim and Ellis will be reviewing the requirements for the PECO GREEN REGION OPEN SPACE PROGRAM grant in an effort to secure funding for the borough to further develop our park. The deadline for the grant application is 10/31/2020.


Treasurer's Report Amendment

Via 2 motions council made a financial correction for the collection of tax that was reported in the June and July Treasurer’s Reports for the interim and current tax payments. The tax had been allocated fully to the General Fund at a 2% discount when in fact it should have been paid at face value and split among the General Fund and Fire Funds. The net impact of the correction is a reduction in the Borough General Fund of $6402.36 and an increase in the Fire Fund of $7348.80.


OLD BUSINESS

2021 Budget

All budget item requests are due to Mayor Wood and the finance committee by mid-October. Councilwoman Clarke requested a current P&L to be provided to the council for review prior to submitting requests for funding. The review is to take place at the next council meeting (Oct 4th)


Sewer Plan

Councilwoman Clarke requested an update on the Sewer Plan. Mr. Baum noted that the plans had a few omissions and they are seeking a few updates from the Sewer Officer, Mr. Mike Ciocco.


Comprehensive Plan 2023

The Borough is scheduled for a New Comprehensive Plan in 2023 (they are completed once every 10 years). This plan is supposed to guide the zoning and development of a municipality. However, it has not had a great track record here in CHB. The last Comprehensive Plan completed in 2013 noted a 1.8% increase in population with a requirement of 24 additional homes when in 2014 & 2015 new high-density housing developments (Brookfield-77 & Rosehill-33) were approved.


NEW BUSINESS


Stray Dog Contract

The borough entered into a contract with Brandywine SPCA to handle stray dogs and cats in the borough as of January 1, 2019. The contract requires an annual retainer of $1688.26 and a monthly fee of $273, calculated annual total $4964.26. Councilwoman Lim proposed breaking the contract early at a cost of 1 full year of service or Approx $5K. Based on her projections the borough will save $8900. This figure does not include the projected additional costs associated with replacing the service.


Flood Grant

Councilwoman Clarke will be reviewing the potential to pursue additional grants to mitigate the flooding around the borough.


PUBLIC COMMENT

Rosehill Development – Marta Driscoll

Background: On December 2nd of 2019 a resolution was passed to accept the preliminary approval for the Rosehill development with some 26 points to be addressed by the developer. It was left open as to whether or not the borough would accept the dedication of 1.6 acres at the corner of Llewelyn & Lenni. It was further stated that if no decision was made by January 17th the offer would be rescinded.

Question 1 - Was a decision made and communicated to the developer to accept or reject those 1.6 acres?

Mr. Baum responded noting that the borough has not taken a formal motion whether or not to accept or rescind the offer and has not formerly voiced an opinion to the developer. Given these facts, the borough will probably not take the property. Council expects that the land (1.6 acres) will remain open space regardless of this laps in response and the responsibility of managing the space will fall to the Rosehill HOA.


Question 2 -Have any of the 26 review points from the developer plan been addressed?


Response from Engineer Matt Houtman.


The developer fell out of contract with the owners quite some time ago, so the project actually went dead for well over a year. That’s probably why there was no closure on the 26 development points. That being said the engineer just received within the last month updated plans since the original developer got back into a contract with the property owner and wants to move forward this year into next year.


The new plans submitted were updated for changes required by PennDOT. The engineer will be reviewing over the next month and issuing new review letters.

Darlington Woods (DW) Parking Spaces /Permit – Eileen Lehmann


Ms. Lehmann voiced a concern about the borough’s review of the land development permit for additional parking spaces in Darlington Wood (DW) noting that the sketch submitted by DW for the permit does not accurately reflect the current impermeable surfaces at DW. Furthermore, she expressed that the permit application felt “light”. 1 single sheet of paper was submitted to make the determination as to whether or not to approve the parking spaces. She detailed information she received via a Right to Know Request which showed a 1992 plan with 26 parking spaces, the current land development permit showing 36 parking spaces when in reality there are 40. Additionally, there was a clearing on the submitted permit application which is inaccurate because the space shown is occupied by built units and not vacant permeable land.


Mr. Houtman explained that he was asked by DW to add 20 parking spaces throughout the development and that he asked for a land disturbance permit application to complete his review. Per his review, the change to the ratio of the impermeable to permeable surfaces was not significant. The spaces were up to DW to distribute among the streets and only land disturbance issues were being reviewed with this permit.


He also noted that he relied on the background plans provided by DW and the background data was out of the scope of what the borough was asked to do.


Council asked Ms. Lehmann if the HOA asked the community about the additional parking and stated that they believe the HOA should have sought input from residents to make this determination.


The conversation concluded with the council requesting Ms. Lehmann to send the borough a sketch of the existing layout for a further review.


Darlington Woods (DW) - Mr. Tony Ieradi

Asked if he too could get a copy of the permit and sketch. He was invited to contact the borough office.

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