• Marta Driscoll

Chester Heights is in the Money

Updated: Jul 8

...And other notes from the July 6th CHB Council Meeting

While towns are struggling, sales of large multi-residential units are keeping Chester Heights rolling in the dough!


CHB has only a few large properties that can sell in the millions. Just last year the sale of Madison Apartments dropped a cool $304K of transfer tax in our borough coffers. Not to be outdone 2020 brings with it the sale of the Summit at Glen Mills. The June sale of this local retirement community for the sum of $45 million will add another $228.5K in transfer tax to our surplus bubble.

With annual budgets of only about $600K these transfers yield huge surpluses for CHB.

Now onto the meeting minutes :

Bob Adams was sworn in as a council member by Mayor Wood. Welcome, Mr. Adams.


Public Comment:


Marta Driscoll announced that the CHNA Spring Valleybrook Road Clean-Up is rescheduled to Saturday, July 25th, 2020 meeting at Chester Heights Park meeting at 9am -11am. Each volunteer will receive a CHNA face mask. She asked the council to please share the event with the community on Facebook and via their email list.

June Treasurers Report:

Receipts $47,835.63

Expenses $56,629.08


Discussion of Borough Inspector Compensation:

David Firkser: Are the fees listed on the treasures report paid directly to Mr. Jensen (Borough Inspector)?


Treasurer’s Response – Yes. One is a reimbursable land development payment for 240 Wawa Rd. $2468.60, and the other is for various building permits in the amount of $2492.07. She continued noting that the inspector gets 50% of the total cost of each permit based on a fee schedule.


During the discussion, it was noted a review was done prior to 2014 how other municipalities address payments to the inspector. The council agreed to review the methodology and benchmark with other local municipalities to make sure that we are in line with standard practice.


Councilman Baum asked how long PA has been under the Unified Construction Code and what the requirements are for inspectors under these guidelines. The Secretary replied that PA Labor and Industry monitors the certifications the secretary agreed to forward additional information to the council for review.

Bob Adams raised the issue about using a 3rd party inspector instead of an employee to move the liability from the borough and place it on the inspector. The treasurer noted that our inspector is paid as an employee on a W2 and therefore is covered under the borough liability.

Development:

A lively discussion about development this time 31 Smithbridge Rd, 1 Smithbridge Rd., Old Quarry Knoll, and Brookfield.


It all started with 31 Smithbridge Rd – the Land Development agreement was extended another 90 days to October 13th, 2020. The council is eager to see movement on getting this off the agenda every 90 days. The issues here appear to be all about the sewer connections or lack thereof. A circular argument about connecting to the Smithbridge properties to the Brookfield pump station, and/or installing a forced main to the edge of the borough on Smithbridge Rd. ensued and even lead to the path of where will the Powell property development tie in? All good questions and council will have more on this discussion in August.


Current and Potential Future Developments:

(For reference only)


Borough Maps:

A draft of the Chester Heights Borough Sewer Map will be provided to the council on July 27th for review by Catania Engineers. This contract was granted by the borough council in October of 2019 in an attempt to spend out the 2019 budget.


During Public Comment, Marta Driscoll asked if there was an update borough zoning map existed since the one on the website said 2016, but was actually the 2007 map.

Council noted that they will post a new map to the website once located.

Traffic on Lenni Rd.

The issue of tractor-trailers on Lenni Rd. was raised at last month’s meeting. The borough reviewed the light at Franklin Station which was thought to have been where the problems stemmed from, however that did not appear to be the culprit. Council noted that it was more likely the fact that SEPTA had diverted traffic through the borough when they began construction on Rte 1 and now the contractors and drivers use this way to travel to areas south of here straight up and down Lenni Rd. Council committed to checking for weight limits on the road and on the bridge by Westlake Plastics to see if we had any room for determent and enforcement.


Garnet Valley School District Announcements:

  • Senior and Junior Proms are canceled.

  • A drive-by graduation will take place over 2 days on July 28th and July 29th.

  • School is planning for in-person teaching in the fall.

  • New School Tax was approved rates went up 1%. These rates apply to your old assessment and NOT your new reassessment notice, ironically mailed on the same day.

  • Councilwoman Lim asked if there was a website to play with the millage and the assessment to figure out where the person will end up in the new tax for budgeting purposes. Mr. Chestnut said there is not.

SIDE NOTE:

CHNA created an imputed tax calculator to do just that. You can read more here.


The borough and county must approve new millage rates in December.


The 2021-2022 School year tax will be out in July of 2021. That is when everyone will know their true new tax burden.


Library:

  • Curbside pickup is open.

  • Library hopes to open in-person visits in August.

  • *** Greg Chestnut is resigning as the Library representative for CHB and has asked that the borough advertise the position as his term in up January 1st, 2021. It will be the borough who appoints a person to this positions.***

Parks & Recreation 5 Motions Approved:

  1. Tree Clearing

  2. Marking Corners of the property by GD Houtman and setting markers

  3. Installing corner Markers

  4. Clearing Poison Ivy and treating poison ivy

  5. Clearing the dead poison ivy and seed in the fall

Additionally, a discussion to be held in late July/August to move funds from the general fund to the Parks fund to improve the area. The current park budget is only $7.5K which does not cover all improvements the council has made this year.

Final Notes:

  • The Voting Signs Marta asked about have been found.

  • Engineer to address concerns about sight lines coming from Wawa Rd onto Valleybrook Road.

  • The recycling event is still on Sept 26th.

The borough's official minutes will be made available on their website once approved by the council. The audio recording should be available within a few days.