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StMichael's
Chronology 

 

As of 6-13 thru 9-13 ..... In an astounding turn of events, residents seeking to get the latest updates were denied due process by Township personnel, including the manager and the Code Dept. and apparently others .   Having not had any regular updates (although they were requested, and even oft promised ) and upon seeing the Manager denying any known deadlines etc,  a Right to Know form was filed requesting whatever  had transpired in 2013 -- any activity on the application at all .  Although records are to be provided in 5 days, not a single relevant document was turned over - and every effort was made to try to indicate that none existed.  Nothing could have been further from the truth. 

          In fact, there was  no small amount of activity on the application to develop St Michael's  in 2013 . The extensive activity included an extension of the deadline Manager LeFevre claimed to know nothing about &  a 40 to 50 page agreement that he personally signed off on. In this, the under-sized septic system was approved by the township, despite conditions that residents, had they known and had a chance to comment, would have been aghast at.   It even proposed to increase the number of users without any specific limitation or any need to increase the system commensurately.   There was also an entire sewer timeline, numerous meetings, and  a plea  by St Michael's to be allowed to build and work the sewer specifics out later.   Manager LeFevre, Zoning Directors Mark Penecale and Larry Matteo were copied on scores of documents  and at one point our Township solicitor ( the one paid by you and I ) even rewrote the agreement for St Michael's to make it more likely to pass DEP inspection.  The Wastewater Treatment Director and Engineer were also part of  the proceedings.


           
All of this is quite unbelievable in light of the June and July conversations via email with Manager LeFevre where he professed no documents except the irrelevant ones he offered.  I did not see  the entire extent of the activity until August 15th , but the pursuit of it took an enormous amount of effort – and I persisted only because I had learned about bits and pieces of it  from other sources and knew I was not being told the truth . How many others in the township have been denied documents in this manner. I know it has happened to me before - but this is on a scale one can scare believe .  There is not a resident in Abington who should not be outraged that the Board of Commissioners would allow such a flagrant violation and they would further choose neither to investigate it thoroughly nor to act upon this immediately to rectify whatever might warrant it.  In fact, Board President Peggy Myers has spent not one second seeking  the details of the case from me but a great deal of time trying to limit my description of it and of  other similar activity oat the podium, so that other residents would not know.  
      That the St Michael's neighbors and so many others have been impacted so heavily by the serious breaches of public trust and even of legal & fiduciary responsibility by those charged with the very safeguarding of their rights is more than clear. The question is, how long it will continue and whether those charged with stopping it will act .
         In truth, can any Right To Know request - even those officially filed - be trusted to be properly fulfilled as long as this is the manner in which "business" is conducted in this Township? 

 

  9-3-12   Pending final DEP approval --- the application had been sent to the Township and forms for  Historical  & Cultural  details have been resubmitted . If you click on the link on this page and scroll to the end  you can see the last documents .  Residents are encouraged to continue to weigh in with the DEP and others  to continue to voice their concerns in writing to the Township officials. We have had no response whatsoever from officials regarding  our charts where all of our calculations showed likely failures of the septic.  Residents who would like to know more about this and the ongoing fall-out over the  manner in which this was done, should  contact me .

8-12  The module went to DEP after the May approval and  as of late July 2012  it had been sent back to Abington to complete some information.  If you click on the link on this page and scroll to the end  you can see the last documents

 5-10-12    Board of Commissioners Meeting - the Board approved the plan for septic with a list of conditions . Unbelieable - but true.  If you saw what had been advertised to obtain the initial waivers, permits and approvals and you saw what they finally approved you would be aghast that such a thing could happen.  Of note, as well, is the fact that conditions  never met from the 1990 Zoning relief, were added as conditions of this zoning.  Who is minding the farm here? No one, to my knowledge has been disciplined for the lack of enforcement of these provisions for so many years. 
 

  4-30-12    Code Enforcement Meeting   Passed the approval and will recommend the plan to the Board .
Conditions were NOT crafted to address the resident's issues, the questions for the Engineer were "skipped" and  the meeting ran 4 hours with half of the interested parties gone.   By dragging out the presentation  -  interrupting or re-directing residents comments, it was again a night like so many others I have seen in.  The specific concerns of residents were never listed and addressed .  

4-25-12  The Planning Commission listened, made comments like "these numbers are fuzzy"  I'm just not comfortable with this . And then said "All in Favor -Aye " .  What more can I say .....  If we accept it, they'll keep doing it .  The 3-28-12 Plans were posted --- not the most recent  4-17 plans  - and the consultant's report was not obtained until the last  few minutes .   The septic designer he is asked whether he could provide an analysis of increasing the size by 35%.  The response that an increased cost  of increasing 35% capacity would probably be about 25% increase in cost.  He said it was told today that it had to be 35% larger he would have to go back to the drawing will board to test and apply for new permits based on the increased size from the county health department.  He would have to prove that the site could support the larger size.


4-22-12    Septic Module  is found on Township website -- .  In these plans the EDU's are 5 ( they have been 9 and 2.97 and 4 and 5 and....numbers )  and the plan viability is listed as Marginal.  The figures for the Banquet hall were grossly understated ( 209 capacity versus  448) 

Back on  the public sewer--- we  have just learned that new plans are out where the Parish Hall and the Garage apt will now be again going through the Cheltenham Sewer ( they were originally taken off to swap out for the new rectory along with the masonry building  . The  Masonry Dwelling now alone will  will be swapped out for the  new rectory.   That means the Masonry Dwelling comes off the Cheltenham sewer to make way for the new rectory  and the garage spt and parish hall stay on the Cheltenham sewer . 
So a septic system listed as marginal  - without the Dwelling added  and with figures 1/2 of what they should be  would now likely be in the  "not suitable " range   (See section H in the link below )
 
http://www.abington.org/resident/downloads%20for%20plans%20&%20maps/mar2012plan%20stmichplan.pdf

4-17-12 ANOTHER New set of plans are drawn .  I am not made aware.  They are shown to a few in small groups (who learned of it  4-22-12 ) by Commissioner Gaglianese but he prefers to keep information from those of us who would share it to inform a larger number.  Keeping people factually in the dark is a long standing method of limiting their role in their government. 
 

4-12-12  A new set of plans has been submitted.  Commissioner Gaglianese's note  says only that there is a difference in the driveway - No other changes are pointed out, and it is not known if there are or are not other changes . He sends it to his limited list. I am excluded from that list .  We can not find them posted on the website


4-2-12  A new sewer/ septic module  has been submitted that includes the septic  system now  built for  209  only in the dining hall  If they have the 448 capacity crowd that they are allowed - they are not allowed to eat ---( imagine it  if you can.)  And the entire 6,000 sq foot downstairs would have to be empty along with an empty deck and patio. The rating seen earlier on the system was "marginal " - what happens if more than the 209 use it ? And initially the same system designer thought that 500 gallon rather than 2000 gal tanks were ok . 

3-28-12 A new set of plans
3-27-12 --- Planning Commission Meeting  at the Township building. was cancelled 

3-20-12 -  7:30 at St Marks - Commissioner Gaglianese and  Police  Chief Kelly - The date of this meeting changed at the last minute and no attempt was made to notify myself, even though the Commissioner Gaglianese  knew that I was announcing this information  to many other residents and had been working on  this issue since 2009. In addition, I was prevented from attending the meeting at all, despite use of MY Township funds in this project and even in the meeting itself  (where four, count 'em, four,  Township police were in attendance)
   The exclusion of the public in public affairs, and further, in a manner this egregious, is something that should concern us all .  The lines of  communication in this township need to be opened, not closed and citizens need to be given all the information that they need for a host of reasons --- to protect their own rights, to bring oversight to the use of their tax dollars and to understand the job their Commissioners are doing so that they know who should get their vote .  All of these are important .    I have been in discussions with Chief Kelly and Township Manager Michael LeFevre over these issues . I will bring more information when we come to some understanding.   

3-18-12 Cheltenham responds to  the Right to Know request - St Michael's has not appeared, apparently, on any list submitted by Abington to Cheltenham  to request EDU's .
 

3-13-12   The Township is not posting  the newest Plan that has been proposed on the Township website - The Commissioner is only handing out  paper Copies to a few residents. With these methods, the fewest people gain access to the information - so we have scanned them and posted them on this site .

     We have made certain the official documents  that St Michael's  Preliminary Plan was approved conditional to getting the EDU's needed to connect to the Cheltenham system.  They have no Preliminary Plan approval for a design with on-site septic.

  3-12 We have just had a look at the plans for the septic & parking.
    Click here to see the placement of the septic  
    Click here to see the parsonage (rectory ) and parking lot side with the 40 new spaces
These plans are dated 2-6-12  
We have also obtained a "Sewage Flow Calculations" feet submitted by St. Michael's.  Although they testified in 2008 that the dining Hall would be used one time a year- they are now giving the assumption that there would be two dining events per week and one church breakfast  ( even though they have two church services each Sunday)  They mention a 209 person capacity and failed to mention that for events without tables the capacity is 448.  ( and no mention is made of the seating on the deck & patio that may be used )  We believe this plan was either given to the Department of Health or to the DEP.

   It is currently  in the hands of the Montgomery County Health Dep - who has approved the soils but is now working on approving the whole module .  In addition, we understand the Township has hired a consultant  (Tom Applebach Sewage Planner at DelVal Soil & Environmental Consultants Inc.) 

Montgomery County Health Dept &  DEP should  be hearing from you about the way this is impacting you.  Also your your full Board of Commissioners all have voted and will continue to vote on this -   your County Commissioners  and  your representatives in Congress  should also be hearing about  this process, which from the beginning has been more that a little flawed.

      We have ascertained that St Michael's  Preliminary Plan was approved conditional to getting the EDU's needed to connect to the Cheltenham system.  They have no Preliminary Plan approval for a design with on-site septic. I, for one, am not understanding why my Township staff time, a consultant's time, my county Health Dept's time or DEP time should be used - at my tax dollar expense, for a property owner with no approval for a septic plan . 

     Cheltenham just  responded to a  Right To Know request that was filed nearly a month ago to learn if any recent requests have been made by Abington for the EDU's needed by  St Michael's. ( The resident that reviewed these documents did not see any request for EDU's through to March of 2012 . While residents were NOT notified that these EDU's were unavailable at the approval meetings, the Township and St Michael's both knew this information per documents cited in the chronology below.

  Cheltenham has still  not responded to a  Right To Know request ( note they did finally respond  by Mar 18th ) that was filed to learn whether any recent requests have been made by Abington for the EDU's for St Michael's. Cheltenham cited that they needed more time to respond. What could possibly require so much time - they either did request EDU's or they didn't.  While residents were NOT notified that these EDU's were unavailable at the approval meetings, the Township and St Michael's both knew this information per documents cited in the chronology below. Couple that with the fact that no application for EDU's was made either.
 

3-8-12 Resident writes to Montco Planning Commission; DEP and Montco Dept of Health to express disappointment with the septic plan that he has seen at the Township building. the new plan apparently calls for the abandonment of the current sewer connection to several of the buildings such as the garage apartment, the old parish Hall etc. The resident contends that this plan is not in accordance with the intent of Abington Code 132-6 Connection to available sewers and further that St. Michael's inability to maintain a fence and trees on the property per previous requirements make it doubtful that they will maintain septic standards necessary to protect the environment. The resident also cites the proximity of leaching fields to Ha soils and a Spring House that are both of concern, as well as  underground streams and flooded basements on Kipling Road which are testament to t surrounding soil conditions near the leaching field.

3-1-12 Resident asks at Public Safety Meeting for better Police response to the actual questions rather than endless meetings and discussion with no resolution of or real reply to the problems .  Residents deserve an answer-  in writing - from their police about why the enforcement problems have persisted ( as recently as Sept 12 the noise went late into the night) They deserve a written response as to how that  will be changed. They should NOT have to schlepp to yet another meeting to get an answer.

3-1-12 We know St Michael's has a plan to propose with on site septic system. We have not been forwarded the plan or any details. The first presentation would be at the  3-21-12  meeting Commissioner Gaglianese is proposing, unless each resident took it upon themseves individually to take their time and township staff time to go to the Township building.  We are asking to have details of the plan posted on the website and emailed around. The Commissioner has offered to meet with people individually -   historically, we all know, that very few have the time to do that with children, work and activities.  The Montgomery County Health Department did approve the soils for a septic system. 

2-27-12 A resident requests ,via Right to Know Documents sent to Montgomery County Health Dept  “all documents and correspondence between Montgomery County and the PA Department of Environmental Protection, regarding St. Michael Archangel Ukrainian Catholic Church, 1013 Fox Chase Road, Abington Township, for the years 2008 through the current date.” They provided the  documents

2-27-12  Commissioner Gaglianese said he will meet with residents on the 21st March at 8pm  and that he has spoken with with Zoning and Code Enforcement, Police Department, St. Michaels Church, and the DEP .  The Montgomery County health Department has determined the site to be suitable for long term sewage disposal.  DEP is currently reviewing the module.  The Police Chief and Deputy Chief Webb will again discuss residents concerns about noise and parking. (But the question is what will they do about it ) he spoke with the church about lighting and needs to gather additional information.  It has not yet addressed the entrance (width of the driveway) - he believes the property line issue is resolved with the neighbors.  A plan has been submitted for the location of the septic system- he would gladly sit down with any neighbors to go over the plan ( but we would prefer to have the plan sent to us so all of us can see it -  ) the septic plan will be presented to the Planning Commission on Tuesday, March 27 at a public hearing.  From there it goes to Code Enforcement Committee Meeting then to the full Board of Commissioners.  Another way to have your voices heard is to contact DEP directly and have them take your comments into consideration. 

2-22-12  Sewer Facilities Planning Module is prepared by Highpoint and submitted to  DEP (or Montco )
  St Michael's says attendance in the hall is 209 rather than 448  ----  they  averaged the EDU's instead of providing peak use EDU numbers.    They did although they say in their narrative they would build based on 2190gpd ( gallons per day )  for the banquet hall  Friday dinner would be  Peak Flow -- and  400 EDU's for the Masonry Dwelling - which was supposed to be an office - per testimony  June 2008 to obtain zoning --- later we will learn they intend it more "hotel" style for visiting clergy.  On  p18 St Michael says
 
2-21-12  Cheltenham says they cannot reply to the request within the limit and will take the extension of time allowed ( up to 30 days )

2-14-12 Right To Know request filed with Cheltenham who will not openly allow a resident to see the list and know if St Michael's ever applied for EDU's .  resident request Connection management plans issed to DEP from June 09 to present and  Abington Correspondence regarding list of properties waiting for EDU's .

2-12-12 approximately - Proposed Sewage Flow Calculation Sheet  for St Michaels prepared by Highpoint lists
assumptions of 2 dining events per week in a 209 seat facility ( they seem to have forgotten the 448  capacity  if used "auditorium style"   I church  breakfast per week with (200 parishoners )  5 office meetings per week with 10 people in them 1 Sunday school class per week  80 students  and 2 religious classes per week with 20 students .   They then averaged the numbers  ( DEP however, told us that they want the peak numbers - not the average - and so far we

2-5-12  Commissioner Gaglianese writes residents  that he will meet with Chief and get information ....despite having  heard residents concerns since 2008, and having  just heard them again Jan 23rd, rather than getting answers & requiring  firm and specific replies about the response to the concerns ( such as noise way past reason )   he has met with Chief Kelly & will set  up a meeting ( yet another ) meeting  with the Chief of Police & Officer Webb.   He say he recognizes residents are frustrated that the ordinances do not seem to be enforced and says he will work to change that. His is arranging a meeting with the church administration and reviewing  DEP info about the soil.  

1-27(?)-12 A residents requests answers from the Township Manager
Summary   points from resident letter
 to Manager LeFevre outlining problems in this case:
"errors in testimony" either not recognized  or not challenged by personal  working for residents
required public notice did not hint at any such endeavor as  a 400 + capacity banquet facility or 11,640sf 
hardships were being granted where no hardships seemed to exist
residents are not  provided with a basic primer when their property rights are challenged
persistent code enforcement issues of noise, lights, parking, trespass,  motorcycles,  debris, etc  
flagrant violations of the zoning contingencies placed on St Michael’s in 1990- fences,  trees, etc… .
Abington Township and St Michael’s  both knew no EDU's had been reserved  in Cheltenham during proceedings
critical information was withheld from residents - both about sewage plans and building plans ( deck etc) 
approval is to be contingent upon the receipt of adequate EDU’s from Cheltenham- no valid plan therefore exists
it would seem that this application should be null and void until  EDU’s are obtained..
Also residents need Communication tools
single calendar
page of links for each project
website menu
airing of planning and zoning meetings so the public can see the decisions that are changing their
primer on zoning procedures 
system where things residents repeatedly bump up against are fixed
 

 1-23-12 Neighbors Meeting Jan 23rd 7 pm at Township Building called by Commissioner Gaglianese
Residents again listed the same complaints that they had listed previously. (summary coming)
 Mark Penecale  said re: the widening of the driveway  that it is already  24 ft wide at the entrance  - but a little further in it is 17 but  they did not want to take down the wall that is there  ( go looking – another document I believe, makes the plan contingent on the widened 2 way driveway )

1-20-12  A  Sewer Facilities Planning Module
was prepared by HighPoint facilities   - It was revised Feb 22,  2012  . See that date for more info . 

11 -8-11 No formal septic proposal - As of this date  St  Michael's had not yet formally made application to place a septic system on the property - but has obtained the application

11-5-11  Residents are being granted  individual meetings with the head of the Zoning dept. - but no group meeting is being offered where residents can  benefit from the knowledge and questions of one another .  

10-6-11 Extension granted by the wrong party?  A letter from St Michael's Attorney Todd Savage grants the Township an indefinite extension to approve this plan . It says that  in light of the moratorium , they were compelled  to revise their original plans . (Though via a call to Cheltenham Twp, the moratorium was in place since 2005 - so they had no reason to "change their plans" - conditions were the same as when they applied  and the Township was supposed to act within a certain amount of time - which would have given them the ability to deny the application since no proper application exists. So who is allowing whom an extension?  )   Initially, St Michaels' says,  they then proposed an on -site pumping station that would bypass Cheltenham, but they were unable to acquire the easements, So they are now designing an on-site septic system and will then revise their final land development plans.  ( The Preliminary Plan was approved conditional to sewers access - not septic )
       Normally the Township would have 90 days to approve their plan --and they are with this letter granting an extension of that time.  But, in fact,  they do not even have an actual  plan to approve at this point and so I'm not sure why the township does not --in the interests of its residents -- rule within the allotted time. It would seem to some of us that the plan that had been submitted originally could / should be put on the schedule and either approved only with the sewer connecting to Abington through Cheltenham  or denied because at this point no other viable plan has been presented - and no plan similar to the one that was used to obtain the waiver is on the table at all.   The  initial  waiver given in 2008 which allowed  them to build their  social hall on an R1 piece of ground only had  the Abington sewer option ( and 6000 sq ft - and a dining hall for breakfasts etc etc) . Since Abington flows into Cheltenham, and since Cheltenham has no capacity ( and does not even have St Mike's on the list )  they may have foreseen  that they would not get the project completed  in the 5 years they would be given.   But can we  see where the law – or our officials – seems to be allowing them  to alter the plans so much from what was used to obtain the waiver that it is barely recognizable.  Obviously still some things to find out............ 

9-22 -11 Larry Matteo  from the Township  met  with St Michael's - they will consider a septic system and make new plans
 
9-21-11 There was a letter from St Michaels dated Sept 21st that gave Abington Township an extension until November 11, 2011 . 

9-15-11  A letter from  Montgomery Co Planning Commission--re Proposal: construct a one-story 11,640-square foot dining hall with and a 2,933-square foot, two-story parsonage on a property currently occupied by a church, residence, shed, spring house, and four other buildings. An existing basketball court will be removed during land development. The property lies in the CS-Community Service District and the R-1 Low Density Residential Zoning Districts, and is served by public water and sewer. The plan is dated June 30, 2011; the applicant has submitted a final plan. .–July 29, 2009. Review Comments.  Comments from our previous letter which remain outstanding include  1. Masters Facilities Plan – is required [500.4.H.]. 2. The tax parcel number of the site is required [146-11.A.5] Shall be provided unless not considered necessary for safety and convenience [146-27.1.]. A sidewalk (and crosswalk) in this area could improve access to Alverthorpe Park. Crosswalks may be required to provide access to parks [146-29.4.A.].4. Off-Street Parking Areas – Two-way interior circulation drives and aisle ways shall be aminimum of 24 feet wide (the driveway near the entrance is 17 ft.wide) [146-28.1].B. We offer the following additional comment:1. Dumpster – shall have a low-intensity screen (shrubs, hedge, or berm) [801.U.2.a.].RecommendationWe recommend approval of this land development provided the proposed plan complies with yourmunicipal land use regulations and all other appropriate regulations.Please note that the review comments and recommendations contained in this report are advisory

 9-13-11  Meeting for Sept 27th will be fully cancelled.  Residents are assured they will not proceed  until residents have had a chance to review the proper plans.

9-11
 Per Code Enforcement office -  St Michaels  plan now is to install a "force main"  which means that there will be  a pumping station- or actually two-  that will pump the water  far enough to get it into the system to bypass Cheltenham and go directly to Philadelphia .  There will be two pumps on the St. Michael's property.  I was assured the cost of them would be borne entirely by St. Michael's as well as the cost of maintenance and the cost of connecting them in to the system.  At issue for nearby residents, besides the noise factor from the hall itself , the traffic and parking, is the location ( & smell? ) of the pumping stations , easements needed across somebody's property in order to connect- and as I mentioned in the last mailing, the driveway issue is still not settled-and residents should have info on this before arriving at the meeting Sept 27 . 


8-23-11  - Postponed application to September 27, 2011
" The plan is the same as what was presented to the Zoning Hearing Board in 2008 and the Planning Commission, Code Enforcement Committee and the Board of Commissioners in 2010.   The applicant has addressed the conditions of the preliminary plan approval.  The issue of sanitary sewer service has been addressed by way of the installation of a force main,( they are planning to go out the back to Crosswicks and up from there to the Abington Sewer lines ) the drive lane in front  of the dining hall has been increased to 14 feet in width, the overflow parking area has been plotted on the plan, the existing fire hydrant has been plotted as required and the landscaping has relocated to allow for better screening as requested.  The applicant has not increased to size of the driveway out to Fox Chase Road.  Please be aware that this was not a requirement of preliminary plan approval.  It was discussed, but never added as a condition.  I have reviewed my notes and the applicant stated the due to the retaining walls and entry piers along the entry wall they did not want to remove all of those structures to widen the driveway.  There were questions about the need to add a second driveway to service the property located across from Pond View Drive.   My notes state that the applicant would review that request and address it at the time of final approval.

6-30-11 Proposal Submitted (Per Plan) : construct a one-story 11,640-square foot dining hall with and a 2,933-square foot, two-story parsonage on a property currently occupied by a church, residence, shed, spring house, and four other buildings. An existing basketball court will be removed during land development. The property lies in the CS-Community Service District and the R-1 Low Density Residential Zoning Districts, and is served by public water and sewer. The plan is dated June 30, 2011. (  At his point  they knew  that no EDU's were available through the Cheltenham system in their 2009-2013 plan and that either pumping stations or septic would have to be used )

6-17-11  DEP reviewed the Sewer Module filed 4-25-11 . This is the plan to use a force main ( one or two ) to go through Crosswicks

5-17-11 Montco Health Dept Approves plan that was submitted by Highpoint  on  4-25-11.   Letter to Burton Conway. As explained by them later (in their 4-2-12 application )   they thought that their point of land on Crosswicks gave them the right to access the sewer there - and they were planning to pump out (force main)  but they learned that they needed to get easements from one or both Crosswicks neighbors  because that was to narrow a piece . They are still not getting on the waiting list for Cheltenham ...?

4-25-11 Highpoint Services applies plan with  DEP  for a sewer "module"  - This was reviewed in June  and was the forcemain ( pump ) to go out through Crosswicks Rd .

3-17 10  Cheltenham Township puts out its revised management plan  from the amended January 28, 2010 plan
the list includes  changes of the 11 properties for 2010-2011.   EDUs for Abington are on attachment A which is missing but on the list it includes   includes 7000 GPD and 26.7 EDU's 15.6 of them were allocatedin 2009 and 11.1 of them were allocated   in 2010 there is also a sheet for Jenkintown Borough called attachment B-- and and an  attachment C  for Philadelphia.  After that
 comes Exhibit F :   Tabulation of Potential PDUs to Be Connected for Years 2011 2012 and 2013 and the EDU Balance And On exhibit F1  Abington Township   has 525 gallons per day GDP and to EDU's and those were connected in year 2010
St Michael's is not on the list

__________________

1-28-10  Cheltenham Township puts out a connection management plan that is amended through January 28, 2010
         ( this will later be revised through March 17, 2010) 

12-10-09   Minutes of: Township of Abington Board of Commissioners Meeting of December 10, 2009.Item CE2. Motion to approve St Michaels Development Plan LD-09-01 The motion is subject to the following conditions: 9 in total. #2 The applicant must obtain approval of the 9 required EDU's from DEP and Cheltenham Township
(But, again  both the Township and St Michael's knew that Cheltenham had not EDU's for them through to 2013  - and they are not on the waiting list for EDUs  and they do not get on lists that are presented in January 2010  or March 2010  --- all of those people were connected )


12-8-09 - Residents write their Commissioner
  citing the history of noise  & parking violations that have not been enforced and asking that the Township make sure very specific written note of the plan to enforce noise ordinances is in the plan. (& asking that all current Township noise statutes be followed and enforced) They noted their opposition to parking that might be shifted  to Kipling Rd from Pond View, if signage was placed on Pond View and  the blocking of mailboxes, fire hydrants and driveways. And the residents complained that the advertisement did NOT include the fact that a banquet hall was planned - they were told it was a place to give parishioners breakfast after mass.  Then they were not notified of the July meeting where the approval was given. Since they did not know, they could not even appeal it.

12-4-09 Resident learns that St Michaels was not even on the waiting list for EDU’s - despite their presentation of a plan to supposedly use those sewers ......Letter from Cheltenham to resident

12-3-09 Preliminary Approval given by Township of the plan . A good 20+ neighbors came and protested the manner in which this was done, the waivers given, the fact that their questions were not being answered etc 
Although both the Township and Cheltenham know that they have no sewer capacity in Cheltenham and that they are not on the list through to 2013,  no mention....
Minutes of: Township of Abington Board of Commissioners Meeting of December 10, 2009.Item CE2. Motion to approve St Michaels Development Plan LD-09-01 The motion is subject to the following conditions: 9 in total. #2 The applicant must obtain approval of the 9 required EDU's from DEP and Cheltenham Township. (But, again  both the Township and St Michael's knew that Cheltenham had not EDU's for them through to 2013  - and they are not making application to be on the waiting list for EDUs)

11-30-09 Code Enforcement and land development committee meeting 7:30 PM motion is on the agenda to approve the preliminary land development application of St. Michael to construct the parsonage and an 11,640 ft. dining Hall with the basement and rear patio.  ( was this meeting held or was it postponed to 12-3-09? )  This motion is subject to the following conditions:
1 application is a preliminary land development plan not a final one
2.  Applicant must obtain approval for the nine required EDU's from DEP and Cheltenham
3 plan to include correct setback coverages and zoning information
4 proposed additional landscaping along Kipling road property line
5 fire Department connection to be determined by fire marshal
6 one-way drive Lane will be increased from 12 feet in width to 14 feet
7 escrow required to ensure inspections of on-site storm water management systems
8 reserved parking area will include 40 additional parking spaces to be added to the final plan
9 the use of dining Hall will be limited to the definition found in section 706.  E, use U-10 "place of worship" of the zoning ordinance of Abington

This motion is subject to the following waivers :
1 waiver from 146-11.  A.  4 location of parcel numbers and owners within 400 feet and
2 waiver from section 146-11.  B.-Existing Features Plan
(But, again  both the Township and St Michael's knew that Cheltenham had not EDU's for them through to 2013  - and they are not  making application to be on the waiting list for EDUs)

11-4-09 Code Enforcement Meeting- Commissioner J O'Connor says if the application fits our code we have to grant- 40 additional parking spaces-  209 seeded or 400 standing - all outdoor activities ended by 9 PM except for two festivals a year.  Twp Engineer Michael Power said there is a cost for the EDU's that the applicant will bear it.
Chief Kelly tells residents they give permits to go past 9 PM they allowed to go till 11.  On a week day officers would tell them to turn it down sooner if it's a one time event they usually allow it .  A resident said on November 2 they asked for documents to be the right to know act and they won't have them for five days so they would like the topic to be postponed from next week's agenda.  There was discussion about the deadline and if the applicant didn't get an answer there would be a problem.  The board had to take action within 90 days of the application brass the applicant for an extension.  They now have till December 5 for a final decision.  One resident noted the Parsonage did not include occupancy number.  He was told that's established at a later time.  Other residents testified to excessive noise/traffic/debris/parking overrun Pond View road they are double parked in the cul-de-sac/the widening of the road/traffic signals for so many people coming out/the growth of the parish/how to have an informed dialogue with residents/ staff  /police  and the entire community/ loudspeakers past 10 PM are used now.  How could use of this Hall by only members of the church be enforced they stated it wouldn't be rented out - but church related functions alone could be numerous.  St. Michael's member said they only had two weddings last year said that on Sunday they had 180.  Morning mass and 228 people in the afternoon mass.  There were questions about the parking-they require required to have 148 with the addition

10-27-09
  On the agenda At the Planning Commission Meeting-- the application of St. Michael's requesting approval on the plans for single family dwelling for the pastor and a multi use single-story building listed as the "Dining Hall" the proposed building is plotted as having a footprint of 11,640 ft. (that was incorrect – the footprint was for 6000 ft. and the 11,640 ft. happened with a second floor addition-- the deck on the second floor is not mentioned)  with an additional rear patio

10-20-09  Meetings Scheduled Abington Township Land Development Notice LD-09-01  released ~ October 20, 2009. Scheduled Planning Commission Meeting, Code Enforcement Meeting and Board of Commissioners Meeting on St Michael's.

 10-21-09 Abington cannot approve the application of St Michael's until they get the 9 EDU's Abington Township as per letter of October 21, 2009 to Highpoint Services Inc.

9- 23-09  Cheltenham Township tells Highpoint they have no capacity -   They’re not on the plan (Amended Cheltenham Township Connection Management Plan) that covers years 2009 thru 2013  
Cheltenham has no excess Sanitary Sewer capacity to allocate to this project.

9-15-09   Montgomery County Planning Commission comments in letter to Mark Penecale.  Second review, addressing previous comments of  29 July still outstanding. The driveway is to be addressed  per advice of Montgomery Co Planning Commission – but their recommendation is advisory only ; Off-Street Parking Areas – Two-way interior circulation drives and aisle ways shall be a minimum of 24 feet wide (the driveway near the entrance is 17 ft. wide) [146-28.1].( Mark Penecale  said in 1-23-12 meeting that is not correct - at the entrance it is already 24 - but a little further in it is 17 but  they did not want to take down the wall. )

 9- 9-09  St Michael’s says Abington  applied & reserved EDU’s   Letter  from Highpoint Services, Inc (St Michael’s Engineers) to Cheltenham Township asserting that  Ab Twp Zoning officer  Mark Penecale said Abington Township had capacity reserved for the project  & requesting they fill out and forward to DEP a Facilities Planning Application Mailer listing the 9 EDU's they require.

8-20-09  No Edu’s available  DEP letter to David M Lynch Director of Engineering, Cheltenham Township of 20 August 2009 Approving the 2009 Connections of the May 2009 plan. (including 26.7 EDU's to Abington but none for St Michael’s )

 8-10-09  EDU’s are needed - Letter from Abington Township to Mr. Ihor Jaryi,President St Michael's Dated August 10, 2009. Staff Review. Of note is the statement under Engineering 1. : the Applicant will have to gain approval for 9 EDU from Cheltenham and DEP.

7-29-09 Montgomery County Planning Commission comments in letter of 29 July  2009 to Mark A Penecale, Zoning Officer, Abington Township, review comments to  development plan.  Comments from our previous letter which remain outstanding include  1. Masters Facilities Plan – is required [500.4.H.]. 2. The tax parcel number of the site is required [146-11.A.5] Shall be provided unless not considered necessary for safety and convenience [146-27.1.]. A sidewalk (and crosswalk) in this area could improve access to Alvethorpe Park. Crosswalks may be required to provide access to parks [146-29.4.A.].4. Off-Street Parking Areas – Two-way interior circulation drives and aisle ways shall be minimum of 24 feet wide (the driveway near the entrance is 17 ft. wide) [146-28.1].B.  .  (Note Interior and circulation drives shall be 24 feet wide – they are however a “recommending”  body – this is what they recommend MCPC Number for Abington is 09-0145-001)
 
5-8 -09 No Application made for Cheltenham EDU’s- Cheltenham Township Connection Management Plan Amended thru May 8, 2009, rev. May10, 2009  Listed 26.7 EDU for 2009. None for 2010, 2011, 2012 or 2013 by Abington Township.ie :
 St Michael's is NOT on the list requesting EDU’s from Cheltenham  

5-7-09 Abington submits list to Cheltenham for EDU request with no St
Michael’s ------Abington Engineering dept  e-mail to David Lynch, Subject Abington Township EDU's St . Michael's not listed – No request is being made

7-15-08  Zoning Relief was granted. 3 people voted Aye and that is all it took to grant the relief  despite no testimony in favor of the application and a dozen reasons to deny it.   Barbara Wertheimer, Ed Mebus and Linda Cates all voted in favor .  3 people voting to give one property owner more rights than he bought even though those rights will severely impact the rights of th other property owners.
       Although residents  had been notified of the earlier  meeting, neighbors  said later that they did not even know this particular meeting was being held. In addition, they largely did not know or understand, still at this time, the real details of  what was being planned, how it would affect them, how the facility might be used, what other uses might be possible and  what they should do in order to act in their own interests.  These waivers were granted before they could inform themselves properly - as they later testified .   A letter was sent to their Commissioner asserting that, although St. Michael's was proposing originally a "Church Hall"  where they would serve breakfast to parishioners, what was approved at this meeting was a full banquet facility - with the possible ability  of renting it out for weddings and events.  Residents did not appeal in the allotted time because they did not even know about it, nor about their rights to appeal until that deadline had passed.
     The original half of the property that is planned for the dining hall was Zoned R-1 (residential 1 acre). The land where the new Church was built was  Zoned CS (Community Service District).  In July 2008 Abington Planning Commissioners gave them a variance to extend the building in the  R-1 zone to add the dining facility. No mention was made that this was a Flood Plain Conservation District .


June 17, 2008
   Zoning Hearing  St Michael’s testified that renovating the pastor’s house would be too expensive –and that maintenance is too expensive – but they seem to have enough funds for a new house and enough to maintain the old one ( for other uses ) and the new one too – so that doesn’t seem to be true .  They testified at first  when asked who lived there that the  priest & his family did  – then later another woman – then later still another woman.  And they used part of the house for an office and  the kitchen was used for church breakfasts.  They testified that the banquet hall would be used 1x per year – then later that there would also be weddings .  They testified that there was  vegetation that separated the residents from the property – the residents testified otherwise.  Residents testified about the noise , the lack of anything that separated them from the church parking lot and facilities , and the poorly kept trees and the electric that went out for many, many hours when a tree fell , to the dangerous, rusted and dilapidated fencing, to the fact that no one had been responsive to their complaints to the fact that they had been promised earlier by the church that expansion was not in the plans and that some bought their houses based on this written assertion, and to the fact that their peace and quiet had been frequently disrupted not just by the three or four festivals a year that always went past the permitted time, but also by car races and loudspeakers and other activities. 

 7-6-94 Conversion to apartment – sanitary drainage  plumbing fixtures for the sewer connection for the Chapel and apartment 1600 feet there is also a second page that indicates the addition of a bathtub a sink to wash basin washing machine and water closet.  It is written at first for the garage which is crossed out and then written Chapel and apartment ( So isn’t there some sort of zoning hearing required to convert a garage to a dwelling ??? )

1-24-94 Township sewer connection
was made for the Chapel and apartment for the property

 8-15-90  Approvals were given for the log Church to be built -like the decision in 2008, it was made by only three people in a Township of 56,000.  Mr. Bigelow Mr. Holtzer and Mr. Weiss there was a zoning change enacted.  Residents are assured in writing that  no large scale expansion is intended.  St Michaels plans to function much as it always has..... .They are made to feel assured that  if they do not oppose this,  they are not opening the door to more development.   Some residents even bought their houses here after the Church was built, assured by this letter that there would not be further expansion (see zoning hearing testimony 6-17-08 ) .  That clearly did not turn out to be the case. 
Application: “the applicant Edward J Kolsun / Associates and owner of St. Michael's the Archangel Ukrainian Catholic Church seeks a variance and special exception as they propose to construct a church within the B and P residential district and to exceed the height limitation of 35 feet within the districts.  The applicant was represented by Brian Rose Esquire on April 17 and Mike Thomas J Garrity Esquire on July 17, 1990.  Site plan prepared by Harold Warren Gans engineer.  The applicant received approvals from Montgomery County planning commission, Montgomery County conservation district, the Department of environmental resources, and the department of the Army Corps of Engineers.  The applicant testified when the new church is constructed the existing church building will be razed.  The applicant testified the new church building will not adversely affect the public welfare".  Only the spire was above the height limitations.
Conclusions of Law included the statement that the special exception to permit a church has not been adverse to the public health safety or welfare. 
Opinion of the Board - included that the fence must be repaired and maintained,  the spire may not be illuminated, that the parking lot lighting must be shielded per the code, that the existing building presently used for storage will be demolished and completely removed including the slab, that all existing trees will be maintained, that storm water will be controlled and maintained on these premises as per the storm water plans submitted

7-17-90 4-17-90 – Public Hearing for the construction of the church
art Bigelow, Mitchell Holzer, John Weiss, Bruce Eckel, Diane Titer, Larry Matteo

4-17-90 – Public Hearing for the construction of the church
art Bigelow, Mitchell Holzer, John Weiss, Bruce Eckel, Diane Titer, Larry Matteo

4-11-90 St. Michaels writes a letter to assure residents of their intent
--  letter from Brian Rose Stradley Ronan Stevens and Young to a resident on Kipling road and says the old church building would not be demolished but rather would be used for occasional meetings and otherwise along the lines of the parish Hall (but in the application they said they would demolish the old church) the original existing church was constructed his family mansion and is not suited to the creation of a proper atmosphere of religious worship.  The new church building is not meant to be the start of any large-scale expansion of the parish.  Rather it is anticipated St. Michael's will continue to function much as it always has, but with the benefit of a more appropriate place of religious worship .

11-16-76 special exception was received for church use at this premises.

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