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Churchview Downs plans reviewed by East Penn Township supervisors, waivers granted

Published October 04. 2011 05:01PM

The Oct. 3 meeting of the East Penn Township supervisors granted waivers to the Churchview Downs horse training track. Five of them were connected with the stormwater plans.

Engineer Mike Brinkash said there will be two large, deep detention basins in the center of the track. The water will be used to water the track and reuse the water rather than infiltrating it.

Township engineer Bruce Steigerwalt wanted Department of Environmental Protection comments and those took six months.

There are some areas where state, county and township regulations are contradictory, said Attorney Gretchen Stearns.

Steigerwalt said if the water is not pumped out and reused the bottom of the ponds should be tested to see if it will seep away.

Supervisor Randy Pfeiffer asked what happens if there is an overflow. Steigerwalt said there is an outlet structure that will take the water to natural channels. The total rate of flow will not be more than predevelopment. Water from the barn roofs will be piped to the ponds.

There is a roughness coefficient for the swales. If vegetated swales cannot withstand the velocity of runoff, they will have to be lined with stone. If it was done according to the township requirement the DEP would not accept it.

Pfeiffer asked about a guarantee that the swales would be fixed if velocity tears them up. Steigerwalt said the operations and maintenance agreement would require it.

Pfeiffer said he was concerned about neighboring properties and roads.

Brinkash said four different stormwater districts meet on the property. To put in another detention pond would mean tearing up undisturbed soil and it would be near the boundary line.

A fence around the basins would impair cross track views of the horses working.

For a 10-year storm there would be 5-1/2 feet of water in the basin, but it drains to three feet. Standardbred tracks do not have rails on the inside of the track because of safety issues. If a horse gets loose it can run into a fence.

There will be a night watchman on the site seven days a week to keep people from wandering around and falling into the basins. Pfeiffer wanted an amendment to make the watchman a requirement. It was approved.

The thing that concerns Brinkash was that a municipal consistency letter should be sent by Steigerwalt to the DEP. With the waivers the three will be consistent among the conservation district, DEP and the township as soon as the changes are incorporated in the plan.

A paving waiver was requested. Churchview wants to pave only the first 50 feet of the driveway. Other driving and parking areas will be covered with aggregate. There can be no driving on the grass because it compacts the soil and affects the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System permit.

Stearns said plans have been discussed with the fire chief. There will be alarms in each barn and a 5,000 gallon tanker used to water the track will be kept filled and may be used by the fire company if needed on site or elsewhere. The firemen will do a dry run during construction to familiarize themselves with the area.

Supervisor Herb Truhe said an extension should be requested since there is an Oct. 4 deadline. That will be done to the day after the November supervisors' meeting.

Stearns said the planning commission recommended preliminary conditional plan approval in April.

Solicitor Jim Nanovic said the plans have changed since then and now the stormwater waivers, paving and parking along with a fire note will change it more. It should go back to the planning commission to see if all their conditions were met but they cannot impose new ones. The redone plan will be presented to the township Oct. 10 before the planning meeting. If the planners agree that everything meets their conditions, Steigerwalt can send the consistancy letter. It will come before the supervisors again in November.

Glenn Miller, CEO, said it's been a long time coming. "We only asked you to be prudent and reasonable."

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