Charlestown Township is fortunate to have many enthusiastic, qualified residents who volunteer to serve on our Boards and Commissions. If you have some time available and are interested in becoming more involved with your community, we encourage you to review the following description and responsibilities for each of our groups.
Please consider attending some meetings to see what topics are addressed and speak with current Board members. Once you decide you’re interested in an appointment, please send us a completed “Volunteer” form and we’ll forward your information to the Board of Supervisors for consideration.
Charlestown Township is a Second Class Township governed by a 5 member Board of Supervisors. The Supervisors are elected at large for staggered six year terms. They elect a Chairman and Vice Chairman at the annual reorganization meeting in January. The Board is empowered to set policy, enact legislation (ordinances) and to levy taxes. They also administer the policy, codes and taxes of the Township.
The Board of Supervisors sets the annual budget and controls the expenditure of funds. The Board is responsible for the appointment of the employees and the volunteers to the various boards and commissions of the Township. The Board also appoints consultants to provide legal and technical counsel.
The Planning Commission serves in an advisory capacity to the Board of Supervisors. The members review subdivision and land development applications and hear presentations from applicants appearing at the meetings to help the members prepare a recommendation to forward onto the Board of Supervisors.
In addition, the Planning Commission reviews proposed zoning and subdivision & land development ordinances and any other items relating to the Pennsylvania Municipality Planning Code upon the Supervisors’ request.
The Historical Commission and Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB) were combined in 1997 to form one group. They provide advice to the Board of Supervisors and other boards and commissions to foster promotion, protection and facilitation of the pre4servation of the historic, archeological and architectural values in the Township as authorized by the PA Municipalities Planning Code. As the HARB, they give counsel to the Board of Supervisors regarding the appropriateness of the erection, reconstruction, alteration, restoration, demolition or razing of any building, in whole or in part, within the Charlestown Township Historic District.
The Historical Commission/HARB maintains a survey of the Township’s historic resources.
In addition to 7 “at-large” members, one member must be a registered architect, one member a licensed real estate broker, one member from the Planning Commission, and one member the building inspector.
The Parks & Recreation Board takes an active stewardship role of Charlestown’s Park. This includes making recommendations on park development, long term planning initiatives for park needs, and recreation programs. The Township provides a balance of active and passive recreation areas and facilities for the use and enjoyment of individuals, groups and families of all ages.
The Open Space Commission makes recommendations to the Board of Supervisors on matters relating to open space preservation and the acquisition of properties or property easements. They sponsor open space events and provide educational materials to landowners in the benefits of open space preservation.
The Zoning Hearing Board conducts hearings and makes decisions on appeals from the Zoning Officer, challenges to the validity of the zoning ordinance or map, challenges to the validity of the subdivision & land development ordinance, and requests for variances.
The Design Review Committee oversees the detailed design process of a Traditional Neighborhood Development. The DRC includes one member of the Planning Commission, one member of the Board of Supervisors and the Township Planning Consultant.
The UCC Board of Appeals conducts hearings and makes decisions on appeals that are based on a building permit applicant's claim that in the Zoning Officer's review and approval/denial of their application, the true intent of the UCC has been incorrectly interpreted, that the provisions of the Code do not fully apply in their situation, or that an equivalent form of construction is to be used.
Members of the Board of Appeals are qualified by training and experience to pass on matters pertaining to building construction. This includes licensure as an architect or engineer, experience in the construction industry, or training or experience as an inspector or plan reviewer.
There are no term limits to the position; the appointed members will hold office at the pleasure of the Board of Supervisors.
The PRPC developed a Regional Comprehensive Plan over the past several years. One of the goals of the regional plan is to reduce density across the entire region while supporting Phoenixville’s revitalization efforts. Each municipality retains control of its own zoning, with the PRPC acting in a similar capacity as the Chester County Planning Commission by providing additional comments and review. For example, a large subdivision or land development application would go to the regional group for review but Charlestown would retain its decision making power. One advantage of regional planning is helping each township meet the fair share requirements of the PA Municipalities Planning Code.
The Valley Forge Sewer Authority was incorporated by Charlestown, East Pikeland and Schuylkill Townships in 1968 and is a utility owned by its customers. Its business is to recycle wastewater into clean water for stream discharge and to produce a specialized fertilizer product utilized by area farmers.
The Trail Committee meets monthly to discuss issues relating to the various trails in the Township and to make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors.
Because Charlestown Township contracts with an independent public accounting firm, the accounting firm prepares the annual audit and financial statement in lieu of the elected auditors.