Frequently Asked Questions

Administration

Where is the Township Office and what are the hours of operation?
The Township Office is located at the Devault Building at 4030 Whitehorse Road in Devault. We’re on the second floor above the Post Office. The office is open from 9 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday excluding holidays.

Animals & Animal Control

How do I report a lost or found pet?
Follow these tips if you have lost or found a pet:
  1. Call the SPCA (610) 692-6113 and provide them with a report.
  2. Check the local paper’s “lost and found” ads. Many animal lovers will keep a friendly stray pet at their home rather than take it to the SPCA.
  3. The citizens’ website webmaster will post notices from residents who have found or lost a pet. Email the pertinent information to webmaster@charlestown.org. If you’re not computer savvy, call the township office and we’ll do this for you.
  4. Call the Township office at (610) 240-0326 if you find or lose a pet.
  5. The SPCA will pick up a found pet, but the pet must be contained and not reported as loose in the neighborhood.

When your pet is found, please let us know so we can take the notice off the website and our bulletin board.

Where do I call to complain about dogs running at large or barking?

The Township has a contract with the S.P.C.A. to handle dog related complaints. To call in a complaint, contact: Brandywine Valley S.P.C.A. 610-692-6113, extension 212.

Leave a message if no one is available to take your call and an officer will get back to you.

For action to be taken, the S.P.C.A. must speak with the person who witnessed the violation. We cannot report the problem for you from the Township Office. One of the officers will take your statement regarding dogs running at large or incessant barking. They will need the dog owner’s name and address.

For the first offense, the S.P.C.A. will send a warning letter to the dog owner. In addition to the warning, the letter asks the owner to call the SPCA to provide dog licensing and rabies info and to establish a dialogue to gain the owner’s understanding of the problem and their cooperation.

If a second complaint is received, they will issue a citation with a fine of up to $300.00.

How many acres of property do I need to have a horse?

Horses are permitted in the Farm Residential Zoning District. A minimum of four acres is required to have a horse, then 1 additional acre for each additional horse.

May I keep chickens on my Property?

Female chickens may be kept in any residential district as an accessory use on lots of one acre to 3.99 acres subject to section 27-1615 of the Zoning Ordinance.

Fire & Ambulance

Who provides fire & ambulance services?

The green zone is covered for fire service by the Kimberton Fire Company (610) 935-1388 and ambulance service by West End Fire Company (610) 933-3110. The blue zone is serviced by the East Whiteland Fire Company (610) 644-8558 for both fire & ambulance service.



Is open burning allowed?

Leaves and waste papers can only be burned in an incinerator or proper receptacle approved by the Fire Marshal as safe and not hazardous to life or property. Call the Fire Board before and after igniting any fire: 610-644-1224.

A responsible individual equipped to extinguish the fire must be present at all times and be ready to extinguish the fire if an emergency arises or if it is deemed to be a nuisance by the Fire Marshal, Fire Chief or Police.

All fires shall be a minimum distance of thirty feet (30') from any property line.

Fires cannot be ignited or maintained before sunrise or after sunset.

For agricultural field fires, a permit must first be obtained from the Fire Marshal. Call the Township Office for a permit application.

In times of drought or other unusual circumstances, all fires may be prohibited by the Fire Marshal.

Please consult the Fire Ordinance for more complete details.

If you have questions, contact the Fire Marshal, Tim Hubbard, at 484-614-6119, or the township office, at 610-240-0326.

Historical Commission

What is the Charlestown Historic District?

The Charlestown Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is an intact collection of architecturally significant residential and public buildings constructed primarily between the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Are there any special requirements for properties in the Charlestown Historic District?

No building permit for work affecting the exterior of a building in the Historic District may be issued until the Board of Supervisors has issued a Certificate of Appropriateness. This includes any permit for erection, reconstruction, exterior alteration, restoration, addition or demolition. Prior to approval, the project must be reviewed by the Historical & Architectural Review Board (HARB) which will provide an advisory recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. Applications for a Certificate of Appropriateness should be submitted to the Township Office three weeks prior to the HARB meeting. The HARB meets on the 3rd Tuesday of every other month at 4 PM at the Great Valley Middle School, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA in the Guidance Office.

Hunting & Firearms

Who enforces the state game laws?

With the exception of prohibiting hunting and discharge of firearms in our Township-owned parks, all regulations on hunting are enforced by the PA Game Commission.

How far must a hunter be from my home?

It’s unlawful to hunt within 150 yards of any occupied residence, commercial building, school or playground with a firearm. The safety zone for archery is 50 yards.

When is Hunting Permitted?

Generally speaking, hunting is permitted from sunrise to sunset. Hunting is prohibited on Sundays. Check with the PA Game Commission for specific hunting seasons for various game.

Where do I call with questions on hunting?

Contact the Southeastern Regional Headquarters of the PA Game Commission at (610) 926-1966.

What if a hunter is trespassing on my property?

For trespassing issues, the PA State Police will respond when the complaint is made by a property owner who is willing to press charges. Contact the State Police at (610) 486-6280.

Location

Where is the Township Office located?

The Township Office is on the 2nd floor of the Devault Building above the Devault Post Office at 4030 Whitehorse Road, Malvern, PA.

Meetings

When and where are the Township meetings held?

Board of Supervisors – 1st Monday of the month, 7:00 P.M.
Historical Commission/HARB – 3rd Tuesday of the month, 4:00 P.M.
Parks & Recreation Board – 3rd Thursday of the month, 7:30 P.M.
Planning Commission – 2nd Tuesday of the month, 7:30 P.M.
Zoning Hearing Board – scheduled as needed

All meetings listed above are held at the Great Valley Middle School, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA

How do I request that a matter be placed on the Board of Supervisors or Planning Commission Agenda?

Subdivision and Land Development applications must be submitted 3 weeks prior to the next Planning Commission meeting to be placed on that agenda. For other matters before the Supervisors or Planning Commission, make a request in writing a minimum of 7 days prior to the meeting you wish to attend.

Parks & Recreation

What recreational programs and facilities are available in the Township?
Charlestown Park

Our 44 acre active park consists of a fitness trail, tot lot, playing fields, basketball courts and picnic pavilions.

Brightside Farm

This 75 acre property has a natural grass walking trail and community gardens available by subscription.

Trails

We have wonderful trails throughout the township on which to walk or to ride horses. These trails are off the road; they wind through the woods, border farm fields, or parallel the Pickering Creek. The Horse-Shoe Trail, a historic trail that crosses Pennsylvania from Valley Forge Park to the Appalachian Trail beyond Harrisburg travels through Charlestown.

Active Recreation:

Active youth programs are provided by:

Phoenixville Area Soccer Club – visit www.phoenixvillesoccer.org
Phoenixville Marian Youth Club – visit www.pmycsports.com

What time do parks close?

Recreation, parks and conservation areas are open to the public daily from dawn until dusk.

Are pets allowed in the parks?

Dogs must be on a leash at all times. The pet owner is responsible for removal of all waste deposited on park property.

Are shelters and other park facilities available for rental?

Pavilions and the Basketball Courts are available for rent at Charlestown Park but a reservation is not required. Reserving one of these facilities assures that the facility will be available to your group when you want to use it. The playing fields at Charlestown Park are not available through the Township but may be accommodated through our concessionaires, the Phoenixville Marian Youth Club and Phoenixville Soccer Club.

Permits

What projects require a building permit?

The Township has adopted the Uniform Construction Code. In addition to new commercial or residential construction, common projects requiring a building permit are: decks, patios, porches, carports, sheds, gazebos, pools, finishing basements, detached garage or other accessory buildings.

Residential projects that do not require a permit include window replacement and interior remodeling, provided there are no structural changes being made.

Call the Township office for information on what steps are required for your project, or view our Permits & Forms page, and read our Guide to Permits PDF.

Do you need a permit to display fireworks?

Yes. Fireworks are defined in the Charlestown Township Fire Control Ordinance as firecrackers, rockets, torpedoes, roman candles, toy cannons, detonating canes, blank cartridges, and other devices designed and intended for pyrotechnic display. The ordinance prohibits the manufacture, sale and display for sale of fireworks, and the possession, use, display or discharge of fireworks is prohibited within the limits of Charlestown Township except that pyrotechnic displays may be held only by permit issued by the Fire Marshal and must be under the control of licensed and insured individuals. There is no charge for fireworks permits and they are available from the Township office. If you have any questions, please contact the Fire Marshal, Tim Hubbard (484) 614-6119.

Does the Township require a Certificate of Occupancy for home re-sales?

No, there is no certificate of occupancy required upon residential re-sale.

Do contractors have to be registered in the Township?

All contractors working on new homes or commercial jobs must register. All other contractors must register unless they can provide a Pennsylvania Home Improvement Contractor Registration number (HIC #).

Police

Who provides police services?

The Township is served by the Pennsylvania State Police, Troop J, Embreville Barracks. The non-emergency contact number is (610) 486-6280.

The State Police covers various zones, of which Charlestown is part of Zone 18. A patrol car is available to respond to Charlestown citizens 24 hours a day. If there is an extreme emergency, the State Police can contact a closer police department to respond until they arrive on the scene. Although the Barracks are located in Coatesville, residents should know troopers aren’t waiting there to be dispatched: there is always a patrol car in Charlestown’s zone with a response time at most of 15-20 minutes.

Roads

How are the streets plowed after a snowstorm?

All 27 miles of township-owned roads are cleared by our contractor. An additional 30 miles of state maintained roads are cleared by PennDOT.

Township roads are plowed using pre-established routes. Certain roads are designated “priority roads” for emergency services purposes, and are plowed or salted immediately upon the onset of a snowstorm. Once plowing has started the crew will continue to clear one path in each direction until the snow stops. After the snow has stopped, the trucks will come back to clear the roads back to the curb and clear inlets and cul-de-sacs.

Please keep the following in mind during snow events:

  • To avoid frustration, don’t shovel or plow the end of your driveway until the road is cleared.
  • Remind your hired plowmen that it’s against the law to push your snow onto the public roads.
  • Clear the snow around any fire hydrant on your property to save valuable time in an emergency.
  • Do not park on the street until the roads have been completely cleared.
  • Drive carefully at a minimum speed.
  • Kindly check on your neighbors who live alone.
Which roads are owned and maintained by the State?

State Roads include:

Bodine Road

Charlestown Road

Church Road

Coldstream Road

Conestoga Rd (Rt. 401)

Foster Road

Hollow Road

Merlin Road

Morehall Rd (Rt. 29)

Newcomen Road

Phoenixville Pike

Pickering Dam Road

Pikeland Road

Seven Oaks Road

State Road (Rt. 29)

Valley Hill Rd (East of Rt. 401)

Yellow Springs Road (north of Hollow Rd)

Yellow Springs Rd (east of Morehall/Rt. 29)

For maintenance issues on state roads, including snow removal, call the PennDOT maintenance number at 800-FIX ROAD.

Taxes

What are the Township Taxes and How do I Pay my Taxes?

The Township imposes the following taxes for 2017:

Real Estate - .75 mils
Real Estate Transfer Tax – ½% upon transfer of real estate
Local Services Tax - $52.00 annually per person employed in the Township

Township Real Estate Taxes are collected by the County Treasurer. Contact them by calling 610-344-6370 or email TreasurerDept@chesco.org

School Real Estate Taxes, Local Services and Earned Income Taxes are collected by Keystone Collections. Contact them by calling (866) 539-1100 or visit www.keystonecollects.com

Where does the 1% Earned Income Tax go?

½% of the EIT goes toward open space and road improvement projects.

The other ½% of the EIT is required to go toward open space bond service and acquisition only. This is the portion of the tax that was passed by 77% of the voters in April 2008 for open space preservation.

Trash & Recycling

How do I arrange for trash service?

Residents are responsible for contracting individually with one of several private refuse haulers to schedule their trash removal. If you live in a larger community with a Homeowners’ Association, in some instances the HOA enters into a contract for the entire development.

What do I recycle?

All haulers serving the Township are required to collect the following recyclable materials:

  • Aluminum Beverage Cans
  • Cardboard
  • Glass Bottles and Jars
  • Metal Food and Beverage Cans
  • Mixed Paper
  • Newspapers
  • Plastic #1 thru #7
  • Yard Waste
Is there a drop off recycling site?

You can drop off recyclables free of charge at the Lanchester Landfill, located at 7224 Division Highway, Narvon, PA 17555 (610) 273.3771. Check www.chestercountyswa.org for more info.

Yard waste can be dropped off at Phoenixville Borough for a fee of $5.00 per car or $10.00 per truck.

The site is located at 18 South 2nd Avenue, Phoenixville, PA 19460.

The site is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. year round and on Saturdays from March 1 - November 30 from 7:00 a.m. – 3 p.m.

How do I properly dispose of Household Hazardous Waste?

Household Hazardous Waste can be disposed of during drop-off days held by Chester County at various drop off sites throughout the county. Charlestown Township is a participant in this program. Call the Township Office (610) 240-0326 or check our most recent newsletter for the schedule.

Utilities

Who provides public utility services in the Township? Many residences and smaller businesses in Charlestown have on-site utilities. For those in public service areas, contact:

Aqua PA 877-987-2782
Valley Forge Sewer Authority 610-935-1553

Voting

Where do I vote?

All Township residents vote at the Charlestown Elementary School, 2060 Charlestown Road, Malvern, PA from 7:00 A.M. to 9:00 P.M.

How do I obtain an absentee ballot?

Call Chester County Voters Services (610) 344-6380 to request an absentee ballot. Ballots must be received by Voters Services by 5:00 P.M. the Tuesday prior to the election or primary.

How do I register to vote?

Request a registration form at the Township Office (610) 240-0326 or from Voters Services (610) 344-6380. The deadline to register is 30 days prior to the election or primary.

What is the county precinct number for the township polling place?

Precinct 065.

Water Protection

How do I report incidents of water pollution problems, such as illegal dumping and discharge, stream obstructions or sediment leaving a construction site?

During Office Hours of Mon-Fri 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM: call the Township Office, (610) 240-0326.
After Hours: Call the Public Works Superintendent, (610) 656-9315.
To Report Chemical Spill Emergencies, call 9-1-1.

How do I discharge swimming pool water safely?

The Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law and Charlestown’s NPDES MS4 permit prohibits the discharge of pool water to the municipal storm sewer system. Pool water should be discharged over a grassy area at a rate that optimizes infiltration and aeration and will not cause erosion. According to DEP guidelines, pool water should have zero chlorine residual.

Updated: February 15, 2017