The Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors held a meeting on February 15, 1990 which was a continuation of their February 5, 1990 meeting at 8:00 P.M. in the Charlestown Elementary School.
|Present:||Irene Ewald, Chairman; Vincent G. Kling, Sr., Member; Margaret A. Gallagher; Surender Kohli; and the people listed on the attached.|
Mrs. Ewald called the meeting to order at 8:05 P.M. She announced that an Executive Session was held on February 10, 1990 in Mr. Kohli’s office attended by John Snyder, Supervisors Martin, Kling and Ewald and Surender Kohli. Legal issues connected with the proposed Charlestown Brae Subdivision and the proposed Charlestown Hunt development were discussed. There will be another Executive Session on February 24, 1990 to discuss legal matters in connection with Charlestown Hunt. The Sunshine Law allows Supervisors to meet to seek advice of counsel in executive session.
Mr. Thomas is seeking permission to continue his home occupation on his premises and to use the loft of his garage for billing and telephone purposes. This conforms to our Township Ordinance having to do with home occupations. It is further modified by an agreement read publicly by Mrs. Ewald, a copy of which is attached. This agreement further sets forth conditions under which home occupations can be conducted. If this agreement is acceptable to Mr. Thomas the building permit will be issued. Mr. Thomas has notified his neighbors as requested by the Supervisors with a letter explaining his intentions.
This development involves East and West Whiteland Townships, Uwchlan Township and a small part of Charlestown. Mrs. Ewald and Mr. Kling have been attending public hearings in West Whiteland concerning the proposed rezoning of this project, traffic studies and the proposed sewage plan including spray irrigation. The next hearing will deal with the fiscal impact of this development. Mrs. Ewald urged the citizens to pay attention and attend the hearings. The impact on Charlestown will be enormous. Each hearing to date has been on a specific subject .but there will be a hearing on March 20 to consider all subjects. Mr. Kling said changing zoning .from strictly residential to some commercial and some quasi-industrial plus residences of different types would generate between 30,000 to 40,000 additional trips per day. The road systems are incapable of handling the traffic. A new main boulevard is proposed through the center of the Church Farm School paralleling Swedesford Road and terminating at Route 100 in the western end and Routes 401 and 202 at the eastern end. The major concern is that both of these major dumping points are on-grade, stop sign intersections and the present traffic problems are almost unbearable.
Another issue is the sewer. There is no way to get to a public sewer. Rouse proposes to spray the effluent from big holding basins into the wooded slope to the northwest of the project. It is also planned to spray the front yards of all of the office buildings with the effluent.
Mrs. Ewald read the list of correspondence from the February 5 agenda.
Mrs. Ewald said an informal ad hoc committee was asked last June to come up with some ideas as to how one would renumber the Township if one were renumbering it. The committee, chaired by Mr. Charles Philips, has examined all the roads and found some problems and have come up with an option for a proposed method of solving the problems.
Mr. Philips let Mr. Garvin speak first. Mr. Garvin said that as a matter of procedure he was asking the Supervisors to adjourn their meeting which was held to address matters carried over from their February 5 meeting in order that the committee that examined the addressing system and the problems that this Township has might make their presentation. He felt it was appropriate that this part of the meeting be chaired by the committee who called the meeting and did the work. Mrs. Ewald said she appreciated Mr. Garvin’s opinion but she asked Mr. Philips to continue with his report.
Mr. Philips noted the committee was formed by the Board of Supervisors as an advisory committee. They were to come up with a numbering scheme for the Township that would take into consideration future development and the need to provide for emergency services. Many residents cannot be found by the emergency service personnel. All roads were measured to understand how the Township is laid out. Tonight’s presentation is a Final Report of the committee with recommendations to the Supervisors. All questions and comments will be welcome. Mr. Philips thanked Ms. Angel Sanders, Postmistress in Phoenixville, for attending. The committee has talked to the three post offices who deliver mail in Charlestown and to the fire chiefs of the two fire companies who service the Township. There input has been very valuable. Mr. Philips introduced the committee members.
He said the most important thing in the committee’s eyes was to insure prompt and efficient emergency service. At present twenty-one percent of the homes cannot be located easily by emergency personnel. Work will be involved in implementing the system. Mr. Philips read excerpts from a letter from the Chester Springs Postmistress who feels the use of box numbers and rural routes is obsolete and she would welcome the change recommended by the committee. Mr. Philips read from an article in the Chester County Press quoting the Kennett Regional Planning Commission’s concern about the hazards in their area resulting from the lack of a logical numbering system. In an emergency people have trouble giving precise directions and thus emergency personnel who receive the calls and do not know a particular area have trouble finding the house. This problem would be eliminated with a street name and number. The more precise you can be the quicker you can be found.
Some of the problems the committee found are as follows:
The committee wanted to be sure whatever scheme they came up with was consistent throughout the Township, with no exceptions if possible. Forty-five lanes or common drives were identified. The committee defined a lane as any roadway with two or more houses. Thought was given to roads that go into other townships. Also roads that could be extended were studied. The scheme had to allow for all these potentials. The emergency service representatives have said naming the lanes will help them immensely in finding the right house. The committee did not do anything without emergency service concurrence.
The committee feels they have come up with a plan that would work and would not cause a lot of problems.
An enabling ordinance would spell out the requirements. New numbers would have to be displayed on a property to clearly identify it. Appropriate parties would have to be notified. If the system is set up a hot line would be set up to handle any problems or questions.
The most important thing for everyone to consider is the frightening aspect of what could occur if an emergency vehicle cannot find a house. The committee felt very strongly that helping emergency vehicles find houses was the most important thing to consider.
Mrs. Ewald asked what responsibility the emergency services have to know locations in the Township. Mr. Dobson, Kimberton Fire Chief, said it is his men’s responsibility to know the roads. Residents have to mark their properties. They have a problem with multiple resident driveways. They can find the roads but finding the property is where they waste time. Each piece of fire apparatus carries a map that is updated as soon as new information is received. A problem arises if both companies that service Charlestown are occupied when a call comes in. Whichever fire company is called to respond does not know the area and has trouble finding properties that are not clearly numbered. They try to always have someone from their company to ride with the responding company. Mr. Dobson feels 911 will be put into service within the next few years. The emergency services are pushing strongly for it. House numbers will be required for this system. In emergencies people are distraught and a good numbering system is essential.
Mrs. Ewald asked if there was anything a Township resident could do now to better mark his property. Mr. Dobson said for a house facing the street the number should be on the house and visible from the street. The numbers should be three inches high and of a reflective material. They should be a different color than the background. They should be high enough to show above snow.
Mr. Kling said we are approaching urban type density but we have country road systems. They are not grid roads like you find in the city. Even the naming of some of the main roads is difficult because the roads change names. Also, builders do not want through roads which makes it difficult to find residents. He asked if the committee studied a numbering system for Charlestown Hunt which he feels is a perfect example of how cul-de-sacs and circular roads breed trouble for emergency services. He asked what happened to the grid system which is in place. Mr. Philips said the committee knew about the system. Mr. Fitzgerald, East Whiteland Fire Chief, said East Whiteland has a grid system which is used as a back-up. It cannot be used as a primary system. The primary system must have a house number and road name. Every house should have an identification with the road that services it. He feels all lanes should be named and the signs for them maintained. Each house should be marked with the number. As a back-up the number should be on the mailbox or on a post. Mr. Philips noted that mailboxes are not always on the same side of a road as the house. If you live on a lane the mailboxes are all on the main road.
Mr. Dobson said the current system does not work because a specific address is needed. When the Fire Board receives a call they have a card for every street in every township. If the house has a number they can be specific. This information is constantly updated.
Mr. Kling asked if a lane was named when there were two residences on it. Mr. Philips said that is what was done. Mr. Kling said we have an ordinance which does not allow for more than three houses on a common drive. If there are more than three, then it must be a street. The big issue is if you have three houses on a lane and these numbers appear where the lane comes out to the main road and you go up the lane and each house has a number on its entrance driveway you might spare the expense of all the street signs.
Mr. Kling asked what should be the timetable for implementation as far as the post office is concerned. Mr. Philips said they say to do it and do it tomorrow. Ms. Sanders said all the post offices who deliver in Charlestown are under one information center. If the Township does renumber the information center would work with us and give us support. Ms. Sanders said she has worked around the nation and she found in places where the street signs are very high they remain in place. She said the street signs should have both the street names and the numbers on them. The post office needs a list of residents on each lane. Ms. Sanders feels the renumbering will be a great improvement. She feels we should communicate with other townships so they will pick up where we leave off. She offered to help with the numbering of Charlestown Hunt. Mr. Garvin said the proposed numbering scheme would take care of Charlestown Hunt. Mrs. Ewald said they do not have houses facing roads. They ring the parking areas. Mr. Philips said the system would take care of that.
Mrs. Liz Kalogris asked if you live on a lane would the mailbox be at the end of the lane of at the end of each driveway. Mr. Philips said it would be at the end of the lane.
Mrs. Lani Carrow said there are five K486’s on Tinkerhill Road. She asked if the Township would maintain the lanes if they were named because she has an easement to use a private road but she has to maintain it because the owner will not. Mr. Kohli explained that this is a private road and the problem must be solved between herself and the owner. If private lanes are named they will not be maintained by the Township.
Mrs. Ewald said the Township would like to differentiate between a share driveway and a lane. Mr. Philips said we need to make sure the ordinance is clear so that we do not change the thinking of the Township.
Ms. Diane Carter, 193 Blackberry Lane, said rerouting mail goes through a central system which has caused her problems in the past. She asked if the renumbering would have to go through the central system. Ms. Sanders said all changes are centralized. The post office will have plenty of change of address kits. She said if you use the kits it will given the people with whom you correspond plenty of time to be alerted to the change and what the new address will be. Then your mail will not have to be forwarded which is when problems can occur. The post office delivers to an address and not a name. Mr. Philips noted that all three post offices said the change was desperately needed and would help to solve existing problems. Ms. Carter asked if the renumbering was put into effect what would happen if Devault decided to start delivering mail. Ms. Sanders said delivery depends on geographic area and the Devault area is not large enough to have enough residences to warrant delivery. Mr. Philips noted that the committee did look into having just one post office in Charlestown but Federal regulations are involved. He suggested this matter could be investigated.
Mr. VanBrunt, Sycamore Lane, said they have trouble keeping the Sycamore Lane sign up. He wondered how much trouble it would be to keep signs up on private lanes. Mrs. Ewald said signs will be a problem. She thinks the humor in some of the names will make the signs disappear.
Ms. Clare Jameson said she still gets mail that has to be delivered twice sometimes. She feels changing her address will make it more difficult for her to get her mail.
Mrs. Chris Schaffer said there are four houses on Valley Hill Road who have the same number as she does. She feels the safety of residents and not the issue of road signs is what this meeting should be about.
Mr. Rick Tarbox said there are three or four 43 Valley Hill Road addresses. He asked how the emergency personnel would know which one called. Mr. Fitzgerald said a lot of times they do not. He said permanent brain damage sets in six to ten minutes and a fire will double in intensity in a minute. Mr. Tarbox said the sign issue is ridiculous. Mr. LeMien said even without a sign the emergency services can find a property on a named lane because the name will be on their map.
Mrs. Floss Russell said she would like to see the lane names eliminated because of the problem with signs. She asked if two digit numbers could be used on private lanes and four digits on the main roads. She asked if all residents would learn the names and locations of the new lanes. Mr. Philips had a map showing the proposed lanes in red.
Mr. Garvin said Mr. Pyle, Township Roadmaster, knows better than anyone about disappearing road signs. Mr. Pyle feels the Township has the wrong kind of sign. Where a post is driven in the ground and the name painted vertically on the post, as opposed to a sign on top of a pole, the signs tend to stay in place. Garvin said it takes him over a minute to tell someone how to find his house and it is easy to find. In an emergency this could be a wasted minute.
Mr. George Snyder, Green Lane, said he called the fire company and gave his location on the Township’s grid map and they did not know what he was talking about. He asked if his address would still be Malvern since his mail comes from Frazer. Mr. Garvin said Frazer is just a branch of the Malvern Post Office and his address will still be Malvern.
Mrs. Carol Krisch, Church Road, said she feels the grid system would work but when she called the fire company and gave her grid location they did not know anything about it.
Mr. Dobson said the grid system was set up for Townwatch. The problem is that Charlestown has one system and other townships have other systems. The fire companies would like a standardized procedure and they would like a street number only. Mrs. Ewald said the grid system is very good and so is the numbering system but we are caught in the middle.
Mrs. Chris Tarbox, 43 Valley Hill Road, said she understands the trouble it will be to change addresses. She does not get her mail now so she thinks she may still have a problem. She feels time is being wasted talking about anything but safety. Because there are four houses numbered 43 Valley Hill Road she fears for her children if there were an emergency.
Mrs. Barbara Chalupa suggested asking for a show of hands for who was in favor and who was against the proposed scheme.
Mrs. Ewald noted that Mr. Martin, Vice Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, is sick and could not attend tonight. He has moved within the Township and has had serious problems with his mail delivery. He is concerned about changing to the new scheme.
Ms. Liz Kapner asked what was the reason for four digit numbers. Mr. Philips said it was done only to differentiate Charlestown roads from those in other townships. The four digit numbers on the roads are unique to Charlestown and do not duplicate numbers in other townships.
Ms. Mary Jane Duncan said that at the foot of Howell Road in Tredyffrin Township the number is 2401. Mr. Philips said the numbers in Charlestown would start with 1000.
Mr. Kling asked Mr. Philips if he had coordinated with other townships who have roads with portions passing through Charlestown. Mr. Philips said the numbers in Charlestown will be unique to the particular road. The committee did not feel it had a charter to talk to other townships. Some have already been renumbered. Mr. Kling said he realized the urgency of professional services functioning first and foremost. He asked if their failure to function in Charlestown was what precipitated this study. Mr. Kling said he does not want to rush into approving a system which will give everyone a mail problem that is worse than the one they have.
Mr. Garvin said no adjoining township is in the renumbering system as this committee has proposed. No attempt was made to coordinate efforts between our address committee and other townships.
Mr. Philips said the committee was chartered by the Supervisors to come up with a plan. One of the reasons was to aid the emergency services. If it is decided not to renumber and later on something happens he wonders if the Township could be held liable.
Mr. Kling said the Supervisors do not intend to delay the process. The Supervisors want to do it once and do it right. The committee has given the Board the first step and it is appreciated. The Supervisors will not sit on it for any length of time.
Mrs. Ewald thanked the committee. The Supervisors referred the proposal to the Planning Commission for their review because the scheme is not consistent with the Zoning Ordinance. They would like feedback as to whether it should be brought closer in line with the Ordinance, whether it should be adopted or whether they might propose alternatives. We are asked to do an urban plan in a semi-rural area. We want to maintain the health and welfare of the residents but we also want to maintain the semi-rural area. Depending on the Planning Commission’s schedule the Supervisors will again look at the options proposed by the Planning Commission in April or May and after that they will make a decision about whether to adopt one option or another. The Supervisors recognize there are problems in some areas but none in others. Mrs. Ewald said she hoped the committee would be available to answer the Planning Commission’s questions. She asked anyone with concerns or questions to write or call one of the Supervisors. Mrs. Ewald thanked the fire chiefs and Ms. Sanders for attending.
With the exception of signing some documents Mrs. Ewald made a motion to adjourn the public meeting at 10:00 P.M. Mr. Kling seconded the motion. It so carried.
This Agreement is made this _____ day of February 1990 by Charlestown Township (the “Township”) and Randall Thomas and ______________ (”Thomas”).
The Intention of this Agreement is to set forth the terms and conditions under which Thomas may maintain a home occupation at Thomas residence.
Thomas owns and resides at __ Conestoga Road (Route 401), Malvern, Charlestown Township more fully described in Chester County Record Book, Page (the “Residence”). Thomas owns and operates the RST Pool Service (the “Business”), and desires to maintain a home office for the Business. Thomas has requested a building permit from Charlestown Township under which Thomas would move an existing office now in the den to a garage, along with providing a workshop and storage areas in the garage (the “Planned Renovations”).
Section 200 of the Charlestown Township Zoning Ordnance defines a “home occupation” as an occupation of a service character accessory to and incidental to the use of a dwelling by a resident, the conduct of which is clearly secondary to the use of the dwelling for living purposes, does not change the character of the dwelling, does not have any exterior evidence of the home occupation, and does not involve the keeping of merchandise or other goods for sale. Thomas has represented to the Township that the Business complies with the Township’s definition of home occupation.
The Township has agreed to recognize the Business as a home occupation, and to grant a building permit for the planned renovations, pursuant to the following terms and conditions.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties set their hands and seals on the above date.