April 2, 1990

The Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors held their regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Monday, April 2, 1990, in the Charlestown Elementary School.

Present: Irene W. Ewald, Chairman; John C. Martin, Jr., Vice Chairman; Vincent G. Kling, Sr., Member; Margaret A. Gallagher; Surender Kohli; James E. McErlane; and the following attendees:
  Janet Baldwin; Mr. and Mrs. John Carrow; Michael Clarke; Lou Colagreco; Mark Connolly; Bob Dwyer; Bob Elmer; John Fetterman; John Garvin; Maria Gilardi; Paul Hogan; Robert Kirby; Gerry Moore; Eleanor Morris; Conrad Muhly; Trish Newdeck; Sarah Peck; Rick Reis; Al VanBrunt; Steve VanVliet; Steve Winckelman; Stella Eisley, Inquirer; Nancy O’Brien, Daily Local News; and Ron Richards, Evening Phoenix.

Mrs. Ewald called the meeting to order at 8:20 P.M.

Mrs. Ewald made a motion to approve the minutes of the March 5, 1990 meeting. Mr. Martin seconded the motion. It so carried.

Mr. Martin made a motion to approve the March 1990 Treasurer’s Report. Mrs. Ewald seconded the motion. It so carried.

Mr. Martin made a motion to approve the Accounts Payable in the amount of $69,855.31 from the General Fund and $42,274.64 from the State Fund. Mrs. Ewald seconded the motion. It so carried.

Zoning Officer’s Report

A list of building and use and occupancy permits issued during March was given to the Supervisors. The Zoning Hearing Board will meet on April 11 to consider Mr. Ross Goodman’s request to build a garage within the front yard setback area at his home on Blackberry Lane. A complaint was received from a resident on Valley Hill Road about the construction of a retaining wall on a property line. It is similar to a fence and is permitted. Mr. Kohli coordinated with Mr. Loew with reference to clean-up on the Quigley property. He met with DER and Mr. Elmer, of the Nature Center. Total Recovery has discovered that the spring house is contaminated and the water must be. drawn down or removed. Mr. Loew will follow up. Mr. Kohli advised Mr. Felton, who wants to build a house on the steep slope on Dobs Lane, to file a conditional use.

In Mr. Pyle’s absence Mrs. Ewald read the Roadmaster’s Report. There is a copy in the file.

Mr. Winckelman will attend the Eastern Chester County Regional Planning Commission Meeting on April 3.

Gypsy Moth Spraying

South Coventry Township advertised for bids for spraying. The bids will be opened on April 9 by South Coventry. There is a consortium of seven townships who will be spraying in excess of 2,000 acres. Charlestown has signed a contract for partial reimbursement from the State for spraying approximately 350 acres at $12 per acre. A letter will be sent to everyone residing in the spray blocks. Residents must have ten days to respond after they receive the letter. It should go in the mail at least two weeks ahead of the spray date. The State Forester will conduct a ground training session. Mr. Martin thanked Mr. Kirby on behalf of the Board of Supervisors for the work he has done in coordinating with the seven other townships in the spraying program. Mrs. Ewald echoed Mr. Martin’s thanks. Mr. Martin made a motion to authorize the Township to enter into a contract for spraying 350 acres for gypsy moth control. Mrs. Ewald seconded the motion. It so carried. A meeting was tentatively scheduled for April 19 at 7:30 P.M. at the school if concerns about spraying need to be addressed.

Lot 8 Four Oaks - Building Envelope Change

This proposed change does not violate any Township ordinances. Mrs. Ewald made a motion to approve the building envelope change for Lot 8 subject to having the Chester County Planning Commission review the plan and subject to submission of a site plan showing the total building on the building envelope that is satisfactory to the Township Engineer and the recommendations of the Supervisors that this siting be done with the contours of the land. Mr. Martin seconded the motion. It so carried. The Supervisors want to review the building permit before it is issued.

Muhly Property on Tlnkerhill Road

Mrs. Ewald read letters from Mrs. Carrow and Mr. Kelley who live on the common driveway with .Mr. Muhly’s property. Mr. Martin said the Township’s powers are rather limited. Mrs. Ewald agreed the Township is limited but she has asked Mr. Kohli and Mr. McErlane to explore what the Township can do and they have some suggestions. The last bit of leverage the Township has is withholding a Use and Occupancy Certificate. Mr. Carrow asked if the Township had received a response to a letter sent to Mr. Muhly asking him to correct some of the problems. Mr. Muhly was asked to move the trailer and establish the grade. Now it is harder to establish because of the winter months. When the trailer was moved part of the cartway was damaged. It should be corrected within the next month according to Mr. Kohli. Mr. McErlane said Mr. Muhly cannot be required to return the property to a prior condition but he can be made to comply with the erosion and sedimentation control ordinance. Mrs. Ewald told Mr. Muhly that the Supervisors have personally inspected his property each month that this matter has been on the agenda in order to get a perspective on how serious the matter is. She asked Mr. Muhly what he is going to do about the complaints. Mr. Muhly said he has been supportive of the Supervisors when they asked him to clean the debris from his property and move the construction trailer which created a hardship for him. He does not feel the Township is aware of the entire situation. He has not created any new impervious surface on the road. The top soil is covered with vegetation. The fill dirt will be used for the site work on the next house that Mr. Muhly plans to build there. He said the private lane was in deplorable condition when he bought the property. He applied a bonding coat to three-quarters of the driveway and paved the Carrow’s driveway. This increased the impervious area of the driveway which could be causing additional runoff. He feels he has done everything possible to provide Mr. Kelley with a nice house. The erosion has existed since last October and Mr. Muhly is not permitted on Mr. Kelley’s property to correct the problem which he has agreed to correct. He will work with the Township to level out the dirt and seed the property or do whatever the Township thinks is appropriate. Mrs. Ewald said the fence along the property has been partially removed for construction purposes and there are large trenches at the entrance of the shared driveway. Mrs. Ewald asked Mrs. Carrow what it would take to satisfy her.

Mrs. Carrow said that the utility trench that was created at the entrance should be paved and the dip removed. Mr. Kohli said it should be backfilled with a binder course so it will be level.

Mrs. Carrow said that for ten years, as the only resident on the shared driveway, she has maintained both sides of the driveway as well as the road and spent $3,000 to put asphalt on the driveway. A small section of the top was deteriorating and it got worse when construction vehicles started using it. It should look like the private lane it did before. The sides of the roadway have been unseeded and this is a source of the runoff. It should be reseeded and maintained.

Finally, the excess fill dirt should be leveled out on Lot 4 and erosion controlled. The dirt and pile of stones should be removed.

Mr. Muhly said he will work with Mr. Kohli to correct these conditions. Mr. Muhly wanted to be assured that if he accomplished all of the above within thirty days no more conditions would not be added on. Mrs. Ewald said if they were taken care of according to Mr. Kohli’s satisfaction, the Supervisors would be satisfied. The topsoil can remain in the wooded area. All other material must be moved. Mr. McErlane was asked to draft a letter to be reviewed by the Carrows, Mr. Muhly and Mrs. Ewald and next month hopefully the problem will be behind us.

Charlestown Brae – Management of Proposed Open Space

The applicant has come to discuss various options for ownership and management of approximately ninety acres of open space in this development. Mr. Colagreco said that on February 12, 1990 the Supervisors listed six matters they would like to see resolved before they would be receptive to a settlement of the applicant’s appeal of the Supervisors’ rejection of the Preliminary Plan. There is to be no more than fifty-five lots which must comply with applicable regulations; there can be no more than three driveways and lots on each cul-de-sac bulb; there can be no sand mounds; there can no shared sanitary sewage disposal systems; Rees Road must be relocated; there must be a definitive and funded plan for perpetual ownership and maintenance of the open space. Ms. Peck presented a drawing showing lots with minimum frontages of 150 feet clustered around the bulk of the open space. Each cul-de-sac has seen the removal of at least one lot. The lot that was originally going to be retained by the owner has now been added to the plan. Common driveways and septic systems have been avoided. All lots have been conventionally perked. The applicant feels that the people who are in the best position to protect the open space are the homeowners who back up to it and therefore is proposing that a Homeowners’ Association be set up which will have title to the open space. An easement could be put on the open space that could be monitored by a professional or an endowed trust that would enforce compliance with .terms of the easement.

Mrs. Ewald asked what problems a homeowner would have with the management of the open space. Ms. Peck said homeowners are not trained in some of the technical methods that professional organizations are to insure proper maintenance over the long term. A conservation easement would be placed on the site with terms that would spell out means of protecting the space. A conservancy or trust does not want to take title for liability reasons. Mr. Kling asked what would happen if an action were brought against the Homeowners Association. Ms. Peck said the Association would carry liability insurance. For Three Ponds it costs approximately $300 per year. This cost is incorporated into the annual dues for the Homeowners Association. Mr. Kling asked what was the principal reason for the Homeowners to take title rather than a conservancy. Mrs. Morris said the Trust has been more comfortable with an overseeing and protective role rather than having the primary obligation of seeing that the grass is cut, etc. Mr. Kling worried that if the Homeowners’ Association failed to provide the necessary protection and insurance, then the Township would have to step in and do it and he wants to make sure this does not happen. The applicant is trying to address this concern by trying to provide for a Trust to be responsible to insure compliance and take the Homeowners’ Association to court if they do not comply. Mr. Kling said Homeowners’ Associations have poor performance records for meeting their responsibilities. Ms. Peck said the applicant is trying to preserve ninety acres of open space and compromise is sometimes necessary. Mr. Martin asked if a proposal similar to this has arisen in other parts of the County, Mr. McErlane said it has not happened often. He said because of the passive nature of the space it will not be a burden to maintain.

Mrs. Ewald asked Mr. Elmer what challenges would be encountered in trying to preserve the wetlands with families living so close. Mr. Elmer said the biggest problem would be keeping the trails that meander around the wetlands open because of the nature of the vegetation that grows there. He asked if the open space would be open to the public. Ms. Peck said if the Homeowners’ Association takes title they would not want it open to the public. The Nature Center is looking for open space where they can offer programs for the community.

Mrs. Morris said she worried about the fragility of the wetlands when all the septic systems are operating and residents start using chemicals to keep their lawns looking nice. She also asked that no outbuildings be allowed in the open space. The Rebecca Bones house is in the open space and the applicant does not have any plans for it. If no one wants to do anything with it, it will be taken down. Mrs. Baldwin asked if it would be appropriate as a community center for the development.

Ms. Peck said the applicant has envisioned that the barn would be owned by the owner of one of the lots which contains a pedestrian easement. Because of its reduced marketability the barn would come with the lot.

Ms. Peck told Mrs. Morris that the applicant has provided a ten foot wide grassy shoulder along Rees Road for relocation of the Horse Shoe Trail.

Mr. Clarke, of the Natural Lands Trust, said he is not familiar with the specifics of the property but he feels the concept of protecting open space in concert with development is very important. If it could be given to a land trust who, could take care of it the homeowners and Township could stay out of it. This takes a large endowment. He feels in this instance the homeowners will preserve the land because they will have a vested interest in what it looks like. From his past experience he feels a Homeowners’ Association will work here. He urged that this be considered as a viable option. He said if it breaks down the Lands Trust is still there to serve as owner/manager.

Mr. Mark Connolly mentioned legislation passed in 1968 which provides a no liability situation for homeowners who allow the public to use their open space as long as no fee is charged. Mrs. Ewald asked Mr. Connolly to provide the Board with a copy.

Mrs. Morris asked if potential buyers would be told of the Homeowners’ Association. Ms. Peck said her company stays involved in developments long after they have been built and they feel educating the buyer is very important.

Mrs. Ewald told Ms. Peck that the Board will consider the matters presented and will let her know if additional information is required.

Charlestown Hunt

Mr. Colagreco said the final plan approval hearings have lasted eight months. The Plan has been reviewed by the Township Engineer and the Land Planner. There have been items of non-compliance and many discretionary issues. It is on these issues that Realen wants some determination. Mrs. Ewald read a Resolution and Interim Order prepared by Mr. Snyder. Mr. Martin made a motion to approve the Order. Mr. Kling seconded the motion. It so carried.

Cottman Plan on Warner Lane

Mr. Martin made a motion to deny Mr. Cottman’s request that the $2,500 impact fee be waived as well as the escrow for final improvements until he completes financing for the project. Mr. Kling seconded the motion. It so carried. Mr. Kohli will review Mr. Cottman’s estimate for improvements and make changes if necessary. The plans will be held until the escrow has been set up.

The Planning Commission is still reviewing the proposed ordinance changes.

Township Clean-Up Day

Mr. Elmer Introduced Maria Gilardi and Trish Newdeck, Co-chairman of the Earth Day Committee at Great Valley High School. Students from Great Valley and the Montgomery School will help with the clean-up on April 28. Townwatch will help with traffic. Mrs. Ewald thanked Mr. Elmer and the Great Valley representatives. She also thanked Mr. Elmer for the extensive work he has done in the Township’s open space. Mr. Kling wondered what could be done to convince people to clean up their own roadways. Mr. Elmer noted that in other areas PennDOT has initiated an “Adopt a Highway” program where businesses or residents adopt a portion of the highway and agree to keep it clean. Mr. Hogan said another solution would be to adopt a bottle bill.

Additional Appointments to Park and Recreation Board

This board was established in 1988 to review an overall plan for active and passive recreation for the entire Township. Mrs. Ewald said she recognized there were some very talented individuals who might be convinced to serve on this Board in addition to the original appointees. She introduced Mr. Paul Hogan who designs playgrounds and has recently written a book on playground safety. He has also written a book on playground layout and design. She then introduced Mr. Mark Connolly, a Mechanical Engineer who is involved with the Phoenix Iron Canal and Trails Association. Mrs. Ewald made a motion that Mr. Hogan and Mr. Connolly be appointed to the Park and Recreation Board for five year terms. Mr. Kling seconded the motion. It so carried.

Fire Hydrant Charges

The fire hydrant annual rental is approximately $200.00. In past years invoices have been sent to the owner of the building which uses the hydrant but as more buildings are built the owner of the original building does not feel it is fair that he is charged the entire rate. Almost the entire LI district will be using hydrants and Mr. Martin asked Mr. McErlane if a tax could be levied on a particular district. Mr. McErlane said it probably cannot be done by zoning district but it can be done by the number of lineal feet from the fire hydrant. He will check into this. It would be preferable to do it by district if this is allowed.

A Final Report was received from the Committee to Change Addresses. This report that the Committee has been dissolved. Mrs. Ewald said they did a tremendous amount of work- She will draft a letter to each member of the Committee to thank them on behalf of the Board. Mrs. Baldwin asked when a plan would be adopted. Mrs. Ewald said the committee presented one option. The Planning Commission is now reviewing it. They intend to work on it for the next few months. Mrs. Ewald said she is reluctant to hastily” implement a plan that creates as much change and as much potential disruption without a very careful review. The emergency people do an excellent job and they are trained to know where each’ dwelling unit is located. The Supervisors have recommended that everyone mark his house clearly.

Tyrone Farms Stormwater Drainage Project

Mrs. Ewald has met individually with each person who has expressed a concern. Mr. Kling asked if the contractor had been paid for the Benburb Road work. Mr. Kohli said some money is still being held. The contractor will do the grading this month. A letter will be sent to the Tyrone Farms residents advising them of a meeting on April 11 at 7:30 P.M. at the Nature Center.

Mr. Kling made a motion to approve Escrow Release #4 for Oak Hill in the amount of $51,123.40. Mrs. Ewald seconded the motion. It so carried.

A lot line change for Rosewood Farms was approved by the Supervisors on August 2, 1989 and subsequently taken to be recorded. It could not be recorded until it has been reviewed by the County Planning Commission. A letter of approval was received from the County Planning Commission on March 20. Mr. Kling made a motion to reapprove the change in order to meet the ninety day recording date. Mr.. Martin seconded the motion. It so carried.

Mr. Kling made a motion to reapprove the Allen Subdivision on Howell Road because their ninety days to have the plan recorded has also run out. Mrs. Ewald seconded the motion. It so carried.

Mrs. Ewald read the list of correspondence received since the last meeting.

At 11:00 Mr. Kling made a motion to continue tonight’s meeting on April 11, 1990 at 8:00 P.M. Mr. Martin seconded the motion. It so carried.

Respectfully submitted,