The Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors held their regular monthly meeting on Monday, February 6, 1995, at the Charlestown Elementary School, Charlestown Road, Devault.

Present: John C. Martin, Jr., Chairman; John B. Sauser, Vice Chairman; Irene W. Ewald, Member; John D. Snyder, Esq.; Surender S. Kohli, P.E.; Ruth W. Buckwalter, Secretary; those on the attached attendee list and others.

The Chairman opened the meeting at 8:00pm.


Mr. Martin reported that, as expected, there is an appeal to the Commonwealth Court on the LauraBrooke decision, it will continue to work its way up the judicial system of the State. Mrs. Ewald announced that she and Mr. Kohli met with Mr. and Mrs. Ward who showed their concerns regarding their driveway (lot #1 of the Merriwether Plan). They request that the Township consider allowing them to go back to the original plan of a shared entrance. Mrs. Ewald stated that she thought it would be reasonable to support their request. Mr. Martin stated the Wards should go back to the Planning Commission on this. Mr. Kohli reported that he had a meeting with Mr. Devlin, PENNDOT officials and their engineers from Harrisburg regarding the Turnpike. The problems were discussed and the issues will be addressed.

Mrs. Ewald requested the minutes be tabled until later in the meeting.

The Chairman entertained a motion to approve the January, 1995 Treasurer’s Report. Mrs. Ewald moved the Treasurer’s Report be approved as presented. The motion was seconded by Mr. Martin and unanimously carried.

The Chairman entertained a motion to approve the February 6, 1995 Accounts Payable. Mr. Sauser questioned check #7935 (printing of tax bills) and check #7938 (Thomas Comitta Associates). Mr. Martin questioned Delaware Valley Paving Company’s bill for December 4 for “snow alert”. Following this, Mr. Martin moved for approval. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Ewald and unanimously carried.

There was no Planning Commission Report

Roadmaster’s Report:

Mr. Hiller submitted a written report of his activities for the month of January which included replacing road signs, installing 25 mph signs on Maryhill Road, removing a washer and a freezer dumped along Pickering Dam Road, and the plowing, salting and cindering of Township roads. Mr. Hiller stated that he had supervised the construction of temporary salt and cinder bins at Delaware Valley Paving’s yard to facilitate a more rapid response to snow and ice storms. Mrs. Ewald listed roads in the Township which were seriously lacking in snow removal. Also. Wyndham and Rosewood were in touch. It is her understanding that the Board had previously decided that the Township would plow Rosewood and back bill the bank for this work. Mr. Kohli stated that he will contact the developer regarding the plowing of Wyndham. Mr. Hiller reported that two trucks were lost due to transmission problems and one truck was run off the road into a ditch, thus the response was not as rapid as normal. Mr. Sauser reported 7 deer carcass were heaved over the bank into Pickering Creek and asked the Roadmaster to check this out.

Zoning Officer’s Report:

Mr. Kohli submitted his written report on Permits issued during the month of January. He reported: 1) the pole placed at Pikeland and Charlestown Roads by PECO will be relocated to a safer location; 2) the problem on Coldstream Road brought to the Supervisors’ attention during the Jan. 3rd business meeting, has been acknowledged by PENNDOT and Mr. Tritle is to visit the field and determine how to handle it. Mr. Kohli is waiting to hear from PENNDOT on this matter. Mr. Hiller noted that guardrails have been installed at both Charlestown and Township Line Roads.

The Chairman opened the meeting for the Citizens Forum. There were no questions nor comments.

Mr. Martin moved on to the Hough/Loew request for a lot line change for lots #14 and #15 of the Commons at Great Valley. Mr. Kohli noted in his letter of Feb. 3rd that the Planning Commission found this revision to be satisfactory. He also said that since the proposed lots are located in both Charlestown and East Whiteland Townships, the plan should also be submitted to East Whiteland for their approval. Mrs. Ewald questioned if this was the same lot line having to do with Envirotest Partners and expressed concern that no letter of withdrawal has been submitted. Mr. Snyder said he would check into the matter and respond within the week. Mr. Martin moved for approval of the lot line change subject to the approval of East Whiteland. Mr. Sauser seconded the motion. Mrs. Ewald opposed approval on grounds that the Zoning Hearing Board has not yet taken care of withdrawing its decision and that is her only reason for opposing the motion. The motion carried by a 2 to 1 vote. The revised plan was signed.

The next item considered was the condition of Horseshoe Trail. Michael DiPiano complained of stumps left from tree cutting, construction traffic has traversed the Trail resulting in a trench causing a dip in the road and other matters referred to in his letter of November 14, 1994. He requested the road be repaired per the Subdivision/Land Development Ordinance. Mr. Kohli stated that these items would be resolved when the Schulze family put in their driveway. A lengthy discussion ensued. In conclusion, Mr. Kohli agreed to meet with Mr. DiPiano to check the road again as soon as the snow is gone.

The minutes of December 19, 1994 were reviewed. Mrs. Ewald requested the Secretary to check page 2, ll4 regarding installing humps on Maryhill Road in the spring. Mr. Martin amended the minutes on page 3, ll4, “WAM” should be “legislative initiative grant”. With the exception of page 2, ll4, Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the remainder of the December 19, 1994 minutes as amended. The motion was seconded by Mr. Martin and unanimously carried.

The Chairman entertained a motion to approve the minutes of the January 3, 1995 reorganization meeting. Mrs. Ewald requested the Secretary to check the records on the series of appointments made by Mr. Martin and Mr. Sauser which were not carried unanimously. Mrs. Ewald tabled these minutes until the next meeting.

The minutes of the January 3, 1995 regular business meeting were approved on a motion made by Mr. Martin and seconded by Mrs. Ewald. The motion carried unanimously.

The minutes of January 16, 1995 were approved on a motion made by Mrs. Ewald and seconded by Mr. Martin. The motion carried unanimously.

Fire Marshal’s Report:

Mr. Alston submitted his written report for the files. He reported that during January there were one hazardous material incident, two vehicle accidents, one vehicle fire, one vehicle fuel leak, one call for traffic control and he investigated one open burning. Mr. Alston attended a seminar in Bethlehem on recent changes in equipment, codes and suppressions systems.

The Chairman announced that the Annual Spring Convention of the County Association of Township Officials will be held on March 2 at the Festivities in Exton. In their letter, the Association asked if the Supervisors wanted a special workshop on house numbering for the 911 system. The subject was discussed and in conclusion Mr. Martin stated the he would get back to the Association to see if they have anything meaningful to present. Mr. Martin and Mr. Sauser will attend the County Convention.

The Hazardous Material Ordinance was the next item before the Board. Mr. Alston stated that he has not seen the revised Ordinance, nor have the Fire Chiefs. He listed the changes to the former Ordinance that the Fire Chiefs would like to have incorporated into the revised Ordinance. The subject was thoroughly gone over. Mrs. Ewald stated for the record that she does not believe people have a right to unsafe storage. An altercation ensued between Mr. Martin and Mrs. Ewald. Mrs. Ewald, for the record, declared Mr. Martin out of order. Mr. Martin, for the record, declared Mrs. Ewald out of order. Section #6 of the Ordinance (Municipal Lien) was debated. Mrs. Ewald voted against the Ordinance because she thinks it sticks the taxpayers with the bill. Messrs. Martin and Sauser approved the Ordinance (#68-95).

Mrs. Ewald requested the Secretary to send each Supervisor a copy of the 1968 Burning Ordinance. She also asked the Treasurer to prepare a cost summary on Ordinance #68-95.

The next item for consideration by the Board was the Altemose Curative Amendment Hearing and the status of Mrs. Altemose on the Planning Commission. Mr. Martin reported receiving a number of letters stating that as a member of the Planning Commission, Mrs. Altemose should not participate in the proposed curative amendment nor participate in anything related to the FR District. Mr. Martin stated that he felt Mrs. Altemose’s position is not much different than Ray Ott’s position a number of years ago when there was a curative amendment on his property. He noted that the Solicitor advised that the curative amendment applies only to the acreage in question. Mrs. Ewald stated that her views on this subject were recorded in the December 19, 1994 minutes. Mr. Sauser said that his view also is recorded in the December 19, 1994 minutes.

VFSA Regional Act 537 Plan:

Mr. Martin noted that the Township received just one copy of this plan and that there is a March deadline for the Township’s response. Mrs. Ewald objected to the letter from Gannett Fleming,Inc., which was enclosed with the plan, and questioned their authority to put the Township in such a position. Mr. Kohli will review the plan and get back to the Board with his comments. Mrs. Ewald would like to have a report from Mr. Winckelman and Mr. Babcz on this. Additional copies will be requested.

Mr. Martin referred to the January 13th letter from DER regarding the Township’s Act 537 Plan Update. Mr. Kohli has given the number in gallons per day (that includes existing and future sewage flows) to Thomas Comitta to incorporate into the plan. DER has deferred the on-lot sewage management program at this time. When Mr. Comitta completes his work, the Act 537 Plan will be ready for submission.

Charlestown Brae:

The Chairman reported that Michael Honan had submitted a draft letter addressed to Bell Atlantic and PECO Energy regarding the relocation of poles due to the relocation and widening of sections of Rees Road. Mr. Honan requested the Supervisors approval to have the letters sent to the two utility companies by the Township. Mr. Sauser made a motion to submit the letters as requested. Mr. Martin seconded the motion. The majority of the Board is agreeable that the letter requested by Charlestown Brae will be reviewed by Mr. Kohli and then signed.

The Chairman noted that a time extension to May 15 had been received from John Panizza for his preliminary subdivision plan of Whiteland Ridge. Mrs. Ewald reported that the Charlestown Meadows preliminary plan application remains incomplete and has been so for more that 3 months. She recommended the Chairman send a letter to Mr. Panizza requesting he complete his application or withdraw it.

Charlestown Hunt clearing:

The Chairman read a letter dated January 30th to Mr. Kohli from Robert Dwyer serving notice of intention to start the clearing work on February 15th. Mr. Kohli views this as unusual noting that the plan is still being revised and is yet to be signed and recorded. Also, the escrow needs to be finalized.

After discussing the matter, Mr. Snyder was requested to respond to Mr. Dwyer’s letter expressing the Board’s concerns about consistency in Township procedures.

The issue of sewage and water service to the former Valley Forge Army Hospital site was reviewed as to whether or not this will effect the Township’s Act 537. Mrs. Ewald suggested the Secretary memo the Planning Commission members to remind them to address the issue of who will be servicing the VFAH site; will it be Phoenixville sewer and water or Suburban and Valley Forge.

The Chairman announced that our present lease with the Nature Center expires the end of April and he proposed renewing for another 6 months. The Board agreed to write for an extension of 6 months.

The next item of business was the status of the Township’s letter to FCC on cable rate regulations. Mr. Martin reported filing with the FCC but received nothing back. No action was taken.

The Chairman announced that Carole Rubley will be holding a meeting on February 16th having to do with the deer management task force. Mr. Sauser volunteered to attend.

Mr. Martin asked Janet Baldwin to give a summary on the cost sharing for a copier for use by the Historical Society and the Historical Commission. Mrs. Baldwin said that the copier was purchased from Chico’s by the Society at the price of $1800. Since the Commission will be using it as much as the Society, Mrs. Baldwin feels it would be appropriate to take half the cost out of the Commission’s budget. The Board was in favor of her request. Mrs. Ewald asked Mrs. Baldwin to submit an invoice and also to check on a warranty for the copier.

PA Historic Commission Grant:

The Chairman announced that the legislative initiative grant in the amount of $10,000 was approved. This grant is to be used for a feasibility study on the General Store located on Charlestown Road in the village. Mrs. Ewald expressed concern about not having an agreement of sale before proceeding with the study. Mr. Sauser agreed and suggested the Supervisors proceed with negotiations by having the attorneys of both sides draw up an agreement of purchase. Mrs. Ewald recommended having a meeting with the Township solicitor on this subject and take advantage of the protection of the “sunshine law”; also to get some guidance from Mr. Kohli. Mrs. Ewald would like to accompany Mr. Kohli on an inspection of the building. Mr. Sauser will make arrangements for this inspection.

Mr. Martin reported on a letter received from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission having to do with electronically distributing their notices of NRC meetings. Enclosed with the letter was a questionnaire regarding the quality and usefulness of this initiative. The problem here is that the notice comes through the office FAX machine and is then copied and sent to the Supervisors. Mr. Martin will complete the questionnaire.

Mark Connolly submitted his 1994 Summary Report on the Parks and Recreation Board and a disc of his proposed program. Mr. Connolly said he would like to see each Supervisor review and mark their copy of the program to be returned to him. Issues discussed were PECO tree trimming, parking, soccer club, clubhouse and the access to the park and the Simpson House. The park contract and financing was reviewed. Mr. Martin moved for approval of the Round V grant contract for small improvement project grants in the amount of $10,000 which is a 50% reimbursement basis. The motion was seconded by Mrs. Ewald and unanimously carried. Mr. Connolly would like to put up 3 “road closed” signs to close off the soccer complex and the football complex. In conclusion, Mr. Connolly reported that Elaine Harrington will be resigning from the Parks & Rec. Board in the near future.

At this time, John Fetterman reviewed the water drainage problem at Marian Road (see Dec. 19,1994 minutes). The problem was discussed and Mrs. Ewald requested Mr. Snyder to research this piece of property.

The next Supervisors meeting will be held on Monday, March 6, 1995.

All business completed, the meeting adjourned at 11:55 pm.

Respectfully Submitted,