The Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors held their regular monthly meeting on Monday, August 7, 1995 at the Charlestown Elementary School, Charlestown Road, Devault, Pa.


John B. Sauser, Vice Chairman, Irene W. Ewald, Member, Thomas F. Oeste, Esq., Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Linda M. Csete, Secretary and those on the attached attendee list.

The Chairman called the meeting to order at 8:00 P.M.


Mr. Sauser announced that two executive sessions were held since the last public meeting. The first was on July 10, 1995 to discuss real estate matters and the second was on July 31 to discuss legal matters regarding the Altemose Curative Amendment application and its appeal, along with personnel issues.

Mrs. Ewald remembered Stinson Markley, who passed away on July 18th at age 97. She described Mr. Markley as a naturalist at heart who served as a Township Supervisor during the 1940’s and was instrumental in the development of the first Zoning Ordinance. He founded the Charlestown Historical Society and was an advisor to the Charlestown Civic Association. She shared some personal anecdotes after which a moment of silence was observed.

The Vice Chairman moved to approve the minutes of July 10, 1995. Mrs. Ewald seconded and the motion carried.

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the July 1995 Treasurer’s Report. Mr. Sauser seconded and the motion carried.

Before approving the Accounts Payable Report for August 7, 1995, Mr. Sauser noted that one item, a $50.00 contribution to PSATS’ Legal Assistance Fund, for financial assistance to municipalities involved in legal appeals with state ramifications, be approved separately. Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the contribution to PSATS, Mr. Sauser seconded, and the motion carried.

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the August 7, 1995 Accounts Payable. Mr. Sauser seconded and the motion carried. Mrs. Ewald requested that the Secretary provide information to the Board on which hydrants are covered by the PSW Co. water bill, which appears excessive, to ensure that all hydrants listed are currently active. The payment of the PSW Co. bill will be withheld until an answer is furnished.

Zoning Officer’s Report:

Mr. Kohli submitted the July building permit report and commented on the traffic study for Merlin Road. He referred to a letter dated August 1, 1995 from PennDOT, which states the study was completed and the speed limit reduction was determined to be unwarranted. Mr. Sauser directed the Secretary to request speed limit enforcement action of the State Police for Merlin Road. Mr. Kohli then referred to his letter to the Great Valley Nature Center to cease and desist in constructing a building for which a permit was not issued. He stated that, among other issues, setback questions must be settled before a permit is approved.

Planning Commission Report:

Mr. Zeigler reported that the Commission reviewed a land development plan for Lot #10 at the Commons of Great Valley for World Travel and found it to be in compliance with the overall plan. Considerable time was spent discussing Robert Berry’s driveway relocation at this meeting as well as the June meeting, but that the Commission determined there was insufficient engineering detail available to consider his request for a change to a Church Road driveway as opposed to the plan’s approved Merlin Road access. He stated that a subcommittee was appointed by Mr. Churchill to review engineering information should Mr. Berry wish to provide it, but that this information was not forthcoming. Mr. Zeigler stated that water handling issues and zoning options for the Valley Forge Army Hospital site were also discussed.

Parks and Recreation Report:

Mr. Connolly was not in attendance.

Roadmaster’s Report: Mr. Hiller reported that clean up efforts were undertaken following storms on July 18th and 21st and that the widening of Green Lane has begun. Mr. Hiller met personally with property owners along this section of Green Lane, and that the tree clearing necessary is nearly complete. Mrs. Ewald asked about the bank restoration, and Mr. Hiller stated that it will be seeded with grass mixed with crown vetch for quick germination and erosion control, and that in the interim, netting or other material would be placed on the bank for this purpose.

Fire Marshal’s Report:

Mr. Alston reviewed his July Report. During July there were three automatic fire alarms, one odor investigation, two trees and wires fires, one barn fire, one trash file, and one QRS call. Precipitation was 1 1/4” below normal in July and 9 1/2” below normal for the year. Mr. Alston again stressed that it is dangerous to burn at this time, and that extreme care must be taken with any permitted burning.

Citizen’s Forum:

There were no issues brought forward at this time.

VFSA Regional Act 537 Plan:

Mr. Sauser referred to Joe Bateman’s letter of June 14, 1995 requesting the designation of an individual from the township as a representative in the Regional Act 537 Plan process. The representative would have to attend two or three meetings per month during the work day for a six to eight month period. Since none from the six member VFSA board is able to attend, Mr. Sauser asked that anyone interested in serving as the township representative contact the office.

PEMA Fund Auditor:

Mr. Sauser stated that since federal emergency funds received by the township for the 1994 snow and ice storms exceeded $25,000.00, a single audit by a Certified Public Accountant is required. He stated that one proposal was received, and that others are being sought. He asked the Secretary to forward information on the audit requirements to Emory Todd, CPA per his request.

VFSA Tredyffrin Township Flow Allocation:

Mr. Sauser explained that Tredyffrin Township no longer requires their extra allocation of sewer flows, and since the agreement didn’t anticipate this situation, the VFSA needed to develop options for re-allocation. Option I would be a first come, first served arrangement. Option II would return the capcaity to the lessors, of which the VFSA is one. Option III would prorate the capacity and distribute it to the VFSA members only. Mr. Winckelman stated that the Joint Board wished to go with Option II. Mrs. Ewald stated that when she and Mr. Martin discussed this issue, they both wished to research the original articles of incorporation further, and moved to table this issue until the September 11, 1995 meeting. Mr. Sauser agreed, but stated that it must be decided prior to the VFSA Joint Board meeting on Sept. 28, 1995.

Charlestown Hunt Escrow Release #3:

Mr. Sauser stated that since there is no quorum present to vote on this issue, it will be tabled until the Sept. 11, 1995 meeting.

Charlestown Brae Escrow Release #3:

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Charlestown Brae Escrow Release #3 for $41,250.00. Mr. Sauser seconded, and the motion carried.

Oak Hill Escrow Release #12:

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Oak Hill Escrow release #12 for $15,786.31. Mr. Sauser seconded, and the motion carried. Mr. Kohli stated that $29,000.00 will remain in the escrow account pending road dedication.

Devault Foods Escrow Release #1:

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Devault Foods Escrow Release #1 for $36,898.50. Mr. Sauser seconded, and the motion carried.

Robert Berry - Driveway Relocation

Mr. Sauser stated that Mr. Berry is seeking informal insight and guidance into the question of whether or not his wish to relocate his driveway from its approved Merlin Road location to Church Road would be considered by the Board. Mrs. Ewald asked Mr. Oeste to clarify this issue, and Mr. Oeste stated that there is no official application before the Board of Supervisors, and that any discussion undertaken at this point by the Board would not constitute a formal review.

Mr. Sauser stated that Parcel 8 must be combined with an adjoining lot, in this case, Lot 7. He said this should occur before an application is made. Mr. Oeste stated that Lot 8 is subject to plan notes and covenants restricting it from development, including a structure such as a driveway. Mr. Sauser stated that as this is a precedent situation, the logic behind an application to revise the subdivision plan must be extremely well substantiated.

Mr. Kohli stated that the Planning Commission has reviewed the issue on an informal basis, and Mrs. Ewald noted that a conditional use application for a Church Road access driveway crossing a flood plain was received in the township office on August 4, 1995 but has not yet been reviewed for completeness.

Mrs. Ewald referred to Mr. Martin’s Dec. 8, 1994 letter to the DER, advising them that the Township objects to Mr. Berry’s DER application for a driveway traversing Parcel 8 quoting a portion of the Eastwick Subdivision Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions, which prohibits structures on Parcel 8. Mr. Berry stated that this DER application has since been withdrawn.

Mr. Berry stated that after speaking with Mr. Martin earlier this year, Mr. Martin suggested that he discuss his driveway relocation at the June Planning Commission meeting, and that he did attend this meeting with his engineer, architect and wetlands specialist. Mr. Sauser stated that the township consultants do not review an issue in depth without a proper application, and that he wished to provide Mr. Berry with a precise and formal reply to a precise and formal request. Mr. Oeste said that the proper vehicle for pursuing his request is an application for revision of the Eastwick subdivision plan. Steve Speece, attorney for Mr. Berry, stated that Mr. Berry is seeking some guidance as to whether the Board has the discretion to change the restrictions, without which, a plan revision is not feasible.

Darwin Ferguson, a neighboring property owner, voiced his support of the change to a Church Road entrance, citing the impossibility of containing the water on the site if the Merlin Road driveway is constructed.

Alexis McCarthy, a landowner in the Eastwick subdivision, stated that she and her husband participated in the Eastwick subdivision meetings and feels very strongly that the change under discussion is inconsistent with the covenants and restrictions documents that she signed, emphatically noting that her own property is subject to these restrictions as well.

Mary Ellen Joos voiced her concerns over the future when the restrictions against further subdivision are lifted, in light of the conversation she had with Mr. Berry in which he stated that he planned to remain only a few years before returning to Wyoming.

Mr. Sauser stated that the Board would direct Mr. Oeste to render an opinion on whether the Board has the power to change the covenants and restrictions placed on the Eastwick subdivision and said that escrow funds would be required to cover any township reviews. Mr. Berry agreed to allow the Conditional Use application escrow he posted to be used for this purpose.

Mr. Berry asked if he can begin construction on his house now. Mr. Kohli stated that he would need to construct a driveway from the approved Merlin Road access, meeting all requirements for that driveway, before construction can begin.

Charlestown Brae - Re-recordation of plans:

Mrs. Ewald suggested that this item be tabled until the September 11, 1995 meeting to allow Mr. Kohli sufficient time to review them.

Schuylkill River Heritage Corridor:

Janet Baldwin reported that she attended a meeting of the Historic Commissions of Northern Chester County, which is planning to publish a brochure of historic locations along the corridor, including Charlestown Township. She made available to the public a pamphlet on the Schuylkill River Heritage Corridor.

September Meeting Date:

Mr. Sauser reminded the public that the September meeting will take place on the 11th instead of the first Monday of the month, which is Labor Day.

Mrs. Ewald moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:50 P.M., Mr. Sauser seconded, and the motion carried.

Respectfully Submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Secretary