Board of Supervisors
Business Meeting
August 5, 1996

The Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors held their regular monthly meeting on Monday, August 5, 1996 at the Charlestown Elementary School, Charlestown Road, Devault, Pa.


John B. Sauser, Chairman, Robin J. Kohn, Vice Chairman, Irene W. Ewald, Member, James E. McErlane, 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 8:08 P.M.


Mr. Sauser announced that he and Mr. Kohn attended an executive session on July 31, 1996 at the solicitor’s office to discuss Realen Homes’ petition before the Court of Common Pleas.


Mr. Sauser moved to approve the minutes of June 3, 1996. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.

Mr. Sauser moved to approve Draft #2 of the minutes of July 17, 1996. Mrs. Ewald seconded the motion and called for discussion on the procedure for amending minutes which calls for minutes to be accepted as written with any corrections or changes made in the following meeting’s minutes and a notation made in the margin of the minutes being accepted. All were in favor.

Mr. Sauser moved to approve the minutes of July 1, 1996 with a correction at the bottom of page 4, which read, “Mr. Schlichter read aloud a letter dated July 1, 1996”, substituting Mr. Gunn for Mr. Schlichter as the person reading the letter. Mrs. Ewald seconded, using the procedure discussed earlier. All were in favor.

The minutes of July 15, 1996 were deferred until the August 19, 1996 meeting.

Treasurer’s Report:

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for July 1 - 31, 1996. Mr. Kohn seconded and the motion passed.

Accounts Payable Report:

Approval of the Accounts Payable Report was deferred to later in the meeting.

Zoning Officer’s Report:

Mr. Kohli reported that the constable has been unable to serve a summons to Mark Matsinger. Mr. McErlane said his office will take care of providing a address for the constable that will enable the township to go before the judge on this matter.

Mr Kohli referred to a letter received from Robert Jones on July 30th requesting time to move his business from his home location due to its seasonal nature. Mrs. Ewald suggested a meeting be held at the site before deciding on his request. The meeting has been scheduled for August 8th at 5:30 P.M.

Mrs. Ewald asked for more information on an Earth Disturbance Inspection Report dated July 7, 1996 on Charlestown Hunt, and Mr. Kohli said the reports are received on a regular basis and any outstanding matters on this latest report must be resolved prior to the beginning of Phase II.

Mrs. Ewald asked for a report on the August 1, 1996 field meeting including representatives from the township, J. Loew & Associates, Conrail, PennDOT, the Public Utility Commission and several utility companies with regard to the township’s application for an at-grade rail crossing approval at Phoenixville Pike and Warner Lane. Mr. Kohli stated that Conrail did not agree to the rail crossing, and J. Loew & Associates will contact them for further discussion. Mrs. Ewald provided background on the application, stating that J. Loew and Associates propose to reconnect Warner Lane to Phoenixville Pike as part of their proposed business park subdivision, Spring Oaks on White Horse Road. Mr. Sauser explained that the final decision is made by the PUC, and the township needs to work with J. Loew & Associates to present a strong case for the crossing with an emphasis on improved traffic safety to be gained by diminishing traffic on Phoenixville Pike. Mrs. Baldwin asked if Warner Road would be widened, stating concern for a historic building along the road. Mr. Kohli stated that the road would be widened to 24 feet, but that it wouldn’t disturb this structure.

Mrs. Ewald asked about the issue of right of way encroachment caused by signage at Charlestown Hunt, and Mr. Kohli stated that this has not been resolved yet with PennDOT.

Mrs. Ewald asked for the status of the plans to improve drainage under Phoenixville Pike at the Sproule Development Company location, and Mr. Kohli stated that Sproule will submit revised plans to PennDOT and that he will be involved with this process.

Mrs. Ewald referred to the July 16, 1996 letter from Gannett Fleming, engineering consultant for the Valley Forge Sewer Authority, which provides a summary of remaining alternatives for the treatment of projected design year flows. She was extremely concerned that the alternative of constructing a satellite treatment facility in Charlestown utilizing spray irrigation was listed in this letter after the township sent a strong opposition letter on September 15, 1995 to them. Mr. Sauser moved to draft a response letter to Gannett Fleming. Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor.

Planning Commission Report:

Mr. Kling reported that the proposed zoning ordinance change to include day care centers as a conditional use in the LI District was discussed. Mr. Sauser directed the Secretary to contact J. Loew & Associates and request that they re-draft their proposed zoning change incorporating suggestions made by the Chester County Planning Commission and then return to the township Planning Commission for review.

Roadmaster Report:

Mr. Rittenbaugh reported that several trees were down during the month of July, and that Lord’s Tree Service took care of one while he cut up and disposed of the others. A stop sign was replaced on Union Hill Road at Whitehorse Road. He checked on a report of concrete dumped on Yellow Springs Road. Potholes were filled, and a quote for mowing at township intersections has been received by Bill Jones. Mr. Rittenbaugh stated that he has received several requests for signs including caution and “children at play” signs, and Mrs. Ewald stated that there is a budget available to him to be used at his discretion for this purpose.

Mr. Rittenbaugh said that he checked the work on the re-routed Rees Road and suggested line striping, which Mr. Kohli responded has been ordered. Mrs. Ewald asked that vegetation along Rees approaching Howell Road and at Whitehorse Road needs to be cut back for visibility. Mr. Kohli will check on it.

Fire Marshal’s Report:

Mr. Alston reported that during the month of July, there was one dwelling fire, one automatic alarm, 1 wires fire and 2 vehicle accidents.

Parks & Recreation:

Mr. Connolly announced that the Philadelphia Kixx camp at Charlestown Park is taking place this week. A 3 on 3 basketball tournament is scheduled for Sunday, August 10th. The Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer Association is sponsoring a soccer coaches’ clinic at the park on August 10th and 11th in order to improve the level of coaching in the region. He stated that current soccer registration is very full at present for the fall season. He would like to plan a date to invite the County Commissioners to the Park this fall for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the newly constructed intermediate field.

Mr. Connolly said that the Soccer Club would like to arrange moving the snack bar from its current location on the parking lot which will improve safety and help prevent vandalism. Mr. Sauser stated that he recommended to Joe Rudick that the group submit a building permit so the township can review this move.

Valley Forge Sewer Authority:

There was no report from the township’s Valley Forge Sewer Authority representatives.

Citizen’s Forum:

Mr. Kohli responded to Lesia Hrysio’s request for details on the gas pipe break at Charlestown Hunt earlier today.

Marcia Solda asked for an update of Pennrose Properties’ proposal for apartments at the Valley Forge Christian College, and Mr. Sauser stated there have been no developments. Mrs. Ewald asked about the status of the draft letter developed by Tom Comitta which poses questions to Pennrose Properties on their background and on their proposal. Mr. Sauser stated that he wasn’t satisfied with the letter. Mr. Kohn stated that he wished to review, revise it and have it sent out. A deadline of August 19th was agreed upon by the Supervisors.

Ellen Berhle asked if there is currently an animal control officer and stated she’s having trouble with groundhogs. Mr. Sauser stated that there is no animal control officer at present, but in any case, this type of problem isn’t typically handled by the township but by a private pest control company.

Mrs. Berhle mentioned a newspaper article which referred to the July 15, 1996 meeting that quoted Mr. Sauser as stating that persons voicing an opinion on the interim road plan were “plants” of Mrs. Ewald. She and another resident stated their objections to this remark. Mr. Sauser stated that the newspaper article was inaccurate and he did not make this comment.

Mrs. Berhle asked for details on the interim road plan, to take place until the road equipment contract can be awarded. Mr. Sauser stated that the Roadmaster is personally responding to all road related concerns and that the situation is well under control. Mr. Kohn explained that the contract would be awarded following the August 19th meeting.

Harrington-Kachmar H.A.R.B. Application:

Cynthia Harrington was present to seek a certificate of appropriateness for the former Baughman General Store facade plan. Mr. Kohn referred to an August 5th letter to the Zoning Officer drafted by Mr. Sauser, with guidance from historic architectural consultant Dale Frens would authorize proceeding with the building permit review. He stated that he would like to add to this letter a proviso that replicas of the “Baughman General Store” and “Independent Order of Americans” signs be placed outside as they were originally done. Mrs. Ewald stated that this is required as the signs are considered part of the facade. She asked if there was a review letter from the H.A.R.B. or from Jane Davison, the Planning Commission or the Pa. Historical and Museum Commission on this submission. Mr. Kling responded that the Planning Commission has not reviewed the submission.

An executive session was called and the meeting was recessed at 9:17 P.M. and reconvened at 9:50 P.M.

Mr. Sauser proposed re-drafting the letter to include the township’s requirements to adhere to accepted principles of historic preservation and provide a disclaimer that this certificate of appropriateness does not address the proposed use of the property, the land development plan, township building codes or Labor and Industry codes.

Mr. Sauser moved to issue the Certificate of Appropriateness in the form of a letter to the Zoning Officer subject to the inclusion of the cautionary language discussed above and approval of the letter by the Board. Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor.

Re-Numbering Ordinance:

This matter was deferred to August 19th to allow the Re-Numbering Committee time to finalize the plan. The Supervisors signed a letter addressed to Congressman Curt Weldon requesting assistance in seeking an address change for all township residents to “Charlestown, PA”.

Re-Scheduling of September 2nd Meeting:

Mr. Sauser moved to re-schedule the September 2, 1996 Board of Supervisors meeting to Wednesday, September 4, 1996 as the regular date falls on Labor Day. Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor. The Secretary was directed to advertise and reserve the meeting space.

Sproule Manufacturing Co. - Sewage Facilities Planning Module

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Resolution #513-96, adopting the Sproule Manufacturing Company Sewage Facilities Planning Module as part of the township’s Official Sewage Facilities Plan. Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor.

Charlestown Hunt - Phase II Escrow Agreement:

Mr. Sauser referred to Realen Homes’ July 23, 1996 letter requesting that the township sign the Phase II Escrow Agreement. Realen Homes wishes to move ahead in order to construct the public improvements and recreational facilities in Phase II before winter. Mrs. Ewald asked if the amendment of the Phase II open space plan would be affected by the construction, and Mr. Kohli responded that it would not be involved. Ellen Berhle asked how the escrow agreement could be made when the court order in effect stipulates that Phase II can’t be started until the emergency access road is completed. Mr. McErlane responded that this decision is within the administration of the Board of Supervisors and isn’t considered a substantive change to the court order. Mrs. Ewald asked for an update on the emergency access issue. Bob Dwyer of Realen Homes responded that a settlement with the Andersens is very close. Mr. Sauser moved to approve the Phase II Escrow Agreement subject to the provision of an updated liability insurance certificate by Realen, and encouragement of making settlement with the Andersens. Mrs. Behrle and Mr. Conwell stated that the township should demand that the emergency access be in place before approving the agreement. Mr. Kohn seconded Mr. Sauser’s motion and the motion passed. Mrs. Ewald did not vote.

Great Valley Nature Center:

Mrs. Ewald referred to the July 19, 1996 letter from Tom Pascocello of the Great Valley Nature Center in which he requests that the Zoning Hearing Board fee and escrow deposit be waived for their zoning variance application. She stated her opposition, on general principle, to the waiving of fees for any group or individual. She suggested that, as the Township is in arrears with its office rental payment, an additional sum be added to the spring and fall payments as a way to offset the zoning hearing fees as well as make amends for the late payment. Mr. Sauser commented that Mr. Pascocello wished to meet with the Board to discuss the rent for 1996. The Board agreed to a meeting date of August 14th at 4:30 P.M. and directed the Secretary to confirm it with Mr. Pascocello.

Mrs. Ewald moved to pay the rent for the period of January through August of 1996. Mr. Sauser moved to pay the rent for the period of January through June 1996. Mr. Kohn seconded Mr. Kohn’s motion and all were in favor.

Mr. Sauser asked the solicitor for clarification on whether a zoning hearing was the best vehicle for handling the Nature Center’s dilemma, namely that, due to some confusion on the lot line between the Nature Center and Swiss Pines, a bird of prey enclosure has been partially constructed on Swiss Pines property, for which they have now obtained permission from the owner of Swiss Pines.

Municipal Office Feasibility Study:

Mrs. Ewald stated her concerns over the Preliminary Architectural Program report produced by Frens & Frens, particularly that most of the $10,000 budget has been expended or billed while only one phase of the study has been accomplished, that being a general needs analysis study that doesn’t include any review of the feasibility of converting the Markley barn. The Barn was to be the specific focus on which the Pa. Museum and Historic Commission grant was obtained and approved. She stated that the consultant needs better direction from the township with regard to what the study should accomplish. She was also concerned that the study focuses on 5-10 years in the future and should be looking 20-25 years ahead. She was dissatisfied with the secretiveness of the meetings and lack of public involvement. Mr. Kling asked why the Planning Commission hasn’t been involved with the study. The Secretary was directed to distribute the Frens report along with a folder of related information to the Planning Commission, Historical Commission and Roadmaster for their review and input. Mr. Sauser will send a letter to the Pa. Museum and Historical Commission requesting an extension to 12/31/96 on submitting the township’s report as required by the grant agreement.

Accounts Payable:

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Accounts Payable Report with the addition of check #8568 to the Great Valley Nature Center in the amount of $3,350.00 and excluding check #8562 to Frens and Frens and checks #8531, #8532 & #8533 for the Roadmaster’s salary and expenses.

Mr. Kohn moved to approve the Accounts Payable Report with the addition of check #8568 to the Great Valley Nature Center in the amount of $3,350.00 and excluding check #8562 to Frens and Frens. Mr. Sauser seconded Mr. Kohn’s motion. Mrs. Ewald called for a role call vote. Mrs. Ewald voted nay, Mr. Sauser voted aye and Mr. Kohn voted aye. The motion passed.

Escrow Releases:

Mr. Sauser moved to approve Charlestown Brae Escrow Release #9 for Phase I On-Site in the amount of $2,200.00, Brae Escrow Release #6 for Phase II On-Site in the amount of $28,713.10, and Brae Escrow Release #4 for Rees Road Improvements in the amount of $50,983.00. Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor.

Mr. Sauser moved to approve Charlestown Hunt Escrow Release #8 in the amount of $95,985.94. Mr. Kohn seconded and the motion passed. Mrs. Ewald did not vote.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:10 P.M.

Respectfully Submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Secretary