Board of Supervisors
Business Meeting
December 2, 1996

The Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors held their regular monthly meeting on Monday, December 2, 1996 at the Charlestown Elementary School, Charlestown Road, Devault, Pa.


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

The Chairman called the meeting to order at 8:05 P.M. and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.


There were no announcements.

Green Valleys Association - Presentation of Sustainable Watershed Study:

Ralph Heister and Tom Cahill presented the results of the study, which was undertaken with grant money from the William Penn Foundation and the DEP’s PA Rivers Conservation program. Mr. Cahill explained that quantitative data was gathered and analyzed for the French and Pickering Creeks in order to develop a water balance model that will indicate tolerance limits for the quantity and quality of both surface and ground water. This model could then be used as a planning tool when considering the impacts of further development. He stated that the French and Pickering Creek Watersheds are located in 17 municipalities in Chester County, including Charlestown, which are best managed via intermunicipal cooperation and planning. Dr. Heister said that all documentation will be provided to the Township.

There was a question and answer period following the presentation. Planning Commission Chairman Michael Churchill praised the study and then asked about a neighboring municipality in which a mining operation represents the largest extraction of water from these watersheds. He asked whether the underground aquifers stop at the subbasins, thereby protecting Charlestown from this water loss. Mr. Cahill responded that although there is some impact, the water doesn’t come over the ridge line. Mr. Cahill also named two water bottling companies that are removing water from the area as extractors that might cause concern.

Planning Commissioner Charles Philips asked for the legal repercussions of using the Green Valleys Association data in the planning process. Dr. Heister stated that the Municipal Planning Code offers general language indicating that a study such as the one undertaken can be used for planning purposes; however, he acknowledges that there will likely be a challenge to the first municipality to pass such an ordinance.

Mr. Churchill suggested that the data be used to develop a simplified formula that will indicate the probably effects of future development on well water, as this is a serious concern individuals can relate to. Kevin Kuhn suggested that a case study on a depleted watershed be developed along with the model to foster a better understanding of the impact of development. Planning Commissioner Bud Zeigler noted that the town of Lititz in Lancaster County has successfully used their watershed management study to enforce controls through voluntary means in their community.

Frens & Frens: Municipal Office Feasibility Study:

Mr. Sauser introduced Dale and Susan Frens, who have undertaken a study of the Stinson Markley barn to determine the feasibility of converting it into a municipal office. The study was funded in its entirety by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

Dale Frens displayed some sketches of the bank barn, which he stated will need some structural repairs, particularly to the bowed south wall. The lower level would be underpinned in order to lower the floor to provide a higher ceiling than exists at present. He showed that parking is depicted on the upper level, which would be acceptable to the ADA provided the main entrance is at this level.

Susan Frens described the architectural program, which was developed following consultations with township representatives. Parking is shown for approximately 50 cars, with 25 paved spaces and the remainder as grass paver spaces. Their study determined that the Township would require approximately 3,600 square feet of space, and the existing barn would provide only 2,600 square feet; therefore, an addition of 1,000 sq. ft. is shown on the drawings. She indicated that the addition would house all the plumbing, stairs and a lift in order to keep costs down and maintain the original barn structure as much as possible. Susan Frens stated that after receiving feedback from the Board, they will finalize the architectural program report and prepare the cost estimate to complete the Study.

Mr. Sauser commented that although the restroom facilities shown are up to code, he felt they were inadequate and should be increased in size or a separate set created on the lower level, which currently shows no facilities. He also asked about handicapped parking, and Susan Frens responded that it’s been provided in the plan. Mr. Sauser indicated that he would consider reducing the number of paved parking spaces further.

Kevin Kuhn asked for the capacity of the meeting room and why it’s shown on the upper level. Susan Frens responded that the meeting room seats 50 persons. By locating it on the upper level, it would be possible to better preserve the character of the barn. Because the ceiling is extremely high on this level, it would be difficult to partition for individual office spaces. Also, it would be possible to seal off the rest of the facility from the meeting room in order to use it for other functions, perhaps renting it out.

A resident asked for some details on the office spaces and staffing needs. Historical Commission Chairwoman Janet Baldwin was concerned that sufficient room is provided for archival records storage.

Mrs. Ewald asked about control of dampness. Dale Frens responded that the entire building would be climate controlled and that a waterproof sheet membrane would be provided for the south retaining wall.

Mrs. Baldwin asked whether the building could be converted back to its original form if the township vacated the offices sometime in the future. Mr. Kohn observed that the Frens’ design shows the impact on the structure to be minimal and that a conversion would be possible.

Mr. Churchill asked if a police department could be incorporated at the site. Mr. Kohn responded that public works and police would be on a different site. Mrs. Ewald stated that township property on Whitehorse Road across from the Devault Post Office that could be used for this purpose. She noted that this would be preferable to bringing trucks and police vehicles in and out of a residential area. Mr. Churchill asked how this proposed plan compares in size with neighboring township buildings. Mr. Kohn said that the Uwchlan Township building is similar in size, and that the East Pikeland building is larger but contains public works, as does East Whiteland’s building.

Mrs. Ewald commented that she expected to see more than one scenario for the site, and asked if deed restrictions and the intent of Mr. Markley’s will were considered in the study. Dale Frens responded that they haven’t been considered up to this point, but that he will state the issues in the final report.

Mr. Sauser suggested that Frens & Frens move on to the final phase of the study, which has a deadline of December 31, 1996. Mr. Frens indicated that they should be able to meet the deadline.

Wentz Subdivision:

Mr. Sauser described the proposed two lot subdivision, for which the smaller parcel will be purchased by Mr. Zantzinger and combined with his existing lot. Mr. Kohli referred to his letter of December 2, 1996 to the Board which indicated that all previous concerns have been addressed. He also briefly discussed Tom Comitta’s review comments. Mr. Sauser moved to approve the Wentz Subdivision subject to the receipt of a favorable review by the Chester County Planning Commission. Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor. Mrs. Ewald wished to make it clear that she was in favor of approving the subdivision with no condition regarding the County Planning Commission review.


Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the minutes of October 7, 1996 with a correction on page 7 to read “Mr. Comitta” instead of “Mr. Oeste” in the first line under “Other Business.” Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor.

Mr. Sauser moved to approve the minutes of October 21, 1996 as submitted . Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor.

Mr. Sauser moved to approve the minutes of November 4, 1996 with a correction on page 5 to read “10-11 acres” instead of “10-11 units” in the third paragraph. Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor.

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the minutes of November 18, 1996 as submitted. Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report:

Mr. Sauser had two corrections for the Treasurer’s Report for November. On page one, the subdivision application fee paid by E. Wentz shown in the “For” column should read $150.00 instead of $500.00. This didn’t affect the balances as the correct figure was used in the “Amount” column. On page two, County Estate Developers should read Country Estate Developers. Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for November 1- 30, 1996 with these two corrections. Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report:

Mrs. Ewald questioned check #8714 to the SPCA charging $35.00 for a stray dog, which should not have been charged to Charlestown. She moved to approve the Accounts Payable Report for December 2, 1996 with the exception of this check #8714. Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor.

Zoning Officer’s Report:

Mr. Kohli reported that tree clearing work is progressing at the Broadwater Lane site.

Mr. Kohli stated that he told Mr. Millmore’s son to stop work on the addition being constructed on Fletcher Millmore’s house until all permit requirements are met. Also, he checked on reports that items were being stored next to a boundary fence and were causing it to fall over, but Mr. Kohli stated that this was not the case.

Planning Commission Report:

Mr. Churchill referred to the Planning Commission minutes of November 12, 1996 and stated that there was nothing additional to report. He announced that the next Planning Commisison meeting is scheduled for December 10th and several new subdivision plans will be discussed.

Fire Marshal’s Report:

Mr. Alston reported that during the month of November there was one stove fire, one brush fire, three automatic alarms, three vehicle accidents and one assist the police department.

Mr. Alston cautioned residents to watch for deer and reminded them to clean their chimneys before using them this season.

Parks & Recreation:

Mr. Connolly referred to the grant funding available to the Township. He is attempting to seek interested parties for a cooperative effort in producing a master site plan for Charlestown Park, pointing out that the County is looking favorably on regional partnerships. He reported that he met with representatives of the Phoenixville Area School District and they weren’t interested. He plans to meet with Schuylkill Township representatives shortly. Mrs. Ewald suggested that he contact East Pikeland Township as well.

Valley Forge Sewer Authority:

Mr. Winckelman reported that the 1997 Budget was approved and that there will be no rate increases.

Citizen’s Forum:

Clarkson Wentz thanked the Board of Supervisors for the Plaque he and Mrs. Wentz received at the recent Great Valley Nature Center annual fund raiser for their lifetime of service to the community.

Lesia Hrysio reported that she has two ongoing problems. One is the standing water at the railroad tracks between her property and the Charlestown Hunt site. Mr. Kohli said he will visit the site and check it out. Ms. Hrysio also reported that she has not been successful in negotiating with Realen Homes over the issue of structural damage to her home that she believes was caused by blasting earlier in the project construction at Charlestown Hunt. Mr. Sauser requested a copy of all correspondence, and Ms. Hrysio provided it to the Board.

Mr. Connolly requested that the Township solicitor review the proposed agreement between the Connollys and Realen Homes over the Broadwater Lane issue. Mr. Oeste will do so.

Liz Andersen commented that she and her husband do not give permission for hunters to come in to the area between their property and Pickering Dam Road properties, which is actually township Open Space, where hunting is prohibited. Last year, hunters told the neighbors that they had permission from the Andersens to hunt, which was untrue. Mrs. Ewald commented that she saw hunters in the open space area with bows and arrows. Mr. Sauser said he’ll speak with the Game Commission. Mrs. Ewald suggested that Mark Connolly check on the “No Hunting” signage and augment it where necessary. Mr. Connolly was authorized by the Board to provide his signature on the signs as a township representative.

Employee Policies and Procedures:

Mr. Oeste provided a draft resolution for the Board’s review. The matter was tabled until the December 16th meeting.

Amendments to the Re-Addressing Plan:

Mr. Sauser stated that he has reviewed and considered the recommendations submitted by the Re-numbering Committee in a report dated November 27th, 1996. He went through the items individually and agreed with all recommendations with the exception of the recommendations that General Warren Blvd. and Lindsay Lane be denied exemptions from the plan. He stated that he spoke to a representative of World Travel Inc., which is located on General Warren Blvd. and was the only business that complied with the ordinance thus far and changed their address as required. One reason the Re-numbering Committee opposed an exemption to the re-numbering plan for General Warren Blvd. was that it would be unfair to this company that already made the change. Mr. Sauser stated that this representative indicated willingness to revert to the original address and that he requested a letter to this effect, which was to be faxed to him prior to the meeting. Because the fax wasn’t received, Mr. Kohn stated that he was unwilling to grant an exemption per the request of the other two property owners. Otherwise, we was in agreement with Mr. Sauser’s comments.

Mrs. Ewald asked the Re-numbering Committee Chairman, Charles Philips about the numbering for Charlestown Hunt, which she understood needed some changes according to the committee’s original recommendation. Mr. Philips stated that several of the townhouse units were illogically numbered by the developer and that the committee had assigned corrected numbers for them. Mrs. Ewald commented that by not making the recommended changes in a new development where the inconvenience to the residents would be minimal, the Board is discriminating against the majority of longer-time residents who were required to change. She also stated her concern over the Hunt residents’ safety by not adjusting these house numbers where warranted. Fire Marshal Fred Alston stated that the exemption from number changes for Charlestown Hunt may present some difficulties for emergency services. Mr. Sauser read from Resolution 514-96 which indicated that Charlestown Hunt was exempted from re-numbering. He stated that the only two changes in the Hunt’s address plan provided by the developer were one number that contained a reversal of digits, and the requirement that numbers be shown on the homes and not the garages, since some of the garages are not adjacent to their corresponding homes. Mr. Kohn agreed with Mr. Sauser’s understanding of the address plan for Charlestown Hunt.

Mr. Sauser moved to approve the committee’s recommendations for changes to the re-numbering plan with the exception of General Warren Boulevard and Lindsay Lane, which he moves to exempt from numbering change. Mr. Kohn amended his motion to approve the committee’s recommendations for changes to the re-numbering plan with the exception of Lindsay Lane only. Mr. Kohn stated that he wouldn’t exempt General Warren Blvd. due to the fact that no confirmation was received from World Travel indicating their willingness to revert to their old number. Mr. Sauser seconded Mr. Kohn’s motion. Mrs. Ewald stated that she agreed that Lindsay Lane should be exempted from the plan, but added that Charlestown Hunt should be changed per the committee’s original recommendations. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Kohn were in favor of Mr. Kohn’s motion. Mrs. Ewald was opposed on the basis that by not changing the Charlestown Hunt numbers, the Township could be putting the residents of this development at risk and that it was also a form of discrimination against the non-Hunt Charlestown residents.


Mr. Sauser instructed the Secretary to advertise the Township’s intent to appoint an Independent Auditor in 1997 to audit the 1996 books and to advertise the meeting dates and times for both the Re-organization Meeting and the first Business Meeting of 1997. The Re-Organization meeting was scheduled for January 6, 1997 at 8:00 P.M. at the Elementary School to be followed by the business meeting.

Mr. Oeste will advertise the ordinance for changes to four of the private lanes: Jagged Stone Lane to Stone Lane, Tipton Brook Lane to Tiptonbrook Lane, Hanna Lane to Hana Lane, and Pine Tree Lane to Moses Way.

Phoenixville Area Soccer Club Request:

Mr. Sauser referred to Gary Mooney’s letter of November 4, 1996 in which the Soccer Club requested an extended repayment schedule for the balance of funds pledged by the Soccer Club for that portion of the Intermediate Soccer Field construction not covered by the County grant. Mr. Mooney requests a repayment period of no more than 3 years with a minimum payment per year of $3,000.00. If possible, the letter states, they would accelerate the repayment to a two year period.

Mrs. Ewald commented that the PASC runs an excellent program and she would like to cooperate with them to ensure that the full program can continue. She was in favor of granting the request. Mr. Kohn stated that he also feels the program is extremely worthwhile and beneficial to the Township but felt that a three year payment schedule was too long. Mr. Kohn moved to defer the repayment of the $10,000.00, presently due by 12/31/96, for one year, until 12/31/97, and to provide the PASC with an opportunity to review the balance due with the Board at this time to make further payment arrangements. Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor.

Roadmaster Appointment:

Mr. Sauser stated that the Board interviewed three candidates for the Roadmaster position, including one individual who responded to the newspaper ad. The qualifications of each applicant were briefly discussed.

Mrs. Ewald moved to nominate Dennis Hiller for the position of Roadmaster. She acknowledged Mr. Thompson’s qualifications and abilities but felt that as a competing contractor, a question of conflict could arise in the future. Mr. Kohn moved to nominate Jim Thompson for the position of Roadmaster. Mr. Sauser seconded Mr. Kohn’s motion. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Kohn were in favor.

1997 Budget:

Mr. Sauser read proposed Resolution #516-96 in its entirety, which proposes a tax levy of 8.5 mils in 1997, and moved to approve. Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor.

Mr. Sauser read proposed Resolution #517-96 in its entirety, which sets forth the budget for 1997. Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor.

Checking Accounts:

After some discussion on banking services, locations and fees, Mrs. Ewald moved to open checking accounts at Malvern Federal Savings Bank and to transfer all moneys from Cores States Bank (formerly Meridian Bank) to the new bank.

Stormwater Management Escrow Account:

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the opening of a separate Stormwater Management Escrow Fund Account with the Pennsylvania Local Government Investment Trust for the deposit of all Charlestown Brae stormwater management fees. Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor.

Charlestown Oaks – Revised Final Plan:

Mr. Sauser tabled this item until the December 16, 1996 meeting.

Charlestown Hunt:

Mr. Kohn moved to approve the Charlestown Hunt revised escrow documents for Phase I. Mr. Sauser seconded and two were in favor. Mrs. Ewald did not vote.

Sproule Development Company Escrow Release Request #1:

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Sproule Development Company Escrow Release #1 for $29,210.00. Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor.


Mrs. Ewald moved to adjourn the meeting at 11:38 P.M. Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor.

Respectfully Submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Secretary