JULY 7, 1997

The first regular business meeting for July was held July 8, 1997 at the Charlestown Elementary School. John B. Sauser, Chairman, Robin J. Kohn, Irene W. Ewald, James E. McErlane, Esq., Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Linda M. Csete, Secretary, and those on the attached attendee list were present.

The meeting was called to order at 8:00 P.M. and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.


Mr. Sauser reported that an Emergency Operations exercise conducted in cooperation with Chester County Emergency Services and the Limerick Generating Plant was held at the Great Valley High School on June 24, 1997. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Kohn attended along with Fire Marshal Fred Alston, residents Bob and Mary Jane Duncan, Stephen Winckelman and others. Mr. Alston acted as Coordinator, and Mr. Kohn acted as Emergency Medical Services Representative.

Mr. Sauser announced that a meeting of the Historical and Architectural Review Board scheduled for July 10th has had a change in location to the Great Valley Nature Center and a change in time to 9:00 P.M.

Mr. Sauser announced that an executive session was held June 27, 1997 to discuss real estate matters.

Mrs. Ewald reported that a ceremony was held at the Rapp House on June 22, 1997 for the planting of a Bartlett Pear Tree in memory of Polly Quigley. She displayed photos of the event taken by Gene Baldwin. Mrs. Ewald and Mr. Kohn attended the ceremony along with members of the Charlestown Historical Society and Charlestown Historical Commission. She thanked the Pyles for supplying the mulch and Roadmaster Jim Thompson and his son for preparing the tree for planting.

Mrs. Ewald announced that the Altemose decision has been handed down from the Commonwealth Court and that the Township decision has been upheld. She extended her appreciation for the talents of Mr. McErlane, Mr. Bender, and Steven Howard in defending the township’s position. Mr. Sauser also acknowledged the skillful legal work and stated that the victory was a testimony to the strength of the township ordinance and the willingness of the Board to defend it. Mr. McErlane provided some details on the appeal process if the Altemoses decide to continue with their challenge.

Mrs. Ewald stated that a series of executive sessions were held over the past eight to twelve months to discuss real estate matters, this type of meeting being permitted under the Sunshine Act when advice is sought from council and consultants. She estimates that 8-12 executive sessions were held, although they were not each attended by all three board members. The subject of the meetings was the Board’s search for parcels suitable for public acquisition in different sectors of the township with a focus on active, recreational open space use and/or historic preservation. The long term plan looks ahead ten to twenty years to provide recreational space for the ever increasing population of Charlestown. Mrs. Ewald notes that use at the existing park is maximizing and has over 1,000 registrants in various sports activities. She stated that while several parcels are under review, a 20 acre portion of the Pyle farm is under active consideration due to its location surrounding the historic Rapp House on Yellow Springs Road near Hollow Road. She noted that the Great Valley School District is considering an abutting parcel, which would make the location even more suitable through possible cooperative efforts.

This possibility has already been discussed in a joint meeting with school district representatives. She stated that she favors the acquisition of this parcel.

Mr. Sauser responded to Mrs. Ewald’s comments by stating that he questions the number of executive sessions held, which he feels is much lower than the number given by Mrs. Ewald. He cautioned his fellow supervisors to slow the process down and invite public comment and involvement. He stated that he will oppose any action taken without public review. While Mr. Sauser stated his interest in township open space, he questioned whether this was the best way to achieve their goal when other methods, such as the purchase of development rights can accomplish the same objective without creating the burden of property maintenance. He felt that the township is already pressed to maintain the park and passive open space already owned, along with a six acre property in Devault.

Mr. Kohn stated that he endorses the acquisition of the 20 acre parcel of the Pyle Farm, noting that while the township owns 100 _ acres of passive open space along with the Park, there is a need for more playing fields. He sees the enveloping of the Rapp House as desirable and the location near what is expected to become a hub of population. He added that the easily accessible six acre Devault property would be good for a future township office.

Mr. Sauser asked Mr. Kohn if he based his endorsement on whether the Great Valley School District acquires the abutting property, and Mr. Kohn responded that although this would be highly desirable, he supports the acquisition independent of that possibility and wouldn’t make it conditional on the school’s actions. Mrs. Ewald concurred with his response.

Mr. Sauser asked about financing, and Mrs. Ewald responded that this would be properly discussed in executive session. She noted that a good portion of the funding is already available in the treasury. Mr. Sauser stated that if the borrowing of money is contemplated, the public should be aware of it. He also questioned whether the availability of grant money was investigated. Mr. Kohn responded that county grant funds require the township to sign the Visions Partnership agreement, which he personally isn’t willing to do for what he perceives as a nominal grant. Mrs. Ewald agreed and added that she looked into state funding as well. Any intergovernmental funding comes with the imposition of serious conditions, and she believes the township can manage independently.

Mrs. Ewald moved to authorize Mr. McErlane to negotiate a price for the 20 acre parcel belonging to the Pyle family. The motion remained on the table at this time.

Mrs. Ewald called for an executive session. Mr. Sauser suggested proceeding with the evening’s agenda and holding the executive session afterward.

Approval of Minutes

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the minutes of June 2 , 1997 and Mr. Kohn seconded. All were in favor.

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the minutes of June 16, 1997 and Mr. Kohn seconded. Two were in favor. Mr. Sauser didn’t vote as he was not in attendance at the meeting.

June Treasurer’s Report

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the June 1- 30, 1997 Treasurer’s Report. Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor.

July Accounts Payable

Mrs. Ewald reiterated her concern for the high road contractor bills, stating that they are 2 and 2 times the average of the last five years bills for a similar time period and scope of work. Mr. Kohn stated that he met with the contractor and Roadmaster to discuss ways to reduce these costs. They agreed that Mr. Thompson will review the proposed work and approve or deny each job and discuss the number of hours that would be expected from any particular job beforehand. Mrs. Ewald assured Mr. Thompson that he has her support and confidence as Township Roadmaster. Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Accounts Payable Report for July 7, 1997. Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor.

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Accounts Payable Report for June 27, 1997, which include only one check representing a deposit on the proposed Pyle property acquisition. Mr. Kohn seconded. Mrs. Ewald and Mr. Kohn were in favor. Mr. Sauser voted nay.

Zoning Officer’s Report

In response to Mrs. Ewald’s question, Mr. Kohli affirmed that there has been improvement in the erosion and sedimentation control at Charlestown Hunt. She then asked if there has been a resolution of the Broadwater Lane emergency access, and Mr. Kohli responded that the township is still waiting for Realen’s engineering plan. He noted that the temporary access is in place. Mr. Kohn stated that he recently spoke with Mark Rectenwald, who remains concerned over the disposition of this agreement.

Planning Commission Report

There was no one present from the Planning Commission, but Mr. Sauser stated that the minutes have been received and a meeting is scheduled for July 8th at 8:00 P.M. at the Elementary School.

Roadmaster Report

Mr. Thompson reported that all road banks have now been cut. Inlets have been repaired as needed on Benburb, Marian, Tyrone and Maryhill Roads. Mrs. Ewald stated that the edge of Sycamore Lane has been undermined and needs to be reconstructed. Mr. Kohn stated that Sidley Hill is missing one or more 35 MPH speed limit signs. Mr. Sauser requested that the road contractor remove any illegally displayed signs in the township.

Fire Marshal Report

Mr. Alston reported that the area is 5" short on rainfall and recommended that permitted burning be done only with extreme caution.

Parks and Recreation Board

Mr. Connolly stated that the report on trout stocking of the Pickering Creek should be completed shortly. He also reported that changes in the design for the field hockey field are underway and they will be coordinated with the County Parks & Recreation Department in regard to the approved grant provided for this purpose.

Valley Forge Sewer Authority

Mrs. Ewald asked the Secretary to contact the VFSA board members and request that they attend the next board meeting to give a more proactive report on VFSA matters. Mr. Sauser commented that he received criticism from one of the VFSA board members for the lack of supervisors’ participation at their annual meeting.

Citizen’s Forum - Agenda Items

Stephen Schlicter asked for details of the Pyle real estate acquisition with regard to costs. He also asked for input from the Parks and Recreation Chairman. Mr. Connolly responded that he is in favor of the acquisition and referred to the 1993 Open Space, Recreation & Environmental Resources Plan, which supports acquisitions of this nature in principle. The 1993 plan is a five year plan, so a suitable acquisition at this juncture would be timely. He commented that the infrastructure of a community or municipality must be planned; it should not be derived from unwanted leftover pieces. He sees this acquisition as only a portion of what is needed in the township. Mr. Connolly further commented that he agrees with Mr. Sauser that public involvement is highly desirable. Kevin Kuhn stated that he agrees with the acquisition but also with the need for more public involvement. He asked the Board to consider a referendum on this issue.

Mr. Kuhn asked the solicitor for the time frame in which the Altemoses must file any appeal to the Commonwealth Court decision, and Mr. McErlane responded that they have 30 days. Mr. Kuhn asked about the possibility of recovering legal costs incurred by the township, and Mr. McErlane responded that such an action would have to be taken after the final decision was made. He commented that the recovery of these costs is made very difficult in Pennsylvania and occurs successfully only rarely. He does not advocate the attempt as he believes the odds are against it. Mr. Sauser commented that this possibility was considered when the appeal was filed, but the Board determined it was more important to concentrate on the appeal itself. Mrs. Ewald asked the Secretary to search prior meeting minutes for a Board motion in which the majority voted to pursue cost recovery.

Jean Helker of Sidley Hill Road stated that she is in favor of the land acquisition of the Pyle tract.

Devault Crushed Stone/Great Valley Materials - Noise Complaints:

Mr. Jean Viallet of 16 Theresa Drive asked if any new data is available on the noise problem at the stone crushing plant and adjacent quarry. He commented that his household his frequently awakened at 4:00 A.M. by noise at these operations facilities. Mr. Kohli responded that although there are time restrictions on the operation of the quarry, there are no restrictions on the asphalt plant aside from the general noise level restrictions for the Light Industrial District. He is in the process of arranging independent decibel level testing, but stated that each day’s test at one location will cost approximately $400.00. Mr. Sauser suggested testing at night when the ambient noise levels are at a minimum. Mr. Kohn moved to authorize a budget of $3,000.00 for noise level testing of these sites. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.

Mr. Connolly asked why the township must prove the noise excess and why Allan Myers Inc. can’t be made to pay the testing costs. Mr. McErlane responded that the township must prosecute any ordinance violation, which is considered a misdemeanor, as a summary offense. It may be possible to attempt recovering costs after prosecution, but not before.

Mr. Viallet and resident Bob Davis both stated their willingness to maintain independent logs of the noise levels to assist the township in its efforts.

Naylor Conditional Use Hearing:

Mr. Sauser referred to the July 3, 1997 correspondence from John C. Snyder, Esq., who requested a continuance on the Naylor Conditional Use application to the next Board meeting. Mr. Sauser moved to approve this request and Mr. Kohn seconded. All were in favor. The hearing will be continued on August 4, 1997.

Scheduling: Lyon Conditional Use Hearing:

The Board scheduled the Lyon Conditional Use hearing for August 4, 1997.

Scheduling: Charlestown Brae Conditional Use Hearing:

The Board scheduled the Charlestown Brae Conditional Use hearing for August 4, 1997.

Somerset: Request for Joint Application with the Department of Environmental Protection:

Mr. Kohli explained that a joint application to the DEP between the applicant and the township is required to justify the positioning of the road in a location on the site that will impact the wetlands more than an alternative location. Because the township wished to position the road as now shown in the plans to combine the Somerset access road onto Hollow Road with the existing Chesterfield Lane, more wetlands are impacted than was shown in the previous plan. The Board directed Mr. Kohli to proceed with the necessary paperwork.

East Pikeland Township Request for Proportional Reimbursement of Kimberton Fire Company Workers Compensation Insurance:

Mr. Sauser referred to East Pikeland Administrator John Marcarelli’s February 11, 1997 request for a reimbursement of a pro-rated share of the Worker’s Compensation Insurance paid by their township on behalf of the Kimberton Fire Company, which also serves Charlestown Township. After some discussion, Mr. Sauser moved to approve the continuation of the budgeted lump sum payment made to the Kimberton Fire Company with the notation that the payment includes but is not limited to Charlestown Township’s share of Workers’ Compensation Insurance. Future contributions will be contingent upon East Pikeland providing Charlestown with a Certificate of Insurance for its records. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor. The Secretary was asked to draft a letter to Mr. Marcarelli to convey this decision.

Chataqua Escrow Documents:

Mr. McErlane produced four sets of escrow documents that have been approved by Mr. Kohli for the Board’s signature. They will be signed following the meeting.

Charlestown Oaks Escrow Agreement:

Frank Iacobucci Jr. was present to submit revised escrow documents for the Board’s approval. He stated that his financial institution required them in the form of a cash escrow agreement as opposed to the letter of credit agreement formerly approved by the Board. Mr. McErlane stated that the revision represents a change in form and not substance and as such, is acceptable. Mr. Sauser moved to rescind the Letter of Credit Escrow Agreement and to approve the Cash Escrow Agreement in its stead. Mrs. Ewald amended the motion to include the substitution of the prior form for the revised form with all other parts of the former motion to remain in this new motion. Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor.

Historical Commission - H.A.R.B. Ordinance:

Mr. Sauser stated that the draft ordinance to combine the functions of the Historical Commission with the Historical and Architectural Review Board failed to address some problems in the existing H.A.R.B. Ordinance, which is in conflict with Zoning Ordinance Article 7. He stated that the solicitor didn’t act on the Board’s direction of June 16, 1997 to advertise the ordinance because a zoning ordinance change will be required, which triggers different advertising requirements and must be reviewed by the Chester County Planning Commission. Mrs. Ewald questioned why this item has been removed from the agenda several times in the past months, and took exception to the fact that the solicitor hasn’t brought the zoning ordinance discrepancy to the Board’s attention before now. Mr. Kohn suggested that the Board now proceed with the necessary steps.

Charlestown Hunt Phase IV Escrow Release #1 (Recreational & Fitness Center) and Phase V Escrow Release #1:

Mr. Kohn moved to approve these two escrow releases. Mr. Sauser seconded. Two were in favor. Mrs. Ewald did not vote.

Charlestown Brae Escrow Release #11 Phase I and Release #9 Phase 2:

These items were tabled until the August 4, 1997 meeting.

Citizen’s Forum - Non-Agenda Items

Mr. Schlichter asked if the Township is considering adopting the County’s Landscapes Plan via the Visions Partnership. Mr. Sauser responded that although the Historical Commission Chairman has encouraged the Board to do so, they need to study it further. He stated his opinion that it generally appears favorable to the township’s goals. Mr. Kohn stated that the County Planning Commission offers a gratis evaluation of municipalities’ comprehensive plans and he feels Charlestown should take advantage of this offer. He commented that in general he’s not in favor of regional plans as the local government loses control. Mrs. Ewald commented that she’s personally committed to maintaining local control and notes that regional cooperation is only good when not mandated. Mr. Schlichter stated that he attended one of the County’s meetings on regional land planning and wasn’t favorably impressed.

Debbie Kuhn commented that the Turnpike Commission’s plan to introduce slip ramps into the region will effect the County’s 2020 plan. She notes that the Turnpike isn’t even shown on the County’s maps.

Mr. DiLello reported that PECO and Bell Atlantic are finally in the process of removing the double utility poles on Charlestown Road.

Mr. Kuhn asked if there has been any response to the Township’s request of PennDOT for a study on a four way stop sign for Rees and Whitehorse Roads. There has been no response to date.

Land Acquisition - 20 Acre Pyle Tract on Yellow Springs Road:

Mr. Sauser moved to table this item. Mr. Kohn and Mrs. Ewald voted nay. Mrs. Ewald referred to her earlier motion on the table to authorize the solicitor to negotiate a price for the 20 acre portion of the Pyle Farm located on Yellow Springs Road. Mr. Kohn seconded. Mrs. Ewald and Mr. Kohn were in favor. Mr. Sauser voted nay based on the need to hold further public discussion before moving ahead.

Meeting Schedule:

Mr. Kohn moved to cancel the second business meeting for the month to be held on July

21, 1997. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.


Mr. Kohn moved to adjourn the meeting at 10:35 P.M. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor. The next meeting will be held at the Charlestown Elementary School at 8:00 P.M. on August 4, 1997.