December 15, 1997

The second regular business meeting for December was held December 15, 1997 at the Charlestown Elementary School. John B. Sauser, Chairman, Robin J. Kohn, Irene W. Ewald, Thomas F. Oeste, 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 7:40 P.M. and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

Oath of Office

Mr. Sauser introduced District Court Justice, the Hon. Ted Michaels, who then proceeded to swear in Mrs. Ewald for her third term as Township Supervisor to begin January 1, 1998.


Mr. Sauser announced that an executive session was held on December 9th at the Engineer’s office for the Board to receive technical information on several issues.

Accounts Payable

Mr. Kohn moved to approve the Accounts Payable for December 15, 1997 with the addition of check #1396 which represents a $500.00 year end bonus for the Township Secretary. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.

Citizen’s Forum - Agenda Items

No items were brought forward at this time.

Sprint Spectrum Conditional Use Hearing

Mr. Sauser opened the hearing and stated that a draft opinion had been circulated to the Board late this afternoon by the Township’s counsel, Gary Bender, Esq. Since the Board members have not had sufficient time to review the draft, the hearing was then continued to the January 19, 1998 meeting.

DHR Ltd. - Request for roadway modification

Elizabeth Witmer, Esq. of Saul, Ewing, Remick & Saul was present to request on behalf of DHR Limited Partnership approval of revised road way plans for the access road into the Valley Forge Trails development, the majority of which lies in Tredyffrin Township, by signing an amendment to the existing settlement agreement. Ms. Witmer represented that the purpose of the revision is to lessen the environmental impact of the road, which, according to the approved plan, requires deep cuts and extensive tree loss. Ms. Witmer provided some background on the original settlement agreement between the Township and then owner Pauline Baugh, which stipulated that the access road would be constructed in accordance with a land development plan.

John Smirgna, P.E., indicated that the bottom 500 feet will require unattractive deep cuts, retaining walls, and in general, a less safe condition coming out onto Howells Road. He re-engineered the plan to lower the grade in the first hundred feet by reducing it from 4% to 2 2% . This will cause an increase in grade for the remaining 1,100 feet to 12 2 % from 10%. Another proposed change is to adjust the parking area to make it more accessible. The parking area was provided in the original plan in order to provide a pull off area during bad weather conditions. Mr. Smirgna indicates that drainage calculations have changed dramatically.

Mrs. Ewald stated that the original road plan was imposed by Judge Gavin and is not the plan approved by Charlestown Township. She noted that she believes easement issues for Horseshoe Trail Road have been resolved at this time, making it a viable option. She describes the access road onto Howells Road as an extremely steep hill on a northern slope which will present difficulty in the winter for the people who will be living in the development. The purpose of the parking area is to allow people to abandon their cars during bad weather, which speaks to the challenge of the slope. Mrs. Ewald suggested that any revision to the court approved plan should be referred back to Judge Gavin for a decision.

Mr. Sauser stated that he wants to see the revision resolve secure access to off-road parking and assure its maintenance through any necessary changes to the homeowners documents.

Mrs. Ewald said that a year and a half ago, the developer was made aware of the township’s approved, but not utilized, road plan. She stated her concern over liability issues should the township approve an amendment to the existing road plan for which safety is in question at the intersection with Howells Road. She also believes that emergency vehicles may be unable to access the development during icy conditions.

Mr. Kohn asked for the benefit of changing the road plan for the prospective buyers and Mr. Smirgna responded that the revised plan will be more attractive. Mr. Kohn noted that this speaks to marketability and not to any real benefit to residents. He suggested that the off street parking be moved further down the slope.

Mr. Sauser asked what safeguards are planned for the retention basin, and Mr. Smirgna responded that there will be a guard rail.

Bob Lessek of DHR Ltd. stated that their intention is to improve upon the court ordered plan. He requested that the Board approve the request contingent on the engineering details being to be developed. The Board denied his request, and Mr. Sauser stated that the Board first wants to see engineering details on the off-street parking as well as language for indemnification in the homeowners documentation.

Bill Westhafer, an abutting landowner at 31 Mt. Misery Lane, asked for the depth of the retention basin and the maximum slope permitted. Mr. Smirgna stated that the depth is approximately 19 feet, and Mr. Kohli stated that the court approved a slope of 2:1, a change over the township maximum of 3:1. Mr. Westhafer remarked that the slope appears to be closer to a 1:1 ratio. He’s concerned about the safety of the slope, believing that anyone, particularly a child falling in, would be unable to get out. Mr. Kohli stated that he would need to review an as-built of the basin to review the slope. Mr. Westhafer is concerned about the months between now and such a review. Mr. Kohli stated that typically the township recommends a fence surrounding retention basins or landscaping containing thorny plantings that discourage children from approaching the basins.

Mr. Westhafer asked about the Howells Road inlet on the east side, where he notes the existing shoulder is lower than the inlet and needs to be improved. Mr. Kohli responded that this can be done as part of general road improvements in the area.

Mr. Westhafer asked if the existing outlet structure is temporary and Mr. Smirgna responded yes and that it will be replaced with a permanent concrete structures.

Mr. Westhafer stated that there is a security problem at the site with people accessing it late at night. Mr. Smirgna stated that a bollard and a chain can be erected to correct this situation.

Mr. Westhafer asked if the township is required to analyze the aquifer to determine the impact the development will have on surrounding wells. Mr. Kohn responded that he would have to request this information from Tredyffrin Township.

Mr. Westhafer asked how the banks along the road will be planted, and Mr. Smirgna responded that there will be ground cover and plantings. Mr. Kohli suggested that Mr. Westhafer come to the township office to review the approved plan.

Mr. Sauser suggested that the applicant return to the Board after engineering details have been worked out. The matter was tentatively scheduled for January 19, 1998.

Phoenixville Area Soccer Club - Letter of Nov. 28, 1998

Mr. Sauser referred to the Phoenixville Area Soccer Club’s request for an extension on the balance owed the Township for improvements to the soccer fields in 1996. The letter accompanied a check for $5,000.00, which represented half of the $10,000.00 due by December 31, 1997. After some discussion, Mr. Kohn moved to refund $2,000.00 of the $5,000.00 payment via check #1397, and to allow the remaining $7,000.00 due to be paid according to the following schedule: $3,500.00 due by 12/31/98 and $3,500.00 due by 12/31/99. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.

Escrow Release Requests

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the following escrow release requests:

Charlestown Brae Phase II On-Site #10 for $9,472.10
Charlestown Brae Phase III On-Site #7 for $33,343.00
Charlestown Brae Phase II Rees Road Improvements #7 for $12,155.60
Charlestown Oaks #3 for $210,186.00

Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor.

Whiteland Ridge

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Whiteland Ridge Final Subdivision Plan for Lot #1 and Mr. Sauser seconded. All were in favor.

Tax Levy Resolution

Mr. Sauser moved to approve Resolution #526-97 which levies a tax on all real property within the township in the sum of .52 mils on each dollar of assessed valuation. Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor.

Budget Resolution

Mr. Sauser moved to approve Resolution #527-97 which appropriates moneys for fiscal year 1998. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.

1998 Budget

Mrs. Ewald moved to amend the 1998 proposed budget by moving an additional $2,000.00 to the Open Space Maintenance budget (acct. #409.20) from the road maintenance budget (acct. #430.20) and to approve the budget as amended. Mr. Kohn seconded and all were in favor.

Citizen’s Forum - Non-Agenda Items

No items were brought forward at this time.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:05 P.M.. The next meeting, to be preceded by the Reorganization meeting, will be held at the Charlestown Elementary School at 7:30 P.M. on January 5, 1998.

Respectfully Submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Township Secretary