BUSINESS MEETING - February 2, 1998

The first regular business meeting for February was held February 2, 1998 at the Charlestown Elementary School. John B. Sauser, Chairman, 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 7:30 P.M. and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.

Mrs. Ewald requested that the matter of the appointment for the vacant seat on the Board of Supervisors be placed on the agenda under “Old Business”. Mr. Sauser responded that it can be discussed under “Other Business”. Mrs. Ewald requested that the matter then be specifically placed under “Other Business”. Mr. Sauser stated that under Robert’s Rules of Order, he is entitled as Chairman to set the agenda. Mrs. Ewald disagreed, stating that as a point of order under Robert’s Rules, when a member of the Board makes a formal request for a matter to be placed on the agenda, its placement is required.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. Sauser moved to approve the minutes of the Reorganization Meeting of January 5, 1998. Mrs. Ewald reminded the Chairman of the Point of Order remaining on the table to which he repeated his earlier response. There was no second on the motion for approval of the Reorganization Minutes of January 5, 1998.

Mr. Sauser moved to approve the minutes of the Business Meeting of January 5, 1998. Mrs. Ewald reminded the Chairman that the Point of Order has been left unresolved. There was no second on the motion for approval of the Business Meeting Minutes of January 5, 1998.

Mr. Sauser moved to approve the minutes of the Business Meeting of January 19, 1998. There was no second.

Treasurer’s Report

Mr. Sauser moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for January 1 - 31, 1998. There was no second.

February Accounts Payable

Mr. Sauser moved to approve the Accounts Payable for February 2, 1998. There was no second.


Written reports from the Zoning Officer, Roadmaster, Planning Commission Chairman and Fire Marshal, along with minutes from the Valley Forge Sewer Authority Board, have been circulated. There was no Parks & Recreation Board report submitted. Mr. Alston stated that his Fire Marshal’s Report indicates that the Turnpike fire & spill on the bridge above Phoenixville Pike has been completely cleaned up. Mr. Sauser noted that the VFSA Board voted Stephen Winckelman as Chairman for 1998 and Thomas Babacz as Secretary.

Citizen’s Forum

Liz Willow, Sycamore Lane, asked for clarification on what item Mrs. Ewald wished to add to the agenda. Mr. Sauser responded that the appointment of a supervisor was the item and that it will be covered at the end of the meeting if time allows.

Michael Churchill stated that he attended both sets of interviews conducted by Mrs. Ewald seeking individuals interested in being considered for the position and that he found it to be a very useful process where he learned a great deal about the individuals.

Paul Schulze, Wells Road, asked for an explanation of the approval process for the development of the Pyle/Coryell tract. Mr. Sauser responded that the Planning Commission is working with the applicant on alternatives for the site including one that would require a zoning ordinance amendment. While the applicant can design a plan that meets the current FR zoning, due to the size of the tract (approximately 100 acres) the Planning Commission felt that a plan providing more buffering and open space might be desirable. Mrs. Ewald stated that an alternative to a zoning amendment would be some form of a negotiated plan, depending on how fundamental the changes are. Mr. Kohli commented that depending on which plan the applicant submits, either a zoning amendment for the FR District or a new zoning option may be needed.

Salt Shed Roof Estimates

Mr. Sauser stated that two bids have been received for a new roof for the salt shed. Kaiser construction provided a bid of $4,845.00 for a painted galvanized steel roof. Meadowbrook Builders provided a bid of $2,460.00 for a steel roof and $3,160.00 for aluminum. John Esh of Meadowbrook Builders believes that the steel roof won’t hold up well due to the salt fumes, and therefore strongly recommends the aluminum roof for which he would provide a 30 year warranty. No warranty was offered for the steel roof from either bidder. Mr. Sauser moved to accept the bid from Meadowbrook Builders for the aluminum roof provided they can produce a Certificate of Insurance. Mrs. Ewald seconded and the motion passed.

Earlier Business

Mr. Sauser stated that his motion to approve the three sets of minutes, the Treasurer’s Report and the Accounts Payable Report still stand. Mrs. Ewald seconded all five motions and they passed.

C.C.A.T.O. Spring Convention March 5, 1998

Neither Supervisor nor the Township Secretary plan to attend.

Escrow Release - DHR Limited

Mrs. Ewald asked for the status of the road plan and Mr. Kohli stated that he has not yet received a response to his comments. Mrs. Ewald encouraged the developer to return to Court for a decision on the plan revision rather than approach the Board of Supervisors. Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Escrow Release Request #3 for $43,714.00. Mr. Sauser seconded and the motion passed.

Whitehorse Meadows

Mr. McErlane asked if the Escrow Agreement corresponds with the version drafted by Mr. Oeste, and Mr. Main replied yes. Mr. Main added that the Letter of Credit format was also reviewed and found acceptable by Mr. Oeste. He distributed a copy of the Homeowners’ Documents to the Board, and to Mr. McErlane he provided the original with exhibits. Mrs. Ewald commended Mr. Main for providing the equestrian trail as requested by the Board. Mr. Sauser moved to approve the Homeowners’ Agreement conditioned on review by the Engineer. Mrs. Ewald stated that she preferred to table the motion to the next meeting to provide her with an opportunity to read the documents first. Mr. Sauser agreed to table.

Other Business

Mr. Sauser asked Mr. Kohli if he has seen the correspondence from Donald Andersen with regard to the Hrinkevich property in the Historic District. Mr. Kohli stated yes, that the matter would be reviewed by the H.A.R.B. on February 17, 1998. The original Hrinkevich building permit, while showing a slightly larger footprint and different facade, can serve as a basis for this review to proceed.

Mr. Sauser asked if Mr. Kohli will respond to the VFSA’s request for Charlestown’s waste water projections, and Mr. Kohli said he will speak with Joe Bateman on this question since Mr. Bateman is usually involved with this process.

Mr. Sauser asked Mr. Kohli if he will respond to PennDOT’s request for utility marking prior to their paving of two roads in the Township. Mr. Sauser stated that he will answer PennDOT, noting that there are no utilities within these two roadways.

Mr. Sauser stated that Rittenbaugh Inc. requested that the Township sign a form validating that the final Equipment Rental contract price was less than the initial contract price for 1996/1997 so that Rittenbaugh Inc. can apply for a partial refund of their performance bond for that period from their bond company. He turned the form over to the Solicitor for review.


There were no announcements.

Nominations for Supervisor

Mr. Sauser opened the floor to nominations.

Mrs. Ewald stated that she was very impressed with the citizen turn out and the interest displayed by the eight people who came forward with an interest in the position of Supervisor during the two public interview sessions she conducted earlier this month. She stated that although Michael Churchill would be her first choice, she felt it better to select someone who doesn’t share her views and may in some cases be aligned more closely with Mr. Sauser while being an individual she feels she could work with as well. Mrs. Ewald then nominated Wendy McLean for Township Supervisor. There was no second.

Mr. Sauser stated that he has been steadfast in considering the one person he believes to be most qualified for the position, although he did speak with many others, including John C. Martin Jr., Clarence Rittenbaugh and Cheryl Atkins-Lubinski. He then nominated Robert Wert for Township Supervisor. Mrs. Ewald declined to second, stating the same reasons given at the previous meetings and adding that she believes his presence on the Board would be divisive.

Mrs. Ewald nominated Charles Philips. There was no second. Mr. Sauser stated that he has not withdrawn his nomination for Bob Wert. Mrs. Ewald stated that according to Robert’s Rules of Order, an unseconded motion is automatically withdrawn.

Mrs. Ewald nominated Stephen Schlichter. There was no second.

Mrs. Ewald nominated Louise Cantrell-Kehoe. There was no second.

Mrs. Ewald nominated Liz Willow. There was no second.

Ms. Cantrell-Kehoe asked Mr. Sauser to voice his second or rejection for each name, and Mr. Sauser responded that the absence of a second is a negative response.

Mrs. Ewald nominated Rich Huey. There was no second.

Mrs. Ewald nominated Regina Notar. There was no second.

Mr. Sauser stated that he stands by his original candidate, Robert Wert.

Mrs. Ewald entered a motion for reconsideration. She stated that it is the Board’s job to select someone both members can work with and with this in mind, she gave considerable thought to her selection of candidates.

Mr. Sauser closed the nominations. Michael Allen asked what will happen next, and Mr. Sauser stated that when the thirty day period from Mr. Kohn’s resignation expires, the Vacancy Board Chairman will convene the Vacancy Board. This Board has an additional fifteen days to appoint a Supervisor. If no appointment is made, fifteen electors of the Township may petition the Court to make the appointment. Rich Huey asked if the court can order a special election, and Mr. McErlane responded that they don’t have this authority. Mr. Churchill asked if the Vacancy Board will convene at a public meeting and Mr. Sauser responded that it will be advertised and held as a public meeting. Mr. Churchill asked how much advance notice is required for the advertisement and Mr. Sauser responded that there is no requirement. He anticipated holding the meeting on February 9, 1998. Mrs. Ewald stated that her motion for reconsideration is still on the table and she’d like to see the matter revisited later in the meeting.

Ellen Behrle, Sycamore Lane, commented that she was disturbed by Bob Wert’s manner in addressing the attendees at the January 5, 1998 meeting when he stated that the people didn’t deserve his time. She asked why Mr. Sauser felt Mr. Wert was the best candidate for the position. Mr. Sauser responded that Mr. Wert’s comment was misunderstood and that he has supplied a resume and letter indicating his interest in the position.

Coryell/Pyle Tract (100+ acres) - Discussion of Options

John Panizza was present to update the Board on the sketch plan options he prepared following several meetings of the Planning Commission and its sub-committee. He stated that he is looking for some guidance from the Board on how to proceed. He stated that the Board had indicated its desire to see a plan developed that would work better with the site’s natural resources than what might be accomplished by following the Farm Residential Zoning requirements. The location of the site was described as being positioned between Yellow Springs Road, Valley Hill Road, Hollow Road, the Pennsylvania Turnpike and Green Lane Road.

Mr. Panizza first showed his Sketch Plan #1, which was a maximum yield plan that complies with current zoning and depicts 42 lots. Except for a small wetland area in the northern corner of the tract, there are few unsuitable conditions and he believes that locations for on site sewer and water will pose no difficulties.

He then showed Sketch Plan #2, which also meets current zoning requirements and is the plan he anticipates using if no new ordinance or ordinance amendment is created. This plan showing 39 lots provides a buffer from the surrounding existing roads. It keeps the existing vegetative buffers intact and provides open space via conservation easements on most of the lots. Open space comprises approximately 22.5% of the plan.

Plan #3, entitled Flexible Lot Size Conservation Plan, depicts 42 lots with a 1 acre minimum lot size. The “Pyle Farm” is placed on a 19.3 acre parcel with a limited area to be disturbed. The majority of this parcel would remain as open space and would be screened from the remainder of the tract by a new buffer. Open space comprises 43% of this plan. This sketch features a one acre common green in the center that may have a pavilion or gazebo, benches and possibly a tot lot. A 1 ½ acre area for active recreation is shown in the southwestern corner. He acknowledged that Planning Commission members indicated this area may not be in the best location and stated that it can be moved, but that he wished to leave the center square approximately in the location shown. He stated that he’d like to bring in public water and utilize on-site septic. Mrs. Ewald asked if he can make this plan work if the public water franchise is not extended by the Board, and Mr. Panizza responded affirmatively. He stated that more refinement is needed for the sketch and that many more meetings with the Planning Commission will be needed. He requested that the Board provide approval for the Township Planner to begin drafting an ordinance to allow this type of plan if they wished to see continued progress in this direction. Mr. Panizza indicated that he is willing to consider many options for the “Pyle Farm” tract, including the possibility of deeding it over to the Township at some point.

Mrs. Ewald stated that the market would support Plan #3 with even larger parcels. She would prefer to see more varied lot sizes with some larger lots. She asked if there are any local Charlestown investors in this project, and Mr. Panizza responded that there were not.

Vincent Kling provided a summary of the progress made thus far by the Planning Commission.

A resident asked if an ordinance change would be considered for this site only or if it would encompass other land in the township. Mr. Sauser responded that it can be done either way, although “spot” zoning is generally avoided. A minimal tract size may be considered since one of the main goals is to provide significant amounts of open space with the plan. He stated that an important step is to determine the feasibility of the plan before proceeding with any amendments.

Mrs. Ewald asked if the roads and houses follow the topography, and Mr. Panizza responded that the main roads do follow it but the two smaller cul de sac roads do not. About 80% of the houses follow the grade, but some do not in order to avoid a “rowhouse” effect and to protect the Pyle viewshed.

Ellen Behrle asked for an approximate anticipated price of the homes, and Mr. Panizza responded that based on marketing conditions, he would expect the homes to be priced in the $450,000 - 650,000 range and be 3,500 - 4,500 square feet in size.

Bob Jones, Valley Hill Road, suggested removing the 4 lots on or near Yellow Springs Road to allow for a longer uninterrupted viewshed.

Kevin Kuhn, White Horse Road, commented that he likes the look of Plan #3 but is concerned with the expansion of public water and what it might mean in terms of attracting future development on small lots.

Debbie Kuhn asked if Mr. Panizza would consider selling the Pyle tract as one unit in the hopes that the future owner would use the open space for livestock, in particular, horses, and Mr. Panizza agreed that it is a possibility.

Paul Schulze asked why Plan #3 shows 42 lots when Plan #2 shows 39 and both plans are attempting to provide open space. Mr. Panizza responded that the additional lots are needed to help absorb the costs of the zoning ordinance amendment process.

Louise Cantrell-Kehoe asked about the Horseshoe Trail and whether this is a public right of way. Mr. McErlane responded that although land owners provide access to the trail on their properties, nothing appears on their deeds indicating that there are permanent easements. A property owner has the choice of providing access through his/her property or denying it. Mr. Panizza stated that he will provide for relocating the Horseshoe Trail through this site. Mr. Sauser suggested that the Parks & Recreation Board along with the Horseshoe Trail organization can provide input.

Mr. Schulze asked if road improvements will be required of the developer for Yellow Springs Road due to the increase in traffic that would be caused by the development of the tract. Mr. Kohli responded that the applicant will be required to submit a traffic study following which time the consultants will make recommendations for road improvements.

Abutting land owner Russell Hanscom stated his concern over ground water, considering that more water will be sent into the ground if public water is utilized along with on site septic.

Mrs. Ewald indicated that she feels Mr. Panizza is going in the right direction with Plan #3, but that it would be premature for the Township Planner to begin drafting any ordinances. She feels the plan should evolve further before taking this step. She suggested that Mr. Panizza look at a few of the lots that may be amenable to being increased in size. She also suggested some coordination with the School District and Township on the utilization of their open space so duplications of use are avoided.

Mr. Sauser suggested walking trails for children outside of the Horseshoe Trail. He stated that he also believes Plan #3 to be promising as a plan that honors the integrity of the surrounding uses.

Citizens’ Forum - Non Agenda Items

Ellen Behrle stated that Sycamore Lane has 6 dying sycamore trees which tree expert Josh Lord said would have to be removed. Mr. Lord told Mrs. Behrle that the installation of storm sewers 6-7 years ago most likely caused the damage. Mrs. Behrle, as President of the Sycamore Lane Protective Association, asked if the Township would consider providing some assistance in this matter. Mr. Sauser stated that the question merits investigation, and Mrs. Ewald suggested that Mrs. Behrle submit a letter to the township outlining the problem and providing the quoted cost of the tree removal for the Board for the Board’s consideration.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:20 P.M. Mr. Sauser stated that the next meeting of the Board of Supervisors will take place on February 16, 1998 at 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Nature Center.

Respectfully Submitted,

Linda M. Csete,
Township Secretary