The first regular business meeting for June was held June 1, 1998 at the Charlestown Elementary School. John B. Sauser, Chairman, Robert C. Wert, Vice Chairman, 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. Mr. Wert and Mrs. Ewald arrived later in the meeting as indicated within the text of the following minutes.

The meeting was called to order at 7:50 P.M. and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.


There were no announcements.


Written reports from the Zoning Officer, Roadmaster, Fire Marshal, and Planning Commission have been circulated. The Historical Commission/H.A.R.B. did not meet during May.

Planning Commission

Planning Commission Chairman Bud Zeigler stated that member Vincent Kling submitted a letter to the Board of Supervisors dated May 26, 1998 relative to the Deerfield tract in which he outlines numerous concerns and suggestions. He was unable to attend the May 12, 1998 meeting at which the sketch plan concept was last reviewed and conceptually approved.

Mr. Sauser said the Planning Commission gave good recommendations to the Board with regard to the County Round X Grant applying for funding for Charlestown Park.


Mr. Thompson reported that the road crew has been involved in clean up from the severe overnight storm. He noted that there were no downed trees on township roads, but that PennDOT was taking care of downed trees on various state roads within the Township.

(Mrs. Ewald arrived at this time.)

Mrs. Ewald said she continues to have concerns over the road maintenance costs and asked what work was performed during the month of May that produced a $18,000.00+ invoice from the road contractor. Mr. Thompson said swales were cleaned out on Township Line Road and Blackberry Lane, a job that needs to performed every few years. Considerable debris had built up causing several inches of water to lay on the roads. In addition to this work, streets have been cleaned and a large amount of debris and tree limbs removed due to the heavy rainfall during May.

Mrs. Ewald suggested that the Board ask the elected auditors to meet with the Treasurer to conduct a review of this issue. Mr. Sauser said he’ll talk with the auditors to see what such a review would entail, saying he didn’t object to such a review in principal. Mrs. Ewald said she’d like to have the matter examined prior to the next meeting.

Zoning Officer/Engineer

Mr. Kohli reported that the utility pole issue on Yellow Springs Road between PECO and the Iacobucci Organization has been resolved and that the poles were relocated in accordance with the approved plans.

Mrs. Ewald asked what work is being performed at the Fay residence on the barn and whether a building permit has been issued. Mr. Kohli responded that they currently have a permit under review, not yet approved, for adding dormers to the barn and replacing some interior beams. Other work being performed, including roof replacement, doesn’t require a permit.

Minutes of 6/1/98

Review of Correspondence

Mr. Sauser referred to a letter dated 4/30/98from Charlestown Hunt Homeowner’s Association Director Kelley Kelly, requesting a modification to the trail system to eliminate redundant trails and allowing flexibility in choosing an alternate surface for the remaining trails for the sake of aesthetics and ease of maintenance. Mr. Kohli responded that to make these changes, the developer must submit an overall plan to the Township. Mrs. Ewald added that any change requires an affirmative vote from 2/3 of the homeowners. Mr. Kohli will write a letter to Ms. Kelly outlining the procedure for her request.

Mr. Sauser referred to a letter dated May 22, 1998 in which the County Planning Commission requests an update of the list of parks and recreation land owned by the Township. The Secretary will respond.

Mr. Sauser referred to an invitation from the Valley Forge Sewer Authority for a tour of the plant, scheduled for June 20, 1998 at 9:00 A.M. Mrs. Ewald said she will be unable to attend, and Mr. Sauser was unsure of whether he could attend at this time.

Approval of Minutes

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the minutes of May 4, 1998 as submitted. Mr. Sauser seconded and the motion passed 2-0.

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the minutes of May 11, 1998 as submitted. Mr. Sauser seconded and the motion passed 2-0.

Treasurer’s Report

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for May 1-31, 1998 with an amendment to make the document consistent with the Accounts Payable format that includes a notation with regard to Mr. Wert’s total net pay being applied to federal withholding. Mr. Sauser seconded. The motion passed 2-0.

Accounts Payable

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Accounts Payable Report dated June 1, 1998 with the recommendation that the Board look into an Auditors’ review of the roadwork costs. Mr. Sauser amended the motion to include the proviso that the check for Kent D. Spotts be held until the requested Certificate of Insurance is received. Mrs. Ewald seconded and the motion passed 2-0.

Mr. Sauser moved to release two checks dated 1/5/98, one for W.T. Jones in the amount of $1,335.00 and one for Richard Merryman in the amount of $1,800.00, which were being held pending additional detail on the work performed to be provided by Parks and Recreation Chairman Mark Connolly. He will follow up with Mr. Connolly for the information requested. Mrs. Ewald seconded and the motion passed 2-0.

Citizen’s Forum

No matters were brought forward at this time.

Ramondo - Request for Public Sewer from West Whiteland Township

Gary Ramondo stated that he and his wife sent a letter dated 5/27/98 to the Township indicating their acceptance of the Township’s condition that they will cover any costs incurred in the process of attempting to gain access to public sewer service from West Whiteland Township. He requested that Charlestown Township send a letter to West Whiteland Township Manager Steve Ross indicating the Board’s willingness to allow the service to be provided by West Whiteland.

Mr. Oeste suggested that an application, in the form of a letter to the township, along with a $1,500.00 escrow deposit, be required of the Ramondos against which consultant and administrative costs could be charged. He further suggested a minimum balance of $500.00 for this account. Mrs. Ewald wished to forewarn the applicant that the process may be difficult and has no assurance of success. Mr. Ramondo acknowledged her comments and indicated his willingness to continue.

Mr. Sauser moved to direct Mr. Oeste to communicate Charlestown Township’s willingness to proceed to West Whiteland Township pending receipt of the application letter and escrow deposit. Mrs. Ewald seconded and the motion passed 2-0.

Little People Day School

Mr. Sauser referred to the Secretary’s memo notifying the Board that RoJen Inc. has a $4834.46 deficit balance in its escrow account for the Little People Day School land development project. The Secretary will coordinate with Mr. Kohli to ensure that this amount will be deducted from the bank escrow account at the time of the next escrow release.

H.A.R.B. Application - Andersen

Mr. Sauser stated that the H.A.R.B. has reviewed Dr. Andersen’s plans for modifications to the plan for his property in the historic district, formerly the Hrinkevich property. They recommended the Board’s approval of the Certificate of Appropriateness for this application.

Mr. Sauser moved to approve the Certificate of Appropriateness for Donald Andersen. Mrs. Ewald seconded and the motion passed 2-0. Mr. Sauser cautioned the applicant to watch the runoff from the property, and Mr. Kohli said the driveway will be the first work done after the building permit application is approved. This work should correct the runoff situation.

(Mr. Wert arrived at this time.)

Spring Meadow Farms Documents

Mr. Oeste stated that he has reviewed the Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions and that Section 9.2 regarding activities prohibited in wetlands without further permit has been amended to his satisfaction. Mr. DelBello, Esq. indicated a line missing from this document that was inadvertently dropped during the last revision and read it aloud for the Board. Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions as amended. Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor. Mr. Main will provide a clean copy for the Township’s files.

Mr. Oeste referred to the two agreements, the Subdivision and Land Development Agreement and the Subdivision Financial Security Agreement, both of which he prepared, and indicated that Exhibit A is missing and should be included in the latter document. Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Subdivision and Land Development Agreement and Subdivision Financial Security Agreement subject to inclusion of Exhibit A. Mr. Sauser seconded and the motion passed 3-0.

Re-Scheduling of Upcoming Board Meetings

Business Meetings

Due to various conflicts among Board members, the June 15, 1998 and July 6, 1998 Board meetings were canceled and rescheduled for June 22, 1998 and July 13, 1998 respectively.

Schedule Conditional Use Hearing for E. Fisher

Mr. Sauser stated that Elizabeth Fisher has applied to both the Zoning Hearing Board for a variance and to the Board of Supervisors for a Conditional Use approval relating to an addition she wishes to construct onto her home. The Conditional Use Hearing was scheduled for the July 13, 1998 meeting. Mr. Oeste will advertise.

Schedule Agricultural Security Area Hearing

The hearing to consider the petitions to form an Agricultural Security Area within the Township was scheduled to take place at the June 22, 1998 meeting. The Secretary will advertise. Mr. Wert asked where the required public notices had been posted, and Mr. Thompson gave the locations. Mr. Oeste affirmed that these locations met the requirements as outlined in Act 43.

Mr. Zeigler pointed out that one property whose owners had signed a petition has now been sold. The Secretary will contact the new owners to see if they’re interested in joining the area, for which they would need to re-sign the petition.

Mr. Zeigler asked why some properties listed as petitioning to join the Agricultural Security Area are under 10 acres. Mrs. Baldwin answered that smaller parcels may join if contiguous 10+ acre parcels have petitioned.

Mrs. Ewald said that she believes the ASA is deemed approved since the petitions were handed to the Board and accepted at a public meeting on December 1, 1997. Mr. Sauser disagreed and said that the submission was not done by certified mail as required and therefore was not formally accepted by the Board until June 1, 1998.

Charlestown Oaks Escrow Release #7

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Charlestown Oaks Escrow Release #7 in the amount of $5,532.50 and Mr. Wert seconded. The motion passed 3-0.

Pyle/Coryell Tract & Proposed Ordinance Amendment

John Panizza and Bob Smiley were present to discuss how they should proceed with their proposed ordinance amendment to allow a flexible development option in the Farm Residential District, allowing smaller lots (1 acre) with a minimum of 30% of the netted out acreage to be open space. If this ordinance is approved, Mr. Panizza proposes to follow it in his plans to subdivide the Pyle/Coryell Tract, referred to as “Deerfield”.

Mr. Panizza proposes that the latest sketch plan for Deerfield, reviewed by the Planning Commission on May 12, 1998, will be revised to have a maximum of 39 lots, make an adjustment to the Horseshoe Trail to align it better with its existing position, and preserve existing hedgerows and viewsheds where possible. He indicated that Lots 19, 26 and 27 will be removed in order to retain the viewshed, and Lots 28 and 29 will be combined into one lot to save the viewshed of neighbors near these lots on Valley Hill Road.

Mr. Panizza requests that the Board’s consultants review the proposed ordinance amendment authored by Mr. Smiley as the first step toward scheduling a hearing and proceeding with a preliminary plan submission.

Mr. Sauser asked if the proposed ordinance amendment is generic enough to apply to other parcels in the township. Mr. Smiley responded that he proposes the flexible development option as an overlay to the FR District and believes it will apply elsewhere in the Township to parcels over a threshold acreage size. The option would be permitted as a conditional use. Number of dwellings will be comparable to that now possible under the existing FR zoning after taking the net outs and open space requirements into consideration.

Mr. Sauser asked Mr. Smiley if he believes the sketch plan depicted for Deerfield is marketable. Mr. Smiley responded yes, and Mr. Panizza agreed, providing a more detailed response.

Mrs. Ewald questioned the sidewalks shown in the sketch plan for all internal roads. Mr. Panizza responded that this is a requirement of the R-1 zoning currently in effect in the Township, which can be waived at the Board’s discretion. Mrs. Ewald referred to Mr. Kling’s letter of May 26th and asked that the applicants take some time to review it and provide a response. She feels that the plan should be modified further before going on to a review of the proposed ordinance amendment. Mr. Sauser disagreed, stating that the ordinance should come before the plan to make it general enough to suit other parcels in the Township.

In response to Mrs. Ewald’s question, Mr. Panizza provided some background on the many Planning Commission meetings and sub-committee work session meetings that took place over the past half year. He commented that, in a quick review of Mr. Kling’s letter this evening, many of Mr. Kling’s concerns were answered at the last Planning Commission meeting when Mr. Kling was absent.

Mrs. Ewald asked about sewer and water service for the site. Mr. Panizza stated that all on-site septic will be standard in-ground systems, with no sand mound systems. He stated his intention to seek public water service for the site. Mrs. Ewald said this tract is not in the public water franchise area of the Township, and Mr. Panizza said he plans to seek relief from the Philadelphia Suburban Water Company and the Township on this issue. If public water is unavailable, he believes his plan will work with on-site water. Mrs. Ewald stated her concern over extending the franchise, naming the possible impact on adjacent land, impact on the neighbors’ watersheds, and the possibility of a public water extension leading to more development, using the Devault area as an example. Mr. Sauser said that the franchise can be limited to this tract.

Mr. Sauser stated that the Township should clarify its intentions with regard to this tract and obtain a solid review by the consultants and the Chester County Planning Commission. Mr. Wert agreed that the County should be consulted. He further suggested that both Mr. Comitta and the other planner under consideration by the Township for the Land Planner position, Ronald C. Turner, be given an opportunity to review the plan. Mr. Sauser agreed to the idea of having both planners look at the plan. Mrs. Ewald suggested an executive session of the Board following the consultants’ reviews.

Mr. Sauser brought up the coverage of costs with respect to this project. The Township has covered costs thus far out of the Planning Commission budget. Mr. Wert said he believes the cost is worth it due to the significance of the proposed amendment and the site itself.

It was decided that Mr. Sauser will contact both Mr. Comitta and Mr. Turner and request that they provide a review and their own input on how the tract should be developed, using guidelines provided by the Board. A budgeted amount of $5,000.00 was allotted for this purpose.

A resident asked if the developer can’t make more money building fewer, more expense homes on larger lots. Mr. Panizza said the difference the smaller profit margin and slower speed of sale as two reasons why this isn’t usually the case.

Other Business

Amendment to Ord. 71-96, Assigning Names to Unnamed Private Driveways and Lanes

Mr. Oeste will advertise the Ordinance Amendment to Ordinance 71-96 for the July 13, 1998 meeting. Mrs. Ewald will contact him with regard to a possible third lane name to be added to the ordinance prior to advertising.

Valley Forge Christian College Joint Invitation

Mr. Sauser referred to the Valley Forge Christian College President Dr. Meyer’s invitation to Charlestown and Schuylkill Townships for a tour and briefing of future plans for the campus. Mrs. Ewald said she is unavailable on both dates suggested. Mr. Sauser said he will contact Supervisor Norman Vutz of Schuylkill Township to see if an alternative date may suit both groups.

Camp Cadet Program

Mr. Wert stated that he received a request from the State Police for a contribution to the Camp Cadet program. Mrs. Ewald moved to make a donation of $300.00 to the program in honor of Gene Biagiotti. Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor. There was a brief discussion on the Township’s recent concerns with the State Police at Embreville, for which the Board plans to follow up.

Federal Funding for Flood Mitigation

Mr. Sauser requested that Mr. Kohli review the 5/19/98 correspondence from John McNamara of the County Department of Emergency Services indicating that federal funding is now available for flood mitigation to determine if the Township could benefit from the program.

Insurance Coverage

Mr. Wert suggested that the Township consider a change of insurance brokers, as he has been unhappy with the performance of the current broker during the past year. He suggested that the Township go forward with the upcoming renewals and make a change in the broker of record in the event an alternate broker is selected. The other board members were in agreement, and Mr. Wert will take charge of this matter.

Citizens’ Forum - Non Agenda Items

No matters were brought forward.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:30 P.M. The next meeting of the Board of Supervisors will be held on June 22, 1998 at 7:30 P.M. at the Charlestown Elementary School.

Respectfully Submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Township Secretary