BUSINESS MEETING - September 21, 1998

The first business meeting for September was held September 21, 1998 at the Charlestown Elementary School on Charlestown Road, Devault. John B. Sauser, Chairman, Robert C. Wert, Vice 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 7:35 P.M. and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.


Mr. Sauser made several announcements:

  1. The Township’s application for a Round X Parks & Recreation Grant was approved by Chester County in the amount of $65,000.00. This is a 50/50 matching grant that will be used for improvements to Charlestown Park.
  2. The State Police sent a notification that, in accordance with a change to Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Act 70, individuals who cause the State Police to respond to 3 false burglar alarms in one year can be fined a sum of no more than $300.00.
  3. The Chester County Health Department is offering influenza vaccines by appointment for senior citizens using Medicare Part B for a fee of $10.00.
  4. The Chester County Health Department is coordinating a school immunization program to protect against Hepatitis B. The vaccine will be provided to 7th graders at no charge.
  5. Senator Jim Gerlach is hosting the 1998 Bavarian Festival on September 26th at the Pennypacker Club in Uwchlan Township. Those wishing to attend must RSVP, and there will be a charge of $40.00 per adult and $5.00 per child.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. Wert moved to approve the minutes of 8/3/98 and Mr. Sauser seconded. Mr. Wert and Mr. Sauser were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.

Mr. Wert moved to approve the minutes of 8/31/98 and Mr. Sauser seconded. Mr. Wert and Mr. Sauser were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.

Treasurer’s Report

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for August 1-31, 1998. Mr. Wert seconded and all were in favor.


Written reports from the Valley Forge Sewer Authority, Zoning Officer, Roadmaster, Fire Marshal and Planning Commission have been circulated. The Historical Commission did not meet during August.


Mrs. Ewald requested “Children at Play” signs per residents’ requests be placed near the bridge at Foster Road and Green Lane. Mr. Thompson will put in the sign order and have them posted.

Mrs. Ewald moved to direct Mr. Kohli to prepare the necessary documents for submission to PennDOT for approval of flashing lights approaching both directions of Route 401 (Conestoga Road) and Newcomen Road and for a traffic signal at Route 401 (Conestoga Road) and Valley Hill Road. Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor. Mr. Wert noted that warning signs of a red light ahead will be needed for the traffic signal, and Mr. Kohli agreed to include this specification. Charlestown Township will need to coordinate with West Pikeland Township on the flashing lights at Route 401 and Newcomen Road, as one of the two sets of lights would be located in that Township.

Valley Forge Sewer Authority

Stephen Winckelman reported on the progress of the VFSA’s plans for improving odor control, which involves the construction of a 70 foot high silo in Schuylkill Township. The VFSA is planning to appear before the Schuylkill Township Zoning Hearing Board to seek relief from the zoning ordinance in order to permit the construction.

Citizen’s Forum

Kevin Kuhn requested details on the County grant awarded to the Township for Charlestown Park, which Mr. Sauser provided.

Broadwater Lane

Mr. Kohli stated that Realen Homes is required to construct their emergency access within the right of way of Broadwater Lane but has not yet done so. Mr. Sauser will contact Mr. Dwyer’s superior at Realen Homes to resolve this issue.

Route 29 Bridge

Representatives of PennDOT, John Marcus and Carl Keifer, were present to discuss revised drawings of the Route 29 bridge that reduce the width of the bridge to 30.5 feet, which will bring it to a distance of 30 feet from the historic ice dam. The length between abutments will be increased from 98 feet to 110 feet. The original bridge was built in 1926 as a 3 span reinforced concrete structure 24.5 feet wide, and is presently in a state of deterioration. The estimated number of vehicles traveling over the bridge at present is between 7,000-8,000. This is expected to increase to 11,000-12,000 vehicles in 20 years. The new bridge construction, using pre-stressed reinforced concrete and estimated at a cost of $900,000, is targeted for the year 2000 with federal funding covering 20% of the cost. The road will be completely closed during construction.

A variety of architectural treatments were discussed Mr. Keifer indicated that the parapets are required by the federal government to be at a minimum height of 42 inches, which concerned the Supervisors from the standpoint of its interference with travelers’ views of the historic ice dam. Mrs. Ewald will investigate the possibility of obtaining a waiver from this requirement, as the ice dam’s eligibility for placement on the National Historic Register may have some influence on the matter.

Mr. Keifer stated that PennDOT needs the right of way expanded to a 60 foot width from the center of the road, which is an increase of 27 feet from the existing 33 foot right of way. He said that this wider right of way is needed to properly slope the ground away from the bridge on each side and will cause substantial tree removal. The Board indicated its preference for a construction easement as opposed to a right of way, and Mr. Keifer agreed that this could probably be worked out. The Township Solicitor will work with PennDOT counsel on this issue to create a draft document. Mrs. Ewald suggested that Michael Churchill be involved in discussions as he represents his family on the matter of the deed restrictions on the property adjacent to the bridge.

Mr. Wert asked about the possibility of including a walkway in the design, but Mr. Keifer responded that PennDOT won’t consider it in an area that doesn’t provide at least a 4 foot shoulder. He suggested that the Township consider connecting a pedestrian bridge further down the creek that could tie into walking trails. Mr. Wert stated that he would like to see the Township’s right to cantilever a walkway off the proposed bridge reserved in any agreement, and Mr. Keifer agreed that this wouldn’t be prohibited.

Somerset - Revised Final Plan

Mr. Sauser stated that the Planning Commission recommended approval of the revised plan in a 6 to 1 vote that included a strong suggestion to the Board that they consider condemnation of the base of Chesterfield Lane in order to revert to the original Somerset Plan which they deemed superior. Mr. McErlane provided some details on this procedure to the Board.

Mr. Sauser moved to approve the revised plan for Somerset subject to all comments of Mr. Kohli’s 9/4/98 review letter except item #2, and instead grant a waiver to the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance Requirement to allow Somerset Lane to be constructed less than the required 200 feet from Chesterfield Lane at a distance of approximately 170 feet. Mr. Wert seconded. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were in favor. Mrs. Ewald was opposed on the basis of safety concerns and good planning practice. The motion passed 2-1.

In response to Mr. Panizza’s request in his letter of 9/18/98 for a waiver from the requirement that the binder course of blacktop be installed before any building permits are issued, the Board declined to provide it. However, it was noted that the Somerset tract has the right to use Chesterfield Lane as set forth in the deed to the former Buckley property (Somerset) and that Mr. Panizza may obtain a building permit for one house by paving a binder course access to that site.

Mrs. Ewald made the following motion framed by Mr. McErlane:

The Board of Supervisors authorizes the acquisition, by the filing of a Declaration of Taking or other appropriate means, to acquire a portion of Chesterfield Lane, a private lane, from the right of way of Hollow Road due north on Chesterfield Lane to the intersection location, as shown on the original final plan of the Somerset subdivision, of Somerset Lane and Chesterfield Lane, a length of approximately 220 feet and a width of 50 feet for a total of .393 acres as shown on a plan that will be identified for the record. The Board authorizes the payment of estimated just compensation with indemnification from General Residential Properties Inc. for all costs incurred by the Township in that process including the obligation to pay estimated just compensation to the affected property owners of which there are known to be six, to be confirmed by a title report.

Mr. Wert seconded.

The motion was tabled until the next meeting pending advise of counsel.

Rouse Chamberlin - Dedication of Phase I and Phase II at Whitehorse at Charlestown

Mr. Sauser moved to accept the deeds of dedication for Phase I and Phase II roadways, easements and basins of the Whitehorse at Charlestown development with a Resolution to be executed at the next township meeting. Mr. Wert seconded. Mrs. Ewald moved to table to the next meeting to allow the Board time to review the documents. There was no second. A vote was called on Mr. Sauser’s motion to accept the deeds. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.

Scheduling for Chester County Planning Commission Presentation

The Board scheduled the presentation of the County’s review of the Township’s ordinances for compliance with Landscapes 2020, to be made jointly to the Board and the Planning Commission for November 2, 1998, provided that the County Planning Commission provides the documents to the Township for study prior to that meeting.

Schedule Conditional Use Hearing - J. Christopher Burch

The Conditional Use Hearing for the J. Christopher Burch subdivision was scheduled for November 2, 1998.

Omnipoint Building Permit #1983-98

John C. Snyder, Esq. was present to discuss the Township’s denial of Building Permit #1983-98, stating that in order to gain approval the applicant must appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board in order to be permitted to install antennas on the existing telecommunications tower owned by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. The Board indicated that the original tower is owned and was constructed by the state government, and was not approved for commercial use. This distinguishes it from Omnipoint’s building permit application #1984-98 for antennas to be installed on the existing A.T. & T. tower which was approved by the Township without going to the Zoning Hearing Board. Therefore, the Board will require that the applicant go to the Zoning Hearing Board on this issue.

Deerfield - Zoning Ordinance Amendment Procedure

The review process will begin with the Planning Commission at their October 13, 1998 meeting, for which the Board authorizes them to consult with counsel and the township’s planner.

Road Materials and Equipment Bids

Mr. Kohli provided a tabulation and review of the bids for bituminous materials, stone materials and labor and equipment rental. The equipment bid for Macanga Construction was disqualified as not all items were bid as required. Mr. McErlane confirmed that the remaining bids met all legal requirements.

Mr. Wert moved to award the Stone Materials bid to the lowest responsible bidder, Independence Construction Materials (formerly Devault Crushed Stone) for the period of 10/1/98 through 9/30/99 in the amount of $6,575.00 FOB plant. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.

Mr. Wert moved to award the Bituminous Materials bid to the lowest responsible bidder, Independence Construction Materials (formerly Great Valley Materials) for the period of 10/1/98 through 9/30/99 in the amount of $37,300.00 FOB plant. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.

Mr. Wert moved to award the Labor and Equipment bid to the lowest responsible bidder, Rittenbaugh Inc. for the period of 10/1/98 through 9/30/99 in the amount of $182,800.00 and Mr. Sauser seconded. Discussion followed in which Mrs. Ewald said she is concerned about work quality and whether Rittenbaugh Inc. owned a sufficient amount of equipment to do the job properly. Mr. Wert questioned the Roadmaster with regard to these concerns, and Mr. Thompson responded that Rittenbaugh Inc. provided good quality work and had never failed to provide the equipment or services needed. Mr. Sauser called for the vote. He and Mr. Wert were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.

Little People Day School Escrow Release Request

Mr. Wert moved to approve Little People Day School Escrow Release #1 in the amount of $89,647.50 with the outstanding review fees due the Township to be deducted from this amount and made payable directly to Charlestown Township. Mr. Sauser seconded. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald did not vote.

Sproule Manufacturing Company Escrow Release Request

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Sproule Development Company’s Escrow Release request dated 8/31/98 in the amount of $13,724.00 and Mr. Wert seconded. The motion passed 3-0.

Citizens’ Forum - Non Agenda Items

Roy Raynor asked for the status of the Heatherwood Development with regard to the final house being constructed while the detention basin remains incomplete and the roadway is in need of resurfacing. Mr. Kohli responded that he has requested an as-built plan for the basin and that funds are being held pending its satisfactory completion. The paving is anticipated to be completed no later than the spring of 1999. With regard to Mr. Raynor’s concerns over plantings that had been required of the plan which have since died, Mr. Kohli stated that he will discuss the matter with the solicitor to see what measures the Township can take.

Bob Jones stated that he’s unaware of any residents having complaints with regard to the Roadmaster and Road Contractor and requested that any concerns be formally identified and addressed; otherwise the matter should be retired.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:17 P.M. with an executive session to follow. The next meeting of the Board of Supervisors will be held on October 5, 1998 at 7:30 P.M. at the Charlestown Elementary School.

Respectfully Submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Township Secretary