BUSINESS MEETING - November 2, 1998
Draft 11/3/98

The first business meeting for November was held November 2, 1998 at the Charlestown Elementary School on Charlestown Road, Devault. John B. Sauser, Chairman, Robert C. Wert, Vice Chairman (arrived later), 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 announced that the Chester County Planning Commission will hold a forum on public transportation on November 6, 1998 with workshops on “Connecting Landscapes” to follow on later dates. Participants include the County Commissioners, the Transportation Task Force, and representatives from local municipalities.

Mr. Sauser announced that Charlestown Township was congratulated by the County on achieving a recycling rate that exceeded 25% for 1997.

Mrs. Ewald announced that she attended the recent cattle auction at the Brightside Farm with people from all over the country participating in the auction of 89 head of Guernsey cattle.

Mrs. Ewald announced that she attended the dedication of the Valley Forge Christian College Library and Media Center. The College has plans to reestablish the Olympic size pool and gymnasium. Mrs. Ewald noted that rehabilitation of the existing buildings is continuing, funded by a substantial private donation.

Mr. Sauser announced that the Board held an executive session following the last meeting to discuss litigation and real estate matters. He went on to announce that the Township has entered into a lease agreement with Devault Foods Inc. to lease the office space on the second floor of the Devault Building above the Devault Post Office. The Township office has already relocated to this space.

Mr. Sauser announced that the conditional use hearing for J. Christopher Burch will be postponed from tonight’s meeting by mutual agreement between the applicant and the Board. Mr. McErlane will notify the Board as to when the applicant would like to be heard.

Approval items were tabled until later in the meeting to allow for Mr. Wert’s arrival.


Written reports from the Zoning Officer, Fire Marshal, Historical Commission and Planning Commission have been circulated.

Zoning Officer/Engineer

Mr. Sauser asked about the request for a minimum driveway permit by the new owners of the “Laurabrooke” property on Phoenixville Pike. Mr. Kohli responded that a permit cannot be issued unless re-grading is performed toward the back of the property and the owner can demonstrate their right to a drainage easement as shown on prior plans. He will discuss this matter with the Township Solicitor.

Mr. Sauser asked when the new signalization can be implemented at the Route 29 & Charlestown Road intersection, following PennDOT approval for two advance left turn signals, one to travel southbound and one northbound on Route 29. Mr. Kohli stated that he will obtain price information from the Township’s signal contractor. It was noted that this signalization is an interim measure and that a complete improvement for the intersection is still in planning stages.

Mrs. Ewald asked for the status of the signals planned for Newcomen Road and for the intersection of Route 401 (Conestoga Road) and Valley Hill Road. Mr. Kohli responded that traffic studies are underway and will be sent to PennDOT along with additional documentation for approval.

Mr. Sauser asked if any plan revisions have been received from PennDOT for the bridge over the Ice Dam on Route 29 and Mr. Kohli responded yes. Mr. McErlane stated that the grading easement issue has been resolved with the PennDOT solicitor. Mrs. Ewald will contact Congressman Weldon to see if an exception can be made to PennDOT requirements for parapet height, which will detract from the scenic viewscape as presently designed.

Mr. Sauser stated that he spoke to Walt Green of the PA Turnpike Commission for an update on the slip ramp issue. Mr. Green responded that surveying is still underway, and he agreed to supply the Township with more regular updates even if the status is unchanged.

Planning Commission Report

Mr. Zeigler complimented the Planning Commission subcommittee, including Charlie Philips, Vincent Kling and Michael Churchill on the timeliness and results of their work on drafting an Open Space Ordinance. Site visits to several cluster style developments are being arranged with the Township Planner for Saturday, November 7th beginning at 10:00 A.M. leaving from the Charlestown Elementary School.

Historical Commission

Mrs. Baldwin stated that she needs more time to resolve cemetery maintenance and restoration issues as noted on this evening’s agenda before the matter is discussed with the Board. Mr. Sauser tabled the matter to the next meeting. Mrs. Baldwin will request a proposal from a stone mason for re-pointing the cemetery wall, whose price appears to be lower than anticipated by the township’s historical architectural consultant, Dale Frens.


Mr. Sauser reported that the Fall Road Tour took place last month and included Mr. Wert, Mrs. Ewald, Mr. Kohli and Mr. Thompson. A report has been filed with recommended work that includes several items from past tours that remain outstanding.

Fire Marshal

Mr. Alston reminded the public that its time to change smoke detector batteries, and warned everyone to be extra cautious of deer when driving this time of year. He announced that within the next two weeks, hydrant markers will be installed behind each of the 45-48 hydrants in the Township in order to make them easily found during periods of snow accumulation.

Mr. Sauser asked if the Y2K problem has any effect on home security systems, and Mr. Alston recommended that anyone concerned should check with his/her security company.

Mrs. Ewald noted that there were several locations in the township where multiple accidents occurred this month. The Roadmaster will be asked to contact PennDOT to request milling of the “S” curve on Route 29, the “S” curve on Coldstream Road, and the curve on Charlestown Road near Pickering Dam Road at Swiss Pines.

Valley Forge Sewer Authority

Bill Hochwind reported that he attended the joint board meeting on October 29, 1998. He said that Joe Bateman provided an update on plans to increase treatment capacity on both a long term and interim basis. The 1999 Budget was approved, and a final settlement has been reached in a landfill issue in Strafford. The VFSA is currently acquiring additional land for expansion and buffering, and has an application underway in Schuylkill Township for construction of a storage silo.

Citizen’s Forum

Christopher Zaro asked if the owner of the Somerset parcel has obtained the required permits for the soil & erosion measures presently being undertaken along with extensive surveying work. Mr. Kohli responded that the Subdivision Plan had received final approval and was recently recorded. Work is progressing according to the approved plan. Bob Pingatore, 33 Chesterfield Lane, asked if PennDOT approval for road occupancy had been granted, and Mr. Kohli answered yes.

Kevin Kuhn asked for the status of the Route 29 intersection improvement, and Mr. Sauser responded that the timing is not yet known; meanwhile, discussions are continuing with a private developer with regard to undertaking the improvement project, noting that PennDOT approval would be required if this comes to pass.

Mr. Kuhn asked if anything further was supplied by the PA Turnpike Commission with regard to its slip ramp studies, noting that promised traffic studies haven’t been provided. Mr. Sauser responded that the Turnpike Commission agreed to expand the traffic studies from those originally planned, causing some delay. They are also working with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission on them.

Bob Jones asked if the County’s public transportation forum is dealing with road systems or public transportation, such as buses. Mr. Sauser responded that both are a part of the discussion.

Schedule Advertising/Presentation of the 1999 Proposed Budget

Mr. Sauser stated that a budget work session was held on October 19, 1998 at the Township office where a preliminary draft budget for 1999 was reviewed He referred to a memo dated 10/22/98 from the Township Treasurer suggesting some adjustments. Mr. Sauser noted that there would be no tax increase for 1999.

Mrs. Ewald moved to direct the Secretary-Treasurer to advertise the 1999 Proposed Budget as revised by the 10/22/98 memo. Mr. Sauser seconded and both he and Mrs. Ewald were in favor.

Schedule Advertising/Hearing of the Proposed Open Space Ordinance

Mrs. Ewald moved to table the scheduling of a hearing on the proposed open space ordinance to allow the Board and its consultants sufficient time for review. Mr. Sauser seconded and both were in favor.

Schedule Advertising/Hearing for an Amendment to Ordinance #71-96 (Private Lane Names)

Mrs. Ewald moved to schedule a hearing to amend Ordinance #71-96 for November 7, 1998. Mr. Sauser seconded and both were in favor.

Snow & Ice Agreement 1999

Mr. Kohli said that he and the Roadmaster discussed the proposed PennDOT Snow & Ice Agreement for 1998-1999 and found it satisfactory. Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the PennDOT Snow & Ice Agreement and Mr. Sauser seconded. Both were in favor.

Fee Schedule for Public Records

Mr. Sauser stated that he had some changes to suggest to the proposed fee schedule. Mrs. Ewald requested that the changes be circulated prior to the next meeting and voted on at that time. Mr. Sauser agreed to table the motion.

Salt Bids for 1998-1999

Three bids were received in response to the Township’s invitation to bid for 200 tons of rock salt, delivered, for the 1998-1999 winter season. The results were as follows:

Morton Salt $40.00/ton delivered
Cargill Salt $33.75/ton delivered
Oceanport Salt $28.33/ton delivered

Mr. Sauser moved to accept Oceanport Industries’ bid of $28.33/ton subject to the Secretary’s confirmation that this is a delivered price, and further subject to the Engineer’s review. Mrs. Ewald seconded and both were in favor. Mrs. Ewald asked that the Secretary confirm that salt may also be picked up from the plant if needed.

Devault Crushed Stone - Deadlines for Land Development and Zoning Hearing Decisions

Mr. McErlane stated that Marc Kaplin, Esq. indicated to him his intention to send a letter to the Secretary providing a time extension to the Township until January 15, 1999.

Mr. Wert arrived at this time. A brief recess to executive session was called at 8:40 P.M. The meeting reconvened at 8:55 P.M.

Motion to Condemn Chesterfield Lane

Mr. Sauser brought the motion originally made on 9/21/98 by Mrs. Ewald back to the table and called for discussion. Mr. McErlane reviewed the position of the access allowed the Buckleys off Chesterfield Lane by easement right, stating that the 1977 deed from Nichols to Buckley gave Buckley the right to a 50 foot right of way extending along the westerly side of the Buckley property which abuts Chesterfield Lane, thereby granting the right to use Chesterfield Lane to Buckley and now to its latest owner, Mr. D’Annunzio, who recently purchased the property from John Panizza. Mrs. Ewald suggested that the Board and Mr. McErlane confer with Mr. D’Annunzio on this issue prior to taking action. Mr. Sauser agreed, and the motion was tabled to the next meeting. Mr. Sauser then allowed an opportunity for Mr. Pingatore to ask several questions of the Township solicitor on the subjects of condemnation, recusal, and the limit on the number of houses on a private lane.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. Wert moved to approve the minutes of October 5, 1998 and Mr. Sauser seconded. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were in favor and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.

Mr. Wert moved to approve the minutes of October 19, 1998 and Mr. Sauser seconded. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were in favor and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.

Treasurer’s Report

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

Accounts Payable

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Accounts Payable Report for November 2, 1998 last revised Oct. 30, 1998 and Mr. Wert seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion. She requested that an additional check be considered, that of a $1,500.00 donation to the Great Valley Nature Center to represent a gift in appreciation for the good relationship between the Township and the Nature Center during the past eight years when the Township occupied rental space at the Center and to help compensate for the shorter notice given them than required by the lease agreement. Mr. Wert seconded the motion. Mr. Wert and Mrs. Ewald were in favor. Mr. Sauser was opposed.

Mrs. Ewald commended the Roadmaster on bringing the road maintenance costs under control during the month of October and requested that the Secretary send him a memo communicating same.

Chester County Planning Commission Presentation: Visions Partnership Ordinance Review for Consistency with County Landscapes 2020 Plan

Ray Sachs of the Chester County Planning Commission presented the findings of the County’s compliance review of the Township’s Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision & Land Development Ordinance, Open Space & Recreation Plan, and Comprehensive Plan. He distributed a Memorandum to the Board entitled “Preliminary Consistency Review Report and Summary of Findings” dated 10/23/98. Mr. Sachs responded to questions from the Board and audience during the presentation and following it.

Omnipoint Communications

George Asimos was present to request that the Supervisors advise the Zoning Hearing Board to reconsider their denial of Omnipoint’s Zoning Hearing Application to permit the addition of an antenna on an existing PA Turnpike Tower in Charlestown Township. He described the specific need to locate on this tower as necessitated by PCS technology (higher frequency band widths) which requires multiple antennas relatively close together. There are several other Omnipoint antennas on other Charlestown towers, but this particular spot on the Turnpike tower is needed to close a gap in coverage. Mr. Wert expressed his concern that lifting the existing restriction against commercial use of this tower will lead to a proliferation of Turnpike towers in Charlestown as the Turnpike Commission recognizes the potential of commercial usage as a profit center. He requested that Omnipoint provide data on other potential tower locations in the Township they anticipate in the future before the Board considers Omnipoint’s request further. Mr. Asimos agreed to discuss this with Omnipoint engineers and communicate with the Township Solicitor on the matter.

Deerfield Subdivision

Mr. Panizza was present to express his need for timely scheduling of the hearing for the proposed open space ordinance in order for him to proceed with preparing preliminary subdivision plans for the Pyle/Coryell tract. There was some discussion on both the proposed ordinance and the anticipated subdivision plan.

Citizens’ Forum - Non Agenda Items

No matters were brought forward.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:35 P.M. The next meeting of the Board of Supervisors will be held on December 7, 1998 at 7:30 P.M. at the Charlestown Elementary School.

Respectfully Submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Township Secretary