The first regular business meeting for June was held June 7, 1999 at the Charlestown Elementary School. John B. Sauser, Chairman, Robert, C. Wert, Vice Chairman, Irene W. Ewald, Member, 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.


Mrs. Ewald made the following announcements:

  1. The Township received a letter this morning from the French & Pickering Creek Conservation Trust notifying the Board that on April 29, 1999, the Trust passed a Resolution to support Charlestown Township’s suit against the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission and plans to intervene.
  2. She attended a regional forum hosted by the Phoenixville Area Chamber of Commerce on June 2, 1999 where roundtable discussions on regional issues were held. She had an opportunity to speak with representatives from the Borough of Phoenixville and East Pikeland Township, both of whom requested information on the slip ramp issue and indicated their willingness to support Charlestown.

Citizens’ Forum - Agenda Items:

No issues were brought forward at this time.

April 5, 1999 Minutes

Mr. Sauser moved to approve the minutes of April 5, 1999 with the following correction: the top of page 5 should read, “Mr. Sauser stated that he spoke with Parks & Rec Board member Al Derkas” instead of “he met with …”. Mr. Wert seconded the motion. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.

May 3, 1999 Minutes

Mr. Sauser moved to approve the minutes of May 3, 1999 with the following corrections: (1) The second item numbered “1” on page one under announcements should be numbered “5”. (2) The third sentence in Item #3, Page 1 under Announcements should read, “This additional capacity should become available” instead of “..became available”. (3) The first item under new business should read “Charlestown Oaks - Revised Subdivision Plans for Phase I Stages 1-6” instead of “… States 1-6.” Mr. Wert seconded the motion. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.

Treasurer’s Report for May 1- 31, 1999

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for May 1 - 31, 1999 and Mr. Wert seconded. All were in favor.

June 7, 1999 Accounts Payable

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the June 7, 1999 Accounts Payable with the exception of check #2180 to Rittenbaugh Inc. Mr. Sauser tabled the Accounts Payable until later in the meeting.


Reports from the Zoning Officer, Planning Commission, Historical Commission, Roadmaster and Fire Marshal are on file. There was no Parks and Recreation Report. Minutes from the last meeting of the Valley Forge Sewer Authority are on file.

Zoning Officer

Mr. Kohli stated that there were some problems with various election campaign signs during May with regard to exceeding the maximum size and tacking onto utility poles, which is not permitted. He will communicate the temporary sign requirements and restrictions more clearly to future applicants.

Mrs. Ewald asked why earth moving activities are taking place at the Charlestown Elementary School, and Mr. Kohli responded that the School District has permits in place to add two modular classrooms.

Mr. Sauser asked for the status of PennDOT’s plans to replace the bridge on Route 29, and Mr. Kohli stated that the plans will be ready for the Board to sign after the additional drawing details he requested are added to them.

Planning Commission

Mr. Philips stated that the Planning Commission held a special meeting on Thursday, May 27, 1999 to hear two presentations, one on the Transfer of Development Rights and the other on Sustainable Watershed Management. Both matters tie in to the Planning Commission’s ongoing consideration of revisions to the Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance. Mr. Philips said the general reaction of those in attendance was that TDR is a planning tool that should be investigated further in order to determine its value for Charlestown.

Historical Commission

Mr. Sauser stated that the Board received Mrs. Baldwin’s May report along with a copy of a letter she wrote in response to the disappointing rejection of the proposed Devault-Cedar Hollow National Register District by the Pennsylvania Historic & Museum Commission.

Mr. Sauser asked Mr. Hochwind to check on the structure he built to protect the Kennedy gravestone at the Revolutionary War Cemetery as there were concerns from the Historical Commission about the condition of the wood framing.


Mr. Sauser asked about reports that PennDOT plans to widen Merlin Road approximately one foot on each side. Mr. Thompson stated that they’ll probably do a similar widening as was done to Hollow Road in an effort to stabilize the shoulders of the road. Mr. Kohli noted that no utility forms have been submitted, so any work to be done won’t start for some time yet.

Mr. Wert stated that the newly installed “one lane bridge” sign approaching the bridge on Pikeland Road near Hollow Road is not acceptable and must be moved as it does not provide adequate warning of the narrow bridge. He suggested that the speed limit on Pikeland be reduced and additional warning signs placed on both sides of the bridge. Mrs. Ewald suggested requesting that PennDOT undertake a traffic study to determine if a four-way stop is feasible.

Mrs. Ewald noted that there were 3 accidents on the Coldstream Road curve last month, and requested that the Roadmaster write PennDOT and ask them to reconsider milling this curve.

Fire Marshal

Mr. Alston stated that there have been 7 accidents reported on the Coldstream Road curve in the past year. Mr. Sauser asked if there is adequate advance warning that the curve is ahead, and Mr. Alston responded that the signage is adequate, provided the speed limit is being observed.

Emergency Operating Center

Mr. Alston stated that David Renn of the Great Valley School District was very cooperative in response to his letter outlining security concerns that arose during the 5/27/99 work session at the EOC at the Great Valley High School. Mr. Alston stated that those exercises went well. Further exercises are scheduled this summer prior to the 9/14/99 full Limerick exercise.

Parks and Recreation Board

Mr. Connolly stated that he received the Great Valley School District Use Policy and the Parks and Rec Board will discuss it and return to the Supervisors with a proposal for a similar Policy for Charlestown recreation sites.

Mr. Connolly announced that the Parks & Rec Board held a meeting May 10, 1999 with representatives from surrounding townships, the Valley Forge Christian College, the Phoenixville Area School District to hold a general discussion on needs at Charlestown Park. He described it as a good prelude to beginning the master site plan process.

Valley Forge Sewer Authority

Mr. Hochwind stated that the meeting of the Joint Sewer Authority Board held on May 20, 1999 provided an overview of the treatment plant re-rating project, which was approved and is now moving forward. An anticipated 1.2 million gallon capacity is expected due to equipment updates. The Authority expects that additional modules will become available after November 1999 with the Regional Act 537 Revision completed in December 1999.

Old Business

Lease Agreement - Great Valley School District Fields

Mr. McErlane submitted a drafted agreement between the Township and the Great Valley School District for the School District’s lease of portions of the 20.6 acre Township property on Yellow Springs Road.

Mr. Wert moved to approve the agreement as drafted by counsel and Mr. Sauser seconded. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed. The agreement will be finalized by Mr. McErlane and signed by the Board.

New Business

J. Christopher Burch Final Plan

Mr. Kohli stated that the Planning Commission recommended approval of the plan subject to the items on his May 6, 1999 review letter. He noted that all items have since been addressed, with the exception of the solicitor’s review of the Covenants & Restrictions.

Mr. Wert asked if the resident who earlier stated concerns with stormwater management and the parking area buffering had been satisfied, and Mr. Kohli responded affirmatively. The retaining wall planting as well as the storm basin must be maintained in perpetuity, per the Covenants and Restrictions.

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the J. Christopher Burch Final Plan dated 4/21/99 subject to compliance with Mr. Kohli’s review letter of 5/6/99, the Chester County Planning Commission review letter, and further subject to the township solicitor’s satisfaction with the Covenants and Restrictions documents. Mr. Wert seconded and all were in favor.

J. Christopher Burch Planning Module - Resolution #544-99

Mr. Sauser moved to approve the Planning Module for the J. Christopher Burch subdivision. Mr. Wert seconded and all were in favor.

T. Comitta Draft Proposal for Charlestown Park Master Site Plan dated 4/8/99

Mark Connolly stated that the Parks and Recreation Board has reviewed the draft proposal submitted by Thomas Comitta Associates for a Master Site Plan for Charlestown Park in the amount of $14,000. The proposal covers all costs associated with the Master Site Plan with the exception of the Topographic Survey and Boundary Survey. For these two surveys, a quote of $16,500.00 has been obtained from Chester Valley Engineers. The topographical survey is needed in order to produce the Master Site Plan.

Mr. Sauser stated his concern that the $14,000 proposal is an exact match to the amount reimbursable by the County for a Master Site Plan under the Round 10 grant program, $7,000, coupled with the Township’s matching funds of $7,000. He questioned how the proposal figure was determined. Mr. Connolly acknowledged that he also had concerns, yet felt that a proposal from any other planner would be necessarily higher due to a learning curve effect as Mr. Comitta is most familiar with the Park.

Mr. Wert asked if an integrated township approach to planning open space in general is being considered. In the past, Charlestown Park has been developed in a piecemeal fashion that shouldn’t be repeated elsewhere. Mr. Connolly responded that, through the Visions Partnership, the 1993 Open Space & Recreation Plan is being reviewed in conjunction with the Planning Commission review of the 1976 Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Wert said a survey of residents’ open space needs would be helpful to the planning process, and Mr. Connolly agreed that a survey can be included in the Charlestown Park Master Site Plan proposal.

Mr. Wert stated that before deciding on the proposal, the solicitor should review it to determine whether it will be acceptable to the County as reimbursable to the fullest extent possible under the Round 10 Grant. Mr. Sauser agreed, and added that the Chester Valley Engineers proposal should likewise be reviewed by the solicitor. Mr. Connolly will obtain a second quotation for the two surveys.

Mr. Sauser stated that the Board will wait to obtain the solicitor’s review comments before making a decision. The matter was placed on the next agenda.

Open Space - Yellow Springs Road

Mr. Connolly stated that an on-site meeting has been scheduled on June 9, 1999 to discuss Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and equestrian uses for the Township’s open space parcel on Yellow Springs Road. Representatives from the Kimberton CSA and from an equestrian group will attend. Mr. Connolly mentioned various possibilities at the site, including the Township’s future acquisition of adjacent Great Valley School District owned land that contains a farmhouse and outbuildings which could undergo re-adaptive use. Wendy McLean, Sam Hill Road, commented that she and her neighbors would like to be involved in these discussions.

Pyle Lease Renewal

Mr. Sauser stated that the Pyle family has requested permission to harvest hay on the Yellow Springs Road parcel, similar to the Holdover Agreement they had with the Township last year. Mr. McErlane stated that the original agreement was for a set term, now expired, and required that the Pyles insure the property for liability purposes. Mr. Kuhn raised a question of whether the Township could rent this land for harvesting purposes, and after some discussion, the Board indicated they were comfortable that having this area maintained by the Pyles was suitable in-kind compensation.

Mr. Sauser moved to renew the Holdover Agreement, to be prepared by Mr. McErlane, for the specific purpose of mowing hay on those portions of the Township parcel not under agreement with the Great Valley School District for their use. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.

Signal Service Quotations

Mr. Kohli referred to the 5/6/99 quotation from Signal Service Inc. for $2,152.50, which involves replacing the controller in order to make it Y2K compatible. He stated that after contacting the manufacturer, he determined that the only non-Y2K compatible part is a chip in the existing controller assembly that can be replaced for approximately $200.00.

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the replacement of the chip for approximately $200.00. Mr. Sauser seconded.

Mr. Alston referred to the 5/19/99 quotation from Signal Service Inc. for $12,410.00, which includes the installation of a new controller assembly and adds a four-way emergency vehicle preemption. He stated that according to Bill Conrad at Signal Service, this installation can be done immediately, as it will be compatible with the eventual upgrade of the intersection by PennDOT. Mr. Alston stated that pre-emption is needed immediately for emergency purposes.

Mr. Wert asked if Mr. Kohli can investigate this matter further and make a firm determination on whether the preemption option will be compatible. Mr. Kohli said that until he sees the final intersection design, he can’t be certain whether some modifications will be needed, but will look into it.

Mr. Wert moved to table the motion and Mr. Sauser seconded. The motion was tabled to the next meeting.

Valley Forge Sewer Authority - Protection of Additional Capacity

Mr. Kohli stated that excess capacity previously rented to East Whiteland Township, Tredyffrin Township and Easttown Township is being returned to the Valley Forge Sewer Authority (VFSA). Mr. Sauser asked if there is a way to protect this excess capacity for Charlestown Township’s future needs. Mr. Winckelman responded that this is doubtful. The VFSA will accept incoming building modules on a first come first served basis and will control the allocation of capacity accordingly. Mr. McErlane will memo the Board on its options in this matter.

Charlestown Oaks - Escrow Release #10

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Charlestown Oaks Inc. Escrow Release #10 in the amount of $230,385.00. Mr. Wert seconded and all were in favor.

Insurance Renewals for the Period of July 1, 1999 - June 30, 2000

The Board discussed the Simkiss Agency proposal for renewal of the insurance policies they now have in place with the township. Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the premium renewals with the Simkiss Agency. Mr. Sauser seconded and all were in favor. Mr. Wert recommended that the Board members continue to review the policies with input from the solicitor and Mr. Kohli.

Reschedule Board Meeting of July 5, 1999

Mr. Sauser rescheduled the July 5, 1999 Board of Supervisors meeting to July 12, 1999 since July 5th is the observed holiday for Independence Day.

Secretary - Vacation

Mr. Sauser moved to approve the Secretary’s request for vacation for June 28 - July 5, 1999 and Mr. Wert seconded. All were in favor.

June 7, 1999 Accounts Payable

Mr. Sauser moved to approve the June 7, 1999 Accounts Payable. Mr. Wert had a question on check #2180 to Rittenbaugh Inc. in the amount of $23,026.00 with regard to whether any remedial work on Wells Road was charged to the Township. He had previously stated he would not approve any payments for work that had to be redone due to the contractor’s inability to complete the paving project before winter set in. Mr. Thompson responded that all remedial work was done at the contractor’s expense. Mrs. Ewald questioned whether the milling work was done, and Mr. Rittenbaugh responded that a cold planer was used. Mr. Sauser stated that during the road tour, it was determined that cold planing would be sufficient, followed by tack coat and a leveling course. Mrs. Behrle asked if the actual costs of paving Wells Road exceeded the original estimate. Mr. Sauser pointed out that Wells Road was included as part of the general road contract and not bid separately; therefore, the estimate is a planning tool and not to be taken as a firm figure. Ellen Behrle questioned the Township’s bid process, which she feels shouldn’t be done on a time and materials basis. Mr. Wert disagreed, stating that at the scale of work required by the Township, the current bid process is the best method to use.

Mr. Wert seconded Mr. Sauser’s motion to approve the June 7, 1999 Accounts Payable. Mr. Sauser called for the vote. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were in favor. Mrs. Ewald was opposed. Mrs. Ewald called for a roll call vote, but none was taken. The motion carried.

Other Business

Miscellaneous Matters

Mr. Sauser asked Mr. McErlane to review information from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission on impact fees.

Mr. Sauser referred information on the Delaware Valley Energy Consortium to Mr. Kohli.

Revision to NC Ordinance

Mr. Sauser questioned the Secretary’s memo to the Board indicating that a vote on the NC Ordinance was not taken following the hearing held in January 1998. He recalled that a vote was taken and the ordinance passed January 19, 1998 held at the Nature Center. Mr. McErlane will review his files and advise the Township.

Devault Quarry

Mrs. Ewald asked when the Independence Construction Materials Land Development Plan would be placed on an agenda for discussion. She said that the quarry continues to park vehicles on adjacent township land and is violating the agreement of the number of vehicles that can enter the site each day.

Altemose and Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Updates

Mr. Sauser asked for updates on the Altemose and Turnpike cases. Mr. McErlane responded that oral argument for the Altemose case hasn’t been scheduled yet but will likely take place in the fall. With regard to the Turnpike Commission, the Township must now answer the new matters brought up by the Commission in their Answer to the Complaint. Discovery for both sides will begin thereafter. Mr. Wert asked how the Turnpike Commission’s decision making process is being monitored in the meantime and Mr. McErlane stated that he is in communication with the Turnpike’s attorney on an informal basis.

Request to Review Budget Information

In response to Mr. Kuhn’s e-mail request to review budget information with the Township Secretary, Mr. Sauser stated that until the general election in November, after which successful candidates would officially become Supervisors-elect, the Township will offer the primary election winners the same courtesies available to the public with regard to public information. After the general election, Supervisors-elect will be copied on all non-confidential correspondence and will be invited to observe the budget process.

Mrs. Ewald disagreed, stating that as there is no question of the outcome of the general election, it is in the Township’s best interest to provide them this information now. Mr. Wert agreed with Mr. Sauser, stating that this is the standard procedure on all government levels and he doesn’t want to set any precedents for the future.

Citizens’ Forum - Non-Agenda Items

Ellen Behrle said that in addition to the French and Pickering Creek Conservation Trust joining the Township’s suit against the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, others include Charlestown Green Inc., Citizens Against Zoning Change, and the Charlestown Historical Society. She noted that the Civic Association and Green Valleys Association have indicated their willingness to propose similar actions to their Boards. Mrs. Behrle indicated that other groups have been solicited for support and shown some interest. The next meeting of the Slip Ramp Committee is scheduled for June 8, 1999 at the Great Valley High School cafeteria.

Mrs. Behrle also announced that resident Wendy Leland, a member of the National Guard, is organizing a local toy and clothing drive to aid Kosovo refugees. She will turn over all donations to her Coordinator.

Mrs. Behrle reported that construction at Charlestown Hunt is beginning before 7 AM, in violation with the Zoning Ordinance. Mr. Kohli will follow up.


Mr. Sauser adjourned the meeting at 10:55 P.M. The next meeting of the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for July 12, 1999 at 7:30 P.M. at the Charlestown Elementary School.

Respectfully Submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Township Secretary