July 24, 2000

The third business meeting for July was held July 24, 2000 at the Valley Forge Christian College, Room #102. Irene W. Ewald, Chairman, Hugh D. Willig, Vice Chairman, Paul J. Hogan, Kevin R. Kuhn, Michael J. Rodgers, Thomas F. Oeste, Esq., Gary Bender, Esq., Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Ed Theurkauf, Planner, Linda M. Csete, Township Secretary, Leah J. Campion, Assistant Township Secretary, and those on the attached list were present.

The meeting was called to order at 7:55 P.M.


Mrs. Ewald announced that Charlestown Township prevailed through the courts in being awarded attorney’s fees for a lawsuit filed by Leon J. and Carol Altemose, which was determined by the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals to be frivolous. Mr. Oeste explained that the Court’s decision was based upon the acknowledgment that the issues brought forward under the suit had been fully litigated in state court. Mrs. Ewald said the Township has received the check for $14,157.50, and while it doesn’t represent all the Township’s legal costs, it is a significant portion. Mrs. Behrle asked if this award could be rescinded if the Altemoses are successful in their latest Curative Amendment challenge, and Mr. Oeste responded no, the issues are different. Mr. Kuhn noted that a group of residents situated near the proposed tract had an outlay of approximately $14,000.00 when they filed their own brief in this matter.

Citizens’ Forum - Non-Agenda Items

Diane Leslie was present to request that the Board reconsider their previous decision to deny her request for access to public water after her unsuccessful attempt to drill a well. Since that decision, Ms. Leslie said she hired two hydro-geologists and had them conduct a study of her property. Independently of one another, both hydro-geologists came to the same conclusion, i.e., that the type of rock under this tract doesn’t fracture, and as drilling is continued further down, it becomes less and less likely that any water will be found. She provided a copy of their reports to the Board, and agreed to forward one to the Township office for the file. Ms. Leslie said she asked her consultants for a recommendation on the best area to drill for water, and both responded that there is no logic in making such a recommendation when they had already determined that reaching water anywhere on the site was unlikely.

Mr. Rodgers said he spoke to one of the geologists, and he was told if water isn’t reached within 150 feet, further drilling will be unsuccessful. He said he had recommended a geological study because these consultants use crevice maps to make their determination. He said their study indicates that Ms. Leslie has a hardship. Mr. Hogan said he would reconsider his prior vote to deny access to public water.

Mr. Rodgers moved to repeal the Board’s July 17, 2000 decision to deny public water access to Diane Leslie and to permit hook up to public water. Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion.

Mr. Willig asked why the availability of on-site water wasn’t proven at the time of subdivision. Mr. Oeste responded that this is not required. He suggested the motion be amended to include the reasons for approving the request in order to avoid setting a precedent. He said a resolution should be drafted that includes the factual background of this specific case.

Mr. Kohli said that at the time of subdivision, data on water availability must be provided, but that this is taken from soils books and not physical testing. At a 2000 scale, mapping of a 4-acre tract can’t be done accurately. Mr. Kuhn said the Board should require physical testing via the drilling of a hole on each proposed lot during the subdivision review process. Mr. Kohli said the County is involved in regulating on-site water systems, but suggested that the Township require the well be drilled prior to the footing inspection for new home construction. Mr. Oeste noted that the Township doesn’t have regulatory authority over wells. Mr. Kuhn said he’d rather move back the requirement for physical testing to when the lot is conveyed and would like this investigated in conjunction with the comprehensive plan review now underway by the Planning Commission.

Per Mr. Oeste’s suggestion, Mr. Rodgers amended his motion to including that the approval be subject to adequate, satisfactory documentation being accepted and signed by the applicant. Mr. Kuhn seconded the amended motion.

Mrs. Ewald asked for a role call vote, as follows:

Mrs. Ewald: Nay. She said she wished the applicant had put more energy into finding water on the land.
Mr. Willig: Aye.
Mr. Hogan: Aye
Mr. Kuhn: Aye. He commended the application for providing the additional documentation.
Mr. Rodgers: Aye.

The motion passed 4-1. Ms. Leslie thanked the Board.

Approval of Minutes - July 17, 2000

Mr. Willig moved to approve the minutes of July 17, 2000 as submitted, and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and then the public. There being none, the vote was called and all were in favor.

Old Business

Great Valley Nature Center - Conditional Use Decision

Mrs. Ewald said the amended plan was filed today which responded to the Township’s requests. She asked the Secretary if a revised application had been received and is in order, and the Secretary responded yes. Mr. Kuhn said that the amended plan shows the elimination of a portion of the structure that will have less impact on the site and clarifies exactly what the Board is being asked to approve. Mrs. Ewald asked if the amended plan is consistent with the draft approval. Mr. Oeste said there is still an issue with condition #6 requiring an as-built plan for the Great Valley Nature Center (GVNC) property.

Mrs. Ewald said the as-built plan was required when the GVNC came to the Zoning Hearing Board, which was for approval of the construction of Raptor Cages that were already partially built and located in the setback as well as encroaching on Henrietta Bumeder’s abutting property. The as-built plan was never submitted as required. She recommended including it in this present conditional use approval with the allowance of 36 months to prepare and submit the document. Mr. Kuhn said he would not be opposed to this proviso. He asked Mr. Kohli for some background on the prior application through the zoning hearing board for the Raptor Cages. Mr. Kohli said the GVNC received their approval after negotiating a lease arrangement with Ms. Bumeder, and that the approval was conditioned on the submission of a building permit and an as-built plan. Neither was ever received.

Mrs. Behrle, board member for the GVNC, objected to the request for an as-built plan. She said this is not a usual requirement for zoning hearing board applicants. Mr. Kuhn said that this situation was different, as the GVNC had begun construction without a permit, and the lack of an as-built plan contributed to the placement error for the cages.

Mrs. Behrle objected to the Board adding to their requests at every meeting and said more guidance from the Board is needed in these matters. She said an unfulfilled condition from the prior application shouldn’t be made a condition of the present application. Mrs. Ewald said the conditional use procedure allows for the naming of whatever conditions the Board deems appropriate and they are within their bounds to name this as one of them.

Mrs. Behrle said the production of an as-built plan is too expensive for a non-profit organization such as the GVNC. Mr. Kuhn said he wants to see a layout of the structures on the property and that the plan would help the Nature Center plan for the future. Mr. Hogan suggested using aerial maps from the County GIS department in order to minimize costs. Mr. Kohli specified that the as-built plan should depict property line boundaries and locations of structures and streams. He said GIS data is not accurate enough to provide this data. Mr. Hogan said the original deed transferring the property from Arnold Bartschi should have the boundary information, and Mrs. Ewald added that the French and Pickering Trust might have a copy.

Mr. Kohli said it would be acceptable for a surveyor to use an aerial map as a base and survey the fourth line of the boundary area, since one line was drawn for the raptor cage application and roads bound the two other lines.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the conditional use decision as drafted, with the exception of Item #6, which will be add language to be drafted by the Township Solicitor specifying that the applicant shall submit an aerial photograph of the property showing all structures and the property boundaries plotted from the deeds within 36 months.@ Mr. Hogan seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and then the public. There being none, the vote was called and all were in favor.

Blackberry Lane Paving Project

Mr. Rodgers moved to re-advertise the paving bid for Blackberry Lane due to a modification of the specs. Mrs. Ewald seconded, and called for discussion from the Board and then the public. There being none, the vote was called and all were in favor.

Ordinance to Allow the Open Space Option as a Conditional Use in the Farm Residential District on Properties of 25 Acres or Greater with Historical Resources

Mr. Kuhn moved to re-advertise the proposed ordinance to allow the open space option as a conditional use in the Farm Residential District on properties of 25 acres or greater with Historical Resources, made necessary because a 60 day deadline had passed. Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and then the public. Mr. Kuhn asked the Board if they were comfortable with proceeding. Mrs. Ewald called the vote and all were in favor. The hearing was scheduled for August 21, 2000.

New Business



Altemose - Curative Amendment Application

The hearing was opened and Jane Opie, Court Reporter, took the proceeds. The hearing was continued to 8/21/00, 7:30 P.M. at the Valley Forge Christian College.

Toll Brothers - Conditional Use and Tentative Plan Application

The hearing was opened and Jane Opie, Court Reporter, took the proceeds. The hearing was continued to 8/7/00, 7:30 P.M. at the Valley Forge Christian College.

Other Business

Subcommittee to meet with the Great Valley School Board

Mr. Kuhn asked the Chairman for an explanation of her actions in appointing a subcommittee and scheduling a meeting with the Great Valley School Board’s subcommittee without input from a majority of the Board members. He said that as Charlestown’s appointed liaison to the School Board, he should have been appointed to the subcommittee and not the Chairman. Mrs. Ewald said she requested that the Vice-Chairman poll the Board on this matter and that a majority, namely herself, Mr. Willig and Mr. Hogan, were agreeable to the appointees. Mr. Kuhn said he and Mr. Rodgers had objections to the appointees. Mr. Hogan acknowledged that he was contacted and had no objections, but was unaware that others did. Mrs. Ewald said Mr. Willig communicated the two objections to her. Mr. Kuhn said Mrs. Ewald failed to communicate properly with the Board, and made a motion to remove her as Chairman of the Board. There was no second.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:25 P.M. with the Board going into executive session. The next meeting will be held on August 7, 2000, 7:30 P.M. at the Valley Forge Christian College.

Respectfully Submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Township Secretary