Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of February 26, 2001

The second business meeting for February was held February 26, 2001 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Hugh D. Willig, Chairman, Kevin R. Kuhn, Vice Chairman, Irene W. Ewald, Paul J. Hogan, Michael J. Rodgers, Thomas F. Oeste, Esq., Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Ed Theurkauf, Planner, Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator and those on the attached list were present.

The meeting was called to order at 7:35 P.M.


Mr. Willig spoke to John Marcus, P.E. from PennDOT regarding the reconstruction of the Route 29 Bridge and the Board’s choice for the bridge façade. The tentative schedule for the bridge work is as follows:

March 3, 2001 Bids due from general contractors
March 9, 2001 Selection of bidder
May 7, 2001 Notice to proceed
June 16, 2001 Closing of Route 29 for bridge construction
July 25, 2001 Re-opening of Route 29

Saul Kun, Whitehorse Road, asked what the detour route would be. Mr. Willig said it would be the same as the last time the road was closed for bridge repairs, routing vehicles to alternate state roads including Pothouse Road and Whitehorse Road.

Mr. Kun asked whether a four way stop can be installed at Whitehorse and Ashenfelter Roads prior to the bridge closing. Mr. Rodgers responded that since Ashenfelter Road is shared with Schuylkill Township, their approval is needed along with Charlestown’s, and they are against a four way stop for this intersection.

Mrs. Ewald announced that the Board held an executive session at the Township office at 6:00 P.M. this evening to discuss real estate matters.

Mrs. Ewald said she attended the East Whiteland Township Board of Supervisors meeting on February 20, 2001, at which time a new supervisor, Greg Davis, was appointed to the Board. It was also the first meeting for new Township Manager Terry Woodman, previously Assistant Township Manager for Tredyffrin Township. East Whiteland Township also appointed a Tax Collector for $1.00/year with the intention to outsource the collection of taxes.

Mrs. Ewald announced that the State Police appointed a new chief at the Embreville Barracks, Lt. William A. Teper, who was previously Criminal Investigation Section Commander at Troop J in Lancaster. He will attend the Board’s March 19, 2001 meeting to introduce himself and to provide an update on last October’s vandalism of a home in the Township that caused $100,000.00 in damage.

Citizens’ Forum – Non-Agenda Items

Ellen Behrle said Delaware Valley Paving is subcontracted by PennDOT to plow Whitehorse Road, and that an accident involving a salt spreader occurred during the last snowstorm. Having been placed on the side of Whitehorse Road, the salt spreader later disappeared. She asked for anyone with information on it to call Delaware Valley Paving, as the equipment is quite valuable.

Mrs. Behrle asked for an update on the Myers building permit application. Mr. Oeste responded that he is providing Mr. Clemm with information so he can draft the necessary documents.

Mrs. Behrle stated she plans to run for Tax Collector and asked her fellow Republicans on the Board and in attendance to sign her petition.

Road Issues

Mr. Kohli said the traffic light installation at Valley Hill Road and Route 401 is underway. Valley Hill Road approaching Route 401 has deteriorated in the area where four loops must be installed. PennDOT has advised Mr. Kohli that they don’t do patching operations, so he is working with them on the possibility of including this work in their Agility Program. Mr. Hogan said he’d coordinate with the Roadmaster and Mr. Kohli on this issue. Paving would take place later on in the signalization process, probably April.

Mr. Kohli said he’s following up with PennDOT on the Township’s request for a flashing light warning of the curve on Coldstream Road.

Mr. Hogan said he received complaints about plowing for Tinkerhill Road off Creek Road in Schuylkill Township. Mr. Rodgers responded that Schuylkill Township plows this for Charlestown, so Mr. Hogan will contact them regarding the complaint.

Approval of Minutes

Mr. Rogers moved to approve the minutes of February 12, 2001. Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and Mr. Kuhn proposed to amend the motion to approve to include a correction to Page 2, substituting “Oak Lane” for “Sycamore Lane” in the top paragraph. Mr. Rodgers accepted the amendment. Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.

Old Business

Commons at Great Valley Lots 13-14-15

Tim Townes of J. Loew and Associates presented a display board depicting the combined lots 13-14-15 of the Commons at Great Valley, for which a land development is planned consisting of two commercial buildings. Mr. Townes explained that these lots are adjacent to the Cedar Hollow Quarry and about half the land is in East Whiteland Township. East Whiteland Township had agreed during a prior Zoning Hearing for this development that they would sign off on the land development plans after Charlestown’s review and approval. Two “Class A” office buildings are proposed, one a 66,000 square foot building, similar to the Becket and Lee building, and the other a 40,000 square foot 2 story building next to the pond.

Mr. Townes responded to comments from Ed Theurkauf ‘s memo of 1/31/01 as follows.

Item #2: Tree Preservation: The plan must indicate the number of trees 6-12 inches in caliper and those 12+ inches in caliper to be destroyed. Mr. Hogan asked if the trees could be delivered to the Township yard for residents’ use as firewood. Mr. Townes agreed to provide them in lengths of 18”.

Item #3: Parking Lot Shade Trees: The plan must be revised to include an additional shade tree in the lot south of the larger building. Mr. Townes agreed.

Item #4: Street Trees: A question remained as to whether additional street trees are required at Lot 15. After some discussion, Mr. Theurkauf said he believes the plan to be in compliance.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Land Development plan for Lots 13-14-15 of the Commons at Great Valley subject to Mr. Theurkauf’s review comments and East Whiteland Township’s approval of the drawings. Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Mrs. Ewald asked for the status of the Little People Day School, which had been operating under a temporary use and occupancy permit pending compliance with numerous landscape and buffering issues. Mr. Kohli said these issues remain outstanding. Mr. Townes said the company was sold approximately eight months ago and is now operating under a new name. Mr. Kohli will check into the matter and report to the Board at the March 5, 2001 meeting.

Spring Oaks Business Park

Mr. Townes stated that his firm is interested in proceeding with the construction of the storm water management pond to be located in the front of the site near Whitehorse Road. He explained that he plans to come in later this month with final subdivision plans and a land development plan for Lot 1 to construct a 125,000 square foot building for the Hartford Insurance Company. He noted that applicants are entitled under the MPC to install improvements under preliminary plan approval, which this project has attained. He’s been in contact with PennDOT to see if he needs additional permits to those currently approved, including a DEP dam permit and approval from the Chester County Conservation District. An NPDES permit is not required as less than five acres will be disturbed. Mr. Kohli said PennDOT approval to discharge storm water into their piping under Whitehorse Road will be needed.

Mrs. Ewald asked for the location of the proposed basin in relation to the garages across from the historic house, where mitigation had been performed for oil tank leaks several years ago. She stated her concern for the stream traversing the property and continuing along Route 29 and the Great Valley Nature Center. Mr. Townes showed the location on the plan, indicating that the proposed pond sits below the historic house. He stated that the stream flows only periodically.

Mr. Willig asked why is there an urgency to complete the basin at this point rather than construct it concurrently with the project. Mr. Townes responded that the permits he now holds have no expiration date. Procedures have changed that would require him to go through the permitting exercises again if he were to wait and submit the storm water plans with the final plan. Mr. Kohli stated that the applicant has an indefinite extension on the filing of the final plan from the Township, at which time improvements to the four area intersections must be incorporated.

Mr. Willig said many questions remain open. Board members expressed an interest in having representatives from the Hartford Insurance Company appear at the March 5, 2001 meeting, and Mr. Townes said he would contact them. The storm water matter will be discussed at this meeting as well.

Saul Kun, Whitehorse Road, suggested that in consideration of the length of time that has passed since the approval of the preliminary subdivision plan, perhaps a revised Environmental Assessment Report should be submitted. Mr. Townes said a revised EIA was undertaken in 1997-98 and he will be glad to provide copies. At that time, the waters on the property were reclassified as “waters of the Commonwealth”.

Newcomen Road Paving Project

Mr. Rodgers said he reviewed the costs to be shared between Charlestown and West Pikeland Townships and noted that West Pikeland Township agreed to split the tree and vegetation removal cost of $3,000.00. Removal of vegetation was needed along one side of the road and in the cul-de-sac area and was included in the Scope of Work. West Pikeland Township has reimbursed Charlestown for all but the vegetation and tree work. Mr. Willig requested that Mr. Rodgers, current liaison to West Pikeland Township, and Mrs. Ewald, former liaison, coordinate on this issue and in their communications to West Pikeland.

2000-2001 Road Equipment Contract

Mr. Rodgers referenced the minutes of November 6, 2000, when Melchoirre Construction Co. was awarded the bid for snow removal and paving, yet the contract itself was signed to include mowing along with snow removal and paving. The contractor acquired a performance bond in the full amount, including mowing. Mr. Rodgers said that either the original motion should be amended to include mowing, or the mowing should be re-bid, along with tree work, which was not awarded in November. He recommends re-bidding the mowing as he feels Melchoirre has insufficient equipment. Mr. Kuhn said Melchoirre expected to subcontract this work.

Mrs. Ewald disagreed that the original bid award excluded mowing. She said a subsequent polling of the Board occurred whereby the original award was changed. She agreed to provide a copy of this correspondence to the other Board members at Mr. Kuhn’s request. Mrs. Behrle asked if this subsequent action was taken at a public meeting, as required by the Sunshine Act. Mr. Willig questioned whether there was a disconnect; he said he agreed to award the entire contract. Mr. Oeste read aloud a portion of the 11/6/00 minutes, which clearly state that Melchoirre was awarded the snow removal and paving work only. He said the Board would be able to re-bid the mowing and tree work if so desired.

Mr. Hogan moved to rebid the mowing and tree work portion of the 2000-2001 road maintenance contract and Mr. Kuhn/Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion. Mr. Kuhn asked how much mowing typically costs the Township each season, and Mr. Rodgers responded the amount is under $10,000 per year, allowing the Board to obtain bids by letter. Mr. Kuhn questioned whether it was worth the cost involved to re-bid the mowing. Mrs. Behrle pointed out that since tree work must be bid in any event, the cost wouldn’t be higher to include mowing in the advertising and bid package preparation. Mr. Hogan asked if anyone has spoken to Melchoirre about the mowing. Mr. Rodgers said the Roadmaster has spoken to him and he indicated he’s not interested in the mowing work. Mr. Willig called the vote. Four were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.

New Business

Horstmann – Zoning Hearing Board Application

John and Debbie Horstmann, 315 Buckwalter Road, were present to provide a summary of their application to the Zoning Hearing Board requesting a variance to permit the construction of a shed, designed to look like a two-story bank barn, which when combined with the square footage of existing accessory structures on the property, will exceed 50% of the square footage of the primary structure. The Horstmanns plan to remove the existing shed after the new one is completed. The proposed structure will be 24 x 40 feet in size and meets all setback requirements. It will be further from their house and screened from the neighbors and will be used for storage only. Electric may be added later; there are no plans to provide water service.

Mrs. Ewald said there is a concern over adaptive reuse, and recommends to the Zoning Hearing Board that if they approve the variance the use be restricted for use as an accessory structure only. She asked why the applicant doesn’t simply add on to the back of the house. Mr. Horstmann responded that he doesn’t want to tear down the existing shed, which would prevent an addition, until the new one is built.

Mr. Kuhn moved to direct the Zoning Hearing Board to make any approval subject to the removal of the old shed within 6 months of issuance of a Use & Occupancy Permit on the new shed and to make any approval contingent upon the use of the new shed as an accessory structure only. Mr. Rodgers seconded the motion and Mr. Willig called for discussion. Mrs. Ewald noted that the Zoning Hearing Board is the decision making body for this application and it must meet their criteria.

Route 29 Bridge Façade

Mr. Willig said PennDOT has asked for direction from the Board on what stone color and type to use in the reconstruction of the Route 29 Bridge. Mr. Hogan suggested they make it similar to Bridge #178 over Pickering Road. Mr. Willig said samples would be provided on site. Mr. Kuhn suggested that it blend in with the existing ice dam stone. The bridge stone will be pointed. There was some discussion on incorporating existing articles from the current bridge, including the date stone or the stone including the bridge name, whatever is available. Mr. Willig will draft a response to PennDOT for the Board’s review.

Advertise Hearing: Emma Conditional Use Application

The opening of the hearing was scheduled for March 19, 2001.

Escrow Release #3 – Emma Builders

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Escrow Release #3 for Emma Builders and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion. Mr. Hogan said the retaining wall is attractive. Mr. Kuhn asked about the deterioration of Blackberry Lane near the construction site. Mr. Kohli said the deterioration is caused by normal heat and thaw and can’t be blamed directly on Emma Builders’ construction vehicles. Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.


Great Valley School District Conditional Use Application

The hearing was opened and the proceeds taken by Jane Opie, Court Reporter. The hearing was continued to March 5, 2001 per the applicant’s request.

Altemose Conditional Use Application

The hearing was opened and the proceeds taken by Jane Opie, Court Reporter. The hearing was continued to a March meeting date per the applicant’s request. The date of March 19, 2001 was established. Mr. Oeste will memo the applicant with the date.

Zoning Ordinance Amendment – Open Space Option

The hearing was opened and the proceeds taken by Jane Opie, Court Reporter. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve ordinance #93-01 and Mr. Willig/Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. Four were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.

Other Business

Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission

Mr. Rodgers said he and Mr. Kuhn attended a meeting of the DVRPC discussing regional public transportation. The group has offered in the past to make a presentation to the Board, and Mr. Rodgers asked if the Board would be interested. Board members were agreeable, and Mr. Rodgers will make arrangements for a meeting in April. The Planning Commission will be invited.

West Vincent Township Survey

Mrs. Ewald offered to respond on behalf of the Board.

Establishment of Open Space Commission

Mr. Oeste has conferred with Vince Pompo at his office and will have information ready for the March 5, 2001 meeting on the process required to establish an Open Space Committee.

Zoning Hearing Board – Appointment of Alternate Member

Mr. Willig said he’d like to move forward and contact potential candidates for interviews. Two names were mentioned, and Mr. Willig will contact them to see if they are available for interviews prior to the March 5, 2001 meeting.

Civility Resolution

Mrs. Ewald distributed copies of East Whiteland Township’s Civility Resolution to the members. Mr. Willig asked the Board to read it over and it will be placed on the March 5, 2001 agenda for discussion.

Scheduled on Upcoming Agendas:

March 5, 2001:

Spring Oaks Business Center: Construction of Storm water Retention Basin
Conditional Use Hearing Continuance: Great Valley School District
Discussion: Civility Resolution
Discussion: Open Space Committee

March 19, 2001:

State Police Presentation
Emma Builders – Conditional Use Application
Altemose – Conditional Use Application


Mr. Kuhn moved to adjourn and Mrs. Ewald seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 9:25 P.M. The next meeting will be held on March 5, 2001, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Township Secretary