APRIL 2, 2001 – approved 4/16/01


Hugh Willig, Chairman, Kevin Kuhn, Vice-Chairman, Paul Hogan, Mike Rodgers, Irene Ewald, Tom Oeste, Esq., Glenn Diehl, Esq., Surender Kohli, P.E., Ed Theurkauf, Planner, Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator, and those on the attached attendee list

The meeting was called to order at 7:45 p.m.


Mr. Willig announced the Board had an executive session with the Township’s solicitors prior to tonight’s meeting to discuss legal matters.

Mr. Rodgers announced that the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission will make a regional transportation update presentation at the April 16, 2001 Board meeting. The public is encouraged to attend and comment.

Citizens Forum for Non-Agenda Items

Eleanor Morris was present, along with Janet Baldwin and Jim Scharnberg, to encourage further farmland preservation in Charlestown. She commended the Board for the acquisition of the 55-acre Pyle farm. She introduced Jim Scharnberg as the individual who recently organized a large rally attended by the county commissioners and several legislators along with various municipal officials. She distributed the latest French & Pickering Creeks Trust newsletter to the Board members along with two recent newspaper articles calling for municipalities to do more to save open space. Mr. Kuhn informed her the Board is currently working on an ordinance to form an Open Space Commission. Mrs. Morris referred to John Foster, an organic farmer interested in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA’s). Jim Scharnberg commented that farmland should be considered “working ground”, not open space. In addition to farmland preservation, municipalities need to protect environmental resources including habitat and water.

Mr. Hogan said he spent time with the Rev. Kim of the Korean Methodist Church last week, and Mr. Kim said he is interested in finding a farmer interested in farming the Church’s 30-acre parcel on Sycamore Lane.

Dr. Foster described Charlestown as a “true jewel” and he supports whatever efforts can be made to preserve land here. He explained that a CSA is a farming operation underwritten by people subscribing with local farmers to provide them with organic produce. He suggests the Township advertise in organic farming journals to seek interested farmers for any available tracts. He said a CSA fosters community connectedness as subscribers pick up their produce each week and even harvest some of it themselves.

Mrs. Ewald credited former Charlestown Boards and Commissions with developing some of the best ordinances in place in Chester County. She said updating those ordinances is now underway, which should provide even more tools for land preservation. She said these ordinances reflect the core values and commitment of the people in the community, and encouraged residents to remain involved in the process.


Minutes of March 19, 2001

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the minutes of March 19, and Mr. Willig seconded, with one addition to his announcement on the Toll Bros Civil rights action, to include a statement that the suit is also against the Board members as individuals. Mr. Rodgers accepted the amendment, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for comment. There being none, he called the vote, and all were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report – April 2, 2001

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the revised Accounts Payable Report, and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Willig called for comment. There being none, he called the vote, and all were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report – March 1 – 31, 2001

Mr. Hogan moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for comment. There being none, he called the vote, and all were in favor.


Jane Opie, Court Reporter, was present to record the proceedings. Two hearings were opened and continued. They will be again held at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.

5)  Great Valley School District Conditional Use Application – continued to April 16, 2001, 7:30 P.M.

6)  Saddlebrook Conditional Use Application – continued to May 21, 2001, 7:30 P.M.


Zoning Officer

Mr. Kohli stated that his report for March is on file. He updated the Board on the signal installation at Route 401 and Valley Hill Road. The mast arms are to be delivered in the next three weeks, and installation should move along quickly after they arrive. PennDOT is undertaking the base repairs to the intersection and the Township will be responsible for the final paving.

Mrs. Ewald asked for the status of the flashing warning lights for the Route 401 and Newcomen Road intersection. Mr. Kohli said nothing has come in from PennDOT yet. They had agreed to issue the permit through Charlestown only for the flashing lights and four-way stop sign at the intersection.

Mrs. Ewald asked for the status of the 3 way stop sign at Ashenfelter and Whitehorse Road. Mr. Kuhn recalled that Schuylkill Township was opposed to a 3 way stop and that the matter hadn’t gone further. Mrs. Ewald will check with PennDOT.

Mr. Hogan said 35 MPH speed limit signs are needed for Coldstream Road. Mr. Kohli said he’ll contact PennDOT about posting signs.

Planning Commission

Mike Allen, Vice Chairman, said the Planning Commission is continuing its work on revising the comprehensive plan. They plan to set up some display maps during the May election for residents to examine. Mrs. Ewald asked if the railroad line and adaptive re-use of the ICM quarry have been discussed. Mr. Theurkauf said they have discussed both, including light passenger rail service. Mr. Kuhn said a future Park & Ride lot in Devault was mentioned as well. Mrs. Ewald mentioned the rails to trails program and the importance of maintaining the rail right of way on them to allow for future light rail service.

Historical Commission

Mrs. Baldwin said the Historical Commission report for March is on file. She said the Commission has enjoyed meeting at the Township office instead of the Rapp House due to the better lighting, heating and air conditioning.


Mr. Faggioli reported that fill work has been completed along Yellow Spring Road along the Pyle Farm and looks very good. A great deal of patching has been done on Valley Forge Christian College roads, though he noted F Street remains in poor shape and should be repaired in its entirety. There are several different owners for various portions of the road, however. He noted that F Street is a township road up to the stop sign. Mrs. Ewald added that the Phoenixville School District owns the portion between the former bowling alley site and the stop sign, and the federal government owns the portion from Township Line Road to the Phoenixville School District portion. She noted that the Phoenixville School District has kept the Renaissance Academy traffic from using their portion of the road, which is shown in the deed as a private road. Mr. Faggioli estimated a cost of $10,000 to put down a good base coat and topcoat. Mrs. Ewald offered to follow up with the Christian College to ask for financial participation for their segment of the road. Mr. Faggioli will get a firm estimate for the job.

Mr. Faggioli said other roads that need work are Oak Lane, Blackberry Lane where the road is caving in near the Burch construction project, Howells Road, and Peakes Pike. The Board scheduled a road tour for May 6, 2001 at 1:00 P.M., starting from the Township office.

Fire Marshal

Fred Alston, Fire Marshal, gave an informal report of activity for March and said he’ll submit the written report as soon as the information is available from both fire companies serving the Township.

There was discussion on whether to permit a controlled burn at Charlestown Park to take care of recent spring clean up. Mr. Oeste advised the Board that for liability reasons, burning should not be allowed. Mr. Hogan said he’d arrange to have the materials chipped instead.

Parks and Recreation

Mr. Connolly presented the March 2001 report for the Parks & Recreation Board, which included several requests for Board action. He also distributed the 10/29/99 cost estimate for the master site plan and a project funding summary for discussion purposes. Mr. Theurkauf distributed a sketch dated 3/30/01 showing proposed athletic fields and lighting improvements.

The following three items were addressed:

Expansion of Field #1 to Regulation Size and Development of Field #7: Mr. Connolly indicated the plan to reposition and expand Field #1 to 340 x 180 feet and improve swaling. Undue clearing would be avoided; however, widening would be needed along the creek and there would be a big cut into a hillside. Mr. Theurkauf believes Field #1 can be expanded without impact on the stream; however, the floodplain has not been delineated yet. He said he can’t provide a 50’ buffer from the stream with this expansion and feels more comfortable with the Field #7 proposal. Mr. Kuhn said the Township shouldn’t lower its standards for itself, and Mr. Kohli acknowledged that best management practices prohibit grading within 50 feet of the stream. Mr. Connolly said expanding the field in the direction of Township Line Road would bring in the need for 3 foot retaining walls, something that should be avoided due to safety concerns, cost, and the necessity of a fence. Mrs. Ewald said the master site plan is conceptual and these proposals are going way ahead of it. Mr. Willig said he’d like to spend more time on the design of the field, and that the site is too restrictive for a regulation size field. Mrs. Ewald suggested a site visit with the consultants before considering the matter further. With regard to Field # 7, Mr. Connolly said the PMYC has expressed an interest in developing a minimally graded field for a girls’ lacrosse program. He said there’s no hurry on Field #7, and at this time will just have it staked out for the Board’s consideration.

Field Lighting: Mr. Connolly said proposed lighting would be centered to allow uniform light by working within recommendations of a lighting consultant. He suggests putting up test balloons at 70 feet so board members can visualize the daytime impact of lights at this height. In addition to the height of the lights, their intensity must be considered, as regulation lighting has a higher foot candles requirement, 30 instead of 25 for recreational use. Mrs. Ewald said she has strong reservations about 70’ high lights. She believes the fields provide wonderful recreation for the kids and that they don’t need the level of competition that requires regulation fields and lights. Also, as more people use the park at night, a need will arise for lighted parking. A member of the audience said her kids played soccer for years and she is aware of the big difference lighted fields make. She said that instead of getting into trouble at night, lighted fields allow them the opportunity to play sports, and that higher level games attract older kids. Mr. Theurkauf said the master plan proposes only one lighted field, which should limit usership somewhat. Nelson Wentworth of the PASC said the Soccer Club has 500 children enrolled in its programs, and that Charlestown Park has the finest fields on their circuit. The PASC has a lighting grant with a non-extendable deadline of 12/31/01, so they’re anxious to move forward. Mr. Kuhn suggested the board members look at similar lights at the United Sports Training Center in Thorndale. Mr. Theurkauf advised the Board to look at the Thorndale lights in respect to spillage, but advised them to keep in mind that Charlestown has a much better vegetative buffer. Mr. Connolly will have the test balloons up for May 6th so the Board can visit the site following the road tour. The matter of lighting will be placed on the May 21st agenda.

Mr. Connolly said that regardless of field lighting, new electrical service is needed now, even without the additional lights. Underground service is proposed with new service to the snack bar and clubhouse. The cost of $17,000-20,000 for the service upgrade can probably be done within the scope of the PASC’s DCED grant.

Widening of Trails to 8 Feet instead of 6 ˝ feet: Mr. Connolly suggested that the Board visit the Kimberton Park, where eight feet wide trails are in place and look very attractive. Also, the trails proposed by the VFCC will be eight feet wide. He said cost of widening can be covered from the savings of omitting the gravel portion of the trails, which had already been determined to drop from the plan and maintain in a natural state. Mr. Kohli added that the wider trail is preferable for emergency vehicles and maintenance purposes as well. The Board will check out Kimberton Park and Mr. Willig placed the matter on the April 16, 2001 agenda for a vote.

Valley Forge Sewer Authority

Mr. Rodgers reported that the McEvoy situation is ongoing, and the Authority is waiting for Mr. McEvoy to respond to a settlement offer. Mr. Rodgers said Schuylkill Township has expressed an interest in constructing a leaf composting area on the VFSA property in their township. No action has been taken yet. Mr. Kuhn said that since the property belongs to the Authority’s joint members, one member shouldn’t be permitted an exclusive use like this.

Mr. Rodgers said that the Authority expects to exceed projected and actual capacity by 2004.

Turnpike CAC

Mrs. Staas reported no new activity.

Old Business

Toll Bros Inc. v. Charlestown Township

Mr. Oeste referred to the Toll Bros Inc. civil rights action against the Township, which is also against the Board members as individuals. The Township’s insurance carrier has assigned an attorney to cover the Board members’ actions in their official capacity, but does not cover them as individuals. A Resolution is proposed authorizing Lamb, Windle and McErlane to enter an appearance as co-counsel on behalf of the Township of Charlestown and the Board of Supervisors as well as for the board members as individuals, with the cost and expenses to be paid by the Township. Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Resolution #575-01 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion. Mrs. Staas asked why the suit is a civil action suit, and Mr. Oeste responded that it’s due to an alleged deprivation of federal civil rights. Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.

Advertise Mowing and Tree Work Bids

There was some discussion on whether to include all mowing in the mowing contract or to retain the current park contractor and bid just the roadside mowing. Mr. Kuhn said the current contractor doesn’t carry the required insurance, and he thinks it would be more efficient to have one contractor do all mowing. Mrs. Ewald said park mowing and roadside mowing are different types of work, and added that she knows someone who may be interested in haying at Pyle Farm. Mr. Willig asked her to tell the interested party to send a letter of interest. He added that in other areas, a farmer interested in harvesting hay rents ground, and Mr. Kuhn agreed that the Township shouldn’t just give it away if there is a market value. Mrs. Ewald asked who controls the mowing work, and Mr. Kuhn responded that Mr. Hogan and the Parks & Rec chairman do.

Mr. Kuhn said he is in favor of combining the tree bid and mowing bid for all areas of the township, and Mr. Rodgers agreed. The hours listed in the bid documents will be doubled to accommodate all work. Mr. Kuhn proposed one change to the bid documents, on page 4 under “Statement of Work”, item #3, to exclude the sentence, “The Supervisor appointed to manage road work will have additional responsibility in addition to the Roadmaster.” Mrs. Ewald said she had no problem with this as long as it’s understood that in an emergency any supervisor can step forward and assign work as needed. Mr. Kuhn agreed.

A majority of the Board reached a consensus that the bids will be advertised for opening on May 7th, 7:30 P.M. at the Board of Supervisors meeting to take place at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, Pa. Bids are due at the Township office by 3:00 P.M. that day. The Secretary was directed to make phone calls to area contractors inviting them to bid.

Job Descriptions

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve Job Descriptions for three positions, including Open Space Groundskeeper, Roadmaster and Animal Control Officer, all last revised 12/21/00. Mr. Hogan motioned to table and Mrs. Ewald seconded. Mr. Kuhn said he’d like to move forward, as the matter has been pending for some time. Mr. Willig seconded Mr. Kuhn’s motion. There being no further discussion, Mr. Willig called the vote. Four were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald did not vote. Mr. Rodgers asked her to state her reason for abstention. Mrs. Ewald did not respond.

New Business

Baughman Mill

Mr. Willig said the HARB has recommended that the Supervisors pursue the preservation of the Baughman Mill located in the Historic District. Mr. Oeste said the next step, according to the Zoning Ordinance, is for the Board to file a petition with the Building Inspector requesting that he direct a letter to the owner of the mill outlining what correction of defects and repairs need to be done within a specific timeframe. If there is no compliance, the Board will take further action. Mr. Kuhn moved that the Chairman write a letter to Mr. Kohli requesting he take action. Mr. Rodgers seconded the motion. Mr. Willig called for discussion. Mr. Rodgers asked if another attempt to discuss the matter with the property owner should be made before taking this step. It was generally agreed that since a number of dialogs have already taken place, further attempts would be unsuccessful. Mrs. Ewald said she respects the property owner for her steadfast commitment to the protection of land and its environment. The other Board members agreed, and Mr. Willig said he regretted the necessity of taking this step and that it doesn’t diminish the Board’s regard for the property owner. Mrs. Staas asked if the property owner would be interested in pursuing grant funding for work on the mill. Mrs. Ewald said in the past, government funding was always avoided by the owner due to the conditions that are typically attached to it. Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor. Mr. Willig will write the letter with specific language to be supplied by Mr. Oeste.

Altemose Land Development Plan

Mrs. Ewald moved to deny the “Beau Manoir Assisted Living & Nursing Home” Land Development Plan dated December 27, 2000 due to incompleteness of the application for reasons set forth in Mr. Kohli’s review letter of 2/19/01 and Mr. Comitta/Mr. Theurkauf’s review letter of 1/15/01, and directing the Township Solicitor to write the appropriate denial letter to applicants J. Leon and Carol Altemose. Mr. Kuhn seconded the motion. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Other Business

Planning Commission Appointment

Mr. Rodgers referred to a motion tabled from the March 19, 2001 meeting to appoint Rick Reis to a 4-year term on the Planning Commission. He moved to reinstate his motion, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. Four were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald did not vote. Mr. Kuhn asked her to state her reason for abstention. Mrs. Ewald said she is abstaining because the process was improper due to an individual whose private actions resulted in the decision being made outside of a public meeting. She said she is not objecting to the candidate personally, but to the process, and won’t rubber stamp someone else’s decision.

Mr. Kuhn asked for her reason for abstaining on the vote to approve the job descriptions earlier in the meeting. Mrs. Ewald responded that her reason was already given.


There was consensus to adjourn. Mr. Willig adjourned the meeting at 10:50 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Secretary