JUNE 4, 2001


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

The meeting location was changed from the Great Valley Middle School due to the Chairman learning late this afternoon of its unavailability. Notices were posted at the Middle School to direct attendees to the meeting. The meeting was called to order at 7:40 p.m.


Mr. Kuhn announced that he and Mr. Willig attended a meeting in Birchrunville on regional planning along with neighboring municipalities. Mr. Kuhn said he also attended a recent Phoenixville Chamber of Commerce meeting, where the attending townships each gave an update on their municipality. The County Commissioners and representatives from Phoenixville Borough and PennDOT were in attendance. Mr. Kuhn said much of the discussion focused on traffic issues.

Citizens Forum for Non-Agenda Items

Bill Hochwind, 5 Lindsay Lane, requested an extension on a building permit for his water tower project at 100 Hilltop Road, as the one year deadline will be expiring on June 12th. Mr. Kohli responded that as long as the project is progressing, he will accept a letter from Mr. Hochwind asking for the extension. No action is necessary this evening.

Marc Melso, a resident of Great Woods Lane, said there were a number of burglary attempts in the Whitehorse @ Charlestown community recently. The incidences were primarily entries into open garages. He asked if the time has come for the township to consider having its own police force. Mrs. Ewald responded no, that Charlestown receives as many calls to the police in a year as many neighboring townships do in a month. She suggested that Mr. Melso contact the state police and Charlestown Townwatch to notify them of the situation. Mr. Melso asked how far away the Embreville State Police Barracks are. Mr. Hogan responded that when the state police are out on patrol, they are generally 5-10 minutes away. Mrs. Ewald said the 9-1-1 center prioritizes calls and will contact our adjoining municipalities for mutual aid if a #1 priority call is received. Mr. Willig said the question of the need for a local police department is raised a few times each year, primarily with regard to traffic concerns. Mr. Kuhn said that with more serious incidents, the state police are generally called in to investigate anyway. He said that to begin a township police department, an additional ½ million dollars in taxes would be needed just to start it, and Charlestown’s crime statistics don’t warrant the cost at this time.


Minutes of May 21, 2001

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of May 21, 2001 as approved after resolving a question on a reference to a PennDOT traffic study for a no left turn lane from Route 29 onto Union Hill Road. Mr. Hogan seconded. With no further discussion, the vote was called and all were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report – June 4, 2001

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the General Fund Accounts Payable Report for June 4, 2001 with the exception of checks #3395-3400, which she proposed to table until later in the meeting. There was no second. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the General Fund Accounts Payable Report for June 4, 2001 with the exception of check #3395 only. Mr. Rodgers seconded Mr. Kuhn’s motion. There was no vote called. Mrs. Ewald moved to table both the General Fund and State Fund Accounts Payable Reports until later in the meeting. Mr. Willig seconded her motion, and all were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report – May 1 - 31, 2001

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for comment. Mrs. Ewald commended the Treasurer’s work. Mr. Willig called the vote, and all were in favor.


Zoning Officer

Mr. Kohli reported that PennDOT will be present at the intersection of Valley Hill and Route 401 on June 7th when the traffic light is turned to yellow flashing in all directions. The lights are required to flash for one week before the signal is made operational. Mr. Kuhn said not all the signals are installed yet, but Mr. Kohli said this only takes one day.

Mr. Kohli said he sent a letter to PennDOT requesting a speed limit study for Coldstream Road at the Board’s request. As usual, if the speed limit is reduced to 35 MPH, the Township will be responsible for posting and maintaining signs per PennDOT’s specifications. He also sent a letter requesting a traffic study to consider a “no left-turn” sign on Route 29 at Union Hill Road. Upon Mrs. Ewald’s inquiry, Mr. Kohli will check on the status of the stop sign warrant for Route 401 and Newcomen Road.

Mr. Kohli said he’ll follow up on Mr. Willig’s letter regarding the Charlestown Village Mill as soon as possible. Mr. Kuhn asked about the unsecured Volpi house, and Mr. Kohli said he contacted the owner and has received written confirmation that the house has been secured. Mrs. Ewald asked if the sign posted on this property is legal, and Mr. Kohli said there is no sign permit issued. He will follow up.

Planning Commission

Mike Allen, Planning Commission Vice Chairman, said that during the month of May, the Planning Commission made recommendations to approve the height variance request for Lot 18 of the Commons at Great Valley and to approve the conditional use application for Saddlebrook. He said that approximately 60 people attended the Comprehensive Plan presentation on May 22nd and that the Commission was very pleased with the turn out. He commended Thomas Comitta Associates for an excellent presentation.

Historical Commission

The report for May is on file. Member Charlie Philips reported that the Commission is pleased to hear that the Volpi house has been secured, and that the letter for the Charlestown Village Mill is to go out shortly. He said the Commission reviewed the Municipalities Planning Code for its requirements to incorporate historic preservation into the new Comprehensive Plan.


Mr. Faggioli said his report is on file. Bell Circle has been milled and is ready for paving. A discussion on paving matters was tabled until later in the meeting.

Charlie Philips, Hollow Road, asked when the intersection of Charlestown Road and Hollow Road will be cut. He said it’s very dangerous and fears a fatality if not addressed immediately. Mr. Kohli will contact PennDOT to take care of it. Mrs. Ewald suggested contacting the property owner at this intersection to see if they would be willing to maintain it. The Secretary will provide her with the owner’s name.

Fire Marshal/Emergency Operations

Mr. Alston provided a verbal report and will turn in his written report as soon as possible. He said the East Whiteland Fire Company is currently conducting its annual fund drive. He announced that the EOC now has a two line answering machine and that calls will be directed to either 9-1-1 or the Township office depending on their nature. He invited residents to join the EOC, as new members are always welcome and needed.

Parks and Recreation

Mr. Hogan requested permission from the Fire Marshal for burning a pile of cuttings collected by tree contractor Josh Lord. He said burning would save approximately $1,000 over chipping. Mr. Alston advised that the cuttings be chipped, and the other Board members were in agreement that they must follow the ordinance in this matter.

Mr. Hogan said that Josh Lord prepared a trench leading to the Township Line Road drain to allow access for cleaning out the pipe across from Charlestown Park. The flushing of the pipe will be directed away from the creek.

Mr. Hogan said that the gate and boulder previously discussed has been placed at the Brightside Farm and Mark Cabot weedwacked a trail leading to the spring house on the property. Mr. Faggioli noted that Mr. Cabot is doing an excellent job for him as well on road-related work.

Mr. Hogan said he met with Galloway Morris at the Brightside Farm to discuss the possibility of having a permanent military vehicle display there. He asked Mr. Morris to send in a proposal prior to the Brightside Farm visioning meeting scheduled for June 11th. He also requested a proposal from an antique auto group and invited both groups to attend the meeting.

Mr. Hogan said Parks & Rec Chairman Mark Connolly drafted a letter to residents located on or adjacent to the Horseshoe Trail as an outreach effort to promote and preserve the trail. Mr. Willig suggested the Board review the draft and discuss it at the next meeting.

Mr. Theurkauf said he e-mailed a draft letter to the Board that would be sent to surrounding neighbors of Charlestown Park notifying them of the soccer field lighting under consideration. Presently, 60 foot high poles are being considered, and he said he’d like his lighting engineer to look at this and determine if the poles need to be higher to strike a balance between adequate field lighting and minimal light spillage. After some discussion on the details of the letter, Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the letter as drafted, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. All were in favor.

Valley Forge Sewer Authority

Mr. Rodgers said the VFSA meeting in April had no quorum, so there was only general discussion at that time. He said the VFSA settled the McEvoy matter. Mrs. Ewald said Mr. Rodgers was doing a good job as a board member of the Authority.

Turnpike CAC

Mr. Philips reported no new activity. The Committee is still waiting for a response on their request for alternatives. Mr. Kuhn said Mrs. Staas is trying to set up a joint meeting with Tredyffrin, Schuylkill, East Whiteland, and Charlestown Townships, along with Bill Fulton of the County Planning Commission.

Old Business

Rapps Run Drive

Dr. David Hitz, President of the Rapps Run Homeowners’ Association was present to continue discussion of the homeowners’ request that the Board consider accepting dedication of Rapps Run Drive and its stormwater management system. Mr. Willig said the discussion was continued to this evening in order to provide the Board with an opportunity to review the original plans and agreements associated with the subdivision.

Mr. Kuhn said he saw no compelling reason for the Township to accept dedication of Rapps Run Drive. The road was not built to Township specifications with relation to sewers, drainage and curbing. The Township would pick up liability and expenses that would be borne by all township taxpayers, yet the road was approved as a private road at the time of subdivision and was intended to remain private when approved by a former Board.

Mr. Willig asked if an avoidance of meeting Township specifications was the reason the road was slated as a private road. Dr. Hitz said the road is 24 feet wide and curbed for the first 520 feet. The straight part, an additional 484 feet, was not curbed. He said the Homeowners Association didn’t want to offer the road for dedication until all eight homes were built and the decision to offer could be made by all the residents. He said the road is in excellent condition and won’t need to be touched for 60 years. $7,000 remaining in the road fund would be turned over to the Township along with the dedication. Mr. Willig said he read through the Homeowners Association agreement and noted that dedication was held out as a possibility but not stated as a clear intention. He asked if something precipitated the Association’s interest in dedication. Dr. Hitz said it was the first time all 8 property owners agreed to offer the road. Filing the annual tax statements and arranging for winter maintenance has become time consuming. Mr. Willig said that when a road is intended for future dedication, this is specified at the time of subdivision. Mr. Kohli agreed that this is always noted in the plans, which was not the case with Rapps Run Drive. Mr. Kuhn asked if the curbing and Stormwater requirements were waived because the Township understood the road was not to be dedicated, and Mr. Kohli responded yes. Mrs. Ewald said that during the subdivision process, consideration of waivers is given during the planning process when an applicant expresses the preference of a private road.

There being no further discussion, Mr. Willig moved to accept the dedication of Rapps Run Drive. There was no second. Mr. Kuhn moved to deny the offer of dedication for Rapps Run Drive, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.


Emma Conditional Use Application

Jane Opie, Court Reporter, was present to record the proceedings. The hearing was opened and continued to June 18, 2001, 7:30 P.M. with an emergency date of July 2, 2001 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.

Spring Lane Farms Conditional Use Application

Jane Opie, Court Reporter, was present to record the proceedings. At the applicant’s request, the hearing was opened and continued to July 16, 2001, 7:30 P.M. with an emergency date of August 6, 2001 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.

Saddlebrook Conditional Use Application

Jane Opie, Court Reporter, was present to record the proceedings. At the applicant’s request, the hearing was opened and continued to July 2, 2001, 7:30 P.M. with an emergency date of July 16, 2001 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.

Old Business – Continued

Stoudt Subdivision – Sewage Facilities Planning Module

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Resolution #578-01 to adopt and submit to the Department of Environmental Protection for its approval a revision to the Official Sewage Facilities Plan of Charlestown Township to include the Stoudt Subdivision to be served by individual on-lot systems. Mr. Kuhn seconded and all were in favor.

New Business

Blackberry Lane – Subsidence and Road Resurfacing

Mr. Kohli explained that when Blackberry Lane was paved and widened by Delaware Valley Paving last year, a trench and pipe were relocated and backfilled with stone in one portion and dirt in another. The dirt-filled section was never intended to be located under the road surface; however, blacktop was placed over the edge of the trench, and due to occasional traffic driving close to the shoulder of the road, a subsidence occurred in the area of the pipe causing a weakening of the road edge. The stone filled section has not had any problems. Mrs. Ewald questioned the cost of $18,000 +/- to repair the road when $102,000 was spent last year to resurface it. Mr. Faggioli said the new work was not repair work, but widening work, although Mrs. Ewald said the invoices state it was repair work. Mr. Kohli said he suggested widening the road in the stone filled area, but beyond that section, the pipe was not intended to go under the road. Mr. Faggioli said the road was placed exactly where it was before.

Mr. Kuhn asked if Emma Builders is responsible for improper installation of the pipe. Mr. Kohli said no, the builder was not required to put down stone and compact it, and the pipe was not misplaced. Mr. Faggioli said he suggested widening the road to improve drainage. The pipe was dug up, moved, the trench was backfilled, the ditch was paved and the road widened. Mr. Willig said when the road was paved last fall, the pipe and road were constructed according to specifications, but since they were so close together, this problem of subsidence occurred. Mr. Rodgers said the original compaction of dirt was not done correctly. Mr. Kohli said this is not usually needed on the shoulder. Mr. Willig said it sounds like lax requirements caused the problem, and questioned who is responsible. Mr. Kuhn said that the current contractor, Melchiorre Construction, did the work at the township’s direction and the township must pay the $18,000 cost.

Mrs. Ewald asked the Roadmaster for an explanation of the $18,000 cost. Mr. Faggioli said the cost included removing the dirt on top of the pipe, correcting the drainage, raising the drain, raising the grate, using cement and bricks, raising the road contour and replacing the dirt. A good amount of base coat and top coat were placed on the area, and the work was done according to his direction. Mr. Kohli said this type of labor is tedious and labor intensive due to the narrow width of the job.

Mrs. Ewald asked Mr. Melchiorre for his explanation of the $18,000 cost. He said he didn’t feel it was appropriate for him to respond since he wasn’t the field person directing the crew. A foreman from his company was there working under Mr. Faggioli’s direction. He said his company was directed to do more work after the budget figure was reached.

Mrs. Ewald said the cost of the Peaks Pike paving was excessive and relates to this work. Mr. Willig suggested addressing Peaks Pike after finishing the discussion on Blackberry Lane, since the Blackberry Lane work wasn’t an estimated project. Mr. Kuhn said he visited the Blackberry Lane site three times and saw no problem with the ongoing work. Two other supervisors also visited the site, and Mrs. Ewald shouldn’t criticize the bill since she didn’t visit the site to inspect the work. He said it’s the Roadmaster’s job to oversee this work and that the bill to Melchiorre Construction should be paid.

Mr. Rodgers made a motion to approve the payment of work on Blackberry Lane to Melchiorre Construction Company and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion. Mrs. Ewald said she will approve the cost this time but in the future wants to see a cost estimate on any repair of this size prior to the work being done. Mr. Kuhn agreed that for a scope of work like the Blackberry Lane work, an estimate should be provided in advance. Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.

Peaks Pike Paving

Mrs. Ewald questioned the content of the cost estimate for Peaks Pike, along with the estimates for the other roads listed in Melchiorre Construction’s letter of May 11th. The estimate on Peaks Pike was $8,850.00 and the invoices for the completed job total approximately $15,000. Mr. Faggioli said this amount was adjusted to $10,000 after reviewing the invoices with the Treasurer and determining that the invoices relating to Peaks Pike work on May 4th should not have been included. The May 4th invoices were for repair work on Peaks Pike that was ordered before the decision to pave the road was made and before the estimate was provided. Mr. Kuhn said the Board wasn’t aware of the earlier repair work, so the cost of it combined with the paving work took them by surprise. He said he would have expected the earlier work’s cost to be included in the cost estimate. Mr. Melchiorre said this is just a communications problem and that he would have included the repair cost if he had known it was expected. He said he could do so in the future if the Board agreed on the scope of what the estimates should contain. Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Melchiorre what he considered as a reasonable amount of variance on a cost estimate vs. actual cost. He responded 10% plus or minus. Mr. Faggioli criticized the Treasurer for reporting the higher figure to the Board without coming to him first for clarification.

Estimates on Road Work

Mrs. Ewald said she wants to see more accurate road estimate costs as outlined in her memo of last week. Mr. Melchiorre agreed to follow this request and revise his cost estimates on the remaining roads proposed for paving this year. The revised estimates will be submitted within two weeks after Mr. Faggioli defines the scope of work and has submitted it to the Board for approval. Mr. Willig agreed that this will make clear what the estimate includes, and stated that the other Board members agree with Mrs. Ewald’s memo. Mr. Melchiorre agreed to meet the estimate of $9,200 provided for the paving of Bell Circle.

Mrs. Ewald requested a cost estimate for both F Street and 5th Avenue, where there are multiple owners to share the cost of the paving. Mr. Melchiorre will contact her to arrange a meeting at the site.

Mrs. Ewald/Mr. Willig moved to approve the paving for Bell Circle, which has already been milled. Mr. Rodgers seconded and all were in favor.

There was a consensus among the board members that one road will be assigned for paving at a time, after which the costs will be reviewed before assigning the next road.

Mrs. Ewald asked if all road sweeping has been completed in the Township and Mr. Melchiorre responded yes.

Accounts Payable Report

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Accounts Payable Report for June 4, 2001 and Mr. Rodgers seconded. All were in favor.

Barrett’s Tree Service – Performance Bond

Matt Barrett of Barrett’s Tree Service had requested last week that the Board consider reducing the amount of his Performance Bond for the annual tree service contract due to the over-estimation of annual hours incorporated into the bid package. Mr. Kuhn moved to lower the required amount of the Performance Bond for Barrett’s Tree Service to $25,000.00, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. All were in favor.

Insurance Renewals 6/11/01 – 6/10/02

The Secretary said the insurance package was received this morning via overnight delivery. Mrs. Ewald moved to renew the insurance policies with the Simkiss Agency for the period of 6/11/01 through 6/10/02 and to approve check #3409 for the annual premium amount of $12,386.00. Mr. Kuhn moved to renew the policies for the specified period and to approve check #3410 for the first quarter of the annual premium amount of $3,096.50, provided a quarterly payment schedule can be arranged. Mr. Rodgers seconded Mr. Kuhn’s motion. Mrs. Ewald proposed an amendment to Mr. Kuhn’s motion to allow for the drafting of both checks so the annual fee is ready to remit prior to the deadline should a quarterly schedule by unfeasible. Mr. Kuhn accepted the amendment and Mr. Rodgers seconded. All were in favor.

Deerfield Subdivision

Mr. Oeste recommended that the Board deny the Deerfield Subdivision Plan subject to the receipt of a letter of extension to the review period deadline of 6/11/01 from Genterra Corporation. Mrs. Ewald so moved. Mr. Rodgers seconded and all were in favor.

Other Business

Appointment – Zoning Hearing Board Alternate

Mr. Willig stated that the Zoning Hearing Board Solicitor had communicated to the Board that the Zoning Board wished to see the position of alternate filled. Mr. Willig said the Supervisors met in executive session prior to tonight’s meeting to interview Michael Bowell for the position of alternate to the Zoning Hearing Board. Another candidate had been invited to interview but had not responded. Mrs. Ewald moved to appoint Michael Bowell to the Zoning Hearing Board as Alternate, to serve when a regular member is recused or absent from the hearing of an application. Mr. Hogan seconded and all were in favor.

A discussion was held with regard to the Stevens, neighbors of Mr. Bowell not present this evening, who have frequently questioned whether zoning violations are taking place on Mr. Bowell’s property. Mr. Willig suggested that the Board pose a list of questions, provided by the Zoning Officer, to Mr. Bowell for his response in order to determine whether he is in compliance with current zoning. Mr. Bowell agreed to respond. It is hoped that this will resolve these questions to the Stevens’ satisfaction.


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

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Secretary