JULY 2, 2001 – approved July 16, 2001


Hugh Willig, Chairman, Kevin Kuhn, Vice-Chairman, Paul Hogan, 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 was called to order at 7:35 p.m.


Mr. Willig announced that the Board met in Executive Session on June 25, 2001 to discuss personnel matters.

Citizens Forum for Non-Agenda Items

Gene Coccio, Township Line Road, stated his opposition to the Township restoring the pipe that runs through a berm at Charlestown Park. He believes this will cause additional water run off onto his property. Mr. Hogan explained that in conjunction with the trail work, the Township wanted to re-open the pipe to alleviate pooling of stagnant water on the Park side. The water will drain into a much larger field on the Park side. Mr. Coccio believes the water will find its way to the pipe that runs under Township Line Road and eventually onto his property. Mr. Willig asked if he had any problem with the recent heavy rain. Mr. Coccio responded no, but another day of similar rain would have caused a problem.

Mr. Coccio asked why a fully engineered stormwater management plan wasn’t required prior to the construction of the trail. Mr. Theurkauf responded that the stormwater management system isn’t needed until the parking lot improvement is underway. There has been no change in the grading, and the Chester County Conservation District agreed with the Township that the system isn’t needed at this juncture of the improvement schedule.

There was some discussion on the original pipe, which was placed in the artificial berm 40-50 years ago along with regrading of the property when the golf course was in operation. Mr. Coccio said he has pictures of the original pipe in the berm, which never went all the way through but stopped in the middle. Mr. Kuhn said he’d like to see them.

Mr. Hogan and the other Board members assured Mr. Coccio that if a problem is created, the Township will correct it.


Minutes of June 18, 2001

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of June 18, 2001 and Mr. Hogan seconded. All were in favor.

Accounts Payable Reports – July 2, 2001

Mr. Hogan questioned the Barrett’s Tree Service invoice for tree removal on Bell Circle, Wells Road and Pine Drive when the Board disapproved similar work for Sycamore Lane. Mr. Kuhn said this is one of the reasons controls are being developed for future work of this nature. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Accounts Payable for the General Fund for July 2, 2001. Mr. Hogan seconded and all were in favor.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Accounts Payable for the State Fund for July 2, 2001. Mr. Hogan seconded and all were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report – June 1 - 30, 2001

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report, and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Willig called the vote, and all were in favor.


Zoning Officer/Township Engineer

Mr. Kohli said the signal at Route 401 and Valley Hill Road has been in operation for about one week. Bob Jones one of the right turn arrows is not operating, and Mr. Alston said he’d check it on his way home this evening.

Mr. Kohli said PennDOT issued a joint permit between West Pikeland and Charlestown Townships for a four way stop at Route 401 and Newcomen Road. This would be a four way flashing red light system. However, the poles and advance warning light are all on West Pikeland’s side, and easements for them must be obtained as they are out of the road right of way. A signaled intersection is out of the question unless the intersection is completely upgraded per PennDOT specifications. Mr. Kuhn asked if West Pikeland Township will agree to the 4 way stop if Charlestown Township pays the entire cost, as they previously stated their opposition to this light. Mr. Rodgers, the liaison to West Pikeland Township, will contact them to inquire on these points.

Historical Commission/H.A.R.B.

Mrs. Philips reported that the Historical Commission met at the Pyle Farm on June 19th for a walk through. They requested a proposal from Dale Frens to conduct a structures inventory and conditions report. The proposal is expected by the end of this week. Mr. Hogan said the Township is waiting for two other proposals from structural engineers as well.

Mrs. Philips said the Historical Commission recommends the appointment of a new member, Fran Rodgers.The ordinance provides for a minimum number of members, but no maximum. Mr. Kuhn moved to appoint Fran Rodgers to the Historical Commission/H.A.R.B. for a four year term ending 12/31/04. Mr. Willig seconded and all were in favor.

Fire Marshal/Emergency Operations

Mr. Alston provided details from his reports for May and June. He again invited residents to join the EOC, as new members are always welcome and needed. Mr. Alston said he received the draft Fire Control and Hazardous Materials ordinances from Mr. Oeste, and they have been returned to him for some changes. Next the drafts will go to the two fire chiefs for review and comment.

Parks and Recreation

Mr. Hogan said the blacktop has been nearly completed on the Charlestown Park trail project. There is some problem with the blacktop extending over the stone base and laying directly over the grass, which will cause break-up. Mr. Kohli is meeting with Associated Paving Inc. tomorrow morning to determine how this can be corrected.

Mr. Hogan said Melchiorre Construction will be working tomorrow on an area at the Park across from Lord’s Tree Service. Mr. Faggioli will contact the state with regard to providing guardrails, and Mr. Theurkauf and Mr. Hogan will design guardrails for the bridge after determining safety regulations on the railing widths.


Emma Conditional Use Application

Mr. Oeste opened the hearing. There was no additional testimony and the record was officially closed. A decision will be rendered within 45 days.

Old Business

Correction to Bid Award

The Secretary explained that at the Jun 18, 2001 meeting, the stone bid was mistakenly awarded to Independence Construction Materials as the low bidder (pending the engineer’s review) because the delivered price was read from the bid proposal instead of the F.O.B. plant price. The low bidder was actually Glasgow Inc. Mr. Kuhn moved to accept Glasgow Inc. as the low bidder for stone materials for the period of July 1, 2001 – June 30, 2002. Mr. Willig seconded and all were in favor.

Charlestown Park – Soccer Light Pole Height

The Board continued its discussions on determining the height of the proposed soccer field lights at Charlestown Park. Mark Connolly, Parks & Rec Chairman, provided some background on the Park. He explained that the Park has two concessionaires, The Phoenixville Marion Youth Club (PMYC) and the Phoenixville Area Soccer Club (PASC), which maintain all the playing fields at the Park. The PMYC sponsors football and field hockey, and the PASC has soccer programs ranging from pee-wees through seniors, with this year estimated at approximately 400 participants. The Township procured a grant in 1998 for Park improvements. A requirement of obtaining the grant was that the Township first develop and adopt a Master Site Plan. This process took place over a series of open meetings and was adopted in May 2000. The Township is now in the implementation stage for the improvements, which include the trail and new soccer field lights.

The competition soccer field currently has a second-hand light system on 35 foot high poles, which had been erected and supplied by volunteers several years ago. The intent of replacing these lights is to improve lighting on the field while reducing existing spillage and glare. Currently, the soccer field is used for competition play only except during the fall when it is used for practice as well. Mr. Connolly explained that one of the criteria for the park imposed by the federal government and now by the County due to the grant program, is that there are no limits on the use of the facility. He anticipates that the improved lighting will greatly increase the requests for use of the field. Mr. Kuhn asked what the evening usage is at present, and Mr. Connolly responded that it ranges from 3 times per week to a less common 7 times per week. Additional usage will require that the PASC improve turf management. Currently they fertilize and re-seed the fields each year and cover the cost of electricity for the lighting, the soccer clubhouse and the snack bar.

Mr. Connolly said he’d like to use the initial lighting project for the competition soccer field to establish lighting standards for the football and field hockey fields for improvements to them in the future. Gene Coccio, an East Pikeland Township resident on Township Line Road, said he has plenty of complaints and that the Charlestown Parks & Rec Board has been unresponsive. He lives directly across from the football field and wants those lights improved. Mr. Willig said that improvements to the football field lighting are not part of this project. Mr. Connolly said that by formulating the design standard for the soccer field lights, it will eventually benefit Mr. Coccio when the time comes to re-do the football field lights. Mr. Connolly said that Mr. Coccio was present during the master site plan meetings and his concerns were addressed and incorporated to the extent possible into the plan. He added that the Parks & Rec Board wants the Township Planner to proceed now with the vegetative plan, which will benefit residents of Township Line Road. Mr. Connolly added that there is a third lighted field adjacent to the Park in Schuylkill Township that is sponsored by East Pikeland Township and the Borough of Phoenixville Recreation Department. The land is GSA owned and the field has significant lighting problems. The lights are at a higher elevation and cause a significant spill and glare problem over which Charlestown has no control.

Scott McCaffrey, a lighting designer, was introduced to explain the proposed lighting system for the soccer field. He defined spillage as the light that is visible off the field when an individual has his back to the lights. Common ordinances in other municipalities require that spillage be less than ½ or 1 foot-candle at the property line. Charlestown Township currently has no such ordinance. Mr. McCaffrey said Charlestown is considering either 60 foot or 70 foot high lights. Either plan will cause under ½ foot-candle spillage at the property line. He said spillage is measured in degrees and whether or not someone finds it disturbing is a very subjective matter. Mr. McCaffrey then defined the problem of glare, which is an intensely bright light source. Lights must be aimed at a certain degree angle at a specific height to minimize glare. Mr. Connolly said that the view into the soccer field along Township Line Road is limited. The field is in a lower area, and conifers planted as a buffer will eventually shield the view completely. He said that in summer, with the added buffer of deciduous tree leaves, there are very few angles where the field can be seen at present.

Mr. Coccio objected to the appearance of 60 foot lights and stated it deteriorates his quality of life. Mr. Connolly said that the intention is to place the poles into the tree lines as much as possible on the uphill side in order to make them as aesthetic as possible. Mr. Theurkauf said providing the vegetative buffer that is part of the Master Plan will help mitigate the problem.

Mr. Connolly compared 60 and 70 foot high poles. He said 60 foot poles are much less expensive, as they can be constructed of no-maintenance concrete, whereas 70 foot poles must be galvanized steel. The additional 10 feet in height can add as much as 50% to the cost of the poles. Mr. Theurkauf said the critical minimum height to control glare may be touchy at 60 feet. How can the Township be assured that glare won’t be a problem with the lower poles? Mr. McCaffrey said he can calculate the glare factor accurately, and if the Township decides to go with 60 foot poles; there will be no surprises.

Mr. Connolly said that as part of the lighting project, the existing overhead electric service would be changed to an underground service with a pad mount behind the snack bar. It would serve the clubhouse (future plan), snack bar and soccer field lights with the bill going directly to the PASC. He noted that the football fields already have a pad mounted underground service. Mr. Willig asked if the PASC can cover the costs of the added electric service. Mr. Connolly said they most likely haven’t considered it yet, but should have no problem since they can charge for use of the lighted fields by other groups in order to cover their costs.

Mr. Coccio said the sport programs create a great deal of noise. Mr. Connolly said the majority of this noise is from the football game and to a lesser extent, the field hockey games. A loudspeaker is used with football, and it may be possible to improve upon the sound system. Mr. Willig agreed that technology and some control over hours of operation may be able to improve upon the noise factor.

Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Coccio if he doesn’t feel his quality of life is better now with the Park than it was 20 years ago when the Army Hospital was in operation. Mr. Coccio answered no, and expounded upon his answer.

There was some discussion on whether a zoning ordinance amendment will be required for the poles, which exceed 35 feet in height. Mr. Oeste said the zoning issue is avoided due to a provision that the maximum height may be exceeded by one foot for every additional 10 feet the structure is located from the setback. The proposed poles appear to meet the zoning ordinance.

Mr. Connolly gave some details on the budgeting aspect of the park improvements. The $70,000 grant from the County is half the entire project amount of $140,000, leaving the Township to expend the other $70,000. Ten percent, $14,000, was allocated to the development of the Master Site Plan, $25,000 was allocated for lighting including $6,000 in design fees and development of the bid document, and the remainder, $101,000, was for the trails. The deadline for completion of all work is 12/31/01.

Mr. Connolly proposed a bid opening date at the first September Board meeting, and requested that approval to begin the design phase be made as soon as possible. He said the Parks & Recreation Board recommends and supports the lighting improvements, and he personally favors the 60 foot high poles. Mr. Willig, Mr. Kuhn and Mr. Hogan were in consensus that the contract should be let out immediately for the design activity. Mr. Willig proposed to table the final vote on the lighting to July 16, 2001 to allow the full board to be present and to gain additional input from the neighbors. Mr. Connolly will be flying test balloons at the Park at the pole height locations and taking pictures and videos in order to determine the offsite impact of the proposed lighting. This will take place on July 14, 2001 at 9:00 A.M. with a rain date of July 15th. The Secretary will post a notice on the website inviting neighbors of the Park to check out the test and participate at the July 16th meeting.

New Business

Haly Subdivision – 2 lots on Charlestown Road

Mr. Kohli said the subdivision is a straightforward division of one parcel into two lots and that the Planning Commission has reviewed the plan and recommended approval. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Haly subdivision plan and Mr. Willig seconded. All were in favor.

Late Spring Developers Inc. – Land Development Plan

Christine Kimmel, Esq. presented the land development plan for the 5.8 acre parcel at Spring Mill Drive and Phoenixville Pike for a 43,000 square foot office building and its related parking area. Mike Trio of O’Neill Properties described the proposed building as a 2 story Class A office building and displayed a rendering of it. The property will be accessed from an existing curb cut on Spring Mill Drive. He said the parking lot conforms to the recent Zoning Hearing Board Decision granting two variances and complies with the Conditional Use approval previously granted by the Board of Supervisors.

Ms. Kimmel referenced two items on Mr. Kohli’s review letter, the first being directed to Note #13 on the plan, which refers to the timing and construction of the reserve parking area, which must be built if the Board determines the necessity. This could be triggered at the time of a new tenant whose use could change the office/warehouse mix and therefore the parking needs. The Township would be aware of such a change due to the requirement that new commercial tenants apply for a use & occupancy permit. The parking problem arises from the original subdivision of this tract called “Glen Brae”. Carter Fergusson subdivided the parcel into two lots with an existing office building on Lot #1. However, some of the reserve parking area for the Lot #1 building was located on what is now Lot #2. With the approval of a land development plan on Lot #2, a mechanism is needed to trigger either the construction of this parking area for Lot #1 or its relocation to an area on Lot #1 should the need for the parking arise in the future. Mr. Oeste said that in order to make the Lot #1 owner responsible for this future event, they must either sign the Late Springs Plan acknowledging their acceptance of Note #13, or sign some other binding document. Ms. Kimmel said they did sign the original Glen Brae subdivision plan, however, Mr. Kohli said the language pertaining to the parking wasn’t specific enough to resolve the issue. Mr. Oeste suggested that Note #13 be changed to require that the owner of Lot #1 record a covenant acknowledging responsibility for the parking issue.

Mr. Oeste referenced note #3, indicating that all access to Lot #2 is through the existing driveway into Lot #1. He asked if an easement was in place allowing this access. Mr. Kohli said an easement is shown on the Glen Brae subdivision plan and the owner of Lot #1 signed it.

Mr. Theurkauf said all issues relating to the review by Thomas Comitta Associates have been resolved.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan for Late Spring Developers Inc. subject to the Solicitor’s acceptance of revisions to Note #13 as discussed, and subject to Mr. Oeste’s and Mr. Kohli’s comments. Mr. Willig seconded and all were in favor.

Whitehorse Meadows – Request for Change to Covenants and Restrictions Document

Mr. Kuhn said he spoke to Mr. Main today, who couldn’t attend this evening but requested conditional approval of his request for the Board’s acceptance of changes to the Covenants and Restrictions for Whitehorse Meadows. The approval would be subject to the Solicitor’s review and Mr. Main’s producing signatures from the homeowners. Mr. Kuhn said he preferred to wait until the review and signatures were available. Mr. Willig tabled the matter to July 16, 2001.

Pennsylvania Local Government Secretaries Association – Annual Conference

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Secretary’s request to attend the annual PLGSA conference from August 8 – 11, 2001 in Gettysburg, PA and Mr. Hogan seconded. All were in favor.

Visioning Process – Brightside Farm

Mr. Theurkauf outlined Thomas Comitta Associates’ proposal to direct a visioning process for the Brightside Farm, consisting of four elements:

  1. Act as an impartial moderator to the visioning process, which would include 2-3 brainstorming sessions. The Board members could then participate with input and ideas in the same manner as the general public.
  2. Conduct a site analysis.
  3. Conduct a feasibility analysis of those ideas and suggestions brought forward.
  4. Develop a series of recommendations for the Board for review.

This would lead to the following steps:

  1. Revise the recommendations as needed.
  2. Make a formal presentation of the recommendations.
  3. Accept further review, comments and make final revisions

Next would be the Board’s consideration of adoption of the final document, which Mr. Theurkauf said would be more of a concept plan than an actual land use plan. Mr. Kuhn asked if TCA will collaborate with Dale Frens, the Township Historical Architectural consultant, and Mr. Theurkauf said yes, they would incorporate his comments and those of all other consultants into their recommendations.

There was considerable discussion on whether a format should be developed for the submission of proposals for use of the property. Mr. Theurkauf was concerned that if a format is too structured some good ideas will be lost by those who feel intimidated by the process. He felt a simple, more basic format would be preferable to a detailed proposal form.

Mr. Connolly said that unlike other planning processes, he’d like to see the final product of this visioning process include some of the steps taken along the way, to show some of the interim processes and suggestions even if they’re not incorporated into the end product. This document would be more informative to the public in answering their questions on how the final uses were selected and what consideration was given to alternatives.

Mr. Connolly looked toward the end of the visioning process when certain proposals for use have been selected. How will those individuals and organizations be notified? He recommended developing a charter for them, some document they can use when pursuing grants and other sources of funding for their projects.

The following steps for the Brightside Farm were agreed upon at this time:

  1. A short term (1-2 year) caretaker for the Farm will be voted on at the August 6, 2001 Board meeting. There are currently three proposals for this position, and others are invited to submit additional ones.
  2. An ad hoc committee consisting of Mr. Hogan, Mrs. Ewald, Mr. Connolly, and Jacob Merriwether is appointed to oversee maintenance issues at the Farm and report back to the Board of Supervisors, with minor issues reported to the Township Administrator. Details on how to administrate the $12,000 maintenance budget for 2001 must be worked out.
  3. Mr. Theurkauf will revise the TCA visioning proposal to reflect discussions this evening.
  4. Visioning and brainstorming sessions will be scheduled outside of regular Supervisors business meetings.
  5. The Secretary will issue a press release announcing the visioning process as soon as a meeting schedule is available.
  6. The Board of Supervisors will serve as the body to which TCA will answer on this process, with input needed and welcome from all other boards and commissions.

Mr. Kuhn moved to engage Thomas Comitta Associates to direct the visioning process for the Brightside Farm. Mr. Hogan seconded and all were in favor.

Request for Donation - George Reed Memorial Garden

Mr. Willig referred to the Great Valley Nature Center’s letter of May 23, 2001 where a donation of $2,500.00 was requested to restore the George A. Reed Memorial Garden. A total of $6,500.00 is needed and $500.00 has been raised thus far. Mr. Hogan said he favors the donation. Mr. Kuhn was reluctant to use the taxpayer’s money for this purpose. Mr. Oeste will check the limit on the Board’s authority to make a charitable donation, for which this would qualify. Mr. Kuhn moved to contribute $500.00. There was no second. The matter was tabled to July 16, 2001.

Michael Allen Escrow Release #1

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve Michael Allen’s Escrow Release Request #1 for $13,845.00 and Mr. Willig seconded. All were in favor.

Commons @ Great Valley Lot 15 Escrow Release #2

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Commons at Great Valley Escrow Release Request #2 and Mr. Willig seconded. All were in favor.

Other Business

Zoning Issue – Mrs. Janes

Mr. Hogan referred to Mrs. Janes’ letter dated 6/27/01 requesting permission to continue raising guinea hens, which has been her pastime for many years. Mr. Kohli said noise isn’t an issue, and the property is 3.4 acres. Four acres is required by the 1979 Zoning Ordinance for the raising of livestock. Mr. Kohli said the Board may waive the 4 acre requirement if they wish and accept the situation as a legal existing non-conforming use. There is a good possibility that her raising of hens pre-dates the zoning ordinance. Mr. Willig moved to approve the waiver, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. All were in favor. Mr. Willig will contact Mrs. Janes.


Mr. Willig moved to adjourn and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig adjourned the meeting at 10:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Secretary