JULY 16, 2001 – approved 8/6/01


Hugh Willig, Chairman, Kevin Kuhn, Vice-Chairman, Irene Ewald, Paul Hogan, Tom Oeste, Esq., Gary Bender, Esq., Surender Kohli, P.E., Ed Theurkauf, Planner, Leah Campion, Secretary, and those on the attached attendee list


Mike Rodgers

Mr. Willig called the meeting to order at 7:40 p.m.


Mr. Hogan said the trail at Charlestown Park is finished and the surrounding ground has been top soiled and seeded. The footbridge is almost complete, and the determination was made to use a product called “trek”, a plastic composite, on the handrails to prevent splinters. The culvert at Township Line Road is also finished.

Mr. Kuhn said he attended a regional planning meeting at Phoenixville Borough. Schuylkill Township, East and West Vincent Townships, and Spring City Borough were also present.

Mrs. Ewald said she attended a ceremony at Moore Hall sponsored by the French & Pickering Creek Trust. The Trust purchased property surrounding the historic home for preservation purposes. It was open to the public, there was a fife and drum corp., and historic knowledge of the various rooms in the Hall was provided. The Hall is on Route 23 in Schuylkill Township. George Washington defended himself for fitness of command in the Hall and a 2000-foot tunnel used by the Underground Railroad connects to the house. Mrs. Ewald found it to be an interesting and enjoyable occasion.

Mr. Willig noted that the paving of Bodine Road is complete.

Citizen’s Forum for Non-Agenda Items

Michael Main, developer for Whitehorse Meadows stated he has the required eight of eleven signatures to alter his Covenants and Restrictions. A signatory from the development, Vaughn Drum is present tonight to show his support. Mr. Main explained there is presently some contention with one of the landowners who did not sign the document. Mr. Oeste said he spoke with Paul Beideman, said owner of lot 1 and told him he would have an opportunity to express his concerns. The matter is not on the agenda this evening.

Mr. Main stated he is modifying four items in the document that would increase the strictness of the restrictions. There is no contradiction to the Township’s ordinances or interests in the modification. Mr. Beideman wishes to plant more trees on his property that would hinder the viewshed that has been designated scenic by the Department of Environmental Protection. The situation is unique in that fewer trees would be more beneficial for the development. Mr. Kuhn asked if Mr. Beideman’s landscape plans are against the current covenants. Mr. Main said not quite, but he made the decision to amend the covenants to prevent a danger of over-planting. He quoted Mr. Theurkauf’s memo stating his opinion that over-planting could diminish the viewshed. He would like to move forward with the adoption of the revised document. He held a neighborhood meeting on June 13 where Mr. Beideman was present and had every opportunity to state his opposition.

Mr. Willig told Mr. Main it seems Mr. Main believes the Township would turn down his request. The Township would like to hear Mr. Beideman’s concerns before any decision are made. Mr. Main said the matter is one of urgency, and the eight homeowners who signed the document have rights as well. Mr. Kuhn said Mr. Beideman has a right to plant under the current covenants. Mr. Hogan asked if the eight homeowners would be affected by an altered viewshed. Mr. Main said yes, as a community. Over-planting would significantly alter the view driving into the development. Mr. Kuhn said Mr. Beideman’s home blocks the viewshed; what could be wrong with a few more trees. Mr. Main said the homeowners association has rights too, not just Mr. Beideman. Mr. Kuhn explained by making the Township a party to the agreement, the Township is obligated to hear Mr. Beideman’s concerns. Mr. Willig agreed.

Mrs. Ewald asked why the Township is party to the change. Mr. Oeste said to make sure none of the Township’s rights or interests are violated. Mr. Main felt it is strictly a homeowners association issue and no Township rights are being violated. Mr. Kuhn asked if the concern is Mr. Beideman would landscape his property before the next Supervisors’ meeting, and Mr. Main said possibly. He feels the homeowners association’s interests are in the best place.

Mr. Drum commented that as prospective homeowner, Charlestown’s concern for beauty and quality of life was important. As a new homeowner, he felt that individual landscape plans have their own merit, but can be overwhelming when put all together in a development. The striking aspect of Whitehorse Meadows is the view and value of openness, and Mr. Beideman’s unfettered planting would ruin that.

Mr. Kohli stated that Mr. Beideman is currently in the process of landscaping. Mrs. Beideman was in contact with him to find out where trees could be planted. Mrs. Ewald said she was on the Board when the subdivision was in the planning process, and there was a great amount of cooperation for a sensitive land plan. The Township is in the opposite situation from the norm in that fewer trees could be more appropriate. Mr. Main stated again that he feels the new covenants are synchronized with the Township’s interests. Mr. Willig stated the matter would be formally addressed at the next meeting.


Minutes – July 2, 2001

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes with a correction on page 2. Mr. Hogan seconded, and Mr. Willig called for comment. There being none, he called the vote. The motion carried, 3-0. Mrs. Ewald abstained because she was not at the July 2 meeting.

Kronenberg Request to Place a Gazebo in a Side Yard Abutting a Street

Tom DePaul, DePaul Planning & Design, passed out a second set of drawings that include the limits of the flood plain on the property. Mrs. Ewald asked for clarification that the structure would be 350 feet from the Pikeland Road right-of-way, and Mr. DePaul said yes. She asked if Mr. Kohli is agreeable to the proposal. Mr. Kohli said yes, he has no objections, and the Planning Commission also provided a favorable recommendation. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the request and Mr. Willig seconded then called for comment. There being none, he called the vote, and all were in favor.


Mark Hagerty, Chester County Court Reporters, documented the hearings.

Saddlebrook – continued to 9/10/01 per extension request from Genterra

Altemose – continued to 8/20/01 per request of attorney at tonight’s meeting

Recreational Fee-in-Lieu:

  1. Ordinance for Mandatory Dedication of Land or Recreational Fee-in-Lieu (#96-01) – motion carried, 3-1 vote with Mrs. Ewald opposed
  2. Resolution to Adopt Recreation Plan (#579-01) – motion carried, 4-0 vote
  3. Resolution to Adopt Recreational Fee-in-Lieu Schedule (#580-01) – motion to amend document and adopt carried, 4-0 vote

Old Business

Securing the Old Mill – deadline July 20, 2001

Mr. Kohli said a formal application was received from Henriette Bumeder for demolition of the mill. He would send it on to the Historical Commission/Architectural Review Board for review and their recommendation. After a Certificate of Appropriateness is granted or denied, the Supervisors would act.

Mr. Willig asked the various determinations the H.A.R.B. could make. Mr. Kohli said they could approve or deny the demolition. If the demolition is approved, certain stipulations could go along with the approval. Mr. Oeste said the H.A.R.B. meeting must be advertised as a separate public meeting seven days in advance of the scheduled public hearing. He suggested that the Township Office coordinate with the H.A.R.B. and Ms. Bumeder to find a suitable date. Mr. Willig suggested the meeting be scheduled in the next 30 days. Mrs. Ewald asked if correspondence would be sent to the applicant, and Mr. Kohli said yes.

Great Valley Nature Center Request for Donation – George A. Reed Memorial Garden

Mr. Willig stated that according to Mr. Oeste, it would not be appropriate to make a donation unless the Township receives a service in return. Mrs. Ewald felt the donation request is unreasonable. It is too much for simple maintenance of a garden, especially if the garden is suffering from gross neglect. Mr. Kuhn asked if the Township could make the donation if the Nature Center agrees to maintain the trails along Pickering Creek for the amount donated. Mr. Willig felt that was a lot of money to spend on the trails when they are supposed to be as natural as possible. Margy Crawford, Parks & Recreation, said the trails should be weed-whacked to make them passable. It wouldn’t take much money to clean up the trails.

Mr. Hogan suggested a $1,000 donation in return for the Center’s cleanup of the trails. Mr. Willig said the offer could be made and the Township would wait for a response. He asked for the Township Office to draft a letter to the Nature Center detailing the proposal and to copy the Supervisors on the draft.

New Business

Escrow Release #3 – Lot 15, Commons at Great Valley

The item was tabled.

Future Road Paving – Roads to be Determined

Mr. Kuhn said Melchiorre hadn’t included 600 feet of paving on his Bodine Road estimate because the township line was unclear to him at that time. Mr. Kuhn passed out a document detailing the cost of the actual work. Even with the added paving, the cost came in under estimate. Mr. Faggioli would like permission to move on to Valley Hill Road.

Mrs. Ewald asked what other roads are on the list. She knows of a section on Pickering Road between the Scott driveway and the bridge. Mr. Kuhn said Mine and Howells Roads are also on the list. Mrs. Ewald said she has cost estimates from Melchiorre for F Street at Charlestown Park. The proposal is for an alternative access road from Township Line Road. The relocation would reduce cut through traffic, and the speed limit should be recommended for 15 MPH. She plans to contact the College for their input. Mr. Kuhn said he has no problem with paving on the street, but felt the parking lot should be put off for another time.

Mr. Willig felt it is important to repave F Street, but needs clarification on the realignment. Mrs. Ewald explained the realignment noting it would improve site distance for turning onto Township Line Road from the park. The proposal is currently on the master site plan and would make for a more gracious entrance.

Mr. Theurkauf stated when the realignment was designed, there were no plans to have it done until the expanded parking lot is completed for grading purposes. Mr. Kohli said he would look at the topography to see if problems could be avoided. Mr. Hogan noted East Pikeland resident and neighbor of the park Gene Coccio has ongoing problems with the activity at the park. He is concerned because of the lack of berms and screening and is afraid of getting washed out because of run-off.

Mr. Kuhn asked if Mr. Faggioli could be given the go ahead for Valley Hill Road. Mrs. Ewald did not feel the road needs repaving. Mr. Kuhn reminded her it is on the list from the road tour. Mr. Willig suggested looking at the funds available before making any concrete decisions. He also noted that funds for F Street could come out of the park grant. Mrs. Ewald also suggested the Open Space Improvement Fund. Mr. Kohli said the street would be part of the park grant. Mrs. Ewald said the Phoenixville Marian Youth Club is considering making a donation for the parking lot.

Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Kohli his opinion on Valley Hill Road. Mr. Kohli said it could be put off a little longer, but should be done within the year. Mrs. Ewald said she has no problem doing both F Street and Valley Hill if the funds are available. Mr. Willig said the money might have to be reserved for the park. He suggested getting a price for the work needed on Pickering Road.

Topsoil & Mixed Fill – PA Turnpike

Mr. Kuhn said a gentleman from the construction company for the Turnpike stopped into the Township Office today inquiring about our needs for fill. Mrs. Ewald asked if it is good fill, and Mr. Kuhn said it is probably marginal. Mr. Hogan said Parks & Recreation would be using some of the fill for the large potholes on the interior roads at the Pyle Farm and Mr. Kohli had OK’d the use. Mrs. Ewald said the Township should not take it unless it is quality fill. Incidentally, the banks at the Pyle Farm need more topsoil.

Soccer Field Lighting

Mark Connolly, Parks & Recreation Chairman, presented the survey report and results of the balloon test from the lighting engineer. Mr. Kuhn asked if the balloons in the pictures are set at 60 or 70 feet. Mr. Connolly said 70 feet, the worst-case scenario. He would recommend the lowest height possible at 60 feet.

Mr. Kuhn asked about the spillage results. Mr. Connolly said pole S-2, which would throw light across Township Line Road, appeared to be the only concern. But that pole could be significantly screened with trees that could also create a more natural setting for the walking trail. Mr. Kuhn asked about Parks & Recreation’s assessment of the pole height. Mr. Connolly said they want the lowest poles possible.

He explained the financial situation in which the Township has committed $22,000 to the project and the Phoenixville Area Soccer Club, $34,000. The Club is still working on getting those funds. Mr. Connolly said the Club could ask the Township to finance their share over a five to ten year period, which seems reasonable. Mr. Willig asked if the Club would have any money to contribute up front. Mr. Connolly said they have a $30,000 grant. If the Township likes the Club’s financial proposal, they could make a political decision to move ahead with the Phase I installation and assist the Club in obtaining more grants.

Mrs. Ewald asked the annual electrical maintenance cost for such lights. By her understanding, it is quite substantial. Mr. Connolly said the investment of the electrical service would be subsidized. Mrs. Ewald said she has a concern that if the Club cannot pay the cost, the Township would end up saddled with it. Mr. Connolly said he would look into the annual cost. He said he does not want to restrict the use of the lights since their presence would increase interest in use of the fields. Mrs. Ewald said the contract between the Club and the Township already restricts their use to 9:30 p.m.

Joe Rudick, Phoenixville Area Soccer Club, said PECO has been asked to update the transformer for the electrical service and that is not a problem. He said essentially the service would be the same as the current transformer. Mr. Kuhn said the lighting engineer could be a useful source for annual fee information. Mr. Connolly said that once the lights are in place, the fields would be used more, no question. He said he would ask PECO’s point of view as well.

Mr. Rudick commented that what the Club charges as a registration fee is low compared to other clubs in the area. The Club has around 500 registered members. The fees pay for operation of the current lights, maintenance, electric bills, and other administrative costs. Mrs. Ewald stated they are in violation of their contract. Mr. Rudick disagreed and stated the fees are charged as allowed to keep the Club running. They are still a non-profit organization because the staff is volunteers. Mrs. Ewald said she wants to review the contract and it should be circulated among the Board. Mr. Kuhn felt Mr. Oeste should review the contract and advise the Board. Mrs. Ewald reiterated that she would like to read it over. Mr. Connolly did not understand Mrs. Ewald’s concern because the Club is not charging to use the park; they are charging to be registered with their club.

Mr. Kuhn asked if Parks & Recreation is still in favor of the new lights. Mr. Connolly said they add programmatically to the park. Good planning and engineering could make them as unobtrusive as possible. Buffering should be implemented as soon as possible for aesthetic reasons during the day. He does not have a problem with the Board putting off their vote until the first August meeting because it would give the Soccer Club a chance to attend and express their views and talk about funding options. Mr. Theurkauf suggested that the lighting engineer in Mr. Comitta’s office could take a look at the plan and test results.

Mrs. Ewald believed the fixtures would be seen from Pine Drive, Maryhill Road, and Crestview Road. Mr. Connolly disagreed. He gave an example of a turnpike interchange where the bulbs of the fixtures are unable to be seen as you pull into the gates because the light is directed downward. Mr. Rudick said more downward projection lessens the spillage. Mrs. Ewald maintained that the lights are a bad proposal. Mr. Hogan said the main opinion is whether or not kids should play at night. He asked the ages of the kids in the Club. Mr. Rudick said the travel teams are for kids up to 16. Mr. Willig asked how many of the kids are age 12 or up, and Mr. Rudick said 1/3.

Mr. Hogan felt the park should be for active play. Mrs. Ewald said the lights would be too obtrusive and hopes the Soccer Club would withdraw its proposal. Mr. Willig did not know if the proposal is necessarily bad, but is uncomfortable with making a decision at this time of the benefits of the Club over the benefits of the neighbors. Mr. Willig said the discussion would be wrapped up at the next meeting.

Horseshoe Trail Letter

Mr. Connolly asked the Board to act on the letter drafted to property owners along the Trail. Mr. Kuhn said the letter had been approved and asked Mrs. Campion to verify.

Park Trail

Mr. Connolly said he would like to proceed with organizing trees for the trail. Mr. Kuhn asked if it could wait until the lighting is finalized. Mr. Connolly said yes, but the layout design needs to be set.

Mrs. Ewald would like to see a dedication ceremony for the trail in honor of Bill and Ruth Buckwalter. The Buckwalter children could be invited to attend. She asked Parks & Recreation and the Board to consider the dedication. She congratulated Parks & Recreation on the trail; she has seen many people using it.

Mr. Kuhn said to whom the trail is dedicated merits more discussion. He asked about Fran Iacobucci’s donation of trees from Charlestown Oaks. Mrs. Ewald said that is part of his agreement for Phase II of his project.


There was consensus to adjourn. Mr. Willig adjourned the meeting at 10:35 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Leah J. Campion
Recording Secretary