AUGUST 6, 2001


Hugh Willig, Chairman, Kevin Kuhn, Vice-Chairman, Irene Ewald, Michael Rodgers, Paul Hogan, Tim O’Neil, 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 July 23, 2001 and July 30, 2001 to discuss legal matters, and prior to this evening’s meetings to discuss personnel matters.

Mr. Hogan introduced Calvin Wilson, who has expressed interest in utilizing the Brightside Farm to establish a small dairy operation on 50-60 acres of the combined 55 and 20 acre parcels acquired by the Township from the Pyle family. The general public would be welcome to visit the farm and observe the operation. He proposes to invest approximately $100,000 in the property and is looking for a long term lease of ten years or more in order to get a reasonable return on his investment. Mr. Willig suggested the Wilsons consider how their proposed use would work with other proposed uses for the farm including a possible CSA, equestrian program, etc.

Mr. Rodgers announced that PennDOT is holding a meeting on October 12, 2001 (location to be confirmed) to present and discuss their 12-year plan. The Board and Roadmaster are invited to attended and offer recommendations.

Citizens Forum for Non-Agenda Items

Jean Martin, Hollow Road, requested that the Township remove a tree that fell across her property from the Brightside farm. Mrs. Ewald suggested that the solicitor check on whether the Township is responsible. In the interim, Mr. Faggioli will request a price on removing the tree from Barrett’s Tree Service.


Minutes of July 16, 2001

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the minutes of July 16, 2001 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Kuhn seconded with a correction to p.4, first sentence under “Future Road Paving” to read “Mr. Kuhn said Melchiorre hadn’t included 600 feet of paving on his Bodine Road estimate…” Mrs. Ewald accepted the amendment and said the minutes were well done. Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.

Accounts Payable Reports – August 6, 2001

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Accounts Payable for the General Fund for August 6, 2001. Mr. Hogan seconded and all were in favor.

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Accounts Payable for the State Fund for August 6, 2001. Mr. Hogan seconded and all were in favor. Mrs. Ewald commented that the State Fund balance has diminished and the board should take note of the fund amount now available.

Treasurer’s Report – July 1 - 31, 2001

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for July 2001, and Mrs. Ewald seconded. Mr. Willig called the vote, and all were in favor.


Zoning Officer/Township Engineer

Mr. Kohli said he spoke to Nancy Zeigler at the Great Valley School District, who requested that the Township attempt to obtain a left turn signal traveling north on Phoenixville Pike toward Charlestown Road in order to help the buses get through when school starts. He said he’s not sure the timing can be worked out with PennDOT but he would put in a request if the Board wished. This would be a temporary measure while PennDOT reviews J. Loew & Associates’ plans for a full intersection improvement.

Planning Commission

Bill Davison reported that the Planning Commission met on June 27th and had an informative presentation on Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) by Jack Hines of West Bradford Township. At the July 10th meeting, the comprehensive plan draft was reviewed. A subcommittee was formed to meet with Jack Loew to explore the concept of a Village in Devault, which was attended by Mr. Davison, Wendy Leland and Michael Allen for the Planning Commission. He said Mr. Loew is interested in continuing discussions. The July 24th and August 14th meetings have been canceled to allow for vacations, and the next meeting is scheduled for August 28th at 7:30 P.M.

Mrs. Ewald asked if the meeting with Jack Loew was a public meeting, and Mr. Davison responded no. Mrs. Ewald stated she believes all Planning Commission meetings should be public. Mr. Davison said the issue was addressed in the July minutes and that the Commission checked with their solicitor to ensure that this was acceptable. Mr. Philips said the subcommittee was not a quorum and that the Planning Commission finds this format useful when dealing with very preliminary, exploratory items. Mr. Willig said any items that move forward from a subcommittee meeting would be reviewed in public before the full Planning Commission and then on to the Board of Supervisors. Mrs. Ewald again stated that in her view, all Planning Commission meetings should be open to the public as a matter of policy.

Mr. Willig asked about the schedule for concluding the comprehensive plan update. Mr. Davison said the Planning Commission will complete its review at the August 28th meeting. He requested that the Board submit comments prior to this date, as it is the deadline for the Commission to make any substantive changes before the public presentation in September. Mr. Kuhn said he has partially reviewed the draft and has no comments thus far. Both he and Mrs. Ewald said they’ll complete their reviews and forward comments to the Commission.

Historical Commission/H.A.R.B.

Rosemary Philips reported that the Historical Commission had no meeting in July. Since the June meeting, an application for a HARB review was received from a Bartschi Foundation trustee, requesting approval to demolish the “Old Mill”. This hearing would normally open at the August meeting; however, the applicant notified the HARB that her attorney cannot be present and requested that the hearing be postponed to September 18th. However, in order to follow the ordinance, the hearing must take place within 45 days of the application. The Township Administrator said the ordinance indicates that the hearing must open within 45 days, but may be continued as long as necessary provided each continuance is within 30 days of the original hearing. Therefore, this hearing will open on August 21st and be continued to September 18th to meet these requirements. The hearing will be an advertised public hearing to be held at the Great Valley Middle School, and a court reporter will record the proceedings.

Mrs. Philips said the Historical Commission was invited by the owners of the “General Store” property for a visit to see their restoration work on Tuesday, September 18th at 3:00 P.M.


Mr. Faggioli requested the Board purchase a speed reminder sign, with an estimated cost of $10,000, to help motorists monitor their speed along township roads. He offered to put it out and take it down in various locations along township roads. Mr. Kuhn asked if the Township must have a police force to handle this, and Mr. Faggioli said, no, the Board can authorize the use of the sign. Mrs. Ewald said this equipment is available on loan from the State Police, and she’ll look into the matter.

Mr. Faggioli said the Township received a complaint that only two cars get out from Valley Hill Road at the signaled intersection with Route 401. He said he and Mr. Rodgers checked on this complaint and that it was unfounded.

Mr. Faggioli said he’ll post the “No Truck” signs on Buckwalter Road per Schuylkill Township’s request. He said he placed a complaint with PennDOT over the condition Hollow Road was left in after they did some work there last week.

Mr. Kuhn said the recently paved Bodine Road looks great. Mr. Faggioli said he added slightly to the scope of work and that the contractor still managed to come in under budget. Mrs. Ewald said she’s receiving compliments on the paving work.

Mr. Willig asked what road Mr. Faggioli recommends to be paved next, and he responded Valley Hill Road, west of Route 401. He said it’s not been paved for 25 years and has been patched over and over and is now falling apart. He suggested holding off on Howell Road until 2002.

Mr. Philips thanked the Roadmaster for taking care of the high weeds at the intersection of Hollow Road and Charlestown Road.

Fire Marshal/Emergency Operations

Mr. Alston said his written report will be turned in after he receives the data from the Kimberton Fire Company. He reported on the tanker fire on July 19th, which took place just ˝ mile outside of Charlestown on Route 401. It was caused by a faulty fuel cover, and left the two drivers in critical condition. Mr. Alston said East Whiteland Fire Company reported 3 automatic alarms, 1 vehicle fire and 4 vehicle accidents. Mr. Alston worked at the Kimberton Fair for two nights in July, and reviewed the fire hydrant plan for the Charlestown Elementary School.

Mr. Alston said the traffic light at Valley Hill Road and Route 401 causes a tremendous backup during morning and afternoon rush hours. During an emergency situation earlier today, an East Whiteland fire truck couldn’t get through the traffic because the truck’s preemption signal was ineffective so far from the traffic light. He wished to go on record that he had reported Fire Chief Darrin Fitzgerald’s complaint about this light. Mr. Kohli said PennDOT has adjusted the timing twice since the light was installed and that it is now set at the optimum for the current intersection conditions. Unless the intersection is improved with full left hand turning lanes, there’s nothing else that can be done to improve the timing. Mr. Kohli said he’ll arrange to meet with PennDOT and Mr. Alston to see whether an advanced preemption signal can be added to the flashing warning light that precedes the signal.

Mr. Alston said he’s still waiting for the new fire ordinance draft from Mr. Oeste, which had been turned over to him two months ago.

Mr. Alston said he attended an Exelon Nuclear meeting and learned that Act 145 funding has been approved. Charlestown will be eligible for funding with which Mr. Alston plans to obtain monitors for displaying of incidents during emergency operations. He added that there will be an EOC drill on November 1st, and that the EOC still needs new volunteers.

Parks and Recreation

Mr. Hogan said he and Mark Connolly met with the Valley Forge Christian College president and Bill Werkheiser with regard to their proposed trail that will connect with the trail at Charlestown Park. Mr. Hogan said the plan looks very nice, and that Associated Paving will be doing the VFCC trail. They also discussed traffic problems at the entrance off Township Line Road, and the VFCC president was amenable to the proposal to move the entrance closer to the Schuylkill Township line.

Mr. Hogan said the bridge at the Park has been completed. Poles removed from the site were transferred to the Brightside Farm, where Mark Cabot installed them around the entrance gate. Mr. Hogan said he’ll be watching for the next time there are flooding conditions at the Ice Dam in order to determine the best way to route the trail around it.

Mr. Hogan suggested “Pedestrian Crossing” signs, crosswalk painting or rumple strips on Coldstream Road across from Benburb and Mary Hill Roads for people crossing over to the park. Mr. Rodgers suggested an elevated pedestrian bridge. Mr. Hogan agreed this would be the best solution, and that prefabricated ones are available. Mr. Kohli said it would have to be 16 feet high for truck clearance, and that ramps would be needed for the handicapped. Mr. Theurkauf suggested a flashing light that pedestrians can push to activate. Mr. Kohli said PennDOT can be approached with this request, although Mr. Rodgers pointed out that this is a blind curve. Mrs. Ewald suggested asking PennDOT for proposed solutions and also suggested tunnels. Mr. Hogan and Mr. Kohli will investigate some of the suggestions discussed.

Valley Forge Sewer Authority

Mr. Rodgers reported his disappointment that the VFSA board awarded a bid to a contractor other than the low bidder on a project for surveying and laying of pipe. Instead, the second lowest bid, $7,000 over the lowest, was accepted. A member of the VFSA determined the low bidder to be unqualified.


Mr. Kuhn moved to appoint Jan Bird as Assistant Township Secretary, to begin September 4th following Labor Day. Mr. Rodgers seconded and all were in favor.


Spring Lane Farms Conditional Use Application

Mr. Willig opened the hearing and continued it to October 1, 2001 per the applicant’s request. The application will be re-advertised for this date.

Old Business

Whitehorse Meadows – Request for Changes to Covenants and Restrictions Document

Michael Main and James DelBello, Esq. were present to request approval of four amendments to the Whitehorse Meadows Covenants and Restrictions Document. Mr. DelBello said the document has been signed by more than 67% of the property owners, as required for an amendment. He believed the Township should approve it because it doesn’t involve any of the Township’s interests. Mr. DelBello acknowledged that there is a dispute between the developer, Mr. Main, and the Beidemans, owners of Lot #1.

Mr. Willig asked why the developer believes the amendment is necessary. Mr. DelBello responded that the original landscape plan was designed to preserve the viewshed, and the amendment will clarify this intention. Mr. Main added that the amendment was fashioned to correspond to Thomas Comitta Associates’ memo dated 7/2/01. He said the community has the right to amend the homeowners’ documents as long as the amendments don’t interfere with the Township’s interest. Mrs. Ewald asked if this is a design feature of the approved plan, and Mr. Main answered yes.

Christopher Boyle, Esq., attorney for Mr. and Mrs. Beideman, said the Beidemans had an understanding of the document they signed at the time they signed their Agreement of Sale. The amendment isn’t seeking to correct any defect in the original, and the plan is approved and in place. He said the proposed amendment was triggered when the Beidemans planted trees that Mr. Main disapproved of. Mr. Main is attempting to take away rights from the owners of Lot #1, who relied on the Declaration document when they purchased their property. He said Mr. Main has 4 of the 8 votes in favor of the amendment as owner of four lots. He submitted a letter from one of the other property owners who has since rescinded his approval of the amendment. He provided a copy to the Board. Mr. Main objected, stating that a notarized, signed agreement cannot be rescinded.

Mr. Boyle questioned whether incoming new property owners are signing the original document or the amended one. He pointed out that Section 10.2 of the Declaration states that the mortgagors must approve any changes in the covenants and restrictions with respect to landscaping in writing. Mr. DelBello said this only applies if it is the Association, as a separate entity, taking action. Mr. Boyle countered, saying the amendment refers to the “members of the association”, not the association itself.

Mr. Boyle provided a black line comparison of the original and amended document, stating that the amended document shows a portion of the Beidemans’ property now defined as part of the community landscape and improvement area. He asks how this will be retroactively applied.

Mr. Beideman said that if passed, the amendment would be very different from the terms under which he purchased his property and would create a significant limitation on the use of the property (20% of the property). The amendment in essence impacts his property the most and also impacts 3 other lots.

Mr. DelBello said Mr. Main held a homeowners meeting, which the Beidemans attended along with other property owners. The amendments were discussed there, and the appropriate number of people subsequently signed the amended declarations. He said it’s not right for the Supervisors to substitute their judgment for that of the homeowners.

Mr. Main said the amendments simply clarify the landscape plan, which was approved in 1995. Mr. Kuhn asked if Mr. Main has added restrictions to the Beideman property since he bought it. Mr. Main answered no; Mr. Beideman answered yes.

Mr. Willig said the Board should not be acting as arbiters in this situation. He said he wants the two parties to meet and come to an agreement. Mr. Willig said he’s not willing to take any action until this is done. Mr. Rodgers agreed. Mrs. Ewald said she has been on the Board since the original Whitehorse Meadows plan was submitted, and that the developer worked with the Township in a very cooperative fashion and with a desirable result. She said she agrees that the two parties should try to come to an understanding. Mr. Kuhn dissented; he said if put to a vote he would deny the request for approval of the amendment. He said he’d be more comfortable if all the votes were from homeowners instead of four votes from the developer on those lots he owns.

Mr. Willig asked Mr. Main to let the Board know when to put the matter back on the agenda.

New Business

Brightside Farm Caretaker

Mr. Willig said the intention of selecting a caretaker for Brightside Farm is to provide security for the property and to make certain repairs and improvements in exchange for living on the premises. Mr. Kuhn said Daniel Aquilante’s proposal focuses on repairs, paint, clean-up including pressure washing, etc., while Bob Elmer’s proposal focuses primarily on a managerial role. No formal proposal was received from Kim Taylor, who also expressed an interest. Mrs. Ewald was concerned about Mr. Aquilante housing his business equipment on the site. Mr. Kohli said that the type of equipment described, a truck, skid loader and backhoe, qualify as farm equipment and would be acceptable in the FR district. Mrs. Ewald said Mr. Aquilante has no knowledge of farming, farmhouses or architecture. Mr. Kuhn said his role would be primarily security and maintenance.

Mrs. Ewald asked if there are any legal issues with Mr. Wilson’s proposal to operate a dairy farm and make improvements in exchange for a long term lease. Mr. O’Neil said that the bond issue under which the property was purchased will create a problem. The Board may not enter into a real estate lease agreement for longer than a one year period, as this would constitute a “change in use”. However, a contract with a caretaker would be a legitimate undertaking as long as it was a contract for management of the property that was not based on revenues. 5% use of the property by this caretaker would be considered deminimus.

Mrs. Ewald said she is still waiting for the private clean-up company she contacted to provide their estimate. She will provide the name and number to the township office for follow-up.

Rosemary Philips brought up the historic aspect of the property, stating there is no concrete information on the physical condition of the structures. Historic Architect Dale Frens has a proposal under consideration with the Board at present to make an assessment of the property. There was some concern that Mr. Aquilante wanted to demolish many of the smaller structures on the property. Mr. Kuhn acknowledged that the Board would have to make it clear to whichever caretaker is selected that no buildings are to be removed without direction from the Board.

With regard to public uses for the site, Mark Connolly noted the restrictions in use grant programs impose, which can be significant. The Parks and Rec Board will come up with suggestions for uses of the farm and present them at the next Board meeting. Mr. Connolly said he has requested that Thomas Comitta Associates go forward with a delineation of the structures on the site. Mr. Connolly recommended that the Board proceed with selecting a caretaker. Mr. Willig questioned whether Dale Frens’ report on the structures should be received first. Mr. Willig suggested that a subcommittee of the Property Committee appointed 7/2/01 (Hogan, Ewald, Connolly & Merriwether) undertake interviews with the parties interested in the caretaker position and report back to the Board with a recommendation. Mr. Connolly will try to set up interviews for Thursday, August 9th.

Mr. Kuhn moved to accept the Dale Frens proposal for a structural and historic assessment of the Brightside Farm. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.

Charlestown Park – Soccer Lights & Other Parks & Rec Issues

Mr. Connolly said he was glad the soccer light issue was looked at from all points of view with the help of trial balloons. He expressed disappointment in the Soccer Club, which has not contacted him with regard to their interest in this project, with the exception of one member. He suggested the soccer lights be removed from the Round Ten Grant project list. He proposed to spend some of the funds on a better tie in to the proposed Valley Forge Christian College trail system from the Park’s new trail. The Board agreed by consensus. Mr. Connolly will also look into the cost of paving the parking lot. Mrs. Ewald suggested looking in to expanding the tot lot with additional play equipment or adding another lot. Mr. Hogan recommended a separate lot, stating that the existing one is fine as it is.

Mr. Kohli advised that the VFCC will need a Erosion & Sedimentation Control Permit prior to beginning their trail paving project.

Mrs. Ewald reminded Mr. Connolly that the 1998-1999 Biennial Report to the Federal Government is overdue.

Mr. Connolly said the Parks & Rec Board fully supports the birdhouse proposal recently received by an outside group that wants to erect birdhouses along the Charlestown Park trail. The project will commence shortly.

Mr. Connolly praised the efforts of Mr. Hogan and Mark Cabot in their participation in the reconstruction of the bridge over the creek at Charlestown Park, which was an Eagle Scout project. Mr. Hogan said the time has come where Mark Cabot’s efforts could be utilized full time. Mrs. Ewald said she agrees with the need for a full time Parks & Rec employee.

Mr. Connolly suggested the Coldstream Road entrance gate to the Park be locked, as it is a dangerous place for residents to cross over to the Park. Mrs. Ewald suggested removing the gate entirely and replacing it with fencing and other Board members agreed.

New Business

Emma Conditional Use Decision

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the draft Conditional Use decision for Emma Builders Inc. for construction of a driveway in steep slopes on a lot adjacent to the Burch subdivision on Blackberry Lane with the following changes:

Item #3: Specify the sum of $10,000.00 to be placed in escrow to cover any possible damage done to Blackberry Lane during the construction process;

Item #4: Require documentation of the “Good faith effort” to contact the neighboring property owner to determine whether a driveway easement could be obtained from their parcel so that a new driveway could be constructed off the existing driveway, instead of building the driveway on steep slopes. Documentation would consist of copies of correspondence. The adjacent property owners would be identified as James and Helen Stuehling, parcel #35-3-79.1.

Mr. Rodgers seconded and all were in favor. Mr. O’Neil will arrange for the changes to be made to the Decision.

Future Road Work

Mrs. Ewald suggested that certain road sections be paved, including a link from Yellow Springs & Hollow Roads to the Turnpike Bridge on Yellow Springs Road; and Pickering Road in the area of the Scott driveway. There would be sufficient funding for doing these sections along with Valley Hill Road west of Route 401 as recommended by Mr. Faggioli. The Board agreed to these suggestions, with Mr. Rodgers to confirm the cost estimate for Valley Hill Road, which he suspects is too low.

Commons @ Great Valley Lot 15 Escrow Release #3

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Commons at Great Valley Escrow Release Request #3 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. All were in favor.

Pollution Liability Insurance and Treasurer’s Bond Amount

Mr. Kuhn said he requested the information on pollution liability insurance, but after reviewing it, feels the Township doesn’t have any real exposure.

The Board set the amount of the Treasurer’s Bond at $1,000,000.

H.A.R.B. Counsel

Mr. Kuhn moved to authorize the Historical and Architectural Review Board to engage the services of Gary Bender, Esq. to represent them at the hearing for the “Old Mill” application for a Certificate of Appropriateness for demolition of the structure. The hearing will open on August 21, 2001 and continue to September 18, 2001. Mr. Willig stated that he is recused on this application, and called the vote, which was 4-0 in favor.

Advertise Ordinance to Set Speed Limits at Charlestown Park

Mrs. Ewald moved to direct the Secretary to advertise an ordinance to lower the speed limit on F Street and 5th Avenue in Charlestown Park to 15 MPH with the hearing to open at the earliest meeting that satisfies the legal advertisement requirements. Mr. Willig seconded and all were in favor.

Rezoning of Open Space Properties

Mrs. Ewald said the township owned open space properties, namely Charlestown Park, Brightside Farm and the 100 acres along Pickering Creek, should be re-zoned as Open Space in order to maximize grant monies available. The current grant application under review by the County for the Acquisition of the 55 acre Pyle Farm (Brightside Farm) will be approved for an additional $50,000 if this parcel is designated permanent open space. Mr. Theurkauf suggested an alternative of adding “open space” to the FR definitions and referring to provisions for it under Article XV of the Zoning Ordinance. Mr. O’Neil said the parcel could also be deed restricted for open space use only. Mr. Theurkauf will investigate the grant stipulations and report back to the Board.

Rescheduling September Meeting

Due to the Labor Day holiday, the first meeting of September will be held September 10, 2001.


Mr. Willig moved to adjourn and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig adjourned the meeting at 11:10 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Secretary