October 15, 2001


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

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 p.m.


Mr. Willig announced that the Board held an Executive Session at 7:00 A.M. October 12, 2001 to discuss legal matters.

Mr. Hogan said he spoke with Turnpike officials with regard to a possible pedestrian walkway in the Route 29 underpass and received conflicting information. The inspector he spoke with said the underpass will be widened to four lanes with full shoulders, with no room for a pedestrian walkway. The engineer he spoke to gave conflicting information, suggesting that a walkway is possible. Mr. Hogan has a copy of the plan for Mr. Kohli to look over. Mr. Hogan stressed the importance of a pedestrian walkway to connect the north and south halves of Devault Village and that the time to do so is now while the Turnpike Commission is making its preparations for widening.

Mrs. Ewald announced that progress is being made between the builder and homeowners in Whitehorse Meadows with regard to a proposed amendment of the Homeowners Documents.

Citizens Forum for Non-Agenda Items

Mrs. Ewald said the Township’s Emergency Plan hasn’t been updated for several years, and recommended that the present EOC Director, Fred Alston, and past EOC Director, Bob Wert, review it in light of recent events to determine whether any updates are needed. The Board agreed with this suggestion and the Secretary will contact Mr. Alston and Mr. Wert.

Saul Kun, Whitehorse Road, referred to several townships in Montgomery County that have ordinances restricting the cutting of trees and mandating replacement under certain circumstances. He asked if Charlestown had any such provisions to help protect trees from property owners’ cutting and utility trimming work such as that performed by Asplundh. Mr. Kohli responded no, although an erosion & sedimentation control permit is required for logging over a certain size area. Mr. Kun encouraged the Board to look at this issue to implement further controls. Mrs. Ewald said it’s possible to work with Asplundh to limit their trimming. Mrs. Ewald suggested inviting Greg Carey from PECO to a future Board meeting to discuss how to better coordinate trimming work. She said Mr. Kling presented an ordinance draft in the early 1990’s, but some property owners came forward in opposition and the proposal failed for lack of support. Mr. Kun said it may be time to re-visit the issue. Mr. Kling said Lower Merion Township has a 40 year old ordinance that requires approval from a licensed arborist before trees can be removed and that it’s made that township beautiful. The Board asked that information be circulated to them from the Township’s and consultant’s offices for consideration of Mr. Kun’s request. Mr. Kuhn suggested asking for a presentation from Lower Merion’s arborist. Mrs. Ewald offered to circulate a copy of the state law governing trees on private property and public right of ways to the Board.

Sue Staas requested a budget allowance on behalf of the Open Space Commission, which was formed mid-year and not assigned a line item budget amount. The Commission is interested in doing a mailing to the larger landowners and offering them a Land Trust Alliance publication that must be ordered at some cost. Mrs. Ewald moved to amend the budget by increasing #310.10 Real Estate Transfer Tax by $1,000.00 and allotting that $1,000.00 to the Open Space Commission, account #407. Mr. Kuhn seconded and all were in favor.

Minutes of October 1, 2001

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of October 1, 2001 and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.

Minutes of October 2, 2001

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the minutes of October 2, 2001 and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.

Old Business

Charlestown Elementary School – Final Land Development Plan

Ron Nagle, Esq. and Russ Benner, P.E were present review the Final Plan for the Charlestown Elementary School. Janice Hartwick, Charlestown Elementary School Principal, and David Renn were also present.

Mr. Diehl began by stating that the School District received conditional use approval for 2 conditions and preliminary land development plan approval from the Township on 5/7/01, also subject to conditions. He asked if anyone in the audience wished to participate in the discussions. No one came forward. Mrs. Ewald asked if the abutting property owners had been notified of tonight’s meeting, and Mr. Diehl responded this isn’t required for Final Approval, only at the initial preliminary plan submission stage.

Mr. Nagle said that the plan received a recommendation for Final Plan approval from the Planning Commission on September 25, 2001. The Board reviewed the four conditions of the Conditional Use and Preliminary Plan approvals as depicted in the Final Plan dated 10/8/01 as follows.

  1. Configuration of Parking Lot A: This lot was reconfigured for improved safety and traffic flow per previous comments of the Board and Planning Commission. Parking is set on the diagonal in order to create a one-way traffic circulation pattern and to keep the majority of cars out of the drop off and pick up area. A sidewalk was added between the parking area and the pick up/drop off point with 5 cut out areas for trees and landscaping. A safe crosswalk to the school entrance will be provided. The sidewalk will be 20 foot wide concrete, and the 5 islands 25’ x 6’. Mrs. Ewald asked about the stacking area, and Mr. Benner responded that it will mostly be used in the morning by parents dropping their children off, allows for 8 cars, and is considered adequate for the school’s needs. It will be 34 feet wide with passing room. The bus lanes will be gated with school personnel to monitor. Mr. Willig asked how to ensure that a person will monitor the gate as stated. He said he wanted to incorporate this requirement into the plan. Mr. Benner said the gate is shown on the plan and further details can be added to the note. Mr. Kuhn asked Mrs. Hartwick what the parking conditions are now. She said cars and 6 buses drop off students intermixed. Typically, 2 buses and 4-5 cars are dropping off at any one time. She said that the parents are very cautious and that this system has worked, with some tension involved. She looks forward to the improved circulation plan. Mr. Willig asked whether the number of spaces for special events will be sufficient. Mrs. Hartwick said it’s presently unsatisfactory and that the new plan will be a great improvement. Mrs. Ewald asked if an access drive to Route 29 was considered along the Great Valley Materials property line as she previously suggested. Mr. Benner responded that this alternative wasn’t considered in depth with the opinion that the existing wetlands, flood plain barriers, slopes, sight distances, traffic on Route 29, and potential limiting of future athletic fields make it unfeasible. Mrs. Ewald acknowledged that an access to Route 29 is not a condition of approval, but said it may be worth considering with the Atwater project coming in the future bringing more traffic to the intersection at Charlestown Road and Route 29. She asked the applicant to consider this option further.
  2. Stormwater Management: Mr. Benner said the retention basin will have less than a 2 foot maximum depth during a 25 year flood as required.
  3. Safety fence against the west retaining wall, with the drop minimized to 6 feet.
  4. 50% Share in the cost of a future turning lane from Charlestown Road should it prove necessary. All future road improvements would be done on the school’s side of Charlestown Road. Striping will be drawn to create another lane with transition back to the one lane road. Mrs. Ewald asked how many lots would be impacted, and it was determined there would be 4-5 lots impacted. Mrs. Ewald asked if there was any problem with doing this widening now, and Mr. Nagle said that decision is up to the Board and would involve condemnations of property areas near the right of way. Mr. Willig said the Board intends to conduct Township wide traffic studies before this step is considered.

There was discussion on the Horseshoe Trail following the north property line. Due to the retaining wall required by the Township, this portion of the trail near Charlestown Road will have a 3:1 slope. Mr. Diehl asked if the Horseshoe Trail Club found this slope acceptable. Mr. Benner said they sent correspondence indicating it was acceptable, and pointed out that only a short portion is a 3:1 slope, other than further into the property, where the natural grade of the trail is 3:1. Mr. Theurkauf said the cross slope approaches level on the natural slope, and this will eventually happen in the retaining wall area. He said he wished to ensure there will be no impenetrable landscaping configuration, so if the trail is shown on both the grading and landscaping plans as recommended, the construction crew will deal with it acceptably. Mr. Diehl said if the easement for the trail is transferred to a third party, the metes and bounds must tie in on the plan. Mr. Nagle said no conveyance is proposed, so only the location is shown on the plan.

Mrs. Ewald asked how the proposed landscaping will fit in with the natural landscaping of the surrounding area. Mr. Theurkauf said he reviewed the species selection during the preliminary plan review and that these issues have been resolved. They will fit in as well as possible considering they are in a parking lot. The plant selection is appropriate and will do well in the proposed conditions.

Mr. Nagle said the comments in Mr. Kohli’s and Mr. Theurkauf’s review letters have been substantially addressed in the revised plans dated 10/8/01 with only minor technical issues remaining. Mr. Benner objected to item #3 in the TJCI Consulting Engineers letter dated 10/8/01, which was incorporated in Mr. Theurkauf’s review, which stated:

“With regard to the suggested site lighting control schemes described in the TJCI report #0111-1 for light pollution, energy savings and security. This item has not been addressed in the site lighting design to date. This office, as your consultant, feels that this area has sufficient importance to be included into the project site lighting design.”

Mr. Benner said all lighting requirements have been met. Mr. Theurkauf said the first TJCI review letter dated 2/6/01 asked for some controls of the lighting, to be turned down from dusk to dawn. Mr. Benner said they could do this.

Mr. Nagle referenced Mr. Theurkauf’s comment #9 recommending the planting pockets in the divider strip between Parking Lot A’s parking area and bus loading area be expanded to 10-12 feet wide. Mr. Benner said their landscape architect had no problem with the pocket sizes as proposed. Mr. Theurkauf agreed this is an acceptable minimum, however, this area provides room to do better than minimum. Mr. Benner agreed to expand the pockets.

Mr. Kuhn asked about Mr. Theurkauf’s comment #6 recommending that the 2 trees west of Play Area C be eliminated, as they are unlikely to survive. Mr. Benner said they want to try to save these trees and didn’t want to show them gone from the plan. Mr. Theurkauf said this was acceptable and just wanted the applicant to realize they are likely to decline and die.

Mr. Nagle requested final land development approval from the Board, stating there is some urgency with the timing of bidding and scheduling of construction. Mrs. Ewald said Mr. Diehl must draft a formal resolution and circulate it to the Board for approval. Mr. Willig suggested setting the conditions of approval this evening for incorporation into that resolution.

Mr. Willig moved to approve the Final Land Development Plan for the Charlestown Elementary School, dated 10/8/01, subject to the following conditions:

  1. Addition of correspondence with regard to the bus lane gate indicating who would monitor and control it;
  2. The Horseshoe Trail to be added to the Grading and Landscaping Plans per discussion;
  3. Compliance with review comments by Mr. Kohli (letter dated 8/23/01) and Mr. Theurkauf (Memo dated 8/30/01);
  4. Curbing expansion for the tree planting pockets;
  5. Site lighting to be programmed to be sensitive to the neighbors.

Mr. Rodgers seconded and Mr. Willig called for discussion. Mrs. Ewald said she wanted more time to think about the plan. Mr. Nagle said the conditions of approval were previously set and can’t be changed or added to at this time. Mrs. Ewald asked Mr. Diehl if he had reviewed the final plan conditions, and he said no, but they speak for themselves. If the review letters sufficiently state the Board’s concerns, and the conditions listed by Mr. Willig are comprehensive and clear, this can stand as the decision.

Mrs. Ewald said the Horseshoe Trail easement should be recorded in favor of the Township, as she’s not sure there is enough protection for it. Mr. Nagle said there’s no existing document identifying it as an easement. Mr. Kohli said it could be recorded in the title plan to this application. Mr. Diehl said to record it, it must be identified in either the plan or in a deed and conveyed to some party. This would be done by either adding a note of dedication on the plan, which can be flexible enough to suit both the needs of the Township and the School District; or, in a deed, which would identify it in a more specific, permanent manner. Mr. Diehl recommended adding a note to the plan dedicating the easement to the Township for general public use. Mr. Oeste will provide the draft language for this note, to be incorporated into the decision.

Mr. Willig revised his motion to incorporate condition #6, adding a note to the plan dedicating the Horseshoe Trail easement to the Township for general public use. Mrs. Ewald seconded the amended motion. Mr. Willig called the vote, and all were in favor. Mr. Nagle agreed to provide the Township with a letter granting an extension on passing the approval resolution to November 6, 2001.


Altemose – Conditional Use Application

Mr. Oeste opened the record and Jane Opie, Court Reporter, recorded the proceedings. The hearing was continued to November 19, 2001 at the Great Valley Middle School Room 154, 7:30 P.M. with an emergency date of December 17, 2001, same time and location.

Old Business - Resumed


Mr. Panizza clarified that the plan revision dated 9/11/01, Preliminary/Final Plan for Brooklands, was not intended for anything other than general review by the consultants and did not start the 45 day time clock as outlined in the stipulation dated 9/13/01. He said the plans are being revised further, and that they will be submitted to the Township shortly. These revised Final plans will trigger the 45 day time clock. He agreed to send the Township a letter to this effect.

Deerfield Proposed Settlement Stipulations

John Panizza, Chuck Dobson, P.E. and Bob Smiley were present from Genterra Corporation to review the latest commitments made at the 10/1/01 meeting for the Deerfield subdivision as outlined in a memo dated 10/12/01 by Mr. Oeste. Item numbers on Mr. Panizza’s letter dated 9/12/01 correspond to paragraphs of Mr. Oeste’s letter. Mr. Oeste clarified that this memo was intended to memorialize what Genterra agreed to at the last meeting and is essentially a re-draft of his memo dated 8/14/01. The memo is a tool to be used for settlement purposes only and to help move toward final settlement. If a consensus is reached, these items will be incorporated into the final settlement agreement.

Mr. Panizza’s responses and Board discussion were as follows.

Mr. Panizza agreed to items: #1, #2a through 2f, 2h through 2k, next paragraph (unnumbered on Page 2): items a, b and b (1), b (3) and b (4), items 3 through 6, 8 and 9.

Items in unnumbered paragraph, page 2 agreed to after further discussion: b (2) and item #7.

Following are the items that required further discussion.

Item #2g The item states that blanket cross easements will be established to permit replacement systems to be constructed on adjoining lots. Mr. Oeste said he suggested this easement arrangement to provide an alternative to using the open space for this purpose except as a last resort. Mr. Panizza said he’d like to carve out a specific area on each lot for the neighbor’s replacement system in order to make it clear to buyers that this area must be held in reserve. He wants to standardize the areas in order to make it clear for marketing and sales purposes and proposes to designate the standard area at the time of preliminary plan submission. Mr. Kohli asked if the areas would be tested, and Mr. Panizza said no. A primary site and replacement site are already tested for each lot; this would be the second backup and no testing is required. Mr. Theurkauf asked for the isolation distance between the structure and the septic, and Mr. Kohli said, 10 feet, and 20 feet from the property line. Mr. Kuhn asked if there was any logic to maintaining the 20 foot setback from the property line for this use. Mr. Dobson said Mr. Kohli is talking about a perimeter set back between the setback and the property line. Mrs. Ewald said if the septic systems fail after going through the primary and secondary systems, instead of going to the third system by utilizing a cross easement, the house should be demolished. The majority of board members were in agreement with the request to standardize the blanket cross easements as discussed. Mr. Oeste will draft language to outline this understanding.
Item #b (2) Mr. Kohli said that item (b) as stated is not as previously discussed. It reads that the open space can be utilized if no type of system can be installed on the lot. The understanding was that all primary systems will be located on the lots they service, and that the open space is the last resort for replacement systems that cannot be located on their respective lots. Mrs. Ewald agreed, saying if no primary system can be located on the lot, the house cannot be built. Mr. Panizza agreed with this statement, stating he would consider combining the lots and eliminating the house in this event. Mr. Oeste said that in executive session, the Board agreed that the open space would be used only in the event of a future failure. Mr. Kohli clarified that if a lot sustains a conventional in-ground system, no secondary site is required by the County Health Department.

Mr. Panizza wished to clarify his understanding of the septic system placement procedure in order of priority:

  1. Construct a standard in-ground system on each lot to serve that lot. No backup site is needed.
  2. If a standard system is not feasible, construct a drip irrigation system on that lot within its boundaries with a 2nd site on that lot to serve as a backup in case of future failure. The backup site is to be tested.
  3. If a drip irrigation system isn’t feasible, construct a sand mound system on that lot within its boundaries with a 2nd site on that lot to serve as a backup in case of future failure. The backup site is to be tested.
  4. If the secondary site for (2) or (3) cannot be placed within the boundaries of its lot, utilize the blanket cross easement. The backup site is to be tested.
  5. If (2), (3), and (4) are not feasible, position the back up site in the open space. The backup site is to be tested.

Mr. Panizza said he’ll provide a proposal for designation of the blanket cross easement areas, which will not be respective to the side yard setbacks. Mr. Rodgers said tree replacement should be provided for, and Mr. Panizza agreed.

Mr. Panizza asked the Board for flexibility with respect to the location of backup sites in the open space. He asked them to consider a standard width band of 50 feet with a blanket cross easement, which would keep the systems out of 90% of the open space. With a standardized area he’d like to avoid coming to the township each time for approval. Mr. Willig said he prefers to review them on a case-by-case basis and not create a standard band width. He said this provides the township with more control and the homeowner with more flexibility. Practically speaking, most homeowners are going to position a back up system close to their property anyway. Mr. Panizza said as they prepare the preliminary/final submission they’ll do their best to work within the priorities as established but would like to remain flexible on this point. Mr. Willig said if an agreement can be reached and the encroachment is a matter of mere feet, it would be acceptable.

Item #7 Mr. Panizza wished to clarify the first sentence, reading “Genterra will design and construct the stormwater management system in compliance with Surender’s comments and recommendations” He proposed adding, “to the greatest extent possible”.

To clarify the second sentence, reading, “The 2-year storm will be recharged”, Mr. Panizza proposed changing to “The increase in the 2-year storm will be recharged.”

To clarify the 4th sentence, reading, “The basins along Valley Hill Road will be constructed using partial underground storage for a 10-year storm, or more if feasible”, Mr. Panizza proposed changing to “…partial underground storage for the increase in the 10-year storm…”

Mr. Kohli said Mr. Panizza wants a differential from pre- to post-construction, but that he’s restricted by the size of the pipes under the road and must control run-off accordingly. He said he has no problem with the change to the 4th sentence for the 10-year storm, but said of the second sentence that 2 year storm recharge must be done to the extent possible.

Mr. Panizza said this is a complex issue and requested that the Board allow the issue to be worked out between the engineers Mr. Dobson and Mr. Kohli. He requests the Board’s flexibility in regard to the stormwater design in order to resolve the issues. Mr. Kuhn said it would be acceptable for the engineers to work these out but that an agreement on the parameters is needed first. Mr. Kohli suggested parameters of controlling the net increase of a 2-year storm on site, and control of a 10 year storm pre- to post-. and the Board was in agreement. Mr. Oeste will incorporate this into the final settlement document.

Mrs. Ewald asked if flexibility with regard to the stormwater design and requirements was going to cause problems for the new homeowners. Mr. Panizza said that he would agree to make mandatory perimeter drains for those houses in the area of Turnpike run off. Mr. Dobson said the stormwater management proposed should improve the situation for both on site proposed homes and offsite existing homes. There will be a decrease in both volume and rate of water, and is true for the Township’s Yellow Springs Road property also. In addition, drainage will be improved along Valley Hill Road.

Mr. Oeste will prepare a draft incorporating tonight’s discussions into a settlement document for review.

New Business

Charlestown Oaks Subdivision Escrow Agreement and Subdivision & Land Development Agreement

Mr. Oeste said he received a call from Sal Lapio Homes requesting that the Township approve its standard Subdivision Escrow Agreement and Subdivision and Land Development Agreement for Phases 7-10 of Charlestown Oaks. Sal Lapio Homes is purchasing this land from Iacobucci Homes and goes to settlement shortly. They request that these documents be approved prior to settlement. Mr. Oeste recommended making any approval subject to his review and the receipt of the $200,000 check from Iacobucci Homes that was agreed upon in June 2001 to be provided in lieu of landscaping on the site that doesn’t physically fit on the property.

Mrs. Ewald said there have been complaints from the homeowners about unresponsiveness from Iacobucci Homes on their outstanding issues. Mr. Willig suggested meeting with both Iacobucci Homes and Sal Lapio Homes prior to approving any documents.

Act 537 Plan

Mr. Rodgers referenced a draft addendum entitled “Addendum to Valley Forge Sewer Treatment Plant Agreement for the Purpose of Permitting and Administering the Sale of Reserved Capacity Among the Parties”. He explained that at present, any excess capacity of any one of the three members of the Authority, namely Charlestown, Schuylkill and East Pikeland Townships, goes into a pool that can be temporarily reallocated and rented to another party. Since Charlestown presently has excess capacity, under the current Agreement, its excess capacity may be unavailable, and in the event it was needed, Charlestown would have to wait for a plant expansion to gain that capacity back, and participate in the cost of that expansion. The Amendment proposes to make the placement of the excess capacity into a pool a voluntary process. Under the amendment, Charlestown could reserve its excess capacity for its own future use. If Charlestown did choose to rent it out. It would get that capacity back when the plant is expanded, and the renter would pay the cost. Mrs. Ewald asked how the capacity is divided among the members, and Mr. Kohli said it’s based on the Act 537 plan numbers submitted by each of the three members.

Mr. Kohli noted that the Valley Creek Trunk Line Agreement hasn’t been amended to coincide with this proposed amendment.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Addendum to Valley Forge Sewer Treatment Plant Agreement for the Purpose of Permitting and Administering the Sale of Reserved Capacity Among the Parties and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called the vote and four were in favor. Mrs. Ewald did not vote.

Open Salt Bids

Three responses were received to the Township Secretary’s request for salt prices for 2001-2002. Cargill Salt and IMC declined to bid. Oceanport Industries provided a price of $35.10 per ton. Mr. Rodgers moved to accept Oceanport Industries’ bid for the 2001-2002 winter season for $35.10 per ton. Mr. Kuhn seconded and all were in favor.

Schedule 2002 Budget Work Session

The Board scheduled the 2002 Budget Work Session for October 29, 2001 at 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.


There was consensus to adjourn. Mr. Willig adjourned the meeting at 12:10 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Secretary