Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of February 25, 2002

The second business meeting for February was held February 25, 2002 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Hugh D. Willig, Chairman, Paul J. Hogan, Vice Chairman, Irene W. Ewald, Kevin R. Kuhn, Michael Rodgers, James E. McErlane, Esq., Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Ed Theurkauf, Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator and those on the attached list were present.

The meeting was called to order at 7:37 P.M.


Mrs. Ewald announced that she attended a reception at the Brightside Farm on Sunday, February 10th, which was held to recognize the hard work of the caretakers and volunteers who were involved in the clean-up of the farmhouse and surrounds. She was pleased to see several of her colleagues and others from the community there.

Mr. Hogan said that he received an e-mail inquiry from a resident questioning the EPA’s new rulings on pressure treated wood containing carcinogens due to the arsenic and copper used to preserve it. The resident was concerned with the safety of the equipment at Charlestown Park. Mr. Hogan responded that he is presently researching the half-life of the material and is hopeful that the 10 year old playground equipment at Charlestown Park will be proven safe and it will not be necessary to remove it. Mr. Theurkauf said the EPA won’t require that existing playgrounds be dismantled, but he’ll obtain some additional information for the Board.

Mr. Willig announced that the Chester County Department of Emergency Services has declared a drought emergency and has instituted an Open Burning Ban throughout the County.

Mr. Willig announced that the Board held Executive Sessions to discuss legal issues on February 4, 12, and 19, 2002.

Mr. Willig added an item to the agenda under new business, “East Pikeland Township Sewer Extension”.

Citizens’ Forum – Non-Agenda Items

No items were brought forward at this time.


Minutes of 2/4/02

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of 2/4/02 and Mr. Rodgers seconded. All were in favor.


Spring Oaks Business Park Conditional Use Application

Tom Corcoran, Court Reporter, took the proceedings. The applicant had requested a continuance, as they were not prepared to go forward this evening. Mr. McErlane opened and continued the hearing to March 18, 2002.

Scipione Conditional Use Application

Tom Corcoran, Court Reporter, took the proceedings. The applicant was not present. Mr. McErlane opened and continued the hearing to March 18, 2002. The hearing will go forward on that date only if a recommendation has been provided by the Planning Commission by that time.

Old Business

Road Maintenance Issues

Mr. Rodgers recommended that funds for the inspection and repair of culverts be set aside in next year’s budget as many of them are in poor condition and in need of attention. The culvert at the base of Dickson Drive is presently washing out and in need of immediate replacement, as he believes it is a safety issue. He requested approval from the Board to expend approximately $4,000 for the repair of this basin. Mrs. Ewald said this basin was repaired in recent years and asked for the records on what work had been done and what went wrong. Mr. Kohli said the culvert had not been replaced at that time, only repaired. Mr. Rodgers said the wrong grout was used. Mr. Willig asked if this will take away funding for the paving of Howell Road, and Mr. Rodgers said no. The Board indicated their approval to go forward with the repair of the Dickson Road culvert, with the exception of Mrs. Ewald, who wanted to review the prior work records first.

Mr. Rodgers said the binding course was put down today on Howell Road. A small amount of base repair will be done tomorrow. The binder will cost between $8,000-$10,000 and saves the base over the winter from further deterioration. He estimates this will save $15,000-$20,000 on the final wearing course. He’ll contact PennDOT to obtain a project number in order to use Liquid Fuels funds for the work. Mrs. Ewald said this work shouldn’t be ongoing while the Roadmaster is out of town, and that the work should be scheduled for when he is available to supervise.

Charlestown Park Improvement Grant – Round 10

This matter was tabled until later in the meeting to await the arrival of Mark Connolly, Parks & Recreation Board Chairman.

Brightside Farm Acquisition Grant – Round 13

This matter was tabled until later in the meeting to await the arrival of Mark Connolly, Parks & Recreation Board Chairman.

Horseshoe Trail – Union Hill Road

Don Kirkland of the Horseshoe Trail Club and Margy Crawford from Parks & Rec were present to report on the need to re-route the Horseshoe Trail in the vicinity of the Moskowitz property on Union Hill Road, as Dr. Moskowitz has blocked the trail on his property and there is no easement in place to require it. The Trail Club would like to resolve the issue soon, as they take their annual walk along the entire trail to blaze and replace missing markers on March 10th. There were numerous suggestions for re-routing the trail, including use of part of the pipeline in that area, which would require permission from the company. Mr. Theurkauf will check the trail tomorrow and determine which alternatives are viable. Mr. Kohli said he is scheduled to meet with Dr. Moskowitz’s contractor tomorrow to review the final punch list prior to issuing a Use & Occupancy Permit for the new house. Mrs. Ewald said she’d discuss the issue with Dr. Moskowitz once more to see if any compromise could be made.

New Business

Whitehorse Meadows Lot Line Change

G. Michael Main was present to request approval for a lot line change for lots 6, 10 & 11 of the Whitehorse Meadows subdivision off Whitehorse Road. He described it as a fine-tuning of the plan that would eliminate an easement that had been reserved as an alternative access that is now unnecessary. Mr. Main presently owns the easement area and the adjacent Lot 10. Mr. Drum, an adjacent lot owner, is interested in purchasing the extra land to increase his lot area to 3.252 acres. Mrs. Ewald asked if there are any wetlands in the area Mr. Drum will be acquiring, and Mr. Main responded no, it’s primarily wooded hillside. Mr. Main said that in accordance with Mr. Kohli’s review letter dated 2/18/02, he developed language for shared driveway maintenance that he feels is comprehensive. Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the lot line change plan for Whitehorse Meadows Lots 6, 10 & 11, subject to Mr. Kohli’s review comments in his letter dated 2/18/02. Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Mr. Main updated the Board on his proposed revisions to the Covenants and Restrictions for Whitehorse Meadows. He has worked out Lot 1 owner Paul Beideman’s concerns over the proposed revisions and expects to bring them into the Township soon for approval.

Spring Meadow Farms Lot Line Change

Mr. Main requested approval for a lot line change for lots 7, 8, & 9 of the Spring Meadow Farms subdivision off Howell Road. He said the change would bring the lots into better conformity by eliminating a “dogleg” on one of them and squaring out Lot 9. Note 20 was added to create a viewshed preservation area. Mr. Kuhn asked if the building envelopes will change for these lots, and Mr. Main said yes, insofar as the setbacks will move with the lot lines, but the house and septic system positions will not change. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the lot line change plan for Spring Meadow Farms Lots 7, 8 & 9 subject to Mr. Kohli’s review letter dated 2/18/02, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

On-Lot Sewage Disposal System Maintenance and Management Program

Mr. Rodgers referred to a memorandum dated 2/13/02 from Thomas Comitta enclosing a revised draft of the “On-Lot Sewage Disposal System Maintenance and Management Program” required by the DEP before the Township’s Act 537 Plan can be approved. This program would be adopted by Ordinance. It would require that all homeowners have their septic systems pumped out every two years and provide evidence of this to the Township. This item and the updated sewage flow calculations were holding up the approval, but the calculations have now been provided, and approval can be given subject to the development of the Maintenance and Management Program being put in place within 6 months.

Mr. Hogan asked why the requirements aren’t different for large and small households, and Mr. Kohli said this is done for simplicity, as it would be difficult to track how many people are living in each house. Mr. Kuhn asked how malfunctions are reported, and Mr. Kohli said usually the pumping company would report it to the County Health Department as well as in the pumping record that would come to the Township. Mr. Kuhn asked if the surrounding townships have adopted a similar Maintenance Program, and Mr. Kohli said no, it has been an issue of concern for everyone. It was felt that the County should be responsible for monitoring since they are the ones to issue septic permits. Mr. Kuhn asked what the risk is to the Township by having no Act 537 Plan approval. Mr. Rodgers said the Township could be forced to sewer if challenged. Mrs. Ewald said the 1991 Plan was deemed approved because the DEP didn’t respond within the required 180 days, but Mr. Kohli said they did notify the Township that the sewage flow calculations were missing.

Mrs. Ewald said she had no objection to an education program, which is part of the Program, but is opposed to monitoring the pumping, which she feels is an intrusion on the landowner. The other Board members were in general agreement that if any monitoring were to be done, the County and not the Township should do it. Mr. Kohli said the reporting requirement was incorporated in order to avoid the need for routine inspections, which would require a full time inspector.

Mr. Kohli will follow up with the DEP to obtain the conditional approval for the Act 537 Plan, which can be obtained prior to setting up any Maintenance Program.

Schedule Conditional Use Hearings

The following conditional use hearings were scheduled to open on March 18, 2002: Dixon, Pomanti, and S.G. Souder Builders. The Secretary will notify the applicants and advertise the hearings.

The continuation of the Altemose Conditional Use hearing was also scheduled for March 18, 2002 subject to advise from counsel.

East Pikeland Township Request for Sewer Extension

Mr. Rodgers explained that East Pikeland Township has requested approval from the Valley Forge Sewer Authority (VFSA) for expansion of the sewer lines in their township and financing of the project by the VFSA, to be reimbursed at a later time. As a member of the VFSA 6 member board, Mr. Rodgers said he doesn’t object to the extension but does object to its being funded by the VFSA. In the past, the affected township, contractors and/or landowners funded sewer connections. He said the townships that are members of the VFSA are its stockholders. East Pikeland should finance their own expansion with a bond issue or through the contractors.

Mr. Willig stated that the VFSA should not be in the business of promoting infrastructure. He has no objection to the extension either, but doesn’t want the VFSA to fund it. Mrs. Ewald agreed, and added her concern that the East Pikeland extension not be undertaken at the expense of the Charlestown allocation. Mr. Rodgers said the allocation wouldn’t be affected, as the capacity is available. Mr. Kohli added that the allocation is not parceled out, but represents a lump sum capacity that is based on the Act 537 Plans of the members. When the capacity is reached, the authority would seek a re-rate or expansion of the plant.

Mr. Kuhn moved to authorize the Chairman to send a letter to the Charlestown representatives on the VFSA Board (Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Babacz) outlining the Supervisors’ position and requesting that they represent this position to the VFSA Board. Mrs. Ewald proposed to amend the motion to send the letter to the Chairman of the VFSA Board (Mr. Babacz) with a copy to all members. Mr. Kuhn accepted the amendment. Mrs. Ewald seconded the motion. Mr. Willig called for discussion. Mr. Rodgers stated that he thinks the letter should be send to Charlestown’s representatives on the VFSA Board as a courtesy to them, allowing them to represent the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Willig called the vote. Four were in favor, and Mr. Rodgers was opposed.

Charlestown Park Improvement Grant – Round 10

Mr. Connolly, Parks & Rec Chairman, said the Township has received an extension on its County Round 10 Park Improvement grant for Charlestown Park to 6/30/02. There is $18,000 left to spend, half of which is reimbursed by the grant. He is requesting direction from the Board in order to prepare a bid package for completion of the project. The Parks & Rec Board is meeting Wednesday, February 27th and would like input before then so they can develop a proposal for the Board’s consideration at their March 4, 2002 meeting.

As last proposed, the project included a landscaping plan, playground improvements and the construction of vistas. These are all part of the Phase I Improvements of the Master Site Plan. He said there are 8 picnic tables at the four vista points at present, and he doesn’t feel it necessary to pursue additional accoutrements at this time. Instead, he suggested the Board consider an ADA picnic area, since, although the existing pavilions serve in this capacity, they are not connected by pavement. He added that some of Mr. Hogan’s expenses for the geothermal playground could be included in the proposal. The Parks & Rec Board would like to mark up the existing landscape plan and select areas for the first phase, to be included in this proposal. Mrs. Ewald said the Township has funding from the Iacobucci Organization for the equivalent cost of 800 trees, and it’s not necessary to include landscaping in the project. Mr. Kuhn stated his concern over planting trees this spring with the ongoing drought conditions. Mr. Connolly responded that new trees need a watering program whether there’s a drought or not, and Mr. Theurkauf said water restrictions during a drought typically don’t include the watering of new landscaping.

Mrs. Ewald suggested paving the parking lot as part of the project, but Mr. Connolly said this would exceed the $18,000 available, particularly with the inclusion of islands and buffering. Mr. Hogan suggested looking at the cost of the fencing replacement and repair needed at the Park.

Mr. Connolly said that within the next year, the Parks & Rec Board plans to develop a long-term budget for the completion of improvements at Charlestown Park. The remainder of the landscaping plan will take an additional 2 to 3 years to complete.

Mr. Hogan said he’d like to see the utility wires at the Park run underground. Mrs. Ewald suggested that the Valley Forge Christian College (VFCC) may be able to offer some cooperation with this effort, and added that the Phoenixville Marion Youth Club has connections that may be of use. Mr. Hogan said that the VFCC is interested in repairing the dam to incorporate the pond in their stormwater management plan for the proposed dormitories currently under review. There may be some leeway for negotiating these items. Mr. Kuhn asked if the pond would support aquatic life if it is being used for groundwater run off, and Mr. Kohli said it could be done if it is monitored and dredged every 5-10 years as necessary.

Brightside Farm Acquisition Grant – Round 13

The Board discussed the County’s Round XIII Acquisition Grant Contract awarded to the Township for the purchase of the Brightside Farm, with a maximum reimbursement of $450,000, representing 50% of the total acquisition cost. The grant is contingent on the Township delineating the boundaries of the grant area so as to exclude all structures and any grounds that will not be available for unencumbered public access.

Mrs. Ewald said the Brightside Farm Committee should review the requirements and make a recommendation to the Board. Mr. Kuhn disagreed, stating that the Committee’s function is strictly to oversee maintenance.

Mr. Connolly said that the reimbursement percentage varies from 50% to 55% and 60% depending on various factors. He said that in order to maximize the funding, $900,000 worth of the property would need to be delineated, and the Township should try to accomplish this while imposing the least amount of constraints on the use of the property as a whole. He noted that these restrictions must be well understood before the visioning process can take place. Mr. Theurkauf said the most pertinent restrictions on county funded land are that there can be no commercial enterprise (such as Community Supported Agriculture) and no structures. It was decided that the Board needs additional information on the extent of restrictions on the land, and will ask Bill Gladden, Chester County Parks and Recreation Director, to give a presentation at a special meeting of the Board to be scheduled for April 22, 2002. Tim O’Neill, Esq., from Lamb, Windle & McErlane, will be asked to prepare a memo outlining additional restrictions imposed on the property due to the bond issue. Mr. Gladden’s presentation will be followed by a visioning session on potential uses of the Brightside Farm. The Secretary will make the arrangements, including a notification to all township residents.

Other Business

PennDOT Road Projects – Widening and Paving of Yellow Springs and Hollow Roads

Mr. Kohli will contact Bill Tritle, Chester County Maintenance Manager at PennDOT to obtain details on PennDOT’s proposed widening and paving work on Yellow Springs Road and Hollow Road.


Mr. Willig adjourned the meeting at 10:00 P.M. The Board went into Executive Session to discuss legal matters with the Solicitor. The next meeting will be held on March 4, 2002, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Township Secretary