Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of March 4, 2002 – approved 3/18/02

The first business meeting for March was held March 4, 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., Ed Theurkauf, Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator and those on the attached list were present.

The meeting was called to order at 7:35 P.M.


Mrs. Ewald announced that Miss Betty Stonorov’s 96th birthday is tomorrow and extended her felicitations.

Mr. Willig announced that an executive session was held February 25, 2002 after the business meeting.

Rosemary Philips announced that resident Lee Raden has again been awarded ribbons at the Philadelphia Flower Show.

Citizens’ Forum – Non-Agenda Items

No items were brought forward at this time.


Minutes of 2/25/02

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of 2/25/02 and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report February 1 - 28, 2002

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for February 1 - 28, 2002 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report for 3/4/02

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Accounts Payable Report for 3/4/02 and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mrs. Ewald asked for information on check #3905 for $214.18 made payable to J. N. Calvecchio. Mr. Kuhn said he is a computer consultant the new tax collector contacted to transfer the computer records from the previous tax collector’s computer. Mrs. Ewald asked who the individual is and what are his qualifications. Mr. Kuhn suggested she ask the Tax Collector for clarification.

Mrs. Ewald said she would not approve check #3937 to Melchiorre Construction for $12,800.00 because work was done without the Roadmaster present to supervise, as he was out of town. The work was not emergency work, and cost and quality control are compromised without the Roadmaster to oversee the job. Mr. Rodgers said the Roadmaster told him he could oversee the work in his stead. Mr. Kuhn said the Board approved that the work be done, and although an irregularity occurred in having alternate supervision, the contractor shouldn’t be penalized for following one of the Board members’ instructions. Mr. Faggioli said he inspected the work today with the Contractor and they did a marvelous job. Mr. Willig said he wants the check approved, although he’d have preferred to have the work done when the Roadmaster is supervising. Mr. Willig moved to approve check #3937 and Mr. Kuhn/Mr. Rodgers seconded. There was no vote.

Mr. Kuhn repeated his first motion to approve the Accounts Payable Report for 3/4/02 as presented. Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for a role call vote. The Secretary called the vote as follows: Mr. Willig – aye, Mr. Hogan – aye, Mr. Kuhn – aye, Mr. Rodgers - aye, Mrs. Ewald – nay, for the reasons stated.


Schorr DePalma – Condition Assessment Survey of the Pyle Farmstead (Brightside Farm)

Bob D’Orio, Vice President of Schorr DePalma, was present with Tom Langan, P.E., to present their report dated August 6, 2001 on a condition assessment of the Brightside Farm performed on June 14, 2001. Mr. D’Orio said the brief report was provided at no cost to the Township. Mr. Langan provided a brief overview of the report and called for questions.

Mr. Willig asked how difficult it would be to transform the pole-building barn into a use such as an assembly hall. Mr. Langan said it would be relatively simple and might be worth running an engineering analysis on it. The roof would need insulation and ventilation, and for performing arts improvements better acoustics would be needed. Mr. Hogan questioned the use of the term “pole barn”, which he said he wouldn’t apply to this type of structure. Mr. Langan said that the timbers cantilever up to support the roof and are tied in by the second level, which are properties of a pole barn. He did acknowledge that it is not a typical, true pole barn. Mrs. Ewald asked about alternative ingress and egress, and whether one of the walls could be converted to glass with decking and a ramp for ADA compliance. Mr. Langan said altering any wall in this way would create the need for re-stabilizing of the structure and wood bracing. He noted that it’s possible that two additional openings would be required due to the size of the barn.

Mrs. Ewald asked if the historic barn would be difficult to restore. Mr. Langan said stone structures of this nature are somewhat complicated and costly. He said the stone is in good condition for the most part, except a portion that was damaged by a fallen tree. It may be more cost effective to remove this wall and rebuild it with a matching façade. He said there are some problems with the structure but they’re not insurmountable, and the Township should be able to do something with it.

Mr. D’Orio said his firm assists municipalities in seeking funding for use conversions as discussed this evening, particularly with historic structures. He asked if the Board wanted any further information. Mr. Willig responded no, and said the Board is undertaking a visioning process for the Farm and this preliminary report indicates the main structures are suitable to consider for adaptation.

Discussion: Transfer of Hollow Road from State to Township

Mr. Rodgers began a discussion on the work PennDOT is planning for Yellow Springs and Hollow Road. Many trees are marked along Hollow Road for removal, and residents of the road were present to discuss the situation. Mr. Rodgers said he spoke to representatives at PennDOT, who said Charlestown Township can choose to take the road ownership back from them. PennDOT will turn the road back after performing base repairs, repaving, and replacing pipes as needed. Any bridges on the road would remain PennDOT bridges. To begin the transfer arrangements, PennDOT needs a letter from the Township stating its intent.

Mr. Kuhn asked the Solicitor if Charlestown might incur liability if it takes over the road and downgrades PennDOT’s plan to widen and remove trees. Mr. McErlane said, conceptually, yes.

Mrs. Philips said she attended a meeting at Pine Creek Park this morning where a PennDOT representative met with Yellow Spring Road residents. He said if the road is widened to 22 feet, it will take the stress off the edges of the pavement and it should last 10 years before major resurfacing will be needed.

Mrs. Ewald said Yellow Springs Road can’t be widened uniformly due to the narrower bridges. Wider roads causes more traffic at higher speeds and this condition would be unsafe.

Bill Aaronson, a Hollow Road resident, said he doesn’t want the road to be repaved and asked if this is going to happen regardless of who owns the road. Mr. Rodgers said yes. Mr. Aaronson stated his concern for school children waiting for buses along Hollow with the increase in traffic volume and speed that will result from an improved road. He suggested the paving include the installation of speed bumps. He is in favor of the Township taking over the road if it means speed bumps can be utilized. Mr. Rodgers said that by following PennDOT’s traffic calming methods, modest speed bumps can be installed that would slow traffic to 25-30 MPH.

Mrs. Ewald said there may be downsides to taking ownership of the road. It’s shady and has poor drainage. The shade accelerates the deterioration of asphalt. She thinks the estimate that the Township would have significantly reduced maintenance costs for the first ten years is overly optimistic. She recommends that Mr. Kohli review the road from an engineering standpoint.

Mr. Willig said that the cost may be secondary to maintaining the charm and character of the road. He said he’d like to better control speed, and would consider various calming methods.

Mr. Kuhn said that Hollow Road from Route 29 to Pikeland Road is the more critical section and suggested taking just that section over. Maintenance issues would be more severe on the other section. Mr. Rodgers said the entire road should be taken over due to traffic concerns. Mr. Staas asked the Board to consider the residents of the road and not concern themselves with traffic. Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Hogan said they are in favor of taking over the road.

Regina Fried asked if Township ownership of Hollow Road would avoid a repeat of the type of damage done by Asplundh two years ago, and Mr. Willig said yes. Mrs. Philips pointed out that anything in the road right of way is removable, however.

Mr. Kuhn asked the Roadmaster for a rough estimate of the cost to pave Hollow Road from Pikeland to Yellow Springs, and he responded $15,000-$20,000. Mrs. Ewald suggested getting specific data on the road length and width along with an assessment from both Mr. Faggioli and Mr. Kohli on the condition of the road. She proposed that the Township send a letter to PennDOT asking them to hold off on any work on the road for 2-3 weeks until the Township could decide this matter.

Mrs. Ewald moved to direct the Solicitor to contact PennDOT and request that all work on Hollow Road be postponed until the Township has time to investigate the possibility of taking back ownership of the road. Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig said the letter should express a genuine interest in entering into negotiations with PennDOT. Mrs. Ewald amended her motion to include Yellow Springs and Foster Roads and allowing the Township a 90 day period to consider the matter and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.


Zoning Officer

The Zoning Officer was not present.

Planning Commission

Mr. Davison reported that the Planning Commission met on February 12th and 26th. On February 12th, the Commission recommended two lot line change plans submitted by G. Michael Main for approval. A lot line change plan for Seibert-Winnich was also recommended.

On February 26th, the Planning Commission held a joint meeting with the Board of Supervisors to discuss implementation of the Comprehensive Plan. He thanked the Board and said the Planning Commissioners felt the meeting was very productive. He asked if another joint meeting could be held on March 26th. Three Board members indicated their availability. Mr. Willig will be away, and Mrs. Ewald will check her schedule and respond back.

Mr. Davison added the recent site meeting held at the Scipione property was informative. He said the applicant was very accommodating.

Historical Commission

Mrs. Philips said the Historical Commission didn’t meet last month. The next meeting is March 19, 2002.


Mr. Faggioli said he followed up on a complaint of a car parked continuously on Benburb Road. He and Mr. Rodgers spoke to the owner, who said he moves it regularly. There was some dispute between two neighbors on Benburb Road soon after this discussion. The Board advised Mr. Faggioli to refer such matters to the State Police in the future.

Fire Marshal/EOC

Mr. Alston read his February report. There were two automatic fire alarms, one odor investigation, one woods fire, one trees/wires fire, two dwelling fires, and three vehicle accidents. He reported that the county is under a drought emergency and asked the public to follow the water conservation measures outlined by the county and state. The burning ban remains in effect. The new situation status monitors for the EOC are installed and operational.

Mr. Alston also reported that he met with representatives of Norfolk Southern Railroad with regard to railroad issues.

Parks and Recreation Board

Mr. Hogan reported that Jean Martin called him with concerns over a swale she said was redirected from the adjacent Brightside Farm. Mr. Hogan told her it was simply bridged and not redirected. He said Mrs. Martin told him the tree from the Farm that fell onto her property last year has still not been removed. The Secretary will check the 2001 invoices to see if the work had been billed, as the Board members were under the impression this tree had been taken care of.

Mr. Hogan said he plans to do a temperature check of his geothermal playground at Charlestown Park tomorrow morning, since the temperature is supposed to drop well below freezing.

With regard to fencing at Charlestown Park, Mr. Hogan said the Valley Forge Christian College plans to remove the chain link fencing along Coldstream Road. Mr. Hogan suggests the Township remove 30-40 feet of fencing along Township Line Road, or perhaps all of it. A post and rail fence might be considered as an alternative.

Brightside Farm Committee

Mrs. Ewald said the Committee hasn’t met since the February 10th reception.

Valley Forge Sewer Authority

Mr. Rodgers reported that the project for extending the sewer line in East Pikeland is on hold and has been removed from the March 22nd agenda. There have been several odor complaints recently from one individual, and she was encouraged to report this problem each time it occurs so the VFSA can investigate. Mr. Rodgers also reported that the hourly workers are planning to join the Teamsters Union. The VFSA Board is meeting with a labor attorney for advise on how to conduct negotiations.

Old Business

Horseshoe Trail Relocation – Union Hill Road

Mr. Theurkauf referred to his memo and attached plan dated 2/27/02, which proposes a re-routing of the Horseshoe Trail around the Moskowitz property. He’s sent the plan to the Moskowitzs, and two neighbors, the Shahs and the Charlestown Historical Society. There have been no responses so far. Mr. Kuhn will attend the Historical Society meeting Wednesday night to review the plan with them.

Mr. Kuhn asked if rerouting the trail along Whitehorse Road had been looked at as he suggested at a prior meeting. Mr. Theurkauf said he looked at the area but determined that there was no way to work it out with the Quarry. One benefit of the proposed plan is that it adds length to the trail. He said the Horseshoe Trail Club is hoping for a solution before their trail marking walk on March 10th, but Mrs. Ewald suggested that they bide their time, as the rerouting solution must be a long term one and will take some time to work out.

Charlestown Park – Round 10 Grant Proposal

Mr. Theurkauf referred to the Facilities Improvement Plan, including the Landscaping Plan, for Charlestown Park. There is approximately $18,000 left to expend for the Round 10 grant. The Parks and Recreation Board held a brief meeting on February 27th to select portions of the Landscaping Plan that could be implemented under the Round 10 grant without conflicting with future proposed improvements. This would include 19 shade trees, 10 evergreen trees, and 5 flowering trees for an estimated cost of $10,300. Seeding on the ADA compliant loop of the walking trail, to include edging and a bench, are estimated at a cost of $2,500. An alternative to the landscaping would be the installation of a basketball court at an estimated cost of $15,000 plus a design fee of $2,000-$3,000.

Mr. Connolly gave details on the landscaping selected for consideration. He said the Landscape Plan was divided into three phases: Phase I is the area already agreed upon to include landscaping the hillside along Coldstream Road and buffering of Township Line Road. Phase II would have no impact on other proposed improvements at the Park, and Phase III would impact on other proposed designs.

Mr. Connolly said the Parks & Rec Board has discussed the VFCC plans with Bill Werkheiser, which requires a decision from the Township on stormwater management. The VFCC would like to work out a stormwater discharge plan that would either be captured in wetlands at the park or by means of a pond. The Planning Commission will discuss this next week.

Mrs. Ewald said the VFCC is already planning a basketball court as part of their indoor facilities, and this will be available to the public. Mr. Connolly said the PMYC may be interested in running a basketball program on the outdoor court. He said this would be a different category of amenity that what is there now, namely the fitness trail, playground and a variety of playing fields. This would provide an activity for court players.

Mrs. Ewald said she doesn’t want the expansion of the playground eliminated and is against the basketball court because it will encourage a congregating of too many people in an unsupervised setting. Mr. Hogan said he thinks the playground is big enough. He said he wants the landscaping put into place, and Mrs. Ewald agreed. She also suggested paving the parking lot. Mr. Theurkauf said the parking lot can’t be done for under $18,000, which is the balance of the available grant money (including the Township’s match).

Mr. Rodgers moved to install the basketball court. There was no second. Mr. Connolly said the Parks & Rec Board recommendation is to go ahead on the project in order to expend the funds before the deadline, either by installing a basketball court or through the installation of the Phase I trees. Either proposal fits in with the Master Site Plan. He suggested that if the court is selected, that the engineering be done for both that court and the future second court as shown in the Master Site Plan. Also, the VFCC may be willing to cooperate on installing the second court.

Mrs. Ewald said installing the basketball court will take additional playground away from the younger children. Mr. Connolly said both are shown on the Master Site Plan. Mr. Hogan said a chain link fence could be placed around the court due to its proximity to the existing playground. Mr. Connolly suggested waiting for the court to be put in and then deciding if a fence is needed.

Charlie Philips said he’s in favor of the basketball court, and that there is already a lot at the Park for younger children.

Mr. Rodgers moved to use the remainder of the Round 10 grant funds to install a basketball court at Charlestown Park. Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Willig called for further discussion, and there being none, called the vote. Four were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.

New Business

Memorandum of Agreement for Off-Site Spring Oaks Improvements

Mrs. Ewald moved to table in order to discuss the matter first with the Solicitor. There was no second.

Tim Townes of J. Loew & Associates stated his firm has an offsite improvement package relative to their Preliminary Plan Approval for Spring Oaks Business Park. PennDOT’s approval is imminent, and waits only for the resolution of an outstanding right of way issue across from the Commons at Great Valley on Route 29, which affects the 4 acre Grillo property. The right of way, or as an alternative, a retaining wall in that area, is needed in order to widen Route 29 at that location.

Mr. Townes explained that this is a substantial road improvement plan tied to Spring Oaks. Trammel Crow’s Atwater complex has already begun construction, and as they can’t obtain any occupancy permits prior to the road improvements, they approached J. Loew and Associates with a proposal to get them done sooner. Trammel Crow proposes to undertake the improvements themselves acting as a contractor to J. Loew and Associates. J. Loew would turn over all funds they have escrowed for the project, including the funds held by Charlestown Township. Before making an agreement with Trammel Crow, J. Loew wishes to confirm the understandings between themselves and Charlestown Township by way of a Memorandum Agreement as presented this evening in draft form.

Mrs. Ewald expressed her concern that the proposed Memorandum Agreement does nothing to protect Charlestown or answer the large question of traffic impacts from the Atwater project. Mr. Willig asked how Charlestown can be assured that the traffic improvements will accommodate them. Mr. Townes said J. Loew & Associates has the obligation to mitigate the effects of the Spring Oaks Business Park. This arrangement will meet this obligation, and will benefit J. Loew by having the improvements done much sooner than they would be if they waited for the Spring Oaks project to get started.

Mr. McErlane clarified that according to the terms of the Spring Oaks Preliminary Land Development approval, J. Loew & Associates can put those improvements in whether or not Spring Oaks has broken ground. The only permit required from the Township would be for Warner Lane. All other affected roads are state roads and need PennDOT approval. Trammel Crow’s share of the improvements, escrowed in accordance with a tri-party agreement among the developer, East Whiteland and Tredyffrin Townships, has been approved by Mr. Kohli as East Whiteland’s engineer. Mr. McErlane said J. Loew & Associates is asking for protection from Charlestown by ensuring that this is sufficient to mitigate the impact of Spring Oaks.

Mrs. Ewald said Trammel Crow should speak with the Charlestown Board of Supervisors. They need approval to occupy and improve Warner Lane, a Township road. They haven’t performed any traffic studies for Charlestown. She said she had no objection to what J. Loew & Associates was trying to do, but said the Board must look after their constituents. Mr. Townes said PennDOT has made these decisions on design for the intersections and signal improvements. He added that the Trammel Crow study incorporates Spring Oaks’ by reference.

Mr. McErlane asked if Trammel Crow is undertaking only the improvements specified for Spring Oaks and that this is being considered adequate to cover their traffic impacts as well. Mr. Townes said no, in addition to the Spring Oaks improvements, Trammel Crow will be widening the Charlestown Saloon side of Route 29 in front of Warner Lane. They will also widen Charlestown Road beyond the scope required for Spring Oaks. Mrs. Ewald said Charlestown has never seen this plan and has had no input into the approval process.

Mr. Willig said the Board needs time to confer with Mr. Kohli and the Solicitor to ensure that the proposed improvements are what Charlestown needs. He will schedule an executive session as soon as possible after Mr. Kohli returns next week.

Resolution to Expend Liquid Fuels Funds – Paving of Howell Road

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve Resolution #591-02, which Mr. Willig read in its entirety, authorizing the expenditure of funds from the Liquid Fuels account for the resurfacing of Howell Road. Mr. Kuhn seconded and all were in favor.

Other Business

Mrs. Ewald brought up two items of Other Business. First, she said she’d like to take charge of organizing a Memorial Day Celebration at the Revolutionary War Cemetery. Mr. Willig suggested she provide an outline of what she intends to do. Mr. Kuhn said he wasn’t interested in this event, and there were no other comments.

Mrs. Ewald proposed re-naming Bridge 178 over the Pickering Creek in honor of Miss Betty Stonorov. The Board decided on a small bronze plaque that would read: “The Elizabeth Foster Stonorov Bridge” and “Miss Betty” on the second line. The Secretary was asked to contact Creative Sign Crafters and request a mock-up and pricing for review and approval. Mr. Hogan will provide her with dimensions.


Mr. Rodgers moved to adjourn and Mrs. Ewald seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 10:30 P.M. The next meeting will be held on March 18, 2002, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, room 154.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Township Secretary