Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of April 1, 2002 – approved April 15, 2002

The first business meeting for April was held April 1, 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, Thomas F. Oeste, Esq., Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator and those on the attached list were present.

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


There were no announcements.

Citizens’ Forum – Non-Agenda Items

Charlie Philips asked what step to take with a neighbor who is target shooting or possibly shooting at deer on his property next door. Mr. Oeste said there are no township regulations above the state regulations, and that Mr. Philips should contact the State Game Commission or State Police for assistance.


Recognition for Harry Nagel

Mr. Willig recognized Harry Nagel, who retired from the Zoning Hearing Board at the end of 2001 after serving for more than twenty years. The Board presented a plaque to Mr. Nagel in appreciation of his stable influence and good decision making through the years on the Township’s behalf. Mrs. Ewald also thanked Anneliese Nagel, recognizing the sacrifices made by the spouses and family members of Township volunteers. Mr. Nagel said he tried to do his best for the Township and that it has been a privilege to serve.


Minutes of 3/18/02

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of 3/18/02 and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report March 1 – 31, 2002

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for March 1 –31, 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 4/1/02

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the Accounts Payable Report for 4/1/02 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Spring Oaks Business Park Conditional Use Application

Jane Opie, Court Reporter, took the proceeds. The hearing was opened and testimony given. The hearing was closed and the Board will render a decision within 45 days.


Zoning Officer

The Zoning Officer stated that the Building Permit report for March is on file. He reported that he and Mr. Rodgers met with the DEP with regard to the sewage disposal maintenance management program the Township must put into place before receiving a letter of approval on its Act 537 Plan. The Program document drafted by Thomas Comitta has been revised in accordance with the issues discussed at the meeting. Mr. Willig asked if the approval would be retroactive, and Mr. Kohli answered yes.

Planning Commission

Charlie Philips reported that the Scipione subdivision application was discussed at the March 26th Planning Commission meeting, and that numerous suggestions were made as a follow up to a recent site visit. The applicant agreed to work with the Dixon applicant to align the roads into the two subdivisions to improve safety. They will also try to move one lot away from the Three Ponds subdivision toward the Dixon tract. Mr. Philips said the next meeting of the Planning Commission is the joint meeting with the Board of Supervisors on April 23rd.

Historical Commission

Mr. Philips reported that the Historical Commission/HARB discussed plans to stabilize the Baughman Mill, and also made a recommendation that the Brightside visioning process have a more structured format than that of the past, with Tom Comitta leading it. Mrs. Ewald said the first meeting scheduled for April 22, 2002 would primarily consist of two guest speakers, one from the County Parks & Rec Department to review any restrictions of the pending acquisition grant, and Tim O’Neil from Lamb, Windle and McErlane’s office to review any restrictions imposed by the bond issue used to purchase the property.


The Roadmaster was not present and there was no report on file. Mr. Hogan noted that PennDOT has been working at the corner of Hollow and Charlestown Road to cut back the bank. Mr. Kuhn said it will be a big improvement.

Fire Marshal/EOC

Mr. Alston read his March report. There were two automatic fire alarms, one odor investigation, three open burnings and four vehicle accidents. He reminded the public that the county remains under a drought emergency and everyone should follow the water conservation measures outlined by the county and state. The burning ban remains in effect.

Mr. Alston said the new Fire & Hazardous Materials Ordinance is being well received in the community and the office is receiving both hazardous materials registration and automatic fire alarm registration forms from residents and businesses.

Mrs. Ewald asked if Mr. Alston has attended any training being sponsored by the Department of Justice on Terrorism. Mr. Alston answered yes, and added that the EOC has tapes for additional training in this area. He also attended training at the Limerick Nuclear Power Plant.

Parks and Recreation Board

Mr. Hogan reported that Mark Connolly is putting together a bid package for the basketball court project and will be here later in the evening to address it. The Parks & Rec Commission would like to alter the plan developed by Thomas Comitta Associates to eliminate the stormwater basin below the basketball court by working out an alternative plan with Mr. Kohli to allow the runoff to flow into the parking lot to the storm drain to be discharged into the stream. They also want to improve on a few basketball court standards, such as cushioning of the steel post.

Mr. Hogan said the Valley Forge Christian College is removing the fencing along Charlestown Road and the Parks & Rec Board has discussed doing the same along Coldstream Road. However, there is less of a buffer along Coldstream and more of a concern that cars will get in. They discussed replacing some of the chain link fencing with post and rail fencing, with other areas to remain open.

Brightside Farm Committee

Mr. Hogan said Mark Cabot has cleaned out about a fourth of the bank barn at the Brightside Farm for a total of approximately 25 hours. They estimate another 75 hours to complete the job, a cost of $1,500.00 to the Township. He added that Mr. Cabot has been using his brother’s truck, and suggested the Board compensate him $25.00 per day for it. The Board agreed that Mr. Cabot may bill for the use of the truck and that he should continue with the barn work. Mr. Kuhn said he recalled that Newell Burdick was to trade 80 hours of work for the seed he’s put down at the farm and he could be called upon for this work as well. Mr. Hogan noted that the water heater purchased for the farmhouse has yet to be installed.

Valley Forge Sewer Authority

Tom Babacz reported that the January and February minutes of the VFSA were approved at the March meeting, and that the operation is in compliance with all permits at this time. The Board continues to focus on finances and the personnel unionization issue, for which a vote is scheduled on April 27th. A settlement was made with the former accounting firm, and the new firm, Reisel & Co. is auditing the 2001 books at present. He said this firm specializes in working with small authorities. Mr. Kuhn asked for the status of the East Pikeland Township proposed expansion, and Mr. Babacz responded that the VFSA did a study that indicates the expansion is financially feasible. Recovery time would be dependent on the rate of construction, and could be as long as 18 years.

Old Business

Deerfield – Request for Modifications to Settlement Plan Stipulations

Chuck Dobson and Bob Smiley of Genterra Corp. presented requests outlined in Mr. Dobson’s letter dated March 7, 2002 to the Township for approval of modifications to the Settlement Plan for Deerfield approved by the Board in December 2001. The Settlement Stipulation was agreed to by both parties but has not yet been signed.

Mr. Dobson displayed a sketch “Plan of Subdivision of Deerfield - Overall Site Plan” dated 3/22/02. Mr. Dobson said the engineering and sewage testing for the project is nearing completion, and one unit has been lost from the agreed upon number of 39 for a total of 38 new dwelling units. To maintain the 38 units, Genterra asks for the following modifications to the Settlement Plan:

  1. Allow a slight encroachment of the Lot 26 dwelling unit and the placement of the primary and backup septic systems in the 275 foot buffer along the Turnpike. Or, as an alternative, reduce the front yard setback in order to move the house up.
  2. Reduce the 50 foot access strip to the Benjamin Thomas parcel to 20 feet, to allow for adjustment of the adjacent lots to reduce the impact on the Turnpike buffer.
  3. Allow the placement of a primary and backup drip irrigation system in the open space along Yellow Spring Road near Lots #12 & 13 for Lot #12.
  4. Allow the placement of a backup drip irrigation system in the open space area behind Lot #37.

Mrs. Ewald asked if the Township has the Chester County Health Department data. Mr. Dobson responded that Genterra is waiting to finalize the Planning Module in order to conform it to the Stipulation. The data will be provided with the Planning Module. Mr. Dobson said the proposed modifications area acceptable to the CCHD. Mrs. Ewald said Mr. Kohli needs time to review the County data and see why they took the position of approving the modifications. Mr. Oeste reminded the applicant that the first priority was to place each primary system on the lot it serves, and failure to do so would result in the loss of the lot. He asked if the cross-easement clause has been utilized, and Mr. Dobson said no.

On Item #1, Mr. Kuhn said he’d prefer to keep the drip irrigation system for Lot 26 on that lot, preferring to relax the front yard setback. Mrs. Ewald asked if the Turnpike would be willing to provide an easement for septic for this lot. Mr. Dobson said no, although it’s possible they would swap land. Mrs. Ewald asked if they would sell land, and Mr. Dobson said that in their initial discussions with the Turnpike Commission, the answer was no. Mr. Smiley said that with a land swap, the system would still infringe on the woods.

Mr. Kohli asked if all other systems are in-ground, and Mr. Smiley said either in-ground or drip irrigation. Mr. Rodgers suggested a sand mound system for Lot #26.

On Item #3, Mr. Willig said he needs more information.

Mr. Willig said he wants the original stipulation signed as a baseline agreement, and any agreement on these proposed modifications can be made as an addendum.

Mr. Oeste said Genterra Corp. filed plans last week and he made it clear to the applicant that these are not being accepted as a Final Plan. The Court has never signed the original Order. Mr. Smiley said they won’t try to subvert the time clock.

Mr. Dobson said he would like to meet with Mr. Kohli to review the engineering issues of the proposed modifications.

Round 10 Charlestown Park Improvements – Basketball Courts

Mark Connolly, Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Board, reviewed the draft bid package for the construction of two basketball courts at Charlestown Park. He said time is running short due to the grant deadline of June 30, 2002. He’d like to proceed with the construction of the courts and develop the permanent stormwater system and buffering plan between the parking lot and the road at a later time. Mr. Kohli said he received the plan this afternoon from Thomas Comitta Associates, which shows the stormwater management basin adjacent to the courts. He believes this is a poor location. Mr. Kohli said a temporary system could be developed that would detain water to discharge via sheet flow over the parking lot into the existing drainage pipe in order to proceed with the court construction. A permanent alternate to the basin shown on the TCA plan would be developed at a later time. He’ll speak with TCA about the temporary stormwater plan discussed this evening, as the plan will need to be revised.

With regard to the buffering, Mr. Hogan proposed a picket fence to be constructed between the parking lot and the road.

The draft bid package will be amended to change the $5 million umbrella insurance requirement to $2 million, which is standard for other Township contracts. The Board agreed, and suggested this cost be listed as a line item in the bid.

Mr. Connolly said the VFCC has offered 13,000 square feet of fill for the project, a value of approximately $2,000. Mr. Kohli questioned the practicality of the offer, but suggested it be included in the bid package indicating that the township has a right to supply the fill as an option.

Mr. Willig asked Mr. Oeste to review the AIA contract that is part of the bid package to ensure it is suitable for this project.

Mr. Connolly will make the necessary changes to the bid document and Thomas Comitta Associates will provide a revised plan indicating the change to the placement of the retention basin.

Stormwater Management for the Valley Forge Christian College and Charlestown Park

In conjunction with the Christian College’s land development application currently before the Planning Commission for review of proposed dormitories, Mr. Kohli said the VFCC needs direction from the Supervisors on stormwater management. The VFCC would like to work out a joint stormwater management plan where runoff from the Park and the new college facilities would be constructed as one facility in the Township’s open space at the Park. They propose to restore the two ponds on the Township Park property, with the upper pond developed as a wetland that would drain into the lower pond. The alternative would be for each entity to construct its own detention basin facilities.

Mr. Willig moved that the Board of Supervisors will work cooperatively on a joint stormwater management effort with the Valley Forge Christian College, and will request that the VFCC provide both a wet pond and dry detention alternative. Mr. Rodgers seconded and all were in favor.

New Business

Keystone Grant Application – Baughman Mill

Mr. Kuhn reported that a Keystone Grant may be available for stabilization of the Baughman Mill. The application deadline is May 1st. As much as $100,000 is available as a 50% match. Dale Frens said the project would require employment of the prevailing wage rate, which will add to the cost. Mr. Frens estimates a cost of $1,000 for him to prepare the application. Mr. Willig said the scope of work should be revisited before costing out the grant. Mrs. Ewald asked who will be directing Mr. Frens, and Mr. Kohli suggested that the HARB do so. The Board agreed that the HARB should take the lead, particularly since Mr. Kohli and Mr. Frens are part of the group and this body is best suited to providing recommendations to the Supervisors. Mrs. Ewald suggested that costs be broken out for the three sections of the mill.

Prior to any work on the mill, the Board must proceed with the subdivision of a one acre parcel surrounding it. The plan must be submitted to the French & Pickering Creeks Trust and to the County Planning Commission. Mr. Kohli will prepare the subdivision plan.

Mr. Kuhn moved to direct Gary Bender, Esq. to engage a surveyor to prepare the delineation of the subdivision, with potential surveyors to be recommended by Mr. Kohli. Further, the survey and subdivision are to be completed in sufficient time to allow for a target date of May 15th for settlement on the property with the Bartschi Foundation. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.


The Board adjourned into executive session to discuss legal matters at 9:25 P.M. The next meeting will be held on April 15, 2002, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Township Secretary