Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of July 1, 2002

The first business meeting for July was held July 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 J. Rodgers, Thomas F. Oeste, Esq., Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator and those on the attached list were present.

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


Mr. Kuhn announced that the Open Space committee is working on articles for a second newsletter. They are also planning to present a funding report to the Board at one of the September meetings.

Mr. Kuhn said he attended the Exelon sponsored EOC picnic on June 28th, and attended the Phoenixville Regional Planning Commission meeting held at Schuylkill Township on June 26th.

Citizens’ Forum – Non-Agenda Items

Andy Viscuso, a resident of Charlestown Hunt, said he can’t hear the test siren for the Limerick Nuclear Plant from his home. Mr. Alston responded that he’ll contact Exelon and ask if they’ll survey the area to see if there is a dead spot. Alix Coleman asked where Township residents are evacuated to in case of an emergency, and Mr. Kuhn responded they go to the Stetson Middle School on Route 202.


Minutes of 6/17/02

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes for 6/17/02 with the following corrections: replace the typos on page one that refer to “line striking” with “line striping”, and change the phrase on page two, last sentence of third paragraph from the bottom from “and kind of devices” to “those kinds of devices”. Mr. Rodgers seconded. All were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report June 1- 30, 2002

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for June 1- 30, 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 7/1/02

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Accounts Payable for July 1, 2002 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mrs. Ewald noted her concern that a check was re-issued due to the original being lost in the mail. Mr. Willig called the vote, and all were in favor.


Zoning Officer

The Zoning Officer stated that the Building Permit report for June is on file. Mr. Kohli reported that he’s working with the contractor to address piping problems at Charlestown Oaks. Mrs. Ewald asked why the recreation improvements aren’t in yet, and Mr. Kohli said these are all Phase II requirements.

Mr. Willig asked when the final inspection of the Charlestown Hunt roads will be completed, and Mr. Kohli said he’s waiting for the legal indentures for dedication to be submitted by the applicant. They will then need to be reviewed by the Solicitor. Also, Mrs. Ewald indicated her wish to inspect the site prior to making any decision on road dedication. He added that the interior traffic study has been completed, but he wants to wait for school to resume in the fall before the exterior traffic study is completed.

Mrs. Ewald asked for the status of the signalization of the intersection of Yellow Springs Road, Sidley Road and Phoenixville Pike. Mr. Kohli said the work is complete and the next step is for PECO to start the lights on yellow flashers for 7 days before it is made fully operational.

Mr. Kohli said he received a complaint about the timing of the signal at Route 29 and Charlestown Road. He is arranging for the timing to be reset as needed now that the Ice Dam Bridge has re-opened Route 29.

Planning Commission

Mike Allen reported that at the June 11, 2002 meeting, the Planning Commission reviewed four plans. The applicant for the Diament sketch plan for a 2-lot subdivision in Rapps Run was advised to move on to a preliminary plan submission.

A revision of the Scipione preliminary plan for the Highlands at Charlestown was reviewed. The entrance was re-aligned with the proposed Dixon subdivision entrance, which is a seen as a big improvement by the Commission. Now some work must be done on the cul de sac design. Mr. Allen said the Commission is still concerned over the lot sizes and number of lots proposed.

Mr. Allen said a sketch plan for a 2-lot subdivision on Howells Road submitted by the Martelluccis is primarily acceptable with a few minor items to address before a recommendation is made.

Mr. Allen said the Robal Associates sketch plan submission is the same plan submitted 12-13 years ago for 23 lots. The Planning Commission is making no progress with the applicant, and Mr. Allen says there is no feeling of cooperation.

Mr. Allen asked for the status of the Official Map. The Secretary responded the hearing date will be set at the July 15th Board meeting.

Mr. Allen asked if the Board wishes the Planning Commission to take another look at the Sketch Plan notification ordinance to take into account the recently received County comments. Mr. Willig said the hearing is already scheduled to open before the Board on July 15th, so the Board will address the County review comments at that time.

Mr. Allen said the only plan review scheduled for the July 9th Planning Commission meeting is for the Spring Oaks Final Plan. Comprehensive Plan implementation will also be discussed.

Historical Commission

Mr. Kuhn stated that the June Report is on file.


Mr. Rodgers noted that the Roadmaster’s report is on file.

Fire Marshal/EOC

Mr. Alston read his June report, stating there were five fire alarms, one CO detector alarm, one investigation, standby for a fireworks display, and 8 vehicle accidents. He reminded the public that fireworks permit applications must be submitted at least two weeks prior to any intended display.

Mr. Alston reported that FEMA’s review of the EOC biennial Limerick Nuclear Generating Station Drill on May 7, 2002 showed no deficiencies. He said the EOC staff members are very professional and do an excellent job. Mrs. Ewald was concerned with the accident rate at the Coldstream Road “S” curve. Mr. Alston said there have been five reportable accidents there so far this year.

Parks and Recreation Board

Mr. Hogan reported that the Parks & Rec Board is finalizing plans for two basketball courts at Charlestown Park, which will require some removal of Norway maples. New trees will be planted in a line to make up for the loss. Mrs. Ewald is concerned with removing large, mature trees and replacing them with twigs. Parks & Rec Chairman Mark Connolly will submit their recommendations and revised plans to the Township office within the next few days so the Board can decide on whether to proceed with the courts at the July 15th meeting. Three new benches have been installed at the Park, and PECO has contributed some poles for future use in constructing post and rail fence along Township Line Road.

Mr. Hogan reported that Mark Cabot has opened the trail along the Pickering Preserve.

Brightside Farm Committee

Mr. Hogan reported that clean up at the farm is continuing, and 7 dumpster loads of trash have been removed so far. He estimates a total cost of $7,000-8,000 to complete the work, including a clean out of the barn. With Ben Bingham’s recommendation, the trail by the farmhouse has been rerouted to a new path.

Mr. Kuhn asked if there is any recourse with the Great Valley School District with regard to the cost of the cleanup. Mr. Oeste said the agreement would have to be reviewed.

Zenon Steplewski said he heard from neighbor Steve Beever that there is a pile of contaminated soil from the Phoenix steelworks at the Brightside Farm. Mr. Steplewski said he visited the farm to check this out, as he is concerned about his well water. Mr. Merriwether said the soil pile, the only one on the property, has been there many years and is a combination of soil, manure and straw. Mr. Kuhn said the Township obtained a report prior to purchasing the property, which did not indicate any site contamination. He asked for Mr. Beever’s source of information. Mr. Willig stated he can state with confidence that the Township has not introduced any contaminants to the property since purchasing it.

Mrs. Ewald said the dirt pile is not in question. The only material introduced since the Township acquired the property is the driveway fill, which is not known to be contaminated. Mr. Hogan said the recycled road materials used to fill in the driveway were obtained from Cedar Hollow Recycling, and that these materials originated at the Steelworks. However, only selected materials are used, and they must first undergo EPA approval. No contaminants are permitted in these materials. They consist of crushed concrete and other inert materials approved for that use by the EPA. Mrs. Ewald said these materials include ground brick, tile, glass and plastic and she is not aware of whether it’s contaminated.

Mr. Merriwether said PennDOT has still not repaired the bank west of the driveway at the Brightside Farm. Mr. Kohli said he has spoken to them about grading and seeding and will check on it.

Valley Forge Sewer Authority

Mr. Rodgers reported that the VFSA made a proposal to long-term complainant Mr. Ozorowski, who has complained of septic backup onto his property since 1976.

Mr. Rodgers said the VFSA board has formed three subcommittees, including a finance committee, that will concentrate on specific items and report regularly to the full board.

Mr. Willig asked if the union agreement with the employees has been executed. Mr. Rodgers said they still are waiting for the Union’s proposal in order to enter into negotiations.

Hearing - Altemose Conditional Use Application

Mr. Oeste stated that the applicant’s attorney, Joseph P. Ryan, requested a continuance to July 15, 2002 due to the unavailability of his witness. The Board therefore opened and continued the meeting to July 15, 2002 with an emergency date of August 5, 2002.

Old Business

Major/Minor Subdivision Ordinance

Tom Comitta said that the County Planning Commission raised a number of issues in their review of the proposed Major/Minor Subdivision Ordinance, which prompted him to address them in a revised draft as follows.

County Comment #7: The County recommends providing a waiver for minor subdivisions from the recreational fee-in-lieu requirements. Mr. Comitta said this would have to be addressed in the Fee in Lieu Ordinance itself.

Item #6: Mr. Comitta revised the definition for a Major Subdivision for those instances where an application has both major and minor elements.

Item #5: The County wanted more consideration for minor subdivision applicants with regard to relieving them of extensive topographical work. Mr. Comitta revised number 15 on the Ordinance draft to allow more leeway on this requirement.

Item #4: The County raised the possibility of abuse by an applicant who eventually creates a major subdivision by going through several rounds of simpler, minor subdivisions. The Ordinance stated the property could not be re-subdivided as a minor subdivision for a three year period following the first such subdivision. The County recommended changing this to a four-year period, which has been done.

Mr. Comitta said the Planning Commission has already reviewed and recommended the Ordinance, and the Board can now consider it. Mr. Rodgers moved to advertise a hearing to consider the Major/Minor Subdivision Ordinance for August 5, 2002. Mr. Kuhn seconded and all were in favor.

Dixon Conditional Use Decision

Mr. Oeste reviewed the draft decision for the Dixon Conditional Use Application. The draft approves the application subject to 18 conditions, which he summarized. The following revisions were made following questions and discussion from Board members:

Condition #8: Add “and northern” to the following sentence, “The western and northern hedgerows shall be supplemented with additional plantings to create a continuous visual buffer between the Three Ponds development and Lots 1 – 6.”

Condition #10: Strike out one portion and add two phrases as follows: “With the Exception of Lots 1 – 4, the house construction location shall be strictly limited to the locations shown substantially as shown on the Plan. The rear yard setback of Lots 1 – 4 shall be a minimum of 100 feet provided the applicant use best efforts to increase the setback to 115 feet.”

Mr. Rodgers asked Charlie Miller, President of the Three Ponds Homeowners Association, if she was satisfied with the conditions. Ms. Miller indicated that she was, and said the Three Ponds homeowners appreciate having the trail secured. Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the Conditional Use Decision for S & S Development Co., Inc. for the Dixon property as revised. Mr. Kuhn seconded and all were in favor.

Road Contracts for July 1, 2002 – June 30, 2003

Mr. Kohli summarized his recommendations as outlined in a letter dated June 21, 2002.

The lowest bidder for stone materials is Glasgow, Inc. The lowest bidder for bituminous, F.O. B. plant, is also Glasgow. It was noted that Independence Construction Materials was lower for delivered bituminous, but the Township generally goes by the F.O. B. plant price since the contractor usually picks up materials.

Mr. Kuhn moved to award the bids for stone and bituminous materials to Glasgow Inc. Mr. Rodgers seconded and all were in favor.

With regard to the two Equipment and Labor bids received, Mr. Kohli noted that the lower bidder, Melchiorre Construction, is missing the PennDOT certification requirement. One of the owner’s other companies is certified, but not the company he bid under. Mr. Kuhn said that Melchiorre happens to be the current contractor, and noted that under the current contract the requirement was for either PennDOT certification or 5 years experience. Somehow during the review and revision process, the bid document was altered and this option was omitted. The Board adjourned into executive session at 8:48 P.M. to discuss this issue and returned at 8:57 P.M. Mr. Willig moved to table the contract decision to the July 15, 2002 meeting and Mr. Rodgers seconded. All were in favor.

Mr. Rodgers moved to extend the existing Labor & Equipment Contract with Melchiorre Construction to July 15, 2002. Mrs. Ewald amended the motion to extend the contract to July 31, 2002, and Mr. Rodgers accepted the amendment. Mr. Kuhn seconded and all were in favor.

New Business

Warner Road Grade Crossing

Susan Line Boswell Esq. from Riley, Riper, Hollin & Colegreco was present to request the Township’s approval of terms set out in her letter dated July 1, 2002 outlining escrow arrangements with TC Atwater Land LP to cover the cost of completing the improvements to the above grade crossing at Warner Lane. The letter also states that the Township will authorize the rail crossing work to proceed by forwarding a letter to Norfolk Southern Railway Company. The Escrow posted with Riley, Riper, Hollin and Colegreco will not be released without Mr. Kohli’s authorization. Mr. Kohli and Mr. Oeste stated they are satisfied with the terms proposed in the letter agreement. Mrs. Ewald moved to approve and enter into the letter agreement with Riley, Riper, Hollin and Colegreco and for Mr. Oeste to draft a letter to Norfolk Southern Railway Company authorizing them to proceed with the work. Mr. Rodgers/Mr. Kuhn seconded and all were in favor. The Secretary will execute the letter agreement.

S.P.C.A. Contract for 2002

Mr. Willig explained that there have been recurring problems with dogs roaming at large, particularly a pack of Dobermans in the Benburb Road area. Having a full service agreement with the S.P.C.A. will enable the Township to better handle these situations. Mr. Rodgers moved to execute the S.P.C.A. Contract for the year 2002. Mr. Kuhn seconded and all were in favor.

It was noted that the S.P.C.A. will only pick up confined strays; it will not chase loose animals. There was some discussion over the fact that there is no limit to the number of domestic pets a resident may own.

Brooklands Escrow Release #1

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve Brooklands Escrow Release #1 in the amount of $21,144.00 and Mr. Willig seconded. All were in favor.

Hollow Road – Discussion of Turnback from PennDOT

Mr. Rodgers proposed to contact PennDOT and have a representative speak to the Board about the process involved in turning over ownership of the portion of Hollow Road between Route 29 and Charlestown Road to the Township. He said the residents along this section of Hollow Road are in favor of Township ownership. Mr. Kuhn noted that even if it is owned by the Township, there are limits to what traffic calming methods can be employed since either end of Hollow Road feeds into a state road. The Township can lower the speed limit but can’t prohibit truck traffic or close off the road during rush hour, or make one-way traffic during rush hour. Mr. Kohli said if the Township takes the road over, it would develop a cost estimate for bringing the road up to Township standards and PennDOT would reimburse for this amount. The Board agreed to speak with PennDOT on this issue, but Mr. Willig cautioned that this matter is being investigated only; he doesn’t want residents to assume the decision to take over the road has been made.

Open Records Act

The Secretary informed the Board that on June 29, 2002, the Governor signed a new law amending the Open Records Act to include making electronic files available to the public. The law takes effect in 180 days. The Board requested that Mr. Oeste advise them on what procedures should be followed to adhere to the new requirements.


Mr. Willig moved to adjourn and Mr. Rodgers seconded. All were in favor. The meeting was adjourned at 9:40 P.M. with the Board remaining for an Executive Session. The next meeting will be held on July 15, 2002, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Township Secretary