Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of September 16, 2002

The first business meeting for September was held September 16, 2002 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Hugh D. Willig, Chairman, Paul J. Hogan, Vice Chairman, Irene W. Ewald (arrived 8:30 P.M.), Kevin R. Kuhn, Thomas F. Oeste, Esq., Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Tom Comitta, Nanci Sarcinello, 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. Hogan said he took pictures at the Revolutionary War Cemetery over the weekend and met two women in colonial dress placing rosemary on Dr. Kennedy’s grave to commemorate the 225th anniversary of the war. Dr. Kennedy served at the Yellow Springs Hospital during the revolutionary war and gave his life doing so.

Mr. Willig announced that executive sessions were held following the business meeting on August 19, 2002 and September 10, 2002 at the Township office.

Mr. Willig reminded the public that the drought emergency was extended by the County and a burning ban remains in effect.

Special Presentation

Doug Leland presented a U.S. Flag on behalf of his wife, Lt. Col. Wendy Leland to Webmaster Jacob Merriwether in appreciation for his support in providing the Citizen’s Website for Charlestown Township at Wendy Leland is currently serving with the 18th Airborne in Afghanistan, and arranged for the flag to be flown on July 30, 2002 in an A-10 Thunderbolt over Afghanistan for Mr. Merriwether. Mr. Merriwether has added “Wendy’s Page” to his website where she shares updates of her experiences in Afghanistan. Mr. Kuhn noted that the website is supported entirely by Jacob Merriwether independently of the Township government, and expressed the appreciation of the Board for his services. Mr. Merriwether said the incredible response from the relatively small Charlestown community is what keeps the website going. He expressed his appreciation for the flag and the Lelands’ consideration.

Citizens’ Forum – Non-Agenda Items

June Gorman, 110 Longwood Court, thanked the Board and Mr. Kohli for arranging for the re-striping of Yellow Springs Road. Bill Fell, 114 Brandywine Road, thanked the Board for the placement of metal protective grates for the water basin at Yorktown Road in the Charlestown Oaks development.

Sue Staas, Republican Committee, requested help from the Township in publicizing the change of election location from the Charlestown Elementary School to the Bacton Hill Bible Church on Route 401 by sending a postcard and approving temporary signage for Election Day. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve up to $200.00 for the purchase of signs and further approved a postcard mailing. Mr. Hogan seconded and all were in favor.

Open Space Commission Presentation

Andy Motel, Chairman, gave a PowerPoint presentation detailing the activities of the Open Space Commission since its inception in 2001. He introduced the members of the commission and explained that the Open Space Commission works in an advisory capacity to the Board of Supervisors.

The Open Space Commission members began their efforts in May 2001 by educating themselves on open space preservation and hosting a series of guest speakers, which included representatives from the County, French & Pickering Creeks Land Trust, Natural Lands Trust, West Vincent Land Trust and the Willistown Land Trust. The Commission worked to prioritize those properties they wished to focus on for preservation, with the goal of preserving three parcels, approximately 100 acres, per year. They estimate an annual cost of $1.8 million for this endeavor.

Mr. Motel outlined three grant applications currently under consideration.

  1. Solda property, Merlin Road: a 50% matching grant through the Chester County Preservation Partnership Program in conjunction with the French & Pickering Creeks Trust;
  2. Burgoon property, Pikeland Road: a 50% matching grant through the County’s Agricultural Land Challenge grant program;
  3. Horseshoe Trail easements: a 50% matching grant through the Chester County Parks & Recreation Trails Acquisition program.

Mr. Motel said the Planning Commission estimates there are 1,500 to 1,600 developable acres left in the Farm Residential District in Charlestown Township. By preserving some of this acreage, the Township will benefit by minimizing increases in traffic and the costs of services, and by preserving aesthetic and environmental features. He noted that in Willistown, the value of property has risen dramatically as open space preservation gained a foothold there over the past few years.

The Township needs to determine how much land it wants to preserve, and whether to do so through easements or ownership. Conservation easements have several advantages in that they do not take the property out of the tax base, there are fewer management issues, and the initial cost is much lower.

Funding is a continuing challenge as grant programs have several drawbacks. Grant funding typically is for a matching amount only, and timing of availability of a property and the approval and transmission of grant funds seldom comes together. Funding programs in general are becoming scarcer. Property tax increases, inception of an earned income tax, donations and formation of public or private trusts are some of the ways to make up the difference.

Mr. Motel opened the floor to questions and several people came forward. John Sauser, Pickering Dam Road, said Willistown Township has achieved most of its preservation through private funds through donations, partnerships, private funding and aggressive grant writing. He asked why there’s no private group in Charlestown willing to make these financial commitments instead of the government, with taxpayers picking up the cost. Mr. Motel responded that the Township needs multiple sources of funding.

Hearing – Official Map Ordinance

The proceedings were taken by Jane Opie, Court Reporter. Testimony was taken from Tom Comitta on the development and drafting of the Official Map and accompanying proposed ordinance. Public comment was received and discussed, after which time the Board indicated the hearing would be continued to a future date after revisions are made to the draft documents. The hearing was continued to the November 18, 2002 meeting with an emergency date of December 2, 2002.


Minutes of August 19, 2002

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes for 8/19/02 and Mr. Hogan seconded. All were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report August 1 - 31, 2002

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for August 1- 31, 2002 and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Willig called the vote. All were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report for 9/16/02 – General Fund

Mr. Kuhn moved to ratify the payroll disbursements for August dated 9/1/02. And Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Willig called the vote, and all were in favor.

Mr. Hogan moved to approve the Accounts Payable for September 16, 2002 for the General Fund and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called the vote, and all were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report for 9/16/02 – State Fund

Mr. Hogan moved to approve the Accounts Payable for September 16, 2002 for the State Fund and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called the vote, and all were in favor.


Reports from the Zoning Officer, Fire Marshal, Roadmaster, and Historical Commission were noted as being on file.

Planning Commission

Mr. Davison reported that the Planning Commission met on August 27, 2002 and recommended the Spring Oaks Business Park and Hitz-Diament subdivision plans for approval. More work was done on ordinance revisions, specifically with regard to watercourses and Transfer of Development Rights. He said the Commission also met September 10, 2002 and the next meeting is September 24, 2002.

Old Business

Fortress Group Inc. Request for Landscape Plan Change at Charlestown Oaks

The Secretary said the Fortress Group had been notified they were on tonight’s agenda, but no one was present to discuss the issue. Bill Fell and June Gorman, of the Charlestown Oaks Homeowners Association, were present and brought up other Charlestown Oaks issues.

Mr. Fell asked if the inner cul de sac circles were fire lanes and whether the Fire Marshal could prevent people from parking there. Repeat offenders at the Tudor and Elizabeth Courts have ignored notification from the Homeowners’ Association. Mr. Kohli responded that yes, they are fire lanes, but the Fire Marshal can’t cite people unless the lanes are marked. Mr. Fell said they want to limit signage but would accept painting of the curb. Mr. Kohli said he’ll talk with the Fire Marshal on this issue.

The Homeowners Associations meetings are not open to the homeowners at this time. Because the builder carries the majority of the votes until 75% of the homes are sold, the builders’ wish to keep the meetings private holds sway. Homeowner Eileen McGowan would like to see this change. Mr. Fell said 106 of the 128 current homeowners are on an e-mail notification list and at least get information in this way. It was noted that there is nothing to prevent the homeowners from holding their own meetings.

Mrs. McGowan asked about the steep, open basin between Elizabeth and Tudor Courts on Yorktown Road. Mr. Kohli said the approved plans provide for a solid hedge buffer, but that’s not required at this point in the construction process. Mr. Willig said the Homeowners Association can install a temporary fence, but the Township can’t require it since it’s not in the approved plan. Mr. Kohli said he’ll check into this matter with Ed Theurkauf, who was investigating this question earlier.

Mr. Fell said the Homeowners Association has found itself responsible for removing several drought-stricken trees that are among the pre-existing woods.

Mrs. McGowan said recently her neighbor had a 2 A.M. break-in incident and she was concerned that it took 25 minutes for a police response. Mr. Willig said that in these situations, the surrounding local police departments will provide backup to the State Police.

Mr. Willig said he hopes the problem of contractors starting work prior to 7 A.M. has been resolved, as he hasn’t had any complaints lately. Mr. Fell said Sal Lapio Homes has instructed its contractors to observe the restrictions in response to a letter sent by Mr. Kohli on this issue.

With regard to the Fortress Group’s request for a change to the landscape plan, Mr. Comitta suggested they submit a revised plan for the Board’s approval. The Secretary will contact the Fortress Group and determine when both they and Mr. Theurkauf will be available to appear before the Supervisors.

There was some discussion on the construction and timing of the tot lots planned for Charlestown Oaks.

New Business

Open Basketball Court Construction Bids

The Supervisors opened the following sealed bids for the construction of basketball courts at Charlestown Park:

Gessler Construction Co. Inc. $61,100.00
Associated Paving Contractors Inc. $58,500.00
Dan Malloy Paving Company $55,400.00

Due to two deduct options on the above prices for supply of all materials and labor, it was not possible to determine the low bidder at this time. Mr. Kohli will review the bids and advise the Board for an award at the October 7, 2002 meeting.

Open Tree Labor Equipment & Bids

The Supervisors opened the following sealed bids for Tree Labor & Equipment for the period October 1, 2002 – June 30, 2003:

C.M. Jones Inc. $35,475.00
Lord’s Tree Service incomplete
Kirk’s Landscaping $50,875.00

Mr. Willig moved to accept the low bid by C.M. Jones Inc. subject to Mr. Kohli’s review and recommendation. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor.

Appointment of Planning Commission Representative to the Regional Multi-Municipal Planning Group

Mr. Kuhn moved to appoint Rick Reis to the Regional Multi-Municipal Planning Group per the Planning Commission’s recommendation and Mr. Hogan seconded. Three were in favor. Mrs. Ewald did not vote.

Mr. Kuhn moved to appoint Hugh Willig to the Regional Multi-Municipal Planning Group as Alternate and Mr. Hogan seconded. Three were in favor. Mrs. Ewald did not vote.

Dixon Preliminary Subdivision Plans dated 10/5/01 and revised 1/28/02

Mr. Oeste noted that a letter extending the decision deadline for the Dixon Subdivision plan was received from Joseph P. Ryan, Esq., extending the deadline to November 4, 2002.

Somerset Escrow Release Request #2

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Somerset Escrow Release Request #2 for $35,825.35 and Mr. Hogan seconded. All were in favor.

Brooklands Escrow Release Request #3

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Brooklands Escrow Release #3 for $131,998.00 subject to payment of review fees due the Township, and Mr. Hogan seconded. All were in favor.

Commons @ Great Valley Lot 15 Escrow Release Request #8

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Commons @ Great Valley Lot 15 Escrow Release Request #8 for $32,000.00 and Mr. Hogan seconded. All were in favor.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:22 P.M. The next meeting will be held on October 7, 2002, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Township Secretary