Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of November 18, 2002

The second business meeting for November was held November 18, 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., Ed Theurkauf, Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator, Melanie Lammers, Recording Secretary, and those on the attached list were present.

Executive Session

Mr. Willig announced that a brief executive session would take place prior to the meeting to discuss personnel matters.

Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 7:46 P.M.


Mrs. Ewald remembered long time resident Walter Lamb, who passed away last week. She described him as a developer and builder who restored his historic stone barn and home near Pikeland and Merlin Roads and generously offered its use to the Historical Society for parties and other events. He placed all his land under conservation easement with the French & Pickering Creeks Trust. He was a former director of the French and Pickering Creeks Trust and was a leader in the establishment of the Middle Pickering Rural Historic District in Charlestown.

Mrs. Ewald wished a Happy Birthday to Catherine Jenkins, who will be 96 years old next week. She encouraged people to send cards and visit her at St. Martha’s Manor, Room 109, in Downingtown.


The Secretary introduced Melanie Lammers and recommended her for the position of Recording Secretary. Mr. Hogan moved to appoint Ms. Lammers at an hourly rate of $13.00, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and then the vote. All were in favor.

Citizens’ Forum – Non-Agenda Items

Robert Devlin, 3149 Phoenixville Pike, was present to request approval from the Board to permit public water service for his home due to a steadily dropping water level from his well that can be attributed to Glasgow’s expansion of quarry operations nearby. Even though water levels have improved due to recent rains, his well level continues to drop. Mrs. Ewald clarified that Mr. Devlin’s home is in the LI-2 District, where public water is permitted.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the request to permit public water service for Mr. Devlin’s property at 3149 Phoenixville Pike, with service restricted to that property. Mr. Willig seconded and called for discussion. They’re being none, Mr. Willig called the vote, and all were in favor.

Bill Hochwind, 5 Lindsay Lane, asked for clarification on a letter he received from the Zoning Officer regarding his outstanding building permit, for which the project remains uncompleted after the deadline. The letter states that the permit has expired and a new permit must be submitted. Mr. Kohli agreed to look at the property and resolve the issue directly with Mr. Hochwind.

John Pittock, Wells Road, was present on behalf of the Chester Valley Grange organization. He said he is a member of the Historical Society, which has worked cooperatively with the Grange for many years. Charlestown Historical Society President Phil DeFranco has proposed a joint effort such as a dinner or auction to help the Grange raise funds. Mr. Pittock said the Grange is not tax exempt, and requested that the Board consider refunding their 2002 tax payment as a donation in support of the organization. He said the Grange has been part of the Township’s heritage and history for over 200 years, and the Grange building needs a lot of attention at present. Mrs. Ewald suggested the Grange Board of Directors look into filing as a 501-C3 Organization to acquire a tax-exempt status. Mr. Oeste said the Township does not have the authority to rebate taxes, and also suggested they pursue tax exemption status.


Minutes of November 4, 2002

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes for 11/4/02 and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Official Map Ordinance

The hearing was opened and proceedings were taken by Tom Corcoran, Court Reporter. Tom Comitta briefly testified, citing the need for further consideration of the Ordinance by both the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. Among other considerations, the Naylor property will be removed from the map due to its degree of constraints, and other properties will be examined to see if they should be removed for the same reason. The hearing was continued to January 27, 2003 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 155 at 7:30 P.M. with an inclement weather/emergency date of February 3, 2003.

Zoning Ordinance Amendment

The hearing to consider an ordinance titled “Zoning Ordinance Amendment to Update Article I, Revise Definition of ‘Net Lot Area’ in Section 201, to revise Section 1611 ‘Stream Valley Restrictions’ and to add Section 1617 ‘Wetland Buffers’” was opened and proceedings were taken by Tom Corcoran, Court Reporter. Following testimony, the hearing was closed. Mr. Rodgers moved to approve Ordinance #105-02 and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and then the vote. All were in favor.

Old Business

Toll Bros, Inc. Charlestown Meadows Revised Final Plan – Route 401 and Newcomen Roads

Chris Schubert, Esq., Ray Gamble, Glenn Andrews and Dan Lutz, P.E., Chester Valley Engineers, and Bruce Panczner, Toll Bros Inc. (“Toll”) were present for the Charlestown Meadows Revised Final PRD Plan dated 10/10/02. The Applicant had agreed at the November 4, 2002 Board of Supervisors meeting to allow the Board two weeks to digest the volume of information produced at that meeting and to meet with their consultants, with a decision to be made at the November 18, 2002 meeting.

The proceedings were taken by Tom Corcoran, Court Reporter.

Mr. Oeste provided copies of a revised draft Resolution to approve the Application for Charlestown Meadows, subject to 16 conditions. The revisions included those made by both himself and Chris Schubert, Esq.

Mr. Oeste outlined the changes to each of the 16 conditions, after which Mr. Schubert went through each item with explanations of his changes. Changes to Items 1 – 6 were minor and agreed upon by both parties.

There was some discussion on limiting use of herbicides and pesticides to environmentally friendly compounds in Item #7. A phrase stating “which cause no soil or groundwater contamination” was stricken, as Mr. Schubert said while the intention is to be environmentally friendly, the possibility of slight run off cannot be eliminated altogether.

For Item #8, Mr. Schubert added that the pump station will be appropriately sized to construct and house the necessary equipment, and this was acceptable to the Board.

There was considerable discussion on Item #9 with regard to landscaping issues. Language was changed for the provision of evergreens to headlight-impacted neighbors on the north side of Newcomen Road to allow them a 30 day period in which to notify Toll Bros they would like to have plantings on their properties. Toll will send these neighbors a letter with an accompanying landscape plan after Phase I has occupancy of 75% of its units and they will have 30 days to respond. There was discussion about where these trees will come from, whether it will reduce the number of trees in the interior of the Charlestown Meadows site or if there would be surplus trees. Questions were raised over the proposed caliper-exchange rate (i.e., one larger tree being worth a certain number of smaller trees). With regard to tree removal, Mr. Theurkauf said the quantity of trees to be removed was recently changed to match a change in the limits of disturbance. Because of this, an exact tree count is not yet available and so it’s not known whether there will be a surplus of trees. Mr. Schubert said if there are surplus trees, they will be used, and if they can’t all be used, a fee-in-lieu will be determined. Joe Nimifro, Stonecroft Lane, West Pikeland Township, said he is insulted that Toll is taking away trees from the Charlestown Meadows residents to give to his development when both should have them. Mr. Theurkauf said the tree count won’t be ready until the final plan is prepared.

For Item #10, Mr. Kohli provided language to add to the Resolution indicating that all lighting shall be effectively aimed so as to shield from direct glare, light radiation or pollution, or light that creates a safety hazard or nuisance. Only a “typical plan” needs to be available now.

Item #11 was revised in order to clarify that the water pipe serving Charlestown Meadows shall be sufficient to serve the development and subject to the Township Engineer’s review and approval.

For Item #12, Dan Lutz, P.E. outlined four best management practices to be used in designing and constructing the outlet structures for the stormwater management basins. These include:

  1. Plantings at the bottom of the four basins to include a mix of wildflowers, native grasses and other natural vegetation for a filtering effect. Mr. Theurkauf explained that over time, the ratio of these plants changes to suit the dryness or wetness of the environment.
  2. Basin #1 will have a four bay system to act as a sediment trap. The Homeowners Association will be responsible for maintaining the basins.
  3. There will be two end wall structures at the outlets of Basin #2 and Basin #4. The basins will be modified to include a sand filter bed under the riprap.
  4. Parking lots C & D will have oil separator filters to drain through before reaching the outlets.

    Mr. Oeste summarized all the changes made during the discussions this evening. Mr. Nimifro asked why undulating berms weren’t considered further after the meeting two weeks ago. Mrs. Ewald said the one buffering Charlestown Hunt from the Bell and Clapper works well. There was some discussion but no further support for berms.

    The Board expressed its concern about voting on the Resolution without reviewing a clean copy after all the changes this evening. Mr. Willig called for a brief executive session, after which the meeting was reconvened.

    Mr. Rodgers moved to approve Resolution #596-02 approving the Application of Toll Bros Inc. for tentative approval of the planned residential development to be known as “Charlestown Meadows” subject to 16 terms and conditions as outlined in the Resolution as revised this evening and summarized by the Township Solicitor, and further subject to the Board of Supervisors’ review and approval of the final language of the revised document. Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and then the vote. All were in favor.

Traffic Calming: Union Hill and Rees Roads

Mr. Kohli referred to his letter providing Traffic Calming Recommendations for Union Hill and Rees Roads dated November 1, 2002, which are in compliance with PennDOT specifications. The recommendations call for 3 speed humps and one speed table on Union Hill Road, and one relocated and two new speed tables on Rees Road. He said the down side to installing speed bumps are that it slows emergency vehicles, increases noise levels, and creates a need for extra maintenance costs and potential difficulties with snow plowing. Mr. Kuhn asked about the liability aspect. Mr. Oeste said some protection is afforded the Township due to the use of the PennDOT standards. In addition, there is a considerable burden to prove liability, and in such a case the Township is well covered by insurance. He said he’s unaware of any claims in West Pikeland Township, which employs speed bumps for traffic calming.

Mr. Kohli said the specifications for warning signage, line painting, and construction must be strictly followed.

John Pittock, Wells Road, said the fact that speed bumps slow emergency vehicles is enough to disqualify this idea. If EMT personnel are working on someone having a heart attack, slowing for speed bumps and being jostled by them could make a difference in life or death. He is also concerned with the cost to taxpayers. He suggested rumble strips as an alternative, saying they have none of the downsides and work well for slowing down traffic. Mr. Kuhn said speed bumps have been very effective for Sidley Road in East Whiteland Township. He feels the situation on Union Hill Road calls for strong measures, stating that over 600 cars can be counted in a 1 ˝ hour period at rush hour. There have been numerous witnesses to school buses being passed when flashing their red lights. Dr. Stewart, Union Hill Road, said he spoke to an EMT driver who couldn’t think of one instance where the few seconds caused by slowing for speed bumps would make a difference. He said the Supervisors would be doing the residents a great service by approving speed bumps. Mr. Kohli asked whether it would make sense to wait until the Route 29 improvements are finished to see what the impact will be on traffic. Mrs. Stewart said the main goal is to slow the traffic, and even if there is less traffic, speed is still the primary concern. Mr. Kohli said the signal improvements are scheduled for completion at the end of the month, and in order to avoid going through all the signals, traffic on Union Hill Road could actually increase.

Mr. Willig said he doesn’t think he can support speed bumps, seeing then as punitive to the residents of the roads.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the construction of speed bumps on Union Hill Road when paving work resumes in the Spring, and to review their efficacy before deciding on bumps for Rees Road. Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion. Mrs. Ewald suggested working with PennDOT with another attempt to gain approval for a “no left turn sign” on Route 29 to prohibit turning onto Union Hill Road from the north. Then the road could be posted “closed” during rush hours. Mr. Kuhn said posting a “one way” on Union Hill Road would be too dangerous due to the curve in the road. At Mrs. Ewald’s request, Mr. Kohli will speak with the District Engineer on this issue. Mr. Kuhn amended his motion to include that if the Township is successful in getting approval by Spring for the “no left turn sign” so it can then close the road during rush hour, the approval for speed bump construction will be rescinded. Mr. Rodgers seconded the amended motion. Mr. Willig called the vote. Mr. Willig and Mrs. Ewald were opposed. Mr. Kuhn, Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Hogan were in favor. The motion carried.

New Business

Baldwin Minor Subdivision Plan

Mr. Kohli provided a summary of Mrs. Baldwin’s Minor Subdivision Plan for a 2 lot subdivision of her property on Bodine Road into a 2.26 acre lot to include the existing home, and a new 14.5 acre lot. There is a 50 foot driveway easement located parallel to Beatty Lane for a future driveway. The plan indicates no construction will take place and requests a non-building waiver. Mrs. Ewald asked if the lots would be deed restricted, and Mrs. Baldwin said no, she preferred to leave them unrestricted for her children. Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the Baldwin Minor Subdivision Plan last revised 10/21/02 and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Shackleton Zoning Hearing Board Application

Jim Shackleton gave a brief presentation of his application to the Zoning Hearing Board to request a variance to permit the construction of an accessory structure in the sideyard setback. He explained that a sports court has already been constructed and was found to encroach on the sideyard setback. A small triangular piece of the underground retainage pit is located on their neighbor’s property. Mr. Shackleton said he accepts responsibility for the error, since he didn’t obtain a survey of the property when he submitted his building permit for the structure. The error came to light when the neighbor had the property surveyed for his house construction permit. Mr. Shackleton said he seeks a variance for the portion of the court in the side yard setback and intends to remove the piece of the retainage bed on the neighboring property. Mr. Kohli suggested working out an easement with the neighbor, but Mr. Shackleton said he’d rather resolve the issue entirely. There was some discussion on whether the removed portion would need to be installed elsewhere or whether it would be insignificant enough to omit. Mr. Kohli said this can be worked out later at or after the Zoning Hearing. The Board indicated they did not intend to oppose this application with the Zoning Hearing Board, for which the hearing has yet to be scheduled.

Brightside Farm Lease Expiring 11/30/02

Jacob Merriwether read the recommendation of the Brightside Farm Committee in its entirety, which recommends that the Board renew the lease with Ben and Jenny Bingham for a one year period at the current rent of $200.00 per month. The low rent amount is due to the large amount of work the Binghams continue to put into the farm in the way of maintenance, clean-up and improvements. Mr. Hogan moved to renew the lease for a one year period at the same monthly rent amount of $200.00. Mrs. Ewald seconded, and Mr. Willig called for discussion. Mr. Kuhn said he’s comfortable with the rent remaining the same but said he would object to covering the cost of installing storm windows to lower heating costs, which has come up in the past. He said he would expect the Binghams to put some funds toward this type of improvement, as he feels the Township shouldn’t cover the full cost considering there have been no decisions on the future use of the property. Mr. Merriwether said this issue has been resolved with an interim plan to install Plexiglas sheeting on the first floor windows. He reported that Mr. Bingham has already installed some and is pleased with their effectiveness. Mr. Merriwether said the Township is extremely fortunate to have the Binghams as caretakers of the Brightside Farm, and noted that they kept themselves available on Chester County Day in case any visitors to the Rapp House wished to tour the farm and farmhouse. Mr. Pittock agreed that the Township is exceedingly fortunate to have them. Mr. Willig called the vote, and all were in favor.

Escrow Release #5 – Sal Lapio Homes Inc.

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve Escrow Release #5 for the Sal Lapio Homes Inc. in the amount of $86,672.70 and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.

Discussion: Parking on Public Streets

Mr. Willig tabled this matter until the meeting on December 2, 2002.

Other Business


Mr. Willig said he received a phone call from Dorando Faggioli, Roadmaster, on Saturday November 16, 2002 resigning from his position. Mr. Kuhn moved to accept Mr. Faggioli’s resignation with salary to be paid to the last date of employment, and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mrs. Ewald proposed an amendment to the motion to state “with regret”. Mr. Kuhn accepted the amendment. Mr. Willig called for discussion. Mrs. Baldwin asked what the Board will do until another Roadmaster can be appointed. Mrs. Ewald said the Board will be able to cover for the position. Mr. Shackleton asked why the Roadmaster resigned, and Mr. Kuhn said it was for personal reasons. Mr. Willig called the vote, and all were in favor.

Roadside Maintenance – PennDOT

Mr. Kohli said Mr. Munly from PennDOT has spoken with Ms. Bumeder and they have worked out a solution to the bamboo that is obscuring portions of Charlestown Road. He said PennDOT will not agree to refrain from the use of herbicides. Mrs. Ewald suggested he monitor the maintenance work closely.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:12 P.M. The next meeting will be held on December 2, 2002, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Township Secretary