Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of January 6, 2003

The first business meeting for January was held January 6, 2003, at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154 following the Reorganization meeting. Paul Hogan, Chairman, Hugh D. Willig, Vice Chairman, Irene W. Ewald, Mike Rodgers, Kevin R. Kuhn, Jim McErlane, Esq., Surender Kohli, P.E., Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator, Melanie M. Lammers, Recording Secretary, and those on the attached list were present.

The meeting was called to order at 8:17 P.M.

Executive Session

Mr. Hogan announced there was an Executive Session prior to the meeting in order to discuss and resolve legal matters.


There were no announcements.

Citizen’s Forum - Non-Agenda Items

There were no Citizens’ Forum - Non-Agenda items.


Minutes of December 16, 2002

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the December 16, 2002 meeting minutes. Mrs. Ewald seconded with the following correction:

Mr. Hogan called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Accounts Payable Report

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the January 6, 2003 Accounts Payable report and Mrs. Ewald seconded. Mr. Hogan called for discussion. Mrs. Ewald noted that one of the payments listed on the Report is the subject of a matter to be discussed later this evening. Cedar Hollow Quarry was used as a supplier for anti-skid materials but does not have a contract. Mr. Willig stated that on the day the materials were ordered, the contracted supplier for stone was not open and it was necessary to go to an alternative source. Mr. Kuhn stated that since the material had been ordered and supplied, he felt the supplier must be paid. There being no further discussion, Mr. Hogan called the vote. All were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the December 1-31, 2002 Treasurer’s report and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Hogan called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Zoning Officer

Mr. Kohli reported he spoke to PennDOT about obtaining used metal guide rails for Township Line Road. He informed the Board that PennDOT will supply the panels, but all other materials, including hardware, and the digging of the holes, will be the responsibility of the Township. Mr. Hogan inquired as to whether PennDOT will allow the usage of the approximately 30 telephone polls he has been saving as posts, and Mr. Kohli affirmed that the poles could be used.

Mr. Kohli reported that he obtained a copy of a West Pikeland Township subdivision plan of interest to the Board and would make it available to them after the meeting.

Planning Commission

Mr. Allen reported that the Planning Commission reviewed the Cottone Conditional Use application for construction in steep slopes for Mr. Cottone’s property on Church Road. The Planning Commission recommended approval of the application.

Mr. Allen indicated that Robal & Associates presented another sketch plan at their December 10, 2002 meeting. They ended up in another long debate and essentially got nowhere. The current status is that Robal & Associates will go back and determine if they want to do a PRD or to approach it as an FR plan of 15-23 homes. The Commission is not in favor of a PRD, but Mr. Allen indicated that Robal & Associates have that option.

Historical Commission

Mrs. Philips reported that there was no meeting during December. With regard to the Longwood School, there was a possibility of involving exchange students from Germany in the search for the nearly 100 year old time capsule reported buried on the site.

Mr. Willig asked what the next Mill action to take place would be. Mr. Hogan said it was his understanding that the Commission is waiting on the final plan from Frens & Frens and that the project would go out for bid. Mr. Frens had recommended that whoever got the contract would begin with restoring only one window in order to see how their work was before continuing. Mr. Frens felt that was a reasonable procedure to follow.

Mrs. Philips said that what will happen first is that the HARB will agree on what they will recommend should be done, then detailed plans will be drawn up. She indicated there will be no grant money coming from the State until after February 1, 2003, and they really can’t spend anything until it is received.

Mr. Kuhn indicated the Commission has a budget of roughly $250,000 and asked if the Commission, without taking too many additional steps, could go through the scope of work and identify a ballpark cost of the first two phases and then the additional cost of the third phase. Mrs. Philips indicated the costs as outlined in the grant application would satisfy this request.

Open Space Commission

Sue Staas reported that the Open Space Commission reorganized at their December meeting and Andy Motel will remain Chairman for 2003. They spent the meeting time setting up a schedule of tasks and deadlines for the coming months.

Mr. Kuhn mentioned that all appointments remained the same as last year. He added that the Board is aware that they need to raise money, and one of the issues on their table is the discussion and implementation of an earned income tax in order to acquire open space.


The Roadmaster report for December is on file. Mr. Alston highlighted the main points of the report. Mr. Willig questioned whether Mr. Alston has had any difficulty in getting in contact with the road contractor. Mr. Alston answered that, now that the contractor has switched to the Nextel service, there are no communication issues.

Mrs. Ewald asked Mr. Alston if the directional lane markings at the Charlestown Road and Phoenixville Pike intersection could be changed. She observed that very few cars turn left there, and rather than the center lane being the left turn lane and the right lane being the straight ahead lane, she would like to see the center lane be the straight ahead lane and the right lane be marked as a right turn only lane. She feels having the markings as they are currently would block the majority of straight ahead traffic, due to them having to wait for someone who wants to make a right-hand turn. Mr. Kohli indicated that they way it is currently designed is the standard for this type of an intersection, and that with the ability to make a right-hand turn on red, there would not be an issue of blocking those wanting to go straight ahead. Mrs. Ewald asked that another look be taken at the site. Mr. Alston indicated he’d be meeting with PennDOT on another matter and could revisit this issue.

Mr. Kuhn indicated he had three calls from residents with the first snow, and is extremely happy with the response time from Mr. Alston.

Fire Marshal/EOC

The Fire Marshal report for December is on file. Mr. Alston highlighted the main points of the report and indicated the next meeting will be held on January 16, 2003.

Parks and Recreation Board

Mr. Hogan said no meeting was held due to the holidays. He announced, however, that the Department of Environmental Protection (D.E.P.) cited them for dirt that was moved from the basketball court area toward the entrance of the park on Township Line Road. The Township was cited because the silt fence was not in place and straw bales were not staked. Mark Cabot was asked to spread straw over the exposed dirt. Mr. Cabot asked if he should also put down grass seed. Mr. Kohli answered he should only spread the straw at this time.

Mr. Willig asked what the contractor’s role was in all this, and Mr. Hogan replied it was not part of the contract to construct the basketball courts. Mr. Hogan said Mark Connolly directed the contractor to put the dirt there since the fill would be needed at a later time.

Brightside Farm Committee

Mr. Hogan said Newell Burdick has five calves, which he would like to put in the barn for a few months to keep them from the soft ground and cold weather. Mr. Willig confirmed he would be using the calving barn which has had no renovations yet, and hence, this type of usage would not adversely affect it. The Board had no problems with Mr. Newell putting his calves there for the winter months.

Valley Forge Sewer Authority

Mr. Rodgers said they received a signed contract from Phoenixville Borough for accepting sewage for the proposed WAWA on Routes 23 and 113.

Mr. Rodgers said that the subject of employee compensation drew a lot of discussion. He said the positions each have a salary range, and those ranges are to be visited each year and increased by the cost of living amount. He indicated the merit increases were held off until a legal advice could take place, since they are in the midst of labor negotiations.


Conditional Use Hearing - Cottone

Mr. William Hope Handy, Court Reporter, recorded the proceeds. The hearing was left open and continued to January 27, 2003, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.

Old Business

Road Report

Mr. Alston told the Board he created a graph of major incidents over the last five years. He indicated he gave a copy to Mrs. Csete who would pass it on to the Board members.

New Business

Goodman Lot Line Change Plan

Mr. Kuhn said Mr. Kohli indicated that everything was in line, and said the Planning Commission had recommended approval. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the plan and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Hogan called for discussion. Mrs. Ewald asked Mr. Goodman if he had any questions. He responded that he had none at this time and was just hoping for an approval. Mr. Hogan called the vote and all were in favor.

Road Materials Contract

Mr. Willig opened with his understanding that the anti-skid material available from Cedar Hollow is of a higher quality than that from Glasgow. Mr. Alston concurred and added that this is the material that Schuylkill Township has used for the last six years. He said it goes down smoothly, mixes very well with the salt, and is conducive to easier clean up. Mr. Alston provided samples of both.

Mrs. Ewald asked what the Cedar Hollow product was comprised of, and Mr. Alston was not sure, other than noting it was recycled material.

Mr. Kuhn recalled this was discussed last year and the indication from the prior Roadmaster was that the Glasgow product was a mess to clean up in the Spring. Mr. Kuhn thought this was not put out to bid this year, because the amount was lower than the trigger for required bidding, and the Board had given authorization to use the Cedar Hollow product last year.

Mrs. Ewald recalled there were problems with Cedar Hollow’s product in the past, in that it contained metal pieces which were puncturing tires, and was also very dirty, because it was mixed with ash. She voiced her concern over this type of material getting into the soil and the ground water. She added she is an advocate of using recycled materials, however, she believes it’s necessary to look at what it contains and the environmental impact it may have. She recognized there were no large pieces in the random sample provided by Mr. Alston, however, she would like to know the make-up of the material and if, when dry, the material would cause a lot of dust. She recommended using the provider in Downingtown that was used in the past, since their recycled material was washed and would, therefore, keep the dust at a minimum. She said it wasn’t quite as smooth as the sample shown, but that it did not create dust.

Mr. Kuhn said he believed the proposed Cedar Hollow material is PennDOT approved. Mrs. Ewald said that although PennDOT approved the material, she would like to take this to the next step and be sure of what is in the material before using it.

Mr. Alston said Cedar Hollow uses a magnet to separate out any metal materials. He added he has been offered the opportunity to tour the plant, but to date has not had time to take advantage of that offer. Mrs. Ewald asked Mrs. Csete to look up the name of the Downingtown provider, and Mr. Hogan recommended that Mr. Alston tour the Cedar Hollow plant as soon as possible.

Mr. Kuhn recommended using what is currently available. Mr. Alston believes if Schuylkill Township has been using the Cedar Hollow product for several years, it must be PennDOT certified, but will confirm this with PennDOT.

Mr. Alston asked what he should use in the meantime, and informed the Board he must place another order tomorrow. Mr. Rodgers suggested placing the next order from the Downingtown provider.

The action items for Mr. Alston were to find out if the Cedar Hollow product is PennDOT certified, what the contents of the product are, and to check into the contents of the Downingtown supplier’s product. Mrs. Ewald said she’d be more comfortable using the washed product from the Downingtown supplier and asked for an e-mail update the following day.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve Mr. Alston’s recommendation pending his investigation of the various materials from the various suppliers, and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mrs. Ewald indicated she did not want to vote on something without having all the pertinent information. Mr. Willig clarified that the purpose of the vote was to give Mr. Alston the autonomy to make the best decision after all the information has been gathered and compared. Mr. Hogan called the vote and all were in favor.

Traffic Signal Maintenance Contract

Mrs. Csete announced the total cost of the proposed Traffic Signal Maintenance Contract to be $1050.00, and that it covers the intersections of Route 29 and Charlestown Road and Route 401 and Valley Hill Road. The details of this contract can be found on the letter and its attached proposed contract from Signal Service, Inc. to Charlestown Township, dated December 16, 2002.

Mr. Hogan asked who is responsible for turning the signal on and off during vacations/holidays, and Mr. Kohli answered it was the responsibility of the school.

Mr. Hogan moved to approve the contract. Mr. Willig asked Mr. Kohli if he had a comment. Mr. Kohli said the traffic signal at Route 29 and Charlestown Road is a brand new signal, and therefore, already under warranty for the coming year. He recommended not paying for maintenance on that light until the following year, which would reduce the cost of this year’s maintenance contract by $425.00.

Mr. Hogan asked if the new signals were included in this contract, and Mr. Kohli answered they were not. Mr. Kuhn moved to table this item until an amended contract can be drawn up. Mrs. Ewald seconded. Mr. Hogan asked for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

S.P.C.A. Animal Control Contract

Mrs. Ewald asked what the cost of this contract is, and Mrs. Csete answered it is $880.00 for the year. Mr. Hogan asked Mr. Cabot if he had any comments. Mr. Cabot’s only comment was that the SPCA will not come out unless the animal is in a cage or restrained in some way. Mr. Cabot asked if Chester County has a Dog Warden already that can handle some of the SPCA functions. Mr. Willig answered that it’s really the State who has the Dog Warden, and they work together with the SPCA but alone wouldn’t satisfy all the animal control needs. He added that with a contract, the SPCA is authorized to write letters to owners regarding their pets as well as cite them if needed by enforcing the Township’s ordinances.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the S.P.C.A. contract, and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Hogan called for discussion. Mrs. Csete added that the residents would expect this type of service, and that the S.P.C.A. fields calls regarding animal matters for the Township, so she feels it’s well worth having this contract. Mr. Hogan called the vote and all were in favor.

Other Business

Acquisition Grant – Brightside Farm

Mr. Kuhn announced there was a letter received, dated December 24, 2002, from the County for the Township to get the $450,000 in grant funds for the Brightside Farm acquisition. He indicated that the next step is to obtain two appraisals of the area included in the grant. Mr. Kuhn moved to authorize these appraisals utilizing the firm that did the Solda grant, and one of the two appraisers who previously valued the Brightside Farm for the Township’s purchase of it in late 2000, since he may be able to update his former appraisal for a lower cost. Mrs. Ewald questioned whether the acreage represented will meet the $450,000 value mark. Mr. Kuhn responded he would like to see the appraisals first before submitting them to the County. Mr. Willig seconded the motion and Mr. Hogan called the vote. All were in favor.

Ms. Sue Staas offered a late Citizens’ Forum item. She said PECO sent a letter to the Hollow Road residents informing them that Asplundh would be coming to prune trees along their road. She requested that Mr. Alston lean on Asplundh to make sure they do a clean job, since in the past, they have not. Mr. Kuhn would like Mr. Alston to interface with PennDOT. Mrs. Ewald asked Mr. McErlane to get in touch with his PECO contact to make them aware of the Township’s concerns.


Mr. Hogan moved to adjourn the meeting, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 P.M. The next meeting will be held on January 27, 2003, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.

Respectfully submitted,

Melanie M. Lammers
Recording Secretary