Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of March 3, 2003

The first business meeting for March was held March 3, 2003, at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Paul Hogan, Chairman, Hugh D. Willig, Vice Chairman, Irene W. Ewald, Mike Rodgers, Kevin R. Kuhn, James E. McErlane, Esq., (arrived later) Surender Kohli, P.E., Ed Theurkauf, Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator, and those on the attached list were present.

The meeting was called to order at 7:30 P.M.


Mr. Kuhn announced that long time resident and founding member of the Civic Association Catherine Jenkins passed away yesterday. The family requests donations to either the Charlestown Civic Association or the Charlestown Historical Society in lieu of flowers. Mrs. Ewald added that Mrs. Jenkins was 96 years old and spent years in Panama raising seven children while her husband and father in law were involved with the Panama Canal project. She and her husband founded the Civic Association and were also involved with founding Charlestown Green in 1987. Mrs. Jenkins was very active in civic affairs and was a member of Charlestown Townwatch. Mr. Hogan moved to approve a $100.00 donation to be split between the Civic Association and the Historical Society in memory of Mrs. Jenkins. Mrs. Ewald seconded, and all were in favor.

Mr. Kuhn said the residents of Howell Road asked him to pass along their appreciation for the snow clearing work during the recent blizzard, adding that Mr. Alston did a great job.

Mr. Hogan announced that Miss Betty Stonorov has been moved to Dunwoody from Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation and is doing well.

Mrs. Ewald announced that Libby Pyle turned 85 on Thursday and offered her best wishes.

Citizen’s Forum - Non-Agenda Items

No items were brought forward at this time.

PSW Inc. Presentation – Water Line Sizing for Charlestown Meadows

Mr. Hogan introduced Richard Riegler, V.P. of Operations for the Philadelphia Water Company Inc., who was invited to provide details on the water line sizing to serve Charlestown Meadows. He introduced his associates Dave McIntyre and Don Manuel. Mr. Reigler displayed a map of the Township depicting where two transmission mains originate at the Pickering Plant to the north of the Township and travel through Charlestown to Sidley Hill Road and beyond. One 16 inch main was installed in 1979, and the other, a 20” main, was installed more recently down Whitehorse Road to lead into East Whiteland Township. He said PSW Inc. recently acquired systems in West Whiteland and Uwchlan Townships which were annexed into their service territory. Mr. Reigler said PSW provides service to an area only after a public need has been identified, such as for Charlestown Meadows. There is currently no service in this area, and it will only be provided after the Township requests it, and then it will be provided only to Charlestown Meadows and not to surrounding areas.

Mr. Reigler said Charlestown Meadows will be served by an extension of the water main in Newcomen Road and then extended into the development itself. (Mr. McErlane arrived at this time.) The PSW engineer determined that the 750 gallons per minute needed to service the development would require a 12” main. If the pipe into the development was 8”, the flow would be 730 gallons per minute, which he said is insufficient for fire protection. If both pipes were sized at 8”, they would provide only 500 gallons per minute.

Mrs. Ewald asked if the calculations to back up these figures were brought this evening, but Mr. Reigler responded that PSW’s policy is not to release their calculations done in house. He offered to provide the residual pressure, static pressure, elevation and flow data and said the Township can calculate the pipe size itself. Mr. Kuhn asked how the Board can be sure the raw data is accurate, and Mr. Reigler responded again that this information will not be released.

Mrs. Ewald said there is 8” pipe in Uwchlan, and Mr. Reigler said PSW inherited this when it took over service, and that it was a mistake to originally install 8” pipe. Mr. Kohli asked if PSW had plans to replace it, and Mr. Reigler said no, though it creates a higher head loss due to friction and requires higher velocities of water flow. Mr. Willig asked if the 8” pipe served the needs at the time it was installed. Mr. Reigler said it didn’t take future growth into account. Mr. Kuhn questioned why PSW speculates on future growth in Uwchlan but says the 12” pipe for Charlestown Meadows is sized for that project only and is not taking speculative future growth into consideration. Mr. Reigler said the 12” line for Charlestown Meadows is needed by Toll Bros for fire protection.

Mrs. Ewald asked what size pipe services Charlestown Hunt, which has more units than Charlestown Meadows and is at a higher elevation. Mr. Kohli said the line is 12” to the site and 8” inside the development. Mrs. Ewald asked what size the lines inside the Commons at Great Valley are, and Mr. Kohli said 8”. Mrs. Ewald said Charlestown Meadows has less size and less elevation, and that residual pressure could be increased so an 8” line would be sufficient. Mr. Reigler said this would require a booster station, which PSW doesn’t want. Mr. Kuhn asked weren’t pumps already needed, and Mr. Riegler said domestic pumps are needed within the development to service the last few hydrants and improve house pressure.

Mr. Willig said that as a Board, the Supervisors wish to have PSW, as a public utility, size pipes to fit existing needs, not position itself for future expansion. He asked for assurances that the pipe being provided will be only to serve the area being requested.

Mr. Kuhn said that without their willingness to disclose their numbers, PSW’s argument for a 12” pipe is suspect. Mr. Reigler said with the data provided, Mr. Kohli can calculate the pipe size. Mr. Kohli said he would have to see what information was provided to him before he could say whether he can do so accurately.

Mr. Reigler said it’s not responsible to limit the size of a main when you know there will be later need for more water. He said the Township hasn’t seen tremendous growth due to the 16” water main, and that the Altemoses were turned down for public water on Whitehorse Road and told they would not be served without being invited to do so by the Township.

Mrs. Ewald said the Whitehorse main was for transmission only, and now it has been tapped into for developments along the road. Mr. Reigler said he is not aware of any agreement with Charlestown that the line would not be tapped into along Whitehorse Road.

Joe O’Brien, Tinker Hill Lane resident, said he knows of five wells on his street that went dry this year. He said everyone has to work together.

Mr. Hogan made two requests of PSW. First, he asked for a letter verifying that PSW will not extend the use of the main beyond Charlestown Meadows, and second, he asked for time to respond after Mr. Kohli has an opportunity to run the calculations.


Minutes of February 3, 2003

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the February 3, 2003 minutes as written, and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Hogan called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report February 1 – 28, 2003

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the February 1 - 28, 2003 Treasurer’s Report and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Hogan called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the March 3, 2003 Accounts Payable 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 stated the report for February is on file. He said he received a letter from the PA Turnpike Commission stating they want to construct a salt shed at their Devault facility off Valley Hill Road. He requested a sketch plan of the facility and asked if the Board wanted them to go through the land development application process. Mr. McErlane said they should do so if required by the ordinance. Mr. Kohli confirmed that it is required, and will advise them accordingly. Mr. Kuhn asked about the wash out problem stemming from the access drive to Valley Hill Road. Mr. Kohli said this situation has been resolved.

Planning Commission

The Planning Commission report for February is on file. Mr. Allen said the first meeting focused on plan review and the second on the Devault Village subcommittee report and further work on ordinance revisions.

Historical Commission

The Historical Commission did not meet in February due to the snowstorm and will hold their next regularly scheduled meeting on March 18, 2003.


The Road Master report for February is on file. Mr. O’Brien thanked the Board and road crew for a superior job on the roads during the recent storm. With regard to traffic control, he said that adding stop signs at Tinker Hill Lane, Rees Road, Whitehorse Road and Union Hill Road has improved matters considerably by decreasing traffic on those roads. He said that a petition is being circulated on Union Hill and Tinker Hill Roads to oppose speed bumps.

The Board scheduled the Spring Road Tour for April 6, 2003 at 1:00 P.M. starting at the Township Office.

Fire Marshal/EOC

Mr. Alston said the Fire Marshal report for February will be submitted as soon as he receives data from the fire companies. He reported on the fatal accident on Route 29 on February 3, 2003.

Open Space Commission

Mr. Hogan said he spoke with Rev. Kim to discuss the Township’s recent offer to work with him on preserving his property on Sycamore Lane and he will speak with his congregation before meeting with the township. Mr. Hogan said it looks promising.

Parks and Recreation Board

Parks and Rec Chairman Mark Connolly introduced David Reis, of Troop 67, who presented a proposal for an Eagle Scout project in Charlestown Park. Mr. Reis distributed his proposal for a 16 x 16 foot observation platform to look out over the wetlands at Charlestown Park. Two sites had been looked at, with Site B selected as shown on his drawing. Mr. Theurkauf said this site is on a relatively high bank. He will meet with Mr. Kohli and Mr. Hogan on the site to check the ground’s stability for construction. Mr. Connolly said the scouts under 18 are not permitted to use power tools, so the Township will handle construction of the pilings and railings, similarly to what was done when constructing the existing footbridge at the Park.

Brightside Farm Committee

Mrs. Ewald said that during February, multiple live, abandoned electrical lines had been removed at the Farm for safety.

Valley Forge Sewer Authority

Mr. Rodgers reported on the labor negotiations, which are moving along very slowly.

Old Business - None

New Business

Whitehorse Meadows Amended Declaration

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the amended Declaration of Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions dated February 2, 1998 for Whitehorse Meadows, for which she said Michael Main has obtained the signatures of all property owners. Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig said the Township should confirm that 100% have signed off, and this was made part of the motion. Mr. Hogan called the vote, and all were in favor.

Kalogris Request for Accessory Structure in Front Yard – Mountain Laurel Lane

Susan Boswell, Esq. was present on behalf of Michael and Elizabeth Kalogris to seek a waiver from the Board to permit the construction of a guesthouse in their front yard. Their architect, Helena Van Vliet, was also present. Jerry Dragonetti and his attorney, Glenn Diehl, Esq., were also present.

Ms. Boswell stated her clients filed a building permit application for the construction of an accessory structure in the front yard on their 2.7 acre property located along the shared driveway called Mountain Laurel Lane off Union Hill Road. The Kalogrises have lived there since 1988, and constructed their home in such a way as to preserve woodlands on the property, leaving a very narrow side yard area. The design for the guesthouse was intended to create a courtyard effect. She said Section 1607 of the Township Zoning Ordinance permits a guesthouse as an accessory structure in the side and back yards, but in the front yard it requires an additional approval from the Board of Supervisors. She said the Planning Commission recommended approval at their February 11, 2003 meeting.

Mr. McErlane asked about the issue with the homeowners covenants document. Ms. Boswell said that the Planning Commission solicitor, Gary Bender, interpreted them as not being part of the original subdivision approval for Four Oaks Farm. There was no note on the plan, and no enforcement rights in the document by the Township. She added that even if there were, she doesn’t believe they would preclude the guesthouse.

Mr. Diehl stated that the declaration and covenants document was in fact part of the terms of the application, and he read a portion of it that states only one building is permitted on a property for permanent or temporary human habitation. To change the document, the parties would have to have township approval. He said separate quarters not connected to the house as an addition are not permitted.

Ms. Boswell referred to page 1 of the document, which lists guest quarters as one of the permitted accessory structures for the lots in Four Oaks. She said she believes the language read by Mr. Diehl intended to disallow two principal structures, not a house and a guesthouse, which is an accessory structure. Ms. Van Vliet, who was one of the original owners who drafted the document, said the intent was that two main residences on one lot would not be permitted. She added that there is precedent in the development for a detached cottage dwelling.

Mr. Willig asked what the structure will be used for, and Ms. Van Vliet said it would be used mainly for visiting business clients.

Ms. Boswell said it is not a second dwelling because it shares utility lines with the main house and will have no kitchen facilities. Ms. Van Vliet said her understanding is that it would have been a permitted use in the side yard, and explained why the side yard was not suitable for it due to wet ground and encroachment on woods. Ms. Boswell said significant landscaping is proposed for screening the structure, including 31 holly trees. She added there are already a lot of trees that screen the site, and that Mr. Theurkauf reviewed the plan and said there are no negative offsite visual impacts from the proposal.

Ms. Boswell and Mr. Diehl presented arguments on whether this structure is defined as a dwelling under the Township Ordinance. Ms. Boswell said it is not a dwelling, and this is a question of placement only; not a question on whether a guesthouse is permitted. Mr. Diehl said if the building is designed for habitation, it is a dwelling, and does not comply with the ordinance because the property cannot meet the minimum lot size and setbacks to be subdividable. Planning Commission Chairman Michael Allen said the Planning Commission focused on the placement of the structure when making their recommendation. They felt the front yard location works better for design purposes.

The Board will consult with its solicitor prior to making a decision on this matter.

Performance Automotive Zoning Hearing Board Application – Overview

Sean O’Neil, Esq. was present on behalf of Performance Automotive Inc. to provide a brief overview of their application before the Zoning Hearing Board requesting that their variance approval to operate an automobile repair facility on Phoenixville Pike in the LI-1 District be extended. It currently expires in September of this year. Mr. O’Neil displayed a site map indicating the location of the property in relation to surrounding uses. He said Performance Auto is a high end automobile maintenance shop, and does no fuel sales, body work or inventorying of cars or equipment. All cars are stored inside the premises, which are leased from Sproule Manufacturing Co.

Mrs. Ewald asked if there has been any change in use since the temporary variance was granted. Mr. O’Neill said yes, the company no longer does private brokering of cars. Mrs. Ewald asked if they are willing to stipulate to this, and Mr. O’Neill answered yes.

Mr. O’Neill explained that Performance Auto has also submitted a zoning amendment proposal to the Township, which would allow the use in the LI-1 district as a Conditional Use.

Mr. Hogan moved to recommend to the Zoning Hearing Board that the variance be extended for an additional two year period, and Mrs. Ewald seconded. Mr. Willig suggested making the extension concurrent with the termination of their lease with Sproule Manufacturing, and Mr. Hogan accepted the amendment. He called the vote, and all were in favor.

Schedule Conditional Use Hearing for Sean and Jill Maher

The Conditional Use hearing for Sean and Jill Maher was scheduled for April 7, 2003.

Other Business

Mr. Kuhn asked if earned income tax data from East Whiteland Township had been verified yet, and Mrs. Csete answered she is still waiting for a response. There had been a question on the original information provided.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:33 P.M. The next meeting will be held on March 17, 2003, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.

Respectfully submitted,

Melanie M. Lammers
Recording Secretary