Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of September 15, 2003

The second business meeting for September was held September 15, 2003, at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Paul Hogan, Chairman, Hugh Willig, Vice Chairman, Irene W. Ewald, Mike Rodgers, Kevin R. Kuhn, Thomas Oeste, Esq., Surender Kohli, P.E., Jane Opie, Court Reporter, 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 7:31 P.M.


There were no announcements.

Citizen’s Forum - Non-Agenda Items

There were no Citizen’s Forum/Non-agenda Items discussed.


Building Height Ordinance

This hearing was court reported by Ms. Jane Opie, and the record was closed. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve Ordinance #108-2003, amending the definition for building height, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Hogan called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. Four were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald did not vote.

Conditional Use Application - Outdoor Advertising

This hearing was court reported by Ms. Jane Opie, and the record was opened and continued until October 20, 2003.


Prior to the approval of the September 8, 2003 minutes, Mr. Rodgers announced that the Charlestown Historical Society Patrons’ Dinner was postponed to October 4, 2003.

Minutes of September 8, 2003

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the September 8, 2003, minutes as written, and Mrs. Ewald seconded. Mr. Hogan called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Zoning Hearing Board Appointment

Mr. Kuhn moved to appoint Mr. Joe O’Brien to the Zoning Hearing Board, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Hogan called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor. Mrs. Ewald requested that Mrs. Csete send a letter to Mr. O’Brien thanking him for his interest in the position.

Old Business

McCarthy Conditional Use Decision

Tom Oeste, Esq., read a summary of the conditions of the Decision and Order.

Mr. Rodgers said he thought the restriction of the retention basin was to be in the Decision and Order and would like to see it included as a condition. Mr. Willig said he thought that prior discussions had resolved that issue.

Mr. Ewald said it seemed as though the Board was still at a decision-making point. She said both parties have big water issues. She said she has no objection to the McCarthys adding rooms to their home, but is disappointed to see the additional impervious surface, which she feels will cause additional water problems.

Mr. Hogan said he thought the reduction of the driveway was to offset the lack of decrease in the retention basin and did not understand the need to debate the topic again. Mrs. Ewald responded that there are other similar situations, such as Toll’s Charlestown Meadows at Newcomen Road and Route 401, and the Deerfield property. She said there are compelling arguments on both sides, and she is very concerned about adding a large driveway. Mr. Hogan said he understands her point, but feels her comparisons are to much larger projects. Mrs. Ewald said the scale is different, but the problem remains the same. Mr. Willig indicated that the scale is a large part of the decision. Mr. Kuhn agreed and said he does not see them as similar situations.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Conditional Use Application of Paul and Alexis McCarthy, and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Hogan called for discussion, and Mr. Rodgers said he would still like to see a reduction in the retention basin added as a requirement. Mr. Kohli said that issue had been previously discussed, and that the elimination of blacktop was used instead of increasing the retention basin. Mr. Schubert added that his recollection was that by reducing the blacktop surface, the minimum flow is being reduced. He said there is no benefit to increasing the retention basin.

Mrs. Joos commented on a trial that said water cannot be put onto someone else’s property. Mr. Oeste said he has looked at the briefs of both parties and that this application complies with the storm water management laws and applicable case law.

Mr. Hogan called the vote. Three were in favor, Mrs. Ewald was opposed, and Mr. Rodgers abstained.

Kalogris Decision - Guest House in Front Yard

Mr. Schubert told the Board he had additional discussions with the applicant, and that the applicant was willing to eliminate the bar and reduce the footprint of the proposed guesthouse by one third. He asked the Board to recall the issue associated with this application is one of location, not of use. He said the use is allowed, and the only reason the applicant is here before the Board is to review the issue of location. He added that Mr. Kalogris proposed additional buffering so the guesthouse would not be visible from neighboring properties. He said he hopes the Board considers the appropriateness of having this structure in the front yard and approves the application.

Mr. Kalogris thanked the Board and the Planning Commission and said this is his only option for guest space. He also said he respects Mr. Dragonetti’s right to disagree, but feels his goal is to say no to any type of construction. He said he does not feel that is right.

Mr. Diehl said it is unfair to characterize Mr. Dragonetti’s reasons. He added that if the Board was to enact an Ordinance Amendment, this guesthouse would be allowed, but that the current ordinance does not now allow it. He believes the ordinance is invalid and results in a ‘no’ decision. He said you cannot make a Zoning Ordinance that says, “Bring it to us and let us decide” without conditions.

He said Mr. Dragonetti’s position is that what is being proposed is a dwelling unit and said the two tests for whether it is a dwelling unit are: 1) how it is used, and 2) what it is designed for, regardless of how it is used. He said if it is a dwelling unit under the ordinance, it cannot be approved in the front yard.

Mr. Kuhn questioned how it could be considered a dwelling unit without requiring a Use and Occupancy permit. Mr. Oeste added that the ordinance specifically allows quarters for guests. After some additional discussion, Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the application subject to the following conditions as outlined by Mr. Oeste:

Mr. Rodgers asked for Mr. Dragonetti’s opinion of the conditions, and he was in agreement with approving the application as long as the above-mentioned conditions were met. Mr. Kuhn seconded the motion, and Mr. Hogan called the vote. Three were in favor, Mrs. Ewald was opposed, and Mr. Hogan abstained.

Bruder Public Water Request

Mr. Oeste summarized that Mr. Bruder is looking to put Mr. Kun’s property under agreement of sale. Mr. Bruder would like approval for public water on his present “Saddlebrook” property, which is adjacent to the Kun property. In exchange for the Board’s approval, he is willing to put an easement on his Saddlebrook property from any further subdivision or development for 15 years. Additionally, currently the existing covenant put on Mr. Kun’s property by the French & Pickering Creeks Trust allows for the subdivision of one additional lot. Mr. Bruder agrees to eliminate that ability to subdivide perpetually. The Township would have the enforcement authority on both restrictions. Mr. Oeste said an additional requirement is that the Township would have to send a letter to the water company requesting public water, and that could not be done until the other requirements were met.

Mrs. Ewald asked Mr. Bruder if his gallons per minute were 32, and he replied, “No, they are less than 1.9.” He added that he unsuccessfully drilled three wells and was told his options were to install a water tank on the property, obtain public water, or pull water from the back woods of his property, a far distance from the house.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the request in accordance with Mr. Oeste’s comments.

Mr. Kun spoke, stating he contacted his neighbors before contacting a realtor, so someone with an interest in preserving this Charlestown property would have the first opportunity to secure the land. He said there is currently a big gap in the current easement, which allows for the condemnation of the barn. He said he talked to Ann Orth of the French & Pickering Creeks Trust and said she is strongly in favor of Mr. Bruder taking over this property, as he has agreed to correct the loophole in the current easement. Mr. Kun asked the Board for a unanimous vote in favor of Mr. Bruder’s request.

Mr. Willig asked if the public water would be just to service the main house or if he has plans to extend the water. Mr. Bruder said it is just to service the main house.

After some discussion, Mr. Rodgers seconded the motion, and Mr. Hogan called for discussion. Mr. Willig asked that the pipe be sized to the exact requirements of the house, and that it not be extended to the Ampersand property.

Mr. Willig asked Mr. Oeste to outline the conditions of approval. They are:

Mr. Hogan called the vote. Four were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed.

Toll Brothers - Charlestown Meadows

Mr. Schubert, Esq. indicated the prior outstanding issues have been resolved. He said fencing has been added around the tot lot and the plan has been submitted to Mr. Kohli. Regarding the lighting issue, the Township lighting consultant reviewed the plans and recommended the elimination of the floodlights and the elimination of the soffit lights in the front and back of the building. Mr. Oeste asked if Toll Brothers was willing to add this to the Declaration, and Mr. Schubert responded, “Yes.” Mr. Oeste asked if post lighting were still possible, and Mr. Schubert said it was, as well as low intensity path lighting.

Mr. Schubert said the only remaining issue preventing the final design sign-off is that the Malvern Post Office is requiring that two roads be renamed. Mr. Schubert asked for approval, stating that Bill Kay wants closing to occur in two weeks.

Mr. Oeste said there are other items still outstanding, such as the Eaby easement, the permits for Route 401 improvements and lane improvements, the Homeowners Association documents, Natural Lands Trust easement, etc. Mr. Kohli added that the septic plan still requires approval by the Valley Forge Sewer Authority. Mr. Oeste asked Mr. Schubert to write a letter that outlines all of the obligations that Toll Brothers is responsible for and will take care of after the plan is recorded.

Mr. Kuhn asked when Mr. Schubert needed the final plan to be signed by, and Mr. Schubert responded he would like to have it by the end of the week. Mr. Oeste said the plan cannot be recorded until the financial agreement and developer’s agreement are executed, and the homeowner’s documents executed and recorded with the plan. Mr. Kohli referred to the E & S permit under review, and Mr. Oeste said it cannot be approved until after the plan is recorded. Mr. Schubert said they would like to grade out and seed before the end of the growing season. He also said he is concerned about the requirement to have the Homeowners Association documents finalized in time. Mr. Oeste said he has already looked through them, but would like to see the exhibits, and Mr. Schubert said he would get him copies. Mr. Oeste added that after the plan is recorded, the litigation will be settled and discontinued by mutual release.

Mr. Willig asked if the entrance monument is necessary, stating it seems out of scale. Mr. Schubert said he does not want to revisit that at this time, and said it is necessary. Mr. Kohli said he will review it. Mr. Schubert said it would be done tastefully.

Mr. Rodgers moved to allow the recording of the plan subject to Mr. Oeste’s requirements, and Mr. Kuhn seconded.

Mr. Oeste reiterated that the plan could not be recorded until the following items are complete:

and that no land disturbance will take place until after recordation.

Mr. Oeste stated he will draft a document for the Eabys, which will dedicate the eased area to the Township. Mr. Kohli will meet with representatives of the Natural Lands Trust to discuss the Michael Dixon easement needed, after contacting Mr. Dixon.

Mr. Hogan called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. Four were in favor; Mrs. Ewald did not vote.

New Business

Advertisement of Salt Bids for 2003-2004

Mrs. Csete said she put together a document for public bids for salt, similar to those previously done for other road materials. Mr. Kohli suggested that next year Charlestown Township work with a local consortium of townships to participate in their bid, rather than go through this bid process separately. Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the advertisement for the salt bids, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Hogan called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Other Business

Traffic Studies on Union Hill Road

Mr. Kuhn moved to authorize Mr. Alston to perform traffic studies on Union Hill Road, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Hogan called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Gunshots in Three Ponds Area

Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Kohli if there is anything that can be done about complaints of gunshot noise due to target practicing near the Three Ponds Area. Mr. Kohli said the Game Commission will not respond, as they will only deal with hunting issues.

Next Meeting

Mr. Rodgers asked if the October 13, 2003 meeting could be changed to October 9, 2003. Everyone was in agreement, so the date was changed. Mrs. Ewald asked if the Board could approve just the payroll portion of the Accounts Payable prior to that meeting since it is later than usual, and the Board agreed to do so.


Mr. Willig said that he is concerned with abstentions from voting, and that Board members should only abstain if they were not a participant in the discussions or if there is a conflict of interest. Mr. Kuhn agreed.

There was a general discussion on the topic of providing public water.

Mrs. Csete asked the Board members to sign the Great Valley School District plans.


Mr. Hogan adjourned the meeting at 10:10 P.M and the Board went into executive session. The next meeting will be held on Thursday October 9, 2003, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.

Respectfully submitted,

Melanie M. Lammers
Recording Secretary