Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of April 4, 2005

The first business meeting for April was held April 4, 2005, at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Kevin R. Kuhn, Chairman, Mike Rodgers, Vice Chairman, Hugh Willig, Charles Philips, Tom Oeste, 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 7:33 P.M.


Mr. Kuhn announced that Elizabeth Scott of Pickering Road had great things to say about the response time of the Kimberton Fire Department following the recent fire at her home.

Mr. Philips announced that Lee Raden once again won a top award at the Philadelphia Flower Show.

Mr. Kuhn announced that Mr. Hogan is back in the hospital and wished him well.

Citizen’s Forum/Non-Agenda Items – None


Minutes of March 7, 2005

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the March 7, 2005 minutes, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report - March 1-31, 2005

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the March 1-31, 2005 Treasurer's report, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report - April 4, 2005 - Operating Fund

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the April 4, 2005 Operating Fund Accounts Payable report, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report - April 4, 2005 - Open Space Fund

Mr. Philips moved to approve the April 4, 2005 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable report, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Mr. Rodgers moved to accept the monthly reports as submitted, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Old Business

Charlestown Woolen Mill - Parging

Mr. Kuhn opened the discussion. He said there is one Supervisor who is adamantly opposed to parging the stone on the Charlestown Woolen Mill. Mr. Kuhn said he personally likes how it looks now, but if the PHMC requires the parging, it should be done. If not required, he suggested it be put to a vote. Mr. Willig added that the degree of parging also needs to be determined.

Mr. Dale Frens recapped where things stand with regards to the Mill. He said the Board of Supervisors wanted to restore the entire building, and that once that decision was made, they had to accept all that came along with the decision to restore it in a historically accurate way. He handed out photos of how the Mill looked in the early to mid-1900's. It was previously decided to go for a weathered stucco look, having approximately 40% of the stone exposed. He said parge pointing was approved, but that if they were to point the entire building, they would be creating a condition that never existed historically. He said that is not good preservation practice. He said there was no mention of a parging requirement in the Keystone Grant received from the PHMC. It could or could not be done, but Mr. Frens had recommended it at that time.

Mr. Philips said his view was that covering the building entirely in stucco was never planned, and said they should do a true historic preservation and do it nicely. He said doing something that does not fit the period just because it is liked or not liked is not restoration.

Mr. Rodgers said he would go with the HARB’s recommendation. Mr. Kuhn and Mr. Philips agreed. Mr. Frens indicated the parging is not a pressing issue and could be put off. Mr. Willig said he is more inclined to go in Mr. Hogan's direction than with full parging so that a balance is struck between what is reasonable and what is historically accurate. He said he looks at the blacksmith shop in Charlestown Village as the maximum level of parging that should be done.

Mr. Kuhn asked if there is another alternative that is less aggressively parged than the blacksmith shop, but still historically correct. Mr. Frens said they could have the contractor cover less of the face of the stones.

Mrs. Rosemary Philips said if you walk around the building and look at the west side toward the northern end, it has obviously been rebuilt with rubble. There are chunks of concrete and bricks in there. She said this is not about beautiful stone work. She asked if they wanted that exposed, stating it is not a uniformly beautiful dress stone all the way up. Mr. Willig said he finds the lack of uniformity pleasing. Mr. Philips said they could wait to have this discussion later or vote on it now, knowing that three Board members have one view, while the other two have another. Mr. Kuhn said he would like to see it parge pointed, but have it be less aggressive. Mr. Frens suggested they bring the contractor back to do a 6' x 6' sample for the board’s consideration.

Mr. Kuhn asked if it is possible for the same contractor back to do this work. Mr. Frens said the work could be phased. Mr. Oeste said if the phasing takes place over a number of years, it could potentially be done. Mr. Kuhn said he would rather get it done all at once. Mr. Oeste added that it may be possible to narrow down the list of potential bidders through specifications and a pre-qualification. Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Frens to make a first attempt at putting the specifications for the bid together. Mr. Frens said he would work with Mr. Kohli to prepare a draft for Mr. Oeste’s review.

Mr. Kuhn asked if there is a downside to a 'not to exceed' agreement, and Mr. Willig said there is not. Mr. Oeste suggested a lump sum bid.

Mr. Philips moved to go forward with Mr. Frens and Mr. Kohli putting together a bid package that would include a 6' x 6' test patch, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Mr. Philips said the Board owes Mr. Frens, the HARB, and Mr. Hogan thanks for their part in the Township’s recognition by the state in attaining a Pennsylvania Historic Preservation Award for the Woolen Mill project.

Other Business

Longwood School

Mr. Philips asked Mr. Frens about the Longwood School plans. Mr. Frens said he still owes the specification document to the Township. Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Frens to take a look at what trees, etc. should be removed. Mr. Frens said he and Mr. Alston can go walk the property to make this determination. He said the only thing to be put out to bid is the clearing of the rubble and the capping of the walls. Mr. Kuhn asked if it is too confusing to tag this work onto the Mill project. Dale said yes, and Mr. Philips agreed the two projects should be kept separate.

Toll Brothers - Water Issue

Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Kohli to talk about the Toll Brothers water issue. Mr. Kohli said that during the recent rainstorm, stormwater got into the sewer line and the pump station was overflowing and could not keep up. He said water was flowing at a rate of 176 gallons per minute for almost 12 hours and was flooding the pump station in East Whiteland Township. Mr. Kohli said they could not get in touch with any Toll representatives at any emergency numbers.

Mr. Kuhn asked if the Valley Forge Sewer Authority could impose a fine, but Mr. Kohli said they could not since it was still a private road. Mr. Kohli said there was not much of a pollution problem, but rather just a problem with the pump station. He said Toll has been told they need to have someone on call 24 hours.

New Business

Discussion – Fire Substation

Mr. Kuhn explained that Mr. Alston had asked if the Board would be agreeable to East Whiteland putting up a fire sub-station consisting of a two-bay garage on Charlestown’s 6.2 acre parcel in Devault. Mr. Kuhn said he did not see why the Board would not want to encourage it for better coverage in the Devault area.

Mr. Alston said he spoke to the current EOC space provider who informed him the EOC space won’t be available to the Township past the end of this year. Mr. Alston and the President of the East Whiteland fire company met over the weekend to try to come up with some general ideas as to what they would like to see in a fire sub-station and what they wanted for an EOC, which could possibly be combined in the structure. He said they are not doing any major planning until June 1, 2005. He distributed a rough sketch of what they have in mind. He said they are looking for a 70' x 40' size building. One side would house a ladder truck or aerial device and the other side would contain a pumper. The sketch also depicted a common restroom with decontamination facilities. There would be a utility room with a UPS and generator, similar to what is available at the current EOC facility.

Mr. Philips asked how much space is needed for turnarounds, parking, driveways, etc. Mr. Alston said it depends on where the sub-station is located. He said if it were in the area in front of the salt shed, not much space would be required. Drive-through bays would not be used, and there would only be a parking need for approximately 10 vehicles. He said the EOC would have a parking need for 10-12 vehicles.

Mr. Kuhn asked what the normal course of events is when this equipment must be dispatched. Mr. Alston said it depends on what the Fire Chief calls for, but most likely a supply pumper and squad car would be dispatched. Mr. Philips asked what would be the difference in response time, if any, and Mr. Alston said there is a potential to save a good five to seven minutes.

Resident John Lackovic from Charlestown Hunt said Phoenixville, Kimberton, East Whiteland, and Valley Forge were dispatched to a recent fire. He said Valley Forge has a new contract to put up a new station. He suggested there be some coordination between the Townships to determine where things should be put for the best regional coverage, versus planning solely at the Township level. Mr. Kuhn said he made a good point and that there are agreements in place currently between Charlestown, Kimberton, and East Whiteland townships for emergency services. Mr. Alston said Mr. Lackovic's coverage would not change in any case, because Kimberton would still be the first response, Phoenixville would be the second, and Valley Forge would be the third.

Mr. Kuhn asked if the Chester County Fire Board reviews these plans. Mr. Alston said they do not normally, but that they would be on board with this substation. Mr. Willig confirmed there is really no central coordination effort. Mr. Alston said the fire company and the Board of Supervisors are responsible for the safety of the residents, and confirmed that once a fire company gets approvals from coordinating Townships, they do not have to then get approval from the County. Mr. Kuhn found it interesting that with all the regional planning that is done, that fire departments are not involved in taking a look at the big picture. Mr. Alston said the individual fire companies do, but the County does not.

Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Oeste how this type of thing is financed. He said the fire companies have sources of financing that we the Townships are required to assist them with. He said loans are available for apparatus, but he is not sure that extends to buildings. Mr. Lackovic said Valley Forge is putting in a three-bay garage to the tune of $1.2 million. Mr. Willig said it is not inexpensive. Mr. Alston said he has a commitment to have the groundwork and paving done for free.

Mr. Allen asked if there is now a response-time problem. Mr. Alston said there is not a history of problems, but there is a need for more responsibility to the residents and said Charlestown is getting more and more residents. Mr. Allen said that does not mean a sub-station is needed. Mr. Alston said there is a need for more apparatus, and therefore, a place to house it.

Mr. Kuhn asked if there is a financial commitment they expect from the Township, and Mr. Alston said it is not yet defined. Mr. Kuhn said if they are going to expand, why not have the expansion service the Charlestown residents first.

Mr. Kuhn asked what the Board's wishes are at this point. Mr. Rodgers said as long as they do not have to commit any money, he does not see why they cannot pursue it further. Mr. Willig said if they do consider it, they will have to consider it will cost money. Mr. Rodgers said he would like to know the magnitude of that cost. Mr. Alston said they will not know the magnitude until plans are put together. Mr. Alston said, at this point, he just wants to know if the Board is agreeable to considering the idea. The Board was in agreement with the plan to move forward with the understanding they may not support it in the end. Mr. Philips suggested having it run through the Planning Commission first, and Mr. Kuhn agreed.

Mr. Allen said he is in favor if the need can be demonstrated. He said Mr. Lackovic has good points that should be explored so efforts are not duplicated. He also said that a large, metal shed in the Devault area would not be attractive for that area if located in a prominent position. Rather than commit to that, he suggested they really look at what is going to happen here in that area. He said, if, by any chance, something is done with any developers in the Devault area, this is the type of thing that can be extracted from a developer.

Mr. Kuhn told Mr. Alston to go to the next step and see what he can come up with.

Resolution for Mutual Aid #648-05

Mrs. Csete asked Mr. Alston to explain the Resolution for Mutual Aid. He said in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, all municipalities are required to provide emergency services to all citizens. When there is an event so big that it cannot be handled internally, the Mutual Aid agreement allows municipalities to look to other municipalities for assistance. The agreement requires the sharing of resources and manpower across municipalities and is coordinated by the County.

Mr. Philips asked for examples of when this agreement might come into play. Mr. Alston replied that trucks for plowing, in the case of an emergency, would be an example, as well as hazardous material spills, tornados, fires, earthquakes, etc.

Mr. Oeste made it clear that the Township would be responsible for providing insurance on their own resources and explained that when Township resources, such as a fire company, is called to support another Township, they would be under the direction and jurisdiction of the municipality where the equipment and/or manpower is being used. He added that signing the agreement prevents a Township from being able to charge another for their services, but a Township may be charged if they have not signed the agreement.

Mr. Philips moved to approve the Resolution for Mutual Aid, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Ordinance Amending the Open Space Commission Ordinance

The proposed ordinance amendment changes the Open Space ordinance by removing the requirement for a Board member to be appointed to the Open Space Commission. It also increases the at-large member count from 11 to 12. Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the ordinance amending the Open Space ordinance, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

NVS Custom Homes Escrow Release #3 – Scipione

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the NVS Custom Homes Escrow Release #3 in the amount of $385,217.00, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Sports & Community Center

Mr. Keith Walsh said he wants to put together a community complex for the kids and adults in the community. He said the company is being set up as a non-profit organization. The by-laws are done, and he is just waiting on the incorporation to be finalized.

He said in talking with different people from Charlestown, East Whiteland, and Phoenixville Townships, he found that the local community needs/wants more than a basketball court, and as a result, his project has evolved into a much larger community center.

He said he has a list of 7-9 potential locations, some being privately owned, some school district owned, and some Township owned. He said they are trying to get land for free, and have found everyone to think the community center is a great idea. He said he envisioned it involving a senior center during school hours. Mr. Walsh said he is meeting with the borough of Malvern tomorrow, and said Malvern thinks it is a great idea.

Mr. Walsh said Alan Greaves did design work, which includes a multi-purpose area, hardwood floor, and meeting area. The current configuration is 55,000 square feet, to be built in two phases. He said he intends to begin a fundraising effort within the community, starting with groups such as the Great Valley Basketball Association, the Great Valley Lacrosse Association, the Police Athletic League, the majority of the Great Valley school district community, and the local corporate community. He said he has been speaking with professional fundraisers, and there may be grants for non-profit organizations available as well. He said he thinks he can raise the money. He said he put together an operating and capital budget, and ideally is looking for six acres. He said if they could only find a smaller piece, the building would have to be downsized accordingly. He said they are at the point where they have done all the financial planning they can do; now they need to find a site. He said he would like to find out if they can partner with the Township or lease space from the Township in order to get the project moving. He said the building could house the Township offices as well.

Mr. Walsh handed out the project's Mission Statement/Proposal. He said there is a Board of ten parents consisting of backgrounds such as architectural, legal, and financial. He said this building is a concept at this point and is highly dependent on the property it sits on. He said he is here today to get a feel for whether this is something the Township would be interested in doing. He said they are looking for a partner. He added that they have an estimate of $2.6 million for the building. Mr. Kuhn asked if the six acres includes outside fields as well, and Mr. Walsh said it does not due to the parking requirements. He said they felt they would need two acres for access and parking. He said they allowed an acre for water detention. He said the indoor space within the school district is maxed out; there is a lot of competition for the space.

Mr. Kuhn asked if the inside is made up of multi-function rooms; for example, could they be used as tennis courts? Mr. Walsh said yes, it's entirely multi-purpose.

Mr. Philips asked if this is something we think is appealing for the Township. Mr. Kuhn said Mr. Willig and he were encouraged by it. Mr. Willig said we should define appealing as, "Is it appealing enough to want to participate?" Mr. Kuhn said this is somewhat of a noxious use for Devault. He said maybe this is an opportunity to use the Devault area and keep all the lights, etc., in that area and away from the homes.

Mrs. Philips asked if there was any thought given to having a community swimming pool as part of this project? Mr. Walsh said it would require a much larger facility and insurance costs would be high. He agreed it is something the community needs. Mr. Greaves said it came down to dollars and simply was not something they felt they could afford to do, but it might be something that could be considered in the future. Mr. Willig asked how much additional square footage would be required for a pool, and Mr. Walsh said it would need to be at least 2/3 the size of the large court area.

Mr. Philips asked if this is something we would even be interested in for the land we have in Devault. He said if we are interested, we need to go through planning process. Mr. Allen said if it is truly four acres that is needed, the Township does not have a large enough piece of land under the current zoning.

Mr. Kuhn said he would like to get a feel from the Township solicitor as to how this could work. He said he would also like feedback from the Planning Commission. He said there is a joint meeting between the Board and the Planning Commission at the end of this month.

Mr. Philips asked if the Township would be constrained to lease the land, and Mr. Oeste said he thought something could be worked out. Mr. Allen said the asphalt plant would be an ideal place for something like this when that project is complete. Mr. Kuhn said he is in favor of it conceptually. He said he wants feedback from the Planning Commission, and then will give Mr. Walsh more of an idea at the beginning of May. He said his main concern is that they do not build a facility that is so busy servicing outside groups, that it is not available for use by the Township residents.

Mr. Kuhn asked if Mr. Walsh had the word 'go' tomorrow, would he have the funding? Mr. Walsh said they have talked to a lot of people and told them he would be back to ask for money. He said he thinks they need 1-2 years to raise the funds, and that it can be done while the engineering efforts are going on. He said he thought two years from now would be the minimum.

Mr. Kuhn said it would be on the agenda for the end-of-month joint meeting.

Other Business

Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Kohli if he heard anything on the Jenkins plan revisions. Mr. Kohli said they had been submitted.

Mr. Kuhn said he received Doug Leland’s resume and asked Mrs. Csete to write a letter of recommendation to Judge Ott for appointment to the vacant position of Constable.


Mr. Rodgers moved to adjourn the meeting, and Mr. Philips seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 9:34 P.M. The next Board of Supervisors meeting will be held at 7:30 P.M. on April 25, 2005, in room 154 of the Great Valley Middle School.

Respectfully submitted,

Melanie Lammers
Recording Secretary