Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of August 1, 2005

The first business meeting for August was held August 1, 2005, at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Kevin R. Kuhn, Chairman, Mike Rodgers, Vice Chairman, Paul Hogan, James E. McErlane, Esq., Tim O’Neill, Esq., Mark Thompson, Esq., Surender Kohli, P.E., Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator, and those on the attached list were present.

The meeting was called to order at 7:40 P.M.


Mr. Kuhn announced that an executive session took place prior to the meeting to discuss legal, financial and real estate issues.

Citizen’s Forum/Non-Agenda Items

No matters were brought forward at this time.


Eagle Scout Project, Charlie Andersen

Troop 101 Scout Charlie Andersen presented his proposal for clearing the millrace at the Woolen Mill property. The project includes rebuilding the dry wall that has eroded away, and clearing the mill race of all debris and growth, including a few junk trees in the middle of the race. One of the parents will provide some back hoe work for digging a footing for the north wall.


Minutes of July 18, 2005

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the July 18, 2005 minutes with the insertion of the word “family” on page two, first paragraph under the Desfor Farms heading, to read “family business relationship”, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report – July 1 - 31, 2005

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

Accounts Payable Report – August 1, 2005 - Operating Fund

Mr. Hogan moved to approve the August 1, 2005 Operating Fund Accounts Payable report, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report – August 1, 2005 - Open Space Fund

Mr. Hogan moved to approve the August 1, 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. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion. Mr. Rodgers noted that there are no minutes from the Sewer Authority because no meeting was held in July. Mr. Kuhn called the vote. All were in favor.


Great Valley Pet Hotel, Conditional Use

Jim McErlane, Esq. opened the hearing for the application, and the proceedings were recorded by Mark Hagerty, Court Reporter. Mr. Kuhn recused himself due to a business relationship with the applicants. Mr. Rodgers took over as acting Chairman. The following witnesses gave testimony:

The following exhibits were entered into the record:

By the Township:

T-1 Public Notice

By the Applicant:

A-1 Agreement of Sale
A-2 Conditional Use Application
A-3 Neighbor Notice Letters and Return Receipts
A-4 Nick Vastardis Curriculum Vitae
A-5 Conditional Use Plan
A-6 1995 Subdivision Plan for Glen Brae Company
A-7 July 11, 2005 Conditional Use Approval for Bradco Supply Corp.
A-8 Comitta Review Letter dated 7/5/05
A-9 Kohli Review Letter dated 7/7/05
A-10 Conceptual Landscape Plan
A-11 Aerial Photo
A-12 Environmental Impact Assessment
A-13 Cubellis Rendering
A-14 Cubellis Rendering
A-15 Cubellis Rendering
A-16 Photos depicting fence
A-17 Photo of Bradco Building
A-18 Frank Montgomery Curriculum Vitae
A-19 TPD Traffic Report dated 7/13/2005
A-20 TPD Noise Report
A-21 Cubellis Rendering

The hearing was closed. Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the conditional Use application for Brad and Dierdre Francis, Owners, for the Great Valley Pet Hotel subject to restricting the on-site apartment to accessory use to the kennel only; never to be leased to a member of the general public. Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Rodgers called for discussion.

Jeff Fried asked if there will be any visibility of the dogs from the road. Mr. Francis responded yes, although the majority will be in the back of the property. The Fire Marshal, Fred Alston, asked about the turning radius for the drop off area. Mr. Kohli said that will be addressed at the time of the land development application review.

Mr. Hogan and Mr. Rodgers were in favor. Mr. Kuhn was recused and did not vote.

Old Business

Brightside Farmhouse Lease

Mr. Hogan moved to approve the draft of the lease for the Brightside Farmhouse, with a rent of $1,000 per month on a month to month basis. Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

New Business

Ordinance to Incur Non-Electoral Debt - Stonorov Acquisition Funding

Tim O’Neill, Esq. and Mike Wolf, Boenning & Scattergood presented financing options for the purchase of development rights on 200 acres of the Stonorov property and other acquisition projects.

Several bond debt service schedules were prepared for consideration, marked A, B and C as follows:

  1. the financing of development rights for the Stonorov Property only, in the amount of $3,150,000, plus costs of issuance and bond insurance.
  2. the financing of the Stonorov project, plus the refunding of the 2000 Note, in the amount of $5,785,000 plus costs of issuance and bond insurance.
  3. the financing of the maximum amount of debt that can be supported by the earned income tax receipts, with the maximum debt calculated as approximately $9,000,000. This option provides the choice of refinancing the Note or leaving it outstanding. Additional open space acquisition must be made within the next three years. The amount would be $9,185,000 plus costs of issuance and bond insurance.

Mr. O’Neill said one reason to consider a larger financing than is needed at the moment is primarily because of the low interest rates currently available, but also to avoid duplicating costs of issuance, which amount to $15,000 to $30,000 each time.

Mr. Kuhn asked if there any interest rate advantages to a bond issuance above a certain amount, such as $10 million. Mr. Wolff said the opposite is true; there may be a slight advantage to amounts under $10 million.

Mr. Kuhn asked about arbitrage issues. Mr. O’Neill said this shouldn’t be a problem with the current rate situation, and that expected for the next several years. Even if it comes in to play, only the interest earned in excess of the bond rate must be refunded to the financer.

Mr. Kuhn asked how safe it would be to keep the present bond separate from this new issue, and keep it at its low variable rate for the time being. Mr. Wolff said the 2000 Bond issue has no pre-payment penalty, and since the time to lock in can be decided month to month, there is no problem with keeping this separate.

Mr. O’Neill said the proposed Ordinance indicates that the Board intends to dedicate the Earned Income Tax receipts to the new debt service, under Act 511. The purpose of the funds can be changed by resolution in the future if the Board wishes.

The Board members were in agreement that they favored alternative “C”.

Mr. Hogan moved to adopt Ordinance #130-2005, to authorize and direct the incurring of Non-Electoral Debt through the issuance of General Obligation Bonds in a maximum aggregate principal amount not to exceed $9,685,000 for the purpose of acquisition of interests in real estate for the preservation of open space in the Township. Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. A role call vote was taken. Mr. Kuhn, Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Hogan were in favor.

The next steps are to develop an Official Statement, make presentations to rating agencies and bond insurers, and make other marketing decisions before the final purchase proposal will be available. The Ordinance delegates to the Chairman and Secretary the ability to accept a purchase proposal within the parameters set forth in the Ordinance.

Overview: Robert Bruce Zoning Hearing Board Application

Mr. Robert A. Bruce provided a brief explanation of his zoning hearing board application that requests a variance to permit construction of a driveway within the stream valley restrictive zone of 100 feet. Mr. Bruce had previously obtained a variance for the construction of the garage and stormwater management facility but did not include the driveway. After some discussion, the Board determined it would take no position on the application provided that their recommendation is carried out as follows: The retention basin and stormwater management basin should be moved away from the wetlands boundary to provide buffering. The underground detention system should be located at the turnaround at the garage, with additional seepage beds running alongside the edge of the realigned driveway. Mr. Bruce will suspend his application until the plan can be redrawn. He will submit it to Mr. Kohli for comments prior to reinstating his zoning hearing board application.

Brightside Farmhouse Windows

Historical Commission Chairman Rosemary Philips provided the Historical Commission’s recommendations on Paul W. Hoff’s window inventory for the Brightside Farm house. They recommended the following:

  1. Make the necessary repairs to existing windows in the parts of the house that are currently occupied, and to the sash, frames and sills of seriously deteriorated windows elsewhere.
  2. Installation of triple track storm window on all the windows, which is a relatively small cost compared to the cost of window replacement. These will save energy and preserve the sashes.
  3. When replacements are needed, an effort should be made to find windows that retain as much of the character of the original as possible.

Mr. Kuhn asked why vinyl clad window replacements would not be suitable if they had the appearance of the originals. Mrs. Philips agreed there is leeway in the selection of materials, but greatly preferred double paned wood windows.

Mr. Kuhn said some of the unlived-in areas of the house have the worst windows, and Mrs. Philips agreed some may have to be addressed now. After some discussion, Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Alston to contact C. Robin Johnston of CRJ Construction, the carpenter who manufactured the windows for the Woolen Mill, and obtain pricing. Mr. Kuhn also named resident David Thal as a craftsman who has experience in this area.

Brightside Farm Structures

Mrs. Philips responded to the Board’s prior request for input from the HARB on the structures at the Brightside Farm. The HARB would like to ensure that they are consulted on maintenance and restoration work for any township-owned historic structure, and recommends that the Historical Commission be authorized to act for the Board as they do for structures in the Historic District. Mr. McErlane said this understanding could be formalized in the form of a resolution. His office will draft the resolution.

Maureen Berg Preliminary Subdivision Plan

John Berg and Thomas F. Smith, P.E. of Conver & Smith Engineering presented a preliminary subdivision plan that proposes 3 lots on 17 acres off Charlestown Road. Mr. Kuhn said the deadline for the Board’s decision is August 1st, and the Board requests an extension until PennDOT highway occupancy approval is obtained.

Mr. Berg asked the Board to consider granting preliminary plan approval conditioned on obtaining this permit. He said the Township has nothing to lose, since even with subdivision approval, no building permits can be approved without an HOP. He stated his reluctance to spend $120,000 in excavation and soil work before he knows he will get subdivision approval. Also, with conditional approval, he can obtain a construction loan. In order to obtain the HOP, sight distances must be proven by extensive grading work on the site. An erosion & sedimentation control permit is needed from the Township for this work and is under review. After the grading is completed, adequate line of sight can be demonstrated to PennDOT so they can issue the road occupancy permit. Mr. Kohli said this work should be completed and the HOP issued before plan approval. Mr. McErlane said that PennDOT could require them to move the driveway, which would mean revising the plan, including stormwater management, and that these are substantive issues. Mr. Kohli agreed that the road location must be set before plan approval. Once the sight distances have been met, the Board could approve the plan conditioned on receipt of the HOP.

Mr. Berg noted the Planning Commission’s recommendation that the street trees be located outside of the sight line even if they are out of the road right of way, so as not to recreate the sight line problem in the future. The Board agreed.

Mr. Hogan moved to approve the Maureen Berg Preliminary Subdivision Plan revised June 14, 2005, conditioned upon the following:

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

Dr. Marwan Wehbe – Conditional Use Decision

Mr. McErlane distributed a revised draft decision for the Marwan Wehbe Conditional Use application. He clarified with Dr. Wehbe’s engineer, Mike Keffer, P.E., that the applicant understood condition #6 requiring review and approval from the township land use consultant that any tree cutting, past or proposed, and the proposed planting of trees and vegetation meet the Ordinance. Mr. Keffer said he believed his client understood this. Mr. Hogan moved to approve the conditional use decision for Dr. Marwan Wehbe with a correction to item #9, Findings of Fact, to indicate the proposed carport will be open on three sides, not four sides. Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Stephen T. Wicke – Conditional Use Decision

Mr. McErlane provided a draft decision for the Stephen T. Wicke Conditional Use application for construction of a swimming pool in steep slopes. Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the Draft Decision and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Contract Renewals – PMYC and PASC

Parks and Recreation Board Chairman Bob Jones will provide comments to the Solicitor on the contract renewals for the Phoenixville Marion Youth Club (PMYC) and Phoenixville Area Soccer Club (PASC), both concessionaires at Charlestown Park, for his further review.

Schedule Bid Opening Date for Parging Project at the Woolen Mill

Mr. Rodgers moved to schedule the bid opening for the Woolen Mill Parging project for September 5, 2005, 2:00 P.M. at the Township office, with Mr. Kohli to review the bid package before advertisement. Mr. Kuhn seconded, and all were in favor.

Charlestown Oaks Homeowners Association

Charlestown Oaks Homeowner President Jay Cavalcanto, Treasurer Kathy Friel, and Barbara Rufe were present to discuss the associations’ request for a portion of promised funds to be contributed to the Township by US Homes. Ms. Friel stated that she spoke to a representative of U.S. Homes, who had to remove 129 trees from the sewer easement area. The representative told her U.S. Homes had agreed that, in response to Mr. Kohli’s letter dated March 11, 2005, they would provide a contribution to the Township in lieu of relocating these trees elsewhere on the site. The Homeowners Association requested that those funds be redirected back to their development to help pay for supplementation of the landscaping at both entrances to Charlestown Oaks and to complete two other landscaping improvement projects. The Board indicated that they have not received confirmation of a donation from U.S. Homes at this time, but they were agreeable to redirecting such funds back to Charlestown Oaks if they are received. Mr. Kohli said he will speak with U.S. Homes on this issue.

In other Homeowners’ Association business, Mr. Cavalcanto said the HOA is interested in obtaining equipment other than that specified in the approved plan for the tot lot that is still to be constructed. Mr. Kuhn said the Board would not object to such a change.

Disclosure Statement under the Local Taxpayers Bill of Rights

Mrs. Csete referenced a letter dated June 1, 2005 from Centax requesting the Board’s approval on a Disclosure Statement that is to be made available to the public. The document sets forth the taxpayer’s rights in connection with any audit, examination, appeal or refund claim of taxes, and any enforcement or collection actions taken by Centax on the Township’s behalf. Mr. McErlane will advise the Board as to whether any action is needed.

Resolution to Adopt Fee Schedule for Documents

The Secretary provided a draft resolution to the Board outlining charges for copies and faxes of public documents. The only change is to include charges for color copies due to the Township’s recent lease of a color copier. Mr. Rodgers moved to adopt Resolution # 652-05, and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Authorization of Payroll for September 1, 2005

Mr. Kuhn moved to authorize the Township Treasurer to prepare the August 1-31, 2005 payroll period pay checks for September 1, 2005 in advance of the September 12, 2005 meeting as this meeting is being held a week later than usual due to the Labor Day holiday. Mr. Rodgers seconded and all were in favor.

Schedule Curative Amendment Hearing

Mr. Rodgers moved to schedule the Curative Amendment Hearing for Allan A. Myers, Inc. for Monday, September 19, 2005, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Mr. Hogan seconded, and all were in favor.

Bala Investments Inc. Request for Public Water Service

Dave Norcini was present to request approval to obtain public water service for the Ashford five lot subdivision at 2108 Charlestown Road, which is outside the franchise area, due primarily to the neighbors’ concerns over their water supplies, which are bad now, and expected to worsen when the subdivision for the Ott property is approved. Mr. Kohli noted that the Comprehensive Plan shows that this is in the Farm Residential District, where no public utilities are proposed. He added that the 8” water main provided for the Elementary School is still far from this site. Mr. Norcini said they would still prefer public water if they could get it. Mr. Kohn said he has no wish to extend the franchise, and that the only reason an exception was made for the school was for their fire suppression requirements. Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Hogan also indicated they would not be in favor of it. The consensus was to deny the request.


Mr. Rodgers moved to adjourn and Mr. Hogan seconded. All were in favor. The meeting was adjourned at 10:41 P.M. The Board went into executive session following the meeting to discuss legal matters. The next meeting is scheduled for September 12, 2005, 7:30 P.M. in Room 154 of the Great Valley Middle School.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Township Secretary