Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of January 23, 2006

The second business meeting for January was held January 23, 2006 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Kevin R. Kuhn, Chairman, Michael J. Rodgers, Vice Chairman, Paul Hogan, Charlie Philips, Hugh Willig, James E. McErlane, 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 7:30 P.M.

Announcements - none

Citizen’s Forum/Non-Agenda Items

PA Turnpike – Sound Barriers

In conjunction with the PA Turnpike’s plans to widen the turnpike to six lanes between Downingtown and Valley Forge, Virginia Durkan was present along with several other residents to request the Supervisors’ support in obtaining sound barriers along the turnpike in the vicinity of Blackberry Lane. Mrs. Durkan has spoken to members of the Great Valley Association in the Tredyffrin-Easttown region, which has been successful in obtaining barriers for areas of Route 202 and is now looking to obtain them along their portion of the turnpike. Mrs. Durkan also requested that the Township review the existing noise/sound ordinance to determine if any updates are needed. She read of an instance elsewhere in Pennsylvania where the Turnpike Commission was required to comply with noise regulations.

Mr. Willig asked if there were any updates on the Turnpike’s plans. Mr. Kuhn said he understands plans may have been tabled for financial reasons. Mrs. Durkan said, regardless, that her group wants to be proactive.

Mr. Hogan asked if the sound barriers really work or do they cause sound vibrations that are annoying in their own way to residents. He said he’d like to see evidence that they are more effective than trees. Mrs. Durkan said she spoke to the Turnpike Commission and was told that a lot of space is needed for berms and trees. She would like the Supervisors’ support for either alternative. She said sound barriers are safer insofar as they prevent accident vehicles from entering the nearby properties.

Mrs. Durkan said the anticipated daily traffic volume is expected to increase from 47,000 to 126,000 after the slip ramps are built and the lanes expanded.

Mr. Philips asked if the Turnpike Commission gave any indication they would consider the request for barriers. Mrs. Durkan responded by saying her group is prepared to actively pursue the issue.

Mrs. Durkan asked for a letter of support from the Board of Supervisors to be forwarded to the legislature. Mr. Philips said the letter should come directly from the Township. Mr. Kuhn asked the Solicitor to draft a resolution supporting the request for sound barriers or other mitigation, and the Board will follow up with a letter. Mrs. Durkan said she has a sample noise ordinance for the township to consider. Mr. Philips said the noise ordinance draft will be forwarded to the Planning Commission for review after it’s made available to the Township.


Minutes of January 3, 2006 – Reorganization Meeting

Mr. Philips moved to approve the January 3, 2006 Reorganization Meeting minutes and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. Four were in favor; Mr. Rodgers didn’t vote as he was absent for the meeting.

Minutes of January 3, 2006 – Business Meeting

Mr. Hogan moved to approve the January 3, 2006 Business Meeting minutes and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. Four were in favor; Mr. Rodgers didn’t vote as he was absent for the meeting.

Treasurer’s Report – December 1 - 31, 2005

Mr. Hogan moved to approve the December 2005 Treasurer’s Report and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.


Ordinance to Amend the Official Map

Mr. Kuhn opened the hearing for the ordinance to amend the Official Map of Charlestown Township and the proceedings were recorded by Tom Corcoran, court reporter. Following a PowerPoint presentation by Mr. Kuhn, the following residents commented on the proposal:

  1. Lisa Scottoline
  2. Bill Kronenberg
  3. Nick Crowell
  4. Ben Thompson
  5. Wendy McLean
  6. David Mellich
  7. Rick Hevner
  8. Susanne Naylor
  9. Deborah Hausladen
  10. Liz Andersen
  11. Russell Naylor
  12. Jim Bruder
  13. Mike Allen

The hearing was continued to March 20, 2006, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, room 154.

Robert & Mary Ellen Joos – Conditional Use Application

Mr. Kuhn opened the hearing for Robert & Mary Ellen Joos. The proceedings were recorded by Tom Corcoran, Court Reporter. No testimony was given as the applicant had previously requested a continuance to April 17, 2006. The hearing was continued to April 17, 2006, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, room 154.

Old Business – none

New Business

Seibert Minor Subdivision

Thomas and Marjorie Seibert, Lou Petriello, Esq., and Paul Lepard from Nave Newell were present to discuss the Seiberts’ preliminary plan for a 2 lot subdivision of their property on Pikeland Road. Mr. Lepard stated that they have received Mr. Kohli’s letter dated 1/5/06 and a recommendation from the Planning Commission for approval.

Mr. Lepard said the subdivision is to consolidate 19 acres into two lots. Lot #1 will have a forest clearing restriction. A highway occupancy permit from PennDOT is pending. Mr. Rodgers asked about the question of re-opening the Horse-Shoe Trail on the Seibert property. Mr. Lepard said the Seiberts have had open dialogues with the township but want those discussions to be considered independently of this subdivision application. They want to be part of discussions with other property owners who have closed the trail on their property. Mr. Kohli referred to Note #14 on the subdivision plan, which indicates that the trail is closed and presently overgrown.

Pat Thomas introduced herself as a member of the Horse-Shoe Trail Committee, and said the Horse-Shoe Trail was developed in 1935 and is considered historic. Nine miles of it pass through Charlestown Township, where, through the years, the trail has continued, but in more places is out of the woods and onto the roadways. She said she’s concerned about safety, and that the most dangerous section is along Pikeland Road. She asked the Supervisors to work with the PA Turnpike Commission to obtain an easement from them to place the trail in their right of way on the Seibert property. The Trail Committee has already obtained permission from Clarice Bowman, on one side of the Seiberts, to run the trail through the middle of her property so it could connect to the turnpike right of way.

Mr. Philips asked why the Planning Commission didn’t pursue the trail issue with the Seiberts during review of the subdivision. Mr. Allen responded that the Planning Commission didn’t feel it was their issue. The Seiberts had a right to block the trail, yet were agreeable to discussions. They didn’t want a permanent easement, however. Mr. Allen said six of seven of the Planning Commission members found that separating trail discussions from the subdivision approval was acceptable. Rick Reis said he was the dissenting member, and said that the trail that has now been routed onto Pikeland Road will kill somebody someday.

Mr. Rodgers asked for the Seiberts’ objections to the trail. Mr. Petriello said the trail was closed on both sides of them, and the Seiberts’ position all along was to discuss the trail after the subdivision process is concluded. Mr. Rodgers asked if the abutting neighbors reopened the trail, would the Seiberts follow suit. Mr. Petriello said they would discuss it. Mr. Kuhn asked how the Board knows if their offer to discuss is sincere. He said the trail could be routed along their front yard right of way and asked the solicitor to confirm this. Mr. McErlane confirmed that the trail could be routed along the property frontage as long as it was in the 33 foot right of way of the road. Mr. Kuhn asked Dr. Stewart, Union Hill Road, if he has experienced any problems with hikers or riders on the trail on his property. Dr. Stewart answered not since they moved to the property 28 years ago. Mr. Petriello said the Seiberts have experienced problems with safety, maintenance and camp fires. He said the township does not maintain the trail and that no one maintains it. Mr. Hogan said the Horse-Shoe Trail Club maintains it. Mr. Petriello said there is no sense in them opening the trail when it’s closed on either side of them. Mrs. Staas said the one side, the Bowman property, has now been re-opened. Mr. Seibert said Mr. Zantzinger, on the other side, closed it first.

Mr. Allen said Andy Motel is working on a new trail ordinance to address the problem issues and Mr. Allen hopes it might address these residents’ concerns. Mr. Motel said the Seiberts agreed to restrict their property from further subdivision and provided a wood clearing restriction on Lot #1. He said he took their trail use issues on faith, and that the trail ordinance he’s working on will hopefully address these issues, including better signage and a contact person for complaints. It will be discussed at the February 14, 2006 Planning Commission meeting. Mr. Philips agreed that subdivision approval should not be held up for the trail issue.

Mr. Seibert said they’ve lived on the property since 1996, and accommodated people and maintained the trail for 3-5 years until they came to the Planning Commission for approval of a subdivision application. Mr. Hogan asked, why not continue to keep it open? Mr. Seibert reiterated the reasons his attorney gave, and stated they have had problems. Mr. Petriello said the Seiberts had some real, everyday issues, and then felt strong armed when the Planning Commission voted to make their subdivision approval contingent on a permanent trail easement. He repeated that the Seiberts will discuss the issue in good faith following subdivision approval. Mr. Seibert said that the Planning Commission minutes from two years ago state the township will contact them to discuss the trail, but no one ever did so. Mrs. Staas said she’s called and spoken to Mrs. Seibert on one occasion recently. Mr. Reis added that the Township received a letter from Mr. Petriello telling them they were not allowed to talk to the Seiberts. Mr. Petriello said this was meant to bring about a single point of contact so the Seiberts weren’t receiving calls and visits from various township representatives. Mr. Willig said there have been missteps in the process, and that working on the current draft trail ordinance might help matters.

Mr. Willig moved to approve the Seibert Minor Subdivision Plan conditioned on compliance to Mr. Kohli’s review comments in his letter dated 1/5/06, and based on the understanding that further discussions would take place regarding the Horse-Shoe Trail. Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and noted that he questioned the comment about the Planning Commission strong-arming the Seiberts. He said that a request for a trail easement is asked of everyone coming before the Board and is a routine request. He called the vote, and all were in favor.

Nadwodny Conditional Use Decision and Order

The Secretary distributed the draft Decision and Order for the Nadwodny conditional use application. Mr. Philips moved to approve the Decision and Order, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.

Spring Lane Farms – Revised Settlement Stipulation

Richard Orlow, Esq. was present from GenTerra to continue discussions on the revised settlement stipulation for Spring Lane Farms. Mr. Orlow said the revisions include:


Mr. Orlow said they expect that the further subdivision of Lot 2 will most likely yield only six lots. He displayed a revised plan that identified a shaded area as a long, narrow strip of approximately one acre on Lot 1 and adjacent to Lot 2 that represents an easement for secondary septic systems. Only the portion needed to meet the septic requirements will be conveyed to Lot 2. Mr. Kuhn asked if the shaded area is all woodlands, and Mr. Orlow responded yes, almost all of it is. Mr. Kuhn asked if Mr. Kohli has reviewed this plan, and if Mr. McErlane has reviewed the request for a 10 foot septic setback instead of the standard 20 foot setback. Mr. McErlane responded that he has reviewed the ten foot setback, which was acceptable to three of the five board members. Mr. Philips was opposed to it, and Mr. Rodgers was absent for that meeting. Mr. Philips said he didn’t want to set a precedent by allowing a ten foot setback. Mr. Kohli asked Mr. Orlow to confirm that no above-ground structures would be permitted in the shaded area, and Mr. Orlow did so. It was determined that Mr. Kohli had not received the most recent plan revision for review.

Mr. McErlane asked for the size of lot #1, which is under agreement to the Bullards. Mr. Orlow said it’s 23.4 acres gross lot area, but as a worst case would be 22.0-22.5 acres if some of the easement area must be conveyed back to Lot #2 to provide for septic. Mr. Orlow asked when the conveyance to the Bullards is expected, and Mr. Orlow said as soon as possible following the approval of the stipulation and two lot subdivision. Mr. Kuhn said the conservation easement holder must sign off first, and Mr. Orlow said this is presently under review with Mark Thompson at Mr. McErlane’s office. Mr. McErlane asked how the Bullard lot will be titled, and Mr. Orlow said he’ll convey the lot subject to a reversionary interest in the shaded easement area. Mr. McErlane said the Township would then require a revised subdivision plan with the lot is conveyed. Mr. Kohli said it would make more sense to convey Lot #1 without the shaded area to the Bullards. Mr. Orlow agreed that it could be done this way. Mr. Philips suggested adding 10 feet all around the shaded area to eliminate the septic setback problem. Mr. Orlow agreed to do so. Mr. Kuhn said that with these comments, Mr. Orlow has the Board’s direction, and that no formal vote will be taken until the stipulation is finalized and ready for approval along with the subdivision plan and conservation easement. He will submit revised documents to the Township Office for distribution and review.

Volpi House – Demolition Permit

With regard to a demolition permit submitted to the Township by Subdivision Services Inc., Mr. Orlow said the property owner is willing to meet with Mr. Kohli to work out a plan for securing the house. They are willing to board it up, including the second floor, but not shrink wrap it. Mr. Kohli said the ordinance requires that the structure be weather tight. Mr. Kuhn asked if a new roof is needed, and Mr. Orlow said, only parts of the roof need to be repaired. Mr. Orlow said they are willing to withdraw their demolition application. The parties agreed that the applicant will meet with Mr. Kohli by Friday, January 27th, and the house will be secured within two weeks of the meeting date.

Spring Oaks Residential Cluster Plan and the Devault Area

Michael Allen, Planning Commission Vice Chairman, gave a brief PowerPoint presentation on a site visit he made to Prospect Village, Colorado, which consists of 320 units on 80 acres, including 4-5 different housing unit types, commercial and retail uses. Individual builders must obtain architectural approval from the developer. The small-lot properties that sold in the $300,000’s about eight years ago are now selling in the $850,000-900,000 range. He said that while Spring Oaks is a 63 acre site, he looked at the Prospect Village plan in relation to the larger Devault area. Slides from the presentation included the following:

Mr. Allen sited a few problems the developer has experienced. One is that the various unit types have separate homeowners’ associations instead of just one. The developer, Kiki Wallace, suggests that the homeowners’ association control be limited.

Mr. Motel asked if the perimeter businesses have proven viable, and Mr. Allen said it’s too soon to tell. Mr. Reis asked about the parking for the retail businesses, and Mr. Allen said there is some on-street parking and a few small parking areas nearby.

Mr. Allen asked how the mixing of housing types works, and the developer said it must be done carefully, but failing to mix types creates separate neighborhoods instead of a blended neighborhood. In one case, owners of single homes complained about the view of townhouses across the street. Mr. Allen said design issues have led to problems with the combination office/apartments. Mr. Kuhn asked if the retail is essential to the design, and Mr. Allen said he didn’t think so. Mr. Willig noted the sprawl problem in many other parts of Colorado, for which this plan is an alternative. Mr. Kuhn noted there are no people in any of the slide pictures. Mr. Allen said he was on site for about an hour and a half and saw only a few people. He said there seem to be mostly professional couples in the development, and even though this was over the Christmas holiday, he didn’t see children.

Mrs. Philips asked what was on the property prior to development, and Mr. Allen said it was a farm consisting of flat, open fields, a farmhouse and a few outbuildings.

Mr. Motel asked how services are managed. Mr. Allen said the streets are all public, but the homeowners’ associations manage the parks and open space.

Mrs. Stewart asked if commercial is permitted on the Spring Oaks tract, and Mr. Allen said no, but they’re looking at all of Devault relative to the Colorado example.

Recommendations for Spring Oaks were then discussed. Mr. Allen referenced the 12/12/05 report entitled “Charlestown Township Planning Commission’s Recommendations to the Board of Supervisors for the Development of the Spring Oaks tract in the RC District.” He said the report describes what the Planning Commission wants for community features, yet found the existing ordinance got in the way. He noted that the developer, Jack Loew Associates, and the Planning Commission didn’t agree on mixed units. Mr. Allen referred to Ryan Homes’ New Daleville development in Londonderry Township, which is a mixed unit development, something new to the area. He acknowledged that the developer and Planning Commission have come a long way from the original Spring Oaks residential cluster plan submission and he feels they have only a little farther to go to make it work. The Planning Commission is now seeking direction from the Board. He said the ordinance needs to be developed and the recommendations report shows the way the Planning Commission wants to go.

Mr. Kuhn asked how the Spring Oaks plan can be made to work with the Quarry tract, and Mr. Allen said he didn’t think it could be planned together. Mr. Motel said Mr. Townes has been very patient by working with the Planning Commission on Spring Oaks. He said that plan revisions since the first have been generally density neutral. Mr. Motel said density hasn’t been the issue. Mr. Townes said his dilemma is that his firm has a plan pending, a plan that will sell. They could do a better plan, but the ordinance doesn’t permit it. They seek a framework, as they don’t want to expend the time and money to engineer a plan for which there is no ordinance. Mr. Kuhn asked what he felt were the biggest drawbacks in the ordinance. Mr. Townes responded that the 150 foot open space buffer is the biggest roadblock. It’s not possible to design the pocket parks and maintain this buffer. He agrees a buffer is needed along Whitehorse Road, and even Rees Road, but not between two abutting Residential Cluster tracts. Mr. Allen noted that the RC ordinance dictates the houses to be set too far apart, and too long a setback from the street is required. Mr. Allen referred to specific design parameters in the Planning Commission report.

Mr. Townes said the MPC allows for TND’s, Traditional Neighborhood Developments, and asks that the Board consider this approach. Mr. Townes said many ordinances outline design parameters by percentage, for example, requiring that 40% of units have one setback, another percentage, a different setback. Mr. Philips said a TND could be done as an overlay.

Mr. Townes said density is what drives the environmental impacts, such as traffic. The MPC allows the township to design the guidelines, for example, what West Whiteland did at the Exton Town Center.

Mrs. Philips asked how the Quigley farmhouse fits into the Spring Oaks plan. Mr. Allen said the Planning Commission’s assumption was that it wasn’t of particular historical significance, so they had no problem demolishing or moving it if this was necessary for a better design. Mr. Townes said they don’t want to be penalized in their open space calculations for preserving the farmhouse. Mrs. Leland said a structures inventory should be done. Mr. Philips suggested obtaining an estimate for a structures inventory from Dale Frens, and Mr. Townes said the farmhouse would be vacant after May 1st. Mr. Allen said that it appears the Supervisors are willing to consider the Planning Commission’s recommendations, and their next step will be to look at the TND provisions in the MPC.

Mr. Reis said that the Regional Comprehensive Plan should be considered when looking to change the ordinance. Mr. Kuhn said that since the density is not changing, the township’s representations to the Regional Planning Commission haven’t altered.

Mr. Townes will forward a copy of the TND ordinance provisions to the township office for distributions. Mr. Kuhn asked if this approach should be considered for Tom Fillippo’s parcel and Mr. Allen said if it works, yes, and perhaps for the quarry property as well.

Other Business

Green Valleys Association

The Secretary referred to a letter dated 1/17/06 from the Green Valleys Association requesting support in the amount of $1,000 for the 2006 “Envirofest”. The event promotes efforts to educate and advocate for a clean and healthy environment. Township participation credits the township with meeting its NPDES education and outreach requirements under Act 167. The GVA would like a response by mid-February. The Board agreed to provide the requested support under the approved budget line item for stormwater management education.

Rescheduling of Meetings in Conflict with Holiday Dates

Mr. Rodgers asked the Board to reconsider their meeting schedule when a regular meeting date falls on a holiday. Instead of scheduling the meeting for one week later, he requests it be scheduled for the following day. Mr. Kuhn agreed to place this matter on the next agenda for consideration after the Secretary checks with the consultants to see if their schedules are free on the proposed changed dates.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 P.M. The next meeting is scheduled for February 6, 2006, 7:30 P.M. in Room 154 of the Great Valley Middle School.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Township Secretary