Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of February 5, 2007

The first business meeting for February was held February 5, 2007 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Kevin R. Kuhn, Chairman, Paul Hogan, Hugh Willig, Mark Thompson, Esq., Surender S. Kohli, P.E. Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator, and those on the attached list attended.

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


Mr. Kuhn announced that an executive session was held prior to the meeting to discuss legal matters.

Citizen’s Forum/Non-Agenda Items

No matters were brought forward.


Minutes of January 22, 2007

Mr. Hogan moved to approve the January 22, 2007 minutes and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report – January 1 – 31, 2007

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

Accounts Payable Report – Operating Fund February 5, 2007

Mr. Hogan moved to approve the February 5, 2007 Operating Fund Accounts Payable report and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report – Open Space Fund February 5, 2007

Mr. Hogan moved to approve the February 5, 2007 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable report, and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


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

Presentation – PA Turnpike Commission

Gary Graham, P.E., Bridge Engineer Manager from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, Joseph O’Neil, P.E. and Steve Roman, P.E. of their consulting firm, Whitney, Bailey, Cox & Magnani, were present to outline options for the aging bridge over Bodine Road.

Mr. Graham said there are three turnpike bridges over roads in Charlestown that are facing replacement due to age and the need for them to be replaced with longer, wider structures to accommodate any future widening of the turnpike itself. These are the bridges over Bodine Road, Valley Hill Road and Yellow Springs Road. Including the bridge over Route 401 just outside of Charlestown, there are four bridges within 2.4 miles of each other.

The Turnpike Commission wants to determine if replacement of all the bridges is necessary. Daily traffic on all three bridges is considered low. The Turnpike Commission is requesting feedback from the Township on the possible elimination of the Bodine Road bridge, which is the only one in Charlestown on a township-owned road, as opposed to PennDOT owned state roads. Mr. Alston corrected this statement, indicating that Yellow Springs Road is also township-owned.

Mr. Roman displayed an aerial map and photographs of the bridge crossings and provided results of a traffic count performed in May of 2006 that gave a daily traffic count of 911 vehicles in both directions on weekdays, and about 200 vehicles less per day on the weekends. Peak traffic was at 7:00 A.M. and 5:00 P.M.

Mr. Roman said they examined alternate routes by driving them at 3:00 P.M. so they could time their travel by moving evenly with traffic. All the alternative routes have posted speed limits of 35 miles per hour with the exception of Rt. 401, which is 45 MPH. He said that an alternate road, Valley Hill, has less daily traffic than Bodine Road at about 800 vehicles per day. In the morning during peak traffic, more is traveling southbound at 48 vehicles per hour compared to 30 vehicles northbound. Evening peak traffic was roughly even with 35 vehicles per hour southbound and 30 northbound. If the Bodine Road bridge was eliminated, cul de sacs would be installed to township specifications.

Jamie Reed, McQuail Lane, said in the morning most southbound traffic consists of commuters cutting over from Rt. 401 to Rt. 113, and northbound traffic is mostly school-bound. Paul Stevens, Bodine Road, said mostly it’s commuter traffic, and it will be bedlam on the other roads if the bridge is abandoned.

Mr. Willig asked if they have data on where the Bodine Road traffic originates. Mr. Roman said no, that was not included in the scope of their study. Mr. Willig said that would allow the board to see what alternate routes the traffic would take, so they can better understand the impact. He asked if the Turnpike Commission would be willing to expand the study, and Mr. Roman said yes.

Mr. Kuhn asked for the time frame of the bridge reconstruction or elimination. Mr. Graham said if the township is receptive to eliminating the bridge, they’ll go forward with additional studies. If the township is opposed to eliminating it, they’ll begin the replacement design process now. Mr. Kuhn said closing the bridge poses a potential health and safety issue and he suggested the Board consider closing the bridge for a week or two to study the actual impact.

Mr. Stevens asked how emergency vehicles, particularly fire engines, will reach the houses along Bodine Road if the bridge is removed. Mr. Roman said they determined it would take the East Whiteland Fire Department about three or four more minutes to reach the homes north of the bridge by taking an alternate route. Mr. Stevens said he didn’t accept that estimate. Township Fire Marshal and Roadmaster, Fred Alston, said that the Turnpike Commission fails to consider that fire trucks and other apparatus traveling down alternates such as Green Lane or Seven Oaks Road are traveling slower than cars do. He estimates it would add eight minutes to the response time, and noted that fire doubles in size every fifteen seconds. He said his main concern is that of getting emergency services to the residents. Alternate responders such as Lionville or Kimberton are too far away, and the additional eight minutes it would take East Whiteland makes the elimination of the Bodine Road bridge a poor alternative.

Kim Walsh, Bodine Road, said Route 401 can’t handle more traffic. Mr. Reed said Bodine Road is more heavily traveled since the signal was installed at Valley Hill Road and Route 401, indicating those travelers are avoiding Route 401 by taking Bodine. Another woman said she travels across the bridge almost every day, and agreed that five years ago, traffic on Bodine was minimal but because of that traffic signal, it has become heavy. She said she’s in favor of eliminating the bridge because it will reduce traffic. Although emergency response time will be slower, there will be fewer emergencies to respond to.

Bob Jones, Parks & Rec Chairman, asked if the residents were notified of this meeting, and the Secretary responded yes.

Mrs. Reed asked how the cul de sacs would be installed, and Mr. Graham said some property acquisition would be involved. Mr. O’Neil said there are 14 school bus routes across the bridge, and the school district would have to be notified if the bridge is removed.

Mr. Kuhn said the Board needs additional information on traffic and emergency services, and said the school district should be contacted and involved. He asked for a time estimate if the bridge is reconstructed, and Mr. Graham said the design will take 1 and ½ years, and construction would begin in 2009 with completion after five months. Mr. Kuhn said the Board needs to discuss the matter with its engineer and consider a temporary closing of the bridge to assess the situation.

Mrs. Walsh asked if there would be any compensation to the Township if the bridge was not replaced. Mr. Graham said there would be the possibility of upgrading adjacent routes, or providing funds to the Township to use at its discretion. Mrs. Walsh asked for the cost of the bridge, and Mr. Graham responded $1.5 million. She said she’d like to see any funds provided to the Township spent on open space.

Mrs. Reed asked how a longer, wider bridge will affect property owners, and Mr. Graham said the Turnpike Commission would have to work with them on some property acquisition.

Mr. Stevens asked if the bridge was removed, when would this happen. Mr. Graham said possibly in 2007. Mr. Kohli said that an origin and destination traffic study is needed, and Mr. Graham said he’ll obtain a list of requirements from Mr. Kohli for the study.

County Planning Commission – Landscapes2

Mr. Kuhn distributed cards with the website address for completing the Landscapes2 Survey sponsored by the Chester County Planning Commission, and asked attendees to take the survey.

Old Business

Charlestown Cemetery

Mr. Harmon and another trustee of the Great Valley Presbyterian Church were present to discuss with the supervisors the possibility of deeding the Revolutionary War Cemetery over to the Township. Bob Wert was also present on behalf of the Church.

Mr. Hogan said the Township is interested in acquiring the approximately 1 acre cemetery property. He said the Township has been maintaining it since Boy Scout Troop 67 folded some years ago. About 5-6 years ago, the Township paid to have a very large dead tree removed from the grounds. If ownership was transferred, they would be in a better position than the church to obtain grant funding for maintenance and repairs. He said he spoke to members of the Sons of the American Revolution, and they are interested in performing a clean up of the cemetery this spring.

Mr. Kuhn said the Township can’t spend much on the Cemetery since they don’t own it, and noted that at present, the stone wall needs some repair work. If the Township acquired the property they would be able to place a conservation easement on it to help prevent widening of Charlestown Road and relocating of any graves. The Church could jointly hold the easement with the Township if they wished.

Mr. Wert said he spoke to Mr. McErlane about a year ago, noting that at one time a prior township solicitor recommended against acquisition, but Mr. McErlane indicated there would be no problem if they did so.

Mr. Harmon expressed the Church’s interest in transferring the property to the Township for a nominal sum. Bob Wert suggested the Township proceed with preparing a quit claim deed.

The Supervisors agreed in principle to acquire the Charlestown Cemetery Property, and directed Mr. Thompson to start the process.

Charlestown Park Project Update

Parks & Rec Chairman Bob Jones and PMYC member Jeffrey Bodo, P.E. were present to give an update on improvements to Charlestown Park including expansion of the main football field, leveling of the practice area, demolition of the existing pavilions and construction of three new pavilions. Mr. Bodo is an engineer with DL Howell Associates.

Mr. Bodo displayed a preliminary plan and said their proposal is consistent with the Master Plan for Charlestown Park. They want to move forward with the construction of two playing fields, one north of the PMYC Clubhouse and one on the west side of E Street. They also propose to demolish the existing pavilions and construct three new ones, and include a six foot bituminous path that will connect the pavilions to Sixth Avenue and to the basketball court area. Impervious surface coverage on the site will decrease by approximately 2,500 square feet.

Mr. Bodo said he still needs to submit E & S plans to Mr. Kohli for review, and that he has spoken to the Chester County Conservation District but must submit an NPDES permit application to them. He said the CCCD is amendable to the project. He said they have the grading, lighting and irrigation plans completed. They have a possible source for fill for Field #1 from the Coldstream Crossing project in East Pikeland Township with the owner’s agreement. They’d like to file an application for a temporary stockpile permit with the CCCD so they can receive the fill while waiting for E & S approvals, and asked for the Township’s approval in taking this step. Mr. Willig said the contractor delivering the fill must provide proof of insurance to the Township. Mr. Jones said the contractor is Bulldog Construction. Mr. Willig asked if the trail will be cut off at F Street during this process and Mr. Jones said yes. Mr. Thompson asked who will be the permittee for the NPDES permit, and Mr. Bodo said the final contractor for the project, which has yet to be determined. The Board’s consensus was that they could proceed with the temporary stockpiling of materials pending county approval.

Appointments – Open Space Commission

The Secretary read from the Open Space Commission’s report indicating they met on January 18, 2007 and made the following recommendations for appointments to their Commission:

Carolyn DeWilde Caswell – new at-large member, term ending 12/31/10
David Greer - new at-large member, term ending 12/31/10
Robert Jones – returning Parks & Rec member, term ending 12/31/09
Andrew Motel – returning Planning Commission member, term ending 12/31/09
Marcia Solda – returning at-large member, term ending 12/31/11
Susanna Staas – returning at-large member, term ending 12/31/11

Mr. Willig moved to appoint the individuals as recommended by the Open Space Commission and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Brightside Farm – Deed Restriction/Easement

Mr. Kuhn said he’ll contact Mrs. Gerhard and ask for her recommendation on the placement of an easement on the unrestricted portion of the Brightside Farm and ask her to investigate the possibility of obtaining additional county funds if the easement was created.

New Business

Stonorov Subdivision – Lot Line Change

David Gifford, Esq. was present to request preliminary/final approval of the lot line change plan for Lots 1 & 6 of the Stonorov subdivision. He distributed a set of exhibits to accompany the revised plans, and described the purpose of the lot line change to include the spring house with Lot 6 since it serves Lot 6, to eliminate an easement traversing Lot 1 to Lot 6 that is no longer needed, to terminate a septic easement no longer needed, and to incorporate an additional meadow area with Lot 6. He noted that a variance was obtained for the setback between the Lot 1 driveway and the springhouse, and a conditional use approval has been granted for the Lot 1 driveway traversing steep slopes. A letter was received from the North American Land Trust confirming that the proposed lot line change is acceptable with regard to the easement already in place on the two properties. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Subdivision Plan last revised 1/30/07. Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Bala Investments – Ashford Final Plan

Greg Davis, Esq., Jason Shaner of McCarthy Engineers and Richard Natow of Bala Investments were present to discuss the Final Subdivision Plan for the Ashford subdivision last revised 1/4/07. Mr. Davis said they have a clean letter from Mr. Comitta’s office and only minor issues remaining from Mr. Kohli. He said the Township solicitor has reviewed the open space management plan and Homeowners Association documents and found them acceptable. Mr. Davis agreed to add a note to the plans indicating that the Open Space is restricted from further subdivision and to place a note in the deed of dedication of the open space to read “this parcel shall be maintained as open space benefiting Lots 1 through 5 identified on the Plans known as the Ashford Subdivision and is hereby restricted from any further subdivision or development with such requirement running with and binding the land in perpetuity.”

Mr. Kuhn asked how long after approval the Township could expect the four way stop at Pikeland and Charlestown Road to be installed. Mr. Natow estimated 60 days, to allow time for them to receive DEP approval for the planning module.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve Bala Investments’ Ashford Final Subdivision Plan last revised 1/3/07 subject to the comments on Mr. Kohli’s review letter dated 1/23/07 and Mr. Thompson’s language to be added to the plans and the open space deed of dedication. Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Mr. Kuhn moved to pass Resolution #678-2007 amending the Sewage Facilities Plan for Charlestown Township to include the Ashford Subdivision, and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.

Commons at Great Valley – Lot 15 Subdivision

Tim Townes of J. Loew and Associates was present to seek final approval for a subdivision plan for Lot 15 at the Commons @ Great Valley. Mr. Townes explained that they previously received approval from the township to combine lots 13-14-15 into two lots. They now wish to re-subdivide these two lots into three lots. Lot 13 will be for Progressive Insurance, Lot 14 for a small, new office building, and lot 15 for an existing office building and small retention basin.

Mr. Hogan moved to approve J. Loew & Associates Subdivision Plan last revised 1/15/07. Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Progressive Casualty Insurance Company – Request for Waiver from Parking Stall Dimension

Mr. Townes requested a waiver to permit a reduction in the parking space size to 10 x 18 in the enclosed area for stored cars at the proposed Progressive Casualty Insurance Co. site on Lot 15 at the Commons @ Great Valley. This change would allow them to utilize the existing curb line along the rear of the property which was installed for the previous office building use. Mr. Willig asked for confirmation that reducing the length of the stalls won’t change the width of the travel lane behind them, and Mr. Townes said it would not. Mr. Willig moved to grant the waiver on the parking space size as requested and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Valley Forge Christian College – Land Development Plan for Hartwick House

Bill Werkheiser from the VFCC and Peter Cokonis of Commonwealth Engineers were present to seek final land development approval to convert the former Heritage Acres Rest Home facility into dormitories for the College. Mr. Werkheiser said most of the issues are resolved with the exception of the pedestrian crossing and four waiver requests.

Mr. Werkheiser said the number of students has been reduced from 30 to 22 and this is noted on the revised plans. He explained his concern for the cost of the crosswalk lights, which Traffic Planning & Design estimate at $50,000.00. Mr. Werkheiser said this cost is prohibitive for the college. Mr. Kohli said that the signals include a blinking light at Coldstream Road and Maryhill Road as well as advance warning lights in both directions. After they are installed for six months, PennDOT could do another traffic study to see of a lower speed limit would be warranted due to the traffic calming devices. Mr. Werkheiser said now that they only have 22 students for the dormitory, they don’t need it as much because alternative transportation is an option. He said the parents attending soccer games park at Maryhill Road and Jamie Lane and cross the street quite frequently in comparison to how often the students would cross. Mr. Hogan asked if the Township should just consider closing off the gate in the Park fence opposite Maryhill Road. Mr. Werkheiser said he would be in support of that. Pedestrians crossing the road are not safe and he’s worried about a lawsuit. His project has no more funding available for the installation of the signals. Mr. Kuhn said if the gate was closed off there would be no problem, noting that not many people from the neighborhood across from the park go on foot. Mr. Willig suggested a “no pedestrian” sign also be posted. The Board agreed that in lieu of installing the signalized crosswalk, the gate into the Park from Coldstream Road, opposite Mary Hill Road, would be locked.

Mr. Werkheiser asked if the retention basin could be eliminated, as the present ground infiltrates well and the landscaping is very attractive as is. Mr. Kohli said he doubted this could be eliminated, but if their engineer can show the water infiltrates without the basin it could be done.

Mr. Cokonis said they’ve addressed the items on Mr. Kohli’s review letter and that the review from the lighting consultant came back indicating that plan is acceptable. Mr. Kuhn asked about the review from Thomas Comitta Associates, and Mr. Werkheiser said everything was clear except the request for a waiver to allow 3” caliper trees rather than 4” caliper.

Mr. Kuhn moved to recommend final approval for the Valley Forge Christian College’s Heritage House Land Development plan along with granting the following waivers:

  1. A waiver from the requirement that the total volume of water from the post-developed conditions shall not exceed the volume of water leaving the site during the pre-developed condition in accordance with Stormwater Management Ordinance (SMO) 301.B.1.a. due to poor infiltration rates confirmed by soils testing.
  2. A waiver from the requirement that outlet structures shall be concrete, steel, or aluminum pipe in accordance with SMO 302.D.2.f. The outlet pipe is indicated as being HDPE pipe.
  3. A waiver from the requirement that a minimum of 30 feet shall be provided between the detention basin and the proposed building addition in accordance with SMO 302.D.2.i.
  4. A waiver from the requirement that the detention basin top of berm be a minimum of 10 feet wide in accordance with SMO 302.D.2.l.1).
  5. A waiver from Section 512.A.3 (SLDO) requiring 4-inch caliper trees. The Board will permit the planting of 3-inch caliper trees.

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

Mr. Kohli asked Mr. Cokonis to provide him with a cost breakdown for the site improvements, so a land development agreement can be put into place. Mr. Thompson will provide the format for the agreement.

Central Tax Agency Contract

The Secretary explained that the tax collection agreement with Centax had expired at the end of 2006. Paul Robinson of Centax sent renewal contracts that include an automatic renewal clause that renews the agreement unless a 3 month notice is given by the Township. Mr. Willig moved to execute the new contract with the Central Tax Agency for the collection of real estate, EMS, EIT and Per Capita taxes, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Lease for Brightside Farmhouse

The Secretary indicated that the lease for the Brightside Farmhouse expired on December 1, 2006, although it continues to be in effect on a month-to-month basis. Mr. Kuhn asked the solicitor if there is any downside to letting the lease continue on a month to month basis, and he said no. The Board’s consensus was to have the lease continue as is.

Woolen Mill Change Order – Interior Walkway

Mr. Kuhn explained that a recommendation came from Dale Frens to approve a change order in the amount of $6,000.00 for the interior walkway project at the Charlestown Woolen Mill to include interior panels at the window openings and a security panel at the head race culvert. Mr. Kuhn moved to accept change order #1 in the amount of $6,000.00, and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Mr. Kuhn said the railings for the walkway are being fabricated and the specifications call for black paint. He said he’d prefer they be powder coated, which will cost an additional $2,000.00, with a small credit applied against it for the painting. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve this change as change order #2, with Mr. Alston to coordinate with the contractor, provided that the additional cost not exceed $3,000.00 and be in the same color specified in the original proposal. Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:35 P.M. The Board held a brief executive session following the meeting to discuss legal matters. The next meeting is scheduled for February 20, 2007, 7:30 P.M. in Room 154 of the Great Valley Middle School.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Township Secretary/Administrator