Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of September 4, 2007

The first business meeting for September was held September 4, 2007 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Kevin Kuhn, Chairman, Mike Rodgers, Vice Chairman, Paul Hogan, Charlie Philips, Hugh Willig, Mark Thompson, Esq., Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator, and those on the attached list were present.

Mr. Kuhn called the meeting to order at 7:37 P.M.


Mr. Kuhn announced that an executive session was held just prior to this evening’s meeting to discuss real estate and legal matters.

Citizens’ Forum for Non-Agenda Items

Bob Berry, Pickering Road, asked for an update on the Turnpike Slip Ramp. Mr. Kuhn responded that the Turnpike’s website now indicates a start date in the Spring of 2008 and completion in the Fall of 2009.


Minutes of August 6, 2007 Meeting

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the minutes of the August 6, 2007 meeting, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. Four were in favor. Mr. Willig didn’t vote as he wasn’t present at that meeting.

Treasurer’s Report – August 1 - 31, 2007

Mr. Hogan moved to approve the August 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 – Operating Fund September 4, 2007

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the September 4, 2007 Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report – Open Space Funds September 4, 2007

Mr. Philips moved to approve the September 4, 2007 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.

Other Reports

Mr. Hogan moved to accept the August monthly reports and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion.

Mr. Willig asked if the Township can require permittees for fireworks displays to notify nearby horse farms before their events, as the noise spooks the horses. Mr. Alston said he could include this as a condition of the permit.

Mr. Rodgers reported that the Valley Forge Sewer Authority estimated each member’s percentage of use and proportional cost for the Wilson Station. He said the estimate must be amended, as it indicates Charlestown’s share of the costs to be significantly higher than Tredyffrin Township’s share, even though Tredyffrin will be responsible for 90% of the flow.

Mr. Kuhn asked for the status of road paving this year, as the Board had indicated paving should be completed in June before the new contract period began, and while school was not in session. Mr. Alston said the contract ends July 1st each year and falls awkwardly in the middle of the summer, making it difficult to schedule work. He said next year he’d like to move the contract period back to May 1st to avoid this problem in the future. For this year, he said Pickering Road is the only major road to be resurfaced, and he was waiting for construction to be completed on several houses along that road so the trucks wouldn’t damage the new surface. The other road to be paved is Green Lane Road, which needs significant repair. He said this work can be done without any road closing, and between the hours of 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM without any disruption to school buses. Mr. Kuhn asked if Mr. Alston was still considering working on Rees Road, and Mr. Alston said he’ll need to look at the budget and meet with Mr. Kohli to determine how much work can be done this year.

Mr. Kuhn called the vote on accepting the monthly reports, and all were in favor.

New Business

Certificate of Appropriateness - Bob Berry

Mr. Philips said Mr. Berry proposes to remove and replace a shed that was attached to a historic barn on the property at 1779 Pickering Road. The HARB recommended approval of the project.

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the Certificate of Appropriateness for Bob Berry, and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Waste Hauling

Mr. Kuhn said there have been recent complaints about waste haulers starting their rounds in the Township during the early morning hours. The present zoning ordinance applies to construction noise only, and doesn’t specifically limit waste haulers’ hours. Mr. Willig suggested they amend the noise ordinance to include hours of operation for haulers. Mr. Kuhn said enforcement is an issue, and suggested that the haulers sign a license agreement that limits their hours of operation. The Secretary said there was an issue with licensing due to a court case decision that ruled municipalities cannot require waste haulers to be licensed. Martyn Donald, Sycamore Lane, said that Chesmont Disposal is the company that has been disturbing him in the early morning hours and speeding away after pickups were completed. The Board determined that hours of 6:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. would be reasonable.

With regard to the Recycling Ordinance, The Secretary said the 2006 grant application for the DEP’s Performance Grant program for recycling is due Sept. 30th and the Township usually receives about $10,000 per year. New Act 101 requirements have become more stringent, however, and the Township now needs to update its Recycling Ordinance to continue receiving grant funding.

Act 101 specifies that the Recycling Ordinance must require that all residents have waste and recycling service, with fines and/or penalties for noncompliance. Further, the Township must appoint a recycling coordinator, sponsor or participate in a program for recycling of special materials, sponsor a program to address illegal dumping and littering, have an education program, and a program of enforcement that periodically monitors participation, receives complaints and issues warnings.

The Secretary said Charlestown complies with most of the requirements through its participation in the County’s Household Hazardous Waste Program, a Roadside Cleanup on Earth Day, and educational articles in the township newsletters. A revised ordinance could address the remaining issues. The Board indicated she can forward the information to Mr. Thompson for review and recommendations for changes to the ordinance.

Ordinance to Establish Minimum Regulations Applicable to Emergency Communications Systems

Mr. Thompson described the proposed ordinance to establish minimum regulations applicable to Emergency Communications Systems and referenced the following items:

Mr. Thompson said this is a stand-alone ordinance that will be retroactive to all structures standing today. Where necessary, the installation of a booster system to amplify radio communications will be required to ensure that emergency responders’ equipment will receive a strong enough signal to function properly.

Mr. Kuhn asked if the Fire Marshal had any comments. Mr. Alston said the primary reason for the ordinance amendment is for the safety of Charlestown’s emergency providers. The proposed ordinance was modeled after the ones in West Chester Borough, West Whiteland Township and others, and he’s satisfied with the wording. Mr. Philips asked what the cost will be for those who must install the booster equipment. Mr. Alston said the typical cost range would be $2,000 - $3,000, perhaps up to $6,000 in some cases. Mr. Philips asked if all emergency providers use equipment that will work with the booster. Mr. Alston said yes, because they all use the 800 frequency, which is standard for emergency providers.

Mr. Philips moved to adopt Ordinance #141-2007, and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Phoenixville Region Comprehensive Plan

Mr. Thompson opened the hearing for the Phoenixville Region Comprehensive Plan.

The following exhibits were placed into the record:

T-1 247 County Referral to the Chester County Planning Commission dated 7/12/07
T-2 Transmittal Letter enclosing Draft Comprehensive Plan to Abutting Townships, the Charlestown Township Planning Commission and the Great Valley School District dated 7/12/07
T-3 Certificates of Mailing to Abutting Townships and the Great Valley School District dated 7/12/07
T-4 Public Notice
T-5 Proof of Publication from Daily Local News for August 13 and August 20, 2007
T-6 Review comments from West Whiteland Township, dated 7/31/07
T-7 Review comments from the Chester County Planning Commission dated 8/21/07
T-8 Draft Resolution to Adopt the Phoenixville Region Comprehensive Plan
T-9 Proof of Publications from Daily Local News advertising Planning Commission meeting dates, times and locations for 2007, including the date of the Region Comprehensive Plan review, dated 1/12/07
T-10 Draft Minutes from the Charlestown Township Planning Commission recommending Adoption dated 8/14/07
T-11 Phoenixville Region Comprehensive Plan Draft, June 2007

Mr. Willig said the Plan has been developed over several years among Phoenixville Borough, East Pikeland, East Vincent, West Vincent, Schuylkill and Charlestown Townships. Public comments were solicited during presentations by each municipality, and many constructive comments were received. The Plan is accompanied by an implementation agreement, which requires each member of the group to review its individual Comprehensive Plan and bring it into compliance with the Regional Plan within two years. He said Charlestown’s Comprehensive Plan is close to compliance now and won’t require many changes.

Mr. Willig said that once the Regional Plan is adopted by all the members, any zoning ordinance changes from any municipality would undergo plan review by the regional group. A regional committee consisting of one member of each governing body and one member from each Planning Commission will be created to perform reviews. Which applications are to be reviewed is spelled out in the Regional Plan. In addition, each municipality would also have the option of referring any subdivision or land development plans it chooses to the group for review. The regional group would have an advisory status similar to that of the Chester County Planning Commission, and the review period would run concurrently with the CCPC’s review. The only financial responsibility for each municipality will be for consultant review time.

Mr. Kuhn asked if there is any downside to adopting the Regional Plan, and Mr. Willig said no. From the applicant’s standpoint, there’s no additional review time needed, and from the municipality’s standpoint, the regional group’s recommendations are advisory only. Being part of a regional comprehensive plan group also provides each municipality a defense from any requirement to provide for a use that is provided for elsewhere in the region. For example, since Charlestown Township has quarries, the other member municipalities would not have to provide for this use.

Mr. Kuhn asked for the status of the other municipalities in the adoption process. Mr. Willig said no others have adopted the plan thus far, although the Secretary added many have scheduled their hearings to consider it during September. Mr. Willig said Schuylkill Township appears to be ready to move forward, with East Pikeland Township and Phoenixville Borough about a month behind.

Mr. Thompson asked for the status of the implementation agreement, and Mr. Willig said it would be approved as part of the resolution to adopt the plan. Mr. Thompson said he reviewed the second draft of the agreement in April and it dealt with many of the previous issues. He wished to confirm that the draft he last reviewed is in fact the latest draft.

Mr. Rodgers asked how a municipality can opt out of the agreement. Mr. Willig said the process takes about a year, and during that time, the municipality would be responsible for the ongoing costs of the group. He noted that the main reason to opt out would be if certain other municipalities did so. For example, without East Pikeland’s participation, Charlestown would have no connection to Phoenixville Borough.

The hearing was closed. Mr. Philips moved to adopt Resolution #685-07 adopting the Phoenixville Region Comprehensive Plan, subject to confirmation that the Solicitor has reviewed the most recent draft of the Implementation Agreement, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Old Business

Establishment of a Crime Tip Reward Fund/Program

The Board continued discussion on the establishment of a crime tip reward fund in response to recent vandalism that has taken place in the Township. Mr. Kuhn said the Solicitor confirmed that the Second Class Township Code does include provisions for offering rewards leading to the conviction of a crime. He said Mr. Philips was the most vocal with concerns over how to establish a program that would be manageable from an administrative standpoint, and not be arbitrary in its determinations on what qualifies for a reward or who is entitled to it.

Mr. Thompson said he checked other townships represented by his firm, and only West Whiteland Township has a crime stoppers program, which is handled on a case by case basis with their police department. They have an ordinance outlining the program which uses the same language as the Second Class Township Code.

Mr. Philips said he’d support the program for crime on Township Property only, and would like to see a document drafted for review that would outline the program. Mr. Kuhn said he’ll obtain guidance from the State Police.

Desfor Conservation Easement Funding

Mr. Kuhn stated that the County has awarded a grant through the French & Pickering Creeks Trust in the amount of $426,000 and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for another $400,000 toward the purchase of a conservation easement for the 46 acre Desfor property at the corner of Merlin and Yellow Springs Roads. The Township’s contribution toward this easement purchase would be $221,000.

Mr. Philips moved to approve the expenditure of $221,000 from the Open Space Fund toward the acquisition of the Desfor easement, subject to a subrogation agreement from the Desfors’ bank. Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Authorize Advertising for Road Salt Bids to Open October 1, 2007

Mr. Rodgers moved to authorize advertising of the 2007-2008 Road Salt Bid for opening for October 1, 2007 at 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Authorize MMO (Minimum Municipal Obligation) for Pension Fund for 2008

Mr. Rodgers moved to authorize funding the employee pension plan for 2008 in the amount of the minimum municipal obligation provided by Trustees Insurance, and including this amount in the budget for 2008. Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Census 2010

The Secretary explained that preparations are beginning for the 2010 Census, for which the Township works with the U.S. Census Bureau to provide them with address information. The Bureau allows for three participation options. Mrs. Csete explained that she participated in the process for the 2000 census, and the procedure looks very much the same for the upcoming census. She recommends the Township elect to take Participation Option #1, which is a full check by appointed Township employees of the address list provided by the Census Bureau for correctness and completeness. This option requires that the employees involved with the Census Bureau sign a confidentiality agreement with regard to the information the Bureau provides. Also, the Board of Supervisors is required to appoint a Program Liaison and the Program Reviewers.

Mr. Hogan moved to select Participation Option #1, to appoint Linda Csete as Program Liaison and both Linda Csete and Jan Bird as Program Reviewers. Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 P.M. The next meeting is scheduled for September 17, 7:30 P.M. in Room 154 of the Great Valley Middle School.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Township Administrator
sheet, 9/4/2007