Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of February 1, 2010 – draft 2/2/10

The first business meeting for February was held February 1, 2010 at the Great Valley Middle School, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, Pa 19355, Cafeteria.


Supervisors: Hugh Willig, Vice Chairman, Kevin Kuhn, Mike Rodgers, Frank Piliero
Consultants: Surender Kohli, P.E., Mark Thompson, Esq., Gary Bender, Esq.
Staff: Linda Csete, Administrator and Fred Alston, Public Works Superintendent
Public: See attached List

Call to Order:

7:30 P.M.


Mr. Willig announced that he would chair the meeting in Mr. Philips’ absence.

Mr. Willig announced that the Board held a brief executive session just prior to the meeting to discuss real estate matters.

Citizens’ Forum for Non-Agenda Items

No matters were brought forward at this time.


Minutes of Reorganization Meeting January 4, 2010

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the minutes of the reorganization meeting held January 4, 2010 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Minutes of Business Meeting January 4, 2010

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the minutes of the business meeting held January 4, 2010 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Treasurer's Report January 1- 31, 2010

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the January 2010 Treasurer’s Report and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report – Operating Fund February 1, 2010

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the February 1, 2010 Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report – Open Space Fund February 1, 2010

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the February 1, 2010 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.


Mr. Rodgers moved to accept the January monthly reports and Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote and all were in favor.


Robal Associates Curative Amendment – Sycamore Woods CCRC

Mr. Thompson opened the hearing and the proceedings were taken by Mark Hagerty, Court Reporter. On behalf of the Planning Commission, Mr. Bender called Mr. Kohli to testify.

The following Exhibits were entered into the record:

PC-1 Page 1 of 57 – Final Site Plan, Whiteland Village and Page 1 of 5, 1/17/09 Whiteland Village Phasing Plan
PC-2 Updated demographics, mileage calculation between Whiteland Village and Sycamore Woods, all transcripts and exhibits from the Altemose proceedings;
PC-3 Pages 1-57 Final Site Plan, Whiteland Village, 3/17/03 Testimony of Morton Yulish and Reports; 5/17/04 testimony of Susan Brecht and reports

Mr. Bender will present all exhibits to Mr. Tupitza, and if accepted, there will be no more testimony. The record will be kept open until the hearing continues on March 1, 2010, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA 19355, Room 154.

Old Business - none

New Business

Direction for Trail Committee

Mr. Kuhn said the Board wants to determine how to move forward with the Trail Committee, which was originally an offshoot of the Open Space Commission and under their direction. The question is whether to leave it that way, place them under the Parks & Rec Board instead, or create a separate committee that reports directly to the Board of Supervisors. He said the Board is happy with their overseeing of the Horse-Shoe Trail and other trails in the Township and just wants feedback on the best way to set them up. He said they’re not looking to make any decisions this evening.

Direction for the Open Space Commission

Mr. Kuhn said the Open Space Commission was started by himself and Andy Motel, and through the years the Commission has changed from a larger to smaller group. In the beginning, the Commission worked on ranking and property selection, and now needs more focus on talking to property owners leading to easement acquisitions. Since the Open Space Director position was eliminated for budgetary reasons at the end of 2009, he and Mr. Motel want to become more involved again with the Commission.

Mr. Kuhn said Open Space Commission Chair David Greer suggested the Board consider an Environmental Advisory Committee (EAC) for the Township, either as part of the Open Space Commission or as a separate entity. No decisions were made tonight, and Mr. Kuhn said he’ll speak with Mr. Greer further.

Esther Underhill asked for the status of the easement agreement with A.T. & T. to allow access to the Horse-Shoe Trail on their communications tower property abutting the McDevitts'. The Board authorized Mrs. Csete to provide the document to Mr. Thompson for review and to place the matter on the March 1, 2010 agenda for consideration.

Mrs. Underhill then asked if the parking area at Longwood School can be made available for trail users. Mr. Alston said there’s parking for two vehicles on the property and one space along the road. Mr. Kuhn said he didn’t see a problem sharing parking with the trail users.

Mr. Allen said mountain bikers have been using the trail near his property on Howell Road after dark recently and the headlights may disturb some neighbors. Mr. Kuhn said the bikers can be notified by the Township Office of the rules for trail use if contact information is provided.

Ingrid Cantrell asked how the other board members felt about the Trail Committee, and Mr. Willig said he leans toward having the group report directly to the Board rather than go through another advisory group such as Parks & Rec.

PennDOT Right of Way for Tyler Griffin – Tim Townes

Tim Townes of J. Loew & Associates was present to update the Board on the PennDOT right of way plan for the proposed Tyler Griffin development at Charlestown Road and Phoenixville Pike in Traditional Neighborhood Development Area 5. He showed the sketch plan with townhouses and twin homes averaging 3.2 units per acre on the site. A commercial building is proposed for the southeast corner.

Mr. Townes then showed PennDOT’s right of way acquisition plan, which PennDOT would need in order to widen Phoenixville Pike and Charlestown Road near the intersection. He said PennDOT wants a stormwater management basin in the southwestern corner, but J. Loew & Associates wants it to be an underground system for a better appearance. PennDOT would be taking 1.17 acres of property along Phoenixville Pike that isn’t important to J. Loew for development purposes due to its steep slopes, but does have value to them in meeting density requirements.

Without this acreage, they would lose four units from their plan.

Mr. Willig asked if J. Loew is agreeing to handle PennDOT’s stormwater by constructing and maintaining the stormwater facility, and Mr. Townes said yes, in return for PennDOT constructing the two entrances for Tyler Griffin, one from Charlestown Road and the other from Phoenixville Pike.

Mr. Townes said he is requesting that the Township Solicitor draft a letter agreement between Charlestown Township and J. Loew and Associates, allowing them to calculate their acreage for development of Tyler Griffin on the calculations prior to PennDOT’s taking so they could still construct 76 units instead of 72. Mr. Kuhn asked what would have happened if the plan had preliminary approval prior to PennDOT’s proposal to take right of way. Mr. Townes said the plan would be approved with 76 units, and PennDOT would be able to take what they needed regardless. Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Kohli if he sees any problem with allowing the 76 units. Mr. Kohli said there would be negligible difference, but the setbacks may be affected. Mr. Townes said they may be short about 25 feet. At present they have 104 feet and need 100. He indicated, however, they have about 30 feet of buffer to help mitigate the difference.

Mr. Kuhn asked what the Planning Commission’s opinion is. Mr. Allen responded that the Planning Commission won’t discuss the matter until their February 9th meeting, but he doesn’t see a problem. If the preliminary plan had been submitted, the point would be moot, and denying the four units now would be penalizing the developer for PennDOT’s actions. Mr. Townes said if PennDOT has to pay J. Loew & Associates the value of the four units, the taxpayers are ultimately paying for something that only has value for calculation purposes.

Mr. Willig asked what the setback would be from Charlestown Road, and Mr. Townes said it would be 78 feet from the right of way, and about 90 feet from the edge of pavement. He also noted the property is elevated about 14 feet above the road. Mr. Willig said he doesn’t see a big concern with the density question but wants more information on the setbacks. Mr. Kuhn suggesting waiting for the Planning Commission’s input.

Mr. Townes said he can put the PennDOT representative in touch with Mr. Thompson about the letter agreement. Mr. Allen said another option would be to amend the ordinance to allow the density of 76 units as originally proposed since they have other TND amendments underway presently.

Mr. Townes brought up another revision to be considered for the TND ordinance. Tyler Griffin was originally proposed as a condominium form of ownership without lot lines, but a recent court case suggests that for financing purposes they need to draw lot lines. If this is done, the plan won’t meet the ordinance for impervious surface calculations, as some lots have 90-95% impervious coverage and would only be permitted 50%. The overall plan remains under 50% impervious coverage. He suggested to Mr. Allen at the DRC meeting that the ordinance be amended to allow a calculation for the average impervious coverage for the tract, rather than meeting the lower requirement for each lot, with no lot to exceed 95%. He said even if all the lots were at 95% impervious coverage, the overall tract would be under 50%. This is without including the large open area near the commercial building.

Mr. Kuhn asked for the size of the units, and Mr. Townes said they’ll have a 1,200-1,400 sq. ft. footprint. He said his purpose in bringing up the impervious coverage issue this evening was for information only. Mr. Willig asked if he could provide an example of a similar community with this type of coverage, and Mr. Townes said he’ll get back to the Board with information.

Spring Oak – Waiver Requests

John Mosteller and Eric Schrock of Dewey Homes, Doug Olsen, L.A., and Jason Engelhardt, P.E. provided details on 8 waiver requests included in their preliminary Plan submission for Spring Oak at Whitehorse and Rees Roads in Traditional Neighborhood Development Area 1.

Mr. Olsen first addressed item #7, listed on their waiver request form as follows:

According to TND Section 2202.M.2, street trees shall be placed at 40 foot intervals along both sides of all new streets…such trees shall be at least three 3 ½ to 4 inch caliper at the time of planting.

In cases where the grass strips have been reduced to 3 feet in width adjacent to parallel parking, street trees shall be planted between the ROW and the build-to line. Such trees shall be columnar in habit and may be 2.5-3 inch caliper provided the applicant has proven that the total required caliper inches have been provided (calculated by dividing the road length by the 40’ spacing, multiplying by 2 for both sides of the street and 3 ½ inches required caliper. In addition, columnar trees may be used as accent trees in green spaces in the development. Such trees shall also be included in the calculation for the total number of caliper inches provided.

Trees Required by Ordinance = 439

3 ½” trees provided = 390
2 ½” Columnar Trees = 76
2 ½” Ornamental Multi-stem Trees = 11

Provided 477 (105%)

Mr. Olsen said the proposed trees were selected to provide variety and to avoid the problem of a larger root ball in a smaller planting strip by proposing some columnar trees that are narrower in habit in the bulbs and areas of parallel parking.

Mr. Kuhn asked what type of trees are proposed, and Mr. Olsen said about 4-5 different species of oaks and maples, which should cause less trouble years from now because they’re columnar. Mr. Kuhn asked if there will be issues with the other trees in the development pushing up the concrete years from now. Mr. Schrock said the five foot planting strips are better for those trees than the three foot strips. Mr. Allen noted the Planning Commission wrestled with the question of sidewalk width and opted for a narrower sidewalk to keep a larger planting strip.

With regard to waiver #8, Mr. Engelhardt said the sight distance question is no longer an issue because the “eyebrow” streets will be one way streets. Mr. Allen said at the last Planning Commission meeting, Mr. Comitta recommended having the one-way traffic move counter clockwise so passengers being dropped off don’t have to cross in front of the car. Mr. Schrock said they’ll change their plan to reflect this.

Mr. Engelhardt presented PowerPoint slides addressing the remaining six waiver requests all relating to stormwater management as listed on their waiver request sheet:

1 SMO Section 302.D.1 Above ground stormwater management facilities are now allowed. BMP A, B and C are all above ground facilities.
2 SMO Section 302.P.2.d Provide a maximum water depth in stormwater retention facilities no greater than 5 feet above the permanent pool. BMP A requires a maximum water depth of 7.6 feet and BMP C requires a maximum water depth of 5.67 feet.
3 SMO Section 301.B.1 Provide no increase in the total volume of stormwater runoff from the two-year, 24 hour storm. The plan provides for no increase through the utilization of PaDEP non-structural BMP credits.
4 SMO Section 302.D.2.J Basins shall be placed with the top of berm at least 50 feet from a property line or ROW. The berm of the rain garden is within 50 feet of the property line.
5 SMO Section 302.D.2.I.5 Detention basins shall have a minimum basin slope of less than 2% and provide low flow channel. Wet Ponds (BMP A and C) do not warrant a slope. Recharge Basins (BMP B) are flat to promote infiltration.
6 SMO Section 302.D.2.I.8 Detention Basins shall have a berm side slopes greater and 4 feet horizontal to 1 foot vertical. BMP A, B, and C all have 3:1 slopes which are allowed per SMO Section 302.D.2.d.

Mr. Engelhardt pointed out the wet pond flanking the Whitehorse Road entrance and another wet pond near the central green. A shallow raingarden is proposed in the southwest corner of the site. A naturalized area acting as a groundwater infiltration basin is shown in the northwestern area near Whitehorse Road. Also, the alley surfaces will be porous pavement and will therefore be part of the stormwater management system.

Mr. Engelhardt said the main courtyard (central green) will include an underground stormwater basin, which makes sense for this active use area. For the other areas, they felt above ground facilities would be easier to maintain and look more aesthetic. Also, an underground basin would take up a greater footprint than a wet pond where those are proposed. Mr. Olsen said the above ground systems also provide for plantings that filter pollutants from the street run-off and return cleaner water to the aquifer. The natural areas are designed to be mowed just once a year, and their additional color, texture and seasonal interest will be an amenity to the project.

Mr. Olsen said there is a significant stand of mature trees along Rees Road, but otherwise the site was open farmland, so there is a need to add to the ecological diversity. The landscape plan includes 30 species of street trees and 20 species of shrubs. Along with the other ornamental plants, this brings the species count to about 150, all native types.

Mr. Willig asked which way the water is running on the tract, and Mr. Engelhardt said it discharges to the wetland areas to the northwest. Mr. Kuhn said the lower area along Whitehorse Road floods, and asked what relief this plan will provide. Mr. Engelhardt said it’s engineered to handle a 100 year storm and meets the rate reduction requirements of the ordinance. Mr. Olsen said the perennial plantings will slow sheet flow. Mr. Kuhn asked if the plants are deer resistant, and Mr. Olsen said few plants are, but the asters and Norway spruces are somewhat resistant. Mr. Allen said the fencing around these areas will act as a deterrent.

Mr. Kuhn asked if the wetland area is on grade with the road, and Mr. Schrock said it’s 2-3 feet below that road. He displayed the slides depicting evapotranspiration, the wet ponds and pervious paving.

Mr. Kohli asked if the basins will be used to trap sediment during construction, and Mr. Engelhardt said yes, during the S & E phase of the project when significant disturbance is expected. Mr. Mosteller said from a marketing standpoint, they want to convert the basins as soon as possible during the building process. Mr. Schrock added they could probably plant the sides of the basins while the bottoms are used for sediment. Mr. Schrock referred to Exhibit E of their EIA report, which outlines how each stormwater facility will be maintained, noting the Planning Commission has reviewed it more than once. He said maintenance will be included in the HOA documents and will address clean outs and the elimination of invasive species. Mr. Kuhn asked if the Township will have enforcement powers over the HOA, and Mr. Engelhardt said the Township has the right but not the responsibility to maintain the systems and can back charge the HOA. Mr. Thompson added that the Township would have a Stormwater Management Agreement with the HOA.

Mr. Kuhn asked for Mr. Kohli’s comments. Mr. Kohli said he has no problem with the slopes of 3:1 and that the fences are acceptable. He noted that they show 97% can be controlled with regard to the total volume of stormwater runoff from the two-year, 24 hour storm and asked if they could meet the 100% requirement. Mr. Engelhardt said he’s made adjustments to the plan and believes he can meet the 100% but would still like to obtain the waiver to provide them with some room.

Mr. Thompson advised the Board on the standard for the granting of waivers, that the ordinance requirement to be waived must present an undue hardship due to the specific features of the land, provided there are no public safety issues. He said that granting the waiver requests would be considered along with preliminary plan approval, and that the purpose of reviewing them tonight was just informational.

Mr. Alston asked if the trees to be planted along the roads would create a canopy interfering with street sweeping and clearing operations. Mr. Olsen said the trees will be up to 7 feet in height when planted and will eventually reach a diameter of 30-40 feet. Mr. Alston asked if the sidewalks will be pervious, because that could relieve the problem of future heaving due to root growth. Mr. Engelhardt responded no. Mr. Willig asked what the life expectancy of pervious paving is, and Mr. Kohli said about 15 years. Mr. Schrock noted the HOA will be responsible for maintaining all pervious paving for the development.

Mr. Willig asked about an inspection schedule for the stormwater system, and Mr. Schrock said this has to be worked out.

Discuss on-going stormwater management inspection costs for various developments

Mrs. Csete said Mr. Philips requested this item be added to the agenda to discuss how the Township will ensure that on-going stormwater management inspection costs for various developments be covered. She noted that the approved plans for Deerfield indicate that the HOA will be responsible for these costs. Mr. Kohli said it is standard procedure to include this requirement in subdivision and land development approvals. He said he’ll develop a list of all existing facilities and a trigger mechanism can be developed to determine if any action is needed. If the HOA fails to act after notification by the Township, the Township has the right to make repairs and charge the HOA.

Review draft bid documents for Road Labor & Equipment, Tree Work and Mowing and direct advertising for bid opening March 1st (present contracts expire 3/31/10)

Mrs. Csete indicated she circulated draft bid documents for Road Labor & Equipment, Tree Work and Mowing to the Board and would like direction to advertise them for a bid opening at the March 1, 2010 meeting. The current contracts all expire 3/31/2010.

She said Mr. Alston reviewed and amended the documents, proposing that the contract period be for two years rather than one year. There was some discussion on this point along with the usual concern that too few contractors bid Township contracts.

Mr. Kuhn moved to direct the Secretary to advertise the bids for opening on March 1, 2010, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, subject to any further comments from the Board to be communicated to Mrs. Csete within two weeks, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and their being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Authorization to Sign Memorandum of Understanding to Participate in Chester County Agreement with Co-eXprise, Inc. to purchase electricity

Mrs. Csete explained that Chester County has offered to include school districts and municipalities within the County the opportunity to participate in its electricity procurement Contract with Co-Exprise, Inc., which was awarded on 12/17/09. She received materials provided at a meeting hosted by the County last week, including a Memorandum of Understanding. If the Township chooses to participate, the MOU must be signed by 2/26/2010. Due to the lateness in receiving the information, the Board hasn’t had time to review the materials. Mrs. Csete suggested that they consider executing the MOA subject to the Solicitor’s review of the contract in order to take advantage of the cost savings after electricity deregulation occurs in 2011.

Mr. Willig asked if this will negate the Board’s previous decision to seek renewable energy sources such as wind power for its electricity needs. Mrs. Csete said she’ll get more information from Co-Exprise on their sources.

Mr. Kuhn moved to authorize Mrs. Csete to execute the Memorandum of Understanding with Chester County subject to Mr. Thompson’s review of the County Contract, and satisfactory determination of whether renewable energy can be obtained, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and their being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Apostolic Christian Church Escrow Release #3

Mr. Willig tabled the escrow request in order to first enter into an agreement with the developer to allow the release while deferring the installation of the wearing course on the parking lot. Mrs. Csete added that the Church owes a considerable amount to the Township for review fees. Mr. Kuhn moved direct the Solicitor to draft an agreement addressing the wearing course issue and outstanding fees, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Other Business

Ordinance to Cover Hydrant Fees

Mr. Kuhn asked the Board to consider an ordinance charging the cost of hydrants within a development to be charged back to the HOA. Hydrant fees currently cost the Township about $18,000 per year, and there will be several installed in Spring Oak, in addition to existing hydrants in large developments such as Charlestown Oaks, Hunt and Meadows.

Mr. Kuhn was also concerned about the cost of street lighting at Spring Oak. Mr. Kohli said this cost can be included in the HOA agreement for the HOA to cover. Mr. Alston noted that Charlestown Hunt and Hollow Run Farms both have street lights that are paid in this manner.


The meeting was adjourned at 10:23 p.m and Mr. Willig announced the Board would hold a brief executive session after the meeting to discuss legal matters.

The next business meeting is scheduled for March 1, 2010 at 7:30 P.M. in Room 154 of the Great Valley Middle School.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Township Secretary