The first business meeting for March was held March 1, 2010 at the Great Valley Middle School, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA 19355, Room 154.
Supervisors: Charlie Philips, Chairman, Hugh Willig, Vice Chairman, Kevin Kuhn, Frank
Consultants: Randy Patry, P.E., Mark Thompson, Esq.
Staff: Linda Csete, Administrator, Fred Alston, Public Works Superintendent
Public: See attached List
Mr. Philips announced that an executive session was held on February 22, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. at the Township Office to discuss legal matters.
Mr. Kuhn announced that he and Mr. Motel met with representatives of the French & Pickering Creeks Trust and North American Land Trust to review projects and set the pace going forward.
Paul Stevens, Bodine Road, asked how long the Bodine Road bridge will be out of service while the Turnpike Commission replaces it. He heard it will be closed as of April 18th. Mr. Alston said the deadline to re-open the bridge is November 22nd.
Barbara DeWilde, representing the Charlestown Historical Society, announced that the CHS is planning to write a history book on Charlestown. Details gathered by Harmon Rees in the 1940’s will be included. The CHS will be gathering people from the Township interested in sharing their histories, and they invite the Supervisors to select one of their members to attend the CHS meetings on the first Tuesday of each month at 2:00 p.m. at the Rapp House.
On a separate matter, Mrs. DeWilde spoke to the Supervisors objecting to their budget decision to print and mail only two newsletters a year, instead of four newsletters as they have in the past few years. Mr. Philips said there will continue to be four newsletters published, but two of those four will be posted on the website only, in order to lower costs in a tight budget year. Mrs. DeWilde said it’s very important that all residents receive a printed newsletter since many of them don’t go on line. She asked the Board to reconsider. Mr. Philips said this decision was made last fall at budget time and the Board doesn’t plan to revisit it. Mrs. DeWilde asked what the cost of printing and mailing a newsletter is, and Mrs. Csete said depending on the number of pages, it ranges between $1,200 - $1,400. Mrs. DeWilde said she’d return to the next meeting with supporters to press the matter again. Mr. Philips said that due to the severe budget constraints, which were not helped by the numerous snow storms this year, there wouldn’t be a change in the policy for 2010, and he may have to put a time limit on future discussions if the subject continues to be raised. Mrs. DeWilde said there will be emergency funds available from the state to cover the snow removal costs, but Mr. Philips said they won’t cover the budget overrun. Mr. Kuhn said he’s likewise not in favor of revisiting the issue. Many cuts were put into place for 2010, including no salary increases for any of the staff members, which allowed the budget to retain the two printed newsletters the Township will publish this year. Mrs. DeWilde said she’s willing to pay more taxes to provide four newsletters, and she said the Board will have to follow the people’s wishes. Mr. Willig said this can be discussed in September and October when the 2011 budget is being drafted. The Board has no way of raising additional funds for 2010. Mr. Philips pointed out that the Board allows the Historical Society, along with other groups like the Great Valley Nature Center, to include small articles in its newsletters as a courtesy, even though they’re not Township organizations.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of the February 1, 2010 business meeting, and Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Piliero moved to approve the February 2010 Treasurer’s Report and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the March 1, 2010 Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mr. Piliero moved to approve the March 1, 2010 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.
Mr. Kuhn moved to accept the February reports as submitted, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion. Mr. Alston clarified what type of emergency funding would be available if the Township is approved for any reimbursement from the state for snow removal. If funding is available, it would only cover two days, a continuous 48 hours, of snow removal activities. Mrs. Csete said she estimates this to be about $100,000. Mr. Philips complimented Mr. Alston on the great job that was done on the township roads during all these snow events. He said there have been few complaints, and most of them were for state roads.
Mr. Philips asked about the zoning hearing board issue with Michael Bowell’s property. Mr. Kohli said he asked Mr. Bowell to file a building permit application for the accessory structure he has already placed in his front yard. Mr. Kohli said in order to obtain building permit approval, he first must go to the Supervisors and request a waiver to allow the structure in the front yard.
Paul Stevens, owner of a neighboring property, objected to the amount of time it has taken the Board to address his complaint from December on this matter. Mr. Philips asked Mr. Thompson to wait a week for a response to Mr. Kohli’s request, and if none is received, to inform Mr. Bowell he must submit his application prior to the April 5, 2010 meeting or the Board will take action. Mr. Stevens said the Board has a scofflaw on its hands and he doesn’t understand how Mr. Bowell could be Vice Chairman of the Zoning Hearing Board.
Mr. Philips said the Design Review Committee held a four hour meeting this morning to review the Tyler Griffin application. A minor question that arose is how to describe the directions of the site’s borders. People think of Charlestown Road as running north/south but it is more northeast/southeast and causes some confusion in discussions. Mr. Alston said that when re-addressing for 9-1-1 in 1996, the committee decided to use a north/south convention for Charlestown Road and suggested this be used for the standard, to which the Board agreed.
Mr. Philips called the vote on the reports, and all were in favor.
Embreville Station Commander Lt. Allen J. Krawczel gave the State Police’s annual update for the Township. He introduced himself as the new station commander, who has been with the Embreville Station for a year. He has been with the State Police for 21 years, and was a municipal officer for 3 years prior to that in York. He said the updated strategy for the townships they cover is to have their troopers attend more meetings in order to get feedback from the community.
Lt. Krawczel circulated the incident report for February, noting there were 55 incidents including 7 car accidents, 1 assault, 1 theft, with the remainder being minor incidents. Mike Allen, Planning Commission member, asked if these statistics can be compared to those of other townships. Lt. Krawczel said the numbers are available but the data isn’t necessarily comparable because of all the variables, such as populations, miles of road, mix of uses, amount of preservation, etc.
Andy Motel, Planning Commission Chairman, asked if there is anything the State Police would like help with from the Township. Lt. Krawczel said Charlestown is working well with the State Police in general. They’ll provide some information that can be posted on the Township website regarding identify theft and safety tips.
Mr. Philips asked how many municipalities in Chester County rely on the State Police for police services. Lt. Krawczel said 11 townships and boroughs use the State Police full time, and 9 of them, part time.
Paul Gluchanicz, Charlestown Road, asked for the average response time. Lt. Krawczel said this varies depending on the time of day, weather, priority, and scheduling issues, but in general it falls between a few minutes to 15 minutes. He said in the event of an emergency call, the neighboring police departments provide back up, as do the State Police for them.
Mr. Philips asked if there is any concern over cutbacks on the number of troopers due to the state’s budget problems. Lt. Krawczel said they’re currently adequately staffed at Embreville, but in general there has been some attrition due to retiring officers, and there are fewer candidates moving through the Academy at present.
Mr. Philips thanked Lt. Krawczel for his attendance this evening.
Life Scout Donovan Robinson of Troop 78 presented several ideas for an Eagle Scout Project at Charlestown Park. He listed his preferences and estimated costs as follows:
Mr. Philips said all of the ideas are good suggestions, although it won’t be feasible to cross Coldstream Road from Tyrone Farms because the traffic makes it too dangerous. Mr. Willig added that PennDOT won’t permit a crossing there.
Mr. Willig said that Brightside Farm is another site for birdhouses or other projects. Mr. Motel said he knows Troop 78 is a large troop and there may be other Life Scouts thinking of Eagle projects. A footbridge is needed from the Piliero property to the Brightside Farm, and there may be work at the Woolen Mill property.
The Board thanked Mr. Robinson for his interest in the Park, and opted to accept the project for birdhouses and some general clean-up at Charlestown Park. Mr. Philips asked that he provide the Board with written details on the project. Mr. Alston will be his contact person.
Mr. Thompson opened the hearing for Robal Associates, continued from February 1, 2010. He said Mr. Bender requested a continuance in order to allow him additional time to consolidate evidence. Mr. Tupitza had no objection.
The hearing was continued to April 5, 2010, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School, 255. N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA 19355, Rm. 154.
Mr. Kuhn explained that he and Mr. Motel met with Pam Brown and Claire Quinn of the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust to discuss their proposal for services to place a conservation easement on the Brightside Farm. Ms. Brown said there is a $6,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Land Trust Alliance (PALTA) that expires March 31st available for this project, but the easement must be recorded by that date in order to get the funds. Mr. Kuhn said the Board must consider what restrictions they want to include in the easement, which is a critical decision since the easement is in perpetuity.
Ms. Brown said that of the 75 acre Brightside Farm, there are already covenants on the 50 acres of land that has no structures. These restrictions were placed on the land by Chester County and can’t be amended without returning to the County for approval. This wouldn’t be possible before the March 31st deadline. The remaining 25 acres, which contains the farmhouse and various outbuildings, is the portion that has no present restrictions. Ms. Quinn said that as land held by a political entity, an easement is needed to protect the land going forward, and by using a land trust organization there is a third party supervising the process.
Mr. Kuhn said that he feels the level of protection on the county-eased land is adequate, and suggested the French & Pickering Creeks Trust simply join as a co-holder of the easement. Ms. Quinn said this would still trigger their review process, which couldn’t be concluded before the deadline. Ms. Brown said the County suggested a management plan, which would be an agreement between the F & P and the County, to make it easier in the future to change the restrictions if there was a future need, for example, for playing fields. Ms. Quinn disagreed with this suggestion, saying a management plan is an unnecessary intermediate step. She suggests focusing on the 25 acres now unencumbered. Mr. Kuhn agreed this was the biggest issue, and wants to protect that land from any new housing or subdivision, require preservation of the farmhouse, and provide limits on how much expansion to the house will be permitted.
Ms. Quinn asked if the 25 acres is now actively farmed, and Mr. Willig said there are cows on it and hay is grown. Ms. Quinn asked if the Board wants to give agricultural use preference, and Mr. Willig, Mr. Kuhn and Mr. Philips indicated yes. Ms. Quinn said the next step after the Board enters into the proposed agreement with the F & P is to meet at the site and work out the details for their data sheet.
Mr. Kuhn moved to enter into the agreement with the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust to prepare and process a conservation easement on the 25 acres of parcel #35-3-59 containing the farmhouse and outbuildings that is not under restrictions with the County, subject to amending the agreement to identify the correct parcel area. Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Planning Commission Chairman Andy Motel provided a brief introduction of the three candidates recommended by the interview committee to fill three vacancies on the Planning Commission. He said there were six candidates interviewed, and all of them had much to offer, so that those not appointed to the Planning Commission were recommended for other positions. He also noted that June Gorman, Sarah Peck and Rick Reis were to be commended for their years of service on the Planning Commission. He said there were originally two vacancies, but Mr. Reis offered to step down if there was a strong third candidate. He said that the Planning Commission and two of the Supervisors interviewed the candidates and unanimously agreed on the top three.
Mr. Motel offered some background on the three recommended candidates. He said Michael Richter is a realtor who lives in the Tyrone Farms area on Ravenhill Road. Since this is a more populated area of the Township, he’s glad to see someone from this neighborhood, which is also where Mr. Reis lives. Andre von Hoyer II is employed in the field of environmental protection, and lives in the Charlestown Oaks development, coincidentally the same development as Mrs. Gorman, and Bill Westhafer is an architect who has lived on Mt. Misery Lane off Howell Road for over 20 years. Mr. Kuhn said he took part in the interviews and these are all phenomenal candidates. He noted that the interviewers were very interested in meeting with another candidate, Beth Bolt, but she had to withdraw her application due to a career change.
Upon recommendation by the interview committee, Mr. Kuhn moved to make the following appointments to the Planning Commission:
Andre von Hoyer – term expiring 12/31/2013
Michael Richter – term expiring 12/31/2012
Bill Westhafer – term expiring 12/31/2013.
Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Willig asked when the new candidates would be starting, and Mr. Motel said they’ll be provided with all the materials currently before the Planning Commission in advance of the March 8th bus tour and March 9th meeting so they can begin immediately.
Mr. Motel said that from those interviewed for the Planning Commission positions, two were willing to serve elsewhere on boards for the Township. He said Andrew Davitt is an attorney who has lived on Pikeland Road for 1 ½ years and specializes in insurance defense and securities. He was eager to serve as an alternate member on the Zoning Hearing Board. Mr. Kuhn moved to appoint Andrew Davitt as the Zoning Hearing Board Alternate member for a term ending 12/31/2012, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Motel said that Matt Finlay, a resident of Stone Lane off Foster Road, is an architect who had expressed interest in several boards, and the interview committee recommends him to fill the vacancy on the Parks and Recreation Board. Mr. Kuhn moved to appoint Matt Finlay to the Parks and Recreation Board for a term ending 12/31/2014, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Philips thanked Mr. Motel for the superb job he did arranging for and conducting the interviews of so many valuable candidates.
Carol Ann Krus was present to provide an overview of her Zoning Hearing Board application in which she seeks a variance to allow the expansion of her existing deck by an additional 10 x 12 feet at her home in Charlestown Meadows. There would be steps added on one side. She said the existing deck is too small for personal use and entertaining. The Homeowners Associates has approved the application and her neighbors had no problems with it.
Mr. Philips moved that the Board take a neutral position toward this application, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Kohli explained that under the Uniform Construction Code, the Township is required to appoint a Building Code Official. He was appointed to this position in January, but has decided to opt out of the continuing education program required for certification due to time constraints. He has served as building inspector for Charlestown since 1984. He said two of the inspectors at his firm are qualified, and he recommended that the Board consider appointing Anthony Merklinger, who was present and introduced himself and provided background information on his qualifications and certifications. Mr. Kohli said inspections would still be coordinated through his office and the transition would be seamless.
Mr. Philips moved to appoint Anthony J. Merklinger as the Building Code Official for Charlestown Township for the remainder of 2010, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Kohli explained the stormwater management regulations requiring all municipalities to apply for an NPDES permit beginning in 2003. The DEP outlined a protocol for all municipalities to follow in order to meet compliance within five years, following the six elements of the protocol numbered MS1 through MS6. Two additional years were added to the program, the current year 7 ending March 9, 2010. The township’s permit expires 3/9/2011 and by that date must address any deficiencies noted by the DEP.
To meet Protocols #1 and #2, the Township continued to implement education and public participation elements of the program during Year 7. The Administrator worked with the Chester-Ridley-Crum Watershed Association (CRC) which assists Charlestown and neighboring municipalities with the education and public participation requirements.
For Protocol #3, Mr. Kohli said the DEP wants the outfall maps to be enlarged with an increased font size. Since this is an additional expense, it will be done at a later time. He said the DEP questions the number of outfalls listed, mainly a matter of interpretation that he will coordinate with them. The Stormwater Management Ordinance continues to be improved through amendments, and currently prohibits discharge of non-stormwater to the Township’s stormwater system. If any is found, testing for contamination follows.
For Protocols #4 & #5, Mr. Kohli is reviewing all construction for compliance to the ordinance, as well as inspecting post-construction development, redevelopment and new development. He said he wants to change the Township’s stormwater agreements to make the HOAs and commercial property owners responsible for ongoing inspections and reports. The agreement would provide the Township with a remedy in case of non-compliance.
Mr. Kohli said MS-6 is the protocol addressed by the Public Works Superintendent, generally referred to as “good housekeeping” practices. The Operations and Maintenance Manual first drafted in 2007 continues to address this protocol and is updated as needed.
Mr. Philips asked if the mapping was available on GIS, and Mr. Kohli said the inventory of structures on each property is available.
Mr. Kohli noted that the annual report for Year 7 is due June 1, 2010. There have been no comments from the DEP yet on the previous report for Year 6 submitted June 1, 2009.
The following bids were received by the Township office for Mowing Labor and Equipment for the period of April 1, 2010 – March 31, 2012.
|Company||Estimated Annual Cost||Cost per Mowing|
|Finish Mower Total||Weed Cutter Total||Charlestown Park||Jenkins Tract||Longwood School||Woolen Mill|
|C.M. Jones||6,400.00||2,100.00||Not Provided||Not Provided||Not Provided||Not Provided|
|Charlestown Landscaping LLC||12,960.00||720.00||Not Provided||Not Provided||Not Provided||Not Provided|
|J & K Mowing||10,000.00||2,250.00||620.00||75.00||25.00||55.00|
The following bids were received by the Township office for Tree Work Labor and Equipment for the period of April 1, 2010 – March 31, 2012.
|Phila. Horticultural Group||34,720.00|
The following bids were received by the Township office for Road Labor and Equipment for the period of April 1, 2010 – March 31, 2012.
|DePaul and Co.||403,704.00|
The bids were turned over to Mr. Kohli for review and recommendations so the contracts can be awarded at the April 5th meeting.
Mrs. Csete referred to a proposed agreement from American Tower that would permit trail users to cross their property to access the McDevitt Trail. This Revocable License Agreement was forwarded to the Solicitor for review, and Mr. Thompson said although it states it will permit the Township to cut brush and install trail signs on the property, it’s not clear that trail users are granted access.
Trail Committee member Peter Hall asked how to effect that change in the agreement, and Mr. Thompson said he would recommend language to American Tower. Mr. Kuhn said he’ll find out who to contact, and if the company is agreeable, the Board will amend and execute the document at their April 5, 2010 meeting.
Mrs. Csete asked which Supervisors plan to attend the March Convention of the Chester County Association of Township Officials being held March 11th at the Sheraton Great Valley Hotel this year. Mr. Philips indicated he will attend, as will the Administrator.
The conditional use hearing for Paul Gluchanicz was scheduled to open on April 5, 2010, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School, Rm. 154, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA.
The waiver hearing for Spring Oak was scheduled to open on April 5, 2010, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School, Rm. 154, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA.
Mr. Thompson explained that the Apostolic Church has requested the release of security held by the Township for the wearing course of its parking lot where the wearing course has yet to be constructed. Mr. Thompson has drafted an agreement allowing the Church two years in which to construct the wearing course, and if at the end of that period the Sanctuary has not been built, the wearing course will have to be installed regardless. He said the risk to the Township is that if they don’t pave within two years, the Township would normally have to file a lawsuit, but the agreement provides that a lien can be placed on the property in the amount of the paving instead. Mr. Kuhn suggested that in the event they don’t pave as agreed, the existing certificate of occupancy could be revoked.
Mrs. Csete noted that the Church presently owes the Township over $5,000.00 for review fees, and Mr. Kohli said paying these fees can be made a condition of approval before they can obtain their escrow funds.
Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the agreement with the Apostolic Christian Church subject to prior receipt of all outstanding review fees and execution of the agreement to pave within two years as discussed this evening, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.
Mr. Philips reminded the Board that the Planning Commission arranged with Dewey Homes representatives for a bus tour for the commission members and supervisors to visit selected properties to view lighting standards on March 8, 2010 beginning at 6:30 p.m. The bus will leave from the Township office parking lot.
Mr. Kohli checked on the lighting at the Mark Building as a follow up to an earlier concern brought to the Board’s attention. Mr. Kohli said there is high intensity lighting on the walkway and it spills onto Phoenixville Pike. The other Board members will take a look to determine what should be done.
Mr. Philips adjourned the meeting at 9:20 p.m. The next business meeting is scheduled for April 5, 2010, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School. The Board held a brief executive session following the meeting to discuss legal matters.