Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of May 3, 2010

The first business meeting for May was held May 3, 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, Michael Rodgers
Consultants: Surender Kohli, P.E., Tom Comitta, Mark Thompson, Esq.
Staff: Linda Csete, Administrator, Fred Alston, Public Works Superintendent
Public: See attached List

Call to Order:

7:30 p.m.


Mr. Philips announced that an executive session was held following the April 5, 2010 meeting to discuss legal and real estate matters.

Mr. Philips announced that he and Mr. Kohli attended a meeting on March 3, 2010 to discuss the County’s Act 167 Plan, which is a countywide stormwater management plan that will be eligible for state funding. All County municipalities were asked to provide comments, which Mr. Kohli and Mrs. Csete have done.

Mrs. Csete announced that the April 17th Earth Day Clean-up event was a success, thanks to approximately 70 volunteers, including Valley Forge Christian College students and many township residents. She said three developers provided donations to cover the cost of the event, including Dewey Land, L.P., J. Loew & Associates and Devault Foods. About 150 bags of trash were collected from the roadsides and parks.

Citizens’ Forum

Sue Staas said she was delighted to hear that American Tower has agreed to Mr. Thompson’s proposed changes to an easement agreement allowing trail users access to reach the new McDevitt trail being developed. She asked when the Township will receive the executed agreement. Mr. Thompson said he’ll stay in contact with American Tower’s legal counsel until it’s provided. Mrs. Staas introduced Esther Underhill, who is in charge of developing the trail and has scheduled a meeting with the McDevitts on May 16th to discuss the entrance location and a second trail that will be accessed from Newcomen Road.

Joseph End, Bodine Road asked if the Board received a copy of his April 30, 2010 letter providing an update on the status of his complaint regarding new house construction adjacent to his property that has caused stormwater runoff issues. Mr. Philips responded that they have received it.

Mr. End said Mr. Kohli has been diligent in his inspections of the property and in sending letters to the property owners regarding soil stabilization and lighting issues, but he’s concerned that the owners have been unresponsive. In addition, they have installed more lighting that he believes further violates the ordinance. Mr. Kohli said the Township’s lighting consultant, Stan Stubbe, will return to the site for an inspection, and that his office will be conducting a grading inspection next week. Mr. Philips encouraged Mr. End to continue working with Mr. Kohli on his concerns.

Mr. End asked if there is a customary deadline for compliance, and Mr. Kohli said the Township generally gives the property owner what they believe is a reasonable amount of time. Mr. Philips said the Board can set a deadline if progress stalls, although Mr. Kohli said he doesn’t expect a problem. Mr. Willig asked if there are more inspections left in the process and the status of the final Certificate of Occupancy issuance, and Mr. Kohli said yes, there are more inspections, and they have only been issued a temporary C of O at this point.

Mr. End expressed his concern that the water issue will be difficult to resolve. Mr. Philips said it has to be resolved, and Mr. Kohli will ensure that they are. He thanked Mr. End for his update on the situation.


Minutes of April 5, 2010 Business Meeting

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the minutes of the April 5, 2010 business meeting, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report April 1 - 30, 2010

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

Accounts Payable Report – Operating Fund May 3, 2010

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the May 3, 2010 Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report – Open Space Fund May 3, 2010

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the May 3, 2010 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.


Mr. Rodgers moved to accept the April reports as submitted, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion.

Mr. Kuhn asked about recent road patching work, where he’s seen gravel placed along the edges of roads, specifically Rees Road, and that it will kick out onto the road. He said he’s received one complaint about it. Mr. Alston said this stone fill is used to fill in ruts and potholes along the shoulders. Grass seed is added and eventually grows in. An alternative is to pave the edges but leave the pavement rough to discourage people from driving on it.

Mr. Rodgers reported that the Valley Forge Sewer Authority is updating its Chapter 94 information, which involves five-year projections of service needs. He said he has the report for the Board members’ review. He said the plant is at 94% of capacity, which is why they are looking into expanding.

Mr. Willig reported that East Vincent Township hasn’t held its meeting yet to consider withdrawing from the Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee and it is now scheduled for a day next week.

Mr. Philips said the Board received an update on the Spring Oak demolition permit application from the Historical Commission. They report that the representatives from Dewey Land L.P. were receptive to their recommendation to design the clubhouse in a manner that reflects its former use as a barn and were also agreeable to Mr. Frens’ involvement in this design. The HARB expects to make an official recommendation on the Certificate of Appropriateness at their May 18th meeting.

Mr. Kuhn noted that he received the Brightside Farm building inventory report from Dale Frens and is in the process of reviewing it relative to placing an easement on that portion of the property with the French & Pickering Creeks Trust.

Mr. Alston said the new mowing contractor, Kellerman’s Lawn Service, has not submitted its Performance Bond as required by the contract award on April 5, 2010 and are therefore not in compliance with the bid award. Nick Winkler was present from Kellerman’s to explain that they had a complication with the bond process but he now has a letter from his bonding agent indicating that they are currently processing the paperwork and are inclined to provide favorable consideration toward issuing the bond. Mr. Winkler said they won’t submit any invoices to the Township until the bond is in place, adding that they’ve mowed the park three times so far this season.

Mr. Philips asked the Solicitor if he sees any issue with continuing with this contractor until the bond is in place, and Mr. Thompson responded that if the letter says issuance is imminent, this is acceptable. Mr. Philips said the Board will give a deadline of the next meeting date, June 7th, and if the bond isn’t in place by that time they will award the contract to the next lowest responsible bidder. Mr. Alston pointed out that by that time they may have difficulty finding a contractor to accept the award as most will have scheduled their time for the season. The Board’s consensus was to give Kellerman’s until June 7th to produce the performance bond.

Mr. Philips called the vote on the reports, and all were in favor.

Old Business

Award Tree Labor & Equipment Bid – Davey Tree Co.

Mrs. Csete indicated that the low bidder, Davey Tree Company, has provided the information requested by the Township, including the completion of Contract Item #D Certification, identification of the required operators as skilled or unskilled, and provision of a certificate of insurance. Mr. Kuhn moved to award the April 1, 2010 – March 31, 2012 Tree Labor & Equipment Contract to Davey Tree Company and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for further discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Road Labor & Equipment Contract

Mr. Philips referred to the subcommittee consisting of Mr. Piliero and Mr. Rodgers to study road costs, bid documents and contracts after concerns were raised following the recent bid opening for road labor and equipment. Mr. Rodgers indicated that he and Mr. Piliero have been speaking with area contractors and working with the Administrator to collect information on neighboring townships’ bidding practices in order to improve Charlestown’s bid process and reduce costs.

Mrs. Csete provided an update on information she’s gathering for their review. Ten townships were contacted and asked for cost data and copies of bid documents. So far, five townships have responded and their information has been circulated to the board. She said costs are difficult to compare because so far, all the townships that responded use a combination of their own labor and equipment and contracted services while Charlestown uses only contracted services. As an overall calculation, she obtained a figure of total road expenditures from several townships’ 2009 financial statement under the “430” accounting code and divided it by their total township road mileage to get a cost per mile. Charlestown’s figure was reasonable compared to the others, with East Pikeland the only township that was considerably lower. She’ll continue to collect data for the subcommittee to review.

Mr. Rodgers said he recommends extending the current contract with Melchiorre Construction Company until 9/30/2010 at which time the bid documents can be revised and the contract re-bid. Three companies he spoke with indicated they would be interested in bidding, including Delaware Valley Paving, Mancini and Melchiorre Construction. He said he doesn’t know if DePaul will re-bid, but noted they sent him a fax, which he circulated to the Board, indicating their willingness to rent space for their equipment closer to the Township to meet the 12-mile radius requirement in the bid specs.

Mr. Rodgers moved to reject the two bids received at the March 1, 2010 bid opening and extend Melchiorre Construction Co.’s current contract to 9/30/2010. Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for further discussion. Mr. Kuhn suggested that Mr. Rodgers speak to Rittenbaugh Inc. with regard to bidding next time. Mr. Philips called the vote. All were in favor.

Charlestown Park – Water Service

Mr. Alston provided information on four fire hydrants in Charlestown Park that have had problems. All have produced bad testing results in the past with low flow and poor water filtration. Two have already been removed. Of the remaining two, someone tied into one of them for the field sprinkler system, which is not a recommended practice and was done without authorization. The other sprinkler was accessed illegally and sustained considerable damage as a result. He spoke to both fire chiefs whose fire associations service the Township, and they see no problem with Mr. Alston’s recommendation to remove the remaining two hydrants. He has obtained two estimates to remove the hydrants, cap the lines, and restore service to the clubhouse and sprinkler system. Swisher Plumbing provided an estimate of $3,380.00 and Melchiorre Construction an estimate of $2,500.00. He recommended that the work be awarded to Melchiorre.

Mr. Philips moved to award the project to Melchiorre Construction Company, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

New Business

Zoning Hearing Board Application Overview – Karen Beam

Karen Beam provided an overview of her zoning hearing board application to seek a waiver to allow for placement of a septic tank within the ten foot setback at the rear of her property and a 2-story addition that encroaches on several setbacks. She said her property is small and the entire house is located in the front yard setback. The addition will violate the front and both side yard setbacks as a result. She said she had an engineer confirm that the plan for the septic tank, proposed to be five feet from the addition, is structurally sound. She spoke to the County Health Department, which indicated this is acceptable to them because the 2nd floor overhangs the first so the system is further from the lower structure than five feet.

Mr. Philips explained that the Board takes this opportunity to determine if they wish to take a position toward the zoning hearing application. Mr. Willig said he doesn’t see any alternative for the property owners to achieve their expansion other than what is proposed.

The Board agreed to take a neutral position toward the application but did not take a vote. Ms. Beam asked if she should bring the building plans to the zoning hearing, and Mr. Kohli said yes.

Zantzinger Minor Subdivision Plan

Megan King, Esq. was present to discuss a proposed minor subdivision plan for the Zantzinger property on Pikeland Road.

Ms. King explained that last year a lot line change was approved to take 0.2 acres from Lot 1 and add them to Lot 2 in order to reduce the size of Lot 1 to just under two acres so it could be sold without triggering Act 319 rollback taxes. Lot 1 was then sold jointly to William LaPointe and Donald Schmidt, who owned the properties on either side. This present plan now proposes to return the 0.2 acres from Lot 2 to Lot 1 to square off the lot.

Mr. Kuhn asked if any progress has been made toward gaining trail access through the Zantzinger property. Planning Commission Chairman Mr. Motel said he spoke to the Zantzingers’ attorney, George Asimos, recently and left a note at Mr. Zantzinger’s home about the trail. He said his goal is to obtain a temporary trail opening along the Turnpike for a trial period to allow Mr. Zantzinger time to decide if he’s willing to provide a permanent easement.

Mr. Motel indicated that the Planning Commission recommended approval of the plan. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Zantzinger Minor Subdivision plan last revised 4/16/10 subject to the comments on Mr. Kohli’s review letter dated 4/29/10. Mr. Philips seconded the motion and called for discussion. There being none, Mr. Philips called the vote and all were in favor.

Spring Oak TND – Preliminary Plan

John Mostoller, Eric Schrock and Jason Engelhardt presented the preliminary subdivision plan for Spring Oak.

Design Review Committee (DRC) Chairman Mike Allen said there are two basic documents to focus on this evening, the preliminary plan and the design manual. He said the plan circulated to the Board last week is the same preliminary plan recommended by the Planning Commission in January for approval. Since that time, changes were made that have been included in a summary document, “Conditions of Preliminary Approval”. This document includes 23 sheets illustrating the changes to the preliminary plan that are not shown on the plan itself yet. He said the Planning Commission hasn’t recommended the Design Manual yet and will be reviewing it at their May 13th meeting, after which time it will be revised and re-issued.

Mr. Allen said that typically a preliminary subdivision plan is approved subject to the consultants’ comments, and after they are incorporated, the final plan is reviewed mainly in the context of confirming that all those changes were made. As a TND application, the process for approval leaves more to be done, particularly detail work, between preliminary and final approval.

Mr. Kuhn asked if the Board will receive a revised “clean” preliminary plan submission before their next meeting to consider approval, and asked Mr. Thompson what the developer’s rights are with regard to both preliminary and final approval. Mr. Thompson said during preliminary approval, the Township is approving the design of the plan, which gives the applicant the right to receive final approval for a substantively similar plan. For final approval, all documents and security must be in place.

Mr. Philips and Mr. Allen mentioned some outstanding items, such as the layout and type of playground equipment and the clubhouse design. Mr. Comitta said there are still details to work out on lighting including height and LED type. Mr. Kuhn said the TND process gives the Township more control over the plan and he wants to ensure the Board isn’t giving that up by approving the preliminary plan with so many outstanding issues.

Mr. Allen asked when a hearing would be held to consider adoption of the necessary TND Ordinance amendments that relate to this plan. Mr. Thompson said there was a question of interpretation relative to the ordinance with the Tyler Griffin plan but it’s now been resolved. The Board scheduled the hearing for June 7, 2010, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School Room 154.

Mr. Comitta provided some background on the TND ordinance enactment, which had its roots in the 2001 Comprehensive Plan. He circulated a document dated 5/3/2010 providing the chronology of the Spring Oak plan. He doesn’t feel that a conditional preliminary approval will take away the Township’s power to require changes for the final plan. There are still buffering, connection and architectural issues and details to work out with the DRC and a lot of this can be addressed between preliminary and final approval.

Eric Schrock gave a PowerPoint presentation illustrating the Pending Modifications to the Spring Oaks TND dated 4/22/10, which includes 23 changes to be made to the Preliminary Plan. He said Dewey is reluctant to resubmit the preliminary plan with these changes because they don’t want to reset the 90-day review period time clock and instead prepared this document as an adjunct to the current preliminary plan. He said the Planning Commission has already reviewed and approved these changes.

Mr. Schrock circulated a list of outstanding items, one of which is the street light design and placement. Mr. Allen said the Planning Commission will be viewing a demostration of lighting styles by Spring City Manufacturing on May 6th, 8 p.m. at the Maplecroft Dairy building. Mr. Schrock showed the 47 locations for street lights on the plan and the distances between each, which vary.

Another outstanding item is the use of porous paving for the alley edges, for which they suggest using materials similar to that at the new Wegmans Market. Mr. Schrock then displayed a picture of the wooden guardrail they propose to separate the alleys from the bike trails in the back perimeter of the property toward the Devault Foods complex.

Jason Engelhardt summarized the preliminary plan, which includes 184 units on 65 acres with a mix of 68 single homes, 48 twins/stacked flats and 68 townhouses. The roads will be dedicated to the Township while the alleys will be maintained by the Homeowners’ Association. There will be 8,500 linear feet of roadway.

Mr. Engelhardt said 110 parking spaces are required, which the plan exceeds somewhat. The road widths will be 20 feet and alleys 16 feet. The alleys will be porous, to aid in stormwater management. The DEP will require the alleys be swept three times per year. Mr. Kuhn asked how the alleys will handle heavy downpours such as the one that occurred this morning. Mr. Engelhardt said the alleys are sloped with drains on the lower side that lead to storm drains. Green strips adjacent to the roads vary from three to five feet, with some bump-out areas. The Board has already seen the plan during the conditional use hearing, waiver hearing and during TND ordinance change discussions. The ordinance requires 35% active and passive open space, and this plan has 40%.

Mr. Engelhardt showed the paving plan, which displays 40-47 foot rights of way that include grass strips, parking, roadbed and sidewalks. The phasing plan shows 98 units to be constructed in Phase I along with both roadway connections and most of the infrastructure. The stormwater management plan shows wet ponds on either side of the main entrance off Whitehorse Road. They will be an attractive amenity, utilizing aerators that will either bubble or may have fountains, which is yet to be determined. To the west of the wetland area the plan shows a naturalized recharge basin, which will take overflow from the underground basin under the main green when needed. A rain garden is depicted in the southwest corner of the site.

Mr. Philips said the stormwater management plan is not complete. There are no specifications for the rain garden nor illustration of what it will look like. He said better pictures of the wet ponds are needed in the design manual. Mr. Mostoller said they can provide better pictures. Mr. Philips said there need to be illustrations of how these structures will look over time. He noted that large concrete structures shown at some of the inlets and outfalls and pictures need to show how they will be hidden with vegetation.

Mr. Kuhn asked how truck traffic will be directed during phased construction, stating he doesn’t want to see it directed onto Township-owned Rees Road for Phase II. Mr. Engelhardt said the Whitehorse Road entry is more direct so they’d probably want to use that. Mr. Motel said this should be in the prospectus to inform potential home buyers, along with information on the proposed expansion of Devault Foods. Mr. Mosteller asked if construction vehicles would come through Spring Oak when the Fillippo tract is developed, and Mr. Motel said that should be considered at this state.

Mr. Schrock said the school district won’t send school buses onto an undedicated road, and asked for the Township to send a representative with them to meet with the district to see if something can be worked out.

The Board then discussed the need for revised preliminary plans, citing the difficulty in tracking the changes otherwise. There was considerable discussion on this point, as the applicants were concerned with costs and keeping the process moving along to satisfy the timeline they’ve worked out with their investors. The Board offered to hold a second meeting in June to consider approval of the preliminary plan, and scheduled it for June 21, 2010, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.

Devault Foods – Request for Extension of Permits #3419-06, C-244-06 and ES07015 and Request for Extension of Preliminary Plan

Mr. Kohli indicated he approved a request for a one-year extension of Devault Foods permits including an E & S Permit, conditional use approval, and building permit for their wastewater pretreatment equalization tank and utility building project. The equalization tank has been operating since May of 2008, but construction of the utility building has been delayed until funding can be secured.

Mrs. Csete also indicated that Devault Foods has requested a one year extension to the deadline for filing the Phased Final Plan associated with the five phase Preliminary Plan that was conditionally approved in June 2005. Mr. Kuhn asked if this grandfathered the plan from complying with any requirements put into place after the original approval date, and Mr. Kohli said no. Board members expressed general concern about continuing to grant extensions now that the original approval was granted five years ago. Mr. Motel expressed his confidence in the landowner’s intentions to follow through with the plan.

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve a one year extension to the Preliminary Plan and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion. There being none, Mr. Philips called the vote and all were in favor.

Resolution to Designate Agent to Obtain FEMA Funds – Snowstorm 2010

Mrs. Csete said that part of the process of filing forms to obtain federal financial assistance for the 2010 February Snowstorm is for the Board to designate the person authorized to execute the documents. Mr. Philips moved to adopt Resolution #733-2010 to designate Linda Csete as the Agent, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion. There being none, Mr. Philips called the vote and all were in favor.

Resolution to Withdraw from Chester County Round 21 Acquisition Grant for “The Overlook”

Mr. Kuhn moved to adopt Resolution # 734-2010 withdrawing from the grant contract with Chester County for the Overlook Preserve, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion. There being none, Mr. Philips called the vote and all were in favor.

At 10:30 p.m., Mr. Philips announced that the Board will recess for an Executive Session. The meeting was reconvened at 11:20 p.m.

Other Business

Thompson Easement Acquisition

Mr. Kuhn moved to amend the agreement with the Thompson family for the purchase of development rights in an amount not to exceed $3.1 million and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Mr. Kuhn moved to adjourn the meeting at 11:25 p.m. and Mr. Philips seconded. All were in favor. The next business meeting is scheduled for June 7, 2010, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Township Secretary
sheet, 5/3/2010