Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of June 7, 2010

The first business meeting for June was held June 7, 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 Piliero, Michael Rodgers
Consultants: Surender Kohli, P.E., Dan Wright, P.E., Mark Thompson, Esq.
Staff: Linda Csete, Administrator, Fred Alston, Public Works Superintendent

Call to Order:

7:30 p.m.


Mr. Philips announced that an executive session would take place following the meeting to discuss legal matters.

Mr. Philips announced that the Board will hold a meeting on June 21, 2010, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School to conduct a hearing to consider amendments to the Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) ordinance. The Board will also review the Design Manual for the Spring Oak project in advance of the July 6th meeting when the Spring Oak Preliminary Plan will be considered for approval.

Mr. Thompson announced that Judge Nagel denied the appeal to the Court of Common Pleas from the late Leon Altemose for the curative amendment challenge that first came before the Board of Supervisors in 2006. The decision was issued on 4/16/10 and the appeal period has expired, so this matter is now concluded in the Township’s favor.

Mrs. Csete announced that the Township received word from FEMA last week that they have approved the Township’s request for snow relief funds and will pay 80% of the total requested, which comes to $84,756. The budget for snow removal was still exceeded even with the additional relief.

Mrs. Csete announced that the American Cancer Society is hosting its 2nd annual “Bark for Life” event at Charlestown Park this Sunday, June 13th between 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. For a small entry fee benefiting the Society, participants and their dogs walk the paved one mile trail, play games and take in refreshments. She and Public Works Superintendent Fred Alston enjoyed the event last year and she encouraged those present this evening to sign up.

Mr. Philips announced that due to the Independence Day Holiday on Monday, July 5th, the July Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 6, 2010 at 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School.

Citizens’ Forum

Joseph End, Bodine Road provided an update on the status of his complaint regarding new house construction adjacent to his property that has caused stormwater runoff issues. He asked if the Board received the registered letter he sent and Mr. Philips said yes. Mr. End said his engineer and attorney both approved that letter. He then read aloud a statement dated June 7, 2010 outlining his concerns.

Mr. End said he’s continued to work with Mr. Kohli but the outdoor lighting situation hasn’t been corrected and additional lighting has been installed that also violates the ordinance. He said the stormwater systems weren’t properly inspected before the components were covered as required by the stormwater ordinance.

Mr. End asked Mr. Philips if the Township intends to enforce its ordinances, and Mr. Philips said yes, the Township will enforce the ordinances if they are being violated. Mr. End asked if they will enforce the PA statutes and Mr. Philips again said yes.

Mr. End asked in what timeframe the issues will be resolved. Mr. Kohli said he’s waiting for an as-built drawing from the builder so his office can review it. He spoke to Mr. Stubbe today about the lighting and expects to hear from him next week. Mr. End asked if there will be a follow up meeting to review the water system. Mr. Philips said after the as-built plans are submitted, the township will have something to measure the actual constructed system against.

Mr. End asked when the water handling systems will be properly inspected. Mr. Willig asked Mr. Kohli what inspections are required, what has been done, and what follow up has been done to date. Mr. Kohli said the E & S plan was reviewed at the start of construction while on site. At that time his office found that ground water had overloaded the system and the builder was told not to connect. Instead the builder had to divert the stream water into a separate seepage bed, which was constructed as a 4’ x 4’ pit where the overflow would follow a berm in the back section to evenly flow downstream from there. Mr. Willig asked if this was discussed during the site meeting when both homeowners were present, and Mr. Kohli said yes. Mr. End said there was no design prepared as a result of the meeting, just the meeting summary written by his own engineer at his expense. Mr. Kuhn noted that the builder is addressing the problem by including the additional seepage bed, but it’s not completed yet. The as-built plan will be reviewed prior to issuance of a permanent Use & Occupancy. Mr. Willig confirmed that there is a further inspection after the as-built plan review, and Mr. Kohli said yes, at which time the stability of the ground will be confirmed. Mr. Philips said it appears that the process is moving toward this point.

Mr. Schmidt introduced himself as the homeowner. He said he hired an engineering company to prepare the E & S plans. Regarding the lighting, he said he has spotlights on the side of his house that are 300 feet from Mr. End’s house. He said the lighting inspector said the angle can’t exceed 55% and his are at 45%. No shielding is required but he added some at Mr. Kohli’s request. He said the lights have only been turned on twice so far. Other lighting includes two coach lights leading from the basement to the yard that are permitted. Mr. Kohli said a final report has been requested from Mr. Stubbe and he doesn’t anticipate there will be any issues remaining.

Mr. Schmidt said he’s listened to Mr. End, his engineer and Mr. Kohli, and understands he is responsible for keeping additional water due to his project from damaging Mr. End’s property, which is why he diverted the water and built the pit and berm. The berm had to end due to a gas pipeline easement. His engineer contacted the pipeline company to request permission to continue the berm into the easement area but they said no. He expressed his frustration that he’s gone to additional lengths and spent a lot of extra money to assuage Mr. End’s concerns, and he has pictures to show that there is no water going from his property to Mr. End’s property now. He said the pit is bone dry.

Mr. Philips reiterated that reviewing the as-built drawing of the stormwater management system is the next step. Mr. Kuhn asked about the underground spring issue. Mr. Kohli said a sheet flow is acceptable, but not a concentrated flow. The sheet flow will stay in the grassy pipeline area.

Mr. End asked if there was a plan to perform a proper inspection of the stormwater system. Mr. Willig said the work is being documented on an as-built drawing and after its receipt, the system will be inspected and compared to it. Mr. End said the ordinance requires the system to be inspected before it’s covered. Mr. Kohli said the seepage bed was inspected, and the rest will be verified from the as-built plan.


Minutes of May 3, 2010 Business Meeting

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of the May 3, 2010 business meeting, and Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Treasurer's Report May 1 - 31, 2010

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

Accounts Payable Report – Operating Fund June 7, 2010

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the June 7, 2010 Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Piliero/Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report – Open Space Fund June 7, 2010

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the June 7, 2010 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion. He asked why there was a payment to the Brightside garden plot manager for mower repairs, and Mrs. Csete said he damaged his mower during preparations of the gardens this year. There being no other questions, Mr. Philips called the vote, and all were in favor.


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

Mr. Philips asked if the mowing contractor, Kellerman’s, had submitted their performance bond as required. Mrs. Csete said they opted to provide a certified check instead, and she consulted with Mr. Thompson to determine that the form of the check was acceptable in lieu of a bond. Mr. Philips asked if the work has been satisfactory, and Mr. Alston said he’s working with Kellerman’s to improve.

Mr. Willig announced that East Vincent Township has formally withdrawn from the Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee, which triggers the need to revise the regional comprehensive plan at an estimated cost of $70,000 to be split between the member municipalities. East Vincent Township is also required to share in this cost. Mr. Kuhn asked what will be lost from the plan as a result of East Vincent’s withdrawal. Mr. Willig said that’s part of the analysis that has to be done to revise the comprehensive plan, but it doesn’t appear to create any large concerns.

Mr. Philips said the Design Review Committee met this morning with the developers for Tyler Griffin and Spring Oak. Dewey Homes will be going before the HARB next week to get a recommendation on their plans for the historic structures at Spring Oak.

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


Adoption of “Candidates for Open Space” Map

Before starting the hearings this evening, Mr. Thompson said the Candidates for Open Space Map must be adopted before considering the Thompson acquisition. He explained that the Open Lands Act requires that any property or property easement purchased for open space preservation using dedicated open space taxes must be shown on a map approved by the Township for this purpose.

Mr. Thompson said that the Planning Commission has recommended approval of the “Candidates for Open Space” Map last revised 6/2/10, noting that the map has been used for some time but was never formally adopted. He said adopting the map has no effect on the properties themselves and is only necessary to comply with the Open Lands Act. It creates no obligation for the property owners and is just a tool for the Township to use to consider future open space resources. Mr. Philips said this is required because of the earned income tax referendum in 2008.

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve Resolution #735-2010 adopting the Candidates for Open Space Map dated 6/2/10, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Open Space Easement Acquisition under the Open Space Lands Act – Thompson Property

Mr. Thompson explained that in order to consider acquisitions of interest in property by conservation easement, the Open Space Lands Act requires that a hearing be held. He opened the hearing to consider acquiring an easement on approximately 380 acres of the Thompson property which is located in Charlestown and Schuylkill Townships. The proceeds were recorded by Mark Hagerty, Court Reporter.

The following exhibits were entered into the record:

T-1 Public Notice.
T-2 Letter dated 6/2/2010 from Mr. Thompson to owners of the Thompson properties notifying them of the hearing
T-3 Resolution to acquire property

Mr. Thompson asked for any public comments and no one came forward. The hearing was closed.

Mr. Kuhn moved to adopt Resolution # 736-2010 approving the acquisition of an open space easement on the Thompson property, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion. Mr. Willig asked if Schuylkill Township passed its resolution yet, and Mr. Thompson said yes. There being no further discussion, he called the vote, and all were in favor.

Gluchanicz Conditional Use

Mr. Thompson opened the hearing for Paul Gluchanicz, continued from May 3, 2010. He said the applicant requested a continuance in a letter dated 5/26/2010. The hearing was continued to August 2, 2010, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School, 255. N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA 19355, Rm. 154.

Robal Curative Amendment

Mr. Thompson opened the hearing for Robal Associates, continued from April 5, 2010. He said subsequent to the decision issued by Judge Nagel in the Altemose matter, the applicant sent him a letter today withdrawing their curative amendment application. Mr. Thompson noted the application relied heavily on the Altemose plan. He said the curative amendment application had incorporated a previous application and it was safe to assume both are now withdrawn. The letter was entered into the record.

In a separate matter, Mr. Thompson indicated the Court of Common Pleas heard re-argument last month on a PRD Plan submitted by Robal Associates for the same property that the Board of Supervisors had denied in 2007. A decision is pending.

Old Business

Road Bids

Mr. Piliero said that he, Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Alston will meet next week to review the road bid documents and develop new specs and bid forms, which will be ready for use in re-bidding the contract in the fall.

Mr. Kuhn asked if the Board should consider tar & chip for some roads, as this process was recently featured in the Township News magazine and is very popular in western PA. Mr. Alston said this can extend the life of a road five years, but if not done properly it will lead to a lot of complaints. He said that since the wearing course, binder and base of a road work together, eventually a road would have to be reconstructed regardless. He said PennDOT used this method on Pikeland Road some time ago and it was falling apart in 6 months.

Mr. Kuhn said the Board should schedule a road tour to determine which roads should be taken care of first. Mr. Alston said there is a five year plan in place but it’s fallen behind in recent years.

Exeter Land Development Plan

Jason Honesty, Mike Murray, Esq. and Neal Camens, P.E. were present to seek preliminary plan approval for parking revisions at 3222 Phoenixville Pike. Mr. Murray said they received a recommendation from the Planning Commission in March and the question arose at the Supervisors’ meeting in April as to whether the Board can grant a waiver on the landscape island requirements. Otherwise, he said they can comply with the consultants’ review comments and the Planning Commission indicated those could be addressed at the final plan stage.

Mr. Murray said he spoke to Mr. Thompson last week about the parking island, which the ordinance requires to have for every ten parking spaces. The plan is a phased plan that includes existing parking as well as new parking for the 200,000 sq. ft. building. For the existing parking, they propose to consolidate the parking islands, having fewer but larger islands than required by the ordinance. This would allow the parking area to accommodate trucks and the existing loading docks so the uses could convert back and forth between office and warehouse as needed just by changing the striping of the lot. He said the applicant worked with Mr. Comitta’s office, which was of the opinion that the alternate landscaping island plan complied with the intent of the ordinance. Mr. Murray noted that any new parking areas would comply fully with the ordinance.

Mr. Thompson determined that this issue will have to go to the Zoning Hearing Board for a waiver. The Board of Supervisors may approve the preliminary plan subject to this waiver if they wish.

Mr. Camens displayed the land development plan, dated 2/16/10. He said the islands total the same number of square feet as that required by the ordinance. Mr. Thompson asked if the islands would be constructed now, and Mr. Camens said yes. The parking spaces themselves would be added as needed. Mr. Willig asked if the remainder of the building converts to office space, will the truck bays be kept? Mr. Camens said this would be decided on a case by case basis. Mr. Willig asked if all the parking was constructed, what would the density be, and Mr. Camens said 4.65.

After some discussion, the Board determined that the applicant should seek approval from the Zoning Hearing Board for the variance before they will vote on the preliminary plan. The Board of Supervisors will take a neutral position toward the application.

Mr. Murray said the applicant agrees to extend the decision deadline, currently June 20, 2010, to July 6, 2010.

New Business

Discuss Amendments to Sign Ordinance

The Board discussed an amendment to the Sign Ordinance to prohibit all signs in the right of way. Mr. Thompson had previously provided sample ordinance language from a neighboring township.

Mr. Kuhn said he’d like to ban all development signs except on the property being marketed, which Mr. Thompson said could be done. Mr. Kuhn said a builder’s sign at the Cloetingh residence at Union Hill and Whitehorse Roads is still up even though they’ve received their use & occupancy permit and have been asked previously to remove it. Mr. Kohli said he’ll follow up. Mr. Alston said that since rights of way vary, he suggests the ordinance state that there are no signs permitted within 10 feet of the edge of the road, in what PennDOT refers to as “clear space”.

The Board directed the Solicitor to draft the ordinance for consideration at the July 6, 2010 meeting.

Copier Lease

Mrs. Csete referred to her memo dated 5/26/2010 to the Board providing details on 3 copier quotes she received to replace the Toshiba copier that is concluding its lease on July 1st. Per her recommendation, Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the quote from Toshiba Business Machines, and Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Philips called for further discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Insurance Renewal 6/11/2010 – 6/11/2011

The Administrator provided some background on the insurance process and indicated the costs proposed for this year are close to those of the previous year, with some items being lower and Workers’ Compensation insurance a little higher. The overall cost is slightly less than that for 2009. She added that service continues to be excellent from the insurance brokerage firm, Simkiss Companies and specifically from Ken Moyer. Every three years he aggressively seeks competitive bids to ensure the Township is getting the best price and service. This year that process took place over the past 8 weeks, with Scottsdale Insurance recommended.

Mr. Philips moved to approve the Scottsdale insurance proposal obtained through Simkiss Company for the period of 6/11/2010 – 6/11/2011 and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.

Budget Update

At Mr. Philips’ request, Mrs. Csete prepared a mid-year review of the overall budget for 2010 and presented the findings from her report and memo dated 6/7/2010. Revenues have been on target with the exception of real estate transfers, which are markedly low, and building permit fees, both due to the lagging economy. Expenditures have been within budget with the major exception of snow removal, which went over budget by $185,000. Charlestown will receive $85,000 from FEMA, leaving a $100,000 overage. She noted that the Board may need to consider increasing the real estate millage for 2011 or using some of the Earned Income Tax to cover operating expenses. In the memo she recommended that the Township develop a Capital Improvement Plan which would list a schedule of capital projects for a five year period and set aside funding for them.

Mr. Kuhn noted his reluctance to use the EIT funds for anything other than open space, though he did note that by using a portion of these taxes instead of increased real estate taxes, retirees and unemployed people aren’t adversely affected. The Board agreed that a five year plan should be implemented and that feedback should be sought from the residents on how to pay for the improvements. Mr. Kuhn offered to write an article for the next newsletter soliciting comments.


Mr. Philips adjourned the meeting at 9:17 p.m. The next business meeting is scheduled for June 21, 2010, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School. The Board held an executive session to discuss legal matters following the conclusion of the meeting.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Township Secretary