Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of July 6, 2010

The business meeting for July was held July 6, 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., Mark Thompson, Esq.
Staff: Linda Csete, Administrator, Fred Alston, Public Works Superintendent
Public: See attached sign-in sheet

Call to Order:

7:32 p.m.


Mrs. Csete announced that the Charlestown Historical Commission received an Excellence Award from the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions for the interpretative signage project that was completed last year. She said that Charlie Philips, Rosemary Philips and she served on the committee to develop the signage with consultant Peter Dajevskis over the past two years. Mr. Philips said it’s a tribute to Charlestown to win national recognition for this project, and the Township is still waiting to hear from the PA Museum & Historical Commission on the award submission made to that agency.

Mr. Thompson announced that last week, a panel of seven judges from PA Commonwealth Court reversed the decision of Judge Nagle in the Robal case. Judge Nagle had remanded the matter back to the Board of Supervisors for reconsideration, and the Township appealed that decision. The Solicitor argued the appeal in April, and the Commonwealth Court ruled in the Township’s favor by upholding the Board of Supervisors’ denial of the Robal PRD application on June 7, 2009. Mr. Thompson said this matter is concluded and there is no further action needed by the Township. Mr. Philips asked if the applicant can return to the Township with an application for subdivision under the Farm Residential zoning requirements, and Mr. Thompson said yes.

Citizens’ Forum

No matters were brought forward.


Minutes of June 21, 2010 Business Meeting

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the minutes of the June 21, 2010 business meeting, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Treasurer's Report June 1- 30, 2010

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the June 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 July 6, 2010

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the July 6, 2010 Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report – Open Space Fund July 6, 2010

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the July 6, 2010 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


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

Mr. Philips reported that the Design Review Committee didn’t meet this morning and no meetings are scheduled for August.

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

Old Business

Exeter Land Development Plan

Jason Honesty, Mike Murray, Esq. and Aaron Lorah, P.E. were present to seek preliminary plan approval for parking revisions at 3222 Phoenixville Pike. Mr. Murray said they received approval from the Zoning Hearing Board for a waiver of the landscape island requirements. He thanked the Zoning Hearing Board for arranging the hearing so promptly. He said they can comply with the remaining consultants’ review comments.

Mr. Thompson asked if there’s a timeline for construction of the improvements. Mr. Honesty said there’s a sequence, but no timeline as this will depend on how and when the building is leased. He said the construction will take place in four phases as follows:

  1. Installation of all parking islands
  2. Restriping the existing parking lot
  3. Constructing the new parking lot
  4. Striping over the Aegeon portion of the parking lot

Mr. Thompson asked Mr. Kohli if there’s any problem with having separate financial security for each phase, and he said no.

Mr. Murray said Exeter will plan to submit the final land development plan at a later date after leasing arrangements have moved further along. Mr. Kohli reminded the applicant that the zoning hearing board decision is only good for six months. Mr. Murray said the decision relates only to the first phase, but if it approaches expiration they’ll request an extension.

Mr. Philips moved to approve the Exeter 3222 Preliminary Land Development Plan, last revised 2/16/10 subject to the comments on Mr. Kohli’s review letter dated 3/2/10, Mr. Stubbe’s letter dated 2/25/10, Mr. Theurkauf’s memorandum dated 3/1/10, and subject to the Zoning Hearing Board decision to allow the alternate landscape island configuration. Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

New Business

Robert Roggio – Zoning Hearing Board Overview

Robert and Jeannie Roggio were present to provide an overview of their zoning hearing board application seeking a variance from ordinance section 1609B, which does not permit for more than three lots to share a private driveway. The Roggios propose to subdivide their 13 acre lot into 2 lots, which would create a fourth lot on private Eastwick Drive. They anticipate selling their existing home and building a downsized home for themselves on the new 3 acre lot.

Mr. Roggio displayed a sketch plan and circulated an aerial photo of the property. He said that although they can access the new lot from a separate driveway to Church Road, this would create more impervious surface and require a larger stormwater management system than would be needed if they could tie in to the existing drive. He said an old farm lane already exists past Eastwick Drive that reaches the proposed lot.

Mr. Philips said the zoning ordinance doesn’t permit 4 lots on a shared driveway without that driveway being brought up to Township road standards. Mr. Kohli said this would require a minimum road width of 24 feet plus curbing. Mr. Roggio asked if Eastwick Drive, which he estimates at 18 feet wide, hadn’t been granted a waiver from this requirement, but Mr. Kohli said no, the requirement doesn’t apply unless there are more than 3 lots.

Mr. Philips said because the lot can be accessed directly from Church Road, hardship can’t be proven. Mr. Rodgers agreed. Mr. Philips said the zoning ordinance is very clear on this issue, and he expressed concern that approving a variance would set a precedent. Mr. Thompson said that each property has unique characteristics, so an approval wouldn’t necessarily set precedent, although other property owners may see an approval as an encouragement to pursue a similar remedy.

Mr. Philips said if the applicant wishes to use Eastwick Drive, it should be brought up to Township standards. He then asked if the Roggios own the Eastwick Drive easement, and Mr. Roggio said yes. Mr. Kohli said that the other property owners along the lane would be parties to any changes to the lane and would be co-applicants.

Mr. Kuhn said he doesn’t have a problem with the application, saying a separate driveway would be unattractive, noting a similar outcome for a subdivision off Hollow Road where two private driveways are side by side.

Mr. Philips made a motion to oppose the application and to send the Solicitor to the hearing to represent the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for further discussion, and there being none, called the vote. Mr. Piliero, Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Philips were in favor. Mr. Kuhn and Mr. Willig were opposed.

Blue Haven Pool – Request for Surface Stormwater Basin Waiver, Sullivan Property

Larry Stoelker of Blue Haven Pools was present with the property owner to request a waiver to permit a surface stormwater basin on the Sullivan property as part of their pool construction project. He said engineer Matt Mesko sized the proposed rain garden, which will handle the stormwater in less area than an underground basin would require. Mr. Philips asked for the total disturbance area and impervious coverage area. Mr. Kohli said the rain garden would be approximately 5,000 sq. ft. in size with a total disturbance area of 35,000 sq. ft. He said the applicant forwarded the plan to Tom Comitta’s office, where it was reviewed for landscaping only. Mr. Philips said other information is needed, such as a depiction of what the rain garden would look like, what type of plants it would have, how invasives would be kept out, how it would be maintained and who will submit the required periodic reports. Mr. Kohli said a cross-section of the pond will be needed. Mr. Stoelker said the Board’s main concern appears to be aesthetics, but Mr. Philips said they are concerned with function first. Mr. Kohli said he provided the applicant with a list of items to be presented.

Mr. Philips confirmed with Mr. Thompson that the Supervisors have the authority to grant a waiver, and Mr. Thompson said they do. Mr. Willig said he doesn’t see any issues with the proposed rain garden; the information just needs further development. Mr. Philips suggested that the applicant return to the August meeting with that information.

Spring Oak Preliminary Plan

John Mostoller and Eric Schrock were present from Dewey L.P. Also present: Doug Olsen, Barton Partners, and Jason Engelhardt, P.E.

Mr. Mostoller said the Dewey team has been working for 2˝ years with the Township’s Design Review Committee, Planning Commission, Fire Marshal, Solicitor, Engineer and Planner on the Spring Oak project in order to bring them to this point where they now seek preliminary plan approval.

Mr. Engelhardt displayed the overall site plan and said the preliminary plan was first submitted in October 2009. The Design Manual and various other reports were submitted earlier. Several conditional use approvals were also applied for in October 2009, and approvals were granted on 2/1/10 following a public hearing on 12/7/2009. During the process, amendments to the TND ordinance were requested that would impact the Spring Oak plan and future plans from other developers. Those ordinance amendments were approved on 6/21/10 and consisted mostly of small dimensional items. In addition, 6 waivers were requested and granted, mostly relating to stormwater management. The Design Manual has gone through numerous iterations and was recommended for approval by the Planning Commission.

Mr. Engelhardt said they were last before the Supervisors in May, when they presented a packet, “Conditions of Preliminary Approval” which documented all the changes in the plans since October 2009. Revised plans memorializing all these changes were submitted on 6/3/10. He said they received an updated review letter from Mr. Kohli today that recommends approval of the Preliminary Plan subject to the applicant complying with the 20 items listed in the letter at the time of Final Plan submission. Mr. Philips noted a recommendation was also provided by Mr. Comitta in a letter dated 6/22/10 with the same proviso on addressing outstanding matters at the final plan stage. Mr. Philips asked Dale Frens for his input. Mr. Frens likewise indicated that the items listed in his 6/24/10 review letter may be resolved at the final plan submission stage.

Mr. Mostoller said they submitted a response letter to the consultants’ reviews. He said Tom Fillippo has signed the grading agreement, and the abutting neighbors whose land may be affected by changes in grade within five feet of their property lines have been notified of tonight’s meeting by certified mail in accordance with the Stormwater Management Ordinance requirements.

Mr. Philips asked who’s responsible for updating the landscaping plan in the future. For example, if new cultivars become available and are desirable replacements for trees shown in the original plan, who approves them? After some discussion, it was determined that the HOA documents will reflect that they would come to the Board for approval. Mr. Thompson said a modification procedure for items in the design manual is outlined in the revised TND ordinance.

Mr. Philips said the landscaping plan indicates that all tree measurements must be adhered to unless an alternate is approved by the landscape architect. Following discussion, it was determined that this reference to “landscape architect” would be changed to “the Township.”

Mr. Kuhn referred to item #3.I.i. in Mr. Comitta’s review letter of 6/22/10 regarding the lettering and signage at the entrance. Mr. Mostoller said this will be reflected in the final drawings.

Mr. Kuhn said there should be a notation for the community gardens that no pressure treated lumber will be used for the raised beds. Mr. Olsen said this change will likewise be included in the final plans.

Mr. Alston said he met with Mr. Schrock regarding the placement of hydrants within Spring Oak and later met with the East Whiteland Fire Company. He said they’re in essential agreement that the hydrants are located properly other than two along Whitehorse Road that may need to be moved. He said the Fire Company is very pleased with the provision of hydrants for this community and the surrounding area.

Mr. Thompson asked for clarification that the Township is operating under the assumption that the preliminary plan conforms to the recently amended TND ordinance, and Mr. Mostoller confirmed that all consultants’ reviews were performed based on that amendment.

Mr. Kuhn referred to Mr. Kohli’s item #7 regarding a bituminous water stop along the edges of the alley paving. He asked if this refers to rolled curbing and whether it’s porous. Mr. Engelhardt said it’s bituminous curbing that will be below grade, and is not porous. Mr. Mostoller said they’ve agreed that the curbing itself will be concrete. He said they prefer flush curbing to raised curbing. Mr. Allen said the concrete curbing feature was added to the ordinance following a concern expressed by Tim Townes that people will otherwise drive over the grass if there are no curbs, and asphalt won’t hold up as well as concrete. Mr. Mostoller said they agree to include flush concrete curbing as a condition of final approval, which Mr. Allen found acceptable.

Mr. Kuhn moved to recommend approval of the Spring Oak Preliminary Plan, last revised 6/3/2010, subject to the following:

and with the understanding that all outstanding issues are to be resolved with the final plan submission.

Mr. Piliero seconded the motion. Mr. Philips called for further discussion, and their being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Other Business

Resolution to Oppose House Bill 2431

The Board directed Mr. Thompson to review PSATS’ draft resolution opposing House Bill 2431, which calls for a constitutional amendment to establish Pennsylvania's 67 counties as the basic level of government. Under the plan, which would eliminate townships, cities, and boroughs, the counties would oversee all municipal operations, including roads, land use and zoning, sanitation, health and safety, and law enforcement.

Sycamore Lane Request

Mr. Philips referred to Al VanBrunt’s 6/8/10 letter in which he asks if there is Township funding to remove numerous dead or dying sycamore trees along Sycamore Lane. He provided information on a local tree company that had provided him with reasonable rates for tree cutting, chipping and stump grinding. Mr. Alston noted that the Township has Davey Tree Co. under contract and would not be able to use another contractor; however trees on individuals’ property, even in the road right of way, is the property owners’ responsibility and not the Township. He said Mr. VanBrunt should be advised to work out a replacement program cooperatively with his neighbors, and to be further advised to plant any new trees outside the road right of way.

The Supervisors agreed with Mr. Alston’s assessment and asked the Administrator to respond with a letter to Mr. VanBrunt.

Curb Replacement

Mr. Kuhn asked if the Board should consider a clause in the road contract indicating who’s responsible for curb replacement when curbs are damaged as a result of snow plowing operations, as has occurred this year. Mr. Alston said the damage was due to the height of the snow and damage happened primarily at intersections, not on straight-aways. It was the first time in ten years damage has occurred due to the unusual amount of snow this year. Mr. Kuhn said perhaps there could be a way of at least sharing the cost. Mr. Willig suggested asking the contractor to keep track of where and when the curb is hit, although Mr. Alston said in some instances they may not be aware of it at the time it happens.

Road Bid Documents

Mr. Piliero said that he, Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Alston met on June 30th to review the road bid documents and to develop new specs and bid forms, which will be used in re-bidding the contract in the fall. They also contacted three companies interested in bidding and discussed scheduling a road tour in September.

Mr. Piliero outlined the following items to review with the Board:

  1. The Roadmaster will come to the Board of Supervisors for approval of any project over $5,000.
  2. If ownership of the company under contract changes, the contract will become null and void and will be renegotiated. After some discussion, the Board opted to change this to indicate the contract “may be renegotiated”, not that it will automatically be terminated and renegotiated.
  3. The subcommittee recommends a 1 year contract period vs. 2 years.
  4. The subcommittee agreed that a contract period of April 1 – March 31 is the best contract cycle, so the first contract which expires 10/1/2010 will be bid for an 18 month period to position renewal for April 1, 2012.
  5. They propose adding anti-icing treatment equipment to the bid form. Mr. Alston said last year he experimented with pretreatment of hills with dry material and saw that it helped tremendously. As a result, he’d like to bring a proposal to the next board meeting on brine solution equipment. He said 50 gallons of brine solution is spread per mile, and the Township has 37 lane-miles of road. This solution can handle 2” snowfalls and almost all icing conditions with no other work needed. The only loss would occur if it rained rather than snowed, or if it didn’t snow after treating the roads. Brine solution uses 10% of the material used in dry salt spreading, so it’s good for the environment, reduces salt costs, and reduces the cost of cleanup in the spring.

    Mr. Kuhn asked if they would mix the brine or purchase it. Mr. Alston said he’s looking into options. He’s looking for a spreading unit for his truck that would hold 150 gallons of brine, and is talking with the Turnpike Commission to see if they can provide him with access to the mixed material from their Valley Hill Road maintenance site. Mr. Alston said he may be able to make a brine mixer, noting that commercial units are very expensive.

    Mr. Kuhn asked if the brine distributor should be included in the new road bid specs. Mr. Alston said he’s only heard good reports on the use of brine. He said the contractor could use a 950 gallon tank, which won’t trigger the requirement for a CDL license. The distributor for the Township truck isn’t too expensive at $3,800 for a 300 gallon unit.
  6. The subcommittee recommends that the bidders be located within a 10 mile radius of the Township and must show that they have all the equipment in the specs or have it under contract. Mr. Kuhn said a contractor he spoke with says the requirement to have all equipment under contract is too stringent. Mr. Alston said it could be a verbal contract, verified by affidavit. Mr. Rodgers noted that subcontractors would be covered under the performance bond. Mr. Willig asked for the significance of the 10 mile radius requirement if the Township doesn’t know where the subcontractors are located. Mr. Philips asked if the bid specs specify a minimum response time, and Mr. Alston said yes, there’s a standard call out time and emergency call out time. He noted that for snow removal, the pretreatment can buy a little time. Mr. Kuhn said he’d prefer to leave the radius at 12 miles as currently specified, to which the other Board members agreed.
  7. The subcommittee asked the Board to consider whether they should include a dollar figure for individual projects that, over a certain cost, can go out to multiple bidders even though a contract is in place. Mr. Kuhn said his contractor source said under those circumstances, the bid specs shouldn’t provide estimated hours per piece of equipment as it’s not fair to the contractor who will be scheduling his time accordingly and may not be assigned the work. If specific work such as paving is put out to bid separately, that equipment listed should omit estimated hours. Mr. Alston said if paving may be bid separately, this should be noted in the bid documents, to which Mr. Piliero agreed.

Mr. Piliero said they’ll poll their bidders on how they handle damaged curbing, and Mr. Alston suggested polling them on damaged mailboxes as well. Three contractors indicated interest in bidding this fall, including Melchiorre Construction, Delaware Valley Paving and Mancini. He said the subcommittee recommends a road tour be scheduled for the second week of September, and include the contractor and Mr. Alston. Mr. Kuhn said Mr. Kohli should also attend.

Mr. Piliero said the bid documents should be drafted by the end of July, with approval by the Board at the August 2nd meeting so the contract can go out for bid for opening at the September 7th meeting. Mr. Alston added that the draft documents will be forwarded to Mr. Thompson for legal review.

Traditional Neighborhood Development Area 2

Mike Allen said the Board should consider two items before any developers move forward with proposals in TND-2, the commercial and retail Area in Devault. First, they may wish to have the Township owned 6.2 acre parcel appraised to establish a base point prior to any improvements in the district, second, they may wish to consider the feasibility of assessing impact fees.


Mr. Philips adjourned the meeting at 9:17 p.m. The next business meeting is scheduled for August 2, 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
sheet, 7/6/2010