Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of February 7, 2011

The first business meeting for February was held February 7, 2011 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA.


Supervisors: Hugh Willig, Chairman, Frank Piliero, Vice Chairman, Kevin Kuhn, Mike Rodgers
Consultants: Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Dan Wright, P.E., Mark Thompson, Esq.
Staff: Linda Csete, Administrator, Fred Alston, Public Works Superintendent
Public: See attached sign-in sheet

Call to Order:

7:30 p.m.


Mrs. Csete announced that the link to the codified ordinances is now available from the Township website and has an excellent search function.

She also announced that a representative of the Transportation Management Association of Chester County (TMACC) will attend the Supervisors’ March 7th meeting and give an update on road improvement projects including the improvements to Route 29, the Turnpike Slip Ramp and the widening of Route 202.

Citizens’ Forum

2068 Bodine Road

Joseph End, Bodine Road, wanted to express his thanks to the Board and everyone else involved in resolving the issues he had with adjacent building construction and lighting. He said he’s satisfied with the results and taking care of the problems will enhance his quality of life.

Historic Markley Property

Andy Motel asked for action on the Markley property after the owner, the Charlestown Historical Society, was informed in September 2010 they had to take immediate action to stabilize and repair several buildings as they were in violation of the Demolition by Neglect ordinance that protects historic resources. He confirmed earlier today with Mr. Willig that no action had been taken by the Society, and the easement holder, the French & Pickering Creeks Trust, has likewise heard nothing since they were told in the fall that the CHS was going to have Dale Frens submit a proposal. It’s not clear whether this was ever done.

Mr. Motel said he’s aware the CHS has funds available to maintain the property yet has ignored the problems with the buildings, and with the current snow load, they’re in immediate danger of collapse. At the very least, a handyman should be sought to remove the snow.

Mr. Rodgers, also a member of the CHS, said the barn is basically sound but has a leak to be repaired and a joist to be replaced. He said Mr. Frens was asked to give a report on the barn and that it’s the CHS’s first priority. He said he doesn’t feel the CHS is averse to spending the money necessary to do this.

Mr. Motel said the walls of the wagon shed also need immediate stabilization. Mr. Willig said the wagon shed has collapsed and buttressing is needed.

Mr. Motel said the French & Pickering Creeks Trust wants to renegotiate the easement and is willing to work with the CHS but the Society needs to follow up. At present, there is both a conservation easement on the entire property plus a preservation easement on the structures.

Mr. Kuhn said the CHS has yet to address whether they will rebuild the wagon shed, and if not, whether the Township should take legal action. He said the endowment from Stinson Markley was provided to fund the maintenance of the buildings, and while the F & P may wish to change the easement to reduce the burden of enforcement on themselves, the Board should be cognizant of Markley’s wishes to have the structures preserved.

Mr. Rodgers said he’ll contact CHS president John Pittock and offer to handle these matters. Mr. Willig said the Board needs to put the CHS on notice. The Township will do what it can to assist them but the ordinance must be enforced. Mr. Kuhn noted that later on the agenda the Board is going to consider taking steps to place the Brightside Farm on the National Register of Historic Places, and he said that should be tabled until the Markley matter is resolved. It too is on the National Register, and until the Township enforces its own ordinance against neglect, there’s no point in adding properties to fall under it.

Mr. Willig moved to direct the Zoning Officer to issue a citation to the Charlestown Historical Society for the demolition by neglect of three structures on the Markley property, including the barn, wagon shed and a second shed. Further, the CHS must take immediate action to safeguard the buildings and provide an action plan prepared by either the Township engineer or a structural engineer of their choice. Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and their being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Fire Escrow Funds

Michael Richter asked if the Board would consider approving the return of his fire escrow funds on deposit with the Township as soon as Mr. Kohli approves its release. The funds are returned to the property owner once demolition is completed, and in his case, the demolition will be completed soon and he doesn’t want to wait for the next payables cycle before he gets the check.


Minutes of January 3, 2011 Reorganization Meeting

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the minutes of the January 3, 2011 reorganization meeting, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Minutes of January 3, 2011 Business Meeting

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of the January 3, 2011 business meeting, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote.

All were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report January 1-31, 2011

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the January 2011 Treasurer’s Report and Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report – Operating Fund February 7, 2011

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the February 7, 2011 Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report but will hold check #7959 to Michael & Christine Richter for the release of their fire escrow funds until Mr. Kohli notifies the Township Manager that the required demolition has been completed. Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report – Open Space Fund February 7, 2011

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the February 7, 2011 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Mr. Kuhn moved to accept the January reports as submitted, and Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion.

Mr. Willig asked Mr. Alston where residents can obtain information on the Limerick testing sirens now that they are sounding two times instead of once and it leads to confusion. Mr. Alston said that both Exelon and County Emergency Services have information on their websites explaining that they’re phasing out the old signal and testing the new one, so for a time there are two sirens. Sue Staas asked how residents would know if the siren was a test or a real event. Mr. Alston said PECO sends information out to all its customers instructing them on how to tune into the emergency broadcast network. The Board suggested the township website include a link to this information.

Mr. Willig said that the Board didn’t make appointments to the Phoenixville Regional Planning Commission at its reorganization meeting, adding that he’s willing to continue to serve. He said Rick Reis had been the Planning Commission representative but since he’s no longer on the Planning Commission, a new member from that group should be appointed. The Board asked Michael Richter if he would communicate this to the Planning Commission at its meeting tomorrow evening. He said the meetings are scheduled for the last Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at the Schuylkill Township Building and usually last a half hour to two hours.

Mr. Willig called the vote on acceptance of the reports, and all were in favor.


Technical Assistance Grant for Pipeline Planning Project

Eileen Quinn Juico, Esq. presented information on a project she’s heading to assist area agencies with pipeline safety awareness, education and planning. She is drafting a Technical Assistance Grant that she would like Charlestown Township to join as applicant, with West Pikeland Township, the PA Land Trust Alliance (PALTA) and PA Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) as partners. This process would be at no cost to Charlestown; the Township would simply act as the administrator for the grant and handle the funds. While there are no pipeline projects proposed for Charlestown, there are existing pipelines here and throughout Chester County.

Ms. Juico said the grant comes through the Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, and in the first year it was offered she obtained $50,000 for a grant for West Vincent Township, West Pikeland Township and the Green Valleys Association. She referenced the summary she prepared that outlines the proposed public outreach objectives including conducting four public meetings that will address pipeline safety, damage prevention and sound environmental planning.

Mr. Willig asked if the project will address federal laws and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) process. His understanding is that the FERC never denies a proposal. Ms. Juico said that’s more or less true, and that she intends to address federal laws in her proposal. She added that it’s important to communicate more with legislators on pipeline issues.

Mr. Willig asked if the grant would provide enough funding to achieve the stated goals, and Ms. Juico said it will get the process started. She said she made the objectives attainable.

Mr. Kuhn asked if the grant can be renewed by other municipalities, and Ms. Juico said yes, through re-application.

Mr. Willig asked if any other municipalities are interested, and she said West Whiteland Township could be approached. Mr. Willig also suggested speaking with East Pikeland and East Whiteland Townships.

Her request this evening is for the Board to approve the application for the grant hiring her as consultant and project manager, and to direct the Manager to apply for a DUNS number and download, complete and submit the Grant Application Package.

Ms. Juico said she would prepare the scope and budget proposal for the grant application. Mr. Rodgers asked if the grant would cover all costs, and Ms. Juico said yes; the Township will not be responsible for any costs. She said the deadline to apply is February 28th but suggests submitting by February 26th unless additional information is needed.

Mr. Kuhn moved to apply for the technical assistant grant for pipeline planning and to act as administrator. Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Ordinance to Amend the Sewer Use Ordinance

Mr. Thompson explained that the law on chemical parameters had changed and the Valley Forge Sewer Authority revised their rules and regulations accordingly. The purpose of the proposed ordinance is to amend the Township’s sewer use ordinance to be consistent with the VFSA’s new discharge limits.

Mr. Rodgers moved to adopt Ordinance #169-2011 amending the sewer use ordinance and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.

Old Business

Update on Chester Valley Grange Building and Chuck’s Wagon

Mr. Kuhn said he spoke to Polly Hagen last week about the future of the Grange Building. She said the membership is very interested in selling the building to the Township, with the understanding that they would have a perpetual lease and the Township would put a conservation easement on the property and list the building as a historic structure. The Grange Master was to contact Harrisburg for their input. He said the local chapter’s impression of the Harrisburg headquarters is that they don’t become too involved and will most likely approve whatever sales figure is proposed even though they receive the proceeds. Mr. Willig asked when the Harrisburg organization meets, and Mr. Kuhn said he’ll call Ms. Hagen tomorrow and try to find out.

Sue Staas asked what the building would be used for, and Mr. Kuhn said it could be a community center and provide meeting space. As an adjunct to the proposed Devault Village, it would add a community component. Mrs. Staas asked if the Township would use open space funds to purchase the property and Mr. Kuhn said yes.

Mr. Kuhn said the membership, which consists now of only 8-12 people, receive no tax breaks and has difficulty covering the maintaining costs for the building. They’re anticipating their 100th anniversary as a local chapter of the Grange and want to keep the group intact at least until that point.

Mrs. Staas asked how old the building is. Mr. Kuhn said it’s older than the Turnpike judging from an old photo of the building that shows Yellow Springs Road adjacent to it. Mr. Willig said it’s not the original building for the local grange so it would be of less age than the group itself.

Mr. Willig asked for an update on the deadline for Chuck’s Wagon to relocate and Mr. Kuhn said as the only source of revenue for the Grange they’re concerned about their options. He said he’ll keep pushing both matters and will try to get them resolved as soon as possible.

New Business

UCC Enforcement – Contract with Third Party Agency

Mrs. Csete said she received an email last week from Jon Balson at the Pa Dept. of Labor & Industry asking her to confirm whether Anthony Merklinger, who was appointed by the Board to enforce the Uniform Construction Code as BCO, is an employee of Charlestown Township or in the alternative whether the Township has a direct contract with his employer, Benesch & Associates.

Mr. Thompson called Mr. Balson back to explain that Anthony works for Benesch & Company which contracts through Kohli & Associates. Mr. Balson quoted the state code that requires the Township to have a direct contract with the firm providing 3rd party inspection services. The fact that Charlestown’s engineering firm, Kohli & Associates, has a contract with Benesch isn’t sufficient. Mr. Thompson recommended that the Township enter into an agreement with Benesch with the proviso that Kohli & Associates will handle its administration. Mr. Kohli indicated this would be acceptable to him.

Mr. Thompson said he’ll circulate a draft of the proposed contract for the Board’s consideration and contact L & I in the meantime to update them and ask for confirmation that they have no issue with it. Mr. Willig asked if the Township is covered for inspection services in the meantime, and Mr. Kohli said yes, since Mr. Merklinger is certified to perform inspections.

Mr. Kuhn moved to execute the agreement with Benesch & Associates to act as its third party agency providing code enforcement, with the agreement to be administrated through Mr. Kohli’s office, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.

Proposal to Seek Nomination for the Brightside Farm on the National Register of Historic Places

Mrs. Csete explained that there are two steps in the procedure to have a property placed on the National Register. Jane Dorchester’s proposal dated 12/14/10 addresses the first step, which involves conducting a historic resource inventory and submitting the paperwork to the Bureau of Historic Preservation. If the BHP doesn’t recommend the farm for eligibility, the project stops here.

If the project is recommended, the 2nd proposal dated 12/16/10 from Ms. Dorchester outlines the steps to prepare the nomination to the National Register. The combined total of the two proposals is $9,130 with some allowance for additional meetings and research. The Historic Commission has an approved budget for this project of $10,000.

Mr. Kuhn moved to table this item until the Markley situation, that of demolition by neglect, is remedied and the Board is satisfied with the result. He said there is no purpose in adding the Brightside Farm to the National Register if no additional protection is provided due to the Township’s lack of enforcement action.

Mrs. Staas asked if there was a conservation easement on the entire Brightside property yet, and Mr. Kuhn said no, he’s still waiting to get together with the French & Pickering Creeks Trust to negotiate. He said they were too restrictive in their earlier proposal, and even though they indicated they don’t enforce the more stringent parts of the agreement it’s not sensible to enter into it without some revision. Mrs. Staas asked if another organization can be contacted, and Mr. Kuhn said yes. Mr. Piliero said the North American Lands Trust holds the easement on his property and they were very easy to work with.

Mr. Willig seconded Mr. Kuhn’s earlier motion. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none further called the vote. All were in favor.

2011 Road Improvements – Preparation of Bid Documents

Mrs. Csete said that the next step following the December road tour undertaken by the supervisors, public works superintendent, Mr. Kohli and Mr. Wright and herself is to develop bid specs for road improvements for this year and beyond.

If the work is to begin this spring, bid preparation must begin immediately.

Mr. Kuhn said he suggests that the Board consider creating an overall bid package to span several years, to be prepared by an engineering company which would also handle administration and inspections. This could either be through the Township Engineer’s office or with a firm like Pennoni Associates. Mr. Willig said this will take too long for any work to begin in 2011 and in fact would have to be pushed hard to manage for 2012. He suggested that the Board select a few roads to do this spring. Mr. Kuhn said he’d like to go out for bids, which is permitted according to the current contract with Melchiorre Construction Co. He suggested that Mr. Kohli’s office prepare the bid package with input from Mr. Alston. Mr. Rodgers said he thought they should evaluate the cost to go out for bid, which would trigger the requirement for prevailing wages. This could cost more than working with the current contractor.

After some discussion, the Board decided on the following roads for repair and resurfacing in 2011: Union Hill Road from Route 29 to the Markley Property, Rees Road, Pickering Road, Hilltop and the roads in the Hollow Run Farms development including Dickson Drive, Tranquility Drive and Theresa Drive.

Mr. Willig said the bid document should indicate that the Board has the right to select which roads will be done in 2011, depending on how the cost match the available budget. The roads should be itemized separately.

Mr. Kuhn suggested the bid prices be listed with and without materials included. Mr. Kohli said more contractors will bid if materials are included. Mr. Kuhn asked if the documents could indicate that the Township reserves the right to purchase the material, and Mr. Kohli said yes.

Mr. Willig moved to provide a list of roads to Mr. Kohli to survey and to develop a scope of work to use to prepare the bid package. The package is to include the cost per road, with and without materials, the proposed quantity of material to be used, an indication of how long each road will have to be closed and a plan for traffic while they are closed.

Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor. A further discussion on whether to develop a multi-year road improvement plan, or whether to simply select a set of roads to go out to bid each year, for several years going forward, will take place March 7th. Mr. Alston said he keeps a five year plan, and will update it and circulate it to the Board.

Schedule Hearing to Amend the Horseshoe Trail Ordinance

Mrs. Csete and Mr. Thompson provided some background on the proposed amendment to the trail ordinance. The Board asked if the hearing should be delayed while the question of insurance protection is addressed. Mr. Thompson said he didn’t believe that would be a factor in considering this ordinance and it could move forward if the Board wished.

Mr. Kuhn moved to schedule a hearing to consider the draft amendment to the Horseshoe Trail Ordinance, to include other trails, for March 7, 2011, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School. Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Schedule Hearing to Amend the TND Ordinance for Area 5

Mrs. Csete explained that the draft amendments were recommended by the Planning Commission for TND Area 5, which consists of the Tyler Griffin tract. Mr. Kuhn moved to schedule a hearing to consider the draft amendments to the TND Ordinance for Area 5 for April 4, 2011, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School. Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Other Business

Appointment to the Valley Forge Sewer Authority

Mr. Willig asked to confirm that the Board made a reappointment to the VFSA at its reorganization meeting, and Mr. Rodgers confirmed that he was reappointed.

Executive Sessions

Mrs. Csete announced that the Board held an executive session prior to this evening’s meeting to discuss legal matters, and would hold an additional executive session following the meeting for the same purpose.


Mr. Kuhn moved to adjourn and Mr. Piliero seconded. All were in favor. The meeting was adjourned the meeting at 9:10 p.m. The next business meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 7, 2011, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 North Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Township Secretary
sheet, 2/07/2011