Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of April 4, 2011

The first business meeting for April was held April 4, 2011 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA.


Supervisors: Hugh Willig, Chairman, Frank Piliero, Vice Chairman, Charlie Philips, Kevin Kuhn, and Mike Rodgers, Members
Consultants: Dan Wright, P.E., Tom Comitta, Mark Thompson, Esq.
Staff: Linda Csete, Manager, Fred Alston, Public Works Superintendent
Public: See attached sign-in sheet

Call to Order:

7:32 p.m.


Mr. Rodgers announced that the Valley Forge Sewer Authority has established a scholarship program for Great Valley and Phoenixville Area School Districts who are interested in environmental education. The schools will make the scholarship decisions.

Mrs. Csete made the following announcements:

  1. An executive session was held after the March 7th meeting to discuss legal matters.
  2. She attended the Turnpike’s ribbon cutting ceremony on March 24th for the Slip Ramp groundbreaking. Turnpike Officials, US Congressman Gerlach, State Sen. Dinniman and Pa Congressman Duane Milne attended along with representatives of East Whiteland, Tredyffrin and Charlestown Townships.
  3. She said Earth Day Volunteers are still welcome to join the Township’s efforts on Sat., April 16th, starting at 9 a.m. at the Township Office with a continental breakfast.
  4. Charlestown is joining with East Pikeland and Schuylkill Township to provide paper shredding services to our residents. ProShred will be at the CAT Pickering on April 16th from 9 am – 1 pm. This event is open for residents of the three participating municipalities only.
  5. The email notification system is now up and running on the township website. The Board suggested she notify Jacob Merriwether so he can alert the frequenters of his Citizen’s Website.

Citizens’ Forum

No matters were brought forward.


Minutes of March 7, 2011 Business Meeting

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of the March 7, 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 March 1 - 31, 2011

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

Accounts Payable Report – Operating Fund April 4, 2011

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the April 4, 2011 Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report and 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 April 4, 2011

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the April 4, 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. Philips asked why $1,200 for trail consulting was billed by Thomas Comitta Associates. Mr. Allen responded this related to the Thompson project.


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

Mr. Willig asked if Mr. Alston could replace the Flag at the Revolutionary War Cemetery, to which he agreed. Mr. Philips suggested he call the DAR for a flag.

Mr. Kuhn asked how far along sweeping and inlet cleaning is this spring, and Mr. Alston said about half way. Mr. Kuhn asked if this means another $30,000 will be spent, and Mr. Alston said probably less.

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


Zoning Ordinance Amendment to Traditional Neighborhood Development Area 5

The proceedings were taken by Kim Kerchner, Court Reporter. Mr. Thompson entered the following into the record:

T-1 Act 247 County Referral
T-2 Public Notice
T-3 County Planning Commission Review Letter dated 2/22/2011
T-4 Proof of Publication
T-5 Letter dated 3/18/2011 to Chester County Law Library
T-6 Draft Ordinance

Testimony was given by Tom Comitta. Mr. Thompson asked if there were any questions from those present. No one came forward and the record was closed.

Mr. Philips moved to adopt Ordinance #171-2011 amending the Charlestown Code of Ordinances, Chapter 27 - Zoning, Part 2, Definitions and Part 22, TND Sections 2218-2220 regarding Area 5, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.

Amendment to Horseshoe Trail Ordinance

The proceedings were taken by Kim Kerchner, Court Reporter. Mr. Thompson explained that the proposed ordinance would expand the regulations for the Horseshoe Trail to all other Township owned trails open to public use and include trail corridors the Township has under agreement, that cross Township land or are under easement with the Township.

Mr. Thompson asked if there were any questions from those present. The following individuals came forward:

Following the hearing, the record was closed. Mr. Kuhn moved to adopt Ordinance #172-2011 amending Chapter 16 of the Township Code of Ordinances to amend regulations for use of Township trails, and Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.

Old Business

Contract for UCC Enforcement

Mr. Thompson said he worked with Benesch & Associates on amendments to their 2/1/2011 proposal for plan review and inspection services, and the revised document has been circulated to the Board for review and consideration. Benesch & Associates agreed to all the changes.

Mr. Thompson explained that the need for an agreement was brought to the Township’s attention by Labor & Industry, and the proposal under consideration is a fairly standard contract that will provide services related to the enforcement of the Uniform Construction Code directly from Benesch & Associates. Benesch will invoice the Township directly but the contract will continue to be administered by Mr. Kohli.

Mr. Philips moved to approve the proposal with Benesch & Associates and to authorize the Township Manager to execute it following Mr. Thompson’s final review of the document, 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

Mr. Philips said he circulated an email reviewing the two steps in the procedure to have the Brightside Farm 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. These costs were included in the 2011 budget. Also, although the grant window for 2011 has passed, an application can be made for possible funding in 2012.

Mr. Philips said placement on the Historic Register adds a layer of protection on the farm if that portion of the property is ever sold. Mr. Willig asked specifically what protection is provided, citing the Markley property as one on the National Register that is nonetheless in serious disrepair.

Mr. Kuhn asked what the long term costs are to the municipality and asked if this information will be included in either step of the project. He said long term costs weren’t discussed during the budget process. Mr. Philips said as the applicant, the Township can include protection on whichever buildings they choose. Mr. Kuhn said the Board doesn’t know yet what they want to do with the buildings, although Mr. Thompson is working with the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust (FPCCT) on an easement document. Mr. Kuhn said he’s concerned that placement on the National Register may be too restrictive or result in onerous oversight by the Bureau.

Mr. Rodgers said the problems at the Markley property have nothing to do with considering the Brightside Farm for the National Register. The Markley property isn’t owned by the Township and isn’t their responsibility. Mr. Philips said the FPCCT neglected to oversee the Markley property, and Mr. Kuhn added the owner, the Charlestown Historical Society, is also at fault.

Planning Commission member Andy Motel asked if the first step, the study, considers long term costs of maintenance under the Historic Register requirements. He noted that in West Chester, requirements are very strict and dictate minutia such as the color of shutters and trim. Mr. Motel said that as an older farm, the fiscal impact should be taken into consideration.

Planning Commission member Mike Allen said there are different layers to the historic registry, and that it doesn’t have to be that restrictive. Mr. Willig said they can do the study first, and then decide whether to move forward. Mr. Philips said the study determines whether the property qualifies. Mr. Allen suggested consulting with Dale Frens, and Mr. Philips said they already did so, and Mr. Frens was in favor of pursuing this designation.

Mr. Willig asked if there is a deadline for the Board to decide whether to move forward. Mr. Philips said that the first step should be completed by the end of this year in order to be ready to move forward with Step 2 in 2012 when grant funds can be pursued.

Mr. Kuhn said he doesn’t want to move forward with this until the Markley matter is resolved. Mr. Philips disagreed, stating the two matters shouldn’t be connected. Mr. Kuhn said the Markley barn is undergoing demolition by neglect and the Township isn’t enforcing its own ordinance. He said this is deplorable, and more so because the Historical Society owns the property. Mr. Motel said that due to a stipulation in Stinson Markey’s will, the Society has funds set aside for that property but they misappropriated a portion to spend on the Rapp House. He agreed with Mr. Kuhn that the Township needs to apply the ordinance consistently. He said he objects to spending $10,000 on the study and nomination for the Brightside Farm and would prefer to spend that money on providing parking there so people can use the property.

Mr. Philips agreed the Township should be consistent and pursue the Historical Society for the lapse at the Markley property. He added the properties at Swiss Pines are not cared for either.

Mr. Willig suggested the Board members review the Brightside proposals from Ms. Dorchester. The Manager will re-circulate the information for the Board to take up at the May 2nd meeting.

Mr. Comitta said Mr. Allen is correct that there are layers that can be selected when placing a property on the National Register. He said he did all the nominations for Charlestown Village in 1976, and three reasons the Board had for doing this was for the prestige, the investment tax credits available to the property owner, and the fact that placement on the Register can stop federal and state highway construction projects that are deemed to degrade the property.

Markley Property

The Board discussed the next step after sending an enforcement notice to the Charlestown Historical Society last month to take steps to repair the buildings on the Markley property. Mr. Thompson said they could have Mr. Kohli send a follow up letter demanding a time frame for addressing the issues, or file a complaint with the District Justice. The Board members indicated the preferred to send a follow up letter and directed Mr. Wright to relay this request to Mr. Kohli.

Chester Valley Grange

Mr. Philips asked for an update on the Grange Building, and Mr. Kuhn said the organization has indicated they want to sell the property to the Township but have been slow to move and may be intimidated by the process with the state. He said he plans to follow up with Polly Hagen from the Grange. Mr. Willig asked if they have counsel, and Mr. Kuhn said probably not. At the Board’s agreement, Mr. Kuhn will offer to avail the Grange access to the Township’s counsel.

New Business

Request for Public Water – Rita Souder, Devault Lane

Linda Souder was present to request approval to connect her mother’s house at 344 Devault Lane to public water after problems arose with their 57 year old well and they were told by Thomas Keyes that a new well would be needed.

Mr. Rodgers asked for the acreage of the property, and Ms. Souder responded, one acre. Mr. Willig asked if the house was of similar age to the others on the lane, and Ms. Souder said yes.

Mr. Philips asked if the well drilling company gave her any indication that there would be a problem drilling a new well, and Ms. Souder said no, but she didn’t pursue the question.

Ms. Souder said that over the past two years they’ve had a lot of air in the pipes intermittently. It was bad over the winter and although it’s not bad all the time it’s started up again.

Mr. Motel asked if they got an estimate on replacing the well, and Ms. Souder said no because they hoped to pursue a public water option instead, particularly with the nearby quarries that can affect their groundwater.

Mr. Kuhn said that as the Traditional Neighborhood Development plans move forward in Devault in the next year or so that the property adjacent to the Souders will be connected to public water. Mr. Philips noted their property is right in the middle of other properties with public water access.

Mr. Philips moved to approve the extension of the public water franchise to the Souder property at 344 Devault Lane with the understanding the extension is for that property only, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Trail Committee Update – Sue Staas

Trail Committee Chairman Sue Staas updated the Board on the Committee’s interest in updating the trail map that shows all existing trails in the Township. She said the old map is from 2003 and there have been major changes to the Horseshoe Trail during this time. The new McDevitt trail isn’t shown at all. She said they want to have the map posted on the website and to have copies available to hand out. The new trail map would first require an update to the base map.

Mr. Kuhn asked Tom Comitta if this data is already in their system. Mr. Comitta said they have new aerial photography maps and GIS overlays available.

Mrs. Staas said they want to produce two separate maps. The first will show trails and parking, and the other will include all conserved parcels. She thought the Supervisors might want the latter map for display on Election Day. One question is whether to use the March 2010 base map Tom Comitta Associates has available, or to pay for a 2011 update for $350.00. Mrs. Csete said there hasn’t been much, if any, subdivision activity between those two dates and the March 2010 map should be sufficient.

Mr. Kuhn confirmed that the maps would only show existing, and not proposed, trails, and Mrs. Staas agreed. Mr. Philips said accuracy is critical and last time some trails were shown that were proposed and not existing, which created confusion and concern among residents. Mr. Kuhn asked if the Planning Commission would review the map, and Mrs. Staas said this would be useful. Mr. Kuhn asked if there would be property owners’ names on the map and Mrs. Staas said no.

Mr. Willig asked if the Township trails are included in the county database, and Mr. Comitta said no, they weren’t involved with the “Linking Landscapes” plan.

Mr. Kuhn moved to authorize the updates to the trail and conserved property maps per Nanci Sarcinello’s proposal dated 4/4/2011, and Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Mr. Kuhn suggested that if there’s room the trail rules and regulations should be printed on the back of the maps.

Tyler Griffin (Pickering Grant) Preliminary Subdivision Plan

Tim Townes of J. Loew & Associates presented the preliminary plan for Tyler Griffin last revised 2/23/11. The plan proposes 76 townhomes and a commercial building to be located in TND Area 5 at the corner of Charlestown Road and Phoenixville Pike. He indicated that the TND ordinance amendment adopted earlier this evening was needed for the commercial building to comply.

Mr. Townes said he received Mr. Kohli’s review letter dated 4/4/11 and believes those items can be addressed between the preliminary and final plan stages. He added that refinements to the Design Manual can also be made with the final plan submission.

Mr. Townes referred to item #1 on Mr. Kohli’s review letter, stating that the basin easement requirements can be satisfied by his engineer working with the DEP.

Mr. Philips asked if there are any comments in the review that will be a problem to comply with. Mr. Townes said Mr. Wright brought up an issue with item #5, which relies on the 1950s soil maps that show some areas with Glenville and Worsham soils. These are considered high ground water soils, yet they are not evident in the field after extensive testing. He said they’ll have a soils scientist do a probe to confirm. He said they have a response letter they will provide to Mr. Wright that will include this data.

Mr. Philips said the Design Review Committee has worked hard with J. Loew’s engineer Andy Eberwein and with the Township engineer, Dan Wright. He said there’s nothing from an engineering standpoint to prevent the Board from granting preliminary approval, however, they need to determine that the density calculation meets the minimum tract area calculation, and this can’t be determined until the easement calculations are done.

Mr. Thompson referred to item #16 on Mr. Kohli’s review letter, which recommends that the TND ordinance be revised to determine the density calculation based on the Net Lot Area rather than the Net Tract Area. His concern is that if the Board approves the preliminary plan before this is determined, the number of units is set and will be hard to change at the final plan stage. He further added that the TND ordinance amendments adopted this evening don’t go into effect for five days, so in the meantime this plan doesn’t comply with the current ordinance.

Mr. Townes said he thinks the plan does comply with the Net Tract Area calculations after some of the proposed easements are reduced. Mr. Thompson said proposed easements and rights-of-way must be netted out of the calculation, but Mr. Townes said he considers these to be conservation easements, which don’t apply.

There was some discussion on a problem discovered in the wording of Net Tract Area, which nets out proposed easements while the Net Lot Area does not. Although eliminating proposed easements from the plan would allow it to comply, it’s hardly what the Board intended.

Mr. Townes agreed to table the decision on the Preliminary Plan until the May 2nd meeting by which time the TND ordinance amendments passed this evening will be in effect.

Open Road Bids

The following road bids for the 2011 Road Base Repair and Resurfacing Contract were opened and read aloud:

Bidder With Materials Without Materials
Cedar Springs Construction $326,857 $157,628
Reading Site Contractors $394,774 No bid
Joseph E. Sucher Inc. $362,921 $215,910
Delaware Valley Paving Co. $333,175 No Bid
Charlestown Paving Co. $360,656 $183,687
Dan Malloy $311,052 $128,837
Macanga Contracting $333,444 $139,502

Mr. Willig complimented Mr. Wright on the bid package, stating that the narrow bid range demonstrates how well the specs were crafted.

Mr. Willig said some explanation is in order for the submission of “not to exceed” prices by Melchiorre Construction Co. in place of a formal bid. Mr. Rodgers said he asked Mr. Alston to obtain this estimate based on the current contract the Township has in place with Melchiorre.

Mrs. Csete noted the total not-to-exceed price provided by Melchiorre Construction Co. is $129,300.

The bids were turned over to Dan Wright for review and recommendation for a contract award on May 2, 2011. Mr. Wright will obtain the cost of material to determine the total cost if the Township opts to accept the bid without materials provided by the contractor.

Proposed Amendments to the 2011 Budget

Mrs. Csete stated that she had previously circulated a list of proposed budget amendments for the General Fund and Open Space fund for the Board’s consideration. The net change of the amendments is zero, since some categories were increased and others decreased. The intention was to bring the budget in line after it became apparent some expenditures wouldn’t be made in 2011 after they were budgeted, while other expenses like snow removal have exceeded the budgeted amount.

Mr. Philips moved to adopt Resolution #751-2011 amending the 2011 Budget per Mrs. Csete’s recommendations. Mr. Rodgers seconded the motion. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Schedule Conditional Use Hearing for Thompson Application

Mr. Philips moved to schedule the conditional use hearing for the Thompson property for May 2, 2011, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA. Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Escrow Releases for Toll Brothers, Charlestown Meadows – Phases 1, 2 and 3

Mr. Philips moved to approve the following escrow releases for Toll Brothers’ Charlestown Meadows project:

Escrow Release #7 for Phase I for $57,953.95
Escrow Release #6 for Phase II for $50,392.27
Escrow Release #5 for Phase III for $14,471.10

Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Other Business

Sign Ordinance

Mr. Philips asked for the status of the proposed amendments to the sign ordinance, and Mrs. Csete said they were just sent to the County Planning Commission for review and the hearing is scheduled for May 2, 2011.

Hevner Conservation Easement

Mr. Kuhn asked for Board approval to order an appraisal on the Hevner property after he met with Richard Hevner and representatives from the French & Pickering Creek Conservation Trust. There was a question on the number of housing units to be permitted, and the group agreed to permit an in-law suite at the Hevners’ existing home. Mr. Kuhn said Mr. Thompson is working with Pam Brown on the easement language.

Mr. Philips moved to approve undertaking an appraisal of the Hevner property in preparation for acquiring a conservation easement, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Thompson Property

Mr. Thompson said there’s been discussion among the Thompson family and both Charlestown and Schuylkill Townships about the need to extend the time frame provided in the agreement executed in August 2010 by four months. That agreement states the closing date for the easement acquisition is to take place within nine months of 8/4/10, and the project isn’t far enough along in the review process for this to take place. This also pushes back deadlines for the Planning Commission and Supervisors reviews.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the proposed Extension Agreement as an addendum to the 8/4/10 Thompson agreement as proposed, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Mr. Willig adjourned the meeting at 9:27 p.m. The next business meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 2, 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, 4/04/2011