Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of May 2, 2011

The first business meeting for May was held May 2, 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: Surender S. Kohli, Dan Wright, P.E., 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. Willig announced that an Executive Session was held just prior to the meeting to review personnel and legal matters.

Mr. Philips announced that the Township held another successful Earth Day Event and thanked Mrs. Csete for organizing it. Mrs. Csete said there were about 60 volunteers including Fred Alston, scouting organizations, and members of the boards and commissions. The Planning Commission planted fifteen more trees in the Turnpike right of way at the end of Whitehorse Road. PennDOT provided great support in the form of supplies and the use of a truck for the weekend to collect the trash. The road contractor, Melchiorre Construction, loaned the Township a backhoe to help load the truck, and Abel Brothers picked up the many discarded tires that were collected. Resident Michael Dixon arranged for his firm to make a donation that covered the cost of the continental breakfast and the small gifts for the participants.

Mrs. Csete announced that Public Works Superintendent Fred Alston was successful in obtaining a $9,800 ARLE grant for the Township through PennDOT for the installation of a battery back-up system for the traffic light at Newcomen Road and Route 401. Since PennDOT will be installing these back-up systems for all the signals on Route 29 as part of their road improvement project, this will mean that all Charlestown systems will have battery back up with the exception of the signal at Phoenixville Pike and Warner Road.

Citizens’ Forum

Barbara DeWilde said she’s been a resident of Valley Hill Road since 1976, and that she’s working with the Charlestown Historical Society on publishing a history of Charlestown based on a 1940’s manuscript by Harmon Rees. She said Frank Young gave the CHS a handwritten copy of the manuscript two years ago, and they are comparing it to a typewritten copy from the 1950’s. The Society plans to publish the book by September before the Fall fundraiser dinner. Jacob Merriwether is working on the pictures to be included in the book. The CHS will add a prologue, and invites the Board members, and members of the other boards and commissions to submit 1-5 page essays for the epilogue, as they’d like to include a section on government. Pictures would also be welcome. She said the CHS is holding a brainstorming session on May 11th if anyone would like to join them.

Ingrid Canterella Fox was present from the Horse-Shoe Trail Conservancy to thank the Board for their $1,000 donation in 2010 that went toward publishing a new guidebook. She presented each Board member with a copy along with a letter of thanks.


Minutes of April 4, 2011 Business Meeting

Mr. Philips moved to approve the minutes of the April 4, 2011 business meeting, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion. Mr. Kuhn said that on page 2, 2nd paragraph under Reports, it was Mr. Willig and not himself who asked Mr. Alston to replace the Flag at the Revolutionary War Cemetery. With this correction, Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.

Treasurer's Report April 1 - 30, 2011

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the April 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 May 2, 2011

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the May 2, 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 May 2, 2011

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the May 2, 2011 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion. Mr. Philips asked for the status of the Earned Income Tax receipts, and Mrs. Csete said they’re down somewhat from last year but generally acceptable. This matter will be discussed in more detail later this evening. Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.


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

Mr. Alston wished to correct his Public Works Report, noting that it states the new swings were installed at Charlestown Park over the weekend but will actually not be installed until later this week.

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


Thompson Conditional Use Application

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

T-1 Conditional Use Application Form with Exhibit A
T-2 Public Notice
T-3 Proof of Publication
T-4 Review Letter dated 4/1/11 from S. Kohli, P.E. to W. Leland
T-5 Review Memorandum dated 4/7/11 from Ed Theurkauf to L. Csete
T-6 Review Letter dated 4/21/2011 from S. Kohli to W. Leland
T-7 Response Letter dated 4/19/11 from Showalter and Associates

Testimony was given by the following:

The following exhibits were entered into the record by the Applicant:

A-1 Illustrative Site Plan, Charlestown Portion, page 1 of 1
A-2 Lot 1 Exhibit, page 1 of 1
A-3 Lot 4 Exhibit, page 1 of 1
A-4 Lot 7 Exhibit, page 1 of 1
A-5 Lot 19 Exhibit, page 1 of 1
A-6 Lot 21 Exhibit, page 1 of 1
A-7 Proposed Road A Cul-de-Sac, page 1 of 1

The following individuals came forward:

Mr. Thompson added an additional exhibit into the record:

T-8 Proof of Notification of property owners within 250 feet of the Thompson tract from Showalter & Associates with 11 pages of Certificates of Mailing.

Mr. Thompson asked if there were any further questions from those present. No one came forward and the record was closed.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the conditional use application for the Thompson property requesting approval for steep slope disturbance on Lots 1, 4, 7, 19, and 21 and for construction of the Road A cul-de-sac, and further conditional use approval to allow for a conventional lot development. The approval is subject to the consultant’s comments from the review letters entered into the record this evening. Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and noted that a written decision will be prepared. Mr. Thompson said he will draft a written decision that includes Findings of Fact and the Board of Supervisors will adopt it within 45 days. Mr. Kuhn asked if it could be ready for the May 16th meeting. Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.

Extension Agreement – Thompson Conservation Plan

Mr. Thompson referred to the proposed agreement circulated to the Board on April 30th that would extend the time frames in the Agreement of Sale for the Thompson property due to delays in obtaining preliminary plan approval with both Charlestown and Schuylkill Townships. The new agreement would extend the timeframe for completion of the approvals until October 15, 2011, with closing to occur no later than December 15, 2011.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the First Amendment to the Agreement for the Sale of Development Rights for the Thompson Property and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for further discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Zoning Ordinance Amendment to Charlestown Township Code of Ordinances, Chapter 27 – Zoning, Part 14 - Signs

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

T-1 Draft Ordinance
T-2 Letter dated 4/1/2011 from M. Thompson, Esq. to the Chester County Planning Commission enclosing the Act 247 Referral
T-3 County Planning Commission Review Letter dated 5/2/2011
T-4 Public Notice
T-5 Proof of Publication

Mr. Philips had the following questions and comments on the draft ordinance as follows:

Mr. Willig asked if there were any questions from the public, and following people came forward.

Mr. Thompson closed the hearing. The Board directed him to amend the ordinance to incorporate the comments discussed this evening, after which time it will be sent back to the Planning Commission for review.

Old Business

Update on Earned Income Tax Collection – John Martin

John Martin, Charlestown resident and a member of the County Earned Income Tax Committee, provided an update on the services being provided under contract for countywide EIT collection by Keystone Collections Inc. Mr. Martin said the process has been less than seamless and the previous and current tax collection agencies are blaming one another. Municipalities throughout Chester County have received very little of their tax monies so far this year and many are growing desperate. The Tax Committee is considering a lawsuit against Keystone and several townships are talking about taking action as well.

Mrs. Csete said that Charlestown is fortunate that their tax collector in 2010, Central Tax Bureau, did not bid for the countywide contract this year, and so was not required to turn over their 2010 final EIT collections to Keystone, as Berkheimer was required to do. For this reason, Charlestown has received most, if not all, of its 2010 EIT money. The budget is down by about 20%, which is mainly due to not receiving the first quarter 2011 collections from Keystone. Charlestown will not be so strongly impacted by the problems with Keystone for three reasons: first, the 2010 collections are in place; second, Charlestown doesn’t use its EIT funds for operations and has no immediate need for the funds, and third, the lag of even a year doesn’t result in much loss of interest earnings due to the low rates at present.

Mr. Martin said the County Tax Committee meets on May 10th and he has recommended they hire a consultant. They have arranged to meet with a former Berkheimer Associates principal.

Mr. Willig asked what path the tax money takes after an individual pays. Mr. Martin said they pay Keystone who in turn remits it to the proper township. He said that Chester County was only one of three counties that chose to accelerate the countywide tax collection process by one year, as it’s not mandated until 2012. The other two townships already had countywide collection and weren’t impacted as seriously as Chester County.

Mr. Kuhn asked how a township would audit the process. Mr. Martin said some of the townships that previously used Berkheimer Associates are now meeting with Keystone to make inquiries, and Charlestown could do the same if it wished. He said the Department of Community & Economic Development (DCED) has been no help whatsoever. The PA Association of School Boards has written a letter, and letters have been sent to the state legislators on the issue.

Charlestown Historical Society – Update on Markley Property

John Martin, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Charlestown Historical Society, addressed the Board on the Markley property on Union Hill Road. He said the President, John Pittock, and the Vice President were unavailable but he introduced Barbara DeWilde and David Greer as fellow members of the Board of Directors.

Mr. Martin said Stinson Markley left his farm and all associated tangible property to the CHS about 15 years ago. He also willed a condo to fund scholarships at K.D. Markley Elementary School.

Mr. Martin said if the CHS hadn’t taken ownership of the Markley Farm, the Township would have been next in line for it. The CHS decided to accept. They found that the will was very restrictive on what the property could be used for. The barn, for example, could only be used as a barn. In 1995, Rep. Carole Rubley got $10,000 for the Township to conduct an adaptive reuse study that was prepared by Dale Frens with input from Mr. Kohli. He referred to page 2, item 2, where Mr. Frens indicates the Historical Society is a small group “without formal programs, significant assets, or an organizational structure that is prepared to undertake so great a financial venture as the rehabilitation and maintenance of a historic farmstead.” Therefore, the study goes on to say the Board of Supervisors commissioned the study to determine feasible reuse of the barn, but the limitations of both the will and the French & Pickering Creeks conservation easement disallow any proposed reuse.

Mr. Martin said the CHS has had difficulty with the property recently. They met with the French & Pickering last summer and that organization understood the problems caused by their obsolete restrictive covenants and expressed that they were agreeable to a re-negotiation. Then, in February, the CHS received the 2/9/11 enforcement notice from Mr. Kohli informing them they were in violation of the Demolition by Neglect portion of the Zoning Ordinance. Mr. Martin said the letter didn’t bother him but other members of the CHS were deeply offended. He admonished the Board that they should have first reached out to John Pittock and invited him to a Supervisors’ meeting to voice their concerns to him. Mr. Martin said the letter states that “all buildings are not maintained” but he argued that the house is in fact well maintained and currently rented. As far as the determination of demolition by neglect for the other buildings, Mr. Martin said he has experts who disagree with this assessment and it would be hard to prove in court. Mr. Martin said the CHS members are disappointed in how they were treated, considering the effects they’ve made for years to host art shows and produce calendars to raise funds.

Mr. Martin said they’ve come tonight to discuss solutions. They’ve provided copies of bids for barn repairs and given them to Mr. Kohli, and they plan to meet again with the French & Pickering Creeks Trust and hopefully come to an agreement to amend their covenants. They wish to gain the Township’s cooperation in this as well.

Mr. Willig said Mr. Pittock was asked to come to a meeting last August, and at that time the Board asked about the wagon shed and whether the CHS needed help. Since then, it has collapsed. The Board couldn’t get the attention of the CHS, and it’s taken from August until now to have this dialogue. Mrs. DeWilde said that meeting took place in September, and noted that Mr. Pittock had not been invited but happened to be at the meeting on another matter. Mr. Willig agreed with these corrections to his statement, and said it was at the September meeting when the Board asked for a plan from the CHS. Mrs. DeWilde said the Pittocks then found themselves having to address a serious health problem, and she apologizes that the other Board members should have been aware he needed them to step in and that it wouldn’t happen again.

Mrs. DeWilde said the CHS invited Mr. Kohli to meet with them, and Mr. Kuhn joined in that meeting last week. She then presented their plan as follows.

They estimate they’ve spent approximately $22,000 over the last three years on the property. Mr. Kuhn asked if part of that was to repair the piping after the oil tank was left empty. Mrs. DeWilde said she’d check. Mr. Kuhn asked for the monthly revenue, and Mrs. DeWilde said rent was received intermittently through some of this period until they were able to get a more reliable tenant. The current tenant pays the rent of $1,500 on time, maintains the lawn and has undertaken some repairs inside, including repairing the windows. She said the CHS has remodeled the kitchen, repaired water pumps, pumped the septic system, removed wagon shed debris, and installed a new laundry room facility and a new furnace.

Mrs. DeWilde said she and Mr. Pittock got bids for the repair of the barn and this was a slow process resulting in two formal bids and one additional bid on just the roof. The CHS Board members have reviewed the bids, and requested that Mr. Frens do so also. They appreciate his time in doing so. Mr. Frens told them that either bidder was capable and would do a good job so the CHS could make its own decision accordingly. Mrs. DeWilde said she compared the bids from Long Builders and Berks County Barn Builders diligently and noted that the Berks County bid included more items, while Long Builders has done work at Brightside Farm. Berks County Barn Builders included stone pointing and the replacement of nail pops in the roof with screws. The assessment of Berks County Barn Builders is that the barn needs repairs but is not in danger of falling down, nor is the roof. She said the CHS has some questions but will be ready to sign a contract within a week; therefore, the barn will definitely be repaired this summer.

Mrs. DeWilde said they spoke to French & Pickering Creeks Trust representatives, Mr. Kuhn and Mr. Kohli at a meeting on April 26th, where it was determined they first must meet the requirements of Mr. Markley’s will, then the conservation easement restrictions and then the township ordinances, as this goes from most to least restrictive. They will meet again on May 24th with the Director of the French & Pickering Trust to decide what to fix next after the barn is repaired. They also want to discuss educational uses for the Markley Farm. A meeting was recently held there on April 6th for a session on Farming: Past, Present and Future. There was talk of restoring the orchard there. Also at the May 24th meeting, the CHS will work out a full prioritization plan to address repairs needed for the spring house, outhouse, wagon shed and other structures, and they are willing to work with the supervisors and Mr. Kohli on their concerns. She said she’s been focusing her efforts on the History of Charlestown book and these matters aren’t in her area of expertise.

Mr. Willig said he’s impressed with the information provided and thanked the Historical Society members. Mrs. DeWilde reiterated that they want to work cooperatively with the Township and apologized if they’ve been remiss.

Mr. Kuhn wished to clarify that the action taken against the CHS wasn’t against Mr. Pittock personally, and that action was taken by the Board and not by Mr. Kohli. He said he’s very familiar with the property, having mowed the grounds there four years ago and helped rebuild the flooring in the farmhouse. He said the wagon shed is a clear example of demolition by neglect.

Mr. Kuhn said the CHS is receiving $18,000 per year in rent and also has $100,000 that Mr. Markley left them in his will for care of the property. The will, and also the conservation easement document, stipulate that all future owners must maintain all buildings. He noted that the CHS holds frequent “work parties” for the Rapp House but never for the Markley property. He suggested that instead of the F & P Trust they use Mr. Kohli as a resource as to how to prioritize what needs to be done next since he can advise them on structural engineering issues, stating again they’ve caused demolition by neglect. Mr. Martin said the CHS disagrees and that the damage done to the buildings were Acts of God. Mr. Kohli said Mr. Frens could also advise them.

Mrs. DeWilde said that the Township’s Historical and Architectural Review Board is only concerned with the facades of structures. Mr. Kuhn said the HARB is relegated to the Historic District only. Mr. Philips agreed, saying it is the Historical Commission that addresses demolition by neglect on those properties listed on the Historic Resources Map. Mrs. DeWilde said they would only go to the Historical Commission if they wanted to change something on the outside, but Mr. Philips added, or for demolition. Mrs. DeWilde said for the wagon shed, the CHS might opt to simply cap it and make it safe. Mr. Philips said the Historical Commission can provide a recommendation. Mrs. DeWilde said the F & P recommended capping it. Mr. Kuhn disagreed with that statement.

Mr. Kuhn said these buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places, are under covenants and restrictions with the French & Pickering Creeks Trust that include façade easements. There are additional protections due to stipulations in the Will. Mr. Martin said the CHS could file a quitclaim deed. Mr. Kuhn said they could sell the property, but Mr. Martin said they can’t find a buyer. Mr. Kuhn said he would be opposed to the F & P removing the façade easements. He suggested the CHS petition Orphans Court to remove the restrictions of the Will. Mr. Martin said one of their members disagrees.

Mr. Philips cited language from the National Register and noted there are no restrictions of use under it. Listing on the Register can help a property owner obtain funds or grants but they have no obligations under it.

Mr. Philips thanked the Historical Society for their efforts. He suggested that the Zoning Officer check all historic resource properties to ensure they are likewise complying with the demolition by neglect ordinance. Mr. Kohli said he’ll obtain an updated list from Mrs. Csete.

Tyler Griffin (Pickering Grant) Preliminary Subdivision Plan

Tim Townes of J. Loew & Associates was present to seek preliminary plan approval for the Tyler Griffin TND Plan 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. The outstanding issue was that the density calculation falls short due to the fact that it is based on net lot area rather than net tract area.

Mr. Townes said he asked Andy Eberwein to remove the conservation easement from the plan and recalculate the density. The Horseshoe Trail easement had not been netted out and there was a question he had over whether it should be. He said it’s not their intention to renege on offering the easement. If it’s deemed a conservation easement and therefore not subject to netting out, he’ll add it back to the plan now. However, if it is subject to netting out, he will add it after approval.

Mr. Thompson asked if he is willing to make this a condition of approval and Mr. Townes said yes.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Preliminary Plan for the Tyler Griffin Subdivision last revised 2/23/2011, subject to the consultant’s review comments and subject to the placement of a conservation easement on the tract as previously represented on the plan. Mr. Philips seconded.

Mr. Willig called for further discussion. He said at the recent Phoenixville Regional Planning Commission meeting, there was a discussion on SEPTA transit routes. One runs from the train station in Paoli through Great Valley to Phoenixville. He asked if there would be a place for a bus to pull over and stop.

Mr. Townes said he’d suggested to the TMACC during their Route 29 corridor study that they consider placing their stormwater management basin underground so that a bus stop or a Park & Ride could also be included on the small parcel of Tom Fillippo’s opposite the Tyler

Griffin Tract. Unfortunately, PennDOT opted for an above ground basin. He said however, that part of the TND plan for Tyler Griffin includes benches, and although they hadn’t given thought to a bus stop, they might be able to accommodate it. He suggested the Township discuss it with Tom Comitta. Mr. Kuhn suggested placing it in an area near the proposed main entrance off Phoenixville Pike, and Mr. Townes agreed this would make sense since there will be commercial and retail uses opposite it in the future.

Mr. Thompson asked if the plan still needs a waiver for section 301.B.1 of the Stormwater Management Ordinance. Mr. Townes said yes. They’re retaining all the water on the site, which includes portions of two watersheds. Because of the offsite flow from the school district’s bus facility and the school property itself, they are unable to reduce the peak rate from the 10 year pre-development rate to the post development 2 year rate. Even with no houses on the tract, they couldn’t meet this requirement. They can meet the remainder of the stormwater management requirements and in fact exceed some of them using Best Management Practices. Mr. Wright concurred with Mr. Townes’ comments and said he supports the waiver. Mr. Thompson asked if this is the only waiver request, and Mr. Townes said yes.

Mr. Thompson referred to Item #5 in Mr. Kohli’s review letter dated 4/4/2011 regarding worsham and glenville soils, which are considered to be high groundwater areas. This would require conditional use approval for construction of buildings, parking lots, roadways and stormwater management facilities. It states that a soils study is required to define the limits of the area with documentation provided to the Township. Mr. Townes said this has been addressed and Mr. Kohli’s office has now been satisfied.

Mr. Thompson asked Mr. Townes if the Township’s standard conditions of approval and the comments on Mr. Kohli’s letter are acceptable, and he said yes. Mr. Thompson proposed an amendment to Mr. Kuhn’s motion for approval to state that the approval is subject to a 20-foot wide public access trail being placed on the property travelling along the northern border with the School District Property, and with two additional links to existing trails. Mr. Kuhn accepted the amendment and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.

Mr. Philips said he’s heard from the Dewey organization recently and Eric Schrock indicated they plan to come back to the Township soon with the final plan for Spring Oak. He said they are anxious to move ahead.

Award Road Contract for 2011 Base Repair and Resurfacing

Mr. Willig said that the road bids for the 2011 Road Base Repair and Resurfacing Contract had been opened at the April 4th meeting and were turned over to Kohli & Associates for review and recommendation. A bid tabulation has been provided.

Mr. Rodgers said the Township has the option of rejecting all or a portion of the bids, or to divide the bid between companies. He said the current contractor, Melchiorre Construction, submitted a quote. He circulated a breakdown summary he prepared by road in which he indicates that Melchiorre Construction has the lowest price for Union Hill Road and Pickering Road, and Dan Malloy Paving has the lowest for Dickson Drive and Hilltop Road. He proposes splitting the award accordingly.

Mr. Kuhn said the sealed bids were opened on April 4th, and that he was in the office when Vince Melchiorre delivered an envelope to Mrs. Csete and told her to open it immediately.

The envelope stated it did not contain a bid. Mr. Kuhn said Dan Malloy Paving is the lowest bidder out of seven and deserves the award. Mr. Willig said the difference in the Melchiorre quote and the Malloy bid is approximately $3,000 depending on what happens on the job and whether change orders are necessary. He doesn’t want to risk the Township’s reputation for honesty in accepting bids by using them as a check-price to be rejected. He questioned the ethics of such a practice and said it’s not a reputation he would want to cultivate.

Mr. Rodgers again suggested dividing the roads between the two companies. Mr. Willig said his response is that the Township did not receive a bid from Melchiorre Construction. They chose not to submit a bid when the Township decided to go out for competitive bids. He wasn’t excluded from this process, and if he wanted the work he would have bid. The letter he submitted was not a bid; it even said so on the outside of the envelope. Mr. Piliero agreed this practice would make the Township look bad. Mr. Rodgers said that the ability to split a bid reward should be removed from the specifications in that case, but Mr. Piliero said there could be special situations that would call for it. Mr. Willig said its purpose is not for check-price. Mr. Kuhn noted the Township’s standard Labor & Equipment Rental bid package states that they reserve the right to bid out road paving separately.

Mr. Kuhn moved to award the 2011 Road Base Repair and Resurfacing Contract to the lowest bidder, Dan Malloy Paving Inc. in the amount of $128,837.25 with the Township to obtain the material separately. Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Willig called for further discussion, and there being none, called the vote. Mr. Willig, Mr. Kuhn and Mr. Piliero were in favor. Mr. Philips abstained, and Mr. Rodgers voted nay.

Update on Jenkins Subdivision

Mr. Willig asked Mr. Kohli for an update on the Township’s Jenkins Subdivision Plan. Mr. Kohli said there are two items outstanding before the subdivision can be approved. First is the PennDOT road occupancy permit, which was reissued in January of this year and may expire and need to be renewed before the second item is completed. Mr. Kohli said the second item is the NPDES permit, which expires in 2012. The Township needs to renew it before that time.

Mr. Wright said the PennDOT permit can be renewed each year up to two times without restarting the review process, so the Township can renew it in January 2012 for the last time without starting over. For the NPDES permit, he strongly recommends the Township prepare for renewal now so it would be good until May 2014. After that, it’s a five year permit process that includes more stringent regulations, although the Township is grandfathered on their post-construction stormwater management plan. Mr. Kuhn asked how this application is prepared, and Mr. Wright said they work with a consultant from Del Val Soils. Mr. Kuhn advised him to begin the renewal process now. Mr. Wright said the PNDY evaluation estimate was $2,250.00 in 2006 and he’ll check to see what the current cost will be. Other fees include $1,900.00 to the DEP and $50.00 to the Chester County Conservation District. He recommended meeting with the CCCD as soon as possible as they may require more data. Mr. Kuhn asked what would happen if they let their existing NPDES permit lapse, and Mr. Kohli said the Township’s own more stringent Stormwater Management Ordinance would apply.

Mr. Kuhn asked if the proposed Park that goes with the four lots at the Jenkins tract could be developed now along with the road. Mr. Kohli said then each lot would have to get its own permits. After some discussion the Board decided the Park shouldn’t be there before the houses for safety and security reasons.

Mr. Wright said they’ll go forward and get a proposal from Del Val Soils and meet with the CCCD. Mr. Kohli said that as to soil testing for the on-site septic systems, the Health Department still accepts the current data and he said they’ll design the systems and see if those permits can be obtained now. Mr. Wright said the preliminary estimate for the septic design and permits is in the $12,000 - $14,000 range. Mr. Kuhn asked if it’s worth oversizing the system to allow for public restrooms, and Mr. Kohli thought no. Mr. Kuhn asked if this would be done this summer, and Mr. Kohli said yes. Mr. Wright said he’ll get a signature for the application from Mrs. Csete.

New Business

Brightside Farm – Discuss Renewal of Lease

Mrs. Csete said that in recent years the Township has arranged for two-year leases with Tony and Marsha Wirtel for rental of the farmhouse at Brightside Farm. The current lease expires July 31st and it was a one year extension of the previous two-year contract. At the time of that extension, the rent of $1,200.00 remained the same, but it was communicated to the Wirtels that the Board would likely propose an increase in the rent in 2011 that would not be in excess of $100.00 per month. She said she’s communicated with the Wirtels and they are interested in continuing to rent the farmhouse. Mr. Wirtel is present this evening. She requests direction from the Board so a new lease can be prepared for the August 1, 2011 – July 31, 2013 period.

Mr. Philips suggesting raising the rent by $100.00 for a total of $1,300 per month. Mr. Wirtel said they like the two year lease as it gives them a sense of stability. Mr. Kuhn asked him if he has any suggestions for the farmhouse. Mr. Wirtel said maintenance has been performed on the roof, gutters and oil burner, but he notified Mr. Alston that the tin roof on the house is rusting. It appears the coating has failed and he thought re-coating might work. Mr. Wirtel said they’ve done work inside the house including painting and fixing up the kitchen and bathroom. They’ve also done some painting on the exterior. Mr. Philips asked Mr. Wirtel to give the Board a list of anything that he thinks should be taken care of.

Mr. Alston said the Board approved a new coating for the roof last fall, but the weather turned bad before it could be done. He said he’s arranging for John Pancoast to do it this spring.

Mrs. Csete compared the expenses for the entire Brightside Property for the past three years to the rent received over that period, plus the income received for the garden plots, and it’s very close to break-even.

Mr. Philips moved to direct the Manager to negotiate the new lease with the Wirtels for the August 1, 2011 – July 31, 2013 period at a rent of $1,300.00 per month, with an option to increase the rent by no more than $100.00 in the second year and allowing an option to renew for a 3rd year. Mr. Willig said the increase to $1,300 comes to an 8% increase. He said the Township has a good tenant and that’s worth something. Mr. Rodgers said the rent should be the same as for the Markley farmhouse, $1,500. Mr. Wirtel pointed out that the Brightside Farmhouse isn’t as fixed up as the Markley house. Mr. Kuhn asked how long Mr. Wirtel and his family have been at the Brightside, and Mr. Wirtel said since Nov. 2005. Mr. Rodgers seconded Mr. Philip’s motion. Mr. Willig called for further discussion, and there being none, called the vote.

All were in favor. Mr. Philips thanked Mr. Wirtel for being such a good tenant these past five years, and he in turn thanked the Board.

Resolution to adopt Revision to the Official Sewage Facilities Plan

Mr. Rodgers explained that Charlestown must revise its Official Sewage Facilities Plan in response to Tredyffrin Township’s Act 537 Plan Revision for the Valley Creek Trunk Sewer serving the members of the Valley Forge Sewer Authority, of which Charlestown is one. Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Kohli if the Plan is in order, and Mr. Kohli said that now they decided not to remove a pipe under Route 202 the funding plan is acceptable.

Mr. Philips moved to adopt Resolution #752-2011 revising the Charlestown Township Official Sewage Facilities Plan, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for further discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Resolution in Support of Growing Greener Program

Mrs. Csete said the proposed resolution was drafted in response to a request from the Franklin Township Board of Supervisors, who asked for support of the Growing Greener program that has helped preserve working family farms, conserve natural areas, restore mine lands and provide for outdoor active recreation throughout Pennsylvania. The program is threatened by current budget considerations in Harrisburg, and Franklin Township is seeking to collect these resolutions and present them to the Governor and the state legislators.

Mr. Rodgers moved to adopt Resolution #753-2011 supporting the Growing Greener II Program, and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Willig called for further discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Authorize Advertising of 7-Year Agricultural Security Area Review and open application period

Mrs. Csete said she recently circulated information to the Board Members on the requirements for the seven-year review of the Agricultural Security Area that is scheduled to take place in the fall of this year. She included a 6-month timeline that requires legal advertisement, posting of the notice in five places throughout the Township, and formation of an ASA committee, who, along with the Planning Commission, undertakes a review of the existing parcels in the ASA and considers any new applications for inclusion. The County Planning Commission also reviews the ASA, and this fall, a hearing would be scheduled for adoption of the revised ASA.

The first step is to send an advertisement to the Daily Local that the review period has begun and the Township is accepting new proposals for inclusion. Mrs. Csete would also send a letter to potential joiners inviting them to learn more about ASAs and consider joining. During the last 7-year review, East Pikeland joined Charlestown’s ASA with parcels owned by Stockton Illoway. Mrs. Csete said she contacted East Pikeland Township to inform them that the open application period would be starting this year and any of their residents could apply if interested. Mr. Kuhn suggested she also contact other neighboring townships without an ASA to see if they’d like to join Charlestown’s.

Mr. Philips moved to direct the Manager to advertise the 7-year review notice in the Daily Local, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for further discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Authorize Advertising of Hearing to Amend Definition of Net Tract Area and Net Lot Area

After some discussion, this item was tabled.

Authorize Advertising of Hearing to Amend Uniform Construction Code Ordinance

Mr. Thompson said the Board had previously discussed amendments to the UCC code that would require a permit for certain construction, repairs and alterations of residential dwellings that are currently exempt under the UCC code and also to add amendments to exempt certain projects. Following their direction, a UCC Ordinance Amendment was drafted to address these changes and his office had recently circulated them to the Board. Mr. Kohli said he had a further amendment he’ll send to Mr. Thompson’s office. Mr. Thompson said the draft ordinance must then be sent to Labor & Industry for comments for a 30 day review period, after which time the Board can enact it.

Mr. Philips moved to forward the draft Uniform Construction Code Ordinance to Labor and Industry for review and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for further discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Other Business

Coyle Property

Mr. Rodgers said Bill Coyle, Valley Hill Road, continues to be frustrated with PennDOT and Pulte Homes, both of which are finger pointing each other for run off problems at the Deerfield subdivision. He asked if the Board wants to consider bringing some pressure on them to resolve the matter.

Mr. Kohli said PennDOT took payment from Pulte Homes to complete the widening and resurfacing of Valley Hill Road, yet never completed the final overlay. Mr. Willig asked if completion is a requirement of Deerfield’s plan approval and Mr. Kohli said not really, it’s a PennDOT road. Mr. Thompson said an inlet is needed on Mr. Coyle’s property.

Mr. Kohli said he’ll tell Pulte Homes to talk with the PennDOT representatives again. Pulte is coming in to ask for road dedication soon and escrow is being held for the interior roads. Mr. Rodgers asked what the cost to repair the problem is, and Mr. Kohli estimated $10,000. Mr. Kuhn asked if PennDOT would allow the Township to do this work, and Mr. Kohli said yes, under the Deerfield permit. Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Kohli to communicate to Deerfield that the Township wants the matter resolved so the roads can be dedicated before winter.

Foot Bridge over the Pickering Creek

Mr. Kohli said the DEP will grant an emergency permit for the Township to repair the abutments on the foot bridge over the Pickering Creek off Pickering Dam Road. The permit would be good for 30 days, so the Township shouldn’t apply for it until they have a contractor in place. He said his office has a bid document ready for advertising. A site meeting will be required of the bidders, and he estimates the job at $25,000-$40,000. Mr. Wright said the bridge is about 250 feet from Pickering Dam Road, and a grout machine will have to be sent in to stabilize the abutments. He recommends advertising on May 11 and 17th, holding the pre-bid meeting on May 25 and opening the bids at the June 6th meeting.

Mr. Willig asked if, during the pre-bid meeting, bidders should be asked to estimate how many days the grout pump truck will have to be on location at Pickering Dam Road. Mr. Wright said it would only be for a couple of days, and Mrs. Csete said the residents of the road can be notified in advance.

Charlestown Meadows

Mr. Thompson said Toll Bros. has requested their final escrow release for Charlestown Meadows, but the Homeowners’ Association has an issue with the sidewalks. He said he spoke to the HOA attorney today, who described the situation as very bad, having been given a quote to repair the sidewalks in the amount of $800,000.

Mr. Kohli said the sidewalks at issue are in Phase I of the subdivision, and the problem appears to be due to overuse of salt during the winter seasons. He confirmed the sidewalks are deteriorating.

Mr. Thompson said he communicated to the HOA attorney that the Township can’t hold up the escrow release due to this issue, which isn’t related to the agreement between Toll and the Township and is governed by the Municipalities Planning Code. The HOA’s recourse is to sue the builder. Mr. Willig said the Township does document that inspections took place, which could be brought into consideration. Mr. Kuhn asked if there was a warranty on the work, and Mr. Kohli said they are six years old, so there is no warranty.

Mr. Thompson suggested having Mr. Kohli meet with the HOA and give an assessment of the sidewalks. Mr. Thompson said he gave a punch list to Toll of items to be completed, including the letter from the HOA, but Toll objected. Mr. Kohli said all the Township can do is hold the escrow release until all the items on its own list are completed.


Mr. Willig adjourned the meeting at 11:15 p.m. The next business meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 16, 2011, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 North Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA. The Board went into Executive Session following adjournment to continue discussions from earlier this evening.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Township Secretary
sheet, 5/02/2011