Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of June 20, 2011

The second business meeting for June was held June 20, 2011 at the Township Office, 4030 Whitehorse Road, Devault, PA.


Supervisors: Hugh Willig, Chairman, Charlie Philips, Kevin Kuhn, and Mike Rodgers.
Consultants: Surender Kohli, P.E.
Staff: Linda Csete, Manager
Planning Commission: Michael Allen, Andy Motel
Public: Tom Fillippo

Call to Order:

7:30 p.m.


Mr. Rodgers announced that the Charlestown Historical Society has signed a contract for repairs at the Markley Farmhouse, and that they now plan to replace the entire roof on the barn and barn addition.

Mr. Philips asked how the Bark for Life event was at Charlestown Park on June 12th, and Mrs. Csete said there was a great turnout due to the good weather that day.

Citizens’ Forum

No matters were brought forward from the public.

Old Business - none

New Business

Route 29 Signal Upgrades

Planning Commission member and Design Review Committee Chairman Mike Allen provided an update on the meeting that took place on June 13th he attended along with representatives from PennDOT, Traffic Planning and Design and the Township. Meeting notes are included as an attachment to these minutes for reference.

As part of the Route 29 signal upgrades, the Board must decide whether they want to pay for an upgrade to the signal poles since this area is within the Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) zoning district. Mr. Allen said he’s confirmed that PennDOT will allow the Township to purchase the poles directly and supply them to the contractor. Advantages to this are possible cost savings in the purchase price, no sales tax, and no profit margin for the contractor.

Mr. Allen said the contract will be let in February 2012, and the poles are not needed until near the end of the project in 2013. They have a 12-14 week lead time. He said these considerations give the Township time to work out all the details.

Mr. Allen said the Township wouldn’t necessarily have to purchase from Spring City Manufacturing, or if they do, they could negotiate a package price by including the developers for Spring Oak and Tyler Griffin.

Mr. Allen noted that an alternative to the upgraded poles would be for PennDOT to paint the basic galvanized poles in a powder coated black paint for $500.00 to $1,500.00 per pole, noting PennDOT usually picks up this cost.

Mr. Fillippo asked for some background on the upgraded poles, which Mr. Allen provided. Mr. Motel said the Township wants to have the same style and look as what was designed for Spring Oak. Mr. Allen said there are two existing poles that won’t be replaced, one at Warner Lane, which is just outside the limits of the TND District, and one on Whitehorse Road. If any poles are required at the Tyler Griffin property, J. Loew & Associates will be responsible for the cost.

Mr. Philips referred to the spreadsheet of costs provided by Traffic Planning & Design (TPD), and confirmed with Mr. Allen that the $125,051 amount is the additional charge the Township would pay if they choose the upgraded poles.

Mr. Philips referred to Public Works Superintendent Fred Alston’s memo of 6/15/11 in which he notes that in the past two years, three signal poles were replaced due to accidents. The cost was borne by either the Township’s insurance company or by the individual’s insurance company. Mr. Kuhn said most of the problem was with the pole at the northeast corner of Route 29 and Phoenixville Pike, which is right next to the road and will be moved when the intersection is upgraded.

Mr. Philips asked if the timing issue of having to replace a damaged pole within two hours is accurate. Mr. Allen said he wasn’t sure where this information comes from. Mr. Kohli said when a pole is damaged, the problem can be corrected temporarily by installing a galvanized pole. Mr. Philips asked who does this, and Mr. Kuhn said the signal service company contracted by the Township. Mrs. Csete said in some cases the cost is covered by the insurance provider of the person who caused the damage. Mr. Willig asked if that person would have to cover the cost of the temporary and final pole.

Mr. Kuhn said Planning Commission member Bill Westhafer’s comment that the upgrade cost could instead be used to include a lot of screening was a good one. Mr. Philips agreed this should be considered. Mr. Allen said he thinks this approach alone would be shortsighted.

Mr. Kuhn said there’s the issue of ongoing management of any buffer plantings, and he doesn’t think the appearance of the end of Whitehorse Road is a deal breaker for the TND.

Mr. Motel said Mr. Westhafer’s comments were good, recalling that on Earth Day Mr. Westhafer mentioned more money is needed for buffer plants as well. Mr. Motel said he thinks both buffering and upgraded poles should be addressed. He said he took pictures of the black poles in Exton and they look much better than galvanized poles. He said the issue of consistency is important and is why he thought to invite Mr. Fillippo to the meeting this evening, as a large stakeholder in the TND zoning district. He said the Township made Dewey Homes and J. Loew & Associates agree to upgrade poles and if the Township doesn’t upgrade theirs it’s a bait and switch.

Mr. Kuhn asked if the poles in Wayne were upgraded or just the street lights. No one was sure. Mr. Kuhn said he wasn’t sure about Phoenixville Borough either.

Mr. Motel said they must decide on a consistency. To mis-match the poles would be a bad idea. Mr. Philips said the main thoroughfare can be distinguished from the TND itself. Mr. Allen disagreed, saying people will see the difference. Mr. Philips said everyone will be looking at the Turnpike anyway; to which Mr. Motel responded, this goes to Mr. Westhafer’s comment.

Mr. Motel asked where the tipping point is for the Township, noting that the Board had previously agreed to an upgrade cost of $80,000. He asked if there’s another option other than Spring City, such as fiberglass poles. Mr. Allen said that can’t be used for traffic poles, only for street light poles. He said he was previously opposed to this until he saw them and realized he couldn’t distinguish between them. Mr. Willig asked if fiberglass can be sheathed over a galvanized pole.

Mr. Kuhn asked when PennDOT wanted an answer, and Mrs. Csete said July 1st. Mr. Motel said Phoenixville Borough looks high class with its upgrades, and he notes that for high end retail such as that intended for the Devault TND, this look will be expected.

Mr. Willig asked when PennDOT would reimburse the Township, and Mr. Allen said when he met with Rob Prophet of TPD and the two representatives from PennDOT, they indicated the poles wouldn’t be needed until near the end of the project, so he wouldn’t expect any reimbursement earlier than that point.

Mr. Fillippo said if the Township went to the three developers in the TND district, they could contribute a portion of the difference. Mr. Allen said this doesn’t address the replacement cost. Mr. Kuhn said he appreciated Mr. Fillippo’s suggestion, noting that the Township can shop for a better price. Mr. Philips asked if it costs more for the signal contractor to replace a pole than it does for the original installation. Mr. Allen said it uses the same base.

Mr. Motel said the Planning Commission should look into the screening suggestion. Mr. Philips said the Turnpike Commission could destroy anything planted in its right of way, although Mr. Motel didn’t think this would occur. Mr. Allen said not much additional screening can be done because PennDOT is taking most of the parcel adjacent to the Turnpike at the end of Whitehorse Road by eminent domain for a stormwater basin.

Mr. Philips thought of getting feedback from the residents on the costs. Mr. Kuhn said the Design Review Committee has spent a great deal of time discussing the aesthetics of the TND. Mr. Willig said the Township convinced the residents to accept the density bonus for developers in the TND with the upgraded standards in return. He added that screening and signal pole upgrades don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

Mr. Motel suggested contacting Tom Comitta to request a plan on the aesthetics. Mr. Motel noted he previously circulated pictures of underpasses clad in a faux stone material by the Turnpike or PennDOT in other areas. Mr. Philips asked how the bank would be hidden. Mr. Kuhn said plantings can help take a person’s eye off of it, noting that the trees already planted by the Planning Commission are starting to have this effect. Mr. Allen said the Turnpike is only 20 feet high and Mr. Motel said some of the red maples are now 16 feet high. Mr. Motel said Gary Graham from the Turnpike Commission was great to the Township in working out the access for the buffer plantings. If Mr. Graham would be able to provide additional structural support in that area the Township could put more trees in.

Mr. Kuhn said the original upgrade cost was $80,000 and the new estimate is $40,000 higher, although they may be able to improve on this with a competitive bidding process. Mrs. Csete said that the Township will be required to go out to bid or otherwise use the state’s piggyback program.

Mr. Philips asked if black poles are more dangerous from a visual perspective, and Mr. Allen said the PennDOT has said no.

Mr. Motel said the TND developers may be unhappy if the Township decides on painted poles, although Mr. Philips points out they haven’t been asked. Mr. Rodgers said he didn’t think the appearance of the traffic signal poles would make that much difference. Mr. Willig thought they might regret a decision to use painted poles and wind up replacing them with more decorative ones later, at a greater cost.

Mr. Motel again suggested Mr. Comitta be asked what can be done to improve aesthetics. He could look at the appearance of basins, underpasses and embankments. Mr. Motel also said J. Loew & Associates should be consulted. Mr. Allen said Perry Morgan is another consultant to be considered.

Mr. Kuhn said as the discussions continued this evening he’s changed his mind and is now in favor of the upgraded signal poles.

Mr. Fillippo said almost everything is available second hand and suggested the Township check sites such as EBay. Mr. Motel said whatever the Township selects must coordinate with the Washington style flutes required of the developments in the TND. Mr. Allen said he has no problem shopping for alternate sources. He said that with Spring City Manufacturing, manufacturer’s rep Kent Lazar wasn’t all that helpful and Mr. Allen found himself doing a lot of the research work.

Mr. Philips and Mr. Rodgers both said they’re opposed to the upgrade, while Mr. Kuhn and Mr. Willig were in favor, essentially achieving a deadlock although no formal vote was taken.

Mr. Allen suggested the Township call PennDOT to ask if they can wait until July 6th for a response from them on whether they’re agreeing to the signal upgrade cost. Mr. Philips said more facts are needed before the Board can decide.

Mr. Motel asked if the Board wants to provide the Planning Commission with more direction. The Board asked Mrs. Csete to contact Tom Comitta to ask for his opinion, on a scale of one to ten, whether the upgraded poles are worth the cost of $125,000.

Mr. Fillippo said he sees both sides of the Supervisors’ dilemma, but said it can be overcome with developers’ contributions.

Mr. Motel said he’ll find out how this was handled in Willow Grove, and asked Mr. Allen to research this in Wayne.

Resolution to Execute the Sidewalk Maintenance Agreement with PennDOT

In order for PennDOT to install a sidewalk along Route 29 between Yellow Springs Road and Whitehorse Road, the Township must agree to maintain the sidewalk. This matter was tabled.

Other Business

Fadness Lot at Ashwood

Mr. Philips said the Fadnesses have not replaced the permanent buffer they removed on their property following various discussions and meetings with the Township. He asked if action should be taken.

Mr. Kohli said he and Mr. Theurkauf met, and although the Fadnesses have the materials on hand they haven’t done the planting. Mr. Kuhn asked for the daily fine, and Mr. Kohli said the building code makes it $500.00 per day.

Mr. Philips moved to take enforcement action against the Fadnesses following Mr. Kohli’s consultation with Mr. Thompson on how to proceed. Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Consulting Costs for Decorative Poles – Traffic Planning & Design

Mrs. Csete said she was contacted by Rob Prophet from TPD following his receipt of her minute draft of the June 14th meeting where he clarified that TPD is not being paid by Trammel Crowe for any of the work being requested by the Township related to the signal pole upgrades being requested by the Township. Mr. Allen said he hadn’t been aware of this and noted how much help TPD has been in this process.

The Board directed Mrs. Csete to contact Mr. Prophet and request an accounting of the work done to date so this can be resolved.

Spring Oak

Mr. Allen said he’s not heard any updates on the Spring Oak project from Dewey Homes despite being in contact with Eric Schrock over the matter. Mr. Allen said he’s concerned that the developer will get into financial trouble and the Township will see a situation similar to what happened at Worthington.

Mr. Kohli said the construction bond covers all public improvements. The Board discussed whether something can be included in the initial agreement that follows future final approval and determined this is a question for the solicitor’s office. They asked Mrs. Csete to contact them for some feedback on how the Township can protect itself when arrangements are made for Spring Oak at final plan approval.

Mr. Philips asked Mr. Kohli to make sure the barn is in reasonable condition and demolition by neglect isn’t taking place. Mr. Motel added that the fields on the property haven’t been cut this season.


Mr. Willig adjourned the meeting at 8:55 p.m. The next business meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 5, 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 Manager

Meeting Notes
Charlestown Township – Township Office
Route 29 - Decorative Pole Program
June 14, 2011, 1 PM



Michael Allen, Planning Commission, Design Review Committee
Dan Wright, P.E.
Fred Alston, Public Works Superintendent
Linda Csete, Manager

PennDOT, Suppliers & Consultants:

Steve Fellin, PennDOT Project Manager
Paul Lutz – PennDOT Signals Unit
Rob Prophet, Traffic Planning & Design
Kent Lazar, Independence Lighting
Chris Rosefelder – Spring City Manufacturing

The following is an outline of matters discussed.

  1. Request from Charlestown Township for decorative poles

    A letter must be sent by ASAP to Steve Fellin at PennDOT indicating the upgrades be included in the project. This and the Township’s signature on the Plans must occur no later than July 1st. The Supervisors have scheduled a meeting for June 20, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. at the Township office to authorize the letter and signing of plans.

  2. Specification from Spring City for decorative poles

    Specs are available and will be provided shortly to the Township by Spring City, entitled “Luminaries and Post Specifications”. Spring City will coordinate this with TPD & PennDOT. Our insurance will go up slightly as a result of the costlier poles.

  3. Actual number of decorative poles to be supplied

    The final count of the poles is set and includes 3 intersections and the Elementary School flasher. A spreadsheet was provided listing the various poles, some of which include luminaires and street signs.

  4. Joint Traffic Signal Maintenance Agreement – Charlestown & East Whiteland

    To be done in the future: Steve Fellin will provide a sample.

  5. Is any other entity (developer) responsible for any of the pole costs associated with this project

    J. Loew & Associates is paying for one pole on Charlestown Road opposite the entrance to the Pickering Grant development. The upgrade cost to them is $5,340.00 including installation.

  6. Cost of decorative poles

    Spring City will provide a revised cost estimate for the latest pole count. We’ll have the figures by June 16-17.

  7. Estimated cost of standard poles

    The cost was provided in a spreadsheet, but the cost included installation. Rob Prophet will provide a revised spreadsheet for the cost of the poles only.

  8. Estimated upgrade cost of standard poles painted black

    $500.00 to $1,500.00 per pole depending on the size of the pole. Paul Lutz indicated that PennDOT has covered the cost for this for past projects.

  9. Responsibility by Charlestown for design, review, coordination, inspection?, etc.

    PennDOT will have all the responsibility. Trammel Crowe is paying TPD for the design work. Charlestown’s only task will be to purchase the poles and provide them to the contractor in a timely manner. Spring City will be responsible to coordinate all issues regarding the poles directly with PennDOT. It is anticipated that the Township will purchase decorative poles.

  10. Pole assignment by intersection

    This was provided by TPD.

  11. Bid breakdown by intersection for decorative poles

    An estimate will be provided by Spring City based on the revised pole count – see #12 below.

  12. Can Charlestown purchase and supply decorative poles direct?

    Yes. Paul Lutz will break out the cost of the poles separate from the foundations and installation and will provide information to Rob Prophet, who will in turn provide it to Charlestown Township. PennDOT will reimburse the Township for the difference between the upgraded and regular poles. Pros: Can order from Co-Stars, will save 6% sales tax, better control over end product.

  13. Other

    Replacement Poles: PennDOT is changing their pole standard soon, and this project uses the old standard. Our maintenance provider should keep a few replacement poles for us. This should be included in our next bid spec.

    Turnaround time on ordering poles: 12-14 weeks. Other lead times are longer so this isn’t a problem.

    Poles not being replaced: There will be two poles staying: one at Whitehorse & Route 29, one at Yellow Springs Road south of Warner Lane. Mike Allen said eventually the first pole can be replaced when TND Area 2 is developed with the developer paying the cost.

    Upgrading some poles and powder coating others: This is more complicated since the Township would only be buying the decorative ones.

    Anticipated Let Date is Feb 9, 2012 with project completion by 5/31/2013.