Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of August 5, 2013

The first business meeting for July was held July 1, 2013 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA.


Supervisors: Frank A. Piliero, Chairman, Kevin R. Kuhn, Charles A. Philips, and Hugh D. Willig. Vice Chairman Michael J. Rodgers was absent
Consultants: Dan Wright, P.E., Mark P. Thompson, Esq.
Staff: Linda Csete, Manager, Jim Thompson, Roadmaster, and Lisa Gardner, Recording Secretary.
Public: See attached sign-in sheet

Call to Order:

7:42 p.m.


Mr. Piliero announced that the September meeting would be held on Tuesday, September 3rd instead of Monday September 2nd due to the Labor Day Holiday.

Mr. Philips announced that there was an Executive Session prior to tonight’s meeting to discuss legal and real estate topics.

Citizens’ Forum

There were no items mentioned.


July 1, 2013 Business Meeting Minutes

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of the July 1, 2013 Business Meeting and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for further discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report July 1 - 31, 2013

Mr. Philips moved to approve the July 2013 Treasurer’s Report and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report August 5, 2013 Operating Fund

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the August 5, 2013 General Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report August 5, 2013 Open Space Fund

Mr. Kuhn asked Mrs. Csete to write a memo to Bob Jones informing him not to use C.M. Jones for tree removal at Charlestown Park. Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the August 5, 2013 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote, all were in favor.


Mr. Kuhn moved to accept the July 2013 reports #1-14 as submitted, and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Kuhn noted a residence that had two false alarms reported in the Fire Marshal’s report and asked at what point a fine can be assessed. The Manager will check the ordinance to confirm whether fines start at two or three false alarms. Mr. Piliero called for further discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.


Zoning Ordinance Amendment – Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) District Area 3

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

T-1 Zoning Ordinance Draft dated 5/30/13
T-2 Public Notice
T-3 Letter from Lamb McErlane to Chester County Planning Commission dated 7/17/13
T-4 Proof of Publication
T-5 Letter from Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee to Charlestown Township dated 8/5/13
T-6 Letter from Lamb McErlane to the Chester County Law Library dated 7/17/13
T-7 Review letter from Chester County Planning Commission dated 7/15/13
T-8 Summary of the Ordinance prepared by Tom Comitta

Mr. Thompson asked if there were any questions from those present. No one came forward. Mr. Thompson closed the hearing.

Mr. Kuhn moved to adopt Ordinance #179 - 2013 amending Chapter 27, Part 2 and Part 22 of the Charlestown Township Zoning Ordinance regarding TND Area 3 and amending the General Manual of Written and Graphic Design Guidelines. Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.

Old Business

There was none.

New Business

Martin Tranie – Zoning Hearing Board Overview

Martin Tranie, of 190 Pine Drive, in the R-1 Zoning District, was present to provide an overview of his application to the Zoning Hearing Board. He was seeking a variance allowing the addition of a screened-in porch that will minimally encroach on the rear yard setback.

Mr. Tranie explained that when the porch was originally added to the house, it was in compliance with the zoning ordinance at the time. Revisions to the ordinance have made the porch a legal non-conforming use. In order to enclose the porch, Mr. Wright advised him that he would need a variance to allow the expansion of the non-conforming use.

Mr. Tranie was advised by the Board Members to personally approach his rear adjacent neighbor to discuss the minor deviation/plans. In addition, he can let the neighbor know they will be receiving a formal letter announcing the pending alteration.

Mr. Willig moved that the Board send the application to the zoning hearing board with their recommendation, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Donald Andersen – Request for Waiver to Permit Accessory Structure in a Side Yard abutting a Street

Donald Andersen was present to request a waiver to construct a planting terrace, garden wall and gazebo in a side yard of their property at 23 Eastwick Drive that abuts a street. The Planning Commission had reviewed the request and recommended approval at their July 9th meeting. Board members asked the Township Engineer to be sure no easements were effected by granting this waiver.

Mr. Philips moved to approve the waiver and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Pickering Crossing- Request for Township to act as Municipal Sponsor

Mr. Townes told Members that his lenders were requesting a Pump and Haul Permit so that he can deliver homes if East Whiteland Township gets delayed and cannot complete their Corrective Action Plan measures. He requested Charlestown Township to be the Municipal Sponsor or co-applicant so that Pickering Crossing can obtain the DEP permit before August 31, 2013. The DEP would issue a Pump and Haul once East Whiteland has its Act 537 Study approved. All financial security and/or releases of liability that the Township requires will be provided.

Mr. Townes said if he submits his application now, he would have Pump and Haul approval when the approval for East Whiteland’s Special Study and Part 2 Permit is issued.

Mr. Thompson had not had time to fully review the document. He said Charlestown Township can draft a Letter of Intent to write a Sponsorship Letter for a Pump and Haul, but not the actual letter itself, until he has had more review time. This letter would also state that the parameters of Sponsorship would be subject to review by the Township Engineer. The Board directed the Manager to send the letter.

Mr. Townes would like the letter before August 27th, 2013. He stated that the earliest date for delivery of a home is now June of 2014. In addition, Pickering Crossing probably won’t need a Pump and Haul since East Whiteland is watching its connective issues closely and acts on them appropriately.

Lastly, Mr. Townes informed the Board that PECO had agreed to place the meters in the rear of the units, no third party vendor is needed.

Charlestown Meadows Update on Request for Final Release of Performance Bond

Alyson Zarro of Riley Riper Hollin and Colagreco was present to inform Board Members that the Final Release Request for Charlestown Meadows was to be anticipated at the September Board Meeting.

A small check list (including an additional sidewalk installation) was completed. There are a few internal HOA/Toll Brothers issues such as sidewalk repairs, etc. to be finished by month’s end. A Release check will be given to the HOA if the Board chooses to approve a resolution at September’s Board Meeting for Charlestown Meadows’ Final Release. The Township has not yet received a Request for Release.

Resolution to Authorize Manager to submit application for Traffic Signal Approval for Charlestown Playhouse

Mr. Kuhn moved to adopt Resolution #812-2013, authorizing Mrs. Csete to submit the application to relocate a flashing school signal at the Charlestown Playhouse, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Resolution to Apply for Vision Partnership Grant for Feasibility Study

Mr. Kuhn said that he and Mrs. Csete met with Pam Brown from the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, Robert Thomas, an independent trail consultant, and Jake Michael from the Chester County Planning Commission to discuss their interest in including a study of the Devault Line with their efforts to connect and extend various other regional trails. Two areas being considered for grants are the Devault to Phoenixville area and also the Valley Forge Park area towards Phoenixville.

A feasibility study must be done to be considered for funds. One option would be to partner with Schuylkill Township and apply for a joint Visions Partnership Grant to include several trail studies. Another option would be for Charlestown to apply for its own grant, specifically for the Devault Line, which is the rail bed of Norfolk Southern (traversing the Township, then ultimately going through Schuylkill Township and into Phoenixville).

If a matching funds grant is awarded, Charlestown’s maximum exposure is under $20,000 to fund the study, with $60,000 in county matching funds paying the balance of the study. It could also lead to other grants if and when the rail line is formally abandoned. Bob Thomas will also be checking with Norfolk Southern to find out about their long term intentions of the line.

While discussing this with the County, Mr. Kuhn found out that there were not a lot of applications in already, so there was a favorable chance of gaining funding. Approval likelihood also was favorable due to the local historical factors the 2 areas bring to the table.

Because the next grant round deadline is September 10th, Mr. Kuhn suggested the Board consider submitting its own individual grant application. Schuylkill Township indicated they wouldn’t be ready to submit a joint application until next spring. An inter-municipal memorandum of understanding with Schuylkill Township would be needed since a small part of the Devault Line goes through Schuylkill.

Mrs. Csete discussed submitting a list of names, including a chairperson, as a new task force at the September Board Meeting. Mr. Kuhn volunteered for the Visions Partnership Grant Task Force. Also named, to represent the Planning Commission, were Mr. Churchill, and Mr. Westhafer. Mr. Piliero was named as a tentative selection, and Mrs. Csete volunteered as well. Mr. Willig was chosen as Chairman. Mr. Campbell of Campbell Thomas & Co. was selected to write the application.

Mr. Kuhn moved to accept the proposal of Campbell Thomas & Co. to prepare and submit a Visions Partnership Grant Application for a feasibility study of the Devault Line before the September 10, 2013 deadline, with the understanding the Township would provide funding up to $20,000. Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and their being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Mr. Philips moved to form the Visions Partnership Grant Task Force comprised of Mr. Churchill, Mr. Westhafer, Mr. Piliero, Mrs. Csete, and Mr. Willig. Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Review TND Ordinance Amendment for Perimeter Setbacks; Schedule Hearing

Mr. Comitta was not able to attend tonight’s meeting. This item was tabled to September 3rd when he can present the proposed amendment to the Board.

Review Lighting Ordinance Revisions; Schedule Hearing

Board Members and the Township Solicitor had questions for Mr. Comitta, who was not able to be in attendance. Mr. Piliero asked Mr. Thompson to send a letter to Mr. Comitta citing their questions by September 3rd. Therefore Mr. Comitta can prepare to discuss the Ordinance revisions at the September Board Meeting, with the expectation that an October hearing date can be scheduled to consider both the lighting and perimeter setback ordinances.

Volpi House – Estimates to “Mothball”

Mr. Dale Frens provided a package dated August 5 regarding the Cornog-Supplee House, in response to the Supervisors requesting an analysis on its present condition. Also requested by the Supervisors was an estimated budget to protect this newly acquired “Volpi” house from further deterioration using a process known as mothballing. This will protect the structure from the weather and secure it from further vandalism. During the site visit, Mr. Frens learned that in the last 13 years it has stayed in generally good condition, without occupants or maintenance.

Mr. Frens showed Members current pictures that compared the home’s condition to photos from 1999. There were 3 leaks from the fair to poorly rated roof that penetrated to the basement. Exterior doors are broken or removed, but vandalism and removal of interior woodwork or features are surprisingly limited. One fireplace mantle had been removed. There were 2 intact coal furnaces found in the cellar.

Items to be completed before winter are site clearing (a section of driveway not adjacent to the road and around the home itself), covering windows, installing a barrier gate, and installing a temporary roof. Gary Sheridan, of the East Whiteland Volunteer Fire Association asked Supervisors to consider putting a fire company lock on the gate. Mr. Frens suggested collecting the homes’ valuable features or architectural elements before doing any cleanout of the interior.

Mrs. Rosemary Philips told those present that there were footprints, fallen walls, and even items from previous out buildings, dating back as far as 1888, around the perimeter of the house. One structure is a stone spring house, another is a large stone fireplace. Although these were valuable, they could also be hazardous to workers and should be marked for the protection of both the structures and the workers.

Mr. Frens’ estimate listed 9 items that he felt needed to be considered for the budget. Supervisors decided the roof (item #1), estimated at $8,400, and the building cleanout and vegetation removal (#8 and 9) could be handled separately from a bid contract with existing township personnel and contractors. Items #2-7 would be combined into one bid package that Mr. Frens will prepare. The Roadmaster will be assisting with the exterior projects.

Brightside Farmhouse Update

Dale Frens said he’s completed his survey of the conditions of the Farmhouse, and will prepare a schedule of improvements and repairs to be made to Mrs. Csete for circulation to the Board.

Design Guidelines for Historic District

HARB Co-Chair Rosemary Philips explained the work she and HARB member Linda Appler did to prepare the draft for homeowners called Design Guidelines for the Charlestown Village Historic District. Board Members commended the group on their hard work and the nice package they presented.

Mr. Kuhn moved to adopt the Design Guidelines for the Charlestown Village Historic District and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Overview of Amendments needed to the Stormwater Management Ordinance

Mr. Wright provided background on the mandate for Chester County municipalities to amend their Stormwater Management Ordinances (SMO) by January 2, 2014 to comply with the recently approved countywide Act 167 Plan.

Mr. Wright said he’s prepared for the County mandate deadline by writing a draft ordinance that will be ready for the Planning Commission to review at its September 10th meeting. The revised draft would then be ready for the Board’s review at their October 7th meeting so it can be scheduled for a hearing to consider adoption on December 2nd following the County Planning Commission’s 30 day review period. This timeline would allow the Township to meet the January 2, 2014 deadline for adoption.

Mr. Wright included 3 handouts with his presentation. The first was a spreadsheet listing locations on the County Matrix with locations corresponding to the Township Ordinance locations. This simplified the process of folding the County’s mandates and/or suggested changes into the Township’s Ordinance. Secondly, he mentioned a document, Chester County Act 167 Revisions to Charlestown SWM Ordinance, portraying what was being folded in, or the changes, in red. Last was a list called Highlights of Changes per Chester County Act 167 that he prepared for tonight’s executive summary that:

Interim Budget Report through 7/31/13

Mrs. Csete was commended by the Supervisors for her report featured on the spreadsheet “Charlestown Township Interim Budget Analysis”. She highlighted several items on her analysis covering 2013 through July 31st and asked if the Board had any questions. She noted that the General Fund balance is 34% favorable, the State Fund and Open Space Fund are 53% and 12% favorable respectively, and the Bond Fund is exactly on target.

Other Business

Roadmaster Update

Mr. Thompson told Members that there was a cost overage of $26,000 on the 2013 road paving project due to discoveries of underlying concrete curbing needing to be removed before the paving could continue on Glenview Road and Tinkerhill Lane. Mr. Thompson was very pleased with the work being performed by Dan Malloy Paving.

Altemose Update

Mr. Kuhn asked if there was any movement on the Altemose subdivision application. Mr. Wright said he only had one question lately from the project engineer regarding Stormwater Management.

JD Bravo Update

Mr. Kuhn informed the Board he had spoken with Rob Gallant of JD Bravo about providing the bid package for Charlestown Park upgrades. After reviewing a report, Mr. Kuhn said it was time to make some important decisions if construction was to start in the spring. JD Bravo requested a place on the Board’s September or October agenda.

Transportation Advisory Board Update

Mr. Philips said the project was moving along well and that the report would be done on time.

East Whiteland Volunteer Fire Association

Gary Sheridan updated Members regarding the Association’s Capital Campaign project to raise money for a new fire house. Mrs. Csete is sending Mr. Sheridan a list of Charlestown HOAs as a list of potential donors. They are waiting for a NPDES permit and hope to break ground this year.

Great Valley Nature Center

The Great Valley Nature Center would like to host a Wine and Cheese Event for large land owners or easement property owners within the Township. The Township has agreed to make a donation toward the cost of food for the event.


Mr. Piliero adjourned the meeting at 9:51p.m. The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2013, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 North Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner
Recording Secretary