Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of April 6, 2020

The first business meeting for April was held on April 6, 2020, via remote dial-in/log-in via WebEx due to the ongoing coronavirus situation.


Frank A. Piliero, Chairman, Charles A. Philips, Vice Chairman, Susan T. Bednar, Kevin R. Kuhn, and Hugh D. Willig.
Mark P. Thompson, Esq. and Daniel T. Wright, P.E.
Linda Csete, Manager, Jim Thompson, Roadmaster, Tim Hubbard, Public Safety & Property Coordinator, and Lisa Gardner, Recording Secretary. Mike Allen, Staff Planner, and Marie Stone, Assistant Township Secretary, were absent.
Pete Goodman, Melanie Smith, Lou Rubenfield, Mr. Muruganandham, Lorraine Fillippo, Bob Gr., Naresh Voota, Joseph Heastie, Whtiney Kau, John Martin, and 5 others.

Call to Order:

7:04 p.m.


There were none.

Citizens Forum

Spring Oak Resident’s Complaints

First to speak was Mr. Rubenfield (of Spring Oak) with these statements.

  1. There has been no change in the noise level in the 2 months since the residents last approached the Board.
  2. During the sound engineer’s test, it seemed to be an unusually quiet week. Did Devault management know about the study? The report from the sound engineer is late.
  3. The lighting from the plant is getting worse and there is reflective glare on homes.
  4. The odors continue; there is a discrepancy about when filters were ordered.
  5. The production level has greatly changed and at what point is this operation no longer grandfathered?
  6. The workers are ignoring the Do Not Enter and the 4-Way Stop sign for Devault Lane.

Mr. Wright responded that there is a new master spreadsheet that addresses each concern of the Spring Oak residents and the status of the situation. There is a large sign on order to direct trucks, and this should improve the traffic flow. Also, PennDOT has been contacted by the Township and is working with the Township to change the configuration of the intersection of Devault Lane and Whitehorse Road so that trucks can’t enter.

Mr. Hubbard stated he will contact the PA State Police about the traffic offenders. He will let them know that the shift change is at 2:30-3 pm, but that they work from ≈5 am to 11:30 pm.

After Mrs. Filippo provided the timing information, she said that the police have promised many times to check the area and they never do. Additionally, she said the original hours were Monday through Friday, but they work weekends now. The revving of engines is very disturbing, not only during the day, as she has a home office, but at night too.

The Board instructed Mr. Wright to provide Ms. Filippo and Mr. Rubenfield with the spreadsheet updates. This spreadsheet will be updated after tonight’s meeting with the newest complaints, responses, and traffic study information.

The second resident asked about a conflict of interest since the Township solicitor, Mr. Thompson works for the Township’s law firm, Lamb McErlane, and that the owner, Jim McErlane, is both a principal of that firm and a relative of the Fillippos. Mr. Piliero responded that the Board is prepared to utilize an alternative attorney to represent the Township if there is a perceived conflict of interest or if the situation becomes a legal matter. It is not a legal matter at this time.

The third resident stated carbon filters can easily become saturated in one day, is there a maintenance plan and how will it be verified?

Mr. Wright stated that the filter installation is slated for the week of April 13th. The Township has noticed the delay for the installation and has requested a copy of the purchase order that will have the specifics. The filters were custom, and therefore, costly, so Devault took longer than estimated to get prices from different manufacturers. If these filters do not help, there is more that can and will be done.

Mr. Willig asked that Mr. Wright be sure to get the purchase order and specs so that the next step can be quickly biomechanically engineered.

The fourth resident said he sent Mr. Black and Mr. Wright a video clip with audio of a loud noise at the plant on March 9th at 2 am. Mr. Black did not know what the source of the noise could be. Mr. Wright will press Mr. Black to see if this is typical maintenance or what is being done in the clip.

The fifth resident asked about the Business B1 zoning vs Industrial zoning. Is there a possibility that they have outgrown their current zoning or have built-out and therefore are no longer able to legally operate as a non-conforming business (as they have been for ≈50 years)? Mr. Thompson stated that they are operating within the law, that he would need to see proof of building additions etc. Mrs. Filippo asked him to research past Devault/Filippo land purchases, and to consider the addition of exterior equipment such as compressors and tanks. Mr. Thompson reminded everyone that the Township regulates outside of the building with zoning and has no proof of a change of business or permits for changes inside. A resident stated that in 2018 there was a publicly published account of expanded capacity and suggested Mr. Thompson review that article.

Next question, did the Township have any plans to permanently monitor sound? The Township may do more studies, but the Township wants to see what the recent report says first, and observe Devault’s response. The resident wanted to know if they could request permanent monitoring. Mr. Piliero asked him to wait for the first study results.

A resident asked if any studies were done going back to the beginning of Devault operations. No one remembers or expects that to be so. However, the question about JP Orleans performing initial sound studies came up. Mr. Wright explained that none were probably done because JP was building within the law (allowed by TND zoning), and Devault Foods was already there. At that time, it would have been the concept “was Spring Oak going to adversely impact Devault” as Devault was the existing neighbor, not the other way around.

Mr. Kuhn asked the residents if JP Orleans provided information about Devault? Two residents said that JPO claimed verbally that Devault Foods would be out of there in the next year or so. But this was not put in writing. Mr. Kuhn said they may have an issue with the developer if they were told that. The Board had no indication that Devault Foods was leaving the area.

There was another question regarding fencing. The approved plan had a fence on the perimeter. The gentleman claimed the children were easily accessing the food plant grounds. There is landscaping being planned but this is a safety concern and requires a fence. There is discussion continuing with regard to fence vs alternative buffers or berms.

Mr. Hubbard stated that this may fall under Homeland Security regulations and it will be researched by himself and Mr. Wright.

The retention basin that is not fenced is temporary. There is concern because it has a steep slope.

Any further business for Devault Foods and Spring Oak residents will be found under Old Business in future meetings as it is an ongoing issue.


Mr. Philips moved to approve:

  1. Minutes for the March 2, 2020, Business Meeting
  2. The March 2020 Treasurer’s Report
  3. The Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report for April 6, 2020.
  4. The Capital Fund - Open Space Projects Payable Report for April 6, 2020.

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


Mr. Philips suggested the ruins on the Ice Dam/Pickering Preserve be secured for safety reasons. There is a concern about uneven ground and falling rocks from the ruin. The Roadmaster, Mr. Wright, and Mr. Hubbard will visit the site to access the need for fencing, etc. Mr. Philips mentioned another location close by, a ruin across from the Hunt that needs to be secured as people do visit the site from time to time, that also needs attention since many residents are using the nearby trail.

Mr. Philips moved to accept March 2020 reports #1-16 as submitted and to approve necessary expenditures for the securing of the above-mentioned ruin sites. Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Old Business – none

New Business

Ratify Resolution #963-2020 Declaration of Local State of Disaster Emergency

Mrs. Csete explained that this was already done before tonight’s meeting but needed to be ratified. Mr. Kuhn moved to ratify Resolution #963-2020 declaring a local state of disaster emergency and Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Historical Commission/HARB (at-large) for a term ending 12/31/2024

Mrs. Csete said Members of HARB met with Ms. Dicranian and recommended her for the Commission. Mr. Philips moved to appoint Melissa Dicranian to the Historical Commission/HARB for the remainder of a vacant term ending 12/31/2024 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Revised PRPC Implementation Agreement

Mrs. Csete stated that due to the addition of West Pikeland joining, this agreement needed to be officially amended. Therefore, Mr. Willig moved to approve the revised Phoenixville Regional Planning Commission Implementation Agreement and Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Award Contract for Road Equipment & Labor for April 1, 2020 – Mar 31, 2021

Mr. Wright emailed the bid earlier for review by the Board. There has been no change in prices since last year. Mr. Philips moved to award the April 1, 2020 - March 31, 2021, Road Equipment & Labor Contract to Melchiorre Construction Company and Ms. Bednar seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Review Cost Estimate for 2020 Road Project and Authorize Advertising

Mr. Wright circulated a cost estimate for the 2020 Road project. Roads included are Ravenhill Road, Windy Hollow Drive, Taconic Drive, (Battlecreek Way, Taconic Drive, Beaufort Court, and Tipperary Drive. The cost will include one road needing inlet repair only, and the bids will be opened at the next Board Meeting.

Mr. Kuhn moved to authorize the advertising of the road project as proposed, and Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Other Business

Mr. Wright will verify the cars were removed from a lot on Aldham Road.

There will be a $5,000 contribution to each of the Township’s emergency first responders (EMT’s) to help fund COVID-19 operations, including the PA State Police.

Mr. Wright told the Board there are 3 properties owned by the Township totaling about 29 acres that the Township owns.


Mr. Piliero adjourned the meeting at 8:03 p.m. The next Board of Supervisors Meeting is scheduled for Monday, May 4, 2020, at 7:00 pm , location to be determined and advertised.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa K. Gardner
Recording Secretary