Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of November 2, 2020

The first business meeting for November was held on November 2, 2020, via remote dial-in/log-in via Webex due to the ongoing coronavirus situation.


Charles A. Philips, Vice Chairman, Susan T. Bednar, Kevin R. Kuhn, and Hugh D. Willig. Frank A. Piliero, Chairman, was absent so Mr. Philips chaired the meeting.
Mark P. Thompson, Esq., Daniel T. Wright, P.E.
Linda Csete, Manager, Beth Martin, Assistant Secretary, Tim Hubbard, Public Safety & Property Coordinator, and Lisa Gardner, Recording Secretary. Mike Allen, Staff Planner, and Jim Thompson were absent.
Lou Rubenfield, Naresh Voota, Gary Sheridan, Cathy DiFilippo, Namet Jain, Nick Vastardis, Ross Hellings, Richard Rosenberry, Michael Gill, Vincent Buser, Ben James, George Meyer, and several others.

Call to Order:

7:00 p.m.


Citizens Forum

Ms. Cathy DiFilippo sought help or advice from the Board of Supervisors tonight from an issue at her home in the Charlestown Hunt community. Her home’s steps began to separate from her porch due to ground settling. The Zoning Officer came to her home twice. She was told to get an engineer and the engineer told her to move a downspout. Eventually, her sidewalk light fixtures began to sink, her stair rails came off, and the estimate she received to fix it was $5,000.

Then an unannounced contractor removed $1000’s worth of flowers and plants (and trees she had just sprayed for lanternfly infestation-$200). She also lost a fence and is left with high weeds, pavers, and dirt. The state police arrived and questioned those removing the landscaping. By the time the Zoning Officer showed up they were finished. She was sued for $10,000 in a Phoenixville court and now she is headed to the County court.

She is in an end unit with a 200’ nearby drop. Now her marble bathroom has a crack due to sloping from settlement. Mr. Wright stated the removal of her landscaping was by the HOA and a new 30’ retaining wall was constructed. Although Mr. Wright has visited a few times, this time he has offered to meet with Ms. DiFilippo’s lawyer and the other lawyer and the HOA.


Mr. Kuhn moved to approve:

  1. Minutes for the October 5, 2020, Business Meeting
  2. Minutes of October 20, 2020 Budget Work Session, and Business Meeting of October 5th
  3. The October 2020 Treasurer’s Report
  4. The Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report for November 2, 2020.
  5. The Capital Fund - Open Space Projects Payable Report for November 2, 2020.

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


Mr. Kuhn moved to accept the October 2020 reports #1-17 as submitted and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Old Business

Spring Oak Resident Complaints

Mr. Wright gave an update on Devault Foods, especially the suggestions made by the acoustical engineer.

  1. The four stack devices were installed and initial indications show a decrease in noise.
  2. Silencers will be added to the stacks.
  3. Complaints came for October 6, 7, 8th but these are the only dates (verified by the engineer) that were not in compliance.
  4. Mr. Rubenfield said dumpster and refrigerated truck noise was down for October.
  5. Mr. Strunk is checking on noise complaints about Sunday night.
  6. The noise will be monitored for at least 7 more months. This includes the transfer of ownership on Friday to the new owners, Beyond Meat. Mr. Wright is meeting with them.
  7. Mr. Wright will visit Mr. Voota to see what lighting is bothering the border residents.
  8. Mr. Rubenfield asked about the maintenance schedule for the charcoal filters and Mr. Wright said they had diligent operations and maintenance schedules. But Mr. Willig asked him to get the specs on the machinery. Then, he is to obtain the install date from the purchase order and then check to see if the schedule is being followed.
  9. Mr. Willig asked Mr. Wright if the odors were meant to be mitigated or reduced with the filters.
  10. He was also asked if the filters are on all the outputs, especially since they have sold the operation.
  11. The acoustical noise report for October was just received and will be made available.
  12. Ms. Bednar wants Mr. Wright to find out the timing of the silencer installation.
  13. A resident has questions regarding JP Orleans follow through on landscaping and he was told to contact Mr. Wright.

New Business

Review Draft Ordinance to Regulate Standby and Portable Generators

Following a previous discussion on generator requirements at the October 5th meeting, the Board proposed adopting a stand-alone ordinance to be drafted by Mr. Thompson. It will be codified to the current operating requirements for a generator permit applicable to both standby units and portable units with transfer switches. The below current requirements would be retained:

An additional requirement would be added stating that stand-alone generators and transfer switches may be installed for only single-family homes, due to noise concerns. Mr. Kuhn would like to replace the word “emergency” with “standby” and strike the word “permanent” and have it read “for all electrical connections”. This would not regulate portable generators. If the resident wishes to pursue a waiver further, they would need to talk to the Zoning Board (independent from the Board of Supervisors).

Mr. Namit Jain has a corner lot in a cul de sac. He was declined a generator permit however since he has less than 21 feet of property before the HOA open space is reached even though he has 40-50’ between his and the neighbor’s house. After the adoption of this stand-alone ordinance, he can reapply for the permit and likely be approved.

Mr. James said that the modification to the ordinance doesn’t help everyone (Spring Oak) and asked Supervisors to help the residents living closer together. But this amendment is worded to consider the noise tolerance levels of the residents. Therefore, the Township is looking to the HOA to grant exceptions or communicate to the Township the level of community tolerance. The Township is aware that some homes have only 16 feet between them, and if the neighbors have an understanding, it becomes a problem if one neighbor moves. This should be handled by the HOA before it comes to the Board.

A hearing to consider this ordinance was scheduled for December 7, 2020, at 7:00 p.m.

Ratify Great Valley Nature Center Settlement Agreement

After a brief history of this property in foreclosure by Phoenixville Federal Bank & Trust, Mr. Thompson stated that the bank and the French and Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust have come to an agreement. After settlement for this property, it will be reused as the Trust’s offices but tonight’s formality is the next step in this lengthy legal maneuver.

Mr. Kuhn moved to ratify the Settlement Agreement with the Phoenixville Federal Bank & Trust for the acquisition of the Great Valley Nature Center, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.

George Meyer Subdivision Application

Mr. Vastardis and Mr. Meyer were present to seek Preliminary/Final Approval for his five-lot subdivision at the corner of Bodine and Foster Roads. He has obtained NPDES, PennDOT approvals (HOP), septic, and planning module approvals. Mr. Wright stated all engineering issues are resolved and the waivers approved.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Meyer Preliminary/Final Subdivision application last revised 10/25/19, subject to:

  1. The review comments in Mr. Wright’s letter dated 11/25/19 and 11/2/2020
  2. Mr. Comitta’s review memorandum dated 11/7/19

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

PA Turnpike Land Development Plan for Maintenance Facility

The following representatives were present to discuss their Land Development Plan for a new maintenance facility along the eastbound lane of Route 76 near the intersection at Valley Hill Road:

The site is located between Valley Hill Road and Yellow Springs Road near the Aqua water tank to the west. It is roughly ¾ of a mile from the current facility but on the other side of the highway. There is already an access drive nearby and parcels consolidated by the Turnpike. The proposed site is accessible by the east and westbound lanes and is midway between the Plymouth Meeting and Bowmansville Maintenance facilities.

Mr. Gill stated they will seek Final Land Development Approval in December.

  1. A conservation easement of ≈20 wooded acres south of the maintenance facility would replace the tree requirement and be preserved by Natural Lands Trust (suggested by Mr. Thompson).
  2. The FR district Use by the Turnpike - it is essential to have a new facility and for it to be located at this location.
  3. Landscape islands will be in the parking lot according to consultant letters.
  4. Trail Easement- there is a dirt road that the Turnpike Commission will commit to facilitate that passes thru Mr. Goodman’s property and a development and then onto the Turnpike’s property again.
  5. The Fee in Lieu requirement will be partially met by facilitating the trail that’s on the Turnpike Property.
  6. The height of the salt shed needs to be 41’ although the limit is 35’. It needs to hold 7 tons of material plus allow a truck with a 36’ clearance. If they enlarge it, to keep under the height limit, then it would increase the footprint. They told Supervisors it could only be seen from the Turnpike and the height is an operational functionality.
  7. Lighting - the Turnpike Commission will agree to a post-construction analysis as long as there is objective data to tie it to ordinance compliance. The Applicant agrees it will make a good faith effort to address reasonable post-development lighting issues that impact abutting neighbors as stated at the October Planning Commission Meeting.
  8. They will use forty-foot light standards, limited to 3, and those will be adjacent to the proposed Salt Storage Shed. The Lighting Plan for the new facility has to come under Turnpike unform conformity - but light sources will use shields, some poles are lower (20’), and the 40’s will point northerly as requested by Mr. Mallach.
  9. Mr. Buser explained the need for the 40’s during snow events. Many of the lights are behind a garage and shielded by the building and topography. Trucks with Plows have poorer lighting and this area is called a transition zone (for night vision) so this lighting request came from the maintenance crew and drivers of the awkwardly sized vehicles.
  10. Mr. Kuhn was concerned for residents, especially along the access road with the 20’ light poles. Discussion followed about why motion sensors were not optimal even with dimmers, and the fact that the crews also respond to closures, debris in the lanes, constructions, accidents, etc.
  11. The future use of the current facility is not clear since the widening project and this project are not managed together.
  12. The current facility will not remain as an additional maintenance facility, it will be closed. They will still maintain the area since it is an access. But there are no plans for a waste site or stormwater area since it is too small.
  13. However, they noted that the 3-way widening project might involve this property and since they are not involved in that project, they could not expand further.
  14. Any fill rotation would be temporary and the property would be restored to a natural state, environmental testing would be completed, no further paving would be done.

CCATO Convention Registration Nov. 12th – virtual

Mrs. Csete asked who would like to register for the County convention on November 12th, which is being held virtually this year from 5:00 - 7:30 p.m. No one requested to be registered.

Signal Service Contract Expires 2/1/21

Mrs. Csete noted the current 3-year contract is in place until February 1st of next year, but a 60-day notice is required to either terminate the agreement at that time or extend it for an additional year. The current rate of $65.00 per hour would likely be increased to $70.00 per hour if the contract was extended. She said Mr. Thompson related to her that he’s been satisfied with their performance over the past several years.

Mr. Kuhn moved to extend the current contract with Armour & Sons Electric Inc., for an additional year to February 1, 2022, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.

Website Design & Maintenance Agreement 11/1/2020-10/31/2021

Mrs. Csete presented the proposed agreement with Mr. Allen Underkofler, who requested a small increase in his hourly rate in the new contract.

Mr. Philips moved to approve the Website Design and Maintenance Agreement with Allen P. Underkofler for the period of 11/1/2020 to 10/31/2021 with the proposed rate increase, and Ms. Bednar seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.

Resolution Re-Adopting the Emergency Operations Plan

Mr. Hubbard stated he had reviewed the existing Plan and determined that the Plan remains current and needs no amendments.

Mr. Kuhn moved to adopt Resolution #972-2020, re-adopting the Emergency Operations Plan of Charlestown Township and Mr. Bednar seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.

Authorize Advertising for Adoption of 2021 Budget for December 2, 2020

Mr. Philips moved to authorize the Township Manager to advertise the proposed 2021 Budget for consideration of adoption at the December 7, 2020 Board of Supervisors Meeting, 7:00 P.M., via Webex, and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Authorize Advertisement of Intent to Appoint a CPA to Audit the 2020 Accounts

Mr. Philips moved to authorize the Township Manager to advertise the Board’s intention to appoint a certified public accountant at the Reorganization Meeting, to conduct the 2020 audit. Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Mr. Philips adjourned the meeting at 8:53 p.m. The next Board of Supervisors Meeting is scheduled for December 7, 2020, at 7:00 p.m. via Webex.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa K. Gardner
Recording Secretary