Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of December 7, 2020

The first business meeting for December was held on December 7, 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., Daniel T. Wright, P.E.
Linda Csete, Manager, Beth Martin, Assistant Secretary, Tim Hubbard, Public Safety & Property Coordinator, Lisa Gardner, Recording Secretary, and Mike Allen, Staff Planner. Jim Thompson was absent.
Lou Rubinfield, Naresh Voota, Gary Sheridan, Lorraine Filippo, Richard Roseberry, Michael Gill, Vincent Buser, Ilene McKinney, Donald Steele, Pete Goodman, Stephen Subars, Carol Armstrong, Chris Lawrence, and several others.

Call to Order:

7:03 p.m.


Mrs. Csete announced that the Board of Supervisors would like to thank the President of Charlestown Townwatch, Bob Wert, a former supervisor, and Emory Todd, Treasurer of Townwatch and a former auditor for the Township, for turning over unused funds from the now inactive Townwatch. The original donations to Townwatch came from the Township and private sources, mostly residents. The amount of the check received was $91,990.03. We greatly appreciate their past service to the Township and their honesty in returning these funds to us for the benefit of our taxpayers and residents.

Citizens Forum

Ms. Ilene McKinney stated she wanted to discuss obtaining a new permit for a generator under the new conditions to be set forth in a revised generator ordinance. The ordinance was initially thought to be on tonight’s agenda, but will not appear until January. Mr. Wright suggested this particular resident, and one other resident, be allowed to proceed although the ordinance has not been passed yet since they will be within the parameters of the revision. There are no neighbors to be impacted, the generator cannot be seen from the road, and there is a berm in between the generator spot and road. Mr. Thompson agreed to the legality of the special instances. Therefore, both denied permits will be reevaluated.


Mr. Philips moved to approve:

  1. Minutes for the November 2, 2020, Business Meeting
  2. The November 2020 Treasurer’s Report
  3. The Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report for December 7, 2020.
  4. The Capital Fund - Open Space Projects Payable Report for December 7, 2020.

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


Mr. Philips asked a question regarding a meeting between the Valley Forge Sewer Authority, Mr. Kuhn, and Mr. Piliero. Due to audio difficulties, Mr. Kuhn will address this item in an email.

Mr. Kuhn moved to accept the November 2020 reports #1-17 as submitted and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Piliero 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 know known as Beyond Meat.

Lighting –
Beyond Meat is installing replacement LED spotlights.
Odors –
MRV7 carbon filters have no recommended maintenance schedule. However, they are inspected monthly (top priority), since clogged filters can cause carbon monoxide to back up into the plant.
Noise –
November’s report, from Thornton Acoustics, Vibrations, and Noise Control, cited 8 instances of plant noise exceeding the Township Ordinance.

Mr. Rubenfield points:

  1. The noise has returned but is higher in pitch, verified by Mr. Stephen Subars also present.
  2. The smell is worse since Beyond Meat took over.
  3. It used to be quieter at night and Sundays there was no production. This seems to have changed. They appear to be in production 24/7, judging from the parking lot.
  4. Nitrogen deliveries are more plentiful and therefore the truck noise is more frequent.
  5. He asked Mr. Wright about the filters and Mr. Wright said they have been replaced many times and the schedule is monthly.

Mr. Voota asked Mr. Wright about a meeting that was supposed to happen for lighting complaints and Mr. Wright said he visited the site with a different resident and will be in touch. Mr. Sandeep received clarification that the VFD’s are working and that the 4 stacks will receive VFD’s and silencers.

Mrs. Fillippo presented the 4 points below and Mr. Wright said the Land Development Plan will include buffering but he will see if they will do it sooner.

  1. She has no privacy in her backyard.
  2. Lights are shining into her home.
  3. The little giant arborvitaes are not growing and look unhealthy.
  4. There is more refrigerated truck traffic and parking lot traffic.

Mr. Rubenfield mentioned that the extension of Milton Drive is not popular in Spring Oak due to plant traffic through the development. But Mr. Wright said residents wanted a Spring Oak Drive alternative/3rd exit and it was on the original Plan. Mr. Rubenfield said he wasn’t told about it.

He learned that the approved subdivision plan shows Milton Drive going to the property line, not stopping at the alley, and said it would cause more noise. Mr. Subars said it would ruin the berm and walking path and Mr. Voota warned that there were many small children in that townhome area. Mr. Thompson reminded them that the Township will consider these issues when the developer decides to move on it.

Management at Beyond Meat is committed to following Devault Foods’ new protocols set in place before the sale to Beyond Meat. These are designed to address all issues with the Township and its neighbors.

New Business

PA Turnpike Land Development Plan for Maintenance Facility

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

Mr. Michael Gill of Buckley Brion McQuire and Morris representing the PA Turnpike Commission

Mr. Vincent Buser, Engineer Project Manager, PA Turnpike Commission

Mr. Richard Roseberry, Maser Consulting

Mr. Gill stated all preliminary opinions were resolved and provided a status review.

  1. The utility line will travel through steep slope and require a Conditional Use.
  2. There will be a conservation easement for ≈19.4 acres.
  3. There will be compliance with the consultant review letters.

He received acceptable language from Mr. Thompson regarding a draft resolution to be finalized before the time of the recording of plans. However, language will be added to prevent future development, or activities such as dumping, or improvements to the site, thus protecting the vegetation at the former facility, per Mr. Thompson. Mr. Gill said this land was of no use to the Turnpike and that the Township did not need to be concerned.

Mr. Thompson told the Board that access road lighting discussed last month could be a Condition of Approval if they wished. The Board mentioned using a timer since this area was zoned FR and they want to protect the interests of the residents.

Mr. Gill’s baseline points for this lighting condition on the Plan:

  1. The Township must list objective criteria to get the Turnpike to add this lighting condition.
  2. In the absence of compliance, the Turnpike will then remedy the situation with suggestions from the Township and Stubbe Lighting LLC.

Mr. Gill’s points for the lack of the Turnpike Commission’s obligation to use sensors/timers:

  1. He insisted that his client did not want to address a problem that did not yet exist.
  2. The Turnpike is already in compliance, it is consistent with the Land Development Plan.
  3. The lighting is already specifically directed as requested by a Township consultant.
  4. They will also use shields as requested.
  5. There are no homes nearby and the woods are a barrier to the source.
  6. Mr. Buser stated reasons lighting isn’t an issue:
    1. Traffic flow will be parallel to the access road.
    2. The entrance is not visible by neighbors.
  7. Mr. Buser cited the use of Turnpike Standards (24/7 lighting) to safely and quickly respond to an event.
  8. They had already conceded to manually lighting the salt shed.

Mr. Motel wanted a mechanism to be able to look back and address the access road light issue.

Mr. Philips did not want the lights on all night unless they were responding to an event.

Ms. Bednar reminded the applicants that the Supervisors want to accommodate the residents living in an FR district where a Turnpike Maintenance Facility is being built.

Mr. Buser and Mr. Philips both agreed that the gate between the Turnpike and Valley Hill Road needs to be permanently illuminated.

Mr. Allen reminded Mr. Gill that the lights don’t need to be on 24/7, there is no need for them during the day. Seeing the source is the problem and the Deerfield community may see them. Mr. Gill said if Deerfield sees the source, they will shield them. However, in the cross-sections, the source was not visible.

All lighting, be it street lights, headlights, or pole lights, are to be minimalized. Moving to an executive session was suggested by Mr. Philips but Mr. Gill objected as it the subject matter doesn’t meet the standard for it. He said the lighting has an operational and safety aspect for the applicant.

Mr. Steele stated that the Turnpike can propose language to keep both parties happy.

Supervisors want the delay time researched by Mr. Thompson, Mr. Wright, and the applicant, and this amount of time to be considered in the sensor system that is triggered by Turnpike vehicles. Mr. Gary Sheridan, President of East Whiteland Fire Company, advised using a longer delay time rather than a shorter time, which could create an unwanted blinking effect as different trucks respond.

Mr. Wright stated that sensors (tripped by vehicles) that use timers address all the complaints of the Township.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Land Development Plan for the Devault Maintenance Facility of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, last revised 11/20/2020, conditioned upon the following:

  1. The Applicant will comply with all consultant letters (Mallach/TCA, Wright/Advanced GeoServices, and Stubbe/Stubbe Consulting LLC),
  2. The Applicant will apply for and obtain Conditional Use Approval for construction of utilities in steep slopes,
  3. The Applicant agrees to impose a conservation easement on the 19.32 acres (+/-) it owns on the south side of the Turnpike abutting the proposed development site which easement shall prohibit all future development and use of any part of the tract for dumping or placing fill of any type, with the easement held by the Township to be in place prior to the recordation of the Land Development Plan,
  4. The Applicant will amend its Lighting Plan to reflect that the access drive lighting will be placed on timers except during emergency use
  5. The Applicant agrees it will place a note on the plans indicating it will make a good faith effort to address reasonable post-development lighting issues that impact abutting neighbors.
  6. The Applicant will enter into a Land Development Agreement with the Township and in lieu of a financial security agreement, will provide a letter committing funds for the completion of the project.

And further approving Waivers for the following:

  1. A Waiver from the requirement to prepare a Conservation Plan since the information was included with the Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control Plans and Report and with the Post-Construction Stormwater Management Plans.
  2. A Waiver to allow 3 lights to exceed 20’ in height adjacent to the salt storage shed.
  3. A Waiver to allow the end caps of each row to be painted instead of providing raised longitudinal planting beds, for increased maneuverability.
  4. A Waiver from the maximum allowable height for the proposed salt shed.

Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, then the vote. All were in favor.

Brightside Farm Proposal for Siding

Mr. Kuhn and Mr. Philips visited the site and proposed new siding for the back of the home, with some painting, and roofing repair. They received a $30,000 estimate. New paint will be necessary in the spring for the remainder of the house.

Mr. Philips moved to approve the proposal for the siding repair under J.D. Bravo Change Order #4 on the Brightside Farmhouse and Ms. Bednar seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Update to Devault Rail Trail DCED Grant Application

Mrs. Csete notified the Board of Supervisors that she attended a phone conference with Mr. John Meisel and Mr. Tim Phelps (TMAAC) who wrote the joint grant application for the economic feasibility study for the proposed Devault Trail. Partners to the grant application are Phoenixville Borough, and Charlestown, Schuylkill, and Tredyffrin Townships. Mr. Phelps received feedback on the grant application from the DCED, which indicated about $3,000 of the proposed in-kind match from Charlestown, was disqualified. This means an additional $3,000 in monetary contribution from Charlestown will be needed to reach the 20% required match.

Appointment to the Environmental Advisory Committee to fill unexpired term ending 12/31/2022 – Esther Estes

Upon recommendation from the EAC, Mr. Philips moved to appoint Esther Estes to the Environmental Advisory Committee to fill an unexpired term ending 12/31/2022, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Tax Levy Resolution for 2021 and Budget Resolution to Adopt 2021 Budget

Mrs. Csete gave an overview of the Tax Levy Resolution. Supervisors noted the proposed real estate millage (.75 for the last 16 years), Local Services Tax, Real Estate Transfer Tax, and Earned Income Tax for 2021, will all remain the same as in 2020.

Mrs. Csete previously distributed the proposed budget materials from a meeting on October 20, 2020. Input had been received from the Chairs of the various boards, commissions, and committees.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve Resolution #973-2020 setting the taxes for 2021, and Resolution #974-2020 adopting the Budget for 2021 as drafted on 10/20/20. Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Records Retention #11 Resolution

Mrs. Csete said per the state’s records disposition schedule, she proposed the destruction of selected administrative records from 2015-2019 that were no longer of any value.

Mr. Piliero moved to adopt Resolution #975-2020 authorizing the disposition of these records, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Escrow Release #34 Pickering Crossing

Mr. Wright said everything was in order for this release. Mr. Philips moved to approve Escrow Release #34 for Pickering Crossing in the amount of $199,183.50 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Schedule and Authorize Advertisement for Reorganization Meeting

The Reorganization Meeting and first business meeting for January will be held Monday, January 4, 2021, 7:00 p.m. via Webex.


Mr. Piliero adjourned the meeting at 8:52 p.m. The Reorganization Meeting and next Business Meeting is scheduled for January 4, 2021, at 7:00 p.m. via Webex.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa K. Gardner
Recording Secretary