The first regular business meeting for April was held April 5, 1999 at the Charlestown Elementary School. John B. Sauser, Chairman, Robert, C. Wert, Vice Chairman (arrived later), Irene W. Ewald, Member, James E. McErlane, Esq., Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Linda M. Csete, Secretary, and those on the attached attendee list were present.

The meeting was called to order at 7:35 P.M. and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.


Mr. Sauser made the following announcements:

  1. Chester County is hosting a Public Safety Day on June 12, 1999 between 11:00 A.M. and 3:00 P.M. to provide an opportunity for citizens to meet their local fire fighters and police, tour the 911 Center and look over emergency equipment on display.
  2. Chester County 2020 is hosting the “State of Chester County” on Thursday, April 22, 1999 at East High School between 4:00 P.M. - 7:00 P.M. where the theme will be “Chester County Main Streets, Villages and Neighborhoods.” The key speaker will be Governor Tom Ridge. Registration is open to all and forms are available at the township office.
  3. The Board of Supervisors held an executive session on March 3rd to discuss pending litigation issues.
  4. Several items were added to the agenda including:

    Pa Turnpike Commission - Complaint & Declaratory Judgment
    Altemose Lawsuit - Recovery
    Chester County Request for Lyme Disease Education Panel at Charlestown Park
    Schedule 1998 Audit Report
    Tax Collector Issues
    Charlestown Hunt Homeowners’ Association - Trail System & Baby Pool

  5. Mr. Sauser was pleased to announce that the Township successfully defeated the Altemose civil lawsuit in Federal Court when the Judge dismissed all claims. The Altemoses have now appealed to the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. Mr. Sauser congratulated Jim McErlane and the members of his law firm for their excellent work in handling the case for the Township, stating that there is no better law firm in Chester County.

Citizens’ Forum - Agenda Items:

Kevin Kuhn stated that he hopes the Board of Supervisors will pursue cost recovery relative to the Altemose lawsuits.

Approval of Minutes

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the minutes of March 1, 1999 and Mr. Sauser seconded. Both were in favor.

Mr. Sauser stated that the minutes of January 18, 1999 will stand as submitted as a majority vote to approve or disapprove was not achieved.

Treasurer’s Report for March 1 - 31, 1999

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for March 1 - 31, 1999 and Mr. Sauser seconded. Both were in favor.

April Accounts Payable

Mr. Sauser moved to approve the April 5, 1999 Accounts Payable and Mrs. Ewald seconded. Both were in favor.


Reports from the Zoning Officer, Planning Commission, Historical Commission, Roadmaster and Fire Marshal are on file. There was no Parks and Recreation Report. Minutes from the last meeting of the Valley Forge Sewer Authority are on file.

Zoning Officer’s Report

Mr. Kohli stated that he has been unable to locate a current address for the owner of a Charlestown Road house that was badly damaged in a fire over a year ago. He asked how to proceed with demolition as the remaining structure is unsafe. Mr. McErlane described the procedure which includes making a best effort to serve notice to the owner before taking action. An additional attempt to obtain an address will be made with the help of the Fire Marshal.

Historical Commission

Mrs. Baldwin commended Bill Hochwind for his construction of a protective structure that was placed over the Dr. Kennedy gravestone in the Revolutionary War Cemetery. She stated that a Determination of Eligibility submission was made to the Pa. Historic and Museum Commission which may allow the creation of a National Register Historic District for Devault and Cedar Hollow.


Mr. Thompson stated that Wells Road will receive its final wearing course within the next few weeks as soon as warmer weather allows. A Wells Road resident expressed his dissatisfaction with the state of disrepair of this road throughout the winter. He questioned the late scheduling of the leveling course installation this past fall which didn’t allow time for the final coat to be completed before winter set in. Mr. Sauser explained that the project was delayed in the fall due to an unexpected shutdown of the asphalt plant combined with a sudden downturn in the weather. Mr. Kohli added that another scheduling factor was the wait for heavy residential construction to end on Wells Road prior to beginning the job. Mr. Sauser assured the resident that the road will be brought up to standard this spring.

Fire Marshal

Mr. Alston stated that the burning ban will remain in effect until the countryside greens up this spring. Mr. Sauser commended Mr. Alston on continuing to update his training on hazardous materials through a recent six hour seminar he attended.

Parks and Recreation Board

Park related discussions were tabled until later in the meeting.

Valley Forge Sewer Authority

Mr. Sauser referred to Joe Bateman’s memo inviting the Board to a public meeting and offering them a choice of two dates. Selection of a date for the meeting was tabled. The Planning Commission will be notified of the meeting date and invited to attend.

Recommended Appointments for the Citizens’ Advisory Committee to the Pa. Turnpike Commission

Mr. Sauser referred to William Capone’s letter of 3/8/99 in which the Director of Marketing for the Pa. Turnpike Commission requested recommendations from the Board for persons to serve on the proposed Citizens’ Advisory Committee.

Mr. Sauser suggested recommending for appointment one individual from the Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission, Historical Commission, Parks and Recreation Board, along with one individual from the Civic Association, Charlestown Green, Charlestown Historical Society, and the Slip Ramp Committee.

Mrs. Ewald stated that the 1991 committee was comprised of citizens, representatives from citizens’ groups and the local state representative and senators. She suggested that members of the official Township Boards and Commissions not be appointed to this committee in order to maintain the Township’s position that the Turnpike Commission come before the Board in a public hearing process. She is concerned that participation from the Township’s officials will be misconstrued as official representation and dilute the argument for a public hearing.

(Mr. Wert arrived at this time.)

Mr. Wert asked for the solicitor’s opinion, and Mr. McErlane responded that the Township should participate in every possible program offered by the Pa. Turnpike Commission. Mr. Wert then suggested that the Township communicate to the Turnpike Commission that it is not waiving any rights by naming its public officials as prospective members of the committee.

Prior to the selection of names for the Advisory Committee, Mr. McErlane explained the draft Complaint in Declaratory Judgment he prepared for the Board’s consideration in which Charlestown Township would request that the Court enter a declaratory judgment, declaring that “the Interchange Project must be approved by the Legislature and adopted as law of the Commonwealth prior to the implementation thereof by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.” Mr. Sauser moved to file the Complaint in Declaratory Judgment as soon as possible. Mrs. Ewald amended the motion to file the Complaint in Declaratory Judgment tomorrow. Mr. Sauser accepted the amendment, and all were in favor.

Mr. Sauser moved to recommend 8 individuals for appointment to the Citizens’ Advisory Group in accordance with his earlier plan. Mrs. Ewald suggested 3 local state representatives/senator be included as well as a citizen at large. After some discussion of individual names, Mr. Wert moved to recommend the appointment of the following individuals to represent Charlestown Township on the proposed Pa. Turnpike Citizens’ Advisory Committee:

1. Supervisor: John Sauser
2. Planning Commissioner: Charles Philips (Michael Churchill, alternate)
3. Historical Commission: Rosemary Philips
4. Parks & Recreation Board: Bob Roggio
5. Civic Association: Bob Jones
6. Charlestown Green: Ellen Behrle
7. Slip Ramp Committee: Vanessa Weissman
8. Charlestown Historical Society: Kevin Kuhn
9. Citizen at Large: Sue Staas

Mr. Sauser seconded. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were in favor. Mrs. Ewald did not vote.

In addition to these nine, The Board agreed that Mrs. Ewald will contact the following individuals and ask if they would like to be included on the committee: Rep. Carole Rubley, Rep. Robert Flick and Sen. Jim Gerlach.

Dam and Pond at Charlestown Park

Mr. Sauser stated that he spoke with Parks & Rec Board member Al Derkas at Charlestown Park to examine the deteriorating condition of the dam at Charlestown Park. He said he would like to confer with counsel with regard to restoring the pond to include clearing the surrounding area, signage, and a water control method to maximize the pond depth. Parks & Rec Chairman Mark Connolly stated that interim measures to shore up the dam can be arranged between Mr. Kohli and the Township road contractor, and that the Parks and Rec Board can include long term plans to restore the pond in the overall park planning process when the Board makes its determination after conferring with counsel.

Route 29 Bridge

Mr. Sauser stated that he has not received a reply to his letter to Rep. Curt Weldon requesting help in obtaining a waiver to allow a 32” high parapet instead of the federal standard of 42”. He will follow up. The Board’s consensus was to wait until this question is answered before signing the letter agreement with PennDOT drafted 2/19/99 by Tom Oeste. Mr. McErlane will confer with PennDOT’s counsel with regard to their time frame on the project.

Altemose Litigation Cost Recovery

Mr. McErlane stated that since the Altemoses have now appealed the most recent decision, he recommends waiting until the appeal is resolved before proceeding with an attempt to recover costs.

Charlestown Hunt Homeowners’ Association: Trail System and Baby Pool

Mr. Sauser summarized the issue, stating that originally last fall, the Homeowners’ Association was requesting the substitution of a baby pool for one of the yet to be constructed trails shown on the approved plan. Upon realizing this change couldn’t be made without changing the existing approved plans, the Homeowners’ Association then voted to keep the trail but add the baby pool at a cost assessment of $80.00 per homeowner. Although a large number of residents opposed this decision, they fell short of the ¾ vote needed to overturn the Homeowners’ Association decision. A building permit has now been submitted for the baby pool to the Township Zoning Officer.

Charlestown Hunt resident Patricia Burns stated that unlike other issues at the Hunt, such as approving an increase of the permitted size of decks for the townhouses, the residents were not polled for their opinion on the $80.00 assessment for a baby pool prior to the Association’s decision. Residents simply received the notice from Mid-Atlantic Management that they would be assessed. The residents sent their own poll which yielded a response of 53% opposed, 21% in favor, and 26% no response. Resident Mimi Kratzinger stated that when the Association conducted their poll on deck size, they counted “no response” votes as opposed. If they followed this procedure on this issue, the residents’ poll would indicate that over ¾ of the residents were opposed to the $80.00 assessment for the baby pool.

Hunt resident Paul Schwab asked if the Association has the authority to assess the residents for capital improvements such as the pool. He commented that the residents in general wouldn’t object to the pool if a majority wanted one, but they object to the process as it was undertaken in this case.

Mr. Wert moved to deny the building permit for the baby pool until the Charlestown Hunt Homeowners’ Association can demonstrate that proper procedure was satisfied in their decision making process. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor. Mr. Kohli will communicate to the applicant with advice of counsel.

Lyme Disease Education Panel

Mr. Sauser stated that the Chester County Health Department has requested permission from the Township to place a 32” x 48” educational display board at Charlestown Park. The Parks & Recreation Board will consider the request and convey their recommendation to the Board of Supervisors.

Schedule 1998 Audit Report

The Secretary will contact Mr. Todd to see if he’s available to give the 1998 Audit Report at the next meeting.

Schedule Spring Road Tour

The Spring Road Tour was scheduled for Monday, April 26, 1999 at 6:00 P.M. to start at the Charlestown Elementary School.

Tax Collector Issues

Mr. Wert moved to contact the County to request an appointee to work with Township Tax Collector Andrew Viscuso on the continuous problems he’s experienced with their data over the past few years. Mrs. Ewald seconded and all were in favor. Mr. Sauser will draft a letter.

Logo Contest Entries

Ten entries for the Township Logo Contest were on display for the Board’s consideration. They will announce their decision at the next meeting.

Realen Homes Escrow Releases

Mr. Sauser moved to approve the following escrow releases for Realen Homes Construction Company: Release #3 for Phase 4 of the Recreation and Fitness Center and Release #3 for Phase 2 of the Townhomes. Mr. Wert seconded. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were in favor. Mrs. Ewald did not vote.

Citizens’ Forum - Non-Agenda Items

Ellen Behrle had two issues with Realen Homes, the first being her concern over the Sycamore Lane Protective Association fence which Realen allowed them to erect across the end of Sycamore Lane. She said the field past the fence is being mowed for a long distance making it appear that they have some intention of using it for access to Sycamore Lane.Mr. Kohli will check on this. Mrs. Behrle also asked about the installation of trails on Realen property directly adjacent to the Willig property. Heavy equipment has been on the Willig’s property and they are concerned that trees in their setback area could be damaged. Mr. Kohli responded that Tom Comitta’s office has already checked this matter out and determined there has been no damage. Realen has had instructions to move back, therefore the issues should be resolved.

Loretta Watson asked for the status of the Broadwater Lane access, and Mr. Kohli responded that it will be completed this spring.

Louise Cantrell-Kehoe asked for an update on providing land for playing fields for the Great Valley School District. There is a perception that the Township is withholding approval. Mr. Sauser stated that the use of the Township property in Devault was approved in December, subject to consultants’ review of plans yet to be submitted, a response from the School District on fencing and the School District’s return of the legal agreement. Ms. Cantrell-Kehoe asked if one of the Board members would be willing to attend a School Board meeting and communicate with them on this issue, and Mr. Sauser offered to go. Mr. Wert recommended the Board authorize Mr. Sauser to attend the School Board meeting and make arrangements with them subject to Mr. Kohli’s review.


Mr. Sauser adjourned the meeting at 10:15 P.M. and stated that the next meeting of the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for May 3, 1999 at 7:30 P.M. at the Charlestown Elementary School.

Respectfully Submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Township Secretary