June 5, 2000

The first regular business meeting for June was held June 5, 2000 at the Valley Forge Christian College, Building #11. Irene W. Ewald, Chairman, Hugh D. Willig, Vice Chairman, Kevin R. Kuhn, Michael J. Rodgers, Paul J. Hogan, Thomas F. Oeste, Esq., Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Ed Theurkauf, Leah J. Campion, Asst. Township Secretary, Linda M. Csete, Secretary, and those on the attached attendee list were present.

The meeting was called to order at 7:35 P.M.

Presentation of Historic Preservation Award

Mrs. Ewald introduced Jane Davidson of the Chester County Office of Historic Preservation and presented her with a Historic Preservation Award on behalf of the Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors for her support of Charlestown Township’s own historic preservation efforts. Mrs. Davidson had been honored on May 20, 2000 in Washington D.C. as Outstanding Woman in Historic Preservation. Janet Baldwin, Priscilla Crowell and Grace Mohler of the Charlestown Historical Commission were also present to offer congratulations.

Mrs. Davidson provided a brief background on the development of historic preservation activities in Chester County and her role in encouraging municipalities to form their own Historical Commissions starting in the 1970’s.


Mrs. Ewald announced that the Board held an executive session with the Township Solicitor on May 25, 2000 to discuss legal matters including the Toll Brothers Tentative Plan application.

Mr. Hogan announced that he and Parks & Rec Chairman Mark Connolly met at Charlestown Park with a local Boy Scout Troop that has offered to build a foot bridge over the creek as an Eagle Scout project. Mr. Hogan said this project will be incorporated into the Master Site Plan for the Park.

Citizens’ Forum - Non-Agenda Items

Request for Public Water

Diane Leslie and Tom Wolk were present to make a request to the Board to permit public water service to their property on Whitehorse Road due to their difficulty in drilling a successful well for a house now under construction. The property is Lot #12A of the Four Oaks subdivision and is approximately 4 acres in size. Mr. Wolk stated B.L. Myers Brothers Inc. drilled 400 feet without finding water and referenced a letter to this effect dated 5/31/00 by David B. Myers. Mr. Wolk also referenced a 6/1/00 letter from PSW Senior Project Engineer, Thomas M. Kiely, P.E., which indicates that PSW Co. is willing to provide service to the property provided the Township grants permission.

Mrs. Ewald said the township has excellent ground water resources and encouraged the property owners to continue efforts to drill. She asked how far along the house construction is, and Mr. Kuhn responded that it’s nearly completed. He said their request should be considered, especially since a nearby property had a similar problem and drilled 5 dry wells. Mr. Willig asked if the geology of the area supports their assertion that water won’t be found. Ms. Leslie said that in addition to the instance described by Mr. Kuhn, one of their uphill neighbors reports very poor water flow for their home.

Mr. Kuhn asked if there is a legal issue involved with this request. Mr. Oeste responded that the Zoning Ordinance makes it clear that the property in question is zoned Farm Residential, which requires both on site sewer and water. He recommended that he have an opportunity to examine the issue and advise the Board. Mr. Willig asked if any other homes are being built in the area, and Mr. Kuhn answered no, that there are still several lots of the Four Oaks subdivision up for sale. Mrs. Ewald noted that several lots of the nearby Stewart subdivision have been recently or are now under development and have succeeded in obtaining on site water. She noted that in most cases, builders install their on-site facilities before beginning the house construction in order to forestall these situations. Ms. Leslie said the original subdivider, Steven Van Vliet, assured them the lots checked out for on site water. Mrs. Ewald agreed that this would have been proven to the Township during the subdivision process. She commented that breaking the zoning by providing public water to a lot in the FR District is a very serious issue. Mr. Wolk asked if the Board can expedite their decision, and Mr. Oeste agreed to advise them by Friday morning, June 9th.

Request for Grant of Building Permit

Al Fuscaldo, Esq. was present on behalf of his clients, Steve and Christine Myer, equitable owners of 8 acres off privately owned Moses Lane. The Myers were denied a building permit and instructed to apply to the Zoning Hearing Board for certain relief in order to construct a single family home on the property. The Myers then sought relief from the Zoning Hearing Board requesting either (1) an interpretation that the property was non-conforming, or as an alternative, (2) variances from Section 1609 (A) and 1609 (B) of the Zoning Ordinance.

Mr. Fuscaldo referenced a letter faxed this afternoon to the Township office dated 6/5/00 in which he stated that the written decision and order of the Zoning Hearing Board was inconsistent with their vote of 2/10/00. He said the vote granted relief from Sections 1609 (A) and 1609 (B) of the Zoning Ordinance, but the written decision granted relief only from Section 1609 (A). He then claims that since the written decision didn’t address the 1609 (B) request, it is deemed approved due to the Board’s failure to act in the required time period.

Mr. Fuscaldo asserted that the property is a pre-existing non-confirming lot as it predates the enactment of Charlestown’s first zoning ordinance. Mr. Oeste disagreed, stating that the Zoning Hearing Board determined it was subject to the Ordinance and the applicant did not appeal this determination.

The letter requests that the Board of Supervisors direct the Zoning Officer to grant the building permit on the basis that legal access to the property through the Moses property has been established.

Ellen Behrle, 11 Moses Way, stated that during the zoning hearing process, the Myers proved their right to an easement across the Behrle property, but not through the Moses property, which ties in to Sycamore Lane.

Mr. Oeste advised the Board to deliberate the request in Executive Session and subsequently provide direction to the Zoning Officer. Mr. Fuscaldo requested expedition of the decision, as his clients are closing on the property on June 14, 2000.

The Board recessed the meeting to go into Executive Session on this matter at 8:50 P.M. and reconvened at 9:10 P.M. Mr. Oeste said the Board will try to decide the matter within Mr. Fuscaldo’s time frame, and in the meantime, suggests he meet with Mr. Moses and the Behrles and try to resolve issues with them.

Mrs. Ewald added the matter to the agenda for the Executive Session scheduled for June 8th.

Brooklands Plan Submission

John Panizza was present to request clarification of a letter he received from the Township Secretary following his submission of plans for the Brooklands Subdivision. The letter stated that the plan would be treated as a new submission and not as a revision to the previous plan, thus triggering the requirement for 21 complete sets of all documents and a new application fee. He said that at the February 7, 2000 meeting, the Board accepted an indefinite extension on the preliminary plan and agreed to a 90 day review period for the revised plans when submitted. He said the plan is clearly a revision and not a new plan, as it addresses the conditional use decision and the consultants’ review comments. He expected the plan to be reviewed at the June 11, 2000 Planning Commission meeting and instead was informed that only a completeness review would be undertaken at that time.

Mrs. Ewald said the Board will confer with Mr. Oeste and Mr. Kohli in order to clarify the issue and will send Mr. Panizza a response letter. Mr. Willig said that mixing reports that accompanied the prior plan with a new submission creates confusion. He requested a list of documents that are incorporated in the latest submission. Mr. Panizza agreed to provide one.

Rescheduling of July Meetings

The business meetings for July were rescheduled from the standard 1st and 3rd Mondays to July 10, 2000 and July 24, 2000 due to the Independence Day holiday.

Continuation - Spring Lane Farm Conditional Use Hearing

The proceeds were taken by Jane Opie, Court Reporter. The hearing was continued to July 10, 2000.

Minutes of May 15, 2000

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of May 15, 2000 and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and then the public. There being none, the vote was called and all were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report May 1 - 31, 2000

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for May 1 - 31, 2000 and Mr. Willig seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and then the public. There being none, she called the vote. All were in favor.

Accounts Payable June 5, 2000

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the Accounts Payable Report for June 5, 2000 and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and public, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.


Reports from the Planning Commission, Historical Commission, Zoning Officer, Roadmaster, Fire Marshal and Citizens’ Advisory Committee 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/Engineer

Mr. Kohli said the Building Permit Report for May is on file. Mrs. Ewald asked for the permit status on a Green Lane Road project, and Mr. Kohli said an application was filed but hasn’t been reviewed yet.

Mr. McErlane will send a letter advising on the Turnpike’s tower construction within the week.

Mrs. Ewald asked if the two historic structures on one of the Souder subdivision lots was being preserved according to the subdivision approval decision. Mr. Kohli said the larger house, a 17th century house, is being restored at the present time. A later addition was approved for demolition, and that process damaged a back wall of the house that is now undergoing repairs. The 18th century structure is not being addressed at this time.

Mr. Willig asked if the trail walk at Charlestown Hunt has taken place. Mr. Kohli said yes, he walked the trails last Thursday with Hunt Association President Laura Neumeister. Items for correction were noted and will be addressed.

Planning Commission Report

Mr. Philips said the Planning Commission is continuing its work on the Comprehensive Plan and is gratified to see many of the Board members in attendance at the meetings and taking an active interest in the process. He said that numerous plans have been coming in and are being scheduled and reviewed.


Mr. Faggioli reported that he’s having great difficulties working with the Contractor. He gave the example of his work order for mowing, which was not responded to in a timely way in accordance with the contract. Meanwhile, tall grass is a sight distance hazard for motorists, and he is hearing complaints from residents, the State Police, and neighboring Townships. When the Contractor finally reported for work, the mower broke down. Later in the week, the Contractor undertook mowing without supervision.

The Board directed Mr. Oeste to review the contract for a failure to perform and advise the Board.

Fire Marshal

Mr. Alston provided details from his May Report and said he’s continuing to work with the Solicitor on drafts of hazardous materials and fire ordinances.

Mr. Kuhn asked about the status of the county radio system. Mr. Alston responded that the problem is fairly serious, with many areas reporting sporadic problems with dispatching. He suspects there would be similar problem spots in Charlestown.

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Citizens’ Advisory Committee

Mr. Philips said the next meeting of the Committee is June 28, 2000. The Charlestown representatives on the committee are trying to convince the Turnpike Commission that more meetings are needed in order to get their questions answered, including the questions of the County Planning Commission. Reasonable requests for impact data have been made and have gone unanswered. He believes the Turnpike Commission is aware they have a public relations problem but are compelled to move forward with their plans.

Stoudt Conditional Use Application - Continuation

The proceeds were taken by Jane Opie, Court Reporter. The hearing was continued to July 10, 2000.

Zoning Ordinance Amendment to Include Historic Properties over 25 acres in the Open Space Option as a Conditional Use - Continued

The proceeds were taken by Jane Opie, Court Reporter. The hearing was continued to July 10, 2000.

Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance Amendment to Section 508

The proceeds were taken by Jane Opie, Court Reporter. Mr. Rodgers moved to approve Ordinance #88-2000 with one spelling correction on page 1 under 508.E from therefore to therefore and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and then the public, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

New Business

Miles Conditional Use Decision

Mrs. Ewald read the 9 conditions listed in the draft decision for the Miles Conditional Use Application. Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the decision subject to the conditions as written and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and then the public, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor. Mr. Oeste will fax the decision in letter form to Mr. Miles’ attorney Ron Nagle tomorrow.

Schedule Hearings

The Board scheduled hearings for the Toll Bros. Inc. May 19, 2000 applications for a Tentative Plan and Conditional Use Plan for Charlestown Meadows for July 10, 2000 at the Valley Forge Christian College, 7:30 P.M.

Escrow Release #4: Commons at Great Valley Lot #16

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve Escrow Release #4 for the Commons at Great Valley Lot #16 in the amount of $42,750.00 and Mr. Willig seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and then the public, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Escrow Release #4: Commons at Great Valley Lot #17

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve Escrow Release #4 for the Commons at Great Valley Lot #17 in the amount of $21,534.00 and Mr. Willig seconded. Mrs. Ewald called for discussion from the Board and then the public, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Mrs. Ewald adjourned the meeting at 9:40 P.M. The next meeting of the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for June 19, 2000 at 7:30 P.M. at the Valley Forge Christian College.

Respectfully Submitted,

Linda M. Csete