APRIL 16, 2001


Hugh Willig, Chairman, Kevin Kuhn, Vice-Chairman, Paul Hogan, Mike Rodgers, Irene Ewald, Tom Oeste, Esq., Glenn Diehl, Esq., Surender Kohli, P.E., Ed Theurkauf, Planner, Linda Csete, Township Administrator, and those on the attached attendee list.

The meeting was called to order at 7:38 p.m.


Mr. Willig announced that the agenda would be re-ordered this evening to accommodate a request of the Great Valley School District to go first, as one of their conditional use hearing witnesses had a commitment to be at another meeting later this evening.


Great Valley School District – Conditional Use and Preliminary Land Development Application for the Charlestown Elementary School

Jane Opie, Court Reporter, was present to record the proceedings. The hearing recessed for approximately one hour to allow other matters to be heard.

Emma Builders Inc., Lot 6 Blackberry Hill Conditional Use Application

Jane Opie, Court Reporter, was present to record the proceedings. The hearing was continued to May 21, 2001.

Altemose Conditional Use Application

Jane Opie, Court Reporter, was present to record the proceedings. The hearing was continued to May 21, 2001.

Presentation – Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission

Don Shanis, Deputy Director for Transportation Planning, and Jerry Coyne, Manager – Office of Transportation Studies for the DVRPC presented an update of their current transportation study of the greater Phoenixville area.

Mr. Shanis explained that the DVRPC was created by the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Legislatures in 1965 and concentrates on planning for the orderly growth and development of the Delaware Valley Region, which consists of a 9-county planning area including Philadelphia County, 4 suburban Pennsylvania counties (Bucks, Montgomery, Chester & Delaware) and 4 suburban New Jersey counties (Mercer, Burlington, Camden & Gloucester). He distributed sets of brochures on the commission to the Board and provided extra sets for the Township.

Mr. Coyne explained that the DVRPC is currently studying commuter traffic and looking at traffic congested areas in order to identify potential public transportation routes that may be eligible for government funding

Mrs. Ewald asked if the DVRPC is to be driven by the needs of the municipalities. Mr. Coyne said that a municipality can communicate its needs by participating in the steering committee meetings, and they are then considered in the overall vision.

Mrs. Ewald asked if the DVRPC is able to perform an individual study; for example, if Charlestown Township requested a specific study that had the support of its neighboring municipalities and the County. Mr. Shanis answered yes.

Mr. Kuhn asked what the DVRPC is looking for from Charlestown Township, and Mr. Shanis responded they’re looking for support of their goals and objectives.

Mr. Kuhn commented that he’d like to see the proposed traffic questionnaire shown this evening distributed to Charlestown residents for their input.

Hearing – Great Valley School District Conditional Use Application

The hearing was reconvened and Jane Opie, Court Reporter, recorded the proceeds. The hearing was continued to May 7, 2001 to close the hearing and render decisions in the two matters.

Citizens Forum for Non-Agenda Items

No items were brought forth at this time.

New Business

Charlestown Oaks

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve two bonds:

  1. Charlestown Oaks Bond Agreement format for Phases 7 - 10 as security for the remaining Phase 7 – 10 improvements, and
  2. Charlestown Oaks Bond Agreement for Phases 1 & 2, to be substituted as security for the remaining Phase 1 and 2 improvements, subject to a condition that the Phase 7-10 plan not be recorded until the original bond is delivered and the $200,000 tree contribution is made.

Mr. Hogan seconded, and Mr. Willig called for discussion. There being none, he called the vote and all were in favor.

Minutes of April 2, 2001

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the minutes of April 2, 2001 and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Kuhn moved to amend the approval with one change on page 7, top paragraph, striking the word “Assistant” before “Roadmaster” for the Roadmaster’s job description. Mrs. Ewald accepted the amendment after confirming that no changes had been made to the job description document since the Board’s review. Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.

Charlestown Hunt Homeowners’ Association – Picnic Tables

Laura Neumeister, President of the Charlestown Hunt Homeowners’ Association (HOA), brought forward a request from the residents for a change in the provision and placement of 14 picnic tables in a remote wooded area per the final approved plan. The residents feel the placement of these tables is too isolated for the community’s benefit and requests that the Board approve an alternative that would include fewer tables, more benches, and possibly additional recreational equipment. Realen has verbally indicated the value of the tables at $7,000.00. Therefore, the HOA requests that the $7,000.00 be provided by Realen Homes to the HOA directly in lieu of the 14 tables.

Mr. Kuhn said the Board asked the HOA to survey the Charlestown Hunt residents to ensure that this is the majority’s wish. Mrs. Neumeister said the matter was brought to them at the recent annual meeting, as well as communicated through e-mail updates. There have been no objections or other input.

Mr. Kuhn asked if the court settlement on the final plan precludes any changes of this nature, and Mr. Kohli said no, since it’s basically just a change in the location of the items.

Mr. Hogan moved to approve the request of the Charlestown Hunt Homeowners’ Association to receive $7,000.00 from Realen Homes in lieu of the installation of 14 picnic tables per the approved final plan. Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion.

Mrs. Ewald asked if the $7,000.00 should be placed in a separate escrow account. As an alternative, Mr. Kohli suggested that the Township send a letter to Realen Homes notifying them that they are not required to install the tables but should pay $7,000.00 to the Homeowners’ Association directly. If needed, this payment can be made part of their next escrow release approval by the Township. This way the bank can release the funds directly to the HOA at that time. The Secretary will communicate with Realen Homes.

Charlestown Park – Widening of Trail

The Board discussed whether to change the scope of work in the trail paving project to include an 8’ wide trail instead of the 6 ˝’ trail originally proposed. The contract has already been let with Associated Paving Inc. of Huntingdon Valley, PA, and when asked subsequently to the signing of the contract, they provided an estimate of an additional $17,183.00 to widen the trail to 8’ based on the original unit cost provided for the 6 1’2’ proposed trail. The original unit cost (cost per square yard) remained the same.

Mr. Willig said there are two issues: unit cost and total cost. The Board must decide what a reasonable unit cost is for changing to the wider trail and whether having an 8’ foot trail is so desirable that the total cost of widening is worth the increase.

Mr. Hogan moved to change the width of the trail to 8’ and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion.

Mr. Faggioli said that the unit cost (price per square yard) is lower for an 8’ trail than for a 6 ˝’ trail because both the paving equipment and the physical work required can be maneuvered more efficiently when constructing an 8’ trail. He said Associated Paving should have recalculated their unit cost and not simply applied the original figure to the additional square yardage.

With regard to the desirability of an 8’ trail, Mrs. Ewald stated that she preferred the narrower trail and felt an 8’ trail is too wide for Charlestown Park. Mr. Hogan asked for the width of the proposed Valley Forge Christian College trails that will connect to the Park’s trails, and Mr. Kuhn answered that previous minutes indicate they will be 8’. He said the wider trail will allow for emergency vehicles and people passing with strollers or bicycles. Parks & Rec Chairman Mark Connolly said to determine the desirable width of the trails it’s necessary to first decide what the Park should be used for. If it is to be designed for as many uses as is feasible in order to serve the greatest number of the public, the wider trail is preferred. He acknowledged that the sensitivity of the site is a real issue, but that he believes connecting the Park trail to the College trail will invite a lot of use. The wider trail will accommodate more people and make it ADA compliant. Mr. Theurkauf said a 6 ˝’ wide trail is a minimally serviceable trail, but for multiple activities, 8’ works better. Mr. Willig asked if 8’ is out of scale for Charlestown Park. Mr. Theurkauf responded that it’s perceptibly bigger, but considering the college use and other anticipated growth as outlined in the draft Comprehensive Plan, he doesn’t object to an 8’ trail.

Mr. Faggioli said if the trails are widened to 8’, the project should be re-bid by all contractors since the cost ratio is different than for the original 6 ˝’ the contractors bid on. Mr. Oeste said if the trail width changes, the scope of the project has changed and the contract should be re-bid; however he acknowledged that the Township may incur some liability with Associated Paving Inc. for their time and money spent so far. Mrs. Ewald said the Township has awarded the bid and signed the contract with Associated Paving Inc. and to re-bid the project now sounds like bid-rigging again. Ellen Behrle, Moses Way, said the Township has been putting out inconsistent bid documents authored by different consultants and they are no longer as consistent as they were in the past, leading to confusion. As a taxpayer, she said the unit price should be less for an 8’ wide trail, and that the Township has the responsibility of getting the best price for the work, even though some compensation may be due the current contracted firm. She suggested an alternative of negotiating a better unit price with the current contractor, which she believes should be in the $14.75-$15.50 range. Mrs. Ewald asked Mrs. Behrle if she believes she has a conflict of interest since she works for a contractor. Mrs., Behrle responded no, that as a taxpayer she has the right to say she doesn’t want the Township spending more for something than necessary.

Mr. Oeste said the Township can renegotiate with the contractor and do a change order. Mr. Kuhn said he is not interested in re-bidding the project, and Mrs. Ewald agreed. Mr. Kuhn suggested that if the Board decides to go to an 8’ wide trail, Mr. Oeste should review the bid documents to determine whether it’s valid to re-bid the project, keeping in mind that another change to the scope of work is likely, due to the question of whether it will be necessary to haul materials off the site.

Mr. Willig called the vote. Four were in favor, and Mrs. Ewald was opposed. Mr. Kuhn asked if it’s appropriate for Mr. Hogan and Mr. Connolly to communicate with the contractor that a recalculation of the unit cost should be undertaken, and if out of line, the contract may be re-bid. Mr. Oeste said this is acceptable. Mr. Connolly will set up a meeting with the contractor. Mr. Hogan, Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Connolly will attend.

Charlestown Park – Road Paving

In response to a previous Board request, Mr. Faggioli provided an estimate of $14,900.00 for a leveling course and 1 ˝ top course for paving F Street from the Park entrance gate to the stop sign at the parking lot. Mrs. Ewald asked that he also provide a price for paving Fifth Street, as she has had indications from the Christian College that they’re willing to participate in covering this expense.


There was consensus to adjourn. Mr. Willig adjourned the meeting at 12:45 A.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Secretary