September 10, 2001


Hugh Willig, Chairman, Kevin Kuhn, Vice-Chairman, Paul Hogan, Mike Rodgers, Irene Ewald, Tom Oeste, Esq., (arrived later), 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 7:40 p.m.


Mr. Willig announced the September 18, 2001 meeting to present the revised Comprehensive Plan to the public, to be held at the Great Valley Middle School cafeteria at 7:30 P.M. Postcards have been sent to all residents and the public is encouraged to attend and comment.

Mrs. Ewald announced that she and Mr. Willig participated in the opening ceremonies for the Phoenixville Marion Youth Club yesterday. Their program includes football for 6-7 year old boys, cheerleading for 6-10 year old girls, and girl’s field hockey. The Phoenixville Area Soccer Club also opened their season recently, and Representative Rubley and Senator Gerlach attended.

Mrs. Ewald provided an update on the state police investigation of a vandalism spree that took place last fall at a home on Old Farm Lane off Green Lane Road, where over $120,000 in damage was done. The State Police have interviewed over 80 persons and have made arrests in 2 phases thus far with more expected. She said that good investigative police work of this scope takes time but is getting results.

Mrs. Ewald said the State Police have been undertaking more traffic enforcement activity in Charlestown and that it will continue. She expressed her appreciation for their hard work.

Mr. Kuhn announced that the next meeting of the subregional planning group hosted by East Pikeland Township will take place September 25, 2001 at 7:00 P.M. He asked the Board to review documents he obtained on regional planning, stating that the East Pikeland-Phoenixville-Charlestown group would like to formalize their participation in a like manner.

Citizens Forum for Non-Agenda Items

Mrs. Ewald said she was requested by resident Gail Pomante to report that her neighbor continues to hold meetings and classes at his house after having been told to stop by the Zoning Officer several months ago. The situation has created parking problems and the Pomantis request enforcement action. She said Mrs. Pomanti was unable to attend this evening, but was encouraged to do so next week.

Bill Kruger of the PMYC requested guidance from the Township on trimming tree limbs growing over the lights on the PMYC field. The PMYC would like to trim but hesitated to do so without checking first with the Township, or possibly requesting that the Township tree contractor take care of the matter. Mr. Hogan said he’ll take a look at the situation and respond to Parks & Rec chairman Mark Connolly within a few days as to what can be done.

Jeffrey Crowell said traffic enforcement is needed on Charlestown Road in the area of the Charlestown Playschool. Mr. Willig said the school recently contacted the State Police on their own, and that the state police have been making their presence known in that area.

Mrs. Ewald extended congratulations to the Charlestown Historical Society for hosting a wonderful patron’s dinner on Saturday night. Long time resident Catherine Jenkins was honored, and Mrs. Ewald named some of her many involvements with Charlestown including co-founding the Civic Association with her husband, actively participating in Townwatch and the Historical Society work at the Rapp House. She described Mrs. Jenkins as a wonderful role model for all of us.

Minutes of August 20, 2001

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of August 20, 2001 and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called the vote and all were in favor.

Minutes of August 6, 2001 – correction

Mrs. Csete requested the Board note a correction to be made to the minutes of August 6, 2001 under the heading “Parks and Recreation”, third paragraph, 5th sentence. The sentence “Mr. Theurkauf suggested a flashing light that pedestrians can push to activate” is incorrect and should be stuck. The sentence should read, “Mr. Theurkauf suggested a three way stop sign.” Mrs. Ewald moved to accept the correction and Mr. Willig seconded. All were in favor.


Accounts Payable Report – September 10, 2001 General Fund

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Accounts Payable report for the General Fund for September 10, 2001 and Mr. Rodgers seconded. All were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report – September 10, 2001 State Fund

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Accounts Payable report for the State Fund for September 10, 2001 and Mr. Rodgers seconded. All were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report August 1 – 31, 2001

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Treasurer’s Report for August 1 – 31, 2001 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. All were in favor.

Zoning Officer

Mr. Kohli referred to PennDOT’s negative response to his letter requesting a “no left turn” sign from Route 29 onto Union Hill Road. Mr. Kuhn noted their response indicated this would divert traffic to Aldham Road, which he disagreed with. Mrs. Ewald said the Board should consider making Union Hill Road one way in the morning rush and the opposite way for the evening rush. Mr. Kuhn said this would require enforcement. Mr. Willig said it would have to be coordinated with the School District for bus routing. After some discussion, the Board accepted Mrs. Ewald’s suggestion that an article be placed in the upcoming Township newsletter on the issue, and state that it will be discussed at a later date at one of the Board meetings. The Board felt participation from the residents on that road and nearby areas should have an opportunity to comment. She volunteered to write the article.

Mr. Kohli said he’s still waiting for documentation from PennDOT on a three-way stop sign at Maryhill and Coldstream Roads to enable pedestrians to cross over to the park. He’s also waiting for the results of the traffic study to determine if the speed limit on Coldstream Road can be reduced to 25 MPH.

Mrs. Ewald said she believes the Maryhill/Coldstream intersection is too dangerous for a 3-way stop due to the poor sight distances. Mr. Kohli said the other intersection under consideration is Benburb and Coldstream Roads.

Mr. Willig asked Mr. Kohli if he’s heard any news on when the Route 29 bridge will be closed for replacement by PennDOT, and he responded there has been no update. Mr. Kohli said he’d get information on the bid schedule from PennDOT, which should indicate when the project is slated to begin.

Planning Commission

Bill Davison reported that the Commission met last on August 28, 2001 and reviewed the Commons @ Great Valley Lot 18 Land Development Plan, for which they recommended approval to the Board. They also continued with the Comprehensive Plan review at this meeting, with considerable input from residents, largely from Union Hill and Whitehorse Roads, who expressed their concerns over traffic conditions and the ongoing Turnpike work, both in conjunction with the Comprehensive Plan discussions. Mr. Davison encourages the public to attend the Comprehensive Plan presentation on September 18th. He said the Commission has a full agenda for tomorrow’s meeting, including a review of the Charlestown Elementary School Land Development Plan.

Historical Commission/H.A.R.B.

Mary Ellen Joos reported on behalf of the Historical Commission, stating they met last on August 21st, when a hearing was opened to consider the application for a Certificate of Appropriateness to demolition the Charlestown Mill, located in the Historic District. Since the applicant’s representatives weren’t available, the hearing was continued to September 18, 2001 at 4:00 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School. At the 8/21/01 meeting, Charlie Philips presented the Official Map for Charlestown and explained the value of this planning tool. The Historical Commission recommended the Board of Supervisors adopt the Official Map. The Frens & Frens field survey of the Brightside farm is scheduled to take place shortly, and Mrs. Joos said Dale Frens will be working closely with Thomas Comitta Associates on it.

The Historical Commission will also attend a tour of the General Store on September 18th at 2:30 P.M., upon invitation by the owners.


The Roadmaster was not present; his report for August is on file.

Fire Marshal/Emergency Operations

Mr. Alston reported that during July and August, there were 10 automatic fire alarms, 3 trees & wires fires, one smoke investigation, one vehicle fire, one fuel spill, one ambulance assist and 7 vehicle accidents. Precipitation is down 4 inches for the year. Mr. Alston said he received a copy of the fire ordinance from Mr. Oeste and expects to have it to the Board within the next few weeks. Mr. Alston extended an invitation to the public to join the EOC, which is in need of new members. (Mr. Oeste arrived at this time.)

Mrs. Ewald said the false fire alarms at the Charlestown Saloon (6 this year) are inexcusable and she requested that Mr. Kohli do an inspection of the facility. Mr. Alston said the new ordinance will provide the means to fine repeat false alarm offenders.

Mrs. Ewald asked about the sewage problems at the Charlestown Saloon, and Mr. Kohli said the Chester County Health Department is handling the matter.

With regard to the traffic light at Valley Hill Road and Route 401, Mr. Kohli said he is reviewing the means to install a signal to relay to the emergency preemption system, as one is needed due to traffic backups that may cause the emergency equipment to be too far from the signal (and out of the sight line) to trip the preemption without a relay.

Parks and Recreation

Mr. Hogan said Josh Lord, Lord’s Tree Service, is spreading wood chips in the playground area, and that Mark Cabot has been dealing with litter and weedwacking at the Park. Mr. Hogan is arranging for Melchiorre Construction to break up and spread the left over asphalt from the trail project that was then delivered to the Brightside Farm for pothole filling and road repair. He announced that there is a work party scheduled for Saturday, September 22nd at 8:30 A.M. at the Brightside Farm, and volunteers are asked to bring tools with them.

Valley Forge Sewer Authority

Mr. Rodgers said the chief engineer for the VFSA saved $200,000 by analyzing the plans for what is really needed at the control center. The Annual Report for 2000 showed a large surplus, and a surplus is also anticipated for 2001. Discussions are being held on the possible expansion that will be needed in 4-5 years. Planning must start now as many homes are being built and there is practically no reserve capacity. Any extended wet weather decreases capacity further as storm water infiltrates into the sewage system. East Pikeland Township is looking for a sewer extension for a large project in their township, and the VFSA is discussing the cost ramifications. Mr. Kuhn asked if there is any mention of the Toll Bros. Plan or Altemose application in the report of future projects. Mr. Kohli responded that the Toll Bros. Plan (Charlestown Meadows) has been in the plan for years, and that the Altemose plan is not included because it is outside the franchise area for public sewer.

Mr. Willig complained that the VFSA minutes are vague and give virtually no information. Mr. Kuhn agreed and suggested they use a recording secretary. Mrs. Ewald moved to request that Mr. Rodgers request the VFSA Board provide minutes written by a recording secretary. Mr. Kuhn proposed to amend the motion to specify that the recording secretary be someone other than the General Manager of the Sewer Authority. Mrs. Ewald accepted the amendment and Mr. Willig seconded. All were in favor.

Citizens Advisory Committee to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

Mr. Kuhn said a memo from Seth Lieberman was received stating that the Turnpike Commission was still trying to get traffic studies from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and hopes to hold a meeting with the Advisory Committee this fall. Mrs. Ewald asked Mr. Kohli if the Turnpike Commission is required to replace the vegetation they removed due to their bridge work over Route 29 and Phoenixville Pike. Mr. Kohli said they have to re-vegetate when the project is completed, which will be over a year from now. As for re-planting with trees, Mr. Kohli said he will speak to the Commission, but since it is a right of way area it may not be possible to get them to provide trees. Mr. Kuhn asked about the request to the PTC to pave the driveway to the Sidley Hill Road tower, and the Secretary said Walt Green on the Turnpike Commission requested a copy of the township ordinance requiring the paving of the first 25 feet of driveway and will try to get approval from Harrisburg.

Presentation – Valley Forge Christian College Master Plan

Bill Werkheiser, Facilities Director for the VFCC, and Vic Kelly of Commonwealth Engineers, presented the Master Plan for the Christian College dated 11/1/00. Mr. Werkheiser thanked the Supervisors for the construction of the fitness trail at Charlestown Park, which connects to the new trail at the College. Mr. Werkheiser reported that the College is doing very well. Enrollment has increased by 104 over the last semester for a total of 985 students.

The Master Plan illustrates a “back to the farm” approach that will concentrate buildings in the center and keep the perimeter green and represents a 15 year build out. More housing is the first priority and they hope to have a plan before the Planning Commission in a month or so. He produced an architect’s model for the Board and said they hope to have a residents’ building ready by August 2002. The College hopes to be able to combine efforts for stormwater management with Charlestown Park, possibly with a restoration of the pond. They are looking for direction from Charlestown. (Mark Connolly arrived at this time.) There is some interest in purchasing the Barracks building from the Township.

Mr. Davison said the VFCC Master Plan provides an excellent opportunity for a regional planning effort. Mrs. Ewald said she’d like to see cooperative planning on parking areas as sometimes the Park needs overflow space and at other times the College does.

Mr. Werkheiser indicated that the VFCC may be willing to provide the Township with some additional right of way along Coldstream Road at the intersection with Charlestown Road that can be available for future road improvements.

Mrs. Ewald asked about the coordination of the overall land development, and Mr. Kohli responded that land development could be reviewed and approved in phases.

Old Business

Brightside Farm Committee Report & Discussion

Mr. Connolly referred to the Brightside Farm Committee report dated 9/10/01 and began with the Committee’s recommendation that the Board authorize extermination work and clean up by Servpro Services. Mrs. Ewald said Servpro and Terra Environmental provided quotes. A third firm, Maximum Services, after months of back and forth contact, elected not to submit a proposal. The Servpro proposal included a detailed room-by-room measured approach. Deodorizing options were listed separately, to be undertaken only if necessary. She said the Committee was unanimous in its recommendation that the Board proceed with the extermination and cleanup with a target completion date of 10/1/01. Mr. Kuhn said he was not aware of the scope of the clean up proposal, and instead thought the Board was looking into a rent in exchange for work arrangement.

With regard to selecting a Caretaker for the Farm, Jacob Merriwether said the Committee interviewed candidates with the following in mind: someone to provide security for the property who would be capable of dealing with the public since the parcel does provide for some public access. The three candidates were ranked, with Rich Yonkoske receiving the highest ranking. Mr. Kuhn said he doesn’t see the caretaker’s role the same way, stating that for the next 18 months there will be little contact with the public. He questions the environmental condition of the house and whether lead abatement is needed and what liabilities the Township may incur with a caretaker. Mr. Connolly stated that the report proposed to be undertaken by Dale Frens, in a proposal dated 9/10/01, for architectural design services for the rehabilitation of the farmhouse for use as a caretaker’s dwelling would answer these questions. Mr. Merriwether questioned Mr. Frens’ statement in his proposal that new wiring is needed. Mr. Merriwether went through the house today and checked one outlet in each room, finding the wiring to be recent, all with ground wires even on the third floor. Although he didn’t check all the wiring, he believes this issue is largely not a concern.

There was some discussion on the historical value of the house, with Mrs. Ewald stating it does have value and is worth saving. Mr. Hogan mentioned the possibility of demolition, stating that Melchiorre gave an estimate of $14,000. He suggested considering obtaining grant funding to design and construct a modern energy-efficient house.

Mr. Connolly said the first step is to clean up the house and assess its use for a caretaker. If its acceptability for a caretaker is not possible in the short term, the house could be boarded up and secured until it is. Mr. Kuhn said it may be worthwhile to close it up for the winter while Dale Frens’ rehabilitation study takes place. Mr. Willig agreed that clean up is the important first step, and that after the house is clean, its condition will be more apparent. He would like to have the house checked out by an environmental consultant before cleaning begins. Mr. Connolly suggested holding off on the cleaning but getting the movable junk removed prior to an environmental assessment.

The following actions were taken relative to the Pyle Farmhouse:

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve proceeding with junk removal immediately, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. All were in favor.

Mr. Willig moved to engage an environmental consultant to inspect the house and recommend any abatement work needed. Mr. Rodgers seconded. All were in favor.

Mr. Kuhn moved to authorize Mark Cabot and Dave Ludwick to clean out the bank barn with a budget of $2,000.00. Mr. Willig seconded and all were in favor.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the door survey project outlined in a 7/1/01 document by Mr. Connolly, with a budget of $1,000.00 and Mark Cabot to undertake the work. Mr. Rodgers seconded and all were in favor.

Mr. Connolly will request a revised proposal from Servpro that removes the junk removal itemization. No decision was made to proceed with the cleanup at this time. This matter was tabled until the September 17, 2001 meeting.

The Board agreed to completing a Request for Assistance from the Chester County Conservation District for free consultation relative to earth moving at the Brightside Farm. The Secretary will complete the form.

Mr. Connolly said security signage is needed at locations indicated on a map produced by Jacob Merriwether to read, “No Trespassing. Authorized Personnel Only. Charlestown Township.” Mr. Oeste will advise on the requirements for letter size.

Mr. Connolly said the Committee requests help from the Board in obtaining the digital file on the Brightside Farm originally produced by Chester Valley Engineers by the Great Valley School District. Mr. Kohli offered to contact Chester Valley Engineers and make the request for the file.

The Board discussed the merits of obtaining a general contractor versus the Township acting as General Contractor. Mrs. Ewald favored the latter; Mr. Kuhn and Mr. Willig the former. Mr. Willig said the Farm Committee should manage the General Contractor. Mr. Connolly will request that Dale Frens develop this option in his proposal.

Proposed Park Improvements – Round 10 Grant

Mr. Connolly outlined a number of suggestions for expending the remainder of funds available from the County Parks & Rec department Round 10 Grant. Among the suggestions: expand the playground, add benches, gates and trash cans, and signage for the Park. He said Mr. Theurkauf has submitted a proposal to the Board for a landscape plan that would designate the placement of the benches and other accoutrements. Mr. Theurkauf estimates that the Plan and the cost of purchase and installation of the materials could be accomplished for $5,000 or less. Signage would not be part of this proposal, however.

Mr. Connolly added that the PASC has approximately $30,000 in funds still available for park improvements relating to their program. They plan to install aluminum bleachers with a portion of these funds. Board approval is not required for this; they just want to keep the Board apprised of their plans. The upgrade plans for their electric service are on hold until it can be determined whether the VFCC plan will interfere with the work.

Mr. Connolly said any remaining grant projects must be completed by 11/23/01 to allow time to pay bills prior to the deadline of 12/31/01 and apply for the grant fund reimbursement. Mr. Theurkauf will amend the landscape plan proposal for the Board’s review at the September 17, 2001 meeting.

Paving Projects 2001

The Board reviewed the paving projects completed this year and those proposed. Mrs. Ewald said she was disappointed that the segment of Yellow Springs Road from the Turnpike Bridge to Charlestown Oaks was not included in the paving done a few weeks ago in that area. Mr. Rodgers said the Board (except Hugh Willig, who responded by phone) met at the site prior to the Valley Hill Road and other Yellow Springs Road paving work and had agreed that this additional segment would be paved if funds allowed, which they did not.

Mr. Kuhn said he thought no more paving should take place in 2001 and Mr. Rodgers agreed that the outstanding projects could be done in the Spring of 2002. Mrs. Ewald said a section of Pickering Road and the section of Yellow Springs Road previously mentioned should be done now. Mr. Kuhn said he thought Mine Road and Howells Road are more urgent, and Mr. Rodgers said the Roadmaster agrees that Mine Road should be a priority for next year. Mr. Willig said he’d like to check on these roads and place the matter on the next agenda for further discussion.

New Business

Davison Request for Easement

Mr. Kuhn moved to accept the conditions proposed by Mr. Davison in his letter dated 8/31/01, in which he grants Charlestown Township a 20-foot easement along the eastern border of his Blackberry Lane easement, and to install an 18-inch drainage pipe to mitigate a drainage easement on Blackberry Lane. Mr. Willig seconded and all were in favor.

Ordinance to Set Speed Limits on F Street and 5th Avenue at 15 MPH

The Secretary read the proposed ordinance to set the speed limit for F Street and 5th Avenue at Charlestown Park at 15 MPH in its entirety. Mrs. Ewald moved to adopt Ordinance #97-01 and Mr. Willig seconded. All were in favor. Signs will be posted by the Christian College per their prior offer to Mrs. Ewald.

Melchiorre Construction Company – Extension of Contract

Mr. Kuhn moved to extend the current Road Labor & Equipment Contract with Melchiorre Construction Company to June 30, 2002 and Mr. Rodgers seconded. This will allow better timing of the annual contract dates for increased contractor participation in the bid process. The vote was called and all were in favor.

Commons @ Great Valley Lot 15 Escrow Release #4

Mrs. Ewald moved to approve the Commons at Great Valley Escrow Release Request #4 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. All were in favor.

Altemose Conditional Use Hearing – Request for Rescheduling

Mr. Oeste referred to a letter dated 9/7/01 from Joseph A. Ryan, Esq. in which he requests a continuance in the Altemose conditional use application matter from September 17, 2001 to October 1, 2001. The Board determined that no time would be available on October 1, 2001 and instructed the Secretary to advise Mr. Ryan that the hearing would be continued to October 16, 2001.

Other Business

Mr. Kuhn referenced a copy of a letter sent to Alfred C. McGowan by the Wireless Project Group dated 8/28/01 in which the company offered Mr. McGowan compensation in exchange for leasing a portion of his property for the installation of a wireless communications facility. This is not permitted in the FR district, and Mr. Kuhn asked if the Township should respond in any way. Mr. Oeste advised the Board to ignore the matter.


There was consensus to adjourn. Mr. Willig adjourned the meeting at 10:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete, Secretary