Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of March 1, 2004 – approved 3/15/04

The first business meeting for March was held March 1, 2004, at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154. Kevin R. Kuhn, Chairman, Hugh Willig, Mike Rodgers, Paul Hogan, Surender Kohli, P.E., Jim McErlane, Esq., Tom Comitta, Linda M. Csete, Township Administrator, Melanie M. Lammers, Recording Secretary, and those on the attached list were present.

The meeting was called to order at 7:32 P.M.


Mr. Kuhn announced there will be an Executive Session immediately following this meeting to discuss legal issues.

Citizen’s Forum

There were no Citizen’s Forum/Non-Agenda Items discussed.


Minutes – February 23, 2004

Mr. Willig moved to approve the February 23, 2004 minutes as written, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report – February 1-29, 2004

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the February 1-29, 2004 minutes as presented, and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report – March 1, 2004

Mr. Willig moved to approve the March 1, 2004 Accounts Payable report as presented, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Zoning Officer

The Zoning Officer report is on file.

Mr. Kuhn noticed that the Budget Review shows there is no money left in the snow removal budget. Mrs. Csete explained that the first $50,000 spent in the year is taken out of the State Fund budget, and the remainder then comes from the General Fund, which still has a small balance available.

Planning Commission

The Planning Commission Report is on file.

Historical Commission

Mr. Hogan said work was to have begun on the Woolen Mill that morning, but that Levi Stoltzfoos was not available to start. Mr. Hogan said he was extremely upset. He said if he does not begin work within the next 3-4 days, his work will not be welcomed in Charlestown Township. Mr. Hogan apologized to the Board and residents and explained that Mr. Stoltzfoos was hired as a Township employee rather than an independent contractor, and at the last minute decided something was not right with the arrangement. Mr. Kuhn suggested following up with Mr. Frens to see if he has any suggestions.

Open Space Commission

Mr. Kuhn said the Open Space Commission met, and the meeting centered around goals for the upcoming year.

Road Master

The Road Master report is on file.

Fire Marshal/EOC

The Fire Marshal report is on file.

Parks & Recreation Board

Mr. Kuhn suggested the Township arrange an award presentation for Troop 67 Eagle Scout David Reis for the observation deck he built. He asked Mrs. Csete to put something together to acknowledge his work.

Mr. Hogan said Sue Reilly, Chairman, asked for a one-month delay on pricing for fencing for Charlestown Park. He asked that it be added to the April 1, 2004 agenda. He also complimented the 3' x 12' footbridge that Mr. Mark Cabot built.

Brightside Farm

The Brightside Farm meeting was postponed and will be held next week.

Valley Forge Sewer Authority

Mr. Rodgers announced a correction to the report. The Union report originally indicated the Valley Forge Sewer Authority was dragging their feet, but Mr. Rodgers contacted them to let them know they had scheduled many meetings, and it was the Union who had cancelled them.

Old Business

Options for Tyler-Griffin Tract - J. Loew & Associates

Mr. Tim Townes said he was looking for a nod from the Board as to whether it is worth pursuing their proposal to request re-zoning of the Tyler-Griffin in order to build townhouses. He said an amended sketch is being prepared and will be submitted. Mr. Allen asked if the amended plan should come to the Planning Commission or the Board. Mr. Comitta said any property owner can submit a petition for a zoning amendment, and that typically J. Loew would submit an amendatory ordinance to the supervisors. He asked the Board if they would entertain an ordinance amendment or not. Mr. Kuhn said he would be willing to consider it. Mr. Townes said he would submit a formal letter to the Township.

Mr. Comitta said the issue is density. He said he sent a request to a listserv to obtain examples of alley-loaded townhomes. He expects to receive a lot of examples within the next 5-7 days and will share them with Eli Kahn at J. Loew Associates.

Zoning Ordinance Amendment: Open Space Development

Mr. Comitta indicated properties of ten acres or greater, which currently exist and are not yet subdivided, would be the ones affected by this amendment. He recalled the Board voted 2-2 on this at the last meeting in order to wait on a clean draft. He said he believes the text has been corrected where needed and is ready for approval.

Mr. Kuhn said the only question he had was regarding Page 6, Section F2. He thought it was to read, "…all of which shall be subject to the approval and enforcement of the Township." Mr. McErlane explained that there is an enforcement provision that covers the entire Zoning Ordinance elsewhere in the document, and therefore, there is no need to repeat it in each amendment.

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the Open Space Development Ordinance Amendment, #116-04 and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

New Business

Valley Forge Christian College - Request for Comments on Proposal to Construct Condominiums

Mr. Bill Werkheiser of the Valley Forge Christian College thanked the Board for working so cooperatively with the College during the construction of Bongiorno Hall. He said he is present this evening to ask if the Township will allow the construction of condominiums on the property. He said the college is growing so fast, they are having a hard time keeping up with housing needs, and there is no money to build another traditional dormitory.

Dr. Capezia, senior member of the company that would be doing the construction, gave an overview of how the ownership of the properties would be handled. Mr. Werkheiser gave an example of where they would plan to put the condos, and said no one can live it in after they are no longer a student. Dr. Capezia said the property ground will never leave ownership of the institution. He said the condos will be purchased by parents or outside investors and then leased to students. Mr. McErlane agreed they could write in a provision to take care of who is permitted to live in the units, and this arrangement would generate tax revenue to the Township. Mr. McErlane asked if there would be a construction mortgage, and Dr. Capezia said there would be. Mr. McErlane said there may be a subdivision issue and it may require a zoning change, since the college itself is zoned Institutional and is tax exempt.

Mr. Werkheiser said they were here to ask if this is a good or bad idea. He said if it is a bad idea, they will not pursue it, but if it is a good idea, they will move forward. He added that the college has 861 students now.

Mr. Comitta asked for numbers with regards to the condos. Dr. Capezia said there would be 6 buildings, 12 units per building, and 4 students per unit. Mr. Comitta recommended they contact George Donovan, the architect that designed the Lantern Hill Manor houses in Doylestown, because he felt they were very well done. He added that the Township should define what 'group quarters' means and make sure it is a permitted use.

Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. McErlane if there are there any legal issues that would keep the Township from allowing them to move forward, and he said there were not. Dr. Capezia said they are looking for a timeframe of 2005 to complete the first unit. He said they will be pre-sold. Mr. McErlane made sure everyone understood that a condominium is a form of ownership, not a type of use.

Mr. Kuhn said he had no objections to them moving forward, and Mr. Rodgers agreed. Mr. Allen suggested they submit a sketch plan to the Planning Commission, and Mr. Kohli concurred, stating they should begin with their master plan and use it to show what is being proposed.

Request from Charlestown Historical Society for Contribution toward Heat at the Rapp House

Mr. Rodgers indicated the Township historical archives are stored in the Rapp House. He said heat was installed to help preserve the documents, and asked if the Township could help the Historical Society by paying at least 50% of the heating bill. Mr. Rodgers estimated the heating bill wold be approximately $400/month. Mr. Kuhn questioned using the Rapp House for document storage due to the conditions there. He said he would be more interested in putting money toward getting the documents into electronic format and having them stored off-site in a better environment.

Mr. Kuhn said he was in agreement with donating $500, but would like to see a plan of attack and a better definition of what this money is going to. He encouraged them to take advantage of the off-site storage services already available through the township office.

Mr. Kuhn moved to donate $500 subject to the HARB approval, and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Resolution to Set Date, Time, and Place of Hearing to Amend Zoning Ordinance Map

Mrs. Csete read the Resolution to set the date, time, and place of the hearing to amend the Zoning Ordinance map. Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the advertisement of the ordinance, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Kuhn called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Other Business:

Mr. Comitta asked that a short discussion regarding Stormwater Management and TDR be added to the March 15, 2004 agenda. He said the Board should decide if they intend to pursue TDRs or not, as the County will extend the deadline another six months if the Township plans to continue work on it. Mr. Comitta's understanding was that the County will continue to fund that additional work, but Mr. Allen's understanding was that the time clock would be extended, but not the funding. Mr. Comitta said he would set up a conference call to clarify this discrepancy.


The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 P.M. The next meeting will be held on March 15, 2003, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.

Respectfully submitted,

Melanie Lammers
Recording Secretary