Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of March 16, 2009

The first business meeting for March was held March 16, 2009 at the Great Valley Middle School, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern PA, and Room 154.


Charlie Philips, Chairman, Kevin Kuhn, Vice Chairman, Paul Hogan, Mike Rodgers and Hugh Willig (arrived later)
Township Administrator:
Linda Csete
Open Space Director:
Aliena Gerhard
Public Works Superintendent:
Fred Alston
Members of the Public:
see attached list

Call to Order:

7:30 P.M.


Mr. Philips announced that resident Lee Raden once again won a prize at the Philadelphia Flower Show.

Mr. Hogan announced that memorial park benches are available for purchase for $150.00 each and are being constructed by scouts from Troop 158 as part of resident Jake Segal’s Eagle Scout project. Mr. Hogan said the benches are being built in his barn, and 5 have been sold so far. The goal is to sell 10-12 benches to be placed at various locations along Township trails. The buyer provides wording for the memorial plaque included with the bench, and the proceeds of the sale go to the boy scouts.

Citizens’ Forum for Non-Agenda Items

Barbara Cohen thanked the supervisors for their participation in the Phoenixville Wheel project. She said the grant application is due in two weeks and they may be able to receive up to $50,000 toward the restoration. She provided an updated budget report to the Board and said so far four of the six Phoenixville Regional Planning Commission member municipalities have contributed. Signs to accompany the restored baskets will be ready soon from SignSense. She said benches are needed for the baskets and suggested they could be purchased from the scout troop working with Mr. Hogan.


Minutes of Business Meeting February 2, 2009

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of the business meeting held February 2, 2009, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report February 1 – 28, 2009

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the February 2009 Treasurer’s Report and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report – Operating Fund March 2, 2009

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the March 2, 2009 Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report – Open Space Fund March 2, 2009

Mr. Hogan moved to approve the March 2, 2009 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.


Mr. Rodgers moved to accept the February monthly reports and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion. He noted the Design Review Committee will present the Spring Oaks TND plan later in the meeting.

Mr. Philips called the vote and all were in favor.

Open Space Matters

DCNR Grant – Thompson Parcel

Mrs. Gerhard said the Township previously committed $100,000 for this purchase in fee simple of a parcel owned by the Thompson family. In order to apply for county funds, a resolution is required along with the chairman’s signature on the grant application and a letter of commitment from the Chairman.

Mr. Kuhn asked for clarification on Mrs. Gerhard’s recent email regarding county funding. Mrs. Gerhard said the county has changed its procedures. Now an open space committee makes recommendations and the commissioners determine the amount of each grant. She said the Township didn’t receive funding for the easement portion of the Thompson property in response to the grant application the Natural Lands Trust had submitted. She said there were more applications submitted to the county this year and she was told it’s a difficult funding year.

Mr. Kuhn asked if a list of awards was available yet, and Mrs. Gerhard said no. Mr. Kuhn said he’d be interested in knowing the county’s rationale on determining grant awards.

Mr. Kuhn asked what Charlestown has received from the County so far, and Mrs. Gerhard estimated about $1 million, with another $1.5 million from the state. Mr. Kuhn said the Township has spent about $14 million.

Mr. Kuhn moved to pass Resolution #713-2009 authorizing the grant application with the DCNR to create “The Overlook” Nature Preserve and Municipal Park, following the acquisition of a 21.2 acre parcel #35-2-119.1A owned by the Thompson family. Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and their being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Authorize Appraisal – Hevner Property

Mrs. Gerhard requested authorization from the Board to order an appraisal of the 22.4 acre Hevner property, parcel #35-3-14 located at 1105 Green Lane Road. She said from now on she’ll ask the appraiser to break out the IRS fees separately, as the Township shouldn’t cover this cost for the property owner. Mr. Rodgers moved to authorize the appraisal, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Ordinance to Amend Open Space Ordinance #95-2001

Mr. Thompson opened the hearing to consider an ordinance amending Ordinance 95-2001 creating the Open Space Commission. He entered the following items into the record:

T-1 Letter to the Daily Local News dated 2/20/09 from Mark Thompson, Esq. requesting publication of the public notice
T-2 Letter to the Chester County Law Library dated 2/20/09 from Mark Thompson, Esq. attaching a copy of the Ordinance
T-3 Public Notice
T-4 Draft Ordinance
T-5 Proof of Publication

Mr. Thompson said the ordinance was to amend the existing ordinance forming the Open Space Commission to provide for a change in the number of members from 17 to 7. They must be residents of the Township, but the requirement for representatives from specific Township boards and commissions will be eliminated. All members will have five year terms and the positions of Secretary and Treasurer will be merged.

Mr. Rodgers moved to pass Ordinance #151-2009 amending the Ordinance creating the Open Space Commission, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Spring Oaks Traditional Neighborhood Development Sketch Plan

John Dewey and Eric Schrock of Dewey Homes and DRC Chairman Mike Allen presented the sketch plan for the Spring Oaks TND. Mr. Allen said there’s no formal procedure for the Board to approve the sketch plan, but the applicant wanted to obtain an acknowledgement from the Board that they are ready to proceed to the preliminary plan phase.

Mr. Allen provided an overview of the plan, indicating that the density of 184 remains unchanged from the initial determination made at the beginning of the process. He noted that this plan is still fundamentally similar to the original.

He began by showing the overall sketch plan referencing residential TND areas 1 & 2, and pointing out areas 3, 4 and 5 that include commercial and retail uses. Spring Oaks is TND-1, and a tract owned by Tom Fillippo is TND-2. TND-2 is not part of the current plan but is shown for reference purposes as the two areas will be interconnected.

Mr. Allen showed the proposed roads, including those shown in green to be dedicated to the Township and those in blue to be maintained by the HOA. Trails include a large loop trail, bike trails and a connection to the Horseshoe Trail. Surface coverings haven’t been determined yet. One of the roads is shown as a dead-end, but will connect to the adjacent retail area in the future. Because of the difficulty crossing Whitehorse Road to the ball fields elsewhere in the TND district, the DRC discouraged a trail link close to the road and brought it further into the site.

Mr. Mosteller said he’s spoken to Ingrid Cantrell of the Horseshoe Trail Club to work out the link to the Horseshoe Trail, and he said they’ll be able to provide a nice alternative to using a portion of Whitehorse Road as the trail.

Mr. Allen showed the recreation areas with passive recreation in lighter green and active in darker green. He said the passive areas may have benches. One of the active areas is over the pipeline in the southeastern portion of the site, and another area is at the southwest end closer to a higher density area. Mr. Mosteller said the use for the southeastern area will depend on the pipeline plans. Mr. Allen showed where a proposed house on the sketch was relocated to provide more green space along Rees Road and for existing houses adjacent to the site. Mr. Mosteller pointed out a more centrally located large active green that is about the size of a football field.

Mr. Allen showed a hammerhead turn that the DRC has decided to keep in the plan despite some reservations expressed by Planning Commission members. The DRC determined it sufficiently provides for an emergency exit.

Mr. Allen showed two loop roads, one in a square design and the other an oval. He said the square loop provides for a better flow of traffic, adds privacy for the houses within the loop, and allows for additional on-street parking. He pointed out the existing barn, which may be used for a recreation center. The area will probably include a mail center and bus stop. Mr. Mosteller said they’re still weighing options.

Mr. Allen said the plan only needs two waivers and two conditional use approvals. One waiver is for a reverse curve that doesn’t provide a straight section. While PennDOT allows this, the Township’s subdivision & land development ordinance requires one. He said this requirement is reasonable for higher speed roads, but in this development it’s not a problem due to the slower traffic pattern. The other waiver is from length and center line radius requirements for the two loop roads. Again, it meets PennDOT standards but not the SLDO. He said the alternative is to make these roads privately owned by the HOA, but the DRC prefers they be owned by the Township to avoid the two entities clashing while trying to provide road maintenance services such as snow removal.

Mr. Allen said the conditional use approvals needed are for construction in a high ground water area and for construction in steep slopes. He pointed out the high ground water in the area of the existing barn and trails in steep portions of the site.

Mr. Kuhn asked if future pipeline plans will affect the development, and Mr. Mosteller said they haven’t been notified of anything yet. Mr. Schrock indicated the green area over the pipeline, saying they may propose a community garden there.

Mr. Allen said that each residential unit has 4 parking spaces, including two garage spaces and two in the driveway.

Mr. Rodgers asked how they will resolve the ball field access question. Mr. Allen said that can’t be solved by the development of the Spring Oaks parcel. Mr. Mosteller said they’re allowing for a future trail link to the retail center, and until then, they’ll have a natural buffer to keep pedestrians from crossing over to the fields due to safety concerns. Mr. Rodgers said a crossing from the main entrance would work if there was a crossing signal. Mr. Kuhn said then a sidewalk would be needed on the opposite side of Whitehorse Road to reach the fields.

Mr. Kuhn said he was concerned over buffering for the McIntyre house and the other homes on Fieldstone Lane. He asked Mr. Mosteller to speak to the property owners at some point, to which he agreed. Mr. Kuhn then asked if any overtures were made to the residents of homes on Devault Lane. Mr. Schrock said they recently sent a letter to all the surrounding property owners, and Mr. Mosteller noted that Tom Fillippo owns several of the houses and he’ll speak with him as well. He said the letters that were sent gave his contact info, and no one contacted him. Mr. Allen said only resident Rob Loose and one other individual attended the Planning Commission meeting referenced in the letter. (Mr. Willig arrived at this time.)

Mr. Allen said the sketch is the result of good efforts by Dewey Homes and valuable suggestions by planner Tom Comitta. He said Mr. Comitta wants to take the Planning Commission on a walk through of similar existing developments as they go into the next phase.

Mr. Allen said the sketch presented this evening is the DRC’s best guess at what will work on the site, but when the plan is engineered there will no doubt be some need for modifications and adjustments. Fundamentally, however, he said the plan is sound. Mr. Mosteller credited his engineer for this, since they involved him early in the process.

Mr. Philips asked for Dewey’s time frame for development. Mr. Schrock said they intend to submit the preliminary plan application for review at the June Planning Commission meeting, and Mr. Allen said they hope to be in construction by the fall of 2010 or spring of 2011. Mr. Mosteller expressed his appreciation to the DRC for all the time they’ve put into the project.

Old Business

Phoenixville Ferris Wheel Project

Mr. Philips said that per the request of Barbara Cohen, President of the Schuylkill River Heritage Center, the Board has to let her group know where to place the Ferris wheel basket accredited to the Township for its support of the restoration project. The basket will be temporarily placed at a visible location in the Township in order to create public awareness and fundraising support for the project. He suggested the Board refer this matter to the Historical Commission. Mr. Philips suggested they consider locating it in Charlestown Park or in Phoenixville itself. Mr. Rodgers suggested an area in Devault. Mr. Kuhn expressed a concern for security, and Mr. Hogan asked how it would be insured. Mr. Willig suggested hanging the basket inside the Woolen Mill, a suggestion the others liked. The Secretary will relate this information to the Historical Commission.

Resolution to Accept Deed to Revolutionary War Cemetery

Mr. Thompson said the Board previously authorized him to draft a deed of gift, which has now been executed by the Great Valley Presbyterian Church. He said it wasn’t possible to get title insurance for the property, and it was determined that a Phase I environmental study would not be needed. He said Mrs. Csete is arranging for the insurance coverage for the property.

Mr. Kuhn moved to pass Resolution #714-2009 accepting the deed to the Revolutionary War Cemetery, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and their being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Official Township Website – Progress Report

Mrs. Csete circulated a sample of the graphics and contents outline for the new website under construction by Allan Underkofler. The website will feature the teal and beige tones of the Township logo, and will display pictures of the Brightside Farm and Woolen Mill on the home page. Considerable thought has been given to developing a logical layout of subject matter to provide for ease in navigation of the new site. Mr. Philips and Mr. Kuhn indicated that in response to Mr. Underkofler’s question on formatting, they preferred PDF. Mr. Willig suggested a comment box be added for feedback on the website itself. Mr. Philips asked Mrs. Csete to let the Board know the time frame to get up and running.

Update on Codification Project

Mr. Thompson provided an update on the project to codify the Township ordinances with Keystate Publishers Inc. He said he has reviewed the preliminary report provided by Keystate and will provide his comments by the end of the month. He went over the following issues with existing ordinances with the Board:

  1. Curfews - the ordinance is not enforced and probably not legal. The consensus was to eliminate this ordinance, in consideration that if a curfew was needed one could be enacted by declaring a state of emergency.
  2. Discharge of firearms within 500 feet of a building - The consensus was to eliminate this as it’s already regulated by the State Game Commission with its 150 yard safety zone law. Other discharge of firearms for non-hunting purposes would be an offense under the penal code.
  3. Fireworks - This will be eliminated, as the state regulates the manufacture and sale of fireworks. The Township may still require a permit for fireworks display.
  4. Solicitation - Mr. Thompson said following a recent court case, a solicitation permit can’t be required for nonprofits or religious organizations. Mr. Kuhn asked if they can be required to register with the Township, and Mr. Thompson said he’d check.
  5. Per Capita Tax - Mr. Thompson confirmed that this tax is in force and should remain in the ordinance.
  6. Motor Vehicle Codes - Mr. Thompson said the speed limits for all the roads should be specified, along with weight limits on bridges and other requirements. He said he’ll review this information with Mr. Alston.

Mr. Kuhn asked about an ordinance for junk cars, and some discussion followed. Mr. Thompson will draft some language for the Board’s consideration.

Mrs. Csete said it appeared the review omitted the latest revision to the Stormwater Management Ordinance, #133-2006, and Mr. Thompson confirmed it should have been in the review.

Mr. Thompson will prepare a response to Keystate Publishers.

Update on Proposed Ordinance requiring underground stormwater management basins

Mr. Thompson provided the status of the draft ordinance requiring underground stormwater management basins. He said it would be a simple matter to include this in the SLDO. The draft ordinance must be sent to the County Planning Commission for review. Mr. Kuhn said the ordinance should indicate that if infiltration is not possible, bioswales should be required. Mr. Kohli said this is already a part of Best Management Practices.

Mr. Rodgers moved to advertise a hearing for this amendment on May 4, 2009, at 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Update on Proposed Ordinance for Recycling

Mr. Thompson provided the status of the draft ordinance revising the current Recycling ordinance. He received a response from the DEP commenting on the draft. They suggested specifying the recyclables in a list enacted by resolution, and to make the definitions for leaf & yard waste consistent with the DEP’s Act 101. Mr. Allen asked if recycling of construction materials could be included, and Mr. Thompson said a provision could be added. Mr. Willig asked about a requirement for proof of delivery, and Mr. Thompson said he’ll check on it.

Mr. Rodgers moved to advertise a hearing for this ordinance on May 4, 2009, at 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Update on Historical Signage

Mrs. Csete provided an update on the historical signage project. The 9 display panels are in the fabrication process, and delivery of the panels and stands are expected by the latter part of March. Mr. Philips said the next step is to go to each of the nine sites and determine exactly where each sign will be installed, and to provide pull off areas for those sites requiring it. He’ll arrange with Mr. Alston to do so.

Update on Pipelines

Mr. Willig provided an update on the pipeline issue, noting that the recent newspaper articles are about pipelines not affecting Charlestown. Dominion has not provided a route or any proposals yet. He said Rep. Duane Milne is trying to get information on placement so the supervisors can alert the specific property owners to be impacted. He noted that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is siding with the pipeline companies.

Mr. Willig said the pipeline companies’ modus operandi is to give very little notification before taking action. Mr. Philips asked Mr. Willig to keep the Board informed.

New Business

Appointment to Elected Auditors Board to Fill Vacancy for term ending 12/31/2013

Upon the recommendation of the current elected auditors, Mr. Philips moved to appoint Mark Mueller to the Board of Auditors to fill a vacant term ending 12/31/2013. Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Open Tree Work Bids

The following bids were received by the Township office for tree work for the period of April 1, 2009 - March 31, 2010.

C.M. Jones $54,500.00
Lord’s Services $34,975.00
Bartlett Tree Experts $83,585.00
Ram-T Corporation $99,230.00

Mr. Philips asked whether any of the firms included a certified arborist. Mr. Kuhn suggested using an arborist as a consultant on an as-needed basis rather than as a requirement of the tree contract. He said they could request a proposal and recommendation from an arborist on what work should be done.

Mr. Alston said he had a quote from C.M. Jones for taking down a tree at the Cemetery that he obtained last September. Work was delayed until the Township took ownership of the property. He said there’s a smaller tree damaging the stone wall that will fall soon onto wires and across Charlestown Road. It’s a smaller tree that J & K Landscaping could handle. There are also some smaller trees at the Woolen Mill property that need attention. He asked if these companies could still do this work before the contract is awarded. The Board responded that they prefer to wait for the contract to be awarded on April 6th. Mr. Hogan asked if employee Mark Cabot could proceed with branch clean up at Charlestown Park, and the Board agreed.

The bids were turned over to Mr. Kohli for review and a recommendation so the contract can be awarded at the April 6th meeting.

Ratify Letter of Support for VFSA grant application through Pennsylvania’s H20 PA program for Pump Station Renovations

Mrs. Csete indicated that the Valley Forge Sewer Authority has requested the Township’s support for their application to the H2O PA program offered by the DCED to cover part of the cost of the plant’s wastewater treatment capacity to meet the member municipalities’ sewerage needs assessment.

Mr. Kuhn moved to authorize the letter of support to the DCED for the H2O PA program grant application, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Set Elected Tax Collector Salary for 2010-2013 term

Mrs. Csete said the compensation for the elected tax collector must be set every four years during election year, even though the Township has appointed the Central Tax Bureau to perform tax collection duties in place of the elected tax collector.

Mr. Philips moved to adopt Resolution #715-2009 to set the Elected Tax Collector compensation at $500.00 per year, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Advertise Mowing Bids for Bid Opening at April meeting

Mrs. Csete said that since mowing costs exceeded $10,000 last year, the Township must go out to bid this year, and asked for authorization to advertise for bids to be opened at the April 6th meeting.

After some discussion, the Board determined that the mowing contract would be coordinated by Mr. Alston for all areas, including Charlestown Park. Mrs. Csete will ask Parks & Rec Chairman Bob Jones for input on the mowing specs for the park, and she and Mr. Alston will incorporate them into the bid package.

The Board directed the Administrator to advertise for mowing bids for the 2009 season to be opened at the April 6, 2009 meeting.

Meeting Location for April 6th – All School District Facilities are Closed for Spring Break

Mrs. Csete said the Great Valley School District schools are all closed the week of April 6th for spring break, and either the next board meeting location or date will have to be changed. The Board confirmed with Mr. Thompson that they could meet at the Township office, then set the meeting for April 6, 2009 at 7:30 P.M. at the Township Office, 4030 Whitehorse Road, Devault, Pa 19432.

Other Business

Warner Lane Detour

Mr. Alston said he received a request from PennDOT for permission to use Warner Lane as a detour route for one weekend when Norfolk Southern repairs its crossing in anticipation of future widening of Morehall Road. He conferred with Mr. Kohli and both agreed they saw no problems with the request. The Board was in agreement, and Mr. Kohli said he’ll send a letter notifying PennDOT.

PennDOT Road Improvements

Mr. Alston said he recently met with PennDOT over signalization improvements, and has requested video loops instead of wire loops because they can be controlled from remote locations. Mr. Philips asked if they can have blinking lights after 11:00 p.m., and Mr. Alston said PennDOT no longer allows this.

Mr. Kuhn referred to an email received from Rob Prophet regarding Phase III improvements to Route 29 regarding stormwater consistency. Mr. Prophet indicated that a stormwater consistency letter is no longer required under PennDOT’s current Drainage Manual, and Mr. Kuhn questioned whether this can be ignored by them. Mr. Thompson said no, PennDOT cannot waive Township regulations. Mr. Kuhn asked him to respond to Mr. Prophet informing him of the Township’s position.

Crown Communications Tower

Mr. Alston said the County Emergency Services and Crown Communications came to a verbal agreement to allow Crown to co-locate with EMS at the top of the tower. The County will get free installation of their equipment, as will the Township if they need it in the future.

Infrastructure Stimulus Projects

Mr. Alston said he’s not heard back yet from Sen. Dinniman’s office on the procedure to apply for stimulus funds. Mr. Alston prepared a list of shovel ready projects that come to just under $3 million. Mr. Philips said in the meantime, he’ll write a letter to Sen. Dinniman to accompany the stimulus request, with a copy to Rep. Milne.

Woolen Mill Stairs

Mr. Kuhn said the fabrication of the mill stairs is almost completed, after which time they’ll be sent out to the powder coater this coming week. That should take another 7-10 days. Installation should be completed by early April in time for the Open Space event on May 9th.

Road Matters

Mr. Willig asked about posting two “Children at Play Signs” on Tinkerhill Lane, and Mr. Alston said he has them in stock and will take care of it. Mr. Willig also asked him to repair several potholes on Union Hill Road. Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Alston to request that Tredyffrin Township cut the hedgerow at the corner of Yellow Springs & Howell Roads that is interfering with the sight lines.


Mr. Rodgers moved to adjourn the meeting and Mr. Philips seconded. All were in favor. The meeting was adjourned at 9:50 P.M. The next business meeting is scheduled for April 6, 2009, 7:30 P.M. at the Township Office.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Township Administrator