Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of September 8, 2009

The first business meeting for September was held Sept. 8, 2009 at the Great Valley Middle School, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, Pa 19355, Room 154.


Charlie Philips, Chairman, Kevin Kuhn, Vice Chairman, Paul Hogan, Hugh Willig, Mike Rodgers
Surender Kohli, P.E., Mark Thompson, Esq.
Linda Csete, Administrator, Fred Alston, Public Works Superintendent

Call to Order:

7:30 P.M.


Mr. Philips announced that the Planning Commission will hear a formal presentation of the Design Review Manual for Spring Oaks by Dewey Homes at their Sept. 22nd meeting at 7:30 p.m. He recommended that the Board of Supervisors attend.

Mr. Philips announced that an executive session took place prior to this evening’s meeting to discuss legal and real estate matters.

Citizens’ Forum for Non-Agenda Items

No matters were brought forward.


Minutes of Business Meeting August 3, 2009

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the minutes of the business meeting held August 3, 2009, and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report August 1 – 31, 2009

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

Accounts Payable Report – Operating Fund Sept. 8, 2009

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Sept. 8, 2009 Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Hogan seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report – Open Space Fund Sept. 8, 2009

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Sept. 8, 2009 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.


Mr. Hogan moved to accept the August monthly reports and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion. He said the Boy Scout project clearing the viewshed at the lower end of the Woolen Mill property looks great, and commended the scouts and adult leaders, and thanked Mr. Alston for his direction of the work.

Mr. Philips asked Mr. Kohli to provide a sketch of the proposed parking lot the Township wants to create off Pickering Road for the Revolutionary War Cemetery. Mr. Kohli said he’ll need to know how many spaces are proposed. He said the location should be marked. Mr. Hogan asked if some of the woods will be cleared, and Mr. Philips said eventually, yes. Mr. Philips asked Mr. Kohli to contact Mrs. Csete with a good time to meet at the site.

Mr. Hogan asked Mr. Alston how many times a false fire alarm can be triggered before there is a fine, and Mr. Alston responded three times over a one-year period.

Mr. Kuhn said he and Mr. Alston met with Church Road residents and PECO Energy to discuss electric outages and power surges those residents have been experiencing. PECO has expressed interest in resolving matters, and plans to have a representative from their claims department at the next meeting, which is scheduled at the end of the month.

Mr. Philips expressed appreciation to PennDOT for the spectacular clearing work done on all sides of the roads at the intersection of Charlestown and Hollow Roads. Brush in that area was causing severe site distance problems and the clearing will likely prevent future accidents.

There being no further discussion on the reports, Mr. Philips called the vote and all were in favor.

Old Business

Crown Communications – Request for Waiver from Conditional Use Decision to Permit Co-Location on Tower

Mr. Alston introduced Nicholas F. Talvacchia, Esq., Tod W. Bettenhausen, Eagle River Consulting Inc., and A. Rabenau and Karl Mehn from Chester County Emergency Services.

Mr. Bettenhausen said he’s been working with the County and Mr. Alston to work out a plan to co-locate Metro PCS within the top ten feet of the Sprint Tower. They originally obtained building permit approval in July 2008, but it was revoked when it was brought to the Township’s attention by Mr. Alston that it violated a condition of the conditional use application approval for Sprint Spectrum L.P., which requires that the highest ten feet of the tower be reserved for emergency communication services.

Mr. Alston said he forwarded a draft document to Mark Thompson for review. Mr. Alston was comfortable with the terms. Karl Mehn said that Emergency Services negotiated in good faith with Crown Communications and the County is likewise comfortable with the terms. Mr. Thompson said the original conditional use decision stated there would be no lease agreements without the Township’s consent, and the Supervisors have the discretion to accept the terms of this agreement, which he has yet to review.

Mr. Kuhn moved to give consent to Crown Communications to co-locate on the top ten feet of the Sprint Tower subject to Mr. Thompson’s review of the agreement. Mr. Philips seconded. He called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Mr. Bettenhausen said they’ll work with Mr. Kohli on the particulars of the co-location.

New Business

Zoning Hearing Board Application Overview – Jon Riewe

Jon and Susan Riewe, 121 Fairfax Court, were present to provide an overview of their application to the Zoning Hearing Board to permit the construction of a deck within the rear setback. Mr. Riewe explained that the 15 x 10 foot deck will replace an existing slate patio, and that the application has been approved by the Charlestown hunt Homeowners’ Association. Mr. Kuhn asked if the deck is the same size as the patio, and Mr. Riewe said it’s about 6” larger on all sides. Mr. Kuhn asked why there wasn’t the same setback issue with the patio. Mr. Kohli said a patio is considered a floating structure and isn’t subject to the same setback requirements.

The Board agreed to take a neutral position toward the application.


Robal Associates Curative Amendment Application

Mr. Thompson opened the hearing for Robal Associates. Mr. Tupitza displayed a sketch plan showing proposed traffic improvements, which was marked as exhibit A-10, Preliminary Highway Improvement Plan. Adam Brower, P.E. testified for the applicant. Mr. Bender asked the Board to allow the records, exhibits and prior decisions from four Altemose applications to be included in the record for this application. This includes the 1999 and 2006 curative amendment applications and the 2001 and 2003 conditional use applications. Mr. Bender rested his case. The hearing was continued to November 2, 2009, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, Pa 19355, Room 154 to allow Mr. Kohli and Mr. Thompson time to review the preliminary highway improvement plan and prepare any questions they may have for Mr. Brower.

New Business –


Charlestown Park – Estimate for Tree Work

Mr. Alston referred to an estimate from C.M. Jones dated 8/31/09 providing a cost range of $12,600 - $13,900 for tree removal and surgery recommended by tree consultant Rich Dexter for Charlestown Park.

Mr. Kuhn asked whether it would be advisable to seek additional bids even though C.M. Jones is under an annual contract and discussion followed. The Board determined they would move forward with C.M. Jones.

Woolen Mill – Exterior Stairs

Mr. Alston referred to an estimate from Mitchell Mechanical LLC dated 8/27/09 in the amount of $4,969.77 for the construction of a powder-coated exterior stairway exiting the south end of the Woolen Mill. Mr. Kuhn stated he received a previous estimate from Florig Industrial for approximately $7,000.00. Mr. Hogan asked if the lower cost estimate included a platform at the top of the stairs, and Mr. Alston said yes. Mr. Kuhn asked if the specifications were the same from both companies, and Mr. Alston said they were essentially the same and read the two descriptions. Mr. Willig asked if there were any exclusions to the Mitchell estimate such as footings or anchoring. Mr. Alston said no, adding that the stairs will be anchored to the building at the top, with an outside pad on the ground at the base.

Mr. Philips moved to accept the proposal from Mitchell Mechanical LLC, subject to Mr. Kohli’s review of a drawing to be provided by the contracting firm, and subject to the firm providing the required insurance information. Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Sycamore Lane – Dead and Diseased Sycamore Trees

Mr. Hogan asked about the arborist’s findings on the trees lining Sycamore Lane. Mr. Alston said he forwarded the report to the Board this afternoon via email. He said he wanted to obtain a cost estimate from C.M. Jones for the work before bringing it to the Board. Mr. Philips said a letter should be sent to the affected property owners informing them which trees must be removed or trimmed, and that they are responsible for the cost. They can be given an option of arranging for their own contractor to do the work, or having the Township’s contractor do it.

Mr. Kuhn asked about liability issues, and Mr. Thompson said the right of way is not the Township’s property, but if the trees pose a hazard to the traveling public, the Township does have responsibility. The property owner, however, is still responsible for the cost. If they refuse to have the work done, the Township has the right do perform it and place a lien on the property to collect payment if necessary.

The Board asked Mr. Alston to draft a letter to the affected property owners for Mr. Thompson’s review that will notify them of their responsibility to have the tree work done. The Township will provide a list of contractors but not make specific recommendations.

Jenkins Property – Fire Company Training Exercise

Mr. Alston said that the East Whiteland Fire Company requested permission to use the Jenkins house for a series of practice drills before the house is demolished. A permit has already been approved for the demolition. The drills would involve using a smoke machine but no fire. The machine produces a “fake”, breathable smoke. If the exercise is approved, the Fire Company will provide the Township with a hold-harmless agreement, a draft of which has been circulated to the Board.

Mr. Philips asked if this will delay the demolition work. Mr. Alston said that Melchiorre construction is finishing other projects at present and wouldn’t be ready to start the demolition for a few weeks anyway, so the exercises won’t cause further delay. Mrs. Csete said they should notify the neighboring property owners of the exercises, and Mr. Willig suggested notices be placed at the properties in addition to letters sent in the mail. The Board agreed to approve the East Whiteland Fire Company’s request.

Parks & Recreation Board Activities Update

Parks and Recreation Board Chairman Bob Jones and Phoenixville Marion Youth Club board member Jeff Bodo were present to provide an update on Parks & Rec activities during 2009 and outline improvements they would like to budget for 2010 and beyond. Mr. Bodo mentioned he’s also a project manager with D.L. Howell Associates.

Mr. Jones listed the following priorities for Charlestown Park, and said that budgeting depends on whether the Township will leave one of the three slots for county grant funding open for Parks & Recreation for next year. Currently, all available slots are tied up with open space acquisition funding projects.

Mr. Jones said the dam, which is opposite the soccer complex, used to be a spillway and is presently bordered by orange fencing along Township Line Road. Mr. Bodo said it used to function as a pond for the golf course at the Park, and consists of a concrete spillway and sluiceway. The stream now flows through the embankment, and there’s concern that it could collapse. Mr. Kuhn asked if breaking up the existing concrete is an option. Mr. Kohli said yes, it could simply be demolished. The pipes would be refurbished. Mr. Kuhn asked if the DEP would have to grant approval, and Mr. Kohli said yes. Mr. Jones said Jeff Bodo spoke to a DEP representative in Harrisburg who can provide recommendations. One option is to go through the DEP’s emergency restoration department to gain approval to remove the spillway. This would be the most cost effective approach. The other option is to re-create the pond and restore the dam. This would require engineered drawings. Mr. Jones said that although the DEP usually avoids this option, they would likely approve it because of the recreational benefit. He said he’d love to see it restored but recognizes the cost issues. Mr. Philips said there would be ongoing maintenance costs as well.

Mr. Kohli said that in removing the concrete, some material could be left there to help stabilize the area. An emergency permit would be needed from the DEP’s Norristown office. Mr. Bodo cautioned that they’ll have to watch for rebar in the concrete. The Board agreed that this approach was best, and Mr. Jones said he’ll draft an RFP to remove the existing concrete and restore the stream through the sluiceway and spillway.

Mr. Philips suggested that the Parks & Recreation Board prioritize the other projects and estimate the costs for the Board to consider at budget time. Mr. Jones said he’d previously obtained an estimate from Charlestown Paving for construction of a new parking lot alongside Township Line Road for $350,000. This type of project would be eligible for grant funding from the county and state.

Mr. Willig asked about re-striping the PMYC parking lot. Mr. Jones said they did so last year and plan to re-stripe in 2010. Long term improvements for this lot, including lighting, are in the Park master plan.

Mr. Kuhn asked if a gravel lot should be considered along Township Line Road, while Mr. Hogan suggested pervious blocks. Mr. Bodo indicated that the benefit to constructing the new lot is that its underground stormwater management system would give credit on other future improvements.

Mr. Jones said if he knew he had a slot for obtaining county funding, be could come up with a plan, starting with $350,000 for the new lot and $5,000 for the dam work. Following those projects, he would address the pavilions, field expansions, and public utility service. Mr. Kuhn said he’ll look into the grant situation.

Mr. Bodo distributed a spreadsheet that shows the numbers of people using the Park facilities and what municipality they live in. He said the PMYC is very thankful for the new facilities constructed two years ago. He said for this coming fall, the new Lacrosse field is looking great.

Mr. Philips asked Mr. Jones to draft an article for the next Township newsletter on the Park, and thanked him and Mr. Bodo for their time this evening.

Resolution to Enter Agreement with PennDOT to Use On-Line Reporting System for Liquid Fuels Reports

Mrs. Csete explained that the State has upgraded its on-line reporting system for filing the required Liquid Fuels forms annually, and in order to access the site, the Township must pass a resolution agreeing to the requirements and obligations of the program in the form of an Electronic Access Licensing Agreement.

Mr. Rodgers moved to adopt Resolution #719-2009 authorizing the Chairman and Vice Chairman to execute the Electronic Access Licensing Agreement, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Authorize advertisement of ordinance to set Local Services Tax rate

Mr. Rodgers moved to authorize advertisement of an ordinance to consider an increase to the Local Services Tax Rate to $52.00 per employee per year for the October 5, 2009 meeting at 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School. Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Letter of Support – Valley Forge Christian College

Mrs. Csete referenced a letter dated 8/17/09 from Dr. Charles H. Coles, Jr., Vice President of Institutional Advancement for the Valley Forge Christian College, in which he requests a letter of support from the Township for its grant application to the DCED for funding to conduct a feasibility study of an expansion project for the College.

The Board authorized the Chairman to sign the draft letter prepared by Mrs. Csete supporting the grant application.

Minimum Municipal Obligation – Pension Plan

Mr. Kuhn moved to authorize funding the employee pension plan for 2010 in the amount of the minimum municipal obligation provided by Trustees Insurance of $17,617 and include this amount in the budget for 2010. Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Authorize Advertising for Road Salt – Bid Opening October 5, 2009

Mr. Kuhn moved to authorize advertising of the 2009-2010 Road Salt Bid for opening at the October 5, 2009 meeting, 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Mr. Philips announced that the Board will continue its executive session following adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at 9:35 p.m. The next business meeting is scheduled for October 5, 2009 at 7:30 P.M. in Room 154 of the Great Valley Middle School.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete,
Township Administrator