Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of June 21, 2010

The second business meeting for June was held June 21, 2010 at the Great Valley Middle School, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA 19355, Room 154.


Supervisors: Charlie Philips, Chairman, Frank Piliero, Michael Rodgers
Consultants: Surender Kohli, P.E., Dan Wright, P.E., Mark Thompson, Esq., Tom Comitta, Dale Frens
Staff: Linda Csete, Administrator
Public: See attached List

Call to Order:

7:30 p.m.


Mr. Philips announced that Mr. Kuhn would not be present this evening and Mr. Willig is expected to arrive late.

Citizens’ Forum

No matters were brought forward.


Minutes of June 7, 2010 Business Meeting

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the minutes of the June 7, 2010 business meeting, and Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Old Business

Ashwood Hedgerow Clearing

Mr. Philips said mowing has continued at 12 Ashwood Lane in a designated natural buffer area in violation of subdivision approval that requires existing hedgerows to be preserved. The owner was sent notice previously and has ignored it. Now the property is up for sale and Mr. Philips is concerned that the new owner will be unaware of the restriction.

Mr. Thompson recommended that the present owner be sent formal notice of the restriction and be told that the subsequent owner must be informed. The notice will be copied to the Homeowners’ Association. Mr. Philips said other owners re-planted their buffers per the Township’s instructions.

Mr. Kohli said he’ll work with Mr. Theurkauf on enforcing the requirements for this property.

Chuck’s Wagon

Mr. Philips said that Chuck’s Wagon continues to operate at the Grange Building property off Phoenixville Pike and continues to post signs around the area in violation of the sign ordinance. Today 8 signs are present plus a large “Grill Stop” sign even though the owner has been notified these signs are not permitted. He said one option is to cite the owner on the violation of the zoning ordinance so the signs are removed, or to go further and notify the owner that this business is not a legal use and cannot continue.

Mr. Rodgers said the business has been in operation for many years. Mr. Thompson said they’ve been at the present location for 5-6 years, and they are not grandfathered. A letter was sent to the owner on 5/27/09 notifying them their proposed location would constitute an illegal use, and added that the current location was also illegal. There has been no tacit approval of the business, so Mr. Kohli, as Zoning Officer, can issue an enforcement notice.

Mr. Rodgers moved to authorize the Zoning Officer to enforce the Zoning Ordinance, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

New Business

Spring Oak Application for Certificate of Appropriateness

HARB Co-Chair Fran Rodgers provided background on the HARB’s review of Dewey Homes’ request for approval for the demolition of some structures at the Spring Oak property and the adaptive re-use of others. She said Mr. Schrock appeared before them on 6/15/2010 and went over the plans for the structures. The Springhouse will be adaptively reused as a children’s recreation center, and the barn as a community center.

Mrs. Rodgers said the applicant first appeared before the HARB in March, and the concerns that were brought up at that meeting have now been addressed. These include changing the design of the barn so it better reflects more of its prior use and history, and tying the playground area in with the demolished farmhouse by retaining the stone walls and incorporating it into the design. The walls will be seeded and a historical marker will be installed. She added that the other buildings were determined to be of no historical significance and are not feasible for renovation. The HARB recommended approval of the demolition and adaptive reuse requests.

Mr. Philips asked for comments. Dale Frens said the historical marker is to be of the same type as the nine markers placed at other historical sites through the Township. Mr. Philips asked if the HARB should draft the wording, and Mr. Mostoller said they’d be very amenable to that. Rosemary Philips said that for the HARB, this application was a real opportunity to incorporate some heritage of Charlestown as an agricultural community going back centuries into the new development. The plan will connect the past to the 21st century, and she added that the HARB appreciated the opportunity to review the plans.

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the Certificate of Appropriateness and Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor. Mr. Philips thanked the applicants for working with the Township on the historical aspects of the plan. Mr. Mostoller said the collaborative effort has made for a better final product.


Amendment to the Zoning Ordinance: Traditional Neighborhood Development District

Mr. Thompson explained that the purpose of the hearing is to consider several individual changes to the existing TND Ordinance. The changes have been memorialized in a summary document from Thomas Comitta Associates.

The following exhibits were entered into the record:

T-1 Proposed Ordinance
T-2 Letter dated 5/7/2010 from Mark Thompson, Esq. to the Chester County Planning Commission enclosing proposed ordinance with Act 247 transmittal form
T-3 Public Notice and Proof of Publication
T-4 Memorandum dated 6/4/2010 from Thomas Comitta Associates summarizing the proposed changes
T-5 Copy of the draft minutes from the 6/8/2010 Planning Commission Meeting recommending approval of the amendment
T-6 Letter dated 6/4/10 from Chester County Planning Commission To L. Csete

Mr. Thompson noted that there are no changes to the zoning map itself or any substantive changes to the uses in any of the five TND areas.

Mr. Thompson asked for any public statements and no one came forward.

Mr. Comitta said the original TND ordinance was adopted 4/7/08. He then referred to the summary document and reviewed the items listed. He noted that Mr. Kohli provided input for Exhibit H, and that Dan Mallich and Mark Thompson worked on the definitions section. He credited the Dewey LP group for their patience with the Design Review Committee and Planning Commission on working through the street light design, and acknowledged Dale Frens’ contribution in ironing out the modification process. Mr. Comitta pointed out that the Ordinance doesn’t preclude the standard building permit process, which is still the point where the actual building plans will be reviewed.

Mr. Comitta said that if the amendments to the TND ordinance are adopted, the Spring Oak Preliminary Plan will be conforming. Mr. Philips asked if these amendments just affect the Tyler Griffin and Spring Oak properties, and Mr. Comitta said no, the changes will carry over to all five TND areas but they do specifically address those two properties and their submitted plans. He said a new application for another property will likely unearth more changes needed to the ordinance. Mr. Thompson again clarified that the ordinance under consideration this evening is for amendments to an existing ordinance.

Mr. Comitta asked if the County Planning Commission review had been received and was favorable, and Mr. Thompson said yes. He referred to item #7 on the 6/4/10 review letter that recommended the Township be certain funding for future maintenance needs is well covered by the HOA, although this doesn’t need to be incorporated into the ordinance itself.

Mr. Allen indicated there will be additional changes needed to the ordinance for the Spring Oak and Tyler Griffin Plans, but the plans as submitted will conform to the proposed ordinance in the meantime.

Mr. Rodgers asked if part of the TND can allow for age restrictions. Mr. Comitta said TND Area 4 provides for age qualified housing although it doesn’t preclude other developers in other zones from providing them as well.

Hearing no further comments, Mr. Thompson closed the hearing.

Mr. Thompson moved to adopt Ordinance #158-2010 amending the Zoning Ordinance provisions for the Traditional Neighborhood Development District and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Philips called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.

New Business – Continued

Spring Oak TND Design Manual Review

John Mostoller and Eric Schrock of Dewey Homes and Bill Warwick of Barton Partners presented the design manual for Spring Oak. Mr. Philips said the Board asked to see the presentation tonight so they can make comments on it prior to the July 6th meeting when preliminary plan approval will be considered for Spring Oak.

Mr. Mostoller said the Design Manual was compiled and reviewed at 26 Design Review Committee meetings, and indicated that the present version includes input from the Planning Commission highlighted in yellow and the most recent changes highlighted in blue.

Mr. Schrock then began a PowerPoint presentation going through the manual page by page. The following comments were made.

Page # Comments
1 Mr. Schrock said this page provides an overall description of the process. Mr. Frens pointed out that Andy Motel suggested the language indicating that the final review will take place following building permit submission and be subject to the architect’s approval.

Mr. Allen said references to “Town Architect” should be changed to “Township Architect.”
2 Mr. Schrock said the Manual is comprised of three sections: Landscape, Urban Design and Architecture.
3 Shows the location of the site.
6 Street view across from the Clubhouse shows the variety of housing types, including single homes, twins and townhouses. Mr. Mostoller said the stone wall shown in front will only be included where the elevations call for it. Mrs. Philips asked if all of the houses are set back the same distance, and Mr. Warwick said there will be some articulation. Mr. Schrock added this was at Mr. Comitta’s recommendation.

Mr. Frens suggested they provide an explanation of the terms primary and secondary façade. Mr. Warwick said primary facades are those facing streets and have the highest level of articulation. Corner homes have two primary facades. Secondary facades are those internal to the homes, facing the alleys or other homes.
8 Mr. Mostoller said this page describes Dewey’s commitment to sustainable design for the community through the reuse of historical structures, wetland preservation, and innovative stormwater management. Mr. Philips asked about the copper beech trees near the farmhouse, and Mr. Schrock acknowledged they will be preserved per the plan.

Mr. Philips said there’s a “date stone” in the farmhouse. Mrs. Philips suggested it be preserved, and Mr. Mostoller agreed this would be done.
10 Mr. Mostoller said the homes would be energy star certified, which requires that the homes be at least 15% more energy efficient than homes built to standard requirements. He said their homes will be closer to 20% more efficient, and will include a variety of options including solar panels, ground source heat pumps, higher water efficiency packages and increased insulation.
11 Mr. Philips asked, if the solar arrays are not allowed to be visible from the street, how many homes could actually qualify? Mr. Mostoller said they can be placed at the back of the house or detached garage and acknowledged they may be somewhat visible. Mr. Philips said the manual specifies they “shall not be directly visible from any street”. He suggested that instead of this language the manual state they shouldn’t be located on any primary façade.
13 Mr. Schrock said this page shows the legend for landscaping of the site, and includes the preservation of many trees along the Horseshoe Trail and the Smurthwaite property, including preservation of the copper beeches and magnolias.

Mr. Comitta noted that the legend key denoting the community garden needs to be adjusted.
15 Mr. Schrock said this page shows the landscape standards along the primary and secondary streets and alleys. Primary streets will have 5 foot grass strips with trees. Secondary streets will have staggered street trees and bulb outs.

Mr. Philips asked how far down the alley can the privacy fence go? Mr. Mostoller said the fence zone is well delineated on a page further into the manual and will be addressed at that point in the review.
17 Mr. Schrock showed the perimeter trail and location of the Horseshoe Trail along Whitehorse Road. He explained that PennDOT originally wanted a bike lane along Whitehorse Road but the Dewey group felt it wasn’t consistent with the rest of Whitehorse Road and proposed bringing the Horseshoe Trail onto the property meandering along the road as an alternative. It also provides a future connection for the trail on adjacent properties.

Mr. Schrock said some guardrail has been added along the alleys to separate the alley traffic from the perimeter trail. He said the perimeter trail will be paved and is about 1 mile long. He pointed out paths throughout the site that provide connectivity.
18 Mr. Schrock said this page shows the detail for the crosswalks, which will be brick pavers that provide tactile transitions.
19 Mr. Schrock pointed out the village greens and active recreation areas. Those shown as #2 areas signify smaller greens, with #1 being the larger central green. Mr. Mostoller said the central green is fairly flat and is about the size of a football field. The largest field is shown as #5. Area #6 is the community gardens, which will be administrated by the HOA. No corn will be permitted because the height is disallowed by the Transco easement.
20 Mr. Schrock showed the community garden, lap pool and playing fields. Mrs. Philips said the fence around the gardens needs to be 8 feet high to keep the deer out. Mr. Mostoller said a wiffle ball field is shown that will be discussed with the Planning Commission tomorrow night. If they don’t opt for this, the area will become another tot lot.
21 Mr. Warwick said they’ll use more muted colors than shown for the playground equipment.
22 Mr. Schrock said they’re working with Mr. Kohli on the stormwater management, which will include rain gardens, porous paving and wet ponds as well as basins and existing wetlands.
24 Mr. Philips said the Norway Maple should be removed from the list of shade trees, and suggested a Sugar Maple instead. Mr. Frens said the Norway Maple provides a red color, but Mrs. Philips said it doesn’t retain that color all summer. Mr. Philips added that the list should specify “no female ginkgos”.
33 Mr. Allen said the lighting design was changed after realizing that the ordinance as written caused the lighting along the sidewalks to be too bright. They cut the number of required lighting standards in half and the layout was revised to reflect this. More lighting is focused on the entrance areas, intersections, and at locations with elevation changes. The remaining areas strive to be modestly lit. He noted they can’t predict how much lighting will be added by the individual homeowners. Mr. Philips asked how high the poles are and Mr. Allen said 11 feet. Mr. Philips said the manual still says 16 feet and needs to be corrected. There was some discussion about how to specify the height and it was decided to just specify an 11 foot pole and not be concerned with the height of the luminaire. Mr. Allen said all light standards would be flush mounted.
34 Mr. Philips said he’d like to see a more attractive directional sign than that shown, but Mr. Kohli said it’s required by PennDOT standards.
35-37 Mr. Schrock said these pages depict site furniture, garden walls and fencing, and fencing around houses.
38 Mr. Mostoller said the Design Review Committee wanted a subdued entry monument so they depict one with a fieldstone design flanked by brown pasture-style fencing.
40 Mr. Schrock said this page shows the variety of housing types throughout the community.
53 Mr. Schrock said that to avoid color repetition, the same colors can’t be selected for a unit as the unit next to it. Mr. Comitta thought the diagram should show the build-to line and setbacks to show the variability, or possibly show the dimension lines. Mr. Warwick said he though the variation was already sufficiently shown.
54 Mr. Schrock showed that the privacy fence can’t extend beyond the garage. Mr. Philips suggested showing a line for the fence limit, as the blue box shown on the drawing is misleading. Mr. Mostoller said it can be removed.
56 Mr. Schrock said special criteria are provided for selected lots, such as a house with frontage on two streets.
62 Mr. Mostoller said landscaping is shown for the alleys, a design feature missing from most other TNDs.
69 Mr. Schrock said the development will be constructed in two phases; however the through road to Rees Road will be constructed during Phase I even though it’s located in Phase II since it provides emergency ingress/egress.
71 Mr. Warwick said this page shows what the various home types will look like, and the following pages go through the architectural elements. Mr. Philips asked if stucco is permitted, and Mr. Mostoller said yes, along with cut stone, veneer, brick or siding.
93 Mr. Schrock said they recently decided the chimneys should all be masonry or stucco on the primary facades and added language to this effect. Also, all chimneys must have foundations.

Mr. Warwick asked the board if most of their concerns were addressed, and Mr. Philips said yes, and thanked the consultants for their expertise during the review process.

Mr. Mostoller said Mr. Kohli suggested that the HOA documents include a statement that individual pools are not allowed. Mr. Warwick asked if the Board wants to allow plunge pools, which are very small pools usually about 8 x 12 feet in size. Mr. Philips said the Board will take the Planning Commission’s recommendation on this issue.

Mr. Mostoller said they’ll make changes based on the comments this evening and will have the consultants review them and sign off prior to the July 6th meeting.


Mr. Philips adjourned the meeting at 9:00 p.m. The next business meeting is scheduled for July 6, 2010, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Township Secretary
sheet, 6/21/2010