Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of May 16, 2011

The second business meeting for May was held May 16, 2011 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA.


Supervisors: Hugh Willig, Chairman, Frank Piliero, Vice Chairman, Charlie Philips, Kevin Kuhn
Parks & Recreation
Bob Jones, Chairman, Jim Quay
Planning Commission: Michael Allen
Trail Committee: Trail Committee: Sue Staas, Chairman, Pat Thomas, Peter Hall
Horseshoe Trail: Ingrid Canterella-Fox
Brightside Farm: Alix Coleman
Staff: Linda Csete, Manager
Public: See attached sign-in sheet

Call to Order:

7:30 p.m.


Mrs. Csete said in speaking with Planning Commission Chairman Wendy Leland, she mentioned that her Girl Scout Troop is always looking for community projects. The Township is also approached at least once a year by boy scouts looking for Eagle projects. It would be helpful to have a short list of projects on hand rather than scramble for an idea at the last minute. For Eagle projects, they’re particularly looking to make or build an improvement to an area, such as constructing and installing birdhouses or a foot bridge in open space areas. She said she’d appreciate hearing of any suggestions either during the course of discussions tonight or via email anytime.


Minutes of May 2, 2011 Business Meeting

Mr. Philips moved to approve the minutes of the May 2, 2011 business meeting, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.

Work Session to Discuss Roles of the Trail Committee and Parks & Recreation Board

Mr. Willig said the goal of the meeting is to discuss and come to an agreement on the expectations/missions of the Parks and Recreation Board and Trail Committee, the relationship to each other and their role as advisors to the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.

Mr. Jones gave some history of the Parks & Rec’s work on trails, saying in the past they were responsible for the Pickering Trail, the trail at Charlestown Park and had some involvement with the Horseshoe Trail. When Sue Staas became interested in Trails as a member of the Open Space Commission, the Board told Parks & Rec to leave trails under Aliena Gerhard as Open Space Director. This left the Parks & Rec Board to focus on Charlestown Park and the Pickering Trail.

Mr. Willig said the Board wants to discuss in broader terms what the Parks & Rec Board should focus on. Mr. Jones said that since the Master Park Plan was adopted in 2000-2001, they’ve been trying to implement portions of it, but the Township diverted funds to the open space program and they felt they were in a holding pattern. The DCNR only allows three open grants, and they were all taken up with open space projects for several years. He said the two sports clubs do a tremendous job at the Park. The parking lot can’t be repaved and be eligible for grant funding unless it’s associated with a more tangible improvement. The pavilions are in need of replacement but rest rooms should be part of that project, and the sewer and water lines are under one of the fields so timing is problematic. He said the fields are watered with sprinklers that get their water from the Christian College. One of their goals has been to correct this situation. Mr. Philips asked if grants would be available for this, and Mr. Jones said matching funds may be available but only if those projects are connected with new buildings.

Mr. Kuhn said according to supervisor Mike Rodgers, who’s on the sewer authority board, Charlestown has $7 million in reserve for sewer improvements. He didn’t think water would be too expensive. Mr. Jones said water would have to be pumped from the main located near the Renaissance Academy.

Mr. Philips said the Brightside Farm is under utilized and he’s mentioned paving the trail many times. Eventually plans will be needed for Jenkins Park and he thinks planning should begin now. He added that he thinks trails should be under the Parks & Recreation Board. Mr. Jones said the Parks & Rec Board did do planning for Brightside Farm.

Mr. Willig said Parks & Rec should think in larger terms on general recreation, and he asked them what they would like to take on. Mr. Jones said they recently discussed sending out a survey to find out what the residents want. Mr. Kuhn said everything is on the table, and he agreed a survey would help them look at Parks & Rec more holistically and would also serve as a recruiting tool. Mr. Jones said they have board members who are willing to get more involved, mentioning architect and member Matt Finlay.

Mr. Jones said he was surprised to hear that the County Landscapes program granted $50,000 to a project in February. Mr. Kuhn said that although part of Ms. Gerhard’s job was to negotiate trails on newly acquired open space, he doesn’t see trails as a priority when obtaining conservation easements. Mr. Jones agreed that they’re not required in order to qualify for county funds. Mr. Kuhn said it’s more tactical to provide an ingress and egress and add the right to add a trail, similar to what was done on the Solda acquisition.

Mr. Kuhn said the Board would like the Trail Committee to make recommendations to the Planning Commission when new trails are considered.

Mr. Jones said he’d like to balance any improvements with the usage, noting that the grass trail at Brightside Farm isn’t used and if people would use a paved trail then improving it would be worthwhile. Mrs. Staas said unimproved trails have their own value, such as the Horseshoe Trail, and they’re inexpensive to build. Ms. Coleman distributed a map of the trail at Brightside Farm, which was recently expanded. She said there are benches in areas around the trail. Mr. Philips said it’s not used because it’s wet grass, and that a rolled wood chip trail would be used more. Mr. Jones said the Township bought the farm so people could experience it. Mr. Willig said the County has been encouraging Townships to create maps of their trails. Mr. Jones said he sees the Horseshoe Trail as a “highway” feeding into smaller trails as “roads”. He sees value in connecting the Horseshoe Trail to the Chester Valley Trail.

Mrs. Staas said the Board has to consider what residents want in a trail, with the surface determined by the use, including walking, jogging, bicycling and horse riding. The Trail Committee wants to map recognized trails to try to create connections, name them and be more eligible for grant funding. Mr. Jones said he sees the Brightside Farm as a place residents should get to experience, and he feels a paved trail would help achieve this.

Mr. Piliero said he sees more people walking along the street and they should be brought onto the trails. There’s a trail on his property he doesn’t see used, yet people walk on Green Lane Road.

Mr. Kuhn said he’s not opposed to paving the Brightside Farm trail and recalled that one expressed goal for the Farm was to draw people in for activities.

Mr. Allen said in the TND district, Spring Oak designed a trail with a hard base that’s cheaper than asphalt, although Mr. Jones said it needs more maintenance and those future costs should be considered. Mr. Allen added that some wetter areas will be macadam. The trails will be privately owned but will be open to the public so those homeowners associations should work with the Parks & Rec Board and Planning Commission on them.

Mr. Kuhn said the Township is spending a great deal on open space now but not on the open space assets. Mr. Philips suggested holding strategic planning sessions to develop a 5-10 year plan for these assets. Mr. Willig agreed that this would be a good time to work on this since the Comprehensive Plan is ten years old.

Mr. Kuhn asked about the sports programs at Charlestown Park and how their fees compare with other programs. Mr. Jones said the PMYC doesn’t charge at all, but the PASC does. Costs are kept down through fundraisers. Mr. Quay said Charlestown Park is a true regional park. Mr. Jones said use is shared about equally among residents of Phoenixville Borough and East Pikeland, Schuylkill and Charlestown Townships. Mrs. Csete said this helps the Park achieve a higher ranking for grant funding.

The Board then discussed whether they were in agreement that the Trail Committee should work under the Parks & Rec Board so they can provide global oversight. Mr. Allen thought the Trail group would be better as a stand-alone group as they can stay focused and not be diluted with other interests. Mr. Kuhn said that committee and its Chairman can’t be diluted as they are a very enthusiastic, committed group. He thinks they should be under Parks & Rec to maintain a connection to general recreation. Mrs. Staas agreed they would like to work together with Parks & Rec.

Mrs. Staas said Pat Thomas has been doing research for the Trails Committee that’s been on hold while waiting for this evening’s meeting. She said the Trails Committee needs support from the office staff in terms of administrative assistance, time and access to offsite files, ability to copy files and maps, and space at the office for a file cabinet. Ms. Thomas said the goal is to create an index of trails.

The Board discussed using GIS to create a master trail map. Mrs. Csete gave some background on the complexities of the GIS program currently at the Township office. In addition to the lengthy training time that would be needed, the GIS system requires frequent updates. Someone who learned the system would have to use it regularly to maintain skills. She felt this was something best assigned to a consultant who has the necessary expertise. Mr. Kuhn said the Township has been interested in having all subdivision maps in the GIS system and it would be a major resource if someone could be trained in it. Mr. Kohli already has storm systems mapped in GIS and other elements could be added. Mrs. Staas said the Horseshoe Trail has GPS “waypoints” that could be included. The Board discussed options, including contracting with Nanci Sarcinello or seeing if she can recommend someone or train a volunteer. Ms. Coleman said she’s on the land acquisition committee for the French & Pickering Creeks Trust, and she’ll find out who does this work for them. She also offered to coordinate with the land conservancies to get their data to add to the Township’s mapping.

Ms. Thomas said she, Mrs. Staas and Mrs. Csete met at the office to try to piece together trails from various subdivision maps. Mr. Jones said Suzanne O’Brien previously did some of this research, including for the Burch subdivision, and those records should be at the office. Mr. Kuhn asked if it would be better to go through the county to see the officially recorded records. Mr. Jones suggested asking Nanci Sarcinello to craft a form Ms. Thomas can use to provide her with the data she needs to add trail data to the GIS program. Mrs. Staas said it’s important for the Planning Commission to know where the other trails link in. Mr. Kuhn said a GIS mapping system is the ultimate goal.

Mr. Philips said the Parks & Rec Board and Trail Committee should work together to come up with an overall recreation plan. Mr. Kuhn asked the Trail Committee members to schedule any research work at the Township office with Mrs. Csete. Mr. Jones asked if they can have a liaison from the Board, and Mr. Willig offered to be the liaison.

Mrs. Staas said volunteer labor is used to maintain the trails, particularly for the Horseshoe Trail. The Underhills look after the McDevitt trail, and Alix Coleman oversees the Brightside Farm trail. Occasionally there’s heavier work such as removing a tree that’s down on a trail. Mr. Philips said Mr. Alston can coordinate this with Mark Cabot.

Mr. Philips asked when a preliminary plan could be developed, adding that the future Jenkins Park should be included. Mr. Quay said the old plan can be updated. Mr. Jones said the first priority is to start with the trails and looking into a paved trail at Brightside. Mrs. Staas said the questionnaire should be part of this process, and Mr. Quay said the previous questionnaire could be used as a basis for it. Mrs. Staas said they can look for a volunteer who works with questionnaires to help develop it. It can be posted on the website for online response.

Mr. Philips said a status report should be provided to the Board at each meeting. Mr. Jones estimated a 12 month timeframe to complete the plan.

Mr. Kuhn thanked the trails and parks & rec volunteers for all their efforts and said it’s all very much appreciated. The other board members were in agreement. Mr. Philips will circulate a draft summarizing the charge given to the Parks & Recreation Board/Trail Committee this evening.

Re-roof of Soccer Clubhouse at Charlestown Park

Bob Jones said he obtained two quotes for repair of the clubhouse roof at Charlestown Park, and recommends the Board accept the quote from Rick Loew for $6,600.00, of which the Township would pay half and the Phoenixville Area Soccer Club would pay half. Mr. Philips moved to accept the quote from Rick Loew and Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none called the vote. All were in favor. Mr. Kuhn moved to waive building permit fees and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none called the vote. All were in favor. Mrs. Csete will prepare an invoice for $3,300.00 for Mr. Jones to forward to the Soccer Club. The Township will coordinate the job and pay the full amount after completion.

Jenkins Property – Del Val Soils Proposal for Wetland Estimate

Mrs. Csete said that Dan Wright contacted her requesting approval from the Board on the Wetland Estimate from Del Val Soil for the Jenkins property. He had previously obtained approval for $2,250.00, which was estimated from an old quote from 2002. The new estimate came in higher at $2,950.00. Mr. Philips moved to accept the quote from Del Val Soils and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.


Mr. Willig adjourned the meeting at 9:15 p.m. and announced the Board would hold an executive session directly following to discuss real estate and personnel matters. The next business meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 6, 2011, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 North Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Township Secretary
sheet, 5/16/2011