Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of July 5, 2011

The first business meeting for July was held July 5, 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, and Mike Rodgers (arrived later), Members
Consultants: Surender S. Kohli, Dan Wright, P.E., Mark Thompson, Esq.
Staff: Linda Csete, Manager, Fred Alston, Public Works Superintendent
Public: See attached list

Call to Order:

7:30 p.m.


Mrs. Csete announced that the July Planning Commission meeting will be held a week later than usual, July 19th.

Citizens’ Forum

Jeff Stannard, member of the Ashwood Homeowners Association, said he’d like to address Ashwood issues in addition to the hedgerow subject listed on the agenda this evening. Mr. Willig agreed to add this to the agenda.


Minutes of June 6, 2011 Business Meeting

Mr. Philips moved to approve the minutes of the June 6, 2011 business meeting, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. Four were in favor.

Minutes of June 20, 2011 Business Meeting

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of the June 20, 2011 business meeting, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. Four were in favor.

Treasurer's Report June 1 - 30, 2011

Mr. Piliero moved to approve the June 2011 Treasurer’s Report and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. Four were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report July 5, 2011 Operating Fund

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the July 5, 2011 Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and four were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report – Open Space Fund July 5, 2011

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the July 5, 2011 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable Report subject to holding the two checks for the roof replacement at the soccer clubhouse at Charlestown Park as follows:

Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. Four were in favor.


Mr. Kuhn moved to accept the June reports as submitted, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and four were in favor.


Ordinance to Amend Sign Regulations

The proceedings were taken by Mark Hagerty, Court Reporter. Mr. Thompson entered the following into the record:

T-2 Public Notice
T-3 Draft Ordinance
T-1 Act 247 County Referral

(Mr. Rodgers arrived at this time.) Mr. Thompson asked if there were any questions from those present. No one came forward.

Following the hearing, the record was closed. Mr. Kuhn moved to adopt Ordinance #173-2011 amending Chapter 27, Part 14 of the Charlestown Township Zoning Ordinance and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.

Old Business - none

New Business

Ashwood Subdivision items

Hedgerow – Lot 9

Mr. Thompson began with an update on Lot #9, where the owners were sent a letter by Mr. Kohli as Zoning Officer last summer notifying them that they removed a portion of a hedgerow on that property against the requirements of the subdivision approval. The letter was not an official enforcement notice, and the owners have not yet complied by restoring the area. He asked if the Board would like to move forward at this time with an enforcement notice, or file an equity action since there is a provision restricting disturbance of the hedgerow in the deed to the property. He suggested they start with the issuance of an enforcement notice, which the property owners have thirty days to appeal to the Zoning Hearing Board. If they don’t appeal or remediate during this period, the Board can then seek penalties, the severity of which is determined by the District Justice.

Mr. Kuhn authorized the Zoning Officer to issue the enforcement notice, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for further discussion.

Jeff Stannard asked if the Lot 9 issue was a result of the common area being inadvertently mowed by the HOA’s contractor. Their contract specifies that the field be mowed three times a year, but at the first mowing this year the contractor mowed the hedgerow. This was brought to their attention and it started to grow back. Mr. Stannard received a call from a property owner two weeks ago that this happened again. Mr. Kohli responded no, this issue is unrelated to the hedgerow removal on Lot 9, which was done by the property owners. The Township’s Landscape Architect met with the Fadnesses and informed them they were to re-plant the buffer, which has yet to occur. Mr. Kohli said the Fadnesses told them the hedgerow was also removed on Lots 8, 10 & 11, but those property owners have since restored the areas. Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Kohli to confirm that even if the HOA contractor mowed the area, it’s still the property owner’s responsibility to act, and Mr. Kohli agreed.

Mr. Willig then called the vote, and all were in favor.

Ashwood Footbridge

Mr. Stannard said the Township accepted dedication of Ashwood Lane last summer, and at that time Bentley Homes paved the road and the bridge over a culvert that contains a drainage pipe located along Pikeland Road. At the beginning of June this year the middle of the bridge collapsed and a hole approximately a foot wide and three feet deep can be seen through the blacktop to the culvert. The HOA hired an engineer to examine the problem. He said that when originally constructed, the 24” steel drainage pipe was encased with dirt. When the paving was done there was no reinforcement for the culvert, leading to its collapse. He discussed this safety issue with Mr. Thompson who suggested he appear this evening before the Board. Mr. Stannard asked if Bentley can be held responsible, with the cost taken from their 18 month maintenance bond.

Mr. Kuhn asked if the HOA has spoken to Bentley Homes. Mr. Stannard said yes, and a representative did come promptly to look at this and to check on a dead tree in the open space area. The tree was replaced, and they’ve looked at the bridge twice but haven’t indicated if they will repair it. Mr. Willig asked how long ago they were there, and Mr. Stannard said between 10-14 days ago.

Mr. Kohli said the footbridge was actually part of the original driveway from Pikeland Road to Lot 1. The subdivision approval did not require they either remove the driveway or resurface it. Later the resurfacing became an item on the HOA’s punchlist prior to dedication, but this wasn’t part of the original escrow agreement. He confirmed with Mr. Thompson that resurfacing the footbridge was not part of the road dedication so there was no requirement to do so under the maintenance bond agreement. He doesn’t see how Bentley can be held responsible.

Mr. Stannard asked who originally installed the culvert. Mr. Kohli said the culvert pre-dates the Ashwood subdivision and that it discharges to the headwall of an adjacent pond. He said he spoke to Bentley Homes and they agreed to evaluate the problem although it’s not part of the road dedication. He said he provided an opinion letter stating this to the Township Manager. Mr. Thompson asked whether the culvert is part of the Ashwood stormwater management system, and Mr. Kohli said no, it handles overflow from offsite. Mr. Thompson said it might be covered under the Township’s Stormwater Management Ordinance, and if so, that would make it the responsibility of the HOA.

Mr. Kuhn asked if Bentley was obligated to provide any open space improvements as part of the subdivision approval, and Mr. Kohli said no. Mr. Stannard said that the sidewalk ties into the footbridge, and the sidewalk is part of the open space plan. Mr. Kuhn said his recollection is that Bentley included the footbridge as a courtesy. Mr. Stannard said he has workmanship issues with the Bentley contractor, and he finds it odd that the bridge is not considered part of the development. He asked what the HOA’s recourse is.

Mr. Willig said open questions are whether this is considered part of the Ashwood stormwater management system. Mr. Kohli will review this. Then he asked if the bridge is mentioned on the recorded plan, and if not, why was a sidewalk connected to it? Did the Township request this of Bentley?

Mr. Willig asked if the Township should correspond to Bentley on this matter. Mr. Kohli said he spoke to representatives from Bentley and they said the Township could send a letter. Mr. Kuhn said it appears Bentley was not obligated to do this but they did, and the result is substandard. Mr. Kohli said the resurfacing didn’t cause the problem, rather the pipe caused the washout.

Mr. Kuhn asked if there is any maintenance agreement in place with the Three Ponds development. Mr. Thompson said not if it’s a natural flow from an existing pond.

Mr. Willig asked Mr. Stannard if he was given a cost estimate for repair. Mr. Stannard said he was given a range centered on $11,000, and there may be complications if the area is found to be a bog turtle habitat.

This matter will be discussed further at the August 1st meeting.

Bid Award - Pickering Dam Foot Bridge

Mr. Kohli referenced his review letter dated 6/16/11 recommending the contract be awarded to the Eastern Gunite Co. Inc. Mr. Wright provided reasons for this recommendation, beginning with their qualifications, which were thoroughly vetted. In addition to being the low bidder, they estimated higher than the other bidders on the cubic yards, at 32 CY.

Mr. Philips asked when they could start, and Mr. Kuhn said within 30 days. Mr. Kohli added they need a permit from the state first.

Mr. Willig asked if any road closure or restriction will be needed on Pickering Dam Road. Mr. Kohli said he believes not but will discuss this with the contractor.

Mr. Philips moved to award the contract to stabilize the abutment of the Pickering Creek Foot Bridge to the Eastern Gunite Company, Inc. in the amount of $35,096.00 in accordance with Mr. Kohli’s recommendations in his letter of 6/16/11. Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for further discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Thompson Preliminary Subdivision Plan

Mike Bueke, P.E. of Showalter & Associates was present to discuss the Thompson Family Preliminary Subdivision Plan last revised 6/28/11.

Mr. Beuke said the biggest outstanding issue was having Lots 1 & 19 re-perked to find areas for the septic systems outside of steep slopes, and he displayed exhibits of both lots. Mr. Wright said he’s satisfied with the changes. Mr. Beuke added that Lot 4 has been redesigned with a retaining wall to avoid steep slope disturbance, and the driveway location was reversed on Lot 7 to also reduce steep slope disturbance. He said the Planning Commission said if the golf course closes prior to development they want all steep slope disturbance eliminated and the applicant has agreed.

Mr. Beuke pointed out a graphical discrepency on Lot 21 that has been corrected for the perc area.

Mr. Philips asked Mr. Kohli if he’s satisfied with the plans, and Mr. Kohli said yes, other than the issues listed in his review letter. Mr. Beuke said they will make final revisions to incorporate those comments.

Ben Thompson said the family is still working with the North American Land Trust and he expects to have everything resolved by mid-August. Mr. Kuhn asked where Schuylkill Township is in its review process, and Mr. Beuke said they have a meeting with their Board tomorrow night.

Mr. Kuhn moved to recommend approval of the Thompson Preliminary Subdivision Plan last revised 1/18/11, with pages 19 & 30 last revised 6/28/11, and subject to the consultants’ review comments and agreeing to list all waiver requests on the final plan along with the conditions of the conditional use approval. Mr. Philips seconded the motion. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Route 29 Signal Pole Enhancement

Mr. Willig continued the discussion from the June 20th meeting saying the Board had proposed to work with PennDOT to cover the cost to upgrade the traffic poles in Devault when PennDOT constructs the Route 29 improvements. The Township had budgeted $88,000 for the upgrades in the 2011 budget. The pole style would be compatible with the street light standards designated in the TND ordinance. Mr. Motel added that is the Washington style fluted pole standard from Spring City Manufacturing.

Mr. Willig said the Township was recently informed these standards would cost $40,000 more than was budgeted. Mr. Motel said this was due to modifications to bring them up to ADA specifications. Mr. Kuhn noted there has also been some increase in the material cost.

Mr. Willig said PennDOT wants the Township to enter into an agreement by July 15, 2011 if Charlestown will pay for the upgrade. The Board met on June 20th and four of the five supervisors were present. The vote was split 2-2 as to whether to pay for the upgrades now that the cost has increased. He said part of the discussion was whether the Township could obtain partial or total funding for the upgrades. Another consideration was if the Township paid the entire cost they could bid the project out at a lower cost than PennDOT. The Township would then be reimbursed by PennDOT.

Mr. Kuhn said that Tom Fillippo, who owns much of the property surrounding that section of Route 29, was willing to contribute toward the upgrades. Mr. Kuhn said the Board should inquire as to whether the other two major stakeholders, Dewey Homes and J. Loew & Associates, would be open to the same.

Mr. Kuhn said Devault is not the most attractive area of the Township yet it’s a major gateway and it makes sense for the Township to hold itself to the same standards it demands of those pursuing development in that area. Mr. Willig said he thinks it’s an integral part of the Devault Village plan and he thinks the Board should communicate to PennDOT that the Township will commit to the upgrades. In the meantime the Board can seek donations. There is time before any payments would be made. Mr. Motel said PennDOT wants confirmation of the style of the pole upgrades. Mr. Kuhn suggested they commit to the Spring City model or its equivalent. Mr. Motel named two other sources. Mr. Allen said there is a third and probably more.

Mr. Willig asked if the Township would have to administer the bids or could PennDOT do so. Mr. Kuhn said a Co-Stars purchase would be another option. Mr. Allen questioned whether equivalent poles would be available from Co-Stars and said he wasn’t sure they’d save much by going out for competitive bid due to more remote sources that would charge additional for delivery. He said the total pole cost is $194,000. Charlestown’s share for upgrades would be $37,000-$38,000 over the $88,000 already committed. Mr. Motel again noted the stakeholder developers can be approached. He said the Planning Commission discussed meeting with someone who could advise them on alternate ways to to address the aesthetics.

Mr. Alston said he would have a hard time justifying the cost to the Township for the upgrades and doesn’t see the return value. Mr. Kuhn said it would be an aesthetic return. Mr. Allen said omitting the upgrade would degrade the area. He said the Township has spent money elsewhere for the same reasons.

Mr. Motel said Devault Village was designed as a walkable community. He reminded the Board that the Planning Commission got PennDOT to agree to add a walkway under the Route 29 underpass even though they originally refused. Charlestown persisted and PennDOT agreed. Without this walkway, Devault Village would be bisected. He said the Board should review Perry Morgan’s conceptual drawing of Devault Village to reacquaint itself with its pedestrian perspective. The Design Review Committee did a great job with Spring Oak and the Tyler Griffin tracts and accomplished its goals there.

Mr. Motel said he fears a slippery slope. Galvanized PennDOT poles can be painted black but it won’t have the same effect as the upgrade design. Mr. Piliero said there’s no question this creates a conflict, but the Board discussed saving $100,000 on road costs this year. He suggests pressuring PennDOT and obtaining commitments from the developers and seeking aid from the Development Council, which representatives of the Township met with last year.

Mr. Motel said the Chester County Development Council gets funding for infrastructure improvements in high employment zones. The Township should at least issue a letter indicating it will revisit the funding issue at a later time. Mr. Willig asked if this would trigger a re-design cost. Mr. Allen said he didn’t think there would be re-design costs since PennDOT is bidding as standard poles either way, considering the bases are standard with either option. He said the Township won’t have to pay for 18-24 months.

Mr. Willig said the Board had agreed they wanted the upgraded poles at the $88,000 allocated last year, but they’re undecided about an additional $40,000 cost.

Mr. Kuhn moved to communicate to PennDOT that Charlestown Township will pay for the difference between the standard and upgraded poles subject to the Township obtaining contributions from developers and grants to cover the difference over $88,000 and the right to re-address the subject at a later time. Mr. Philips said he has no problem if the developer pays. Mr. Piliero said it’s more likely they can get $20,000 from developers and $20,000 from other sources. He suggested contacting the Development Council and looking into state funding. Mr. Kuhn said the Township will lose the opportunity to upgrade the poles if it doesn’t make a commitment now. Mr. Motel said the language “subject to” in the motion is a placeholder. They can design for galvanized poles and the Township can come back to PennDOT if funds are obtained. He urged the Board not to lose the opportunity now.

Mr. Piliero said he’ll contact the Development Council next week. Mr. Philips suggested tabling this discussion until commitments are obtained. Mr. Kuhn said the upgrades should be approved up to the original $88,000. Mr. Allen said PennDOT is signing documents now. The Board should commit now and seek funding later. Mr. Allen said it’s critical for the Board to agree to the upgrades now, subject to covering the difference from other sources, since this will provide them with options. Mr. Philips disagreed, saying the Board can say yes later. Mr. Motel said that will be too late; PennDOT will base its design on the pole specifications. Mr. Kuhn agreed.

There was no second to Mr. Kuhn’s motion and the motion died.

Mr. Kuhn then moved to approve the agreement to cover the cost of signal pole upgrades in the Route 29 corridor subject to the developers covering the cost over $88,000 as a condition of final approval of their subdivision plans and the Township obtaining other funding sources. Mr. Thompson said the Board can’t make this a condition of final approval before the final plan is submitted for review. Mr. Willig seconded Mr. Kuhn’s motion and called for discussion. There being none further, Mr. Willig called the vote. Mr. Kuhn, Mr. Willig and Mr. Piliero were in favor. Mr. Philips and Mr. Rodgers were opposed. The motion carried 3-2.

Appointments to the Agricultural Security Area Committee

Mrs. Csete said she spoke to Carl and Sharon Fisher, who both agreed to serve on the ASA Committee for the seven year review due this year. She previously circulated a list of names of those who had served on the committee previously and were willing to be reappointed. There must 2 farmers, 1 supervisor and one resident on the committee. Most individuals are eligible in multiple categories. Mr. Kuhn moved to appoint the following individuals to the Agricultural Security Area Committee to conduct the seven year review:

Sharon Fisher – resident/farmer
Carl Fisher – resident/farmer
Bill Andersen - farmer
Mike Rodgers - supervisor
Hugh Willig – farmer/supervisor

Mr. Rodgers seconded the motion. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Advertise Hearing for Amendment to the Stormwater Management Ordinance

Mr. Philips said he has concerns over the draft amendments to the Stormwater Management Ordinance (SMO) and asked if there was time for a presentation and discussion. Mr. Thompson said there are substantive changes.

Mr. Wright said he presented the amendments at the last Planning Commission meeting and that along with Q & A took two hours. There was no recommendation from the Commission, which concerned them as to whether this would interfere with the DEP’s deadline. The County Planning Commission said if the Board can demonstrate that the Township Planning Commission is in the process of a review, the Board can communicate this with the DEP and they would accept this. Mr. Thompson said his understanding is that the Township has six months after the DEP’s approval of the new standards for the Valley Creek watershed to implement them locally and there would likely be no action taken against the Township. Some of the proposed changes are unrelated to the Valley Creek Plan, and he will confirm that the Township can take this extra time.

Mr. Philips said there is much to digest, asking if the Township’s proposed ordinance is more or less stringent than the Valley Creek Plan. He then asked if the Township is reversing anything from its existing SMO. Mr. Kohli responded no to the latter question. Mr. Wright said the Township’s ordinance is more restrictive in some areas so these are not being change. They reviewed each item with care and they can provide the Planning Commission’s input at the August meeting.

Mr. Thompson said the DEP will review his letter sent to them Friday, and scheduling the hearing to consider adoption can take place at the September meeting.

Other Business

Road Work

Mr. Piliero questioned why patching was done on Hilltop, Pickering and Union Hill Roads when they’re scheduled for resurfacing this summer. Mr. Alston said the roads were falling apart and some areas had to be addressed immediately. Mr. Piliero disagreed and said it had been previously decided that the roads could wait for repaving.


Mr. Willig adjourned the meeting at 9:36 p.m. and said the Board would hold an executive session following it to discuss real estate matters. The next business meeting is scheduled for Monday, August 1, 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 Manager