Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of August 1, 2011

The first business meeting for August was held August 1, 2011 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA.


Supervisors: Hugh Willig, Chairman, Charlie Philips and Kevin Kuhn, Members
Consultants: Surender S. Kohli, Dan Wright, P.E., Mark Thompson, Esq.
Staff: Linda Csete, Manager
Public: See attached sign-in sheet

Call to Order:

7:32 p.m.


Mrs. Csete announced that the Board held an executive session on July 18, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. at the Township Office to discuss personnel matters.

Citizens’ Forum

Ashwood Footbridge

Jeff Stannard, and David and Liz Hasson, members of the Ashwood HOA said they returned to the Board this evening after attending the July 5th meeting to discuss the footbridge issue and review the approved subdivision plan to determine if it states the footbridge is part of the dedicated open space plan. Mr. Kohli apologized that he forgot to bring the drawing this evening, but he reviewed it and said the plan does not show that it is.

Mr. Stannard asked if there is anything to prevent the HOA from removing the footbridge. Mr. Kohli said no, as long as the pipe handling stormwater from the Three Ponds development, which is located under the driveway, is left intact.

Mr. Willig asked if the open space trail is a continuous loop, and Mr. Stannard said no, since there’s a portion fenced off. A fence had been installed at the HOA’s request by Bentley Homes. Mr. Kuhn suggested the HOA’s contractor coordinate with Mr. Kohli’s office on the bridge removal, and Mr. Philips and Mr. Willig concurred. Mr. Kohli said a demolition permit would not be needed, but the HOA should work directly with his office.


Minutes of July 5, 2011 Business Meeting

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of the July 5, 2011 business meeting, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report July 1 - 31, 2011

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

Accounts Payable Report August 1, 2011 Operating Fund

Mr. Philips moved to approve the August 1, 2011 Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report – Open Space Fund August 1, 2011

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the August 1, 2011 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor. Mr. Philips asked if the earned income taxes were now coming in on schedule, and Mrs. Csete said great progress has been made since the beginning of the year when the transition to the new countywide collector, Keystone Collections, took place. The receipts aren’t quite up to budget yet but she expects they will be by the end of the year.


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

New Business

Mr. Willig announced that Old Business would be addressed following New Business this evening.

Public Works Superintendent Resignation

Mr. Willig said that the Board has received a letter of resignation from Fred Alston from his positions of Public Works Superintendent, Roadmaster, Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Coordinator.

Mr. Philips said the Board appreciates all the hard work Mr. Alston has performed through the years at all hours. The fact that there were very few complaints shows how well he handled the responsibilities. He worked well as a liaison with both PennDOT and the Turnpike Commission.

Mr. Willig said Mr. Alston originally took over the Roadmaster position after an abrupt resignation just before winter in 2002. He’s been Fire Marshal for nearly 20 years, 10-11 of which were strictly as a volunteer. He represented the Township very well to the two fire companies serving the community and was also the Emergency Management Coordinator.

Mrs. Csete said Mr. Alston was generous in volunteering his own time in many ways. He gave freely of his time for the past five years for the Earth Day Clean up each Spring and in participating in the American Cancer Society’s Bark for Life on Flag Day each June. Mr. Alston always had the safety of the Charlestown residents foremost in his mind.

On behalf of the Board, Mrs. Csete presented Mr. Alston with a gift certificate in appreciation of his years of service to the Township. The Board wished Mr. Alston success and thanked him for his service as he moves on to pursue a municipal consulting business.

Disposition of Township Property - Truck

Mr. Willig said Mr. Alston has expressed interest in purchasing the Township truck. Mr. Thompson advised that a transfer could be made without putting the truck out to bid as long as the assessed value is $1,000 or less. Mr. Kuhn said he can obtain a certification assessing it at $1,000.00. He asked if the price can be deducted from what the Township owes Mr. Alston in unused vacation days, which Mrs. Csete indicated exceeds that sum. Mr. Thompson said this is acceptable.

Mr. Willig asked for the year of the truck, and Mr. Alston said 2000. Mr. Willig noted the truck was purchased used, has very high mileage and was very heavily used. He expects it will need a lot of work in the future and it’s in the Township’s best interest to sell it.

Mr. Kuhn moved to transfer the truck to Mr. Alston for $1,000.00 to be deducted from the unused vacation time with the difference to be paid to him. He further moved to authorize Township Manager, Linda Csete, to sign on behalf of the Township to make the sale. Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.

Arrangements will be made for the exchange.

Mr. Thompson advised that the Board should formally accept Mr. Alston’s resignation and prepare a letter to that effect. Mr. Willig moved to accept Mr. Alston’s resignation effective 7/31/11 with some regret, but with best wishes. Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.

Walking Trail Grant - $5,000 McDevitt Trail

Mrs. Csete explained that she had been contacted by the DCNR just prior to the June 30, 2011 deadline for constructing a walking trail on the McDevitt property, for which Open Space Director Aliena Gerhard had obtained a $5,000 grant. Because the trail hadn’t been completed, the DCNR requested the funds be returned with interest. Mrs. Csete sent in the Grant Closeout Report and checks that were approved back in June, but it was recently returned to her with the request that she supply proof that the Supervisors had decided not to complete the project. She asked that they take this action tonight so she can close out the grant and return the funds.

Mr. Philips moved to withdraw from the grant agreement with the DCNR to develop a walking trail on the McDevitt property by the June 30, 2011 deadline. Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Interim Budget Review

Mrs. Csete referred to her interim budget analysis through 7/1/11 and asked if the Board had any questions. She noted that the general fund balance is 8% favorable, the state fund and open space fund are 5% favorable, and the Bond fund is exactly on target. Mr. Philips thanked her for her care with the budget, and particularly with Keystone Collections. Mrs. Csete said John Martin deserves the credit for the improvement in the EIT collections with Keystone since he serves on the countywide committee and has been adept at addressing the issues for Charlestown.

Contract with West Goshen Township to Supply Brine

Mr. Thompson referred to the draft agreement provided by West Goshen Township offering to supply brine to Charlestown Township this upcoming winter season. Mr. Thompson said he has contacted West Goshen Township to discuss the changes he proposes, some recommended by Mr. Alston, but hasn’t heard back.

Mrs. Csete said one of the changes is to specify that Charlestown take responsibility for the brine only after it is inspected. Mr. Thompson said Mr. Alston specified the type of salt, which is solar salt, and the specific mixture necessary for a good product. The amount of brine was also an issue, so the contract now specifies that West Goshen will provide a minimum of 16,000 gallons per year since Charlestown will need 1,600-1,800 gallons per storm. The brine will be picked up at West Goshen Township by the Charlestown contractor.

Mr. Kuhn asked Mrs. Csete to find out how much Melchiorre’s truck can hold, and whether he has storage capacity.

Mr. Philips moved to approve the brine contract with West Goshen Township to purchase brine solution for the 2011-2012 winter as amended by Mr. Thompson and to forward it to West Goshen Township for approval and signature. Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion.

Mrs. Csete said an inexpensive alternative to having the contractor pick up the brine would be to have it delivered by a pool company, which was suggested by Mr. LeMonde at West Goshen Township. The Board may need to consider purchasing its own tank for storage.

Alix Coleman said last year when she had a flat tire, she was told there was obsidian in her tires, a by-product of glass, which she thought came from the winter road treatment. Mr. Kuhn said that would have been from anti-skid material, not brine.

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

Resolution to enter into Agreement with PennDOT authorizing execution of Automated Red Light Enforcement Program Project Funding Agreement

Mrs. Csete said that Mr. Alston turned over the Automated Red Light Enforcement Program Project Funding Agreement to her for execution after he obtained approval of a $9,800 grant that would allow the Township’s signal service contractor to install the ARLE equipment at the Warner Lane & Phoenixville Pike intersection. The agreement requires that the Board pass a Resolution authorizing a Township representative to execute it.

Mr. Kuhn suggested that the contract first be reviewed by the Township Solicitor prior to execution, so this matter was tabled.

Resolution to Approve Sewage Facilities Planning Module for the Tyler Griffin Tract

Mrs. Csete said the Sewage Facilities Planning Module for Tyler Griffin was ready to forward to the DEP after the Township, County Planning, County Health, and adjacent townships have reviewed it and signed off. Mr. Philips moved to approve the Sewage Facilities Planning Module Resolution for the Tyler Griffin Tract, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Traffic Planning & Design – Request for Reimbursement of Costs relating to Decorative Pole Engineering for Route 29 Corridor

Mrs. Csete referred to the proposal from Traffic Planning and Design that had been previously circulated to the Board for the design work related to the decorative pole signals along Route 29. Work performed to date totaled $3,100.13 and work to be performed totals $1,200.00.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the proposal from Traffic Planning and Design, Inc. for the Decorative Pole Engineering on State Road 29, Section AL2, and, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

East Whiteland Township Request for Increased Contribution to Fire Association

Mr. Willig referred to the letter dated 7/22/11 from East Whiteland Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Holmes requesting an increase in Charlestown Township’s contribution to the East Whiteland Township Volunteer Fire Association from the $48,000 currently budgeted to $427,142.03.

Mr. Willig said the letter refers to a formula to determine what amount each township should provide annually to the Fire Association, which is how the $427,142.03 amount was calculated. He said he’d like to better understand the relationship between the Fire Association and East Whiteland Township, and why the Township is contacting Charlestown if they are two separate entities.

Mr. Philips said the letter indicates there were 102 fire emergencies for Charlestown in the past year, and asked how many of these were reimbursed as EMT calls or other reimbursable calls. He noted that the formula incorporates the total assessed valuation of Charlestown but the East Whiteland Fire Association only covers a portion of the Township.

Mr. Willig said the amount being requested is nearly ten times what Charlestown now pays, and would take nearly all the real estate tax collected in the year to cover. He repeated that it’s unclear what is being asked of Charlestown and why. He said there have been moderate requests for increases over the years but they weren’t so unusual.

Mr. Philips said the Fire Association pays over $1,000,000 for a paid staff of fire fighters, something Charlestown wasn’t consulted about. Mr. Willig added that Charlestown had no participation in the decision to build a new fire house. Mr. Philips suggested contacting the Kimberton Fire Company to see if they would be interested in covering more territory in Charlestown.

The Board asked Mrs. Csete to research this matter further and draft a response letter from the Township for the Board’s review.

Other Business

Sign Ordinance

Mr. Philips asked if sandwich board style signs like the ones for the Cedar Hollow Inn and The Office should be removed now that the sign ordinance has been amended. Mr. Kohli said he’ll contact the businesses and look into what action the ordinance allows the Township to take.

Chester Valley Grange

Mr. Philips asked if there was an update on the Township’s interest in acquiring the Grange building on Phoenixville Pike. Mr. Kuhn said a letter was sent to the Pennsylvania Grange Association and they’re still awaiting a response. Mr. Philips said the Grange should be reminded not to renew the Chuck’s Wagon business. Mr. Kuhn said that will be moot when a new owner takes over the property.

Trail Committee

Chris Lawrence from the Trail Committee said the Board has the latest Trail report and members of the Committee will be available to answer any questions at the September meeting. Mr. Willig said the minutes and the report are both self-explanatory so that shouldn’t be necessary. Mr. Kuhn said the Board appreciates the group’s efforts.

Charlestown Playhouse

Mr. Willig said the Playhouse is marking its 75th anniversary this year and is looking for sponsors for its celebration. As an integral part of the Township for all these years, he asked the Board to consider joining as a sponsor. Mr. Kuhn suggested paying for a $150.00 ad featuring the Township’s open space preservation achievements. Mr. Philips said it would be good to get an update on how many children are township residents. Mr. Willig said he’ll contact Faith Coons for details.

Mr. Philips moved to approve sponsoring the 75th anniversary celebration of the Charlestown Playhouse for $150.00 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Road Maintenance & Paving Update

Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Wright about the review he performed on the outstanding work orders for road maintenance, starting with crosspipes described as 2/3 clogged and multiple attempts to clear them. Mr. Wright said these are on Maryhill and Glenview Roads.

Mr. Kuhn said the headwalls on Tinkerhill Road are a priority. He said the office received phone calls from residents asking why the road wasn’t paved when Schuylkill Township paved the lower portion a week ago. He asked if there’s enough in the budget this year to add this to the paving list. $400,000 was budgeted, and the contract with Dan Malloy paving came in at about $325,000. Mr. Wright said this work will exceed the remaining funds. Mr. Philips said it should be at the top of the list for next year.

With regard to the headwalls on Tinkerhill Road, Mr. Kuhn asked if the Board should request a quote from Melchiorre Construction with a price not to exceed. He asked if a spec is needed. Mr. Wright said he and Mr. Kohli need to look at the site in more detail, define what improvements are needed and go from there. Mr. Kohli said they can look at road resurfacing there too.

Mr. Kohli said that before the final wearing coat can be installed on Pickering Road, some additional crosspipes must be installed to improve drainage. He said this work was not part of the bid spec for the paving project and he estimates it will cost $25,000. The milling and binder course can be installed now, but the crosspipes should be installed before the final wearing coat is added. He said the piping can be purchased directly from the supplier, and Melchiorre Construction Co. can install it since they have the annual labor & equipment contract.

Mr. Kuhn asked if the scope of work can be expanded so Dan Malloy Paving can do the crosspipe work. Mr. Kohli said he doesn’t think this can be done as the original bid specs were just for paving. Mr. Thompson confirmed that the Second Class Township Code doesn’t support adding this work as a change order. Mr. Kohli said if the labor is under $10,000 they can have it provided by Dan Malloy. Mr. Philips agreed with this approach, and the other Board members indicated they’d prefer to have one contractor handle the road rather than break up tasks between Dan Malloy and Melchiorre Construction. Mr. Wright said he can speak with Dan Malloy about this additional work tomorrow.

Mr. Wright gave an update on the paving project as follows:

Hilltop Road – All base repair and culvert repair has been completed, with more base repair than was anticipated. The wearing course has now been installed.

Union Hill Road – Has been completed.

Dickson Drive – The base repair and milling have been completed, and paving should be finished tomorrow.

Pickering Road – They’re ready to start milling and placing the binder course. An issue with a wall at the Forcine property may delay the final wear coat.

Signage for Union Hill Road

Mr. Kuhn said Jim Thompson asked him if the paving under the tunnel on Union Hill Road can be milled to allow more clearance under it. He occasionally gets trucks at his farm that have to turn around after they missed the turn to Devault Foods and attempt to take Union Hill Road back to Route 29. Mr. Kuhn said Mr. Kohli advised him this can’t be done without permission from the Railroad, so another option is to add signage indicating the height limitation of the bridge.

Mr. Wright provided sign specifications that include two “Do Not Turn” signs for trucks for Whitehorse Road in each direction approaching Union Hill Road, and two signs for Route 29 approaching it. Mr. Kuhn said that translates into a lot of large signage. Mr. Willig asked if PennDOT approval is needed to install the signs since these are state roads, which Mr. Kohli confirmed. He said he’s spoken to PennDOT officials who indicated they’re willing to approve the signs.

Mr. Kuhn suggested placing the sign ten feet into Union Hill Road near the Whitehorse Road intersection rather than have two signs on Whitehorse. Trucks approaching Union Hill will be able to see it before they turn. Mr. Wright agreed with this suggestion. Mr. Kohli said his office will lay out the sign specs and obtain PennDOT approval so they can be installed.

Old Business

Stormwater Management Ordinance – Review Draft

Mr. Wright said he could provide a summary of the stormwater management ordinance amendments that were discussed at the Planning Commission meeting on July 19th. Mr. Philips said he had a lot of questions and didn’t want to take up time at the meeting this evening. Mr. Wright offered to meet with him separately.

Mr. Thompson wished to clarify that the proposed revision still states that all stormwater facilities are to be underground as there was a question on this at the previous meeting.

Mr. Wright outlined the Planning Commission’s two concerns from July 19th. First, the ordinance states that calculations are required for any additional impervious surface over 100 sq. ft. The Planning Commission felt this number should be higher. Mr. Kohli said the size was set so low in consideration of smaller lots such as those in the Tyrone Farms area. Mr. Kuhn asked if the size can be made a proportion of the lot size and its existing impervious coverage. Mr. Wright said yes, noting this was the Planning Commission’s suggestion as well. He said this low threshold is outside of the mandated requirements, and he feels he can come up with wording to take back to the Planning Commission for consideration.

Mr. Wright said the second issue brought up by the Planning Commission was that they want above-ground stormwater options. Member Andy Motel in particular was concerned that the requirement that all facilities be underground was overreaching and alternatives should be allowed. Mr. Willig said the present method of having the applicant request a waiver worked well for Spring Oak. Mr. Philips agreed that process works and there’s no reason to change it.

A meeting was set up for Mr. Kohli, Mr. Thompson and Mr. Philips to go over the proposed revisions on Thursday, August 4th at 3 p.m. at the Township Office.

Brightside Farm

Mr. Kuhn referred to tenant Tony Wirtel’s email list of outstanding maintenance issues. Mr. Kuhn said he thought the painting of the farmhouse roof had been previously approved, and the other board members had the same recollection.

Mr. Kuhn then asked about the septic system, which needs to be replaced. Mr. Kohli said they obtained a cost estimate in the $21,000-$22,000 range, noting that a pump station is part of this expense. His office has received the health department septic permit. The project will have to go out to bid. Mr. Wright said he’ll prepare bid specs and will try to have a bid document ready so that bids can be opened at the October meeting.


Mr. Kuhn moved to adjourn and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig adjourned the meeting at 9:35 p.m. The next business meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 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 Manager
sheet, 8/1/2011