Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of October 3, 2011

The first business meeting for October was held October 3, 2011 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA.


Supervisors: Hugh Willig, Chairman, Frank Piliero, Vice Chairman, Kevin Kuhn, Charlie Philips and Mike Rodgers, Members
Consultants: Surender S. Kohli, P.E., Anthony Merklinger, BCO, Dan Wright, P.E., Mark P. Thompson, Esq.
Staff: Linda Csete, Manager, Jim Thompson, Roadmaster
Public: See attached list

Call to Order:

7:30 p.m.


Mr. Philips said the meet and greet event the Great Valley Nature Center wanted to hold with members of the Township boards and commissions has been postponed from October 9th. A new date will be determined. He also announced that the Nature Center’s fundraiser auction and dinner is scheduled for December 3rd from 6 – 11 p.m., and encouraged people to attend this fun annual event.

Citizens’ Forum

Markley Property

Barbara DeWilde gave an update on stabilizing three historic structures on the Markley property owned by the Charlestown Historical Society (CHS).

Mrs. DeWilde said Long Builders has begun work to repair a joist on the large barn, and she’s spoken to Pam Brown at the French & Pickering Creeks Trust about the new roof. Mrs. DeWilde had a sample of the roof material with her, and said it was the same as that used at the Brightside Farm. She said the CHS has asked for bids on the spring house, and the French & Pickering Trust is agreeable to their plan for capping, for which they are now getting bids. They hope to have this work completed by the end of October but definitely by year end. She said CHS members attended a board meeting at the Great Valley Nature Center, and the two groups discussed how they can work together on one of the buildings. They’ll meet again later in October.

Sketches of Charlestown Book

Mrs. DeWilde said Township officials and residents responded wonderfully to last spring’s invitation to submit articles and photographs for the Historical Sketches of Charlestown Township book that has now been published. She said Jacob Merriwether organized a group of ten people who met weekly for two years on the project. Half of the book is Harmon Rees’ manuscript and the other half is a series of individual articles. She said there are 2 DVDs and a map of the Township trails and historical sites. She said people have been calling with more stories since the book has been published, but the Historical Society doesn’t expect to write another book, although they may do a monograph in a year or so. Mr. Kuhn said the Board should consider purchasing books to give to Rep. Milne, Sen. Dinniman and Rep. Gerlach. Mrs. DeWilde said the Historical Society would be glad to deliver the books to their offices. Mr. Philips thanked her and the Society for their efforts in publishing and promoting the book.

Zoning Hearing Board

John Martin reported that a hearing was held last week to consider a variance request from the Spiegels at Charlestown Meadows, who wished to expand their deck. An adjacent neighbor appeared at the hearing and expressed opposition. He was away when the deck was first expanded by two feet, and he objected to an additional four foot expansion. The Zoning Hearing Board granted the variance, but in view of the neighbor’s concerns, they will require privacy screening. Since the screening will block more of the neighbor’s view, the requirement to add it can be waived if he prefers. He said he and fellow Zoning Hearing Board member Bob Wert were upset to learn that the Charlestown Meadows Homeowners’ Association doesn’t provide individual notice to neighbors when they approve permit requests, they simply post the information on their website and include it in their newsletter.

Mrs. Csete asked who was named Chair and Vice Chair at reorganization, and Mr. Martin said he is Chairman and Bob Wert is Vice Chairman this year.

Mr. Martin then commented on the recent passing of Eleanor Morris, saying she is a real Charlestown hero. He recalled that in 1980 her fund raising efforts were instrumental in the Township’s acquisition of over 100 acres of open space along the Pickering Creek. He said this was part of a multi-township effort she undertook to preserve a greenway along the Creek.


Minutes of Sept. 6, 2011 Business Meeting

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

Treasurer's Report Sept. 1- 30, 2011

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

Accounts Payable Report October 3, 2011 Operating Fund

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the October 3, 2011 Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report – Open Space Fund October 3, 2011

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the October 3, 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 moved to accept the September reports as submitted, and Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion.

Mr. Philips asked for an update on the Fadness property in the Ashwood subdivision, noting that Mr. Fadness once again mowed his hedgerow, this time following his appearance at the Sept 6th meeting. Mr. Kohli said he and Mr. Thompson visited the site that day and noticed the area had been mowed. Mr. Thompson said in a letter dated 8/23/11 from Mr. Fadness to the Township, there was a question as to whether Mr. Fadness was appealing Mr. Kohli’s enforcement notice he received 7/28/11. Therefore the Board directed Mrs. Csete to send a letter expressing that his letter was not being accepted as an appeal as it did not include the appeal form and fee. Mr. Thompson asked if the Board wants him and Mr. Kohli to file a complaint with the District Justice. Mr. Philips said he’d like them to conduct one more walk through of the site and if nothing has been planted, he’d be in favor of filing for fines. Mr. Kuhn asked if Mr. Fadness can be billed for the Township’s consultants’ time, and Mr. Thompson said no. Mr. Kuhn said he also was in favor of imposing the fines.

Mr. Rodgers reported that the Valley Forge Sewer Authority has switched from treating the system with chlorine to an ultraviolet treatment at a cost of $3 million and it’s been a big improvement. Mr. Kuhn asked if there was a cost recovery time, and Mr. Rodgers said he was unsure.

Mr. Willig asked for an update on the Pickering Road improvements. Mr. Wright said all four pipe crossings have been installed, and the final paving should be finished on Thursday.

Mrs. Csete said she’d been in contact with the new Fire Marshal, Tim Hubbard, who is out of town and unable to attend the meeting this evening. She said his report for September indicates he spoke to several residents and answered their questions on burning and other matters. She said she was pleased that he’s also taken an interest in the EOC and is joining her for a meeting this Thursday with a representative from County Emergency Services.

Mr. Willig called the vote on accepting the reports, and all were in favor.


Amendments to the Stormwater Management Ordinance

The proceedings were taken by Tom Corcoran, Court Reporter. Mr. Thompson said this is a hearing under the Municipal Planning Code and entered the following into the record:

T-1 9/26/2011 Letter from the Chester County Planning Commission providing a review of the proposed ordinance;
T-2 9/20/2011 Letter from M. Thompson, Esq. to the Daily Local News requesting publication of the public notice;
T-3 Letter dated 9/20/11 from M. Thompson, Esq. to the Chester County Law Library enclosing a copy of the proposed ordinance;
T-4 Public Notice
T-5 Proof of Publication
T-6 Proposed Ordinance

Mr. Thompson asked if there were any questions from those present. There was no public comment.

Following the hearing, the record was closed. Mr. Philips moved to adopt Ordinance #174-2011 amending Chapter 23 –Stormwater Management and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.

Old Business

Set fire & hazardous material inspection fees for commercial and residential structures

Mrs. Csete explained that the Board has considered changing the compensation for the Fire Marshal position from a fixed part-time salary to a fee-based compensation where the Fire Marshal is paid for each residential and commercial fire inspection he performs. A resolution had been drafted to reflect the fees, which propose to pay $50.00 for each residential inspection and $100.00 for each commercial inspection.

Mr. Philips moved to approve Resolution #756-2011 setting the fee schedule for residential and commercial fire safety inspections, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Fadness Property

Mr. Philips moved to direct Mr. Kohli, as Zoning Officer, to conduct one more inspection of the Fadness hedgerow, and if there have been no efforts to replant it, to then direct the Solicitor, Mr. Thompson to file with the District Justice for fines. Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion.

Mr. Willig asked how the process works. Mr. Thompson said after a complaint is filed with the District Justice, a hearing date is set. This may take several weeks. At the hearing, the Township presents its evidence, including the number of days out of compliance, and asks the judge to impose the fine. The maximum daily fine is $500.00 with a maximum limit of $12,000.00. To pursue more, a separate action would need to be filed. Mr. Willig asked how they determine the first date of noncompliance. Mr. Thompson said they must present evidence of when the hedgerow was cut, and it’s up to the judge to decide.

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

New Business

Resolution to Commend Eleanor Morris

Mrs. Csete read the draft resolution aloud. Mr. Martin corrected the reference to Sam Morris to indicate he was a state representative, not a senator. Mr. Kuhn noted that Rep. Morris was involved in the legislation for the formation of the Agricultural Security Law, and told an anecdote about Mrs. Morris, whom he described as a force to be reckoned with. Mr. Philips said she convinced Arnold Bartschi to donate the 10 acre property that became the Great Valley Nature Center. Mr. Rodgers moved to approve Resolution #757-2011 commending Eleanor Morris for her lifelong commitment to open space preservation, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Exeter Final Land Development Plan

Mr. Thompson stated that he received a letter this afternoon from the applicant’s attorney, Denise Yarnoff, Esq. proposing an extension of the deadline for the Board’s decision to November 15, 2011 in order to give her additional time to work out some details of the financial security agreement. She requested this matter be tabled until the November 7, 2011 meeting.

Mr. Philips moved to accept the decision deadline extension to November 15, 2011 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Deerfield Home Construction Issues

Deerfield residents Greg Joyce and Charles Sanbe were present to explain their concerns with issues in their development, including landscaping, fencing, stormwater basin appearance and problems many have experienced with the construction of the homes themselves.

Mr. Joyce asked when the Township expected to accept dedication of the roads in Deerfield. Mr. Kohli said there were road dedication issues still outstanding, and that he outlined them in a letter he sent today to the Board along with other items related to the completion of the development such as landscaping, closeout of the NPDES permit, Valley Hill Road improvements and as-built requirements. Mr. Kohli explained, and Mr. Thompson concurred, that problems encountered by individual homeowners with respect to their homes or home sites are issues that must be resolved between them and Pulte Homes.

Mr. Joyce asked if the Deerfield HOA can review the information on outstanding items, and the Board said they can obtain copies of these documents from the Township Office. Mr. Willig asked what remains to be done on the roads and stormwater system, and Mr. Kohli said Pulte has said everything is completed, but he needs a letter certifying this from their engineer along with the Conservation District’s sign-off after they inspect the basins. Mr. Philips asked about the landscaping, and Mr. Kohli referred to deficiencies listed in Mr. Theurkauf’s review letter dated 9/16/11 which he included in his letter. Mr. Piliero asked who’s responsible for the bank along Valley Hill Road, and Mr. Kohli said Pulte. He said he’s informed the HOA and their landscaper that this is their responsibility to maintain. Mr. Sanbe said the trees are a disgrace. He added that some homes had 30 inches of water in their basements after the most recent rains. Mr. Kohli said an as-built plan for each home was required before a final Use & Occupancy Permit was issued. Providing the as-built plan was a condition of temporary occupancy, and he has these available for review. He said if Pulte performed any grading changes following the issuance of the final permit, his office wouldn’t be aware of it.

Mr. Joyce said while the basins handle the water within 48 hours, water runoff hits the curbs and runs down driveways. This has created holes in the landscaping along the curbs. Mr. Kohli said the curbs haven’t been inspected or accepted yet, and when they are, as-builts must be provided.

Mr. Willig asked if the homes have sump pumps. Mr. Sanbe said they all do, but during the rain there were periods with no power.

Mr. Sanbe asked about the condition of the fencing along the Turnpike. Mr. Kohli said fencing was not required by the subdivision approval. Mr. Willig asked if Pulte installed it, and Mr. Kohli said they may have added sections. Mr. Kuhn said he thought fencing was a condition of the original subdivision approval.

Mr. Willig asked Mr. Kohli if members of the HOA ever accompanied him on-site inspections, and he said no, although notice was provided. Mr. Willig suggested that when Pulte requests an inspection, they be asked to contact the HOA and inform them.

The Board’s recommendation to Mr. Sanbe and Mr. Joyce was to obtain copies of the punch lists discussed this evening, review them and notify the Township of any items they think should be added. Mr. Kohli also suggested that individual homeowners copy the Township in any correspondence they have with Pulte on individual home matters.

Mrs. DeWilde asked who maintains the fence and cuts the area around the historic Pyle home on the site. Mr. Philips said this is owned and maintained by the HOA. Mr. Kohli said he’s working with the HOA, who originally misunderstood their maintenance responsibilities, believing the meadow was to be left alone even though some maintenance is necessary. Mr. Kuhn said it can be cut less often, perhaps twice a year, unless it develops thistle. Mrs. DeWilde said there is thistle there.

J. Loew & Associates offer of parcels in the Commons @ Great Valley development

Mrs. Csete said that Tim Townes of J. Loew and Associates approached Planning Commission member Michael Allen some months ago with an offer to the Township to obtain title, free of charge, to two parcels of land that are orphan parcels left over from the Commons subdivision off of Route 29 and Warner Road. Mr. Allen had expressed an interest as these pieces could someday become part of the Township’s trail system.

Mr. Philips was concerned over maintaining these small areas. Mr. Kuhn suggested Mrs. Csete contact J. Loew & Associates to ask if they would be willing to continue maintenance of these parcels since they would still benefit by reducing their tax liability. If they are agreeable to this, the Board will consider it further at the November 7th meeting.

Appoint Tax Collector

Mr. Kuhn said he hasn’t contacted anyone yet about the Tax collector position since he needs more information on what that person’s responsibilities are since the Township has a contract with a tax agency. Mr. Thompson said in some townships there’s a formal agreement between the elected tax collector and the tax agency stating that all authority has been delegated to the agency. Mr. Kuhn asked what happens if there is no agreement. Mr. Thompson said someone could petition the court claiming they were due compensation, or cause other dilemmas. Mr. Kuhn said he’ll contact a few people about the position, and the matter will be discussed further at the November 7th meeting.

Open Bids for Road Salt

The following bids for 700 tons of road salt were opened and read aloud:

Cargill Salt: $62.00/ton FOB plant; $63.96 delivered
International Salt: $72.00/ton FOB Plant; $72.39 delivered
Oceanport Industries: $60.00/ton FOB plant; $61.75 delivered

The bid documents were turned over to Mr. Kohli for review and recommendation.

Open Brightside Septic System Bids – Brightside Farm

The following bids for replacement of the septic system at the Brightside Farm were opened and read aloud:

Aqua Wastewater: $20,884.00
Ronald Smith Inc.: $40,065.00
Cedar Springs Construction: $38,800.00

Mr. Kuhn moved to award the bid to Aqua Wastewater conditioned on Mr. Kohli’s recommendation and to ratify the award at the November 7th meeting. Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

The bid documents were turned over to Mr. Kohli for review and recommendation.

Request stop sign study for Merlin Road and Pikeland Road intersection

Mr. Willig said he received a call from a resident about two weeks ago with a request to consider a 4-way stop at the intersection of Pikeland and Merlin Roads. He asked if the Board would like to request a study from PennDOT to determine if a 4-way stop is warranted.

Mr. Rodgers moved to direct the Township Manager to request a stop sign study for Pikeland and Merlin Roads and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

CCATO Convention Nov. 10th

Mrs. Csete asked if any of the Supervisors were planning to attend the annual Chester County Association of Township Officials convention on November 10th, 2011 so she can register them for the event. Mr. Kuhn, Mr. Philips and Mr. Rodgers indicated they will attend.

Schedule Budget Work Session

A public meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, November 1, 2011, 7:00 p.m. at the Township Office, 4030 Whitehorse Road, Devault, PA, to review and finalize the draft of the 2011 budget.

Schedule Hearing for Zoning Ordinance Amendment to Stream Valley Restrictions and Wetland and Riparian Forest Buffers

Mrs. Csete said the Planning Commission reviewed and recommended these proposed amendments prepared by Tom Comitta that would make the ordinance consistent with the County, DEP and Valley Creek Watershed Plan.

Mr. Kuhn moved to schedule the hearing for December 5, 2011, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 North Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Schedule Agricultural Security Area Hearing

Mrs. Csete said that a review letter had been sent by the County Planning Commission, recommending adoption of the proposed ASA map after taking a few comments into consideration. First, they recommended an update of the property owner listing as some changes had occurred. Second, they suggested confirming that the Swiss Pines parcels are permitted by their easement agreement with the French & Pickering Creeks Trust to have agricultural uses. She said she has since confirmed this with Pam Brown. Last, they noted that one parcel, the former Campbell parcel on Howell Road, has been subdivided into five residential parcels and may no longer be eligible. She’ll look into this before having the ASA Map revised as needed.

Mr. Philips moved to schedule the hearing for December 5, 2011, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 North Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Other Business

Spring Oak

Mr. Rodgers referred to the letter dated 9/27/11 from the consulting engineers for East Whiteland Township stating that they don’t have sufficient hydraulic capacity for Spring Oak. The Board asked Mr. Kohli to let them know what effect this will have on the proposed project.

Grange Building

Mr. Kuhn said he heard from Polly Hagen that the State wants an appraisal done on the Grange building before it can be transferred to Township ownership. He offered for the Township to seek the appraisal and pay for it. He said the appraisal is a requirement from the State but having it done won’t affect the selling price.

Mr. Philips moved to authorize the appraisal of the Grange Building for a cost up to $1,000.00 and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Markley Property Permits

Mr. Rodgers moved to waive the building permit fee for the Charlestown Historical Society’s roof replacement on the Markley barn with the understanding they still have to file the permit application form, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Willig called for discussion.

Mr. Martin said he’ll bring this matter up with the Society at their board meeting later this week, and arrange for a CHS member to meet Mr. Merklinger on site to walk through the buildings with him to determine if any other permits will be needed. Mr. Willig called the vote, and all were in favor.


Mr. Willig adjourned the meeting at 9:00 p.m. and announced that the Board would hold an executive session immediately following to discuss legal matters. The budget meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 1, 2011, 7:00 p.m. at the Township Office. The next business meeting is scheduled for Monday, November 7, 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, 10/3/2011