Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of February 4, 2013

The first business meeting for February was held February 4, 2013 at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA.


Supervisors: Frank A. Piliero, Chairman, Kevin R. Kuhn, Charles A. Philips and Hugh D. Willig. Michael J. Rodgers, Vice Chairman, arrived at 7:35.
Consultants: Surender Kohli, P.E., Dan Wright, P.E., Mark P. Thompson, Esq.
Staff: Linda Csete, Manager, Jim Thompson, Roadmaster, Tim Hubbard, Fire Marshal, Lisa Gardner, Recording Secretary
Public: See attached sign-in sheet

Call to Order:

7:31 p.m.


Mrs. Csete made the following announcements.

  1. We were excited to learn that Charlestown won the First Place Award for its website by the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors (PSATS). Our website was judged on the usefulness of information presented and how well it was communicated. It was also judged on its overall attractiveness and readability. We congratulate Allen Underkofler who manages the site for us.
  2. The Roadmaster, Jim Thompson and I attended a meeting at the East Whiteland Township building on January 25th along with representatives from Traffic Planning & Design and PECO to discuss the coordination of the traffic signals to be replaced along the Route 29 corridor. The signals will communicate through an Ethernet connection to a signal system server at PennDOT headquarters, and both East Whiteland and Charlestown Township will have access to the system. PennDOT will be able to alter the timing during emergencies and both townships will be alerted before any changes are made.
  3. The SLDO Waiver Request for Bob Kelly of 2151 Bodine Road has been removed from tonight’s agenda as requested by Mr. Kelly.

Citizens’ Forum

Paul Gluchanicz told the Supervisors that water is flowing down and across Charlestown Road in front of his house. It is causing cars to go off the road in the freezing weather. Mr. Thompson will coordinate with PennDOT to correct this problem.


January 7, 2013 Reorganization Meeting Minutes

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of the January 7, 2013 Reorganization Meeting and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for further discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

January 7, 2013 Business Meeting Minutes

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the minutes of the January 7, 2013 Business Meeting and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for further discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report January 1 – 31, 2013

Mr. Philips moved to approve the January 2013 Treasurer’s Report and Mr. Rogers seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report February 4, 2013 Operating Fund

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the February 4, 2013 General Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote, and all were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report February 4, 2013 Open Space Fund

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the February 4, 2013 Open Space Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote, all were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report February 4, 2013 Liquid Fuels Fund

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the February 4, 2013 Liquid Fuels Fund Accounts Payable Report and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote, all were in favor.


Mr. Philips moved to accept the January 2013 reports #1-14 as submitted, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Piliero called for further discussion, and there being none called the vote. All were in favor.


Charlestown Township Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails Plan

Mr. Thompson opened the hearing and the proceedings were taken by Mark Hagerty Court Reporter. The following was entered into the record by Mr. Thompson:

T-1 Public Notice of Hearing
T-2 Letter dated January 18, 2013 by Mark Thompson Esq. to the Daily Local News requesting a public notice be published & Proof of Publication.

The following was entered into the record by Mr. Comitta:

T-3 Letter dated December 12, 2012 by the Chester County Planning Commission
T-4 Letter dated January 3, 2013 by West Whiteland Township to Thomas Comitta
T-5 Email dated January 4, 2013 by John Pittock to Thomas Comitta
T-6 Letter dated December 17, 2012 by Elizabeth H. Lankenau of the Phoenixville Regional Planning Committee/KSK Architects Planners Historians, Inc. to Mrs. Csete
T-7 Minutes of Trails Committee (Strategic Planning Update: Parks & Rec) dated January 10, 2013 and notes dated January 15, 2013 from the Charlestown Township Planning Commission Meeting.
T-8 Revision dated February 4, 2013 of the Charlestown Township Parks, Recreation, Open Space & Trails Plan

Mr. Comitta explained that the Plan is an amendment to the Township’s Comprehensive Plan, and in order to consider it for adoption the Supervisors must hold a formal hearing seeking comments from the public. He distributed a packet containing items T-3 through T-8 then presented the Plan. He described how T-8 differed from November 2012’s edition. He also handed Mrs. Csete Appendix A, a Resolution for Adoption of the Plan. Mr. Comitta said there was no requirement to send the Plan back for review to the County even if changes occurred tonight.

Public comments were sought by Mr. Piliero. The following individuals came forward:

  1. Ellen Behrle thanked all who worked on the Plan since it will greatly benefit the community.
  2. John Pittock asked Supervisors if there were more funds or plans for Brightside Farm, other than what was shown in this Plan. Mr. Kuhn said no.

Mr. Thompson stated no substantial changes had been made. The hearing was then closed. Mr. Philips moved to adopt the Plan and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor. The Resolution of Adoption is identified as 801-2013.

Mr. Kuhn asked other Supervisors if they had received a letter dated January 29, 2013 from Andrew E. Dinniman, Pennsylvania State Senator. This information regarding a grant will be forwarded to JD Bravo.

Whitehorse Estates Conditional Use Application

Mr. Fronefield Crawford Esq., counsel, Mrs. Carol Altemose and Lance Altemose were present. The proceedings were taken by Mark Hagerty, Court Reporter.

Mr. Thompson entered the following into the record for the Applicant:

A-11 Notification of Property Owners previously sent to him by Mr. Crawford

Mr. Crawford entered the following into the record for the Applicant:

A-12 undated item entitled Statement of Lance Altemose in Support of Request for Public Water Service.

Mr. Comitta entered the following into the record:

PC-1 Memorandum dated October 3, 2012 by Daniel B. Mallach to Charlestown Township Planning Commission (red text highlighting additions)
PC-2 Suggested Conditions Statements dated February 4, 2013 by Thomas Comitta to the Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors for Whitehorse Estates
PC-3 Map dated October 24, 2012 entitled Conditional Use Recommendations (for landscape purposes)

Considerable discussion followed clarifying to Mr. Crawford that A-12 was a separate issue not to be included in the discussion or decisions made by Supervisors at this hearing. Mr. Rodgers moved to continue the Hearing until March 4, 2013 for the Whitehorse Estates Conditional Use Plan. Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Old Business

Re-Appointment – Zoning Hearing Board Alternate

Mrs. Csete addressed the Members regarding an appointment not completed at the 2013 Reorganization Meeting.

Mr. Willig moved to adopt Resolution #802-2013 re-appointing Michael Dixon as the alternate to the Zoning Hearing Board for a three year term ending 12/31/15. Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there was none. All were in favor.

Charlestown Park Improvements – Proposal for Construction Management Services – JD Bravo

Mrs. Csete explained that the Board should ratify the approval of the JD Bravo proposal given at the January 7th meeting because it was later discovered that the proposal they had reviewed was not the most recent one (for a total not to exceed $29,750). She also thanked Mr. Jones for his time spent researching records needed by JD Bravo.

Mr. Kuhn made a motion to accept the proposal dated December 13, 2012 from JD Bravo for Construction Management services for improvements at Charlestown Park. Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there was none. All were in favor.

New Business

Options for Refunding the Bond Issue in 2013 – Boenning & Scattergood, Inc.

Mr. Michael Wolf of Boenning & Scattergood, Inc. began by presenting an option for refunding the 2010 bond issue with a handout entitled Refunding Update – Series 2012. In light of more favorable interest rates in recent months and the lowest rates in 47 years he proposed a strategy for Supervisors to maximize their savings. He will return for the next meeting and advise them of the next step. He foresees the need for adoption of a Parameters Debt Ordinance and Bond Purchase Agreement. Mr. Rodgers moved to authorize Mr. Thompson to advertise the ordinance, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there was none. All were in favor. Mr. Wolf will work with the Township’s Bond Counsel, Tim O’Neil, on this issue.

Proposal for Energy Efficient Home Construction Process - Paul Matsiras

Mr. Paul Matsiras of 104 Beaufort Court presented a proposal to construct an environmentally friendly and energy self-sufficient 4,100 square foot home on his two acre lot located on Sidley Hill Road, next to the PA Turnpike. The radio waves and noise generated by the location, and its towers, led Mr. Matsiras to a design that overcomes these issues. However, he has taken the idea farther by enlisting assistance to design a totally self-sufficient home where utilities like PECO and Verizon can showcase their most recent technological advancements.

He previously emailed Mrs. Csete, Planning Commission Members, Mr. Wright, and the Supervisors on January 14, 2013, providing some diagrams and details in design. It would be built using shipping containers as architectural building blocks since they easily meet and even exceed most building codes. Mr. Philips asked if they are the containers used for shipping overseas. Mr. Matsiras said no, even though externally, stucco, bricks, or stone, would be added to provide an aesthetically pleasing home. The containers would be located internally and provide the basic structural part of the house.

Mr. Matsiras said the proposed home would include an educational value. Discussions are taking place with the Great Valley School District about pre-arranged visits of small student groups with their teachers. His email referenced this traffic, stating no traffic shall be generated by the visits greater than normally expected in a residential neighborhood. Any need for parking generated by the visits shall meet the off-street parking requirements of Charlestown Township.

Comments were as follows. Mr. Kolhi said to submit plans in respect to the current Uniform Construction Code Regulations. Mr. Anthony Merklinger, in a letter dated January 24, 2013 to Mr. Kohli, asked for a full architectural/engineering compliance study.

Mr. Gary Sheridan, President of the East Whiteland Volunteer Fire Association asked that Mr. Matsiras keep in communication with him and local responders, especially during the preplanning stages. Mr. Matsiras finished by telling Supervisors he hoped to partner with Charlestown Township in this endeavor. Mr. Piliero, in closing, reminded him to work closely with Mr. Wright and Mr. Kohli.

Zoning Hearing Board Application Overview – Paul K. Marshall, 2226 Charlestown Road

Mr. Greg Davis Esq. introduced Neal Camens of Chester Valley Engineers. They were there to request a formal discussion to gauge the attitude of the Board regarding a Use Variance for Paul Marshall. They provided 2 drawings, one with some of the parking changes discussed in the Township Engineer’s letter dated January 30, 2013. Mr. Camens told the Supervisors that they do not want to build anything, including more impervious parking area, to keep the site historically accurate. Signage would only be near the mailbox, with the farm’s name, Half Hill Farm. It is an unusual commercial for-profit venture in a FR district. Mr. Marshall has combined the three parcels he purchased into one and put it into a Natural Lands Trust Conservation Easement.

Mr. Davis stated that they had already filed for a Hearing with the Zoning Hearing Board. Mr. Philips agreed that this was a Zoning Hearing issue. Mr. Thompson said there are two ways the applicant can approach their request for a change. They can petition the Board of Supervisors to change the zoning to allow this use, or go through the Zoning Hearing Board to request a variance, which is the option the applicant chose.

Mr. Marshall told the Supervisors that the “Reservation Only”, limited seating (1 or 2 a night), farm-to-table restaurant in the existing barn, would be closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Brunch would be served from approximately 11am to 2pm on Sundays and from Wednesday through Saturday there would only be 1 or 2 dinner time seatings. The largest amount of people he plans to have in-house at one time would be 32, but usually 24. Parties would arrive at the same reserved time and stay for 2-3 hours so there would not be a lot of movement in the parking area. There would be no lighting changes and no dumpsters. Deliveries may be every other day, but the farm-to-table aspect should keep the amount needed relatively low compared to a typical restaurant. Mr. Davis agreed to operation without a liquor license if such condition was required for approval.

Mr. Marshal continued to explain that during the day, the educational aspect of teaching local children about sustainability and farming would take place. Mr. Piliero noted how this project began as a simple teaching tool and had expanded into a restaurant. He also said the shared driveway could pose problems.

Mr. Cam Cloeter asked if he could address the Board. As a neighbor of Mr. Marshall’s, he is not happy with the idea of living next to this venture. He recently purchased his house, partly for its remote serenity and security inherent to the area. He verified the zoning before the purchase and stated he would not have bought this home if he knew a restaurant may end up next door.

Mr. Kuhn told the Applicants that typically a Variance is used for a hardship, and they do not have one. Mr. Davis stated that this is just a different road for a project that doesn’t adversely affect a neighbor; agreeing it is not a usual Variance type of request. He also said that they are willing to operate under conditions that are set for them. Mr. Piliero stated Mr. Marshall, although an avid community supporter, may not always be there, leaving an approved restaurant, with an open and uncertain future under new ownership. Mr. Kuhn stated he didn’t like “spot zoning” plus the ingress and egress is bad.

Comments continued with Mr. Jones saying that allowing this would be in accordance with the Township attitude to promote CSA’s. Ellen Behrle read from a prepared statement supporting Mr. Marshall for a project in good taste, when some projects that would be allowed under the current zoning may not be so nice. A gentleman who only identified himself as a friend of the Marshalls said this project was a good way to preserve land, a farm it as it originally was meant to be, would provide revenue to the owner, and keep a developer from buying it.

Mr. Piliero told the audience it was not the Board’s decision. Mr. Davis wanted to hear the opinion of the Board. Mr. Piliero did not want to oppose the entire approval. Mr. Philips spoke in favor of sustainable conditions like the number of allowable occupants.

Mr. Philips asked Mr. Thompson what would happen if a new owner took over the property with a stipulation reverting it to the original zoning. Mr. Thompson said it would not be an enforceable situation. Mr. Kuhn asked about a new owner obtaining a liquor license, and Mr. Thompson advised that the Township would have no jurisdiction over this. Mr. Davis reminded the Board that although they had agreed to operate without liquor, the Board would have full control if they would amend the ordinance, and all conditions could carry over to next owner.

Mr. Kuhn moved to send Mr. Thompson to the Hearing to oppose the approval. Mr. Rogers seconded. Mr. Piliero was opposed to this motion, as were Mr. Philips and Mr. Willig. Therefore two were in favor and three opposed. Mr. Piliero stated his main issue was the shared driveway.

Mr. Piliero made a motion for Mr. Thompson to be sent to the Hearing to see what the reactions are of the Zoning Hearing Board members. Mr. Thompson will consider some conditions to be discussed at the public hearing, and be present to observe, monitor, and provide counsel to the Supervisors. He will not be there in opposition to approval. Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Resolution to Add Andersen Parcels to Agricultural Security Area

Mrs. Csete stated that on July 17, 2012 the Township received an application from Bill and Elizabeth Andersen requesting that their two parcels totaling 32.4 acres, tax parcel #35-2-27 and 35-2-12, be added to the Township’s existing Agricultural Security Area. The land is suitable for inclusion. The Supervisors took Mrs. Csete’s suggestion to opt against initiating the formal hearing process for the application and instead took a second option permitted under the Act. This option is to wait 180 days before adding the property to the ASA map.

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve Resolution #803-2013 adopting and approving a modification to the Agricultural Security Area to include Parcels #35-2-27 and 35-2-12 owned by William and Elizabeth Andersen, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

2013 Road Improvement Projects

Mr. Wright said he and Roadmaster Jim Thompson reviewed and visited the sites of various roads to be considered for improvement this year. He distributed a document dated February 4, 2013, entitled the Charlestown Township Roadway Improvement Project Comparison. Supportive maps showing the road segments to be improved in 2013 were also distributed. The roads suggested for 2013 were Tinker Hill Lane, Yellow Springs Road, Buckwalter Road, Marian Road, Tyrone Road, and Glenview Road.

The Supervisors complimented Mr. Wright and the Roadmaster on the work done in 2012. Mr. Wright said after getting caught up this year, they should be able to provide a five year plan. Mr. Philips commented that this will help at budgeting time.

Mrs. Csete mentioned the possibility of going through PennBid or a similar on-line bidding portal as a way to not only save some time and money but likely elicit more responses. Mr. Wright said PennBid may provide thousands of responses, but perhaps a more local portal, available through his office was the way to go for a more manageable number of bids from local contractors. Mr. Kuhn said a letter should be sent to recent contractors announcing the bid.

Mr. Wright will work with Mrs. Csete in the same way as last year and use the local portal.

Authorize Advertisement of Bids for Road Equipment & Labor Contract 4/1/13 – 3/31/14

Mr. Philips moved to authorize Mrs. Csete to advertise the Road Equipment and Labor Bid invitation for opening bids at the March 4, 2013 meeting, and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Warner Lane Railroad Crossing

Mrs. Csete said she had re-contacted the PUC about the removal of the Warner Lane Railroad Crossing, since she had not received approval paperwork. The PUC offered a second less expensive option in an email, dated January 28, 2013, of installing signage indicating the crossing is exempt. The removal poses many concerns, such as who is the responsible party for actual physical removal, who bears the cost, and conditions for removal. She asked the Board for input on which option they would like to pursue.

The PUC suggested if the Township wants to pursue either option, there should be another meeting to address concerns the railroad may have. The Board indicated their preference to install signage. Mr. Philips offered to accompany Mrs. Csete to a meeting with the PUC. Mrs. Csete will arrange the meeting.


Mr. Piliero adjourned the meeting at 11:05 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 4, 2013, 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 North Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner
Recording Secretary
sheet, 02/04/2013