Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of March 2, 2015

The first business meeting for March was held March 2, 2015 at the Great Valley Middle School, 255 N. Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA Room 154.


Supervisors: Frank A. Piliero, Chairman, Michael J. Rodgers, Vice Chairman, Kevin R. Kuhn, and Hugh D. Willig. Charles A. Philips was absent.
Consultants: Mark P. Thompson, Esq., Daniel Wright, P.E. and Edward Theurkauf
Staff: Linda Csete, Manager, Tim Hubbard, Property & Safety Coordinator, Jim Thompson, Roadmaster, and Lisa Gardner, Recording Secretary.
Public: See attached sign-in sheet

Call to Order:

7:30 p.m.


Mrs. Csete made the following announcements:

An Executive Session was held following the February 24, 2015 meeting at the Township Office to discuss legal matters.

Copies of the 2014 Annual Report and Winter Newsletter are available this evening.

Citizens Forum

Mrs. Barbara DeWilde commended Mrs. Csete for an excellent Annual Report. She also proposed a meeting with interested parties regarding the Brightside Trail.


February 23, 2015 Business Meeting Minutes

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the minutes for the February 23, 2015 Business Meeting and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Treasurer’s Report February 1- 28, 2015

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the February 2015 Treasurer’s Report and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Accounts Payable Reports for Operating Fund for March 2, 2015

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the General Fund Accounts Payable Report for March 2, 2015 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Accounts Payable Reports for the Liquid Fuels Fund for March 2, 2015

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Liquid Fuels Fund Accounts Payable Report for March 2, 2015 and Mr. Rodgers seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Accounts Payable Report for Open Space Fund for March 2, 2015

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve the Open Space Fund Accounts Payable Report for March 2, 2015 and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Mr. Rodgers moved to accept the February 2015 reports #1-14 as submitted and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor

Old Business

There was none.

New Business

Update on Bond Refinance

Mr. Michael Wolf, of Boenning & Scattergood, Inc., provided an update on the refinancing of bonds from the 2010 Series. The selected bonds have been sold, and in addition, Standard & Poor’s has given an “AA” rating to the Township. This is a step up from the “AA-“ assigned in the past, thus increasing the number of potential buyers.

Mr. Wolf provided a handout called Addendum to the Bond Purchase Agreement and discussed several charts. He briefly described how being on a Cash Basis vs. an Accrual Basis, plus meeting the parameters/limits set in November of 2014, made this bond refinance a long process. The Township will save $608,000 over the life of the issue (6.4%), with a total gross savings of almost a million dollars. Next year more bonds can be sold. For now, this is all that can be refinanced.

Village at Spring Oak – Rezoning Request for McIntyre Parcel

Mr. Mostoller was not present to request rezoning the McIntyre tract adjacent to the Fillippo Residential tract to TND2.

Moore Building Permit

Mr. Wright referred to a situation arising from a remodel inspection, for Gerry Moore, at his Pickering Dam Road property. The sink was determined to be noncompliant following its installation, which was 3 inches closer to the toilet than permitted. It is not a safety issue, plus the homeowners have a compliant bathroom already. Mr. Thompson suggested referral to the UCC Board of Appeals, although this is usually used for interpretations of the code, not violations. Mr. Kuhn visited the site and said it was a very minor issue, and asked Mr. Thompson and Mr. Wright if they could allow the zoning officer to proceed using his own discretion. Mr. Thompson said that the zoning officer could issue the U & O if he was satisfied.

Brightside Trail Options

Mr. Edward Theurkauf updated his previous recommendations for trail routes and surfaces for the Brightside Farm trail improvements planned for 2015. Since the last discussion at the December 1, 2014 meeting, he had created 2 revisions.

Trail Concept #1

Trail Concept #2

Mr. Kuhn wanted perimeter visibility with respect to the Wismer-Rapp House, and liked the paved trail close to the garden. Mr. Willig suggested not paving the entire way, since it wasn’t necessary.

Alix Coleman told Supervisors that gardeners pull right up to the gardens, and work from their cars. She did not feel the parking lot would be used by gardeners. Mr. Theurkauf said the parking area was large enough for 4 equestrian trailers, plus 2 handicap spaces, and 18 regular spots. Size could be adjusted or he could flip the gardens with the parking, or leave room for another garden, or enlarge the garden. Current estimated cost of a crushed gravel surface, with only the handicapped spaces paved, was about $15,000. Mr. Charles Buck added that parking would be wonderful; sometimes there are 12 cars near the gardens. But, he would also like to pull right up to the garden. He mentioned that the paved path may bring more “disappearances” of prized specimens from the garden. Mr. Willig said in many cases more eyes lead to less trouble, and may actually decrease any disappearances.

Ms. Coleman also mentioned the unimproved trail crossing the bog, and wash outs in the area. Mr. Wright told the Board that any kind of structure to cross the wetland would require a DEP permit. Mr. Theurkauf added that he had many approved strategies and would find the most appropriate spot to cross.

The pros and cons of different surfaces for the trail were discussed, asphalt having the broadest usage but highest initial cost. Crushed stone was less expensive, and could be used by equestrians, but had higher maintenance costs. He did not feel crushed rubber was an option. Ms. Coleman told Supervisors the significant history of one of the Farm’s unpaved paths, and she did not want it paved, but preserved and marked.

Mr. Piliero asked Mr. Theurkauf to meet with all interested trail parties and return with a recommendation after taking into consideration:

  1. The sensitivity of the Charlestown Historical Society’s Headquarters at the Wismer-Rapp House
  2. The environmental, swale/stormwater, wetland protection issues
  3. The Horse-Shoe Trail
  4. Parking Location
  5. Trail surface

Lastly, Mr. Buck was told the driveway at Brightside Farm would probably be repaired at the same time as the parking lot was installed.

Charlestown Park Improvements – Schematic

Mr. Bob Dettore of J.D. Bravo Company and Mr. Theurkauf gave Supervisors an update for the improvements at Charlestown Park, which include proposed new pavilions, parking, and a restroom. The schematic is a result of several meetings with a task force including Kevin Kuhn, Chris Lawrence, Tim Hubbard and Linda Csete. He is seeking a consensus on the schematic plan so a Final Plan can be produced for consideration of approval at the April 6, 2015 meeting.

Mr. Dettore said the pavilions are now beyond the schematic phase and new construction documents are 20% finished. Although a report is forthcoming, there were questions/topics he posed to Supervisors:

  1. Hours of Operation – within 30 days he needs to know what the hours are, or if they have changed from dawn to dusk.
  2. Lighting – types of lighting, such as pedestrian, street, area or task, etc. In the past clubs have mentioned field lights.
  3. Cooperative Use Agreement – is this still in effect with Valley Forge University?
  4. Preliminary specifications of Pavilion – alternate pricing for components within or outside of the scope of the contract.

He has not heard back from Schuylkill zoning officer or zoning administrator since the last meeting. He reminded them that this project was a regional asset for the four local municipalities, and also laid out the challenges he was facing. He is also waiting to hear back from Mrs. Yocum-Garcia; she was going to contact the Schuylkill Township solicitor.

Also, due to the weather, the bid date has been pushed back a month, but pavilions will be done by the time it gets cold next winter.

Supervisors agreed that the conduits and wires needed to be pulled for lighting for all safety and code considerations, especially for parking lots and pavilions. Mr. Detorre explained that even if the park is closed at dusk, there still will be lighting needed for clean-up crews, etc. Mr. Willig said the clubs have not yet responded to lighting questions.

Mr. Thompson asked Mr. Detorre if he had any recent discussions with the University. Mr. Detorre said they wanted to know where their property line was and he will forward a survey report. Mr. Detorre asked if the Township and the University are still using the Cooperative Use Agreement. Mr. Willig asked him to find out and to be sure he knew before 75% of the construction documents were completed. Mr. Hubbard will give him a contact at the University.

Preparation for Deerfield Dedication

Mr. Theurkauf and Mr. Wright reported on a meeting held February 10th with Deerfield representatives. The following items were discussed in preparation for the Board’s acceptance of the Deed of Dedication. If the following items are acceptable, the offers of dedication and request for release of the performance bond would be placed on the May 4th agenda.

  1. Landscaping – Mr. Theurkauf reported many of the plantings along streets and buffer zones did not survive. The HOA and Pulte agreed that Pulte will complete the tree replacements outlined in his memo (dated February 10th, 2015) as follows: 18 street trees, 22 buffer shade trees, 10 buffer evergreen trees, and 5 buffer understory trees. Pulte will also remove dead trees. There have already been several field changes with regard to the trees in the buffer areas and the resulting trees in the buffer area will be consistent with the buffer requirement. The street trees identified as deficient in the memorandum will be replaced. Since this tree replacement by Pulte is at the end of the maintenance period, once trees are installed and inspected by the Township, Pulte will be released from any further obligation with regard to the landscaping. Pulte and the HOA will coordinate on whether the landscaper can provide a warranty directly to the HOA. It is likely that the landscaping can be completed at the beginning of April.

    Next Action: Since the replacements deviate from the original plan, the Board needs to sign off on the change.

  2. Roads and Stormwater Management Facilities – Roads and stormwater management facilities have been completed and punch list items satisfied. The roads in the community are ready to be offered for dedication to the Township.

    Next Action: The offer of dedication would be presented to the Board once landscaping items are complete.

  3. Mr. Piliero mentioned the Open Space along Valley Hill is looking poorly. Mr. Theurkauf blamed invasive vegetation problems, and said the HOA was not responding to his recommendations.

Charlestown Oaks Storm Sewer Update

Mr. Wright reported to the Board that 400 feet of sub-surface piping, in five different areas, is rotting out. Initial testing showed excessive corrosion, not just on the pipe bottom, but around the entire interior. More specimens installed during Phase 1 and 2 are undergoing testing, and a report will follow. Since these are private roads, the Township has no financial obligation.

Charlestown Hunt Road Update

Mr. von Hoyer, Vice Chairman of the Planning Commission, spoke on behalf of the residents after a site visit. He reported to Mr. Wright and the Board that there is a straight subsidence in two roads, at three spots, about 2 to 3 inches deep and 2 feet wide. Mr. Wright will inspect Charlestown Hunt Drive and Windy Hollow Road and report back to Supervisors.

Request for Removal of Lien – Deerfield

Mrs. Csete said she received a letter from the County Tax Claim Bureau dated February 17th, 2015 asking for the Township’s consent in removing the tax lien on the Deerfield Community Association from 2009 in the amount of $59.85 due to its status as uncollectable. It represents open space not conveyed timely from the developer to the HOA.

Mr. Kuhn moved to exonerate the tax lien on parcel #35-3-394, and Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Left Turn Signal for Valley Hill Road and Route 401 (Conestoga Road)

Mr. Wright provided an update on investigating the costs with Traffic Planning & Design for adding a left turn signal for Valley Hill Road and Route 401. It was determined to be warranted by PennDOT in November 2014. However, adding a middle lane/widening proposes a significant cost ($750,000) to the Township due to topography and the need to move PECO owned poles. To move forward, PennDOT would like to see the Township draft a more detailed plan and obtain political support, plus find funding (CCPC or DVRPC) to prove a commitment to the project. Mr. Kuhn asked if this intersection was identified in the Act 209 review.

Mr. Wright’s next step will be informal information gathering:

  1. Contact Thomas Comitta Associates Inc.
  2. Contact Andy Heinrich at Heinrich & Klein Associates
  3. Contact the specific rep at PennDOT for this type of project
  4. Provide an update to the Board

Volpi Subdivision

Mr. Wright indicated that the subdivision plan he’s preparing for the Volpi property will require a delineation of either the Waters of the Commonwealth or wetlands, or both. He used a highlighted map to present two options to the Board.

Option #1 – The Board could grant approval to engage Scott Salvatore at Clemmys Environmental Services LLC to perform this work.

Option #2 – Advanced GeoServices would follow through on this project by digitalizing the map used tonight, and use it for the Final Subdivision Plan. A note on the Plan would state the reminder for the future owner to verify the waters, especially since it needs to be done every 5 years.

Mr. Piliero and Mr. Kuhn liked Option #2, and all were in agreement.

Investment Options for Open Space Funds

Mrs. Csete said she’d met with representatives of First Resource Bank in Exton regarding their CDARS investment program, which places CDs issued by other banks in increments below the FDIC insurance maximum so both principal and interest are protected. Interest rates are very competitive, far exceeding what is currently offered by PLGIT where the funds are now held. Mr. Piliero will follow up with the bank.

Preliminary Discussion on 2015 Road Improvement Projects

Mr. Wright provided a handout for the breakdown of yearly Roadway Improvement Projects for Comparison. The Roadmaster and Mr. Wright already had several roads in mind for improvements in 2015. The area of bituminous overlay is 17,984 square yards, which is less than recent years.

Buckwalter Road is the most expensive and involves 4 crosspipes.
Mary Hill Road
Pine Drive
Howell Road being the most complicated

Mr. Wright will return to the next meeting with preliminary estimates and measurements. Mr. Wright will also consult with Traffic Planning & Design for their input. Mr. Thompson said he needed some nice days for patching. Mr. von Hoyer asked him to call PennDOT regarding a missing end cap along Route 29, the Roadmaster said he actually had to call due to a few end caps missing.

Pickering Crossing Escrow Release Request #16

Mr. Rodgers moved to approve Escrow Release #16 for Pickering Crossing, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Other Business

Sycamore Lane – Removal of Sycamore Trees

Mrs. Csete said she had a request for an update on removing the dead trees on Sycamore Lane. Last June, Davey Tree Service provided a quote for $8,660 to cut 16 dead trees at the base, haul the wood away, and clean the canopies of remaining trees (3-5 trees) with dangerous limbs.

Mr. Thompson is to research if the Township owns this ground or has right of way, or if the homeowner is responsible up to the curb.

Whitehorse Estates

Mrs. Csete asked Mr. Thompson if she should distribute the Final Plans and he will confirm.


Mr. Piliero adjourned the meeting at 9:30 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 12, 2015, 6:00 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154, 255 North Phoenixville Pike, in Malvern, PA.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa K. Gardner
Recording Secretary
sheet, 3/2/2015