Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of May 4, 2020

The first business meeting for May was held on May 4, 2020, via remote dial-in/log-in via WebEx due to the ongoing coronavirus situation.


Frank A. Piliero, Chairman, Charles A. Philips, Vice Chairman, Susan T. Bednar, Kevin R. Kuhn, and Hugh D. Willig.
Mark P. Thompson, Esq., James E. McErlane, Esq., and Daniel T. Wright, P.E.
Linda Csete, Manager, Tim Hubbard, Public Safety & Property Coordinator, and Lisa Gardner, Recording Secretary. Mike Allen, Staff Planner, and Jim Thompson, Roadmaster, were absent.
Lou Rubenfield, Manickvachagam Muruganandham, Lorraine Fillippo, Naresh Voota, Doug Gable, Mike Keffer, P.E., and several others.

Call to Order:

7:11 p.m.


Mrs. Csete announced that the Board of Supervisors held an executive session on April 21st at 2 pm and before tonight’s meeting at 6:30 pm to discuss legal matters.

Mrs. Csete announced that on April 28th, the Township refinance $7,440,000 of municipal bonds achieving a gross savings of $264,855 over the life of the issue, which retains its original maturity date in 2030. This represents 3.28% of the refunded principal. At the point of the sale on April 28th, Charlestown had the lowest interest rates in PA and achieved all the parameters of the Supervisor’s ordinance passed on March 2nd.

Citizens Forum

No matters were brought forward.


Mr. Philips moved to approve:

  1. Minutes for the April 6, 2020, Business Meeting
  2. The April 2020 Treasurer’s Report
  3. The Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report for May 4, 2020.
  4. The Capital Fund - Open Space Projects Payable Report for May 4, 2020.

Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.


Mr. Kuhn moved to accept April 2020 reports #1-16 as submitted and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Old Business

Spring Oak Resident’s Complaints

Mr. Wright had provided an emailed spreadsheet update today.

Mr. Rubenfield discussed a Spring Oak meeting that centered around the first April update. He said the study validated the resident’s complaints and stated that within this past week, 3 nights of trucks reversing and trash dumpster noise could be heard.

  1. He asked, will the Township be installing permanent monitors? Mr. Wright replied that the Township acoustical engineer is submitting a proposal to perform long term monitoring.

    Mr. Rubenfield acknowledged that Devault Foods planted a landscape screen consisting of 12’ high “Little Giant Arborvitae” trees between Ms. Fillippo’s house and the plant today. However, lighting problems have seen little improvement.

  2. He asked what immediate improvements will be made for the residents bordering the plant? Mr. Wright responded that the trees will be a great help in the next 1 or 2 years. He received lighting photos today that he will bring to his next meeting with the Director of Engineering & Facilities for Devault, Mr. Strunk. In addition, he will be visiting the site tonight.

    Mr. Rubenfield discussed the May 1st installation of charcoal filters and said he had not noticed any odors lately.

  3. What was the maintenance plan or schedule for the filtering system? Did the Township have the plan and intend to verify its compliance? Mr. Wright will get the schedule from Mr. Strunk when he meets with him.

    Ms. Fillippo stated that there is no change in traffic even with State Police monitoring and the importance is higher now since many families are walking outside. The nighttime engine revving is much better. The noise issue is from the 30-40 lighted trailers running in the rear (an increase from ≈5 unlighted trailers). Trees are properly spaced and she will let Mr. Wright know if they help. Mr. Wright will discuss the traffic with Mr. Strunk.

  4. Mr. Voota asked if the sound study would be made public and Mr. Wright gave him directions to fill out a Right to Know Request.
  5. A gentleman asked if there would be stringent violations coming for the noise ordinance violations that have not stopped? Mr. Wright again referred to the update that was circulated today. It explained the Township Noise Violation letter on April 22, 2020, to Devault Foods requiring, within 30 days, a clear action plan and schedule to address the noise issue (4/19/2020). If this did not help, then yes more citations would follow.

    Mr. Kuhn reminded residents that this ≈50-year commercial operation has been there before Spring Oak, and it will not be leaving. If the noise is from refrigerated trailers the noise might not stop, but perhaps it could move farther from the residents. Mr. Philips added that if the trailers are under the threshold then the noise can continue. Ms. Bednar reminded Supervisors that in a prior meeting Devault had agreed to move the trailers to the other side of the building. This has not been done. Although the trailers used to back up against a corporate center, the increase in production has brought them closer to residents.

  6. Ms. Bednar asked Mr. Wright to focus on the trailer layout and its lighting.
  7. Mr. Muruganandham asked Mr. Wright if he contacted any other health or governmental agencies due to the data on the sound study. Mr. Wright did not see any data that required this level of action.

New Business

Devault Foods Extension

The Township was asked to extend the deadline for the Final Plan submission for the expansion of Devault Foods. The engineer said they needed more time due to the NPDES permit process.

In 2005 the Preliminary Plan was approved and now the time for a final submission or further annual extension has approached. On June 3rd the Final Plan would need to be submitted and Devault is not ready for this step in the 17-year process. If not granted a further extension, Devault would need to submit the plan prior to the deadline or begin the entire process over.

Mr. Keffer stated the delay was due to the changeover to a new product. He stated with the proposed expansion of the building the community will see:

  1. The end of exterior refrigerated trailer activity and noise outside the building due to the addition of a refrigerated warehouse.
  2. The plant exterior lighting improved.
  3. The road access for the plant improved.

The next step is to obtain the NPDES permit and he requested 6 more months. He offered to present the project to the Board and Planning Commission at June’s meeting, minus this conservation aspect.

Ms. Bednar questioned the validity of a Plan that was approved that long ago. Mr. Rubenfield stated his concern since there are about 200-300 homes adjacent to the plant now instead of cornfields.

Mr. Thompson reminded everyone that the extension through 6/3/20, which allows them to file under the 2005 ordinance requirements, is a right and that the Board is not approving a Plan tonight, it is managing the timing, for Final Plan approval. The Preliminary Plan is already approved. Many voiced concerns that Devault could expand and it was suggested residents could review the Preliminary Plan at the Township office. Devault has the legal right to expand within the permitted building envelope as determined by the township ordinances. However, the Final Plan could be denied if it is too far from the originally approved Preliminary Plan.

Mr. Wright offered pros to the expansion or Final Plan approval. The current extension requires an Environmental Impact Assessment, and this one will be very thorough. He has discussed this pending report with Mr. Strunk and it will be completed by the engineering firm under 2020 stipulations even though this is a 15-year-old project.

The residents stated that JP Orleans never told them the plant would be expanding or that there was a Preliminary Plan that was already approved by the Township before the development began.

Mr. Philips moved to approve the extension for the NPDES portion of the Final Plan for a period of six months but to deny the 1 year extension request for filing the final plan itself. Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. Mr. Kuhn, Mr. Piliero, and Mr. Philips were in favor, Ms. Bednar and Mr. Willig were opposed. Therefore, three were in favor, and two were opposed and the motion carried.

Resolution extending tax deadline to December 31, 2020

Mr. Thompson discussed the background for the Real Estate Tax change deadline in response to the coronovirus pandemic. The Board has the option to extend the due date for 2020 taxes to 12/31/2020 before the 10% penalty phase would begin. The current deadline is 5/31/20.

Ms. Bednar moved to adopt Resolution #964-20 extending the May 31, 2020, face amount deadline for 2020 real estate taxes to December 31, 2020, to support residents who may be enduring financial hardship caused by the pandemic and its restrictions. Mr. Kuhn seconded and Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Stormwater Management Agreement – 315 Buckwalter Road

Mr. Wright explained that the Township requires projects over a certain size to enter into a stormwater management agreement with the Township, and the Horstmanns’ addition project falls into this category. Mr. Wright confirmed that they have responded with updates to their plan that properly address his previous SWM comments.

Mr. Philips moved to approve the stormwater management agreement for John and Deborah Horstmann at 315 Buckwalter Road, and Ms. Bednar seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Open Bids for 2020 Road Improvement Project

Mrs. Csete opened the following bids for the 2020 Road Improvement Project:

Charlestown Paving & Excavating Inc. $139,273.40
Advanced Pavement Group (previously Dan Malloy Paving) $117,010.80
Innovative Construction Services Inc. $119,849.65

Mr. Wright will review the bids and provide a recommendation for the contract award scheduled for the June 1, 2020 Board of Supervisors meeting. These prices do not include the cost of materials.

Resolution to Set Fee for Solicitation Permit

Mrs. Csete requested that the Board set the fee for solicitation permits for $25.00 each as permitted by resolution according to the Code of Ordinances. The current fee of $5.00 has been in place since 1969 and doesn’t cover administrative costs associated with processing individuals seeking approval. She added that the ordinance itself should be amended to require background checks.

Mr. Kuhn moved to adopt resolution #965-2020 setting the fee for solicitation permits at $25.00, and Ms. Bednar seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Escrow Release Request – 23 Eastwick Drive #2 - Final

Mr. Wright said that Eastwick Drive improvements have been completed and inspected and is ready for the final escrow release. Mr. Philips moved to approve Escrow Release #2 for the Eastwick Drive improvements Mr. Piliero seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Resolution to Amend Budget

Mrs. Csete provided details on the spreadsheet she previously circulated dated 4/26/19, proposing amendments to the 2020 Budget. Adjustments were made to the carryover figures for the General Fund and Open Space Fund to reflect the actual year-end balances from 2019.

Revenues were reduced for the general fund in the categories of permitting and SLDO activity, and expenditures were increased, much of this due to the coronavirus pandemic. The reduced carryover for the General Fund is at 20%, still well within the 15-25% target range.

The carryover to 2020 for the Open Space fund increased $1.319M to reflect the year-end balance for 2019.

Mr. Kuhn moved to adopt Resolution #966-20 amending the 2020 Budget as proposed, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Other Business

Update on the Coronavirus

Fire Marshal/EOC Coordinator Mr. Tim Hubbard provided an update on the coronavirus. He stated the following:

In PA: There are just over 50,000 cases, 2458 deaths, and approximately 200,000 people that tested negative.

In Chester County: There are just over 1,600 cases, with 118 deaths. Mr. Philips questioned Mr. Hubbard and approximately 30 were within the PA Southeast Veterans Center in West Vincent, with close to half being in congregate care facilities such as the above and nursing homes.

The update for this area:


Mr. Piliero adjourned the meeting at 8:14 p.m. The next Board of Supervisors Meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 1, 2020, at 7:00 pm, location to be determined and advertised.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa K. Gardner
Recording Secretary