Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors Business Meeting
Minutes of October 5, 2020

The first business meeting for October was held on October 5, 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., Daniel T. Wright, P.E., and Rich O’Brien.
Linda Csete, Manager, Beth Martin, Assistant Secretary, Tim Hubbard, Public Safety & Property Coordinator and Lisa Gardner, Recording Secretary. , Mike Allen, Staff Planner, and Jim Thompson were absent.
Lou Rubenfield, Naresh Voota, Chris Lawrence, Gary Sheridan, Andy Motel, Dave Renschler, Doug Gable, Keith Maurer, Pete Goodman, Sharyn Gallagher, and several others.

Call to Order:

7:00 p.m.


There was an executive session before the meeting to discuss legal matters.

Two easement donations took place last week. Conservation easements were placed on the McLean and Merriwether properties with the French & Pickering Creeks Trust, a combined total of 11.6 acres.

Citizens Forum –

no matters were brought forward.


Mr. Kuhn moved to approve:

  1. Minutes for the Sept. 1, 2020, Business Meeting
  2. The September 2020 Treasurer’s Report
  3. The Operating Fund Accounts Payable Report for October 5, 2020.
  4. The Capital Fund - Open Space Projects Payable Report for October 5, 2020.

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


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

Old Business

Use of Charlestown Park for Current Groups

At the last meeting, it was determined that the leagues could proceed with modified schedules that made accommodations for COVID. Tonight Mr. Lawrence, Chairperson of the Park and Recreation Board, provided a favorable status report for Supervisors. The infection data has remained flat, with only one instance of a club infraction. The PASC immediately addressed the situation with the visiting team, executive director to executive director. A reminder was also sent out to reinforce compliance with league rules. Travel teams also have volunteers assigned to help enforce compliance. There were no issues this weekend. The Supervisors and Mr. Lawrence thanked the teams for their continued diligence.

Spring Oak Resident Complaints

Mr. Wright reported that continued cooperation from Devault Foods is improving the noise level from the plant.

  1. Mr. William Thornton of Thornton Acoustics, Vibrations, and Noise Control, identified 4 stacks as the loudest parts of the plant and suggested velocity frequency drivers to lessen the sound. The drivers were purchased and installed this month. There is not enough data yet, but after a site visit, Mr. Thornton was optimistic. He suggested stack silencers too, and they will be ordered.
  2. The trash contractor responsible for emptying the dumpster will be terminated if they perform their duties after hours. The employees have been warned to only use the dumpsters during designated hours.

The two above actions, per Mr. Wright, can rescind the Notice of Violation, and then the plant and Township can continue to find ways to improve not only the noise but also the light and odors coming from the plant. If they lapse back into non-compliance then they will receive another violation.

Mr. Voota has agreed to continue hosting the sound monitor since the contract has been extended another 6 months. He said there are still 2 lights creating a problem and Mr. Wright will visit.

Mr. Rubenfield still does not have the requested filter maintenance schedule. He continues to point out to the Township that it has been 10 months and the plant is still not in compliance. He stated that the residents are not happy with Devault Foods or the Township. However, Mr. Piliero reminded him that procedures must be followed, many issues have been addressed, and the Township will continue to push hard on old issues and act quickly on anything new.

Mr. Kuhn reminded Mr. Rubenfield that the plant has been there for about 70 years, will never be “invisible”, and residents had to sign a declaration that they knew the plant was there when they purchased the homes.

Improvements that eliminated or replaced noisy plant processes have been addressed, lighting has been shielded and adjusted, trucks moved, and filters added, at the plant’s cost, to come closer to compliance. Mr. Wright is looking for further improvement in compliance in November.

New Business

Extension to Noise Monitoring Agreement with Thornton Acoustics

Mr. Wright discussed extending the noise monitoring contract with Thornton Acoustics for 6 months more of monitoring sound levels from Devault Foods to the neighboring Spring Oak development.

Mr. Kuhn moved to accept the proposal from Thornton Acoustics for an additional 6 months of noise monitoring of Devault Foods for $18,240 and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Haly Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan

Mr. David Rentschler of JMR Engineering LLC presented a subdivision plan to adjust lot lines on Mr. Haly’s three FR tax parcels on Dickson Drive (35-4-46, 35-4-46.14, and 35-4-46.15) totaling 6.5 acres.

Mr. Rentschler stated that the existing non-conforming lots from 1978 zoning requirements needed 50,000 sq. ft. lot areas and the current revisions will expand the two smaller lots and therefore be more compliant under current zoning. Lot #2 will no longer be a flag lot. Waivers for 403c, 404, and 405 will be requested since there will be no new home construction. A pool will be demolished and a pool house will receive an addition.

He will comply with the final consultant recommendation for tree protection fencing and protection of all vegetation within 50 feet of construction. Mr. Wright assured Supervisors that access was good using Dickson Drive. Mr. Thompson emphasized the need to comply with all building codes and regulations.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve the Haly Subdivision Plan dated 8/10/20 subject to the consultants’ review comments, and Mr. Thompson’s recommendation. Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Permit Issues – Generators

Mrs. Csete said that questions have arisen regarding the zoning ordinance and the influx of applications for the installation of generators. The current guidelines on the website need clarification since:

  1. They state generators must be installed 21 feet from the property line to fall under the maximum allowable decibel level of 55 dB.
  2. Generators are not permitted in the front yard as an accessory structure.
  3. A section of the ordinance exempts emergency operations from the noise requirements.

In Charlestown Township, many townhouses have their electric and gas service in the front yard. End units could install generators in the backyard. However, interior units would have no option and would be surrounded by the noise of neighbor’s generators. Discussion continued regarding what the differences are between a portable vs. standby generator.

Mr. Rich O’Brien, of Keystone Municipal Services, questioned the first and second requirement, stating that the noise restrictions are exempt for emergency uses, and a generator isn’t a structure. Therefore, one could argue that the restriction from front yards shouldn’t be enforced. Mrs. Csete asked for a discussion and clarification of what the requirements should be going forward.

Mr. Philips suggested that small portable generators be considered emergency equipment, but not standby (permanent whole house) generators and the other board members agreed to this distinction.

Next steps:

  1. Mr. Piliero wants HOA guidance to see what could be tolerated.
  2. Mr. Wright is to get a feel for the community.
  3. Mr. Wright will talk with PECO about the secondary switch they offered for Spring Oak, which would lessen the demand for generators in that community.
  4. Mr. O’Brien will deny any standby generator permit applications that don’t meet the present guidelines.
  5. Mrs. Bednar wants the communities to approach the Board with a unified request.
  6. Mr. O’Brien will contact any homeowner with an installed generator and no permit.
  7. Mr. O’Brien will return with a draft of an amended section of the ordinance for the Board to consider.
  8. The Board agreed that no portable generator needed a permit, although if it will have a transfer switch, that installation does require an electrical permit.

Appointment – Assistant Township Secretary

Mrs. Csete said that Ms. Beth Martin has been working as a temp through the Randstad Agency as Assistant Township Secretary since May and is doing exemplary work. She strongly recommended that Ms. Martin be hired directly from the Township for this position now that the transition fee is at the contracted minimum level.

Mr. Philips moved to appoint Ms. Martin as Assistant Township Secretary to be directly hired by the Township and for the Manager to initiate the transition per the contract with Randstad. Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and then the vote. All were in favor.

Great Valley Nature Center

Mr. Thompson gave the background for the proposed resolution #212-971. The French & Pickering Trust will take over the property from Phoenixville Federal for $190,000. Then, once a clean and clear title is obtained the Township intends to purchase the property from the French & Pickering Trust for $400,000. The Trust will use the money to cover the $190,000 and then renovate the property for office use under a long term lease agreement with the Township. Mr. Kuhn attended the walk-thru along with Mr. Wilson from the Trust, a bank rep, and Mr. Gallant from J.D. Bravo. The next step is providing the bank with a formal letter of commitment which is Mr. Thompson’s proposed resolution.

Mr. Kuhn moved to approve Resolution #212-971 to send a letter of intent to Phoenixville Federal confirming the Township’s provision of funds for the second half of the transaction to bring the Great Valley Nature Center back to an operational facility, although not as a nature center. It will house the offices of the Trust. Mr. Piliero seconded, called for discussion, and then the vote. All were in favor.

2021 Budget Matters and Scheduling of Work Session

Mrs. Csete asked the Board to schedule the Budget Work Session for review of the draft 2021 Budget. An email will be sent out for responses. It will be via remote/Webex.

Mrs. Csete stated she circulated an updated long-term plan to the Board last week as a baseline for recommended projects and asked for any input prior to the budget meeting.


Mr. Piliero adjourned the meeting at 8:12 p.m. The next Board of Supervisors Meeting is scheduled for an evening the week of October 19th for the budget work session via Webex, with the date to be determined and advertised, and the next business meeting for November 2nd at 7:00 p.m. via Webex.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa K. Gardner
Recording Secretary