MALVERN, PA 9:00 a.m.
SATURDAY, April 1, 2017


Frank A. Piliero, Chairman, Charles A. Philips, Vice Chairman, Kevin R. Kuhn, Michael J. Rodgers, and Charles A. Philips. Hugh D. Willig was absent.
Planning Commission:
Bill Westhafer, Chairman, Michael Allen, Michael Churchill, Wendy Leland, Andy Motel, and Andre von Hoyer. Michael Richter was absent.
Mark P. Thompson, Esq.
Linda Csete, Township Manager and Lisa Gardner, Recording Secretary
There was no public in attendance.

Call to Order:

9:10 a.m.


Design Review Committee

Spring Oak

An update on the progress at Spring Oak was given and the process for reviewing and approving permits was discussed. Phase 3 has been approved and is moving forward.

Pickering Crossing

No issues were discussed.

Devault Village at Spring Oak

This developer is being asked for a plan that includes a pattern book like that used for Pickering Crossing. Mr. Mosteller has been contacted and it’s now up to the applicant to respond and move forward.

General Warren Village

The PC had become concerned with parking limitations for PJ Whelihan’s. As a result, an ordinance to address restaurant parking for future projects is being researched.

Demographics Table

Mrs. Csete distributed this information provided by Ed Theurkauf as part of the Phoenixville Regional Planning Commission comprehensive plan update for review to Members.


Whitehorse Estates/Altemose

This developer wants to move forward and hopes to start this spring. They have contacted Mr. Thompson for the financial and SLDO agreements, since they have obtained all their permits. The public water request has been approved, and the septic is on site.


Per Mr. Thompson the Commonwealth Court appeal is pending on the educational use. The nuisance decisions issued by Judge Michaels were appealed by Mr. Marshall to the Chester County Court of Common Pleas and they are proceeding to trial. These concern animals in the barn and a barking dog.

Mr. Piliero noted that he has informed Fox Rothschild LLP that there could be a potential conflict with them representing Mr. Marshall, as that firm, and Chris Poppin, has represented Mr. Piliero and still does.

Open Space

There are a few properties under consideration. Mr. Rodgers will contact one of the property owners.

Long Term Outlook

When done obtaining conservation easements on all the desired land available, and when the bond issue is repaid, the Board can consider eliminating a portion of the EIT. Charlestown Township is currently at 34%+ open space. This is slightly higher than Chester County’s percentage. Mr. Kuhn estimated a 40% total at finish. The economic aspect is great, having saved the Township the cost of a school. Plus, rough estimates suggest 750 single family homes were saved, or approximately 2700 acres.


  1. Continue to speak to Township land owners with open space,
  2. Mr. Rodgers asked, would it be possible to put an overlay for 10 acre lots in the farm residential district?
  3. An updated Open Space map will be requested from Mr. Comitta and distributed.

As for the County, the number of new housing starts in recent years was significantly higher than projected. However, the land use was much less, density being the key. Should we amend our Ordinance to include a density bonus for following the Township’s vision?

Status of Auctioned properties

Volpi Property
  1. Mr. Davison has lined the original driveway with stone.
  2. The exterior has been winterized.
  3. The interior is in good shape for its age.
  4. The barn may be rebuilt.
  5. The owner plans on using this property to be headquarters for his landscape business.
  6. Next step will be to replace the windows.
Jenkins Property

The Board is considering whether the timing is right to sell the property.


The Board made an offer to the group of sellers but there was no agreement a few years ago. Mrs. Leland was in favor of using this for a future office location and election site.

Comprehensive Plan Update

The Township’s comprehensive plan update will be part of the Phoenixville Regional update.

Devault Rails-To-Trails-How to Involve the County

Mr. Churchill stated the County is in negotiations with Norfolk Southern Railway. There has been no real activity yet, nor does Devault seem to be a top priority for the County. There is no County funding involved, and Devault is not in the County’s package. There is an endorsement letter circulating, but right now Mr. Churchill is trying to get everyone on the same page. His objective has been to get the staff to move it to a higher priority.

The Charlestown Township Board may be willing to contribute funds, however no one knows Norfolk Southern’s figure. Mr. Churchill will contact Mr. Thomas to be sure the County staff knows how important this is to Charlestown Township. The next Board Agenda will discuss the wording of a letter Mrs. Csete is to send to Chester County, regarding the partial financing. Open Space funds would be used. Preliminary engineering said the bridge is in good shape from a liability standpoint.


Plans and timelines for Township-Owned Portion of Volpi Tract on Phoenixville Pike

Action on the land along Phoenixville Pike, south of Davison’s property is not anticipated soon.

Intent for Township Owned Property in Devault (“Township Yard”) on Whitehorse Road-

This may be 20 years in the future.

Ordinances in Need of Review/Modification/New Ordinances for Consideration

Recycling vs Plastic Bags and Construction Waste

Mr. Allen wants to eliminate carry out plastic bags in Charlestown Township’s retail zoning district. Mrs. Csete stated that initial research showed the Township cannot exceed the stringency of the State regulations. Mr. Thompson will research this.

There are currently reasonable places available for builders to take construction material for recycling.

The Parking Ordinance is nearing completion.
Alternative Energy Ordinance

The Ordinance has been completed and will be advertised for a hearing before the supervisors in June.

Conditional Use Standards

The Zoning Ordinance was discussed, vs development of criteria and Conditional Uses. The PC will be reviewing Mr. Gary Bender’s points from the February 8, 2014 Take-Away list for Conditional Uses.

From the Take-Away List dated February 8, 2014: Mr. Bender reminded Members that if there is any doubt due to discrepancies in definitions or meanings, these and any restrictions, will favor the property owner. Therefore the PC needs explicit Standards and Criteria.

Sustainable Practices (Water Conservation, Invasive Plants, Electronic Filing)

Discussion followed regarding the points below and enforcement.

  1. What do other townships have that Charlestown doesn’t
  2. What does the Board want the PC to focus on
    1. Make sure landscape plans prevent invasives
    2. Possible ban on new exterior sprinklers
    3. Roadside trash
    4. Un-enforceable parts of ordinances

The website and newsletter will be used to ask residents to keep their roadside property clean. Adopt a Highway will be promoted. Mr. Hubbard will be asked by Mrs. Csete to contact the Dept. of Corrections to clean corridors like Route 29 and Coldstream Road. The article entitled CLEAN YOUR CORNER will be sent to Mr. Motel for a re-write and inclusion in the next newsletter. Recognition for residents will be put into the newsletter when they make a difference in the Township. The Roadmaster will pick up bags that residents can’t handle (ex. far away from their receptacles or too heavy).

Working Together: PC and BOS – Review of PC Work Product

Open Space Monitoring - Enforcement

Mr. Kuhn addressed the Open Space inspections by Mr. Theurkauf. He suggested spending an additional amount to cover enforcement. Mr. Thompson stated that this investment would be beneficial and a document for agreement of maintenance should be drafted. Mr. Theurkauf should provide a list of inspection points with enforcement instructions and contact information, etc., per location. Older developments would not need to be included. Mr. Thompson will provide a template for the Open Space Maintenance draft. This enforcement will also encompass the basins since they are now a part of HOA responsibilities. The Board will need to discuss what they expect from these inspections in more detail with Mr. Theurkauf.

Consultant Contract Renewals

Mr. von Hoyer stated that the PC has no opportunity to provide consultant feedback. Therefore, Mr. Piliero stated in October or November, the Board will expect any comments before re-appointment time. He reminded everyone to send important or timely comments immediately. This feedback will also give the consultants a better understanding of what the Township desires and help them set priorities.


Attending each other’s meetings is helpful but Mr. Thompson reminded Members not to engage each other in discussions of Township business when a quorum is present outside of a public meeting of the Board of Supervisors.

Don’t forget to visit the Park and Recreation Board Meetings (this includes Trails). The Park and Rec Board is taking over more of the responsibility for Brightside Farm. Mr. Lawrence was highly praised for the amount of work and time he has given to the Township.

Police Coverage

Members recognize there is increasing pressure to provide more services. There is currently a proposal in PA legislation that suggests a $25 per person charge for PA State Police coverage. For Charlestown Township the cost estimate is $180,000. Members do not want a municipal police force.

New Municipal Office

ADA Compliance

Some Members felt it was a Township duty to provide an ADA accessible building. Other Members were in favor of inquiring about the installation of an elevator and small office in an unused area to the back of the building. Long term ideas were to build a new building or buy the Grange. Rent is currently only $690. Mrs. Csete will discuss alternatives with the landlord. Mr. Thompson will research a legal ruling on ADA compliance necessity and liabilities.

Mr. von Hoyer thought it would be easier to review documents if they were available electronically. Members agreed, especially for the plan rolls and maps.

Executive Session

There will be an executive session immediately following to discuss legal and real estate matters.


There being no further business, Mr. Piliero adjourned the meeting at 12:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner
Recording Secretary