MALVERN, PA 9:00 a.m.
SATURDAY, March 23, 2019


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

Call to Order:

9:00 a.m.

2018 in Review

The changes to the wording of Conditional Uses is progressing but slowly. Objectifying Conditional Uses is a large time commitment for the PC. Recently, Mr. Wright, Mr. Comitta, and a few Supervisors have been looking at the criteria and updating it with more objective wording. After approval of the changes, some specific Uses will be reviewed when necessary.

Mr. Thompson may be in attendance at certain PC meetings where this topic will be discussed or Mrs. Csete can be a conduit for distributing the information between the Supervisors, Solicitor, Mr. Comitta, and the PC.

PRPC Update

PC Members want to be clearer about what can be legally challenged in light of the Regional Plan, and the structure and layer of protection it offers. Mr. Willig stated the PRPC is revising the implementation agreement as well as the Plan itself. Next month’s meeting will include taking comments. A final draft will be prepared for review in the fall. The next meeting is March 27.

The EAC is addressing important issues and not duplicating efforts of the consultants. More importantly, it is impressive to see how many more residents are getting involved.


A new municipal office, per Mr. Kuhn, is not a priority. Finding a location would be the next move, but a Devault location is likely. Brightside Farmhouse would not be a viable solution. Many properties are being considered, but there are no impending steps to be taken.

The selection of a Township Traffic Engineer was suggested by Mrs. Csete. The first duty of the new appointee would likely be a review of Act 209.

Open Space Updates

The Davis and Thompson properties are ongoing projects. The Beam property just finished settlement.

Swiss Pines

The mansion at Swiss Pines is not owned by the Township and is currently under the control of trustees. The mansion is in disrepair and needs stabilization, but the trustees want to demolish it. The house is on the historic register. Trustees have a very large amount of work to do. The next goal is to open the trails. Mr. Kuhn has talked with them and offered Township assistance to the extent possible. Today’s attendees thanked Mr. Kuhn for all the work he has done in acquiring Open Space for Charlestown Township by securing easements that last into perpetuity

Great Valley Nature Center

The Center is zoned FR and the property is in Steep Slopes. There will be an article in the next Newsletter, updating residents about the status of this property.

Easement Negotiations in Progress

Any open space is of interest for the Township. Discussion followed regarding easements vs. Conditional Uses. Mr. Richter reminded Members of his stance to protect property but leave Conditional Uses so that residents can make a living from them. If the Uses are too strict, it can be difficult to keep the homes in good repair, from generation to generation. There was discussion about a scale for large properties, that could be established for FR’s (for example, over 50 acres). Mrs. Csete said 37% of the land in Charlestown is Open Space.

Specific Projects & Concerns

  1. The Harman Run project currently has four condos that has not met minimum lot size regulations. All four owners and the declarant of the condo association received letters this week from the Township.
  2. The Zoning Hearing Board approved the Stables Bar property for restaurant use. The new owner does not have any improvements planned. It will be a BYOB.
  3. The latest idea from the owner of the Maplecroft Dairy was to rezone, demolish most of the buildings, remove the equipment yard, then install an indoor playing field. The next step is for him to return to the PC and present his idea of what is involved. It is in an FR zone with non-conforming use issues and it lies partially in Schuylkill Township. The Applicant has been made aware of the long-term concerns of the PC.
  4. Mr. Thompson reviewed the Noise Ordinance relative to Turnpike Sound Barriers. The Turnpike widening project is approximately 3-4 years out. Contact by the Turnpike Commission should be soon. The EAC is involved. However, the area does not meet the Turnpike’s minimum for density standards. Mr. Thompson reminded Members that not only topography needs to be considered. A sound study would be necessary that cannot include theoretical rooftops.
  5. Mrs. Csete polled other Townships to see if they require electronic submission. She suggested amending the Ordinance to require electronic submissions since the Township is moving toward electronic plan storage. This further supports a move to scanning capability at the Township Office. Meetings would require A.V. equipment, and the use of a Drop Box or similar cloud system by Applicants. Mr. Thompson and Mrs. Csete will work together to draft the amendment.
  6. Mrs. Csete suggested entrance signs for Charlestown that match the Park signage. In addition, historical signs would be appropriate for the village. Members felt that at least the major gateways should be marked with the logo. There will also be a “Leaving Charlestown Township” sign near Atwater. Mr. Dettore will be contacted for cost and design.

    PC Members want the Charlestown Park sign moved at Charlestown Road and Coldstream Road. Mrs. Csete has contacted PennDOT many times and they do not come out to look at it.
  7. Mr. Allen asked what the next step was for Devault Village at Spring Oak. Mr. Thompson stated that the attorney needs to get all the agreements together for the next Board presentation. They are not looking for Final Approval since they are trying to sell it. Mrs. Bednar said there is a need for more access roads for residents. Although, another one is planned, it is not imminent.
  8. The flooding that occurred on March 22, 2019 was identified as a PennDOT problem Therefore, the Township was not able to respond to the multiple phone calls from angry motorists, with more than an acknowledgment. There was a sink hole, a pipe collapse, and in addition, many utilities running under the ground. There is also some confusion about it being on Norfolk Southern property, and a PennDOT pipe running under a Turnpike area. Mr. Wright will send a letter to PennDOT, and copy the School District, the HOA at Pickering Crossing, the Turnpike, and Traffic Planning Design (the Township highway consultant for the Pickering Crossing development). Mrs. Csete and Mr. Piliero will also draft a letter to local reps.
  9. Mr. Kuhn discussed indoor riding arenas.

Action Items & Next Steps

  1. Mrs. Csete will be a conduit for distributing the information between the Supervisors, Solicitor, Mr. Comitta, and the PC. Otherwise, Mr. Thompson may be asked to attend certain PC meetings.
  2. The Township will begin the selection process for a Township Traffic Engineer.
  3. The Township needs to prepare for the impact of the Turnpike widening.
  4. Mr. Thompson and Mrs. Csete will work together to draft the Electronic Submission Amendment.
  5. Mrs. Csete will arrange for cloud based document access via DropBox Business or similar service.
  6. Mrs. Csete will contact Devault Foods owners to set up meeting to negotiate 3 year lease for office rental.
  7. Mr. Dettore will be contacted for cost and design of Charlestown logo entrance (and one exit) signage.
  8. Mrs. Csete will contact PennDOT again for approval to move the park directional sign at Charlestown and Coldstream Roads.
  9. Mr. Wright will send a letter to PennDOT about the flood at Charlestown Road and Route 29. He is to copy the School District, the HOA at Pickering Crossing, the Turnpike, and Traffic Planning Design (the Township highway consultant for the Pickering Crossing development).
  10. Mrs. Csete and Mr. Piliero will draft a letter to local reps about the flood at Charlestown Road and Route 29.
  11. Mrs. Csete will contact the Middle School to request Wi-Fi access during meetings.
  12. Mrs. Csete will contact Middle School to see what AV equipment is available during meetings.


There being no further business, Mr. Piliero adjourned the meeting at 1p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Gardner
Recording Secretary