Charlestown Township, Chester County, PA

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Established June 2, 1997
by citizens for citizens


March 16, 1998

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Daily Local News
August 13, 1997
A beautiful part of southeastern Pennsylvania
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Archived Home Pages - March 1999

I have posted the Preliminary Agenda for the April 5 meeting of the Board of Supervisors. Note that when available, agendas are always linked from our Official Minutes page.
The Great Valley Nature Center has several announcements (from Ellen Behrle) -
  1. Wish for someone in the area who has a garage or barn to allow the nature center to use for storage. We couldn't pay rent but would gift them for the amount of equitable rent. Please call Ellen Behrle, Board Member,
  2. This year the nature center is celebrating it's 25th year. We will be celebrating in style at a dinner dance at the Valley Forge Hilton Hotel on June 12, 1999. Mark your calenders for that event.
  3. The nature center definitely needs some sprucing up. We are trying to get a committee of volunteers to help with this. This time of year with the fabulous weather we're having is a great time to be outdoors. If you can help in any way please call Ellen Behrle,
John Martin, former Township Supervisor and currently a member of the Charlestown Zoning Hearing Board, wrote a letter to the editor of the Daily Local News regarding misleading reporting of the Great Valley Chamber of Commerce slip ramp meetings. The paper published John's letter on Saturday's Opinion page of the paper. A copy of the letter is linked from our Letters to Officials page in the Slip Ramp Opposition Center.
Saturday's Daily Local News "Roses & Thorns" column gave thorns to developer Leon Altemose. Quoting from the paper -
Thorns to developer J. Leon Altemose for the cheap shot he took at Charlestown. Altemose responded to a U.S. District Court decision rejecting his claim that zoning that prevents him from building 865 apartments there is exclusionary by reiterating that the zoning is "being used to keep out minorities."
That's a serious, ugly charge, and a person making it has an obligation to show some real proof
Our apologies for being "off line" from 9:40 am to 2:20 pm today. Our service provider was the victim of a power failure in the neighborhood in which their Philadelphia hub is located and we and everyone else whose site and email are linked to that hub were out of business during that period.
(morning)  A resident of Trappe who works in Malvern and commutes through Charlestown is quite upset by the proposed slip ramp and its inevitable impact on our already crowded roads. His letter is posted on our Comments from Residents page in the Slip Ramp Opposition Center. It would be great if all of the residents of other townships who commute through Charlestown would write the state, county and turnpike officials listed in our Slip Ramp Opposition Center and express their opposition to the proposed ramp.
Both the Philadelphia Inquirer and the The Phoenix report on the US District Court's denial of the Altemose suit against the Township for not permitting the construction of a 1200 unit apartment complex sought for 58 acres on Whitehorse Road [see 33-D]. "Judge dismisses lawsuit over Charlestown zoning" by Susan Weidener is available from the Inquirer's web site by clicking here, and "Altemose loses another appeal" by Lou Costello is available from the Phoenix's site for today only by clicking here.
The latest issue of the Suburban Advertiser reports on last Friday's slip ramp forum conducted by the Great Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce. "Forum addresses turnpike exit ramp proposals" by Bryan G. Robinson is available from the paper's web site for the coming week by clicking here.
03/24/99 (afternoon)
This good news was just received from John Sauser, Chairman of the Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors.
I am pleased to announce that Charlestown Township has successfully defended against the suit filed in Federal District Court by J. Leon Altemose, et al. The eleven page decision handed down by Judge Bartle dismissed all claims of Altemose, granting victory to Charlestown. This has been a long and expensive legal battle and I hope that the Board of Supervisors is able to recover some reasonable portion of those costs.
Ellen Behrle's report on the March 9 meeting of the Planning Commission has been posted on the Neighborhood News page.
Today's Philadelphia Inquirer has a report by Adrienne Lu on tonight's first meeting of the "Power Through Participation" series of seminars sponsored by the Open Space Preservation Alliance. Click here to read the article from the paper's web site, and here for the official announcement of the series that we posted on March 20.
Sally Willig, head of the Citizens Opposed to the Slip Ramp, has written a letter to the editor of the Daily Local in response to the paper's article last Friday titled "Commuters say slip ramp is ´necessary'" By John Crawford. The letter is linked from our Letters to Officials page or you can click here to read it.
Ingrid M. Dahlquist, a resident of Charlestown Hunt, has written a letter protesting Realen's attempts to install a baby pool in exchange for abandoning plans to finish the nature trails. I have posted the letter with a link from our Neighborhood Issues page (see the link above in our page heading), and I welcome other letters on this and other subjects.
For some time, I have been saving copies of many of the newspaper articles linked from this web site, especially those from paper's other than the Philadelphia Inquirer, which allows internet access to articles for a long period after the date of publication. I have done this so I have my own collection of past articles from papers that do not provide an on-line archive of past articles. I don't want to get in the business of archiving newspaper articles for others, but if you are a Charlestown resident who has missed a previously linked article and really would like to read it, and it is no longer available from the web site, you may email me and see if I have a copy of the article. If I do, I'll email the article to you.
A number of people and organizations are claiming that the proposed slip ramp will reduce traffic in Charlestown Township. They could not be more wrong. In an attempt to visualize the change in traffic flows brought about by the slip ramp, I have created "before" and "after" diagrams depicting the traffic flow of many morning commuters whose destinations are center city Philadelphia or points east of King of Prussia. Many of these folks currently do not drive on our interior local roads, but pass through or around on Rt. 401, Rt. 29 or Rt. 23 on the way to their destinations. With the slip ramp operating, many if not most will opt to take the most direct route to the slip ramp, and that route will often be on our already crowded interior roads. In addition to adding to our existing traffic woes, the slip ramp will generate new turnpike traffic exiting at Exit 24 in the morning and entering at that exit in the evening, offsetting the "benefits" intended by the slip ramp. The diagrams and explanation are linked from the Be Informed page in our Slip Ramp Opposition Center, or you can go directly to the new page by clicking here. Your comments, pro and con, are welcome.
Today's Daily Local has a report on yesterday's meetings between the Turnpike Commission representatives and business owners and employees from the Great Valley Corporate Center. Some people expressed concern about what will happen to the already congested Rt. 29 while others thought the slip ramp would help alleviate traffic on Rt. 202 and make it easier for them to get to and from work. The article, "Commuters say slip ramp is 'necessary'", by John Crawford, is available on-line for today only from the paper's web site by clicking here.
The same issue of the Daily Local has an article by Dorothy von Gerbig titled "Township's zoning seen as Pa. model" reporting on a successful zoning model implemented in Wallace Township. The article is available from the paper's web site for today only by clicking here.
I encourage you to visit our Comments from Residents page in the Slip Ramp Opposition Center. We have posted several comments on a number of slip ramp issues recently.
We received late word of a course being taught at 7:00 pm on Tuesday March 23, April 27, May 4 and June 1 in Kimberton. Quoting from the announcement:
Each year our county loses thousands of acres to development. We believe that although development is inevitable, it also can be well thought out, planned, and we can do a much better job of it than we are now doing. This is a course in how to become active in this critical conversation and have your voice heard at the local level.
This looks like a great course, and we apologize for the short notice. Click here for a complete description of the course and how to register for it.
Today's Philadelphia Inquirer has an article titled "Forum set today on highway congestion" by Susan Weidener reporting on today's meetings between the Turnpike Commission and employees at the Great Valley Corporate Center and surrounding businesses. The article has several mentions of the need for a four-way interchange, rather than two-lane exchange as is now proposed. The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
The Letters to Officials page of our Slip Ramp Opposition Center has been updated with copies of the following letters -
  • J. Donald Reimenschneider, Township Manager, East Whiteland Township to James F. Malone, III, Chair, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
  • Schuylkill Township Board of Supervisors to James F. Malone, III, Chair, Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
  • State Senator James W. Gerlach to Bradley Mallory, Secretary, PennDOT.
  • Betty Stonorov, Director, Charlestown Play House, Inc. to Governor Ridge.
Linda Csete, Township Secretary, has sent me the current (1999) list of licensed waste haulers with a request to residents that you notify her if your waste hauler is not on the list. Linda will follow up to ensure compliance with Township regulations. Click here for details, which are also available from a permanent link on our General Info page.
Our power from PECO came back soon after 1:00 PM. We were running on our ups units and our generator a little over 13 hours, the longest span I can recall in the past several years.
Linda Csete, Township Secretary, reported at 9:15 this morning that tonight's meeting of the Board of Supervisors has been canceled. The next meeting will be Monday, April 5th.
We've been without PECO power since 11:55 PM Sunday and have been running via backup power units and a generator since then.
The weekend Philadelphia Inquirer reports on the upcoming sale and development of the Warner Company quarry located in Devault south of Yellow Springs Rd. and east of Route 29. "Offices may soon occupy 388-acre site of old mine", by Susan Weidener, is available from the paper's web site by clicking here.
Entries in the Logo design contest are due Monday.
The preliminary agenda for Monday's meeting of the Board of Supervisors has been revised.
The official minutes of the February 9 meeting of the Planning Commission have been posted.
Yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer had a brief news item on a "Commuters' Forum" to discuss the Rt. 29 slip ramp. Quoting from the article:
"Malvern forum to discuss Route 29-pike slip ramp
MALVERN - The public is invited to attend a commuters' forum next Friday to discuss the Pennsylvania Turnpike slip-ramp proposal for Route 29 and Phoenixville Pike.
The forum will take place in two one-hour lunchtime information sessions: noon to 1 p.m. and 1 to 2 p.m. at the Great Valley campus of the Pennsylvania State University on Swedesford Road off Route 202.
Sponsored by the Great Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce, the forum is designed to acquaint the business community with the slip- ramp proposal. Representatives from the state Turnpike Commission will discuss plans and answer questions. To register, call 610-889-2069."
It would seem especially appropriate if those who work at the Great Valley Corporate Center who live in or west of Charlestown Township and who have already expressed disapproval of the slip ramp because of its impact on traffic in the Charlestown Rd/Phoenixville Pike/Yellow Springs Rd/Rt 29 bottleneck attended this meeting and voiced their concerns.
I had a query yesterday regarding the Great Valley Nature Center. We have a link to their web site on our Neighborhood Links page (see left column menu), The GVNC site has a complete schedule of upcoming events as well as membership and general information about the Center.
Today's Daily Local has an article on the most recent census data reporting that in PA, Chester County was the second fastest growing county in raw numbers and the fourth fastest in percentage between 1990 and 1998. Titled "County population up 12% since '90", the article is available on-line from the paper's web site for today only by clicking here.
Today's The Phoenix features an article by Lou Costello on the six candidates who are running for the four supervisor positions in the May primary. Current supervisor chairman John Sauser, Kevin Kuhn and Michael Rodgers are running for the two six-year term positions. The Republican Committee is endorsing Kuhn and Rogers for these positions. Incumbent Bob Wert is unopposed for the four-year term slot. Hugh Willig and former supervisor John Martin are running for the two-year term position, with Willig receiving the party endorsement. The article, "No surprises in supervisors races", is available for today only from the paper's web site by clicking here.
If you spend much time in the Exton area, you may want to check out "Traffic troubles coming soon to a road near you" by Bryan G. Robinson in the Suburban Advertiser. The article lays out the planned changes to Rt. 100 and Rt. 30 in the greater Exton area over the next few years. The article is available through next Wednesday from the paper's web site by clicking here.
Congratulations to Charlestown's Lee Raden! (See our 03/06/99 entry below.) Lee has won four top awards at the Philadelphia Flower Show. The awards, as reported in yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer are:
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society Ribbon to the highest scoring blue ribbon entry of one variety in the Horticultural Classes on Saturday: Lee Morris Raden, Draba longisiliqua
The North American Rock Garden Society Delaware Valley Chapter Ribbons for the outstanding blue ribbon winner in:
Hardy Primula (Class 242): Lee Morris Raden, primula xLoiseleri "Lismore Yellow"
The North American Rock Garden Society Delaware Valley Chapter Ribbons for the outstanding blue ribbon winner in:
Hardy Primula (Class 242): Lee Morris Raden
Rock Garden in Bloom (Class 277): Lee Morris Raden, Draba longisliqua
The Delaware Valley Daffodil Society Ribbon for the outstanding blue ribbon winner in the Narcissus classes on Saturday: Lee Morris Raden, Narcissus bulbocodium "Tenuifolius"
The borough of Phoenixville has launch an official Phoenixville web site, hosted by the Phoenixville Area School District's web site. They are off to an ambitious start and you can check them out at
There are two articles in today's Philadelphia Inquirer regarding water management initiatives in the Delaware valley and we provide links to them -
  • Divvying up the water in river basin  -  Tougher limits affect new major wells in three suburban counties. by Mark Jaffe. Click here.
  • Water resource contract awarded  -  Commissioners approved nearly $500,000 for the state's first resource-management plan. by Nancy Petersen. Click here.
The preliminary agenda for next Monday's meeting of the Board of Supervisors has been posted.
Today's The Phoenix has an article by Lou Costello titled "Dire predictions made for Charlestown" reporting on last night's meeting of the Charlestown Township "Slip Ramp Committee". The article is available on-line from the paper's web site for today only by clicking here.
Letters keep coming in on the slip ramp issue and are posted on our slip ramp Comments from Residents page.
The March 4, 1999 Philadelphia Inquirer had an article in the "Northern Suburbs" section regarding proposed slip ramps at other points on the Turnpike. The article, "Whitpain goes slow on slip ramps" by Kate Campbell, is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here. The article is also listed on our slip ramp Newspaper Articles page in our Slip Ramp Opposition Center.
Charlestown resident and horticulturalist Lee Raden is featured in a large color photograph in the May 4 "Weekend" section of the Philadelphia Inquirer, and is mentioned in an accompanying article "During each show, several seasons of competition bloom" available from the paper's web site by clicking here.
I have posted more comments on our slip ramp Comments from Residents page, including one from a Royersford resident.
The mysteries of the three countries from which we appear to have frequent visitors have been partially resolved (see yesterday's entry regarding the Site Statistics for February). The visitor from the Netherlands is either Former Planning Commissioner Pat Gilligan or Priscilla Cowell's son, or both. The visitor from Sweden is really a local resident whose internet connection is provided by his employer, whose gateway to the internet is in Sweden (how's that for a long way to communicate with a neighbor?). I'm still puzzled by the consistent (13 in February) visits from Australia.
A survey by the Charlestown Historical Commission was included in the (green) February newsletter from the Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors. If you have not yet filled out the survey (it takes just a few minutes) and mailed it or faxed it to the Township Office, please do so as soon as possible, and definitely before March 5th. If you have misplaced the newsletter, you can get a copy by clicking here and then printing the page.
The official minutes of the February meeting of the Board of Supervisors have been posted. See our Official Minutes page. (The official minutes for January 18 have not been approved.)
The Suburban Advertiser has an article by Bryan G. Robinson titled "Turnpike slip ramp plan has residents upset with state" reporting on the likely effect of the Rt. 29 slip ramp on some who are right in the path of the ramp itself. The article is available on-line from the paper's web site through next Wednesday by clicking here.
Site Statistics for this web site for February are available for those who like to peruse where our visitors come from and what they're looking for. The Netherlands, Sweden and Australia have a good representation every month, and I only have an explanation for the Netherlands (Priscilla Crowell's son). Does anyone know someone who might be checking in a couple times a week from Sweden or Australia? If so, please let me know.
Road congestion and hazards, a major issue regarding the proposed Rt. 29 slip ramp, has been around a long time. That leads to our next installment of Did You Know? shown below.
Did You Know?   In 1923, the Keystone Automobile Club published a monthly magazine "Keystone Motorist". The magazine had a letters column titled "Plural Free Delivery". The January 1923 column had the following letter from a William E. Lockwood, Jr. and it is both interesting and amusing to read about the Rt. 100 and Rt. 30 intersection in Exton as it was perceived in 1923, at which time there apparently was no stop light or stop sign in either direction. The practice in those days (actually a legal requirement at some intersections) was to sound one's horn when approaching an intersection. The letter is shown below under its original heading.
"Care Needed on New Road".
With the completion of the concrete road from West Chester, Pennsylvania, to Pottstown, a distance of twenty miles, motorists will be able to drive on continuously good roads from Washington, D.C., to Pottstown, and from there north to the Delaware Water Gap and through to New York State. This road crosses the Lincoln Highway near Exton, Pennsylvania, and with the constantly increasing traffic at this intersection of the two main highways, it is developing into one of the most dangerous crossings in the State. The Club has placed a traffic officer at this point Saturdays and Sundays of each week, but with all the care that is being taken accidents are increasing and will continue to increase unless something is done to prevent them. It is proposed to place four danger flash signals at this point, two on the Pottstown Road and the other two on the Lincoln Highway. This should help and do a lot of good, but not until the motorists themselves realize the importance of slowing down and sounding their horns at this crossing will it be made safe for people to travel. Many persons say that this is an open intersection, but, from the number of accidents that have taken place, it is not so open as it looks. I live just above this crossing on the Pottstown Road and have seen the result of many of these accidents and I thought it only fair to the fellow members of our Club who are not familiar with this place to warn them of the great danger at this point. Wm. E. Lockwood Jr. [Ref: Keystone Motorist (January 1923)] [Did You Know Archives]
With all of our focus on the slip ramp issue, I have forgotten to announce this evening's meeting of the Charlestown Historical Society. This group focuses on one of the reasons the slip ramp is worth fighting, namely the collection, research and preservation of the elements that document the fascinating history of our township. Tonight's meeting is at 8:00 PM (come early for dessert at 7:30 PM) at the Charlestown Playschool. Here is the meeting announcement -
The speaker for our first 1999 meeting will be Bob Kirk, owner of the Cedar Hollow Inn on Yellow Springs Road which opened just before Christmas to rave reviews. He has lived in the area most of his life and can tell us tales about that interesting little community on Charlestown's border. The house, right beside the intersection with Howell Road, was most recently called the Valley Tavern. For many years, however, it was owned by his family, and he'll recount his adventures in completely re-doing the building. T'is great to have a first class restaurant on our border!
Speaking of food, please come early to the meeting for a bit of dessert. Our refreshments will be available from 7:30, and we can therefore get home a bit earlier.
I have posted Kevin Kuhn's report on last Monday's meeting of the Board of Supervisors. As usual, the report is on our Neighborhood News page.
Today's The Phoenix has another slip ramp article by Lou Costello, this one focusing on the Community Advisory Committee to be formed to advise the Turnpike Commission on the proposed Rt 29 slip ramp. The article is available on-line for today only by clicking here.
The same day Janet Baldwin was writing Kurt W. Carr of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Mr. Carr was himself writing Barry Troup of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Although Mr. Carr had not yet received Janet's letter, he obviously sees eye-to-eye with Janet's assessment of the Turnpike Commission's view of the impact of such a slip ramp on our historical sites. Mr. Carr's and Janet's letters are available on our Slip Ramp Opposition Center by clicking here.
Lou Costello wrote an article titled "Charlestown wants public hearing" in today's The Phoenix. The article reports on the Charlestown Board of Supervisors' dissatisfaction with the Turnpike Commission's use of the open house and the proposed "advisory committee" as the means for the township to examine the Commission's data and conclusions concerning the effects of the proposed slip ramp. The article is available on-line from the paper's web site for today only by clicking here.
The results of the exit poll at last Thursday's slip ramp open house have been announced. Unlike the Turnpike Commission's comment sheet, which gave no explicit "No Slip Ramp" option, the exit poll specifically included that alternative. 347 exit polls were completed compared to 282 of the Commission's comment sheets, the results of which were posted yesterday.
  Option "Votes" Pct
  Against Slip Ramp 326   94.0%
  For Slip Ramp 8   2.3%
  Undecided 13   3.7%

The fire marshal's report for February has been posted.
The first item under New Business on the Preliminary Agenda for tonight's meeting of the Board of Supervisors is
  • Turnpike Slip Ramp Issue
        1.  Report on the Public Official's Meeting 02/25/99 AM
        2.  Report on the Open House 02/25/99 4:00-9:00 P.M.
        3.  Recommendations for the Advisory Committee.
At the slip ramp open house last Thursday, the Turnpike Commission handed a comment sheet to each visitor. The sheet had three places to mark one's preference for one of the three alternative ramp designs (see our report for the details of each design). There was a line or two to write in a fourth preference of our own, followed by the bulk of the page in which to write comments. There was no explicit place to check off one's preference for no slip ramp at all, so some visitors checking one of the indicated alternatives might have checked a "None" box, had one been provided. The tally of these sheets is shown below (thanks to Jeff Fried), where the "no ramp" count is those (85%) who did not check any of the Commission's alternatives but instead wrote in that they did not want any slip ramp.
  Option "Votes" Pct
  Alternative 1 36   12.8%
  Alternative 2 2   0.7%
  Alternative 3 4   1.4%
  No Ramp 240   85.1%

I have added the DVRPC's estimated traffic counts for no slip ramp construction and for each of the three alternatives proposed by the Turnpike Commission. These are photographs of the panels displayed by the DVRPC at the open house and are available from our open house page posted yesterday (see 02/28 entry below).
There will be a meeting of the "Citizens Opposing the Turnpike Slip Ramp" at the Charlestown Elementary School cafeteria at 7:30 pm on Monday, March 8. All are welcome.

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