Charlestown Township, Chester County, PA

 
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Established June 2, 1997
by citizens for citizens

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March 16, 1998

Website of the Week
Daily Local News
August 13, 1997
  
A beautiful part of southeastern Pennsylvania
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Archived Home Pages - December 1999

12/30/99
I acknowledge the contradiction of the above Happy New Year banner and the following reports of pending tax increases. We would, however, like to wish everyone a happy and safe celebration of the beginning of the year 2000!
Two articles in yesterday's local papers reported on Tuesday night's meeting of the County Commissioners during which the proposed budget was pared enough to reduce the anticipated county property tax increase from 36% to about 28%. Today, the same papers are reporting on yesterday's official vote that made the 28.4% tax hike official. We have links below.
December 29 Newspapers -
  • "Chester County tax hike approved" by Nancy Peterson in the Philadelphia Inquirer is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
     
  • "But residents still criticize tax increase" by Christian Bottorff in the Daily Local News is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
December 30 Newspapers -
  • "County approves 28.4% tax hike" by Nancy Peterson is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
     
  • "Commissioners pass tax increase of 28%" by Christian Bottorff is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
12/28/99
"Extra funds offset county spending rise" by Michael P. Rellahan in today's Daily Local News provides a lengthy explanation by the county commissioners of the current county budget situation. The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
12/27/99
Great Valley High School students are learning to create and animate 3-D figures. "At school, new dimension in computer-arts classes" by Susan Weidener in today's Philadelphia Inquirer reports on a course at our high school that teaches computer animation. The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
"Montco OKs money for farmland preservation" by Carl Hessler, Jr. in today's The Mercury reports on $600,000 in funding to purchase easement rights to Montgomery County farms. The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
12/23/99
The Official Minutes of the December 6 meeting of the Board of Supervisors have been posted.
There's nothing like talk of tax increases to set the holiday mood -
  • "Commissioners to hold new hearing on 2000 budget" by Nancy Peterson in today's Philadelphia Inquirer reports on a second hearing on the county's 36% property tax increase to be held next Tuesday at 7:30 PM. The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
     
  • Today's The Mercury reports on the first such meeting (see yesterday's links below) in "Hundreds protest proposed Chesco budget" by Christian Bottorff, available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
     
  • In "Montco hikes taxes to include funds for towns" by Carl Hessler, Jr., The Mercury also reports on the 18.4% increase in property taxes approved by the Montgomery County commissioners. The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
12/22/99
Two follow-up articles on the proposed 36% increase in Chester County property taxes appear in today's papers.
  • "Crowd insists county trim 36% tax hike" by Nancy Peterson in today's Philadelphia Inquirer is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
     
  • "400 upset residents protest tax increase" by Christian Bottorff in today's Daily Local News is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
12/21/99
Two local papers have articles reporting on tonight's meeting where Chester County commissioners explain the need for a 36% increase in property taxes in a public meeting.
  • "Commissioners, public will discuss tax hike tonight" by Christian Bottorff is available on-line from the Daily Local News's web site by clicking here.
     
  • "County could see 36 percent property tax increase" by Nancy Petersen is available on-line from the Philadelphia Inquirer's web site by clicking here.
12/19/99
"Business park plan goes before East Whiteland" by Susan Weidener in today's Philadelphia Inquirer reports on the proposed office complex near the eastern border of Charlestown Township that will be reviewed soon by the East Whiteland Planning Commission. This complex, on a scale similar to the existing Great Valley Corporate Center, will add significantly to the already congested Route 29 corridor and will undoubtedly increase demand for the proposed Rt. 29 turnpike slip ramp. The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
"Many worthy countians made for a difficult decision" by Michael P. Rellahan in today's Daily Local News reports on the "finalist" for the paper's Chester County "Person of the Century". The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
12/16/99
The Preliminary Agenda for next Monday's meeting of the Board of Supervisors has been posted.
The Official Minutes of the November 9 meeting of the Planning Commission have been posted.
"In Chesco, Ridge signs bill to save open space" by Diane Mastrull in today's Philadelphia Inquirer reports on the signing of the $646 million Growing Greener program which is supposed to protect Pennsylvania land. The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
12/15/99
Two articles in today's local newspapers address the preservation of open space in different ways.
"Newlin acts to save rural character" by Michelle M. Martinez in today's Philadelphia Inquirer reports on a new ordinance in Newlin Township that "... does away with the traditional residential, commercial and light industrial zones found in other Chester County municipalities and places all township land under one zoning designation." The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
"North Coventry votes down plan to halt growth" by Margaret Fitzcharles in today's Daily Local News reports on the rejection of a proposed building moratorium in North Coventry due to concerns about expensive lawsuits by developers and property owners. The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
Did You Know?   Early 1930's Commerce in Charlestown - Palmer T. Baughman was the proprietor of "Charlestown Garage". Fisher & Son. Co. was located in Aldham. [Ref: Bell Telephone (Spring 1932), p.123] [Did You Know Archives]
12/14/99
Reminder: Tonight's Planning Commission meeting has been moved to the Great Valley Nature Center (7:30 PM).
"Willistown approves anti-sprawl ordinance" by Missy Keehn in today's Daily Local News reports on an earned income tax funded ordinance to preserve open space in Willistown Township. The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
12/13/99
I apologize to anyone inconvenienced by our web site being unavailable Saturday morning. We had a major power outage late Friday night (due, I am told, to a tree down on Yellow Springs Road) and I was out of town. My son got the servers back up about noon Saturday.
Linda Csete, Township Secretary, reports that Tuesday's meeting of the Planning Commission has been moved to the Great Valley Nature Center (7:30 PM) due to the annual holiday concert being held at Charlestown Elementary School. That meeting's preliminary agenda is available here.
12/10/99
It's likely Chester County taxes will increase by 36% next year after a public hearing and final vote later this month. See "County taxes slated to rise by 36 percent" by Christian Bottorff in today's Daily Local News, which is available on-line by clicking here.
12/09/99  (8:30 PM)
The Official Minutes of the three November meetings of the Board of Supervisors have been posted.
12/09/99
I have posted Loretta Watson's timely report on Monday's lengthy meeting (adjourned at 12:20 AM) of the Board of Supervisors. Many thanks go to Loretta for all of the time and effort that went into taking notes and preparing this report. The report is posted on our Neighborhood News page. (I will archive some of this page soon so it does not take so long to load.)
Those of us who left Monday's meeting before midnight may be interested to read in the report that a plan for a 1,875 unit "Charlestown Community Senior Campus" with parking for 1,800 automobiles was proposed for the Altemose property on the corner of Whitehorse and Ashenfelter roads.
The Preliminary Agenda for next Tuesday's meeting of the Planning Commission has been posted.
"Environmental bill goes to eager Ridge" by Glen Justice in today's Philadelphia Inquirer reports on the passage by the state House of a $646 million environmental spending package that will, among other things, help preserve PA farmland. The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
I have received the official minutes for the three November meetings of the Board of Supervisors and hope to have them posted by tomorrow morning.
12/08/99
Today's local newspapers have four articles pertaining to various open space issues and actions as well as an article on the county's surplus and tax issues.
  • "Pa. bill to curb sprawl advances" by Diane Mastrull and Ken Dilanian in the Philadelphia Inquirer reports on legislation that would give municipalities more power to stop unwanted development. The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
     
  • "Anti-sprawl bill passes Pa. Senate" by Christian Bottorff in the Daily Local News also reports on this legislation. The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
     
  • "Developers to wake up a sleepy burg" by Brooks Barnes in the Philadelphia Inquirer reports on the inevitable growth of development in Morgantown. The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
     
  • "Pa. open space becoming a rare sight" by Gretchen Metz in the Daily Local News reports that "Pennsylvania is second in the nation when it comes to turning farmland, forests and other open spaces into suburban sprawl...". The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
     
  • "Downward spiral has Wall Street taking note" by Nancy Petersen in the Philadelphia Inquirer reports on Chester County's dwindling cash reserves and the issue of raising county taxes. The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
John Martin, a Charlestown representative on the PA Turnpike Commission's Rt. 29 Slip Ramp Citizens Advisory Committee sends in the following comment on my "editorial" yesterday. (Note that the draft minutes of the Oct. 14, 1999 CAC meeting are available here.) John's comments follow -
Read you report of last nite's Supervisors meeting and submit a mild protest to your comment that the slip-ramp is on the "back burner". The current vehicle for communication with the Turnpike is the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) and the next meeting is Wednesday, January 26 at 7pm. at a location not yet announced. CAC will meet every two months until next summer or so. I have drafted minutes from the Nov 9 meeting but Sue Staas can send these e-mail to you. Members of the public can attend but not speak - similar to "work sessions" of public bodies. Our problem is that defeat of the slip-ramp in its present form requires REGIONAL support and Tredyferin supports the ramp. Our new Board of Supervisors meeds to turn around the views of their brothers in Tredyferin and the Great Valley Civic Association (the Swedesford - Shadow Oaks folks along Swedesford Road in Tredyferin). Absent this, our State Representative won't support us. I assume Sally Willig will have a public meeting in January after the holidays to marshall anti-ramp support.
12/07/99
Last night's meeting of the Board of Supervisors had the largest attendance in recent memory in the minds of many Charlestown old timers. Loretta Watson was there feverishly taking voluminous notes in order to write a report for this web site. In advance of her report, I thought some immediate reporting was warranted on the most significant part of the meeting. (I left the meeting at 11:40 PM and there was still much on the agenda that had not been discussed.)
The public hearing on the Historic Resources Amendment was a prime example of the power of concerned citizens who take the time to attend public meetings and voice their opinions. In this case, 100% of the many residents who spoke about the amendment objected to it, primarily on the grounds that in many significant ways it gave power to the Township to dictate what they could and could not do to their homes and surrounding buildings. Three members of the Planning Commission expressed dissatisfaction with the Amendment, and one even apologized to the audience for having voted for it. Many of the speakers made it clear they purchased their homes because they were old and enjoyed the charm of historic residences and would not do anything to adversely affect that charm.
There did seem to be a consensus that an informational and advisory function was appropriate whereby the owner of historic structures could learn all of the available history of the structures and the history of the families that lived in their homes that was available to the Charlestown Historic Commission and Charlestown Historical Society. Such information could help guide a homeowner who wanted to make repairs or expand his or her residence.
Getting off this brief "report" on the meeting and editorializing for a minute, it seems to me this meeting made a couple of important facts very clear -
  • It is essential that the Township keep its residents informed of legislation that is under development. Clearly, those who would be most affected by legislation under development should be heard from early in the process, but all residents are entitled to know what direction the Township is going with new legislation. Much time and effort could have been allocated to other projects had the outcome of this amendment been seen earlier.
     
  • Similarly, the process itself by which the Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission, and the Historic and Architectural Review Board work together to bring new legislation to the point of a public hearing should be examined. Given the overwhelming sentiment about the Historic Resources Amendment and the fact that it was flatly voted down, and not even returned to the Planning Commission for revision, suggests a flawed process. Many hours of time were spent by well meaning people trying to write legislation to help preserve the historic resources of Charlestown, but their efforts were largely misdirected and pointless and that fact should have been detected earlier and the amendment should never have made it to a public hearing.
     
  • Finally, it would be great to see the level of involvement and enthusiasm witnessed at last night meeting devoted to other important issues before the Township, and I am thinking in particular of the impact of the proposed PA Turnpike Slip Ramp. It seems as though the Slip Ramp has made it to the "back burner", and should be revitalized as a focus of our attention.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled broadcast -
The Fire Marshal's report for November has been posted.
Three articles in today's Philadelphia Inquirer may be of interest to our residents -
Some of the testimony presented at last night's meeting regarding the Deerfield development along Yellow Springs and Valley Hill Roads pertained to likely traffic impact of the development. Such studies are based on "standards", which are really averages of various situations in the past and the assumptions of which may or may not be realistic in the current situation. "Critics: Township's forecast wrong The area's planning agency says the population that is projected for Buckingham by 2018 is already there." by Evan Halper points out how far off some population projections have been. The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
"Planning board is losing a stalwart" by Nancy Petersen reports on the resignation of Chester County Planning Commissioner Peter Hausmann, "an early and articulate believer in open-space preservation as an economic-development issue". The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
"Ridge is criticized for lacking source of antisprawl funds" by Diane Mastrull reports on the difficulty Governor Ridge is having in the attempt to fund the "Growing Greener" initiative. The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
12/06/99 (1:00 pm)
The numbers of signed and unsigned election poll votes have been added to the results page posted yesterday and available here.
12/06/99 (11:00 am)
Reminder: Important hearings at tonight´s meeting of the Board of Supervisors.
Linda Csete just pointed me to the article in yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer on the impact ("a development orgy") of constructing sewers on future development in Concord Township (Delaware County). The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
12/05/99
A number of private emails regarding the interpretation of the proposed Historic Resources Preservation Ordinance have pointed out that there are many misconceptions regarding this proposed ordinance. This ordinance is to be reviewed at a public hearing early in the Monday December 6 meeting of the Board of Supervisors (7:30 PM at Charlestown Elementary School - agenda). Charles Philips, member of the Charlestown Historic and Planning Commissions, has written a clarification of some of the questions that have been raised regarding the ordinance. The clarification is available on-line by clicking here, and all residents concerned with open space and historic preservation issues are urged to attend Monday's meeting and express their opinions on these issues.
The Charlestown Farm Committee has sent a letter to the Board of Supervisors reporting the results of the Election Day Open Space Poll. A copy of the letter is available here, and is also linked from our special Brightside Farm section.
"PECO talks Y2K readiness; group voices complaints" by Chris Barber in today's Daily Local News includes complaints about PECO's handling of recent outages. The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
The Phoenix, whose web site has been "stuck" on October 22, 1999, is back with Friday's issue available for web access.
12/03/99
Two articles in today's Philadelphia Inquirer focus on complementary.???ects of the residential development of open space in our region. "Regional planners see more migration" by Diane Mastrull, Evan Halper and Oshrat Carmiel reports on a recent Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission forecasts of migration from Philadelphia into the New Jersey and Pennsylvania suburbs, including Chester County. The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
"A rural area's growing concern" by Brooks Barnes focuses on West Nantmeal's concerns and goals regarding the expected influx of residential development in the coming years. The article is available on-line from the paper's web site by clicking here.
Reminder: Public hearings on several important ordinances pertaining to open space and historic building preservation in Charlestown are on the agenda for Monday's meeting of the Board of Supervisors. Monday's meeting is your opportunity to be heard on these issues.
12/02/99
The Preliminary Agenda for next Monday's meeting of the Board of Supervisors has been posted. This very full agenda includes several milestone hearings early in the evening including ordinance amendments pertaining to Historic Resource Preservation and Open Space Preservation. This is an opportunity to be heard on these important issues. As always, the agendas for upcoming meetings are available from a link on our Official Minutes page.

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