Charlestown Township, Chester County, PA

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Established June 2, 1997
by citizens for citizens


March 16, 1998

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August 13, 1997
A beautiful part of southeastern Pennsylvania
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Past news of events in and around Charlestown
News for March and April, 1998

Thursday, April 30, 1998  (From Kevin Kuhn, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
Special Meeting of the Planning Commission
Tuesday, April 28, 1998
The primary purpose of this meeting was for representatives of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission to present proposals for a limited access "Slip Ramp" to be constructed in the township. Three potential proposals were presented, although one was presented in concept only, without the accompanying drawings.
The slip ramp concept is one in which a single lane on and off the turnpike would be constructed instead of a larger, manned, toll booth. Access would be limited to cars that were equipped with a "transponder" that would electronically log a commuter's access to the turnpike. Commuters would establish an account with the turnpike commission and be billed for usage. All three proposed slip ramps would only allow access to the turnpike in the easterly direction (towards King of Prussia). The goal being to reduce congestion at the Valley Forge Ramp for traffic that is presently exiting at Valley Forge and traveling south on Route 202 to get to Route 29 and the Great Valley Corporate Center.
One proposal would have the proposed slip ramp exiting the turnpike behind Devault Foods and looping around over top of the turnpike and over top Yellow Springs Road to exit onto Route 29 at the traffic light across from the Commons at Great Valley. Another proposal would have the proposed slip ramp exiting the turnpike behind Devault Food and tunneling under the turnpike and exiting onto Yellow Springs Road across from the Warner Quarry. The third proposal would have the proposed slip ramp exiting the turnpike behind Devault Foods and running parallel to the turnpike on the Devault Food side and exiting onto Whitehorse Road near Route 29.
The estimated traffic flow is 8,000 cars per day. This was based on a traffic study utilizing the 1995 Delaware Valley Regional Planning model. The individuals making the presentation stated that the turnpike commission would be willing to assist in making improvements that were necessitated by the construction of the slip ramp. This could include improvements to the Route 29 / Phoenixville Pike intersection.
Concerns raised by residents as well as Planning Commission members were the accuracy of the traffic studies since the most recent major project, the Blue Route had exceeded its 10-year estimate by over 25% in the first year. Another major concern was the additional traffic that would now come through the township to use this ramp verses the Downingtown or Valley Forge ramps. Planning Commission member Michael Churchill expressed great concern over the presence of a turnpike ramp further fueling additional development in a predominately rural township, which did not have the infrastructure to adequately handle the traffic we already have.
One resident asked "If Charlestown says they don't want the slip ramp, will you honor their request?" The response from the turnpike commission representative was "I really can't say yes or no." He then admitted that the turnpike commission had the right to eminent domain, which is the right of government to take private property for public use.
Tuesday, April 21, 1998  (From Kevin Kuhn, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors Meeting
Monday, April 20, 1998
The second monthly meeting of the Board of Supervisors started at 7:30pm. Mr. Sauser, Mrs. Ewald and Mr. Wert were present.
Mr. Sauser reported on an incident that occurred in the township last week involving an individual who was parked on Charlestown Road playing loud music in front of the Charlestown Elementary School. Previously the individual was parked in a driveway in the Three Ponds development blocking someone's driveway. In both cases either 911 or the state police were called there was no response. Numerous residents expressed their concerns. Mr. Sauser said that he had been in touch with Lt. Dougherty at the state police barracks and they are investigating the call as it came in during a shift change. Mr. Sauser stated that the state police will be at the May 4th Supervisors Meeting. The vehicle was identified as a Dark Green Jeep Cherokee, license plate number BVR 3468.
Emory Todd, CPA was available to explain the audit he performed on the Township books as Independent Auditor. His duties included preparing the annual audited report, the management letter and the DCA Report which is submitted to the State Auditor General. The management letter included the recommendation that the Township utilize purchase orders with Township vendors.
Old Business: The section of Reese Road that was re-directed during the construction of the Whitehorse development was formally vacated.
The Road Tour was scheduled for April 30th. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert will attend, Mrs. Ewald had a scheduling conflict.
New Business: The naming of "Longview Lane" off of Route 401 was postponed. The name is the same as a well-known farm in the same area. Mrs. Ewald will contact the property owners and express the Township's desire that a new name be selected.
The owner of a lot in the Whiteland Ridge development requested that the Supervisor's recommend that he be allowed to connect to the public sewer in lieu of a sand mound system. The development is situated in three different townships, is serviced by public sewer except for one lot that is situated in Charlestown Township. The Supervisor's agreed with the request.
An escrow release was approved for the DHR Ltd. Subdivision.
Other Business: Mr. Sauser stated that he spoke with Mr. Green of the Turnpike Commission who will make a presentation of the proposed "Slip Ramp" to the Planning Commission on April 28th at 7:30pm.
Mr. Sauser requested that the Planning Commission interview an additional applicant for the role of Land Planner to replace Tom Committa. Mr. Ziegler, Chairman of the Planning Commission, stated that Mr. Committa is still the most qualified person for the job.
Mr. Ziegler also stated that a workshop has been tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, May 5th at 7:30pm. The purpose of the workshop is to discuss the Chester County Planning Commission's "Landscapes" proposal.
Citizen's Forum: A neighbor who borders Charlestown Hunt complained of substantial water run-off that has flooded his garage with 2" of water. After the water was diverted, it eroded his garden with a two-foot trench. The Township Engineer said that re-grading needs to be done and that he will follow-up.
Mrs. Ewald stated that the business of the Township is not being placed on the agenda. She requested that Chairman Sauser poll his fellow board members for new agenda items instead of removing items from the agenda.
Tuesday, April 7, 1998  (From Ellen Behrle, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors Meeting
Monday, April 6, 1998
On Monday, April 6, 1998, the Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors held the first meeting for the Month of April, 1998. Present were Irene Ewald, Board Chairman John Sauser, Vice Chairman Robert Wert, Township Secretary Linda Csete and James McErlane of Windle, Lamb and McErlane, our Township Solicitor. The meeting began at 7:30PM.
It was announced that the Chester County Health Department is urging people to have their well water tested as a result of rain we have had recently. The County Emergency Services conducted a survey recently questioning emergency vehicle response time and it was discovered that the total incident counts were not being reported properly, as they did not take into account incidents which happened anywhere other than a location which had a physical address, i.e. roadsides, streets etc. The Certificate of Community Service which is issued by the Board of Supervisors will be presented to Neil Kerrigan, an eagle scout who recently conducted an extensive Memorial Cemetery enhancement project. The Planning Commission will be interviewing applicants for the Land Planner position. Additionally, Mr. Iacobucci, the developer of the Charlestown Oaks project on Sidley Hill and Yellow Springs Roads, has agreed to address issues concerning architectural style, the height of the building being more than permitted under our ordinances and the unsightly road sides due to the heavy tree clearing which was done there.
The Zoning Officer, Planning Commission, Roadmaster, Fire Marshall, Parks and Recreation, and Sewer Authority reports were all submitted and entered in the binder which is accessible for review during the meeting and at the township office. Bud Zeigler, Chairman of the Planning Commission, did offer to answer any questions and Fred Alston, Fire Marshall, commented on the hazards of open burning.
The supervisors were unable to agree to a date for the road tour, a past practice (not mandated) of driving through the Township with the Roadmaster and assessing the roads. All agreed that some problems brought up previously by Mark Connelly of the Parks and Recreation Board concerning soccer field water runoff should be addressed at the time of the road tour.
John Gomes of Phoenixville was appointed to the position of Animal Control Officer at an hourly rate plus expenses. Mary Ellen Joos and Sheila Klemant were both appointed to complete the seat on the Historical Commission which was vacated by the death of Polly Quigley. This means increasing the number of board member to 10. The expiration of both of these appointments would be December 31, 2000.
The Board approved the request made by Dr. Moskowitz for an extension on Conditional Use approval for a Home Office. Construction escrow was released for Charlestown Oaks. John Panesa, developer of Somerset, a subdivision on Hollow Road, requested the Board take action on a tri-party agreement concerning Somerset. The matter was tabled until April 20. After discussion of a letter received from the PA Turnpike Commission concerning a turnpike slip ramp being implemented in Charlestown, it was decided to ask for more information concerning this matter before making a final decision. Since grant moneys are available to townships for open space acquisitions and other things, it was suggested that the Township Secretary look into the possibilities of Charlestown getting in on this. It was also suggested that we invite the proper, knowledgeable person from the Chester County Planning Commission to address the township on the Landscapes 2000 plan.
A resident complained that Yellow Springs Road, currently under construction, has road closed signs up even when the road is not closed.
The meeting was adjourned.
Tuesday, March 17, 1998  (From Kevin Kuhn, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors Meeting
Monday, March 16, 1998
The second March meeting of the Board of Supervisors started at 7:30pm. Mr. Sauser and Mr. Wert were present, Mrs. Ewald was not.
Mr. Sauser announced that a memorial fund has been established for David Good, the firefighter who was killed on the PA Turnpike last week during a rescue.
Mr. Sauser announced that there would be a meeting at 9:30am on March 20th with representatives from the Supervisors, Planning Commission, Parks and Recreation and the Township Engineer regarding the Ice Dam, which is an historic site on Route 29.
Mr. Sauser announced that the township received a notice from the Governor's office for residents to contact PenDot at a new toll free number 1-800-FIX-ROAD to report needed repairs such as pot holes.
At the first Citizens Forum Janet Baldwin indicated that she had met with Sheila Klement, who moved into the Township last year, regarding her potential appointment to the Historic Commission, but felt Mary Ellen Joos, a resident since 1941, would be better suited. She also said that Mrs. Klement indicated that she would not be upset if she wasn't selected. Michael Churchill indicated his concern for preserving the Barn and Mill in the village which are collapsing from lack of maintenance. Mr. Sauser agreed and said he hoped there may be grant money available for the preservation of the buildings.
The decision to appoint an Animal Control Officer was postponed, and the applicant was encouraged to contact the Township to further indicate his interest.
The Sprint Spectrum hearing was postponed until Mrs. Ewald could arrive per Mr. Sauser's request.
DHR Subdivision: Mr. Sauser said the Township Engineer provided a letter dated 3-13-98 which covered various areas of concern, specifically an indemnification agreement with regard to the road as it intersects onto Howell Road.
The Regional Hazardous Household Waste Program was discussed and tabled until more information could be obtained as well as the possibility for some state reimbursement for certain recycling programs the Township could become involved in.
The 1998 Tax Duplicate Discrepancies were not as bad as originally communicated. It has been determined that 180 properties logged as vacant parcels. The reassessment company the County used identified these parcels as open space. They are in the process of correcting the problem which will result in additional revenues to the Township of $1,741.
It was announced that information was received from six land planners and interviews would be scheduled before a new Township Land Planner would be appointed.
The tri-party agreement was discussed for the Somerset Development on Hollow Road. The agreement won't be signed until the property transfers. The Township Solicitor will revise the agreements and have them reviewed by all parties. Since Mr. Wert is a party to the agreements, he could not vote and since Mrs. Ewald was absent, there wasn't a quorum.
The agreements necessary to formally vacate the old Rees Road were not ready, so this item was tabled until the next meeting.
Mr. Sauser announces that the Independent Auditor, Emory Todd, had completed his audit of the Township and he would like to have him come to a Township meeting to present his findings and be available to answer any questions.
The Sprint Spectrum hearing was formally closed and the terms of the agreement were read. Both Supervisors in attendance voted to approve the conditional use subject to the applicant obtaining a land development plan as well as the conditions outlined in the agreement that was read.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:45pm.
Next meeting Monday, April 6th at 7:30pm at the Charlestown Elementary School.
Thursday, March 5, 1998  (From Kevin Kuhn, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors Meeting
Monday, March 2, 1998
The first monthly meeting of the Board of Supervisors started at 7:30pm. Mr. Sauser and Mrs. Ewald and Mr. Wert were present.
Mrs. Ewald recognized three township residents. Neil Kerrigan, for his work on developing a master plan for the renovation and reconstruction of the Revolutionary War Cemetery. Neil did this as his Eagle Scout project. Michael Bowell for his Best of Show Award at this year's Philadelphia Flower Show. Lee Raden for his award for Best Rock Garden at the Philadelphia Flower Show.
Mr. Sauser announced that Michael Allen from the Planning Commission met with representatives of PenDot regarding the bridge on Route 29 at the Ice Dam regarding improvements to the bridge. Mr. Sauser asked that Mr. Allen establish a group to work with PenDot as the Ice Dam is a historic site in the township and a portion of the property is under a deed restriction.
Minutes of the February 2nd and the February 16th Meeting were approved. The Accounts Payable were approved subject to non-payment of one check, and the Treasurers Report was approved.
Mrs. Ewald stated that the township is missing revenues on approximately 200 parcels for this tax year and the revenues are substantial. They don't know if the mistake is due to the re-addressing or the county reassessment, but all agreed that they would look into the problem and attempt to identify the missing parcels.
Written reports were accepted from the Zoning Officer, Planning Commission, Roadmaster, and Parks & Recreation Board. The Fire Marshal stated that he has lifted the ban on container burning. However residents still need to contact the Fire Marshal prior to any open burning. Rainfall is a bit above normal year-to-date. Steve Winkelman, head of the Valley Forge Sewer Authority, submitted his report and added that the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has allowed them to re-rate the plant for capacity, which will allow them to continue to service the community to 2013.
The Board continued with appointing various positions that were not filled at the January Reorganization meeting due to the resignation of Robin Kohn. Mr. Sauser nominated Sheila Clement, a new resident, to the Historic Commission. Mrs. Ewald nominated Mary Ellen Joos, a life long resident who has filled the spot since the sudden death of Polly Quigley last year and came at the recommendation of Janet Baldwin. Mr. Wert made a motion that the appointment be tabled until the next meeting to give Janet Baldwin an opportunity to speak with Sheila Clement. Mrs. Ewald nominated Alex Coleman for Parks and Recreation board, and Mr. Sauser nominated Robert Roggio. Mr. Wert seconded Mr. Sauser's nomination. Mr. Sauser nominated William Hochwind for a board position on the Valley Forge Sewer Authority, and Mrs. Ewald nominated Dorando Faggioli. Mr. Wert seconded Mr. Hochwind.
With the appointment of past supervisor John Martin to the Zoning & Hearing Board there was a need to appoint an individual to fill his spot as one of the three township auditors, as he can not serve in both positions. Mr. Sauser nominated Joseph Martinez, an independent accountant, and Mrs. Ewald nominated Joseph Vassil, who served at the county level in finance. Mr. Wert seconded Mr. Sauser's nomination.
The position of Animal Control was given to the same individual who had it last year, but no one could remember his name, although he had sent a letter to the township indicating his continued interest in the position.
There was a continuation of the Sprint Spectrum Conditional Use Hearing. Since the last meeting, representatives of Sprint Spectrum and Bud Ziegler, Vincent Kling and Bill Davison from the Planning Commission met to negotiate the monetary value necessary to mitigate the view of the tower for offsite residents. Sprint agreed to place $15,000 in escrow for the township to use for this purpose and also suggested that the township could add to this the $5,000 that the applicant would spend on landscaping around the tower for a total of $20,000. The hearing was continued until the March 16th meeting with the assurance from the Board that they would vote on the matter at that time.
DHR LTD. made a request for roadway modifications to the main road in their development off Howells Road. This development, which enters through Charlestown Township, has all it houses in Tredyffrin Township. The applicant was requested to come back to the board with a more detailed plan which addressed the Board's concerns.
Participation in a Regional Hazardous Household Waste program was discussed which would cost the Township $3,000 annually. The item was tabled until the next meeting so more information could be obtained.
Campbell Preliminary Plan approval was requested for a four lot subdivision on Howells Road. The property is a 10.2 acre tract that is 50% wooded. The original home would be on one 3 acre lot with the remaining lots being 2 to 2.3 acres. Access to two lots would be from the original driveway servicing the existing residence. The neighbor's driveway would service the other two lots, thus eliminating any additional driveway cuts on Howells Road. Tree clearing would be limited to the building envelopes as they are trying to "keep things they way they were", and no sand mound septic systems would be utilized. The supervisors were concerned as to how the project would blend with the Spring Meadow Farm development. Preliminary plan approval was granted subject to the applicant addressing the issues discussed.
The escrow release for Charlestown Oaks, Inc. dated February 16, 1998 was approved.
Mr. Sauser requested that the Planning Commission review Landscapes and make a recommendation to the Board to approve or decline participation in the plan. Landscapes is considered guidelines for the cooperation of municipal and county government to work within the same framework to prevent the continuation of a current trend towards population "sprawl" as defined by the Chester County Planning Commission.
Mrs. Ewald requested that the Supervisors complete the next step in establishing the Agricultural Security District. Mrs. Ewald requested to be appointed to the Committee as the local government representative and requested that Janet Baldwin continue in her capacity, as she is responsible for everything that has transpired thus far. Three local farmers also need to serve on the committee, and those would be Aileen Whitman, James Thompson and Elwood Fisher. Mr. Sauser requested that Mr. Wert serve as the local government representative and that Marcia Solda replace Mrs. Baldwin. Mrs. Ewald said it would be an insult to replace Mrs. Baldwin, after all the work she has done, with an individual who not only does not own property in the township but who also did not offer to place the farm she resides at into the Agricultural Security District. Mr. Wert requested that the decision be tabled until the next meeting, so he can get better informed on the issue.
Mr. Sauser requested that the township advertise for a Planning Consultant to replace Thomas Committa. Mr. Wert agreed.
Next meeting Monday, March 16th at 7:30pm at the Charlestown Elementary School.
Wednesday, March 4, 1998
The ban on container burning in the Township has been lifted. Residents still need to contact the Fire Marshal prior to any open burning.

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