Charlestown Township, Chester County, PA

 
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Established June 2, 1997
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Past news of events in and around Charlestown
News for March and April, 1999

Tuesday, April 20, 1999  (From Ellen Behrle, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission
Monday, April 13, 1999
The April 13th meeting of the Planning Commission was held at Charlestown Elementary School. In attendance were Chairman Charlie Philips, Vincent Kling, Bud Zeigler, Bill Davison and Michael Churchill along with Surender Kohli, Township Engineer.
Sub-committee reports were as follows: The Shade Tree committee received some information from Lower Merion Township which hadn't been discussed yet by the sub-committee. They will have a report by next meeting. The Planning Submission Guidelines which were submitted last month by that sub-committee had not yet been reviewed by the Township Engineer who committed to do so by next meeting. The Sprint Spectrum landscaping procedure sub-committee reported that they reviewed the township imposed conditions as a result of the tower installation in Devault. The sub-committee would address any complaints which may come up of homeowners needing trees or some other remedy to obstruct their view of the tower. The Land Planner is waiting for the Water Protection Ordinance to be reviewed by the Solicitor.
The Great Valley School District submitted their sketch plan for a subdivision of the 35 acres they purchased from the Pyle family on Yellow Springs Road opposite Valley Hill Road. A joint use between the School District and Charlestown Township and a possible land swap were discussed as possible alternatives to the School District's subdivision and out right sale of the property. It was suggested that the School District place a historic conservation easement on the farm house and a conservation easement on both sides of the wetlands which currently occupy the property. The Parks and Recreation Board is looking into a cooperative farming use for the property. The farm management concept would sell annual shares. There is a working co-op in Kimberton. They will continue to gather the needed information to present to the rest of the Commission including what they feel is the best overall use of the entire 55 acre tract. A representative from the School Board did acknowledge that they had the approval necessary to move ahead on the temporary playing fields on that property.
The Zeigler subdivision [see 10-A] lot line change was approved. The new line will protect some mature trees on Howells Road.
The preliminary plan for the Brookland's (Feeney) [see 34-C] property containing 39.8 acres on Bodine Road was presented and reviewed. The plan contained 10 instead of the original 11 proposed lots. The Township Land Planner stated that the tract did not support that density and that the property should have no more than 6 houses on it. Also, a public road would be required as our current zoning permits only 3 houses on a driveway. The Planning Commission recommended the builder plan fewer lots, in which case the Commission might be willing to recommend concessions on road requirements to the Zoning Hearing Board.
As the Township looks at some possible zoning ordinance changes, the Land Planners are looking for ideas. Transfer Development Rights are used in Manheim Township. On Thursday, May 27th, Jeff Butler of Manheim Township will be at the Planning Commission meeting to discuss the process and discuss how this may help protect open space in our township. All are welcome to attend.
The Land Planner submitted possible guidelines for the ordinance review process at last month's meeting. The Commission wishes to hear the Land Planner's report before deciding what direction to take.
The meeting was adjourned. There will be no second meeting this month.
Tuesday, April 6, 1999  (From Ellen Behrle, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
Regular Meeting of the Board of Supervisors
Monday, April 5, 1999
On Monday, April 5, 1999 the Board of Supervisors of Charlestown Township held its first regularly scheduled meeting for the month of April. John Sauser and Irene Ewald opened the meeting at 7:45PM and Bob Wert entered later from work. Township Solicitor Jim McErlane and Surender Kohli, the Township Zoning Officer and Building Inspector/Engineer were also in attendance.
It was announced that the 911 Public Safety day will be held on June 12 from 11:00AM to 3:00PM and Chester County 20-20 will be held at East High School in West Chester on April 22nd from 4:00PM to 7:00PM. Governor Ridge is the intended speaker. The County Health Department is supplying the Township a Lyme Disease "awareness" board. It was decided that this should be located in the Charlestown Park. It was also announced was that the Altemoses lost in court again in their latest attempt to challenge the township's zoning. Possible litigation against Altemose to recover costs was discussed in a private session held between the supervisors and counsel on March 3rd and would be discussed as part of tonight's agenda. After a brief discussion it was unanimously decided to pursue the recovery of costs. However, since another appeal to the 3rd Circuit Board of Appeals Court was recently filed, the township cannot proceed on the damage recovery until that appeal is exhausted.
The minutes of January 18, 1999 were not approved and will stand as submitted. The minutes of March 1 and the Treasurer's Report of March 1-31 were approved. The Zoning Officer was asked to pursue the owner of a house on Charlestown Road burned down two years ago that was never cleaned up. The Roadmaster and Road Contractor addressed the questions and concerns of a Wells Road resident about when needed road resurfacing would be completed and why the repairs were left undone for so long. The Zoning Officer, Planning Commission, Historical Commission, Roadmaster, Fire Marshall, Parks & Recreation Board and Valley Forge Sewer Authority monthly reports were acknowledged.
New items added to the agenda: the Township Solicitor reported that he had prepared a Complaint for Declaratory Judgement against the PA Turnpike Commission which asks the court to rule that the Turnpike Commission needs legislative approval to construct the slip ramp as this has been the procedure over the last 5 decades. After a brief discussion, the Board voted unanimously to file the Complaint against the Turnpike Commission.
It was decided that the Turnpike Slip Ramp Citizen Advisory Committee from Charlestown Township be comprised of John Sauser from the Board of Supervisors, Charlie Philips or his designee from the Planning Commission, Rosemary Philips from the Historical Commission, Bob Roggio from the Parks and Recreation Board, Bob Jones from the Civic Association, Ellen Behrle or her designee from Charlestown Green, Inc., Kevin Kuhn from the Historical Society, Vanessa Weissman and Sue Staas from the Slip Ramp Opposition Committee.
The management company for Charlestown Hunt has made application for a permit to construct a baby pool which would assess each homeowner over $80.00 per month. Several residents raised issues questioning the homeowners board's ability to do this under the current declaration document governing the development. The results of an independent survey shows that a minority of the residents actually were in favor of the pool. The point was also made that the developer, Realen Homes, has not yet completed its responsibilities under that document and still retains the majority of the votes on the homeowners board and may be trying to install the pool to help marketing, while assessing the homeowners for the payment of the improvement. The supervisors voted to not approve the request for the building permit until the management company demonstrates that due process was followed.
It was decided not to discuss the Charlestown Pond issue until it was discussed in private session with counsel. A letter will be sent to PennDOT concerning the parapet wall on the Route 29 Bridge. Escrow was released to Realen Homes for Release #3 Phase 2 at Charlestown Hunt.
Logo submissions of a new Township logo were reviewed.
The next business meeting is scheduled for April 19, 1999 at 7:30PM
Tuesday, March 23, 1999  (From Ellen Behrle, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission
Monday, March 9, 1999
The Charlestown Township Planning Commission held its first scheduled meeting for the month of March on Tuesday March 9, 1999. Present were Charles Philips, Cheryl Atkins-Lubinsky, Bud Zeigler, Michael Allen, Bill Davison and Michael Churchill.
Sub Committee Reports- It was stated that the School District plans to sell 30 acres of the 55 purchased from the Pyle Family. It was recommended that Mark Connelly, the head of Parks and Recreation, take a look at the entire tract which once was part of the Pyle property to determine what would be the best use for that area. The sub-committee formed to work on the proposed shade tree ordinance reported that they would meet with Lower Merion Township, which is a township with a shade tree ordinance already in place. There was nothing to report on the Sprint Spectrum situation. The Water Protection Ordinance committee is still waiting for a sample ordinance to come back from the solicitor's office. It was determined that the plan submission guidelines submitted by that committee needed some review from the engineer, and the Vision Partnership committee will be ready to give a report at the next Planning Commission meeting. Tom Comitta reported on the procedure for having a road designated as a Scenic Road. The minutes of February 9, 1999 were approved.
The plan review of the J. Christopher Burch Final Plan, a 26 acre tract containing 5 lots and a conservation area at Blackberry Lane and Hollow Road [26-C] resulted in the applicant having to come back next month after the reviews of the final documents are completed. The Brooklands Sketch Plan consisting of the Feeney property on Bodine Road [34-C] showed 11 houses proposed on 38 acres. Much of this property consists of steep slopes and wetlands, so the houses could not possibly be spread out on the tract. The Commission's position was that the property did not support the density shown on the plan. They encouraged the developer to study the land and plan on reducing the number of lots before returning for further review. The Spring Lane Farm Sketch Plan, a proposed development on Hollow Road in close proximity of the Somerset development, consists of 38 acres with 13 lots. One of the lots is the existing farm house with the other 12 being tucked away in the woods. Again, the consensus was that the area does not support the density shown and that the developer should work with the Historical Commission to understand the historical significance of the property and work on reducing the number of lots before returning for further review.
A very preliminary discussion was held concerning the Charlestown Park Master Plan . Tom Comitta, our land planner, submitted written suggestions for the procedure necessary to complete a Comprehensive Plan review and offered suggestions which may be helpful to the Commission going forward in determining the best way to complete the review.
There will be no second meeting this month. The next meeting will be the second Tuesday of April at 7:30 PM. The meeting was adjourned.
 
Wednesday, March 3, 1999  (From Kevin Kuhn, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
Regular Meeting of the Board of Supervisors
Monday, March 1, 1999
The monthly meeting of the Board of Supervisors started at 7:30pm at the Charlestown Elementary School. Mr. Sauser and Mrs. Ewald and Mr. Wert were present.
Announcements: Mr. Sauser welcomed members of the Boy Scout troop from Kimberton who were there to observe the meeting. He also announced that the new traffic lights at the intersection of Route 29 and Phoenixville Pike were operational and that the judge who was hearing the Altemose case had died. There was also an executive session held on February 12th to discuss zoning and hearing issues as well as to discuss the Altemose litigation.
1st Citizen's Forum: Sally Willig announced the Great Valley Association meeting that was held and that the group was in favor of the Turnpike Interchange. Another resident requested something be done about untagged, junked cars in the township.
Approval: The minutes of the January 18th Board meeting were not approved as Mr. Wert was not at the meeting and Mrs. Ewald would not second the motion. The minutes of the February 1, 1999 meeting were approved. The February Treasurer's Report and the Accounts Payable Report for March 1, 1999 were also approved. In approving the Accounts Payable Report, Mrs. Ewald also objected to the township newsletter that went out without her input.
Reports: The Zoning Officer, Planning Commission, Roadmaster, Fire Marshal and Valley Forge Sewer Authority reports were all submitted. Numerous complaints have been received over quarry blasting and the Township Engineer was asked to investigate them. The Fire Marshall indicated that we are still well below normal rainfall and the ban on burning is still in effect. Mr. Wert inquired about a memo he read regarding Y2K issues relating to traffic signals and Mr. Kohli said he would follow-up with the manufacturer. Mr. Kohli was also asked to look into the Charlestown Hunt Trail issue, as well as runoff problems at Sycamore Lane from the Charlestown Hunt subdivision, Howell Road and Green Lane and Valley Hill Roads.
New Business: Mr. Sauser updated everyone on the public officials meeting with the PA Turnpike Commission prior to the Open House at the Great Valley High School. He said the Board's objective is for public hearings and expressed concern over the appointment of an Advisory Committee as a way to avoid public hearings. He also recapped the Open House at the High School and some discussion ensued over the lack of quality information supplied by the Turnpike Commission. The Supervisors will be holding an executive session within the next week to discuss options, one of which may be litigation. Appointments to the Advisory Committee were tabled until after that meeting.
Realen Homes - Charlestown Hunt Issues were tabled until the next meeting
Use of Recreation Areas by the Great Valley School District were discussed as the School District is in great need of practice fields for the High School due to the construction of the new Middle School on Phoenixville Pike. The Township Land Planner Thomas Comitta presented three Ultimate Concept Plans and four Temporary Plans for the combined School District and Township land at the site of the Pyle Farm. Much discussion ensued and it was agreed that Temporary Plan #3 was most desirable and the group would work towards refining this option.
Charlestown Park Pond - Concern was raised over the deterioration of a dam at the pond. Mr. Kohli reported that he felt the structure was stable and posed no immediate safety threat. Parks and Recreation representative Bob Jones stated that the Park and Recreation Board's desire is to hold off on any improvements until they have developed a comprehensive plan.
PSATS Annual Convention - No one from the Board will be attending.
Charlestown Oaks - Revised building plans for Phase III - VI were tabled until the next meeting.
Resolutions were passed for the appointment of an independent auditor for 1999, for application to PennDOT for traffic lights at Route 401 and Valley Hill Road and also for 401 and Newcomen Road / Seven Oaks Road.
2nd Citizen's Forum: No comments.
The Supervisors adjourned the meeting at approximately 10:45pm.
Next meeting Monday, March 15th at 7:30pm at the Charlestown Elementary School.

Continued in Archives


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