|| Neighborhood News Archives|
Past news of events in and around Charlestown
|News for March 2000
Sunday March 26, 2000 (From Loretta Watson, Charlestown Green)
Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting
March 20, 2000
In attendance for the township: Linda Csete, Leah Campion, Jim McErlane, Esq., Irene Ewald, Hugh Willig, Paul Hogan, Mike Rodgers, Surender Kohli. Absent was Kevin Kuhn.
The March 20th meeting of the Supervisors was held in the Chapel of the Valley Forge Christian College and was opened by Chairman, Irene Ewald, at 7:45 p.m. An announcement by Mrs. Ewald was that the materials to be used to discuss the Valley Forge Christian College - Open Space Planning did not arrive so that matter is postponed to a future meeting.
There were no speakers at the Citizens' Forum for Non-Agenda Items.
The Board approved their Minutes of the March 13, 2000, meeting without any changes.
Next was a quick presentation of the findings of the 1999 Audit by Emory Todd, CPA, of Charlestown. A copy was presented to the Supervisors. The findings were that the Township holds $1.2 million in assets in the form of CDs, interest bearing accounts and Treasury Bills. There are few liabilities and there are no borrowed funds. Any monies owed by the township are in the form of escrow accounts for the builders.
1999 Revenue was $1,093.000 with $709,000 in expenditures, leaving an operating surplus of $384,000. This exceeded the budgeted amount of $825,000 because of the large amount of transfer taxes received. $1.2 million was budgeted for expenses, but only $700,000 was spent. Savings were realized in highway billings, such as snow removal. $400,000 highway maintenance was budgeted, but only $200,000 was spent.
Some of the township money is placed in a Pennsylvania program (PLGIT) which invests it. (This is used by townships statewide.)
In his audit, Mr. Todd stressed that accounts are reviewed for proper posting procedures and office procedures are also checked. He said that this township is very well run, and it is enhanced by Linda Csete's accounting background.
Mr. Rodgers commented that he thought that the general fund could be divided into several accounts covering things such as general monies, Newcomen Road stop light, etc., in order to see a more accurate picture of available funds.
Mr. Phil Staas, Frank Corcoran, and Anita LaBarge (elected auditors for Charlestown Twp.) said they had a chance to review the report and wanted to present some questions.
First question concerned the State guidelines which require a comprehensive audit with 27 points of review such as tax records, invoices, tax collectors' funds, etc. He asked if those points had been investigated and if the work papers were available for review. Mr. Todd responded "yes" to both questions.
Next question related to an inventory of fixed assets which auditors are not required to list in a report. He noted that Charlestown does not have such an inventory prepared. Mr. Todd responded that a list could be made when required by law, however all assets would have to undergo formal appraisal in order to compile the list.
Mr. Staas' next question was that the general fund showed a variance of $237,000 ($447,950 minus $210, 527) and asked if the Phoenixville Pike improvement dollars were in this fund. Mr. Todd responded that the budget was divided between general funds and state highway funds and he did not recall if the improvement money was in the general fund. A follow up question was whether the Phoenixville Pike improvement money was really builders' funds placed in trust, where upon Mr. McErlane cautioned everyone to be careful about using the words "in trust" since this would be misleading, and the township has accepted no funds in trust per se. Mr. Staas reminded the Board that in 1989 Resolution 422 authorized a special fund set aside for Phoenixville Pike. Mr. Todd explained that there was never a separate account for this, and it was always in the budget as a line item.
Mr. Staas' next question referred to the state funds as a liquid fuel fund with an expenditure variance of $242,914 resulting from no expenses in 1999. Mr. Rodgers explained that the previous board had a choice to use it or not. They did not use any of the liquid fuel money. Mrs. Ewald added that the state fund is audited by state auditors.
A question also arose as to whether the storm water management fund was shown as an asset. Response was that storm water funds are segregated but should not be named as "escrowed" funds. Mrs. Ewald said that this is being held in an interest bearing account for emergency storm water work.
A question arose as to why the monies are not in separate accounts for clarity. Mr. Todd advised that some townships do place monies in separate funds because of the large amounts and activity of the accounts. Since Charlestown is small, the accounts are seldom used and the work involved in setting up separate accounts would be much greater.
Ms. LaBarge posed a question concerning the amount of transfer taxes received. Linda Csete answered by stating that townships cannot project the amount they will receive for transfer taxes through the year. (This question was raised because of the large amount of unexpected revenue received from transfer taxes this year.) Mr. Todd advised that other townships that he audits have the same situation with the unpredictable amounts.
In response to some comments and requests, Mr. Todd said that the report could be expanded with footnotes pertaining to large variances, and he will take this up with the Supervisors.
Next on the Agenda was the Altemose Curative Amendment hearing which was being continued from February 21. Joseph A. Ryan, Esq. representing Mr. Altemose presented his witness, Walter Bright, and advised that there would be one more witness, Wayne Grafton, a land planner, who would testify at a later date. Mr. Bender (representing the Township Planning Board) inquired if Mr. Grafton would present a report, and Mr. Ryan promised to present it if there was one provided by the witness.
Mr. Walter Bright, a traffic engineer with Pennoni Associates, explained that he did a traffic study and concluded that there would be no adverse impact to the traffic patterns resulting from Mr. Altemose's project.
Mr. Bender said he had examined a previous study and testimony by Pennoni from 1995 and compared it to the present road configurations and found no changes to White Horse and Ashenfelter. Mr. Bright said that the latest study was February of 2000 and he compared it to a 1994 study and found that traffic had increased by 34% during the six years. An increase of 5.7% per year would be used to extrapolate a traffic count to 2002, the year this project is slated to be finished. Mr. Bright recommended that a traffic signal be installed at White Horse and Ashenfelter and the addition of deceleration lanes and left & right turn lanes. Mr. Bender asked if the surrounding areas were part of the traffic study and Mr. Bright responded, no. The study was performed over one day. The peak traffic hours were thought to be 4:30 to 5:30, and the study did not extend past 6:00 p.m. at the White Horse/Ashenfelter site.
Mr. Bright explained that he based his expected traffic numbers on the number of nursing beds to be available at the proposed site and also from information gained from experiences of another nursing facility in the area, which was not named. Some information was obtained from a McMann report which was available to him, covering other similar facilities. His proposed numbers for traffic expectations included anticipated employees and visitors as well as residents. (one employee to ten units)
The question was posed that if there was 140 employees per shift and they all drove, was that considered? Mr. Bright felt that his number solely based on the number of nursing beds was correct. He said he had not made a breakdown of employees, visitors, and residents who would be driving in and out of the facility. The site plan provided for 1905 parking spaces, which Mr. Bright felt was extremely excessive in view of his calculations.
Mr. Bender continued to question the witness at length on previously calculated and projected traffic flow and numbers Mr. Bright said no origin/destination survey had been done, but this was usually performed only for major highway changes. He had not considered the prospect of a turnpike slip ramp being installed in the area.
Mrs. Ewald asked when the study was performed. One study on a February morning had to be tossed due to snow conditions which would skew the results. The next study on February 16, two days later, was used in the calculations.
The hearing was concluded at 9:50 p.m. with the next hearing set for April 17th at the same location (Chapel at Valley Forge Christian College).
A request for continuance was received from Great Valley Nature Center, and this matter was also continued to April 17.
The next item was the approval of a temporary septic system for Kirby Lot #2. The applicants, Mark Stabile and his fiance, explained they were building a residence on Kirby Lane, off Route 401. The county has approved the sewage treatment installation, but has prohibited them from installing a sand mound until the ground is in proper condition. The percs around the 2-plus acre lot have indicated this is the best location for the system. The applicants are following county direction in asking the township for approval to use the septic tank as a holding tank until the sand mound system is in place. Wet conditions have delayed installation. Mr. Kohli advised that the township does not have an ordinance in place for using the tank as a holding tank. Mrs. Ewald advised that sand mound systems have failed in the past in this area due to the poor soil conditions and stated this presents a "red flag" situation and strongly advised they search out an alternate installation site on their acreage. The applicants stated they have invested $400,000, and are under financial strains due to the mortgage payment and a month-to-month rental situation, and they simply want a temporary solution approved for their present problems in this installation. Additionally, they are planning a wedding in the near future.
Mr. McErlane stated that the rules for installing sand mounds have changed over the years and the real question here is mainly timing of the installation. He reiterated that the county has approved the installation when the soil is dry and that 99% of the risk is being borne by the applicants, leaving a minimal risk with the township. If the situation warrants monitoring, Mr. Kohli can handle this. This matter was scheduled for further hearing next week, and the Supervisor Mike Rodgers expressed an interest in visiting the site.
Next item was the Final Escrow Release to Little People Day Care. The board was advised that the landscaping is now in worse shape than a year or two ago, and that no release should be made. However, the lighting requirement has been met and trees were planted. A letter asking for compliance will be sent.
Mr. Rodgers remarked that Charlestown Oaks is not taking care of their property and should be notified to fix the appearance of the site.
The Board approved a request from Mrs. Csete to look into a lease arrangement for a copy machine.
Since there was no other business, the meeting adjourned at approximately 10:30 p.m.
Friday March 17, 2000 (From Loretta Watson, Charlestown Green)
Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting
March 13, 2000
The March 13th meeting was called to order at 7:45 p.m. in the Chapel of the Valley Forge Christian College. Supervisors present were Chairperson, Irene Ewald, and Supervisors Kevin Kuhn, Mike Rodgers, and Hugh Willig. Mr. Paul Hogan was absent due to a family illness. .Also present for the township was Linda Csete, Leah Campion, Surender Kohli, Roger Bender, Esq. and Tom Oeste, Esq.
The first announcement concerned security around the College campus. Mrs. Ewald said that if anyone received a parking ticket from the campus security force to let her know. Automobiles will be ticketed according to the campus rules requiring a parking sticker.
Mrs. Ewald made an announcement of an executive session held prior to the meeting on a real estate matter involving Mrs. Ewald, Mr. Kuhn, Mr. Rodgers and Jim McErlane, Esq.
The Citizens' Forum for Non-Agenda items was called.
Mr. Panizza, of General Residential Properties, asked the Board for status and a resolution regarding the decision on the configuration of the entry road for his Spring Lane Farm project. Mr. Oeste responded that the technical.???ects of the matter (the applicant did not submit a revised plan) dictate that the applicant should not have a "deemed approval" which would by law result from the Board's failure to make the decision. GRP's counsel, Mr. Asimov appealed stating that the request to change the entry road was not the subject of plan approval and no revised plan was called for and the applicant wanted to revert to the originally stated road plan. (NOTE OF EXPLANATION TO THE READER, The change resulted since it had been established there was no bog turtle habitat in the immediate area of the original road) The decision should be made in accordance with the 90-day requirement for decisions. Mr. Asimov reminded the board that the Municipal Planning Code very clearly provides this approval if the Board fails to act. The board held to its refusal to approve either the old or the new configuration.
A resident in the Rees Road area reported that he had videotaped the rush hour traffic and his tape shows 800 to 1000 autos in a limited amount of time. Mrs. Ewald asked for a tape of the same area during non-rush hours.
Minutes of March 6, 2000, were approved without change or discussion.
On the subject of Phoenixville Pk improvement plans, the Board reviewed and signed four agreements that will go forward for PennDOT approvals. These agreements (identified as Resolutions #557-00 through #560-00) concern the installation of traffic lights and/or traffic lanes at the following intersections: Phoenixville Pike and Charlestown Road; White Horse and Route 29; Yellow Springs and Route 29; and Warner Lane (to be extended) between Route 29 and Phoenixville Pike near Chuck's Wagon at the Turnpike Bridge. These lights will be synchronized to assist the traffic flow in the area. The White Horse and Route 29 intersection is part of an improvement package to be provided by builder Jack Loew Associates (formerly Hough Loew) in his development of the Quigley property on White Horse Rd. and also stem from industrial/commercial building improvements on General Warren Industrial Park. The time frame for construction is sometime next year if all the permits can be processed on time. Money for most of the project will come from the Township and a fund that has been contributed to over the years by various developers for improvements. Mr. Loew is paying for White Horse road improvements.
The board replied to a question that this project has no bearing whatsoever on the slip ramp situation.
Next on the Agenda was the contract between Charlestown Twp. and the East Whiteland Fire Company which provides fire, ambulance and rescue services to Charlestown Township. This is a similar contract to mutual assistance arrangements throughout the County. The contract is $5,000 per year and is self-renewing after one year.
Mr. Alston made a specific request in regard to the train/traffic signal interface at Route 29 and Charlestown Road. If anyone notices a "no left turn" or "no right turn" or other indication at the intersection to call him at home at 610-656-9315. It has been malfunctioning
The second in a series of hearings for Toll Bros.' Charlestown Meadows project was called to order. Mrs. Ewald noted that a witness list and a complete set of development plans had not been received from the applicant. The witness list could not be provided since the logistics of trying to provide witnesses who had busy schedules and not knowing when the hearings would be held prevented nailing down specific dates for testimony. The applicant would work with Mr. Oeste to arrange the witnesses and their dates of testimony. The plans were prepared but left behind inadvertently, and these will be supplied asap.
Toll Bros.' witness was sworn in. Mr. David Fehr of Chester Valley Engineers, Project Manager, gave his previous work history and credentials. Exhibits A6 through A71 (drawings) were presented to the Board. Each adjoining property owner was notified by letter; however, there were instances were the letters were not picked up and therefore returned to the sender, or otherwise undeliverable. A representative of West Pikeland complained they had not been on the mailing list although the township owns property across from the site.
Mr. Fehr explained several drawings used as exhibits showing the layout of the project. He stated the homes are situated away from high ground water areas and are not on steep slopes. Heavily forested areas are preserved on the southeast and southern portions. Houses are at least 150 feet from property lines. Allowable density is 3.5 dwellings per acre; but this plan calls for slightly less density. Maximum units allowed are 268, but this plan will use 199. Set backs from Newcomen and Conestoga are 100 and 150 feet and minimum open space required is 50% and this plan provides 50.2%
A recreation center consisting of a pool, cabana, tennis court, playground and parking along with a wood-chip covered walking trail will be provided. The land between the houses is not counted as open space. Buildings must be set back 30 feet from the interior roads. Ordinance calls for 1 parking space per unit; but this plan provides 2.3 parking spaces (2 in each garage, plus some overflow parking). The overflow/additional parking of 80 spaces is located at the rec center, near the trail, and at locations along Jonathan Dr.
Water is from Uwchlan Township and will be provided by Phila. Suburban Water. The waste treatment will be handled by Little Washington Waste Water, who will operate the on-site facility. Eight fire hydrants will be included. Street lighting will be provided at interior intersections, at cul-de-sacs, parking areas and along streets, but not at the Newcomen and Conestoga entries. The roads will not be dedicated to the township, but ownership will fall to the homeowners' association. Sidewalks will be on both sides of the 24' wide streets
The topography and storm water plan was reviewed which includes installation of storm water basins and tanks.
Mr. Fehr acknowledged one by one whether the plans comply to the ordinances or if they are not applicable.
Trees will be planted for buffering along the entry drives but there are no plans to plant along the outside property lines. The project will be built in three phases.
Cross examination by parties in attendance covered subjects such as the drip irrigation system; proper notification of homeowners in the area; open spaces (Areas A, B & C) and the fact that the rec center will be in Phase I in Area C (3.2 acres) in the northeast portion. The rec center sits in open space. Area B, along Newcomen and Conestoga (7.66 acres) will hold the waste treatment facility. These are not in open space and sit at a minimum about 100 feet from a residence. The storm water management system (piping is installed underground) is in open space in Areas C and B. It was later brought out that underground storm water basins are too costly to be used in this project.
Schedule of building is: Phase I - 95 units; Phase II - 92 units; Phase III - 23 units (210 units).
The parties continued to ask questions relating to ability of emergency vehicles to negotiate the streets and cul-de-sacs and Mr. Fehr responded this was amply provided for and the cul-de-sac is large at 100' across. More questions centered on the water runoff and the depth of the drip irrigation system (which would be above frost line). Some questions were in regard to the location of the sewage facility was placed in the north (lowest) end, but Mr. Fehr deferred these questions to a later expert who would testify, but it was explained that the location was selected due to effects of gravity through the development.
Toll Bros. expects this project to take five to six years.
Mr. Kling inquired as to whether PennDOT had been contacted regarding traffic conditions which would result and the witness deferred to a later expert witness who would appear.
The question of whether a flood plain existed was debated. This property has been under consideration for about 15 years for development and a problem that may have caused no development to occur was in regard to the perceived flood plain on the property. However, Mr. Fehr disputed that a flood plain (or "Flood Hazard Area") existed, and said that Township maps were consulted in establishing topography. A statement was made that landscaping would be around an area that included a waterway. Also the area would be the site of the rec center. He stated a future witness would testify on this matter.
A remark was made by a party that this development comes in as the highest density project in West Pikeland and Charlestown.
The Board noted that all parties had had an opportunity to question the witness and closed the hearing. The next hearing will be on March 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the same location (the Chapel at the Valley Forge Christian College). Other hearings will take place April 10 and April 24 at 7:30. Toll Bros. may present their testimony on March 27 but the township will begin its testimony on April 10.
The next item on the Agenda was the speed limits. A plan is to reduce Union Hill and Rees Roads to 25 mph with installation of stop signs before and after the train tunnel. A stop sign will be installed at Rees and Howell. Also, the plan calls for 25 mph posting along Buckwalter Rd. Mr. Kohli will look into the feasibility of the stop signs.
Mrs. Behrle asked if Hollow Road's speed limit could be lowered, anticipating more traffic diversion to this winding road, and response was that this would have to be pursued through PennDOT. The last time a speed limit reduction was requested for Hollow Rd., PennDOT raised it to 35 mph, per Mrs. Ewald.
The Board set a date for the Geographic Information System (GIS) software demonstration for the third Monday in April.
Mrs. Behrle then, since she arrived late, requested if a determination had been made regarding the Moses Way matter, to which Mrs. Ewald reiterated that the residents there needed to have separate representation of their interests. Mrs. Behrle's understanding was that she was promised a decision last week and was expecting it to be made tonight.
Since there was no other business, the meeting adjourned at 11:30 p.m.
Monday March 13, 2000 (From Loretta Watson, Charlestown Green)
Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting
March 6, 2000
The March 6, 2000, Board of Supervisors' meeting was called to order at approximately 7:40 p.m. at the Valley Forge Christian College (Solomon's Porch Building). Present at the Supervisors' Table for the Township was Leah Campion, Asst. Twp. Secretary; Linda Csete, Secretary/Treasurer; Surender Kohli, Zoning Officer/Twp. Engineer; Tom Oeste, Esq., Solicitor; Irene Ewald, Chairman and Kevin Kuhn, Hugh Willig, Mike Rodgers, and Paul Hogan Supervisors.
The first announcement was a congratulations to 94-year old resident, Betty Foster Stonorov, better known as "Miss Betty," the originator of the Charlestown Play House, who celebrated her birthday on March 5. Paul Hogan announced that he attended on Saturday a seminar regarding surplus State materials that were available to the township. Hugh Willig, Mike Rodgers, and Paul Hogan toured the township with Planning Commission members including Mr. Kling, who offered lots of narrative. Their reflection is that they have more understanding and insight regarding land use and other issues which will help them with planning in the future.
During the Citizens' Forum, Mr. Roggio offered a letter containing a statement of members of the Charlestown Civic Association supporting Bob Jones as a member of the Planning Commission. However, he presented a personal disclaimer on behalf of Mr. Jones, who is head of the Civic Association.
Ellen Behrle said she had met with several residents regarding a driveway which is the subject of a zoning board decision that stated the driveway could be used for one dwelling only. It appears that a couple of homes want to be accessed via this driveway, which is now known as Moses Way. Mr. Oeste, Twp. Solicitor, felt the Board should cover this matter in an executive session before responding.
A Hollow Road resident, Mrs. Freed, remarked that School Superintendent Rita Jones visited Charlestown Elementary School to discuss location of the children during the school's planned renovation. Mrs. Freed asked if it would not be smarter to put the large amount of renovation dollars into a new elementary school on the Yellow Springs Road property the township is in negotiation over with the School Board and further suggested that the old building could be converted from a school to township offices. Mrs. Ewald suggested that the school issues be addressed by Mr. Kuhn, who is the Board's liaison to the School Board.
Apparently, there is a sign posted now that prevents turns from Pikeland to Hollow Road or something of that nature, and the report of the Board is that the sign is one that is "sanctioned" by the Township.
A resident said she has come across a letter from a "concerned citizen" that advocates opposition to the contemplated restrictions on Union Hill/Rees Roads. Mrs. Ewald cautioned that nothing will be done regarding the roads until the studies are in.
Bob Jones asked the status of the various roads which are scheduled for repair. Mrs. Ewald stated that she has talked with Valley Forge Sewer Authority to see if they could delay their White Horse Road project; and said that the bidding has not started on the Route 29 bridge work, so this is not a project that will occur immediately, but the bridge will definitely be reconstructed by PennDOT. The township is taking responsibility for doing the work on the Route 29/Charlestown Road intersection, rather than having PennDOT do it. As for the Creek Road bridge (in Schuylkill Township), this may be reopened by June.
Mr. Kling offered that the roads are the "lifeline" of the township and having the school busses from all around the area parked at the school on Charlestown Road causes a bottleneck. He feels that spending $14 million to renovate the elementary school would be a mistake due to the narrow and crowded condition of Charlestown Road. He would advocate a better arrangement with PennDOT regarding road planning.
Mrs. Behrle announced that the next School Board meeting is March 13 and that a group will be present to encourage ideas other than school renovation.
Tonight's agenda includes a presentation by Trooper Matthew Carr of the PA State Police Embreeville Barracks, who is the liaison to Charlestown. He reported that after receiving Mrs. Ewald's call and some requests from residents, the troopers set up a watch in the Union Hill/Rees roads area. They recorded top speeds of 51 mph in the 35 mph zone. The police will be present to monitor the traffic and the school bus situation and will enforce the speed and traffic laws. Their presence will be sporadic. There was some discussion about the township following up on a missing 25 mph sign. Also discussed was the use of the electronic speed posting sign. It was noted that the police can enforce the state-posted speed signs, but not road restrictions and speeds set by the township ordinances. Mrs. Ewald sent the troopers a list of the prime accident areas in the Township, and the police remarked they now will be more aware of these spots. The uniform speed through Charlestown is 35 mph and changes to that rate on township roads must be by ordinance. In the instance of state-controlled Hollow Road, speed changes must be addressed through PennDOT.
Mrs. Behrle asked if the Supervisors could lend a hand in negotiations with the School District's Transportation Dept. in having the bus stops changed to safer spots on Union Hill/Rees/Howell Roads. Mrs. Ewald encouraged citizens to bring these school-bus-route related matters to the township's attention so the township would be ready when the District polls periodically for information.
In answer to a question, Trooper Carr responded that false alarms are the majority of the distress calls received in the township, but this problem is not limited to Charlestown Twp.
Another question concerned the law on discharging firearms near residences. Trooper Carr responded the law is no shooting within 300 feet of a residence. Requirements are that the offender must be actually seen and reported to the police before action can be taken. Since there is a gun club in the area, shots could be coming from that facility.
The next agenda item is in regard to the 1999 Audit by Emory Todd, CPA. This report will be presented March 21.
The Minutes of February 28 meeting were approved, and the Treasurer's Report of February was approved. Accounts payable for March was approved, but a question arose regarding a roadmaster invoice and work order that must be brought into order before it can be approved for payment. The problem stems from a slight overcharge which needs to be rectified.
In regards to the continuation of the Spring Lane Farms Conditional Use App'n hearing, Mr. Oeste reported that he received a written request from General Residential Properties asking for postponement to April 3. Mrs. Ewald wanted it clear for the record that the request was not received by the supervisors, but sent to Mr. Oeste. The hearing was postponed to the requested date. Mrs. Baldwin of the Historic Commission said that the prospective buyer of the historic house next to the Spring Lane Farms property wanted to know if the situation regarding the development's access road and the historic driveway to her home would be resolved soon since her settlement date is approaching in May. The Board responded that this situation could not be rushed and the postponement was at the GRP's request.
The hearing on the Conditional Use Application of Great Valley Nature Center was continued to March 20.
Mrs. Csete observed that the remaining conditional use issue for the township was the "Miles" matter which was immediately scheduled for an April 17th hearing, giving time for the appropriate advertising to be done.
Mr. Kohli gave his quick report on several issues before the Zoning Board, some of which covered the Bell & Clapper on Route 29, a property off Horse Shoe Trail, some tires lying on the Toll Bros. site; road improvements at Route 29 and Warner Road; and some Route 401 traffic signals which are being held up by paperwork.
The Planning Commission's report included information that it had held it's first meeting to start work on the Comprehensive Plan Review. The road tour held on Saturday was very informative in regard to their work on this Plan. Mrs. Ewald asked that the Commission review the present ordinances regarding in ground detention basins to see if any improvements could be required in the building phases Mr. Kling said his observation was that the larger the project, the less attention was given to respecting the natural beauty of the land. The developers' aims are high density and this tends to overlook the civic.???ects for a community and those who live in it. He advocated that the Board be more protective of the land and watershed and be aware of the offsite impact of the various developments.
Bob Jones wondered about the feasibility of polling the Township's development residents regarding their likes/dislikes regarding the Township. Mrs. Baldwin thought any feedback would help the Historical Commission in designing the Historic Ordinance.
The Historical Commission report was received by the Board with no additional comments offered.
The Roadmaster reported that Coldstream Road demanded a lot of ice control, and that a Charlestown Hunt resident brought up the matter of the obstructed view at Charlestown Hunt Drive and Amwell Valley Rd which was heing addressed. A pothole on Dickson Drive was filled and black topped but that he and Mr. Kohli will reinspect it. Mrs. Behrle asked for an Animal Control Officer to help with the animals struck down on the roads. Mrs. Ewald stated that in the meantime, in an emergency, the Game Warden should respond to calls for help.
Mr. Alston presented his EOC / Fire Report and advised that rainfall is below normal and that burning can only be done in approved containers. He advised that deer are very active now and we should be alert for them. Additionally, he attended a HazMat seminar and a Terrorist seminar.
Parks and Recreation Board report was not received due to absence of the responsible individual. Paul Hogan stated he is attempting to arrange a clean-up on March 25 at 9:00 a.m. and will coordinate this with Mark Connelly.
No Sewer Authority or Turnpike Commission CAC reports were received.
Under New Business:
Mrs. Ewald suggested the possibility of having a citizen-based Horticultural/Environmental Advisory Board that can review pertinent reports and advise as to completeness. She felt we could tap some of the talent residing in the township. Mr. Kohli responded that Tom Comitta's office usually handled those matters. Mr. Willig said that East Whiteland Township had something on this line which we could parallel. Mr. Phillips of the Planning Commission cautioned that the skills and talent required to do this job properly would cost a great deal of money for consulting fees and, in the case of ordinary citizens handling it, we should be careful not to confuse valid information with ordinary opinion or theory. Mr. Kling said anyone performing this function as a consultant to the Planning Commission should have in depth knowledge and understanding (and credentials) to interpret the complicated plans and schematics that need to be considered so that the Planning Commission could fully rely on the information given to them. .
Since the definition of home occupation has changed due to technology, the Board is reviewing new information for development of new ordinances.
In regard to On -Lot Sewage Disposal Systems, packets of information (for sending to homes in the Township) have been received at a net cost of about $100 after grant dollars are applied. The board is looking into possible grants to cover the mailing costs. Mr. Kuhn suggested that this information become part of the new resident packets from the Township.
Update on Bridge 178. Mrs. Ewald questioned a product mentioned several years ago that was offered as a sealant for the bridge structure, but Board consensus was that this sealing was to be done by PennDOT as a part of the contract anyway, and the result probably would be better. There is no date offered yet as to when the bridge would reopen. Mrs. Ewald questioned the appearance of the stone wing walls and whether they were to be pointed or plastered. The contract will be checked.
In the matter of GIS Presentation/Discussion, Mr. Kuhn, Paul Hogan and Mike Rodgers attended a seminar covering a multi-layer software program designed to track detailed information such as technical specifications for items used in the township to details of subdivision and development plans, and from tax maps to topography maps, etc. Mr. Kuhn came away with the impression that this was an interesting subject to explore.
Since no other business was coming before the Board, Mrs. Ewald announced that a brief executive session of the Board would take place to discuss a real estate matter after this meeting tonight, and then the meeting was adjourned.
Friday, March 3, 2000 (From Loretta Watson, Charlestown Green)
Board of Supervisors Regular Meeting
February 28, 2000
Present for the Township were: Leah Campion, Asst. Twp Sec'y; Linda Csete, Twp Sec'y/Treasurer; Surender Kohli, Township Engineer/Zoning Officer; Tom Oeste, Esq. and Gary Bender, Esq., Solicitors; Irene Ewald, Chairman, Kevin Kuhn, Hugh Willig, Paul Hogan, Mike Rodgers, Supervisors
The meeting came to order at about 7:40 p.m. Several announcements by Mrs. Ewald were as follows: 1) An executive session of the Board was held on Feb. 21 regarding the acquisition of open space; 2) Mike Rodgers attended the Kimberton Fire Co. reception Saturday to recognize volunteers for their outstanding service. 3) Volunteer Coordinators are needed for organizing the clean-up campaign on Earth Day (April 22). 4) The Pennsylvania State Police will give a presentation at the Supervisors' Meeting of March 6.
The Citizens' Forum was opened and a Rees Road resident reported that he drove around the neighboring townships and found that various other residential streets have been posted with traffic restrictions and he is in support of restrictions as being considered by this Board.
Moving on to the Agenda, the Minutes of the meeting of February 21 were approved.
Mr. Oeste opened the Hearing scheduled for tonight for Charlestown Meadows, announcing the subject being the development application for construction of 199 carriage style homes on 76 acres at the intersection of Route 401 and Newcomen Road in the Township by Toll Bros. (formerly Toll Brothers). A second matter up for hearing is a Conditional Use application to construct facilities and improvements in "open space" of the proposed development. Mr. Oeste requested that the PRD matter be heard first, followed by the Conditional Use matter; however, Mr. Schubert said that due to the duplicative testimony and in the interest of efficiency, the two matters could be heard simultaneously. After consideration, the Board accepted simultaneous hearing.
Gary Bender, Esq. entered his appearance on behalf of the Charlestown Township Planning Commission. Mr. Schubert entered his appearance on behalf of the applicant, Toll Bros. Mr. Oeste asked if any persons present wished to become parties, explaining the rights and obligations of party status, and stated that one did not have to be a party to ask questions of the witnesses. Twenty-two individuals, being either residents of the immediate area of the proposed development or representatives of organizations asked and were (after voir dire questioning) admitted to party status.
Since the proposed development borders on the township of West Pikeland, Dr. George Irwin, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of West Pikeland Twp. and Mr. Steve Loving, board member of the newly formed Citizens for West Pikeland's Future were in the group of parties admitted to the action.
Each person requesting party status was asked questions as to whether they were the property owner, where their property was in relation to the project, if they were a professional land planning engineer or landscape engineer; and what their understanding was of the project. The objections by the residents were mostly anticipated problems with traffic, water, sewage and other issues.
Mr. Ray Gamble, Toll Bros. Land Developer, was the first witness for the applicant. His explanation of the project was that 199 homes would be built on ground presently owned by "Conestoga Partners" (Toll Bros is the equitable owner) and would be clustered in groups of 2, 3, or 4 "carriage homes" having multiple stories and attached garages and driveways fronting to the street; the price would be in the mid-two hundred thousands for a 2400 sq. ft. home. Floor plans will vary and the facades will probably be of stone, stucco and clapboard. Limited extra parking would be provided. Since sewer capacity is not available through Valley Forge Sewer Authority at the present time in the township, an on-site sewage treatment system is planned which would be, according to the applicant, publicly owned and run by Little Washington Wastewater facility, a subsidiary of Philadelphia Suburban Water, who has expressed interest and ability to provide service.
Mr. Gamble stated similar communities were built or under way in Blue Bell-Mont. Co., and Thornbury-Del. Co. The homes are aimed at the "empty-nester" or "move-down buyer" market, but upon later questioning it was determined that the market could be open to all types of home buyers. The community will have a pool and cabana for recreation; but, in answer to a question from the floor, no decision has been made as to whether it would be a "gated" community. The homes would sit on a 500 sq. ft. footprint, but with additional levels would be 2400 to 2600 sq.ft. of living space.
Mr. Gamble stated that a traffic consultant will present criteria and the study results at a later date. Mr. Schubert stated that a variety of experts would be testifying in the future.
Mr. Hawn, a party to the action, asked who the parties are who comprise Conestoga Partners, owners of the property. This information was not, or could not be, given by the witness.
Due to the late hour, this hearing was continued to the March 13th meeting of the Board. Mrs. Ewald stated that the applicant must submit a revision to the Act 537 sewage plan (Resolution 556-00)
The meeting adjourned at about 10:30 p.m.
Continued in Archives