Charlestown Township, Chester County, PA

 
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News posted during March 2002

Monday, March 18, 2002  (Provided by Charlestown Green)
Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors' Regular Meeting
March 4, 2002
This meeting came to order at the request of Hugh Willig, Chairman. In attendance were Mr. Willig, Paul Hogan, Mike Rodgers, Kevin Kuhn, Irene Ewald, Linda Csete, and James MacErlane, Esquire. Mr. Kohli was absent.
The Board approved their Minutes from the February 25 meeting and the Treasurer's Report for February. During approval of the Accounts Payable, Mrs. Ewald raised objection to payment for certain roadwork performed since the Roadmaster had not been present to supervise the work as it was being done. A question was raised as to whether the Roadmaster was required to be present during all road repair projects. Mr. Willig requested approval of the payment since the work was already done, and Mr. Faggioli (who was present) commented that it was performed satisfactorily. Mrs. Ewald asked for a roll call vote to approve the Accounts Payable, which resulted in a vote of four in favor and one opposed.
Presentation by Schorr-DePalma: The representatives made a report on the condition of the twenty-plus structures at Brightside Farm. They believe the structural condition of the 150-year old farmhouse and the timber-frame barn is good, although some of the barn's framing needs work. The "barrel barn" (name applied because of its shape) is in poor condition but could be salvaged. The upper and lower levels of the pole barn (which held the milk cows) is in good condition. Although the springhouse walls are in good shape, recommendation is to replace the wood frame in its entirety. Regarding the minor structures on the farm, some are severely rotted and would need extensive work to restore.
Discussion included an inquiry as to the feasibility of replacing an end wall of the barn with glass and a glass doorway to a deck. This was considered possible if framing is strengthened. The barn's stone walls are in good shape generally, and can be restored where damaged by a tree. Dividing the first floor interior space with walls would eliminate the need for timber replacement in the frame.
Regarding local roads, Mr. Rodgers advised that he contacted PennDOT and learned that the Township could take over control of Hollow Road, although the bridges would remain under State control. The State intends to widen and repave this road and Yellow Springs Road. Concern was expressed over the trees to be removed on both roads; with the township having no control over tree removal on Yellow Springs. If the township takes over Hollow Road, some trees can be saved but widening one to two feet on each side will still be done by the State. They will remove dead or diseased trees if requested. Mr. Kuhn favored taking over a section of Hollow Road in order to put up "no access" signs during the heaviest traffic hours in an effort to decrease the traffic using that road. An additional three miles worth of Liquid Fuels money would be granted to the township if the road were taken over from PennDOT. Mr. MacErlane cautioned that liability from auto accidents would become a problem if the road is taken over.
A resident from Hollow Road voiced concerns about safety of school children and asked for speed bumps and traffic restrictions. Mr. Rodgers responded that hours of use could not be restricted at this time since it is a State road. Mrs. Ewald mentioned that the shadiness contributes to the deterioration of the road and this would be a downside to taking it over. She also mentioned that a part of Yellow Springs Road has springs coming right through the roadway along the side, which contributes to its deterioration. She recommended that Mr. Kohli make a study of Yellow Springs and submit his engineering opinion of plusses and minuses to taking over that road. Mr. Willig felt that PennDOT's improvements would diminish the charm of Hollow Road. Mrs. Ewald requested measurements of Hollow Road from Mr. Kohli before decisions are made. Motion was approved that Mr. MacErlane contact PennDOT to stop work on Hollow until Charlestown can gather information and send a letter of intent to enter negotiations for Hollow, Foster and Yellow Springs Roads.
Monthly Reports:
Zoning - no verbal report due to Mr. Kohli's absence.
Planning Commission: The Planning Commission met on February 12 and 26 and discussed Mr. Main's lot line changes, and the Seifert subdivision. Chairman. Davison requested the supervisors' attendance at the March 26 meeting to discuss the township map.
Historic Commission: Mrs. Phillips advised that the next meeting would be March 8.
Roadmaster: Mr. Faggioli reported a resident has been contacting him regarding a problem with an auto parked on Pickering Dam and Benburg Roads. The Board advised that this matter should be referred to the State Police.
Fire Marshal: Among other items covered in his report, two automatic fire alarms were received since the Ordinance was enacted. Rainfall is now 13 inches below normal.
Parks and Recreation: A Yellow Springs Road resident contacted Mr. Hogan regarding a swale needing repair and a fallen tree that had not been removed by the township. Although the Board was under the impression that the felled tree had been removed previously they will look into this, but noted that fallen trees are the responsibility of the property owner on which it has fallen. ..Mr. Hogan will make a trip to his Geothermal Playground in the morning to check its underground temperature since the weather will be very cold. The fencing at Coldstream and Township Line Roads is a visual obstruction to drivers and a suggestion has been made by a resident to remove some of it.
Brightside Farm Committee: This group has not met lately.
VF Sewer Authority: Mr. Rodgers advised that the project for East Pikeland sewers is on hold. The plant keeps a record of odor problems, so if residents detect odors, they should call the Sewer Authority so action can be taken. Additionally, the hourly workers at the Sewer Authority are looking into unionization, so the VFSA Board will be seeking legal advice as to how to handle the situation properly.
Horseshoe Trail.: Dr. Moskowitz fenced off the portion of the trail crossing his property causing confusion to hikers and riders using the trail. A suggested alternate route would run along Union Hill to Aldham Road then across Route 29 to the Dickson property and on to the Nature Center, but safety is a major issue, making use of Union Hill Road unwise.. Mr.Theurkauf and Dr. Moskowitz looked at alternative routes over other private property, using land of the Charlestown Historical Society and then returning to the trail at the southeast corner of the Moskowitz property. A letter explaining this proposal has been sent to the affected property owners.
Charlestown Park, Round X Grant Proposal: Ed Theurkauf reminded the Board of last fall's presentation of improvements to the Park, which had been tabled for further investigation. Projects currently under study are (1) to add landscaping using shade and flowering trees at about $10,000; (2) adding paving and a bench to the ADA area near the soccer fields at $2,500; and (3) adding a basketball court for approximately $15,000 with $3,000 design costs. Considering that the college plans to add a large basketball arena to the campus and an outdoor court would not be supervised during use, Mrs. Ewald suggested Mr. Hogan's playground space be enlarged. However, other members of the Board and Mr. Connelly felt a court would be a useful addition for older teens and adults. A motion was made to approve $18,000 for the basketball court. Mrs. Ewald was opposed and suggested paving the parking lot instead. After further discussion, Mrs. Ewald advocated using the money for a large playground in that area. Support leaned toward teenage and adult activity areas and the possible erection of a fence between the proposed court and the children's playground area for safety. The motion for the basketball court was approved.
Memorandum of Agreement - Spring Oaks offsite improvements - Mrs. Ewald requested that this matter be tabled so the Board can discuss it with its solicitor. She is concerned about impact of traffic, saying that the improvements are for Route 29 and may include a retaining wall near the Commons at Great Valley entrance. The Spring Oaks project will have road improvements along Yellow Springs Road. Atwater's contractor, Trammel-Crow, would like to have all road improvements completed at one time. Mr. Tim Townes (Spring Oaks/J. Loew Corp.) is seeking Charlestown's approval before signing any agreements with Trammel Crow for roadwork. Charlestown wants assurance that its interests are protected and that the proposed improvements will be adequate. Mr. Townes advised that the hill on Charlestown Road is to be widened under the proposed Atwater plan to accommodate the expected traffic.
The Board approved Resolution #591 of 2002 covering expenditure of Liquid Fuel Funds for the paving of Howell's Road.
Mrs. Ewald proposed that the supervisors help organize an event on Memorial Day at the Revolutionary War Cemetery across from the Play School on Charlestown Road. It would involve several organizations, including fire and police, and may necessitate closing the road during the celebration. The Board did not make a decision regarding this matter.
Mrs. Ewald offered a suggestion to rename Bridge 178 on Pickering Road "Miss Betty's Bridge" in honor of Elizabeth Foster Stonorov for her 96th birthday (March 5). A bronze plaque will be ordered for mounting on the bridge.
Adjourned: 10:30 p.m.
Reported for Charlestown Green by Loretta Watson

Monday, March 4, 2002  (Provided by Charlestown Green)
Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors' Regular Meeting
February 28, 2002
The meeting came to order at 7:37 p.m. at the request of Chairman, Hugh Willig. Present were Kevin Kuhn, Mike Rodgers, Paul Hogan, Irene Ewald, James McErlane, Esq., Linda Csete, and Surender Kohli.
Chairman Hugh Willig polled the Supervisors for announcements. 1) Mrs. Ewald and Mr. Kuhn attended the Brightside Farm Open House with the Charlestown Township Commissions and were pleased with the progress in rehabilitating the house. 2) Concerning Charlestown Park, Mr. Hogan said that the EPA has raised a concern about the chemically treated wood used in the existing playground structures. Ed Theurkauf advised that no action is necessary to remove the structures at this time, but he will check further into this issue. 3) Mr. Willig advised that the County has instituted a countywide burning ban and a water emergency. He advised that the Board had three executive sessions since the last meeting to discuss legal issues. Mr. Willig asked that the Board discuss the East Pikeland sewer extension issue tonight, although it is not on the Agenda.
Citizens' Forum: No issues.
The Board approved its official Minutes of the February 4 meeting without additional discussion.
Mr. McErlane opened a hearing for the Spring Oaks Business Park Conditional Use request. For the record, he announced that the Applicant, Tim Townes, had asked for an indefinite extension while additional information is gathered. This issue was continued to March 18 and the hearing closed. Mr. McErlane opened a hearing for the Scipione Conditional Use application and noted that the Planning Commission has not reviewed the application. A letter will be sent to the applicant. Hearing was closed.
Old Business: Road Maintenance Issues: Mr. Rodgers suggested that money be budgeted next year for repairing the culverts on Dickson Drive, since the work previously done is deteriorating. Mrs. Ewald thought there might be a guarantee on the work done. Mr. Kuhn suggested that repairs to one culvert be done before the spring rains come. An explanation of the problem was that improper grouting was used in the culvert. Since the Roadmaster is presently in Florida, Mrs. Ewald objected to having the work completed without Mr. Faggioli present to supervise it. The Board postponed this issue for at least a week.
Brightside Farm Grant -- Round 13. Mr. Connelly would be present later to discuss this item.
Horseshoe Trail: The supervisors discussed the feasibility of using the old bed of Rees Road and a current pipeline easement to redefine the route of the Trail and keep horses and riders off Union Hill Road. Michael Main, who was present for his lot line issues, offered information regarding his experiences and understandings in using the pipeline easement and suggested specific legal language for creating and protecting the easement for the Trail.
Spring Meadow Farms - lot line change: Mr. Main explained that now there is no need for a road through his development for access to Howell's Road. Therefore, the designated roadway is being divided and added to existing lots. This change requires the approval of the supervisors. One of the residents in his development has offered to purchase some of the land to increase their lot size to 2.3 acres. The line changes were approved by the Board, with a condition that a maintenance agreement be worked out.
Spring Meadows Farm - lot line changes: Requested changes to the lot lines would eliminate irregular shapes to certain lots. He also wished to establish guidelines for protecting the viewshed. Since Mr. Main is the owner of the affected lots, the Board approved the changes. The Board was pleased to hear that an issue that arose a few months ago over proposed landscaping of a homeowner's lot and protection of the viewshed has been resolved amicably.
On-Lot Sewage Disposal Systems: The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has not approved the Township's proposed 537 Plan due to a DEP request regarding maintenance and management of on-lot sewage systems. The DEP would like to see in-ground systems pumped by their owners every two years; however, the Township is reluctant to take on the job of monitoring privately owned systems. Mr. Kohli will contact the DEP to see what can be done to gain 537 Plan approval.
Hearings for Dixon, Pomanti, Souder, and Altemose applications will be on the March 18 agenda.
Other Business: East Pikeland sewer extension: The Charlestown Supervisors are not in favor of the VFSA suggestion that Charlestown help fund the planned expansion, and a letter will be directed to the Sewer Authority Board stating this position. Mr. Rodgers, liaison to the VFSA, felt the letter should be directed to the Charlestown representatives on the VFSA and not to the entire Board. The motion approving the letter passed 4-1 with Mr. Rodgers voting against due to the method of delivery.
Charlestown Park Improvement Grant: Mark Connelly reported that the remaining $18,000 from the original Grant has been approved by the County for use by July 2002. He proposed to use this money for 400 trees to improve landscaping and buffering and to install an ADA picnic area. The Board suggested that instead of collecting bids for the trees, that Mr. Connelly use money in the township's Open Space Fund for the trees and consider planting them later when we do not have drought conditions. This would free up the $18,000 for use on other projects at the Park. One suggestion was to pave the parking area, also a Phase I project. Another suggestion was to use some of the grant money to improve the fencing. Mrs. Ewald advocated more child playground areas. Mr. Connelly will check the grant requirements to see what can be done and schedule a project that can be completed by July.
Brightside Farm Acquisition Grant: This grant will reimburse 50 to 60% of expenses, up to $450,000. The Board questioned the restrictions that may be involved under the grant and also if any restrictions may be in force under the Bond secured previously. Mr. Gladden will be invited to a Supervisors' meeting to explain restrictions and possible uses under the proposed grant. This information will be useful to the Brightside Farm Committee in establishing a long-range vision plan.
The Board noted that Yellow Springs Road and Hollow Road are scheduled by PennDOT for widening. More information will be obtained to determine the extent of the widening and if any trees, etc., will be endangered.
The meeting adjourned at 9:58 p.m.
Reported for Charlestown Green by Loretta Watson.
 
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