Charlestown Township, Chester County, PA

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Established June 2, 1997
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March 16, 1998

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News posted during April 2001

Thursday, April 26, 2001  (Provided by Charlestown Green)
Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors' Regular Meeting
April 16, 2001
Present: H. Willig, K. Kuhn, P. Hogan, M. Rodgers, I. Ewald, T. Oeste, Esq., L. Csete, S. Kohli, G. Diehl, Esq.
This meeting was called to order on April 16, 2001, by the Chairman, Hugh Willig, at 7:38 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 156.
The Board changed the order of the Agenda and permitted the School District matter to be heard first. Glenn Diehl, Esquire, representing the Township, explained that this matter involves two issues: 1) a land development application for the Charlestown Elementary School; and 2) a zoning application for the placing of accessory uses for the school on Farm/Residential land and construction of improvements on steep slope (15 to 25% grade) Ron Nagle, Esquire is representing the School District.
Mr. Heinrich, traffic engineer for 23 years, prepared a trip generation study in 1999. He did traffic counts and evaluation of site access. He used current enrollment of Charlestown Elementary at the time of his study. He identified three peak hours in the morning and also in the afternoon:

  • 6:30 to 7:30 busses leave school
  • 7:00 to 8:30 commuter traffic peak
  • 8:30 to 9:30 parents drop off children

  • 3 to 4 school lets out
  • 4 to 5 busses return
  • 5 to 6 commuter traffic peak
His conclusions were that a driveway be built for the busses with a left and right turn lanes to provide easier entrance and exit. This would allow autos to use an alternate driveway to the school. As for Charlestown Road, he said left turn lanes are not planned due to calculations not warranting them, but this could be done if desired. His closest number to the amount of traffic required which would trigger the need for a left turn lane was during the peak hours of school bus traffic (not commuter hours).
If turn lanes were built, the minimum width would be 10 to 12 ft. and additional land would be required.
A copy of the school's Deed showing the surveyor's description and easements in force was given to the Supervisors.
Russell Benner, Civil Engineer for Comm. Of Pa. From Kulpsville, PA presented plans he prepared and said he had prepared the conditional use application also. Mr. Benner was charged with taking the architectural drawing of the new project and applying information relating to ordinances.
Educational use is a "permitted" use in the Farm/Res. Area. A small portion of the new driveway and 2/10 of an acre of parking lot would be on steep slope.
Parking Lot A on his plan would have two detention basins for water runoff, and the wooded area would provide a buffer between the school and basins in the meadow.
The board recently approved a new water line to serve the school (from Phoenixville Pike) which will replace well water. Landscape screening ( 18' hedge maples and evergreens) will be provided at the parking lots. Any trees removed for play area will be replaced as part of landscaping. Existing sanitation will be sufficient for after the renovations due to no increase in number of enrolled pupils at the school.
The interior traffic plan was reviewed showing separate areas for parent drop-off and for bus drop off.
The Horse Shoe Trail 20' easement parallels the western boundary of the school where a driveway and retaining wall will be situated, and the retaining wall will be moved slightly to accommodate the trail.
Mr. Oeste stopped proceedings to make some announcements. The Condition Use hearing for Emma Builders will be continued to 5/21/2001; and the Altemose Conditional Use hearing is continued.
At this point in the meeting, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, Don Shaner, was given the floor to make his presentation. He explained that this is a 9 county area comprising Philadelphia and four Pa and four NJ counties. The DVRPC focuses on plans for the orderly growth and development of the area. They are working on a multi-municipal plan centering on Philadelphia area. This is done by finding the common ground shared by the groups and then reviewing the goals and criteria. Public meetings are encouraged. DVRPC is lead by representatives of Pa., NJ, and five counties and is looking at the region as a whole instead of in small areas.
Mr. Oeste reinstated the Charlestown Elementary School presentation. Discussion arose over Mr. Kohli's review letters to the applicant. Each point was covered and applicant stated that clarification or compliance would be provided. A letter from a wetlands expert certified that the wetlands do not impact the proposed plans.
More discussion over left-turn lanes on Charlestown Road resulted in the statement that four properties would be affected if need arose to acquire additional land for widening the road.
The Souder property, along the western boundary of the Elementary School contains a building lot under agreement of sale situated back from the street which would require a private drive. Consideration is being given to a common driveway to be shared by the school and the property owner, with a cut off built in to the left (to exit school land) so the property owner could drive to the proposed residence on Souder Lot #5. The school district has no objection to separate driveways, but PennDOT would have to give permission for access to Charlestown Road and a 30-ft. separation would be required from the school driveway.
Discussion of the drainage basins revealed that some will be designed as underground basins in addition to the basins in the meadow area. Mrs. Ewald requested the size and depth of open basins and whether fences were planned (not at this time). The basins would be 300 to 370 feet from play area and buffered by a wooded area.
Mrs. Ewald thought the old path being considered by Mr. Souder as the private drive to Lot #5 may be an old road reflected in the township records.
Dr. Rita Jones give her thoughts that the plan presented has been hashed out for a year or more and is as good as they can come up with, but invited more ideas.
Douglas A. Derr, Architect from Allentown, PA, anticipated the project to take 10 to 12 months of construction time (start to occupancy) and Sept. 2001 as the proposed start date.
This hearing was continued to May 7, 2001.
In other agenda items: Charlestown Oaks bond is approved and a new one was also approved.
The Charlestown Supervisors' minutes of 4/2 were approved.
Laura Neumeister, Board Member of Charlestown Hunt, requested the Board's approval and help to receive $7,000 from Realen in lieu of the proposed picnic tables and benches as shown on the master plan. The Hunt would prefer to use furniture in various places around the Hunt for convenience of the residents rather than as proposed by Realen in a picnic glade far from most residences. Realen will be turning the picnic area over to the Homeowners' Association. Motion was made and seconded to allow the Hunt to use $7,000 for benches and tables as proposed by them. A letter will go to Realen from the Township designating the payment of $7,000 to the Homeowners' Association from escrowed landscaping funds.
Charlestown Park Trails - The board debated over whether to increase width from 6.5 to 8 feet for the paved park trails. The wider trail is reported to be lower cost when blacktopped due to more convenience to the contractor. The Board voted 4 to 1 to widen the trails in the interest of saving money, being more usable by various classes of residents, and to conform with the 8' proposed by the VF Christian College for its trail system, which will tie in. Mrs. Ewald objected on the ground that it would be a lure for motorized vehicles. The previously granted award for the paving of the trails was discussed and the contractor will be contacted to amend the width and his price for the work.
Discussion arose regarding the Township's paving of streets serving the College that are partially maintained by the township. Mr. Faggioli had prepared a bid as requested earlier, and Mrs. Ewald asked for a bid for the entire street currently in question, since the College has proposed to split the bill.
The meeting adjourned at 12:45 a.m.
Reported for Charlestown Green by Loretta Watson.
Monday, April 16, 2001  (Provided by Charlestown Green)
Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors' Regular Meeting
April 2, 2001
This meeting was called to order by Chairman Hugh Willig at 7:42 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School. Present for the Township was Mr. Willig, Mr. Kuhn, Mr. Rodgers, Mr. Hogan, and Mrs. Ewald, and also Mr. Oeste, Mr. Kohli and Mrs. Csete.

Announcements were (1) Mr. Willig reported that an executive session had been held earlier in the evening regarding legal issues; and (2) Mike Rodgers reported that the Delaware Valley Planning Commission will discuss improvement regarding transportation in the area at the next township meeting, and the public is invited to participate.

Citizens' Forum - Mrs. Eleanor Morris of the French and Pickering Creek Conservation Trust, advised that she is visiting all the area townships to speak regarding the work being done to preserve the farmland and requested support. She urged the township to do everything possible to save the farmlands against the heavy development efforts underway. Jim Sharnberg emphasized that farm land is not simply "open space" but working land which is subject to high taxation forcing owners to sell and/or develop to pay the taxes. John Foster characterized the township as a "jewel" to be protected against the big money interests. He supports Community Supported Agriculture. Mrs. Ewald added that if the township is indeed a jewel, then thanks must go to the former Boards who developed strong ordinances, and that residents can help by supporting their Boards of Directors.

The next agenda item was approvals. Minutes of 3/19 were approved after being adjusted to reflect the Toll suit as being against individuals and the township over civil rights The accounts payable and treasurers report were also approved.

Mr. Oeste opened a hearing for the GVSD conditional use application. Glen Diehl, Esq. for Charlestown Township, explained that the application is in regard to proposed improvements to the Charlestown Elem. School, part of which falls on steep slope; and that this area is classified as Educational Access Use in the Farm/Residential district. Notice to the adjoining neighbors has not been completed. Hearing will continue on April 16 at 7:30 p.m.

Mr. Oeste announced that Genterra Inc. has requested continuance of the Saddlebrook application to May 21, 2001. It will be held on May 21 or, in emergency, the first regularly scheduled June meeting.

Zoning Officer Report - Mr. Kohli gave an update regarding the traffic signal at 401 and Valley Hill Road advising that some paving must be done by the township before other work can progress.

Mrs. Ewald noted that a three-way stop sign has been approved for White Horse Road and Ashenfelter Road.

Paul Hogan added that he received a call from a Coldstream Rd. resident requesting a 35-mph sign. Mr. Kohli will contact PennDOT for the sign.

Planning Commission Report. Mr. Allen would like to present a program on 5/15 to introduce Planning Commission activities to the public.

Historic Commission. Mrs. Baldwin reported that the Commission enjoys meeting at the Township Offices and would like to continue, rather than revert back to Rapp House, which has very few conveniences.

Roadmaster. Mr. Faggioli reported that some fill was done at the Pyle farm and will be seeded. A road was patched at the Christian College, but it could use paving. Mrs. Ewald recommended paving, which was quickly estimated to be a $5,000 job (thin layer) by Mr. Faggioli. He reported a proper paving job could run about $10,000 with a base and top coat. He will make a more accurate estimate for consideration. There was some discussion about the condition of Blackberry Lane, Peake's Pike, and Howell's Road. Mrs. Ewald suggested a Road Tour by the supervisors, which was scheduled for May 6 at 1 PM

Fire Marshall, Fred Alston, did not file a formal report, due to lack of reports from Kimberton and West Whiteland. He cautioned that the deer are moving around and to be cautious to burn leaves only in an approved container.

Parks and Recreation. Mr. Connelly submitted his report. Lighting and the park plan was discused. Mr. Theurkauf looked at the proposed expansion of the soccer field but noted the problems that would be encountered. He recommended actions to save the wear and tear on the grass. Discussions regarding field 7 revealed that fill would be required to level it for playing. The Board was asked to approve the expansion and then the lighting could be worked out. The Board recalled that the Master Plan was simply conceptual and not an approved course. The Board would like to have more information to show the impact of expansion away from the stream, which may require a retaining wall in cutting away higher land. Mr. Nelson Wentworth, coach, advised that 500 children up to age 16 use the field. $60,000 is available (state and county money) for lighting the field. The second grant extension will end in December and if the money is not used, it will be lost.

Mr. Connelly advised that new electrical service is required for the present lights, snack bar, and maintenance building. The Board tabled this matter until they could observe the proposed light heights at the park.

Concerning the walking trails, Mr. Connelly added that the trail is 6.5 ft. wide and could go to 8 feet. The college trails are going to 8 feet. Mrs. Ewald questioned how to keep vehicles off an 8 ft. wide trail. Another suggestion by Mr. Connelly was to establish an area for dogs in the park.

Valley Forge Sewer Authority - Mike Rodgers reported a meeting was held a few weeks ago. The McAvoy suit is still active with no settlement yet. Schuylkill Township is requesting a compost facility on VFSA property, but no location or size has been specified. VFSA reports that use is projected to exceed capacity in 2004.

Turnpike CAC - no news.

Old Business: Toll Bros. v. Charlestown Twp. Mr. Oeste reported that the action is in the nature of a Federal Civil Rights action, and he felt it unlikely that any damages would be assessed against he township.

In regard to the advertising of the Mowing and Tree Work bids, this must occur twice and earlier than 10 days before bids are opened. The Board considered that hay may be mowed from the Pyle farm, and if necessary they will consider hiring someone. Mrs. Ewald will get a letter from an interested party. Linda Csete was asked to call the potential bidders as well as send packages out since bids are wanted by May 7 when they will be opened.

Township Job Descriptions were approved as written.

Baughman's Mill in the Village of Charlestown. Historic and Architectural Review Board wants to save the mill. The Board requested of Mr. Oeste a legal review and course of action. Mr. Oeste encouraged the Board to send a letter to the present owner advising repairs needed to preserve the Mill. Mr. Kohli would send the letter to the owner. The Board did acknowledge the owner's commitment to preserve the land.

Altemose Land Development Plan - Decision due 4/7. Application as submitted is incomplete per the review letters of the township consultant and Mrs. Kohli.

Planning Commission has proposed as a new member Rick Reese. The vote of the Board was 4 in favor, with Mrs. Ewald abstaining because she felt improper procedures were followed in interviewing and recommending the candidate.

Meeting adjourned at 10:46 PM.

The next meeting will be held on April 16, at 7:30 p.m. at the Great Valley Middle School.

Reported for Charlestown Green by Loretta Watson
Continued in Archives

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