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 posted during April 2002

Monday, April 29, 2002  (Provided by Charlestown Green)
Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors' Regular Meeting
April 15, 2002
The meeting came to order at the request of Chairman, Hugh Willig. Also present were Kevin Kuhn, Paul Hogan, Irene Ewald, Tom Oeste, Esq., Surender Kohli, and Linda Csete. Michael Rodgers was absent.
The Board issued an announcement of the April 10 passing of Eugene Baldwin, who was Historic Commission Member Janet Baldwin's husband, extending its sympathies to the Baldwin family.
Citizens' Forum: Mr. Harbison of Three Ponds asked the Board to consider placing a warning sign on Charlestown Road to advise drivers that vehicles coming from Pikeland Road are not required to stop and have the right-of-way.
The Board approved its official Minutes of the April 1, 2002 meeting.
Mr. Oeste announced that Gary Bender, Esq., representing the Township, requested a continuance of the Altemose application scheduled for hearing tonight. Mr. Ryan, attorney for the applicant, had no objection, so the hearing was continued to May 6 for an hour's duration.
The Pomanti conditional use application was next. The applicant's property is on Hollow Road near Somerset Drive. Mr. Pomanti has requested permission to erect a garage and part of a driveway in steep slope area. The exhibits were reviewed, which included, among other items, the application and review letters from Mr. Kohli, Mr. Comitta, and Chester Valley Engineers. Attorney Wendy McLean, representing the applicant, explained the difficulties incurred in attempting to notify the residents. None of the neighbors, who would have received notification of this application, were present. Mr. Pomanti was sworn as a witness and testified that he personally delivered notices by leaving same in the appropriate mailboxes. Mr. Oeste advised that this method of notice did not comply with the rules. Notices will be resent. Mr. Robinson, of Chester Valley Engineers, explained the conditional use request. He stated that the previous owner of the property performed testing for septic systems, and results indicated the need for sand mound systems. After the applicant acquired the property, further testing was done to locate places for primary and secondary systems. This change necessitated moving the proposed home forward on the lot. Engineering reviews have been performed to manage the water runoff for the new location of the house. Mr. Theurkauf was sworn and testified that he reviewed the plan twice, and recommends that the applicant submit a brief statement regarding environmental impact to the site. Mr. Robinson felt that such a report would not have any affect on the planned construction of the house, and that the plan would be revised to comply with recommendations of Mr. Kohli. Through further discussion, it was pointed out that wetlands are being impacted. The Board was not certain if an environmental impact report or an abbreviated form of same would be required at this point, but asked for a summary of the information that had already been gathered by the applicant. This will be provided. Mr. Oeste continued this hearing to May 6, 2002, with the requirement that all neighbors within 250 feet of the property be notified according to ordinance requirements.
The next hearing was for S. G. Souder. This application concerns a property on Charlestown Road and is a request to place a driveway on steep slope. Mr. Oeste reviewed the exhibits currently on record. Mr. William Civitello and Mr. and Mrs. Galbraith went on record as parties to the action. Wendy McLean, Esquire, represented the applicant. She advised that proper notices have been delivered to the nearby residents.
Per testimony, an agreement formed in 1991 between Mr. Galbraith and the builder set forth the relocation of the driveway. The property is adjacent to Charlestown Elementary School and is accessed via Route 29 and Dickson Drive. Originally, this development plan was for eight lots but one was sold to the School District for expansion purposes. Lot 5 (subject property on the application) is accessed via Charlestown Road by a small strip of land next to the Charlestown Elementary School. This strip would be eliminated. The proposed driveway to Lot 5 would cross over a small area of steep slope, and have areas where a car could pull off to allow another vehicle to pass. The residents would enter Lot 5 from Route 29, rather than from Charlestown Road. Mr. Oeste recommended that Mr. Kohli study the plan to ensure that his recommendations have been addressed. The hearing was continued to May 20, 2002.
Dixon Conditional Use Application. Mr. Oeste called this hearing to order. Joseph P. Ryan, Esq. represented the applicant. Residents going on record as parties in the matter were John Evans and John Cianci, of Three Ponds, and Aileen Whitman, of Charlestown Road. Mr. Ryan produced evidence of proper notification regarding Mr. Hughes and Mr. Neskie. Mrs. Whitman raised a question regarding preservation of the hedgerows that serve to separate the subject property from her land, and was assured by Mr. Ryan that the hedgerows would remain intact to the extent possible. A suggestion was made to document the existing hedgerows by photographs to help preserve them against being cut down in the future. Bob Harbison asked how the trees would be protected, and Mr. Oeste responded that this could be done through deed restriction. Some objections were made regarding the conformity of the proposed dwellings and the crowding of the homes on the acreage. Comments were raised that the plan has been in the works for approximately two years without the present Three Ponds homeowners knowing about it until late in the process. In discussions regarding the proposed layout of homes, Mr. Ryan stated that there were several versions of the plan, which used both halves of the tract. However, the plan now before the Board of Supervisors places homes only on one side of the tract, leaving the other as Open Space.
Mr. Evans addressed the Board regarding concerns of a number of Three Ponds home owners, which covered issues of water management for wells and water run-off, configuration of the homes, destruction of the view shed from Pikeland Road, proximity of the homes to the neighbors, and density. A petition bearing signatures of Three Ponds residents was entered for the record as P-1. A letter from Dr. LaPorte was entered as P-2. Referring to an informal drawing of the property, Mr. Evans proposed that the road into the proposed development could stay where it is today, saving the trees that are along it, and would continue into the eastern half of the tract where homes could be situated around a cul-de-sac. This plan would preserve the existing view shed, pond and meadow. Mr. Evans said that the land proposed by the applicant to remain as open space appeared, to him, to be flatter than the sloping land where the houses are planned. He felt benefits to be gained by the suggestions presented would be: building on less steep slope, saving approximately 120 mature trees, provide better set backs, and preserve the existing view shed from Pikeland Road. Mr. Ryan questioned Mr. Evans regarding whether he introduced this plan to the neighbors around the property, his views on water control, and whether or not there would be more tree and vegetation disturbance using his proposal. Mr. Theurkauf offered to make a review and comment on the suggestions presented. At this time, Mr. Oeste continued the hearing to May 20.
After a short break, the Board heard the Conditional Use Application of Mr. Aliano. The applicant stated that he had no objection to Mr. Oeste working in the dual role as advisor to the Board in a limited capacity and advisor to the Township as to legalities. The property in question is a t7 Oaks Road, and is owned by Joseph and Carol Aliano. Their 10-acre lot was subdivided to two lots in 1987. The planned home construction did not occur on the first lot, and now the second lot is up for sale. The applicant requests confirmation of the conditional use he says was awarded, allowing construction of a driveway to serve the two lots. Exhibits on the record for this hearing included plans, reports and decisions from 1987. Mr. Kohli will review the documents for any issues that must be addressed and submit a review letter to the applicant. An updated plan by Yerkes Engineering, submitted at this hearing, showed that no wetlands exist on the property. This hearing was continued to May 6, 2002.
The Board went to its next agenda item: The Baughman Mill. A partial survey of the area around the mill is being considered instead of a full survey of the property. Mr. Dale Frens compiled a list of work recommended for preserving the Mill totaling $217,000. Preservation work under consideration includes lifting the weight of the roof off the walls.
Tree Removal at the Ice Dam Bridge: The Board will ascertain if the bridge contractor could use his crane to lift some trees out near the dam.
GVSD Public Improvement Construction Agreement: A request before the Board concerns approval of a larger water main in Charlestown Road. Mr. Kohli will investigate the size of the water main that should be installed to serve the redesigned elementary school and water requirements for the proposed fire sprinkler system.
Discussion arose regarding billings between the school district and the township. The Board felt that the township should be reimbursed by the school district as quickly as possible so the township would not be "floating" money. A motion was made to approve the GVSD Construction Agreement subject to payments being received in 30 days or less.
Deerfield Settlement Agreement - This agreement has not been signed.
Spring Oaks Memorandum of Agreement -. This Agreement from Trammell-Crow, covering roadwork, was reviewed and revised by Mr. Oeste in March and is now before the Board for review. A requirement is that Trammell Crow must escrow the cost of road improvements with East Whiteland Township.
An application from PennDOT covers Charlestown Township improvements on Rt. 29, Charlestown Road, White Horse, Phoenixville Pike, Warner Lane, and a portion of Yellow Springs. The Board took note that they have not met with PennDOT, as they had hoped, to discuss the improvements. Additionally, they noted that representatives of Trammell Crow/Atwater have not approached the Supervisors of Charlestown Township directly to discuss the roadwork. However, Spring Oaks has been before the Board to request required approvals. The Board took note that the master plan for Yellow Springs Road in the area of Atwater shows restrictions on the traffic flow, in that they cannot make right turns onto Yellow Springs. This would direct the traffic toward Charlestown. The Board will invite representatives of Atwater to present their plans for traffic improvement and explain how the plan that was designed to accommodate Spring Oaks will now serve both Spring Oaks and Atwater.
Charlestown Park Round 10 Grant. Bids for the construction of the proposed basketball court were received from Antonini, Associated Paving, Brandywine Valley Contractors, and Malloy. Mr. Kohli and Mark Connolly will review the bids before an award is made.
Contribution to Camp Cadet: A motion was approved to donate $500, or match last year's donation if it was larger.
Charlestown Oaks Phase II, Escrow Release #1 - The release was approved.
Adjournment at 12:10 a.m.

Reported for Charlestown Green by Loretta Watson.
Monday, April 8, 2002  (Provided by Charlestown Green)
Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors' Regular Meeting
April 1, 2002
The meeting came to order at the request of Chairman, Hugh Willig. Present were Kevin Kuhn, Mike Rodgers, Paul Hogan, Irene Ewald, Tom Oeste, Esq., Linda Csete, and Surender Kohli.
Chairman Hugh Willig thanked and commended Harry Nagle for his long service as Chairman of the Zoning Hearing Board, presenting him with a framed Certificate of Appreciation, a bottle of wine and a gift certificate to be enjoyed by him and his wife Anneliese.
The Board approved its official Minutes of the March 18 meeting, the March Treasurer's Report, and April Accounts Payable with no objections.
Before requesting monthly reports, Mr. Willig called for the Spring Oaks Conditional Use Application Hearing, which was opened by Mr. Oeste. The applicant reported that he would comply with all provisions of Mr. Kohli's recommendations. The hearing and record were closed. The applicant will await decision by the Board of Supervisors.
Monthly Reports: Zoning: The Board received Mr. Kohli's written report along with brief additional comments. At Mrs. Ewald's request, he agreed to look into the survey being done on Bodine Road.
Planning Commission: At their last meeting, the reviewed a plan of Mr. Scipione for his property on Hollow and Pikeland Roads. A suggestion was to align the driveway with the driveway of the project in progress across the street. Next meeting will be on April 23.
Historical Commission: The Baughman Mill was discussed, reviewing the work necessary to stabilize the building. Mr. Philips stated the Historical Commission is seeking direction from Tom Commita of where in all the issues they should apply their efforts. An Agreement is underway to transfer ownership of the Mill from The Bartschi Foundation to Charlestown Township.
Roadmaster: Some work should be done on Howell Road to prevent winter damage; however, Mrs. Ewald felt that this should wait, since too much money has been expended this year. Mr. Faggioli and Mrs. Ewald agreed to meet and discuss the bills when they are returned by the auditor.
Fire Marshal/EOC: Mr. Alston quickly reviewed his written report, stating that many people have been cited for violations of the ban on burning, which is still in effect. He added that the new Hazardous Materials Ordinance has been well received, and stated that he is attending County-sponsored seminars regarding terrorism.
Parks & Recreation: Mr. Hogan said that he has met with Mark Connelly, who is assembling a bid package for the proposed basketball court, and that Mr. Connelly would be in attendance later this evening to discuss this. Mr. Hogan added that the Christian College is removing the fence along Coldstream Road and is considering replacing it with a type of fencing, that is more appropriate and safe.
Brightside Farm: No report.
Valley Forge Sewer Authority: Mike Rodgers reported that the employees at the Authority still wish to unionize with voting about two weeks away. He also reported that accountants will be auditing the financial records of the Authority. Priorities for 2002 will be discussed at their next meeting, and the issue of the East Pikeland sewer expansion is on hold pending a feasibility study of construction costs. An estimate was offered that construction would take 18 years. It was stated that the Authority feels that developers should pay the expense of expansion and not the Sewer Authority.
The Deerfield Subdivision was next on the agenda. Mr. Dobson presented a drawing of the proposed configuration of Deerfield, showing four or five specific lots for which he wished the Board to render decisions, approving the placement or type of sewage system for the lots in question. He stated that 99% of the engineering and testing has been completed for Deerfield, and that locations for both primary and back up sewage systems have been found on each lot, making use of the approved cross-easement to use adjacent lots for back up or emergency locations unnecessary. He assured the Board that the viewshed along Yellow Springs Road has been maintained, and that the by-right plan for 41 lots has been reduced to 39 lots on the present plan. The Board reviewed the plan and made suggestions as to placement of the systems in question. It was noted that the Deerfield settlement agreement has not been signed yet. The Board and Mr. Kohli expressed a desire for execution of this document in order to have a baseline of reference as to what has been agreed to by the parties.
Charlestown Park - Mr.Kohli advised that storm water management is under investigation in the area of the proposed basket ball court. Temporary measures will be taken to control the water until the final plan has been devised by the Christian College. Mr. Kohli presented a drawing of the proposed court for discussion purposes. Motion was passed that the Board will work with the Christian College on the issue of storm water management for the college park and Charlestown Park, and that a review will be made of any stormwater management plans presented by the College.
Keystone Grant (Baughman Mill). -- Kevin Kuhn reported that Dale Frens advised that the grant application is due by May 1. The terms would be a 50% match ($200,000 maximum grant), with the money possibly going toward windows for the mill and other preservation efforts. Mr. Kohli suggested that the timber be removed and a sealer applied to the stone walls to lessen chance of collapse from inclement weather. The township has placed "no trespassing" signs around the mill. Concerning the Agreement transferring the mill to the Township, the Board would like settlement as soon as possible, hopefully by May 15. The Board suggested allowing HARB (Historic and Architectural Review Board) to take the lead in making recommendations regarding preservation of the mill.
Meeting adjourned at 9:23 p.m.
Reported for Charlestown Green by Loretta Watson.

Monday, April 8, 2002  (Provided by Charlestown Green)
Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors' Regular Meeting
March 18, 2002
The meeting came to order at the request of Chairman, Hugh Willig. Present were Kevin Kuhn, Mike Rodgers, Paul Hogan, Irene Ewald, Tom Oeste, Esq., and Linda Csete.
Citizens' Forum: (In progress upon arrival.) A resident complained that he was not aware of plans for development of the Dixon tract. Another commented on the difficulty of learning about on-going projects in the township while reading the Official Minutes. The Board commented that the township office staff is available for explanations if you call during office hours.
The Board approved its official Minutes of the March 4 meeting and the current Accounts Payable.
The Siebert Subdivision, located on the south side of Pikeland Road, about 700 feet from Charlestown Road, is a combination of two lots one to be 15.5 acres and the other 4 acres with access to the large lot from Pikeland. The forest will be protected against development. Some issues brought up by Mr. Kohli and Mr. Theurkauf in a letter concerned the Horse Shoe Trail and sewer systems. Lot 1 will accommodate an on site system but lot 2 has not received approval for a sewage system yet. An easement will be drawn for the Horse Shoe Trail. Lot 1 (15 acres) has not been restricted to future subdivision at this time. A shared driveway easement will be needed in the future if and when lot two is developed. A motion to approve was passed subject to sewer approvals for both lots and a signed easement for the Horse Shoe Trail.
Hearings were opened for Altemose, Pomanti, and Souder, which were immediately continued to April 15, 2002. A hearing was opened for Spring Oaks Association Limited Partnership. After review of the exhibits on record, Mr. Tim Townes presented his information. The site is on White Horse Road. The plan has areas of high water and flood hazard where storm water management, a portion of two buildings, and a parking area will be located. Reportedly no improvements other than a storm water berm will be in this area. The steep slopes will be graded and retaining walls will be installed. Mr. Oeste suggested a continuance of the matter until Mr. Kohli could review the plan. According to Mr. Towns the storm water management basin is approved for construction and he advised that the buildings would be constructed for tenants and not on speculation. (continued to 4/1/02).
Scipione application: NVS Custom Homes Partnership is planning the development on Pikeland Road at Hollow Road which is now Farm/Residential Zoning. No representatives were present so this matter was continued to May 20, 2002.
Dixon application: Joseph P. Ryan appeared for the applicant. This property is on Pikeland Road near Hollow Road (opposite the Scipione property) and is Farm/Residential zoning. This is presented to the Board after advertisements in the Daily Local News and Planning Commission Review. Discussion arose regarding notification of adjacent property owners. Several property owners asked to become parties to the matter: Bob Harbison of Three Ponds, John Fenger of Three Ponds, and Charlie Miller of Three Ponds and on behalf of the Three Ponds Association. Ian Hughes and John Neskie were deemed to have not received proper notification. Mr. Ryan asked to go forward with the hearing due to Hughes and Neskie's past approval of the open space plan of development at the Planning Commission meetings. The Board agreed to proceed. Mr. Howell of Howell Association, Inc., explained the three conditional uses: Flood Hazard, steep slopes of 15-25% (roadway and parts of lots), and open space option. The existing hedge rows along the edges of the tract will be retained. The plan is thought to be compatible with neighboring areas due to the projected value of $800,000 to 1 million per home.
On site sand mounds and individual wells will be on the lots and Storm sewers in the flood plains will be "storm proof." The entrance to the property is on steep slope and some water control measure will have to be constructed. There will be 12 lots on the property. The existing Dixon residence will be on Lot 4 at the top of the hill. Set back from homes to property line will be 100 feet and some homes will be more than 240 feet from the Three Ponds homes. Homes are planned to be 80 to 110 feet apart. Discussion about secondary locations for sewers. Most of the sewer systems will be conventional, but a couple of them will be drip irrigation (e.g., Lot 1). Underground water detention basins for storm water will be used. Lot 2 house could be moved from steep slope but it would fall within 100-foot setback.
Trees to be added will be concentrated on the buffer between Three Ponds and site. Road way will have additional 129 trees. A resident noted that density seemed to be greater than at Three Ponds. When questioned Mr. Howell stated that the original plan called for use of the large open area on the plan (to the right of the proposed dwellings and further up Pikeland toward Hollow) but steepness prevented use of this area. Questions arose regarding water drainage down to Pikeland Road, which will be mitigated, with underground drainage. Mr. Ryan commented that one large piece of open space was desirable rather than smaller pieces. In addition, it was noted that the Horse Shoe Trail goes through the present site. Mr. Oeste continued the matter to April 15, 2002.
Baughman Mill: Application was filed previously by Bartschi Foundation to demolish the mill. Hearings resulted in a refusal to give a permit to demolish this mill, which is a National Register Site and is believed to have produced woolen blankets for Valley Forge during the Revolutionary War.
Mrs. Ewald commended Mrs. Bumeder for cooperation; while Mr. Kuhn said that Mrs. Bumeder had allowed the mill to deteriorate all these years and then wanted to tear it down. The Board approved the agreement before them setting forth a plan for saving the mill.
Board took a short break.
Spring Lane settlement agreement: Mr. Panizza was not present, so this was tabled.
Toll Bros. Settlement Agreement - Toll Bros. made application to develop the site at Route 401 and Newcomen Road as "Charlestown Meadows." Their first application was denied, but after many hearings, the second application was approved with 41 conditions to be met. Toll Bros went to court over 14 of the conditions. This Agreement sets forth the settlement plan on those 14 conditions, covering the following items (and other items): reduction of flooding across Route 401; moving the Recreation Center to a central location; walking trails, replacement trees (value of unplanted trees will be donated to CharlestownTownship Open Space Fund); signalization of Newcomen Road intersection and a warning signal on Route 401.
It was noted that the 100 foot buffer behind the proposed homes will not be affected by installation of turn lanes on Newcomen. East Pikeland residents stressed the need for adequate buffering and their concerns regarding the traffic that would try to use Stonecroft Lane. Mr. Kuhn advised that trees could be placed for buffering since a great number of trees were required to be replaced and not all could be replaced on the property.
A resident presented his views and concerns of the Natural Lands Trust of Media, which owns property in the area. He did not want land taken for road improvements and wanted a pond and wetlands protected from runoff. Suggestion was made to videotape the area as a reminder of its present condition.
Mr. Oeste assured residents that Toll Bros still had to present their final plan, which would be fairly similar to the present plan, and if it conforms to ordinances, etc, then it will come before the Board for approval. The plan will have 45 days from filing to approval and will be on file at the Township office for inspection. Some discussion arose as to how the Home Owner's Association will be monitored, and this will be covered in the Home Owners Association documents, which will be reviewed by township counsel for compliance. The Board unanimously approved the Settlement Agreement, after assuring residents that they were not completely happy with the events but this is the way to settle the disputes and gain some of the goals that were sought by the Township in approving the tentative plan.
Great Valley School District - Philadelphia Suburban Water has asked to increase the size of the water lines up Charlestown Road to the elementary school, citing safety and increased capacity. Mr. Willig asked that this be tabled until further investigation was made.
Adjournment at 11:16 p.m.
Reported for Charlestown Green by Loretta Watson.

Continued in Archives

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