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 for May and June, 1998

Tuesday, June 23, 1998  (From Kevin Kuhn, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
Second Monthly Meeting of the Board of Supervisors
Monday, June 22, 1998
The second monthly meeting of the Board of Supervisors started at 7:30pm. Mr. Sauser, Mr. Wert and Mrs. Ewald were present.
Announcements: Mr. Sauser informed everyone in attendance that prior to tonight's meeting an executive session was held for the purpose of discussing the recent civil action that Leon and Carol Altemose brought against the Township and the Board of Supervisors.
Citizen's Forum: Gary Lewis, an attorney for two new residents in the Charlestown Hunt subdivision, requested the Board provide some relief for his clients as they attempt to resolve a situation with Realan Homes with regard to the final grading on their property. It appears that while Realan is complying with the township with respect to final grading, the work is creating a very dangerous steep slope condition on the property. This issue was not communicated to the buyers of the property prior to the sale, and they are now trying to negotiate a resolution. The board agreed to extend their Certificate of Occupancy permit by thirty days.
Accounts Payable: A special accounts payable for $7,000 for the Township's insurance coverage was approved as well as a motion to change to a carrier that specializes in municipalities. An in-depth review of our coverage, carriers and brokers is presently underway.
Agricultural Security Area Hearing: The hearing began with Mr. Wert reporting on the Agricultural Security Area Advisory Committee's meeting of June 8th. Mr. Zeigler, Chairman of the Planning Commission, reported that at the Planning Commission's June 9th meeting they voted unanimously to approve the Agricultural Security Area.
Linda Csete, the Township Secretary, explained how the soil designations were identified on each parcel. She estimates that the total parcels had 62.25% "Good Soil" and we needed 50% to qualify.
Chester County Planning Commission recommended that the Agricultural Security Area be approved. A motion to approve was made by Mr. Wert and all were in favor. Charlestown now has an Agricultural Security Area consisting of over 1,400 acres (10% of the township). Mr. Sauser again thanked Janet Baldwin for all her efforts in spearheading this effort, communicating it to the residents and signing up participants.
Old Business: John Panizza questioned the approach the Supervisors were using with respect to allowing both our present consultant as well as the prospective consultant take a look at the Deerfield Subdivision proposal so as to allow the Supervisors an opportunity to review their work. His concern was over the time the process would take and how binding the "winning" recommendation would be. The Supervisors assured him they would work to expedite the process and encouraged him to be open minded as the new plans may very possibly enhance his project.
New Business: Ellen Behrle, of the Sycamore Lane Homeowners Association, requested the Supervisors assist the association in maintaining the trees along Sycamore Lane, many of which are over 200 years old. The proposal was threefold. Remove seven dead trees as well as other large dead limbs, which pose a safety hazard hanging over the lane. The residents would take care of the remaining pruning to maintain the other thirty trees in healthy condition and continue to plant replacement trees. The board agreed to contribute to cover the costs of phase one and two with the Homeowners Association covering the balance. This was done not only for historic preservation purposes but also for public safety.
The PennDOT Agility Program was tabled until the next meeting.
Escrow Release #5 for DHR Limited was approved.
Citizen's Forum: John Panizza expressed concern in completing an agreement with a number of neighbors at the site of his Somerset Development. His plan approval was based on the neighboring landowners, who share a right-of-way, agreeing to allow the right-of-way to be improved and used for the new subdivision. This would eliminate and additional road cut off of Hollow Road, with the access road to the new development running right along side the existing driveway. The Supervisors agreed to help facilitate the process if they could so as to eliminate the creation of a new road off Hollow Road. Mr. Panizza informed the board that his intention is to re-submit his plan with the new road if the remaining residents and he can't come to some agreement.
Vincent Kling criticized Mr. Wert and Mrs. Ewald for their comments in The Phoenix newspaper this past weekend relating to an article on the proposed Turnpike Slip Ramp in our township. Mr. Wert informed Mr. Kling that he simply stated the Turnpike Commission has yet to provide a detailed proposal to the Supervisors, and he is not convinced that Charlestown residents will benefit from the proposed ramp. Mrs. Ewald concurred.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:30pm
Next meeting Monday, July 13th at 7:30pm at the Charlestown Elementary School.
Monday, June 15, 1998  (From Ellen Behrle, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
Regular Meeting of the Planning Commission
Tuesday, June 9, 1998
On Tuesday, June 9, 1998, the Planning Commission held its first scheduled meeting for the month of June, l998. Present were Chairman Bud Ziegler, Charles Philips, Vincent Kling and Cheryl Atkins-Lubinski. The meeting came to order at 8:00 PM as it was not until that time that a quorum was present.
Elizabeth Fisher, owner of an historical property located outside the Township's historical district was present to present plans to construct a non-conforming addition to the house. Ms. Fisher was to have a hearing before the Zoning Hearing Board on Wed., June 10 for variances to allow the building of the addition and was asking the Commission to recommend same. Due to inadequate plans, the Planning Commission declined making the recommendation but gave Ms. Fisher the necessary information for her to prepare the plans properly for a future Commission meeting.
The next order of business was to review the statutes and criteria for the Agricultural Security District. The statutes were read as well as the criteria being recited by Chairman Ziegler. The Board was then to review each application and determine whether each met all the necessary criteria. This process would not be conclusive at this juncture as the necessary soil sampling and analysis was not yet complete.
Tuesday, June 2, 1998  (From Kevin Kuhn, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
First Monthly Meeting of the Board of Supervisors
Monday, June 1, 1998
The first monthly meeting of the Board of Supervisors started at 7:30pm. Mr. Sauser and Mrs. Ewald were present, Mr. Wert arrived later.
Minutes of the May 4th and the Many 11th Meeting were approved. Accounts Payable were approved with a note to have the township auditor review and make recommendations as to how we may control the road work budget. The Treasurers Report was approved.
Written reports were accepted from the Zoning Officer, Planning Commission, Roadmaster, Fire Marshal, Parks & Recreation Board and the Valley Forge Sewer Authority. Mrs. Ewald expressed concern over the $18,000 roadwork bill and the Roadmaster, James Thompson explained that there were a number of areas in the township where there was standing water where culverts and swails has to be cleaned out that appeared not to have been maintained for fifteen years.
Old Business: Mr. Ramondo, the owner of a lot in the Whiteland Ridge which is situated in three different townships and is serviced by public sewer, except for Mr. Ramondo's lot which is in Charlestown Township, informed the Board that West Whiteland has requested a letter from Charlestown Township allowing him to connect to the system. The Solicitor suggested that $1,500 be held in escrow to cover the costs associated with amendments to the Township's 537 Plan as well as other associated legal costs and that this was no guarantee that final approval would be granted. Mr. Ramondo agreed.
New Business: Dr. Donald Anderson, who is constructing a home off Church Road in the Historic District which requires a Certificate of Appropriateness be issued after a Historic and Architectural Review Board (HARB) hearing, was granted the Certificate. Both the HARB as well as all three Supervisors moved to approve.
Spring Meadow Farms, a development off Whitehorse Road between Ashenfelter Road and the Whitehorse development was requesting the Subdivision and Land Development Agreement and Subdivision Financial Security Agreement be approved. All three Supervisors moved to approve.
A Conditional Use Hearing was scheduled for Elizabeth Fisher at the June 22nd Supervisors Meeting.
The Agricultural Security District Hearing was scheduled for the June 22nd Supervisors Meeting.
Escrow Release #7 for the Charlestown Oaks subdivision off Yellow Springs Road was approved.
Deerfield Subdivision Discussion (Pyle Farm off Yellow Springs Road): John Panizza was present and requested the Supervisors proceed to the next step in drafting proposed zoning amendments which would allow Cluster Developments like the one he is proposing for the Pyle farm and the Corial property off Valley Hill Road. The proposed sketch plan would have a total of 39 homes on one acre lots with on site septic and public water. Additionally the homes would be set back towards the turnpike to preserve the View Shed along Yellow Springs Road. Thirty percent of the tract would be preserved as open space and this would be located across from the twenty acre parcel the township purchased around the Historic Rapp House and the seventy acre parcel the School Board purchased for playing fields and future expansion. Bud Zigler, Chairman of the Planning Commission suggested that our planning consultant review and make recommendations prior to moving forward. Mr. Wert suggested that since we are in the process of evaluating a new planning consultant we should allow both our present consultant as well as the prospective consultant take a look at the proposal so as to allow the Supervisors an opportunity to review their work product. The motion was made and approved by all.
Next meeting Monday, June 22nd at 7:30pm at the Charlestown Elementary School. It was also decided to reschedule the July 6th meeting for Monday, July 13th at 7:30pm.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:30pm
Wednesday, May 20, 1998  (From
Unofficial Election Results
Female Member County Republican Committee
SUSANNA B. STAAS 257 65.39
WRITE-IN 1 0.25

Male Member County Republican Committee
JAMES R. MACKEY 141 35.79
WRITE-IN 1 0.25
Friday, May 15, 1998  (From Ellen Behrle, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
Second Monthly Meeting of the Board of Supervisors
Monday, May 11, 1998
The second meeting of the Board of Supervisors was held on May 11 (instead of May 18). All three members were present as well as the Township Solicitor.
There was discussion of the proposed Agricultural District, which is based on a petition from several land owners having at least ten acres in agricultural use. The Board voted to begin the necessary steps to process the petition. These steps include posting the area, holding public meetings to discuss the issues and a formal vote by the Board of Supervisors. A five member panel consisting of Janet Baldwin, Elwood Fisher, Jim Thompson, Marsha Solda and Robert Wert was formed and a public meeting for discussion will be scheduled and duly advertised.
The purpose of the Agricultural District is to map out those areas slated for agricultural use as well as providing protection from things such as nuisance complaints brought about as a result of odors and noises coming from these agricultural areas. Additionally, there is grant money available from the county for the purchase of development rights from land owners in these designated Agricultural Districts. Sale of development rights is an incentive to the agricultural user to avoid selling their properties to developers. After being paid for their development rights, land owners still maintain the right to sell their property to other agricultural users.
The Somerset Sub-division tri-party agreement was approved.
This reporter left at 9:30PM during a brief intermission without staying for the balance of the meeting.
Friday, May 15, 1998  (From Ellen Behrle, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
Special Meeting of the Planning Commission
Tuesday, May 5, 1998
On Tuesday, May 5th the Charlestown Planning Commission hosted the head of the County Planning Commission. A presentation was given on Landscapes 2000, Vision Partnership which is the County's Regional Land Plan. The presentation was made and after some discussion, the matter was voted on. A motion was made to become a part of the Vision Partnership and the motion passed with a vote of two to one. As part of this program our township officials still have the ability to control our zoning so long as it stays consistent with the overall County Regional plan. A matching grant program will become available to us for things such as open space acquisitions, parks and recreation etc.
An interview has been conducted with a candidate for the Land Planner position.
Friday, May 15, 1998  (From Ellen Behrle, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
Regular Meeting of the Board of Supervisors
Monday, May 4, 1998
On Monday, May 4, 1998 the Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors held their first regularly scheduled meeting for the month of May. All supervisors were in attendance along with the Solicitor and Township Engineer.
The electric poles going up the middle of Yellow Springs road will be taken care of and relocated. The Green Valleys Association is sponsoring a cleanup of the Pickering Creek on Saturday, May 9. Neil Kerrigan was presented the Community Achievement Award at his Eagle Scout Presentation. The road tour was held on April 30. Blackberry Lane and Pickering Road are slated to be repaved. The work will be done by the township's road crew. Devault Crushed Stone has been engaging in activity at 5:00 AM. The Engineer/Code enforcement office was encouraged to address this issue.
A State Police representative from the Embreeville Barracks addressed the lack of response issue associated with a suspicious car and a man acting strangely recently at the Charlestown Elementary School and a residence in Three Ponds. To improve the response time, Trooper Dougherty has implemented a procedure whereby any incidents at a school while school is in session will receive a higher priority. At the request of Vice Chairman of the Board Robert Wert, he also agreed to provide the Charlestown Township web site a description of the vehicle driven by the suspicious person.
The Minutes of the April 6 Business meeting were approved with two amendments. The Minutes of April 20 and Treasurer reports for April 1 to 30 and the May 4 accounts payable were all approved as presented.
Monthly reports were presented by the Zoning Officer, Planning Commission, Roadmaster, Fire Marshall, Parks & Recreation Board, Valley Forge Sewer Authority and Historical, Architectural Review Board. There will be a Planning Commission meeting on May 5 during which the County Planning Commission Chairman will give a presentation on the Landscapes 2000 Vision Partnership for the purposes of our township deciding whether to sign on to the Landscapes program. The HARB recommended a Certificate of Appropriateness for Donald Anderson who recently purchased a property on Church Road.
There was lengthy discussion regarding the Planning Consultant position currently available. This appointment is currently held by Tom Committa. There are two candidates being considered, Tom Committa and a Mr. Turner. The Planning Commission is hesitant to go with the second choice before they investigate a possible conflict of interest.
John Paniza asked the Board to approve his tri-party agreement on the subdivision plan for the Somerset Subdivision on Hollow Road. The request was denied due to paperwork not being submitted.
The Campbell Final Subdivision was approved as well as the Sprint/Spectrum Land Development Plan.
The Phoenixville Area Soccer Club, which is based in the Charlestown Park (behind the Christian College property), made a presentation asking that the Township apply for grant monies to install a $29,000 lighting system for the soccer fields. It was decided that the Parks and Recreation would review the process and do all the leg work to apply for the grants.

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