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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News posted during May 2002

Wednesday, May 29, 2002  (Provided by Charlestown Green)
Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors' Regular Meeting
May 20, 2002
Chairman Hugh Willig called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. Present were Supervisors Hugh Willig, Kevin Kuhn, Paul Hogan, Irene Ewald, and Michael Rodgers. Also present were Tom Oeste, Esq., Surender Kohli, and Linda Csete.
Mike Rodgers stated he attended six work sessions for the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Managers.
Paul Hogan had no announcement, but questioned the dollar amount of a bill for ice dam tree removal and disposal, stating that no disposal service was performed, and he disposed of the refuse himself.. Mr. Kohli responded that the bill was correct since a "50-foot boom" was required to assist the crane in lifting the trees.
Mrs. Ewald reminded all present of Election Day and that all should cast their vote.
Mr. Willig announced that the Board held an executive session after the May 13th meeting.
Mrs. Ewald then introduced residents Martine and Martin Tranie of Pine Drive. She announced that Martine, Martin and their children had just become American Citizens and, on behalf of the Township, presented them with a framed Certificate of Appreciation.
Citizens' Forum - Mr. Gil Mariano of Rees Road asked the board for assistance in removing gravel from his yard which has crept from the road onto his property destroying grass, which he would like restored. The Board will discuss the issue with the Roadmaster.
The Board approved its Minutes of May 6, 2002, after clarification of comments and requests made by the Board regarding the Spring Lane plan. Minutes of May 13 and the May 20 Accounts Payable were also approved.
Open Space Commission - This commission was formed in May 2001 to advise the Board regarding properties to focus on for open space consideration. Their efforts have been directed as follows.

  1. Horse Shoe Trail Grant Proposal where the County will award $50,000 with matching funds from the township for the purpose of acquiring easements along the Trail. In support of this effort, Board Resolution #593-02 was issued.
  2. Northern Chester County Agricultural Matching Grant Program (21st Century Fund), which is designed to preserve lands north of Route 30. The County would provide 50% of the per-acre development rights with the township providing the other 50%. Charlestown residents, Mr. and Mrs. Burgoon, whose property is under consideration, would be willing to donate a portion of the township's half. A request was made to the Board for a letter stating its willingness to provide a percentage of the township's portion. Motion was made and approved, and a draft letter was approved.
  3. Collaboration with The French and Pickering Creek Conservation Trust and Preservation Partnership Program regarding the 38-acre Solda property (Vahalla) on Merlin Road. The County will pay up to $350,000 as a match to the dollars provided by the French and Pickering Trust. A letter of support from the Board was requested in order to start the grant application. East Pikeland Township has expressed interest also, due to a large portion of this property being in that township.
Aliano Conditional Use Application for property on Seven Oaks Road. Mr. Oeste reported that Yerkes Associates provided a letter and map, dated March 15, 2002. Al Giantonio, President of Yerkes Associates presented three drawings of the lot in question, showing flood hazard area, areas of non-disturbance, and improvements necessary before the proposed building and driveway can be constructed. This study reported 170 feet less flood hazard area now on the property, as compared to a study done in the 1980's. After discussion the Board approved the conditional use application with conditions that the flood hazard boundary line is established, the driveway is constructed per the proposed plan, and the house is placed 25 feet outside the (flood hazard) line.
S.G. Souder Builders Conditional Use Application. Mr. Oeste opened the hearing which was a continuation of previous hearings before the Board. The applicant requests permission to change driveway access to the subject property (Lot 5) from Charlestown Road to Route 29 via Dickson Drive. Testimony presented indicated that there would be three-quarters less disturbance area with the new configuration. The new driveway would use an easement to cross Lot 6 and enter onto the existing driveway for Lot 6, and then proceed to Dickson Drive and Route 29. Mr. Galbraith inquired whether the new driveway would cross his lot and whether gravel would be placed on Lot 7. Ms. Leland, attorney for the applicant, acknowledged that part of the driveway that is presently on Lot 7 would remain, but no gravel would be placed on Lot 7. Mrs. Leland offered that this driveway change would be a benefit to the school district by possibly eliminating the need for a retaining wall on the property line. Decision of the Board will be issued by June 3.
Dixon Conditional Use Application (S&S Developers, Inc.) This hearing is to permit the parties and neighbors in the matter to give their testimony. Mr. Lee Stivel, counsel for Three Ponds Homeowners' Association, who had been retained within the week by the Association to review the matter, requested a continuance via letter to the Board. However, Mr. Stivel was present and explained to the Board that C. J. Frederick, a land planner from West Chester, had been contacted to develop an alternative configuration of the proposed development that would limit impact to steep slopes. Mr. Stivel advised two weeks' would be needed to complete the review and produce a plan. Since Joseph P. Ryan, Esq., attorney for the applicant, would not be available in two weeks, a one-month continuance was requested by Mr. Stivel. Mr. Stivel reported that he had contacted Mr. Ryan to ascertain if the equitable owner, Mr. Dixon, would be agreeable to certain concessions in the proposed plan. Also Mr. Comitta's office had been contacted regarding possible tree and steep slope conservation. After debate and objection by Mr. Ryan, the Board, in the interest of fairness, decided to hear the presentation of Mr. Stivel and Mr. Fredericks on June 17, but bearing in mind that a decision must be rendered 45 days from now. The matter was continued to June 17, 2002.
After a short break, the meeting continued with discussion of the Winnich/Seibert Subdivision. This property was previously owned by the Wentz's, and is now divided between the Seiberts (2/3) and the Winnichs (1/3), totaling approximately 12 acres. The Seiberts are unwilling to sign the permanent easement agreement allowing the Horse Shoe Trail to pass over their portion. A suggestion was offered to the Seiberts that the Recreation Act applies to recreation activities on unimproved land and would limit liability to property owners. This is believed to also cover the Horse Shoe Trail. Mr. Oeste suggested a license agreement, as opposed to an easement, where the parties would be indemnified against liability. The Board decided to review this matter in an executive session and try to have a decision at the June 3 meeting.
Altemose Conditional Use Application -Joseph P. Ryan, Esq. presented his witness, Mr. Madjelewski, designer of the facility, who presented testimony regarding the layout of the building, sizes of the units, and the estimated number of residents, in order to answer a question raised previously regarding density. The plan he presented had been revised substantially from the initial presentation to the Board. An average "studio" unit would be 350 square feet. The number of skilled nursing units would be reduced to 64 (from 256). This reduction resulted from considerations of need in the area and licensing considerations. He reported that 40% of the units (316 total) would be one-bedroom units averaging 600 square feet; 40% (316 total) would be studio units averaging 350 square feet; and 20% (168 total) would be two bedroom units averaging 900 square feet. The 64 skilled nursing units (the size of a small hospital room) would be divided equally between the two buildings and be on the same floor in each building. As previously stated, the two buildings would contain other areas including recreation, kitchen, dining rooms, administrative areas, etc. Parking areas would be located under the buildings. A total of 864 living units are planned, as opposed to the initially proposed 1,864 units. This matter was continued to June 17, 2002.
The Board next heard from Steven Van Vliet of State Road at Union Hill Road, who is pursuing a Zoning Hearing Board application in order to gain permission to build a small addition to his house situated on Flood Plain. He would like to add a 680 sq. ft., two-story addition (on a slab) which would enlarge the existing master bedroom, add closet space and a new bathroom. He is concerned about the set back requirements from Route 29 and the stream and the FEMA determination that the 1881 house is on flood plain. He advised that the septic system is maintained regularly and has had no problems. Mr. Kohli suggested that Mr. Van Vliet check with the Department of Health to confirm the adequacy of the existing septic system. Mr. Kohli also advised that if the contemplated addition was determined to be out of the flood plain, then the variance would be in regard to the setback requirements. Tom Oeste, Esquire, counsel for the Board, advised that FEMA regulations may prevent this plan from going forward, and that building on the flood plain could jeopardize others in the township from having flood insurance through FEMA. Mr. Oeste will investigate the FEMA regulations
The Blackberry Lane Drainage Easement - William Davison, Planning Commission, stated he signed off on this document.
Mr. Davison brought up a complaint that a contractor, installing pipe in a trench, used his pile of topsoil without permission, did not give him any back, and, therefore, he is requesting reimbursement. A motion was made and approved to reimburse via the contractor.
The bid document covering road materials, equipment, and mowing along the township roads has been drafted by Mr. Kohli and will be further reviewed by the Board and the Roadmaster before it is approved for advertising. A separate bid document will be prepared to cover tree work.
The Board approved the Act 537 Sewage Management Plan noting addition of information regarding homeowner education and website access.
The Board set the date of May 28 for an executive session to discuss issues relating to Mr. Panizza's property and the Winnich/Seibert.Subdivision.
Countryside Exchange -- Motion tabled from the last meeting - After a brief discussion, the Board voted 4-1 to allow the expenditure of $2000 to $4000 for the group of consultants, who would be presenting a report of their findings to the township. Mrs. Ewald was not in favor, feeling it was an unnecessary project.
Mr. Kuhn presented a request from The Phoenixville Library for a township donation, stating that 2000 residents in the township had (County) library cards and were patrons of the Phoenixville Library. Mrs. Ewald noted that Phoenixville Library is a part of the library system and receives funds through the County. No decision was rendered.
Right-of-way lines established in the area of the Charlestown Woolen Mill were approved.
Meeting adjourned at 12:03 a.m.
Reported by Loretta Watson
Supervisors' Business Meeting on Monday, June 3, 2002, at 7:30 p.m.
Brightside Farm Vision Process Session, Monday, June 10, 2002, at 7:30 P.M.
Wednesday, May 15, 2002  (Provided by Charlestown Green)
Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors' Regular Meeting
May 6, 2002
This meeting came to order at 7:30 p.m. Present were Supervisors Hugh Willig, Kevin Kuhn, Paul Hogan, and Irene Ewald (with Michael Rodgers absent). Also present were Tom Oeste, Esq., Surender Kohli, and Linda Csete.
The Board approved its Minutes of April 15 and 22, 2002, as well as the Accounts Payable and Treasurer's Report.
Zoning and Planning Commission submitted their written reports with some verbal follow up to the Board. There was no one present to enhance the Reports of the Historical Commission or the Roadmaster. The Fire Marshal read his report and commented that several residents have been cited for open burning during the ban. Parks & Rec Board report was given by Mr. Hogan. The Brightside Farm Committee report would be presented later. No report was available for VFSA, as Mr. Rodgers was absent.
Hearing for Pomanti's Conditional Use Application - Mr. Robinson appeared for the applicant and presented U.S. Mail return receipts as evidence that the immediate neighbors have been notified of this hearing. Mr. Oeste closed the record and advised a decision will be issued by the Board.
Aliano Conditional Use Application - No one on behalf of the applicant was present, however, Mr. Oeste advised that the record was still open in this matter and the Board was awaiting Mr. Kohli's review comments. Mr. Kohli advised he is awaiting information from the applicant before he can complete his review. This hearing was continued to May 20, 2002. Shortly afterward, Mr. Aliano arrived and the hearing was reopened. The applicant advised he was concerned over Item 4 of Mr. Kohli's letter regarding the Flood Hazard District. A survey by Yerkes Engineering from the 1980's is slightly different than the most recent Yerkes survey regarding Wetlands. The Board requested that clarification be obtained from Yerkes as to the discrepancy. Mr. Aliano presented some additional information in the form of two typewritten pages, and he will address Mr. Kohli's concerns as quickly as possible. This hearing is still continued to May 20.
Altemose Conditional Use Application -Joseph P. Ryan, Esq. requested a further continuance due to the unavailability of a witness. This hearing was continued to May 20, 2002.
Old Business:
Spring Lane Farms - Representatives of GenTerra presented the newly revised plan for Spring Lane in accordance with previous directives from the Board; however, some members of the Board insisted that Lot 6 be eliminated. The Board has been discouraging GenTerra from placing any houses in or near the wooded areas, has objected to other minor aspects, and has been sending this plan back to the drawing board for several years. Mrs. Ewald made an off the cuff comment that she wanted Lot 9 out also. According to the lawsuit, which is pending, if the Board does not accept this settlement plan or the previously presented settlement plan for the project, the Chester County Court will make the decision in this matter. The Board did not give its approval to the Spring Lane plan, which has been revised and presented for the Board numerous times by GenTerra.
Spring Oaks Business Park Conditional Use Decision. The Board approved this plan subject to meeting conditions imposed by Mr. Kohli and Thomas Comitta Associates.
Brightside Farm public Vision Planning Sessions were scheduled for June 10, July 22, and September 23.
After long debate over Mrs. Ewald's reluctance to approve, stating this should be presented to the voters as a referendum issue, the advertising of the proposed Ordinance to Sign Intercooperative Agreement with the Phoenixville Regional Planning Commission was approved. Mr. Willig stated he would be in favor of a referendum vote when the adoption of the regional plan is to be decided.
The Board approved the advertising for soliciting of bids to remove trees at the Ice Dam.
The Addendum was not approved which would extend the County Grant Round 10 deadline to 12/31/02 - The matter was tabled by the Board.
Charlestown Park Basketball Court - Bids were received recently, but a determination was made that a retention basin would be unnecessary. Therefore, the Basketball Court will need to be rebid by the contractors.
New Business:
The Board was shown a scale model of the modern design dormitory building planned by the Christian College. This would be the first in a series of similar buildings to house the students. A drawing was presented of the Christian College property showing where the proposed buildings would be situated. Approval of the plan was granted.
The Board discussed possible roads to be paved this year, which included part of Howell's Road, Pickering Road, and Yellow Springs near Charlestown Oaks. Bid documents will be drafted and presented at the next Supervisors' meeting.
County Grant Round 14 - Horse Shoe Trail grant - The Parks and Rec Committee and the Open Space Committee met and have estimated that $100,000 will be required to memorialize the portions of the Trail in Charlestown Township. The Mobil pipeline easement or right-of-way in the area of Union Hill Road will be investigated for use as a piece of the trail.
County Grant - Comprehensive Plan Implementation - The Board reviewed and approved the final grant request as prepared by Mr. Comitta. It was noted that the GIS map is inaccurate and needs examination.
Countryside Exchange - This item concerns a group of individuals who would investigate the township and make recommendations as to improvements that could be implemented. The cost would be $2000 to $4000. The Board did not approve participation in this program.
Saddlebrook (2-lot subdivision) - the sewage facilities planning module was approved.
After Mr. Kohli's advice that matters are in order, the Charlestown Oaks Escrow requests were approved.
Siebert/Winnich Subdivision - Due to a refusal by the Sieberts to sign the formal document enabling the trail to pass over their portion of the property, this matter was not resolved. The Sieberts are deeply concerned over liability issues. Michael Main was present and explained that in developing his residential project on White Horse Road, he worked out some language that satisfactorily addressed the liability issues, and he offered copies of same to the Sieberts, through their attorney, for review. This matter will be addressed again in the future.
Brooklands Financial Security Agreement and Subdivision and Land Development Agreement - approved.
Other Business:
The Board discussed with Mr. Kohli the proper size pipe that should be installed to serve the Charlestown Elementary School. He said 12" is standard for the School. A letter will be sent to the School Board and the water company approving a 12" pipe, which will serve water and fire sprinkler requirements.
The Board seemed to be opposed to Bill 1413 which, in part, states that a township cannot restrict uses on farmland and agricultural land, and will contact the legislators.
Adjourned at 10:30 p.m. Reported by Loretta Watson
Continued in Archives

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