Charlestown Township, Chester County, PA

 
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News posted during June 2002

Tuesday, June 25, 2002  (Provided by Charlestown Green)
Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors' Regular Meeting
June 17, 2002
The June 17, 2002, meeting of the Board of Supervisors opened at 7:30 p.m. by Vice Chairman Paul Hogan. Present were Kevin Kuhn, Irene Ewald, and Mike Rogers. Chairman Hugh Willig arrived later in the meeting. Also present were Tom Oeste, Esquire, Surender Kohli, Jan Bird and Leah Campion (Linda Csete is on vacation).
Mr. Hogan spoke of an ordinance that would fine owners of dogs that were reported to police for running loose.
There were no speakers at the Citizens Forum.
The Minutes from May 20 were approved with minor corrections. The June 3 and June 10 Minutes were approved as submitted.
Altemose Conditional Use: Request for continuance was received from Joseph Ryan. This case will be heard on July 1, 2002.
Dixon Conditional Use: Ms. Charlie Miller, President of the Three Ponds Homeowners' Association, read into the record a statement from the Association and homeowners reflecting their views toward the development of the neighboring tract by S&S Development. They requested changes including 15 additional feet of setback, extra buffering, berms on the boundary lines, and evergreen trees to supplement the buffer of deciduous trees.
In response, Mr. Ryan, Attorney for the applicant, stated that the setback had been modified some time ago from 50 feet to 100 feet when the matter was before the Planning Commission. He reminded the Board that the issue for conditional use was a completely different matter than what is being requested by the Association. There being no further input from anyone in attendance, the record was closed and a decision will issue from the Board in July.
Sketch Plan Notification: The proposed ordinance has been advertised in the local newspapers but the matter is tabled to July 15 since the County was notified on June 15 and requires 30 days before the Board can act.
Traffic Issues: Mr. Kohli recommended to the Board that because Union Hill Road is curvy and hilly, speed bumps would only be appropriate on the stretch near Tinker Hill. Another way to control traffic speed would be to stripe the edges and middle of the road, effectively making the lanes a bit narrower and keeping drivers on one side. The Board will check to see if neighbor notification of improvements is necessary before action is taken. A resident suggested more stop signs, however, they may not be used for speed control - only for issues of pedestrian safety. If speed control devices are implemented on the road, the Township risks losing an allotment of Liquid Fuels funds, reimbursed by the County. A motion was made and carried unanimously to apply striping to Union Hill Road.
Certificate of Approval - Nancy Long - A scale model of the Church Road house showing the proposed addition was presented. Dale Frens designed a large addition and has proposed changing the driveway into a 'U' for easier access. PennDOT approval will be needed for the change to the driveway. Motion was made and passed that the plan presented be approved subject to meeting the requirements in Dale Frens' letter. Although she voted to approve the plan, Mrs. Ewald pointed out an objection that Mr. Frens was representing the applicant and the Board and considered this a conflict.
Roadwork Bids: Bids for stone, bituminous material, and equipment & labor were received. No award was granted at the meeting.

Stone:
Glasgow $7,847.00 FOB $10,528.75 delivered.
Independence: $8,800.00 FOB $10,915.75 delivered.
 
Bituminous:
Glasgow $50,600 FOB $59,420 delivered
Independence: $56,675 FOB $$56,975 delivered.
 
Eqpt & Labor:
Melchiorre: $263,100 (two pieces of equipment included)
Delaware Valley: $320,050
Dedication of Charlestown Hunt roads: Mr. Kohli states that the roads were complete, except for the traffic study within the development in order to set speed limits. Traffic lights that were part of the Charlestown Hunt plan are Buckwalter and Route 29, and Charlestown Hunt Drive and Route 29. These lights are to be erected if study warrants the lights, money for which is in escrow with the township. Mr. Kohli feels that the roads are in order and can be dedicated. All other issues, e.g., landscape, trails, retaining walls, etc.) have been resolved. However, the Board may hold off and do the study in the fall when the traffic conditions return to normal. Mr. Oeste would like to review the Deeds and the Board will do a drive-through to view the conditions. This matter is tabled.
S. G. Souder: (Change in driveway currently next to Charlestown Elem. School.) Mr. Oeste reports that the Decision is not finalized yet, but it can wait until July. He read the proposed decision containing seven conditions for approval, after which the Board voted to approve with minor additions.
Charlestown Oaks Escrow Release #2 Phase II. $248,418 was approved for release which covered detention basins and earthwork.
A complaint was received from Charlestown Oaks residents that construction vehicles were starting too early and this was resolved. For the future, Mrs. Ewald suggested that small signs be placed at the entrances stating the construction hours of 7AM to 7PM.
Other Business:
A Charlestown Oaks resident brought photos of a hole that was dug in May for repairing a manhole in front of her Forge Court residence and has not been completed. She considers it a safety hazard. Landscaping along the road was destroyed. The Board noted that Iacobucci Builders is responsible for completing all Phase I items.
The Homeowner's Association of Charlestown Hunt brought up several questions: (1) standing water on the roads after rainfall, to which Mr. Kohli responded that this problem would ease up when the roads were paved and the storm basin completed; and (2) the existence of large drainage pipes that do not have safety grates over them, which are a dangerous attraction for children. Mr. Kohli responded that this is part of the storm basin. Mrs. Ewald asked whether landscaping could buffer the basin, and Mr. Comitta suggested Maidland Roses for protection and beauty; (3) firelane designation in the cul-de-sacs. In response the Board directed the Association to Fred Alston, Fire Marshal; and (4) speed controls on Yorktown and Brandywine Roads. The Board responded that these are private roads until dedication, and no township action could be taken at this time.
Mr. Comitta offered that grant applications are to be ratified by the County Commissioners and he suggested that the supervisors attend that meeting.
Mr. Hogan suggested rental of a machine that would pick up small stones remaining on the ground at Brightside where a nice lawn area is planned.
Adjournment at 9:11 p.m.
Reported by Loretta Watson
The next Board of Supervisors' meeting will be held at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.
 
Monday, June 17, 2002  (Provided by Charlestown Green)
Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors' Regular Meeting
June 3, 2002
This meeting came to order at 7:30 p.m. Present were Supervisors Hugh Willig, Kevin Kuhn, Paul Hogan, Michael Rogers, and Irene Ewald. Also present were Tom Oeste, Esq., Surender Kohli, and Linda Csete.
Announcement from Mr. Willig: The Bridge on Route 29 would reopen on June 13, and the Board held an executive session after the last meeting to discuss legal matters.
Emory Todd, CPA, presented his report, stating that in 2004 the financial statements must be reported differently. The appraised value of all township assets must be reported, which would include roads, sewer systems, buildings, etc. As a Phase 3 Township, no retroactive valuation of assets is necessary.
His management letter to the Board reports the adequacy of the township's accounting system and makes recommendations for improvement. This year recommendations include changing the township checking account to an institution that will issue month-end statements. The present bank issues statements as of mid-month, which makes reconciliation difficult. He also recommended a change in interest reporting.
Highlights: As of December 31, 2001, Township Assets were $3.2 million (Brightside $1.5 million and Investments $1.7 million). Liabilities were a general obligation bond of $2.1 million (used to purchase Brightside Farm.) This leaves the Worth at about $1 million. Revenues from Real Estate Transfer Taxes, Licenses, Permits, and Grants were $1.3 million with Expenses at $1.4 million (Highway, Culture & Recreation, Legal, Engineering, and Planning & Zoning). A deficit of $100,000 was left.
Recommendation was that any acreage being purchased currently by the township should be appraised and added to the report as soon as possible.
The Board returned to its agenda. Mrs. Ewald made a complaint about a car parked on Charlestown Road with a for sale sign for a month and felt the Zoning Officer should contact the owner about removal. Mr. Kohli advised the Zoning Ordinance would not apply in this instance.
Mr. Rogers warned of the dangers of privately owned dead trees over the roadway. This issue will be discussed with the township solicitor regarding what can be done in the way of monitoring and removal of the branches before they fall into the roadway.
The Board decided to review their May 20 minutes at the next meeting.
Treasurer's Report for May was approved. A question arose in the Accounts Payable regarding checks requested by the tax collector representing refunds to tax payers who had made a payment in duplication of their mortgage company's tax payment. Before the checks could be approved, the Board wished to see documentation substantiating the duplicate payments. A question also arose about paperwork on a $1,000 payment for expenditure by the Open Space Commission in regard to the Solda property. The Accounts Payable passed four to 1 with Mrs. Ewald objecting due to the above issues.
Reports: Zoning submitted a written report with some verbal follow up to the Board. Mr. Kohli advised that the traffic light at Yellow Springs and Phoenixville Pike was waiting for PECO to connect the power for a "flashing" signal. The light would flash for a week before becoming active. The Charlestown Oaks residents do not want all of the plantings that have been designated in Phase I, because they do not have sufficient space to plant them and they also become a maintenance issue for the residents.
Planning Commission discussed County grants at their last meeting. The Planning Commission also would like to work on a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) ordinance, which they believe to be a valuable tool. The official township map still needs to be addressed with the Board of Supervisors.
Historic Commission - Charlie Philips stated that an application has been received for additions to the home of Nancy Long on Church Road in the Historic District. HARB has recommended approval of this application pending Mr. Kohli's review and approval. Deterioration of the walls at the woolen mill is a concern and they urge the commencement of stabilization measures. A demolition permit has been filed for tearing down the Devault Beaver House (next to the Charlestown Saloon on Route 29). In response to this, an ordinance is being formed to prevent demolition by neglect and encouraging alternatives to demolition, which would apply to historic structures outside the jurisdiction of HARB ordinances.
Roadmaster - written report received. No verbal report.
Fire Marshal - written report received. Mr. Alston reported, among other items, several fire alarms and four vehicle accidents for the last month. The drought emergency is still in effect. Any permits for fireworks display must be requested at least two weeks before the event.
Parks - Paul Hogan reported that excess trees were removed from the ice dam and that logs are available for the taking. Contact the township for details. Pickering trail was trimmed and fencing was repaired. June 8 will be clean-up day at Brightside. Applications are being developed for requesting use of Brightside Farm.
Valley Forge Sewer Authority (VFSA) - Mike Rogers noted that an issue before the VFSA is whether to expand capacity to 12.2 million gallons per day or join with Phoenixville. Per Mike, VFSA is operating at 45% of capacity.
The Seibert/Winnich Subdivision - Mr. Sieberts attorney stated to the Board that his client's request that the Board approve the subdivision without formal agreement on acceptance of the Horse Shoe Trail. Mr. Oeste replied that the township would assume the portion of the trail by easement and indemnify the Seiberts. The Sieberts attorney responded that his clients would not agree. Mrs. Ewald questioned how he could state that position without conferring with his clients, who were in the room also. Another suggestion offered was that the Board would consider purchasing the area of the trail. The Seiberts' attorney advised that his clients would probably consider a purchase offer. Mr. Oeste explained that the easement was a condition to approval of the subdivision. The Board approved the subdivision with conditions, and the applicant accepted the decision without an appeal. It's a "done deal." Therefore, the board will not accept the situation of the Winnichs' offer to allow a portion of the trail on their property without the Seiberts also allowing the trail. Mr. Oeste stated that the subdivision has been accepted but not recorded yet; and research will have to be done to see if a new application can be filed on an approved subdivision.
The next matter before the Board was a hearing to consider an Ordinance to join Phoenixville Regional Planning Commission and Execution of Agreement. The Agreement is ready for the Board's signatures. Motion was made to adopt Ordinance #101 to allow Charlestown to enter into the agreement. Mrs. Ewald objected to fears that Charlestown will not be well-served by this idea of regional planning. The Motion passed 4-1.
Road Work Bids - Motion was made and passed to approve the specifications as written; and bid documents would be available at the township office.
Open Space Commission appointment - Motion was made to appoint Marsha Solda to the committee. Mrs. Ewald raised an objection that it was a conflict of interest or would appear to be a conflict, since Mrs. Solda's property was recently recommended by the Open Space Commission and approved for remuneration in return for placing it into the land trust. Members of the Commission who were present (Kevin Kuhn, Sue Staas) stated that the Solda deal was already considered and approved before Marsha's offer to join.
Sketch Plan Notification - A proposed ordinance will be advertised that three lots in a subdivision will require notification to neighbors.
Aliano Decision: Approval was given with six conditions attached, as contained in the Board's letter to the applicant with copy to the Planning Commission.
Pomanti Decision -- The decision has been drafted by Mr. Oeste, and a motion was made and approved to accept this draft.
DHR Ltd. - The final escrow release for Chatauqua was unanimously approved by the Board subject to DHR meeting the requirements discussed by Mr. Kohli and obtaining a maintenance bond.
Other items: Mr. Rogers asked that no township meetings be held on the second Monday of the month due to his commitment to the VFSA meetings on that night. The Board stated they would give consideration to this in the future.
Mr. Hogan brought attention to an article in the newspaper regarding developers hiring undocumented workers, and he suggested a letter from the township urging developers to follow all Federal, State and local immigration and worker laws. It was noted that this requirement is already stated in contracts, but additional language could be added to clarify the requirement for compliance. Mr. Oeste advised that specific notification could present more problems in enforcing compliance.
J. Christopher Burch subdivision plan - A document is prepared asserting that the plan was approved on June 7, 1999. This certification would be placed on the plan. This issue results from an inability to locate the appropriate paperwork. Motion was made and approved.
After a brief discussion, the Board decided to issue a bill to a resident who damaged a township bridge with her car.
Meeting adjourned 9:55 p.m. Next meeting is scheduled for June 17, 2002, at the GV Middle School Reported by Loretta Watson
 
 
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