Charlestown Township, Chester County, PA

 
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Established June 2, 1997
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News posted during October 2002

Monday, October 21, 2002  (Provided by Charlestown Green)
Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors' Regular Meeting
October 7, 2002
The Chairman, Hugh Willig, called the meeting to order at 7:30. Attending with Mr. Willig were Supervisors Irene Ewald, Paul Hogan, Kevin Kuhn, and Michael Rodgers. Surender Kohli, Tom Oeste, and Linda Csete were present also.
Announcements: Mrs. Ewald acknowledged and praised the Charlestown Historical Society's Patron's Dinner of October 21 and also activities on Chester County Day, when the Historical Society presented the Jacob Wisner House as part of the exclusive tour. Over 400 visitors stopped by to view this property and the various historic items and collectibles on display. Mr. Willig stated that the Board held an executive session on September 16, and that the ban against outdoor burning is still in effect in the Township.
Citizens' Forum: Charles Philips advised the board that the automobile that has been for sale for some time at the corner of Hollow Road and Charlestown Road is now parked too close to the road, causing a site distance problem. The Board will contact the property owner to have the car moved.
A Coldstream Road resident reported that he has been communicating with PennDOT regarding the dangers of the S-curve on Coldstream. According to the State Police, 11 accidents have occurred there since the First of the Year. He has suggested installation of reflectors and warning signs and has urged that a skid test be conducted by the State. The Board thanked him for his efforts and stated that they have not had so much luck with PennDOT over this situation, although Mr. Kohli acknowledged that he has had communication with PennDOT in the recent past.
Mrs. Ewald reported she had tried to get a three-way stop sign at Coldstream and Township Line Road and some improvement at the S-curve; but has found that East Pikeland has resisted these measures. Mr. Kohli reported that the posted speed would be lowered to 40 mph.
Having no more Citizens' Forum input, the Board moved to approve its meeting minutes from September 16, the Treasurer's Report of September 1 to 30, and the Accounts Payable of October 7.
REPORTS:
Zoning: Mr. Kohli gave some additional input to his written report. Charles Philips inquired about the regulations regarding heavy equipment operation over the weekend. The Board stated that hours of operation are Saturday 7 am to 7 pm, while Sunday is restricted.
Planning Commission: Mr. Philips stated that their last meeting covered a review of the Comprehensive Plan Ordinance. Also two developers came before the Commission with their opinions on the building height restriction and asked for a change in that regulation. Current measurement is average grade to peak of the roof (35 ft. max.) Mr. Philips said that the Official Township Map would be discussed at future meetings of the Planning Commission. He expressed his desire that more residents attend to add their input regarding Transfer of Development Rights and its uses in the historic districts. The next meeting is October 8.
Historic Commission: Charles Philips spoke for the Commission and stated that current issues are 1) obtaining a PennDOT review of curves on Charlestown road at the Village, since the store has been hit several times by automobiles; and, 2) review of the posted speed on Charlestown Road. Mr. Kuhn asked about the work on the Baughman Mill. Mr. Kohli responded that vegetation around the mill would be cleared as soon as a professional contractor has been secured for that work. A question was raised by Mrs. Ewald regarding restrictions against removing trees in the area of the Mill. No one could recall specific agreement language in that regard, but she felt something was raised in the discussions and will look into the question.
Open Space Commission: Mr. Kuhn reported that the group has not met since the last Vision Process meeting.
Roadmaster: No report.
Fire Marshal: (The full Report is available on Charlestown.org) Precipitation is 8.1 inches below normal and the burning ban is still in effect. Mr. Alston requested everyone to watch for the deer, and clean chimneys before heavy winter use. He also asked residents to use 911 for emergencies and not to call the fire companies directly, since no one is there to take the call.
Parks & Recreation: Township Line Road is getting trash along the road and the fence is damaged. Mr. Hogan requested a clean up effort. Rocks on the trail at Brightside Farm will be cleared. Mr. Hogan stated he is investigating poles for use as new guardrails on Township Line Road at the Park.
Farm Committee: Jacob Merriwether reported that the Farm Committee and CHS set up the parking in the Brightside Farm field for Chester County Day at Jacob Wisner House. (Note from L. Watson: the improved gravel road into the park was very useful and appreciated by all.) Jacob also mentioned that the John Pierce painting of Baughman's Mill was on display October 5 at Jacob Wisner House, and that he was able to get a photograph of it for the website. He suggested having the picture hung in a place where more people could appreciate it, such as the township office. Jacob reported that the Farm Committee is focused on cleaning the barn's interior walls, as far as can be reasonably reached, as well as the floor, including a power washing of the lower dairy barn floors. Mark Connelly worked up quotes from vendors to clean the barns, but the quotes do not cover all of the work proposed by the Farm Committee. The cleaning deadline is set at next spring in order to be ready for any possible spring events. Kevin Kuhn asked if Mark Cabot could do the power washing. Alix Coleman asked about $600 wage limit for a waiver of workmen's compensation insurance, which if okay, would permit migrant workers to be hired to do some work at Brightside. Mrs. Ewald thanked the Committee for taking on some of the work themselves. Mr. Willig did not think that workmen's compensation could be waived for any workers hired by the township.
VFSA - Mr. Rodgers reported he attended a meeting tonight, before arriving here, regarding negotiations with the Teamsters Union, which was voted in by the employees at the Sewer Authority. He also reported that the Phoenixville Wawa would be billed for use of the sewer lines.
The Board moved to the next agenda item, which was awarding the bid for construction of the two basket- ball courts at Charlestown Park. Mr. Kohli advised after his review that Malloy Paving was the lowest bidder. Mr. Kuhn motioned to award and Mr. Rodgers seconded. The Motion to award to Malloy passed, with Mrs. Ewald voting against, since she is opposed to the Courts being built at that location.
The Board awarded the contract for tree work to C.M. Jones.
For the Winter Salt Bids - Out of four responses, two were "no bid" and the other two: Ocean Port was $34.10 per ton delivered with a 22 ton minimum; Cargo was $39.95 per ton delivered. Motion was made to award the bid to Ocean Port subject to review by Mr. Kohli.
Martellucci Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan - Steve Romano, applicant, stated that 2 acres will be subdivided from the property at 4099 Howell Road. This property is heavily wooded, but the large trees were removed several years ago. He plans to use drip irrigation for sewage management. A new auger system, which places pipes vertically in the ground, minimizes the cutting of tree roots for the piping system. Mrs. Ewald was curious to know which person in the Planning Commission was first in favor of this method, and Mr. Philips reported that all the members favored it. To minimize tree loss, an underground retention basis is planned for water control. The Martellucci driveway will be used jointly for the first 18 to 20 feet, and then will branch off as a private drive. The applicant was advised that he would not receive a building permit until the county issued his sewer permit.
Hitz Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan - Mr. Hitz and his builder approached the Board, stating they have been before the Planning Commission and will resolve any possible remaining issues with the Board of Supervisors. The property in question is 10 acres on Bodine Road. Mr. Theurkauf reported that Comitta and Associates is satisfied with the preliminary plan and the applicant's efforts to conserve the trees. The Board passed a motion to approve the plan subject to meeting terms and conditions in Mr. Kohli's review letter of October 1.
Spring Oaks Final Subdivision Plan - This property is on White Horse Road. The Planning Commission has recommended approval. The Board pursued the addition of an 8 -foot wide pedestrian walking path which would connect to the sidewalks on Spring Oaks Boulevard. Mr. Townes agreed that this could be done. Mrs. Ewald also asked if benches could be installed along the pathways, and these will be noted on the plan. The second issue concerned adding to the plan a proposed right of way to grounds, next to Spring Oaks, owned by Filippo, which would be put to use in the event the Filippo ground became available to Spring Oaks. A preliminary Declaration of Covenants was submitted in 1994. Mr. Townes thought that initial construction of Spring Oaks would start a year from now.
Traffic Calming - Complaints are still being received by the Board over traffic using Union Hill and Rees Roads, stating that occasionally someone passes the stopped school bus. Police on the busses was a suggestion, along with having the bus pull to the center of the road when picking up and discharging students. The discussion over installation of speed bumps ensued, but no decision could be made as to where they would be located. One or two supervisors opposed the speed bumps, but a motion was made to study the situation. A suggestion by Mrs. Ewald concerned making Union Hill one way during rush hours. Mr. Oeste suggested repaving a section with rough material such as Belgian block or cobblestones. No decision was reached.
Board approval was given to close the Malvern Federal account pursuant to the Auditor's suggestions.
Budget Workshop meeting - Since the Altemose hearing has been postponed from October 28, the supervisors considered that date. However, two supervisors were unavailable. Therefore, the 2003 Budget Workshop will be held October 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Fall Road Tour - Mrs. Ewald suggested scheduling the tour in the Spring to view winter damage. Mr. Rodgers presented a list of roads needing repaving.
CCATO Convention: Several Supervisors expressed interest in attending this function on November 7.
Altemose Hearing - The Board reviewed available dates. Mr. Oeste will offer 11/4 and 12/2 to Mr. Ryan.
Escrow Release - Sal Lapio Homes - Mrs. Ewald suggested holding this payment due to continuing complaints from Charlestown Oaks residents regarding contractors and noise. The payment was approved subject to more control being exercised over the contractors.
Adjourned 10:27 p.m.
Reported by Loretta Watson
 
Tuesday, October 1, 2002  (Provided by Charlestown Green)
Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors' Regular Meeting
September 16, 2002
The meeting came to order at 7:37 p.m. at the request of Chairman, Hugh Willig. Present with Mr. Willig were Kevin Kuhn, Paul Hogan, Irene Ewald, Supervisors, and Tom Oeste, Esq., Surender Kohli, and Linda Csete. Supervisor Rodgers was not present.
Announcements: Paul Hogan stated he went to the Revolutionary War Cemetery where a Historic Yellow Springs member was dressed as a colonial woman and was placing flowers on Dr. Samuel Kennedy's grave. Mr. Willig announced that the Board held executive sessions on August 19 and September 10, and that the drought emergency is still in effect.
Township resident, Wendy Leland, is serving in Afghanistan. Her husband appeared before the Board to thank Jacob Merriwether for his cooperation and assistance in placing Wendy's letters on the Charlestown.org website for all to read. Jacob was presented with an American Flag which had been flown in a fighter jet over Afghanistan especially for him.
Mr. Gorman thanked the board for the road striping on Yellow Springs Road.
Bill Fell from Charlestown Oaks thanked the board for help on obtaining protective grates over the water inlet pipes at a basin in the Oaks development.
Republican Committee Woman Sue Staas reported that the elections to be held November 5, 2002, will be at the Bacton Hill Bible Church in lieu of the Charlestown Elem. School, which is under construction. The township will send notice to residents. Sue also requested signs near the polling place to advise drivers to slow down and possibly a sign at the Charlestown School to advise of the new location. Michael Churchill, Democratic Representative, advised that the Church was selected jointly by the Republican and Democratic parties and encouraged board action regarding the requested signs. Mr. Hogan suggested having someone at the school on voting day to hand out maps showing location of the new polling place. The Board authorized expenditure to cover notification by mail.
OPEN SPACE PRESENTATION: Andy Motel, Chairman of the Open Space Commission, presented a program explaining the purpose and urgency of the Open Space effort. He advised that the Open Space Commission was created in May 2001 to advise the Board. Their focus to now has been education regarding open space issues. The Commission adopted the County definition of open space.
Problems that we face are traffic, destruction of history, water issues, tax increases, cost of services, departure from our way of life, and growth due to the turnpike, Atwater, GVCC expansion, Volpe development on Phoenixville Pike, Charlestown Meadows, Spring Oaks Corp. Park, and others.
Good things are our Open Space values, aesthetics, environmental concerns, and economic benefits.
The commission's efforts have been to prioritize issues, focus, and pursue grant applications for the Solda property, Burgoon property, and the Horse Shoe Trail. The reality of how much is left to save is 1500 to 1600 acres (farm residential district land only). The question arises whether it is to be pursued as an ownership or conservation effort. For ownership, the township would purchase the property, as opposed to pursuing other conservation means. Consideration should be given to short- and long-term goals, how much property to preserve, and financial needs. An in-fee acquisition (ownership) would present management issues and would involve a per-acre dollar outlay. The estimated time in which to act to preserve the available space is 5 to 10 years, as the township is in competition with developers. The township would need ready cash and a recurring source of money. Grants are not fast enough to act upon a sudden opportunity and are drying up. Hypothetical per acre cost is $18,000. The presence of open space increases the value of properties around it.
HEARING ON OFFICIAL TOWNSHIP MAP: Mr. Oeste opened the hearing and review the exhibits on the record. He advised that the proposed map is authorized by the Municipal Planning Code and allows the township to designate properties that may be acquired in the future for open space or other use. Mr. Comitta gave an overview of the map. Mr. Willig announced that the hearing will not "close" due to the Rosh Hashanah holiday and two supervisors being absent. After a question and answer period during which many residents presented objections to having their properties designated on the map, the board stated that if any revisions were made, a new map would be available. The hearing will continue on November 18, 2002.
The Board took notice that Devault municipal land was shown as open space property.
The Board explained that as part of this open space effort if a property owner proposed to develop his land, the township ahs one year to act. Time has been shortened to 120 days for township action to decide to acquire the land in question or allow the development.
Bob Jones expressed his concern regarding eminent domain and future taking. What rights would owners have under this program. The Board responded that owners would have the same rights and the map is only an indication that the township has some interest in the land. The township would negotiate with the owner. Condemnation demands that Fair Market Value be paid for the land and condemnation is not subject to a transfer tax. Per Kevin Kuhn, the purpose of the map is to give notice to owners that the township has an interest and the township could try to avoid missing out on a property that is subject to sale. Mike Churchill said that the map indicates that the township has the right of first refusal on indicated properties, and this affects the homeowner's rights. This makes the homeowner give the township 120 days to determine the path of action.
The township must decide what they would like to do with the properties: keep for open space or allow limited development.
Per Mr. Churchill's question was how much of a hindrance is to be imposed on the homeowner? He felt 120 days could be too long in some cases.
Mr. Kling commented that financial considerations upon the landowner would be affected. Economic issues are being opened up with the possibility of disputes between the township and the landowners over financial values and ultimate uses.
Mr. Kuhn commented that the Board was considering allowing small subdivisions of lots in estate situations.
Wendy McLean represented the Naylors, who objected to having their property on the map due to the unbuildable nature of the property and that their home is on the property. They are fearful that if they desired a building permit they would be held up by the 120-day period. Ms. McLean said she felt the designation of "improved" properties is a new concept. Wendy noted that the Naylors are on Act 319 and in an historic district. Improvements made to properties after adoption of this township map do not have to be paid for at prevailing market values by the township.
Mr. Willig stated that the board did not have any intention to prevent building and improvements or fail to pay market value. The language would be improved.
Mrs. Crowell asked what problems would ensue in the event her property, which is in the name of her four children, is taken over by one child with the intent to subdivide for purpose of building a residence in the future. Would she have to be concerned with eminent domain? Could her property be removed from the map if she wished?
Mr. Comitta remarked that Thornbury Township had included improved land on their map (Brandywine Battlefield).
The board noted that Warner Lane may be taken from the map due to its development into a road. They also noted that the issue of property removal will have to be addressed.
Tina Daly asked about the legend of road types and widths, and was told that was an effort to be able to widen roads in a situation where a large subdivision is occurring. Also this could take effect if the township wanted to widen a road.
Ms. McCarthy requested clarification of property marked existing "quasi public and private open space." Three Ponds residents have donated some property from each parcel to make this particular strip of property.
A resident urged that surveys be done to define the viewsheds that are to be preserved and not tie up the entire property where the viewshed falls. Mr. Comitta advised that in some instances of easement, some land could e exempted and surveyed for a property description.
A Merlin road resident asked that his property be removed due to his inability to detemrine if value would be enhanced or decreased. He wants freedom in determining the future of the property, which is presently deed restricted to 2013. Mrs. Daly asked that large property owners not be penalized for holding their land 60 or more years.
Planning Commission and the Board are attempting to preserve land available and are looking for ways to do that. (Hearing continued to 11/18/02)
The Monthly Reports to the Board were tabled due to written reports being received and the late hour.
Planning Commission Chair, Bill Davison, offered his report. The commission met in August and reviewed Spring Oaks. They also discussed ordinance adoptions, watercourses, and TDR.
The Board moved to approve its August 19 official minutes, their Treasurer Report for August, the Accounts Payable for September 16 (general and state funds). They also ratified a decision made at a previous meeting regarding handling of the township payroll over the Labor Day period.
A Charlestown Oaks resident asked about enforcing fire lanes in the cul-de-sacs and he was referred to the Fire Marshal. Additional discussion arose over the homeowners inability to meet with the builder due to closed meetings. The Board offered its help. Mr. Kohli answered questions regarding the landscaping issues in Phase I (Iacobucci) and also about the rose bush barrier destined to be placed around the deep retention basin. The Board proposed a temporary fence be put in place for safety. Another question arose regarding having dead trees, which pose a hazard for homes trimmed or removed at Charlestown Oaks. In response to a resident's question regarding action to be taken in emergency situations, the board reported that in "life and death" situations any local municipality can be contacted (via 911) if the State Police cannot arrive quickly enough. As a follow up, the board inquired whether any construction crews are starting the workday too early. No one could say whether this was still happening, but informed the Board that the builder has threatened heavy fines to violators. Mrs. Ewald asked if any tot lots were in place, and the Township will follow up to determine their status.
The Board moved on to the next agenda item: bids for the proposed Basketball Courts at Charlestown Park. Bids were received from: Geissler Construction $61,100; Associated Paving $58,500; Malloy Paving $55,400. Mr. Kohli will advise the Board after a review of the submitted bids.
Tree Labor and Eqpt. Bids were also opened: CM Jones $35,475; Kirk's $50,875; Lords Services $ ? (This bid was determined to be incomplete). These will also be reviewed by Mr. Kohli before an award is made.
Planning Commission representative and alternate to the Regional Planning Group: Rick Reese was appointed to fill the post.
The Dixon Preliminary Subdivision Plan - an extension was requested to November 5, 2002.
Somerset Escrow Release #2, $35,825 was approved. Brooklands Escrow Release #3 was approved subject to payment of an amount owed to the Township. Great Valley Commons, Lot 15, Escrow Release #8 was approved.
Adjournment at 11:22 p.m. Reported by Loretta Watson
The next meeting will be at the Great Valley Middle School on October 7, 2002.
 
 
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