Charlestown Township, Chester County, PA

 
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Established June 2, 1997
by citizens for citizens

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March 16, 1998

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August 13, 1997
  
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Past news of events in and around Charlestown
News for November and December, 1997

Tuesday, December 16, 1997  (From Kevin Kuhn, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors Meeting
Monday, December 15, 1997
The second meeting of the Board of Supervisors started at 7:30pm. All members were present.
Irene Ewald was sworn in for another six year term as Supervisor.
Accounts Payable were approved.
The Sprint / Spectrum hearing was continued until the January 19th meeting as the Supervisors had just received the consultant's reports today and had not had a chance to review the material.
A request was made by DHR Ltd. for roadway modifications to the main road in their development off Howells Road. This development, which enters through Charlestown Township, has all of it houses in Tredyffrin Township. The change in road design which the applicants claim would be more environmentally sensitive, reduce cutting and filling and preserve more trees, was proposed. The revised plan would increase the grade from 10% to 12% and would eliminate the need to remove approximately 7000 yards of dirt as well as the elimination of retaining walls. The primary concern of the Supervisors is the fact that the road has a northern exposure and that, along with the steep slope, creates a hazardous condition for cars coming down the hill and sliding onto Howells road in the winter. Township Engineer Surender Kolhli stated that the trees have already been removed so no additional savings would be accomplished. Another issue was to relocate a parking area closer to Howells Road so cars could pull off the road in bad weather. It was agreed that the applicant would work with the Township Engineer and present a revised plan.
The Phoenixville Soccer club requested an extension for repayment of a construction loan with a remaining balance of $5,000. A motion was made to extend the term for two years and only take $3,000 this year.
The revised plan for the Whiteland Ridge subdivision was approved and signed. This is another development which enters through Charlestown but only has one home actually located in the township.
Escrow Releases were approved for Charlestown Oaks and Charlestown Brae (Whitehorse)
A motion was made and approved to set the millage for township taxes at .52 mills on each $1.00 of assessed value for fiscal year 1998.
The 1998 budget and budget resolution were approved.
Reorganization Meeting: The annual Reorganization Meeting is scheduled for January 5, 1998 at 7:30 p.m. at the Charlestown Elementary School.
Change of Location: The second business meeting for January will be held at the Great Valley Nature Center on January 19th. Parking may be limited so the Supervisors have asked that those who are able, to park in the lower lot.
Wednesday, December 10, 1997  (From Ellen Behrle, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
Charlestown Township Planning Commission Meeting
Tuesday, December 9, 1997

On Tuesday December 9, l997 at 8:00 PM, the Commissioners at 12/09/97 PC MtgCharlestown Township Planning Commission held their first regularly scheduled meeting for the month of December, 1997. Absent from the board was Ms. Atkins-Lubinski. (Click here or on photo for a larger image.)
There was discussion on the Pyle Farm property located at Yellow springs and Hollow Roads. Charles Philips reported on a meeting with John Panisa and members of the Board concerning his intended use for the remaining, unsold portion of the property which Panisa currently has under agreement of sale. Panisa has preliminarily proposed a development of 38 lots of $500,000.00 homes.
There was a lengthy conversation on the "open space" concept versus the "cluster" concept, the latter not permissible under our current zoning. Tom Comita, the Township's land planner, gave an interesting synopsis of our Township's different positions on the clustering concept from 1972, when clustering was permitted on properties consisting of 25 acres or more, to the present. In 1972 the permissible building acreage was 100,000 square feet. The ordinance allowed you to cut that acreage requirement in half allowing 50,000 square foot lots, thence came Hollow Run Farm.
Panisa's plan currently shows 38 lots using sand mound sewer systems. He has indicated that he would actually like to do 41 lots. Mr. Philips suggested that as they move forward with the guidance of Mr. Panisa, they invite a supervisor to their next meeting so that they are moving in a direction which the Board of Supervisors wishes to see. Mr. Churchill is to make the contacts.
An ordinance change was circulated making the NC zoning district into two separate zoning districts. One being for commercial use and the other allowing for a certain percentage of the area to be flex space. (Click here to view a map of the districts.) After some discussion, the matter was approved, and the ordinance will be heard at the Jan. 19, 1998 meeting at the Nature Center.
Mr. Churchill began the discussion on the progress of the preparation of ground water ordinances. The direction was for the solicitor to focus on how we can best protect the township against commercial pumping of ground water, as in the Perrier case in Coventry Township, and from general withdrawals to protect our wells. There was lengthy discussion regarding water recharge versus depletion. Mr. Comita commented that at this time there are no ordinances preventing the use of a quarry to pump and sell water after the minerals are used up. Mr. Churchill asked that the solicitor also check into this and to have all options to the Board for review in February.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:00 PM
There will be no other meeting of the Planning Commission this month.
Tuesday, December 2, 1997  (From Kevin Kuhn, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors Meeting
Monday, December 1, 1997
The first December meeting of the Board of Supervisors started at 7:30pm. All members were present.
An announcement was made by Chairman Sauser that the purchase of a portion of the Pyle Farm was completed, although he did not attend the closing. Mrs. Ewald elaborated on the numerous past contributions to the Township by members of the Pyle family.
The minutes of the November 3rd and November 17th Board of Supervisors Meetings were approved. The November Treasurer's Report was approved. The November 24th and the December 1st Accounts Payable were approved. Additionally, it was approved to give $800 to the Visiting Nurses Organizations and $250 to Swiss Pines to print a new brochure.
A recommendation was made to request a study of Hollow Road, which is a state road, to possibly lower the speed limit.
The Zoning Officer, Planning Commission, Roadmaster, Fire Marshal, Parks & Recreation Board and Valley Forge Sewer Authority reports were all submitted with no notable additional comments.
In the Citizens Forum, a resident asked the Supervisors what their intention was with respect to the use of the new open space acquired by the Township. Mr. Sauser stated that he hadn't given it much thought to it, since he opposed the purchase. Mr. Kohn and Mrs. Ewald indicated their desire to work cooperatively with the School District, who purchased 50 adjoining acres, and utilize the services of the Township Land Planner, Thomas Committa, to develop a plan for the property over the next few years.
There was a continuation of the Sprint Spectrum Conditional Use Hearing. The Environmental Impact Study was discussed as were the potential effects from Electrical Magnetic Frequencies and Radio Frequencies (EMF / RF). The applicant presented a specialist in this area, Dr. Kenneth Foster from the University of Pennsylvania, who stated that he would address any questions with regard to these issues. However, the Federal Courts have ruled that Townships cannot rule against cellular towers based solely on EMF/RF emissions, as long as they comply with FCC regulations. Dr. Foster, a recognized expert in his field, stated that he did a study on the proposed tower, and the EMF/RF emission would be less then 1% of the allowable FCC limit. The Township Land Planner, Thomas Committa, reviewed his concerns with the Environmental Impact Study, and the applicant agreed to address all issues that were raised. A motion was made to continue the matter to the December 15th meeting and leave the record open.
In other new business, motions to schedule and advertise the 1998 Re-Organization Meeting and the Whiteland Ridge Revised Final Plan were approved, as was Harron Communications Letter of October 20, 1997. Past Supervisor John C. Martin was unanimously appointed to fill the vacancy on the Zoning Hearing Board created by the sudden death of John DiLello, whose term would have been up in January of 1998. Cathy DiFillipo was appointed as Alternate Zoning Hearing Board member. Both positions are three year terms, and Mr. Martin will resign as Township Auditor to take the position. The Board received a letter from the President of the Great Valley Nature Center Board stating that the Township's lease has been extended until the Spring of 1999. However, the Supervisors all agree that it is now time to investigate alternate space and to specifically look closely at building our own building as an alternative to paying rent.
There was discussion of the Vibatech Report, which was commissioned by the Supervisors to study the quarry blasting. Numerous neighbors voiced complaints with respect to increased activity as well as operation at times which are not permitted, according to the written agreement with the Township. The matter was tabled until the Supervisors have a chance to discuss the report with their consultants and also provide written notice to the neighboring residents who are affected by the quarry.
Janet Baldwin presented the Supervisors a package consisting of over eighteen signatures for residents who have committed to placing their properties in the new Agricultural Security District. This represents over 1,050 acres in the Township.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 11:00pm. The next meeting will be Monday, December 15th at 7:30pm at the Charlestown Elementary School.
Tuesday, November 18, 1997  (From Kevin Kuhn, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors Meeting
Monday, November 17, 1997
The second November meeting of the Board of Supervisors started at 7:30pm. All members were present.
A moment of silence was requested in memory of John DiLello, Zoning Hearing Board member and long time resident of Charlestown who died suddenly last week. Also, a request was made for suggestions for a memorial in the Township in his memory
The Ferguson Final Subdivision Plan was again discussed. After one last request for Mr. Ferguson to consider deed restrictions, Supervisor Kohn requested a recess so the Board could go into Executive Session. Twenty minutes later the Board reconvened and voted two to one to approve the sub-division as presented by Mr. Ferguson. Mrs. Ewald voted against.
The potential relocation of the Emergency Services Control Center to space at the Charlestown Park, which is located on the site of the Valley Forge Christian College, was discussed. Earlier this year the Emergency Services Control Center was relocated from the Charlestown Elementary School to the Great Valley High School without the Supervisors' approval or even their notification. Bob Wert, the Emergency Services Director, was requested to attend the meeting tonight but could not. The issue was tabled with instructions given to the Township Secretary to provide Mr. Wert with three potential meeting dates so he could update the Supervisors on how this situation developed to begin with, and be involved in developing the solution to the problem. Mrs. Ewald also stated that when the Charlestown Elementary School was given to the Great Valley School District, an agreement was drawn up giving the Township space in the building in perpetuity. She will look into securing that agreement for review.
A discussion followed by members of the Planning Commission, Bud Zeigler and Vincent Kling, the Supervisors and John Panizza, the developer of Deerfield, which consists of the Corial tract and a portion of the Pyle tracts on Valley Hill and Yellow Springs Roads. Total acreage of this site is 95 and the initial sketch plan was for 38 houses. According to Vincent Kling, the township Land Planner, Thomas Committa, stated the plan was a "Max-out Plan" meaning it was designed for maximum density. The biggest concern of the Planning Commission is that the plan was not at all sensitive to the surrounding land uses. Mr. Panizza inquired if the Supervisors would be interested in a cluster approach whereby the density would not necessarily be reduced but the houses would be built on one acre lots and the fields and viewshed along the roads would be protected. The Supervisors agreed that sensitivity to the site was paramount and that they would entertain a more creative solution.
The Harron Communications Letter of October 20th, which requires the Supervisors' signature, was tabled until the Solicitor has a chance to review it.
Parks & Recreation requested that an extension to the County Heritage Park Grant be approved, and it was.
Escrow releases were approved for Charlestown Hunt and Charlestown Oaks, and a bank guarantee letter was approved for Sproule Development Company.
In new business, the Supervisors received an alert from the Pennsylvania Association of Township Supervisors regarding land use legislation to which the Senate is making substantial modifications and requested the Supervisors contact their legislators and oppose the legislation. The Solicitor will review and make recommendations to the Board.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:30pm. The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, December 1st at 7:30pm at the Charlestown Elementary School.
Tuesday, November 4, 1997  (From Kevin Kuhn, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
Charlestown Township Board of Supervisors Meeting
Monday, November 3, 1997
The first monthly meeting of the Board of Supervisors started at 7:30pm. All members were present.
A motion was made to advertise for an Independent Auditor to again audit the Township books. The motion was approved two to one with Mr. Sauser opposing the need for an Independent Auditor.
A request was made to have the Township Engineer look into the numerous sign around the township advertising developments, many of which are outside of the township. The law states that the signs must be within one mile of the area they are advertising. This request was the result of a resident communicating their concerns through the Charlestown Web Site.
The Sprint Spectrum Conditional Use hearing was continued to the December 1st Board meeting. Currently the township is deciding if they want their own consultant to testify as well as recalling some of the applicants witnesses to answer questions from the board as well as the residents. Lastly , they requested the applicant provide an environmental impact study.
Earlier this year the Emergency Services Control Center was relocated from the Charlestown Elementary School to the Great Valley High School without the Supervisors' approval or even their notification. This center is for coordinating emergency services for the township in the event of a major emergency (Limerick, toxic spill etc..) and is now actually located outside of our township. It was decided to evaluate a site the township owns at the Charlestown Park at the Valley Forge Christian College. The site is actually an old jail which would be renovated, possibly with funding assistance from PECO. The Supervisors will look at the site on Friday, November 7th.
The Ferguson Final Subdivision Plan was again discussed. The Township Solicitor was instructed at the last meeting to contact Mr. Ferguson to develop contract language which would allow him to subdivide his 30 acre parcel into three 10 acre tracts with a temporary deed restriction. In the event he could not successfully market the properties he could then come back to the Township and pursue further subdivision. Mr. Ferguson stated that the Solicitor didn't speak with him until after the agreement was drafted and the first time he saw the agreement was at the meeting Monday evening. Mr. Ferguson was opposed to the agreement and stated that if necessary he would resubmit his subdivision with the maximum density allowed under present zoning. The Supervisors' desire to deed restrict the three lots is based on the surrounding large lot developments (15 acre average) and the suggestion from the Chester County Planning Commission that a deed restriction should be considered.
The Road Salt Bids were awarded and a motion was made to award the contract to the low bidder subject to them demonstrating proof that they could deliver in a timely manner.
The Revolutionary Cemetery Wall Repair was discussed and the architect representing the Historic and Architectural Review Board, Dale Frens estimated the total cost could exceed $150,000. Mr. Frens suggested that the Township contract with Mr. Kent Spotts for two days of labor to repair a small section so as to determine how much work could be accomplished and develop a more accurate estimate. A motion was made and approved to adopt this course of action but to contact Mr. Frens and determine if the work shouldn't be postponed until Spring.
Off-Site Township Record Storage was approved by all three Supervisors so as to better protect the many years of Township records. The vendor to be used is Guardian Services in Reading, PA and the estimated costs would be $500 annually with an additional $250 one time set-up fee.
The Budget meeting was scheduled for after the November 11th Supervisors' meeting and is for the purpose of developing the 1998 Township Budget.
A number of residents have complained to the Township regarding the construction at Charlestown Hunt and Supervisor Kohn will attempt to work with the residents and the developer to seek a resolution. He stated however that the Township can only hold a developer liable if they are not building up to code.
There have been an increased rate of accidents at Pickering Dam and Charlestown Roads and a request was made to have the State Police look into the matter.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 10:15pm
Next meeting Monday, November 17th at 7:30pm at the Charlestown Elementary School.

Continued in Archives


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