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 November and December, 1998

Wednesday, December 23, 1998  (From Kevin Kuhn, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
Regular Meeting of the Board of Supervisors
Monday, December 21, 1998
The monthly meeting of the Board of Supervisors started at 7:30pm. Mr. Sauser, Mrs. Ewald and Mr. Wert were present.
Announcements: Mrs. Ewald informed all that the Charlestown Website would be providing updated information on the whereabouts of Santa Christmas Eve.
Approval: Accounts Payable Report for December 21st was approved and a motion was made and approved by all to provide the Township Secretary, Linda Ceste with a year end bonus. Linda was recognized for her excellent work this year in getting all the old township records cataloged and in off-site storage as well as coordinating the township office move earlier this year.
1st Citizen's Forum: A resident asked why the PA Turnpike Slip Ramp Resolution had been taken off the agenda since the Board had told all in attendance at the last meeting that it would be on this evenings agenda. Mr. Sauser stated that the Board did not agree to this and at that point a number of others in attendance voiced strong opposition to the item being removed and reminded the board that many individuals came to this evenings meeting specifically for this issue. Mr. Sauser said this item was to be discussed at the 2nd Citizen's Forum at the end of the meeting as the 1st Citizen's Forum was only for comments regarding items on tonight's agenda.
Old Business: The Phoenixville Area Soccer Club Contract was renewed for an additional seven-year term. They were commended on doing a great job with the program as well as building and maintaining the facility. Additionally they have paid off their $7,000 loan to the Township in full.
The Route 29 Bridge at the Ice Dam was discussed. The Township Solicitor worked with PennDOT to develop easement language. The easement has changed and is substantially reduced. Mr. Sauser asked that the Stonorov family review the easements as it relates to their property. He also said that PennDOT agreed to face the bridge with stone and reduce the wall height to 32" so as to preserve the viewshed of the old Ice Dam.
New Business: The Open Space Ordinance hearing is scheduled for Monday, January 18, 1998 at the Great Valley Nature Center at 7:30pm. This relates to the new ordinance that is being proposed to facilitate the open space and viewshed preservation of the Deerfield Subdivision [see 30-C], which includes part of the Pyle Farm tract.
A revised Township Fee Schedule was approved by all and resolution 534-98 was adopted. This adjusted the cost individuals are required to pay to get copies of Township records to be more in line with our neighboring townships.
The Signal Service Contract was approved for 1999 this provides for maintenance of the signal light at Route 29 and Phoenixville Pike. Additionally, a $7,000 quote from Signal Service was received to provide left turn signals at the intersection which all three Supervisors approved.
A question was raised as to what could be done to improve the situation at Route 29 and Whitehorse Road and the Supervisors explained that this project is already in the works and is waiting for PennDOT to begin the work. Additionally some private funds (corporate) my be involved to move the project along more quickly.
Improvements on Newcomen Road, which is a township boundary road, were discussed. West Pikeland is requesting that Charlestown share in the cost of the improvements. The cost was originally estimated at $19,000. An alternative estimate came in at over $40,000 and included widening the road. The Supervisors agreed to split the cost of the lower estimate and would like to also split the cost of the two new signal lights on 401 with West Pikeland. Mrs. Ewald will communicate this with West Pikeland.
Two Escrow Releases were approved for DHR, Ltd.
The Tax Levy Resolution was approved after some discussion. The proposed budget is based on .52 Mills and represents no increase over last year.
The Budget Resolution was approved as was the Adoption of the 1999 Budget.
An issue was raised over the Sprint/Spectrum co-location [see 11-A] on the new tower in Devault. The Township Engineer was asked to withhold the U & O Permit until the issue is resolved.
Harron Cable has requested a rate increase and the Board needs to secure special counsel as the Township Solicitor also represents Harron thus causing a conflict of interest. Mr. Sauser asked Mr. Wert to interview prospective firms.
2nd Citizen's Forum: Additional discussion, questions and comments were raised regarding the Turnpike Slip Ramp proposal.
The Supervisors adjourned the meeting at approximately 10:00pm and went into executive session to discuss the Altemose case.
Next meeting Monday, January 4th at 7:30pm at the Charlestown Elementary School.
Wednesday, December 9, 1998  (From Kevin Kuhn, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
Regular Meeting of the Board of Supervisors
Monday, December 7, 1998

New feature: Starting with this report, on the first mention off a subdivision, all reports and minutes of the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission will provide a link to the appropriate subdivision map page for those cases where you do not know the subdivision's location. The notation, such as "[see 31-B]", links to the appropriate map page where you would then look for the subdivision labeled "31B". Use your browser's "Back" button to return to this page after locating the subdivision on the map. Note that clicking on a subdivision map itself links you to the "Map Key" page which lists several attributes for each subdivision.
The monthly meeting of the Board of Supervisors started at 7:30pm. Mr. Sauser, Mrs. Ewald and Mr. Wert were present.
Announcements: Mrs. Ewald requested a 20 MPH sign be placed on Yellow Springs Road as traffic is moving at excessive speeds due to the detour on Phoenixville Pike. It was agreed that temporary signs would be posted.
Approval: Minutes from the November 2nd meeting were approved. The Treasurer's Report from November 1-30 was approved and the Accounts Payable Report for December 7th was approved.
Reports: Written reports were accepted from the Zoning Officer, Planning Commission, Historical Commission, Roadmaster, and Fire Marshal. The Valley Forge Sewer Authority minutes were submitted from their two previous meetings. The Zoning Officer added that the plan was submitted to PennDot for traffic lights at Route 401 and Valley Hill Road as well as Route 401 and Newcomen Road. Mrs. Ewald asked that the Roadmaster again request that the milling be done on the curves on Route 29 to reduce the traffic accidents. Apparently PennDot is unwilling to mill the road as it was just repaved.
1st Citizen's Forum: Peter Segal presented a Petition Opposing the PA Turnpike Slip Ramp in the Township signed by 703 residents on Election Day. The petition was a bipartisan effort undertaken by both the Democratic (Michael Churchill & Louise Cantrel-Kehoe) and Republican (Charlie Phillips & Sue Staas) Committee people. Chairman Sauser reminded him that this topic would be addressed later in the meeting.
Conditional Use Hearing: The applicant, C. Burch is requesting a shared driveway (Private Lane) to service a five lot 26 acre sub-division on Blackberry Lane [see 26-C]. The neighbor across the street voiced her concerns over the run-off as the driveway will be crossing steep slope. Another resident, Dorando Faggioli, stated that there was level access through a property which is presently for sale. The record was closed and the Supervisors will inform the applicant of their decision.
Old Business: The Motion to Condemn a portion of Chesterfield Land was tabled.
Revision of the Township Fee Schedule was tabled.
The Wilson Subdivision on Mine Road was approved [see 31-B].
New Business: The Revolutionary War Cemetery was discussed at length as there is a large Oak tree which needs substantial trimming or removal, and quotes for the removal ran as high as $5,000 as a crane would be necessary to avoid damage to the cemetery. There was also much discussion regarding one specific gravestone, which has a tremendous amount of historic significance and is deteriorating quickly. It was decided to prune the Oak tree and cover the gravestone this winter and attempt restoration/preservation in the spring when the experts can come to look at it. The restoration of the stone walls was also discussed and it was decided that they should be repaired in stages as the cost runs in excess of $100 per linear foot.
Whitehorse Meadows Escrow Release #1 - Approved [see 9-A].
Charlestown Brae Phase II Escrow Release 8 (Final) - Approved [see 2-A].
Phoenixville Area Soccer Club was present and discussed their plans for lighting improvements (replace existing lighting) and use of grant monies that were applied for as well as the new contract and the balance due on their loan 12-31-98.
The opposition to the proposed PA Turnpike Slip Ramp, which brought over thirty additional residents to the meeting was discussed at length. In addition to the 703 name petition it was requested that the Supervisors sign a resolution reflecting their support and strongly objecting to the placement of the ramp in Charlestown Township. While all three Supervisors signed the petition Mr. Wert and Mr. Sauser were not willing to adopt such a strong position on behalf of the Township. Both felt the Township would be in a better position to negotiate with the Commission it they didn't close the door. Numerous comments were received from those in attendence and signing of the resolution was tabled until another meeting so it could be modified.
Numerous other items were tabled until the next meeting on December 21st due to the amount of lively discussion on the Turnpike Slip Ramp issue.
2nd Citizen's Forum: No Comments
Deerfield Subdivision [see 30-C] applicant John Panizza requested that the Supervisors schedule meetings to discuss and adopt new Open Space Ordinance so as to facilitate his subdivision or he will simply utilize his by right plan (maximum housing density allowed under the present ordinance). The board said the earliest this could be scheduled was for the January 18th meeting.
Next meeting Monday, December 21st at 7:30pm at the Charlestown Elementary School.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:30pm.
Tuesday, November 3, 1998  (From Kevin Kuhn, Charlestown Green, Inc.)
Regular Meeting of the Board of Supervisors
Monday, November 2, 1998
The first monthly meeting of the Board of Supervisors started at its newly scheduled time of 7:30pm. Mr. Sauser and Mrs. Ewald were present and Mr. Wert arrived later in the evening.
Mr. Sauser announced that the township office has moved and is now located on the second floor of the Devault Post Office Building on Whitehorse Road. While they have increased the size of the space, the monthly rent has not increased. Mrs. Ewald announced that she attended the Guernsey cow auction at Brightside Farm (Pyle Farm) last week as well as the dedication of the new library at the Valley Forge Christian College.
Approval: Minutes from the October 5th and October 19th meetings were approved. The October Treasurer's report was approved and the November 2nd Accounts Payable Report was approved.
Reports: Written reports were accepted from the Zoning Officer, Planning Commission, Historical Commission, Roadmaster, Fire Marshal and the Valley Forge Sewer Authority. In addition to the submitted reports, Zoning issues briefly discussed pertained to the improvements by the Township that will add turning arrows to the signal lights at Route 29 and Phoenixville Pike. Additionally, storm water runoff issues in the Laura Brooke sub-division were discussed. Mr. Sauser informed the Board that he spoke with Mr. Green from the Turnpike Commission and they are still in the process of preparing the traffic studies requested by the Township last year, and the Slip Ramp project is only in the very early stages. Bud Ziegler, Chairman of the Planning Commission, commended the sub-committee on their excellent work in drafting the new Open Space Ordinance to be submitted to the Board of Supervisors for approval and adoption. Fred Alston, the Fire Marshal, reminded everyone to change smoke detector batteries and also reported that markers have been ordered and are about to be placed at the 46 fire hydrants in the Township so they can be easily identified in an emergency. A request was made to have the Roadmaster contact PennDot and have them mill sections of Route 29 along the S-curve, Charlestown Road along Swiss Pines, and Coldstream Road near Maryhill Road, as the traffic accidents are on the rise again and the old milling has all but worn off. Mr. Alston reminded everyone that after the last milling on Route 29 a number of years ago, the accidents were reduced from over sixty in one year to zero in the year following the milling.
1st Citizen's Forum: Chris Zarro asked if John Panizza was given approval for the work that is under way in the Somerset Subdivision at Chesterfield Lane and was informed that Mr. Panizza has transferred the property and the new owner does have the necessary permits. Another resident on Chesterfield Lane asked if PennDot had issued the necessary permits for the work being done and was informed that they had.
Presentation: Chester County Planning Commission - Ordinance Compliance Review
Ray Sacks from the County Planning Commission presented a preliminary review of our Township's planning tools. He described the process as a two-phase approach. The first phase is to review our Planning Policy Documents, which consist of our Comprehensive Plan, Open Space Plan and Sewage Facility Plan. Phase two is to review our Implementation Documents, which consist of our Zoning Ordinance and our Subdivision Ordinance. He indicated that a township must bring each phase into consistency with the county plan prior to moving to obtain funding for the next phase. Funding of up to $70,000 is available from the County for this work and could involve utilizing either our own consultants or the County consultants. He stated that our Planning Policy Documents are relatively in sync with the County, however the County does need to amend their map to reflect our Planned Rural Development (PRD) as a suburban environment vs. a rural environment. Additionally, in the Charlestown Oaks PRD, we are showing medium density, yet we have identified this area as sensitive natural environment. He said that neither issue would affect our ability to get funding. Much discussion followed as Charlestown Supervisors and Planning Commission members tried to get clarification on how the County differentiated Rural from Suburban. Discussion continued relative to Phase II and in reviewing our Implementation Documents there is one very clear inconsistency. Over 80% of Charlestown in zoned Farm Residential (FR) with a minimum lot size of 80,000 square feet (2 acres), and this is contrary to what the County is trying to stop in the rural areas, Sprawl. Numerous concepts were discussed to eliminate this problem. Conservation Easements, Increased Minimum Lot size, Transfer of Development Rights, Cluster Zoning, and Villages were but a few. Questions were raised as to how the County would assist a township in defending new zoning challenges in the courts, and what position the County takes on a Turnpike Ramp dumping into a Rural Township and the impact that would have on the rural character they are trying to assist us in preserving. At the close of the presentation the Township was asked to review the preliminary document and make suggestions to the County where they felt there were inconsistencies.
Conditional Use Hearing: The Conditional Use Hearing for Christopher Burch was cancelled for tonight by the applicant.
Old Business: The motion to condemn Chesterfield Lane was tabled and residents of the lane were informed that although the developer may construct a construction entrance further down Hollow Road, he still has the ability to request access off the bottom of ChesterfieldLane where he already has an easement.
New Business:
1999 Budget: A motion was approved to advertise the new budget and vote on it at the first meeting in December. The $1,000,000 proposed budget does not reflect a tax increase and, although the budget has increased from previous years, it includes matching grants to redo our zoning and for some Parks & Recreation projects.
Open Space Ordinance: A motion was approved to table this since the Supervisors have not yet had a chance to review the ordinance.
Private Lane Names: A motion was approved to advertise for a Hearing for additional private lanes in theTownship due to new construction.
Snow & Ice Agreement 1998-99: Motion Approved
Fee Schedule for Public Records: Motion Approved to table until Supervisors can review.
Salt Bids: Bids were opened from three vendors and the preliminary low bid was from Ocean Port at $28.33 per ton delivered. A motion was approved to accept this bid after confirmation of delivery details.
Revolutionary War Cemetery: Mrs. Baldwin stated that negotiations are still under way for the tombstone preservation and that the initial bid for re-building the entire stone wall around the cemetery, while an excellent price at $43,000, was still very expensive. Mrs. Ewald asked that she have the contractor prepare a formal bid as this could be used to try and secure grant money.
Devault Crushed Stone: Time extensions for Zoning Hearing and Land Development Applications were extended to January 15, 1999.
Other Business:
Omnipoint requested a building permit for modifications to an antenna tower presently owned and used by the Turnpike Commission. The applicant was informed that the tower, constructed twenty years ago specifically for use by the Turnpike, was allowed with the stipulation that it could not be used for commercial use. Mr. Wert stated that he may be in favor of granting the application if Omnipoint could guarantee that no additional requests would be made to construct towers in Charlestown Township, however they would not. They did, however, agree to provide the Supervisors with an analysis of the projected build-out.
Deerfield Subdivision applicant John Panizza requested that the Supervisors fast-track the Open Space Ordinance so as to facilitate his subdivision. He was informed that the Board has not even reviewed it yet and instructed him to continue developing his plan with the Planning Commission and that the Ordinance would be advertised for the second meeting in December at the earliest.
Next meeting Monday, December 7th 7:30pm at the Charlestown Elementary School.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:30pm

Continued in Archives

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