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
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Past news of events in and around Charlestown
News posted during November 2000

Monday, November 13, 2000  (From Loretta Watson, Charlestown Green)
Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors' Meeting
November 6, 2000
Present for the Township were Chairman, Irene Ewald, and Supervisors, Hugh Willig, Kevin Kuhn, Mike Rodgers and Paul Hogan. Also present were Surender Kohli, Tom Oeste, Esq., and Linda Csete.
This meeting held at the Great Valley Middle School was called to order at 7:37 p.m. by the Chairman. The Board made three announcements:

  1. Mr. Rodgers said that the paving of Blackberry Lane has been completed and came in under budget at $100,000.

  2. Mr. Hogan gave further information regarding the two applicants for the Parks & Recreation Board, namely local residents, Louise Kehoe and Marge Crawford, both of whom have been active in conservation efforts. The Board then took the opportunity to approve a motion that Louise and Marge be formally accepted as members of the Parks & Recreation Board serving the standard terms of office, which was humorously stated to be "12 years." Best wishes to both new members!

  3. Mrs. Ewald announced that a meeting had taken place between Board members and Ernie and Marian Ernie Pyle to review utility usage at the farm. A videotape of the utilities tour was made by Paul Hogan for future township reference.
Paul Schultz was first speaker at the Citizens’ Forum for Non-Agenda Items. He expressed his concerns regarding the heavy traffic conditions and felt that more problems are now being incurred because of the closing of Route 29. He made a request for installation of signals and signs at various places to facilitate traffic flow. The supervisors responded with Mr. Kuhn stating that we are in this condition partly because the township remained rural without updating its roads over the years, and he gave his opinion that traffic should be allowed to go through the Charlestown Road/Route 29 intersection at this time to help make accurate traffic counts for the turnpike slip ramp issue. Mrs. Ewald added that the speeding on White Horse and Union Hill Roads have been controlled by the addition of stop signs. She said that PennDOT has given notification of permits for signals at the two Route 401 intersection. However, no signal will be constructed by PennDOT yet at 401 and Newcomen, but they will allow one at Valley Hill. Additionally, detours are currently contributing to the traffic problems. Mr. Hogan reminded everyone that the planned improvements to the Route 29/Charlestown Road intersection will also help. These improvements are currently before PennDOT. Mrs. Ewald stated that a meeting concerning traffic issues was recently held with Bill Fulton of Chester County and surrounding township representatives, and that State Representative Rubley and Senator Gerlach have been helping to resolve these problems. The two turnpike bridges (near Chuck’s Wagon and near Charlestown Saloon) are scheduled to be widened to accommodate four traffic lanes.
Chet Resnick of Charlestown Oaks inquired as to which township had responsibility for the Phoenixville Pike and Yellow Springs Road intersection (East Whiteland) and advised that Yellow Springs Road could use new striping and paving for safety along with a traffic light instead of a stop sign. He was advised that there is money for purpose of a traffic signal in escrow from the developers of Charlestown Oaks, and the Board recommended that citizens write their concerns to East Whiteland Township in an effort to get the signal implemented.
Louise Kehoe pointed out to the attendees who may not be familiar with the issue of the slip ramp that letters covering their views on the subject can be directed to Governor Ridge. She added that the proposed turnpike access creates more pressure on developers to build in this area.
Carol Car advised the Board that trucks are detouring over Bodine and Foster Roads along with other drivers who speed down the roads. The Board advised that Foster is a state road (and out of township jurisdiction), while Seven Oaks is possibly in West Pikeland.
Another Charlestown Oaks resident complained that the development’s street lights have been installed for some time, but are not operating. The representative from the builder was present and advised that they are 3 to 4 weeks away from activation, but he will try to expedite this with PECO.
Sherry Ballet raised questions regarding the lack of mailboxes and the landscaping at Charlestown Oaks. The rep advised that more trees are being added to the existing plan. Another resident of the Oaks asked about the status of the visitor parking area along Yorktown Road and asked that Forge Court be cleaned up. At this point the builder rep suggested that regular meetings could be arranged to discuss these issues. Further complaint concerned the amount of trees removed in preparing to build.
A short break occurred while the Charlestown Oaks residents adjourned to a separate room to review their issues with the representative.
Returning to the night’s agenda, the Board quickly approved their October 30, 2000 minutes, the Treasurer’s Report and the Accounts Payable.
The Zoning Officer, Mr. Kohli, supplemented his report with the information that an older residence will be taken down once the new home being built near it on Church Road is finished.
The Planning Commission Chairman, Charles Philips, assured the Board that work is still proceeding on the Comprehensive Plan and the meeting scheduled later this month should be attended by the supervisors to review "best-" and "worst-" case scenarios. Also discussion ensued regarding the proposed development of the William Dixon property comprising approximately 30 acres on Pikeland Road, which is presently undergoing review by the Planning Commission and the developer. Mrs. Behrle urged the Board to take a more proactive role in light of a presentation given a few months ago by Mr. Comitta projecting how the township could look in the future with the proper planning. Mr. Theurkauf added that the Official Map and the Comprehensive Plan should be studied together for best results.
Mrs. Baldwin had no additional comments to her report, but presented the Board with copies of the Tredyffrin/Easttown Quarterly bearing the historic Devault-Beaver House (near intersection of Phoenixville Pike and Charlestown Roads) on the cover and a good article on the history of Devault, Pennsylvania, by Sue Andrews. At this point, Mr. Philips, who serves on the Historic Commission, advised that the terms of office for Commission members are being worked out.
The Roadmaster, Durando Faggioli, stated that a PennDOT rep thought that the curve in Coldstream works to control traffic speed and should be retained. Lively discussion ensued over whether the township should be involved in leaf clean-up efforts. Information will be gathered regarding a vacuum sweeper. Methods to replace and/or improve some missing or deteriorating street signs were pursued.
Fred Alston, Fire Marshall, read his report, stating that Swedesford Road, between Bacton and Ship Roads has been reopened. He cautioned the public to watch for deer along the roads and to clean their fireplace chimneys. The township is 4.5 inches above normal in rainfall, but a dry condition still exists. He reviewed a long list of auto accidents and fire company calls occurring in October.
Parks and Recreation Board – Mr. Theurkauf advised that an aerial photo has been hand edited to show existing trails and this will be used to develop the trail systems. He said this could be used to help preserve a network of trails over several townships.
Valley Forge Sewer Authority – A meeting of the Joint Board occurred on Oct. 26 for purpose of project review. The 537 Plan draft is due shortly. Current issues include the upgrade of the sewage plant. He added that the planned storage silo may not be built, pending future need. The McAvoy land that was acquired is the subject of negotiation over the dollar amount per acre, although the court previously awarded $30,000 per acre. A budget item concerns a project to redo the electrical wiring between tanks. VFSA revenues are presently off-setting costs and no amounts will be assessed to Charlestown.
The Board noted that the Historic Commission will use the Township Office for a meeting place through the coldest winter months rather than the Rapp House, and will switch to a location that is more "ADA-friendly" if the need should arise.
The Turnpike Slip Ramp Citizens’ Action Committee – Sue Staas reported that the next meeting in this matter will be held the Tuesday before Thanksgiving (Nov. 21) and the public is invited to attend but may not actively participate according to the rules. A meeting between the supervisors of four townships to review common problems and the slip ramp issue was a success, although East Whiteland was not represented. Another meeting is contemplated.
At this point in the meeting, Mrs. Ewald brought up an item that was not on the Agenda. The settlement date for the 55-acre Pyle Farm (Brightside Farm) is now set for December 4, following expected Court approval on December 1. The delay is due to a glitch that occurred in the legal advertising process. The Addendum to approve the date change was okayed by the Supervisors. In regard to the Transition Lease for the Pyle Farm, the tenants wish to continue at $1200 per month until March 1, 2001.
The supervisors further solidified plans to attend the upcoming CCATO meeting.
Visions Partnership/ Landscapes Program - grants from the county will be at 75% with 25% from the township to cover expenses on the Charlestown Park improvements. This phase of work will begin in November and end in June 2001. The revised grant application was approved.
Road bids were received from four bidders, two of which were deemed unqualified bids due to the fact that not all of the specified items were bid upon. Of the two remaining bids, the Melchiorre bid was accepted for paving and snow removal work but no mowing work.
Mrs. Behrle commented that the Board should be cautious about breaking the bids into small segments and awarding them separately, a practice she felt could result in adverse effects.
At this time, Mr. Iacobucci returned from his meeting with Charlestown Oaks residents. Agreement was reached regarding an extension to the first December meeting of the Board, giving more time to consider a plan revision currently under consideration.
The escrow release for Emma Builders was not considered, since, per Mr. Kohli, they are not ready. The Builder will be cautioned to be careful of the road surfaces while accomplishing their work.
The Board authorized the advertising per ordinance requirements of its intent to appoint an independent auditor regarding the year 2000.
A budget work session to follow tonight’s meeting.
During discussion preliminary to the budget review, the Board noted that transfer taxes received by the township will help to pay for the purchase of the Pyle Farm and no increase in township taxes is anticipated.
A suggestion was made by the township auditor to form a committee to consider the township’s future real estate acquisition expectations and land planning generally.
A break was suggested since it was 11:30 p.m. However, the meeting adjourned soon after at about Midnight.
Monday, November 13, 2000  (From Loretta Watson, Charlestown Green)
Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors' Meeting
October 30, 2000
Present for the Township were Chairman, Irene Ewald, and Supervisors Hugh Willig, Kevin Kuhn, Mike Rodgers and Paul Hogan. Also present were Tom Oeste, Esq. and Linda Csete.
The meeting came to order at 7:30 p.m. There were no issues raised at the Citizens’ Forum for Non-Agenda Items.
The Board approved its minutes of October 16 and October 23, 2000.
The first matter to be heard was Emma Builders’ conditional use request. Mr. Kohli stated that a county permit for on-site sewage disposal as well as a certificate of structural adequacy is necessary. He reviewed the proposed storm water management plan and it is okay and added that the planner should review the EIA report. Mr. Theurkauf reported that the EIA report was reviewed and is in order. The applicant pointed out some features including location of buffer plantings, wooded areas, and layout of the lot. At this point the record was closed and a decision will be forthcoming.
The Altemose Curative Amendment decision was announced as "denied." Supervisors briefly discussed their views. Motion was made and seconded to accept the findings of the Board – vote was four in favor and one abstention by Mrs. Ewald.
The Board’s decision regarding the Toll Bros. tentative application for Charlestown Meadows contained 63 findings of fact and 12 conclusions of law and a discussion of the decision. This was "approved" subject to a long list of 41 conditions of compliance. Discussion of the decision revealed that the supervisors would like to see more planning efforts between the applicant and the Planning Commission, along with school bus pick up points, consideration of safety at the 401 & Newcomen intersection, and buffering from the surrounding neighbors. A motion to adopt the decision and order was approved.
Road labor and equipment bids. After an executive session outside the meeting room regarding the method of qualifying bidders since the indication was inside the envelope and not outside, the four bids received were examined briefly. A decision will be given at the Nov. 6 meeting.
CCATO meeting (Chester Co. Assn. of Township Officers) – three supervisors plan to attend.
Parks & Recreation – Two candidates have been identified for the vacancies: Marge Crawford and Louise Kehoe. Announcement was made that some repairs (broken dam and some other things) will be done under the auspices of an unnamed benefactor.
Visions Partnership Agreement -- A grant application to start review process for work at the Park (grant amount is $30,000).
Bridge 178 – Some township punch list items need resolution before final inspection and acceptance. Mr. Kohli and supervisors will set a date for inspection. Mrs. Ewald explained for the benefit of attendees not familiar with Bridge 178 over the Pickering Creek, that this is a 100-year old iron bridge constructed with iron from the Phoenix Iron Works (Phoenixville, Pa.) It was closed in the early 1990’s for repairs by the state, but this was prevented because the state wished to replace the old bridge with a modern, concrete bridge, wider than the road leading to it. The effort from the residents was to rehab the bridge via local, state and township cooperation.
Motion to approve advertising for bids for the traffic signal at Rt 401 & Valley Hill was approved by the Board. The state permit for the signal was issued as of 10/3 but received late since it was not mailed promptly. Ways to expedite the installation of the signal will be investigated.
PennDOT has declared that it is willing to install a 4-way stop at the intersection of 401 and Newcomen, and not a traffic signal, but the Townships do not support the 4-way stop. In order to accomplish anything, both townships must agree on what is to be done. Charlestown will follow up with West Pikeland on this matter.
A local resident asked for police monitoring of traffic on Bacton Hill Road.
The business meeting adjourned with a budget work session will follow.
The board listened to a quick review of Linda Csete’s report of 10/25/00, which showed budgets for five years past and the proposed budget for 2001.
Several suggestions were made by the Board to place money in the sinking fund, contribute to the Open Space Fund, increase the snow removal account, and to consider various donations. The position of Animal Control Officer, which has been vacant, will be handled by the Roadmaster, and $4,000 funding of the animal control account was discussed. Howell Road was mentioned as a possible repaving project for 2001. The amount of $150,000 was suggested as the allocation for clearing fallen trees, repairing potholes, cleaning culverts, and maybe procuring some small equipment for emergency use by the Roadmaster. Signs that are missing or damaged need to be replaced.
In regard to the Revolutionary War Cemetery, an idea was that a Cemetery account be set up to cover repairs, with a proposal for repairs submitted to the township.
Supervisors’ salary and expenses account may need to be increased to cover items expended but not reimbursed to them.
In regard to police protection, need to decide whether to reimburse for specific help that is given or make an annual donation. Comment was made that the State police coverage is very good.
The $20,000 office equipment and supplies budget covers a copier lease. A suggestion was made to set aside an amount to cover a new computer to replace an older, slow model. Merits of purchasing a scanner were reviewed. Off-site storage for records has helped, and some heavy, old fireproof cabinets will be replaced in the office.
No resolution was reached regarding the amount of funds to be allocated for improving the township ground around the Rapp House. Trail maintenance in the township area along the Pickering needs to be addressed. The amount of money for legal work is high due to extensive hearings before the township this year.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately Midnight.

Continued in Archives

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