Charlestown Township, Chester County, PA

 
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News posted during November 2001

Monday, November 19, 2001  (Provided by Charlestown Green)
Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors' Regular Meeting
November 5, 2001
The meeting came to order at the request of the Chairman, Hugh Willig. Present were Hugh Willig, Kevin Kuhn, Mike Rodgers, Paul Hogan, Irene Ewald, Jim McErlane, Esq., Linda Csete, and Surender Kohli.
After some introductory remarks by Tom Comitta, Mr. Jeff Butler provided handouts and addressed the group with a slide show. Transfer of Development Rights Program was adopted in 1990 by Manheim Township, Lancaster County. Manheim is the second most populated township in Lancaster County comprising 23 square miles. Major roadways cut through the township from Lancaster City to the south. Manheim Township is served by public water and sewer, except for the northern farm areas.
In order to provide the required "sending" and "receiving" areas for Transferring Development Rights, a 2000-acre agricultural district was created in the northern farm area where the limit for subdivision became four lots and no commercial uses or golf courses would be allowed. Landowners in the agricultural area had the right to sell their development rights to the township or other entity. The receiving area was designated in R1 or R2 portions in the southern area of the township.
The result of the program is considered "win-win" in that (a) conservation land remains undeveloped, although limited residential development is permitted; (b) Conservation landowners still get a portion of the development value of their land; (c) In the areas where the transfer rights are received, Developers can increase their density above ordinance levels only by purchasing development rights; and, (d) Conservation areas are protected while major development occurs in the designated growth areas.
The Pennsylvania Municipal Code provides the framework for creating TDR programs through zoning regulations. Anyone can purchase the development rights from landowners in the sending area where rights are transferred from, but only property owners in the receiving area can use the rights to increase density.
Mr. Butler reported that about 300 development rights have been sold from 7 farms located in their agricultural district, and this has preserved about 500 acres of farmland.
The Township has sold or agreed to sell 62 rights to developers. Landowners can sell to the township, which then resells to developers. The Manheim Township capital budget provides $250,000 for purchase of rights, which they value at $5,000 per right, although transactions through other entities may bring more than $5,000. He explained a formula by which the eligible acreage (minimum of ten acres) of a farm is multiplied by .73, then the number of dwelling units existing thereon is subtracted. The computation determines the number of development rights that can be apportioned to that property at 0.73 rights per net acre.
For the future, plans are to expand the agricultural area and make amendments to the ordinances which will permit use of development rights in non-residential development. (Presently TDR is only for planned residential developments.)
The plan progressed slowly at first since the township had approved by 1990 over 4,000 units to be built. After those units were built, then the TDR program began to take hold.
Questions regarding the TDR program can be directed to Manheim Twp., Dept. of Planning and Zoning, 1840 Municipal Dr., Lancaster, PA 17601.
At 8:45 the Board resumed its meeting. Announcements included report of an Executive Session held after the previous Monday meeting to discuss legal matters.
Citizens' Forum -- Mr. Fred Alston expressed his concern that no striping had been applied to the newly paved Valley Hill and Bodine roads. He reported that the roads are hard to drive at night and also present a serious safety issue. The Board agreed that striping was necessary and would take steps to accomplish it. Mr. Faggioli suggested speed bumps to slow the traffic, but this was generally not favored.
The next item in Citizens' Forum concerned 65 General Washington Boulevard. The occupancy permit had not been granted due to the owners' non-compliance with landscaping regulations. The then-owners considered the required landscaping a safety hazard to the children being cared for at the day care center at that location and preferred a more open landscape plan. Two changes in ownership have resulted in a long delay in settling this issue, and the present owner was not available to attend tonight's meeting. The Board asked that a revised landscaping plan be submitted for approval.
The Board approved its official minutes for the October 15 and 29 meetings. November Accounts Payable and the October Treasurer's Report was also approved.
Monthly reports to the Board: Zoning - Mr. Kohli reported that PennDOT has approved a reduction of speed on Coldstream road to 40 mph. Mrs. Ewald expressed concern that this was not low enough for the blind curves and S curves. The township is also concerned with overgrown vegetation at intersections and will contact property owners to have it trimmed back.
Mr. Kohli also addressed the plan for a traffic light at Yellow Springs and Phoenixville Pike. This is in East Whiteland Township. Request for permit has been submitted and Escrow Funds from Charlestown Oaks will help pay for the light.
Mr. Kohli reported his attendance at a seminar regarding drip irrigation sewage systems and was able to answer the Board's questions regarding technicalities of the system.
Planning Commission - Their last meeting concerned GenTerra's plan for Deerfield along with other current issues.
Historic Commission - Janet Baldwin reported that they are involved in discussions to save the Charlestown Woolen Mill. The owner has filed for permission to demolish it. The next Historic Commission meeting is November 13.
Roadmaster - Union Hill Road has been repaired along with some areas near the Christian College. Guardrail estimate is $3,700 for a section on Coldstream Road. Mr. Faggioli explained that this is a new type of guardrail that promotes sliding of the vehicle and re-entry to the roadway. Mr. Faggioli repeated his request that the township acquire the speed limit machine that posts your speed as you drive by, and reiterated his desire to see speed bumps on Union Hill.
A suggestion from a resident present was that a series of long rumble strips could be used along Union Hill to remind drivers to slow down.
Fire Marshal/EOC - Mr. Alston received the East Whiteland report but none from Kimberton. Rain is at minus 7 inches for the season and he advocates conserving water. Deer are very active, so be careful. The Limerick Bi-Annual Exercise has been postponed to 2002.
Parks & Recreation - This committee met on October 26. A plan for vistas was presented by Mr. Theurkauf , covering benches, paving and landscaping along the Charlestown Park trail. The Board approved implementation of the plan.
A design to expand a playground at Charlestown Park was discussed. Mr. Hogan would like to use a new type of geothermal foundation under the expanded area to test the technology. This was approved by the Board. A basketball court in the present plan may not been needed, since the college will be building a basketball center.
The Ice Dam along Route 29 has twelve trees on the south side and twelve on the north side which need to be removed in order to preserve the existing portions of the dam. A tree contractor will be used, and the trees could be cut to size for use as firewood.
A proposal from St. Pat's CYO Group expresses interest in developing a piece of property in Devault on White Horse Road for general sports use. They propose to mow the site, plant seed, and inspect it for potential use as a playing field. The township's concern is that the field in question is not safe due to ruts and holes and the area will need a lot of work to make it a safe, even surface.
VF Sewer Authority - Mr. Rodgers reports that a policy change is under consideration to eliminate buy-back of unused sick days from Sewer Authority employees. Other employee benefits are also under negotiation. He reports that there is still the question of getting objective minutes on the record from the VFSA meetings, even though a resolution was adopted to improve the situation.
Turnpike Citizens' Action Committee -- The traffic study in East Whiteland Township has been completed but the results have not been made available. Board agreed to draft a letter to EWT asking for the study results.
Old Business:
Brightside Farm Committee - A soil conservation expert has visited the site on Yellow Springs Road. No crops will be sowed this fall since it is too late in the season. This will be done in this spring when 25 acres will be plowed and sowed. The remaining crop land is now hayfield.
Mr. and Mrs. Bingham have been recommended as caretakers and residents on the property. The committee recommended rental of $600 per month with the lessees paying $350 for utilities. The township would in turn pay the Binghams $800 for caretaker services. After much discussion regarding the amount of payment and rental, the Board considered charging $600 rental plus utilities with the expectation that the lessees would carry some responsibility for security in the park. However, more discussion resulted in a motion to start with a one-year lease at $200 plus utilities, due to the present poor condition of the house to be rented, with a plan to increase the rental year to year as the condition of the house improves.
The Board accepted the bid for $700 for the Pyle house basement asbestos removal. The old kitchen has been torn out, and a new kitchen plan is under review. Mr. Kohli has been asked to inspect the house for use and occupancy permit requirements.
Approximately 21 "no trespassing" signs are on order for posting around the Pyle farm.
The Brightside Farm grant application was approved. This will be pursued with the County this week.
Mr. John Panizza of GenTerra Corporation came before the Board to discuss his subdivision at Saddlebrook. He reported that the buyer of the existing home is interested in adding an addition. Some tree removal on the property came under discussion. Mr. and Mrs. Kun, neighbors, requested that a barrier of evergreens be installed where the trees have been removed. However, the owner voiced his objections. stating that only fallen, dangerous and/or dead trees were selectively removed to clean up his residential property (no clear cutting was done. He deemed the requested evergreen barrier to be unnecessary since there was 1,000 feet of heavy woods between his property and the Kun residence. The Board stated they would approve the two-lot subdivision subject to the landscaping plan worked out for the above issue.
Mr. Panizza began to discuss Deerfield, reviewing a few points in Mr. Comitta's latest letter. Since the Board had not reviewed Mr. Comitta's letter, Mr. Panizza agreed to outline his discussion points in a letter to the Board. He will also send a letter requesting further extension.
Spring Lane Farm, a 12-lot subdivision by GenTerra, may change to fewer lots, due to one or two potential buyers interested in this property.
The Board adopted a resolution to accept the development plan for Charlestown Elementary School renovations.
Escrow release was approved for Emma Builders.
Vision Partnership Program Grant - Board approved a motion to accept this grant from the County.
Adjourned at 12:41 a.m.
The Board remained to conduct a short executive session.
The next business meeting of the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for November 19, 2001 at 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154
Reported for Charlestown Green by Loretta Watson.

Monday, November 5, 2001  (Provided by Charlestown Green)
Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors' Regular Meeting
October 29, 2001
The meeting came to order at the request of the Chairman, Hugh Willig. Present were Hugh Willig, Kevin Kuhn, Mike Rodgers, Paul Hogan, Irene Ewald, Tom Oeste, Linda Csete,and Surender Kohli.
The main topic of this meeting was a meeting between the Board of Supervisors and the incoming management of Charlestown Oaks. Mr. Iacobucci presented a check to the Board for $200,000.00, which was promised some time ago. This check was given instead of providing several hundred trees to the township.
Mr. Iacobucci assured the Board that dead trees in the landscaping plan will be replaced and the drainage problem existing in one of the Courts will be examined by Mr. Kohli and a solution determined. Cul-de-sacs will be paved as soon as possible. A punch list of general issues will be formed. Deposits received on homes are being transferred to the new builder.
The new builder (Sal Appio) presented an escrow agreement to the Board, which was accepted subject to obtaining the final signatures. His company has built homes in Montgomery and Bucks County, mostly in Franconia and Hatfield townships. The closest project to Charlestown is Glen Rose in the King of Prussia area. He expressed a desire to improve the appearance of the units to be built by facing them with fieldstone, but said that this would not greatly increase the price per house.
Other business concerned approval of two checks covering expenses for upcoming conferences. Also an issue regarding compensation to the present tax collector has arisen in that his expenses have reached the limit ($8,000) and the Board expects at least one more invoice for expenses to cover the years' tax collection work. Mr. Oeste explained that the Board sets the amount of compensation, but it must be done at a certain time prior to elections. Any resolution to change the amount of compensation must be done on or before Feb. 1. Also an issue regarding compensation to the present tax collector has arisen in that his expenses have reached the limit ($8,000) and the Board expects at least one more invoice for expenses to cover the years' tax collection work. Mr. Oeste explained that the Board sets the amount of compensation, but it must be done at a certain time before elections. Any resolution to change the amount of compensation must be done on or before Feb. 15 of an election year. Payment of an invoice for 2001 expenses in January 2002 would have an adverse effect on the yearly compensation to be paid to the incoming tax collector (to be elected Nov. 6). A solution to reimburse Mr. Viscuso's outstanding expenses will be researched.
Bob Elmer was nominated as a new member to the Brightside Farm Committee. As it turns out, Mr. Elmer was voted Chairman of the Brightside Farm Committee at their last meeting. Since he was not a member at the time of the vote, he is a "non-voting member."
The Board pointed out that chairmanship of the committee has no bearing on the position of farm manager, which is currently open.
A resident from Bodine Road came before the Board to obtain their advice toward resolving a situation regarding a neighbor's extremely bright street light, which he reports "blinds" him in the complete darkness of Bodine Road, and the noise of a generator which is operated approximately an hour per week. He has spoken to the neighbors without resolution. Consultants have measured the brightness of the light, which is said to be three times the amount of light that would normally produce glare to the eye, and generator noise at 70 decibels stating it is not appropriate for residential use. Mr. Kohli will look into the matter to see what is covered by ordinance.
This meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m. The Board continued their work with a review of the proposed budget for 2002, which was not attended by this reporter.
The next business meeting of the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for November 5, 2001, at 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154
Reported for Charlestown Green by Loretta Watson.
 
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