Charlestown Township, Chester County, PA

 
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News posted during December 2000

Tuesday, January 2, 2001  (Provided by Charlestown Green)
Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors' Meeting
December 18, 2000
This meeting was called to order by Irene Ewald at 7:42 p.m. in the Choral Room of the Great Valley Middle School on Phoenixville Pike, Malvern, PA.
Present for the Township were Chairperson Irene Ewald and Supervisors Hugh Willig, Kevin Kuhn, Mike Rodgers, and Paul Hogan. Also present were Tom Oeste, Esq., Surrender Kohli and Linda Csete.
Announcements: 1) An executive session had been held to review outstanding issues on the Charlestown Oaks project; 2) Mike Rodgers and Kevin Kuhn attended a meeting in West Pikeland Township to organize an Open Space Committee. The desire is to form an Open Space Land Trust, involving Charlestown and surrounding Townships; 3) Irene Ewald and Paul Hogan made a visit to a Chester County farm and a 4-H Club in Glenmoore in consideration of having a 4-H Club involved at the Pyle Property; 4) Paul Hogan has been investigating candidates for the position of Animal Control Officer; 5) The recent storm caused a tree to fall at the Revolutionary War Cemetery on Charlestown Road. The township is investigating ways of clearing this tree without harming the historic property - the fire department and a tree surgeon were suggested as possible routes.
No speakers appeared for the Citizen's Forum on Non-Agenda Items.
The Board reviewed and approved its official minutes for the December 4 meeting and the Accounts Payable for December 18, 2000.
Old Business: Bids were opened concerning the traffic signal at Route 401 and Valley Hill Road. The amounts bid were Armond & Sons $71,754, Miller Bros. $78,085.80, Henckels & McCoy $60,544.90, and Lenni Electric $68,153.25. To accelerate this procedure, the Board approved a motion to award the bid subject to Mr. Kohli's review of each for completeness.
The matter of the request for building permit for Mr. and Mrs. Myers was next on the agenda. Attorney Fiscaldo for the Myers reported that his clients were not interested in further extensions and wanted a decision. Mrs. Behrle stated that Mr. Clemm, her attorney, needed time to do a deed search and chain of title. The Myers objected, stating there had been ample time for this work and the Chicago Title Company was sure that a right of way to the property existed and was prepared to defend. Mr. Oeste presented information that he had gathered this date from the Court House. A 1946 deed established the easement which proceeded through the following deeds via an appurtenance clause conveying the property subject to all existing agreements and easements, etc. After considering the lengthy discussion between Mr. Oeste, Mr. Fiscaldo and Mrs. Behrle, the Board approved the issuance of the Building Permit to Mr. and Mrs. Myers.
In regard to the Stoudt conditional use matter, Mrs. Ewald asked Mr. Oeste and the Board to form the decision approving the request and incorporating the irrevocable license to the Pickering Hunt Club for use of the trail through the property.
Final approval for modifications to the Charlestown Oaks Plan - Mr. Iacobucci offered the Board $200,000 towards the Township Park in lieu of the previous donation of 800 trees. Charlestown Oaks is endeavoring to clear all proposed items out of the environmentally sensitive area. Mr. Hogan offered his professional services in working with Charlestown Oaks in the design and equipment for the playground and planned to attend the next homeowners' meeting. A complaint from a resident involved her driveway, which she stated had been washed out this weekend from the big storm and water runoff from Charlestown Oaks. Mr. Iacobucci will investigate. The Board approved the final plan of Charlestown Oaks.
Conditional Use Hearing for Saddlebrook (a project planned for property along White Horse Road by General Residential Properties) This hearing will be held on January 2, 2001. Mr. Philips advised that a Sketch of the Saddlebrook concepts would be prepared along with the Plan.
Resolution #568-00 - Enacted to appoint Emory Todd, CPA Independent Auditor to make an examination of the accounts for the year 2000.
Resolution #569-00 - Enacted to set tax on real property in the township at .52 mils; Per capita tax at $10.00; and Occupational Privilege Tax at $10.00.
Resolution #570-00 - Enacted to approve Township Budget for 2001 at $1,448,450.00.
Other Business: Round X Park Grant paperwork was signed by the Board in order to meet the December 31 deadline.
Resolution 571-00 - Enacted to adopt a Pension Plan in accordance with provisions of the Township Employees' Handbook. Resolution is effective January 1, 2001. The Commonwealth will issue a grant toward the Pension Plan three years after the Resolution is effective. Mr. Oeste suggested that an ordinance might be needed to approve this matter and, if so, advertising is necessary. The Board gave approval for advertising in the event that it was required.
An executive session was scheduled for on December 27 to discuss personnel issues. Mr. Hogan inquired of the Board whether they were comfortable with the possible appointment of Mr. Mark Abbott as Animal Control Officer and requested a job description for this position.
Mr. Philips reported that the Chester County Planning Commission has requested the Turnpike Citizens' Advisory Committee to provide statistics regarding future development in this area.
Mr. Philips advised that the Planning Commission would like to amend the Open Space Land Ordinance to allow the annexing of a contiguous property to a 25-plus acre historic property. This would give them more tools to accomplish goals. He defined the term - Net Out Provision - this removes sensitive areas and steep slope areas from the property being developed, leaving Net Acres for development. No conditional uses would be allowed.
The meeting was adjourned at 10:06 P.M.
THE NEXT MEETING OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WILL BE AT 7:30 P.M. ON JANUARY 2, 2001 AT THE GREAT VALLEY MIDDLE SCHOOL AND WILL INCORPORATE A REORGANIZATION MEETING.
Reported for Charlestown Green by Loretta Watson

Monday, December 4, 2000  (From Loretta Watson, Charlestown Green)
Charlestown Township
Board of Supervisors' Meeting
November 20, 2000
The Meeting was called to order at approximately 7:30 pm by Chairman Irene Ewald. Announcements included that Bridge 178 had been inspected by the supervisors on Thursday, November 16, and that an executive session had been held by the Board on November 13 to discuss personnel matters.
Under the Citizens' Forum for Non-Agenda Items: With regard to the Myers' right-of-way issue still pending before the Board, Mrs. Behrle asked for a confirmation of the continuation date, which is December 18. She also asked if the Performance Bonds for the road contracts were issued yet, and the board responded, yes. The third question posed by Mrs. Behrle dealt with legal costs that would be incurred in the Altemose/Ewald matter. Mrs. Ewald stated that she has hired separate counsel to represent her interests and she expected that she would assume the costs. There were no other speakers for the Forum.
The Board approved its official Minutes of the November 6 meeting. The next Agenda item was Budget and Finance - Questions and Answers. Mr. Staas made a recommendation that the township adjust its format to use references corresponding to the Pennsylvania Chart of Accounts, some items of which were already in use in the Charlestown Budget. To emphasize his point, he distributed an example of the revenue and expenditure summaries using this format, which he believed would be more easily understood. In response, auditors for the township explained some of the principles being followed to organize the budget, principally aimed at an effort to cut down on the amount of clerical work required to keep track of funds, some of which have little activity through the year.
A suggestion was made to segregate funds into separate checking or investment accounts bearing the appropriate fund names in order to simplify the appearance of the budget.
Mr. Todd responded that the process being following at this time was fine and according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Changing fund names to "accounts" would make no difference since all of the funds are considered part of the general account. He said that the main job of an elected auditor in every township is to set the salaries of the township officials. Mr. Staas had provided a list of questions/concerns, and each was addressed, resulting in a discussion of technicalities of the record keeping process. A brief discussion regarding the use of sinking funds brought forth the definition that a sinking fund is an ordinance account where money for payment of principal of bonds is kept for a very short time; the money passes through quickly. Mr. Todd emphasized that both The Dept. of Economic Investment and Standard & Poor's accept the methods of record keeping that are being used by the township.
Sue Staas commented, from the viewpoint of a taxpayer, that the budget should be easy for the average citizen to understand. In response, Mrs. Ewald suggested that the monthly Treasurer's Report is more clear and could be reviewed and may help to clarify the budget document.
Mrs. Behrle offered that the township should assist the public in being more aware and involved in the township's finances. The Board stated that there have been public meetings where these items have been addressed. Mrs. Behrle also expressed surprise at learning that the township had received a loan of $2.1 million dollars. Through discussion, information was revealed that the Board is contemplating along with the Planning Commission another parcel of property, payment for which would be covered to some degree by the two million dollar loan being used to finance the Pyle property. The question was still open as to whether taxes would be raised to cover future expenses.
The next item on the Agenda covered an Ordinance to reduce the speed limit on Bridge 178. The limit of 10 to 15 mph was suggested along with a "one lane bridge" sign. The Board authorized advertising of its intent to implement the above.
The Board reviewed problems on Rees and Union Hill Roads concerning aggressive drivers.
Supervisor Kuhn proposed the clearing away of a pile of rocks along the Horse Shoe Trail which runs along Rees near Blackstone Lane, asking if anyone present wanted to help and take the rocks they needed.
The Opening of Charlestown Park Bids was next. Bids were received as follows:
    Item 1 Item 2
  McCandless (?) $150,000 $29,275
  Delaware Valley Paving $84,000 $14,000
  Associated Paving $76,607 $20,100
  Charlestown Paving $108,000 $18,100

Mrs. Behrle (of Delaware Valley Paving) stated that she felt that the requirement of a $5 million dollar liability umbrella was excessive. She also stated she did not expect to see in the bid package the question relating to bidder's experience (relationships?) , and thought it was only going to appear in the annual road contract to prevent nepotism. It was revealed that the question was added without the knowledge of the entire board. Upon questioning, Mr. Kuhn responded that Delaware Valley would not be disqualified from this bid (although this clause appeared in the bid documents) just because the Roadmaster's son is president of Delaware Valley Paving. A long discussion ensued between the Board and Mrs. Behrle over conflict of interest, fair bidding of contracts, and legal standpoints.
The next three items of the Agenda were addressed as follows: The Park bid would be awarded at the December 4 meeting. In regard to the Altemose Conditional Use App./ Land Development - discussion, Mrs. Csete was asked to send a letter regarding land development conditional use. Since more work needs to be done on the Fire Ordinance, the matter of advertising the proposed ordinance would be on the December 4 agenda.
(Advertising the 2001 Budget - ??)
A motion was made and seconded to adopt the newly completed Employee Handbook.
Next was a matter of a lot line change raised by Fieldstone Partners. Mr. Lee Haller, Jr., company partner, requested board approval of a lot line change for lots 2 and 3 of the Ziegler Subdivision. A house was built which accidentally violated the set back by approximately three feet, and the slight change he requested would bring the house into conformity. A deposit of $1,000 was requested by the Board.
The Escrow Releases carried over from the last meeting for Emma Builders was approved by the Board, pending execution of a tri-party agreement which is presently under consideration.
Spring Lane Farms was to have a hearing before the Board, but this was continued to February 5, in accordance with a request received from the Applicant.
Billboard Ordinance - It was noted that the Chester County Planning Commission had sent its review letter. The Board made a motion and subsequently approved Ordinance #91of 2000 regulating billboards in the township.
Ordinance #92 of 2000 was approved and enacted to reduce the speed on Buckwalter Road to 25 mph, and to place additional stop signs at the intersection of Rees, Green Lane, and Howells Road.
Under Other Business: A date was contemplated for the dedication ceremony of Bridge 178, which would be convenient for both the Board and the County Commissioners. December 17 or 18 has been requested by the County Commissioners.
The meeting adjourned at 10:07 p.m. The next meeting of the Board of Supervisors will be Monday, December 4, 2000, 7:30 p.m., at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 156.
 
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