|| Neighborhood News Archives|
Past news of events in and around Charlestown
|News posted during December 2001
Monday, December 31, 2001 (Provided by Charlestown Green)
Board of Supervisors' Regular Meeting
December 17, 2001
(The meeting was in progress when I arrived at 7:35 p.m.)
In attendance for the Township were Hugh Willig, Kevin Kuhn, Mike Rodgers, Paul Hogan, Irene Ewald, Tom Oeste, Esq., Linda Csete, and Surender Kohli.
Mr. Andy Viscuso, outgoing tax collector, was presented with a framed Certificate of Appreciation, signed by the five Supervisors, for his many years of service to the Township. [On behalf of Charlestown Greene and this reporter, thank you, Andy, for your hard work and enjoy all the well-deserved "free time" that's coming! (Welcome, Ellen Behrle, to the post!)]
Altemose Conditional Use Application - The Board granted the applicant's request for an extension to January 2002.
Brooklands -- Chuck Dobson appeared on behalf of GenTerra Corporation and reviewed the plan with respect to a buffer area between Brooklands and the neighboring property of Pat and Paul Stevens. A 75-foot strip will be planted with evergreens to make up for the trees that will be removed during construction which presently serve to shield their home from Bodine Road. An agreement with the Stevens will be signed this week. The Board passed a motion to approve the Brooklands plan (revised to 8 lots) subject to conditions. These included that the 75-foot strip be subject to a conservation easement; that the agreement between the Stevens and Fieldstone Partners be signed; and, that the terms and conditions contained in Mr. Kohli's and Mr. Comitta's letters be met. The Final Plan will not be recorded until conditions of approval are satisfied. Escrow funds must be posted with the Township.
Brightside Farm Committee - Mr. Ray Ott was nominated by the Historic Commission for membership on the Brightside Farm Committee. The Board approved his appointment in view of his extensive farming experience.
Commons at Great Valley, Lot #18 - The applicant presented an artist's conception of the proposed office building and parking lot. He expressed pleasure that all township consultants had presented favorable letters after their reviews. The Board passed its motion to approve subject to Surender Kohli's final approval of the plan. Mr. Charles Philips of the Planning Commission advised the Board that it was a pleasure working with this applicant.
Spring Oaks Off-site Traffic Improvements - The Board will address a Memorandum of Understanding in January. The applicant stated he is still pursuing PennDOT's approval for the Yellow Springs Road and Route 29 traffic signals.
2002 Budget Resolution - Philip Staas addressed the Board and advised that the Township's Auditors met to review the Budget and have submitted their recommendations to the Board, which have been incorporated into the Budget. A concern, though, is the declining revenue and increasing expenses. After consulting with Emory Todd, CPA, as to where he thought interest rates were headed, Mr. Staas offered an opinion that new money coming in would not be sufficient to cover prospective expenses and carryover dollars will have to be used, which may be depleted by 2003.
Mr. Kuhn asked Mr. Staas if the auditors could assist township committees in forming their budgets; however, Mr. Oeste expressed reservations, stating the auditor has an ultimate obligation to "watch dog" the accounts.
Mr. Willig expressed that the Board was reluctant to increase taxes this year, but it realizes that this step may be necessary in the future. Mrs. Ewald noted that the tax rate of .52 mils has been the same since 1983 and is among the lowest in the County. A copy of the Budget is available to residents through the Township Office.
Brightside Farm Committee - A proposed budget formed by the committee was presented to the Board for review. Highlights from the budget-
Brightside Farm 2002 Proposed Budget
Consultation Fees $25,000
Over-all (including maintenance, grant matching funds
and planned programs for public awareness) $25,000
House improvements $10,450
Barn & outbuilding improvements $20,250
Fields $ 5,000
Much of the budget contained one-time expenses. Questions arose as to whether some expenses should be allocated to Township or HARB. Per the chairman of the Brightside Farm Committee, this budget reflected more expense than the Township had planned, but some of the items may not need to be expended if volunteer work and donated materials are available. The Board generally agreed that the budget was too high at $101,700. Mr. Kuhn felt that it was high since no vision plan has been developed yet, and some things may not need to be done and other things shown are not important at this point. Mrs. Csete pointed out that $20,000 is in the Township's general fund for maintenance and that consultants are also provided for to a degree. Mr. Kuhn stressed that the vision process is the most important task, and he wanted to be sure that the proposed budget is not a "to do list." Mr. Willig felt that the farm is full of unexpected items and the budget proposed would allot enough money to cover any unforeseen problems. The Board discussed the practice of fox hunting in the area and asked that some fields not be traversed since crops have been planted. The Committee will provide a map of the fields showing where crops are planted. Mr. Hanscom advocated completing the budgeted work that is necessary to preserve the house, due to its historic value.
A motion was made to approve the Township budget. Mrs. Ewald commented that some road expenses were high this year due to charges not being watched closely enough. When challenged by other supervisors, she gave an example (a large bill for 8 hours and several men with equipment to repair the center crack on Union Hill Road, which takes only "17 minutes" to walk) and asked that changes be made to improve this situation in 2002. Future paving of Howell's Road was discussed along with a few other roads.
The Board approved a budget rate of .52 mils; and, afterward, the Proposed Budget was approved with the reservation that it be re-examined in the spring for possible revisions.
With regard to the Supervisors' remuneration, Mrs. Ewald asked that the $1,875 annual limit ($50.00 per meeting) be reviewed in light of the fact that supervisors' meetings were held weekly last year, and the cap was reached in September, causing the Board to work without pay to the end of the year. Mr. Oeste advised that the rules pertaining to Second Class Townships would apply in this case.
Altemose Land Development Plan - The extension expires 12/31/01. The Board motioned to deny this plan until the applicant grants an extension to the Township.
Intergovernmental Cooperation Planning Agreement for the Phoenixville Region - Mr. Willig reminded the Board that at the last meeting, the supervisors were asked to bring questions/comments to this meeting. He saw no objections in signing this agreement. The objective of the IGCPA is to develop a regional comprehensive plan. Mrs. Ewald stated that she "objected vehemently" due to the lack of control [that would result] over township planning. Mr. Kuhn felt this was not the case and that the township could benefit. Mr. Willig thought Charlestown should take part and evaluate its interest and benefit as the plan proceeded and "opt out" if that was determined to be the best path. He stated that he did not want to be subjected to the imposition and will of other townships, but was willing to investigate. The vote for approval was 4 to 1, with Mrs. Ewald opposing.
Turnpike Citizen's Action Committee - Charlie Philips stated that copies of additional traffic studies have been obtained by the Charlestown reps to the Turnpike Slip Ramp meetings.
Horse Shoe Trail - The Board received a letter regarding the blocking of the trail with a pile of stones and "no trespassing" signs by a township resident who does not want riders on his property. The Board noted that per a title report, the trail is not on the Moskowitz property; however, it was noted that the location of the trail has moved over the last four or five years. It is now between the Davis and Moskowitz properties. Mr. Kuhn suggested that easement documents from the Markley (Charlestown Historical Society) property might show the present location of the trail, and he suggested that the trail might relocate to the CHS property. This will be investigated.
Sue Staas presented questions to the Board regarding the use of the Open Space Fund and how the dollars are presently invested.
Adjournment was at 9:54 p.m. with an Executive Session to follow immediately.
The next meeting (Reorganization and Regular Meeting)
of the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for
January 7, 2002, at 7:30 P.M., Great Valley Middle School, Room 154
Reported for Charlestown Green by Loretta Watson.
Here's wishing a very Happy New Year to all who read these reports!
Monday, December 17, 2001 (Provided by Charlestown Green)
Board of Supervisors' Regular Meeting
December 3, 2001
The meeting came to order at the request of the Chairman Hugh Willig at 7:45 p.m. In attendance for the Township were Hugh Willig, Kevin Kuhn, Mike Rodgers, Paul Hogan, Irene Ewald, Jim McErlane, Esq., Linda Csete, and Surender Kohli.
Announcements by the Board: Mr. Kuhn had attended an Intergovernmental Cooperative Meeting involving Charlestown and the surrounding townships and Phoenixville. Mr. Willig announced that an Executive Session was held just before this meeting regarding legal matters.
Citizens' Forum for Non-Agenda Items: Ellen Behrle, the incoming tax collector, asked the Board if they would purchase a computer from the outgoing tax collector, Andy Viscuso, since it has all the current records on it. This computer was purchased new by Andy in 1993, so the Board discussed the merits of upgrading to a new model. They recommended that periodic back up diskettes be given to Linda Csete for security. A telephone line for the modem is necessary and will be ordered. The answering machine, telephone and office furniture will be purchased from Mr. Viscuso by the Township and provided to Mrs. Behrle, who has secured a post office box in Devault for receipt of tax collection mail and is pursuing the bonding that is required in this position. There were no other Citizen's Forum speakers.
The Board approved Minutes from the November 5 and 19 meetings, along with the Treasurers Report for November and the Accounts Payable of December 3.
Zoning: Report was submitted. Mr. Kohli commented that he sent a letter to Marian Road residents regarding proposed tree clearing and, subsequently, a resident informed him that the trees had been trimmed already, possibly by PECO.
Planning Commission: Discussion at their last meeting covered the development planned for the Dixon tract on Pikeland Road. Neighbors from the area also attended. However, questions arose regarding proper notification of neighbors and who should take responsibility for sending the notice. The subject covered at that meeting was a sketch or preliminary plan, and this situation is not clearly stated in the Ordinance. After discussion, the Board decided that the Ordinance would be reviewed and modified to place notification responsibility on the applicant.
Historic Commission: Report was submitted. Last meeting was November 13, when the Baughman's Mill (the woolen mill) on Charlestown Road was the topic of discussion relating to preservation efforts. Comment was offered that the Historic Commission would like to see Dale Frens, Architect, placed on the Brightside Farm Over-Sight Committee.
Roadmaster: Durando Faggioli was not present.
Fire Marshal/EOC: In an effort to conserve time and keep reports short, Mr. Alston offered the following: "We had fires; we put them out." When the laughter died down, he reported that there were eight vehicle accidents in the month and a number of automatic fire alarms. The burning ban is still in effect and we are 10 inches below normal for rainfall. Because the water table is lower, he advised conserving water as much as possible. A preliminary draft of the new ordinance is available for final review. Charlie Philips, Planning Commission, requested that his group review it before the Board votes on it.
Parks and Recreation: The tree planting at Charlestown Park will be scheduled in 2002. During a digging operation, an old stone wall was discovered and the State Historic Commission will be notified. It is believed to be a foundation wall.
Brightside Farm: A summary of the recent meeting was given to Board Members. Budget review produced an over run for this year.
The house at Brightside is now being rented by The Binghams. Priorities are being assigned to various maintenance work projects on the residence, some to be done by December 31 and some in 2002. A housewarming is planned for January. Outbuildings, especially those with water pipes, are being winterized and the "no trespassing" signs are ready for installation around the farm buildings. Certain areas of the fields will receive a planting of winter rye.
The Committee received a request to permit some livestock to live on the property. This would involve strengthening the fencing in that area. Mrs. Kehoe cautioned the Board against making decisions that would affect the vision process, stating that the particular area was earmarked for an equestrian area. The discussion continued revealing that the 8 to 10 cows would be an interim measure. Comment was made that the seven acres being considered would not be sufficient area for the number of cows in question to graze. Another comment was that an electric fence is preferable to split rail for security.
Mr. Philips underscored Mrs. Kehoe's comments and added that a piecemeal approach should be avoided and a development plan should be used as a guide. In response, Mrs. Ewald stated she was in favor of some immediate use (such as the cows) to generate additional interest. Mrs. Kehoe commented that she would not mind if the cows were integral to a school learning program or program of community agriculture. Mrs. Staas also advocated putting effort toward developing a plan for Brightside Farm. Mr. Willig called for more investigation into this issue of the cows to determine the details.
Brightside Farm Committee would like to have Dale Frens available as a consultant, stating that his rates for architectural consultation are not as high as they could be, since others in his office participate in projects, rather than Dale himself. Mr. Willig suggested that Mr. Frens be used as a consultant and budget properly for his expense. Mr. Philips urged having at least one person on the Brightside Farm Committee with expertise in historic farms.
Sewer Authority: Mike Rodgers said that the Authority has made an offer to replace some screening trees (he did not state where). A resident has complained to VFSA that check valves and a pump are required to prevent back ups at his property and requested that VFSA pay for the maintenance and electricity required to run the equipment. Mr. Rodgers said this is not current practice of the VFSA. He added that the employee salaries and benefits are still in negotiation. The Budget shows $171,000 excess, and the Budget for 2002 will yield a projected $141,000 surplus.
Turnpike CAC - December 20, 2001, is the next meeting. Mrs. Staas hoped that the requested traffic figures would be available. Mr. Willig stated the Board has received a response to its request for the traffic study figures but is awaiting a further response.
Mr. Hogan noted that Handel's Messiah will be presented by the Christian College Choir on Thursday, Dec. 6, at the Chapel.
Comprehensive Plan - A motion to approve was seconded. Mrs. Ewald asked if "adaptive reuse of the quarry" is included as a possible reuse to be allowed. Mr. Comitta addressed the Board saying he remembered a "park and ride facility" was planned for the quarry previously, but that plan was moved to a site near the Christian College on Charlestown Township property. Mrs. Ewald was surprised to hear this and asked exactly where it is to be placed. Mrs. Ewald also objected to the inclusion of Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) in the Comprehensive Plan, feeling that the concept is unproductive for the Township. Mr. Theurkauf explained that TDR was included as a possibility for use as a protection tool. Mr. Comitta spoke of a successful TDR effort in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, involving the White Horse Village retirement community. The right to build a shopping center was transferred to an area across the street, and White Horse Village was allowed to use the original property to expand their development.
The Comprehensive Plan was approved by vote of 4 to 1, Mrs. Ewald voting against.
Resolution #582-2001 was adopted.
Mr. Kuhn asked that the record reflect his view that Mrs. Ewald should have brought her objections before the Planning Commission or Board earlier.
GenTera Corporation - Mr. John Panizza - came before the Board to resume discussion of its Deerfield plan. He asked that the Board assign a specific small strip of land in the Open Space for special use in the event that a back-up emergency sewage system is required for a lot in the future. This idea was discussed at prior meetings and Mr. Kohli and the Board understood its intended use. No more than three systems would be in this strip. The Board asked that the size of the area and the number of systems should be clarified and specified on the plan.
Mr. Theurkauf stated he hoped that the homes that back up to Yellow Springs Road would be clad in natural materials to enhance the viewshed. Mr. Panizza noted his agreement. The Board voted approval of this project 4 to 1. Mrs. Ewald voted against, stating she was leery of the cross easement idea regarding septic systems. A preliminary plan will be prepared, and Mr. Panizza stated that with additional time and development work, this plan could conceivably be improved.
Spring Oaks Off-site Traffic Improvements - (traffic lights at Rt. 29 and Yellow Springs Road) Mrs. Ewald desired discussion with Mr. McErlane before approving the Memorandum of Understanding.
Landscapes 21st Century Fund Contracts. There was some concern over possible restrictions that may ensue; but, for the most part, the grant contracts in front of the Board are acceptable and approval was given.
Mr. Kuhn inquired where the Brightside Farm vision process was as this point. Mr. Theurkauf gave an estimate of two years to complete the input and evaluation of ideas. The Board is encouraging public participation in this process.
Heritage Park - The contract is approved pursuant to the trees being planted in 2002, as mentioned earlier in this meeting.
In regard to Intergovernmental Cooperation Planning, surrounding townships and boroughs meet to facilitate "inter-municipal planning" which would cover density amount and location, saving rural areas, etc. A treasurer is planned to coordinate the amounts received from the member entities. An agreement is proposed, which would be signed by participating entities, to start work on an Intergovernmental Municipal Plan
Mr. Kuhn recommended that the Board sign the plan as a member of this group. Mrs. Ewald was opposed since she feared a loss of control over the township and this is why she did not favor entering into a similar arrangement with East Whiteland. Mr. McErlane said that the township could "give away as much or as little as they wanted" stating the possibility of various degrees of agreement, up to, for instance, regional zoning or a comprehensive plan. Mr. Willig suggested that Board Member read the agreement and have comments prepared for the next meeting. Mr. Kuhn felt that the next meeting of the Intergovernmental Comprehensive Planning group would take place after Christmas.
Adjournment at 10:38 p.m.
Mrs. Ewald asked for an Executive Session.
The next business meeting of the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for
December 17, 2001, at 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154
Reported for Charlestown Green by Loretta Watson.
Monday, December 3, 2001 (Provided by Charlestown Green)
Board of Supervisors' Regular Meeting
November 19, 2001
The meeting came to order at the request of the Vice-Chairman, Kevin Kuhn, in Chairman Hugh Willig's absence. Present were Kevin Kuhn, Mike Rodgers, Paul Hogan, Irene Ewald, Thomas Oeste, Esq., Linda Csete, and Surender Kohli.
Announcements included report of Executive Sessions held 11/5 and 11/12 regarding real estate and legal matters, respectively.
Citizens' Forum - no speakers.
The Board declined to approve its November 5 minutes due to not having fully reviewed them; however, Accounts Payable for November 19 was approved.
The hearing of Leon and Carol Altemose's request to build an assisted living facility on White Horse at Ashenfelter resumed with presentation of testimony from the Applicants' witness, W. Jeffrey Miller, from Evans Miller Environmental, of Uwchland, Pa, who was accepted as an expert in Waste Water Treatment and Disposition. He stated there were three alternatives for the Altemose property:
His conclusions were that, at an expected 93,000 gallons of waste water per day, 15.5 to 30 acres of land would be required for in-ground disposal; discharge to the Pickering was undesirable; and, since the subject property is approximately 1.5 miles from the pumping station at White Horse and Pothouse or, in the opposite direction, 1.5 miles from the manhole on White Horse north of Route 29, tying into VFSA would be feasible. A discussion of capacity presently available ensued, with the witness stating that the VFSA Management Report indicated 200,000 gallons is available. He further stated that a Phila. Suburban Water Co. letter dated 2/5/2001 confirmed availability of capacity to the subject property, which could be via 20- and 60-inch mains (subject to township approval). Mr. Miller felt the public would benefit from having public water available to the properties along White Horse Road. A sewage-planning module has been filed with Charlestown Twp.
- A land-based system such as spray, drip, or subsurface disposition;
- Discharge to the Pickering; or,
- Sewer connection to the Valley Forge Sewer Authority system.
Mr. Bender (counsel for the Planning Commission) questioned the witness as to how he arrived at an average 100 gallons per day per bedroom (at the planned facility), the number of gallons to be generated, the location and size of the pumping stations and pipes. The witness stated he was not aware of whether the Comprehensive Plan for Charlestown Twp. referenced the type of sewage treatment systems in this area, but said that if zoning allowed the use, then one option could be used. Both township and PUC approvals would be required to run water lines from PSW. The witness said that water mains would run along White Horse and cross in front of the Altemose property, but no study has been done for exact location of the waste water lines.
Mr. DelBello (attorney for Michael Main) questioned the figure given for the number of gallons generated daily from each unit of the facility. Per the witness, if the facility's laundry is done off site, gallons per day would be 50% less. The witness said that studies show hospitals use about 300 gallons per day due to the nature of the services provided and, without laundry, use 220 gallons per day per bed space. However, he pointed out that this proposed facility was not a hospital (high water use facility) and it would not be providing all the services of a hospital; therefore, water usage would be less.
Supervisor Rodgers, liaison to the VFSA, questioned that capacity was available, insisting that it was not as the witness stated.
Mr. Oeste asked if the amount of land and soil type would be suitable for the density expected. The witness answered that a drip system would take about 12 acres without doing laundry on site; and that a public system would be better.
A follow-up question was answered that calculations are done on 1875 units and an average population of 1.5 persons per unit.
This hearing will continue on December 17, 2001.
* * *
GenTerra Corporation (John Panizza) came before the Board and agreed to continue his Spring Lane Farms matter to December 17, 2001, and to have a hearing before the extension runs on December 31, 2001. The Board asked for a review of the current plan for Spring Lane. The cul-de-sac is 1000 feet, in accordance with Ordinance maximums. Mr. Panizza noted that the current plan is a result of several sessions with the Planning Commission. He said that lots could be deed restricted to preserve woodland and help hide properties from view on Hollow Road. He advised that the main drive could not intersect with Somerset Lane across Hollow due to location of wetlands. In response to Board inquiry, Somerset is 31 acres with 10 lots (one being 7 acres in size), and Spring Lane is 38 acres with 12 lots.
He proposed a lot reconfiguration to enhance and protect the privacy of the existing residence on Spring Lane Farms, but the trade off may be loss of some trees. He proposed a two-lot subdivision to allow sale of the existing home and to preserve its front yard. This would also permit a change in the access road to avoid the wetland areas and provide a better intersection with Somerset Drive.
Upon questioning from the Board, Mr. Panizza said a 6-lot plan of the property could be designed if buyer(s) came along who were interested in the tax credits and conservancy easements.
An extension (on Spring Lane?) was granted to the 2nd business meeting in January.
In regard to GenTerra's Deerfield (Yellow Springs Road) plan, in an effort to bring this matter to a conclusion, letters from GenTerra, Tom Comitta, and Tom Oeste were reviewed. Discussion points involved designation of a specific area in the open space for emergency replacement sewage systems, only, if this became necessary in the future. Also discussed were buffer landscaping, stormwater handling, and storm water basin size.
Mr. Vincent Kling addressed the Board and voiced his opinion against allowing septic systems where proper percolation could not be obtained and county approval was not given. (This apparently referred to some prior matter before the township and not to GenTerra or Deerfield.)
Regarding another project of GenTerra, Brooklands, on Bodine Road, the Plan has been submitted and is currently under review, but four additional copies will be supplied this week in response to a Township request.
* * * *
A Board signature was affixed to the approved VFSA Treatment Plan Agreement.
A conditional use hearing on Spring Oaks development is scheduled for January 21, 2002, but the applicant will send a letter requesting an extension of time. Spring Oaks is a plan of development for a property along White Horse Road near Route 29. Signalization at Yellow Springs and Route 29 will be handled by Spring Oaks developers through an agreement with the Trammel-Crow Company, developer of an office complex (Atwater) along Yellow Springs Road in Cedar Hollow.
The Board asked what, if any, improvements are planned for the pedestrian tunnel under the Pa. Turnpike; however, the applicant had no knowledge of this tunnel, but offered to include a sidewalk or tunnel in future development of the Devault area.
Mr. Oeste asked that an escrow be posted by Spring Oaks with the township pending successful inspections of road improvements by PennDOT. Charlestown Township will monitor the bidding and construction to be sure the lights meet needs and specs. All new lights will be connected and use fiber optic signals.
Mrs. Ewald protested that Trammel Crow is not required to present plans to Charlestown Township. She is concerned about the amount of traffic which will result from Trammel Crow's Atwater development (in the neighboring township).
The next matter was regarding Dale Frens' nomination to the Brightside Farm Committee by the Historic Commission. Mrs. Ewald stated she had no objection to his being a consultant on the buildings of Brightside, but felt the cost to the township would be too great for him to attend all meetings as a committee member. This issue is tabled until the Historic Commission is consulted.
Advertising of the proposed 2002 Budget was approved. The Board commented that there will be no tax increase this year (as last year), but due to the expenses incurred during 2001, a tax increase would be helpful. Also approved was advertising of the township's intent to appoint a CPA to audit accounts for 2001.
Escrow requests of Michael Allen and Commons of Great Valley were approved.
Mrs. Ewald suggested that the township purchase a small parcel of property along Valley Hill Road, which is the "size of a driveway" abutting Pebble Lane, which has become available through he Tax Claim Bureau. The Tax Upset Sale amount is approximately $8,000, and the title company will convey this to the township without encumbrances, pending payment of the amount due.
Mr. Oeste has reviewed the Brightside Farm tenant lease, approved by the Board subject to obtaining the current address for the proposed tenants, the lease start date, and the installation of smoke detectors in the leased property.
The meeting adjourned at 11:57 p.m.
The next business meeting of the Board of Supervisors is scheduled for December 3, 2001 at 7:30 P.M. at the Great Valley Middle School, Room 154.
Reported for Charlestown Green by Loretta Watson.
Continued in Archives