Charlestown Township Municipal Building
11 General Warren Blvd., Suite 1, Malvern, PA
Tuesday, May 6, 2024


Frank A. Piliero, Chair, Charles A. Philips, Vice Chair, Kevin R. Kuhn, Louis P. Rubinfield, and Hugh D. Willig.
Mark P. Thompson, Esq., and Daniel T. Wright P.E.
Chris Heleniak, Manager, Linda Csete, Treasurer, Jim Thompson, Roadmaster, and Mike Allen, Planner.

Call to Order:

7:00 p.m.


There were no announcements.

Citizens Forum

Ms. Carol Armstrong asked two questions:

  1. On behalf of the Environmental Advisory Committee, she said the EAC is hosting invited business owners to its May 13th meeting to present the Plastics Reduction Ordinance and invite input. She asked what the EAC’s next step should be if no business owners attend. Mr. Kuhn said the EAC should return to the Planning Commission for their thoughts and final recommendation, noting that while they were receptive to a plastic bag ban, there were mixed opinions on other plastic restrictions in the proposed ordinance. Ms. Armstrong clarified that they should narrow down the requirements with the Planning Commission and the supervisors said yes, this would be the step leading to their final recommendation.
  2. Ms. Armstrong asked for comment on Beyond Pesticide’s offer to perform soil testing at two properties (Charlestown Park and Charlestown Mill) and develop a program for each. Mr. Willig asked about the concessionaire agreements with the two sports clubs that maintain the playing fields. Mr. Heleniak said he reviewed the two agreements, and they are silent on how they are to maintain their areas, which they achieve with independent contractors. He said the Township can have a conversation with each of them and determine if they’re willing to voluntarily follow the proposed guidelines. Mr. Willig suggested drafting a program to discuss with them. Ms. Armstrong said she previously provided the three contractors’ contact info. Mr. Heleniak said Charlestown Landscaping is the only one of the three under contract with the Township, and all they do at the Park is mow. Mr. Willig asked what if the concessionaries determine that following the requirements makes their costs too high. Ms. Armstrong said the EAC could then seek guidance from their experts.

Mr. Greg Nesspor said he and his wife Shannon would like to thank the Supervisors and French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust for finalizing the conservation easement on their property and encouraged other landowners to consider this option.


Mr. Philips moved to approve the reports listed below and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

  1. Minutes for the April 1, 2024, Business Meeting
  2. April 2024 Treasurer’s Report
  3. Accounts Payable Report - All Funds for May 6, 2024


Mr. Thompson updated the Board on the Beyond Meat Alternate Final Plan application. After Preliminary approval in 2000, and subsequent filing of a Final Plan, the Applicant agreed to filing the more recent alternate final plan with the understanding they could revert to the original final plan if the alternate was not approved within 90 days. Since then Beyond Meat has issued a number of extensions, and once again has indicated their willingness to extend the deadline for the Alternate Final Plan to 12/31/24.

Mr. Allen updated the Board on the Design Review Committee’s 4/22/24 meeting with JP Orleans at their Spring Oak office to discuss proposed changes, which were found acceptable to the DRC. However, during the site walk, several deficiencies were noted, including vent pipes exiting foundations in the front and sides of the properties that according to the Design Review Manual were all the be located at the rear of the units. Some exit from the bottom of bay windows, and others are on the sides of units more than midway toward the fronts. He said they informed JP Orleans this practice must stop, and following DRC suggestions, must come back to the Township with proposed alternatives. He acknowledged that they can’t tear out what’s already been done although the work was done without approval of a Design Manual change.

Mr. Allen said a second issue was the installation of some fencing that does not have the required matt finish. While they have an attractive design, they don’t match what is shown in the Design Manual.

Mr. Allen said that JP Orleans no longer has a representative on the Homeowners Association Board, which was surprising since the Devault Village portion of the project is still under construction. He said the property management company should be made aware of what’s required according to the Design Manual, and suggested the Township meet with them and the resident representatives on the HOA to ensure they understand the requirements.

Mr. Allen questioned how enforcement would be managed. Mr. Wright said either JP Orleans or the future owners are required to get a Zoning Permit to install a fence, and the fencing material would be noted during that review. He referred to the fence on one corner in Spring Oaks that did get a permit for which the application included specs on a non-gloss finish material but appears more glossy. He said he can send these specs to Tom Comitta for future applications if this would help. He noted that some other elements go to Carol Quigley for review during the permit application process. Mr. Willig said the Township needs to ensure the material that is installed is the same as the specs provided with the application, and that the Spring Oak Architectural Review Committee could oversee this as well. Mr. Rubinfield offered to speak with a member of that committee on this issue.

Mr. Kuhn said the Township can’t penalize the homeowners at this point, and Mr. Allen agreed. Mr. Kuhn asked how many units have mis-located venting, and Mr. Allen said most of them. He said the rear of the units proved too impractical, so the DRC allowed them 15 feet of the side for relief. Some had been painted to match the building, and Mr. Kuhn suggested this may be the compromise going forward.

Mr. Allen said a third issue was downspouts that are sticking out 15-18” and need to be adjusted.

Mr. Allen said he’ll contact JP Orleans for their update on proposed remedies since they have yet to respond.

Mr. Philips moved to accept the April 2024 reports #1-16 as submitted, and Mr. Kuhn seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Old Business

PA Turnpike Maintenance Facility Conservation Agreement

Mr. Thompson indicated that the maintenance facility agreement with the PA Turnpike has been finalized and is ready for approval. It was a condition of approval of the Turnpike’s Land Development Plan for their new maintenance facility that they enter into a conservation easement to protect approximately 20 acres of land adjacent to the project.

Final issues to be resolved included adding language to Section 6.D. indemnifying the Turnpike Commission related to the use of the existing walking path. Since both entities have sovereign immunity, this language is redundant and unobjectionable. He did add to the agreement that the indemnification is only in effect as long as the Turnpike Commission continues to be a government body and not a private entity. The agreement also has a provision against logging and that the property be maintained in its natural state. An exhibit is to be added to the agreement consisting of a plan of the property, and after execution the document will be recorded.

Mr. Kuhn asked if the easement will be held jointly with the French & Pickering Creeks Conservation Trust, and Mr. Thompson said no, that was discussed but didn’t move forward due to the lack of an endowment offer from the Turnpike Commission. Mr. Kuhn said he wants a conservation trust to be included as a party in order to monitor the easement, to which the other board members indicated agreement. The endowment cost is relatively low, and the Township would cover it.

Mr. Thompson will contact the French & Pickering group and see if they would be willing to enter into the agreement with the Township and Turnpike Commission and whether they would accept the proposed agreement as drafted rather than drafting their own at this point.

New Business

Hearing to Amend Sewers and Sewage Disposal Ordinance

Mr. Thompson opened the hearing to consider an amendment to Chapter 18, Sewers and Sewage Disposal, to amend Tier One (chromium) and Tier Two (chromium, copper, arsenic and lead) limits for sewer discharges and time limits for waste permits and waste hauler licenses to be consistent with the Valley Forge Sewer Authority’s current requirements, as was pointed out during a consistency audit. The Tier limits need to be matched for all participating municipalities, and an additional requirement for industrial users is included in the proposed ordinance that their permitting period not exceed five years. Mr. Thompson indicated the ordinance was properly advertised.

Mr. Thompson asked if there were any questions, and Mr. Nesspor asked if PFAS were included in the tier limits. Mr. Thompson responded they are not included as part of this regulation.

Mr. Kuhn moved to adopt Ordinance #224-2024 Amending Chapter 18 of the Charlestown Township Code for Sewers and Sewage Disposal, and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Award Contract -Tree Work

The sole bid received was from Davey Tree Service for the 2024-2027 Tree Contract. The bid was in order and the Township has been pleased with their work under the previous contract.

Mr. Kuhn moved to accept the Davey Tree Service bid for the 2024-2027 Tree Contract, and Mr. Philips seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Mr. Kuhn asked for the status of the road equipment & labor contracts. Mr. Wright said that since the Township is new to PennBID, PennBID is formatting the bid documents, and they are expected to be ready to go out to bid within 1 - 2 weeks. He proposed the bid opening be scheduled for the July meeting.

Proposal to Complete Historic Resources Survey for 9 Properties

HARB Chair Melissa Dicranian explained that the proposal to add the selected 11 historic resources, located on 9 properties in the Township, was the result of site visits made by members during 2023 & 2024 to potential sites identified during the Historic Atlas Project for future inclusion on the Historic Resource Inventory List.

The proposed survey work can be divided into two years if the Board prefers since the 2024 budget includes $5,000 for this project but the proposal came in at $12,900.

Mr. Kuhn said he reviewed the current Historic Resource Ordinance and confirmed that structures on the Historic Resource list must go to the HARB for demolition approval even if they are located outside the Historic District.

Ms. Dicranian provided some background on how the properties, some just over 50 years old, were selected for inclusion. In the case of a Wheelock Lane house, it was of an architectural style that was among very few in the Township and a particularly good example of its type. She said consultant Jane Dorchester first proposed properties to consider, then the HARB undertook site visits to select the best candidates.

Mr. Kuhn asked if the property owners are contacted and asked to sign off on inclusion on the Historic Resources list. While this isn’t a requirement of the process, it was generally agreed that this should be done.

Mr. Kuhn moved to accept Jane Dorchester’s 4/15/24 proposal to complete historic resource survey forms for 11 resources on 9 properties proposed to be added to the Township’s Historic Resources List, subject to a budget revision increasing the line item for this project by $8,000.00 and the property owners’ agreement to be included on the List. Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Discussion on Pickering Dam Road Bridge Replacement

Mr. Heleniak said that PennDOT requested feedback on whether the Township would like to include aesthetic treatments to the design for the Pickering Dam Road bridge replacement and displayed pictures of proposed finishes. The Board opted for the photo of Type 10M railing in black.

Resolution to Amend 2024 Budget

Ms. Csete walked through various proposed amendments on the spreadsheet provided earlier to the Supervisors for review. Mr. Kuhn moved to adopt Resolution # 1056-24 amending the 2024 Budget including the increase in the Historic Resource Map Update category of $8,000.00, and Mr. Willig seconded. Mr. Piliero called for discussion, and there being none, called the vote. All were in favor.

Schedule Conditional Use Hearing

The Board scheduled a hearing to consider the conditional use application of John Gary Kulp at their June 3, 2024 meeting at 7:00 p.m. at the township office.

Discussion on Swiss Pines Site Visit April 6th

The Board discussed the April 6th site visit undertaken by the Supervisors and Planning Commission with regard to next steps for the property.

Mr. Philips said the Board needs to utilize a facilitator to direct the planning process and suggested Tom Comitta for this role. First, he said the Supervisors need to map out an overall plan. Board members were in agreement with the selection of Mr. Comitta, who Mr. Heleniak said can help assemble the numerous pieces that need to be addressed.

Mr. Kuhn said, with regard to the structures, that there was already one recommendation to take the Llewellen mansion down, and he proposed they get a second recommendation. In the meantime, it should be secured, perhaps with fencing. He added that quotes are being sought for demolition of one of the six houses on Swiss Lane that is in extremely poor condition. Mr. Allen suggested there be documentation in the event it must be removed.

Mr. Kuhn suggested that the Board consider subdividing off a portion of the property at Pickering Dam Road and Peaks Pike that includes Henriette Bumeder’s former house and barn. This area is somewhat separate from the bulk of Swiss Pines and its surrounding parcels and could benefit from an approach such as the Township used with the Volpi property where a historic house and associated structures were subdivided off and sold at auction with the requirement that the house and selected outbuildings be rehabbed. He said he’s already spoken to two individuals who expressed interest in the potentially subdivided property. Mr. Nesspor supported the idea and noted that few people realize it’s part of the Swiss Pines properties. He said Charlestown doesn’t need to create a mini Longwood Gardens.

Mr. Philips said these structures should all go on the list and be prioritized. Mr. Allen asked if the Supervisors had read his memo sent the day after the site walk. It broke out a number of suggestions on how to move forward. He urged the Board not to make plans upfront for demolishing any structures. In response to Mr. Kuhn’s question of how to justify the $3 - 5 million cost to rehabilitate the mansion, Mr. Allen referenced the redevelopment that became the Jenkins Arboretum, and Mr. Philips mentioned the Morris Arboretum. Mr. Willig noted a foundation could be formed.

Mr. Allen said he would like to see the 6 houses on Swiss Lane be left intact as they represent a unique feudal situation where they were built for the garden workers at Swiss Pines and now serve as affordable housing. Mr. Willig said that safety issues must be weighed for house #6. Mr. Allen said his memo concluded with a suggestion that at some point an individual be hired to oversee Swiss Pines.

Discussion returned to planning. Mr. Rubinfield said the end goal should be defined early in the process, and Mr. Philips said priorities must be developed, to which Mr. Piliero said the parts of the whole must be identified. Mr. Willig said they need someone experienced in pulling together a plan of this magnitude and that Mr. Comitta is a good visionary candidate. He added that the Board should make effective use of its boards and commissions as well.

The Supervisors requested that Mr. Heleniak invite Mr. Comitta to the June 3rd meeting and to ask him to consider what experts would be appropriate to the effort.

Other Business

No items were brought forward.


There being no other business, Mr. Piliero adjourned the meeting at 8:14 p.m. The next Business Meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 3, 2024, at 7 p.m., at 11 General Warren Blvd., Suite 1, Malvern, PA.

Respectfully submitted,

Linda M. Csete
Township Treasurer/Admin
sheet, 5/6/2024