SWAN Newsletter #3

July 11, 2006

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP SUPERVISORS MEETING

Attended by Eric Epstein.

The LP Township Supervisors voted 5-0 to support the new zoning ordinance.

Many SWAN members were in attendance and Marc Levine and Eric Epstein offered testimony.

Eric Epstein offered testimony in support of the cluster consistent with SWAN’s earlier statements at the Planning Commission.

Marc Levine made comments and suggestions regarding Dauphin County’s evaluation of the new zoning ordinance.

SWAN will meet in August to discuss the new zoning ordinance.

FYI:

July 12, 2006: Re: Hammaker site: DEP is still waiting for a voluntary re-submittal of Act 2 compliance by the site’s owners. The owners are conducting additional soil samples.

July 12, 2006

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

A. Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan #06-02
5710 UNION DEPOST ROAD

Subdivision of a 4 plus acre parcel into 8 building lots of 20,000 sq. ft. each, located on the north side of Union Deposit Road, across from the Hidden Lakes Development and adjacent to the east end of the Central Dauphin East School Complex. The steep slopes on the parcel were not shown on the plan & there was concern for the sight distances where the access road empties onto Union Deposit Road. PENNDOT engineers are reviewing the plan prior to issuing a highway occupancy permit. It was agreed that sidewalks on Union Deposit Road would not be required. The Commission voted to grant a conditional approval of the subdivision of the parcel with the understanding that a waiver request would be made to eliminate sidewalks and that the steep slopes would be shown when a land development plan is submitted.

B. Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan #06-10
COLONIAL VILLAGE

Resubmission of the land development plan for the 28 plus acre tract, Zoned R-R on the west side of Colonial Road, south of I-81 and behind the Epiphany Lutheran Church. The submission for this large retirement housing project is a work in progress, with a fair number of comments and concerns yet to be addressed.

Traffic: The traffic study has just been completed and has prompted some plan changes since the previous meeting. Its author was not able to attend this meeting, so it could not be discussed. The study does include the projected impact of Stray Wind Farm and Earl Drive Developments. A highway occupancy permit application has not yet been submitted to PENNDOT. There are concerns about the sight distances on Colonial Road. The church has signed off on using their parking lot for emergency access.

Medical Building: The building on Lot #1 is shown as 6600 square feet, but since it could become larger and still meet code requirements, the trips figure for it should be based on its maximum possible size.

Density: The plan currently has density of 5.8 units per acre. The maximum allowable is 8 units per acre.

Waiver Requests: The applicant requested that the Commission consider and vote on seven waiver requests. With so many items outstanding, it was decided to withhold discussion on these requests.

Age- Restricted Housing: Since the traffic, the density and other conditions are based on the age of the residents, and an approval would require 80% to be age 55+, it was asked how this would be enforced. It was stated that the association would need to maintain an up to date census. The Commission voted to table the plan to allow the applicant to continue to upgrade the submission.

C. Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan #06-20
KEYSTONE CENTER

Submission of a land development plan for a new two story building on a 3.75 acre parcel zoned C-1 at the northwest corner of the intersection of Allentown Boulevard and North Mountain Road, adjacent to the Holiday Inn. The first floor will be office or retail space. The applicant has a highway occupancy permit. The only concern was the amount of parking on the limited site and he said he would size the number of bar and restaurant seats in accordance with the number of available parking spaces in compliance with the zoning code for C-1, the reverse of providing the number of parking spaces required for the number of seats in the building. The Commission voted to recommend that the Supervisors approve this application with the necessary waivers.

There were two other projects on the agenda, but bother were tabled, one at the applicant’s request and the other for lack of revised plans.

July 18, 2006

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING

Attended by Eric Epstein.

Triple Crown Corporation was granted approval to rezone Stray Winds Farm Development from R-1 to R-C (Residential Cluster).

July 27, 2006

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING

Attended by Eric Epstein, John McNally III, Ted Robertson, Eileen Hurley, David Wallace, William Oakland, Andy Snyder & Shelly Kunkel.

A. Variance was granted for a fence on Ridgeview Road.

B. Variance was granted for a sign to be put on Route 22.

C. Variance was unanimously granted for Triple Crown Corporation (TCC) to build an additional 75 units, or 449 total units in Stray Winds Farm Development.

TCC’s yield plan had given them, by right, 374 units to build. Interpretation of the newly adopted zoning ordinance could give them a variance of up to 10% or 411 units. Due to hardship, ZHB actually granted a variance of 20%.

FYI:
July 27, 2006
Lower Paxton Zoning Hearing Board Members
Lower Paxton Township
425 Prince Street
Harrisburg, PA 17109
RE: APPLICATION FOR VARIANCE OF PART 4 OPEN SPACE DEVELOPMENT PROVISIONS ARTICLE 1117, SECTION 1177.06 Z(b) DENSITY DETERMINATION IN THE R-C RESIDENTIAL CLUSTER OPEN SPACE DISTRICT-YIELD PLAN OF TRIPLE CROWN CORPORATION

Dear Zoning Hearing Board Members:

I am testifying this evening as a resident of Colonial Crest and as Chairman of the Stray Wind Area Neighbors (SWAN), a coalition of citizens and organizations from Colonial Crest, Colonial Village, Crums Mill Neighborhood, Quail Hollow, Club Estates, Club Estates Condos, Colonial Hills, and Fairway Estates, as well as conservation, engineering, environmental, and preservation representatives who have donated their time and services and provided invaluable advice on traffic, safety, land use, and quality of life issues.

Objectives of SWAN

1.) Promote sound conservation for the Paxton Creek Watershed, surrounding wetlands and wildlife habitats.

2.) Promote natural assets to enhance the quality of life and provide environmental safeguards.

3.) Promote safe communities through improved design for efficient management of traffic.
The reason that we are here this evening is because Lower Paxton Township is a desirable community in which to live, work, and parent. We would like to thank and acknowledge the Lower Paxton Township supervisors, their staff and appointee volunteers for their cooperation and assistance as SWAN members attended and participated in numerous Board of Supervisors, Planning Commission, Parks and Recreation, Public Safety Committee, and Zoning Hearing Board meetings .

We applaud Triple Crown Corporation’s (TCC) efforts to meet with SWAN and create a dialogue for cooperation, collaboration, and constructive engagement. We have met, and will continue to meet, with officers from Triple Crown Corporation as well as all interested parties affected by the proposed development.

At a workshop session on February 14, 2006 with the Supervisors, Triple Crown Corporation presented a plan for the Stray Winds Farm for up to 494 dwelling units. The plan had limited buffers, no improvements to McIntosh and Crums Mill Roads, no age restricted housing and low-end townhouses. The Supervisors cited concern about the traffic, but noted that issue fell under the purview of Penn DOT. At that meeting, I stated that SWAN could not commit to Triple Crown¹s plan while the housing figures moved from 402 to 453 to 495 and possibly up to 745 units the proposed TND model.

SWAN did support Triple Crown on April 27, 2006 when the Stray Winds plan was presented to this Board. Members of our group previously provided testimony for and against an identical application. Since then TCC has continued to address the concerns of various neighboring property owners. There is a consensus that we like the plan.

In terms of this variance request, clearly it is your charge to find and determine the hardship, and to grant the minimum amount of relief necessary to redress such hardship. SWAN cannot offer a legal opinion on this matter. Only Triple Crown can explicitly address legal, technical, and financial matters related to this request.

I believe this project represents an innovative social partnership that will help Lower Paxton grow smart. The Triple Crown-SWAN agreement may be the first proposed Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) in central Pennsylvania. In the past, protracted litigation based on NIMBY was the norm in suburban enclaves. This may be the first CBA between private industry and community groups in the nation. This CBA is also unique in that previous agreements have been executed primarily in low-income or inner-city venues. Lower Paxton Township played a critical role in encouraging and facilitating dialogue between industry and township residents.

Triple Crown addressed many of the concerns raised by those who live in close proximity to the farm, and has agreed to attach the following reasonable conditions to the variance request should the Board approve the application.

Specifically, Triple Crown Corporation agreed to provide age restricted housing on lots 3 and 6, increased the size of natural buffers around the lots, build, construct and maintain and bike and pedestrian pathway, and supplanted low-end townhouses off of Paxton Church and Crums Mill Road with more desirable units. Triple Crown has also taken out additional developable land, pushed the amount of preserved open space in Lower Paxton Township up to 48%, and extended buffers on the Paxton Creek up to 150¹ on each side of the waterway.

The Company’s original plan contained a minimal land buffer on Paxton Church Road from Crums Mill Road back beyond Haven Croft. We asked Triple Crown to insert a 50¹ to 70¹ buffer, plant evergreen tress, and move the development north. The Company has agreed to SWAN¹s requests and lost three units in the process.

As a condition for the variance, Triple Crown has agreed not to seek condemnations for Hillsdale, Valley View, and Woodcrest roads, or build ³as a right² on Hillsdale and Valley View Roads. Triple Crown allowed SWAN to reconfigure the unit layout in lot 6 that abuts Valley View Road.

Triple Crown has also committed to pedestrian and bike pathways on the perimeter of portions of lots that are contiguous to Paxton Church, Crums Mill and McIntosh Roads. TCC has entered into several arrangements with SWAN members to address property specific issues on land that borders the Stray Wind Farm.

The number of units has been the most difficult part of the negotiations and a sore spot for SWAN members. Triple Crown has accommodated SWAN on a number of concepts and committed to age restricted units in Lots 3 and 6 as part of their variance request. In other words, 53% of the units will be sold to active township residents 55 and older. This proposal also grows the tax base without stressing the capacity of the Central Dauphin School District.

SWAN provided detailed concerns to the Supervisors and Planning Commission relating to traffic congestion and safety challenges. We remain concerned about the ability of our roads to accommodate increased traffic during regular and peak periods now, tomorrow and into the future with increased development.

SWAN is fully aware that additional impacts will occur as result of development along Colonial Road. Triple Crown has agreed to spend $1.8 million to address chronic traffic problems in the Township. TCC has also agreed to recontour an already dangerous intersection at McIntosh and Crums Mill Roads as well as McIntosh and Colonial Road, and the Company will be required to make other improvements to roadways within their boundaries as well as maintain internal traffic conduits. We hope that you¹ll hold other developers accountable to the same standard as Triple Crown.

There is a consensus among SWAN members that we liked Triple Crown¹s revised plan, and appreciated the effort made by TCC to incorporate our comments, concerns and suggestions. The Company has been responsive and made accommodations to the neighbors of the Stray Winds Farm.

Not everybody got what they wanted. Some of our membership does not subscribe to the view held by the majority. I have advised them of their right to present alternative perspectives, and assured them they are not bound by SWAN¹s pronouncements.

SWAN is vested in the process and we will continue to work with representatives from the Township as well as officers of Triple Crown Corporation in the development of the Stray Winds Farm.

Sincerely,
Eric Epstein, Chairman
Stay Winds Area Neighbors
4100 Hillsdale Road
Harrisburg, PA 17112
(717)-541-1101
ericepstein@comcast.net