SWAN NEWSLETTER #106

April 1, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP GREENWAY COMMITTEE MEETING – Reported by Vera Stuchinski

Meeting was cancelled due to lack of a quorum.

April 1, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS & RECREATION BOARD MEETING -Reported by Vera Stuchinski

Mateer Field: Mr. Luetchford reported that the fields for midget baseball & t-ball are ready, insurance is covered, and maintenance work has commenced.

Heroes Grove: Plans have been completed with minor changes to bring costs in line with budget. Presentation will be made at Supervisors’ meeting this month. Construction should start in May or June. Grant proposals and in-kind donations are in the works.

Wolfersberger’s Park Fill is being brought in and grading has started. Future plans include softball and soccer fields and a dog park. Unfortunately, the construction work obstructs the Linglestown Paintball entrance. The owners are looking for another access point so that they will not have to suspend business.

Arts Council: The council plans to produce an events calendar for the rest of the year. The Gettysburg movie event was successful. Author’s night is coming up on May 7 at East Shore Library.

Greenway Committee: Mr. Luetchford reported on the difficulties and expenses involved with the sidewalk project planned at Paxtonia Elementary. The committee is working on finding more funding.

Community Engagement Committee: A meeting is planned for April 14.

Other Business: The Annual Report of The Parks and Recreation Department was released. Much discussion followed about goals and strategies for increasing Friendship Center membership. Many different discount promotions were offered in 2014 for college students and other groups, as well as discounts for certain times of the year,

The park tour will take place on Sunday, April 26 for committee members.

The Hodges Heights public meeting will be held at the Township Building on Wednesday, June 24 at 7:00 p.m. to get input from the community.

April 7, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher

Heroes Grove Bids were received for the construction of the first phase of the of the amphitheater to be built at Brightbill Park close to the Friendship Center. There were four bidders and the low bid on this prevailing wage project was $720,598.00. There was a change order that would reduce or eliminate certain items at a savings of $121,343.00 which was accepted, bringing the total cost down to $599,255.00. The township is making the payments for the project and it will be reimbursed within thirty days by the actual sponsors who have the grant funds and the contributions. The board approved the payment of the base bid minus the change order.

Greenway Committee The committee chose an individual to fill an empty seat and the Parks & Recreation Board recommended him to the supervisors for approval. The supervisors acted to approve their selection.
Street Sweeper The board approved the 3 year lease/purchase agreement for a 2015 Tymco Street Sweeper in the amount of $64,238.00. The township will sell their old street sweeper.

Dr. and Mrs. Greenberg For an extended period of time these people did not receive a real estate tax bill from the township for their home at 4076 Greystone Drive. They have paid the delinquent bills but they now sought a waiver of the penalty of $242.00 levied for late payment. Consistent with several other similar situations the board reluctantly agreed to waive the penalty.

Cleaning Services Bids were received for the cleaning of four township buildings including the township office building and the Friendship Center. The low bid was not complete so the second bid in the amount of $46,035.00 was considered. After some discussion the board approved the bid.

Manada Conservancy This organization requested the township’s support in its application for funds from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to acquire 51 acres of wooded land on Blue Mountain in the township. The land is near the Darlington Trail and the Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area and adjacent to Middle Paxton Township. The township encourages the preserving of mountain land and approved sending a letter of support to the conservancy.

April 14, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION – Reported by Watson Fisher

2015 Township Storm Sewer Project Township engineer Steve Fleming reported on the planned storm sewer project for this year. Proposals from the three companies bidding on the project will be opened on April 17th. He estimates the cost of the project at $1,200,000.00. It includes sewer work on Crums Lane, Houcks Road, Prince Street, Parkway East, Forest Hills Drive and several other locations. The supervisors will take action on awarding the contract at their meeting on April 21 and the work will start within 45 days after that.

Martin Schoffstall Mr. Schoffstall followed up his previous presentations to the board on his suggestions for amending the township’s zoning ordinance regarding farm-related businesses. The supervisors discussed the best way to address the matter and agreed that some changes should be made but that nothing could be done at a regular business meeting. They plan to arrange a time to discuss the suggestions item by item and to decide then on what changes to make.

Parkway Farms Joel McNaughton presented a plan for the Parkway Farms housing development to be located on a 31 acre tract east of their Autumn Oaks development and bordered to the east by Parkway West. An extension of Continental Drive from Patton Road to Parkway West will be the main street through the development. The property is zoned AR Agricultural Residential which requires 1.5 acre residential lots. The developer will need a zoning variance to be able to build the planned 54 houses on the land. The supervisors will view the tract during an upcoming road tour and will then consider the rezoning request.

Cohen Law Group This firm submitted a proposal to perform legal and planning services to the township regarding wireless facilities. The existing regulations are still valid but there are concerns about regulations covering unregulated wireless facilities. The firm would prepare regulations that would update the zoning ordinances to cover those activities. The cost would be $6,000.00, but if other municipalities were involved the cost to the township could be reduced to $3,900.00 The supervisors indicated they were in favor of getting the services and will most likely take action on the matter at their meeting in one week.

Revere Street The current PennDOT plan is for this street, running just west of I-83, the two blocks between Jonestown Road and Locust Lane to be covered over when they add a third southbound lane to the interstate. PennDOT will buy the properties, demolish the houses, widen the highway, build a new alley to the west of the existing street, and deed the remaining land to the township, which will then be responsible to maintain that property. This plan has not been engineered yet and PennDOT will be making contact with the property owners. The actual highway construction work will not be done until some years from now.

Capital Region Water The supervisors took the necessary action on three matters regarding the department’s activities. The first was the consideration of current wholesale sewer rates, the second was an agreement on a study of how to determine future rates, and the third was the payment of the township’s portion for a settlement agreement in the amount of $556,800.00. They voted to approve the three items.

April 21, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher

There were only three of the five board members present at this meeting. They could conduct business but all three would need to vote yes on any motion for it to be approved.

Cohen Law Group At their previous meeting the board considered the proposal from these lawyers to update the township’s zoning ordinance to include regulations for upcoming wireless facilities that are not now covered by the regulations. The cost to the township for this work would be $6,000.00 but that could be reduced to $4,750.00 if other municipalities under the Capital Area Council of Governments were also involved. The board formally voted to have the work done at a cost not to exceed $6,000.00.

2015 Township Stormwater Project Bids were received during the previous week on this large planned storm water repair project which had been estimated to cost $1,200,000.00. The low bid of the four bids received was in the amount of $925,484.00. Board members asked the representative from HRG, the township engineers, to do what they can to minimize the number and size of change orders which have been a problem on previous large projects. There are always unforeseen conditions that arise during excavations but the change orders sometimes have seemed excessive. The engineers agreed to carefully monitor this problem. The board voted to award the work to the low bidder.

Sanitary Sewer Project There were five bids received for this large sanitary sewer project which will involve work in six zones in the area around the location of the Holy Name Catholic Church and the Paxtonia Elementary School. The low bid of $7,617,740.00 which was about $220,000.00 below the engineer’s estimate was from Michael F. Ronco & Sons, Inc. This firm has done large sewer projects for the township in recent years. The work on the project will start in July of this year and is expected to run through August of 2016. The board voted to award the project to the Ronca firm.

April 23, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher

Alan Rathbun – Docket #1369 This application for a variance regarding a residential rear yard setback requirement was withdrawn.

Verizon Wireless – Docket #1371 The local communication company requested to be allowed to construct a communications tower on the property at 4041 Valley Road in the township on a wooded lot just east of Interstate 83, north of Ridge View Road and south of Valley Road. The property is in the R-1, Low Density Residential Zoning District. The antenna facility would be ninety feet high with a five foot tall lightning rod and would include communications equipment in a fenced in location on the ground around the tower. The installation would be similar to the existing two towers in the township and the third one which will be constructed just east of I-83 near the Osteopathic Hospital.

The applicant stated that the continued rapid increase of wireless communications in the entire area has made it necessary to have additional towers to ensure the that calls, including 911 calls, can continue to be handled instantly. The present zoning code allows towers to be located only in three locations in the township. Those are in the areas zoned Conservation, Light Industrial and General Industrial. Last year the board approved a variance for the company to be allowed to construct a tower near the hospital at a location where towers are not permitted by code.

The board debated at length whether or not to approve locating another tower in an area not zoned for them. By a three-to-two vote the board acted to deny the request.