SWAN Newsletter #5

August 22, 2006


(5:30 – 7:30 PM)

Attended and reported by Ted Robertson.

This entire session was devoted to the strategic planning process. George Wolfe had given the Township Supervisors and Staff Supervision a list of approximately 50 projects to prioritize. Mr. Wolfe reviewed the consolidated lists at this meeting. After much discussion of the projects having the higher priorities, it was decided to repeat the prioritization process with a reduced number of projects. It is expected to tie this strategic planning process into the township’s yearly budget.

There are several road improvement projects on the high priority list. Unfortunately, some of these projects involve Penn Dot. Nye’s Road, for one, has been in process for more than a year. Despite the fact that this project has been put on Penn Dot’s first 4-year plan, it will be several years before construction will begin.

Observation & Question: Should SWAN get involved with or without the Township to try to get these projects completed by Penn Dot in a more realistic time frame. Discussion item for next SWAN meeting?

August 23, 2006


Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

The required public hearing was held concerning the proposed zoning change of the 33-acre portion of the 48-acre parcel of Stray Winds Farm, that is in Susquehanna Township from R-1, low density residential, to R-2, medium density residential. The Planning Commission had approved the zoning change on June 26, 2006 and following this public hearing will be considered for approval by the Board of Commissioners, possibly on September 14, 2006.

Under the current R-1 zoning, the 33-acre parcel would be limited to 56 homes, while under the R-2 zone it could hold 74 homes. Mark DiSanto made the same presentation he had made to the Planning Commission stressing that the R-2 zoning would be consistent with the current Comprehensive Plan, consistent with the current zoning of the rest of the development in lower Paxton Township and with smaller lots, would result in almost 20% open space. He again promised to pay the entire cost of the intersection improvements at Progress Avenue and Paxton Church Road, estimated at $111,000. He stated he would execute a Developer’s Agreement with the Township promising to pay for the traffic improvements and to limit the number of homes in the 33 acre parcel to 74, even though the R-2 zoning would allow him to build up to 4 per acre. The Solicitor stated that such an agreement could bind him to the payments, but not the number of homes. Mark said his verbal promise on this would be held.

Neighbors’ comments on the rezoning concerned mainly ongoing sewer and storm water problems, but included whether or not this agreed with the Comprehensive Plan regarding land use and the reduction in the township of R-1 areas for larger home sites.

September 5, 2006


(7:30 PM)

Attended by Ted Robertson, Eric Epstein and Eileen Hurley. Reported by Eileen Hurley.

Old Business:

1. Ordinance 06-07; Repealing certain fire suppression requirements in Chapter 90, Article III, Section 90-7 (F) of the Codified Ordinances that are more restrictive than the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code. (Passed 3 to 1)

2. Action on one bid for construction of certain facilities (pavilion, restroom, basket ball, volley ball, hockey, in line skating) at Thomas B George, Jr. Park. $250,000 was budgeted three years ago, the estimated cost would be $307,000 and this bid came in at $429,715. (Voted down)

New Business: Subdivision and Land Development:

1. Preliminary/final subdivision plan for 5710 Union Deposit Road, Bottom Line Contracting (06-02). This is eight lots, with public water and sewer on a cul de sac. (Passed 4-0)

2. Preliminary/final land development plan for 2, one-story office buildings at 4075 Linglestown Road (06-09). (Passed 4-0)

September 12, 2006


(5:30 – 7:30 PM)

Attended and reported by Ted Robertson.

All of the business at this meeting concerned requests by numerous property owners to have their properties zoning changed from that designated by the newly enacted Comprehensive Plan to a zoning more applicable under the new plan. Most of these change request were covered in the report of the August 8, 2006 Board of Supervisors Workshop.

The Planning Commission and Staff will review these requests and forward their findings to the Board of Supervisors at a later date.

September 12, 2006


(7:30 – 9:45 PM)

Attended and reported by Ted Robertson.

1.) Sheetz, Inc. representatives presented a plan to erect a Sheetz convenience store on the current Geo’s Restaurant site. (Northwest corner of Blue Ribbon Avenue on US Rte 22) This will be a 5,000 square foot facility with 7 gas pumps and a “no-touch” car wash. A concern was expressed for the safety of students going from Holy Name to Sheetz.

2.) There was a question concerning the numbers of EDU’s to be submitted to the state under the Township’s Act 537. As a result of ongoing development and the inherent zoning variance requests, these numbers are in a constant state of flux. The biggest question left unanswered was, “What is the reserve number of EDU’s for the Paxton Creek Watershed?”

3.) Bill Hornug was handling the procedure of development of the Martin Shoffstall property on the west side of Devonshire Road opposite the Paxton Towne Centre. There is a legal question of whether Mr. Shoffstall is required to provide a connector to a stub road on the adjoining Wilshire development.

4.) The Township has received two proposals for workers compensation insurance for 2006 – 2007. The new proposal is from the Susquehanna Municipal Trust Fund and has a “potential” of saving the Township some money over the current insurance supplier for the past 20+ years.

5.) The South Central Emergency Medical Services request for funds from the Township was reviewed. A significant increase was requested. Several alternatives were discussed including; donating facilities and equipment; taking over the operation in LP Twp.

6.) The review of a model ordinance for regulation of wind energy facilities was tabled due to time constraints.

7. The lone bid price for several facilities at George Park came up for discussion again. The bid price was almost $200,000 over the original engineers estimate. It was decided to hold off a decision on rejecting the bid until the end of the 60-day limit allowed by law.

September 13, 2006


Attended by Watson Fisher and Eric Epstein. Reported by Watson Fisher.

1.) Michael True (Sheetz) – Conditional use application for a proposed Sheetz store at 6290 Allentown Blvd., which is on the North side of Allentown Blvd., just east of the Holy Name Church and school, on the corner of Blue Ribbon Ave. The 5.3-acre lot will be subdivided into a 2.5-acre lot for the store and a 2.8-acre lot behind. The requested conditional use is for 7 gasoline pumps for 14 cars and a car wash. The application met all conditional use requirements and the board unanimously recommended approval of the request.

2.) Astoria Knoll – Preliminary/final subdivision plan for 23.8 acre parcel at the northwest corner of the intersection of Lyters Lane and Page Road, zoned R-1, into 39 single family home lots. A concern was raised about who would maintain the planting areas at the entrance to the development since there would be no Homeowners Association. Adjacent lot owners typically will not accept the responsibility and the Township does not want to accept the responsibility either. Another concern which has implications for other developments as well, was the requirement in the new zoning ordinance to provide a visitor’s parking space for each home on the lot or on the street which can not be in the driveway in front of a garage door where the car would need to be moved in order for an owner’s car to move in or out of the garage. This is and will be a problem for developments with smaller, narrower lots and narrower streets with parking only on one side. The Commissioners suggested this new requirement should be reevaluated. They recommend approval of this subdivision plan of this subdivision plan including 5 waivers, with the request that the supervisors address the on going concern about maintenance of “public” Boulevard planting areas. In this case, the developer stated if no one would accept responsibility he would simply eliminate the areas. The Commissioners hoped the Supervisors could address this so these areas in this and future developments would not be lost.

3.) Rosewood – Preliminary/final subdivision plan for the 19.4 acre tract near the southeast corner of Colonial Road and Earl Drive on which Micki Molinari and Barbara Greenberg are proposing 33 units. This tract is zoned R-1 with a Residential Cluster Overlay. Because of the requirements of the new zoning ordinance, significant plan changes and/or variance requests are needed so the applicants were looking for direction at this meeting and no formal action was requested. Specific zoning problems with the current plan are:

A.) The 6500 sq ft minimum lot size for multifamily structures cannot be met.

B.) The requirement for a third parking space for each unit not on the driveway outside the garage cannot be met with the open space concept’s narrower lots and the requested waiver for reduction of the cart way width to 30 feet limiting parking to one side of the street.

C.) Because the portion of this site to be developed is wooded, the tree preservation requirement restricting cutting of trees over 6 inches in diameter is a problem.

D.) The restriction of building on precautionary slopes is also a problem.

In order to meet the requirements of the new ordinance, the plan, which already has maximum open space and fewer units than allowed, would lose 3 or more units. The Commissioners expected that the parking problem mentioned in “B” above will somehow need to be reevaluated. An additional problem with the plan concerns the proposed gazebo and walking path in the open space, which will probably need to be eliminated because of the new ordinance’s handicapped accessibility requirements. The Commissioners felt this was unfortunate and suggested possibly re identifying it as a nature trail could be considered. County comments related to the new zoning requirements on lot sizes and setbacks. Eric Epstein spoke supporting the project and expressed concerns about overly restrictive zoning requirements that can discourage clustering and open space projects.

4.) Sir Thomas Court, lots 5C & 5D – Preliminary/Final subdivision plan to re divide two lots in the business complex on Sir Thomas Court, north of School House Lane. Lot 5C would be enlarged from 2.3 acres to 3.3 acres and the adjacent lot 5D would be reduced from 4 acres to 3 acres. The change is to improve the use ability of the present small lot 5C for Business Development. Staff comments were agreed to and there were no county comments. The Commissioners recommended approval of the subdivision with the requested waivers.

5.) Shuler All Pro Car Wash on Linglestown Road item of old business was tabled since no revised plans had been submitted.

September 14, 2006


Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Status Report – The rezoning of the 33 acre part of the 48 acre portion of Stray Winds Farm that is in Susquehanna Township from R-1, low density residential, to R-2, medium residential, was approved by the Planning Commission on June 26, 2006, and the required public hearing was held on August 23, 2006. It remains for the Board of Commissioners to vote on the rezoning request. As of September 14, 2006, the vote had not yet been advertised; so the earliest date the request could be voted on would be October 12, 2006.