SWAN NEWSLETTER #109

July 1, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING – Reported by Bill Bostic

Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan for Sertoma Estates #15-10 The Arc of Pennsylvania, an advocacy group for people with disabilites, is selling a 55-acre tract of land on Blue Mountain next to Camp Sertoma at 6200 Parkway East to Triple Crown Corp. The plan submitted by Triple Crown calls for the property to subdivided into four single-family residential lots. No construction is planned at this time. (Map: http://bit.ly/1Uj1dyu)

The Planning Commission unanimously approved the plan.

Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan for Sir Thomas Court, Lot 5C The developer proposes to build a three-story medical office building on a 3.4-acre lot on Sir Thomas Court off of Londonderry Road, which is located behind Lowe’s on Union Deposit Road. Upon construction of the building, the Olde English Gap Office Park will be built-out. The Planning Commission reviewed a sketch plan for the project in May 2015. (Map: http://bit.ly/1FgOSpZ)

The Planning Commission unanimously gave conditional approval for the plan. The developer has a final round of plan changes to make prior to going before the township supervisors.

Possible Planning Commission project Commission chairman Fred Lighty told members that the City of Harrisburg is considering using a tax-incentive program to spur property-owner-driven revitalization. The program is called LERTA, which stands for Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance.

He said a LERTA might help the township achieve some of the goals associated with the Business Improvement District (BID) that did get off the ground a few years ago. Unlike a BID, a LERTA has no fees and provides a tax break for landowners who improve their property.

Susquehanna Township and Penbrook Borough are also looking at doing a LERTA for the Route 22 corridor, according to Lighty, and he said Lower Paxton might benefit from working with the two municipalities on a joint project.

Lighty gave LERTA information to members to review for the commission’s next meeting. If the commission decides to pursue a LERTA for Route 22 or some other area of the township, Lighty would seek permission from the supervisors to study the issue.

July 1, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP GREENWAY COMMITTEE MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher

Sidewalk Connection As part of their effort to create walking opportunities in the township the committee is continuing their work toward having a sidewalk built along the west side of Nyes Road from the Paxtonia Elementary School, south to the street entrance to George Park. The supervisors allocate funds each year to the committee for greenway improvements and this project is foremost on their current agenda. They have a preliminary cost estimate from the township’s engineers for this project and are preparing a presentation to the supervisors at an upcoming meeting seeking their approval. A future project they are considering is another sidewalk from the park entrance along the road into the park to the Possibility Place playground structure and the large pavilion just beyond.

George Park/Lamplight Park Connection Members of the committee worked to create a trail connection from the south end of the parking lot in George Park through the tree line south to the adjacent Lamplight Park. They also did work along the trail at Kohl Park and in August they plan to complete that work and to put mulch on that trail.

CASA Equipment Shed and Concession Stand The Capital Area Soccer Association submitted a plan to remove the existing movable storage sheds and refreshment stand located between George Park and the soccer fields at Ranger Fields and replace them with a one story permanent combination refreshment stand and storage building at that location. The new 32 by 30 foot building would be on a concrete slab with wood frame walls and a wood roof structure. The plan will be reviewed by the Parks & Recreation Board before being sent to the supervisors.

Arts and Parks 5K Race The committee received a status report on the preparations for the second annual race that they and the Parks & Recreation Department are managing. The race is scheduled for Saturday July 18th and it will start and finish at the Friendship Center. Registrations for the run have been good, the budget has been set, and volunteer personnel assignments and the various associated planned activities have been finalized.

Walking Brochure Work by the committee on the updated and expanded brochure identifying, locating and describing all the walking trails in the township is well under way. It will be ready for the printer within the next month.

July 1, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS & RECREATION BOARD MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher

Hodges Heights Park Members of this board and some Parks and Recreation Department staff members presided over the public meeting on June 24 at the township building. There was a large turnout and residents from the park neighborhood again expressed concerns and suggestions regarding the park. The board will forward information from the meeting and suggestions from this board to the supervisors.

Ranger Fields The Capital Area Soccer Association presented a small plan to the department showing a building they propose to construct adjacent to the soccer fields and the church parking lot that would replace the existing moveable refreshment stand and storage buildings. As mentioned in the report on the Greenway Committee’s meeting held just before this meeting, it would be a 32 by 30 foot wood frame building on a concrete slab. They stated that they would plan to have it constructed before the Labor Day weekend, when they will be hosting a tournament with a large number of teams from the area participating.

The board stated that this building project could not be rushed through. They would need more information about the proposed building than just a small plan, they would need a land development plan and a building permit, and there would need to be an agreement on the maintenance of the structure and liability issues. Unfortunately no one from CASA attended the meeting to address these issues. The board voted to send a letter to the supervisors with a copy to CASA regarding this matter.

CASA also requested to be allowed to park vehicles on the unused grass area at George Park during their Labor Day weekend event. Before the board considers the request they want it in writing and they need it to include a statement that CASA would be responsible for repairing any vehicle damage done to the grass area.

Heroes Grove The beginning of construction of the amphitheater at Brightbill Park has been delayed because there is some problem with the placement of fill. There were no details on the issue but the report was that there are options being considered to resolve the matter.

Forest Hills Park The board is aware that some of the playground equipment at this small park is very old and needs to be upgraded. They will evaluate if some of the developers’ fee-in-lieu funds could be available to do this.

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

Night Out For Public Safety Township manager George Wolfe reported that this annual event is scheduled for Tuesday, August 4th at George Park. This is always a well attended event that features the township’s fire companies and police personnel and equipment and includes refreshments, games, exhibits, demonstrations, information booths and entertainment.

Penn Waste The board had received a proposal from this company to renew their three year agreement to pay the township for the recycled material collected in the township by the Waste Management company. Unfortunately current conditions have reduced the market value of this material, so the terms in the proposed agreement were not as favorable to the township as the existing one was. It was stated that there was no way to tell the future market value of the recyclables. The board felt they needed to vote to approve the new contract agreement.

Building Permits – Ordinance #15-02 This ordinance was needed to approve the annual allocation of building permits in the Beaver Creek sanitary sewer drainage basin. A new consent decree allows the township to accumulate building permits and they already have some permits available. It is expected that the large Shadebrook development could begin to use quite a few of them when construction of new homes there begins. The board approved the ordinance.

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

Friendship Center John Dougherty, Chairman of the center’s Operating Board, made a presentation regarding a proposed improvement project at the center. The center’s board is already involved in a plan to extend the existing fitness center into part of what is now a lounge and pool table area. The proposed project is to take a portion of the very north end of the current fitness center to house a Climbing Gym.

The wall would have seven climbing areas for all different skill levels. It would be the only one in the area and an experienced local consultant provided details on the facility and said it should attract quite a large number of interested new members. The estimated initial cost was around $50,000.00. The operating board supported the proposal and said that they have funds available to initiate the planning process. The supervisors stated their support for beginning the process, including hiring an architect.

Village of Linglestown Representatives from the 250th Anniversary Celebration Committee updated the board on their planned events and activities and on all the community members, including the supervisors involved in the planning and running of this very exciting event. It is now a little more than 60 days away. They asked the supervisors to approve the planned fireworks display, which would be done by the same company that did it on the 4th of July. The supervisors agreed. They reported that the event will start on Friday, October 9, followed on Saturday by the parade, and all day events in the village and at Koons Park, including live music. On Sunday, more planned events, including the fireworks. The supervisors congratulated them on their efforts in organizing this very special community celebration.

Greenway Committee Members Jim Seidler and Roy Newsome made a presentation to the board on a project the committee is hoping to do. They want to have a sidewalk built along the west side of Nyes Road, connecting the one in front of the Paxtonia Elementary School, south to the one at the entrance to George Park. They have funds available to begin the planning process and would hope to get further help from the supervisors and be able to secure gaming grant funds that are available from the county. The Planning Commission supports the effort and the supervisors tentatively agreed to help with the project.

Hodges Heights Park Jim Seidler gave the board a report on the June 24th open meeting, attended by a large group of neighbors on their wishes regarding the future of the park. The main issue is that the park is located on an area of landfill, which continues to sink, causing problems with the continued usability of the location as a park. Upgrading of the facilities has been delayed because of this problem. After discussion, the board’s consensus was that the best long term effort should be to find a new location near this park, and create a new community park, while still keeping the existing park maintained and operational until the new park can be opened. The neighbors will be advised of this direction and their response will be welcomed.

Mark Levine Mr. Levine, representing SWAN, addressed the board with a suggestion as to how to help control the periodic stream erosion and flooding along several streams in the township. It would be to construct underground detention reservoirs at certain locations to reduce the stream flows during periods of extended heavy rain. The board thanked him for his suggestions and indicated that their engineers have been working on plans for just that kind of control effort. They said that they plan to make funds available from an upcoming bond issue to initiate work on that plan.

2014 Annual Report Township manager George Wolfe reported that the township’s 2014 Annual Report has been completed and that the report’s Executive Summary has been posted on the township’s web site. The 14 page document can be found by clicking on it on the right side of the township site’s first page.

Pension Plans Mr. Wolfe gave the supervisors an update on the status of the two pension plans that the township has for its employees. They are the police plan and the non-uniformed employees’ plan. They are currently 80% funded which meets the legal requirement, but it would be better if they would be funded 90% or more. He suggested that the board consider finding a way to increase the funding percentage.