SWAN NEWSLETTER #111
August 25, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
2016 Bond Issue During their May meeting, a consultant from the Susquehanna Advisors Group had a preliminary discussion with the authority members regarding the schedule for issuing bonds to cover sanitary sewer repair projects that will be starting in 2016. At this meeting he gave them an update on his projections for bond rates over the next few months, saying he expected them to remain low. Also, he was looking for a decision on when to sell bonds and whether the township or the authority should be the seller. He recommended that the township sell the bonds, since they have a higher bond rating and that the sale should occur early next year. The authority members agreed and the consultant said he would begin the credit rating process in October or November.
Tapping Fee Reimbursement – Resolution #15-02 Donco Construction Company worked on a sewer repair project at the Oakhurst Interceptor that involved Susquehanna and Lower Paxton Townships. The amount of Lower Paxton Township’s final payment to the company was determined and the authority approved that payment.
Draft 2016 Authority Budget Sewer Department Director William Weaver presented the department’s draft budget for 2016, covering the expected cost of the planned repair projects and the anticipated revenues. He noted that increases in sewer line repair costs in recent years have resulted, in part, from the amount of street paving work required when existing sewer lines are not where they are shown on the original construction plans. The cost of street paving has become almost a third of the total cost of a sewer repair project. He reported that bids on sewer projects have been good from the relatively small number of experienced contractors that repeatedly bid on the projects. The board had discussed previously that the quarterly sewer rate would need to be raised in the coming year, as has happened periodically every few years or so in the past. This coming year it probably will be necessary for it to go up by about $8.75.
Sewer Condemnations – Resolutions #15-11-1, #15-11-2 and #15-11-3 Three property owners in the Autumn Ridge area have failed to sign agreements allowing the township to repair sewer lines on their properties. The work replacing old PVC lines is considered necessary and the resolutions will allow the township to go on to the properties to do the needed work. The three resolutions were approved.
Department of Environmental Protection At the meeting with DEP on August 11th, it was recognized that the township had met all the state’s requirements in the Beaver Creek and Paxton Creek Corrective Action Plan for the sewer repair projects and that work on these projects is running ahead of schedule.
August 27, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD Reported by Watson Fisher
Earl Broggin – Docket #1373 Mr. Broggin operates a tattoo establishment in a three store strip mall located at 4503 Locust Lane across the street from the Central Dauphin Middle School. The location is zoned CN Commercial Neighborhood which does not allow tattoo parlors. There had been a tattoo business at this location for some years before it became vacant and Mr. Broggin relocated his shop there. A neighbor became aware of the zoning problem and registered a complaint several months ago. A concern was raised about the proximity of the tattoo business to the middle school.
Mr. Broggin requested a variance to be allowed to continue operating his business there. He stated that he had only one customer there at a time by appointment, that he required identification to insure that no one under 16 would be there, and that anyone younger than 19 needed to be accompanied by a parent. The board voted to approve the variance request. In response to a board member’s question, it was stated that the township would be able to respond to any possible future concerns that might be raised about the business at that location if a less responsible individual happened to take over the shop.
Sandra Garrision – Docket #1374 This applicant requested a Special Exception to be allowed to operate a pet grooming business in her home at 403 North 36th Street. This property is located in the R-2 Medium Density Residential Zoning District. The grooming business is termed a Major Home Occupation which is only allowed in this district by Special Exception.
Her house is located on the corner of Union Deposit Road and 36th Street adjacent to existing commercial operations. She stated that she intended to use her garage for her grooming business. Her driveway is entered from 36th Street. None of her neighbors objected to her plan. She will have a small sign attached to her house identifying the business. The board voted to approve her variance request.
September 1, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
Firefighter Service Recognition The supervisors held a ceremony to officially recognize three volunteer firemen who had long years of leadership service with the three township volunteer fire companies. A crowd of relatives and friends watched as the acting Police Chief described each man’s service record and each received a plaque honoring their dedicated service to the township.
Planning Commission There were two vacancies on the Planning Commission and two citizens had expressed interest in becoming commission members. They were Lisa Shaffer and the retired township’s Zoning Officer, Diane Moran. The supervisors voted to approve their appointments to the board.
Friendship Center To continue to provide the best facilities for the center’s members the board acted on a lease/purchase agreement for two new major pieces of exercise equipment. The total cost would be $8,791.00. The board voted to approve the agreement.
Heroes Grove Change Order #2 to the contract with eci Construction Company, LLC to build the amphitheater at Brightbill Park adjacent to the Friendship Center was submitted for action. It was a reduction in the project cost of approximately $8,000.00 to delete some railings that had been included in the original plan and to recognize some savings by using fill material available from some township sewer projects. A decision could be made in the future to install some railings where needed. The change order was approved.
Dauphin County Local Share Grant – Resolution #15-17-11 The board voted to approve this resolution endorsing the submission of a grant application to Dauphin County to have the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission develop a study on planning for land development and road improvements along Route 39, Linglestown Road. The study would cover future land use and transportation issues along the corridor from the river through Susquehanna and Lower Paxton Townships and toward Hershey. SWAN was involved with the townships in initiating the call for this project and Susquehanna Township also made a formal request to the county for this professional study.
Blackberry Alley At their August 11th Workshop Session the board discussed a zoning issue along this single lane east-west road, a block north of Linglestown Road. David Kepler owns a property that is bisected by the alley. His land north of the alley is zoned R-1 Residential and that to the south is zoned Village. He wants to build a garage on the north side of the alley and requested a Special Exception to be allowed to do so. The neighbors contacted took no exception to his building it but the adjacent church had not been contacted. The board agreed that they would approve the Special Exception at their next meeting if the church officials agreed to his erecting the small building on his property.
September 2, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
Reported by Watson Fisher (help from Amanda Zerbe, LPTwp)
Tina R. & Asher D. Benner This Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan involved the readjustment of lot lines on a large family farm property located on the east side of Fairmont Drive south of Clover Road. The property is subdivided into three lots and the plan was to simply relocate the dividing lines between the lots. The commission approved the plan and it will be sent on to the supervisors for their final approval at their September 15th meeting.
Linglestown Road Property A Final Land Development Plan was submitted for the lot on the south west corner of the intersection of Linglestown Road and Colonial Road. The lot is the property of the owner of the Arooga’s restaurant on the other side of Colonial Road. The owner’s intention is for the property to be the location for a retail store. The approval process was stalled and the commission tabled the plan until it could be considered at a future meeting.
Dale A. Auer At their June meeting the Zoning Hearing Board approved a request from Mr. Auer for a variance to be allowed to make small additions to his crematorium building located on the north side of Walnut Street across the street from his funeral home. The planned request for the Planning Commission to consider the Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan for this matter was tabled and it will be on the agenda for the commission’s October meeting.
Magisterial District Justice Office Several months ago a legal agreement between the township and the county was approved providing for the sale of approximately one acre of land on the south side of Locust Lane where the county can construct a new MDJ office building. The parcel of land on Locust Lane is the very northern portion of the township property where the township’s Public Works Building and two baseball fields are located. The commission voted to approve the Preliminary/Final Subdivision and Land Development Plan for the new county office building.
September 2, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP GREENWAY COMMITTEE MEETING Reported by Vera Stuchinski
Sidewalk Connections – A municipal grant proposal was prepared by Township Manager George Wolfe and submitted to Dauphin County requesting $50,000.00. (Funds are available from gaming revenues.) Also, macadam for the path from Nye’s Road to Possibility Place will be poured any time now.
George Park/Lamplight Park Connection – Fencing will be put up this month. The walkway from parking area to the memorial garden will be improved for handicapped accessibility.
CASA Equipment Shed/Concession Stand – CASA’s (Capital Area Soccer Association) building project has been put on hold for now, in light of the feedback they received from the Greenway and Parks & Recreation Committees regarding the building size, materials, and placement. Brown stone or block buildings have been built by other associations in other parks. There is no ordinance in place to specify building rules. It has been more of an unwritten code.
Open Skies Trail Work 8/29/15 – There was a good turnout of volunteers partnering with the Life Writes Project to work on trail maintenance at Lingle Park. Seventy yards (out of 120) of trail was dug, and about 6 tons of mulch was moved. Work will be finished on October 5th.
Arts and Parks 5K Run Report – A total of 147 people participated. The committee hopes to increase participation next year. July 16 is the date for 2016.
Walking Brochure/Photo Contest – Winning photos were shown. Discussion ensued as to where to display the winners. Some of the photos may be used for the walking opportunities brochure.
Other Business – The original committee members have decided to hand over Possibility Place to the township. Since extensive repairs are needed, grants will be investigated for funding.
A $4,000.00 grant was received from Community Aid for the scholarship fund, which has been depleted.
It looks like Hero’s Grove may be done by the end of October.
September 2, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS AND RECREATION MEETING Reported by Vera Stuchinski
CASA Storage – In the near future this committee will plan to develop a policy manual with basic guidelines for building new structures in our parks.
Hodges Heights – Several residents of H. H. came to voice concerns and ask questions. The Supervisors have voted not to close the park, but they will not allot funds for improvements. Maintenance of the park will continue. As remaining equipment – which is wearing out – becomes unsafe, it will be removed. One of the residents requested that signs to “Curb Your Dog” need to be installed, as some dog walkers aren’t cleaning up after their pets.
250th Linglestown Celebration – Plans for the celebration (October 9 – 11) are moving forward.
Heroes Grove – The old hockey shed is being removed. Building is proceeding.
George Park Beautification Project – Next week the pathway will be started.
Possibility Place – Plenty of groups are interested in being involved in the repairs, so there should be no shortage of volunteers.
Community Engagement Committee – Some guidelines & procedures will be developed regarding the disbursement of funds raised.
September 8, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION Reported by Watson Fisher
Fire Equipment Capital Plan The supervisors have been discussing the need to plan with the three township fire companies for the possible replacement of major pieces of their equipment. Before his recent retirement, Public Safety Director David Johnson had prepared a detailed fire equipment replacement study covering each company’s equipment which served as an overview for the discussion.
Fire Chiefs from the Colonial Park and Linglestown Fire Companies attended the meeting to provide the supervisors with their input. Unfortunately there was no representative from the Paxtonia Fire Company present. After a lengthy discussion there was a general agreement with the two companies on what their priorities were regarding getting new equipment, repairing some and selling some of their existing equipment, and the timing for both. The chiefs asked the supervisors for permission to contact companies that buy and sell these pieces of equipment for estimates before any decisions are made. The supervisors voted to approve their request. They noted that final decisions on any major move should wait until a new Public Safety Director is appointed.
Blackberry Alley At their meeting on September 1, the supervisors considered a request from David Kepler to construct a garage on the north side of the alley in the R-1 Zoning District across the street from his house which is in the Village District. The board had agreed to approve a lot consolidation which would allow him to do that, but delayed final action until the neighboring church officials could approve the request. That approval was then given and the board at this meeting voted to approve the lot consolidation.
Advertising in Parks The supervisors agreed to reconsider the township’s policy prohibiting most outdoor paid advertising in municipal parks. School districts and municipalities have raised money by selling naming rights on sports fields and scoreboards and supervisor Gary Crissman raised the question whether the township might want to review their policy, when the need recently arose to replace an item of equipment at the Friendship Center. The board decided to first ask the Parks & Recreation Board to review the current policy and report on their advice on this matter.
Open Records A decision was made by the PA Office of Open Records in regard to its final determination in Docket No. AP 2015-1094 concerning a right-to-know request for certain criminal records. Details on what that request involved were not given. The board was asked to direct township solicitor Steven Stine to file an appeal regarding that decision and the board approved that request.
September 15, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
Dennis Guise The supervisors honored Mr. Guise for his long time service as a member of the township’s Planning Commission. A number of family, friends and Planning Commission members attended as he received a plaque from the supervisors to recognize his dedicated contribution to the township.
Public Works Property Bids were sought for site work as the first phase of the project planned at the township’s Public Works property, on the south side of Locust Lane, just west of the Vo- Tech School. The planned projects on the site involve an expansion of the existing township Public Works building and the construction, by the county, of a District Justice Office building fronting on Locust Lane on land the township sold to the county. The work will involve grading to prepare the site for the two building construction projects, the construction of a new baseball field, the installation of underground piping, some paving, site seeding and sod. The required construction schedule for the two building projects is very tight, and mainly because of that, only one of the contractors who took out bidding documents submitted a bid on the site work.
The one bidder was York Excavating Company, and their bid of $982,521.00 was within 1% of the engineer’s estimate. The work needs to start in several weeks and it needs to be mostly completed by the end of November to allow building construction to begin. The township’s engineers stated that they felt that company could meet the required schedule. After consideration the supervisors voted to award the work to York Excavating.
Township Insurances The board considered proposals from Brown & Brown Brokers to provide the township and the authority with renewed property and liability insurances through 2016. The cost to the township for their coverage would be $136,033.00 which was 1% less than last year. The cost to the authority for their coverage would be $35,451.00 which was just slightly more than last year. The staff proposals for renewing the two coverages were approved.
Automobiles The township proposed entering into a lease/purchase agreement with Ford Motor Credit for four 2016 Interceptor Sedans for the police department. They would be obtained through the Hoffman Ford Company. The supervisors voted to approve the agreement.
Pension Plans – Resolution #15-19 As required by the state, the township voted to accept the requirements to pay the minimum municipal obligations for the police and non-uniformed employees’ pension plans. This must be done by the end of September and will be entered into the township’s 2016 budget.
Municipal Records – Resolution #15-20 The board voted to approve the destruction of some records as allowed by law. It was noted that most records must be retained by the township from three to five years and certain records may never be destroyed.
Roadway Paving Pennsy Supply, Inc. has a contract with the township for roadway paving work and they have submitted a change order covering additional work now required to prepare an area on Hillside Drive for paving. The change order, in the amount of $1,750.00, was approved.
Tina and Asher Benner At their September 2nd meeting the Planning Commission approved a Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan to relocate boundary lines within a large farm land property on the east side of Fairmont Drive. The board gave final approval to the plan.
Budget Meeting The supervisors scheduled a special meeting to discuss next year’s budget and other items of business for September 29th at 7 p.m. in the township building.
September 24, 2025
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
Kimco of Pennsylvania Trust – Special Exception #15-05 This company is the owner of the large parcel of land on the south side of Jonestown Road between Devonshire Road and Parkchester Road and bordered on the south by Hampton Court Road. It is the location of a strip of three large stores including Gander Mountain and a separate building housing the Old Country Buffet. It is divided into two lots, the large lot which contains the three stores, the restaurant, and the large parking area, and the small lot which is on the corner of Jonestown Road and Devonshire Road and which is currently vacant.
Their request for a Special Exception was to be allowed to reduce the number of parking spaces on the large parking area from the current 740 spaces to 719 spaces. The company stated that the existing parking area is much larger than is needed for the existing stores and restaurant. They presented a plan showing their intention to lease a small section of the parking area facing Jonestown Road near the Old Country Buffet for a proposed small restaurant and its parking area and to enlarge the small lot on the corner of Jonestown Road and Devonshire Road somewhat by taking over a small area from the parking area for a possible CVS Pharmacy. That lot would then be large enough for the drug store and its required number of parking spaces.
The company presented an in-depth professional parking study which supported their proposal. They indicated that it would not be in their best interest to reduce the available parking enough to negatively affect their tenants’ business. The board approved the reduction of 21 parking spaces in the large parking lot as proposed.