SWAN NEWSLETTER #112
September 29, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION – Reported by Watson Fisher
Public Works Property – Resolution #15-23 The Subdivision and Land Development Plan and the legal closing documents for the transfer of land to Dauphin County for their new District Magistrate’s office on Locust Lane are complete. The board directed the township manager to sign the documents to make the transfer official.
2016 Budget – Township Manager George Wolfe presented his proposals for the next year’s General Improvement Fund Budget and the township’s 5-Year Strategic Plan for Capital Facilities. Under expenditures he reviewed the list of ongoing and proposed projects highlighting sanitary and storm water sewer work, expansion of the Public Works Building, the building of the Jonestown Road Bridge, and including work at the Friendship Center, Wolfersberger Park, Heroes Grove and repairs to traffic signals. Sources of revenues to fund these projects were the various taxes the township levies and from Dauphin County local share grants.
Bond Issue – The board discussed the ongoing concern that the present and planned projects and
the work required by government agencies will require the township to raise revenues somehow in the near future. They restated that the new bond issue that had been discussed over the last few months would be necessary. They also acknowledged that a real estate tax increase would have to be planned.
Storm Water Sewer Authority – They again discussed the possible need to create a Storm Water Authority, similar to the existing Sanitary Sewer Authority, to manage storm water projects. As a result of new state clean water regulations and federal regulations regarding the Chesapeake Bay Pollution Reduction Plan the township will need to significantly expand its storm water controls. Those controls mostly concern runoff into streams from homes, farms, businesses, parking lots, etc. That new authority would then receive its needed revenues from taxes and user fees. No final decision on the creation of a new authority was made.
October 6, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher
Public Comment – A group of residents from the area in and around Lexington, South Revere, Concord and South Madison Streets just on the west side of Interstate 83 expressed their collective concerns for the traffic problems they are having and will have as a result of PennDOT’s project to widen the interstate highway. They stated that several barriers have already been put up and through traffic is being redirected through narrow residential streets with no sidewalks. Their concerns included safety and traffic congestion. Before construction starts the plan calls for houses along South Revere Street to be demolished and that street to be rebuilt farther way from the interstate.
The supervisors responded that while the township will have responsibility for work that will be needed on some of their streets PennDOT is responsible for the planned work regarding the houses and streets right along the highway. It was agreed that instead of trying to resolve any of the many concerns the neighbors have at this meeting they would, at their workshop session on October 13th, have a representative from PennDOT attend and begin to address the many concerns of the neighbors at that time.
Chesapeake Bay – Resolution #15-25 This matter is in regard to the township’s approval of an Inter-municipal Agreement for a Chesapeake Bay Pollution Reduction Plan as proposed by the Capital Area Council of Governments in conjunction with the state Department of Environmental Protection. An engineering firm would be retained to develop the plan and about ten municipalities would each contribute $10,000 for the engineering work. It is expected that grant funds would be available to help pay for the eventual project. The supervisors voted to approve the resolution.
Friendship Center The supervisors took action on two items regarding the center. The first was to consider a proposal from the firm of Weber Murphy Fox to provide architectural services for the interior changes planned including enlarging the main fitness area, the construction of a climbing wall and revising the activities area, at maximum cost of $14,000. The other was an extension of the lease agreement with Drayer Physical Therapy for their area in the west annex for another year with an option to extend the lease for a further three years. Drayer will also pay for two thirds of the cost to enlarge their parking lot. The board approved the agreements.
Administrative Employee Compensation Plan – Resolution #15-24 This item involves changes in compensation for a few employees as agreed to in a previous workshop session. The supervisors approved the resolution.
PA Sewage Facilities Act – Resolution #15-22 Action on this resolution was to finalize an agreement with the state to allow the township to pipe some wastewater from the Beaver Creek drainage basin to the Paxton Creek drainage basin. This transfer will result in a construction cost savings to the township. The board voted to adopt the resolution.
Winfield Street Final design work and preparations for construction on Phase 2 of this storm water improvement project are underway. An agreement to receive funds from a Dauphin County block grant was approved by the supervisors.
Tina and Asher Benner In September both the Planning Commission and the supervisors voted to approve a plan relocating boundary lines within a large family farm property on the east side of Fairmont Drive. Soon after that the family members decided on further minor changes they wanted to make and submitted the revised plan to the township. The supervisors voted to approve the revised plan.
October 7, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING – Reported by Bill Bostic
Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan for Dale A. Auer The plan calls for two additions to be constructed to an existing building located at 4104 Walnut Street, a crematorium used by Zimmeran-Auer Funeral Home (Map: http://bit.ly/1Lmg47I) A 196 square-foot addition will be used for funeral services associated with cremations, and an 840 square-foot addition will be used to park vehicles. The Zoning Hearing Board previously had approved variances for the plan. The Planning Commission unanimously approved the plan.
Application for Amendment to the Zoning Map for Autumn Oaks Extended Joel McNaughton of McNaughton Homes presented details for changing the zoning designation for a 32-acre lot located west of Parkway West from Agriculture-Residential to R1 Low Density Residential. (Map: http://bit.ly/1WS14Cz) The parcel was formerly part of Parkway Farms.
If the proposed zoning change is approved, McNaughton Homes plans to seek approval for a 54-lot, open-space development with homes on 10,000 square-foot lots that would be priced for first- and second-time homebuyers. The development also would extend Continental Drive from Patton Street to Parkway West, which would make the street an alternative route for Linglestown Road from Crooked Hill Road in Susquehanna Township to Parkway West.
The Planning Commission tabled the request until the Nov. 4, 2015 meeting because the staff member in attendance was unsure if neighboring property owners were notified of the proposed zoning change. The Board of Supervisors is tentatively scheduled to review the application at their Nov. 17, 2015 meeting.
Comprehensive Plan The Planning Commission discussed the upcoming project to redo the township’s comprehensive plan. Roy Newsome suggested revising the 2004 plan instead of starting from scratch. The commission will review the preface and chapter 1 of the current plan during their next meeting on Nov. 4, 2015.
October 7, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP GREENWAY COMMITTEE MEETING – Reported by Vera Stuchinski
Unable to attend meeting. (Nothing much new able to be planned at this time, since they’ve used up their current budget.)
October 7, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS AND RECREATION MEETING -Reported by Vera Stuchinski
PHR Baseball The outgoing president introduced the incoming president. They presented a $500.00 gift card to Dick’s Sporting Goods for the township’s basketball program. Concerns that were discussed included drainage issues at Brightbill Park and a fence in need of repair, which Public Works may be able to fix. PHR will be building some new dugouts which will be constructed to fit in aesthetically with existing structures.
CASA Storage – A representative of CASA was expected to attend the meeting with more specific information about the design of the storage shed, but no one was present. The location has been staked out, but the Committee cannot give the go-ahead until architectural details have been submitted and approved.
Hodges Heights – The Committee plans to approach the developers in this area (Fineline Homes & Stoltzfus) to make them aware of the need to acquire land for a new park.
250th Linglestown Celebration – The committee discussed events that will take place at Heroes Grove, Friendship Center, and Koons Park.
George Park Beautification Project – The landscaper is ready to begin.
Possibility Place – Replacement of the floor will be taken care of first.
Township Playground/Tennis Courts – Playground equipment will be ordered for Forest Hills, Brightbill, and Kohl Parks. The Township is in the process of budgeting for tennis courts.
Community Engagement Committee – The Committee will start planning for next year’s 5K race.
Greenway Committee – Additional trail clearing is planned on 11/14 from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM at Kohl Park.
October 13, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION -Reported by Watson Fisher
Meadowview Village Members of the development’s homeowners association board asked the supervisors again if they could help with their longstanding problem of streets that the developer never finished paving. It has been two and a half years since the last homes were built, except for a small section, and on some streets in front of homes the residents are driving on only the base course and that has now started to disintegrate. Cornerstone Company, the former developer, has an improvement guarantee bond which will cover the cost of the needed work which doesn’t expire for another year and a half, but in the meantime the residents risk damaging their cars when they go in and out of their driveways. The homeowners’ association board members say they can’t afford to pay to take legal action and they are again asking the township to help resolve the problem.
The township solicitor responded that while the township sympathizes with the residents, it has little legal clout in the matter until the time the developer is required to have the project finished. It was then stated that before the developer puts down the wearing course, the township will inspect the base course and require it to be repaired, if necessary, before putting down the wearing course. The supervisors agreed to write a letter to the developer strongly encouraging them to address the matter for the sake of the residents.
South Central Emergency Medical Services Director Jason Campbell gave the board a quick overview of the organization’s activities in the past year and asked them to remember South Central in their budgeting for 2016. The supervisors said they would, and again commended Mr. Campbell for his outstanding service to the community in the years since he took over the leadership of a vital, but what had been a struggling organization.
2016 Budget Township manager George Wolfe presented to the board a detailed draft of the 2016 fiscal year budgets for the many township departments and funds. They generally followed closely this year’s expenditures and revenues. Several items still needed to be addressed and resolved. A small tax increase is certain, more road improvement projects and the addition to the Public Works building are scheduled. The supervisors agreed to set a date in early November for a special meeting to finalize the 2016 budget.
Land Bank Mr. Wolfe reviewed for the board a proposed inter-municipal agreement with the Dauphin County Land Bank. The project the county is proposing that the townships get involved in, would take properties that are in disrepair and improve them perhaps with volunteer help so they could again be occupied. The supervisors will be given more information regarding this proposed project and will consider action on it at their next business meeting.
Paxton Creek As a result of the government’s new Clean Water Act requirements regarding control and treatment of storm water, the township is trying to finalize an inter-municipal agreement with Harrisburg and Susquehanna Township. This agreement will determine what joint actions need to be taken in the Paxton Creek drainage basin and how the cost of the work would be shared. Mr. Wolfe told the supervisors that he will have a final draft of the proposed agreement available for them at their next business meeting.
October 20, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher
North Mountain Road – Resolution #15-12 PennDOT has plans in place for a highway improvement project on Mountain Road from the I-81 interstate intersection north toward Linglestown to Blue Ridge Avenue. The highway work is expected to start sometime in the spring of 2016. As part of the project, the state’s contractors will be replacing approximately 1,200 feet of the township’s sanitary sewer lines on both sides of Mountain Road.
The township will need to reimburse the state approximately $860,000.00 for the repair work to the sanitary sewer lines. At this meeting the authority voted to approve the agreement with the state for the sanitary sewer work.
October 20, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher
Eva Davis The board gave a special honor to this Lower Paxton Township lady on her 104th birthday. She had been active with the Dauphin County Council of Republican Women and other civic organizations for many years. Fred Lighty, Dauphin County Republican Committee member and township Planning Commission Chairman, introduced her at the meeting.
Paxton Creek At the previous week’s workshop session the board reviewed a draft of an inter-municipal agreement with Harrisburg and Susquehanna Township. This is regarding the work required by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to reduce sediment as stated in the state’s Paxton Creek Pollution Reduction Plan. The three municipalities will split the cost of the planning work with Lower Paxton paying 36% of the approximate $50,000.00 cost of the plan. The board voted to approve the agreement.
Linglestown Fire Company The fire company requested the approval of the supervisors for them to purchase a 2001 Ford F350 Super Duty truck at a cost of $3,959.00. The board approved the purchase.
Heroes Grove The construction of the outdoor amphitheater at Brightbill Park is well underway. The supervisors were asked to act on Change Order #3 to the contract with eciConstruction, LLC covering additional pavers, additional electrical work, PPL connections, and additional wiring needed for future light fixtures. The cost was in the amount of approximately $2,600.00. A previous change order was for a savings of approximately $8,000.00 when some items were deleted from the initial contract. There will be a future change order for additional fill that will be needed, costing approximately $2,900.00 The procedure is that the township approves these payments and passes them on to the organization that is managing the project and they make all the actual payments. The supervisors approved the change order.
DOLI Construction Company This company has an ongoing contract in 2015 to repair and replace storm sewer lines along Forest Hills Drive. Change Order #3 is covering additional work needed to install new liners, in some existing lines, and to excavate and replace some pipe that was found to be damaged beyond repair. The change order in the amount of $39,330.00 was approved.
Pennsy Supply, Inc. They have a contract for a paving work project on Locust Lane and Fairmont Drive. Change Order #3 to their contract, in the amount of $1,420.00 covers additional required excavation work. The change order was approved.
Dauphin County Magisterial District Justice Office – Resolution #15-21 The required Planning Module for sanitary sewer work that had to be added to this project was approved.
Dale A. Auer – Resolution #15-15 Mr. Auer’s plan was to make two small additions to his service building at 4014 Walnut Street, behind his funeral home. The project had been submitted to the Zoning Hearing Board and they had approved a variance request allowing the additions to encroach slightly beyond the code’s setback requirements. The supervisors voted to approve the planned building project.
October 22, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher
Kelly Harbold – Docket #1374 This applicant’s house is located at 6118 Bluestone Avenue. The township’s zoning officers determined that the keeping of chickens in an outdoor cage in her back yard was in violation of the zoning ordinance for properties in the R-2 Medium Density Residential District. The applicant appealed to the board to be allowed to keep the hens since she is somewhat disabled and needs the eggs to help feed her family. She said that she had reduced the number of hens to five and would not plan to have more than that number.
Testimony that was given by the applicant and by neighbors showed that since 1970 the owners of the house had kept chickens and only when they had crowing roosters on the property was there any problem. Current neighbors stated that they had no problems with the lady keeping the chickens, there was never any noise or smell, and that she on regular occasions supplied some of them with eggs. The board voted to allow her to keep the hens on the conditions that there would never be more than five hens, there would be no roosters, and that she would move the coop 25 feet away from the property lines. The zoning officer stated that he would continue to monitor the situation regarding compliance with the approval conditions and with several minor concerns about parking and maintenance of the property.
Golden Valley Developers, LLC – Docket #1375 This company has purchased the property at 4920 Jonestown Road on the north side of the highway which is currently the location of the Susquehanna Ale House. They propose to demolish the existing structure and construct a new building to house an AT&T cellular phone store. The new building would meet the front yard setback requirement which the present build does not do and would meet the side yard setback requirements. The proposed building would however extend 25 feet into the rear yard required setback which is what the developer requested relief from.
The developer stated that the proposed building would be an improvement over the existing one in that it would meet the front yard and side yard setback requirements, it would have improved vehicle circulation, improved access for emergency vehicles and greater green space. The limited rear yard setback space was mitigated by the fact that the property behind the building is a large parking lot owned by the adjacent bank that is used by the bank and by the neighboring businesses. The board voted to grant the applicant’s request for relief from the ordinance requirement.