SWAN NEWSLETTER #114
November 24, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher
2016 Bonds Representatives from the Susquehanna Advisors Group gave the authority an update on the planned issuance of bonds early next year for sewer and storm water projects that will be begun starting early next year. They reported that they expect that interest rates will increase slightly in the next few months but that won’t affect the township’s borrowing.
The borrowing will be for 25 million dollars for sanitary sewer projects and 3 million dollars for storm water projects. Most of that is to replace aged and failing sewer lines. The borrowing will be done by the township and not the authority since the township can get a lower interest rate. The agreement is that the authority pledges its revenues to the township to reimburse the township. The supervisors will take action to approve the borrowing at their December 1st meeting and the authority will follow up at their brief meeting scheduled for December 15th.
GHD Agreement Representatives from the township’s long time engineers, GHD, presented their proposed agreement to continue to provide services in 2016. The involved agreement is pretty much standard from year to year but a question was raised by a supervisor about the proposed 2.5% cost increase. After discussion the supervisors decided to postpone acting on the agreement until their December 15th meeting.
2016 Authority Budget Authority director William Weaver presented their proposed budget for the coming year in some detail. He said that procedures are in place with new software to have utility payments made on line, to reduce and possibly in the future, eliminate most costly mailings. He reported on some of the ongoing projects, including the relocation of the force main, on Devonshire Road, near the restaurant where there had been odor problems and on other projects which are nearing completion. The supervisors approved the budget as presented.
Sewer Rates – Resolution #15-14 The supervisors have discussed at previous meetings the need to increase sewer rates to cover increased sewer project costs. At this meeting they voted to approve an increase of $1.39 per payment.
Delinquent Sewer Accounts – Resolution #15-13 At the November 10th supervisors workshop meeting, Mr. Weaver outlined the plan to deal with delinquent accounts by turning off water to their houses. At this meeting he confirmed that the solicitor approved of that procedure and that the collection agency also agreed to it. The supervisors approved the plan.
Engineers Reports GHD gave the board an update on a number of current items. Sewer repair work is continuing in the area north of I-81 and east of Mountain Road and around Holy Name Church. An agreement with Susquehanna Township is being prepared regarding sewer work for future developments around Oakhurst Boulevard, where sewer lines in Lower Paxton Township will flow into Susquehanna Township. Work will begin on plans for dealing with the long term requirements of the Department of Environmental Protection regarding overflows in the Beaver Creek mini-basin.
December 2, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
Reported by Bill Bostic
Conditional Use Application for Hoffman Ford Sales Hoffman Ford wants to construct a new body shop next to their dealership on a nearly 4 acre lot located between Jaycee and N. Lockwillow avenues. The parcel would require consolidating six lots – currently two are vacant and four have single-family homes on them. (Map: http://bit.ly/1Y3115H).The building would be about 28,000 square feet in size with 24 bays, and the shop would add 15 to 20 new jobs.
Construction of the shop is not expected to take place for three to five years, but Hoffman needs to take immediate action to obtain the properties. As a result of the time frame for the project, Hoffman is requesting that the deadline for submitting land development plans and obtaining building permits be extended from one year to five years.
The commission unanimously recommended that the township supervisors approve the conditional use application, and the supervisors are scheduled to take action on the application on Dec. 15, 2015.
Fee in lieu of sidewalks Commissioner Roy Newsome made a motion to recommend that the township supervisors look into adopting an ordinance that would give developers the option to apply for paying a fee instead of constructing sidewalks. When appropriate, required sidewalks are now waived by the township with no fee.
Newsome said the fee would help the township raise funds for constructing sidewalks where they are most needed. He pointed out that Derry Township recently adopted this type of ordinance. The commission approved the motion.
Note: For more information about Derry Township’s ordinance, see the PennLive article dated Oct. 14, 2015 at this link: http://bit.ly/1QbzrUB
Comprehensive Plan Revisions The Planning Commission and staff are trying to finalize a format for using a computer program to collaboratively edit the current comprehensive plan. Hopefully this will be in place prior to the commission’s January 2016 meeting.
December 3, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
Robert Little – Docket #1376 Mr. Little’s house is located at 4621 Tarryton Road. He requested a variance to be allowed to build a garage addition on the side yard of his house to store his boat. The covered boat now sits outdoors next to his one car garage. The building addition would match the exterior of the house. The proposed addition would be twelve feet wide and would extend to four feet from the side yard property line. The required side yard setback in the R-1 Residential zoning district is ten feet. The next door neighbor, on that side of the house, stated that he had no objection to the garage addition Mr. Little wants to make, that would encroach on the required setback. The board voted to grant the applicant’s request.
Hotcakes Harrisburg Venture. LLC – Docket #1377 This company wishes to build an IHOP Restaurant on land owned by the Lowe’s store which is on the north side of Union Deposit Road and just west of I-83. The parcel of land involved is presently the southernmost part of the large parking lot in front of the Lowe’s store and is adjacent to Union Deposit Road. The entire property is in the GC General Commercial zoning district.
The company’s plan is to purchase the land from Lowe’s, build the restaurant, and later add an attached retail store building for an undetermined tenant. The main concern was whether there would eventually be adequate parking spaces for the Lowe’s store, the restaurant and the future retail business. The applicant stated that their parking study indicated there would be, and he said Lowe’s confirmed that they would certainly not agree to sell the land if the result would be that there would not be enough parking spaces for their customers.
In addition to the variance required for the parking spaces, variances were requested for relief from building setback requirements and the planting of street trees. The setback item was minor and the applicant agreed to the planting of trees. The board voted to approve the variances for parking and setbacks.
Franklin & Judith Beskid – Docket #1378 This request was to obtain a variance to be able to subdivide a 8.3 acre lot on the west side of Parkway West, near the base of Blue Mountain. The property is in the AR Agricultural Residential zone. The variance was needed because the requirement is that each lot have a 140 foot frontage on the improved street and while the two lots will each be quite large properties, there is only enough frontage on the road for a single lot. The proposed plan would be for the two properties to share a single driveway and to have a binding recorded driveway maintenance agreement on file with the township, to avoid any possible future problems. The board approved the plan as presented.
Express Trucking & Courier Inc. – Docket #1379 This company, headquartered in Jamaica, New York, wishes to lease and possibly buy the building and property at 733 Firehouse Lane which is one block north of Union Deposit Road, adjacent to the eastern end of the Central Dauphin East Middle School property. The building was a former fire house and ambulance station and has sat vacant for some time. A representative of the property owner stated they have had no success in leasing or selling the building and have had a long time concern for possible vandalism and mischief at the empty building.
The property is in the IN Institutional zoning district where commercial use such as a trucking company as proposed is not permitted. The applicant stated that they would receive and send freight at the building only three to five times a day, there would be a maximum of five employees in the building, trucks would not idle there or be repaired there, and there would be almost no noise or outdoor activity. A neighbor expressed concern for increased traffic on Union Deposit Road and the safety for the many school buses, from the middle school, that use Firehouse Lane morning and evening. On a split vote the board denied the applicant’s variance request.
December 8, 2015
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION
Reported by Watson Fisher
Fire Company Equipment The board is working to finalize their plan to authorize the three township fire companies to purchase needed major pieces of equipment. The companies and the board have been working for a long time to reach decisions on what equipment to purchase. The plan is that the Linglestown Company will be getting a new fire truck, the Colonial Park Company will be getting an engine rescue vehicle and the Paxtonia Company will be getting a ladder truck. To get the best discounted prices for the equipment, the township is working to buy the three items from the same company, and to do so before an upcoming date, when their prices will go up. After the orders are placed, it will take about a year for the new equipment to be built and delivered.
The chief of the Colonial Park Company reported that they want to revise their choice for a new truck because the early road construction in the new Shadebrook development, along Fairmont Drive, indicates that the truck they first selected would not be able to maneuver the sharp turns. He stated that the change can be done before the discounted price would expire. The eventual total cost for all of the new equipment is approximately $2,200,000.00. After they receive the new equipment the companies will then be able to sell some of their outdated equipment. The supervisors voted to approve the plan to purchase the new pieces of equipment.
Police Department The newly hired Public Safety Director, David Spotts, presented to the board the plan regarding the purchase of promotional items to enhance community policing efforts. The cost of the many items would be under $7,000.00 and funds for it are in the budget. The board approved the purchase.
Colonial Road Eric Stump, with township engineers HRG, presented a draft of their study for several future projects to improve the traffic congestion that occurs from the intersection of Colonial Road and Crums Mill Road, which becomes Devonshire Road, and south through the intersections with Winfield Street and Valley Road and then on south to Route 22.
The study suggests the addition of turn lanes, on the south side, on both Crums Mill and Devonshire Roads, at that intersection, and the installation of additional left turn signals there. At the intersection with Winfield Street and Valley Road, Winfield Street would be widened to the north to align with Valley Road, with left turn signals and the addition of pedestrian signals. The lights at the two intersections would be synchronized, which they are not now. He estimated that the project could cost around $2,000,000.00. The report should be finalized early next year and the engineers will work to line up state and federal funding to help pay for the needed project.
Quail Hollow At their November workshop session, residents living in phases 4 and 5 of this housing development told the supervisors about the problems they are having with their developer, Classic Community. Because there are still four vacant lots in those two final phases of the development, the developer has not put the wearing course on any of the streets, the base course is deteriorating, the raised manholes have caused problems with vehicles, the storm drains have become clogged, and the streets were not plowed after snow storms. At that meeting, the township responded that the developer’s required improvement guarantee, that would fund the cost of finishing the streets, could not be tapped until July of 2016, but that the supervisors would contact Classic to try to help with the problem. There was no formal response to their efforts, but there later appeared to be a possibility that Classic would hire a company to plow snow this winter, however that was not guaranteed at this time. The supervisors directed the solicitor to investigate what the township could legally do to help with the situation, and they promised to again contact the developer.
Clearwater Systems The township engineers have studied how to deal with the ongoing storm water problems at two locations along Blanchester Road and South Lockwillow Avenue. They recommended a project to install additional piping in the public right of way to deal with the problems. This project was estimated to cost around $60,000.00 and could be scheduled to begin in several months. The board voted to approve the project.
2016 Budget Township manager George Wolfe presented his final report on the proposed township budget for 2016. He reviewed the detailed budget items the supervisors had worked on starting in August, and had agreed to over the following months. The board will vote on approving the budget on December 15th at their last business meeting of the year.
Compensation Plan Mr. Wolfe reviewed, for the supervisors, the proposed 2016 administrative compensation plan for those township employees who are not covered by union contracts. The major item in the plan is a suggested 1.35% salary increase for those employees. The supervisors will be asked to act on the plan at their December 15th meeting.