SWAN NEWSLETTER #117

February 16, 2016
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher

Jonestown Road Bridge Christopher Bauer, an engineer from Herbert, Rowland and Grubic, one of the township’s engineers, made a presentation describing the plan for the construction of a new bridge to replace the existing one over Beaver Creek. This stream separates Lower Paxton Township and West Hanover Township. The existing bridge was built in 1925 and because it cannot carry loads over 16 tons and is structurally deficient it needs to be replaced.

The estimated cost of the single span concrete replacement bridge is $1,188,000.00. The cost will be paid with 80% coming from federal funds, 15% from state funds and 5% from local funds split between the two townships. A Dauphin County Local Share Gaming Grant will handle most of the local share. The design work is nearing completion and the construction is scheduled to start in the summer of 2017 and be completed in nine months. Traffic will have to be detoured during the construction period.

Public Works Building An engineer from the GHD firm presented a final update on the plans for the project expanding the township’s Public Works facility on Locust Lane located just west of the VoTech School. The project includes a sixteen thousand square foot addition on the north side of the twenty-seven-thousand square foot existing office and garage building, and a new separate vehicle wash building. The schedule is to put the project out to bids in March, receive bids in April and begin construction in May. The construction costs are estimated to be $2,800,000.00 for the large addition and $500,000.00 for the vehicle wash building.

Central Dauphin Italian Pizza – Resolution #16-04 The owner of this restaurant, located at 4501 Locust Lane, requested township approval for the transfer of state liquor license No. R-9432 from a location in Harrisburg to his pizza shop. The business is in a small strip mall consisting of his restaurant, a barber shop and a tattoo parlor. At the required public hearing, during this meeting, the owner’s attorney outlined the strict legal requirements the owner would need to follow for the sale of alcohol. He assured the board that with the cost of acquiring the license, the owner would closely follow the regulations to avoid any problems. The board voted to approve the license transfer.

Municipal Records – Resolution #16-12 The supervisors voted to authorize the destruction of specified municipal records as allowed by law.

4920 Jonestown Road This property, which is owned by M&T Bank, has been the site of the Susquehanna Ale House. The bank has developed a plan to demolish the present building and construct a new building on the site, which will be leased by AT&T. The plan was reviewed by the supervisors at their workshop meeting in August and they agreed to support it. The Planning Commission then approved it and it was presented to the supervisors at this meeting for final approval, with several minor waiver requests, which were supported by staff. The board voted to approve the Preliminary/Final Subdivision and Land Development Plan for this project.

February 23, 2016
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY BOARD MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher

Annual Reorganization Meeting For the 2016 year, the authority board elected: William Seeds as Chairman, David Blain as Vice Chairman, William Hornung as Secretary, William Hawk as Treasurer, Gary Crissman as Assistant Treasurer, Steven Stine as Solicitor, and GHD as Authority Engineers.

Sewer Bill A resident asked the board to consider allowing him to pay a delinquent sewer bill over a period of time. He had built a new house some years ago, but the township had not realized until recently that they had never sent him a sewer bill. The township cannot legally forgive the missed payments, but they can adjust the penalties for the unpaid bills and extent the time for him to complete the payments. The board agreed that the township was partly to blame for the problem and agreed to extend his required payments over a ten year period.

Construction Easements The board considered the following resolutions. Resolutions #16-01-01 through #16-01-04 would authorize condemnations for temporary construction easements involving sewer repair work at four private properties in the PC 4C/4E mini basin project. Resolution #16-02 would authorize the condemnation for a permanent and temporary construction easement for a new force main at the Park Chester Road Pumping Station, which serves the Paxton Town Center. Resolution #16-03 would authorize the condemnation for a permanent and temporary construction easement in the PC-4C/4E mini basin project on Jonestown Road next to Hoffman Ford. These resolutions allow the township to legally do sewer repair work on private properties. The authority board voted to approve all of these resolutions.

Sewer and Road Projects Sewer Department director William Weaver gave the board a review of the ongoing projects and the schedule for future projects. Many of the current projects are ahead of schedule, which is a plus, since interest rates on bond issues to pay for the projects continue to be low. He noted that, due to the condition of many of the locations where there are sewer projects, street paving repairs have become a higher percentage of the overall project costs.

He reported that an ongoing problem is finding places to deposit fill from the sewer projects. Also, the planning of new sewer projects is complicated in areas where there are many existing underground gas, water and other utility lines that have to be worked around. Because of traffic problems, some projects will be scheduled to be done at night. He noted that to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, wheel chair ramps are now required where work is being done at street intersections.

Strategic Planning Session After the thorough review of the planned projects up to about year 2033, the authority board members agreed that they needed to rethink their long term project schedule. The supervisors had just floated a bond issue with low interest rates to finance some future sewer projects and they are now somewhat ahead of schedule in doing the projects. As a result, they felt they might be able to consider slowing down the work schedule for the coming years. They agreed to set a date for a planning session to further review their long term project schedule.

February 25, 2016
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher

Franklin & Judith Beskid – Docket #1383 This request for a variance involves the proposed subdivision of a 8.3 acre wooded lot on the west side of Parkway West, at the base of Blue Mountain. The property is located in the AR Agricultural Residential zone and it has a 306 foot frontage on the highway. The couple wished to subdivide the land into two properties, build a house on one and sell the other. Their problem was that the zoning ordinance for that zone requires that each residential property have a 140 foot frontage on the improved street or highway, but this total property has fewer frontages than would be required for two building lots.

At the board’s meeting, two months earlier, the couple made a request that they approve a variance request to allow them to subdivide the property, with a shared driveway that would split for access to the two residential properties. They proposed to develop a binding recorded legal agreement for the two property owners to be responsible for the maintenance responsibilities of the shared driveway. At that meeting, the board voted to approve the subdivision including the legal agreement regarding the driveway.

Since then, the applicants decided to revise their plan for the subdivision of the property. The revision would relocate the property line between the two properties significantly, but there were no other changes to what was the previously approved plan. The board voted to approve the revised plan as presented.

March 1, 2016
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION
Reported by Watson Fisher

On February 2nd the supervisors had a special meeting to initiate a discussion on the planning for projects they wanted to consider undertaking in the coming years. It resulted in a listing of a dozen such projects that they wanted to think about, with the plan to elaborate on them and prioritize them at another meeting. At this second meeting, Township Manager George Wolfe, distributed a listing of the projects that had been suggested which he had broken down into categories.

The list he had prepared included storm water projects, Wolfersberger Park development, Comprehensive Plan update, road and bridge projects, Hodges Heights Park replacement, senior citizen housing projects, development of the village of Linglestown, possible developments at the Blue Ridge Country Club property and Elks’ Parkway East, redevelopment of vacant business properties, business improvement district along Route 22, forming a committee of business leaders, celebrate the 250th anniversary of the township’s founding, enhance the use of township media and other facilities, and integrate centers of community activities.

He also suggested that the board categorize the items into short term and long term projects. They discussed categorizing these and identifying each of them accordingly. They also separated them into those that could be completed in two years and those that would be expected to take five years or more. And they identified those the supervisors could direct from those that would need the help of consultants. Also, they would note the ones that would be the township’s responsibility and those that would involve a public/private partnership. The planned next step will be for Mr. Wolfe to develop a revised list, based on these decisions, for the board to use at their next discussion of this matter.

March 2, 2016
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS & RECREATION BOARD MEETING
Reported by Watson Fisher

Possibility Place The board received an update on the repair work being planned at this large play facility that was built ten years ago at George Park. Contributions are being solicited from public organizations. Most of the work will be done by township staff, civic groups and volunteers. The work will include repairs to the playground equipment, power washing and painting. The project is planned to start soon.

Road Tour The board is planning a spring road tour to look at all the township parks. They discussed their concern that the building at the softball field at Koons Park has remained unfinished. The leader of the volunteers, who has done most of the work to date, has not been able to finish it and they need to consider having the township’s Public Works staff takeover to complete the work. They also noted that there is a need to look at the tennis courts and to address a drainage problem at the park.

On the tour they plan to look at the area around Hodges Heights Park in the continuing search for a location to build a new park to replace the existing one that is on a landfill. They will also be stopping at Hurley Field on Locust Lane where the additions to the Public Works facility and the planned District Justice office will require the construction of a new baseball field. Their plan is to visit all the parks on the tour.

Mateer Park The township has a three year lease agreement with the Community Club of Colonial Park, Inc. for the use of their two baseball fields at the park along Berryhill Road. The lease is in force for one more year, but the board was told that there have been some changes in the relationship with the club. Therefore consideration might be given not to renew the lease in a year.

Signage Going back many years, the township has had an understanding that no kind of commercial advertising or other signage would be permitted in any park. A few of the parks themselves are named after individuals including Koons, Lingle, George and Kohl. In 1995 the supervisors adopted a formal policy allowing some very limited signage recognizing the acceptance of capital improvement donations at the parks. In order to receive some financial assistance from the public for park improvements, consideration is now being discussed to allow some limited naming rights.

The board’s discussion at this meeting centered on allowing some donations for naming rights and possibly allowing some paid for advertising. They decided to review this matter at their next meeting and consider discussing it with the supervisors at one of their future meetings.

Board Vacancies The board was reminded that there are now vacancies on both the Parks & Recreation Board and the Friendship Center Board. They noted the fact that these two boards work together and that there are some individuals who sit on both boards. Because of that, they mentioned the possibly that the Friendship Center board could be abolished and the Parks & Recreation Board take over management of the center. They suggested that there could be a joint meeting of the two groups to discuss the matter.

Other Boards Members on the Parks & Recreation Board, who also serve on other township boards, reported on current activities of those groups. The Arts Council will be organizing projects related to the township’s 250th year celebration next year. The Greenway Committee will be giving the supervisors an update on some of their projects. The Community Engagement Committee is looking for sponsors for some of their projects and working on the development of brochures to give the public information about their work.

Cricket This sport is gaining popularity in the township and their teams are interested in renting a park field for their matches. They need a round area with a very smooth grass surface and they want to see if there is a location in any of the township parks that could be made available for their use. The Parks & Recreation Department will wait until all the reservations for baseball fields for the season have been made before they can address this. The board approved the department’s proceeding with this matter.

March 2, 2016
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING Reported by Bill Bostic

Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan for 2192 Parkway West, Judith and Franklin Beskid This is a simple subdivision plan to divide an 8-acre parcel into two lots, with an existing single-family home on one, and another home eventually to be constructed on the other. The Zoning Hearing Board granted the applicants a variance last month to use a shared driveway for the two lots because the property lacks the required frontage on an improved street. The commission unanimously recommended the plan for approval. (Map: http://bit.ly/1puHYXJ)

Preliminary/Final Subdivision & Land Development Plan for Proposed Restaurant and Retail building for Lowe’s Home Improvement Centers, LLC, 4000 Union Deposit Road The plan calls for a lot to be subdivided from the parent lot of the Lowe’s store for an International House of Pancakes (IHOP) restaurant and two retail spaces. The building will be located east of the Gulf gas station, located in front of Lowe’s along Union Deposit Road, on what is now the employee parking lot. (Map: http://bit.ly/1QHixsD)

In December 2015, the Zoning Hearing Board approved three variances for the project. They include having 77 parking spaces, rather than the required 111, and relief from some setback and landscape requirements. The commission commended the developer for submitting a clean plan.

Discussion about the plan focused on a letter that township staff found in a file from the 1997 approval of the Lowe’s store plan, calling for the entrance to the gas station from Union Deposit Road to be closed off from the Lowe’s parking lot. The closure never happened. Several commissioners said the gas station driveway is regularly used by Lowe’s shoppers and presents safety hazards.

The plan was recommended for approval with a condition that a decision on whether to close the gas station driveway be resolved prior to final approval. The representative for the IHOP plan indicated that his firm would consider helping to pay the costs to study the issue. Another condition of approval was adding crosswalks on Hassler Road from the Lowe’s parking lot to the restaurant. (Hassler Road runs through the Lowe’s parking lot.)

Comprehensive Plan Revisions Commission Chairman Fred Lighty said the township had been awarded a $50,000.00 local gaming share grant by Dauphin County to hire a consultant to help revise the comprehensive plan. He suggested that work on the plan be suspended until a consultant is hired so the commission and consultant can coordinate their assignments.

March 8, 2016
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION
Reported by Watson Fisher

Colonial Park Fire Company The company’s fire chief reported to the supervisors on the specifics of the purchase of a new fire engine. This is the first in the planned purchase of a new major piece of equipment by each of the three township companies. The cost of the rescue/pumper was originally listed at $825,000.00, but with lengthy negotiations with the manufacturer, discussions with the supervisors, and a streamlining of any extras, the final purchase price is $763,268.00. With the fire company’s contribution from funds they have raised, the final cost to the township will be $662,268.00. The truck’s builder is in Jim Thorpe, PA, and the chief said he will visit the company during the manufacturing process. The board voted to formally approve the purchase.

Koons Pool George Kunkle, representing the pool’s board of directors, gave the supervisors an update. The directors had applied for and received a state gaming grant of $25,000.00 to improve the pool. He stated that similar grants had been received by the Devon Manor Pool and to help the township for updating their comprehensive plan. The Koon’s Pool grant will help the pool’s board to be able to convert the water source for the pool from the present well to public water as has been requested by the state. Mr. Kunkle inquired as to the possibility that the township’s Public Works Department might help by digging the trench for the installation of the water line to the pool from the nearest public water source.

He further said that the plan is to have a membership fund drive to raise money to pay off loans and to continue to make improvements at this old pool. The improvements will include making it handicapped accessible, providing some shade and the adding of picnic tables. The supervisors agreed to have him meet with Mr. Wolfe to discuss what help the township could provide.

Greenway Committee Jim Seidler, chairman of this committee, gave an update on the group’s current projects and future goals. They mainly involve the planning for more walking trails at many locations in the township including at our parks. In addition, they are preparing a brochure identifying all the trails and are also preparing an information web site. They also help work to maintain the trails, organize an annual 5K race fund raiser and are involved in other recreational activities in the township.

Linglestown Area Community Association The president of this group, Bob Thomas, reported to the supervisors on the planned activities of this newly formed 501C3 organization. Their mission is to work in the village by helping to organize the holiday events and parades and continue to improve the downtown. The board asked him to keep the township apprised of their future plans.

Deavon Woods The contractor who is building houses on Plowman Ridge Road in this one street development requested permission to remove a curbed median in that street. This is a straight dead end street off Deaven Road, in which he has built three medians as a safety measure to try to slow traffic. The street now has 24 houses along it with room for him to build 11 more. Unfortunately, the medians contribute to a parking problem by limiting the available spaces for on street parking. The supervisors agreed to allow him to remove the second of the three medians.

Vanguard Reality Group Developer Eric Kessler presented to the board his preliminary plan for the construction of a retail center on the 12.65 acre property located on the northwest corner of the intersection of Linglestown and Colonial Roads behind the Sheetz Store. The property is in the CN Commercial-Neighborhood zoning district and he stated that it is not in the flood plane.

The main vehicle entrance would be from Colonial Road opposite the entrance to the Weis Store and a secondary one would be from Linglestown Road just west of Sheetz’s. He said that PennDOT stated that there would be no need for a traffic signal at either entrance. The plan indicated that there would be two strip malls with stores and a restaurant or two and 500 parking spaces. Storm water management would be dealt with below grade. Mr. Kessler will begin the normal approval procedure for the project beginning with a presentation to PennDOT.

Supervisors’ Goals The board has been working during the last month on developing a list of projects they want to plan for in the foreseeable future. They have refined the list, divided it into those goals that could be accomplished in a few years and those that would take longer, and those that could be done by the township and those where would need outside assistance. The board members were then asked to prioritize them as to importance and to be ready to finalize the list into an action plan for implementation at their next meeting.

Police Study Township manager George Wolfe discussed a document he had received titled 2015 Dauphin County Police Services Study. It was prepared by a consulting group to estimate the possible cost consequences of seven options of consolidating police departments that now deliver services to the county’s 40 municipalities. Six of the seven options were estimated to create annual cost savings of a little over half a million dollars, to as much as eighteen million dollars. The other option would increase the cost to a little over half a million dollars. He felt it was a worthwhile report and said it was available for viewing by the public on the county’s web site.

March 15, 2016
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY BOARD MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher

Capital Region Water Authority Township solicitor Steven Stine reviewed with the authority members the fact that the supervisors, at their March 1st meeting, had approved an agreement with the regional water authority. The agreement was to release funds to the authority as payment for system improvements, past sanitary sewer transmission and treatment charges. The final action on the township’s part was for the authority to approve the agreement and at this meeting they voted to do that.

In the past, the sewer authority had quarterly meetings to conduct business. The supervisors recently decided to instead schedule authority meetings each month to be held just before the regular monthly third supervisors’ meeting.

March 15, 2016
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher

Anniversary Committee In 2015, Polly Murphy was the leader of the group that had organized the 250th year celebration of the founding of Linglestown. In 2017, the township will celebrate the township’s 250th anniversary and the supervisors needed to appoint a chairman to lead a committee to organize the activities for that event. They voted to appoint her to head that new committee.

Cell Phone Antenna Attachments – Resolutions #16-16-01 to #16-16-07 Several years ago Verizon began the planning, leading up to the installation of cellular telephone antenna attachments on traffic signals at seven locations in the township. Verizon needs approval from the township, and then PennDOT, before the attachments can be made. The seven required resolutions were approved.

Tree Service The township sought bids for tree cutting and root grinding, involving the removal of 97 trees in conjunction with sewer work in the PC-4 C/E sanitary sewer mini-basin. The low bid was from Pro Mark Tree Service in the amount of $41,831.00. The company has done successful work for the township previously. The supervisors voted to award them the contract.

Franklin and Judith Beskid – Resolution #16-14 The couple requested approval of the preliminary/final subdivision plan regarding the separation into two properties of a 8.2 acre lot on the west side of Parkway West at the base of Blue Mountain. The request also included waivers of the requirement for curbs and sidewalks on this rural property. The Zoning Hearing Board at their meeting the previous month had approved this request and the supervisors voted to give it final approval.

Hayden Dauphin Associates L.P. – Resolution #16-03 This request was to make a minor adjustment to a lot line at this 6.2 acre property at 6305 Allentown Boulevard. At their February 3rd meeting, the Planning Commission approved the plan and at this meeting the board gave it their approval.

KimCo Realty – Resolution #15-30 This company has purchased the large commercial property on the eastern corner of the intersection of Jonestown Road and Devonshire Road. It is the location of the Gander Mountain store and an adjacent large empty store, the Old Country Buffet and a Fulton Bank. The property owner requested permission to subdivide the property into three lots, a main large lot and two small lots.

One of the small lots is on the corner of the intersection of the two roads and is the location of a possible CVS store. The other small lot is on Jonestown Road adjacent to the bank and it is planned for a future restaurant. The large lot is where the two large stores are and most of the customer parking. At their February meeting, the Planning Commission approved the subdivision plan and at this meeting the supervisors gave it their final approval.

Lowe’s Home Improvement Center – Resolution #16-01 This submission of a Preliminary/final subdivision and land development plan is for a proposed IHOP restaurant and an adjacent retail building on part of the property of the Lowe’s store. The property is on the north side of Union Deposit Road and on the west side of I-83. At their December meeting, the Zoning Hearing Board approved the plan with variances for the required number of parking spaces for the Lowe’s store, the new planned restaurant and the retail store, the building setback requirement at the restaurant and the store, and the number of street trees. The supervisors voted to approve the plan.