SWAN NEWSLETTER #118

 

April 5, 2016

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION

Reported by Watson Fisher

 

At special workshop sessions in February and March, the supervisors worked on identifying a number of projects they felt the township should address in the near future. They narrowed the list down to the ones they considered the most important and categorized those regarding how long they would suspect it would take to complete each project. They also considered whether each project could be done by them or the township staff members, and which would need help from outside consultants.

 

They then agreed that township manager George Wolfe should prepare a revised detailed list of the proposed projects, rank those that would be considered short term and long term projects, suggest how each should be done and estimate how much each one might cost.

 

They identified two projects that should be the first to be addressed. Those were updating the township’s Comprehensive Plan and developing a plan to deal with the serious storm water issues in the township. They reported that they will be receiving a $50,000.00.00 government grant, but the estimated cost of these projects would be in the range of $75,000.00 to $100,000.00. They will also need to consider whether or not to create a Storm Water Authority to function similar to the existing Sewer Authority.

 

They discussed plans for the 250th anniversary of the township’s founding next year and agreed to work with Polly Murphy, who will be heading up the celebration. They reviewed other projects that were on the list. They suggested hiring a consultant to contact organizations that could develop senior housing in the township so that aging residents would not have to move out of the township when they need assisted living facilities. That could also bring jobs into the township and help to continue to improve the tax base. Such projects could require some zoning changes. They also discussed having a joint meeting with the Planning Commission to help with some of these projects. They suggested that they might also involve the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission which could help with the projects at no cost to the township.

 

Finally they decided on which of the board members would take the lead to work on developing the plan on each of the various projects.

 

April 5, 2016

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING –Reported by Watson Fisher

 

Pubilc Works Building  This township building is located on the tract of land on the south side of Locust Lane and to the west of the VoTech school. Base bids were received from contractors for the construction project to build an addition on the north side of the large existing building, with an add alternate to build an adjacent separate vehicle wash building for all the township trucks and plows.

 

The low bidders were ECI Construction, LLC for general construction, W. C. Eshenaur & Son, Inc. for HVAC, Frey Lutz, Inc. for plumbing and LECCE, Inc. for electrical. The low base bid for the four contracts totaled $2,537,700.00 and with the add alternate for the wash building it totaled $3,207,300.00. The bids were slightly below the engineer’s estimates. The board voted to award the contracts to the four low bidders.

 

Friendship Center Operating BoardResolution #16-20  This resolution was to amend the composition of the center’s operating board to delete the requirement to have one board member being from the Parks & Recreation board. This will result in all seven members being at large. The supervisors approved the resolution. They noted that there are presently vacancies on the P&R board and several other township boards. They encouraged interested residents to apply to fill the vacancies.

 

Weis Markets Resolution #16-13  At this required public hearing, conducted by the township solicitor, the company requested permission to transfer a restaurant liquor license from the company that now holds it to their store in the Paxton Towne Centre shopping center at 5125 Jonestown Road. The company plans to remodel their store to include a separate area for a restaurant and bar with seating for about thirty customers.

 

The bar would serve and sell “for takeout only” beer, but they would possibly add wine in the future. Also they plan for the bar to have a small adjacent outdoor seating area in the covered area in front of the store. In response to questioning, they assured the board that all of the store’s staff would be trained to carefully control the sale of liquor to the bar customers including checking the required ID’s. The board approved the license transfer.

 

Real Estate Taxes  Four property owners requested forgiveness of the 10% penalty assessed for late payment of township real estate taxes. Those properties were 509 Mountain Road, 5999 Three Rivers Drive, 883 Arlington Avenue and 5929 Tyler Drive. All the penalty amounts were between $15.00 and $50.00. The supervisors voted to forgive the penalties. No reason for the forgiveness was given.

 

Finance ManagerResolution #16-19  The board was asked to designate the Finance Manager as the township’s agent to execute documents requesting financial assistance documents. That manager will work to get reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for recent snow removal expenses. The board approved the resolution.

 

April 6, 2016

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING –Reported by Bill Bostic

 

Conditional approval for Schoffstall Associates, 5940 Linglestown Road  Marty Schoffstall, the applicant, wants to demolish a two-story residential property in the village of Linglestown that was severely damaged by a fire last summer. The home is located next to Spring Gate in the Village, located in a former church building, across from Mellow Minded Cafe. Conditional approval is needed because the Village Zoning District regulations require it for all building constructed prior to 1945. (Map:  http://bit.ly/1NlqhPO)

 

Schoffstall plans to construct a building using architecture that is similar to the church to house a microbrewery and restaurant. Previously, the township Zoning Hearing Board approved the property to be used for brewing.

 

The commission unanimously recommended the proposed demolition for approval.

 

Alternate member to the Planning Commission  The commission tabled action on this item so recent applicants for the commission can be contacted to determine if they want to seek the alternate member seat.

 

Comprehensive Plan Revisions  The commission plans to meet with township supervisors during the township workshop meeting on May 10th to discuss this project and the $50,000.00 grant for hiring a consultant.

 

April 6, 2016

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD MEETING Reported by Vera Stuchinski

 

Public Comment – Patricia Stull, Vice President of the Garden Club of Harrisburg, spoke about the club’s project to place bluebird houses in public parks. The Club is seeking permission to bring Bill Strauss, coordinator for Dauphin County of the Pennsylvania Bluebird Society, into parks in the township to identify potential nestbox sites. Members of the Garden Club would inspect and maintain the birdhouses. Robin Lindsey has agreed to be their advisor. Ms. Stull said that she will report back to the board about suitable locations once they’ve been identified.

 

A Central Dauphin student stopped by unexpectedly, saying that he’d like to get high school students involved in volunteering for work days in the township parks, but he did not know how to get started. He was advised to read the township newsletter, to develop some plans, and to get on the agenda of a future meeting to present his ideas to the board.

 

Heroes Grove – The project is in phase 2. A roof is being installed over the stage. Bathrooms are being built. (Porta-potties are in place in the meantime.) AT&T has donated some trees. The first event, “A Rally for the Troops”, will take place on May 7th from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM. The ribbon cutting ceremony will be at 6 p.m. on June 17, followed by a TGIF concert.

 

Possibility Place – Power washing will be done this month. This year the deteriorating flooring will be patched, with plans to install new flooring next year. A new feature (as yet undetermined) may be added. Volunteers are being recruited.

 

Parks & Recreation Ordinances Signage – The board continues to review and discuss ordinances dealing with signage for advertising as well as naming rights. Sponsorships are vital for community sports organizations (and the Friendship Center).

 

Park Dugouts Koons & Brightbill – The dugouts will be completed by the end of softball season in June.

 

Board Vacancy/Friendship Center Representative – The township is conducting a search for residents to fill the following vacancies: Arts Council, Friendship Center Operating Board, Greenway Committee, and Parks and Recreation Board. Several applications have been received. Chairs of the various boards will review them, interview the applicants, and report back to their boards with recommendations.

 

Arts Council Activities – The dinner dance fundraiser was such a success that there are plans to have another in September. The council is also planning a monthly book club.

 

Community Engagement Committee – The CEC is updating their list of sponsors as well as seeking new ones for the 5-K race this summer.

 

Greenway Committee Report – The gaming grant has been approved for the Nyes Road sidewalk project.

 

April 12, 2016

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION Reported by Watson Fisher

 

Parks and Recreation Board  Two members of the P&R Board, Stan Smith and Mayur Patel, met with the supervisors to review their board’s role, activities and projects and discuss the need for continued cooperation with the supervisors. They talked about the need to fill vacancies on the P&R board and the Friendship Center board, how those two boards and the Arts Council as well as the Greenway Committee are working together, and about matters concerning the operations of all the township’s parks. The issue of raising money by allowing limited advertising in the township’s parks was mentioned.

 

Supervisors William Hawk and Robin Lindsey are planning to attend the P&R Board’s next meeting to discuss the matter of finding a location to develop a new Hodges Heights Park. They also noted that the P&R Board would be working with the Planning Commission and the supervisors on the upcoming major effort to revise the township’s Comprehensive Plan.

 

Emergency Operations Center  Township Police Officer Palm is in charge of this operation and he made a detailed presentation regarding the functions of the township’s emergency center. The organization is prepared to quickly respond to any emergency situation by coordinating the needed responses from the police departments, the fire companies, the medical services organizations, etc., both local and county wide. This includes emergency plans for dealing with a disaster such as TMI. He stated that they should be able to tap into some state and federal funds when needed in case of emergencies.

 

Paxtonia Fire Company   Public Safety Director Dave Spotts presented detailed information on this fire company’s planned purchase of a new ladder fire truck needed to replace an old one. The board has had discussions with the three fire companies on the needed purchase of new major pieces of equipment for several years. Paxtonia’s carefully negotiated purchase was from the Seagrave Company at a price not to exceed $1,019,994.00. This is a small fire truck  which is needed for the fire fighters to get into tighter spaces. The board approved the purchase.

 

Heroes Grove  Christine Hunter, from the engineering firm of H. Edward Black made a presentation of the grant applications for Phase 2 of the Heroes Grove outdoor amphitheater project at Brightbill Park. This phase includes a removable roof over the stage, electrical work and installing railings. There are already events planned for May and June at the amphitheater. The supervisors approved the submission of the application for funding from the county and from three other local sources.

 

Waste Management  Tom Stang, representing the township’s solid waste and recyclables  company, attended the meeting with the supervisors to review their ongoing work. He said that their current contract will be in force for two more years before it will need to be renewed. They discussed the possibility of converting to automated carts that load themselves in the future. The supervisors mentioned that there have been some complaints about very early morning trash pickups waking people up. He responded that in some areas, in order to try to be done with their pickups before the school buses come through, they do start early and they try to schedule pickups from commercial areas first. He said that he understood the concerns that were mentioned and would look into them.

 

Colonial Road  Eric Stump, an engineer from HRG, the township’s consultants, gave a report on their study on improving the rush hour traffic problems at two of this road’s intersections. The Colonial Road intersections are with Crums Mill Road and Devonshire Road at the top of the hill and a block away with Valley Road and Winfield Street at the bottom of the hill. He presented slides which showed the plan to widen the intersecting streets. An additional lane would be added on the south side of Devonshire Road at the intersection with Colonial Road. At the Valley Road and Windfield Street intersection Valley Road would be moved to the north to align with the Winfield Street intersection on the east side of Colonial Road.

 

New traffic signals would be required with sensors to coordinate the lights at the two intersections and with the signals at Jonestown Road. HRG estimated the cost for the improvements at both intersections to be around $1,500,000.00. The supervisors agreed that both intersections need to be improved and they authorized HRG to submit estimates of cost for them to prepare requests to the county and the state for financial assistance for the planning project.

 

Cable Television  The supervisors considered a proposal from the Cohen Law Group to the Capital Region Council of Governments to negotiate the renewal of the Verizon cable franchise agreement. There are seven municipalities involved in a joint effort to gain a 40% reduction in rates. The board agreed to have the township participate in this effort.

 

Direct Energy  The township’s contract to have this company supply natural gas to the township facilities will be expiring. The township, after looking at competitive bids from other companies, recommended renewing a contract with low rates from this company with a two or three year contract. The supervisors voted to enter into a three year contract with Direct Energy.

 

April 19, 2016

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS BOARD MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher

 

Public Works Building  At their April 5, 2016 meeting the supervisors awarded contracts to the low bidders for general construction, heating and ventilating, plumbing and electrical work for the addition to the Public Works building and a separate Vehicle Wash building at the township’s property on Locust Lane. Township engineers GHD designed the project. The Vehicle Wash building is needed because of the state requirement that it is no longer acceptable to wash the snow plow trucks outside since the water used to wash the trucks must be captured and treated to remove salt before the water can be discharged into the sewer system.

 

After awarding the contracts the engineers reviewed the design and determined that there would be a long term cost savings if they would include a semi-automatic vehicle wash system in the new vehicle building. The savings would result from the significant less cost of manpower outweighing the additional initial cost of the equipment. GHD submitted a request for approval of Change Order #1 to their contract in the amount of $33,000.00 for design work to add the wash system. Board Chairman William Hornung stated that he needed more complete information from the engineers before he would agree to approve that design fee increase. The board voted to table the engineers’ request for the change order until they were able to study that information.

 

5940 Linglestown RoadConditional Use #16-01  This request is to allow the demolition of the house at this address on the north side of the road in Linglestown. The house was partially destroyed by fire and was purchased by Martin Schoffstall. It is between a church building to the east which has been a restaurant for years and a house to the west which Mr. Schoffstall also owns. He was requesting permission to demolish the damaged 5940 house.

 

These properties are in the township’s V-Village Zoning District which requires that the demolition of any building in that district needs to be approved by the supervisors. It was agreed that the existing house did not have any significance as an historical structure and that his proposed building would improve the streetscape. At their January meeting the Zoning Hearing Board had approved his request to locate a French bistro at that location. At this meeting he showed the supervisors pictures of the proposed building and told them of his plan for the property. They voted to allow him to demolish the existing building.

 

Michael F. Ronca & Sons, Inc.  This firm has a contact to do sanitary sewer line replacements in the BC-4A, 4B, and 4C sewer mini-basins. Since much of the work involves the repair and replacement of underground lines some project costs are determined based on predetermined unit prices. GHD engineers are on site to verify the quantities of work. Change Order #2 in the amount of $89,083.00 for the replacement of ten manholes was submitted and approved.

 

Heroes Grove  Construction work on the outdoor amphitheater in Brightbill Park is nearing completion. The engineering firm of H. Edward Black’s representative Cristine Hunter presented a request for approval of Change Order #5 to the contract with ECI Construction, LLC in the amount of approximately $1,900.00. That will cover the cost of the few remaining punch list items. The township helped manage the payments for the project, but there were no township funds involved in its construction. She noted that there remained $7,000.00 in the project’s contingency fund. The supervisors approved the change order.

 

York Excavating Company  This company is doing the site work at the township’s Public Works Building project and they submitted two change orders for approval. Change Order #1 was a credit in the amount of $4,859.00 to delete an area of paving from the contract. Change Order #3 was an additional cost of $74,411.00 for unplanned site work when it was found to be necessary to relocate an existing natural gas pipe line. The two change orders were approved.

 

KIMCO Shopping CenterResolution #16-18  After the Planning Commission approved the subdivision plan for this company’s large commercial property at the intersection of Jonestown Road and Devonshire Road the supervisors, at their March 15th meeting, gave the subdivision plan their approval. At this meeting they followed up by approving this resolution regarding the planning module. That includes ensuring that the developed center can connect to the township’s sanitary sewer system. There are presently no definite plans for the entire shopping center. However, preliminary approval has been given for a restaurant and it is suggested that in the near future there could be plans for a CVS Pharmacy and a Giant Grocery Store to be located there.

 

April 28, 2016

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher

 

Josh LutzDocket #1384  This applicant requested a variance to be allowed to place a sign on the front of the office building located on the north side of the street at 4918 Locust Lane. The property is in the R-2 Medium Density Residential Zoning District. The township ordinance does not allow outdoor signs in that district.

 

A commercial use building was allowed at this location twenty years ago but the zoning ordinance was changed since then. It has been a medical office building and housed other non-residential uses since then. It was stated that it would not be reasonable for the present building to be used as a residence. The property owner feels that it is vital to a medical office tenant to have a modest sign on the street side of the building. The proposed sign would be two feet high by six feet long, mounted on the building, and would not be illuminated. The board voted to allow the proposed sign to be placed on the building.