SWAN Newsletter #12

April 3, 2007

GREENWAY PLAN – LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP

Public Meeting No. 3

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

This meeting was the third and final public meeting regarding the development of the Greenway master plan for the proposed long-term development of hiking and biking trails in the township. This general effort has been under way for a number of years and the Landscape Architecture Firm of Simone Collins from Berwyn, PA began the formal development of an actual master plan late last year.

This presentation marked the completion of the “Draft Plan” phase of the consultant’s work. There will now be a review and comment period leading up to a scheduled meeting with the Greenway Committee on June 6, 2007, followed by a submission of the Final Plan to the Board of Supervisors at their regularly scheduled meeting at 7:30 pm on Tuesday, June 19, 2007. It was stated that the Draft Plan could be reviewed at the township office. At some point it could be on the new township website but that sounded unlikely. Comments and suggestions regarding the plan can be made to:

Simone Collins

511 Old Lancaster Road

Berwyn, PA 19312

Email – sc@simonecollins.com

Presentation of the Draft Plan and the accompanying documents and information was made by Brian Styche of Simone Collins. He reviewed the planning process that had taken place leading up to this point. It began with the Inventory and Analysis phase of reviewing all the existing documents, codes, ordinances, maps, comprehensive plans, etc., followed by the Site Reconnaissance phase of touring the township, identifying potential trail locations, existing traffic corridors, township facilities, open spaces, areas of future developments, etc. This led to the identification of potential trail locations in the township. After that a preliminary plan was prepared and presented for review and comment at the public meeting in February. This then led to the preparation of the current Draft Plan.

The plan as presented has been refined to show potential trail locations that have been narrowed down from the previous plan. Criteria used for selection of the trail locations include maximum safety, maximum use of existing facilities including sidewalks, avoidance of intrusion onto private property, and limitation of locations where the cost of trail development would be very high. Mr. Styche reviewed the various user groups that the trails would be designed to accommodate and the various classifications of trails for hiking, bicycling, and both that would be planned. He presented early estimates of cost for the construction of the various parts of the plan and stated that of course whatever work was done would be incremental over a long period of time. He also outlined the potential funding sources, which included state grants, the county, the township, private corporations, local foundations, and developers. He said his firm would be able to work with the committee to begin the preparation of grant applications.

During the question and answer period several concerns were raised. One was the concern as to who would be responsible for the maintenance of the trails. The answer was that in most cases the township would maintain them. The other main concern was for the protection of homeowners’ private property adjacent to the trails and the possibility that trails could be proposed to cross private property. Citizens were assured that no trails would be built where there was an objection raised by any adjacent property owner. In conclusion it was restated that two major planning priorities were 1) what is the most that can be done using the existing infrastructure and 2) what does the Planning Commission need in the way of suggestions and possibly new ordinances to assist them in early negotiations with developers on future projects to aid in the implementation of the Greenway Plan.

April 3, 2007

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING

(7:30-8:45pm)

Attended and reported by Ted Robertson.

Police officer Timothy Hicks was promoted to Corporal.

Mr. William Johnson of Conway Road in Hodges Heights presented a petition on behalf of the residents of Hodges Heights to close the leaf waste collection and compost site on the township landfill site just south of Hodges Heights. Mr. Johnson cited violations of regulations (DEP) concerning the operation of such sites. He also cited a study by Gannett-Fleming, Inc. concerning the operation of this site dated January 2007. There was a fire at this site Tuesday, April 3, 2007, around 12:00 noon in one of the non-turned compost piles.

Mr. Wolfe announced that fire hydrant flushing would begin April 2nd and continue through mid-June.

Under old business, the re-appointments of Lou Ann Berg and Robert Reitzel, Sr. to the Recycling Committee were approved.

The bid for the lease of a cell tower site on township property was awarded to American Tower, Inc. The bid from the second bidder was deemed incomplete.

Under new business, the request from Kevin Richer to extend and reduce the financial security provided by the Consent Agreement was modified as the agreement provided for an automatic extension. The reduction of the amount was denied.

Under subdivision and land development, the resolution 07-17, accepting the streets in Kendale Oaks, Phase I was not considered:–no reason given. Resolution 07-18, the planning module for the Sheetz Convenience Store on Route 22 was approved.

An audit of the property tax collector for the year 2006 was approved 3-2. This is standard procedure in the event of a change in personnel. The township exposure will amount to 2000.00+/-.

For SWAN consideration: Re: Compost site at Hodges Heights. Mr. Johnson’s presentation was factual. I’ve had occasion to use the site many times last year. Mr. Johnson gave me a copy of the Gannett-Fleming report, which I have read. Would SWAN consider backing the petition to close the leaf collection/compost site?

April 10, 2007

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP MEETING

(7:30 – 8:45 PM)

Attended by Watson Fisher and Ted Robertson. Reported by Ted Robertson.

Lori Wissler gave an overview of the Walnut Street Corridor Study as it applies to Lower Paxton Township. The engineer involved is recommending sidewalks on both sides of Route 22, bus lanes, a landscaped divider and a change in zoning to residential/commercial along Route 22. Of course, the engineer is not paying the bill. The Supervisors indicated they may go along with the sidewalks.

Mr. Wolfe reported that the results of the PHMIC (PA municipal health insurance corporation) was a savings of approximately $158,000 for 2006 for the township.

Mr. Wolfe gave an “executive summary” of the fiscal fourth quarter of 2006. There was too much detail for this report. Suffice to say, the Township ended 2006 in very good financial condition. However, it was noted again that expenses continue to grow faster than revenues. The Supervisors and Staff should be commended for a very good job as far as the fiscal management is concerned.

April 11, 2007

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher

JOHN NULL, 5817 & 5819 LINGLESTOWN ROAD -Rezoning Request Mr. Null’s request was to rezone this property which is south of Linglestown Road and east of Ranger Road from R-1 Low Density Residential to CG Commercial General. He stated that the property which now contains two commercial operations had previously been zoned C-1. Unbeknown to him under the new zoning ordinance it was rezoned R-1. Staff review of this request suggested that if it was to be rezoned it should instead become CN Commercial Neighborhood consistent with an adjacent property instead of CG Commercial General as requested. This would avoid a spot-zoning situation. The commission agreed that the rezoning was justified and that it should become CN and not CG. The applicant agreed with this change to his request.

The commission denied the original request to rezone this property CG and then recommended approval of a revised request to rezone the property CN Commercial Neighborhood.

LEN MAUR – Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan #07-05 – This project is located on a 9.4-acre tract on the north side of Linglestown Road and east of Colonial Road between the Weis Market and the new Dunkin Donuts & Baskin Robbins store. It will be called LenMaur Plaza. The property is zoned CN Commercial Neighborhood. The development will consist of three buildings, two fronting on Linglestown Road and one at the rear of the property. The larger one at the front will be a two-story restaurant. The upper level will be a high-end eatery and the lower level will be a casual dining restaurant. The two facilities will have a total capacity of approximately 587 seats. The smaller building at the front will be a Day Spa. The building at the rear of the site will be a two-story corporate headquarters office building.

The plan presented showed a total of 427 parking spaces, which is approximately 30 short of what is required by code for the three facilities. The applicant will submit a request to the Zoning Hearing Board for a special exception to allow for shared parking among the three facilities to meet the parking requirement. Access to the site will be from Linglestown Road to the main parking area behind the two front buildings. This area will be connected to the east and the west to the parking lots of the two adjacent properties. The commission felt this interconnectivity was a good feature to allow for ingress and egress to the site from Colonial Road and Patton Road.

A neighbor whose house backs up to the northern property line expressed concern that late night noise from the restaurant parking lot and early morning trash trucks could become a problem for his residential neighborhood. He requested that consideration be given to a wider buffer along the rear property line and/or a fence for adequate screening. The applicant’s representative promised that he would explore several possible options to address the problem.

The commission tabled the plan pending resolution of the shared parking matter that will be going before the Zoning Hearing Board.

CROSSPOINT UNITED METHODIST CHURCH – Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan #07-06 This church on a 10.5 acre lot on Colonial Road between Crums Mill Road and Valley Road, formally the Colonial Park United Methodist Church, has a three phase plan to enlarge the church building and expand the parking. This submission is for Phase 1, which involves only increasing the current parking. The applicant requested three waivers and agreed with the county, staff, and HRG comments.

The commission recommended approval of the plan including the waivers and the comments.

FOUR SEASONS HOA/NEWSIDE ROAD CEMETERY – Final Subdivision Plan This submission involves the transfer of a small 2600 square foot cemetery property on the north side of Newside Road south of Union Deposit Road currently owned by the Four Seasons Development Homeowners’ Association to Lower Paxton Township.

The commissioners recommended approval of this plan.

The commissioners received copies of the draft of the Walnut Street Corridor Study, which was recently made available for review prior to being finalized. They decided to prepare their comments on this draft document and to meet next month before their regular meeting to formalize their recommendations.

There was a discussion about the possibility of creating a Business Improvement District or districts in the township. These districts fall under the overall heading of “Neighborhood Improvement Districts” which can be created under a state law governing how they are funded and run. If created they are funded by assessments to the local businesses and they provide for such things as beautifying the business area, advertising the businesses in the area, attracting new businesses to the area, addressing traffic problems, coordinating business promotions, etc. It sounded to the board that this could be something that might tie in with the proposals in the Walnut Street Corridor Study. The commissioners felt they needed to be briefed on this matter by someone familiar with it and it was suggested that the executive director of the downtown Harrisburg district would be able to help them. Efforts will be made to set up a Planning Commission workshop meeting with him in the near future.

April 12, 2007

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MEETING

*****This update should be in the next newsletter*****

April 17, 2007

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING

(7:30 -8:40 PM)

Attended and reported by Ted Robertson.

Mr. Wolfe reported that the fire hydrant flushing will continue thru June.

Proclamation 07-01 designating April 25 as Arbor Day in Lower Paxton Township was passed 5-0.

Resolution 07-21, the authorization to submit a grant application for greenway development to PA- DCNR, was passed 5-0. The total grant money from PA-DCNR and PA DOT could amount to $2,475,000.

Ordinance 07-02, the rezoning of 6500 Union Deposit Road (Conjar property) from AR to an Open Space Overlay District was tabled. There were some questions concerning the contiguous open space, and the method used to calculate the open space. This will be on the May workshop agenda.

Preliminary/final subdivision plan for the combining of the two adjacent lots into one lot on the above property was passed 5-0.

Resolutions 07-19 and 07-20, accepting the planning modules for Schiavoni LTD and 4800 Linglestown Road, were passed 5-0.

May 1, 2007

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION/SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP (5:45 – 7:15 PM)

Attended and reported by Ted Robertson.

The entire meeting was devoted to reviewing certain revisions to the new zoning ordinance and the subdivision land division (SALDO) ordinance. As before, we were not permitted to have copies of these revisions. Mr. Wolfe assured me that I would be given a copy of the final draft as soon as it is completed. Mr. Wolfe indicated that at least one or more of these meetings would be required before completion.

May 1, 2007

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING

(7:40 -8:15 PM)

Attended and reported by Ted Robertson.

Under public comment, Larry Gaiski asked the Supervisors when the sidewalks would be installed in Chelsea Falls. Also asked who is responsible for installation. Staff will research original final sub-division plan and give Mr. Gaiski an answer.

Under new business the audit of the Capital Tax Collection Bureau will be done on a sample test basis, rather than a dollar for dollar basis, as originally designated.

I asked Mr. Stine about the matter concerning Stray Winds Farm/Triple Crown Corporation roadway improvement agreement with the Township. He said it was a technicality and would probably not result in a change in the agreement.

May 2, 2007

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

The major agenda item and the one of most interest to SWAN members was the discussion of Triple Crown Corporation’s submission for the Stray Winds Farm Proposed Community Park. Triple Crown is proposing to build the Community Park in lieu of paying the recreation fees for the Lower Paxton Township portion of the development. The fee in lieu, based on the township ordinance, is estimated to be $1,060,000.

Mr. Peter Leone of Triple Crown gave a detailed presentation of the park plan and its estimated cost. The park would be located on both sides of McIntosh Road just west of Paxton Creek and would consist of a 2.07 acre Recreation Lot on the north side of McIntosh Road and a 4.32 acre parcel directly across on the south side of McIntosh Road including a Parking Lot for 25 vehicles, a Recreation Lot, a Playground, a Basketball/Tennis Court, a Picnic Area, a Pavilion, a Gazebo, and a safety fence along McIntosh Road. The park project also would include an 8 foot wide lighted macadam walking trail going through the park and extending east to west across the development with a series of eight workout/fitness stations along the trail. At the western end the trail would connect to the similar trail in the Susquehanna Township portion of the development. The SWF homeowners’ association would maintain the trail including the lights.

The plan would be to construct these facilities in Phase 2 of the 7-phase construction schedule, which would mean that they would be built in the next 3 years. TTC plans to take the proposed plan to the Workshop meeting on May 8 and then to the formal Supervisors’ meeting in June. They noted that the overall plan has received the approval of the Planning Commission at its March 14 meeting pending resolution of the unresolved outstanding legal matter.

Not surprisingly, the initial estimated cost of developing the park areas and the trail was $1,060,000. A revision to the original plan reduced the number of trail lighting fixtures by increasing their interval from every 40′ to every 160′ resulted in an estimated savings of $100,000. This amount then would be all that would be left of the total fee in lieu for the township to use for other recreational needs.

In open discussion the board stated that they were impressed by the work TTC put into the planning for these facilities but they expressed serious concerns about the viability of the plan for this large development. The recreation area designated for the play fields, picnic area, parking, etc. is less than 7 acres for this very large development which is less than is required by the current ordinance. It was noted that the areas reserved for recreation were pretty much otherwise unusable space in the overall plan. There was an understandable concern that the two adjacent portions of the recreation area are split by what will become a very busy main thoroughfare, McIntosh Road, which creates a very serious safety problem. It was also noted by one of the board members that previously SWAN’s stated position was that such a facility should not be built as part of this development. It was stated that if the facility was not built as shown it is hoped that the trail would be built in any case. They generally felt that the recreation areas proposed would not provide enough benefit to this large housing development to be worth $960,000. They acknowledged that even if they withheld their approval the supervisors might well approve the project at their formal meeting in June.

The board then resolved that for the stated reasons they would not be able to recommend approval of this plan and to send it on to the supervisors. Their resolution stated that they did not feel that the project was big enough or adequate enough to meet the requirements of the ordinance, it was not large enough or provided enough facilities to be worth the projected cost, and it had a serious safety problem. Their resolution denying approval of the plan was approved unanimously.

Other items on their agenda that were discussed were as follows:

~ Koons Pool will operate this year in spite a DEP problem regarding how the pool water is backwashed. This year the backwashed water will be discharged onto the lawn with DEP approval.

~ Scheduling of the summer use of the fields at Koons Park is an ongoing problem. A revised scheduling system is being considered.

~ At George Park work on the in-line skate park, the nature trail, and some paving is underway.

~ A draft letter of understanding between the Friends of Lower Paxton Playgrounds and the township was approved for execution.

~ A report on fund raising for the proposed Skateboard Park was reviewed. The board felt that successful fund raising for this project would be difficult.

~ The Greenway Committee at their meeting earlier in the evening developed notes to pass on to the consultant. The final draft plan is being finalized and will be presented to the supervisors at their June 19 meeting. Estimated cost for design services for the entire extended project is $460,000 and the estimated construction cost for the entire extended project is $2,500,000. Consideration is being given to filing an early grant application for trails proposed in the southwestern portion of the township. This effort is intended to get agencies familiar with the project even though the chance of being awarded a grant this early are very remote.

~ A group wants to meet with the township to consider being allowed to cover the existing outdoor tennis courts at Brightbill Park with a removable dome to provide for year round use. The board will discuss whether they want to consider such a joint project at their next meeting.

~ Fine Line Homes turned over to the township deeds to two parcels of land along Nyes Road totaling approximately 5.5 acres from Phase 1 of the Huntleigh development. This land can be used as part of the proposed Greenway trail project.

~ The annual election of officers reappointed the present Chairman, Vice Chairman, and Secretary to another year’s term.

May 3, 2007

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING

(7:00 – 9:00 PM)

Attended by Watson Fisher & Ted Robertson. Reported by Ted Robertson.

Docket no. SE 07-01 concerned the property north of Linglestown Road between the Weis Market property and the Dunkin Donuts property. The owners/developers intend to construct a two-story building with two restaurants, a stand-alone spa, and a corporate office building on a little over 9 acres. They were asking a special exception for thirty shared parking spaces to meet the number of spaces required by the Township ordinance. Chairman Dowling recused himself from this vote. The special exception was approved 3-1 after much needless “debate” (posturing).

Docket no. 1229 was requesting a second stand-alone sign for the Dunkin Donut’s property mentioned above. The Hearing Board suggested the existing stand alone “menu” sign be attached to the building (a move of a few feet), and the building sign on the West side be taken down to provide for the desired stand alone sign. After a call to Dunkin Donuts by the owner, who apparently approved the above changes, the board approved the changes 5-0.