SWAN NEWSLETTER #123
August 23, 2016
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION Reported by Watson Fisher
Strategic Plan The board discussed their efforts to date on the various short and long term goals in their strategic plan. Regarding the development of Wolfersberger Park, money is available from the National Baseball Association, which could be used to help build a field there. The Capital Area Soccer Association may also help in building a field in the park and the Dauphin County Redevelopment Authority has some grant money available and is looking to help develop more local parks.
Clean fill from the township sewer projects has been deposited at locations in Wolfersberger Park, where designated, to prepare for the construction of the various planned ball fields. Almost enough fill has now been placed for the fields to be developed in the front 50 acres of the park property. The back 40 acres of the total property are still being rented by the paintball organization and the plan is that that area will not be developed until the fields in the front area are completed for use.
The supervisors noted that some of the many projects they are discussing in the Strategic Plan will eventually become part of the Comprehensive Plan. The wide range of items in the Strategic Plan resulted in a fairly long list of projects that the township would like to be able to do. Unfortunately, with the limited funds available, the supervisors need to prioritize to identify the most needed projects. They also need to consider how best to increase revenues to be able to pay for needed work and for the additional sewer projects that the state has now mandated in response to the Chesapeake Bay pollution problem. They asked township manager George Wolfe to put together a report on options for them to consider.
Supervisors William Seeds and William Hawk reported that they met with Hampton Township officials recently and discussed how they are dealing with the same financial problems that Lower Paxton has encountered. The major findings were that they had a somewhat different taxing plan, but their residents and companies are paying generally higher tax rates than Lower Paxton.
Jonestown Road Bridge Project The board discussed proposals for engineering design services for the replacement program for the two lane bridge on that road over Beaver Creek. The creek is the division line between Lower Paxton and West Hanover townships and the cost of the design and construction for the project will be shared by the two municipalities. HRG is the engineer for both townships and they are proposing a fee of $12,000.00 for property acquisition services needed to acquire adjacent land needed for the new bridge. The board was not clear on the details of the proposal and asked for some clarification on the proposal.
Penn Colonial Swim Club At their August 9th meeting the supervisors passed resolutions to apply for county grants for eight projects and they listed the items in the order in which the available funds would be distributed. At this meeting they agreed to add an application for improvements at this pool, but they stated that that item would be placed at the end of their priority list.
Workshop Meetings Format The supervisors discussed if they should consider changing the format of their workshop meetings. They have always held these public informal sessions around a table in the small meeting room but now they considered changing to a more formal setting in the large meeting room where they sit up across the front of the room and where the meetings can be televised. After consideration they decided to continue the current informal setup where they can conveniently discuss matters among themselves across the table and receive and discuss informal comments from citizens attending the meeting.
They also discussed the need to upgrade the television system in the main meeting room. People watching the supervisors meetings from home often cannot see or hear people making public comment or those involved in group presentations. The supervisors plan to designate money in the budget in order to improve the television coverage.
August 23 2016
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
PA Department of Environmental Protection Sewer Department Director William Weaver gave the authority members a report on their recent annual meeting with DEP. He discussed with them the status of the township’s long term plan for the required improvements to Beaver Creek, which are tentatively scheduled to extend until 2023 and the estimated cost of that project. They also discussed their meeting with Swatara Township regarding the probable need for the joint project to construct a waste water treatment plant and to deal with the need to provide for storage. He indicated that their township staff seemed to not understand the need to agree on a long term solution to this future problem. He stated that he would need to meet again with them to get them better informed on the situation.
He also discussed the Paxton Creek improvement project which is also part of the DEP mandate. The planning has been underway and is ahead of schedule. The project itself will start after 2020 and is scheduled to be completed by 2027. They have to work with Susquehanna Township and the city of Harrisburg in the next few years to plan for how to deal with the need for storage of waste water that will probably come up within the next five to ten years. Bond issue borrowing to finance these projects will need to start in the next few years.
Authority Budget Mr. Weaver reviewed the draft of the authority budget for 2017. For the most part it is similar to those in this and previous years. The sewer department will need to buy a new truck and they will need to demolish the Gateway pumping station, which is no longer needed. They expect a slight fund deficit in 2017, but they currently have a slight surplus. The authority’s engineers will be dealing with more projects in 2017, but their pay rates will not increase. The staff will present a final budget to the authority in November.
Standard Specifications Mr. Weaver reported that their standard specifications were last revised in 2011 and the department is preparing to finalize a draft of the update for the authority to review. An item in question was whether or not to require stone backfill where new sewer lines are installed. Stone is always used at the bottom of the trench for the sewer pipe to sit on, but normally earth backfill is used above the pipe up to the street level. Earth backfill sometimes settles over the years requiring paving to be taken up and new fill put in before the street can be repaved. Stone backfill will not settle. Developers would strongly oppose the stone requirement because of its increased cost which would most likely be passed on to the homeowners. The supervisors will need to consider a possible change to require stone backfilling in the trenches.
The Feed Store – Resolution #16-10 The store on this property on Jonestown Road across the street from the Post Office is not connected to the sewer. This resolution would approve a temporary construction easement to allow the township to make that connection. The board approved the resolution.
Draft Agreement Mr. Weaver presented a draft of an agreement with Susquehanna Township establishing a tapping fee reimbursement for sewer work done in the area of the Sportsman Golf course. He will mail a copy of the proposed agreement to the Union Deposit Corporation which owns the property. No action by the authority is required.
Mini-Basin Construction Projects The board received an update on a number of sewer projects that are currently underway. The sewer project in the area of the Paxtonia Elementary School will be shut down on days when school is in session. The project along Jonestown Road near Hoffman Ford is scheduled to be finished in May of 2017.
Mountain Road The PennDOT road project to replace some sewer lines in the area around Interstate 81 is underway. Pennsy Supply is the contractor for that project.
Creek Drive In May, the authority authorized the sewer department to prepare bidding documents for the installation of sewer lines to houses on the north side of the creek. At this meeting, Mr. Weaver reported that the design work for that project is almost complete. However, the authority again discussed whether or not to proceed with the project. They reviewed three options, two of them to install sewer lines and the third one to do nothing. They noted that the future state required repair work to the creek, behind the houses, was in no way affected by any planned sewer work. At the end of the discussion the board agreed not to move ahead with anything for the time being.
Trunk A Project The authority discussed a grant application for a water and sewer project behind the Sheets Store at the north west corner of Linglestown Road and Colonial Road. The deadline for submitting the application is October 31st and there would be no cost to make the application. The authority was told to move ahead with the application.
Blue Mountain Parkway The township received a letter from the PA Department of Environmental Protection regarding an Act 537 Plan Special Study for property owners along Blue Mountain Parkway. It was an information letter only and no response was required.
September 6, 2016
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
Insurances Action on proposals to provide the township and the authority with property and liability insurances was withdrawn. The item will be acted on at the September 20th board meeting.
Pension Plans – Resolution #16-33 This matter was to agree on accepting the proposed Minimum Municipal Obligations for the police and non-uniformed employees pension plans. State aid will provide a portion of the cost of this for the coming year and the employees contribute a portion. This is a required obligation and the supervisors voted to approve it.
Bus Shelter Pinnacle Health requested approval to erect a bus shelter at 4300 Londonderry Road for Osteopathic Hospital visitors and staff. Christen Hunter from H. Edward Black engineers stated that they wanted to get the project out for bids and have the work in place before winter. The board approved the project.
Wynchase – Resolution #16-13 This proposed development, formally known as Queen Street Village, is to be located on a wooded tract at the southeast corner of the intersection of Queen Avenue and Byron Avenue. The property is located one block south of Jonestown Road and one block west of Devonshire Road. The developer is Triple Crown Corporation. The proposed project would divide the property into two lots. Lot 1 would have 14 townhouses, seven on each side of the dead end street, and Lot 2 would have one single family residence. The plan submission included the request for a number of waivers. The township’s Planning Commission previously approved the project.
After Nick DiSanto, of Triple Crown Corporation, presented the plan for the townhome development, a number of neighbors expressed objections to it. The major concern was for anticipated traffic problems. The only proposed entrance to the development is from Queen Avenue and is only a short distance to the east from the Byron Avenue/Queen Avenue intersection. There are no sidewalks on either side of either existing street and there is only one stop sign at the intersection and its location will not slow traffic at the proposed entrance to the development.
The supervisors also expressed concerns about the plan. They noted that the number of parking spaces shown might not be enough for residents and visitors. Colonial Park Fire Department Chief Tom Swank had looked at the plan and he expressed concerns about getting fire trucks around in the dead end street. The supervisors asked the developer to reconsider the plan and they voted to take no action on it at this meeting.
Wynchase Planning Module – Resolution #16-34 With no approval of the plan for the project the board took no action on the resolution to approve the Planning Module.
September 7, 2016
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING Reported by Bill Bostic
Commissioners Diane Moran and Lori Staub were absent.
Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan for Infinity Charter School The school, currently located in Penbrook, plans to relocate to a 5.68-acre parcel at 5405 Locust Lane, which is neighbored to the west by Trimline Weight Loss Center and ABC bowling center. The charter school serves about 250 students and employs 30 staff members. The Planning Commission tabled the plan in June so questions related to traffic flow at the site could be tied down. The lot has an existing 4,000 square-foot building that will be remodeled and enlarged. (Map: http://bit.ly/2cIxG4S)
Some Planning Commission members were concerned about the plan having separate entrance and exit driveways that are slightly offset from Rosewood Drive, which intersects with Locust Lane directly north of the site. The applicant’s traffic engineer said PennDOT had approved the plan’s traffic study. Also, Planning Commission Chairman Fred Lighty indicated that there is no history of traffic accidents at the site. No residents offered comments about the plan.
The commission recommended approval of the plan with two conditions – Infinity apply to PennDOT for school zone signs to be posted along Locust Lane, and Infinity check to see if existing utility poles could be replaced with underground lines in the area where Locust Lane will be widened to create a turning lane into the school campus.
Comprehensive Plan Township Codes Officer Nick Gehret told the commission that Township Manager George Wolfe had temporarily put developing an RFP for a consultant to assist with revising the plan on hold while he pursues community grants for other projects.
September 7, 2016
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS & RECREATION BOARD MEETING Reported by Vera Stuchinski
Hodges Heights – Jim Seidler met with Mr. Banks (President, Hodges Heights Community Association ) and members of the Association to find out what improvements residents want for the park. New playground equipment, benches, an electrical outlet, new picnic table, pavilion repairs (including a ramp), grills and additional trees are requested. Supervisors conducted a road tour on September 6 to consider the requests. They agreed to all improvements except for the planting of more trees and playground equipment.
Koons Softball Dugout – It has been 3 years since the Softball Association started construction, and the structure is still unfinished. The roof, doors and windows are missing. It has become an unsafe “play area” for children. The Softball Association needs to complete this project ASAP.
Park Improvements – Brightbill & Koons tennis courts have been finished. Playground equipment will be installed at Kohl Park next week. Cricket is going to be added to the sports that are played there. With the updated landscaping, it looks like a new park. A ribbon cutting or other special event is suggested.
Parks & Recreation Ordinances – A sub-committee met for a workshop on ordinances. The supervisors did not give guidance or preferences. They want the P & R Board to develop proposals regarding vendors, vendor fees, signage and naming standards.
Arts Council – The Arts Council would like to find out what township schools are doing, so that they can explore how to develop complementary programming.
Greenway Committee – There has been no new action regarding the proposed Oak Park Trail.
September 20, 2016
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
VFW Post 148 The supervisors recognized the post’s $500.00 donation to the township. Half of the donation will go to support the Police Department’s K-9 unit and the other half will help with the expenses for the August Annual National Night Out for Public Safety at George Park.
Police Officers Public Safety Director David Spotts presided over the procedure where the supervisors administered the oath of office to three new township police officers. Following that, the supervisors approved the promotion of two current officers. Director Spotts and the supervisors expressed their appreciation for the high quality of the members of the police department.
Public Hearing The formal hearing, presided over by township solicitor Steven Stine, was regarding an appeal by the owner of the residential property at 2517 Patton Road. The appeal was a result of Stormwater Management Ordinance violations regarding the removal of diseased trees and the earth moving on his property without the proper township approvals.
The lengthy testimony and rebuttals involved the Triple Crown Corporation and Classic Communities, which the defendant stated had not completed the work, including getting renewals for the needed approvals. The result of these delays was that the homeowner’s building permit for the work had expired. The public hearing testimony from the township and from the property owner and his attorney were finally completed. The supervisors agreed to render a decision on the matter at their October 4th business meeting.
Property and Liability Insurance Township Manager George Wolfe presented brokers Brown & Brown’s proposals for the township’s and the authority’s insurance renewals. The board agreed to renew the basic policies, but could not agree on including a rider covering possible terrorism events. They will discuss that item in their next workshop meeting before voting to finalize the renewals.
Consultant Selection – Resolution #16-35 – PennDOT required the township to adopt a policy and procedure for the selection of consultants. The board voted to approve the needed policy and procedure.
Lot Consolidation – Resolution #16-24 – The land owners requested to be allowed to consolidate lots 909 and 911 on North Mountain Road into a single lot. The Zoning Hearing Board had approved the consolidation and the supervisors voted to give it their final approval.
Wynchase Land Development Plan – Resolution #16-13 – At their September 6th business meeting the supervisors discussed the proposed housing project by Triple Crown Corporation to be located at the southeast corner of the intersection of Queen Avenue and Byron Avenue. The proposed project consists of 14 townhomes on one lot and one single family residence on an adjacent lot. There were a number of concerns expressed and the supervisors, at that meeting, tabled the plan. At this meeting, the developer offered to include curbing and sidewalks around a portion of the property which the board appreciated. In spite of the continued concern by some neighbors about traffic on these streets, the board stated that Triple Crown had the right to develop the land if their plan met the township requirements, which it does. The supervisors voted to approve the project.
Wynchase Planning Module – Resolution #16-34 – The board followed up by approving the necessary planning module for the housing project.
Stray Winds Farm, Phase III – Resolution #16-17 This phase of the housing project on both sides of Crums Mill Road and McIntosh Road is located on the south side of McIntosh Road and on the west side of Paxton Creek. The plan for that phase contains 44 house lots in the R-C Residential Cluster zoning district and it will be served by municipal sewer and water. The township engineers had approved the plan for this phase of the project and the supervisors at this meeting voted to give it their final approval.
Infinity Charter School – Resolution #16-18 – The school submitted a Preliminary/Final land development plan for a project to locate their school on a 5.86 acre property at 5405 Locust Lane. The property is on the south side of Locust Lane. The property is served by water and sewer and is in the R-1 and R-2 zoning districts. The existing building on the lot will be renovated and enlarged to accommodate approximately 256 students and 30 staff members.
The Planning Commission noted concerns about traffic ingress and egress and PennDOT indicated that they may want traffic signals on Locust Lane due to the fact that the existing intersection of Rosewood Drive and Locust Lane on the north side of Locust Lane is between the existing ingress and egress to the school property on the south side of Locust Lane. Because of the continued concerns possible final approvals of the plan and the Planning Module were tabled until the first business meeting in October.
September 21, 2016
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP GREENWAY COMMITTEE MEETING Reported by Vera Stuchinski
Oak Park Trail – The agreement with Mr. Chianos for the use of his land is on hold for now. Supervisors want to have the land appraised, in case they decide to purchase it.
Nyes Road Sidewalk Update – The Committee is waiting to see if they were successful in receiving any grant money.
George Park Paths– Hopefully, money will be allocated in the upcoming budget to complete the loop trail surrounding the soccer fields and other sports areas.
Other Business – There has been some discussion regarding unsafe crosswalks and how to improve them. Possibility Place volunteers have scheduled a work day for October 8.
September 22, 2016
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
Vanguard Reality Group – Docket #1387 Eric Kessler is the president of this company which owns an 80 acre undeveloped tract of farm land north of Linglestown Road at the eastern end of the village of Linglestown. The land is in the R-1 Low Density Residential zoning district and is identified as 6220 Linglestown Road. He requested a variance to permit the construction of three single family homes at the southwest corner of his large farm property.
The variance is required because the township ordinance allows only one home on an R-1 property no matter the size of the property. Mr. Kessler does not want to subdivide the property creating three small lots for the houses as the board suggested, since it would affect the property’s Clean and Green Act status. He wishes to build the three small houses, one for himself and his wife and the other two for his two children, in the corner of the property, and retain the rest of the large tract as farmland.
He offered to stipulate in an approval that if any of the houses were sold he would then formally subdivide the property. The board made a motion to accept that proposal but the vote was tied and the motion failed. The board suggested that even with the Clean and Green Act concern, he consider subdividing the property NOW, in order to be allowed to create the three small lots and immediately construct the three family houses.
McDonald’s USA – Docket #1388 – The applicant requested five variances regarding outdoor signage at one of their existing stores. The store involved is located on the east side of Briarsdale Road between Union Deposit Road to the north and Peiffers Lane to the south. The property is in the CG Commercial General zoning district.
The first two variances concern wall signs on the existing building. The first one was to allow six wall signs in lieu of the four permitted. The applicant said that the signs are needed because the building can be seen from all sides but he pointed out that the total signage area would be less than the ordinance allows and less than that of the existing wall signs that will be removed. That variance was approved. The second variance was to allow signs to be on four sides of the building in lieu of the two sides permitted. Again he said that the total square footage of wall signs will be less than the ordinance allows and less than the existing signs that will be removed. That variance was also approved.
The third variance was to allow the canopies over the “Order Here” signs at the two road side ordering points to be 11.1 feet high in lieu of the maximum permitted height of 4 feet. That variance was denied. The fourth variance was to allow the Pre-Sell Menu Board at the drive through to have a height of 6.74 feet in lieu of the 4 feet permitted and the fifth variance was to allow the Pre-Sell Menu Board to have an area of 11.7 square feet in lieu of the 8 square feet permitted. Those two variances were approved.
September 27, 2016
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS BUDGET WORKSHOP
Reported by Watson Fisher
Public Comments A resident of Pine Hollow Court, on the west side of the township’s Public Works building and baseball field and the future District Justice office on Locust Lane, addressed the board. She asked about the trees that the township promised to plant on the edge of the township property to give her some privacy which she lost due to the construction projects. The township official assured her that the trees would be planted by Davis Landscaping in October.
2017 Draft Budgets Township manager George Wolfe and representatives from the various township departments gave the supervisors reports on their draft budgets for 2017. Mr. Wolfe reported on the township’s revenues and expenses for this year to date. He said the small deficit for 2016 will be gone by the end of the year. He reported on the various tax sources and the plan to make small tax increases he is proposing for next year. He also listed the suggested improvements to the township’s buildings, equipment, the web site, etc., and proposed small salary increases to staff. He also noted that the starting of new housing developments will generate some additional revenues.
Insurance Coverage At their September 20 board meeting the supervisors had approved the township and the authority’s renewal of their basic insurance policies, but they postponed a decision on adding a rider covering acts of terrorism. At this meeting the broker explained in detail the possible events that could result in suits against the township and the authority and the relatively low cost for adding a million dollar protection to each. The board voted to buy this coverage.
Police Department Public Safety Director David Spotts presented the Police Department’s budget for next year. It showed an increase from this year due to some needed salary increases, possible retirements and new hires, necessary criminal justice training for officers, and new equipment for the department in order to be prepared for possible terror incidents.
Public Works Department The department director stated that the 2017 budget would not be much different than last year’s. He estimated state aid would be approximately $1,500,000.00. He said that he planned to request some staff salary increases and he needed to purchase three new trucks and he would sell some of the old equipment.
Parks and Recreation Department In past years, the Friendship Center was managed by the Parks & Recreation Department, but recently the two have been separated. The Parks & Recreation Department manager reported that she estimated that the revenue would increase somewhat with more pavilion and field rentals at the parks. Some park improvements and new equipment are planned.
At Wolfersberger Park, the lease for the paint ball business which operates on the rear part of the park property has been renewed. At the Heroes Grove amphitheater in Brightbill Park, beside the Friendship Center, plans are being made to put a cover over the stage and improve the seating. An application will be made for county funds to do some of that work. With the ongoing problems, causing some people to not go to downtown Harrisburg for outdoor performing arts events, there are indications that with those improvements the amphitheater will be rented by organizations for more events in the future
Friendship Center The center’s manager and the board discussed the center’s financial situation. The manager stated that there are now two budgets for the center, one for indoor recreation and one for outdoor activities. They covered the center’s debt service on the mortgage, which now extends for the next eight years. They are planning three percent salary increases for some staff and are expecting some increases in fees with the addition of new members. They stated that the planned interior construction project involving improvements to the fitness center area and the addition of a large climbing wall is now out for bids. They will have a report on the results of the bids at the supervisors’ first meeting in November.
September 27, 2016
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
Grant Application – Resolution #16-11 – This resolution was to approve the submission of an application for a grant from the commonwealth authority for sewer and water projects in the township. The requested grant is in the amount of $425,000.00. The application needs to be submitted by the end of October and it will be reviewed by the state in the beginning of 2017. The resolution to submit the application was approved.
Construction Easements – Resolutions #16-12-1 to #16-12-12 Work on the Paxton Creek 4A sanitary sewer replacement project is underway and twelve home owners, whose properties are involved have not responded to the townships’ request for permission to work on their sewer lines. The township assumes that what is often the case is where some of these owners have simply vacated their homes because they can’t afford to keep them anymore. Whatever the situation, the township can act on temporary and permanent construction easements to be allowed to work on these sewer lines. The board voted to approve these twelve resolutions
Construction Easements – Resolution #16-13 This resolution following the above twelve resolutions would authorize the township manager and sewer authority director William Weaver to meet with the property owners involved before any construction work is started. This resolution was approved.
Dauphin County Technical School – The tech school on Locust Lane is adjacent to the township’s Public Safety facility where a new large vehicle wash building is being constructed. Mr. Weaver reported that the school has already signed the Temporary Construction Easement and Maintenance Agreement to allow the township to connect to the sewer line that will be extended from the school to the new township building. The supervisors voted to approve the agreement.
Sewer Projects – Two representatives from the office of GHD, the township’s engineers, gave a lengthy review of the possible alternatives for needed future sewer work in the Beaver Creek and Paxton Creek basins. They also noted that the projections of the small increase in the sewer rates will be needed. They presented detailed charts showing the options to be considered to meet the new extensive county and federal sewer system requirements. They stated that the planning for the projects needed to be coordinated with the city and the two neighboring townships.
One long term concern is to be prepared for future large storm events that can create serious damaging sewer overflows. Their final recommendation on that item was the plan to build an overflow sewer water storage facility in the near future in conjunction with Lower Swatara Township. The board agreed with the recommendations and voted to proceed with that plan. They also agreed that a small sewer rate increase would be needed.
Creek Drive Sewer -The authority has been discussing options to deal with the storm overflows affecting basements in ten residential properties that are along the creek. All of these houses have private sewers. The authority at previous meetings had not made a decision on whether or not to assist the home owners in dealing with this problem. At this meeting they informally agreed that they were not obliged to assist the homeowners and they voted not to take any action on the matter.