SWAN NEWSLETTER #124

October 4, 2016

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher

 

Appointments – The supervisors had decided that the Parks and Recreation Board should recommend new appointments to the Arts Advisory Council and the Community Engagement Committee instead of the supervisors doing it. The supervisors reviewed the board’s lists of recommendations and approved them.

 

Stormwater Management Ordinance Violation  – At their September 20th meeting the supervisors held a public hearing to consider the request by the owner of the residential  property at 2517 Patton Road to appeal the charge that trees were removed and earth was moved on his property without the necessary township approvals. After the lengthy hearing the supervisors deferred making a decision on the matter until this meeting. With little discussion at this meeting the board unanimously voted to deny the appeal.

 

Shiloh Paving and Excavating  – The township is having a dispute with this company regarding a road construction project on Winfield Street. Solicitor Steven Stine recommended that the board retain attorneys James, Smith, Dietterick & Connelly LLP to deal with the problem. The board voted to proceed with the solicitor’s recommendation.

 

Paxton Creek Project  – The board discussed the recommendation to retain the law firm of Salzmann Hughes, P.C. to represent the township in framing an inter-municipal agreement with Susquehanna Township and the Capital Regional Water Authority regarding this project. The Department of Environmental Protection has to review the engineers’ plan. The agreement will be complicated and the supervisors voted to retain the law firm to properly handle this matter.

 

Surveying Services – The Township requested bids for surveying services needed for upcoming sanitary sewer projects in five different mini-basins. There were four responses and the lowest bid was from Daywood Engineering Services in the amount of $61,000.00. The board voted to approve the contract with this firm to do the work.

 

eciConstruction – This company is the general contractor for the addition to the Public Works building on Locust Lane. A representative from the township’s engineering firm presented information to the supervisors regarding the approval of two adds change orders to their contract.

 

The first change order was in the amount of $16,676.00 for additional excavation and back fill work involving the relocation of two detention basins. The plan for the site work was based on the information available on the original building plan drawings, but when construction started it was found out that significant changes had to be made to provide for proper drainage. The second change order was in the amount of $3,284.00 to install better exterior doors than had been specified. Those doors were found to not be properly insulated, and the added cost for the better doors would be offset by the savings in energy costs. As a partial offset, the engineers determined that there would be a $20,000.00 credit from their original project cost estimate. The supervisors were somewhat concerned with the change orders, but the Public Works Department director assured them that the changes were necessary. The board approved the two change orders.

 

Frey Lutz Corporation   This company is the mechanical contractor for this project and the engineer presented two change orders to their contract. The first is in the amount of $2,144.00 for additional below grade piping related to the detention basins, and the second one in the amount of $3,864.00 was for needed insulation of floor drains and three additional hose bibs. These change orders were approved.

 

Lecce Electric Company  The electrical contractor for this project submitted one change order for needed additional electrical work on the building project in the amount of $5,936.00. It was approved.

 

Pennsy Supply, Inc.  Change Order No. 1 to this company’s 2016 contract for the paving contract for this project, in the streets in the area west of the township building, was submitted. It was in the amount of $92,741.00, based on the quantity costs that had been previously established. The change order was approved.

 

Infinity Charter School Resolution #16-8 – At their September 20th meeting the supervisors reviewed the Land Development Plan for a large addition to this building on a 5.86 acre property at 5405 Locust Lane, in order to create a building large enough for the private school. There were a number of concerns raised previously, and some neighbors spoke again at this meeting against the plan. The concerns were mainly with the increased traffic and school buses on the PennDOT road and the location of a school in a primarily residential neighborhood. Schools are permitted in the R-1 and R-2 zoning districts, where the school will be located.

 

The supervisors discussed the concerns, but stated that if all the township zoning requirements were met and the highway occupancy permit was issued, they could not deny the approval. They also approved the Planning Module, township Resolution #16-17, and the submission of an application for the approval from PennDOT for a flashing school sign, township Resolution #16-18.

 

October 5, 2016

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING Reported by Bill Bostic

 

Lower Paxton Sewer Authority Grant  The commission agreed to provide a letter supporting a grant application seeking funds to help pay for 1,400 feet of sewer line that needs to be enlarged behind the Sheetz store on Linglestown Road. The project includes a section of the property owned by Eric Kessler that could be developed into a shopping plaza. Township Codes Officer Nick Gehret said the line is already exceeding its’ capacity and will be enlarged even if the sewer authority is not awarded a grant.

Comprehensive Plan  The commission reviewed and approved a draft request for proposal (RFP) for a consultant to assist with revising the township’s comprehensive plan. Gehret did not know township manager George Wolfe’s timetable for advertising the RFP.

October 5, 2016

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS & RECREATION BOARD MEETING  Reported by Watson Fisher

 

Park Improvements and P&R Updates  – The board heard a report from the P&R Department Director on the status of current park projects. Plans for the project by the Capital Area Soccer Association, headed by David Blain, for a permanent building housing a snack bar and storage servicing George Park and the adjacent Ranger Field continue to be developed. The proposed location now is just to the east of the hockey rink. A land development plan and a township building permit will be required and electricity would need to be run to the building. Mr. Blain will be taking the preliminary plan to CASA for their review.

 

A local group is working toward being able to build a cricket field at Koons Park. The location would be between one of the baseball and softball fields. The actual cricket field itself would only be 8 feet wide and 60 feet long. A new pavilion is planned at Kohl Memorial Park.

 

Hoffman Ford previously asked not to be required to plant 31 trees along Jonestown Road as required when their building addition project was approved. In exchange they agreed to plant 31 trees in one of the township’s parks. The board directed that they be planted around the Heroes Grove amphitheater. The schedule for the indoor volleyball games at the Friendship Center was approved. The Linglestown Rotary Club will be doing painting that is needed at Possibility Place in George Park.

 

Parks & Recreation Ordinance and Fees  The director reviewed, for the board, the current rental rates for the park fields and the pavilions and she suggested that there should probably be slight rate increases next year. The board discussed at length the ongoing problem of establishing regulations for commercial and memorial signage on fields, scoreboards, and other places in the parks. Some signs are permanent, some are put up and taken down at the end of the season, some meet the current rules and some do not.

 

When board members discussed signage at a recent supervisors’ meeting the supervisors suggested that the board work with some of the sports organizations to prepare recommendations for the supervisors to consider. The board plans to work with the P&R staff and bring leaders from several principal sports organizations into meetings to eventually develop a full set of rules. Staff reported that early next year the process of signing up the organizations for reserving fields and pavilions will begin.

 

Arts Council   Board member Stan Smith, who also heads the council, reported on their planned activities including the township band concert, dances in the spring, a photography contest and some fund raising.

 

Greenway Committee   A report from this committee included their improvement work at Possibility Place in George Park, which is in addition to that being done by the Rotary Club as mentioned above. There will also be walk way paving through that park. And there will be the submission of a grant application for funds to develop a walkway along Nyes Road.

 

Other Business  In the next township newsletter the board will be requesting applications for new members for this board. Staff also reported that the project is underway to finally build a roof over the snack bar and storage building behind the backstop at the softball field at Koons Park. Unfortunately there is no money available yet to build roofs over the two adjacent dugouts.

 

October 11, 2016

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

 

Public Comment  The owner of a home on Pine Hollow Court adjacent to the township’s Public Works Building on Locust Lane registered a complaint to the board about windows on the west side of the new vehicle wash building, which is under construction. He said it was his understanding that there would be no windows on the side of the building facing his house but now it appears that there will be. He said that light from those windows before daybreak will disturb his family. The supervisors said that it was their understanding that the windows will be translucent, not clear, so the light would not be that bright. The board did not have a final response to his concern and they said they will investigate the matter before their next meeting.

 

Kings Point  – The agenda for this meeting included a request from Grove Homes, Inc. to release the improvement guarantee for their work in this development. The project is on the south side of Linglestown Road across from the Dover Road intersection. This item was withdrawn from this meeting’s agenda at the request of the developer.

 

Sewer Projects   A representative from the township’s engineer’s office gave a lengthy report on the current sewer projects and those planned now and those extending far into the future. Most of the work is mandated by the local and federal governments to meet their new strict long term clean stream requirements to improve the water quality of the river, and eventually the bay. The township will receive some financial help from the government, but they will need to budget considerable funds for these projects for many years to come. Approving the funding for this will be on the agenda for the next supervisors’ business meeting.

 

Zoning Ordinance With the elections coming up, township solicitor Steven Stine led a discussion on the township’s political sign regulations. He noted that with the many different outdoor signs it can be difficult to know how to properly apply the current sign ordinance to all situations. He said that no permits are required for signs on private property, but signs on road right of ways needed to meet the present requirements. He plans to meet with staff and will recommend working to improve the ordinance.

 

Key Indicator Report – Township manager George Wolfe reviewed, for the board, the year’s  financial report at the end of the 3rd quarter in detail. For the most part, the many township funds are slightly in the black for the year. The township’s 25% rainy day fund is being maintained. The three fire companies are each purchasing new large pieces of equipment, paid for in part by the fire equipment capital fund. Major road improvements are continuing. There has been a small increase in the real estate tax this year, so he said no increase should be needed next year. The Friendship Center fund is steady with the increase in memberships, many of them from health care providers. He said this year’s township’s finances should end slightly in the black and he expects the same to continue for 2017.

 

October 18, 2016

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher

 

Forest Hills Commons  – Eric Kessler’s company is developing a plan to construct a neighborhood shopping center on the property behind the Sheetz store, on the northwest corner of the intersection of Linglestown Road and Colonial Road. Most of this large tract was in the flood plain and fill has been brought in to make the central area suitable for building stores. At this meeting he and Brent Sapen, from the engineering firm of Skelly & Loy, Inc., presented an initial plan to locate a sanitary sewer line coming from the Forest Hills housing development to the north, down the western side of the center’s property behind the line of planned stores.

 

They explained that the planning for the project has been underway for some time with meetings with the Department of Environmental Protection and the township engineers and there are many issues to deal with and many approvals to get. At this meeting, they wanted to make the supervisors aware of the details of the project. The board agreed to review the project with the township engineers and Mr. Kessler’s engineer at their November 22nd meeting.

 

October 18, 2016

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING  Reported by Watson Fisher

 

Public Comment  A concern was raised by a resident that young children from one family on Wyoming Avenue, on the east side of South Houcks Road, are continually riding toy vehicles in the street unsupervised and are in danger of being hit by cars. He said the police come through the street from time to time, but not when these kids are out playing. He asked if the township could take some action for the safety of the children. The supervisors responded that the township has no legal power to get directly involved with family problems. They stated that this was an important matter and this resident or someone from the neighborhood should contact the Dauphin County Children & Youth Services department and make them aware of the specific concern. They said the county department has the power to intervene in these matters.

 

A homeowner on Pine Hollow Court adjacent to the large garage addition to the township’s Public Works building on Locust Lane again raised a complaint to the board. The matter had been discussed at the supervisors’ workshop meeting on October 11 and before. The home owner reiterated, that in spite of the agreement that there would be no windows on the west side of the building facing their houses, there are now windows there that will shine light into the houses starting early each morning. The supervisors stated that the openings in the wall are 4 inch thick translucent panels that will let some natural light into the garage, but they are not windows. There was a disagreement on the definition of the word windows. It was finally agreed that the supervisors would plan an evening meeting in the near future, attended by only those residents that signed the complaint, to try to resolve the matter. On visual inspection, it appears that the covered openings probably should not be considered to be windows.

 

Sewer Projects  – At their workshop meeting, during the previous week, the supervisors got a report from HRG engineers on the sewer projects that are underway in the township and being supervised and those that are in the planning stage. Most of these are clean stream projects now mandated by the government. The board had agreed to put the payment of engineers’ fees for the work on the agenda for this board meeting. The supervisors voted to approve the payments.

 

Municipal RecordsResolution #16-38   The supervisors periodically are asked to approve the routine matter of the destruction of specified municipal records, including tax records. The supervisors approved the requests. When asked at this meeting to approve this resolution, they voted to do so, but then asked for information from township manager George Wolfe on the specific legal requirements regarding the matter. He explained that there is state standards on how long the different types of records are required to be retained, which the township follows.

 

Annual Audits   Mr. Wolfe presented a proposal for a three year negotiated agreement for accountants to perform required annual audits of the township and the township authority’s finances including those of the Friendship Center. The cost for their service would be $23,260.00. The board approved the agreement.

 

Jonestown Road Bridge   Design work is nearing completion for the construction of a new bridge over Beaver Creek, which separates Lower Paxton and West Hanover townships. The two townships will share the cost of the bridge project with some funds coming from the government. Township engineers HRG submitted a proposal to do the work to acquire needed rights-of-way from three adjacent property owners. Their proposed fee for this work was in the amount not to exceed $12,170.00. They noted that construction work on the bridge will not begin until 2018. The supervisors approved their proposal.

 

Buckingham RoadResolution #16-37 – The board considered formally accepting this road located in the Charleston Riding development, which is east of Nyes Road. Buckingham Road now ends adjacent to the township’s Kings Crossing Park. The engineers’ inspection and the improvement guarantees, the development agreements and the plan reaffirmations are complete. The only thing missing at this time is the maintenance bond. With that taken care of, the supervisors plan to act on the approval of the road project at their next business meeting.