SWAN NEWSLETTER #130
March 21, 2017
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION Reported by Watson Fisher
Police Department Public Safety Director David Spotts presented a proposal to the board to add the civilian position of Logistics Administrator within the Police Department. He said that the person would start part time and would have a number of responsibilities in coordination with the department and with other township boards and departments. He added that this addition would not result in any increase in the department’s budget. The supervisors voted to approve the hiring.
Peddlers and Solicitors Mr. Spotts reviewed for the board the proposed amendments to Chapter 137 of the township’s Codified Ordinances regarding Peddlers and Solicitors. There have been a number of complaints of individuals going door to door in residential neighborhoods at all hours using hard sell tactics. The proposed amendments would require these individuals to now have a license issued by the township and have it displayed around their necks. The licenses would be issued by the police department. The legal requirement to have this matter advertised would be done through the Paxton Herald. After discussion it was agreed that the board could act on the proposed amendments at their first business meeting in April.
Comprehensive Plan Charlie Schmehl reported on the initial efforts to update the comprehensive plan. The township has received a grant from Dauphin County to help pay for the work. The township’s Planning Commission will work with Mr. Schmehl on the plan, which will address issues including proposed housing developments, road improvements in coordination with PennDOT, and walking trails and other outdoor recreation plans with the Parks & Recreation Department. They also suggested conducting an online survey with township residents. He said that there will be public meetings held as the plan is being developed.
PennDOT An engineer from PennDOT presented a report on the improvements that are planned for the intersection of Nyes Road and Devonshire Heights Road. There are no traffic signals at this busy intersection and there have been a number of accidents at that location. The improvements will include road raising and widening, new turn lanes, traffic signals, a new bridge over the stream, and some curbing and sidewalks. Unfortunately, there is no way to be able to build a roundabout that could have eased the traffic flow. The work on the improvements is planned to start in the fall of 2018 and there will need to be detours for school buses and emergency vehicles. There also will need to be close coordination with the utility companies during the construction phase of the project.
Anniversary Celebration Polly Murphy, who is leading the effort, updated the supervisors on the continuing plans for Linglestown’s 250th year celebration scheduled for this fall. Her work on this with her volunteers has been going on for a long time and the date for the event is getting closer. The main event will be on Saturday, October 14th. A parade will start at 10:00 AM and will move to George Park. There will be food trucks, arts and crafts, family games, a petting zoo and fire trucks. Possibility Place for the kids has been refurbished and will be rededicated. At the end of the evening, there will be fireworks. Her committee will be doing fund raising and she said that she will be working with the township’s Parks and Recreation Department Director Terry Bauknight and the P&R board to also do fund raising.
Public Works Building York Excavating Inc. is the company that is finishing the work on the expansion of the large township building on Locust Lane. They submitted a change order request to their contract for $34,000.00 for additional lighting work that has been done and they expect to have a small additional change order for final electrical work. The board agreed that they will take action on those at their April 4th regular meeting.
March 21, 2017
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
Public Comment A homeowner whose house is on Conway Road, adjacent to the Hodges Height Park and the township’s land fill and compost site, registered a complaint about the noise the township’s trucks make starting in the early morning hours. He suggested that the township build a sound barrier to help ease the problem. The supervisors said that they did not have funds available for that, but that they would look into the matter on their next road tour. They said that they would work with him and the neighbors any way they can. They hope to receive monies from gaming grants which could be used to make some improvements at the township facility.
Another resident, who is transgender, asked the township for financial help to keep from losing a job and being evicted from the person’s apartment. This same matter has been brought up by the individual at the 20th of December meeting. The township solicitor again stated that in a second class township, such as Lower Paxton, there was nothing that can be added to the township code that would allow them to provide funds to the person or to intervene in any way with the landlord.
Distinguished Service The board recognized Sandy Praul with a plaque for her many years of volunteer service to the township. She started working on the Friendship Center Operating Board from its beginning, she worked on many fund raising activities, and she and her family have contributed to the township for many years.
Blue Mountain Parkway – Resolution #17-12 This resolution would approve the township adopting an Act 537 Plan Special Study for sewer work in the parkway residential area. The area does not have connections to either a sanitary sewer line or a water line. The proposed study would check that the wells and the onsite septic systems meet current amended regulations. The board approved the resolution.
Devonshire Memorial Brethren in Christ Church – Ordinance #17-04 A required public hearing was held to consider an amendment to the zoning ordinance for a special exception for this church property at 5630 Devionshire Road in the R-1 Residential – Low Density zoning district. The special exception would allow the church to build a Community Recreation Center, which would result in the property being 60% impervious to storm water which is greater than the 40% allowed. The church would have to then do the necessary work to deal with the storm water problem which they agreed to do. Dauphin County and the township’s Planning Commission had approved the request and the Zoning Hearing Board will act on it in the near future. The public hearing was closed and the supervisors voted to approve the amendments to the ordinance.
Emergency Declaration – Declaration #17-01 Township Manager George Wolfe issued this declaration on March 13, 2017. The supervisors acted to formally approve the declaration.
Doli Construction, Inc. This company has a contract to do sanitary and storm water piping work for the PC 4 C/E mini-basin project. The project is located in the area behind the Hoffman Ford property on the north side of Jonestown Road. The company submitted Change Order #2 in the amount of $35,821.00 to replace old existing buried storm water pipes that they found were deteriorated and damaged. The board voted to approve the change order.
Public Roads – Resolution #17-11 PennDOT requires that the township submit to the county Clerk of Courts additions to the township’s docket of public roads. The supervisors voted to do that for the road work that has been recently completed.
March 23, 2017
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
Maria S. Varnalis – Docket #SE-17-01 A public hearing was held on this date to consider Miss Varnalis’ application for a special exception to the zoning ordinance to be allowed to operate a single station beauty salon in her home. Her residence is at 3981 Sumner Drive in a development just west of I-83 and south of Locust Lane in the R-1, Residential – Low Density zoning district.
She said she has worked in a number of salons for many years, but in order to deal with health problems with her aging parents, she decided she needs to work from her home and would work only three or four days a week. Her plan is to create a salon in her ground level basement with a private, on grade entrance for customers. There would be two parking spaces on her property and she agreed that there would be no outdoor signs. Two next door neighbors had sent letters stating they had no objections to her proposal. The board agreed that this should not cause any problem for the neighborhood and voted to approve the special exception.
April 4, 2017
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
Public Comment Tim Murphy noted that the township’s web site gives the citizens an outline of the supervisors’ agenda for their meetings, but is not specific enough for the public to know if any of the items are ones they should attend the meeting and question the board about. The supervisors responded that they would try to expand information about agenda items but for the most part it will be difficult to add much information on the items ahead of the meeting.
Board Members Comments Supervisor Robin Lindsey mentioned that the board members conducted a recent road tour. Among other things they looked at the many road construction projects that are currently underway and where future projects are planned in the township.
Manager’s Report Township manager George Wolfe reported that each of the three township fire companies had ordered new fire trucks. One of them had been received and the other two will be received within the near future. He reviewed the ongoing road projects including those on Jonestown Road, Mountain Road, Union Deposit Road, Nyes Road and Devonshire Road. He also mentioned PennDOT’s present road project on I-83.
Arbor Day Proclamation The supervisors recognized the upcoming Arbor Day and thanked the Shade Tree Commission for directing the planting of Cherry Trees along Colonial Road.
Community Engagement Committee The board approved the appointment of a lady to fill an empty seat on that committee.
Zoning Ordinance – Ordinance #17-05 This ordinance will amend Zoning Ordinance Section 202, Definitions, and Section 306.B.2 as it regulates Allowed Uses in Business Zoning Districts. It would follow up the recent State Act 16 by the PA Department of Health regarding the limited medical use of marijuana. By law, marijuana can only be dispensed from a medical office in the CG Commercial General zoning district. Mr. Wolfe noted that the township cannot stop this from becoming law. The supervisors voted to approve the ordinance.
Heroes Grove, Phase II – Resolution #17-14 Christine Hunter, from H. Edward Black Engineers, asked the board to authorize the submission of a grant application to the government for funding to support additional work at the outdoor amphitheater in Brightbill Park. The funds would be for a removable roof over the stage. If the request is successful, the work would be done this coming fall. The supervisors approved the submission of the application.
Host Community Agreement Township Solicitor Steven Stine reviewed for the board a Letter of Intent offered by Advanced Grow Labs PA, LLC. He assured the supervisors that the letter meets the township’s zoning requirements. The board voted to approve the agreement.
John Deere Mr. Wolfe presented to the board the Lease Purchase Agreement with John Deere Credit, Inc. for a 401L Loader/Backhoe for the Public Works Department. With the trade-in, the cost of the piece is $115,230.00. The interest rate on the purchase is four and one half percent. The supervisors approved the agreement.
Officer Vogel This police officer had submitted a petition to the township for reinstatement of Heart and Lung Act benefits. It was stated that he did not request a hearing on the matter and that he is not eligible for workman’s compensation. The board voted to deny his petition.
Woodspring Suites – Resolution #17-13 This proposed new project will be located on Chelton Avenue which is just north of Allentown Blvd. and east of North Blue Ribbon Avenue The supervisors approved the planning module for this project.
April 5, 2017
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING Reported by Bill Bostic
Final Subdivision Plan for Phase 4 and 9A of Stray Winds Farm The plans for these phases have been reviewed by the Planning Commission several times in recent years. After limited discussion, they unanimously recommended approval of the phases.
Final Subdivision & Land Development Plan for Shadebrook Phase 2 This phase of the traditional neighborhood development (TND), located at the intersection of Fairmont Drive and Cider Press Road, is for 103 dwelling units and one commercial building. Planning Commission members unanimously recommended approval of the phase, and Commission Chairman Fred Lighty asked staff to ensure that architectural aspects of the project follow the approved design standards.
Application for Special Exception for Devonshire Church Recreation Center The Planning Commission previously recommended approval of a change to the zoning ordinance that would have allowed the church to proceed with plans for a community recreation center next to the church, located at the intersection of Devonshire and Devonshire Heights roads. At this meeting, the commission unanimously recommended that the township Zoning Hearing Board approve a special exception for the project.
Review of proposed changes to Residential Retirement Development (RRD) Overlay Triple Crown Corporation (TCC) plans to construct a mixed-use community designed to attract persons age 55 and older on what is currently the Blue Ridge golf course on Linglestown Road. Representatives of TCC reviewed changes to the township’s RRD overlay that they made based on comments received from the Planning Commission and the public during the commission’s March 2017 meeting. No major changes were made to the proposed RRD overlay. Below is a summary of changes presented by TCC:
– Changed requirements of aged-restricted and design requirements for each housing type.
– For commercial aspects, made changes so fast-food restaurants are disallowed.
– Increased the guest parking requirement for apartments and townhomes from 1 space per 5 units to 1 space per 4 units.
Planning Commission members did not request additional changes and TCC plans to present a final version of the revised RRD overlay during the Planning Commission’s meeting on May 3, 2017.
Comprehensive Plan update The kickoff meeting with the consultant, Charlie Schmehl of Urban Research & Development Corporation (URDC) of Bethlehem, was scheduled for April 25, 2017 at 6 pm. After this meeting, workshop sessions will be held the fourth Tuesday of the month
April 11, 2017
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION Reported by Watson Fisher
Public Comment At their February 7th meeting the supervisors approved Ordinance #17-02 establishing regulations for the parking of large motorized recreational vehicles on township streets. They added that this was a complicated matter and they would probably need to amend the ordinance in the future to cover additional questions and concerns.
At this meeting another RV owner said that the time limit he could park his RV at his house was not a problem, but he complained about other restrictions. He said that the ordinance would not allow him to run a water line from his house to the vehicle to fill his drinking water tank and it would not allow him to run an electric line from the house to charge the RV’s batteries. The supervisors agreed that they would need to continue to consider reasonable additional modifications to the ordinance and asked Township Manager George Wolfe to put the ones they had discussed in writing for them to consider at their May 9th workshop session.
Enterprise Fleet Management Two representatives from this company made a presentation to the board with their proposal to manage the township’s fleet of vehicles, used mainly by the Public Works Department and the Sewer Department. Currently the township has 34 vehicles in the fleet. The township buys mostly new vehicles, keeps them until they are no longer usable, and then sells them. This company would recommend when, during the year it would be best for the township to buy or lease a new or used vehicle, when it should be serviced locally, and when it would be best to sell it or terminate the lease.
The company is spread out over the country but has a local office. It presently has agreements with Susquehanna Township, Elizabethtown and other local municipalities. The company would do reviews and would make recommendations to the township quarterly. At this meeting they presented a very detailed review of the township’s current fleet and listed their initial recommendations. They said, based on their review, that they estimated their service could save the township around $57,000.00 in the next year. The supervisors expressed interest and the company agreed to submit a list of references and a draft agreement. The board will then consider their proposal at a future meeting.
Earl Drive Culvert An engineer from HRG, Inc. gave the supervisors an update on their design work for the project to stabilize the stream banks upstream from the culvert. The project is part of the large government mandate to improve the quality of the storm water that flows through the township into the river and eventually into the Chesapeake Bay. This phase of the project affects eleven home owners whose properties abut the stream. The engineer outlined how they plan to proceed, by preparing an updated field survey and developing an estimated cost of their work.
The engineer said they had looked at two options, one to do extensive regrading of the stream bank and the other was to build stone banks, which would involve a greater cost. They plan to schedule a meeting with the affected home owners to present their plan. The firm requested approval from the board to continue their design work. The board agreed to act on approving the continuing work at their May workshop meeting.
2016 Year-End Indicator Report Township Manager George Wolfe said that the 2016 audit was not yet complete, but that he could give the supervisors an update on the current financial situation. He said that with income from new developments helping the various fund balances were healthy and the goal of having emergency funds of 25% of the annual revenues available was being met. He covered the financial status of highway maintenance projects, the Fire Equipment Capital Fund which now shows that all the new fire trucks are now paid for, the General Improvement Fund, the Friendship Center Capital Fund, and the Police and Non-Uniformed Employees Pension Fund.
Cleaning Services Mr. Wolfe reported on his work on soliciting bids from cleaning companies for work in the Township Office Building, the Friendship Center and the Public Works Building. Of the four bidders, the low bidder had unsatisfactory recommendations from references. Of the other three, the lowest bid was from Preferred Janitor Services for $35,996.00 for a one year agreement starting May 1, with an option for further years at the same amount. The supervisors voted to approve the contract.
April 18, 2017
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY MEETING
Reported by Watson Fisher
Klick Tract – Resolution #17-2 The authority members considered action on the township’s purchase of the Klick Tract property that they will need for future sanitary sewer work. The state Department of Environmental Protection, starting in1997, mandated sewer improvements and the township has been working steadily since then to comply.
The purchase of the 9.76 acre property, at this time, assures that the township will be able comply with the state requirements. Knowing that vacant properties may well be developed, the township has bought properties they know they will need for sewer work in the near future. The supervisors voted to authorize township manager George Wolfe to execute all the closing documents for the purchase.
Law Firm of Salzmann Hughes, P.C. At manager George Wolfe’s direction, Township Solicitor Steven Stine presented a request for Authority Chairman William Seeds to execute a conflict of interest waiver with this law firm. No details on the matter were given. The authority members voted to approve the request.