SWAN NEWSLETTER #133
July 5, 2017
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
Police Officers Four new officers were sworn in by Chief of Police and Public Safety Director David Spotts. They all were twenty four years of age and came with college degrees and some police experience. After the ceremony the supervisors thanked the department for their exemplary service to the township in often dangerous situations.
Manager’s Report Township manager George Wolfe reported that the National Night Out event is scheduled for Tuesday August 1 at George Park starting at 5:00 PM. He also said that the township’s Comprehensive Plan, which was last updated in 2003, will be updated starting this year.
Township’s Website The firm of Freshpage Media has been retained by the township to revise their website. The firm has been working for four months and they are beginning to make the transition to the improved website. It will allow the township to quickly and easily update the site and will improve the ability of the citizens to link into what they want to see. They will also be able to type in specifically what they are looking for.
Non-Uniformed Employees – Resolution #17-24 The township has been working on finalizing an agreement with the non-uniformed employees bargaining units. The revised final form was presented to the supervisors and at this meeting they voted to approve it.
Chris Chianos – Resolution #17-25 Mr. Chianos is the owner of a narrow strip of wood land running from just south of Jonestown Road across from the Colonial Park Shopping Center south to near the Osteopathic Hospital. The township negotiated to purchase the property from him for $20,000.00. The board voted to the purchase and the township agreed to maintain it as a location for walking recreation.
Renumber Resolution – Resolution #17-26 At their meeting on June 20 the supervisors approved a resolution identified as #17-20. That was an incorrect numbering and at this meeting the board approved the change of the resolution to #17-26.
Township Vehicles – Resolution #17- 27 The company of Enterprise Fleet Management has been retained by the township to recommend the buying and selling of their vehicles. The township has thirteen vehicles they want to sell and it was proposed that this company handle the preparations for the auction. The supervisors approved the proposal.
Doli Construction, Inc. This company is doing the work for the North Houcks Road and Winfield Road storm sewer project. They requested an extension of time for completion of the project from July18 to October 31. The board voted to approve the time extension.
Faith United Presbyterian Church – Resolutions #17-06 and #17-23
This church property is located on the east side of Colonial Road and the south side of Hillsdale Road. The first resolution was a request to subdivide the property and the second one was to approve a planning module for one of the properties. The resulting new second property that is not where the church building is located will be preserved from development. HRG engineers generated the plan. The supervisors approved the two resolutions.
Gallagher – Resolution #17-18
The owner of two adjacent properties at 115 and 117 South Madison Street requested permission to consolidate the two lots into one. The street is located south west of the intersection of Walnut Street and Interstate I-83. The resolution was approved
July 11, 2017
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION Reported by Watson Fisher
Public Comment A lady who lives on Pine Hollow Court, which is on the south side of Locust Lane adjacent to the west of the township’s Public Safety Building, expressed concern about children in her neighborhood playing on top of the nine foot high wall on the township property. There is a gate in the fence but it is never locked. Township manager George Wolfe said he will pursue the matter.
Township Celebration Polly Murphy is leading the citizens’ group that is organizing the celebration of the township’s 250th year anniversary. It is scheduled for Saturday October 14th. She said it will start with a parade with a marching band and floats and go from Linglestown to George Park. There will be a rededication of Possibility Place in honor of Mr. George. There will be games, refreshment stands, handouts, police and fire company vehicles, hot air balloons, and will finish with fireworks. Parking will available in the nearby AMP lot.
Devonshire Road A question was raised concerning the need for a sidewalk along the north side of Devonshire Road from the intersection with Coventry Road west to the Devon Manor Swim Club. When the club’s parking lot is full people walk to the pool in the narrow strip of grass along the road for about fifty yards which raises safety concerns. And presently there is a sewer project at the intersection adding to the problem. Sandra Prahl owns the land along the road and it was suggested that someone from the township talk to her about being able to consider a possible sidewalk there. It was noted that county grant money might be available for such a project.
Parks and Recreation P&R Department Manager Terry Bauknight and board member Stan Smith presented their final version of the P&R rules and regulations to the supervisors. The goal was to revise the township ordinance to cover all the requirements and restrictions involved in managing the parks. It included regulations for the Friendship Center and the Heroes Grove outdoor amphitheater. The supervisors agreed to support the document. They will hold a public hearing on the ordinance change and vote to approve it at their next business meeting.
Wynchase This new town home development being built by Triple Crown Corporation is located on an unnamed street which comes south off Queen Avenue. That street runs between Byron Avenue and Devonshire Road. This area is just south of Jonestown Road. Triple Crown stated that some storm water runoff from their property ends up going on to a neighbor’s property and into her basement because there is no storm sewer inlet constructed yet along the street. Triple Crown said they would put up some money to help the township pay to build the needed sewer line in the township’s street. Township manager George Wolfe and two of the supervisors said they would go with one of the township engineers to investigate the issue.
Kings Pointe The meeting agenda included a request from Grove Homes, Inc. to discuss the Improvement Guarantee for the final subdivision and land development plan for this project. No representative from the company attended the meeting so the request was tabled.
Running Pump Farm – Resolution #17-28
This resolution involves a request to approve the improvement guarantees, the development agreements, the plan reaffirmations, etc., for this project. The board voted to approve this resolution.
July 12, 2017
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING Reported by Bill Bostic
Revised Preliminary/Final Subdivision and Land Development Plan for Wynchase The plan was withdrawn.
Blue Ridge Country Club – Proposed Ordinance 17-08 Charlie Courtney of McNees Wallace & Nurick, who represents Lower Paxton-based developer Triple Crown Corporation, went over changes in a proposed text amendment to the Residential Retirement Development provision allowed under the Institutional zoning district. The zoning regulation changes are needed for Triple Crown to construct a retirement-style housing community at Blue Ridge Country Club. (The company’s first proposal was rejected by the supervisors in May 2017.)
The major changes to the proposed ordinance text amendment are as follows: (1) increasing the number of single-family and townhomes that must have at least one person age 55 or higher from 40 percent to 50 percent, and (2) added places of worship and hospices as permitted commercial uses along an arterial road. Other changes were minor in nature.
One citizen, Don Enders of Enders Insurance Associates in Linglestown, spoke in favor of the proposal.
Commission members unanimously recommended approval of the zoning ordinance text amendment. (Note: Tri-County Regional Planning Commission recommended approval of the proposal on July 10, 2017.)
Comprehensive Plan Update The next workshop meeting with the consultant, Charlie Schmehl of Urban Research & Development Corporation (URDC) of Bethlehem, is scheduled for July 25 at 6 pm in the municipal center.
July 18, 2017
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
Public Comment Tim Murphy expressed concern about the number of homes in the township that are not occupied and which the owners have simply abandoned. The township said that they are looking into the problem with help from the county. He also asked about the extended time between the supervisors meetings and when minutes of the meetings are available to the public. Another citizen who lives on Pine Hollow Court next to the Public Safety building commended the board for acting to secure the fence on township property for the safety of the neighbors’ children.
Blue Ridge Country Club – Ordinance #17-08 The new owners of the club’s 130 acre property have requested a change in the zoning designation that would allow them to build a mixed use development there. The developers were on the agenda for the supervisors to act on the request at this meeting but they asked that the request be tabled.
Heliport – Ordinance #17-07 The owner of a parcel of land along a township street asked for permission to have a helicopter landing area on the property. The open land is located along Commerce Drive between Crums Mill Road in Lower Paxton Township and Interstate Drive in Susquehanna Township. A representative for the applicant asked for a special exception from the township’s zoning ordinance to be allowed to have that on his property.
There were no complaints from the adjacent land owners and the township’s Planning Commission recommended approval of the request. At this meeting, township solicitor Steven Stine conducted a public hearing and there were no objections. The township proposed ordinance would require a lot of at least ten acres and would allow no more than two landings a day. The special exception will still have to be approved by the township’s Zoning Hearing Board. The supervisors voted to approve amending the Zoning Ordinance to permit a heliport in the Business Campus Zoning District.
Edward L. Heim Company Extensive interior renovation work at the Friendship Center is now complete. The exact scope of the work was not settled at the beginning of the project so it was agreed that the three contractors would be paid by submitting change orders which would need to be approved by the supervisors. This electrical contractor’s final three change orders in the amount of $11,110.00.00 were for the last cables and wiring. The township engineers approved the change orders and the supervisors voted to give them their final approval.
Sponaugle Construction Services This contractor submitted his final change order which was for carpeting in the amount of $575.00. The board approved the change order.
- C. Orr & Son, Inc. The general contractor’s final change order was in the amount of $2,344.00. There was a last job conference with Orr and his company will be completing the indoor climbing wall in the next two weeks.
Doli Construction, Inc. This company is doing a project on the storm sewer lines on North Houcks Road and on Winfield Street. Change Order #1 for extra work around a gasoline line and a water main in the amount of $2,000.00 was approved.
CR Automotive Detailing – Resolution #17-13 This company has purchased the former Murphy Automotive Company property on the south west corner of the roundabout in Linglestown. Their plan is to change the building from a repair operation to an auto detailing business. They plan to remove the large canopy and the fuel pumps in front of the building and add two small additions to the building. At their June 29 meeting the Zoning Hearing Board voted to approve a special exception to the zoning ordinance for this project.
The supervisors questioned the applicant about their plans for operation and the possibility of noise from the building adjacent to residential properties. They responded that there was little noise from the detailing process and their hours of operation would be 8 AM until 7 PM. The board approved the resolution.
August 1, 2017
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
Public Comment A citizen asked the supervisors questions regarding the status of the proposed development of the Blue Ridge Country Club’s 130 acre property on the north side of Linglestown Road. The developer’s proposal is to change the zoning to allow the property to be developed into mixed use housing. The project has been in the planning stage for a long time and the developer has submitted a number of preliminary plans for the project. At their meeting in May the supervisors considered the request for the zoning of the property to be changed from AR Agricultural Residential to IN Institutional but the vote to do that failed. At this meeting the supervisors responded to the questions on the status of the project by saying that there will be a public hearing on the project during the supervisors meeting on Tuesday, August 15th and citizens would again be able to make public comment on the project.
Manager’s Report Township Manager George Wolfe stated that the Audit Committee had completed their annual report for 2016 and the township’s goal is to have 25% of their annual expenses in reserve. He said that at the end of the year they actually had 34% in reserve. He also reported that the township now has a new software package that will improve their financial bookkeeping. The supervisors thanked Mr. Wolfe for his work on that matter. Mr. Wolfe also reminded the board that Polly Murphy and her group from Linglestown are working on organizing the township’s 250th year celebration scheduled for October 14th of this year. He finished by noting that the township’s Public Safety Director David Spotts has been elected president of the Pennsylvania State Police Commission.
Community Engagement Committee The board voted to approve the appointment of a new member to that committee.
Raftelis Financial Consultants, Inc. The supervisors considered a professional services agreement between the township and this company for them to direct the extensive storm water work now mandated by the county and the federal government. The cost to the township for their consulting and directing work was negotiated down to $55,000.00. Work on private property will be done or paid for by the property owners. The supervisors said that they will probably need to raise taxes to pay for all this required work. At this meeting they voted to approve the payment to the consultant.
Glenn O. Hawbaker, Inc. This company has completed the work on their 2017 paving program. The final accounting shows that they would have been overpaid by $124,217.00. The board approved Change Order #2 to their contract to correct this accounting.
August 2, 2017
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING Reported by Bill Bostic
Revised Preliminary/Final Subdivision and Land Development Plan for Forest Hills Commons The plan is a shopping plaza proposed for a 13-acre tract located along Colonial Road north of the Sheetz store at the intersection of Linglestown and Colonial roads.
Eric Kessler, owner of Vanguard Realty Group and a resident of the Forest Hills development, is the applicant and his consultants overviewed the plan. The land is in the Commercial- Neighborhood zoning district, which allows up to 50,000 of retail space on a lot. Mr. Kessler’s plan yields about 70,000 square feet because the tract would be subdivided into multiple lots. The main entrance to the plaza, on Colonial Road would be located directly across the street from the entrance to the Weis store.
Planning Commission member Roy Newsome asked Mr. Kessler if he would contribute money toward the possible need for a traffic light on Colonial Road at the entrance to Weis in the future. Mr. Kessler did not commit one way or the other to Mr. Newsome’s question. (Reporter’s note: I talked with Mr. Kessler the next day and he said his lawyer was looking into this issue. Also, it’s important to note that developers are not required by township ordinances to make contributions to future improvements.)
SWAN Chairman Eric Epstein had questions about assumptions and processes tied to Mr. Kessler’s traffic study. He questioned if, just basing the study on 2,500 households, north of Linglestown Road is very realistic?! Because this plaza most likely would attract motorists traveling on Linglestown Road, as well as Colonial Road north & south of Linglestown Road, not just motorists’ from the north of Linglestown Road. Also, Mr. Epstein agreed with Commissioner Newsome about impacts to the entrances on Colonial Road to Weis and the proposed plaza when commercial lots between Weis and Dunkin’ Donuts are developed. Eric Epstein mentioned the Rt. 39 Corridor Study could soon release preliminary findings and called for Mr. Kessler’s proposal to be tabled to allow time for additional information gathering.
* One person expressed dismay about Mr. Kessler doing an “end run” of the zoning ordinance to get more commercial space than the maximum 50,000 square feet.
* Pete Wambach scolded Mr.Kessler for not meeting with residents in his neighborhood. (Mr. Kessler met with SWAN in a meeting that was open to the public prior to the Planning Commission meeting.)
* Potential traffic issues along Colonial Road at entrances for Weis and Mr. Kessler’s proposed plaza and at the traffic light at Linglestown and Colonial roads were mentioned.
Planning Commission members unanimously voted to table the proposal, so Mr. Kessler can address comments made during this meeting. This plan is expected to be on the agenda for the commission’s September 6, 2017.
Revised Preliminary/Final Subdivision and Land Development Plan for Wynchase This is a small townhouse community being constructed by Triple Crown Corporation (TCC) on a tract located behind Pep Boys along Queen Street. The property is the Residential–Medium Density district and TCC wants to combine two lots to create six additional building lots. The difficulty with this proposal is an unresolved dispute between TCC and the township on how to handle a pre-existing storm water problem that causes flooding on a neighboring residential property. The township extending a storm water drainage line 150 feet would help address the problem, but the township’s consulting engineer said no decision has been made by the township on this potential resolution.
Planning Commission members agreed to recommend the plan for approval with a condition that the township supervisors establish a plan to address the outstanding storm water problem.
August 7, 2017
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher
Old Fire Apparatus The Linglestown Fire Company president reported that bids had been received for the sale of their old pumper truck. The township’s Public Safety Director Davis Spotts said that the bidding had been successful and that he would put the matter on the agenda for the supervisors’ action at their meeting the following evening.
Software System The committee discussed the fact that the three fire companies do not all have the same software systems. It was suggested that the Firehouse Software Company’s system would be the best one to have and an effort should be made to have that in place in the not too distant future.
Bulldozer/Loader Training The committee discussed the possibility of being able to do this training using federal surplus equipment. They will look into seeing if that could happen.
Fire Call Box Work is in progress to update the township’s call boxes. They reported that the target for completing the project is October 1st but it needs to be done definitely by the first of next year.
Wyndham Way Concern was expressed about the potential problem of getting fire trucks on to that street in case of an emergency. The development is just north of Locust Lane. There is only one street entrance which is Wyndham Way and Virginia Avenue ends close to the development however fire trucks might be able to use it to get close to part of the small development. In an emergency the one chief said if one tree was removed it would help to allow equipment to get into the development but what really would be needed is a widening of the paved entrance street.
Warning Lights These lights are needed at the three fire stations, but the township cannot help with any funding to buy them until next year. The cost for lights at two of the stations was estimated at $8,000.00.
Anniversary Celebration The committee was reminded that the township’s 250th anniversary celebration will be held at George Park on October 14th of this year. The township will work with Polly Murphy in organizing the event. The fire departments and the police will be involved.
National Night Out This community event was held on August 1 at Ranger Field and George Park. It was well attended and the event received good comments.
Fire Apparatus There was discussion about the procedure for acquiring new equipment. It was stated that Mr. Wolfe and Mr. Spotts need to sign off on any purchases of equipment but some things have been done without the chiefs’ knowledge. It was agreed that the process would be discussed at the committee’s November 6th meeting.
Kids’ Fest This event sponsored by Representative Ron Marsico is scheduled for August 19th at Brightbill Park and Heroes Grove. It will be the first said event and the committee has no clear idea at this time what will be involved.
Emergency Services Mr. Spotts noted that there will be some new members of the board of supervisors following the November elections and they may have new priorities for the emergency services organizations.
Member Reports The fire company chiefs and the other committee members indicated they feel that they need to have guidelines from the supervisors on decisions they can make and those the supervisors need to make. They said they would like to have a written protocol. Mr. Spotts said he would try to have a response to them by the end of September. The chiefs said they continue to have problems with some contractors closing roads to do work without notifying the township. South Central EMS director Jason Campbell said that they had purchased two new ambulances. The chief of police reported that the department had hired twelve new officers and that they are now at full staff.