SWAN Newsletter #62

November 1, 2011
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Public Comment Eric Epstein, SWAN Chairman, had submitted a written request to the township questioning their decision to reimburse Mr. Richard Pleasants for the cost of installing a new sanitary sewer line into his property at 4101 McIntosh Road. Mr. Epstein feels this reimbursement would constitute preferential treatment and would establish a bad precedence. He was not able to attend this meeting in person. After some discussion the board decided to postpone consideration of the matter until the supervisors’ workshop meeting on Monday, November 7.

Resolution 11-07 This resolution would provide assistance to customers in the area of the Paxton Creek 4B/6C mini basin in connecting a storm sewer line from their property to the township’s clear water storm sewer system. This mini basin is an area with high ground water. The outside connections to the sewer line would be done at no cost to the homeowners. The board approved this resolution.

Resolution 11-08 This resolution is a request for a permanent right-of-way for Colonial Place L.P. for a sanitary sewer easement at 4775 Linglestown Road. There is a need to relocate the sewer main along a portion of Fairway Lane and Linglestown Road, a part of which would be on private property. The property owner has agreed to allow the sewer work to be done but has not agreed to the proposed reimbursement amount. The resolution would allow the process of acquiring the right-of-way to proceed up to condemnation if necessary. The board approved this resolution.

DiSanto Agreement This proposal constitutes an amended agreement between the township and Mark and John DiSanto in regard to repair work to a one and a quarter acre area of the Colonial Crest development that was damaged by the township’s recent work on the sanitary sewer line. The township will pay the DiSantos’ $31,000.00 to bring in fill and repair the area to its original condition. The board approved this amended agreement.

November 1, 2011
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Old Business

Ordinance 11-09 This ordinance calls for vacating a portion of Spring Creek Road that bisects the property on which the new Bishop McDevitt High School is being built. The approved plan for the school project included the elimination of Spring Creek Road as a through street to allow safe pedestrian access from the new building on the north portion of the school site to the play fields on the south portion. All vehicle access to the building and the stadium will be from Page Road to the east of the building. A system of automatic gates will allow the closed off portion of the road to be accessible to emergency vehicles when necessary. This ordinance was approved.

New Business

1061 Wooded Pond Drive The house on this property is in complete disrepair and has been condemned by the township. The township has prepared bid specifications for the total rehabilitation of the building but to date there have been no response to the advertisements for bids. Because of the amount of storm damage this year it is felt that the restoration contractors are too busy to take on additional work at this time. The township will rebid the project and if there is not adequate response they will then be allowed to negotiate a contract. The cost of the rehabilitation project will be covered by placing a lien against the property.

November 2, 2011
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP GREENWAY COMMITTEE MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

2012 Township Budget Brian Luetchford, P&R Department director, reiterated that the 2012 township budget contained no funds for the implementation of any of the proposed projects that the committee had been considering. He suggested that the committee review the projects and initiatives that they have previously listed and prioritize those that could be worked on without expenditures by the township. He reminded the members that the supervisors continue to cope with deciding whether more cuts in services, an increase in taxes or a combination of the two will be needed to balance the budget.

Greenway Projects The committee had created a brochure titled “Walking Opportunities Guide” which identified and described thirteen existing trails and other locations in the township which afford residents interesting places to walk. The committee wishes to improve and expand the brochure for future distribution. They also intent to create a small sign at each trail location giving its name and possibly a brief description. This could be funded in part by a company or group sponsorship and the signs could be created as a Vo-Tech project.

A major project which they intent to consider is to select an existing trail, probably a park trail, and develop to as a model. This would involve cleaning it up, creating a sign for the starting point identifying and describing it, and creating a unique blaze and painting it on trees along the trail. This could also be done with help from a sponsor, from the Vo-Tech School, from volunteers, and possibly from parolees through the Keystone Correctional Institute.

Nyes Run Mr. Luetchford reminded the committee that he will be preparing a grant application to DCNR for a storm water control project along the Nyes Road. The state has urged the township to apply for funds for this project where DCNR would provide 50% of the cost with DEP providing a matching amount. This combined effort between two state agencies apparently would be a first for the state.

November 2, 2011
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS & RECREATION BOARD MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Parks To Do List Parks & Recreation Department director Brian Luetchford reviewed with the board the list he had prepared of park maintenance and improvement projects he had hoped to accomplish over the summer. Almost all of the items have been completed. He noted that the parks maintenance crew is now under the Public Works Department.

Koons Pool – 2011 Report Pool officers Doug Kepler and Walter Shatto gave the board a detailed report on the pool’s current finances and maintenance. Over the last two years the revenues have increased, the expenses have remained about the same, the original loan is being repaid, and pool repairs and ongoing maintenance have increased. This year the three pools were painted and the roofs on the two smaller buildings were replaced. Next year the roof on the large building will be replaced necessitating a bank loan which Centric Bank has already approved. They described the many new programs that were started in the last two years, including the creation of a swim team, and stated that the pool is in good shape financially. The board congratulated the new pool leadership for turning the facility around.

Greenway Committee Board member Jim Seidler, who also serves on the Greenway Committee, gave the board an update on the committee’s plan to work on several trail related projects that will not require the expenditure of township funds.

Other Business There is a vacancy on the Arts Council and there may be one on the Greenway Committee. Upgrades and energy saving improvements at the Friendship Center financed in part by a DCNR matching grant are being completed.

November 3, 2011
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

CoreStates Group for Sheetz, Inc. – Docket #1301 This request is for a variance from the size and location requirements for canopy signs in connection with the additions and alterations at the Sheetz convenience store on the northwest corner of the intersection of Colonial Road and Linglestown Road in the Commercial Neighborhood Zoning District.

A new steel canopy has been erected over the new front entrance to the store and the proposal is to erect a 51.46 square foot sign identifying the store on the front of the canopy and a 16.05 square foot sign advertising fresh made to order food on the top of the canopy. The ordinance limits the size of the sign on the front of the canopy to 25 square feet and does not allow a sign to be placed on top of the canopy.

The applicant argued that because the building sets back a distance from the intersection the sign on the front of the canopy identifying the store name needs to be large enough to be seen properly from both roads and the proposed sign on top of the canopy would advertise the available fresh made to order food.

The board voted to approve the request for the larger sign identifying the store but deny the request for the sign on the roof.

November 7, 2011
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Housing Update At the request of the board Melanie Walderon and Bob Fox representing RE/MAX presented statistics regarding first time home buyers over the last five years. The board was interested in seeing the recent housing trend for this group in the multi county area and in the township. The statistics indicated that the price of houses sold to this group gradually declined over the period and the days on the market steadily increased. As expected, lower priced homes sold better than moderately priced homes and higher priced homes moved hardly at all during the period. Most first time buyers wanted single family homes but many had to settle for semidetached or townhomes and many had to continue to rent. Buyers were cautious even with interest rates extremely low.

4041 Valley Road At their June meeting the Planning Commission acted on the request by Frederick and Linda Givens to subdivide their 3 acre lot into three separate building lots. The request included a waiver from the requirement to install a sidewalk along Valley Road mainly because it would require the removal on a prize tree. The commission approved the proposed subdivision but recommended that the waiver request be denied. The sidewalk issue was referred to the Shade Tree Commission and now to the supervisors. The supervisors are divided on this matter but will act on it at their business meeting on December 6.

2012 Budget Preparation The board is continuing to discuss options as they fine tune the township’s budget. Presently it appears that there would be a deficit unless services are cut further or taxes are increased. Cuts to expenditures were made last year by eliminating any unnecessary spending, cutting some services and reducing staff. Unless further cuts can be made it appears a tax increase is likely. The only tax the supervisors can adjust is the property tax which now stands at .9265 mils which is the lowest in all but one of the local municipalities. An increase could raise the millage to 1.1 or possibly to 1.2 mils. An increase to 1.1 mils would increase the property tax on a $200,000.00 home by less than $30.00.

Several items of concern are the ongoing ability to afford needed repairs to the township’s storm water collection system which was strained by this year’s storms and to be able to continue to contribute to the fire companies’ capital equipment funds. The staff will present revised budget numbers to the board at a special meeting on November 22nd.

November 9, 2011
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Anderson & Gulotta Holding Group, LLC – Preliminary/Final Subdivison Plan #11-10 This application is to subdivide the lot at the southwest corner of the intersection of North Mountain Road and Stevenson Avenue of into two lots. The lot is adjacent to the Linglestown Middle School and the Linglestown Elementary School.

The existing 2.47 acre lot is identified as Lot No. 2 from a previous subdivision and will be subdivided to create Lot No. 2A which will be 1.58 acres and Lot 2B which will be .91 acres. There is an existing office building and parking lot on each property. The two properties will have different owners. The properties are located in the CN Commercial Neighborhood zoning district. The board voted to recommend approval of the subdivision request.