SWAN Newsletter #63

November 15, 2011
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Public Safety Center A representative from HACC and the police chief of Lower
Allen Township made a presentation to the board regarding a large renovation project now underway at HACC’s Shumaker Public Safety Center. This complex serves more than 30,000 first responders and healthcare workers a year.

Construction of the first phase of the planned four phase improvement project is now underway. Phase 1 is estimated to cost $15,000,000. 00. It consists of the addition of a new law enforcement complex that includes a state-of-the art 25 lane indoor firing range large enough for patrol rifles, the renovation and enclosure of the six story fire training tower, the renovation of the smoke chamber and burn building, improvement of the trench rescue center, an addition to the parking lot, and the addition of training sites for Hazmat and other emergency situations. The other three phases will follow after the completion of this first phase.

In this informational report they noted that the training center is heavily used by the township’s fire and police personnel and that the upgrade and expansion are long overdue. A third of the cost has been raised, primarily from the state and the county.

Friendship Center Pinnacle Health, which had leased the center’s West Annex for its physical therapy program, has moved out and the township advertised for a new tenant. One application was received, that from Drayer Physical Therapy Institute. The lease would be on the same terms as with Pinnacle, $5000.00 a month for a one year lease with an option to renew. The supervisors voted to enter into the lease with Drayer.

FEMA The federal agency requires that the township designate an agent they will deal with involving anything regarding disaster relief. The supervisors voted to designate the township’s director of finance to handle that responsibility.

November 17, 2011
VILLAGE OF LINGLESTOWN COMMITTEE MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

This committee was created by the Board of Supervisors years ago to look into issues that were unique to the village including creating a new zoning district appropriate to the needs of the community. Soon after that the Linglestown Road construction project was conceived and after years of work is now substantially complete. The committee wants to continue to function if the supervisors so wish and are scheduled to meet with them at their workshop session on December 13th. The committee has a list of members they wish to have reappointed and a list of items they wish to address now that the construction project that has taken their attention for so long is essentially over.

They reviewed a list of relatively small project related items that have not been totally resolved but felt that for the most part these are between Penndot, the engineers and the contractor and that there is little more the committee can do. There were, however, items of interest that they discussed related to the village. These included:
•Replacing the two new street lights in front of the old firehouse that were destroyed during the chase and which are needed for traffic safety at the western circle.
•Finalizing with Waste Management that trash pickup for properties along Linglestown Road would be done from the alleys. This is already being done for the businesses.
•Locating bus stops in the village for city buses.
•Reviewing all traffic signage along Linglestown Road and addressing the need for properly identified pedestrian crosswalks.
•Planting of four donated evergreen trees at the corners of the square. The plan is to plant them one each year for four years but they could all be planted this year and decorated for Christmas.

The merchants association indicated that they were very pleased with the construction project. They hoped that the committee would continue to function and would continue to address matters important to the village. They mentioned the ongoing need to have the property owners maintain the new lawn areas and new trees along Linglestown Road. Also they thought it would be good to initiate some kind of beautification projects along the major streets in the village.

November 22, 2010
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

This meeting was to work toward finalizing the township’s budget for 2012. Township manager
George Wolfe began by presenting figures through the end of September 2011, a year where spending was limited to only what was absolutely necessary. The figures showed that expenditures to date are at or below budget and that revenues are nearly on budget.

In anticipation of the 2012 budget needing further cuts in expenditures or an increase in revenues, the board at the previous budget session had asked Mr. Wolfe to run figures showing a property tax increase from the current .9265 mils. The property tax, a relatively small portion of the township’s revenue, is the only revenue source that the supervisors are able to change. He presented estimated figures for revenues and expenditures for property tax increases to 1.1, 1.2, 1.25 and 1.3 mils for 2012 and the following four years.

The expenditures figures included retaining contributions to the three fire companies’ capital equipment funds and to the county library system, both of which the board had considering eliminating. Necessary expenditures that were included were storm water system improvements and a new roof on the municipal building. What was not included but they thought probably should be was the purchase of a payment management program which would pay for itself quickly by greatly reducing township office employees’ accounting hours. The possibility of using short term borrowing to afford this purchase was considered.

The board felt that a tax increase was necessary to avoid further cuts to the already bare bones budget and were favoring going to 1.3 mils. That would increase the property tax on a home assessed at $200,000 by about $40 a year. The resulting increase would only provide enough of an increase in total revenues to cover the payment of current bills without any borrowing. Future borrowing would be considered for significant improvement projects but not for ongoing expenditures.

Mr. Wolfe said he will prepare the final budget using a millage increase to 1.3 mils for review and action at the December workshop meeting.

November 22, 2011
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Sewer Rates Resolution 11-09 to increase sewer rates for 2012 by $10.00 a quarter was presented and discussed. The authority decided that with the likelihood of a property tax increase, they would hold the line on sewer rates for 2013. They voted not to approve the resolution.

Dauphin Engineering The authority considered the proposal from Dauphin Engineering for site engineering and survey services for a project at the Oakhurst Interceptor. It relates to a 1500 foot addition to the sewer line east of Progress Avenue and involves a redesign due to the presence of wetlands. The authority voted to approve their contract.

Dawood Engineering This company submitted the lowest proposal for surveying work involving the BC-3A, 4A, 4B and 4C mini-basins. The authority voted to approve their contract.

PNC Bank The audit committee recommended that the authority move their banking business to PNC Bank. The authority voted to proceed with their recommendation.

Sewer Easement As part of the sanitary sewer project along the south side of Linglestown Road at Fairway Lane there is a need for an easement on property owned by Colonial Place L.P. at 4775 Linglestown Road. A price has now been agreed to and an agreement of sale prepared. The authority voted to approve the agreement.

Rogele Inc. Change Order #2 to Rogele’s contract for work in the BC-1A and PC-3B mini basins would adjust the contract amount due to a change in quantities. The authority was not satisfied that the quantities in the change order were correct so the change order was withdrawn until the figures can be finalized.

FEMA Resolution 11-10 involves the federal requirement that the township designate an agent to coordinate all disaster relief matters with the federal agency. The supervisors had previously voted to designate the township’s director of finance to handle that responsibility and that appointment was approved by the authority.

Building Sewer Replacement Resolution 11-11 involves a property owner’s building sewer line which is the portion of the line from the building to the property line. The lateral is the portion from the property line to the sewer main. A problem arises during sewer repair work when the property owner refuses to sign an agreement allowing the township to air test the sewer line to see if it is damaged and needs to be replaced. This resolution would allow the township to do the testing and if necessary to replace the line. The resolution was approved.

Paxton Creek Drainage Basin Authority engineer Jeff Wendle reviewed planning alternatives for sanitary sewer work in the Paxton Creek Drainage Basin. He will be meeting with state officials regarding possibly extending the time frame for the corrective action plan beyond 2027 and to consider the likely need to build a storage tank to deal with high volume situations in the future. Earlier a possible site for a storage facility in Susquehanna Township was considered but that option now appears to be off the table. A site in the township along the south side of Interstate 81 appears to be a preferred location.

Project Updates Staff gave updates on the seven PENNVEST and Consent Decree Projects. The three projects under construction are nearing completion and there are four projects in design. The four have either already had their required public meetings or will have them in the near future.

December 1, 2011
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

BAM Signs – Docket #1302 This request for a variance was submitted by the new tenant of the former Borders book store at 5125 Jonestown Road in the Paxton Towne Centre shopping center. BAM is short for BOOKS-A-MILLION and the owner is Kieffer & Co. The request was to increase the number of wall signs from the one that is allowed in the ordinance to three. The Borders store had three wall signs which had been allowed by a previous variance. The new tenant is requesting a similar variance. The three proposed signs would be slightly smaller in total square footage than the Borders signs had been. The board voted to approve the variance.

Side Yard Setback – Docket #1303 This request was submitted by Dr. W. B. Cooley for a variance to the side yard setback requirement at his home at 4016 Thicket Lane. He had a Bilco door installed to his basement and after completion of the work it was discovered that it encroached three feet into the side yard setback. The owner of the adjacent house has no objections to allowing the door to remain. The board voted to approve the variance.

Catholic Charities – Docket #1304 The Diocese of Harrisburg Catholic Charities has considered the purchase of the 1.5 acre lot zoned Institutional containing the old Colonial Pines Nursing Home at 120 Willow Street and an adjacent .29 acre residential property zoned Medium Density Residential. They hope to consolidate three of their current community help programs into one location to replace existing buildings which are outdated. The programs are the Interfaith Shelter for Homeless Families, the Evergreen House for women with addiction problems, and the Lourdeshouse Maternity Home for indigent women.

A variance is required for two reasons. The Interfaith Shelter would be considered a group home where the ordinance would require stays of at least thirty days and the Evergreen House would be considered a treatment center where counseling due to addiction to a controlled substance is not permitted.

A large group of neighbors attended the meeting and many voiced their concern that the planned functions were not appropriate in a primarily residential neighborhood. However it was pointed out that without a variance the large portion of the site zoned institutional could be put to any number of much less attractive uses and that Catholic Charities had a good record of operating well run programs benefitting the public. It was agreed with the neighbors that if a number of fairly strict conditions are added the request would be acceptable.

The conditions that were agreed to included that stays in the Interfaith Shelter would normally be more than thirty days but some could be less, that in the Evergreen House counseling would be done for drug and alcohol abuse only and not for criminal rehabilitation, that no one under a court order to participate in a rehab program would be admitted, and that no participants in any of the programs would be outside of the facility after sunset. It was understood that the variance was granted to the Catholic Charities and would expire in six months if the property was not transferred or if an extension was not requested. The board voted by a 4 to 1 vote to approve the variance with the agreed to conditions.

December 6, 2011
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Public Comment The spokesperson for a group of citizens attending the meeting presented a petition signed by a number of neighbors complaining about the constant and excessive noise from a neighbor youth working on a hot rod car often long into the night. The spokesperson said the police told her that they were unable under the current law to do anything about it. The supervisors advised the group that earlier in the year a stronger noise ordinance had been proposed but was not acted on due to citizens’ objections and lack of support. The group was advised to review the existing ordinance and the proposed noise ordinance and with some community effort the proposed ordinance could be brought back off the table.

South Central Emergency Medical Services Inc. has provided emergency services to the township for some years. An officer new to the company and one of the staff members made a presentation reviewing the scope of their services and assuring the board of their continued delivery of timely emergency services. The board had expressed concerns that even though the township was their largest account SCEMS was not always open and forthcoming with the township and that the board was reviewing all budget items to ensure that the citizens were getting the best service for their money. The officer promised to attend township meetings and to improve coordination between the company and the township.

1061 Wooded Pond Drive The townhouse at this location has been abandoned for some time, is in complete disrepair and has been condemned by the township. Bids had been requested to do the necessary abatement of the excessive mold damage before it can be sold at sheriff’s sale. As of last month no bids had been received. This was thought to be due to the excess repair projects underway by local contractors. Since then one bid was received from Mellon Certified Restoration that was considered acceptable and the contract award was approved.

Friendship Center At last month’s meeting an agreement was approved with Drayer Physical Therapy Institute for them to lease the center’s west annex currently occupied by Pinnacle Health for their physical therapy program. Pinnacle has relocated their program sooner than previously planned and at this meeting the lease agreement was amended to allow Drayer to occupy the space a month earlier than the lease had called for.

December 7, 2011
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP GREENWAY COMMITTEE MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

At this last meeting of the year the committee discussed a list of 2012 Project Goals and Objectives that Parks & Recreation Department director Brian Luetchford had prepared based on continuing the committee’s projects from 2011.

Brochure The committee created a Walking Opportunities Guide providing information on thirteen walking trails located in the township. They want to further refine the brochure’s appearance before trying to find a way to get it out to the public. They will investigate if the Vo-Tech School’s graphic arts program might be able to help with the printing.

Fundraising They will monitor the status of the combined DEP and DCNR grant that was submitted this year covering water quality work and trail planning for the proposed Nyes Run trail. The state’s decision on awarding the grant, which would not require any township funds, should be announced early in 2012. They will attempt to identify local foundations that might provide funding for trail improvements in the township. And they will ask the solicitor for advice on the possibility of gaining 501c3 status in coordination with other township boards and committees. The reasonableness of this idea was considered poor.

Promotion They will discuss how they might promote their efforts to the public in conjunction with those of the parent Parks & Recreation Board. The possible use of Facebook to get information out to the public was not considered wise.

State Roads Former state Secretary of Transportation Howard Yerusalem has agreed to attend the January committee meeting to discuss the possibility of creating greenways along state roads.

Existing Trails The committee would like to begin to make improvements to the existing trails in the township. This would eventually include providing signage identifying the trails and creating a uniform blaze along the trails. At the next meeting they will review signage and blaze options. They would probably plan to choose one trail as a model to improve first.

Darlington Trail This existing trail runs along the top of the mountain. The committee had investigated trying to obtain formal trail easements from the several property owners whose land the trail runs through but without success. They will consider revisiting the matter by trying to obtain non-formal “handshake agreements” which would allow hikers to use the trail without feeling they are trespassing. Some committee members have hiked the trail from Hockers Park to the west but in the spring they want to hike the trail to the east to see its condition.

December 7, 2011
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS & RECREATION BOARD MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Koons Pool The sewer authority has checked the sewer lateral in the vicinity of the pool to see if they could tell whether or not the waste water line from the pool is connected to the sewer line. They found a stub in the line but no connection. It was felt that the line was probably run after the pool was built. An engineering study may be required to clarify the situation.

Koons Softball Field #1 Reconstrution Sam Hartley from the Linglestown Softball Association is in the middle of building new dugouts, a backstop, a building for storage and a concession stand at the softball field. Some changes have been made to the original plan and the codes officer has requested an updated plan that is sealed by an engineer. Mr. Hartley hopes to continue work so the project can be finished in the spring.

Parks & Recreation Plan Approval P&R Department director Brian Luetchford presented a proposed revision to the township plan which contained a number of changes including one regarding developers’ requirement to provide land for recreation or pay a fee-in- lieu. Under the existing plan the developer has the option to provide land or pay the fee. The proposed plan would require the dedication of land except for certain conditions that are spelled out. If approved the plan revision would change the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO).

Greenway Committee Jim Seidler gave the board a report on the committee meeting held earlier in the evening including their proposed activities for the coming year.

Arts Council Board member Stanley Smith who also chairs the Arts Council reported that the council will be operating next year with a reduced budget and that they are currently looking for sponsors or partners. The council as well as the Greenway Committee operates under the control of the P&R Board and it was stated that for best results fund raising efforts by these two groups should be coordinated by the P&R board.

December 13, 2011
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Housing Discussion Terry Harris from the firm of McKonly & Asbury presented information to the board regarding first-time homebuyers in the current marketplace. With the slow economy, even with interest rates at all-time lows, families looking to buy their first homes that will barely be able to afford the mortgage payments are having a hard time coming up with a 20% down payment. Mr. Harris gave an overview of the current housing situation in our area and indicated that the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) has programs that can be helpful to this group. He suggested that the board hear from a representative of that agency and the board agreed.

Laurel Ridge This existing apartment complex located on the south side of the 4100 block of Linglestown Road is planning an expansion of approximately 90 units. At a recent workshop session the supervisors met with representatives of the complex owner regarding the township requirement to donate land for recreation or pay a fee in lieu or a combination of the two. There was no agreement at that meeting so the representatives later met with staff and came to a consensus. At this meeting the details of that agreement were presented and the supervisors concurred. The agreement calls for the developer to designate 2.3 acres for private recreation and pay $54,481.00 in recreation fees. The proposed agreement will come up for action at the board meeting on December 20th.

Village of Linglestown Committee Committee members Eric Kesssler and William Minsker attended the meeting to discuss now that the road construction is complete what the board’s wishes are for the future of the committee. They were told that the board appreciated the diligent work the committee had done over the years and that they should continue to function and to address the many issues unique to the village. The board appoints township committee members during the first business meeting of the year and the committee will submit a list of those they wish to have serve in 2012 for the board’s consideration.

2012 Budget The board again reviewed the proposed budget for 2012 which included an increase in the property tax from the current .9625 mils to 1.3 mils. The property tax generates 20% of the township’s revenue and is the only tax the board can adjust. The sources that generate the other 80% of the township’s revenue, including the earned income tax and the real estate transfer tax, are down from previous years. It was understood that in the last several years cuts in personnel and other expenditures were made to the point that further cuts could affect basic services. There were also some urgent items including keeping up with repairs and improvements to the storm sewer system and to the township roads that could not be put off to future years.

The board unanimously agreed that the tax increase was needed to be able to continue to provide all basic services and to meet unforeseen emergencies. They will officially act on the budget at their business meeting on December 20th.

December 14, 2011
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

990 Briarsdale Road – Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan #11-11 This project involves a 11,000 square foot building addition and an enlarged parking lot at the building in the Union Square Industrial Park. The 3.34 acre lot on Briarsdale Road north of Corey Court is in the GI General Industrial zoning district. A small portion of the lot is in Susquehanna Township. The addition will be leased by the Liquor Control Board and the Patriot News. Questions were raised about the lack of sidewalks and adequate parking lot lighting. There are no sidewalks in the complex so that was accepted and the township engineer will check on the lighting question. The board voted to recommend approval of the plan.

Business Improvement District The commission had worked for many months to develop a proposal to create a BID along Route 22 and had presented it to the supervisors earlier in the year. After that it was put on hold until the budget and other priority issues were addressed. The plan is to present it again early in 2012 in the hopes of getting a board decision to move forward with the project.

Wind/Alternate Energy The commission had considered recommending an ordinance that would address the concerns raised by the possibility of homeowners and businesses erecting electricity generating wind mills on their property. This could be unsightly and possibly hazardous. As time passed it seemed less likely that issue would arise and the effort was not pursued. The commission agreed that they would not pursue this unless the apparent need to do so surfaces again.

The commission discussed a number of possible revisions to the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance and the Zoning Ordinance.

Possible SALDO Text Amendments

Require the developer to show on their plan where their development interfaces with the recommendations of the approved Greenway Plan. This would encourage better coordination between their plan and the master plan for bikeways, walkways and trails.

Improve the requirements by increasing aisle widths and turning radii in parking lots. HRG’s engineer agreed this should be improved and will review and make recommendations.

Require institutions which have campuses such as hospitals, schools and churches to show the entire complex on the site plan primarily to ensure that vehicle entrances are adequate. The engineer will review this and probably will recommend that the need for this be decided on a case by case basis.

Determine how to address requirements for small abandoned or odd shaped lots that don’t comply with the standard requirements. An example was the recent project at the South Central Emergency Medical Services building in Paxtonia.

Require the applicant to include on the plan a location map for the project. This could be a copy of a portion of the standard 1:24000 scale USGS map. The engineer will make a recommendation.

Possible Zoning Ordinance Text Amendments

Limit the number of canopies at service stations. This concern came up at a recent Zoning Hearing Board meeting and was not spelled out under Section 402.A.g in the ordinance.

December 15, 2011
VILLAGE OF LINGLESTOWN COMMITTEE MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Committee chairman Eric Kessler reported that he and William Minsker met with the Board of
Supervisors at their workshop session two days before to discuss whether or not the board wished the committee to continue in existence now that the highway construction project is complete. The board’s response was that they thought the group had done a good job helping to guide the road project and wanted them to continue to work on issues in the village.

At the supervisors’ first meeting in January they will appoint the committee members who will serve for the year. It was understood that they will work to complete any efforts that had been started, begin anything that had been identified but had not been started, and address any related items that arise. They might develop a mission statement outlining things they plan to work on. Their efforts will be limited to issues that affect the Linglestown area.

Items that were discussed included a review of land use in the Village Zoning District and a review of the provisions of the ordinance for that district. They plan to try to determine geographically where the limits of the village are so that any projects they initiate will affect a given area. Other items discussed were beautification efforts involving the buildings and areas along the streets, signage along the main streets, locations for bus stops, and coordination of trash and leaf collection routes.

Another important goal agreed to by the supervisors and the committee was the need for the committee to coordinate their efforts with the various local community organizations. These include the Merchants Association, the Women’s Club and the Civic Association. This effort could possibly include the Fire Company, the American Legion, etc.

December 20, 2011
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING
(7:30 – 9:00 PM)

Attended by Watson Fisher and Ted Robertson. Reported by Ted Robertson.

Under Old Business, George Wolfe gave a bullet point summary of the Township’s 2012 budget. In light of significant losses in earned income tax revenues and land development fees, the Supervisors voted to approve the budget by a 5-0 vote. This will result in a real estate tax millage increase from 0.9625 to 1.3 mils. This will result in an increase of $68.00 on a property assessed at $200,000.00.

Under New Business, the Supervisors unanimously approved Ordinance 11-10 amending the police pension plan to remove the killed-in-service insurance provision. This provision will be taken over by the State.

The Supervisors unanimously approved a proposal from HRG, Inc., to prepare, in conjunction with E-Road Information Systems, a pavement management system for a cost not to exceed $75,000.00.

The Supervisors unanimously approved Resolution 11-24 establishing a Township fund balance policy statement in accordance with the Government Accounting Statistics Board, GASB-54. Note: The Township has such a policy in place.

The Supervisors voted unanimously to take action on release and claim for damages in a class action suit against Bank of America. This may result in the Township receiving $21,000.00 as a result of this action.

The Supervisors unanimously approved Change Order #1 to the contract with Pennsy Supply for road paving. This results in a $33,504.00 decrease in the contract.

Under Subdivision and Land Development, the Supervisors unanimously approved the preliminary/final land development plan for Laurel Ridge (11-09) HRG and Staff addressed SWAN’s concerns regarding steep slopes, wetlands, and stream buffers and found the developer to be in compliance.

The preliminary/final subdivision plan for Anderson and Gulotta Holding Corp., LLC (11-10) was approved unanimously by the Supervisors. This simply divides a 2½ acre lot into two parcels.