SWAN Newsletter #75

October 24, 2012

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARK PLAN – PUBLIC MEETING #1

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

The planning firm of Simone Collins was chosen to create a master plan for the future upgrading of the existing Koons Park and the development of a new township park on the recently acquired Wolfersberger Tract. Last month they had an initial meeting with the Park Planning Committee to gather input from township staff and members of the committee. This second meeting was the first of three planned public meetings to gather information from members of the public at large.

Approximately thirty people attended this meeting including some committee members, several staff members, representatives from many of the sports organizations which use the park facilities, citizens including some who live adjacent to the two park locations, and two members of the planning team. The sole purpose of this meeting was for the planners to solicit input from the users of the parks and from interested citizens.

Regarding the 33 acre fully developed Koons Park, major concerns that were expressed by the sports organizations and the neighbors included the close adjacency of play fields to streets, homes and parking; the poor drainage of play fields; the necessary overuse of fields; the lack of lighted fields; the need for more parking; and the old and inadequate restrooms. It was acknowledged that the township does a very good job of scheduling the usage by sports organizations of all the fields. With all the programs needing times for practice and games the obvious need is for the development of additional fields.

The 93 acre undeveloped Wolfersberger property consists of two equal sized square parcels with a narrow connection, one is along the east side of Wenrich Street and the other connected one is just further to the east. The major concern for the use of this property for a community park is that Wenrich Street provides the only vehicle access to the property. It is narrow and dangerously hilly and will require significant improvements to safely handle all the resultant traffic. The planners will have a traffic engineer study the situation as part of their report. Residents in the neighboring housing developments expressed concern for possible noise and light pollution as well as the traffic. Future adjacent residential developments might provide an opportunity for additional vehicular accesses to the park property. It was suggested that the parcel adjacent to the street is best suited for playfields and the farther parcel which is more wooded could contain a children’s play area, a dog park, hiking trails, a picnic area, etc.

The next scheduled meeting is on November 20th with members of the sports organizations that now use the parks and some that are looking for fields. Further public meetings are scheduled in 2013 for January when the planners will have a preliminary concept plan to present, in April when they will have a draft plan, and in June when they will present their final plan. This initial planning phase which is being funded in part by a state grant will then be completed. It is expected that it will be some time before any actual implementation of the suggested improvements can be started.

November 1, 2012

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Anthony and Jenny Fedullo – Docket # 1321 – This request for a variance or a special exception was a result of a complaint from a citizen that had been filed about the installation of a permanent basketball pole and backboard in the street right-of-way at the Fedullo’s home at 6613 Richmond Court. After that the township had advised them that the ordinance does not allow a basketball structure in the front yard setback and that it should be removed. The Fedullo’s then filed this request to be allowed to keep it.

At this board hearing the township solicitor explained the law that no permanent structure can be placed in the street right-of-way which usually extends at least eight feet back from the curb line. An official from the Public Works Department then explained the many safety reasons behind this requirement. It was acknowledged that a great many similar situations exist in the township that are also in violation of the ordinance. After a lengthy discussion the board on a split vote denied the request to allow the structure to remain.

St. Ann Byzantine Catholic Church – Docket #1324 – The church requested a variance to be allowed to erect a second free-standing sign in front of the church complex at 5408 Locust Lane in the R-1 low density residential zoning district. The ordinance allows only one sign per lot. The second sign which they wish to erect would be an electronic changeable message sign which is not allowed in the ordinance.

The church complex consists of ten buildings on three parcels which total over ten acres with a 450 foot street frontage. The two signs would be on the same lot but separated by a driveway. Two other churches along the same stretch of Locust Lane already have changeable message signs. The proposed signs seem reasonable for a fairly large church complex and the board voted to approve the requests.

Buffalo Wild Wings – Docket #1325 – The owners of this new restaurant being constructed at the southwest corner of the Colonial Park Mall requested a variance to allow them to have a second wall sign on the exterior of their facility. The ordinance allows only one exterior sign per business. The two exterior walls of the restaurant face different major streets so they feel the need to adequately identify their location. The two signs would be near to two of the major mall entrances. The board approved the request.

November 5, 2012

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP – (5:00 PM – 7:25 PM)

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

A review of the 2012 third quarter Key Indicator Report indicated that the Township will end fiscal year 2012 with a slight surplus.

A review of the proposed 2013 General Fund budget indicated that the budget was within $175,000.00 of being balanced at slightly over $18,000,000.00. The proposed Friendship Center budget for 2013 currently shows a deficit of $270,000.00. This is primarily a result in the decline, over a period of time, of yearly memberships.

Representatives of the volunteer fire companies indicated that income sources particularly from fundraisers were diminishing while the demand for volunteers’ time is increasing. The representatives were looking to the Supervisors for alternative sources of income. The 2013 budgets from all three companies will be submitted in the near future.

The proposed Authority budget for 2013 will be reviewed at a meeting on November 20th, 2012.

November 5, 2012

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING = (7:30 PM – 7:50 PM)

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

MANAGERS REPORT:

Mr. Wolfe reported that the Three Mile Island warning sirens will be tested November 15, 2012 at 3:00 PM.

Mr. Wolfe reported that 153 properties in the Township were affected by Sandy.

OLD BUSINESS:

The Supervisors voted 5-0 to accept the engagement of Mette, Evans, & Woodside to serve as Bond Counsel in the issuance of General Obligation Bonds.

NEW BUSINESS:

The Supervisors unanimously approved the ratification of Emergency Declaration 12-01 as issued by the Township Manager on October 29, 2012. This was necessary in order to apply for funds resulting in damages from the storm Sandy.

The Supervisors voted 5-0 to approve Ordinance 2-08 amending Chapter 165, Article 111 of the Codified Ordinance as it pertains to recycling for community events. This applies to gatherings of 200 or more people.

The Supervisors unanimously approved Change Order No.7 to the 2012 contract with Wexcon, Inc., in the amount of $10,901.00. This involved the relining of a section of storm sewer.

The Supervisors voted 5-0 to accept a Lease Agreement with the Central Dauphin School District for Township use of the Paxtonia Elementary School athletic fields.

November 5, 2012

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Fire Police – Concern had been raised recently when on several occasions one township’s Fire Police personnel assisting in a neighboring township were not relieved by the local emergency personnel in a reasonable amount of time. Susquehanna Township’s Police Chief Robert Martin was scheduled to address this matter at this meeting but at the last minute was unable to attend. His visit will be rescheduled.

Fire House Software – The three fire companies have recently been supplied with new software which they are installing and are sending data back to the township office. The new system should be fully up and running in the near future.

Workers Compensation – New state regulations will result in a significant increase in the cost to the township to provide required Workers Comp insurance for volunteer firemen. The township will now have to pay the entire cost of the coverage which they are required to provide which will result in over a 50% increase in the cost to the township. Also the state has decreed that for anyone who was a fireman and who later develops cancer, that the cancer will be deemed to have been caused by his service as a firefighter and the cost of his treatment will be covered by this insurance. The supervisors will consider how these additional costs will affect the amount of their future annual allocations to the fire companies.

Storm – It was announced that the recent hurricane left damages to approximately 150 dwellings in the township. The police stated that as a result of the early warnings very few vehicles were on the roads during the storm resulting in few traffic incidents.

Bishop McDevitt High School – The fire companies expressed concern about having emergency access to the new school when they are traveling eastbound on Springcreek Road. A gate eliminates access from the west except for emergency vehicles, which will be able to open it electronically at those times. Before the school officially opens after the holidays the road needs to be cleared and the electronic system activated and properly tested.

Fire Truck Drivers – Questions have been raised regarding the required certification for the fire truck drivers. Currently there are several interpretations of the requirements. Ideally drivers would need to have some level of a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and a PennDOT physical examination card. The license is required in order to get the physical card. The requirements would be less stringent if the drivers were legally employees of the township which presently they are not. However they do receive some benefits from the township related to insurance and retirement. It was agreed that the matter is very important and needs to be addressed and resolved quickly to ensure that all drivers are properly certified.

November 7, 2012

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP GREENWAY COMMITTEE MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Harrisburg Area Transportation Committee Presentation – This presentation, which was previously referred to as the PennDOT presentation, is scheduled for November 30th. Members of the Greenway Committee will make a carefully prepared power point presentation informing the HATS Committee of the township’s completed work and future plans for greenways in the township. The purpose, now that an initial contact will have been made, is to encourage planning coordination between HATS/PennDOT and the township for future trail and bikeway projects.

Bicycle Pedestrian Taskforce – A representative from this advocacy group which works with the Tri-county Regional Planning Commission contacted Parks & Recreation Department director Brian Luetchford asking him and representatives from this committee to attend their next meeting scheduled for November 14th in order to initiate dialogue regarding bikeways. Mr. Luetchford and several committee members plan to attend the meeting.

Community Engagement Committee – Several members of the Greenway Committee are on this newly created fundraising committee which will be meeting next on December 7th. At that time they will continue to work on organizing their fundraising efforts for parks and recreation projects in the township.

Darlington Trail – Recently, committee members hiked a portion of the old Darlington Trail which runs along the top of the mountain. They hiked from the Blue Mountain Parkway to the east and found the trail to be more passable than they expected. They plan to develop an upgraded map of the area indicating owners of private properties along the old trail with the hope that sometime in the future the trail could be cleared and marked for hiking.

Oak Park Trail – This potential new township walking trail would extend from Oak Park Circle south along the sewer easement to Locust Lane and possibly on further south to the Osteopathic Hospital. The committee will complete the map showing private property owners along the proposed trail.

Brightbill Park Bridge – The new pedestrian bridge across the stream in the wooden area of the park that was built by VoTech students was recently completed. Pictures of it will appear in the next township newsletter.

Safe Routes to School – This project to work with several CDSD schools on grant applications for funds to improve opportunities for students to walk to school had been somewhat abandoned when the deadline for submission of grant materials to the state had passed. However members of the committee who had been working with the schools on the applications are now continuing their work and hope to make submissions when they can during the next year.

Wolfersberger Park – The master planning for the future development of Wolfersberger Park is underway with a series of meetings with the professional planners. The planning effort is now in the information gathering phase with input from the public and from the many sports organizations. Mr. Luetchford noted that the committee should let their voice be heard at the meetings indicating that walking trails need to be included in the master plan.

November 7, 2012

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS & RECREATION BOARD MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

There was not a quorum at this meeting so no official action could be taken.

Dog Park – Two representatives from the Dog Park at Kohl Park requested assistance from the board regarding their plan to install concrete walkways at the entrances to the large dog and small dog fenced areas. With the heavy use of both dog areas it is not possible to keep grass growing but the very muddy areas at the two entrances are particular problems. The paving could be either poured concrete or precast pavers. The Dog Park group would pay for the concrete in either case but would need help from Public Works personnel to either pour the concrete or place the pavers. This matter will be discussed with the full board at their December meeting.

Heroes Grove – Christine Hunter from H. Edward Black Landscape Architects gave the board an update on the outdoor amphitheater project being planned for Brightbill Park. She reported that grants have been applied for and some money has been raised. The National Guard has offered to donate their services to do the grading. Preliminary planning has been done by the architects but nothing beyond that planning. At this time she said that it is not expected that any actual work would start any earlier than 2014.

The board raised a number of concerns about the project. The location of the amphitheater is close enough to the softball field to be within range of well hit balls. There are storm water drainage problems at this location in the park that would need to be addressed. Also, for any sizable crowd at the amphitheater there would need to be restrooms in the area. The ones inside the nearby Friendship Center would not be available and the ones in the park are far away and undoubtedly not adequate.

PHR Baseball – At last month’s meeting Chris Black from the baseball organization requested permission to expand the existing building at Brightbill Park to provide needed secure storage for their equipment. Parks & Recreation Department Brian Luetchford reported that the supervisors will not need to approve this request and that this board’s approval will be sufficient to authorize them to go ahead with the addition. This request will again be reviewed and will be acted on at the next board meeting.

Park Planning The next meeting with the planners, who are preparing a master plan for the eventual development of Wolfersberger Park and the upgrading of Koons Park, will be on November 20th at the Municipal Building. The one after that will be on December 13th.

November 13, 2012

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP – (6:00 PM – 7:50 PM)

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

Absent: Bill Hawk and Gary Crissman

Representatives of the Koons Pool Swim Club requested the Township to co-sign a loan for the replacement of the roof for the pool bathhouse. They presented a viable five (5) year financial plan. The loan was in the amount of $11,500.00. The Supervisors indicated agreement with the request.

Members of the Linglestown Area Civic Association presented preliminary plans for a 250th anniversary celebration in 2015. (Stay tuned).

Mr. Johnson presented a final proposal including amendments for the Call Boxes for the Township’s Fire Companies. These will have to be approved at a future Supervisors’ meeting.

Mr. Wolf reviewed proposed non-substantial revisions to the Dauphin County Municipal Waste Management Plan. Since the Supervisors approval is not required, Mr. Wolfe will approve the changes.

Mr. Wolfe presented a proposed inter-municipal agreement with West Hanover Township providing for the replacement of the Jonestown Road Bridge over Beaver Creek. The Township’s share of $40,000.00 will be covered by grant funds.

Mr. Wolfe presented an Amendment of the PA Uniform Construction Code (UCC) which allows for inter-municipal boards of appeal. The Township will continue to use the COG board of appeal.