SWAN NEWSLETTER #93
February 18, 2014 – LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING
Reported by Watson Fisher
Planning Commission The board approved the reappointment of Fredrick Lighty to a four year term on the commission and the appointment of Lori Staub and Steven Lienhart as new commission members.
Township Authority The board voted to appoint supervisor Robin Lindsey to fill the vacant seat on the sewer authority board.
Friendship Center Recently the supervisors agreed to initiate on-line registration for fitness and recreation programs as one step in the planned upgrading of the center. The Active Network Company was chosen to provide and install the hardware and software for the program and the board approved the $4,400.00 contract for the first phase of this project.
Park Master Plan – Resolution #14-07 The professional master plan study for the future development of Wolfersberger Park and the upgrading of Koons Park has been completed. Half of the cost of the project is being covered by a state DCNR grant. This resolution acknowledges that the township accepts the study and will then receive the grant money. The resolution was approved by a 3 to 1 vote.
Emergency – Emergency Declaration #14-01 The board voted to ratify the declaration of a weather emergency issued by the township manager for the snow storm on Thursday, February 13, 2014.
Gale Drive Mini Basin – Change Order No. 1 This change order for the Paxton Creek 1GDA and 1GDB sanitary sewer replacement project includes a time extension to June 15, 2014 and a $9,000.00 cost increase for the installation of additional needed piping. The change order was approved.
Municipal Records – Resolution_#14-08 The board voted to authorize the destruction of specific municipal records as allowed by law.
Officer Training – Resolutions #14-09 and #14-10 These resolutions authorize the request for reimbursement of a portion of the funds expended to train two municipal police officers. The resolutions were approved.
Shadebrook The request for approval of the revised final subdivision and land development plan for Shadebrook Phase I was postponed until the next supervisors’ workshop meeting. This project located on 108 acres at the intersection of Fairmont Drive and Cider Press Road is the first in the township to be built under the Traditional Neighborhood Development zoning district.
February 25, 2014 – LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY MEETING
Reported by Watson Fisher
Reorganizational Meeting The following authority elections and appointments for 2014 were made: William Seeds, Chairman; David Blain, Vice Chairman; William Hornung, Secretary; William Hawk, Treasurer; Gary Crissman, Assistant Secretary; Steve Stine, Solicitor; and GHD, Authority Engineer. Applicants for the unfilled seat on the authority will be interviewed soon.
Sewer Easements – Resolutions #14-02-01 through #14-02-67 These resolutions authorizing condemnation for properties in the BC-3A Mini-Basin are needed to acquire easements for sewer projects that are now ready to go out for bids. The 67 resolutions were approved.
Escrow and Settlement Agreement This agreement has been reached with Harrisburg and neighboring municipalities regarding a final settlement on the distribution of millions of dollars of fees the city has improperly charged to process municipal waste water. The agreement was accepted by the authority and will be finally approved by the supervisors at their next meeting.
Bond Issue Representatives from Susquehanna Advisors Group presented information on the choices the township can consider regarding a bond issue to finance planned upcoming sewer repair projects which will extend through 2015. A decision will need to be made whether to plan for one issue or two separate issues depending on the best forecast of future interest rates. The consultants will finalize their recommendations and report to the board at their March 18th meeting.
Engineer’s Report Representatives from the authority’s engineers, GHD, formally CET, gave progress reports on sewer projects that are currently under design or construction. They also mentioned the long term need to find a place in the Paxton Creek basin to locate a waste water storage facility. Ironically, Mark DiSanto from Triple Crown Corporation mentioned to them his idea to locate an underground treatment and storage unit on his Stray Winds Farm property and pump from there to help water his two nearby golf courses. It seemed unlikely that this could work but if it did it could slightly reduce the flow to the treatment plant and save a little money. The engineers will discuss it with him further.
Clay Dams The engineers are considering recommending the making the installation of clay dams in storm water trenches near homes standard. This could slow the flow of storm water but could also possibly create water backup problems. The supervisors will need to discuss this.
February 27, 2014 – LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD
Reported by Watson Fisher
Shogun Asian Fusion Hibachi & Sushi – Docket #1352 This request was for a variance from the maximum number of exterior wall signs allowed on the exterior of a multi-tenant commercial building. The two tenant building is located at 5125 Jonestown Road in the Paxton Towne Centre. One wall sign is allowed per tenant and the business has one on the front of the building. However, because traffic entering the center can see only the rear of the building, the restaurant owner requested that he be allowed to install a second lighted sign that would be on the rear wall. The other tenant in the building has a second sign and some of the other stores in the center also have two exterior signs. The board voted to approve the request.
Elena and Thomas Lupinetti – Docket #SE14-02 The applicants requested a Special Exception to permit the expansion of the nonconforming non-residential building by more than the allowed 5% of the total floor area. Their two story medical office building is located at 4240 Locust Lane in the R-1 Low Density Residential zoning district. The proposed expansion is to construct a two story stair tower at the southeast corner of the building to provide a safer entry from the parking lot than the present outside stairs and handicapped ramp. One existing parking space would be lost but there would still be adequate parking on site. The safety issue was considered important and the board approved the request.
March 3, 2014 – LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MEETING
Reported by Watson Fisher
LOSAP Public Safety Director David Johnson requested that the three fire chiefs submit updated rosters for the township’s record keeping regarding the Length of Service Award Program. This township program makes payments to older volunteer firefighters, the amounts of which are based on their years of service.
Workers Compensation The township’s rates went up from $57,000.00 to $66,000.00 even though it was not a bad year for claims. The township office requested that they get information from the departments regarding any new personnel.
Budgets Director Johnson asked that the fire companies supply him with their 2014 budgets and their current rosters and list of officers.
NIMS Training The police officer in charge of scheduling the National Incident Management System training program for municipal employees requested information on attendees for the next session by April 1st. This will include new supervisors.
Helmet Cameras The three fire chiefs discussed the use of helmet cameras by firefighters during a fire emergency. They agreed that the cameras could be beneficial as a training tool but that because of possible privacy concerns they do not want to use them during an actual fire call. There is a danger that the film could get into the social media and create a personal or legal problem and the same rationale holds for audio recordings. The emergency medical service representative agreed with that policy. There is currently no law addressing this matter and the unwritten policy could change but for now they will not be used.
Billing for Emergencies The chiefs discussed the possibility of billing individuals for expenses incurred for emergencies such as DUI vehicle accidents or other illegal activities where extended volunteer hours are expended. The supervisors would need to establish a policy on this.
Miscellaneous Emergency personnel were thanked for their extended service during the recent winter weather events. The police thanked the EMS staff for helping them in a recent emergency. Plans are underway for the Police Academy classes and the Citizens’ Night Out events later this year.
March 4, 2014 – LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING
Reported by Watson Fisher
Conservation District The township has had an agreement for some years with the Dauphin County Conservation District for them to provide services to the township including erosion and sedimentation control measures and West Nile virus control. This year the district has expanded the scope of the services available to the township. The administration stated that getting the extended package of available environmental controls and enforcement services at that price would result in a cost savings to the township. The board voted to approve the Memorandum of Understanding between the township and the Conservation District.
Escrow Release and Settlement Agreement This agreement between the city of Harrisburg, Lower Paxton Township and four neighboring municipalities finalizes the repayment by Harrisburg of millions of dollars of sanitary sewer fee overpayments going back a period of years. The agreement was reached after lengthy negotiations and all of the parties lost money in the process. It was considered to be the best settlement that could be made and the board voted to approve the agreement.
Friendship Center Bids have been received for the replacement of the two large rooftop heating and cooling units in the natatorium which have reached the end of their useful lives. The lowest bid from the five bidders was under the budget figure and the board approved the awarding of the contract to the low bidder.
Spring Creek Road The construction of the new Bishop McDevitt High School included improvements to this existing road leading to the school. The cost of the road work was paid by the school but part of it was reimbursed under the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. The board voted to approve the Assignment of Funds procedure whereby the funds are transferred from the state to the diocese.
Land Survey Five proposals were received for land survey services relating to upcoming construction projects in the PC4C/4E sanitary sewer mini-basin. The low proposal was from R. J. Fisher Engineers and the board voted to award the work to that firm.
Municipal Center Roof The roof replacement project is almost finished but a late change in the building code now requires a safety railing around one particular rooftop heating and cooling unit which is near the edge of the roof. The board approved this change order to the contract with Progressive Services, Inc.
Blue Meadow Farms A minor lot line adjustment involving three lots, two with houses on and one undeveloped, had been approved by the Planning Commission and was approved at this meeting by the board.
March 5, 2014 – LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP GREENWAY COMMITTEE MEETING
Reported by Watson Fisher
Project Prioritization At last month’s meeting the committee reviewed the list of projects they had underway or were considering and worked to prioritize them. At this meeting they finalized the list into Short-term, Long-term or On-going projects and worked to further identify those that should be focused on first.
Community Engagement Committee The Parks and Recreation Department fund raising committee is focused on finalizing the planning for their 5K run and walk event now scheduled for July 19th. They are seeking sponsors for the different levels of participation and the many volunteers needed to make the event successful. Participants will be able to register on-line.
Trail Walks Committee members are working with the P&R Department on the scheduled series of organized guided walks along trails at the different parks as another fund raiser. The one hour walks are scheduled for April 6th at Kohl Park, May 4th at George Park and June 1st along the Darlington Trail starting at Hocker Park on the top of the mountain.
DCNR Planning Grant One of the new trail projects under consideration is along Nyes Run running south from Union Deposit Road to the township line. Parks & Recreation Department director Brian Luetchford suggested that the proposed trail project could be extended north to Paxtonia. He outlined the involved steps that would need to be taken over the years to accomplish this and proposed that a state planning grant be applied for to help fund the initial planning process.
Trail Brochure The committee has created a two page brochure titled “Walking Opportunities Guide” describing thirteen different trails that exist in the township. They are putting the final touches on it before printing it and making it available to the public.
March 5, 2014 – LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS & RECREATION BOARD MEETING
Reported by Watson Fisher
Election of Officers The board elected Neal Johnson as Chairman, Jim Seidler as Vice Chairman, and Mary Jane Hornung as Secretary for the 2014 year. Jim Seidler was appointed as the board’s liaison with the Community Engagement Committee.
Paxtonia Baseball Field Ex-supervisor David Blain reported on the plans to rededicate Baseball Field #1 behind the Paxtonia Elementary School. In 1964 the field was dedicated to the memory of Don Reisch who was a coach and league president. At a ceremony on April 26th the field will be re-dedicated and renamed “Reisch Field.” The baseball organization received gaming funds to install lights on the field and Mr. Blain requested and received this board’s approval for their installation. The field is on school property so he will also need to get school board approval.
Ballfield Rentals Insurance The board in discussing how best to address the problem of possible township liability from groups renting use of park facilities realized that there were few written standards for most aspects of park use and those that had been formulated were generally not known. It was decided that they should consider developing a written policy manual covering the many aspects of park use. The board voted to authorize staff to begin this effort.
Arts Council Within the next month the council has planned a movie night at the Friendship Center and an authors’ night at the library. They are considering possibly painting a wall mural in the Friendship Center natatorium.
Friendship Center The supervisors have approved the contract for the replacement of the two roof top HVAC units in the natatorium. The work will be done the last week in August when the center is closed.
Board Vacancies There are presently two vacancies on the Parks & Recreation Board and the department has received applications from three individuals. An April date will be selected for interviews.
March 5, 2014 – LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION
Attended and reported by Bill Bostic
Sketch Plan Review / Rezoning Request, 6200 Jonestown Road — The only business before the commission was an informal review of a sketch plan and rezoning request for an eight-acre property at 6200 Jonestown Road, which is wooded with an old barn that is not visible from the street.
The entrance to the property is on north side of Jonestown Road at Nyes Road. It is bordered by a few single-family homes along Blue Ribbon Avenue to the east and Ollie’s Bargain Outlet to the north. There is residential housing along Knisley Street to the west of the property.
John Snyder of Lancaster-based RGS Associates presented a sketch drawing for a 40- to 45-unit, market-rate townhouse/duplex community with a street that would run from Jonestown Road to Knisley Street. The drawing also showed a small office building along Jonestown Road. The project would require a zoning change for about two-thirds of the property from commercial-neighborhood (CN) to Residential Medium Density (R-2).
Planning commission members expressed the following concerns about the sketch plan:
1. The township already has a good stock of market-rate housing and recent rezoning requests for this type of use have been rejected.
2. The township’s comprehensive plan calls for construction of a connector road to run through the property from the Nyes Road intersection on Jonestown Road to Route 22 near Ollie’s.
3. The proposed rezoning might be considered spot zoning.
4. Residents along and in the area of Knisley Street might object to traffic that a medium-density housing development potentially would send into their neighborhood.
March 11, 2014 – LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION
Reported by Watson Fisher
6200 Jonestown Road This seven acre property on the north side of Jonestown Road opposite the north end of Nyes Road is zoned CN Commercial Neighborhood and the property owner is requesting that it be rezoned to R-2 Medium Density Residential. The proposed plan is for approximately 34 single, duplex and townhome units, possibly a small commercial area, and an extension of Nyes Road north through the property. The Planning Commission reviewed the proposal but provided no feedback. It has not been reviewed by the township engineer. The supervisors heard the proposal and expressed some concerns regarding it but took no action.
Shadebrook The final review of the subdivision and land development plan for this large project is underway. The project is located on a 108 acre tract at the intersection of Fairmont Drive and Cider Press Road in the Traditional Neighborhood Development zoning district. Most of the remaining items of concern before final approval came from the Fire Marshal. His questions were mainly about the length and width of the alleys behind the houses, some of which are dead ends. Turning around could be a problem for the movement of the larger fire trucks. The supervisors suggested that this matter be restudied.
Earl Drive Township engineers HRG updated the supervisors on their continuing investigation into the best way to correct the ongoing problem of periodic flooding around the existing culvert under Earl Drive near Loop Drive. It was previously thought that the culvert itself should be replaced but that would be very expensive. Options are now being analyzed including the possible removal of a house or houses to be able to widen the stream bed. Three detailed options will be presented to the supervisors at their April workshop meeting after which the engineers will schedule a meeting with the affected neighbors to review the options.
Stormwater Management Consideration has been given for some time to possibly create a township Stormwater Authority to administer stormwater sewer projects much like the existing Sewer Authority does for sanitary sewer projects. Instead of using township tax dollars to pay for repair projects and new lines, the separate authority would levy its own taxes and send out its own bills. HRG prepared a preliminary report for the supervisors analyzing the involved legal pros and cons of forming an authority. HRG will generate a much more in-depth study at the board’s direction before any final decision can be made.
Bond Issue Township Manager George Wolfe reminded the supervisors that a new bond issue will need to be sold later this year or early next year to finance continuing sewer projects and storm water improvements. He also mentioned that there will be a need for additional building space for the sewer department and that expense should be budgeted.
Stormwater Ordinance The new stricter county-wide storm water management ordinance when passed created enforcement problems for the township. Now the county has proposed optional amendments to the ordinance regarding impervious area restrictions that townships can choose to adopt or not. The amendments are confusing and for now the supervisors chose not to adopt them.
Wolfersberger Tract The township advised the Conservation District of their plan to deposit clean fill from sewer project excavations on the new park site to grade for future play fields. The district approved the procedure. Further permits will be required when the project starts.
March 18, 2014 – LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING
Reported by Watson Fisher
Koons Pool Several years ago the swimming pool at Koons Park and its buildings were repaired and refurbished with a bank loan from Centric Bank secured by a promissory note from the township. Membership campaigns and fund raising efforts have been successful and the pool officers have made all the bank payments. The pool association is now modifying the remaining loan terms and requesting the township to reconfirm their promissory note. The supervisors approved the motion to do so but added a request that the bank consider a slight reduction in the proposed new interest rate in light of the demonstrated reliability of the organization and the township’s continued financial guarantee of the loan. A response from the bank to this request should be forthcoming.
Bridge Replacement The hundred year old Jonestown Road bridge at the Lower Paxton/West Hanover township line needs to be replaced and the two townships have state grant funds to help pay for the estimated 1.6 million dollar project. The highway department has approved the scope of the project and now needs to approve the choice of a design engineer. The townships have agreed on HRG engineers to design the project and the supervisors voted to approve the choice and approve the engineer’s $378,000.00 fee.
Linglestown Committee – Resolution #14-11 This resolution is for the township to officially establish a Sestercentennial Anniversary Committee to organize and run the 250th year celebration of the founding of the village to be held on October 9, 10 and 11th in 2015. Actual planning by a group led by Polly Murphy has been well underway for a year but it will now become official. The board voted to authorize the citizens to submit a list of committee members to the supervisors for approval, to conduct meetings and to organize and run the celebration.
Wolfersberger Tract The state has approved the township’s permit request to use clean fill from sanitary sewer projects to help grade areas on the future park site for playfields. The board approved the proposal of $6,500.00 from HRG engineers to design and supervise the fill project.
Computers The approved 2014 budget included funds for the replacement of 66 outdated computers which can no longer be serviced by HP and which are not able to use either of the new operating systems. The 4 year lease agreement is within budget and after that the township can chose to purchase the computers. The board voted to approve the agreement.
Dr. and Mrs. Chotiner The Chotiners requested a waiver of penalties and interest in regard to real estate taxes that are owed on three residential properties they own. The board stated that homeowners are responsible for taxes on their properties and voted to deny their request.
Shadebrook – Revised Final Subdivision and Land Development Plan #13-22 This submission was for approval of the plan for the combined residential and commercial project on a 108 acre tract at the intersection of Fairmont Drive and Cider Press Road in the Traditional Neighborhood Development zoning district. The first of four phases will consist of 65 houses and 2 commercial buildings on 85 acres. The planned total build-out will consist of 261 homes and 22 apartment units above the commercial buildings. Some earlier concerns from the fire marshal about fire equipment access have been resolved by plan alterations. Also the school district agreed that all bus stops would be on the two major streets. The waivers that were approved will apply to all phases of the project. The board thanked the applicants for their cooperation in resolving the questions and concerns that have come up over the many months and voted to approve the project.