SWAN NEWSLETTER #97

June 17, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher

Key Indicator Report Township Manager George Wolfe delivered his regular report on the township’s financial situation for the 1st quarter of 2014. It included financial reports for the first three months for the General Fund, Revenues and Expenditures, State Aid, the Fire Equipment Fund, LOSAP, the General Improvement Fund, the Friendship Center, and the Sewer Authority. For historic trends he reported that in the township before 2008 there had been financial growth, starting then the recession through 2011 had seen reduced revenues, and since 2012 there has been a moderate rebound. Regarding municipal debt, recent bond issues have financed extensive ongoing needed sewer projects and some other improvements. And the supervisors’ mandated 25% rainy day fund has again been realized.

Authority The board approved the appointment of Justin Eby to fill the vacancy on the sewer authority board.

Beaufort Hunt, Inc. For 29 years this organization has leased a 2 acre property identified as 6660 Union Deposit Road in the AR Agricultural Zoning District. It contains a barn and a garage and is used as a kennel for the club’s dogs. In order for them to purchase the property it needed to be subdivided from the adjacent undivided land. Earlier in the year this organization received approval for the subdivision from the Planning Commission and the Zoning Hearing Board. To complete the process the supervisors voted to approve the subdivision.

June 26, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher

Five Below, Inc. – Docket #1356 This hearing was a continuation of the one at the previous month’s meeting when the applicant appealed to have a larger than allowed sign on the exterior of its relocated and enlarged store at the Colonial Commons Shopping Center. The size of the proposed sign was larger than the board could accept so the applicant agreed to resubmit his appeal. At this meeting the applicant presented two smaller sign options. The board agreed that the sign option which will be seven feet high with three foot high letters was acceptable and it was approved.

Country Inns and Suites – Docket #1358 This existing chain hotel is located at 1025 Peiffers Lane facing interstate 83. It had been granted a variance in 2008 for the number and size of exterior signs on the building. They were allowed then to have a third outdoor sign and slightly larger signs than permitted by code. The chain now is upgrading the wall signs on all its hotels with improved energy efficient signs that will be only slightly larger than the existing signs. The board debated the proposed very small size increase which they agreed was not noticeable and voted to approve the variance request.

July 1, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS STRATEGIC PLANNING SESSION

Reported by Watson Fisher

At their May workshop session the supervisors reviewed a list of projects the township needed to consider implementing in the next four or five years and made an initial effort to estimate their cost and prioritize them according to their importance. These were projects that would be one-time expenditures. They had reduced the list to the 40 most important projects, each of which would cost at least $25,000.00. These projects include road improvements, storm water projects, park projects, fire services study and new equipment, public works equipment, increased personnel costs, and police department personnel and equipment.

At this meeting they decided that all but a few of the listed projects should be included in the five year program and that a few of those included could if necessary be delayed a few years. The cost of the projects would be covered by a small real estate tax increase or by new borrowing. One more meeting will be needed to finalize the list, refine the estimated cost of each project, develop a phasing plan and resolve the funding source.

July 1, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY MEETING -Reported by Watson Fisher

Sewer Projects – Resolutions #14-07-01 through #14-07-21 These twenty one resolutions are to authorize the condemnation for temporary construction easements for building sewer replacements in the BC-3B mini-basin. The resolutions were approved.

Sewer Projects – Resolutions #14-08-01 through #14-08-06 These six resolutions are to authorize the condemnation of permanent and temporary construction easements for mainline sewer replacements in the BC-3B mini-basin. The resolutions were approved.

These resolutions are required to legally complete sanitary sewer repair projects. Condemnation is the last resort when the few landowners involved fail to authorize the projects after an extended period of time. This procedure is required by the state.

July 1, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher

Stormwater Management Permit – Resolution #14-17 At their June workshop meeting the supervisors discussed possibly changing the regulations regarding when a permit for a property owner to add impervious area to his property is required. This could be anything from a pad for a small shed to a swimming pool. The current regulation requires a permit when the property owner increases the impervious area by more than 50 square feet. This seemed to be somewhat onerous so the board voted for an amendment to increase that number to 80 square feet. For projects above that a permit is required and at that point the involved new DEP storm water management regulations come into effect.

Dauphin County the County, by a Memorandum of Understanding, offered to take over the administration of the upcoming extensive sanitary sewer project in the area of Winfield Street in the township. The board was happy to vote to accept their offer.

Storm Water Project Bids were received recently for the construction of a large series of storm sewer projects. The projects include work on Marblehead Street, Pearl Street, Goose Valley Road, South Carolina Drive in Forest Hills, Beaver Road, Earl Drive west of the stream culvert project now under consideration, and others. The low bidder was Ronca Construction with a bid of $1,383,000.00. That was slightly above the estimated project cost but considering the amount of sewer work currently being bid was considered reasonable. The supervisors voted to approve the bid.

July 2, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS & RECREATION BOARD MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher

Hodges Heights Park A neighbor of this small park in the southeastern part of the township, who had previously been on the P&R board, attended the meeting to request that something be done to improve the damaged fields and pavilion which make the park almost unusable. This matter had been brought up at several meetings recently so it has been discussed with the supervisors. The board requested that she put her concerns and suggestions in writing to help create a suggested course of action.

Koons Park Softball Sam Hartley has led the effort to rebuild the softball field at the park. The construction work for the new backstop, concrete block dugouts and concession stand is nearing completion and is a welcome improvement to the park.

PHR Baseball Association The baseball association had offered to make a number of improvements at the field including a new dugout, a flag pole and trees. The board looked favorably on the improvements offered and planned to formally approve them at their August meeting.

2013 Annual Report Parks & Recreation Director Brian Luetchford presented his annual report covering the department’s activities during the previous year. The board thanked him for the report which was very detailed and thorough as usual.

Vacancies Mr. Luetchford reported that there are presently a vacancy each on the P&R board, the Arts Council and the Greenway Committee. Plans are to schedule interviews with applicants in August.

July 2, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING – Reported by Bill Bostic

Note: Township manager George Wolfe served as planning and zoning officer at this meeting.

OLD BUSINESS

Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan for the Townes at Galway, #14-08 This plan was discussed last month and came before the commission again after the applicant’s engineer addressed questions from the township staff. It is a 17-unit townhouse community proposed for a 2.5-acre lot located south of Union Deposit Road along Newside Road at Summerwood Drive (map: http://goo.gl/maps/5fDD7). Similar housing units are located adjacent to the proposed community.

The commission reviewed waiver requests prior to unanimously voting to approve the plan. One commissioner noted that he disagreed with the sidewalk design that is located along a private driveway.

NEW BUSINESS

Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan for Huntleigh #14-12 The proposed subdivision is on an undeveloped, 22-acre parcel located along Lyters Lane and Conway Road that would be divided into five housing lots (map: http://goo.gl/maps/hpcTt). The property currently is approved for 32 building lots under phases #6 and #7 of the Huntleigh development that was approved about a decade ago.

The commissioners briefly discussed a recommendation from the township engineer to require a sidewalk along Conway Road that would end near a park. Also, George Wolfe pointed out a need to flatten out a roadside slope at a curve on Lyters Lane to improve sight distance.

Residents who live in a neighborhood adjacent to the proposed subdivision asked for information on the location of driveways, and discussed stormwater problems and a street-safety issue that are unrelated to the proposal.

The commission asked the applicant to revise the original Huntleigh preliminary plan so members can compare the current and revised plans. The proposal was tabled.

July 8, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION

Reported by Watson Fisher

I-83 Project A letter from PennDOT to the township provided some updated information on the planned project to widen the interstate to three lanes each way from Union Deposit Road to the I-81 split. Starting in 2018 the bridges over I-83 will be lengthened after which the additional lane each way will be constructed. The current question to the township is regarding sidewalks on the bridges over I-83. The state will construct the sidewalks on the new bridges if the township will agree to maintain them including snow removal. The township will need to decide which bridges if any will be constructed with sidewalks. Their decision is needed by August 6th.

The board’s initial feeling was to accept the sidewalks on the Union Deposit Road and the Route 22 bridges and to possibly contract out the snow removal work. Special equipment would probably be needed to avoid simply moving snow from the sidewalks onto the adjacent highway. Several alternate proposals will be prepared for the board’s consideration at their next meeting.

Grant Application An application will be prepared for state funding for two pieces of labor saving equipment needed at the township’s compost facility. Their compost screener needs to be replaced and they need a windrow turner. The initial application for $250,000.00 for the screener has a good chance of being granted but a follow-up application for the turner is less likely to be successful.

Meadowview Village At last month’s workshop session, representatives from the homeowners’ association requested permission to amend the land development plan to allow them to omit a low retaining wall behind several houses that was in the original plan but had never been constructed. The township engineer favored building the wall as a long term safety measure but agreed that without it the possibility of any future problem was very slim. Action on this item will be on the agenda for the next business meeting.

Contact Helpline This effort is to support the organization’s Dauphin County Local Share Grant application requesting funding to purchase new computers. The township supported the organization’s project last year and voted to do so again this year.

School Buses Complaints have been registered from a number of residents objecting to the continued parking of large school buses on residential streets, most typically between their morning and afternoon runs. The supervisors considered how best to word a possible ordinance restricting this practice. They agreed that the parking restriction would affect vehicles that are larger than a certain weight, that was registered to transport school students, and that are parked on township streets in residential zoning districts. An ordinance covering this will be prepared for possible action at the next business meeting.

Mowing Requirements The supervisors again discussed the provision in the township’s Property Maintenance Code that relates to the cutting of weeds and grass on large tracts of land that are adjacent to small lots. Currently large lot owners are not specifically required to mow areas adjacent to a small lot and the appeal is to revise the regulations somehow so that they are required to do so. It was suggested that this might be achieved by simply requiring the large lot owner as a minimum to mow the portion of the lot identified in the zoning ordinance as the building setback area in the particular zoning district. The supervisors agreed that this seemed to be a fair and clear way to resolve this matter and requested that an amendment to the regulations be prepared for action at the next board business meeting.

July 9, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP GREENWAY COMMITTEE MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher

Autumn Oaks Trail This paved trail in the McNaughton housing development at the northern end of Patton Road is half completed. It has good signage and will be extended as the rest of the development’s first phase is finished.

Mateer Field The township is working to possibly acquire this potential park site which has two playfields and is located adjacent to Oak Park Circle. None of the members of the organization that is the apparent owner of the property could be found. The township solicitor has now met with the unofficial caretaker to try to determine what would be required to legally transfer ownership. Without being able to find an actual deed it appears this may be somewhat difficult.

Oak Park Trail As noted previously, planning for this trail from Oak Park Circle to the Osteopathic Hospital could be stymied without a safe way for hikers to cross Locust Lane. A meeting has now been scheduled in September with a police safety officer to explore how this pedestrian crossing concern can be handled.

Brouchure Continuing work is being done by the committee to redesign the Walking Opportunities Guide brochure into a somewhat larger, more complete and easier to follow document. Printing cost for the brochure is in the township’s budget for next year.

Trail Walks Guided walks on park trails are scheduled for the first Sundays in September, October and November. The committee will be having periodic trail cleanup sessions during the fall.

New Map The township Sewer Department has created a new very detailed map of the area of Nyes Run along which the proposed trail would run. It shows the extent of the wetlands and the possible difficulties the planners of the trail will encounter. The feasibility study that will be paid for by a grant from the state will be completed next year.

July 15, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher

Sewer Project – Resolutions #14-9-1 through #14-9-4 These four resolutions are to authorize the condemnation of permanent and temporary easements for the connection of the Springford Village Development. The project involves the dismantling of the sewer line connection to the treatment plant. The resolutions were approved.

July 15, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING – Reported by Watson Fisher

Contact Helpline – Resolution #14-18 This resolution authorized the submission of a Dauphin County Local Share Grant application in support of the Contact Helpline organization toward the upgrading of their computer equipment. The board approved the resolution.

I-83 Project – Resolutions #14-19-1 through #14-19-07 These resolutions are responses to the PennDOT questions regarding sidewalks on or under the planned new bridges that will replace the existing ones spanning the widened interstate. The state will build the sidewalks if the township will agree to routinely clear them of snow every winter. The supervisors needed to address the question for each bridge separately.

On the new Union Deposit Road and Jonestown Road bridges over the interstate the supervisors voted to agree to plow the new sidewalks but at the Elmerton Avenue bridge they voted not to. For streets that will be under new bridges they voted to plow the sidewalks at Londonderry Road but voted not to at Locust Lane or at Megoulas Boulevard. The supervisors approved several recommended road changes that the state will need to make as a result of the project that will affect Revere Street and Hollywood Drive.

Median Break – Resolution #14-20 This resolution is to indicate to PennDOT the township’s support for the closure of the median break on Union Deposit Road between Scenery and East Park Drives and I-83. This is the best option if PennDOT won’t signalize the turns at this location. The supervisors voted to approve the resolution.

Grant Application – Resolution #14-21 This resolution is to authorize the submission of a grant application to the Department of Environmental Protection for funding to support the operation of the compost facility. If granted it would cover some of the $400,000.00 cost for two pieces of new equipment. Also if granted the township could then reapply for additional financial help for this matter in the future. The supervisors approved the resolution.

Vehicle Parking – Ordinance #14-04 This ordinance would amend the Property Maintenance Code to prohibit the parking of vehicles in the front yards of residential properties in the R-1, R-2 and Residential Cluster zoning districts. The enforcement of the provision is intended to be on a complaint basis only. The ordinance provision was approved.

Wolfersberger Park This Declaration of Covenants & Restrictions will provide DEP with assurance that when the township deposits clean fill from sewer project excavations on areas of the park that will become playfields, nothing will be done to disturb existing wetlands. The declaration was approved.

Meadowview Village – Subdivision Plan Amendment #04-22 Representatives from the development’s homeowners association proposed formal changes to the plan resulting from the developer and builders’ long term failure to complete the project. The three changes were to remove from the plan the pedestrian paths that were never built, to construct the two small parking lots that were on the plan but never built, and to revise the plan to include the planned retaining wall that was never built but to locate it farther away from the houses than originally shown. The changes as noted were approved.