SWAN Newsletter #21

December 18, 2007

LOWER PAXTIN TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Old Business

2008 Budget – Resolution 07-53 adopting the 2008 fiscal year budget was approved by a 5-0 vote. The budget included an increase in the real estate tax from the current .7 mills to .875 mills which is the first increase in many years. The supervisors worked months on the budget issue dealing with reduced revenues and increased expenditures and opted to make a modest increase this coming year to avoid a need to dip too deeply into the township’s reserve fund.

The township is required to adopt a balanced budget. Projections through 2012 suggested the possibility that a fiscal problem will arise requiring additional modest increases in later years to balance the budget. The increase of .175 mills represented a compromise between a minimum increase of .1 mill needed to balance the 2008 budget with a draw from the reserve fund and a larger increase of .3 mills to avoid a draw. It was indicated that a smaller increase would not be as hard a hit on the township’s homeowners now but would undoubtedly need to be followed with additional incremental increases in the not to distant future.

Labor Agreements – Agreements between the township and the AFSCME Public Works and Sewer collective bargaining units which had been previously negotiated were approved by a 5-0 vote. The agreements typically were for approximately 3% increases per year over the term of the agreement. The agreement with the Clerks and Custodians will be considered at the January meeting.

Appointment – Supervisor William Seeds, Sr. and Parks and Recreation Department director Brian Luetchford were appointed to be representatives to the Dauphin County Greenway Study Committee.

Nomination – Board of Supervisors chairman William Hawk was nominated to serve on the Dauphin Southwest Plan Development Section.

New Business

Easement – The granting of an easement from Lower Paxton Township to Verizon to provide service to the cellular telephone tower being constructed at the Public Works facility was approved.

Change Orders – Change Order #1 to the contract with Collinson, Inc. for guide rail replacement on Jonestown Road was approved. This is a no cost change order to extend the time for completion of the project by 2 weeks. Change Orders #1 and #2 to the contract with the Premier Construction Group for site improvements at George Park were approved. Change Order #1 was for the addition of a storm water inlet in the new parking lot at the park and Change Order #2 was for soffit, fascia, and gutters which did not come with the prefab pavilion but were found to be needed.

Subdivision and Land Development – Deaven Woods Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan #07-24. This plan is to subdivide the 35.7 acre parcel located on the east side of Deaven Road and north of Devonshire Heights Road zoned AR Agricultural Residential with an Open Space Development Overlay into 35 single family home lots and 2 open space lots. The Planning Commission recommended approval of this plan at their November meeting. The fire chief said the street layout of the long cul-de-sac could accommodate his equipment. The supervisors agreed that the storm water basin did not need to be fenced. The plan was approved by a 5-0 vote.

Pepsi Bottling Group Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan #07-23. This project involves a 170,000 square foot addition to an existing building on a 35 acre parcel at Briarsdale Road and Dana Court in the Union Square Industrial Park located on the west side of Interstate 83 and north of the Eisenhower Interchange. The parcel is zoned GI General Industrial. The existing building is a distribution warehouse and the addition will be soda bottling facility. The Planning Commission at their November meeting recommended approval of this project. All comments have been addressed. The supervisors approved this plan by a 5-0 vote.

______________________________________________________________________________

January 2, 2008

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Koons Park Pool – Chuck Barto representing the pool operating board presented a report on the physical and financial condition of the pool. The pool is on township land in the park but operates as a separate non-profit organization.

At a recent meeting the township supervisors postponed a decision to continue financial support of the pool until a status report could be made. Last year they made their normal $10,000 contribution to the pool’s operating budget and in addition made an emergency contribution of $7500 for a new deep well pump. Mr. Barto reported that the forty year old pool is “holding its own” realizing that there are ongoing concerns for the condition of the original underground copper piping and the structural integrity of the pool walls. It is their intention to continue to operate the pool as long as they can for the benefit of the community at large and for the many programs that use it which include learn to swim classes, life saving training classes, and 4 or 5 Day Care School groups.

The Parks and Rec Board recommended that in addition to the financial report they had prepared the pool operating board draw up a plan indicating how they would deal with an emergency situation should it arise. The P & R board would then be able to forward their recommendation to the supervisors for continued financial support of the pool. It was stated that some grant money is available for repairs to community recreational facilities and suggested that the pool board consider applying for such a grant.

Linglestown Football Association – The football field at Koons Park gets very heavy use by the 14 teams sharing the field and it is in need of repair. Bill Seeds, Jr., vice president of the association, stated that hard use has worn down the center of the field and it has been 10 years since it has been “crowned” to provide proper drainage.

The association has gotten 3 bids in the range of $12,000 to $14,000 for the adding of topsoil, seeding, etc.,and is looking for township approval to have the work done. They expect to do much of the work themselves this spring but of course would welcome any financial help from the township. The P & R board requested that they formalize their request with a need statement and the bid information for the P & R board to approve and send on to the supervisors for their action.

George Park Construction Update – Staff Liaison Brian Luetchford reported on the various projects under way at the park. The construction of the large pavilion is on schedule to be completed in the spring. The in-line hockey court is finished and ready for league play but all the operating details regarding teams, coaches, officials, fees, etc. remain to be resolved. Water lines to all the fields and buildings are ready to be installed. Bids will be received for the construction work at the main entrance drive. The PennDOT highway occupancy permit has yet to be received for this work.

Autumn Oaks Development Update – Several memos regarding the township requirements for recreation facilities in the development were presented and discussed. The township has determined that the proposal by McNaughton Homes does not comply with the Mandatory Recreation Dedication Ordinance. There is a difference of opinion between the McNaughtons and the township as to how many acres of dedicated recreation space is required.

The Planning Commission and the Supervisors have asked that the developer meet with the Parks and Rec Board to effect a solution which will most probably be a compromise. The solution would be expected to consist of the developer providing enough land and improvements for a small neighborhood park and a bicycle/pedestrian pathway with the development costs for these items being subtracted from the required fee-in-lieu to arrive at the balance to be paid to the township.

A special board meeting will be scheduled later in January specifically to try to resolve this issue without limiting meeting time needed for normal business matters. It was stated in passing that it appeared that McNaughton might be planning to sell the larger northern portion of the total tract referred to as Autumn Oaks Estates consisting of 177 acres zoned R-1 to Micki Molinari.

Park and Recreation Plan – Brian Luetchford presented his draft of the parks portion of the planned comprehensive “Lower Paxton Township Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan.” This document is being prepared in-house and when finished will evaluate and give direction to all aspects of existing and future recreation space and activities in the township. The parks section specifically covers requirements to be included in the SALDO ordinance to be issued in the near future. Board members were directed to review the draft in preparation for a discussion on it at a special meeting and to be ready to take action on it at the regular February meeting.

Greenway Plan and Committee – There has been a delay in distributing the completed plan to all the intended recipients including township boards, the school district, other municipalities, etc. Work is proceeding toward getting the necessary copies made.

Wolfersberger Tract – There has been a delay in the resolution of a proposed agreement between the township and the Capital Area Soccer Association regarding the possible sale of 50 of the 93 acres of this tract. The township is waiting for the association to get back to them on this matter.

Proposed Skateboard Facility – The skatepark envisioned for George Park is estimated to cost $550,000 of which $50,000 would be for engineering the facility. A community and economic development grant from Dauphin County was applied for and a $5000 grant was received. The high-quality skatepark is expected to be a regional facility serving south central Pennsylvania.

______________________________________________________________________________

January 3, 2008

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Reorganization – Jeff Staub was elected as the Chairman for the 2008 year, Sara Cate was elected as the Vice Chairman, and James Turner, Esq. was reappointed as the solicitor.

Rick Ingram – Docket No. SE 07-04. This application was for a special exception to continue the operation of a tree service as a major home occupation at 6106 Blue Valley Avenue in the township. The request was first made at the August 2007 board meeting after a neighbor complained that large items of equipment and uncut logs were stored around Mr. Ingram’s home in a development zoned residential. Mr. Ingram was told at that meeting that the trucks, trailers, other equipment and piles of uncut logs made it appear that he was operating a business out of his house which was not allowed by ordinance. He agreed to move the logs and the equipment to another location and a decision on the application was postponed.

The resumption of the hearing indicated that most of the logs and some of the equipment had been moved but a return visit to the property showed that it still appeared that the property was the location of an active business. A lengthy and at times heated discussion followed. Mr. Ingram stated that he had worked hard to improve the appearance of the property, was very busy with storm cleanup and other work, and intended to fully comply with the board’s previous request when he could.

A motion was made to grant the special exception conditional on his moving to another location within 30 days the uncut logs and the trucks and other equipment stored outside that are used for his tree service business. The motion was approved by a 5-0 vote.

Francis Purcell – Docket No. 1241. The applicant owns a thirty year old two story building identified as 5817 and 5819 Linglestown Road in which he plans to operate a video and arcade establishment for youth in the area. The small site on a dead end street contains the building with paved and impervious parking areas on three sides and virtually no building setback on the fourth side. The proposed commercial use of the building is a continuation of the permitted pre-existing non-conforming use but he needed to request variances from several parking regulations. The variances were approved by a 4-0 vote, the chairman abstaining due to a conflict of interest.

Bob Powley – Docket No. 1240. The proposed dinning room and kitchen addition to the Powley’s house at 133 South Arlington Avenue in the township will reduce the front yard setback from 25 to 21 feet. Mr. Powley explained that the addition will eliminate a deteriorating porch structure and improve the curb appeal of the house. The board agreed with the applicant and approved the request by a 5-0 vote.

_____________________________________________________________________________

January 7, 2008

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Reorganization Meeting

District Justice Lindsey administered the oath of office to recently reelected Supervisor David Blain. The election of officers for the 2008 calendar year included the reelection of William Hawk as Chairman of the Board, William Seeds, Sr. as Vice Chairman, and Gary Crissman as Secretary. Appointments for the year included George Wolfe as Manager, HRG as engineers, David Blain and Gary Crissman as Representative and Alternate to the Capital Area Tax Collection Bureau, William Seeds, Sr. and Matt Miller as Representative and Alternate to the Capital Region Council of Governments, and William Hawk and Gary Crissman as Voting Delegate and Alternate to the Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors State Convention.

The proposed schedule for board meetings for the year was approved including the change for the starting time of the board’s workshop sessions which are typically the second Tuesday of the month from 7:30 PM to 6:00 PM.

Business Meeting

Old Business

Resolution 08-01 appointing the accounting firm of Brown Schultz Sheridan & Fritz to audit the funds and accounts of the Township, the Friendship Center, and the Township Authority for the 2007 fiscal year was approved.

Ordinance 07-14 regarding the proposed zoning changes to the tract including the Sportsmen’s Golf Course was on the agenda for action but was not discussed. No reason was given for not considering this item at the meeting. .

The labor agreement between the township and the AFSCME Clerks and Custodians collective bargaining unit was approved. The provisions consist of a 5 year contract calling for approximately 3% increases each year. Similar agreements with the Public Works and the Sewer collective bargaining units were approved at the December 18, 2007 meeting.

Resolution 08-07 maintaining the administrative employee compensation program was approved. The provisions specifying salary increases for the various members of the administrative staff for the 2008 calendar year were reviewed by the Business Manager and recommended for approval.

New Business

Renewal of the Hutch Junk Yard License was approved for 2008.
Various used township vehicles and items of equipment had been put up for sale. The sale of each of the items to the highest bidder was approved. One item had received no bids and will be rebid.

Resolution 08-08 eliminating employee contributions to the police pension plan for the 2008 fiscal year was approved.

Subdivision and Land Development – Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan #07-26 for the office building addition at 2800 Commerce Drive recommended for approval by the Planning Commission at their December 2007 meeting was approved. Planning Modules for the Deluxe Motel Suites project, the Chelsey Falls project, and the Charleston Riding project were approved. The last two of these projects each has one existing house on the tract to be developed that will be required to have a sewer connection and the question was raised who would be responsible for the cost of those two connections. It was stated that this would be resolved when construction is begun. The acceptance of a declaration of consolidation of 6 previously subdivided lots addressed as 144 Beaver Road was approved. These lots in the Paxtonia Gardens development are all very small and the intent is to recombine them to allow the one house on the tract to be enlarged.

_____________________________________________________________________________

January 9, 2008

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Reorganization – The election of officers for 2008 consisted of reelecting Fredrick Lighty as Chairman and Ernst Gingrich as Vice Chairman. Meeting dates will continue to be the second Wednesday of each month at 7:00 PM.

Mr. Vinnie Cotrone, PA State Forester – Mr. Cotrone gave a presentation to the commissioners outlining new ways that are being used and proposed regarding how storm water runoff is managed. In urbanized watersheds where development has created more and more impervious surfaces, primarily streets and parking lots, the need for better methods of storm water management has increased greatly. Even the threat of flash flooding has increased. In addition to the need to slow storm water runoff, the increased problem of surface water carrying more harmful pollutants in the form of suspended solids needs to be recognized. Better ways of dealing with this water, which comes from roofs, factories, highways, and all the other impervious surfaces in cities and suburban developments, needs to be addressed. Too much of the pollutants in this water end up in creeks and streams.

Ideally, as much rainfall as possible should be absorbed by pervious surfaces, trees, and other vegetation. Efforts to build housing developments with more open space and finding better ways to manage storm water that does run off are the goals. Parking lots designed with integral storm water control devices that trap pollutants are proposed. Existing detention basins often are not properly designed to allow the maximum water absorption and filtration of pollutants. It was mentioned that detention basins in Lower Paxton Township are typically owned and maintained by a homeowners’ associations and are often neglected. The township has begun a program to monitor these basins.

Some of the “Best Management Practices” that were mentioned that have been developed as recommendations for improving storm water management are to greatly increase the planting of trees along streets and in parking areas, encourage building on smaller lots to create more open space, especially existing forested areas and waterway corridors, create small landscaped “rain gardens” on residential lots and in planting areas adjacent to large parking lots which will receive rain water from roofs and driveways before it runs into the storm sewers, omit curbs along some streets and roadways to allow rain water to go directly into the soil, and improve the design of detention basins to increase infiltration of storm water into the soil.

Carolyn Street (Lakeside Marina) – Rezoning Request The township staff initiated a request to rezone 6 contiguous parcels of land, including the land where the Lakeside Marina business is located, from R-1 Low Density Residential to CG Commercial General. The parcels are located north of Jonestown Road and east of the Colonial Commons Shopping Center and surround a small lake. They are under single ownership. They had been zoned commercial prior to the recent township wide rezoning effort when they were changed to residential recognizing the predominant existing land use in the area. The desire to rezone to commercial now was a result of a further evaluation of the existing commercial use and the large Hoffman Ford facility on the adjacent tract to the east.

The county review of the rezoning request recommended that the parcels on which the Lakeside Marina sits and those adjacent to Hoffman Ford be rezoned commercial and the others which are adjacent to the existing housing development remain residential. Many residents of the adjacent neighborhood spoke requesting that the county recommendation be followed instead of rezoning all the parcels commercial. The commissioners agreed and recommended approval of the partial rezoning.

4220 Linglestown Road – Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan #08-01 The subdivision request involves a 12.7 acre parcel of land to the north and west of the existing Sheetz store which is on the northwest corner of the intersection of Linglestown Road and Colonial Road. The plan shows the division of the tract into a 2 acre lot on the northeast corner of the tract facing Colonial Road and a 10.7 acre lot which is the remainder of the parcel.

The only concern that was raised was the fact that a fairly large portion of the parcel is delineated on the FEMA map as being within the 100 year flood plane. It was recognized that the map had not been updated since the Sheetz store was built and a fill permit was issued for this 12.7 acre parcel. A revised delineation will be required to correctly reflect the current flood plane and the commissioners tabled the application until this can be submitted.

__________________________________________________________________________

January 10, 2008

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Paxtonia Fire Company – The new engine that the company has decided to purchase will be ordered in a few weeks. The township will have to prepare a purchase order for this item of equipment.

2008 Budgets for SCEM and the three Fire Companies – Budgets for the South Central Emergency Medical Services, Inc. and the Colonial Park, the Linglestown, and the Paxtonia Fire Companies are in the process of being approved by the respective organizations. The SCEM budget, including the revised projected contribution by the township, was presented for review by the committee. The fire companies will submit lists of fire fighters and drivers to the township for workmen’s compensation and drivers’ license checks.

Open Vacancy – The Public Safety Committee has a vacancy to fill and it has received a list of ten applicants interested in serving on a township committee, four of whom identified the PSC as of particular interest. None of the applicants was known to any of the current committee members so it was decided to ask those four and one other one to attend the next meeting and be interviewed if they were interested in serving.

___________________________________________________________________________