SWAN Newsletter #28
July 24, 2008
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD
Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.
Sears Express/Valvoline Sign – Docket No. 1247 This request is to be permitted to add a wall sign on the Sears Auto Center building next to the Sears store at the Colonial Park Mall. The sign ordinance allows only two wall signs on a single tenant building and restricts the size of each sign to 32 square feet. The proposal is to add a third sign that would be 45 square feet in size. This sign would replace the one identifying Jiffy Lube with one identifying Valvoline as the oil Sears now uses.
On review of the submission it was unclear how many wall signs are presently on the building. From the photos submitted it appears that there could be as many as six. The board members had no problem with the addition of the Valvoline sign if some of the other signs were removed. The township does not have a record of the existing signs. The board voted to continue the application until Sears provided an inventory of the size and location of the existing wall signs.
South Central Emergency Medical Services, Inc. – Special Exception #08-02 The request is to be allowed to open an Emergency Service Station for South Central EMS at 1001 Peiffers Lane in a portion of a building owned by Nicholas Evanoff Company. This use is allowed by Special Exception in the CG Commercial General district.
South Central EMS has their present station on Poplar Street but they want one at this location to provide faster response time in the southwestern part of the township, which is currently producing high call volume. The station would be manned by two people and would house one ambulance. There is adequate parking at this location and this operation would not have any negative impact on the surrounding neighborhood. The Planning Commission had previously recommended that the Zoning Hearing Board approve this Special Exception and they voted to do so.
4300 Devonshire Road – Special Exception #08-03 This building is located on the northeast corner of the intersection of Devonshire and Colonial Roads. It was used as a medical office building, which was a non-conforming use in the R-1 Low Density Residential district. The request for a special exception is for it to be used to house a Day Care Center, which is not permitted in the R-1 zone and would also become a non-conforming use. The Planning Commission had recently voted to advise the Zoning Hearing Board that they found the traffic situation to be a serious problem but with the stipulation that traffic to and from the site be restricted to right in and right out they did not find the change in use objectionable.
The Zoning Hearing Board also expressed a major concern about the traffic situation at this very difficult intersection. Mr. Gary Grove, the applicant, who has had experience with other day care centers, stated that he thought this use would generate less traffic that the medical center had. The board felt strongly that this proposed use was not appropriate for this site and voted to deny the request.
August 5, 2008
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING
Attended by Darwin Aurand and Watson Fisher. Reported by Watson Fisher.
Public Comment Two residents of the Hodges Heights neighborhood expressed concern that the constant speeding of traffic on Conway Road near the township park is endangering the children playing in the area. The adjacent township compost facility generates a lot of traffic from trucks and from township residents in and out of the facility. There is a realignment project planned for Conway Road, which will include screening of the compost facility and the road from the park and the neighborhood, and a parking area for the park is planned. This project should help with the safety concerns. Truck traffic consists of township trucks and those from companies having contracts with the township. The township will notify them that they will be required to reduce their speeds in the area.
South Central EMS A new agreement between the township and South Central EMS to provide emergency medical services to the township residents had been previously approved by the EMS board. It calls for an increase in the township’s yearly contribution from $112,000 to $224,000 reflecting decreased subsidies from federal, state and local sources and the increase in fuel and other costs. The board had reviewed this matter at previous meetings with South Central representatives and reluctantly voted to approve the agreement.
General Obligation Bonds – Ordinance #08-10 This ordinance is to amend Ordinance #08-05 which was passed earlier in the year to have a legal agreement in place allowing the township to issue general obligation bonds in the amount up to $5,000,000 at some time in the future when needed and when the financial climate was favorable for such a move. Since then there has been a change in the company designated to be the underwriter for the issue and this requires an ordinance approving this change. It was stated that with the current upheaval in the financial markets this is definitely not the time for the township to consider issuing bonds. The ordinance authorizing the change in underwriters was approved.
Bids on Fuels Bids for vehicle fuels, gas and diesel, were opened on July 31st and staff recommended that the contract for the year be awarded to the low bidder, Petroleum Traders Corporation in the amount of $365,000, a small increase over the contract for the previous year. The board approved this award.
Sewer Connections – Resolution #08-34 This resolution is to authorize a procedure for the issuance of permits and the calculation of tapping fees for commercial sanitary sewer connections in Spring Creek, Beaver Creek, and Asylum Run. In 2006 a procedure for permits and tapping fees was approved for Paxton Creek and this procedure would be similar. These are for commercial connections only. It was noted that only a limited number of connections are allowed. The resolution was approved.
Land Purchase Dauphin County requested that the township consider purchasing a very small tract referred to as a “delinquent and dormant parcel of land identified as tax parcel 35-120-184.” The unusable land was left over from a housing development and was purchased by an adjacent property owner but taxes on it were never paid. Now the county suggests that the township buy it for a small price. Because there is no access to the land and it is not large enough to be usable the board voted to recommend to the county that the township not consider the purchase.
Autumn Oaks – Preliminary Subdivision Plan #07-21 This residential development by McNaughton Homes is located at the north end of Patton Road on a 133 acre tract zoned RC Residential Cluster. It will contain 203 units including single family homes, duplexes, villas and town homes. The plan was recommended for approval by the Planning Commission at their December 2007 meeting.
There has been a final resolution of the realignment of Patton Road matter and McNaughton will be building bike paths on both shoulders of Patton Road and a walking trail through the development. They will be making a fee-in-lieu payment to satisfy the rest of their recreation requirement. They agreed to make a contribution toward the installation of traffic signals at the intersection of Linglestown Road and Parkway West proportional to the percentage of the traffic at that intersection that this development will be generating. The board voted to approve the plan.
Estates at Autumn Oaks – Preliminary Subdivision Plan # 07-26 This development is adjacent to the Autumn Oaks development and is on a 177 acre tract zoned R-1 Low Density Residential. It will contain 91 single-family homes on one acre plus lots and an additional lot for a United Water Company water tank. The plan was recommended for approval by the Planning Commission at their June meeting.
Darwin Aurand from SWAN presented a letter from SWAN’s Chairman Eric Epstein expressing several concerns with the plan, primarily whether the development would increase the present water runoff problems for the properties in the adjacent Centennial Acres development. A group of neighbors documented their concerns and the request was made to postpone the vote on this plan until further investigation into the details of the storm water controls to be put in place in the new development can be made. The township engineer stated that the storm water management plan as presented meets all government requirements. The supervisors stated that they are legally required to take action on the plan by September 10. They stated that they could delay action until the first business meeting in September to allow time for the neighbors to meet with McNaughton and township officials to conduct a thorough review of the matter. The parties agreed to do this so a motion to delay action until no later than September 10 was approved.
Olympic Realty – Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan #08-05 This plan involves the simple subdivision of the property on the south side of Jonestown Road which contains the Home Depot store and Wendy’s restaurant into two separate properties, one for each business. The plan involves no new construction. The Planning Commission recommended approval of the plan at their April meeting. The supervisors voted to approve the subdivision.
August 6, 2008
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS & RECREATION BOARD MEETING
Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.
Linglestown Football Association Bill Seeds, Jr. representing the association made a follow up request for the township’s help in rehabilitating the football field at Koons Park. He said that the condition of the field was improved by work done recently but with 17 teams using the field it needs a more complete overhaul including recrowning, new topsoil and seeding after this year’s season is over. The cost estimate for this work is $23,200. The P & R board will have to decide whether or not to include a request for this project in their budget submission to the supervisors for next year. At the end of the meeting Parks and Recreation Department director Brian Luetchford indicated he felt the complete redo of the field was probably not necessary and that an annual topdressing and reseeding would most likely be adequate.
P.H.R. Baseball Association Representatives from the association presented a listing of proposed improvements to the 4 baseball fields at Brightbill Park. These included an addition to the existing storage shed, materials for new roofs on two of the dugouts, a concrete pad beside a dugout, and approximately ten new fence poles to replace those damaged by vandalism. They stated the association would provide labor and share in the costs if the township could help them. The board will consider this request.
George Park Skate Park The matter of signage regulations in all the parks has been brought to a head by the proposed fund raising efforts for the skate park, which would include corporate advertising. The P & R Board previously reviewed the sponsorship plan by the Central Penn Freedom Group, which is proposing the construction of the skate park. They decided that there is a need to establish a uniform policy for signage and they will discuss this with the supervisors at their up coming workshop meeting.
Fee in Lieu The township has a current balance of $226,866 in the fee-in-lieu fund representing payments from developers for recreation fees. Most of this will be spent on George Park with some probably going to Wolfersberger Park. The payments must be spent within 3 years of being collected or the developer can ask that they be returned.
Dog Park The board sent a memo to the supervisors recommending that a one-acre parcel at Lingle/Kohl Park be set-aside for the Lower Paxton Dog Park Committee to create a dog park. This location was selected after the P&R department and board surveyed all the parks in the township. The board discussed the possibility of trying to enlarge somewhat the one-acre space they designated at Lingle/Kohn Park and to look for additional space at one of the other parks, maybe at Wolfersberger Park. The dog park issue will be discussed at the supervisors’ upcoming workshop meeting.
Koons Park Pool The pool is open and operating but there remains a question regarding its long-term use considering its age and needed repairs. There was discussion about the desire to have a township community pool and the possibility of getting grant money to rebuild the existing pool or to build a new facility somewhere, maybe at Wolfersberger Park. It had been mentioned that the supervisors had indicated that they are not interested in running the existing pool. Also, the Koons Park fields get very heavy use and there is not adequate parking at the park proper. There is the possibility in the future of moving some of the activity to Wolfersberger Park. This would allow a reconfiguration of Koons Park to create more open park space and reduce the parking problem.
The township will have their purchase of the Wolfersberger Park property paid off in about two years. There has been no recent feedback from the Capital Area Soccer Association on the negotiations regarding possibly selling them a portion of that property for their soccer complex. CASA has hired a consultant and has stated they would be beginning a fund raising campaign to raise $6,000,000 to buy the land and build the complex. The township will need to consider how it wants to proceed regarding these two park properties.
Land Dedication A 4.62 acre parcel of land along Nyes Road near Union Deposit Road has been dedicated to the township and it can become a link in the proposed trail along this stretch as identified in the Greenway Plan. The PennDot project to rebuild Nyes Road will be starting soon but the road will not be wide enough to allow the trail to be built without adding adjacent land such as this along the creek. This piece of land is a first step in the development of a trail at this location.
Autumn Oaks A memo from Joel McNaughton to Township Manager George Wolfe stated that they now intend to build the 5 foot wide bike paths on both sides of Patton Road and the 8 foot wide stone dust walking trail through the neighborhood as originally requested by the Parks and Recreation Board consistent with the Greenway Plan. It was noted that this was the right thing for the developer to do but that it was not increasing his project cost since the added cost of this work would be deducted for the fee-in-lieu payment.
George Park The remainder of the construction work, primarily road and parking lot paving, will be completed before winter. The water line has been repaired but it is only a 2 inch line and it has not yet been tested to see if there is enough water pressure to use the toilets when the irrigation system is in operation. A booster pump may be needed. A FEMA surplus trailer has been purchased to serve as a police substation at the park.
Greenway Plan The final version on the plan has been received and will be circulated. The 5 proposed members of the reorganized Greenway Committee have been selected and the slate will be put before the supervisors for approval. They are Chris Johnson from the Parks & Rec Board, Roy Newsome from the Planning Commission, a member of the Shade Tree Commission, and two at large members, one of whom served on the original Greenway Committee.
The next board meeting will be held on September10th, the second Wednesday of the month instead of the first Wednesday.
August 12, 2008
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP (6:00 – 9:30 PM)
Attended by Watson Fisher and Ted Robertson. Reported by Ted Robertson.
Representatives of Enterprise Information Solutions presented an asset-tracking program for the Township’s 200 miles of roadways. This system analyzes the condition of the roadway, indicates the mode of repair needed, and provides an estimated cost of such a repair. If the system works as stated, it would benefit the Township Highway Department particularly in prioritizing and budgeting road repairs.
Brian Luetchford presented four subjects for the Supervisors tentative approval:
1.) Park & recreation presented their final selection of a dog park location. This would be a one-acre plot between the softball fields at Lingle & Kohl Parks. This was given tentative approval so that those involved could proceed with fund raising.
2.) Some minor additions were added to the stipulation for the construction of the Skate Park, which involved responsibility for the maintenance of logos and signs. Also the Freedom Group would have the discretion to reject donor funding.
3.) The selection of the Greenway Committee members was clarified.
4.) Safe Routes for School Children, a part of the Greenway Plan, would have State funds available. Application will be made for such a grant.
Four sketches were presented by John DeSanto and a design group for the proposed Bishop McDevitt facility at Page & Spring Creek Roads. They were looking for tentative approval so that they could move ahead with more detailed plans.
Paul Navarro, representing the owner of the property at 4320 Linglestown Road (behind Sheetz), was asking for a clarification of the flood plain delineation for this property.The Township Engineer suggested a note denoting the timing of the letter of map revision be attached to the subdivision plan prior to the submission of the land development plan.
The owner of the property at the North-East corner of Colonial and Devonshire Roads was asking for help with the zoning of this property. It is presently zoned R-1 with non-conforming use. Several suggestions were put forward by the Supervisors.
A representative from Laurel Ridge was again asking for a rezoning of the un-developed area from R-2-R3. Apparently a traffic study has indicated that up to 132 units could be sustained by present road conditions. This would be approximately 50 more units than R-2 would allow. Please see SWAN Newsletter #25; Eric Epstein’s letter to the Supervisors. The Supervisors indicated they would not favor such a change. The representative indicated the owner was going to go ahead with the request.
Mr. Shatto representing Koons Park Pool presented a financial situation at the pool, which showed a present deficit of $4,200. This will likely grow to $5,000 – $6,000 by the end of the year. He was asking for help from the Supervisors.
August 13, 2008
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.
Text Amendment, Section 306.B.1.(b) This text amendment involves a change to the regulation that allows some commercial uses in residential zoning districts, specifically regarding free standing communication towers in the R-1 Low Density Residential district. This change would allow such towers as a Special Exception when they are located with a Public Utility Substation and the amendment includes a legal definition of a Public Utility Substation. The commissioners recommended approval of this change.
Triple Crown – Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan #08-12 The subdivision plan proposes the addition of a residential lot to a tract located on the south side of Linglestown Road and west of Colonial Road. The Linglestown Road frontage portion of the tract is currently leased to the Bumble Bee Hollow golf driving range. The tract consists of 27.5 acres and is zoned CN Commercial Neighborhood, R-1 Low Density Residential, and R-2 Medium Density Residential. The preliminary plan for the Crown Center on this tract will be revised. This subdivision plan involves no new construction. The commissioners recommended approval of this plan.
Osteopathic Hospital – Preliminary/Final Subdivision & Land Development Plan #08-13 This combination subdivision and land development plan for the Community General Osteopathic Hospital includes the consolidation of three lots owned by the Pinnacle Health System into a single parcel and the construction of a 46,000 square foot two story and basement addition to the north side of the main hospital to include an oncology department, an imaging center and an expansion of the existing lab.
The proposed project also includes the construction of a separate 6000 square foot Utility Building, the demolition of the existing MRI building, and additional on site parking. The Planning Commission and the Supervisors had been briefed on this plan at previous meetings. Concern was expressed for traffic in the area and it was acknowledged that an additional traffic signal may be required as a result of the traffic study. Construction is expected to begin in a few months. The commissioners recommended approval of this plan.
Giant Food Stores, Fuel Island – Preliminary/Final land Development Plan #08-14 This project is located on the south side of Union Deposit Road at the Point Mall on the site of the former Denny’s Restaurant. At their May meeting the supervisors approved the request to allow a fuel dispensing station to be located on this site as a Conditional Use. The vehicular traffic of cars and fuel supply trucks was discussed and it was decided that cars should not be directed to the facility from the shopping center but only from Union Deposit Road and that the existing curb configuration at the entrance should be improved. The commissioners recommended approval of this plan with these minor changes.
Shadebrook This project is the first TND Traditional Neighborhood Development planned in the township under the new zoning designation. It will be located on a hundred acre tract on the north side of Union Deposit Road, south of Locust Lane and the Springford Village development and the Dauphin County Vo-Tech school, and is traversed by Fairmont Drive and Cider Press Road. The TND project is a compact residential village with a core commercial area containing stores, shops and offices.
A study was done which indicated that the amount of commercial space planned for the main street core of the project was too large to be financially feasible. As a result the plan of the core area has been revised to reduce the square footage of the planned commercial area including retail space and office space from 88,000 to 66,000. This was done by reducing the depth of the commercial buildings from 85 feet to 60 feet and slightly increasing the spaces between the two buildings on the north and on the south sides of the main street. These changes were done without violating any code requirements. Also, since it was determined that the retail portion of the commercial core would not be viable with only small mom and pop shops, the depth requirements for some national retail outlets were checked and all would work with 60 feet.
The purpose of this presentation to the Planning Commission was to have them determine if these changes to the previously approved plan were significant enough to require a resubmission of the entire plan. The commissioners determined that the revisions did not constitute a substantial change and ruled that the supervisors could approve the preliminary plan with the condition that the changes are shown on the master plan in the next approval phase.