SWAN Newsletter #33

January 5, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING

(7:35 ñ8:20 PM)

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

The first order of business was the annual reorganization meeting. The Board of Supervisors and the appointed committees and Staff remain the same as in 2008.

Under Old Business, Resolution 09 ñ 01 was adopted by a vote of 5-0. The Accounting Firm of Brown, Schultz, Sheridan & Fritz was appointed to audit the funds and accounts of the Township for the fiscal year of 2008.

Under New Business, a public hearing was held on Ordinance 08 – 17, which involved the rezoning of property located at 4300 Devonshire Road (Dr. Papandreaís property), from R-1 to Business Campus. Sandy Prahl, representing the Sheeseley Properties had some questions concerning the property lines and adequate set backs of some items on the property to be rezoned. The Supervisors voted 4-1 to approve the re-zoning. Supervisor Crissman voted ìnoî.

The annual Hutch Junk Yard license renewal was approved 5-0. (6801 Blue Ridge Avenue)

Resolution 09 ñ03, the elimination of employee contributions to the police pension plan, was approved 5-0. This is another item which must be voted on annually.

January 7, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP GREENWAY COMMITTEE MEETING

Attended by Eric Bucher and Watson Fisher. Reported by Watson Fisher.

Mission Statement Parks and Recreation Department Director Brian Luetchford presented the revised draft of the committeeís Mission Statement, which includes a list of short term and long term goals of the committee and a list of projects, which they plan to monitor. The statement has been refined several times since the formal reorganization of the committee and it is finally condensed into a one-page document. After discussion the committee officially approved it for presentation to the Parks and Rec Board and from there to the Supervisors for their approval.

SALDO Review The revision to the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO) is nearing completion and a part of that revision is the section entitled Dedication of Recreation Land and Fee Requirements. A final draft of this section, as prepared by Mr. Luetchford and his staff, was presented for the committeeís review. The main change is the requirement that a land developer must donate the required amount of usable land for recreation instead of his being allowed the option to pay a given fee in lieu of dedicating the land. The mandated land donation could be changed to a fee in lieu at the discretion of the township for small developments or if no land suitable for recreation purposes is available. The revision also changes the requirement for the amount of land to be donated and it contains a revised formula for calculating the fee in lieu of land dedication. The revised section also acknowledges that appropriate credit will be given to developers for land donated for walkways and bikeways consistent with the goals of the Greenway Plan.

Safe Routes to School Project A grant application was made to Penndot for funding under this project for the addition of safe walkways in the area of the township where the CD East Middle and High School, CD Middle School, and Southside and Phillips Elementary Schools are located. There has been no response to the application and a follow up letter will be written.

Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative At last monthís meeting there was a discussion about the need to build sidewalks in many areas of the township where pedestrian movement between neighboring developments, schools, and commercial areas would be possible if there were sidewalks. Mr. Luetchford decided to make an initial grant application for funds to build a portion of the needed sidewalks to the Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative. This is a large federal program for civic improvements, which will be administered by Penndot. The application was for $800,000, which he estimated, would fund approximately a third of the needed sidewalks. He hopes to hear back from Penndot in the next few months that the application is being considered, at which time more detailed information will be required.

January 7, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS & RECREATION BOARD MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Election of Officers The board reelected Robert MacIntyre as Chairman, Ken Beard as Vice Chairman, and Mary Jane Hornung as Secretary.

Flag Football League This was the second year for the Flag Football League. There were eight teams, four made up of township residents and four of non-residents. The intent is to continue to have this league next year as well as possibly starting other leagues including one for sand volleyball.

Dog Park The Dog Park Association, which plans to build their facility at Lingle/Kohl Park, has set a fund raising goal of $20,000. They have applied for a $10,000 grant and have fund raising activities underway in the community. Karns Markets has donated $500 and the Pennsylvania Conservation Corps. has offered to install the fence. The association has decided on the name ìHappy Tailsî for the park and the board voted to approve their choice. If the association feels there is a need in the future to expand the area of the park the P&R Department offered to possibly relocate the existing sand volleyball court to a currently unused area of the park.

George Park Road work at the Nyes Road entrance drive will be completed soon. Handwerk Contractors had to replace several storm water inlets which were not the ones specified. Funds for almost all of the other remaining small work items are now available. The grant that had been requested for the skate park has been denied and there was no update on the ongoing fund raising efforts of the Central PA Freedom Group. HRG engineers had begun design work for the skate park within the last several months. There had been a proposal presented to redo a portion of the childrenís playhouse at Possibility Place where there is a hidden area that is difficult to visually monitor. This proposal remains on hold.

Greenway Committee Parks & Recreation Department Director Brian Luetchford reported on the Greenway Committeeís meeting earlier in the evening where the committeeís mission statement and the section of the SALDO that was revised were approved. The grant application for funds to build sidewalks at some of the locations shown on the Greenway Plan was discussed.

Park Planning At last monthís meeting Mr. Luetchford reported that the supervisors had requested that the P&R Board initiate a study of the townshipís park facilities leading to the development of a plan for the future of the park system. The P&R board agreed to do this and suggested that a portion of periodic future meetings be set-aside for this purpose.
Mr. Luetchford reviewed a list of items that needed to be addressed by the study and to be considered in preparing the study. These included, in no special order, the future use of the Wolfersberger Park land which will be paid off in less than two years, a review of the status and usage of all the existing parks, a comparison of the park space and facilities of the LP park system with other townshipsí systems, the need for additional parkland, the use of advertising in the parks to enhance revenues and the regulations regarding same, and what requests from the public for additional space and programs have been made.

Mr. MacIntyre stressed that the study needed to be thorough to put the P&R board in a strong position to make recommendations and to support requests of the supervisors. Without a complete plan indicating that the board has carefully analyzed the future park needs the supervisors may think no additional facilities are needed. He also suggested that meetings in the community would be needed to help evaluate what the residents feel should be done in the future.

The department has information they have developed documenting the existing park facilities and the amounts of their current usage. Mr. Luetchford will provide the board with this material at the next meeting to give them a starting point for the development of the study.

January 8, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MEETING

(7:00 ñ 8:20 PM)

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

The reorganization meeting was held with the same slate of officers installed for 2009.

Under Old Business, three sub-committees were established to determine a mission statement, a model fire suppression ordinance, and a fire services study. These recommendations will be submitted to the Committee and then to the Supervisors for action.

A resolution was passed to have the Committee meet monthly in 2009.

The Committee will meet with the Supervisors at the Board Workshop January 13, 2009 to discuss outstanding issues, Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP), and re-painting cost (second time) for one of Colonial Parks pieces of equipment.

Under New Business, the Fire Departments and EMS were asked to finish submission of budgets and personnel rosters.

A sample of a truss marker was presented in connection with a proposal to mark those buildings using lightweight trusses for construction. An ordinance will be forthcoming.

January 13, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY BOARD MEETING

(6:00 ñ 6:20 PM)

Attended by Watson Fisher and Ted Robertson. Reported by Ted Robertson. Absent ñ Bill Hornung.

The Authority took action on the following by votes of 4-0:
•An agreement with Triple Crown Corporation for out of pocket expenses relating to condemnation of a sewer easement.
•An agreement with Molinari & Greenberg, LLC for out of pocket expenses relating to condemnation of a sewer easement.
•The authorization of Solicitor Steve to appeal the South Hanover Zoning Hearing Board decision for the Wet Weather Treatment Facility.

January 13, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION

(6:30 ñ 11:00 PM)

Attended by Watson Fisher and Ted Robertson. Reported by Ted Robertson. Absent ñ Bill Hornung.

Proposals were heard from three groups of consultants proposing to assist efforts in obtaining grants or loans to fund the sanitary sewer projects. The groups were:
1.The Delta Group
2.Rick Bowen
3.The McCullough Group

Comment: It was disturbing to note that politics plays a significant role in determining which municipality gets the grants or loans.

After a discussion concerning the Townshipís investment in bonds to cover the Townshipís ongoing debt, the Supervisors voted 4-0 to take on a new underwriting firm represented by Mike Bova.

The discussion with the Public Safety Committee generally covered the items presented in the report on the Public Safety Committee meeting January 8, 2009. The sub-committees formed at that meeting will have a report ready for the Supervisors by the end of March concerning the following:
1.Mission Statement
2.Model Fire Suppression Ordinance
3.Fire Services Study

The Township will try to come up with a better definition of maintenance costs on big-ticket items pertaining to the capital fund for dedicated fire equipment. The item that triggered this was a $28,000 estimate to repaint a piece of equipment, which was not done properly when new. The Township Fire Departmentís do not have the financial resources to cover large expense items.

This item led to a discussion of the Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) and the tie into the Fire Equipment Capital Funding Program. LOSAP was set up with input from all three Fire Companies, Lower Paxton Township Staff, and an actuary. It was determined that $50,000/year would be taken from the $250,000 annual Fire Equipment Capital Fund to fund the LOSAP program. All parameters determining participation were set up with the help of the actuary. This program was only made possible by the recent passing of State legislation. Apparently there was a breakdown in communications within the Fire Departments, since those officers attending this meeting were not aware of the details of the program. The program is on hold until all three Fire Companies can come to an agreement on an acceptable plan.

It should be noted that any changes in participation criteria would have to result in a new actuarial review, which cost money. There were some attending who objected to taking LOSAP funds out of the capital program. Stay tunedÖ

January 14, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING

Attended by Darwin Aurand and Watson Fisher. Reported by Watson Fisher.

Reorganizational Meeting The commissioners voted for 2009 to retain Fred Lighty as Chairman, Ernst Gingrich as Vice Chairman, and Dennis Guise as Secretary. Commission meetings in 2009 will continue to be held on the second Wednesday of each month at 7:00 pm except for the March meeting which will be on Thursday the 12th and the November meeting which will also be on Thursday the 12th. Meetings for the continuing work on the Business Improvement District (BID) project will be held on Monday February 23rd and on the fourth Monday in March, April and May, all beginning at 5:00pm.

New Business

St. Margaret Mary Roman Catholic Church – Final Land Development Plan #08-18 This project is to build a new 800 seat church on land at the northwest corner of Paxton Church Road and Crums Mill Road. The building and all the site and road improvements will be in Susquehanna Township. The small portion of the site that is in Lower Paxton Township will not be disturbed during this project. The application includes a request to waive the requirement for sidewalks on Paxton Church and Crums Mill Roads. The commissioners voted to recommend approval of the plan.

Proposed 3-Story Hotel Addition to the Quality Inn, 200 North Mountain Road – Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan #08-19 This project is an addition to the hotel located on a 2.99 acre lot on the northwest corner of North Mountain Road and Ridgeview Drive which is zoned CG Commercial General. It will consist of a 3 story 28 room addition to the rear of the existing hotel and will include a swimming pool. A similar project had been submitted and approved twenty years ago but was not built. The fire department will review the plan to ensure that there is sufficient turning room for emergency equipment. The commissioners voted to recommend approval of the plan.

Allentown Boulevard Hotel – Preliminary/Final Subdivision and Land Development Plan #08-20 The site for this new hotel is behind the existing Holiday Inn Express on the north side of Allentown Boulevard just to the west of the North Mountain Road intersection. The subdivision part of the submission is to combine three parcels of land into one lot. The three parcels totaling 5.33 acres are all owned by the Hersha Group. The three parcels are the lot at the corner of Allentown Boulevard and North Mountain Road which is the site of the still to be completed restaurant and office building identified as the Keystone Center, the adjacent lot to the west occupied by the existing Holiday Inn Express, and a parcel behind that hotel which extends to Stradford Drive and which is the site of the new hotel.
The project involves the construction of a separate 3 story 81 room hotel behind the existing Holiday Inn Express with access only from Allentown Boulevard by way of the existing entrance drive. The applicant was not sure at this early stage if a traffic study and/or Penndot approval was required. With the consolidation of the three lots into one the commissioners stated that their approval as it would relate to parking and sidewalk requirements would need to involve the entire three building complex. The applicant agreed that the plan was not ready for action and the commissioners voted to table the project.

Estates of Autumn Oaks, Phase 1-A (Water Tank Lot) – Final Subdivision Plan #08-21 This subdivision plan is to create a separate lot identified as lot #92 for a large water storage tank to be built by United Water. The lot is 3.17 acres and is at the northeastern corner of the development. The plan involves no construction. The commissioners voted to recommend approval of this plan.

Estates of Autumn Oaks, Phase 1-B – Final Subdivision Plan #08-20 This development will consist of 91 single family homes to be built on a 177 acre tract at the north end of Colonial Road north of Centennial Acres. It will be built in 3 phases and this submission involves the first phase, which will consist of 35 single-family houses each on a lot of over one acre. Water for these homes will be supplied from wells until municipal water is available. The developer was reminded that a homeownersí association agreement would be needed for final approval of this subdivision plan by the supervisors. The commissioners voted to recommend approval of this plan.

January 20, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING

(5:00 ñ 5:35 PM)

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

Absent: Bill Hornung and Bill Seeds.

The Oath of Office was given to Police Officer Brian Walters after which Chief Bair held a ceremony for the promotion of four Police Officers.

Under Old Business, Resolution 09 ñ 07 was approved by a vote of 3-0. to appoint the McCullough Group to apply for State water and sewer funding.

Resolution 09 ñ 05 and 09 ñ 06 were approved by a vote of 3 ñ 0. These resolutions involve Penn DOT permits for traffic signal facilities and maintenance of those facilities at the intersection of Nyes Road and Locust Lane.

Under New Business, David Blain was appointed Assistant Secretary by a vote of 3-0.

A Cooperative Agreement with the Dauphin County Chiefs of Police for preliminary eligibility examination for police officers was approved by a vote of 3-0.

January 29, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING

(7:00 ñ 8:20 PM)

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

The Board approved a variance request by the Parmer Family Foundation, Inc. for a property North of Locust Lane and West of Fairmount Drive by a vote of 3-1. This parcel is 35.89 acres with approximately 24 acres available for development. It is zoned Residential Cluster (RC) with a density allowed of 2 units per acre. The variance request proposes the construction of 90 single-family detached buildings and 60 one and two bedroom studio style residences. This amounts to 4.2 units or 6.2 units per acre, depending on which of the above acreage criteria is used.

The Foundations intent is to provide low cost housing in this age-restricted community. One of the reasons for the variance application was ìeconomy of sizeî in order to get the cost of the units into an ìacceptableî range.

Comment: In the writerís opinion, the reasons presented for this variance application were weak at best. Does this sound familiar?