SWAN Newsletter #34

February 3, 2009


Attended and reported by Ted Robertson.

A short Authority meeting was held prior to the regularly scheduled Supervisors meeting. The Authority unanimously approved resolution 09-01, a request for funding from the Commonwealth Financing Authority in the amount of 20 million dollars for the Lower Paxton Township sewer system.

February 3, 2009


(7:38 ñ 9:00 PM)

Attended by Watson Fisher, Ken Parmer, Cindy Storm, Jim Storm and Ted Robertson. Reported by Ted Robertson.

Under Old Business, the Supervisors approved the following people to serve on boards and committees:
•BillHornung ñ South Central EMS Board of Directors
•Ken Beard ñ Parks & Recreation Board
•Frank Mazarros ñ Recycling Committee

Under New Business, the Supervisors unanimously approved four change orders totaling $93,667 to the contract with Handwerk for George Park roadway improvements.

The Supervisors unanimously approved an agreement with the Capital Tax Collection Bureau to collect delinquent taxes for tax year 2008 and prior years.

Under Subdivision and Land Development, the Supervisors unanimously approved the preliminary/final land development plan for St. Margaret Mary Roman Catholic Church (08-18). Since the structure is in Susquehanna Township, only minor waivers were involved for Lower Paxton Township.

The final subdivision plan for the Estates of Autumn Oaks, Phase 1-A (08-21) was approved by a vote of 5 ñ 0. This involved Lot 92, the water tank lot at the Northeast corner of the property abutting Parkway West.

The final subdivision plan for the Estates of Autumn Oaks Phase 1-B (08-22) was approved unanimously. This involves 35 one-acre plus building lots and three detention basins. Centennial Acres residents had some questions concerning the waiver for driveway slopes from 10% to 15% and the verification of the proper construction of the detention basins. Joel McNaughton and the Supervisors resolved these questions.

February 4, 2009


Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

2009 Budget Parks & Recreation Director Brian Luetchford reported that the supervisors passed the final township budget for this year. All departments were required to make adjustments in order to arrive at a workable budget and for Parks & Recreation these included increasing fees for some playground programs, eliminating summer playground programs at two parks, reducing or postponing the purchasing of some supplies and equipment, and postponing some play field maintenance projects that had been scheduled for this year.

Butterfly Field Kathy Stewart explained that in a vacant field at the intersection of Union Deposit and Copperstone Roads she and others have established a monarch butterfly habitat and they conduct educational programs about butterflies and other insects. The field is covered in milkweed, which attracts butterflies until they migrate to Mexico. The 13-acre field is for sale and they were looking for financial help in buying it. The board supported their efforts but with the asking price of $500,000 for the field it advised them that they probably should be looking for lower cost alternatives such as a much smaller property where milkweed could be planted or even an unused hilly corner of existing parkland somewhere.

Dog Park Representatives from the Dog Park Association gave the board an update on the proposed facility at Lingle/Kohl Park. To date they have raised $5500 through the Foundation for Enhancing Communities and are waiting for final word on the grant from the Department of Community Economic Development for $10,300, which is the estimate for the materials to build the fence. They have several other fund raising efforts underway.

At a recent meeting the association said that their preferred name for the park was ìHappy Tails Dog Parkî and the board agreed to recommend that name to the supervisors. However the supervisors determined that they were not in agreement with that name and asked that the board consider other names. After reviewing additional names with the association members without agreeing on any the board voted to return their original choice to the supervisors.

Refund Policy The P&R staff has recommended a change to the variety of policies regarding the refunding of fees paid by individuals who register for programs and for various reasons decide not to attend and request a refund. The department has had a more liberal policy than many of the neighboring municipalities in this regard. Individuals would still get a full refund if they withdraw before the program starts but after that they would be entitled to a partial refund or none at all depending on the program, the time of withdrawal, and the circumstances. The Friendship Center Operating Board still needs to review the proposal. The P&R Board voted to recommend approval of the staffís suggested changes.

Ballfield Reservations The department sent a mailing to organizations and persons who had reserved and used fields in recent years and to ones that requested to be put on the list for them to put in their reservation requests for 2009. A few have already responded. The deadline for submitting applications is February 15.
Brightbill Park Mr. Luetchford advised the board that since the streambed at Brightbill Park is subject to erosion at some point in the future a stabilization project should be planned. Previously the township has had to enter into similar projects and they have been done with the help of state grants.

Park Planning At last monthís meeting they had discussed the continuing effort to finalize a report that the supervisors had requested regarding long range park planning. Mr. Luetchford stated that it is necessary for the township to have an approved Parks and Recreation Plan to be able to qualify for any state grants for park improvements. To expedite this the board had requested that he provide them with the recent planning documents that he had prepared.

He reviewed for them three documents. The first was a Recreation Planning Survey that compared facilities and their yearly usage related to population in LP with those in neighboring municipalities. The second was a draft of the proposed revisions to the Subdivision and Land Development Plan (SALDO) regarding dedication of land for recreation and fee in lieu payments. The third was a nearly completed draft of the Recreation Park and Open Space Plan that evaluates future options and objectives. It was agreed that when Mr. Luetchford updates this third document the board will review and approve it and it could become the required Parks and Recreation Plan. Beyond that as the planning process continues this document can be updated. It may then be necessary to consider hiring a professional planning consultant.

Mr. Luetchford also reviewed updated information he had received regarding the availability of state grants for project planning and construction. He presented a list of projects for consideration and suggested ones he felt were priorities. These included completing fields and other planned facilities at George Park and planning for Wolfersberger Park and Koons Park.

February 10, 2009


(6:00 ñ 8:00 PM)

Attended by Watson Fisher and Ted Robertson. Reported by Ted Robertson. Absent: Bill Hawk.

Chief Bair reviewed the results of the 2008 Citizens Survey of police services. The 3,363 responses almost doubled the numbers of responders in 2007. The results of the survey were generally very good including minority group responses. Chief Bair indicated that the Township is moving toward listing criminal action in the Township on the Townshipís web site. This may take a while.

High rates for towing services were discussed with the Supervisors. Chief Bair feels the rates for towing services where accidents are involved, as well as storage rates, are too high. Chief Bair will set up criteria, which may include AAA qualified towing services and putting the service out for bids.

The Supervisors had a discussion with Robert Grubic of HRG Inc. with regards to services provided as Township engineer. Areas covered were fee justification and cost over-runs on contracts. There was some concern about HRGís top management involvement in the review of Township contracts. It was interesting to note that HRG is now an employee owned corporation (ESOP).

Mr. Wolfe presented a mission statement proposed by the Greenway Committee. The Supervisors gave their approval to prepare a final statement for their approval at a future business meeting.

A recommendation from the Parks and Recreation Board to name the proposed dog park, ìHappy Tails Dog Parkî, was presented to the Supervisors by Mr. Wolfe. The Supervisors approved the proposal and asked that it be submitted for formal approval at a future business meeting.

The 2009 budgets for the three fire companies and South Central EMS were presented for review. Some details need to be checked before presentation for final approval.

David Blain gave a brief explanation of the steps necessary for the Township to take for implementation of Act 32, which essentially moves municipalities toward countywide collection of the Earned Income Tax (EIT). Mr. Blain was appointed as the Townshipís representative to the County Tax Collection Committee.

February 11, 2009


Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Old Business

Allentown Boulevard Hotel – Preliminary/Final Subdivision & Land Development Plan #08-20 This plan was tabled at the request of the applicant.

New Business

Devonshire Memorial Church – Preliminary/Final Subdivision & Land Development Plan #09-03 This plan was tabled at the request of the applicant.

Car Wash located at 1282 North Mountain Road – Special Exception #09-01 Triple Crown Corporation is planning to build a car wash facility on the lot at 1282 North Mountain Road. The property is zoned CN Commercial Neighborhood. A car wash was previously not allowed in that zone but a recent zoning change now allows it but only by a Special Exception that needs to be approved by the Zoning Hearing Board.

A hearing by that board on the matter is scheduled for February 26, 2009. If the Special Exception is approved a Land Development Plan will then be submitted for township action. After review of the project the commissioners voted to advise the Zoning Hearing Board that they found the request for a Special Exception to be unobjectionable.

Bishop McDevitt High School – Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan #09-02 The new high school will be located on an 86 acre tract located on both sides of Spring Creek Road west of Page Road. The tract is zoned R-C Residential Cluster. The plan as presented showed a building designed for 900 students with parking areas and athletic fields including a football stadium.

The only serious concern the commissioners expressed was for the proposed permanent closing of Spring Creek Road to through traffic. The intent is to have all school related traffic enter and exit the site on Spring Creek Road to Page Road. The plan includes installing traffic signals and widening the road at the Page Road intersection. The applicant wishes to make a request to vacate a portion of Spring Creek Road to eliminate traffic through the school site. This would create a dead end for all vehicles traveling west on Spring Creek Road. The vacated portion of Spring Creek Road would be owned and maintained by the diocese. The roadway itself would remain but would be closed by barricades and available for use by emergency vehicles only.
The commissionersí concern was the impact on traffic in the area if Spring Creek Road was interrupted. A traffic study done in 2008 recorded a daily weekday traffic count on the road at 824 trips. The commissioners requested other traffic related information that was not readily available from the detailed study. Several other code questions including required buffers along portions of the perimeter of the tract and compliance with some parking requirements also needed further review. The commissioners voted to table action on this large project to allow the applicant time to provide additional information on the remaining items in question.

February 12, 2009


(7:00 ñ 8:30 PM)

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

Under Community Development Codes, a complaint was received by the Committee concerning confusing street names; Sweetbriar Drive and Sweetbriar Terrace. The emergency responders present indicated they had no problems so long as dispatch gives the proper name. The Committee opted to let Codes Enforcement contact the complainant to determine if a street name change is being suggested. The complainant will be advised what steps are necessary to effect such a change.

Under Old Business, the sub-committees reported as follows:
1.A draft mission statement was distributed. In the ensuing discussion several changes were made. Since some committee members were absent, it was decided to distribute the revised mission statement to all members for further discussion at next monthís meeting.
2.Information is being gathered for a Model Fire Suppression Ordinance.
3.The Fire Services Study provided some very pertinent discussion concerning the future of the Volunteer Fire Company, as we now know it. A Fire Administrator from Center County, which services a population of 82,000 including PA State University, gave an excellent presentation for the Committee to digest. Fire Chief Ben Shields has been pushing for movement toward hiring a Fire Administrator. The gentleman from Center County stressed two points:
•Do what is ever necessary to retain the volunteer fire company. Statewide average salary plus benefits is $53,000/year for paid fire fighters.
•It is difficult to get past the ìownershipî concept of the individual fire companies. The Fire Chiefs are being overwhelmed by duties concerning the business/financial requirements of running a fire company in a growing community.
4.A Truss Marking Ordinance from New Jersey has been reviewed and revised by
sub-committee. This will be reviewed by the fire chiefs for comment at the next


Under New Business, the consensus of the Committee was to revise the ordinance concerning maintenance costs on equipment to review unusual equipment costs on a case-by-case basis.

February 17, 2009


(7:30 ñ 7:35 PM)

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

There was a brief Authority Board meeting prior to the regular Township Supervisors meeting. The Authority voted 5 ñ 0 to approve the application for Penn Vest funds in the amount of $15,630,000 in Resolution 09-02. This is for the second phase of improvements to the Beaver Creek, Paxton Creek and Asylum Run systems.

February 17, 2009


(7:40 ñ 8:40 PM)

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

Under Old Business, Resolution 09-07 approving the mission statement, goals and objectives of the Greenway Committee was approved 5 ñ 0.

Resolution 09-08 appointing David Blain to the Act 32 countywide Earned Income Tax Committee was approved unanimously.

Resolution 09-09 naming the Happy Tails Dog Park located in Kohl Memorial Park was approved 5 ñ 0.

Under New Business, concerning Sub-division and Land Development, the revision of the phasing plan for the Estates of Autumn Oaks was approved 5 ñ 0. This involves compressing the original four phases into three phases and moving the completion date up from 2014 to 2013.

The final subdivision plan for Autumn Oaks Phase 1 (08-15) was approved 5 ñ 0, with minor changes to the sequence of recreation fees paid in lieu of.

February 23, 2009


Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

In April of 2008 the Planning Commission began to consider the possibility of creating a Business Improvement District (BID) in the township. The township can create such a district under state law to provide improvements in a specific business area. The improvements would be funded by assessments of the businesses in the area. Such improvements could include beautification, traffic control, and promotional advertising. The requirements of the law include the development of a complete improvement plan, at least one public hearing, and the creation of a formal management association.

The Planning Commission held four special meetings during 2008 to study the matter and develop a recommendation for the supervisors. At an October meeting the commissioners made a presentation to the supervisors for the development of such a district along Route 22 from Colonial Road east to just beyond Mountain Road. The supervisors approved the effort and directed the Planning Commission to proceed with the project.

This latest meeting involved deciding how best to proceed with the project. It was agreed that efforts would be made to solicit advice from several individuals known to have expertise with the law regulating BIDís and in the successful implementation of projects covered by that law. Similar districts have been created in Harrisburg, Reading and State College.

The law requires that a detailed preliminary plan be prepared including a description of the proposed district, a list of all properties in the district, the proposed improvements, a proposed budget, the proposed revenue sources, a formula for determining the assessment fee to be levied on the property owners, a written agreement between the township and the management association which will be created to direct the project, an estimated time for completion of the improvements, etc.

A map had been prepared by staff indicating every property in the proposed district. This map needs to be updated and finalized. Also information needs to be developed on every parcel in the district identifying the owner and how to contact him, the parcel size, and the type of business occupying the parcel. This is important so that the owner of every parcel can be invited to the required public hearing.

The property list will also be used to identify the largest property owners. It is planned that first an informal meeting will be held with those ìstakeholdersî to discuss their thoughts on possible improvements after which the public meeting will be held where all property owners will be invited to attend and become involved. After that meeting property owners may formally file objections to the project and if 40% of the property owners do so the project by law cannot proceed.
The commissioners plan to also review a previous Penndot traffic study of Route 22 which indicated possible traffic improvements to the road in the township. The commissioners will hold workshop meetings on this entire matter during the next three months to finalize the process leading up to the informal meeting with the stakeholders and to the required public meeting.

February 24, 2009


Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

At the annual reorganization meeting for 2009 William Hawk was elected chairman, William Seeds vice chairman, Gary Crissman secretary, and David Blain treasurer and assistant secretary. Steven Stine was appointed solicitor and CET Engineering Services was appointed authority engineer. Quarterly meetings were scheduled for February, May, August and November.

At the regular business meeting the authority approved CETís contract as authority engineer for the coming year. Under new business Resolution 09-03 was approved re-establishing the rules and regulations for sump pump certification. This includes the requirement that when a house is sold a sump pump that is connected to the sanitary sewer must be permanently disconnected. Draft amendments to the Authority By Laws, which included some minor updates, were discussed. Action on these will be taken after the revisions are finalized.

The following reports from the staff and the engineer for review by the authority were discussed. These items required no formal action at this time.

The H20 PA Act grant application to the Commonwealth Financing Authority for Second Consent Decree sanitary sewer projects has been submitted. This is a request for a $20 million grant toward a total project cost of $32 million to rehab a portion of the townshipís sewer system. The project has a completion date of 2013. This application is one of 800 that have been received. At the present time bonds have not been sold to fund any grants. A decision on the awarding of these grants is expected in May.

The PENNVEST grant application for Second Consent Decree sanitary sewer projects was submitted. It was one of 200 that have been received. The application has been reviewed and an email notice covering eleven items that need to be responded to have been received. Work done with this grant money, which is part of the stimulus package, must start in 120 days.

Future borrowing needs of the authority relating to these sewer projects were discussed. The needs and their timing will depend on the results of the grant applications and the possibility of coordinating some sewer projects with Swatara and/or West Hanover Townships.

A possible problem in Wilshire Estates regarding minimum slopes of sewer lines being installed in new houses was mentioned. Staff will do field work to assess the situation.

The proposed sewer line from the planned new Bishop McDevitt High School was reviewed. The engineers for the school project propose to obtain an easement across adjacent private property to the west of the school property to construct a private lateral from the building to the closest township sewer manhole. The township staff feels that it might be wise to consider the possibility that a future housing development on the adjacent land would then require a second line. They felt that the size and location of the proposed line should take that into consideration whether it is a private or a public line.
At the annual meeting with the Swatara Township Authority they will review the bids for the treatment plant upgrade, discuss the status of the third amendment of the sewer agreement, and review the possible purchase of sewer capacity from West Hanover Township. The staff will develop a report outlining the pros and cons of a sewer capacity purchase at this time for discussion at the next meeting.

Under engineersí reports staff said that the roof drains on the Colonial Park Mall complex that were found to be discharging into the sanitary sewer line will be disconnected. Staff also reported that the Beaver Creek Pumping Station improvement project has been successfully completed.

February 26, 2009


(7:00 ñ 8:15 PM)

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

A reorganization meeting was held prior to the regular meeting. Jeff Staub was elected chairman and Sara Jane Cate was elected vice-chairman.

Special Exception 09-01 to operate a car wash in a Commercial Neighborhood (CN) at 1208 North Mountain Road was granted by a 5 ñ 0 vote. This property is owned by Triple Crown and a land development plan will have to be submitted for final approval.