SWAN Newsletter #35

March 3, 2009


(7:35 –7:55 PM)

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

Under Old Business, the Fire Equipment Capital Plan was amended under Resolution 09-11 to include extraordinary repairs to equipment. Such repairs will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Under New Business, change order #3 for the Earl Drive Interceptor Replacement Contract was approved by a vote of 5 – 0. This was for a reduction of $100,977.00 on a million dollar plus contract. (Good news for a change.)

Under Subdivision and Land Development, Resolution 09-10 was approved by a vote of 5 – 0. This is a change order for the Planning Module for the Towns at Crums Mill, which should reduce the cost of the project.

March 4, 2009


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

Darlington Trail The only agenda item was a discussion about the possibility of developing a portion of the Darlington Trail into a Greenway Off-Road Trail. The portion of the Darlington Trail that is in Lower Paxton Township runs along the very top of Blue Mountain from the township’s Hocker Park located on Blue Mountain Parkway west one mile to the power line that runs over the mountain and to the Boyd’s Big Tree Conservation Area and then another mile to the Susquehanna Township line. The trail in this area is 100 years old and was the original Appalachian Trail. That portion of the Appalachian Trail was relocated north to Peters Mountain some sixty years ago.

Parks and Recreation Department Director Brian Luetchford presented a land survey of the area prepared recently by HRG Engineers showing the various parcels of land in the township that the Darlington Trail goes through. About a third of the trail in the township goes through three private parcels near Hocker Park and the rest of it goes through parcels that are owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

The trail is basically in good condition and is used by hikers although there are no formal agreements with the owners for its use by the public. It is closed to motorized vehicles. The Greenway Plan had identified this stretch as a part of the overall master plan for various types of trails in the township. This trail would be a walking trail only and because it is relatively flat, a portion of it could be accessible for handicapped users. The committee considered this as one of the possible early Greenway projects that could be done at moderate cost since it would involve improvements to an existing mountain path.

Mr. Luetchford had received detailed information from the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy regarding the law and procedures for obtaining Trail Easements from landowners to allow a trail on private land to be built and maintained. The first step will be to approach the three private landowners informally to see if they would be willing to execute an easement to allow trail improvements to be made through their mountain land. Contact will also be made with the Susquehanna Trails Group, which indicated a possible interest in maintaining the trail. These steps will be done prior to the next meeting. During their April committee meeting, they will walk a portion of the trail to evaluate what improvements would be required.

4 March 2009


Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Township Park Plan Parks & Recreation Department Director Brian Luetchford presented an updated Park Plan that documents the rules and regulations covering the operations of the township’s parks system. The revision to the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO) is almost ready for approval by the supervisors and in order to legally adopt the SALDO it is necessary to have an approved Park Plan in effect. This document has been in development for some time and, though necessary changes can be made as time goes on, it has now been completed and is ready for formal approval. The board voted to recommend to the supervisors that they approve the plan.

Butterfly Habitat At the previous meeting several citizens who had developed a butterfly habitat in a vacant field in the township suggested that the field be purchased to avoid the habitat from being lost. The board formally responded to them that while their effort was very admirable the purchase of the field was well beyond the means of the township. The board suggested that they look at other options and offered the fact that there were areas of existing park space that were unusable because of topography or other conditions which might be available should the existing field be sold and developed.

Dog Park Rules Representatives of the Dog Park Association presented their proposed list of rules for the use of the dog park that is going to be created this spring at Lingle/Kohl Park. The fourteen rules are very straightforward and will be posted at both gates. The two major rules apply to the behavior and control of the dogs and the need to clean up after the dogs. The board voted to recommend approval of the rules.

Ballfield Reservations Secretary Kathryn Sawyer reported that some reservations have been received but quite a few of the sports organizations have their meetings in March so many of the requests to reserve fields come in after that.

Greenway Committee Mr. Luetchford reported that the committee had reviewed the land survey of the portion of the Darlington Trail west of Hocker Park that has been suggested as a possible greenway trail. The board developed a plan to make an initial contact with the three private property owners of mountain land, which the trail goes through to assess their willingness to allow trail improvements to be made on their property. The committee plans to make a tour of a portion of the trail prior to next month’s meeting in order to evaluate the present condition of the trail.

Future Park Planning The supervisors had previously given the board the charge of creating a formal long-range plan to guide the development of new park facilities and the possibilities of altering existing facilities within the next five to ten years. The primary item that will need to be considered is when and how to develop Wolfersberger Park since nothing seems to be happening with the offer made to the Capital Area Soccer Association to sell them a portion of the park.
The board decided to begin the effort by developing an overall process to do the park planning before they addressed Wolfersberger Park or any other particular park project. When the initial planning for George Park was done there was a process developed including public meetings and Mr. Luetchford agreed to resurrect that information. This will provide the board with a starting point in this process.

George Park The establishment of a date to hold the formal dedication of George Park was discussed. It was tentatively agreed that it should be in June and that the best day to get all the supervisors together would be a Tuesday.

March 10, 2009


(6:10 – 9:00 PM)

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

Mr. Robbins presented a storm water infrastructure slide review to the Supervisors. It was interesting to note that the Township has approximately 98 miles of storm water pipe ranging in size from 8 inches to 96 inches. Most of the system consists of corrugated galvanized pipe whose useful life expectancy is about 20 years. It should be noted that the Township is now using high-density plastic pipe for most storm sewer applications. The ensuing discussion was aimed at:

1. A plan to bring the storm water infrastructure up to an acceptable quality.

2. A method to pay for this very expensive upgrade.

Mr. Robbins presented an idea for dumping and user fees for the material at the compost facility. The consensus of the Supervisors was for a dumping fee, but against a user fee (for processed mulch) for Township residents. Mr. Wolfe and Mr. Robbins will develop a plan to be presented to the Supervisors.

It was decided that a gravity system would be the best alternative for a sanitary sewer line to service the proposed Bishop McDevitt High School.

The acceptance of the sanitary sewer lines in the Wilshire development came under question because of a difference of opinion on the actual slope of the lines. The Township may require an escrow account to provide for future maintenance problems.

Discussions continue concerning the purchase of capacity in the Swatara Waste Water Treatment Plant from West Hanover Township.

Mr. Wolfe presented a request for the Township’s participation in the Pennsylvania Smoke-free Community Challenge. The Supervisors agreed that Mr. Wolfe should respond positively.

Mr. Wolfe advised the Supervisors that the Municipal Utility Alliance operated by the PA League of Cities and Municipalities is being revived in view of the removal of the electric cap rate in 2010. This jointure could save the Township 10% in its electric bills.

March 12, 2009


(7:00 – 7:40 PM)

Attended and reported by Ted Robertson.

The Committee noted the Supervisors’ adoption of Resolution 09 – 11, amending the Fire Equipment Capital Plan to include extraordinary repairs to equipment under the Fire Equipment Capital Plan. The Committee voted to recommend to the Supervisors that the repairs to the Colonial Park fire truck be covered under this resolution.

Under sub-committees, the Mission Statement was discussed. A final submission should be ready for the next Committee meeting.

Work on the Model Fire Suppression Ordinance is in progress.

A preliminary outline of the Fire Services Study was presented. Work on this item will continue.

Work continues on the Truss Marking Ordinance.

March 12, 2009


Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Old Business

Allentown Boulevard Hotel – Preliminary/Final Subdivison & Land Development Plan #08-20 This plan was reviewed but not acted on at the commission’s January meeting and was tabled at the applicant’s request at the February meeting. The project’s location is at the northwest corner of the intersection of Allentown Boulevard and North Mountain Road. It consists of a restaurant and office building still under construction on a small lot at the intersection and an existing Holiday Inn Express on a larger adjacent lot to the west. The project involves combining the two lots into one 5.3-acre lot and the construction of a separate hotel to the rear of the existing hotel. The property is zoned CG Commercial General. The new hotel will be 3 stories with 81 rooms. Both hotels will use the existing vehicular entrance from Allentown Boulevard.

The applicant requested a waiver from the requirement to build sidewalks along both roads but he agreed to build them when the commissioners asked that they be provided. The main concern was whether or not Penndot would require a traffic study and/or a highway occupancy permit. The applicant sent a letter to Penndot asking for a ruling on this matter. The township said that since the activities in the three buildings would generate more than 100 trips daily their requirements necessitated a traffic study even if Penndot did not. It was also pointed out that upon review, Penndot might require traffic changes at this busy intersection as a result of this new construction. Because of these uncertainties the commissioners voted to table action on this plan. This further delay required that the applicant agree to a time extension for this project and he did so.

Bishop Mc Devitt High School – Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan #09-02 This project was reviewed at the commission’s January meeting and was tabled so the applicant could respond to the commissioner’s questions regarding traffic and parking concerns. The new high school will be located on an 86 acre tract on both sides of Spring Creek Road west of Page Road and is zoned R-C Residential Cluster. The project consists of a 900 student school building, parking lots and athletic fields including a 3000 seat football stadium.

The primary concerns previously expressed were the vacating of a portion of Spring Creek Road, which would result in a change in the traffic pattern in the area, and the amount of on site parking to be provided. At the last meeting the commissioners leaned toward opposing the closing of Spring Creek Road because it would restrict normal traffic in the area. Since then they concluded that because of the poor condition of the road and the extreme cost that would be required to ever improve it they decided that closing it to through traffic would be the preferred decision. As previously planned, electronically controlled gates would be installed that could be opened by emergency vehicles. An agreement will be required between the township and the school regarding maintenance of the vacated portion of the road.
Further information was provided regarding the amount of on site parking that should be provided. This new information regarding expected student car usage and travel patterns satisfied the previous concern. The applicant stated that all written comments by staff, HRG and the county have been addressed. The commissioners voted to recommend approval of the plan.

New Business

Bishop McDevitt High School – Special Exception #SE 09-02 The applicant requested a Special Exception to be allowed to use grass areas to accommodate a larger portion of the overflow parking for the planned football stadium than is allowed by code. The primary area would be the practice football field to be located between the stadium and the school. The area will have a 2.5-degree slope to allow proper drainage and the main traffic aisles will be gravel. The Special Exception has to be approved by the Zoning Hearing Board. The commissioners voted to advise the ZHB that they had no objections to the Special Exception request.

Linglestown Life United Methodist Church – Preliminary/Final Subdivison & Land Development Plan #09-04 This project involves a large addition to the existing church located in Linglestown on the north side of Blackberry Lane at the north end of North Mountain Road. The existing lot is 16 acres and is zoned R-1 Low Density Residential. Churches are allowed in this district only by Special Exception and in December 2008 the Zoning Hearing Board approved one for this project.

The existing church is approximately 24,000 square feet in size and the proposed addition would be approximately 28,000 square feet. The addition will have sprinklers. All staff, HRG and county comments have been addressed. The commissioners voted to recommend approval of this project.

Text Amendment – R-2 & R-3 Zoning Districts, Multi-Properties, Inc. The suggested text amendment to the zoning ordinance involves the addition of a Dwelling Type to those allowable in the R-2 and R-3 districts. The new type would be identified as a “Flat” which would be a single story dwelling unit that could be stacked one above the other and could be attached to a series of townhouses. The commissioners analyzed the request and determined that the only real change this would make to what is currently allowed by code is to permit apartment type units in the R-2 districts where they are currently not allowed. There would be no change to the density requirements or the parking requirements currently in effect. They questioned if the township wanted to introduce apartment type units into the R-2 districts and the consensus seemed to be that it did not.

The commissioners requested that the staff evaluate the impact this change would have and survey if other municipalities have addressed this type of unit. They voted to table action on this item.

March 16, 2009


Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

The planning commission is in the process of doing the initial planning for a possible Business Improvement District (BID) in the township. Under state law a district can be created where businesses are assessed to fund improvements including beautification, traffic control and advertising. The district being planned would be along Route 22 from Colonial Road to just east of Mountain Road. It could be created if not more that 40% of the business property owners in the designated area object to it.

At a recent meeting the commissioners agreed that they should seek the help of individuals in the area who have had experience organizing or directing BID’s. At this meeting Todd Vander Woude, who is the Executive Director of the Harrisburg Downtown Improvement District, spoke about the BID in center city. Their district runs from just north of Pine Street to about Mary Street which is south of Chestnut Street and from Front Street to about Fifth Street. This urban area includes large businesses, small businesses and shops, churches and other not-for profit institutions, and government and quasi- government entities. The three major services provided by their BID are trash cleanup, beautification, and security.

He spoke at length about their organization, how they bill their assessments, how they keep their stakeholders informed about the operations of the management association, how they publicize the organization, what additional services they are considering, etc. They have only three employees and contract out all of the services they provide. They receive approximately $600,000 from the assessments, which are a constant 1.5 mils and an additional amount of approximately $180,000 from voluntary contributions from non-profit organizations and from government entities. Almost their entire budget goes to daily trash cleanup and to beautification, which includes the hanging flower baskets and banners along the major streets.

He offered a list of suggestions to the commissioners regarding the startup of a BID. The primary ones involve establishing a clear and concise image and identity from the very start, maintaining constant communicating with the stakeholders, and establishing focus groups to get a clear idea as to the desires of all those involved. At next month’s meeting the commissioners will hear from a college professor who has written a book on the legal and practical aspects involved in the creation of BID’s in Pennsylvania.

March 17, 2009


(7:35 – 7:38 PM)

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

Prior to the Supervisors meeting there was a brief Authority meeting in which easement for rights-of-way for sanitary sewer lines on the Sheesely property (2009-04) and the Hankin property (2009-05) were approved unanimously.

March 17, 2009


(7:38 – 8:50 PM)

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

Absent: Gary Crissman.

Under Old Business in the scheduled Township Board of Supervisors meeting, the Supervisors unanimously approved the collective bargaining agreement between the Township and the Police Department for a three-year period (1/1/09 to 12/31/11). This agreement stipulates an increase in salary of 3% per year for each of the three years.

Resolution 09 – 15, amending Resolution 98 – 15, was approved by a vote of 4-0. This action authorizes the Township’s continued participation in the Municipal Utility Alliance for the procurement of electricity in light of the removal of the electric cap rates in 2010.

Under New Business with respect to State Act 32, which mandates a countywide collection of earned income tax, David Blain was named as delegate and Bill Hawk as alternate to represent the Township in this proposed change in earned income tax collection.

The Supervisors voted 4-0 to award the contract for fencing at George Park to Security Fencing at a price of $21,890.00, which was well under the Engineer’s estimate.

Four sanitary sewer contract change orders were approved by a vote of 4-0. Two of these orders involved contract time changes with no monetary charges. The other two involved money changes of a minor nature.

A public hearing was held for Resolution 09 – 12 for the approval of the transfer of a liquor license (R-15764) to Arooga’s Sports Bar at 4301 Linglestown Road. This resolution approved the transfer of an inactive liquor license in Swatara Township to the above address by a vote of 4-0.

Resolutions 09 – 13 and 09 – 14 were approved unanimously. These resolutions involve the authorization of agreements with PennDot for signalization facilities and the maintenance of said facilities at the intersection of Jonestown Road and I-83. These signals would be located just West of the Jonestown Road overpass of I-83 and will eliminate the eastbound ramp from southbound I-83. This is being done for safety reasons until the major overhaul of this intersection can be accomplished.

Under Subdivision and Land Development, the preliminary/final land development plan for Quality Inn (08 – 19) was approved by a vote of 4-09