SWAN Newsletter #36
March 26, 2009
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING
(7:10 – 9:50 PM)
Attended by Watson Fisher and Ted Robertson. Reported by Ted Robertson. Two Board members were absent.
Docket No. IMPC 09-01. The appeal of Arlean Marks of 53 Buttonwood Drive, Carlisle, PA 17103 from the order of the zoning officer to demolish and remove the structure at 1236 Wheatfield Drive as dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary or otherwise unfit for human habitation or occupancy was denied by a vote of 3 – 0. The Board gave the appellant a time extension of 45 days to sell or auction the property before demolition. A number of neighbors were there to testify to the condition of the property, which has been ongoing for a number of years. They were satisfied with the decision of the Board.
Docket No. 1255, an application of Thomas and Susan Bay for a variance from the 25 foot rear yard set back requirement in connection with a sunroom to be erected in the rear of 4051 Nancy Drive, was granted by a vote of 3 – 0. This reduced the set back to 20 feet.
Docket No SE 09-02, an application of the Diocese of Harrisburg for a special exception to create a low or seasonal usage parking lot to be maintained in grass in connection with the proposed school to be located on the north side of Spring Creek Road, was granted by a vote of
3 – 0.
Docket No. 1256, an application of the Diocese of Harrisburg for a variance from buffer requirements and storm water basin landscaping requirements in connection with the proposed construction of a school to be located on the north side of Spring Creek Road, was granted by a vote of 3 – 0. The following exceptions are included:
1.Specific buffering will be required along the property’s northern boundary.
2.Landscaping will be required at the #3 detention pond.
3.The variance will remain in effect for three years.
April 1, 2009
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP GREENWAY COMMITTEE MEETING
Attended by Eric Bucher and Watson Fisher. Reported by Watson Fisher.
Darlington Trail The committee has been working on the possibility of developing a portion of the Darlington Trail that runs along the ridge of Blue Mountain into a walking trail. The portion being planned runs from the township’s Hocker Park on the Blue Mountain Parkway west to the Susquehanna Township line, a distance of two miles. This would be the first project developed under the new township Greenway Plan.
The Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club had indicated their willingness to maintain the greenway trail if it was developed. Two representatives from the club discussed their work in developing and maintaining other trails in the area and agreed to help with this one. They also offered various suggestions to the committee from their experience about the development and maintenance of the trail and indicated that Lower Paxton’s efforts could result in the trail being extended to the east and west in the future.
Central PA Conservancy A representative from the Central Pennsylvania Conservancy made a presentation on recommended procedures for obtaining legal Trail Easements from the landowners whose property the Darlington Trail runs through. It was explained that there are potential financial benefits for the landowners but since they would be giving up some rights it is necessary to approach the negotiation process very carefully. There are three private landowners that this portion of the Darlington Trail runs through and the committee will be meeting with them individually in the near future to begin the process. The township’s goal with this effort is to be able to legally preserve the existing trail for the enjoyment of future generations.
Grants Parks and Recreation Department Director Brian Luetchford reported on the status of two grant applications that were previously submitted by the township. He thought that the one regarding the Safe Routes to School project may have been denied, but with the possibility of federal stimulus money it might yet be approved. The other one regarded the building of sidewalks between neighborhoods and a decision on that one should come in May. He stated that these would be very worthwhile projects if the grants should come through.
April 1, 2009
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS & RECREATION BOARD MEETING
Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.
George Park Dedication The dedication ceremony for George Park is now scheduled for Tuesday, June 2, with a backup date of Tuesday, June 7, 2009.
Ballpark Reservations Some reservations for use of fields for all the parks this season have come in but most are expected in April.
Greenway Committee Parks & Recreation Director Brian Luetchford reported on the Greenway Committee meeting where the continuing work to develop a greenway walking trail along the old Darlington Trail at the top of Blue Mountain was discussed. The next step is to contact the owners of the private properties the trail goes through in an effort to obtain trail easements.
Township Park Plan This recently completed plan covering the rules for the operation of the township’s parks will be submitted to the supervisors for their approval at their workshop meeting on April 14. This plan is required to be in place before the revised Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance can be approved.
Future Park Planning The supervisors had directed the P&R Board to develop a long range park plan and the board decided that the first step would be to study how best to use the Wolfersberger Park tract. They requested that Mr. Luetchford review the procedure the board followed when they did the planning for George Park some years ago and develop an outline to begin the process. He did that and he prepared a draft document for the board’s review and approval. It was decided that the board would be responsible for the information gathering process, which would include public hearings, after which it would be necessary to engage professional help to do the actual planning.
Mr. Luetchford suggested that the township apply for a grant that could cover some of the costs of the planning and that it would be wise to make that application as soon as possible, even though the information gathering process would take at least six months. He will talk to Township Manager George Wolfe about that soon. The township’s offer to sell a portion of the tract to the Capital Area Soccer Association has never been responded to so it was decided to move forward with the assumption that an agreement on that would not be forthcoming.
Mr. Luetcheford noted that requests for development grants would be submitted for the skate park at George Park and for an energy study at the Friendship Center. The center is now old enough and its energy usage is high enough that improvements resulting in lower costs for lighting, heating and swimming pool water treatment would be very helpful.
2008 P&R Department Annual Report Mr. Luetchford presented the detailed annual report, which indicated an increase in recreation programs, participants, community center memberships and ballpark use. The board approved the report.
April 7, 2009
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
(7:30 – 8:12 PM)
Attended by Tara Mead, Watson Fisher and Ted Robertson. Reported by Ted Robertson.
Tara Mead gave a very comprehensive presentation to the Supervisors concerning a serious noise problem, which has been plaguing her neighborhood for almost a year. The Supervisors received a written chronological listing of the noise violation occurrences as well as a copy of Susquehanna Township’s noise ordinance. It should be noted that the Susquehanna Township ordinance assigns responsibility for enforcement of the ordinance, and specifies penalties for those who violate the ordinance. Lower Paxton Township’s ordinance does not assign responsibility OR specific penalties.
Comment: No one should have to put up with the behavior experienced by the Mead’s in this day and age. A recent medical study indicated that the most prevalent cause of stress is noise pollution. I would suggest that SWAN push for a Lower Paxton Township noise ordinance at least as strong as Susquehanna Township’s noise ordinance.
Under Old Business, Resolution 09-17 was adopted unanimously. This Resolution changed Resolution 09-15 to make Lower Paxton Township the lead local government in the Municipal Utility Alliance for the procurement of electricity.
Under New Business, the Supervisors voted 5 – 0 to adopt Proclamation 09-01 designating April 21, 2009 as Arbor Day in Lower Paxton Township.
The Supervisors voted unanimously to accept the bid of Top Notch Cleaning ($36, 612.61) for cleaning services for various Township buildings.
Change Order No. 8 was accepted by a vote of 5 – 0. This was a decrease in the amount of $5,881.00 for the contract for George Park roadway improvement with Handwerk Site Contractors.
Resolution 09-16 was adopted unanimously. This authorizes the Township to acquire an occasional flowage easement from tax parcel no. 35-048-001 located at 298 M Street.
The Supervisors voted 5 – 0 to authorize the transfer of a Hay Buster Tub Grinder to West Earl Township in accordance the DEP 902 Grant Program.
April 8, 2009
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.
Allentown Boulevard Hotel – Preliminary/Final Subdivision & Land Development Plan #08-20
This project is located at the northwest corner of the intersection of Allentown Boulevard and North Mountain Road and involves the construction of a new 3-story hotel with 81 rooms behind the existing Holiday Inn Express which fronts on Allentown Boulevard. After several previous reviews of this project the only remaining item to be resolved was whether Penndot would require a traffic study and/or a highway occupancy permit. The applicant reported that Penndot’s response was that since there would be no changes to the existing entrance drives neither item would be required. They did suggest that the drive from Mountain Road be restricted to in only.
The commissioners voted to recommend approval of the plan with the stipulations that the entrance drive from Mountain Road be restricted to in only and that sidewalks and curbs be required.
Text Amendment – R-2 & R-3 Zoning Districts, Multi-Properties, Inc. The proposed ordinance change had been presented and reviewed at the commission’s March meeting. It involves the addition of a Dwelling Type identified as a “Flat” to those allowable in the R-2 and R-3 districts. A flat would be a single-family dwelling unit that could be stacked one above the other. It would essentially be the same as an apartment and apartments are not now allowed in the R-2 zone. Since the current feeling is that the township did not want to increase the opportunity for the construction of new apartments the commissioners had not looked favorably on the request.
The argument that was again made by the proposer was that the change would allow developers more flexibility in the types of units they could build. It also would not result in any increase in the allowable density and therefore it would not create any increase in the traffic or municipal services than would happen with the construction of new housing units without this change. The commissioners again acknowledged that the need for this change is questionable and that the wording of the proposed revision is confusing. The applicant agreed to return at the May meeting with a clearer proposal.
United Water PA, Inc. – Special Exception #09-03 In the planned Autumn Oaks Estates development at the north end of Patton Road lot #92 has been subdivided for United Water to install a 2 million gallon water storage tank. The ordinance requires that a Special Exception be granted by the Zoning Hearing Board to allow the utility to construct such a facility. The commissioners voted to advise the Zoning Hearing Board that they had no problem with this request. They did ask for clarification as to whether or not a Land Development Plan is required for this project.
Brian Szeles – Preliminary/ Final Subdivision Plan #09-07 This plan is to relocate a property line which divides a tract into two parcels. The property is located on the south side of Lyters Lane and east of Page Road. The commissioners voted to recommend approval of the plan.
Dorothy S. Mumper – Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan #09-08 The property to be subdivided into two lots is a 5 acre tract on the south side of Devonshire Heights Road and on the east side of Deavon Drive. There are two single-family dwellings on the property and the intent is to build a new house on the subdivided lot. The commissioners were concerned that the three houses will only be accessible from a single driveway. The property owner said he would be responsible for maintaining the common drive. Future development will undoubtedly occur on an adjacent property owned by the same individual and it was agreed that when that happens he will install curbs and sidewalks along Devonshire Heights Road on that property and on these two subdivided lots. The commissioners voted to recommend approval of this subdivision with a note on the plan that the developer will install those curbs and sidewalks at that time.
Stormwater Retention/Detention Basins – Proposed Changes to the SALDO Proposed by SWAN This item was postponed until the May 13th meeting.
Community General Osteopathic Hospital, Oncology Center – Preliminary/Final Subdivision & Land Development Plan #08-13 Informational Presentation Only A representative from the hospital’s planning firm has made periodic presentations to keep the commissioners advised regarding the hospital’s expansion projects. The last one was at the October 2008 meeting which covered a new Oncology and MRI Center and a new power plant for the complex. During this meeting he reported that the new Oncology building is now planned to be a three-story building and that the additional parking required for this larger building will be provided under an agreement with the adjacent church. Also, the new power plant which was to be located at the northeast corner of the complex is now planned to be located adjacent to the existing chillers along the eastern edge of the complex.
The commissioners expressed concern for the noise level of the new power plant. The planner stated that the new equipment is quieter than the older units and sound barriers can be erected in the future if noise levels are too high. Also it was acknowledged that with future growth a parking structure will undoubtedly be needed to meet the increased parking requirements. The planner will continue to keep the commissioners advised regarding these projects.
April 9, 2009
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MEETING
(7:00 – 7:40 PM)
Attended by Watson Fisher and Ted Robertson. Reported by Ted Robertson.
Under Old Business, plans are underway for the annual picnic at George Park in June.
A preliminary mission statement and Committee goal and objectives were submitted. They should be finalized by the next meeting.
A Fire Protection Evaluation of Lower Paxton Township in connection with the Fire Services Study was also submitted. Further refinement will be required before final submission.
A question was raised as to the disposition of the Pierce extra engine. Since the Township owns the vehicle, the question will be submitted to Mr. Wolfe.
April 14, 2009
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP MEETING
(6:15 – 9:10)
Attended by Watson Fisher, Bill Bostic, Ken Parmer and Ted Robertson. Reported by Ted Robertson.
The Dog Park Association, represented by Carol Pottieger and Molly Rhinehart, presented proposed rules for the Happy Tails Dog Park to the Supervisors. The Supervisors consensus was for approval with some minor changes. The tentative grand opening is set for May 23rd.
The Harrisburg Catholic Diocese requested a reduction in sanitary sewer tapping fees and acquisition of easement for their school located on the north side of Spring Creek Road. The $13,000.00 reduction represents the difference between the cost of a public sewer installation versus a private installation. The Township requested a public installation. The Diocese was also hoping any greenway in the area would be located on the south side of Spring Creek Road. There was a brief discussion on roadway revisions thought necessary for the Highway Occupancy Permit. (HOP)
Sam Robbins presented some plans regarding fees for the use of the compost facility and/or the sale of compost material. The consensus appeared to lean toward a small annual fee for private residents and a larger fee for commercial users. A final plan will be submitted at a future date.
The Supervisors discussed the proposed $11,000.00 loan and $8,00.00 line of credit offered to Koons Memorial Park Swim Club. This offer is dependent on Lower Paxton Township being the guarantor. After much discussion the consensus appeared to be in agreement with the proposal. Bill Bostic stated that the new management at the Swim Club appears to be taking a more pro-active position with respect to membership acquisition and cost cutting for the upcoming year.
Brian Luetchford stated that the Greenway Committee is holding discussions with the property owners involved in efforts to acquire easements to preserve the Darlington Trail. This section of the trail starts just west of the point where the Parkway crosses the crest of the mountain and continues west-southwest to the Boyd property.
Mr. Luetchford reviewed the proposed Parks & Recreation Plan as a component of the Comprehensive Plan with respect to fee in lieu of recreation dedication. His suggestion was to increase land use for recreation to 0.0423 acres/unit and eliminate the fee in lieu of. Much discussion developed concerning the cost of holding land for future development. This emphasized the need for a plan to develop parks. Mr. Luetchford asked the Supervisors for permission to submit a DCNR grant application for park planning, and to start a planning process for the Wolfersberger Tract.
Mr. Luetchford asked the Supervisors for permission to resubmit a DCNR grant application for $250,000.00 for the skate park. In talking to the County, he feels this submission will have a much better chance of approval.
Mr. Luetchford reported on the Friendship Center’s efforts to comply with the Virginia Graham-Baker Act, which sets parameters for swimming pool drains. He noted that requests for clarification and enforcement responsibilities have largely gone unanswered.
Mr. Luetchford reviewed the Friendship Center’s energy saving program and alternative energy feasibility study. He is also submitting a DCNR grant application for the Friendship Center’s energy enhancements in the amount of $105,000.00.
April 20, 2009
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION WORKSHOP MEETING
Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.
The Planning Commission is continuing its work on the initial planning for the possible development of a Business Improvement District (BID) in the township as directed by the Board of Supervisors. Such a district can by law provide improvements to a designated commercial area with funds generated by assessments of local businesses. The area chosen is along Route 22 from Colonial Road to just east of Mountain Road. The proposed improvements would include beautification, traffic improvements, and marketing of the businesses in the district.
As part of the commission’s research into existing BID’s the Executive Director of the Harrisburg Downtown Improvement District made a presentation at the previous meeting giving information about his operation. At this meeting a professor of Public Administration and Public Policy from the Harrisburg Campus of Penn State, who has written a book about BID’s, made a presentation about his experiences in several parts of the country and he answered questions.
He stated that to get the effort started it was necessary to identify some of the primary business leaders in the area and to get them to help spearhead the project. Also it is important to outline the specific benefits the businesses in the district can expect to receive from the improvements for the nominal cost they would be paying. He mentioned that BID’s properly planned are in a position to attract grant monies to make improvements beyond those that can be afforded just by the assessment fees.
It was noted that some of the strong points of the specific district location that has been selected are that Penndot has already done a study regarding the planning of possible future work along the corridor and that the district location has immediate access from interstate highways at both ends. Also, there is already some infrastructure in place that could help with the development of future traffic control measures along the corridor.
April 21, 2009
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING
(7:40 – 8:40 PM)
Attended by Watson Fisher and Ted Robertson. Reported by Ted Robertson. Absent: Bill Hawk.
Under Old Business, the Supervisors voted 4 – 0 to approve their position as guarantor on commitment letters to a line of credit and a loan offered to Koons Memorial Swim Club by Centric Bank.
Three grant applications to the PA Department of Community and Natural Resources were approved by a vote of 4 – 0.
1.Resolution 09-19, the Wolfersberger Tract and Koons Park planning grant.
2.Resolution 09-20, the Friendship center Energy Conservation grant.
3.Resolution 09-21, the skate park in Thomas B. George, Jr. Park grant.
The above were reported in the summary of the Supervisors April 14, 2009 Workshop session.
Under New Business, the Supervisors approved an agreement with PNC Bank to provide purchasing card services for selected staff members by a vote of 4 – 0. This agreement entails no cost to the Township.
Resolution 09-18, authorizing the preparation, maintenance, and updating of an Emergency Operating Plan, was approved by a vote of 4 – 0.
The Supervisors approved the request from the Dauphin county Sheriff to buy three Township police vehicles for a total of $5,000.00 by a vote of 4 – 0.
The Supervisors approved the bid of Dauphin Engineering for $24,500.00 to provide surveying services for various Paxton Creek sanitary sewer mini-basins by a vote of 4 – 0.
The Supervisors approved a reciprocal membership Agreement between the Township (Friendship Center) and Devon Manor Swim Club by a vote of 4 – 0.
Under Subdivision and Land Development, the Supervisors approved the preliminary/final subdivision and land development plan for Community General Osteopathic Oncology Center (08-13) by a vote of 4 – 0. This involves adding a third floor to the Center and moving the services building to the east side of the property, next to a residential area. Concerns were expressed with respect to noise pollution from the services building (HVAC and emergency power) and parking during and after construction. Both these potential problems will be monitored as construction progresses.
April 23, 2009
LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING
(7:00 – 9:20 PM)
Attended by Watson Fisher and Ted Robertson. Reported by Ted Robertson.
Docket No. 09-03, an application of United Water of PA, Inc. for a special exception to locate a water storage tank in an R-1 zoning district on Lot No. 96 in Autumn Oaks was tabled. United Water’s representative was not familiar with the requirement of Lower Paxton Township’s special exception ordinance and could not supply the Board with the necessary information for approval.
Docket No. 1258, an application of Shawn and Judy Wills of 2050 Blue Mountain Parkway for a variance from minimum lot width for a building lot in connection with the proposed subdivision of the property at 2050 Blue Mountain Parkway was granted by a vote of 5 – 0.
Docket No. 1259 was an application of Jean M. Wolfgang of 1330 Ranger Road for a variance to locate a portion of a single family dwelling within the flood plain district in connection with a proposed house to be erected on the property known as tax parcel 35-015-006 on Ranger Road. In addition, a variance from setback requirements between a dwelling and a wetland was also requested. The Board solicitor suggested that the proposed dwelling be moved approximately two feet so that the only variance required would be a frontal setback variance of two feet. This modification will be on the May Zoning Hearing Board meeting agenda.
Docket No. 1260, an application of Kathy Whitebread of 617 Cee Jay Drive, Etters, PA for a variance from use regulations in connection with a one bedroom apartment in the rear of the property known as 359 Colonial Road in an R-1 Zoning District was granted by a vote of 5 – 0.
This property was in an estate and was essentially grand fathered in since the apartment had been in existence for more than ten years.