SWAN Newsletter #37

May 5, 2009


(7:30 – 9:20 PM)

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

Under Public Comment, a representative from West Hanover Township asked for help from Lower Paxton Township in applying for community grants.

Chairman Hawk swore in Lloyd Heisey as a Fire Police Officer.

Under Old Business, Top Notch Cleaning Services opted out of their signed contract for cleaning services for various township buildings. The Supervisors voted to reject the bid and take the bond ($500.00) provided by Top Notch. The Supervisors then voted to award the bid to Clean Net in the amount of $46,000.00.

Under New Business, the Supervisors voted 5 – 0 to reject all bids for tree removal services for the Paxton Creek 6-C Basin and re-bid at a later date.

The Supervisors voted unanimously to award the contract for the Asylum Run Community Project to P.S. Hill Landscaping in the amount of $31,000.00. There were five bidders on this project.

Change Order No. 2 to the contract for bridge maintenance activities with Doug Lamb Construction, Inc. was approved unanimously. This involved time change only.

Under Subdivision and Land Development the preliminary/final subdivision and land development plan for the Allentown Boulevard Hotel (Holiday Inn Express) 08-02 was approved unanimously.

The preliminary/final subdivision and land development plan for Bishop McDevitt High School was approved unanimously.

The preliminary/final subdivision plan for Brian Szeles (09-07) was approved unanimously. This simply involved dividing one lot into two parcels.

A request to modify the paving specifications indicated on the preliminary/final subdivision plans for Autumn Oaks (07-21 and 08-15) and the Estates at Autumn Oaks (07-27 and 08-22) was rejected by a vote of 3 – 2. Supervisors Crissman, Blain, and Seeds moved to reject. Supervisors Hawk and Hornung voted against rejection. It appeared that McNaughton wanted to use parts of the old SALDO and parts of the proposed SALDO specifications to their advantage. In essence the paving depth would have been reduced by two inches, which would have come from the base course.

May 6, 2009


Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

The planned committee meeting was cancelled. The next meeting is scheduled for June 3, 2009. Parks and Recreation Department Director Brian Luetchford reported that the committee will continue their efforts to secure the necessary trail easements on a portion of the Darlington Trail that they are considering developing into a greenway trail as shown on the previously approved township’s Greenway Plan. Before the next meeting he will contact appraisers to try to determine for planning purposes what would be an estimated dollar value for such easements on this portion of Blue Mountain. At 6:00 pm on June 3, 2009, an hour before their scheduled meeting, the committee members plan to walk a portion of the trail to familiarize them with its current condition.

May 6, 2009


Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

The three board members present did not constitute a quorum. Most of the agenda items were discussed but no formal action could be taken.

George Park Dedication Ceremony The ceremony had been scheduled for June 2 or June 7 but the dates now being considered are July 7 or July 21. Mr. George will establish a final date.

Wolfersberger Park Planning Schedule Parks and Recreation Department Director Brian Luetchford reported that the supervisors gave approval for the P&R Board to begin a public planning process for the development of Wolfersberger Park. The board has created an outline for the planning process and has begun the initial steps leading up to a planned series of public meetings to begin in September. A grant application has been submitted to the state for help with the later cost of retaining professional services for the formal planning phase.

Grant Applications Mr. Luetchford reported that he had submitted three grant applications to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR). They are applications for matching funds for township projects. One is for a series of energy saving projects at the Friendship Center estimated to cost $210,000, another is for construction of the Skate Park at George Park estimated to cost $250,000, and the third is for the planning phase for projects at Wolfersberger Park and Koons Park estimated to cost $290,000. He expects to hear the results of the applications in the fall. He noted that a grant could also be applied for later for the actual construction work at the two parks.

Miscellaneous Mr. Luetchford received a letter from Kathy Stone announcing her resignation from the board. The Happy Tails Dog Park’s official opening is scheduled for May 23rd. The board suggested that Mr. Luetchford make a follow-up call to a representative of the Koon’s Pool committee for a status report on their membership efforts and financial situation. The township has agreed to cosign for the loan and line of credit the pool has received from Centric Bank to cover their debt and start up costs.

May 12, 2009


(6:15 – 9:40 PM)

Attended by Watson Fisher, Bill Bostic, and Ted Robertson. Reported by Ted Robertson.

A request was submitted to amend the zoning ordinance to permit the “vertical stacking” of condominium units. This is a very complex issue involving lender reluctance to give loans to units having no “common ground”. The gentleman representing the developer who is requesting the ordinance change will draw up a draft of an ordinance which will meet the requirements of the State, County and Township for the Supervisors’ review.

A proposal was submitted regarding fees for use of the compost facility and/or the sale of compost material. The Supervisors are leaning toward a $20.00 per year individual fee, a $300.00 per year commercial fee, a one-time fee of $5.00 for individuals, and a $25.00 one-time fee for commercial users. All stickers and tickets will be obtained at the Township office.

A revised Length of Service Awards Program (LOSAP) was proposed to include Fire Police. It appears that the three Fire Companies are in agreement with this plan.

The Township will continue to try to stop the implementation of a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDC) in the Paxton Creek drainage basin. It appears Lower Paxton Township is the only local municipality making payments into this multi-million dollar fund to clean up the sulfur and phosphorus flowing into the Chesapeake Basin. Litigation is ongoing against this unfunded mandate by EPA and DEP. A peer review of this mandate is to be held by DEP in June.

The mission statement, goals, and objectives proposed by the Public Safety committee were reviewed. A few of the goals and objectives appear to be beyond the legal scope of the Committee.

Mr. Wolfe reviewed the Lower Paxton Township 2008 Annual Report, and the Key Indicator Reports for year-end 2008 and the first quarter of 2009. Generally speaking, receipts are down as a result of the overall economy. The Supervisors asked for a close scrutiny of cash flow as the fiscal year progresses.

Under “Otta Know”, PennDOT has decertified the Multisonic traffic signal controllers because the manufacturer has gone out of business. Lower Paxton’s controllers are 100% Multisonic.

Mr. Stine explained the PA Right-to-Know Law as it applies to email.

May 13, 2009


Attended by Eric Epstein, Ken Parmer and Watson Fisher. Reported by Watson Fisher.

Beau Brown & Naomi Williams – Special Exception #09-04 The property in question is located at 4015 Jonestown Road which is in the Commercial General (CG) district. The building on the lot is currently a residence and the applicant requested a special exception to renovate the building and to then use it as a residence and a commercial real estate office. The commissioners voted to recommend approval of the special exception.

Mountain Road Carwash – Preliminary/Final Land Development Plan #09-10 Triple Crown Corporation plans to build a carwash on a 0.69-acre lot at 1282 North Mountain Road. The property is zoned Commercial Neighborhood (CN). At their February meeting the Planning Commission voted to advise the Zoning Hearing Board that they found the request for a special exception to be unobjectionable. At their March meeting the Zoning Hearing Board granted a special exception allowing a carwash to be built on this site. It has been determined that for this project a PennDOT highway occupancy permit will not be required since the driveways for the gas station that previously occupied the site will not be changed and the amount of traffic into and out of the site will not be increased. The commissioners voted to recommend approval of this plan.

Stormwater Retention/Detention Basins – Proposed Changes to the SALDO In April SWAN submitted a letter to the commission outlining two proposed changes to the township’s Subdivision and Land Development Plan currently being updated. One regarded a requirement for a buffer between storm water retention and detention basins and neighboring property and the other regarded a requirement for geologic studies of the subsurface soil conditions in the areas of proposed detention and retention basins. SWAN’s Chairman, Eric Epstein, presented the proposals to the commissioners in an effort to head off future problems similar to the ones that came up recently in the planning phase of the development of The Estates of Autumn Oaks. In this case a geologic engineer, hired by SWAN, determined that there could possibly be a serious failure of the ponds due to soil conditions and as a result necessary changes were then made to the design. The potential for damage to neighboring properties in the adjacent development exasperated by not having a buffer or setback from the property line to the planned pond was noted.

The commissioners understood the concerns Mr. Epstein and SWAN’s Ken Parmer presented but felt any changes to the zoning ordinance and/or the SALDO needed to be carefully considered. Steve Flemming of HRG had responded to the concerns expressed in SWAN’s letter and agreed that the matter should be studied further. Mr. Epstein stated that SWAN was looking for suggestions from the commissioners as to how to proceed. The commissioners said that they will be reviewing the proposed changes to the SALDO with staff and expressed an interest in extending the dialogue with SWAN by including them in the review process.

May 14, 2009


Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Mission Statement During the past few months the committee has finalized their proposed mission statement for review by the supervisors. Acting Public Safety Director David Johnson reported that the supervisors reviewed the draft statement and wanted to discuss several items in it. They suggested that representatives of the committee meet with Township Manager George Wolfe to discuss these. Mr. Johnson will set up that meeting.

Fire Services Study Ben Shields, Chief of the Colonial Park Fire Company, reported that the development of this study was underway and that he had previously submitted a draft for the township’s review. He commented that there has been a number of similar initiatives started in the past but not completed and thought there might be a way to prioritize these efforts.

Miscellaneous Mr. Johnson reported that the supervisors agreed that it is appropriate to have the Public Safety Committee involved in the framing of the Model Fire Suppression Ordinance, the Truss Marking Ordinance, the updating of the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance, and the review of the Capital Fund.

Open Records Policy Mr. Johnson distributed copies of the township’s detailed policy regarding compliance with the PA Act 3 of 2008, the Right-to-Know Law. He advised the fire departments that all requests for a public record, either written on a township provided form, or on one from the Internet, or verbal, should be forwarded promptly to George Wolfe for appropriate action. The fire company does not need to directly address any request regarding its own records.

Ohio Mr. Johnson reviewed a memo from George Wolfe regarding the township’s directive on travel to Ohio. Recently enacted legislation requires that any individual who enters Ohio for any work related reason obtain an application form for workman’s compensation, which costs $100. The directive states that township employees, including volunteer firefighters, are not allowed to enter Ohio in the course of their duties for the township or for any one of its fire companies.

Meeting Schedule As in past years, the committee agreed that they would not meet during July and August unless something came up that needed their attention.

Miscellaneous Mr. Robert Dobslaw, and attorney from Lancaster, presented information to the commissioners regarding a decision last year by the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court. The decision regarded the legal definitions of the terms “lot” and “unit” as used in municipal ordinances and it created unnecessary difficulties for municipalities. Until last year a “unit” was considered a part of a condominium or a planned community but now a “unit” is defined as a form of a “lot” requiring a formal subdivision and land development plan. He stated that the decision is being challenged but it will take some years before the issue is resolved. In the meantime he will submit a draft text amendment for the supervisors’ review that could be incorporated into the ordinances to deal with this code problem.

May 18, 2009


(7:30 –8:30 PM)

Under Old Business, the Resolution 09-22, the setting of permit fees for transporting leaf waste to the Township’s compost facility was pulled.

Under New Business, the Preliminary/Final subdivision plan for Dorothy S. Mumper (09-08) was approved by a vote of 4 – 0. This involved splitting the property at 6541 Devonshire Heights Road into two properties.

May 26, 2009


(6:00 – 8:30 PM)

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

Under New Business, Mr. Mike Bova of Scattergood & Boenning presented several alternatives for future financing for the Authority. The financing method selected will be dependent on whether or not the Township receives a grant from PennVest for roughly half of the $32,000,000.00 debt incurred by upgrades to the sewer system proposed by the Township to DEP. It should be noted that the Township’s bond rating is AA3. This is commendable and is saving taxpayer dollars in interest.

Minor changes in the Authority By-Laws were approved by a vote of 5 – 0.

A review of the City of Harrisburg Act 537 Plan update indicated a potential $10.00 to $13.00 per quarter increase in Lower Paxton Township’s rates starting in 2012, since Lower Paxton Township is responsible for approximately 22% of the City of Harrisburg’s cost for compliance.

Under Township Reports, a review of the Paxton Creek second corrections action plan indicated that the construction schedule might extend beyond the proposed completion date of 2012. It appears there will be a necessity for in-house inspectors to keep the projects moving according to plan.

In the Spring Creek Basin, the removal of the Spring Creek restrictor has to be approved by both Swatara Township and DEP.

May 28, 2009


(7:00 – 7:45 PM)

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

Absent: Mr. Dowling

Docket #1259 was an application of Jean M. Wolfgang of 1330 Ranger Road; Harrisburg, PA 17112 for a variance from flood plain requirements and for a variance from set back and wetland requirements. This was a slight change from the variance requested at the April meeting at the suggestion of the Board. This variance request was approved 4 – 0.

Docket #SE09-03 was also a continuation of a hearing on the application of United Water of PA, Inc. for a special exception to locate a public facility (water tank) on lot no. 69 in Autumn Oaks (R-1). The applicants presented materials requested by the Board at April’s meeting and the request was granted by a vote of 4 – 0. Apparently PUC requirements and Township requirements are at odds on procedure in this matter.

Docket #SE09-04, an application of Naomi Williams and Beau Brown of 1944 Swatara Street; Harrisburg, PA for a special exception to use the property at 4015 Jonestown Road as a residence and a commercial real estate office was tabled since the applicants were not present.

June 1, 2009


Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

The commissioners continued their work on the possible creation of a Business Improvement District (BID) in the township. The district area would consist of the Route 22 business corridor from Colonial Road to Mountain Road. A BID would provide a legal organization of property owners that would fund improvement projects by assessing businesses as provided for by state law. To date the commissioners have received the supervisors’ approval to do the initial planing, they have identified the specific area of the district, they have created a comprehensive listing of all the property owners in the district, they have discussed the types of improvements that could be made, and they have received input from several people who have experience with existing BID’s in Pennsylvania.

They previously decided that their next step would be to identify a small group of local business owners in the proposed district and to brief them on the project. From this they hope to gain a sense of the interest in the business community for the project and if their feelings are positive this group could become the “champions” to help develop interest with other business owners.

The agenda for this Planning Commission meeting was to select a small group of business owners from all those in the district to be invited to an introductory informational meeting. They selected about fifteen local business owners to invite to the meeting they set for Monday, July 27, 2009 at 6:00 PM in the township building. The township staff agreed to prepare a draft of the invitation letter for the commissioners to approve. At that meeting the commissioners plan to show the group the power point presentation that they had prepared for the supervisors and to then further explain the proposed project and the steps that they plan to take to evaluate its potential viability.

June 2, 2009


(7:30 – 8:20 PM)

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

Under Public Comment, a gentleman who resides on Spring Creek Road voiced opposition to the closing of said road for the future Bishop McDevitt High School.

Under Old Business, the Supervisors voted unanimously to set permit fees for transporting leaf waste to the Township’s compost facility and taking mulch and wood waste from the facility. There will be a yearly fee of $20.00 for individuals and $300.00 for commercial users. There will be a $5.00 one-day fee also. For the balance of 2009 (August through December) the individual and commercial fees will be halved. All transactions will be handled through the Township office and not at the compost site.

The Supervisors voted 5 – 0 to award a contract for tree removal services in conjunction with the sanitary sewer project to Stoner’s Tree Service for $13,360.00.

The Supervisors approved an agreement to settle AFSCME Grievance 90-2944-0103.

Under New Business, after a public hearing, the Supervisors approved Ordinance 09-04. This involved changing the designation of Lot 35, (Rosewood) on Colonial Road and the property at 1199 Colonial Road from R-1 to Office Neighborhood. The vote was 4 – 1, with Gary Crissman casting the negative vote. His reason was that the apparent access to this property would be off Colonial Road. The owners of 1199 Colonial Road (not present at the meeting) and the Rosewood developers (Molinari/Greenberg) appear to be reluctant to allow access to this property through their properties off Earl Drive. The Highway Occupancy Permit for this property will be interesting.

The Supervisors unanimously adopted Resolution 09-24 authorizing the use of PENNDOT dot Grants on-line reporting system for the Township’s liquid fuels reporting.

The Supervisors voted 5 – 0 to adopt Resolution 09-25 under Subdivision and Land Development. The Township accepts Farmers Lane and Harvest Field Lane in Sunnyhill Farms North as well as the maintenance and performance bond for these roads.

June 3, 2009


Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Koon’s Pool – Membership/Financial Report Previously the supervisors cosigned for a loan and a line of credit from Centric Bank to provide funds for the pool to cover last year’s shortfall and to get the pool ready to open this year. They requested that the new operating committee submit a report on the current status of the pool’s finances and membership. The report dated June 2 indicated that previous bills have been paid, necessary repairs to the three pools have been made, the pool manager and the lifeguards are in place, the pool is open and operating, fund raising efforts have been successful, the membership drive is continuing, and special activities have been scheduled. It was stated that the 5 pool drains have been replaced to be in compliance with the new federal law regarding pool safety but the board expressed concern that there was no official certification that the new drains did in fact meet the requirements of the law. The board was very encouraged by the report and directed that a letter of appreciation be sent to the operating committee thanking them for their good work.

Wolfersberger Park Planning Schedule The supervisors had given the Parks and Recreation Board approval to begin the planning process for the development of Wolfersberger Park. P&R Department Director Brian Luetchford prepared a draft schedule for this planning phase leading up to a series of public meetings beginning on September 16 followed by a submission to the supervisors in December and the completion of the preliminary report in April 2010. Mr. Luetchford felt that with some of the work already done he and his staff could meet that schedule. The board gave its approval of the draft schedule. A grant application was previously submitted to the state for funds to cover some of the costs of retaining professional services for the detailed design phase that would follow.

Township Park Plan Update In May this board approved the Park Planning document the department staff had prepared and authorized its submission to the supervisors for their approval. This plan needs to be in place before the revised Subdivision and Land Development Plan (SALDO) can be legally adopted. The supervisors approved it and directed that the staff include it in the township’s Comprehensive Plan. This work will be formally completed by this fall.

Greenway Committee Report The committee has been working toward trying to develop a portion of the Darlington Trail west of Hocker Park into a township greenway trail. Committee chairman Chris Johnston reported that their initial efforts to obtain trail easements from several landowners along the trail have not been successful and that the committee has informally considered changing direction for the time being. They suggested that for a time they shift their efforts to promoting the awareness and use of the trails that exist in the township and continue to look for other opportunities to develop other new trails

Park Ballfield Reservatons Reservations from sports organizations for the use of fields in all the parks for this season are on track with previous years. The applications have generally been more compliant with the requirements to provide complete schedules and proof of insurance than in previous years and some new organizations have made applications. The supervisors have asked department heads for budget information earlier this year than normal so it is thought that because of the township’s fiscal situation they may need to revisit the matter of fees for field use in 2010.

Dog Park The grand opening of the Happy Tails Dog Park was well attended. Consideration may be given to including a dog park in the eventual development of Wolfersberger Park to serve residents in that part of the township. Mr. Luetchford raised the question regarding dogs being allowed to run in all township parks. The township ordinance allows dogs to be in parks if they are on a leash no longer than 6 feet and if the owner cleans up after the dog. He reported that in many parks dogs run off their leash, which could be a danger to people using the park. Complaints to the police have not helped. With a designated area now available for dogs, consideration could be given to banning dogs from parks or at least to request the police to give warnings to owners of dogs running free. It was suggested that a summer intern could help by monitoring the parks to evaluate compliance with the existing ordinance.

George Park The formal dedication of the Thomas B. George Jr. Park will be held at 5:30 pm on Tuesday, July 7, 2009. Mr. George is being honored for his service to the township in a great many formal and informal capacities over many years including 51 years as a member and as the chairman of the Parks & Recreation Board.