SWAN Newsletter #39
July 14, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP

(6:55 – 9:30 pm)

Attended by Mark Levine, Watson Fisher and Ted Robertson. Reported by Ted Robertson.

Representatives of M&T Bank and Ferris, Baker, Watts of Baltimore presented financial options to the Supervisors for capital projects.

Mr. Wendle and representatives of E.S.I Power presented a plan for a solar farm to be located on the closed municipal landfill. This would supply power to the Swatara Treatment Plant. The preliminary estimate for the installation was $14,000,000. This would be a 3.5-megawatt plant. There are numerous Federal bonds, Renewable Energy Bonds, and a state grant to tap for funds. It was stated that the project would provide positive cash flow for the township in the first year of operation.

Mr. Dobslaw presented an update on the Commonwealth Court’s ruling on the subdivision of condominiums. Mr. Dobslaw stated that he received a letter from the Court to the effect that the Court will hear the case. A hearing date will be forthcoming. Mr. Dobslaw then presented a four or five-year-old case from Philadelphia in which the Commonwealth Court’s ruling was diametrically opposite to the ruling presently in litigation. It appears, although the writer cannot be certain, that there will be no immediate action with respect to the amendment to the Ordinance in question. In light of the further confusion emanating from the Commonwealth Court’s rulings, it was felt that no input from SWAN was necessary at this time.

In a continuation from a previous workshop, Mr. Robbins attached dollar values to the Township storm water and highway capital facility needs. The Supervisors asked Mr. Robbins to prioritize these projects so that realistic dollar amounts may be included in future budgets.

Mr. Robbins noted that there are at least 384 basketball courts on Township road right-of-ways. The Supervisors agreed that a letter go out to those responsible for the courts reminding them of the applicable Township Ordinance and “politely” asking for said basketball courts to be removed.

The Supervisors agreed to use the closed landfill as a site for Temporary Debris Storage and Reduction as requested by Dauphin County.

July 21, 2009

LOWER PAXTON.TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING

(7:35 – 7:55 PM)
Attended by Watson Fisher and Ted Robertson. Reported by Ted Robertson.

Judge Wenner administered the oath of office to police officer Keegan Wenner.

Under Old Business, Resolution 09-31, approving Supplement D to the agreement between the Township and Arora Associates, PC for engineering services related to the Linglestown Corridor Improvements, was passed unanimously.

Under New Business, Resolution 09-32 approving the Supplemental Reimbursement Agreement with PA DOT to advertise, open bids, award a contract and provide construction for the Linglestown Corridor Project was approved by a vote of 5 – 0. The above resolutions are after the fact, and were required by PA DOT to pay the contractors involved. Leon Wintermeyer was the apparent low bidder for the project at $4,060,000.00.

After a public hearing, Ordinance 09-06, setting forth the allocation of building permits in the Beaver Creek Sanitary Sewer Basin, was approved unanimously. There are 54 permits available July 1 thru December 31, 2009, and 18 permits available January 1 thru March 31, 2010.

Resolution 09-34, an application for funding for police officer training from the MPOETC was approved unanimously.

Change Order No. 3 to the contract with Womex, Inc., for the Linglestown Road sanitary sewer force main was approved unanimously. This was in the amount of $3,776 for quantities of materials used and will close out this project.

Under Subdivision and Land Development, a declaration of lot consolidation for Devonshire Memorial Church of the United Brethren in Christ, (09-14), was approved unanimously.

Resolution 09-33, the Planning Module for Dorothy Mumper was approved unanimously.

July 23, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING

(7:00 – 8:00 PM)

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

Docket No. 1264 was a variance request for the property at 6405 Lyters Lane. The request involved a minor revision of the plot plan for two existing plots. The variance was granted unanimously.

Docket No. 1265 was a variance request concerning minimum lot width on a property located at 4880 Pine Hill Road. This involved a narrow leg of a property, which fronts on Hawthorn Road. The total plot acreage is approximately five acres. This variance was granted unanimously.

Docket No. 1263 was a variance request for the property at 300 North Mountain Road (Best Western) owned by MLG Enterprises, Inc. The variance was made necessary in order to isolate the restaurant on the property from the motel to avoid the Best Western mandates on the restaurant. These mandates included furnishings, décor, etc., and are updated yearly. The variances involved impervious coverage and side yard set back requirements, which exist. The Board voted 4-0 to grant the variances. Jeff Staub abstained.

July 27, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION WORKSHOP MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

This meeting, the purpose of which was to brief a group of local business owners, was the next step in the commissioners’ continuing efforts toward the possibility of creating a Business Improvement District (BID) in the township. A BID is a legal organization of property owners in a specified business area that would be able to make improvements in the area for the benefit of the businesses, the improvements being funded by assessments from the businesses.

The township supervisors had authorized the commissioners to take the preliminary steps necessary to see if a BID can be created here. Over the past year and a half the commissioners have selected a specific area for the district, outlined the types of improvements that could be considered, researched how existing districts in the area were created and are now operating, and developed an outline of the necessary steps to be followed in the effort. The district selected was the Route 22 business corridor from Colonial Road to Mountain Road.

At the previous meeting the commissioners identified the next step, which would be to hold an informational meeting with a small group of business owners in the proposed district to brief them on the project and to solicit their thoughts and reactions. Eleven owners attended this meeting representing, among other businesses, Essis & Sons, Applebee’s, Hoffman Ford, Swartz Supply, Paxton Town Center, and Members 1st. The commissioners made a power point presentation described the legal requirements governing the creation and operation of the BID and discussed some of the possible projects that could benefit the businesses. They explained that the BID could not be created if 40% of the property owners in the designated area voted against it. They then opened up the meeting to owners’ comments.

The main item of feedback from the business owners was the traffic congestion on Route 22 and the difficulty shoppers have in accessing many of the smaller businesses along the corridor. It was noted that the BID budget from assessments could not fund any major traffic improvements but, under a BID organization, the business owners could have a coordinated way to work with PennDOT to lobby for highway changes. Another comment was that improvements in existing BIDs, like Harrisburg and State College, related to beautification and maintenance of areas for pedestrian movements while Route 22 involved primarily vehicular movements. In response it was noted that banners, hanging flower baskets, benches, bus shelters, etc., could enhance the appearance and usability of a vehicular corridor as well as a pedestrian one and would create a visual unity to the linear business area.

The commissioners explained that the township would provide the mechanism to create the BID but that after that the business owners through a manager and a board would run the organization and develop the projects within the limits of the assessments that they felt would best benefit them. The township would have no say in what improvement projects were developed.

After many initial negative comments some of the business owners began to acknowledge the potential positive aspects of the BID. It was felt that the possible benefits of joint marketing and advertising efforts could be a definite plus and that beautification projects could improve the appearance and appeal of the corridor as seen from people driving through. They also acknowledged that even though traffic congestion was a major problem businesses obviously required customers driving to their locations.

The owners understood that this informational meeting was an early step in the process of determining whether or not to proceed with the effort but they generally agreed that they would need much more specific information and suggestions before they would be comfortable endorsing it. They realized that this meeting was targeted toward getting feedback from the smaller local business owners but they suggested that the next meeting should include some of the larger mall and storeowners if possible. An early requirement in the planning process is to develop a Preliminary Plan and the business owners agreed that this should not be done until more information is available and agreed to by them. The commissioners agreed to continue with their efforts and to come back to the owners at another meeting with more specific details for discussion.

August 4, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY MEETING

(7:35 – 7:40 PM)

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

Absent: Bill Hornung

The Authority voted 4-0 to accept the funding request from PENNVEST in the amount of $16,630,000. This is Federal Stimulus money and the 10-year interest rates are very favorable.

August 4, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING

(7:40 – 8:10 PM)

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

Absent: Bill Hornung.

Under New Business, the Supervisors unanimously approved the low bidders for (1) The Willow Road storm water facilities repair and/or replacement and, (2) Paving of Briarsdale Road. The low bidder of eight for the Willow Road project was Justice Excavating, Inc., @ $107,422. The low bidder for the Briarsdale Road project was Handwerk, Inc., @ $137,800.

The Supervisors unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding with Dauphin County for use of identified Township facilities for temporary debris storage and reduction sites.

Under Subdivision and Land Development, the Supervisors voted 4 – 0 to accept the preliminary/final subdivision plan (09-12) for Select Medical (Villa Teresa). This involved splitting the parcel into two lots.

Resolution 09-35, the Planning Module for the Robert and Bette Kaneda property, was approved unanimously.

August 5, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS & RECREATION BOARD MEETING
Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Board Vacancy Following the resignation of Kathy Stone from the P&R Board, requests were sent out for interested citizens to complete applications for someone to fill the vacancy. Seven applications were received and were reviewed by the board. All applicants were considered to be very well qualified and it was decided that they should all be interviewed at a special meeting, which has been tentatively scheduled for August 26.

Fireworks Show Parks & Recreation Department Director Brian Luetchford advised the board of his efforts to ensure the safety of the attendees at the annual July 4th fireworks shows at Koons Park. There have been no problems to date but he has reviewed the situation with the township’s liability insurance carrier to be sure that his department is taking the necessary precautions. The largest shell the pyrotechnics company uses is 4 inch and the guidelines suggest a roped off area of 400 feet in all directions from the launch point be provided. This has been followed pretty much and ambulance and fire equipment are always on hand. The area is checked after the show and the following morning for duds. A few have been found over the years, mostly near the launch point. There have never been any injuries or property damage resulting from the shows. Mr. Luetchford will continue to pursue this matter with his and the pyrotechnics company’s insurance carriers to be sure that all reasonable precautions are being followed.

Koons Park Field #4 Extensive damage to the outfield grass at this softball field occurred when a large amount of grass killer being used on the infield by someone from the local softball association accidentally spilled and ran onto the outfield. The cost to properly repair the damage will be high and Township Manager George Wolfe said that this would be considered a non-essential expense under the township’s current fiscal situation. It is not expected that the softball association could fund the repair. Township guidelines have always indicated what repair work sports associations can and can’t do to the fields but as association personnel change over the years this information may not get passed on. Mr. Luetchford suggested that these guidelines be formalized for each of the different sports fields and be signed by each organization as a requirement at the time annually when the fields are reserved.

Park System Leash Law At the previous meeting the problem of dogs running free at township parks in violation of the township ordinance prohibiting that and the difficulty in not being able to enforce that requirement were discussed. The board agreed to pursue an effort to have the police and the District Justice recognize the seriousness of this matter for the safety of the park users. Board Chairman Robert McIntyre discussed this with the District Justice and had him agree that violators should first receive a warning and then a fine. Mr. Luetchford will discuss this with Acting Police Chief David Johnson to see if the police should enforce this or if some other way could be found to deal with these violations.

Ball Park Reservations P&R secretary Kathy Sawyer reported that reservations for fields for fall sports have almost all been received and processed.

Greenway Committee The August meeting of the committee was cancelled. Their next meeting is scheduled for 6:00 pm, Wednesday, September 2nd at the Friendship Center.

George Park Construction Final work to complete the road construction at the Nyes Road entrance to the park is under way and should be completed by the end of August. PennDOT has issued an extension until the end of September should there be any further delays.

Park Tour The board agreed that they should continue their annual tour of the township’s parks and they plan to schedule it for a Saturday in October.

Budget Update Mr. Luetchford presented a midyear budget update for the P&R department, which indicated that to date income was 36% of the year’s budgeted amount and expenses were 46% of the year’s budgeted amount. The most significant number was, under income, the Fee-In-Lieu payments from developers, which stands at approximately $2500 compared to the budgeted amount for the year of approximately $210,000. This reflects the drastic decrease of new construction during the 6-month

PHR Baseball Association Representatives from this association reported that there is an ongoing drainage problem on the infield of Field #8 at Brightbill Park, which they use, and they have received two quotes from companies to repair it. The association has raised funds to pay for the replacement of the entire infield and they are requesting the township’s approval to have the work done. They plan to sod the infield to be sure the field will be ready for play next spring.

Friendship Center Mr. Luetchford reported that the swimming pools are currently closed and have been emptied because fiberglass insulation in the air ducts under the roof from at least one of the two air handling units on the roof had begun to blow out and has fallen into at least one of the pools. The air system has been operating for many years and he thinks the insulation has begun to come loose. Repair work is underway but it could end up being quite expensive and he has contacted the insurance company for their evaluation.
August 11, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP

(6:00 – 9:30 PM)

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

Absent: Gary Crissman.

Mike Bova and his associates from Boenning and Scattergood presented some alternative financing programs in light of the awarding of PENNVEST funds to the Lower Paxton Township Authority. The Supervisors requested a clearer picture of the Sewer Authority’s actual expenditures over the next 5 to 10 years in order to select a proper funding venue.

Mr. Stine presented an opinion from attorney James Young in an ongoing review of the Township Ordinance concerning political signs. The opinion states that the Township Ordinance should be adequate as written.

Ms. Wissler gave the Supervisors an update on the Planning Commission’s efforts to establish a Route 22 Business Improvement District (BID). A meeting of representatives of 15 businesses affected by this plan was held and the response was generally positive. It was suggested at this meeting that another meeting be held with more of the stakeholders’ involved attending. This will be done.

There was a continuing review of the projected shortfall of revenues for the 2009 budget and the pre-draft budgets for 2010. Several plans were put forward to alleviate this situation and were discussed thoroughly. The prime reason for this shortfall is the general economy and the lack of development in the Township, both residentially and commercially.

Mr. Wolfe will set up a public hearing as part of the mandatory process for the approval of the COMCAST cable franchise.

August 12, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING

Attended by Eric Epstein, Tara Mead and Watson Fisher. Reported by Watson Fisher.

Old Business

Ordinances #09-07 and #09-08 These agenda items amending the Zoning Ordinance Subdivision and Land Development Plan (SALDO) were not considered at this meeting.

Noise Ordinance – SWAN PowerPoint Presentation Eric Epstein and Tara Mead from SWAN made a presentation regarding proposed changes to the township’s noise ordinance. Mrs. Mead repeated the account of the problems her family has faced for a year and a half from excessive noise from their neighbor and the extensive efforts she has made to have township officials respond and take action. She had previously presented to the township suggested changes to their ordinance consistent with the provisions in the Susquehanna Township ordinance. She has spoken with Susquehanna’s Police Chief Rob Martin who confirmed that with the provisions in their ordinance they have been successful in legally dealing with similar problems in their township. The commissioners decided to delay any action on the proposal but indicated that they felt some strengthening of the ordinance was needed.

Wind Energy The commissioners restated their need to consider creating an ordinance regulating the construction of windmills and wind turbines before projects begin to be submitted. Mr. Epstein, who has had experience in various alternative energy projects, advised them that DEP has a model wind energy ordinance, which could be of help. He also stated that projects relating to other types of alternative energy should also be addressed, particularly solar, which he feels will likely be more prevalent in the near future than wind. He offered to bring in alternative energy experts he knows if the commissioners so wished. The commissioners stated that they would address the entire alternative energy issue at their next regular meeting.

New Business

Leroy Smigel – Preliminary/Final Subdivision & Land Development Plan #09-15 This plan is to combine a 9.75-acre lot with an adjacent 10.77-acre lot to form a single lot on the north side of Crestview Drive north of MacIntosh Road. No construction is involved. All comments were satisfied. The commissioners recommended approval of this request.

Devin C. Fortney & James Musumeci – Preliminary/Final Subdivision & Land Development Plan #09-16 This plan involves the adjustment of the lot line separating two adjacent lots on the north side of Union Deposit Road just west of Cider Press Road. The two lots together total approximately 5 acres and the adjustment will create two equal sized lots. There was discussion regarding the ordinance requirement for the addition of sidewalks in this area, which is zoned residential but with a TND overlay. It was suggested that a waiver request to omit sidewalks would probably be required. The commissioners recommended approval of the request to adjust the lot line.

Mid-Penn Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery – Preliminary/Final Subdivision & Land Development Plan #09-17 This project involves the construction of a medical office building on the lot at the northeast corner of Linglestown Road and Dover Road. There is an existing dentist’s office building on the lot at the intersection and the new building to the north will share a vehicular entrance from Dover Road and a parking lot with the existing building. The lot is zoned BC Business Campus. Major concerns were raised regarding the arrangement of the building and the parking lot conforming to the requirements of the BC zone and with the need for and location of sidewalks. The applicant agreed to further develop the plan and the commissioners voted to table the request.

Pine Hill Road – Preliminary/Final Subdivision & Land Development Plan #09-18 This request is to subdivide a 16 acre lot which contains a single family dwelling north of Spring Creek Road and east of Twin Lakes Drive into two lots in order to allow a second single family dwelling to be built for the owner’s brother. Both dwellings will be accessed from a single entrance drive from Pine Hill Road and a driveway easement from one lot to the other will be required. No sidewalks will be required but a waiver to omit curbing along Spring Creek Road will be needed. The commissioners recommended approval of the request and approval of the waiver to omit curbing.

Ordinance #09-10 This item amending Chapter 170, Storm water Management, was withdrawn and will be considered at the next meeting.

Future Workshop Meetings regarding the Business Improvement District proposal were scheduled for Monday September 28 and Monday October 26.

August 18, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING

(7:30 – 8:10 PM)

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

Absent: David Blain

Under Public Comment, Deborah Battisti of the East Shore Branch of the Dauphin County Library System presented an update of the status of the East Shore Branch’s operation. Included was a thank you to the Supervisors for the use of the Friendship Center for some of the Library’s outreach programs. Ms. Battisti also noted that additional help might be needed in the near future for some of their programs during construction while upgrades are being done at the Library. All Supervisors offered positive comments on the quality of service at the Library.

Under Old Business, an amendment to the Police collective bargaining agreement providing for 12-hour shifts was approved unanimously.

After a public hearing, Ordinance 09-ll, accepting Blackberry Alley between North Mountain Road and Blue Mountain Parkway as a public road, was approved by a vote of 4 – 0. Mrs. Patricia Dietrich expressed concerns about increased traffic, paving, and speeding. The timing of the paving may depend on Resolution 09-38 below.

The Supervisors agreed to settle AFSCME Grievance 90-2944-0108 unanimously.

Under New Business, Resolution 09-38 was approved unanimously. This authorizes the submission of a Dauphin County Local Share Grant application for the funds to improve Blackberry and Raspberry Alleys in the Village of Linglestown.

The Supervisors unanimously approved the low bid of Petroleum Traders Corporation for vehicle fuels.

August 25, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

NEW BUSINESS

2010 Draft Budget The authority’s draft budget for the year 2010 was again reviewed. This discussion included the continuing consideration of various financing alternatives to provide funds for the needed sewer projects over the next period of years. In May the board’s financial advisor, the firm of Boenning & Scattergood, provided a detailed analysis of the financing needs to cover this work. This analysis, which included information on the existing debt and the payout requirements and cash flow, was provided to give the authority a comprehensive view of the financial situation. It also included a number of possible options for borrowing over the coming years.

At this meeting it was agreed that because of the current low interest rates available, and the probability that the rates will not be this low again for quite some time, it would be wise to borrow as much of what will be needed as possible now and to also possibly restructure some of the existing debt at the lower interest rate. Several financing options were discussed. The board agreed that the goal should be to achieve level debt service payments over the years. The financial advisor was asked to immediately complete the analysis of the several options so that if possible a firm decision can be made at a special authority meeting tentatively scheduled for September 1 and that bonds can be sold by mid September.

Resolution 09-07 This resolution concerned the approval of a new records retention policy for the Public Works Department. The resolution was approved.

Resolutions 09-08 & 09-09 These two resolutions were regarding the borrowing of PENNVEST funds that has been recently approved by the state. Both resolutions relate to the interim financing needed to allow the spending of some of the funds before the January 5, 2010 date when the funds will be formally available. Both resolutions were approved.

Resolution 09-10 This resolution was required in order to get reimbursement from PennDOT for the Nyes Road sewer project. The resolution was approved.

TOWNSHIP REPORTS

Second Consent Decree DEP Annual Meeting The report on this meeting included an update on the Beaver Creek Pumping Station and the discussion of some legal items.

PENNVEST Construction Projects There will be four sewer projects that will be paid for with the PENNVEST funds that were recently approved. Construction bids will be opened on these projects in September and October with contract awards being made a month later.

ENGINEER’S REPORT

CET’s report included an update on the status of the various sewer projects that are under way. It also included a report that they will be submitting a proposal to possibly receive a $12,000 grant to do the planning for a solar generating project in the township. They expected that if the project went ahead it would be financed by the Authority and not by the Township. The board expressed interest in this possible future project.

The next Authority meeting is scheduled for November 24, 2009.
August 27, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD

(7:00 – 7:35 PM)

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

Docket #1266 was a request for a variance regarding set back requirements for a property in a R-1 residential area. This involved closing in a concrete patio previously approved by the Township. The variance request was approved unanimously.