SWAN Newsletter #40
September 1, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY BOARD MEETING

Attended and reported by Ted Robertson.

Absent: Bill Hornung

In an Authority Meeting prior to the regularly scheduled Supervisors meeting, the Authority approved the 5-year funding option presented by Mike Bova of Boenning and Scattergood by a vote of 4 – 0. This plan tends to level the rate structure, which should be of benefit to Township residents.

The Authority also voted 4 – 0 to approve an amendment to the Consent Decree with DEP.

September 1, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING

(7:05 –7:50 PM)

Attended and reported by Ted Robertson.

Under Old Business, the Supervisors unanimously approved the low bid for tree cutting service in the Beaver Creek sanitary sewer mini basin. Stoner Tree Service was the low bidder at $12,425.00.

The Supervisors unanimously approved $12,000.00 expenditure for CET to do a feasibility study and apply for funding for the development of a solar energy farm at the closed municipal landfill. This is a 3-megawatt system proposed by Energy Systems and Installation Corp. This was approved contingent upon CET supplying the Township with hourly rates and staff hours involved.

Under New Business, the Supervisors voted unanimously to appoint Ralph Palm to the position of Municipal Emergency Management Coordinator.

The Supervisors voted 4 – 0 to approve the first amendment to the Second Consent Decree with DEP for improvements to the Paxton Creek Basin sanitary sewer facilities.

The Supervisors unanimously approved Resolution 09-39. This action supports the submission of a Dauphin County Local Share Municipal Grant application requesting funds for improvements to Page and Spring Creek Roads over a period of 2 years in the amount of $500,000.00.

September 2, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP GREENWAY COMMITTEE MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Darlington Trail A portion of this existing trail along the top of Blue Mountain extending to the west from Hockers Park has been designated on the Greenway Plan for possible development as a greenway trail. The committee members in May walked part of the trail to evaluate what improvements might be needed. Contact with the several property owners whose land the trail runs through had been made regarding the acquisition of trail easements but with no success. Parks and Recreation Department director Brian Luetchford stated that further contacts would be made. He suggested to the committee that since the trail is constantly in use the township might consider doing some trailhead improvements in Hockers Park including signage that could be done even without having the trail designated as an official greenway trail.

Draft Brochure of Existing Trails Mr. Luetchford reviewed a suggestion that the committee consider developing a brochure for public use identifying the many walking trails that exist in the township. He presented a detailed list of six trails, all but one of which are through and/or adjacent to a township park, which provide opportunities for walking in almost every area of the township. In addition to those six the committee mentioned a few others that exist or could be developed, including in the township owned acreage along Nyes Road. The intent would be to provide the residents with information about these “walking opportunities” that already exist in the township. Committee member Roy Newsome will work with Mr. Luetchford to develop a draft brochure for the committee’s consideration.

Goals and Objectives The committee’s mission statement and goals were developed last winter. At the next meeting these will be revisited to see if they need to be updated.

Other Business It was mentioned that what is thought to be the state’s second largest sycamore tree is located on private property on the south side of Linglestown Road just west of Patton Road behind Bower’s Carpet store. The committee thought that it might be well to investigate whether efforts need to be made to protect the tree and what could be done recognizing that the property owner has had concerns about people trespassing on his property to see the tree.

September 2, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS & RECREATION BOARD MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Softball Association of Linglestown Sam Hartley, President of the Association, asked the board if there was any way that Field #4 at Koons Park could be made available for the girls’ softball league more that the two days a week they can currently use it. He said that they use other fields but they have had to turn away quite a number of girls who would like to play on a team because of the lack of available fields. Parks & Recreation Department director Brian Luetchford responded that the department allocates fields between baseball and softball based on the number of players who sign up. He said that when next year’s request is sent in, Mr. Hartley should note the number of girls who had been turned away this year and that factor would be evaluated.

Mr. Hartley said he could try to raise money to install lights on one of the softball fields to allow time in the evenings for an additional game if the department would agree. Mr. Luetchford responded that this was probably not a good idea due to the high cost to install lights and that because there are houses relatively close to the fields more lights could well result in a problem with the neighbors. He added that in the future with the development of Wolfersberger Park additional lighted fields should be available. It was suggested that the girls’ league could consider extending their season farther into the summer to allow for additional games to be added to the schedule.

Hockey Rink Rental fees for using fields and pavilions are in place but none has been set for the inline hockey rink and there have been requests to rent the rink. The board recommended that the fee be set somewhere between the cost to rent a field and that to rent a pavilion.

Board Vacancy With resignation of Kathy Stone a vacancy existed on the board and prior to this meeting the board interviewed seven applicants who expressed interest in the appointment to the board. Following the meeting the board met in executive session to take action on this personnel matter.

Dog Park Mr. Luetchford reported that the newly opened dog park at Koons/Lingle Park has been very well received and heavily used. Benches have been donated and picnic tables are planned. It is expected that with the heavy use the grass will not survive and that tan bark will be needed. The association provides bags for the park users and they estimate they will need to supply about 30,000 bags for the year.

Greenway Committee The committee met earlier in the evening and Mr. Luetchford reported that they would be working on creating a brochure that will inform residents of the many walkways that already exist in the township that can provide “walking opportunities.”

Tatoo/Body Piercing/Mutilation Policy Mr. Luetchford provided to the board a draft of a possible department policy regarding the hiring and disciplining of staff members with various offensive “body art” which if adopted would become an addition to the dress policy. It was noted that there is concern that these restrictions could become grounds for discrimination charges and Mr. Luetchford stated he would review the matter with the township’s solicitor.

Firearms/Weapons in Parks Several citizens presented to the board their objection to the township’s restriction outlawing the carrying of firearms and other weapons in the parks. They stated that this restriction is contrary to state law, which permits the carrying of unconcealed weapons anywhere except a few places including post offices and prisons and a concealed weapon with a permit anywhere with the same exceptions. Rules posted at all parks include this restriction. This has raised a complicated legal issue which the solicitor has been addressing but with no resolution as yet. To date there has been no occasion for this restriction to be enforced, but if it would be, it could lead to expensive litigation.

George Park Construction work at the Nyes Road entrance to the park is nearing completion and the contractors should be done sometime in October.

September 8, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY BOARD MEETING

(7:35 – 7:45 PM)

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

Absent: Gary Crissman, Bill Hornung

The Authority approved the low bid of 8 bidders of Michael F. Ronca in the amount of $7,243,700.00 for sewer replacement for Paxton Creek PC-4B/6C mini basins.

September 8, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP

(7:45 – 8:30 PM)

The President and several members of the Huntfield Neighborhood Association presented photos of the poor condition of the roadways in their neighborhood, which has been an ongoing problem. The Supervisors were aware of this problem. They noted that road projects had been cut because of the financial problems in the Township. The Supervisors promised that the Huntfield roads would be high on the list for 2010.

The Supervisors reviewed a draft letter to be sent to residents who have basketball goals and courts on public rights-of-way. It was decided that Mr. Wolfe would contact other municipalities to determine their experience with this problem. These are over 400 instances of this type in the township.

The Supervisors were in general agreement with proposed Ordinance 09-12, which provides a retirement incentive for employees in the non-uniformed employees pension plan. Mr. Wolfe will submit the plan to AFSCME for their input and bring the results back to the Supervisors.

The Supervisors had a brief discussion on the recommended appointment of Linda Laub to the Parks and Recreation Board. It was agreed to have this on the agenda of the Supervisors meeting on September 15th.

The Supervisors reviewed a proposal to provide group life and long-term disability insurances to the Township. It was agreed that Mr. Wolfe would ask for bids since substantial savings may be incurred.

The Supervisors generally agreed to revisions to building permit and occupancy fees proposed by staff.

Mr. Wolfe is going to Washington to testify before the Science Advisory Board concerning a review of EPATMDL’s involving Paxton Creek.

Comment: Another example of bureaucratic unfunded mandates based on fiction rather than fact, which will cost the Township citizens more tax dollars and result in no improvement to the environmental health of Paxton Creek.

September 9, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING

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

Public Comment Tara Mead and Eric Epstein from SWAN made a presentation to the commissioners at their August meeting regarding proposed changes to the township’s noise ordinance. These changes were offered as a result of the extended problem the Mead family has had in their neighborhood with excessive noise. No action was taken at that meeting and the presentation at this meeting was made to reinforce the request. The commissioners agreed that a change should be considered and they stated that they would continue to pursue the matter before the next meeting.

Old Business

Mid-Penn Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery – Preliminary/Final Subdivision & Land Development Plan #09-17 This project involves the construction of a one story dental office building behind an existing dental office building at the northeast corner of Linglestown Road and Dover Road. The property is zoned BC Business Campus. At last month’s meeting the project was reviewed and the commissioners noted concerns about the arrangement of the building and the shared parking areas on the site as well as the matter of sidewalks along the two roads. The applicant agreed to further develop the plan for this meeting.

The revised plan was reviewed and the only remaining concern was for the proposed location of sidewalks and the handicapped ramp at the intersection. The applicant requested a waiver to omit a sidewalk along the northern portion on the Dover Road side. He also requested that a handicapped ramp at the intersection be moved or eliminated since there were no ramps at the other three corners of the intersection. The commissioners recommended approval of the plan but denied the waiver request to eliminate the portion of sidewalk. They recommended allowing the owner to defer the installation of the portion of the sidewalk in question until the time when a sidewalk is built on the property to the north. They also recommended that a handicapped ramp or ramps be installed at the intersection in compliance with ADA and PennDOT requirements.

Wind Energy The need for the township to have ordinance requirements for wind mills and wind turbines was again discussed. The commissioners agreed to form a subcommittee to draft an ordinance that will consist of commissioners Fred Lighty and Dennis Guise and SWAN’s Eric Epstein. The intent will be to address safety and aesthetic issues for now without trying to over regulate, recognizing that regulations regarding other forms of alternative energy will also need to be addressed in the future.

New Business
Ordinance #09-10 – Amending Chapter 170 Stormwater Management The changes that were proposed are similar to those made in other townships and are necessary to bring the township’s regulations into compliance with new major changes in the water quality and infiltration requirements. The changes are needed to protect the township. HRG, the township’s engineers, stated that the changes could result in an increase of as much as 30% to the cost of the portion of a project related to those items. The commissioners recommended approval of the regulation changes.

Commissioners’ Comments Commissioner Roy Newsome stated that the noise ordinance matter discussed earlier in the meeting by SWAN brings up the question as to whether that matter belongs only in the zoning ordinance or whether the enforcement of the requirements should more properly be the responsibility of the police department. The commissioners felt that such a change should be explored and they asked that a joint meeting be set up with the Public Safety Committee to discuss the matter.

September 10, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MEETING

(7:00 – 7:45 PM)
Attended and reported by Ted Robertson.

Under Old Business, the Sub-Committees’ reports were as follows:

Members of the mission statement sub-committee will meet with George Wolfe to finalize the mission statement.

The Model Fire Suppression Ordinance will be put on hold until the new state regulations are put in place in 2010.

Chief Ben Shields presented an outline for a Fire Services Study for L. P. Township. There are two (2) in state and two (2) out-of-state companies who provide this service. Estimated costs range from $20,000.00 to $50,000.00. Acting Chief Johnson stated he would look into the possibility of obtaining grant money to fund this project.

All information has been collected for a Truss Marking Ordinance. This sub-committee will meet with staff to put the information into an ordinance format.

September 15, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING

(7:30 – 8:15 PM)

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

Absent: Gary Crissman

Mr. Wolfe noted that Trick or Treat night will be Thursday, October 29th from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.

Under Old Business, the Supervisors approved the appointment of Linda Laub to fill a vacancy on the Parks and Recreation Board.

Under New Business, the required public hearing for the renewal of the cable television franchise agreement between the Township and Comcast was held. This is a formality necessary prior to the signing of the agreement, which runs from October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010.

The Supervisors unanimously approved the proposal of U.S. Specialty Insurance Co, to provide the Township with property and liability insurances, and retain Praetorian as the provider of these insurances for the Authority. This action will save the Township approximately $25,000.00 for the coming year.

The Supervisors unanimously approved the preliminary/final land development plan for Monticello Heights (09-19). This is the former Schiavoni property, and will be a Planned Community.

The Supervisors unanimously approved the preliminary/final subdivision plan for Leroy Smigel (09-15). This property abuts Mr. Smigel’s property and was purchased from Triple Crown Corporation. This property will not be developed.