SWAN Newsletter #41

September 22, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING

(7:20 – 7:57 PM)

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

Absent: Bill Hornung

Resolution 09-44 to authorize the extension of the term of the Lower Paxton Sewer Authority to 2056 was passed unanimously.

Ordinance 09-13, authorizing the issuance of General Obligation Bonds, was passed by a vote of 3-1 with Gary Crissman dissenting. This included $42,000,000.00 in federally subsidized bonds for the upcoming sanitary sewer overhaul.

Resolution 09-43, accepting the 2010 Minimum Municipal Obligation for the police and non-uninformed employee pension plans, was approved unanimously.

September 22, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY BOARD MEETING

(7:57 – 8:03 PM)

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

The Authority voted unanimously to approve Resolution 09-12 to approve a subsidy agreement with Lower Paxton Township.

September 22, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP

(8:05 – 9:30 PM)

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

There was an extensive review of the budget status for the remainder of 2009, and of the pre-draft budgets for 2010.

Suffice to say that the fiscal condition of the Township is not nearly as dire as was stated two months ago. All Township Department heads have done an excellent job in instituting cost reductions to offset the loss of income as a result of the generally bad economy.

Comment: The State and Federal legislators could take some lessons from Lower Paxton Township.

September 24, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING

(7:00 – 8:30 PM)

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

Absent: Jeff Staub

Docket #1267. The DeForest Sign Company requested a variance from the wall sign ordinance on behalf of JoAnn Fabrics in Colonial Commons. The request was for four additional wall signs to denote the various products handled by JoAnn Fabrics. In light of the unusual length of the face of the building, and its comparatively remote location in the mall, the Board voted 3-1 to allow two (2) additional signs not to exceed 27 square feet each. Mrs. Cate cast the opposing vote.

Docket #1268 was continued to the October Board meeting. This was an application for three additional signs by Service Select Signs on behalf of AT&T Device Support in Colonial Commons. The number and size of signs was modified by the representative at this meeting, hence the continuation.

Docket #1269 was a request for a variance from a side yard set back requirement in order to erect a garage. This request was made necessary to accommodate the physical disabilities of the property owner’s son. The property owner secured the approval of the adjoining neighbors. The Board voted unanimously to approve the variance request.

Docket #1270 was continued at the suggestion of the Board. This was a request for a variance for the required number of parking spaces for the property at 1351 N. Mountain Road (formerly Otto’s Antiques). A more accurate determination of available parking spaces on and adjacent to the property will be required. Additional parking on nearby properties will also have to be formalized.

September 28, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION WORKSHOP MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

This meeting was a continuation of the commission’s efforts toward the possible creation of a Business Improvement District (BID) along the Route 22 business corridor in the township. The BID would provide a legal organization of business property owners within the designated area from Colonial Road to east of Mountain Road for the purpose of making improvements for the benefit of the businesses. The improvements would be funded by assessments of all owners of business properties in the district.

Previously the commissioners had gotten approval from the supervisors to pursue this effort, they identified all the businesses in the area, they developed an outline of the types of improvements they felt would be important to the businesses, and they prepared a presentation of the proposed project. In July they held an informational meeting with a selected group of business owners identified as “stakeholders.” The result of that meeting was a general agreement from those business owners that the project held promise as a benefit to them but that they needed additional information before they would wholeheartedly support it.

The commissioners have planned a second informational meeting with a larger and different group of “stakeholders” to be held on October 26 at which time the same presentation would be made and the owners’ response solicited. After this meeting the commissioners will be better able to gauge the preliminary response of the business owners and they can then decide whether or not it seems feasible to continue the project.

At this workshop meeting the commissioners made a list of the stakeholders to be invited to the October 26th meeting. They then discussed the next steps to be taken if the project continues. The law requires that a preliminary plan be prepared which needs to contain a detailed written report addressing a long list of specific items and it was agreed that the commissioners themselves would prepare the report. At their next workshop meeting following the second meeting with the stakeholders the commissioners will decide who among them will prepare drafts of the various items required to be in the preliminary plan. They will also try to get copies of reports prepared for municipalities in the area that have previously gone through the same process.

October 6, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY BOARD MEETING

(7:30 – 7:45 PM)

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

The Authority voted unanimously to award Rogele Inc., the contract for sewer line replacement in two areas, PC3B (Colonial Crest) and BC1A (Linglestown). The low bid of 10 bidders was $1,792,535.00, which was $600,000.00 under the engineers estimate. The work in Colonial Crest will start in the last half of 2010.

October 6, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING

(7:45 – 8:40 PM)

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

David Johnson was named L.P. Township Public Safety Director effective this date. Mr. Johnson has been Acting Police Chief.

A Letter of Agreement between the Township and AFSCME regarding the retirement incentive window was approved unanimously.

Ordinance 09-12, amending the non-uniformed employees pension plan to provide for a retirement incentive window, was approved unanimously.

The Supervisors approved four of the five bids for the sale of vehicles and equipment. Action on the fifth vehicle will be taken at the next business meeting.

Resolution 09-42, adding a $10.00 fee per lot for the recording of subdivision plans in addition to existing subdivision application fees, was approved unanimously. This simply recoups the county fee.

Resolution 09-40, establishing a fee of $100.00 for the issuance of certificates of occupancy in instances of altered use or change of occupancy, was approved unanimously.

Under Subdivision and Land Development, the preliminary/final subdivision plan for James Musumed and Devin Fortney, lots 2 and 3 on Cider Press Road, was approved by a vote of 4-1. A question concerning wetlands delineating prompted Supervisor Crissman’s negative vote.

October 7, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP GREENWAY COMMITTEE MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Draft Brochure of Existing Trails At last month’s meeting it was suggested that the committee develop a brochure identifying existing walking trails in the township. The brochure could be distributed by various means to encourage residents to exercise using facilities that already exist. Committee member Roy Newsome offered to prepare a draft of the brochure for the committee to review. At this meeting he presented a two-page draft brochure, which included a description and location map covering thirteen trails, paths and other walking opportunities in the township. He also mentioned that the track coach at CD East High School was very familiar with these trails and others in the township from his efforts with the cross country team and that he said he would be willing to assist on the project.

Committee members were asked to develop suggestions for the brochure for discussion at the next meeting. Mr. Newsome said he would look into how best to develop a clear map showing the trails for inclusion in the brochure. The members set a date to begin touring some of the trails to get a clear idea of where they are and what condition they are in. After existing trails are located the intent would be to measure them, develop a plan for clearing them where needed, and marking or “blazing” them so walkers can easily find and follow them. Volunteers and eagles scout projects may be available to help with the clearing and marking efforts. It was thought that next year it might be possible to have a public event to help make the citizens aware of these walking opportunities that are available in the township.

Goals and Objectives When it was formed the committee prepared a Mission Statement and a list of Goals and Projects to identify and guide their efforts. The intent was to periodically review and update that document and at this meeting they prepared a short list of revisions they wanted made. Two items they discussed was the need for the township to soon complete the revisions to the Subdivision and Land Development Plan (SALDO) before new developments are started and to stress the need to continue to require sidewalks to be installed in conjunction with new projects where appropriate.

October 7, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS & RECREATION BOARD MEETING

Attended and reported by Watson Fisher.

Firearms in Parks At all township parks signs are posted stating that firearms are not allowed in the parks. At the September meeting two citizens raised an objection to this park rule stating that it is contrary to state law, which permits the carrying of unconcealed weapons anywhere except in a few places including post offices and prisons. It was acknowledged that this is a complicated issue and it has been turned over to the township solicitor. One of the citizens returned for this meeting to ask if any resolution had been made regarding this matter. Parks & Recreation Department Director Brian Luetchford reported that it was still under study by the solicitor.

Summer Playground Programs Mr. Luetchford reported that the summer parks programs for school aged children were very well attended this summer including the Day Camp programs conducted at three of the elementary schools.

Greenway Committee Mr. Luetchford stated that the Greenway Committee met and had started work on a brochure to be distributed to the public locating and describing the many hiking trails that already exist in the township. It is hoped that this information will help promote walking by the citizens to improve health. They also reviewed and updated their Mission Statement and statement of Goals and Objectives.

George Park Mr. Luetchford reported that the roadwork at the Nyes Road entrance to the park would be completed by the end of the year. Also it appears that the group that was doing fund raising to build a skate park there has not been successful because of the economic conditions. However various churches in the area have come up with makeshift ramps and shoots and it might be possible for a coordinated effort among them to produce a new facility.

Other Business It was determined that the Capital Area Soccer Association (CASA) is not interested in purchasing a portion of the Wolfersberger Park property as had been previously discussed. Long-term park planning will be based on the township using the entire tract. A question was raised regarding the free use of township play fields by sports organizations that are for profit. Many organizations have paid coaches and staff and are non-profit but some are in business to make money and, at least for youth programs, they reserve and use township fields at no cost. Mr. Luetchford said that when fields are reserved the department has not tried to determine if the organization is a for profit group. The board members asked him to check with other municipalities in the area to determine if they have had this situation and if so how have they handled it.

October 8, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PUBLIC SAFETY COMMITTEE MEETING

(7:40 – 8:15 PM)

Attended and reported by Ted Robertson.

Under Old Business, the sub-committee reports were as follows

1. Mission statement – A meeting will be scheduled with Mr. Wolfe, Mr. Johnson and representatives of the Safety Committee to finalize the mission statement.

2. Model Fire Suppression Ordinance – This will remain on hold until the revised State Uniform Construction Code is adopted.

3. Fire Services Study – This will remain on hold until the Township fiscal condition improves.

4. The Committee approved a preliminary truss-marking ordinance.

Under New Business, a special meeting will be held Thursday, October 15th @ 7:00 PM in the Social Hall to discuss the installation of the public water line in Linglestown in conjunction with the construction project.

October 13, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP

(6:40 – 8:45 PM)

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

A presentation was made by Rettew Associates regarding strategic planning services. The primary benefit of this service would be a shortened time frame for the comprehensive plan process. This would also result in a real time updating of the existing comprehensive plan.

A draft letter was agreed to which would be sent to residents with basketball equipment in public rights of way.

Changes to the International Code Council Property Maintenance Code were reviewed. This is a part of the State Uniform Construction Code (UCC). These changes were aimed primarily at structure access both externally and internally, and should strengthen the existing U.C.C. Code.

A representative of the Penn Colonial Swim Cub requested assistance from the Supervisors to pave the Club’s parking lot. The Supervisors generally agreed this would not be possible. Several less expensive alternatives to paving were provided.

The Paxton Creek TMDL has been replaced by the Chesapeake Bay TMDL.

Comment: Bigger, more onerous unfunded mandates for L.P. Township taxpayers to shoulder.

A local citizen proposed that Lower Paxton Township establish Environmental Advisory Council. The consensus of the Supervisors was that the existing committees are handling the items proposed for this Council.

October 14, 2009

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING

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

Noise Ordinance Members of the Public Safety Committee joined the commissioners for the first portion of the meeting to discuss the question of how best to address concerns about enforcement of the current noise ordinance. Also under consideration was whether or not a change to the ordinance should be considered.

The noise regulations are in the zoning ordinance and are primarily used to regulate land use involving such things as manufacturing activities that can create excessive levels of noise. The zoning officers are able to control issues of land use but they are not properly equipped to deal with problems arising from excessive domestic noise in residential areas. When serious problems of this sort have come up they have been directed to the police department and they are usually resolved by the appearance of an officer on the scene. The suggestion had been made that the police department should handle enforcement of such domestic problems and that an appropriate change to the ordinance should be considered. It was also suggested that the wording of the ordinance should be strengthened to provide for better enforcement of repeated domestic noise violations.

Eric Epstein and Tara Mead from SWAN repeated the testimony they had given at previous meetings concerning the Mead family’s lengthy noise problem with a neighbor and the township’s difficulty in resolving the issue. The family has had to resort to hiring an attorney to try to deal with the problem.

In response to the suggestion that the ordinance be changed, Public Safety Department Director David Johnson stated that the police department would have to purchase equipment and train officers as well as to commit officer’s time for court proceedings. After discussion, Mr. Johnson agreed that the department would strengthen their efforts in responding to noise complaints and following up on repeated offenses as well as taking action when the problem rises to the level of disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace offenses. He agreed to draft a plan of action to further address the matter.

Best Western Hotel & Suites – Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan #09-20 This request is to subdivide into two lots the property at the northwest corner of the Mountain Road intersection with Interstate 81 which houses the Best Western Motel and the former Country Oven restaurant. The larger lot will be the land on which the hotel sits and the smaller lot will be the land on which the restaurant sits. Best Western will continue to own both parcels but may choose to sell or lease the restaurant lot. No new construction is involved. At their recent meeting the Zoning Hearing Board approved variance requests for parking and setback requirements for the smaller restaurant lot. Vehicular traffic to the motel will then have to cross the restaurant property so an access agreement will be required. The commissioners recommended approval of this plan.

Paxton Towne Centre – Preliminary/Final Subdivision Plan #09-21 This request is to subdivide an approximately four-acre undeveloped parcel from the rest of the Paxton Towne Centre shopping center development property. The parcel is located on the east side of Devonshire Road and the south side of Hampton Court Road. It was originally part of the Park Sheesley property that became the shopping center. There was an agreement that after a period of time any undeveloped parcel could be bought back by the Sheesley estate and this is what the estate intends to do. There are sidewalks on two sides of the lot and the commissioners agreed to a temporary waiver to not require the construction of additional sidewalks at this time. The commissioners recommended approval of this plan.

October 15, 2009

LINGLESTOWN SQUARE PROJECT MEETING

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

An informational meeting was held at the Linglestown Fire Hall to update citizens on the construction phases of the project. Representatives from the Linglestown committee, the water company, the contractor, the township, the Fire Company and PennDOT were present.

The representative from the United Water Company reported that the company would be constructing a water main extending the length of Linglestown Road from the fire station east to Balthaser Street. The water company will install curb boxes at all properties along Linglestown Road and will contact the approximately 50 owners who previously indicated that they wanted to connect to the main so that their connections can be made at the time the main is installed. The connection fee will be $2500 for residents and businesses. Other property owners can connect in the future but the cost at that time will be somewhat higher. The water main installation will include three fire hydrants.

Representatives from the contractor, Leon Wintermyer, indicated that the project will be starting immediately and completion is scheduled for the fall of 2011. The project will be divided into three phases. The first will involve construction work at the west end of the project including the new parkway bypass, the new driveway into the church, the new roundabout between the two fire department buildings, and some minor work at the east end of the project. This work should be completed in the spring of 2010. The second phase will include construction of the eastbound lane of Linglestown Road, portions of both lanes of North Mountain Road, and half of the roundabout at North Mountain Road. This work should be completed by the end of 2010. The third phase will include construction of the westbound lane of Linglestown Road and the remaining half of the roundabout at North Mountain Road. The entire project is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2011. It was stated that all dates are subject to change due to weather or unforeseen conditions.
The representative from PennDOT stated that they will have inspectors and a trailer on site and that questions or concerns should be directed to them and not to the contractors. It is planned that all work will be done during daylight hours. It was acknowledged that the project will result in extensive traffic difficulties for people traveling through the area and for the residents and business owners who need to get to and from their properties. Alleys will get more traffic than normal and it was pointed out that this project does not involve improvements to any of the alleys. A representative from the fire company expressed his concern that fire apparatus could have difficulty moving through the area during the construction period. PennDOT will suggest detour routes to bypass the area and the township agreed to post that kind of information on its website.