SWAN NEWSLETTER #100

October 1, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP GREENWAY COMMITTEE MEETING

Reported by Watson Fisher

Bike Share Feasibility Study Grant A bicycle organization has received a $30,000.00 state grant to study the feasibility of creating a bike corridor from Harrisburg to Hershey and possibly to the west shore. They would have bikes available for use at several locations. The organization has an agenda for their first year and it was suggested that this committee have a representative at their meetings.

Mateer Field   A public meeting will be held at the township building at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, October 6, to explore the possible disposition of this park property located east of Oak Park Circle. A group of local land owners constitute the legal owners of the property and the meeting will give them an opportunity to agree on what if anything should be done with the property. The township has an interest in possibly using the property as a township park and trailhead for a future walking trail but the property owners will need to decide on the disposition of their land.

 

Trail Maintenance   The committee decided that they would meet on Sunday, November 7th to survey park areas to see what maintenance items need to be addressed. They plan to schedule a work day for the following Sunday.

 

Walking Opportunities Brochure Committee member Angela Sedun has been working on the design of an updated version of the trail brochure that the committee had created. This larger brochure will give the location and description of the more than a dozen marked trails available to walkers in the township. The new version will contain more information and photos.

 

Safe Routes to School This state project was to provide safety improvements for students walking to school. An effort was made to secure funding for changes at the Linglestown Middle School but the application was not completed by the school authorities and the project was abandoned. As an aside, it was noted that intersections with painted crosswalks are more dangerous than ones without marking since pedestrians may think they have the right-of-way at marked intersections.

 

Harrisburg Pigeon Club Some time ago the committee met with officers of the club regarding possible shared use of their clubhouse on Union Deposit Road. The committee could possibly use it as a trail head for a planned trail along Nyes Run. A date will be set for committee members to visit the building.

 

Township Budget   It was mentioned that it might be possible for part of the cost of some of the committee’s projects to be included in the 2015 township budget. Several such projects could be the brochures noted above and signage on some of the existing trails. An effort in this regard will be considered.

 

October 1, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP PARKS & RECREATION BOARD MEETING

Reported by Watson Fisher

 

Linglestown Celebration   Bill Minsker attended the meeting to remind the township of the planned 250th Anniversary celebration to be held next year and the extensive preparations underway by the local committees. He requested that the township authorities get involved in the planned celebration any way they can.

 

He also took the opportunity to suggest that the township recognize two historical sites along Linglestown Road and consider possible ways to protect and preserve them. One is the vacant old fortified house on the south side of the road east of Colonial Road known hundreds of years ago as Fort Gilchrist. The other is the giant sycamore tree east of the house on the west side of Patton Road. It is thought to be hundreds of years old and the second largest such tree in the state. He is suggesting that the township purchase the two properties and maintain them as parks. Any historical markers by law would have to be funded privately.

 

Arts Council   One individual was interviewed to fill the vacant seat on the Arts Council. The board considered her well qualified and voted to recommend that the supervisors appoint her to that position.

 

Koons Park Softball Field   The Linglestown Softball Association has finished most of the work involved in building new dugouts and a refreshment stand and storage building at the softball field. Unfortunately, even though the field has been in use, the construction work on the buildings has remained unfinished. The board may suggest that the township get the buildings under roof and finish the project.

 

Possibility Place The local Rotary Club will be replacing the rubber floor mats and the shades over the benches at this play facility at George Park. Also there is an Eagle Scout candidate who has a repair project underway there.

 

Hodges Heights Park The board again discussed what can be done to make this park, that is located on landfill, usable by the neighbors. Suggestions such as relocating the road, relocating the pavilion to a level area, etc., could help. However, it was suggested that perhaps the final best solution is to abandon the current location and create a new pocket park nearby. Unfortunately the board is no closer to having a workable solution than they did when the matter was first discussed. The local residents have not had use of most of the park facilities for some time and they continue to hope that some kind of improvement project will be forthcoming.

 

October 6, 2014

MATEER FIELD MEETING

Reported by Watson Fisher

 

This open meeting held at the township building was called to provide the residents of the area around the Mateer Field property the opportunity to choose if they wish to reestablish the organization that has ownership of the park. The property is located east of Oak Park Circle and west of Berryhill Road. It consists of two baseball fields and a parking lot on three contiguous parcels.

 

The owner of record as of June 1944 is “The Community Club of Colonial Park”, a Non Profit Corporation. That organization ceased to function many years ago and different groups have developed and maintained the property for various baseball teams ever since. In recent years one individual has maintained the fields but he needs to step down and the future of the park is in question. That person approached the township on several occasions to see if they could help with the problem. Parks & Recreation Department director Brian Luetchford indicated that there is a possible interest in the township acquiring the property and turning it into a community park. Whether or not that would happen, it seemed necessary to do something with the property and Mr. Luetchford organized a public meeting to address the issue.

 

At the well attended meeting it was explained that the official owners of the park property as stipulated in the original charter are the owners of all the residential properties within a specified adjacent area. They were told that even though they have not been active for many years they could reorganize and take action to maintain the property or dispose of it as they wish.

 

Members of the group of owners expressed an interest in forming a committee as per the old bylaws and meeting in the very near future to decide how to proceed. A large enough numbers of the existing owners were present and agreed to serve on the committee. They expected that a decision on the preferred disposition of the property would be forthcoming. They asked Mr. Luetchford what the procedure would be if they decided to give it or sell it to the township with a stipulation that it needed to remain a park for some number of years. He replied that the supervisors would need to agree to the establishment of a new park and would develop the necessary legal documents to allow that to happen. He suggested that the matter could be presented to the supervisors within the next month.

 

October 7, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP AUTHORITY MEETING

Reported by Watson Fisher

 

I-83 Sewer Project The township is required to reimburse PennDOT for 50% of the cost of the small sanitary sewer work involved with a recent interstate reconstruction project. The sewer work consisted of repair to a manhole and 40 feet of sanitary sewer piping. The authority members voted to approve the payment.

 

Linglestown Road The recent PennDOT highway project that resurfaced Linglestown Road several miles to the east from the Village of Linglestown left 9 manhole covers depressed far enough below the road surface that some number of complaints have been received from motorists. The change order cost to raise the manhole covers to be level with the road is $9000.00, of which half under the open construction contract is the responsibility of the township. The authority approved the payment.

 

October 7, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING

Reported by Watson Fisher

 

Property Maintenance Code – Ordinance #14-05   At last month’s supervisors’ meeting there was an advertised public hearing regarding the proposed change to the code which would set forth new requirements for the mowing of properties in the R-1 Low Density Residential District. The provision would affect large undeveloped properties in the district, specifically requiring the mowing of a 10 foot wide setback on the property perimeter plus the mowing of an area equal to the minimum required lot size in the R-1 zoning district. Several citizens raised objections to the proposed provisions and action on the code change was postponed. As promised, the supervisors on their road tour viewed several of the properties that would be affected by the new requirements. At this meeting the supervisors without further comment voted to adopt the new requirements.

 

Police Agreement The collective bargaining agreement between the police personnel and the township which was withdrawn at the previous meeting was ready for action at this meeting. It was approved by the supervisors.

 

South Central EMS EMS director Jason Campbell attended the meeting to discuss the 2015 township’s contribution to the ambulance service. He stated that 60% of his calls come from Lower Paxton Township and he noted that the township’s contribution had been significantly reduced last year from previous years. The supervisors noted that they were trying to keep the 2015 budget as close as possible line item for line item to the 2014 expenditures. They agreed to further discuss the matter at their budget meeting scheduled for October 21st.

 

Public Works Building The township’s engineering firm GHD submitted a proposal for site design services involved with the planned expansion of the Public Works building on Locust Lane. The agreement was for a not-to-exceed figure of $4,000.00. The supervisors voted to approve the contract.

 

Dissemination Agent   Each year the township is required to appoint a Dissemination Agent to oversee any outstanding borrowing. The supervisors voted to reappoint the firm of Susquehanna Group Advisors for another year.

 

Adaptive Traffic Signal SystemResolutions #14-31-01 thru #14-31-05 These five resolutions authorized PennDOT to install their equipment on traffic lights on five Union Deposit Road intersections, two at I-83 and three at other locations, as they had previously done on for a project on Route 22. There is no cost to the township and they will be removed after road construction is completed. The supervisors approved these resolutions.

 

Huntleigh Development The developer of this housing project located along Lyters Lane requested a change to the preliminary/final subdivision plan for a portion of the development. The approved plan for the project contained 148 building lots to be built in seven stages. The developer now wishes to combine stages six and seven with the previously planned 32 lots into a single phase with only 5 large lots. The proposed change has been approved by the Planning Commission. The supervisors voted to approve the request.

 

October 14, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION

Reported by Watson Fisher

 

Linglestown Clock Lowman Henry representing the Colonial Park Rotary Club made a presentation to the supervisors regarding the club’s project to install a clock on the Linglestown Square as part of the town’s 250th anniversary celebration to be held in October of next year. The club has raised funds for the clock which will be built and installed by local Vo-tech students. Their plan is that after the celebration, the clock will become the property of the township and at that time the club will provide funds to the township for its long term maintenance. A formal agreement for this will be needed and the club will prepare it and present it to the township for approval. The board thanked the club for their participation in the upcoming celebration.

 

Capital Region Water Shannon Williams, who is the chief executive officer of Capital Region Water, made a presentation to the board updating them on the new department in Harrisburg. Last year the city’s drinking water and wastewater conveyance systems were officially transferred to this new authority in order to consolidate the two operations. The plan is to systematically update the systems, parts of which go back to the 1860’s, and it has been started with a 50 million dollar project. She acknowledged that there are many ongoing difficulties that lie ahead for her department.

 

Heroes Grove Members of this project’s committee reported on the status of the planned amphitheater to be built in Brightbill Park. They recently secured an agreement with the owners of the adjacent shopping center to be allowed to use their parking lot during events and programs. Now that construction will be starting, there are also explicit agreements needed with the Friendship Center, the township and the county, covering the many legal and procedural matters. The township’s solicitor was directed to prepare the needed agreements for board action.

 

Friendship Center Representatives from the center’s Operating Board updated the supervisors on the status of the four changes being made that are in response to the recommendations in the recent professional study. Online registration is underway, hours of operation have been changed, membership categories have been revised and physical changes to increase space for fitness equipment are being planned. Over the summer new HVAC equipment has been installed in the natatorium and the lap pool has been refinished.

 

2015 Budgets The Police Department budget line items are mostly unchanged from this year. The plan is to hire 3 additional officers, which would increase the force to 56.  This would still be 2 officers below what they consider to be their minimum needed complement. One of the existing officers will handle the new police dog full time. Labor contracts will increase the salary line item. Information on the Fire Departments’ budgets was incomplete. The Parks & Recreation Department budget will be similar to that for this year. Fees-in-lieu should increase slightly, the Day Camps will move to the Friendship Center saving money, some improvements to the center and to the parks are planned, and some ADA improvements to the facilities are needed. Revenues from recyclables should remain about the same. The two large pieces of equipment being bought for the compost center, which will be partly paid for by state grants, will be purchased yet this year.

 

October 21, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS WORKSHOP SESSION

Reported by Watson Fisher

 

2015 Budget Preparation At two previous workshop sessions the supervisors resolved the major budget issues for the coming year for all but six of the township’s many funds and departments. At this meeting they completed general decisions on five of those remaining six. The remaining one is the budget for the Community Development Department. This will be addressed at their next meeting.  

 

General Improvement Fund   Township manager George Wolfe reported that the fund’s revenue sources and expenditures are projected to be approximately equal for 2015. Major revenue sources include taxes, county grants and contributions, and funds from bond issues. Expenditures include financing the township departments, the expansion of the Public Works building, contributions to the Heroes Grove project, the Jonestown Bridge replacement project, and work at the Friendship Center, at Wolfersberger Park, and at the Compost Facility, and storm water improvements and traffic signal upgrades. The state grant request for the Nyes Run trail project has been denied so that project will be postponed.

 

Public Works Department The department’s director Sam Robbins reported that in 2014 the department was slightly over budget mainly because of the more than normal number of snow events requiring the extra plowing and treating of township roads. In 2015 they forecast a small expenditure increase with the addition of an operations manager to

improve coordination with the engineers and contractors on sewer projects and a possible increase in the cost of road salt. State aid is expected to increase slightly that will allow them to upgrade some equipment and buy a new road sweeper.

 

Fire Departments The township’s annual contribution to the three companies comes from the general fund and from real estate taxes. In addition the companies work hard with their own separate fundraising projects. An additional fire protection related expense is that the township pays a fee to the United Water Company for the use of their many fire hydrants.

 

LOSAP The Length of Service Award Program provides payments to volunteer fireman who have served the township for a given number of years. With annual contributions the supervisors ensure that the program remains adequately funded.

 

Fire Equipment Capital Fund The township will receive 2015 budget proposals from the three fire companies regarding requests for new equipment. The supervisors will then discuss possible contributions to the equipment capital fund in the coming year.

 

An additional item discussed at this meeting was the township’s annual contribution to the local ambulance company. South Central Emergency Medical Services is the organization that provides ambulance services to Lower Paxton Township and East and West Hanover Townships. Two years ago Lower Paxton Township decreased their yearly contribution to approximately $27,000.00 because they were not satisfied with the company’s service. After that the company was reformed under the new leadership of Jason Campbell and the township has been very pleased with the results. At this meeting the board voted to increase their yearly contribution to $50,000.00 with a two year contract.

 

 

October 21, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher

 

Linglestown AnniversaryResolution #14-32 The approval of this resolution indicates the township’s support for the Sestercentennial Anniversary Committee as it plans and implements the village’s 250th anniversary. The celebration will be held on October 9, 10 and 11, 2015. The board approved the resolution.

 

Colonial Park Rotary Club Clock In October Lowman Henry representing the club presented their plan to install a clock on the Linglestown Square as part of the 250 year anniversary celebration. After the event the clock will become the property of the township and the club will provide funds for the township to maintain it in the future. At this meeting the board approved a formal Memorandum of Understanding to that effect.

 

Arts Advisory Council At their recent meeting the Parks & Recreation Board interviewed one applicant for the opening on the Arts Council. They voted to recommend that the board appoint the individual to the council and the supervisors voted to do so.

 

Liquor LicenseResolution #14-29 A public hearing was held regarding the transfer of a liquor license from Swatara Township into Lower Paxton for Zia’s Trattoria Italian Restaurant. The facility is located at 5948 Linglestown Road in the village. The supervisors approved the transfer of the license.

 

Susquehanna Municipal Trust The township is a member of this organization which provides workers’ compensation coverage to the township employees. Township manager George Wolfe is a trustee of the organization and helped draft the proposed minor changes to the agreement. He stated that the organization’s rates have been stable for the last five years. The supervisors voted to approve the revised agreement.

 

Wastewater Collection System Necessary emergency repairs to the system were put out to bids by GHT engineers. The low bidder was Rogel, Inc. in the amount of $38,000.00 The supervisors voted to award the contract to Rogel.

 

 

 

 

 

October 23, 2014

LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP ZONING HEARING BOARD MEETING Reported by Watson Fisher

 

Bruce and Susan SenftDocket #1365 This application is for a variance from the required side yard setback at their residence at 1111 Old Pond Road in the R-1 Low Density Residential District. The homeowners wish to widen their attached garage resulting in a side yard setback of 4 feet 6 inches instead of the required 10 feet. The next door neighbor submitted a letter stating he had no objection to the proposed plan. The board approved the request for a variance.

 

Vanguard Reality Group, Inc.Docket #1366 This request is for several variances regarding the final phase of the Meadowview Village condominium development at 4801 Union Deposit Road. Eric Kessler, president of the company, indicated that he wants to build 12 units on the final undeveloped 1.74 acre parcel. The property is located in what is now the Residential Retirement District.

 

The parcel of land is currently zoned for two medical office buildings but changes in the economy have made him revise his plans. He stated that the proposed plan is consistent with the existing housing units and will complete the residential development. A representative from the development spoke in support of the proposal. The variances mostly relate to minor changes that were made to the zoning requirements over the many years since the previous phases were built. The board voted to approve the variance requests.

 

Mohammed and Riaz JeenaDocket #1367   The applicants requested a variance from the 10 foot side yard setback requirement at their residence at 125 Suffolk Road in the R-1, Low Density Residential District. Their planned project is to extend their attached garage which would reduce their side yard setback to 6 feet, 4 feet less than allowed. The board approved their variance request.

 

Patsi and Michael CibroskiDocket #1368   This request is for a variance from the required rear yard setback of 30 feet in the R-1, Low Density Residential Zoning District. Their house is located at 2061 Fairway Lane. They plan to construct a sunroom on the back of their house which will extend 19 feet into their rear yard leaving 11 feet to the property line. This area is already covered by a deck. The neighbor behind them stated that he has no objection to the plan. The variance request was granted.