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The January 15, 2014 Legislative Meeting of the Lower Swatara Township Board of Commissioners was called to order at 7:00 P.M. by President Thomas L. Mehaffie III. The following officials in attendance: • • • • • • • • Thomas L. Mehaffie III, President Jon G. Wilt, Vice President Laddie J. Springer, Secretary Michael J. Davies, Commissioner Dominic D. DiFrancesco II, Commissioner Peter R. Henninger, Solicitor Erin Letavic, HRG, Engineer Jean R. Arroyo, Recording Secretary
Residents and visitors in attendance: PLEASE SEE ATTACHED SIGN-IN SHEET
President Mehaffie welcomed everyone to the meeting, and opened the floor for public comment.
PRESENTATION OF REQUEST FROM LST ATHLETIC ASSOCIATION: Jason Wagner, President of the Lower Swatara Township Athletic Association, explained that the Athletic Association would like to increase additional sponsorship opportunities. At present time, the only sponsors sought are team sponsors. Last year, there were 27 ball teams and 27 sponsors. Since there is actually a waiting list of interested sponsors, the Athletic Association came up with the idea of selling sponsorship signs to be placed on the inside of some of the outfield fencing. What are being proposed are canvas, banner type signs which would be zip-tied to the fencing. They would be approximately 3’ x 5’ and fit below the rail. They would be durable, yet removable, and taken down at the end of each season. There is no pricing structure yet. The Athletic Association first wanted to obtain the Board’s permission to pursue sponsors for these signs, since the Township owns the fields and the property.
Commissioner Springer asked if particular fields are being looked at for this signage. Mr. Wagner explained that they would begin with Memorial Field, since it is the largest field and the one utilized for Opening Day. The next one in line would probably be the Woodridge field. He stated that he does not anticipate having enough signs to go beyond these two fields. Commissioner Springer noted that some people sit beyond the outfield, and asked if this would be taken into consideration in terms of spacing. Mr. Wagner agreed that it would. He explained that they do not envision totally cutting off the entire outfield fencing. There would be breaks in the spacing, and signs would be positioned in areas which are not conducive to seating. Vice President Wilt stated that he is pleased to hear that they are not proposing permanent signs to be posted in the ground. Mr. Wagner explained that they do not want to make them permanent, since the sponsors could change from year to year. They also prefer the ability to remove the signs each season. Vice President Wilt asked Solicitor Henninger if there are any legal issues with this request. Solicitor Henninger responded that he would first like to review the Township’s sign ordinance to see if there is any type of exemption for this type of signage, which is fairly common. If not, the Board may want to consider making a minor alteration to the sign ordinance. President Mehaffie asked Mr. Wagner the time frame for Board action on this request. Mr. Wagner explained that the season starts mid April. Since sponsors will obviously want maximum exposure, it would probably be good to have them up by April 15. In response to a question from President Mehaffie, Mr. Wagner noted that Opening Day this year will be April 26. Commissioner DiFrancesco added that whatever agreement the Board approves, he would like to see inclusion of a statement that the Township retains the right to have discretion on the signs. Solicitor Henninger agreed, and noted that he will review the sign ordinance and report back to the Board. President Mehaffie thanked Mr. Wagner for presenting the request. He also introduced Mr. Wagner as a newly appointed member to the Zoning Hearing Board.
PRESENTATION BY MIDDLETOWN AREA SCHOOL DISTRICT: Bill Meiser, representing the Middletown Area School District and Board of Directors, stated that the School District is here tonight to respond to comments on its previously submitted Land Development Plan for the new Middletown High School. He noted that he would first like to give a brief overview of the project. The new High School will be built directly behind the
existing one, which will be demolished. Some of the athletic fields will be relocated. The main entrance to the High School, on Route 441, will remain the same, with the secondary entrance on Oberlin Road. Mr. Meiser explained that the existing school is fifty years old and in very poor condition. Most of the public has heard about the episode with the freezing pipes that flooded the cafeteria. Many of the structural problems are due to the fact that the current building is all poured concrete, which makes repairs and additions difficult. Two years ago, a feasibility study was performed of all School District buildings, and needs for the High School were addressed. To renovate the existing school would cost $4,000,000 more than demolishing it and building a brand new one. A new school would also provide for future expansion and ease of construction and maintenance. The proposed new High School will be about 190,000 square feet, which is 20,000 square feet more than the existing one. Mr. Meiser stated that the project time frame is fairly aggressive. The School District hopes to be able to advertise for bids in February, receive bids in March, and proceed with the project in April. Mr. Meiser asked if the Board had any questions about the general overview of the project. Commissioner Davies questioned pedestrian access, specifically the walking trail. Mr. Meiser confirmed that the walking trail will remain around the whole campus, but will be modified. Commissioner DiFrancesco stated that he was not sold on the project until he heard about the problem with the school being poured concrete. He asked if this new construction and modern design will allow for the scheduling of regular maintenance and a longer building life. Mr. Meiser agreed that it will, since it will be primarily masonry block with dropped ceilings. Commissioner DiFrancesco asked Chief Brandt if there are any restrictions in terms of tanker trucks or materials that can be carried back there. Chief Brant stated that they are permitted. Commissioner DiFrancesco referenced plans to move the softball field. Mr. Meiser explained that the School Board would like to see all varsity teams back on the same campus. Moving the field is an alternate, but it is desired to bring the girls back to the campus. Commissioner DiFrancesco noted that during the initial discussion, there was talk about underground stormwater management. If that field is not moved, will it be possible to get adequate stormwater management and what will that cost savings be. Doug Gamber, Radenbush Engineers, confirmed that in the event the new field is not constructed, a basin could probably be created to address this. He added that he hates to make a guesstimate, but would probably
expect a savings of $100,000 - $150,000 by transiting from an underground to above ground detention system. Ms. Letavic agreed that there would be the option to design an above ground system and save some money. President Mehaffie asked if the plan will allow for future expansion of the building, if growth necessitates it. Mr. Meiser confirmed that the plan does have the ability to expand by about eight to ten classrooms. President Mehaffie asked if the court yard could be closed-in if need be. Mr. Meiser noted that he is hesitant to answer this, since it has not really been discussed at this point. Commissioner Davies asked if there are any wetland concerns. Mr. Gamber explained that there is only one small area. In response to a request from Commissioner Davies, Mr. Gamber explained the infiltration systems planned for the site. Commissioner DiFrancesco asked for confirmation of the cost of this project. Mr. Meiser explained that the building itself will cost about $36,000,000. The School Board has authorized an amount not to exceed $40,000,000 for the project. Mr. Meiser reported that as part of the comments to the initial land development plan, the Township asked the School District to address its special parking plan. On January 9, this plan was submitted to the Township. Mr. Meiser explained to the Board the policy and procedure the School District utilizes for reviewing and approving requests to use its facilities for events. Generally, dual events at main venues are not approved by the School Board, because this can be problematic. Mr. Meiser added that safety is paramount, and efforts are made to make sure vehicles are properly, and legally, parked. Most daily parking is non-assisted. However, there is also assisted parking provided by staff as necessary for particular events and programs; staff helps to direct parking in the overflow lots. During certain events, there is also shuttle service provided. Mr. Meiser noted that there have been very few complaints about parking. President Mehaffie asked the maximum parking capacity at the Reid building. Mr. Gamber responded about 88 spaces. Commissioner Springer asked how many of these are handicapped, and what determines that number. Mr. Meiser explained that there are code provisions that regulate this number. Commissioner Springer asked if the number of handicapped parking spots has recently increased, specifically at the Reid building and Middle School. He stated that there appears to be a lot of spaces, and they do not seem to be utilized. Mr. Meiser explained that after receiving complaints, the District designated some temporary
handicapped parking spots. These are limited time spots and used mainly for after-school sporting events. These handicapped spaces usually have a time designation of 3:30 P.M. until dark and all day Saturday and Sunday. They are not technically enforceable since they have time limits on them, but are provided as more of a courtesy. Commissioner DiFrancesco asked if there was any community outreach done on this proposed project. He stated that if he was not on this Board, he would probably not know there are plans for a new school to be built. Mr. Meiser confirmed that there was a public information meeting and formal open house, and a public hearing. These were not very well attended. Commissioner DiFrancesco stated that citizens cannot be forced to come out. Most of the comments seem to come in once projects have already started. Solicitor Henninger asked if the special event parking plan will be part of the plan and somehow noted on the actual plans themselves. Mr. Meiser responded that he is not sure; they were asked to submit a special event parking plan. Ms. Letavic stated she does not think this has been addressed yet. Solicitor Henninger stated that he has not reviewed the plans in detail at this point, but he would recommend that this be reflected on the plans. Hearing no other questions, Mr. Meiser asked if the Board could act on the time extension request at this time; it appears later on tonight’s agenda under Unfinished Business. Solicitor Henninger agreed that the Board could move forward and act on this item. A motion was made by Commissioner DiFrancesco, seconded by Vice President Wilt, to approve a 40-day time extension, as requested by the developer, for the Final Land Development Plan for New High School, prepared by Raudenbush Engineering, and submitted by the Middletown Area School District. The initial Plan submitted was due to expire on November 20, 2013. The plan will expire on January 19, 2014. Upon approval of the 40-day time extension, the plan will expire on February 28, 2014. The plan remains tabled by the Planning Commission. The motion was unanimously approved. Mr. Meiser thanked the Board for its time, and stated that the School District will look forward to coming back later to review the plans in full detail.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: A motion was made by Commissioner Davies, seconded by Vice President Wilt, to approve the Minutes of the December 18, 2013 Legislative Meeting. The motion was approved
by a 4 – 0 margin, with Commissioner Springer abstaining since he was not a Board member at that time. A motion was made by Commissioner DiFrancesco, seconded by Commissioner Springer, to approve the Minutes of the January 6, 2014 Reorganization and Workshop Meeting, with the correction on page 1, last paragraph, second sentence, to add the word “motion” to the sentence. The motion to approve the Minutes with the aforesaid correction was unanimously approved.
APPROVAL OF BILLS: A motion was made by Commissioner Davies, seconded by Vice President Wilt, to approve the payment of bills as presented on Warrant No. 2013-12. The motion was unanimously approved.
APPROVAL OF TREASURER’S REPORT: A motion was made by Vice President Wilt, seconded by Commissioner Davies, to approve the Treasurer’s Report for December 2013. The motion was unanimously approved.
ENGINEER’S REPORT: Ms. Letavic reported that she had provided the Board with paperwork regarding the potential stormwater ordinance revision – Act 167. Dauphin County Conservation District notified the Township of a DEP-approved amendment to the model stormwater ordinance in a memorandum dated December 12, 2013. The Township has the option to adopt one of the three options: (1) do nothing and keep ordinance as is, (2) remove square footage exemption criteria and add a minimum separation distance from the new impervious area to existing watercourses, swales, wetlands, surface water, storm sewer, public road, property line, actively farmed land, etc. The required distance increases as the proposed impervious area increases, or (3) keep square footage exception criteria and add the minimum separation distance criteria. Ms. Letavic explained that a separate revision relates to the ability for the municipality to reject the request for exemption or modification for any reason, even if the proposed project demonstrates that it meets the criteria. The Township will need to decide what option will be chosen, formally adopt
the changes to the ordinance if a change will be made, and notify DEP as to the optional language chosen, if any. Brenda Stouffer, former Planning & Zoning Director, had previously provided comments to the Conservation District during the public comment period. Ms. Letavic stated that this item will be presented in-depth to the Planning Commission at the January meeting for subsequent recommendation to the Board of Commissioners. In response to a question from President Mehaffie, Ms. Letavic explained that the Board should inform Dauphin County what changes it desires, if any, by May 22. Ms. Letavic also updated the Board on the Greenfield Well. HRG met with Vice President Wilt and several members of the Public Works Department to determine if the estimated flow rate is something that could be worked with. Ms. Letavic reminded the Board that the well was drilled but not tested; the cursorily exercise estimated a flow of 50 – 60 gallons per minute. This is approximately half the flow that was targeted. Ms. Letavic explained that there is really no way to know this until the well is tested. She is looking for direction from the Board on whether it desires to incur the expense to do the yield test. This yield test was part of the original scope of work, but the process was stopped just before this work was done. Commissioner Davies asked the cost for this yield test. Ms. Letavic stated that she does not have that information in front of her this evening. Vice President Wilt added that at today’s meeting, there was discussion about the possibility of using holding tanks, different types of pumps and nozzles to irrigate, etc. Matt Ciechy of HGR was going to look into this and come back with a report on what can possibility be done. President Mehaffie stated that he believes the yield test is still necessary to determine the next step, and noted that it was in the scope of work, which was previously approved. Commissioner DiFrancesco remarked that the Township had to spend money to get this far into the process, and stated that it is important to protect the investment already made in these fields. They simply have to be irrigated. President Mehaffie agreed, and stated the only other option is to drill another well. Ms. Letavic added that it could also drill this well deeper. Vice President Wilt commented that there is no guarantee that going deeper will change the output of the well. Ms. Letavic confirmed that this is correct. President Mehaffie explained that this is why the testing is necessary. It will give the Board an option base as to what direction should be taken. Commissioner Davies stated the Board does not know right now what the testing will cost. He suggested these costs be determined, and they can then be approved at the next meeting
if they are reasonable. Vice President Wilt added that the funding for this testing will be taken from the recreation fund, not tax dollars. Ms. Letavic stated that it is her understanding that this scope of work was already approved. Solicitor Henninger agreed, but noted that after the test well was drilled, there was the ability to stop the work based on the rough test results. He confirmed Vice President Wilt’s comment that this project is being paid out of recreation funds which are funds generated through development which has occurred in the Township. Instead of putting playgrounds in every development, there is an option for developers to put money into this fund, which is used for more centrally located type of facilities. Ms. Letavic updated the Board on the hazard mitigation grant program property demolition. Insurance funds that help offset the costs for demolition continue to arrive at the Township. Project closeout is likely to occur in the spring of 2014 once grass has been established. Ms. Letavic addressed the MS4 permit and the Chesapeake Bay Pollutant Reduction Plan. A draft for Board review will be provided in February for formal action in March, and submission to DEP by April 1.
MANAGER’S REPORT: President Mehaffie requested the Board convene in executive session immediately upon conclusion of this evening’s meeting in order to discuss personnel issues and the hiring of a manager. He also informed the Board that the Turnpike is tearing down and replacing the bridge across the Swatara Creek. It needs access to some of the Township’s property in order to have a right of way for its construction vehicles. Mr. Knoche has provided some photos of this area, showing the location of the boundary lines. The photos were passed around. President Mehaffie noted that he and Mr. Knoche will be meeting with the contractor tomorrow to further discuss this for possible action at the February workshop meeting.
COMMITTEE REPORTS: Police Committee – Vice President Wilt -- reported that the situation with the stolen storm grates in area municipalities is still under investigation; an arrest is expected to occur very soon.
Public Safety – Commissioner Springer – no report Budget and Finance – Commissioner Davies – reported that cash receipts for the month of December totaled $587,308.56. The major sources of revenues were the distribution from the Act 511 taxes (including Earned income taxes, Local services taxes, and Real estate transfer taxes), fees for cable franchise fees and patron parking at SARAA, Highway Aid reimbursement, Wintermeyer overpayment and other miscellaneous receipts. Cash expenditures totaled $539,314.93 and were comprised of the three transfers to the payroll account, a transfer to Capital Reserve Fund, Deposit into PRHCF, and all invoices due and payable. Investments totaled $921,861.19 with an average annual yield of 0.25%. Community and Economic Development – Commissioner DiFrancesco -- stated that everyone is familiar with the potential development taking place in the southern end of the Township between Middletown and the Township. This includes the train station, development at the Airport, property in the Borough which may be developed for retail, etc He has made some preliminary contacts with Penn State, the Airport, and Tri-County to sit down with property owners and see where these projects are going in the long-run. He also plans to meet with Middletown Borough. Commissioner DiFrancesco stated that he is a firm believer that if development is planned right, great development happens. If it is not planned right, the result is mediocre development. This area has tremendous possibility and could totally transform Middletown and that whole region, particularly if higher-end types of businesses can be attracted. Commissioner DiFrancesco stated that he will continue to sit down with the property owners and interested parties, and will keep the Board informed. As community leaders, they cannot afford to get this wrong. President Mehaffie agreed that this is a great opportunity for the entire lower end of Dauphin County. Commissioner Davies also greed, but stated he has concerns about the western part of the Route 230 corridor, to the other side of the Airport Connector, which does not really receive much attention. He stated that he is uncertain how to improve its marketability, but remarked that this could be another area for potential growth. President Mehaffie stated that he is very much in favor of the communities working together to get good things going. Public Works – President Mehaffie – reported on the recent snow events. There were some issues with equipment, and repairs were made as necessary. Salt and cinders continue to be replenished. The school signage ordered for Lumber Street will be erected when received. The
Township dumpster will be available to residents on February 1 from 8:00 A.M. to noon. The Municipal Authority is ending its first phase of the GIS for stormwater. It will start on the sewer system next.
UNFINISHED BUSINESS: The Board tabled the Final Land Development Plan of Residential Retirement Community, Phase 1, located along Fulling Mill Road at the intersection of Nissley Drive, prepared by Navarro & Wright, Inc. and submitted by Fulling Road LLC. The plan was recommended for approval by the Planning Commission on November 15, 2007 with stipulations. The plan was due to expire on February 20, 2008. 90-day time extensions were granted by the Board on February 20, 2008, May 21, 2008, August 20, 2008, November 19, 2008, February 18, 2009, May 20, 2009, August 19, 2009, November 18, 2009, February 17, 2010, May 19, 2010, August 18, 2010, November 17, 2010, February 16, 2011, May 18, 2011, August 17, 2011, October 19, 2011, January 18, 2012 , April 18, 2012, July 18, 2012, October 17, 2012, January 16, 2013, April 17, 2013, July 17, 2013, October 16, 2013, and December 18, 2013. The plan will expire on April 13, 2014. The Board tabled the Revised Land Development Plan for KGH Properties – Campus Heights Village Wood Street Access, prepared by Forino, Inc. and submitted by Campus Heights Associates I, LP. The initial Plan submittal was due to expire on December 26, 2012. A 90-day extension was approved by the Township on December 19, 2012. Additional 90-day time extensions were approved by the Township on March 20, 2013, June 19, 2013, September 18, 2013, and December 18, 2013. The plan will expire on March 21, 2014. This plan remains tabled by the Planning Commission. The Board tabled the Final Land Development Plan for Middletown Home Access Driveway/Parking Revisions, prepared by Schlouch, Inc. and submitted by the Middletown Home. The initial Plan submitted was due to expire on May 29, 2013. 90-day time extensions were granted by the Board of Commissioners on May 15, 2013, August 21, 2013 and November 20, 2013. The plan is due to expire on February 23, 2014. The plan remains tabled by the Planning Commission.
NEW BUSINESS: A motion was made by Vice President Wilt, seconded by Commissioner Davies, to prepare and advertise an ordinance which would authorize Lower Swatara Township to join with other political subdivisions as a member of the Susquehanna Municipal Trust, to enter into an Intergovernmental Agreement for the purpose of joining the Trust, and to participate as a member of the Trust. The motion was unanimously approved. A motion was made by Vice President Wilt, seconded by Commissioner Davies, to approve a 90-day time extension, as requested by the developer, for the SARAA sewage planning module for the North 29 Area (land where Sheetz and other commercial properties are planned to be built) requesting that the sewage be sent to SARAA’s treatment plant instead of Middletown Borough Authority as would be required according to their location within the sewage area. Lower Swatara Township Authority’s agreement with the Middletown Borough Authority reads that sewage in the designated area shall be exclusively treated at Middletown Borough’s treatment plan. The Planning Commission approved the planning module, conditioned upon SARAA getting Middletown Borough to agree that the exclusivity can be waived in this instance or upon proof that the exclusivity portion of the agreement does not apply to SARAA because of established Authority statues. The burden of proof is on SARAA at this point. The planning module expires on January 23, 2014. Upon approval of the 90-day time extension, the module will expire on April 23, 2014. Commissioner DiFrancesco stated that he was notified that a vote was taken today to appoint him to the SARAA Board. While he has not received official notification of his appointment, he requested to abstain from this vote. The motion to approve the time extension was approved by a 4 – 0 margin, with Commissioner DiFrancesco abstaining. President Mehaffie stated that the final item of business this evening is to consider the establishment of a Facebook page for Lower Swatara Township. This could be a way to quickly notify residents of emergencies or pertinent information. Commissioner DiFrancesco has agreed to take the lead in this project. Commissioner DiFrancesco commented that since Facebook is a public forum, the Township will have to take the bad with the good. People may vent, but venting can be a benefit of social media. It gives that individual an outlet, and also allows the Township to address these concerns. President Mehaffie added that the Board would reserve the right, however, to remove anything. Commissioner DiFrancesco agreed, and noted that since
Facebook is interactive, comments are not anonymous. A motion was made by Commissioner DiFrancesco, seconded by Commissioner Springer, to approve establishment of a Facebook page. The motion was unanimously approved. Commissioner DiFrancesco will work with Ms. Arroyo and President Mehaffie on establishing and monitoring the page.
FINAL COMMENTS: President Mehaffie reminded the Commissioners and public that they are all invited to Bob Reid’s appreciation event tomorrow evening. Bob spent many years serving the Borough of Middletown as mayor, and was also a good friend to Lower Swatara Township. Vice President Wilt noted that the location has been changed to the Rescue Fire Department at 600 South Union Street. Commissioner DiFrancesco stated that the Commissioners have been invited by Dauphin County to a February 10 meeting at the Conservation District to discuss grants and resources available for local governments. He also referenced an invitation from Senator Folmer’s office to a Municipal Grant Workshop on February 6. President Mehaffie noted that he has also asked Ms. Letavic to attend this grant workshop. President Mehaffie reported that Representative Grell was a speaker at a meeting of the Central Association of Township Commissioners this past Sunday and had reported on the new transportation bill. There is the possibility that the Township could get the Richardson Road Bridge put into this. Also just coming out of the House and Senate is a Small Games of Chance bill which would provide 60% of the proceeds to the state, 35% to the taverns, and 5% to the municipality. The Board would have to take formal action in order to take advantage of this. President Mehaffie stated that he and Solicitor Henninger will look into this for future discussion. Commissioner DiFrancesco stated his understanding that portions of Wood Street were redone with the construction projects, and other portions were not. He received a report of an extremely large pothole on Wood Street. President Mehaffie explained that the developers do intend to address Wood Street. He will, however, speak to them tomorrow to see if they can fill it in or provide some type of temporary measure. Commissioner DiFrancesco added that he was also informed of a light stand lying on the ground on the new Lawrence Street. President Mehaffie confirmed that PPL had installed it incorrectly and had to take it down to relocate it.
He will also address this with the developer tomorrow, and see if he can get a time frame on when this will be re-installed.
ADJOURN AND CONVENE INTO EXECUTIVE SESSION: With no further business to discuss, a motion was made by Vice President Wilt, seconded by Commissioner Davies, to adjourn the meeting and convene into executive session. The motion was unanimously approved, and the meeting adjourned at 8:46 P.M.
________________________________ Jean R. Arroyo, Recording Secretary
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