DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY LOWER ALLEN TOWNSHIP
REGULAR MEETING AUGUST 19, 2019
The following were in ATTENDANCE:
AUTHORITY MEMBERS TOWNSHIP PERSONNEL
Max Stoner, Chairman Mary Ellen Banks, Recording Secretary
Peddrick Young, Vice Chairman Steven Miner, Solicitor
John Eby, Secretary Thomas Vernau, Township Manager
Salvatore F. Marone, Treasurer
Max Stoner, Chairman called the meeting of the Lower Allen Township Development Authority to order at 6:02pm and announced Proof of Publication was available for review.
After verifying all of the public was here to due to item #7 on the agenda for the redevelopment of 1500 and 1510 Cedar Cliff Drive, Mr. EBY made a motion to change the order of the agenda beginning with Item #7. Mr. MARONE seconded the motion. Motion carried, 5-0.
ACTION: APPROVE TESTIMONY FOR REDEVELOPMENT OF 1500 AND 1510 CEDAR CLIFF DRIVE
Mrs. Betsy Metz of 313 Allendale Way, Camp Hill introduced herself to the Board and explained she was here because of this item on the agenda and she understood that a Sheetz store is to be located here. She explained she did not have access to this testimony that was to be approved.
Solicitor Miner then explained this matter was before the zoning hearing board on Thursday and at that time, a decision was postponed. Mrs. Trone had testified at that meeting and obviously those of you that attended did listen to that. The reason this became an issue today is that one of you filed a right to know request to this board for a copy of this testimony. This letter is not subject to the right to know because the testimony is not a public record unless the Board decides tonight that they are giving Mrs. Trone the authorization to testify on their behalf either supporting or opposing this item and reporting to the planning commission. So, with this understanding, this is why this item is on the agenda and this is not a forum to deal with variances, this is not a planning commission, it is strictly a development authority that supports redevelopment in the Township. Mrs. Trone in her role as assistant manager and liaison to this Board has a role to foster development and is interested in the Sheetz project. He wanted to be sure everyone understood this Board has no authority to do anything to approve or disapprove the Sheetz project. It will be on the Zoning Hearing Board agenda in September and also the Planning Commission. We cannot and will not provide right to know information until something becomes public record.
Mrs. Betsy Metz continued with her discussion. She thanked the Township staff, Mr. Eby, Mr. Flint and Mrs. Trone for their help. She explained she has organized a neighborhood meeting concerning this redevelopment (over 70 people attended) and she is representing them. Concerns she stated were 1) Traffic Congestion, 2) Impact to the children in the neighborhood specifically those walking to and from school. Pleased that the Planning Commission and Zoning Board postponed decisions until their September meetings. Quoting the Sheet letter they stated they discussed this project with neighbors; she informed the Board no one she talked with heard from Sheetz. She hopes everyone can work together to find solutions. She also stressed they only found out about this a week before the zoning hearing board. She was personally disappointed that there was not more transparency by Sheetz giving the neighbors more time. This has caused distrust and consternation because of how it was handled. She is not asking this Board to table the action because that may be helpful for them to listen to the other side for the pro-development that may benefit their neighborhood. She is asking the Board to not take final action until after the September 16th meeting after the Community outreach so you will have the opportunity to have feedback.
Mr. Black stated that as a Commissioner he will eventually be voting on this proposal and he feels they need more information. He asked Mr. Vernau if there was any attempt between applicant and the Community. Mrs. Metz stated no and discussed other items including the traffic study and how to get the word out about everything.
Mr. Vernau stated they (Sheetz) is working on reaching out to the people in Allendale and he is sure that contact will be made. He explained it is not appropriate for the Allendale people to make contact with Sheetz directly. Mr. Black would like to hear the results of any meeting that would be held with Sheetz and the Community.
Mr. Eby stated he would like it to be known that Mr. Daniel Flint, our Township Engineer is an assistant zoning officer and he will be doing the review of the zoning for the Sheetz due to the appearance of conflict of interest of his being on this Board as a resident volunteer. Tonight the Development Authority are solely looking at a narrow issue of “do we or don’t we” want to authorize testimony or to tweek the testimony that was presented as a sample in their packets. The Zoning Hearing Board is a quasi-judicial agency such as when you get a parking ticket you go to the district magistrate. That is the court of the original jurisdiction before you go to the county of common pleas court. In this instance, the zoning hearing board is the original jurisdiction for relief sought where someone is appealing his determination as a zoning officer or if they are applying for a variance or exception. They are quasi-judicial and one resident had asked him to forward her documents for the zoning hearing board prior to the hearing and Mr. Eby stated the zoning hearing board cannot communicate directly or indirectly so it would be inappropriate for the zoning hearing board members to consider anything outside of the public hearing. This (Development Authority meeting) is a public meeting not a public hearing so anything you say is not sworn testimony in a quasi-judicial matter. The planning commission, again, is not a public hearing; it is advisory to the Board of Commissioners. The staff and the Commissioners all share your concerns that there are a lot of unknowns; however, we as a board don’t review or recommend approval of the plan. So the Planning Commission will discuss it and they will receive your input including the impacts of parking, pedestrian safety, storm water, lights; all of the impacts will be considered. They might or might not make a recommendation the first time around; and their recommendation will then go to the commissioners where you once again will have the opportunity to have input. The Commissioners will then make the final decision.
Solicitor Miner then addressed the public in attendance and stated they may want to seek their own Council because if they would want to be an objector for the planning board purposes there are standards for that. There are other things that he cannot give them advice on. He stated that as Mr. Eby said the Board of Commissioners will make the decision to reject or accept the recommendations from the Planning Commission.
Mrs. Metz asked who to contact at the Township for various issues. Mr. Eby explained he is available to answer questions on procedure or content of the zoning code.
Mr. Peter Wickwire, 149 Blacksmith Road, Camp Hill stated Sheetz carries alcohol in their stores and would like consideration that alcohol be prohibited. Also, if there is a drive-thru and alcohol is permitted, not to allow it to be sold at the drive-thru. And, thru doing some research, these type of facilities primarily are commercial establishments which this is not. In the lobby establishments they are required to have 24-7 guards so I would like to request this be written into whatever appropriate document. In addition, I would like to request additional signage and cross walk changes be made.
Mrs. Melissa McNeal, 401 Blacklatch Lane, Camp Hill voiced her concern with the children’s safety and the additional traffic. She also asked the Board until the next meeting to spend an hour between 7:15 and 8:15am to observe the traffic in this area.
Mr. BLACK made a motion to not take action on this issue until the September meeting and potentially, if we do not have additional information from Sheetz, to not take action then either. Mr. YOUNG seconded the motion.
Discussion ensued with Mr. Eby explaining that Mrs. Trone, as a staff person, would be the presenter if the board decides to approve this as the Board’s testimony and he would like to recommend that someone make a presentation as a Board member. In addition this document first mentions the Comprehensive Plan which explains that the Board’s charter charges it to look out for the well-being and the economic status of the township for economic redevelopment and secondly the comprehensive plan of 2018 was developed with citizen’s input and one of the outcomes was this body was supposed to look at possible impediments to development or redevelopment such as variance requests or requests for changes to antiquated ordinances and that is the reason why the Board had a staff member prepare testimony and the subject property listed for redevelopment of these two lots having a vacant bank and an old-style convenience store. So the Board is looking at the benefits of redeveloping this property; however, we are not going to solve the issues that the planning commission will receive. He stated various benefits to the neighborhood.
Mr. Marone explained the document is factual and not opinionated at all. There are descriptions of what the zoning is, the size of the lot, and the size of the request; however, from what it states, it does not give an opinion nor is it a guide for the zoning hearing board to have some tools at their disposal.
After discussion, the above motion carried, 5-0.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF JULY 15, 2019
Mr. YOUNG made a motion to approve the minutes of the July 15, 2019 meeting. Mr. EBY seconded the motion with Mr. Marone abstaining since he was not present at this meeting. Motion carried, 4-0.
ACTION: ADOPTION OF CHANGES TO BY-LAWS
Solicitor Miner explained this Authority was formed in 2009 and there are changes that will be made due to of sunshine law and other items. Mrs. Trone had sent the new by-laws document with changes to the Board prior for review. Solicitor Miner explained each change in detail. Mr. EBY made a motion to approve adopting the red-line changes to the By-Laws as presented by the solicitor and authorize the Authority secretary to sign the certification tonight. Mr. MARONE seconded the motion. Motion carried, 5-0.
DISCUSSION: OFFER FROM MAX DADDY CELL TOWER ON YETTER COURT PROPERTY
Mr. Eby explained this offer just came in recently. After discussion, the consensus of the board is they do not want to impair the site by putting a cell tower on it. Mr. BLACK made a motion to reject this proposal from Max Daddy Cell Tower for the Yetter Court property. Mr. MARONE seconded the motion. Motion carried, 5-0.
Mr. MARONE made a motion to accept the Resolution #2019-02 concerning the Burger King parcel delegating the Chairman and Secretary or the Vice-Chairman authority to sign the closing documents and also give Solicitor Miner authorization to speak to the seller’s council. Mr. BLACK seconded the motion. Motion carried, 5-0.
STAFF- PROJECT UPDATE
Mr. Eby discussed the following:
- Demolition – Contractor is ready to proceed within the week with preliminary work.
- Lighting Separation – the walk-thru with the contractor is scheduled for next Tuesday.
- Condominium Documents – this will be created within the next couple of months.
- Traffic Study – the contractor was authorized to complete a traffic study; he met with Penn Dot and Township staff; they are now preparing the document to respond to Penn Dot’s comments.
Mrs. Metz would like to forward information from this meeting to the interested parties for the Sheetz redevelopment. Before sending she would like someone from Lower Allen Township to review this before it is communicated. Mr. Eby indicated this should be forwarded to Mrs. Trone for review before sending.
Mr. Vernau met with the group after this meeting to organize and assist with the meeting with Sheetz.
NEXT MEETING OF THE DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
The next meeting of the Development Authority is scheduled for Monday, September 16, 2019 at 6:00pm.
ADJOURNMENT TO EXECUTIVE SESSION TO DISCUSS SALE OF PROPERTIES
Meeting adjourned at 7:07pm.