@LowerAllenCops
LA EMS Facebook
@LowerAllenDPS
Lower Allen Township Facebook

News Post

Home»Board of Commissioner Minutes»Board of Commissioners
4-27-2020 Meeting Minutes

Board of Commissioners
4-27-2020 Meeting Minutes

MINUTES

 BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS                                         LOWER ALLEN TOWNSHIP

 REGULAR MEETING                                                           APRIL 27, 2020

 

The following were in ATTENDANCE:

 

BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS                                     TOWNSHIP PERSONNEL

Dean W. Villone, President                                                  Thomas G. Vernau, Jr., Township Manager

Edward Black, Vice President                                       Erin G. Trone, Assistant Township Manager

Richard F. Schin                                                                    Richard Grove, Finance Director

Carolyn Holtzman                                                                 David Holl, Public Safety Director

Thomas H. Kutz                                                                    Dan Flint, Public Works Director

                                                                                               John Eby, Building and Zoning Coordinator

                                                                                               Leon Crone, Police Captain                                                                                            

                                                                                               Steven Miner, Solicitor

                                                                                               Tina Thomas, Recording Secretary

 

President Villone called the April 27, 2020 virtual Zoom meeting of the Board of Commissioners to order at 7:00 pm followed by an explanation of rules for the virtual meeting being held due to Covid-19 lockdowns. He announced that Proof of Publication was available for review and that the meeting was being recorded on the Township’s YouTube channel. President Villone said that the meeting was being hosted by Mrs. Trone and introduced the Commissioners and staff participating. This was followed by a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

MEETING MINUTES

Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve the minutes from the April 13, 2020 Regular Meeting. Commissioner KUTZ seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.

 

AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION:  Any item on the agenda.

President Villone asked if anyone joining online in tonight’s meeting would like to speak on any item on the agenda. He requested that they notify the host of the meeting. There was no response.

 

CONSENT  AGENDA

President Villone asked that any Commissioner, staff member or anyone in attendance who would like to have an item on the Consent Agenda removed for further discussion request so now.  There was no response.

  1. Department Reports submitted as follows:
  • November, December & January: Facilities
  • February: Engineer, Community and Economic Development, Public Works, Facilities, & Fleet Maintenance
  • March: Fleet Maintenance, Township Engineer, Community and Economic Development, and Public Safety

 

  1. Tax Collectors March 2020 Report

 

Commissioner SCHIN moved to accept the Consent Agenda and Commissioner KUTZ seconded. Motion carried 5-0.

 

PRESIDENT VILLONE

Check Register

Vice President BLACK moved to approve the check register of April 24, 2020 in the amount of $650,223.07. Commissioner SCHIN seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.

 

ANY BUSINESS PERTINENT TO THE TOWNSHIP: 

President Villone noted that discussions would be limited to 15 minutes. No one from the audience indicated that they would like to comment. President Villone said that he would ask again later.

 

TOWNSHIP ENGINEER

SLD Docket No. 2020-02:  Minor Subdivision Plan for Richard and Linda Hammon

Mr. Flint pointed out the lot at 1229 Rossmoyne Road, and the street access to Rossmoyne Road. The existing lot would be subdivided into two lots with proposed construction of a second house on the new property. A joint use agreement would be needed for shared use of the driveway. Mr. Flint said that there would be stormwater management required due to the increase in impervious coverage. The new home would be connected to public water and sewer. The home currently in existence is on private water and sewer at this time. If deemed necessary in the future, it could be connected to the public systems. Mr. Flint said that subdivision of the land will create a “flag” lot. He explained that it is a lot that has a long narrow access to a wider portion of the lot. He also said that the Planning Commission had approved the plan subject to addressing minor Township and County comments. President Villone asked Commissioner Kutz, who had attended the Planning Commission meeting, if he had any comments. Commissioner Kutz said that the Commission did not have many concerns and he would not have any issues with approving it. Vice President Black noted that his firm generated the plan and that the engineer for the plan, Richard Bittner, is also part of his firm. Commissioner Black will therefore abstain from discussion and voting on this plan.

 

WAIVERS:

Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve the waiver of the requirement in Sections 192-59.G(3)(a) and (b)(i) that flag lots are only permitted in a Conservation Subdivision. Commissioner KUTZ seconded the motion and the motion carried 4-0 with Vice President Black abstaining.

 

Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve the waiver of the requirement in Sections 192-59.G(3)(h) that no more than 10% of lots within a subdivision be flag lots. Commissioner KUTZ seconded the motion and the motion carried 4-0 with Vice President Black abstaining.

 

Commissioner KUTZ moved to approve the waiver of the requirement in Sections 192-57.C(9) to provide sidewalks along all street frontage, until such time as the installation of same has been deemed necessary by the Township for the health, safety, or welfare of the general public. These improvements shall be made at the owner’s expense. This is a covenant running with the land, which shall bind the owners, their successors, heirs, and assigns. Commissioner SCHIN seconded the motion and the motion carried 4-0 with Vice President Black abstaining.

 

Commissioner KUTZ moved to approve the waiver of the requirement in Sections 192-57.B(2)(h)[2] and 192-57.C(8) to provide curbs along all street frontage, until such time as the installation of same has been deemed necessary by the Township for the health, safety, or welfare of the general public. These improvements shall be made at the owner’s expense. This is a covenant running with the land, which shall bind the owners, their successors, heirs and assigns. Commissioner SCHIN seconded the motion and the motion carried 4-0 with Vice President Black abstaining.

 

Commissioner KUTZ moved to approve the waiver of the requirement in Sections 192-57.B(2)(h)[2] and 192-57.C(13) to provide fill-in paving, until such time as the installation of same has been deemed necessary by the Township for the health, safety, or welfare of the general public. These improvements shall be made at the owner’s expense. This is a covenant running with the land, which shall bind the owners, their successors, heirs and assigns. Commissioner SCHIN seconded the motion and the motion carried 4-0 with Vice President Black abstaining.

 

President Villone pointed out that the waivers are not contrary to the public interest, and they maintain the purpose and intent of the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance. 

 

Commissioner KUTZ moved to approve SLD Docket No. 2020-02:  Minor Subdivision Plan for Richard and Linda Hammon, 1229 Rossmoyne Road, contingent upon the following: 

  • Providing a copy of the recorded driveway joint use agreement.
  • Providing the $1,000 Fee in Lieu of Recreation Land.
  • Providing the executed Standard Stormwater Facilities and BMP’s Maintenance and Monitoring Agreement.

 

Commissioner SCHIN seconded the motion and the motion carried 4-0 with Vice President Black abstaining.

 

SLD Docket No. 2020-03:  Subdivision and Land Development Plan Lower Allen Commons

Mr. Flint introduced the proposed lease area delineations and infrastructure improvements for a 13.78 acre parcel in the 3500 block of Gettysburg Road, formerly the Bon Ton. He pointed out the area on Property Mapper and the land development plan. He said the driveway location would be changed to accommodate future development and provide utility connections. Mr. Flint said that the land parcel will not be subdivided but rather contain leased areas. He pointed out that this plan does not include buildings but rather structural improvements, sewer connections, and stormwater management. He said there will be a new stormwater collection system that will tie into the existing one which empties into a basin owned by PennDOT. An agreement is being created to allow upgrading that basin to hold additional stormwater. Mr. Flint spoke about the waivers requested with the plan. He said that the Board had already agreed to the waiver from financial security. He noted that the Planning Commission recommended approval of the waivers and of the plan contingent upon addressing Township and County comments. Mr. Flint mentioned that Adam Davis, engineer for the plan, was also on the meeting. Commissioner Kutz asked Mr. Flint about the fourth waiver regarding parking spaces adjacent to islands having an additional two feet of width. He asked Mr. Flint if he was comfortable with allowing this waiver. Mr. Flint said that it is a typical request for a parking lot that has already been established. Otherwise parking spots are lost. Commissioner Schin asked why there is a waiver from the requirement to provide financial security. He is concerned with the appearance of a double standard. Mr. Flint explained that the same waiver was granted to the school district. There is low risk of the project not being finished.

 

WAIVERS:

Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve the waiver of requirement contained in Section 192-24.C to submit a Preliminary Plan. Vice President BLACK seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.

 

Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve the waiver of requirement contained in Section 192-44 to provide financial security for proposed improvements. Vice President BLACK seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.

 

Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve a modification of the requirement contained in Sections 192-57.C(9) to provide sidewalks along all street frontage, to allow pedestrian access facilities as shown on the plan, until such time as the installation of same has been deemed necessary by the Township for the health, safety, or welfare of the general public. These improvements shall be made at the owner’s expense. This is a covenant running with the land, which shall bind the owners, their successors, heirs and assigns. Vice President BLACK seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.

 

Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve a waiver from the requirement in Section 192-59.C(2) that each parking space adjacent to an island at the end of a parking row have an additional two feet of width. Vice President BLACK seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.

 

Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve the waiver of requirement contained in Section 192-58.E(10) that planting islands and beds be designed to collect stormwater runoff from adjacent paved parking areas. Vice President BLACK seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.

 

President Villone noted that these waivers are not contrary to the public interest, and they maintain the purpose and intent of the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance. 

 

Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve SLD Docket No. 2020-03: Subdivision and Land Development Plan of Lower Allen Commons, contingent upon the following: 

  • Providing documentation of PennDOT approval for the sanitary sewer easement across PennDOT right-of-way, and for the disposal of excess PennDOT right-of-way along Gettysburg Road.
  • Lower Allen Township Authority approval.
  • Providing documentation of the use of the basin on PennDOT right-of-way for stormwater management purposes.
  • Approval of the Erosion and Sediment Pollution Control Plan by Cumberland County Conservation District.

 

Vice President BLACK seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.

 

SLD Docket No. 2020-04:  Land Development Plan for Springhill Suites

Mr. Flint presented a plan for the proposed 124-room hotel on a 2.12 acre lease area within Lower Allen Commons, 3535 Gettysburg Road. He noted it will have one access drive off of the internal access drive and that will be the only access. He also said that the Planning Commission did review and approve the plan with the same waivers included on the previous plan. Adam Davis, engineer for the plan, pointed out that one of the waivers was listed incorrectly. He stated that they were not requesting a waiver of financial security for this lot. Mr. Miner questioned if the Development Authority must present an approved plan to the Springhill Suites developer. Mr. Flint responded that financial security is not required in this case as there are no public improvements such as new streets or stormwater management. Site improvements are on the other plan and the second waiver is cancelled.

 

WAIVERS:

Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve the waiver of requirement contained in Section 192-24.C to submit a Preliminary Plan. Commissioner KUTZ seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.

 

Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve a modification of the requirement contained in Section 192-57.C(9) to provide sidewalks along all street frontage, to allow pedestrian access facilities as shown on the plan, until such time as the installation of same has been deemed necessary by the Township for the health, safety, or welfare of the general public. These improvements shall be made at the owner’s expense. This is a covenant running with the land, which shall bind the owners, their successors, heirs and assigns. Commissioner KUTZ seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.

 

Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve a waiver from the requirement in Section 192-59.C(2) that each parking space adjacent to an island at the end of a parking row have an additional two feet of width. Commissioner KUTZ seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.

 

Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve the waiver of requirement contained in Section 192-58.E(10) that planting islands and beds be designed to collect stormwater runoff from adjacent paved parking areas. Commissioner KUTZ seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.

 

President Villone noted that these waivers are not contrary to the public interest, and they maintain the purpose and intent of the Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance. 

 

Commissioner SCHIN moved to approve SLD Docket No. 2020-04: Land Development Plan for Springhill Suites, 3535 Gettysburg Road, contingent upon the following: 

  • Providing documentation of the easements providing access to the property.
  • Providing documentation that the Traffic Impact Study (TIS) has been completed.
  • Lower Allen Township Authority approval.

 

Commissioner KUTZ seconded the motion and the motion carried 5-0.

 

Bids for Packaged Rooftop Unit/Outdoor Air Handling Unit No. 2

Mr. Flint spoke about the need for potential replacement of the second of three rooftop units that runs all the time and has required the most maintenance over the past twelve years. It services the second floor of the Municipal Services Center, including EMS. It was budgeted at $127,000 for this year. The price is not a definite because prices have been going up. Mr. Flint said that he and Mr. Emerson came across another item that would be beneficial which is an air purification system which would help remove viruses with an ionization process. This would add $2700 to the cost but would help to protect the EMS Department. Mr. Flint is looking for authorization to put this item out for bid. This would be presented to the Board when the price was determined. Commissioner Holtzman asked if the unit would contain filters that had to be changed and Mr. Flint said that it does not.

 

Commissioner SCHIN moved to authorize staff to advertise for bids for the Packaged Rooftop Unit/ Outdoor Air Handling Unit No. 2 (RTU-2) Replacement Project at the Municipal Services Center. Vice President BLACK seconded the motion. Commissioner Holtzman asked if the unit serviced the second floor or the entire building and Mr. Flint said that it’s the second floor. Vice President Black asked if the current unit still works and Mr. Flint said that it does. Vice President Black asked if it would be possible to get along with the current unit should bids come in higher than expected. Mr. Flint said that it would be, but how long is questionable. Motion carried 5-0.

 

FINANCE

Preliminary Estimate of Budgetary Virus Impacts

Mr. Grove led a discussion on budgetary concerns due to the interruption in business by COVID-19. He said that the Township is in a strong position financially with money in reserve for this type of unplanned event. He said he is in favor of continuing the current spending plan even if it adds to the deficit. Mr. Grove said that if the quarantine restrictions end by Memorial Day or summer, the Township will be mainly just inconvenienced. In graph form, it would look like a “V” with an initial sharp drop-off but a quick recovery. He then said that if the shutdown continues through the summer, the problems would be more severe. He said that on average the lockdown costs $18,000 per week, with a gradual increase. Through May 8th, this would amount to $108.050. Mr. Grove recommends revisiting the numbers if the lockdown continues through Memorial Day. He estimates that since expenditures will also be decreasing, this could offset 25% of revenue loss. Some training opportunities as well as overtime are being eliminated due to the restrictions. He provided ways that the Board could take remedial action if they decide to go that route, in the areas of personnel, capital, or operating costs.

 

Mr. Vernau added that some Counties have started furloughing employees, but he is not aware of any municipalities doing it and does not believe that is necessary at this time. Most departments in the Township are back at work. He suggested that a hiring freeze be implemented through the end of the year or until the official numbers are in. Under capital expenditures, items postponed would just put that expenditure on the following year. Some items falling under operating expenses have already been reduced due to virus cancellations. Utility and fuel costs are also down. He said that nothing needs to be decided right now but he wanted to present options.

 

Operating Cost Cuts to equal $108,050

Department Percentage Amount
General Government 18% $19,449
Community & Economic Dev 6% $6,483
Public Safety 63% $68,072
Public Works 8% $8,643
Parks 5% $5,403

 

President Villone thanked Mr. Grove and Mr. Vernau for providing the Board with choices. Mr. Vernau said that thanks is in order to staff members who looked into their department budgets to see where cuts could be made. President Villone said he would like to take a conservative approach of watching closely and trying to offset costs. Commissioner Kutz said he feels that government should take the same approach as businesses are with cutting back. He asked if a hiring freeze could be discussed further. He asked if Mr. Holl or Mr. Crone could comment on the Public Safety employees that are budgeted to be hired. Mr. Holl said that he is not in favor of the hiring freeze through the end of the year. As far as hiring a patrol officer, testing has been canceled and the department does not currently have a list to hire from. He is not sure when this will happen so he would like the Board to reconsider hiring in the fall. Mr. Holl said that going ahead with hiring part-time PSOs would save money that is being paid out in overtime to the full-time PSOs. He said money is available that has not been spent in the Public Safety budget. Mr. Vernau said that if an employee leaves, that position can be filled; the hiring freeze only applies to new employees budgeted for in 2020. Commissioner Schin spoke about wanting to understand how service levels are determined. Mr. Holl said that was covered in the Ad Hoc Committee and he will be happy to send the information to Commissioner Schin. President Villone suggested revisiting the topic later in the year.

 

Mr. Grove added that the financial reserves are built up sufficiently to maintain services in difficult times. He recommends not cutting services until absolutely necessary.

 

President Villone thanked Mr. Vernau for staying vigilant on the financial aspects. Mr. Vernau said that he will have a better idea in the future. The information provided tonight was for discussion not action.

 

Commissioner Kutz asked Mr. Flint when he would need to know if the seasonal employees generally hired for summer are going to be employed. Mr. Flint said that they usually work from May to August. Commissioner Schin asked if there would be revenue loss from the athletic fields in the Township. Mr. Flint said that wouldn’t be able to be determined until later.

 

MANAGER

Act 15 of 2020 – Property Tax Discount Period Extension & Penalty Waiver

Mr. Vernau spoke about Act 15 of 2020, which was signed by the Governor last week. This allows local taxing jurisdictions to extend the discount period for paying real estate taxes and/or waive penalties. He said that discount can be extended until August 31st and penalties could be waived as long as the tax bill was paid by December 31st.  Mr. Vernau said that he feels the Township should follow what the County does since the taxes are on the same bill and it could get very confusing for taxpayers and tax collectors. The County is hoping to decide by the end of the month but the Township’s deadline is also April 30th. Mr. Grove said that most taxpayers pay during the discount period. Mr. Vernau asked Mr. Miner if the Board could take action to direct him to follow whatever the County decides to do. Mr. Miner said that it would require a resolution. He said that the act was signed April 21st and the Township would have 30 days to take action. He recommends coordinating with the County and including that in the resolution presented at the May meeting. Mr. Miner said that a motion is needed directing staff to draft a resolution saying that the Township is going to follow the decision of the County.

 

Commissioner SCHIN moved to direct staff to draft a resolution consistent with the County’s resolution. Vice President BLACK seconded the motion. Commissioner Kutz said that he would like to extend the deadline regardless of the County’s decision. Mr. Vernau said that the tax collector has received about 90% of real estate taxes since they come in from mortgage companies during the discount period. The Board felt that this could be discussed at the next meeting after the County makes their decision. Motion carried 5-0.

 

COMMISSIONER REPORTS

Mrs. Trone spoke about receiving a $50,000 grant from Tri-County who received it from PennDOT for the Gettysburg Road Corridor study. This covered the cost 100% so the study will be able to start this year.

 

Mr. Flint said that work on the Gettysburg Road relocation project is underway with a pre-construction meeting and COVID-19 safety training. Activity will begin soon.

 

Mr. Eby spoke about Building and Zoning Compliance personnel who have continued working during the shutdown. Applications are accepted and processed but permits are only released for approved exempt work.

Inspections are being performed for critical jobs. Construction is allowed to start back up on Friday but personnel safety is an issue. He and Mrs. Trone will be meeting with Mr. Holl to go over safety concerns.

 

Mr. Holl said that some relaxation in the areas currently shutdown is being allowed by the Governor with guidance. Some of the areas allowed to reopen are elective surgery facilities, golf courses, and marinas. He is not sure when Cumberland County will switch from red to yellow. Mr. Holl noted that personnel in the Public Safety Department are healthy and continuing the daily temperature checks.

 

Mr. Miner added to what he had said earlier about Act 15. It has provided a statute to allow online meetings such as Zoom meetings to take place and provided regulations to avoid violating the Sunshine Law.

 

Commissioner Schin mentioned seeing the EMS Employee of the Day mentioned on the news. Mr. Holl said that this is a part-time paramedic for one of the local health systems.

 

Vice President Black wished to thank all of the First Responders for hanging in there.

 

Commissioner Kutz mentioned park closures being lifted in other parts of the state. He asked Mr. Vernau if parks were allowed to open in Lower Allen Township before the next meeting, if an online meeting could be held to avoid having to wait for the next scheduled Board meeting. Mr. Vernau responded that he could do it if the Board gave him permission to do so. He suggested play fields could be opened, but he is not in favor of opening the playground equipment until the stay-at-home order is lifted. Commissioner Kutz said he has been enjoying getting to know small businesses that are operating in the Township and looks forward to supporting them in the future when restrictions are lifted.

 

President Villone asked Mrs. Trone if any comments from the public had been received. She said that Mr. Jeff Logan had commented that everyone is doing a great job.

 

President Villone asked if the Emergency Order needs to be extended since the previous one ends April 30th. Mr. Vernau did not feel it would be necessary for one week but it couldn’t hurt. Mr. Holl agreed and suggested extending it until May 15th just in case the restrictions are not lifted on May 8th. He said it could be canceled if not needed. Vice President BLACK moved to extend the Emergency Declaration until May 15th and Commissioner SCHIN seconded the motion. Motion carried 5-0. President Villone said he would be in to sign the order when staff has it ready.

 

President Villone thanked staff and Public Safety for helping residents through some difficult situations. He also appreciates that staff has been looking into the Township finances and keeping an eye on the situation. He said small businesses in Lower Allen Township are doing what they can do to get their products out and many are providing donations to First Responders and healthcare workers. He expressed his appreciation on behalf of the Township.

 

ADJOURN TO EXECUTIVE SESSION

The Regular Meeting of the Board of Commissioners adjourned at 9:12 pm.