Board of Commissioners
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS LOWER ALLEN TOWNSHIP
REGULAR MEETING NOVEMBER 23, 2015
The following were in ATTENDANCE:
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS TOWNSHIP PERSONNEL
H. Edward Black, President Thomas G. Vernau Jr., Township Manager
Peddrick M. Young, Sr, Vice President Erin G. Trone, Assistant Township Manager
Lloyd W. Bucher Frank E. Williamson, Public Safety Director
Richard F. Schin Daniel F. Flint, Community Development
Richard A. Grove, Finance Director
Steven P. Miner, Solicitor
Julie Echterling, Recording Secretary
President Black called the November 23, 2015 Regular Meeting of the Board of Commissioners to order at 7:00 pm followed by a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. He announced that Proof of Publication was available for review. Commissioner Titzel was absent with excuse. Commissioner Schin arrived at 7:29pm.
APPROVAL OF MEETING MINUTES
Commissioner BUCHER moved to approve the minutes of the November 2, 2015 budget meeting. Vice President YOUNG seconded the motion. Motion carried 3-0.
Vice President YOUNG moved to approve the minutes of the November 9, 2015 regular meeting. Commissioner BUCHER seconded the motion. Motion carried 3-0.
AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION: ANY ITEM ON THE AGENDA
There was no response.
President Black advised that any Commissioner, staff member, or anyone in attendance could request any item on the Consent Agenda be removed for further discussion and asked if there was such request. There was no response.
Commissioner BUCHER moved to approve the following Consent Agenda items:
a. Department Reports for the month of October for Community Development (August and September), Economic Development, Township Engineer, Public Works, Fleet Maintenance, and Public Safety.
b. Tax Collector’s Monthly Report for October, 2015.
Vice President YOUNG seconded the motion. Motion carried 3-0. Commissioner Bucher asked if the Community Development reports could include last year’s stats for comparison. Mr. Flint agreed and will add them to the report.
Approval of Check Registers
Vice President YOUNG made a motion to approve Check Register of November 13, 2015, in the amount of $227,464.61. Commissioner BUCHER seconded the motion. Motion carried 3-0.
Invoice No. 4 for Plumbing at Park
Vice President YOUNG made a motion to approve the payment of Invoice No. 4 in the amount of $6,392.00 to Sponaugle Construction Services for Plumbing at the Cedar Spring Run Park Project. Commissioner BUCHER seconded the motion. Motion carried 3-0.
Invoice for Surface Aggregate Project
Vice President YOUNG made a motion to approve the payment of $10,350.00 to Valley Quarries, Inc. for construction of the Creekwood Park Access Driving Surface Aggregate Project. Commissioner BUCHER seconded the motion. Motion carried 3-0.
ANY BUSINESS PERTINENT TO THE TOWNSHIP
There was no response.
Request for Reduction in Improvement Security
Mr. Flint discussed the request for a reduction in improvement security for SLD Docket No. 2015-01, 2404 Gettysburg Road Building Addition. He stated this would be ready for action at the next meeting.
Mr. Flint discussed the request for the street dedication of a portion of Glenwood Road, SLD Docket No. 2004-10, Glenwood Terrace. He stated that he has received the required documents and this will be ready for action at the next meeting.
Arcona Master Plan
Mr. Flint discussed SLD Docket No. 2015-05, Proposed Revised Overall Master Plan (OMP) for Arcona, a Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) in the vicinity of Lisburn, Rossmoyne and Arcona Roads. He stated the main change involves recreation.
Anthony Faranda-Diedrich, Charter Homes, showed the Board the map of the Arcona project. He stated that there are three major changes in the Master Plan:
1. Update on traffic design- The plan now shows three roundabouts (Lisburn/Rossmoyne, Arcona/Lisburn, and Strong/Rossmoyne).
2. Density – The residential unit density was at 1,600 and has been reduced to 1,100.
3. Comprehensive Recreation Plan – He discussed how each plan will satisfy the recreation requirement by phase.
Resident Carolyn Holtzman spoke about the traffic issues on Route 15 and expressed her concerns with traffic backing up. Eric Mountz, Traffic Planning & Design, stated that they have been working on studies for the past two years regarding traffic. He discussed working with PennDOT and how the traffic studies have reviewed 20 intersections. He stated the study and plan has been reviewed and approved by PennDOT and the Township. He stated that the Route 15 corridor will be addressed in future phases. President Black stated that this development will impact Route 15. He discussed PennDOT’s system for making changes to intersections. Commissioner Schin arrived during this conversation at 7:29 pm.
SLD Docket No. 2015-07- Highpoint, Phase 1.5
Mr. Faranda-Diedrich discussed SLD Docket No. 2015-07, Revised Preliminary Subdivision and Land Development Plan for Highpoint, Phase 1.5. This plan contains 51 single family attached units (townhouses). The plan proposes a lot with recreational facilities and partial construction of Strong Road. He stated that this phase would include a 2 acre park, trails, and open space. He discussed the proposed terra park which would consist of a natural playground created from the land. He stated it would include two slides, a fire pit, swing set, and rock climbing. He has received the Township’s comment letter and will be resubmitting their plan and looking for approval in December.
SLD Docket No. 2015-09 – Arcona, Phase 2A
Mr. Faranda-Diedrich discussed SLD Docket No. 2015-09, Preliminary Subdivision and Land Development Plan for Arcona, Phase 2A. This is the second phase of the Arcona Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND) on a total of 247.6 acres in the vicinity of Lisburn, Rossmoyne and Arcona Roads. Phase 2A proposes construction of 282 apartments in 11 buildings on 18.24 acres and construction of the remainder of Strong Road. He showed the Board the location of this phase on the map.
He discussed Strong Road, which will extend to Rossmoyne Road. He stated that the plan is broken into two phases, with Phase 2B consisting of the Crossroads, which hasn’t been submitted to the Township. Phase 2B will be the town square with the “downtown village” look with 50,000 square feet of commercial space and two restaurants.
President Black asked about moving the clubhouse closer to the pool since it will be used by the residents. Mr. Faranda-Diedrich stated that it is set up that way for appearance reasons for the main street view. He stated that the pool would only be for the residents in the apartment complex.
Charlie Courtney, McNees Wallace, spoke about the TND and the unique requirements with recreation and open space. He stated that they are addressing the open space and recreation in the following way:
1. Common open space of 46 acres. He stated that this could increase with density changes
2. Recreation land/facilities:
• 9 acres of recreation with 5 neighborhood parks
1. Terra Park = 2 acre park for Highpoint Phase 1.5
2. “Town square” park – gathering place with no recreation facilities – an open space to hold business events for Phase Arcona Phase 2B
3. Neighborhood park to be determined in a later phase
4. Larger Pocket Park on western side of railroad tracks – Athletic Courts
5. Larger Pocket Park on western side of railroad tracks – Athletic Courts
• In Arcona Phase 2B, 25 acres will be improved with a trail into the wooded area
3. Recreation Facilities:
• Trail System – Mr. Faranda-Diedrich showed the Board the trails on the map.
• Fitness Stations – minimum of four on the trails.
• Terra Park – He showed the Board potential pictures of what the park would look like.
• Athletic courts and a pavilion
• Indoor fitness, pool, and club house are additional features.
Mr. Courtney stated they had identified the required railroad crossing as recreation. They have since agreed with Township Staff that it is not recreation and will be changed. Commissioner Bucher expressed concern with the pumping station, stream and barn and how the trail would run with these factors. Mr. Faranda-Diedrich discussed the agreement with the Lesher family for the easements. He stated that if Charter Homes is able to buy the barn, they would look to preserve it. Mr. Courtney discussed the additional railroad crossing that is needed. He stated that the current estimates for a bridge over the railroad are $1.5 to $2 million. He stated they will make room on Arcona Phase 2A’s plan for the bridge and will pay for the design of the bridge. They will then work with the Township to try and secure funding for the bridge.
Mr. Courtney discussed the ways the plans are meeting the recreation requirements. He spoke about the final part of the recreation plan, which is fee in lieu of. He discussed a proposed annual recreation reconciliation with the Township. He walked through an example with the Board.
Mr. Courtney stated that the recreation land would not be dedicated to the Township. He stated the trails would be open to the public except for the ones that lead directly to the residential homes. He stated the Terra Park would be owned by the homeowners and would not be open to the public unless they are a guest of a resident or a customer of the businesses downtown. He stated if another pool is built in the future it would not be open to the public. He stated that the clubhouse, gym/fitness center would be owned by the homeowners and not open to the public and would be counted as recreation.
President Black stated that the proposed recreation won’t be open to the public but they want credit for recreation and asked Mr. Flint if he agreed. Mr. Flint stated he didn’t agree totally with their plan. Vice President Young stated all the other parks in the Township are open to the public. President Black stated that the Township has a precedent of not allowing indoor recreation as counting toward the recreation requirement. He expressed concern about how the grounds would be maintained and kept up to the Township’s standards. He stated they can have private recreation but not receive credit for public recreation. He stated that the Board would be receiving the complaints about this proposal from the residents. Solicitor Miner stated that Mr. Flint has voiced his concerns and Staff hasn’t been in agreement with the proposal. However, he stated that the pool doesn’t have to be open to the public as it can be used by the apartments only. Commissioner Bucher believes if they don’t dedicate the land, there is no credit toward recreation. Discussion ensued.
Mr. Courtney stated that if the Board decision is dedication of the land or fee in lieu of, Charter will pay the fee in lieu of. Mr. Vernau asked if they will pay the fee in lieu of, would they do away with the five parks. Mr. Courtney stated they would provide for the parks but wouldn’t commit to a certain level of recreation for them. Discussion ensued. President Black stated that the Board needs to speak with the Solicitor about this. Vice President Young asked what their timeline looks like for this plan. Mr. Faranda-Diedrich stated next year they will be submitting plans for Phase 2B.
RECESS FROM MEETING
The Board of Commissioner’s meeting recessed at 9:17 pm.
The Board of Commissioner’s meeting reconvened at 9:25 pm.
2015 Salary Survey Results
Mrs. Trone discussed her memo outlining seven positions in which the current starting pay is below the average for the surrounding area. She discussed how the survey was conducted and how the local municipalities were surveyed. She stated that the proposed increase in starting pay affects 15 personnel with only two of them being full-time. She stated these proposed increases are in the budget.
Amending Chapter 209-Parking Regulations
Mr. Vernau discussed amending Chapter 209, Parking Regulations, by ordinance to include a portion of Sheepford Road along the Yellow Breeches Park. He provided the background of the park closing and the actions taken to date for the park. He stated that the parking measures were temporary and an ordinance amendment is necessary to make them permanent. Discussion ensued. The Board wants to see the park open in the spring and agrees with the parking changes proposed.
Vice President YOUNG made a motion to direct Staff to advertise for the amending of Chapter 209, Parking Regulations, by ordinance to include a portion of Sheepford Road along the Yellow Breeches Park. Commissioner BUCHER seconded the motion. Motion carried 4-0.
Mr. Vernau stated, after the cuts discussed at the last budget meeting, the budget has a deficit of $59,090. He stated that one item is still open, which is the medics and contract with Pinnacle. He stated that the budget doesn’t contain the hiring of our own medics, which will be budgeted in 2017.
Mr. Vernau discussed the options for reducing the healthcare costs through potential increases in deductibles, copays, and drug costs. Commissioner Bucher suggested increasing the specialist visit copays from $20 to $40 and the ER copay from $100 to $150. Discussion ensued. Mr. Vernau stated with this change the budget deficit would be reduced to $50,545.
Commissioner BUCHER made a motion to increase the copay for specialist visits from $20 to $40 per visit and ER visit copay from $100 to $150 for the non-police employee health insurance. Commissioner SCHIN seconded the motion. Motion carried 4-0.
Mr. Vernau discussed the 21st officer expense. Vice President Young stated he wants to see the 21st officer added next year. Discussion ensued. The Board agreed to add the 21st officer for half of year salary.
Mr. Vernau discussed the third ambulance expense with the Board. Discussion ensued. The Board agreed to keep the third ambulance in the budget for 2016.
Commissioner SCHIN made a motion to advertise the revised budget for 2016, including the approved healthcare changes. Commissioner BUCHER seconded the motion. Motion carried 4-0. It was noted by the Board that this budget will not result in an increase in taxes for residents.
Mr. Flint spoke about the progress on the grant for the Cedar Spring Run Park.
Commissioner Bucher spoke about a request for a donation to the library from the Municipal Advisory Board. He stated residents pay a library tax and additional monies shouldn’t be provided. President Black agreed.
Vice President Young thanked the staff for the budget and for ensuring no tax increases for the residents.
Chief Williamson spoke about the annual visit on Veteran’s Day to the VFW and the donation received. He spoke about the two cadets graduating from the academy the following day.
President Black thanked Chief Williamson for agreeing to extend his time with the Township. He read a letter written by a resident thanking the Township for paving the roads.
ADJOURNMENT TO EXECUTIVE SESSION
The Regular Meeting of the Board of Commissioners adjourned to Executive Session at 9:56 pm to discuss the following item:
a. 2016 Commissioner Assignments