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The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania

Planning Commission
Meeting Minutes

Date: February 11, 2009

Attendees: Amy Floresta, Robert Bartmann, Marcy Allen, Thom Lehman, Marian Schaner

Guests: Craig Totaro, Mike Jozwiak, Shai Algaman, Eli Alon

Agenda/Discussion
Item or Issue
Action(s)
Taken
Responsible
Person(s)
Due
Date
Approval of Minutes Mr. Bartmann made several suggestions for improvements to future minutes. Ms. Floresta made a motion to approve January minutes, Ms. Allen seconded and the minutes were unanimously approved.
TreeVitalize Project Update Mr. Totaro reported that TreeVitalize, the Horticulture Society, Morris Arboretum, and Delaware County planners met to cast the next phase of the Baltimore Avenue project to include planting of 80 trees. The project is now funded with $30,000 and 300 hours and includes Lansdowne and Upper Darby. A design team is being formed; Mr. Totaro will inform Ms. Floresta about the date and time.
This phase is scheduled for the fall. Oak trees that were part of the fall 2008 project are still scheduled for planting in March.
Subdivision/Development Application: 111 South Wycombe Avenue Mr. Jozwiak introduced the developer, Yatsek, LLC, represented by Shai Algaman and Eli Alon, who presented their plan to develop the property at
111 South Wycombe Avenue by subdividing one lot into two in order to construct a single family, semi-detached residence.

The area is a traditional neighborhood allowing single detached dwellings.

Items that were discussed included:

  • Each property has own seepage bed. – Mr. Bartmann – suggested that seepage go under driveway.
  • Current zoning permits parking on property in front of house.
  • Owners will be asked to replace sidewalks
  • Owners will tear down old fence and replace with a code approved fence or no fence.
  • Mr. Bartmann questioned as to whether there is anything in the code about street trees in subdivisions.
  • Discussion around trees – suggestion was made that the large tree in back of property be evaluated for safety and to ascertain the type of tree. Owners state they will protect the trees as much as possible.
  • These are preliminary drawings – if they are accepted all approvals have to go through in a 90-day period.
  • The Commission recommended that a landscape planning showing buffer, screening and fencing be developed.
  • Owners stated that the asphalt driveway will be removed and ground prepared for planting. The current garage is being removed – owners want to replace with two garages, which aren’t shown on the plan. The large tree would then have to be removed, new driveways would be needed and the drainage system would changes. Therefore, the plans have to be rewritten and storm water management redone and no action by the Commission is needed at this point.
Lansdowne Borough H2O Program Application Mr. Totaro explained the proposal for program dollars to line sanitary sewers in several areas of the borough. He asked for the Planning Commission’s support in signing a letter to attach to his proposal for funding.

Mr. Totaro recommended that the Commisson review sewer projects once per year.

Mr. Bartmann made motion that Ms. Schaner sign the letter of support; Mr. Lehman seconded. The motion was approved unanimously.

Bike Path Subcommittee report Ms. Allen reported on the first meeting and invited other members to join the group. The group will meet to determine routes and present information to Borough Council to move the project forward. Current members are Ms. Allen, Ms. Floresta and Ms. Schaner.

Mr. Bartman distribution sections from the Comprehensive Plan specific to Lansdowne about Pedestrian and Bicycling Facilities.

The bike path will likely be a combination of existing streets and “paper streets” consisting of lines and signs rather than structural changes.
Mr. Totaro suggested that Dave Bennett, a Lansdowne resident who has experience with bike paths come into the process at some point and also speak to the Borough Council when appropriate.

Marcy will arrange bi-weekly meetings – every other Wednesday. Mr. Totaro, Mr. Bennett and Steve Wagner will be invited to the first.

Ms. Allen suggested that a public meeting be held to gather residents’ input and from those who show up potential new members will be invited to join. Notice about the forum will go in the next Borough Newsletter.

Mr. Totaro asked if bike racks are found in the zoning code – is this a HARB consideration?

Ms. Allen commented that Regency Café customers would like to ride their bikes to the Café and park them in a safe place that is visible from the Café. Could one of the metered parking places in the public parking lot be turned into bike parking?

Commission members discussed developing a proposal to go forward to the appropriate body (Council?) regarding bike racks in the Borough. This will be added to the Commission’s project list.

Other Business Commission members talked about their individual visions for Lansdowne and brainstormed ways to attain a shared vision for what Lansdowne is and can become. Two vision statements and results of the brainstorming are attached.

Ms. Floresta suggested that a joint meeting of the HARB, the LEDC and the Planning Commission be arranged to share ideas and projects and learn to work together.

There was a short discussion about the Lansdowne Diner and its facade problem with loose concrete panels.

Members discussed next month’s agenda. There was consensus around the need to keep a rolling list of items for updating at each meeting.

Adjournment Mr. Bartmann made a motion to adjourn the meeting; Mr. Lehman seconded. The meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

Planning Commission Meets: 2nd Wednesday of every month; 7pm in Borough Hall


Lansdowne Visioning Exercise: Two Visions for Lansdowne

I. Vision for Lansdowne

Lansdowne is a welcoming, progressive and diverse community of neighbors that:

  • values its history and preserves its architecture
  • promotes environmental protection and sustainability
  • possesses a vibrant, eclectic and walkable town center
  • celebrates culture and the arts

II. Vision for Lansdowne

Arts

  • Have a lively main street with the theater as a focus. We have a theater group.
  • Make Lansdowne a center for music. We have an orchestra and a folk music club.
  • We have an artistic heritage: the Shadow, Joan Jett, lots of painters (lesser known)
  • Celebrate architectural housing types and distinctive character of our neighborhoods

Planning

  • Strengthen the town square. Get rid of parking on Lansdowne and Baltimore or convert to park.
  • Complete the west gateway; start working on an eastern gateway.
  • Increase parking, build a parking ramp.
  • Strengthen and maintain the character and scale of our neighborhoods
  • Strengthen our greenways: trees, gardens and streetscapes
  • Plug town in to larger regional plan connected by greenways and bike trails

Business

  • Attract three restaurants worth eating at. Mission Burrito is a great start!
  • Have at least one good café with selection of baked goods. Regency works for me, especially in the new location.
  • Have a sustainable Saturday market. Improve the venue, add a swap meet.
  • At least two new anchor businesses are required.

Brainstorming

  • Identify unique neighborhoods. What makes them special? How can these learnings be applied to other areas? Work to strengthen neighborhoods -and bring out the individual character of each. We could help each neighborhood see their identity and their value.
  • Streetscaping/historical markers/preservation
  • Beautification subcommittee (separate from things the HARB looks at)
  • Focus on “The Arts” goggle works (?)
  • The Business District – how do we entice new restaurants?
  • We need to define our Town Center and work to make it stronger
  • Enforce the property maintenance code
  • Sponsor mini “Park Days” with live music to help create cohesive neighborhood associations
  • Find ways to make Lansdowne become a complete destination with a variety of businesses, eateries and activities
  • Music, music, music
  • Preservation guidelines for “significant” trees
  • Spotlight our access to convenient transportation network
  • How do we “sell” Lansdowne – need a marketing plan and web presence that can be “googled”
  • We need to identify some “quick hits” to build our reputation and create buzz
  • Things like the bike route and other improvements will make us unique
  • Evaluate borough maintenance facilities and municipal services
  • We need to differentiate ourselves and market our “uniqueness”
Classic Towns

Storm Water
Borough Pics