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The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania

Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting
Wednesday – May 5, 2004

The Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting was held on Wednesday, May 5, 2004 at 7:30 PM in Borough Hall. Present were President Council, Mrs. Fryer, Mr. Borgman, Ms. Hill, Mr. Smith and Mr. Wayne. Also in attendance were Mayor Young, Treasurer Asciutto, Borough Engineer Bevilacqua, Borough Manager Forrest, Chief Kortan, Solicitor Scott, Borough Secretary Henry and Jay Young attending for Fire Chief Young. Ms. Madden was absent.

Minutes – Mr. Borgman moved to approve the minutes of the April 7, 2004 Business Meeting of Borough Council as submitted by the Secretary. Mrs. Fryer seconded and the motion carried unanimously.


Urban Partners

James Harding presented an updated overview of the redevelopment plan. Primary concerns include parking, pedestrian friendly walkways, landscaping and the desire to revitalize the theater as a cultural mecca. Mr. Harding suggested creating a small green space across from the bank building and also one leading behind the theater. President Council felt that Madison and Highland Avenues need to be included in the pedestrian friendly concept. Urban Partners also suggested a setback of 25-30 feet along Baltimore Avenue to make it more of a landscaped boulevard and to leave Lansdowne Avenue as a more pedestrian street. Another suggestion was to move the parking closer to the stores and make positive walkways in order to allow for a better parking and pedestrian flow. The empty 7-11 store would be also be eliminated.

Urban Partners’ proposals for specific areas include:

  1. Knock down the shopping center and rebuild to accommodate the flow of traffic.
  2. Relocate the post office as a 5000 square foot retail space in the downtown area.

Central Downtown area:

  1. Create a pedestrian bridge walkway over the railroad tracks.
  2. Develop the currently empty single story commercial buildings along Highland Avenue as a three story residential building.
  3. Take out 2 parking spaces on east side of S. Lansdowne Avenue to improve vehicle circulation at this intersection.

Northeast Corridor of Lansdowne and Baltimore Avenues:

  1. Create positive pedestrian circulation.
  2. Demolish the vacant 7-11 store and the L-shaped shopping center and reconstruct it to encourage easier pedestrian flow from the parking lot to the stores.
  3. Make the unused portion of the Lansdowne Theater into a cultural center.

Wycombe and Highland Avenues:

  1. Demolish the northwest corner of Wycombe and Baltimore Avenues as well as the vacant and/or for sale buildings in this area and build an apartment building with the first floor as office space.

East End between Rigby and Union Avenue:

  1. Eliminate the used car lot and establish office or retail spaces as well as additional parking areas.
  2. Develop the EPA site as a light industrial area with quality facade treatments.

Some of the comments from the public meeting included establishing a small supermarket, using the theater as a gym as well as other opportunities, developing more parking areas and developing more green areas for the residential sections near S. Baltimore and Rigby Avenues.

Nextel Corp.

Mike Oser of Nextel presented his proposal on establishing a cell tower in the Borough in order to accommodate the growing capacity issues. Mr. Oser stated there are currently three commanding sites in the nearby area but the current system cannot handle the number of calls. Mr. Oser stated that zoning issues would dictate where the pole could be placed but the ideal site would be the Fire House. The pole would need to be at least 90-100 feet tall and can be disguised as a pine tree or a 100 foot flag pole.The ground would be leased from the Borough for 25 years with a 3% increase every year. Mr. Oser quoted the current rent at $1000-$2500/month with room for negotiation. Nextel would pay the cost of the engineering to erect the tower. Mayor Young expressed concern over the safety of the tower. Mr. Oser stated that no danger exists. President Council stated the proposal will be discussed among Borough Council.

Dr. Len Wert

221 N. Lansdowne Avenue – Dr. Wert asked that the Lansdowne Theater be preserved as much as possible with its original integrity and not to turn it into a gym facility.
Dr. Wert stated that the Lansdowne Shopping Center sign lighting is inadequate. President Council stated the code officers will investigate the matter.

John Callaghan

13 W. Greenwood Avenue – Mr. Callaghan stated that in five years cell phones will be operating off satellites instead of towers and asked how that would affect the lease agreement. President Council stated that appropriate language will be put into the lease regarding this possibility if the decision is made to erect the cell tower.
Mr. Callaghan asked who was paying for the Redevelopment district. President Council stated that support is coming from the County and State and at least three residential/commercial developers have expressed interest in the project.

Joe Heath

55 W. Greenwood Avenue – Mr. Heath felt that a 120 foot cell tower makes no sense.
Mr. Heath felt that a safety hazard exists regarding the reading of gas meters at Simpson Gardens along Lansdowne Avenue.
Mr. Heath asked when pot hole patching begins. Mrs. Fryer stated that if he knows of any pot holes to call the Borough Hall.

James Fryer

Lansdowne Court – Mr. Fryer stated that he monitors cell tower sites throughout the country and that $2,500 is a more realistic rent. He also stated that the question of tower obsolescence is not a concern as satellites cannot do the entire job and ground cover will always be necessary.

Reports and Discussions

A. Treasurer’s Report – Mr. Asciutto stated his items would be covered under the Finance Committee report.

B. Borough Engineer’s Report – Mr. Bevilacqua reported A. Garguile will begin the N. Lansdowne Avenue project by the end of May.
Mr. Bevilacqua stated that the Twentieth Century Club project has started and should be completed by the end of June.
Mr. Bevilacqua stated that the 2004 Road Program budget is $80,000 for road construction and $20,000 for road maintenance. The worst areas needing repair are Union Avenue near Bartram, Clover Avenue, a section of Drexel Avenue and also Green Avenue near the school. A discussion followed regarding other trouble spots. A final list of which roads to prioritize will be developed.
Mr. Bevilacqua reported that JMC Contractors cannot demolish 56 S. Union Avenue without jeopardizing the adjacent property even with the recommended reinforcement. The second bidder, A. J. Jurick, can take it down without any problems for approximately $5,400 over JMC’s price. It was Mr. Scott’s opinion to let JMC walk away from the project without litigation.

C. Solicitor’s Report – Mr. Scott reported that his items will be discussed under Committee reports and in Executive Session.

D. Borough Manager’s Report – Mr. Forrest had no formal report.

E. Police Chief Kortan – Chief Kortan thanked Borough Council for their generous donation in memory of his nephew.

F.Fire Chief Young – No report was given in Chief Young’s absence.

G. Mayor Young – Mayor Young reported that the Yard Sale was a great success.
Mayor Young reported that approximately $348.00 was raised at the Hungry Children Bake Sale.
Mayor Young stated that the first poetry book reading was held and is moving forward with the second reading.


H. President’s Report – President Council stated that last year a $3,000 loan and a $2,000 grant was given for the Arts Festival and requested that the loan be forgiven for the LEDC. Mrs. Fryer moved to forgive the $3,000 loan so that the LEDC can use these funds to support the 2004 Arts Festival. Mr. Smith seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

President Council read Jane Madden’s letter of resignation from Borough Council effective May 19, 2004. President Council stated that Borough Council has 30 days to appoint a replacement. If unable to find a replacement, the matter goes before the Vacancy Review Board (Borough Council plus Bertha Phillips) for recommendation within another 30 days.
President Council stated that Arthur Weisfeld wrote a letter of thanks for the Borough’s $1000 donation to the Senior Services Center.
Mr. Smith stated that the Lansdowne Racquetball Club has been purchased by Mellon Restoration. It will continue to operate as a fitness center but applications will be submitted for use as commercial offices and storage.

I. Municipal Services – Mrs. Fryer reported that the new parking signs will be the universal signs with white lettering on a blue background.

J. Finance and Administration – Mr. Smith reported that Mr. Scott’s legal bills may run over budget by approximately $10,000 regarding code issues and litigation matters. Mr. Smith asked Mr. Scott to attend the next Committee meeting on June 7th to discuss a lien filing strategy for delinquent 2002 and 2003 Borough trash and sewer fees.
Mr. Smith reported that Smith Barney suggested changing the police pension fund asset allocation to increase cash to 20%. Smith Barney also wants to present information regarding fees and a breakout of other funds per Mr. Smith’s suggestion.
Mr. Smith reported that three options exist for the capital financing projects: (1) $6 million, (2) $3.5 million or (3) $2.2 million.
Mr. Smith stated that a resolution regarding illegal dumping will be adopted at the General meeting next month.
Mr. Smith stated that Dave Forrest will be revisiting the 457 Plan regarding savings plans for employees.

K. Community Development – Mr. Borgman reported that the existing subdivision and land development ordinance should be formally adopted in light of Urban Partners’ future development plans for the Borough. Mr. Scott stated that if a County adopts the ordinance it is deemed effective at the local level unless the municipality chooses to do a different one.The County Planning Department will be circulating a new model ordinance to all municipalities by the end of the year. Mr. Wayne questioned the relationship between the comprehensive plan and the subdivision plan. Mr. Scott stated that the subdivision code governs what the developer is required to present to the Borough for developing a property.
Mr. Scott stated that the County reviewed the Business Zoning Amendment and suggested adding further restrictions for adult entertainment uses to protect church, school and playground areas. Separation language should also be incorporated; the suggested separation distance is 200 feet for enforceability.Changes were also suggested for restricting government offices (except for the post office) in the C-1 district.
Mr. Borgman asked for a copy of the Code Ordinance for his Committee review.
Mr. Borgman stated that a follow up joint Code meeting will be held on May 11th at 5:30 PM.
Mr. Borgman stated that the review of property maintenance codes is continuing.
Mr. Borgman asked if the U & O for 25 W. Plumstead Avenue would be coming to him for appeal. Mr. Smith stated the house has been sold and the buyer is willing to do most of the required items but a problem exists with the joint garage. Mr. Bonenberger will furnish a report.
Mr. Borgman stated the next Committee meeting will be held on May 11th at 7:00 PM. He also requested a copy of last year’s fee resolution.

L.Public Safety – Ms. Hill asked if the fire siren cutoff date would be extended if the cell tower is built. A discussion followed regarding the feasibility of putting a cell tower on the fire house. Mr. Wayne and Mrs. Fryer cited aesthetics issues. Ms. Hill cited health concerns. Mayor Young felt the health issue should be addressed through an education process. President Council stated there is no conflict with the Redevelopment Plan if the cell tower is erected.The general consensus among Borough Council members was not to have the cell tower built.
Mrs. Fryer stated she has received complaints of noise on Scottdale Road by Interior Maintenance Company trucks at 7:00 AM. Chief Kortan will investigate if additional complaints are received.
Ms. Hill stated that a designated area for protestors will be discussed at the next Public Safety Committee meeting.

M.Parks and Recreation – No report was given in Ms. Madden’s absence.

N.Economic Development – Mr. Wayne reported that Yeadon will be on board with the Elm Street Program.
Mr. Wayne stated that the liquor ordinance will also need to be addressed regarding BYOB establishments.
Mr. Wayne reported that the LERTA district issue has been de-prioritized for discussion at a later date.
Mr. Wayne reported that the Redevelopment Plan is progressing as planned.

Mrs. Fryer asked what needs to be covered in Jane Madden’s absence. President Council stated that Ms. Hill and Mr. Borgman will handle some of the Parks and Recreation Committee matters in Ms. Madden’s absence. Mr. Borgman suggested that the flush toilets be repaired and re-installed at Hoffman Park instead of portable toilets.

Old Business – None

New Business – Mr. Smith moved to authorize payment of the bills for period. Mrs. Fryer seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
Ms. Hill moved to advertise Ordinance No. 1195. An ordinance setting fines for violations of certain parking regulations, deleting certain regulations and creating additional regulations. Mrs. Fryer seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Executive Session – Mr. Borgman moved to adjourn to Executive Session to discuss two potential litigation matters. Mr. Smith seconded and the motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned to Executive Session at 10:40 PM.

There were no motions made upon reconvening into Public Session. Mr. Borgman moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Mr. Smith. The motion carried unanimously and the meeting adjourned at 11:00 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Ann Henry
Borough Secretary

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