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The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania

Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting
Wednesday – July 7, 2004

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

Minutes – Mr. Smith moved to approve the minutes of the June 2, 2004 Business Meeting of Borough Council as submitted by the Secretary. Mrs. Fryer seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Visitors Urban Partners – James Hartling. Mr. Hartling presented an overview of the Redevelopment Plan as approved by the Planning Commission last month. Mr. Hartling stated that the plan adopts a very specific approach that mirrors the formula required by state law since 1945. Some of the significant issues addressed in the plan are as follows:

  • Redevelop the Lansdowne Center at 24 W. Baltimore Avenue as a three story mixed retail center including apartments and stores.
  • Include the Bank Building at 2 S. Lansdowne Avenue for rehabilitation.
  • Redevelop the Lansdowne Plaza at 3 N. Lansdowne Avenue as a mixed use with retail stores on ground level and apartments above. This portion of the work will be intended to encourage better pedestrian circulation to the business center as well as exploiting parking spaces.
  • Redevelop the vacant 7-11 building into retail stores and shared parking with the rear properties.
  • Redevelop through rehabilitation the Lansdowne Theater as a cultural center.
  • Redevelop the south side of Baltimore Avenue (16-26 S. Highland Avenue, 29 Madison Avenue and the vacant lot at 27 Madison Avenue) as a small apartment building.
  • Redevelop the Virginia Donuts site and surrounding properties as a mixed use building (apartments and retail stores).
  • Redevelop the auto sales lot at 100/102 E. Baltimore Avenue as office or retail use.
  • Rehabilitate the southwest corner of Maple and Union Avenues as retail, office or industrial use.
  • Redevelop 22 N. Union Avenue and 40 S. Union Avenue as general commerce or retail or light industrial use.

Mr. Hartling stated that the Redevelopment Plan does not supercede land use controls.
Proposed zoning changes include parking and setback areas. Any businesses in the C-2 and C-3 areas along Baltimore Avenue would have a 25′ setback from the street. Any C-1 businesses on Lansdowne Avenue would be built right to the property line with no specified setbacks. Mr. Hartling also suggested replacing the parking requirements with one that states that any new development of 10,000 or more square feet provide one parking space per housing unit and three spaces per 3,000 square feet of non-residential space; any development less than 10,000 square feet would not require a parking space. Suggestions regarding street layout and traffic pattern changes are as follows:

  • Create new shared parking facilities in the northeast quadrant of Baltimore and Lansdowne Avenues that would reduce the number of curb cuts in this area.
  • Make LaCrosse Avenue two-way, east from Highland Avenue to Lansdowne Avenue (one block).
  • Remove two parking spaces at the S. Lansdowne and Baltimore Avenues intersection to facilitate traffic turns.
  • Erect a pedestrian bridge/walkway over the railroad tracks at Madison and Lansdowne Avenues.
  • Create more public green spaces and walk areas at Lansdowne and Baltimore Avenues.
  • Improve landscaping on specific streets.

John Callaghan
13 W. Greenwood Avenue.
Mr. Callaghan asked the start date and price of the Redevelopment Plan. President Council stated that the total cost was $50,000 with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission to pay $40,000 and Lansdowne Borough to pay $10,000. President Council also said that if all goes well, the Plan will be accepted by the County by October, 2004 and the success of the process will also depend upon attracting developers to Lansdowne.
Mr. Callaghan stated that potholes are still not repaired below the railroad tracks on Union Avenue.
Mr. Callaghan asked what the differences are in the new fire siren. Chief Young stated that the new siren is now programmable wherein the number of blasts, the sound and pitch can be changed.
Mr. Callaghan asked why the public wasn’t given a chance to apply for the Borough Council position now occupied by Kevin Lee. President Council stated that the vacancy had been mentioned at a previous general meeting and interested parties should have contacted him. Four to five candidates had been approached with two indicating a strong interest.
Mr. Callaghan asked if a referendum would be made available regarding the bond issue. President Council stated that a referendum would cause delays and possibly compromise certain sewer projects that are necessary in certain parts of the Borough. President Council also stated that no decision had yet been made on whether a bond would be required and it depended on whether or not the Borough could afford the debt service.
Mr. Callaghan asked when the purchase of the Scottdale Road and Baltimore Avenue corner property was discussed. Solicitor Scott stated that it was discussed in Executive Session because an exception exists for sales of real estate. President Council stated that no decision has been made about this property but the issue will be put to a public vote before Borough Council if and when the time arises.

Michael Marcavage
63 E. Stewart Avenue
Mr. Marcavage asked how Borough Council would address the situation if an individual did not want his property changed under the proposed Redevelopment Plan. President Council stated that the Redevelopment Law of 1949 empowers municipalities to purchase a property by eminent domain for a fair market value. Mr. Smith stated that many of the properties involved in the plan are abandoned and vacant. Mr. Wayne stated that many Borough residents are represented in this plan and have openly expressed their interest and given their input at the Redevelopment Plan public meetings.
Mr. Marcavage asked that his web site be linked to the Borough web site. President Council stated that Mr. Marcavage’s web site was inappropriate for Lansdowne’s web site due to its being a vehicle for hate speech and would not become a part of the Borough web site.
Mr. Marcavage asked when Mr. Scott had been hired. Mr. Scott stated he was hired as Borough Solicitor in July of 2003. Mr. Marcavage then asked for the name of Lansdowne’s former solicitor, Paul Bech.

Reports and Discussions
A. Treasurer’s Report
– Mr. Asciutto stated that the tax and anticipation note had been repaid on June 30th.
B. Borough Engineer’s Report
– Mr. Bevilacqua reported that Innovative Construction was the low bidder on the 2004 Road Program with a base bid of $91,972 and one add on alternate to bring the total to $96,419.50. Mr. Bevilacqua also reported that the inlet on N. Lansdowne Avenue across from the sewer project had been damaged and could be repaired by A. Garguile for $9,990. Mr. Bevilacqua reported that additional inlets (one at Highland and Clover Avenues and one at the maintenance building) would need repairs at a cost of $4,550 and $7,850 respectively. Mr. Bevilacqua stated that this work would begin mid to end August and take about three weeks to complete. Mr. Wayne asked what streets were involved. Mr. Bevilacqua stated that the program included Green Avenue from Essex Avenue to Clover Avenue and Union Avenue from Fairview Avenue to the railroad. The intersection at Union and Wycombe Avenues and Drexel Avenue between Windermere and Ardmore Avenues are not being done under this program. Mrs. Fryer moved to award payment no. 2 to A. Garguile & Sons in the amount of $27,935. Mr. Smith seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Bevilacqua reported that pole gutters and down spouts have been installed at the Twentieth Century Club. Mr. Forrest has submitted to the County a first payment request for $34,632 to Alpert Enterprises. Mr. Bevilacqua reported that the contract will be rebid for 56 S. Union Avenue. The County wants the Borough to pay for the engineering costs associated with the demolition plan. Mr. Bevilacqua stated this additional cost would run about $5,000.
Regarding 132 Bartram Avenue, Mr. Bevilacqua reported that Jurick will do the electrical work involved with the new hot water heater installation at a cost of $2,100.

C. Solicitor’s Report – Mr. Scott reported that he had 3 executive session items.
Mr. Scott stated that recent changes in the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Law allows a Borough with at least 10,000 residents to establish their own Redevelopment Plan.

D. Borough Manager’s Report – Mr. Forrest reported that three TCDI (Transportation and Community Development Initiative) grants are due to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission on July 23rd. The first grant is to do similar redevelopment plans in other communities in the Baltimore Avenue corridor. An application for $70,000 of County renaissance money has already been submitted and a match of $55,000 of DVRPC money will also be submitted. The second grant is for a concept design plan for the Baltimore Avenue corridor involving street scape designs and pedestrian walkways. Mr. Forrest stated that he expects no problem with the County putting up the match money. The third grant is being partnered with Upper Darby. This project involves doing a feasibility study to widen Union Avenue between Baltimore and Fairview Avenues and to address some of the drainage problems in that area. Lansdowne’s obligation would be $5,000.
Mr. Forrest reported that the LUPTAP (Land Use Planning and Technical Assistance Program) grant application will involve two projects. The first is the retooling of the Elm Street grant to do a neighborhood revitalization strategy in South Lansdowne. Mr. Forrest reported that the $31,000 application will be submitted to the State and the local match will be $6,000. Lansdowne’s portion would be $3,000. The second application involves a comprehensive plan implementation to do a complete update of the Borough’s zoning ordinances and to begin historic preservation studies. This project will cost $50,000; Lansdowne’s portion will be $5,000.
Mr. Forrest reported that an additional $45,000 has been received from the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for the Multi-Municipal Parks and Open Space Plan; total received is $90,000. All municipalities in the William Penn School District will be involved in this project. Mr. Forrest stated that a Steering Committee would be needed for this project. Mr. Lee will be the representative and Ms. Hill will be the alternate representative.

E. Police Chief Kortan – Chief Kortan had no formal report.

F. Fire Chief Young – Chief Young reported that the former problems encountered during the fire siren testing have now been resolved.

G. Mayor Young – Mayor Young stated she will be meeting with Joe Otto to discuss the School Board budget.
Mayor Young stated she was asked by a Governor Rendell representative to garner support for the Governor’s Green Growing Plan and she is still working on a meeting with the Governor or a representative from his office.
Mayor Young reported that Anthony Williams will fund the chirping crosswalk at the Baltimore and Lansdowne Avenues intersection.
Mr. Smith asked that 23 E. Greenwood Avenue, 51 E. Greenwood Avenue and 133 Mansfield Avenue be considered for the Borough’s Beautification Award.

H. President’s Report
– President Council passed around a draft of the Comprehensive Plan. The Plan will be presented to the Lansdowne Planning Commission tomorrow. There will be a public meeting on October 1st. The final process will be done by January, 2005. President Council stated that the Borough’s zoning ordinances will need revising for this plan. Ms. Hill stated that some residents were concerned with the term blighted and President Council suggested that the term targeted for redevelopment could be used.

I. Municipal Services – Mrs. Fryer had no formal report. Ms. Hill asked if draining swimming pools into the storm sewers was legal, given that water was coming into her backyard and up through street cracks. Mr. Forrest stated it was legal as long as the water was not chlorinated. Mr. Forrest is awaiting information from the DEP regarding the proper disposition of pool water.

J. Finance and Administration – Mr. Smith reported that capital financing was discussed at the last Finance Committee meeting and estimated figures were given by Mr. Asciutto based upon a 1-2 year phase in period:

  1. ) $ 3.5 million results in a $259,000/year debt service or .7 mils;
  2. ) $ 2.5 million results in a $185,000/year debt service or .5 mils.

Mr. Asciutto estimated the Borough’s total cost for the bond issue would be approximately $50,000 on $3.5 million. President Council stated that he was relying on a decision from the Finance Committee on how to finance the debt service. Mr. Smith stated that the total purchase price of a fire truck was $650,000 and the Borough could get a $23,000 discount. Mr. Smith gave the breakdown on the 3 options:

  1. ) 10 year lease = $ 79,000/year @ 4.69%;
  2. ) 7 year lease = $106,000/year @ 4.51%;
  3. ) 5 year lease = $141,000/year @ 4.37%.

Mr. Forrest stated that approximately $496,000 was in Capital Reserves for the fire truck. Mr. Smith stated that a better rate would be realized on a loan versus a lease if a loan is adopted instead of a bond issue and if the fire truck is purchased with some of the lease proceeds as opposed to doing a separate financing. President Council stated that 10% tax increases cannot occur every year to handle a $260,000-$325,000 additional debt service in the General Fund and that compensatory cuts in other areas would be necessary. Mr. Wayne stated he was also concerned about tax increases and was not comfortable about borrowing $1 million to address the sewer projects without completing the study and discussing the repair priorities. Mr. Wayne felt that only emergency sewer repairs should be done at the present. President Council stated that the Marlyn Park and Ardmore Avenue sewer projects were the highest priorities.
President Council stated that it made more sense to borrow $1.2 million for 5-10 years without a bond issue rather than pay $50,000 to borrow $2 million for 20 years. It was decided after a lengthy discussion to have a bank handle the matter. It was also decided to lease rather than purchase a fire truck.
Mr. Smith moved to execute a Request to Proceed at a cost of $500.00 to obtain a lease agreement for a new fire truck. Ms. Hill seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

K. Community Development – No formal report was given in Mr. Borgman’s absence.

L. Public Safety – Ms. Hill had no formal report.

M. Economic Development – Mr. Wayne reported that he has applied for an anchor building grant to DCED for renovating the Bank Building. Mr. Wayne reported that Ed Middleman has left the Code Department and April 9th was the deadline for grand fathering current employees. Mr. Wayne stated that new employees now have to be already grand fathered or have all the correct certifications. Mr. Wayne stated that because of this situation, current salaries will have to be raised for the existing Code personnel as well as Mr. Middleman’s replacement. The current starting salary is $42,000, increasing to $45,000 after a probationary period. Mr. Wayne reported that currently there are two candidates who are grand fathered and he felt that the new Code officer should be a resident of Lansdowne.

M. Parks and Recreation – Mr. Lee reported that the Park and Recreation Board wants the pavilion taken down in Hoffman Park and another structure installed in its place. Mr. Lee felt that repairing what was already there rather than building a new facility was preferable. The Board also wants to open Reservoir Park as a natural area with different fencing.
Mr. Lee reported that a Park and Recreation Board meeting is schedule for July 19th at 7:30 PM.
Ms. Hill asked if a comprehensive plan could be done regarding recreational programs. Mr. Forrest stated that the open municipal green space plan handles this aspect. Mr. Lee felt that more outreach to the community should be done to include parks and recreational activities information to residents.

Old Business – Mr. Lee stated that complaints are still being received regarding safety issues on Scottdale Road. Ms. Hill stated that she will bring recommendations to the Public Safety Committee regarding this issue.

New Business – Mr. Smith moved to authorize payment of the bills for the period. Mrs. Fryer seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Smith moved to approve Resolution No. 2004-15, a resolution regarding destruction of old Borough records. Mr. Wayne seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Smith moved to reject all bids for the replacement of the steam boiler at the Twentieth Century Club. Mrs. Fryer seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
Mrs. Fryer moved to award Contract No. 110, 2004 Roadway Improvements, for the base bid of $91,972 plus the first Add Alternate for Clover Avenue in the amount of $4,447.50, for a total of $96,419.50 to Innovative Construction Services, Inc. of Folcroft, PA. Ms. Hill seconded and the motion carried unanimously. Mr. Wayne moved to approve the Downtown District Redevelopment Plan prepared by Urban Partners and to submit such plan to the Delaware County Redevelopment Authority and the Delaware County Council with the recommendation that such bodies approve the plan in accordance with the Redevelopment Act. Mr. Lee seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried 5-0 with Ms. Hill abstaining and Mr. Borgman being absent from the vote.

Executive Session – Mr. Wayne moved to adjourn to Executive Session to discuss litigation issues. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned into Executive Session at 11:31 PM.
There were no motions made upon reconvening into Public Session. Mr. Wayne moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Mr. Lee. The motion carried unanimously and the meeting adjourned at 11:45 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Ann Henry
Borough Secretary

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