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The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania

Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting Wednesday – February 15, 2006

The Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting was held on Wednesday,
February 15, 2006, 7:30 PM in Borough Hall. Present were President Wayne, Ms. Coleman, Ms. Hill, Mr. Lee, Ms. Lustgarten, Mr. Urban and Mr. Wagner. Also in attendance were Mayor Young, Borough Engineer Bevilacqua, Borough Manager Forrest, Borough Solicitor Scott, Borough Treasurer Smith, Borough Secretary Henry and Police Chief Kortan. Fire Chief Young was absent.

President Wayne stated that the meeting was being taped by Comcast and would be shown on February 20th at 7:00 PM on Channel 10.

Minutes – Ms. Coleman moved to approve the minutes of the January 18, 2006 Borough Council General Meeting.Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Announcements and Presentations – Mayor Young had no presentations.

Treasurer’s Report – Mr. Smith gave the monthly report for January, 2006. General Fund balance was $549,972.76; balance of all funds was $8,723,411.80. The Tax Anticipation Note was received in the amount of $500,000. It was noted that the 2005 year ended $200,000 ahead of what had been anticipated. Chief Kortan questioned the zero amount for parking citations. Mr. Smith will investigate.

Engineer’s Report – Mr. Bevilacqua reported that the HVAC project had been rebid and one bid has now been received. Additionally, a $49,000 savings will now be realized for the same scope of the project as outlined in August, 2005. Mr. Bevilacqua recommended that the Finance and Administration Committee review alternate #2.

Solicitor’s Report – Mr. Scott reported on the following:

  1. Cell Tower Ordinance – currently the Borough does not regulate providers. The proposed ordinance would provide parameters as to where cell towers can be located. This ordinance would permit cell antennas in the C1 and C2 commercial districts to be no higher than 15 feet. It would also permit stand alone cell towers in the C-3 district no higher than 100 feet with a setback equal to its height.
  2. Street Excavation Ordinance – a permit will be needed and the ordinance will establish standards for reconstruction after work is completed. After some discussion Mr. Scott stated that location requirements could be specified.

Mayor’s Report – Mayor Young had a number of announcements:

  1. The Tree Advisory Board still has more trees for planting and those interested can call Gerry Staiber at 610-284-1493;
  2. Mayor Young thanked the Highway Department for their efforts with the recent snow removal;
  3. The Lansdowne Presbyterian Church is asking for donations for the food cupboard;
  4. Some senior citizens have been cheated by dishonest contractors. Borough Hall has a list of competent and licensed contractors;
  5. A Number of garage break-ins have occurred;
  6. Over $500.00 in gift cards has been collected for Gautier, Mississippi, Lansdowne’s Sister City.

Council President’s Report – President Wayne reported on follow up items from the last Business Meeting:

  1. Proposals are due by 2/17/06 for Engineering services.
  2. 700 buildings have been evaluated to date in the south Lansdowne neighborhood revitalization strategy. The next steering committee meeting will be held on February 16th.
  3. The Borough has received a $14,000 grant and a $6,000 in kind match for the Hoffman Park stream bank restoration project.
  4. The 2006 Road Program has a proposal pending and Aqua America will be replacing some water mains throughout the Borough.
  5. President Wayne will be attending the February 28th Urban Land Institute breakfast.
  6. A storm water grant application is being prepared regarding the new State and Federal storm water regulations.
  7. Work started on Borough Yard improvements on January 24th. This is a $32,000 project to make interior improvements.
  8. Reservoir Park fence installation – a start date with the contractor is being firmed up.
  9. Fire Chief Young has 100 smoke detectors for anyone needing one.
  10. The LEDC and GLCA has received a $400,000 grant for 20th Century Club improvements. Some of the priorities outlined in the preservation plan include installing a fire alarm detection system, installing a sprinkler system near the stage area, installing a new heating system and upgrading the electric service. Consensus was to approve the report and have the joint venture do the work after Council’s approval.
  11. Planning Commission Chair Chris Patton will now be attending Business meetings. Some issues being worked on by the Planning Commission include the establishment of a local historic district and a historical review board, recommending a demolition delay ordinance, establishing guidelines re: conversion of single family homes to multi-family homes, zoning variance and special exception requirements and the relationships between the design standards being promulgated by the Main Street Program and the Borough property and sign codes.
  12. The Codes Department is down one officer and a replacement is needed. The Yeadon Borough relationship needs clarification before hiring another officer. Mr. Lee will chair an Ad Hoc Committee with Mr. Urban and Mr. Wagner assisting in developing recommendations for the Yeadon partnership should that union be desired. Borough Council has agreed to the recruitment process for a new code officer but not the hiring of a new code officer.
  13. Replacement of two trash trucks at a cost of $130,000 each has been deferred until the Borough collection and recycling process can be reviewed. Ms. Coleman will chair the Ad Hoc Committee in this matter with assistance from Ms. Lustgarten, Mayor Young and Mr. Wagner.
  14. Mayor Young will begin the process of selecting a Borough historian.
  15. The $25,000 to be paid by the Borough in the Marcavage lawsuit is for attorney fees only and no money is to be paid to Mr. Marcavage personally.
  16. 231 N. Lansdowne Avenue – has been deemed uninhabitable and a demolition grant has been forwarded to the County and the Borough is awaiting a response. The property will be allowed to go to sheriff sale in September, 2006.
    234 Owen Avenue – 1 or 2 single homes are to be built on this site.
  17. Andy Fahrquhar has resigned as Lansdowne’s representative for the Darby Creek Joint Authority and a replacement will be sought.
  18. 205 W. Baltimore Avenue – this is a new pet grooming business.

Committee Reports –

I. Finance and Administration – Ms. Lustgarten stated that Smith Barney representatives were present at the last meeting to review the year end police pension fund. It was suggested to modify the asset allocation to improve performance which will be detailed in the motion under Action Items. Additionally, further discussions will be held regarding bidding out for new Fund managers. Portnoff & Associates will be hired to handle delinquent sewer and trash fees and processes are in place to work with hardship cases. There will be no cost to the Borough for this service. The Committee also discussed allowing employees in the Non-Uniform Pension Plan to become 100% vested after 5 years.

II. Public Safety – Ms. Hill reported that the Public Safety Committee is prioritizing their 2006 tasks and establishing a format as to how they will function. PennDot has authorized the Borough to erect overhead street signs at the Baltimore and Lansdowne Avenue intersection. The Committee will be reviewing the crosswalk situation between Nyack and Linden Avenues.Mr. Urban has been asked to identify an organization or individual with Constitutional law expertise regarding Police Department responsibilities. The Committee will also begin a campaign for a Neighborhood Watch program in Lansdowne. Ms. Hill announced that Sgt. Gerald Christians will be attending a 10 week FBI Academy training program in April.
Ms. Hill gave the Police Report for January: 513 incidents, 878 parking tickets, 13 speeding violations and 8,340 miles traveled.. Mr. Lee mentioned that speeding is a problem on Owen Avenue. Mr. Lee asked if the Committee could look into partnering with the entities to help reduce the juvenile crime problems. Mr. Lee mentioned that an attack dog has been attacking other dogs in the Borough and asked if anything could be done to discourage residents from owning certain breeds of attack dogs.

III. Ad Hoc Committees –

A. Code Enforcement – Mr. Lee stated that the next meeting will be held on February 23rd at 7:00 p.m.

B. Trash and Recycling – Ms. Coleman stated that the next meeting will be held on February 22nd at 7:00 p.m.

IV. Members of Council –

A. Ms. Coleman indicated she would like to acknowledge new Borough businesses at the televised meetings. Proposed and currently operating new businesses in Lansdowne now include an art studio at 10 W. Baltimore Avenue, a print shop at 160 E. Plumstead Avenue, a Mexican takeout eatery at 32 W. Baltimore Avenue to open March 6th, a day care center at 268 Drexel Avenue to open on May 6th and a pet grooming business is now open at 205 W. Baltimore Avenue.
Ms. Coleman mentioned that the Main Street manager wants to include volunteers in the effort to make Lansdowne a better place to live. Four committees have been formed in this endeavor:

  1. Organization – will focus on financial resources,
  2. Promotion – will focus on what Lansdowne has to offer,
  3. Design – will design standards for the Borough in conjunction with the Planning Commission,
  4. Economic Restructuring

[These committees] will deal with what types of businesses should be in the Borough. This group will meet on February 17th at 10:00 a.m. at 12 S. Lansdowne Avenue. Anyone interested in joining the Committees should contact Gary Chilutti at 484-461-7001. Mr. Lee suggested that Mr. Chilutti attend a few Council meetings to let residents know of his objectives and plans.

Mr. Urban mentioned that the Recreation and Parks Board will be meeting on February 21st at 7:30 p.m.

Communications – None.

Ms. Hill moved to suspend the Rules of Order. Ms. Coleman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Visitors

  1. Jack Covert – 232 Jackson Avenue – Mr. Covert thanked Chief Kortan for his recent comments in a newspaper article. Mr. Covert mentioned that the old Frank’s Nurseries site on Baltimore Avenue may become a slot parlor and asked that those working on the Baltimore Avenue corridor study take note of the implications of such an establishment. President Wayne commented that the proposal is to make it into a turf club. Mr. Covert mentioned that the sidewalks had not been cleared of snow at the municipal parking lot. Mr. Forrest will look into the matter. Mr. Covert mentioned that the Neighborhood Watch signs are in deplorable condition.
  2. David Gibson – 101 E. Baltimore Avenue – Mr. Gibson, as a representative of the Pennsylvania campaign to bring home the National Guard, read his proposed resolution to present it for Council consideration.
  3. Joe Parsio – 157 Bryn Mawr Avenue – Mr. Parsio commented that by protesting a war you do not disrespect a veteran and asked for Council support of Mr. Gibson’s resolution.
  4. Charlie Jeffers – 13 Willowbrook Avenue – Mr. Jeffers mentioned that snow has not been removed for almost 4 days in front of some apartment buildings on Baltimore Avenue. Mr. Jeffers mentioned that the sidewalk is still cracked at the intersection of Baltimore and Lansdowne Avenues. Mr. Forrest will investigate.
  5. Bertha Phillips – 80 W. Baltimore Avenue- Ms. Phillips as a member of the Brandywine Peace Committee voiced her support of Mr Gibson’s resolution.
  6. Elliot Borgman – 85 W. Lacrosse Avenue – Mr. Borgman stated that U.S. presence should be removed from Iraq and that the lessons of the Vietnam War have not been learned. He urged residents to "think globally, act locally" so that Lansdowne could be one of the first communities in Pennsylvania to endorse Mr. Gibson’s resolution
  7. Marie deYoung – 4 Owen Avenue – Rev. deYoung stated that the money being given in support of the war in Iraq is taking away from our schools and economic development. She offered her support of the National Guard resolution.
  8. Jeff Peterson – 85 S. Lansdowne Avenue – Mr. Peterson mentioned his recent viewing of a PBS documentary on the crystal meth epidemic and felt it would be an East Coast problem in the near future. Mr. Peterson also lent his support to the National Guard resolution.
  9. Suzanne McElroy – 200 Drexel Avenue – Ms. McElroy asked how the Borough’s needy could obtain the food they need. Mayor Young stated they could contact the various churches for more information. Ms. McElroy commended the Borough crew regarding their trash pickup efforts and asked that the Borough look at the quality of life in Lansdowne when discussing the privatization of trash collection. Ms. McElroy also felt that Council should pass the National Guard resolution.
  10. Loris Pollock – 205 E. Greenwood Avenue – Ms. Pollock reiterated that more money would be available for our schools and food for the needy if the war in Iraq was ended.
  11. Wendy Shelefsky – 34 Pennock Terrace – Ms. Shelefsky stated that it was not out of line for the Borough to speak out against national policies and asked that Council pass the National Guard resolution as a voice against the war.
  12. Patricia Gunn – 31 E. Windermere Terrace – Ms. Gunn mentioned that her son had been injured in Iraq and that everyone with children serving in the armed forces as well as other citizens are concerned with the war in Iraq, not just leftists.
  13. Joe Heath – 55 W. Greenwood Avenue – Mr. Heath stated that the U.S. is involved in a Holy War and that it should be ended once and for all.
  14. Wyn Alexander – S. Highland Avenue – Ms. Alexander stated that smaller boroughs are more powerful at changing national thinking and policies, citing that a Michigan borough withdrew pension money from Africa when Nelson Mandela was imprisoned there.
  15. Mr. Lee moved to reinstate the Rules of Order. Ms. Hill seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Borough Council comments to Visitors:

Mr. Wagner mentioned that neighbor alertness helped in the recent drug busts in the Borough and that apartment dwellers can be just as vigilant of any suspicious activity in their building.
Ms. Coleman stated that the Ad Hoc Committee for trash and recycling will keep an open mind in determining what is in the best interests of Lansdowne.
Mr. Lee thanked all who came to voice their support of the National Guard resolution.

Old Business – None.

New Business –

  1. Non-Discrimination Ordinance – Mr. Lee stated that Lansdowne currently does not have an active policy and this ordinance will prohibit discrimination in housing and employment
    based on sexual orientation and gender identity and will also establish a Human Relations Commission. The state Human Relations Commission does not address this particular issue that Lansdowne seeks to correct. A discussion followed regarding limitations on protective classes, overlap issues with state and borough law, dealing with problems without a Borough Human Relations Commission, possible litigation issues and enforceability of the ordinance.
    Mr. Lee mentioned that New Hope borough has had a similar ordinance in place for 10 years with no problems and that the head of the state Human Relations Commission has offered assistance to anyone desiring to sit on the borough commission. After further discussion, there arose a consensus to amend the original motion to include protected classes and to broaden the bases of prohibited discrimination.
  2. Bring Home the Troops Resolution – to be deferred until the March 1st business meeting.

Action Items –

  1. Ms. Lustgarten moved to pay the Borough bills for the period. Ms. Coleman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
  2. Mr. Lee moved to approve Ordinance 1210, an ordinance amending the 2005 Borough of Lansdowne Property Maintenance Code. Ms. Coleman seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.
  3. Mr. Lee moved to approve Ordinance 1211, an ordinance establishing and adopting a revised property transfer inspection program. Ms. Coleman seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.
  4. Ms. Lustgarten moved to adopt Resolution 2006-06, a Resolution of the Council of the Borough of Lansdowne to amend certain provisions of the pension plan or program applicable to the non-uniformed employees of said Borough. Mr. Lee seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.
  5. Ms. Coleman moved to accept the recommendations of the LEDC/GLCA partnership for improvements to the Twentieth Century Club as contained in the John Bowie Associates Preservation Plan and approve the development of bid specifications. Mr. Urban seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.
  6. Ms. Lustgarten moved to engage Portnoff Law Associates LTD to begin collection proceedings of delinquent municipal sewer and trash fees and authorize the appropriate staff to execute necessary documents subject to the review and approval of the Borough Solicitor. Mr. Lee seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.
  7. Ms. Lustgarten moved to accept the 2004 Liquid Fuels Fund audit. Ms. Coleman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
  8. Mr. Urban moved to reject all bids for the Interboro Park Improvements project. Mr. Wagner seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
  9. Ms. Lustgarten moved to adopt Resolution 2006-07, a resolution authorizing the execution of a Note payable to Commerce Bank in the amount of $500,000. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
  10. Ms. Lustgarten moved to approve the police pension fund allocation as recommended by the Finance Committee:

    15% of the fund to be allocated to international funds
    10.5% to large capitalization value funds
    17.5% to large capitalization growth funds
    6.5% to small-mid capitalization value funds
    6.5% to small-mid capitalization growth funds
    38.5% to bonds
    5.5% to money funds

    Mr. Lee seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.

  11. Ms. Hill moved to appoint Fire Chief Tom Young as the interim Emergency Management Coordinator and to appoint Arnold Moore as Deputy Emergency Management Coordinator. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
  12. Mr. Lee moved to advertise Ordinance 1212, an ordinance regarding the opening and excavations of any public street, avenue, road, square, alley, highways or other public places located in the Borough of Lansdowne and established for the use of vehicles. Ms. Coleman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
  13. Ms. Lustgarten moved to advertise Ordinance 1213, an ordinance approving collection procedures and adopting penalty, interest and schedule of attorney fees to be added to the amount collected as part of municipal claims for delinquent accounts. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
  14. Mr. Lee moved to refer Ordinance 1214, an ordinance amending the Zoning Ordinance to regulate the placement of communications towers and antennas to the Lansdowne Planning Commission and Delaware County Planning Commission for review. Ms. Coleman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
  15. Mr. Lee moved to advertise Ordinance 1215, an ordinance regarding non-discrimination and the establishment of a Human Relations Commission, as modified by Councilwoman Coleman to add other protected classes under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and as modified by President Wayne to broaden the bases of prohibited discrimination. Ms. Lustgarten seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.

Executive Session – Ms. Hill moved to adjourn to Executive Session to discuss a personnel issue. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned to Executive Session at 9:55 p.m.

No motions were made upon reconvening to Public Session.

Mr. Urban moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Mr. Lee. The motion carried
unanimously and the meeting adjourned at 10:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Ann Henry
Borough Secretary

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