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The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania

Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting Wednesday — September 6th, 2006

The Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting was held on Wednesday,
September 6, 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 Solicitor Scott, Borough Engineer Bevilacqua, Borough Manager Forrest, Borough Secretary Henry and Police Chief Kortan. Marsh Miller sat in for Fire Chief Young. Planning Commission Chair Patton was absent.

Minutes – Ms. Coleman moved to approve the minutes of the August 2, 2006 Business Meeting as submitted by the Secretary. Mr. Wagner seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC HEARING – Re: Ordinance 1214 regulating the placement of communications towers and antennas. There were no comments from the public.


Jim Hartling of Urban Partners presented an overview of the final draft of the multi-municipal Revitalization Plan. The theme of the plan as presented is preservation and enhancement of the neighborhood through improved community organization, housing preservation and parks and open space enhancement. The steps needed to achieve these goals include creating a neighborhood improvement committee, establishing a minor repairs program for owner occupied housing, targeting derelict properties for rehabilitation and ownership, marketing the neighborhood to potential home buyers, monitoring new housing construction, rehabbing key investor owned properties, reconverting 2-3 unit rental properties into single family dwellings, ongoing code enforcement of larger rental complexes, providing financing and technical support to small-scale landlords, enhancing Hays, Interboro and Yeadon Community Parks and expanding and improving the Nile Swim Club.

Supplemental issues include the Union Avenue flooding issues, street resurfacing due to utility company damage, replacing settled/missing curbs, streetscape enhancement, maintaining commercial properties and providing adequate lighting through the neighborhood.

A question and answer period followed. Ms. Coleman questioned the approximate cost of the project. Mr. Hartling stated that if all steps are taken with the exception of Union Avenue, the cost will be $3 million. President Wayne requested that the Codes Department develop a status list of problem properties in the Plan’s designated areas. President Wayne also requested an inventory of all 2-3 unit properties.

Mr. Wagner moved to suspend the Rules of Order, seconded by Mr. Lee . The motion carried unanimously.


Carol Ha 175 N. Lansdowne Avenue – Ms. Ha stated that the flooding issue along her house is still not improved since presenting the problem to Borough Council twice in the past 15 months. Mr. Bevilacqua explained that the present inlet is collapsed and not connected to the public drain system. President Wayne stated that the Borough does not control or own any of the properties affected by the flooding. The problem could be alleviated somewhat if the owner of 171 N. Lansdowne Avenue would do certain drainage repairs but Code Officer Travers explained that the Borough’s hands are tied regarding this issue. 171 N. Lansdowne Avenue was sold in "as is" condition allowable by a State law. Citations and arrest warrants have been issued for this particular owner but the constable has been unable to locate him. President Wayne suggested that Ms. Ha present her case to the School Board since the School District owns part of the problem areas.

Ms. Coleman moved to reinstate the Rules of Order, seconded by Ms. Lustgarten. The motion carried unanimously.


A. Treasurer Bill Smith – Mr. Smith reported on the Uniformed and Non-Uniformed Minimum Municipal Obligation proposed for 2007: $272,000 for police and $91,000 for non-uniformed employees with $170,000 to offset costs. Mr Smith mentioned that this net figure is somewhat decreased for the 2007 amount. President Wayne asked if the net cost to the Borough would go up or down in 2007. Mr Smith stated it would go down by about $25,000-30,000. Mr. Smith mentioned that there will be a separate line item for Police Pension fund contributions in addition to the MMO. The estimate given for the 2008 contribution to the Police Pension fund only is $285,000.

B. Engineer Richard Bevilacqua – Mr. Bevilacqua reported on the 2006 road program: work is to start next week. There will be restoration patching to S. Wycombe, Bartram, S. Union, Maple and Austin Avenues.
Regarding the HVAC project, two training sessions will be held on September 13th and September 20th. President Wayne brought up the question of curb repairs and felt that it might be counterproductive to repair roads now if the curbs are going to get repaved in another 2 years. Mr. Bevilacqua stated that homeowners are entirely responsible for any curb and sidewalk repairs. Mr. Lee stated that many curbs are not ADA compliant. Mr. Forrest and Mr. Travers will identify those non-compliant curbs.

C. Solicitor Bob Scott – Mr. Scott discussed the following items:

  1. 296 N. Wycombe Avenue-owner wants to convert property back to a duplex but is not in compliance with the minimum lot size/space requirement. After further discussion it was decided to oppose the request. Mr. Lee moved to oppose the application regarding the conversion of 296 N. Wycombe Avenue back to a multi family dwelling. Ms. Lustgarten seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried 6-1 with Ms. Hill abstaining from the vote.
  2. Darby Creek Joint Authority Agreement Amendment – This amendment concerns the phasing in of metering. Mr. Scott stated that it would be beneficial to adopt this amendment by year’s end in that it rewards municipalities who improve their infrastructure.
  3. Verizon Wireless proposal for monopole – Verizon is proposing leasing space behind the Fire Company for a monopole. After further discussion it was decided that Mr. Forrest will request a height and rendering from Verizon. The motion under action items regarding this proposal would prohibit this pole.
  4. 132 W. Essex code appeal hearing – The permit was pulled because the inspection was not done before replacing roof. Cedar shake shingles were used and are not Code compliant.

D. Manager David R. Forrest – Mr. Forrest reported on the following items:

  1. Group Work Camp Update – duration is to be July 29 to August 4, 2007. Mr. Forrest indicated he wants to form a subgroup under the present steering committee.
  2. Scottdale Road recreational use – An act of Borough Council is needed before this recommendation can be implemented. There is a current target date of October 1st between 1-5 p.m. President Wayne suggested that this be discussed in the Public Safety Committee for a recommendation.

Mr. Forrest mentioned that the Hoffman Park Stream Bank restoration day will be held on September 30th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

E. Police Chief Kortan – Chief Kortan reported that new police officer Christopher Craig was sworn in on September 1st. Officers Kenzel and McCaughan are to be publicly recognized at the next general meeting for their part in an exceptional arrest last July. Chief Kortan mentioned that officer Donaghan is going to be recognized on September 14th as a recipient of the Hero medal from the National Liberty Museum. Chief Kortan stated that the Borough parking meters have a 30% failure rate and has put a provision in his budget for either replacement or some other solution. President Wayne felt that the meters could be replaced in the two large Borough parking lots with numbered spaces and that the parts could be used for other meters as needed.

F. Fire Company First Vice President Miller – Mr. Miller stated that the Fire Company Fund Drive has started.

G. Planning Commission Chair Chris Patton – No report was given in Mr. Patton’s absence.

H. Comments from Council Members and Mayor:

  1. Mayor Young – The Mayor of Gautier, MS sent thank you notes to several editors of local newspapers.
  2. Ellen Lustgarten – The Finance and Administration Committee will hold its quarterly pension meeting with Smith Barney representatives on October 4th at 6:30 p.m. As of August 29th, $118,000 has been collected for delinquent trash and sewer fees. Mr. Smith is getting rates from other brokers for Borough insurance plans. Ms. Lustgarten mentioned that a budget meeting will be held on October 2nd and the next F&A Committee meeting will be held on September 27th.
  3. Joe Urban – Park Day will be held on September 23rd with a free movie night following. Mr. Urban mentioned that there has been some suspicious late night activity at 42 W. Albemarle Avenue. Chief Kortan will investigate.
  4. Steve Wagner – The Board of Health met earlier today and have been increasing their visits to the Dollar General Store and Great Wall restaurant with positive results. Matt Black of the Fire Company has been asked to do the supplemental visits. Mr. Wagner reported that the Lighting Ad Hoc Committee had met and one of the issues discussed was adopting a standard for the Borough. A discussion followed regarding the ownership and replacement of street light poles throughout the Borough.
  5. Gene Wayne – the cost estimates and proposals are now ready regarding the Twentieth Century Club renovation project. President Wayne stated that the cost will be in excess of $1 million for all alternates and the air conditioning. Due to the complexity of this project, President Wayne wants a group formed to review the proposal and make recommendations to Borough Council.

Old Business

  1. Historic District Update – The Steering Committee has met with the County regarding the designated areas. The HARB (Historic Architectural Review Board) has expanded the original areas to also include certain residences that would be subject to the HARB approval process for any renovations, demolitions, construction, etc. in the designated areas. By October 27th Borough Council would have to approve a HARB ordinance delineating boundaries of the district and what is to be regulated. After approval, the ordinance is sent to Harrisburg for Historical Museum Commission certification, an entity who would also have veto power over any Borough ordinance. President Wayne expressed concerns about including residences if the criteria standards are ill defined. After further discussion, it was recommended that only the business district be designated as a HARB district in order to gauge public reaction. A conference call will be set up with the requisite officials to determine all options available to the Borough.
  2. Human Relations Commission – Mr. Lee reported that on the advice of the Head of the State Human Relations Commission, the members should be expanded from 3 to 5.

New Business

  1. Committee Structure – this has been tabled indefinitely.
  2. Farmer’s Market – Mr. Wagner reported that the LEDC met with Philadelphia Food Trust representatives regarding possibly establishing a farmer’s market in the parking lot next to PNC Bank. There would be approximately 6 to 15 vendors depending on the day and time of year. After further discussion a consensus was reached to have the LEDC come back with a specific proposal.

Action Items

  1. Ms. Lustgarten moved to authorize payment of bills for period. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
  2. Ms. Lustgarten moved to accept the 2007 Minimum Municipal Obligation for the uniformed and non-uniformed pension Plans. Mr. Lee seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.
  3. Ms. Coleman moved to advertise Ordinance 1214, an ordinance amending the Borough of Lansdowne’s zoning ordinance to regulate the placement of communications towers and antennas. Mr. Lee seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.
  4. Mr. Lee moved to advertise an ordinance expanding the number of Human Relations Commission members from three to five. Ms. Coleman 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 litigation matter, seconded by Ms. Coleman. The motion carried unanimously and the meeting adjourned to executive session at 11:05 p.m.

Public Session: There were no motions made upon reconvening to Public Session.

Ms. Coleman moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Mr. Wagner. The motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 11:35 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Ann Henry
Borough Secretary

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