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The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania

Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting Wednesday — June 6, 2007

The Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting was held on Wednesday, June 6, 2007, 7:30 PM in Borough Hall. Present were Ms. Coleman, Ms. Hill, Mr. Lee, Ms. Lustgarten and Mr. Urban. Also in attendance were Mayor Young, Borough Solicitor Scott, Borough Secretary Henry, Borough Treasurer/Planning Commission Chair Smith, Police Chief Kortan and Fire Chief Young. President Wayne, Councilman Wagner and Borough Engineer Bevilacqua were absent.

Minutes — Mr. Lee moved to approve the minutes of the May 2, 2007 Council meeting. Ms. Lustgarten seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Lee moved to approve the minutes of the April 16, 2007 Special Council meeting. Ms. Lustgarten seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

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


Kelly Bliss Resident of Lansdowne – Ms. Bliss expressed concern over the recent curbside trash problem in the Borough, citing health, aesthetic and property value concerns. Mayor Young noted that the Borough crew is trying to be more efficient in the collection process and will look into trying to solve the loose litter problem. Code Department office Travers will be speaking with the sanitation head. Ms. Bliss mentioned she would like to get more involved in providing input regarding zoning issues of home based businesses. Mr. Scott mentioned that the new zoning ordinance will address the current amended state law that protects certain ‘no impact’ home based businesses.

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


A. Treasurer Bill Smith – Mr. Smith reported that current total bills amount to $156,000 with $139,000 coming out of the General Fund.Additionally, approximately $1.3 million will be paid out in June with the next largest amount being paid out in November (June and November being 3 payroll months). Mr. Smith indicated he is working with those involved with the 20th Century Club renovations with an expected completion date of June 30th.

B. Engineer Richard Bevilacqua – Mr. Bob Campbell reported on the following in Mr. Bevilacqua’s absence:

  • 2007 Road Program – Low and only bidder for grouting on Eldon Avenue was Eastern Gunite Company in the amount of $43,835.Low bidder on the 2007 roadway improvements project was A. F. Damon Company, Inc. in the amount of $133,668.
  • 2007 Sewer Program – Low bidder for the Drexel Avenue sewer replacement project was A. Gargiule & Sons, Inc. in the amount of $163,670.

A discussion followed wherein Mr. Lee and Ms. Hill expressed reservations concerning the one bid and why the amount was so much higher than estimated. Mr. Campbell indicated this one bid occurred due to another contractor not submitting the bid on time and not being able to obtain bonding by the bid due date. Ms. Coleman questioned the impact of reopening the bids. Mr. Scott explained this would add another two months to the process and Mr. Campbell stated that the October 15th completion date could not be guaranteed. Mr. Travers mentioned that 50 cubic yards was used in the estimate for the bid but would not necessarily be the required amount. After further discussion there arrived a consensus to table Contract No. 119 and 121 (the A.F. Damon Co. bid and the Eastern Gunite Co. bid) and refer it to the Finance and Administration Committee for further review.
Mr. Lee moved to award the sewer replacement project for Drexel Avenue to A. Gargiule Sons, Inc. in the amount of $163,670. Mr. Urban seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
Mayor Young reported a sink hole problem on West Stratford between Ardmore and Willowbrook Avenues.

C. Solicitor Bob Scott – Mr. Scott reported that work on the future Dunkin Donuts site is almost ready to proceed and a grant agreement has been received from the state. Demolition is anticipated to start in two weeks.

D. Police Chief Dan Kortan – Chief Kortan reported there has been recent car break ins and burglaries. Extra patrols are in force and the night time breaks ins have subsided. Chief Kortan stated that an identification of the home burglar will soon be made. Chief Kortan stated that the Civil Service has started the process for promotions. Testing will be held on July 16th for promotion of one officer to rank of Sargent.

E. Fire Chief Tom Young – Chief Young reported that the Fire Company fund drive solicitations will be mailed out by the end of the week. Chief Young stated that the ambulance will now be manned 24/7 with two members from Mercy Hospital assisting.

F. Planning Commission Chair Smith – Mr. Smith stated that the State Farm reverse subdivision application has been approved. The executive summary of the zoning ordinance has been given to all Planning Commission members and are awaiting the comprehensive version.
Ms. Coleman noted that Borough Council can act on it 30 days after submission of the comprehensive version to the Lansdowne Planning Commission.

G. Code Officer Travers – Mr. Travers gave an update on the following problem properties:

  1. 231 N. Lansdowne Avenue – vacant lot was sold at judicial sale with 21 days to complete sale.
  2. 110 S. Wycombe – demolition application is in progress and will advertise on June 8th.
  3. 26 N. Rigby – U & O has been completed and settles in two seeks. Owner will be rehabbing the property.
  4. 111 S. Wycombe – sold to private investor who will be building a set of twin houses on this site.
  5. 171 N. Lansdowne – final grading to be done the week of June 11th.
  6. 60 Linden Avenue – 85% of the rehab is completed.
  7. 5 E. Plumstead – hearing scheduled for end of July; not yet listed for sale.
  8. 35 Fairview – work proceeding very slowly but is getting done.
  9. 96 Nyack – structural engineering plans being reviewed by the Codes Department.
  10. 134 Nyack – property bought by the Buddhist Temple and will be rehabbed.
  11. 29 N. Wycombe – work is ongoing.
  12. 59 E. Baltimore (A-1 Auto Sales) – making handicapped accessible; Codes Department awaiting plans.
  13. 43 Schappett Terrace – bank backed out of sale due to liability issues and foreclosed on the mortgage. The Community Action Agency wants to rehab the property as part of the vacant property program set up by the County.
  14. 11 Owen – property sold and permits have been issued.
  15. 14 N. Wycombe – awaiting permit applications; property to be rehabbed as a duplex.

Mr. Lee mentioned that the Lansdowne Theater sign is in disrepair and action is necessary. Mr. Travers stated that several citations have been issued and the building has been sold to the LEDC/GLCA partnership. Mr. Lee questioned the status of the Wiggfall property on S. Lansdowne Avenue. Mr. Travers indicated citations are still being issued. Ms. Hill mentioned that signage issues are still a problem. Mr. Lee indicated that the new zoning ordinance will address this problem.

Committee Reports

a) Finance and Administration – Ms. Lustgarten reported that the Committee met on June 4th . Topics of discussion included:

  1. Will meet on June 13th with two other pension management companies regarding the police pension fund.
  2. A schedule has been created for the budgeting process to begin June 15th.
  3. New accounting systems are being investigated.
  4. Criteria being developed for Borough charitable contributions that will include (a) sending written request by the organization to Borough Council, (b) providing a description of programs and benefits to residents, (c) organization must be classified as a 501C3 non profit, (d) having in kind as well as cash contributions, and (e) establishing these contributions as a budget line item. Mr. Urban felt that Borough Council should not be in the business of granting charitable contributions but if doing so, all such contributions should be equitable. The Finance Committee will hold further discussions on the matter and Mr. Scott will provide a list of organizations that meet the criteria as set forth above. Ms. Lustgarten stated that the next Finance Committee meeting will be held on July 2nd.

b) Public Safety – Ms. Hill had no formal report. Mr. Lee asked that speeding along S. Lansdowne Avenue be investigated. Mr. Urban asked to revisit the issue of the stop sign at W. Greenwood and Shadeland Avenues. A discussion followed and Ms. Lustgarten felt the issue should be discussed in three months to allow some time for determining whether the sign was accomplishing its intended purpose.

c) Nominations – Ms. Coleman stated that some openings will soon be available in the area of Parks and Recreation and the Human Relations Commission.

Discussion Updates and Issues:

1. July 4th, 2007 Business Meeting – Ms. Hill moved to cancel the July 4, 2007 Borough Council Business Meeting. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

2. Sheriff Sales – the list has been provided by Portnoff Law Associates. Portnoff is asking whether any properties should be treated in a different manner. Mr. Urban indicated his concern with one property owner that he knew on the list and asked if there was a more compassionate alternative. Mr. Scott indicated that Portnoff offers a hardship repayment plan. There arose a question regarding "placement vs. current balance". Mr. Scott stated that the placement balance is the past due balances for which notices have been sent and the current balance is that amount incurred within the prior tax year and not yet served a notice.

3. Trash collection – there was a discussion on the Borough’s trash collection from some churches who do pay a trash fee. Ms. Coleman indicated the process should be equitable for all churches. Mr. Travers indicated a difference between municipal versus commercial waste collection and there was a different fee schedule involved. After further discussion there arrived a consensus to not collect trash from any church in the Borough. Mr. Travers will investigate what churches are currently getting trash pickup.

4. New Zoning Ordinance – Borough Council’s comments have been incorporated into the draft ordinance. The Lansdowne Planning Commission has 30 days after receipt from Borough Council for review, then it is sent to the County Planning Commission for another 30 day review, after which a public hearing is held. Ms. Hill suggested providing the detailed, comprehensive version for anyone wanting to look at it.

5. Park and Rec Board jurisdictions – The Park and Recreation Board felt comfortable with taking care of open spaces with one caveat: funding has not been received for this additional care and the Board wants to add another one or two Board members to handle the added duties. Mr. Scott stated that state law limits the Board to 9 members.

6. No Smoking Ordinance – Mr. Lee has submitted a draft ordinance to Mr. Scott banning smoking in all Borough buildings, Borough parks, Borough vehicles and the 20th Century Club. Several Council members had concerns with the extent and enforcement of the restrictions. Chief Kortan stated that there was already a smoking ban on the books for Borough Hall from prior years. Mr. Scott will review this original document as a starting point for the new ordinance.

Comments from Council Members and Mayor:

A. Mayor Young – Recently attended a COG meeting where the proposed Upper Darby project to erect a strip mall in the Super Fresh site along Baltimore Avenue was discussed. The next meeting on this topic will be held on June 22nd in East Lansdowne. Mayor Young mentioned that a meeting will be held on June 15th, 8:30 a.m. regarding the first suburbs project. Mayor Young mentioned that the Borough Manager job has been posted. Mayor Young stated she will be awarding the 2007 Helms Award to Mary Lou Jennings.

Action Items

  1. Ms. Lustgarten moved to authorize payment of the bills for the period. Mr. Urban seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
  2. Ms. Lustgarten moved to file writ of execution on properties in the Borough for failure to pay taxes. Mr. Urban seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
  3. Mr. Urban moved to place responsibility for parks and open spaces that are not currently under the Park and Rec Board’s control, under their jurisdiction. Ms. Lustgarten seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
  4. Mr. Lee moved to forward the new Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance to the Planning Commission. Mr. Urban seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Executive Session – Ms. Lustgarten moved to adjourn to executive session to discuss a personnel issue. Mr. Urban seconded and the motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned to executive session at 10:05 p.m.

Public Session – Upon reconvening to Public Session, the following motion was made:
Ms. Lustgarten moved to authorize the carryover of Code Officer Travers’ remaining vacation time (2 weeks) to 2008. Ms. Hill seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Ms. Lustgarten moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Mr. Urban. The motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 10:45 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Ann Henry
Borough Secretary

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