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The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania

Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting Wednesday – September 5, 2007

The Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting was held on Wednesday, September 5, 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 Engineer Bevilacqua, Borough Secretary Henry, Borough Treasurer/Planning Commission Chair Smith and Code Enforcement Officer Travers. President Wayne, Councilman Wagner, Police Chief Kortan and Fire Chief Young were absent. Fire Company Vice President Marsh Miller sat in for Chief Young.

Minutes – Ms. Lustgarten moved to approve the minutes of the August 1, 2007 Council meeting. Ms. Hill seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

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


Richard Smalley 21 N. Rigby Avenue – Mr. Smalley indicated he recently paid $225 for a permit to replace some windows in his home and questioned the high permit fee and also the allocation of such fees. Solicitor Scott indicated that the Borough does not use permit fees as a revenue tool and the fees are set by the Code Department as a percentage basis of costs every year. The fees are used to pay for Codes Department personnel, overhead, salaries, benefits and insurance.

Len Wert Resident of Lansdowne – Dr. Wert felt that the high permit fees would deter residents from improving their homes. Dr. Wert asked if any more consideration had been given to making English the official language of Lansdowne. Dr. Wert questioned the Immigration Ministry sign at the Lansdowne Presbyterian Church and felt that the organization should be investigated. Dr. Wert stated he called the Ministry and was told that the organization will be providing asylum to illegal immigrants and is housed in Lansdowne but based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Dr. Wert questioned the status of the vacant lot at Wycombe and Baltimore Avenues and whether a strip mall with apartments was being built. Solicitor Scott mentioned there had been a sketch plan but nothing was moving forward at the moment. Dr. Wert also questioned the status of the old Virginia Donuts site. Officer Travers indicated there was no movement at present and that the owner is in the process of obtaining financing. Dr. Wert again mentioned that realtors are showing single homes to families that intend to bring in multiple families and asked that the ordinance against multi family dwellings be publicized.

Borough Council comments to visitors: Mayor Young indicated that permit fees had been discussed several years ago and that she would look into the previous notes on this matter. Ms. Coleman mentioned that Borough Council had not yet discussed making English the official language of Lansdowne and would decide at a later datewhether or not a position would be taken.

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


A. Treasurer Bill Smith – Mr. Smith had no formal report.
B. Engineer Richard Bevilacqua – Mr. Bevilacqua reported on the following projects:

  1. Dunkin’ Donuts – J & J Concrete & Paving has started work and the PennDot plans are being reviewed.
  2. 2007 Seal Coating Update – work is completed on North Highland and Essex Avenues. Other work may come in at approximately $1000 cheaper than originally estimated.
  3. Road Paving and Drexel Avenue Sewer Updates – both are scheduled to start the week of September 17th, weather permitting.
  4. Road Grouting Update – work is completed and came under budget by about $6,500. Recommended payment of $27,995.40 was processed August 21st.

Mayor Young mentioned that at a recent COG meeting, there was a discussion regarding The upcoming sewer mandates and associated costs. The issue is not the testing but rather the associated MS4 problem (sanitary and stormwater inflow and infiltration problems) that the County feels is not a large problem. After some discussion a consensus was reached to have Pennoni draw up an executive summary of costs and how the mandates impact older, smaller communities.

C. Solicitor Bob Scott – Mr. Scott had no formal report. Mr. Scott mentioned that Septa had been very cooperative regarding the Gateway Park easement issues and he is still working with the County awaiting their approval.

D. Police Chief Dan Kortan – No report was given in Chief Kortan’s absence.

E. Fire Chief Tom Young – Marsh Miller had no formal report.

F. Planning Commission Chair Smith – Mr. Smith indicated two changes to the Zoning ordinance update: (1) Adult Day Care be added as a permitted use preferably in these districts: Neighborhood Business (formerly C-2); Baltimore Avenue Mixed Use (formerly C-2) and General Business (formerly C-3); and (2) terminology: ‘dumpster’ be changed to ‘trash receptacle’, ‘transparency’ be changed to ‘window area’ and ‘awnings’ be inclusive of wording to allow for retractable awnings.

Committee Reports:

a) Finance and Administration – Ms. Lustgarten reported that the Committee met on August 29th to review the preliminary budget. Two changes have been added to the Independence Advisors contract regarding the Police Pension Fund. Also, the new accounting software has been purchased and will soon be installed. Ms. Lustgarten mentioned that the Committee reviewed a recommendation regarding maintenance of the Borough Green and had several questions. Mr. Urban mentioned that this will have to be done on a case by case basis and the Park and Recreation Board had no specifics at present for the whole project. Ms. Lustgarten also reported that the Committee is recommending proceeding with the Borough traffic signal upgrade as suggested by the Delaware Valley Utility Advisors.

Ms. Lustgarten moved to have Delaware Valley Utility Advisors proceed with the upgrading of Borough traffic signals. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

The next Finance and Administration Committee will be held on September 18th.

b) Public Safety – Ms. Hill had no formal report.

c) Nominations – Ms. Coleman reported that there are two vacancies on the Park and Recreation Board. Ms. Coleman is also working on nominations for replacements on the Human Relations Board.

Comments from Council Members and Mayor:
1. Mayor Young mentioned that a sign will be erected in the Borough Green announcing Borough Council meetings. Mayor Young has been working with the First Suburbs Project (in partnership with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission) and that the southeast area of Delaware County and the inner ring suburbs have similar problems/issues that can be changed if voting blocks are created. In that regard, the Project is looking for funding and will be holding an all day seminar. Mayor Young asked that Lansdowne be considered as a co-sponsor for the event. There was some discussion regarding whether the fee would be considered a donation or an educational purchase for the reserved seats.

Mr. Lee moved to purchase 10 seats for Lansdowne to be a co-sponsor at the December 7, 2007 First Suburbs Project seminar at a cost of $500.00. Ms. Hill seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Mayor Young mentioned she would be setting up a meeting regarding rewriting the Neighborhood Revitalization plan into an Elm Street proposal.
Mayor Young mentioned that resident concerns for the web site will now be forwarded directly to the proper department head.
Mayor Young brought up some recycling enforcement issues and asked whether an Ad Hoc committee should be set up. Opinion was divided. Mr. Lee felt that such a committee might be an option in the future. Mr. Urban felt that no action should be taken until approved by Borough Council and focus should first be placed on the commercial recycling issues. After further discussion it was decided that Mayor Young will talk with Billy Johnson and continue to work with the Borough staff and Mr. Travers will work on developing a report regarding commercial recycling.

Mayor Young mentioned that Governor Rendell’s Insurance Commissioner will be using Borough Hall on September 19th from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. to hear testimony from business owners or self-insured individuals regarding medical insurance issues.

2. Mr. Urban mentioned that Park Day will be held on September 29th from Noon to 6:00 p.m. at Hoffman Park (rain date is September 30th). Mr. Urban has also received one resume for the Park and Recreation Board vacancy.

Discussion Updates and Issues:

1. Zoning Ordinance – Ms. Coleman opened a discussion regarding whether Borough Council should review the zoning ordinance section by section or by an Executive Summary. After further discussion there arrived a consensus to discuss the matter at a future Council meeting.

Action Items

1. Ms. Lustgarten moved to approve bills for the period. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

2. Mr. Urban moved to ratify execution of easement agreement with Septa, for Gateway Park project. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

3. Ms. Hill moved to present PNC Bank, N. Lansdowne Avenue, with their Certificate of Appropriateness from the HARB. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

4. Ms. Hill moved to present Rite Aid, E. Baltimore Avenue, with their Certificate of Appropriateness from the HARB. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Executive Session – Mr. Lee moved to adjourn to executive session, seconded by Ms. Lustgarten. The motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned to executive session at 9:20 p.m.

Public Session – Upon reconvening to Public Session, the following motion was made:

Ms. Lustgarten moved to ratify the hiring of Craig Totaro as the new Borough Manager, effective October 3, 2007. Ms. Hill seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried with Mr. Urban abstaining from the vote.

Ms. Lustgarten moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Ms. Hill. The motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 10:14 p.m.

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