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The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania

Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting, Wednesday – December 5, 2007

The Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting was held on Wednesday, December 5, 2007, 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 Solicitor Scott, Borough Secretary Henry and Police Chief Kortan. Borough Treasurer/Planning Commission Chair Smith and Fire Chief Young were absent. Fire Company First Vice President Marsh Miller sat in for Chief Young.
President Wayne asked for a moment of silence in memory of Dr. Jeri Epstein.

Approval of Agenda

The agenda was approved with the following additions/changes: (1) Ms. Lustgarten added Sewer Fund as item #4 under Old Business; (2) Mr. Lee removed item #4 under action items; and (3) Mr. Scott asked that a motion be added to approve the Harkins property subdivision under action items.

Minutes

Mr. Wagner moved to approve the minutes of the November 7, 2007 Council meeting. Ms. Lustgarten seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

ZONING

1. Lee Senior, Delaware County Planning Department re: Lansdowne Borough’s Zoning Ordinance. Mr. Senior presented the changes that had been incorporated since the last meeting as follows:

  • A. The Wawa store is now included in the C2 district. The central business district has been expanded to north of the railroad tracks. The existing C3 general business district was reduced to only extend south along Union to Nyack Avenue. President Wayne clarified that the library, dentist office and train station should be included in the business district. There was a discussion about rezoning certain businesses in residential areas.
    Businesses are now grandfathered in and if sold, under ordinance and by special exception they can be converted to something more consistent with a higher use. Mr. Wagner questioned whether the EPA site could ever be turned into a residential area. After some discussion President Wayne stated he was not comfortable with rezoning it based upon speculation of what the owner may or may not do with the property.
    Mr. Wagner felt that the site should be removed from the General Business district. After further discussion, there arrived a consensus to make the area south of the railroad tracks to Nyack Avenue residential subject to Mr. Scott’s inspection and to reduce the C3 district to the railroad tracks.
  • B. Sidewalk display standards have been added. A separation requirement of 200 feet was added to use requirements for new hair and beauty salons. President Wayne indicated that the terms for a hair versus beauty salon are not defined. After further discussion there arrived a consensus to change the 200 feet separation requirement to 500 feet for beauty salons and to also include all day spas in this requirement.
  • C. Fast food/convenience stores definition. President Wayne questioned the definition in relation to the original zoning overlay. Mr. Scott mentioned that the existing ordinance language is adequate to keep a convenience store like Wawa out of the central business district. The fast food definition will now include establishments that have 30% of food taken off premises and allowed in C3 district.
  • D. Signage – projecting signs are now 6 sq. ft. for the business district and 12 sq. ft. in other Borough districts. Sandwich boards are to be no more than 5 ft. from front of building. A discussion ensued regarding lawn signs. Mr. Lee was concerned with the number and size limitations on political signs and possible free speech concerns regarding personal expression signs. Mr. Scott indicated that some limits have to be set. Mr. Lee felt that all limits on political signs should be removed. Ms. Coleman felt the maximum number limitation for political signs should be removed but had no problem with size issues. Mr. Urban felt that the time, place and number restrictions should be more generous and free speech should not be regulated but a size limit should be enforced. Ms. Lustgarten concurred with Mr. Urban’s suggestion. A maximum 8 sq. ft. size limitation will be imposed. Blow up signs are not addressed.

Ms. Coleman questioned the next process steps. Mr. Scott indicated that the draft ordinance needs to be advertised, then submitted to the County and Borough, wait 30 days, hold a public hearing which has been advertised twice, then vote to enact it. If any changes are made at this point, the entire process has to be repeated.

Visitors:

There were no visitors.

REPORTS AND DISCUSSION

A. Treasurer, William T. Smith

No report was given in Mr. Smith’s absence.

B. Engineer Rich Bevilacqua

Mr. Bevilacqua reported on the following projects:

  1. Dunkin’ Donuts – 3rd payment request of $6,811.59. Total cost of project is $85,997.05 and is currently $6,000 under contract (original contract bid price was $92,530.50 with extras). A 5% retainage is being held for $4,299.85. President Wayne questioned the grant terms. Mr. Totaro will look into determining the terms.
  2. 2. Drexel Avenue Sewer – 3rd payment request of $18,890.28. Base paving in excavated areas is completed. If adding items to be done in spring (approximately $32,000), project will be at or just below contract price of $163,670. A 5% retainage is being held until spring, 2008 in the amount of $6,379.65.

C. Solicitor Bob Scott

Mr. Scott had no formal report.

D. Manager Craig Totaro

Mr. Totaro indicated this meeting constitutes the public announcement for the CDBG application for two projects: primary project is for 10-15 new pedestrian lights along Nyack Avenue; secondary project is for sidewalk and curbing on Bartram Avenue. Each project is estimated at $125,000. Mr. Totaro indicated both projects address the concerns set forth by the Borough’s neighborhood improvement committee and are documented in the Yeadon/Lansdowne multi municipal revitalization plan. Mr. Urban questioned how the projects were selected.
Mayor Young indicated there was an application deadline for this year and the work had previously been done by other committees. Mr. Urban objected to not being informed about the selection process and having only a few Council members decide on the projects. Ms. Coleman mentioned that a package of information had previously been compiled in connection with the revitalization plan. President Wayne mentioned the very limited areas where these grants could be used and apologized for the oversight in communication. Mayor Young indicated that she felt a consensus by Borough Council had already been determined when she recommended the projects to Mr. Totaro.
As configured, the project will also include Gladstone Manor. There is a January 14, 2008 deadline and any changes can be incorporated up to this date. President Wayne asked if there was any interest in forming an Ad Hoc committee to discuss other beneficial projects. Mr. Urban felt there was no time to do so. Ms. Coleman mentioned that in previous discussions with then Borough Manager Forrest, the plans were included in the streetscape program and made part of that strategy. Mayor Young expressed that she directed Mr. Totaro with advice previously received from Borough Council and there was no malicious intent on her part.
Mr. Urban indicated that the Mayor has no authority to give direction regarding the grant applications without oversight from all Borough Council members. President Wayne offered an apology for the situation but indicated that another proposal could be initiated than what is currently being presented. The current proposal will be circulated to everyone for their perusal. Ms. Hill reiterated the need for better communication among Council members. Mr. Wagner felt that Borough Council members could give Mr. Totaro some insight for future projects.

E. Police Chief Dan Kortan

Chief Kortan reported that free meter parking is now in effect. Chief Kortan mentioned that the employee Christmas Party will be held on December 21st at 1:00 p.m.

F. Fire Company Vice President Marsh Miller

Mr. Miller invited everyone to the December 15th Lansdowne Fire Company Christmas Party to be held at the Polish American Club in Clifton Heights.

COMMITTEE REPORTS

a) Finance and Administration

Ms. Lustgarten reported that a meeting was held at the 20th Century Club to discuss the purchase of 20 Lansdowne Court. During this meeting there was a discussion about funding this project and Ms. Lustgarten mentioned that the Borough could submit a grant application to pay for some of the 20 Lansdowne Court project.

b) Public Safety

Ms. Hill had no formal report but mentioned that the grant has been submitted for archiving Borough materials.

c) Nominations

Ms. Coleman had no formal report.

Comments from Council Members and Mayor:

1. Mayor Young has been named to the Governor’s Legal Government Advisory Board. The first Suburbs Project meeting will be held on Friday and due diligence has been done for identifying inner ring problems. Deadline for newsletter items is December 15th.
2. Ms. Coleman the owner of the Dunkin’ Donuts has expressed interest in holding an open house. More information will follow.
3. Mr. Wagner – questioned why non-Borough employees are picking up certain bulk trash items. Mayor Young mentioned that Betsy Riffert will at times refer individuals to a particular bulk trash item if it is known they have an interest in it.

OLD BUSINESS

1. Harkins Property, 130 E. Baltimore Subdivision

Mr. Scott reported that the subdivision had not been filed within the 6 month time frame after prior approval and another lot line has been added. Mr. Scott is asking for reapproval by Borough Council.

2. Hays Park Fence Bid

Mr. Urban reported that Able Fence Co. is the low bidder at $19,200. Work will commence in spring of 2008.

3. 20 Lansdowne Court

President Wayne indicated that settlement is in 2-3 weeks. Mayor Young mentioned that the heater is not working.

4. Sewer Fund

Ms. Lustgarten reported that the 2007 increase should have been 25%, not 16% so the estimated revenue should have been $1,168,760 for 2007. If the new sewer fund rate for 2008 is kept, the increase will be 13.5%. The previous usage estimate used had been 244 million gallons for 2005, 2006 and 2007 but it was found that the current amount had decreased to 237 million gallons. Therefore, if the $1,328,000 revenue line in the 2008 budget is based on the 237 million gallons, a 16.7% increase would be needed which would be an additional $55.62 per household. Ms. Lustgarten presented a variety of projected fund balances and rate increases. After further discussion it was decided to vote for the 16.7% increase tonight and more details will be provided for the next Council meeting. Mr. Urban asked to see the numbers based on a projected fund balance of $75,000.

NEW BUSINESS

1. Animal Ordinance

Ms. Lustgarten reported she is working with Mr. Scott on an ordinance that will address animal cruelty issues in the Borough as well as a trap, neuter, return policy for feral cat colonies.

2. Zoning Hearing Board – 104-106 S. Lansdowne Avenue.

Mr. Scott reported that the owners are proposing adding an additional unit. That area is currently zoned for single family residences. This property has a grandfathered non-conforming use and is entitled to expand by special exception. Zoning approval is needed and the owners have not yet been to the Zoning Hearing Board.

3. Boys and Girls Club – Permit Fees.

Mr. Urban reported that the Boys and Girls Club wants to waive fees for roof repairs, indicating that fees have been waived in the past for a non-profit (fees are 2% of project cost). There is a current grant of $5000 to redo the entire roof and the group is also working with the facades development program to repair the facades for an additional $5,000. All work is being done by volunteers. Mr. Urban moved to waive the permit fees for the Boys and Girls Club roofing project. Ms. Hill seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried 6-1 with President Wayne voting "nay". President Wayne felt that this would set a bad precedent and would rather give a donation but still charge permit fees. Mr. Urban stated that no precedents were being set as fees had always been waived in the past for this type of organization.

4. Employee Free Choice Act

Mr. Lee reported that this is a measure that supports a law that streamlines the process for organizing unions. Mr. Urban questioned whether Borough Council should even be getting involved in this matter and asked for more information, as did Ms. Coleman and Ms. Hill. President Wayne felt the language in the last paragraph was questionable and would vote no if it appears in its current form.

5. Interboro Park – playground toy

Mr. Urban reported that this site was chosen because there currently are no toys in Interboro. This is a small toy that costs approximately $10,000. There was some question about the decisions made at the Park and Recreation Board meeting. Mr. Lee mentioned that years ago it was decided not to have a toy, indicating that there had been drainage issues and neighbors not wanting the toy. Mr. Urban mentioned that the plan was approved by Borough Council three years ago and he was just trying to implement the plan. Mr. Urban thought that the money in the Capital Reserves fund for this expense had to be spent by year end but Ms. Lustgarten stated that it did not. Mr. Urban indicated that Hays, Belmont and Interboro Parks are the three current projects. After further discussion it was decided to revisit the issue at a later date.

ACTION ITEMS

1. Ms. Lustgarten moved to advertise ordinance No. 1227, an ordinance of the Borough of Lansdowne, County of Delaware, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, fixing the tax rate for the year 2008. Ms. Coleman seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously. This is for a 2% increase, from $934 to $952 with an $18.79 average annual increase per household.
2. Ms. Lustgarten moved to advertise Ordinance No. 1228, an ordinance of the Borough of Lansdowne to estimate the number of gallons of water which will be consumed by persons whose properties are connected to the public sewers of the Borough for the year 2008 and to fix the amount of sewer rental or charge to be made to each property connected to the sewers. Ms. Coleman seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried 6-1 with Mr. Urban voting "nay".
3. Mr. Wagner moved to adopt Resolution No. 2007-16, a resolution regarding application for FY2008 CDBG funds. Ms. Lustgarten seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried 5-2 with Mr. Lee and Mr. Urban voting "nay".
4. Ms. Hill moved to advertise for and hire two part time circulation assistants for the library at a rate of $8.50 per hour. One position is for 21 hours a week and the other is for 23 hours per week. Mr. Wagner seconded. A discussion followed regarding the reasoning behind hiring two part time employees versus full time employees. Mr. Wagner moved to amend the motion to eliminate the words "and hire". There was no second. After further discussion it was decided to gather more information before acting on this matter. Mr. Lee moved to table the original motion. Ms. Hill seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
5. Mr. Urban moved to award Able Fence Company the bid to install fence at Hays Park in the amount of $19,200. Ms. Coleman seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.
6. Ms. Coleman moved to reapprove the Harkins subdivision as previously approved by Borough Council. Mr. Wagner seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Executive Session

Ms. Lustgarten moved to adjourn to Executive Session, seconded by Mr. Wagner. The meeting adjourned at 11:17 p.m.

Public Session

No motions were made upon reconvening to public session.

Adjourn

Mr. Wagner moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Ms. Lustgarten. The motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 11:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Ann Henry
Borough Secretary

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