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The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania The Borough of Lansdowne Pennsylvania

Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting
August 6, 2008

The Lansdowne Borough Council Business Meeting was held on Wednesday, August 6, 2008, 7:30 PM in Borough Hall. Present were President Wayne, Ms. Coleman, Mr. Lee, Ms. Lustgarten, Ms. Silzle and Mr. Wagner. Also in attendance were Mayor Young, Borough Solicitor Scott, Borough Secretary Henry and Borough Manager Totaro. Councilman Urban, Police Chief Kortan, Borough Finance Director/Treasurer Bartley and Fire Chief Young were absent.

Approval of Agenda

The agenda was approved with the following changes/additions:

  1. Ms. Coleman asked that action item #4 be put as action item #3
  2. Mr. Lee added a Twentieth Century Club discussion item under New Business.


Ms. Silzle moved to approve the minutes of the July 2, 2008 Business Meeting as submitted by the Secretary. Mr. Wagner seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Public Comment

No visitors were present.


A. Solicitor Bob Scott – Mr. Scott had no formal report. Mr. Scott indicated that Mr. Scarpato had filed an application for a variance for the 110 S. Wycombe Avenue property. B. Borough Manager Craig Totaro – Mr. Totaro reported on the following items:

  1. Update on the 2008 Road Paving Program – due to the prevailing wage increase and more expensive asphalt costs, the original scope of the program has been scaled back. There will now be five segments on Wycombe Avenue paved, from Plumstead to Guilford, with a resulting drop in cost from $71,000 to $22,000. East Essex from Lansdowne to Congress remains the same. West Essex from Windermere to Ardmore remains the same and PECO will be able to contribute, bringing down the cost by roughly one-half of the original $47,000 estimate. Ardmore Avenue from Stratford to Baltimore – there will be 245 foot area down the hill toward Stratford paved. On Willowbrook, there will be a 250 foot area from Baltimore to Stratford paved, plus the intersection and a portion up the hill. Mr. Totaro reported that $199,000 is budgeted with an anticipated $20,000 contribution. Ms. Coleman questioned why East and West Windermere Terrace and some other areas were not on the list. Mr. Totaro indicated the work in these areas is related to Aqua Water, not the Borough. President Wayne asked if a street maintenance program was in place with the appropriate funding. Mr. Totaro will check further into this issue. President Wayne asked that a line item be put into the 2009 budget for street maintenance. Mr. Lee indicated that the Infrastructure Committee is already looking into this issue. Ms. Coleman questioned Borough Council’s comfort level with NDI’s involvement. Mr. Scott indicated they bid on the project but would not be performing the actual work. Their bid was $3,400 for preparing the bid specs only. One bid was received by A. F. Damon for a pricing of $20 per square yard for 1-1/2″ milling and resurfacing.
  2. 20 Lansdowne Court – the collaborative design team met last night and will meet again on September 4th. Bids were received for painting the entire building for a cost of $10,000; for miscellaneous gutter/pointing/carpentry work the cost will be $5,000 or less. President Wayne expressed some concerns regarding the appearance of the property and indicated there was currently no process in place for decisions regarding preservation efforts and funding costs for the needed renovations. Ms. Lustgarten felt that the current committee/individuals involved in the usage charge could work with the design collaborative team regarding appearance issues. President Wayne asked that the collaborative provide a one color scheme before their September 4th meeting. After further discussion there arrived a consensus to have this property painted in the same color scheme as the Twentieth Century Club. Mr. Scott indicated that 3 telephonic bids were required and had to be under $10,000. Ms. Silzle questioned the process for obtaining the money. Ms. Lustgarten indicated it can be taken out of the Capital Reserves Fund and that a line item will need to be put into the 2009 budget.

C. Police Chief Dan Kortan – No report was given in Chief Kortan’s absence. D. Fire Chief Tom Young – No report was given in Chief Young’s absence.

Mayor’s Report – Mayor Young mentioned that a local group had asked if teal colored ribbons could be put up throughout the Borough in honor of September being Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. A discussion followed regarding future implications/impact on the Borough with similar requests from other organizations. President Wayne indicated that a formal policy or proclamation needs to be in place before granting the aforementioned approval.

President’s Report – President Wayne had no formal report.


1. Public Safety – Ms. Coleman gave an update on the emergency vehicle access program – after the follow up meeting with residents of East and West Windermere Terrace, four alternatives were presented to them for approval. An agreement was reached to restrict parking on the west side of the street for both East and West Windermere Terrace from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. The cul-de-sac will have 2-sided parking. A formal ordinance will be necessary for this restriction. Chief Young is prioritizing a list of additional streets for the same program. Ms. Coleman mentioned that Officer Selimas was sworn in on July 21st. Additionally, Chief Kortan continues to work on the part time officer matter. Ms. Coleman indicated that speed trailers were put out for two weeks along a troublesome area of South Lansdowne Avenue to monitor the direction and number of speeding violations. Mr. Lee reiterated the urgent need to continue monitoring this area and felt that the Public Safety Committee should look into other deterrents.
2. Finance – Ms. Lustgarten reported that a meeting had been held with an actuary who worked with the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs to obtain information on cheaper rates for the various Borough investment funds. Another meeting is scheduled for August 27th.
3. Economic Development – Mr. Wagner reported that plans had been approved for John Godsey. Mr. Scott clarified that Mr. Godsey submitted a request for a zoning permit that was approved and then submitted a sketch plan without a completed application. Mr. Wagner mentioned that Mr. Scarpato’s Zoning Board appeal meeting has been postponed. Mr. Wagner questioned the Borough’s stand on storage pods. Mr. Scott indicated that no regulation currently exists and further data has been provided to him for analysis.
4. Education – No report was given in Mr. Urban’s absence.
5. Environmental – Ms. Silzle mentioned that the next Environmental Committee meeting will be held on August 13th at 9:30 a.m. to resolve the issues surrounding the public works staff and recycling. As library liaison, Ms. Silzle mentioned that the Delaware County Library System will be conducting a trustee training workshop to provide assistance and training needed to excel in the role of library leader. Ms. Silzle indicated that Amy Gillespie will be present at the September general meeting to receive Borough Council’s acknowledgement of her service.
6. Infrastructure – Mr. Lee had no formal report.

Old Business

1. Redevelopment Authority – Mr. Wagner gave an update and asked for any additional concerns or issues. Mr. Wagner reported that no liability would be incurred by the Borough regarding the Authority’s guaranteed loan unless the Borough chose to take on that liability. Mr. Wagner pointed out that the updated language allows Borough Council to make confirmations and not be responsible for any Redevelopment Authority member’s expenses. Mr. Wagner mentioned some problem properties whose issues could be remediated if such an Authority were in place: 5 East Plumstead, 43 Schappet Terrace and 69 Bartram. The Authority would only have operating rights for the area classified under Lansdowne’s Redevelopment Area Plan. Mr. Lee felt that such an Authority was not necessary for a 7 acre site and had concerns about their future scope of control. Mr. Wagner reiterated that the Authority would have to go through the Vacant Property Review Board to declare a property as blighted and meet the new standard of “blighted”. President Wayne indicated that three standards are in play for declaring properties as blighted: the old standard applies until 2012; after 2012 the second standard indicates that the property has to be abandoned with utilities turned off; the third standard is used by the Vacant Property Review Committee. President Wayne expressed concerns with the redevelopment model as it currently exists for Pennsylvania and felt that a Redevelopment Authority would be helpful. Mr. Wagner will put this issue on the September general meeting agenda for further discussion.

New Business

1. Tipping Fees – Mr. Totaro reported that the Borough is required by law to use the dumping sites that are maintained by the Delaware County authority, which has no taxing power. The County Council has decided to no longer fund the authority for capital expenditures and the tax penalty will now be passed onto residents. Ms. Lustgarten questioned if the tax bill format could be changed to reflect this as being a County, not a Borough decision. Mr. Scott indicated that the Borough is essentially being punished for having a successful recycling program and the matter should be publicized. The new trash fee would be increased to approximately $240 per household.

2. Elm Street Program – President Wayne presented an outline of an interborough Elm Street Program for review and discussion. This is a residential counterpart to the Main Street Program and is funded by the PA Department of Community and Economic Development for $50,000 each year, to be matched by $15,000 from the community involved. President Wayne indicated that an opportunity exists to work with Yeadon, the LEDC and the Community Action Agency of Delaware County (“CAA”) to establish such a program that would cover the interborough revitalization area of Lansdowne and Yeadon. Some of the organizational key elements include: (1) the CAA would apply for the $15,000 matching grant with Lansdowne and Yeadon providing an additional $5,000 per year for 5 years; (2) The CAA will contract with the LEDC to manage certain aspects of the program; (3) the LEDC will hire a part time Elm Street Manager (Deborah Lamborn); (4) office space will be shared with the Main Street office with a full time assistant; (5) The Elm Street manger will recruit neighborhood stakeholders to establish a Neighborhood Improvement Committee (“NIC”) and the 5 sub-committees; (6) the NIC will have 7 voting members; (7) all funding applications will be approved by the NIC; (8) revenue generated by the Elm Street Program will be held by the LEDC. President Wayne indicated that the LEDC would be comfortable overseeing, not managing, the effort. President Wayne indicated that the above were the recommendations of the CAA that arose from Borough Council’s approving the CAA to apply for planning funds and deciding how best to implement an Elm Street Program. Mr. Wagner questioned the time line if Lansdowne decides on a solo effort. President Wayne indicated it would be 3 years. Mr. Wagner questioned whether some Council members should act as NIC members or limit the role to liaison only. President Wayne felt that a liaison role would not work but supported the idea of any Borough Council member being a full voting member of the NIC. After further discussion there arrived a consensus to go forward with the plan and have President Wayne broaden the discussion with the LEDC.

3. Twentieth Century Club – Celebration Theater – Mr. Lee reported that Celebration Theater continues to have financial difficulties and is in danger of closing. Mr. Lee asked that Borough Council consider giving them some financial support and felt they should continue using the Twentieth Century Club rent free for the present time. A discussion followed regarding the inequity of their insurance rates, the audience makeup, various funding strategies and Club usage issues. Mr. Wagner suggested that Mary Kay Bowden attend a Council meeting and discuss the financial issues. President Wayne questioned whether the Theater should be supported financially or have their financial stability turnaround engineered. Mr. Lee indicated that the Theater was interested in joining the artist collaborative coalition that the Economic Development Committee is currently investigating. After further discussion the following motion was made:Ms. Lustgarten moved to abate Celebration Theater’s rent at the Twentieth Century Club through December 31, 2008 and re-evaluate matter for the 2009 budget. Mr. Lee seconded. A discussion followed. President Wayne stated he would rather give them a $1,500 contribution, that an abatement should be determined by need and that more financial information was necessary. Ms. Lustgarten indicated that the term “community group” needs to be defined in light of future requests for contributions. Mr. Lee felt that charging a non-profit organization $1,500 for usage was excessive. After further discussion the following motion was made:Ms. Lustgarten moved to contribute $1,500 to Celebration Theater.Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously. Mr. Wagner will invite Mary Kay Bowden to the September Economic Development Committee to further discuss the matter. Mr. Lee indicated that a decision needs to be made at some point regarding usage issues and felt that community group usage should take precedence over rentals.


1. Ms. Lustgarten moved to authorize payment of bills for period. Mr. Wagner seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
2. Mr. Wagner moved to accept recommendation of the Historical Architectural Review Board, that a Certificate of Appropriateness, 2008-10, be issued to 111 E. Baltimore Ave. for signage. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. A discussion followed. President Wayne stated that all the signs need approval, not just one and cited excessive square footage issues.Mr. Wagner moved to table the original motion, seconded by Ms. Lustgarten. The motion carried unanimously.
3. Ms. Coleman moved to adopt Resolution 2008-11, a Resolution adopting the Historic Resources Survey as an Amendment to the Borough’s Comprehensive Plan. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. A discussion followed regarding the public hearing requirements, Mr. Lee moved to table the motion. Ms. Coleman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
4. Ms. Coleman moved to adopt Ordinance 1233, an Ordinance of the Borough of Lansdowne intending to preserve and build upon the Borough’s traditional and historic character. This will change the boundaries of existing zoning district and the uses in such zoning districts. Mr. Wagner seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.
5. Ms. Lustgarten moved to accept bid of $720 from PCS Auto Sales for the 1995 Chevrolet Pick Up. (H-1). Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
6. Ms. Lustgarten moved to accept bid of $720 from PCS Auto Sales fro the 1995 Chevrolet Pick UP. (H-2). Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
7. Ms. Lustgarten moved to accept bid of $750 from Mark McGinnis for the 1981 GMC Bucket Truck. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
8. Mr. Lee moved to accept bid from A.F. Damon, for the 2008 Roads Program not to exceed $200,000. Ms. Lustgarten seconded and a roll call vote was taken. The motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC HEARING: President Wayne then called for a Public Hearing on the amendment of the Comprehensive Plan by the addition of the Historic Resources Survey and on the adoption of the new Zoning Ordinance. There was no public comment. The public hearing concluded. Ms. Lustgarten moved to take up from the table Resolution 2008-11. Ms. Coleman seconded and the motion carried unanimously. A roll call vote was then taken to adopt Resolution 2008-11, a Resolution adopting the Historic Resources Survey as an Amendment to the Borough’s Comprehensive Plan. The motion carried unanimously.

Executive Session

Mr. Lee moved to adjourn to Executive Session to discuss a personnel and a litigation matter. Ms. Coleman seconded and the motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned to Executive Session at 11:00 p.m.

Public Session

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

  1. Mr. Lee moved to oppose the Scarpato Zoning Hearing Board variance application request for 110 S. Wycombe Avenue and have the Borough Solicitor represent Borough Council in this matter. Ms. Lustgarten seconded and the motion carried unanimously.


Ms. Coleman moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by Ms. Lustgarten. The motion carried unanimously. The meeting adjourned at 12:30 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Ann Henry
Borough Secretary

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