Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting
June 15, 2011
The Lansdowne Borough Council General Meeting was held on Wednesday,
June 15, 2011, 7:30 p.m. in Borough Hall. Present were President Coleman, Mrs. English, Ms. Lustgarten, Mr. Schleigh, Ms. Silzle, Mr. Smith and Mr. Wagner. Fire Chief Young was absent. Also in attendance were Mayor Young, Borough Manager Totaro, Borough Secretary Henry, Borough Treasurer Bartley and Borough Solicitor Scott.
Approval of Agenda: The agenda was approved with the following change: (1) Mr. Wagner will make the motions for action items #4 through 7.
Approval of Minutes: Ms. Lustgarten moved to approve the minutes of the May 18, 2011 General Meeting of Council as submitted by the Secretary. Ms. Silzle seconded. Vote: unanimous.
Announcements and Presentations:
- Mayor Young welcomed Lansdowne resident Don Verlenden, a No Place for Hate member and Lisa Friedlander, Project Director of the No Place for Hate Program, a product of the Anti-Defamation League. Ms. Friedlander gave an overview of the group’s mission, i.e., to defend anyone whose rights are being violated in the workplace and in schools and who are victims of bullying in the schools. There are 160 schools that participate in the NPFH program but only 6 communities participate. Mr. Verlenden spoke briefly about upcoming events regarding the group. Also, a film series focusing on human relations and current topics of political interest will be shown at the Lansdowne Library every month. Ms. Friedlander mentioned that No Place for Hate will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2013. Lansdowne has been a member since 2002. Ms. Friedlander then presented the 2010 accreditation for Lansdowne. Mayor Young mentioned that many new residents choose to live in Lansdowne specifically because it is a NPFH community.
- Mayor Young swore in officer John McGowan, the new part time police officer.
Treasurer’s Report: Mr. Bartley presented the May 2011 report as follows: General Fund beginning balance $ 280,823, ending balance $ 3,291,044. Sewer Fund beginning balance: $ 604,313, ending balance $ 1,382,710. Liquid Fuels Fund beginning balance $ 326,727, ending balance $410,230. Capital Reserves Fund beginning balance $61,080, ending balance $126,091. Non Uniform Pension Fund beginning balance $1,837,274, ending balance $1,779,708. Police Pension fund beginning balance $6,323,468, ending balance of $ 6,463,874. Mr. Bartley indicated that there sufficient funds on hand to meet the current obligations.
Ms. Lustgarten asked if the third police car had arrived. Mr. Bartley indicated it had been paid for this week. President Coleman asked if the Tax Anticipation Note had been paid off early. Mr. Bartley replied that he was still awaiting a number from PNC Bank in this regard.
Solicitor’s Report: Mr. Scott had no formal report.
Mayor’s Report: Mayor Young read a short list of calendar items. Mayor Young mentioned that in light of the pending SPCA shelter change, Animal Friends of Lansdowne is an excellent resource for obtaining guidance and information regarding strays, pet care and the protocol for handling strays. Mayor Young indicated that the Senior Circle is asking for the borough’s sponsorship at their upcoming annual auction.
Council President’s Report: President Coleman reported that she recently attended a breakfast meeting with the William Penn School Board where the discussion focused primarily on the impact to educational institutions due to the proposed state budget cuts. President Coleman reported that an award letter was received from the County that gives Lansdowne a block grant of $91,860 for the Schappet Terrace sewer project. President Coleman indicated that the borough has been trying for about 12 years to get an allocation of funds based on projects considered worthy of the allocation that comes from the Federal Government.
Due to time constraints, President Coleman indicated that the Certificates of Appropriateness requests for 10 West and 2 West Baltimore Avenues would be discussed now. In that regard, architect Jeff Laufer presented the façade modification plans for the two properties. Mr. Laufer represents the Lansdowne Center Partners, owners of the properties at 10 and 2 West Baltimore Avenues. The two projects have been presented to the HARB regarding façade alterations and modifications as follows:
- 10 West Baltimore Avenue – This was built around 1900. Window sizes have now been changed and relocated. The concept plan is to convert the first floor to retail space by adding additional retail entrances on the front and left side and to alter the main entrance, bringing a ramp and new stairs to the site. Details have also been presented regarding awnings, signage and lighting. The HARB’s changes included changing the window size and location, having a 6’ wide doorway at the main entrance and limiting the stairs to one set. Site work with new concrete, a retaining wall space, parking striping changes, sidewalk extensions to the drive lane for easier handicap accessibility. President Coleman asked if the HARB had considered the entire site for consistency with the other work being done at the site. Mr. Totaro replied that the recommended changes will not change the outer shell of the building and there would be no contention regarding the rest of the site plans. Mr. Schleigh asked if the parking area near the supermarket would be diminished. Mr. Laufer stated that the planned use of the building may change the parking requirements but the changes to 10 West as they now stand would not change the parking spaces. Mr. Schleigh asked if the northernmost retail spaces be handicapped accessible. Mr. Laufer replied that it would be accessible. Mr. Wagner questioned the lighting placement. Lighting fixtures will be at the main entrance and at either ends of the retail stores. The lighting would also highlight the proposed signage and is consistent with the rest of the site plan details. Mr. Wagner questioned the size of the signage. The 24 square foot maximum is per retail space, of which there will be four retail spaces. Ms. Silzle questioned if the plantings and trees would be part of the site plan. Mr. Laufer indicated that the two large trees close to the building will need to be removed but will be replaced with trellises in front of the windows.
- 2 West Baltimore Avenue – This is the old bank building built in 1925 that has an adjoining structure. Mr. Laufer indicated that the two buildings would share some egress components and the plan envisions a connection between the lobby of 10 West to 2 West. The back of 2 West currently has two rows of double hung windows with brick arches. The proposal calls for taking out one of the windows, extending the remaining window opening to the first floor level and putting in a doorway with a transom. A set of steps would be placed outside the doorway and a set of steps would lead from the small sidewalk to the parking lot. Additional signage and lighting would be similar to 10 West. The HARB had no comments and no changes. Ms. Silzle indicated that the discussion of 2 West was not included in the HARB’s minutes. Mr. Laufer stated that the voting was done for 10 West before discussing 2 West. Mr. Scott indicated that the minutes were from the June 9th meeting and Mr. Laufer indicated he also presented the plans to the HARB on May 19th. Mr. Scott suggested that the date of the minutes on the Certificate of Appropriateness be changed from June 9th to May 19th.
Mr. Schleigh asked if the impact on traffic patterns should be further researched due to the added retail spaces. Chief Kortan felt that from a traffic flow standpoint, it would be advisable to have traffic coming out of the shopping center only going south onto S. Lansdowne Avenue and have the traffic traveling into the shopping center only going in by traveling south on Lansdowne Avenue. This would eliminate the cutoffs in front of traffic traveling on Lansdowne Avenue and a lot of the other problems associated with this site. Mr. Scott recommended that this problem should not be coupled with the façade improvements vote as it would require involvement of the Borough Engineer. The issue can be discussed at a future appropriate date.
- Mr. Wagner moved to accept the recommendation of the HARB to issue a Certificate of Appropriateness 2011-02 to Lansdowne Center 10 W. Baltimore Avenue, for façade improvements to include the installation of new steps, accessible ramp, walkways and planting areas. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mr. Wagner moved to accept the recommendation of the HARB to issue the Certificate of Appropriateness 2011-01 to Lansdowne Center (Bank Annex), 2 W. Baltimore Avenue, for façade improvements to include the installation of tenant space on the first floor, installation of new door, steps, and entrance. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
Public Health and Safety – Mr. Schleigh reported that the National Night Out will be held on August 2nd from 6-8 PM at the Lansdowne train station. Septa will be a co-sponsor. Mr. Schleigh indicated that at the July Public Safety Committee meeting, discussions will center on final approval of the bike plan and preventive and maintenance issues regarding the traffic lights. Mr. Schleigh mentioned that information will be forthcoming from the Parks and Recreation Director regarding trees at Wycombe and Baltimore Avenues that are blocking motorist’s vision. The Codes Department officials and Fire Chief/Marshall have questioned why the Borough Manager approves certain fireworks issues that are relevant to the July 4th event. Chief Kortan mentioned that the ordinance had been written years ago when there was only a borough manager handling Township affairs. Chief Kortan felt that the ordinance needs to be adjusted due to the growth of the Borough and that only the people doing the work should sign off on the approvals. President Coleman mentioned that the Codes Department reports to the Borough Manager. Mr. Schleigh mentioned that the Fire Chief and Codes Department will be working together to make proposals about fire code issues, based on trying to combine different standards. Mr. Schleigh reported that the Public Health & Safety Committee has sent a letter protesting PennDot’s decision to remove the traffic light at Martin Drive and Baltimore Avenue and will continue to fight the matter.
Finance and Administration – Ms. Lustgarten reported that the F&A Committee met on June 6th. The H2O audit will be starting some time today. Mr. Bartley will be distributing a draft RFP to the Committee members by August 1st for a bank RFP. The Darby Creek Joint Sewer Authority has awarded a $12,500 grant for stream bank stabilization for Darby Creek and in Hoffman Park.
Ms. Lustgarten presented expenses information for the Streetscape Plan that will include a maximum of 9 benches in the business district, 12 bike racks and a maximum of 8 street tree replacements. Ms. Lustgarten indicated that revenues and expenses have been reviewed through the first four months of 2011. The borough is on target to keep the $280,000 budgeted fund balance for year end 2011 and that $13,000 could come out of the bottom line. Mr. Totaro has asked Septa if they would be interested in contributing financially toward this expense. Mayor Young questioned what was happening with the fire house roof. Ms. Lustgarten indicated that the Committee is still awaiting information from Fire Chief Young regarding other large expenses and whether he has spoken to government officials in this regard. Mr. Scott indicated there are three different expenditures and asked if three quotes had been received for each. If not, they need to be taken off the co-stars.
Ms. Lustgarten moved to fund the Streetscape Project to a maximum of $13,000 based on 3 more bids or co-star quotes. Mr. Silzle seconded. Vote: unanimous.
Ms. Lustgarten mentioned that the July 4th Finance Committee meeting will be cancelled. The August 1st meeting will be held and the September 5th meeting will be rescheduled to September 6th. The August 1st meeting will be preceded by the police pension meeting, at which time a presentation will be given by a Centax representative regarding emergency services taxes.
Ms. Silzle noted that there had been no police bike patrol numbers on the May police report and asked if the bike patrol would still be in operation. Chief Kortan indicated that the bike patrol was operating and there was an error in the May report numbers that had not been noticed. Chief Kortan stated that the bike patrol police coverage is based solely on staffing levels and there had been a lot of short staffing in May. Ms. Silzle questioned the status of the lighting problem in Gladstone Manor and if the police would be stepping up patrols in the area. Chief Kortan stated that police have stepped up their patrol of the Manor while the lighting issue remains a problem. Mr. Totaro mentioned that delays have occurred at the manufacturing level and there is no information currently available to determine the arrival date of the lights. Mr. Schleigh asked if there was a liquidated damages clause in the street light contract. Mr. Scott will look further into this issue.
Ms. Lustgarten mentioned that it will only cost $3,500 to fix the trash truck, not the original estimate of $15,000 for repairs or $135,000 for a new truck.
Economic Development and Code Enforcement – Mr. Wagner reported that the summer help is now working at 20 Lansdowne Court. They had asked the Arts Board to weigh in on space usage at the building. The Arts Board did a walk through of the building and their recommendations centered on placement of restrooms, one interior wall and appropriate lighting for arts use. Mr. Wagner indicated that the recommendations can be utilized and the work will continue.
Environment – Ms. Silzle stated that no recycling report had been received from Blue Mountain this month and no May diversion rate information was currently available. On June 4th the Environment Committee held a Earth Day event at the Farmers Market. Ms. Silzle met with the Elm Street manager earlier this week regarding how the Committee can better interact with the Elm Street Program. Ms. Silzle reported that she and Mayor Young had recently attended the PA Council Awards event and expressed concern regarding the nomination of Michael Crancer as the Secretary of the PA Department of Environmental Protection. Mr. Crancer was approved by the Governor but has no environmental background. The Committee met with the Parks and Recreation Director Erica Sollberger on June 9th to get an update on Hoffman Park stream bank restoration project and the streetscape plan. Ms. Sollberger also provided good input on the draft ordinance to create a shade tree commission. Ms. Silzle mentioned there is one opening on the Park and Recreation Board. The August Committee meeting has been cancelled. The next meeting will be held on July 14th at 7:00 pm. Ms. Silzle reminded residents to be mindful of stagnant water on their properties as this is a major breeding area for mosquitoes. The West Nile Virus has been detected in this region.
Community Relations – Mrs. English reported that the Committee did not meet in June but will hold a meeting in July. The Committee is ready to do a mock up of the borough map and schedules are being coordinated in this effort to see if the information is adequate or needs to be expanded.
Library Liaison Report: In April there were 8,754 visitors to the library. In May there were 10,323 visitors. January through May had a total of 41,120 visitors. The Library Board is currently looking for a member to fill a Board vacancy. More information can be found on the borough web site regarding being a library board member. President Coleman indicated that she has a few leads for the library opening and Mr. Wagner has a lead for the HARB opening.
Infrastructure and Public Works – Mr. Smith reported that the Committee met on May 24th and there was not much information to report on since the last report. Topics for discussion at the last meeting included street patching, the Martin Drive traffic light, PennDot curb cuts and repaving on Baltimore Avenue and the Ardmore and Greenwood Avenues sewer project. Bids are due to come in regarding the grouting of the Falls Run Bridge sewer pipes.
Communications: Letter from the Senior Community Services Center thanking Lansdowne for their $2,000 contribution.
Ms. Lustgarten moved to suspend Roberts Rules of Order to hear visitor comments. Ms. Silzle seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Jason McLaughlin – 11 Willowbrook Avenue. Mr. McLaughlin expressed concern over the severe deterioration of the adjoining vacant property and asked if any recourse was available. Mr. Wagner stated that the ED&C Committee will be meeting next week to discuss this matter and also to discuss methods for dealing with blighted properties.
- Melissa England – 124 Gladstone Road. Ms. England voiced her concern with the appearance of the blighted property at 13 Willowbrook Avenue, citing that similar problems in this regard had occurred on Walsh Road and Eldon Road in Gladstone Manor.
- Kathy Kaufmann – 125 Gladstone Road. Ms. Kaufmann questioned why PennDot was planning to remove the traffic light at Martin Drive, stating that there were numerous entrances onto Baltimore Avenue at this site and the removal of the light would make driving conditions in that area extremely dangerous. President Coleman mentioned that Borough Council is fighting PennDot’s decision. Mr. Totaro indicated that he has been developing a case for keeping the light and will be mailing a letter to PennDot tomorrow. Mayor Young questioned why the Borough Engineer did not address the Septa traffic concerns as well. Chief Kortan stated that the engineer’s purpose was to address only PennDot’s points and not the overall picture. However, the Chief indicated that presently the Martin Street light was still on the PennDot’s plans.
Mr. Wagner moved to resume Roberts Rules of Order. Mr. Schleigh seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Marlyn Park Bridge – President Coleman questioned whether the bridge could be modified instead of being completely re-installed. The consensus among Council members was that it was structurally sound but would look more attractive if there was more detailing and railings were installed. Mr. Scott indicated that the original plans called for a temporary bridge and the borough would need to discuss the plans to keep it a permanent bridge with the contractor.
- SPCA – Mr. Schleigh reported that the SPCA had not extended the June 30th deadline. The Public Safety Committee has been discussing ways to inform the public about picking up strays. Mayor Young and Chief Kortan are attending a meeting tomorrow in this regard. Mr. Scott indicated that Media Borough has now mandated that strays would be removed to a rescue facility if not picked up the owners within 48 hours. Chief Kortan indicated that a plan was still in place and Animal Control is still being contracted to pick up stray dogs only.
- Summer Schedule – President Coleman indicated that it is customary to cancel one business meeting during the summer, usually in July or August. After some discussion there was a consensus to cancel the July business meeting and make a later determination as to whether the August business meeting would be cancelled. Mr. Totaro indicated that a decision had to be made on July 6th regarding the Lansdowne Theater marquee decision. President Coleman indicated that a public hearing would be held in lieu of the business meeting if there was a quorum. Mr. Scott stated that it would not be necessary for Chief Kortan and Borough Secretary Henry to attend this hearing.
Ms. Silzle moved to cancel the July 2011 Borough Council Business meeting but hold the conditional use hearing if a quorum is met for the Lansdowne Theater marquee application, pending receiving the time and place information from the Borough Manager. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Hazard Mitigation Plan – Mr. Schleigh indicated that the Public Safety Committee had no additional input for or issues with the present plan and the recommendation was to adopt the plan as written.
- Ms. Lustgarten moved to approve bills for the period. Ms. Silzle seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mr. Smith moved to adopt Resolution 2011-11, a Resolution regarding the continuing planning requirements of Act 537; the Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mr. Wagner moved to accept the resignation of Margaret Albee Vance from service on the HARB effective June 25, 2011. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mr. Wagner moved to accept the recommendation of the HARB to issue the Certificate of Appropriateness 2011-04, to Exquisite Footwear, 26 N. Lansdowne Avenue for Signage. Ms. Lustgarten seconded. Vote: unanimous.
- Mr. Wagner moved to accept the recommendation of the HARB to issue the Certificate of Appropriateness 2011-05, to ARC of Delaware County Thrift Shop, 21 S. Lansdowne Avenue for Signage. Mr. Smith seconded. Vote: unanimous.
Executive Session – Mrs. English moved to adjourn to executive session to discuss a personnel issue. Mr. Wagner seconded. Vote: unanimous. The meeting adjourned to executive session at 9:55 p.m.
Public Session – No motions were made upon reconvening to public session.
Adjourn – Mr. Schleigh moved to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Wagner seconded. Vote: unanimous. The meeting adjourned 10:00 p.m.
Barbara Ann Henry