Newtown Township

Board of Supervisors Work Session

October 20, 2003

MINUTES WERE APPROVED at the regular meeting November 19, 2003. MINUTES OF THE WORK SESSION OF 10/20/03:  Mrs. Goren moved to approve the minutes of the 10/20/03 work session.  The motion was seconded by Mr. Weaver and passed unanimously. 

Members Present: Scott R. Harp, Chairman; Anne Goren, Vice Chairman; Richard Weaver, Secretary/Treasurer; Tom Jirele and Raymond “Skip” Goodnoe, Members; Dave Sanders, Solicitor; Robert M. Pellegrino, Township Manager; Gerald Smith, Engineer. 


Also Present: Bill Wert, Parks & Recreation Director; Elaine M. Gibbs, Finance Director; Park & Recreation Committee Members: Michael Clancy and Joel Grosso; Pat Cawley, NGSA; Joseph Garvey, NGSA; various girls and parents involved with NGSA; Newtown residents Nancy Crescenzo, Jim McCrane, John D’Aprile, Hank Shrank, John Meahan, Kelsey Mann and Fedor Derek.


Call to Order: Chairman Harp called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM.


Newtown Girls’ Softball Association – Proposal for Lights on field #6 at Helen Randle Park


Representatives from the NGSA requested the Board to consider their proposal for putting lights on field #6 at Helen Randle Park.  The NGSA explained about all the improvements that have been made to the fields over the past season and stressed the importance of having lights to improve the girls playing ability.  The NGSA advised field lighting is their primary issue and they are willing to contribute for the cost of lighting.  The representatives advised they have received a quote for $35,000 for the lighting of field #6.


Mr. Harp suggested the representatives meet with Homeowner Associations and residents who would be effected by the lights, research the costs, and develop a schedule so that the lights would be turned off by a certain time.


Mr. Jirele advised he is in agreement that the community does need lighted fields, but it also creates a huge controversy.  He feels the Board should be contacting the proper associations and people to hear their opinions with regards to lighted fields.        


Ms. Goren advised she feels the Township should create more fields.


Mr. Weaver advised the lights would not be just for softball.  He has received calls at home with regards to lighting for other sports that would benefit – baseball, soccer, basketball, and lacrosse.


Mr. Harp suggested having the Township Manager and Park & Recreation Committee draft a survey to get the Township’s residents opinion of what they would like to see in the Township’s parks, develop a contact list for area homeowners associations, and schedule a meeting for residents who would be effected by the lighted fields. 


Ms. Goren asked how many more fields would be needed to get in more games.  She expressed concerns on the lighting being too expensive.  She would like to see the money be used for fields first, then lights. 


The Board discussed the cost if tournaments were to be hosted in the Township. The representatives explained how the tournaments work and how costs are handled.   


The Board asked the representatives from NGSA to advise the Township on the number of fields needed to provide more playing time with regards to current and future growth of the NGSA.  Mr. Garvey advised he would provide them the information with regards to the NGSA’s current status.  He advised the Board on the NGSA’s goals.


Mr. Harp suggested the NGSA representatives:

·        Assess the number of fields needed now and in the future

·        Get a list of the Homeowners Association who would be effected

·        Work together with other local sport associations to conduct a larger meeting to discuss the issue of having lit fields at various parks in the Township

·        Total cost for lighting

·        Develop a survey that could be published.


Mr. Harp thanked the NGSA representatives and the parents and children involved with the NGSA for their input and time.


Mr. Jirele advised he was unhappy the above subject was not on the agenda.


Capital Improvement Program/Projects


Mr. Pellegrino reviewed a draft on the Capital Improvement Program outlining capital appropriations from 2004-2009.  The Supervisors discussed the report with regards to which projects would remain on the Capital Improvement Program and what projects would be budgeted for in 2004.  Mr. Pellegrino advised he would draft the preliminary 2004 Budget to include the projects authorized by the Board and a revised Capital Improvement Program Plan.  The Supervisors also discussed an equipment replacement schedule.   


2004 Goals


The Supervisors discussed the 2004 Goals/Objectives for the Township and reviewed the 2003 Goals/Objectives the Board agreed that the goals should remain consistent.  Mr. Pellegrino advised he would draft an updated list showing the Township’s 2004 Goals/Objectives.


Other Business


Mr. McCrane, of Blaze Court commented with regards to lighting fields within the Township.  He suggested the Township develop a questionnaire for Township residents stating the pros and cons of lighting the fields.  He also advised that the residents from Pheasant Point and St. Andrew’s Briar are opposed to lit fields at the Woll Tract.  He also commented on the cost to develop the parks for tournament sports events.  He discussed tax burdens on the Township’s residents.    He suggested the Board advise the Park & Recreation Committee on the Township’s vision for the area parks.


Ms. Crescenzo commented with regards to the agenda.  She felt the subject of lighting the fields in the Township should be televised to keep the Township’s residents informed.  She advised she does agree that the Township’s parks should be developed but she feels strongly that the Township needs a community center for the youth and seniors in the community.  She questioned what the Township’s total goal is for the Park & Recreation System.  She also commented on Mr. Harp meeting with the representatives from the NGSA without other Board members.


Mr. Harp advised other Board members and residents on his meeting with regards to the NGSA.    He also advised that the Northampton Senior Center is part of the Council Rock School District and is open to all residents within the CRSD.


Mr. Clancy advised the reason for representatives from the Park & Recreation Board being at this meeting was to request funding for the development of the Woll Tract. 


Mr. Meahan commented with regards to having lit fields.  He advised that right now the children are practicing and playing in the dark.  He also advised that the Buck County Senior’s Softball League uses the Township’s fields and maybe they would also be interested in having lit fields.  He advised that many other sports would benefit from the lit fields.  He commented on the lights at the local car dealerships and at the area schools.     


Mr. Grosso advised that the Park & Recreation Board is following the Township’s Master Plan to develop the Woll Tract.


NGSA player – Christine commented on the fields having bad drainage.  She also suggested the NGSA could help raise money for the lights at Helen Randle Park.


NGSA player – Kelsey Mann commented on having fundraisers to help pay for the cost of having lit fields.  She also commented on the bad drainage and the fields being to muddy to play.  She commented that if additional fields were developed there would be more work taking care of the fields and there would be no guarantee for more playing time.


Mr. Goodnoe discussed the 1996 – 1997 Comprehensive Park & Recreation Master Plan.  He explained how the plan was developed and said the Township should balance their needs with the needs of the community.  He advised that the Township needs to follow the plan to continue to receive grant money or the Comprehensive Park & Recreation Master Plan needs to be revised. 


Mr. Grosso advised that the Park & Recreation Board is referring to the 1996 – 1997 Compressive Park & Recreation Master Plan when developing the Woll Tract.


Mr. Derek questioned how the Newtown trail system was conceived.  Ms. Goren explained how and why the Newtown Trail route was constructed.


Mr. D’Aprile commented with regards to a new municipal complex and the office space for employees.  He advised that the government does have standards for the amount of square footage per employee.  The Supervisors agreed to research further.


Mr. D’Aprile suggested the Township concentrate on improving the existing parks before developing new parks.  He also suggested the Township update the 1996 – 1997 Comprehensive Park & Recreation Master Plan.


Mr. Harp advised that he has met with Marsha Scull from Newtown Borough Council with regards to noise levels in the Industrial Commons, traffic in the communities, cable competition and expanding the Cable Committee.


Mr. Goodnoe asked if the Township has the same restrictions on the Cable Committee membership as they do on the Park & Recreation Board membership? He asked about FCC regulations with regards to the number of members on the committee.  Mr. Sanders advised he would research the issue.


Mr. Harp thanked the public for their input and attending the meeting.




Without objection, the meeting was adjourned at 10:35 PM.



Respectfully Submitted by:




Christy Holley, Recording Secretary