PARK AND RECREATION BOARD

NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP

MINUTES OF FEBRUARY 6, 2002


Approval of the Minutes of February 6, 2002: Mr. Strover noted that the Shade Tree Commission Report should read that "labels are to be ordered". 
Mrs. Sutton moved to accept the minutes as amended. Mr. Strover seconded and the motion passed unanimously. 


The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on February 6, 2002. In attendance and voting were: Bernard Bires, Chairman; Andrew Levine, Vice-Chairman; John Davis, Joel Grosso, Kathy Kelly, Buck O'Neill, Russell G. Strover, and Susan Sutton, members. Also in attendance were Richard Weaver, Supervisor; Bill Wert, Park and Recreation Director; and Susan Beasley, Planning Commission Liaison.

Mr. Bires called the meeting to order at 8:00 PM. 

Public Comment 

Ms. Kelly Sherman of Newtown Athletic and Aquatic Club (NAAC) presented the Board with a check for $300.00, representing income from the joint NAAC, Newtown Township Park and Rec sponsored teen dances held in January and February. Ms. Sherman reported that the dances were well attended and very successful. The NAAC has formed a Teen Advisory Board for 12-15 year olds to give input as to activities they would like to see made available at the NAAC. They will meet on February 21 at 6:00 PM to plan for more First Saturday of the Month dances and other activities. They have organized a ski trip to Big Boulder in March. 

Ms. Sherman also presented the Board with a letter offering the NAAC and other community business spaces as possible locations for Park and Rec sponsored classes. She said that these spaces were available for the Winter programs, and she hopes to offer similar availability for Spring, Summer and Fall programs.

Approval of Minutes 

Mrs. Sutton noted that her name was omitted from the attendance of January 14, 2002 minutes.

Mrs. Sutton moved to accept the minutes as corrected. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

New Business 

Mill Race Office Campus Sketch Plan

Mrs. Karen Doorley presented the plan for an office campus off of Lindenhurst Road in the D-1 Office Space district. The 5.45 acre lot, between CAU and ICT/Brandyine Newtown Commons, will have an 8,000 square foot, two story office building. A portion of the land, which connects to the Newtown Trail, is in a flood plain. The original driveway will be closed and access to the property will be gained through the Brandywine/ ICT entrance. A side yard variance will be needed for the property. 

After checking the ordinance, Mr. Wert advised the Board that the fee in lieu of Open Space would be calculated by the footprint of the building, 3500 square feet, not by the floor space of the proposed two story building. 

Mr. Wert further explained that the unused space on the property is not directly adjacent to Silver Lake, that a road intersects them. 

Mr. Strover moved to accept a fee in lieu of Open Space for the Mill Race Office Campus. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed unanimously. 

Newtown Commons Preliminary Plan 

Michael Coglan and Tony Rennica of Brandywine Development and Mitch Shiles, their Architect presented a plan to deed Open Space to the Township in connection with their proposed development of a tract consisting of five office buildings behind the ICT building on the Bypass at Lindenhurst Road. 

Mr. Shiles said that he had studied the Newtown Trail and had designed a spur of that trail through Open Space and Wetlands on the Newtown Office Commons. The trail will be marked and paved in the same manner as the Newtown Trail. This trail will eventually be linked by a sidewalk to the development planned for the Heston Tract. An exercise course will be laid out along the trail. 

Mr. Shiles explained that the office space will be 414,000 square feet. There will be a through road linking Lindenhurst Road to Upper Silver Lake Road 

Mr. Coglan explained that the building footprint for the five office buildings would be 138,000 square feet. Brandywine proposes to deed back to the township a trail eight feet wide for a total square footage of 44,800 square feet. Brandywine has calculated the monetary value of the land based on property value of $150,000 per acre for non-wetland property and $75,000 for wetland. Using these numbers the value of the land to be deeded to the town is $143,199. 

Mr. Coglan further explained that the paving, drainage, excavation and exercise equipment have a value of $41,500, giving the improved trail a total value of $184,699. The fee in lieu of Open Space for this development would be $178,158. Once deeded to the Township, it would be the Township's responsibility to maintain the trail and the exercise equipment. Information on the exercise equipment will be provided to the Township at a later date. 

Mr. Weaver stated that the Newtown Trail is 5 feet wide, while this proposed link is only 4 feet with an easement totaling 8 feet. 

Mr. Coglan agreed to pave a path that would match the Township requirements. The wooded areas around the trail would remain the property of Brandywine Development. 

Mr. Strover and Mrs. Sutton both agreed that it was a good use of the wetlands and an interesting addition to the Newtown Trail System. 

Mr. O'Neill stated that he favored accepting a fee in lieu of the Open Space. Mr. Levine questioned whether that would be a possibility. 

Mr. Rennica stated that Brandywine had studied the Ordinance and felt that his firm had met the spirit of the Ordinance, to preserve Open Space within the Township. He felt that Brandywine was already making contributions to the Township with roadway improvements and installation of traffic signals, and that the proposed trail would provide recreation space for the residents. 

Mrs. Sutton agreed that there was a great deal of development in that corner of the Township and that this would preserve some Open Space with some recreation at Brandywine's expense. On evenings and weekends this would be a quiet spot for a more interesting walk, and there would be parking to begin and finish a walk through this trail and on to Silver Lake. Mr. Bires agreed with this statement. 

Mr. Rennica confirmed that this would be a 9 to5, Monday through Friday office complex. 

Mr. Davis wondered about the choice of exercise equipment. 

Mrs. Sutton stated that when the land is deeded to the Township, other amenities could be added. 

Mr. Davis moved to accept the land and trail system as proposed with the option to adjust the amenities provided with others of the same cost. Mrs. Sutton seconded and the motion passed unanimously. 

First National Bank and Trust of Newtown Preliminary Plan 

Donna Wengiel of Stuckert and Yates and Daniel Foster of First National Bank and Trust of Newtown presented the plan to demolish the existing bank on Newtown Yardley Road and erect a new, larger branch bank. Newtown Trail currently passes in front of the bank. Ms. Wengiel explained that the bank will be doubling in size and that the lot is 1.33 acres. The fee in lieu of Open Space has been calculated at $3873. 

Mr. Strover moved to accept a fee in lieu of Open Space. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed unanimously. 

Liaison Reports 

Capital Planning

There was no capital Planning Report. 

Planning Commission 

Mrs. Beasley reported that at the last Planning Commission meeting there was a Traffic Engineer's report. There will be an additional left turn lane added on the By-Pass at Buck and at Richboro Roads. The timing on the Newtown Crossing/332 light must be adjusted to allow crossing the street to walk to the Junior HS. A traffic light is to be added to Washington Crossing Road at Linton Hill Road by September. A traffic light will be added to 413 at Wrights Road and one is proposed for Municipal Drive after construction of two office complexes along 413 is complete. 

Sycamore Street paving should be finished in February. 

Supervisors  

Mr. Weaver reported that the Board of Supervisors had met to discuss their Goals and Projects for 2002. 

The following are Goals that concern the Park and Recreation Board:

The Newtown Trail is to be extended from Mill Pond Road, with a flashing signal, to the Junior High School. No Target date has been set.

Roberts Ridge Park a playground is to be installed. Considerations should be given to a committee of volunteers assembling and installing the playground equipment. Electricity for a Gazebo may be less expensive than initially thought. This will continue to be researched.

Hidden Lake any development with parking, a trail and benches would have to be done in collaboration with the County, which also owns some of the land.

Clark Property Because development of the Clark House is restricted in Mrs. Clark's lifetime, and because the driveway and entrance are too narrow, the only things planned for this year are clean-up and tree identification and tagging. There is some thought to getting Boy Scouts involved with these projects.

Silver Lake the parking Lot and entrance to be graded.

Newtown Shopping Center - the parking area has been paved. Playing field pads are earmarked for a hockey rink, one for a skate park and one for a control/storage shed. All three will probably be prepared at once, although all may not be equipped at once. A Hockey Rink for in-line skaters will require a special surface. 

Shade Tree Commission 

Mr. Strover reported that he has ordered identification tags for the trees at Roberts Ridge Park. All of the trees that were planted are doing will. There are still six trees to be planted and 3 additional trees to be purchased with donation money. 

Mr. Strover is planning a Tree and Shrub Care Workshop in cooperation with the Township Park and Recreation Department and the Pennsylvania Cooperative Extension, along with other organizations, to be held March 13, 2001 at Bucks County Community College. The workshop will use some trees at Swamp Road Park.

Mr. Strover is also offering a workshop on a Saturday, open to Township residents, in cooperation with the Township Park and Recreation Department at Roberts Ridge Park on tree pruning. 

Mr. Strover expects to receive a grant for tree planting to form a grove along the site for the proposed gazebo in Roberts Ridge Park. 

Park and Recreation Director 

Mr. Wert reported income of $53,438.00 for the Winter Program Brochure, with an increase of 20% over last year in participation. There are 988 participants. 

Mr. Wert provided the updated results of his survey on interest in forming flag football leagues. He has received from the NFL a league starter kit. For $15.00 per child the NFL will supply a reversible jersey and flag belt for each child along with flags, footballs and advertising posters to help initiate the league. The Township can add on to the $15.00 price to cover costs, but the NFL recommends not to exceed $75.00 per player. The league would form teams of children 6 through 15 years old. The field is a shortened field, and the Swamp Road Park softball outfields could be used. The program will begin in Fall of 2002. 

Mr. Wert, as President of the Newtown Lions Club, has been asked to approach the committee about installing vending machines for soft drinks at the Chandler Field restrooms. Mr.Wert said that the company the Lions would be dealing with would be responsible for installing, maintaining and stocking the machines. 

Mr. O'Neill reminded Mr. Wert that there had been vandalism problems with vending machines in Swamp Road Park, and that the Little League had also been denied vending machines. 

Mr. Wert suggested that he speak to the Lions Club about a compromise with the Little League, possibly sharing a portion of profit with the Little League during their season and putting the machines on a timer so they are not operational when the Little League Snack Shed is open. 

Mr. O'Neill said that the Little League would be presenting it's "wish list" at the March meeting ,and he would speak to them about such an arrangement. 

While speaking about the restrooms at Chandler Field, Mrs. Beasley asked if the hours that the restrooms are unlocked could be posted on the doors. 

Old Business 

Landscape Structures

 Mr. Helmuth of Landscape Structures, Inc. presented the Board with plans for playgrounds using the guidelines discussed at the November 26, 2001 meeting of the Park and Open Space Committee. Mr. Helmuth noted that the plans show two different playgrounds for the 2-5 year olds and 6-12 year olds, using pricing in the $63,000.00 and $125,000.00 price ranges. He noted that the poured safety surface, similar to that used on the High School track, would cost more than the equipment. He noted that site preparation is not included in the pricing. 

Mr. Helmuth further explained that his equipment could be purchased under State Contract, and that, should the community elect to assemble the equipment using volunteers, Landscape Structures can supply a site supervisor, thereby not vacating the warrantee. 

Mr. Bires asked if the entire $125,000.00 Roberts Ridge Park budget could be used for a playground, postponing the Gazebo plans until next year. 

Mr. Weaver said that a Gazebo is part of the master plan, but that the master plan is not an approved plan. The committee can make whatever recommendation they think is best. 

Mr. Bires then suggested that a sub-committee be formed to study all of the plans submitted by Landscape Structures and Boyce Associates, then to make a recommendation to the Board. He asked that the committee compare the playground plans and also consider the advantage to using the entire $125,000.00 for a larger playground, postponing the Gazebo project. He suggested that Mr. Levine, Mr. Grosso, Mr. O'Neill and Mrs. Kelly form this committee and that they have a recommendation ready for the March, 6, 2002 meeting. 

Mr. Davis moved that the subcommittee be formed and that they make a recommendation for a playground, using the entire $125,000.00, if necessary, at the March 6, 2002 meeting; and further that the Park and Recreation Board set Memorial Day as a goal for completion of said playground. Mr. Grosso seconded and the motion passed unanimously.  

Mr. Bires moved to adjourn at 10:30 PM. Mr. Levine seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

Respectfully Submitted 

 

________________________
Mary Donaldson
Recording Secretary