PARK AND RECREATION BOARD

NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP

MINUTES OF JUNE 4, 2003


Approval of the Minutes: Mr. Clancy moved to approve the minutes of June 4, 2003. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 8-0.


The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on Wednesday, June 4, 2003. In attendance and voting were Michael Clancy, Joel Grosso, Kathy Kelly, Buck O'Neill, Susan Sutton, and Anne Marie Zambriczki, members. Bernard Bires, Chairman, arrived later. Also in attendance were Richard Weaver, Supervisor; Tom Jirele, Supervisor; Jim Ott, Planning Commission Liaison; Russell Strover; and William Wert, Park and Recreation Director.

Mr. Grosso called the meeting to order at 7:30 PM

Approval of the Minutes

Mr. Clancy moved to accept the minutes of April 2, 2003. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 6-0.

The recording secretary reported that in the May 7, 2003 minutes, the name McCrane was misspelled, and on page 3, paragraph 2 should read "access to park through Eagle Road".

Mrs. Sutton moved to accept the minutes of May 7, 2003, as corrected. Mr. Clancy seconded and the motion passed 6-0. 

Active Recreation Sub-Committee Report 

Mr. Clancy reported that the Sub-Committee was continuing to gather information on recreational field needs from local sports teams and organizations. He said that the Sub-Committee would like to make a presentation of the increased need for playing fields to the Financial Planning Committee at their June 17, 2003 meeting. They would also like to make a presentation to the Board of Supervisors at the July 21, 2003 work session, to ask for funding for a new master plan for the Woll tract as the original plan no longer accurately reflects the community needs. He said that the Sub-Committee has also contacted the USTA and US Soccer about grants for fields and tennis pros.

Mr. Greg Killian of Pheasant Pointe asked if the plans call for fields for children's sports only. 

Mr. Clancy said that adult sports would also be part of a new master plan. 

Mr. Wert said that he had provided the residents in attendance with a packet of information about the Woll tract, and the comprehensive plan drawn up in 1999. He said that the plan is outdated, and that the community's needs have changed since this plan was made. He pointed out that the park is 48 acres, including ten acres dedicated to the Township by Elliott Builders. He said that the Elliott Builders portion is deed restricted for emergency access to the park only. 

Mr. Snehal Patel of Pheasant Point asked how access to the tract would be gained.

Mr. Clancy said that access would probably be at 413. He said that the Sub-Committee was working with the Park and Recreation Department and Mr. Pellegrino to acquire some topsoil from some current building projects to begin to build berms to shield the residents from the fields. 

Mr. Tim Deegan asked if the ten acres dedicated by Elliott Builders could be used for parking. 

Mr.Grosso said that the ten acres would be used for emergency access only. 

Mr. Jim McCrane asked if the June 17, 2003 meeting was a Park and Recreation Board meeting, and what exactly would happen at that meeting. 

Mr. Clancy said that the June 17, 2003 meeting would be with the Financial Planning Committee. The July 21, 2003 meeting would be with the Board of Supervisors. At these meetings the Sub-Committee would outline their goals for the property. They would ask that money be included in the next budget for a Master Plan for the property. The Master Plan would be drawn with input from the Sub-Committee and the community. Construction would be phased in over time. He said that the Sub-Committee was still assessing the needs of the community and the School District, which has a right to use the fields during the school day. He said that as the plans are drawn, they would be reviewed by the Planning Commission, who would be considerate of the residents' concerns about lighting, traffic, noise and buffering. 

Mr. Wert said that he thought that the Township's zoning code required a 100-foot setback from fields to residential property lines. 

Mrs. Dorothy McCrane asked if the existing buffer of trees would remain. 

Mrs. Sutton said that this would be evaluated by the Planning Commission. 

Mr. Patel asked if a traffic study would be done. 

Mr. Clancy said that Penn DoT would be involved in traffic impact studies. 

Mrs. Andrea Randolph asked if the park will be open to the public, or would an identification card be needed. 

Mr. Wert said that Township sponsored and based organizations would be given first preference for field use, but that the park would be open to the public and nobody would be excluded. 

Mr. McCrane said that the literature provided him by Elliott Builders at the time of purchase of his home said that the property "backs to open space, never to be developed". 

Mr. Clancy said that access to the park would not be through Eagle Road, and that depending on funding, the park would be built between 2005 and 2007. 

Shade Tree Commission 

Mr. Weaver said that he had spoken to Mr. Pellegrino about re-drafting the language of the Shade Tree Ordinance, and making the Shade Tree Commission a permanent sub-committee. 

Clark Nature Center Sub-Committee 

Mr. Strover reported that the Eagle Scout outdoor classroom project was completed and the trail to the classroom is being planned. 

Skate Park Sub-Committee 

(Chairman Bernard Bires arrived at the meeting at this time). 

Mr. O'Neill reported that he would like to find a temporary location for the skate park, with a goal of possibly including it in the Woll Tract plans. He said that if the Staples field is not available, he would like to consider using one of the basketball courts at Helen Randle Park or some of the open area at the Village at Newtown South. He has not contacted anyone at Village at Newtown about this. 

Mr. Ott said that Mr. Sasha, owner of Village at Newtown, has been meeting with the Planning Commission about adding another building, near the Farmers Market. He said that some old agreements have been examined that indicate that there may be some obligation to provide some recreation at the site. He said that this is in the early stages of research. He said that he did not think that construction would be right away, and that the developers may be approachable about providing space for a skate park. 

Mr. Weaver said that he thought that use of a skate park would have to be through a membership or admission fee, and that parents would have to sign waivers before children could be admitted. He said that a control shack would be needed. He said that he thought that the one in Doylestown had been donated. 

Mr. Jirele said that he thought that at one time the Board of Supervisors had discussed using one of the basketball courts for a skate park, but that they were not in favor of it because the courts are in constant use for basketball, and because the park is not easily accessible for children to get to on their own. He said that he is not sure if the Board of Supervisors will support a skate park at Helen Randle or at Village at Newtown. 

Mr. O'Neill moved to request that the discussion of a Skate Park be added to the Board of Supervisors work session agenda on July 21, 2003. Mr. Clancy seconded and the motion passed 7-0. 

Liaison Reports 

Planning Commission 

Mr. Ott reported that the Planning Commission was reviewing plans for an addition to the Village at Newtown Shopping Center. He said that Mr. VanLuvanee, attorney for Village at Newtown, was researching some old agreements with the former owner that referenced provision of a Community Center. 

Board of Supervisors 

Mr. Weaver reported that the Board of Supervisors was also reviewing the agreements made with the former owner of Village at Newtown, which referenced building a community center in exchange for some waivers and approvals. 

Park and Recreation Director's Report 

Mr. Wert reported that the Park and Recreation Department had a 2% increase in revenue and an 18% increase in participation. He said that camp enrollments were creeping up, and that the Summer Program Brochure had been mailed. 

Mrs. Kelly suggested that Mr. Wert consider one-week enrollments for the teen camp. She said that many of the young teens in Newtown are enrolled in one and two week specialty camps and have travel plans, but might be interested in attending the camp for one or two weeks. Mr. Wert thought that this was a good suggestion. He said that he would look into this right away. He said that he thought that Northampton may have weekly enrollments in their teen camp. 

Mr. Wert said that the benches and tables at Roberts Ridge had been installed, and that a bench donated by Pennoni Associates would be installed at the Clark Nature Center shortly. The bench donated to honor Helen Randle would be installed at Helen Randle Park as soon as Mrs. Randle has chosen a site. 

Mr. Wert reported that he had testified in Harrisburg on House Bill 298 and Senate Bill 321, prohibiting government competition with private enterprise. He said that he was not sure if there would be any additional testimony. He said that the Bills go beyond Park and Recreation competition, but extend to public works such as road repair and snow removal. 

Mrs. Sutton moved to adjourn. Mr. Clancy seconded and the motion passed 7-0. 

 

Respectfully submitted

 

 ______________________________
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary