NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP

PARK AND RECREATION BOARD

MINUTES OF SEPTEMBER 7, 2005


Approval of Minutes: Mr. Clancy moved to accept the minutes of September 7,2005 as amended. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed unanimously.


The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on Wednesday, September 7, 2005, in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Andrew Levine, Chairman; Joel Grosso, Vice-Chairman; Michael Clancy, John Davis, Kathy Kelly, and Susan Sutton, members. Also in attendance were William Wert, Park and Recreation Director and Russell G. Strover, Naturalist.

Call to Order

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

Approval of Minutes

Mrs. Kelly moved to accept the minutes of May 4, 2005. Mrs. Sutton seconded and the motion passed 3-0-3, with Messrs. Levine, Grosso and Davis abstaining.

Mr. Davis moved to accept the minutes of July 6, 2005. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 6-0.

New Business

Lafayette Quarters – McGrath Homes – 398 Durham Rd. Preliminary Plan for Major Subdivision

Mr. Frank Dillon, Mr. Paul Callahan and Mr. Patrick Flanagan presented a preliminary plan for a major subdivision on Durham Road. Mr. Dillon explained that this property, opposite the Township building, will have 120 age-restricted units and a recreation center. The plan is similar to the Flowers Mill development in Middletown Township. It will be a gated community, and all open space will be for residents’ use only. None of the planned open space is contiguous to Township owned land. In response to Mr. Wert’s questions, Mr. Flanagan explained that the recreation center would belong to the homeowners association, and he could not commit to any use of the building for Township sponsored programs.

Mr. Levine moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors accept a fee in lieu of open space for this major subdivision. Mr. Grosso seconded and the motion passed 6-0.

Goodnoe Tract – Orleans Homes – Eagle Road – Sketch Plan for Major Subdivision

Mr. William Briegel of Orleans Homebuilders presented a sketch plan for a major subdivision on Eagle Road. The plan shows a cluster home development, with 29 homes on 50.65 acres. Three lots are to be joined for the subdivision, and the existing homes will remain. These three homes will have one- to five- acre lots, and the other units will be clustered near Eagle Road, with 36.84 acres remaining as open space. The homes will be on 6500 square foot lots.

The Board discussed possibly linking the development to the trail system, and about accepting the open space labeled “A” on the plan, as it is directly linked to the Hidden Lake property owned by the Township, and the Peter Taylor Farmstead.

Mr. Briegel said that this is a sketch plan, and it has not been shown to the Planning Commission. He agreed to return to discuss the open space after he has a preliminary plan, and has had some input from the Planning Commission.

Reports of Sub-Committees

Park Development

Roberts Ridge Park

Mr. Levine reported that Jim Worthington has guaranteed funds for the Park of Possibilities at Roberts Ridge Park. He said that the park could be fully upgraded before winter. The safety surface must be installed before the cold weather.

Playing Fields

Mr. Wert reported that the field behind Staples is ready for use. At this time only Upper Makefield/Newtown Soccer has asked to use the field. Mr. Levine suggested perhaps sending flyers to the elementary schools for a naming contest for the park.

Clark Nature Center

Mr. Wert and Mr. Strover provided copies of the framework for the Clark Nature Center that had been prepared in 2002, along with some photographs of the park and a list of scout projects, completed and proposed.

Mr. Strover said that there is some erosion along the stream that needs to be addressed. He suggested reducing the intensity of stormwater run-off with riprap. The stormwater is coming from the properties across Durham Road. He thought that the Woll Tract plans included some stormwater management that would reduce the velocity of run off.

Mr. Strover said that the under story of the wooded areas is being destroyed by deer and invasive plants. The rhododendrons are in good condition above the area that the deer can reach. The Board discussed possible ways to reduce the deer population. Mr. Wert provided the results of the Fairmount Park Commission aerial infrared deer count of the Nature Center and surrounding areas. They found 33 deer inside and 37 deer in the immediate outside area. Ideally, there should be one deer per square mile.

Mr. Wert said that he has learned that the Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve fence, enclosing 18 acres, cost 1.2 million dollars. A few times a year the deer have to be chased out of the preserve. They have found that deer come back in through the streambeds, and by walking in the gates at dusk as employees’ cars are exiting. He said that Rick Deppen of the State Forestry Department has suggested creating smaller enclosed areas in the park to measure progress made when plants are not subject to the deer.

Mr. Strover said that he has two programs for children in the park, sprouts and seedlings, who are having great success with plants and trees in the existing fenced area. He suggested looking into grants for testing. He also suggested assembling a taskforce to make some official recommendations for protecting the property.

Mr. Wert said that Penn State has stewardship programs that have grants available and he would look into these. He has contacted the forest service for a list of consultants.

Mr. Wert said that most grants available for projects involving stewardships would require a commitment from the Board of Supervisors of matching funds. He agreed to further investigate all of the suggestions for erosion control and deer control.

Mr. Strover said that he has done some research on temporary deer fencing, but does not think it would work on this property. He said that it has failed at the Community College.

Mr. Strover reported that the 4H group has grown from 8 members to 25 members and won the blue ribbon for topiary at the Grange Fair. The Eagle Scouts have completed a meditation garden that attracts butterflies.

Park and Recreation Director’s Report

Mr. Wert reported that there has been a 1% increase in revenue over last year at this time, and a decrease in participation of 16.2%. He said that the fall/winter program brochure has not yet been mailed, and that accounts for the drop in participation. The fall brochure included 331 programs and classes, for youth and for adults.

He asked the Board to review capital projects for 2006. The Board agreed that their priorities for the coming year are:

Mr. Levine suggested that they not include the Wiggins Tract until roadwork on Gaucks Lane has been completed.

Member Comments

Mr. Clancy presented the schedule of events for the parade honoring Little League and Girls Softball. The Board members will be participating in the events.

Mr. Levine asked the recording secretary to arrange for an October meeting, as the first Wednesday of October conflicts with the Board of Supervisors meeting.

Mr. Clancy moved to adjourn at 10:00 PM. Mr. Davis seconded and the motion passed unanimously.

 

Respectfully Submitted

 

_______________________________
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary