PARKS AND RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES OF MEETING OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2007
The Newtown Township Park and Recreation Board met on Tuesday, September11, 2007, in the Newtown Township Building. In attendance and voting were: Andrew Levine, Chairman; Joel Grosso, Vice- Chairman; Michael Clancy, John Davis, Kathy Kelly, Buck O’Neill and Susan Sutton, members. Also in attendance were Bill Wert, Park and Recreation Director, and Russell G. Strover, Township Naturalist.
Call to Order
Mr. Levine called the meeting to order at 7:00PM
Approval of Minutes
Mrs. Sutton moved to accept the minutes of June 6, 2007. Mrs. Kelly seconded and the motion passed 5-0-2, with Messrs. Davis and Clancy abstaining.
Mrs. Sutton moved to accept the minutes of August 1, 2007. Mr. Clancy seconded and the motion passed 4-0-3, with Mrs. Kelly, Messrs. Grosso and Davis abstaining.
Attorney Ed Murphy, representing the applicant, reviewed the preliminary/final plan for land development for the Melsky property in conjunction with the Federal Veterans Cemetery. The Melsky property is 134 acres, 94 of which are to be sold to Toll Brothers, and the remaining 40 to Leo Holt by Council Rock School District. This plan shows 45 houses on the Upper Makefield portion of the property and 45 in Newtown. Access to the development is through Stoopville Road. The homes will be on ½ acre lots. The Newtown homes will have public water and sewer. The plans have been coordinated with Upper Makefield to meet requirements of both Newtown’s and Upper Makefield’s SALDO’s. The Newtown Trail will extend along the frontage.
Mr. Levine moved to recommend that the Board of Supervisors accept a fee in lieu of open space for the Melsky tract. Mr. Clancy seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Johnson Kendall Johnson
Matthew M. Chartrand of Bohler Engineering was in attendance to review this preliminary/final plan for adaptive reuse of an 11,827 square foot building, with a proposed future addition of 7,500 square feet for D-1 office use at 109 Pheasant Run.
Mr. Levine explained that the Park and Recreation Board recommends to the Supervisors whether to accept dedication of open space, or to accept a fee in lieu of the open space. Since there are not plans for the 7,500 square foot addition right now, he is not sure whether a fee would be collected on the entire project. He was also not sure whether a fee had already been collected for the existing building at time of construction. He said that he would speak to the Township Solicitor about this.
Mr. Levine reported that the Planning Commission has reviewed and recommended approval of the Woll tract. The Planning Commission discussed the possible road improvements that might be needed. Residents in attendance at the meeting continued to have concerns about field lighting, and particularly about the proposed height of the poles. There was some discussion about the Township accepting dedication of St. Andrew’s Briar’s retention basin. Mr. Levine said that this would be a Board decision, and it really did not impact the park either way.
In response to questions from Board members, Mr. Levine said that there was considerable discussion about glare from field lights. He said that he is working with Musco to try to arrange a light demonstration at Middletown or Lower Makefield, to show residents how well controlled the newest versions of lights are. The next step in the review process will be for Gilmore & Associates to clean up the plans to comply with Township consultants’ review letters, followed by a second review by the Planning Commission, after which plans would be reviewed by the Supervisors, with a request for preliminary/final land development approval. A budget will have to accompany the plans. The change in zoning to accommodate the increased impervious surface is being reviewed by the Planning Commissions of the members of the Jointure. Our own Planning Commission recommended that the Supervisors approve the change.
Fran Rupert, former Newtown Township Park and Recreation Director and currently working with the DCNR, was in attendance to discuss the Township’s tennis program. While he was with the Township, his friend and partner Ellen Hackett created a tennis program, which was very successful, using courts at Newtown Middle School. He provided a scrapbook of news articles and photographs of the program. Ellen Hackett recently passed away at the age of 44. Mr. Rupert, on behalf of USTA, asked to make a donation of $20,000 for tennis at the Woll tract in Ms. Hackett’s memory.
Mr. Levine thanked Mr. Rupert for this very generous offer, and expressed his sympathy for the loss he has suffered. The Board all joined Mr. Levine in this sentiment, many remembering Ms. Hackett and all that she did for Newtown’s tennis program over the years. Mr. Levine explained that the Woll plans have not yet been approved by the Board of Supervisors, and so acceptance of a donation would be premature. Once plans have been finalized, he would approach the Board about the memorial. The Board hopes to include tennis courts in the Woll plan, and the memorial is a very fitting tribute to someone who had been instrumental in promoting youth tennis.
Bob Hall, representing Council Rock United Soccer Association was in attendance to discuss possibly entering into agreements for field use in exchange for payment of artificial turf. Such arrangements have been made by Yardley Makefield Soccer for use of fields.
The Board briefly discussed whether such an arrangement would be feasible in Newtown, but did not make a decision as to any recommendation.
Mr. Hall questioned whether it would be possible to use the lawn area at Silver Lake Park for soccer fields. Mr. Wert agreed to look into whether the parking is adequate for a single field. No grading would be necessary, only lining of fields and installation of goals. At Mr. Rupert’s suggestion, he would also investigate whether the field would need much work to be ADA compliant for spectators. He suggested that Mr. Hall write to the Board of Supervisors about use of the lawn.
Roberts Ridge Park
Mr. Wert reported that the Public Works Department had questioned swaying that they observed at the Roberts Ridge picnic pavilion. The pavilion was temporarily closed, and a representative of Little Tykes was brought in to inspect. It was discovered that the sway is part of the construction, to prevent the pavilion from being damaged in winds.
Mrs. Sutton reported that she has met with representatives of Chandler Hall to discuss improvements to Carl Sedia Park. There was some concern about walking accessibility for residents on the opposite side of Sycamore Street. Suggestions for improvements for intergenerational use include a butterfly garden, a glider style swing and some tables along with seating in the gazebo. There is childcare at Chandler Hall, and it was suggested that seniors, along with the children, could visit the park for story or game time.
Park and Recreation Director’s Report
Mr. Wert reported that the fall program brochures are being mailed this week. Revenue for programs is up 3% over last year. The camps were tremendously successful. The department is now using e-flyers to promote certain programs. The e-mailing list has about 850 members. This fall, Council Rock School District will begin using an “E’Friday” plan to help eliminate paper. Parents will have to sign on to get information that had, in the past, been sent home with the children on Fridays. The District has agreed to include the Park and Rec flyers in the weekly e-folder, but it will require that parents check the folder.
A draft of the forest management program for Clark Nature Center should be completed shortly.
Chandler Field’s front field is being rebuilt, and bids on rebuilding of field 4 at Helen Randle are being accepted until September 20. Once a contract has been awarded, work should take about 45 days.
Mrs. Kelly moved to adjourn at 9:00 PM. Mrs. Sutton seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary