TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PLANNING COMMISSION

MINUTES – JANUARY 9, 2006

 

 

The regular meeting of the Planning Commission of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on January 9, 2006.  Ms. Friedman called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. and welcomed new Planning Commission Member, Dean Dickson , Ron Smith, the Supervisor Liaison, and Township Solicitor, John Donaghy.

 

Those present:

 

Planning Commission:   Cynthia Harrison, Chairman

                                                William Taylor, Vice Chairman

                                                Dean Dickson, Secretary

                                                Karen Friedman, Member

                                                John Pazdera, Member

 

Others:                                     Nancy Frick, Director Zoning, Inspection & Planning

                                                John Donaghy, Township Solicitor

                                                James Majewski, Township Engineer

                                                Ron Smith, Supervisor Liaison

 

 

REORGANIZATION:  ELECTION OF OFFICERS

 

The meeting was turned over to Mr. Donaghy who called for nominations for Chairman of the Planning Commission for 2006.

 

Ms. Friedman moved and Mr. Pazdera seconded the nomination of Cynthia Harrison as Chairman.  There were no further nominations, and the Motion carried unanimously.

 

The meeting was turned over to Ms. Harrison who called for nominations for Vice Chairman of the Planning Commission for 2006. 

 

Mr. Pazdera moved and Ms. Friedman seconded the nomination of William Taylor as Vice Chairman.  There were no further nominations, and the Motion carried unanimously.

 

Ms. Harrison called for nominations for Secretary of the Planning Commission for 2006.  Ms. Friedman moved and Mr. Taylor seconded the nomination of Dean Dickson as Secretary.  There were no further nominations, and the Motion carried unanimously.

 

Ms. Harrison thanked Ms. Friedman for her hard work during 2005 as Chairman of the Planning Commission noting she did an outstanding job.

 

January 9, 2006                                                            Planning Commission – page 2 of 10

 

 

APPROVAL OF MINTUES

 

Mr. Pazdera moved, Mr. Taylor seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of December 12, 2005 as written.  Motion carried with Mr. Dickson abstained.

 

 

SNIPES SOCCER COMPLEX SKETCH PLAN DISCUSSION AND MOTION

 

Mr. Majewski stated the proposed Snipes Soccer Complex is located at the northwest

corner of the intersection of Dolington Road and Quarry Round bounded on the north by

I-95, on the east by Dolington Road with Elm Lowne across the street, on the south by

Quarry Road with Quarry Hill School across the street, and on the west by several

residential properties and I-95.  The property contains approximately thirty acres of land,

and the Township purchased it several years ago for the purpose of open space and

recreation.  For the last several years, the Park & Recreation Board has been looking at

the site to utilize it as a soccer complex and organized a Sub-Committee two years ago to

look into what could be done with the property.  Part of the Sub-Committee included

representatives from Yardley-Makefield Soccer, the Elm Lowne Committee, Police

Department, Park & Recreation Board and staff, and the Township engineer’s office. 

They developed several concepts which were reviewed by the Park & Recreation Board

and neighbors.  The Park & Recreation Board recommended to the Board of Supervisors,

the Concept Plan which was shown this evening to the Planning Commission. 

 

Mr. Majewski stated they plan the site to be primarily a soccer complex with nine fields –

two large fields, two mid-size fields, and five smaller fields.  They are showing a loop

road around the site with the fields in the center of the site.  They show one entrance off

Quarry Road opposite the exit from the front parking lot of the Quarry Hill Elementary

School and another entrance/exit off Dolington Road opposite the northern exit from Elm

Lowne.  They propose 348 parking spaces.  According to the needs for soccer fields they

recommend 30 spaces per field, and they are providing some additional spaces as there is

a small playground and small skate park proposed.  The skate park is shown near I-95.

The Plan also shows two possible locations for restrooms/concession stand -  one near the

Dolington Road entrance which is also near the proposed Fire Station.  Another possible

location is on the western end of the property in the inner loop near the last soccer field. 

The location would depend on the input received and feasibility of getting sewer and

water to the facility.  If the Fire Station is constructed in the near future, sewer and water

will be extended up from Creamery Road down through the site into the Fire Station and

would from there be a short run to the concession stand.  If the Fire Station is not built, it

would be a significant expense and significant run of pipe to get the sewer and water

from Creamery Road out to the concession stand.  In that case, it might be a better

alternative to go to the other location and tie into the sewer in Quarry Road. 

 

 

January 9, 2006                                                            Planning Commission – page 3 of 10

 

 

Mr. Majewski stated they have also come up with an alternative lay out shown this

evening based on some comments made at the Board of Supervisors’ meeting as one

Supervisor felt that the lay-out approved by the Park & Recreation Board was dangerous

in that people would have to cross the parking lot to get to the fields.  In the alternative

Plan they have proposed a loop road separated from the parking areas and this would

carry traffic all the way around the Park without having to interfere with any of the

parking spaces.  He stated people would still have to cross the parking lot area/driveway

to get to the fields.  While this may be safer, it involves significantly more pavement,

would require more stormwater management to take care of the impervious surface, and

would increase the expense of the Park.  They have also shown a small drop-off area near

the entrance to Quarry Road which was suggested by the landscape architect as a

possibility as well as a walkway system through the middle of the fields.  He stated there

are some disadvantages to this walkway system as it reduces the flexibility the soccer

organization has when they want to rotate the fields, move goal mouths, etc.

 

Mr. Majewski stated based on input from the public, they tried to keep the road as far

away as possible from the houses on Quarry Road.  There is a 300’ separation between

the road that goes around the Park to the house that is located at the intersection of

Quarry Road Court and Quarry Road. They also intend to maintain as many of the

existing Christmas trees as possible. 

 

Ms. Friedman asked why only soccer fields are being proposed, and Mr. Majewski stated

Macclesfield Park is currently a multi-use Park and the soccer organization is crowded at

this location.  By moving some of the soccer fields up to this complex, it should free up

space for some of the other organizations such as football and lacrosse so they can stay in

one area. 

 

Ms. Harrison asked if all the fields at Macclesfield Park will be taken away from the

soccer and moved to this location, and Mr. Majewski stated they will not.  These new

fields will only help alleviate the overuse of the fields at Macclesfield Park.  Some of the

fields can be switched over to lacrosse and/or football, and this will be determined by the

Park & Recreation Board.  Ms. Harrison stated she has heard concern by other sports

indicating they need more fields, and she would be hesitant to limit this new complex

only for soccer and feels they should turn the soccer fields at Macclesfield into something

else.  Mr. Majewski stated while they will do this to some degree, they cannot take nine

fields away from soccer at Macclesfield Park as this would not solve the problem of

overcrowding for soccer which has the largest user group of any of the sports in the

Township.  Ms. Harrison asked about baseball, and Mr. Majewski stated while they have

an overcrowding problem as well, the Board of Supervisors has approved the lighting of

Field H at Macclesfield which will allow for more playing time.

 

 

 

January 9, 2006                                                            Planning Commission – page 4 of 10

 

 

Ms. Harrison asked if there is lighting proposed for the new complex; and

Mr. Majewski stated while this is not currently proposed, it has not been ruled out.

 

Ms. Friedman asked how many soccer fields are proposed for Memorial Park, and

Mr. Majewski stated two fields have been constructed; however, that Park is supposed to

be for non-permitted use to allow for those not involved in a League to have use of a

field.  He added that this does not preclude the organizations from using those fields for

practice, etc. but it is not something that will be regularly-scheduled.  Memorial Park will

ultimately have four soccer fields and two softball fields. 

 

Ms. Friedman asked why they have not proposed at least one softball or baseball field at

Snipes, and Mr. Majewski stated Snipes was not felt large enough to accommodate this

and the organizations felt it was better to have all their activities in one spot.  He stated

PAA has been looking at the Samost Tract, and they hope to have a baseball field put at

that location which is closer to their other activities.  No Master Plan has been created for

Samost at this time although it has been discussed by the Park & Recreation Board.

 

Mr. Taylor stated he feels parking lots are very dangerous, and he would prefer to have

the loop road away from the parking. The rest of the Planning Commission members

concurred.  Mr. Pazdera asked the impact on the stormwater management plan if they

construct the alternate plan with the loop road, and Mr. Majewski stated the stormwater

management facilities will have to be expanded quite a bit in order to accommodate the

run off generated by the additional impervious surface.    He stated a soil survey will be

done on the site to determine whether the ground is permeable and water can be put back

into the ground and to determine if there is a problem with groundwater and if there is

bedrock which may impact the grading.  He stated the site is large enough to

accommodate a detention basin.  Currently a detention basin is proposed for the future

Fire Station, and they could expand on that and tie it together if the Fire Station is built in

the future.  The soils are considered to be C soils which means permeability is marginal. 

Part of the site does have bedrock near the surface.  In some cases where there is bedrock,

the water cannot percolate through; but in others if the bedrock is fractured, they can get

excellent infiltration.  They will test for this as well. 

 

Mr. Taylor asked if there will be permanent fields marked out, and Mr. Majewski stated

they will have to have a lay out that is two-tiered with the five fields in the upper tier

graded out as one large graded area, and the lower four fields would be separately graded

due to the change in topography.  He stated there is a 6’ drop in elevation going from one

end of the lower fields to the bottom end of the lower fields, and they will have to do

contouring to achieve a fairly level surface with surface drainage off to the side.  They

will also put a drainage system in between the upper set of fields and the lower set of

fields and this will be determined after the testing is done. 

 

 

January 9, 2006                                                            Planning Commission – page 5 of 10

 

 

Ms. Harrison asked how many soccer fields there are in the Township, as well as the

number of basketball, tennis, softball, football, and lacrosse fields.  Mr. Majewski stated

there are two football fields at Macclesfield Park.  There is basketball at the Pool and

Memorial Park.  There are four tennis courts on Schuyler, three off Revere Road, eight

courts at Memorial Park to be constructed during Phase II, and four tennis courts at the

Pool.  He stated the Tennis organization would like to have some tennis courts at the

Samost Tract if that is developed in the future.  Mr. Majewski stated for softball there are

three fields at the Roelofs Road Complex, and when Memorial Park is completed there

will be two additional softball fields.  For baseball fields, there are three fields for Little

League at the Edgewood Road Complex, two 90’ fields and one 60’ field at Macclesfield

Park,  and two of the fields at Macclesfield Park are lit and the other will be lit in a few

months.  There are also two softball fields at the Pool, one of which has lights.   There is

also a baseball field.  Two of the fields are School District property.  There are also three

additional fields at Quarry Hill Elementary School as well as two at Charles Boehm

which are all 60’ fields.  Mr. Taylor asked about access to the School fields, and

Mr. Majewski stated PAA has to rent them from the School District.  Mr. Majewski

stated Lacrosse has at least two fields which they can use and possibly more. 

 

Ms. Harrison asked how many people are involved in lacrosse, but Mr. Majewski stated

he did not have these numbers.  Ms. Friedman asked if there were any requests from the

lacrosse group for more fields, and Mr. Majewski stated all the organizations have asked

for more fields, and this is why the Plan being discussed this evening has been forwarded

to the Planning Commission as they felt the sooner the fields are installed, the sooner

they can take pressure off all the organizations. 

 

Ms.  Harrison stated she does not feel all the fields should be used for one sport unless

they take an equal amount of fields away from them at another location.  She feels they

need at least one more 90’ baseball field and they need to address all the concerns and not

just soccer.  She would prefer that the upper portion of the Snipes Tract be for soccer and

the lower part divided into other uses.  Mr. Majewski stated the Park & Recreation Board

did discuss this; and based on the information from all the user groups, they felt it would

be best to make this a soccer complex with some of the fields at Macclesfield being freed

up for other uses.

 

Ms. Friedman stated she is concerned that unless the fields at Macclesfield are stipulated

as being for football or lacrosse, as YMS continues to grow, YMS will stay on the fields

and it will be difficult for the other organizations to use the fields.  Mr. Majewski stated

the Park & Recreation Board discusses this on a yearly basis and each organization

comes in with how many members they have, what percentage are Township residents,

and the fields are then allocated.  He stated YMS has the highest number of users which

he feels is over 2000 members, and 87% of them are Township residents.  He stated some

of the other organizations have a lower percentage of Township residents and much

 

January 9, 2006                                                            Planning Commission – page 6 of 10

 

lower numbers in the organization.  Ms. Harrison asked about the request for more

baseball fields and asked the number in that organization; however, there were no PAA

representatives present.  Mr. Smith stated PAA also has significant numbers but they

wanted their additional baseball fields adjacent to what they already have which was

previously noted by Mr. Majewski.

 

Mr. Pazdera and Mr. Taylor stated they felt it made sense to have Snipes as a soccer

complex.  Ms. Harrison asked if they should not take fields from another area and give

them to another sport.  Mr. Taylor stated Ms. Liney takes care of field allocation working

with the users and the Park & Recreation Board and a lot of analysis goes into this

allocation.

 

Ms. Friedman asked the timeline for development of the Samost Tract, and Mr. Majewski

stated it has been discussed that a Master Plan should be developed; but currently they

are involved with Memorial Park and now Snipes.  Ms. Friedman asked what other land

might be available for a 90’ baseball field.  Mr. Majewski stated it is anticipated that

Samost or a large portion of Samost will be used for recreation.

 

Ms. Harrison asked if any of the soccer fields at Macclesfield Park could be converted to

a 90’ baseball field if they moved soccer to Snipes.  Mr. Majewski stated while this is

possible, they would have to cut out a baseball field and reconstruct what is currently

there.  He stated PAA was primarily concerned with lighting Field H, and this was

approved.  They then asked for a 90’ field at Samost when that tract is developed.  They

are not looking into taking over a part of Macclesfield Park for baseball.  Mr. Majewski

stated the fields at Macclesfield Park are currently overused, and it is impossible to

maintain the grass in a satisfactory condition because of overuse.  They hope that by

moving some of the soccer to Snipes, it will help alleviate the heavy usage at

Macclesfield Park.  He stated by taking away some of the soccer use at Macclesfield

Park, it will free up some usage for football and lacrosse. 

 

Mr. Taylor asked the estimated cost to develop the Snipes Tract, and Mr. Majewski stated

it would be $2 million to $2.5 million depending on the layout.  Mr. Taylor asked from

where funds would be coming, and Mr. Majewski stated this has not been determined. 

He stated the Board of Supervisors authorized that they begin the design process and

ultimately the project will have to be budgeted in order to be built.  The lead time to get

sites such as this designed and approved would take several months.  Mr. Taylor stated it

appears that the target would be 2007 and realistically 2008, and Mr. Majewski agreed.

 

Mr. Pazdera noted the skate park location, and stated they are showing it back by I-95 on

the original plan.  He expressed concern with its location away from the road.  He feels the Police should be able to see this area from the road as it may be a location where young people may congregate.  He stated in the alternate scheme, it is located closer to Quarry Road which he feels would be more visible from the road, although it is closer to the houses which is a drawback. 

January 9, 2006                                                            Planning Commission – page 7 of 10

 

 

Mr. Pazdera stated he would be in favor of the revised lay-out for the Park shown.

Mr. Taylor stated he does not see the necessity for the drop-off area; but is in favor of the

loop road.  Ms. Harrison stated she too is in favor of the revised concept, but feels

strongly that if they approve this, they should also take some of the fields away from

Macclesfield Park or allow them to be used by other sport groups if Snipes is to be a

soccer-only facility.  Mr. Taylor stated there are professional people already deeply

involved in field allocation, and he feels they should leave this to them and it should not

be dictated by the Planning Commission.

 

Ms. Harrison asked how many soccer fields are located at Macclesfield Park.

 

Mr. Mike Dimaio, representing YMS, stated they have twelve soccer fields at

Macclesfield Park.  Ms. Harrison stated she feels they should give up three to four of

them to other activities if they are giving them all of this space at Snipes. 

 

Mr. Roger Deininger,  President of YMS, stated this process was started in June 0f 2004

because YMS  has continued to grow.  Currently they use fields in Falls Township, and a

large number of their participants cannot use Lower Makefield Township fields.  They

therefore have to pay fees to Falls Township.  They also have 400 to 500 children playing

on Edgewood Road which he feels is a very dangerous area.  He stated they cannot

accommodate the younger children at Macclesfield Park.  He stated 99% of these

younger children are Lower Makefield Township residents.  He stated they have 700 to

800 of their participants playing outside of Lower Makefield Township.  He stated there

is concern about the wear and tear on the fields at Macclesfield.  He stated the new

complex is not proposed to have lights and will only be used during daylight hours. 

He stated currently they are maxed out for fields at Macclesfield Park.  He stated the

smaller children play on smaller fields and the older children play on the larger fields. 

They have provided a number of smaller fields at Snipes to help with the Edgewood

Road situation.

 

Mr. Mike Dimaio, Facilities Director for YMS, stated it is an exhausting job trying to fit

all the fields at Macclesfield which should really hold nine fields.  This year they put in

twelve fields and filled in any space with an “academy” field which is a small field.  He

stated they work with Ms. Liney each year on permitting who will get the fields.  He

stated they also work with lacrosse and football.  He noted Ms. Liney permits according

to how many people are in the organization and how many players are Township

residents.  Mr. Dimaio stated there are currently two football fields at Macclesfield and

they will be able to take over the third field which is adjacent to them once Snipes is

open.  In the spring lacrosse takes over those two fields.  He stated originally lacrosse had

two fields, then three, and now they are up to five.  He stated whenever they take a field,

YMS gives one up.  By moving soccer to Snipes, it will allow them to get five fields.  He

stated he feels they are four years too late on Snipes already, and it will take two to three

years before they get the fields at Snipes. 

January 9, 2006                                                            Planning Commission – page 8 of 10

 

 

Ms. Friedman stated the job of the Planning Commission is to make sure there is

available space for everyone.  She stated at some point she feels there is a cap as to how

many can play and at some point, they may need to turn people away.  Mr. Dimaio stated

they do have a waiting list for registration.  He stated they have gone outside the

Township to use other fields and have been doing this for some time.

 

Mr. Robert Hill stated he is a coach and they never make it onto a field at Macclesfield as

they practice between the gully and the outside goal post as their players are smaller.  He

stated they also use the back left hand section of the Park but this area slopes off on both

sides.

 

Ms. Harrison asked the Planning Commission members which plan they preferred, and it

was the consensus of the Planning Commission that they were in favor of the alternate

plan.  Ms. Harrison asked if they want to make this all soccer or do they wish to make a

comment about this to the Board.  Mr. Taylor stated he feels it should be designated as a

soccer area and leave the allocation of the fields to the professionals.  Mr. Pazdera

agreed.  Ms. Harrison asked if all the organizations have had the same ability to be

represented as they have only heard this evening from one organization.  Mr. Majewski

stated this has been discussed at three to four Park & Recreation Board meetings.

 

Mr. Smith stated he is the liaison between the Board of Supervisors and the Planning

Commission and was previously a member of the Park & Recreation Board for almost ten

years.  He stated all the organizations have participated in the discussions at length for

several years with regard to the facilities.  The Park & Recreation Board has unanimously

approved this concept.  It then went to the Board of Supervisors for approval and it was

felt it should go to the Planning Commission for their review.  He stated it was not a

question as to whether it should be baseball, basketball, etc. as this has already been

approved and this will be a soccer-only tract.  He understands that the Board of

Supervisors wanted them to review it as this was the next logical step before it can go to

the next stage of being budgeted and developed.  He stated he does not feel it is within

the Planning Commission’s jurisdiction to decide the use and it has already been decided

that it will be a soccer-only complex with a few additional uses such as the skate park and

the playground.  He stated he understands their concerns.  He stated the need for fields is

tremendous for all the sports.  He stated it is unfortunate that one Board does not know

what the other Boards are doing and it would have been beneficial for the Planning

Commission to get some type of history before it came before them.  He stated years

have gone into this discussion by the Park & Recreation Board before it came to the stage

of approval by the Supervisors.  He feels it was agreed in concept by the former Board of

Supervisors but they wanted the Planning Commission to look at it to see which of the

two plans was more preferable based on the concerns by one Supervisor.

 

 

 

January 9, 2006                                                            Planning Commission – page 9 of 10

 

 

Ms. Harrison stated the Planning Commission knows that they do not make decisions and

are only a recommending body.  She questioned why they did not state initially that it

was already approved as a soccer-only complex.  She stated she would have liked to see a

representative of the Park & Recreation Board present as opposed to only soccer

representatives.  She stated they wanted to make sure they were being fair to everyone.

Ms. Friedman stated she wishes they would have been advised of this earlier in the

evening. 

 

Ms. Harrison stated she would like to make sure that the Park & Recreation Board has

discussed the fairness of other sports in relation to this field.

 

Mr. Taylor moved and Mr. Pazdera seconded to recommend to the Board of Supervisors

that the Revised Concept Plan C dated 12/2/05 be adopted with the loop road and without

the drop off.

 

Ms. Harrison stated she would like to add the comment that they should make sure the

Recreation Board has gone over this with the other organizations to discuss the

additional needs for the other sports in this Plan.

 

Mr. Pazdera stated he feels this is their task anyway and he feels they have already done

this.  Ms. Harrison stated if there are any other recommendations in the future, she would

like to see the Recreation Board represented at the Planning Commission meeting in

addition to the individual sport.

 

The Motion as originally stated was approved unanimously.

 

 

OTHER BUSINESS

 

Ms. Harrison stated they need to appoint a liaison to the Environmental Advisory

Council.  It was not known what night they  meet and so the matter was tabled. 

Mr. Dickson stated he would be willing to be appointed to this position depending on the

night of their meetings. 

 

Ms. Friedman distributed information received from Mr. Hoffmeister on the sewers. 

 

Ms. Friedman stated she also received a request from the Historic Commission that they

be provided with the Planning Commission Minutes for items having to do with historic

properties.  Ms. Frick advised that the Minutes are on-line once approved, and they could

get them from there.  Ms. Friedman stated she will advise them of this. 

 

 

 

January 9, 2006                                                          Planning Commission – page 10 of 10

 

 

Ms. Friedman stated at the last Board of Supervisors meeting it was discussed that there

will be a joint meeting regarding Edgewood Village to be held January 25 at 7:30 p.m. 

She urged all Planning Commission members to attend.  She noted the public is going to

be invited as well.  She stated they also discussed repealing the Age-Qualified Ordinance. 

Mr. Smith stated at this point they have only approved advertising repeal of the

Ordinance.  It was noted this is scheduled to be heard by the Board of Supervisors at their

meeting of February 15.  This matter will be placed on the Planning Commission Agenda

prior to that time.

 

 

There being no further business, Mr. Taylor moved, Mr. Pazdera seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 8:40 p.m.

 

                                                            Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                            Dean Dickson, Secretary