TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD
PARK & RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES - DECEMBER 21, 1999

The regular meeting of the Park & Recreation Board of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on December 21, 1999. Chairman Fritchey called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.

Those present:

Park & Recreation Board:

David Fritchey, Chairman

 

Ron Smith, Vice Chairman

 

John Kuebler, Secretary

 

Henry Carpenter, Member

 

Andrew Newbon, Member

 

Patricia Martin, Member

 

Larry Szarko, Member

Others:

Scott Fegley, Supervisor Liaison (joined meeting in progress)

 

Fred Allan, Supervisor

 

Wesley Hackman, Supervisor

Absent:

Donna Liney, Recreation Coordinator


APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Mr. Smith moved, Mr. Kuebler seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of November 9, 1999 as written.

NORTH PARK DISCUSSION
Mr. Fritchey noted Ms. Kate John Alder and Mr. Jay Cosentino were present this evening with Plan D which is an amalgam of Plans A, B, and C based on the comments of the Park & Recreation Board members and members of the public which were heard at the last meeting. Ms. Alder stated Plan D shows much of the same scheme for the lower part of Scheme A with the upper part of Scheme B. They also brought in sports venues and parking from Scheme C. She noted the main boulevard entrance proposed for the sports venues off of Woodside Road with two-way traffic. She noted the location of four soccer fields which was raised from three. They have also shown roller hockey. Basketball has also been switched to the opposite side of the park away from the residential community. The location of the maintenance/administration building. A play area was shown - one side for younger children and the other for older children. Parking is similar to what was shown in Scheme C. with drop-off shelters provided. The road will loop to the more naturalistic area. The location of the tennis courts was shown which are completely screened on three sides. A tennis pavilion is also provided for shelter. Two volleyball courts were shown along with another drop-off area to the Arboretum trail system and the quarter-mile cinder "running track." They have shown an upper and lower pond for stormwater detention. The boardwalk remains on this plan as well as the nature overlook. Picnic areas were shown. The main farm complex was also shown as was the old entry road which is now a bikepath that loops through the farm complex. They have proposed maintaining the ruins of the abandoned farmhouse, the barn, and the silo. Community gardens are proposed in the farmyard. The bikepath goes to the future stub road and makes a complete loop of the park. The location of the gravel road previously discussed was shown and goes to a secondary picnic area. The pavilion is larger and can be reserved by larger groups. Two volleyball courts are in this location. The white oak tree has been maintained as the topographic highpoint. They are also showing a softball field which would be used more for pick-up games.

A resident asked if the access to the future stub road is for bicycles and Ms. Alder stated it is an eight foot wide gravel paving which could be used for bikes and can accommodate an emergency vehicle if necessary. She noted this is not a road.

Mr. Minehart asked for an update between the last Park & Recreation meeting and this eveningís meeting and asked if there have been additional meetings. Mr. Fritchey stated there have been no additional meetings and the consultants took the comments heard and came up with this composite scheme. Mr. Minehart stated all the parking has been moved to the left side of the plan. Ms. Alder stated there are 411 parking spaces and she noted their locations. Mr. Minehart stated there has been no consideration whatsoever to the area which has a significant drop where they are proposing flat fields. He stated these areas will require major land movement. Ms. Alder stated they have looked at the slopes according to the topo maps. Mr. Minehart stated the figures are wrong. He also questioned the trees proposed, and Ms. Alder reviewed the proposal for trees. Mr. Minehart asked if there have been any private meetings, and Ms. Alder stated there were none.

Mr. Cosentino stated the three schemes that were presented the last time all showed parking along the property line which abuts Mr. Minehartís property. He stated on Plan D they have pushed some of the parking and pushed it away from his property. He noted this is a concept plan and has not yet been engineered although they were provided with topos and did walk the site. He stated they did not survey the property but this would be done at the next stage of the project.

Mr. Marty Frappoli stated since they have not done engineering studies, he assumes they have not assessed how this plan will effect run off and water coming onto the adjacent floodplain. Ms. Alder stated while this is correct, they have included two pond areas and possibly another may be added in another area as well. They do not intend to create any additional run off from the site. Ms. Alder noted 30% of the site is active and 70% is devoted to open space so they do have a lot of areas that will not generate any run off. She stated there will also be some reduction in run off since currently there are open farm fields. Mr. Frappoli noted the location of his property which will now have a roller hockey field in his back yard. He asked that they defer the roller hockey until they develop the 150 acres that the Township has off of I-95. Ms. Alder noted they could berm the area slightly to act as a sound barrier.

Ms. Marybeth Carter joined the meeting at this time.

Ms. Carol Ann Mundy stated she prefers this plan to anything previously presented especially since they have relocated the basketball courts.

Mr. Smith moved and Mr. Newbon seconded to recommend to the Board of Supervisors that Plans A, B, C, and D go to the Board of Supervisors for their review with an endorsement of Plan D as the Plan that the Park & Recreation Board would like to see developed in North Park.

Mr. Kuebler stated while he does not dislike Plan D, he does not think Plan D is equitable or fair. He feels Plan C is functional and the noisy elements of the Park are in the middle and less intrusive to anyone. He does not feel it is fair to Mr. Minehart to move everything to his side which is why he is in favor of Plan C. Ms. Martin asked if they could modify the Motion such that they could recommend changes to Plan D. Mr. Smith stated he feels this is up to the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Fritchey stated to the extent that there is fine-tuning to be done to address some individual concerns, he feels this can be most readily addressed at the Board of Supervisors level.

Mr. Carpenter suggested that there be two motions - one that all four Plans be sent to the Board of Supervisors and a second motion where they endorse Scheme D and individual Park & Recreation Board members may choose not to vote in favor of this motion. This was acceptable to the other Board members.

Mr. Cosentino stated once they get into the engineering phase there will be the opportunity to make changes to the plan.

Mr. Steve Ross asked if there has been any consideration by the consultants as to the costs. Ms. Alder stated they costed all four plans. Mr. Cosentino stated they worked up prices although it is difficult on a concept plan to come up with exact costs. He stated Plans A, B, and C were all approximately $3 million. Plan D was approximately $3.2 million.

Motion to send all four plans carried unanimously.

Motion to recommend Plan D carried with Mr. Kuebler opposed.

A resident asked if there is a general timeframe as to how long it will take to develop the Park. Mr. Fritchey stated this matter will now go to the Board of Supervisors. Once a Plan is adopted they must allocate funds to build this. He estimates it will take a number of years to develop the Plan.

Mr. Fred Allan was present but stated he is not in a position to discuss funding at this time. Mr. Hackman stated the Township does not have $3 million available at this time to build the Park. He noted most of the Parks in the Township have been built with Fee-In-Lieu of funds contributed by the developers, and the Fee-In-Lieu balance is now quite low and development is now dropping off so that source of funds is diminishing. He stated they must decide if they want to do it in phases over a number of years or go out for a bond issue. He stated no decision has been made on this at this time.

Mr. Minehart asked that they amend the Motion to indicate that it was known over the years that those who attended continued to say that they prefer a Park to have no lights and no fences. Mr. Fritchey stated he feels this is implicit in the Plan and are on record that they agree with this.

Ms. Mundy stated she feels Plan C is very similar to Plan D except that Plan C has two roller hockey courts and D has only one. Mr. Kuebler stated the parking lot is also different. Ms. Mundy stated she is concerned about the wavering. She stated she questions if the Park & Recreation Board really wants another Macclesfield Park or something that is more spread out. Mr. Kuebler stated he indicated he preferred Scheme Clast meeting and still prefers it. Mr. Szarko stated they all agree they do not want lights at this Park. He stated they did indicate at a previous meeting that the Supervisors will make the final decision on this and not the Park & Recreation Board. Ms. Alder stated there are ways they can indicate there would not be lights and one of these ways is an easement to be placed on the land. She noted this would run with the land. Mr. Fritchey stated there was a conscious decision made that this facility would not be Macclesfield Park but they also did not want simply a large grassy expanse and wanted to offer something people would use. Mr. Newbon stated he was very vocal that there be active versus passive use of this land. He stated people have said numerous times they did not want to have another Macclesfield but he feels Macclesfield Park is by far the most successful area they have in the Township. He said it is a fantastic facility that is used by almost everyone in the room. He stated he is in favor of Plan D since it fills somewhat of a void between when they develop the Patterson property and making that more of an active use of land for sports and permits them to provide now additional playing fields as well as to create something different than a normal Park. Ms. Mundy asked why there is a need for additional fields since development is decreasing. Mr. Newbon stated they do not have sufficient fields at the current time and the fields they have now are getting destroyed due to overuse.

Ms. Sue Herman stated six out of the seven Park & Recreation Board members have endorsed Plan D and asked if this will carry great weight when the Plans go before the Board of Supervisors. She noted the public has invested a lot of time to get to this point and it is their hope that are not sending four plans up and starting all over again.

Mr. Fegley joined the meeting at this time.


Mr. Szarko stated in most cases the Board does agree to their recommendations. Mr. Fritchey stated he feels the Supervisors recognize the input that has been provided by the area residents as well. Mr. Szarko did suggest that the residents attend the Board of Supervisors meeting when this matter is discussed. Ms. Martin noted even if the Board of Supervisors endorse Plan D once they go to construction documents, there will be changes. Ms. Martin stated she is particularly interested in having the one basketball court changed so it does not impact that one resident.

Mr. Fegley stated he feels the intention of the Board is to adopt a Master Plan so that there is something solidly in place to show what the Park will look like.

Mr. Minehart stated he feels they should include in their recommendation that there be no lights or fences. Mr. Carpenter stated they have endorsed a plan that does not have lights or fences. Mr. Fritchey stated he is not aware of a single Supervisor who is in favor of lights or fences. Mr. Carpenter stated he would not be in favor of recommending an easement for anything. Mr. Minehart stated he would prefer that it run with the land that there be no lights or fences. Mr. Ross stated the make up of the Park & Recreation Board and the Supervisors can change over the next three to ten years. They are concerned that the next Board members may have different opinion and he would agree with Mr. Minehart that a recommendation be made to the Board of supervisors to include an easement. There was no action on the part of the Park & Recreation Board to make such a Motion. One gentleman stated a precedent has been set with Farmland Preservation to keep that land open for perpetuity. Mr. Fegley stated while he would like to give the matter additional thought, he feels there may be some reason twenty years from now that lights or fences may be needed and he would not want to bind a future Board. He stated with Farmland Preservation the intention was to prevent construction of additional homes.

The gentleman stated he feels they are trying to preserve their quality of life.

SUPERVISOR REPORTS
Mr. Fegley stated the Board did discuss open space priorities and are negotiating on some various projects. He feels they had a productive meeting and over the next several months they will see more open space being preserved for both active and passive use. Mr. Hackman agreed there was a productive meeting but he is not optimistic about preservation of this open land because of the high price of the land. He stated he would be willing to condemn land. Mr. Szarko asked if these are large or small parcels, and Mr. Hackman stated it is a mixture. Mr. Szarko questioned why they would buy a small parcel. Mr. Fegley stated they are not looking at anything under five acres although a few are in the twenty to thirty acre range which are parcels in proximity to Township-owned parcels. Mr. Fritchey asked if they have discussed the use of any of these parcels to athletic fields, and Mr. Hackman stated the use of the land has never been discussed. Mr. Hackman stated they are about to take possession of the Samost property which is adjacent to the water tower across the street from the Township Complex. He noted this parcel is between ballfields and something may happen in this area to provide additional playing fields. He noted that this parcel has also been discussed as a possible location for a Community Center. Mr. Fegley stated the Community Center would not take up the entire twenty acres. Mr. Hackman stated the Community Center would go from the Edgewood Road to the water tower. There was discussion on use of the Patterson Farm for athletic fields, and Mr. Hackman stated there has been no discussion on changing the use of this property.

Mr. Fritchey stated he feels the greatest need is for more soccer fields. Mr. Hackman stated the area on the Samost tract next to the softball fields is relatively level and is in proximity to other active areas and would be the most likely spot to do something. Mr. Fritchey stated he feels they need another flat area of approximately twenty acres for

soccer fields.

Mr. Hackman stated the Board of Supervisors spent some time discussing the Community Center and have decided to put the matter back out for a spring Referendum. This gives them ninety days to gather support. They have considered adding a third wing which would be a youth center which conceptually is one to two basketball courts, side by side, with restrooms, concession stand, and meeting room. The restrooms would include lockers. At a Supervisors meeting they approved getting the West Trenton architects back who revised the original Princeton plan and provide additional ideas. He noted Mr. Allan has been very active in this. All Supervisors will receive a copy of the plans. He noted any Supervisor who is interested is welcome to meet with the architects this Thursday. They will then have a special meeting of the Board of Supervisors next Tuesday and hopefully they will choose one of the plans. The intention is to put together a Committee of approximately fifteen people who will be "marketing" people. This Committee will include people from each of the groups to help promote the Plan for the spring Referendum.

Mr. Hackman stated since the Township has been running a surplus, they may decide to pay a portion of the cost for a Community Center which would reduce the amount of money that needs to be borrowed. He stated they are also hoping the various groups can raise funds which could also save money.

Mr. Allan stated he sees the youth wing to be used for activities other than basketball and feels there are a number of uses which can be made of this facility so that there is a place for the Township young people to go.

Mr. Smith questioned the make-up of the Committee. Mr. Hackman stated he feels there will be three Performing Arts representatives, three Senior Citizen representative, three Park & Recreation members, three people at large and people from the Youth organizations.

Mr. Allan stated he does not see this as simply as place for organized groups but is available for everybody.

Mr. Fritchey asked if any funds are budgeted for North Park for next year, and Mr. Fegley stated he believes $25,000 has been budgeted. Mr. Hackman stated he feels additional money was put in Park & Rec in an unspecified category. Mr. Fegley stated the plans for North Park will be the Board of Supervisors Agenda for January 17 which is the next regular meeting. He feels at least by the second meeting in February they should have a final Master Plan for adoption. Mr. Hackman stated he is not sure they will be able to consider this at the meeting on the 17th.

Mr. Fritchey asked for an update on the lights at Macclesfield Park. Mr. Hackman stated he understands there will be a meeting with the Township engineer and the light contractor. Mr. Fritchey asked about the Golf Course. Mr. Hackman stated they are still waiting for a decision from the Judge.

Mr. Smith moved, Mr. Kuebler seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting.