TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD
PARK & RECREATION BOARD
MINUTES - NOVEMBER 9, 1999
The regular meeting of the Park & Recreation Board of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on November 9, 1999. Chairman Fritchey called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.
Park & Recreation Board:
David Fritchey, Chairman
Ron Smith, Vice Chairman (joined meeting in progress)
John Kuebler, Secretary
Henry Carpenter, Member
Patricia Martin, Member (joined meeting in progress)
Andrew Newbon, Member (joined meeting in progress)
Larry Szarko, member
Donna Liney, Recreation g residents to solicit their opinions on what should be in the Park. A variety of plans were reviewed and ultimately approximately one year ago they came up with a Plan which was called the "Ross Plan" because of Gail and Steve Ross who were helpful in obtaining input from surrounding residents. That Plan was presented to the Board of Supervisors on 11/16/98 and is available for review this evening. The Park & Recreation Board indicated they felt this Plan best served the needs of all the Township residents with the right mix of active and passive recreation and was as sensitive as possible to the immediate residents. The Board of Supervisors accepted the Plan. The Park & Recreation Board felt it would be useful to hire a professional landscape architectural firm to review the Plan and make sure they were not making any major mistakes. The Board of Supervisors put out a contract and hired March Associates, with Marybeth Carter as the lad associate. Mr. Fritchey stated the idea was that they would come up with three different designs and the Park & Recreation Board would have an opportunity to review them and present them to the public and then come up with a Plan which would be reviewed and recommended to the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Fritchey stated the Park & Recreation Board is only an advisory Board to the Board of Supervisors and they can either accept or reject the Park & Recreation Board recommendations.
Mr. Fritchey stated Ms. Carter is present this evening to present the plans and then each Park & Recreation Board member, and Supervisors present this evening will have the opportunity to make comments and ask questions. After that time the public is welcome to speak. Mr. Fritchey noted there is a sign-up sheet for those who wish to be heard and each individual will be limited to three minutes. He asked that the public try not to be repetitive.
Mr. Newbon joined the meeting at this time.
Mr. Fritchey stated at the last meeting there was significant discussion on the parking lot in the northern end of the tract where there was a stub road. He stated he advised the public at that time that the Ross Plan did not have this since they were not aware of the stub road. Mr. Fritchey stated he reviewed the Minutes of the meeting when this was discussed, and Mrs. Godshalk indicated that there was to be an entrance and parking from the adjoining development although this was not to be a through road. This would avoid the problem of people parking in the adjoining neighborhood. Mr. Fritchey stated at the last meeting a number of residents asked the Park & Recreation Board to exclude this option, and he had indicated he did not feel comfortable with this since the direction of the Board of Supervisors was that this should be considered. He stated the Board of Supervisors will still have the final decision on this, but he feels it may be a cul-de-sac since it is essential that there be emergency access to this area.
Ms. Carter stated she was present this evening with Ms. Jennifer Stark, Ms. Kate John Alder, and Mr. Jay Cosentino. Ms. Carter stated the site is Agricultural in character and use. The relics of a small farm are still visible. She noted the large trees on the property, cornfields, woodlands, and open scrub fields. She noted there is also a stream and a wetlands area that crosses through the woodlands. There is a hedgerow along the eastern part of the site which is a typical hedgerow which is in good condition. There is also another hedgerow on the eastern property line which is not as thick and has open areas. She stated the vegetation that lines the old rustic road is not of high value generally speaking. She noted a wetlands does run through the site. She stated there are gaps in the wetlands which offer an opportunity to cross. Ms. Carter stated the site has frontage on Woodside Road which forms the southerly boundary and there is an opportunity to enter from a stub into the nearby community.
Ms. Jennifer Stark stated they have prepared plans representing three themes - Scheme A is a natural approach, Scheme B is a living history farm approach, and Scheme C is the fitness approach. She stated all three have loop circulation and the major entrance from Woodside Road. All three have a bikepath entrance at the northern part of the site and all three have buffers. All schemes include the active program elements which were previously discussed. Parking for approximately 400 cars is provided in all three schemes.
Mr. Smith joined the meeting at this time.
Ms. Stark noted the silo remains in its present location in Schemes A and B but a new silo would be constructed under Scheme C. Ms. Stark noted an informal survey completed by the Historic Commission indicated that there are only four silos left in the Township so they feel this is a resource. Ms. Stark stated they would like to get comments relative to particular features of each plan.
Mr. Fritchey stated he is in favor of the arboretum concept and would like to see at least 100 different trees on the site which are marked. He noted Scheme A and stated he is in favor of the use of the wetlands shown and the wildflower plan. He is also in favor of the road circulation. He is concerned about the picnic area which seems to be too small. He is also not sure where the pavilions are proposed to be located. He is concerned about the "Secret Garden" which he feels would not be visible and could present safety problems and result in a public nuisance. He is in favor of the specimen tree at the Township high point. Mr. Fritchey stated with regard to Plan B he prefers that plan for the "chimney" as opposed to the plan for the "chimney" on Scheme A. He has mixed feelings about the cornfield maze which he feels would be labor intensive in terms of upkeep. With regard to Scheme C he does like the formal road and parking configuration since they are very logical. He would make an actual road access where they are showing emergency access. He is in favor of the trail network and the arboretum. He suggested moving one softball field to the north since the area where it is located is rather steep. Mr. Fritchey asked the location of the pavilion on Scheme C, and Ms. Carter noted the location of a gazebo. Mr. Fritchey stated he feels gazebos are not very effective in terms of accommodating people and would add an additional pavilion. He is also in favor of the upper and lower ponds.
Mr. Smith stated this Park will not be developed overnight. He stated this Plan will take several years to develop. He is most concerned with the chimney part of the park. He feels it should be accessible from both ends. He stated this does not mean it has to be a road and it could be a bikepath or a gravel type walkway. He stated none of the plans show an access from the stub road. He feels there should be some kind of access. He stated people will want to use that end of the Park and will need accessibility from that end. Mr. Smith stated he is not in favor of any parking in the upper end and feels people should be able to walk to the upper end. He stated he is not comfortable with the chimney plan on Scheme A. He does feel a bikepath at the upper end would be suitable for the area. He feels there must be some access for emergency vehicles at the northern end.
Ms. Martin noted Scheme A and stated she likes the plan for the geographical high point of the Township but feels it should be left open as shown on Scheme C to allow for future uses as the Township grows. On Scheme A she is in favor of the two access approach into the site but does not like the formal roadway and would prefer to see a curved road in and out. She also would like to see the existing entrance used as shown in Plan C. She is in favor of the arboretum and community gardens in Scheme A as well as the walking trail, waterfall and ponds and parking shown in Scheme C. She is in favor of the large tot lot to provide an additional location similar to Kids Kingdom in this area of the Township. She would not be opposed to incorporating the farm theme into the tot lot. She would prefer using the farm complex that exists including using the existing silo.
Mr. Kuebler stated he is in favor of Scheme B using the chimney and lay out. With regard to Scheme C he stated it is very functional with walking paths, the running tract, and the parking in the middle. It will also result in less maintenance. In Scheme A he likes the way the road wanders through the property.
Mr. Carpenter stated he is in favor of the arboretum shown in Scheme A with the lookouts over the wetlands. He does not like the way the chimney is secluded in Scheme A and would prefer B with some vehicular access. He stated he is not in favor of permitting the picnic area and putting up gates. He would be in favor of as many ponds as possible. He stated they must have two exists and he would prefer the plan shown in Scheme C in this regard. He is also in favor of the field lay out in Scheme A. He stated in Scheme C he likes the path meandering everywhere and he feels this could be incorporated into any Scheme. He also likes the measured track. He would also like to see drop off pavilions at each field.
Mr. Newbon stated he would lean more to an active use park so that they can make more use of the Park for active playing fields. He noted the Township does own property at Elm Lowne which is very close to this property and is specifically for passive use. He feels North Park should be more active use since there is a need for additional recreation facilities in the Township.
Mr. Szarko stated what they are showing are not regulation baseball and soccer fields but are the mini/midi size fields which will be used by the younger children and not teenagers. He stated this Park could provide an active facility for the younger children of the Township.
Mr. Fegley commended March Associates for their creative thinking particularly with regard to Schemes A and B. He stated they have the opportunity to create a very unique Park for the Township which can be viewed by other municipalities as a vanguard for what a Park can be. He stated he would like to warn them not to give up the theme concept and he feels they should proceed with a theme rather than go with a conglomerate that does not fit any particular theme and tries to do too much. He stated five years ago when they purchased the property his idea, and Mr. Fazzalore’s as well, was to create something different while incorporating active uses, but also something that would fit into the surrounding environment and something families could use without competing with the Leagues for time. He feels Plan A comes closest to that in his mind although he feels the chimney should be opened up more. He stated he feels they could have a ballfield in the chimney area. Mr. Fegley added he likes how Scheme A incorporates the existing features. He feels Scheme A has a very aesthetic appeal. With regard to Scheme B, he feels this is a creative use but feels the corn maze and pumpkin patch restrict the area to a use that is only available a few months a year.
Mr. Allan thanked the group for putting together three wonderful schemes. He stated he feels they should create something that will take them into the new Century and allow them to be a leader in the recreation area. He is in favor of this being more of a natural, environmental area where the younger children can go. He stated there is a dire need for this type of facility for the young people of the Township. He would also be in favor of opening up the chimney on Scheme A. He also feels there is a need for some type of access for emergency vehicles in the upper portion of the tract.
Mr. Fegley stated he has considered further the access to the upper portion of the tract and now recognizes that they do not have access to any other Park in the Township through a neighborhood and he does not feel they should subject this neighborhood to this. He does feel there should be emergency access and they could have an opening where the stub street is and install pavers (concrete with grass on top) to accommodate emergency vehicles.
Ms. Ann Marie Sill of Powder Horn Drive stated her concern was with vehicles coming through the neighborhood. She thanked Ms. Carter for considering this in their plans. She stated Scheme C looks like Macclesfield Park and she feels if they wanted a Park, Schemes A and B do a good job of creating a Park.
Ms. Gail Ross stated she feels Ms. Carter did a good job with all three plans. They were most concerned with preservation of the tree lines and both have been preserved in all three Plans. She personally would be in favor of Scheme A which she feels has a nice flow of traffic. She would be in favor of the permit use type park at the chimney area. She would be concerned with the clustering of the tennis courts and the possibility of lights. Mr. Fegley stated there will not be any lights. Mr. Fritchey stated it is possible that a subsequent Board of Supervisors could change the policy on lights at this facility, but no one currently on the Board has any intention of installing lights at this time.
Mr. Steve Ross stated he is in favor of the open chimney in Scheme B. He feels the clustering of tennis courts and basketball courts should be incorporated into the central part of the Park. With regard to Scheme B, he feels the corn maze and pumpkin patch would be seasonal and not very utilitarian.
Mr. Thomas Minehart stated he feels this was money well spent and he would agree with the comments made by Mr. Fegley this evening.
Ms. Sue Herman thanked Ms. Carter for the three drawings and the Park & Recreation Board and Supervisors for hearing their concerns. She stated she is enchanted by Scheme A which is perfect for people looking for a passive Park and which she feels is very inviting. She recognizes the concerns about the closed off chimney and suggested they develop the chimney as shown in Scheme B but without the softball field. She stated in the nearby areas there are not many places where the neighborhood children can walk or ride bikes and this passive area would give them a place to go. She also supports the use of pavilions since this gives families places to go to and she asked that these be incorporated into Scheme A.
Mr. Fegley stated he hopes everyone will come to the Board of Supervisors meeting when this is discussed to express their opinions to the Supervisors. He stated he feels the amphitheater should be incorporated into Scheme B.
Ms. Dawn Kozmorski stated she is in favor of Scheme A and is in favor of the geographical high point of the Township being noted. She is also in favor of the amphitheater where they could hold nature talks. She is in favor of the bikepath shown and feels a post could be installed and removed if needed for emergency access. She is also in favor of the tot lot similar to Kids Kingdom and the boardwalk system through the wetlands.
Mr. Paul Kozmorski commended Ms. Carter for the designs and thanked Mr. Fegley for his change of opinion. He stated he feels the plan for emergency access at the north end will work at this Park since he has seen it work at Macclesfield Park where there was an injury at the north end of that Park. He stated he feels Scheme A is the best scheme.
Mr. Robert Garzilli stated he feels A is the most natural setting. He does feel it should be opened up as in Scheme B. He would prefer it be left in a natural setting but be more opened up although he would be in favor of a softball field if necessary. Mr. Fritchey asked if he would feel more comfortable to have it as a softball field rather than leaving it left open which could then be used for some other use in the future, and Mr. Garzilli stated he would prefer a softball field.
Mr. John Stevens stated he feels this is an opportunity to create something different. He feels Scheme A would be inspiring.
Mr. Marty Frapolli thanked the Board for taking the competing interests into accounts. He stated for any of the plans to work they must all consider everyone else’s interests. He stated he does feel the road connection through the subdivision is a bad idea since people leaving sporting events are anxious to leave and this could create speeding problems going through the subdivision. He is in favor of the emergency access. He stated he understands the Township has a future interest in a 100 acre farm that backs up to I-95 and they could locate fields with lights at this location which would not bother anyone. Mr. Szarko noted the Township already owns this site but cannot build on it.
Mr. Carpenter noted Schemes B and C show a row of trees on Woodside Road. He would assume the same thing could be done in Scheme A even though it is not shown. Ms. Kate John Alder stated this was designed this way to present a view of the farm and the large open lawn.
Ms. Carol Ann Mundy from Brookfield Road stated she is concerned about the clustering of the tennis courts and basketball courts. She noted she will have a clear view of this from her home and be able to hear it as well. She would ask that these be moved as far away as possible. She stated originally she was in favor of Scheme B but now understands that this plan could be labor intensive.
Ms. Coleen Berbashi from Revere Road stated she is very involved with active recreation in the Township and there is no place in the Township to take young children safely. She stated she does not feel there is the need for a large track as shown in Scheme C. She also questions how they could build basketball courts and tennis courts so close to wetlands. She stated the chimney effect is nice and putting a softball field in that area will ruin the effect. Mr. Fritchey stated they would install backstops but not fencing in this area. Ms. Berbashi stated she would be in favor of Scheme A or C and feels if they have an access road it will ruin everything. She is also in favor of bikepaths for children to ride bikes safely and is in favor of the pavilions.
Mr. Bob Sill from Powder Horn Lane stated he is pleased that Mr. Fegley has changed his opinion. He would be in favor of Scheme A with the upper portion being more open. He noted there are plans for an emergency squad and fire house in this area of the Township and the quickest way to this site would be through the main entrance. Mr. Fegley stated the emergency access he is considering would probably involve two poles with a chain across with the rest being grass. He stated they have done this in other developments around the Township to provide emergency vehicle access.
Ms. Julie Sloan stated she is also in favor of the bottom of Scheme A and the top of Scheme B. She is also pleased that Mr. Fegley has changed his opinion. She is in favor of this being a family Park and feels they should consider the Patterson Farm as the site for future active recreation needs. Mr. Sheldon Sloan agreed with the comments made by his wife.
Mr. Troy Blodgett of Brookfield Road stated he is not in favor of the basketball courts being located at this Park since he feels this is the most intrusive of all activities. He stated if there is any one place where lights might be installed in the are it would be where there are tennis courts and basketball courts and he would suggest they be moved into places where they would intrude less on the residents of the area. Mr. Fritchey stated he feels the picnic and pavilion areas are the most important features of the Park and he feels many of the active uses will be used by people using the picnic areas. He noted there is only one Township basketball court which is near the Township Municipal Complex and it is lit.
Mr. Kuebler stated he recognizes that Scheme C is not a popular option but he does like it because they put the tennis courts and basketball courts in the center. He noted a large percentage of the homes in the Township do have basketball hoops in their driveways and possible some of these could be removed if more Township basketball courts were made available.
Mr. Alan Tofig of Powder Horn Drive asked what can be done if a Plan is changed by a future Board. Mr. Fegley stated any concern about major changes should be minimized. He stated the Board of Supervisors will look at all three plans and he would suggest that everyone come out to their public meeting and express their sentiments. The Board of Supervisors will eventually decide on which Plan or which parts of the Plans will be incorporated into a final Plan approved by a majority of the Board. A new Plan would be drawn which would be the Master Plan for the Park. They will then allocate money to develop the Park. He stated there has been some discussion about going out for a bond so they can develop the Park at one time. He stated while there could be minor changes, the Master Plan is the Plan that would be followed. He does not feel there will be any lights since none of the current Board members are in favor of lights at this facility. He stated some future Board could change this, but provided the residents keep electing people interested in these types of facilities, they should not have a problem. Mr. Fritchey stated the trend in the Township is toward preservation of open space. Mr. Tofig asked if any though has been given to problems with geese infestation where there are ponds. Ms. Kate John Alder stated the more vegetation they have at the perimeter of the bonds, the better.
Mr. Fritchey stated he feels the next step is for the consultants to create a new Plan based on the comments heard this evening. Mr. Fegley stated he feels all three Plans should be taken to the Board of Supervisors who will give direction to Ms. Carter to create a revised Plan.
Mr. Szarko stated he has lived in the Township for twenty years and his three children have gone through the athletic organizations. He stated they had nothing like the facilities the current residents are enjoying and no matter which of the three plans are approved, they should be grateful.
Ms. Dawn Kozmorski stated she feels many people are in favor of the kite field and she feels this would be unique.
Mr. Dennis Wysocki of Brookfield Road stated he would be in favor of moving the project along more quickly so everyone can enjoy it sooner.
Mr. Fegley noted the Board of Supervisors meets the first and third Monday nights every month; and although he does not know when this will be put on their Agenda, the public can find out by calling the Township Building or checking the Agenda on the Township Website. Mr. Frapolli stated he did check out the Website looking for more about the Park and he did not see any Minutes from the Park & Recreation Board. Mr. Fritchey stated Minutes are available at the Township Building.
Ms. Gail Ross asked what the next step would be, and if the Board of Supervisors will vote on a Plan. Mr. Fegley stated he would like to have Ms. Carter make a presentation to the Board of Supervisors on all three Plans. He feels the full Board should hear all the comments that have been expressed tonight. He stated they could then revise the Plan and bring it back to the Park & Recreation Board who could then make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Fritchey stated he was under the impression that the Park & Recreation Board was to make a recommendation to the Board of Supervisors based on the Plans presented tonight and then a Plan D could be created. Mr. Fritchey stated he feels the Park & Recreation Board would be prepared to make a recommendation at their next meeting. Mr. Fegley stated if they would like to make a recommendation they could do so but he does not feel they should come up with a revised Plan at this point which is then taken to the Board of Supervisors since that Plan might not be approved by the Board. He feels the Supervisors will want to look at all three Plan with a recommendation coming from the Park & Recreation Board in terms of coming up with a Final Master Plan. Mr. Fritchey stated he does not feel they are prepared to make a recommendation this evening. He noted the Plans are available for display at the Township Building for those who wish to review them. Ms. Carter stated they could scan these into the Website as well. Mr. Fegley asked that they discuss this with Mr. Fedorchak.
Ms. Herman asked if a future Board would decide to have lights in the Park would there be a procedure whereby this would be opened up for public comment. Mr. Kuebler stated with the exception of the tennis courts and basketball courts no other facilities would possibly be lit. Mr. Fritchey stated this would most likely go back to the Park & Recreation Board and the Board of Supervisors would go through a public bidding process as well. Mr. Ross stated this is even more of a reason that the basketball and tennis courts should be broken up somewhat so that it does not make it a potential for a future Board to want to light them.
BIKEPATH INSTALLATION ON WOODSIDE ROAD
Mr. Smith moved, Mr. Newbon seconded and it was unanimously carried to recommend to the Board of Supervisors obtaining all necessary grading easements and rights-of-way for the proposed bikepath installation on Woodside Road from Taylorsville Road to Upper Hilltop Road. Mr. Carpenter and Mr. Kuebler were not present for the vote.
SUPERVISOR LIAISON REPORT
Mr. Fegley stated he would like to see some allocation for North Park in next year’s budget and he feels there is some sentiment to move forward with a bond to do this type of project at this time. The Board is looking into a number of projects including the Golf Course which is still in the Courts.
RECREATION COORDINATOR’S REPORT
Ms. Liney stated Mr. Fedorchak has indicated the Township is waiting for specs from the independent engineer regarding the lights at Macclesfield Park and correcting the problems. Mr. Fedorchak and Mr. Garton will review the specs and attempt to sit down with all interested parties to amicably resolve this issue. She noted the contractor is not being cooperative at this time. Mr. Fegley stated the problem will be fixed once the specs are received and they will then litigate the matter to recover costs. He anticipates they will be fixed by the spring. Mr. Newbon asked if the contractor posted a performance bond to cover this, and Mr. Carpenter stated if they had, it would most likely have been released already. Ms. Martin stated normally it is a two year performance bond.
Ms. Liney stated the Township engineer advised that they are in the process of modifying the drawings for the building at Roelofs park and plan to go out to bid by the end of the year. She noted the berm replacement trees should be installed by the end of the week.
Ms. Liney stated she is contacting the groundskeeper for the Trenton Thunder for the names of contacts for field work at Macclesfield A and the Community Pool fields. She is also contacting turf people about replacing the goal mouth areas and slit seeding on the multi-purpose fields.
Ms. Liney reported that all Leagues have paid their usage fees.
Mr. Smith stated YMS was pleased that capital items were budgeted for.
DISCUSSION ON PROBLEMS AT TOWNSHIP FACILITIES
Ms. Martin noted she was recently at Kids Kingdom and two to three families had brought their dogs to the facility. She stated there is a sign prohibiting dogs and asked if something further could be done. Ms. Liney stated they recommend that the police be called if there is a problem enforcing the rules. Mr. Fegley suggested they get a name or license of the individual which can be reported to the Township and they will fine them. Ms. Liney stated possibly they could consider using signs which are more pronounced like the ones at Roelofs. Mr. Fegley also suggested posting the rules on the Township Website. There was discussion about first giving a warning and if there is a second violation, a fine will be levied. Ms. Liney stated she will discuss this matter with Acting Chief Bainbridge. Mr. Fegley stated they could also discuss that at the Board of Supervisors meeting to make sure there is something in the rules and regulations to enforce. Mr. Carpenter stated they could also include this information on the Township Cable Channel. Mr. Fegley stated he feels it is better to provide one warning so that it on record that there was an initial violation before a fine is levied.
Mr. Newbon expressed concern with the placement of lines at the Soccer fields and suggested that there be a second line so that it keeps back the spectators. Mr. Szarko noted YMS lines the fields. Mr. Smith stated he does feel there should be a setback area but noted there are problems because there are other lines on the fields for the other organizations. He stated once they get dedicated fields, this second line would be a good idea.
There being no further business, Mr. Szarko moved, Mr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 10:00 p.m.