TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PARK & RECREATION BOARD

MINUTES – APRIL 12, 2005

 

 

The regular meeting of the Park & Recreation Board of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on April 12, 2005.  Chairman Fritchey called the meeting to order at 7:33 p.m.

 

Those present:

 

Park & Recreation Board:        David Fritchey, Chairman

                                                Ron Smith, Vice Chairman

                                                John Kuebler, Secretary

                                                Patricia Bunn, Member (joined meeting in progress)

                                                Henry Carpenter, Member

                                                Richard Jutkiewicz, Member (joined meeting in progress)

                                                Andrew Newbon, Member

 

Others:                                     Terry Fedorchak, Township Manager (left meeting in

                                                 progress)

                                                Donna Liney, Recreation Director

                                                Pete Stainthorpe, Supervisor Liaison

 

 

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

Mr. Newbon moved, Mr. Smith seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of February 8, 2005 as written.

 

Ms. Bunn joined the meeting at this time.

 

 

DISCUSSION WITH RIVERGATE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION

 

Ms. Mary Mavis, Ms. Laurie Grey, and Mr. James Tolbert were present representing the

Rivergate Homeowners Association.  Ms. Mavis asked about the time the lights should

be off.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated at the Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board voted to

approve drawing the specs for improved timers for all lights.  Mr. Fritchey stated the

permits are given until 10:00 p.m. and the lights are to go off at 10:30 p.m. in order to

allow people to get to their cars safely. 

 

Mr. Jutkiewicz joined the meeting at this time.

 

 

April 12, 2005                                                         Park & Recreation Board – page 2 of 11

 

 

Ms. Mavis stated they would like to discuss their concerns with the illumination testing

which was done.  She stated one of the concerns is that the lights that are already installed

are over the Ordinance requirements.  She asked how they calculated the average.

Mr. Fritchey noted page 4 of 5 of the report which shows only one location where it was

over the permitted illumination.  Ms. Mavis noted #1 is currently over the Ordinance by

twice the permitted amount.  Mr. Carpenter noted the last page and asked where the

residences are in relation to the location noted on that page.  Ms. Mavis showed on a

board the location of the homes. She stated no tests were done next to the houses that are

along the cemetery.  She noted an area where it was 1.1 and .9 at ground level.  She

stated #1, #2, and #3 had direct impact from the lights and that #4, #5, and #6 were taken

behind berms.  She stated they were also taken horizontal rather than how it impacts their

neighborhood which is vertical.  They have contacted an expert who stated if the houses

are up on a hill and they are going to live by the Ordinance, they need to get the impact

on the community.  She stated at ground level and 3’ up it is definitely shaded by the

land.  She stated the part that is outside the Ordinance is the illumination onto their

properties which is what the Ordinance is all about.

 

Mr. Fritchey stated the testing was done at the request of the residents who indicated that

the lighting as it currently exists is non-conforming.  They used the standards required by

the Ordinance when they did the testing. Mr. Fritchey stated #2, #4, #5, #7, and #6 were

substantially lower than #1 and these are closer to the residences. 

 

Ms. Mavis stated they question whether #7 is accurate.  She stated they did invite them to

test on their properties which would show them exactly the kind of illumination they are

experiencing, and they declined.  She stated it appears that the places where they tested

were shielded from the lights.

 

Mr. Tolbert stated along the fence at the cemetery the only light that is visible at #2 is the

southernmost light.  He stated when you got to the fences and berms, it was an awkward

place to take a measurement.  He stated if they had pursued #7 more, they would have

gotten a clearer picture.  He stated when it is at ground level and you raise it 3’, you get a

higher level so if you take it even higher up you would get a more accurate impact on

their residences.

 

Mr. Darius Plichta was present and stated he took the reading.  He showed on the aerial

photograph the locations where he took the readings.  He stated multiple readings were

taken at each location, and they used the highest rating.  He stated the Ordinance does

state the measurement should be taken at ground level and they did this as well as 36”

above the ground.  He stated the supplier of the lights does require that they use

horizontal readings – not vertical.  He stated they are required to follow the regulations

when they take their readings.  He stated the Ordinance does state that the measurement

should be from ground level.  He stated they are required to take the readings at the

property line and not the house location.

April 12, 2005                                                         Park & Recreation Board – page 3 of 11

 

Ms. Mavis noted locations where readings were not taken which she feels resulted in

skewed numbers. 

 

Mr. Plichta stated they did take between ten to fifteen readings at each location and took

the highest – not the average.  He stated they are projecting illumination levels and all

lights are contributing to that level. He stated because of the way the lights are directed,

there is no direct projection.  He stated they also had a white covering when they took the

readings which makes the readings even higher since it acts as a reflector. 

 

Ms. Maureen Wittenberg, 897 Slate Hill Road, stated it seems that if they had taken the

readings at a higher level, it would result in a greater impact on the residences. 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated Mr. Plichta stated he was following the standards of the IES.

Mr. Kuebler asked why he was doing it this way, and was advised that there is a Code

that covers lighting and he did it according to the Code.  Mr. Kuebler stated the Rivergate

residents were in favor of installing the lights on the fields in exchange for extra

buffering.

 

Mr. Fedorchak asked if they moved the reading closer to the homes, how they would

filter out the light coming from the home such as porch lights, room lights, etc. 

 

Ms. Laurie Grey, 895 Slate Hill Road, stated she is next to the footpath and in the

summertime she sits on her deck with the inside lights off and it is extremely bright on

her deck.

 

Ms. Wittenberg, stated she feels they were assured ten years ago that there would be no

more lights.  Mr. Carpenter stated this comment came up at the Board of Supervisors

meeting, and he asked if anyone looked into this.  Mr. Fedorchak stated Ms. Liney was

asked to review the Minutes from the last ten years; and while there was reference to the

Land Development Plan, there was no official record of this assurance being made.  He

stated this was never made a condition of any expansion for Macclesfield Park or the

development of Macclesfield Park.  Ms. Liney agreed.  Mr. Fritchey stated he was

present at the meetings and this statement was never made.  He stated they did discuss

not installing any buildings in the back area.  Mr. Fedorchak stated they wanted to create

a large recreation area that could be used for a variety of different purposes.  They did not

want to install structures such as concession stands, bathrooms, etc. in this area.  He

stated this means there is thirty acres of open space which is of benefit to the residents.

Ms. Grey stated currently that area is used all day Saturday and Sunday and all night

during the week so they are not looking at open space.   She agreed that it should be used

since that is the intention of the Park. 

 

Ms. Mavis stated she does not feel the way the testing was done and the number of sites

tested is representative of what the footcandles are in the residential area.  She stated her

Association is prepared to fund independent testing through a certified electrical

company which would be done on their properties.

April 12, 2005                                                         Park & Recreation Board – page 4 of 11

 

Mr. Kuebler stated it appears that the residents are now indicating they feel the existing

lighting is not in conformance with the Code. He stated he felt that the issue was their

concern over the effect of additional lights.  He noted the location of the field which is

proposed to be lit is further away from the homes, and he does not feel it will have any

more impact than what currently exists.  Ms. Mavis stated she assumes that if they have

additional lights, it will add even more illumination.   Ms. Grey stated they did discuss

this at the Board of Supervisors meeting, and Mr. Majewski stated it would add

additional light. 

 

Mr. Plichta stated the suppliers of the new lights will provide calculations.  He stated they

had footcandle measurements in the center of between 25 and 30.  He stated the way they

are installed it is not to go beyond the perimeter of the field.  He stated the lights will not

be projected toward the residences – they will be projected towards the surface of the

field.  This will result in more light but not in a range that is noticeable or close to what

the Ordinance permits.  He stated the Ordinance states that it shall not exceed 0.5

footcandles at the lot line and the readings are to be taken at the ground level.

 

Mr. Tolbert stated there is another Ordinance (200-66) that says it cannot be in excess of

5/10 foot candles when measured in any residential or commercial district. 

 

Mr. Bill Clark stated just because they agreed to having the lighting put in, he does not

feel they knew that it would result in illumination beyond the Ordinance.

 

Mr. Kuebler stated he is asking whether this is an issue regarding the existing lighting or

the impact of additional lights.  Ms. Mavis stated it is both. 

 

Mr. Gene Castone, 887 Slate Hill Road, asked if lights would ever be put in the area

where there is soccer now, and Mr. Fritchey stated they have indicated that there are no

current plans to do this at this time.  He noted those currently serving on the Board will

not always be on the Board.  Mr. Castone stated his property is adjacent to the facility

and he would like them to measure at his property as well.  He stated it seems all of the

athletic organizations have the same need for more fields.  He stated he feels they should

be able to share the fields.  He stated he feels they need to be given more fields and not

just lights.

 

Ms. Stenville, 891 Slate Hill Road, stated if someone were to put a light meter in front of

her driveway, it would be above .5.  She asked that they do this.  She feels any additional

lights will add to the light in the area. 

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated they have found that there are better systems that control the light

on the field, and they are going to look into this.  Ms. Wittenberg invited the Township

representatives to come to their yards to see the impact.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated the lights

that are there are not going to be taken out of the Park.  He stated they are obligated to

listen to the citizens and are trying to control the impact of new lights.  Ms. Wittenberg

April 12, 2005                                                         Park & Recreation Board – page 5 of 10

 

 

stated they want the lights to be within Code.  Mr. Fritchey stated they have followed the

Code standards.

 

Mr. Plichta noted #8 was taken on Slate Hill Road, and they did not get any result at all

so they assumed 0.1.  Ms. Mavis stated the house was in front of the trees at this location. 

Mr. Plichta stated they took multiple readings at ground level and 36”.  Mr. Ed Kozen,

905 Slate Hill Road, stated at the point he took the reading, it was taken in shadow.  He

stated with no additional lights, the reading was still ½ a candle which is the Ordinance

requirement. 

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated the citizens are free to fund their own test and the Township will

cooperate and turn on the lights.  He stated whenever there is a dispute about a traffic

study, etc.  the Township is accused of not using proper methodology and skewing the

results.  He stated they have never done this.  He stated if they do get conflicting results,

he cannot say whether they will change this minds.

 

Mr. Mark Cook, PAA, stated Mr. Plichta was commissioned by the Township and they

met the existing Code and used the form of measurement that is accepted by the industry.  

 

Mr. Plichta was asked if he is certified as a light tester, and Mr. Plichta stated he is an electrical engineer certified by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

 

A gentleman from 899 Slate Hill Road stated they want to know the impact on their

structures. Mr. Stainthorpe stated they have taken the readings at the levels where they

were instructed to do so.  Mr. Carpenter stated the applicable Code states how this test

should be done and this is what they did.  Mr. Fritchey stated the Township wants to

make sure that they are doing the right things to meet the Township Code, provide

recreation opportunities for 35,000 people and try to do it in a way that will make it as

painless as possible for the adjoining residents.  He stated they must also consider the

broader interests. 

 

Mr. Smith stated he feels a lot of good has come out of the last few meetings by looking

into when the lights go off, etc. 

 

Mr. Tom Stevenson, 903 Slate Hill Road, stated the problem is that they are above the

buffer, and their homes are at eye level with the lights.  He stated he feels the additional

lights will take them over the level where it is intolerable.  He stated the lights on the

fields come around the corner and are unobstructed.

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated they are not present to convince anyone about the validity of the

studies.  He stated they did the study to get facts.  He stated they will also listen to the

comments of the residents and then weigh all the facts in order to make a decision on

what they should do.

April 12, 2005                                                         Park & Recreation Board – page 6 of 11

 

 

Mr. Dave Wilkenson, Vickers Way, asked if they will take the new lights down if it is

found that they are over what is permitted by Ordinance.   Ms. Bunn stated the engineer

has indicated that before the lights go up the lighting company will give them their

projections in certain areas of what the new lights will add to the existing condition. 

 

Ms. Bunn stated if they are higher, they will be adjusted to meet Code.  Mr. Carpenter

stated the Township will be in compliance with their Ordinance.

 

Ms. Mavis stated PAA indicated that they wanted to have two evening baseball games –

one starting at 5:30 p.m. and one at 8:30 p.m.  Mr. Carpenter stated this process started

when PAA indicated they needed more field time and they wanted to find out how this

could be done in the most expeditious way.  Ms. Liney stated they look to accommodate

6:00 p.m. to 8:00 P.m. and 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in their permits.  Ms. Mavis asked the

total time including warm up and possibility of over-time.  Mr. Kuebler stated it is two

hours per game tops.  Mr. Cook stated for the younger players, they do have a time limit,

but the baseball organizations goes to age nineteen and they play a full seven innings and

it could go longer than the two-hour time fame.  He stated they do not time it.  Ms. Mavis

asked how they are going to make good use out of the $100,000 available if they cannot

get two full games in per night.  Mr. Carpenter stated they only play baseball from early

April to the middle of July.  He noted they do have some fall baseball, but it is not as

intense.  He stated their problem is that they have an organization that is growing; and

unlike other sports where they can use a patch of grass, to play baseball, they need

backstops, etc.  He stated the lights will double their capacity with a minimum

investment.  He stated you cannot build a baseball field for $100,000.

 

Ms. Mavis stated with the timers going off at 10:00 p.m., they do not feel they can get two games in each night.  She stated if they build a field, it could be used more times during the week.

 

Mr. Kuebler stated they have been discussing this for six to seven years and additional

fields have been considered.  He stated the Board of Supervisors had to make decisions

and have not been able to get more ground.  He stated he had suggested that if the

additional lights did not bother anyone, they should install them.  Ms. Mavis stated they

are now saying it does bother some of the homeowners and they will not be able to get

two additional games per night so it is not accomplishing anything.  She stated they were

able to do this previously because they were playing until 11:00 p.m. at night.  She stated

if they are required to turn the lights off early, they will not be getting the games in they

need. 

 

Mr. Newbon stated they have been considering what can be done to get the best return for

the taxpayers’ dollars.  He stated they felt this was the best alternative.

 

 

April 12, 2005                                                         Park & Recreation Board – page 7 of 11

 

 

Ms. Mavis stated they will work with Ms. Liney to pick a night when they can test the

lights.

 

Mr. Fedorchak left the meeting at this time.

 

 

DISCUSSION OF BACKGROUND CLEARANCE CHECKS FOR VOLUNTEER COACHES IN USER GROUPS

 

Mr. Fritchey stated at the present time YMS does volunteer background checks as does

Pop Warner Football, Lower Bucks Lacrosse, and YM Tennis.  He stated PAA at this

time does not do this, but was going to consider it at the March 16 meeting.  Mr. Cook

stated they are moving forward with this and will have a plan in place by the end of

baseball season ready for fall and next spring.  Mr. Fritchey stated while this is not

required for field permits, they feel it is the prudent thing to do.

 

Mr. Paul Deppi, President of Lower Bucks Lacrosse and a Newtown Police Officer stated one of their coaches brought this up.  He reviewed the background clearance they are currently using.  Mr. Smith stated YMS currently has a free clearance procedure which is part of their dues to the State organization.  He stated currently there is a Bill before the State Judiciary Committee trying to get an exemption for the $10 charge for volunteer organizations.  The organizations that have signed on for this are soccer, a domestic violence organization, and Big Brothers.  If the other organization were to get on board, it may help this get approved and the clearance would then be free.  He stated they would have to write to their State Senators and he will make the information available to

Ms. Liney who could then provide it to the other organizations.

 

Mr. Kuebler stated he would encourage the Township to either get into this or get out of

it.  He stated he does not feel they should leave it up to the organizations as to whether or

not they do the background checks. He stated he would prefer that the Township define

what they should have and include it in the user fees. 

 

Mr. Fritchey noted problems with local police departments who do not necessarily put

everything in the FBI data base.  He stated if you get a PA Criminal Background Check

this does not help if someone committed a crime in New Jersey. 

 

Mr. Kuebler stated if the Township takes a position that they are encouraging the

organizations to do this, they should set forth the method they feel is the method to

follow.  He stated if they cannot find the right method, he would rather be divorced from

it.

 

Mr. Newbon stated he feels the organizations should be involved in it collectively.

 

April 12, 2005                                                         Park & Recreation Board – page 8 of 11

 

 

Mr. Cook asked if the Township is going to let them do it on their own or is the

Township going to tell them what they want.  He stated he does not want to spend

thousands of dollars due to the size of their organization and then have the Township tell

them they did not want them to do it in this way.

 

Mr. Fritchey stated the Township has never felt it was necessary to get this as the

organizations have insurance and they indemnify the Township; although he does feel it

is beneficial to the organization and the Township should encourage this.  He stated the

safest way would be to get an FBI check and the PA State check although they could

miss someone who had an incident in New Jersey.

 

It was suggested that if they require that the organizations do a background check, but not indicate what exactly it should be. 

 

Mr. Fritchey stated he would prefer to leave this to the discretion of the organizations.

 

Mr. Carpenter asked that they consider recommending that background checks be

performed by the organizations without getting into what checks have to be done so that

the Township is on record on this.  He asked that this be considered at a future meeting of

the Park & Recreation Board.

 

 

CONSIDERATION OF RESIDENT REQUEST FOR LOWER MAKEFIELD TOWNSHIP TO HOST “KIDS WITH STICKS” FIELD HOCKEY CLINIC

 

Ms. T. Brandimarte who was to discuss this matter was not present this evening. 

Ms. Liney stated she will contact her to see if they wish to appear at the next meeting.

 

 

APPROVE LMT COMMUNITY POOL SNACK BAR MENU FOR 2005

 

Ms. Liney noted the proposed menu submitted by MLE Enterprises for the 2005 season. 

The Township is required to approve the menu by April 30.  Ms. Liney stated the

contractor does attempt to keep price increases to a minimum and to add new foods.  She

stated soda machines were also added last year at the request of the membership, and the

contractor is required to stock and maintain them. 

 

Mr. Fritchey stated most of the prices increases seem to be modest.

 

Mr. Jutkiewicz moved, Mr. Carpenter seconded and it was unanimously carried to

approve the Snack Bar Menu for 2005.

 

 

April 12, 2005                                                       Park & Recreation Board – page 9 of 11

 

 

SUPERVISOR LIAISON REPORT

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated they did re-finance approximately half of the Golf Course debt and

locked in a rate of 4.1%.  He stated the variable rate is currently 2% and it is going up and

the spread between the fixed and variable was getting close.  They felt it was prudent to

lock in a portion of the debt.    Mr. Stainthorpe stated the Board also recently passed a

Resolution which will make up the difference between an employees salary and active

duty pay for those employees who are called up for active duty in the military.

 

Mr. Fritchey asked if there was anything further from the Governor regarding the Senior

Center.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated they did get a letter but he feels it was simply a form

letter.  He stated they will continue to pursue this matter.

 

 

RECREATION DIRECTOR’S REPORT

 

Ms. Liney stated Park & Recreation continues to prepare the parks for spring use.  She

stated use of Township recreation facilities is high with soccer, baseball, Lacrosse, and

tennis all underway. 

 

Ms. Liney stated they also continue to ready the Pool Complex for a busy swim season. 

The Community Pool slide project is over 90% complete.  The contractor is pouring the

concrete for decking around the slide this week. The installer will be returning next week

to finish the miscellaneous hardware items and racking of the structure.  There are some

final plumping and electrical connections to be made.  Barring any unforeseen problems

they should be ready to have staff training beginning in early May.  She stated the

spreadsheet provided to the Board shows revenue of approximately $360,000 through

March.  They have additional deposits of approximately $40,000 to date which puts them

ahead of the last several years with two weeks left in the month.

 

Ms. Liney stated the Lower Makefield Seniors celebrated their 10th Anniversary with a

luncheon and entertainment at the Washington Crossing Inn with several of the Supervisors in attendance.  She added that the Seniors recently presented Governor Rendell with a petition showing over 2,000 signatures requesting release of capital funds budgeted for a senior center.

 

Ms. Liney stated the Township would like to thank all the user groups for their

cooperation during the recent floods.  The Township Parks, particularly Macclesfield,

were relatively unscathed as all the drainage patterns worked well.  The Park maintenance crew did a fine job of cleanup on the extensive Township facilities.  She stated she understands there were successful opening days this past weekend.

 

 

April 12, 2005                                                  Park & Recreation Board – page 10 of 11

 

 

Mr. Newbon noted the Morrisville baseball fields had been flooded out and he asked if there was an invitation to them to use Lower Makefield facilities.  Ms. Liney stated PAA did contact them and they are trying to accommodate them.  They also offered the use of Kids Kingdom until their playground facility has dried out. 

 

 

ENVIRONMENTAL ADVISORY COUNCIL REPORT

 

Ms. Bunn stated a Canal Clean Up was planned for the first Saturday in April and this

had to be canceled due to the flood.  They are going to try to do something for Canal

Days in July.  Ms. Bunn stated they will have a stormwater management seminar next

Wednesday which is a joint seminar with other Townships to satisfy a portion of the

NPDES requirement.  They will also have a hazardous waste pick-up on May 21 at the

Lower Makefield Executive Park. 

 

 

LEAGUE LIAISON REPORTS

 

Lower Bucks Lacrosse - Mr. Jutkiewicz stated their season is well under way.  He stated

they would like to thank the Township for working with them and getting the fields

necessary to start the season.  They are anxiously awaiting the lit fields.

 

Mr. Lou Sears, Pine Grove Road, stated he feels it is important that in light of some of

the Rivergate grievances that the sports leagues try to get together to improve their

relations with the residents around Macclesfield Park. 

 

Pop Warner Football – Mr. Ed Bambino stated their organization continues to grow.  He

stated the flag football program is manageable in terms of players but the tackle program

has grown from eleven teams up to sixteen to eighteen tackle teams in 2005.  He stated

the reason for this increase is that the Pennsbury School District Middle Schools have

started to cut their rosters and Pop Warner anticipates an increase in their membership. 

He stated it world be their desire to have one other practice field if possible for Tuesday

and Thursday evenings.  Mr. Kuebler stated the League only has twenty-two players on a

team and every child is a starting player.  He stated it is an educational program and

everyone plays.  It was noted the Middle Schools will hold try outs in the spring so that

those who are cut will know ahead of time. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 12, 2005                                                       Park & Recreation Board – page 11 of 11

 

 

There being no further business, Mr. Jutkiewicz moved, Mr. Carpenter seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meeting at 9:15 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                                        John Kuebler, Secretary