TOWNSHIP OF LOWER MAKEFIELD

PARK & RECREATION BOARD

MINUTES – FEBRUARY 8, 2005

 

 

The regular meeting of the Park & Recreation Board of the Township of Lower Makefield was held in the Municipal Building on February 8, 2005.  Chairman Fritchey called the meeting to order at 7:40 p.m.

 

Those present:

 

Park & Recreation Board:        David Fritchey, Chairman

                                                Ron Smith, Vice Chairman

                                                Patricia Bunn, Member                                                                                                Andrew Newbon, Member

 

Others:                                     Donna Liney, Recreation Director

                                                James Majewski, Township Engineer

                                                Pete Stainthorpe, Supervisor Liaison

 

Absent:                         Henry Carpenter, Park & Rec Board Member

                                                Richard Jutkiewicz, Park & Rec Board Member

                                                John Kuebler, Park & Rec Board Secretary

 

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

 

Mr. Smith moved, Mr. Fritchey seconded and it was unanimously carried to approve the Minutes of January, 2005 as written.

 

 

PRESENTATION OF MACCLESFIELD LIGHTING PROJECT

 

Mr. Fritchey stated at the present time the Township has two 90’ baseline baseball fields. 

There has been an increase in demand for 90’ fields, and the Township was looking at

options to meet this demand in an effective way.  One way is to build a new 90’ baseline

baseball field, but this takes time and costs a lot of money.  While this may be done at

some time in the future, the fastest and most economical solution is to light Field H at

Macclesfield Park; and this is the approach that has been discussed at a number of

meetings over the last five years.  Mr. Fritchey stated representatives from the electrical

engineering firm and the Township engineer’s office are present this evening to discuss

the project.

 

Mr. Darius Plichta from DGW Electrical Engineering was present and showed an aerial

picture of Macclesfield Park as well as adjacent properties.  He noted the location of the

baseball field which is proposed to be lit.     The fixtures will be mounted on poles and

February 8, 2005                                                    Park & Recreation Board – page 2 of 10

 

 

directed onto the baseball field.  The new poles will be much farther away from any of the residences than are the existing poles.  They will not exceed the Township requirements on light spill.

 

Mr. Fritchey asked how far the light standards will be the nearest house.  Mr. Majewski stated it is 800’ from the nearest house to the light standards.  He stated the lights that could be seen if you looked out the nearest rear door would be over 1000’ feet from the nearest house.  The lights will be angled so that they will not be pointing at anyone’s house.  He stated the maximum height of any of the poles will be 70’.  The number of lights and the intensity proposed are the minimum for a sports facility.  Mr. Fritchey asked if the lights are pointed downward to the playing field, and Mr. Plichta stated they will be pointed down at the center of the field. 

 

Mr. Paul Bryant, 883 Slate Hill Road, stated he is concerned about the light spill.

 

 

Mr. Kashani, 899 State Hill Road, stated the lights from the soccer field are already

affecting his house.  He noted the location of his home on the plan and stated the proposed lights will impact his house since the soccer fields are impacting him already

and they are further away.  Mr. Kashani asked about the level of noise during night play. 

Mr. Plichta stated this is not his expertise, but he would suggest that the Township install

evergreens in this area.  Mr. Kashani asked about parking, and Mr. Majewski noted the

area where the parking lot is located.  Mr. Kashani asked if there is a final proposal by

the Township for the area adjacent to his home, the location of which he showed on the

plan.  He stated the parking has been expanded and the level of noise has increased over

the years he has lived there.  Mr. Smith asked what he felt should be in this area to help

alleviate the problem.  Mr. Kashani suggested that they install a buffer of trees to

reduce the noise level.  Mr. Fritchey stated they may be able to do something to help with

this problem.  Mr. Kashani  stated they would not want a wall, and would prefer that

there be trees.

 

Mr. Ed Kowzun, 905 Slate Hill Road, asked if this is still open for discussion or are they

proceeding with the lights.  The Park & Recreation Board stated they feel this is an

approved project and will be proceeding.  Mr. Fritchey stated they could go to the Board

of Supervisors to see if they would change their decision on this.  Mr. Fritchey stated they

are trying to meet the needs of the Township and try to make it a win/win proposition for

everyone.  They feel this is a legitimate further development of the Park which was

designed as an athletic complex and in place before Rivergate was built.  They also feel

that this is so far away and the lights are not shining on any houses, that they do not feel

it should create a problem; but to the extent that they can solve their concerns, they would

like to try to do this.  He stated he feels a buffer would be a legitimate request. 

 

 

February 8, 2005                                                    Park & Recreation Board – page 3 of 10

 

Mr. Smith stated during the past several years there has been discussion by many of the

organizations about the lack of facilities for all the sports in the Township.  He noted

other facilities are also being considered to be built in other areas of the Township.  He

stated they are trying to do what is best for everyone in the Township and listen to

everyone’s concerns.

 

Mr. Kowzun stated he previously asked about a Noise Ordinance and was told there was

none.  He stated he has since found out that there is such an Ordinance, but no testing was

done on the noise in the area.  He stated the lights on the other fields are very bright, and

he would like a better understanding of the foot candles.  He also asked why the lights are

on at 2:00 a.m.  Ms. Liney stated they should not be on past 11:00 p.m.  Mr. Kowzun asked if there is a phone number of someone they can call when the lights are on after 11:00 p.m.  He stated if the lights are on, people will be in the Park making noise.  He stated the berm would help shield the houses.  Mr. Smith stated he feels a cut-off switch should be installed so that the lights go off no later than 11:00 p.m.  Mr. Fritchey stated he feels that if the lights are on, they should contact the Police.  Ms. Liney agreed to look into this matter.  Mr. Majewski stated they could spec this out and include a cut-off switch.  He stated the manufacturer that will be supplying the poles has submitted information on the intensity of the lights. Ms. Bunn stated if the light levels are higher, the manufacturer would have to fix it at their expense so that they would want to make sure that it is accurate.  Mr. Majewski stated they can go out and test it once they are installed.

 

Mr. Newbon stated the purpose of the meeting tonight is to hear the public’s concerns

despite the fact that the project will most likely proceed.  Mr. Kowzun thanked the

Township for inviting them to the meeting this evening.

 

Ms. Lori Grey, 895 Slate Hill Road, stated she would echo most of what has been

stated this evening noting that she currently gets a great deal of light coming into her

home and the noise level is very great at the present time and will dramatically increase

with these lights.  Ms. Grey asked what the intent of the Park really is.  She stated she

moved in four years ago and did not know anything about this and has been present at

meetings in the past.  She would like to see the original plan and what the plans are for

the future.  She would also like to know the Township’s responsibility about notifying

residents about these types of projects.   Ms. Liney stated it is the Township’s policy to

make every effort to notify the surrounding property owners. 

 

Mr. Fritchey stated a Comprehensive Plan was adopted in 1992 and just revised recently. 

He stated information about this was also frequently mentioned in the Township

Newsletters.  Mr. Smith stated there were a number of meetings in the mid to late 90’s

when the Plan was developed.  Mr. Fritchey stated whenever they plan something new,

they do discuss it at public meetings.  They have an Agenda which is advertised on the

Township Channel and the Board of Supervisors approves expenditures at public meetings for which there are Agendas which are advertised. 

February 8, 2005                                                    Park & Recreation Board – page 4 of 10

 

 

Ms. Grey asked if there are documents which tell about her rights of notification. 

Ms. Liney stated this project was first discussed in 1999 and has been discussed

periodically in public from that point forward.  Mr. Stainthorpe stated the Township

legally only has to provide notification about new projects coming before the Planning

Commission or matters before the Zoning Hearing Board.  He stated there is no legal

requirement to notify people about Park & Recreation items.  Ms. Grey asked how they

could change this.  She stated she would have liked to have been notified about this in

October or November before it was decided on.  Mr. Fritchey stated the Park &

Recreation Board normally operates in a very open fashion and this is unique that people

feel that they were not being advised since normally people do come out when items are

discussed.  He stated they normally notify people even though they are not legally

required to do so.  He stated this proposal was talked about for so long, they just assumed

everyone knew about it.  Ms. Grey asked how they could get the notification policy

changed, and Mr. Stainthorpe stated the Board of Supervisors could decide that residents

should be notified whenever physical structures are to be installed adjacent to residential

homes.  Mr. Smith stated it has been his experience that the Recreation Department has

been extremely pro active with their notification. 

 

Mr. Newbon stated the planning for Macclesfield Park was done many years ago and laid

out that this would be an active Township Park and sports facility.  Had Rivergate been in existence at that time, they would have alerted everyone that the land had been acquired and they would develop a Master Plan with resident input.  This is what has been done with other tracts they develop such as Memorial Park, Snipes, Samost, etc. 

 

Mr. Majewski was asked if this has to go through the planning process, and it stated he

does not believe so, but feels they should check with the Solicitor on this.

 

Ms. Grey stated there is a sign that indicated that this is a “dawn to dusk Park” and she

would recommend that they take this down if they are going to have lights.   Mr. Fritchey

stated he does not feel they should do this because it may encourage people to come in

after dusk  and it would only be open if there was a permitted activity.  Ms. Grey asked

what she should do if she sees people in the park at night, and was advised that she

should contact the Police.  Ms. Grey stated she would have preferred that they install

this at the Samost Tract as was previously noted.  She stated she would also like to know

the hours of operation and a schedule of events.    Mr. Smith stated they depend on

volunteers to turn the lights on and off.  Ms. Liney stated there is a master timer that is to

turn the lights off at 11:00 p.m.  Mr. Smith noted the organizations are charged for the

lights and do not want to be charged for extra hours when they are not using them. 


Mr. Bob Wittenberg, 897 Slate Hill Road, asked the intent of lighting the fields since

baseball is played in the summertime and they should be able to play until 9:00 p.m.

without lights.  Mr. Greg Mauro, PAA, stated they are facing an ever-increasing

population of younger players.  They are seeing this in their enrollments each year. 

February 8, 2005                                                    Park & Recreation Board – page 5 of 10

 

The boys that play on these fields are thirteen and up.  Last year they had seventeen teams using the fields for games and practices three to four nights a week as well as some adult teams and a CYO School team.  They are at maximum capacity and need more playing time to be competitive.  This was a stop gap measure and will give them one more game a night.  Games are scheduled at 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 to 8:30 p.m. and run one and a half to two hours.  He stated the lights, when functioning properly, are scheduled to shut off at 10:00 p.m.; and the coaches are instructed to turn them off before that if they get done earlier.  He stated they have made requests for years to the Board of Supervisors to provide them with more fields.  They would be using the fields from April to July. 

Mr. Wittenberg stated they have had soccer in the back yard and now they are also going

to be having baseball until 11:00 p.m. 

 

Mr. Newbon asked what time they stop playing baseball if there are no lights, and

Mr. Mauro stated it is usually 9:00 p.m.

 

Mr. David Truelove, PAA, stated he plays on an adult league and most of the players live

in the Township.  He stated some live fairly close to Macclesfield Park and have friends

and neighbors who live in the neighborhood.  He stated there is such limited time and

space that they have a lottery for field time every year.  He asked if there is something

they can do to minimize the impact on their homes other than not having the lights.  He

stated he feels that these types of activities help to keep teenagers off the street and gives

them something positive to do. 

 

Ms. Mary Mavis, 893 Slate Hill Road, stated she is more concerned now that she has

heard the comments this evening.  She stated the lights that are existing are shining onto

her property now.  Now she is hearing that the new lights will be on seven nights a week

and these will be shining into her child’s bedroom window.    She is concerned that her

neighborhood is going to be lit up for this period of time just so that there can be a few

more games per week.  She stated she is currently the President of the Homeowners’

Association, and they will be doing a better job of find out what is going on and get

earlier warning of what is going on.  She feels that they should limit the number of nights

a week that lights will be on until 11:00 p.m.  She stated they could also make sure that

there is a cut-off switch, and they should police the parking so that people are not parking

adjacent to the homes rather than in the parking lot.  Mr. Smith stated much of the

activity that goes on in the Park in the evening is not by Lower Makefield residents, but is

by people from out of State.  Ms. Mavis stated if they have lights on, there will be even

more people coming in.  Mr. Smith stated they have proposed in the past that there be a

Park Ranger that would have some authority to stop some of the activities which are

taking place which are not permitted such as golfing, out of control dogs, etc.  He stated

the athletic organizations have had concerns about some of these activities in the past, but

unless there is enforcement, it does not matter what the rules are.  Mr. Newbon asked if

Ms. Mavis’ property is buffered somewhat by the Cemetery, and Ms. Marvis stated her

property is buffered because she went out and purchased mature trees.  She would be in

favor of a treed buffer.

February 8, 2005                                                    Park & Recreation Board – page 6 of 10

 

 

Mr. Brian Derby, intersection of 332 and I-95, stated he has been involved with PAA for

almost twenty years.  He stated field shortage is a problem for PAA.  He stated even if

the fields are permitted seven times a week, they may not actually use them.  He agrees

that there can be  problems with the timers on the lights.  Mr. Derby stated he has lights on all night long adjacent to his property now that there is a hotel and the college in the area where he lives.   He stated he also gets the noise from I-95 all night long and none of

these things were here when he moved into the Township. 

 

Mr. Newbon asked if they could install a panel so that the lights would only stay on for a

certain period of time.  Mr. Plichta stated they can provide different systems to control

the lights.  Mr. Newbon stated he feels it is better to have a system where only authorized

people would have the Code for the lights. 

 

Ms. Elizabeth Bryant, 883 Slate Hill Road, noted the location of her home which is in the

rear area and stated she is still impacted by the lights.  She does not feel the barriers being

suggested will help her. 

 

Mr. Kowzun stated he is now hearing that these lights will be on seven days a week and

asked if they could change this to five days a week as a compromise.  Mr. Stainthorpe

stated the Township was requested to build an additional 90’ field and the Park Ranger

request has been considered for a number of years.  He stated they have been on a very

austere Budget in the Township.   This year they have had their first tax increase and

because of this they did not want to raise the Park & Recreation tax.  Building a new field

would have required a tax increase.  To install lights would be a quicker and less

expensive option, and they are trying to provide enough fields for the children of the

Township to use.    He stated they are trying to provide a balance for the benefit of all

Township residents.  Mr. Kowzun asked who they can call when the lights are left on.  Ms. Liney stated they can take a look at this to see if it is a technical problem or a problem with work that PECO is doing.   She stated they have been talking to an electrical engineer about this, and they could also look into the glare to see if there are ways to reduce this.

 

Mr. Leo Grey, 895 Slate Hill Road, asked why they are not looking into the simple

things that can be done to help the residents rather than relying on the residents to come

up with the ideas.  Mr. Newbon stated this is a give and take situation.  He stated they

would not want to install trees without asking the residents involved about it.  Mr. Grey

stated they could also consider walls that are very beautiful.  Other residents present this

evening indicated they did not want a wall.

 

Ms. Mavis asked about moving the game time up so that they start at 5:00 p.m.  It was

noted that the people involved in the organizations are volunteers and do work so that

starting at 5:00 p.m. would be difficult.  Ms. Liney stated the Township policy is that the

 

February 8, 2005                                                    Park & Recreation Board – page 7 of 10

 

field lights normally are shut off at 10:00 p.m. and the Master Complex Timer is

11:00 p.m.  If they are on until 11:00 p.m. it may be because of playoffs, etc., and she will review this with the user groups.

 

Mr. Derby stated the main control boxes are at the area where you come into the Park and

asked if the Police could shut this off during their patrols if they find no one is playing in

the Park.  Mr. Plichta stated he is not sure that the Police would be qualified to do this.   

 

Mr. Kashani stated if they get involved with any buffers, the residents would like to be advised.  Ms. Liney stated they will contact all residents involved. 

 

 

FIVE MILE WOODS PRESERVE ANNUAL REPORT

 

Mr. John Heilferty, Naturalist, and Mr. John Lloyd President of the Friends of the Five

Mile Woods, were present.  Mr. Heilferty thanked Ms. Liney and her staff for their

cooperation and assistance.  Mr. Heilferty reported that the Township recently purchased

the thirteen acre Banko property which is a great addition to the Woods.  Mr. Heilferty

stated they continue to host the Roving Nature Center which had over three hundred

children in attendance last year.  They made over $3,500 in user fees for this program

which was recycled back into the expenses at the Woods.  They will host this program

again this summer and are the only facility that hosts all eights weeks of this program. 

Mr. Heilferty stated the Friends of the Five Mile Woods hosted nine work days and two

Open Houses, and the Township benefits greatly from the work they do.  He reviewed the

type of work which was done this year.  He stated he has also worked with a number of

Eagle Scouts on various projects in the Woods and works with other Scouts helping them

achieve various environmental badges. 

 

Mr. Heilferty stated this year they intend to pave the first 150’ of the driveway that goes

into the Preserve as this has been a maintenance problem.  This will help with snow

removal and ingress and egress.  They are also making some improvements to the

restrooms.  He stated the Manor House continued to stay in good shape. 

 

There was discussion on the continuing deer problem in the Woods.   Mr. Heilferty stated

they contracted with gentlemen to fly the property and do a high tech survey.  They

found that there are approximately forty-five to fifty-five deer on the property which is a

problem for a site of this size.  They are four years into the exclosure program and are

noticing vegetation coming back in the areas where the deer have been excluded from. 

There was discussion about the possibility of a hunt, and Mr. Heilferty stated he is

considering first contacting the farmers adjacent to the Woods to see if they can hunt

their property which may help the Five Mile Woods property as well.  This would only

be a short-term solution.    In the long-term they will need to have a management

program so they can bring the population down to a manageable level.  He noted this is

not a problem specifically to the Five Mile Woods and is a significant problem

February 8, 2005                                                    Park & Recreation Board – page 8 of 10

 

 

throughout the Township.  He stated one of the reasons the Five Mile Woods was

preserved was because of the unique flora in the Woods.  It is a significant natural

landmark because of the plants and they are losing this because of the deer population. 

He stated he does not feel culling the herd is something people will be anxious to do,

and for this reason he has been taking very scientific steps to show that there is a need to

eventually do this. 

 

Mr. Fritchey asked if they have reached the point where they need to have a hunt, and

Mr. Heilferty stated they are getting to the point where he feels comfortable making this

suggestion.  Mr. Fritchey asked if they should be presenting this to the Board of

Supervisors, and Mr. Heilferty stated eventually he will be doing this.  Mr. Newbon

asked if there is a salt lick product that includes a contraceptive which could be used, and

Mr. Heilferty stated this only works successfully when there is a closed population.  

Mr. Lloyd stated this also presents problems for other animals.  Mr. Heilferty stated he

has looked into this matter to see if there are more pleasing options, and they have found

that the best solution to cull the herd is through  a hunt.  Mr. Fritchey asked if he

anticipates making this recommendation this year, and Mr. Heilferty stated he does not

have anything budgeted for this year, but will be discussing the problem during Budget

time for next year.  He does have to discuss this with the Friends of the Five Mile Woods

as well.  He stated he plans to reach out to the neighboring farmers; and if they actively

hunt their properties, there may be a way to coordinate with them.  He also plans to have

discussions with the Conservation Officer for this area.  He did talk to him about

poaching on the Five Mile Woods in the past so they do have a relationship.

 

Mr. Stainthorpe asked how many deer Mr. Heilferty feels should be in the Woods, and

Mr. Heilferty stated he feels it should be less than twenty deer.  He stated they would

have to do routine maintenance of the population and see how long it takes for the forest

to rebound.   Mr. Stainthorpe stated he does feel it is going to be controversial to have a

hunt, but feels it is important to do something sooner rather than later.  Mr. Heilferty

stated he would anticipate Board of Supervisors support on this when he does present it. 

He stated it is the norm to hear that these hunts are being done now, and there is not as

much controversy as there was in the past.  He stated there are companies that manage

deer populations, and it is done very professionally.    Mr. Stainthorpe asked if he has any

idea what this will cost, and Mr. Heilferty stated while he does not, he does know how to

obtain this information.  Mr. Newbon asked if this is contracted out, would they come up

with a pre-determined number of deer; and Mr. Heilferty stated this is correct, and he will

do research as to what he feels the appropriate number is that needs to be eliminated and

would advise the individual that this is the number they feel needs to come off the

property.  He stated he would also defer to some of these organizations to get their

recommendations on this.  He feels that they will suggest that they eliminate a certain

number in the first season, a certain number the next year, and then manage it over a

number of years.  He stated this is something he has to consider because of the costs

involved. 

February 8, 2005                                                    Park & Recreation Board – page 9 of 10

 

 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated the Board is trying to obtain another property adjacent to the

Woods.  He stated they have made an offer, and there are some limits as to what the

Township can do.  They cannot offer more than the appraisal received.  He stated the

owner still envisions that they would be able to get ten houses on the property, but

Mr.. Stainthorpe stated he does not feel that they could more than three to four. 

Mr. Heilferty asked about the possibility of using County funds, and Mr. Stainthorpe

stated they did get some for the Banko property, but their pool of funds is going down. 

He stated the Township does have funds in the Open Space Fund.  Mr. Heilferty stated he

and the Friends would like to assist in any way in proceeding with this acquisition.  He

also asked that he be advised of any plans that come up for road improvements on Big

Oak Road since he has concerns about maintaining the water quality in the Woods. 

Mr. Stainthorpe stated there are no plans for widening Big Oak Road at this time.

 

Mr. Lloyd thanked the Park & Recreation Board for the continuing support of the Five

Mile Woods.

 

 

RECREATION DIRECTOR’S REPORT

 

Ms Liney stated the organizations are in the process of submitting their field usage

requests for spring, 2005.  The Township has asked than the required paperwork be

submitted by February 11.   She stated registrations are up for  most organizations, and

this does result in increased demand for field times.  In light of this continued demand on

resources, coupled with the necessary maintenance for turf recovery, the Township will

continue to do its best in equitably allocating fields and meeting requests.  She expressed

the Township’s appreciation for the cooperation given by PAA in deferring games at

Macclesfield during the planned Mothers Day Tournament, and also to the Yardley

Makefield Soccer Club and Lower Bucks Lacrosse for working together on field

availability through May 1 on Fields C, D, E, and G.

 

Ms. Liney stated the slide installation at the Community Pool will be resuming as soon as

conditions permit.  Completion of the speed slide and the flume slide should be roughly

three days, followed by fence installation and site restoration.  Township administration

is beginning to process membership renewals for the Community Pool.

 

Ms. Liney stated Park & Recreation is continuing to review requirements for the

proposed baseball netting between fields A and B at Macclesfield.  The structural

engineer for PCS has advised that the existing light poles cannot support the weight of

the proposed netting and cables.  It appears the Township may need to install additional

poles for safety.  She stated they are continuing to review options for this project, and she

will keep the Board informed as information becomes available.

 

 

February 8, 2005                                                  Park & Recreation Board – page 10 of 10

 

 

LEAGUE LIAISON REPORTS

 

 

Pennsbury Athletic Association  - Mr. Greg Mauro, asked if they are doing the dugouts at

Macclesfield B, and Ms. Liney stated they are not this year.  They are doing the three at

Roelofs.  Mr. Mauro stated registration is this Saturday, and numbers are going up.

 

YMS – Mr. Smith thanked PAA for working with them on Mothers Day weekend.

 

 

EAC CONFIRMATION AND REPORT

 

The Park & Recreation Board confirmed the nomination of Trisha Bunn as Park Board

liaison to the Lower Makefield Township Environmental Advisory Council for 2005.

 

Ms. Bunn stated she would like to have the EAC added as a regular report.  She stated on

May 20 the Township is hosting a Hazardous Waste Collection at the Lower Makefield

Corporate Park.  She reported that on February 15, the EAC has invited Mr. Majewski to

give a slide presentation on the Township’s need to meet the NPDES requirements.  They

will also have a speaker come in from Maryland in April to talk about stormwater

management.  They are not doing an Earth Day event this year but will participate with

Yardley Borough at Canal Days instead.  Mr. Newbon asked if all the locks on the Canal

have been fixed, and Mr. Majewski stated he feels there is still one more area to be fixed.

 

 

There being no further business, Mr. Smith moved, Mr. Newbon seconded and it was unanimously carried to adjourn the meting at 9:50 p.m.

 

                                                                        Respectfully Submitted,

 

 

 

 

                                                                        David Fritchey, Chairman