Recreation and Parks Board Minutes-November 18, 2015
RECREATION AND PARKS BOARD: LOWER ALLEN TOWNSHIP
REGULAR MEETING NOVEMBER 18, 2015
The following were in ATTENDANCE:
|BOARD MEMBERS||TOWNSHIP PERSONNEL|
|Greg Mahon, Chairman||Donna Paul, Township Representative|
|Susan Parry, Vice Chairman||H. Edward Black, Commissioner|
|Richard Grove, Secretary||Thomas G. Vernau, Township Manager|
|Carolyn Kohr||John Eby, Community Development|
|Bob Pelles||Julie Echterling, Recording Secretary|
Mr. Mahon called the November 18, 2015 Regular Meeting of the Recreation and Parks Board to order at 7:04 pm.
APPROVAL OF MEETING MINUTES:
Mr. GROVE made a motion to approve the minutes from the October 28, 2015 meeting. Ms. PARRY seconded the motion. Motion carried 6-0.
CHARTER HOMES PRESENTATION:
Mr. Anthony Faranda-Diedrich, Charter Homes, discussed the background for recreation for this project including meeting with this Board over the summer. He spoke about the vision and history of Charter Homes. He spoke about the proposed village and walkable neighborhood being designed for the development. He stated there are three types of open space proposed for Arcona. He stated there will be traditional open spaces, gathering places and the natural settings for hiking.
Mr. Charlie Courtney, McNees Wallace, spoke about the comprehensive approach needed for recreation for the plan. He spoke about the differences between the traditional ordinances for recreation versus the TND ordinances. He stated the municipal code allows for a public or private dedication, fees in lieu of or any combination. He stated they would be using a combination of them.
He spoke about their calculations for open space based on density. He stated they are proposing to provide 46 acres of open space and nine acres of recreation for a total of 55 acres. Mr. Faranda-Diedrich showed the Board a map of Arcona and the proposed open spaces. He stated there would be a two acre park for Highpoint and the balance of recreation would be open spaces.
Mr. Courtney stated they are proposing a total of five parks. He stated the locations and details of the parks will be submitted on future plans. He stated three of the five neighborhood parks will contain an athletic field or court of some type. Below is the breakout of those parks:
- Two acre park (Terra Park)
- Town gathering open space area
- Future phase on northern side of Phase 2
- Area across railroad track –neighborhood park
- Larger neighborhood park
Mr. Faranda-Diedrich spoke about the trail system including an eight foot bike/walking trails. He showed the Board the location of the trails on the map. He spoke about improving the crossing at the railroad for pedestrian safety. He spoke about the terra park proposed which would include a natural playground area including slides, rock climbing, fire pit and a swing set. He showed the Board pictures of the proposed natural playground. He spoke about the railroad crossing with Rossmoyne Road and not including that into their recreation budget. He showed the Board the location of the pool and clubhouse. He stated, in addition, there would be a clubhouse in the core area with multiple rooms that can be used for neighborhood functions. He stated the farm house will stay and the Lesher family is staying on their land/home for now.
Mr. Courtney spoke about the $1-$2 million dollar estimates provided to Charter for the building of the bridge over the railroad. He stated Charter is committed to paying for the design of the bridge and pursue grants to pay for the construction of the bridge. Mr. Faranda-Diedrich showed the Board the location for the proposed bridge and identified the PPL power lines on the site.
Mr. Courtney stated the trails and fitness centers will be privately owned but open to the public except for the trails that lead to the homes. He stated the Terra Park will be open to the home owners of Arcona and their friends and customers of the shops. He stated the park will not be open to the general public. He stated the indoor gym, clubhouse and pool will be available only to the homeowners of Arcona.
He stated Charter will meet the recreation requirements based on their proposed plan presented. He stated the final plans for each phase of the development will contain details and will identify the cost of the facilities. He is proposing an annual reconciliation of recreation with the Township for the number of units and recreation provided. He went through an example with the Board of what the reconciliation would look like for a year.
Mr. Pelles asked about the Lesher farm at the top of the hill and a fence around the park close to Arcona Road. Mr. Faranda-Diedrich stated the farmhouse hasn’t been acquired as of yet. He spoke about the grading issues for the park close to Arcona Road. He stated they will put up safety precautions for the park and the road.
Mr. Grove asked about the maintenance of the parks and how will they ensure the parks are maintained. Mr. Courtney spoke about the Home Owner’s Association (HOA) and the multiple ones they will have to deal with the development. Mr. Faranda-Diedrich spoke about the setup at Walden and the elected officials to the Boards. He spoke about how different the Boards are setup at their developments versus others. Mr. Grove asked what would happen if the HOA went bankrupt. Mr. Courtney stated he doesn’t know but there would be the ability to obtain money through liens.
Mr. Kaiser asked about the pool. Mr. Courtney stated it would be just for the apartment residents. He stated in the future there could be another pool planned for the development.
Mr. Eby spoke about his memo he provided to the Board. He spoke about the design and for the Board to take a look at the design. He stated they are proposing the parks be privately owned. He discussed Mr. Grove’s concern with maintenance and upkeep. He spoke about the option of fee in lieu of recreation. Discussion ensued.
Mr. Eby asked the Board for their comments on the proposed upcoming plans for recreation presented by Charter. He stated there are three things to comment on recreation for Terra Park, the apartments and master plan for recreation. Ms. Parry stated she would like more time to review the plans. Discussion ensued. Mr. Vernau asked the Board to review the plan and provide him comments for the December 14th meeting of the Board of Commissioners. President Black asked for their comments. He believes there is a lot of passive recreation proposed but not a lot of active recreation and asked them to look at the plan and how it fits into the overall plan for recreation for the Township. Ms. Parry was concerned with the connectivity with the others parks with the railroad crossings. She stated there appears to not be enough active recreation including fields for the kids in this project. President Black asked Charter where a father could kick a soccer ball with his kids. Mr. Faranda-Diedrich stated the Terra Park would provide open space for such an activity. He stated ball fields were never part of the plan for recreation for the development as there are local ones available to the residents. Discussion ensued.
Mr. Mahon stated he is satisfied with their presentation. Mr. Vernau stated he would prefer them take their time reviewing this proposal and asked the Board to send him any concerns and he will pass them onto the Board of Commissioners.
Mr. Mahon made a motion to support the proposed master recreation plan by Charter Homes for Arcona. Ms. Parry seconded the motion. Motion carried 5-0-1. Mr. Pelles abstained.
Allendale and Creekwood
There were no comments.
LIAISON REPORT – COMMISSIONER H. EDWARD BLACK:
Commissioner Black had no additional comments.
RECREATION AND PARKS STAFF REPORT/ACTIVITIES REPORT:
Mrs. Paul discussed the following activities from her monthly memo:
- DCNR is scheduled to complete the final inspection of Cedar Spring Run Park by the end of the week.
- Paved access road to Creekwood Park has been completed. The project was funded with a Dirt, Gravel and Low Volume Road Program grant from the state, through County Conservation District.
- Painting of the small signs within the Fun Fort structure has been completed
- Fall ball league is wrapped up for the season and the fields were put to rest.
Yellow Breeches Park
Mr. Mahon stated Mr. Grove sent everyone an email outlining his thoughts for the park. Mr. Vernau spoke about the temporary parking restrictions that will be expiring. He stated an ordinance change will be presented to the Board of Commissioners to make them permanent. He would like to restrict usage with minimal signs. He spoke about the guardrail being installed. He spoke about the boat launch and restricting swimming. He stated he is looking for this Board’s recommendation for usage for the park.
Mr. Eby spoke about the Yellow Breeches Watershed and stated they will participate with the rules. He spoke about the nature of the area and the preserving of the area. He stated warnings have been issued about avoiding the park for boating. He stated he is willing to assist in the discussion for the park.
Mr. Mahon stated maybe they should start with small groups with a working session during the winter. Mr. Vernau stated they need to know by March. Ms. Parry reached out to some folks but hasn’t heard back. She believes this isn’t a unique situation and would like to hear what other municipalities and such have done in these instances. She thanked Mr. Grove for his input and email.
Mrs. Paul spoke about the provided schedule that outlines the meetings, Easter Egg Hunt, Gardeners Gathering, and park tours. She stated there are no appointments to the Board for January. Discussion ensued.
The Regular Meeting of the Recreation and Parks Board adjourned at 9:05 pm.
Next meeting is Wednesday, January 27th at 7:00 pm.