M. Fortin Originally written September 28, 2008 Amended October 23, 2008 Franklin Township Trails Advisory Committee (TAC) Meeting Minutes – September 10, 2008
Roll Call TAC Attendees: John Clyde Jack Connolly Mark Fortin Pat Leonard Jim Lynch Frank McLaughlin Nicki Newby Michael Rose John Loos – TAC consultant Public Attendees: Lisa Almac (2037 Amwell Rd.) Denise Gonsiewski (61 Rachel Ct.) Phillip Kramer (429 Canal Rd.) Nancy Sayer (570 Elizabeth Ave.) Jean Gierlich (Como Drive)
Mr. Clyde called the regular meeting to order at 7:06 p.m., and the roll was called. Mr. Clyde then requested a moment of silence to remember the 9/11 victims, heroes, and their families. Mr. McLaughlin made a motion, seconded by Mr. Connolly, to approve the July meeting minutes with amendments. The motion passed unanimously. Mr. Clyde asked for a motion to open the meeting to public comments. Mr. McLaughlin made a motion, seconded by Mr. Connolly, and this passed unanimously. Public Comments • Denise Gonsiewski (61 Rachel Ct.) – Ms. Gonsiewski lives near the Catalpa Farms and Bunker Hill Rd. open spaces and would like to see these spaces available to use for dog walking, bike riding, and horseback riding. Phillip Kramer (429 Canal Rd.) – Mr. Kramer noted that some weed trimming had been done on the Memorial Forest “woods” trails. He believed that this was not allowed per the Township Council vote to suspend any further work on these trails. J. Loos stated that this weed trimming was on an old punch list of maintenance items for the Public Works Dept. from before this suspension of work was ordered. Township Manager Ken Daly instructed Public Works to stop
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M. Fortin Originally written September 28, 2008 Amended October 23, 2008 the trimming. Mr. Kramer asked that the punch list be updated, and Mr. Loos indicated that it either had been or would be. • Lisa Almac (2037 Amwell Rd.) – Ms. Almac inquired as to whether or not bike lanes were going to be delineated along Amwell Rd. between Cedar Grove Lane and So. Middlebush Rd. Mr. Loos said he had spoken with Patricia Bates-Smith, the Somerset County engineer leading the project and she indicated that the shoulders would not be so marked. Mr. Fortin recalled that this was not what Ms. Bates-Smith had agreed to when she met with the TAC on Feb. 8, 2006. [NOTE: a subsequent review of Mr. Lynch’s minutes from that meeting (many thanks to Ms. Leonard for having her copy with her) confirmed this, with the following statement noted: “Rest of Amwell to Cedar Grove with the exception of the corner will have 8 foot shoulders. Will stripe for bike lanes.”] Ms. Almac asked how people could safely get to the other trails like those proposed behind Smith Rd. or along the Memorial Forest with no bike lanes. She also noted that there would be no sidewalks on Amwell Rd. from Cedar Grove Lane to So. Middlebush Rd. as residents had already rejected such a proposal. Mr. Loos and/or Mr. Clyde to contact Ms. Bates-Smith to revisit the bike lanes on this portion of Amwell Rd. Nancy Sayer (570 Elizabeth Ave.) – Ms. Sayer noted that there are currently bike lanes delineated along Cedar Grove Lane, as well as quieter roads such as Treptow Rd. / Martino Drive, off-road bike path segments along Weston Rd., and others that are not connected. She would like to see these connected, particularly the Weston Rd. segments. Ms. Newby noted that the Pathway & Trails Plan proposed by the TAC does actually propose creation of a posted bike route along Treptow Rd. / Martino Drive to cross Cedar Grove Lane and connect to Weston Rd. via the existing bike lane and the promised multi-use path/sidewalk along Cedar Grove Lane from Treptow Rd. to Weston Rd. Mr. Loos also noted that the recently constructed Cedar Hill Prep School on Cedar Grove Lane did not complete the multi-use path along its frontage for reasons unknown to him. Mr. Kramer stated that the school still has pending issues before the Planning Board, so there may still be an opportunity to have this path completed. There was further discussion at this point of a non-official trail that runs from near the Hutchinson Memorial Forest on Van Cleef Rd. almost to Amwell Rd. near the intersection with Elizabeth Ave. Mr. Loos will join Mr. Kramer at some point to try and walk this trail and determine its ownership. Jean Gierlich (Como Drive) - Ms. Gierlich inquired as to the status of the posted open space between Cedar Grove Lane and Wilson Rd. Mr. Loos indicated that there are illegal ATV trails in this space as well as numerous invasive species. He also noted that there is no potential for parking on the roads adjoining this space. Ms. Gierlich asked if there could be a path created through this space in order to provide a potential connector along a route from the Municipal Complex on Demott Lane and the new high school on Elizabeth Ave. She is seeking
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M. Fortin Originally written September 28, 2008 Amended October 23, 2008 alternatives to any paths through or along the Memorial Forest property. Mr. Clyde indicated that the TAC would investigate this possibility. The public portion of the meeting was then closed at 7:46 PM by a unanimously passed motion from Mr. McLaughlin and Mr. Connoly. Old Business Southern Task Force update: • • Meetings are now apparently being held on the 4th Thursday of each month at 6:30 PM in the Township Senior & Community Center. Mr. McLaughlin attended a portion of the August meeting, though he still has conflicts with the Shade Tree Commission meeting that is on the same night. The Task Force toured the Gunther property and historic buildings. Discussion of the renovation of the historic buildings and the possibility of recreation fields at the front of the property. Mr. Lynch indicated that he would try to attend the next such meeting on Sept. 25, 2008 at 7:00 PM, if possible.
Canal Access Task Force update: • • Ms. Newby attended this group’s 1st meeting in July. There has been no 2nd meeting scheduled as of yet. Ms. Newby noted that consultants had been hired to investigate a revitalized shopping plaza and other options along Easton Ave. from JFK Blvd. to the current Unclaimed Freight Plaza. One of the ideas is to reverse the frontage of this shopping plaza to face the canal instead of Easton Ave., and this would involve the removal of some trees. Mr. Loos stated that the D&R Canal Commission, of which he is a member, opposes any such removal of trees as this is not permitted in a “suburban” zoned area of the canal park. Mr. Loos also noted that the Commission is willing to support a new bridge to access the canal form this area. Apparently $250,000 is available for such projects. Mr. Rose indicated that he would like to attend the next meeting of this group.
Rt. 27 Task Force update: • There was no meeting in July or August to Mr. Connoly’s or Mr. Loos’ knowledge. Mr. Loos emailed Mark Healey, the Township Planner, to include Mr. Connoly on all communcations.
PTP presentation to Planning Board: • Mr. Loos and Mr. McLaughlin will be creating a PowerPoint presentation for the Planning Board meeting. p. 3 of 5
M. Fortin Originally written September 28, 2008 Amended October 23, 2008 • • Mr. Clyde will contact Mr. Scott Slobodzian of Smith Rd. to request photos of the Galdi RR Access property behind Smith Rd. Mr. Clyde will contact Dr. Chase about scheduling the presentation of the PTP to the Planning Board.
ATV Use on Township Trails: • • Mr. Loos drafted language to be added to the relevant Franklin Township ordnances governing use of Open Space and Trails. Mr. Fortin made a motion, seconded by Mr. Abbatiello, to approve an amended version of Mr. Loos’ draft language and to submit this draft language to appropriate other parties such as the Open Space Committee and Township Council for eventual review and approval. This motion passed unanimously.
Trail Signs: • Mr. Loos noted that new trail signs had been installed per direction of TAC & OSAC. Some are still awaiting installation along the D&R Canal Park. He is also seeking some new crosswalks from the Township Engineer’s office, per the request of the OSAC and Police Dept. Mr. Loos also suggested a barrier at the trailheads for Six-Mile Run Park along So. Middlebush Rd.
D&R Canal Path Surface Issue: • Mr. Loos noted that all appropriate parties had been informed of this problem. Mr. McLaughlin will draft a letter to come from the TAC to DOT/DEP/D&R Canal Park Commission regarding this issue.
New Business Mr. Loos noted that per the Township Ordnances governing the use of Open Space and Trails, dogs on a 6 ft. leash are permitted by default, while bicycles and horses require specific permission be granted. The committee further discussed damage done by unauthorized vehicles in the Griggstown Ten-Mile Run Open Space. Mr. McLaughlin suggested that solid wood bollards be installed to prevent unauthorized vehicles from entering. Also discussed the pros and cons of using wire-mounted signs, as well as mowing expectations for this space. There was also discussion of how and where to seek funding such as grants to construct and maintain any approved trails.
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M. Fortin Originally written September 28, 2008 Amended October 23, 2008 The TAC scheduled informal walks on the Butler Rd. trails on Saturday, September 20, 2008 at 9:00 AM and on the Scott Farm property on Tuesday, September 22, 2008 at 6:00 PM. A unanimous motion from Mr. Fortin and Mr. Rose ended the meeting at 9:22 PM. NEXT MEETING IS WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2008 AT 7:00 PM IN THE MUNICIPAL BUILDING
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