RARITAN TWP., N.J - County planner Bill Millette said he’ll be making recommendations to the county Planning Board Nov. 1 when it meets to adopt the draft Strategic Parks and Open Space Plan.
The public hearing will resume at 8:15 a.m. in the Planning Board Conference Room, which is located in Building #1 at the county’s Rt. 12 complex.
The hearing will be a continuation of the Oct. 18 public hearing. That meeting was adjourned at the request of county Freeholder Suzanne Lagay after a TAPinto probe raised questions about the plan that no one was prepared to answer.
Here are six of the changes Millette said he'll suggest be made to the draft plan:
“No adult recreational sport is taking off faster than pickleball,” proclaims the draft parks plan, suggesting that Hunterdon might have a dire need for new pickleball courts. But the data cited in the plan is more than five years old. And the source was the “USA Pickleball Association,” which Millette and Lagay agreed was not exactly an objective source for information about pickleball.
Most popular activities (other than pickleball)
Millette said he’d clarify the report’s conflicting information about the most popular recreational activities. One section of the plan cites the Outdoor Recreation Resource Council’s claim that “driving for pleasure” is the most popular recreational activity, while other data in the plan shows it’s “walking, running, jogging and cycling.”
The “obesity crisis”
According to the draft, “Youth under 19 years of age, reportedly facing a national obesity crisis, points to the absolute need for exercise facilities.” When she learned of the claim, Lagay called it “gratuitous” and suggested its removal.
County parkland should devote 17 percent of its acreage to “active recreation.”
Millette said he couldn’t offer any justification for that statement in the draft and that, “I have issues” with the apportionment. He said he’ll recommend a change in the language.
Clover Hill Park
The plan states that Clover Hill Park in Raritan Township would be well-suited as a general use park and that “a concept plan should be established to balance and make best use of the property for all uses.” But residents from the Clover Hill Park neighborhood have objected to previous plans for the park, so Millette said he’d suggest that the call for a concept plan be removed from the draft plan.
Smith County Park
The plan states that the Parks Department should, “Initiate landscape planting with an irrigation system at Smith County Park.” But there is no Smith County Park, Millette acknowledged, so he’ll suggest a change in the draft to “South County Park.”