NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP >> Another new restaurant is coming to the Village at Newtown Shopping Center at Eagle and Durham Roads, this one with a wide range of middle-to-high-end American-style cuisine offerings, including quality steaks.
At the June 12, supervisors meeting, the board voted 4-1 to approve the conditional use application for Solstice, an all-new subdivision of Shula’s Steak House, which is named for NFL Hall of Famer and former Miami Dolphins legendary football coach Don Shula
According to Joe Blackburn, an attorney representing the shopping center’s developer Brixmor Property Group as well as the restaurant, said that although Solstice will be selling Shula steaks, it will not be named for the chain, nor be a traditional steakhouse.
“It will be under the Shula umbrella and will be the first of its kind under the new brand,” he explained. “It’s the new model of Shula’s.”
Last November, the supervisors voted allow the transfer of a liquor license from the now-shuttered Bertucci’s on Easton Road in Warrington to OMD Prospect, LLC, which will operate Solstice.
The restaurant will be located at 2948 South Eagle Road in the shopping center, and is part of several new eateries that will be opening in two new L-shaped buildings currently under construction adjacent to McCaffrey's Market and along Durham Road.
Currently, the shopping center is zoned PC (Planned Commercial), so Solstice needed conditional use approval to change that zoning to E-5 allowing for a full-service sit-down restaurant.
Solstice will not have any take-out orders.
Under the agreement, the indoor area will be 6,700- square-feet and seat 159 people, 126 of them at tables and up to 33 at the bar.
The outdoor area will be 1,800 square-feet with a seating capacity of 92, including 20 seats in a special area set aside for private parties.
The outside seating, which will be seasonal, will not have any music and will be enclosed by a three-foot high metal fence with two gates. Appropriate landscape buffering will also be installed.
Scheduled hours of operation will be Monday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. until 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. until midnight and Sunday noon until 10 p.m.
The conditional use approval also requires that there be no more than five box-truck deliveries each week during off-peak hours, and that each shift have no more than 23 employees.
Voting for the approval were: Supervisors Kyle Davis, Linda Bobrin, John Mack and Dennis Fisher.
However, Chairman Phil Calabro, although wishing the new restaurant “good luck,” said he was voting against it because he believed Solstice's large outdoor eating area could affect the adjoining restaurants, which also will have outside seating.
Under an agreement with the Newtown Township, up to 15 restaurants are permitted to open in the Village at Newtown, which is undergoing an extensive $35-million restoration.
According to a 2016 agreement with the township, the number of parking spaces is set at a certain amount per square footage, and cannot be renegotiated when each restaurant comes up for conditional use approval.
During each of the recent conditional use approvals for the other restaurants, the supervisors have repeatedly expressed their concerns about the limited parking.
Pollution Reduction Plan
In other action, the board voted 4-1, with Supervisor Davis dissenting, to submit the township’s detailed pollution reduction plan, along with the public comment, to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
Under new state and federal mandates, municipalities, such as Newtown Township, where a portion lies within an “urbanized” U.S. Census area must make a concerted effort to reduce pollutants, including sediments and/or nutrients, from entering watersheds.
Three local so-called “impaired” watersheds in the area have been identified and require protection. They are: Neshaminy Creek, Lake Luxembourg and Core Creek.
Any township storm sewer system which collects water runoff, such as roads, drainage systems, catch basins, curbs and storm drains, are covered by the requirements.
Part of the township’s plan for pollution reduction calls for converting several municipally-owned areas from grasslands to meadows, as well as cleaning inlets.
So far, several grassy acres in Roberts Ridge Park, which borders Newtown Borough, have been turned into meadows by the township public works department simply not continually cutting the turf.
Because of residents’ complaints to keep that park grass trimmed for recreational activities, as well as aesthetics, the number of acres that had been planned for meadow conversion were greatly reduced at the site.
The township has already budgeted $30,000 each year for the next five years to pay for these meadow conversions and reduced water runoff.
And the board of supervisors has honored two 2018 Council Rock High School graduates from Newtown Township who were accepted into U.S. military academies.
Andrew Cabo will be attending the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado and Matthew Whalen will be going to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.
The presentations were made by the township’s newly-formed veterans committee and U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick’s office.
When a township resident now joins the military, small flags representing that branch of service will be permanently displayed on a stand behind the supervisors’ table in the main meeting room.
After those persons return from deployment, the flags will be given to the service members and replaced with small American flags, according to Supervisor Bobrin, who worked the veterans committee on the presentations.
Supervisor Chairman Calabro said that publicly honoring military members will now become a regular part of future supervisor’ meeting.
For now the June 26 meeting is only tentatively scheduled, but might be canceled depending on how many agenda items are listed.
Check with the township website at: www.newtownpa.gov
The same is true for the second scheduled meetings in July and August. Traditionally the township supervisors cancel those meetings held on the fourth Wednesday of the summer months.