Newtown Township

NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP >> The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Feb. 10 to advertise for bids for its 2021 road repaving program.

According to the township engineer, 2.3 miles of roads will be milled and paved in the base bid, with another 1.24 miles in the alternate bid.

Bids are expected to be approved at the board’s second meeting in March with construction beginning about a month later and taking about few months to complete.

A list of roadways slated for repaving will be posted on the township’s website.

Much of the work will be paid for by liquid fuels money, which is derived from the state’s gasoline tax and redistributed to municipalities across the state.

According to township manager Micah Lewis, about $530,000 of the total cost will come from the state funds with $100,000 from the township's general fund. Another $200,000 in general fund dollars will be set aside for the alternate bids, if needed.

In other action, the supervisors approved spending $107,000 to buy and retrofit two police vehicles. The motion was approved, 4-1, with Supervisor Kyle Davis dissenting.

Both vehicles will be purchased from Chapman Ford through COSTARS, Pennsylvania’s cooperative purchasing program.

“We set aside $114,000 under the capital plan to purchase these vehicles,” said Lewis. “We expect that any additional purchases for these vehicles - the decals, the paint - will bring the price of the vehicles up to that $114,000 number.”

Another $15,128 was approved in a 4-1 vote, again with Davis dissenting, to buy two lawnmowers from Star Lawnmower Inc. The township had budgeted $17,000 for the purchase.

The lawnmowers will be used to maintain the parks and ballfields.

Davis had previously rejected the expenditures when voting against the township’s 2021 budget.

The board also voted 5-0 to purchase a Ford F-350 truck for public works, along with a plow, at a cost of $64,661. The township had budgeted $75,000 for the vehicle.

The vehicle, to be purchased through Chapman Ford and the COSTARS program, will be used for routine daily maintenance, snow removal operations and maintenance of township parks.

In other business, Supervisor Davis moved to untable a motion to contribute financially to Eagle Ridge’s legal action against the Arcadia land development project.

The motion received a second from supervisor John Mack, which placed the motion back on the table.

The motion, however, failed by a vote of 3 to 2 with Chairman Phil Calabro joining Dennis Fisher and David Oxley in voting against the motion. Davis and Mack voted in favor.

The supervisors are expected to again discuss a potential settlement of the Arcadia matter at its Feb. 24 meeting.

In December, the Supervisors took no action on a settlement agreement that would have resolved a legal dispute between the township and Arcadia Newtown Holdings over a proposed residential housing development at Buck Road and the Newtown Bypass.

The agreement would have allowed Arcadia to submit land development plans for 60 single family homes at the site located behind the Newtown Reformed Church at 206 Buck Road and off of a service road paralleling the Newtown Bypass.

Arcadia has submitted three different plans to the township for the development of the 22.5 acre site just feet away from the busy intersection of Buck Road (Route 532) and the Newtown Bypass (Route 332). All three were denied by the supervisors following contentious hearings and are now the subject of litigation.

As part of the settlement, Arcadia, at its expense, would have attempted to pursue access directly onto the Newtown Bypass with a right out only. If that was unsuccessful it would have pursued a left out of the service road onto northbound Buck Road. And if that didn’t work, it would have pursued a proposed u-turn at Mill Pond and Buck to get traffic to the bypass from the development.

There were also provisions in the agreement for set backs and landscape buffering between the development and neighboring Eagle Ridge and Newtown Crossing that are not required by ordinance. And it would have included improvements to Buck Road at the Bypass and at Buck and Mill Pond.

The agreement would have also ended all litigation associated with the development.

With each denial of the plan, Arcadia has taken the township to court. It currently has multiple active suits pending against the township at the Court of Common Pleas and at the Commonwealth Court levels, including whether the township can charge Arcadia for professional consultant fees to review its PRD plans and a mandamus action taken against the township seeking a deemed approval based on notice issues.

“The end result of what is happening here tonight is that there is no settlement with Arcadia,” said township solicitor Dave Sander in December. “There is no action being taken therefore there is no settlement.”

That means that the litigation will continue, he said. “We’ll see where that takes us.”

At the heart of the township’s opposition to the development has been traffic issues, which the developer was unable to address to the satisfaction of the supervisors throughout the review process.

At issue is the property’s location next to the bypass, which creates safety issues for traffic exiting the development from a service road and wanting to head northbound on Buck Road. Several alternatives have been explored and rejected by the township, including building a connector road linking the new development with neighboring Newtown Crossing.

The latest plan submitted by the developer for 76 homes proposes a right turn only out of the service road onto Buck Road and creating a u-turn at Mill Pond and Diamond Drive for northbound traffic. That idea is opposed by Eagle Ridge.

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