Pub­lic to have its say on pump­ing sta­tion project, PUC to take tes­ti­mony

The Advance of Bucks County - - FRONT PAGE - By D.E. Sch­lat­ter

NEW­TOWN TOWN­SHIP - At the Nov. 14 su­per­vi­sors’ meet­ing, town­ship so­lic­i­tor Jef­frey Gar­ton an­nounced that the Penn­syl­va­nia Pub­lic Util­ity Com­mis­sion (PUC) has sched­uled two pub­lic hear­ings on Wed­nes­day, Dec. 12 in the town­ship build­ing on Durham Road.

The agency wants to hear com­ments from the board of su­per­vi­sors and the pub­lic on New­town Arte­sian Wa­ter Com­pany’s re­quest to build a 228,000 gal­lon-a-day ground­wa­ter pump­ing sta­tion in the north­ern end of the town­ship.

Both hear­ings will be held the same GDy, WKH fiUVW DW 1 S.P. DNG WKH VHFRNG at 6:30 p.m. They are sched­uled to be broad­cast on the town­ship’s ca­ble TV chan­nel.

Ac­cord­ing to town­ship man­ager Kurt Fer­gu­son, the PUC al­lows com­ments up WR IRuU RU fivH PLNuWHV IURP HDFK SHU­son. “The meet­ings could be three or four hours long if 25 peo­ple show up,” he said.

The su­per­vi­sors have hired Harrisburg at­tor­ney Thomas Snis­cak of Hawke McK­eon & Snis­cak LLP, who spe­cial­izes in reg­u­la­tory is­sues, to rep­re­sent the town­ship in its op­po­si­tion to the util­ity’s re­quest.

When the project was un­veiled this sum­mer be­fore the town­ship su­per­vi­sors, the board had vowed to for­mally op­pose the com­pany’s re­quest for vari­ances to con­struct the pump­ing sta­tion within the Con­ser­va­tion Man­age­ment (CM) Zon­ing Dis­trict.

At the time, the pro­posed lo­ca­tion also wor­ried many area res­i­dents who pub­licly had spo­ken out against it.

Be­cause of the op­po­si­tion, New­town

Arte­sian in Septem­ber for­mally with­drew its ap­pli­ca­tion be­fore town­ship zon­ing reg­u­la­tors to con­struct the pump­ing sta­tion, which the com­pany con­tends is des­per­ately needed to meet the area’s grow­ing wa­ter de­mand.

In an ef­fort to cir­cum­vent a pro­tracted zon­ing bat­tle with the town­ship, the util­ity filHG WKH 3UC DSSlLFDWLon Ln HDrly 2FWoEHr seek­ing per­mis­sion to build the pump­ing sta­tion in the north­east cor­ner of town­ship on con­ser­va­tion-zoned land.

7KH 3UC KDV EHHn SrHVVLng 1HwWown $rWHVLDn Wo finG D nHw wDWHr VourFH Ln orGHr to pro­vide the best rates to its cus­tomers, wKLFK GDrWon VDLG FoulG mDkH LW GLI­fiFulW Ior WKH WownVKLS Wo figKW WKH 3UC DSSlLFD­tion.

By filLng wLWK WKH VWDWH DgHnFy, WKH Fom­pany is seek­ing to avoid hav­ing to ob­tain the needed town­ship zon­ing vari­ances in or­der to con­struct the fa­cil­ity on an un­der­sized lot on the pri­vately-owned Tan­ner LDwn DnG Snow SWorH SroSHrWy Dlong 1HwWown-:DVKLngWon CroVVLng RoDG (RouWH 532) nHDr ElGrLGgH RoDG.

Ac­cord­ing to the util­ity, a new well would hold the cost of wa­ter down and make it less ex­pen­sive than what it would be if it bought wa­ter from third par­ties.

In other ac­tion at Wed­nes­day’s meet­ing, the su­per­vi­sors praised the town­ship op­er­a­tions, es­pe­cially the po­lice and high­way de­part­ments, for han­dling the may­hem sur- round­ing Hur­ri­cane Sandy.

How­ever, sev­eral su­per­vi­sors noted that the town­ship could have pro­vided bet­ter in­for­ma­tion up­dates dur­ing the storm.

“3HoSlH wHrH lookLng Ior guLGDnFH DnG not get­ting it from us,” Su­per­vi­sor Vice CKDLr­mDn 0DWW BHnFKHnHr VDLG, “SDrWLFu­larly about what roads were open or closed ... 3EC2 uSGDWHV.”

He sug­gested that a call-in cen­ter be es­tab­lished so res­i­dents can get up­dates.

SuSHrvLVor RyDn GDl­lDgKHr VDLG WKDW SHrKDSV H-mDLl noWL­fiFDWLonV FoulG EH VHnW Wo res­i­dents. “Even though they don’t have power, many cell phones have the abil­ity to down­load e-mail.”

Ac­cord­ing to town­ship man­ager Kurt Fer­gu­son, the ad­min­is­tra­tion will re­view the sit­u­a­tion and rec­om­mend what can be done to keep res­i­dents bet­ter in­formed in fu­ture events.

“That cer­tainly was a chal­lenge,” Fer­gu­son ac­knowl­edged.

In a 3-2 vote, the su­per­vi­sors also ap­proved spend­ing more than $1,000 to as- VLgn WKrHH WownVKLS SolLFH oI­fiFHrV Ior Iour hours to help with the an­nual hol­i­day parade on Satur­day, Dec. 2.

The event, which is spon­sored by the 1HwWown BuVLnHVV $VVoFLDWLon, VWDrWV DW 2 p.m. and winds through the bor­ough and town­ship along State and Sy­camore streets. It at­tracts sev­eral thou­sand peo­ple and is WKH lDrgHVW KolLGDy SDrDGH Ln BuFkV CounWy.

SuSHrvLVor RoE CLHrvo, onH oI WKH GLVsent­ing votes, ques­tioned spend­ing money Ior WKH oI­fiFHrV Ln D WLmH oI fiVFDl DuVWHrLWy.

He said that it was the busi­ness as­so­ci­a­tion’s re­spon­si­bil­ity to ob­tain fund­ing for the parade.

“How do we vote to ap­prove this and then cut other things which are our re­sponVLELlLWy,” CLHrvo mDLnWDLnHG.

SuSHrvLVor 3KLl CDlDEro DgrHHG. “You’rH open­ing up a can of worms ... other peo­ple are go­ing to ask for money and we’re go­ing to say ‘no.’”

The su­per­vi­sors also unan­i­mously apSrovHG D rHVoluWLon GHFlDrLng 1ovHmEHr DV 3DnFrHDWLF $wDrHnHVV 0onWK Ln WKH Wown­ship.

About 37,000 peo­ple in WKH U.S. DrH HVWLmDWHG Wo GLH this year from the dis­ease, more than from breast can­cer.

The next-reg­u­larly sched­uled su­per­vi­sors’ meet­ing is 1ov. 28.

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