Ab­so­lutism against any com­pro­mise will re­sult in mo­bile homes in New­town

The Advance of Bucks County - - OPINION -

To the ed­i­tor: One of my pri­mary goals when I ran for su­per­vi­sor was to keep our com­mu­nity a spe­cial place to live, work and raise a fam­ily. I promised to keep spend­ing low, hold the line on taxes to let res­i­dents keep more of what they earn, and pre­serve the unique char­ac­ter of New­town Town­ship.

Many of our friends and neigh­bors fear the prospect of a mo­bile home park in our com­mu­nity would change that very char­ac­ter. Res­i­dents have ex­pressed con­cerns over fall­ing home val­ues and the po­ten­tial devel­op­ment’s sharp de­par­ture from the look and feel of the sur­round­ing com­mu­nity. Hun­dreds of res­i­dents at­tended meet­ings or submitted signed pe­ti­tions DVNLng uV WR figKW WKH GHvHORSPHnW RI D mo­bile home park.

Af­ter months of meet­ings and dis­cus­sions, it is clear that the like­li­hood of a mo­bile home park be­ing built on the 16 acres that cur­rently house the New­town Swim Club is ex­tremely high. The de­vel­oper has in­vested thou­sands of dol­lars in the plan, is ac­tively pur­su­ing sim­i­lar mo­bile home parks in nearby mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, and has a strong eco­nomic model to sup­port the in­vest­ment. TKH GHvHORSHr LV nRW bOuIf­ing.

Let me make one fact very clear: As this news­pa­per and oth­ers have stated, the R-2 zon­ing on the prop­erty in ques­tion ab­so­lutely per­mits the devel­op­ment of 56 mo­bile homes. That is not in ques­tion. The cur­rent de­vel­oper and the Platt fam­ily have the right to lay down con­crete slabs and rent mo­bile homes to new res­i­dents. Their mo­bile home park plan cur­rently calls for 112 drive­way spa­ces, 168 park­ing spots and 56 trailer homes. As a re­sult of the zon­ing, the town­ship has no clear or likely le­gal path to stop a mo­bile home park devel­op­ment.

Know­ing this fact should drive ev­ery­one’s de­ci­sions. Ab­so­lutism against any com­pro­mise will ab­so­lutely re­sult in a mo­bile home park. Many of us hoped the de­vel­oper would sub­mit a plan for sin­gle fam­ily homes in­stead of a mo­bile home park. HH GLG nRW, DnG wH PuVW nRw finG D bHWWHr SDWK IRr­wDrG — wH can­not let the per­fect be the en­emy of the good.

I be­lieve there is an­other way: The alternative is to grant a zon­ing vari­ance that al­lows for town­houses much like ones built in New­town Grant, Wilt­shire Walk, Headley, and other ar­eas of New­town Town­ship. Ac­cord­ing to the signed pe­ti­tions of hun­dreds of res­i­dents of Headley and other neigh­bor­hoods near the swim club, this style of new con­struc­tion is pre­ferred WR fiW wLWK WKH unLTuH FKDrDFWHr RI Rur FRPPunLWy. ,PSRrWDnWOy, it also ap­pears to be at­trac­tive to the de­vel­oper, mak­ing this SDWK bRWK rHflHFWLvH RI Rur rHVLGHnWV’ GHVLrHV DnG OLNHOy WR bH suc­cess­ful.

In a time when all too of­ten our elected lead­ers seem to ig­nore the peo­ple they took an oath to rep­re­sent, our board of su­per­vi­sors is work­ing with res­i­dents and con­cerned ci­ti­zens WryLng WR finG D wDy IRr­wDrG WKDW bDODnFHV ODnG rLgKWV wLWK WKH over­all look and feel of New­town Town­ship.

That is why the board voted 4-1, with bi-par­ti­san sup­port, to open the di­a­logue of com­pro­mise with the de­vel­oper. We lisWHnHG WR WKH SHRSOH wH rHSrHVHnW DnG DrH wRrNLng WR finG D wDy IRr­wDrG WKDW LV D wLn-wLn IRr 1HwWRwn TRwnVKLS — nRw DnG Ln WKH IuWurH — WKDW SrHVHrvHV DnG SrRWHFWV WKH unLTuH FKDrDFWHr of our com­mu­nity.

1HwWRwn LV D FRPPunLWy wRrWK figKWLng IRr — wH KDvH D GuWy DV yRur OHDGHrV WR finG D rHDVRnDbOH VROuWLRn DnG D bHWWHr path for­ward. To the ed­i­tor: Democ­racy is the rep­re­sen­ta­tion of “we the peo­ple” in Dn RSHn FRn­vHrVDWLRn. 6R wKHrH GRHV “WKH HnG MuVWL­fiHV WKH PHDnV” fiW LnWR gRvHrnLng Rr Ln Rur HOHFWLRnV? 0Dny use the anal­ogy “you don’t want to know how sausage is made,” but I be­lieve we do want to know how our government works.

Fact is when the “means” be­comes what­ever the power bro­kers think is nec­es­sary to get to the de­sired “end,” it cre­ates the open­ing for a cor­rupt process where the closed door be­comes the norm, the se­cret meet­ing seems just, and the games be­come ac­cept­able. If the creed is to “win at any cost,” only the game and gamers get served.

Many over­look th­ese crimes as long as they like the out­come. The hypocrisy is when they protest other dirty deal­ings not ap­prov­ing of those out­comes. That’s not democ­racy - that’s di­vi­sive po­lit­i­cal games­man­ship.

Re­cently a few of us at Coun­cil Rock School Board

Matt Bench­ener Vice-chair­man, New­town Town­ship

Board of Su­per­vi­sors

meet­ings, in let­ters to the distriFt, and in the loFal me­dia (http://www.trueToAll. Fom/FairPlay.pdf) Fhal­lenged the planned non-publiF meet­ings on re­dis­triFt­ing, en­roll­ment, and sFhool Flos­ings. We stopped the in­tent to work a flawed pro­Fess be­hind the Fur­tain even be­fore it started. This time.

Sadly the new “so­lu­tion” is no bet­ter, as it still serves the Flosed-door Fon­ver­sa­tions in­stead of “Ev­ery­thing on the ta­ble and ev­ery­one in­vited to the ta­ble.” Re­plaFing the seFret meet­ings, the sFhool distriFt plans to hire an out­side Fon­sult­ing firm for $20,000 - $40,000 to help make the deFi­sion of how they should move for­ward in re­gard to faFil­i­ties. This is a sub­MeFt mat­ter that mat­ters to all par­ents and tax­pay­ers.

The faFil­i­ties staff reFently put to­gether a bril­liant bi­ble Fover­ing the full sFope of ev­ery sFhool faFil­ity’s stats and Fon­di­tion at the pres- ent time. Even so, some board mem­bers, while not want­ing to be told what they should do in the next 5 years, want the Fon­sul­tants to sug­gest what they Fould do. With suFh vague di­reF­tion the Fon­sult­ing firm would Fer­tainly redo muFh of the work. 2ther mem­bers want to Fon­sult the Fon­sul­tants on what Fould and Fould not get the maMor­ity of votes from the board to avoid them sug­gest­ing an­swers not fa­vored. So in es­senFe, they want to spend tax­payer money to hire a firm to tell them what they al­ready know, be­lieve, and have votes for. Waste­ful. Still oth­ers feel the need to hire a part­ner and shield to have when they present th­ese find­ings to help them man­age an­gry res­i­dents of one sFhool or an­other los­ing a part of their Fom­mu­nity - and have the poli­tiFal Fover of say­ing “this is what they ad­vised us to do.” SuFh Foward­li­ness should step aside from eleFted re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and al­low those will­ing to make the right, Must, and tough deFi­sions in the light of day to step for­ward.

So af­ter all our work, we went from seFret meet­ings to spend­ing tens of thou­sands of tax­payer dol­lars to hire a firm to say what is al­ready known, fil­tered, and be a shield. How pa­thetiF. While wast­ing publiF tax­payer dol­lars and time (put off un­til af­ter all loFal eleF­tions), in a strange, bril­liant way this is still work­ing be­hind Flosed doors while fil­ter­ing the needed re­sults in­stead of serv­ing in the “Sun­shine.”

This “end Mus­ti­fies the means” is a busi­ness motto based on the greed of the bot­tom line.

This tax­payer-funded en­tity in Fharge of the publiF eduFa­tion of our Fhil­dren is not a busi­ness.

The motto here should be “Ev­ery­thing on the Ta­ble and Ev­ery­one in­vited to the Ta­ble” with the eleFted rep­re­sent­ing with “fi­delity.” Ev­ery­one should have a re­spected and heard voiFe. In­stead we are left to deal with what the dealer deals us.

I seek the FharaFter to serve and not lead. I be­lieve the De­moFraFy our fore­fa­thers Freated de­mands those hold­ing th­ese saFred po­si­tions to have the baFk­bone to have the Fon­ver­sa­tion of “we the peo­ple” and not th­ese poli­tiFal games serv­ing the deal. I was taught never to sheep to any shep­herded Fall, to lis­ten with­out trust­ing blindly, and that the Tues­tion of “why” de­mands the right to a faF­tual an­swer. I was taught to think for my­self, to have a voiFe, and use my voiFe re­speFt­fully lis­ten­ing to the en­tire Fon­ver­sa­tion. This game of Flosed-door gov­ern­ing and “the end Mus­ti­fies the means” must stop as nei­ther serve our saFred De­moFraFy. Le Shep­pard,

Wright­stown Ed­i­tor’s Note: Le Shep­pard is run­ning for CounFil RoFk Board

of SFhool DireF­tors. a mu­tual aid as­sign­ment to MerFer County Sta­tion 32 (Pen­ning­ton Road), for Tower 80 to re­spond and Fover their distriFt while all their units were tied up at a fire.

MarFh 22 - Dis­patFhed for three Falls. The first Fall was for a build­ing fire at Riverview Plaza, on South Delaware Av­enue. The sec­ond call was for a mu­tual aid as­sist to Mor­risville (Sta­tion 98), for Lad­der 0 to re­spond for a dwelling fire on Har­ri­son Av­enue. The third Fall was for “fumes out­side” in the area of the MagiF Cot­tage 1urs­ery SFhool on Flo­ral Vale Boule­vard.

MarFh 23 - Dis­patFhed for an aF­ti­vated fire alarm at the Con­ti­nen­tal Tav­ern on 1orth Main Street.

Year-to-date, the all-vol­un­teer Yardley Makefield Fire Com­pany has re­sponded to 127 Falls. For more in­for­ma­tion and piF­tures about the fire Fom­pany, please go to www. yard­ley­make­field­fire. Fom. 1ew mem­bers are al­ways welFomed.

Photo by Jeff Gold­berg

Fire­fight­ers from the Yardley-Makefield Fire Com­pany par­tic­i­pated with Tower 80 in United States Army 1st Lieu­tenant Sean Woldzko’s Wel­come Home Es­cort co­or­di­nated with A-Hero’s Wel­come & Warriors Watch Rid­ers on Satur­day, March 23.

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