Absolutism against any compromise will result in mobile homes in Newtown
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.
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.