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Not Only Newtown

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NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP >> For the third time in three years, the Philadelphia-based Arcadia Land Development Co. has proposed a residential development off of Buck Road and the Newtown Bypass.

At the July 11 supervisors’ meeting, township solicitor David Sander announced that the developer has submitted another Planned Residential Development (PRD) application which requires that the supervisors hold public hearings on the matter and render a decision within a certain timeframe.

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In response to the new application for the Arcadia Green project, the supervisors voted 4-0 to hire Hill Wallack, LLP to represent the township in the PRD process as “special counsel.”

Under the contract, the law firm, which has an office in Yardley, will be paid $135 an hour for its services.

Voting for the motion were: Chairman Phil Calabro, along with Supervisors, John Mack, Linda Bobrin and Kyle Davis. Supervisor Jennifer Dix had resigned last month because her family is moving to New Hampshire.

Under the PRD process, which is permitted by state law, the township’s normal planning and zoning channels are bypassed. It gives the supervisors sole authority to approve a development plan in an expedited manner while allowing developers to fast-track their projects.

In December, the supervisors had unanimously accepted a lengthy report which called for rejecting the controversial housing development, citing traffic as one of the key reasons.

That document had recommended that the board reject Arcadia Green, a proposed 85 unit residential development to be built on a 27.6 acre tract.

Arcadia Land Development Co. had wanted to construct 59 townhouses and 26 single-family homes on the site.

The company also had proposed creating 10.3 acres of open space, which would include a soccer field, community garden and dog park.

Roughly a half-mile of “walkable” trails were also planned, as well as community center.

However, scores of residents in the adjoining Newtown Grant and Eagle Ridge communities had expressed outrage over the proposal, claiming that it would create a traffic nightmare for the area.

Homeowners from the adjoining communities were not only upset about the loss of open space and increased traffic, but also had opposed plans to tear down a home on an existing cul-de-sac in Newtown Crossing so that an exit-only road could be built for the proposed development.

Another exit road also had been planned for the Newtown Bypass, but PennDOT had not supported the developer’s request.

Last year’s rejection was the second time that the supervisors had turned down a housing development for the site.

In 2015, the board had also unanimously dismissed a much smaller proposed housing development, which then had called for building 33 single-family homes on 19.2 acres.

At the time, the board had cited a number of concerns, mostly traffic safety and the accessibility to the number of housing units.

For its second proposal, the developer had purchased some more parcels, so the tract totaled about 27.6 acres. Those recent purchases had included a nearly 7.1-acre tract owned by the neighboring Newtown Reformed Church, which supports the planned development.

The main issue during both public hearings was whether Arcadia would create additional traffic problems in the area by building homes on the property which is accessible only by a single entrance-only service road off Buck Road (Route 532) just several hundred feet from the busy Newtown Bypass intersection.

It’s not known what the newest proposal calls for, but it’s expected to elicit renewed public criticism from neighbors, as well as detailed scrutiny from township leaders.

Arcadia Green was formerly known as the Wynmere/Karr tract.


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Source : http://www.buckslocalnews.com/news/controversial-newtown-housing-development-again-proposed-for-buck-road-supervisors/article_2c5023af-7e42-50d1-8446-b8b7fe394f42.html

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