Newtown News of Interest
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In an Unanimous Vote, Newtown Township Supervisors Denied Toll Brothers Conditional Use Application to Build 45 Homes in Conservation District. Residents Ecstatic!

In an Unanimous Vote, Newtown Township Supervisors Denied Toll Brothers Conditional Use Application to Build 45 Homes in Conservation District. Residents Ecstatic! | Newtown News of Interest | Scoop.it

At its first in-person meeting since March, the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors on August 26 voted unanimously to deny a conditional use application submitted by Toll Brothers.

 

Toll had requested the conditional use to build a cluster of 45 high-end single family homes on 150 acres located at Route 413 (Durham Road) and Twining Bridge Road.

 

Because the parcel is zoned Conservation Management (CM), a cluster development is allowed by use, but not by right, so that’s why Toll needed the conditional-use approval instead of a zoning change.

 

At a meeting in early March, the supervisors were poised to vote on the developers’ application, but decided to table the motion after several neighboring residents again voiced their opposition to the project, mostly over traffic concerns.

 

The supervisors had intended to announce its decision at its March 25 board meeting, which was subsequently canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. Under an extension agreement with Toll, the supervisors postponed its announcement until its first in-person meeting, which took place this week [August 26, 2020; see the video archive here].

 

With officials and members of the public seated six feet apart and everyone wearing masks, the supervisors heard one more round of public comment before casting its vote.

 

Board members made no public statements as to why they voted to deny the request, but their decision prompted applause from the less than 20 members of the public who were allowed inside the meeting room.

 

Under the law, Toll Brothers has 30 days to file an appeal in county court. [Read “What Will Happen If Newtown Supervisors Vote "No" on Toll Bros Conditional Use Application to Build 45 Homes in Conservation Management District Along Twining Bridge Road?”]

 

Residents are strongly opposed to the development taking access onto Twining Bridge Road, suggesting instead access be from Durham Road at a signalized intersection with North Drive.

 

Twining Bridge Road resident [JoyAnn Charlton] also voiced deep opposition to the development, speaking publicly against the plan over traffic and safety concerns and issues concerning flooding, drainage and acquifer recharge.

 

Charlton questioned the veracity of the Toll-funded traffic study, which she said “was dumped on the board of supervisors only minutes before the hearing depriving the board of any meaningful opportunity to adequately review, consider and question the submissions. The traffic study was not thoroughly considered or challenged. We’re expected to simply take Tolls’ word. Once these homes are sold Toll will be out of the picture leaving us to deal with the mess.”

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Quoted in Bucks County Courier Times:

 

Sander had advised board members that even though they were required to continue to take public comment on the issue, they had to base their decision solely on evidence presented and testimony given at the Feb. 26 hearing. All five supervisors voted to deny conditional use approval at the recent meeting without commenting just before or after they voted on their reasons.

 

"In general, I do not believe that the applicant demonstrated that the proposed development is consistent with the spirit, purposes and intent of the Conservation Management zoning district," Supervisor John Mack wrote in an email after the meeting.

 

On the developer's efforts to preserve agricultural soils at the site, he added "I do not believe that the applicant demonstrated that every effort has been made to provide a maximum amount of farmland preserved for agriculture.

 

"I do not believe that the applicant demonstrated that the proposed development is not a detriment to the property in the immediate vicinity."

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Newtown News of Interest
These Scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources that may be of interest to Newtown area residents. Please click on the "From" link to access the full original article. Any opinions and "insights" appended to these article summaries are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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