UPDATE (11/15/23): The following discussion took place during the November 13, 2023, Meet Mack Monday Zoom meeting during which Newtown Environmental Advisory Board member Jan Filios pointed out the environmental concerns, which may be insurmountable due to zoning ordinances that are in place regarding flood plains. Listen:
UPDATE (11/13/23): The Newtown Borough Council has announced a new timeline for the approval of the Steeple View redevelopment project. A revised preliminary as final land development plans are scheduled to go before the planning commission at its Dec. 4 meeting. Following that review, the plan is tentatively scheduled to go before the borough council at its Dec. 6 work session. A final vote could happen as early as the Tuesday, Dec. 12 council meeting. Meanwhile, newly elected Borough Council member Julia Woldorf tells why she no longer supports Steeple View. Spoiler Alert! She also thinks it will not help businesses – in the Boro!
Back in June, 2023, #NewtownPA Township Manager received a letter via email from attorney Timothy J. Duffy, representing Steeple View, L.P. which presently has pending before Newtown Borough Council a revised Preliminary and Final Land Development Plan. "What we are planning is a Traditional Neighborhood Development (TND)," said Mr. Duffy.
The Steeple View plan includes seven new “mixed use” buildings being proposed on nearly nine acres of land along with a public greenway along the Newtown Creek. Also proposed is a footbridge connecting Newtown Borough to Newtown Township at Carl Sedia Park (see image). [Background: “Planners Begin Review Of Revised, Multi-Million Steeple View Project”]
In the letter to the township, Mr. Duffy asked: “...as we move toward final approval in the Borough, both my client and the Borough would like to determine whether the Township - on a non-binding basis, of course - is interested in the bridge or, to the contrary, has no interest.” Mr. Duffy asked that the Township Manager “...put the question to the Board for its comment.” Supervisors just recently received a copy of the letter. I am not sure how how other supervisors feel about this bridge, but I have some concerns.
An important issue that will need to be addressed is the developer’s concern regarding the cost of the bridge. “We have no problem putting a bridge in,” said Duffy at a meeting with the Borough Planning Commission (op cit). “It’s an issue of timing” AND COST!
“Because one end of that bridge would be placed (at the developer's expense) in a Newtown Township park, the bridge could be installed only if Newtown Township consents,” said Mr. Duffy in his June 2023 letter to the township. “Any [so-called] ancillary improvements on the Newtown Township end of the proposed bridge (pathway, lighting, signage, etc ... ) [and associated costs] would be the responsibility of the Township.”
“We will be required to post financial securities for the bridge,” Duffy noted. “You’ll have the financial securities and it will be part of the plan. We just feel it’s more important to get the piazza built, the greenway built and then within two years of substantial completion get that bridge built.”
Is this a Bridge Too Far?
Lest we forget, Newtown Twp supervisors just recently approved the application for a Statewide Local Share Assessment grant of $999,979.20 from the Commonwealth Financing Authority to be used for a different pedestrian bridge over the Newtown Creek at the other end of town, which link Edgeboro Road/Frost Lane in the borough to North Sycamore Street in the township (read “Newtown Creek Coalition Proposes a NEW Pedestrian Bridge to Supervisors”).
As a Newtown Supervisor, I have to weigh the benefits versus the costs to the township of these projects. While the Frost Lane bridge has some marginal benefit to businesses located on North Sycamore Street and the Newtown Village Shopping Center, the Steeple View bridge is too far from any township business and only seems to benefit Newtown Borough residents and, more specifically future Steeple View residents. The township should not have to pay a dime to help developers provide amenities to their clients.
Posted on 02 Nov 2023, 11:17 - Category: Development