Meet Mack Monday: 9 August 2021
The following are notes and an audio archive from the August 9, 2021, Meet Mack Monday Zoom Meeting
Arcadia Land Development
The elephant in the room is the Arcadia Land Development Plan, which will be considered for approval by the supervisors at the August 11, 2021, Board of Supervisors meeting.
The core of the Township’s opposition to the Arcadia plan has always been the problem with access to the Bypass and the Township from the Service Road. However, the settlement agreement clearly contemplated that PennDOT would be asked to consider three other options for access, and that if those options were rejected, the U-Turn option would serve as the access to the Bypass/Township.
About a year ago, the supervisors denied the Toll Bros conditional use application to build to build a cluster of 45 high-end single family homes on 150 acres located at Route 413 (Durham Road) and Twining Bridge Road.
Three reasons why I denied the application:
- 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.
- On the developer's efforts to preserve agricultural soils at the site, 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.
This last point has often been made by local residents, some of whom are attending this meeting tonight.
It’s no secret that this decision was subsequently challenged in court by Toll Bros, who contend that it was “improper [and] an abuse of discretion.” Specifically, they claim that the Conditional Use Application complies with and satisfies the applicable objective conditional use criteria under the Zoning Ordinance and that the Board “capriciously” disregarded the Conditional Use Plan, materials submitted with the Conditional Use Application, Toll's experts' testimonies and the evidence introduced in support of the Conditional Use Application.
As with all potential litigation, I am not at liberty to discuss all that I know, but it can be assumed that since no legal action has taken place in nearly a year, that there has been some negotiation going on.
I had hoped that by the time this meeting took place, there would be more public information available to discuss. But at the moment, this matter is not scheduled to come before the Board of Supervisors.
Several people wanted to discuss what’s happening with the Wawa application. Here’s what I know:
Round 2 of Newtown vs Wawa was held at the July 8, 2021, Zoning Hearing Board ("Newtown Township Versus Wawa: Round 2, Signage Part Deux"). Most of the testimony, evidence and cross-examination at the hearing concerned the signage. This was also true of the first part of the hearing on June 3, 2021 ("Newtown Township Versus Wawa: Round 1, Signage").
At the July 14, 2021, BOS meeting, Solicitor David Sander gave brief summary of Wawa’s requests for variances before the Zoning Hearing Board.
The Wawa hearing will continue at the August 18, 2021 ZHB meeting. At that meeting Mr. Sander will bring his witness – David Babbitt – to testify. Mr. Babbitt Private owns a consulting practice in land planning. Services include providing expert testimony before zoning hearing boards, planning commissions, and elected officials. After that, the Provco attorney will cross-examine Mr. Babbitt. Listen to the testimony: "Newtown Twp vs Wawa: Round 3, Newtown's Expert Testifies"
Mr. Sander does not think a decision will be made at the August 18 meeting and that there will be one more meeting.