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Community Reacts to Mobile Home Proposal

A proposal for a 56-pad trailer park at the Newtown Swim Club has generated a buzz around town.

A proposal for a 56-pad mobile home park at the Newtown Swim Club has generated a buzz on Newtown Patch.

The swim club is closing after this summer and owner David Platt is working with County Builders to create a residential development on the 16.6-acre property.

The current plan submitted to the township is for a trailer park just 30 feet from the Headly and Wiltshire Walk communities.

More than 50 people commented on a story about the proposal that was posted to Newtown Patch on Thursday afternoon.

Many of those comments expressed concerns that the mobile home park would drive down property values. 

"This is very disappointing. I chose to live in Newtown for a reason. If I wanted to live near a trailer park, I would not have chosen Newtown," reader Leyla Capitelli wrote.

Reader Gina Farruggio wrote: "If the first thing people see when driving into Newtown is a trailer park of course it will negatively affect our home values and image of a quaint town with historic properties and landmarks." 

In November, Platt came before the township Board of Supervisors with a plan for 52 townhomes on the property. That proposal required a variance because the property, located on Newtown-Yardley Road, is zoned for single-family housing. A variance is needed to construct higher density townhomes.

By a 3-2 vote, the supervisors decided to oppose the variance and send its solicitor before the Zoning Hearing Board’s review of the application.

At that meeting, Mike Meister, president of County Builders, blasted the board for their lack of support for Platt. Meister told the board that if they didn’t accommodate the current proposal, he would put forth an alternate proposition for the site – a trailer park.

A mobile home park is a permitted use for that property under the current zoning.

Some readers expressed frustration in Mr. Platt's approach.

"This new plan is equivalent to a six year old taking his ball and going home because he couldn't get his townhome plan approved," wrote reader Leia. "People who live near the swim club should absolutely petition!" 

"I was going to renew our swim club membership for one final year but forget about that now Mr. Platt," wrote reader Man Landers.

"It's definitely a leverage ploy by the builder to get concessions from the town," wrote reader Newtown Resident. "Let him build it and I would take issue with the owners of the property."

But other commenters said they wouldn't mind the addition of a trailer park in town. 

"I live in a small, old house in the borough and would not mind at all if that type of housing were to go in the land where the swim club is located," said reader Marie Hutchinson.

Some readers took a humorous approach in their feedback. "Here comes Honey boo boo," wrote Mitch.

The application for a mobile home park will come before the township’s Planning Commission later this month or early next month, Board of Supervisors chairman Mike Gallagher said.

mitch January 04, 2013 at 09:36 PM
I got quoted...I am flattered.
Kara Seymour January 04, 2013 at 09:40 PM
haha Mitch, couldn't leave out Honey Boo Boo
Jen Ross Dix January 04, 2013 at 09:45 PM
Your comment still makes me laugh. Thanks for bringing a little humor into what is an otherwise tense situation.
The Illuminati January 05, 2013 at 02:19 AM
What about Buckingham Springs? Its a very nice "trailer park" or as I prefer to call it, prefabricated homes. Why is something like that so bad? And as far as it being the "first thing" someone sees when they enter Newtown...that area of Newtown Yardley Road is hardly the gateway to Newtown. Let's be honest people. You don't like the connotation associated with a trailer park or the "undesirables" that live there. Some of you should be ashamed at your "neighborly" attitudes and stuck upiddyness.
Ed B January 05, 2013 at 01:01 PM
I was waiting for Kara to say, "Just kidding.......wanted to see how people would react." But she let me down. Sake should have at least suggested that everyone joins the NAC and really stir the pot. I personally think, they should fill in the pools with dirt, take down the slides and buildings and just plant vegetables. Turn the area back to a farm.
Jen Buschel January 05, 2013 at 01:52 PM
The so called Trailer Park is also known as Mobile home site! Have you noticed that rock stars drive RV's that once had a stigma and were renamed because they are done tastefully. More information is needed before passing judement such as what will they look like? How much will the the homes sell for .. What is the elevation and exterior look like? Will it be an Adult Community? Yes townhomes will provide living space for a much larger audiance. More facts are needed anyway .
Jen Buschel January 05, 2013 at 02:03 PM
I want to reinterate. What people are looking for is a Whome foods or Trader Joes! Or why not try a community farm for Newtown. We can pay a month feee to purchase vegetables that are locally grown without pesticides!
Jen Ross Dix January 05, 2013 at 03:41 PM
Jen, the land is not zoned for commercial uses. It would be too costly, I think, to try and have the township buy the land and then have a community farm. There is too much to have to tear down and convert to farmland as opposed to buying land that is already being farmed.
Former Employee of NSC January 05, 2013 at 05:04 PM
I didn't get Quoted :( I like the 6 year old comment though. Dave isn't being reasonable. I hope he ends up flat broke and has to live in that trailer park. Perfect irony.
The Illuminati January 05, 2013 at 05:48 PM
The township doesn't have two nickels to rub together to buy anything let alone that property. They haven't raised taxes in Newtown in 17 years. Instead they sell off what they can and fire employees. Remember, Newtown has the lowest municipal taxesin the county at an average of $94 per household per year! Compare that to Upper Makefield which is over $900 per year! At some point if you want stuff you have to pay for it.
Kate January 05, 2013 at 06:11 PM
Kara, can you please provide information on how the residents of Newtown can have their voices heard on this issue, i.e. when/where is the next meeting in which this will be on the agenda? How about the contact info for the decisionmakers? Thanks.
Kara Seymour January 05, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Hello Kate, the plan will go before the Newtown Township Planning Commission for land development approval. I'm told that will happen at the meeting later this month or early next month. The planning commission meets the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month at the Newtown Twp Municipal Building. I'll be providing updates and will post a story when the item is put on the agenda. However, if you'd check the agendas at the township website, visit http://www.twp.newtown.pa.us/commissions/planning_commission/2012/agendas_minutes.htm
Zoe January 05, 2013 at 08:27 PM
My family will not be renewing our Newtown Swim Club membership this year. This entire development proposal from the very beginning has been all about greed. A builder who claims he can't make money building only 30 homes or townhomes in Newtown?! Clearly, not someone that should be building in Bucks County. Every Newtown resident should be opposed to this mobile home plan. Platt and Matt Meischer of County Builder are the epitomy of adult bullies and need to be stopped.
the VOICE January 05, 2013 at 08:39 PM
R U a Moron or Jay Sensibaugh ? U R actualy complaining cause' newtown has LOW taxes. U and the people like U don't any make sense .
The Illuminati January 05, 2013 at 10:35 PM
@TheVoice...I am simply saying that it is typical for everyone in this community to expect the world without paying for it. Do you think the money just grows on trees? No. 5 years ago this township had a $3 million surplus. Then they bought an $8 million administration building, a $2 million public works building, both if which they did not need and could not afford and spent another $3 million on the Woll tract park (as if we needed yet another park). All of this was done under the guise that taxes would have to be raised to pay for it. Well, 5 years later taxes have not been raised, the surplus is down to $800k (and that is only because they sold a radio tower for $500k)and the police department and fire department budgets have been gutted. The police have not added anyone to their ranks in over 10 years, while the township has continued to grow and crime in the area is more rampant. I hate taxed as much as the next guy, but if the supervisors are going to throw money away on things they don't need, they will have to raise taxes to pay for essentials, and so far they haven't and we are going to be in for a treat one of these days.
Anthony D January 06, 2013 at 04:58 AM
It's a disgrace on newtown township part . First off there are town homes right near there mater fact there are 90% town homes in that area so why would the township break balls ? Must be a bunch of democrats that run zoning dept . Give the guy his variance that is needed to build the town homes which I'm sure will be just as nice as the others and stop breaking people's balls .
Jen Ross Dix January 06, 2013 at 01:57 PM
Anthony, the authority in the Township is nearly all Republican: Board of Supervisors - 4 R, 1D Planning Commission - 7 R, 2 D Zoning Hearing Board - 5 R, 0 D The ZHB has not had a chance to vote on anything yet.
Man Landers January 06, 2013 at 02:21 PM
Newtown people are so smart. We can't accept no trailer park. Trashy folks invade Starbucks. Zoning board don't give a *uck!
Zoe January 06, 2013 at 03:30 PM
The township is fine with 30 homes as zoned, just not the almost twice as many, 54, that Platt is asking. I guess the ability to make at least 15 million on 30 homes is not enough money for the Platts and County Builders. If the township always lets everyone get twice as much as zoned this area will be a disaster and undesirable in the not too distant future.
Mike Doublewide January 07, 2013 at 12:58 AM
I live in Buckingham Springs, and I have to say there are a lot worse looking developements in Newtown. Newtown is not what it was 25 years ago, but still a very desirable place to live. A PRD like Buckingham Springs could be beneficial to everyone, even the owner and builder, The owner of Buckingham Springs collects a healthy paycheck every month from his land renters. I support Mike Gallagher and Big Rye, work toward organized developement as opposed to arguing what is already law.
See4yourself January 11, 2013 at 10:27 PM
Everyone should watch the supervisors meeting where the plans were discussed Nov. 28. See link below starting at 32:35 minutes. http://newtownpa.swagit.com/play/12052012-678

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