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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.

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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