A protracted battle between a bank and the township over a new location on Sycamore Street has prompted one supervisor to call for a boycott of the company.
Newtown Township Supervisor Phil Calabro said at a meeting Wednesday he intends to spread the word that he does not view Beneficial Bank as “a friendly part of our community."
Calabro believes residents should boycott the bank because he said the bank has used “arm twisting” tactics to get its way when it comes to a proposal for a new Sycamore Street location. Specifically, Calabro said he takes issue with the bank’s unwillingness to agree to a right-in, right-out entrance and exit from Richboro Road.
The tension between the township and Beneficial Bank is nothing new.
It all began in 2011, when Newtown Township denied Beneficial Bank’s conditional use request for a location at the former Stockburger dealership. The plans did not fit in with the vision for the future of Sycamore Street, officials said at the time.
Fast forward to May, when the township and the bank came to a court-approved agreement regarding the proposal. In that agreement, the bank made changes to its plan, including rotating the building toward Sycamore Street.
But concerns over traffic lingered in the minds of at least two supervisors.
A vote to approve the plans based on the court agreement failed by a 2 to 3 vote earlier in September.
Beneficial Bank responded with a letter to the township threatening legal action if the denial was not reversed at the next meeting. Calabro, who “begrudgingly” voted to approve the plans the second time around, said the bank’s actions have not been “neighborly.”
“To me that bank should be empty and that will solve the problem because nobody will be turning into there. Don’t bank there. If they’re going to take our money, don’t give them yours,” Calabro said.