The following Letter to the Editor was submitted by a Newtown Square resident:
On the evening of November 13th, over 200 residents gathered at the Newtown Township Supervisors meeting. They spoke clearly, passionately and forcefully to the supervisors and their goal was achieved.
There will be no hearing on November 26th regardingthe proposed CR Commercial Residential Ordinance in its original form. The plan is to send the document back to planning and, with input from the residents, to improve upon it.
The CR Zoning Ordinance as it was proposed had many defects. It intruded upon beautiful residential neighborhoods. It required commercial buildings to contain a residential feature such as retail shops on the ground floor and apartments on the top floors. It allowed for buildings 50-feet tall, 20-feet apart and 20 feet from the road. However, its greatest liability was that we, the people, had no voice in its creation.
On October 11th, the township alerted residents within 600 feet of the proposed change with a legal letter. The legal notice was also advertised in the County Press. The letter warned us that in a month there would be a hearing on the matter which would decide the fates of our neighborhoods forever. That’s it.
That was the extent of the communication from the township to the people… the legally required minimum. Our town leaders failed to engage and communicate with the residents with regard to a major zoning change.
The people reacted to this offensive change to their neighborhoods. We properly advertised the zoning change in the County Press. We hand delivered copies of the proposed ordinance to our neighbors. We created a petition against the change and we started an informative email network to keep the residents up-to-date and united in our cause. (You are encouraged to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we may inform of our next battle.) In this case, the power of the people was proven to be effective.
Our town leaders have clearly demonstrated to us that they need our help. A disconnect has occurred between residents and the leaders they elected. This severed relationship was clear at the supervisors meeting on November 13th. The break in communication was most obvious when the supervisors decided they would not answer questions or comment on the issue at hand. This was an opportunity missed. They had a room full of passionate concerned citizens hungry for answers and direction. They chose to not comment.
The system is broken. Together, we can make it better. Please email us so that we may include your voice in the future planning of Newtown Square.
Our Homes, Our Streets, Our Town