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Newtown's Proposed Sewer Plan – Part Two

Responses to the many questions and comments to my previous post.

Thank you for the many questions and comments to my last post concerning Newtown Township’s proposed Comprehensive Sewage Facilities Plan update (also known as the Act 537 Plan) and for the concern and interest in this plan. This post will attempt to answer some of the questions posed in the many comments. Any question I am not able to answer at this time, I will hopefully be able to answer once I receive the township’s response to my public comment letter.

One of the comment posters noted that when he purchased his home, he knew where the sewage facilities were located in his neighborhood. In the new plan, most, if not all, of the easements proposed are properties which were not purchased with sewer pipes across their properties. These residents did not purchase their homes thinking that a pump station and/or a pump station access road would be next to their home. Once my public comment letter is answered, I hope to be able to publish a list of addresses where easements and pump stations are proposed. 

Another comment poster asked about the location of the Goshen Road Pump Station. Another answered that the location was where Lewis Run crosses under Goshen Road. What was missing was the information that this pump station is in front of a resident's property. The comment then offered that it was the location “for now." There still seems to be a misconception about the township’s 537 Plan.  This misconception seems to be that residents still may think that the plan is a “placeholder," that it can be changed once it has been approved by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).  

If the supervisors vote to approve the proposed plan, they are saying to the DEP that they intend to implement the plan as provided. They are saying that this is the plan that they stand behind and plan to build. Once approved by the DEP and once the 30-day appeal period has been met, if the plan is not appealed, it is administratively final. It cannot be changed.

As one comment noted, this is not a referendum. It is, however, a process that allows for and requires public notice in an effort to encourage public participation.  Public comment is sought and the township is required to respond. The comments and responses are then sent to the DEP to be included in their review process.   

Many other comments seemed to refer to my prior decisions to appeal actions taken by the DEP.  Once any action is sought by the township, an entity or individual is approved by the DEP, there is a 30-day appeal period. During that time, any resident/entity with standing may appeal the DEP's action.  

Many comments referred to my appeal of prior DEP actions. In the case of the previous plan, I was not the only one to appeal. There were multiple appellants as well as multiple intervenors. If any resident/entity with standing decides that they do not agree with the DEP’s approval of the plan or a planning module, they can appeal. If  any resident/entity does not agree with the appeal, they can intervene in the appeal. Along with others, I chose to appeal the DEP’s actions. In my view, rather than work toward a settlement, the township chose to litigate the appeals.  

One comment suggested that residents could still “opt out” of connecting to the proposed sewage facilities. Currently, we have an ordinance that allows residents to opt-out of connection. I agree with this ordinance as it is currently written. The DEP agreed that the current opt-out ordinance was fine. Why is it proposed to change?

The new plan proposes to replace the opt-out with a deferral option. Residents would be able to defer connection, not opt-out, for a period of years regardless of their onsite system’s condition. During the deferral period, residents will be asked to pay to have their system certified. If they sell their home regardless of their system’s condition, they will have to connect.

Many comments referred to confusion over the cost to individuals homeowner. Once the township responds to my public comment, I hope to have specific information about costs.

At the supervisors' previous meeting, I asked that they postpone action on this proposed plan in order to allow more time to answer residents' questions. At that meeting, the supervisors would not agree to postpone this action. It is currently planned to take place on December 27th at 5 p.m. along with a vote on the township budget. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

P Dazzle December 18, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Thank you Patti for taking the time to keep the residents of Newtown Twp informed. Knowing you are standing watch makes me sleep easier at night. Hopefully our Christmas wont be ruined by our township supervisors approving the proposed plan in this hasty manner. They need to work much harder for us.
Larry December 18, 2012 at 02:55 PM
If past practice is any indication, most likely the Township will complete the responses to the 60+ public comments on the eve of 12/27 and then will vote and approve the 537 plan and the 2013 budget on 12/27. Are we to believe that the Supervisors spent their Christmas studying the engineer's response to the public comment?
Concerned December 18, 2012 at 08:10 PM
Patti - did you take any money from a developer? Interesting how you deleted the past posts and are saying that you answered the posts.
Concerned December 18, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Patti - regarding your statement from above "I have not received any payment from the township's sewer consultant ever or any taxpayer funds. Patti" although this is true have you received payment from developers? Have you cost taxpayers any money in the form defending appeals?
Concerned December 18, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Is it true that in November of 2010 - Ms. Wilson & Paul Guest petitioned for $97,159.12 in "costs and legal fees" in a joint affidavit filed with COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA that be paid by DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION, and NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP?
Patti Wilson December 18, 2012 at 11:18 PM
I just received this email--thought all residents would be interested. Subject: Township Meeting Friday 12/21 There will be a meeting THIS FRIDAY December 21st at 8:30 am at the Township building. The meeting will be hosted by Mike Trio and the engineer Jamie MacCombie will be there to answer any questions you have. There has been a lot of questions and emails going back and forth and we have set up a meeting to finally clear things up. THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE before the December 27th deadline to ask questions. Please make every attempt to attend.
Dan Gormley December 19, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Patti - Did you receive or will you be receiving payment from any of the developers?
NOT Concerned December 20, 2012 at 02:34 AM
concerned, Since you can't get beyond being so repetitive and obviously egging Mrs. Wilson on, let's assume she did receive a payment from a developer. She won't be the first or the last. It seems the difference is Mrs. Wilson was obviously effective enough and Rouse needed to sell his property to Toll Brothers because after filing for bankruptcy several times, Rouse couldn't built what he sold to the Township Supervisors. It seems like the Township was taken down suckers alley when they thought Rouse would build what he worked so hard to get approved. This should be a lesson learned, the next time your township won't be so lucky when another developer sells out after approvals. So be prepared to wipe the egg off your faces, and pick out your stripe suits.
The Real Information December 20, 2012 at 05:18 PM
"Thank you for the many questions and comments to my last post concerning Newtown Township’s proposed Comprehensive Sewage Facilities Plan update (also known as the Act 537 Plan) and for the concern and interest in this plan. This post will attempt to answer some of the questions posed in the many comments." Patti you still have not, as "Concerned" has pointed out, answered or cleared up the single biggest issue that holds your credibility in the air, did you, or did you not, get paid off by a develpoer/s? It’s a simple question yet the repercussions of you answer hold so much weight. "Not concerned," if Patti is going to continue to write these posts that are intended to make her look like the "savior" then she should be honest if she has been paid off? I am happy to see that people on the Patch are no longer standing for Patti’s fear mongering tactics and cowardly attempts to make her look like she is a true and honest watch dog for the community. She is out for her self and her self only.
Jim Curcio December 21, 2012 at 06:34 PM
P Dazzle (and all of us): if you want to stay informed (about the facts) I strongly recommend you attend township meetings and come to your own conclusions. There was a very informative meeting this morning (Dec 21) - were you there? I hope so. Interesting that the appellants were not at this meeting. And...hasty manner..?....where have you been for the past 8 years? Those that attended today's meetings were informed about the process for easements and locating pump stations, the current cost estimates associated with the plan (tapping and individual), the grinder pumps, etc etc. Patti mentions above that there were "multiple appellants", well, that really means 2. If you want to be informed about the 2009 appeal, including the petition for $97K in costs, go to here: http://ehb.courtapps.com. Mr. Trio informed us today that the BOS WILL NOT be taking action on the plan at the Dec 27 meeting. Needless to say, we should all still attend, get informed and work with the Township to formulate the best community-based solution. The solution will not be found in idividual appeals/lawsuits which only serve to waste tax payer money and increase the cost to homeowners when the project is finally completed.
JoeCoceancity December 23, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Hey is this the same jim curcio who likes to drive around new jersey drunk. the former gop freeholder from atlantic county? just wondering
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