After Tuesday night’s Newtown Township meeting to provide another opportunity for residents' comments and questions concerning the township’s proposed sewage facilities plan, there can be no doubt that resident interest and concern is high.
And, with the holidays behind everyone, this meeting was attended by well over 100 residents. Unfortunately, it appeared as though only Township Manager Mike Trio, Township Solicitor Richard Sokorai, and Township Sewer Engineer James MacCombie were able to attend. I did not see any of the supervisors in the crowd.
I wish all of the supervisors had attended. I wish this meeting had been televised. Then, Mr. MacCombie would not have to relay to them today some of the changes to the plan that could show residents that township officials want this plan to be the best, most technically competent sewage facilities plan for all the residents of Newtown.
All the supervisors would have heard a passionate and well-prepared township resident Ray Lopez offer a detailed proposal that showed that the plan could be changed to, once and for all, retire the Springton Pointe Wastewater treatment plant.
Ray showed how his proposal would be much more beneficial for his neighborhood of Springton Pointe Estates as well as the Springton Pointe Woods residents. That is, because rather than turn the wastewater treatment plant into a pump station and dramatically expanding the Camelot Pump Station to predominately serve the commercial users of Marville, Campus Boulevard and Melmark, Ray proposed more than one change that could be made that would provide these facilities via West Chester Pike.
Before the meeting, Ray had even contacted the PA Department of Transportation about this proposal to ensure that it was possible. He was able to confirm that PennDOT would allow this route. And, although Mr. MacCombie suggested that this path may be more expensive, Ray had another engineer, Kevin Matson, who detailed all the ways in which this alternative may very well be less expensive. Hopefully, Mr. MacCombie will meet with Ray to see if these changes will be implemented prior to this plan going to the supervisors for action. It would be great if needed changes were made before the supervisors adopt the plan.
Mr. MacCombie also heard again from the residents of Camelot Pump Station about the smell, noise and overall annoyance they live with currently because of the pump station. Two things came to mind as a result of this discussion.
First if, as Mr. MacCombie indicated, this pump station could be fixed so that there would be no smell and the annoying sounds could be reduced, why is he not proposing to fix it NOW. Two, please don’t tell the residents, as Mr. Trio did last night, to call 911 if there is a problem with the pump station after township business hours. Tell them to call the new Public Works Director George Sharretts, so that he could take care of the problem. Like the resident that spoke last night, I thought and would prefer to see 911 used for emergencies. Township sewer emergencies should not, in my view, go to the 911 operator.
It would seem Mr. MacCombie was willing to consider and make changes. He said last night that he has already made at least one significant change to the plan. Apparently, he met with the residents who live on Goshen Road who were to have a pump station 100 feet from their home and has now moved it. The question now is, where has the pump station moved?
In addition to changes that could be made for Springton Pointe Estates and Springton Pointe Woods, Mr. MacCombie was asked about making changes to the areas of Hunt Valley Circle and Echo Valley. In both areas, there appear to be changes that could be made that would ensure a better technical and more resident centered plan. I hope that Mr. MacCombie will meet with these residents and make changes to the plan.
Mr. Sokorai indicated last night that the township was still in the planning process. As that is the case, I hope township officials continue to plan and make changes. After the changes, I hope they will provide the plan for review again. That way, when this plan gets to the supervisors to consider, it can be the best plan for all residents.