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Why Is it So Hard To View Newtown's Entire Comprehensive Sewer Plan?

Newtown residents will soon see if public sewers are planned for their neighborhood and the cost for each homeowner. But, you will have to visit the township building or library to see the plan.

The township’s comprehensive sewage facilities plan will now be ready for public review and comment on October 17th.  It will be available for review at both the Newtown Township Building and the Newtown Township Library. The review and comment period is 30 days.

Additionally, copies of the plan will be available for purchase. Township officials have not yet stated the cost to purchase copies of the plan. Unfortunately, township officials will not make the entire plan available online as well. Township leadership has determined that after having spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the plan, they cannot make available the resources to put the entire plan online. This, despite the fact that township resident Mark Kay offered his help and services to make the plan available online.

Seems to me that township officials want to make it more difficult for residents of the township to review their latest version of the municipality’s comprehensive sewage facilities plan. Why is this? I would think that the supervisors would want every resident to have easy access to this plan. There are many areas of Newtown Township where public sewers are not currently available. 

The Pennsylvania Sewage Facilities Act, Act 537, requires that all municipalities in PA develop and implement comprehensive official plans that provide for the resolution of existing sewage disposal problems, provide for future sewage disposal needs of new land development, and provide for the future sewage disposal needs of the municipality. 

This new plan should communicate to residents plans to make public sewage facilities available in all areas of the township where they do not exist, cost of the sewers, and timeframes for the sewers availability. The 537 Plan has to be made available for public review and comment for 30 days. During that period of time, any resident may write to the township manager to ask questions about the plan and to comment on anything in the plan. 

For example, this can include, but is not limited to, questions about how the cost of sewers will be determined and how much a homeowner will have to pay for sewers. Once the township receives these questions and comments, they are required to respond to them. 

The township has had years to complete this plan, years to engage the community and provide information about their plans for public sewers. Since the township has chosen not to engage the community in the planning process, I hope all residents, especially those not currently served by public sewers, will take the time to review the plan. 

I hope that all residents will take the time to  send their questions and comments to Newtown Township Manager Mike Trio as well as the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors.

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.

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