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Thursday marks the third anniversary of when firefighting foam sprang to life in a “special report” on the front page of local papers. The top of page one shouted, “Unclear and uncertain danger,” announcing a water crisis in Bucks and Montgomery counties that continues unabated. The latest headline accuses the EPA of spinning wheels.
In 2015, the Department of the Navy posted a small notice for a public information session set during a workday regarding contamination at the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove in Horsham and the Johnsville Naval Air Warfare Center in Warminster. We locals were used to this — we all knew the bases were Superfund sites.
We’ve got many sick friends and neighbors. As an A-10 Warthog flies and firefighting foam seeps, only 3 miles separate the two bases — both have tested at the highest levels in the nation.
This has long been known and artfully hidden from the public. The earliest concerns date to reports from Dupont in 1954. More than a decade ago, the National Fire Prevention Association’s Committee on firefighting foam stated that consumption of PFOA and PFOS was a death warrant.
Although the EPA lowered its “advisory” limit to 70 parts per trillion, ppt, Harvard University Chan School of Public Health said their research showed that the level should be 1 ppt. Richard Clapp, the leading researcher, spoke at the only meeting held in Warminster that was sponsored by the township’s Environmental Advisory Council. He told us that New Jersey’s limit of 14 ppt was closer to what was needed, but is still inadequate.
If we stop being mesmerized by the EPA, Navy and Department of Defense spinning wheels, we’ll realize that we’re being played for fools. Veterans have taken the brunt. Government strategy has been out of the same playbook that they use for traumatic brain injuries. They used it against Agent Orange claims, PTSD, shell shock and a host of other veteran issues.
Our answer now lies at the state level. We need to actively support Senate and House bills like Tom Murt’s — co-sponsored by Madeleine Dean and others — to set a 5 ppt limit for Pennsylvania. The Delaware Riverkeeper Network, DRN, submitted a similar petition for rulemaking to the Environmental Quality Board, EQB.
All our local legislators, Gov. Wolf and Sen. Casey are on our side. We, the people, just need to step it up. It’s our water, our health. Over 80,000 local residents and many veterans are depending on what we do. Let’s end the spinning wheels.
[Warminster resident Larry Menkes is the CEO of Veterans Green Jobs Initiative that finds green jobs for wounded warriors.]
Philadelphia-based Arcadia at Newtown Holdings had signaled in two legal notices and a December zoning appeal it was considering its proposed 76-home community “deemed approved,” even though supervisors were unanimous in denying the project in mid-November.
The crux of the developer’s contention was that the board’s decision documents were not certified, and supervisors had not signed a copy sent to Arcadia before Nov. 25, when a 60-day window for tentative approval of planned residential developments expired.
But the supervisors have stood by their decision and on Friday appealed Arcadia’s notices stating the project’s “deemed approval,” requesting a county judge’s order affirming that the proposed 23 single-family detached homes and 53 townhomes off Buck Road and the Newtown Bypass are not approved.
In the appeal, township Solicitor David Sander said he sent Arcadia attorney John VanLuvanee the decision documents, outlining the supervisors’ findings and conclusions following project hearings, on Nov. 24, the same day as Micah Lewis, the township’s manager and custodian of records, certified the decision.
Though Sander sent VanLuvanee identical documents bearing the supervisors’ signatures in mid-December, at the Arcadia attorney’s request, the township solicitor said his Nov. 24 email, in tandem with each supervisor’s verbal denial of the project at a Nov. 14 meeting, met the applicable requirements of the municipal planning code.
Arcadia has submitted to Newtown Township, and received denials on three configurations for “Arcadia Green” homes through the tentative planned residential development process since 2015.
[Read “Arcadia Green PRD Three Peat: Denied Again!” which was posted on November 15, 2019.] 
Officials denied the latest version of the plans because of the “extremely deleterious impact” they believed it would have on residents in neighboring communities as well as “dangerous traffic conditions,” including potential lane crossing and illegal turn issues, they said could arise from proposed traffic changes, per decision documents.
Chipotle Mexican Grill is a step closer to bringing its fast causal restaurant to the Newtown area.BucksLocalNews.com was in attendance Tuesday night as the Newtown Township Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend that the board of supervisors grant conditional use approval for the chain to locate an eatery at the Village of Newtown Shopping Center at Eagle and Durham roads.According to attorney Joe Blackburn, who is representing Brixmor, the owner of the shopping center, the new 2,500 square foot eatery would be located in a yet-to-be-built “L-shaped” addition to the shopping center fronting on West Road between the Corner Bakery Cafe and Eagle Road and backing up to Durham Road.Under an “aggressive timeline,” construction of the new addition is expected to begin this year and be ready for occupancy sometime in the fourth quarter of the year, a representative from Brixmor told the planners.
johnmacknewtown's insight:
Planning Commission Vice Chairperson Peggy Driscoll presented the following synopsis to the Newtown BOS on February 27, 2019:   Chipotle Mexican Grill – Applicant applied for an E-5 (eating place) and E-6 (eating place, drive through) use in the Village at Newtown Shopping Center on Lot 1. This is part of the new construction and is located next to the proposed amphitheater. The application is for an eating place occupying 2,427 sq. ft. Site improvements are part of the overall Brixmor development. The designation of “drive through” relates to take-out food; there will not be an actual drive through area. The hours of operation will be 10:45am to 10:00pm, seven days/week with a maximum of 6-10 employees for each of the three shifts. Deliveries would be made 3 times/week using 52 ft. semi-trailers at night between the hours of 8pm and 8am. Applicant described various locations of trash receptacles, and agreed to keep sidewalk areas clear of obstructions and have no outdoor music of any kind. A motion was proposed to approve the conditional use, and the motion passed unanimously.
2019 © John Mack
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