News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents
John Mack Lists the Air Pollutants the ELCON Hazardous Waste Treatment Plant Would Be Allowed to Emit
March 22, 2:49 PM
At the March 13, 2019, Board of Supervisors meeting, John Mack called for the Board to re-affirm its opposition to the ELCON hazardous waste treatment plant proposed to be built in nearby Falls Township. Mack listed all the air pollutants that the PA Department of Environmental "Protection" may allow to be emitted from the plant.
Facing $130,000 in Legal Expenses, Plumstead Chooses to Challenge Wawa Ruling
March 29, 6:36 AM
Chester County Court of Common Pleas Judge Robert Shenkin ruled on March 22, 2019, that Plumstead’s zoning ordinance was a de facto ban on contemporary gas stations, a decision which could allow the plan on the property to move forward.
Plumstead supervisors voted 3-2 on March 26, 2019, to challenge the ruling. Lykon estimated the legal fight with the developer has already cost Plumstead taxpayers about $80,000, and an appeal to the state court could mean another $50,000 in legal expenses.
The developer, Doylestown II-Rt 313 TVC-ARC LP, proposes a 4,700-square-foot convenience store with 10 gas pumps at the intersection in an area known as Fountainville — the borderline of Dolyestown, New Britain and Plumstead townships.
Plumstead’s zoning officer issued an initial opinion early in 2017 that the store was a “Gasoline Service Station” and not allowed at the intersection, but could go elsewhere in Plumstead.
The developer, a Verrichia Co. Partnership, appealed that opinion to the township’s zoning board soon after arguing the store was a retail location first, and a gas station second.
The township’s zoning laws allow retail sales in the neighborhood commercial zoning district the developer planned to locate, but consider gasoline sales as a primary use.
Attorneys from Eastburn and Gray argued this definition created a de facto ban on contemporary gas stations — retail convenience stores that sell fuel — but the zoning board sided with the township in September 2017.
The developer then filed the appeal with the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas two months later, dragging on for the next 13 months.
Pennsylvania zoning laws allow towns to regulate where different land uses can go, but prevent them from banning any development legally allowed in the state.
The decision by the court might also set a precedent for similar future appeals, Eastburn and Gray attorney Julie Von Spreckelsen said in a news release Friday.
“The decision marks one of the first legal instances of Pennsylvania courts recognizing that motor vehicle fuels are a product now widely sold by retail stores,” Spreckelsen said.
Related: “Wawa Land Developer Takes Plumstead to Court to Appeal Decision by Zoning Hearing Board to Refuse Variances”;
“Plumstead Residents Wary of “Closed Door” Deal to Settle Wawa Case and Urge Supervisors to Continue the Fight”;
Meanwhile, in Newtown Township, the Provco Group - another Wawa developer - has decided to bypass the township’s Zoning Hearing Board and appeal directly to Newtown Supervisors to change the zoning ordinance in order to allow a Wawa Superstore in the OR district. For more on that, read “Developer and Attorney Present Their Case for a Wawa Superstore on the Newtown Bypass” and “Proposed Newtown Wawa Requires Zoning Change or at Least 10 Zoning Variances". See, also, Wawa's Traffic Impact Study (prepared for Newtown Twp).
Newtown Township Seeks Grant to Assess Finances
March 20, 9:40 AM
[The following is an excerpt from an article published in the Newtown Patch. Read the full article here.]
Claiming "stresses" on finances, Newtown Township has applied for a matching $40,000 PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) grant to implement an Early Intervention Program (EIP) that will assess the township's financial condition and identify additional sources of income.[Listen to this podcast: "About DCED's Early Intervention Program"]If the township is awarded the grant, it would have to match it by providing up to $40,000. The grant would be used to hire a consultant to develop a "multi-year trend analysis of historic financial data" and to perform an "assessment of current budget performance." A secondary, but an "extremely important objective," is to identify additional sources of revenue for the township.
Related: “How's the Newtown Township Financial Garden Doing?”; http://sco.lt/51FTvd
Newtown Accepts $706K Bid to Pave 2.7 Miles of Township-owned Roads This Year
March 29, 12:35 PM
As part of a greatly expanded road-paving effort, the board of supervisors accepted the $706,596 low-bid to resurface 2.73 miles of township-owned roads in 2019.At the March 27 supervisors’ meeting, the board unanimously accepted the bid submitted by Harris Blacktopping, Inc. of Washington Crossing, one of several companies which sent in proposals which were received last week.Because the bids came in less than expected, all the roads on this year’s basic repaving list, and two of the streets on the alternate lists, will be done. Voting to accept the bid were Chairman Phil Calabro, along with fellow Supervisors Linda Bobrin, John Mack, Dennis Fisher and Kyle Davis.
[See here for a list of the roads, including maps.]According to township engineer Leanna Colubriale, because the advertised bids for these roads come in under the allotted budget this year, the township will also pave two streets on the alternate lists: Terry Drive, and Blacksmith Road.About $710,000 had been set aside in the 2019 budget for the road paving project, with the township having hoped to get as much as $640,000 of that amount from the state’s liquid fuels fund.However, township manager Micah Lewis noted that the township will now receive roughly $611,000 from that state fund, which still a substantial amount.In 2017 and 2018 about 8.3 miles of roads have already been repaved under the enhanced road program.
To Avoid Bankruptcy, Purdue Pharma Said to Plead Guilty to Illegally Marketing Opioids
March 27, 6:35 AM
Purdue Pharma LP has agreed to settle the state of Oklahoma’s claims that its illegal marketing of the Oxycontin painkiller caused financial devastation to local communities, the first accord in a recent wave of lawsuits stemming from the U.S. opioid crisis, according to people familiar with the matter.
The settlement comes two months before the scheduled start of a trial against Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. in Norman, Oklahoma. Terms of the deal, which covers only Purdue, weren’t immediately available.
Oklahoma claims the three opioid makers understated the risks of prescription painkillers and overstated their benefits, fueling an epidemic that’s costing its communities tens of millions of dollars for treatment and policing. Those companies and others are also battling claims by three dozen other states and 1,600 U.S. cities and counties, but those suits are pending in another court and the first trial isn’t until the fall.
The settlement is the first in the most-recent group of opioid lawsuits against Purdue. More than a decade ago, West Virginia settled a case against Purdue over its marketing of Oxycontin, which came on the U.S. market in 1996.
Related: “Newtown Township Supervisors Vote to File Civil Lawsuit Against Drug Manufacturers Over Opioid Crisis”;
“OxyContin Opioid Maker Purdue Pharma Reportedly Exploring Chapter 11 Bankruptcy”;
“Purdue #Pharma Doesn't Want Court to Unseal Oxycontin Marketing Documents. What's It Hiding?”;
“OxyContin's 12-hour Problem: Misrepresentation of Efficacy Leads to Addiction & Purdue Knew It”:
“The History of Purdue's Marketing of Oxycontin & Its Connection to the Opiate Epidemic”:
“Doctor with Ties to Purdue #Pharma Helped Develop Canadian Opioid-Prescribing Guidelines”:
As published in the Washington Post (3/27/2019): “The reckoning for the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history began Tuesday, with Purdue Pharma and the state of Oklahoma agreeing to a $270 million out-of-court settlement in the first major test of who will pay for more than two decades of death and addiction sparked by prescription opioids.” “Under the terms of the Oklahoma settlement, Purdue will immediately contribute $102.5 million to establish a new foundation for addiction treatment and research at Oklahoma State University. Members of the Sackler family, who own the company but were not defendants in the case, will pay an additional $75 million in personal funds over five years. Purdue also will provide $20 million worth of treatment drugs, pay $12 million to cities and towns and cover about $60 million in litigation costs.” If Newtown's case against Purdue and other opioid drug companies results in a settlement, this is how I'd like to see the money spent: on TREATMENT programs.
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