Government

Newtown Council Votes Against Amendment To Steeple View Development


Credit: Ingrid Sofield/NewtownPANow.com

Newtown Borough Council shot down an amendment to add an assisted living facility to the Phase Two of the Steeple View development after hearing from the Planning Commission, the public and the site developer.

The Council voted to deny the amendment to the plan that would have added an assisted living facility with 90 units, including one and two bedroom apartments, to the planned next phase of the Steeple View mixed use development along South State Street.

The vote to deny the amendment to construct a senior care facility was due to the fact it would not meet current Newtown planning rules.

Steeple View developer Allan Smith had proposed replacing three planned residential condominium buildings in the rear of the nine-acre former Stockburger property with the assisted living facility.

Last week at a public meeting, the community voiced their opposition to the plan.

“My experience is that there are not a lot of adult children visiting their parents in memory care facilities,” Newtown Borough resident Emily Ricketts said last week. Part of the argument presented by by Smith’s team regarded the money families would spend in the community while visiting their loved ones in the facilities.

A view of the Steeple View plan from August.
Credit: Ingrid Sofield/NewtownPANow.com

Newtown Council member Tara Grunde-McLaughlin presented an overview of the public’s reaction to the plan and read statements submitted to the governing body during Wednesday’s meeting. Residents worried adding the assisted living facility would not provide much added business, would tax first responders, not provide a large financial benefit and create a precedent to alter borough development rules to fit assisted living facilities.

A representative of Chandler Hall, which would see competition from the new facility, in a letter implied to Council that they “didn’t think the staff would be able to afford a lot of things in the borough,” Grunde-McLaughlin said. She added that a representative of The Birches at Newtown said the employees at their facility are mainly from outside the area, which would likely be the case for any new assisted living facility in Newtown Borough.

Both organizations said residents of the assisted living facility were not likely to leave to enjoy the local businesses.

Over the past several months, Smith and New England-based LCB Senior Living, the company that would manage the assisted living facility, have presented plans to convert a portion of the Phase Two Steeple View development to assisted living.

Phase Two already includes a parking structure, businesses, a natural area along the Newtown Creek and public spaces.

The first phase of Steeple View is growing ever-closer to completion and some businesses in the complex are already open.

Smith and attorney Tim Duffy were not in attendance for Wednesday’s meeting.

Council members spoke highly of Smith and LCB Senior Living after their vote.


About the author

Ingrid Sofield

Ingrid Sofield

Ingrid grew up in Bucks County and is a small business owner for many years with her background in business and marketing. She enjoys interacting with the people and business owners of the communities we cover. Her belief is that small business is the backbone of the community. Ingrid keeps active and enjoys traveling, walking the many trails within our county parks, volunteers her time with an animal rescue, a therapeutic riding facility, in addition to caring for her own pets which include dogs, cats, and hens.

She can be reached at ingrid@newtownpanow.com.