BPG tries a new approach for town center in Newtown
The town center debate has been revitalized by Berwind Properties Groupâ€™s latest request to develop the Ellis Preserve as a planned residential development. Township planners recently wrestled with the town center approval â€” a beleaguered process that is approaching five years, with no end in sight. After an hour of discourse, planners and BPG agreed to resume the planned residential development discussion at the commissionâ€™s March 12 meeting. The planning commission had held a series of special sessions in June to craft a zoning overlay ordinance that would change the zoning of the Ellis tract and allow a mixed-use town center. Township supervisors ultimately voted 3-2 in October to accept a 60-page settlement agreement to achieve the same goal. The developer now wants the draft ordinance to be called â€œThe Township of Newtown Planned Residential Development Ordinance of 2008.â€ In pursuing planned residential development approval, the builder has matched up the mixed-use characteristics of a residential development to the town center parameters negotiated in the settlement agreement. The proposed planned residential development is a near duplicate of the approved town center. A few minor changes include the proposed zoning overlay district now being called a master plan concept planned residential development, and the preliminary plan is now a tentative plan.