A proposal for a 56-pad mobile home park at the Newtown Swim Club has generated a buzz on Newtown Patch.
The swim club is closing after this summer and owner David Platt is working with County Builders to create a residential development on the 16.6-acre property.
The current plan submitted to the township is for a trailer park just 30 feet from the Headly and Wiltshire Walk communities.
More than 50 people commented on a story about the proposal that was posted to Newtown Patch on Thursday afternoon.
Many of those comments expressed concerns that the mobile home park would drive down property values.
"This is very disappointing. I chose to live in Newtown for a reason. If I wanted to live near a trailer park, I would not have chosen Newtown," reader Leyla Capitelli wrote.
Reader Gina Farruggio wrote: "If the first thing people see when driving into Newtown is a trailer park of course it will negatively affect our home values and image of a quaint town with historic properties and landmarks."
In November, Platt came before the township Board of Supervisors with a plan for 52 townhomes on the property. That proposal required a variance because the property, located on Newtown-Yardley Road, is zoned for single-family housing. A variance is needed to construct higher density townhomes.
By a 3-2 vote, the supervisors decided to oppose the variance and send its solicitor before the Zoning Hearing Board’s review of the application.
At that meeting, Mike Meister, president of County Builders, blasted the board for their lack of support for Platt. Meister told the board that if they didn’t accommodate the current proposal, he would put forth an alternate proposition for the site – a trailer park.
A mobile home park is a permitted use for that property under the current zoning.
Some readers expressed frustration in Mr. Platt's approach.
"This new plan is equivalent to a six year old taking his ball and going home because he couldn't get his townhome plan approved," wrote reader Leia. "People who live near the swim club should absolutely petition!"
"I was going to renew our swim club membership for one final year but forget about that now Mr. Platt," wrote reader Man Landers.
"It's definitely a leverage ploy by the builder to get concessions from the town," wrote reader Newtown Resident. "Let him build it and I would take issue with the owners of the property."
But other commenters said they wouldn't mind the addition of a trailer park in town.
"I live in a small, old house in the borough and would not mind at all if that type of housing were to go in the land where the swim club is located," said reader Marie Hutchinson.
Some readers took a humorous approach in their feedback. "Here comes Honey boo boo," wrote Mitch.
The application for a mobile home park will come before the township’s Planning Commission later this month or early next month, Board of Supervisors chairman Mike Gallagher said.