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Staying Alert In The Dog Days Of Summer

Published: August 3, 2017

We are midway through the dog days of summer, which have not much more to do with dogs than the reappearance of Sirius, the dog star, in the late night sky. Ancient skywatchers assumed that the conjunction of Sirius and the sun created the steamy summer weather.

It is a time when the weather does make one feel dog tired, and a marked inability to move one foot in front of the other at a brisk pace is precipitated by the humid, hot weather common to these late summer days and nights. High summer activities lean toward swaying in a hammock or floating supine in a lake.

But don’t be fooled; the world keeps spinning and decisionmakers keep making decisions. While some contemplate the meaning of life in a drop of dew, others are doing. Those include the officials we have selected to grow and govern our town, and the volunteers who serve on our many boards and commissions.

Big projects are in the works — the community center and attached senior center plans are edging closer to finality. On Church Hill Road, the Borough Zoning Commission has created new zoning regulations for — and Planning & Zoning has endorsed — a proposed 69-unit assisted living facility on the corner of the Boulevard. South Main Street is bustling with new businesses, including the massive agricultural store, Tractor Supply.
A day care center in Hawleyville for nearly 200 children has received a special zoning permit from Planning and Zoning; and a number of zoning variances for a proposed retail center on Mt Pleasant Road have been granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals. P&Z and/or wetlands approval have been given to a number of proposals for subdivisions about our town and are moving forward .

To some, any and all development is seen as an economic uptick; others view it as a kick in the pants to Newtown’s historic character.

Caught up in the hazy, lazy days of summer it is tempting to ignore it all. Some, like residents in the Toddy Hill Road section of town, have not rested on their laurels this summer, though. In opposition to the proposed Turkey Ridge subdivision, nearby property owners hired a civil engineer to challenge the design of that proposal, raising technical objections. A few residents in the area of the planned day care center, as well, did express apprehension regarding traffic flow and environmental impact before that project was approved. Their efforts may not have had the results they hoped for in either of these instances, but they have the satisfaction of knowing their concerns were heard.

The BZC has scheduled a public hearing on the application for the assisted living Church Hill Village for August 9. It is an opportunity to learn and to voice opinions.

The dog days of summer are stupefying, but what moves forward while we choose not to can have long-lasting impact.

Enjoy the slower pace of summer, but get ready to dog paddle when the waters start to stir.

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