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Solstice restaurant gets green light for Village at Newtown


The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 in favor of granting OMD Prospect LLC a conditional use permit to operate a 6,700-square-foot restaurant at 2948 South Eagle Road in the Village at Newtown shopping center.

Late last year, the operators of the restaurant secured a liquor license transfer from a shuttered Bertucci’s restaurant in Warrington, with plans on opening a Steak Bar by Shula’s, named for the former Miami Dolphins football coach.

Since then, the plan changed. OMD is now planning the first of its Solstice brand eateries at the Eagle Road location, which includes seating for 92 diners in an 1,800-square-foot section outdoors. Another 159 can be seated inside the restaurant, which will still be serving steaks with the Shula brand.

At the June 12 meeting, Board Chairman Phil Calabro cast the lone dissenting vote against granting the permit.

“My vote is not a reflection of your success; I want you to be successful,” said Calabro. “My vote is a rebuke of the size of the building and the square footage.

“It has to stop somewhere; we’re just getting bigger and bigger with these restaurants taking up space and a lot of outdoor space.”

Solstice is not the largest restaurant set to open in Newtown. That honor belongs to Iron Hill Brewery, which plans to operate a 7,500 -square-foot eatery at 2920 South Eagle Road.

With an expected opening in the spring of 2020, Iron Hill will seat 260 diners indoors and another 100 outside.

Newtown’s bills were over $915,000 last month. That’s because the township had to allocate over $511,000 toward debt service that includes a large payment on the municipal complex as well as the final installment on a $1 million road program in 2017.

During public comments, Dennis Schoener, vice president of the Eagle Ridge Community Association, asked if the township could help pay the association’s legal fees in its lawsuit against Arcadia Land Development Company. Solicitor David Sander said, “no.” Newtown officials do not have that authority according to the Second Class Township Zoning Code.

Still, Schoener expressed his displeasure at the timeliness, or what he sees as the lack therof, of the township’s notification of its most recent denial of Arcadia’s third Planned Residential Development proposal, which sought permission to build 23 single homes and 53 townhouses on a 22.5-acre parcel of land once known as the Wynmere-Karr tract located at the corner of Buck Road and the Newtown Bypass.

The proposed development, now the subject of multiple appeals in Bucks County Court, goes back to 2015 when the supervisors rejected Arcadia’s plan to build 33 single homes on 19.2 acres.

In police matters, township cops issued 281 traffic citations last month as part of an aggressive driving campaign. They also helped apprehend a man with a gun in Newtown Borough and arrested the operator of a car that hit a pedestrian on Sycamore Street in the early morning hours of May 4.