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Compliant vs. NonCompliant Outdoor Dining

Compliant vs. NonCompliant Outdoor Dining | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

Newtown Township recently passed Resolution 2020-R-13 to allow Outdoor Sales and Dining during COVID-19 state-mandated restrictions (read "Newtown Supervisors Approve #COVID19 Outdoor Sales & Dining Resolution").

 

While driving through town, I noticed two different restaurants with outdoor dining spaces located in parking spaces in front of their establishments. One - Playa Bowls, located in the Village of Newtown Shopping Center - was compliant with the resolution, and one - which I won't name - was not compliant with the resolution (see here).

 

When passing this resolution unanimously, Newtown Supervisors were mainly concerned that such outdoor seating be safe. The barriers that Playa Bowls uses ensure the safety of their patrons, whereas the non-compliant business merely uses cones and yellow tape that puts their patrons in harms way, IMHO.

 

While I am supportive of helping local businesses thrive during this period - I argued for relaxing Township zoning regulations to help local business beginning in early May (see here) - I believe "we are all in this together," which I take to mean that there must be a level playing field; i.e., every business should comply with the same rules. 

 

See here for simple rules for complying with Resolution 2020-R-13.

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Newtown Government Business
These scoops include summaries of Newtown Township public meetings meetings of the Board of Supervisors and various committees based on official minutes and/or audio and video recordings. Also included is information about ordinances, resolutions, etc.
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(UNOFFICIAL) 2020 Voting Record to Date of Newtown Supervisors

(UNOFFICIAL) 2020 Voting Record to Date of Newtown Supervisors | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

I've been keeping track of how Newtown Township supervisors voted on motions before the Board. The following is the voting record for 2020 as of September 14, 2020, based on the approved minutes of meetings. I will update this page when I have more data.

NOTE: This is NOT an official record of votes. Some very minor motions, such as to approve minutes, bills lists, etc., are not included. Please refer to the BOS meeting minutes for the official voting record of each meeting.

Access the record here.

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October 14, 2020 BOS Meeting Notes

October 14, 2020 BOS Meeting Notes | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

Newtown Township BOS Meeting Notes (October 14, 2020):

 

  • Arcadia PRD Litigation Decision,
  • Toll Bros Delancey Court Request Denied,
  • Resident Critiques ESI Consultants' Financial Report,
  • 2021 Budget Coming to Town!

 

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Summary of August 26, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors LIVE Public Meeting

Summary of August 26, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors LIVE Public Meeting | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

The following is a brief summary of the August 26, 2020, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) LIVE public meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting.

 

Public Comments

Econsult Study: Resident Frank McCarron addressed the Econsult study which suggests increasing from 4.5 to 11 mils which is triple that of 2017 and 2.5 times what it is now. He said this would increase taxes $51k per year for his community of Delancey Court and the residents are being offered no new services for that money.

 

Re-opening Bathroom Facilities in Parks: Mr. Lewis read one email received from resident Terry Halper of 7 Geranium Court regarding reopening the bathroom facilities at Veteran’s Park. Mr. Lewis explained the restrooms will remain closed due to the risk of contamination and lack of staffing to thoroughly clean.

 

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Development

Newtown A.O.P. Toll PA XVIII, L.P. – Conditional Use Decision: There were many comments from the public who attended the meeting. The application was denied. For details, read "In an Unanimous Vote, Newtown Township Supervisors Denied Toll Brothers Conditional Use Application to Build 45 Homes in Conservation District. Residents Ecstatic!" http://sco.lt/7EYmCu

 

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Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions

Planning Commission (PC): The Commission reviewed the final draft of the E-30 Ordinance Amendment. The Chairman said the Commission is not party to all the litigation impacting the Township via the curative amendment and explained the BOS makes their modifications and suggestions to the Jointure based on the information they have. The PC feels their positions and ideas were in the best interest of the Township and were unable to come to a majority motion to recommend approval.

 

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Reports of Officials

Engineer’s Report - 2020 Road Repair Program: Mr. Mack asked about the road program and if there was a schedule for the program. Ms. Colubriale said she anticipates starting in next few weeks and is still waiting on material and formal schedule. Mr. Mack inquired if any manpower issues are anticipated and Ms. Colubriale said no.

 

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Appointments

Human Relations Commission (HRC): Mr. Calabro said there are two positions open. Mr. Mack noted one vacancy expires in 2020 and the other in 2022. Mr. Mack moved to appoint Kevin Antoine to the HRC position expiring in 2022 and Nicole Adams to the position expiring in 2020. Mr. Fisher seconded and the motion passed 5-0.

 

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Summary of August 5, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting: Police Report, Economic Development Committee, E-30 Ordinance, More...

Summary of August 5, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting: Police Report, Economic Development Committee, E-30 Ordinance, More... | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

The following is a brief summary of the August 5, 2020, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting via Zoom based upon the official minutes of that meeting.

 

Public Safety

Police Report: Chief Hearn reported the department responded to 1,566 calls for service during July including 20 arrests, one was for theft/fraud of over $400K from Bucks County Community College; there were 11 DUI’s, 56 traffic accidents, and 148 citations issued. He said the department is continuing to utilize grant funding from the state with aggressive driving initiatives continuing through August 23.

 

Emergency Services: Chief Forsyth reported there were 107 calls for service during the month of June including one building fire, two dwelling fires, two cliff rescues at Tyler Park and 63 EMS calls..

 

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Finances

Economic Development Committee (EDC): Mr. Peters, Chairman of the EDC, reported the committee has been meeting weekly since mid-June via Zoom and has been examining tax incentives and looking at inventive ways to disseminate information to businesses and residents.

 

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Human Relations

Council Rock School Board Anti-Racism Resolution: Mr. Mack reported the Council Rock School Board passed an anti-racism resolution which includes hiring an external consultant to conduct a diversity focused curriculum and equity audit and to create a systemic employee training program centered on diversity, equity and inclusiveness. More… http://sco.lt/5xwKsi

 

Human Relations Commission (HRC) Applications: Mr. Mack said six were received as two additional were submitted after the deadline; he said he is not opposed to accepting them. Mr. Mack suggested postponing the selection until the next meeting as he has not had a chance to review the applicants. Mr. Calabro said the BOS will postpone the vote on HRC members until the next meeting.

 

Development & Zoning

E-30 Ordinance – Authorization to Advertise: Mr. Sander provided a brief history of the E-30 Ordinance - Convenience Store/Gas Station. He said it is close to final, but there is no action to enact the ordinance today; it is still open for questions, comments and potentially revisions.

 

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Dealing with Newtown's Issues is Like Drinking Water from a Firehose!

Dealing with Newtown's Issues is Like Drinking Water from a Firehose! | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you are well aware that us Supervisors have a lot on our plates lately. Information is coming at us like water out of a fire hose!

I for one am being bombarded by email - just reading all the email and responding takes hours - and comments from residents on a number of issues that I need to review and re-review in order to make decisions when the time comes.

To keep up with all the information I receive, I spend between 20 and 30 hours per month reviewing information and interacting with residents. This does not include the time I actually spend at meetings, which can add another 20 hours per month.

Take the Toll Bros plan as an example. I have dozens of comments, emails and data from residents regarding that proposal and have yet to collate all those into a meaningful, easy to digest list of points in favor and opposed. This is how I process information so that I can inform and explain my decision regarding this project and other matters that come before the BOS.

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Summary of July 8, 2020, Newtown Board of... - Newtown, PA - Topics include: 2020 Road Repair Program, Police Report, Old Navy and Chick-fil-A, Debate About Wawa

Summary of July 8, 2020, Newtown Board of... - Newtown, PA - Topics include: 2020 Road Repair Program, Police Report, Old Navy and Chick-fil-A, Debate About Wawa | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

Figure: 2020 Road Repair showing "base bid" roads. Not shown are "alternate bid" roads that include all of Fountain Farm Lane, Newtown Gate Drive, and a portion of Upper Silver Lake Road. [Read "2020 Road Program Falls Victim to COVID-19"]

 

The following is a brief summary of the July 8, 2020, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting via Zoom based upon the official minutes of that meeting.

 

Reports of Officials

Engineer's Report: 2020 Liquid Fuels Road Program Re-Bid – Bid Award. Ms. Colubriale reported three bids were received on June 18 and after discussion with Township staff it was decided to complete the work included under the base bid and alternate bids 7, 8, and 9. The total is roughly 2.8 township miles and the low bidder for the combination of Base Bid and Alternates, is James D. Morrissey, Inc.

 

Base Bid

Portions of U. Silver Lake Rd., Penn St., portions of Newtown Yardley Rd., and Swamp Rd.

 

Alternate Bids

Alternate Bid No. 7 – Silver Lake Road

Alternate Bid No. 8 – Newtown Gate Drive

Alternate Bid No. 9 – Fountain Farm Lane

 

TOTAL COST: $621,046.75

 

Mr. Mack added that Commonwealth Drive is not on the list but asked if it was a candidate to be patched with the new milling machine. Mr. Lewis said he is aware of the situation but has no available work force at this time due to having no summer hires and he will have addressed as soon as he is able. Mr. Davis also encouraged caring for this roadway as he has seen it and confirms it is bad. Mr. Lewis said it will be on the list for next year’s road program and will be patched in the interim.

 

More…

 

Public Safety

Police Report: Chief Hearn reported there were 1,541 calls for service during June including 14 arrests, 8 DUI’s, 45 traffic accidents and 123 traffic citations. The Chief reported two major deployments of resources, one on June 4 to the Garden of Reflection for a vigil and on June 6 for a protest at Washington and Sycamore and both events were peaceful and held without incident.

 

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Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions

Planning Commission (PC): Newtown Bucks Associates for the Newtown Shopping Center on West Road Mr. Fidler reported the Planning Commission met via Zoom on July 7 and reviewed an amended application for Newtown Bucks Associates for the Newtown Shopping Center on West Road where the applicant is seeking variances to construct a 12,500 square foot building for Old Navy and proposed additions to the existing Chick-fil-A to improve efficiency and traffic circulation. Mr. Mack said he sees the need for Chick-fil-A improvements but has concern over the Old Navy in Newtown.

 

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Board Member Reports

Calabro on Save Outdoor Dining: Mr. Calabro said as businesses begin to expand their services, they must understand the safety regulations they have to adhere to. He added there are rules and regulations that go with protecting the public and said it is important to protect outside diners with barriers.

 

Mack Opens Up Discussion on E-30 Ordinance: Mr. Mack reported at the Joint Zoning Council meeting the E-30 amendment for the combination convenience store/gas station was finalized. Mr. Sander argued that the draft be first approved by Provco – the Wawa developer that is suing Newtown Township. Mr. Calabro said the BOS is trying to pass this for the betterment of the Township and added we have shown good faith in this ordinance and need to show backbone against Provco. Mr. Mack agreed with Mr. Calabro and said we are getting closer to what Provco originally proposed. The Board’s consensus was bypass the Provco reviews and to send the draft directly to the Bucks County Planning Commission for review.

 

Fisher on Econsult Surveys: Mr. Fisher reminded all that Econsult has sent out surveys to the Business Commons and the NBA and he encourages all to take the survey; there is also citizens survey on the Township website.

 

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Summary of June 24, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting: Gaucks Lane, Invasive Plants, JMZO Amendment, HRC Applicants, More...

Summary of June 24, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting: Gaucks Lane, Invasive Plants, JMZO Amendment, HRC Applicants, More... | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

The following is a brief summary of the June 24, 2020, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting via Zoom based upon the official minutes of that meeting.

 

Reports of Committees, Boards and Commission

Planning Commission (PC): Martin Becker, 25 Gaucks Lane. Despite letters from neighbors opposing this request for variances and concerns from PC members regarding conflict with the spirit of Conservation Management, Mr. Calabro said he does not have a problem with it going before the ZHB. 

 

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Economic Development (EDC): Members discussed ways to help businesses through the Township’s permitting procedures for such accommodations as restaurant outdoor seating, erecting tents and sidewalk sales tables for retail. Other considerations were relaxation of signage restrictions on a temporary basis to alert the public of business openings and altered business hours of operation.

 

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Reports of Officials

Mack on Human Relations Commission (HRC): Mr. Mack reported the HRC met on June 17 to discuss priority action items on racism in Newtown. HRC is working in conjunction with the Borough HRC on their goal of ensuring there is no place for racism in our Township or Borough.

 

Oxley on Policing: Mr. Oxley reported he met last week with Bucks County DA Matt Weintraub and discussed the current state of policing and ideas of community policing in Bucks County. Mr. Oxley met with Mr. Mack about the upcoming town hall involving the police and the community.

 

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Summary of May 27, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting: E30 Ordinance, Road Work, Trails, Helping Business Reopen, More...

Summary of May 27, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting: E30 Ordinance, Road Work, Trails, Helping Business Reopen, More... | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

Summary of May 27, 2020, Newtown Township BOS Public Meeting via Zoom

 

The following is a brief summary of the May 27, 2020, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting via Zoom based upon the official minutes of that meeting.

 

Reports of Committees, Boards and Commission

Planning Commission: JMZO Amendment for the E-30 Ordinance - Convenience Store/Fueling Station: There was a lengthy review and discussion of the E-30 use, which is finally being looked at by the Jointure Definition partners. It appears that none of the changes or requests made by the Newtown PC were updated in the drafts issued by Mary Eberle [Jointure Solicitor].

 

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Supervisor Reports

Finance Committee: Mr. Fisher reported the Finance Committee (FC) is considering scheduling a Zoom meeting to help bring the Economic Development Committee (EDC) up to speed and provide advice around the reopening of businesses. He said some members of the FC want to apply for the ECD and are willing to try to get things off ground until EDC gets started.

 

Newtown BINGO!: Mr. Mack reported Newtown Bingo www.newtownbingo.com is in progress with 25 local businesses participating.

 

More…

 

Reports of Officials

Engineer: Authorization to Advertise the 2020 Liquid Fuels Road Program Re-Bid: Ms. Colubriale reminded all the original $1.3 million bid for the road program was rejected with the intent to rebid with a reduced scope utilizing mainly liquid fuels program Definition funds. She said the Township is seeking authorization for a new base bid for approximately 1.6 miles of road work and she named the roads to be included.

 

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DCED Multimodal Transportation Fund Grant: Ms. Colubriale reported although the Township did receive funding last year for the Lower Dolington Trail (LDT), they did not receive all of it; therefore, the Township would like to seek some additional funding this year from that grant.

 

More…

 

Manager's Report: 2020 Summer Camp Discussion: Mr. Lewis reported it appears the Township will unfortunately have to consider cancelling the summer camps it normally holds.

 

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Old Business

Helping Local Businesses Reopen: Mr. Mack said he has been getting questions from applicants on responsibilities and meeting time frames for the EDC and added that he would like to get things going ASAP and feels the BOS doesn’t need to wait for the EDC to get started; he said the BOS can start working now to try to help Newtown businesses and try to move forward simultaneously.

 

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Summary of May 13, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting: COVID-19 Lockdown, E-30 Curative Amendment, More...

Summary of May 13, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting: COVID-19 Lockdown, E-30 Curative Amendment, More... | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

The following is a brief summary of the May 13, 2020, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting via Zoom based upon the official minutes of that meeting.

 

Public Comment

A comment from Michael Roughton questioned why we are still unable to open our businesses or go to work.

 

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Joint Zoning Council

Mr. Mack reported he attended the May 7 Jointure meeting regarding the E-30 Use and Curative Amendment. He said the draft was revised again and sent to the three Planning Commissions for their review. The Comprehensive Plan and resident’s survey being prepared by the Bucks County Planning Commission (BCPC) was also discussed.

 

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Supervisor Reports

Newtown BINGO!: Mr. Mack shared many local businesses are open on a limited basis due to Covid19 and many need help generating business. He said residents and the NBA [Newtown Business Association] are soliciting local businesses for a bingo contest to benefit local businesses. So far 19 businesses have signed on. Details can be found at newtownbingo.com

 

More…

 

New Business

Helping Local Businesses Reopen: Mr. Mack referred to the public comment received regarding the possibility of what the Township can do to help local businesses. He suggested the Finance Committee (FC) be charged with determining what businesses might need to reopen and how the Township might be able to assist by revising the existing business survey. A discussion ensued…

 

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*****

Included in this post are my personal meeting notes that I prepared before the meeting. I may not have brought all these items up for discussion at the meeting. It does, however, given you some idea of my concerns and references to further information concerning the matters discussed at the meeting.

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Summary of March 11, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting: Love is Love Passes, Toll Bros Tabled, More...

Summary of March 11, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting: Love is Love Passes, Toll Bros Tabled, More... | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

The following is a brief summary of the March 11, 2020, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting.

 

Discrimination

Love is Love Day Resolution: The Newtown Township BOS passed a "Love is Love" resolution in support of LGBTQ + minority youth by a unanimous bipartisan 5-0 vote. Joining me in voting in favor of the resolution, which I authored and put forward, were Board members David Oxley, Phil Calabro, Kyle Davis, and Dennis Fisher.

 

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Development

Mr. Sander reported the BOS held a conditional use hearing on February 26 for a use B-12 cluster development in the CM district. Mr. Calabro asked what the recourse would be should the BOS not approve this application tonight. Mr. Sander replied there is no recourse provided a full written decision is issued within 45 days. Mr. Calabro moved to table the conditional use decision for Toll Brothers AOP to the next agenda. Mr. Oxley seconded. The motion passed 5-0.

 

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Public Safety

Chief Hearn reported there were 1562 calls for service during February including 16 arrests, 70 traffic accidents, and 229 citations.

 

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Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions

Planning Commission: JMZO Amendment – The Commission reviewed the amended ordinance for short term rental revising the definition of “family” and after a lengthy discussion found it to need further clarification. The solicitor will attend the Jointure meeting on March 5 to determine the purpose of this amendment and get additional details.

 

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Supervisor Report

Mr. Mack reported the EAC has a HOA forum on April 6 and they are working on getting the information out to the HOA’s. He said the EAC also adopted a set of recommendations for environmental provisions to be included in the Comprehensive Plan which will be submitted to the PC. Additionally, an EAC representative would like to attend a future BOS meeting to discuss drafting a resolution in support of a voluntary ban of single use plastics in the Village of Newtown Shopping Center.

 

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Summary of February 12, 2020, Newtown Township BOS Public Meeting

Summary of February 12, 2020, Newtown Township BOS Public Meeting | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

The following is a brief summary of the February 12, 2020, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting.

 

Public Safety

Chief Hearn reported the department responded to 1,601 calls for service during January including 12 arrests, 94 traffic accidents, 18 deer related and one fatality. There were 213 traffic citations issued and the commercial vehicle enforcement initiatives continue.

 

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Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions

Planning Commission: JMZO Amendment – Mary Stover from CKS engineering attended the meeting to provide updates and answer questions. She reported Wrightstown and Upper Makefield received the ordinance however they have not officially reviewed it.

 

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Trails

Lower Dolington Road Multi-Use Trail: Ms. Colubriale reported the Township was awarded partial grant funding from DCED and DCNR totaling $625K between the two for construction. She reviewed the plans and stated based on reduced funding and reviewing with the Township staff it made the most sense to move forward with the design and revise the plan to fit within the budget.

 

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Summary of December 11, 2019, Newtown Township BOS Public Meeting

Summary of December 11, 2019, Newtown Township BOS Public Meeting | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

The following is a brief summary of the December 11, 2019, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting.

 

Development

Conditional Use Hearing - Toll Pa. XVIII: Mr. Sander explained when the conditional use application was received it was advertised for public hearing this evening. The hearing was continued until January 22, 2020. [UPDATE: Read “Planning Commission Review of 41-Unit Toll Brothers Development Pushed To Feb. 4; BOS Hearing Will Resume on Feb. 12”; http://sco.lt/8M1Lvc]

 

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Finances

Consideration to Adopt the 2020 Final Budget: Mr. Mack had previously requested to get a line item in the budget for the Savvy Citizen app. A discussion ensued on budget amendments and the time frame. Mr. Mack said he will distribute materials and review with local businesses to determine interest in sponsorships. He will also speak with Mr. Lewis about personnel requirements prior to moving forward.

 

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Zoning

Consideration of Declaration of Municipal Curative Amendment: Mr. Sander explained according to Pennsylvania law the use of property as a convenience store and gas station as a combined use is to be provided for by law and the use contained in a zoning ordinance. He said the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance doesn't have such a use and are in the process of drafting an ordinance; in the meantime there is a procedure that allows municipalities to examine their zoning ordinances and if an invalidity is found, they have an opportunity to declare that invalidity and announce they will cure the invalidity. [Read “’Municipal Cure’ May Not Prevent Developer From Putting a Wawa on the Bypass in Newtown Township”; http://sco.lt/72cpBQ]

 

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Public Safety

Police Report: Chief Hearn reported the department responded to 1,771 calls for service during November including 6 arrests, 89 traffic accidents, 41 of which were deer related and 220 citations.

 

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Summary of November 26, 2019, Newtown Township BOS Public Meeting

Summary of November 26, 2019, Newtown Township BOS Public Meeting | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

The following is a brief summary of the November 26, 2019, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting.

 

Development

Durham Partners Group LLC, 413 Durham Road: The Planning Commission has concerns with the density issues and wetness of the area. There was discussion of other options for the area including a 24,000 square foot medical office building. The Commission opposed this application.

 

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Finances

Five-Year Financial Plan: Jack Brod reported on behalf of the Finance Committee that Newtown Township was awarded a matching grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development to hire a consultant to perform financial analysis and develop a five-year plan to help improve the Township's fiscal position. An RFP was developed, advertised and sent directly to a list of recommended consultants. The response was less than anticipated due to timing factors and other RFP's in progress.

 

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Litigation

Ratification of Opt-Out of Opioid Litigation Class Settlement: Mr. Sander explained the ratification of the Township opting out of a class action litigation settlement based on the opioid epidemic.

 

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Parks and Recreation

Newtown Pedestrian Bridge and Resolution: Mike Sellers, member of the Newtown Creek Coalition (NCC) gave a slide presentation proposing the concept of building a footbridge over Newtown Creek at the location of the historic trolley bridge between Frost Lane and Durham Road.

 

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Public Safety

ESD Report: Chief Forsyth reported the department responded to 137 calls for service during October including six building fires, five dwelling fires, one vehicle fire and 76 EMS calls.

 

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Supervisor Reports

Heritage Festival: Mr. Mack reported he attended a school heritage festival at Newtown Elementary School hosted by the Newtown Elementary Equity and Inclusion Committee. He said the Newtown Human Relations Commission was present and provided cards on discrimination.

 

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Newtown Township Considers "Nearly Doubling" Municipal Real Estate Taxes in 2021

Newtown Township Considers "Nearly Doubling" Municipal Real Estate Taxes in 2021 | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

[Chart shows the property tax millage of local municipalities compared to Newtown were it to adopt the tax increase proposed by Township Manager Micah Lewis. Note that Wrightstown and Upper Makefield - members of the Jointure with Newtown - have significantly lower millage rates.]

 

An early 2021 budget recommended by township Manager Micah Lewis and presented to supervisors and residents at a recent meeting has a 7.5-mill [actually 7.99-mill] property tax increase, a hike that if eventually approved would almost double municipal real estate taxes in the township.

 

A 7.5-mill increase would be $281 more in annual taxes for a resident with a property assessed at the township average of $37,459. Total township real estate millage is currently 4.99 [actually 4.5], or $187 [CORRECTION: $168] for the average property owner.

 

Lewis said the tax increase is in line with recommendations made by Econsult Solutions Inc. in a five-year financial plan for the township, which stated it needs to dramatically increase revenue to keep providing good services to residents and avoid totally depleting its savings account which now stands at about $2.1 million.

 

In addition to the property tax increase, the recommended budget proposes to add an assistant township manager, three new police officers and a full-time zoning and code enforcement director, probably in the summer of 2021 when sufficient property taxes have been collected.

 

Supervisor John Mack said a 7.5-mill increase would mean $272 more in taxes on his "modest 35-year-old three-bedroom house."

 

"I think any tax increase will be a bit more palatable for residents if more of it were spent on road paving and repaving, a No. 1 concern of respondents to a citizens survey," he added. "I would also like to see the hiring of three new police officers spread out over two years as recommended by our consultant. In addition, there should be some discount (on property taxes) for senior citizens on fixed incomes."

 

The supervisors aided by Lewis and other administrators will continue working on the budget over the next few weeks. The board is scheduled to vote on a preliminary budget at its Nov. 10 meeting, and a final spending plan at the Dec. 9 meeting.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

When it comes to the revenue enhancement, raising taxes is only one way. The proposed budget, however, offers no other sources of revenue in 2021, but includes significantly increased expenditures without significantly improving services like increase road repairs and repaving. You can listen to a 26-minute audio recording of the Manager's budget synopsis here: https://bit.ly/2021RecBudgetPreso 

 

Chairman Phil Calabro said at the start of the recent meeting. "It's not a budget approval. It's not even an official budget. If anyone has seen this, they need not be worried right at this time."

 

If not now, when?

 

Join me and other concerned citizens at my next Meet Mack Monday Zoom "town hall" meeting at 7:30 PM on October 26, 2020, with concerned residents: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NGPLVLN 

 

 

johnmacknewtown's curator insight, October 22, 8:03 AM

The actual total increase in millage is 7.99 bring new total to 12.49. The current millage rate is 4.5 (not 4.99). 7.5 + 1.0 (part of the 4.5 previously dedicated to debt fund for road paving) will go to the General Fund. The other 0.49 increase goes to pay for a salary increase for the Fire Chief (while funds for the Newtown Fire Assn would drop to $160,000 from the current $175,000), fire hydrate fees, & other stuff.

 

When it comes to the revenue enhancement, raising taxes is only one way. The proposed budget, however, offers no other sources of revenue in 2021, but includes significantly increased expenditures without significantly improving services like increase road repairs and repaving. You can listen to a 26-minute audio recording of the Manager's budget synopsis here: https://bit.ly/2021RecBudgetPreso 

 

Chairman Phil Calabro said at the start of the recent meeting. "It's not a budget approval. It's not even an official budget. If anyone has seen this, they need not be worried right at this time."

 

If not now, when?

 

Join me and other concerned citizens at my next Meet Mack Monday Zoom "town hall" meeting at 7:30 PM on October 26, 2020, with concerned residents: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NGPLVLN 

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Summary of September 9, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting

Summary of September 9, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

The following is a brief summary of the September 9, 2020, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) ZOOM public meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting.

 

Public Comments

Econsult Report: Proposed 5-Year Budget Plan: Resident Frank McCarron submitted lengthy comments below grant-related revenue and the hiring of new police and fire officers, which are largely based on his review of local news articles and online posts. A few summary points made by Mr. McCarron were read at the meeting by John Mack.

 

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Police Report

Calls for Service: Chief Hearn reported the department is still operating under Covid-19 precautions and responded to 1,686 calls for service during August including 22 arrests; there were 12 DUI’s, 41 traffic accidents, and 216 citations were issued.

 

Recruitment Diversity: Referring to the testing candidates, Mr. Oxley asked if there were people of color participating in the test. Chief Hearn replied he did not attend the written test, only the physical agility test where he saw two African American males, several females, and a few Hispanic males, but not a dramatic number of applicants for that assignment.

 

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Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions

Act32 Bucks Tax Collection Committee (TCC): Mr. Mack reported he attended the TCC meeting and he provided background on resident Greg Garber who had a tax question back in October, 2019. Mr. Mack also received a report on EIT collection and of note was Newtown Township is up $285K this year compared to the same time last year.

 

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Reports of Officials

Engineer's Report: 2020 Road Program: Ms. Colubriale had no items to report, however she provided an update on the road program stating she issued notice to proceed to the contractor and anticipates they will start within the next two weeks.

 

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New Business

LED Street Light Proposal: Mr. Mack reported he received an email from Lou Nazirides of Facility Solution Group on an LED streetlight proposal. Mr. Fisher replied he is always interested in learning but doesn’t know if we are in a place for this now. Mr. Davis said it sounds like a good idea, but we don’t have the money to put out now and Mr. Oxley concurs with Messrs. Fisher and Davis. Mr. Calabro agrees with rest and suggested pushing it back to the beginning of year.

 

Newtown Ambulance Squad: Mr. Mack requested to invite Chief Evan Resnikoff of the Newtown Ambulance Squad to give a report comparing this year to last. Mr. Calabro said Mr. Lewis will touch base with him and ask him to give a report.

 

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My August 2020 Supervisor Activities: A Very Busy Month! Meetings, Meetings, Meetings!

My August 2020 Supervisor Activities: A Very Busy Month! Meetings, Meetings, Meetings! | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

BOS = Board of Supervisors, EDC = Economic Development Committee, JZC = Joint Zoning Council, EAC = Environmental Advisory Council, HRC = Human Relations Commission, NFA = Newtown Fire Association, TCC = Bucks County Tax Collection Committee

 

In August 2020, as Bucks County continued in the COVID-19 "Green Phase", I spent 56.3 hours on official supervisor business, which is high for the month of August, which usually sees less scheduled meetings. With meetings being held via Zoom, however, even if people are at the beach, they can attend.

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Summary of July 22, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting: E-30 Ordinance, ESI Interim Report, Economic Development Committee, More...

Summary of July 22, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting: E-30 Ordinance, ESI Interim Report, Economic Development Committee, More... | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

The following is a brief summary of the July 22, 2020, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting via Zoom based upon the official minutes of that meeting.

 

Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions

Planning Commission (PC): Comprehensive Plan: Mr. Fidler said EAC member Mark Stout presented the recommendations for the Comprehensive Plan which included ten items along with supporting details. The items align with the exiting plan from 2009 with changes and updates to reflect the present and future. The ten items reviewed were climate emergency, smart growth, native plants, water sheds and stormwater, trees, plastics, renewable energy, open space, bike/pedestrian transportation and electric vehicles.

 

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Curative Amendment: Mr. Mack stated he attended the PC meeting and there was a discussion on the curative amendment [to allow a combination gas station/convenience store - e.g., Wawa - in the OR district of Newtown and elsewhere in the Jointure] and the impact of it on the Provco case. Mr. Sander replied that the current draft has been received from Mary Eberle. He added that the draft was not sent to Provco due to the request of the BOS not to engage with Provco.

 

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Board Member Reports

Mr. Fisher on ESI Zoom Meeting: Mr. Fisher reported there was a public meeting with Econsult Solutions on the Five-Year Plan attended by 25 people. Mr. Fisher said the finance committee suggested a BOS or Finance Committee member attends the Econsult project review meeting to make sure they are on track. Mr. Mack suggested this be done at a work session where all BOS will be present.

 

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Economic Development Committee: Mr. Oxley reported the EDC is on track and working on ways to stimulate Township business in the short and long term. He said Margie McKevitt, the COO of Bucks County, attended the last meeting and shared ideas and information on what loans and grants the county has to offer small businesses. He said the plan is to continue to have guest speakers to share thoughts on how to encourage businesses to come to Newtown Township; the intent is to publish this information on the Township website.

 

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Reports of Officials

Manager’s Report: Mr. Calabro addressed the plan expirations noting Toll Brothers has been holding off for a long time; with Covid19 projections continuing, he said the BOS might need to address the Toll Brothers conditional use via Zoom.

 

Commonwealth Drive Repairs: In response to Mr. Mack’s questions on the management report, Mr. Lewis said the milling head work will be done when work force permits.

 

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A Busy August Schedule for Newtown Supervisors

A Busy August Schedule for Newtown Supervisors | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

[Image:The Newtown Township public meeting room has not been used for Board meetings since March, 2020. Supervisors plan to be there, however, on August 26!]

 

BOS Work Session via Zoom

August 17, 2020, 11 AM

 

Expected agenda items:

 

  • The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors engaged Econsult Solutions, Inc. (ESI) to develop a comprehensive multi-year financial management plan, will include recommendations to improve operational efficiency and promote fiscal stability in Newtown Township.  The consultants will present a summary of the results of these surveys and give the supervisors a progress report on the multi-year financial plan.
  • The Newtown Fire Association (NFA) will present details about a new fire engine the NFA plans to purchase in 2021 and how they will finance this purchase.

 

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BOS Regular Session (LIVE)

100 Municipal Drive, Newtown

Wednesday, August 26, 2020, 7 PM

 

SEATING IS LIMITED TO 20 PEOPLE – get there early if you want a seat!

 

Expected agenda item:

 

  • Toll Bros. Twining Bridge Road Development Decision: The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors completed hearings on a conditional use application (“Application”) submitted by Toll PA XVIII, LP involving the development of land located along Route 413 (Durham Road) & Twining Bridge Road proposing the construction of 45 new single-family homes on approximately 150 acres. 

 

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johnmacknewtown's curator insight, August 11, 10:12 AM

Meet Mack Monday via Zoom

Monday, August 24, 2020, 7 PM
Main Topic: Toll Bros. Twining Bridge Road Development Plan

 

You MUST Register to Attend

 

Login details will be sent to you via email or text to your cell phone a few days before the meeting and again on the meeting day. I reserve the right to screen potential participants in order to prevent Zoom "bombing" by anonymous people/hackers with malicious intentions.

 

DISCLAIMER: This is not an official Newtown Township meeting. It is hosted by John Mack to learn more about issues of concern to Newtown Township residents. The opinions expressed here are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.

 

Related Content:

 

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Compliant vs. NonCompliant Outdoor Dining

Compliant vs. NonCompliant Outdoor Dining | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

Newtown Township recently passed Resolution 2020-R-13 to allow Outdoor Sales and Dining during COVID-19 state-mandated restrictions (read "Newtown Supervisors Approve #COVID19 Outdoor Sales & Dining Resolution").

 

While driving through town, I noticed two different restaurants with outdoor dining spaces located in parking spaces in front of their establishments. One - Playa Bowls, located in the Village of Newtown Shopping Center - was compliant with the resolution, and one - which I won't name - was not compliant with the resolution (see here).

 

When passing this resolution unanimously, Newtown Supervisors were mainly concerned that such outdoor seating be safe. The barriers that Playa Bowls uses ensure the safety of their patrons, whereas the non-compliant business merely uses cones and yellow tape that puts their patrons in harms way, IMHO.

 

While I am supportive of helping local businesses thrive during this period - I argued for relaxing Township zoning regulations to help local business beginning in early May (see here) - I believe "we are all in this together," which I take to mean that there must be a level playing field; i.e., every business should comply with the same rules. 

 

See here for simple rules for complying with Resolution 2020-R-13.

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E30 "Curative Amendment" Timeline Discussion at 8 July 2020 BOS Meeting

E30 "Curative Amendment" Timeline Discussion at 8 July 2020 BOS Meeting | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

At the July 8, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting, Township Solicitor Dave Sander attempted to answer John Mack's request to clarify the timeline and next steps for approval of the final version of the E-30 amendment to the Newtown Area Zoning Ordinance that would allow a combination gas station/convenience store use. Mr. Sander argued that the draft amendment first be shown to Provco, which represents Wawa, for their review/approval before sending the finalized document to the Bucks County Planning Commission and then to the Boards of each of the Jointure's member townships. Recall that Provco is suing Newtown because it lacked such a use in any of its zones.

Mr. Sander argued that this "curative amendment" would have no bearing on the court case, which Provco can still proceed with. 

 

Listen to his comments and opinions of Newtown Supervisors Mack and Calabro here: https://bit.ly/E30vProvco 

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Newtown Township Finance Committee Discusses Ideas For Launching a Business Reopening Initiative

Newtown Township Finance Committee Discusses Ideas For Launching a Business Reopening Initiative | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

Approximately 25-30 people - including many local business leaders - attended the June 9, 2020 Zoom meeting of the Newtown Township Finance Committee.

 

On the agenda was an Update on the ECONSULT Project (read "Newtown Township To Develop a 5-Year Financial Plan" for background) and the Newtown Township Business Reopening Initiative, which was the main topic of discussion.

 

A summary of the meeting presented to Board of Supervisors at its June 10, 2020, Zoom meeting. View that summary here…

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Summary of April 22, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting: Revised 2020 Road Program, Helping Local Businesses, More...

Summary of April 22, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting: Revised 2020 Road Program, Helping Local Businesses, More... | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

The following is a brief summary of the April 22, 2020, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting via Zoom based upon the official minutes of that meeting.

 

Development

Toll Twining Bridge Road Project: There was one unrelated email received from resident Ron Keiser of Twining Bridge Road stating he has heard nothing further about the Toll project on Twining Bridge Road.

 

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Infrastructure

2020 Liquid Fuels Program: Ms. Colubriale said bids were opened on March 4, 2020 and 3 bids were received. She said as a result of funding and loans needed to support the project, it was recommended the bids be rejected and rebid with a revised and reduced scope of work.

 

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Supervisor Reports

Helping Businesses During COVID-19: Mr. Mack said he received a suggestion that the Township consider relaxing signage rules temporarily to help businesses promote to residents as many still must pay expenses while not bringing in any money.

 

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Zoning

E30 Curative Amendment: Mr. Mack reported the Planning Commission (PC) met yesterday and discussed the Curative Amendment stating Newtown is quite ahead of the other Townships having had several meetings on the subject already.

 

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johnmacknewtowns insight:

Included in this post are my personal meeting notes that I prepared before the meeting. I may not have brought all these items up for discussion at the meeting. It does, however, given you some idea of my concerns and references to further information concerning the matters discussed at the meeting.

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Summary of February 26, 2020, Newtown Supervisors Meeting: Toll Bros Hearing, Bomba & Parking, Love is Love Day Resolution Shot Down, More...

Summary of February 26, 2020, Newtown Supervisors Meeting: Toll Bros Hearing, Bomba & Parking, Love is Love Day Resolution Shot Down, More... | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

The following is a brief summary of the February 26, 2020, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting.

 

Community

Love is Love Day Resolution: Mr. Mack explained the Love is Love Resolution which Senator Santarsiero brought to the floor of the Senate to recognize February 15 as Love is Love day for LGBTQ youth. The motion failed 3-2 with Messrs. Calabro, Davis and Oxley voting nay. View the video to hear comments from several residents who spoke in favor of the resolution. [UPDATE: A revised version was passed at the March 11, 2020, meeting.]

 

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Development

Supervisors approved Bomba the conditional use application of Tacos and Rum, an approximate 3,990 square foot tenant space at 2930 S. Eagle Road in the Village of Newtown Shopping Center.

 

Supervisors failed to vote on a Toll Bros conditional use application to a 45-house development in the Conservation District located at 435 Durham and 107 Twining Bridge Roads.

 

Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions

Planning Commission: JMZO Amendment – Mary Stover from CKS engineering attended the meeting to provide updates and answer questions. She reported Wrightstown and Upper Makefield received the ordinance however they have not officially reviewed it.

 

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Public Safety

Mr. Lewis stated the SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) Grant was coming up and both he and Chief Forsyth recommend the Township move forward and apply for the grant which will provide the Township with additional funds for hiring more staff. He said the Township is looking to expand the department to 7 days/12 hours this grant would greatly help that effort.

 

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Summary of January 8, 2020, Newtown Township BOS Public Meeting

Summary of January 8, 2020, Newtown Township BOS Public Meeting | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

The following is a brief summary of the January 8, 2020, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting.

 

Public Safety

Police Report: Chief Hearn reported the department responded to 1,398 calls for service during December which is a 13% increase over 2018. He said 76 citations were issued which is up by 20% from last year however traffic accidents have decreased by 10%

 

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Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions

Planning Commission: (1) Toll Bros - Mr. Fidler shared that there was a discussion on the Toll Brothers site and the proposed sewage treatment plant. He said the Commission agreed it would be wise for the PC and the BOS to have someone from the sewer authority present to discuss related issues when Toll Brothers is scheduled on the agenda. (2) JMZO Amendment – Mr. Fidler said there are some items in question including eat in dining, 24-hour operation and the size of the building.

 

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Zoning

Resolution for Municipal Curative Amendment: Mr. Calabro asked if the time depends on the other two Jointure members. Mr. Sander said the time runs from the declaration and since Newtown was last to declare on December 11, 2019, there is nine months from that date to enact if appropriate. Mr. Calabro asked if either township can hold this process up and Mr. Sander said they could and added if the three do not agree and enact, there will be no cure and it will stay as is.

 

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Excerpts from 2019 BOS Meeting Minutes

Excerpts from 2019 BOS Meeting Minutes | Newtown Government Business | Scoop.it

This document is a collection of selected excerpts of minutes from the official 2019 public meetings of the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS). The excerpts are arranged by category in chronological order. 

CONTENTS

Development .............................................................. Page 1

Environment ............................................................... Page 6

Finances ..................................................................... Page 8

Good Government ...................................................... Page 10

Parks & Recreation .................................................... Page 11

Public Health .............................................................. Page 12

Public Safety .............................................................. Page 13

Public Works .............................................................. Page 16

 

Access it here...

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