News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents
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Path Forward Nebulous for Newtown Township Wawa

Path Forward Nebulous for Newtown Township Wawa | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Newtown Township planners say a developer has work to do before it can proceed with plans to build a Wawa with gas pumps off Newtown Bypass.

 

The township planning commission recommended at its meeting Tuesday evening that attorneys for the township and the Provco Group revisit a draft zoning amendment, which the developer had authored to permit the Wawa where the bypass intersects with Lower Silver Lake Road.

 

[For more background, read:

 

The amendment would create a new “motor vehicle fueling station” use under the Newtown Area Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance, with specifications such stations must meet to be permitted within the ordinance’s office research district. Standalone convenience stores and gas stations currently are not allowed in that district, where the 5,585-square foot Wawa with 16 fueling stations is proposed.

 

The Newtown Area Zoning Jointure also includes Upper Makefield and Wrightstown. Planning commission Chairman Allen Fidler said, because neither township has an office research district, both likely will approve Provco’s proposed amendment if Newtown Township does so first.

 

Before any vote on the amendment, planners said Provco needs to return to the commission after revising aspects of the draft. The specifics of the amendment are of key importance, in that they could have long-term ramifications for future development along Newtown Bypass, commission members agreed.

 

For example, the township could be seen as creating an uneven playing field if it were to give Wawa leeway to install LED signage after turning down similar requests from previous developers, planners said.

 

In addition, an allowance for the chain to remain open 24 hours could create potential for crime after hours, commission members said.

 

A majority of the approximately 15 residents in attendance spoke out in opposition to the Wawa.

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News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents
These Scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources. Please click on the "From" link to access the full original article. Any opinions and "insights" appended to these article summaries are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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Newtown Revises Pollution Reduction Plan After Hearing Resident Comments

Newtown Revises Pollution Reduction Plan After Hearing Resident Comments | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

At the June 12, 2019, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting, Michele Fountain, the Township Planner, responded to resident comments regarding the proposed Pollution Reduction Plan (PRP). The comments were made at the May 8, 2019 BOS meeting (see the video here and a summary of that meeting here) and submitted by mail and email. The plan is required to meet the requirements of PA Dept of Environmental Protection (DEP) to reduce sediment from flowing into streams and lakes.

On May 23, 2019, a Bucks County Herald story by reporter Steve Sherman was published with the headline "Residents Want to Dump Meadow Conversion Plan.” This is a particularly misleading headline bordering on "fake news!"

Residents DO NOT want to "dump" the meadow conversion plan, which is the essence of the PRP. Almost all the comments by residents addressed the plan as it applies specifically to Roberts Ridge Park, which is a 22.8 acre park located at Frost Lane and Lower Dolington Road. 

Roberts Ridge Park is a unique COMMUNITY park surrounded by densely populated housing developments. Residents in the area use the open space in the park every day - especially the large area that was ORIGINALLY converted to a meadow WITHOUT any input from local residents. The Township claimed it was only converting "under utilized" park areas to meadows. The residents disputed that claim with regard to Roberts Ridge Park.

As a result of resident input the meadow plan was ALTERED for Roberts Ridge Park as shown in the aerial view above  (the original meadow plan is outlined in yellow, the new plan in red).

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"Residents Want to Dump Meadow Conversion Plan," Says Bucks County Herald. Not True, Says Mack!

"Residents Want to Dump Meadow Conversion Plan," Says Bucks County Herald. Not True, Says Mack! | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

People want clean water; that much is known. The question becomes however, how much folks are willing to sacrifice to ensure the local water supply.

At last week’s Newtown Township Board of Supervisors bi-monthly meeting, discussion over the township’s Pollution Reduction Plan (PRP) grew heated. At the center of the debate is a 6.21-acre portion of Roberts Ridge Park that the township had planned to turn into meadowland.

By the end of the more than two and a half hour session, however, Township Manager Micah Lewis was walking back at least part of that plan, saying he’d have the public works department mow the meadow the next day.

It was made quite clear by several residents who live in close proximity to Roberts Ridge that citizens do not want to see that portion of the open space that sits closest to their homes turned into a meadow – even if the township’s reasons for doing so are hinged on reducing pollution runoff into local waterways.

“The word meadow suggests something very beautiful. But I was born and raised in Jersey City and my father would take the dog for a walk in the Secaucus Meadowlands; it wasn’t so beautiful.

“I don’t like it in my backyard,” said Mary Ingrassia, of Newtown Walk.
 
“I know it has to go somewhere but I have to register: the word meadow really doesn’t accurately describe 6.2 acres that will really be rather unkempt, mowed only two times a year.”

“It is a portion of the park that’s not designated for a specific use,” responded Township Manager Micah Lewis.

“As I can attest, it’s used all the time,” she shot back. “We meet there every day with our animals to have obedience training, there’s all sorts of things.”

According to Lewis, the plan was published in legal announcements along with a notice that the township was accepting comments it is required to submit alongside the PRP. The meadow conversion at Roberts Ridge began, said Lewis, in an effort to show the DEP the township’s commitment to pollution reduction.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Residents DO NOT want to "dump" the meadow conversion plan. Roberts Ridge Park is unique case - it is a small park that is surrounded by densely populated communities. People in these communities use the open space in that park every day - especially the large area that was ORIGINALLY converted to a meadow WITHOUT any input from local residents. The Twp claimed they were only converting "Under Utilized" park areas to meadows. The residents disputed that claim with regard to RR park. As a result of resident input the meadow plan was ALTERED for RR Park (see new plan. Red outlines new plan, yellow original plan). As a result, we have a better plan, offers of help from environmentalists, etc. Our Twp Planner, Ms. Fountain noted that she has done similar work for quite a few other municipalities and "this by far beats any other municipality [regarding] residents' comments on the plan. It's a compliment to Newtown residents and how vested they are in the plan." [See the video of her comments here.]

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Plans to Complete Newtown Rail Trail Bike/Run Path Depend on Impact Study Results

Plans to Complete Newtown Rail Trail Bike/Run Path Depend on Impact Study Results | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Only five more miles are needed to complete the 23-mile project.

If you’re a cyclist (and if you aren’t, why aren’t you?), the thought of having an uninterrupted 23-mile bike trail traversing scenic Bucks County is something you only dream about.

Until, possibly, now.

The much-chronicled Newtown Rail Trail project, which has been converting SEPTA’s old R8 Newtown/Fox Chase Rail Line into a multi-use passageway, needs about five more miles for completion.

To date, the one holdup has been the segment which runs through Northampton. Residents there expressed concerns about possible issues regarding traffic affecting their property.

However, the Northampton supervisors have given the OK for a study to investigate the impact the trail might have. If the study settles this debate, the trail segment could be completed within a timeframe of several years.

According to a group called the “Northampton Residents for the Newtown Rail Trail,″ the trail will be part of an eight-mile “Bucks County Park″ and an eight-mile extension of the 14-mile Pennypack Creek Trail. It will utilize land owned by SEPTA which has been unused since trains stopped running in 1983.

To say the project is worthwhile is an understatement.

Not only is it a great venue for exercise-enthusiasts, it also has a positive impact on the environment. People can get from one place to another without the use of their automobile — in New York City alone, the new Citi-bike program has reduced carbon emissions by thousands of tons.

This year, Upper Southampton Township will bring the trail up to Bristol Road. Middletown and Newtown have already approved a resolution of support for the trail. They are waiting on Northampton for the same resolution of support for the trail.

Wouldn’t it be cool to get on your bike in Newtown and be able to ride it all the way down to Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia?

It could happen someday.

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Another New Restaurant Has Plans To Open At Village At Newtown

Another New Restaurant Has Plans To Open At Village At Newtown | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors will consider an application for another new restaurant at the Village at Newtown Shopping Center during a meeting Wednesday [7 PM at 100 Municipal Drive, Newtown].

Solstice — a sub-franchise of Schula's Steakhouse — is seeking conditional use approval to open a 6,700-square-foot restaurant in the shopping center, Newtown Township Manager Micah Lewis said.

In November, the business received approval for its liquor license transfer. The liquor license was transferred from the Warrington Bertucci's, which closed in 2018 after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The application to be considered Wednesday is for the restaurant use, Lewis said. The restaurant will be located in a new building along Durham Road that is currently under construction, he noted.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

The image shows the location of ALL the planned restaurants in Lot #1 of the Shopping Center. Bomba has not yet come before the Twp for approval.

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Philly Mag's 'Juicy Story' About The NAC Stirs Up Controversy

Philly Mag's 'Juicy Story' About The NAC Stirs Up Controversy | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it
The Newtown Athletic Club is the focus of a controversial Philadelphia Magazine article that explores the club, its growth, and social scene. The article, titled "Trump, Sex, and G-Strings: The Juicy Story Behind Newtown Athletic Club" was published in this month's issue and has not surprisingly stirred up mixed emotions around town.

Written by Emily Goulet, the article delves into how the club rose from a small facility to — as she describes it — a "hulking, futuristic box of mirrored glass tinted the color of a Caribbean ocean" and a "mini Mar-a-Lago."

Goulet writes: "On its surface, the Newtown Athletic Club is a fancy gym. Members will tell you it's a country club without a golf course. Non-members will tell you it's a dividing line in town: "You can tell a lot about somebody just by asking what they think of the NAC. You're either pro-NAC or against it.'"

In interviews with members, staff, and owner Jim Worthington, Goulet delves into the NAC's unique dynamic as a suburban fitness club and how it has became "an unlikely nexus of power, politics, money, sex and intrigue, a mini-city where thousands of people — including the area's wealthiest, prettiest and fittest — go to work out and show off."

Not surprisingly, staff members are disputing the piece, calling it "biased and unfair."
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Free Cheesy Giveaways Coming to Newtown!

Free Cheesy Giveaways Coming to Newtown! | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Melt Shop will open its third Pennsylvania restaurant at the Village at Newtown Shopping Center on Tuesday, June 11, company officials confirmed to Patch. To celebrate, the shop will host a series of special giveaway events starting June 22, including one in which you could win free grilled cheese for a year.

 

Here are the details on the giveaway events:

 

  • Saturday, June 22 — Free Grilled Cheese for a Year — The first guest will receive 1 classic grilled cheese per week for an entire year; the next 49 guests receive 1 classic grilled cheese per month. Additionally, every guest after the first 50 on opening day will be entered into a contest to win 1 classic grilled cheese per week for an entire year.
  • Sunday, June 23 -- The first 50 guests at opening and the first 50 guests to dine after 6 p.m. will receive a free Nutella shake.
  • Monday, June 24 — The first 100 guests will receive a free shop tots.

 

Eligible winners must be over 16 years old and are required to download the Melt Shop app.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

One classic (greasy?) grilled cheese per week! That's a deal Kramer would love! Just don't put the balm on!

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Parking & Traffic in the Village at Newtown

Parking & Traffic in the Village at Newtown | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The Village at Newtown "Shopping" Center is currently in the final phase of a 35 million dollar makeover that Brixmor Property Group - the owner - hopes will revitalize the center. The plan (shown above) was approved 5-0 by the Newtown Zoning Hearing Board on October 16, 2016. In attendance and voting were: Chairman Timothy Potero, Vice Chairman Michael Iapalucci, Secretary Robert Whartenby and members Shawn Ward and Brandon Wind. 

Yes, parking and traffic in the Center has been a mess for some time. Will things improve once construction is complete or will parking and traffic remain problems after all is said and done?

I don’t know if there is a DEFINITIVE answer to that question, but I do believe there are signs that all will be well in the Center eventually.

At least that seems to be the opinion of Allen Fidler, Chair of the Newtown Planning Commission although he acknowledges that not everyone will be happy in the end.

In response to a resident’s comments at the May 8, 2019, Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting, Mr. Fidler recounted the history of this project and explained the ultimate goal of Brixmor.

 

Listen to this podcast.

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Newtown Residents Comment on Roberts Ridge Park Meadow Plan

Newtown Residents Comment on Roberts Ridge Park Meadow Plan | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

At the May 8, 2019, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors public meeting, several residents and watershed experts spoke out against the establishment of a "meadow" in Roberts Ridge Park as part of the township's Pollution Reduction Plan. Several objections were raised. The discussion resulted in the Township rethinking the plan for the park and mowing the meadow in the meantime. Other ideas were put forward to comply with PA Department of Environmental Protection regarding reduction of pollution of watersheds.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Related Story:

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Bucks Towns - Including Newtown - Prepare for Annual Road Work

Bucks Towns - Including Newtown - Prepare for Annual Road Work | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

At least 10 Bucks County towns have awarded their 2019 road maintenance bid projects in recent months, with some expected to cost over $1 million.

 

Often referred to as “Road Programs,” these contracts are typically part of regular upkeep to municipal-owned roads that most towns in Bucks County do throughout the year.

 

Awarded contract amounts are subject to change and not all contract bids include an approximate cost estimate.

 

Projects in Middletown and Warrington, both large municipalities, are among the most costly road projects out of the towns that have posted bids in the last few months.

 

Middletown approved a $1.05 million contract with General Asphalt Paving Co., of Philadelphia, in April, while a recently awarded contract in Warrington was estimated to cost up to $1.1 million.

 

Middletown’s project includes work to Sunny Hill Road, a portion of Summit Trace Road off Doublewoods Drive and Wheeler Way.

 

Harris is also repairing up to 20 streets in Newtown Township this year for its $706,596 contract awarded in March (for details of the project, read “The 2019 Road Improvement Program”).

 

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Newtown Residents, Police, EMS Personnel, Firemen, Students, and Politicians Remember & Honor Veterans During Memorial Day Parade

Newtown Residents, Police, EMS Personnel, Firemen, Students, and Politicians Remember & Honor Veterans During Memorial Day Parade | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

From the solitude of the Newtown Cemetery to Veterans Plaza on Historic State Street, Taps split the morning air as Newtown remembered the fallen on Memorial Day.

 

Pausing first at the gravesite of Morell Smith, Newtown’s only native son who died fighting for his country in WWI, and then at the World War I monument at the Newtown Library Company, veterans from American Legion Post 440 laid wreaths and saluted the men and women who gave their lives in the cause of freedom.

 

As the town remembered its fallen heroes on Monday, they waved flags and cheered as local veterans led the annual Newtown Memorial Day Parade through town bearing the nation’s colors and looking sharp in their military uniforms.

 

Escorted through town by Newtown Borough Police Chief James Sabath and Newtown Township Police Chief John Hearn, a Color Guard and Honor Guard made up of local veterans led the march followed by American Legion Post 440 Commander Mike Errico and a parade of local veterans walking and riding the parade route.

 

Among them was Vietnam Veteran Norman Moorhead, this year’s Parade Grand Marshal.

 

Moorhead served in the U.S. Air Force from 1963 to 1967. Some of that time was spent at Naha Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan. The base was the major support during the Vietnam War.

 

After the war in 1968, he joined the Newtown Township Police Department where he served until his retirement in 2008 after 40 years with the force.

 

Joining the veterans for the parade was the award-winning Council Rock High School North Marching Band, which performed a musical salute to the U.S. Armed Services as they marched through town with flags twirling and instruments playing.

 

The band was followed by the Newtown Fire Association, the volunteers marching by in their snappy dress uniforms, followed by a parade of fire trucks.

 

Local politicians also joined the march, including State Senator Steve Santarsiero, State Rep. Perry Warren, Mayor Charles Swartz, Newtown Township Supervisors John Mack, Linda Bobrin, Kyle Davis and Dennis Fisher [see photo above] and Newtown Borough Councilors Julia Woldorf and Tara Grunde-McLaughlin.

 

World War II veteran Arthur Baisley rode by waving to the crowds lining the route. He was a prisoner of war from Dec. 1944 to April 1945.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

At the end of the parade I sat with a Korean War veteran during lunch at American Legion Post 440. He was 90 years old. He told me about the "hills" he had to climb. I didn't mention Trump's "love affair" with the North Korean dictator while the war is still not officially ended.

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Supervisors Mack and Fisher Win Big in Newtown Primary

Supervisors Mack and Fisher Win Big in Newtown Primary | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The vote count for Newtown Supervisor in the 2019 Primary election is now official. Incumbent Democratic Supervisors John Mack and Dennis Fisher topped the chart in number of votes received (see chart above).

Newtown Supervisor Mack made an impressive showing. "Many people told me how much they appreciated my efforts to keep residents informed," noted Mr. Mack. Mack racked up more than 50% more votes than his Republican rivals. He won in all 8 Newtown Township districts.

 

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Co-Founder & Brixmor Property Group “Thrilled” That Iron Hill Brewery is Opening in Newtown Township in 2020

Co-Founder & Brixmor Property Group “Thrilled” That Iron Hill Brewery is Opening in Newtown Township in 2020 | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The food and beer scene in Newtown is growing, as Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant announced it will open a new location on South Eagle Road in Newtown.

 

Iron Hill is planning to open a 7,500-square-foot space in spring 2020 in the "Village at Newtown Shopping Center."

 

The Newtown location will be Iron Hill's 11th Pennsylvania outpost.

 

Located in the heart of Newtown and owned by the Brixmor Property Group, the brewery and restaurant will be joining several additions to the renovated shopping center.

 

The restaurant will be in the L-shaped addition along West Road, which is currently under construction. It will feature Iron Hill's signature on-site brewing facility as well as seating for approximately 350 including a bar area, dining room, and outdoor dining space.

 

Everyone is “Thrilled”!

 

"Iron Hill is thrilled to open our 11th Pennsylvania destination in Newtown in 2020," said Kevin Finn, co-founder of Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant.

 

"We are thrilled to welcome the Iron Hill team to the Newtown community," said Laura Parke-Carson, Vice President of Leasing for Brixmor Property Group.

 

See the seating & floor plan here: http://sco.lt/93N5Y8

johnmacknewtown's insight:

So many new restaurants are opening in the "Village of Newtown Shopping Center" it should be renamed "Village of Newtown Fine Dining Center!" I will have to eat at all these places and provide reviews!

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Local Boy, Sports Writer Jason Stark, Wins Award & Acclaim from PA House & Senate

Local Boy, Sports Writer Jason Stark, Wins Award & Acclaim from PA House & Senate | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The Pennsylvania State Senate and House on June 3 approved by unanimous consent resolutions introduced by State Senator Steve Santarsiero (D-10) and State Representative Perry Warren (D-31) that congratulate Newtown resident and nationally recognized sportswriter Jayson Stark for winning the Baseball Writers’ Association of America J.G. Taylor Spink Award and his contributions to the sport of baseball.

 

Congratulating Jayson Stark, a resident of Newtown, Pennsylvania, who was elected the 2019 winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Whereas, Jayson Stark, who for more than four decades has exhibited passion and humor in equal measure in his baseball coverage, was elected the 2019 winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America; and

Whereas, He will be honored with the award that is presented annually to a sportswriter “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing” during the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s induction weekend in July 2019, in Cooperstown, N.Y.; and

Whereas, Jayson Stark received 270 votes from the 463 ballots in becoming the 70th winner of the award since its inception in 1962 and named for the first recipient; and

Whereas, The Philadelphia native and Syracuse University graduate had his first taste of big-league coverage for the Providence Journal on the Boston Red Sox beat before returning to his hometown to cover the Phillies, including their first World Series championship in 1980; and

Whereas, Stark made his mark in Philadelphia for 21 years as a Phillies beat writer and national baseball columnist for the Inquirer and nationally for 17 years as senior baseball writer at ESPN.com; and

Whereas, His popular “Baseball Week in Review” is a master example of that baseball writing staple – the notes column – in which Jayson has been a curator for all things weird, wacky, unique, statistically inclined and historically rare in the game.

Whereas, He is the author of three books on baseball, has won an Emmy for his work on Baseball Tonight, is a two-time winner of the Pennsylvania sportswriter-of-the-year award and in 2017, Topps issued an actual Jayson Stark baseball card; therefore be it

Resolved, That the Senate congratulate Jayson Stark, who has been at the pinnacle of his profession for decades, on being elected the 2019 winner of the J.G. Taylor Spink Award in balloting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Should Newtown Township also pass a similar resolution?

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Doylestown Voted the Best Small Town Based on Cultural Offerings in Art, Entertainment, and History

Doylestown Voted the Best Small Town Based on Cultural Offerings in Art, Entertainment, and History | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

USA Today on Friday declared the borough the winner of a nationwide contest ranking towns with a population of less than 30,000 based on their offerings of the arts, entertainment and history.

 

Cory Amsler, vice president of collections and interpretation at the Mercer Museum, said he wasn’t surprised by the news that Doylestown came out on top.

 

“Over the years, Doylestown has really transformed from what was once a fairly sleepy community into a cultural destination. And we are excited to be a part of it,” he added in an email Friday.

 

After 20 finalists, also including Media and Manayunk, were selected by a panel of experts gathered by USA Today, the top 10 were chosen by online voting from the public.

 

 

The top 10 winners in the category Best Small Town Cultural Scene are as follows:

 

  1. Doylestown, Pennsylvania
  2. Point Pleasant, West Virginia
  3. Tarpon Springs, Florida
  4. Staunton, Virginia
  5. Media, Pennsylvania
  6. Paducah, Kentucky
  7. Easton, Maryland
  8. Traverse City, Michigan
  9. Guthrie, Oklahoma
  10. York, South Carolina
johnmacknewtown's insight:

How about a new name for Newtown's "Village at Newtown Shopping Center"? I like: Newtown Dining & Culture Center?.The new amphitheater next to soon to be opened Iron Hill Brewery could be a cultural center  offering live music, art, poetry readings, etc.

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Contribute to Build a Wall Around Trump! Newtown Supervisor Candidates Fisher & Mack Seek Your Support.

Contribute to Build a Wall Around Trump! Newtown Supervisor Candidates Fisher & Mack Seek Your Support. | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Keep the Democratic Majority Going in Newtown!


Two years ago, propelled by unprecedented turnout by township Democrats, the Democratic party achieved a majority on the Board of Supervisors for the first time in township history. As a result,  significant progress toward a number of goals to improve the health and safety of Newtown residents has been made, including:

 

  • More miles of paved roads
  • Increased support for EMS and Fire services
  • More transparency to keep residents informed about important issues
  • Long-range budgetary planning to be sure our future revenue and expenses are in balance
  • Standing up for sensible gun control, protection of human rights, and protection of our local environment

 

It’s only by the return of Dennis Fisher and John Mack to the Board of Supervisors that we can continue that progress. That is why The Friends of Fisher & Mack are asking for your financial support.

Your contribution can also help "Build a Wall Around Trump." Democratic victories this fall are essential to growing the foundation for putting a Democrat in the White House and sending a Democrat to represent the First Congressional District in the House of Representatives. Strengthening the Blue Wave at the local and county levels is the only way to make that happen.

Select your brick NOW!

 

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Guest Opinion: Liller, VanderKam and Yeager the Best Judge Candidates

Guest Opinion: Liller, VanderKam and Yeager the Best Judge Candidates | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Democrats, on Tuesday, May 21, you have the opportunity to select three experienced lifelong Democrats to run for three vacant judicial positions in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas. Are you sick of Mitch McConnell and Trump appointing conservative judges? Well here is your chance to elect judges right here in Bucks County who reflect our Democratic values. Don’t waste this opportunity.

Democrats are usually independent thinkers and don’t like to follow their party line. They usually don’t like following orders from on high and are more concerned with doing what’s right. I too am often guilty of that and frankly, some say that is why Democrats lose so many close elections. But this time, the Bucks County Democratic Party leaders got it right. The rank and file committee people reviewed candidate qualifications and voted to endorse the three best candidates: Charissa Liller, Jessica VanderKam and Jordan Yeager.

So I am wholeheartedly supporting these three BCDC-endorsed candidates. We need to ensure they get chosen in the May 21 primary and go on to win in November.

Charissa already has two decades of experience as a prosecutor in the Court of Common Pleas, including over 40 successful jury trials. Her former work as a social worker helping families in crisis and her 16 years of family law experience make her eminently qualified for this judicial position and demonstrates a compassion and commitment to family values which is essential for this judicial position.

Jessica also has over 11 years of direct experience in Family, Civil and Orphan’s Court and will use her youthful fresh perspective to introduce innovation and improvement into the judicial arena. She has already argued cases before the Pennsylvania Superior and Supreme courts and has received a Rising Star award.

Jordan has a stellar career fighting for civil rights and representing women facing employment discrimination and sexual harassment. But he is best known for his outstanding work on behalf of environmental issues which has gained him national recognition and the endorsement of many environmental organizations. Locally he has protected Bucks County from the fracking industry and has won the first case in Pennsylvania history to recognize our constitutional right to a healthy environment. I call him an environmental rock star.

A bonus for voting for Charissa and Jessica is that it will help create gender parity on a court that is 85 percent male. And electing three lifelong Democrats will create political parity on a court that is now 85 percent Republican. Please make sure you vote on May 21, especially for these three talented, compassionate and fair-minded lifelong Democrats.

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Investigators Seek Person Who Painted Swastikas Along Tyler State Park Trail in Newtown

Investigators Seek Person Who Painted Swastikas Along Tyler State Park Trail in Newtown | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Officials from Tyler State Park in Newtown say that while graffiti has been a problem over the years, graffiti that is hateful, racist or anti-Semitic is unusual.

That is why Bucks County District Attorney Matt Weintraub says the people who reported finding swastikas painted along a park trail there did the right thing by reporting it. [Read “Swastikas Spray Painted On Tyler State Park Trail”.] 

"If you feel that you are a victim of antisemitism in particular or a hate crime in general please contact your local police. We do take it very seriously. We will investigate it and run it down and if somebody is guilty of a crime we will prosecute them," Weintraub says.

This comes on the heels of what officials from the New Hope-Solebury School District are only describing as a minor anti-Semitic incident at one of its schools.

An incident followed by a letter sent to parents making sure they are aware of the case, and that steps were being taken to make sure it does not happen again.

According to the Anti-Defamation League, anti-Semitic behavior is on the rise across Pennsylvania over the past five years going from 43 reported incidents in 2015 and peaking in 2017 with 96 reported cases.

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Newtown Business Association Welcomes Top Cleaners and Turning Point to Town With Ribbon Cuttings

Newtown Business Association Welcomes Top Cleaners and Turning Point to Town With Ribbon Cuttings | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The Newtown Business Association officially welcomed two new businesses to the township on April 27 with a pair of ribbon cutting ceremonies.

 

Members of the NBA, along with state and local officials, were on hand to celebrate the recent opening of the Newtown Cleaners at the Newtown Shopping Center on West Road and Turning Point Restaurant at the Village of Newtown Shopping Center.

 

Minah Yu and her family, who ran Top Cleaners at 208 South State Street in Newtown Borough for more than a decade, have relocated their business to 42 West Road (next to the Acme).

 

While the business has changed its name and location, the service and quality of work remain five stars and Minah is still at the front counter welcoming customers with a smile.

 

“We’ve been in Newtown a long time,” said Minah, who operates the Newtown store. “We’ve gotten to know a lot of Newtown Borough people. But the location wasn’t visible. People only found out about us through word of mouth and online reviews.

 

“When we had the opportunity to relocate to a bigger shopping center, we made the move,” said Minah.

 

The NBA and the public officials also stopped by Turning Point to cut the ribbon on one of the township’s newest eateries.

 

Located next door to the Newtown Bookstore, the restaurant has quickly become a favorite among the area’s breakfast and lunch crowds.

 

“Were extremely happy to be in Newtown,” said Kirk Ruoff, who co-owns Turning Point with his wife, Pam. “The customers are fantastic. The workers are hard working people. We’re extremely pleased with how we have started here.”

johnmacknewtown's insight:

The Newtown Board of Supervisors approved the conditional use for the application of Turning Point of Newtown d/b/a Turning Point Breakfast, Lunch & Brunch, 2841 South Eagle Road (E-5 Eating Place) at the April 25, 2018 public meeting. Before the ribbon was cut, my wife and I had breakfast there. I liked the DIU French coffee press at our table.

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PennDOT to Lower Speed Limit on Section of Swamp Road

PennDOT to Lower Speed Limit on Section of Swamp Road | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

In a May 2, 2019, letter, Ashwin Patel, Senior Manager of PennDOT's Traffic Engineering and Safety Division, notified Newtown Township that PennDOT will be lowering the speed limit on Swamp Road between the Twining Bridge intersection and the intersection of Pennswood Dr. (entrance to Knob Hill) to 40 MPH from 45 MPH (see map).

 

But no all-way stop sign. Find out why not here.

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Developer Wants Plumstead to Change Its Zoning to Allow More Gas Pumps to Fit the Business Plan of a Super Wawa - A Lesson for Newtown

Until now Tom Verricchia chose to remain on the sidelines of his proposed Super Wawa development in Plumstead Township because as he says, “ I don’t like to air my business in public.”

 

On April 15, 2019 township supervisors appealed a court ruling on the project in favor of site-specific relief allowing the zoning changes so the Super Wawa could be built. Then Verricchia contacted local newspapers and released a publication “to inform the public of our frustration and fairly express the situation.”

 

In 2017 Plumstead’s zoning hearing board denied the requested variances to allow a 4,700-square-foot convenience store with 10 gas pumps in the Commercial I district at Ferry and Swamp roads.

 

Verricchia responded with the appeal to Bucks County Court of Common Pleas which was decided by Chester County Judge Robert Shenkin, who had been appointed to avoid a possible conflict of interest because Bucks County Judge Jeffery Trauger owned a property included in the plan.

 

In March 2019, Shenkin decided that the township zoning “unconstitutionally excludes a legitimate land use” and that the developer is entitled to site-specific relief to have gas pumps at this location.

 

Instead, Verricchia proposes “Plumstead change its zoning to include the modern day convenience store with gas pumps, with a size convenience store that is economically viable.” He said that his development company tries to fit into township zoning but Plumstead goes too far in limiting use by size restrictions.

 

“We are not carrying the flag of the modern convenience store industry,” said Verricchia.

 

“Most of the development industry wants us to go to Commonwealth Court to open this up to the state of Pennsylvania,” he continued.

 

Supervisor Dan Hilferty said recently at a township meeting, “A township does not have to change their zoning to fit the business plan of a Super Wawa.” Pennsylvania zoning law requires uses to be provided for but gives townships the legal authority to zone for size and intensity of uses.

 

“Plumstead has provided zoning for convenience stores with gas pumps in Commercial II zones, in other locations in the township. Just because a Super Wawa of 4,700 square feet and 10 gas pumps does not fit into the site’s size and intensity constraints does not mean that the zoning is unconstitutional or exclusionary,” explained Reiss, in a phone interview.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

The Super Wawa proposed for the Newtown Bypass would have 16 gas pumps (as opposed to the 10 in Plumstead). So if Newtown were to change its OR zoning to allow a convenience store plus fueling station, Wawa would demand 16 pumps even if the new zoning only allowed  for fewer pumps. 

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Newtown Fire Association is Well-Trained & Qualified

Newtown Fire Association is Well-Trained & Qualified | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

The PA Office of the State Fire Commissioner recently recognized the Newtown Fire Association (NFA) for successfully attaining the 75% recognition level as part of the Participating Department Recognition Program.

The Participating Department Recognition Program recognizes those departments that support promote and encourage their emergency response personnel to voluntarily certify at various levels in accordance with nationally recognized and sanctioned Professional Qualification Standards.

"Your organization has accomplished an important goal and should be proud of this achievement," said Bruce Trego, State Fire Commissioner, in an April 18, 2019, letter to NFA Chief Matthew Gerhard. "With this recognition, you have demonstrated that your organization is competent and capable in providing quality services to the residents and visitors of the Commonwealth," said Trego.

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Victory! Falls Supervisors Reject Elcon Plan

Victory! Falls Supervisors Reject Elcon Plan | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Four years of controversy over a proposed hazardous waste treatment facility in Falls culminated in a dramatic denial vote by the township board of supervisors Tuesday night, eliciting a rousing applause by an audience of hundreds who stayed until just before 10 p.m. to witness the moment.

 

It was apparent early in the more than three-hour meeting that the supervisors were not keen to the plan, brought by Elcon Recycling Services, as their questioning of the company’s representatives was sharp and critical. Supervisor Jeffrey Dence led questioning late in the exchange, expressing concerns there wasn’t enough room to put in an additional fire lane for emergency access.

 

Questioning from Falls supervisors and the township’s professional staff made it clear they took specific issues with Elcon’s presented plans. The plans call for the processing of between 150,000 to 210,000 tons of chemicals and pharmaceutical waste each year, according to the company’s past filings. The company aims to build the facility on a 23-acre site in the Keystone Industrial Port Complex, an approximately 3,000-acre industrial park encompassing the former footprint of U.S. Steel’s Fairless Works operation.

 

Elcon representatives say its facility would be state of the art and create up to 120 short-term construction jobs and about 50 full-time operations jobs. The company has said the plant would produce little pollution and adhere to all environmental regulations. [Video rebuttal: “John Mack Lists the Air Pollutants the ELCON Hazardous Waste Treatment Plant Would Be Allowed to Emit”]

Opponents, primarily made up of local residents and backed by local environmental groups [In 2016, Newtown Township - among others - passed a resolution opposing this plant due to "danger" to drinking water. See here for more information about that.], are skeptical.

 

Falls officials also raised concerns over access for emergency vehicles, exit routes for workers in the event of an emergency, potential pitfalls in the facility’s spill containment measures, and other issues. One of the more pointed critiques was that Elcon would need to bring in about 5,000 trucks with 70,000 cubic yards of soil fill to raise the footprint of the facility above the floodplain, something they suggested that the zoning code discourages.

 

After the vote to deny, supervisor chairman Robert Harvie, Jr. noted the Department of Environmental Protection still has its own review of Elcon’s applications and doesn’t have to take into account the township’s decision, although he said he hoped it would [read “A Crowded Meeting Pits Citizens Against the PA DEP Regarding the Elcon Proposal”]. It also remains to be seen whether Elcon will appeal the township’s decision; representatives left the room before the conclusion of the full meeting, which closed with other township business.

 

John Brodowski, deputy mayor of Bordentown City in New Jersey, which has also opposed the plan, used his public comment to discourage the company from doing so.

 

“Respect the decision,” Brodowski said. “Let’s not drag this out with lawsuit after lawsuit.”

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Study Results: The Closer You Live to PFAS Contaminated Wells and the Longer You Live There, The Higher The Level of PFAS In Your Blood!

Study Results: The Closer You Live to PFAS Contaminated Wells and the Longer You Live There, The Higher The Level of PFAS In Your Blood! | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Pennsylvania health official provided more details on a chemical blood testing study conducted last year near military bases in Bucks and Montgomery counties.

 

Long-term residents, men, and those living closest to military bases in Bucks and Montgomery counties have the highest levels of firefighting chemicals in their blood, according to a presentation given by Pennsylvania Department of Health officials at the Horsham Township Library on Monday night (April 29. 2019).

 

The presentation offered the latest details on a blood testing program the department conducted last year. The test enlisted 235 residents of Horsham, Warrington, and Warminster to have their blood drawn. While the department previously made public that residents of all three towns had elevated levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in their blood, officials Monday presented more complex analysis.

 

Sharon Watkins, director of the Bureau of Epidemiology, said scientists found that in addition to higher levels of PFAS being found in those groups, those who used private wells as opposed to public water supplies, those who drank more tap water, and those with a higher body mass index had elevated PFAS levels. But after putting the data for statistical rigors, some stuck out more than others.

 

“When we did that, one of the primary findings was that the average serum levels ... were positively associated with drinking water source and total length of residence in the study area,” Watkins said. “If you lived in the area more than 10 years, you generally had higher levels of PFAS.”

 

Township-by-township results showed that Horsham residents had the highest levels of the four PFAS that were tested for: PFOS, PFOA, PFHxS, and PFNA. The first chemical is the one most closely associated with firefighting foam use, and testing results showed the 69 people tested in Horsham had an average of 12.38 parts per billion (ppb) in their blood, compared to a national average of about 4.72 ppb.

 

PFOS levels in Warminster averaged 10.06 ppb, and Warrington was split: a 11.47 ppb average in a district that used groundwater for the public system, and 5.65 ppb in a system that traditionally purchased water from the North Wales Water Authority.

 

Since the contamination was discovered, the water systems in all three towns have implemented zero-tolerance plans to remove the chemicals down to nondetectable levels.

 

Read more to learn about plans to study if there is a link between PFAS in blood to increased cahnce of developing cancer.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Related stories:

 

  • “PA Senator Maria Collett Introduces Two PFAS Bills - Classifying PFAS as Hazardous Substances & Lowering "Safe" Limits in Drinking Water to 10 ppt vs EPA's 70 ppt”; http://sco.lt/78eJrk
  • “Editorial: EPA Spins Its Wheels on Setting Maximum Contaminant Level for PFAS”; http://sco.lt/5uSirA
  • “As EPA Launches National PFAS Plan, Pennsylvania Says Its People “Can’t Wait” for Federal Government & Launches Its Own Plan to Set Lower Health Limits for PFOA and PFOS”; http://sco.lt/7EkKRc
  • “PFAS From Tainted Water on Military Bases My Be Spreading to Other Towns in Bucks, Montco”; http://sco.lt/7Lill
  • “Perfluorinated Compounds Detected in Newtown Township's Water Supply”; http://sco.lt/70ujU9
  • “Senators From BOTH Parties Press EPA to Develop Enforceable Standards Limiting PFOA and PFOS in Drinking Water”; http://sco.lt/8NQUwz
  • “U.S. House Launches Bipartisan PFAS Task Force That Promises to Set Formal Drinking Water Standard for PFAS”; http://sco.lt/6JjI4P
  • “NJ Department of Environmental Protection Set to Regulate PFOS, PFOA in Drinking Water. Safe Limits Will Be Much Lower Than Recommended by the PA DEP.”; http://sco.lt/63DJ8T
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Newtown Township's Pollution Reduction Plan: How Will It Impact Our Parks?

Newtown Township's Pollution Reduction Plan: How Will It Impact Our Parks? | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

At the April 10, 2019, Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting, Township Engineer Owen Hyne told Supervisors that the PA Department of Environmental Protect (DEP) requires that the township reduce pollutants (sediment and/or nutrients) from entering its watersheds by 10%. This is part of Newtown’s “MS4” program.

 

Three “impaired watersheds” were identified by the EPA for pollution reduction:

 

  1. Neshaminy Creek – Nutrients and Sediments
  2. Lake Luxembourg – Nutrients and Sediments
  3. Core Creek - Sediments

 

To meet DEP requirements, Newtown must reduce a total of 202,252 lbs. of sedimentation per year entering these watersheds for five years.

 

As late as 2017, it was thought that the Township would not be able to find enough project areas to meet the 10% reduction requirement, which could result in penalties to the Township. Also, it was anticipated that the cost would be “astronomical” – as much as $850,000!

 

After many discussions with the DEP, the Township has put forward a Pollution Reduction Plan (PRP) that details the scheduled implementation of a series of Best Management Practices (BMP’s) necessary for the reduction of pollutants in the waterways of the municipality. Specifically, the plan proposes to implement storm basin and meadow conversions, inlet cleaning and stream restoration projects.

 

At the April 12 BOS meeting, Supervisor Calabro asked if the Township has enough township basins that can be converted to meadows to meet the 10% reduction requirement. Township Manager, Micah Lewis clarified that the seven township owned basins will be converted to meadows along with under-utilized park areas. The manicured grass areas will be transformed into meadow areas (wild flowers, etc.), which will also reduce fuel consumption and maintenance costs.

 

Included in the list of potential "meadow conversions" is 6.21 acres of the 22.8 acre Roberts Ridge Park located on Lower Dolington Road at Frost Lane. The area that the Township is considering for conversion to a meadow appears to be the grassy area where the Newtown Parks & Recreation Department hosts its “Super Soccer Stars” educational program for children ages 2-3

 

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Just as Residents Expected, Plumstead Supervisors in "Closed Door" Discussions to Settle Wawa Dispute!

Just as Residents Expected, Plumstead Supervisors in "Closed Door" Discussions to Settle Wawa Dispute! | News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents | Scoop.it

Thumbs Down to Plumstead supervisors for telling residents they were committed to fighting the legal battle against the developer of a proposed Wawa in Fountainville while taking part in settlement discussions behind the scenes.

 

Thumbs Down to Plumstead supervisors for telling residents they were committed to fighting the legal battle against the developer of a proposed Wawa in Fountainville while taking part in settlement discussions behind the scenes.

 

Wawa has wanted to build a location at Route 313 and Ferry Road since at least 2013. The latest incarnation of the project calls for a 4,700-square-foot convenience store with 10 gas pumps on the Plumstead portion of the intersection where Plumstead, Doylestown and New Britain townships meet.

 

In September 2017, the township’s zoning hearing board denied plans for the store, following six months of testimony and deliberations. The developer, a Verrichia Co. partnership, successfully appealed the ruling to the court of common pleas. Plumstead responded, last month, by appealing that ruling to Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court.

 

Whenever residents opposed to the Wawa asked about it at public meetings, officials assured them that Plumstead would continue to fight. Now comes word that supervisors have been meeting on and off with Verrichia officials for more than a year in an effort to settle the litigation, which would pave the way for the Wawa to be approved.

 

It’s not unusual for settlement agreements to come out of the clear blue sky, since negotiations take place in closed-door sessions. And it doesn’t appear that Plumstead violated any Sunshine Laws along the way. But what gets us is that officials seemed to be saying one thing publicly and doing something else when no one was looking.

 

[It’s not like the residents didn’t expect this! Read “Plumstead Residents Wary of “Closed Door” Deal to Settle Wawa Case and Urge Supervisors to Continue the Fight”; http://sco.lt/6IHTXN]

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Related:

  • “Facing $130,000 in Legal Expenses, Plumstead Chooses to Challenge Wawa Ruling”; http://sco.lt/7SJVzc
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I am a retired small businessman who has lived in Newtown Township PA since 1995. The opinions expressed here are solely mine and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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A good government is an open government where transparency reigns supreme. These Scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources. Any opinions and "insights" appended to these article summaries are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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This board is dedicated to promoting the value of diversity and addressing discrimination based on age, race, color, gender, religion, creed, culture, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, ancestry, national origin and disability. These Scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources. Any opinions and "insights" appended to these article summaries are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
News of Interest to Newtown Area Residents
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