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Newtown's “Explosive Growth”: What Are the Pros and Cons? Is There a Plan? Where's the Input From Residents?

Newtown's “Explosive Growth”: What Are the Pros and Cons? Is There a Plan? Where's the Input From Residents? | Newtown News of Interest |

While a $35 million expansion of the Village at Newtown Shopping Center that will include a new Solstice Restaurant, Iron Hill Brewery and several other establishments is rapidly taking shape, a new 12,500 square-foot Old Navy and 400 square-foot Chick-fil-A expansion is being proposed at the adjacent Newtown Shopping Center.


In the meantime, township officials are considering a proposed Wawa with gas pumps just off the Newtown Bypass near its intersection with Lower Silver Lake Road. Company officials have filed a challenge to the joint municipal zoning ordinance that covers Newtown Township, Upper Makefield and Wrightstown because it doesn’t designate areas for a combined convenience store/gas pumps use.


[Also read: “Mack & Fisher Respond to Questions About Development”]


A zoning hearing board meeting to consider variances for the proposed Wawa and the Newtown Shopping Center work is set for Thursday.


[Meet Mack Monday & discuss this: February 3, 2020]


As for the overall bright business outlook in the township, growth is good so long as it’s well thought out and managed, said Jim Worthington, owner of the largest business in Newtown Township, the Newtown Athletic Club.


But it’s not all positive, stressed Newtown Township Supervisor John Mack. In particular, he cited the proposed Old Navy as the wrong kind of business growth for the township.


Mack said he’s gotten 75 comments so far from Newtown-area residents in opposition, including comments that the store is not up-scale enough and many residents would prefer Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or Wegman’s.


[What do you think? Take Mack's "Old Navy/Chick-fil-A Proposal Survey"]


The supervisor cites the Old Navy as the kind of commercial development that “brings only few low-paying jobs which does little to add to our revenue.”


On the other hand, Mack had a generally favorable view of businesses that will move in as the result of the Village at Newtown expansion “although parking is sometimes a problem. I understand that malls have to rethink their business plans to compete with Amazon.”


Township officials have to take a very hard look at the types of projects being allowed, said Mack, who added he is suggesting a voluntary moratorium on all new commercial development in the township while officials and residents “meet with commercial developers to ensure that their plans jibe with our new 10-year comprehensive plan, which currently is in the works.”


[Read "It’s Time to Update Newtown's Comprehensive Plan!"]

johnmacknewtown's insight:

People who are concerned about the types of stores coming to the shopping centers in Newtown should contact the property owners/realtors who bring these stores to Newtown. Potential leasees need to understand the preferences of residents. In the future, the Township may be sending a questionnaire to businesses to ask what can Newtown do to attract more business with the goal of keeping TWP real estate taxes low, currently 4.5 mills (for a typical homeowner that's about $192 per year that goes to the Twp for police, public works, fire & emergency services, etc. not counting the much higher school and county taxes that we pay. For more on that go here: We should also be asking residents what businesses they would like to see come to Newtown and what the Township can do to attract those businesses, IMHO.


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Newtown News of Interest
These Scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources that may be of interest to Newtown area residents. 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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