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Newtown Township Supervisors Vote Not to Oppose Zoning Relief for Chick-Fil-A & New Old Navy Store in Newtown Shopping Center, But...

Newtown Township Supervisors Vote Not to Oppose Zoning Relief for Chick-Fil-A & New Old Navy Store in Newtown Shopping Center, But... | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

The Newtown Township Planning Commission reached a consensus on July 7 to support an amended zoning relief application for a number of new improvements being proposed at the Newtown Shopping Center on West Road. The center is anchored by ACME …

 

In its amended application, Newtown/Bucks Associates LP is seeking variances to construct a 400 square foot addition to the kitchen of the popular Chick-Fil-A fast food eatery and for a number of roadway improvements to eliminate congestion in and around the restaurant.

 

During busy days, especially holidays, the drive-thru lanes at the eatery back up onto West Road and sometimes as far as Durham Road creating traffic congestion in and around the shopping center.

 

The shopping center owner is also seeking variances from the township’s zoning hearing board for the construction of a new 12,500 square foot retail building to house an Old Navy retail store along with 80 new parking spaces.

 

The proposed new free standing Old Navy store would be built next to the Bed, Bath & Beyond store adjacent to the Acme shopping center and backing up to the Council Rock North property.

 

The township’s zoning Hearing Board is scheduled to hear the amended application at its August 6 meeting. [For more information about that hearing and how to participate, see John Mack’s Event Calendar: https://www.johnmacknewtown.info/eventcal.html]

 

BUT...

 

At its July 8 meeting, the board of supervisors followed the planning commission’s recommendation and voted not to oppose the application, although supervisor John Mack expressed frustration that the proposed Old Navy store and Chick-Fil-A improvements are part of the same application.

 

Mack, while supportive of the traffic improvements at the fast food eatery, expressed skepticism as to whether Old Navy would be a good fit for the shopping center and for Newtown.

 

“I think the Chick-Fil-A improvements are really needed, although I’m not quite sure it will work as planned,” said Mack. “But the Old Navy, as far as I’m concerned, is probably something that may not fit in Newtown, but I guess that’s up to the landlord.”

johnmacknewtowns insight:

I did not like the idea that both these uses were bundled into one for approval. So how can I vote to oppose one without also opposing the other? It's just another example, as far as I am concerned for how developers manipulate the system.

 

You might like to see why 69% of the people I surveyed do not want an Old Navy in Newtown: https://patch.com/pennsylvania/newtown-pa/survey-says-newtown-area-residents-oppose-old-navy-box-store

 

Give me your opinion. Take my survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/9KWDX87 

 

Related Content:

  • “Planning Commission Supports Improvements to Access to Chick-fil-A and Addition of Old Navy to Newtown Shopping Center”; http://sco.lt/9LQJSi
  • Listen to the presentation by representatives of the shopping Center and Chick-fil-A at the January 21, 2020, Planning Commission meeting: http://bit.ly/2uxjN2B

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Newtown Area News
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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A Zoning Change Would Allow for Drive-thru Wawa on Lincoln Highway in Falls

A Zoning Change Would Allow for Drive-thru Wawa on Lincoln Highway in Falls | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

Falls is considering a zoning change to help revive a stagnant shopping center with a new addition — a Wawa with gas pumps.

 

Supervisors voted Monday to advertise rezoning a portion of the Fairless Hills Shopping Center at 500 Lincoln Highway from shopping center to highway commercial.

 

The move could allow for the construction of a 5,500-square-foot Wawa with gas pumps on a 2-acre site currently occupied by an existing restaurant — Arosso, A Touch of Sicily. If approved, the restaurant that sits in the shopping center's parking lot would be demolished and move into a storefront in the center.

 

Falls attorney Lauren Gallagher said during a meeting Monday that gas pumps could be permitted under a conditional use. 

 

Even if the zoning is changed, supervisors would not be obligated to approve the Wawa, Gallagher said.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

On Sept 23, 2020, the Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) voted in favor of a "curative" zoning amendment that would allow a Wawa to be built on the Newtown Bypass. The vote was 3-2 in favor. Kyle Davis and I voted no.

 

The amendment passed by Newtown, however, specifically does not allow a drive-thru Wawa. However, the amendment specifies approval of any application to build by "special exception," which means approval is up the Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB) - NOT the Supervisors as in the case of Falls. The ZHB is notorious for granting "variances," which Wawa may ask for to (1) add additional fuel pumps than the 12 allowed, (2) add a Drive-thru window, (3) sell alcoholic beverages (e.g.,beer) on site, etc. - all of which are not allowed in the special amendment passed by the NT BOS.

 

A little history - "A Wawa in the Park": Silver Lake Park at the intersection of the Bypass and Lindenhurst Rd achieved fame in May 2017 when a certain Supervisor suggested it as a potential site for Wawa (read "Idea To Bring Wawa To Newtown" https://patch.com/pennsylvania/newtown-pa/idea-bring-wawa-newtown-be-discussed-wednesday). Two supervisors attempted to pursue this at the time after talking to an owner of an athletic club who was also approached by Wawa to build on property he had a stake in another property on the Bypass. All this happened before I was elected a supervisor in November 2017.

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Council Rock School Board Goes With CDC, Science-based Guidelines & Rejects Bucks County’s “Modified Quarantine” Scheme

Council Rock School Board Goes With CDC, Science-based Guidelines & Rejects Bucks County’s “Modified Quarantine” Scheme | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

The Council Rock School Board, during a nearly five-hour meeting on Sept 10, 2020, finalized the rules students exposed to the coronavirus must follow for quarantining once school restarts for in-person learning later this month.

 

At issue was if the district will opt for the Bucks County-endorsed "modified quarantine" plan, or the rules put forth by the Centers for Disease Control when a student is exposed to an infected person.

 

The Bucks County Health Department has recommended a "modified quarantine" process for local students who were exposed to the virus but are asymptomatic. Under a modified quarantine, the exposed person must wear a mask at all times and social distance as appropriate, but can attend necessary obligations such as school or work.

 

Ultimately, the board determined it will proceed immediately with the CDC guidelines, with an intention to revisit the issue on Oct. 22.

 

"The bulk of our staff absolutely wants to see the CDC version," Superintendent Robert Fraser said at the meeting. "They don't want to modified quarantine version. I think they are very scared of having a student who has been directly exposed right there in class."

johnmacknewtowns insight:

From a FB post by residents before the meeting:

 

CRSD friends, our school board is voting tomorrow to decide whether to follow CDC quarantine guidelines, or the "modified quarantine" proposed by Dr. Damsker, which could euphemistically be described as an interesting application of available science.

 

In sum, you have all professed a desire to return to normal school as soon as practical. Every parent and child wants that too. Risking that, by supporting a scheme that has nothing more than speculative and anecdotal support, would be massive malpractice.

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In an Unanimous Vote, Newtown Township Supervisors Denied Toll Brothers Conditional Use Application to Build 45 Homes in Conservation District. Residents Ecstatic!

In an Unanimous Vote, Newtown Township Supervisors Denied Toll Brothers Conditional Use Application to Build 45 Homes in Conservation District. Residents Ecstatic! | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

At its first in-person meeting since March, the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors on August 26 voted unanimously to deny a conditional use application submitted by Toll Brothers.

 

Toll had requested the conditional use to build a cluster of 45 high-end single family homes on 150 acres located at Route 413 (Durham Road) and Twining Bridge Road.

 

Because the parcel is zoned Conservation Management (CM), a cluster development is allowed by use, but not by right, so that’s why Toll needed the conditional-use approval instead of a zoning change.

 

At a meeting in early March, the supervisors were poised to vote on the developers’ application, but decided to table the motion after several neighboring residents again voiced their opposition to the project, mostly over traffic concerns.

 

The supervisors had intended to announce its decision at its March 25 board meeting, which was subsequently canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak. Under an extension agreement with Toll, the supervisors postponed its announcement until its first in-person meeting, which took place this week [August 26, 2020; see the video archive here].

 

With officials and members of the public seated six feet apart and everyone wearing masks, the supervisors heard one more round of public comment before casting its vote.

 

Board members made no public statements as to why they voted to deny the request, but their decision prompted applause from the less than 20 members of the public who were allowed inside the meeting room.

 

Under the law, Toll Brothers has 30 days to file an appeal in county court. [Read “What Will Happen If Newtown Supervisors Vote "No" on Toll Bros Conditional Use Application to Build 45 Homes in Conservation Management District Along Twining Bridge Road?”]

 

Residents are strongly opposed to the development taking access onto Twining Bridge Road, suggesting instead access be from Durham Road at a signalized intersection with North Drive.

 

Twining Bridge Road resident [JoyAnn Charlton] also voiced deep opposition to the development, speaking publicly against the plan over traffic and safety concerns and issues concerning flooding, drainage and acquifer recharge.

 

Charlton questioned the veracity of the Toll-funded traffic study, which she said “was dumped on the board of supervisors only minutes before the hearing depriving the board of any meaningful opportunity to adequately review, consider and question the submissions. The traffic study was not thoroughly considered or challenged. We’re expected to simply take Tolls’ word. Once these homes are sold Toll will be out of the picture leaving us to deal with the mess.”

johnmacknewtowns insight:

Quoted in Bucks County Courier Times:

 

Sander had advised board members that even though they were required to continue to take public comment on the issue, they had to base their decision solely on evidence presented and testimony given at the Feb. 26 hearing. All five supervisors voted to deny conditional use approval at the recent meeting without commenting just before or after they voted on their reasons.

 

"In general, I do not believe that the applicant demonstrated that the proposed development is consistent with the spirit, purposes and intent of the Conservation Management zoning district," Supervisor John Mack wrote in an email after the meeting.

 

On the developer's efforts to preserve agricultural soils at the site, he added "I do not believe that the applicant demonstrated that every effort has been made to provide a maximum amount of farmland preserved for agriculture.

 

"I do not believe that the applicant demonstrated that the proposed development is not a detriment to the property in the immediate vicinity."

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BCCT Editorial: How To Do Public Meetings in a Time of COVID-19

BCCT Editorial: How To Do Public Meetings in a Time of COVID-19 | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

One of open government’s tallest pillars is the residents’ ability to be in the room when those they’ve elected to represent them decide how to spend their money or alter their town.

 

That pillar strained like never before this spring under the weight of the coronavirus and the stay-at-home orders, business closures and community and governmental cancellations that followed the outbreak.

 

And while COVID-19 is a continuing reality in most towns in Bucks and Montgomery counties, local governments are gradually resuming meetings that, by law, must be accessible to the public.

 

Towns have tried to strike that balance through the use of live-streaming technology with call-in, email or text-in forms of public participation. Some have even used web conferencing platforms like Zoom to gather remotely and allow the public to join in.

 

In townships with no controversial issues on the upcoming summer agendas, the change should be minimal. Attendees will generally be required to wear masks, socially distance in the audience (not difficult if only a few residents turn out for meetings) and agree to have their temperatures taken when they arrive.

 

But towns with hot-button topics and packed meetings will need to be thoughtful about how they’re giving the public its access when a COVID-era capacity crowd, in some towns, doesn’t exceed single digits.

 

Here are a few ideas we like. We support the use of overflow rooms where residents can gather in a second room and watch the proceedings.

 

Some developers arrive at municipal meetings accompanied by attorneys, engineers, landscape architects and other consultants. It makes sense to us that their teams should be required to wait outside until it’s their turn to present.

 

Municipalities should be quick to seek out other venues when meetings are expected to bring substantial crowds. Before the coronavirus, it wasn’t unusual to see important meetings moved to a local public school auditorium. We understand that school districts might be less willing to allow outside groups to use their facilities with COVID-19 still spreading. But we urge districts to do what they can to accommodate such requests in the name of good government.

 

Busier towns with a reliable contingent of meeting attendees should also consider using sign-up sheets and establishing a rotation of audience members.

 

Township staff, elected officials and residents all have a role to play in making these meetings work. If all parties approach the matter with understanding, flexibility and a willingness to adapt, they can turn their attention to the business of running the town.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

The more Zoom "public" meetings hosted by Newtown Township (e.g., Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission meetings,, etc.), the less actual public input we get.

 

Despite my best efforts, I cannot convince the BOS to allow the general public to directly participate in its "public" Zoom meetings.

 

I'm told that there would be too many people trying to speak at the same time and that would disrupt the meeting. Yes, one Zoom BOS meeting was “zoom bombed, but Zoom has increased security such as requiring the implementation of the “waiting room” feature. The meeting moderator can admit only recognized participants to join the meeting.

 

Currently, the only way for residents to participate in BOS Zoom meetings is to submit questions/comments via email to comments@newtownpa.gov before and during the meeting. All comments will be read, but so far many meetings do not include any resident comments at all! Luckily, important matters are being delayed until live meetings can be scheduled – probably in September.

 

Update (9/10/20): Newtown Twp is still using Zoom for "public" BOS meetings and at the Sept 9 meeting there were further limits placed on public comments submitted via email. 

 

Some comments submitted by email to be read during BOS meetings are very lengthy and although the public notice of BOS meetings promises that ALL comments will be read out loud at the meeting, it was decided - as a compromise - that if comments are very long then - with the permission of the commenter - only a summary will be read and the entire comment will be included in the meeting minutes. At least that is  my understanding of the procedure we may be following in the future (I am not sure if it is a step forward or backward).

 

Related Content:

johnmacknewtown's curator insight, July 12, 8:52 AM

The more Zoom "public" meetings hosted by Newtown Township (e.g., Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission meetings,, etc.), the less actual public input we get.

 

Despite my best efforts, I cannot convince the BOS to allow the general public to directly participate in its "public" Zoom meetings.

 

I'm told that there would be too many people trying to speak at the same time and that would disrupt the meeting. Yes, one Zoom BOS meeting was “zoom bombed, but Zoom has increased security such as requiring the implementation of the “waiting room” feature. The meeting moderator can admit only recognized participants to join the meeting.

 

Currently, the only way for residents to participate in BOS Zoom meetings is to submit questions/comments via email to comments@newtownpa.gov before and during the meeting. All comments will be read, but so far many meetings do not include any resident comments at all! Luckily, important matters are being delayed until live meetings can be scheduled – probably in September.

 

Related Content:

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Consultant Briefs Newtown Township Supervisors on a 5-Year Budget Plan That Includes Raising RE Taxes and Hiring 10 New Personnel in 2021

Consultant Briefs Newtown Township Supervisors on a 5-Year Budget Plan That Includes Raising RE Taxes and Hiring 10 New Personnel in 2021 | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

A Five Year Financial Plan commissioned by the township is recommending a tax increase in 2021 to make up for a loss of revenue and to begin exploring cost sharing opportunities with neighboring Newtown Borough.

 

Steve Wray, from Econsult Solutions, briefed the board of supervisors on the report’s preliminary findings and recommendations during an August 17 work session.

 

In its report, Econsult outlines major recommendations to improve the township’s financial condition over the next five years, beginning with the addition of real estate tax millage [+4.7 to +7.0 mills were proposed] to the general fund budget beginning in 2021 “to help diversify and broaden the base of revenues and also to make up revenues lost in the earned income tax.”

 

In addition, it recommends adjusting staffing levels to meet the current management needs of the township, including hiring an assistant manager and code enforcement officer; bringing the police force up to full complement with three new officers while reducing or eliminating overtime and comp time; and hiring five new career firefighters through a federal grant.

 

The township was carrying a high fund balance of 30 percent in 2015-16. By the end of this year it is projected to be eight percent. “What we’re seeing is a weakening fund balance position. And we would see that going forward if no changes are taken,” he said.

 

Generally, the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) recommends a municipality maintain a fund balance of no less than two months or 17 percent of general fund operating expenses. “You guys just have just adopted a measure to keep it at 10 percent. We think that’s a good idea and a very positive move,” said Wray.

 

Comparing the township to its neighbors, Wray said Newtown Township has the second lowest real estate millage rate. And the township’s millage increases have been consistent with the average increases across the municipalities.

 

Projecting ahead over the next five years, Wray said if nothing changes the township will continue to see “a growing spread” between revenue and expenditures with the fund balance projected to fall below 10 percent by the beginning of 2021 and continuing to decline through 2025 as it’s used to fund the widening gap.

 

The report also recommends the hiring of five career firefighters through a federal SAFER grant that would initially pay salaries and benefits over the first three years. As the grant expires in years four and five, Wray said regional cost sharing opportunities could make up the difference. [My understanding is that SAFER grants do not cover expenses such as pension plans, health insurance, etc.]

johnmacknewtowns insight:

One of the reasons given to raise taxes is to maintain a healthy General Fund Reserve, which was predicted to take a hit due in part to lost Earned Income Tax (EIT) collection caused by the COVID-19 closure of businesses and subsequent unemployment increase. However, the anticipated decrease in EIT never happened - in fact EIT collection increased 4.8% in 2020 vs 2019 (a "banner year").

 

UPDATE from KEYSTONE, which collects EIT:

At the close of August 2020, Bucks Tax Collection District (TCD) ended up with an increase of about $1.6 million from 2019. As it stands now, the TCD as a whole is up a little over $55,000.00 in 5th quarter money! Comparing earned income collections for 1/1/20 – 8/31/20 vs 1/1/19 – 8/31/19, Newtown Township specifically is up about $258,000.00 or 4.8%.

 

Related Content:

 

 

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Middletown Follows Newtown to Become Second Bucks County Township to Create a Human Relations Commission!

Middletown Follows Newtown to Become Second Bucks County Township to Create a Human Relations Commission! | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

Middletown Township joins just a handful of other Bucks County communities in creating a Human Relations Commission.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the ordinance that would establish a Human Relations Commission under the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.

The commission will have seven members and can conduct public trainings, educational sessions, informational seminars and community activities. The commission would have the ability to address some complaints related to discrimination in housing, employment, public accommodations, and conversion therapy.

“I think this [Human Relations Commission] is going to give the members of our community who maybe have been disenfranchised or discriminated against a voice and a seat at the table,” said Supervisor Anna Payne.

In Lower Bucks County, Bristol Borough, Newtown Borough, Newtown Township, and Yardley Borough have ordinances establishing Human Relations Commissions.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

I first floated the idea for the Newtown Anti-discrimination ordinance in July, 2018, and in September, the Board of Supervisors heard a presentation from Yardley Councilman David Bria, who led the charge on Yardley’s anti-discrimination ordinance.

 

Related Content:

 

  • “Following Newtown Township's Lead, Middletown Twp May Become Second Bucks County Township to Pass an Anti-Discrimination Ordinance”; http://sco.lt/8aw7wu 
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Bensalem Police & NAACP Bucks County Team Up To Increase Training, Recruit Residents of Color, & Increase Transparency

Bensalem Police & NAACP Bucks County Team Up To Increase Training, Recruit Residents of Color, & Increase Transparency | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

The two Bucks County agencies are teaming up to increase public safety and public trust by supporting additional training, transparency and communication. On Wednesday, they will join together at the Bensalem Police Department to formalize their new partnership.

 

This the first partnership of its kind in Bucks County, said Karen Downer, president of NAACP Bucks County.

 

"As our communities are re-imagining public safety, we think these kind of relationships throughout the county will connect us with the police a lot better," Downer said.

 

Both agencies plan to meet shared goals, including:

 

  • A commitment to regular meetings and open dialogue between the NAACP Bucks County and Bensalem Township Police Department leadership

 

  • Both parties will work together to ensure that Bensalem police officers receive regular training that enhances their ability to have effective, respectful, and peaceful interactions with all citizens, including people of color

 

  • Both parties agree to work together to encourage and assist Bensalem residents, especially residents of color, to consider serving the Bensalem Township community by becoming a police officer with the Bensalem Township Police Department

 

  • A broader process for intake of any complaints of police misconduct, including the ability of residents to report such complaints to the NAACP Bucks County or to county religious leaders

 

  • Increased transparency regarding the results of police misconduct investigations, including reporting outcomes to the NAACP.

 

Downer hopes to forge similar partnerships with other police departments across Bucks County. Such agreements, she said, "will go a long way to build partnerships where we are comfortable making direct contact with police and having straight forward honest conversations."

johnmacknewtowns insight:

Related Content:

 

johnmacknewtown's curator insight, September 9, 6:25 AM

Related Content:

 

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Newtown Residents Cite Need for Infrastructure Improvements

Newtown Residents Cite Need for Infrastructure Improvements | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

The recently completed Newtown Citizens Survey reveals that many residents are concerned about the condition of roads, streetlights, etc.

 

Question 8 of the survey asked respondents to rate several services as Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor. Responses weighted using scale of 1 to 4, with 1 being “poor” and 4 being “excellent.”

 

Snow removal, street cleaning, street lighting, and street maintenance received were among the services receiving the worst ratings.

 

One of the goals of the Newtown Township 5-year financial plan is to attract new business to Newtown and help all businesses thrive. When asked to identify the two TOP priorities that the township should focus on for attracting new business, Public Infrastructure was the top choice with 45.6 % of respondents.

 

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Newtown Borough Extends Outdoor Dining Permits for Another 45 Days. Newtown Township Also Extends Its Outdoor Dining/Sales Resolution

Newtown Borough Extends Outdoor Dining Permits for Another 45 Days. Newtown Township Also Extends Its Outdoor Dining/Sales Resolution | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

[See insights for news about Newtown Twp's new resolution.]

 

The Newtown Borough Council on Sept. 2 voted unanimously to extend a resolution allowing borough restaurants that have applied for a special permit to offer outdoor dining for another 45 days.

In June, with restaurants limited in the use of indoor space due to Covid-19, council adopted a resolution setting up a Temporary Permit Application process that allows restaurants to offer outdoor dining and retailers to sell merchandise outdoors on their private property for a 90-day period.

With the 90 days about to expire and COVID-19 restrictions still in place limiting restaurants to 25 percent indoor use, council agreed to extend the resolution for another 45 days, taking it up to mid- to late-October.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

On June 24, 2020, the Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) approved a resolution; "establishing guidelines and policy for outdoor sales of merchandise and/or outdoor dining for existing businesses in Newtown Township during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

 

The resolution automatically expires within 90 days of its passage (on or about September 24, 2020), but the term can be extended beyond that by a vote of the Board of Supervisors.

 

UPDATE (9/9/20): Newtown Township Supervisors passed a revised outdoor dining/sales resolution extending the expiration until the "current Newtown Township Emergency Declaration issued due to COVID-19 is repealed or otherwise withdrawn.

 

Related Content:

 

  • “Newtown Borough Council Gives Isaac Newton's Restaurant Permission to Have an Outdoor Dining Tent”; http://sco.lt/5rvMAa 
  • Podcast: “Getting Newtown Businesses Open Again”; https://johnmacknewtown.info/covidvbus.html 
  • “PA Restaurants Can Open Outdoor Dining Rooms June 5 - But What About Restaurants Without Outdoor Seating Areas?”; http://sco.lt/58A7Xc 
  • “Restaurants Reopening for Outdoor Dining: Closing Streets and Opening Sidewalks to Create al fresco Dining Rooms”; http://sco.lt/8rUPXE 
  • “Solstice Restaurant Reopening Survey: We Care What You Think”; http://sco.lt/5k2XTM 
  • “As Restaurants Remain Shuttered, American Cities Fear the Future - In Some Towns, 50% May Not Reopen!”; http://sco.lt/7e1xom 
  • “Safe Dining During #COVID19? Hard to Imagine, but Many Restaurants Are Trying. What About Restaurants in the Newtown Area?”; http://sco.lt/5GQeVU 
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So what's the status of the proposed Old Navy at the Newtown Shopping Center?

So what's the status of the proposed Old Navy at the Newtown Shopping Center? | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

Last month, the Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB) heard an application for the new clothing store, which is proposed to be located in between Acme and Bed Bath & Beyond.

The shopping center sought impervious surface relief, parking relief, and loading berth location relief in its quest to build the 12,500-square-foot store.


The ZHB denied the variance for the impervious surface relief. The other variances for parking and the loading berth were approved.

The impervious surface variance that was denied sought to allow for 61.70 percent impervious surface, where 50 percent is required and 59.65 is currently existing.

Township Manager Micah Lewis said that leaves the applicant with a few options: Resubmit a new application, file an appeal of the denial, or simply do nothing. Lewis said the township has not yet received correspondence from the applicant indicating how they plan to proceed.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

The application voted on by the Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB) plans included a 385-square-foot addition to the existing Chick-fil-A restaurant plus a right-turn only lanes leading up to the Chick-fil-A to ease traffic jams.

 

At the July 8, 2020, Board of Supervisors meeting prior to the ZHB meeting, I questioned if it was the norm to have two applications in one (Old Navy + Chick-fil-A). Township Solicitor Dave Sander replied it is not unusual when a property is owned by one entity and proposes various improvements to some but not all the property to include all relief requested in one application. I saw the need for Chick-fil-A improvements but had concerns over the Old Navy portion of the plan.

 

Related Content:

  • “Survey Says Newtown Area Residents Oppose Old Navy Box Store”; http://bit.ly/ONChicSurvey
  • “Newtown Township Supervisors Vote Not to Oppose Zoning Relief for Chick-Fil-A & New Old Navy Store in Newtown Shopping Center, But...”; http://sco.lt/7C16n2
  • “Planning Commission Supports Improvements to Access to Chick-fil-A and Addition of Old Navy to Newtown Shopping Center”; http://sco.lt/9LQJSi
  • Listen to the presentation by representatives of the shopping Center and Chick-fil-A at the January 21, 2020, Planning Commission meeting: http://bit.ly/2uxjN2B
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How Much Do Newtown Residents Like Township Parks & Recreation?

How Much Do Newtown Residents Like Township Parks & Recreation? | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

A recently completed Citizens Survey reveals which parks are most popular with residents and whether recreation programs need improving.

 

Quality of Parks, Recreation programs, and Recreation centers/facilities were at the top of the list following Fire and Police Services! A majority of survey respondents (58.1%) say they have used township recreational programming, which was rated Good by 42% of respondents and Excellent by 48% of respondents.

 

More...

johnmacknewtowns insight:

One item that certain residents believe need improving in Newtown's parks are the toilet facilities, which remained closed up until recently when a resident complained and threatened legal action:

 

I am a Public Health Professional and longtime resident of Newtown Township. I, like many of the Township residents,utilize the Newtown Township Parks. The Township has spent Millions Of Dollars, (literally Many Millions), on obtaining and creating the 3 township parks, Veterans, Roberts Ridge, and Helen Randle.
 
Township Manager Micah Lewis, and the Board of Supervisors has refused to rectify the situation of no public sanitary facilities available in all of 2020 while the parks do remain open and sometimes heavily utilized.
 
There are no public facilities available for hand washing, defecating, or urinating.
 
There have been NO Open facilities available in these 3 parks in 2020. They were NEVER opened.
 
An EASY solution that overcomes Micah's Public Works Employee's safety issue is  to RENT Porta Potties. They each cost $126 per month.
 
So for $378 a Month, Newtown's 3 lovely and expensive parks can actually be sanitarily utilized by the public .
 
There IS a public Health Crisis if you have not noticed. The MAIN tools to fight the germ crisis is HAND washing and certainly NOT spreading germs by using the grounds at large to take care of "business". 
 
As the NewtownTownship Board of Supervisors and the Township Manager have offered no remediation to the situation, I am proceeding to contact our state legislators, Perry Warren and Steve Santarsiero, and our U.S. Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick in this matter.
 
A Public Petition on the issue will be circulated and presented to all parties in local, state, and Federal government, and the FULLY documented story WITH Pictures Will be submitted to the Bucks County Courier Times for the quickly approaching HOLIDAY Weekend.
 
In response, the Township Manager said, "After further discussion with our insurance provider, and legal council, we have decided that we will be placing a portable restroom in Veterans Park. The facility will be posted with signage that states "This Facility is not Maintained by Newtown Township - Please Use at Your Descretion." If the facility becomes damaged, unsanitary, or unuseable in any way, our staff will lock it, and the vendor will be contacted to rectify the situation."
 
I later confirmed that portable toilet facilities were delivered to Roberts Ridge, Veterans, Chandler, and Helen Randle Parks.
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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 Area News | 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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Mr. Lawmaker, Tear Down These #COVID19 Restrictions! Urge Bucks Restaurant Owners

Mr. Lawmaker, Tear Down These #COVID19 Restrictions! Urge Bucks Restaurant Owners | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

After all nonessential businesses closed in late March, Pennsylvania restaurants first opened at 50% capacity before the state imposed new restrictions and limited indoor dining to 25% capacity.

 

When announcing the switch, Gov. Tom Wolf pointed to a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases. But those restrictions spooked customers, who were already reluctant to dine out during a pandemic, owners said.

 

Reopening at 50% was "well thought out and sensible," but tightening restrictions to 25% in July came with little explanation since the state provided no evidence to suggest people are getting COVID-19 while inside bars and eateries, said John Longstreet, Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging president and CEO.

 

"We're trying to impress upon the (lawmakers) the importance, No. 1, of getting the restaurant business back open again," Longstreet said. "At 25%, we're really closed and restaurants are going out of business every day."

 

Statewide, some 7,500 restaurants could close in the coming weeks if forced to operate at 25% capacity, the association warns.

 

While 26 states have no capacity and others have 50% capacity requirements, Pennsylvania, Illinois and New Mexico are the only states to enact a 25% restriction, Longstreet said.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

Related Content:

 

  • Podcast: “Getting Newtown Businesses Open Again”; https://johnmacknewtown.info/covidvbus.html
  • “PA Restaurants Can Open Outdoor Dining Rooms June 5 - But What About Restaurants Without Outdoor Seating Areas?”; http://sco.lt/58A7Xc
  • “Restaurants Reopening for Outdoor Dining: Closing Streets and Opening Sidewalks to Create al fresco Dining Rooms”; http://sco.lt/8rUPXE
  • “Solstice Restaurant Reopening Survey: We Care What You Think”; http://sco.lt/5k2XTM
  • “As Restaurants Remain Shuttered, American Cities Fear the Future - In Some Towns, 50% May Not Reopen!”; http://sco.lt/7e1xom
  • “Safe Dining During #COVID19? Hard to Imagine, but Many Restaurants Are Trying. What About Restaurants in the Newtown Area?”; http://sco.lt/5GQeVU
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Lower Makefield Supervisors Vote to Allow Wegmans Development to Avoid Lawsuit & Cite Possible Warehouse as Worse Alternative, As If...

Lower Makefield Supervisors Vote to Allow Wegmans Development to Avoid Lawsuit & Cite Possible Warehouse as Worse Alternative, As If... | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

Supervisors in Lower Makefield on Monday approved a plan that marks the first major step toward a 32-acre development, including a Wegmans grocery store, being built on Stony Hill Road.

 

At the end of a nearly five-and-a-half-hour meeting, the board voted 4-1 to approve a general overlay plan required for the mixed use development to be built.

 

"We appreciate the time and thorough review put forth by the board of supervisors to approve the mixed-use overlay ordinance for the proposed Prickett Preserve at Edgewood development," said Vince DeLuca, president of DeLuca Homes. "This will allow for a walkable village that promotes a healthy-living environment and reduces overall traffic by eliminating the need for residents to use vehicles to reach various destinations. It will also create new opportunities for grocery, retail and public spaces, while generating more tax revenues for the Lower Makefield Township community and school district."

 

Developers say Prickett Preserve at Edgewood would be a "live, work, play" community across from Shady Brook Farm, which is a popular destination for visitors.

 

Wegmans would be an anchor tenant, with additional plans for more retail space and upscale apartments. Plans would preserve an on-site historic house and barn that dates back to the 1700s. The plans include six additional retail buildings and nine residential buildings and a clubhouse.

 

Supervisors heard Monday from residents who organized to oppose the development, many citing traffic concerns, as well as concerns about residents taxing Lower Makefield's resources and hurting Shady Brook Farm nearby.

 

During the discussion, supervisors repeatedly mentioned the possibility, floated by developers, that the property, as now zoned, could be used for warehouse space. They said that, even with some concerns, a mixed-use development would be better than that.

 

They also noted the possibility that a lawsuit will be filed, further trying to stop the development.

 

While they have approved the required general overlay, developers will have to return to supervisors for approval of a specific site plan before building can begin.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

Related Content:

  • “Live, Work, Play? Developers Are Eyeing Mixed-use Centers for Bucks County...But Are They Attractive to Residents?”; http://sco.lt/4jVaVs
  • “Guest Opinion Re Prickett Run: ‘Do not bend over to accommodate zoning changes, overlay districts and special exceptions to allow developers to destroy the character of our community.’"; http://sco.lt/7mGeDw
  • “Lower Makefield Supervisors to Hear Proposal for Mixed Use Retail/Residential Village Anchored by Wegmans on Stony Hill Road Across from Shady Brook Farm”; http://sco.lt/76Y2PQ
  • “LMT Planners To Review Wegmans Proposal”; http://sco.lt/4gvAH2
  • “Lower Makefield Residents Jam Hearing to Protest Proposed Ordinance Amendment to Allow Wegmans & Apartments on Stony Hill Road Near Shady Brook Farms”; http://sco.lt/7p3iBE
  • “Date Set for Another Hearing on Wegmans in Lower Makefield. Will the 2nd Time Be the Charm?”; http://sco.lt/85dr2u
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Consultants Propose Three Scenarios to End Newtown Township's Deficit Spending – All Involve Significant Tax Increases

Consultants Propose Three Scenarios to End Newtown Township's Deficit Spending – All Involve Significant Tax Increases | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

[ESI laid out three different scenarios going forwarded as shown in Slide #22. All involved real estate tax increases.]

 

Hiring several new employees, including three police officers and an assistant township manager, are among recommendations from a consultant for improving Newtown Township finances over the next five years.

 

A consultant also suggested looking into regionalizing more services including police operations.

 

The township hired Econsult Solutions Inc. [ESI] for $69,450, half of which is being covered with a grant from the state Department of Economic and Community Development, to develop a five-year financial plan (read “Newtown Township To Develop a 5-Year Financial Plan”; http://bit.ly/5yrplanRFP-NP). Steve Wray and other company officials presented findings from its preliminary report during a recent virtual meeting with township supervisors (see here: https://bit.ly/InterimESIsummary).

 

Among the other recommendations was increasing property taxes 6.5 mills from its current 4.5-mill total [to new total of 11.0 mills] to bolster operating revenue, provide more money for capital projects and allow less reliance on the earned income tax, the township's main source of revenue.

 

Hiring an assistant township manager would free Manager Micah Lewis and other staff members up to do more work on long-range economic development, which could bolster revenue, Wray reasoned.

 

And bringing on three new police officers would lift staffing closer to where it needs to be and cut down on overtime and compensatory day costs, Wray added.

 

Supervisor John Mack also suggested more employees in the public works department, a move that would allow the township to repave and repair more streets and make it a more desirable place to live and do business, he said.

 

Another revenue enhancer was the possibility of requiring money from neighboring Newtown Borough for fire calls made there by township professional firefighters. No decision was made on the consideration.

 

"Our residents are paying for them to go into the borough and answer a call and we're not getting compensated," supervisors Chairman Phil Calabro said.

 

He added that the township could look into the possibility of entering into an agreement with Newtown Borough to provide policing services there. Newtown Township currently gets more than $500,000 a year in revenue for providing that service for neighboring Wrightstown.

 

"If they (Newtown Borough) paid us to patrol, they're taking an expense off their balance sheet and we're adding revenue to ours," Calabro said.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

Related Content:

  • “Newtown Supervisors Review Interim 5-Year Financial Plan”; https://bit.ly/InterimESIsummary (includes selected slides from the plus audio snippets from the Zoom meeting).
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More Than 600 "Upscale" Apartments Will Be Coming to the Oxford Valley Mall

More Than 600 "Upscale" Apartments Will Be Coming to the Oxford Valley Mall | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it


On Monday evening, the Middletown Township Board of Supervisors unanimously approved preliminary and final land development for the project that is seen as a cornerstone for potential redevelopment of one of the area’s largest shopping destination.

The plan approved by the supervisors green lights 614 modern apartments spread across two three- to four-story buildings that would each feature a parking garage for residents and a number of amenities, including green spaces, pools, and fitness centers.

The new apartment complex will be constructed in the old Boscov’s parking lot. Part of the long-closed store will be demolished to add open space and clear room for possible future retail development abutting the complex.

The developer, Main Line-based Cornerstone Tracy, plans to construct the complex in two phases. The first would include 391 apartments with a parking garage, and the second phase will add 223 apartments with a second parking garage.

Dave Della Porta, a co-owner of developer Cornerstone Tracy, said the development will add about a mile of sidewalks to interconnect the development to the mall and surrounding area. He also touted the development will add 8 acres of green space, including a large central green area for residents and the public.

Della Porta said the plan would create “a first-rate, new, modern apartment community.”

johnmacknewtowns insight:

Related content:

 

  • “To Survive in the Age of Amazon, New Restaurants and Apartments are Coming to Oxford Valley Mall”; http://sco.lt/98RCC0
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Newtown College Student Creates Website to Facilitate Police Reform Conversation

Newtown College Student Creates Website to Facilitate Police Reform Conversation | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

Madeleine McCullough, a political science and economics major from Newtown, said that after George Floyd’s death, she began having discussions with Eva Pontrelli, a college classmate, about how to actively talk with legislators and turn the conversation about police brutality into action and reform.

 

“[There were] a lot of hoops you had to jump through: identifying who your legislator is, identifying the subjects that are important to talk about, [and] figuring out what changes…will leave a lasting and tangible impact.”

 

On top of that, McCullough realized that even once an individual had a lawmaker on the line, they might not have the facts, context or data to have a robust conversation. “The conversation seems like a difficult one to have, and often times you don’t have the information to back up what you want to say.”

 

Then she realized she might have the tools to create a solution. McCullough and a team of her Boston College classmates created a website called Meet the Momentum, which aims to provide specific and objective information to link constituents with their state’s representatives and policing policies.

 

*****

Meet the Momentum's mission is to streamline the process of contacting state legislators for anyone who sees a need for change in the way their state approaches policing. This tool serves to channel that passion into a collective voice calling for achievable, impactful policy measures.

*****

 

McCullough said that she and her team launched the website “with the intention of giving everybody the tools they need to make changes in their communities.”

 

Since its release on July 27th, the site has had over 1,300 unique views and has also gained hundreds of followers on its accompanying social media pages on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. McCullough said that she hopes the site will continue to educate others and help sustain a longer-term civic engagement to fight injustice.

 

“It’s so easy to be desensitized to tragedy…[we have to] to acknowledge that so many of these problems are things that can be avoided,” said McCullough, referring to the deaths of Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and more recently, the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, which have stirred emotional responses nationwide. “It’s a reminder to…put those feelings to work through the democratic process.”

 

She also believes that Meet the Momentum’s emphasis on objectivity has potential to prevent buzzwords like “defunding” from shutting down more thoughtful conversation from both sides of the aisle.

 

McCullough plans to continue working on this project well into the future, citing a clear need for the project: “There is a desire for this information out there…We want to give people the tools to have more fruitful, educated, open-minded conversation,” she said.

 

And McCullough believes Meet the Momentum is a testament to the potential for those conversations to bring people together.

 

“Individuals who think they and I might not have common ground—this website has given that common ground a physical presence, on the Internet.”

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What Will Happen If Newtown Supervisors Vote "No" on Toll Bros Conditional Use Application to Build 45 Homes in Conservation Management District Along Twining Bridge Road?

What Will Happen If Newtown Supervisors Vote "No" on Toll Bros Conditional Use Application to Build 45 Homes in Conservation Management District Along Twining Bridge Road? | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

Just weeks after [Newtown Township] supervisors declined to approve Toll Brothers application to build 45 high-end single-family homes on a tract of land off of Durham and Twining Bridge roads, the board is now reconsidering whether to support the developer’s conditional-use request to avoid any legal challenges.

 

At its March meeting, the supervisors were poised to vote on the developers’ application, but decided to table the motion after several neighboring residents again voiced their opposition to the project on the 158-acre tract which is near the Newtown Township municipal complex

 

When the residents attending the meeting questioned why the board does not simply reject Toll’s application, [township solicitor] Sander quickly replied that the developer would most likely take the township to Bucks County Common Pleas Court, and in all likelihood win.

 

According to the township solicitor, Toll is permitted to build a cluster development on land which is zoned B-12 in the Conservation Management (CM) Zoning District, but needs conditional-use approval by the board of supervisors to do so.

 

The court would most likely overturn any municipal challenge to that application, with the judge directing the project to move forward over any township dissent.

 

In addition, Sander warned that if the supervisors do reject the application, then Toll would be allowed to build up to 61 single family homes, each on about three acres with no open space. That’s because the developer has the right to do so under the zoning now applicable to that property.

 

“If that happened, there would be about 50-percent more traffic,” Sander warned.

 

[The Board of Supervisors (BOS) is scheduled to vote on this application at its August 26, 2020, LIVE public meeting. More about this here.]

 

If the conditional-use application is formally denied, then Toll Brothers would have 30 days to file an appeal in county court.

 

Meanwhile, the developer’s revised plan calls for a cluster development on B-12 zoned land which would take up only a small portion, roughly 36-acres, of the 158-acre tract on the southwest corner of Durham Road (Rte. 413) and Twining Bridge Road, which lies just north of the township’s municipal complex.

 

Because the parcel is zoned Conservation Management (CM), a cluster development is allowed by use, but not by right, so that’s why Toll needed the conditional-use approval instead of a zoning change.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

Many residents do not believe that the BOS is getting an accurate assessment from its solicitor regarding the possible consequences of a "No" vote.

 

"To be very honest," said one resident, "this ['by right' plan] is a false threat. The reality is that the current plans ARE the worst-case scenario."

 

Another resident told me: "During the July 22 meeting, there were a number of questions asked about the "by right" plan. Neither the members nor counsel knew of how many homes could be built by Toll Brothers by right. Answers given were 160, 140,65,20 - 25 more, even more than that, and a "God yeah" additional amount of homes. By not knowing this number, I am concerned that the Board is so wary of a "by right" plan that it may not have fully weighed the pros and cons of this alternative."

 

This will be discussed at a "Meet Mack Monday" Zoom meeting on Monday, August 24, 2020, at 7 PM. This meeting is by invitation only. Learn more about this meeting - including registration info - here.

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Many PA Jobs Lost At Start Of Pandemic Are Back, But Unemployment is Up

Many PA Jobs Lost At Start Of Pandemic Are Back, But Unemployment is Up | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate went up slightly in July to 13.7 percent, but officials, in new data released Friday, say the state has now recovered nearly half of the jobs lost in March and April.

The state's unemployment rate went up one-half of a percentage point in July over the previous month. Pennsylvania's unemployment rate is above the national rate, which fell 0.9 percentage points from June's level to 10.2 percent.

Since the pandemic began, more than 2 million in Pennsylvania have filed unemployment compensation claims.

But Pennsylvania's total nonfarm jobs — those that exclude proprietors, private household employees, unpaid volunteers, farm employees, and the unincorporated self-employed — were up 97,900 to 5,525,900 in July.

Over the past three months, Pennsylvania has recovered nearly 48 percent of the total nonfarm jobs lost in March and April, the Department of Labor and Industry said.

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Newtown Borough Council Gives Isaac Newton's Restaurant Permission to Have an Outdoor Dining Tent

Newtown Borough Council Gives Isaac Newton's Restaurant Permission to Have an Outdoor Dining Tent | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

The borough council on August 12 gave Issac Newton’s permission to use part of the borough-owned municipal lot to temporarily put up a tent for outdoor dining.

 

The 20 foot by 50 foot tent will be located adjacent to the stairs leading to the restaurant’s front door and will provide cover for up to 10 tables, each with no more than four seats each.

 

Safety barriers will be placed around the tent to anchor it in place and to keep diners well protected from the surrounding parking lot.

 

“I had not considered additional outdoor seating,” restaurant owner Glenn Blakely told council. “When they put in the 25 percent occupancy, that forced me in this direction.

 

“It’s not something mechanically I want to keep up,” he told council. “It puts a lot more stress on me and a lot more stress on the staff.”

 

When asked how long he’ll be using the tent, Blakely said he’d like it gone ASAP. “But I don’t see that happening for at least three months,” he said.

 

Council asked Blakely about the loss of parking spaces and how that could impact other businesses bordering the lot.

 

Blakely, who works at the restaurant seven days a week, said since the pandemic the lot “is not even a third full, not even near the restaurant and going toward the bank it's totally empty.” And that condition doesn’t change much throughout the day, he said. “There’s a lot of open space in that lot right now.”

 

Blakely said he does plan on serving cocktails to outdoor diners who order meals, which he said is allowed under his PLCB license. “I am licensed to serve inside the tent. It essentially becomes an extension of the business,” he said.

 

Blakely did ask council for a letter from the borough granting him permission to use part of the lot for outdoor dining, which council agreed to do. The letter is required by the PLCB for him to be able to serve alcoholic beverages on borough property.

 

“I feel for our businesses. I feel for our restaurants. I want them to stay. I don’t want them to close their doors,” said Councilwoman Nicole Rodowicz who made the motion to approve the use of part of the municipal lot.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

Several Newton Township restaurants also have outdoor dining area set up in parking lots. Although the Twp has passed an Outdoor Sales & Dining Resolution to allow this, all the township parking lots are privately owned. Consequently, restaurants must obtain permission from the owners to take up space in parking lots. The Twp requires confirmation of this and that barriers be put in place.

 

Related Content:

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Newtown Township Receives an A+ from Niche.com Based on Reviews and Survey Responses from Students, Parents, and Residents.

Newtown Township Receives an A+ from Niche.com Based on Reviews and Survey Responses from Students, Parents, and Residents. | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

Niche.com has come out with its new 2020 rankings of the "Best Places to Live" in the Philadelphia area, but for at least the fourth year in row, it took a bit of a unique approach: The consumer rankings service assigned a grade, on an A+-to-D- scale, to almost every town in the state.

 

More than 75 communities received A+ grades, topped with towns such as Chesterbrook (which was rated the best place to live in the entire county), Lower Makefield Township, [and Newtown Township].

 

"Newtown Township is a suburb of Philadelphia with a population of 19,606. Newtown Township is in Bucks County and is one of the best places to live in Pennsylvania. Living in Newtown Township offers residents a sparse suburban feel and most residents own their homes. In Newtown Township there are a lot of coffee shops and parks. Many families live in Newtown Township and residents tend to lean conservative. The public schools in Newtown Township are highly rated."

 

To arrive at the rankings, Niche took several factors into consideration, such as the quality of local schools, crime rates, housing trends, employment statistics and access to amenities.

johnmacknewtowns insight:

We have to improve the ratings for Jobs, Crime & Safety, Diversity, and Weather!

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Lower Makefield to Sell Township's Sewer System to Pay Down Golf Course Debt, etc.

Lower Makefield to Sell Township's Sewer System to Pay Down Golf Course Debt, etc. | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

After a five hour meeting on August 14 that lasted into the early morning hours of August 15, the board of supervisors voted 3 to 1 to sell the township’s aging sewer system to Aqua Pennsylvania for $53 million.

 

The decision comes after nearly two years of investigation and exploration on whether the township should sell its sewer conveyance system, which services 11,800 customers in the township, and to exit the sewer business as expenses mount from the aging, unmaintained system.

 

Chairman Fred Weiss joined supervisors Suzanne Blundi and James McCartney in voting to sell the system. Supervisor John Lewis opposed the sale and Supervisor Dan Grenier abstained from the vote.

Monthly rates are projected to be $70.97 through 2024 before rising to $86 in 2025 and $96 in 2028.

 

Supervisor Lewis argued strongly against selling the system, warning the board, “Once it’s gone, it’s gone. This is a public asset. Once you sell it, you will never get it back.

 

“If you sell this to a private entity the only check on them is the PUC,” said Lewis. “I frankly don’t want to deal with another PUC-regulated entity where we have no power. I don’t want people coming to me in 10 years and saying we’re being gouged with sewer rates.

 

“I am profoundly disturbed by this motion,” he continued. “I believe this is singularly the worst public policy decision this board has made in the last 30 years. The last decision this bad was a decision to use eminent domain to acquire the golf course.

 

“This is a horrible decision - a wretched decision. I’m profoundly disappointed that the township would make this decision,” said Lewis. “I’m telling you that five or 10 years from now you will regret this decision.”

 

The township, which has until next year to designate the proceeds from the sale, will likely use the money to stabilize the township’s financial health, pay down its sewer and golf course debt and bolster its fund balance in order to restore the township's bond rating.

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Newtown Supervisors Will Vote on Toll Brothers "Condition Use" Twining Bridge Road Plan August 26

Newtown Supervisors Will Vote on Toll Brothers "Condition Use" Twining Bridge Road Plan August 26 | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

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.

 

More...

 

BOS Regular Session (LIVE)

100 Municipal Drive, Newtown

Wednesday, August 26, 2020, 7 PM

 

SEATING IS LIMITED TO 20 PEOPLE (3 of which will be Toll Bros. representatives) – 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. 

 

More...

 

 

johnmacknewtowns insight:

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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Council Rock School Board Anti-racism Resolution "Falls Short" of Goals of Petition Hosted by Former Students

 The document has six action steps designed to improve the school district’s diversity and racial climate.

 

Establishing a district-wide diversity and inclusion team and hiring an outside consultant to conduct a diversity-focused curricular audit are two of several actions outlined in a resolution unanimously approved by the Council Rock School Board at a recent meeting.

 

At the same meeting, the board approved a $9,000 agreement with an organization called Living Strong to help the district implement strategies in the document, which is titled a “resolution supporting the development of an anti-racist school climate.”

 

The actions come not long after two 2015 Council Rock High School South graduates, Farah Contractor and Danielle Randall, wrote a letter to school board members and administrators recommending 15 steps they feel would create a more diverse and racially sensitive school district. [Read “Bucks County School Districts Are Urged by Students to Better Address Systemic Racism - Will It Happen? Sign the Petition.”; http://sco.lt/6d4vxI ]

 

Actions to be taken by the district as outlined in the resolution are:

 

– Establishing a CRSD diversity and inclusion team inclusive of all district schools

 

– Building on the effectiveness of existing school-based teams

 

– Holding focus groups with recent graduates on preparedness for their next phase of life

 

– Holding focus groups with current students, including students from under-represented groups, on their experience in Council Rock schools and the community.

 

The other two actions are having an external consultant conduct a diversity-focused curricular and/or equity audit, and creating a systemic employee-training program centered on diversity, equity and inclusiveness.

 

Contractor, a Muslim Asian-American, wrote in an email that she appreciated the initiative shown by Council Rock officials in drafting and approving the resolution but that she felt it fell short in several ways.

 

“Some of these action items require more concrete goals in order to hold CRSD accountable,” she stated. “For example, I would love to know how CRSD will use feedback gained from the diversity and inclusion teams and focus groups to implement change in the community.

 

“Diversity and inclusion groups can often be performative strategies used by institutions to absolve themselves of blame in the public eye. CRSD students have informed me that the current school-based diversity and inclusion teams consisted of mostly white members and resulted in no tangible change.”

 

Contractor added she was disappointed the resolution and action steps do not address the “Indians” nickname for sports teams at Council Rock North that she considers racist. The Cleveland Indians Major League Baseball team is strongly considering changing its nickname, a move supported by Manager Terry Francona.

 

“Inviting an external consultant for curricular or equity audits can be valuable,” Contractor wrote. “However, former and current students have already identified many of the curriculum’s shortcomings. I would like to see specific goals of this audit such as the integration of more literature authored by BIPOC (Black, indigenous, people of color), as stated in our letter to the administration.”

 

She continued that the resolution “fails to address the overwhelming lack of minority teachers, sensitivity trainings and BIPOC student unions. By acknowledging only ‘traces’ of systemic racism exist within the community and creating vague, amorphous action items, CRSD is able to relinquish its agency for creating an anti-racist environment.

 

“I hope to see CRSD release additional explicit plans to support its non-white students that go beyond buzzwords.”

 

johnmacknewtown's curator insight, July 31, 1:07 PM

Related content:

  •  “Letter & Petition Urge Council Rock School District to Better Empower Students to Embrace Diversity, Not Racism”; http://sco.lt/5AuKsi
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Middletown Supervisor and Neshaminy HS Graduate Anna Payne Calls Upon School Board to Pass Anti-Discrimination Ordinance

Middletown Supervisor and Neshaminy HS Graduate Anna Payne Calls Upon School Board to Pass Anti-Discrimination Ordinance | Newtown Area News | Scoop.it

In light of the recent remarks made by the president of Neshaminy School Board [Stephen Pirritano], I want the members of the Middletown and Neshaminy communities to know that as a proud Neshaminy graduate and a Middletown supervisor, I denounce and condemn his remarks.

 

For me, it’s simple. I recognize that systemic racism is a problem throughout this country and I’m committed to doing my part to make our community more inclusive. I affirm that black lives matter. This is not a political issue; this is a human rights issue, and human rights are non-negotiable.

 

As an elected official, you are elected to represent all members of the community and you are expected to treat everyone with respect and decency. There are no two sides to this issue. And our school board is entrusted with the development of children in our community. The weight of this responsibility demands one be held to a higher standard. It is our role to make our schools an environment that all feel welcomed, safe, and secure. To anyone who feels marginalized, frustrated, or angry, know that I’m here for you. I’ve got your back.

 

On July 20 the Middletown Township Board of Supervisors began the work to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance and create a Human Relations Council. I encourage everyone to virtually share their thoughts at our hearing scheduled for Aug. 24 [read “Following Newtown Township's Lead, Middletown Twp May Become Second Bucks County Township to Pass an Anti-Discrimination Ordinance”; http://sco.lt/8aw7wu]

 

As a Middletown supervisor, Neshaminy graduate, local resident, and human being, I encourage the Neshaminy School Board to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance to ensure all students feel welcomed, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, or ability.

johnmacknewtown's curator insight, August 10, 6:55 AM

Perhaps the anti-discrimination ordinance that Ms. Payne wishes the Neshaminy School Board to pass would also include a provision to change the school sports team ‘redskins” name and Native American imagery, which Neshaminy resident Donna Boyle, who is part Cherokee, has for at least eight years asked the school board to change. In an interview with reporters, Board President Pirritano said the does not see the name and iconography as offensive. Read “There's No Way: Neshaminy School District Won't Be Changing Sports Team Name, Imagery”; http://sco.lt/6GdAAq

 

Related Content:

  •  
  • “Use of Term "Redsk*n" by Neshaminy HS is Not Racist, Neshaminy Witness Testifies”; http://sco.lt/7FJgLh 
  • “Term "Redsk*n" is Offensive, Neshaminy Teacher & Former Student Playwickian Editor Testify”; http://sco.lt/7peKzx 
  • “A Deeper Understanding of the "Redsk*ns" Conversation”; http://sco.lt/90JeIT 
Curated by johnmacknewtown
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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