Summary of 9 August 2023 BOS Meeting
Revised LI/OLI Zoning District Ordinance, Newtown Creek Coalition Bridge, Billboard Ordinance, LDR Trail Site Visit, July 2023 Police Report, Police Building Study, more…
This is my personal summary of the August 9, 2023, meeting of the #NewtownPA Township Board of Supervisors (BOS). This is not a complete nor an official summary.
Access the 2023 BOS Chronicle for detailed summaries of all 2023 BOS meetings plus the BOS voting record (UNOFFICIAL) for 2023.
- Planning Committee Report (18 July 2023 Meeting)
- Reports of Board Members
- Other Reports
- Manager's Report
- Detailed Notes
- Official Video
- Video Transcript
The Bucks County Planning Commission presented a revised ordinance to the Newtown Planning Commission on July 18, 2023. The new plan eliminates the limited overlay zoning concept and instead includes the entire Business Commons. The plan also has new permitted uses added or expanded uses, including entertainment and tavern uses, expanded eating place uses [including drive-thrus] and some retail. The main change would be to develop a new use, Mixed Use Apartments [Read “#NewtownPA Business Commons "Mixed-Use" Mix-Up”].
The Planning Commission agreed that this proposal would address the changing business environment in the Newtown area and also provide housing for a younger demographic. The Commission hopes to review a final draft at its next meeting and forward it to the Board for consideration. Once the Board has had input, the plan is to present it to the Jointure in September.
The Commission voted 7-1 to write a letter of support for the Coalition for its application for a grant to build a pedestrian bridge over Newtown Creek from Frost Lane to Sycamore Street at Durham Road. According to the minutes of the meeting, the Nay voter said he “is not opposed to the bridge project, but if the grant does not cover the entire cost, he would not want Township taxpayer funds to be used.”
- Proposed Pedestrian Span Planned For "Old Trolley Bridge Project" In Newtown
- A New Bridge Over Newtown Creek. Is It The Missing Link?
At the August 3, 2023, Joint Zoning Council (JZC) meeting, Attorney Jerry Schenkman discussed the progress or lack thereof being made on preparing a final redraft of the billboard ordinance. The concern is the only place where a billboard use currently would be allowed is in Newtown Township in the “Convenience Commercial District” (CC), located along Newtown-Richboro Rd and Chambers Lane (see image). Mr. Schenkman asked Wrightstown and Upper Makefield to find some place that they would accept these kinds of “off-site” signs.”
The process of updating the so-called 10-year 2009 Newtown Area Joint Comprehensive Plan has been going on for 3 years! [Read “It’s Time for Newtown Township to Update Its Comprehensive Plan!”] The Municipalities Planning Code recommends that Comprehensive Plans be updated every 10 years. At this rate, the new plan will not be approved until 2024 – 15 years after 2009! The holdup is Upper Makefield, which is the ONLY Jointure member that has NOT yet submitted comments to its Supervisors for approval.
On Wednesday, 2 August 2023, supervisors Fisher and Snyder plus Township Engineer, Leanna Colubriale, met residents Mike Marcus and Gill Geist, the chair of the Woods of Saxony HOA, at Frost Lane intersection with Lower Dolington Rd (LDR). The purpose was to tour the trail in light of the following issues raised by Mr. Marcus, supervisor Mack, and a resident of Woods of Saxony.
A few of the problems noted by Mr. Marcus, include:
- “Stop Signs” not visible: obscured by trees
- “Stop Ahead” signs way too close to intersection for designed speed limit
- Trees planted underneath power lines or too close to fence
- Aesthetically unpleasing metal guiderails set too close to travel lane [read “LDR Trail Guardrails: Why Metal and Not Wood?”]. Residents witnessed motorists crossing over double-yellow line to avoid possible impact
- Drain inlet type potential hazard to cyclists
Here’s Mr. Macus’s detailed list with photos…
Results of the Tour
- Stop signs will get improved visibility by repositioning and/or tree trimming.
- Discussion of whether Stanford Place/Drive should be a 4 way Stop. RVE will review their initial calculations
- Discussion of a crosswalk across Stanford Place linking to Village of Newtown path,
- Ms. Geist read a letter from some of their board about past problems with the project and liabilities going forward. They would like a letter explaining the Township's maintenance responsibilities and W of S's release from liabilities.
- All agreed that a trail use rules sign might be helpful, i.e. "No motorized vehicles", etc.”
Several other issues will be corrected during repaving.
- See pages 70-72 of the 2023 BOS Chronicle
- Mr. Marcus cited an example of a solar powered, motion activated, enhanced warning signal for recreational trail/public road intersections. See http://www.crossalert.com/ and video embedded below:
At the meeting, I asked Mr. Kessler – a representative Remington & Vernick Engineers (RVE), who also was on the tour – if he will have a report from the tour. Mr. Kessler stated “what we went over with the residents and the supervisors that were there for the walk, was kind of based on our punch list already generated for the contractor. So it was good to get feedback from some of the residents as well to either add to that or confirm that there are items that the contractor needs to address while it's complete in the construction phase.” [Source: transcript of 8/9/2023 BOS meeting prepared by Youtube from the official video; beginning at timestamp 35:36].
- 1,833 Total Incidents (2023 monthly average to-date: 1,879)
- Average of 62 incidents per day in 2023 vs 56 in 2022
- 0 Auto vs Pedestrian incidents
- 159 Traffic Citations, 1 DUI arrest, 13 reportable traffic crashes (57 YTD vs 45 for all of 2022), 5 hit and run incidents, 1 DUI arrest
- 4 theft from auto
- 14 Fraud incidents (40 YTD vs 32 for all of 2022)
- 1 Protection from abuse (13 YTD vs 17 for all of 2022)
- 1 Foot Patrol
According to the “Request for Proposal”, Newtown Township is seeking a Police Department renovation or replacement analysis with a consultant having qualifications in architecture of a police facility with planning and design experience, to assist and guide officials in determining the best course of action in regards to either renovating the current police building or building a new structure. Questions about the growth of the police department, location of the current or new facility and financing options for either alternative need to be answered to determine the best and most efficient course of action to be taken in regards to the police facility. Once this data is compiled, elected officials can determine which course of action is best for the township and which is realistically feasible.
The BOS approved the proposal by KCBA Architects for $14,680.
I prepare detailed notes before attending BOS meetings. These notes include links to background information and other details related to the items on the agenda. See the meeting notes for this meeting embedded below or download the PDF file here.
Download the unedited time-stamped transcript of this meeting prepared by Youtube from the video: download PDF file.