12 July 2023 BOS Meeting Summary
KRE Zoning Challenge, Wireless (5G) Communications Ordinance, LDR Trail update, Tara Blvd crosswalk safety, tractor trailer parking on LDR, more…
This is my personal summary of the July 12, 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
- Board Member Report
- Public Hearing
- LDR Trail Update
- Tara Blvd Crosswalk Discussion
- Detailed Notes
- Official Video
Wisler Pearstein, LLC, attorneys Ed Murphy and Joseph Blackburn and City Planner Tom Comitta were in attendance [at the 20 June 2023 PC meeting] to discuss the Zoning Hearing Board challenge to the [JMZO] ordinance.
“Murphy and Blackburn explained that our current ordinance does not contain a multi-family mid-rise apartment use at all, a use that had been removed from the JMZO in 2005,” said Peggy Driscoll, Planning Commission (PC) Chair. “The Township’s special counsel, Joe Bagley, reviewed for the Planning Commission the Township’s position that the Township, and the Jointure, have adequately provided for a variety of housing options, including rental apartments, such as garden apartments.”
See video of the discussion below:
I attended the July 6, 2023, Joint Zoning Council (JZC) meeting via Zoom. Attorney Joel Winston, Cohen Law Group (CLG), answers questions about the draft Wireless Communications Ordinance amendment to the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance (JMZO) that his firm prepared. Listen to the discussion/Q&A:
With regard to health and safety issues:
“Federal regulations prohibit municipalities from setting standards for RF of wireless facilities. The ordinance references other regulatory bodies and standards that must be met. The FCC sets specific RF standards. The municipality can require that applicants certify that the facilities will meet/meet these standards. The municipality can request that the provider provide certification that it still meets federal standards during the course of operation. The municipality can also do independent testing to determine if the standards were being exceeded. If the standards are exceeded, the municipality can declare facility to be a threat to health and safety. The operator would be directed to regain compliance or face the revocation of their permit. [From meeting notes prepared by the JZC Chairman.]
Hearing to consider, and if appropriate, take action on, the application of KRE Upper Macungie Associates LP for a determination that the Newtown Area Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance is unconstitutionally de jure and/or de facto exclusionary with respect to the legitimate and protected apartment use. View the application, including all plans, explanatory material, and proposed ordinance amendment. For background, read "Developer Challenges #NewtownPA Zoning to Allow 245 Unit Apartment Building in OR District".
The Bucks County Planning Commission (BCPC) offers several comments that the township should consider in its evaluation of the merits of the challenge and the proposed curative amendment.
Joseph M. Blackburn, Atty for KRE, informed the BOS on 7/11/2023 via email: “Given the limited time that has been allotted to the hearing at tomorrow’s meeting, and what will now be a 2+ month break before we can pick back up with the hearing on September 18th, we feel there is little value (and probably even some detriment) to getting too far out of the starting blocks tomorrow evening with witness testimony. Specifically, we will not be calling any witnesses for testimony.
Consequently, only a few preliminary remarks and introductions were made PLUS several motions, including Blackburn’s motion to “Muzzle Mack” (see below), which will be addressed at the September 18, 2023, continuance of the hearing. .
In addition to laying out their arguments [challenging Newtown’s zoning], the [KRE] lawyers submitted preliminary challenges to the supervisors, including one [submitted by Joseph Blackburn, Partner with Wisler Pearlstine] seeking to disqualify supervisor John Mack from hearing the challenge.
This is not the first time that a developer tried to muzzle a supervisor, including me. At the 8 Aug 2018 Arcadia Green PRD Hearing, Mr. John VanLuvanee, Esq., applicant’s counsel, requested that several Supervisors [including me] be recused due to bias, Township Solicitor Dave Sander, cited section 603 of the PA Second Class Township Code, which states: “A member of the board shall not be disqualified from voting on any issue before the board solely because the member had previously expressed an opinion on the issue in either an official or unofficial capacity.”]
Download the unedited time-stamped transcript of this meeting prepared by Youtube from the video: download PDF file.
It’s been several weeks since work re-commenced on the Lower Dolington Road (LDR) Trail after a year’s delay due to a underground “cable issue.” I thought it would be a good time to show the progress made as of June 25, 2023. I did a walking tour and took photos that I review in the presentation below:
It was decided that RVE will prepare design plans for BOTH the overhead and free standing RRFB’s and submit the plans to PennDOT for its review and eventual approval. The residents hope to have an opportunity to meet with PennDOT to give input and expedite the process.
View/listen to the discussion beginning about 6 minutes and 43 seconds into the video. Also, refer to the transcript below.
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.