NOI features content curated from articles published in local newspapers and other sources. The insights expressed here are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity. Subscribe here, if you are not yet a subscriber.
At a public meeting on October 26, 2022, the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors reached a 3-2 decision to to reject the Wawa developer's (Provco Pinegood Newtown, LLC) plan to build a combination gas station and convenience store on the Bypass.
Several residents spoke up to opposed this for several reasons, including:
Limiting the hours of operation to prevent crime
Opposition to development on the Newtown Bypass (see "NOMBY")
Support of local businesses
Desire that Wawa obey our local laws including the E30 ordinance, which Wawa has challenged and even called “silly”
Increased traffic will degrade the Bypass/Newtown-Yardley Rd intersection to PennDOT level D, which is suitable for an urban environment, but not for Newtown!
And environmental issues, including the possible contamination of the local watershed
Township Supervisor John Mack also said he was concerned Provco would come back with more requests. "I believe that if we approve this plan, you are going to continue to fight for (monument signage that is the basis for an ongoing appeal before the Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board) and eventually you are going to wear us down and you're going to get it, and eventually, you're going to get the 18 pumps that you want," Mack told attorney and Provco representative John VanLuvanee. "And right away, the canopy size does not comply."
Mack also noted the security concerns of a family that lives near Silver Lake Road, pointing to an uptick in crimes occurring in or near Wawas in Bucks County.
Unofficial election results from Bucks County Wednesday morning showed 57.48% of votes in support, and 42.52% votes opposed. [My unofficial survey results of 156 Newtown residents: 65% YES, 26% NO, 9% UNDECIDED. Close, but no cigar!]
“We’re clearly very pleased with the outcome… The residents chose to support us in a way we’ve been asking for for a very long time,” said Evan Resnikoff, chief of operations for Newtown Ambulance and president of the Bucks County EMS Chiefs’ Association.
Newtown Township will now increase property taxes by 0.5 mills, an idea that the Newtown Ambulance Squad (NAS) proposed to the township. The increase will cost the owner of a home assessed at $43,600 an extra $21.80 per year.
If all of the taxes are collected, according to Resnikoff, the ambulance squad will receive $342,000, doubling their previous tax revenue of $171,000.
“We’ve been here for 70 years this year,” Resnikoff said. “And we hope to be here for 70 more.”
You've heard of NIMBY, which stands for "Not In My Back Yard." This group can be called NOMBY - "Not On My BYpass." We're talking about the Newtown Bypass, aka, Rte 332.
Keeping the rural look of the Bypass has been a tradition in Newtown. It is a common belief among long-time Newtown area residents that the Newtown Bypass is supposed to remain an "undeveloped" greenway. For the most part, the Bypass is still somewhat preserved with trees and greenery along the route as can be seen in left side of the above photo. There are a couple of exceptions, such as Summit Square (located on the Middletown side of the road) and the NAC, to name just two of the most visible eyesores.
Members of this group discuss ways of preventing overdevelopment on the Newtown Bypass. Join the Group today!
John Mack's Insights:
The Kushner Real Estate Group - name sounds familiar - just submitted a “sketch plan” for a 255 unit apartment complex ("University Drive Apartments") to be located on the Bypass just down Lower Silver Lake Rd from the proposed Wawa site.
Note that some time ago a developer wanted to build a senior living facility located between this proposed “Kushner Project” and the proposed Wawa. The owners of this property - Innovative Hospitality Management – also owned the property where the Super Wawa may ultimately be built. When they saw an opportunity presented by the Wawa precedent, they proceeded to find a use for a plot of land that many consider unfit for development.
At the October 26 , 2022, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting, Valerie Mihalek, Greg Zukowsky, and other residents of Newtown Walk - including children - asked that the BOS add to a future agenda their request for additional pedestrian safety measures on Newtown-Yardley Rd and Tara Blvd.
They pointed out the problems with the pedestrian safety measures that the township has already implemented and asked for flashing beacons that are more visible to drivers and lowering the speed limit to 25 MPH.
The BOS was open to to their request but will wait for more data to become available; i.e. crash history, speed measurements, and other metrics that it will have to provide to PennDOT in order to meet the requests of residents. For more on that, see page 97 of the 2022 BOS Chronicle.
At its November 1, 2022, public meeting, the Newtown Township Planning Commission (NTPC) members reviewed the proposed Strategies & Actions of Principles 1 through 8 of the 2022 Draft of the Newtown Area Comprehensive Plan (CompPlan), which was prepared by the Bucks County Planning Commission (BCPC).
Each Commission member was assigned to focus on one Guiding Principle:
Principle 1: Promote Smart Growth (covered at the last PC meeting)
Principle 2: Promote Sustainable Development and Protect Natural Resources – Terry Christensen
Principle 3. Provide Mobility and Connections - Shelley Howland
Principle 4. Preserve Open Space and Promote Agriculture – Peg Driscoll
Principle 5. Build and Maintain Livable Communities - Warren Dallas
Principle 6. Provide Parks and Recreation – Mary Donaldson
Principle 7. Sustain and Support our Commercial and Jobs Base – Joel Raab