John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Board of Supervisors Minutes Category

Summary of June 10, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting: Police Chief on Killing of Mr. Floyd, Town Hall Meeting, Economic Development Committee Formed, More...

The following is a brief summary of the June 10, 2020, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition) Zoom meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting, which you can find here. You also can view the video archive here.

Police Report

Chief Hearn reported there were 1,449 calls for service during May including eight arrests, three DUI’s and 38 traffic accidents; 65 traffic citations and 27 warnings were issued. The Chief said there was a $39K fraud investigation and he encouraged the public not to give out personal information or buy gift cards from anyone they do not know. Additionally, on May 14 there was a vehicle investigation involving a firearm and pursuit where subsequently a male was arrested by warrant and there was one overdose death.

The May 15-21, 2020, weekly call report from the Newtown Police Dept shows that officers responded to 376 calls for service that week, which is back to the normal, pre-COVID-19 range.

The Chief made the following statement regarding the killing of Mr. Floyd by a Minneapolis policeman:

Mr. Mack suggested holding a town hall where the goal would be having open conversations among representatives of the community and the NTPD [read "Newtown Supervisors Plan a Town Hall Meeting with Police"]. The Chief replied stating he has held town halls previously in Philadelphia and would be willing to do it in Newtown, however he added people must participate in order for it to work. There was a brief discussion and it was agreed that Mr. Mack and Mr. Oxley will coordinate this effort.

Public Comment

Resident Jennifer Voustinas said she attended a peaceful protest where several pickup trucks were trying to intimate protesters in a reckless and unsafe manner. Ms. Voustinas asked if these people were identified and if any action was taken. The Chief responded that the individuals were stopped and investigated.

Resident Doug Campbell of 51 Richboro Road has a concern over non-permitted outdoor eating space, presumably referring to the restaurant at 50 Richboro Road. Mr. Calabro said this matter has been taken care of for the time being.

Comment from resident Anju Madnani who addressed the Newtown Police Department regarding an incident that occurred In Newtown in front of Starbucks involving her 18 and 22-year-old children who were putting up posters regarding George Floyd’s death [ for background read "Let's Make Sure Racism Has No Place in Newtown!"]. She said they were followed by a white couple who verbally and physically assaulted them, and all was captured on video. She states the DA charged the husband with social mischief where he must pay $300 for phone damage. She asks what you would do if these were your kids and said what we need is a safer environment and community where no kid of any race will feel scared to walk and hesitate to express their rights. Nobody in this world should even dare to touch or hit any kid for their innocent behavior. She said we have to set an example in this great community by appropriately punishing this couple so nobody else in the future will dare to do that. She also said the woman, who is a nurse, was not wearing a mask. She said in the end she believes in the Newtown legal system and expects to have better outcome of this incident which has shaken thousands of people.

Comment from resident John D’Aprile who said the projections in back of John Mack are very distracting.

Two "very distracting" background images I use at BOS Zoom meetings.

Reports of Committees, Boards and Commission

Planning Commission (PC): JMZO Amendment for the E-30 Ordinance - Convenience Store/Fueling Station: Mr. Fidler, Chairman of the PC reported the commission met via Zoom on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 and they spent the evening reviewing the E30 use. Mr. Fidler said the main change was the removal of the use in the OLI and LI Districts, leaving the use permissible only in the OR District in Newtown. Some other notable changes were the lot size will be a minimum of four acres, there will be six fueling dispensers allowed which equates to service for a total of 12 vehicles, and in the OR district only, if minimum lot requirements are met, there can be a maximum of 8 fueling dispensers.

In response to Mr. Mack’s questions, Mr. Fidler stated the reason the PC entertained changing some previous recommendations was due to the Curative Amendment challenge. He added the consensus of the professional staff was that we must placate [the Wawa complainants] to some degree in the Amendment

Finance Committee (FC): Helping Businesses Reopen: George Sladany. FC Chair, reported the Finance committee met on June 9 and most of the time was spent discussing how the Township could help businesses reopen safely. The first concern was that assistance must be long term, approximately over a 9-12-month period. He said businesses are concerned that they are being hit with changing requirements and there is no single authority for guidance on how to reopen; therefore, businesses are independently deciding what they are going to do. Mr. Skladany said there were representatives from the NBA [Newtown Business Association] in attendance and the consensus was to get the public out they will have to ensure public is comfortable to come out. He said the Borough has passed a resolution to specify what businesses can do and said the Township can assist in offering temporary changes to allow tables outdoors, increase capacity and change signage requirements, etc. Mr. Skladany said the key takeaway was businesses felt there has to be some type of public widespread promotion to advise they are functioning and healthy and a marketing campaign to buy local was discussed. He then reviewed other ideas that were brought up such as digital communications, community flyers, temporary signage, using HOA’s to distribute info, etc. [see summary below.]

Reports of Officials

Solicitor: Discussion of Sunshine Law: Mr. Sander said the Sunshine Act is in full force and effect and the reason we can have remote meetings is due to Act 15 of 2020 where the state legislature approved virtual/remote meetings provided the public was notified and are able to submit public comment; there is no waiver of public comment or that requirement. He said we provide for public comment both before and during our meetings and we have met the legislature’s requirements for holding legal meetings. Mr. Sander said no meetings can be held by invitation only and all meetings must be publicized ahead of time. If there is limit of attendees due to spacing it will be on a first come first serve basis.

Mr. Calabro asked if a supervisor received an email and had permission to read it, would this be permissible. Mr. Sander would like the public comment to mirror what happens in public meeting, however if someone has submitted an email and asked a supervisor to read it as public comment, he would say yes as long as the name and address was submitted.

New Business

Economic Development Committee (EDC): Mr. Calabro said there are candidates who have expressed an interest in the EDC and the BOS can take action now or discuss at the work session but won’t be able to vote. Mr. Fisher said he read through the submissions, had his questions answered and is prepared to vote in the affirmative. Mr. Mack agreed that all applicants are qualified and meet requirements. The following were appointed to the EDC:

  • Eric Scott Gold
  • Mary Donaldson
  • Karen Miller
  • Joe Blackburn
  • Matt Peters
  • Dick Weaver
  • William Sheffer

Votes on Motions

Not all motions may be included.

The following are my personal notes that I used to prepare for this meeting. I may not have asked all the questions in the notes at the meeting. You can also download the PDF version here.

Posted on 29 Jun 2020, 12:15 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

Summary of May 27, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting: E30 Ordinance, Road Work, Trails, Helping Business Reopen, More...

The following is a brief summary of the May 27, 2020, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition) Zoom meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting, which you can find here. You also can view the video archive here.

In attendance and voting were Supervisors: Chairman Phillip Calabro, Vice Chairman Dennis Fisher, Secretary John Mack, member David Oxley, and member Kyle Davis. Also in attendance were: Township Manager Micah Lewis, Township Solicitor David Sander, Township EngineerLeanna Colubriale, and Township Solicitor Jerry Schenkman.

Public Comment

There was no public comment submitted. You can submit a public comment before and during every BOS meeting via email: Comments@newtownpa.gov Comments must include your name and address and will be read aloud.

Reports of Committees, Boards and Commission

Planning Commission: JMZO Amendment for the E-30 Ordinance - Convenience Store/Fueling Station: There was a lengthy review and discussion of the E-30 use which is finally being looked at by the Jointure Definition partners. It appears that none of the changes or requests made by the Newtown PC were updated in the drafts issued by Mary Eberle [Jointure Solicitor]. As a result, the PC determined that Mrs. Fountain and Mr. Schenkman will gather all the recommendations the PC has submitted so far and maintain a red line version of the draft to ensure Newtown’s issues are incorporated in future drafts. [For background, listen to "Discussions of E-30 Zoning Amendment".

Short Term Rentals: The ordinance states that people not defined as family cannot live in the same space for more than a restricted period during any year. The Commission recommends the BOS should weigh in and vote on this at the appropriate time and the consensus is the Commission has no issues with this proposed ordinance.

Comprehensive Plan: Mr. Fidler reported the PC discussed the Comprehensive Plan where Jan Filios of the EAC Definition is working on changes to noxious plants and invasive species along with the parameters that should be included in the plant list for natural habitat. [For background, view this video: "Supervisors Pass Resolution to Support Native Plants".]

Supervisor Reports

Finance Committee: Mr. Fisher reported the Finance Committee (FC) is considering scheduling a Zoom meeting to help bring the Economic Development Committee (EDC) up to speed and provide advice around the reopening of businesses. He said some members of the FC want to apply for the ECD and are willing to try to get things off ground until EDC gets started. Mr. Fisher said George Skladany of the FC compiled a list of ideas to get a head start which Mr. Fisher shared in writing with the BOS. [See the "DRAFT Newtown Township Business COVID-19 Reopening Initiative" embedded below or download the PDF here.]



Newtown BINGO!: Mr. Mack reported Newtown Bingo www.newtownbingo.com is in progress with 25 local businesses participating. He said the NBA [Newtown Business Association] is also conducting a virtual scavenger hunt in June and the details can be found on their website www.newtownba.org.

Reports of Officials

Engineer: Authorization to Advertise the 2020 Liquid Fuels Road Program Re-Bid: Ms. Colubriale reminded all the original $1.3 million bid for the road program was rejected with the intent to rebid with a reduced scope utilizing mainly liquid fuels program Definition funds. She said the Township is seeking authorization for a new base bid for approximately 1.6 miles of road work and she named the roads to be included.

Mr. Mack asked how much is available in the liquid fuels fund and Mr. Lewis said there is $685K of liquid fuels money and the road program is approximately $600K as the Township is trying to retain some for next year for paving or purchase of equipment. In response to Mr. Mack’s additional questions, Ms. Colubriale said 1.6 miles of roadway is the goal and she hopes for an additional mile or so of alternate bids for total of about 2.5 miles, depending on the bids. [For background, read "Summary of April 22, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting."]

DCED Multimodal Transportation Fund Grant: Ms. Colubriale reported although the Township did receive funding last year for the Lower Dolington Trail (LDT), they did not receive all of it; therefore, the Township would like to seek some additional funding this year from that grant. She suggested applying for the grant which has a zero percent match to complete the LDT or another trail segment in the Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Lewis added since the LDT is more of a shovel ready project, it will receive a higher score when bidding.

In response to questions from the BOS, Ms. Colubriale said the LDT will extend from Frost Lane to Upper Silver Lake Road and the plan now based on current funding is to construct from Frost Lane to the PECO easement; if awarded additional funds from this grant, the Township will be able to extend to Upper Silver Lake. She said work will continue on the first portion regardless.

Manager's Report: 2020 Summer Camp Discussion: Mr. Lewis reported it appears the Township will unfortunately have to consider cancelling the summer camps it normally holds. The school district still cannot confirm use of their facilities and another location used for camps has already closed for the summer. He said the guidelines continue to change and as most of the camp employees are high schoolers, it would be irresponsible to hold them accountable for diagnosing medical conditions. Mr. Lewis added registration is down 70%. [For background, read "Newtown Township Preparing to Help #COVID-19 Impacted Businesses Reopen Safely, Summer Camp, more..."

Old Business

Helping Local Businesses Reopen: Mr. Mack said he has been getting questions from applicants on responsibilities and meeting time frames for the EDC and added that he would like to get things going ASAP and feels the BOS doesn’t need to wait for the EDC to get started; he said the BOS can start working now to try to help Newtown businesses and try to move forward simultaneously. Mr. Davis agreed with Mr. Mack stating we need to allow outside spaces to be used to help them get back on their feet and we need to do it today. The discussion ensued on state guidelines, and where and how businesses can operate and patrons can dine outdoors.

Mr. Davis moved to allow Newtown Township businesses, when moved to the yellow phase, to use their own available outdoor space to conduct business while maintaining social distancing requirements to better cope with the Covid19 shutdown. The motion passed 5-0.

Votes on Motions

Not all motions may be included.

The following are my personal notes that I used to prepare for this meeting. I may not have asked all the questions in the notes at the meeting. You can also download the PDF version here.

Posted on 23 Jun 2020, 10:57 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

Summary of May 13, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting: COVID-19 Lockdown, E-30 Curative Amendment, More...

On May 13, 2020, the Newtown BOS held its second "public" meeting via Zoom! You can view the video archive here.

The following is a brief summary of the May 13, 2020, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition) Zoom meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting, which you can find here. In attendance and voting were Supervisors: Chairman Phillip Calabro, Vice Chairman Dennis Fisher, Secretary John Mack, member David Oxley, and member Kyle Davis. Also in attendance were: Township Manager Micah Lewis, Township Solicitor David Sander, Township EngineerLeanna Colubriale, and Township Solicitor Jerry Schenkman.

Public Comment

COVID-19 Lockdown: The second comment was from Michael Roughton who stated for the past two months we have been subject to a lockdown due to the Covid-19 virus and the reason Governor Wolfe shutdown the economy was so we did not overwhelm our healthcare system and to flatten the curve. He questioned why we are still unable to open our businesses or go to work since the curve has been flattened based on Speaker of The House of PA, Mike Turzai’s letter dated May 6. Mr. Roughton provided statistics and referred the BOS and public to the May 6 letter for additional details. He continued by detailing the Newtown Township and Borough expansion over the last 10-15 years and expressed his concern that the appeal of Newtown as well as the real estate values and tax base will not be well served by a continued lockdown and if this continues many businesses will not survive. Mr. Roughton added the BOS should do everything in their power to help their community businesses reopen by expediting and approving any and all requests of businesses such as a restaurant that wants to expand their footprint to outdoor/curbside dining to alleviate indoor crowding. He said the CDC has given guidance as they think to how we can open safely and although they may be experts in their field, they clearly do not understand businesses. Most businesses can open under the CDC guidelines; however, most won't survive. A restaurant cannot operate at 25%-35% capacity for more than a couple months as the numbers just don't work. We are at a point where the cure has become worse than the virus and the government needs to give back the freedoms that they have wrongfully taken away.

Everyone is aware of what needs to be done, who is at risk and how to move forward. Americans take risks every day therefore, when we open our businesses people have a choice to make, they are either comfortable with the risk of entering our business or they are not. We have a freewill and should be able to make those choices. Mr. Roughton said the BOS and state governments need to be nimbler and more responsive to our needs as there is no revenue coming in at this point and if this goes much longer there will be nothing left to bail out.

Mr. Calabro asked Mr. Sander if there was a legal explanation and Mr. Sander replied the State oversees this; the Governor and cabinet decide when to allow businesses to reopen and under what circumstances. Mr. Sander understands the resident’s frustration, but the Township doesn’t have the ability to open in violation of the Governor’s order. He added the matter is outside the ambit of this BOS and must be taken up with the State executive branch and legislature. Mr. Calabro confirmed with Mr. Sander if businesses open, they will be policed by the State Police and not Newtown police since this is a state order.

Reports of Committees, Boards and Commission

Joint Zoning Council: Mr. Mack reported he attended the May 7 Jointure meeting regarding the E-30 Use and Curative Amendment. He said the draft was revised again and sent to the three Planning Commissions for their review. The Comprehensive Plan and resident’s survey being prepared by the Bucks County Planning Commission (BCPC) was also discussed. He said the next step is for the BCPC to coordinate with Township managers how best to distribute the survey. The Joint Zoning Council zoom meeting is available for access by residents via the minutes section on the Township website. Mr. Mack then reviewed the Jointure budget and costs related to the comprehensive plan. He will be sending out assessment letters to the three Township Managers to cover their portion of the 2020 operating budget.

Supervisor Reports

Newtown BINGO!: Mr. Mack shared many local businesses are open on a limited basis due to Covid19 and many need help generating business. He said residents and the NBA [Newtown Business Association] are soliciting local businesses for a bingo contest to benefit local businesses. So far 19 businesses have signed on. Details can be found at newtownbingo.com.

New Business

Helping Local Businesses Reopen: Mr. Mack referred to the public comment received regarding the possibility of what the Township can do to help local businesses. He suggested the Finance Committee (FC) be charged with determining what businesses might need to reopen and how the Township might be able to assist by revising the existing business survey. A discussion ensued on businesses opening and how to get the FC together. Mr. Calabro asked Mr. Lewis to schedule a Zoom meeting for the FC to discuss these matters. Mr. Lewis said if the meetings need to be recorded, then advertising is required and there is a significant cost to advertise. Mr. Mack feels it is a significant problem that needs addressing. Mr. Oxley confirmed Mr. Mack is referring to when the Governor permits us to open.

A discussion ensued on the status of opening Newtown back up. Mr. Calabro said this might be in the purview of the NBA and Mr. Oxley mentioned the FC may not be the best committee to address these issues and suggested a different committee, task force or small group might be a better strategy. Mr. Calabro asked if there were any guidelines to forming a new committee or task force and Mr. Sander replied the best way is to put something in writing that creates an ad hoc committee and defines the members, their qualifications, duties and obligations the BOS would like achieved; it would be an undertaking and meetings would still have to be advertised. Mr. Calabro said since the FC is already established, we can advertise their meeting and Mr. Fisher as the FC liaison can facilitate and ensure a quorum; they need to get instructions and meet prior to the next BOS meeting in two weeks. Mr. Sander asked for clarification on what the FC is being asked to accomplish. Messrs. Mack and Oxley explained the business survey in detail and suggested it could be revised to address the new challenges due to Covid19. Mr. Davis added he believes it’s a good idea to be ready to reopen and a committee and survey will take too much time; he inquired about special event permits for parking lots and if they can they be expedited saying we need to move fast and be ready. Mr. Calabro agreed and said it should be considered a special event and discussion ensued.

Mr. Fisher will reach out to the FC to schedule a date for the meeting and advise Mr. Lewis to advertise. Any suggestions can be sent to Mr. Fisher to be included in the meeting. After further discussion, Mr. Mack suggested having a work session to further review the challenges ahead.

NOTE: At the May 11, 2020, Meet Mack Monday Zoom meeting, the discussion focused on Newtown BINGO! A major topic was deciding how people can help sign up more businesses to participate. After the conversation, it was decided to include retail merchants as well as restaurants in both Newtown Township and Newtown Borough. See the video below:

On May 18, 2020, Newtown BINGO! was successfully launched. Read more about that here.

Votes on Motions

Not all motions may be included.

The following are my personal notes that I used to prepare for this meeting. I may not have asked all the questions in the notes at the meeting. You can also download the PDF version here.

Posted on 27 May 2020, 15:21 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

Summary of April 22, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting: Revised 2020 Road Program, Helping Local Businesses, More...

 

On April 22, 2020, the Newtown BOS held its first-ever meeting via Zoom! You can view the video archive here.

The following is a brief summary of the April 22, 2020, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition) Zoom meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting, which you can find here. In attendance and voting were Supervisors: Chairman Phillip Calabro, Vice Chairman Dennis Fisher, Secretary John Mack, member David Oxley, and member Kyle Davis. Also in attendance were: Township Manager Micah Lewis, Township Solicitor David Sander, Township EngineerLeanna Colubriale, and Township Solicitor Jerry Schenkman.

Development

Toll Twining Bridge Road Project: There was one unrelated email received from resident Ron Keiser of Twining Bridge Road stating he has heard nothing further about the Toll project on Twining Bridge Road. Mr. Sander replied that the conditional use matter will not be considered until the BOS holds their first in person meeting. He said the Township has received an extension from Toll until the BOS can hold an in person meeting; these questions can be brought up at that meeting.

Infrastructure

2020 Liquid Fuels Program: Ms. Colubriale said bids were opened on March 4, 2020 and 3 bids were received. She said as a result of funding and loans needed to support the project, it was recommended the bids be rejected and rebid with a revised and reduced scope of work.

Ratify Authorization for Township Engineer to prepare Road Program Bid Package using as much Liquid Fuels Funds over General Funds as possible. In response to Mr. Mack’s questions, Mr. Lewis said there is approximately $685K in the Liquid Fuels account and about $600K is targeted for improvements which will cover roughly 2.5-3 miles.

Supervisor Reports

Helping Businesses During COVID-19: Mr. Mack thanked residents for helping each other and suggested looking at the Newtown Business Association’s website (newtownba.org) for information on local businesses and how residents can support them. He reported The Patch has been maintaining a useful list including businesses that are open. Mr. Mack said he received a suggestion that the Township consider relaxing signage rules temporarily to help businesses promote to residents as many still must pay expenses while not bringing in any money. He mentioned speaking to owners of the shopping centers to see how they are handling the situation with their tenants.

Zoning

E30 Curative Amendment: Mr. Mack reported the Planning Commission (PC) met yesterday and discussed the Curative Amendment stating Newtown is quite ahead of the other Townships having had several meetings on the subject already. He said the PC came to a consensus on the number of fueling stations and pumps which should be consistent with all other gas stations in Newtown Township. Mr. Schenkman added that Upper Makefield and Wrightstown recommended the square footage be reduced from 6k to 4k and the minimum lot size of one acre and setback requirements are being looked at by Lisa Wolf of the Bucks County Planning Commission.

Votes on Motions

Not all motions may be included.

The following are my personal notes that I used to prepare for this meeting. I may not have asked all the questions in the notes at the meeting. You can also download the PDF version here.

Posted on 25 May 2020, 10:14 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

Summary of March 11, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting: Love is Love Passes, Toll Bros Tabled, More...

The following is a brief summary of the March 11, 2020, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition) meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting, which you can find here. In attendance and voting were Supervisors: Chairman Phillip Calabro, Vice Chairman Dennis Fisher, Secretary John Mack, member David Oxley, and member Kyle Davis. Also in attendance were: Township Manager Micah Lewis and Township Solicitor David Sander.

Discrimination

Love is Love Day Resolution: [The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) passed a "Love is Love" resolution in support of LGBTQ + minority youth by a unanimous bipartisan 5-0 vote. Joining me in voting in favor of the resolution, which I authored and put forward, were Board members David Oxley, Phil Calabro, Kyle Davis, and Dennis Fisher.] [For background read: “The Day That Newtown Township Failed to Show Love for LGBTQ+ Youth”]

Public Comments

Marlene Pray, director and founder of the Planned Parenthood Rainbow Room in Doylestown provided statistics on LGBTQ youth and described the first ever county wide prom; she said the original request was to recognize love is love on 2/15/20 and the goal of the resolution was to surprise the prom committee at the prom where over 150 youth from 57 different schools attended. Ms. Pray confirmed the date was never about Valentine’s Day saying although Valentine’s Day is often difficult, the “love is love” phrase is what matters to the queer community. She quoted a speech from Lin-Manuel Miranda and asked the BOS to vote to support the love is love resolution.

Linda Bobrin, resident and former member of the BOS, asked the Board to recall all the good things they accomplished over the last few years and urged them to reconsider the adoption of the Love is Love resolution.

Tracey Sabara, resident of Warminster, shared the joy and challenges of parenting her 13-year-old transgender son. She expressed her confusion as to why there has been so much pushback to something as simple as recognizing that love is love and asked the BOS to support and put the resolution into action.



State Senator Steve Santarsiero acknowledged that Newtown was the first Township in Bucks County to pass the Civil Rights Ordinance that grants civil rights to the LGBTQ community in Newtown. He then explained the purpose of the Love is Love resolution was to recognize the LGBTQ youth, their first queer prom and how much it meant to these kids. He addressed the concerns of some who felt the resolution was exclusionary stating that could not be further from the truth and asked the Board to acknowledge this one special day for these kids and make a statement to stand with these courageous young people. Senator Santarsiero urged the BOS to bring the resolution back up and vote to show the kids the BOS stands with them.



Bob Szwajkos, resident of Newtown Borough said he is here to show his support for the youth who have come tonight and for the 150 youth from 55 different schools who attended the Love is Love Prom on February 15. He asked the BOS to show their support for a segment of the population who face tremendous challenges simply because of their sexual orientation and identity. Mr. Szwajkos explained his own challenges coming out as an adult and then briefly reviewed the history of the gay community. He said these young individuals have the opportunity to be out, but they are still fighting and all they are asking for is support. Mr. Szwajkos feels the Board has failed this group of young people by not adopting the Love is Love resolution and is urging the Board to reconsider their actions tonight.

David Bria of Yardley, speaking as an alumnus of the Rainbow Room in Doylestown, echoed how important it was that they put together the LGBTQ prom; he said discrimination happens all the time and shared two recent examples. Mr. Bria said the BOS has an opportunity to send a message this evening and asked them to adopt the Love is Love resolution.



Comments of supervisor David Oxley



Council Rock North student Marguerite Speaker is on the GSA Board at CRN and said she loves living in Newtown however many of her friends do not as they do not feel accepted with the BOS and community refusing to acknowledge the Love is Love resolution. She said the resolution is not changing any laws and noted that the BOS said they supported the notion of the resolution, therefore if they support the notion, or the idea, then they support the resolution itself. She urged the BOS to recognize the importance of uplifting the community and pass the Love is Love resolution.


Reading of the Resolution and the Vote

Development

Toll Brothers AOP - Conditional Use Decision: Mr. Sander reported the BOS held a conditional use hearing on February 26 for a use B-12 cluster development in the CM district. The hearing was closed and the Board deliberated. Mr. Sander said this action does not allow developer to begin construction, they still must go through the land development process where issues such as final layout will be reviewed. Resident Joy Ann Charlton said the property is zoned CM and the BOS does not have to approve this use. She referred to the Joint Comprehensive Management Plan and cited several sections of the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance while expressing concerns about the traffic, safety issues and ground water problems that this proposed development will bring. Ms. Charlton reminded the BOS they have a duty to make responsible decisions and she urged them not to approve this decision tonight.

Mr. Calabro asked what the recourse would be should the BOS not approve this application tonight. Mr. Sander replied there is no recourse provided a full written decision is issued within 45 days. In response to Mr. Calabro’s additional questions, Mr. Sander said if approved, Toll Brothers will proceed and if denied they can appeal or apply for a by-right plan which could have 60 plus homes spread evenly across but leaving no preserved open space and increase traffic by about 50%.

Mr. Calabro moved to table the conditional use decision for Toll Brothers AOP to the next agenda. Mr. Oxley seconded. The motion passed 5-0.

Public Safety

Police Report: Chief Hearn reported there were 1562 calls for service during February including 16 arrests, 70 traffic accidents, and 229 citations (for more details, read "February 2020 Newtown Township Police Report: Sycamore Street Burglaries, Mill Pond Road Traffic 'Blitz Initiative,' Harassment"). He said there were four commercial burglaries along Sycamore Street and the suspect was apprehended and charged. The Chief said a social media post regarding traffic issues on Mill Pond Road generated a blitz which resulted in 28 citations and 5 warnings. He asked residents to report issues to the police department and not social media, as the department may not see it. Drug take back day is April 28 and March 18 is coffee with a cop at Chick-fil-A. Chief Hearn said Bucks County is being targeted with theft from autos and the PD and ESD are aware of Covid 19.

Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions

Planning Commission: Penns Trail Investments - who presented a preliminary as final plan for land development at 3 Penns Trail. They revised the original proposed 24K square foot, two story office building to a one-story building slightly less than 19K square feet. Responses were provided to the review letters an all items are will comply. The intended use for the building was presumed to be medical, however it won’t be known for sure until a tenant is secured. The Commission members who were present supported this application.

JMZO E-30 Amendment to Zoning Ordinance: [The Commission reviewed the amended ordinance for short term rental revising the definition of “family” and after a lengthy discussion found it to need further clarification. The solicitor will attend the Jointure meeting on March 5 to determine the purpose of this amendment and get additional details.] For more details, listen to discussions here: "Discussions of E-30 Zoning Amendment."

Mr. Calabro asked if the E-30 amendment was forwarded to the other PC’s yet; a discussion ensued, and it was determined the other PC’s have not seen the amendment yet. Mr. Fisher asked if there was a timeline on the short-term rental and Mr. Sander said there was not.

Supervisor Reports

Environmental Advisory Council: Mr. Mack reported the EAC has a HOA forum on April 6 and they are working on getting the information out to the HOA’s. He said the EAC also adopted a set of recommendations for environmental provisions to be included in the Comprehensive Plan which will be submitted to the PC. Additionally, an EAC representative would like to attend a future BOS meeting to discuss drafting a resolution in support of a voluntary ban of single use plastics in the Village of Newtown Shopping Center; they are participating in Earth Day at Core Creek Park and would like to write an article for the green corner of Township newsletter.

Votes on Motions

Not all motions may be included.

Posted on 23 Apr 2020, 11:28 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

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