John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Board of Supervisors Minutes Category

Summary of February 26, 2020, BOS Meeting: Toll Bros Hearing, Bomba & parking, Love is Love Day resolution shot down, More...

The following is a brief summary of the February 26, 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, Township Solicitor David Sander, and Township Engineer Leanna Colubriale.

Community

Love is Love Day Resolution: Mr. Mack explained the Love is Love Resolution which Senator Santarsiero brought to the floor of the Senate to recognize February 15 as Love is Love day for LGBTQ youth (read "State Senator Steve Santarsiero's 'Love Is Love Day' Proposal Shot Down in PA Senate"). Mr. Mack read an email from Senator Santarsiero and added that Newtown was the first to pass an anti-discrimination ordinance (read "Newtown Becomes the FIRST Township in Bucks County to Pass an Anti-Discrimination Ordinance That Protects the Rights of the LGBTQ Community").

Mr. Davis supports the notion of supporting a group that may be marginalized; however, he is not in favor of having a specific day for a specific group. Mr. Oxley stated love is something you share with all neighbors not just one particular group; he added there are other groups that suffer as well. Mr. Fisher said he supports this resolution and feels like we need to make a statement of support. Mr. Calabro suggested amending without having a particular day with the understanding that there are people out there that need love.

Resident Joe O’Neill, who is also [a former member of] the Human Rights Commission, read about the challenges of LGBTQ youth and stated that we have a duty to improve the lives of these young people.

The discussion continued around the day, inclusiveness and compromise. Mr. Mack said this resolution is specific to LGBTQ youth as they don’t have legal protection in Pennsylvania, and he wants to keep the resolution as written. The motion failed 3-2 with Messrs. Calabro, Davis and Oxley voting nay. [View the video below to hear comments from several residents spoke up in favor of the resolution.]



[My motion: As many of you may know, State Senator Steve Santarsiero proposed to designate the day after Valentine's Day – February 15 – as "Love is Love Day" in Pennsylvania in support of local LGBTQ youth. His resolution never made it to the floor for a vote. Consequently, I am proposing that Newtown Township approve its own “LOVE is LOVE DAY” resolution inspired by the one proposed by Sen. Santarsiero and the one recently passed by Newtown Borough Council unanimously.

I would like to read Sen. Santarsiero’s personal communication to me in support of this resolution:

“As joyful and meaningful Valentine's Day can be, it can be equally painful for those without a partner or apart from their love. My heart goes out to those who struggle during this time.

“While Valentine's Day does celebrate love, Love is Love Day celebrates the love that has long been oppressed, attacked, and pushed out of view. For generations, our children, our siblings, our friends who love differently than us have been told to live and love in silence or not at all. This has of course led them to suffer in silence as well. LGBTQ members of our society have significantly higher rates of suicide rates compared to the general population. LGBTQ youth have the highest rates of suicidal activity in the nation. The attacks on who they are and the love they share has caused extreme pain and taken lives. “As acceptance of LGBTQ people and their love has grown in our culture and law, suicide rates have similarly dropped. A nationwide study by the American Medical Association from 1999-2015 showed a reduction in suicidal attempts by all high school students of 7% and 14% among LGBTQ students as states adopted same-sex marriage policies. Establishing a culture of acceptance is a universal good.”

“The celebration of any group in a multicultural society does not detract from another. It only adds to us as a whole. Our community, Commonwealth, and country is blessed with diversity, and that is cause for celebration. As long as we approach our distinctions with acceptance and appreciation, we will only grow together as a community. That is the message of Love is Love Day, and why, I believe, it deserves this recognition.”

According to the PA Second Class Township Code, Township Supervisors are “charged with the general governance of the township and the execution of legislative, executive and administrative powers in order to ensure sound fiscal management and to secure the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the township.” It is completely appropriate, therefore, that we pass this resolution, which doesn’t cost the Township a single penny.

Therefore, I make a motion that we adopt the “LOVE is LOVE DAY” resolution as proposed.]

UPDATE: A revised "Love is Love" resolution was passed by unanimous bipartisan 5-0 vote at the March 11, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors meeting (read "Newtown Township Passes Revised Love is Love Resolution").

Development

Bomba Taco’s and Rum Public Hearing: Attorney Joe Blackburn represented the applicant seeking E-5 and E-6 eating place conditional use for an approximate 3,990 square foot tenant space at 2930 S. Eagle Road in the Village of Newtown Shopping Center in the PC planned commercial district.

Mr. Blackburn said the restaurant offers a Caribbean and South American inspired menu with an open kitchen concept. He then addressed the January 13 planner’s letter stating the total sitewide ratio of restaurants with this addition totals 30.08% falling within the 45% maximum restaurant ratio.

Mr. Mack expressed hope that parking is relieved as the center is completed and that Brixmor will come back with a traffic study; Mr. Blackburn said that they would. Resident Patricia Curran asked what happens if after the shopping center is complete and they do their study and find out there isn’t ample parking. Mr. Blackburn replied the return visit is ... more geared to traffic and the parking is in strict compliance with the relief granted. He added it is an active construction zone right now and traffic and parking will be adequate in the end.

Mr. Calabro expressed his concerns about the outdoor seating and asked if ten seats could be removed. Mr. Blackburn replied Bomba is by far the smallest sit-down restaurant and they cannot afford to lose any seating. There was a discussion about what constitutes seasonal seating, heaters and what has been approved for other establishments. Mr. Mack said he did not have a problem with outdoor seating, weather permitting and added since a timeframe was not specified for the others, we should be fair in this case.

Resident Frank McCarron suggested having more than 13 employees so as not to limit success. Mr. Calabro said the Township doesn’t limit the employees; this is the number that was requested and if the applicant would like to change this number they can do so now. Mr. Hopkins requested the number of employees be changed to 20. Mr. Sander amended to increase the total employees to twenty. Mr. Calabro asked now that employees increased does that effect parking. Mr. Blackburn stated it won’t affect the calculation of space required and verbiage is being worked into leases requiring employees park along the perimeter.

Toll PA XVIII, L.P. Public Hearing: Mr. Sander explained the conditional use application to operate a use B-12 cluster development at 435 Durham and 107 Twining Bridge Roads where the combined parcels are 158.07 acres located in the CM Conservation Management district. He added the BOS is not approving the development of this property this evening as that discussion would come during land development if approved; tonight’s proceeding is to determine whether this cluster development raises any concerns unique to this site as this use B-12 is permitted in the CM district by conditional use.

Mr. Davis asked about the old farmhouse and springhouse on the property and Mr. Barnett said it was an abandoned home and spring house near the existing driveway on Twining Bridge Road. Mr. Davis asked how old the house was and Mr. Barnett did not know, however added that a historic resource survey form was completed as part of the planning module and the response from the Pennsylvania Historic Museum Commission did not have any comments that it was historical in nature. Mr. Davis requested a copy of the letter.

Mr. Mack asked what would prevent homeowners from disturbing the agricultural soils on their lots by installing a shed. Mr. Adelman said this is why they offered the alternative buffer plan in order to create a physical demarcation so landowners would know which area is not to be disturbed; deed restrictions would also be put in place which would give the Township and the HOA the ability to ensure it remains undisturbed. Mr. Mack expressed his concerns about homeowner compliance with the rules. Mr. Adelman said the details will be included in the HOA declaration which also allows enforcement power to the Township; any HOA declaration is subject to Township review. Mr. Adelman added it will be noted in the deed restriction and the homeowner will be required to sign a plot plan with their agreement of sale that specifies what they can and can’t do. Mr. Lewis asked if the applicant would be amenable to putting an easement on those lots and Mr. Adelman said they would. Mr. Sander added that the HOA members will be their own police force and discussion ensued on how to enforce that the soils are not disturbed, and the buffers not encroached.


Newtown resident Eric Pomerantz told the Supervisors to abide by the "spirit of what conservation management is all about" and consider that when making a final decision. More information about that plan can be found here.

There was no motion from the Board. Mr. Calabro asked Mr. Sander what the legal ramifications were if a decision was not made tonight. Mr. Sander said the Board can deliberate in private and will then have 45 days from today if the hearing is closed to deliver a written decision to the applicant. Mr. Sander asked the BOS to decide and provide him with enough time to prepare a written response. He added that the decision would have to be made at a public meeting. Mr. Calabro announced due to lack of a motion and a second, there is no decision made tonight.

Public Safety

Emergency Services Department Report: Chief Forsyth reported there were 140 calls for service during the month of January. There were five building fires, five dwelling fires, one brush fires and 87 EMS calls. The fire association completed 22 safety inspections in the Township and two in the Borough. Emergency service staff completed annual testing of ropes on apparatus in January. The department assisted Northampton Township FD with a working fire and responded to two auto extrications; they also assisted the police department with lockdown drills in the schools.

SAFER Grant Discussion: Mr. Lewis stated the SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) Grant was coming up and both he and Chief Forsyth recommend the Township move forward and apply for the grant which will provide the Township with additional funds for hiring more staff. He said the Township is looking to expand the department to 7 days/12 hours this grant would greatly help that effort.

Mr. Mack questioned needing five additional staff to cover two additional days and Mr. Lewis explained four fighters per truck is required and shifts and vacation time must be taken into consideration. Mr. Mack expressed concern that the Township would be committed to the full salaries after three years and this is something the consultants for the five-year plan should be involved in. Mr. Lewis stated the fire study will be shared with the consultants. Mr. Fisher confirmed the application fee is $900. Chief Forsyth added as a result of the fire study in 2018 and the volunteer staff being so short, he proposed this grant to plan and prepare for the future. The consensus of the Board is to move forward with the grant application.

[From my notes composed prior to the meeting: “The grant is a three (3) year grant that would cover the salary of the firefighter and the benefits. The contribution from the township would be a matching 25% the first year, 25% the second year, and the final year would be a 65% contribution by the township. The numbers that we would request will need to be calculated with the assistance of the Township Manager and the Finance Director.”

QUESTION: Where do the matching funds come from? This cost can be substantial, especially in year #3.

QUESTION: Hiring 5 new staff firefights will be easy the first year, but without being certain where the money will come from to keep them employed – especially after the first two years – this seems more like a request to hire new firefighters since it will be extremely difficult to lay them off if funds are not available (they are union members, BTW).

QUESTION: We have hired ESI Consultants to develop a 5-year budgeting plan. Shouldn’t this wait until we have that input?

What I am saying is that we are putting the cart before the horse. We first need to understand what the cost will be down the road and how we will cover that cost. This is what long-range fiscal planning is all about.]

Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions

Planning Commission: Brixmor Property Group for Ulta Beauty, 2914 S. Eagle Road - The applicant is seeking additional relief to install a wall sign for Ulta Beauty which does not comply with the height restrictions granted by the ZHB. They are requesting a 22’ 2.5” high façade sign on the front of the building facing the parking lot of building 9. The consensus of the Commission was to support this request however advised the decision is ultimately up to the ZHB.

Planning Commission: Bomba Tacos and Rum, 2930 S. Eagle Road - The Commission reviewed the application for Conditional Use for a proposed E-5, E-6 eating place which will be in the Village at Newtown Shopping Center. The Commission agreed to recommend approval for this application. [See "Development".]

Planning Commission: Newtown AOP (Toll Brothers) Durham and Twining Bridge Roads - The Commission reviewed the proposed subdivision and application requesting Conditional Use approval to allow a use B-12 single family detached cluster development on approximately 158.07 acres located in the southwestern corner of the intersection of Durham and Twining Bridge Roads within the CM Conservation Management District. The proposal is for a 45-lot residential community. There was a lengthy discussion on the details along with public comments. The Commission moved to recommend the Conditional use application subject to the conditions read by Mr. Schenkman 3-1-1.

Supervisor Reports

Newtown Fire Association (NFA): Mr. Mack reported he attended the Newtown Fire Association meeting and there is a new probationary member who is a high school student. He said they also discussed continuing work on apparatus needing repair as well as replacement and upgrades to make the trucks useful; the NFA is also preparing for brew fest in the spring.

Votes on Motions

Not all motions may be included.

Posted on 16 Mar 2020, 01:50 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

Summary of February 12, 2020, Newtown Township BOS Public Meeting

The following is a brief summary of the February 12, 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, Township Solicitor David Sander, and Township Engineer Leanna Colubriale.

Public Safety

Police Report: Chief Hearn reported the department responded to 1,601 calls for service during January including 12 arrests, 94 traffic accidents, 18 deer related and one fatality. There were 213 traffic citations issued and the commercial vehicle enforcement initiatives continue. Read details of the report here.

Mr. Mack said residents on Mill Pond Road are concerned about traffic especially since the recent accident. He asked what can be done to slow drivers down on that road, suggesting speed bumps or stop signs. Chief Hearn stating he is aware of the concerns and as a result the force has been conducting an analysis of the location since Saturday. He said the speed limit is 25 mph and most offenders are residents. He warned that speed humps create noise, delay emergency services and increase plowing costs for the Township. The Chief said the police will continue to enforce the speed limit to make sure residents are safe. Mr. Mack asked what is required to add stop signs. The Chief replied a study can be done at the expense of the Township.

[Meanwhile, back in March 2018, a resident of Frost Lane complained to the Township about speeding traffic on her street. As you may know, Goodnoe School is located on Frost Lane, which the resident dubbed “Frost Freeway.” It’s a 25 mph zone and during certain school hours the speed limit is 15 mph. So any speeding on that street is a concern.

When I made an inquiry regarding this issue, Kurt Ferguson, the Township Manager at the time informed me: "Typically these traffic issues are investigated by our staff. We have the ability to measure traffic speed, total cars, as well as looking as site lines, etc. Typically this would be assigned to staff to investigate and to report results to the board." Within a few days, the Police Department performed a “stealth stat” survey of the traffic flow on Frost Lane (see the results
here).

Since this study was done by the staff, I assume that there is no extra expense to the Township.]

Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions

Planning Commission: JMZO Amendment to Allow New E30 Use (combination fueling station and convenience store) - Mary Stover from CKS engineering attended the meeting to provide updates and answer questions. She reported Wrightstown and Upper Makefield received the ordinance however they have not officially reviewed it. Their solicitors have made some preliminary comments, including:

  • Change conditional use to special exception
  • Prohibit the sale of alcohol and propane refill tanks
  • Consider prohibiting diesel pumps to discourage large trucks
  • Limit the hours of operation if within 750’ of residential use or district

Mr. Mack said he was at the meeting and there was discussion about conditional use and special exception. He asked for clarification between the two. Mr. Sander said they are basically the same thing, uses permitted in a district but something about them needs additional review. He explained the main difference is the special exception is heard by the Zoning Hearing Board and the conditional use is heard by the Board of Supervisors (BOS) and the burden is the same for both.

[At the February 6, 2020, meeting of the Joint Zoning Council, representatives of Newtown, Wrightstown, and Upper Makefield township – the “Jointure” - discussed the E-30 amendment to the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance that was drafted by Newtown Township. Recall that this “curative amendment” was proposed to allow for a combination gas station-convenience store to be located within several locations within the Jointure. The following is an edited excerpt of that discussion focused specifically on the number of fueling pumps that would be allowed. This issue was raised by the Newtown Planning Commission, which suggested among other things that the maximum number of gas pumps should be eight with allowances for an additional four electric charging stations.]

Supervisor Reports

Finance Committee: Mr. Fisher reported the Finance Committee met and discussed economic development and working with the business community.

Environmental Advisory Council: Mr. Mack reported there is an EAC council member resigning and they will need a new person to sign up. He said the EAC continues working on important issues such as the comprehensive plan, and the HOA forum which is tentatively set for March 28; it will be a half day forum and there will hopefully be a readout after at the BOS meeting. EAC is also participating in park and rec activities.

Trails

Lower Dolington Road Multi-Use Trail: Ms. Colubriale reported the Township was awarded partial grant funding from DCED and DCNR totaling $625K between the two for construction. She reviewed the plans and stated based on reduced funding and reviewing with the Township staff it made the most sense to move forward with the design and revise the plan to fit within the budget; the plan is to start at Frost Lane and continue to just north of the Peco power lines easement. Ms. Colubriale said the project would be bid out in segments based on the cost of the project and she is looking for consensus of the BOS to move forward with this strategy. Mr. Calabro said there is consensus to move forward as planned. 

Votes on Motions

Not all motions are included.

Posted on 28 Feb 2020, 13:53 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

Summary of January 22, 2020, Newtown Township BOS Public Meeting

The following is a brief summary of the January 22, 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, and member Kyle Davis. Also in attendance were: Township Manager Micah Lewis, Township Solicitor David Sander, and Township Engineer Leanna Colubriale.

Development

Toll Bros. Conditional Use: Mr. Sander received correspondence from Toll Brothers requesting continuance of the hearing to 2/12/2020 citing a revised plan being submitted to the Township involving the elimination of the on-lot sewage disposal and incorporation of public sewer to the development and the plan is not quite ready. [See UPDATE below]

UPDATE

2016 Act 537 Plan: Township Planner Michele Fountain is seeking approval for revisions to the Newtown Township Act 537 update. The BOS approved the Act 537 update in 2015 and at that time approved the Comprehensive Plan for existing, present and future sewage needs for the Township saying the public sewer system said would stay where it was.

This took almost four years and the agreement was finally executed in September 2019. The agreement required an Infiltration and Inflow (I&I) abatement program to reduce I&I entering the water system. The I&I program was completed by the Newtown Authority in December 2019. Mrs. Fountain showed the present and future sewer service areas on the plan (fig 11) stating the future is the same as the existing one with one exception. The future area includes the proposed development at Twining Bridge and Durham Roads.

Resident Jack Brod said 5-6 years ago there was a proposal to develop a sewer treatment plant in Newtown Township to address the shortage of EDUs where the local authority suggested we get off the authority and do treatment ourselves. He asked if this plan was explicitly excluded before we approve the 537 Plan. Mrs. Fountain said it is not included as a viable option in the plan.

Provco Pineville Acquisitions, LLC: Mr. Sander explained the ZHB application filed by Provco, owner of the property on Lower Silver Lake Road, filed an application challenging the substantive validity of the joint municipal zoning ordinance alleging it is unconstitutional as it does not provide for a combined gas station/convenience store use. He said there have been several continuances and it is now scheduled for March 5, 2020. The Board can decide if they want to send the Solicitor to the ZHB to take a position. After some discussion, Mr. Mack said he would be in favor of sending the solicitor to oppose this application and Mr. Davis agreed.

Finances

Consideration to award the Five-Year Financial Plan Proposal to Econsult Solutions, Inc.: Dan Connelly, Director with Econsult Solutions presented a strategic management plan and provided the Board with a power point presentation booklet describing the proposal. He introduced his team stating they have strong experience with Pennsylvania municipalities and governments in general as they have worked with all sizes of municipalities not only on long term planning but on any issues where public finance intersects with government. Mr. Mack asked how much this will cost the Township. Mr. Connelly said the proposal is $69K which is covered 50% by DCED match. Mr. Mack, referring to the Pottstown study, inquired how enthusiastic they were to follow the plan proposed by Econsult. Mr. Connelly said it was a mixed review and described some recommendations that were made.

UPDATE:

Public Safety

ESD Report: Chief Forsyth reported there were 118 calls for service during the month of November. There were two building fires, seven dwelling fires, two brush fires and 64 EMS calls. The fire association completed 49 safety inspections in the Township and 26 in the Borough. Emergency service staff completed refresher training for traffic incident management and also participated in a mutual aid drill with Middletown Township EMS to handle large vehicle extrications. The department assisted two Newtown Grant residents with safety inspections.

During December the Chief reported 105 calls for service including one building fire, five dwellings, 1 brush fire and 56 EMS calls. There were 81 safety inspections in the Township and 29 in the Borough. The ESD completed their annual refresher on emergency vehicle operation and assisted Northampton Township on a working fire.

Roadwork

Authorization to advertise the 2020 Road Bid: Ms. Colubriale requested authorization to advertise for the 2020 Liquid Fuels Road program bid reporting the base bid is approximately 4.13 miles of Township road. Mr. Calabro inquired about the time frame for the bids. Ms. Colubriale anticipates taking bids in mid-February with possible award in March; weather permitting the project can proceed in late April or early May. Mr. Mack questioned if there was a second round since the number was previously 5.2 miles. Ms. Colubriale said a few roads were modified as a result of the sewer authority work being done, however they will be added back in.

Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions

Planning Commission: Newtown/Bucks Associates, Newtown Shopping Center - The applicant is seeking variances for a proposed 12,500 square foot retail building to house an Old Navy with 80 parking spaces and a 400 square foot addition to Chick-fil-A along with roadway improvements to eliminate traffic congestion in the surrounding area. The Commission supports the application for relief.

JMZO Amendment - after two meetings and much discussion the Planning Commission recommends the BOS forward the draft of the Ordinance to our partners in the Jointure along with the Bucks County Planning Commission with the following suggested changes:

  • Eliminate eat in dining (section 13-3)
  • Limit fuel pumps to 8 and permit up to 4 charging stations
  • Specify hours of operation and limit to 18
  • Make sidewalks a requirement (section 13-19, remove “if”)

Additionally, the Planner will be looking at specifics around the facades of the fuel pump area and fencing to ensure they are keeping within the character and architecture of the building.

Resident Norm Seeger questioned reducing the number of pumps stating Wawa has stated they won’t make any changes. Mr. Calabro said this is a gas station/convenience store use which applies to anyone seeking this use. Mr. Seeger said he was glad the Township was looking at other sites as Wawa stated 2,400 cars/day would be using this station; he expressed his concern about the traffic and additional policing requirements.

Zoning

Consideration to send the E-30 Ordinance to the Jointure: Mr. Sander asked the BOS to consider sending the combined gas station/convenience store ordinance to the Jointure as previously discussed this evening. Mr. Davis asked if that includes the recommended changes by the Planning Commission. Mr. Sander suggested sending as is with an attachment of the comments made by the Planning Commission.

Votes on Motions

Not all motions are included.

Posted on 14 Feb 2020, 14:01 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

Summary of January 8, 2020, Newtown Township BOS Public Meeting

The following is a brief summary of the January 8, 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, and member Kyle Davis. Also in attendance were: Township Manager Micah Lewis and Township Solicitor David Sander. Assistant Secretary and Treasurer John Mack was absent.

Public Safety

Police Report: Chief Hearn reported the department responded to 1,398 calls for service during December which is a 13% increase over 2018. He said 76 citations were issued which is up by 20% from last year however traffic accidents have decreased by 10%. Read details of the report here.

Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions

Planning Commission: Toll Brothers - Mr. Fidler shared that there was a discussion on the Toll Brothers site and the proposed sewage treatment plant at this meeting. Among concerns is the Newtown Joint Municipal Authority which someday may have to revert the package treatment plant through the Township system without the Authority’s involvement in the design, approval and maintenance of the plan. He said the Commission agreed it would be wise for the PC and the BOS to have someone from the sewer authority present to discuss related issues when Toll Brothers is scheduled on the agenda.

JMZO Amendment - Mr. Fidler explained the Amendment and its history and said the Commission reviewed the preliminary draft of the proposed E-25 Motor Vehicle Fueling Station and Convenience Store Use. He said there are some items in question including eat in dining, 24-hour operation and the size of the building, which will be revisited at the next meeting and the members will continue to review the amended ordinance and bring additional concerns to be discussed at the next meeting. He also suggested involving the other municipalities in the Jointure as the process must be completed in nine months with a consensus of the Jointure.

Zoning

Resolution for Municipal Curative Amendment: Mr. Sander explained the Municipal Curative Amendment and said the specific issue of concern is the zoning ordinance does not contain or provide for a single use that combines both a convenience store and a gas station and several court decisions currently on appeal determined this must be allowed for the zoning ordinance to be constitutional.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Calabro asked if the time depends on the other two Jointure members. Mr. Sander said the time runs from the declaration and since Newtown was last to declare on December 11, 2019, there is nine months from that date to enact if appropriate. Mr. Calabro asked if either township can hold this process up and Mr. Sander said they could and added if the three do not agree and enact, there will be no cure and it will stay as is. Mr. Calabro inquired which township would this harm the most and Mr. Sander replied since Newtown has the majority of residential development and traffic in the Jointure, it would likely be Newtown Township. He said Newtown has already been subject to the filing of a substantive validity challenge proposing a convenience store/gas station in the Township; therefore, the answer to the question is Newtown. Mr. Calabro stated we need the other two Townships to pass this resolution. Mr. Sander agreed and added all must adopt this resolution and all three must agree on accepting the ordinance to amend the current zoning ordinance. Mr. Fisher asked if the other Townships were subject to the 30 days and Mr. Sander said yes.

The motion passed 3-0.

Votes on Motions

Not all motions are included.

Posted on 27 Jan 2020, 01:34 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

Summary of December 11, 2019, Newtown Township BOS Public Meeting

The following is a brief summary of the December 11, 2019, 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 Linda Bobrin, Secretary John Mack, and member Dennis Fisher. Also in attendance were: Township Manager Micah Lewis and Township Solicitor David Sander. Member Kyle Davis was absent.

Development

Conditional Use Hearing - Toll Pa. XVIII: Mr. Sander explained when the conditional use application was received it was advertised for public hearing this evening. Subsequently a letter was received from the applicant's attorney to extend the time which the BOS must hear matter until 1/31/20.

Ms. Bobrin moved to continue the Hearing for Toll Pa, XVIII until January 22, 2020 at 7:00 PM in the Township meeting room.

Mr. Calabro asked what will happen on January 22. Mr. Sander said we will have a conditional use hearing. He said there will be no further advertisements in newspapers or other notices mailed which is why we are opening the hearing formally and continuing...Mr. Lewis will investigate what notices were or were not sent out and ensures the residents will be notified either by Toll or the Township.

The motion passed 5-0.

Finances

Consideration to Adopt the 2020 Final Budget: Mr. Lewis reported all YTD numbers have been updated in the budget; the projected total estimated revenue is $14,413,898.00, projected total expenditures are $13,081,611.00 and the estimated net fund balance is $1,332,287.00, which equates to 10.18% of total expenditures.

Discussion of motion: Mr. Mack had previously requested to get a line item in the budget for the Savvy Citizen app and he reported they have come back with a lower cost and are offering to have sponsors cover some of the cost. He said the new estimate is $2,841 for the year including set up and marketing fee down from the original $3,600. Mr. Mack explained the benefits of Savvy Citizen and asked the Board to consider adding this as a line item to the Budget. Mr. Calabro said we already have moved to approve budget as outlined. A discussion ensued on budget amendments and the time frame. Mr. Mack said he will distribute materials and review with local businesses to determine interest in sponsorships. He will also speak with Mr. Lewis about personnel requirements prior to moving forward.

The motion passed 5-0.

Zoning

Consideration of Declaration of Municipal Curative Amendment: Mr. Sander explained according to Pennsylvania law the use of property as a convenience store and gas station as a combined use is to be provided for by law and the use contained in a zoning ordinance. He said the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance doesn't have such a use and are in the process of drafting an ordinance; in the meantime there is a procedure that allows municipalities to examine their zoning ordinances and if an invalidity is found, they have an opportunity to declare that invalidity and announce they will cure the invalidity.

Mr. Calabro asked Mr. Sander to explain how this protects the Township against the gas station/convenience store property use. Mr. Sander said from the date of declaration for period of nine months, nobody can file an application for land development that deals with gas station/convenience store use, nor can they file a challenge. When questioned by Supervisor Mack, Mr. Sander stated that this action does not apply to the substantive legal challenge to the joint municipal zoning ordinance previously filed by Provco.

The Motion passed 5-0.

UPDATE
On January 8, 2020, the BOS voted 3-0 (Mack was absent) to pass Resolution No. 2020-R-5 with the following Specific Findings Setting Forth the Declared Invalidity of the JMZO Ordinance:
  1. The Ordinance contains provisions providing for and governing both a convenience store use (Section 803.E‐1) and a gas station use (Section 803.E‐10) but does not contain provisions providing for and governing a single use consisting of a combination of a convenience store use and a gas station use.

  2. Recent decisions issued by the Courts of Common Pleas of Bucks County and Montgomery County have determined that municipal zoning ordinances that do not provide for a combination convenience store/gas station use may be unconstitutional.

  3. The Municipal Curative Amendment declared by Newtown Township on December 11, 2019 is specifically declared to determine whether the Ordinance is unconstitutional, and if so, to enact an ordinance to cure the invalidity by providing for a combination convenience store/gas station use in the Newtown Area Jointure, with provisions defining and providing for such use in the Jointure, and regulations governing such use.

 

Public Safety

Police Report: Chief Hearn reported the department responded to 1,771 calls for service during November including 6 arrests, 89 traffic accidents, 41 of which were deer related and 220 citations. The Chief thanked the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades who donated painting of police building and garage at no cost to township. He reminded all to have neighbors help retrieve packages when delivered and not to leave them on front steps or driveways. Mr. Mack asked about catalytic converter theft. The Chief said we have not yet had incident of this in Newtown. Read details of the report here.

Supervisor Reports

Comprehensive Plan: Mr. Calabro reported he attended the Jointure (JZC) Definition meeting which reviewed how to proceed on the Comprehensive Plan  Definition. They discussed contacting other committees such as Park and Rec, Finance, etc. and have a representative from each committee meet with those who are forming the Comprehensive Plan.

Bobrin Announces Plan to Leave Board: Ms. Bobrin shared that this will be her last public meeting as she is leaving the Board of Supervisors to become the Register of Wills for Bucks County.

Votes on Motions

Not all motions are included.

Posted on 12 Jan 2020, 12:04 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

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