John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Board of Supervisors Minutes Category

Summary of December 12, 2018, BOS Public Meeting

The following is a brief summary of the December 12, 2018, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition) meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting, which you can find here. See how Supervisors voted on motions (click here).

Committee Reports

Environmental Advisory Council: Mr. Fisher noted that the next Environmental Advisory Council will include a speaker from the Pennsylvania Lyme Resource Network, and is expected to be held in late January or early February. Information can be found on the Township website here.

Crime

November 2018 Calls for Service Report: Interim Police Chief Harris gave the Police Report (for details, read "November 2018 Newtown Police Report"). He noted that the “Shop with A Cop” event held on December 2, 2018 was a great success. Mr. Mack noted the public drop boxes and police help to collect unused prescriptions, which was confirmed by Interim Police Chief Harris.

Public Safety

Authorization to File Suit Against Opioid Manufacturers: Mr. Sanders explained a proposed lawsuit which allows suit filed against a number of large manufacturers, distributors and promoters of Opioid Drugs, given current Opioid Epidemic Crisis. This is at no cost to the Township and it is in response to Newtown Township wanting to take a stand in the Opioid Crisis. There was discussion by The Board about the approach of this plan and the overall crisis in general. Mr. Davis said going after manufacturers sends a message that Newtown Township is not a friendly place for your business. Ms. Bobrin said it was appropriate to file this suit so the Township can be reimbursed for any damages suffered. Mr. Fisher said Newtown was on the right side of the issue.

The Supervisors discussed various options for the use of any funds resulting from the lawsuit. Mr. Calabro mentioned the Township obtaining more Narcan and hosting classes to help the epidemic. Mr. Mack expressed the hope that such funds be used to treat people who are addicted.

Mr. Calabro suggested consideration to authorize Mark J Bern Partners, LLP. and Cordisco & Saile, LLC, to file lawsuit against the manufacturers, promoters, and distributors of synthetic prescription Opioid medication on behalf of Newtown Township. Motion to approve made by Mr. Mack. Motion seconded by Ms. Bobrin. Motion passed 4‐1 with Mr. Davis voting "nay". The following video clip documents the discussion before the vote was taken:


John D’Aprile of Newtown Grant questioned how much money Newtown would have to pay the attorneys. Mr. Sander responded that Newtown will not pay anything and the lawyers will take a percentage of the award, if any. Mr. Sander said that a reasonable percentage will be negotiated when the Township gets the engagement letter from the attorneys.

This survey asks your opinion of this lawsuit. No identifying information is collected via this survey unless you opt-in to provide such information for purposes of follow-up by subscribing to John Mack's email newsletter.

DISCLAIMER: This is not an official Newtown Township approved survey. Its purpose is solely to inform John Mack – a Newtown Supervisor – of the public’s opinion regarding this issue.

Resolutions

2019 Final Budget: Mr. Fisher commented on economic development. There was discussion on whether or not there is flexibility in the budget to add a line item for the DCED Definition Match. Mr. Sanders stated projected funds could allow for the DCED grant.

[For more information, read "Andrew Sheaf Talks About DCED's Early Intervention Program."]

Mr. Davis noted the difference in budget amount left last year compared to this year [read, for example, "Newtown Township Supervisors Approve Final $13M Budget for 2019. Read Their Lips: No New Taxes!" and "How's the Newtown Township Financial Garden Doing?"]. He mentioned considering cuts. Mr. Calabro suggested increasing revenue.

Motion was made by Ms. Bobrin to approve the final budget Resolution. Motion was seconded by Mr. Fisher. Motion passed 5‐0.

Posted on 12 Jan 2019, 12:46 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

Summary of November 28, 2018, BOS Public Meeting

The following is a brief summary of the November 28, 2018, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition) meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting, which you can find here. See how Supervisors voted on motions (click here).

Committee Reports

Environmental Advisory Council - Year of the Bird Proclamation: Newtown Township has been a designated bird town community for many years, regularly sponsoring events to promote conservation. In 2019 the EAC and Pennsylvania Audubon’s Society will be jointly developing and implementing a new program promoting the use of native plants to support bird population. This proclamation states that 2018 is the hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, protecting migratory birds for many decades.

Finance Committee: Mr. Fisher reported on behalf of the Township Finance Committee. He spoke of the DCED presentation lead by Andrew Sheaf that was given at the Board of Supervisors Work Session Definition on November 19, 2018. He reports that Mr. Sheaf provided him a detailed document after his presentation, and that after reviewing he feels positively about the Township benefiting from this program.

Planning Commission: Zoning Hearing Board applications had several applicants asking for relief from Zoning Hearing Board Definition. Regarding relief to build two‐story home on a 1.1 acre lot (1780 Lower Silverlake Road), which is nonconforming in the OR District Definition. Planning Commission recommends hearing neighborhood concerns before making recommendation.

Technology Committee: Mr. Mack shared a discussion of the Nixle Emergency Notification System, which the Committee recommends the Township subscribe to [for more on that, read "Does Newtown Need a Mobile-Enabled Emergency Notification System?"]. Google Analytics Reports on the Township website was discussed. Josephine Vlastaris, Chair of the Technology Committee, recommended using this program to monitor website activity. The Committee also suggested reducing meetings to take place quarterly, beginning with last Tuesday in March.

Ordinances

Anti‐Discrimination Ordinance: Mr. Sander presented the advertised Anti‐Discrimination Ordinance Definition to be adopted by the Board of Supervisors. Ordinance is to enact a Newtown Township Human Relations Commission, and provide protection based on all categories presently protected by the State Human Relations Act, in addition to persons on basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

Motion to approve Anti‐Discrimination Ordinance made by Mr. Mack. Motion was seconded by Ms. Bobrin.

Ms. Bobrin questioned an exclusion in the ordinance, which Mr. Sander plans to look into. Approval granted subject to potential removal or revision to the definition of “employer” stated in Ordinance. Motion and second motion were revised to account for this. Two minor revisions to this Ordinance were also noted. Clarification that a complainant could appear before Human Relations Commission with or without an attorney, and changing effective date from December 3, 2018, to become effective immediately upon the appointment of Human Relations Commission. Also, a training provision was noted for this Commission.

Prepared Statement by Supervisor Mack

"Pennsylvania is the only state in the northeastern U.S. that does not have a law explicitly prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. It is my hope that this action sends a signal to the PA state legislature that it is time to pass legislation to protect the rights of all citizens in the Commonwealth regardless of sexual orientation or perceived gender. Today, the federal government is attempting to take away the rights of “transgender” citizens. Which group will be next? There’s no telling where it will end if we stand by and do nothing."]

Public Safety

Nixle Emergency Notification System: Mr. Mack made a request for adding a line item expenditure to the 2019 budget in the amount of $6,000 for a yearly subscription to the Nixle Emergency Notification System and gave reasons the Township could benefit from this service. There was discussion about this suggestion. Due to desire for additional discussion and information, Mr. Calabro made a motion to table. Ms. Bobrin seconded this table. Motion was tabled 3‐1 [Mr. Mack voting "nay"].

Posted on 15 Dec 2018, 01:27 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

Summary of November 14, 2018, BOS Public Meeting

The following is a brief summary of the November 14, 2018, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition) meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting, which you can find here. See how Supervisors voted on motions (click here).

Administration

Township Manager Employment Agreement: Ms. Bobrin motioned to approve the Township Manager Employment Agreement. Mr. Fisher seconded, and the motion passed 5-0. [NOTE: As per the draft 2019 Budget, $116,367 is allocated for "Management Salaries" in 2019.]

Committee Reports

Finance Committee: Mr. Fisher reported on the Newtown Township Finance Committee. The group has been researching a possible grant from the PA Department of Community and Economic Development. There will be a presentation at the Board’s Work Session meeting on Monday, November 19, 2018.

Crime

October 2018 Calls report: Interim Police Chief Harris reported on the police activity for October: Calls for service: 1,549 total calls, 328 (21%) of which were in Wrightstown Township - Newtown Police provides services to both Newtown Township and Wrightstown (for details, read "October 2018 Newtown Police Calls Report"). Chief Harris noted Officer Goodwin administered Narcan to save a person in full cardiac arrest from an overdose. Mr. Mack thanked Chief Harris for his recognition of Officer Goodwin and expressed his gratitude to the officers who have saved lives with Narcan. Further discussion was about helping survivors, that they are provided information to overcome their addiction, and they have to take the first step.

Development

Arcadia Green/Newtown Holdings LLC, Tentative Plan Application (Decision): Mr. Schenkman explained that the decision must be drafted, issued and provided to the parties no later than November 25, 2018. The application needs to be approved or denied by the Board for this action to be completed. Mr. Calabro made a motion to approve this application. The motion failed. Mr. Calabro made a motion to deny this application. The motion passed 5-0 for the denial of the Arcadia Green application

Prepared Statement by Supervisor Mack

"After listening to all the testimony, reading the reports of experts, and listening to residents of surrounding communities, I will vote to deny the current Arcadia PRD Definition because I think it would be unsafe for residents of that development – should it go forward – to exit and enter the development. Also, let’s not forget the additional traffic it would bring to the intersection of Buck Road and the Bypass. Lastly, the plan for a U-turn to allow access to the Bypass is totally impractical, unsafe, and will cause major delays in my opinion, which seems to also be the opinion of PennDOT and other experts."

Fiscal Responsibility

2019 Draft Budget: Township Manager, Mr. Lewis explained that the 2019 preliminary budget needs to be advertised before it can be adopted (access the budget here). It is anticipated that the final budget will be approved on December 12, 2018. Mr. Lewis outlined changes to the preliminary budget. Ms. Bobrin made a motion to authorize the advertisement for adoption of the 2019 preliminary budget. Mr. Mack seconded, and the motion passed 5-0.

Public Safety

Newtown Ambulance Squad: Chief Evan Resnikoff, Newtown Ambulance Squad, thanked the Board and residents for their support with the EMS millage and subscription drive. Mr. Resnikoff informed the Board as of September first, NAS no longer cover Northampton Township and will see a “significant decrease” in its subscription drive revenue. For more on that, read "Northampton Resolution is a Setback for Newtown Ambulance".

Posted on 02 Dec 2018, 11:29 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

Summary of October 24, 2018, BOS Public Meeting

The following is a brief summary of the October 24, 2018, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition) meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting, which you can find here. See how Supervisors voted on motions (click here).

Committee Reports

Finance Committee: Jack Brod, Chair of the Newtown Finance Committee (NTFC) read a prepared statement urging the BOS to apply for a Department of Community and Economic Development grant to develop a 3-5 year financial plan. The plan can include expense reduction and/or revenue enhancement and/or economic development strategies to grow the tax base. This grant requires a 50% match on funding.

[The September 20, 2018, NTFC report is based on a preliminary and limited analysis of Township budgets and financial documents by committee members. It represents the Committee's first attempt to identify potential fiscal issues and concerns, needed benchmarking of township services, staffing, income and expenditures against other municipal governments and accepted standards; (3) possible implications of the fiscal issues we have estimated, and initial recommendations for future consideration and actions.  Find the complete report here.]

Planning Commission: Allen Fidler, Chair of the Newtown Planning Commission read a synopsis of the latest meeting regarding a revised amendment to the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance (JMZO Definition) to amend provisions of the OR-Office Research District to add new use (E-25, Motor Vehicle Fueling Center). This proposal is a text amendment to the OR-Office Research District that if adopted, the ordinance would permit a new use: the E-25 motor vehicle fueling center by conditional use in the OR district which is only within Newtown Township. 

[Read “The Newtown Township Planning Commission Stymies Path Forward for Wawa - For Now”]

Ordinances

OR Text Amendment (Public Comments): Alan Hathaway stated he is against the Text Amendment Definition request to add a new use to a zoning Ordinance Definition of the Jointure Definition for the property at Lower Silver Lake Road and the Bypass that would benefit Wawa. He’s concerned about traffic, hours of operation, pedestrian safety, environmental damage, and opening the opportunities to fast food restaurants.

Michael Horbal had requested a copy of the text amendment via the Right-to-Know (RTK) Law Definition and was declined based that it is a draft notice. Mr. Horbal noted companies with site planning criteria that would fit on the same size parcel that the proposed text amendment states.

[Supervisor Mack asked asked Dave Sander, the Township Solicitor Definition, to outline the next steps for the Text Amendment. The short answer was "it's complicated." The following video clip from the BOS meeting provides the definitive and a more detailed answer.]

Anti-Discrimination Ordinance: There is a need to advertise the anti-discrimination ordinance for enactment. The vote for this ordinance is scheduled to take place at the November 28, 2018 Board of Supervisor’s meeting. Mr. Mack made a motion to authorize advertisement. Mr. Fisher seconded. The motion passed 5-0.

Prepared Statement by Supervisor Mack

"I would like to thank the Board of Supervisors for proposing this Ordinance, the adoption of which was a goal of mine going back to December, 2017, when I interviewed Dave Bria – at that time a newly elected Yardley Borough Council member – about his intent to introduce an anti-discrimination ordinance to protect the LGBTQ - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning - community in Yardley from employment and housing discrimination (listen to that interview here). His efforts were an inspiration for Newtown’s Anti-discrimination ordinance, which goes further.

"This ordinance is even more important now that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times.

"The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with, according to a draft reviewed by the New York Times.

"The ordinance we are proposing safeguards rights to employment and housing 'without regard to actual or perceived race, color, gender, religion, ancestry, genetic information, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, etc.'"

Posted on 16 Nov 2018, 11:06 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

Summary of October 10, 2018, BOS Public Meeting

The following is a brief summary of the October 10, 2018, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition) meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting, which you can find here. See how Supervisors voted on motions (click here).

Crime

Police Report: Interim Police Chief Harris reported on the police activity for September: Calls for service: 1,423; 121 citations, 64 traffic accidents, 3 DUI arrests, 2 narcotics arrests, and a series of minor property crimes (for details, read "September 2018 Newtown Police Calls Report"). There were a few details on Swamp Road specific to commercial vehicles which yielded three inspections and two violations. In addition to resident requests, there was also a multi‐jurisdictional detail on Swamp and the Bypass and Durham and the Bypass. There were 34 commercial vehicles inspected which yielded multiple citations including one arrest for impaired driving and a few vehicles put out of service.

[I noticed that there were 9 speeding citations handed out on Swamp Road between September 20 and September 26, 2018. This compares with just one such citation made in the previous 8 months of 2018! I assume that this increased police activity on Swamp Rd was in response to residents’ complaints made at the September 12 meeting when PennDOT was here to answer questions about the safety issues of Swamp Rd. See video below.]

Ordinances

Conservation Overlay – Wrightstown Township: Establishing a Overlay Zoning Definition district for properties at least 50 acres and are now or will be subject to a Conservation Easement Definition in favor of conserving the property and limiting the use. Ag uses, accessory uses to a winery, would allow micro‐breweries, micro‐distilleries, art studios, etc. Motion for authorization for Jointure Definition to advertise for a public hearing before the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors passed 5-0.

Fireworks: Establishing consumer fireworks can be sold in PA, with restrictions to aerial displays. New use is “consumer fireworks facility” allowing for a permanent fireworks retail store as defined within a QAA (quarry) zoning district, in Wrightstown, and temporary seasonal structures for the sale of fireworks prior to holidays. Motion for authorization for Jointure to advertise for a public hearing before the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors passed 5-0.

Medical Marijuana: State legislature has required that all municipalities must provide for medical marijuana dispensaries and medical marijuana grower/processors. Dispensaries are to be treated as other commercials uses are treated; the grower/processors shall be treated as manufacturing uses. Dispensaries will only be located in the VC‐1 village commercial district in Upper Makefield, and provides for the medical marijuana grower/processors in the LI district in Newtown Township. Motion for authorization for Jointure to advertise for a public hearing before the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors passed 5-0.

Posted on 25 Oct 2018, 01:56 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

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