John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Board of Supervisors Minutes Category

Summary of July 27, 2018, BOS Public Meeting

The following is a brief summary of the July 27, 2018, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting abstracted from the official minutes, which you can find here.

Committees

Planning Commission: Allen Fidler, Chairman, gave a synopsis of the July 17, 2018 meeting regarding a land development conceptual sketch plan for a proposed Wawa with fuel canopy at Newtown Bypass and Lower Silver Lake Road. ["The informal consensus of the Commission [was] not in favor of this particular use at this site," reported Fiddler (see video below).]

[Note: At the August 7, 2018, Newtown Planning Commission meeting, member Paul Cohen objected to Chairman Fidler's characterization that the informal "consensus" of the Commission was not in favor of a Super Wawa at the proposed location on Newtown Bypass. Mr. Cohen suggested that this characterization in the minutes did not accurately reflect the conversation of members of the Commission. Listen to his comments below.]

Public Health

Water Quality: Mr. Mack attended the EPA public meeting regarding perfluorinated chemicals (PFAS) on July 25, 2018 at Hatboro‐Horsham Senior High School ["EPA Meeting in Horsham is All About Perfluorinated Chemical Contamination of Local Water Supplies"]. Federal, State and local officials provided information regarding water contamination and actions taken ["Local Officials Speak Out on PFAS/PFOA Contamination of Water" (video)]. Mr. Mack also indicated that Dan Angove, Assistant General Manager of Newtown Artesian Water Company will attend the August 8, 2018 Board of Supervisors meeting to make a presentation regarding the quality of water in Newtown. [View a video clip of his report here.]

Public Safety

Gun Safety Resolution: Mr. Calabro noted that a letter was received from Governor Wolf commending the Township for Ms. Bobrin’s gun resolution. [Read "Governor Wolf Responds to Newtown Township's Gun Safety Resolution".]

Special Actions

Appointment of New Supervisor: Mr. Dennis Fisher was voted in to replace Jen Dix on the Board by a vote of 3-1, Mr. Davis voting “nay”.

Posted on 09 Aug 2018, 01:02 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

Summary of July 11, 2018, BOS Public Meeting

The following is a brief summary of the July 11, 2018, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting abstracted from the official minutes, which you can find here.

Administration

Interim Township Manager: Ms. Bobrin motioned to make an offer to Micah Lewis to serve as Interim Township Manager at a rate of $100,000.00 per year pending the execution of a mutually agreed upon contract. Mr. Mack seconded, and the motion was approved 4‐0.

Consultation Agreement: Offer of Consultation Agreement to Kurt Ferguson for advice on general municipal management, budget financing, collective bargaining, etc. It was noted that this agreement was to assist with the learning curve and 2019 budgetary process, etc. Mr. Mack made a motion to offer a consultation agreement, pending the execution of a mutually agreed upon contract, at the rate of $75.00 per hour beginning July 16, 2018, with either party requiring 30 days written notice of termination if and when desired. Ms. Bobrin seconded. The motion passing, 4‐0.

Committees

Environmental Advisory Council: Council member Brenna Luczyszyn sought the Board’s approval to hold a 2‐part event with the Audubon Society: September 12, 2018, 7PM‐9PM, at the Newtown Theatre for a movie, “The Central Park Effect”, regarding birds in correlation to Newtown’s status as an Audubon Bird Town; and September 23, 2018, 1PM‐4PM, Township Building, “Climate Action Circles” for the community to discuss projects to help birds and people. Mr. Mack motioned to approve the EAC Audubon Society events held on September 12, 2018 at the Newtown Theatre from 7PM‐9PM, and on September 23, 2018 at the Township Building from 1PM‐4PM. Ms. The motion was passed 4‐0.

Ordinances

Anti-discrimination Ordinance: Mr. Mack would like to see Newtown Township adopt an antidiscrimination ordinance similar to neighboring municipalities (e.g., Yardley; read "Yardley Borough Passes Local Anti-Discrimination Ordinance") to protect from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations, etc. Mr. Sander will provide a draft of an ordinance for a future agenda item and asked if the Board would be interested in creating a Human Relations Commission to receive complaints and help with private mediation.

Public Safety

Police Report: Lt. Jason Harris, Interim Police Chief, gave the report. For June 2018, there were 1,533 total calls for service from 148 traffic citations, 7 DUIs, 17 thefts, 29 property damage, 53 accidents, 116 medical emergencies, 62 suspicious circumstances, and 33 disputes. [See "June 2018 Police Report".]

Public Works

Roadway Improvement Program: Ms. Colubriale noted that there will be a change in the paving schedule from Quaker Drive and Sentinel Avenue to Franklin Court. Letters were sent to Quaker Drive residents notifying them of this change due scheduled sewer work. This reduces the total paving contract by $7,993.40. [See "2018 Road Paving Schedule (tentative)"]

Posted on 27 Jul 2018, 10:37 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

Summary of June 27, 2018, BOS Public Meeting

The following is a brief summary of the June 27, 2018, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting abstracted from the official minutes, which you can find here.

Committees

Technology Committee: Mr. Mack, BOS liaison, requested using conference calling and how it affects a quorum. Mr. Sander responded that a member can participate by conference call, but there must be a majority of a quorum physically present at the meeting. The quorum members cannot be all on the phone.

Development

Drive-thru Starbucks: Consideration of Settlement Stipulation for Starbucks Conditional Use Appeal. Ms. Bobrin made a motion to authorize execution of the settlement stipulation. Mr. Calabro seconded. A discussion took place surrounding the conditions of the Stipulation Agreement. The motion passed 4‐1, Mr. Davis voting “nay” [Read "Drive-thru Starbucks is Back on Track!"]

Penn Community Bank: Penn Community Bank, 295 N. Sycamore Street – Applicant is seeking to replace and add identification and directional signage for the bank. Applicant stated they would make revisions and would return before the Commission.

Premier A‐2 Self Storage: Approval of the agreements, documents, and plans associated with Premier A2 Self‐Storage, Penns Trail. The Final Plan approval was granted by the Board and documentation was prepared for the project. Mrs. Dix made a motion to authorize the execution of development documents for Premier A‐2 Self‐Storage. Ms. Bobrin seconded, and the motion passed 5‐0.

More excerpts from minutes regarding development issues...

Good Government

Communications: Mr. Mack followed up with the Board about a proposed for a roundtable discussion with HOA officers to improve communications and discuss MS4 projects. A date will be determined in the future.

More excerpts from minutes regarding good government issues...

Ordinances

Peddling and Soliciting: John D’Aprile, Newtown Grant, made a comment regarding the minutes of the BOS Work Session on June 18, 2018 regarding the peddling and soliciting ordinance (see here). A discussion followed regarding updating the ordinance.

Public Works

Roadway Improvement: Mr. Ferguson discussed changes to the 2018 Road Paving Project. Remington Vernick will look into a change order to pave Franklin Court and eliminate paving of Quaker Drive due to anticipated sewer construction.

Posted on 20 Jul 2018, 14:04 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

Summary of June 18, 2018, Board of Supervisors Work Session

On June 18, 2018, the Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) held a “work session” to discuss proposed changes to police ordinances and the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance (JMZO):

Police Ordinances
  • Ordinance #74-O-62 Towing
  • Ordinance #88-O-202 Peddling & Soliciting
  • Ordinance #2004-O-2 Excessive and Unnecessary Noise
Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance (JMZO)
  • Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
  • Water and Sewer deletions: a proposal to remove/edit public water and sewer requirements to separate density and lot size from public water and sewer consideration
  • Delete use B-15, Planned Residential Development, from the JMZO

Supervisors don't make decisions or vote on anything at work sessions. BOS work sessions are public meetings during which Supervisors discuss things like road projects, ordinances, and other issues to prepare for voting on these issues at future official board meetings.

The following is a brief summary of this work session abstracted from the official minutes, which you can find here.

Towing

Chief Pasqualini recommended updating. The Wrightstown Township current ordinance (Resolution 529) was used as a model to draft the updated Newtown Township’s ordinance. Chief confirmed with Mr. Sandler that he indicated his changes to the Wrightstown ordinance to help draft Newtown’s new ordinance.

Peddling & Soliciting

Mr. Sander mentioned soliciting mail he received for another township which stated curfews before 9 PM are unconstitutional. Newtown has no time restriction; Mr. Sander noted a reasonable soliciting time period would be 10 AM to 9 PM. The Township could provide for “No Soliciting” signs posted on your door, i.e. to have a quiet night, and solicitors must honor this or it is in violation of the soliciting ordinance. The “No Soliciting” signs all over Newtown Grant doesn’t mean anything. Mr. Ferguson noted that a township maintains a list of residents requesting no solicitation. When solicitors apply for their permit, they are given the list. Soliciting for non‐profits have changed from what they were allowed to do. It was asked if a non‐profit could be charged a fee under certain circumstances, i.e. to recoup staff time expenses.

Excessive and Unnecessary Noise

Section 10‐501(B) is difficult to enforce. Enforcing a decibel level needs a noise meter and someone registered and trained has to be there at the time of the occurrence of the noise. There are so many variable decibel levels that many other townships have dropped this from their ordinance. When there is an annoyance of animals (dog barking, bird chirping) it is difficult to catch them in the act. A barking dog would be a private nuisance since it affects a few people. A public nuisance would be something, for example, constructing something over a major intersection that would affect a larger amount of people. 

Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Township Planner Michele Fountain reviewed the proposed JMZO Ordinance. State law says that a medical dispensary use cannot be within 1,000 feet of a public, parochial, preschool or a daycare facility. In our ordinance, there is a C2 school use and a C3 commercial school use. She recommended to use the C2 and C3 language rather than identifying preschool or daycare facilities which are in the Jointure. Mr. Sander stated that terms may be defined in the Act but public, parochial, preschool and daycare facilities do not include commercial uses i.e. karate, dance, and music schools. It isn’t what the Act had in mind. Those schools go into commercial areas and that is where he believes the medical marijuana dispensaries are supposed to be located. If a dispensary receives a conditional use and permitted to set up in a shopping center and then a school applies to go into the stopping center, the school cannot go there. The Newtown Township Dispensaries are allowed in a VC‐1 district. There are two locations applicable and they are not located in Newtown. However, large parcels in the Township could be rezoned as VC‐1.

Planning Commission Chairman, Allen Fidler commented that a dispensary is not something everyone sees as a bad thing [listen to this Special Report by Dr. Sanjay Gupta: "Pot vs Pills"]. There are people who have difficulty having a prescription filled because of the distance. Having an ordinance gives the Township control of addressing where dispensaries would be located. Along with a 1,000 ft. separation from schools, the Township may want to consider a separation distance from a Township‐owned park. Mr. Sandler replied that it might not be able to do that because it isn’t in State law. 

Planned Residential Development (PRD)

Discussion to delete use B‐15 in JMZO: Remove all PRD requirements from the ordinance but includes a performance subdivision B14 ordinance requirements in its place. Ms. Fountain stated that Newtown Township currently has 21 PRDs that are already approved. Discussion continued regarding the pros and cons of a PRD.Tthe Board is limited on what would be required for a PRD development. The disadvantage is that the Board is on the hook to give tentative approval to give certain rights when you don’t have any detailed information. 

Operation of All Terrain Vehicles

re Section 10‐Part 7 of JMZO: Mr. Sander suggested to remove the entire ordinance. A high amount of resources are invested, and the drivers are too hard to apprehend.

Posted on 19 Jul 2018, 01:12 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

Summary of June 13, 2018, Meeting of the Newtown Board of Supervisors

You may not have the time to download and read the entire minutes from meetings of the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS), or the approved minutes may not yet be available on the Township website (here), so I created this summary from the June 13, 2018, public meeting. I also included some links to related information and embedded video clips from meetings. This is not a complete list of items discussed.

Technology Committee

Josephine Vlastaris, Chair of the Technology Committee, presented a summary of accomplishments of the Committee. The following is a partial list of the Committee’s current agenda items:

  • Emergency notification system (researched/proposed Nixle)
    • Proactive Township notification of urgent events
  • Analytics
    • Committee recommended setting up Google Analytics account to monitor traffic and bounce rate for the township website, and make changes to pages as needed.
  • Parks and Rec
    • Committee recommended using geolocation technology to assist residents with park navigation.
    • Committee proposed use of drones capturing footage of parks and trails to post on website to familiarize residents with recreational options.

View the Powerpoint presentation submitted to the Board:

Newtown Technology Committee Presentation prepared by Josephine Vlastaris

Swamp Road

Jennifer Brennan and other residents of the Knob Hill community made comments regarding trucks on Swamp Road. You can listen to her remarks in the video below.

Ms. Brennan mentioned an online petition calling for re-routing of quarry trucks off of Swamp Road. The "Re-Route Trucks Off Swamp Road in Newtown, PA" petition states in part: “We are a group of residents who would like to express safety concerns as a result of quarry truck traffic which starts very early morning and continues until evening on Swamp Road. The quarry trucks drive much faster than the speed limit and are extremely aggressive toward passenger vehicles. Swamp Road is a winding, hilly, two-lane road with limited visibility in both directions. This road just does not seem like the right route for these quarry trucks, for the safety of other motorists. Although this has been an ongoing concern for many years, there have been several quarry truck accidents just this year… These trucks need to be re-routed to a state regulated road.”

As of June 19, 2018, over 300 people have signed the petition.

However, Swamp Road is a state-regulated road and outside the purview of the Newtown Board of Supervisors. However, as mentioned by Township Manager Kurt Ferguson, the town is planning to speak with PennDot about having a fundamental evaluation of the long-term needs of Swamp Road (see update below):

First National Bank

The board voted 4-1 (John Mack voting “nay”) to approve a motion for the extension of time to file plans (see article below).

Gun Safety Resolution

The board voted 4-1 (Kyle Davis voting “nay”) to pass a non-binding “gun safety” resolution. This is the same resolution passed by other municipalities, including Yardley Borough (more here...).

The resolution (here) states that as many as 116,225 people are shot each year in America, and that 35,141 people die from gun violence in “murders, assaults, suicides, suicide attempts, unintentional shootings or by police interventions.”

The resolution was passed after testimony from several Council Rock students (see video below).

May 2018 Police Report

Chief Pasqualini presented the Calls Report for May 2018 at the June 13, 2018, Board of Supervisors meeting. In that month, the Newtown Police Department responded to 1,414 calls, 231 (16%) of which were in Wrightstown Township (Newtown Police provides services to both Newtown Township and Wrightstown). See a summary of Chief Pasqualini's report here.

Posted on 20 Jun 2018, 01:46 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

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