John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Summary of September 26, 2018, BOS Public Meeting

Summary of September 26, 2018, BOS Public Meeting

The following is a brief summary of the September 26, 2018, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition) meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting, which you can find here.

Committee Reports

Newtown Township Finance Committee: Jack Brod, Chairperson of the Finance Committee, made a presentation [of a] preliminary study [that] reflects the Committee’s views. [Read a summary of that presentation here and view a video of the presentation here.]

Mr. Calabro asked that the Committee create a 5‐year plan with issues regarding EIT Definition, real estate transfer tax Definition, and business development to promote the economy. The Board was favorable about the Committee willing to educate residents on real estate tax, school tax, EIT and other budgetary information during this budget period.

Planning Commission - Sit‐Stay: [Chairman Allen Fidler reported that the] Applicant is seeking relief to continue operating Sit‐Stay, an unpermitted daycare/kennel for approximately 50 dogs on a daily basis. The property is in the CM district and is over 18 acres where 25 acres are necessary to run a kennel. Applicant is willing to mitigate the situation by moving play yards, install sound proofing barriers and fencing, and plant evergreen landscaping to diffuse the noise. [There was much public comment pro and con regarding whether a dog kennel could be an accessory agricultural property under 25 acres, mitigating the noise level, and the background of this application.]

Planning Commission - Penns Trail Investment: Joe Blackburn, Esq., represented applicant seeking relief in connection to the construction of a 2‐story, 12,000 sq.ft. medical office use building with 129 parking spaces on a 3.89 acre property, with an existing 7,300 sq. ft. 2‐story medical office building with 98 parking spaces. The proposed construction does not comply with the dimensional regulations, parking requirements in according with the NT [Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance] JMZO Definition. The Commission had no general consensus on points of relief being requested. One primary point was made by several members asking applicant to show hardship. Applicant stated that they had tenants for the existing building and to enhance the medical use of the property, they needed the additional square footage to create a medical campus. The question the Commission discussed was on one hand the Joint Zoning Ordinance protection and the greater good of the community and Township at large.

Fiscal Responsibility

Audit Report: Ed Furman of Mallie presented the 2017 Financial Statement. The information went through an electronic audit of the general ledger and can depict each expense account with monthly activity. He indicated that the report gave the Supervisors an idea of the financial strength of the Township as of the end of 2017. Real estate transfer tax and EIT revenues were discussed briefly. [Read a summary of that presentation here and view a video of the presentation here.]

Ordinances

Anti‐Discrimination Ordinance Discussion: David Bria discussed Yardley Borough’s Ordinance Definition that was adopted earlier this year. He noted that the existing anti‐discrimination law PA Human Relations Act enables municipalities to create their own Human Relations Commission. The public opinion has been popular and businesses have been implementing this policy, most recognized is Amazon which wants to be located in a state that has complete anti‐discrimination law. Any anti‐discrimination complaints are heard by the Human Relations Commission, and there are no specific requirements but that members of the Commission may not hold office with any political party. Other discussion was related to training, advisory councils/resources, filing complaints, handling abusers to the complaint process, etc.

Ms. Bobrin motioned to have the Township Solicitor draft and advertise an anti‐discrimination ordinance for Newtown Township. Mr. Mack seconded. Motion Discussion: With various communities taking part in this, there should be standards in creating the ordinance rather being different. There was discussion regarding how to handle claims, including frivolous claims, and awards. The motion was amended to authorize the drafting of an anti‐discrimination ordinance submission to the Board for review. Ms. Bobrin made a motion to approve. Mr. Mack seconded, and the motion passed 5‐0.

Consideration to Approve Amendment to Noise Ordinance: [Mr. Sander - Township Solicitor - reported that on the advice of former Police Chief Pasqualini and Code Enforcement Officer Martin Vogt, he is recommending that the Board advertise amendments to the noise ordinance (see Summary of September 12, 2018, BOS Meeting).] Mr. Mack stated it was discerning to remove an ordinanceo because it was difficult to enforce. Discussion was about removing certain portions and having some complaints being subjective. The motion passed 4‐1, Mr. Mack voted “nay”. [For more information about this, read "Board of Supervisors Decimate Noise Ordinance"]

Consideration to authorize the Solicitor to draft and advertise an ordinance prohibiting the discharge of firearms on Township property: Mr. Sander stated that the PA Uniform Firearms Act pre‐empts local municipalities to enact or pass laws that deal with possession, sale or transportation of firearms as defined by the Act. The Township can prohibit the discharge, or use, of the firearm on Township owned and public property with exception of law enforcement and self‐defense. Hunting is excluded in the ordinance. Carrying a firearm is considered possession and the Act pre‐empts the Township from adding it to the ordinance. The motion passed 5‐0.

Posted on 12 Oct 2018, 12:24 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

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