John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Summary of February 12, 2020, Newtown Township BOS Public Meeting

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

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