John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Summary of May 27, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting: E30 Ordinance, Road Work, Trails, Helping Business Reopen, More...

Summary of May 27, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting: E30 Ordinance, Road Work, Trails, Helping Business Reopen, More...

The following is a brief summary of the May 27, 2020, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition) Zoom meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting, which you can find here. You also can view the video archive 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, Township EngineerLeanna Colubriale, and Township Solicitor Jerry Schenkman.

Public Comment

There was no public comment submitted. You can submit a public comment before and during every BOS meeting via email: Comments must include your name and address and will be read aloud.

Reports of Committees, Boards and Commission

Planning Commission: JMZO Amendment for the E-30 Ordinance - Convenience Store/Fueling Station: There was a lengthy review and discussion of the E-30 use which is finally being looked at by the Jointure Definition partners. It appears that none of the changes or requests made by the Newtown PC were updated in the drafts issued by Mary Eberle [Jointure Solicitor]. As a result, the PC determined that Mrs. Fountain and Mr. Schenkman will gather all the recommendations the PC has submitted so far and maintain a red line version of the draft to ensure Newtown’s issues are incorporated in future drafts. [For background, listen to "Discussions of E-30 Zoning Amendment".

Short Term Rentals: The ordinance states that people not defined as family cannot live in the same space for more than a restricted period during any year. The Commission recommends the BOS should weigh in and vote on this at the appropriate time and the consensus is the Commission has no issues with this proposed ordinance.

Comprehensive Plan: Mr. Fidler reported the PC discussed the Comprehensive Plan where Jan Filios of the EAC Definition is working on changes to noxious plants and invasive species along with the parameters that should be included in the plant list for natural habitat. [For background, view this video: "Supervisors Pass Resolution to Support Native Plants".]

Supervisor Reports

Finance Committee: Mr. Fisher reported the Finance Committee (FC) is considering scheduling a Zoom meeting to help bring the Economic Development Committee (EDC) up to speed and provide advice around the reopening of businesses. He said some members of the FC want to apply for the ECD and are willing to try to get things off ground until EDC gets started. Mr. Fisher said George Skladany of the FC compiled a list of ideas to get a head start which Mr. Fisher shared in writing with the BOS. [See the "DRAFT Newtown Township Business COVID-19 Reopening Initiative" embedded below or download the PDF here.]

Newtown BINGO!: Mr. Mack reported Newtown Bingo is in progress with 25 local businesses participating. He said the NBA [Newtown Business Association] is also conducting a virtual scavenger hunt in June and the details can be found on their website

Reports of Officials

Engineer: Authorization to Advertise the 2020 Liquid Fuels Road Program Re-Bid: Ms. Colubriale reminded all the original $1.3 million bid for the road program was rejected with the intent to rebid with a reduced scope utilizing mainly liquid fuels program Definition funds. She said the Township is seeking authorization for a new base bid for approximately 1.6 miles of road work and she named the roads to be included.

Mr. Mack asked how much is available in the liquid fuels fund and Mr. Lewis said there is $685K of liquid fuels money and the road program is approximately $600K as the Township is trying to retain some for next year for paving or purchase of equipment. In response to Mr. Mack’s additional questions, Ms. Colubriale said 1.6 miles of roadway is the goal and she hopes for an additional mile or so of alternate bids for total of about 2.5 miles, depending on the bids. [For background, read "Summary of April 22, 2020, Newtown Board of Supervisors Meeting."]

DCED Multimodal Transportation Fund Grant: Ms. Colubriale reported although the Township did receive funding last year for the Lower Dolington Trail (LDT), they did not receive all of it; therefore, the Township would like to seek some additional funding this year from that grant. She suggested applying for the grant which has a zero percent match to complete the LDT or another trail segment in the Comprehensive Plan. Mr. Lewis added since the LDT is more of a shovel ready project, it will receive a higher score when bidding.

In response to questions from the BOS, Ms. Colubriale said the LDT will extend from Frost Lane to Upper Silver Lake Road and the plan now based on current funding is to construct from Frost Lane to the PECO easement; if awarded additional funds from this grant, the Township will be able to extend to Upper Silver Lake. She said work will continue on the first portion regardless.

Manager's Report: 2020 Summer Camp Discussion: Mr. Lewis reported it appears the Township will unfortunately have to consider cancelling the summer camps it normally holds. The school district still cannot confirm use of their facilities and another location used for camps has already closed for the summer. He said the guidelines continue to change and as most of the camp employees are high schoolers, it would be irresponsible to hold them accountable for diagnosing medical conditions. Mr. Lewis added registration is down 70%. [For background, read "Newtown Township Preparing to Help #COVID-19 Impacted Businesses Reopen Safely, Summer Camp, more..."

Old Business

Helping Local Businesses Reopen: Mr. Mack said he has been getting questions from applicants on responsibilities and meeting time frames for the EDC and added that he would like to get things going ASAP and feels the BOS doesn’t need to wait for the EDC to get started; he said the BOS can start working now to try to help Newtown businesses and try to move forward simultaneously. Mr. Davis agreed with Mr. Mack stating we need to allow outside spaces to be used to help them get back on their feet and we need to do it today. The discussion ensued on state guidelines, and where and how businesses can operate and patrons can dine outdoors.

Mr. Davis moved to allow Newtown Township businesses, when moved to the yellow phase, to use their own available outdoor space to conduct business while maintaining social distancing requirements to better cope with the Covid19 shutdown. The motion passed 5-0.

Votes on Motions

Not all motions may be included.

The following are my personal notes that I used to prepare for this meeting. I may not have asked all the questions in the notes at the meeting. You can also download the PDF version here.

Posted on 23 Jun 2020, 10:57 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

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