For too long, developers and commercial entities with deep pockets have received favorable treatment regardless of merit, or any real benefit to our town.
Our leaders should focus on "smart" economic development that will create jobs and opportunities for everyone.
The following excerpts from minutes of meetings of the Board of Supervisors offer a glimpse into past discussions and decisions of the Board related to development issues. You be the judge if the decisions were smart for Newtown!
Excerpts from Board of Supervisors Meeting Minutes
Details of previous and ongoing land development issues that have come before the Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition) in last few years. This is NOT a complete list of items. You can find complete minutes of BOS meetings here. Click this button Definition to access the Glossary for definitions of terms and links to related information.
- 413 Durham Road
- Arcadia Green
- Catalyst Outdoor Sign Company
- Chick-fil-A/Old Navy
- Chipotle Mexican Grill
- Comprehensive Plan
- Conservation Overlay
- Drive-thru Starbucks
- Fred Beans
- IHM Properties, Newtown Bypass at Lower Silver Lake Road
- Iron Hill Brewery
- K9 Resorts Luxury Pet Hotel
- KVK Tech
- Lotus Park Senior Living
- MOD Super Fast Pizza
- Pickering Manor
- PRD Elimination
- Solstice Restaurant
- Toll Brothers Development
- Villas of Newtown
- Wawa on Bypass
413 Durham Road
26-Nov-2019: Durham Partners Group LLC: The applicant is seeking zoning relief in connection with the proposed development of a five-acre lot with one existing single-family home into a 27 -lot town home community. The application was previously presented to the BOS who opposed the project. The Commission has concerns with the density issues and wetness of the area. There was discussion of other options for the area including a 24,000 square foot medical office building. The Commission opposed this application.
Mr. Mack stated he attended the PC meeting and heard some comments from PC that reflected the BOS feelings about the Durham Road application. He suggested, since all oppose this application, to motion withdrawing the ZHB application. Mr. Calabro said it was a good suggestion, however it is up to the applicant to withdraw. Mr. Calabro added he is still in favor of sending the solicitor to the meeting to oppose the application.
[For background, view this video: "Newtown Supervisors Oppose Plan To Build 27 Townhouses". Read "It's Strike Two for 27 Townhomes on Durham Road!"]
13-Nov-2019: Durham Partners Group LLC: Nate Fox presented the application on behalf of Durham Road Partners Group, LLC. He stated they filed a use variance to be heard by ZHB on 12/5/19 and the Planning Commission next week for 27 townhouses on a cul-de-sac on the property at 413 Durham Road which will also require dimensional variances as the property is zoned for professional office. Resident Michael Horbal questioned the BOS role in this process. Mr. Sander responded the BOS can decide to take no action, they can authorize Mr. Sander to write a letter to the ZHB stating concerns and agree to certain decisions or they can authorize Mr. Sander to take a position for or against.
[For background, view this video: "Newtown Supervisors Oppose Plan To Build 27 Townhouses".]
24-Feb-2021: Arcadia Settlement: Mr. Sander explained that Arcadia had revised its settlement plan to incorporate a number of requests from the Eagle Ridge community, including developing an alternative access plan from the service road. This plan, offered by resident Peter Ancona, would activate a newly located traffic signal at the entrance to the property to allow both right and left access into and out of the development. This would be if PennDOT denies the proposed access from the Bypass. In addition, the Arcadia development would take over maintenance of the Eagle Ridge detention basin and stormwater facilities; additional buffering would be added between Arcadia and Newtown Crossing/Eagle Ridge; construction traffic would be prohibited from Mill Pond Road; no truck traffic signs would be placed on the entrances to Mill Pond Road if permitted by PennDOT; and the Arcadia development would be limited to 60 single family detached dwellings. In conversation, Mr. Duckworth indicated that the price point for these homes would be in the $700,000 range, however the price point is not part of the agreement. If approved, all litigation among the Township, Eagle Ridge and Arcadia would cease.
Attorney Steve Harris, representing Eagle Ridge HOA, confirmed that Eagle Ridge is not opposed to the settlement and if the Board approves the settlement, Eagle Ridge will withdraw its appeals.
Mr. Oxley moved to approve the proposed stipulation and settlement agreement with Arcadia at Newtown Holdings L.P. Mr. Calabro seconded. The motion passed 4-1, with Mr. Davis voting nay.the Board approves the settlement, Eagle Ridge will withdraw its appeals.
[Read "Residents Lash Out Against Arcadia Settlement".]
12-Jun-2019: Arcadia Appeal: Resident Dennis Schoener provided an update on the Arcadia appeal and expressed his concerns on the direction it is going. Mr. Sander acknowledged the update provided by Mr. Schoener was accurate. He then explained it was not legally feasible for the Township to contribute to the legal fees of the Eagle Ridge Association as requested. Mr. Sander is unable to discuss details of the case as it is in litigation and he referred Mr. Schoener to the Eagle Ridge counsel. [For background on this case, read "Newtown Township Supervisors Say 'No Means No' When It Comes to Arcadia Green III Planned Residential Development".]
14-Nov-2018: Arcadia Green III 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."]
12-Sep-2018: Report from Planning Commission: Chairman Allen Fidler reported that the Commission has discussed the plans for Arcadia Green, but as the applicant's engineer and traffic engineer were not available to answer questions, the Commission offered a few suggestions regarding the plans but did not make a formal recommendation.
22-Aug-2018: Arcadia Green PRD Hearing: Jason Duckworth, President of Arcadia Land Company, and Attorney John VanLuvanee, presented the plan and testified (see Summary of August 8, 2018, BOS Public Meeting for Part 1). Mr. Duckworth, still under oath, testified that under this current plan, there would be no access to High Street and the church property is not included in this current plan. Also, emergency access was not considered in the plan. Testimony included mention of Arcadia meeting with PennDOT to discuss the proposed plans for a U-turn at the intersection Buck and Mill Pond Roads. [Arcadia Green’s traffic engineer will be available at the September 13, 2018 BOS meeting.]
8-Aug-2018: Report from Planning Commission: Allen Fidler, Chairman, gave a synopsis of the Arcadia Green PRD Definition presentation at the August 7, 2018 meeting, and the Commission asked questions of a general nature to the applicant. There were no formal recommendations made. Some of the concerns of the Commission and from public comment were traffic and pedestrian safety issues, proposed double left u‐turns at Mill Pond and Buck, development infill affecting quality of life, and roadway safety accessing and leaving their developments via Buck Road and the Bypass. Suggestions from the Commission included a pedestrian bridge, a second access to the development for use by EMS services only, and for partial open space to remain as undisturbed habitat for native plants and wildlife.
8-Aug-2018: Arcadia Green PRD Hearing: Resident Jay McGuigan, 271 High Street, Newtown Crossing, was given Party Status Definition Resident and vice president of Eagle Ridge Association Dennis Schoener, 21 Ardsley Court, Eagle Ridge, was denied party status; however, if an attorney is hired by Eagle Ridge, they may have the opportunity to be included. Mr. John VanLuvanee, Esq., applicant’s counsel, presented the Supervisors with a binder of exhibits and addressed the history of the property and previous plans. Mr. VanLuvanee explained an offer of a mediation option for the Board to consider. Mr. Calabro asked for a motion to submit the application to mediation. The motion failed. [In response to VanLuvanee’s request that several Supervisors be recused due to bias, Township Solicitor Definition, Dave Sander, cited section 603 of the PA Second Class Township Code, which states: “A member of the board shall not be disqualified from voting on any issue before the board solely because the member had previously expressed an opinion on the issue in either an official or unofficial capacity.”] A motion to recuse the Board members was denied.
25-Oct-2017: Report from the Planning Commission meeting of October 24th. The proposed High Street access and under the Township's position, required a willing modification of the adjacent PRD . Modification of the PRD Definition is effectively controlled by the Home Owners Association (HOA). If the HOA wants to modify their plan to accommodate the relocation or the creation of a street into their development, they feel that is their prerogative and the Township supports that position. The applicant disagrees; they own a residential unit on High Street and believe they can use it for an access point. Mr. Davis asked if the Arcadia representatives gave a reason why they didn't address all of the issues on the Township's review letters. Mr. Fidler stated the responses were "we disagree" without going into detail, or "we disagree with the Township position" and will respond later. With the sensitivity of the time line, the longer it takes Arcadia to answer in a timely fashion, the harder it is for our job to be done in a timely fashion.
11-Oct-2017: Report from Planning Commission: Paul Cohen, Secretary, gave a synopsis of the meeting held on October 3, 2017. The only item on the agenda was the Arcadia Green Tentative PRD. At the time of the meeting, Arcadia's responses to our Township professionals' review letters had not been received and the Commission didn't feel prepared to discuss the technicalities of the development plan. Some of the issues discussed at the Planning meeting were concerns about the open space apportionments, use of the common area, and the big issue was access to Newtown Crossing on High Street, and the access to the Bypass. The applicant agreed to an extension allowing the Commission an opportunity to review the plan and applicant's responses to the engineers' review letters.
11-Oct-2017: Arcadia Green PRD Hearing: Arcadia Newtown Holdings LP submitted an application for tentative approval of a plan of residential development, a/k/a PRD, the site is located at the intersection and northwest corner of Buck Road and Newtown Bypass, the application seeks to develop a mixed use development on a site of approximately 25 acres. The application proposes 85 residential units comprised of 26 village houses and 29 townhouses. The application also includes open space, recreation areas and a common facility. The application also includes property owned by the Newtown Reformed Church.
23-Oct-2019: Traffic & Parking: Based on concerns from residents regarding issues at the Village of Newtown Shopping Center, Mr. Mack reached out to a Brixmor representative to see if they would come before the Board to provide details on the progress of the shopping center. Brixmor said they would, however, would prefer to wait until near the end of the project. Mr. Calabro asked what Mr. Mack would want to hear from them and suggested we wait until they are ready to come in. Mr. Mack is hoping they will discuss minor traffic improvements and mentioned the agreements with Brixmor include a post traffic study where Brixmor agrees to take BOS suggestions into consideration. Mr. Lewis confirmed they will be doing a post development traffic study. Mr. Lewis will contact Brixmor and determine when they will be available to come before the BOS.
Catalyst Outdoor Sign Company
17-Oct-2016: Robert DeGoria of Catalyst gave a brief presentation on the merits of allowing a lease arrangement for a Catalyst sign on Township owned land at Silver Lake Park. Mr. DeGoria explained that the electronic billboards would be 520 square feet in size, about half the size of a typical highway billboard. The signs would be housed in an architectural feature or monument so that it would appear very attractive and in keeping with the surrounding area. One design featured a barn like structure containing restrooms, for example, and another included a silo with a second billboard. Catalyst proposed a lease arrangement which would result in profit to the Township of close to $2.5 million over the course of 30 years, with the first years' payments in the $150,000 range. In addition, the Township would be offered advertising and emergency announcement time on the billboard, whose messages change at regular intervals. Mr. Davis thanked Mr. DeGoria for his presentation and asked his fellow Board members to communicate directly with Mr. DeGoria via e-mail with specific questions. [view video]
8-Jun-2016: Mr. Calabro reminded the Board that it had recently seen a presentation from Catalyst sign company which would install signage that could generate revenue to the Township. Due to the late hour of the presentation, he felt the vendor was not given full consideration for his proposal and he would like to discuss this further. He also noted that Chairman Davis had not been in attendance. Mr. Davis said that he had met with Catalyst and seen their presentation privately. He is not sure this would be appropriate for Newtown. Mr. M. Gallagher agreed, noting that the Township does not permit billboards. He also has concerns about the other components of the sign such as the dog park. Mr. Calabro said that he was interested in the gateway concept and thought it deserved further consideration. Mrs. Dix said that she liked the farmers market proposal attached to the sign. Mr. R. Gallagher said that he thought this was a unique proposal and perhaps some of the Township's other committees would be interested in seeing the presentation. Mr. M. Gallagher said that he did not want to send the vendors to the Planning Commission or other committee if the concept did not have the support of three board members. He has some concern that there is not enough support for a large sign on the Bypass. Mr. Garton and Mr. Ferguson suggested that they, along with two Board members, could review the concept in depth before bringing the vendors to other committees or to the full Board in a formal setting. Mr. Davis and Mrs. Dix agreed to review this concept further with Mr. Ferguson and Mr. Garton.
13-Jan-2021: Settlement Agreement: Mr. Sander explained that Newtown Bucks Associates had applied for and received variance relief for parking calculations and from a requirement to utilize a loading area for Chick –Fil-A but was denied relief for impervious surface of 61.70% where 50% is required and 59.65% is currently existing in order to construct a 12,500 square foot pad site, which had been part of the original approved plan. Newtown Bucks appealed this decision and the Township is now considering a settlement and stipulation which would grant the impervious relief of 61.66% for a 9,000 square foot pad site.
Mr. Calabro moved to authorize the Township to enter into the Stipulation with Newtown Bucks Associates, subject to the Zoning Hearing Board entering into the Stipulation Agreement. Mr. Fisher seconded.br>
Discussion of motion: Resident Frank McCarron objected to the agreement as it does not adequately address conflicts between Chick-Fil-A traffic and cars attempting to go to Staples. The motion failed 2-3, with Messrs. Davis, Oxley and Mack voting nay. [Read "Newtown BOS Rejects Chick-fil-A/Old Navy Settlement Agreement".]
Chipotle Mexican Grill
27-Mar-2019: Mr. Sander noted one scenario has changed since Conditional Use Definition was granted at last meeting. The original unit number was Unit 40 at the end of Building 8; this was an error on their part which they have corrected to reflect Unit 37, located in the middle of building 8. It is similarly situated and there is no substantive adverse impact on granting conditional use and approval is recommended.
13-Mar-2019: Mr. Blackburn presented the application for uses E-5, eating place and E-6, drive through eating place, at the northwest corner of building 8 at Village at Newtown Shopping Center. The space is 2500 square feet and the E-6 is for the carry out component of the business; there will not be a drive through window. The applicant has agreed to all of the comments in the CKS review letter. This application brings the percentage of restaurants to 15%. In the shopping center’s approval there is shared parking of 4.7 spaces per 1000 square feet and a limit of 45% restaurant uses. With this application 128 (58%) of the allotted 220 EDUs Definition are taken.
23-Oct-2019: Lisa Wolff and Jeremy Stoff of the Bucks County Planning Commission (BCPC) reviewed the Joint Comprehensive Plan (JCP) Proposal. Mr. Stoff began stating in February 2019, the Newtown Area Joint Zoning Council (JZC Definition) raised the issue of updating the JCP and asked the BCPC to provide a cost estimate for the update. It is recommended under the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code (MPC) the Plan be reviewed every 10 years and the last JCP was adopted in 2009. Mr. Stoff said the JCP is one of the most important tools used by municipalities for land use planning and local governance; it also states future goals and provides a formal vision for the Planning Commission, elected officials, residents and organizations. The MPC recommends including plans for land use, present and future housing needs, transportation plans, community facilities plan, and plans to preserve natural and historic resources as well as how the plans will be implemented. Mr. Stoff concluded by saying the JCP also provides the framework for zoning, subdivision, infrastructure, capital budgeting and decision making.
Ms. Wolff proceeded to discuss funding of the JCP stating the primary funding would be via the Municipal Assistance Program (MAP Definition) administered by the State Department of Community and Economic Development. She explained this grant has a rolling deadline and it would fund up to 50% of the project. Ms. Wolff added working jointly with Upper Makefield and Wrightstown is beneficial, however the outcome of being awarded the grant is still unknown.
In response to Mr. Mack’s questions regarding cost, Ms. Wolff confirmed the cost at $50,880 and said Newtown Township is responsible for 47.59% based on allocations using total population, land area and taxable assessment. Mr. Mack also inquired about the probability on obtaining the grant to which Ms. Wolff was unable to answer due to unknown factors such as how many other applications will be received throughout the state. However, she did say that the State looks favorably on municipalities working jointly. Mr. Mack asked if the BCPC assists in the application of the grant and if the cost is part of the grant. Ms. Wolff said the BCPC will process the grant at no cost to the Township. Resident Michael Horbal expressed his support of a comprehensive plan and made suggestions to the BOS including considering the level of participation of Newtown Township in the JMZO Definition with focus on promoting smart growth and having Upper Makefield and Wrightstown share more responsibility in future development.
10-Jul-2019: Discussed the Jointure’s Definition Comprehensive Plan which is up for review and modification every ten years. According to the written statement by Mr. Fidler, “the Commission members discussed the Jointure’s Comprehensive Plan... Sharing information with residents and Township committees before the Plan is due would enable productive planning. Using electronic and paper sources for information and feedback would provide a good cross section of residents. All responses would need to be verified that they are actually received from Newtown Township residents.”
In response to Mr. Mack’s questions on the Comprehensive Plan [More details provided by John Mack, not in minutes: "Is the PC recommending that the Township hold public meetings and survey residents as part of the process should it be decided to go ahead with updating the Comp Plan? Any specific suggestions for verifying responses are from actual residents?"], Mr. Fidler explained that the Joint Zoning Council Definition discussed getting input from residents and businesses by asking pertinent questions regarding their visions on improving the quality of life in the Jointure. Mr. Calabro stated the Board just received notification of the Comprehensive Plan and asked when the Board was expected to complete the process for the Plan. Mr. Fidler said the Planning Commission expects the process to last about one year. Mr. Calabro asked if there was any procedure for the Board at this time. Mr. Lewis said the Plan must be included the budget; it is not in the 2019 budget as it was not a proposal, however it will be included in the 2020 budget. The Bucks County Planning Commission (BCPC) is asking the Board to pass a resolution in support of a formulation of the Comprehensive Plan. Ms. Bobrin asked who does the application for the grants and Mr. Lewis replied that it is the BCPC. He said the Township will ask the BCPC to come to future Planning Commission and Board meetings to review details. There was additional discussion on cost and payment, surveys, responsibilities and the aggressive timeline. It was agreed that sharing information with residents and township committees before the Plan is due would enable productive planning.
10-Oct-2018: 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.
27-Jun-2018: Consideration of Settlement Stipulation for Starbucks Conditional Use Definition 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.” [Access the settlement agreement here.]
9-May-2018: This conditional use application is for the conditional use for an E5 and E6 eating place adjacent to the relocated Bank of America. The motion to approve the application failed 5-0. [NOTE: This was despite a recommendation for approval by the Newtown Planning Commission. Read "Newtown Board of Supervisors Shoots Down Drive-thru Starbucks".]
25-Apr-2018: The Newtown Planning Commission recommended the Supervisors not oppose the Conditional Use application for Starbucks, 2896 South Eagle Road, Village At Newtown West. This application pertained to the function of the drive-thru for an E5 and E6 eating place. This is one of the new buildings approved as part of the comprehensive Village At Newtown redevelopment plan. The Commission is limited with suggesting changes to what had been approved during the subdivision and land development application. Based on demand, the operating hours would be from 4:30AM to 11:00PM, and deliveries would be made after 9:30PM. The restaurant proposes 41 interior and 26 exterior seating which would be accessible from the parking lot.
Concerns were discussed regarding the proposed drive-thru, 10-car stacking lanes, parking, time of operation, and safety of the outside seating area. It was suggested to the applicant that decorative concrete bollards be installed at the perimeter of the outdoor eating area to increase safety from vehicular traffic. The Commission was also concerned about pedestrian traffic cut-thru to Starbucks and suggested signage to promote safety stating “cross at the crossing” and to add decorative fencing to hinder pedestrian traffic cutting through the shopping center parking lot.
13-Feb-2019: Ms. Bobrin moved to authorize execution of development, financial security and stormwater agreements for Fred Beans, Newtown [see here for details of renovation plans]. Mr. Mack seconded and the motion passed 4-0.
10-Jan-2018: A visual concept displayed the new frontage of the showroom and the body shop, complete sidewalks, signage resulting in six less signs, and how the property is proposed to blend in with historic area. Because it was a nonconforming use, the Zoning Hearing Board granted relief, Parks & Recreation recommended to receive over 10,000 sq. ft. of open space to connect Sycamore Street with the shopping center, and the Plan has the recommendation from HARB and the Planning Commission. Motion for approval passed 5-0. [The BOS approved the plan at the February 13, 2019, public meeting. Read "Newtown Township Gives the Final Go-Ahead for the Renovation of the Fred Beans Dealership on Sycamore Street."
27-Dec-2017: Fred Beans Ford of Newtown Preliminary as Final Plan, 10 North Sycamore Street - Applicant had returned to the Planning Commission after meeting with HARB to review blending the architectural plans with the historical appearance of the area. The Commission recommends the Board grant preliminary as final subject to compliance to the consultants' letters.
26-Apr-2017:Planning Commission Chairman Allen Fidler reported that at the April 18, 2017 meeting the Commission reviewed a Zoning Hearing Board application for Fred Beans Ford, 10 North Sycamore Street. The application seeks to correct many existing non-conformities, including buffering requirements, drive aisle width and parking stall size for inventory parking. With a proposed land development, the applicant intends to add new facades to the body shop and showroom and redesign the inventory lot. The Commission recommends that the Supervisors support this application but suggested certain conditions, including wording of relief such that the variances cannot be carried over for other uses; providing some landscaping or buffering along the Sycamore Street sidewalk such as a small wall and/or fence, which would still allow inventory to be visible from the street [note that the final rendering does not include this feature]. Although this property is not in the historic district, it is surrounded by historic properties; it is also recommended that the applicant work with HARB on the two new building facades and the signage.
IHM Properties, Newtown Bypass at Lower Silver Lake Road
12-Jun-2013: Allen Fidler, Chairman of the Newtown Planning Commission, gave Supervisors a synopsis of the June 4, 2013, Commission meeting regarding a land development conceptual Sketch Plan Definition for development of a ten acre parcel at the intersection of Newtown Bypass and Silver Lake Road as a 110 room hotel, two restaurant pads and a medical office building. The site is intersected by a 150 foot wide PECO property with high tension wires and utility lines as well as a stream, waters of the Commonwealth and woodlands. The applicant acknowledged that flood studies, traffic studies and tree counts will be necessary before fully engineered plans are developed or applications to the Zoning Hearing Board are made.
The members discussed some of their concerns with intense development of this parcel. The Township has been resistant to uses E-5 and E-6, eating place and drive through in the OR zoning district and advised the applicant that asking for two pad sites for restaurants may meet with some opposition, especially if fast food were considered. The applicant assured the Commission that he will be offering the site for family friendly restaurants with no drive through service. The applicant said that he intends to cooperate with Township signage regulations, which is another of the Commission’s concerns. The members discussed access to the site and sidewalks within it, so that pedestrians would have safe access among the uses.
Regarding the hotel, the Commission discussed the proposed height and location on the lot; the subsurface is rock, limiting its possible placement. It will be set back and not will dominate the view from the Bypass. The Commission advised the applicant of the Township’s history of resistance to restaurants at this location, acknowledging the desirability of eating places in easy proximity to hotels. The Commission advised the applicant to be flexible, possibly locating the restaurant inside the hotel or seeking relief for only one restaurant and having only three buildings at the site.
A traffic engineer has been brought on to the project but no preliminary work has been done yet to determine whether roadway improvements will be necessary for Silver Lake Road.
The Commission was receptive to development of this property and did not express strong objections to the hotel concept, provided signage complies with Township ordinances. There were no strong objections to the medical office building, although there was some concern about possible parking relief for the three different uses’ shared parking concept. Should the medical office change to a use with evening hours, the sharing of parking with restaurants and a hotel could become an issue.
Dr. Ciervo noted that parking is shown on the PECO property and that the three uses proposed are not permitted in the OR zoning district.
Mr. Fidler said that the Commission had some concern about the intensity of the proposed development but until the flood lines are delineated it is difficult to discuss in detail. The surrounding business community is eager to see service businesses, especially a hotel with meeting facilities, in this area. The applicant has not contracted with a specific hotel chain but is considering upscale facilities. The Commission expects this to be a very long process, but the applicant was flexible and eager to work with the Township.
More information can be found in the June 4, 2013, minutes of the Planning Commission here. Download the Property Brochure for this proposed land use, which includes the sketch plan. See "Wawa on Bypass" for an alternative land development proposal Sketch Plan for this area presented to the BOS in 2018.
Iron Hill Brewery
10-Apr-2019: Application of Iron Hill Brewery LLC for conditional use to operate an E-5 eating place at 2920 S. Eagle Road in the Village of Newtown. Attorney Joseph Blackburn represented the applicant. Mr. Calabro thanked Mr. Blackburn for addressing the parking issues. Mr. Fisher, in reference to the outside music, asked if there was a possibility for dual controlled volume and Mr. Blackburn confirmed that this was part of the proposal. [Mr. Calabro] asked if there was a way to reduce the outdoor seating area and after Mr. Blackburn discussed with Mr. Finn, who is representing Iron Hills, it was determined they could reduce the outdoor area by 20 seats.
K9 Resorts Luxury Pet Hotel
19-Jan-2021: Doggy Dayz LLC: Tim Katch, Vice President of Operations for Doggy Dayz, K‐9 Resorts, a franchised dog day care and kennel, and Mike Maginniss, attorney for the applicants, were in attendance to review this application for use A‐5 kennel and a number of performance standard variances. The subject property is on a 3.219 acre lot where the applicants will lease an 8000 square foot space. Mr. Maginniss noted that all of the other business tenants in the building have expressed support for the application.
Mr. Katch said there are no other similar businesses no Newtown Township. The space will be fitted out for day and overnight boarding with indoor and outdoor play areas where small and large dogs will be separated for play. The outdoor play areas will be fenced with materials designed to mitigate noise and will be surrounded by buffering landscaping. The space will accommodate up to 120 dogs. There are 62 parking spaces on the site, where the combined tenant uses would require 83 spaces. The business will also require five signs where two is the maximum permitted.
[Read "Newtown Gate Residents Versus Doggy Dayz K9 Resort".]
UPDATE (29 Mar 2021): Doggy Dayz will be withdrawing their application to the ZHB.
27-Sep-2017: KVK Tech was granted conditional use approval on July 28, 2004 to use 33,000 sq. ft. of building on the subject property (110 Terry Drive) for a G-2 research use, G-1 manufacturing use, B-1 office use, and G-3 warehouse use which 4,000 sq. ft. was devoted to a laboratory. The approval also provided for a maximum of 37 employees and provided 41 parking spaces. KVK's conditional use amendment application requests approval to amend the conditional use approved on July 28,2004 to increase the manufacturing area space by 4,791 sq. ft., propose to increase the number of employees on-site between 120-130 and increase of on-site parking spaces to 181. Mr. Calabro commented on why KVK couldn't put this expansion and construction into the former Lockheed-Martin property they recently purchased. Mr. Murphy replied that the Lockheed-Martin building is presently being renovated and will be focused on new products upon FDA and other governmental approval proposed near the end of the year. The motion carried 3-2 with Mr. Calabro and Mrs. Dix voting "nay".
28-Jun-2017: The Planning Commission raised certain questions about the application that were not able to be answered by applicant's attorney because a representative other than the attorney was not present to answer the business operational questions. It was suggested to KVK Tech's representative that some of the concerns and questions that we asked be provided by management of KVK Tech prior to going to the Zoning Hearing Board. The Lockheed-Martin site has security required and it was questioned why KVK Tech was seeking variances at the Terry Drive location. KVK's representative eluded that the vault was a federal requirement there would be substantial additional expense to relocate and obtain permission from the federal government to put another vault in a different location. The Commission suggested that a representative of KVK Tech to answer questions of the Commission and the Board.
Lotus Park Senior Living, Newtown
15-Mar-2021: Sketch Plan: Attorney Joseph Blackburn presented a plan for land development for two parcels on the western side of Lower Silver Lake Road and the eastern side of the Newtown Bypass in the OR, Office Research Zoning District. The applicants are proposing to construct an 86 unit, three story assisted living facility with associated site improvements including parking and stormwater management on one of the lots. An additional 96 parking spaces are proposed for the second lot. Access to the site would be through the adjacent parcel, the site being considered for a WaWa.
The members briefly discussed the need for such a facility, as there are a number of other facilities in Newtown, including The Birches, Chandler Hall and Pickering Manor as well as a trend toward adapting homes to age in place.
[Read "Another Proposed Project on Newtown Bypass".]
21-Nov-2017: Applicant is seeking subdivision of the property to create two lots: lot 1 is approximately ~ acre and will maintain the existing lukOil service station. lot 2 will be approximately over one acre; no improvements are determined at this time. The Newtown Township Planning Commission, without a quorum, recommended the preliminary as final minor subdivision plan, subject to conditions, at its meeting held on November 7,2017. There were questions from the Board regarding the paper street (Howard Avenue) and what future use there would be for lot 2. There are no plans for lot 2 at this time. Mr. Calabro asked if Lot 2 would be developed into a convenience store, within the proximity of the gas station, is there any violation. Mr. Torrente believed it would be restricted what is permitted within that zoning district. The zoning would be grand fathered in from Lot 1 to Lot 2. Mr. Calabro understood that if the restriction was not to have a convenience store, there would not be a convenience store. Mr. Torrente opined that if there was such a restriction, that would be correct. Granted (3-0) two waivers from the provisions of the Newtown Township Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO Definition).
MOD Super Fast Pizza
22-May-2019: Mr. Blackburn presented the application for E-5 and E-6 eating place at 2938 S. Eagle Road in the eastern most portion of proposed building eight at the Village of Newtown Shopping Center. Mr. Mack asked about parking for this specific quadrant and how it relates to the rest of center. Mr. Blackburn said the retail space in this area totals 48,642 square feet which requires 228 parking spaces. He said the parking ratio is on a site wide basis and there are 217 spaces proposed for this area. Mr. Mack then asked Mr. Blackburn to review the concept of walkability as it relates to the shopping center. Mr. Blackburn stated the outdoor restaurant seating is a component of the walkability scheme as well as the enhanced sidewalk networks and traffic calming measures. Mr. Calabro asked about the amphitheater area and if this location will have seating available. Mr. Blackburn pointed out the amphitheater on the plan and explained it will be a common public space with seating not designated for any specific tenant. Mr. Calabro questioned the necessity of 30 outdoor seats for MOD Pizza since there is the amphitheater seating.
23-May-2018: Joe Blackburn, Esq., represented Pickering Manor with respect to its pending land development located on 226 North Lincoln Avenue. Based upon their non-profit status, Mr. Blackburn made a request that the Board consider a reduction in the Parks & Recreation fee-in-lieu amount. It was agreed that the fee-in-lieu amount would be half the amount of $46,570.87. An actual amount would be determined at a later time. Applicant will also pay a traffic impact fee in the amount of $7,020.00. Mr. Calabro put the motion to a vote and the motion carried 3-1 (Mrs. Dix voted "nay").
28-Feb-2018: Proposed is an 18,000+ sq. ft. addition to the main property, expanding parking area, and underground water seepage bed. The applicant will comply with the Township Engineer Definition review letter issues, however, waivers were reviewed at the Planning Commission meeting. Concerns of the residents were storm water runoff, truck deliveries, and overall operating noise and traffic. It was recommended that the times for food supply deliveries be made in a smaller truck and be moved to a more appropriate time. The executive director of Pickering Manor urged neighbors to contact her to discuss any issues they may have.
14-Feb-2018: A plan was submitted proposing an approximate 18,200 sq. ft. two-story building addition to the main building and additions to three of the five existing cottage buildings. Expanded parking and driveway facilities and an underground seepage bed for storm water management is also proposed.
21-Sep-2018: Consideration of PRD Definition Elimination Zoning Ordinance Amendment: Mr. Sander - Township Solicitor - explained that at the recommendation of the Bucks County Planning Commission, an ordinance is being circulated among the Jointure Definition partners to remove the PRD use from the JMZO. Passage of an ordinance eliminating this use from the JMZO Definition would not impact current applications. Mr. Davis moved to amend the JMZO to remove the PRD use from its permitted uses. Ms. Bobrin seconded and the motion passed 5-0.
Read: "Newtown Township, Upper Makefield, and Wrightstown to Consider Deleting Planned Residential Development from the Newtown Area JMZO"
12-Jun-2019: Attorney Joseph Blackburn represented the applicant and Richard Darby-Matteoda, representing Solstice, was sworn in. Mr. Blackburn explained Solstice was a full service, sit down dining establishment which is affiliated with Shula’s Steak House. There will be no outdoor music on the outdoor patio. This location brings the restaurant allocation in the shopping center to approximately 26.78% which is still within the 45% limit and the sewer capacity is adequate. Mr. Mack stated Solstice outdoor seating space has the most of all with 1800 square feet and noted there will be over 5000 square feet total of outdoor dining space in this section of the property. He asked if this space was included in the parking calculations and Mr. Blackburn acknowledged that it was. Mr. Blackburn also noted that this is the largest proposed area, however there will be fewer seats in a bigger area.
Toll Brothers Development
17-Sep-2018: >Toll Brothers Archdiocese Property Sketch Plan Definition Presentation: Gregg I. Adelman, Esq., represented applicant Toll Brothers; Jon Crabtree, Land Acquisition Manager of Toll Brothers and Justin Barnett of ESE Land Planning Engineering also were in attendance. Mr. Adelman presented a sketch plan. Access to the development would be through a new road connecting the community to Wrights Road and Route 413/Durham Road. Proposed are 37 estate lots of 3,600-4,800 sq. ft. homes on approximately 2/3 acre lots; 51 village lots of 2,600-3,500 sq. ft. homes on approximately ¼ acre lots; and 85 carriage houses of 1,700-2,800 sq. ft. in cluster rows of 3-4 homes. The developer discussed traffic, lot configuration, housing density, EDUs required and approved, storm water runoff, impact of potential students to the school district, trail connection, and open space dedication.
Read: "Toll Brothers Twining Bridge Road Proposal"
Villas of Newtown
11-Sep-2019: Motion to Draw Down Financial Security: Bill Posner, President of the Villas of Newtown (VON) HOA thanked Mr. Mack for reaching out and meeting with VON board members and touring the areas of concern. Since Mr. Mack encouraged the VON board to try to come to an agreement with the builder, they met with John McGrath and Dennis Work from the Township engineer’s office to go over punch list items. Some items can be completed in short order, but the detention basin continues to be the main area of concern. Mr. McGrath indicated he could have the punch list finished by November 26. The VON board is skeptical due to many previous broken deadlines however they decided it would be alright to delay until first board meeting after November 26 to give Mr. McGrath yet another chance to complete the work. In the event the work was not done by that time, Mr. McGrath has agreed to waive any right to that money. Mr. Posner also suggested another option would be for the BOS to pass the motion and consider giving Mr. McGrath the opportunity to get the work done. Mr. Mack suggested we hear from Mr. McGrath.
Mr. Calabro asked where the residents stood on this issue and several came forth to provide feedback. The feedback was mixed with some residents happy with basin as is and the work that has been done and others in disagreement wanting the basin repaired along with final completion of the punch list. Conversation ensued on how the basin should operate, the As-Built plans and whether or not Mr. McGrath will complete work by November 26. The consensus was due to Mr. McGrath’s history of noncompliance over the years most do not feel confident he will live up to his word this time.
14-Aug-2019: Resident and president of the Villas of Newtown (VON) HOA, William Posner, addressed the Board on behalf of the VON community. He expressed concern that the motion to draw down financial security being held by the Township for completion of community improvements was removed from the agenda. Mr. Posner said he sent a position paper to the Township and received a response that work on site had commenced and therefore the item was removed until further details could be obtained. Mr. Posner then reviewed the recent history of the situation including interactions with the builder and relayed his concern that the work will not get done. He submitted signatures of approximately 90 residents supporting moving forward and asking for assistance to bring this matter to conclusion. Mr. Davis acknowledged the issues VON residents have had and assured that the BOS will follow through according to the guidelines. Mr. Calabro added that the BOS wants to see this completed and pressure on the builder will continue and if necessary legal action will be taken in the proper stages.
23-May-2018: Certificate of Completion #1- CKS Engineers recommends that the Certificate be approved by the Board in the amount of $51,950.00. The amount of the remaining escrow is $78,119.00. the motion carried 3-1 (Mrs. Dix voted "nay").
28-Feb-2018: Authorization is sought to sign the Release of Claims regarding the unauthorized removal of a birch tree by the developer of The Villas at Newtown. Mrs. Dix made a motion to approve. Ms. Bobrin seconded, and the motion passed 5-0. [Read "McGrath, Developer of Villa at Newtown, To Pay Newtown Twp $25K For Surreptitiously and Illegally Cutting Down Valuable Beech Tree".]
13-Sep-2017: Farmhouse. The Township's condition for approval was to have the facade completed, which it is. The interior is still being renovated. If there is a dispute over losing any-leverage by issuing the CO's to the remaining units, there could be other incentives mandated for the completion of the farmhouse. Mr. Calabro motioned to issue CO's for the new units, excluding the farmhouse, upon completion and proper inspection by the Township. Mr. Couch seconded, and the motion passed 5-0.
24-May-2017: Farmhouse. Mr. Gallagher expressed concern that a recent e-mail regarding the renovations of the farmhouse at Villas of Newtown has been shared with and reported in the Bucks County Courier Times. This matter had not been discussed in a public forum and he believed it was inaccurate and private. Mrs. Dix said that she bad shared the e-mail with the press; it was not marked "confidential." It is up to the reporter to confirm any inaccuracies. Mr. Gallagher said that the article reports that the staircase has been demolished; it has been removed during the renovation process and stored elsewhere on the property. It will be re-installed in a different location at a later time in the remodeling process. He was very concerned that internal communications among the Board are being shown to reporters. Mr. Ferguson explained that his e-mail, shared with the Board, outlined conditions viewed by the Building Inspector when he visited the site. He was not shown the original staircase and was not told that the original pieces were stored elsewhere on the property. Mrs. Dix expressed concern that the house is being rebuilt, rather than restored, losing all aspects of historic Significance. There has been an ongoing issue of trust with the builder and she is not confident that the terms of the Township's agreement with the builder will be met.
14-Sep-2016: Farmhouse. Mr. Calabro asked for an update on the Villas Farmhouse. Mr. Ferguson said that the Township issued a cease and desist order on work because some materials being removed were to have been preserved by the facade easement. He explained that the agreement with the developer will also include preservation of certain features inside the house, including the staircase and wood trims and doors. Mr. Ferguson said that when the Township and the developer began planning the preservation of the farmhouse, certain interior features were deemed to be of historic significance and the developer agreed to preserve them. The interior will be modernized but these features will be preserved and worked into the new open design. Jeffrey Marshall of the Heritage Conservancy has been working with the Township and Developer to see that the interior features are preserved as part of the settlement with the developer.
9-Sep-2015: Final Plan Amendment. Planning Commission Chairman Allen Fidler reported that at its September 1, 2015 meeting the Commission reviewed a sketch plan to amend the final land development plan for the Villas. This plan would remove and rebuild the historic farmhouse fifty feet from its current location and incorporate it into the homeowners association as age restricted housing and proposes two new quad buildings for a total of nine residential units. The Commission had concerns and doubts about moving the house rather than renovating it in its current location although the applicant has indicated that the existing foundation would not support modernization. The members also felt that adding two new quads would impact open space, but would possibly consider one new quad at the entrance as an appropriate compromise which would give the Villas residents the appearance of symmetry at the entrance which they seem to favor.
27-Jan-2013: Resident Austin Strauss of Villas at Newtown asked whether a date has been confirmed for developer John McGrath to appear before the Board to discuss unfinished public improvements at the Villas. Mr. M. Gallagher said that Mr. McGrath and Mr. Flanagan have agreed to come to a meeting in late March or early April. Mr. Ferguson confirmed this, noting that Mr. McGrath is preparing a presentation which will outline the status of the project and will hopefully answer the questions the Board and the residents have about the development. Mr. M. Gallagher reminded the residents of the Villas that the Township has held over $700,000 in escrow for completion of the public improvements. If the developer does not complete the improvements, the Township will bid out the work. Ms. Fountain, the Township Engineer, has assured the Board that the current escrow is sufficient to cover all outstanding work. Mr. Gallagher explained that the developer may come to the Board and ask to draw down on the escrow as aspects of the work are completed. Ms. Fountain inspects and confirms that work has been satisfactorily completed before any escrow is released. Mr. Strauss asked who will follow up on maintenance of the public amenities if the developer goes into bankruptcy. Mr. Ferguson said that the Township has funds to complete public improvements but the project has not reached the point where discussion of dedication of streets would be considered.
9-Jan-2013: Mr. M. Gallagher moved to release escrow in the amount of $17,464 to the developers of Villas at Newtown. Dr. Ciervo seconded. Discussion of motion: Dr. Ciervo said that the Board has a number of concerns and he would like Mr. McGrath to attend a Supervisors meeting to discuss these before any additional escrow is released. He would like some assurances as to a timetable for completion of a clubhouse, as was promised purchasers in this development. He understands that the Township was not required to hold escrow for the clubhouse and the remaining escrow is for public improvements. Mr. M. Gallagher agreed that Mr. McGrath should appear before the Board before any additional escrow is released. The motion passed 4-0.
Wawa on Bypass
17-Mar-2021: Wawa is Back!: In October of 2019, Provco submitted a "substantive challenge" to the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance (JMZO) to the Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB). Provco's challenge asserts that the JMZO is de jure exclusionary with respect to a "retail store with fuel dispensing facilities" use. Alternatively, the zoning application requested a use variance to allow a retail store with fuel dispensing facilities at the Property.
17-Mar-2021: Mr. M. Gallagher moved to release escrow in the amount of $17,464 to the developers of Villas at Newtown. Dr. Ciervo seconded. Discussion of motion: Dr. Ciervo said that the Board has a number of concerns and he would like Mr. McGrath to attend a Supervisors meeting to discuss these before any additional escrow is released. He would like some assurances as to a timetable for completion of a clubhouse, as was promised purchasers in this development. He understands that the Township was not required to hold escrow for the clubhouse and the remaining escrow is for public improvements. Mr. M. Gallagher agreed that Mr. McGrath should appear before the Board before any additional escrow is released. The motion passed 4-0.
27-Jul-2018: Allen Fidler, Chairman of the Newtown Planning Commission, gave Supervisors a synopsis of the July 17, 2018 Commission meeting regarding a land development conceptual Sketch Plan Definition 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.]
23-May-2018: Public comment: Michael Horbal, Newtown, wanted the Board to consider voting against a change on that parcel that would accommodate whatever retail use is proposed. Based on the 2009 Comprehensive Plan, he suggested the Township should look at all potential parcels that could be developed for retail on parcels similar to the proposed Wawa location. He's concerned that a subsequent land owner may request a change to the zoning of their parcel so that it could be developed for a fast food franchise. [Read: The BrouHaha Over Proposed Wawa, Super Wawa Survey Comments, Residents Present Their Case For and Against a Super WaWa on the Bypass, and Developer and Attorney Present Their Case for a WaWa Superstore on the Newtown Bypass]
See "IHM Properties, Newtown Bypass at Lower Silver Lake Road" for an alternative land development proposal (Sketch Plan Definition) for this area presented to the BOS in 2013.
14-May-2018: Attorney John VanLuvanne, representing the Wawa developer, explained the process of amending the OR (Office/Research) District Definition zoning ordinance to allow the Wawa to be built in that district and promised to submit a traffic study (Transportation Impact Study, aka TIS Definition) in the "interim."
Access the Wawa Transportation Impact Study prepared by the developer's traffic engineering firm here.
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