John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Featuring content curated from articles published in local newspapers and other sources. The insights/opinions expressed here are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.

Newtown Considers Russian Stock Divestiture

The Newtown Board of Supervisors signaled their intention to rid the township's pension fund of Russian stocks in protest against the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. The BOS specifically instructed the Township Manager to email the pension investment manager about this issue: "The Board of Supervisors of Newtown Township, Bucks County, Pennsylvania is opposed to, and will refuse to do business with, any investment entity that is backed by or includes Russian investments. If Aberdeen Emerging Market Equity Fund, Inc. does not divest itself of all Russian investments in a timely manner, the Township will seek to invest in an alternative fund."

From - February 28, 2022

At the February 23, 2022, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) public meeting, Gregg I. Adelman, Principal of Kaplin|Stewart Attorneys, presented an overview of the latest Toll Bros plan to build 45 single-family homes on approximately 158 acres of the All Saints Cemetery property located along Twining Bridge Road near its intersection with Durham Road (S.R. 413). See Toll Bros North Drive Plan Presentation.

Several residents made comments and not all of them were 100% negative. Joesph McAtee said he preferred living next to a farm but he thought the settlement plan was a good compromise. He also thought that new development may impact taxes in the short term, but thought Mr. Calabro did not take increased expenses – such as school resources – into account.

View the 12.5-minute video...

From From - March 2, 2022

The Municipal Liquid Fuels Program funds a range of projects to support the construction, reconstruction, maintenance, and repair of public roads or streets. The amount of a municipality's allocation is based on its population and miles of roads on its approved liquid fuels inventory. To be placed on the system, a road must have a minimum of 33-foot right-of-way in a township and 16 feet in a borough. The "cartway" (drivable surface) must be a minimum width of 16 feet, and the road must be a minimum of 250 feet in length. Newtown Township has 67.29 miles of roads that meet these criteria.

In 2022, Newtown will receive $558,474.88 in liquid fuels funds vs. $552,277.09 in 2021 – only a 1.1% increase. Meanwhile, in 2019, the township received $611,209.38 in Liquid Fuels funds/ n recent years "due toe the growth of alternate fuel vehicles and more fuel efficient cars."


John Mack's Insights:
More road improvement is very much needed in Newtown Township. In 2019, 2.7 miles of roads were repaved at a cost of $706,000 or about $260,000 per mile! In 2021, the cost to pave 2.95 miles of roads was about $670,000 or $227,000 per mile.

Meanwhile, Supervisors authorized the township to advertise its 2022 road repair program for bidding. See 2022 Road Program Map. Only 1.7 miles of roads are included in the "Base Bid."

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From - February 23, 2022
Interest in electric vehicles (EVs) is on the rise. Surveys and studies released in the latter part of 2020 show a significant uptick in Americans’ desire to learn more about electric vehicles and to own them. According to a Consumer Reports study, 71 percent of U.S. drivers say they would consider buying one at some point in the future, with nearly a third indicating interest in an EV for their next vehicle purchase.

Leading by example can mean integrating electric vehicles into municipal fleets.* It also means establishing a mindset in the community that encourages acceptance of EVs. Legislatively, this includes enacting or amending zoning regulations, parking requirements, and adopting or amending building codes at the local level.

NOTE: At it's March 3, 2022, meeting, the Newtown Area Joint Zoning Council (JZC) authorized its solicitor to work on a draft EV Charging Station ordinance, which will be reviewed by the JZC at its next meeting.

John Mack's Insights:

*Newtown Township should lead by example by integrating electric vehicles into its municipal fleet. Purchasing an electric truck for Parks & Rec is the ideal department to be at the forefront of an effort to “establish a mindset in the community that encourages acceptance of EVs.”

At the February 23, 2022, BOS meeting, I moved that the BOS wait to buy a truck for the department until we can research that option. That motion failed and the BOS approved the purchase of the gas-guzzling F-150 truck.

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From - February 23, 2022
A plan for a Wawa convenience store with fueling stations on the Newtown Bypass at Lower Silver Lake Road was expected to be reviewed by the township Planning Commission on March 1. At the request of Wawa, this review was rescheduled for the April 5, 2022, Planning Commission meeting. In the meantime, the Township will have its consultants review the revised plans and issue review letter.

The project is planned for the southwest corner of the intersection, and calls for a 5,585 square-foot store with an additional canopied area having six fueling stations with a total of 12 pumps, according to information on the project provided by township Supervisor John Mack. The 4.9 acre site is not big enough to offer more fuel stations, as stipulated by the township code.

Pedestrian Safety a Concern

The Bucks County Planning Commission reviewed the proposal and sent a letter of recommendations in January to the Newtown supervisors who will ultimately decide on the project. Chief among their consideration is pedestrian safety for those walking to the convenience store along or across the busy, high-speed Newtown Bypass. More details...
John Mack's Insights:

"We're thrilled to have this project moving forward," said Michael Cooley, Provco vice president. "This project has been very well received." But NOT by everyone! Read:

From March 12, 2022
Legalization of Cannabis, LOVE is LOVE, EV Charging Stations, Blue Point Grill: Transfer of Liquor License, 2022 Road Program, Sycamore Street Improvements, Divestiture of Russian Stock, Live Stream Video of BOS meetings, Fire Services Agreement with Newtown Borough, First Phase of ARP Spending, More...

This is my personal summary of the March 9, 2022, meeting of Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS). This is not a complete nor an official summary.

From - February 25, 2022
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today a 60-day public comment period via DEP’s eComment system that begins Saturday, February 26, 2022, on a new regulation to protect Pennsylvanians’ drinking water from PFAS chemicals.

The comment period concerns a proposed rule to set maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) in drinking water for two forms of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) – perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

The proposed rule would set an MCL of 14 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and an MCL of 18 ppt for PFOS, which are stricter limits compared to the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s lifetime Health Advisory Level (HAL) of 70 ppt for PFOS and PFOA combined.


Sunshine Week: March 13- 19

Citizens from across the country are now gearing up for this year’s Sunshine Week to once again spark a nationwide discussion about the critical importance of access to public information. To that end created the “Improve Communications for Better Government” Facebook Group. Anyone can join and participate in discussions and suggest ideas for how Newtown Township and other local municipalities can keep citizens better informed of the issues and decisions made by their elected officials.

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