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.

News About Trails

On June 24, 2021, Newtown Township posted on the PennBID site the bid details for construction of the Lower Dolington Road Multi-Use Trail. In general, the work consists of, but is not limited to: asphalt trail construction, traffic signage and striping, ADA compliant handicapped ramp construction, amenities installation, and stormwater management improvements. For more details regarding this project, listen to this update provided by Township Engineer Leanna Colubriale.

Also, the Newtown Township Parks & Recreation Department submitted an application for a $25K grant for improvements to the trails and cleaning up the diseased trees at Clark Nature Center. More details...

A new Wawa gas station could be coming to [a] corner of the Newtown Bypass and Silver Lake Road. Newtown Township's zoning hearing board will review the application for a special exception and various waivers on July 8 at 7 p.m.

[Wawa developer Provco Pineville Acquisitions LLC] is also seeking multiple waivers from the zoning ordinance, including one that could otherwise cut the total gas pumps available down from 16 to 12.

A majority of the planning commission on April 20 supported the application overall, but unanimously opposed approving all eight fueling stations, meeting minutes show.
John Mack's Insights:
If you want to attend the July 8 meeting, you MUST attend IN PERSON.
Related Content:

[Guest Opinion: By Scott Bomboy]

One of the lessons learned during the COVID-19 era is that more citizens want online access to local government meetings. But the Pennsylvania state law designed to make that happen is badly outdated and needs a digital overhaul.

In Perkasie, where I am a borough council member, we saw a notable increase in video views for our live and recorded Zoom and YouTube meetings during COVID-19 compared with in-person meetings held at borough hall before the pandemic. Neighboring towns probably saw the same increase.

...during the pandemic, the temporary rules were simple. Local governments had to post advance notice online including the date, time and technology used for the meeting, and how public could comment “directly through the teleconferencing or videoconferencing system used to hold the meeting, via email and/or via postal mail.” video meetings allow more citizens to participate in the process, especially those who face physical barriers attending in-person meetings, increasing civic engagement. And unedited video recorded meetings also would benefit the free press and allow for a broader public discussion of issues.

With the rules gone, local governments providing live or recorded video to residents now must rely on outdated laws or make up rules on the fly — risking a lawsuit. It is in everyone’s best interest to update the Sunshine Act for the digital age.

John Mack's Insights:

According the the PA State Association of Township Supervisors: "Since the disaster declaration has been terminated, townships of the second class should go back to pre-declaration conditions and conduct in-person or hybrid meetings. Hybrid meetings must have a physical meeting location where the public may attend in-person, as well as a virtual option, and supervisors may participate in-person or virtually."

Do you favor the implementation of hybrid in-person/online township public meetings where officials meet in person as before COVID-19 but the public has the option to participate remotely via Zoom (or other technology) or in person? TAKE MY SURVEY!.

On June 29, 2021, the Township received the first deposit of American COVID Rescue Fund money totaling $1,024,920.93.

I'm sure there will be a long line of requests for these funds and Newtown Supervisors will have to weigh all the options. Most importantly, in my opinion, are the opinions of township residents.

From - June 27, 2021
Concerned [Media, PA] community members say Media runs the risk of losing its hometown flavor. They say suburban sprawl and unchecked development is upending green space, causing housing prices to skyrocket, and making the borough less racially and economically diverse.

“I can’t remember how many … square acres of open space is left, and every last bit of it is vulnerable at the moment because of developers coming in. And they seem to be very well represented at council meetings, and very little seems to be able to be done to challenge them to help preserve the integrity of our town,” resident Julie Smith said.

...some believe elected leaders are sitting on their hands as the pressures of overdevelopment squeeze the community.

John Mack's Insights:
The Media PA sign in the article says "Defend Open Space." What good is open space if it can't be used by residents? Yes, good for views as you drive by, but when the plan to convert Roberts Ridge Park into a meadow came before the BOS, I opposed it and worked with Elen Snyder - a local resident - to save the park and plant trees. More...
Also, what about the Clark Nature Center? The trails there have been closed for about 5 years! I am fighting to get those trails opened (read more about that). The township is supposed to be applying for a grant to do that (by removing some dangerous dead trees).

From - July, 2021
The Bucks County Planning Commission is seeking feedback from the public on possible trail routes connecting the Newtown area to the Delaware Canal Towpath.

In a feasibility study completed in April, the planning commission identified 11 potential trail routes connecting the communities of Newtown and Yardley boroughs and Lower Makefield, Middletown, Newtown and Upper Makefield townships. Information was incorporated from the study’s initial survey and outreach effort in fall 2020.

The planning commission now would like stakeholders and members of the public to review and comment on the potential trail routes. Anyone interested can visit the plan’s webpage and provide feedback through the webpage’s comment feature. The webpage also provides considerable background on the project, trail types, and a detailed map of each segment. The comment period for the proposal will last from July 5 to July 23.

From - June 24, 2021
I've been noticing that arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) account for a majority or large portion of incidents in recent weekly Newtown Township Police incident reports.

In the June 11 to 17, 2021, Incident Blotter, for example, 5 of the 12 incidents involved a DUI arrest. One involved a vehicle crashing into a tree and overturning! Most (4) of these incidents occurred between the hours of 10 PM and 2 AM, one was at 4:30 PM.

I wondered if there was a trend related to the easing of COVID-19 restrictions on serving alcohol in restaurants and bars. So I plotted the data for a 2-year period from July 2019 through May 2021.


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The opinions expressed here are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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