John Mack - Newtown Supervisor

A monthly collection of summaries of articles curated from various news, township meetings, and other sources, focused on topics of interest to local residents. The insights expressed here are those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person. Subscribe here, if you are not yet a subscriber.

Board of Supervisors Meeting

Wednesday, 12 April 2023

Agenda included: EAC update of its plans for a single-use plastics ban (see below); Review Bids for the Villas at Newtown development – proposed scaled-back Improvements; amending the 2023 Budget to allocate $75,000 of American Rescue Plan funds to the Newtown Fire Association; Police Report. View video of meeting.

From - April 6, 2023

The Newtown Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) held a special meeting on April 3, 2023, to educate local businesses and residents about a proposed ordinance to ban single-use plastics by township restaurants and retail businesses.

The main attraction was a presentation (see below) by Faran Savitz, Zero Waste Advocate, PennEnvironment, who summarized the environmental and health problems posed by non-recyclable plastics and made a case for banning single-use plastics.

The presentation was followed by a question-and-answer session:

  • Newtown Chocolatier
  • McCaffery’s Market
  • Why Not at State/Federal Level?
  • Echo Systems

Meeting summary; Includes Savitz video and audio of Question and Answer session…

Related Content:
  • “PennEnvironment's Faran Savitz Speaks at #NewtwonPA EAC Meeting About Single-Use Plastics Ban”;
  • “Will #NewtownPA Township Adopt An Ordinance Banning Single-Use Plastics?”;
  • “Do You Think a BAN of Single-use Plastics Imposed Upon Local #NewtownPA Township Businesses is a Good Idea?”;
  • “Doylestown Borough Passes Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags”;
  • “#NewtownPA Businesses: Are You Ready to Finally Give Up Single Use Plastics?”;
  • “Newtown Approves Single-Use Plastics Resolution: Is Your Business Ahead of the Curve?”;

From - March 23, 2023

Agenda Items

  • Public Comment – Andrea Ahern
  • Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) - Single-Use Plastic Ban Plans
  • Engineer’s Report - 2023 Liquid Fuels Road Program – Recommendation to Award Bid
  • Solicitor’s Report: Resolution to Join Consortium Opposing Sale of Public Water and Sewer Systems to Private For-Profit Companies
  • Manager’s Report - NESD Report
  • Official Video
  • Video Transcript


John Mack's Insights:

Access the 2023 BOS Chronicle for detailed summaries of all 2023 BOS meetings plus the BOS voting record (UNOFFICIAL) for 2023.

Related Content:

From - March 18, 2023

A proposed five-story, 75,338 square-foot luxury apartment building has generated some concerns among Newtown Township officials.

The developer KRE Group has filed a sketch plan and related documents with the township outlining the proposal for a vacant 17-acre parcel at 42 University Drive [just down the road from a proposed Wawa].

The Newtown Planning Commission members had “many concerns about the size and intensity of the project and had many questions about traffic, economic impact and preservation of wetlands and woodlands,” the planning commission’s written synopsis read. “We discussed the impact of such a large building on the (Council Rock) school district."

Ed Murphy, the local attorney representing KRE Group in the matter, indicated that the plan would require a zoning amendment, the synopsis added. The developer prefers that option rather than seeking seven zoning variances, including a use variance, that would be needed for the project to be constructed in the office research zoning district where the property is located.

John Mack's Insights:

Developers have NO RESPECT for our zoning ordinances and will do everything within their power - including bringing lawsuit after lawsuit - to change the zoning to suit their SPECIFIC needs regardless of the impact on the township.

Related Content:
From - March 24, 2023
Newtown Township has been awarded $534K in state funds from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Local Share Account Statewide Program.

The grant was announced by State Senator Steve Santarsiero and State Rep. Perry Warren.

The township will use the funds to construct ADA curb ramps and improve its current stormwater management system throughout the business commons area. This will be done in conjunction with an ongoing sidewalk project, ultimately improving pedestrian safety and the walkability of the business commons.

More details...
Related Content:
  • #NewtownPA Awarded $873,000 Through the PA Multimodal Transportation Fund to Construct Sidewalks in Business Commons”;

From March 22, 2023
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a proposed National Primary Drinking Water Regulation to protect public health from PFAS pollution. Polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are human-made chemicals that do not occur naturally in the environment and can cause adverse developmental and immune system effects.  

[The new US EPA "enforceable" limits for PFOA and PFOS is 4.0 parts per trillion. Practically EVERY Newtown Artesian Water Company well has levels ABOVE these amounts. See chart.]

Meanwhile, 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.


From - March 24, 2023

A rainbow crosswalk serves as a symbol of safety — as well as pride, support and inclusivity — for the LGBTQ+ community.

The rainbow crosswalk, which will be installed permanently on Printer’s Alley between Evolution Candy and the former Zen Den building, will be the first of its kind in Bucks County, according to the Doylestown Pride Festival.

Doylestown Borough council members voted unanimously in favor of adding a decorative rainbow crosswalk on Printer’s Alley at East State Street.

The rainbow crosswalk will be the first of its kind in Bucks County, according to the Doylestown Pride Festival.

“We’re beyond proud to celebrate the many diverse identities within our community and as we enter our fourth year, we hope this will serve as a wonderful year-round reminder that Doylestown embraces and uplifts the LGBTQ+ community from across the region,” said Kris Boger, president of Discover Doylestown and chair of the festival.

Marlene Pray, a member of the festival and director of The Rainbow Room, called the crosswalk "a symbol of welcome and safety and support," which sends a message to kids "they are loved, that they matter, that they are valued and that they will be supported.”

Opponents to the proposal expressed concerns, including pedestrian safety, religious beliefs and aesthetics. Pray called out those who spoke against the crosswalk, questioning their reasons: “It is amazing all of the excuses some people will use to hide their bigotry and hide their intolerance, and I don’t mean just in this room, but in our community and in our country,” she said.

Related Content:
  • “State Senator Steve Santarsiero Announces a $630,000 Grant To Fund Expansion Of The Rainbow Room Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth in Bucks County”
  • “Newtown Becomes the FIRST Township in Bucks County to Pass an Anti-Discrimination Ordinance That Protects the Rights of the LGBTQ Community”