John Mack - Newtown Supervisor

Upcoming Public Meetings

The following are selected official meetings of Newtown Township Boards and Committees. Some meetings may have only partial agendas or information about what may be discussed. When possible, I include links to important documents and background information. Come back often as this page is frequently updated with new information.

You can also view the Calendar of Events and use the tools there to add any of these meetings to your personal calendar for reminders.

See below for links to summaries of recent past meetings.

 
NOTE: According to Pennsylvania's Sunshine Act (Open Meetings Law), residents are permitted to make comments and ask questions at official township public meetings as well to record such meetings without announcing it beforehand. Know the #Sunshine Law.

List of Upcoming Meetings

Mack's Guide to the Newtown Township Website. Lesson 1: Downloading Meeting Agendas

Meet Mack Monday

Date & Time: Monday, September 20, 2021, 5:00 PM

Learn more about Meet Mack Monday

REGISTER TO ATTEND THIS MEETING

Items to be Discussed Include
  • Toll Bros All Saints Cemetery Proposed Settlement. On September 24, 2020, Toll PA XVIII, L.P. (“Toll”) appealed the September 9, 2020 decision of the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors denying Toll’s conditional use application seeking to develop 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).

    On Friday, August 27, 2021, attorneys representing Toll sent out a letter via first-class mail to Newtown Twp residents in the area outlining a proposed settlement that Toll says "greatly improves the proposed development site layout" (see below). 


The Newtown Board of Supervisors may consider the settlement in a public meeting as soon as September 22, 2021.

  • Arcadia Land Development. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has turned down Arcadia’s request for direct access to the Newtown Bypass as part of its plans to build a new housing development at Buck Road and the Bypass (read the PennDOT rejection letter). The agency also rejected a secondary suggestion that would have allowed left turns from the development onto northbound Buck Road. What it has agreed to, said Township Solicitor Dave Sander, is allowing a U-Turn at Mill Pond Road and Diamond Drive at the entrances to the Eagle Ridge and Crown Pointe developments that would allow traffic from the new development to double back for access to the Bypass and destinations north of the Bypass.

On September 9, 2021, members of the public met with PennDOT representatives to petition the agency to reconsider its approval of the U-turn option. What was the outcome of this discussion?

  • Hybrid Public Meetings: Newtown Township should implement "hybrid" in-person/online township public BOS 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. Over 130 Newtown Twp residents have signed my "Say YES To Hybrid Meetings Petition."

In a comment to the BOS on September 8, 2021, Newtown Grant resident John D’Aprile was of the opinion that the township should not spend money on hybrid meetings so that “lazy” residents can attend. “Why should we cater to someone who is lazy and does not want to come to meetings?,” quipped Mr. D’Aprile.

Meanwhile, at the August 25, 2021, BOS meeting, resident Terry Christensen, Chairman of the Board of Friends Village, said that he supports the hybrid option, as many of the Friends Village residents are not able to attend meetings in person anymore, but are still very eager to participate in local government matters.

In response to my questions, Mr. Christensen said that he is visually impaired and unable to drive and has taken Ubers to recent meetings. He cannot stay late as it becomes difficult to arrange for a ride later in the evening; he has also been refused a ride because he has a guide dog.

BTW, under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a guide dog should be able to go anywhere that a blind person can go.

  • Update on 2021 Road Repair Program. I will report on the roads to be repaired this year and go over the schedule.
  • Privilege of the Floor. Other issues, concerns of attendees.

REGISTER TO ATTEND THIS MEETING

You can join this Meet Mack Monday discussion via Zoom or via phone. Login details will be sent to you via email or text to your cell phone a few days before the meeting and again on the meeting day.

DISCLAIMER: This is not an official Newtown Township meeting. It is hosted by Newtown Supervisor John Mack to learn more about issues of concern to Newtown Township residents. The opinions expressed at Meet Mack Monday events are solely those of John Mack and the attendees of the meeting and do not represent the opinions of any other entity. Admittance is by invitation only.

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Zoning Hearing Board

Date & Time: Monday, September 20, 2021, 7:00 PM

Location: Public Meeting Room, 100 Municipal Drive, Newtown, PA 18940. Because of upsurge in COVID infections seating will be limited to about 20 to allow for social distancing and wearing masks is requested. Sign the Petition to allow residents - because of their age, disability, or susceptibility to COVID - to attend public meetings virtually.

Learn more about the ZHB.

  • Wawa Hearing Continued. The ZHB will hear PUBLIC COMMENT on Wawa's request for multiple variances concerning the number of fueling stations and signage. A final decision is expected after the public comment is heard.

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Economic Development Committee

Date & Time: Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 4 PM

Location: Public Meeting Room, 100 Municipal Drive, Newtown, PA 18940

Learn more about the Economic Development Committe.

Agenda includes:

  • Economic Development projects for 2022 budget. This discussion might be focused on the EDC's "wish list" for the 2022 budget, which has not yet been presented to the BOS nor to any committee as far as I know. There has been recommendations that committees such as the EDC be more involved early on in the budget process. For more on that, read "The Budget Approval Process Needs Improving."

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Planning Commission

Date & Time: Tuesday, September 21, 2021, 7:00 PM

Location: Public Meeting Room, 100 Municipal Drive, Newtown, PA 18940. Because of upsurge in COVID infections seating will be limited to about 20 to allow for social distancing and wearing masks is requested. Sign the Petition to allow residents - because of their age, disability, or susceptibility to COVID - to attend public meetings virtually.

Learn more about the Planning Commission.

Items to be Discussed Include:
  • Zoning Hearing Board

    • Robert MacFarlane, 421 Taylor Ave: The applicant is seeking a variance to construct a 16'x 20' screened porch and a 25'x25' storage shed in the rear of a single-family detached dwelling located on a nonconforming lot. The proposed construction will exceed the maximum allowable impervious surface ratio requirement (19.09% vs. 13% allowed).
  • PRD Variance

    • Robert & Valerie Mahon, 144 Pennswood Drive: The applicant is seeking relief to construct an inground swimming pool and associated improvements while removing an existing atrium and concrete patio resulting in a net increase of 1,160sq.ft. and an impervious surface ratio of 29.54% where a maximum allowable impervious surface ratio of 25% is permitted in accordance with Nob Hill's Final Plan (PRD).
  • LI-OLI continued review/BCPC Proposal

At the August 25, 2021, BOS meeting, Commission Chair Allen Fidler siad the Commission was "very pleased with this proposal and looks forward to working with the Bucks County Planning Commission (BCPC) as we consider updating our Business Commons zoning. The members did suggest that the Supervisors add to the proposal a provision to meet with the Planning Commission and the Economic Development Committee (EDC) to discuss and then again to review their work and perhaps hold a joint work session with the EDC, PC and Supervisors. We also noted that the proposal does not specifically reference the Newtown Business Commons and we would recommend that at some point the Newtown Business Commons Association be included in discussion.

COMMENTS/QUESTIONS: Portions of the Newtown Township Zoning Ordinance, as amended, specifically the LI Light Industrial and O-LI Office-Light Industrial districts will be reviewed and updated as applicable by the BCPC:

  • Task 1: Determine whether the boundaries of the LI and O-LI zoning districts are sufficient for an overlay district. Overlay Zoning is a regulatory tool that creates a special zoning district, placed over an existing base zone(s), which identifies special provisions in addition to those in the underlying base zone (access the Glossary for definitions of terms)
  • Task 2: Develop an overlay zoning district for the LI and O-LI zoning districts

The BOS directed the township manager to get a revised proposal from BCPC that would include additional meetings with committee and BOS members. Download the REVISED Proposal.

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Board of Supervisors Regular Session

Date & Time: TBD

Location: Public Meeting Room, 100 Municipal Drive, Newtown, PA 18940

Learn more about the Board of Supervisors.

AGENDA ITEMS INCLUDE:

  • Service Award & Proclamation Presentation for Firefighter John Gundy 

  • Engineer's Report: Although there are no items to discuss on the agenda, I will ask for an upadte on several items, including the following:

    • Brixmor - Village at Newtown Shopping Center - Traffic Study: At the September 8, 2021 BOS meeting, it was decided that Mr. Lewis will instruct the township engineer to request that the traffic study be done as soon as possible regardless of the percent occupancy of the shopping center. Has this been done? If so, what was the response from Brixmor?

      The final Brixmor development agreement states: "...when the uses on the Property are fully occupied, the DEVELOPER shall perform, at its sole cost and expense, a traffic study, and DEVELOPER shall install, at its sole cost and expense, those additional traffic improvements that DEVELOPER and TOWNSHIP mutually agree are necessary as a result of DEVELOPER’S traffic study." 

      I contend that given the current economic climate due to COVID-19, no  shopping center will ever be fully occupied. Meanwhile, residents are complaining about the traffic and something needs to be done ASAP to improve the situation. Consequently, I demad that Brixmor do the traffic study IMMEDIATELY!

    • Lower Dolington Road Trail project: The latest Engineer’s Report I have seen is dated September 3, 2021, which indicated “Contracts are being executed.” When asked about this before the September 8, 2021, BOS meeting, the township engineer said “Our office just received contracts signed by the Contractor on Friday. Our next step will be to prepare them for the Township’s signature this week and final execution.” Has this been done? If so, when will construction begin? For more details of this project, see the Engineer's Report section of my August 11, 2021, BOS Meeting Notes.

  • ESD Weekly Report for September 16, 2021 – Chief Forsyth 

  • Consideration to approve 5-year agreement with Axon Enterprise, Inc. for police tasers in the amount of $84,126.58 with 5 annual payments of $16,825.32 . Note: The 2021 Budget had allocated $22,000 under the Capital Plan for the purchase of 12 Tasers. Chief Hearn has reached out to Axon for options. Axon has provided the Township with the opportunity to acquire all new equipment for all officers, including warranties, ammunition, batteries, maintenance, etc. for an annual cost of $16,825.32, payable over 5 years. Currently, the Township is spending additional funds annually to replace the equipment once the warranties expire, and paying separately for ammunition, maintenance, etc.

  • Consideration to approve the Bucks County Planning Commission REVISED proposal for Planning Services to Develop an Overlay District to the LI and OLI Zoning Districts. For background, view the video: "Township Planner Presentation on Rezoning the OLI & LI Districts." 

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Select Recent Past Meetings

September 8 2021, Board of Supervisors

Agenda items: Report from Technology & Communications Committee, updates on Lower Dolington Road Trail, 2021 road work schedule, Newtown Shopping Center Traffic Study, opioid litigation, police report, more... Details available soon.

Meanwhile, download Mack's Notes from the 8 September 2021 BOS Meeting.

 
NOTE: As of September 8, 2021, 180 signatures of my hybrid public meetings petition have been collected. A list of 137 Newtown Twp residents who have signed this petition was submitted to all Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS). To help, please email* the supervisors and tell them it's time for Newtown to allow remote/online participation of residents in Newtown Township Board of Supervisors' meetings via Zoom or some other appropriate technology.
 
THE PETITION IS STILL AVAILABLE FOR SIGNING HERE.

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August 18, 2021, Zoning Hearing Board

At the August 18, 2021, meeting of the ZHB, Township Solicitor David Sander had his sole witness – David Babbitt – testify. Download Mr. Babbit's Report, which provides the details his testimony. Provco/Wawa attorney John VanLuvanee cross-examine Mr. Babbitt and had his own witness counter Mr. Babbit's testimony. Listen to Mr. Babbitt's Testimony.

Newtown Solicitor David Sandler and expert witness David Babbit
prepare to testify at the August 18, 2021, ZHB meeting.
 

No decision was made at this meeting and the hearing was continued to September 20, 2021, to hear PUBLIC COMMENT on this issue. According to the PA Municipal Planning Code, "The board or the hearing officer, as the case may be, shall render a written decision or, when no decision is called for, make written findings on the application within 45 days after the last hearing before the board or hearing officer."

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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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