13 April 2022 BOS Meeting Summary
Russian Stock Divesture, Planning Commission on Wawa Land Development Plan, SIngle-Use Plastics Resolution, Billboards on the Bypass? Sycamore Street parking, 2022 Road Program, More...
This is my personal summary of the April 13, 2022, meeting of Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS). This is not a complete nor an official summary. See my meeting notes for more details.
Access the 2022 BOS Voting Record (UNOFFICIAL).
- Consideration to Amend Pension Fund Investments
- Reports of Committees
- Engineer's Report
- Solicitor's Report
- Manager's Report
At the March 9, 2022, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting, supervisors signaled their intention to rid the township's pension fund of Russian stocks in protest against the invasion of Ukraine by Russia and the apparent war crimes being committed by Russia in Ukraine.
At the March 23, 2022 BOS meeting, I requested that a decision on whether or not Newtown pension funds should dump Russian funds be made at the April 13, 2022 BOS.
I also requested that a representative from the pension fund management company be present to answer questions from the BOS and the public.
Grant Kalson from Dahab Associates - the firm that manages Newtown's pension funds - was present and answered questions (see video of his presentation).
The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to divest Twp pension funds of Aberdeen (ABEMX) holdings, which includes Russian & Chinese securities, and follow Mr. Kalson's recommendation to eliminate emerging markets all together and put 50% of the proceeds into a stock fund and 50% into a bond fund.
Planning Commission (PC) Chair Peggy Driscoll presented the Commission's de facto decision to recommend that the BOS NOT approved Wawa's latest Land Development Plan to build a Wawa on the Newtown Bypass.
Ms. Driscoll then went on to present evidence that Wawa's plan - which was reviewed by the PC on April 5, 2022 - violated the township's E30 ordinance, which was crafted specifically to allow Wawa to build a Superstore (combination gas station & convenience store) in Newtown. She also mentioned several recommendations of the Bucks County Planning Commission for changes to the plan that Wawa discounted and refused to address.
Meanwhile, Supervisor Calabro Chastises Driscoll!
After her presentation, Supervisor Calabro was critical of her handling of the April 5 PC meeting because she allowed Holland residents to make comments. Mr. Calabro provided misinformation that only one or two Newtown residents made comments and eight non-residents made comments. Actually, 8 residents (4 from Newtown) made comments (Listen to all these comments...). Mr. Calabro went so far as to suggest that ONLY Newtown residents should be allowed to make comments at official Newtown meetings. Supervisor Davis thought this was censorship.
Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) member Elaine McCarron presented data and other information about the impact of single-use plastics on the environment and the health of animals - including humans. Assisting was EAC member Carol Walsh.
Immediately afterward, the supervisors passed a resolution to voluntarily reduce the distribution of single-use plastics.
The resolution states (in part):
"WHEREAS, it is in the public interest of the residents of Newtown Township to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags and plastic straws and polystyrene food containers to protect the public health and natural environment of the surrounding area;
"NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors encourages businesses, residents and visitors to voluntarily participate in reducing the distribution of single-use plastic bags, straws and polystyrene containers.
"BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors encourages the Newtown Township Environmental Advisory Council and other volunteers to educate and inform Township businesses, residents and visitors about the need for voluntary single-use plastic reduction."
According to the Township Manager: “Our Engineer [RVE] has received bids for the 2022 Road Program, which were less than we had anticipated. The Engineer will have a recommendation for the Board’s consideration to award the contract at the upcoming meeting.”
Award of the Base Bid, Alternate Bid No. 1, Alternate Bid No. 2, Alternate Bid No. 3, Alternate Bid No. 4, Alternate Bid No. 5, Alternate Bid No. 6, Alternate Bid No. 7, Alternate Bid No. 8, Alternate Bid No. 18, and Alternate Bid No. 21 in the total amount of $811,794.50 to Harris Blacktopping, contingent upon funds being available and upon receiving authorization to award from all funding agencies. This totals 3.4 miles of township roadways. See the RVE Letter of Recommendation for the list of roads [LINK: ].The Supervisors authorize the award of the 2022 road program to Harris Blacktopping in an amount not to exceed $811,794.50.
The Board approved the recommendation unanimously. See more details regarding the 2022 road program, including the schedule of work and information about new street markings on the Bypass.
The BOS authorized the drafting and advertisement of an ordinance prohibiting parking on N. Sycamore Street, west side, 120 feet north measured from the center line of Silo Drive (see photo), and establishing 4-way stop intersections at Everett Drive and Lower Dolington Road and at Yorkshire Drive and Lower Dolington Road.
According the Public Works report of the week ending 8 April 2002, “At 240 N. Sycamore St, eliminated two parking spaces to improve line of sight for both pedestrians and vehicles.”
The aerial view on the left shows the area in question. Essentially, two parking spaces in front of the Green Parrot have been eliminated. This will enhance the sight view of drivers making a left turn from Silo Dr. onto N Sycamore St. going north.
Embedded below are my notes that I prepared before the meeting. It includes questions and links to background information and other details. You can also download the PDF file.