26 October 2022 BOS Meeting Summary
Newtown-Wrightstown Police Services Agreement, Toll Bros - Historic Farmhouse, Provco/Wawa Land Development, Pedestrian Safety, More…
This is my personal summary of the October 26, 2022, meeting of Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS). This is not a complete nor an official summary.
Access the 2022 BOS Chronicle for a more detailed summary of this meeting plus an updated BOS voting record (UNOFFICIAL) for 2022.
- Newtown-Wrightstown Police Services Agreement
- Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions
- Planning Commission: Newtown AOP, Toll Bros Land Development
- Land Development
- Consider Preliminary/Final Plan approval for Provco Pinegood Newtown/Wawa
- Reports of Officials
- Public Comments
- Pedestrian Safety: Newtown Yardley Rd/Tara Drive Crosswalk
- Official Video
For background see page 86 of the 2022 BOS Chronicle.
According the 2022 Newtown Budget, the yearly fee that Newtown charges Wrightstown for this service is $846,529. Meanwhile, Newtown estimates "Police Services" expenses for 2022 will be $5,926,062.
From 2017 through 2020, an average of 19% of NTPD Calls For Service were in Wrightstown. See "WRIGHTSTOWN POLICE SERVICES" in my Notes from the 28 November 2018 BOS Meeting.
This issue was on the agenda of the October 12, 2022, BOS meeting. At that meeting, in a public comment, Frank McCarron, a resident of Delancey Court, described this as a “sweet deal” for Wrightstown and a bad deal for Newtown. He focused on the per capita cost*, which is much higher for Newtown than for Wrightstown and suggested that the BOS table this decision until it had an opportunity to review more data, include patrol miles logged by the Newtown Police Department in Newtown versus Wrightstown.
No matter how you look at it, the numbers don't add up (read "Newtown Township's Police Contract With Wrightstown is Flawed").
I made the following statement at the Oct 26 before the BOS voted 4-1 to approve the terms of the extension. I voted “No” for the following reasons:
In my opinion, the proposed contract UNDER FUNDS the Newtown Police Department! The 2023 fee of $888,855, in my opinion, is not sufficient to cover the costs involved. That is not money that is just put away in the bank to earn interest. Services need to be provided and those services cost money. Wrightstown residents are getting those services at much less cost per capita than Newtown residents. That’s just not fair to our taxpayers.
This contract does not take into account current inflation rates, which are nearly 8%. Nor does it take into account the extra costs that are needed to cover Wrightstown. Police Chief Hearn has repeatedly advised us that to do an adequate job of covering the additional territory he would need to increase the number of police officers from the current 32 to 47 – nearly a 50% increase! In addition, the Chief says he needs 4 additional police cars every year due to the extra miles needed to be covered. The price for those cars are increasing at a rate much higher than 5% per year.
In addition, our police department needs a new, modern police building to replace the rundown, inadequate “cottage” currently used. Our police cannot even process arrests at its current location, but must travel to Northampton’s modern facility to do that! Who will pay for this new building that is desperately needed? It will be Newtown taxpayers, and not Wrightstown!
Finally, it is surprising to me that this contract was negotiated without ANY input from us supervisors, who have recently been admonished by the local press to “stay in our lane.” If negotiating contracts that impact our taxpayers is not “staying in our lane,” then I don’t know what is!
The Newtown Planning Commission (NTPC) reviewed this plan for a detached cluster development of 45 homes and recommended that the Supervisors approve the plan subject to compliance with the review letters of CKS Engineers, Remington and Vernick Engineers and Newtown Emergency Services.
NTPC also recommend that the Supervisors ask for permission to allow the Joint Historic Commission (JHC) to visit the site and document any existing historic structure (see image below) before issuing demolition permits.
Before Toll can demolish the building(s) it must file an application with the JHC, which will examine the property and determine if it qualifies by their standards as an historic site. If so, they will make a recommendation that it NOT be demolished.
For background see the Wawa-vs-Newtown Timeline.
The E30 Ordinance defines and provides for a “motor vehicle fueling station and convenience store use.” Item #30 of Section 7 of this ordinance, states “The Board of Supervisors may limit the hours of operation if a residential use [emphasis added] is located within 750 feet of the subject property line.”
Since there is clearly "residential use" within 750 feet of the proposed Wawa site (see image on left), I believe that the BOS can set a limit the hours of operation.
The insert clearly shows a house, a car, and driveway from the house to Lower Silver Lake Rd. A neighbor has confirmed that a family currently lives there and has been living there for several years.
Newtown Residents & Supervisors Oppose Wawa on Bypass
Several residents and at least two supervisors spoke up in opposition to the plan (see video below). In the end, by a 3-2 vote, Newtown Township supervisors denied the approval of Wawa’s plan to build a Super Wawa on the Bypass at Lower Silver Lake Rd. John Mack, Elen Snyder, and Kyle Davis voted against, while Dennis Fisher and Phil Calabro voted in favor.
The Township Solicitor’s letter to the Provco Attorney lays out the official reasons for the denial, which include:
- The Plans were presented as a combined “preliminary/final” plan and thus the Plans do not comply with Section 22-301.3 of the Newtown Township SALDO because the Plan was not presented separately as a preliminary plan followed by a separate final plan.
- The Plans depict parking within 8 feet of the outside wall of the proposed convenience store, thus they do not comply with the minimum 20-foot parking setback requirement of the SALDO.
- The Plans depict a canopy over the proposed gasoline pump island with a length of 96 feet, which exceeds the 60-foot maximum length requirement, and an area of 5,280 square feet, which exceeds the 3,000 square foot maximum area requirement. The increased length and area of the proposed canopy were not approved by the Board of Supervisors as required Section 803.E-30.11.c. of the JMZO.
Signage Improvements at Washington Crossing Road (SR 0532)/Sycamore Street and Durham Road/Bank Access (i.e., NO TURN ON Red signage).
For more on this, read “NO TURN ON RED: Durham Rd/Sycamore St & Washington Xcrossing Rd/Durham Rd”
I first heard about this from an October 3, 2022, tweet by the Newtown Police Department (see image).
NOTE: Unbeknownst to me at the time, this item FIRST appeared in the September 9, 2022, Engineer’s Report under “Capital Improvements,” Item E.
This troubles me because it is obvious that the township has bypassed the supervisors in approving these signs.
Valerie Mihalek, Greg Zukowsky, and other residents of Newtown Walk - including children - asked that the BOS to add to a future BOS agenda their request for additional pedestrian safety measures on Newtown-Yardley Rd and Tara Blvd.
For background, read “Residents Discuss Pedestrian Safety, Toll Bros, Firefighter Shortage, and More.”
They pointed out the problems with the pedestrian safety measures that the township has already implemented and asked for flashing beacons that are more visible to drivers and lowering the speed limit to 25 MPH.
The BOS agreed to their request.
View the official video of the meeting on Youtube for more details.