John Mack - Newtown Supervisor

Three New JMZO Ordinances Up for a Vote by Newtown Supervisors

The following new JMZO Definition Ordinances Definition will voting on by the Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition) at the November 28, 2018, public meeting:

JMZO Ordinance 2017-02 establishes two new uses: E-29 for Medical Marijuana Dispensary and G-15 for Medical Marijuana Grower/Processor. Dispensaries will only be located in the VC‐1 village commercial district in Upper Makefield, and provides for the medical marijuana grower/processors in the LI district in Newtown Township. Suggested reading: “Is There a Role for Medical Cannabis in Combating the Opioid Epidemic?

JMZO Ordinance 2018-01establishes that consumer fireworks can be sold in PA, with restrictions to aerial displays. Note: Newtown's Park & Recreation Code states: "No person shall fire, discharge or have in his or her possession any rocket, firecracker, or other fireworks and substances of an explosive nature within the park system, without first obtaining a permit from the Board of Supervisors."

JMZO Ordinance 2018-02 establishes a Overlay Zoning Definition district within Wrightstown for properties at least 50 acres and are now or will be subject to a Conservation Easement Definition in favor of conserving the property and limiting the use. Permitted uses include micro-brewery, tasting room, “conservation” special events, art gallery, and community theater.

These ordinances were approved for advertising by the Jointure at the October 10, 2018, BOS meeting (see here).

THIS WILL BE YOUR LAST CHANCE to go on the record with your comments regarding these ordinances. The meeting will begin at 7:00 pm at the Pubic Meeting Room at the Municipal Center, 100 Municipal Drive, Newtown, PA.

Posted on 19 Nov 2018, 01:58 - Category: Ordinances



The Top Ten Blog & Video PageViews for October 2018

The following are the TOP TEN viewed blog and video pages for October, 2018 in rank order:

  1. The Newtown Township Planning Commission Stymies Path Forward for Wawa - For Now

  2. Board of Supervisors Decimates Noise Ordinance

  3. Newtown Township Finance Committee Report (video)

  4. Report on WaWa Presentation Before the Planning Commission (video)

  5. Developer and Attorney Present Their Case for a WaWa Superstore on the Newtown Bypass

  6. My BOS Meeting Survival Kit

  7. A Scary Preliminary 2019 Budget, But at Least It Calls for More Roads to be Repaved

  8. Newtown Township Employee Salaries & Wages

  9. Auditor Presents Summary of 2017 Audit to Supervisors (video)

  10. Trends in Newtown’s “Volatile” Earned Income and Property Transfer Taxes

Posted on 18 Nov 2018, 11:48 - Category: Misc



Northampton Resolution is a Setback for Newtown Ambulance

At the November 14, 2018, Newtown Board of Supervisors meeting, Evan Resnikoff, Chief of Operations of the Newtown Ambulance Squad (NAS), commented that as of September 1, 2018, NAS is no longer the primary provider of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) for the East Holland section of Northampton Township after nearly 50 years of providing that service (view video below). This was the result of a 3-0 vote in August, 2018, by the Northampton supervisors to support Resolution Definition #2018-R-14 authorizing the Tri-Hampton Rescue Squad to be the primary provider of emergency medical and rescue services within the boundaries of Northampton Township.

Chief Resnikoff warned that this change could result in longer response times in the eastern end of Northampton Township, potentially putting lives at risk and opening the township to potential litigation. In addition, Chief Resnikoff noted that Newtown Ambulance stands to lose $16,000 in subscription drive revenue and $93,000 in NET billing revenue, or about 40 dispatched calls per month, of which 71% are billable calls. 

The $16,000 in subscription drive revenue came from about 378 donors. “We had an 18% rate of return last year total in all zip codes we mailed to,” noted Resnikoff. “So, I am hopeful that with lots of advertising we can at least make up the 378 within the 18940 zip code where we had a 21% rate of return for that portion of last year's mailing.”

Evan Resnikoff, Chief of Newtown Ambulance, makes a pitch for a subscription drive at the November 14, 2018, Board of Supervisors meeting.

According to an August 26, 2018, article in the Bucks County Courier Times (see below), “between Jan. 1, 2012, through June 30, 2018, Tri-Hampton responded to about 10,000 calls in the township, and nearly 26,000 calls in Northampton, Lower Southampton, Upper Southampton, Bensalem and Warwick combined…Newtown Ambulance responded to only about a third as many calls in the township, about 3,000, in the same time period.

Meanwhile, “Newtown Ambulance responded to more than 13,200 calls in Newtown Township, Newtown Borough, Northampton, Upper Makefield, Lower Makefield, Wrightstown and Middletown since 2012,” according to data cited in the article.

 


 

 

Posted on 18 Nov 2018, 01:05 - Category: First Responders



Summary of October 24, 2018, BOS Public Meeting

The following is a brief summary of the October 24, 2018, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition) meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting, which you can find here.

Committee Reports

Finance Committee: Jack Brod, Chair of the Newtown Finance Committee (NTFC) read a prepared statement urging the BOS to apply for a Department of Community and Economic Development grant to develop a 3-5 year financial plan. The plan can include expense reduction and/or revenue enhancement and/or economic development strategies to grow the tax base. This grant requires a 50% match on funding.

[The September 20, 2018, NTFC report is based on a preliminary and limited analysis of Township budgets and financial documents by committee members. It represents the Committee's first attempt to identify potential fiscal issues and concerns, needed benchmarking of township services, staffing, income and expenditures against other municipal governments and accepted standards; (3) possible implications of the fiscal issues we have estimated, and initial recommendations for future consideration and actions.  Find the complete report here.]

Planning Commission: Allen Fidler, Chair of the Newtown Planning Commission read a synopsis of the latest meeting regarding a revised amendment to the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance (JMZO Definition) to amend provisions of the OR-Office Research District to add new use (E-25, Motor Vehicle Fueling Center). This proposal is a text amendment to the OR-Office Research District that if adopted, the ordinance would permit a new use: the E-25 motor vehicle fueling center by conditional use in the OR district which is only within Newtown Township. 

[Read “The Newtown Township Planning Commission Stymies Path Forward for Wawa - For Now”]

Ordinances

OR Text Amendment (Public Comments): Alan Hathaway stated he is against the Text Amendment Definition request to add a new use to a zoning Ordinance Definition of the Jointure Definition for the property at Lower Silver Lake Road and the Bypass that would benefit Wawa. He’s concerned about traffic, hours of operation, pedestrian safety, environmental damage, and opening the opportunities to fast food restaurants.

Michael Horbal had requested a copy of the text amendment via the Right-to-Know (RTK) Law Definition and was declined based that it is a draft notice. Mr. Horbal noted companies with site planning criteria that would fit on the same size parcel that the proposed text amendment states.

[Supervisor Mack asked asked Dave Sander, the Township Solicitor Definition, to outline the next steps for the Text Amendment. The short answer was "it's complicated." The following video clip from the BOS meeting provides the definitive and a more detailed answer.]

Anti-Discrimination Ordinance: There is a need to advertise the anti-discrimination ordinance for enactment. The vote for this ordinance is scheduled to take place at the November 28, 2018 Board of Supervisor’s meeting. Mr. Mack made a motion to authorize advertisement. Mr. Fisher seconded. The motion passed 5-0.

Prepared Statement by Supervisor Mack

"I would like to thank the Board of Supervisors for proposing this Ordinance, the adoption of which was a goal of mine going back to December, 2017, when I interviewed Dave Bria – at that time a newly elected Yardley Borough Council member – about his intent to introduce an anti-discrimination ordinance to protect the LGBTQ - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning - community in Yardley from employment and housing discrimination (listen to that interview here). His efforts were an inspiration for Newtown’s Anti-discrimination ordinance, which goes further.

"This ordinance is even more important now that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is spearheading an effort to establish a legal definition of sex under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans gender discrimination in education programs that receive government financial assistance, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times.

"The agency’s proposed definition would define sex as either male or female, unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with, according to a draft reviewed by the New York Times.

"The ordinance we are proposing safeguards rights to employment and housing 'without regard to actual or perceived race, color, gender, religion, ancestry, genetic information, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, etc.'"

Posted on 16 Nov 2018, 11:06 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes



Arcadia Green PRD Three Peat: Denied Again!

For the third time in as many years, the Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition) voted unanimously to deny approval of a tentative Arcadia Green Planned Residential Development (PRD Definition) project!

The vote was made at the November 14, 2018, BOS meeting. For background, read summaries of minutes of previous BOS meetings, “Newtown Crossing vs Arcadia: Residents Speak Out” and “Arcadia Green Development Hearings”.

Here's what I had to say: “After listening to all the testimony, reading the reports of experts, and listening to residents of surrounding communities, I will vote to deny the current Arcadia PRD because I think it would be unsafe for residents of that development – should it go forward – to exit and enter the development. Also, let’s not forget the additional traffic it would bring to the intersection of Buck Road and the Bypass. Lastly, the plan for a U-turn to allow access to the Bypass is totally impractical, unsafe, and will cause major delays in my opinion, which seems to also be the opinion of PennDOT and other experts.”

Having sat through several hearings regarding this PRD, I am happy that I will never need sit through such hearings again. This assumes that Wrightstown and Upper Makefield have followed Newtown’s lead and approved the amendment of the JMZO to remove PRD as a permitted use. For more about that, read “Newtown Votes to Delete Planned Residential Development (PRD) from JMZO”.


Posted on 15 Nov 2018, 13:31 - Category: Development



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