John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Summary of June 12, 2019, Newtown Township BOS Public Meeting

Summary of June 12, 2019, Newtown Township BOS Public Meeting

The following is a brief summary of the June 12, 2019, 2019, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS Definition) meeting based upon the official minutes of that meeting, which you can find here. In attendance and voting were Supervisors: Chairman Phillip Calabro, Vice Chairman Linda Bobrin, Secretary John Mack and members Kyle Davis and Dennis Fisher. Also in attendance were: Township Manager Micah Lewis, Township Engineer Leanna Colubriale and Township Solicitor David Sander.

Environment

Pollution Reduction Plan – Public Comment Period and Responses: Mr. Lewis reported the Township has received public comment and provided engineer responses on the Pollution Reduction Plan as required by the DEP. In response to comments and the large number in favor of maintaining manicured lawn at Roberts Ridge Park, the space was reconfigured to maintain a larger area of manicured lawn near the playground. [read "Newtown Revises Pollution Reduction Plan After Hearing Resident Comments"]

Mr. Mack asked Mr. Lewis for an update on the Pollution Reduction Plan specifically regarding Roberts Ridge [Park]. Mr. Lewis said there has been no official revision of the plan yet as the engineers are still reviewing it. CKS is still responding to comments received and then a final decision will be made [read "Newtown Revises Pollution Reduction Plan After Hearing Resident Comments"]. Mr. Mack expressed concern about the risk of invasive vegetation when creating meadows and asked if there was a plan to address this issue. Mr. Lewis replied that there are maintenance procedures to follow with meadows and the Township Public Works crews will be maintaining the meadows.

Mr. Mack stated he would like to see HOA's and the public become involved in meadow conversions and a discussion ensued on this topic. Mr. Fisher then asked about having a walkway cut through in Roberts Ridge park and Mr. Lewis stated once the meadow is established it can be considered.

[Statement by John Mack not in the minutes: Public Involvement Going Forward: The US EPA says “An active and involved community is crucial to the success of a stormwater management program… the public can provide valuable input and assistance to a regulated small MS4’s municipal stormwater management program…” The EPA suggests that “the public be given opportunities to play an active role in both the development and implementation of the program.”

HOA Definition Involvement: At previous BOS meetings as well as at the June 4th Planning Commission meeting mention was made regarding the involvement of Homeowners Associations in the process. As the HOA Liaison, I would like to see the Township work more closely with the Environmental Advisory Board and HOAs to see how they can play an active role in the implementation of our Pollution Reduction Plan.]

Development

Conditional Use – OMD Prospect, LLC – Solstice: Attorney Joseph Blackburn represented the applicant and Richard Darby-Matteoda, representing Solstice, was sworn in. Mr. Blackburn explained Solstice was a full service, sit down dining establishment which is affiliated with Shula’s Steak House. There will be no outdoor music on the outdoor patio. This location brings the restaurant allocation in the shopping center to approximately 26.78% which is still within the 45% limit and the sewer capacity is adequate.

Mr. Mack stated Solstice outdoor seating space has the most of all with 1800 square feet and noted there will be over 5000 square feet total of outdoor dining space in this section of the property. He asked if this space was included in the parking calculations and Mr. Blackburn acknowledged that it was. Mr. Blackburn also noted that this is the largest proposed area, however there will be fewer seats in a bigger area.

Arcadia Appeal: Resident Dennis Schoener provided an update on the Arcadia appeal [for background on this case, read "Newtown Township Supervisors Say 'No Means No' When It Comes to Arcadia Green III Planned Residential Development"] and expressed his concerns on the direction it is going. Mr. Sander acknowledged the update provided by Mr. Schoener was accurate. He then explained it was not legally feasible for the Township to contribute to the legal fees of the Eagle Ridge Association as requested. Mr. Sander is unable to discuss details of the case as it is in litigation and he referred Mr. Schoener to the Eagle Ridge counsel.

Public Safety

May 2019 Police Report: Chief Hearn reported there were 1,633 calls for service during May including 16 arrests, 11 which were DUI related; there was one incident where a sergeant successfully administered Narcan and one corruption of minor arrest. [Read "May 2019 Newtown Township Police Report: A Speeding Ticket Is The Best Education!" for more details.]

Mr. Mack expressed concern on behalf of residents who are concerned about speeding on Sycamore and mentioned there was recently a pedestrian accident there. Mr. Mack also inquired about utilizing LED speed indicators and blinking lights at pedestrian walkways. The Chief said the LED signs are owned by the police department and are moved to where needed. He also reviewed additional initiatives the department uses to enforce speed limits.

Supervisor Reports

Mr. Mack: Mr. Mack reported on the Joint Zoning Council (JZC) Definition meeting which provided updates on ordinances, including gas, oil and transient residential use which addresses Air B&B’s. Also reviewed was a proposal by the Bucks County Planning Commission on a Comprehensive Plan Update.

[More details provided by John Mack, not in minutes:

(1) Transient Residential Use Ordinance, which essentially is designed to limit the use of a home as it was “Pre Airbnb” because of neighborhood disruption. Ms. Kushto (JZC Solicitor) was charged with preparing a draft ordinance to accomplish that will comply with recent decisions of the State Supreme Court. Mack wondered how big a problem airbnb rentals were and suggested we do some research to see how many airbnb listings there currently are in the Jointure. "Personally," said Mr. Mack, "I would not like an ordinance that completely prohibited airbnb-type listings especially since hearing from the Lower Bucks Chamber of Commerce that it may be interested in promoting airbnb’s in Bucks County to attract tourists, which are good for the local economy in my opinion."

(2) Comprehensive Plan Proposal – A proposal was presented by Lisa Wolff, Senior Planner at the Bucks County Planning Commission (BCPC). In response to the challenge of continued growth pressures, and the importance of staying current with changing community dynamics and activities, the Newtown Area Joint Zoning Council decided that an update to its Comprehensive Plan Definition may be needed since the current plan is older than 10 years. At the February meeting, the JZC asked Ms. Wolff to come up with a proposal, including fees. Everyone on the Newtown BOS received a copy of the proposal. There was a suggestion that the plan should include a section about what the Jointure Definition needs to do to stay “ahead of the ball” – as Allen Fidler said – of the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) with regard to future watershed Definition pollution reduction requirements. There was a discussion of doing a survey of residents, which is optional. The BCPC would create the survey, but the JZC would be responsible for printing and mailing. I suggested that it may be possible to do an online survey, which would be cheaper and probably get more responses. The total base cost of this project is not to exceed $50,880. Payment schedule and sources of funding were discussed. Ms. Wolff said she would prepare a list of potential applicable funding sources. The JCZ will draft a resolution for each to the Jointure Townships to consider.]

Mr. Fisher: Mr. Fisher reported the Newtown Environmental Advisory Council (EAC Definition) discussed a green infrastructure topics document and the Finance Committee worked on the RFP which is in final draft [for more information, read "Newtown Applies for DCED Grant to Assess the Township’s Financial Condition"]. They also talked about conducting a business survey. In reference to the business survey, Mr. Calabro asked for the committee to incorporate the Business Commons in the survey to determine what uses it can handle and how it can be utilized in the future.

Posted on 13 Jul 2019, 01:12 - Category: Board of Supervisors Minutes

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