Comprehensive Plan Resident Survey Results (Newtown)
The Newtown Area Jointure (the joint municipal zoning consortium comprising Newtown Township, Upper Makefield Township, and Wrightstown Township) is in the process of updating the Newtown Area Comprehensive Plan, which was last updated in 2009.
The is the Jointure's primary land use policy document that sets goals and objectives, and a vision for future development and growth. The Comprehensive Plan (CompPlan) sets the foundation for land development standards, including subdivision and zoning laws.
The plan is periodically reviewed in order to make sure it reflects the most current needs and views of the community. To review and update the CompPlan, the Joint Zoning Council (JZC) hired the Bucks County Planning Commission (BCPC).
The Jointure would like to hear the views of as many residents as possible and is committed to ensuring the community plays an active role in developing the policies that will help shape the development in the Jointure for the next ten years and beyond. To that end, the BCPC hosted a Citizen Survey.
Survey Summary for Newtwon Residents
At the December 3, 2020, JZC meeting, BCPC Planner Jeremy Stoff reviewed results of the Citizen Survey. The following is a summary of the results focused on Newtown Township responses. The full results - including responses from all three municipalities - will be included in the final updated plan.
Q: Where do you live? And How long have you lived here?
Mr. Stoff presented a synopsis of survey respondents - specifically how many responses were received from each township and how many years respondents have respondents lived in their township.
Q: Why did you choose to live in your township?
NOTE: About 25% of respondents from Newtown Township say they are retired, whereas 35% of Upper Makefield respondents are retired, and 17% of Wrightstown respondents indicated that are retired.
Q: What are the best characteristics of your community?
Selected comments by Newtown Township respondents regarding other “best characteristics” (all comments will be included in the final published plan):
- Friendliness of community
- Retail and restaurants
- Being able to walk to shops and restaurants
- Restaurant’s, bars, close to retail!
- Community is kind and generous
Q: What do you consider to be the most important problems facing your community?
Selected comments by Newtown Township respondents regarding other “important problems” (all comments will be included in the final published plan):
- Cost of housing
- Excessive expansion
- Financial mismanagement- overuse of deficit spending and poor communication.
- Financial status of the township
- Lack of diversity and too much commercial/retail box store development.
- lack of meeting area for teens etc like rec center or township pool. only option is the NAC since swimclub closed and many can't afford. a simple park w bball courts and benches etc. would be nice
- Lack of diversity and inclusion - hate crimes/racism
- Limiting quarry trucks to more commercial roads like the bypass and controlling speed
- Maintaining rural landscape and Not allowing developers rule growth!
- Misspent taxes - why does HALF our budget go towards the police when we lack the funds to fight off profit driven lawsuits from giant developers to change our zoning regulations.
- No problems it is a great place to live.
- Over development
- Please stop the commercial traffic on Stoopville Road the large vehicles are dangerous and speed. Please make the use of the Bypass mandatory !!!!
- Police harrassing residents to make money on needless tickets.
- Police not policing speeders on residential roads. Letting them off with warning. The township increasing speed limits on residential roads without surveying the community.
- Politicians/ more homes being built
- Single Family home shortage that does not cost $1million.
- Stable electricity during storms
- The absolutely abhorrent development of the Newtown Shopping Center the worst being Starbucks which created a driving parking manuevering nightmare. What profound visionary permitted this abomination?
- The lack of future development and affordable housing options.
- Too much commercial building being approved too much traffic not safe for kids to ride bikes in town anymore. No need for anymore big box store names- old navy and new building? not necessary!
- too much development people from out of the area not invested in community moving into area = crime rate
- Too much growth
- Too much new construction
- Township commission mismagement of water cost to the point of illegality police funding and organization
Q: Overall how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the residential development within your community?
Just a few of the over 225 comments by Newtown Township respondents regarding residential development (all comments will be included in the final published plan):
- “American dream” over-priced cookie cutter suburban eye sores. It’s like Newtown is gentrifying out it’s own youth.
- Can our "planners" further eviscerate the once-pleasant character of Newtown?
- Concerned that continued new residential development will over stress the school system, which was one of main reasons for moving to the area.
- Developers will always try to maximize their potential profits from development. Sometimes this is to the detriment of the neighborhood as they seek variances to do so. It's important that variances granted are few and far between for the good of all.
- Development as expected
- Enough houses have been built over the years. Now it’s time to stop building and time to save the open spaces.
- I believe development in the CM district is no longer important to the community leaders nor is historic preservation within the community
- I believe we need to slow down or halt entirely. The traffic is overwhelming for our lovely Newtown
- I feel developers with deep pockets are negatively influencing zoning & building on park/preserved land. I would like to see less developments & more preserved open spaces.
- I spent my career working in Bucks County Governance. It was and is an uphill battle given the laws and the power of moneyed interests to pursue greed over preserving the character of our community.
- I'd like to see more single family home developments built within the $700K - $1MM price range.
- I’m happy to have a home here, but has become too expensive for many in my kid’s’ generation to purchase a home. Also, there aren’t enough “nice” rental apartments or townhouses here.
- Infrastructure such as streetlights and signs is dated/damaged, should be refreshed.
- It would be nice to have more 55+ communities in the township
- Maximum residential and commercial development has been reached in Newtown Twp. Time should be spent on utilizing existing commercial vacancies rather than considering zoning changes such as for Wawa.
- More walking trails. Very unsafe to walk down lower dolington to get to downtown Newtown, parks and schools.
- My wife loves it here.
- Newer developments are poorly planned with larger and larger homes on postage size lots. Very disappointed in seeing how this has taken place over the past 30+ years. Newtown has steadily been losing its character and charm.
- One word: Overbuilt
- Overdevelopment is creating water runoff complications, increased traffic flow, increased noise volumes, decreasing the once tranquil nature of this area.
- Poor upkeep of streets, and outdoor properties.
- The boards have routinely not followed existing Joint Zoning Regulations, allowing more development than what was planned for. Newtown Township is also hurt by the JMZO in its current form as it designates Newtown to handle all the growth.
- The residential development has not impacted us in any way.
- We dislike the number of high-density neighborhoods (townhouses and small lots) that are being developed, but appreciate some of the attempts at maintaining open space.
- Wm Penn's vision of A "Green Country Towns" have turned into concrete. The is too much of overdevelopment
Q: Overall how satisfied or dissatisfied are you with the commercial development within your community?
Just a few of the over 260 comments by Newtown Township respondents regarding commercial development (all comments will be included in the final published plan):
- The Newtown shopping center renovation / expansion created jobs and consumer options without expanding the footprint of the center. I'm happy with that.
- Again, the stores are enough. Please no Old Navy. We’re starting to look like Route 1
- Again, way too much too quickly
- Changes to the Village at Newtown have been positive - lots of diversity in restaurants. State Street needs work - too many hair salons and steak houses, not enough ethnic and casual dining spots for younger families.
- Commercial development has become a huge issue in last couple years, primarily village of Newtown and chick fil a/acme shopping center. It is a nightmare of a shopping center all around that takes away from all that made Newtown a desirable place to live.
- Commercial Development in Newtown Township has reached Suburban Sprawl levels with the approval of Big Box retail outlets when they exist 4 miles away in Oxford Valley.
- Commercial land is either overbuilt - shopping center or the business area of town has allowed exceptions for non-tax generating businesses like storage places.
- Commercial options are artificially and unnecessarily increasing the cost of living in a misguided attempt to appear "premiere"
- Decisions are made due to fear of lawsuits rather than collaborative solutions.
- Enjoy the variety but concerned about the increased traffic and limited amount of parking.
- Excited for more variety of shops but unhappy with the overall growth. I feel it is to much for our small community.
- Expansion of businesses in Village of Newtown area is absolutely ridiculous. The dense building, right on durham/eagle road, is an eyesore and driving significant traffic. The whole complex has gone from quaint to ugly and congested. Very unfortunate.
- For every mom and pop shop or small business that opens in town, 5 locations from some giant corporation open up, slowly killing what makes Newtown special and turning it into Anytown, USA. If one more god damn bank opens up...
- Geting to now be too much commercial growth...loved the open space combined
- Happy with the new shops in Newtown Village
- How many more pizza places, Italian restaurants and banks do we need - it's ridiculous! We need a whole foods or Trader Joe's and more upscale shops and dining.
- I love the access to a variety of businesses, shopping, and dining, but the area is so congested.
- I love the changes that have been made to the downtown Newtown Shopping Center (McCaffrey's Shopping Center)
- I love the improvements made in Newtown, the shops, the restaurants. It is alive and bustling!!!
- I think it's been great and now it's enough. No more for at least a decade, please.
- I think revitalization of Village at Newtown has been positive by increasing services within an already developed area; however, but think there were some missed opportunities to improve stormwater management on the site while new/redevelopment happened.
- I think the recent construction in Newtown Township is looking great. I am very concerned about Parking. I am very concerned about projects against the bypass. I do not want bypass development.
- I understand the need to add more commercial development. But, I very much like locally owned businesses prospering and not big box companies. The thought of old navy being put in newtown is terrible.
- I wish we would have built a community of shopping that can be access with alternate transportation - think walking, bicycles, golf carts, etc.
- It amazes me that so many people are so short sighted when it comes to preserving the character of their community. They prefer cheap gas or a WaWa hoagie over green open space.
- It's okay now but I wouldn't want to see the bypass more highly developed.
- Need a Wawa and Trader Joes
- Need variety of business. More kids friendly places and less high end food places
- New development is great but more parking is needed and a trolly or similar running between Newtown borough & the township shopping center would be great
- New development not using native plants in landscaping and cutting more trees down than replacing
- Offices are available, we don't need more commercial development
- Opportunity to move car dealership in sycamore and convert to a walkable Main Street feel connecting state and sycamore
- Paths and sidewalks are added in a random matter and often go no where.
- Unusual businesses are being added which don’t survive. Then we are left with empty building where common space could have remained.
- Some is needed to keep taxes realistic, but do not overdo it.
- The bastardization of State Street and Sycamore has been appalling. anything people want to build, fast food place after fast food place gets approved. the colonial character has been blown away in replacement for transient, soon-to-be-vacant 2020 hovels
- The changes to the village of Newtown really make a difference
- The construction at the Village of Newtown is too much! Aside from the terrible traffic/congestion, the long-term viability of the shops there is concerning. I dread the day when the storefronts are vacant because we can't sustain the spending.
- The development in the McCaffrey’s shopping center is outrageous. The township officials and zoning personnel who ever allowed this should be fired. It is disgraceful what they did. So very disappointed
- the Village Shopping Center is difficult to navigate due to too too many eateries. So call " highend". Not everyone in Newtown are wealthy. Its sad to see the area overrun with commercialism.
- We have lived in our home since 1975. For years commercial development was carefully monitored. In the last ten years business growth has exploded creating huge traffic and parking issues; parking problems were hugely understated.
- Wish we had more family oriented options
- Would appreciate inviting business that make an effort to hire local and spend within the community
- Would like Newtown to remain at least somewhere near to the quaint community I liked when I bought 40 yrs ago.
Q: What is one thing that would improve the quality of life in your community?
Just a few comments by Newtown Township respondents regarding desired quality of life improvements (all comments will be included in the final published plan):
- Better traffic control on the Newtown Bypass and on Buck Road. Both roads are full of speeding motorists and very dangerous most days.
- Cease and desist any more development, residential and commercial for a ten year period of time to study the impact of hastily approved ventures. The traffic and parking issues are paramount.
- Community bus service
- ·Create a plan then stick to it. We have been here long enough to know that plans are created by outside consultants at a very large cost. Then there is no money to implement the plan. That doesn’t make any sense to us. We live in what was once a beautiful area. My heart goes out to those who come after us. This area is not being treated well and there is definitely a lack of knowing what is important. It is sad that the zoning of the past isn’t maintained. This includes areas that were considered to be conservation areas to protect trees
- Decision makers that cared about preserving what was once a unique and beautiful area, instead of allowing it to be over developed and over populated. Decision makers that fought to preserve natural (not man made) open space, farmland, and history rather than always allowing developers to have the upper hand.
- Fun safe options for teens
- Make this a walkable community and put in some sidewalks already! There’s also nowhere for bikes to safely ride. It’s too difficult in Tyler, and it’s literally, life-threatening on the roads in Newtown.
- Sweep the roads. Better maintenance of public systems. Sycamore street is the main road of Newtown township. It's not being well maintained.
- The noise levels are off the charts. Suburban life has grown into noise levels that have exceeded those of the city. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make sense to live in this area anymore as the quality of life has so greatly depleted over the last two decades.
- I would be willing to pay more in taxes to cover the costs of fighting aggressive developers in court!"
Q: What is one thing that contributes most to the quality of life in your community?
Just a few comments by Newtown Township respondents regarding quality of life factors (all comments will be included in the final published plan):
- A safe place to live with good restaurants and enough shopping.
- Ability to walk from home to schools and parks. Safe travel on foot and bike within neighborhood. Access to major roads without being "on them". Open space and trees!
- Access to parks
- clean air and reasonable traffic
- Clean water
- close to parks and walking trails
- Education - school district and Community college - as well as activities and events occurring in the community.
- Educational opportunities
- Feeling of community, beauty and being safe.
- Friendly, caring people
- Generally caring neighbors.
- Generally quiet neighborhood
- Good schools and maintaining our taxes. Responsible
- I love Newtown. I think most of the development has been really positive. I remember the abandoned acme and bordered up houses. This has been great. I get nervous about neighborhood development on the bypass.
- I love the access to Tyler State Park.
- Local businesses and programs, friendly happy people, strong community volunteerism and up until recently, controlled growth.
- Low crime, socioeconomics, historic preservation
- Nice suburban community in reach of Philly, NYC, shore, mountains, etc.
- Parks are well maintained and have been a blessing during this pandemic. Thank goodness for sidewalks for our community.
- People who live here are generally civil and respectful
- Police, fire, ambulance services provides excellent services.
- The preservation of the historic architectural and land use regulations that have been upheld for generations.
- We live in a place with great opportunities and we can afford to take advantage of them. I wish there were more recreational opportunities in our community. I think the resources are there but not the vision from the Supervisors.