John Mack - Newtown Supervisor

Meet Mack Monday

Mack Meets Residents at the Corner Bakery Cafe Before #COVID19
Join Me for a Chat

Are you concerned overdevelopment in Newtown or about traffic in the shopping center or about the quality of our drinking water or about preserving the open space in our parks or about any issue that has or will come before the Board of Supervisors (BOS) and other township boards and commissions?

Feel free to attend one of my "Meet Mack Monday" events that I host each month, usually the 2nd Monday of the month before the first BOS meeting. I will inform you of items coming up for discussion at public meetings you may not be able to attend and that are not televised. I will listen to your concerns and together with other residents and business owners I will try to come up with solutions to problems that make sense for Newtown as a whole.

Next Meeting: September 21, 2020 via Zoom, 7 pm

Topics for Discussion: 

  • Is it time to abandon BOS ZOOM meetings and return to LIVE BOS public meetings? What are the pros and cons?
  • The final 5-Year Budget Plan by consultants will be discussed at the August 23, 2020, BOS ZOOM meeting. What are the details that can be revealed? Will we see tax increases and new hires in 2021 as recommended by the consultants?
  • Establishment of a New E30 Use: Combination Gas Station and Convenience Store (e.g., Wawa) in OR District (Newtown Bypass). Supervisors are set to vote on this zoning amendment at the September 23, 2020, BOS ZOOM meeting.

Other topics to be discussed depends upon your responses to this survey and the final agenda for the September 23, 2020, BOS meeting. That agenda will be available on September 18, 2020.

Item #1: Newtown Township does NOT allow residents to join regular Board of Supervisors (BOS) Zoom meetings. There may be good reasons for this (read "Newtown Supervisor Zoom Meetings Not Open to Residents"), but perhaps Supervisors should return to LIVE public BOS meetings even with limited attendance.

Item #2: Includes a possible substantial increase in real estate taxes and the hiring of 10 new personnel in 2021. For details, read "Newtown Supervisors Review Interim 5-Year Financial Plan".

Item #3: For background, listen to "Discussions of E-30 Zoning Amendment" and read the excellent summary by the Bucks County Planning Commission.
 
What's your opinion? Join the discussion by registering for this Meet Mack Monday meeting.

DISCLAIMER: This is not an official Newtown Township meeting. It is hosted by John Mack to learn more about issues of concern to Newtown Township residents. The opinions expressed here are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity

Recent Past Meetings

August 24, 2020 via Zoom

Main Topic: Toll Bros. Twining Bridge Road Development (see below). Decision on the plan will be made at the August 26, 2020, Live BOS meeting that starts at 7 PM.

Other Topics: 

  • Econsult Solutions, Inc. Recommendations: ESI presented an Interim Report of findings and recommendations of the proposed "Strategic Management Planning Program" at the August 17, 2020, BOS Work Session. Recommendations include hiring 10 new township employees and increasing real estate taxes by 6.5 mills - a 144% increase. Download the report here. Give me your opinion of the recommendations here.
  • Will the public be able to attend future BOS Zoom meetings? Read "Newtown Supervisors May Open Up Zoom Meetings to Residents."
  • Other items on the agenda of the August 26, 2020, Live BOS meeting (TBD).

Toll Bros Decision

The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors completed hearings on a conditional use application (“Application”) submitted by Toll PA XVIII, LP involving the development of land located along Route 413 (Durham Road) & Twining Bridge Road proposing the construction of 45 new single-family homes on approximately 150 acres. A full copy of the conditional use application is available for public inspection during regular Township business hours at the Newtown Township Municipal Building, 100 Municipal Drive, Newtown, PA (215) 968-2800.

Questions addressed: Is there a possibility that Toll Bros will "bypass" the BOS and submit a "by right plan"? How many housing units are possible under a by right plan?

Most of the topics for discussion at this Meet Mack Meeting are included in the following summary of comments received by the BOS and individual supervisors regarding this application. The names of commenters are de-identified unless they submitted their comments as part of the public record. You can also download this document here.

Additional topics covered include:

School bus safety - if buses cannot navigate the development then children will have to be picked up on Twining Bridge Road (or Rte 413), which adds to the safety issue.

Watershed and flooding - ground water is only 6 feet below the surface and Toll Bros engineers said the houses would have to be "built up" to allow for basements. That will exacerbate water flow downhill and out to Twining Bridge Rd.

Sewer Connection - only 46 sewer connections were approved for this project, which means the maximum number of home cannot exceed that no matter what the plan - conditional use or by right. But note this comment: "Rarely does maximum sewer hook ups ever really limit the number of homes that can be built when we are discussing a proposal in the Conservation Management district."

July 6, 2020 via Zoom

The following is an edited transcript by John Mack, Newtown Township Supervisor, of the July 6, 2020, “Meet Mack Monday” Zoom meeting. The focus of the meeting was police accountability and Town Hall meeting. View the video archive here.

NOTE: The Newtown Township Police Town Hall will took place LIVE on July 23, 2020. More information about that meeting can be found here.

May 11, 2020 via Zoom

About 12 people participated, including: Bob Lutz, co-owner of the Green Parrot Restaurant, Eric Scott Gold, Manager of East Coast Event Group, and Carol Richardson, President of the Newtown Mercantile Group. The topic during the last 50 minutes or so was about helping businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the discussion focuses on Newtown BINGO! A major topic was deciding how people can help sign up more businesses to participate. After the conversation, it was decided to include retail merchants as well as restaurants in both Newtown Township and Newtown Borough. See the video below:

On May 18, 2020, Newtown BINGO! was successfully launched. Read more about that here.

April 20, 2020 via Zoom

In this Facebook Live session I discussed items on the agendas of upcoming Zoom meetings of the Newtown Board of Supervisors and the Newtown Planning Commission.

Both these meetings will be via Zoom and not available for the public to participate as an attendee. Rather, the public will only be able to send in questions/comments via email. I will discuss the details at this FB Live event.

Topics that discussed included: diversion of tax funds from road repair to cover the general expenses of the township (salaries, consultant fees, supplies, etc.), what Newtown Township can do to help local businesses, and the next step in getting approval to alter the Newtown area zoning code to allow for a Wawa or Wawa-like convenience store to be located in Newtown, Wrightstown, and/or Upper Makefield.

Read "Summary of April 20, 2020, Meet Mack Monday via Facebook Live".

March 9, 2020

Newtown supervisor Dennis Fisher joined me at this meeting. A resident of Newtown Crossing expressed concern about a private residence on West Hanover Street that looks like a junk yard and is a "horder" house. He showed us several letters from the Board of Directors of the Newtown Crossing Community Association to the Newtown Township Codes and Enforcement office requesting that the township enforce Section 10-404 of the Code of Ordinances.

Section 10-404 of the Code of Ordinances notes that it is the "duty of any owner of land within Newtown Township to remove any nuisance or dangerous structure on premises in said Township upon notice from the Board of Supervisors to do so." Section 10-404 further provides that:

"... the Board of Supervisors may cause the same to be removed and collect the cost of such removal together with a penalty not to exceed $1,000 from the owner, to be collected by summary proceedings before the District Justice or in the manner provided for the collection of municipal claims or by an action of assumpsit without the filing of a claim. In the exercise of the powers herein conferred and to abate any of the nuisances hereinabove enumerated, the Township may institute proceedings in courts of equity."

I discussed this with District Judge Mick Petrucci, but no further action was taken with the township because of the COVID-19 shutdown.

February 10, 2020

Several residents of Newtown Crossing expressed concern about speeding on Mill Pond Road.

Followup: I was informed by a paricipant after the meeting - and after I brought this issue up with the Police Chief at the February 12, 2020, Board of Supervisors meeting - that there are now two "Stop Ahead" signs, an improvement very much appreciated by residents according to a personal note I received. In addition the February 2020 Newtown Police Report documents police activity on Mill Pond Road:

"...we did conduct a two-week enforcement initiative on both Mill Pond Road as well as varied intersections with[in] the neighborhood. The initiative yielded the following:

TIME: Nearly 16 hours (955 mins) were dedicated at varied times.

CONTACTS: 33

  • Citations: 28
  • Warnings: 05

The majority of the violators were from within the neighborhood."

This site is paid for and approved by John Mack: john@johnmacknewtown.info
The opinions expressed here are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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