John Mack - Newtown Supervisor

Newtown Passes Joint Municipal Curative Amendment

Video recorded on Wednesday, December 11, 2019

On December 11, 2019, the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors passed a resolution to invoke a “Municipal Curative Amendment” Definition procedure to “cure” – i.e., amend – the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance to correct certain invalid portions of the code. All three members of the Jointure Definition – Newtown, Wrightstown, and Upper Makefield – have agreed to evoke this procedure.

According to Township Solicitor Dave Sander, during this “curative” process, which has a 9-month timespan, “no application can be filed that would seek to avail itself of the use or provisions of the zoning ordinance that have been declared to be invalid.” The specific invalidity has to do with allowing a combination gas station/convenience store use in the Jointure. That is, the current zoning does not allow such use, which was pointed out by Wawa’s attorney at an October 16, 2018 Newtown Planning Commission meeting (view the video of that meeting here).

This maneuver, however, does not prevent Provco Pineville Acquisition, LLC - a Wawa developer - from moving forward with its already-submitted application to the Zoning Hearing Board to develop a 16-pump gas station/convenience store on Newtown Bypass (for more on that read “What's Next for Ordinance Amendment to Allow Wawa on Newtown Bypass?... It's Complicated!”).

When questioned by Supervisor John Mack, Mr. Sander explained the procedure and the relevance, if any, to the Wawa application and the substantive legal challenge to the joint municipal zoning ordinance filed by Provco Pineville Acquisition LLC, the Wawa developer.

On January 8, 2020, the BOS voted 3-0 (Mack was absent) to pass Resolution No. 2020-R-5 with the following Specific Findings Setting Forth the Declared Invalidity of the JMZO Ordinance:
  1. The Ordinance contains provisions providing for and governing both a convenience store use (Section 803.E‐1) and a gas station use (Section 803.E‐10) but does not contain provisions providing for and governing a single use consisting of a combination of a convenience store use and a gas station use.

  2. Recent decisions issued by the Courts of Common Pleas of Bucks County and Montgomery County have determined that municipal zoning ordinances that do not provide for a combination convenience store/gas station use may be unconstitutional.

  3. The Municipal Curative Amendment declared by Newtown Township on December 11, 2019 is specifically declared to determine whether the Ordinance is unconstitutional, and if so, to enact an ordinance to cure the invalidity by providing for a combination convenience store/gas station use in the Newtown Area Jointure, with provisions defining and providing for such use in the Jointure, and regulations governing such use.



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