John Mack - Newtown Supervisor

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Featuring content curated from articles published in local newspapers and other sources. The insights/opinions expressed here are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.

Arcadia’s Highway Occupancy Application

The application involves a U-turn at Mill Pond Road. PennDOT's review letter requires that Newtown Township has the opportunity to comment. The BOS can authorize the Newtown Township Planning Commission to review the application at a PUBLIC meeting and provide a recommendation. This will be an opportunity for the public to see the plan details and add public comment.

Toll Bros Propose a REVISED Plan with No Municipal Drive Access!

At the November 10, 2021, BOS meeting, it was revealed Toll submitted a new REVISED plan that specifies access ONLY via North Drive - as recommended by PennDOT and does NOT include any access via Municipal Drive. View the revised plan.

From - November 13, 2021
At the November 10, 2021, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting, supervisors approved the "hanging" (i.e., advertising to the public) of the 2022 Preliminary Budget, which is a revision of the Manager's recommended budget.

The main difference between the Preliminary Budget and the recommended budget is the elimination of a new 1.5 Mill real estate tax dedicated to the Fire Protection Fund. Instead, the Preliminary Budget allocates $350,000 from the General Fund to the Fire Fund. This will result in a lower General Fund reserve; i.e., $1,284,055 (8.6% of expenditures).

Historically, Newtown has strived to maintain a reserve of at least 10% of expenditures. Consultants have warned that anything below 10% is ill-advised.

More details...
John Mack's Insights:
Cuts can still be made in order to get the reserve fund up to a reasonable level to cover emergencies. I think this is imperative because in the past the township has taken funds away from road paving in anticipation of loss of revenue to cover expenses like salary raises and new trucks, etc. [Read “2020 Road Program Falls Victim to COVID-19”]

From From - Nov 14, 2021
At the November 10, 2021, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting, Police Chief John Hearn gave his October 2021 Police Report.

The Chief highlighted several items including the high number of deer struck by cars and gave some details regarding an October 22, 2021, serious accident involving a pedestrian near the North Sycamore Street/Silo Drive Intersection.

Supervisor John Mack pointed out that there have been a number of accidents involving pedestrians and vehicles at this location (read, for example, “Silo Drive & North Sycamore: A Dangerous Intersection in Newtown Township!”).

View the video and hear what the Chief thinks should be done...
John Mack's Insights:
Education is important, but I also think adding pedestrian crossing lights - such as blinking warning yellow lights - along with other measures could improve driver and pedestrian safety at the Silo Dr/N. Sycamore St intersection. Yes, this would be a township expense and require maintenance, but isn't the health and safety of residents of Newtown, who pay taxes, worth it?

I will discuss this and other traffic & safety issues at my Meet Mack Monday via Zoom event on November 22, 2021. Register to attend...

From - Nov 6, 2021
[Image: This is a rendering the street view after Wawa is built on the site. As you can see, the Wawa building sign and gas canopy are clearly visible.]
The Newtown Township Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB) issued its official written decision regarding the Application of Provco Pineville Acquisitions, LLC to build a Wawa super store at the intersection of the Newtown Bypass and Lower Silver Lake Road in Newtown.

The decision grants the applicant’s request for a special exception to operate a Motor Vehicle Fueling and Convenience Store, but denies the applicant’s requests for all variances (number of fueling stations and sign relief). The ZHB voted 3-2 on September 20, 2021, to deny the variances (read “Breaking News: Wawa's Request for Zoning Variances Denied!”).

All parties have 30 days from November 4, 2021 to file an appeal to the Court of Common Pleas from the Decision. I fully expect Provco to do so.

More details... including "Findings of Fact", witness testimony synopsis, and the decision on each variance request...
From - November 15, 2021
[Image: Logo from the RSLPP Fact Sheet]
Township Engineer Leanna Colubriale of RVE presented to the BOS a proposal to authorize approval of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) Regional Streetlight Procurement Letter of Intent.

This agreement allows Newtown to enter Phase 1 of the program: the completion of a Feasibility Study. This is prepared by Keystone Lighting Solutions (KLS) through DVRPC at no cost to the Township.

Watch the video for more about this program...
John Mack's Insights:

I will discuss this and other topics at my Meet Mack Monday via Zoom event on November 22, 2021. Register to attend...

November 1, 2021
[Image: Japanese barberry is taking over areas of Pennsylvania’s forests and woodlands.]
At the October 27, 2021, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) public meeting, there was a lively debate regarding the proposed amendment to the township's Vegetation (i.e., "Weed") Ordinance.

UPDATE: At the November 10, 2021, Board of Supervisors meeting, the members unanimously approved enactment of the amended ordinance.

The Newtown Environmental Advisory Board considers the addition of Japanese Barberry to be a significant addition because of its association with Lyme disease vectors.


From - Nov 2, 2021
It’s no secret that attracting and retaining volunteer firefighters is a growing problem not only in Newtown, but also in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and the United States in general.

Newtown Fire Chief Glenn Forsyth appeared before the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) at the October 18, 2021, Newtown Township 2022 Budget Presentation meeting. He answered my question about how the $330,000 donation to the Newtown Fire Association (NFA) in the Township Manager’s recommended 2022 budget will be used.

To pay for this and other fire expenses - mostly for the cost of hiring a new Deputy Fire Chief - the Township Manager recommended a new 1.5 mil tax increase to be added to the Fire Protection Fund. However, the revised Preliminary Budget eliminates this tax and instead transfers money from the General Fund to the Fire Protection Fund. As a result the reserve for emergencies would drop to 8.6% of expenditures, which is lower than the preferred 10%.

I wanted to get more details so I met with Warren Dallas, Chair of the NFA who went over the numbers with me.

Here is the plan...

From - November 22, 2021

Fifteen Newtown Township residents attended this meeting* that I hosted on November 22, 2021. The meeting summary includes audio snippets of several discussions and links to important information.

Discussions focused on:

For a summary of the discussions - including audio snippets - see "22 November 2021 Meet Mack Monday Meeting Summary."

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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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