A monthly collection of summaries of articles curated from various news, township meetings, and other sources, focused on topics of interest to local residents.The insights expressed here are those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person.
There were many unique and interesting issues that I and other Newtown Township supervisors confronted in 2022. This is a selection of images and stories that document what I consider the most important news items and issues of interest to Newtown residents
Images include the following with links to more information:
At the outset of his presentation to Newtown Planning Commission in December (see below), Edward F. Murphy, Esq (Wisler Pearlstine, LLP), representing Kushner Real Estate (KRE), claimed that the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance (JMZO) must be amended to allow his client to build a multistory luxury apartment complex in the OR district along the Newtown Bypass.
Mr. Murphy claimed that his client's proposed use is NOT a “B-10” garden apartment use ("what we are proposing is not even remotely similar to garden apartments"), despite the fact that KRE documents specified it as such (General Note NO.7 on Sheet 2 of the plan) according to CKS Engineers' review of the sketch plan.
"The Commission members were generally hesitant to support such a complete change in existing zoning," said Commission Chair Peggy Driscoll in comments before the BOS, "however we are willing to continue to work with the applicant and learn more about their plans and their successes in other municipalities."
In 2022, I spent a total of 527 hours (an average of 44 hours per month) engaged in official Supervisor activities that included preparing for and attending meetings and interacting with residents. This compares to 481 hours (an average of 40 hours per month) on such activities in 2021.
Which day of the week was the busiest? Which month? Why do I spent so much time preparing for meetings? How many hours do I spend interacting with residents?
On December 14, 2022, Craig Deutsch and Bill Mahler – members of the Newtown Joint Historic Commission (JHC) – visited the property off of Twining Bridge Road that Toll Brothers agreed to donate to the township as part of a settlement agreement to build 45 homes nearby. The goal was to examine the old farmhouse and "springhouse" on the property to determine if the site qualified as an “historic resource” according to JHC standards.
“Understanding the Buck county Comp plan is working on ‘identifying’ Historic Resources... Well we just discovered a major one. :),” said Mr. Deutsch in an email.
Although the Newtown Township traffic engineer and Township Solicitor previously were of the opinion that changing the speed limit of Newtown-Yardley Rd from Elm St to Lower Dolington Rd would require permission from PennDOT, residents provided evidence that the existing factors regarding pedestrian safety are sufficient to lower the speed limit from 35 to 25 mph and PennDOT permission is NOT required as Newtown-Yardley Rd is a “turn-back” township road.
Thank goodness for residents who took it upon themselves to contact PennDOT and get the correct information. It was only after this that the township traffic engineer contacted PennDOT and issued an updated traffic study memorandum stating there is "a benefit to lowering the posted speed limit to 25mph."