John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
The opinions expressed here are solely those of John Mack
and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.

On March 17, 2021, attorneys for Provco Pineville Acquisitions, LLC, submitted an application to the Newtown Zoning Hearing Board for a hearing to grant a “special exception” E-30 use to build a Super Wawa combination convenience store and gas station on the SW corner of Newtown Bypass and Lower Silver Lake Road in the Office Research (OR) district.
An amendment to the OR zoning was passed by the JMZO to allow the "E-30" use in the OR zone of Newtown as well as other locations in Wrightstown and Upper Makefield. [Read “Discussions of E-30 Zoning Amendment” for more details about the E-30 use.]
Wawa is asking for several variances, including more filling stations than allowed.

One positive outcome of the COVID-19 pandemic is the increased use of technology like Zoom to improve communications between Newtown Township and residents primarily because many more people are attending Zoom Board of Supervisors (BOS) meetings than in-person public meetings. In fact, 94 people attended one contentious BOS Zoom meeting! That's probably more than can fit into the public meeting room even if social distancing restrictions were lifted.
Despite the use of Zoom technology - which may not continue after COVID - there is a long-term need to improve communications between the township and residents.
I was asked by the Economic Committee members to provide information about how the Newtown Twp website compares to other local municipality websites. See this blog post for relevant links to that PLUS other communications ideas I have brought before the BOS and Township Manager in the past.
John Mack's Insights:
A recent comment from a resident on Nextdoor: "John, I want to thank you very much for your posts. Your use of this media is masterful. I have learned more about government and issues in Newtown here from you than from any other source.. Please keep it up. I'm very grateful."

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So, what can be done?
You’ve probably heard about the “three r’s” — reduce, reuse, and recycle. Wherever possible, seek alternatives to plastic, like glass and paper. Reuse what you have. Recycle whenever possible.
Trees can also be an answer.
John Mack's Insights:
Plastics: The Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) approved Comprehensive Plan recommendations made by the Newtown Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) to “Adopt a new item in Strategies and Actions: Support voluntary programs to drastically reduce the use of non-recyclable and single-use plastics, including carry bags, styrofoam, beverage containers, plastic straws and stirrers, and other disposable items with the eventual goal of total elimination.”

Trees: At the Mar 10, 2021, Board of Supervisors meeting, at which the township approved the amended final Newtown Athletic Club (NAC) plan, Supervisor Calabro suggested that because we granted a waiver to the plan to allow the existing plantings on the site to fulfill the required plantings, Mr. Jim Worthington – owner of the NAC - agreed to donate 23 trees to the Township's "Tree Bank." More details...

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Will it open a “Pandora's box” for development on the Bypass and turn it into a Route 1?
Keeping the rural look of the Newtown Bypass has been a tradition in Newtown. It is a common belief among long-time Newtown area residents that the Newtown Bypass is supposed to remain an "undeveloped" greenway. For the most part, the Bypass is still somewhat preserved with trees and greenery along the route.
The Box Opens!
At the March 15, 2021, Newtown Board of Supervisors Work Session representatives of Lotus Park Senior Living LLC, presented a "sketch plan" for a Senior Living facility to be located adjacent to the site of the proposed Wawa. Whether or not this proposed assisted living use application moves forward and is approved, there will be further pressure to rezone the OR (Office Research) district to allow other uses, which potentially will lead to a slippery slope to a “Route 1” style Bypass!

Learn more about that plan...

Newtown Township Police Department will join the Pennsylvania State Police and other municipal agencies to conduct a targeted aggressive-driving enforcement wave from March 18 through April 25, 2021.

As part of the Aggressive Driving Enforcement and Education Project, the wave will concentrate on reducing the number of aggressive driving related crashes, injuries, and deaths on roadways throughout the state. Any aggressive driver stopped by police will receive a ticket.

The enforcement wave will focus on speeding, distracted driving and work zone awareness. Motorists exhibiting other unsafe behaviors such as driving too fast for conditions, following too closely, or other aggressive actions will also be cited. Municipal police agencies that participated in last year’s campaign wrote 43,349 citations, including 22,353 for speeding, 1,003 for occupant protection violations, 3,077 for red light violations, and 126 impaired driving arrests.

The enforcement is part of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Aggressive Driving Enforcement and Education Project and is funded by part of the department’s investment of federal funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
John Mack's Insights:

Kevin Antoine - BCCC Chief Diversity Officer & Chair of the Newtown Twp Human Relations Commission spoke about the Equality Act at the March 11, 2021 Zoom meeting I hosted to commemorate the passage of Newtown Township's LOVE is LOVE Resolution.
In this 13-minute audio clip from the meeting, Mr. Antoine talks about the Equality Act that was recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. He explains why this Act is necessary to amend all previous federal civil rights laws. The Act is monumental because, if passed by the Senate, the rights of LGBTQ citizens would be protected by these laws, which currently do not offer such protection.
Listen to the podcast now...

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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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