John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Newtown Planning Commission Discusses LI/OLI Overlay Process

At the October 5, 2021, Newtown Planning Commission (NTPC) meeting, members discussed the Bucks County Planning Commission's (BCPC) September 10, 2021, revised proposal for services related to the creation of an Overlay District in the LI/OLI zones. The purpose of the overlay is to allow new permitted uses that will benefit local businesses.

The following is a 15-minute edited audio recording of the discussion:

Mack's Newtown Voice · Newtown Planning Commission Discusses LI/OLI Overlay Process

Some background: "Newtown Economic Development Committee Discusses LI/OLI Overlay Zoning and New Uses for the Business Commons Area."

Summary of the discussion:

  • It was noted that the new proposal includes meeting with both the EDC and the NTPC and has included the Newtown Business Commons Association in its considerations.

  • NTPC Chair Allen Fidler asked:  Can the township provide the BCPC with any meeting minutes of the Planning Commission, Economic Development Committee, etc. where this was discussed? He was fearful that this process could extend “well into the New Year.” I pointed out that (1) the BCPC process can be slow if evidence from its work on the Comprehensive Plan revision is any indicator, and (2) to implement the final plan requires approval of the Joint Zoning Council (JZC) after all three JZC member PC’s (Newtown, Wrightstown, and Upper Makefield) review the plan.

  • The NTPC would like some information on a timeline, or an estimate of time involved to complete the meeting and drafting process.

  • Getting parties together at a BOS Work Session

What is an Overlay?

Mary Donaldson - a member of the Economic Development Committee (EDC) - discusses how an Overlay to the LI and OLI zoning districts would allow for additional uses that are currently not permitted. Her comments were made at the September 21, 2021, EDC public meeting.

Mack's Newtown Voice · EDC Discussion of Overlay to the LI and OLI Zoning Districts

BCPC Proposed Work Plan

Develop an overlay district for the underlying LI and O-LI zoning districts that would include service-oriented, healthcare, recreational, complementary retail, and multifamily residential uses with carefully crafted design requirements to ensure good development outcomes.

Such design requirements will emphasize building size and form (including architectural review), materials, public space, landscaping, pedestrian and bicycle circulation, and stormwater management.

The LI and O-LI zoning district regulations will also be evaluated to determine whether modifications to the existing use and dimensional regulations are needed to ensure future development is compatible with development resulting from projects employing the overlay district. 

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