John Mack - Newtown Supervisor

Residents Dissatisfied with Notice by Toll Bros of Conditional Use Hearing

Video recorded Wednesday, December 11, 2019

At the December 11, 2019, Newtown Board of Supervisors meeting, several residents commented that they were not adequately notified by Toll Brothers of the conditional use hearing for a proposal to construct a cluster of 41 single-family homes on a 152-acre parcel at Rt. 413 and Twining Bridge Road (see Newtown Patch article summary embedded below). They also did not realize that the hearing would be continued at a later date in January, 2020.

There Needs To Be A Better Way!

There was much discussion about "certified mail" and newspaper ads as the usual means by which residents are notified about hearings. Several residents claimed they never received any mail. Even if they did they would have to go to the post office to sign for it and receive the letter.

As for ads in the newspaper - you would have to be a very vigilant citizen to search for those ads in the classified sections of various local newspapers used by Newtown to advertise special meetings. Sometimes ads appear in the Bucks County Courier Times (a daily) and sometimes in other publications such as the Advance.

A better solution would be for the Township to push out notifications of meetings via a mobile app such as Savvy Citizen. Supervisor John Mack has repeatdedly advocated for the Township to subscribe to this service. At the December 11 meeting, Mr. Mack noted that the estimated cost for this service is $2,241 annually, plus a one-time marketing, setup fee of $600 for a total of $2,841.

To cover the cost, Savvy Citizen offers a sponsorship program whereby a local business can pay for Newtown’s Savvy Citizen subscription and in return receive a small clickable ad on notifications sent to residents. Mack mentioned that he spoke to the owner of at least one local business - Harvest Seasonal Grill and Wine Bar - who said: "This is interesting and depending on final terms and costs Harvest
Seasonal Grill would look to support and sponsor this".

With Savvy the Township can push information about hearings and other meetings to residents and be assured it is received in a timely fashion -- something not possible with the website, postal mail, newspaper ads, or with social media such as Twitter, Facebook, or Nextdoor. 

In an online survey, 87% of all respondents say they would opt-in to a mobile notification service such as Savvy Citizen. Read more about Savvy Citizen here.

The Plan


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