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News of Interest Jan 2020 :

News of Interest to Newtown Area
by John Mack
Newtown Township is now accepting resumes for persons interested in being appointed as a
member of the Board of Supervisors to fill a vacancy on the Board. The person appointed will
serve as a member of the Board of Supervisors until the reorganization meeting in January,
2022. The appointed member may also choose to run forelection in 2021, if desired. Qualified
candidates must be 18 years or older and have resided in Newtown Township continuously for
at least one year prior to the appointment. NOTE that Supervisors are paid a yearly stipend of
A letter of interest and resume must be received by 4:30 PM on Wednesday, January 15, 2020.
Interviews will be scheduled at a public meeting during the month of January.Letters of
interest and resumes can be mailed to 100 Municipal Drive, Newtown, Pennsylvania, 18940,
emailed to, or faxed to 215-968-5368 – Attention: Olivia Kivenko.
My Year (2019) as Newtown
From - Today, 7:41 AM
In 2019 I spent, on average, 39.4 hours per
month on official Supervisor business.I spent
a total of 56 hours attending required
meetings and 63 hours in optional meetings
for a total of 119 hours for the year.
More details here...
Planning Commission Review of
41-Unit Toll Brothers Development
Pushed To Feb. 4; BOS Hearing
Will Resume on Feb. 12
From - January 6, 2:47 PM
Toll Brothers' proposal for a 41-unit
residential development at Rt. 413 and
Twining Bridge Road will not be in front of the
Newtown Township Planning Commission
Tuesday as previously scheduled.Toll
Brothers has requested its application for a
residential development on a 152-acre parcel
be removed from the agenda. The application
will likely be heard at the Feb. 4 Planning
Continues on next page...
Newtown Township Board of
Supervisors 2019
From - January 4, 10:48 AM
The following are some notable
accomplishments of the Newtown Board of
Supervisors (BOS) in 2019. I am proud to
have been involved in these decisions along
with my fellow BOS members. I look forward
to a prosperous and safe New Year!
Enhanced the Health & Safety of
Residents & Employees
Protected & Improved Our Environment
Supported Sensible Development
Practiced Fiscal Responsibility
Advanced the Well-Being of Citizens
More details here...
"Municipal Cure" May Not Prevent
Developer From Putting a Wawa on
the Bypass in Newtown Township
From - December 26, 2019 2:49 PM
A developer seeking to build a Wawa with
gas pumps just off the Newtown Bypass
Continues on next page...
Toll Bros continued...
Commission meeting, Township Manager
Micah Lewis said.The application will also be
in front of the Newtown Township Board of
Supervisors for a conditional use hearing.
That hearing, which has been opened and
continued by the supervisors, is currently
scheduled to resume on Feb. 12.The
application seeks permission to construct a
41-unit residential development at the
Archdiocese property. Conditional use
approval is required because Toll is proposing
to use a cluster option when configuring the
development.The application includes an
onsite wastewater treatment facility.
johnmacknewtown's insight:
Sit down with John Mack, Newtown
Supervisor, have a coffee, and discuss
what's on your mind on January 20,
2020 at the Corner Bakery in Newtown,
2-3 PM to discuss this hearing and other
issues. More...  Related Story:
“Residents Dissatisfied with Notice by
Toll Bros of Conditional Use Hearing”
Here's Where the Wawa on the
Newtown Bypass Proposal Now
From - January 2, 7:18 AM
[This is a summary of a Newtown Patch
article. My comments appear in the green
"insight'" section at the end.]
A new Wawa is still possible in Newtown, but
for the time being, additional gas station-
convenience store applications can not be
submitted to the township (read "Municipal
Cure" Cannot Prevent Developer From
Putting a Wawa on the Bypass in Newtown
Continues on next page...
Municipal Cure continued...
(read “Developer and Attorney Present Their
Case for a WaWa Superstore on the Newtown
viewDetailed=201805151057) has filed a
challenge to the joint municipal zoning
ordinance that governs it and two
neighboring townships, claiming it is
exclusionary by not providing for a
convenience store/gas pumps use.
In a separate but somewhat related action,
township supervisors recently approved a
curative amendment that seeks to find a
zoning area for the use within the jointure
area of Newtown Township, Wrightstown and
Upper Makefield (view the video here;
). The jointure is a collaborative body that
sets zoning law for the three municipalities.
The curative amendment prevents any other
developers from filing a plan for a
convenience store with gas pumps in the
jointure area for nine months, Newtown
Township’s attorney said.
However, it doesn’t “protect” against the
Wawa sketch plan/application because that
predated the curative amendment and will
have to play out along its own track, the
attorney explained.
johnmacknewtown's insight:
Although Supervisor Calabro suggested
that this is "protecting" Newtown,
Township Solicitor Dave Sander said it
does not apply to Wawa's substantive
legal challenge to the joint municipal
zoning ordinance previously filed by
Wawa. Only if that challenge does not
succeed will Wawa be subject to the
Municipal Cure.  And it appears that
Wawa may be interested in building in
the other townships that make up the
"Jointure". The lawyer representing the
developer cryptically stated “If a
convenience store/gas station use is
ultimately provided for in the jointure, it
only needs to be allowed in any one of
the three townships to be legally
provided for. However, that doesn’t
mean that the use will be restricted to a
single township."  View video clip from
Board of Supervisors discussion and
decision regarding this action.
Wawa continued...
That's due to an amendment approved by
the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors
earlier this month. The municipal curative
amendment will ensure no further
applications for gas station-convenience
stores come through until the zoning
ordinance can be updated to include a use
for such a business.
Currently, the jointure that governs Newtown
Township's zoning doesn't have a gas
station-convenience store use, which has
caused a challenge to the current application
filed by Wawa for its proposal off the
Newtown Bypass.
During a supervisors meeting on Dec. 11,
Newtown Township solicitor David Sander
explained that state law mandates
municipalities must have zoning for the
combined use in its ordinance*. The jointure,
which includes Wrightstown and Upper
Makefield as well as Newtown Township, does
not currently have such a use. [View video
clip from Board of Supervisors discussion and
decision regarding this action:]
Participating municipalities are working to
amend the ordinance to include the use,
Sander explained. The process will protect
the township, Sander said, noting permitted
locations can be established across the
jointure — not only in Newtown Township.
johnmacknewtown's insight:
When I questioned the process, Mr.
Sander explained the procedure and the
relevance, if any, to the Wawa
application and the substantive legal
challenge to the joint municipal zoning
ordinance filed by Provco Pineville
Acquisition LLC, the Wawa developer.
View his response here.
Regarding “state law mandates
municipalities must have zoning for the
combined use in its ordinance”… this
question is still being actively litigated
in PA and at least one township is
fighting a similar zoning challenge.
"For example, Plumstead Township BOS
appealed a similar type of zoning ruling
to the Commonwealth Court of
Pennsylvania. (Case # 455 CD 2019),"
noted resident Mike Horbal in a
comment to the article. "That case is
Continues on next page...
Bucks Commissioners OK 2020
Budget with a 1 Mill Tax Increase
From - December 19, 2019 6:28 AM
Bucks County residents will have to dig a
little deeper into their pockets next year
come tax time.County commissioners
approved a $452.6 million budget for 2020
on Wednesday that includes a 1-mill tax
increase that equates to a $36.50 hike for
residents paying the average tax bill of about
$880 a year to support county government
operations.The millage increase will bring in
about $8 million in revenue to the
county.Along with the tax increase, the
county will use nearly $7.6 million of its
$33.18 million fund balance from this year to
fill a near $16 million deficit.
Since this was an election year for
commissioners, the budget can be reopened
and voted on again by the new board early
next year, officials said. For the first time in
decades, the Democrats will control county
government. They have a transition team in
place looking at all aspects of operations and
finances now.
The final budget must be adopted by Feb. 15
to allow time for tax bills to go out to county
property owners by March 1.
Continues on next page...
Wawa continued...
currently awaiting a decision as it was
just presented to judges on 12/12/2019.
The outcome of the Plumstead case
may carry substantial weight as to
whether this new zoning use is truly a
required zone that is not provided for in
the current joint municipal zoning
ordinance (JMZO)," according to Horbal.
The law firm is the same for both the
Plumstead and Newtown developers,
and is also the same law firm for the
developers of the Arcadia development
project in Newtown," said Horbal.
Once Again, Newtown Township
Holds The Line on Real Estate Tax.
Bucks County? Not So Much!
From - December 19, 2019 7:32
At its most recent board meeting Dec. 11,
township supervisors unanimously approved
a budget that adds no new taxes in
2020.Newtown’s real estate millage rate is
among the lowest in Bucks County. “There
continues to be no proposed tax increase to
support the general fund or any of the other
supporting funds,” said Township Manager
Micah Lewis at a November meeting of the
supervisors.At a work session hosted in
October by the board, Lewis had voiced his
concerns over what he saw as decreasing
revenues in earned income taxes.[View
video: “Thoughts on Newtown Township's
Deficit Spending"]
Shortly after the preliminary budget’s
unveiling, Board Secretary John Mack
proposed the addition of a subscription to
Savvy Citizen, a mobile app that alerts users
of township announcements.“I like the
presentation from Savvy Citizen; I think it’s a
good product,” said board Vice Chair Linda
Bobrin. “However, I don’t think it’s something
Continues on next page...
Bucks Commissioners continued...
johnmacknewtown's insight:
Meanwhile, Newtown Township
Supervisors held the line with NO real
estate tax increase for 2020
( For the average
Newtown Twp homeowner a 1 Mill tax
increase amounts to about $48 per
year. In 2020, Bucks County taxes for
Newtown Twp residents will be 5.7
times the taxes paid to the Township.
One has to wonder which provides
residents with more services - the
county or the township?
Holds the Line continued...
we should consider at the moment. We have
a lot expenditures coming up including for
more police.” When called for a vote at the
mid-November board session, the supervisors
voted 3-2 against adding a line in the budget
for the mobile app.Mack says he’s trying to
get sponsors to absorb the cost of the app
and that he will ask the board to reconsider
Savvy Citizen in discussions set to take place
early next year. Supervisors have until Feb.
15 to amend next year’s expenses.
johnmacknewtown's insight:
Bucks Commissioners OK 2020 Budget
with a 1 Mill Tax Increase
( Meanwhile,
Newtown Township Supervisors held the
line with NO real estate tax increase for
2020. One has to wonder which
provides residents with more services -
the county or the township?  Further
Reading: Savvy Citizen Presentation
Savvy Citizen Survey Results
2020 © John Mack
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