John Mack - Newtown Supervisor
Featuring content curated from articles published in local newspapers and other sources. The insights/opinions expressed here are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
Shift in Issues of Importance to Newtown Township Residents

This year, two Newtown Board of Supervisor seats are up for election: One six-year seat currently occupied by Republican Kyle Davis and one two-year seat currently occupied by Democrat David Oxley. {$name}, what issues will determine who you will vote for to fill these seats? The chart above shows the top-line results for just a few issues that seem to be trending up or down this past year. TAKE THE SURVEY and tell me your opinion.
From - April 14, 2021
A group of Holland Road neighbors will have to wait until April 22 to see if Northampton's zoning hearing board will overturn a zoning officer's opinion about a proposed Wawa with gas pumps. Eight neighbors appealed an initial determination by zoning officer Mike Soloman that the 5,585-square-foot Wawa with eight fuel stations was a by right use in the township's C-2 Commercial zoning district.

Attorney Christopher Papa argued Monday the opinion could set a precedent allowing developers a way to tack on primary uses as accessory uses to circumvent local zoning laws. "We feel that this is sort of a rubber stamp to this big use that is going to impact this community," Papa told the board at the start of the two-hour hearing Monday night.

Northampton's’s planning commission on Tuesday, April 13 voted against a motion recommending approval of the plan (read the story here).


Newtown Planning Commission Versus Wawa: At its April 21, 2021, Zoom meeting, the Newtown Planning Commission discussed Provco’s Zoning Hearing Board “Special Exception” application that includes variances to allow a proposed Motor Vehicle Fueling & Convenience Store (i.e., Super Wawa) on the southwest corner of Newtown Bypass & Lower Silver Lake Road in the Newtown Office Research district. Members did NOT like much of what they heard and opposed several variances requested by Provco. Listen to a 21-minute audio podcast featuring several excerpts from the discussion.

From - April 8, 2021
The proposed second Chick-fil-A for the area will have to wait, as the plan was tabled by the Middletown Township Planning Commission over concerns related to traffic in the area where the fast food company wants to open a second Middletown Township location.
Chick-fil-A is looking to build a 5,200-square-foot restaurant with outdoor seating, indoor seating, and a dual-lane drive-thru in what is now the parking lot between the Starbucks and Inspire Federal Credit Union and in front of Floor and Decor at 1501 East Lincoln Highway.
Resident Bob Feather, a former school board member, called for the township to talk to residents and the owners of the shopping centers to fix the problems, including the “traffic nightmare.” He added he had no objections specifically to the Chick-fil-A plans, but the general area needed some improvements.
Rich Nuttall, the vice chairperson of the planning commission, said he liked Chick-fil-A, but said tabling the plan would give some time for options to improve traffic in the area to be discussed.

John Mack's Insights:
The Newtown Chick-fil-A is not having much luck solving its traffic problem even though the Planning Commission approved the plan.

From - April 8, 2021
Abetted by lawncare companies and homeowners associations, many of us are regularly having water-soluble poisons sprayed on our yards which then leach into our wells and our aquifers and flow off into drainage ditches and into our creeks, which then flow into our river. And we wonder why there is so much cancer.

The problem is that these toxins accumulate. They are not only in our yards — and therefore our wells and streams — they are in genetically modified foods which include most breads, cereals, grains, pizza, pasta, etc., and they are sprayed by PennDOT along our roadways and bridges, where, again, they wash into our streams.

Please, dear neighbors, tell your lawncare people that you want an organic, no-spray lawn. Tell them you don't want to take the risk of possibly harming your children, your dogs, your parents or yourselves.

Our lawns don't need chemical intervention. And then after you talk with the landscapers, work with your HOAs so that they will not harass you for having the gall to want a healthy world for yourself and your children.

Opinion of Cynthia Greb, a resident of Solebury.

John Mack's Insights:
The Newtown Environmental Advisory Council will be hosting a series of Saturday Zoom webinars focusing on environmental issues for HOAs and homeowners to consider during the spring/summer season. Visit my Upcoming Public Meetings webpage for notices about these and other official Newtown Township public meetings.
From From - April 10, 2021
At an April 1, 2021, Zoom meeting hosted by Bucks County Consortium, Evan Stone, Executive Director of the Bucks County Planning Commission (BCPC), made a presentation titled “The Future of Bucks County Fire Service.”
In a post to my blog, I focus on applying the takeaways from that presentation to Newtown Township:
  • Newtown's Paid Fire Department
  • How Much Does It Cost to Run a Full-Time Fire Department?
  • Where Will the Money Come From?*
*At the February 16, 2021, Board of Supervisors Work Session, the supervisors proposed a possible Intermunicipal Cooperation Agreement for fire services whereby the Township would charge Newtown Borough a yearly fee for providing fire services between 6 AM and 6 PM, Monday through Friday (read the minutes of that meeting). Negotiations are continuing between the Township and Borough to determine an equitable fee.

John Mack's Insights:
Only 1 out 56 calls (2%) made by Newtown Emergency Services Department (NESD) in January, 2021, involved a fire; 70% involved rescue and EMS (read "January 2021 Newtown Fire & Emergency Services Incident Report"). According to BCPC, in 2018 there were 20,640 incidents, only 10% were actual fires.
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From - April 6, 2021
Supervisors in Lower Makefield Township gave final approval to a development that would include housing and a Wegmans grocery on Stony Hill Road. Dubbed "Prickett Preserve at Edgewood," the 32-acre "live, work, play" development is located across from Shady Brook Farm.

Previously, supervisors voted in 2019 to approve a zoning change needed to build the development and, in September, voted 4-1 to grant initial approval to the plans after a five-and-a-half-hour public meeting. [Read “Lower Makefield Supervisors Vote to Allow Wegmans Development to Avoid Lawsuit”]

Aside from a 100,000-square-foot Wegman's supermarket, the plan include 200 town homes with a clubhouse and swimming pool, 55,000 square feet devoted to other retailers, a pharmacy and another 35,000 square feet for restaurants and other retail.

John Mack's Insights:
This type of “mixed use” zoning is all the rage now. View the video of Seth Shapiro, of Harkins Builders, who was a guest speaker at the April 1, 2021, Newtown Economic Committee (EDC) Zoom meeting. In the beginning of his presentation - at the bequest of EDC member Karen Miller, a real estate developer in Newtown - Mr. Shapiro discusses his firm's work on the Wegmans project in Lower Makefield. “It’s gone quite smoothly,” said Mr. Shapiro who failed to mention that Lower Makefield residents “jammed” an August 12, 2019 hearing to protest this development.

It’s interesting to note that Mr. Shapiro’s presentation focused on how “mixed-use” zoning will solve a problem of the traditional “Euclidean” zoning; i.e., traffic! Interesting because increased traffic is one of the major concerns voiced by residents. True that residents in a mixed-use center will not have to drive to Wegmans, the bank or the drug store, but residents from surrounding communities and towns like Newtown will surely drive to the mixed-use center drawn in by Wegmans and mixed-use residents will definitely still drive to sites “off the reservation” so to speak; at least Newtown business hope they will!

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From - April 8, 2021
This year’s Take Back Day in Newtown - hosted by the Newtown Police Department - is going to look a bit different, but rest assured: in addition to safety precautions, all sites will be accepting medications via a drive up and drop in system. Here’s what to do:
  • Bring prescription medications, vaping products, over-the-counter and pet medications for safe disposal
  • As you approach the drop off site, stay in your vehicle. Maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and other vehicles in line
  • Stay alert for pedestrians in the area
  • Follow the directions of police or volunteers at the site
  • Pull up to the drop off location, place your meds into the box
  • Drive away at a safe speed knowing that you have helped!
John Mack's Insights:
Newtown police administered Narcan twice in March – one for a Newtown resident and one for a Wrightstown resident(download the March 21, 2021, Police Stats). The year-to-date total is 3 whereas for 2020 it was 5. It has been reported that during the COVID-19 pandemic, drug use is up.

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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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