Newtown News Update

Welcome to the June 28, 2018, issue of "Newtown News Update." The opinions expressed here are solely the those of John Mack and do not reflect the opinions of any other person or entity. If you are not a subscriber, please subscribe here. If you are a subscriber and do not wish to receive further updates, please use the "Unsubscribe" link at the bottom of this email.

Newtown Settles with Starbucks

At a May 9, 2018, public hearing, Newtown Township Supervisors unanimously denied an application by Starbucks to build a drive-thru restaurant in the Village at Newtown West at 2896 South Eagle Road (read “Newtown Board of Supervisors Shoots Down Drive-thru Starbucks”).

Soon after, as expected, Starbucks filed a court appeal claiming the supervisors’ vote to deny the application was “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and contrary to law” (read “Starbucks Takes Newtown Township to Court”). Newtown claimed “The Board of Supervisors neither abused its discretion nor committed an error of law by denying the application.”

At the June 27, 2018, Board of Supervisors meeting, a settlement agreement was presented to the Board, which approved it by a 4-1 vote, with Supervisor Kyle Davis voting “nay.”

Newtown listed several reasons for denying the application in a written decision and order, dated June 14, 2018. The Township claimed, for example, that Starbucks failed to prove that “cars using the proposed drive-thru stacking lane would not conflict with through circulation;” e.g. access to the shopping center via South Eagle Road. Newtown further claimed that Starbucks “failed to prove that it will provide a pedestrian walkway between an existing sidewalk and the entrance to the restaurant, or, in the alternative, a sidewalk along the street frontage” as required by the Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance.

The settlement agreement does NOT include either of these assurances but agrees to the following:

  • The Building and all walkways on the Property directly servicing the Building shall be ADA compliant, and
  • Starbucks shall provide an enhanced landscaping buffer around the Building, to the satisfaction of the Township Planner.

I fear that the “landscaping buffer” will not be as aesthetically pleasing and inviting as the current landscaping at that location (see figure below). No doubt many of the trees shown in the photograph will be cut down to accommodate parking and the drive-thru lanes.

A recent image from Google Maps showing the entrance to the Village Shopping Center at South Eagle Road and Silo Drive.

Now is the Time for a Few Good Citizens to Come to the Aid of Their Town!

There is still time to add your name to the list of applicants to fill a vacancy on the the Newtown Board of Supervisors!

The person appointed will serve as a member of the Board of Supervisors until the reorganization meeting in January 2020.

A letter of interest and resume must be received by 4:30 pm on Monday, July 2, 2018. Interviews will be scheduled at a public meeting on Wednesday, July 18, 2018.

To qualify for appointment, a resident must be an elector (i.e., registered voter) of Newtown Township who has resided in the Township continuously for at least one year prior to their appointment.

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.


John Mack