Newtown News Update

Welcome to February 18, 2018, issue of "Newtown News Update"! The opinions expressed here are solely the personal opinions 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.

The Green Parrot Irish Festival Spurs Debate

“We all want to live, work and worship in Newtown in an amicable way,” said Newtown Borough resident Cheri Peters in public comments before the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) on February 14, 2018. She and several of her neighbors from State St, Sycamore St, Edgeboro Dr, Jefferson Ave, Congress St, Federal Ln, and Frost Ln. were at the BOS public meeting to protest the proposed four-day Green Parrot Irish Festival scheduled for March 15 -18, 2018.

Ms. Peters' complaints echoed similar complaints made after the 2017 festival (read “The Newtown Township Hatfields Versus the Borough McCoys!”). These include traffic congestion, road closures, detours, huge parking issues, and the need to provide extra police both in the Township and in the Borough.

The biggest concern, however, is the “loud music with pounding base,” said Ms. Peters. “How can we keep that music (mostly rock bands) at a reasonable decibel level when it’s coming from a tent? Barriers and such may help a little but it’s still a tent. There are other events in Newtown…. Welcome day, market day, car show, beerfest, Christmas parade & festivities, Halloween parade & festivities which are all one-day events. A one-day St. Patrick’s Day celebration seems the norm for most towns & establishments.”

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day – not days!”, said Ms. Peters in closing.

Bob Lutz, co-owner of the Green Parrot, was up next to address Ms. Peters concerns. He stated that he was “a little bit surprised” to learn that the permit for the festival was “reduced from four days to two, as we’ve operated for eight years under a [four day permit].” He claimed that the Festival brings new businesses such as Market Place Kitchen & Bar and Rocco's Steak House to the town. A real estate agent went so far as to claim that the Festival is responsible for the increase in home values in the township as well as the borough!

“I will work with you,” said Mr. Lutz. “I am not trying to be a bad neighbor.” Mr. Lutz said he has made some concessions such as bringing in a sound engineer to redirect the speakers and monitor the sound levels and “make sure that State Street will not hear the sound.” He also said he will find a remote parking lot and provide shuttle buses to transport people from the parking area to the Green Parrot.

John D’Aprile, 69, from Newtown Grant – “the biggest and the best” – said “it’s a shame a few old ladies from the borough complain.” He was referring to Ms. Peters who, like Mr. D’Aprile, is 69 years old. He went on to remind the Board of Supervisors that “you people are elected by township residents, not from the borough. Don’t let them mess with our businesses.”

The Director of Operations of one of those businesses, Jules Thin Crust, who followed Mr. Aprile at the podium, prefaced his comments by saying “Ladies… I apologize for that comment” referring no doubt to D’Aprile’s “few old ladies” derogatory remark.

A New Compromise?

Perhaps responding to Ms. Peters’ concerns and view that “compromise is always good,” Mr. Lutz suggested what sounded like a new compromise. “Right now,” he said, “I’d be very happy to operate the weekend … and Friday night,” which is a 4-hour Jamison Scotch-sponsored event between 6 and 10 pm featuring a major performer whom he already booked. He did note, however, that “those are the hours and it’s not up for debate.” Mr. Lutz said he planned to meet with the Baptist church reverend to discuss limiting the hours on Sunday and help alleviate parking problems for the congregation.

View the 15-Minute Video

Setting the Record Straight on Taxes

Phil Calabro, Chair of the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors, will be a Guest Speaker at the February 21, 2018, Newtown Democrats meeting at the Newtown Temperance House, on 5 S State St, in Newtown, PA 18940. His topic is "Setting the record Straight: Why We Raised the Property Tax in Newtown Township."

Time: 7 to 9 pm


Council Rock School District’s real estate tax rate of 120.71 mills, which is 27 times bigger than the township's millage rate. The CRSD also collects one-half of township’s 1% earned income tax, as well as an occupation tax of $40 to $320 per wage earner, the revenue from which isn’t shared with the township.

John Mack