Newtown News Update


Welcome to the May, 2019, issue of Newtown News Update. Back issues and subscribing information can be found here.  If you do not wish to receive further updates, please use the "Unsubscribe" link at the bottom of this email. The opinions expressed here are solely the those of John Mack and do not reflect the opinions of any other person or entity.

Public Comments Save Roberts Ridge Park

At the May 8, 2019, Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS) public meeting, several residents and watershed experts spoke out against the establishment of a "meadow" in Roberts Ridge Park as part of the township's Pollution Reduction Plan. 

[For more details regarding the plan and its potential impact on parks, please read the story published in the Newtown Patch here.]

The plan calls for such meadows to be established in "under-utilized" park areas. For Roberts Ridge Park, which is located on Lower Dolington Road and Frost Lane, the meadow was proposed for the area where the Newtown Parks & Recreation Department hosts its “Super Soccer Stars” educational program for children and where many local residents fly kites, play frisbee, and walk their dogs.

When residents discovered that the meadow was already established before anyone was notified, and before the Township received comments from the public as required by the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), many expressed their concern on the Nextdoor discussion board here (membership required). Several residents also showed up at the May 8, 2019, public meeting to make comments before the BOS (see video below).

Residents speak up at the May 8, 2019, BOS public meeting.

Selected Comments

In an email to the Township, one resident wrote:

"I would like to voice my strong opposition to the conversion of a portion of Robert Ridge park to meadow. As a resident of Newtown Walk and the parent of a Goodnoe Elementary student, this park land is very important. Although it looks like just a grassy field, the kids in our neighborhood play there and they walk through there on their way to and from school. Furthermore, it's our main sledding hill in the winter. I fear that taking away this land would negatively impact them day to day."

The Township listened and agreed to mow the area in the park that was allowed to go wild - for the time being. Several good ideas were put forward - such as HOAs implementing their own watershed "meadows" to help the township meet its DEP MS4 Definition permit requirements without spending hundreds of thousands of dollars (read more about that here). More importantly, watershed experts stepped forward to volunteer to help the Township better design the meadows to prevent invasive plants from taking over and to apply for grants to plant more trees rather than just let the grass grow into meadows.

Comments from the Neshaminy Creek Watershed Association

The Township Planner will respond to all comments submitted during the comment period and re-evaluate how to move forward with modifying the plan. This will be discussed at the June 12, 2019, BOS meeting, which will be held at 100 Municipal Drive, Newtown, at 7 PM.

Restaurants, Outdoor Seating, and "Walkability" in Village at Newtown

At almost every Newtown BOS meeting, Joe Blackburn of Wisler Pearlstine, LLP, presents another application for an eating place/restaurant in the Village at Newtown “Shopping” Center currently being renovated by Brixmor, which owns and manages the center.

Since becoming a Supervisor, I have voted to approve many such applications, including:

  1. Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant (read “Supervisors Give Iron Hill Brewery the Go-ahead”)
  2. Turning Point (read "Newtown Business Association Welcomes Top Cleaners and Turning Point to Town With Ribbon Cuttings")
  3. Melt Shop (read “Melt, a Grilled Cheese Store, To Open Newtown”)
  4. Chipolte Mexican Grill (read “Summary of February 27, 2019, BOS Public Meeting”)
  5. Drive-thru Starbucks (read “Drive-thru Starbucks is Back on Track!”)

What's With the Outdoor Seating?

It seems that every restaurant wants outdoor seating! At the May 22, 2019, BOS meeting, I asked Mr. Blackburn, who was representing MOD Pizza, if this is part of Brixmor's plan to make the area a “Walkable Town Center” where people can linger for an ice cream, a cup of coffee, or meet friends and neighbors for a chitchat. Mr. Blackburn describes the Brixmor plan in the following video.  

John Mack