Could The Newtown Business Commons Become A Livable Community?

“We still have a lot of discuss,” one official said.

The sign for the Newtown Business Commons.
Credit: Google Maps

The Newtown Township Planning Commission is working with the Bucks County Planning Commission to study the future of the Newtown Business Commons office park.

“We still have a lot of discuss” with the county planning commission, Newtown Township Planning Commission Chairperson Peggy Driscoll said Wednesday evening.

The township and county planners are looking toward the future of the office park and where it fits into the future of the township.

In 2021, the township supervisors talked about increasing walkability in the Newtown Business Commons and discussed the potential of adding housing and service businesses.

Last year, the township received a $873,000 state grant to connect sections of sidewalks inside the Newtown Business Commons, which is home to more than 200 businesses.

Driscoll told the supervisors at their meeting Wednesday evening that the township planners met with the county planners on creating an overlay for the property that could spur forward mixed-use development, including apartments or condos and also amenities, which could include a few more restaurants.

The planners are looking at creating a zoning overlay to integrate mixed-use development into the business park. The ordinance would not let residential buildings, with rooftop equipment and all, exceed 50 feet in height.

Credit: Bucks County Planning Commission

Driscoll said there are also opportunities for eating areas, benches, and pocket parks throughout the Newtown Business Commons.

“We want the residential to compliment what is existing in the commons. We also want more services, a restaurant or two, a coffee shop,” she said.

Last year, Bucks County Planning Commission staffers Jeremy Stoff and Lisa Wolf presented to the supervisors an overview of a proposed overlay district as part of the planning process.

They said the idea would be create an overlay district for much of the Newtown Business Commons that would be welcoming to residents and businesses. Mixed-use residences could be added to vacant land or pockets of the business park could be redeveloped.

Credit: Bucks County Planning Commission

Officials have said the overlay would help in a post-COVID-19 business environment as more people are working from home and looking for walkable communities.

The Newtown Business Commons has been seen by officials as important due to its potential for mixed-use development, access to nearby highways, proximity to Philadelphia and New York City, and the fact it is serviced by public transit and short distance to the Woodbourne Train Station in Middletown Township.

Driscoll said the township and county planners are expected to discuss the overlay plan more this year and the county officials will come back with an updated proposed ordinance this summer.

About the author

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield has covered news in Bucks County for 12 years for both newspaper and online publications. Tom’s reporting has appeared locally, nationally, and internationally across several mediums. He is proud to report on news in the county where he lives and to have created a reliable publication that the community deserves.