General News

Information provided by Suburban Realtors Alliance

Voter registration deadline is Oct. 5

Did you know that you can now register to vote online? Pennsylvania recently launched a website to make the voter registration process quick and easy. The new site, available in English or Spanish, also allows currently registered voters to make updates to their voter record, such as a change of name, address or party affiliation. The deadline to register or make updates prior to the municipal general election is October 5, 2015.

Realtors® help CFPB Director Cordray unveil ‘Know Before You Owe’
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray today joined National Association of Realtors® 2015 First Vice President-Elect Elizabeth Mendenhall to highlight the agency’s Know Before You Owe initiative in advance of upcoming changes to the mortgage closing process. The CFPB rolled out a set of online tools to help consumers get better acquainted with what the Know Before You Owe initiative means for them. As part of this initiative, the Truth in Lending Act – Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act Integrated Disclosure rule, or TRID, will integrate existing closing disclosures with new requirements from the Dodd-Frank Act. The new tools released today are intended to improve consumers understanding of the mortgage process, aid in comparison shopping and help prevent surprises at the closing table. Rule changes associated with Know Before You Owe go into effect October 3. “Realtors® play an important role in keeping consumers educated about changes in the home buying process, and that includes rules related to the Know Before You Owe initiative,” said Mendenhall. “The journey to homeownership begins with Realtors®, and CFPB’s new online tools are a great resource for agents to help clients shop for a mortgage and prepare for the changes coming their way.” The toolkit offers a guide to the new mortgage closing forms, a closing factsheet, a disclosure timeline and educational videos to assist consumers. Realtors® across the country have worked through the summer to educate themselves on rule changes related to Know Before You Owe so they can continue providing expert advice to clients when the new rules go into effect.
Source:; 9/17/2015

Rep. Costello forms conservation caucus
Following in his predecessor’s footsteps, U.S. Rep. Ryan Costello recently took steps to focus attention on land conservation measures across the country. Joining with a fellow congressman from Chester County, U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts, and two Democratic congressmen, Costello (R-6th), of West Chester formed the bipartisan Land Conservation Caucus. The caucus will focus on fostering conversation about federal policies – both active and proposed – that would impact public access to open space and federal lands, Costello said in a news release. One particular area of focus will be on the strong partnerships developed through federal, competitive grant programs with local land conservation organizations. “In Southeastern Pennsylvania, the conservation and security of public lands like the Susquehanna and Delaware River Basins, the Schuylkill River National Heritage Area, the Highlands, and the Valley Forge National Historic Park is a top priority of mine,” Costello said. “Preserving these lands so that future generations can enjoy them is a priority.”
Source: Daily Times; 9/15/2015

Bucks County

Dublin Borough requires private sewer lateral inspection at resale
Dublin Borough recently passed an ordinance that requires all properties within the borough that sell or transfer to have a video inspection of the private sewer lateral submitted, along with a permit form, to the borough for review. The ordinance, which was passed in response to a consent order from the PA Department of Environmental Protection, applies to any properties that sell or transfer on or after Sept. 14, 2015. The ordinance also calls for regular inspections of private sewer laterals when the borough is working on main sewer lines throughout the municipality. The video inspection must be completed by a licensed plumber or inspector along with an inspection form available from the borough. There is a $25 permit fee payable to Dublin Borough for the review and certification of the sewer lateral report. Click here for the Dublin Borough website.

Perkasie Borough landlords speak out against rental ordinance
A large number of local landlords attended a recent Borough of Perkasie council meeting to speak out against a proposed ordinance that would create a mandatory registration and inspection program for rental properties. Many of the local property owners expressed concern that the program would place a potentially expensive government burden on their shoulders while allowing bad landlords to continue ignoring property maintenance requirements. “The good landlords will continue to be the good landlords, write you your checks, follow your rules,” said Tom Skiffington, owner of RE/MAX 440 in Perkasie. “The bad landlords will continue to be bad landlords.” Skiffington and other property owners in attendance suggested that the borough focus on enforcing its already existing property maintenance ordinance before creating a burdensome new program.
Source: Perkasie News Herald; 9/24/2015

Public hearing on proposed Falls hazardous waste facility set for Sept. 30
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will hold a public hearing on Sept. 30 to gather testimony about a planned liquid hazardous waste treatment plan in Falls Township. The public hearing on the Phase 1 application for the Elcon Recycling Services plant will run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Sheraton Bucks County Hotel at 400 Oxford Valley Rd. in Falls, according to DEP spokeswoman Virginia Cain. Israeli-based Elcon is proposing to build the plant on a 33-acre site at 100 Dean Sievers Place in the Keystone Industrial Port Complex. The plant, which would treat liquid waste from the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, would be situated on the old U.S. Steel site and would be located about a half-mile from the Delaware River. This is Elcon’s second attempt to receive Phase 1 approval for the project. During this first phase of the application process, the DEP is charged with examining a handful of issues and determining whether the plant would be built on wetlands or within the flood-of-record area. In addition to public testimony during the hearing, DEP representatives will also gather written comment about the proposal between Sept. 30 and Oct. 14. Written comments should be sent to: Hazardous Waste Facility Sitting Team Leader, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, 2 E. Main St., Norristown, PA 19401. DEP plans to rule on the application by Nov. 19.
Source: The Intelligencer; 9/17/2015

Upper Makefield considering 2-mill tax cut for 2016
Upper Makefield supervisors will consider a preliminary budget for 2016 that includes a property tax decrease of 2 mills, or $130 for a resident with a property assessed at the township average of $65,168. A 2-mill decrease would result in a property tax millage of 9.8525 mills, or $642 for the average property owner. If the preliminary budget is approved, the supervisors are tentatively scheduled to vote on finalizing the 2016 budget at the board’s Oct. 20 meeting. If the cut goes through, it will mark the second straight year board members have cut taxes. There was a 1-mill decrease this year that amounted to about $65 in savings for the average homeowner.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 9/20/2015


News Briefs

All information obtained from the Suburban Realtors Alliance

General News

NAR comments on home price index
National Association of REALTORS President Chris Polychron submitted comments regarding changes to the national loan limit price index in response to a Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) request.  The national limit determines the individual loan limits available under the GSEs and FHA and VA loan programs.  Each year the FHFA adjusts the loan limits based on market changes. FHFA requested input on the methodology used to determine the appropriate national limit.  NAR recommends a multifaceted methodology that accurately reflects price growth in markets while also ensuring that accurate limits are maintained.  The 2016 limits are expected to be published in October. Read NAR’s Comment Letter.
Source:; 8/7/2015

Bucks County

Warrington holds hearings on new development
The western end of Warrington is the most wide open, rural area of the township. Warrington’s Comprehensive Plan describes most development in the area as single-family homes on large lots and protected farms assuring that agriculture will be part of the landscape in perpetuity. Now Metropolitian Development Group wants to build 90 single-family homes on lots of approximately one-quarter acre on the site of Geerlings’ Sunlit Farms nursery on Street Road. The community would be called Warrington Run. To do so, the developer is seeking changes to the Comprehensive Plan to remove the 40-plus acre Geerling tract from a Rural Holding Area and include it in a Staged Growth Area. The builder also is requesting to change the tract’s designation from RA to RA-2, which allows houses to be built on smaller lots.  The supervisors are holding hearings on the proposal, with the second night of testimony to take place at 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 18 at Central Bucks High School South on Folly Road. The Legacy Oaks age-restricted community is adjacent to the Geerling property. The township sent letters to these and other nearby residents alerting them about the hearings.
Source: The Intelligencer; 8/5/2015

Bristol Borough Schools approve tax break
After having the finances of the potential developer of former Mill Run examined, the Bristol Borough School District voted to give the property a tax break. The decision will designate the vacant Wilson Avenue and Pond Street parcel as a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance, or LERTA, property. The proposed developer, 1201 Wilson Acquisition, which was assigned its right to redevelop Mill Run by Dallas Properties LLC in recent months, now needs the same approval from the Bucks County Commissioners. The borough approved the proposal last month. If the county approves the proposal, the developer would need to apply for the LERTA designation and submit land development plans to the borough. Under the LERTA designation, commercial properties are taxed at 100 percent of their assessed value, prior to renovations, but free from paying taxes on all or part of the increased value of those renovations for up to 10 years. In addition to providing some tax relief to the developer, the phased-in tax arrangement would provide some tax revenue for the borough, the school district and Bucks County. Without the LERTA designation, Hollister has said, the project to turn the building into a multipurpose medical facility would be financially difficult.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 8/7/2015

Waste Management Inc. fined $528K by state for odor at Bucks County landfills
The PA Department of Environmental Protection has fined Waste Management, Inc. $528,000 for odor and water treatment violations at its landfills in Falls and Tullytown, officials said.  The odor violation stems from the Tullytown Landfill that straddles the Tullytown-Falls border — and comes after the “frequent and recurring offsite odor nuisances experienced by Florence, New Jersey, residents,” DEP officials said. “We received and verified complaints regarding offsite odors from (the) Tullytown Landfill throughout a period from September 2014 through May 2015, despite efforts undertaken by the operator in an attempt to control and minimize their occurrence,” DEP Southeast Regional Director Cosmo Servidio said in the release. “The number and persistence of the offsite odors warranted a civil penalty.” WMI Company spokesman John Hambrose said that WMI is taking numerous steps to address the concerns raised by the DEP. Hambrose encouraged residents on both sides of the river to report concerns about landfill odors to the company. Pennsylvania residents can call 215-741-2925 and New Jersey residents can call 609-499-0500.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 8/4/2015

Bridgeport to adopt 2012 International Property Maintenance Code
At the Bridgeport Borough council meeting scheduled for Tues., Aug. 18, 2015 at 7:30 p.m., Borough Council will consider an ordinance amending the Code of the Borough of Bridgeport, Chapter 405, Property Maintenance. The ordinance adopts the International Property Maintenance Code, 2012 Edition and replaces the International Property Maintenance Code, 2003 Edition. Among other things, it sets fees as specified in the most recent version of the borough’s fee schedule, sets penalties of $300 to $1000 dollars per day, establishes the allowable height of grass and weeds to be the height as specified in Chapter 168 of the borough code, and sets the timing during the year when screens and heat are required. Complete copies of the proposed ordinances are available for public inspection at Bridgeport Borough, 63 West Fourth St., Bridgeport, PA 19405.
Source: Times Herald; 7/27/2015

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All information obtained from Suburban Realtors Association 

General News

Stop Patent Trolls
Tell your U.S. Representative to support H.R. 9, the Innovation Act, to stop patent trolls and protect the real estate industry from frivolous lawsuits. REALTORS® across the country receive threatening demand letters and lawsuits alleging patent infringement based on the use of common business tools such as drop down menus or search alert functions on websites and the scanner function on a copier. These patent trolls buy vague patents and use them to turn everyday business practices into potential lawsuits. H.R. 9 is scheduled for House floor consideration next week.   Congress must pass this common-sense comprehensive patent litigation reform to protect small businesses and REALTORS® from patent troll abuse. Click here to take action now!

Wolf Administration announces members of new pipeline task force
Governor Tom Wolf (D) has announced members of the state’s new Pipeline Infrastructure Task Force, which will be led by P Department of Environmental Protection Secretary John Quigley. The 48-member body was chosen from an applicant pool of about 200 people. An additional 101 people will serve on working groups that will help inform the task force, according to a press release. Although states have little authority when it comes to major interstate pipeline construction projects, the Wolf administration says it wants to bring all stakeholders together in an attempt to institute planning and best practices to a pipeline building boom that includes an estimated 4,600 new miles of interstate pipes over the next three years, according to the Energy Information Administration. That’s in addition to thousands of miles of gathering lines, which carry gas from the well heads to the interstate lines. Much of those smaller lines are unregulated. A complete list of task force members and their affiliations are posted on DEP’s website, along with the mission of the group and the list of work group members. It will be organized into 12 separate working groups, which include pipeline safety and integrity, siting and routing, environmental protection, conservation, agriculture, emergency preparedness, natural gas end use, county government, local government, public participation, workforce and economic development, and historical, cultural and tribal issues. Both Chester County Commissioner Kathi Cozzone (D) and State Sen. Andy Dinniman (D) will serve on the task force. Members will meet for the first time at a public meeting July 22 in Harrisburg, which will be live-streamed. Wolf has asked the task force to submit recommendations by February 2016.
Source: Newsworks; 7/8/2015

Bucks County

Bristol Borough school taxes hold steady
The Bristol Borough school board approved a $22.4 million budget that does not increase school property taxes for the upcoming school year. The millage rate will remain at 154 mills. The owner of a property assessed at the borough average of $16,400 will pay about $2,526 in school taxes for the next school year. The spending total went up slightly from the preliminary budget due to several capital projects, including repairs to the high school boiler room roof, boiler, and additional summer projects administered by the buildings and facilities manager. The money to cover the additional costs will come from the school district’s fund balance, according to Chris McHugh, the district’s business manager.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 6/25/2015

Middletown’s Stone Meadows Farm eyed for development
The 168-acre Stone Meadows Farm at Route 413 and Fulling Mill Road in Middletown Township is being eyed for a development of more than 100 single-family homes. Several years ago, township supervisors – none of whom are still on the board – attempted to condemn the farm to preserve it as open space out of concerns it would eventually be developed. The condemnation was unsuccessful. A plan recently filed in the township and then “taken off the table” for revisions called for 122 single-family homes on the property to be built by the Metropolitan Development Group of Wyomissing. According to township Director of Zoning, Planning and Engineering Patrick Duffy, a project similar to the one withdrawn by the developer would probably be allowed under the land’s residential-agricultural, but he cannot be sure until he examines the revised plan. Duffy said it could be weeks or months before the developer brings another plan to the township.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 7/10/2015

Commissioner joins work board
Bucks County Commissioner Diane Ellis-Marseglia has been appointed to the county’s Workforce Investment Board. The Workforce Investment Board leverages resources, such as developing partnership with employers and educational agencies, to benefit county employers and workers. The board also oversees strategic planning to that end, factoring in the county’s demographics and economic indicators to promote a healthy workforce. The board conducts quarterly meetings at locations around Bucks County. Visit for more information.
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer; 7/9/2015

Springfield Township special meeting to discuss comprehensive plan
The Springfield Township Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission will hold a special meeting to discuss comprehensive planning issues on Monday, July 20. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Springtown Volunteer Fire Company located at 3010 Route 212, Springtown, PA 18055. Visit the Springfield Township website here.
Source: The Intelligencer; 7/9/2015

 For more information contact The Vickie Landis Team of Keller Williams Realty Group 

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General News

New study shows Americans concerned with housing affordability
While the American public believes the housing industry is improving, 60 percent believe the country is still not completely clear of the housing crisis, according to a new study by The MacArthur Foundation. The same study, titled ‘How Housing Matters,’ does highlight that more than half (56 percent) of those surveyed said they believe buying a home is an “excellent long-term investment.” One of the more alarming survey findings is that “significant majorities of the public believe it is harder for Millennials to accomplish many of the basic elements of a middle-class life, including having a decent-paying job, owning a home, having stable, affordable housing, and saving for retirement.” According to the survey, 80 percent believe housing affordability is an issue, with 60 percent deeming it a ‘serious problem.’
Source: PARJustListed; 7/2/2015

Public meeting of the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission
Sellers, buyers, renters, real estate students and concerned citizens are invited to a public meeting of the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission. The meeting will be held on July 22, 2015 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Temple University’s Real Estate Institute, 1515 Market St., Room 205, Philadelphia, PA. The general public is invited to bring concerns, questions or comments about the licensed activities of real estate brokers and salespersons, cemetery brokers and sales-persons, cemeteries, rental listing referral services and real estate schools to this public meeting. If you are a person with a disability and wish to attend, please call 717- 787-6604 or contact the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service at 1-800-654-5984 (TDD) to discuss accommodations.
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer; 7/6/2015

Bucks County

Three Bucks towns eye joint fracking ordinance
A joint ordinance that would regulate fracking in Newtown, Upper Makefield and Wrightstown townships will soon be presented for a vote in all three townships. Fracking is a method of extracting natural gas or oil by injecting fluid into shale rock cracks and fissures. Although there are no known deposits of natural gas or oil in any of the three townships, having an ordinance in place is a wise course of action, according to attorney Matt McHugh, of Grim, Biehn and Thatcher. Not having an ordinance would risk allowing a driller to start a fracking operation in any area of the three townships if deposits of natural gas or oil were ever found, said McHugh. The proposed ordinance would allow the municipalities to regulate the operation by limiting it to three zoning designations and also enacting other regulations as a safeguard and protection for residents. The ordinances are likely to be voted on by all three townships in the next month or two.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 7/6/2015

Bristol Borough looking to enact LERTA
Bristol Borough will consider enacting a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance program, also known as LERTA, to help development in the borough. Under LERTA, properties are still taxed at 100 percent of their assessed value, prior to renovations, but freed from taxes on all or part of the increased value of renovations for 10 years. According to Councilman Greg Pezza, Bristol’s LERTA would require owners of renovated properties to pay taxes on 50 percent of the new increased assessed value, along with the full amount of taxes on the property’s assessed value prior to any improvements. For the LERTA to be enacted, a municipal government, school district and county have to give approval. Bristol council plans to vote on its approval at the July 13 regular meeting.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 7/5/2015

Morrisville school taxes to rise
The Morrisville school board approved a final budget for 2015-16 that will increase taxes nearly 2.3 percent, or about $80 for a home assessed at the borough average of $18,000. The total millage for the $17.95 million spending plan is 192.19 mills. The owner of a property assessed at the borough average will pay approximately $3,459 in school taxes. According to district officials, expenses for the 2015-16 plan increased 3.23 percent over last school year. The increase is attributed to several factors, including stagnant state funding that is not keeping pace with expenses, a decrease in federal funding, and a loss in assessed property value.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 7/6/2015

Pennridge board passes budget
The Pennridge school board approved a 2015-16 school year budget that includes a 1.9 percent tax increase. The millage rate will increase from 129.6227 mills to 132.0855 mills. A mill equates to $1 in taxes per $1,000 of assessed property value. Residents with homes assessed at the district average of $30,520 will pay an additional $75.16. At the beginning of the budget process, Pennridge officials faced a $10 million deficit, which was due in part to rising health care costs and the rising retirement contribution rate. The district will use $3.4 million from the district’s fund balance to cover the balance of the deficit after the tax increase.
Source: The Reporter; 6/30/2015

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General News

Regional differences in the hourly wage required to rent a two-bedroom apartment
The National Low Income Housing Coalition has released a report, “Out of Reach 2015,” that describes the regional differences in the hourly wage required to pay for a two-bedroom apartment, and plotts them on an interactive map. Pennsylvania is the 20th most expensive state to rent a two-bedroom apartment, with an average hourly wage of $17.57 needed to afford the rental. Other high-rent areas are Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, the District of Columbia and a large cluster of states in the Northeast. In those places, renters would have to earn more than $20 per hour, nearly three times more than the current minimum wage of $7.25, and $5 more than the estimated average wage of $15.16 earned by renters nationwide, according to the report. Locally, the Philadelphia region demands the highest hourly wages for two-bedroom apartment rentals in the state, at $22.23. The nonprofit National Low Income Housing Coalition advocates for public policy supporting affordable and decent homes for America’s lowest wage earners.
Source: Limerick Patch; 6/5/2015 introduces School Scores
With the importance of school districts weighing heavily on the minds of families looking to move, is offering a new feature to help them. School Scores provides a ranking system for buyers and sellers to find and compare local school information. The system aids customers in determining the value of schools in their search area. The School Score is calculated from state test performance data of public schools, and assigns a letter from A+ to D based on rank. “As the trusted guide for consumers in the real estate transaction, Realtors® need reliable sources of information that they feel confident in sharing with their clients. This system offers ranking and scoring that both consumers and real estate professional alike can understand and use,” said Dave Mele, president of To check out School Scores, visit offers a variety of free resources for Realtors®, including free leads, consumer Q-and-A, local visibility, customizable consumer guides, webinars, educational resources and widgets.
Source:; 6/10/2015

Bucks County

SEPTA, DVRPC looking into extending passenger rail service into Pennridge area
A rail line that has not carried passengers for decades has caught the attention of SEPTA officials and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. SEPTA and DVRPC have begun to study the feasibility of restoring passenger rail service from Lansdale toward Quakertown, possibly to a midpoint in West Rockhill Township. “Although the SEPTA Bethlehem Branch has been inactive as a passenger rail service for over 30 years, planning studies have been conducted over the past five years to explore the viability of returning service to as far as Pennridge, Bucks County, south of Quakertown,” said SEPTA in a statement. According to Brad Lane, senior transportation engineer in DVRPC’s Office of Modeling and Analysis, re-examination of the project was “partly” thanks to increased transportation funding from Act 89, the state transportation bill signed into law in late 2013. DVRPC will likely finish its updated ridership forecasts sometime this summer, at which point SEPTA could begin formally seeking public feedback. “We would love to see passenger rail service come back to these small towns, because it’s clearly an advantage to economic development in your downtown, said Telford Borough Manager Mark Fournier. “It’s evident and known that your property values increase significantly within a set distance from the railroad,” he said.
Source: Perkasie News Herald; 6/10/2015

Average Pennsbury tax increase expected to be about $138
Property taxes in the Pennsbury School District could go up an average of about $138 in the coming school year, according to district Business Administrator Daniel Rodgers. The 2.85 percent increase would bring Pennsbury’s millage to 157.77 mills. Act 1, the state’s property tax relief law, will allow the board to increase the district’s millage rate 1.9 percent. In addition, the board has secured state exceptions to raise the millage a few more mills, if needed, to help cover special education and retirement payment costs. The increase is needed to help cover an estimated $3.6 million budget deficit.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 6/4/2015

Doylestown Ridge eyed for water and sewer lines
Doylestown Township is considering public water along with the sewer lines already planned for approximately 256 homes in the Pebble Ridge neighborhood. In 2013, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) told the township to “move the sewer project forward” because of poor soil drainage in the Pebble Ridge area and fecal coliform bacteria and animal waste affecting groundwater and streams in the area because of malfunctioning septic systems. Supervisor Rick Colello told other board members at a recent meeting that if and when the sewer lines in the Pebble Ridge and Wood Ridge neighborhoods are installed, it might be a good time to add public water as well. “If the sewer project goes through, we’re looking to see if it’s feasible (to add water lines),” he said, since having the road already dug up for the sewers would make it much easier to install water pipes at the same time. Colello is the supervisors’ liaison to the Doylestown Township Municipal Authority, which suggested looking into the possibility of adding water for some or all of the streets where sewers are proposed. Engineering field work on the sewer project is being completed and easements are being obtained. Once the easements are obtained, the township can bid out the project.
Source: The Intelligencer; 6/2/2015

Central Bucks approves $311.5 million budget
The Central Bucks school board approved a $311.5 million budget for the 2015-16 school year that calls for no tax increase. The budget calls for a millage rate of 124.1 mills. A home assessed at $40,000 and registered for a homestead exemption can expect a tax bill of $4,770.34. Over 30,000 homes and farm owners in the school district are registered for the homestead and farmstead exemption, which is $193.56 for this year. The exemption comes from gambling tax proceeds collected by the state. According to district Business Administrator David Matyas, the gambling deduction is less this year because gambling tax proceeds to the state are down while the number who have applied for the discount is up.
Source: The Intelligencer; 6/9/2015

Bucks County News

Information obtained from Suburban Realtors Alliance

Bucks County’s credit rating remains high
Bucks County’s high credit ratings were recently reaffirmed by two major national financial institutions, according to county officials. Both agencies – Moody’s Investor Services, and Standard & Poor’s Rating Services – gave Bucks County their highest possible grade: Aaa from Moody’s; and AAA from Standard & Poor’s. The agencies said the grades reflected the county’s strong reserve levels, low debt, and financial stability. “This is a significant achievement that did not happen overnight,” said Rob Loughery, chairman of the county commissioners. “It’s about a long-term, disciplined approach.”
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer; 6/3/2015

Doylestown to acknowledge stewardship of dedicated property owners
Doylestown Borough has announced “The Mayor’s Property Stewardship Award” to be presented twice yearly to acknowledge the outstanding stewardship of dedicated property owners through an award presentation during a Borough Council meeting. Stewardship of residential or commercial properties may include, but is not limited to, reconstruction, repainting of buildings, and repair of deteriorated conditions involving structures such as fences, walls, or landscaping. Nominations for the Stewardship award will be accepted from community members, the Doylestown Historical Society, the Borough’s Historical and Architectural Review Board (HARB), and the Revitalization Board. Nominations will be reviewed by the Design Committee, a division of the Revitalization Board. A recommendation will then be made to the entire Revitalization Board for approval. Nominations can be emailed to
Source: Doylestown Borough e-news; 6/3/2015

Warrington eyes new apartments and assisted living facility
An assisted living facility and an apartment building are proposed for Bristol Road near the intersection of Pickertown Road in Warrington. The assisted living facility would be constructed at a 4-acre site at 2527 Bristol Road. The plans call for a 28,000-square-foot, one-story building with 50 to 55 beds and is estimated to cost between $6 million and $8 million to construct. Warrington township planners told project attorney Gregory Sturn that they would need more time to review the details of the plan before it is presented to township supervisors for approval. The planners also heard testimony about an apartment complex planned for a 3-acre site adjacent to the assisted living site. The apartment building would have 42 units, said the attorney for the developer, RHH Properties. Included in the testimony were stormwater management and traffic related discussions.
Source: The Intelligencer; 6/3/2015

Falls expects to continue reaping landfill benefits for years
With the announcement that the Tullytown Landfill will cease operations by 2017, the days of Tullytown reaping the financial benefits of hosting a landfill operation are coming to an end. However, that is not the case for neighboring Falls Township, officials said. Falls is also home to part of the Tullytonw Landfill and the 117-acre GROWS North Landfill, and is awaiting the possible opening of the 193-acre Fairless Landfill on the former U.S. Steel Coke Works site. All three landfills are owned and operated by Waste Management Inc. Falls currently brings in about $1 million per month in host fees from the two existing Waste Management operations. The township supervisors use the revenue to help finance municipal operations and keep property taxes in check. Should the Fairless Landfill open, Falls could actually see an increase in the amount of host fees it brings in even with the Tullytown site’s closing. The DEP is reviewing Waste Management’s permit application for the landfill. In the meantime, Waste Management is conducting “an extensive cleanup” of contaminated soil and hazardous waste on the proposed landfill site.
Source: The Intelligencer; 5/31/2015

Bucks County News…

Information obtained from Suburban Realtors Alliance

Middletown Township bamboo ordinance
Middletown Township has enacted an ordinance establishing regulations for the planting, cultivating and/or growing of certain running noxious plants and grasses, specifically bamboo grasses, and penalties for violations of the ordinance. The ordinance defines bamboo, bamboo owner, existing bamboo regulations – including maintenance and responsibility for encroachment, removal guidelines if applicable and violations and penalties. Existing bamboo shall at all times be located, trimmed and maintained so that no bamboo, or any part thereof, shall be within ten (10’) feet of any property line, curb, and/or sidewalk, or within forty (40’) feet of any roadway, cartway, street, storm sewer, sanitary sewer and/or public water facilities within Middletown Township.Click here for the full ordinance.

Palisades approves preliminary budget
The Palisades school board recently approved a proposed final budget that includes a tax increase for the 2015-16 school year. Residents in the Palisades School District can expect to pay an additional $30 in real estate taxes if the 0.9 mill tax increase is finalized. The $41.7 million spending plan would raise the total millage rate to 111.24 mills. A mill is a tax of $1 for each $1,000 in assessed property value. The proposed 2015-16 budget is higher than last year’s $39.9 million spending plan. The increase is largely due to higher health care and pension costs. The board is scheduled to finalize the budget at the June 3 meeting.
Source: The Intelligencer; 5/18/2015

Centennial considers feasibility study for aging middle schools
The Centennial School District is considering spending up to $37,000 for a feasibility study on its two middle schools. The buildings, Klinger in Upper Southampton and Log College in Warminster, are both more than 50 years old. “We have two aging buildings and a student population that’s dwindling,” school board president Jane Schrader Lynch said. “The questions are what should we do? What can we pay for?” The options for both schools include renovation, creating additions, or building one or two new schools. Lynch was quick to point out that a decision or plan will not be completed any time soon. Lynch also reminded residents that the board is asking for the public’s input in its search for a new superintendent to replace outgoing Joyce Mundy. A link to the survey can be found on the district’s website:
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 5/18/2015

Council Rock to consider elimination of per capita tax
The Council Rock school board will consider elimination of the per capita tax currently levied by the school district. The school board believes the elimination of the per capita tax will reduce inefficiency in the district’s tax collection process. The meeting will be held at its regularly scheduled date and time, June 4, 2015, at 7:30 p.m. at the Chancellor Center, 30 North Chancellor St., Newtown, PA. Click here for the most up-to-date meeting information.


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General News

Analysis: 1 in 4 must use half their pay for housing costs
According to an analysis of Census data by Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit that helps finance affordable housing, more than one in four U.S. renters have to use at least half their family income to pay for housing and utilities. The number of such households has jumped 26 percent to 11.25 million since 2007. Using data from the Labor Department and Zillow, the analysis points out that rental prices have surged at nearly twice the pace of average hourly wages since 2010. The crisis reflects one of the shortcomings of the recovery from the Great Recession: Income has failed to match rent increases. At the same time, construction has failed to keep pace with demand from renters. “It means making really difficult trade-offs,” said Angela Boyd, a vice president at Enterprise Community Partners. “There are daily financial dilemmas about making their rent or buying groceries.” Click here for more.
Source: Times Herald; 5/1/2015

Philadelphia Business Tax and License Requirements
In light of recent media reports regarding the alleged failure of Realtors to comply with the City of Philadelphia’s complex system of business tax and license requirements, the Suburban REALTORS Alliance has produced an issue brief titled “Philadelphia Business License and Tax Requirements.”The document is meant to provide an introductory resource for REALTORS who are interested in learning more about Philadelphia’s requirements for individuals and organizations conducting business within its borders.

Bucks County

Centennial budget plan avoids projected catastrophe
Before he was elected to the Centennial School Board four years ago, Steve Adams would sit in the audience and listen to the dire financial forecasts. “This year was supposed to be Armageddon,” Adams said. “This was D-Day. This was when we fell below the line, when we lost all of our general fund.” The catastrophe, however, did not materialize. Adams contends that “tough choices” made by the current board – “that they weren’t making in years prior” – has helped the district avoid the disastrous forecast. Centennial approved a proposed budget of $106.8 million with a 3.7 percent tax increase that will not cut into programs. If approved, the 3.7 percent increase would amount to an increase of $121 to the total tax bill of a home assessed at the district average of $26,400. The millage rate would increase to 126.76 mills, with a mill equal to a tax of $1 for every $1,000 of assessed property value. Adams called the tax increase “reasonable” and said the district’s tax rate is the second lowest in Bucks County. The budget will be finalized by the end of June.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 5/4/2015

Warrington to consider ordinances to create water and sewer districts
At their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 7:30 p.m., the Warrington Township Board of Supervisors will consider two ordinances providing public water and sewer service to an area of the township including Anna Street and Honora Street. The proposed ordinances create the Anna/Honora Sanitary Sewer District and the Anna/Honora Water District and list the tax parcels and tapping fees for each district. A complete copy of the ordinances is available for review at the Warrington Township Building, 852 Easton Rd., Warrington, PA during normal business hours. Visit for the most up-to-date meeting information.
Source: The Intelligencer; 5/4/2015

Neshaminy to use reserves for balanced budget
The Neshaminy school board recently voted to approve a proposed final budget for 2015-16 that includes using about $8 million in reserves to help balance a $175 million budget. The district has about $17 million in reserves that it can use to help cover expenses, said business administrator Barbara Markowitz. According to district officials, the spending plan does not include a tax increase. The final adoption of the budget is scheduled for June 16. In the meantime, administrators will continue to look for ways to trim expenses, said Superintendent Robert Copeland.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 5/5/2015

New homes planned for New Britain Township
New Britain Township supervisors approved the development of 59 twin homes and townhomes on a 20-acre lot off Schoolhouse Road. An adjacent 20-acres will be donated to the township for park use by the owner of the property, Quad Graphics. The homes will be built by W.B Homes of North Wales. The developer still must present a land development plan to the supervisors for approval before construction can begin. Zoning on the tract has already been changed from industrial to rural residential. Each residence will have a small plot to the rear of the home, but most of the 10 acres of open land will be held and maintained by a homeowners’ association. If all approvals are granted, groundbreaking for the three-bedroom units could take place next spring. Pricing is expected to be in the mid-$300,000s.
Source: The Intelligencer; 5/5/2015


News This Week…

Information listed has been provided by Suburban Realtors Alliance

Bucks County

Bristol Township real estate on the rise
On the flip side of the housing slump that began in 2007, Bristol Township has slowly seen the real estate market improve. After losing nearly 25 percent of the value of Bristol Township homes in 2007, prices have increased 4.7 percent in 2013, 1 percent in 2014 and so far this year – 16 percent. According to veteran real estate agent Ellen M. Cassidy, prices are up substantially this year because of higher-cost renovations by investors who flipped houses, especially in the township’s portion of Levittown. According to Cassidy, 22 percent of the properties on the market are short sales or bank repossessions after foreclosure, ranging in price from $50,000 to the low $100,000s. When purchased, renovated and flipped, resales of these houses range from $200,000 to $250,000, said Cassidy. What has helped the market, Cassidy continues, was easing use-and-occupancy requirements for resale. The township council eliminated a $500 escrow required to purchase a home, streamlined the criteria for resale inspections to include only items directly related to public health, safety and welfare and “sent the message to the Realtor community that Bristol Township encouraged investment both residential and commercial,” says Township Manager William McCauley. It is the “renaissance” of Bristol Township, according to Councilwoman Amber Longhitano, also a Realtor. “We are rebuilding our community one step at a time,” she says. That includes repairing the roads, implementing a “state-of-the-art” LED street lighting system, and rebuilding the sewer system.
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer; 4/20/2015

Springfield opposes pipeline plan
Springfield officials are taking a stand against the PennEast Pipeline. The board of supervisors voted to sign a resolution that opposes the construction of the PennEast Pipeline and calls upon neighboring municipalities to join in the opposition. According to Springfield’s resolution, the PennEast Pipeline could have a significant and degrading cumulative impact on the landscape and aquifers of the Cooks Creek Watershed, the residents of Bucks County and the Delaware River Basin. PennEast is a 114-mile natural gas pipeline planned from Luzerne County, Pennsylvania to Mercer County, New Jersey that is currently under review by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. If approved, the pipeline would cut through Durham Township in Bucks County, just south of Riegelsville. PennEast representatives claim that the pipeline would provide natural gas to residents and small business owners and would amount to significant energy savings for local customers.
Source: The Intelligencer; 4/28/2015

Upper Makefield to hold special meeting on Toll Brothers project
Upper Makefield Township supervisors have scheduled a special meeting devoted entirely to consideration of final approval for the Toll Brothers project on the White tract and Upper Makefield’s share of the Melsky tract. The meeting is set for 7:30 p.m., on May 11 at the township building, 1076 Eagle Road. Toll Brothers is proposing 80 single-family homes on the 95-acre White tract and 38 single-family houses for the 66-acre part of the Melsky tract. The developer also plans 45 more houses on the other 68 acres of the Melsky tract that is in Newtown Township. Upper Makefield supervisors granted approval for both tracts in 2007, but a group of neighbors has carried out an appeal through several courts. The matter has now been remanded back to the supervisors for consideration of final approval. Items that the supervisors will consider during the special meeting include whether the detention basins in the open space lots are permitted under the applicable ordinance provisions of the joint municipal zoning ordinance; whether the plans comply with the township’s storm water management ordinance; and whether the plans comply with the conditions set forth in the 2007 approval letter.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 4/28/2015

Solicitation reminders from Doylestown Borough
Realtors are reminded that a license is required to solicit and peddle in the Borough of Doylestown.Click here for a permit application. The Borough also maintains a Do-Not-Sell list that prohibits all soliciting and peddling by a licensee at such an address. Canvassers are prohibited when a sign is posted on the property prohibiting canvassing. Please note that the borough encourages residents who are on the Do-Not-Sell list to contact the regional police department if a solicitor or peddler has violated the borough ordinance. For more information, visit

News Briefs

All information obtained from Suburban Realtors Alliance

General News

Realtors® Call on Congress to Ease Regulatory Burdens Curbing Access to Mortgage Credit
According to testimony from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) before the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, unnecessary regulatory burdens are preventing qualified, credit-worthy borrowers from obtaining the American Dream of homeownership. “REALTORS® support strong underwriting standards to protect consumers from the risky lending practices of the past, but we are concerned that the pendulum has swung too far. In some cases, well-intentioned, but over-corrective policies are severely hampering the ability of millions of qualified buyers to purchase a home. I believe, and our members believe, that we have yet to strike the right balance between regulation and opportunity,” said NAR President Chris Polychron. In his testimony, Polychron proposed adjustments to a range of regulations that would provide consumers with valuable protections and safe access to mortgage credit. He recommended changes to restrictive condominium polices from the Federal Housing Administration and the Government-Sponsored Enterprises, which limit opportunities for buyers to own condos. Polychron also pressed for the U.S. Senate to pass the Mortgage Choice Act, bipartisan legislation that importantly redefines a provision in the Ability-to-Repay rules that limits mortgage fees and points to 3 percent in order for home loans to be considered Qualified Mortgages. NAR will continue to work with Congress and the administration to develop balanced housing policies that protect borrowers while supporting a robust housing market.
Source:; 4/16/2015

Bucks County

County reports few plans for new homes, offices and industry
Figures recently released by the Bucks County Planning Commission show a continued slump in new homes, stores, offices or industry planned in the months to come. The newly release Development Activity Report for 2015 shows little movement by builders, retailers or investors. According to county officials, the report highlights only proposals and not actual construction and it provides an indication of what areas might undergo construction in the months to come. In 2014, Bucks County reviewed proposals for just 780 new homes, condos and apartments – a 7 percent increase from the prior year and the highest number of new homes proposed since 2010. But 62 percent of those new units were planned for a development that has since been scrapped. New housing construction is planned on a smaller scale in all but four communities in the county, but the total number of proposed new homes remains far below average. Industrial development is down 56 percent and office space construction is down 37 percent.
Source: The Intelligencer; 4/14/2015

Council Rock board eyes $8.5 million budget gap
Council Rock school board members and administrators will look for ways to close an $8.5 million budget gap for 2015-16. A first draft budget was presented by Director of Business Administration Robert Reinhart at a recent board meeting that listed $214.4 million in revenues and $222.9 million in expenses. Before passing a final budget in June, the board must decide how much they want to raise property taxes – if at all – and how much of the district’s $29 million in savings they want to use to balance the budget. Council Rock has already passed a resolution stating property taxes will not increase by more than 1.9 percent. A 1.9 percent tax increase would be 2.17 mills, or $82 for a resident with a property assessed at the school district average of $38,000. A 1.9 percent tax increase would bring in about $2.7 million in revenue. The board is tentatively scheduled to vote on a preliminary budget at its April 23 meeting, and a public forum devoted entirely to the 2015-16 budget is tentatively scheduled for May 13. The 131-page first draft 2015 budget is available for review on Council Rock’s website, Click on “CR Finances” for the budget.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 4/13/2015

Bucks Human Relations Council plans forum on discrimination
The Bucks County Human Relations Council (BCHRC) was formed by Bucks County commissioners in 1996. The BCHRC, a nonprofit based in Richboro, has a local hotline to report bias, prejudice and unfair housing practices. But calls to the hotline, 215-340-8220, number just five calls a month, and that worries some board members. According to board member Joyce Hadley, “We figure that some people just don’t know we exist. There’s a climate in our nation right now. In Bucks County, we have not heard of many cases, but we’re not sure if people know where to call.” A public awareness campaign is scheduled to begin next month with a series of events beginning with a May 5 community forum. The free event on “Addressing Fair Housing, Hate Crimes and Police-Community Relations” is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Yardley-Lower Makefield Public Library, 1080 Edgewood Rd. in Lower Makefield. Representatives from the Pennsylvania Human Relations Council are scheduled to give presentations on discrimination and hate crime activity. For more information,
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 4/15/2015

EPA schedules public meeting for Richland waste site
This summer, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials are set to move forward with a multimillion-dollar project to cap the former Watson Johnson landfill and begin groundwater cleanup at the site. The EPA will hold a public meeting about the cleanup on April 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the James A. Michener Public Library on West Mill St. in Quakertown. A presentation will be given at 6:30 p.m. and again at 7:30 p.m. EPA representatives will be available to answer residents’ questions and discuss any related concerns. Located on 56 acres off East Pumping Station Road, the Watson Johnson landfill was active from the late 1950s until the early 1970s, accepting industrial and municipal waste. In 2001, it was declared a Superfund site, which is a federal program that addresses abandoned hazardous waste sites.
Source: The Intelligencer; 4/14/2015