I heard this weekend that one person who won't be serving on the Zoning Board is Brian Billings. Brian was the chair of the Zoning Board this past year and completely earned my respect. He asked good questions, he listened to residents' concerns, he even made it a point to personally thank residents who testified at meeting. I thought he did his best to be fair to all parties, yet didn't allow variances freely. If he and the board saw a solution that still remained true to the zoning, they insisted on it. They came up with some decent compromises, too. I can't say I agreed with them on all their decisions, but I have to admit, I TRUSTED the 2013 Zoning Board to act in the best interests of Norristown.
So, Norristown says they're looking for residents to serve, while
You'll remember our Planning Commission this past summer and fall, who could barely get quorums at their meetings? Who actually passed the over-crowded development at 1202 Dekalb illegally, WITHOUT a quorum, despite the fact that the developer changed her drawings (for the worse) every time she showed up at a meeting, so that, still, no one knows what the townhouses will look like. Council went on to give that developer $150,000 of taxpayer money to ease the overcrowding SLIGHTLY--a problem that SHOULD have been solved at the Planning meetings before they even brought the proposal up for a vote.
You remember the Pennrose proposal for a low-income apartment house on the corner of Dekalb and Airy, horrendously inappropriate to the historical area and Arts Hill zoning? Despite a storm of protests by residents and 1800 signatures on petitions against the development, Pennrose sailed through the approval process and were about to come up to the final vote before Council when their funding was denied by the state. Think it ends there? Norristown hasn't taken the application of their books yet. Pennrose could very well reapply in 2014.
And plans are already in the works to demolish another old Art Deco style building--Montgomery Hospital.
So we NEED good, sensible people on the Zoning Board and Planning Commission--people who'll represent Norristown's future, and not simply do whatever Crandall Jones and certain council members tell them to do. The Planning Commission meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month. The Zoning Board meets the 4th Tuesday.
Send letters of interest, as well as your resumé and/or qualifications, and which board you're interested in to:
Mr. Crandall Jones, Administrator
Municipality of Norristown
235 East Airy St.
Norristown, PA 19401
Am I going to apply? I'm thinking about it. Problem is, if I'm ON one of the boards, I can't report about it objectively here on the Diary. It's equally vital that the residents of Norristown are kept informed, and maybe this is a better niche for me to serve the community. But I'll at least do my best to help find good people for these positions. We all need to. Stop complaining about your government and do something to fix it.