Tuesday, January 28, 2014

It's Secret Meeting Week

622 Swede St. 
I spent much of yesterday trying to find out what would be happening in meetings scheduled around town this week, especially the zoning board meeting slated for tonight. I don't think anyone really meant to keep their agenda secret, but everyone seemed to forget that, to get people out in the snow and cold, you have to give them more information than meeting place and time. Here are the meetings for the next few days, followed by the zoning agenda.

Today at 3 pm: Norristown Action Team Meeting at 700 E. Main (BartonPartners Architects) -- the best I could discover is that it's about promoting and improving the Schuylkill River Trail.
Tonight at 7 pm: Zoning Meeting, Municipal Hall.
Wednesday at 7:30 pm: The Council meeting that was cancelled last week. Same agenda. See last week's blog.
Thursday, 6:30-7:30 pm at Norristown Area High School cafeteria, a Voices of the Community Meeting, for input into the selection of a new Athletic Director. I'll blog more about this tomorrow or Thursday.
Thursday, 5-7 at ACPPA, a Business Mixer, in the rear of Grace Lutheran Church.

Now, the zoning meeting. As I said, the agenda was only posted very late yesterday.

622 Swede Street -- The owner, Mr. Jamie Markizon is seeking a variance from the required parking spaces, and a special exception from use regulations, to allow for professional office space on the ground floor and a licensed residential apartment on the 2nd floor. As I said last time this property came up, the building already houses law offices, and has 3 floors, so I'm not sure what the exception is, unless the 2nd floor is currently office space.

105 Haws Avenue 
610 West Lafayette Street - Owner Rudolph V. Ciarletta is seeking a special exception/variance to allow for a 2-unit apartment dwelling with garage.

105 Haws Avenue -- Syed Nishats Haque (Singharas Properties in Eagleville) is seeking a special exception/variance to allow for a 2-unit apartment dwelling with garage, and a variance from required parking facilities. This is a TINY row house.

573 E. Main Street -- Owner Harry Mirable, Jr. is seeking a special exception, to change the 1st floor of a former dry cleaners into a barber school.

Montgomery Hospital Property -- Cingular Wireless is seeking variances in order to install a temporary telecommunications facility cell on wheels that is 84 feet high with 3 antennas, in the hospital parking lot located at the corner of Powell and E. Fornance Street, along with a temporary fence.

To give you some scale, the Cingular tower would be, I think, nearly as tall as the hospital. More than twice as tall as the surrounding houses, at least. How long is temporary? In the last year, Verizon has placed antenna on the roof of the hospital. Why can't Cingular do the same thing, instead of plunking down a truly ugly tower and temporary fence (which never look good) in the middle of a nice residential neighborhood?

Of all the schemes above, I approve most of all the barber school at the corner of E Main and High St. We used to have a barber school on East Main (between Dekalb and Green?). It would be nice to bring one back--especially since it's a business that provides job training.

The others seem to be, unfortunately, business-as-usual for Norristown:  more apartments, probably run by out-of-town landlords who could care less, meaning more overcrowding, trash and parking problems--and all the landlords want to make the latter problem worse by not providing off street parking for their tenants.

So come to the meeting tonight if you can. And don't be afraid to get up and give testimony if you're against any of these plans. It's the only way we can have a voice in what ends up in our neighborhoods.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for letting us know about this. It's a sorry statement that tbis kind of info is not automatically provided by our local authorities.