Thursday, February 6, 2014

Council Meeting Notes

Here's a summary of Tuesday night's Council Meeting, which lasted less than 30 minutes. That probably won't happen again all year.

They announced that due to this week's weather, the Black History Program scheduled for Municipal Hall was being postponed until next Wednesday, February 12th at 6 pm.

Linda Christian was absent due to illness. I wish she'd been there, because she usually asks for explanations on disbursements and none of the other councilpersons did. I would have liked to hear what the $53,451.73 was under "Community Development."

A HARB Certificate of Appropriateness for 1014 Dekalb St. was approved (this means our Historic Area Review Board looked at plans to develop the house in questions and decided they fit into the historic area guidelines). The house is pictured above, right next to Arbor Heights. The owner plans to convert the 4 existing apartments into 3 condos. Jayne Musonye, Director of Planning, recommended the approval, since the plan is in the spirit of the kind of redevelopment they want to encourage, in that it reduces the number of rental units and creates homeownership units, plus renovates an existing building. I applaud Jayne, Council, and the owner. This is how we ought to the rehabbing our old houses, eliminating deadbeat landlords and creating more homeownership.

Two items were added to the agenda at the last minute (not that it matters since the agenda wasn't posted for this meeting--though Council President Bill Caldwell assured everyone that the agenda would be posted the day before meetings from now on).

The first item was a motion to try to pursue partial recovery of loans given to the owner/developer of Logan Square, who defaulted. Montco and Norristown would pursue recovery together and split whatever can be recovered. This was passed.

The second was consideration of T-Mobile's request to place a 55-foot cell tower on the parking garage across from Montgomery Hospital. Like Cingular last week, T-Mobile was told to remove their antenna on the hospital building. Cingular, you might remember, wants to place an 84-foot cell tower right at the corner of Fornance and Powell. Council voted to oppose T-Mobile's request and I applaud them. Cell towers do not belong in residential neighborhoods. Council will ask that T-Mobile find an alternative site that's more appropriate.

Of course, the whole cell tower problem would go away if the hospital building isn't demolished. Come to the town hall meeting on the issue next Tuesday, February 11 at 6 pm in the Community Room of the Human Services Center at Dekalb and Fornance.

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