Board of Supervisors Meeting Goes to the 11th Hour . . . Student Housing Ordinances and Public Budget Meetings are Late Night Decisions

Last night’s Board of Supervisors Meeting and public meeting on student housing was a marathon!  After 4-1/2 hours, the meeting finally ended at 11:45 PM . . . a long meeting by any standard; plus there was no air conditioning!  By the time the meeting ended at nearly midnight, all that remained of the audience was myself and 2 other residents, the township staff and the supervisors.  I didn’t realize until I got home but the taping of the meeting stopped at about 11:20, which was prior to the 3 important votes – decisions of the evening.

Many who attended last night’s supervisors meeting waited patiently for the public hearing on the two proposed college student housing ordinances – the Registration Ordinance and Zoning Ordinance Amendment.  As the hour got later and later, a decision was made to suspend the regular supervisors meeting, conduct the public meeting on the student housing ordinances and then complete the regular supervisors meeting. 

As was discussed in an earlier post, the Planning Commission had come up with very strict language in their proposed ordinances.  In my opinion, the proposed ordinances provided as much future protection against student rentals as was possible within the law.  In fact, some of the restrictions (including a 10 ft. wide buffer on the sides and back of the student rental properties struck me as a bit ‘over the top’  and overly restrictive).  It was obvious that some of the supervisors had a clearer understanding of the proposed ordinances than others – at one point, it was suggested that the public meeting be continued until a future date.  But Supervisors DiBuonaventuro and Donahue pushed for resolution last night on the ordinances.

Many Mt. Pleasant residents attended last night’s meeting and were determined that their voices would be heard.  And heard they were!  On one side, the residents very much wanted to see the proposed ordinances passed but they also wanted more to be included in the proposed zoning ordinance amendment.  Specifically, the residents sought to remove the grandfathering rights of the landlords from the ordinance.  The residents wanted the same restrictions for new student rentals to be imposed on existing student rentals.  But as they were told, this is simply not possible legally.  Not because of township laws, but because of Pennsylvania state law. 

Supervisor Kichline and the township solicitor explained to the residents that those properties that were existing student rentals would be allowed to continue operating and would not be subject to the proposed zoning amendment ordinance.  However, all current student housing landlords would have to conform to the proposed registration ordinance.  Mt. Pleasant residents questioned if other municipalities had taken out the grandfathering clause from their student housing ordinances, why couldn’t Tredyffrin.  As township manager Gleason explained, other municipalities may not permit grandfathering in their student housing ordinances but it is not enforceable by law.  Period.  Not the answer the residents wanted; they had to accept the proposed zoning amendment could not legally include existing student rentals. 

The supervisors passed the student registration ordinance with minor tweaking but there seemed to be endless discussion on the proposed zoning ordinance amendment.  Lamina made a motion to continue the discussion on the zoning amendment to the 2nd meeting in September.  The motion was seconded but failed to receive the necessary votes.  There was more discussion and a motion was made on the proposed zoning amendment ordinance – to pass it ‘as is’ .  I don’t know if it was the lateness of the hour (by this point it was 11:30!), the audience remarks, or what . . . but the motion was seconded and passed unanimously.  That’s right, Tredyffrin Township now has a very strict zoning amendment ordinance for student housing and a student registration ordinance.  Although the newly passed ordinances are not going to solve all of the student housing issues in Tredyffrin, I think great strides were made in the right direction.  Gold stars to the residents, the Planning Commissioners, the township staff and to the supervisors for working together for resolution!

The public meeting ended, many in the audience departed and the regular supervisors meeting resumed.  The  meeting agenda finally got to the new matters – Board members, and I waited to see if the suggestion of public budget meetings discussed at the July board meeting would be re-visited.  And yes, Supervisor Donahue once again brought up the suggestion of a public budget meeting (to be scheduled in advance of the traditional November budget discussions.) 

All 7 supervisors agreed in favor of a public budget meeting. Supervisor Olson suggested a Saturday morning meeting at the township building as a good time to schedule the meeting.  Lamina suggested either Saturday, September 18 or 25 but Supervisor Kichline quickly pointed out that September 25 was my historic house tour (thank you Michelle!) and maybe the budget meeting should not be scheduled on that date.  Lamina asked Mimi to look at the calendar and see about setting up the public budget meeting in September.  Under new matters – citizens, Dariel Jamieson thanked the supervisors for setting up the public budget meeting and asked if the BAWG recommendations could be included in the  meeting . . . the supervisors seemed to think that was a good idea and will include BAWG updates at the meeting.

Thank you supervisors for choosing transparency and citizen participation in the township budget process –  we will wait to hear the date and time of the public budget meeting.

Just a couple of other items from the supervisors meeting. As a member of HARB, I joined the other members in thanking Jim Garrison, a historical architect, for his 12 years of service to the HARB.  Jim and his wife recently moved from the township and therefore he is no longer permitted to serve on HARB.  In their move, the Garrison’s have joined the ranks of ‘old house owners’.  They purchased a 250-yr. old stone farmhouse that is on the National Register.  Congratulations to Jim but the HARB will miss him! 

The other item of personal interest from last night  has to do with Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust.  Newly appointed Trust board member, Jean Sauer, presented an update and PowerPoint presentation on the Jones Log Barn project. She provided a short history and background on the barn.  The Trust is now in Phase II (final phase) of the project with an intended completion date of 2011.  On behalf of the Trust, thank you Jean for providing a wonderful overview of the project.  

I updated the supervisors on our Trust fall events, including the 6th Annual Historic House Tour on Saturday, September 25. our annual In the Mood fundraiser on Friday, October 22 and our Fall Lecture Series.  (Tickets for the house tour are now available on our website, www.tredyffrinhistory.org)  The Trust is underway with the Capital Campaign to raise the remaining $200K for Phase II.  Please contact me directly at tredyffrincommunitymatters@gmail.com if you would like to help with the Capital Campaign, the house tour, In the Mood fundraiser, the Jones Log Barn reconstruction project, etc. – we will be put your time and talents to good use!

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  1. Great post on last night’s meeting. I left when it seemed obvious the student zoning ordinance was not going to go to a vote. I got home just in time to see the taping end abruptly, and had no idea that all the good stuff happened after 11:15.

    Our supervisors and township staff, visibly tired as they were and with every reason to continue the hearing until a later date, did the right thing in passing the zoning ordinance last night. It will prevent any more student housing in Mount Pleasant though unfortunately, not affect any of the 19 student houses that are already there. According to the township solicitor, it is the only legal recourse the township has at this point because grandfathered properties are protected by state law. Fortunate for the landlords, but it leaves limited options for the residents

    I do wonder what, if anything, the township was doing while owner/landlord after owner/landlord came before the Zoning Hearing Board to convert single family housing into rental properties in Mount Pleasant. How is it that this growing concentration of student houses in a community of 65-70 homes did not raise concerns back when something could have been put in place?

    Though this ordinance comes too late to help Mount Pleasant return to the all-family neighborhood they once were, hopefully, both ordinances and the tools they provide will put student renters and their landlords on notice and cut way down on the noise, under-age drinking, trashing of people’s yards and speeding on narrow streets where neighbors walk and kids play.

    Other welcome news is Phil Donahue’s proposal for an open budget process with community input welcome at meetings to be scheduled in Spetember. Let’s hope it turns out to be the transparent process we hope for.

    [Reply]

    Toshiro Takashi Reply:

    “Let’s hope it turns out to be the transparent process we hope for.”

    Rest assured Kate, there will be plenty to complain about I’m sure.

    [Reply]

  2. Kate,

    I would love to think that an ordinance like this can do all the things you want it to, but I wouldn’t pin your hopes to a zoning action stopping kids from speeding and being dumb and noisy.

    What it will do is make it less likely that more kids like that will be in Mt. Pleasant in the future.

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  3. Where are these students supposed to go? There are 7 area colleges. These colleges have students.

    Why on earth would they stop broadcasting the meeting? This is a service the township collects taxes to provide. It was their duty to continue to broadcast the meeting until it was over. Tired? Too bad.

    [Reply]

    Carla from SAC Reply:

    Dear CJ – The students are primarily the responsibility of the colleges they attend, it should not be left to the community at large. These schools always want to take in more students because it means more money, but there comes a point where they have to take a look at accomodating more of their own population. Another issue is do these schools make these students register with them where they are living off campus, etc? I don’t know if any of the schools have that as a requirement. One would think they cared about the health, safety and welfare of their off campus student population, not just their tuitiuon checks.

    To all:
    One of our Radnor bloggers John Haines captured much of your meeting until “OOPS” they ran out of tape (it went with the lack of AC I understand) – to follow are the links – feel free to discuss how you feel about this on the SAC site too.

    Pattye thanks for all this coverage, you are terrific!

    Here are the links:
    http://www.saveardmorecoalition.org/node/4879/08-16-10-tredyffrin-township-bos-part-1-3

    http://www.saveardmorecoalition.org/node/4878/08-16-10-tredyffrin-township-bos-part-2-3

    http://www.saveardmorecoalition.org/node/4877/08-16-10-tredyffrin-township-bos-part-3-3

    [Reply]

    CJ of the Main Line Reply:

    What in the world are you talking about? The students are a responsibility of themselves. The college may have some level of internal judicial power where they can levy consequence for actions. But every resident no matter age of the resident, no matter what purpose they have in the dwelling (own or rent, work or student).

    Why should students be held to any different standard of living and respect for it’s neighbors then any other resident. Why should any dwelling be held to different standards then other just because of who lives in it?

    I find this whole controversy to be ridiculous. The amount of time spent on it so far is absurd. If the Mt. Pleasant community was capable of dealing with its issues as a community and it’s residents, this would not have been necessary.

    And now we have new posts virtually egging the township on to find legal loopholes to get around the law!!!!!!! Stay in Ardmore! We have been preaching transparent government… that won’t win any awards.

    [Reply]

    Carla from SAC Reply:

    CJ of the Main Line,
    I think you are being quite insensitive with regard to Mt. Pleasant and the residents. It is not a simple argument of which community is more capable and why.

    Have you BEEN to Mt. Pleasant? Have you ever taken the time to speak to the residents? I have. What I found was a nice community trying to just hang on without much support from anyone. Mt. Pleasant has been ignored for years. It is a community that among other things has a very important history. The link below to another blog will give you some of the history
    http://www.mountpleasant.mysite.com/cgi-bin/blog

    Small neighborhoods and communities like Mt. Pleasant deserve respect and so do their residents. And if they need help now and again, so what? That is what community is all about. And a sense of community to me can transcend municipal boundaries – they theory of paying it forward as it were.

    With regard to students, they are for the most part transient. They stay as long as they are in school and move on. Some students are really nice and an asset to their temporary communities and some are not. It is reasonable to assume that the way SOME of the off campus students behave when they are around here is not the way they would behave at home or in their parents’ homes.

    Student rentals also need a closer look because often these landlords take advantage of the students and no matter WHAT you think of the kids, they should also have a safe place to live. I used to live near what was a notorious student rental in it’s day and it was an illegal duplex – they slumlord knew the home was overcrowded and it’s systems weren’t up to snuff and one day the house burnt to the ground. But for the grace of God those kids could have been killed. And the fire was vicious enough it and the flames large enough that the fire also threatened neighboring homes.

    And as for your being uncomfortable about people discussing ordinances and zoning, how do you think change comes about? Someone waves a magic wand, or people discuss it and work towards better solutions or at least point out issues so those who can enact positive change do?

    So you tell me to “stay in Ardmore”? News flash, the Main Line is rather progressive now and many of us have friends in many different municipalities.

    I don’t know what your beef is “CJ of the Main Line”, but I do not think it is very nice for you to attempt to start a flame war of words on Pattye’s blog.

    In closing, I think there is more than enough room in this world for lots of different opinions.

    And John, as always, thank you for the nice words. I happen to agree with you.

    Pattye thanks for all your hard work up here!

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Thanks Carla. One of the reasons that I was so compelled to get involved with Mt. Pleasant – was after spending time in their community. For me is started when I saw the abandoned houses left by a developer — these houses were in such poor condition and I feared they would become a death trap for the children in the neighborhood should they catch on fire. After posting interior and exterior photos, in a matter of a couple of days, the developer stepped in and the 3 houses were taken down. But was truly interesting was the reaction of some of the larger Tredyffrin community. I can’t tell you how many people (either directly or as comments on the blog) were shocked by the photos — couldn’t believe that this decay was in Tredyffrin.

    Mt. Pleasant’s history in Tredyffrin pre-dates many of the other communities. As president of the Historic Preservation Trust, I have been fascinated by their history for a long time. I fear that for too long Mt. Pleasant has been viewed as not part of our township. I’m hoping that this new focus on Mt. Pleasant will bring awareness and change for their community.

    Carla, you are right about change. It does come slowly . . . but I think that with the recent light shown on Mt. Pleasant there is a new awareness and support for this struggling neighborhood. I think that the student housing issue does have a silver lining for Mt. Pleasant. Many in Tredyffrin Twp are now aware of this community and are showing a willingness to help these residents. Athough many may say that the zoning ordinance is not the answer and that there are other problems in Mt. Pleasant . . . I say it’s a start. We have to start somewhere and I think we have.

    flyersfan Reply:

    seems to me there are laws on the books about occupancy and noise and trash and why aren’t these enforced?
    This was brought up at the meeting.

    Trying to micromanage behavior by legislative decree will only bring lawsuits and other unintended consequences.

    Fines and liens on properties may get landlords to pay attention. Where are the grownups???

    flyersfan Reply:

    carla, I am concerned that you agree w Mr Petersen.

    No one is watching these rentals, except the poor neighbors who take the brunt of micreant behavior. I as a landlord would not tolerate ILLEGAL conditions, nor would I tolerate just rude behavior from my tenants, no matter who they are. students or others.

    landlords, parents? the kids themselves? YES, responsibility lies there… And yes, registration is good, so that the schools can offer moral presence too…. behavior with legistation. ENFORCE the existin codes. Wouldn’t this be a huge help, including to the Mt Pleasant neighborhood?

    Township Reader Reply:

    John — I have to disagree. While reporting major violations to the school authorities may be helpful, it has been my experience that one of the reasons that colleges struggle is that they no longer operate in loco parentis — and have lost that leverage. FERPA transferred most control over kids to the kid once they reached 18. The only control over kids is parental to the extent that they pay the bills…. (Indirectly, the issue at Virginia Tech is attributable to the college being unable to resolve a serious student problem because they could not mandate behavior management nor tell the student’s parents.)

    The complicated part: Parents in most cases know their kids live off campus . I question in cases where the students have an option to stay on campus if the push to “move off” is for economic reasons or in response to a request from their kids to give them more freedom. After all — campus housing is completely under the supervision of the college — off-campus is a much different situation (remember the Duke Lacrosse scandal? I think that was off-campus housing during a school vacation period)

    I agree with Carla’s conclusion — I believe most of the fault is with the colleges for not building dorms and requiring residence on campus…many schools still do so. If they don’t have dorms, where do they expect their students to live? Villanova added some new dorms in the last decade to try to mitigate the community issues — prior to that, plenty of kids were living (from my observation as a counselor) in relative squalor. What “good neighborhood” opened its doors to student rentals?

    We can blame the landlords, but it’s an economic issue — buy cheap property and make rentals attractive…and you are going to get people who don’t respect the property. Expensive rentals don’t attract students — and ordinances directly applied to students (rather than anyone who treats a property disrespectfully) has little chance of surviving a challenge.

    Colleges can expell kids for conduct reasons — but in today’s litigious society, the reasons had better be defensible, as you are altering their record permanently — and that record, even under FERPA, gets sent to any subsequent educational institution (though the college is only supposed to maintain academic records). Again — I think that the lacrosse scandal at Duke resulted in lots of litigation about the way the players were treated by the college…and those players were arrested and booked by local authorities.

    It’s that “fabric of society” thing that creates the problem…Tredyffrin had to put “no parking” signs all over near the high school because only seniors were allowed to drive to Conestoga….but clearly parents watched their kids drive out of the driveway knowing they were not technically authorized to drive (and park) at school… Just say no — to the request to drive, to the request to move off campus, to the request for a rent check instead of paying for on-campus housing…

    [Reply]

    CJ of the Main Line Reply:

    I am not insensitive.

    I understand plenty about Mt. Pleasant. Did you know that for years and years it was treated poorly by it’s OWN residents? Don’t point fingers at the whole community. The deterioration of the private properties there were no ones fault but the property owners.

    Police weren’t welcome there for a long time. Residents fought police, criticized police for profiling and harassment. The police were attempting to enforce the law, not limited to but including violence, drugs and weapons. And I challenge any one of the residence from there to tell me that it wasn’t going on…I’m not pointing any fingers at any one resident…just challenging that it was happening in the neighborhood.

    It wasn’t until more recent years when investors began purchasing and most importantly FIXING the houses there. Due to it’s proximity to the many colleges, it would be a realistic location to live as a college student. How many of the residents have been there longer then the colleges?

    I completely understand the registration process to eliminate the administrative head ache to find out who the land lord is and not have to run into problems finding that person and also knowing how many students are there. HOWEVER… THERE ARE ALREADY STATE WIDE LAWS. These laws are in place and if followed correctly, enforced and monitored, then this whole thing would not have been a problem. If the neighbors, who love their neighborhood so much would have been proactive, allowed the police to do their job and talked to each other as neighbors, then this would have been an easy issue.

    PS: Carla, I still take issue to your suggestion that the township should find loopholes in the law. Take that attitude elsewhere!

    PPS: I also understand that the colleges want more students then they can hold to make money.. It is a business and I understand this. But like any business, they have employees. Just think about how many employees the many colleges locally employ. Thousands.

    [Reply]

  4. Great coverage of the meeting, Pattye!

    I also understand that the full meeting will be re-broadcast – it wasn’t that the tape ran out but that the station had other programming scheduled for that late timeperiod.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Thanks for the programming update. I knew that the volunteer had continued to record so it’s good to know that there wasn’t some recording glitch. A word of warning by the time we got to 11:45 the supervisors, staff and audience of 2 were a bit punchy :)

    [Reply]

  5. Watching the BOS, Ms. Richter’s remarks did make me chuckle. Ms. Richter’s contributions to the BOS does make one wonder . . . HOW? (and better yet WHY?)

    [Reply]

    flyersfan Reply:

    which is worse, EJ who is at best inexperienced or Mr Defeliciantonio(sp) who is angry ( i know he is gone from the board.. When you have the people vote, there will always be mistakes. Look around on all levels of government.. Thats why we get to vote again! I don’t know EJ but I think she can do better…

    [Reply]

  6. I never thought I would come to the aid of Defeliciantonio but didnt he finish out his term and chose not to run again?
    Whats wrong with that? Don’t get me wrong, perish the thought, I was happy to see him gone, but I didn’t think he quit.

    [Reply]

  7. is that they no longer operate in loco parentis
    **
    **

    No…they don’t. And they haven’t done so for about 25-30 years… Where have you been?
    **

    SENDING KIDS TO COLLEGE…and WORKING WITH COLLEGE KIDS…and seeing how hard it is for a parent to gain access to “private information”….

    **
    As somebody who served on his undergraduate fraternity’s national exec board, I can absolutely tell you that a school’s code of conduct travels with the student. Nothing to do with loco parentis. Rather, it’s about a contractual relationship and the conditions incidence to accepting a schools offer of admission.<<
    ***

    Ironically, I have been serving on my national fraternity board as well — and as a local House Corp adviser to chapters at Penn State, Bucknell and Villanova. And since you disregarded my comments except the one that you could use to again "pump up your credentials" and use your legal background…..I'll say no more. Perhaps you will someday be interested not only in tearing down what others say, but in actually bringing your own knowledge to the level where you contribute and not just bash. "Code of conduct" did not save Virginia Tech or Duke.

    I will again reference the off-campus situation of the Duke Lacrosse team — a small but well publicized debacle where local law enforcement precipitated a national nightmare — and where the Duke University legal fund was tapped for millions of dollars in law suits for enforcing a code of conduct without — it turns out — true proof, just indictments…

    I'm not a lawyer John — but the code of conduct does not travel seamlessly to off campus living….drinking, drugs….lack of supervision often drives the move off campus….but where have I been? I have 2 kids — and both went to 4-year universities, coincidentally schools that required living on campus at least through the junior year. After witnessing the state of the off-campus students at Villanova and Penn State, I set requirements that my kids live on campus. I wouldn't let them rent a house in my neighborhood and invite their friends in — so I certainly wasn't going to let them do is 1200 miles away.

    [Reply]

    Township Reader Reply:

    If you get on your meds, I’ll get off the board.

    [Reply]

    Township Reader Reply:

    **
    Just trying to simply connect, twist, and create… Just trying to be a creative thinker…for today and tomorrow. Probably what we need in our community is some positive team building. Perhaps you have a solution for that TR???? **

    Didn’t realize that was your objective….perhaps you are too acerbic for me to continue to engage.

    To quote Aldoux Huxley ‘s character (reflecting distrust of political activism unchecked) :
    “Everyone who wants to do good to the human race always ends in universal bullying. ”

    But to you —
    “The satirist who writes nothing but satire should write but little—or it will seem that his satire springs rather from his own caustic nature… – MORE The satirist who writes nothing but satire should write but little—or it will seem that his satire springs rather from his own caustic nature than from the sins of the world in which he lives.” A Trollope

    For me, I plan to expand beyond the Hamlet alternatives you pose….just not here.

    [Reply]

  8. I’m thankful the BOS and the Township Staff are taking the time to listen to our concerns and work with us to come up with a solution that will enable us to maintain some level control over our quality of life. Yes, the ordinances already in effect have to be enforced.!!!

    I am relieved to know that any additional owners wishing to rent to students will have to go before the Zoning Board and apply for a special exception. Maybe this will put a stop to any more student homes in Mt. Pleasant. Every time a house has gone up for sale over the past 5 years, so has my anxiety level!!! You can’t imagine what it’s like to live across the street from six houses full of college kids…!!!!!!!!!!

    I do hope this year’s group of kids won’t present any major problems. My son is starting Kindergarten and I would hate to have to send him to school with only a couple hours of sleep.

    CJ — I’m not sure what your getting at but…

    Gentrification sort of sneaks up on you…things have remained fairly unchanged in Mt. Pleasant for 130 years…the same families have lived here forever…investors start buying up the land before a regular ole person like me realizes what’s going on…

    Also, have you ever tried to organize a community? It’s quite difficult to bring folks together and actually get something accomplished. I think we’ve done wonderful job considering it’s only 8 months or so since our crusade began.

    [Reply]

  9. CJ of the Main Line Wrote: PS: Carla, I still take issue to your suggestion that the township should find loopholes in the law. Take that attitude elsewhere!

    Ummm CJ, I am confused & FYI the one with attitude at present continues to be you. And I don’t know why.

    Like Christine I am a bit at a loss where what you are saying is concerned. Sorry.

    [Reply]

    CJ of the Main Line Reply:

    Carla.
    This is exactly what I am talking about:

    ” One thing in about what you are to read that annoys me is Tredyffrin pulling the classic Lower Merion “we can’t do anything, it’s PA law”.

    I for one am tired of that. Sometimes local governments CAN’T do anything more, sometimes they CAN get creative and find a legal loophole. And all these municipalities are capable of going to Harrisburg when it’s something they want, and they never want to do anything if it’s something they don’t give a crap about. ”

    You are pushing an agenda that says we should find loopholes in the law to get what we want. Regardless of the topic, I say 2 thumbs down Carla, 2 thumbs down. There is nothing wrong with rallying for changes in the law by our legislators and courts. But lobbying and side-stepping are 2 different things.

    [Reply]

    Carla from SAC Reply:

    LOL John and I don’t agree. But I am ok if you don’t agree with me and agree with CJ, and therein lies the difference :<}

    [Reply]

    Carla from SAC Reply:

    John-
    I think you misread what i wrote or I put words in wrong order – I was saying you and I could disagree and basically we were both OK with it because heck we’re not all supposed to be little cookie cutouts of one and other. And also when you have not agreed with me you have been quite pleasant about it and congenial. I appreciate that. Thanks

    [Reply]

  10. flyersfan,
    John Peterson does make some good points within his comments, that’s all. And he’s right about ordinances not being enforced and you are like 1000% right about neighbors bearing the brunt of these rentals…and the problems…and you sound like a landlord, and yes there are landlords like you who DO care about the community in which you have investment properties, but I am sure you can agree, not all are like that.

    Look, you all obviously know one and other who blog up here, and I don’t know all the politics, but I appreciate the dialogue from all…except CJ of the Main Line who seems to have an axe to grind.

    Yes CJ of the Main Line I AM tired of local governments saying they can’t do more, and yes I do think at times they could find legal loopholes in existing municipal codes, zoning codes etc. Because CJ (try to follow me here), when they say they can’t do anything more, and are hampered by their own codes which they also say they can’t change, sometimes IT IS HELPFUL to look for an acceptable interpretation of said code that could benefit the residents and find what? A SOLUTION to things bugging residents – it is, after all, what they are elected to do: serve the public, not themselves, not special interests.

    I mean, how limited are you CJ of the Main Line that you don’t get that people (including developers no one likes) that come before your Board of Supervisors, Zoning, and Planning Boards and who LOOK to interpret the existing rules and regs to find their own loopholes? And residents HATE that. So what in the heck is wrong with residents occasionally asking government to use that in the residents’ favor? Easy – nothing.

    And yes I do believe that residents should explore all their options to get what they need LEGALLY when those who govern them are limited and won’t think outside the box, or say lobby state officials to change state laws so they can in effect change codes on a more local level to give better protection to their residents.

    CJ of the Main Line, if all laws were static, the United States would never have come to be. Laws evolve, change, get kicked to the curb and replaced by new, and often how that begins is examining loopholes. That is neither side-stepping nor lobbying.

    So give me thumbs down all you want CJ of the Main Line, but I pity people like you because you are limited by your own sense of rigidity.

    You want to build better mousetraps? You have to figure out all the things you can do with the current ones pro and con.

    But if you want to talk about things that need to change on a state level, start with the municipalities planning code. It has not been updated in a long, long time and I can’t help but wonder if that were updated and not outdated it might serve us all better on local levels given how they view things like suburbs and exurbs.

    Whatever, I am just one person, and it’s just my opinion and I am not apologizing for it.

    [Reply]

    flyersfan Reply:

    carla, I think CJ of the Main Line makes some good points so I wouldn’t discount them off hand. I was not aware of the history of Mt Pleasant and all the troubles that were a part of the history. it was enlightening for sure. So there are two sides to the story and while there is community “activism” now, perhaps its history was more along the lines of Osage Ave, minus the fire.

    Yes, I am a landlord. My primary concern is to collect rent, my tied for first is that my tenants better respect their neighbors as they want to be respected.

    I am confused as to why current laws about how many in a house, for example aren’t enforced. Andf then there is the party weekend when 50m+ kids show up… CALL THE POLICE One police car strategically parked may be enough to control the mayhem

    [Reply]

    flyersfan Reply:

    you mention rigidity vis a vis cj of ml. i think you may be confusing rigidity and standards?

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  11. As a municipality, we can change township ordinances. Beyond that we must follow the law (regardless of how we want to interpret it) because it is the law. If we want to challenge lawmakers to change laws to make things better for us, then that’s what we do, because that’s what they do.

    Perhaps you are not familiar with some of the actions that have happened in Tredyffrin recently, but some of our politicians feel they are above the law. Even one of the supervisors (who is a lawyer) told other supervisors that what they are doing is illegal – on public record no less – the others voted to do it anyway.

    So I am far from thumbs down because I am single minded or limited. I say this from experience of watching SOME of our current supervisors try to side-step/break/find loop-holes of the law to make it how they want it, not how it is legally correct.

    My ‘issues’ with this issue is simply that instead of putting pressure on homeowners to abide within the levels of the law, and to enforce appropriate behavior of the renters, we watched our municipality spend hours and hours dealing with a problem that only became bad because enforcement never happened to begin with. Why? Maybe because police weren’t seen very positively in the neighborhood when they tried to enforce other laws.

    I’m not asking you to apologize for your opinion, but I ask that you don’t propagate breaking the law. Because in MY opinion, SOME of our politicians are unable to distinguish the difference from loop-holes and moral and legal impropriety.

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  12. Carla, CJ and others
    I’m not overly familiar with the issues in Ardmore, so I apologize for talking locally without knowing how much overlap there is. In Treddyfrin, the elephant in the room is that for 100 years, Mount. Pleasant was an historically black neighborhood with a long history of community autonomy. I have heard long-time residents there refer to it as a “pocket community” — meaning people live there for generations but successful kids move away. So property values declined for a lot of reasons — and there wasn’t much demand there until some of the investors came in and started to invest in properties and improve them. Of course, that is an economic issue I think — cheap property yet close to some smaller colleges (and actually pretty close to Villanova)….as the community improved, the demand to live there improved, so the expectations of the residents (and subsequent community activism I think) increased. I don’t know that I agree with CJ that the residents didn’t welcome the police — I don’t think the residents needed the police….they retained autonomy in their neighborhood….
    I travel for work so I admit I haven’t been to the township meetings on the subject, but I wonder how many of the concerned residents are long time residents vs. more of the gentrification crowd? We need rules, but as the economics of the community and housing values there improve, it won’t be so attractive as rental property. Can anyone address this?

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  13. Yes… I remember that now.. he wasn’t in his seat for the end. He is an angry guy and kinda of arrogant, not good for political compromise, Of course he was really outnumbered on the board but you are right, disengaged and then quit. Not a message to give to your kids. Thanks for jogging my memory

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