Public Hearing: Farmer's Market Ordinance

Welcome Lower Merion residents!

We're glad you stopped by. Go ahead and register for a free account to get the benefits of being a member, including:
  • Access to all of our posts and comments
  • Your own profile including an avatar, buddy lists, and other social networking features
  • The ability to send private messages to other users on this site
  • The ability to chat and interact with other citizens and voters in and around Lower Merion.
Creating an account is easy. Register now!

(Don't live in Lower Merion? That's okay. We won't hold it aginst you.)
Tags:
cscott's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 46 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-08-13 :21
Posts:
2010-04-07 6:15 pm
US/Eastern

On Wednesday, April 7th at 6:15 pm in the 2nd floor board room of the Lower Merion Township Administration Building (75 East Lancaster Road, Ardmore, PA), the Board of Commissioners will hold a Public Hearing on the Proposed Farmer's Market Ordinance, which would overturn the prohibition on non-resident commercial activity residential areas (§155-11 J-1), and endanger every neighborhood in Lower Merion Township in the process.

There are two other Farmer's Markets in Lower Merion, and neither one of them required any change in the zoning code to bring farm-fresh produce to Lower Merion residents. A farmer's market can be operated on any commercially-zoned property in the township (like the Ardmore Farmer's Market) or any municipally-owned lot (like the Bryn Mawr Farmer's Market). The BOC can even allow the Friends of the Bala Cynwyd Farmers Market to use roadways and sidewalks or create a special district in Bala Cynwyd where a farmer's market could operate freely (the Clover Market will operate in the Ardmore Special Development District beginning April 11th). All of these options have the virtue of restricting the impact of the market to the community that will derive the benefit from its operation, and sparing the rest of the township from any unintended consequences of a wholesale change to the residential zoning code.

These Bala Cynwyd-specific options to secure a site for the farmer's market should be pursued exhaustively before any changes to the residential zoning code are even considered. By taking a deliberate approach to identifying a site for a famer's market in Bala Cynwyd (commercial properties, municipal properties, road closures, special districts), chances are that further consideration of changes to the residential zoning code won't even be necessary.

The Friends of the Bala Cynwyd Farmer's Market are certain to pack the room with their supporters on April 7th and clamor for the BOC to approve this ordinance, but the Commissioners need to hear from residents from throughout the township insisting that changes to the residential zoning code should only be considered as a last resort rather than as the opening gambit.

If your Commissioner voted in favor of advertising this ordinance (Mr. Taylor, Mr. Lindner, Ms. Gelber, Ms. Rogan, Ms. Dellheim, Mr. Manos, Mr. Gordon, Mr. Reed and Mr. Churchill), then contact them and ask them why they feel that changing the residential zoning code is the only way to bring a farmer's market to Bala Cynwyd. If you don't like their answer (or don't get one), then attend the Public Hearing on April 7th and make your case to the BOC that the local problem of finding a site for a farmer's market in Bala Cynwyd should be solved locally rather than endangering every household in Lower Merion Township.

Fresh produce in Bala Cynwyd will be small consolation if it costs us the residential character of our neighborhoods.

5
Average: 5 (7 votes)
Your rating: None

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
diamonddave's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 21 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-08-25 :35
Posts:

Thanks for posting this.

Are Bala Cynwyd residents who are supporting this ordinance change unhappy with the other 2 farmers markets you mentioned? Variety of produce? Hours of operation? Location?
Many of my neighbors in our tiny borough ask our govt. leaders for a Farmers Market repeatedly, the best response given- "Why have it here, when two others exist?
Go over there(Ardmore) and meet your neighbors." How right! Mix it up a bit-go to Ardmore, then to Bryn Mawr, then to Havertown.

No ordinance changes, no new farmers markets. We have SO many great ones already.

5
Average: 5 (3 votes)
Your rating: None
cscott's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 46 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-08-13 :21
Posts:

The Friends of the Bala Cynwyd Farmer's Market give their reasons for wanting a farmer's market in Bala Cynwyd in the FAQ on their website.

Specifically, in answer to the question "Why do we need a farmer's market?" they answer:

A farmers market in Bala Cynwyd will provide residents the chance to purchase nutritious, fresh food from local farms, support regional agriculture, and keep money in the local economy.

Buying from a local farmers market protects our natural resources by reducing the amount of fossil fuels used for packaging, transportation and marketing.

Buying from a local farmers market builds community by giving neighbors a chance to mingle.

And you know what? I don't have a problem with any of those reasons, and I'm all for them having a go at a farmer's market.

My problem is that the Friends of the BC Farmer's market claim on their website

"Bala Cynwyd does not have viable commercial lots to host a farmer's market" (News & Events)

but they never substantiate this claim. In fact, they've never published (let alone justified) their site selection criteria.

What we do know is that they rationalize holding the market in densely populated residential areas (R4 - R7) by saying that this will allow neighbors to walk to and from the market, but the ordinance calls for:

A minimum of 50 off-street parking spaces for customers ... in addition to the parking spaces required for vendors and their employees." (p. 2, item (3))

Why do the Friends of the Bala Cynwyd Farmer's Market feel that they need 50 parking spaces if the purpose of having the market in a densely populated residential area is so that neighbors/patrons can walk to and from the market? That's an awful lot of cars for a bunch of pedestrians. How many commercial lots would become "viable" if the number of required parking spaces were 25 or less?

If they really do need 50 spaces to accommodate the patrons who will come and go from this market over the four hours it is open for business each week, then we're talking about hundreds of cars streaming into a densely populated neighborhood. And the current plan is for the market to run from 3 - 7 pm on Thursdays from May through October. In other words, hundreds of cars streaming through a densely populated neighborhood at precisely the time when kids with small yards are out playing, probably in and out of the street.

Bad idea.

Farmer's markets are commercial businesses. They belong in commercial areas. Or on municipal lots. Or in special districts where they can help revitalize local businesses. Nothing good can come from changing our residential zoning code and inviting these headaches (or worse) into our neighborhoods.

5
Average: 5 (8 votes)
Your rating: None

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." -Alan Kay

LMT Observer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 20 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 2009-04-25 :31
Posts:

diamonddave asked:

Are Bala Cynwyd residents who are supporting this ordinance change unhappy with the other 2 farmers markets you mentioned? Variety of produce? Hours of operation? Location?

Public comments made by Bala Cynwyd residents who support the market in Bala indicate that a major reason that the existing markets cannot meet their aims is that they want to be able to walk to the market. The comments were made during the Building & Planning Committee meeting when the Board voted down a version of the proposal, supported by George Manos, that raised the issue of spot zoning.

Incidentally, during that meeting a location in a commercial area that seemed suitable was mentioned, near City Avenue in Bala. The location met the walking distance criterion.

5
Average: 5 (3 votes)
Your rating: None
LexoTime5's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-04-01 :31
Posts:

they want to be able to walk to the market.

Then why the 50 parking spaces?

5
Average: 5 (2 votes)
Your rating: None
LMT Observer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 20 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 2009-04-25 :31
Posts:

Sounds like a "bingo" question, LexoTime5.

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Your rating: None
politeia's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 weeks 6 days ago
Joined: 2008-07-30 :00
Posts:

Public comments made by Bala Cynwyd residents who support the market in Bala indicate that a major reason that the existing markets cannot meet their aims is that they want to be able to walk to the market.

I like farmers' markets and I like what we have. What we have is in commercial areas and has not infringed upon residential. I also think they have enhanced the overall business community as opposed to having harmed it, and that was important to me when these first came about.

However, this is a little much. The Bala residents desire a market that they can walk to?

If every little neighborhood in L.M. wanted a farmers market it could walk to, we would have hundreds of farmers' markets. It makes no sense and strikes me as selfish on behalf of the Bala residents who support this market.

For the walking reason alone I am against zoning changes that could allow for all sorts of markets to sprout up in residential areas just so people can walk to them. Even outside the walking issue, I oppose any zoning changes. Farmers' markets should be in commercial areas, and we have many very user friendly, walkable commercial areas. Drive to them in your car, ride a bike, or take a nice long healthy walk. If the farmers market is in a commercial area in Bala, it can certainly be walked to by any Bala residents who are willing to get some exercise.

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves

~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

5
Average: 5 (3 votes)
Your rating: None

 

 

cscott's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 46 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-08-13 :21
Posts:

That would be the former "Van Sciver" building on City Ave, I think. Does anyone know exactly where that property is?

0
No votes yet
Your rating: None

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." -Alan Kay

outtathere's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-12-31 :04
Posts:

As I recall, the Van Sciver building is on the corner of Bryn Mawr Ave. and City Ave. (further down the same street as St.Matthias.) Interestingly, when you cross City Line, there is a farmer's market on the left side about a mile or so in Wynnefield.
Whenever I've gone past there it is very busy.

5
Average: 5 (2 votes)
Your rating: None

"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.":Gil Scott-Heron 1970 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGaRtqrlGy8

diamonddave's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 21 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-08-25 :35
Posts:

That is the question exactly Lexo.

If one Googles-"produce markets near Bryn Mawr Ave in Bala Cynwyd" five or so business appear within 1.5 miles including Produce Junction and Acme; All easily walked to with sidewalks,& crosswalks.Certainly the distance to shopping cannot be an issue?

Is this about something else?
Mr. Scott makes a very strong point that spot zoning, risks the residential character of our neighborhoods. Agreed.

5
Average: 5 (4 votes)
Your rating: None
LMT Observer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 20 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 2009-04-25 :31
Posts:

diamonddave asked: "Is this about something else?"

Having observed this issue play out, this observer's impression is that a fervor seems to exist among some Bala residents to establish a Farmers' Market in Bala.

Related:

    Commissioner George Manos seems to be strongly (read: at any cost) supporting efforts to make it happen. First he supported the proposal that was voted down by the majority of Commmissioners due to spot zoning concerns, and now this.

    Does anyone know if it is a fact that George Manos is strongly supporting the ordinance to be discussed on April 7th?

    If so, does anyone know why he says he is willing to support an ordinance of this type, despite the risks to neighborhoods across Lower Merion?

Note:

    Commissioner Manos's failure to support the concerns of the directly affected residents who spoke to the Board when the St. Matthias location was the identified perfect spot by the Bala farmers' market supporters remains duly noted.

    Perhaps the fact is relevant to understanding Commissioner Manos's motivations and thinking about this issue.

Wondering:

    Might Commissioner Manos think that working to make this ordinance happen will win him re-election votes from many of his constituents?

    Might some other Commissioners be strongly in favor of this ordinance for some reasons, e.g., foreseeing other potential effects in Lower Merion that will serve their goals, and, therefore, Commissioner Manos also stands to gain their "appreciation"?

5
Average: 5 (3 votes)
Your rating: None
cscott's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 46 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-08-13 :21
Posts:

Commissioner Manos is sponsoring of the Farmer's Market Ordinance.

He dismissed concerns about the effect of the ordinance on Lower Merion's neighborhoods in a letter to the MLT that he wrote at the beginning of March:

(N)o one who has expressed the fear that commercialization of residential neighborhoods would come about as a result of permitting the market has advanced a single realistic scenario whereby that will happen. Yes, improbable scenarios can be imagined for almost any zoning situation, and while they should be seriously evaluated, they are not on what decisions are or should solely be based. Equally if not more important is the fact that many residents in the Bala Cynwyd area, over 400 of whom have written or pledged support for the market in their own residential district, see a distinct community benefit to it. They comprise a large and diverse group and include devoted parents, businesspeople, doctors and lawyers, people from all walks of life. They are aware of the “commercial risk” fear and believe it to be unwarranted.

So what if they're wrong? In a world where the Supreme Court uses the 14th amendment of the Constitution, which was ratified to give equal protection under the law to emancipated slaves, as the basis for allowing corporations to spend indiscriminately electing political candidates (Citizens United v. FEC), the idea that we can anticipate the unintended consequences of this unnecessary change to the zoning code is ridiculous.

Personally, I think the Hypocratic Oath applies equally to public policy: Commissioner, first do no harm.

If we don't adopt the Farmer's Market Ordinance, the best case scenario is that the BOC and the Friends of the Bala Cynwyd Farmer's Market (FBCFM) take advantage of the numerous local remedies at their disposal (commercial lots, municipal lots, special districts) and succeed in finding a site for a farmer's market in BC anyway. The worst case is that they fail, which leaves us with is the status quo. Not ideal perhaps, but certainly not bad.

So what about if the ordinance gets passed? Best case scenario - the same: a new farmer's market in BC. Worst case scenario? Residential neighborhoods invaded by high traffic commercial businesses. I'm sorry, but that's unacceptable.

Given this cost-benefits analysis, I think it's irresponsible for the BOC to even consider any changes to the residential zoning code before they have exhausted every other option that would quarantine the impact of establishing a farmer's market to the community that will benefit from its operation.

Bear in mind also that St. Matthias has withdrawn its offer to host the BC farmer's market. Back on March 11th, the FBCFM sent out email to their supporters calling for a giant turnout on April 7th because "Passage of this Ordinance preserves our options for finding a site." (emphasis mine). In other words, there is no guarantee that the FBCFM will be able to secure a site in Bala Cynwyd even if this ordinance is adopted. So we might weaken the residential zoning code for nothing.

The FBCFM have yet to demonstrate that they need this ordinance in order to establish a farmer's market in Bala Cynwyd, and they cannot state with any certainty that they will be able to find a site even if this ordinance is adopted.

Why are we even considering this?

4.42857
Average: 4.4 (7 votes)
Your rating: None

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." -Alan Kay

LMT Observer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 20 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 2009-04-25 :31
Posts:

Applause Charles! Very compellingly argued.

Observer feels compelled to repeat your argument here.

George Manos, MLT, March, 2009, justification for Township-wide ordinance change allowing commercial uses in residential areas:

    (N)o one who has expressed the fear that commercialization of residential neighborhoods would come about as a result of permitting the market has advanced a single realistic scenario whereby that will happen. Yes, improbable scenarios can be imagined for almost any zoning situation, and while they should be seriously evaluated, they are not on what decisions are or should solely be based. Equally if not more important is the fact that many residents in the Bala Cynwyd area, over 400 of whom have written or pledged support for the market in their own residential district, see a distinct community benefit to it.

Charles Scott:

    So what if they're wrong? In a world where the Supreme Court uses the 14th amendment of the Constitution, which was ratified to give equal protection under the law to emancipated slaves, as the basis for allowing corporations to spend indiscriminately electing political candidates (Citizens United v. FEC), the idea that we can anticipate the unintended consequences of this unnecessary change to the zoning code is ridiculous.

    Personally, I think the Hypocratic Oath applies equally to public policy: Commissioner, first do no harm.

    If we don't adopt the Farmer's Market Ordinance, the best case scenario is that the BOC and the Friends of the Bala Cynwyd Farmer's Market (FBCFM) take advantage of the numerous local remedies at their disposal (commercial lots, municipal lots, special districts) and succeed in finding a site for a farmer's market in BC anyway. The worst case is that they fail, which leaves us with is the status quo. Not ideal perhaps, but certainly not bad.

    So what about if the ordinance gets passed? Best case scenario - the same: a new farmer's market in BC. Worst case scenario? Residential neighborhoods invaded by high traffic commercial businesses. I'm sorry, but that's unacceptable.

5
Average: 5 (3 votes)
Your rating: None
bc59's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 11 weeks ago
Joined: 2010-03-18 :57
Posts:

tx for this post. I have sent a question about this to my commissioner and am interested to see what response, if any, I get

5
Average: 5 (3 votes)
Your rating: None
cscott's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 46 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-08-13 :21
Posts:

Depends who your commissioner is. If it's George Manos, you'll get an earful. As LMT observer pointed out above (#8), Mr. Manos is very invested in this issue, and every time I have written to the BOC or the MLT (or even the FBCFM) about it, he has responded to me via email.

4
Average: 4 (1 vote)
Your rating: None

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." -Alan Kay

LMT Observer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 20 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 2009-04-25 :31
Posts:

Charles Scott suggested that constituents contact each Commissioner who voted to advertise the proposed ordinance now, in advance, and ask questions about their views on this matter and intentions, e.g., what justifications, if any, do they view as compelling reasons to adopt it?; are they now leaning toward adopting or rejecting?

Sounds like a good suggestion.

Lower Merion citizens have observed from "time to time" that even when citizens speak during Board of Commissioners meetings on an issue before a vote, the clear appearance is that several Commissioners vote as if their opinions are unaffected by the public sentiment that they heard. Their votes can seem predetermined. Recent case in point: Vote to reappoint Teri Simon to the Planning Commission.

Charles Scott suggested:

    If your Commissioner voted in favor of advertising this ordinance (Mr. Taylor, Mr. Lindner, Ms. Gelber, Ms. Rogan, Ms. Dellheim, Mr. Manos, Mr. Gordon, Mr. Reed and Mr. Churchill), then contact them and ask them why they feel that changing the residential zoning code is the only way to bring a farmer's market to Bala Cynwyd. If you don't like their answer (or don't get one), then attend the Public Hearing on April 7th and make your case to the BOC that the local problem of finding a site for a farmer's market in Bala Cynwyd should be solved locally rather than endangering every household in Lower Merion Township.

Anyone know what Commissioners Rogan and Dellheim's views are?

How about Commissioners Churchill and Linder?

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Your rating: None
politeia's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 weeks 6 days ago
Joined: 2008-07-30 :00
Posts:

Anyone know what Commissioners Rogan and Dellheim's views are?

How about Commissioners Churchill and Linder?

Should be the same as Reed and Taylor.

However, they can't always appear to be in lock-step with their pre-determined, discussed behind closed-doors votes, so on this issue they may want to look like they are independent of each other.

However, if they vote differently on this issue, don't expect to see it going forward on issues that Reed and Taylor decide are important to them personally. That's all that matters to Reed and Taylor - what they personally want. Forget about the People.

=================

Brotherhood of Thieves

~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

4.25
Average: 4.3 (4 votes)
Your rating: None

 

 

cscott's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 46 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-08-13 :21
Posts:

While the high degree of consensus in both the Democratic and Republican caucuses may make it seem pointless at times to try to influence even the Commissioners who represent our home wards, Commissioner McElhaney's strong, consistent and principled opposition to the Farmer's Market Ordinance is an encouraging sign. I think his rationale for opposing this ordinance is spot on:

"Residents should have a reasonable expectation of what their neighborhoods will be."

I hope that Mr. McElhaney's logic and his example will encourage other members of the Democratic caucus to join him in opposition to the Farmer's Market Ordinance.

The Friends of the Bala Cynwyd Farmer's Market are calling for a "GIANT" turnout from their supporters (400+ according to Mr. Manos) next Wednesday (4/7), so residents who oppose this ordinance should take the opportunity between now and Wednesday to share their concerns with their Commissioners, and make plans to attend and speak at the Public Hearing next Wednesday at 6:15 pm.

In particular, I would strongly urge that Ms. Dellheim's constituents contact her because she voted against the Farmer's Market Ordinance when it was originally introduced in January, and she may still have some reservations about it. Likewise, Mr. Lindner voted against some of the provisions of this ordinance when it was re-introduced last month. I'm sure that they would both appreciate additional input from their constituents.

If you are a constituent of Mr. Taylor or Mr. Manos, I think you'll have a hard time convincing either of them to vote against this ordinance, since they have both spoken strongly in support of it. On the other hand, Ms. Gelber has consistently opposed it, and I wouldn't take her vote to advertise as evidence for a change of heart. Nevertheless, it couldn't hurt to contact her and share your opinions with her.

The positions of the remaining four Commissioners who voted to advertise this ordinance (Rogan, Gordon, Reed and Churchill) are less clear to me. They may have firm convictions or they may still be undecided. Either way, the best chance you have to influence the outcome of this issue is to make your opinion known, both by writing to the BOC (especially the Commissioner from your ward) and by making a statement at the Public Hearing on Wednesday, April 7th, starting at 6:15 pm.

5
Average: 5 (3 votes)
Your rating: None

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." -Alan Kay

carla's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 2008-01-03 :36
Posts:

I believe the jockeying in the planning commission was to allow pet projects like this to be passed. I predict this will be passed.

4
Average: 4 (3 votes)
Your rating: None

"Well behaved women rarely make history" - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

cscott's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 46 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-08-13 :21
Posts:

This ordinance does not need to be considered by the Planning Commission (nor will it be), and I don't see how the votes that are critical to the fate of this ordinance would have been influenced by the Planning Commission appointments process.

If previous BOC action on this ordinance is any indication, the final vote will be very close, and based on everything I've been able to learn, the outcome is far from decided. Every vote is going to matter, so lobbying for each vote is well worth the effort.

I would encourage anyone with concerns about this ordinance to contact their Commissioner directly, write to the Board of Commissioners as a whole (etrainer@lowermerion.org) and attend the Public Hearing to make their opinion known to each of the Commissioners in person.

5
Average: 5 (3 votes)
Your rating: None

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." -Alan Kay

cscott's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 46 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-08-13 :21
Posts:

Very happy to say that you were WRONG Carla! Had to run to catch a train, but Rosenzweig, Taylor(!), Gould, Zelov, Gelber & Churchill had already come out as opposed to the residential aspect of the Ordinance before I left, and since there were only 12 Commissioners present (McElhaney & Lindner were excused), that was enough to defeat Manos' motion (seconded by Reed) to adopt the Ordinance as presented.

Shout outs definitely due to Bob Duncan, who set the stage for the evening by recommending that the Commissioners only adopt the portion of the Ordinance pertaining to commercial districts (necessary due to some unintended consequences from the Bryn Mawr Village District), to Hank Wilson (who was great as usual), Richard Kaufman, Carl Watson, Beth Samberg and one other guy whose name I missed (although he made a fantastic point about potentially making use of some of the upcoming special district ordinances (Bala Village & City Ave) to accomplish what the FBCFM seek) who had the stones to speak out respectfully (for the most part) against the residential aspects of the ordinance in a room that was packed full of people with the opposite viewpoint.

5
Average: 5 (3 votes)
Your rating: None

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." -Alan Kay

carla's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 2008-01-03 :36
Posts:

I am glad I was wrong too. It's better in commercial areas.

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Your rating: None

"Well behaved women rarely make history" - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Hugh Gordon's picture
Offline
Last seen: 31 weeks 1 day ago
Joined: 2009-10-24 :58
Posts:

What was up with Brian Gordon? He seemed to speak out against contaminating residential zones with commercial activity and then he voted for the proposed ordinance. Or was he just not paying attention and didn't know what he was voting for?

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Your rating: None
LMT Observer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 20 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 2009-04-25 :31
Posts:

Good question, Hugh. Agree.

Brian Gordon's comments sounded like he was against the original version of the ordinance but he then voted "yes" to it.

0
No votes yet
Your rating: None
politeia's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 weeks 6 days ago
Joined: 2008-07-30 :00
Posts:

Gordon did the same thing with the Planning Commission vote. Basically said there were no backroom deals and praised Reed, then voted for Simon.

As for the outcome (which I am very pleased with and thank cscott for his efforts), I stick by what I posted/predicted above.

However, they can't always appear to be in lock-step with their pre-determined, discussed behind closed-doors votes, so on this issue they may want to look like they are independent of each other.

However, if they vote differently on this issue, don't expect to see it going forward on issues that Reed and Taylor decide are important to them personally. That's all that matters to Reed and Taylor - what they personally want. Forget about the People.

================

Brotherhood of Thieves

~ As we must account for every idle word, so must we account for every idle silence.

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Your rating: None

 

 

carla's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 2008-01-03 :36
Posts:

Hugh, I was wondering the same thing. Brian also did not make sense for some reason when he was speaking later last evening before I think it was budget stuff. He seems to be voting however Bruce and Mark are every time now.

Bruce used the pejorative word again - he was annoyed at Phil who expressed irritation that something which was voted down came back to life again and he wondered aloud if they were just looking for a different vote. McElhenny and Lindner were absent FYI for those who did not notice - Linder also did not bother to show up for the Planning Commission on Monday to support his constituents. How can that guy get a feel for anything or be productive when he is so selective about showing up or actual involvement?

George Manos seemed befuddled that everyone didn't like his idea.

0
No votes yet
Your rating: None

"Well behaved women rarely make history" - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

cscott's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 46 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-08-13 :21
Posts:

BTW, what was the final vote?

0
No votes yet
Your rating: None

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." -Alan Kay

LMT Observer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 20 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 2009-04-25 :31
Posts:

The final vote for the original ordinance--not the amended version that Bob Duncan recommended:

Yes: Gordon, Manos, Reed

No: Brown, Churchill, Dellheim, Gelber, Gould, Rosenzweig, Taylor, Zelov

(Did Liz Rogan vote "yes" for the original ordinance?)

0
No votes yet
Your rating: None
outtathere's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-12-31 :04
Posts:

They are going to designate Bala a "village"???? Where do they get off with such nomenclature and what's the purpose? To make a place sound 'quaint'? None of the towns on the Main Line has remotely resembled a 'village' since at least the Nineteenth Century when the railroad came through and upgraded them with
Welsh names, for the most part. Does a real village contain a behemoth the size of Bryn Mawr Hospital within it's bounds? Or a BMW dealership in the case of Bala? IMHO, the whole concept seems ersatz and ridiculous.

0
No votes yet
Your rating: None

"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.":Gil Scott-Heron 1970 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGaRtqrlGy8

LMT Observer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 20 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 2009-04-25 :31
Posts:

Charles, the man who made the " fantastic point about potentially making use of some of the upcoming special district ordinances (Bala Village & City Ave) to accomplish what the FBCFM seek)" was Leslie Greenberg.

0
No votes yet
Your rating: None
bc59's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 11 weeks ago
Joined: 2010-03-18 :57
Posts:

The Friends have a huge mailing list and as noted above are urging people to show up at the BOC meeting Wednesday. Here's the email they've sent out.

Dear Friends,

April 7th is quickly approaching, and we need to show the Lower Merion Commissioners just how much we really want a farmers market in Bala Cynwyd! On April 7th, the Commissioners will hold a final public hearing and vote on an ordinance that will allow us to hold a market in residential and commercial areas. We have one last chance to make our case for why this Ordinance should be passed. Passage of this Ordinance preserves our options for finding a site.

What can you do?
Show up for the hearing on April 7th so our Commissioners understand how many in our community want a market (details below). Bring your friends and pass this email on to anyone who supports a market in Bala Cynwyd!

We know that Cynwyd Elementary's Art Show is on the same night, so if there's any way you can split your time between the show and the meeting, we'd be so grateful. Even if you can just show up at the beginning of the meeting to be counted, that would be great.

Where: Lower Merion Township Building, 2nd Floor

When: Wednesday April 7th

Time: 6:15

All the best in support of good eating and community building,

Sara Pevaroff Schuh, Laura Muzzi Brennan, Johanna Berger, Anne Pfitzer, Hedy Cerwinka & Pam Loughman
Friends of the Bala Cynwyd Farmers Market
http://balacynwydfarmersmarket.weebly.com/

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Your rating: None
cscott's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 46 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-08-13 :21
Posts:

Thanks for posting this.

I think it's a safe bet that this email will encourage many supporters of the Bala Cynwyd Farmer's Market to show up at the Public Hearing on Wednesday and talk about how much they want a farmer's market in Bala Cynwyd, and the benefits of buying fresh, local produce, and reducing our carbon footprint, and how this can serve as a vehicle for building a sense of community.

Unfortunately, all of that is irrelevant to the question at hand. The benefits of the market are the same regardless of whether the market is operated on a commercial, municipal or residential lot.

The key questions for the public hearing on Wednesday are:

1) Is changing the zoning code necessary to secure a site for a farmer's market in Bala Cynwyd?

and

2) Is changing the zoning code even sufficient to secure a site?

If changing the zoning code isn't necessary to secure a site, then there is no reason to adopt this ordinance, and unless the Board of Commissioners is certain that adopting this ordinance will be sufficient to allow the Friends of the Bala Cynwyd Farmer's Market to secure a site, then they shouldn't even be considering this ordinance.

Given this statement in the email from the Friends of the Bala Cynwyd Farmer's Market to their supporters:

"Passage of this Ordinance preserves our options for finding a site"

it doesn't sound like a site has been identified yet.

I don't see how anyone can be confident that adopting the Farmer's Market Ordinance will be sufficient to secure a site when no site is currently proposed. The last thing we need is to weaken the protections of the residential zoning code for nothing.

It is critical that residents with concerns about this approach to finding a site for a farmer's market in Bala Cynwyd keep the Board of Commissioners focused on the relevant questions: whether changing the zoning code is necessary, and whether it is sufficient to get the job done.

The best way to do this is to write to your Commissioner before the public hearing on Wednesday to encourage them to have these questions in the forefront of their thinking as they consider public commentary on the Farmer's Market Ordinance.

It is equally important that concerned residents attend Wednesday's Public Hearing to remind the Commissioners periodically throughout the evening that the question isn't whether a Farmer's Market in Bala Cynwyd would be a good thing, but rather whether a change in the residential zoning code is necessary and sufficient to establish a market.

Finally, it is probably a good idea for residents to write to the Friends of the Bala Cynwyd Farmer's Market and ask them to publish and justify their site selection criteria and explain why not even a single commercial or municipal lot in Bala Cynwyd would provide a viable location for a farmer's market based on the narrowest reading of their criteria. I would also recommend cc-ing that email to the full Board so that the Commissioners are aware that residents are asking the Friends for an accounting of their efforts to date and a justification for why they feel a change to the residential zoning code is necessary.

5
Average: 5 (4 votes)
Your rating: None

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." -Alan Kay

LMT Observer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 20 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 2009-04-25 :31
Posts:

Applause again, Charles. Am referring to the logical and reasonable clarity of your points:

The key questions for the public hearing on Wednesday are:

(1) Is changing the zoning code necessary to secure a site for a farmer's market in Bala Cynwyd?

and

2) Is changing the zoning code even sufficient to secure a site?

If changing the zoning code isn't necessary to secure a site, then there is no reason to adopt this ordinance, and unless the Board of Commissioners is certain that adopting this ordinance will be sufficient to allow the Friends of the Bala Cynwyd Farmer's Market to secure a site, then they shouldn't even be considering this ordinance.

Given this statement in the email from the Friends of the Bala Cynwyd Farmer's Market to their supporters:

"Passage of this Ordinance preserves our options for finding a site"

it doesn't sound like a site has been identified yet.

I don't see how anyone can be confident that adopting the Farmer's Market Ordinance will be sufficient to secure a site when no site is currently proposed. The last thing we need is to weaken the protections of the residential zoning code for nothing.

5
Average: 5 (2 votes)
Your rating: None
diamonddave's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 21 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-08-25 :35
Posts:

Points 1&2 well stated and well taken Mr.Scott.

LMT voters need to contact their Commissioners, to hear commissioners specific understanding or beliefs whether the Ordinance needs to be amended. With an ordinance change we could have Farmers Markets at all Library parking lots, the LMT building lot,(50 parking spaces) markets of every kind, all over LMT. Is this what we want?

Friends of Bala Cynwyd Farmers Market site says the Green Counsel Of LMSD is a supporter, how is the LMSD in this?

Is this LMSD group overstepping into the business of the BOC? Has the BOC or Friends of... directed/asked that the GC of LMSD give its support of this endeavor? Doesn't the LMSD have other issues that need attention?

Who in president of the GC and who is their spokesperson?

5
Average: 5 (3 votes)
Your rating: None
LMT Observer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 20 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 2009-04-25 :31
Posts:

diamonddave or anyone else,

Who are the members of the "Green Counsel of LMSD"?

And, to elaborate a bit on diamonddave's point:

    What is the justification for a Lower Merion School District group's involvement in this issue? The link of interests between a School District committee and the proposed new zoning ordinance is not self-evident.
0
No votes yet
Your rating: None
cscott's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 46 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-08-13 :21
Posts:

I'm pretty sure it's a student organization.

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Your rating: None

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." -Alan Kay

LexoTime5's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-04-01 :31
Posts:

It's an independent club of students, parents & staff. Anyone associated with the school district is welcome to join.

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Your rating: None
LMT Observer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 20 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 2009-04-25 :31
Posts:

LexoTime5, do you know the content of the mission statement or by-laws of the club? Are they available on-line?

0
No votes yet
Your rating: None
LexoTime5's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-04-01 :31
Posts:

Yeah, here's a taste, and the link to their main web page:

Green Council Mission Statement

The mission of the “Green Council” is twofold. First, make a positive, measurable difference in our environmental practices and their related economic advantages to the Lower Merion School District community and township at large. Second, develop collaborative relationships with other groups and individuals to expedite the process of environmental change.

A mission statement has been created that addresses this goal. See the attached "ppt.doc" or "word.doc" to read the rest of the statement.

http://www1.eboard.com/eboard/servlet/BoardServlet?ACTION=BOARD_SHOW&SITE_NAME=lmsd&BOARD_NAME=greencouncil&SESSION_ID=1zmbg875peipc6837

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Your rating: None
LMT Observer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 20 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 2009-04-25 :31
Posts:

Thanks, LexoTime5.

For all: Here's the text of the LMSD's Green Council's expanded mission statement:

GREEN COUNCIL MISSION STATEMENT

The mission of the “Green Council” is twofold. First, make a positive, measurable difference in our environmental practices and their related economic advantages to the Lower Merion School District community and township at large. Second, develop collaborative relationships with other groups and individuals to expedite the process of environmental change.

These will be achieved through the formulation, adoption, and implementation of an environmentally sustainable living policy. By having all schools in the district recycle paper, cardboard, plastic, glass and aluminum, and by employing other sound waste management, and energy/water conservation practices, we will contribute to the health and vitality of the district and the township now and in the future. Through collaboration, the contributions can spread more quickly throughout all areas of society.

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Your rating: None
LMT Observer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 20 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 2009-04-25 :31
Posts:

Was thinking about Green Council's mission statement, specifically the section that refers to the goal of formulating and implementing "an environmentally sustainable living policy."

    "These [goals] will be achieved through the formulation, adoption, and implementation of an environmentally sustainable living policy. By having all schools in the district recycle paper, cardboard, plastic, glass and aluminum, and by employing other sound waste management, and energy/water conservation practices, we will contribute to the health and vitality of the district and the township now and in the future.

Very glad to learn that Green Council exists in Lower Merion and that the members are committed to promoting sustainable environmental practices here.

Suggestion: It would be both undesirable and unnecessary for Green Council to pursue its environmental aims in any ways, or lend its support to any other group's efforts, that risk compromising the "sustainability" of Lower Merion's residential neighborhoods--e.g., by opening the door to further commercial and other non-residential types of encroachment.

Residential neighborhoods in Lower Merion need to be preserved and protected for the benefit of all, just like other aspects of our environment.

Active commitment to protecting residential neighborhoods by Lower Merion citizens seems to be particularly important now in the ongoing absence of the planning guidance that an updated Comprehensive Plan could provide for our Township deciders.

5
Average: 5 (2 votes)
Your rating: None
outtathere's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-12-31 :04
Posts:

One suggestion I have for the Green Council is in light of the LMSD having already reduced one high school to rubble, with the second soon to follow, an analysis of this needless waste accompanied by a field trip would seem an excellent project.

Complete photo/video documentation of the demolition followed by a road trip to the landfill wherever the debris gets dumped and documentation of the dumping. Analysis of demolition, transportation and disposal of debris encompassing fossil fuels consumed and pollutants released into the atmosphere.

This would be very enlightening for all LMSD students to be able to see, now and in the future, how wide a gulf there is between what their District actually practices and what it preaches.

5
Average: 5 (4 votes)
Your rating: None

"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.":Gil Scott-Heron 1970 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGaRtqrlGy8

LexoTime5's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 6 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-04-01 :31
Posts:

The Green Council has been supportive of the new high school buildings for their "green" features. Passive heat, rainwater collection, thorough insulation, and a sophisticated ability to dial down overall power usage during peak and spike hours.

I do not know if they have taken a position on the waste aspect of demolition.

I do know they intend to provide energy usage and carbon footprint suggestions to the school district.

There is also an "energy audit" being planned which will look at [*almost] all aspects of school district operations and make recommendations for curbing waste.

I say *almost because at the time this energy audit was announced, very conspicuous by its absence was the energy usage of transportation policy. As far as I understand, any inefficiencies in the policy busing students to faraway schools cannot be addressed. The school assignment and busing policies must stand, even if determined to be wasteful.

I do not know whether the "energy audit" is a project of the Green Council, or whether it is going to be performed independently.

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Your rating: None
outtathere's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-12-31 :04
Posts:

Thanks for the info, Lexo. I would just like to see the students of Lower Merion get a clear picture of how environmentally destructive the policies of their District, a District that preaches environmental sensitivity, how destructive their policies really are in the areas of demolition, busing, school assignment, and apparently failure to recycle waste unless compelled to do so.

Regarding the demolition, I would hope that an analysis of this would spark a broader debate encompassing the rash of teardowns by developers of well-maintained homes that are perfectly usable. It would be a dream come true for me to see the cost of a demolition permit raised to such a level that such wanton waste and destruction would no longer be economically viable.

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Your rating: None

"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.":Gil Scott-Heron 1970 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGaRtqrlGy8

outtathere's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 3 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-12-31 :04
Posts:

This mission statement raises a question with me. If I read it correctly, recycling by the schools of paper, plastic, glass, etc. will be something new. Where has the School District been for the past 25+ years, whilst the residents of Lower Merion have been diligently separating their recyclables? Even if the law did not require them to recycle, apparently they felt no ethical obligation to do so.

5
Average: 5 (4 votes)
Your rating: None

"The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.":Gil Scott-Heron 1970 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGaRtqrlGy8

LMT Observer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 20 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 2009-04-25 :31
Posts:

diamonddave recommended:

LMT voters need to contact their Commissioners, to hear commissioners specific understanding or beliefs whether the Ordinance needs to be amended. With an ordinance change we could have Farmers Markets at all Library parking lots, the LMT building lot,(50 parking spaces) markets of every kind, all over LMT. Is this what we want?

Has anyone received any responses to questions on their views of the proposed ordinance from Commissioners Dellheim, Rogan, Churchill, Lindner, Gordon, McElhaney, Taylor, or Reed?

Has anyone posed questions to any of these Commissioners but received no reply?

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Your rating: None
cscott's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 46 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-08-13 :21
Posts:

I wrote to Commissioners Churchill, Dellheim, Gordon and Lindner because they seemed to me to be the most likely to still be undecided about the Farmer's Market Ordinance.

I heard back from Mr. Churchill and Ms. Dellheim. I haven't yet heard from Mr. Gordon or Mr. Lindner.

But now that you mention it, perhaps I should write to Commissioners Reed, Rogan and Taylor as well.

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
Your rating: None

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." -Alan Kay

LMT Observer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 20 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 2009-04-25 :31
Posts:

But now that you mention it, perhaps I should write to Commissioners Reed, Rogan and Taylor as well.

Would be of interest to hear their justifications if they intend to support the ordinance rather than encourage the Friends of the Bala Farmer's Market to identify a commercially zoned location, as was so successfully done in Bryn Mawr this year.

5
Average: 5 (2 votes)
Your rating: None
carla's picture
Offline
Last seen: 6 weeks 4 days ago
Joined: 2008-01-03 :36
Posts:

Mr. Lindner's ward was up last night at the Planning Commission for a development troubling a lot of people. HIS ward and HE did not even make an appearence. Ditto with Jane Dellheim and the Ardmore Toyota issue (which was also on last night). Mr. Churchill does what he is told, so if you want to know the truth: you should e-mail EACH and EVERY commissioner. And when you go to the hearing tell them who responded and who ignored you.

5
Average: 5 (3 votes)
Your rating: None

"Well behaved women rarely make history" - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

diamonddave's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 21 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-08-25 :35
Posts:

Now let us look to see who serves on the GC(see link above),and who is the Board/president/leader of The Friends of BC FM? Are these groups cross pollinated?

If the GC lends it's support of all things good environmentally, where do they stand on walking to school and limiting bus and parent fuel consumption(the driving back and forth)? Or moving our school and public buses to green fuels?

Now back to this Ordinance Change- Friends of BC FM needs to come clean and identify a viable commercial space for this market. LMT Observer is right when posting the precedent has been set by our 2 other FM and the communities that wanted them. Friends of BC FM needs to do the same.
No ordinance change needed.

None of us are against good produce, or a trip to the FM on foot or bike, but we have two FM now.

Still unclear as to why BC wants their own FM? What are the issues with the 2 other Farmers Markets in the SAME TOWNSHIP(!) that they find unacceptable?

Has anyone spoken to the leaders of the other 2 markets? Have they had complaints, or even any contact with Friends of BC FM? Do these leader hear from their farmer/vendors that another Market is needed in LMT?

5
Average: 5 (2 votes)
Your rating: None
cscott's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 46 weeks ago
Joined: 2009-08-13 :21
Posts:

In fairness to the FBCFM, the Ardmore FM is not within walking distance of BC, and Bryn Mawr is even farther. Plus, only a few of the vendors in the Ardmore FM would qualify to sell at the BC Farmer's Market under the conditions in the current ordinance (that they produce what they sell within 200 miles of the market).

400+ people in BC want a FM there, and I see no problem with letting them have it. All I ask is that the FBCFM and the LMT-BOC exhaust every local option for finding a site (commercial lot, municipal lot, special district, sidewalk/roadway), that they identify a suitable location and that they get the neighbors in the immediate vicinity on board before seeking a change to the residential zoning code.

I've been kind of negligent in not making that last point more explicitly, but simply identifying an appropriate residentially-zoned site is not enough for the ordinance to be sufficient to allow the FBCFM to establish a market at that site. The BOC needs to decide whether that site is close enough to other township assets (BC business district, Cynwyd Trail) to justify incorporating the site into a special development district, and the FBCFM need to demonstrate that they have the consent and support of the neighbors in the immediate vicinity of the site so that we can avoid the kind of unpleasantness we saw in February, which prompted St. Matthias to pull out as a host site.

What the BOC cannot allow is for the FBCFM to use the Farmer's Market Ordinance to ambush some unsuspecting neighborhood and give the neighbors in the immediate vicinity of the market site no voice or recourse. That's why it's critical that the FBCFM be compelled to disclose their preferred market location(Drunk and demonstrate that they have the consent and support of the immediate neighbors before the BOC even considers the Farmer's Market Ordinance.

5
Average: 5 (4 votes)
Your rating: None

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." -Alan Kay

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.