What IS Lower Merion's Future?

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carla's picture
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piZap.com free online photo editor, fun photo effects

The economy is still not what she used to be, correct? So what is up with all these magnificant building projects?

O'Neill on the river and elsewhere in Lower Merion, Conshohocken and Malvern? Deader then Dirt by Duckworth on Dreycott? Spanish House coming down when? May 24th or 25th? Of course in Haverford it's a Hall Redux with Ye Oldie Townie Homies at Haverford Court - leaving neighbors wondering about unlucky 13 (number of townshouses to be squashed in), traffic and density and infrastructure issues, a yearning for REAL porches not landing pads for ants where someone pictured Chris Leswing having a cup of coffee (poor Chris, I picture him choosing to be somewhere far more picturesque and can't blame him one bit), and even if the road on Old Lancaster in front of proposed development was denied even a construction driveway last time and is a big danger zone because it is quite narrow, and gets worse with cars that can't park anyplace.....

And then there is evermore Ardmore. First it was eminent domain and bad A and B, then came NO eminent domain but we kept the blight desgination (and they could have gotten useful grants like Pottstown and Norristown have for art centric things and didn't - I mean why use the creative to build upon economic revitilization? And Arts Hill in Norristown IS breathing new life into an actually interesting spot). Then came the Developer Off. First one developer was chosen and then that developer bowed out and then came Dranoff and the future looked bright, so what happened? Is the future dim and stalled? Who is stalling it? Does Amtrak have personality issues with Lower Merion Township?

Is the current developer requesting a one year extension of all dates in the Developer Agreement as is rumored? And if that is true and the township is sitting on that information, why are they sitting on that information? After all, that is not sunshine friendly is it? They CANNOT discuss this in executive session, can they? They keep trying to do this because of the exchange of property from the township to the developer, right? Isn't the actual wording in the Sunshine Act is "to consider the PURCHASE OR LEASE of property"?

A sale or swap is NOT a purchase or lease is it? There is no exception to the sunshine Act for negotiating contracts except for LABOR union contracts, right? Unless they are discussing the developer's PERSONAL financial position, they have no exception under "disclosure of information or confidentiality protected by law", correct? Isn't it true if this rumor is true that when it is discussed, even the first time, it must be done in public?

And what is it about LEED that I was told the other day that I should be paying closer attention to? It was concerning LEED buildings and what people are learning about LEED buildings. Is it possible they aren't so LEEDtastic after all? Heard that some who have built LEED buildings on the Main Line may be having difficulties? Is LEED all it is cracked up to be or is it a new spin on Emperor's New Clothes?

But as far as the vision of what out communities will look like in the future, do we really have a say? I don't really think we do. It's kind of like no matter how conservative or liberal you are, so we really have enough of a say no matter who we are about how municipalities and school districts spend money?

And what can we do when both parties seem to be a political quagmire and hotbed of issues between old and new and the desperate and the sane? Here's wondering on Election Day what the future of Lower Merion will be? Sources tell me that there is a bunch of below the radar drama in both the Republican and Democrat camps in Lower Merion. Sources also told me that the Democrats finally found people, I guess committee people to cover the Gladwyne Fire House, which is 2-1? And that these committee people never vote or one was an inactive voter or something? Is this a renewed interest in all things local or something else?

Who controls where we live? Who should control where we live? Look at our communities and look at recent successes. All of them are people driven. Not government driven. Government is supposed to work for us, right? So why does it never feel that way and why do we always feel like Sisyphus pushing the rock up the hill?

Any thoughts? And FYI there is a Board of Commissioners Meeting Wednesday 5/19/2010 8:00 PM - if you haven't vented your spleen in a while, go check it out. Who knows, you might have something to say.

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carla's picture
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"Well behaved women rarely make history" - Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

carla's picture
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Congratulations to Lauren Wylonis the powerhouse and perfectly pretty activist from Merion and Joe Zebrowitz from Merion for getting elected committee people. Look out eastern end of the township (in a good way!!) Big smile

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

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Thanks so much Lauren and Joe

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politeia's picture
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Here's to hoping they remain independent thinkers and don't become part of the establishment now that they are official members of the club.

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

Brotherhood of Thieves

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

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carla's picture
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Here's an update from Cheryl Allison regarding the latest pice of crap development no one needs except the developer:

Main Line Times > News
Haverford Court initial site plan gets OK from commissioners
Published: Wednesday, May 19, 2010
By Cheryl Allison

Even before it landed in front of Lower Merion commissioners May 12, developer Tom Hall’s proposed townhouse development in Haverford had received an unusual amount of public scrutiny.

Twice the township’s planning commission gave plans a thorough airing. Twice the historical architectural review board has done the same, and Hall has held several meetings with neighborhood groups....There is a general sense that the project — 13 three-and-a-half-story townhouses on just about an acre — is too dense for its neighborhood. Despite reducing units by one in the course of discussions, the plan is within a few square feet of the impervious-surface limit for the site, leaving little room for modifications.

There is also no consensus yet on the issue that continues to trouble neighbors most: access to the new development. Neighbors on North Buck Lane and Old Lancaster Road, on which the triangular lot has frontage, say there are traffic and parking conditions on each of those streets that make entering and exiting the site problematic. Commissioners made it clear that that issue will get an intense look in the next phase.

The project, which Hall calls Haverford Court, is one that bears watching because it is an unusual case of new development in a neighborhood designated as a local historic district....With the condominium market apparently stalled, Hall has returned with the townhouse plan, facing an additional layer of review. His proposal also must be considered by the historical architectural review board, or HARB, for compatibility with the district....Commissioners were adamant that they want to see an updated traffic study — conducted while the nearby Haverford School is in session — performed before the plans come back for review, and that they want staff to analyze the impacts of new traffic and access patterns on the conditions neighbors described.

Another remaining issue on which Leswing said planners would continue to focus is whether a way can be found for Hall to provide real, functioning front porches on his new homes.

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carla's picture
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Lil' live blogging going on...

Happy Happy Meeting Night! Ok so now Lower Merion Commissioners are feeding us some pablum about the Ardmore Transit Center Project - like Dranoff went with township officials to Lame Duck Specter's office in Washington DC to deal with AMTRAK. So why not cut the crap Lower Merion and admit the Ardmore Transit Center project that replaced evil eminent domain is slower then molasses in January. Are they doing a fancy dance to avoid saying things might be a bit of a challenge? Like why not define "funding gaps"? Is this project in fact stalled? And they are still working on parking plans in event this actually happens? WORKING on it? After all these years they have no clue on where the cars will go?? So this is supposed to begin when? 2011?

Why does Lower Merion Commissioner Steve Lindner stick out his tongue like a lizard on a rock when speaking at the commissioners' meetings? It's really gross. But his outfit is beautifully coordinated...

The funding gap is 20 to 30 million? Boy oh boy I sure hope Cleland's job is not riding on this is it?

Ha ha Jenny Brown just asked Rogan why she didn't mention Dranoff's request for an extension of his developer contract.

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Happy Happy Meeting Night! Ok so now Lower Merion Commissioners are feeding us some pablum about the Ardmore Transit Center Project - like Dranoff went with township officials to Lame Duck Specter's office in Washington DC to deal with AMTRAK.

Gee, now why does AMTRAK need a push? They should be salivating over all the new passengers that are gonna be piling onto their trains once the fancy new station opens.

SEPTA, too. Thousands upon thousands will be whizzing into Ardmore on their fancy new commuter trains to buy stuff and feed their faces. They may even have to ressurect Railway Express so folks can haul all the stuff home.

And they are still working on parking plans in event this actually happens? WORKING on it? After all these years they have no clue on where the cars will go??

Yeah, where will all the cars go? Just how many net new parking spaces will there be with the extant plans?
Not too many from what I saw.

And if this scheme works and Ardmore becomes the "go to" place to shop and dine, what about all the additional traffic? Gridlock?

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

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Seriously Brian Gordon, I did not need an in depth description of sanitary sewer or the sanitary sewers of Pompeii...and of course Mr. Burns just said how it's all flowers and lightness and tweeting of birds in Lower Merion and that is all anyone ever told him at the polls. What I want to know is why at one poll someone went a lil' "Karate Krazy"? (No it wasn't a commissioners, it was someone imitating a storm trooper though)...Steve Lindner is talking about the neighbors in Haverford and throwing that "we" word around rather liberally all things considered. He loves to speechify like he is really involved. Only he isn't. But his go to meeting outfits are as coordinated as garanimals.

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carla's picture
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When we speak of new development, we should remember this article:

Posted on Fri, May. 21, 2010
Norristown condo builder says hollow walls 'a surprise to me'
By Derrick Nunnally
Inquirer Staff Writer

With a phalanx of municipal inspectors watching, R. Bruce Fazio hoisted an industrial drill Thursday and bored four holes into the cinderblock walls of the troubled Norristown condominium building he constructed.

Three of the holes revealed that the load-bearing walls were hollow, confirming reports by Norristown inspectors that led to the condemnation of the three-year-old, 26-unit building.

Fazio said he believed they had been filled with concrete and steel rods, as the building code requires.

"The areas where it's missing are coming as a surprise to me," he said in a stairwell, a few feet from one of the palm-size holes.

As he drilled, several of the eight condominium owners required to evacuate the building by Friday afternoon trudged through the halls, some laden with belongings to move out.....
Edward Koehler, the engineer Norristown officials hired to evaluate the building, said Thursday's findings were what he expected when he wrote of "grave safety issues" in the structure after an April walk-through.

"There are some locations where the hollow points of the block have been filled with concrete," he said, "but in general, 50 to 75 percent have not."

Proper walls, Koehler said, are built by laying rows of cinder blocks that are mortared together. Under construction codes, steel rods are inserted into the cavities, which then are then filled with concrete. The result, he said, makes a cinderblock wall "almost as solid as a wall of solid concrete.

In court, he testified that the five-story building's walls could topple in heavy winds.

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And where was the building inspector when these walls were going up, before they were covered with drywall?

Your tax dollars at work, just as they were in the Gulf and at the Upper Big Branch Mine. How about some accountability?

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Main Line Times > Opinion
Reader's Response: Again, pre-board meetings leave citizens in dark
Published: Friday, June 18, 2010
By Audrey Romasco

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