Greater Bustleton elects new vice president

Mem­bers of the Great­er Bustleton Civic League elec­ted a new vice pres­id­ent dur­ing their June meet­ing at Temple Beth Ami on Old Bustleton Av­en­ue.

The or­gan­iz­a­tion also ap­proved one res­id­ent’s plan for a park­ing space out­side her house, but it was not re­cept­ive to a pro­pos­al to tem­por­ar­ily house a charter school on a church’s Welsh Road prop­erty.

In April, mem­bers nom­in­ated can­did­ates for board of­fices. Each seat, ex­cept for vice pres­id­ent, at­trac­ted only one can­did­ate. Jack O’Hara chal­lenged the in­cum­bent vice pres­id­ent, Myles Gor­don, and dur­ing the league’s May 25 meet­ing, mem­bers in at­tend­ance voted in the chal­lenger.

Both can­did­ates briefly spoke be­fore the pa­per-bal­lot vot­ing took place. O’Hara said he wanted to be help­ful dur­ing the league’s meet­ings, which of­ten have full agen­das and run for more than 90 minutes. He also said he wanted to help make the league’s Web site easi­er to use.

Gor­don said he thought the league, whose mem­bers fre­quently ad­dress land-use is­sues, should put to­geth­er a list of va­cant prop­er­ties that might come to mem­bers’ at­ten­tion.

Votes were coun­ted as the meet­ing pro­gressed. Barry Stuck­er, chair­man of the nom­in­at­ing com­mit­tee, an­nounced O’Hara had won the vice pres­id­ent’s seat. The num­ber of votes cast and how many each can­did­ate re­ceived was not an­nounced.

O’Hara and the oth­er of­ficers — John McK­eever, pres­id­ent; Di­anne Caruso, re­cord­ing sec­ret­ary; Lil­lian deKraft, cor­res­pond­ing sec­ret­ary; and treas­urer Joan Rhoades — will start their terms in June.

Al­though mem­bers didn’t vote on the mat­ter, many were very out­spoken in their op­pos­i­tion to a plan to rent classroom space on the 600 block of Welsh Road to a charter school.

“We don’t need any more schools in zone fif­teen,” one mem­ber said, re­fer­ring to the neigh­bor­hood’s ZIP code, 19115, and what she called the large num­ber of crowded schools already in or near Bustleton.

James Stan­ton, the First Phil­adelphia Charter School for Lit­er­acy’s dir­ect­or of com­mu­nic­a­tions and com­munity re­la­tions, said classroom space would be ren­ted for about two years from St. Thomas Syro-Ma­lob­ar Cath­ol­ic Church, 608 Welsh Road. He said 150 pu­pils would be in kinder­garten and first grade. The 75 kinder­garten pu­pils would be driv­en to the school. The first-graders could be bused, he said. The school would be open Monday through Fri­day, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and have 15 to 20 em­ploy­ees.

“We want to open a second cam­pus,” Stan­ton said, ex­plain­ing that the Ta­cony charter school needs to rent space while a new build­ing is be­ing erec­ted.

One res­id­ent said Welsh Road is dan­ger­ous in that area and that many drivers speed down the street. He said he had re­placed five mail­boxes hit by drivers.

“We don’t need more traffic,” he said.

The church’s prop­erty is zoned res­id­en­tial, McK­eever said in a phone in­ter­view May 26, so a vari­ance is needed for a school to be op­er­ated there. A syn­agogue had once been on the prop­erty, and a Hebrew school had op­er­ated after-school classes there once, he said, but the build­ing had not been a full-time school.

So far, no ap­plic­a­tion for a vari­ance has been made, he ad­ded, so the league’s mem­bers did not vote to sup­port or op­pose the pro­pos­al.

Mem­bers also did not vote on a vari­ance ap­plic­a­tion to put a one-story ad­di­tion onto an auto-body busi­ness at 1840 Grant Ave. be­cause no one at­ten­ded the meet­ing to speak for the pro­pos­al.

Lilia Kovalyk got mem­bers’ bless­ing for something she already has done — use the drive­way in front of her condo on the 9300 block of Neil Road as a park­ing space.

Ro­ger Price, pres­id­ent of the Bustleton Bengals, thanked the league for its re­cent dona­tion of pret­zels and drinks for the youth sports or­gan­iz­a­tion’s open­ing-day ce­re­mon­ies, and he also made a pitch for mem­bers’ sup­port of the sports or­gan­iz­a­tion’s quest to get its own gym.  He said his is the only North­east sports or­gan­iz­a­tion that doesn’t have its own gym.

The civic league’s next meet­ing will be at 7:30 p.m. on Wed­nes­day, June 15, at Temple Beth Ami, 9201 Old Bustleton Ave. ••

Re­port­er John Loftus can be reached at 215-354-3037 or

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