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 firstname.lastname@example.org