Normandy’s OK with police-training proposal

Res­id­ents ap­prove the site on Wood­haven Road.

Mem­bers of the Nor­mandy Civic As­so­ci­ation are OK with plans to train po­lice of­ficers on the site of the old re­serve cen­ter on Wood­haven Road, but some res­id­ents of the small neigh­bor­hood have some re­ser­va­tions.

At the as­so­ci­ation’s Nov. 17 meet­ing, sev­er­al res­id­ents of Joseph Kelly Ter­race told city plan­ner Mike Thompson and pro­ject man­ager Fran­cis Matejik that they were wor­ried about the plan’s im­pact on their prop­er­ties.

Still, a vote of Nor­mandy res­id­ents present favored the city get­ting the zon­ing vari­ances needed for the Po­lice De­part­ment to use the res­id­en­tially zoned land. The fed­er­al gov­ern­ment didn’t need any such vari­ance to op­er­ate the re­serve cen­ter, said civic as­so­ci­ation pres­id­ent John Wis­niewski

Even those who had some ob­jec­tions to the city’s cur­rent plan for the site voted to sup­port the vari­ance. Neigh­bors and pub­lic of­fi­cials had said they be­lieved po­lice train­ing was the best use for the nine-acre site.

Res­id­ent John Burke was con­cerned about what would hap­pen to the com­munity if neigh­bors didn’t back the po­lice plan.

“We had to fight like heck to get something de­cent in there that will keep up our prop­erty val­ues,” he said. “If pub­lic hous­ing gets in there, say good­bye to Nor­mandy.”

No mem­bers op­posed the po­lice-train­ing plan, al­though the vote took place after a lot of dis­cus­sion.

Joseph Kelly Ter­race res­id­ents Alex Bart­lett, Doug Hack­ney, Zhen Jin and Stan­ley Ku­backi said they were par­tic­u­larly con­cerned about put­ting a ped­es­tri­an gate on the prop­erty that would open in­to their street, which they said they own.

Be­cause it is a privately owned street, they said, the city does not plow it after a snow­fall. If any­one slips on the street when it is covered with ice or snow, they said they would be held re­spons­ible. If the city en­cour­ages ped­es­tri­an traffic on their street, then the city is put­ting them at leg­al risk.

More than a half-dozen Joseph Kelly Ter­race res­id­ents were at the Nov. 17 civic meet­ing. Some said that many of their neigh­bors don’t know their prop­er­ties ex­tend from the homes’ lots across the street and 10 feet in the wooded, but of­ten soggy, land on the oth­er side.

Joseph Kelly Ter­race is the east­ern bound­ary of Nor­mandy, a neigh­bor­hood of few­er than 500 house­holds that sits east of the Boulevard between Comly and Wood­haven roads.

It has been known for years that the U.S. De­fense De­part­ment was go­ing to cease op­er­a­tions at the Phil­adelphia Me­mori­al Re­serve Cen­ter, 2838-98 Wood­haven Road.

About five years ago, Nor­mandy res­id­ents sup­por­ted the city’s pro­pos­al to move po­lice train­ing, ex­cept for the fir­ing range, to the old mil­it­ary site west of Thornton Road.

But in Oc­to­ber, some neigh­bors said the plan they sup­por­ted then in­cluded an ac­cess road from Thornton Road across the north­ern part of the woods between Thornton and Joseph Kelly, not a road that would run par­al­lel with their street from Comly Road to the re­serve cen­ter.

That ori­gin­al road plan wouldn’t work, city of­fi­cials told them in Oc­to­ber, be­cause the land close to Wood­haven Road is prone to flood­ing.

At the Nov. 17 meet­ing, Ku­backi also asked about street lights on the ac­cess road shin­ing in­to Kelly Ter­race homes, and Jin said the new ac­cess road, as planned, would come very close to his prop­erty.

Thompson and Matejik dis­cussed the res­id­ents’ con­cerns, and Matejik said the ped­es­tri­an gate shouldn’t be a deal break­er and can be re­moved from the plans. He ad­ded the ac­cess road’s lights could be dir­ec­ted away from nearby homes. ••

Re­port­er John Loftus can be reached at 215-354-3110 or

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