Bustleton civic group gives members an attendance test

Mem­bers of the Great­er Bustleton Civic League have amended the group’s bylaws to re­quire new mem­bers to at­tend at least one monthly meet­ing be­fore they are eli­gible to vote on mat­ters be­fore the or­gan­iz­a­tion. Mem­bers must live in the 19115 ZIP code.

Some op­pos­i­tion was voiced dur­ing the league’s Nov. 16 meet­ing at Temple Beth Ami on Old Bustleton Av­en­ue, but the change passed eas­ily, said the or­gan­iz­a­tion’s pres­id­ent, John McK­eever.

Pre­vi­ously, a new mem­ber could join the group, pay dues and im­me­di­ately be eli­gible to vote. That bylaw be­came an is­sue after scores of res­id­ents joined the league right be­fore a spring meet­ing, ap­par­ently just to vote dur­ing that ses­sion on a zon­ing mat­ter in which they had an in­terest.

Civic or­gan­iz­a­tions throughout the North­east of­ten are asked to sup­port zon­ing vari­ances. A prop­erty own­er who wants to do something that is not per­mit­ted un­der the city’s code must ask the Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment to OK that use. Own­ers of­ten try to get the bless­ings of com­munity groups so they can tell the zon­ers there is no neigh­bor­hood op­pos­i­tion to their plans.

Some civic or­gan­iz­a­tions are wary of see­ing their meet­ings packed by new mem­bers who join simply to vote something up or down. The Frank­ford Civic As­so­ci­ation, for ex­ample, re­quires mem­bers to at­tend four of six pre­vi­ous meet­ings be­fore they’re eli­gible to vote.  

Bustleton mem­bers also ap­proved chan­ging their mem­ber­ship year to be con­cur­rent with their fisc­al year, Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. 

They also changed the word­ing of the bylaw that de­scribes the league’s pur­pose to read:

The League is to act as a voice for the Bustleton com­munity, through its mem­bers, to ad­voc­ate for policies and pro­cesses that bet­ter the com­munity, pro­act­ively work­ing to pre­serve the qual­ity of life for res­id­ents, busi­nesses, and stu­dents who in­hab­it Bustleton; the res­id­en­tial nature of neigh­bor­hoods; and the peace­ful en­joy­ment of their homes and neigh­bor­hoods.

Be­fore vot­ing on the bylaw amend­ments, league mem­bers were ad­dressed by re­cently re-elec­ted City Coun­cil­man Bri­an O’Neill (R-10th dist.), who told them changes in the city’s zon­ing code were about to be voted on by Coun­cil.

He said Coun­cil mem­bers want to see more than 40 re­vi­sions they sug­ges­ted put in­to the code, which guides land use with­in the city. Mem­bers will then vote the new code up or down.

Most of the changes Coun­cil mem­bers want are items that will pro­tect neigh­bor­hoods,” said O’Neill, who was re-elec­ted two weeks ago.

“I think it will pass, and I think it will be good,” he said.

The code re­vi­sion, the first in more than a half-cen­tury, has been touted as be­ing more suc­cinct and easi­er to un­der­stand and use than the reg­u­la­tions cur­rently in use.

Mem­bers also voted un­an­im­ously not to op­pose a zon­ing vari­ance that would per­mit an auto re­pair busi­ness at 225 Gei­ger Road.

John Var­ghese wants to lease 4,500 square feet of the 50,000-square foot build­ing in the Gei­ger Road In­dus­tri­al Park. The prop­erty’s G-2 In­dus­tri­al zon­ing al­lows of­fices and ware­house, stor­age and a cell tower, but not auto re­pair, so the Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment must OK the pro­posed use.

The busi­ness won’t in­volve auto body or fend­er work, or spray paint­ing, mem­bers were told. All work will be done in­doors.

* * *

The civic league’s next meet­ing will be 7:30 p.m. on Wed­nes­day, Dec. 14, at Temple Beth Ami, 9201 Old Bustleton Ave. 

The league’s ses­sions usu­ally are on the fourth Wed­nes­day of the month, but be­cause the third Wed­nes­day falls dur­ing Ha­nukkah and the fourth Wed­nes­day falls in the week between Christ­mas and New Year’s Day, the Decem­ber meet­ing was moved.

In Janu­ary, mem­bers will meet on the first floor of the new build­ing of the Amer­ic­an Her­it­age Fed­er­al Cred­it Uni­on on Red Li­on Road. The league pre­vi­ously had met at Amer­ic­an Her­it­age but had to move its gath­er­ings to Temple Beth Ami more than a year ago when renov­a­tions star­ted at the cred­it uni­on. ••

Re­port­er John Loftus can be reached at 215-354-3110 or jloftus@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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