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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org