The Burholme Community Town Watch and Civic Association last week welcomed a 2nd Police District official and the two candidates vying in the 10th Councilmanic District.
Lt. Frank Schneider oversees Police Service Area 3, which is the area from Tyson Avenue to Rhawn Street in the 2nd district.
Schneider, who was well received by the crowd because of his thoroughness in documenting neighborhood complaints, explained at the Oct. 13 meeting that there have been thefts of aluminum bleachers at Northeast High School, Burholme Park and Fox Chase Recreation Center.
Residents had various concerns, including motorists flying through stop signs, dog owners not picking up their pets’ messes and parents double- and triple-parking during the morning and afternoon at J. Hampton Moore Elementary School.
City Councilman Brian O’Neill, a Republican, spoke about the Zoning Code Commission’s ongoing work in revamping Philadelphia’s zoning code, which has remained largely unchanged in the last 50 years.
O’Neill has long made zoning his priority, and he wants no weakening of existing language. The way he views it, any property that needs a variance today should need a variance after the code is changed.
City Council will vote on whether to accept the commission’s recommendations. O’Neill encouraged residents to contact the seven at-large Council members to offer their thoughts on the issue.
One resident asked O’Neill about a proposed methadone clinic at 7900 Frankford Ave. While the site is a few blocks outside the 10th district, O’Neill indicated that he doesn’t believe a methadone clinic is a traditional medical center. The city’s existing definition of a medical center is too broad, in O’Neill’s opinion, and he’ll wait to see if the matter is addressed by the Zoning Code Commission.
O’Neill was also asked about the Occupy Wall Street protest outside City Hall. While there have been reports that homeless people and drug addicts are joining the protesters, the councilman reported that the gathering has been peaceful.
Bill Rubin, O’Neill’s Democratic opponent, worked for the city commissioners’ office for about 25 years. He was the supervisor of elections and also was vice chairman of the Philadelphia Board of Pensions and Retirement.
Rubin faulted Council for taking pay raises at a time when the city is threatening to close libraries, recreation centers and swimming pools. He noted that, had private donors not intervened, pools would have been closed last summer.
The challenger’s reform agenda include a ban on outside employment by Council members and a limit of three-four year terms. O’Neill is seeking his ninth term. Rubin cited the late Councilmen Thacher Longstreth and David Cohen as two members who stayed in office too long.
Rubin said he is impressed with the talents of some incoming Council members. There will be at least six freshmen members of Council next year.
“I want to be one of them,” he said.
Morning Star Christian Church, at 7114 Oxford Ave., would like to subdivide its grounds. The civic association opposes the move and has a general rule about opposing any effort to turn a single-family property into a multi-family dwelling.
However, the group indicated there could be room to compromise if the church remains the landlord of any planned duplex, especially if the tenant is a church member.
The Burholme Community Town Watch and Civic Association will meet again on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m., at United Methodist Church of the Redeemer, at Cottman and Lawndale avenues. ••
Reporter Tom Waring can be reached at 215-354-3034 or firstname.lastname@example.org