We here at Roy’s Rants wholeheartedly support the Fecera’s project as the needed catalyst for revitalization in Pottstown Borough. One large project that is successfully completed will demonstrate to other developers and investors that the climate has changed. A large, empty building does nothing except breed blight and crime. A restored, well lighted and full building will transform a neighborhood. Council needs to approve this project for the betterment of Pottstown. Failure to do so will contribute to the downward spiral of this once great community.
WILKES-BARRE — The city has shut down an apartment in the troubled Sherman Hills apartment complex where police said they found drugs while investigating a shooting.
The apartment in Building 308 cannot be rented for six months under the city’s “one-strike” ordinance that’s been enforced a number of times since it took effect on Sept. 1. in an attempt to deal with problem properties where gun and drug crimes are committed.
The woman, who lived in the apartment with a small child, and a man drove to a New Jersey hospital on Dec. 27 for treatment of gunshot wounds they said they suffered in an accidental shooting, according to police.
Catherine Thomas, 23, and Lashawn Burgman, 31, of Wyoming, told police they were afraid and fled out-of-town to avoid a police investigation.
Kimberly Mathis put up with plenty when the public-housing tower that shadows her little Germantown street was inhabited, but things got worse after the Philadelphia Housing Authority emptied the apartments in 2011 in preparation for demolition. The drug dealers, who had done a brisk trade inside the Queen Lane high-rise, quickly shifted business to the sidewalks below. They even dragged a set of bleachers to a spot across from Mathis’ house, which she bought from Habitat for Humanity and shares with a disabled daughter.
That was the last straw. Furious, Mathis says, she grabbed an ax and proceeded to hack the bleachers into firewood. The dealers scattered like so many roaches, taking up new positions a block away. She says her stretch of Priscilla Street has been dealer-free ever since.
If only getting rid of the notorious Queen Lane tower were as simple.
In the two tumultuous years since PHA announced plans to replace the graceless, 16-story misfit with 55 rental houses, the agency’s relationship with neighborhood homeowners has gone from bad to worse. For a while, it seemed that the project would enable PHA, which is still recovering from the Carl Greene scandal, to showcase a gentler, more collaborative style. Instead, the agency now finds itself in the position of ramming through a problematic design.
PHOENIXVILLE — The council meeting room at Borough Hall was filled to the brim while residents strained to listen from the building’s lobby as council heard public comments against a planned development at Friendship Field Tuesday night.
“I think you can pretty much sense the temperament of the community in this council room,” Council President Rich Kirkner told a lawyer representing the development group, Michael B. Murray Jr.
After almost a dozen people got up to voice their opposition to the project set for the corner of Franklin and Fillmore streets, council unanimously voted to strike the project from its agenda amid cheers and applause from those in the audience.
The proposed plan, by Housing Development Corporation MidAtlantic, which focuses on providing affordable housing, called for four-story-tall apartment buildings called Parkview Heights.
Editor’s note: What a crock! Thumbs down!
A mixed-use affordable-housing development is moving forward in Norristown despite opposition from some residents.
The plan calls for 96 one- and two-bedroom apartments, as well as 5,000 square feet of retail space, at DeKalb and Airy Street. Sixty units would be reserved for low- and moderate-income residents.
The site is now a parking lot owned by Montgomery County. The county deemed it underused, and in February agreed to transfer ownership through a profit-sharing redevelopment deal.
Editor’s note: We totally agree! Enough already with the “subsidized housing” in First Suburbs communities!
NORRISTOWN — A change.org online petition against the proposed, 96-unit, mixed-income apartment building slated to go into a Montgomery County parking lot in Norristown has attracted more than 227 petition signatures. The developer, Pennrose Properties of Philadelphia, is waiting for a Tuesday evening decision by the Norristown Zoning Hearing Board on whether to grant requested variances for the project following a two-hour zoning hearing last month.
Under a headline, “Montgomery County Commissioners and Norristown Municipal Council: Stop the Subsidized Housing Project in Downtown Norristown,” the petition alleges that “Norristown has over 53 percent of all of Montgomery County’s subsidized housing units and it doesn’t need any more.”
“The project directly contradicts the 2009 Norristown Comprehensive Plan in three key ways. It adds additional subsidized rental units. It subtracts 204 critically-needed parking spaces from the Downtown Business District. It is not a true Mixed-Use project, but instead, is a self-contained residential community,” the petition said. “It is our belief that, if built, the project will have a negative impact on the entire Municipality. It will cause the surrounding neighborhoods to suffer and hurt the Arts Hill and Downtown Business District. As Norristown is the County Seat, the impact will be felt by the entire County.”
The petition concluded, “the third largest County in the Commonwealth and one of the wealthiest in the United States, can do better.”
Editor’s note: Maybe they should call this the magical mystery tour!
POTTSTOWN — Issues of low-income housing concentrations and economic development are likely to command the agenda Monday when the Montgomery County Commissioners come to town as part of their ongoing “listening tour.”
The commissioners are holding the open meeting Monday at 7 p.m. at the Montgomery County Community College on College Drive.
The meetings serve as a way for residents to get answers and for the commissioners to get a sense of issues their constituents care about as a way to inform important decisions, particularly budget decisions, said Frank Custer, the county’s communications director.
It is the fourth of five such meetings set up around the county that so far have attracted moderate interest from the public, according to Custer.
At 6 pm tonight, civic activist group Code Blue is holding an informational protest in front of City Hall, prior to this evening’s 7 pm council meeting. Code Blue opposes the construction of low-income senior housing along the Schuylkill River at the former Lincoln underwear factory. The group invites you to come out and learn why they are opposed to this plan. If you care to join them to demonstrate your displeasure, feel free to stop by.
This is an critical meeting tonight with many important items on the agenda. You owe it to yourself, as a resident of Pottstown, to come out and make sure your voice is heard.