The following letters and the piece by Bowman Properties architect Richard K. Gelber on page 5 refer to a front-page opinion piece by Weavers Way Co-op General Manager Glenn Bergman that appeared in the November issue of the Weavers Way Shuttle. We had plans to run a slightly edited version of the piece but it did not arrive until after the paper was already laid out on Monday afternoon.

Find it here.

Sour Grapes

What a shame Glenn Bergman’s commentary in the Weavers Way shuttle has to spout further biased venom around the exceptional community of Chestnut Hill!

It is worth remembering the real facts. Weavers Way attempted to purchase the Magarity property with plans to create a food market, other retail and housing. Bowman Properties were successful in buying the site, and will now develop a food market, other retail and housing.

If Mr. Bergman thought he had a good plan why is he determined to block anyone else from the same development? One can only reason that Mr Bergman is a bad loser. Very sad!

Piers Wedgwood
Chestnut Hill

 

New market, same story

I can’t believe it’s happening again.  First the Good Food Market was chased out of town by political maneuvers and now Glenn Bergman wants to fight Fresh Market?  Is our neighborhood going to be limited to one small market?  Is it just coincidence that the near neighbors opposing Fresh Market have the same attorney as the near neighbors who opposed the Good Food Market?  I wonder who is paying the bills.

Please stop in to Weavers Way and tell them that their behavior is not what we expect from a “community organization.”

R. P. Yrigoyen
Chestnut Hill

 

Development Welcome at Magarity site

According to the Weavers Way Shuttle, its board of directors is mounting a campaign to stop Fresh Market from coming to Chestnut Hill. Weavers Way took over a million of our tax dollars to open its store. Now they want to stop a development by a private developer.

Instead of calling your Council members to oppose Fresh Market, call them to tell them to ask for our money back from Weavers Way.

We have operated a retail store in this community since the 1960s and have never seen overall traffic this light. It seems most days of the week you could drive three tractor trailers beside one another down that area of Germantown Avenue.

I hardly think that the traffic at the new daycare center at the former Borders’ site with 4-year-olds will do much for the retail environment on the Avenue. Yet it will occupy a large retail space and most likely create a traffic snarl at rush hour.

We are in need of a development such as Bowman has proposed, and we should be thankful a developer is willing to use his own money in these times and invest it in Chestnut Hill.

Barry Blum
Blum Antiques
Chestnut Hill

 

No need for Fresh Market in Chestnut Hill

I find everything I want and more in the great variety of local food markets that already exist and that we are so lucky to have in our Chestnut Hill community – from the Top of The Hill down to the Night Kitchen.

The vendors at the Farmers Market offer every kind of fresh chicken, eggs, meats, prepared foods and fresh veggies and more.  Top of the Hill Market and Weavers Way both have excellent fresh fish. They also have-top notch meat, yummy sandwiches of any kind, delicious tasting and healthy soups and wonderfully prepared hot and cold dishes for a non-homecooked meal.

All carry tantalizing, fresh-baked goodies as do our four wonderful bakeries along the Avenue.  And, a cheese shop that offers every known and unfamiliar variety of cheese.

Most of the above mentioned markets are locally owned and community-minded.  Weavers-Way is a great example;  the management and staff go out of their way for every customer.  They give back a portion of their profits to the communities of Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill.

Suzanne Dure
Chestnut Hill

 

It could have been built by now

Near neighbors support the development of 8200 Germantown Avenue. In fact, the neighbors chose a few of us to join the Chestnut Hill Civic Association’s negotiating committee. They volunteer their time (and lots of it!) to work with the developer so that the property can be improved and revitalized.  Nearly every single person wants this. And almost nobody is against this.  So why isn’t it done by now?!

The sticking point between the neighbors and the developer is not whether a grocery store should be built there. The current zoning in fact allows for a food market to operate there. And there is also absolutely no problem with varying the zoning to allow for “mixed-use” development of the property on Germantown Avenue allowing for residential development together with the food market use. That is in fact the way most of Germantown Avenue has been for years and years and years.

So it appears that 8200 Germantown Avenue could have been developed by now as a mixed use property – with the high quality food market the developer has been talking about and new residential units in place _and with neighbors near and far in support. Instead, we are faced with yet another divisive neighborhood argument about development.

Instead of taking advantage, and bringing life to this centerpiece property, the developer has chosen to fight for a zoning change that would reduce the residential area and make 80 percent of this entire tract commercial.  I say move the market from the middle of the tract as the current plan calls for, to front on Germantown Avenue.  And build residences on top, in step with the historical character of the Avenue.

Keep the residential zoning at the back of the parcel on Shawnee as it is. This can be done without changing the zoning to 80 percent commercial, would enjoy the support of the entire community, and would save us all from yet another divisive season of development controversy.

Michael Gonzales
Chestnut Hill

 

Shocked over parking kiosk plan

I am shocked that the Chestnut Hill Parking Foundation (CHPF) is going to allow the PPA to patrol its lots. I am willing to pay a fee to park. Free was nice, but if the lots can’t be maintained, I will pay. Why doesn’t the CHPF use some of the revenues from the lot to patrol it? Isn’t that part of maintaining a lot?

Of course the PPA is as popular as having to pay taxes, but consider the misguided incentive system. The PPA has an incentive to come in and generate revenue for themselves by writing tickets, and there is the potential for conflict between what the CHPF wants and the PPA wants.

The CHPF wants clean, maintained lots that have legal parking and offer convenience. If you think that coincides with the PPA’s goal of writing tickets and generating revenue, well, I hope you are right. I think it is a mistake.

Anytime you find a car parked illegally, you can call a towing company and have it removed.

I find it ironic that often times municipal government contracts services out to private entrepreneurs. In this case, a private company is contracting out city government? Giving someone a parking ticket doesn’t address the illegal parking. It just makes you pay the city if you do it. I am not sure of the PPA’s usefulness or role here.

Spencer Penn
Chestnut Hill

 

Parking kiosks will be a disaster

In response to your article about bringing Parking kiosks to Chestnut Hill; I think in view of the current economy, Parking kiosks would be disastrous for the shops of Chestnut Hill. We must think about who our competitors are and, in the case of the shops of Chestnut Hill, one of our competitors is Suburban Square in Ardmore. Suburban Square attracts top flight shops because they offer multitudes of free parking. Also, the sales tax is only 6  percent outside of the city limits!

Merchants in Chestnut Hill are working hard to survive and paid parking will mean that much more hardship. Anyone who goes to Center City knows how difficult the Kiosks are. Pay your money and many times you get neither a ticket or your money returned!

Last week on Delancey Place I lost $6 to the machine. As a Bird-in-Hand volunteer, I notice that every week we have customers who are worried about putting money in the meters and leave, or who have received a parking ticket in the past and think twice about returning.

A return to the system of parking stickers or tokens would be far better for Chestnut Hill shops.

John H. Thompson
West Mt. Airy

 

Corporate greed IS one of the real issues

It isn’t clear whether George Parry, in his recent piece in the Local and the Philadelphia Inquirer, is trying to be funny or just living in a dream world. Is there unemployment among us approaching 10 percent and expected to stay that high for many years? Is there a vast and growing gulf between the very rich and the rest of us? Is the real income of the middle class dropping rapidly? Is the number of poverty stricken citizens rising steeply?

Apparently Mr Parry thinks not. But these are what the Occupy Philadelphia and related “jamborees” (to use Mr Parry’s word) really are about.

As for Mr Parry’s vicious attack on skulking “academic scamsters,” we have all heard the repeated urging of young people to get college degrees to further their chances of employment. Virtually all college attendees are choosing courses of study with just that goal in mind, not the rediculous subjects that Mr. Parry has invented.

Ray Kaplan
Chestnut Hill

Time to compromise on college plan

I was glad to read Bob Shusterman and James Pope’s letter outlining their objections to the negotiated CDA (Community Development Agreement). It had not been clear why they did not see that this compromised agreement was in the best interest of Chestnut Hill.

Many of their points were good and you would expect them to be on the table at the beginning. But this is 22 months later, after negotiations and trade-offs to reach a consensus.

Not one of the nine parties to the discussion got everything they wanted. The gain to the larger community has to be greater than the stake of any one position.

The two dissenters believe their points are too important to compromise. I understand they have not attended group negotiations since last spring. They also have not been interested in an open discussion with the larger community. Perhaps now only time will restore their faith in the process.

Randy Williams
Chestnut Hill

How to rescue Postal Service

It’s not the Internet that’s put the Postal Service on its back, but government’s refusal to privatize the service. With ballooning deficits and pension obligations, observers foresee the possibility of a postal shutdown next summer, according to recent news reports.

The Postal Service might buy some time by setting up post offices in major retail outlets, such as Wal-mart or grocery stores. Early post offices were established in local stores, with proprietors serving as postmasters.  The principle benefit was more business for the store due to increased customer traffic.

People coming for their mail were likely to buy merchandise, including things they could ship to others right away. With such benefits, merchants might provide postal space for free.

People could also get their mail at these local store-based postal offices while they shop. People who want regular home delivery can pay a fee for it. Fees could be assessed according to location.

Those who live in remote areas, necessitating air delivery or long drives for mailmen, would pay greater fees than those who live in easy-to-reach places. In short, people should pay for what they get.

Home delivery services should also be farmed out to private delivery services. Whistling in the wind?  Maybe. But with its current obligations, the Postal Service can’t afford to take on many more employees!

Since these ideas make too much sense for government, I predict that they will:

1. Maintain the service with general fund subsidies, and…

2. Pay for operations and obligations by taxing and regulating the Internet!

3. Congress will put the Postal Service in charge of the Web for that purpose!

Socialism never goes away on its own. You have to give it the bum’s rush!

Christopher J. Bachler
Drexel Hill

 

Thank you for Holocaust article

Thank you for the column about Judy Meisel (“Holocaust survivor,” Nov. 3 issue). Unfortunately, I will not be able to see her.

My first experience with the concentration camps was Bergen-Belsen in the British sector of West Germany in 1956 in the army. When the camp was liberated, it was so full of disease and dead bodies. The British just bulldozed large pits and bulldozed the bodies in them with signs, “500 Bodies Buried Here.”

There was a memorial naming the 14 countries the prisoners were from and with this inscription, “When they came for the Jews, I did not pay attention. When they came for the Catholics, I did not pay attention. When they came for me, there was no one left to pay attention.”

I also saw Auschwitz on a trip to Europe with my wife in 1995. Walked under the large sign, “Arbeit Mach Frie” (work makes free).

Being in the remains of these camps has left a lifelong impression on me. It will not be long until all survivors are gone. It is up to us to teach the young ones about the camps. If we do not, who will?

Thanks again for the column.

Tom Woodruff (age 77)
Oreland