Letters to the Editor

 

Process needs reform

The article about redevelopment plans for the former Budd Company site at 1 Red Lion Road (“Residents, Officials Discuss Red Lion Property,” July 3) pointed to contrasting circumstances that are hard to explain.

On one hand, private citizens found substantial information about the site, the parade of dump trucks building “Mount Somerton” there and the current owners’ plans. Documents point to plans for a distribution center with hundreds of tractor-trailer bays and more floor area than any Philadelphia skyscraper or stadium. It would be built directly adjacent to many people’s homes. Current earth-moving work is based on the so-called “eCommerce Distribution Option 2 Site Plan.” The developers, a company called Commercial Development Corporation and its subsidiaries, described the work as a $250 million project designed for “selected end users.” Surrounding neighborhoods’ residents deserve to know more information about the project, and to hear what their representatives think about the impact it could have on the neighborhood. Setting aside other issues discussed at the meeting, it appears that the center would bring many thousands more vehicles, including tractor-trailers, to Red Lion Road and local streets in Bustleton and Somerton each day.

In contrast to the information gathered at the meeting, the article said that the district City Council member for the site, Brian O’Neill, “told the Times he had no knowledge of the project.”

In May 2018, O’Neill told the Times that “I contacted CDC a couple weeks ago but haven’t heard anything back.” Fourteen months is a long time to wait for a reply.

Developers know that district Council members exert influence over city agencies that grant permits, making it foolish to advance large projects behind a local Council member’s back. The custom of councilmanic privilege gives district Council members power to design and advance to passage legislation making special zoning rules for land in their districts. Many such special rules, known as zoning overlays, exist already in the Zoning Code for neighborhoods across the city.

Since last year, Somerton Civic has been suggesting to O’Neill that he create a zoning overlay that would require very large new industrial projects planned right next to people’s homes to go though the zoning variance process. That would give neighbors a chance for meaningful input when dramatic changes to their neighborhoods are afoot.

The civic’s board has yet to hear back from O’Neill’s office about getting this provision drafted and passed by Council. If no such rule is adopted before the developers seek permits, any later meeting politicians hold with neighbors is likely to involve apologies and statements that “there’s just nothing we can do to help you now.”

Chris Bordelon

Somerton

We must stop shootings

I so wish we could go back to the ‘40s and ‘50s of our country. 

Being educated by all nuns for 12 years and taught that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost and all having respect and admiration for our police and firemen, teachers, scorekeepers and especially our clergy.

The only men in our neighborhood who had guns were hunters who, for the sport, would go out once a year and come home after four or five days with their catch and butcher the meat and share it with the neighbors.

Just how did our society get so far out of hand with such little respect for one another. Does it begin with the parents or the teachers who have to work much harder to teach our children how important life must be preserved.

Please, please put the guns away and restore peace back to our cities. So many innocent people are being hurt and killed.

Bless our dear Sisters who taught us well. They were all very dedicated and devoted to us children.

Think before you pull that trigger of that lethal weapon.

Patti Wirsz

Bustleton

Real ID cards are a waste

Real ID is a bureaucratic waste of time. We have basically given the state most of the information when we got our driver’s licenses. The state added the holograms to the licenses years ago. 

The Real ID is another federal government ploy created from the backlash of 9/11. They created the pseudo protective agency called the TSA and now the Real ID to protect the American people. They have consolidated all of the investigative agencies at great expense to do the same thing except they are not sharing the information because each agency wants to be the hero in the arrest. 

Do you feel safe? I know I don’t. 

Richard Donofry

East Torresdale