Letters to the Editor

A response from O’Neill

I would like to clarify some issues in reference to the former Budd Company site at 1 Red Lion Road.

This property has been zoned for industrial use since the Budd Company first opened in the 1940s.

The new owner has been marketing this site for industrial use and is expected to announce the name of a new tenant sometime in the near future.

Once the new company is identified, I will share any additional information I receive with local residents and the Northeast Times.

Warehouse and distribution is a permitted use in this industrial zoning district. In accordance with the zoning code, the Department of Licenses and Inspections will issue a permit as a matter of right.

At my request, City Planning Commission staff met with Somerton Civic Association leadership to explore the possibility of a zoning overlay. At this meeting, it was determined by the Planning Commission that it was not legally possible to require a variance for an industrial use in an industrially zoned district such as the Budd Company site.

I have established many overlays in my district. If an overlay could have been established here, I would have done so.

My Council district has the strictest zoning in the city, and I am always looking for ways to improve it and preserve the quality of our Far Northeast neighborhoods.

Councilman Brian O’Neill

Dancing for injection sites

So Kenney and his merry men and women are taking a vacation at taxpayers’ expense. What a waste of money.

As sure as God made little green apples, if the injection site is ruled legal, Kenney will open one. With arrogance, he has ignored the taxpayers when he institutes his policies (sanctuary city, soda tax, legal help for illegals and his opiate plan).

He already has enough information on the injection sites because taxpayers have paid thousands for his biased studies.

Basically, there are only 100 injections sites in the world. The FDA would not approve a drug with that limited number of sites in a test. But knowing Kenney’s past, he will ignore the residents and put in an injection site and probably do another dance while the residents fume.

Richard Donofry

East Torresdale

Councilman Bobby Henon helpful to the homeless

The Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network is a registered 501c3 nonprofit agency that provides an array of services to Philadelphia’s sizable homeless population, including prevention, housing, shelter and advocacy. There are many factors that lead to homelessness that are often out of our control. Job loss and health crises can easily change the financial status of an otherwise stable family. It’s a growing problem nationally and a huge challenge in Philadelphia, where an estimated 1,000 to 1,300 children and their families are homeless.

Currently, Northeast Philadelphia has the second-highest eviction rate in the city, with more than 5,700 school district students living without a permanent place to call home last year. PIHN has recently put a fund together specifically to target preventing homelessness before it occurs. Increasingly, families are finding it difficult to make their rent or mortgage payments. At present, Philadelphia’s shelter system is stretched beyond capacity. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution or quick fix to end homelessness. It requires a holistic approach that begins with meeting immediate needs, and extends further to alleviate the root causes of poverty and help families achieve lasting independence. Our approach is highly effective – 92% of our families have succeeded in permanently overcoming homelessness.

Our success in aiding the city’s homeless population would not be possible without the support of elected officials. We are especially grateful to Northeast Philadelphia’s 6th District Councilman Bobby Henon, who helped secure our organization a critically important activity grant to fund our efforts. Councilman Henon’s office also works closely with us to help secure shelter for our clients and worked with us to form the Northeast Services Team Coalition (NESTco), which has become a coordinating entity for all Northeast Philadelphia social service agencies. Councilman Henon truly cares about all of his constituents, especially those in need of a helping hand.

Bob Byrne

Director of Operations, Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network