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Readers' Views: What is council's vision?

Posted 9/18/12

Editor,Imagine my surprise being told that the Planning Commission has been eliminated at the Sept 17 Borough Council meeting. You see, I serve on the Planning Commission, and I was never contacted by any borough official, nor did any member of …

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Readers' Views: What is council's vision?


If our stipend of $100 was in question, the commission members were more than willing to serve while not being compensated. However, again, we were never contacted by any member of council to ascertain our input.

The commission's mission and intent is to move the borough forward, attract and encourage developers/investors and entrepreneurs, assist the community in economic growth and provide feedback to home and business owners who want to expand either their personal homes or business.

As I am sure you are aware, the members of the commission are highly professional, have received proper training in land development and have a high degree of intelligence that is necessary as we provide input to the borough’s comprehensive plan and make and prepare recommendations to the borough’s land use control ordinances, which are comprised of the zoning, subdivision and land development ordinances.  

In addition, we also prepare and provide feedback on building and housing codes and consult on environmental studies – and can recommend capital improvement programs to council.

Investors/developers, and citizens in general who want to make home improvements, should not be subjected to the appearance and asinine questioning of council members who are uneducated in land development and its usage and have no knowledge of our current zoning and housing codes.

For this council to discontinue the Planning Commission and replace it with a Planning Committee served entirely and only by council members will only continue the downward trajectory that this council has embarked on the borough.

Many current projects will be extremely impacted by this decision and it is highly doubtful that those projects will come to fruition without the aid of the Planning Commission.  

Case in point: In September of last year, the Planning Commission completed a “re-zoning and code enforcement modification” proposal for the entire borough. This proposal took more than a year to complete and was worked on by myself, Gordon Einhorn and Michael Veet, in conjunction with seasoned land usage and zoning experts. The proposal allowed the borough to be more business friendly, stopped landlords from chopping up homes to be used for government assisted housing, preserved our historic homes, changed the code language so it is now current and up to date, and recommended a rental inspection program. This proposal is the blueprint for all future economic growth within borough limits.

The proposal was presented to council back in October for feedback and ultimately adoption. To date, there has been no feedback from council. So it raises the question: What is council’s vision for the future of the borough? 

Surely, one would think for a council that is adamant about the borough being in a “deficit,” councilors would welcome the re-zoning and new code ordinances and implement the rental inspection program. 

Does council not want new, and more, businesses in town? The blighted properties to be addressed? Housing standards that meet life safety codes for renters? A new train stop and shopping center? Extra revenue generated for the borough?

From what I’m witnessing, council’s actions are saying it doesn't.
                                            Diana McGlone

The writer is a former member of Middletown Borough Council.