What’s new at Market-Two? (45)

(45th in a series of posts about 2 W. Market St.)

We’ve had so many long meetings on 2 W. Market St., and so many long posts on them, that I know it must be hard to keep things straight.

Instead of giving you the full Monty on the December 4 meeting, Gadfly is giving you only the key Council decision statements, see post #43 in this sequence, and here a few selected pieces. On December 4 there was a good deal of duplication of speakers and ideas from the previous meetings – no need to duplicate them for you.

But here are a few presentations that Gadfly thinks you should see, hear – know.

If nothing else, don’t miss Mr. Rij!

Messrs. Fitzpatrick and Diamond preceded Gadfly, and he could not help comment on these equally forceful but opposing viewpoints, virtually balancing each other off.

Bill Fitzpatrick

 

Current chair of Zoning Board. Not representing ZB now. Reviews process of ZB deliberation. Commercial interests can be good neighbors. Not a member of the previous ZB panel decision on 2 W., recused self, will do so again if it comes up again. ZB has better perspective on what’s good for city and better caring for city that do judges in Harrisburg. ZB sets conditions, hears promises, leap of faith that they will be followed – but not here, no surmise, just look at the property. Use your senses to figure out if it’s good or bad for the neighborhood. Consider unintended consequences of denying the petition. Dismayed by threats of legal action at past hearings. Vote on facts and conscience; do not be intimidated.

Steve Diamond

 

Imminent destruction of our zoning ordinance for the benefit of one. About future precedent for one individual to change zoning ordinances. Can’t abdicate, can’t wash your hands. Setting a precedent. No case made for health, safety, public welfare of the city. A “yes” sets a low bar for a scenario of something he and his wife could request and goes into in detail about it. How do you pick one application over another in this scenario, how do you choose? Decide by favoritism and political pressure? Low bar. Open to suits of discrimination. Furthermore, what stops Mr. Brew (Airbnb) from doing the same thing.  Council, boards, etc., change personnel all the time. You cannot control the future. You are destroying zoning. Opening floodgates to destroying zoning.

Mr. Carpenter impressed me as giving the one truly new perspective after all these meetings – the perspective of the prospective investor who needs certainty and stability. But also his clarity about the role of elected city officials in upholding law was especially striking and new.

Will Carpenter

Not opposed to use or user. Character and property fantastic. Not opposed to mixed use. “What I object to is that it’s against the law.” They are not operating within the laws that we elect you to enforce. Your job is to protect us by enforcing laws equally.  Enforce law so we have some level of certainty. Present petition “very clumsy” way to retain this gift horse. “Sometimes a good thing can’t happen because the laws aren’t appropriate.” We look to you as elected official to enforce that. Certainty matters to investors. No investment where there are shaky laws and unpredictability. Why would an investor buy under this new circumstance? Tool that makes this happen is “clumsy” and “negligent” on city’s part.

Mr. Phillips’ very brief but very powerful testimony to Mr. Rij’s beneficent character.

Darryl Phillips

Calls Mr. Rij “coach.” Homeless. Helped him with money. He’s changed my life. I think better about myself. He’s a very good quality person. Seen, witnessed, beautiful things. Lot would be hurt if he goes from here.

The video went dead at the beginning of Kori’s presentation but captures her recap of the important points (see post #15 for her original, detailed presentation).

Kori Lannon

 

Importance of small businesses to a community. Main points: 1) substantial opportunity to sell to a family but it didn’t 2) already a mixed use property surrounded by commercial interests and no work was done till approval given 3) keep fate of Green buildings in front of your minds. Need to encourage stewardship in such awkward properties.

Mr. Preston is interesting for the way he plays off the comment by Mr. Carpenter that also struck me so much. But also because he pretty much says what this is all about is for benefit of 2 W.

James Preston

Reference Carpenter’s statement about good things not happening because the law won’t allow it – asking you to change law to allow it. Goes over facts given before. Not much difference between each side. No dominoes ready to fall. Requirements of the ordinance are intersection, commercial use, single-family dwelling. Can’t do the things that people have suggested as bad outcomes. Council can make good things happen at 2 W. Reference to “the house” misleading. More than that. Always. Property never dedicated to a single-family dwelling. “This is about 2 W. Market, the fact that there’s a unique situation there that has fallen through the cracks judicially.” Make the law allow the good thing to happen. No cancer here.

Quadrant patriarch’s appearance is a “can’t miss.”

Herman Rij

Bad characterizations of me over the meetings. I am wealthy but because of family and friends. This whole thing quite an ordeal. Came to US as immigrant, as migrant worker. Doesn’t come from money. Wife the same. Acquired 2 W by mortgaging because no financing available. Lots of straw men – parking, traffic, etc. – turn out to not be problems. Buildings don’t make neighborhoods, people do. Have eyes on the street. Caretaker lives on the property. Incident of Liz the homeless person, who recognized them as people to come to for help. Sexual predators in neighborhood; watch that risk if apartments get put in 2 W. Pays lots in taxes, supports local restaurants, other community efforts. Extensive support of neighbors demonstrated through petitions. Dissenters insulting council, planners, indicating they can be caved under. Changes legal, received approval, and end result is good. Illegal business charge: but he’s letting dress store woman operate rent free in Green building. She’s sole support. That’s neighborliness. Consistent with mixed uses there since conception. Renovation not for us but benefit of district, city, etc.

Gadfly knows he is too slow and plodding for some of you, but he likes to get all the relevant information out.

Just about ready for analysis in preparation for “Crunch Time (3),” the final vote on December 18.

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