Sunday, February 7, 2016

LM board postpones officer firing, approves revitalization extension

The Lower Merion Board of Commissioners discussed several major items on the agenda, including the Ardmore Revitalization project extension, the settlement with developers over conflicting projects near Righters Ferry Road in Bala Cynwyd and the firing of police personnel, which was again postponed.

LM board postpones officer firing, approves revitalization extension


Lower Merion Township’s Board of Commissioners postponed a vote to fire a police officer for the second time since the board reconvened Jan. 4, a day after the officer in question handed in her resignation.

The Main Line Times reported that Christine Knorr, a 15-year veteran, handed in her resignation Tuesday, Jan. 17 rather than get fired over sick policy disputes. Lower Merion Township Fraternal Order of Police President Gavin Goschinski told Main Line Times that Knorr was out for “a number of Chronic and degenerative illness which makes it impossible for her going on with a police career.”

Following this, the township can either accept Knorr’s resignation or terminate her.

Police personnel matters aside, the township also discussed the preliminary plan and agreement for complex development at Righters Ferry Road, the transfer of a liquor license from Norristown to Ardmore for a beer specialty shop and an extension on the Ardmore Revitalization project.

Christine Vilardo, executive director of the Ardmore Initiative spoke on the issue during the public comment portion of the meeting, and said the community couldn’t wait for the project to get started. Vilardo also urged the board to vote for the extension.

“We think the goals haven’t changed, that what’s changed are the possible solutions and ways to achieving these goals,” Vilardo said of Ardmore revitalization.

Commissioners Jenny Brown and Lewis Gould once again expressed their concern over the long awaited Ardmore Revitalization project.

“Ms. Vilardo didn’t want us to give up on the project and I quite agree with her,” Gould said. “The only people who are giving up on the Ardmore project are those who are supporting a very narrow project of dubious value.”

Gould said that when he brought in about $6 million when the project was originally conceived, the goal was to build a new train station. He said nothing about development on the Cricket lot was mentioned at that time, and he was doubtful the paid parking garage would be of use with nearby Suburban Square street and customer parking.

Gould later proposed a friendly amendment to make the 60-day extension from Jan. 31 to March 31 the final extension on the project agreement, which Brown seconded.

“Based on comments last week, I think it’s more than appropriate that we put the word ‘final’ in this particular motion,” Brown said.

The amendment was ultimately shot down, after which the project received an extension with only Brown and Gould casting the opposing vote.

The board also approved the request to transfer a liquor license from a Norristown restaurant belonging to Pete Vitale, to his proposed beer specialty shop in Ardmore Plaza.

The preference for a three-party settlement agreement between the township, Righters Ferrry Association and Bridgehead and Footbridge, LP was also approved in a 6-3 vote.

It was approved on the conditions that it was not the final settlement for the conflicting developers building complexes at Righters Ferry Road along the Schuylkill River.

The next board meeting is Wednesday, Feb. 15. A workshop on the official map of the City Avenue District will be held this Saturday, Jan. 21 at 10 a.m., and a finance workshop on the potential uses of the $6.9 million in unanticipated General Funds revenue will be held this Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 6 p.m.

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About this blog
Josh Fernandez is a 2011 graduate of Temple University where he studied journalism and gender studies. He was a writer and editor for The Temple News, and has interned at Philadelphia City Paper and the Philadelphia Daily News. Josh lived in Aston, Pa. in Delaware County before moving to University City in Philadelphia.

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