Members of [Conshohocken Borough] council,
Sometimes in life people wonder why some things are important and others are not. I have watched the saga of WAWA/Provco/Goodman now for 5 or 6 years and have thought about what is important in this process.
What I came away with is that it is the lives of all the people involved, both those of the people in the neighborhood and those who dedicated themselves to the volunteer job of being part of the process. What the personal things are, is the important thing. The number of man hours spent is incalculable considering Planning Board meetings, Zoning Hearing Board meetings, Council Meetings and days in a court room.
As I look back on all these years, the only time I saw members of Council were at the Council meetings. Not once in my memory did someone attend the 21 +/- ZHB meetings where the essence of the request was explained in time consuming detail.
Yet, they felt no compunction to ignore all the work and time spent by the members of the ZHB and the Planning Board and a previous Council; instead the existing Council held a brief hearing on a new zoning ordinance which passed by a slim margin permitting a change to the original ordinance which was clearly written in 1965 to keep fueling stations and broad-based retail use out of that sector of Conshohocken.
The question then to myself was; if I worked for a Boss that gave me a job to do and the authority to make a decision on behalf of my company and spent 21 months working on it in order to get it right and with the complete agreement of my colleagues came to a resolution that had facts, serious discussion and years of experience supporting it, and my Boss dismissed it out of hand, how would I feel?
Having said that, and after working for many years with employees, administrative staff and independent contractors, I learned that the most important qualities necessary to retain respect and allegiance were to communicate, listen, and treat people with respect. Dismissing the efforts of the Planning and Zoning Hearing Board seems to fly in the face of those principles.
Does Council understand what you are doing to the lives of those that live nearby, or is it of no consequence? One of the confounding issues is; why are you willing to pay for and assume the burden of proving FOR THE DEVELOPERS that the standing ordinance is no good? More broadly why would you use taxpayer dollars to help any developer?
I find myself going back to the opening paragraph; essentially it is “what is important”.
Is it the lives of our neighbors, the serenity of our town, or a capitulation to the power of money and promises from people whose only interest is to enhance themselves on the planning and work of previous leaders? I ask you to look in the mirror and judge our history for yourselves.
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