Jan. 17, 2019 - Hosts for Hospitals and Chat with Commissioners Grimes and McKeon

  1. Welcome

The president of the Penn Valley Civic Association, Michelle Detwiler, welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced the speakers for the evening:

  • Cathy Davis, Outreach Coordinator for Host for Hospitals

  • Commissioners Josh Grimes and Mike McKeon

  1. Cathy Davis, Host for Hospitals

    • Local non-profit that provides lodging and support to patients and families coming into this area.  They stay with volunteer families. It’s like Ronald McDonald House, but out of the volunteers’ homes.  The organization started eighteen years ago in this area.

    • Shared a video of a host family and guest and the heartwarming connection they made while the guest was awaiting a double lung transplant.

    • Shared that the organization is looking for:

      • Hosts, who would provide a place for guests to stay during their time of medical need;

      • Friends, who would spread the word about the Hosts for Hospitals program, even if they are not able to be a host themselves;

      • Guests, who have a housing need during a medical procedure.

    • Hosts undergo a quick forty-five-minute assessment if they would like to volunteer and receive no compensation.

    • Guests pay the Hosts for Hospitals organization twenty dollars per night for the service.

    • Cathy Davis provided a pamphlet with more information about the program.  The website for the program is www.hostsforhospitals.org.

  1. Commissioners, Josh Grimes and Mike McKeon

    • The commissioners answered a variety of questions of interest to the group:

      • Placeholders Under Existing Zoning Code - One item for discussion was placeholders from developers to get grandfathered in under the old zoning code.  Developers have a deadline to submit the plans under the old or current zoning code. Because these developers have property rights under the existing law, they do have a chance to retain these rights before the law is changed.  This does not yet mean that these projects will be approved. However, this is right to submit is allowed as the current code is still in effect. Even if these are approved, many may not be built.

      • Poor Cell Phone Coverage - We then discussed poor cell phone coverage in the area.  The commissioners noted that this is driven primarily by the carriers themselves. They noted that they had been approached by AT&T for implementation of 5G coverage in some of our area.  The boxes that they would be installing would go on telephone poles in the area. The boxes would be for AT&T only. No other carriers have yet approached the commissioners for access. If customers have issues, they should contact their carriers.  It is also a possibility that the state legislature will take away the ability of the commission to approve the location of cell towers and equipment.

      • Speeding on Bryn Mawr and Traffic – We discussed traffic calming measures such as edge line striping like we have on Hagys Ford.  Police are out in the neighborhood, but can’t be everywhere. Aggressive driving is an issue all over the country. Waze sends people through Gladwyne.  The commission formed an ad hoc traffic safety committee which is issuing recommendations next month.

      • Developers Buying Out of Stipulations – We discussed developers being able to pay fees in exchange for not putting in a certain amount of vegetation in a development.  That is allowed in some circumstances, with the thought that the fees paid will then be used for greenspace in another area. It is discretionary to allow the payment of fees, so people have to speak up if they don’t want it.  It was mentioned that it would be nice to add that a percentage of the greenspace added back include native species. It was also mentioned that this “buying out” issue relates to affordable housing as well. It is important that people come and make a public comment on development before the commission if they have issues with these buyouts.

      • Applications for Development – We discussed that the civic associations should be informed about major development project applications.  Right now, it’s a suggestion that the developers talk to the civic association, but it is not required.

      • PECO and Trees – We discussed how PECO has been trimming and removing trees in the area.  PECO does not need township permission. If you have questions, contact PECO. The township is made aware of the work, but is not a part of the approval process.

      • Crime – We talked about the car thefts and thefts from cars in the area.  These thefts appear to be crimes of opportunity because in many cases the cars are unlocked and in certain cases, the key fob has been left inside.

  2. Adjournment

    • The meeting was adjourned.  Michelle thanked the Commissioners, Josh Grimes and Mike McKeon as well as Cathy Davis, Host for Hospitals, for speaking with us.