by Joe Rapone
Joe Rapone lives in Chestnut Hill. He is a near neighbor of 10 E. Moreland Ave.
I would like to respond to comments made by Carl Primavera on the 10 E. Moreland dialysis center in the Nov. 25 issue of the Local. First, neighbors did not try to restrict hours. Neighbors tried to have the developer stick to its original proposed hours of operation. The hours proposed were presented as low impact, even though they were 17 hours a day. The 17-hour days were supposed to be three days a week. Instead, at the last minute, the developer stated that if the center could not operate 17 hours a day for six days instead of three days, the project could not move forward. Primavera stated the neighbors were “handcuffing” Fresenius Medical Care.
Presently, the owner of the property has parked dozens of portable toilets in the lot as a reminder to the neighbors of what might be in store if the dialysis center goes away. Actually the portable toilets are a lot quieter, since the dialysis center activity includes: CCT transit vans, private commercial vans, patient, physician and staff cars, delivery trucks, with attendant noise and air pollution, on street parking, back-up generator exhaust, and rubbish/medical waste removal. However, what we don’t know is where the owner plans to empty the porta-potties. Speaking of handcuffs, it looks like Chestnut Hill residents have a choice between medical waste and human waste.
Primavera stated in the Local “Why would Fresenius spend a month with the community association and plan on a $2 million state-of-the-art facility…” The answer to that is money. Fresenius Medical Care AG & Co. is a German based multinational corporation with $12 billion in net revenue (http://www.fmc-ag.com/139.htm). Fresenius will get a 10-year annual property tax bill of $15,000.
Meanwhile, the 72 near neighbors whose combined yearly taxes total more than $200,000, could suffer a decrease in their property value. Lower tax payments for corporations, means higher tax payments for Philadelphia residents. In 2011 tax rates for residents will increase by 9.9 percent. The message is getting very clear for City Council.
Primavera has stated on numerous occasions that the dialysis center will provide needed service to the northwest section of the city. There are 20 Fresenius dialysis facilities within 8 miles of 19118, and there are 20 DaVita dialysis facilities within 8 miles of 19118, half of those are within 4 miles. This is not about a shortage it is about consolidation and profit.
Councilwoman Donna Reed-Miller correctly thinks it’s about jobs. The neighbors who pay taxes spend millions of dollars providing jobs in constantly upgrading and repairing properties they believe to be a good investment. That notion may need review when the medical shopping center moves in. City Council may vote to give Fresenius no restrictions on hours of operation on Wednesday Dec. 8 at 10:00 a.m., Room 400, City Hall. You have an opportunity to have your voice heard and request that City Council support their constituents by rejecting Zoning Bill No. 100753.
EDITOR’S NOTE The Dec. 8 hearing in council is of the rules committee, which would need to support the bill before it goes to council. Primavera’s remarks in the Nov. 35 story were made back in August when the Local first reported that Fresenius had asked the Zoning Board of Adjustments to reconsider its decision to limit hours on Tuesday Thursday and Saturday.