by Brendan Sample

As a first step in what could become a major change to Chestnut Hill’s parking facilities, the board of the Chestnut Hill Community Association began discussing the possibility of replacing defunct parking meters with electronic kiosks or meters at its meeting on March 22.

Anne McNiff, executive director of the CHCA. and Phil Dawson, executive director of the Chestnut Hill Business District, both met with the Philadelphia Parking Authority to start talking about viable options for the community. Speaking with Scott Petri, newly appointed executive director of the PPA, they determined that their choices would likely come down to a kiosk on each block or electronic meters placed approximately every 22 feet.

Both options would allow drivers to pay for parking by a credit card or through an electronic payment on a smartphone application, in addition to cash. The app would also allow users to pay from a distance, such as in situations where they would need to extend their parking time without going all the way back to their car. The kiosks also would not print out paper tickets, but would instead require drivers to input their license plate number.

Both McNiff and Dawson hope to be able to convene a community meeting about this subject to gain feedback from local residents. One point of discussion will likely be whether to go with either kiosks or meters. Both options have many of the same features, but where the meters will dictate the size of parking spots, kiosks will leave blocks open to fit as many cars as possible.

Another issue discussed by the CHCA was the possibility of amending the association’s bylaws to remove term limits on officers. Board president Laura Lucas explained that with a number of officers’ terms set to expire, she and other board members have had trouble finding potential replacements that would be interested in the positions.

While incumbent officers would still have to run for re-election when their term is up, it would allow for the positions to remain filled if there is no outside interest, while also still allowing for new candidates to be considered during elections. The removal of officer term limits likely would not affect the same limits for the board president, as Lucas felt that the president would not be considered an officer under the bylaws.

Larry McEwen, co-chair of the CHCA’s Land Use Planning and Zoning Committee, offered up a Physical Division update in regards to a property on 8220 Millman St. Several neighbors have made complaints against an interior design business that has been conducted out of the house.

While the homeowners and their lawyer were set to appear in front of both the LUPZ and Development Review Committee next month, McEwen learned that they were actually scheduled to go in front of the Philadelphia Zoning Board of Adjustment in order to seek approval for the business. McEwen informed the CHCA that because the homeowners never appeared in front of either zoning committee, he would be working on a letter to send to the ZBA saying the committees could not recommend approving any potential variances for the property as of yet.

Kathy Clayton and Susan Bray, both at-large board members, also provided the board with an update on the Annual Fund Appeal, which is currently below expectations. Expressing their feelings of being “collectively frustrated,” Clayton and Bray encouraged board members to come up with ideas on how to reach more people, as well as make further donations to the appeal themselves.

McNiff later presented a budget summary for February 2018, which showed revenue below expectations. With several upcoming events set to bring in significant revenue, including Hoops Madness on March 24, and four months remaining in the fiscal year, she is hopeful to bring the budget to plan.

The next CHCA board of directors meeting is set for 7 p.m. Thursday, April 26, at Blossom Philadelphia, 102 E. Mermaid Lane.

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