Let’s keep working on Magarity plan

What if the Bowman Properties’ zoning bills introduced by Donna Reed Miller go forward in City Council?  The bills will probably be passed.  And in one day, December 15, 2011, Bowman Properties will have appropriated what it has so far been unable to win from our community through local civic process.  That is, a massive up-zoning of its own property with no consideration for those surrounding it.

The truth is, appropriate rezoning of 8200 Germantown Ave. can happen with community support. And the owner can develop this property with community support and – with a food market too!   Bowman Inc. knows this well.  After all, the new zoning law, which City Council spent millions on and employed experts from around the country to help formulate, in fact itself calls for re-zoning 8200 to allow mixed-use development in line with the Avenue’s character.

So please do not inflict severe damage to the community zoning process and disenfranchise the regular people who have participated in them in good faith.  Please, Bowman Properties, ask Donna Reed Miller to withdraw the bills from the December vote.  And continue to work with the LUPZ negotiating committee and us, your neighbors, to make this work.

Mike Gonzales
Chestnut Hill

The community is not being ignored

After fielding many calls and emails today from concerned and angered Chestnut Hill resident and CHCA members regarding a Weavers Way e-newsletter that was sent to its membership this week, I feel the urge to remind everyone once again that the CHCA’s process is working very well and its numerous committees are working diligently on the 8200 Germantown Ave. project.  In June of 2011, after presentation of this project before the CHCA’s LUPZ, a subcommittee was formed. It consists of three near neighbors and members of the LUPZ, DRC, Traffic, Transportation and Parking and Historic Advisory Committee. They are working countless hours negotiating and working with Bowman Properties to be assured of a project that will benefit our entire community.

Neither the CHCA nor Bowman Properties are ignoring the concerns of this community or the required processes.

Change is inevitable, and it is in everyone’s best interest to move forward thoughtfully.

Jane M. Piotrowski
CHCA President
Chestnut Hill Resident/near neighbor

Comments not kind

In the Nov. 24 issue of the Local, Ron Klinger [“Monopoly minded,” Letters] states, “I’ve been in business in Chestnut Hill for 47 years and I never see why the people of Mt. Airy should have an opinion on what is happening in Chestnut Hill.” It does seem possible that during those 47 years Mr. Klinger has benefited, financially, from some of “the people of Mt. Airy.”

As a long time resident of Mt. Airy who shops, dines, attends festivals, and visits friends, I am a committeeperson in the 9th Ward, which includes Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy. I suggest that Mr. Klinger rethink his comment and at the very least, accept the fact that “the people of Mt. Airy” have the right to express their opinions.

There are currently many issues that have an impact on the entire Northwest section of this city. The attitude that is expressed by Mr. Klinger surely does not help to foster cooperation and mutual problem solving.

Marilyn Lambert
Mt. Airy

Weavers Way is part of Chestnut Hill

As Weavers Way members, Chestnut Hill property and business owners and “top of the hill” shoppers, we take issue with Ron Klinger’s letter criticizing the Co-op for expressing concern about the Magarity project.

The Co-op invested more than $6 million into Chestnut Hill, at a time when many storefronts were vacant. The Co-op’s vibrant market attracts 500 – 750 daily shoppers and has helped to revitalize the main street business corridor.

What’s more, the Co-op was established in concert with other local businesses and residents. Decisions about store design, parking, and even product line were made with respect for those who own shops and those who live in Chestnut Hill.

Glenn Bergman’s letter raised questions about the scope and impact of the Magarity project that all who care about Chestnut Hill should be asking, even if there may not be agreement about the answers. Contrary to your assertion, Mr. Klinger, Weavers Way Co-op, including its 4,300 adult members (2,000 households) in the 19118 zip code and other shoppers, are very much a part of Chestnut Hill and entitled to a voice. Your parochial view does not serve your community well. We respectfully disagree.

Bob and Nancy Elfant
Chestnut Hill

Vexed by snobbery

Over the years that I have been reading the Local. I’ve been amused by letters like the one written a while back by a journalist who referred to the people of Mt. Airy and Germantown as “denizens,” but this week there was a triple dose of snobbish opinions.

Janet Lynch [“Why not expand in Germantown?”] suggests that Chestnut Hillers “help Germantown prosper and grow so that lower classes don’t spread outward.”

Her letter clearly reveals her fear, clannish attitude and disdain for those she deems to be inferior.

Tom Woodruff [“Send them to jail”] doesn’t want to be inconvenienced by people who are protesting the current financial cirisis and economic disparities. I wonder if Mr. Woodruff would feel the same inconvenience in Tahir Square (same movement on a larger scale) and wish that those participating in the grassroots response to the overwhelming inequalities perpetrated by the global financial system be sent to jail. Maybe the bankers who have broken laws and received unconscionable bonuses without being held accountable should be jailed as well.

Ron Klinger [“Monopoly-minded”] feels that people in Mt. Airy should not have an opinion on what is happening in Chestnut Hill. He states that [Weavers Way Co-op General Manager Glenn] Bergman is “mnopoly minded” becvause of his objections to the development of the Magarity property. But Klinger has a double standard. He wants a monopoly on opinions.

Bergman, a creative and community-conscious man has a legitimate cnocern that the new market not siphon off a large percent of business from Weaver’s Way and the Chestnut Hill Market.

I am vexed by the narrow-mindedness of the three contributors.

Judy Rubin
Mt. Airy


I was saddened to learn of the recent death of Susan Detscher Pizzano of Chestnut Hill.  I met this remarkable woman in January, 2001, when she held a community fund-raiser titled “Meatloaf Mania and Pie Passion”  to raise money to build the Top of the Hill Fountain near the intersection of Germantown Avenue and Bethlehem Pike.  As the winner of the Meatloaf Mania contest, I had several encounters with her in the weeks after the competition and before a cookbook was published and community dinner held in which the winning recipes were replicated by another good egg – Paul Roller.

As a personal historian, I was intrigued by all of the things she had done in her 63 years and saddened that I had not known of some of them until her death.  In life, I learned a bit about her passion for food and for bringing people together around food that  inspired me to write a cookbook about building community and teams around food.

I would like to dedicate my book, due out this spring, to Susan.  She was a woman who always had a smile, a kind word, an innovative idea and positive outlook.  She was a doer.

I bumped into her last spring near her fountain and recognized that she had been through the ravages of chemotherapy.  I was struck by how serene she seemed sitting on a bench enjoying the fountain.  I would suggest that this area be renamed the Susan D. Pizzano Memorial Park.

Every time I walk or drive by this area,  I will remember her in my thoughts and prayers.  Thank you, Susan, for giving so much of yourself to so many of us and the Chestnut Hill community.

You planted a seed in me  that will grow to keep your memory alive.  I suspect there are many other seedlings out there that you had a hand in nurturing to achieve their full potential.

Barbara Sherf