by Will Detweiler

Our tireless, talented and tenacious Land Use, Zoning and Planning Committee is at it again. Thank goodness! In addition to its ever-continuing work with land owners and developers seeking ideas and advice, the committee is always there when a major private or public is proposed.

Once again, the city is proposing improvements to East Bells Mill Road, including the replacement of a small bridge. Several years ago neighbors were successful in preventing this project because of the threat to the aesthetic quality of this charming area of Chestnut Hill. However, due to critical safety and drainage issues, the city has revived the project.

The LUPZ, a CHCA standing committee, assuming a leadership role, is working with a cooperative city Streets Department and understanding but concerned neighbors, gathering suggestions and contemplating ways in which the best interests of the Chestnut Hill community are addressed. I was reminded again of the committee’s effective activism several weeks ago when I attended a LUPZ- organized and well-managed meeting with East Bells Mill Road neighbors and Streets Department officials meeting. With the tenor of the meeting and the Committee’s track record, I’m confident a consensus is possible.

Other successful public sector projects that are the result of collaborative efforts with LUPZ leadership and creative, sensitive input are the gracious Germantown Avenue bridge at Chestnut Hill College, Highland Avenue-Seminole Street schist stone bridge over the SEPTA tracks, and the Willow Grove Avenue SEPTA bridge now under construction. Based on the renderings of the bridge design, I am confident it will be another feather in LUPZ’s cap.

On an unrelated but important note: Please don’t forget the CHCA Annual Blood Drive on (appropriately) Feb. 14. Why not honor a loved one with a pint? This year the drive will be held at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. Hope to see you there.