Cheltenham Township to host public hearing on two Zoning amendments, two ordinances up for adoption

Cheltenham Township Board of Commissioners will host a public hearing during their regular public meeting on Wednesday, May 15 at 7:30pm.

The hearing invites public comment on two amendments to the Zoning Chapter of the Code. They are:

  • An Ordinance amending Chapter 295: Zoning, Section 2902, of the Cheltenham Township Code regarding enforcement remedies and civil penalties.
  • An Ordinance amending Chapter 295: Zoning, Section 405, of the Cheltenham Township Code regarding personal care service regulations and Section 2301, regarding parking space requirements in the Commercial Enhancement District.

The board could vote to adopt them following the hearing or at a future meeting, the township said. The current code can be found here.

The Personal Care Service and Minimum Parking change was on the February Building and Zoning agenda, with notes in the minutes as follows:

Mr. Sekawungu provided background on the proposed amendment, including that the parking minimums were proposed to be eliminated in specific downtown areas for existing buildings, and new construction and single-family dwelling conversions would still need to comply with the parking requirements in the Code. The proposed ordinance was not intended to eliminate parking but to let the market decide the right amount of parking, remove an onerous requirement in an already saturated area, act as a catalyst for walkability and vibrancy and act as an incentive for businesses. Mr. Sekawungu explained that the Personal Care Business separation requirement was proposed to be reduced to 500 feet between substantially similar uses, and that the proposed change would encourage businesses to move into the Township while preventing too many businesses of the same type in the same area.

For the Enforcement change, the note from the meeting minutes was:

Mr. Diasio explained that the proposed amendment would bring the Township Code in line with the
current enforcement practices of the Township for violations of the Zoning Code.

Copies of the full text of the proposed ordinances are available at the following links:

In related news, the board will additionally consider and potentially vote to adopt the following ordinances as well:

  • An Ordinance amending Chapter 5: Administration of Government, Article II: Organization and Procedures of Board of Commissioners, Section 5-10: Public Participation, of the Cheltenham Township Code to enhance guidelines governing public participation at meetings of the Board of Commissioners and its Standing Committees.
  • An Ordinance amending Chapter 238: Sewers, of the Cheltenham Township Code, adding Article VI, incorporating and adopting City of Philadelphia Water Department Wastewater Control Regulations.

The Public Participation ordinance was discussed during March’s meeting, which prompted commissioner Ann Rapport to issue her thoughts on guidelines during township meetings.

Through the ordinance, members of the board are looking to address concerns regarding late meetings, speakers’ directly addressing non-Board members during speaking turns, long-winded speakers, and various protocol inconsistencies.

A briefing on behalf of the Cheltenham Township Republic Organization was published on Saturday, April 20. An excerpt:

This was the third meeting in the past six weeks the Muzzle Law appeared on the agenda for consideration. The first meeting was held in March and there was overwhelming public opposition to advancing the proposed law. The public opposition forced the Commissioners to table the issue for another month. The second meeting was held two weeks ago. Clearly, the Commissioners coalesced and were determined to advance the proposed Muzzle Law to the next step, which they did. Again, there was overwhelming public opposition. The Commissioners managed to find one person in Cheltenham Township who approved of the Muzzle Law. The third meeting was a few days ago. Like the meetings before, there was overwhelming public opposition and no supporters of the proposed Muzzle Law. Undeterred, the Commissioners held their ground, cut off many of the dissenters in mid-speech, refused to allow them to rebut and voted to advance the Muzzle Law to the next step.

Copies of the full text of the proposed ordinances can be viewed at the following links:

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