Somerton Civic carries on without its president

It was business as usual at last night’s monthly Somerton Civic Association meeting, despite the fact that the board was one member short.

Mary Jane Hazell, president and 43-year member of the Somerton Civic Association, passed away early Sunday morning. Though it was tough for Hazell’s fellow residents to move on without her, the board agreed “Mary Jane would want us to go on.”

Remembering Mary Jane

Somerton Civic Association President Mary Jane Hazell passed away Sunday, Nov. 8. Hazell proudly served on the civic board since 1966. Here is what some of her friends had to say about her:

“Somerton Civic Association lost its major, major, major advocate, activist, member in this area.” – Dolores, civic association vice president

“Mary Jane would want us to continue to take care of business.” – Dominic Ragucci, civic association zoning officer

“If there was someone who I thought would live forever, it was Mary Jane. – State Rep. Brendan Boyle

“Mary Jane loved her 7th District.” – Rich Simon, 7th District Police Officer

Two of Mary Jane’s children announced the Mary Jane Hazell Memorial Scholarship Award, which will be given every year to a senior student who lives out Mary Jane’s passion for the community.

With that, Dominic Ragucci presented the most recent zoning cases, with one variance in need of a vote.

The owners of 13051 Bustleton Ave. at the corner of Trevose Road are seeking a variance to operate two small businesses from the residential corner property. Their goal, said the father and son team, is to operate a small insurance businesses on the first floor of the property and install an oven in the detached garage where they can bake bread native to their home country in Europe.

Before stepping out for the voting process, the owners contended that their home, which they’ve lived in for 15 years, has always been well-kept. They also assured residents that the insurance business would be run by appointment only, and the bakery would only be a delivery service, so neither business would add to the already congested Bustleton-Trevose intersection.

After disagreements among the board members about when the homeowners should step out of the room, a motion to vote was called for, and association members cast their votes, with 29 oppositions and 2 approvals.

Following the vote, Ragucci told residents to approve the variance would have meant “overloading a small lot with commercial and retail use” –  something he said is “not a good precedent.”

If the property owners want to continue the variance process, they can appeal the decision with the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

Below, see Somerton Civic Association’s vice president honor Mary Jane Hazell’s memory.

Also at last night’s meeting…zoning hearings will be held in December for two properties: 5201 Bustleton Ave, in which Ragucci said he will personally testify against zoning for a hair salon in a twin home, and 10075 Sandmeyer, whose owner has applied for zoning for an undetermined kind of “cultural center”…State Rep. Brendan Boyle discussed his first bill passed, which will allow the spouses of all deceased Pennsylvania police and firefighters to receive full benefits…Boyle is also trying to have passed a law that would require Pennsylvania state colleges and universities to have hand sanitizers in every campus building – something Boyle said he thinks will reduce the number of H1N1 cases in people under the age of 25…Officer Rich Simon of the 7th Police District announced the date for the next Captain’s Town Hall meeting: Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. in the Regency Condos at Bustleton and Norwall.

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