The Chestnut Hill Community Association says it will schedule a vote next month on whether to develop a new web portal. The portal, as it is envisioned, would feature news from the Chestnut Hill Local and promote businesses and community events by partnering with The Chestnut Hill Business Association, The Chestnut Hill Resident Association, and other neighborhood groups.
Rob Remus, head of the chair that oversees the possible development of the web portal, was not present at the meeting due to a family emergency. Instead, Gerald Tracy presented the committee’s recommendation that web portal would benefit everyone by giving residents and visitors a single site that represents the community.
Tracy went on to say that each group involved would maintain their own mission and that the web portal would not interfere with any particular entity.
“The portal operator will figure out the best way to get out the information with each facet,” said Tracy.
Walter Sullivan proposed that the committee come up with a written proposal for board members to vote on at the next CHCA meeting in January.
“Power” in numbers
Another idea put forward last night is an attempt to lock in lower electricity rates for residents by banding together.
Greg Welsh, a member of the Chestnut Hill Business Association, says he can secure cheaper rates than PECO through a rebate offered by Glacial Energy.
The deal would, in his view, save money for residents and commercial businesses and provide anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 in revenue for the business association.
“Our goal is to save our residents money and at the same time gain some money for our association,” Welsh said.
Welsh proposed a similar benefit in usage of North American Power, another energy company that could provide the Chestnut Hill Community Association with financial gain.
As it stands, PECO Energy charges .0992 cents per kilowatt and the new plan would charge .0899 cents for the same amount.
Welsh went on to say that residents could stay with PECO but that their bill would likely go up about 5% in the coming months. Members of the board proposed further researching into the matter and the possibility of linking the North American Power web site to their own for residents to view.
“There’s no downside that I see,” said Welsh of the new energy plan.
Impact of new zoning rules
Board President Walter Sullivan updated residents on how the city’s effort to overhaul the zoning code could negatively impact residents’ ability to help shape new development projects.
He said that under the proposed zoning rule changes, neighborhood groups would only be allocated a 30-day period to meet with a developer. “If approved, it would gut our review process,” Sullivan said.
The city’s Zoning Board Committee met on Dec. 15th and the proposal will now go on to committees before it reaches City Council. Sullivan predicted the process would drag out for some time.
One item not on the agenda was City Council’s approval yesterday of a zoning change for the site of a planned dialysis center in Chestnut Hill. The bill introduced by City Councilwoman Donna Reed Miller allows Fresenius to stay open later in the nights. The dialysis center would be located at 10 E. Moreland Ave. The issue had divided local residents. The Chestnut Hill Community Association supports Fresenius’ plan while the Chestnut Hill Residents Association remains opposed to it over concerns of how late the center will remain open.