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Window of Opportunity about to Close: Comprehensive Plan Most Important Document to Planning Future of RP

Review the Comprehensive Plan and forward your comments to Delco planning department by the end of May (this week).

By the time the 2014 Comp Plan Revision is presented to the Public in June by the Borough Council, it will be more or less etched in stone.  And that means it will be used for the next ten to twenty-five years as the basis for such important issues as Zoning, Planning, Park-use, business expansion, and over-all quality of life issues affecting Ridley Park and our people, etc. 


For example, is the Billboard in Hetzel Park the beginning of Commercial and Institutional use of our Public Park lands?  Before it is too late, review the current and future Land Use Maps included in the Comprehensive Plan Revision.  Ask yourself is this the right direction—the direction we want for our Town?  Or the fulfillment of someone’s ego trip or money grab?  WHY does the important map titled EXISTING LAND USE include not only numerous errors but a DISCLAIMER which states that the map represents data sources which have not been verified.  WHO is not doing their homework to see that a Legal Public Document is based on accurate reality-based data?  WHO is releasing payment from the General Fund of Tax-Payers’ Dollars to pay for  data sources which have not been verified?   



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Comment by tim devabey on July 20, 2014 at 4:34pm

@Jim, Thanks, I agree pretty much with your comments.  But before we go assuming that the existing Council will adopt a flawed Comp Plan revision because of inadequate input and lack of their own "comprehension," I recommend a more thorough review than what has been put forth up till now.

I also greatly respect your opinion that a future Council may be necessary to correct the current screw ups, but in the mean while remember: the current CP revision and publication is PAID FOR BY THE RP TAXPAYERS.  Is it too much to ask for a quality document that is reality and quality-of-life based?!

Comment by tim devabey on July 14, 2014 at 11:15am

@Jim, The CP is much more than "just a document."  It is a recommendation for zoning and planning changes that will be supported legally if challenged.  The current CP for RP is seriously flawed with respect to residential nature of our town, the intent of the Historic District, the nature and identity of RP, and I suggest can and will be used to undermine the Borough property tax structure.

I'm not being melodramatic.  By the time you move into town, we may be on a path unrecognizable to those who have been here a while.  Thanks for your input. 

Comment by Howard McCoy on July 11, 2014 at 11:22am

Thanks for your continued updates Tim.  I believe the apathy for the Comprehensive Plan and RP's future is like other Borough issues and "somebody's handling it" comes to my mind as the reason nobody's commented so far. I also believe that apathy is being compounded by our Council's "we don't want to hear it" stance from the public. 

It's been a really, really, really long time since RP's has a run of good press in the paper. Search the Internet, the DelcoTimes, and the DelcoNewsNetwork and you'll see the image portrayed to everyone outside our Borough.  Opinion and our public image really do matter on the Internet - so does advertising or posting events on RPOL; the largest Ridley Park Portal on the Internet. Instead, RPOL is seen as a foe, instead of a public allie.

When some of this matters to others on Council, I believe others will come forward and lend their comments and cooperation.  Until then, I believe your math is accurate and your math is reflective of our community's current feelings about the future of Ridley Park.

Comment by tim devabey on July 11, 2014 at 10:59am

Check my math:

9 Member Planning Commission

7 Member Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB)

5 Member Zoning Board

21 Total RP Residents with special knowledge of and commitment to RP Future and Quality of life issues

0 the number of constructive, analytical comments about the RP Comprehensive Plan "Final Draft?"

Comment by tim devabey on July 10, 2014 at 12:45pm

July 10 update: RP Comprehensive Plan 2014 is now in Final Draft form and not available on Borough website.


Page 147, shows Future Land Use Map (FLUM) which depicts locations for recommended Institutional Zones. 


Page 149, definition of Institutional Land Use classification: Individual or grouped community facilities such as schools, churches, government facilities and offices, hospitals and other health care facilities and other similar uses.


Page 146, Future Land Use Map:  FLUM is not a zoning map….  Rather, it is a long-range planning tool designed to assist local governments in decisions regarding the future development and character of their community.  …the FLUM provides a sound legal justification for a municipal zoning map that is generally consistent with it.  A zoning map that is based on a well-conceived Future Land Use Map has a much stronger legal standing and validity than one not based on the map and the comprehensive plan of which it is a part.      


Since the definition of Institutional Land Use is so broad and allows for (encourages) non-residential, and/or tax-exempt land use, it is critical to grasp the impact of this land-use designation on existing and abutting residential and Historical regions of Ridley Park.   


The Future Land Use Map (FLUM) shows seven (7) areas for future Institutional Land Use:


1)  Crozer/Taylor parcel off the end of Johnson Ave. (former Fizzano house)

2)  ½ of the block on the west side of Bartol Ave. (bordered by Felton, Bartol, Chester Pike, Swarthmore Ave.)

3)  Entire block east of Bartol Ave.  (bordered by Morton Ave, Chester Pike, Bartol, East Felton)

4)  Extensive Borough Park Land behind Highway Garage on West Ridley Ave at RP Lake, and the strip of land fronting West Ridley Ave East of the spillway and continuing to the existing low-density residential zone

 5)  Almost the entire block where Ridley Schools are from Free Street at Dupont Street to Constitution Ave, including Cornog ball field areas.

6)  Most of the block bordered by North Swarthmore Ave, East Dupont, Tome, East Rodgers

7)  Entire block bordered by Penn Street, Morton Ave, Park Street, Tome Street—this is in the Historic District and is surrounded by the Historic District



Comment by tim devabey on June 18, 2014 at 9:17am

I attended the June 17, 2014 meeting of Council expecting important updates on the RP Comp Plan revisions.  Council President Berger said he had asked and expected the RP Planning Commission Chairman to give a presentation, but he didn't show up. 

So I guess that settles it; we move on with the “process” with most of the community unenlightened and still in the dark. Chairman Pinto could have forwarded his report if he had one. 

I pointed out for the benefit of the Public and Council that the Draft revision #2 was taken down from online.  It has been superseded by the "Final Draft" which Borough Council President expects to adopt at a July meeting.

There are several important issues included in the Comprehensive Plan that need public disclosure and explanation before this "Final Draft" is suitable for adoption.

Two "ideas" of uncertain origin (or merit) are the following:

Zoning for "Institutional" use has popped up in several seemingly arbitrary and controversial neighborhoods in the Borough.  Can Council explain the source and purpose of this zoning classification? And what is the future direction and impact on residential zones adjacent to “Institutional” uses?

Second, there seems to be a feeding frenzy of sorts about signage and renaming places and portions of the Borough.  As a whole, RP is a planned suburban town.  Sequestering portions through relabeling and “rebranding” is just a wrong concept and incorrect interpretation of landscape planning, which ultimately is exactly what the Ridley Park vision that we appreciate, is all about.

We used to occasionally refer to the Borough as “the village” but I wouldn’t suggest hanging banners from every lamppost renaming Ridley Park “Ridley Park Village.”  Other suggested “name changes” would replace official place names of traditional, legal, or location specific significance, with “local jargon.”

How would the Hetzel Park (a location-specific name) neighborhood residents feel about their Park being renamed “Billboard Park?”  Probably as annoyed as I feel about “renaming” our Park Street Park (again a location-specific name), which is officially recognized as “Recreation Park” and has had several more interesting names through history:  Bassett Fergusen Park, Ridley Green, The Commons, and probably others.  So the name the County comes up with is “ABC Field,” not at all in keeping with a neighborhood “Commons” or “Public Park” (as it was referred to on the deed of acquisition), but an obvious and self-serving nod to a private organization (of which the Borough Council President used to be the President). 

…etc, to be continued…

Comment by tim devabey on May 30, 2014 at 6:44pm

To All:

If you have had success downloading the 188 page RP Comp Plan from the Borough’s website, congratulations. 


What you have is Revision Draft #2 which has now been superseded by a Revision Draft #__ (3 or 4?).    


Here is an important update I received today, May 30, from Delaware County Planning Department:  

You will need to contact the Borough Manager to find out if and when the latest copy of the plan will be available for review online.


A hardcopy of the plan is available for review at Borough Hall.

 A public hearing is scheduled for July. Public notice will be provided in the next few weeks.


Emailed to me from:

Sam Haber, Senior Planner Delco Planning Department:    HaberS@co.delaware.pa.us


Sam has been very open and cooperative till now, so it doesn’t sound like his words that he would include the reservation phrase “if and when the latest copy of the plan will be available for review online.”

Comment by tim devabey on May 30, 2014 at 3:35pm

@Jim Butt,  I understand you are not a RP resident, however your interest in the Community is welcomed.  Based on your "quick scan" do your numbers reflect simply the times a topic has been mentioned in the Comp Plan?  Is there an implication that the number of times a topic is mentioned has a bearing on the Planning Direction of that topic?  Thanks

Comment by Michael S. Taddei on May 28, 2014 at 4:50pm

The plan can still be downloaded from http://www.ridleyparkborough.org/sitecontent/index/page/Comprehensi...; however, it is a large PDF. The best way to get it to download is to right-click, (secondary mouse button), the link and then choose the Save Target as... option.  The file is 86.5 MB and 188 pages long.

Comment by Sandy on May 28, 2014 at 1:04pm

If anyone has a Mac, (Apple) it will load for you.

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