Apr 27, 2016

Masonic Temple Plight, West Park Pain


Shocker! Last night the dupes on the Allentown Zoning Hearing Board allowed the Masonic Temple an “exception” to become a "halfway home". Officially it will only be for outpatientservices for pre adjudicated youth, but the designation is a giant red flag to the twenty one local residents who showed up to express their concern and asked for a continuance so they could have more details and perhaps even seek council. These legitimate concerns were brushed aside by Unger, MacCarthy, and Salinger. They even denied standing for a West Park objector because he lives too far away for the property in question. A plea from the president of West Part Civic Association to allow him to testify as part of the objector effort was denied, so was the appeal for a continuance.The good people of the WPCA were told they could appeal the apparently pre-ordained decision to the county. So this is how Allentown'sbetters/Pawlowski hacks, treat its good citizens and this exemplary community group. I tried to warn them before hand; they were believers, afterwards they said I was correct. It is no victory for me to have won that bet, now they too will think the worst of their local government, and they will do so based on experience. Just another day in the Queen City that is rotten to the core. 
                                                                                     Scott Armstrong 

Editorial by Molovinsky: Scott, this zoning board, as previous boards, is composed of people with a deep involvement in Allentown politics, as always has been the case. Nobody has ever accused an Allentown Zoning Board of being honest brokers. However, allow me to remind you that for a while in the past, the  zoning board did the bidding of the West Park Association. For years, one small business after another was denied a non-conforming use, back in the day when your group had influence. Putting aside that history lesson, lets not discount the influence of the Masons. Although such organizations are now dinosaurs, many of those dinosaurs still have connections. The group owns three large significant parcels, and is hard pressed for income to maintain the buildings, since the NIZ stole their primary tenant.

4 comments:

Scott Armstrong said...

Mike,

The difference here is the the WPCA's efforts with the zoning board were basic civics and they followed the rules, winning some losing others. What happened with the Masonic Temple/Halfway home was a travesty. A confluence of routine incompetence and corruption.

michael molovinsky said...

recently, I visited the former site of Wentz memorials, at 20th and hamilton. that parcel is being turned into a bank, dunking donut and woody's sports bar, moving from the small shopping center at 12th and liberty. for a century residents of the row homes on the half block, lafayette st., sat on their front porches overlooking the very quiet rear yard of wentz's. that quaintness near the union terrace park will now turn into a loud taproom and parking lot. at zoning the neighbors got no concession, and the zoners told them that the "quality of their life" would be improved by the changes.

Scott Armstrong said...

No halfway homes? Curious.

Scott Armstrong said...

Mike,

It is worth pointing out the the new halfway house, otherwise known as the Masonic Temple, put the "outpatient service" into the building two years ago without any necessary permits. This was clearly no problem to the zoning board, in fact McCarthy said something along the lines of;" well there hasn't been a problem so far, so that should be a good sign". Translation, why even bother to follow proper procedures if you want to open a halfway house in a residential neighborhood. Just do it, wait to see if anyone notices, if they do, use any record of "no problems" as a recommendation for approval. Perhaps Mr. McCarthy may want to have this "new" procedure officially adopted by the board. Only in Allentown.