Letters to the Editor

What could go wrong?

To the Editor:

Welcome to Swarthmore, HEADstrong. I want to be the first of the neighbors opposing the HEADstrong Foundation to welcome you to the neighborhood. I can see from your behavior throughout this process that you will be the most excellent of neighbors.

Whenever a conflict arises between the neighbors and the staff, volunteers or occupants, I will be sure to contact HEADstrong’s designated point of contact for these types of issues. But since no such person exists, I’ll be happy to speak with Mrs. Colleluori herself. I am certain that she will behave with the utmost poise and empathy as she did when she cut short the conversation with the neighbors in August during a conversation at their home about HEADstrong’s plan for the property at 200 S. Chester; or when she walked out of the hearing while the neighbors were expressing their concerns about the use of the house.

I look forward to the next time that HEADstrong would like to make a change in the use of the facility (such as the exceeding the signage allowance). Because I am sure that they will follow the same procedure of keeping the process secret until it is presented to the Borough Council with little or no warning to affected stakeholders.

And I am sure the borough will be accommodating and listen to all of the neighbors’ concerns. For instance, now that HEADstrong is at the corner of Chester and Harvard, the borough is certain to reverse its long-standing policy of ignoring the traffic complaints on Harvard Avenue so that everyone can safely operate along that road.

I especially look forward to being pilloried on a national level as an evil cancer-patient hating person for merely requesting clarification and injecting a note of reality into the plans of the HEADstrong Foundation. This will be a highly pleasant experience — since among the opposing neighbors there is direct and personal experience with pediatric, mid-life and elderly cancer patients — most of whom have died as a result of their illness.

I understand from HEADstrong’s expert that they will be able to park 18 vehicles at 200 S. Chester. This is really amazing to me as an engineer who has lived in the house. While theoretically possible, I can’t wait to see this parking plan implemented by people unfamiliar with the property. My family never got more than 9-10 vehicles on the property, and when we did that, it required reshuffling of all the vehicles to get out. But I am sure they have a plan that conforms with the laws of physics.

I am certain that Mrs. Colleluori and the HEADstrong Foundation will do everything possible to comply with the codes that were put in place to protect the health and safety of their guests and comply with the Fire Marshal’s recommendations. After all, surely the Fire Marshal will require the installation of an active fire suppression system and egress for third floor patients for the safety of all occupants.

Joe Kujawski
Swarthmore

Disappointed in Council’s decision

To the Editor:

We are disappointed with the Council’s decision regarding the HEADstrong Foundation’s accommodation request for the property at 200 S. Chester Road.

Our opposition to this accommodation has not been, as portrayed, a kind of class warfare. It is a discussion about why zoning matters and applying the law fairly.

No one in our neighborhood is against HEADstrong or cancer patients. Everyone has been affected by this disease.

We are surprised at how malicious and personal the attacks have been throughout this process, and are particularly discouraged that HEADstrong and their lawyer have made no attempt to deter the hostile atmosphere that has developed and threats made by their supporters. We and our neighbors are concerned for our families due to the threats and intimidation we continue to receive.

What we are against is the manipulation of the Fair Housing Act to run an operation that is inappropriate for an RB single family zoned neighborhood. It is a case of sliding in through the backdoor to run a non-profit hotel-type facility with a level of intensity and transience not allowed in any similar Swarthmore single-family neighborhood. In the process, the specific needs of the families in our neighborhood, especially those with young children and special needs children have been dismissed. To allow 10-15 (number is still not clear) cars to be parked on the property of a house in a residentially zoned neighborhood where there are small children playing in a shared driveway is not reasonable to us.

We have serious concerns about the accommodation that haven’t been addressed; and we are meeting with our attorney to decide how to proceed. Again, we request that HEADstrong and its surrogated ask their supporters to cease the unwarranted attacks against those that question the accommodation, and we ask them to remove any reference to the defendants from their public social networks.

Lisa and Mark O’Brien
Lisa and Bill Feehery
Concerned residents of the Harvard Avenue/Chester Road Block
Swarthmore

Wreaths for sale

To the Editor:

Troop 112 is having their annual wreath sale to support our youth involvement. The boys will be selling wreaths through town and periodically at the Swarthmore Fire Company Tree sale.

This past year the boys have enjoyed activities such as skiing at Elk Mountain, summer camp at Resica Falls, camping at the Cape May Coast Guard station, canoeing, fishing, backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, rock climbing and so much more. They have participated in the annual Memorial Day ceremony in town, the Fourth of July parade, and many service projects around the community. The troop has been an active member of the community for over 85 years, and chartered by the Swarthmore Presbyterian Church.

The wreaths are $16 each and can be delivered in the area. If you would like to support the troop by purchasing a wreath please send an email to the troop at COLtroop112@gmail.com and we can arrange delivery. Without the generous support of the community the opportunities for the boys would not be as great as they are. Thank you for your support!

Kevin Connell
Troop 112 Committee Chair
Swarthmore

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