By Nathaniel Smith, Columnist, The Times of Chester County, July 28, 2015
Bill would let state make housing, zoning choices instead of local communities
Along with about 50 other people, I attended a hearing at West Chester Borough Hall on July 20 about House Bill 809 proposed to the PA House of Representatives.
On the positive side, we have a democratic process that allows citizens to find out what our legislators are doing and to hear differing views in a public forum.
On the negative side, the bill is a total disaster, as was made clear by speakers from West Chester, Lower Merion, Millersville, and State College. (Four realtors and landlords spoke for the bill, however.)
The principle is very clear, in my view, just what Mike McGann enunciated in his July 20 opinion piece on public education:
“What I am advocating for is to allow folks in local districts like Unionville to make their own choices – through their elected school board – on what is right for their community and school district. We don’t have that now.”
Does the state know best how a local school district should educate its own students? No.
Does the state know best how a municipality should zone property use for the benefit of its own residents? No.
House Bill 809, currently before the Committee on Local Government, would radically cut into municipalities’ ability to regulate rental properties. …
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