Tuesday, November 27, 2007

HEARTH plan and a missing commissioner...

When the much-disputed HEARTH project was narrowly nixed by Ross Township commissioners last week, one local vote was surprisingly absent.

Jerry O'Brien, Ross commissioner, did not attend the meeting. The plan in question would have been located in his district.

From the McKnight Journal:

A room filled with discontented Ross residents got their wish last week when Ross Commissioners failed to pass a plan that would allow a local non-profit to build an affordable housing community in the township.

The 11 duplexes at HEARTH at Benet Woods would have been open to people earning between $24,800 and $37,200 and who have cleared criminal, credit and housekeeping screenings.

The plan was rejected by a tie vote of 4-4. Commissioners Dan Demarco, Chris Rand Eyster, Lana Mazur and David Mikec voted in favor of the plan. Peter Ferraro, Dan Kinross, Grant Montgomery and Grace Stanko voted against it.

Gerald O'Brien, the commissioner for the ward in which the development was to be located, was not in attendance at the meeting.

Does anyone have information as to why Jerry was absent? This Tattler does have sources to find out why but I am interested to see what you guys know before I ask those people.

As someone who dealt with O'Brien at a large capacity while working for a community newspaper for more than four years until this past August, he was always a strong voice on the board. This seems out of character for him and this Tattler wants to get his whereabouts known.

Feel free to post comments about this issue or E-mail me directly at sirfuller@hotmail.com.

Working to keep you posted...


Anonymous said...

First of all Jerry O'Brien rides several of the older nuns to Mass on Sunday. I think he has been friends with them for a long time. (I wonder, do they have a Mass for the nuns on Sunday at St. Benedict's? I thought they had a chaplain assigned there.)At the June 20th meeting at St. Benedict's, there where approx 150 citizens from the surrounding area. People were standing up saying where is Jerry O'Brien and why was this kept secret for about 7 yrs while this was being planned. Jerry O'Brien stood up and said he had no prior knowledge. He said he found out when it hit the papers. He denied any prior knowledge. There was a heated exchange of words between Jerry and some of the citizens. Jerry also said he was lied to also. He did not say who lied to him. I wonder who lied to him and about what.
Also at the Nov 13th Ross Commissioner's meeting, one of the commissioner's asked a TREK person, John Ginocchi, what was in it for TREK. The Commissioner said he was wondering because HEARTH is a non-profit and TREK is a for profit corporation. An attorney who accompanied TREK and HEARTH got up and whispered in his ear. The TREK man then answered the attorney advised him he didn't have to answer that question. There are set fees allowed according to the government.

Anonymous said...

We are still wondering why Mr. O'Brian didn't show up for the important meeting regarding the proposed Hearth/Trek development on Rodenbaugh Ave. Also we still would like him to get us the list of the other 24 sites Hearth claimed to have looked at before they decided on the St. Benedict's property.If this were even true! Or was this just another falsehood from this organization

Anonymous said...

What do you think SIRFULLER?
Why didn't Jerry show up?

Jeff said...

Well, this is a tough one for me because generally Jerry O'Brien keeps his constituents in mind when making decisions on the board of commissioners.

That said, I think it was a huge mistake for him not to cast a vote on this issue at great importance to his ward.

I have contacted a few people about this but have not heard as to why he was missing. I will try to reach Jerry directly for your benefit.

If there was some reason he could not make that meeting, he could have always found a way to postpone the public hearing or table the issue until the next meeting.

His ward will undergo some drastic changes within the next few years especially when three local schools will close their doors (Seville, Perrysville and Northway elementaries).

What this issue comes down to is an attendance problem on the board of commissioners. I'm not just talking about Jerry but there are other leaders that have missed a good number of meetings within just the last year.

Earlier this year, commssioners chastised members of other committees and boards for not showing up (planning commission) but commissioners need to practice what they preach.

I'm fully aware that things happen but when you miss a meeting that is this important, you need to evaluate if you are really standing up for your respective community.

While Jerry is not one that usually misses meetings, his absence at this one is quite unsettling. Hopefully, he can re-aim his focus and go up at bat for his Ross Township residents.

His absense doesn't make sense to this Tattler because accomodations could have been made to postpone the vote (most-likely).

Rodenbaugh Ave. Resident said...

Can you believe that the developers of the Hearth Benet Woods project namely Trek Developement and Hearth have the audacity to sue Ross Twp. claiming discrimination. If they were not so serious about this it would almost be laughable. This group has been taking advantage of Ross Twp. taxpayers for the last 12 years.They have operated tax exempt for all of that time. The reasons for opposing this project has been concern for flooding of Roseland Ave. from the water runoff that already exists and will only get worse if 5 acres of a wooded area are cleared. The other reason is the safety of children on this very narrow steep street. We the neighbors of this area invite anyone to visit this area and let us know if you would want your children walking on this street. Two cars cannot pass each other. How will cars be able to pull out of driveways on this narrow street?
All they see is $$$$ using tax payers money to build this project with no concern for the neighborhood or the neighbors. We are not against homeless battered women, if we were they could not have operated the 15 apartments they now have on St. Benedicts property.Also the units are not only for Hearth graduates, but for anyone who meets their guidelines whatever they may be. We will back the Ross Township commissioners for rejecting this project.Just because this plan was rejected they are yelling discrimination. This is a real joke since the area is and has been integrated for many years.