On Monday, the Bellefonte Borough Council voted in favor of a “Certificate of Appropriateness” for the Garman House and Cadillac Building, aka The Mews.
In an article on this vote, the Centre Daily Times opened with, “Out with the old, in with the new. But not without controversy.”
The controversy had to do with voting on the Garman project a week before holding a hearing allowing the public to comment on the project.
Council continues to ignore the community. Holding any vote on a prominent building project without allowing a chance for the public to comment lacks transparency. It also shows a lack of willingness to listen and hear what constituents and business owners have to say about their local community — good and bad.
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This vote put the cart before the horse. What good does a public hearing do for the community if the vote allowing a project to go forward has already occurred?
I do not know what members of the community might have to say about the plans for the Garman House. It might be very supportive. It might be suggestions for improvement. It might be negative. It probably would be a combination of all three.
But after a final vote, what do comments from the community mean? Not much.
How sad. With the exception of Gay Dunne and Paul DeCusati in this case, our local elected officials have and continue to deem it appropriate to ignore the concerns of the Bellefonte community.