From the Public Spirit, Week of Dec. 11-17, 1958
Hatboro zoning board approves controversial industrial park
Amid the violent protests of more than 30 Mitchell Park residents, Hatboro's Zoning Board of Adjustment on Tuesday night paved the way for a small industrial park at County Line Road between York Road and the Reading Railroad.
When the decision was announced, resident Marshall Blum said that the majority of the people present are willing to appeal in the courts.
The Board rejected the request for the variance last July 8 because of the objections of 32 Mitchell Park residents, even through it felt that the park would be in the best interests of Hatboro. The Board felt that its decision was unfair and decided to hold another hearing.
The property is a five-and-one-half-acre tract owned by developer Harold N. Kushin, who plans to construct from two to eight light industrial plants on it. Present zoning regulations require that light industrial plants must have 200-foot buffer zones.
The Board offered a 25-foot buffer zone in the rear, which abuts the Meadowbrook Elementary School [now Crooked Billet Elementary], and a 40-foot buffer on the west side. A 15-foot additional grass area on both sides will also be required to permit access of emergency equipment such as fire engines, ambulances, etc. This action would give a 200-foot distance between the park and the homes, and a 305-foot distance between the park and the school.
The residents at the meeting Tuesday night and at the previous hearing last July objected mainly on the grounds that an industrial park would devalue their property and would cause an increase of traffic on County Line Road. They said the law was made to protect the residents.
Judge rules Horsham bowling tax illegal
Horsham Township has lost its legal battle against Horsham Key Bowling, Inc. as a result of a ruling handed down by Montgomery County Judge David E. Groshens in Norristown on Monday.
Judge Groshens ruled that Horsham, a second class township, does not have the power to collect taxes on "privileges," although it does have power to collect taxes on "admissions to places of amusement, athletic events and the like."
The action was an appeal by Horsham Key Bowling, Inc. and its president, Fred G. Leebron, from fines of $300 and costs imposed by Justice of the Peace Clarence Bickley for alleged violation of the Jan. 7, 1958 township ordinance which imposed a "tax on sales of admissions to places of amusement or on the privilege of attending or engaging in amusements" for the year.
While most cities, first class townships, boroughs and second, third and fourth class school districts do have the power according to the enabling act of June 25, 1947, the second class township does not.
The jurist's ruling states that "It is clear that a second class township has power to levy, assess and collect a ten percent tax on admissions to places of amusement, athletic events and the like. It is equally clear that a second class township does not have the power to levy, assess and collect a ten percent tax on transactions and privileges.
"A tax on the price paid to roll balls against wooden pins at a certain place is not a tax on 'admissions' unless second class township supervisors have license by some etymological hocus-pocus to transform word meanings. A taxing body which enjoys only delegated powers may not arrogate power by the distortion of the clear language by which it receives its power to tax.
"One of the best known and most commonly used meanings of 'admissions' is the prices charged or paid to be admitted. We hold that this tax on 'admissions' is in truth a tax on the 'privilege' of participating in the game of bowling and, therefore, beyond the purview of the provisions of the Act of 1947 applying to second class townships."
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Hatboro Council rejects committee to probe development
The Garner or Lucy Barnes tract enjoyed a short-lived revival at the Monday night meeting of Hatboro Borough Council.
Council President Havard Jones sought Council's approval of a committee, including himself, businessman Samuel Gamburg and County Commissioner Warren M. Cornell, Jr., to investigate the tract's development, but his motion was defeated by a four-to-three vote.
Jones said the group's purpose was to review all past proposals and to work toward development of the tract at little or no cost to the Borough. The tract lies east of York Road between Byberry Road and Moreland Avenue.
Councilmen Dr. Eugene I. Brooks and Edmund Haigler both objected on the grounds it was a "packed committee" and that it was not Council's job to become involved in such an investigation.
Political interjection preceded the motion's defeat. Dr. Brooks said he had heard of a $20,000 fund to be used to defeat Haigler in the primary election in order to break up the combine of Haigler, Brooks and Coran. Dr. Brooks said if the money were given to him, he would resign from Council, thus breaking up the combine, and would donate the money to the Borough for a tax reduction.
Jones, contacted Wednesday, said, "For over three years all plans, most of which had some good points, have all been defeated--for good reasons. It is time that someone came up with something good. I believe the development of the tract is Hatboro's salvation, and that it would mean added tax dollars to the Borough."
Jones also said that much of the problem surrounding the development of the tract was because of politics and personalities. "Some people will still not bury the hatchet," said the Council president.
Gamburg said Wednesday that the group would have attempted to develop the tract as a completely free parking lot so that the perimeter would develop commercially, thereby benefitting Hatboro tax wise. The group, he concluded, would also determine the possibility of incorporating County and Federal aid so the tract could be developed without cost to the Borough.
New Horsham Township Building nears completion
Snow and cold weather has held up completion of Horsham's new $50,000 Township Building, but it probably will be in use by Feb. 1, 1959, according to Eugene Park, president of the Board of Supervisors.
It was originally planned to have the structure on Horsham Road in Prospectville completed in time for the Supervisors' January meeting.
Park said that most of the exterior of the building is now completed, with the exception of some grading. Painting and tile laying inside is unfinished. The heating plant has been installed. The building is being constructed by the Kane Construction Co., Langhorne.
Located on a 400-by-500-foot plot in a 40-acre tract purchased by the Township last year, the structure will contain a meeting room with seating facilities for about 150, a meeting room for the Planning Commission and the Horsham Township Authority, and a police center including interrogation and dark rooms and two-unit cell block.
In the basement there will be a two-car garage and a large room that will become a meeting room for Township groups. The Township, said Park, also plans to move its road equipment to the new building.
The remainder of the tract, purchased for approximately $25,000 from Anton Buckert, will eventually become a Township park. A Horsham Park Commission will be formed for that purpose in the near future.
Behind the Township Building parking area, the Horsham Little League is preparing three baseball diamonds. There will also be picnicking and ice skating facilities.
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Hatboro and Horsham Happenings
Six Hatboro girls were recently chosen as representatives to the National Girl Scout Round-up to be held in Colorado Springs, Colo., next July 4 to 11. The girls, members of Hatboro Trooop 949, are: Lois Couillard, Mary Donlon, Nancy Hide, Ann Lawton, Sue Ramsey and Susan Schueltz.
Mr. and Mrs. Vernon F. Huppi, of Horsham, entertained Hans Hofman, of Zurich, Switzerland, who has been in this country six weeks. He is a designer for the Budd Co. Hofman has just returned from three years in India, where he was a member of technical assistance team setting up a railway line in Madras. He showed many slides of life in India.
Charles David Hamburg, son of Mr. and Mrs. Charles J. Hamburg of Franklin Avenue, Hatboro, received an "M" in varsity football at the Mercersburg Academy [in Franklin County, Pa.] last week.
Mr. and Mrs. Lester Tinner, of Horsham, celebrated their 21st wedding anniversary Dec. 3 with guests for the day and dinner.
Dr. Joseph Fairlie, a Hatboro osteopath and member of the Union Library Board of Directors for seven years, has been elected president of the 203-year-old institution for 1959. A resident of Hatboro since 1920, Dr. Fairlie has been practicing in Hatboro for nearly 20 years.
A birthday party was given Saturday for Bernadette Cerritelli, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Louis G. Cerritelli of County Line Road, Horsham, for her sixth birthday.
Mrs. Elizabeth Griffith, 84, of East Montgomery Avenue, Hatboro, suffered a fractured shoulder and bruised kneecap when she slipped and fell on the pavement Nov. 21. She is slowly recovering.
Capt. Lyman R. McAboy assumed command of the Willow Grove Naval Air Station on Sunday, replacing Capt. J.R. Stewart, who retired from the Navy after 30 years of service. Capt. McAboy, a native of Washington, D.C., wears the Air Medal for patrol operations in the Pacific Theater during World War II.
Mrs. Margaret Ely was hostess at her home for the Hatboro Women's Christian Temperance Union luncheon, with 15 members and two visitors present. After the meal, Mrs. Ely presided at the meeting. A Christmas program was presented.
Mr. and Mrs. Donald Colby, of Horsham, went out to dinner and to a dance given by the Rohm and Haas Chemical Co. at the Philmont Country Club on Friday evening.
Intermediate Girl Scout Troop 85, of Hatboro, entertained fathers at a father-daughter banquet held at the Lehman Memorial Methodist Church, Hatboro, last week. The girls made the dessert, and put on a program of music, poems and dancing.
Mrs. Maroussia Bloch, of Philadelphia, spent last weekend with her daughter and son-in-law, Dr. and Mrs. I. Howard Kahn, of Horsham. Mrs. Bloch recently returned from a two-month trip by plane to Europe. She visited Israel, Italy, England, the Brussels World Fair, and Switzerland.