Com­mit­tee un­veils Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Ac­tion Plan with goal of mak­ing Bris­tol a bet­ter place to live, in­vest and visit

The Advance of Bucks County - - FRONT PAGE - By El­iz­a­beth Fisher

BAd­vance cor­re­spon­dent RIS­TOL BOROrdH - Ten months in the mak­ing, the town’s Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Strate­gic Ac­tion Plan was un­veiled June 17 at a spe­cial coun­cil meet­ing at bor­ough hall. Bill Pezza, chair­man of the com­mit­tee, spoke to a stand­in­groom-only crowd about the 61 sug­ges­tions that the plan­ning com­mit­tee be­lieves are the best ways to make Bris­tol a good place to live, in­vest, and visit.

The plan is “fluid,” Pezza said, mean­ing that as some goals are met, oth­ers will be put in their place. He cited work that the govern­ment has al­ready com­pleted: paved streets, new traf­fic signals, new equip­ment and main­te­nance build­ing and other projects that mod­ern­ized the in­fra­struc­ture of the town.

“The bor­ough suc­cess­fully built the ‘’old bones’’ of the town’s in­fra­struc­ture. [The com­mit­tees’ workz is not a crit­i­cism of the coun­cil. vou can’t do it all,” he said.

The plan out­lines goals that Pezza hopes will be im­ple­mented over the next five years. Fol­low­ing a 40-minute power point pre­sen­ta­tion, coun­cil mem­bers, then res­i­dents, were in­vited to as ques­tions, ex­press con­cerns, and of­fer sug­ges­tions.

One ma­jor con­cern that many bor­ough of­fi­cials be­lieve tar­nishes the bor­ough’s im­age is the preva­lence of ab­sen­tee land­lords, and a lengthy dis­cus­sion fol­lowed on how to ad­dress the prob­lem. Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Ralph Diduiseppe be­lieves that the time has come to crack down on the prob­lem through ci­ta­tions and stepped-up in­spec­tions.

The use-and-oc­cu­pancy or­di­nance is an­other weapon the bor­ough could use to en­sure rental properties meet safety and vis­ual stan­dards.

“Ab­sen­tee land­lords have no Diduiseppe said.

Coun­cil Mem­bers (dreg) Pezza, Lor­raine Cullen and Betty Ro­driguez called for hir­ing a part-time in­spec­tor, a move they be­lieve would help keep track of, and take ac­tion on, er­rant land­lords and home­own­ers who ne­glect their properties.

“We’re not try­ing to make money off of peo­ple [by im­pos­ing fines}. We’d rather see properties cleaned up,” Ro­driguez said.

Coun­cil­men Tony Devine, Pat Sa­ba­tini, and Leo Plen­ski were ab­sent.

Diduiseppe and other coun­cil Mem­bers, Robyn Trunell, Betty Ro­driguez, dreg Pezza all ex­pressed pos­i­tive reac-

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this town,” tions to the re­port, which out­lined a va­ri­ety of mea­sures to im­prove the town and en­hance its mar­ketabil­ity. The com­mit­tee broke down the sug­ges­tions into 10 “pil­lars,” or cat­e­gories on whch ac­tion could be taken.

They in­clude build­ing up bor­ough neigh­bor­hoods and in­fra­struc­ture, and cre­at­ing fi­nan­cial tools and in­cen­tives to sup­port pur­chase and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion of run-down homes. Fed­eral tax in­cen­tives of his­toric build­ings and first-time home buyer in­cen­tives are al­ready avail­able, Pezza said.

Build­ing and cre­at­ing a vi­brant busi­ness dis­trict, uni­form en­force­ment of bor­ough laws and reg­u­la­tions, pre­serv­ing Bris­tol’s his­toric her­itage, and work­ing with the school dis­trict to ad­dress prob­lems and cre­ate pro­grams that raise the schools’ aca­demic per­for­mance were in­cluded in the re­port.

Other items ad­dressed in­cluded: cre­at­ing a the­ater dis­trict, which would in­clude the blocks sur­round­ing the Bris­tol River­side Theatre; ex­pand­ing the Bris­tol Bor­ough Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion to in­clude sev­eral hun­dred other busi­nesses and pro­fes­sional of­fices in town; and work­ing to de­fer “ad­di­tional as­sessed val­u­a­tion and taxes as­so­ci­ated with ac­tual re­con­struc­tion costs.

To see the com­plete list of sug­ges­tions on the re­port, visit www.buck­slo­calnews.com

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