This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
WEST CHESTER — If there is ever a hot topic in West Chester, it had to regard parking.
It’s the reason why the borough held a town hall meeting dealing with residential parking Tuesday night.
“What we really want to get into is what it’s like to live on your block,” said Meghan McVety, from Capacity to Change, to the residents in attendance. “What is it like to live where you live? How can we make it better? People who are running your local government believe you all have the ideas and the input to make it better.
Residents turned out in full force for the town hall meeting.
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Borough Manager Michael Cotter asked for an RSVP for the meeting, but he only received 15 replies. At the meeting itself, about 50 residents showed up.
“This is great,” he said. “I’m here to get feedback and I’m looking forward to hearing the feedback – good, bad and ugly.”
The town hall was set up as a group discussion, with multiple tables set up around the council chamber room with roughly six people to each table.
Each group would discuss issues and wrote them down on a large piece of paper for the borough to review.
Even though the focus of the meeting was on residential parking, there were also posters along a wall for the town center, parking garages and meters for anyone to write down a concern or idea.
“This town hall is about making sure you get to voice what’s going on and (the government) will listen and their intent is to respond,” McVety said. “What you write down will definitely be recorded. We’re listening and taking notes.”
All of this is because West Chester is in the beginning phases of an 18-month process.
“West Chester is about to undertake a comprehensive planning process for parking,” McVety said. “I believe it’s for the first time ever. They’ll be looking at (parking) in a comprehensive way and what happens when it hasn’t been done, which is what we’re experiencing now.”
Residents took the time to speak up during the town hall meeting and the most-talked about issues seemed to deal with parking for out-of-state registrations, three or more cars per household and congestion, especially around West Chester University.
Even borough council members, who were in attendance, donned residential hats to voice their issues as well.
“We hear stuff like ‘this has become an entertainment town whether you like it or not,’” said council President Jordan Norley. “I think that this can be a resident town and a resident community. We have serious issues where I am in the southeast with some density issues.”
As Cotter reminded residents at the end of the meeting, which lasted an hour and a half, this will be a long process.
The community is being asked to pay attention for special notices of possible upcoming meetings, some of which can be directed at certain areas.
“This is a kick-off to that process in getting your ideas and your framing of what needs to be the focus of that and what the issues are,” McVety said. “That’s why this conversation is so important.”