By Dianne Stuckman
Several new nameplates now adorn the desks of the Crafton council chambers following a reorganization meeting that ushered in four new members.
The newcomers were sworn in on the back of a flurry of change that has left Councilmen John Oliverio and Colton Chandler as the most senior members despite being appointed just last spring to fill vacancies, with terms ending in December. They, along with all other board members, sought and won a council seat in the November election.
Oliverio was voted by his peers to serve as president, while newcomer Kirsten Compitello was selected as vice president. Meanwhile, former councilwoman Coletta Perry was sworn in as newly-elected mayor, having campaigned for that role following news that longtime incumbent Jim Bloom planned to stand down at the end of his third term.
A week later, at the first official meeting on Jan. 13, the leadership and new board members Vincent Ridilla, Erin Bollenbacher and Justin Marks debuted as a cohesive unit, having campaigned together under the “Crafton Forward” committee. Oliverio said he feels a positive energy with the group and is excited to move forward.
“We work really well together,” he said. Their collective interest, he said, is to serve the community.
Perry's vacant council seat, which runs through 2023, will be filled at the Jan. 27 meeting. Applications were received through Jan. 17, and interested candidates vying for the spot will address the board that evening.
Council aims to update its antiquated zoning regulations in ways that may entice new businesses to the area.
Compitello, who serves on the Community Services and Infrastructure Committee, expects updated zoning to give businesses more flexibility.
“One of the outcomes is to make it easier and more amenable to local businesses coming in,” she said. “It would be done to update it to current standards, make it more in line with our comprehensive plan and to allow more flexible growth to encourage economic development in our downtown or commercial areas and around our busway.”
She said examples of regulations that may be revised would be parking and setback requirements.
Interim Manager Doug Sample said existing zoning regulations were put in place in 1997.
The cost of Crafton's zoning update is estimated at $25,000.
The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development has awarded a joint grant of $50,000 to Crafton and Ingram boroughs, covering half of the $100,000 cost.
Council will seek proposals from planning firms in early spring and once awarded, the process of updating zoning standards is expected to take a year.