Local government has the greatest impact on our day-today lives and is the level of government where the resident can have the greatest influence.The tap water's murky? The snow's not plowed? The leaves not picked up? The trash left uncollected? Call borough hall or the township office.
Noisy party next door? Stray dog in your yard? Traffic accident or criminal activity? Call the police.
And if anything from a toaster oven to a building is on fire, call the Fire Department.
Yet most citizens are only vaguely aware of the way in which the elected officials and staff of Wyomissing work to meet all those essential needs, offer the recreational activities and community beauty, which our borough has possessed for over 100 years.
Recently an observer of the United States Supreme Court noted, "Continuity and change, the entwined spirals of a double helix, are the court's DNA."
The same could be said for the genetic material of Wyomissing. Our traditions are important and have served us well and at the same time our borough must be ready to meet the challenges of our second century with flexibility and new strategies.
The balancing and weaving of continuity and change has recently taken the form of a need to revise our zoning laws.
By virtue of the borough's age, some of our commercial and residential real estate fails to meet modern expectations.
As a result, we are facing redevelopment pressure. We want to encourage that activity in order to keep our community fiscally sound and vibrant.
Our zoning laws needed to be updated to allow for the changes private property owners and commercial developers want.
Yet we need to keep in mind the coexisting public interest in the traditional streetscape and high quality-of-life environment of our community.
In March, borough council established a zoning task force to examine completely our zoning regulations and make suggestions for change.
This is a many-step process. Only after review by the borough and county planning commissions, Newspaper advertisement of proposed changes and a special public hearing, may council vote to alter the zoning code.
To date we have adopted residential height limitations and setback requirements, redefined the definition of accessory structures, and limited the size of signs in residential districts. And there's more work to be done.
Our zoning task force, planning commission and council are in the process of adopting an Overlay District throughout those portions of the borough's commercial and industrial districts south of the Warren Street Bypass.
This will encourage continued redevelopment of that area in the same manner as the Wyomissing Square project currently under construction.
We're taking a look at our rules for home businesses in residential areas, and are seeking to streamline procedures wherever permitted by law.
We encourage residents to express their views on these zoning matters, other topics of interest, and to attend our many public meetings.
The next regular council meeting will be held on Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. at The Highlands.
Dates and times of all meetings and a wealth of other information may be found on our borough website. www.wyomissingpa.org.