At the beginning of the month, we asked readers "What would you improve in Moorestown in 2013?"
A number of you shared some ideas in the comments section, and rather than just let those great ideas go to waste, we tracked down Mayor Stacey Jordan for a quick Q&A on some of your suggestions. Here's what she had to say.
How can the township make planning and zoning more “user-friendly” for businesses who want to come to town? One reader called it “an expensive process,” with a lot of paperwork, that discouraged potential businesses from coming here.
I totally relate to those frustrations because I have businesses in other towns and I experience the same exact frustrations, the same problems. So I don’t think it’s unique to our town. It’s the process. What we need to do is be a little more customer service-friendly. It’s difficult for people to navigate that.
Would a possible way to make things more user friendly be to allow businesses to apply for the things they need online?
That’s something we can go definitely go towards, and I think that’d be helpful. But the real major crux of it is people-to-people dealings. It’s a retail business; you have to be customer-friendly, and it just doesn’t become paperwork and you stamp it and send it on its way. It’s got to be a little bit more involved with almost guiding people through it. Instead of saying, “Here’s all your paperwork, go ahead,” helping them get through that whole process.
Does the township have any plans to crack down on code violators, i.e. “people who treat their yards like a private junkyard”? Does the township need to do anything to improve its code enforcement?
We do a pretty good job with code enforcement. I know there are some properties that people don’t like, and they have to make sure those are brought to our attention, because I think there’ll be times where we don’t always get everything. I know the process is they go out, and if they see a violation, they send a letter, and then the violator has a specific amount of time to take care of their issue. And if it’s not taken care of, it’s taken to court. And I think that’s where a lot of the problems occur. The courts don’t always move at the speed that we’d like to see them move. We’re pretty aggressive, and if there’s anything that people see, or they don’t think is being handled in a timely manner, call. Let us know. We’re not everywhere all the time. We need people to help us out.
What about rentals and absentee landlords? Are those concerns, and if so, how can they be addressed?
I haven’t heard too many things about absentee landlords. People have not come to me with those specific concerns, and if there are (those problems), I would love to hear them, so that I could point them in the right direction. Most people take care of their properties, most people take pride in what they have.
What about Lenola? How can the township focus on improving that section of town? Are there any specific plans you can mention?
Victoria being on council is going to be tremendous. Lenola has always been a part of town I’ve always enjoyed. A lot of it comes down to some of the landlords, or some of the businesses and owners there to review things … and I think once that happens, other businesses, other property owners, start to take pride in what they have. That’s a concern EDAC (Economic Development Advisory Committee) has had—they want to make sure Lenola’s not forgotten. I have great friends there, wonderful people that live there. And I definitely want to make the people there feel like we’re not forgetting them, that we’re really doing stuff. Maybe every once in a while meeting with the West End Task Force—maybe having them once or twice a year get together with council members, just to kind of go over any concerns they have. I want to know what’s being done right so we can continue it, or if there’s something we need to tweak, let’s take a look at what that is.
Do you have resolutions, things that you’d like to achieve this year, as a council member?
I want to continue to make sure the town hall municipal complex is moving ahead on schedule, and would love to have it under budget, if not on budget. And just making sure we continue to take care of our town and maintain it.