PRESENT: Matt Ruben, President; Steve Richman, Treasurer; Janet Finegar, Secretary; Donald Hoegg; Ira Upin; Jeremy Lindemann; Joe Mikuliak; Don Phillips; Barbara Saverino; Anne Waginger.  

ABSENT: Michael Coyne, Vice-President; Troy Crichton; Roneil Jackson; Monika Kreidie; Chris Somers.

The meeting was called to order by the President at 7:06 p.m.

Motion: By Jeremy Lindemann, seconded by Barbara Saverino:“To approve the minutes of the March Board meeting as presented.”  Passed 9-0-0

President’s Report: Matt Ruben.

The ½ day Board retreat will be on April 29th from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Matt urged Board members to make as much effort as possible to attend. (There will be no posted May 2017 minutes)

The community center yard/pavilion project is about to begin. Surveying will begin this week. Building permits are still not back from the City but should be here soon: we are ready to go as soon as they are here and look forward to it being about 2 months to completion.

The next General Meeting will be, ideally, on April 26th or 27th: we are still waiting for the DWRC presentation on the waterfront project to finalize the date. We will use St. Michael’s church hall since we anticipate it being a very large meeting.

There was extensive discussion based upon land where the NLNA negotiated an agreement with a now-defunct project proposed back in 2006. At that time, the NLNA created an agreement with the developers for that project that involved compensation to the neighborhood for significant impact from the project; that agreement was recorded against the title and has clouded the deed. After that project fell through, the current owner is trying to sell it to another developer who would like to build a by-right project. The agreement on the deed is an asset to the NLNA, but there is a question of whether we should negotiate for a buyout of the asset or agree to remove ourselves from it for no cost because the project for which the agreement was made is no longer valid.

Motion: By Steve Richman, seconded by Donald Hoegg. “To have a representative of the NLNA inform the property owner that we are willing to clear the title in exchange for a negotiated compensation.”  Passed 9-0-0


Treasurer’s Report: Steve Richman: written report distributed and reviewed.


2016-17 Budget: March Financials – tables attached

  • For the six months ended on March 31st, all funds income was $173,373; this was $22,100 more than projected. Expenses totaled $71,519, which was about $2,700 less than anticipated. Net income was $101,854 – $24,800 more than projected. These amounts include almost $80,000 in grant income and about $4,100 in grant expenses outside the General Fund and Liberty Lands.
  • Excluding grant fund activity yields a more accurate representation of our financial position. Thus, if we limit the calculation to income and expenses from the General Fund and Liberty Lands accounts, our financial position after the first three months of the fiscal year is as follows:
    • GF & LL Income (rounded):$93,300 — $21,700 more than anticipated.
    • GF & LL Expenses (rounded): $67,500 — $3,300 less than anticipated.
    • GF & LL Net Income: $25,800 — $25,000 more than anticipated.
  • Significant variations from budgeted projections through March included:
    • Income from fundraising activities – which totaled about $31,200. This was $2,600 higher than anticipated. Most significantly, the Annual Appeal has already surpassed its goal of $17,600 (by $400) and the Winterfest took in nearly $9,000, nearly $1,500 more than projected. In addition, income from the Fall Fest exceeded expectations by nearly $1,800.
    • Higher than anticipated general donations totaling $11,900. This was nearly $9,600 more than projected and accounts for nearly 40 percent of the current positive balance. A number of large matching donations constituted most of the amounts we received.
    • Rental income, which totaled $38,400, and exceeded expectations by nearly $4,800, although $1,000 of this amount was pre-paid rent.
  • Grants totaling $8,670 received from PTSSD for Operation Santa, Parade of Spirits, the Fall Fest, Winterfest and Liberty Lands. An additional $2,000 grant was received from the Frick Foundation for repairs at Liberty Lands.
  • Lower than anticipated spending for professional and program services and repair and maintenance (-$7,600). This difference is almost entirely due to timing and seasonality.
  • Lower spending in these categories was partially offset by higher than anticipated spending in legal services (+$2,960) and equipment ($3,465). In legal services the additional spending was for the appeal of a recent ZBA decision. In equipment, we spent $2,680 for the purchase of a street cleaning machine and $500 for a water fountain at Liberty Lands.

Other Items

  • Capital Grant from PTSSD – Following our successful appeal of the refusal we received for our zoning permit KT made minor changes to the architectural plans for the yard and we applied for our building permits. The changes to the plans affect only the landscaping and do not affect the design of the pavilion. In addition we executed an MOU with KT that will help guide the construction process. At the same time we have received proposals from contractors interested in working on the project and have begun to develop contracts to secure their services. Some services will be provided for no charge. These include surveying, excavation and foundation work. We anticipate work will begin this month.

Motion: By Don Phillips, seconded by Joe Mikuliak. “To make the purchase of the Billy Goat street sweeper from our General Fund balance rather than transferring funds in from the reserve as was originally approved.”  Passed 9-0-0

Motion: By Barbara Saverino, seconded by Don Phillips.“To accept the Treasurer’s report as presented.” Passed 9-0-0


Election Committee Report: Jeremy Lindemann

The committee plans a meeting on April 6 to begin planning for the upcoming elections. Matt offered some suggestions for creating an extended nominations period through this election.


Liberty Lands Committee Report: Janet Finegar: written report attached and reviewed.

Liberty Lands Report – April 2017

  • The big news from Liberty Lands is that Jen Gold, after eight years doing the several thousand jobs under the umbrella of “Community Garden Coordinator,” is stepping down from a few of them (while keeping several others). It looks like gardener Laura Siminoff will be taking on most of the administrative tasks of community garden coordination and that gardener Brian Turcich will be taking some of the more physically demanding chores. Big thanks to Laura and Brian for stepping up for these roles! The Steering Committee is hoping to define a system where these jobs will be rotating positions among the gardeners, which will allow more people to share in the responsibilities (and work) of keeping our garden going.
  • And of course, huge thanks to Jen for taking that on for the past eight years! Fortunately, she will continue to run Liberty Lands’ City Harvest program, take care of several of the park gardens, coordinate trash removal for the park, and oversee Chico (our “honey-do” worker), in addition to implementing the pilot Gardenhub program this season, so she’s not exactly leaving the park.
  • In connection with the above, the Steering committee will be looking at the overall organization of park management at the next few meetings with a goal of figuring out how to divide ALL the work that’s currently being done by a very small group of people into a longer list of smaller roles so that more people can play a more active part. [Yes, we’re looking at you all reading this and hoping you’re interested in taking on a slightly larger but discrete role in managing the park!] Anyone who’d like to help out with that transition process would be very welcome. . . obviously, some different voices would be useful in crafting the change.
  • March 25 was the first workday of the season, focused on playground mulch. Getting it delivered went well: having the street closure permit made everything easier. Last time, Seth moved a lot of the piles on Friday when there weren’t any little kids at the park, and that was way easier than doing it on Saturday during the workday – but his bobcat is out of commission and we had to rent one, and they are twice as expensive on Fridays as Saturday. So, c’est la vie, running the machine on Saturday was somewhat stressful but no one was hurt, and Seth came back in the evening to do some runs with fewer people there. There’s still a small pile of mulch to move and a relatively random spreading around the whole area between the playgrounds, but it’s always nice to have volunteers help! The fact that we ended up paying some $500 for the bobcat rental was well offset by PTSSD sponsorship of the workday, which paid the nearly $3,000 for the playground mulch.
  • Also done on the workday: JD Albert worked on fixing the water fountain (which needs a new plate – he’s on it); two of the three City Harvest plots got turned for the spring; the compost pile was cleared of large branches (hoping we can have some of this taken away at the Spring Cleanup on the 8th); lots of tree pits were weeded; and we got a huge donation of edging rocks from Joan and Darryl Rothmund.
  • The second workday of the season is Saturday, the 8th. This is coordinated with the Philly Spring Clean up and also is sponsored by the Great Lakes Brewing Company, so it ends with a beer-and-pizza party that the whole neighborhood is invited to. We need to: coordinate the party with the GLBC organizers (Liz and Janet are on it), pick the locations for the grills and signs that we need to install, make a materials list and get those materials, and get ready to do this! I’ll send some job lists and requests for help around to the core committee this week.
  • The exciting grant for a new garden fence announced last month has fallen through – as happens sometimes with grants, it turned out to be far more competitive than we originally thought, and our application was late to begin with. However, the general idea of improving the fence is still valid and we’re still hoping to make it happen – and the larger idea of re-doing the Bodine Street side to create a real sidewalk and better parking situation is also still valid and something we’ll pursue. Because the April 4 meeting was to satisfy grant requirements, though, we have cancelled it and the organizers of the Orkney Park Project will use that date for a first information meeting!
  • No news on scheduling of the erosion project at the north end.
  • For various logistical reasons, we’re looking at doing Weeder’s Club from 10-12 on Saturdays for this season (an hour later than it was in the past). Nathalie Shapiro and Kerry Sloan will be the core volunteers for Weeder’s this year. Drop in help is always always welcome!


Quality Of Life Committee Report: Janet Finegar: written report attached and reviewed.

It was agreed that a sticker with the NLNA logo should be created to attach to the Billy Goat.


Zoning Committee Report: Ira Upin: written report attached and reviewed.


Motion: By Jeremy Lindemann, seconded by Donald Hoegg. “To ratify the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 124 Pollard St., i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. We support the plans as presented including finish materials as called out. The board requests the precast decorative element from the East elevation be incorporated in some way into the West elevation as well.’”  Passed: 9-0-0


Motion: By Jeremy Lindemann, seconded by Donald Hoegg. “To ratify the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 138 – 46 W. Wildey St., i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. Please return with refusals from the ZBA. Bring enlarged plans where all houses but 146 Wildey and 129 Allen have a minimum yard setback of 9’. Include contextual color drawings of neighboring houses in context with the presented homes on both streets. Include façade details for front and rear, as well as one exposed side façade.’” Passed: 9-0-0

Matt reported that our appeal against the ZBA decision to put a garage at 1009 North Orianna St. is progressing. The owners of the property have moved ahead with putting in the curb cut there, although there is still no garage in the building: this is legal, although if the appeal goes our way they will need to restore the curb.

Old Business

Donald Phillips reported that we are still in need of a designer for new Northern Liberties t-shirts. Jeremy suggested that he knows someone who might be able to do a design.

Donald Phillips further reported that the June 3 Spring Music festival will include both a flea market and a partnership with the mothers against violence group who partnered with the festival last year.

Joe Mikuliak raised the issue of installing the Little Free Library at the community center on the Fairmount Avenue wall of the center. Donald Hoegg volunteered to help install it.

Matt Ruben reported that there has been little progress on the Doughboy statue renovation because of city red tape but that he and Barbara Saverino are working with negotiating it.

New Business

Donald Phillips reported that there will be a first general meeting tomorrow night (Tuesday April 4, 7 p.m.) to inform people about the Orkney Park project to preserve three green lots on the 800 block of Orkney and try to drum up support.


The meeting was adjourned by acclaim at 8:32 p.m.




Quality of Life Committee Report

  • The Committee has had one working meeting since the “Trash” meeting in late February. Several people signed up for the Philadelphia Citywide Block Cleanup days and we’re hoping that the various cleanups will go well this week.
  • There is another meeting scheduled for Wednesday night at 7. Hoping that this meeting will focus on preparing for the block cleanups and looking forward to taking on one major project at a time. We expect that there will also be a certain amount of helping volunteers to understand the importance of them taking initiative and thinking of themselves as part of the NLNA as opposed to “helping” it.
  • The Billy Goat was delivered today (Monday): Joe Mikuliak, Don Phillips, Janet Finegar, Lara Kelly, and John from our street sweeping service met the delivery guy, who went over some basics for the machine. It is being stored in Oron’s building across from Liberty Lands (thanks, Oron!)


Zoning Committee Meeting – Monday 3/26/17

Members Present: Larry Freedman (chair), Kenny Grono, Joe Mikuliak, Melissa Magness, Jonathen Sher, Abbey Spector, Ira Upin, Chris Issacson, Charlie Abdo        

Members Absent: Michael Simon

124 Pollard St. – RSA5 – Francis Mastromarco/Dawn Tancredi: A return visit with a proposal for a 3 unit bldg.

Motion from 2.27.17: 7-0 Please return with a plan that incorporates 2 parking spaces off Pollard Street. They returned with a plan similar to the original approved plan, but with one official approved parking spot off Pollard and one unofficial spot off Hope. (The houses next to this project use Hope for parking, but the Streets dept. doesn’t officially recognize/claim the street)

Motion (Ira) – 2nd (Melissa): Vote 7-0-1   Thank you for your presentation. We support the plans as presented including finish materials as called out. The board requests the precast decorative element from the East elevation be incorporated in some way into the West elevation as well.


138 – 46 W. Wildey St. – RSA5 – Dawn Tancredi: A proposal for 8 townhomes.

Motion from 2.27.17: 7-0 Reduce the building height to 38’ feet, increase the backyard space, eliminate the garages and/or consider a multi-family building with parking. No refusals have been issued as this project has applied but has not received refusals. Three houses will be on Allen Street and 5 houses on Wildey as before. The width and depths of each house varies. Height of the front and rear facades of houses was brought down to 38’, but there is an enlarged pilot house set back 10’ from the front that is technically a 4th floor. No parking is provided. Refusals are expected for 4th floors, rear yard depth, and lack of set back on upper floor on the properties with small lots. Discussion: One near neighbor present had not objection. Board felt yards should be bigger.

Motion Group: 8-0   Thank you for your presentation. Please return with refusals from the ZBA. Bring enlarged plans where all houses but 146 Wildey and 129 Allen have a minimum yard setback of 9’. Include contextual color drawings of neighboring houses in context with the presented homes on both streets. Include façade details for front and rear, as well as one exposed side façade.