Board of Directors Minutes – December 5, 2016

PRESENT: Matt Ruben, President; Michael Coyne, Vice-President; Steve Richman, Treasurer; Janet Finegar, Secretary; Donald Hoegg; Ira Upin; Monika Kreidie; Jeremy Lindemann; Joe Mikuliak; Don Phillips; Barbara Saverino; Chris Somers.

ABSENT: Troy Crichton; Roneil Jackson; Anne Waginger.

ALSO PRESENT: Joe Brunner, accountant; Lara Kelly, Quality of Life manager

The meeting was called to order by the President at 7:04 p.m.

Motion: By Donald Phillips, seconded by Barbara Saverino:“To approve the minutes of the November Board meeting as presented.” Passed 10-0-0

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

Joe Brunner, who has been the NLNA’s accountant for the past several years, presented and reviewed a compilation report of the Association’s finances. A few quick questions from the Board were addressed.

TREASURER’S REPORT – DECEMBER 2016

  1. 2016-17 Budget: November Financials – tables attached
  1. For the two months ended on November 30th all funds income was $25,500; this was nearly $5,500 more than projected. Expenses totaled $19,750, which was about $4,900 less than anticipated. Net income was $5,750 – $10,400 more than projected. These amounts include about $2,000 in grant expenses.
  2. Significant variations from budgeted projections through November include:
  1. Income from fundraising activities was about $400 lower than anticipated. The most significant contributing factor was the Annual Appeal, which was $500 behind projections. Corporate donations for Clean Streets were also short of expectations – by $500.
  2. Higher than anticipated general donations more than offset these shortfalls. We received nearly $5,400 in donations, surpassing budgeted levels by $4,600. Four large donations constituted most of the amounts we received. In addition, rental income surpassed expectations by $1,200. About $500 of this amount was pre-paid rent.
  3. Separately, grants totaling $4,320 were received from PTSSD for Operation Santa, Krampuslauf and the Fall Fest.
  4. Spending was lower than anticipated for repair and maintenance and utilities (-$1,500), and for professional and program services (-$3,650). This difference is almost entirely due to slow billing and seasonality.
  5. Other Items
  • Capital Grant from PTSSD – We expect to receive $78,000 from PTSSD in December, the balance of the $178,000 grant awarded last February.
  • 2015-16 Compilation Report and Federal Tax Return – Our accountant has completed preparation of the annual compilation report and tax return for 2015-16. He will present his report at our December meeting.

Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Don Hoegg. “To accept the Treasurer’s report as presented.”  Passed 11-0-0

 

President’s Report: Matt Ruben.

  • The Spring Garden underpass lighting is finally finished. They turned it on as a test last week and have it off now until a formal unveiling with the Mayor, probably in late December.
  • The Business Improvement District is moving forward with organization and hiring a consultant.
  • A new set of speed cushions was installed on 5th Street and two appeared on 2nd Street also; this is still a “test” period for them, and we do not know when they will make them permanent.
  • Jefferson Hospital has opened an Urgent Care facility at 800 North Delaware Avenue across from where Yards was previously located. At their invitation, some Board members will take a brief tour of the facility sometime soon.
  • A neighbor offered to help with making informational videos for the Association; Don and Barbara will contact him to discuss possibilities.
  • Lara updated the Board on the street sweeper purchase: we can store the sweeper in Oron’s garage, but there are still some logistical details to resolve. For that reason, the purchase itself will be put off until March so that the sweeper doesn’t sit unused over the winter.

 

Ad Hoc Planning Committee: Monika Kreidie.

Monika reported that a strategic planning committee made up of several Board members met several times over the summer to discuss improvements to the structure of the Association as it matures and the neighborhood grows. Monika distributed a draft document outlining the committee’s proposals as a starting point for discussion. A few of the more significant proposals of the committee are to hire marketing/branding and grant writing assistance; to require specific commitments of volunteer hours and committee oversight from every Board member; and to work to increase the number of possible Board members.

Monika asked that Board members look at the draft, and bring their reactions and comments (and additional proposals) to the January meeting for discussion. Ira raised the question about what would be the best method for discussing and moving forward with the proposals. After quite a lot of discussion, it was agreed that the best method would be to hold a Board retreat (4-6 hours on a Saturday relatively soon), possibly with a professional facilitator, and that Matt will take charge of organizing this event. At the same time, it was further agreed that since it is unlikely that the retreat will take place before the January board meeting, Board member should still read through the draft and bring comments for brief discussion at that meeting.

 

Fundraising & Membership Committee(s) Report by Michael Coyne

  • The Annual Appeal letters were mailed on November 25th.
  • The 2017 Winterfest is going to be held on Sunday, February 12th, from 1:00 to 5:00 PM at North Bowl. Katrina did the poster/flier and the digital copy ready. The Fundraising Committee will be meeting in early January to get things together for the event. We’re going to have tickets printed so please feel free to solicit your friends and neighbors to attend the best event in Philadelphia on the 12th.

Liberty Lands report – December 2016 by Janet Finegar

  • On Friday December 1, Shechman Tree came and did a lengthy job pruning the pawlonia trees at the southeast corner, including taking out one dead trunk. We got a $1,000 contribution from Philly Apartment Company to cover about 1/3 of this very necessary job. They took out a lot of dead limbs and limbs growing into the houses on American Street (thus the PAC contribution to the job) and made that whole area significantly safer through the work. It also took a six-man crew a solid five hours to do, and watching even the small pieces come down in a controlled way would be enough to convince anyone who might ever question the expense of professional tree pruning. . .
  • Related to the question of why we have so many darn trees at the park, I spent the same five hours clearing the 3rd St. sidewalk of leaves. We should remember to make this a standard November workday task. . .
  • And while we’re remembering things, we need a “concrete” workday some day in the spring to install a Little Free Library, several signs, and a new charcoal grill.
  • But in good news, during the five hours I was there I saw only one off-leash dog (out of maybe fifty dogs that came through) and that one belonged to a known scofflaw (who did leash up when confronted). So things are looking better on that front!
  • I have been in touch with the nice donor of the giant concrete table and with Leo Rossi about moving it, and at this point they seem to be going to coordinate it between themselves. . . so either we’ll wake up one morning with a giant concrete table, or we won’t, and either way we’ll deal with it.
  • Jen and Paul have been working on a project for some time now, called “Garden Hub,” that will ideally have a pilot program at Liberty Lands and a few other Riverwards gardens in the spring of 2017. The project is designed to reduce garden food waste and provide a meaningful job for underemployed persons as well as improve the “community” aspect of community gardens. [In practical terms, it creates a position for someone who puts unharvested food in community gardens to work at food banks, farmers’ markets, etc.]
  • In other grant news, the PHS “Legacy Landscapes” program – a funding program established to honor Jane Pepper which has Liberty Lands as one of its core beneficiaries – has put replacing our community garden fence into its 17-18 fiscal year plans. A basic estimate for installing a new metal fence came in at around $30,000, which does not include the labor to move all the vegetation around the fence (we’d need to do that ourselves). This is, obviously, in the early planning stages and the park committee needs to discuss the design of the fence, the timing of the project, and other basic issues.
  • Orianna Hill Park was awarded the grant through Penn Treaty Special Services District to expand christmas tree chipping in Northern Liberties this year. That grant included $1,500 toward the January professional tree pruning at Liberty Lands (this is in addition to the pawlonia pruning we just had done: we have a lot of trees). The dates for chipping are:
    • January 1-15 – trees may be dropped off any time at OHP at the corner “picnic park”
    • Saturday, January 7 – pruning and chipping at Orianna Hill
    • Monday, January 16 – pruning and chipping at Liberty Lands
  • Liberty Lands’ last event for the season is the Parade of Spirits on Saturday, December 17th. We’ll gather at the park starting at about 3, start the parade at around 4 (over to 2nd, 2nd to Fairmount, back up 3rd), get back to the park by 4:45 and hang out there until I manage to get everyone to leave. I have a few volunteers for crossing guards, but could use a few more people willing to be un-masked and help make sure crossing goes safely at the various intersections. If you’re willing, please let me know!
  • Parade of Spirits also uses the Community Center as a warming station/valuables lockup on the 17th (and Operation Santa deliveries go out of there in the morning of the 17th, so I’ll be hogging the CC all day on the 17th)
  • Finally, despite certain lunatics’ insistence that we continue until it snows, Weeder’s Club is officially over for the year. We will recommence in March, much earlier than most of us want to. Look forward to a greatly shorter report in January and February.

 

Townwatch Committee Report: Jeremy Lindemann.

Jeremy reported that weekly patrols have been occurring and going well. Committee member Mark Maltby has taken on a lot of responsibility, including patrolling regularly and taking over handling the Townwatch internet page.

 

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

Motion: By Don Hoegg, seconded by Monika Kreidie. “To ratify the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 1009 N. Orianna, i.e.: ‘We oppose the variance to legalize a garage at 1009 N. Orianna Street. It would remove 2 parking spaces on a block with only 5 spaces for 13 homes.’”  Passed 11-0-0

Motion: By Don Hoegg, seconded by Monika Kreidie. “To ratify the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 408-10 N. Front St., i.e.: ‘We support this project with the proposed parking and proposed open space, but with one story removed (4 stories, not 5 stories).’”  Passed 11-0-0

Motion: By Barbara Saverino, seconded by Donald Phillips. “To ratify the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 500-08 N. 2nd St., i.e.: ‘We approve this as presented with accessory parking reserved only for union workers.’”  Passed 11-0-0

Motion: By Don Hoegg, seconded by Michael Coyne. “To ratify the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 938 New Market St., i.e.: ‘We oppose any commercial space at 938-40 New Market Street. This block is 100% residential and any commercial use would increase the problems of parking, noise and night time activity.’”  Passed 11-0-0

Motion: By Monika Kreidie, seconded by Don Hoegg. “To ratify the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 413 Poplar St., i.e.: ‘We will support the variance for a 4 foot rear yard depth at rear deck. We oppose the accessory parking space which will take away on-street parking.’”  Passed 11-0-0

Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Joe Mikuliak. “To ratify the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 700 N. 3rd St., i.e.: ‘We support the variance as presented to the community with the following provisos: a) No night time use outside after 10:00 p.m.; b) Maximum capacity is 125 people; c) The decibel level will not exceed standards set by the air management department; d) All events will be directly managed by the NLNA.’”  Passed 11-0-0

 

Old Business

Ira reported that the yard renovation project is on track to begin in the spring. There was a delay from the hoped-for fall date because of needing a zoning variance.

 

Don reminded the Board about the Operation Santa wrapping and delivery dates (Dec. 15 at 6 p.m. for wrapping, Dec. 17 at 9 a.m. for delivery) and asked for volunteer help.

 

New Business

There was some conversation about having Congressman Brady attend an upcoming NLNA meeting (or even ask if the meeting could be held at the offices on Spring Garden Street). Matt will approach the Congressman and look into getting a presentation from the DWRC about the waterfront project.

The meeting was adjourned by acclaim at 8:49 p.m.

Addenda:

Zoning Committee – Monday 11/28/16

Members present: Larry Freedman (chair), Charlie Abdo, Kenny Grono, Chris Isaacson, Joe Mikuliak, Sharon Richman, Jonathan Sher, Abbey Spector, Ira Upin         Members absent: Melissa Magness, Michael Simons

  • 1009 N. Orianna–RSA5–Carl Primavera: Legalize a parking spot and construct a curb cut. Original owner built the house with a garage with a refusal for the curb cut. Installing this curb cut now will eliminate 2 parking spaces. Current owners were aware of the refusal at time of purchase. Discussion: Building something not permitted to get approval years later would set a bad precedent.

Motion (Joe) – 2nd ( Jonathan): Vote 8-0-0 We oppose the variance to legalize a garage at 1009 N. Orianna Street. It would remove 2 parking spaces on a block with only 5 spaces for 13 homes.

  • 408-10 N. Front St. – RM1 – Michael Mattioni: A proposal for an 8-unit residential building (height and open space refusal). The building is 60’ high with 5 stories and 4 parking spaces (one of which is van accessible) on the ground floor of the building. There is an elevator and it goes to the deck as well as each floor. The pilot house is oversized and is therefore counted in the height. The plan only has 16% of open space, not the 30% required. Discussion: If they build by right they will only be 38’ high but have 9 units without parking. Nearby neighbors hoped for a structure only 38’ high but preferred that parking be made available for the units.

Motion (Joe) – 2nd ( Charlie): Vote 6-2-0 We support this project with the proposed parking and proposed open space, but with one story removed (4 stories, not 5 stories).

  • 500-08 N. 2nd St. – CMX3 – James Pearl: A proposal for mechanical access parking – 45 spaces at Transit Workers Union. The stackers would turn 13 spaces into 39 spaces for cars that would only be used by Union staff and not the general public. The lot is surrounded by a black 10’ chain link fence. Code requires screening, but they will not add the screening because they just upgraded the surveillance cameras to improve security. Screening would obscure the effectiveness of the cameras.

Motion (Ira) – 2nd (Kenny): Vote 8-0-0 We approve this as presented with accessory parking reserved only for union workers.

Zoning Committee – Tuesday 11/29/16

Members present: Larry Freedman (chair), Kenny Grono, Chris Isaacson, Joe Mikuliak, Ira Upin       Members absent: Charlie Abdo, Melissa Magness, Sharon Richman, Jonathan Sher, Michael Simons, Abbey Spector,

  • 938 New Market St. – RM1 – Chadwick Smith: A proposal for a first floor retail use (juice bar) as part of a multi-residential building. Chad Smith, part owner and resident Max Morganstern presented as “information only”. They have no refusal yet. The idea is a “Smart Grocer” store that would sell food, juice, and coffee. There is about 1000 sq. ft. for an office, juice bar and market. The goal is to be open 24/7 but the initial hours would be 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. They are applying for a passenger loading zone in front of the building. Trash would be stored in building and picked up twice a week from Hancock Street. They will agree to no alcohol, no entertainment, and no hot cooking. Discussion: Neighbors did not want to lose parking to a loading zone and 11 nearby residents did not support this project.

Motion (Joe) – 2nd (Ira): Vote 4-0-0 We oppose any commercial space at 938-40 New Market Street. This block is 100% residential and any commercial use would increase the problems of parking, noise and night time activity.

  • 413 Poplar St. – RSA5 – Wayne Iverson: A proposal for a two story addition, deck and parking. The architect proposes adding 2 floors and the addition of balconies at the rear of the property. The gate to the yard would be replaced with 1 parking spot with a curb-cut on Poplar Street. This would remove approximately 16’ of on street parking. No fence was proposed between this parking spot and the neighbor’s alley. Discussion: Neighbors oppose the parking spot/curb cut because they do not want to increase an already serious parking shortage.

Motion (Ira) – 2nd (Kenny): Vote 4-0-0 We will support the variance for a 4 foot rear yard depth at rear deck. We oppose the accessory parking space which will take away on-street parking.

  • 700 N. 3rd St. (NLNA Community Center) – CMX1 – Ira Upin: A proposal to extend current uses to outside area. Plans for the new pavilion and landscaping were shown to the community. This application is not a consolidation of lot lines, but is a “unity of use”. No curb cuts are proposed. Trash will be kept on property. Neighbors brought up the issues of hours and music.

Motion (Group): Vote 4-0-0 We support the variance as presented to the community with the following provisos: a) No night time use outside after 10:00 p.m. b) Maximum capacity is 125 people c) The decibel level will not exceed standards set by the air management department d) All events will be directly managed by the NLNA.