PRESENT: Matt Ruben, President; Steve Richman, Treasurer; Janet Finegar, Secretary; Larry Freedman; Lystra Harris; Monika Kreidie; Katrina Mansfield; Sharon Richman; Chris Somers; Anne Waginger; Logan Welde; Rick Angeli; Michael Coyne.
ABSENT: Don Phillips, Vice-President.
ALSO PRESENT: Kyle Koenig
The meeting was called to order by the President at 7:07 p.m.
Motion: By Katrina Mansfield, seconded by Monika Kreidie:“To approve the minutes of the March Board meeting.”— Passed 7-0-3
Motion: By Anne Waginger, seconded by Chris Somers: “To approve the Zoning Committee’s recommendation to add Kyle Koenig to the committee.” — Passed 10-0-0
President’s Report: Matt Ruben: written report attached and reviewed.
Motion: By Monika Kriedie, seconded by Anne Waginger. “To approve the expense of $350 to paint the ceiling of the Community Center main room.” — Passed 10-0-0
Amid discussion, Steve Richman noted that the Board in general needs to pay attention to budgeting expenses during that formal process rather than adding expenses on an ad-hoc basis through the year.
Matt presented to the Board the various new information generated about the possibility of buying the NorthernLiberties.org site based on a meeting he and Don Phillips had with the website owner. There was a lengthy discussion about the questions and opinions of the Board about acquiring the site.
Motion: By Monika Kriedie, seconded by Katrina Mansfield. “To put in an offer for the NorthernLiberties.org site for $3,200 and at the same time, create a committee to deal with the questions raised and planning for the site before going live with the site.” — Passed 6-2-2
Motion: By Steve Richman, seconded by Monika Kriedie. “To reimburse Jennifer Baker the $325 in expenses for the Northern Liberties exhibit she was forced to overspend due to weather problems during set up of the exhibit.” — Passed 10-0-0
Logan Welde and Monika Kriedie volunteered to be the Board member representatives for the Election Committee this spring.
Katrina proposed an idea for a Stoop Competition linked to the Plant sale and Project Clean Streets. It was generally approved.
Chris reported that he and Don had met with the coordinator for the 2nd Street Festival (which will be August 3) so that the NLNA will be more visible and involved in the event. Ideally this would include beer sales (sponsored by Yards), kids’ activities, and an information area for the festival overall. Janet suggested that Kearny School’s Home and School be offered the kids’ activities area and it was generally agreed.
Monika noted that the schedule for 104.5 festivals at the Piazza are scheduled for May 3, June 7, July 12, August 2, and Sept 13
Treasurer’s Report: Steve Richman: written report distributed and reviewed.
Motion: By Chris Somers, seconded by Lystra Harris. “To accept the Treasurer’s report as presented.”— Passed 9-0-0
Liberty Lands Committee Report: Janet Finegar: written report attached and reviewed.
Zoning Committee Report: Larry Freedman; written report attached and reviewed.
Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Steve Richman. “To approve the actions of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 948 N. Lawrence St., i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. We offer support for your project as presented.’” — Passed 9-0-0
Motion: By Katrina Mansfield, seconded by Anne Waginger. “To approve the actions of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 420 Fairmount Ave., i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. We need to see the following in order to support a variance for this project: 1) 4 homes on Fairmount East that now have yards should have garages or surface parking. Units 1-4 in the apartment building will remain non-residential and should be submitted as such to Zoning. By subtracting 4 residential units and adding 4 spots the parking ratio will become 41:64. 2) 6 homes on Wallace East have 38′ maximum facade with a 12′ setback of the 4th floor, no balcony or awning projecting more than 6′ past the facade. The deck will be setback 5′ from Wallace. No parapet over 38’. 3) Maintain cobblestones, fix all holes in cobblestone street created by construction. 4) Maintain or create liveable 1st floor spaces in all single family homes. 5) Include photocell activated lighting on Wallace St. not controlled by homeowners. 6) Create an active entrance from Fairmount with lobby space. 7) Design 5th St. homes that reflect a familiar residential rhythm of single family homes. 8) Do not block the parking lane of Fairmount during construction. 9) Go to the design committee to discuss items listed above, plus facade materials, colors, tree placement. Please return to the Zoning Committee with new plans that reflect the above changes. We would like to see renderings of all new facades, including the rear of buildings.’”— Passed 9-0-0
Motion: By Steve Richman, seconded by Katrina Mansfield. “To approve the actions of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 823-25 N. Lawrence St. (to Leithgow), i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. Our motion is to reaffirm the previous motion. We want to have homes that have “eyes” on the street and add parking spaces. Please return with plans for housing with living space on the first floor of Lawrence St, 30% open space and 1:1 parking that is entered from Leithgow. Please maintain 38’ maximum height.’”— Passed 9-0-0
Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Katrina Mansfield. “To approve the actions of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 613-25 N. 3rd St., i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. Please return with a project that conforms to RSA5 building requirements.’”— Passed 9-0-0
Motion: By Katrina Mansfield, seconded by Anne Waginger. “To approve the actions of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 312 Fairmount Ave. (through to 4th St.), i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. The addition of brick to the facade and the slight setbacks of the 4th St. and Galloway St. elevations still have not helped this massive apartment building fit into our community. The height and the number of units need to be reduced. We accept the garage entrance/exit on 4th St. and Galloway St. We prefer the arrangement that has 67 parking spaces. We feel we can support the project with the following provisos: 1) Removal of one floor from the North building (Fairmount) 2) Removal of Apts 511, 512, 523, 524 and 528 from the 4th St./ Potts St. side. 3) Commitment to have commercial tenants used by the community, not just the tenants of the building. We will also need to see: a) The location of all porches and decks. b) Plans for the green roof c) Storm water plan. d) Traffic study. e) Facade materials. f) How you propose to incorporate materials salvaged from the site into the project. g) Please meet with neighbors whose properties back into Potts St. to discuss their concerns. Please return to the Zoning Committee with plans that reflect the above.’” — Passed 8-0-1
Matt reported that he and Chris have been meeting with a group of businesses in regard to restarting the Business Owner’s Association and seeking some funding to get that group off the ground.
Matt further reported that Bodine High School’s grassroots fundraising campaign to restore funding for their World Affairs Council membership has been successful.
Finally, the clean-up on Front Street in honor of Amber Long was well attended and successful and found, among other things, a sawed-off shotgun.
The meeting was adjourned by acclaim at 8:55 p.m.
1. PLANNING, DEVELOPMENT, AND POLICY
- Businesses – We’ve had four meetings and are in the process of re-forming the business owners’ association. We’re also in the process of applying for a $5,000 matching grant from The Merchants Fund; and are planning to speak with the city Commerce Dept. sometime in May about Commercial Corridor support.
- Piazza/Liberties Walk – I have learned that the new General Manager is “on leave.” I am in the process of contacting the New York-area Westminster rep who is currently in charge.
2. EVENTS AND OUTREACH
- Variety Show – Thanks to Katrina’s leadership, the show was once again a success, raising about $1,800 for Operation Clean Streets!
- Mid-Winter Party – Thanks to Michael Coyne for heading up this year’s successful event! It raised just under $5,000. We’ve already reserved February 15 (the Sunday before President’s Day) for next year’s event, and Michael is working on sponsorships to increase revenue.
- NL History Exhibition – The opening and the March 8 reading and film screening were great successes, with a packed house both times. An issue has arisen, however, regarding unanticipated expenses incurred by neighbor and curator Jennifer Baker, primarily caused by the Museum’s closure for several days because of weather during the run-up to the opening. We will discuss this during my report.
- General Membership Meetings – The March meeting, at SEER Interactive, was a great success. It was a full house, and several local business owners showed up as well. The meeting was well-received, and we got nothing but positive feedback. The April meeting is a week earlier than usual – the 17th – and it’s being held in the new gymnasium of the Kearny School (6th & Brown). We will need to get chairs to the space. We’ll have reps from the SRC, and it also will be “candidates night.” The main contested races are for our State Reps – both Curtis Thomas (181st) and Mike O’Brien (175th) have primary challengers. There are of course also the Governor’s and Lt. Governor’s races, but it is unlikely we will be able to get more than one or two candidates for those races (at most) to attend. We’ll also need to take nominations for the May board elections.
3. COMMUNICATION AND PUBLICITY
- Email List – The email list is approaching 2,500, maintaining a 25-30% “open rate.”
- Twitter – Neighbor Victoria Shuman – recruited by Katrina – has taken over the bulk of the NLNA’s tweeting. Since she began, our twitter followers have increased by about 10%, and we’ve gotten tagged in others’ tweets and retweeted much more often than ever before.
- Instagram – Logan has been looking into getting us an Instragram account.
- Web Forums/Discussion Board – After our March board-meeting discussion, Don Phillips and I met with northernliberties.org owner John Myers. After initially being hesitant, I had been leaning towards recommending that the NLNA go ahead and purchase the site. Don was undecided. After the meeting with John Myers, I am more confident that we should go ahead, and Don also feels we should go ahead. We will brief the board on the meeting, and then we’ll discuss it and take a final vote.
- May Board Election – We need to populate the Election Committee, with two board members and three non-board members.
- Board Polls – Ratification of any online or online board polls since last month’s board meeting.
TREASURER’S REPORT – APRIL 2014
2013-14 Budget: March Financials – tables attached
- For the six months ended on March 31st income was $68,240; this was $5,300 more than projected. Expenses totaled $47,740, which was $13,930 less than anticipated. Net income was $20,500 — $19,230 more than projected. It is important to note that about $5,100 of this amount is due to lower than anticipated spending for property taxes ($876 spent vs. $6,000 budgeted). Depending upon the final outcome of our appeal we may yet have to pay the full amount. More likely, however, based on our success in the first level review, our tax bill for 2014 will be around $3,400; this would be a budgeted savings of $2,600.
- In addition, the positive balance includes $1,500 in pass-thru funds from the Philadelphia History Museum that will be paid out in April.
- Income from our Annual Appeal has now surpassed budgeted expectations. The total amount received is $13,805 vs. the budgeted estimate of $12,000. On the other hand, Operation Santa fundraising fell well short of expectations — $720 received vs. $2,500 budgeted. Taken together, we collected $14,525 vs. a budgeted amount of $14,500.
- Gross income from last month’s Winter Fest party totaled $5,682. This was just shy of the $6,000 budgeted for this event.
- Our recycling initiatives have been very successful. To date we have collected $1,530, slightly more than the budgeted amount for the entire year. Similarly, we have already received $5,335 for Project Clean Streets, which is $3,355 more than the annual budgeted amount. In February we received $1,500 for Project Clean Streets from Waterfront Square and in March the Talent Show generated $2,670 for Project Clean Streets.
- Other significant variations from budgeted projections through March were:
◦ Higher than anticipated income of $1,900 from the Fall Fest and $1,085 from community center rentals. Lower than expected individual donations outside of the Annual Appeal (-$1,281), and lower than anticipated revenue from candy sales (-$668).
◦ Lower than expected spending of almost $3,700 for administrative support, $2,200 for maintenance and $2,300 for program expenses also contributed to the positive balance.
- High winds in March took down the signboard at the southern end. We’re hoping to re-install it by the pawlonia trees right at the American Street entrance.
- Honey do job: We got a bunch of great applications, several from the neighborhood, and with some difficulty decided on Jim Brossy. He will start right away with the Tuesday night meeting where we’ll go over the variety of tasks, both weekly and one-time, that we’d like him to do.
- Our first workday in March, although planned as a “hard-core” day, actually attracted a lot of volunteers to do cleanup and get the park going for the spring. Saturday’s first “weeder’s club” workday and cleanup also brought out a fair number of people (despite being in conflict with the Front Street cleanup, an unfortunate coincidence). A new neighbor, Fran, has emerged as an excellent volunteer who quietly fixes things at the park (so far: several broken benches, putting new latches on all the trash corrals, and bunches of small fence problems). There are a few other enthusiastic new volunteers and gardeners who’ve shown up this year and done a lot already. It’s a good sign for an involved season.
- The gardeners bought a large (33 yard) shipment of compost for the gardens this year, most of which has been dispersed throughout the park at this point and is no longer in a huge pile on Bodine Street.
- The yearly major tree pruning happened on Friday the 4th and included removal of two large trees: the Bradford pear at the southwest corner of the community gardens (which had split a few years ago, threatened to split again, and was shading the gardens something fierce) and the cherry within the gardens (which was leaning dramatically and threatening to fall right over, probably with a kid climbing it). The ongoing large-tree pruning and maintenance is an important safety issue at the park. We also did a lot of pruning throughout the park for shape and health and chipped all the branches. The woodchips were left at the park and spread in the paths of the community gardens. Unfortunately, prices went up this year and the tree pruning went over the budgeted amount of $1,600 by $300.
- Frank Robertson solicited feedback from the community at large about what people would like to see happen at the park (with no thought to cost or limitations) and is compiling the data now to inform our future plans.
- The City Harvest program has kicked off in the gardens with lots of seedlings planted on Saturday.
- It’s a busy spring for events: this week, there will be a kickoff BBQ for N3RD Street on Friday (11th), a fundraiser for Operation Ava on the 12th, a kid-based music festival (Kidstock) on May 4, and our music festival on June 14.
- Next Liberty Lands meeting is Tuesday, April 8 at 8 p.m. at the Community Center.
- Any additions to this hastily-compiled report are welcome!
ZONING COMMITTEE MEETING
Members present: Larry Freedman (chair), Kenny Grono, Jonathan Sher, Charlie Abdo, Chris Issacson, Tim McDonald, Joe Mikuliak, Beth Emig, Melissa Magness Members absent: Michael Simons, Ira Upin
948 N. Lawrence St – RSA5 – Julie Cousler: A proposal for a partial demolition and the erection of a 2 story addition. The existing one story kitchen will be replaced with a larger kitchen with a new 2nd floor extension of an existing bedroom. The current setback at the rear is 11′ and would be 5′ after the proposed addition. The combined setbacks from the rear of the Lawrence property to the property to their rear on Orkney (which is also owned by the Cousler-Emigs) is 18′
Motion (Jon) – 2nd (Melissa) Vote 6-1-0: Thank you for your presentation. We offer support for your project as presented.
420 Fairmount Ave. – ICMX – Brian Phillips – A return visit with a proposal for residential units in existing building with 9 parking spaces and 25 new single family dwellings with 1:1 parking. [January Motion: (Joe) – 2nd (Jon): Vote 8-0 Thank you for your presentation. There were several concerns expressed by neighbors. We would like you to reduce the negative impact of this large scale renovation/construction on nearby neighbors. Please return and consider the following and return to the Zoning Committee with adjusted plans that include: 1. all non-residential use on first floor of older buildings; 2. reducing the total number of units by merging several units together on the upper floors; 3. save more of existing buildings perhaps for artist use; 4. more use of Wallace Street to drive into or exit parking lots (enlarge 5th Street end of Wallace); 5. plans for phasing of construction; 6. we feel that 44’ height of the townhouses plus a pilot house is too tall for a street as small as Wallace so reduce the height and consider offsetting the 4th floor from the street so it will look like a 3-story building from the street); and, 7. elevations of all buildings in context with one another and perspective drawings down Fairmount Street and down Wallace Street with proposed homes (as seen from a walking perspective).] The project size was reduced from 73 to 68 units with 15 dedicated spots and 20 surface parking spots. The developer is open to non-residential use on the first floor of the existing building but the plan did not include this use. They maintain that saving additional existing buildings will block light and air from other units. They are pursuing historic renovation credits. Discussion: There is no lobby shown. 4 parking spots could be added to the houses that don’t have garages. There was concern about the massing and lack of residential “rhythm”. Propose going to UDC. Neighbors support the height at West Wallace. Cobblestone should be restored. Developer should commit to not blocking Fairmount parking lane during construction.
Motion (Joe) – 2nd (Melissa): Vote 8-0-0: Thank you for your presentation. We need to see the following in order to support a variance for this project: 1. 4 homes on Fairmount East that now have yards should have garages or surface parking. Units 1-4 in the apartment building will remain non-residential and should be submitted as such to Zoning. By subtracting 4 residential units and adding 4 spots the parking ratio will become 41 to 64. 2. 6 homes on Wallace East have 38′ maximum facade with a 12′ setback of the 4th floor, no balcony or awning projecting more than 6″ past the facade. The deck will be setback 5′ from Wallace. No parapet over 38′. 3. Maintain cobblestones, fix all holes in cobblestone street created by construction. 4. Maintain or create liveable 1st floor spaces in all single family homes. 5. Include photocell activated lighting on Wallace St not controlled by homeowners. 6. Create an active entrance from Fairmount with lobby space. 7. Design 5th St homes that reflect a familiar residential rhythm of single family homes. 8. Do not block the parking lane of Fairmount during construction. 9. Go to the design committee to discuss items listed above, plus facade materials, colors, tree placement. Please return to the Zoning Committee with new plans that reflect the above changes. We would like to see renderings of all new facades, including the rear of buildings.
600 N. 4th St. – ICMX – Kevin O’ Neil – A return visit with a proposal for (10) single-family dwellings. CANCELLED
ZONING COMMITTEE MEETING – Tuesday 3/25/14
Members present: Larry Freedman (chair), Kenny Grono, Jonathan Sher, Chris Issacson, Joe Mikuliak, Beth Emig, Melissa Magness, Michael Simons Members absent: Charlie Abdo, Tim McDonald, Ira Upin
823-25 N. Lawrence St. (to Leithgow) – ICMX – Nino Cutrafello – A return visit with a proposal to build 4 single family dwellings – 2 on Lawrence and 2 on Leithgow. [ February Motion (Joe) – 2nd (?): Vote 9-0 Thank you for your presentation. We want to have homes that have “eyes” on the street and adds parking spaces, not removes them. Please return with plans for housing with doors and windows on the first floor of Lawrence, 30% open space, and 1:1 parking that is entered from Leithgow. Please maintain the 38’ height.] Nino presented subdivision of 2 lots into 4 lots to build 4 homes. Proposal still includes 4 garages and no eyes on the street.
Motion (Joe) – 2nd (Jon): Vote 4-2-1: Thank you for your presentation. Our motion is to reaffirm the previous motion. We want to have homes that have “eyes” on the street and add parking spaces. Please return with plans for housing with living space on the first floor of Lawrence St, 30% open space and 1:1 parking that is entered from Leithgow. Please maintain 38′ maximum height.
613-25 N. 3rd St. – ICMX – Steve Maffei – A proposal for 9 single-family dwellings. This project has an approved variance for a 2010 version. That permit is still valid. That project also included 9 homes, with 42’6″ maximum height. The new project includes 5 homes on 3rd St, 4 on Bodine St, with 1 curb cut on 3rd St for a 14′ driveway to a center 24′ wide parking alley. Owners access private garages from here. This alley is covered completing by 2nd floor decks. The facade materials are brown brick and prefinished cement board. The height of the homes is 46′ on Bodine, 47′ on 3rd St. There are terraces on the 4th floor but no roof decks. They have provisional approvals from Streets and Planning. The adjacent new buildings on Bodine are 42′ high. Discussion: Set back 4th floor and deck. Are there provisions for snow removal? Developer expressed a desire to have a gated entrance to the driveway off 3rd. Neighbors feel the project is too high.
Motion (Michael) 2nd (Joe): Vote 6-1-0: Thank you for your presentation. Please return with a project that conforms to RSA5 building requirements.
312 Fairmount Ave. (through to 4th St.) – ICMX – Herc Grigos – A return visit with a proposal for a residential building with @ 108 units. [ February Motion (Joe) – 2nd (Melissa): Vote 9-0 Thank you for your presentation. Neighbors and committee members have serious concerns about the impact of this large apartment building on our community. Please return with plans that consider the following: Regarding materials and design: 1. Most of the materials used are not sympathetic with any materials on nearby buildings. 2. Use more real brick. This would allow integration of the facade of the building at Fairmount and Galloway into the design. 3. All decks and porches that will be used by the tenants in any way must be set back at least 5 feet from the sidewalk. Regarding massing, scale, and density: 4. The auto entrance and exit, and the loading dock, should be entered and exited from Fairmount Avenue opposite the recreation center. 5. Reduce the height of the building on 4th Street by setting back the 4th floor. 6. Reduce the height of the building on Galloway by setting back the 5th floor. At your next presentation to neighbors, please bring accurate drawings that include dimensions and renderings from ground level that include nearby buildings. We hope you will be able to leave us a copy of these drawings.] The metal facade panels have been replaced with brick. The orange inset panels have been replaced with green panels. The main ingress/egress and loading dock were not moved to Fairmount Ave. Developer cited concerns about discontinuous amenity space and did a traffic study which found that 4th and Fairmount is a “B” and would remain a “B” intersection. Widening of Galloway St and an entrance to parking off Galloway has been added. Setbacks have been increased to 5-11′ off 4th on the 4th floor and 45′ on 5th. Units were reduced by 1. Parking is at 61 (67 possible). DISCUSSION: There was added concern from adjacent neighbors not present at the last meeting that the project is still too high in the vicinity of the 4th and Fairmount cluster of homes. Incorporating salvaged materials from the building at Fairmount and Galloway was suggested and welcomed by the developer. Storm water management plan incorporates a 9′ buffer to the south and a green roof at 4th St. Storm water plans was requested. Neighbors voiced traffic concerns. The time frame for construction was estimated at 14 months by the developer.
Motion (Joe) – 2nd (Michael/Beth): Vote 6-0-1 Thank you for your presentation. The addition of brick to the facade and the slight setbacks of the 4th St and Galloway St elevations still have not helped this massive apartment building fit into our community. The height and the number of units need to be reduced. We accept the garage entrance/exit on 4th St and Galloway St. We prefer the arrangement that has 67 parking spaces. We feel we can support the project with the following provisos: 1. Removal of one floor from the North building (Fairmount) 2. Removal of Apts 511,512,523,524 and 528 from the 4th St/ Potts St side. 3. Commitment to have commercial tenants used by the community, not just the tenants of the building. We will also need to see: 1. The location of all porches and decks. 2. Plans for the green roof 3. Storm water plan. 4. Traffic study. 5. Facade materials. 6. How you propose to incorporate materials salvaged from the site into the project. 7. Please meet with neighbors whose properties back into Potts St to discuss their concerns. Please return to the Zoning Committee with plans that reflect the above.
Winter Fest Report & Summary
- Net Proceeds $ 4,847.00
- Oron Daskal and North Bowl once again were incredibly generous in providing the space, bowling, shoes, food and drinks. Oron and his staff were a pleasure to work with and they took care of most of the details that helped ensure the success of the event. It appeared to me that everyone had a good time.
- We received generous donations from more than 30 businesses and organizations in the neighborhood and area. Attached is a list of the donors and what they gave.
- Kudos to Matt’s neighbors, Brenda Semon and Chastity Fogel, for purchasing a block of 50 tickets to the Winter Fest. I plan on getting the ticket sales going very early next year.
- We have secured the date for next year’s event which will be Sunday, February 15th 6:00 PM at North Bowl.
- I am considering approaching various corporations to seek lane sponsorships. For instance: Microsoft/Apple; Ford/BMW/GM/etc.; Red Bull/Monster; Lowes/Home Depot; Google/Yahoo etc. and a number of others. The idea would be to award the sponsorship to whichever corporation offers the most generous support for each category. I will discuss and clear with Oron what the sponsors would get for their support in terms of space, graphics and even video presentation. These things take time to make their way through such large companies so I will begin working on this soon to see what kind of responses I get. Any suggestions, connections and ideas are welcome. Thank you to everyone that worked to help make this a success. Your efforts are greatly appreciated and you are a pleasure to work with.