Please Note: Minutes are posted after they are approved in the subsequent month’s meeting.
PRESENT: Matt Ruben, President; Don Phillips, Vice-President; Steve Richman, Treasurer; Janet Finegar, Secretary; Rick Angeli; Fernando Benavides; Michael Coyne; Larry Freedman; Lystra Harris; Irene Lambrou; Katrina Mansfield; Chris Somers; Anne Waginger.
ABSENT: Erika Goldberg, Josh Upin
The meeting was called to order by the President at 7:02 p.m.
Motion: By Anne Waginger, seconded by Steve Richman:“To approve the minutes of the July Board meeting as presented.”
President’s Report: Matt Ruben; written report attached and reviewed.
Motion: By Katrina Mansfield, seconded by Steve Richman. “To formally ratify the two board polls voted on during July.”
There was some discussion of a donation offered to establish a NLNA scholarship fund. The group generally agreed that the NLNA is not well situated to manage such a scholarship, and that the generous donors should be helped to find a more appropriate group with whom to establish the scholarship.
Matt reported that he and Fernando attended a very informative meeting about the property tax re-evaluation coming up next year. A summary of the meeting was created by Jeff Hornstein and will be sent to the Board (and probably made available on the website) soon. There was some discussion of the predicted outcomes of the reevaluation and the implications.
Treasurer’s Report: Steve Richman: written report attached and reviewed.
A current statement of income and expenses was distributed and reviewed.
Motion: By Rick Angeli, seconded by Katrina Mansfield. “To accept the Treasurer’s report as presented.”
Business Association Liaison, Casino, Clean and Green, Education, Election, Environment, Fundraising, Liberty Lands, Membership, Neighborhood Plan, Operations, Townwatch, Recycling, and Urban Design Committees: No report.
Community Center Committee Report: Larry Freedman.
Larry reported that the project is still on target. NLMailbox Store was offered a lease and is considering it. Matt reported on the continuing negotiations with the City about the right of reversion issues on the deed.
Zoning Committee Report: Larry Freedman; written report attached and reviewed.
Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Katrina Mansfield. “To approve the actions of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 443 Fairmount Ave., i.e.: ‘We approve the plans as presented. Upon further discussion, we have decided that there is no need for a trash room. We would support a request is made for live/work potential.’”
Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Katrina Mansfield. “To approve the actions of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 542-44 N. 4th St. (Color Reflections), i.e.: ‘We would like to see plans for 8 units given that only 4 parking spaces are being provided. Please present this project to the UDC to discuss green space, bike/motorcycle parking, laundry area(s), trash storage, no ventilation shafts in common alley, all condensers onto roof, remove curb cut and loading zone on Green St., and a 6 ft sound wall on west side of roof. We do not support reduction of the sidewalk on Green St. Please return to the zoning committee with final plans.’”
Motion: By Katrina Mansfield, seconded by Michael Coyne. “To approve the actions of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 338-40 Brown St./723-25 N. 4th St., i.e.: ‘Please return with an approved plan for 1-1 parking and approvable window layout on east side that passes the Board of Building Standards.’”
Motion: By Steve Richman, seconded by Anne Waginger. “To approve the actions of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 1102-06 N. 3rd St. (to Galloway), i.e.: ‘Please return with a new project that gives more consideration of light to the surrounding neighbors with one-to-one parking.’”
Motion: By Katrina Mansfield, seconded by Michael Coyne. “To approve the actions of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 817-21 N. Lawrence St (818-24 N. 4th St.), i.e.: ‘We support this project with the following provisions: 1) Internalize the pilot house and 2) Make sure that the project maintains an entrance from 4th Street.’”
Motion: By Katrina Mansfield, seconded by Steve Richman. “To approve the actions of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 444-48 Fairmount Ave., i.e.: ‘The project needs more design work. Fairmount Avenue frontage is being treated as a side of the building with a door in it. This needs more discussion.’”
Motion: By Steve Richman, seconded by Katrina Mansfield. “To approve the actions of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 927-29 Orianna St., i.e.: ‘Please return with a set of plans with UDC motions incorporated prior to final approval. Drawings should also show the surrounding buildings including dimensions. Please increase the depth of the planter on the 4th floor to 3 feet from the inside of the parapet.’”
Motion: By Katrina Mansfield, seconded by Rick Angeli. “In the matter of 972-976 Leithgow Street, we approve the administrative change removing one foot from the rear yard of one property.”
Rick suggested that we take opportunities to promote our Facebook presence in order to do a better job of reaching out to youth. Matt charged Katrina to look into putting a link on our website to our FB page and said that he would look into having his listserv posts automatically go onto FB.
Fernando raised the idea of hiring a professional fundraiser to work on a commission basis (rather than salary). There is some question of whether that is considered ethical among fundraisers. Steve noted that it is alarming that the NLNA no longer has a functional fundraising committee. After quite a lot of discussion, Rick and Irene agreed to co-chair the committee with the understanding that a designated person would handle organizing events and another would be in charge of grant writing. Chris and Katrina also agreed to be members of the committee.
The meeting was adjourned by acclaim at 8:55 p.m.
President’s Report, August 2012
1. PLANNING AND POLICY-RELATED ISSUES
- Mission – No update; Don will be heading up this initiative over the next several months.
- Casinos – After the PA Senate failed to act on the PA House’s legislation to open up Philadelphia’s second casino license to statewide bidding, the PA Gaming Control Board has re-opened the bidding process for Philadelphia’s second casino license. Applications are due in November.
- Central Delaware Master Plan – At CDAG’s request, Councilman Squilla has scheduled a meeting for August 22, for representatives from CDAG, the Development Workshop, and other stakeholders to try to hammer out language for the permanent zoning overlay for the Central Delaware Waterfront. The current, “interim” overlay was extended by City Council in June, and will stay in effect until the permanent overlay is passed. We remain concerned about some key provisions of the draft permanent overlay, particularly around river access streets, and allowable building height.
- Zoning Code – The new Zoning Code will go into effect August 22. Remapping – assessing each parcel in the city to see if its base zoning needs to be changed – is ongoing.
- Administration – Steve will have finance-related administration updates in the Treasurer’s report. Larry will have building-related admin updates in the Community Center report.
- Budget and Finances – Barring something unusual, future updates will come in each month’s Treasurer’s report.
- Events – Despite ending early because of rain, the 2nd St. Festival appears to have gone off without a hitch. Local business owners did a great job organizing it. And neighbor and Liberty Lands co-chair Liz Reed did a wonderful job pulling together the NLNA tent on short notice. Liz, Don, all the other volunteers, and the folks at Yards Brewery should be commended.
- Spring Garden Greenway – No update from last month.
3. DEVELOPMENT ISSUES AND DEVELOPER RELATIONS
- Tower Investments – We are in the process of discussing with Tower, or setting up meetings with Tower, on a number of issues, including our appeal of their zoning variance modification to reduce Piazza parking; the fallout from the recent 104.5 “Block Party” event; and a few other items.
- Finnegan’s Wake – The Mayor still has not signed the Finnigan’s Bills. They will still eventually become law if he does not sign them. So far Finnigan’s has not begun work on the Spring Garden balconies (or any other aspect of their planned expansion). We also have not received any revised or altered plan or proposal from them. So it’s status quo, with the next step still up to Finnigan’s.
- Club Aura – Aura appears not to be having live music or DJs. However, photos posted in Twitter appear to show dancing, which is a violation of their zoning. We continue to get complaints from near neighbors about noise. Aura owner Marc Stein and his PR/marketing person asked to meet with me, and Larry and I met with them last week. The discussion was civil and we advised them that the best thing they can do is run their business in a way that abides fully by the law and that does not generate complaints from the near neighbors.
- It also appears that there may be a nearby, illegal nightclub use as well, unconnected to Aura. We are looking into that.
- Parking – with the help of neighbor Ira Upin, we are working with the Streets Dept. to try to get a handle on several parking related issues, primarily illegal and/or unnecessary no-parking zones on 2nd St., Germantown Ave., and Brown St. Details at our meeting.
4. OUTREACH/EVENTS/GENERAL MEETINGS
- General Meetings – The September GM is the 27th.
5. COMMUNICATION AND PUBLICITY
- Internet – The email list has surpassed 1,850. Thanks to Chris Somers for taking primary responsibility for posting to our Twitter account. Our Facebook group now has more than 350 members. Board members are encouraged to join the group if they have not done so already, and to post to it.
- Web site – The new web site has been launched. Major kudos to Katrina for making it very attractive and usable. While a few items still need to be tweaked or added, it’s been remarkably polished and more or less complete since launch – a rarity for most revamped web sites. Katrina also has been regularly updating the front page.
- Committee chairs should be connecting with Katrina ASAP to get login access to your committee pages.
- Board Polls – Ratification of any online or online board polls since last month’s board meeting.
FINANCE COMMITTEE MEETING
July 25, 2012
PRESENT: S. Richman, M. Coyne, F. Benavides ABSENT: D. Phillips, M. Ruben
- Meeting started promptly at 7 PM.
- Steve informed us of his efforts to obtain a Housing Inspection License, which is necessary to conduct business as a landlord (for apartments only — not to rent commercial space). To obtain this license not for profits must first get a business tax ID (a Business Privilege License is not necessary). As a non for profit entity we do not have to pay any fee for this. He obtained a business tax ID # and the license will be obtained in a few more days. (The Housing Inspection License has now been acquired).
- The 2011 tax returns were completed by our accountant and reviewed by members of the committee. Several minor changes need to made and the return should be ready to file by the end of the month.
- We agreed to interview the accountant that Larry Freedman has recommended; also simultaneously we shall continue to look for other candidates. Michael volunteered to do a preliminary search in this regard.
- We reviewed the most current financial presentations prepared by Steve. These are now up-to-date and have been completely revamped. We are confident that the numbers to be presented at the next Board meeting shall be a very accurate reflection of NLNA’s fiscal situation to-date.
- We agreed that our next meeting shall take place the week of August 20 – 23.
- The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 PM.
Zoning Committee Meeting
Present: Larry Freedman, Joe Mikuliak, Ira Upin, Charlie Abdo, Tim McDonald, Sue Patterson, Mike Simons, Chris Isaacson, Rene Ermilio
(6:30) 443 Fairmount Ave. – L4 – David Orphanides – Return visit with a proposal to change the first floor to residential as part of an existing structure with 4 existing units
Presentation: Previous motion read. No one has come forward for a live/work space, so will move forward as residential but design would be easy to modify to live/work. Would the board accept the proposal that the front would/could be used as a live/work space. Can try, but would prefer to have this plan as a fall back. Trash location is also missing, but intended to be at the front, off the common hallway.
Discussion: There were 6 electric meters on this building. 6th is for the common area, 4 apartments above, one for 1st floor. 2 one-bedrooms, 2 2-bedrooms upstairs. Back staircase is a 2nd means of egress for all units. No one will take the trash out from a common area. If you don’t supply it they have to take out their own.
Motion; Mike: 2nd: Charlie: We approve the plans as presented. Upon further discussion, we have decided that there is no need for a trash room. We would support a request is made for live/work potential. Passed 8-0-0
(7:00) – 542-44 N. 4th St. (Color Reflections) – C2 – David Orphanides – Return visit with a proposal for 9 residential units,
first floor commercial and off-street parking
Presentation: Parking lot is irregularly shaped and goes down to 8 ft wide. Can get on legal full-sized space (8.5 x 18’), and 3 compact car spaces (8.5 x 15’) rest to green space. Long stretch of loading on Green Street returning to on-street parking. Loading zone on 4th street also returning. Units reduced to 9 – only one in the cellar rather than 2 as previously presented. Individual penthouses on roof now rather than one common area. Original sidewalk is 6 ft. Should be 10 ft wide. Is smaller sidewalk possible? Would require an ordinance. Smaller sidewalk would get 3-4 more spaces. No loading zone on 4th street?
Will check. No parking zone in front of loading zone on Green could be used for loading zone that doesn’t exist on 4th street. Max curb cut allowed is 30’. Will Streets dept allow this, and this configuration? Must be approved by zoning board before Streets dept will sign off on. Fire hydrant was knocked off. Replacement would not impede the first spot. Call PWD to replace. Basement has two heights, 9’ dropping to 8’, 1700 sf unit. Will re-open window wells for basement. Currently no trash plan. Will probably be required to include. Space available on ground floor. Ramp system will be added to Green St side for handicap entrance. Climate control in that room for trash? Yes. 3300 sf commercial space on ground floor. Windows on south side will be opened/replaced. South side yard entrance available for commercial space/2nd egress. 2nd floor common hallway. Loft area for each unit. 685-800 sf units. Loft plan: each unit with stair to loft. More stairs to private areas on roof (160-300sf), that wouldn’t be visible from street. 24” parapet along outside edge. AC units in back – where will they go. Moved to roof except for a unit or two for the commercial space remain in side yard. Current pilot house and deck going to be removed. No commercial tenant yet. Recommendations appreciated. Should there be a discussion now in terms of the possibility of a restaurant? No parking. Probably wouldn’t fly.
Discussion: Arrangement already made with Color Reflections to allow parking/deliveries for new restaurant opening on 4th Street. Indoor trash would be a benefit. Change will be an improvement from Color Reflections. AC unit noise has been terrible. If some put on back walk way, can they be moved closer to 4th street? A newer AC unit will be quieter. Please put on roof. Sound from roof decks? Can there be some sound barriers? Units are so small that there will be constant turnover.
Move loading zone from Green st to 4th street? Original motion asked for 1-1 parking, & light wells. 9 units with 4 spots. Returning parking to the street is an improvement. Green space can include a spot for scooters/motorcycles? Bollards for fire hydrant replacement. Resident would like to keep the walkway on south side.
Motion: Joe, 2nd : Charlie: We would like to see plans for 8 units given that only 4 parking spaces are being provided. Please present this project to the UDC committee to discuss green space, bike/motorcycle parking, laundry area(s), trash storage, no ventilation shafts in common alley, all condensers onto roof, remove curb cut and loading zone on Green St., and a 6 ft sound wall on west side of roof. We do not support reduction of the sidewalk on Green St. Please return to the zoning committee with final plans. Vote: 6-1-1
(7:45) – 338-40 Brown St./723-25 N. 4th St. – Eric Quick – L4 – A proposal for condos and consolidation of buildings.
Presentation: land locked T-shaped lot. Media Bureau building. Renovate existing structure with 3rd floor addition. Plan to add 6 parking stalls interior. Planning cut in window wells in center of property, with decks & common space. 4th street façade remains the same but for a pilot house. Plan to request a BBS variance for windows on north side with sprinkler near windows, 15 ft from adjacent property. Metal roll up garage door that you can see through. No window on bedroom of existing T unit. Plan to borrow light from next room. Preferable that living room have the window. Smallest 2nd floor unit is 744 sf 1 bedroom to 1792 sf biggest unit. Most around 1200 sf. Legal unit?: the one off the garage w only access through the garage. Yes. Might not pass plans examiner/code. Garage height: 11’8” to 12’. Too low for lift. Need at least 13’9”. Could damage roof of next door building? 64 ft is existing height. Reducing to 54 ft.
Discussion: Not opposed to residential, but creates huge parking problem. No 1-1 parking. Nearby resident would prefer condos not the nightmare that Media Bureau. Noisy. Didn’t take care of trash. Parties until 4 in the morning with live music. Unit with entry from garage won’t work. Need to provide a parking plan with 1-1- parking. East wall resolution is difficult.
Motion: Tim, 2nd Ira: Please return with an approved plan for 1-1 parking and approvable window layout on east side that passes the board of building standards. Vote: 8-0-0
(8:30) 933-31 ½ N. Leithgow St. – John Braxton – R10A – Return visit with a proposal for three parking spaces.
Presentation: (by John’s lawyer. John lives at 410 St John Newman Way) Previous motion read: “Show approved plan, private parking only. Temporary approval for a variance for rentals with minimum of one month rental.” Now changed to private parking only for adjacent property only. 3 spots to be used solely by adjacent family dwelling. Want to legalize the use. No rental. Depth is 48 feet. All paved. Why no green space. Currently more paved space than car usage. Should that size space be drained? No, too small? But not supposed to leave the property? Not aware that there is a requirement. Still have to set parking area back to make the turn. Can widen curb cut since there is already no parking on that street. More usage of the lot. Motion had asked for pervious surface, not 100% asphalt.
Discussion: Did not meeting anything that was included in the proviso.
Motion: Tim, 2nd: Joe: We support this site for 3 cars parking, but not at the rear of the lot as the proposed drawing presents. We would approve parking starting at the side walk with pervious paving beyond the required 20 feet. Vote: 8-0-0
Present: Larry Freedman, Ira Upin, Charlie Abdo, Tim McDonald, Sue Patterson, Mike Simone, Chris Isaacson, Rene Ermilio, Joe Mikuliak
(6:30) 1102-06 N. 3rd St. (to Galloway) – R10 A – Ted Singer – Return visit with a proposal for 5 residential units with parking
Presentation: Increased the depth of the parking court area to make the turning radius easier. Works fine in a comparable location. Edge of balconies has 2’8” deep built in planter added to front to keep people from leaning over the edge. Terraces accessed from the master bedroom. Not large enough for more than one or two people. Parking is accessed by backing in in addition to driving in forward. Neighbor concerned about driving on sidewalk, accidents due to small street. Building height – 4th floor is set back 11’2” from street edge. Will soften the height from the street from third. Will feel higher on George.
3 ft parapet wall. Losing one parking space on 3rd street to add 2 car parking. One spot added to street. Proposing 5 units on 4 lots that are combined.
Discussion: Decks have been set back using planter. Could build 4 homes without parking. Could ask that parking plan be approved by Streets department. Could ask for bollards to be installed. Could ask for support of transforming the street into a one way street. Everyone on the block would have to agree to the street turning into one direction in order to make it happen. Has open space requirement. Some people would like to ask for one way street conversion.
Motion: Michael: Please return with a new project that gives more consideration with light to the surrounding neighbors with one-to-one parking. Vote: 5-0-1 Neighbors will get together to discuss. . . names and addresses were collected.
(7:15) 817-82 N. Lawrence St (818-24 N. 4th St.) – L4 – Ted Singer Return visit with a proposal to change the previously approved project to 22 residential units with parking
Presentation: Zoned industrial. Read previous motion. Talking only about site between Lawrence and Leithgow. Revised plan: flipped so entrances are on 4th Street, stair rotated 90 degrees as requested, but are going to try to eliminate the stair altogether on Leithgow side. Stair up to roof deck flipping to the north side, can’t really accommodate, but shifted up off the edge of site 1’8” to 2’ to change the perception of it. All but disappears from view. Reduced height down to 8’9”. Took about 6 inches out of every floor. Lawrence St façade adds minor set back at around 35’. 3 foot pass through has worked fine in other projects and would make the unit it would affect by widening not workable. Vehicular access: primary access is from Reno and Leithgow, or from parking lot to 4th street. Trucks and larger vehicles would enter from 4th street into parking lot, through to Leithgow, back up on Leithgow and exit back to 4th street. Not sure if there’s a way to create a permanent easement to enable doing this in case future use changes or property is sold. Fire trucks would enter down Lawrence Street. There will be an intercom on 4th Street. Trash storage and city pick up on Lawrence.
Discussion: Trucks not going to sit on Lawrence, will come from 4th Street. Not a commercial site. The only trucks would be Fed Ex/UPS or move-in/out trucks. L4 you can build 60’, but not allowed residential. Currently 44’6” and 52’ to the pilot house. Other project being built nearby also have pilot houses (3) that will be above the 35’ roofline. 829 N. Lawrence proposed & not built also has pilot house included. How does the height of this affect other projects that might be built? Each decided individually. Where used to have a building, now have parking. Units are larger. 7 units instead of 10 on same footprint. First floor units enter from Lawrence, the rest come from the back. 8 parking spaces, one is larger for handicap sized (larger) for 7 units. They did everything we asked them to. Concerned about accessing via Reno. Moving trucks could not go down it. Streets department would have signed off on all the projects that have been approved or under consideration. Happens prior to formal zoning. Are any of the little streets historically certified? They might be. Wouldn’t affect the traffic issue. Our job is to discuss zoning issues. If want to ask that they return with a traffic plan, we can do that. Do we have to accept the pilot house. Already under contract. Up to the city to say that Reno is viable as an access street. If streets says the 4th Street access should be a certain way, safety etc, that’s not up to us.
Motion: Michael, 2nd: Sue: We support this project with the following provisions: 1) Internalize the pilot house and 2) Make sure that the entrance from 4th Street is required access. Vote: 5-0-0
(8:00) – 444-48 Fairmount Ave. – L4 – Nino Cutrufellow – Return visit with a proposal for three single-family dwellings with parking.
Presentation: Presented on May 22. Also to UDC. Zoned L4. Large curb cut being reduced and returning one spot to the street. Will include a front door on Fairmount Avenue due to UDC request. Agreed to add elements to break up the brick expanse. Agreed to add street trees. Didn’t do wholesale design change. (Design based on a Bauhaus building.) Design much nicer. Ground level: two big flat spaces are palettes for graffiti. Suggest add depth of a brick or something at that level to break it up from being a flat slab. Fairmount Avenue gets a lot of graffiti. Brown street building façade similar to this doesn’t get graffiti. Wish the design had gone further. Corner windows are nice. Can change the color of the brick to make it look different. UDC motion was read. Feedback: Apparently the current design isn’t holding itself together. Brown Street Estates – side faces the street, not the façade. No zoning date set.
Motion: Larry, 2nd Michael: The project needs more design work. Fairmount Avenue side is being treated as a side of the building with a door in it. This needs more discussion.
(8:30) 927-29 Orianna St. – R10A – Nino Cutrufellow – Return visit with a proposal for two single family dwellings with parking.
Presentation: Existing curb cut will be moved to center of 12 ft wide driveway access. UDC responses: Façade didn’t feel residential enough. First floor recessed felt too separate from the street. Window pattern now broken up. 4th floor deck set back 18” from street to prevent from hanging over. Reduced length of steel lintel. Roll-up style door. Street trees along Orianna. Typically need to see UDC recommendations incorporated into the plans that are brought back to the zoning committee for final approval.
Discussion: Don’t understand what was open and what isn’t from drawing presented. Deck is a big balcony, not a roof deck.
Motion: Michael, 2nd: Joe – Please return with a set of plans with UDC motions incorporated prior to final approval. Drawings should also show the surrounding buildings including dimensions. Please increase the depth of the planter on the 4th floor to 3 feet from the inside of the parapet. Vote: 6-0-0
Joe: motion to approve the June minutes as approved by the board with address correction of 817-882 Lawrence to 817-832 Lawrence.
Larry sending letter that we prefer the ground floor to remain commercial, for 201 Spring Garden. Zoning hearing is Wednesday August 1st. Also state there’s no place for inside trash. Must be outside.