BOARD OF DIRECTORS MINUTES – Meeting of December 3, 2012

 

PRESENT:  Matt Ruben, President; Don Phillips, Vice-President; Steve Richman, Treasurer; Janet Finegar, Secretary; Rick Angeli; Fernando Benavides; Michael Coyne; Larry Freedman; Erika Goldberg; Katrina Mansfield; Chris Somers; Anne Waginger.

ABSENT:  Lystra Harris

The meeting was called to order by the President at 7:05 p.m.

Motion: By Katrina Mansfield, seconded by Erika Goldberg:“To approve the minutes of the November Board meeting as presented.”
Passed 10-0-0

President’s Report: Matt Ruben: written report attached and reviewed.

Motion: By Don Phillips, seconded by Rick Angeli: “To use $360 from the crime fund to purchase a second security camera as per Katrina Mansfield’s proposal.”
Passed 11-0-0

Motion: By Don Phillips, seconded by Katrina Mansfield: “To send a letter to City Council opposing the three bills proposing changes to the Zoning Code and advocating that the one year ‘cooling-off’ period be observed.”
Passed 11-0-0

Motion: By Don Phillips, seconded by Larry Freedman: “To recuse ourselves from the issue of the 676 billboard on the basis of it not being in our neighborhood or impact zone.”
Passed 10-0-1

Treasurer’s Report: Steve Richman: written report distributed and reviewed; Finance Committee report attached and reviewed.

Motion: By Rick Angeli, seconded by Fernando Benavides.“To accept the Treasurer’s report as presented.”
Passed 10-0-0

Fundraising Committee Report: Rick Angeli:

There was a brief discussion of the progress of the annual appeal and strategizing for future years. Rick reminded the Board that the database of local businesses will need to be maintained and that all board members should be aware of adding new businesses as they open.

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 Katrina Mansfield. “To support the recommendations of the zoning committee in the matter of 338-40 Brown Street / 723-25 N. 4th Street, i.e.: ‘This is largely a windowless building that does not easily convert to a residential property. It is attached to 6 buildings on one side and a party wall on the other. The plan, as presented, relies on “faux” windows (as required for “embellishment” purposes) that may, or may not, eventually be installed to provide direct light and air to bedrooms, particularly for units #4 and unit #1. We would support conversion of this property to residential, or some mix or residential/commercial and maintain existing zoning, but we cannot support these plans as presented.’”
Passed 10-0-0

Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Steve Richman: “To table the matter of 938 New Market St.”— Passed 10-0-0

Motion: By Chris Somers, seconded by Erika Goldberg. “To support the recommendations of the zoning committee in the matter of 626 N. 6th St., i.e.: ‘We support the plans for 8 homes plus 2 condos with the following provisions: (1) Move the entrance to the house on the corner of 6th and Fairmount from 6th to Fairmount; (2) The “wedge” of space formed by the back yards and the industrial building (behind the homes) must be fenced and maintained (kept free of trash and debris); (3) There should be a mechanically operated gate on the 6th Street curb cut, as well as a man door; (4) A new sidewalk should be poured on 6th Street; (5) Fencing material cannot be cyclone/chain link or PVC; (6) Developer should go to UDC to discuss façade, lighting, fencing, and landscaping (including open parking areas); (7) Maintain 6’9” sidewalks between stairs and tree pits (not just edge of sidewalk); (8) The stair access to the two condos should be internal stairs, not external as originally designed.’” — Passed 10-0-0

Motion: By Steve Richman, seconded by Katrina Mansfield. “To support the recommendations of the zoning committee in the matter of 538 N. 4th Street, i.e.: ‘(1) We support your application for a temporary permit for the existing 20’x40’ wrap signage on the south wall at 538 N. 4th Street until the end of January on the condition that it is replaced with artwork (a painted mural) that incorporates advertising the business and is not just a sign. (2) Please return to the January Zoning committee meeting with several ideas for the mural. You can also visit the UDC for suggestions for the mural. (3) Our support for your establishment at previous meetings specified that you only stay open until 11 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday nights and until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. Please abide by our agreement.’” — Passed 9-0-1

Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Katrina Mansfield. “To support the recommendations of the zoning committee in the matter of 427 Poplar/905 N. Lawrence St., i.e.: ‘(1) We support the request for the alignment of lot lines for the erection of a single family dwelling at 905 N. Lawrence Street. (2) As your plans develop, please review them with the UDC. This includes façade materials and color choices.’” — Passed 10-0-0

Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Katrina Mansfield. “To support the recommendations of the zoning committee in the matter of 830-32 New Market St., i.e.: ‘We cannot support plans for 3 homes on this small lot. Please return with plans for 2 houses.’” — Passed 9-0-0

Motion: By Fernando Benavides, seconded by Katrina Mansfield. “To support the recommendations of the zoning committee in the matter of 1108-30 N. Front St., i.e.: ‘We support the project as presented with a 2-story commercial space along Front Street with the following provisos: (1) The entire project is built in one phase; (2) Go to the UDC to discuss façade, materials, landscaping, green roofs, lighting, security; (3) Please present to the UDC a more detailed plan of the NE corner of development along Front Street. Before a letter of support is issued, we must see a refusal that agrees with the details of the presentation.’” — Passed 9-0-0

Motion: By Anne Waginger, seconded by Erika Goldberg. “To support the recommendations of the zoning committee in the matter of 900-22 N. 5th St., i.e.: ‘We do not support this project as presented because there was no hardship demonstrated to demolish the existing building, given that the plan has too many undersized lots. We invite you to return to the Zoning Committee with plans that use the building at this site.’” — Passed 8-0-0

Motion: By Rick Angeli, seconded by Anne Waginger. “To support the recommendations of the zoning committee in the matter of 873-77 N. 5th St., i.e.: ‘We can only support this project for 4 lots from 3 after applicant meets with the UDC and shows us a refusal that agrees with the presentation.’” — Passed 8-0-1

Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Katrina Mansfield. “To support the recommendations of the zoning committee in the matter of 600 N. 3rd St., i.e.: ‘We support the basic elements of this project. Please go to the UDC to further discuss the aesthetics of the project and return to the Zoning Committee.’” — Passed 9-0-0

Motion: By Fernando Benavides, seconded by Katrina Mansfield. “To support the recommendations of the zoning committee in the matter of 1109 N. American St., i.e.: ‘This project is approved as presented.’” — Passed 9-0-0

New Business

Erika Goldberg notified the Board that the tree planned for in front of the “garage” space (now Northern Liberties Mailbox Store) will be replaced by a low planting, like a shrub, so that the tree won’t block the store.

Chris Somers raised the issue of the large banner signs on 333 Green Street and was advised to discuss it with Lara and L&I to pursue having them taken down.

Rick Angeli reported that TreeCycling will be January 5 at Liberty Lands.

The meeting was adjourned by acclaim at 9:15 p.m.

Addenda:

President’s Report, December 2012

1. PLANNING AND POLICY-RELATED ISSUES

  • Mission – Don has reconvened the committee and they have begun meeting.
  • Casinos – Applications to the PA Gaming Control Board for the 2nd Philadelphia casino license were due November 15. One waterfront proposal was submitted: a project headed by Steve Wynn for the Anderson site, about 60 acres, north of Penn Treaty Park.
  • Central Delaware Master Plan – A third meeting among CDAG, the Development Workshop, the DRWC, the Planning Commission, and Councilman Squilla will take place Dec. 4.
  • Zoning Code – We need to decide if we want to send a letter to City Council about proposed amendments to the zoning code.
  • Berman Billboard – We need to take a final vote on this matter.

2. FUNDRAISING/FINANCES/ADMINISTRATION

  • Administration – Updates in Treasurer’s and committee reports.
  • Budget and Finances – Steve, Anne, Rick, or Kat might have a running tally for the Annual Appeal. My understanding is that it has brought in about $6500 so far.
  • Events – No update.
  • Spring Garden Greenway – No update.

3. DEVELOPMENT ISSUES AND DEVELOPER RELATIONS

  • Tower Investments – Any updates in the Zoning Committee report.
  • Finnegan’s Wake – No update.
  • Club Aura – A hearing is coming up in January. Councilman Squilla also has raised the possibility of the NLNA joining the City in the existing legal action against Aura.
  • Parking – No update.

4. OUTREACH/EVENTS/GENERAL MEETINGS

  • General Meetings – The final GM of 2012 is in December. We will be taking nominations for two open board seats.

5. COMMUNICATION AND PUBLICITY

  • Internet – The email list has topped 1975. A reminder to board members to join the NLNA’s Facebook group if they have not done so already, and to post to it.
  • Web site – Committee chairs should be connecting with Katrina to get login access to your committee pages.

6. OTHER ITEMS

  • Board Polls – Ratification of any online or online board polls since last month’s board meeting.

Finance Committee Meeting Minutes

November 28. 2012

  • The meeting started promptly at 7 PM
  • Present: Steve Richman, Don Phillips, Fernando Benavides, Michael Coyne.
  • Clean ‘n green Budget: Erica Goldberg joined us (at her request) to discuss issues related to the budget of the Clean and Green Committee.  She provided us with some history of her Committee and her activities, and discussed why she was concerned that funds for Clean ‘n Green are contained in the Quality of Life budget.  We explained that the Quality of Life budget was the place where the association’s environmental activities are budgeted and that Clean ‘n Green was viewed by the Finance Committee as an environmental activity. We also clarified that regardless of whether Clean ‘n Green was budgeted in Quality of Life or as a separate program the Clean ‘n Green Committee retains jurisdiction over those funds and as Committee chair she is the one responsible for their expenditure. We also suggested that the budget structure and the amounts budgeted for various activities are subject to Board discretion and that the mission analysis currently underway might very well result in Board directed budgetary changes next year. (Erika left at the conclusion of this discussion and the Committee continued with the remaining agenda items.)
  • Insurance:  Steve informed us that he had just learned that our insurance premium costs have unexpectedly increased by $ 800.00 a year, which was not projected or foreseen in our budget. Much of this increase is due to the renovation of the garage and the rental of the space. (The question arose as to whether the tenant has (or should have) his own liability, fire etc. policies and include in them NLNA as contingent beneficiary). Steve has asked our insurance agent to shop our policies (fire and liability on the community center) for better premiums. We will probably contact other agents ourselves since the agency we use has only a limited number of companies they deal with. NLNA has 4 policies in total and it may be beneficial to consolidate all of them with one company, if possible. We currently spend over $7,000 a year for insurance. The members of the Finance Committee agreed it should be the Committee’s responsibility to oversee the Association’s insurance policies. We are also going to look at the cancellation clauses on these policies to determine whether it suits NLNA to cancel them before they expire, if we find cheaper coverage.
  • Accountant: We then proceeded to discuss hiring Mr. Brunner as NLNA’s new accountant. The Committee agreed, unanimously, to recommend to the Board that we hire him. Michael will call him (a) To reconfirm that he is still available, willing and able to be employed by us. Affirmatively, (b) To ask him to send us a proposed agreement for our review and final Board approval.
  • Taxes on Unrelated Business Income: Next on our agenda was the potential tax liability of the Association resulting from rental income from the apartments, which could be considered unrelated business income subject to federal income tax.  This issue was brought to our attention by Mr. Brunner when we interviewed him.  We agreed to have him look into this once he is hired.   If needed we agreed to consider hiring a tax attorney if the issue is complicated, especially by the fact that NLAC is really the “owner of record” of the community center (and the apartments, generating the possible taxable income).  Steve had observed that during a recent visit to NLNA Jeff Hornstein mentioned that his association owned a parking lot (which on the surface appears to be unrelated to that organization’s mission).  We discussed the possibility of approaching Mr. Hornstein to find out if his association obtained any tax guidance on this matter.
  • The meeting was adjourned at 8:30 PM.

 

Liberty Lands Board Report

December 2012

  • The playground drainage project took up most of November, but is finished. Blow-by-blow details are on the Friends of Liberty Lands facebook page, with photos. The short story is that our first plan didn’t work: we ended up digging out just the swings and a trench and installing a french drain, and the mulch came a week and a half later than planned but all got spread in one day. The full accounting isn’t done because we haven’t yet gotten a dumpster to dispose of the rubble, but the major labor and machinery costs were well under budget and the full project will be less than the $7,000 budgeted from our capital fund.
  • The donated rubber mulch is being stored in four plastic containers at the southeast corner of the park. We are thinking we will use it on the moon climber and do that in the spring.
  • Our annual “big meeting” for everyone interested in the park will be Tuesday, December 11. Topics to discuss will include movies for 2013, the potty experiment, and issues raised by the group.
  • The workday on Saturday was well attended despite the lack of mulch. Much was accomplished: a new tulip poplar was planted; the trench area from the drainage project was cleaned up; the new tree pits covered for safety; the old gravel was spread on the path west of the community garden; a second layer of landscape fabric was put down for the drainage project; the brick path was fixed where the trench had gone through it; some shadberry bushes and daffodil bulbs were planted in a new garden that was also dug out, edged, and mulched; the trash corrals were fixed; the street trees and some park trees were mulched; mulch was spread in the Laurel Street garden paths; and the playground was weeded for the new mulch.
  • Upcoming events:     Dec. 15  Krampuslauf
  • Board Action:  none.

 

ZONING COMMITTEE MEETING

Monday 11/26/12

Attendees: Joe, Tim, Jonathan, Charlie, Ira, Sharon, Larry

338-40 Brown Street/723-25 N. 4th Street – L4 – Eric Quick Return visit of a proposal for condos and consolidation of buildings.

MOTION (Joe); SECOND (Tim); VOTE (6-0):  This is largely a windowless building that does not easily convert to a residential property. It is attached to 6 buildings on one side and a party wall on the other. The plan, as presented, relies on “faux” windows (as required for “embellishment” purposes) that may, or may not, eventually be installed to provide direct light and air to bedrooms, particularly for units #4 and unit #1. We would support conversion of this property to residential, or some mix or residential/commercial and maintain existing zoning, but we cannot support these plans as presented.

938 New Market – I2 – Alex Duller  Return visit of a proposal for an 8-unit residential building adjacent to four single-family dwellings. The height was reduced from 56’ to 42.6’, however it was indicated that there might be a request for the addition of 2 penthouse suites on top of the apartment building (to be set back from the front of the building) that would enlarge the 2-bedroom plan to a 3-bedroom plan with a deck. Six parking spots were provided for 6 apartments.

MOTION (Tim); SECOND (Charlie); VOTE (6-0): Upon further review with the additional information provided this visit, this project is still too dense and we would like a return visit with the following changes: (1) Limit this project to 3 stories with a height of 38’ as per code; (2) Create 30% open space per project that does not include driveway and parking areas; (3) Provide minimum rear yard setbacks according to residential code; (4) Maintain 1:1 parking; and, (5) Do not add penthouses to the project.

626 N. 6th St. (SE corner of 6th & Fairmount) – ICMX – Tower Investments Return visit with a proposal for 9 single family dwellings. There are now 8 homes with 1st floor living space and no garages on the façade of the buildings, plus 2 condos, with 1:1 parking accessed from one 6th Street curb cut. Each house is still 16’x40’ but the height was reduced from 42’ to 35’. Windows were added to the first floor.

MOTION (Joe); SECOND (Ira); VOTE (5-1): We support the plans for 8 homes plus 2 condos with the following provisions: (1) Move the entrance to the house on the corner of 6th and Fairmount from 6th to Fairmount; (2) The “wedge” of space formed by the back yards and the industrial building (behind the homes) must be fenced and maintained (kept free of trash and debris); (3) There should be a mechanically operated gate on the 6th Street curb cut, as well as a man door; (4) A new sidewalk should be poured on 6th Street; (5) Fencing material cannot be cyclone/chain link or PVC; (6) Developer should go to UDC to discuss façade, lighting, fencing, and landscaping (including open parking areas); (7) Maintain 6’9” sidewalks between stairs and tree pits (not just edge of sidewalk); (8) The stair access to the two condos should be internal stairs, not external as originally designed.

538 N. 4th Street – Del Rossi Cheesesteak (Michael Frank)  Visit to discuss sign/wrap on south side of building.

MOTION (Joe); SECOND (Jon); VOTE (5-0):  (1) We support your application for a temporary permit for the existing 20’x40’ wrap signage on the south wall at 538 N. 4th Street until the end of January on the condition that it is replaced with artwork (a painted mural) that incorporates advertising the business and is not just a sign. (2) Please return to the January Zoning committee meeting with several ideas for the mural. You can also visit the UDC for suggestions for the mural. (3) Our support for your establishment at previous meetings specified that you only stay open until 11 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday nights and until midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. Please abide by our agreement.

427 Poplar/905 N. Lawrence St – RSA5 – Chris Sincavage  Purpose was to align lot lines and erect a single family dwelling at 905 N. Lawrence Street.

MOTION (Charlie); SECOND (Jon); VOTE (5-0):  (1) We support the request for the alignment of lot lines for the erection of a single family dwelling at 905 N. Lawrence Street.  (2) As your plans develop, please review them with the UDC. This includes façade materials and color choices.

 

ZONING COMMITTEE MEETING

Tuesday 11/27/12

Attendees: Joe, Tim, Jonathan, Rene, Charlie, Ira, Sharon, Larry, Mike, Chris

830-32 New Market St. – I2 – Stephen Maffei  A proposal for three single-family dwellings.

MOTION (Joe); SECOND (Rene); VOTE (9-0):  We cannot support plans for 3 homes on this small lot. Please return with plans for 2 houses.

1108-30 N. Front St. – I2 – Herc Grigos  A return visit with a proposal for 30 single family dwellings.

MOTION (Joe); SECOND (Ira); VOTE (9-0):  We support the project as presented with a 2-story commercial space along Front Street with  the following provisos:  (1) The entire project is built in one phase;  (2) Go to the UDC to discuss façade, materials, landscaping, green roofs, lighting, security;  (3) Please present to the UDC a more detailed plan of the NE corner of development along  Front Street.  Before a letter of support is issued, we must see a refusal that agrees with the details of the presentation.

900-22 N. 5th St. – I2 – Herc Grigos  A proposal for 24 single-family dwellings at 5th and Poplar through Randolph.

MOTION (Tim); SECOND (Joe); VOTE (9-0): We do not support this project as presented because there was no hardship demonstrated to demolish the existing building, given that the plan has too many undersized lots. We invite you to return to the Zoning Committee with plans that use the building at this site.

873-77 N. 5th St. – RSA-5 – Herc Grigos  A proposal to relocate lot lines to create four lots from three and erect four single family dwellings.

MOTION (Mike); SECOND (Jon); VOTE (8-1 abstention):  We can only support this project for 4 lots from 3 after applicant meets with the UDC and shows us a refusal that agrees with the presentation.

600 N. 3rd St. – ICMX – Herc Grigos/Bill Vessal  A proposal for 17 townhomes.

MOTION (Group); SECOND (Group); VOTE (9-0):  We support the basic elements of this project. Please go to the UDC to further discuss the aesthetics of the project and return to the Zoning Committee.

1109 N. American St. – ASC – Jeremy Lecomppe  A return visit with a proposal to erect three stories on top of an existing garage to be used as first and second floor bi-level commercial and the third and fourth floor bi-level residential unit with off street parking.

MOTION (Rene); SECOND (Sharon); VOTE (8-0):  This project is approved as presented.