PRESENT: Matt Ruben, President; Steve Richman, Treasurer; Janet Finegar, Secretary; Donald Hoegg; Jeremy Lindemann; Joe Mikuliak; Barbara Saverino; Chris Somers; Anne Waginger.
ABSENT: Barbara Mulckhuyse, Vice-President; Michael Coyne; Monika Kreidie; Ben Mann; Don Phillips; Ira Upin.
ALSO PRESENT: Joe Brunner, Accountant
The meeting was called to order by the President at 7:07 p.m.
Motion: By Anne Waginger, seconded by Donald Hoegg:“To approve the minutes of the November Board meeting as presented.” Passed 6-0-2
Treasurer’s Report: Steve Richman: written report distributed and reviewed.
The Treasurer’s Report opened with Joe Brunner reviewing the 2017 Compilation Report he prepared for the NLNA, going over the significant changes from past years and major points of the report. A few questions were raised and answered.
Steve reviewed the December Treasurer’s report and also provided an update on the progress of the Community Center yard renovation project.
TREASURER’S REPORT – DECEMBER 2017
- 2017-18 Budget: November Financials – tables attached
For the two months ended on November 30th All Funds Income was $22,000; this was $2,700 less than projected. All Funds Expenses totaled almost $32,600, which was about $39,100 less than anticipated. Current Year Net Income was -$10,600. This was $36,400 lower than projected. These amounts include about $11,000 in grant expenses.
Excluding grant fund activity yields a more accurate representation of our financial position. Thus, if we limit the calculation to income and expenses from the General Fund and Liberty Lands accounts, our financial position after the first two months of the fiscal year is as follows:
- LL Income (rounded): $22,000 — $2,700 less than anticipated.
- LL Expenses (rounded): $21,600 — $4,000 less than anticipated.
- LL Net Income: $400 — $1,300 more than anticipated.
Significant variations from budgeted projections through November include:
- Lower than anticipated income from donations (-$2,100). The most significant contributing factor was the Annual Appeal, which was more than $1,300 behind projections. Corporate donations also fell short of expectations – by more than $1,000, while the Fall Fest raised $500 more than anticipated.
- Lower than expected rental income (-$500). This was entirely attributable to a shortfall in community center rentals.
- Lower than anticipated expenses for equipment and furnishings (-$1,700). Expenses for our new alarm system came I below the amount we set aside.
- Lower than anticipated spending for repair and maintenance (-$1,400) and for program services (-$2,300). This difference is almost entirely due to slow billing and seasonality.
While lower spending in the above and several other categories totaled about $6,500, spending for other items such as signage, inspections, lighting and alarm monitoring offset this total.
- Other Items
Capital Grant from PTSSD – Work continued on the construction of the pavilion. The installation of the light gauge framing is almost complete; an additional progress payment will be made to our steel fabricator shortly. Our roofer will commence work this week on the standing seam metal roof. A contract was also executed for the concrete benches and pads that will be installed, and that work will also begin shortly. Finally, work has begun by the landscaper on the wood screening.
Other Grants from PTSSD – As anticipated, grants totaling $5,750 for the Fall Fest, Operation Santa and Parade of Spirits have been received from the Penn Treaty Special Services District.
2016-17 Financial Report – Our accountant has completed the annual compilation report for 2016-17. He will present his report at our December meeting.
Motion: By Barbara Saverino, seconded by Donald Hoegg. “To accept the Treasurer’s report as presented.” Passed 9-0-0
President’s Report: Matt Ruben: written report attached and reviewed.
President’s Report, December 2017
- PLANNING, DEVELOPMENT, AND POLICY
- Construction Impacts – Nothing major or persistent at this time.
- Waterfont Issues –Stakeholder discussions continue on Mark Squilla’s Central Delaware Zoning Overlay bill. The next meeting is December 8.
- Zoning Issues – Councilmember Maria Quinones-Sanchez’s Mixed-Income Housing Bill was held in committee on November 27 and is on the agenda again for December 5.
- Business Improvement District (BID) – The final BID plan has been submitted for introduction in City Council, hopefully before the end of the year. Then there will be a hearing and a 45-day objection period.
- Schmidt’s Commons/Piazza – It appears a new ownership stake has been, or is in the process of being, set up. It also appears Kushner/Westminster will retain its minority but operational interest.
- FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
- Annual Appeal – Update from the Fundraising Committee during the Committee Reports portion of the agenda.
- Puerto Rico Relief Follow-up – We have made our donation, as have several other Philadelphia Crosstown Coalition member groups.
- Office Management – Barb has worked with Lara to develop a draft job description, and has been planning to meet with Operations about it. If that has happened, we’ll discuss at our meeting. If not, we’ll discuss in January.
- EVENTS AND OUTREACH
- General Membership Meetings. There’s been interest expressed in having one for Kearny School early in 2018. I am open to a late January or February meeting, but others (including Monika, who has stepped up on this) will have to take the lead on getting the relevant folks on board, setting a date, and so on.
- The November 13 Historic Preservation meeting was extremely informative, and left us with a possible plan of action to preserve a number of buildings in the neighborhood. At the same time, the meeting’s attendance was less than the Facebook Event Page had led us to believe, which is very unusual historically.
- Operation Santa Gift-Wrapping Party and related activities. Janet might have an update in Old Business.
- COMMUNICATION AND PUBLICITY
- No changes from last month’s report.
- OTHER ITEMS
- Board Polls – Ratification of any online or online board polls since last month’s board meeting.
Clean and Green Committee: Janet Finegar.
Janet reported that the Tree-cycling project received funding from PTSSD that will allow for two weeks of Christmas tree collection, plus a truck and driver to go around on Saturday the 6th and pick up any trees left out for trash collection.
Fundraising Committee: Barbara Saverino.
Barbara provided an update on the Annual Appeal letters, which have been in process since the last meeting and should be ready to go out soon. Special thanks to Natasha for getting the envelopes ready in the last week.
Liberty Lands Committee Report: Janet Finegar: written report attached and reviewed.
There was a brief discussion of the Facebook conversation about lighting inside the park.
Liberty Lands – December 2017
- The November Liberty Lands meeting included a visit from Chris who works in 908 North 3rd Street (the Devnuts building): he brought an offer from those businesses to pay for lighting along the east-west brick path in the park. The committee members explained the various arguments against lighting in the park in some detail and while Chris remained unconvinced, it was a good discussion with him. The Facebook conversation on Northern Liberties Neighbors that led to his visit (and continued after we announced that the offer had been made) has a few loud voices advocating for lighting and other improvements to the park. Some new members have joined the Friends of Liberty Lands group as a result, and Chris’ appearance at the meeting was a good sign. On the whole, however, there seems to be much more willingness to express ideas than to listen to the responses or volunteer.
- A few people have suggested that we approach the guys who ran a Christmas tree lot on 2nd Street for years to see if they’d like to use Liberty Lands next year (since there’s a lot of enthusiasm in the neighborhood for having a walking-distance lot). I see benefits (rental income and community benefit) but also some potential problems – most significantly, the conflict with Parade of Spirits and any other uses during the time they’re set up: it takes a fair amount of space. We should discuss it, though, before approaching them to see if it’s even a possibility.
- This coming Saturday, December 9, will be the 6th annual Parade of Spirits at Liberty Lands! It promises to be pretty great, with an extra special performance by Lux Arati, Liberty Lands’ favorite fire dancers. It’s also the day of the Running of the Santas, so traffic in the ‘hood will probably be affected. Yuck.
- I really hope we get some submissions for the fence by January meeting.
- Laura and Brian, the garden coordinators, are working on organizing the process of assigning plots, especially since we will not have the Laurel Street annex any longer and so those gardeners need to be moved to the main garden. They asked gardeners to decide in November whether they would return for the 2018 season. There was some pushback from the gardeners about the communication, but on the whole the new method seems like it will make it easier to start the season.
- The next Liberty Lands steering committee meeting is next Tuesday, the 12th, 7 p.m. at the community center.
- Christmas tree-cycling will be based at Liberty Lands in January – we’ll collect at the park on the 3rd Street concrete pad, chip on the 6th, and then do pruning/chipping on the 15th. Penn Treaty SSD sponsored it, and the chips usually go to Orianna Hill so we don’t have to deal with them in the cold.
- However, the weeds in the community garden paths were bad in 2017, in part because they didn’t get pulled as well as in other years and in part because we haven’t wood chipped those paths in a while. So we need to discuss if we want to try to keep one of the loads of wood chips from January for the garden paths (and if we can get volunteers to spread them in the wintertime.) For discussion on the 12th.
Operations Committee Report: Matt Ruben:
Matt quickly reviewed the actions the Committee has taken in the last months on behalf of Monika Kreidie. Actions include formalizing the list of duties of the office staff and considering new policies and charges for community center rental.
Zoning Committee Report: Joe Mikuliak; written report attached and reviewed.
Motion: By Donald Hoegg, seconded by Jeremy Lindemann. “To ratify the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 1132-40 N. Front Street, i.e.: ‘We support the project as proposed without 2 parking spaces and with a 4’ opaque retaining wall with shrubbery.’” Passed: 9-0-0
Motion: By Janet seconded by Anne . “To ratify the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 901 N. Delaware Avenue, i.e.: ‘We support the project with the following provisos: 1) The existing letter of provisos dated 9/2/08 would appear the same; 2) There will be a limit of 415 people inside and 100 outside; 3) For special events there will be a maximum of 250 people; 4) Hours will be 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m., 7 days a week; 5) There will be no outdoor events; 6) No music will be outdoors; 7) The doors on Delaware Avenue will close at 10:00 p.m. or the music will end at 10:00 p.m.; 8) In order to prevent current and future night club use of the space we require that: there can be no cover charge; all music must end at 1:00 a.m.; there will be no valet parking; and the seating plan is maintained as proposed; 9) Fifty additional parking spots, beyond the 25 spaces on the property, will be required for special events; 10) Develop a “drop-off” plan to prevent cars from backing up onto adjacent streets and doesn’t compromise safety on any street to include, with city approval, creating a passenger loading zone on the north side of Poplar Street between N. Penn Street and Delaware Avenue; 11) NLNA will contact Councilman Squilla’s office to organize Philadelphia Parking Authority and Streets Department to work together to improve on the “drop-off” plan; 12) Design the building space as presented at the 11/27/17 NLNA meeting, including an adequate number of bathrooms; 13) Security needs to control any nuisance behavior before, during and immediately after events and during normal hours of operation. Have security cameras on inside and outside of premises and door-men/greeters during busy hours to make sure cars do not block the roads and patrons disperse in an orderly manner; 14) No letter of support will be issued until a letter of refusal from the City is shown that agrees with the presentation.’” Passed: 9-0-0
Motion: By Joe Mikuliak, seconded by Donald Hoegg. “To move the trash storage along the side of the building from 719 N. 5th St. to 721 N. 5th St. so 719 would always have access to the street to take out the trash. Passed: 9-0-0
Zoning Committee – Monday 11/27/17
Members present: Larry Freedman (chair), Charlie Abdo, Christine Furman, Kenny Grono, Chris Isaacson, Joe Mikuliak, Sharon Richman, Abbey Spector, Ira Upin
Members absent: Melissa Magness, Jonathan Sher, Michael Simons
1132-40 N. Front Street – CMX-3 – David Orphanides: A proposal to remove 2 parking spaces and for the creation of a 3 foot deep ground pool as part of an existing 30 unit building with 10 bicycle spots. Refusal – 2 spots required, none offered. They are not installing a “pool” but a garden area with a koi pond, fabricated rock walls, earth berms, seating areas, built-in grill, fire pit, trees, etc., for use by the residents. A 4’ high opaque retaining wall with evergreen shrubs growing higher and a gated entrance will maintain security. Parking spots can be rented from private owners at various locations within several blocks. The development will provide 5 studio apartments, 16 one bedroom apartments and 9 two bedroom apartments. Discussion: Park-like setting vs. 2 parking spaces. Four foot opaque space vs. four foot semi-opaque wall.
Motion – (Ira) – 2 nd (Kenny): Vote 8-0- 0 We support the project as proposed without 2 parking spaces and with a 4’ opaque retaining wall with shrubbery.
901 N. Delaware Avenue – I2 – Avram Hornik: A return visit with a proposal to expand existing brew pub (Yard’s old site) and respond to neighborhood requests. Motion from September 2017 Thank you for your presentation. We support your proposal with the following caveats: 1. A letter will be supplied to the Board. 2. There will be a limit of 415 people inside and 100 people outside. 3. For special events a maximum of 250 people. 4. Hours will be 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m., 7 days a week. 5. There will be no outdoor events. 6. No music will be outdoors. 7. The doors on Delaware Avenue will close at 10:00 p.m. or the music will end at 10:00 p.m. 8. Fifty additional parking spots, beyond the 35 spaces on the property, will be required for special events. 9. Provide a more defined “drop-off” plan that prevents cars from backing up onto adjacent streets and doesn’t compromise safety on any street. 10. Provide a detailed design of the building space, including an adequate number of bathrooms. 11. Security needs to control any nuisance behavior before, during and immediately after events and during normal hours of operation. The proposed “drop-off” plan is to make the area in front of the entrance on Poplar a loading zone and have a staff person out front during “busy” times to move traffic along. It was also proposed to eliminate the current parking spots to create a drop-off area. Discussion: Neighbors living in Waterfront Square were still concerned about traffic converging from Craft Hall, the Casino and Waterfront Square onto Penn Street and Poplar Street. Two-way traffic on Poplar Street is a problem.
Motion – (Group): Vote 7-0- 0 We support the project with the following provisos: 1. The existing letter of provisos dated 9/2/08 would appear the same. 2. There will be a limit of 415 people inside and 100 outside. 3. For special events a maximum of 250 people. 4. Hours will be 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m., 7 days a week. 5. There will be no outdoor events. 6. No music will be outdoors. 7. The doors on Delaware Avenue will close at 10:00 p.m. or the music will end at 10:00 p.m. 8. In order to prevent current and future night club use of the space we require that: – there can be no cover charge; – all music must end at 1:00 a.m.; – there will be no valet parking; and, – the seating plan is maintained as proposed. 9. Fifty additional parking spots, beyond the 25 spaces on the property, will be required for special events. 10. Develop a “drop-off” plan to prevent cars from backing up onto adjacent streets and doesn’t compromise safety on any street to include, with city approval, creating a passenger loading zone on the north side of Poplar Street between N. Penn Street and Delaware Avenue. 11. NLNA will contact Councilman Squilla’s office to organize Philadelphia Parking Authority and Streets Department to work together to improve on the “drop-off” plan. 12. Design the building space as presented at the 11/27/17 NLNA meeting, including an adequate number of bathrooms. 13, Security needs to control any nuisance behavior before, during and immediately after events and during normal hours of operation. Will have security cameras on inside and outside of premises and door-men/greeters during busy hours to make sure cars do not block the roads and patrons disburse in an orderly manner.
Janet reminded the Board that Operation Santa is in swing for the year. A grant from PTSSD covered expanding the program slightly; it appears that we’ll have 32 families from the greater Northern Liberties area, with about 120 kids in that group. Gifts should be coming from Waterfront Square and Solo Realty in the next week; wrapping is December 21 (Thursday) at 6 p.m., and deliveries on Saturday the 23rd.
Matt suggested that we get a vinyl or magnetic sign with our logo so that it can be put on our billy goat and also used for the truck collecting trees for tree-cycling. Matt will investigate getting this done before January 6.
There was a brief conversation about management of the website in the future: Steve will discuss it with Katrina, who has been taking care of it up until now.
Joe suggested that it would be good to have a general meeting at the St. John Neumann Hall at St. Peter’s parish, both to draw in neighbors from the further north and west areas and to showcase that building. Matt will explore that possibility.
Barbara reminded the Board that the Winter Party will be February 8th.
The meeting was adjourned by acclaim at 8:26 p.m.