BOARD OF DIRECTORS MINUTES – Meeting of January 12, 2015

PRESENT:  Matt Ruben, President; Don Phillips, Vice-President; Steve Richman, Treasurer; Jennifer Baker; Michael Coyne; Larry Freedman; Sasi Judd; Monika Kreidie; Katrina Mansfield; Sharon Richman; Chris Somers; Anne Waginger; Logan Welde.

ABSENT: Janet Finegar, Secretary; Dolores Lyons.

ALSO PRESENT:    Danny Hawith

Meeting minutes noted by Sasi Judd.

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

Motion: By Sasi Judd, seconded by Monika Kriedie:“To approve the minutes of the December Board meeting.” – Passed 12-0-0

Danny Hawith came to discuss N3rd St. in Northern Liberties. The Nerd St. corridor group has grant funds and would like to install flags or banners in the Northern Liberties section. Olde City has given $300 – $400 to corridor ventures and Danny asked if NLNA can match those funds. Board discussions expressed concern for ongoing maintenance of banners, where they would be hung, and any additional costs. Danny will get a letter stating concerns and asking for resolution.

President’s Report, January 2015 by Matt Rubin

PLANNING, DEVELOPMENT, AND POLICY

  • Businesses – We have been unable to find a corporate partner for the CDC Tax Credit Match program, and the deadline has come. We will have to keep working to reform the CDC and organize the businesses in the neighborhood as best we can, and find a corporate partner for the next round of applications, which will be in two years.
  • Piazza/Liberties Walk – Update on the parking situation in the Zoning Committee Report
  • Construction Impacts – Lara Kelly and neighbor (and former Board member) Rick Angeli have begun an initiative to “Take Back Our Sidewalks,” to help reduce construction related blockages across the neighborhood. A recent story in the Star newspaper: http://www.starnewsphilly.com/2015/jan/7/taking-back-sidewalks/ This is an extension of work done primarily by Larry up to this point. We hope a recently passed City law will help as well – the law puts more stringent regulations on construction fencing and street and sidewalk closures. Please encourage neighbors to call 311 and to contact us whenever they have concerns about sidewalk closures, or about construction vehicles blocking the streets.

FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION

  • Annual Appeal – Steve will have the latest. My understanding is that thus far donations are down from last year.
  • PHS Beautification Grant – We are going to begin the process of applying for a grant of up to $25,000 from the PA Horticultural Society for a greening project. After a good deal of discussion, we’ve determined that (A) Liberty Lands is not an apt site at this time; (B) Cement Park is not an apt site either, because the needs there involve hardscaping and infrastructure rather than “green”; and (C) There’s a good deal of desire and energy for doing something nice with the grounds of our Community Center. So we will pursue that.

EVENTS AND OUTREACH

  • General Membership Meetings – The next general membership meeting is slated for the fourth Thursday in January, which is the 22nd. The main agenda item will be a discussion with the police and Councilman Squilla about the recent shooting at Front and Girard. There will also be an update, I believe, from the bike-share folks from the City. Please make your best effort to attend this meeting. The next meeting after that will be in April. This meeting will take place at the new offices of Keiran Timberlake on the 800 block of N. American St., on either Wednesday the 22nd or Thursday the 23rd. Because of the May Mayoral and City Council primary election, this meeting also will be our “Candidates Night.” It should be fun because of the location, and interesting because of the Mayoral race.

COMMUNICATION AND PUBLICITY

  • Internet – All of our online venues continue to grow and be lively.

Motion: By Monika Kreidie, seconded by Sasi Judd: “To approve the President’s report as presented.” — Passed 12-0-0

New Business

  • Monika is organizing a NLNA project on MLKJr. Day to sort and organize files in the community center basement.
  • Fishtown Neighbors Association and New Kensington CDC has asked the NLNA to join in a meeting to address safety around the Girard and Front Street area, the issue being prompted by the recent shooting there. Katrina Mansfield agreed to attend.
  • Steve Richman attended a meeting at the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society regarding a grant application for the community center yard. The grant can include PHS providing plants, storm water management, lighting and fencing along with a detailed design and project manager. Monika agreed to write a letter of intent for the proposal, due January 21.

Treasurer’s Report: by Steve Richman

2014-15 Budget: December Financials – tables attached

For the three months ended on December 31st all funds income was almost $31,000; this was $8,150 less than projected. Expenses totaled $29,230, which was $10,100 less than anticipated. Net income was -$1,760 – about $2,000 more than projected. However, these amounts include $1,400 in income from grants and $4,200 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 the following is our financial position after the first three months of the fiscal year:

  • GF & LL Income:   $29,600 — $8,300 less than anticipated.
  • GF & LL Expenses: $25,000 — $6,100 less than anticipated.
  • GF & LL Net Income: $4,600 — $2,200 less than anticipated.

Significant variations from budgeted projections through November were:

  • Lower than anticipated income of $8,000 from fundraising activities. The Annual Appeal was nearly $4,000 behind projections. As of December 31st less than 50% of our collection goal was reached, compared to 75% at that time last year. Net income from the two festivals fell short by a net $2,100 and we have yet to collect any money from candy sales.
  • Lower than expected spending of $1,500 for administrative support, $1,400 for repair and maintenance, and $2,300 for fundraising and program expenses.

Other Items: The accountant hired by NLNA in 2012 to prepare our annual statement and federal tax return has completed his work and delivered his work products. The results are in line with expectations. Our tax return has been filed and the board should be receiving the financial statement this month.

The Board discussed putting out another fundraising appeal in the spring, timed to coincide with tax returns.

One of the community center residential tenants is moving out in spring. NLNA will advertise for a new tenant and Chris Somers can help with background checks.

Michael Coyne is beginning to organize a spring fund raiser and Katrina will make a poster.

Motion: By Katrina Mansfield, seconded by Chris Somers. “To approve the Treasurer’s report as submitted.”– Passed 12-0-0

 

Liberty Lands Report — January 2015 by Janet Finegar

  • The 2014 Krampuslauf was a great party, attended by about 250 people from all over the area. A PTSSD grant request for sponsorship is to be heard by that board in February, but all costs will be absorbed by the organizers if sponsorship doesn’t come through.
  • The gate for the American Street entrance (the low brick wall) is finished and installed and is beautiful. This was paid for through the 2014 PTSSD grant to NLNA for Liberty Lands repairs and improvements. I am working on the 6-month report on that grant now.
  • Christmas tree chipping took place at Orianna Hill Park (a great improvement, since the chips get used immediately instead of sitting in a pile for months) and was quite successful despite competition from several other chipping events this year. 268 trees were recycled and the cost of the crew was totally covered, with some additional money (about $500) raised for the NLNA, since Orianna Hill Park gave most of its half of cash donations to the NLNA.
  • The next park meeting is tomorrow (Tuesday the 13th ) at 8 p.m. at the community center. We’llschedule as much of the 2015’s annual activities as possible and discuss implementing the second half of the PTSSD grant.

 

Zoning Committee Report: by Larry Freedman; written report attached and reviewed.

Motion: By Anne Waginger, seconded by Katrina Mansfield.“To support the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 310 Girard Ave., i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. We support the project as presenting, provided a ground floor plan showing parking is included. A letter of support will be issued upon receipt of the refusal and a signed set of plans as presented to the ZBA.’” – Passed 12-0-0

Motion: By Chris Somers, seconded by Monika Kriedie. “To support the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 929 N. Hancock, i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. Please go to the UDC with plans that show the window for bedroom 1 with the required code setback to the adjacent property and to discuss the façade materials and design. A letter of support will be issued upon the UDC’s recommendation.’” – Passed 12-0-0

Motion: By Don Phillips seconded by Jennifer Baker. “To support the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 456 – 58 Myrtle Street, i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. This lot is large enough to allow both a spacious home and a legal sized rear yard. Please return with plans for a home that meets the 30% open space requirement and bring drawings in color and that show context with existing buildings on Myrtle St.’” – Passed 12-0-0

Motion: By Steve Richman seconded by Anne Waginger. “To support the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 722 N. 4th St & 400 -02 Brown St., i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. #2-4 are significant enough that it does not warrant an administrative change. We ask that you come to the UDC to discuss possible changes that could gain our support. #2 – reconfiguration of Brown St. façade windows at first and second floors and use of casement windows instead of the proposed double hung for each property. #3 – use of finished standing seam metal panels instead of prefabricated metal panels for exterior of bay windows for each property. #4 – reduction in size of rear second floor windows for each property.’” – Passed 12-0-0

Motion: By Steve Richman seconded by Michael Coyne. “To support the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 860 – 62 N. 4th Street through to Leithgow, i.e.: ‘We support this proposal with the materials and façade as detailed in the drawings and plans presented on 12/23/14.’” – Passed 12-0-0

Motion: By Monika Kreidie seconded by Katrina Mansfield. “To support the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 148 Girard Ave., i.e.: ‘We support this proposal as presented with the following provisos: 1) you will not seek a liquor license; 2) occupancy will be 26 seats as stated; 3) the days and hours of operation will be 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. daily; 4) the signage will only consist of lettering on the storefront window; 5) trash will stored in the rear or interior of the property overnight and not on the sidewalk; 6) trash will be put out and picked up between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and noon; and, 7) exhaust and makeup fans will be located on the roof.’” – Passed 12-0-0

Motion: By Steve Richman seconded by Don Philips. “To support the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 116–20 Laurel Street, i.e.: ‘We support this proposal as presented.’” Passed 12-0-0

Old Business

Don Phillips told the Board that he will not run for the Vice President position next term.

Motion: By Anne Waginger, seconded by Michael Coyne. “To adjourn the meeting.” – Passed 12-0-0

Addenda:

Operation Santa 2014 Report

  • Operation Santa went well overall. We served 22 families this year with almost 100 children ranging from 2 months to 18 years old.
  • As usual, Waterfront Square residents provided a generous in-kind donation of many toys. Solo Realty also donated several hundred dollars worth of toys and cash.Bell Floor Covering donated use of the truck and driver on delivery day, which makes delivery much easier, and Rustica Pizza sent pizzas for the wrapping night. Superfresh gives us a discount on the food for the baskets, and each child receives at least one new book through the FirstBook foundation. Finally, various new toys and clothes for babies were collected throughout the year from the Liberties_Babies group parents.
  • Because the toys we receive aren’t designated for specific children, there are always some leftover toys. As usual, we donated these to the 6th Street Mission, who passes them along to children they serve inour neighboring East Poplar community.
  • The FirstBook foundation’s granting policy on books is very erratic, so to our surprise this year we received twice as many books as usual. These are saved in the basement for next year’s Operation Santa, so although our costs for these books (the books are free but we pay shipping) was much higher than usual, it will be nothing next year.
  • Don can report on the food costs.

 

ZONING COMMITTEE MEETING – Minutes

Monday 12/22/14

Members present: Larry Freedman (chair), Charlie Abdo, Kenny Grono, Melissa Magness, Joe Mikuliak, Michael Simons, Beth Emig, Tim McDonald, Ira Upin   Members absent: Sharon Richman, Kyle Koenig, Anthony Bottenfield, Jonathan Sher

310 Girard Avenue [Riley Lumber] – ICMX – Kevin O’Neil, Herc Grigos: A return visit with a proposal for 53 residential units and commercial ground floor. previous motion from August 2014: Vote 9-0We like the mixture of commercial and residential use of this property; however, some refinement is needed to make this project more viable. Suggestions for the commercial area include: adding a basement, raising the ceilings, and altering the loading dock to provide separate commercial and residential trash areas. On the residential side, please put gates on the driveways, alter basement units to provide light and air to all living areas, provide exterior lighting (including in the parking area). Additionally, show us rendering of what the south walls will look like. Please return with adjusted plans. The following changes were made:Addition of a basement in the commercial space. The commercial ceiling height was changed to 12’ without affecting the overall height of the building (60’). The residential units on 3rd and Orkney now feature a ground floor bedroom instead of basement bedroom and a light well to the basement. Both entrances to the parking garage will be gated.Exterior lighting was added. Residential and commercial trash is separate. The South facing façade will have metal siding. There are a total of 83 bedrooms. Discussion: Tim requested a ground floor plan that shows how the spaces connect.

Motion: Melissa, Joe (2nd). Vote 7-0: Thank you for your presentation. We support the project as presenting, provided a ground floor plan showing parking is included. A letter of support will be issued upon receipt of the refusal and a signed set of plans as presented to the ZBA.

 

929 N. Hancock – RSA5 – Chadwick Smith: A proposal for a single family dwelling with a 2 car garage.previous motion from October 2014: Vote 6-2-1Thank you for your presentation. We can’t support a plan that includes a garage at this location. Board revision: Thank you for your presentation. We can’t support a plan that includes a two-car garage at this location. Changes made:Garage is now a one-car garage.Developer plans to add an easement along the north party wall to allow windows to be added at a later date.Discussion: The EIFS on the south wall could be damaged by pedestrian traffic. The building not shown in context with proposed building to the North.

Motion: Tim, Joe (2nd). Vote 7-0: Thank you for your presentation. Please go to the UDC with plans that show the window for bedroom 1 with the required code setback to the adjacent property and to discuss the façade materials and design. A letter of support will be issued upon the UDC’s recommendation.

 

456-58 Myrtle St. – RSA5 – Ed Fink: A proposal for a single family dwelling.No hearing date has been set for this project.The refusals are for accessory parking, open air, rear yard depth and maximum height.Architect pointed out a 4’2” common courtyard behind the 5’ rear yard depth that is non-compliant, which they argue effectively increases the setback to the required 9’, since this courtyard can only be accessed by this property and the neighbor.Discussion: Replace cobblestones on Myrtle St.

Motion: ?, ? (2nd): Vote 7-0-1 Thank you for your presentation. This lot is large enough to allow both a spacious home and a legal sized rear yard. Please return with plans for a home that meets the 30% open space requirement and bring drawings in color and that show context with existing buildings on Myrtle St.

 

722 N. 4th & 400-02 Brown St. – Deborah Cianfrini: Return visit for an administrative change to change one car garages into two car garages (and other changes).previous motion from November 2014: Vote 10-0 Please return with more complete plans that show correct dimensions of old and new façades. Please add windows on 4th Street at street level for “eyes on the street”. Also provide a formalized determination from L&I that these are, in fact, administrative changes. Show list of all changes and before and after pictures describing the changes. Changes made since last visit: Windows were added along 4th St. Formal determination from L&I was not provided as requested since the zoning committee’s letter will be sent in with the request for these changes.

Motion: Group: Vote 8-0 Thank you for your presentation. #2-4 are significant enough that it does not warrant an administrative change. We ask that you come to the UDC to discuss possible changes that could gain our support. #2 – reconfiguration of Brown St. façade windows at first and second floors and use of casement windows instead of the proposed double hung for each property. #3 – use of finished standing seam metal panels instead of prefabricated metal panels for exterior of bay windows for each property. #4 – reduction in size of rear second floor windows for each property.

 

Tuesday 12/23/14

Members present: Larry Freedman (chair), Kenny Grono, Joe Mikuliak, Sharon Richman, Michael Simons, Jonathan Sher, Ira Upin   Members absent: Anthony Bottenfield, Charlie Abdo, Beth Emig, Kyle Koenig, Melissa Magness, Tim McDonald

860-62 N. 4th Street through to Leithgow – RSA5 – Chris Sincavage: A return visit with a proposal to build 2 single-family dwellings. Motion from November 2014: Vote 10-0 Please return with complete plans including house and room dimensions, façades and materials. He returned with detailed plans including dimensions for both houses. The façade will be black and blue brick with a fiberglass garage door in a wood grain finish that will match the front door.

Motion (Ira) – 2nd (Kenny): Vote 6-0 We support this proposal with the materials and façade as detailed in the drawings and plans presented on 12/23/14.

 

148 Girard Avenue – Special Exception – Shawn Ward: A proposal for a restaurant.Paesano’s Restaurant plans to move from its current location (next door) into the ground floor of this newly constructed building. They do not intend to apply for a liquor license. Trash will not be placed on the sidewalk and pick-up will be the same as in the current location. Exhaust and makeup fans will be located on the roof of the building with duct work running up the rear of the building.

Motion (Group): Vote 6-0 We support this proposal as presented with the following provisos: 1 – you will not seek a liquor license; 2 – occupancy will be 26 seats as stated; 3 – the days and hours of operation will be 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. daily; 4 – the signage will only consist of lettering on the storefront window; 5 – trash will stored in the rear or interior of the property overnight and not on the sidewalk; 6 – trash will be put out and picked up between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and noon; and, 7 – exhaust and makeup fans will be located on the roof.

 

116-20 Laurel Street – RSA5 – Thomas Wiedenman: A proposal to subdivide (refusal). Two undersized lots will be consolidated. The refusal was for the existing house.

Motion (Ira) – 2nd (Ira): Vote 6-0 We support this proposal as presented.