BOARD OF DIRECTORS MINUTES – Meeting of March 7, 2016

PRESENT: Matt Ruben, President; Janet Finegar, Secretary; Troy Crichton; Larry Freedman; Jesse Gardner; Monika Kreidie; Sasi Judd; Jeremy Lindemann; Don Phillips; Barbara Saverino; Chris Somers; Anne Waginger.

ABSENT:  Michael Coyne, Vice-President; Steve Richman, Treasurer.

The meeting was called to order by the President at 7:06 p.m.

Motion: By Anne Waginger, seconded by Don Phillips:“To approve the minutes of the February Board meeting as presented.” Passed 8-0-1

President’s Report, March 2016 (presented by Matt Ruben)

  1. PLANNING, DEVELOPMENT, AND POLICY
  • Piazza/Liberties Walk – Tower Investments’ lease of parking facilities to Westminster ends this month. Westminster’s parking garage on Germantown Ave is nearly complete.
  • Construction Impacts – Isolated complaints, but still at the lower level I reported last month.
  • Spring Garden – The new metalwork is being installed as I write this. DRWC will have a ceremony when it’s time for the lights to be turned on.
  • 5th St – Wednesday March 9 is the meeting about 5th Street traffic. I encourage board members to attend; it’s our hope that this meeting will spur Council President Clarke’s office to help us get necessary improvements to traffic safety there, since the Streets Dept is not being terribly helpful.
  • Business Improvement District (BID) – The NLNA submitted a letter of interest as part of the Commerce Dept’s application to get the necessary annual funds to enable communities like ours to get planning grants, which are used to hire consultants and have a process assessing the viability of implementing a BID. Our friends in Fishtown are doing the same thing. Assuming the funds are made available, we and Fishtown will run separate, but parallel, planning processes. One of the issues will be determining if we ultimately should go ahead by proposing a single BID covering parts of both communities, or two adjacent BIDs, one for each.
  • Madison Memorial Park – We need to discuss a path forward on Refurbishing the “Doughboy” statue. Barbara Saverino and I will update the board on the situation.
  1. FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
  • Office Staffing – Details at our meeting.
  • PTSSD Grant Application for Building and Grounds – Details at our meeting.
  • May Board Elections – We need two board members to volunteer to serve on the Election Committee.
  1. EVENTS AND OUTREACH
  • Winterfest – A major success again, thanks to Michael and the Membership Committee; and thanks to North Bowl, PTSSD, and all the other local businesses that contributed.
  • General Membership Meetings – I have an invitation in to Mayor Kenney for a Q&A meeting. My current thinking is that early April would be ideal, because it avoids Easter, Passover, Orthodox Easter, and being too close to the March 9 5th-St-traffic meeting (which will in effect be a general membership meeting as well). Early April also allows for board nominations for May. We also want to have a quality of life meeting, and I think May would work for that.
  1. COMMUNICATION AND PUBLICITY
  • Internet – All seems to be well, and growing.
  1. OTHER ITEMS
  • Board Polls – Ratification of any online or online board polls since last month’s board meeting.

Barbara Saverino and Troy Crichton agreed to serve on the Election Committee for 2016.

New Business:   None.

TREASURER’S REPORT – MARCH 2016 (presented by Steve Richman)

2015-16 Budget: February Financials – tables attached

  • For the five months ended on February 29th all funds income was $161,866; this was $104,300 more than projected, due mostly to the receipt of $100,000 from Penn Treaty. Expenses totaled $68,416, which was about $16,700 more than anticipated – again, largely due to grant-related expenses. Net income was $93,450 – $87,635 more than projected. These amounts include $100,750 in income from grants and about $19,800 in grant expense
  • 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 five months of the fiscal year is as follows:
    • GF & LL Income: $61,116 — $4,336 more than anticipated.
    • GF & LL Expenses: $48,646 — $901 less than anticipated.
    • GF & LL Net Income: $12,470 — $5,237 more than anticipated.
  • Significant variations from budgeted projections through February include:
  • Net income from fundraising activities was nearly $1,300 higher than anticipated. The most significant contributing factor was the Annual Appeal, which was nearly $1,500 higher than projected. Separately, corporate donations totaling $5,805 were received from PTSSD for Operation Santa, Krampuslauf, the Fall Fest and Winterfest. The total received from corporate donations exceeded expectations by $4,300. Thus far, expenses for the events funded by PTSSD have totaled approximately $5,000. Any remaining unspent funds (about $800 thru January 31) will have to be returned to PTSSD.
  • A shortfall in fundraising revenue and corporate donations for Clean Streets offset the higher revenues reported above. Thus far, no revenue for Clean Streets has been received. In addition, while a $1,000 Activities Grant for Liberty Lands was received from the City, the budget anticipated that the grant would total $1,500.
  • Spending was lower than anticipated for repair and maintenance and utilities (-$1,000). The difference is almost entirely due to slow billing and seasonality. Spending was also lower than anticipated for professional services and communications (-$2,000).

Higher than anticipated spending for certain administrative expenses mitigated the savings realized in these other categories.

Other Items

  • Capital Grant from PTSSD – As reported previously, PTSSD has awarded us a capital improvement grant of $178,000. Funding was approved to repair the exterior of the community center, renovate the basement and portions of the first floor, make substantial improvements to the yard and purchase new furnishings for the office, the basement and the main room on the first floor. In February we received $100,000. The balance – $78,000 – will be made available in November.
  • Sponsorship Award from PTSSD – Our VP, Michael Coyne, was successful in obtaining a $1,200 sponsorship award from PTSSD for Winterfest. This award fully covered our expenses for this fundraiser.

 Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Jeremy Lindemann. “To accept the Treasurer’s report as presented.” Passed 11-0-0

 

Liberty Lands Report – March 2016 (presented by: Janet Finegar)

  • Spring is coming! This spring is a busy one for all the Liberty Lands core volunteers, so we’d be extremely grateful for extra support from others with the management tasks we handle. The next Liberty Lands meeting is tomorrow (Tuesday) at 8 p.m. at the NLNA office: we’ll be scheduling for the spring and talking about how to make sure the jobs are all covered. Anyone who can attend is very welcome.
  • Scheduled workdays for the spring:
    • March 26 – Spring Work Day (and beginning of Weeder’s Club)
    • April 16 – Spring Work Day
    • April 30 – Plant Sale (not at park, at community center)
    • May 7 – PHS Love Your Park Day (weeder’s club at Liberty Lands)
    • May 28 – Possible work day
  • With help from a PHS grant designated for a few “Legacy Landscape” parks in Philadelphia, we’ll be improving the brick path that runs across the southern edge of the park in the near future. (We submitted several proposals for improvements we’d like to do and that was the one they picked.) More news on this as it develops.
  • Nothing is moving forward yet on the American Street lot: I believe it is not yet in the city inventory. The Board should briefly discuss what we’d like to do to move forward with the lot, and I would be grateful for a volunteer to spearhead it.
  • I’ve heard a few things recently that suggest that we might need to deal with parking along the American/Bodine Street sides of the park in the near future: at least two people have been ticketed recently for parking in spots there that are used regularly. Until it becomes a regular problem we don’t need to do anything, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

 

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

Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Don Phillips: “To support the recommendation of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 936 N. Leithgow St., i.e.: ‘Please return with the following:
1. Facade drawings of all sides of all three homes, with dimensions and materials called out. Include accurate placement of all windows.
 2. Present several design options for the corner building, consider a planter on the corner.
 3. Have garage on St. John Neumann Way approved by the city. Bring drawing with turning radius illustrated.’” Passed: 11-0-0

Motion: By Jeremy Lindemann, seconded by Barbara Saverino: “To support the recommendation of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 866 N. Leithgow St., i.e.: ‘The committee is considering requiring compliance to the code or adjustments to the existing building. Please return with legible floor plans, dimensions of the interior and exterior, and photos of the interior showing existing conditions.’” Passed: 11-0-0

Motion: By Monika Kreidie, seconded by Troy Crichton: “To support the recommendation of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 723 N. 6th St., i.e.: ‘Before we will consider supporting any residential variance on this site, we need to review plans for a 5 story building with least 14 parking spaces, and with a corner commercial space and 26 residential units (maximum) on floors 1 to 5.’”  Passed: 11-0-0

Motion: By Monika Kreidie, seconded by Jeremy Lindemann: “To support the recommendation of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 464 Myrtle St., i.e.: ‘There was no support for a variance for the project with parking on Orkney. There was support for the garage on Myrtle Street. Please return with adjusted plans.’”  Passed: 11-0-0

Motion: By Barbara Saverino, seconded by Monika Kreidie: “To support the recommendation of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 960 N. 3rd St., i.e.: ‘To support the subdivision as proposed.’”  Passed: 11-0-0

Motion: By Don Phillips, seconded by Barbara Saverino: “To reappoint the following 12 people to the NLNA Zoning Committee for another year: Larry Freedman, Charlie Abdo, Joe Mikuliak, Ira Upin, Michael Simons, Jonathan Sher, Abbey Spector, Sharon Richman, Melissa Magness, Anthony Bottenfield, Kenny Grono, and Chris Isaacson.”  Passed: 11-0-0

The meeting was adjourned by acclaim at 8:13 p.m.

Addenda:

Zoning Committee minutes February 29, 2016 (presented by Larry Freedman)

Members present: Larry Freedman (chair), Joe Mikuliak (Rec Sec), Ira Upin, Michael Simons, Jonathan Sher, Abbey Spector     Members absent: Sharon Richman, Melissa Magness, Anthony Bottenfield, Kenny Grono, Chris Isaacson, Charlie Abdo

 

  1. 936 N. Leithgow St.– RSA5 – A proposal to consolidate four lots and build three single- family dwellings was presented by builder- developer, Nino Cutrufello and architect, Brian Phillips. The new home on the corner of S. John Neuman and Leithgow has been refused-for the garage and lot size. The other two homes do not have garages and are by-right. All homes have decks but access is not through a pilot house. Q&A: Nearby neighbors had questions regarding impact on their rear yards. Builder will do a Phase I inspection.
 Will the garage be useable due to tight turning radius? How much of the basement will be above grade? How will utility meters be hidden?

Group motion: Please return with the following:
 1. Facade drawings of all sides of all three homes, with dimensions and materials called out. Include accurate placement of all windows.
 2. Present several design options for the corner building, consider a planter on the corner
 3. Have garage on S. John approved by the city. Bring drawing with turning radius illustrated Passed 4-0

 

  1. 866 N. Leithgow St. – RSA5 – Leo Mulvihill, attorney, presented request for the NLNA to support the legalization of an existing single-family dwelling with deck. Both house and deck were built without proper setbacks. 2nd and 3rd floors should have been set back 9 feet from rear property line but are set back 5 feet. Deck should be set back 5 feet from property line but is built to the edge of building and the deck’s railing is an extension of the building’s solid wall. Q&A: Building with deck railing is too tall-towers over the street. Is interior unfinished?
 Why was the builder not following the plans? Steps remove too much area from the sidewalk

Group motion: The committee is considering requiring compliance to the code or adjustments to the existing building. Please return with legible floor plans, dimensions of the interior and exterior, and photos of the interior showing existing conditions.
 Passed 4-0

 

  1. 723 N. 6th St. – ICMX – Return Visit. Herc Grigos, attorney, presented a proposal for a multi-unit residential building with

indoor parking. Location is the SE corner of 6th and Brown Street. Plans previously shown to the community had 30 apartments, 19 parking spaces and 1 commercial space. Plans now show 33 apartments and 13 parking spaces and 1 commercial space. Q&A: Materials will be the same on all four sides of the building.
 No projections off building-i.e. no balconies
 Deck on roof is 750 square feet, accessed by the elevator Green roof or green plantings would be considered by developer.

Motion by Joe Mikuliak 2nd by Ira Upin   Before we will consider supporting any residential variance on this site, we need to review plans for a 5 story building with least 14 parking spaces, and with a corner commercial space and 26 residential units (maximum) on floors 1 to 5.
 Passed 5-0

 

  1. 464 Myrtle St. – RSA5 – Ed Fink, architect, presented a proposal for a single family dwelling with a garage. Variance is for the garage only despite the deck along Myrtle Street being built out to the edge of the roof. Q&A: Mean height is 38’. Peak of roof is 42’ Deck not set back 5’ from street. Facade on the south side of property is not shown, not known at this time. Cars cannot enter the garage without going onto the opposite sidewalk. How will utility meter be hidden? More cobblestones on Myrtle and Orkney will be damaged by cars.

Motion by Ira Upin 2nd by Michael Simons
 There was no support for a variance for the project with parking on Orkney. There was support for the garage on Myrtle Street. Please return with adjusted plans.
 Passed 5-0

 

  1. 960 N. 3rd St. (plus north to Wildey and west to Orianna)
 RSA5 – Frank Ermillio presented a proposal to create 11 lots from 1 lot. 8 single family dwellings and 3 duplexes currently exist on this property. No new construction is proposed.

Motion by Michael Simons, 2nd by Jonathan Sher To support the subdivision as proposed. Passes 5-0

 

  1. Reappointment of current Zoning Committee members by NLNA board. We recommend the reappointment of the following 12 people to the NLNA Zoning Committee for another year: Larry Freedman, Charlie Abdo, Joe Mikuliak, Ira Upin, Michael Simons, Jonathan Sher, Abbey Spector, Sharon Richman, Melissa Magness, Anthony Bottenfield, Kenny Grono, and Chris Isaacson.   After the above reappointments, there will be three openings on the Zoning Committee.