BOARD OF DIRECTORS MINUTES – Meeting of November 14, 2016

PRESENT: Matt Ruben, President; Steve Richman, Treasurer; Janet Finegar, Secretary; Jeremy Lindemann; Joe Mikuliak; Don Phillips; Barbara Saverino; Ira Upin; Anne Waginger.

ABSENT: Michael Coyne, Vice-President; Troy Crichton; Donald Hoegg; Roneil Jackson; Monika Kreidie; Chris Somers

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

Motion: By Jeremy Lindemann, seconded by Joe Mikuliak:“To approve the minutes of the October Board meeting as presented.”  Passed 8-0-0

President’s Report: Matt Ruben.

The Historical Commission voted to establish the row houses at 81-95 Fairmount Avenue as historic properties after strong lobbying from the neighborhood.

The Crosstown Coalition has asked NLNA to join opposition to billboards on city-owned buildings.
Motion: By Don Phillips, seconded by Joe Mikuliak: “To support the Crosstown Coalition’s position opposing non-accessory signage on Philadelphia municipal buildings.”  Passed 8-0-0

There was some discussion of the annual appeal letter, which will be going out soon. There was a quick discussion of the NLNA projects in the letter, a reminder to add the Doughboy campaign, and a suggestion to add information highlighting the possibility of monthly donations through Paypal.

There was a brief discussion of the ongoing tweaks to the Spring Garden underpass lighting project. Work to improve the installation is ongoing, with no timeline for completion. In relation to that, Matt reported that at some time in the next year the 95 improvements will move into the Northern Liberties area, and that the NLNA will have the opportunity to meet with PennDot to discuss our desires for lighting the underpasses, improvements around the construction, and (ideally) establishing some parking under the highway. Joe mentioned a design that was created (and agreed to) back in the late 90s that included fixing the crazy intersections near Schmidt’s Commons and establishing a bike lane near the highway: these items should also be raised again with PennDot.

Treasurer’s Report: Steve Richman: written report distributed and reviewed.

 

TREASURER’S REPORT – NOVEMBER 2016

  1. 2016-17 Budget
  • The 2016-17 budget was adopted by the Board at the October meeting. There were no changes made by the Board to the budget that was recommended by the Finance Committee.
  • The adopted budget projects approximately $140,000 in income and $140,000 in expenses in the General Fund and Liberty Lands accounts combined. In addition, the budget anticipates the availability of about $26,000 in prior year funds and an equal amount of carryout into 2017-18.
  • In October, expenses were not unusual. On the income side we received two large donations totaling $3,000 and one renter pre-paid three month’s rent for use of the community center. Otherwise, income was as anticipated.
  1. Other Items
  • Capital Grant from PTSSD – As reported previously, PTSSD awarded us a capital improvement grant of $178,000 last February. Funding was made available 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 – is expected to be made available in November. To date, we have spent approximately $52,300 for renovations and improvements to the basement and the first floor, and repairs to the exterior of the building. This spending has generally been in line with expectations. In October we submitted a required progress report to PTSSD.
  • Accountant’s 2015-16 Financial Report and Tax Preparation – Our accountant has begun preparation of our annual Compilation Report and Tax Return. He was in the office during the first week of November gathering data from our QuickBooks file. He found nothing out of the ordinary and will likely have a draft of the report for our review by the end of the month.
  • Report on Account Balances – This month’s Treasurer’s Report includes a three-year statement of bank balances. A table will be distributed at the board meeting.

Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Jeremy Lindemann. “To accept the Treasurer’s report as presented.”  Passed 8-0-0

Liberty Lands Committee Report: Janet Finegar: written report attached and reviewed.

Liberty Lands Report – November 2016

  • The Fall Family Festival was a huge success: a great turnout, beautiful weather, lots of happy people and a significant profit. Cash alone took in $1,300 and there should be another several hundred of sponsorship donations. Assuming that the Penn Treaty Special Services District will sponsor the carriage rides and moonbounce again (as they have done every year in the past: the Board did not consider the proposal at the October meeting but will consider it in November), we should have a net profit of some $1,500 or maybe even more. The organizers (Sara Hirschler, Priya DeSouza, and Ellyn Shatz) did a fantastic job!
  • The final workday of 2016 will be this Saturday, November 12. There’s a long list of clean-up chores for the winter, and we’ll also plant a new fringe tree to replace the one that was killed and as a memorial to Scout, Lara/Marion/Harper’s dog. Workday from 9-2 and all are encouraged to attend for however much time they can!
  • Because of the election, the November Liberty Lands meeting will be Wednesday, November 9, at 7 p.m. at the community center. This will also be the yearly board meeting for the NLAC (the organization that officially owns the park land).
  • Lots of updates on infrastructure repairs and improvements: we’re still working on getting the northeast-side erosion control project planned. Looking like spring for that one. On the other hand, Ken Grono either already has or is about to get the cistern pump and controller replaced, so that’s good. A surprise grant solved our expense problem with fixing the kid-catcher gate, and Michelle has that underway. A neighbor has offered to give us a giant concrete table, which we’re looking to install at the southern side as both a picnic and ping-pong table.
  • The community gardens got a huge pile of compost through City Harvest, and we’re encouraging the gardeners to feed their plots before winter comes. In other City Harvest news, Jen and Paul have been working on developing a project to improve the “last mile” collection of vegetables and delivery to food pantries; they’ve spoken with several possible funding sources on the project and will keep working on it through the winter.
  • The Water Department has its process well underway for finally excusing/forgiving community gardens for stormwater fees. Jen, Janet, and Paul attended a hearing about it and testified in favor of the change. They anticipate that it will be enacted in January, which will mean that the stormwater bills we’ve been getting will cease and the built-up charges in dispute will be erased.
  • Jen and Liz met with a woman doing “wild edibles” tours, who showed them some of the many edible weeds/ornamentals growing at the park. We’ll use her information to supplement the donations through City Harvest and encourage some more of those plants in the Edible Forest patch at the north end.
  • The dance performances during October went very nicely and were well received. As cold weather settles in, events at the park are slowing down. We’ve shut down the Waste Management extra trash pickup for the season and Chico will only come once a week to do trash.
  • The farmer’s market is enthusiastic about continuing to come as long as the weather’s bearable. Food Trust only goes May-October, but we hope to work with our farmers to expand it to include April and November.
  • A grant from the PTSSD to Orianna Hill Park will cover expanding Christmas tree chipping this year AND cover about half the expenses of Liberty Lands’ yearly professional pruning. A special donation from the group that now owns the American Street houses that face onto the park (Philly Apartment Company – great new neighbors!) will cover about 1/3 of the cost to do a special pruning of the pawlonia trees at the southeast corner of the park, including removing the one dead tree.
  • The last event of 2016 will be the Parade of Spirits (the event formerly known as Krampuslauf) on December 17 around 4 p.m. That will also be when we turn off the water for the winter!
  • Additions to Liberty Lands report:

The park has been offered a MASSIVE concrete table – a good surface for all kinds of things, including ping-pong and parties (and yes, probably illicit sex, but honestly, there are plenty of surfaces for that in the park already). But we need to get it from roughly 2nd Street over to the park by this Saturday, and it’s bigger than the bobcat can handle – we need a piece of machinery bigger than that, and the person who can drive it – for about an hour on any day that can work. Does anyone have a thought? If that thought is Leo Razzi, is anyone close enough with him to ask?

  • With a tremendous amount of effort from Ken’s friends Nijual and Sarah, the new pump and controller on the rainwater cisterns are in and working!!!!! Massive thanks go out to all three of them, and now we can drain the cisterns of the water that’s been sitting there for way too long and start again.
  • The workday on the 12th, despite being under publicized and overshadowed by general political despair, got quite a lot accomplished. We planted a lot of new flower bulbs to create hope and joy in the spring, weeded and compost-dressed many tree pits, got several weed trees removed from around the park, pulled out two dead trees in preparation for planting one new one next weekend, cleaned out the shed for the winter, cleaned hand tools out of the community gardens, moved the pile of compost into the park itself so that it’s not on the sidewalk, cleaned down the compost pile so the large branches can be chipped on the 29th, cleaned out the trash corrals and picked up trash around the park, and removed the rusty metal pole that used to be the grill (we’ll put a new one in in the spring).
  • Liz and Janet visited 5 Acre Farm (our farmer’s market farmers) last weekend. Although the official market run by Food Trust is over for the winter, the 5 Acre guys are interested in continuing to come out with whatever they have on any day they can stand the weather. In particular, they will have hothouse greens through the winter.
  • There was a GOTV party at Liberty Lands on Tuesday that was, as far as we know, totally unauthorized. The people doing it claimed to have spoken to “someone on the board” and/or “someone in the office” and gotten permission. We assume this was just not true, but should emphasize that at this point Janet and ONLY Janet approves park uses. There’s a whole list of policies that the committee has agreed on, and a calendar so there aren’t conflicting uses, and Janet runs things by the core group in the case of judgment calls – but any event, no matter how much it’s “our friends” doing it, needs to be officially approved so that we know what’s going on and are consistent with our rules! [If someone would like to take over being the final authority on approving reservations, by the way, Janet would be delighted to discuss that!]
  • One tree planting, hanging of three gorgeous birdhouses donated by Pluma Avis Domis (thank you, Roberto!), moving a table, and cistern draining remain to do this coming Saturday, and then we are kind of done for the winter.

Town Watch: Jeremy Lindemann.

Four people came to the first patrol, two to the second, but Jeremy feels that people are pleased to see the patrols out there. They will continue to do them and try to drum up some additional patrolers.

Zoning Committee Report: Ira Upin; written report attached and reviewed.

Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Steve Richman. “To approve the motion recommended by the Zoning Committee in the matter of 928-32 N. 4th St., i.e.: ‘We support this proposal as presented.’  Passed: 8-0-0

Motion: By Barbara Saverino, seconded by Joe Mikuliak. “To approve the motion recommended by the Zoning Committee in the matter of 316R & 318R W. George St., i.e.: ‘We support this project as presented with the proviso that the collapsing retaining wall is replaced with a sound structure.’”  Passed: 8-0-0

Motion: By Barbara Saverino, seconded by Steve Richman. “To affirm the Zoning Committee’s request to the owners of 1019 Germantown Ave. to return to the ZC with a plan, and further remind all presenters to come properly prepared with full materials.”  Passed: 8-0-0

Motion: By Anne Waginger, seconded by Joe Mikuliak. “To approve the motion recommended by the Zoning Committee in the matter of 805 N. Hancock Street, i.e.: ‘We support this proposal with the following provisos: a) Outdoor hours on Sunday – Thursday will end at 11:30 p.m.; b) Outdoor hours on Friday and Saturday will end at 1:30 a.m.; c) There will be no outdoor speakers, no live music and no liquor/food service outdoors; d) The front door and back door (to the outdoor space) will remain closed at all times except for passage in and out.’”  Passed: 8-0-0

Motion: By Barbara Saverino, seconded by Janet Finegar. “To approve the motion recommended by the Zoning Committee in the matter of 221 Fairmount Ave., i.e.: ‘Please return to the Zoning Committee with the following: a) Drawings with railing wall of the deck (not the wall of the parking space) set back 3’ along the eastern property line; b) Elevations with dimensions from the neighbor’s perspective; c) Plan for water diversions from the deck and canopy; d) Copy of the refusal(s).’”  Passed: 7-0-1

Motion: By Joe Mikuliak, seconded by Anne Waginger. “To approve the motion recommended by the Zoning Committee in the matter of 1001-13 N. 2nd St., i.e.: ‘We support this project with the following provisos: a) There will be no outdoor speakers; b) All square footage above 4300’ can only be used for purposes of brewing beer, not for food/beverage service or tables.’”  Passed: 8-0-0

Motion: By Jeremy Lindemann, seconded by Janet Finegar. “To approve the motion recommended by the Zoning Committee in the matter of 325 Spring Garden St., i.e.: ‘Please return to the Zoning Committee with the franchise operator and a written and signed agreement to the following provisos: a) The name and phone number of the franchise owner/operator will be provided to and kept on file at the NLNA office; b) A copy of the national policy of operational requirements and responsibilities will be provided to the Zoning Committee Chair; c) Trash/litter will be picked up 3 times each day from the entire perimeter of the establishment (parking lot and sidewalk in front on Spring Garden Street, sidewalks and street on Orianna Street, and sidewalk and curbs behind on Green Street); d) Trash/recycling will be stored inside the building for daily private pickup directly from the restaurant (and not in the dumpster behind the strip mall on Green Street). Pickup will occur no earlier than 7:00 a.m. and no later than 7:00 p.m.; e) Two trash receptacles will be provided outside in front of the restaurant, but these receptacles will be brought into the establishment at closing time; f) Hours of operation will be no earlier than 11:00 a.m. and no later than 10:00 p.m. seven days/week; g) Deliveries will only occur between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.; h) The removal of used oil (by truck) from the premises will only occur between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.; i) There will be no outdoor seating.’”  Passed: 8-0-0

Motion: By Steve Richman, seconded by Barbara Saverino. “To approve the motion recommended by the Zoning Committee in the matter of 626 N. Delaware Ave., i.e.: ‘We do not support this request under any circumstances. We have previously rejected this proposed use on January 27, 2014. Additionally, this use does not adhere to what is specified in the Central Delaware Overlay.’”  Passed: 8-0-0

Old Business

Barbara reported that the City’s Legal Department is still reviewing materials for the Doughboy renovations, and the Art Commission will be considering the proposal in early December.

Don reported that he has met with Rich about t-shirts, and that he is hoping to have new Northern Liberties shirts for sale at the Winterfest.

New Business

Matt reported that a section of the waterfront trail along the Delaware River has been completed, and the connection to Penn Treaty Park should be finished soon.

The meeting was adjourned by acclaim at 8:10 p.m.

Addenda:

Zoning Committee Report

Monday 10/24/16   Members present: Larry Freedman (chair), Charlie Abdo, Melissa Magness, Joe Mikuliak, Sharon Richman, Jonathan Sher, Abbey Spector, Ira Upin     Members absent: Kenny Grono, Chris Isaacson, Michael Simons,

928-32 N. 4th St. – RSA5 – Kay Myers: A return visit with a proposal to adjust lot lines and create two single family homes. Motion from September 2016: Please return with site plans and photographs that would be presented to the ZBA. The requested drawings and photos were presented.

Motion (Ira) – 2nd ( Melissa): Vote 7-0-0   We support this proposal as presented.

 

316R & 318R W. George St. – RSA5 – Roger Perry: A proposal to relocate lot lines and create two single family dwellings. Lot A (1700 sq. ft.) – Refusals for parking, lot width, minimum rear yard, height, use, deck set back. Lot B (697 sq. ft.) – Refusal for minimum lot width, minimum lot area, rear yard depth. Current structure is deteriorating. Lot A structure includes an elevator. Neighbors had no objection to construction.

Motion (Charlie) – 2nd ( Melissa): Vote 7-0-0 We support this project as presented with the proviso that the collapsing retaining wall is replaced with a sound structure.

 

928 N. Leithgow St. – RSA5 – Ed Fink: A return visit with a proposal for a single family dwelling – refused for front side garage. Motion from May 2016: We reject the proposal as presented. A better house would be built on this small lot if it were built by right. The plans that were presented to the ZBA were not the same plans that were originally presented to the Zoning Committee. New plans were provided that are still short on open space and that still include a front garage.

The matter to re-hear the revised application is now in the Court of Common Pleas.

 

1019 Germantown Ave. (Monarch Swim Club) – CMX-2 – Jordan Rushie: Application for a Special Assembly License. The legal occupancy limit is 500 people in the pool area and 80 people in the restaurant area. Neighbors complained about the increase in noise and nuisance since the acquisition by the new owner. Because no “plan” was presented, this was considered as only an informational meeting. The applicants were advised to develop and return with a plan.

 

805 N. Hancock Street – CMX2 – Al Koda: Patio seating for existing restaurant (Druid’s Keep). Druid’s Keep address is 149 Brown Street. The backyard (patio) is 805 N. Hancock Street.   The backyard is open until at 1:30 a.m. 7 days/week. There is no music, DJ’s or dancing. There is no food/alcohol service in the backyard but drinks can be carried into the yard. Neighbors that appeared at the meeting liked the backyard because it would keep patrons from smoking on the street in the front of the bar. The yard backs up to I-95. Only one neighbor (that purchased a home long after the Druid’s Keep began operation) complained about the bar in an email to the ZC Chair.

Motion (Ira) – 2nd ( Jonathan): Vote 6-0-0 We support this proposal with the following provisos: a) Outdoor hours on Sunday – Thursday will end at 11:30 p.m.; b) Outdoor hours on Friday and Saturday will end at 1:30 a.m. c) There will be no outdoor speakers, no live music and no liquor/food service outdoors. d) The front door and back door (to the outdoor space) will remain closed at all times except for passage in and out.

 

Tuesday 10/25/16  

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

221 Fairmount Ave. – RSA5 – Lavi Shenkman: A proposal for a deck at the rear of the house. The deck (16’ x 22’-24’) would be erected above the parking space and would include an angled retractable and permeable canopy/sun shade. The wall of the parking space would be wrapped in horizontal wood boards – 10’ high. The height of the canopy is 20’-24’ above the ground. Discussion: No elevations from the neighbor’s perspective were provided. A water collection/diversion system was not designed yet. Neighbor needs some relief from the 10’ wall of wood.

Motion (Joe) – 2nd ( Ira): Vote 6-0-0 Please return to the Zoning Committee with the following: a) Drawings with railing wall of the deck (not the wall of the parking space) set back 3’ along the eastern property line; b) Elevations with dimensions from the neighbor’s perspective; c) Plan for water diversions from the deck and canopy; d) Copy of the refusal(s).

 

1001-13 N. 2nd St (formerly Kings Oak) – CMX-3 – Joe Beller: A proposal for a brew pub. It is refused because it is larger than the allowable 4000sq/ft space. The space exceeds the allowable footage by 1300 square feet (extra space acquired from the former pizza place and treadmill place).   Establishment would be open 7 days/week with hours until midnight from Sunday – Thursday and until 2:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday. There could be some live music. Beer making (with associated beer odors) would happen 3 x week. Venting would be towards the Piazza. Outside seating consists of 5 picnic tables (30-40 people) and 6 fire pits (36 people).

Motion (Ira) – 2nd ( Melissa): Vote 6-0-0 We support this project with the following provisos: a) There will be no outdoor speakers; b) All square footage above 4300’ can only be used for purposes of brewing beer, not for food/beverage service or tables.

 

325 Spring Garden St. – CMX-2 – Michael Mattioni: A proposal for a take-out restaurant – requires a special exception approval. This Popeye’s franchise will have 40 seats total. The exhaust to the roof will go through the center of the store. HVAC is supposedly sufficient for make up air. The signage uses 18’ letters that are within code. Hours of operations are 10:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m., 7 days/week. Discussion: Trash problems already exist at this strip mall and the addition of Popeye’s will exacerbate the problem.

Motion (Joe) – 2nd ( Melissa): Vote 6-0-0   Please return to the Zoning Committee with the franchise operator and a written and signed agreement to the following provisos: a) The name and phone number of the franchise owner/operator will be provided to and kept on file at the NLNA office; b) A copy of the national policy of operational requirements and responsibilities will be provided to the Zoning Committee Chair; c) Trash/litter will be picked up 3 times each day from the entire perimeter of the establishment (parking lot and sidewalk in front on Spring Garden Street, sidewalks and street on Orianna Street, and sidewalk and curbs behind on Green Street); d) Trash/recycling will be stored inside the building for daily private pickup directly from the restaurant (and not in the dumpster behind the strip mall on Green Street). Pickup will occur no earlier than 7:00 a.m. and no later than 7:00 p.m.; e) Two trash receptacles will be provided outside in front of the restaurant, but these receptacles will be brought into the establishment at closing time; f) Hours of operation will be no earlier than 11:00 a.m. and no later than 10:00 p.m. seven days/week; g) Deliveries will only occur between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.; h) The removal of used oil (by truck) from the premises will only occur between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.; i) There will be no outdoor seating.

 

626 N. Delaware Ave. – CMX-3 – Michael Mattioni: A proposal for the storage of operable vehicles with three curb cuts.

Motion from January 2014 Thank you for your presentation. We like the use of the property for a car showroom, a café and multi story apartment building in this area, but we are not prepared to fully support your project at this time. We need more information about: a) parking (1 guaranteed space for every 2 apartments); b) the number of stories and units as relates to parking availability; c) signage and lighting that does not disturb neighbors; d) the restaurant – number of indoor and outdoor seats, liquor license, hot cooking, etc.; e) car showroom – that it operates only as a showroom and not a full service dealership with repairs, test drives and outdoor lot. Please return with answers to our questions and further refine the drawings of the building that would be erected and a more defined parking plan for the restaurant and car showroom. Also, please explore reusing elements of the buildings, such as the façade, in the new building. The request is for a “temporary” use until the building is built (estimated at least for 2 years). The request is made after the fact as cars were already parked without approval, bollards with connecting chains were already installed and large advertising signs for the business were already displayed.

Motion (Group): Vote 6-0-0 We do not support this request under any circumstances. We have previously rejected this proposed use on January 27, 2014. Additionally, this use does not adhere to what is specified in the Central Delaware Overlay.