BOARD OF DIRECTORS MINUTES – Meeting of Nov 2, 2015

PRESENT:  Matt Ruben, President; Michael Coyne, Vice-President; Steve Richman, Treasurer; Janet Finegar, Secretary; Troy Crichton; Larry Freedman; Sasi Judd; Monika Kreidie; Jeremy Lindemann; Don Phillips; Barbara Saverino; Chris Somers; Anne Waginger

ABSENT:       Jesse Gardner; Frank Maimone

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

Motion: By Anne Waginger, seconded by Don Phillips:“To approve the minutes of the Board meeting as presented.”  Passed 10-0-1

President’s Report: Matt Ruben

Matt reported that he’d sounded out the PTSSD about applying for a small grant to renovate the Doughboy statue in Madison Memorial park and that they encouraged such a request. The Board was in favor of moving forward with such a request; Barbara Saverino volunteered to help Matt with writing the application.

Two entities, Bamboo Wifi and Kearny Friends, have recently approached the NLNA about acting as a non-profit fiscal conduit for them. Bamboo Wifi has applied to Penn Treaty Special Services District for a $15,000 grant to develop free wi-fi for areas of Northern Liberties and requires a non-profit fiscal sponsor to receive funding. Steve has discussed the proposed arrangement with the PTSSD and with the CEO of Bamboo Wifi and believes that a workable agreement can be reached. Steve and Matt have also met with representatives of Kearny Friends and have developed a draft agreement between the two groups for the balance of the school year.

Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Anne Waginger. “To authorize Steve Richman to move forward with agreements for the NLNA to serve as a fiscal conduit for Kearny Friends and for Bamboo Wifi’s PTSSD grant.”   Passed 10-0-2

Matt reported that plans for the development of the Festival Pier space at the end of Spring Garden Street was released and seems interesting.

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

Steve provided details to the Board of the elements of the grant proposal submitted to the PTSSD for making major renovations and improvements to the Community Center. A group will present the proposal at their December meeting.

  1. 2014-15 Budget Update. For the year ended September 30, General Fund and Liberty Lands income totaled nearly $155,000 and expenses totaled nearly $130,000. The positive balance of almost $25,000 was further bolstered with prior year funds of $19,600, bringing total year net income to nearly $44,500. This balance includes:
  • About $2,250 in the General Fund carried into 2015-16 to pay for obligations incurred in the prior year but not paid;
  • $14,200 carried over to 2015-16 for Project Clean Streets; and
  • $28,000 placed into the Reserve Account; of this amount about $14,500 was budgeted from rent for the mailbox store and the remainder was a positive year-end balance.
  1. Highlights of 2014-15 Budget
  • Revenue was about $21,600 above budgeted levels, largely due to higher than anticipated corporate contributions, rental income and proceeds from fundraising activities. Much of this revenue was one-time in nature and not assumed to continue in 2015-16.
  • Expenses were only $1,700 less than budgeted levels. Higher than anticipated expenses for program services were largely offset by lower than expected expenses for capital improvements, fundraising, legal services and repair and maintenance.
  • Improvements were made to the community center, including installation of a “mini kitchen” and repairs to the windows.
  • Receipt of more than $25,000 in corporate and other contributions enabled us to continue Clean Streets and Operation Santa, offer a summer movie series and support our spring music fest. Sufficient funds were carried over to continue Clean Streets for at least another year.
  • A large grant, totaling more than $41,000 received from PTSSD shortly before the start of the fiscal year, enabled us to make significant improvements to Liberty Lands and initiate community environmental programs.
  • We again made a large deposit to the reserve fund for the third consecutive year. Our reserve fund now totals more than $117,000, providing resources to strengthen our financial operations, invest in our future and meet unexpected expenses.
  1. October 2015 Results
  • It is far too early in the fiscal year to notice any trends. After the first month overall income is running at anticipated levels, while expenses are somewhat lower. However, the lower level of expenses seems to be due to delays in invoices being submitted so a catch-up is anticipated.
  1. Additional Developments in October – for discussion at meeting
  • New grant application submitted to PTSSD;
  • Fiscal Intermediary Agreements – Kearny Friends and Bamboo WIFI;
  • Litigation status update;
  • Donation of gate for community center yard.

Motion: By Anne Waginger, seconded by Monika Kreidie. “To authorize spending up to $2,500 to move, enhance, and install the yard gate offered in donation by Larry Freedman.”  Passed 11-0-0

Motion: By Monika Kreidie, seconded by Jeremy Lindemann. “To accept the Treasurer’s report as presented.”   Passed 12-0-0

New Business

Janet reported that she is working with Mark Rounds to establish a non-profit for the Sabina Rose gardens in order to secure the land as a public green space and memorial.

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

  • I am thrilled to report that we have closed out last year’s PTSSD grant for Liberty Lands. So much great stuff got done: the stage repair, the new electrical box shed on Wildey Street, the water fountain, tons of playground improvements including the new play area by the mural, ten new benches, four new trash corrals, and safety additions like bollards and valve box covers which only impress the hardcore, but we’re thrilled for them. We also got hundreds of recycling bins for the community out of that grant AND will have a Little Free Library installed at the park and one at the community center quite soon! Overall, it was a tremendous benefit to the community, and we’re wildly grateful to the Penn Treaty Special Services District for the funding (and the many many volunteers whose work put all those improvements in).
  • The new play area and improvement to the mural wall area is amazingly successful: such a small thing making such a big difference. The drum panel is hung, and in the near future we will swap out the boring panel (the big gear that is hard to turn: I call it the “panel of frustration”) for a panel of bells.
  • On the general theme of noisy things at the park, the “lost piano” installation has been equally surprising in its popularity. The first half of its sojurn had a lot of beautiful music. Now that it’s all warping and sticky (and yesterday the keyboard cover came off) it is more of a fascinating sculpture. I propose that part of November 14 include smashing it just to enjoy the fullness of it.
  • Greg, our new-old trash guy, has been doing a fine job keeping the park cleaner.
  • The N3RD Street Birthday Party, rescheduled to Oct. 24, went nicely. As part of that event, we now have free wi-fi at the park (and at Orianna Hill) through Bamboo wi-fi.
  • The many-eth annual Fall Festival was great: special thanks to those of you who volunteered at the event! Sponsorship from PTSSD and many local businesses made it possible to provide all the activities (moonbounces, hayrides, cargo bike rides, music performances) for free and still have this be a major fundraiser for the NLNA. The bake/drink sale and face painting alone raised about $1,300, and when we add in sponsorship cash donations, the net should be over $2,000. Big thanks to Kate Hawk for putting it all together!
  • I’m looking for feedback on the idea of creating permanent metal signs to go along 3rd Street that say something about how park events regularly restrict weekend parking there, and that long-term parkers should be aware. For the last two years, we’ve had problems with cars that weren’t moved between when the parking signs went up and when the events happened. Other ideas for how to deal with this – other than just continuing to tow when necessary, which is harder than it seems – are welcome.
  • 14 will be the fall Love Your Park work/play day, with plenty of putting-the-park-to-bed activities, plus some bulb planting, a kids’ splatter-paint project, and the usual cleanup jobs. Orianna Hill Park is also doing a workday at the same time to allow cross-park pollination.
  • Upcoming at Liberty Lands:
  • Final Weeder’s club November 7
  • LOVE YOUR PARK November 14
  • Lux Arati craft bazaar/fire dancing fundraiser November 15
  • Krampuslauf December 12
  • winter peace and quiet starting December 13

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

Motion: By Anne Waginger, seconded by Monika Kriedie. “To approve the actions of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 826-30 N. 4th St., i.e.: ‘Please return to the Zoning Committee with architectural drawings and floor plans for your proposed project.’”  Passed: 12-0-0

Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Monika Kriedie. “To approve the actions of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 722 N. 3rd St., i.e.: ‘We support this project as proposed.’”   Passed: 12-0-0

Motion: By Troy Crichton, seconded by Monika Kriedie. “To approve the actions of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 1133 N. Galloway St., i.e.: ‘We support this project as proposed.’”   Passed: 12-0-0

Motion: By Michael Coyne, seconded by Jeremy Lindemann. “To approve the actions of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 312-30 Fairmount Ave./619-25 N. 4th St., i.e.: ‘We support this project as presented.’”   Passed: 12-0-0

Motion: By Steve Richman, seconded by Troy Crichton. “To approve the actions of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 853 N. Lawrence St., i.e.: ‘We would like you to go to the UDC to discuss the façade, including the materials that will be used on this project. A letter of support will be issued based on the recommendation of the Design Committee.’”  Passed: 12-0-0

Motion: By Anne Waginger, seconded by Steve Richman. “To approve the actions of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 711 N. 3rd St., i.e.: ‘We support the project as presented.’”   Passed: 12-0-0

Motion: By Chris Somers, seconded by Barbara Saverino. “To approve the actions of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 916-24 N. American St., i.e.: ‘If you require a variance, please return to the Zoning Committee with a copy of your refusal(s).’”   Passed: 12-0-0

Old Business

  • Sasi reported that the City is installing several hundred new bus shelters and that it’s possible to request for some of them to be installed in the neighborhood. She’s proposing requesting 4 shelters on Spring Garden Street. Matt added that perhaps we could request one each on 3rd Street and on 4th Street on the 400 blocks of those streets. It was also asked if it’s possible to put smaller ones on 3rd and 4th Streets above Spring Garden where the sidewalks are narrow.
  • Janet reported that there has been no movement from Councilman Clarke’s office in dealing with the 800 block of North 5th Street. A neighbor has contacted the Human Relations Commission about the situation and they are pursuing a meeting with neighbors on both sides of the street.

The meeting was adjourned by acclaim at 8:33 p.m.


Zoning Committee Meeting Monday 10/26/15

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


826-30 N. 4th St. – RSA5 – Kurt Bonk: A proposal for legalization of first floor use and residential above. Would like to turn the first floors into commercial use (light industrial artisan) with residential above. 826 runs from Leithgow to N. 4th. 828 and 830 are accessible from the back. An open courtyard (45’ x 26’) in back is shared. Discussion: Neighbors had no problem with his intentions.

Motion (Ira) – 2nd (Jon): Vote 7-0   Please return to the Zoning Committee with architectural drawings and floor plans for your proposed project.


722 N. 3rd St. – CMX2 – Mark Wallace: A proposal for single family dwelling with parking. There is currently a garage with a curb cut at this location. There will be tandem 2-car parking in the proposed garage. There are decks off the 2nd and 3rd floors in the front and back of the house. There is an inner courtyard (16’ x 8’) along the southern wall in the middle of the house and two decks on the roof accessible from either side of the pilot house. Façade materials are cast stone around the garage, metal siding, metal panel, stucco on the side and metal in back. There are refusals for use (single family, not commercial on first floor), back yard decks, rear yard, and 2-car parking requires a review. Discussion: Good plan – using existing curb cut for 2-car parking.

Motion Jon) – 2nd (Ira): Vote 7-0   We support this project as proposed.


1133 N. Galloway St. – RSA5 – David Orphanides: To consolidate with 1132 N. 3rd St., legalize two parking spaces and roll up gate. This roll up and parking is identical to neighbors’ rollups.

Motion (Kenny) – 2nd (Anthony): Vote 6-0   We support this project as proposed.


Zoning Committee Meeting Tuesday 10/27/15    

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


312-30 Fairmount Ave./619-25 N. 4th St. – ICMX – Herc Grigos: A return visit with a proposal for 27 single family dwellings with 1:1 parking. February 2014 Motion: ”Thank you for your presentation. Neighbors and committee members have serious concerns about the impact of this large apartment building on our community. Please return with plans that consider the following. Regarding materials and design 1. Most of the materials used are not sympathetic with any materials on nearby buildings. 2. Use more real brick. This would allow integration of the facade of the building at Fairmount and Galloway into the design. 3. All decks and porches that will be used by the tenants in any way must be set back at least 5 feet from the sidewalk. Regarding massing, scale, and density 4. The auto entrance and exit, and the loading dock, should be entered and exited from Fairmount Avenue opposite the recreation center. 5. Reduce the height of the building on 4th Street by setting back the 4th floor. 6. Reduce the height of the building on Galloway by setting back the 5th floor. At your next presentation to neighbors, please bring accurate drawings that include dimensions and renderings from ground level that include nearby buildings. We hope you will be able to leave us a copy of these drawings.”             March 2014 Motion: ”Thank you for your presentation. The addition of brick to the facade and the slight setbacks of the 4th St and Galloway St elevations still have not helped this massive apartment building fit into our community. The height and the number of units need to be reduced. We accept the garage entrance/exit on 4th St and Galloway St. We prefer the arrangement that has 67 parking spaces. We feel we can support the project with the following provisos: 1. Removal of one floor from the North building (Fairmount) 2. Removal of Apts 511,512,523,524 and 528 from the 4th St/ Potts St side. 3. Commitment to have commercial tenants used by the community, not just the tenants of the building. We will also need to see: a) The location of all porches and decks. b) Plans for the green roof c) Storm water plan. d) Traffic study. e) Facade materials. f) How you propose to incorporate materials salvaged from the site into the project. g) Please meet with neighbors whose properties back into Potts St to discuss their concerns. Please return to the Zoning Committee with plans that reflect the above.”         July 2015 Motion: “Thank you for your presentation. Please return with plans that comply with the height limits specified by the zoning classification and that add more variety to the design of the individual homes. They returned with houses no more than 38’ high and 4 different front elevations with differing bricks colors and materials. The backs of the houses are more uniform. The utility meters will be placed in recessed entries.”

Motion (Group): Vote 8-0   We support this project as presented.


853 N. Lawrence St. – RSA5 – Alex Duller: A proposal for a single family dwelling. There will be a refusal for open space (14.8% and not the required 30%) and for the rear yard decks. This is a narrow house – 12’4” wide. The plan is to remove the current 3rd floor and rebuild it in a manner similar to the next door neighbor’s mansard roof. The current façade will stay. This will be the first of these small houses to have a roof deck. The tree in front of the house will remain. Discussion: The neighbor behind this project had no objection to the plans and was happy that the building was going to be rehabbed.

Motion (Joe) – 2nd (Kenny): Vote 8-0   We would like you to go to the UDC to discuss the façade, including the materials that will be used on this project. A letter of support will be issued based on the recommendation of the Design Committee.


711 N. 3rd St. – RSA5 – Tom Citro: A proposal to legalize an existing duplex. They are appearing before the ZBA on November 4. There are 2 separate entrances, doorbells, utility meters, water heaters. They plan to re-stucco the exterior, remove satellite dish and replace doors and windows.

Motion (Group): Vote 7-1-0 We support the project as presented.


916-24 N. American St. (faces Liberty Lands) – RSA5 – George Matteo:   A proposal to subdivide the one lot that holds all 6 houses into individual lots – one for each house.

Currently these are rentals and they want to make some improvements and then sell them individually fee simple. This will require an easement along the front doors and along the back deeded parking areas. They haven’t applied for the subdivision yet.

Discussion: They need to find out if these plans require a variance.

Motion (Ira) – 2nd (Joe): Vote 8-0  If you require a variance, please return to the Zoning Committee with a copy of your refusal(s).