BOARD OF DIRECTORS MINUTES – Meeting of September 12, 2016

PRESENT:  Matt Ruben, President; Michael Coyne, Vice-President; Steve Richman, Treasurer; Janet Finegar, Secretary; Troy Crichton; Donald Hoegg; Ira Upin; Monika Kreidie; Jeremy Lindemann; Joe Mikuliak; Don Phillips; Barbara Saverino; Anne Waginger.

ABSENT: Roneil Jackson; Chris Somers

ALSO PRESENT:  Neighbors Shelley Marcus, Sharon Richman. Representatives of Kieran Timberlake design team

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

Motion: By Don Phillips, seconded by Steve Richman:“To approve the minutes of the August Board meeting as presented.”  Passed 7-0-4

The designers from Kieran Timberlake reviewed the nearly-complete design for the community center yard as has been developed in their work with the committee. Several Board members had specific questions about materials and design. The designers announced that they expect to be able to finish costing out some materials and begin sending the project out for bid within the month.

President’s Report: Matt Ruben: written report attached and reviewed.

In addition to the items in the report, Matt noted that in response to neighbors’ requests, he reached out to the PPA to stop them from ticketing cars in front of the decommissioned fire hydrants and the Fire Department to confirm that it is acceptable for us to paint those hydrants. He will encourage the neighbors who raised this idea to organize a community contest for the painting.

Troy reported on the street-cleaning machine he and Lara chose, which is a self-propelled, sturdy, high-capacity model. There was some discussion about the noise level of the machine, which is apparently fairly noisy. A majority of the board felt that it was not necessary to listen to the volume of the machine before making a final decision.

Motion: By Don Phillips, seconded by Don Hoegg. “To ratify any and all Board polls taken electronically since the last Board meeting.”  Passed 12-0-0

President’s Report

  1. PLANNING, DEVELOPMENT, AND POLICY
  • Schmidts Commons/Liberties Walk – Westminster continues to ramp up events in the plaza. Crowds have been modest but fairly consistent, and the buzz has been modest but positive. L&I has cited Tower Investments’ gravel lot on Germantown for not being legally permitted as a parking lot.
  • Construction Impacts – The usual, nothing out of the ordinary.
  • Spring Garden – DRWC has had to adjust some of the lighting in the underpass to increase its impact. There are no bureaucratic or regulatory barriers any longer, and they are now coordinating with the Mayor’s office to set a date for the official completion/lighting ceremony.
  • Business Improvement District (BID) – The BID steering committee has sent letters to a handful of area BID Planning consultants asking them to apply for the position. We hope to interview them and hire one within the next months or so.
  • Madison Memorial Park – I have reached out to try to get a meeting with Bob Brady.
  1. FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
  • Ad Hoc Strategic Planning Group – The group continues to meet, with its 3rd meeting slated for this coming week.
  1. EVENTS AND OUTREACH
  • Community Center Yard Groundbreaking – We have settled on mid-October for this, and I am trying to get the Mayor’s office to commit him to a date.
  • General Membership Meeting – We need one in the fall, although the timing of the Jewish holidays, plus the CC Yard groundbreaking, might make it more feasible to combine a fall meeting with the groundbreaking. As always, I would love board members’ thoughts on this.
  • Town Watch Training – The uptick in property crimes (bike thefts, trash can thefts, car break-ins) has caused concern, and Jeremy and I are gauging neighborhood interest in a Town Watch training. It’s been a while since we did one.
  1. COMMUNICATION AND PUBLICITY
  • Internet – The Facebook Group continues to be lively, with membership growing rapidly. There are some rough edges – and more and more folks have taken to tagging me in posts, which is creating a problem that I hope our ad hoc strategic group will discuss. But otherwise, all is well.
  1. OTHER ITEMS
  • Board Polls – Ratification of any online or online board polls since last month’s board meeting

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

The Finance Committee presented the draft budget for FY17. Steve Richman reviewed the draft in some detail and the Board was asked to respond to him with any questions or changes within the next two weeks. Details of the draft were handled in executive session.

Treasurer’s Report

Discussed in Executive session (draft budget proposal for NLNA FY17). Final budget for approval will be submitted for ratification in October.

 

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

Motion: By Don Hoegg, seconded by Monika Kreidie. “To ratify the motion of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 962 N. American St., i.e.: ‘We support this project with the following provisos: 1) The 1st floor can remain as presented; 2) The rear of the 2nd and 3rd floors should be set back 2’6”; 3) The A/C compressors should be placed on the roof; 4) The utility meter(s) should be placed under the front stairs; 5) Please go to the UDC to discuss façade and windows.’”  Passed 12-0-0

Motion: By Jeremy Lindemann, seconded by Troy Crichton. “To ratify the motion of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 564 N. Lawrence Street, i.e.: ‘We support this proposal for a new wood deck over the single story portion of the home.’”  Passed 12-0-0

Motion: By Steve Richman, seconded by Barbara Saverino. “To ratify the motion of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 5th Street – 6th Street/Spring Garden to Willow Streets (Yards Brewery and Tasting Room), with one significant alteration, i.e.: ‘We support this project as presented with all the provisions stated in the attached two-sided document handed out at the Zoning Committee meeting along with the following provisions: 1) Truck traffic (deliveries and pickups) will be limited to 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.; 2) The number of exclusive free parking spots will be increased from 55 to 70 after 7 p.m. on weekdays and all day on weekends, and to 85 during any events; 3) All outside music will end by 10 p.m. 7 days/week; 4) Outdoor space(s) will close at midnight 7 days/week; 5) There will be no principal use as a nightclub or music venue; 6) A bike rack will be provided for customers.’”  Passed 12-0-0

 

New Business

It was noted that NLArts created a lovely sign/birthday card for the NLNA’s 40th anniversary.

The question of whether all donations to the Community Center since its inception would be honored at the groundbreaking for the yard improvements was raised: Matt acknowledged that the invitation and “thank you” list is underway and that all donors would be considered.

Steve brought up three new fundraising ideas, each of which need lead organizers:

  • a 2017 calendar (a revision of the “then and now” calendar). Maureen Wellner is willing to produce the images but needs a partner in organizing and getting it printed: it was suggested that volunteers from the Facebook group be solicited.
  • A new Northern Liberties t-shirt: possibly a new design chosen through a contest. Don (and the Fundraising committee) will look into this.
  • Selling engraved bricks in the new yard. The design committee for the yard will ask the Kieran Timberlake team to cost out the bricks for this project.

Old Business

Joe raised the issue of spaces around the neighborhood marked “no parking” which could possibly be opened up to legal parking. He agreed that he would do an inventory of such spots in the neighborhood and Matt agreed to advocate with the Streets Department for the changes.

Joe also brought up the question of signage on the community center building. It was reported that signage will be installed as part of the yard renovation project.

The meeting was adjourned by acclaim at 9:01 p.m.

Addenda:

Liberty Lands Report – September 2016

  • It’s been very very hot and dry. Weeders’ Club has been focusing on watering during the last few weeks. Late summer is a difficult time for plants and those who love them.
  • Another young tree was broken off during August: we’ll replace it at the Fall Love Your Park workday.
  • The last City Harvest set of seedlings were, unfortunately, totally infested with harlequin beetles (which spread at an indecent rate and are incredibly destructive), so we did not plant them out. As a result, we will be a little low on harvest for fall crops for City Harvest: hoping that gardeners will make up for that with donations from their own plots.
  • There was a snatch-and-drive theft from the Farmer’s Market at the beginning of August – while very upsetting, it’s had a few good results. Matt authorized an NLNA gift to the farmers of $200 to repay their cash loss, for which they were deeply grateful (and very touched) – that has done a lot to cement the relationship with these farmers and our community. Paul Hubert, who has been tabling for greyhound adoption through the summer at the same time as the Market, is working on getting others to table as well for a weekly flea/craft/farmer market atmosphere – in addition to improving foot traffic and being a nice event, it’s a potential source of funds once it gets established. So far the heat has prevented vendors, but he says people are interested for the fall. Finally, a delivery driver for Liberty Pizza happened to be behind the thief’s car and returned later with video footage of the robbery, which was turned over to the police: we hope this may result in an arrest.
  • Linda Soffer reached out to Matt and some neighbors about improving security at Spooky Gardens: we’re hoping to have a meeting that will cover that issue and also security issues at Liberty Lands – after a meeting between Matt, Janet, and Linda and a few other people to solidify our issues and requests, we will schedule a meeting with the Community Relations Officers of the two neighborhood districts to work with them. At the least, we’re hoping to establish some regular patrols of Liberty Lands to “move along” any people using the park at night.
  • Michelle Lipson, who made the beautiful wooden gate for the American Street side, was able to repair it this summer. Unfortunately, some miscommunication at the park seems to have resulted in the remaining section of the fence being lost while the large part was out for repairs. We’re now figuring out with Michelle what to do (since the large section was built around the other section, it can’t be re-hung as is). Frustrating.
  • The water fountain at the park broke in mid-August: Mike Simons was able to replace it this week and it is now back in action. We will need to consider a different model of “bubbler,” though, since this one didn’t last even a full year.
  • Fall will be a big time for performances at the park: Ombelico Mask Theater, who has worked with us for many years, is doing free Fringe Festival performances on Thursday-Saturday this week and next week. Then in mid-October, a dance company will do two weekends of free performances (14-16 and 21-23). Both sets of performances are scheduled to end before 9 and should be minimally disturbing to the neighbors while bringing some nice use to the park.
  • Despite the heat, reservations for parties continue at a steady pace.
  • The Fall children’s festival has been taken over by a group of new organizers (Kate Hawk, the previous organizer, has moved away) who have plans underway! It will be Sunday, October 30.
  • The Love Your Park workday will be November 12.

 

Zoning Committee Meeting Monday 8/29/16

Members present: Larry Freedman (chair), Charlie Abdo, Kenny Grono, Joe Mikuliak, Sharon Richman, Jonathan Sher

Members absent: Anthony Bottenfield, Chris Isaacson, Melissa Magness, Michael Simons, Abbey Spector, Ira Upin

962 N. American St. – RSA5 – Gerry Gutierrez: A proposal for a single-family dwelling. [Return visit.] FROM MARCH 28, 2016 Discussion: No floor plans were provided. Plans were based on the property size in the deed. The survey shows the property as 1’ less than the deed. 960 N. American Street encroaches on this property. Motion: Please return next month with drawings that accurately reflect how the house will be built based on the resolution of the plot line dispute with dimension, floor plans and materials specified. New plans were presented with correct dimensions of the lot. There is a refusal for open space and rear yard. House is 14½ feet wide, 36 ft to roof line, 3-stories plus a basement. A/C compressors will be on the roof. There is a 2½ foot existing public alley behind this parcel extending to Wildey Street. The exterior of the building will be a combination of brick veneer and metal panels on projecting bay. Hearing date is September 20. Discussion: next door neighbor did not oppose the open space variance.

Motion (Charlie) – 2nd ( Joe): Vote 5-0 “We support this project with the following provisos: 1) The 1st floor can remain as presented. 2) The rear of the 2nd and 3rd floors should be set back 2’6”. 3) The A/C compressors should be placed on the roof. 4) The utility meter(s) should be placed under the front stairs. 5) Please go to the UDC to discuss façade and windows.”

 

116 W. Girard Avenue – Special Exception – Zhen Jin: A proposal for a takeout restaurant. Residential units on 2nd and 3rd floor will be renovated. Access to the residences are from Hope Street. This establishment will offer bubble tea and some food cooked on a flat griddle for lunch and dinner. Backyard will be used for trash. ZBA date is August 31.

Motion (Group): Vote 5-0 “We support this proposal with the following provisos: 1) Hours will be no earlier than 9 a.m. and no later than 10 p.m. 2) Trash pickup should be between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. 3) Dumpster trash cans should be plastic and not metal. 4) Makeup and exhaust should be vented up through the interior of the building to the roof and not on the side of the building. 5) Outside trash cans for customer use should be available only during business hours and brought inside the establishment at closing. 6) There should be no use of outdoor space for dining. 7) The owner is responsible for cleaning the sidewalks on Girard Avenue and Hope Street.”

 

564 N. Lawrence Street – RSA5 – Ed Fink (Karen Albert): A proposal for a roof deck.

Motion (Joe) – 2nd ( Jon): Vote 5-0 “We support this proposal for a new wood deck over the single story portion of the home.”

 

5th Street – 6th Street/Spring Garden to Willow Streets – CMX3 – Matt Handel: A return visit with a proposal for Yards Brewery including manufacturing, warehouse and distribution. In addition, there will be a brew pub/tasting room/outdoor care. Refusal for manufacturing, an industrial use – not allowed in CMX3. Discussion: Conceptually, we are supportive of the proposed project, however we were not given enough information about the overall design, the manufacturing volume of the business, the sound, emanating odors, waste storage and disposal, trucking traffic, as well as the other proposed uses for the building (brew pub, outdoor service and events). Group Motion: We would like them to return when their plans are further along in the process and they can describe how they will keep the sounds and smells contained within the building, waste storage and disposal, how the increased production volume will impact truck traffic (number and frequency of deliveries and pick-ups along 5th Street), discuss the specific details for the pub and event space, parking for all proposed uses, security, etc. The refusal is for proposed use and proposed configuration. ZBA date is September 14. People will be drinking and bringing food outside. There will be light music and occasional acoustic music. Caterers are permitted on the premises for events. Discussion: The number of available parking spots and outside sound/music were issues.

Motion (Group): Vote 5-0 “We support this project as presented with all the provisions stated in the attached two-sided document handed out at the Zoning Committee meeting along with the following provisions: 1) Truck traffic (deliveries and pickups) will be limited to 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. 2) The number of exclusive free parking spots will be increased from 55 to 75. 3) All outside music will end by 10 p.m. 7 days/week. 4) Outdoor space(s) will close at midnight 7 days/week. 5) There will be no principal use as a nightclub or music venue. 6) A bike rack will be provided for customers.”

(The document referred to is below:)

Yards Brewing Company   –   Tasting Room

  1. Sound – The Tasting room will have an outdoor component that will be adjacent to Spring Garden Street. It will be a casual atmosphere and a controlled environment, with light background music and occasional live acoustic style music. The event space will be indoor space and will not generate open-air noise.
  2. Aromas and Odors – The Tasting Room will be equipped with a kitchen with proper ventilation to diffuse all cooking aromas adjacent to the 5th street side of the building. The exterior of the building will be swept and maintained on a daily basis.
  3. Waste, storage and disposal – Recyclable and non-recyclable waste will be kept in two 6-yard dumpsters that will be shared with the brewery and stored out of doors adjacent to the loading docks. This area will be kept clean and in good repair.
  4. Truck traffic – The Tasting room kitchen will expect 10-15 deliveries each week. Most deliveries will be handled by the warehouse staff at the loading docks on 5th street.
  5. Details of pub and event space – We plan to have 3000 sqft of event space for corporate events, lectures, fund-raisers, weddings and other private affairs. The event space will be capable of hosting an event as large as 180 patrons. The Tasting room will be a larger version of what we are currently doing on N. Delaware, expanding from our current 2,500 sqft to 5,000 sqft. The tasting room will be capable of hosting as many as 300 patrons. The initial Tasting Room hours will be limited, from 11:00am to 12:00am, but we would like to reserve the option to expand open hours to the permitted hours of operation. We anticipate holding events on any given day of the week, with Friday and Saturday evenings being the most popular times for event bookings. During the week we anticipate Tasting Room occupancy to be greatest from 5pm to 9pm. On weekends Saturday tours from noon to 6pm are expected to be the busiest time.
  6. Parking – the parking lot to the south has 312 spots, and we have been granted exclusive access to 55 parking spots (with an additional 15 spaces that are available after 7 PM and on the weekend). There is also street parking with no restrictions surrounding the building. There are thirty five parking spaces on Spring Garden Street between 7th Street and 5th Street, seventy five parking spaces on 5th street between Callowhill and Spring Garden, and sixty five spaces on 6th street between Callowhill and Spring Garden. . Just like our current location, we are anticipating this will be a neighborhood/tourist/commuter destination with a majority of customers arriving by foot, taxi, uber/lyft, bike and public transportation.
  7. Security – we are a 24-hour facility for production, except on some weekends. We will have video cameras outside and inside the facility.   The building will be alarmed, and key cards will be required to enter all non-retail areas. We have door-men and greeters during busy times who will ensure vehicles disburse from the parking lot after hours.

 

Yards Brewing Company   –   Brewery

  1. Sound – Inside of the brewery, in the packaging hall that contains the bottling and canning lines, sounds are at level that requires ear protection during operation. The packaging lines are contained within the plant, and do not cause sound issues in adjacent areas, nor can they be heard outside of the premises.
  2. Aromas and Odors – Daily cleaning, sanitation and wash-down is very important for quality control and diligent operation of the brewery. This practice eliminates any potential product odors. During actual brewing there is some aroma of hops and malt during the boil for each brew. At Spring Garden we will be upgrading to a larger Brewhouse with enhanced technology that will emit less aromas from the stack because the boil is contained in a vapor condenser that locks the aromas/flavors in the beer.  We have never had an odor related complaint in 22 years of brewing, and we were adjacent to more residential housing in the past.
  3. Waste, storage and disposal – We recycle almost everything we can in the brewery from strapping to shrink-wrap and all cardboard and glass, and once we begin canning we will recycle aluminum as well. Non-recyclable waste and recyclables that cannot be bailed are expected to generate a volume of less than 3 yards a week for waste and 3 yards for recyclables. The storage of all waste will be near the loading docks. The bailed recyclables will be stored in a holding area inside the building near the loading docks. The bailed recyclables will be dropped off by us at area recycling facilities.   The non-recyclable waste and non-bailed recyclables will be stored in 6 yard dumpsters outdoors next to the loading docks that will be shared with the Tasting Room. These will be picked up twice a week at night by a commercial trash hauler, just as we do currently.
  4. Truck traffic – the loading docks and the building was designed to make truck traffic with access to the major highways easy and efficient. Initially we expect 15-20 trucks maximum in one week, including pickups and deliveries. The maximum at Yards’ full capacity deliveries and pickups would be 25-30 per week, with a maximum 7 per day. This is far less then what DM was doing when they operated the space.
  5. Parking – the parking lot to the south has 312 spots, and we have been granted exclusive access to 55 parking spots (with an additional 15 spaces that are available after 7 PM and on the weekend). There is also street parking with no restrictions surrounding the building. There are thirty five parking spaces on Spring Garden Street between 7th Street and 5th Street, seventy five parking spaces on 5th street between Callowhill and Spring Garden, and sixty five spaces on 6th street between Callowhill and Spring Garden. Just like our current location, we are anticipating a majority of our employees (we currently have 50 full time and 15 part time) will ride bikes or use public transportation. We were recently named the Clean Air Council Commuter of the Year for local businesses.
  6. Security – we are a 24 hour facility for production, except on some weekends. We will have video cameras outside and inside the facility.   The building will be alarmed, and key cards will be required to enter all non-retail areas.