NLNA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes of February 4, 2013

 

 

PRESENT:  Matt Ruben, President; Don Phillips, Vice-President; Steve Richman, Treasurer; Janet Finegar, Secretary; Rick Angeli; Fernando Benavides; Michael Coyne; Larry Freedman; Lystra Harris; Katrina Mansfield; Anne Waginger.

ABSENT:  Erika Goldberg, Chris Somers

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

Motion: By: Anne Waginger, seconded by Katrina Mansfield. To approve the minutes of the January Board meeting as presented.
Passed 9-0-1

Presidents Report: Matt Ruben: written report attached and reviewed

Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Rick Angeli. “To approve allocating up to $3,000 to pay David Orphanides to continue the legal proceedings of the Tower appeal.”
Passed 10-0-0

The Board agreed that neighbors should be made aware of the ongoing appeal.

Motion: By Michael Coyne, seconded by Katrina Mansfield. “To ratify any and all board polls taken during the past month.
Passed 10-0-0

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

Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Katrina Mansfield.To accept the Treasurer’s report as presented.
Passed 10-0-0

Fundraising Committee Report: Rick Angeli.

Rick updated the Board on the planning for the Winterfest and encouraged everyone to help publicize the event through e-mails to friends.

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

Operations Committee Report: Anne Waginger: written report attached and reviewed.

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

Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Fernando Benavides. To support the recommendations of the zoning committee in the matter of 938 Newmarket Street thru to Hancock Street, i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. Please return with plans that reflect the following: Regarding the building on Newmarket Street, the front half of this building should be four stories tall (along Newmarket Street). The back half of this building should be three stories. Any roof deck should be above the back half only and set back from all the properties. This plan will eliminate the pilot-house and the north garage door. Maintain 1:1 parking. Cars for both buildings should enter the parking lot from Hancock Street and exit onto Newmarket. Please bring these plans to the UDC, discuss facades, garage doors, and materials and return to the ZC with adjusted plans.’
Passed 10-0-0

 Motion: By Don Phillips, seconded by Michael Coyne. To support the recommendations of the zoning committee in the matter of 234 W. Wildey St., i.e.: ‘To support the variance at presented.’
Passed 10-0-0

Motion: By Katrina Mansfield, seconded by Anne Waginger. To support the recommendations of the zoning committee in the matter of 148 W. Wildey St., i.e.: ‘The Zoning Committee offers conditional support to the project, but we do not support the two parking spots. Before we issue a letter of support, we need to see a refusal that agrees with the presentation and signed and dated copies of the plans.’
Passed 10-0-0

Motion: By Steve Richman, seconded by Fernando Benavides. In the matter of 538 N. 4th St. (Del Rossi’s), we reiterate the previous motion with the change that Del Rossi’s has until March 1 to present a solution that is both legal and acceptable to the neighborhood.”
Passed 10-0-0

Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Rick Angeli. To support the recommendations of the zoning committee in the matter of 233 Poplar St., i.e.: ‘The remapping of our neighborhood would change the zoning of this property from industrial to residential. Single or multi-family zoning would produce a much better use of this site than what is currently proposed. The applicants proposal will negatively affect people living in the seven homes adjacent to the property because the building is too tall- it will deprive them of afternoon sunshine. It is too dense-there is not enough parking included for residents of the 27 new bedrooms proposed. And there is a 1,000 sq. ft. deck that is right behind their bedrooms. The proposal also has windows on the property line with a vacant lot. This lot will be developed and windows in the proposed building will be sealed. There is no hardship at this site that requires the construction of an 18 unit, 27 bedroom, 9 parking space apartment house that occupies 100% of the lot and has a negative impact on the quality of life of nearby neighbors.’
Passed 10-0-0

Motion: By Steve Richman, seconded by Fernando Benavides. To support the recommendations of the zoning committee in the matter of 1015-17 N. American St., i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. Please go to the UDC to discuss façade design, interior layout, materials, and parking. A letter of support will be issued upon the recommendation of the UDC, and if you provide us with a copy of the refusal that is in agreement with your presentation, and if you provide us with your approval of the parking plan by the streets department.’
Passed 10-0-0

Motion: By Katrina Mansfield, seconded by Michael Coyne. In the matter of 520 N. Columbus Ave. (Soundgarden), in order to have our support for a 2 year special assembly license, we require the applicant: 1) With outside (Live Nation) promotion of the venue, we will require documentation showing that all management and security will be under the control of Soundgarden. Therefore, please provide detailed security plans for crowd control inside and outside the venue including proposed queuing plans. 2) Please provide detailed floor plans for the building including underage and adult venues. 3) We agree to a single closing time of 1:00 for all patrons with a 1:30 a.m. doors-are-closed policy. This requirement can be reviewed at a future NLNA ZC meeting. 4) Agree to enforce your ’18 and over only’ policy by carding at the door and notifying potential customers when tickets are purchased over the phone or online. This policy will minimize curfew violations. 5) Agree to the following provisos regarding occupancy and parking: We would agree to an adjustment of the dedicated parking requirement to 450. We do not accept an increase in occupancy above 1,400 persons. This requirement can be reviewed at a future NLNA ZC meeting after Soundgardens operation at this occupancy has been tested. The Festival Pier parking lot is also committed to other operators of clubs/music venues. It has become a place for noisy, after-hours partying and a real nuisance to neighbors. If you want to use Festival pier for parking it must be by valet only. This will eliminate partying on the pier and increase the piers parking capacity. The net cost of parking must remain at $5 to discourage on-street parking (and partying). Soundgarden can charge more for parking and give customers a rebate on refreshments, etc. inside the club. Parking reservations are to be offered when people buy tickets in advance, either on the phone or online. This will discourage drivers from circling our neighborhood looking for parking. 6) Agree that Soundgarden personnel or an outside contractor will remove bottles and trash around your building and west along Spring Garden Street to Front Street and north on Delaware Avenue up to Fairmount. This has to occur after closing time and before 7a.m. the next morning. 7) Soundgarden must appear before the NLNA Zoning Committee every time the Special Assembly license is up for renewal. 8) Agree to the following provisos regarding Special Events: You must have a manager from Soundgarden on-site for all events.  You will notify the NLNA office via email of any special event liquor license event and include the name and phone number (answerable at night) of the outside operator and your on-site manager. All special events must abide by the terms of our agreement with you regarding closing time, parking, occupancy, etc. Only outside operators without blemishes on their LCB-LCE record will be eligible to be part of special events. 9) At least 3 of the security guards on staff at any time the business is open must be RAMP trained. 10) Soundgarden must cease operations immediately and reopen only if and when it obtains a special assembly license.”
Passed 10-0-0

Old Business

It is generally understood that the digital billboard wrap is dead.

The mission committee plans to present at the March general meeting.

New Business

The Variety Show will be March 8 and will benefit Kearney Elementary School.

Steve raised the issue of re-instituting street cleaning in the neighborhood. Matt suggested that the Finance Committee present a recommendation about how much the NLNA could afford to spend on a yearly basis for street cleaning.

The meeting was adjourned by acclaim at 8:45 p.m.

Addenda:

Presidents Report, February 2013

1. PLANNING AND POLICY-RELATED ISSUES

  • Mission – Any updates from Don in Old Business.
  • Casinos – The PA Gaming Control Board will hold hearings this spring, with at least one in Philadelphia. The principals behind the one waterfront proposal (for a project on the Anderson site, about 60 acres north of Penn Treaty Park) have approached some of our civic colleagues to our north to tell them more about their proposal. They (our civic colleagues) have told the developer that they feel it’s premature to meet at this time.
  • Central Delaware Master Plan – A fourth meeting among CDAG, the Development Workshop, the DRWC, the Planning Commission, and Councilman Squilla took place Jan. 28. Progress continues to be made, but the Development Workshop continues to raise and re-raise certain objections. My guess is there may be one more meeting before the ordinance is finalized and introduced in Council.
  • AVI/Real Estate Taxes – Individual property assessments are slated to be mailed out Feb 15. The administration is saying the likely new tax rate will be in the 1.3% to 1.4% rate. There is considerable pushback from some in City Council, who want a lower rate. We are continuing to participate in the civic coalition that advocated for the one-year delay of AVI last year. Recently I was on a panel at an event held in Pennsport, which included Councilmen Squilla and Kenney.
  • Zoning Code – Any updates on remapping will come from Larry in the Zoning report.

2. FUNDRAISING/FINANCES/ADMINISTRATION

  • Administration – Updates in Treasurer’s and committee reports.
  • Budget and Finances – My understanding is that that the Annual Appeal has brought in close to $19,000.
  • Events – Winterfest is Sunday, February 17, 2-6PM, North Bowl. Rick and Katrina have done an excellent job of setting this up and creating the publicity materials. Details/updates from Rick in the Fundraising report.
  • Spring Garden Greenway – DRWC selected a firm to do the underpass lighting/design work. I hope to have them come to the February GM.

3. DEVELOPMENT ISSUES AND DEVELOPER RELATIONS

  • Tower Investments – The court appeal is still pending. We need to take a vote on the subject of authorizing funds to move forward. We are still communicating with Tower about sitting down again, but Larry and I have agreed that there is no point in doing so unless Tower gives some concrete sign that they have a compromise or new option to propose. Our past several meetings have consisted solely of Tower trying to convince us to accept their existing plan.
  • Finnegan’s Wake – No update.
  • Club Aura – The hearing, slated for January, has been postponed until later this month (Feb).
  • Parking – The No Parking M-F 8A-6P signs on the 400 block of Brown Street are gone. The result is approximately 6-8 daytime parking spaces added to the block.

4. OUTREACH/EVENTS/GENERAL MEETINGS

  • General Meetings – January’s meeting, featuring City Controller Alan Butkovitz, was decently attended, especially given the frigid temperature and very poor board member attendance. I am going to try to ensure we have a guest speaker at every GM, because I believe it increases attendance. This coming month I hope to have representatives from DRWC and the Spring Garden underpass design team. We’ll also be hearing from Joanne Dahme of the Water Dept.

5. COMMUNICATION AND PUBLICITY

  • Internet – The email list has topped 2,000. A reminder to board members to join the NLNA’s Facebook group if they have not done so already, and to post to it.
  • Web site – Committee chairs should be connecting with Katrina to get login access to your committee pages.

6. OTHER ITEMS

  • Board Polls – Ratification of any online or online board polls since last month’s board meeting.

 

Liberty Lands Board Report – February 2013

  • It’s cold at the park. Lots of plans for the spring, not much actual action.
  • Hard-core workday on March 16. We will get a rubble dumpster and focus on bringing as much of the rubble at the park to that (and having it hauled on Monday so it accumulates as little “extra” trash as possible).
  • We have also scheduled workdays for April 20 (the standard spring “wake up the park” workday) and May 11, which is the official Love Your Park day around the city.
  • We applied to PHS’s Green Machine grant program for help with revitalizing and improving the planters along Bodine St.
  • There is a major hole in the street right in front of a stormwater grate right at the American/Bodine Street intersection. Because of where it’s located, we’ve had a lot of trouble getting either Streets or the Water Department to take responsibility for it. It’s been called in to 311 and we’re monitoring the lack of action on it.
  • Urban Tree Connection, which has a farm in West Philly and also runs farmers’ markets through the city, is organizing a weekly farmers’ market at Liberty Lands for the spring. It will be on Thursdays from 3-7 p.m., located on 3rd Street near the fire hydrant (approximately mid-way down the park, just north of the pergola). The market will have at least two or three farmers, and is sponsored by The Food Trust, so there will be a number of programs aimed at lower-income customers available. They anticipate that the market will begin in late May or early June.
  • The farmers’ market people are also interested in possibly having some food vending trucks at the market. Are there restrictions on 3rd Street similar to the ones on 2nd? Does it make a difference if they pull into the park itself? What are people’s thoughts about this? It’s an add-on to the market, not an essential element of it, so we could say no to the food trucks if desired without losing the market.
  • Jen and Seth are working with PHS and PWD to come up with water solutions for the Laurel St. annex gardens (since running a hose from Laura and Trevor’s place isn’t a permanent solution.) Update on the 12th.
  • Liz had the great idea of creating a list from the local bars and restaurants of people who are available for during the day volunteering – folks we can call on for weekday help. We would do a public thank you to the businesses for participating, and even have a small party for those volunteers once a year. (This is an idea to remember and actually implement. . . )
  • Next park meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m.  Items to discuss other than the stuff above – plans for a new drinking water fountain/art installation for the park; what to do with the rubber mulch; further planning for the rest of the year, including scheduling music fests, etc.; finishing steps for the drainage project (spreading the mulch piles, planting the two new trees, and the last bit of drain).
  • Board Action Required: Opinions and responses to the food trucks.

 

OPERATIONS COMMITTEE REPORT  –  FEBRUARY 4, 2013

  • When Ken left the board and then subsequently stopped taking care of the Community Center trash takeout I stopped thinking of him as being part of this committee. Ken still helps out from time to time and is a good neighbor, but I believe another board member needs to come on board this committee. Meetings are rare but there are decisions to be made from time to time, most of them being covered by email. As to trash, currently Mike kindly includes our trash and recycling when he takes his to the curb.
  • I think the most pressing issue at the moment is finding someone to be consistently responsible for snow removal and salting for ice build up. Saturday, 1/23 I emailed 12 members of the board, plus Lara, Monika, Ken, and Ira asking someone to step up about the problem that weekend, being that there were two rental events the next day. No one responded. I am unable to take care of this. We can’t expect rentals if we can’t provide safe access, not to mention the liability issue.
  • On another note, we’ve been renting the C.C. space for years now. I think it’s time to raise the rental fees a bit. I recommend, and Monika (Monika is on this committee) is in accord, that we raise the party fee from $150 to $200; the meeting rate from $50 to $70; for local non-profits, who use the Center at half price, $35 shouldn’t be too much of a burden, with $100 for a lengthy event with food and beverages. Anyone currently renting or reserved will continue to receive the existing charge and will be informed after the span of their rental time of the increase.
  • With that rent increase proposal I strongly urge that we spend $100-$200 to install shelving and a cabinet on the wall across from the bathroom, to consolidate cleaning supplies, the refrigerator, and the new microwave that is currently in the basement. Someone recommended we have the space cleaned more frequently than once a month.
  • As we move toward new building plans I think it is important to keep many people involved in the planning steps so that the new space, which will be used, I understand, for rentals the way the current space is, reflects what we’ve learned from the problems of the way the current large space is laid out. Namely, tidy storage space for tables and chairs, a small kitchen area for minimum food set-up and clean-up, with the ability to seal that off visually from the main party/meeting space; pocket doors perhaps or some other dividers.
  • Lastly, I’ve asked a few people if we need to make a final report to the PTSSD. Every other recipient has been required to do so. I just want to make sure we’re not jeopardizing our ability to apply for more grant monies.

 

Zoning Committee Minutes, Monday, January 28, 2013

Members present: Larry Freedman (chair), Jonathan Sher and Joe Mikuliak (rec. sec), Michael Simons, Tim McDonald, Ira Upin

Members absent: Sharon Richman, Chris Issacson, Charlie Abdo, Renee Ermillio

1) 938 Newmarket Street thru to Hancock Street by Alex Duller – Current zoning split between I2 and Residential – Return visit with a proposal for a 6 unit residential building on Newmarket Street and a triplex anda duplex on Hancock Street. 11 parking spaces. Discussion: Hancock Street building: 3 stories, 5 units total, 10 bedrooms, 1 curb cut, 34 feet to roofline Newmarket Street building, 4 stories, 6 units total, 12 bedrooms, 2 curb cuts, 44 feet to roofline, pilot house.

Motion by Joe Mikuliak, 2nd by Ira Upin “Thank you for your presentation. Please return with plans that reflect the following: Regarding the building on Newmarket Street, the front half of this building should be four stories tall (along Newmarket Street). The back half of this building should be three stories. Any roof deck should be above the back half only and set back from all the properties. This plan will eliminate the pilot-house and the north garage door. Maintain 1:1 parking. Cars for both buildings should enter the parking lot from Hancock Street and exit onto Newmarket. Please bring these plans to the UDC, discuss facades, garage doors, and materials and return to the ZC with adjusted plans.”  Passed 5-0

2) 234 W. Wildey Street by Seth Donkochik Current zoning I2 – Proposal for a rear elevated roof deck plus windows on the property line  Motion by Ira Upin, 2nd by Jonathan Sher  “To support the variance at presented at the January 28, 2013 ZC meeting.” Passed 4-0-1 (abstention due to conflict of interest.)

3) 148 W. Wildey St. – Rustin Ohler – I2 – Proposal for a 2 family dwelling with roof deck and 2 parking spaces.

Presentation was made by Rustin Ohler, the architect for the property. The property is adjacent to the Piazza dog park. They are proposing a 3-story building, 35′ high. It will be a two-family dwelling with a roof deck and parking for two cars.

Motion: “The Zoning Committee supports the project as presented, except that instead of parking places we would prefer to see a yard. Before we issue a letter of support, we need to see a refusal that agrees with the presentation and signed and dated copies of the plans.”  Passed 5-0-0

4) 538 N. 4th St. -David Frank (Del Rossi’s) – Return visit to discuss sign/wrap on south side of building and further plans for the wall.  Our previous motion was- We support your application for a temporary permit for the existing 20’x40’ wrap signage on the south wall at 538 N. 4th Street until the end of January on the condition that it is replaced with artwork (a painted mural) that incorporates advertising for the business and is not just a sign. David Frank told us that he and his brother Michael have been working on it and that the process of going through Mural Arts would take too long but that they would have artwork to show us next month.  MOTION (Joe); SECOND (Jon); VOTE (5-0): The committee agreed that there would be no official action against Del Rossi’s before March 1.

 

Zoning Committee Minutes, Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Members present: Larry Freedman (chair), Joe Mikuliak (rec. sec), Ira Upin, Jonathan Sher

Members absent: Sharon Richman, Chris Issacson, Charlie Abdo, Renee Ermillio, Michael Simons, Tim McDonald,

1) 233 Poplar St. – I2 – Ryan Solimeo – Return visit with a proposal for 18 units & 9 parking spaces.

Motion by group: The remapping of our neighborhood would change the zoning of this property from industrial to residential. Single or multi-family zoning would produce a much better use of this site than what is currently proposed. The applicant’s proposal will negatively affect people living in the seven homes adjacent to the property because the building is too tall- it will deprive them of afternoon sunshine. It is too dense-there is not enough parking included for residents of the 27 new bedrooms proposed. And there is a 1000 sq. ft. deck that is right behind their bedrooms.  The proposal also has windows on the property line with a vacant lot. This lot will be developed and windows in the proposed building will be sealed. There is no hardship at this site that requires the construction of an 18 unit, 27 bedroom, 9 parking space apartment house that occupies 100% of the lot and has a negative impact on the quality of life of nearby neighbors. Passed unanimously

2) 1015-17 N. American St. – David Killian – I2 – A proposal for a new structure with first floor parking and 4 residential units. Motion by group  Thank you for your presentation. Please go to the UDC to discuss façade design, interior layout, materials, and parking. A letter of support will be issued upon the recommendation of the UDC, and if you provide us with a copy of the refusal that is in agreement with your presentation, and if you provide us with your approval of the parking plan by the streets department. Passed unanimously

3) 520 N. Columbus Ave. – Soundgarden – Shawn Ward –Return visit with a request for a Special Assembly license for a music venue for 900 under age capacity and 500 adult capacity with BYOB. (zoning for restaurant, entertainment existing)

Presenter spoke in response to our previous motion but did not bring a layout of the interior or parking agreement to show us which we requested in our previous motion. He asked for a 1 car per 4 person capacity parking requirement, a capacity of 1800, parking that costs $10, and a 2AM closing time for all ages. Eight neighbors attended. I included the previous motion for reference.  Previous motion with notes followed by final motion:   We support the proposal for 2 years with the following provisions and documentation requirements provided at a return visit: 1) With outside (Live Nation) promotion of the venue, we will require documentation showing that all management and security will be under the control of Soundgarden. Therefore, please provide detailed security plans for crowd control inside and outside the venue including proposed queuing plans – not supplied. 2) Please provide detailed floor plans for the building including underage and adult venues – they did not supply plans 3) A minimum of 600 parking spots will always be available and dedicated for Soundgarden use – they proposed 1:4 – 350 spots, we adjusted our request to 450 spots. However, we ask that Festival Piet not be a location for the spots since it may a conflict during the season and the neighbors at Waterfront Square could be affected by the late night noise of patrons going to their cars.  4) Please provide documentation showing that the cost for this parking will be affordable ($5) or free and therefore will actually be used by patrons as opposed to street parking in the neighborhood – they asked for $10 – we responded with a request for their own mechanism which would make the net cost of parking $5.00, ie: they pay $10 but get a $5 voucher. 5) Hours for underage guests will end at 1 a.m. Hours for adults will end at 2 a.m. – They said they couldn’t have two exit times because they can’t have the under aged patrons leave while the show is still on – we responded by requesting that everyone leaves by 1:00. 6) Capacity will be limited to a total of 1,400 people – 900 downstairs for underage, 500 upstairs for adults – they said that L&I gave them a legal capacity of 2100 and their request was to raise their number to 1800 – our response was no, keep it at 1400. 7) Soundgarden must appear before the NLNA Zoning Committee every time the Special Assembly license is up for renewal – OK 8) Prior to any application for a liquor license Soundgarden must appear before the NLNA for review – OK  9) There will be absolutely no use of off-site catering or portable use of liquor licenses without our prior written consent on a case-by-case basis 10) At least 3 of the security guards on staff at any time the business is open must be RAMP trained.’”

New Motion: In order to have our support for a continuation of the 2 year temporary permit, we require the applicant: 1) With outside (Live Nation) promotion of the venue, we will require documentation showing that all management and security will be under the control of Soundgarden. Therefore, please provide detailed security plans for crowd control inside and outside the venue including proposed queuing plans.  2) Please provide detailed floor plans for the building including underage and adult venues.  3) We agree to a single closing time of 1:00 for all patrons with a 1:30 AM doors-are-closed policy. This requirement can be reviewed at a future NLNA ZC meeting.  4) Agree to enforce your “18 and over only” policy by carding at the door and notifying potential customers when tickets are purchased over the phone or online. This policy will minimize curfew violations.  5) Agree to the following provisos regarding occupancy and parking:  We would agree to an adjustment of the dedicated parking requirement to 450. We do not accept an increase in occupancy above 1400 persons. This requirement can be reviewed at a future NLNA ZC meeting after Soundgarden’s operation at this occupancy has been tested. The Festival Pier parking lot is also committed to other operators of clubs/music venues. It has become a place for noisy, after-hours partying and a real nuisance to neighbors. If you want to use Festival pier for parking it must be by valet only. This will eliminate partying on the pier and increase the pier’s parking capacity. The net cost of parking must remain at $5 to discourage on-street parking (and partying.) Soundgarten can charge more for parking and give customers a rebate on refreshments, etc. inside the club. Parking reservations are to be offered when people buy tickets in advance, either on the phone or online. This will discourage drivers from circling our neighborhood looking for parking.  6) Agree that Soungarden personnel or an outside contractor will remove bottles and trash around your building and West along Spring Garden Street to Front Street and North on Delaware Avenue up to Fairmount. This has to occur after closing time and before 7AM the next morning.  7) Soundgarden must appear before the NLNA Zoning Committee every time the Special Assembly license is up for renewal  8) Agree to the following provisos regarding Special Events: You must have a manager from Soundgarden on-site for all events.  You will notify the NLNA office via email of any special event liquor license event and include the name and phone number (answerable at night) of the outside operator and your on-site manager.  All special events must abide by the terms of our agreement with you regarding closing time, parking, occupancy, etc. Only outside operators without blemishes on their LCB-LCE record will be eligible to run special events. 9) Operator will pick up trash along their perimeter plus extend across the street up to Fairmount Ave. 10) At least 3 of the security guards on staff at any time the business is open must be RAMP trained.’”

Summary – I have to admit my annoyance that they did not supply the plans we had asked for. They have been in no rush to return since they are operating under a temporary SA permit supported by Squilla. I would like to recommend that this experiment ends now and that they can reopen once they go to their review and receive their actual 2 year license.