NLNA BOARD OF DIRECTORS MINUTES – May 5, 2014

 

PRESENT:  Matt Ruben, President;  Steve Richman, Treasurer; Janet Finegar, Secretary; Rick Angeli; Michael Coyne; Larry Freedman; Monika Kreidie; Katrina Mansfield; Sharon Richman; Chris Somers; Anne Waginger; Logan Welde.

ABSENT: Don Phillips, Vice-President; Lystra Harris.

ALSO PRESENT:      Anthony Bottenfield

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

Motion: By Chris Somers, seconded by Steve Richman:“To approve the minutes of the April Board meeting.” – Passed 8-0-1

Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Katrina Mansfield: “To approve the nomination of Anthony Bottenfield to the Zoning Committee.” – Passed 10-0-1

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

There was an extensive discussion of the issues raised by the monthly 104.5 block parties at the Piazza. Several suggestions were offered for strategies to encourage those businesses associated with these parties to make them safer and less offensive to the neighborhood.

There was a discussion about the limited number of nominations for the upcoming Board elections (paired with low attendance at the April general meeting) and about building participation in the neighbors association. It was  agreed that reducing the number of regularly scheduled general meetings is desirable and a few suggestions were made.

New Business:

Chris mentioned two events that might be arranged in the future: a hula hooping group at Liberty Lands and tabling for NLNA at a soccer event at the Piazza. It was agreed that Janet would discuss the hula hooping with the potential leader and that Chris would see if any volunteers were available to table at the soccer event.

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

Steve reviewed the NLNA’s current financial position, which is, on the whole, strong.

Motion: By Rick Angeli, seconded by Larry Freedman.“To accept the Treasurer’s report as presented.” – Passed 11-0-0

Liberty Lands Committee Report: Janet Finegar:

Janet reported that the stage has termite damage and will need to be repaired soon, probably in July.

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

Motion: By Katrina Mansfield, seconded by Rick Angeli: “To approve the recommendation of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 823-25 N. Lawrence St., i.e.: ‘Thank you for eliminating the garages on Lawrence Street. Please return with a redesign that: provides for 30% open space for all houses, even if it means that there are fewer units. Also, reduce the projection of the bump out to no more than 9” on Lawrence Street.’” – Passed 11-0-0

Motion: By Rick Angeli, seconded by Monika Kriedie: “To approve the recommendation of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 622 N. 2nd St., i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. We offer support for your project with the proviso that no live animals will be kept overnight in the clinic.’” – Passed 11-0-0

Motion: By Monika Kriedie, seconded by Steve Richman: “To approve the recommendation of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 600 N. 4th St., i.e.: ‘We have seen 2 versions of 10 tall houses on this industrial lot and they do not meet the residential requirements of rear yard, open space, height or lot size. This property may be able to be developed with fewer homes that more closely meet residential zoning requirements. At this time, the present ICMX zoning presents no hardship and is more preferable to neighbors than the 10 homes proposed.’” – Passed 11-0-0

Motion: By Steve Richman, seconded by Monika Kriedie: “To approve the recommendation of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 836 N. 3rd St, i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. We like the façade and design concept. We would like you to include the “flex space” on all the houses fronting on 3rd Street, except for the carriage house. The kitchen should be moved to the 2nd floor, with the powder room remaining, thus making the first floor more viable for commercial use. We would also like you to make the two houses originally proposed as “flex space” to be strictly commercial on the first floor. Please return to the Zoning Committee with adjusted plans.’” – Passed 11-0-0

Motion: By Katrina Mansfield, seconded by Chris Somers: “To approve the recommendation of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 823 N. 2nd St., i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. We offer our support for making your variance permanent with the continuation of the following provisos: hours of operation will be Mon-Thurs (noon-10 pm), Fri-Sat (noon – midnight), Sunday (noon-4 pm); no outside speakers; and, 4 workstations and one private room.’” – Passed 11-0-0

Motion: By Steve Richman, seconded by Katrina Mansfield: “To approve the recommendation of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 1036 N. 4th St., i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. The Zoning Committee could offer support for this project as presented with the following changes: the rear yards of houses B and C should be reconfigured to provide an adequate yard for the house with only 22% open space; glass should be added to the garage doors; and, house B should have some living space on the 1st floor to provide “eyes” on the street. Please return to the Zoning committee with revised plans that reflect these changes.’” – Passed 10-1-0

Motion: By Steve Richman, seconded by Michael Coyne: “To approve the recommendation of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 705 N. 2nd St., i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. We support this project with the following provisos: 1) service of all liquor and alcoholic beverages of any kind will end each day at 2 a.m.; 2) There will be no outdoor seating, food or beverage service of any kind after 12 midnight on Sunday through Thursday and after 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Furthermore, all outdoor seating must be vacated by patrons in accordance with the latter schedule; 3) No music or loud noises which would be deemed a violation of the license shall emanate from the enclosed portion of the restaurant. Outside speakers, music, or other noise which is considered a nuisance to the nearby residences and neighbors is prohibited without exception.’” – Passed 11-0-0

Motion: By Monika Kreidie, seconded by Steve Richman: “To approve the recommendation of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 613-25 N. 3rd St. and 616-620 Bodine St., i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. In order to receive a letter of support for this project as presented, please go to the UDC to discuss design, utility meters, façade materials and provide a detailed design of the garage gate. Also provide signed and dated plans to the Zoning Committee chair.’” – Passed 11-0-0

Motion: By Monika Kriedie, seconded by Michael Coyne: “To approve the recommendation of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 360 Cambridge St. and 1133 N. 4th St., i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. A letter of support will be issued after a review by the UDC to discuss lighting, materials, and security of the space between buildings. Please provide signed and dated plans to the Zoning Committee chair.’” – Passed 11-0-0

Motion: By Monika Kreidie, seconded by Katrina Mansfield: “To approve the recommendation of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 401 Fairmount Ave., i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. We support the majority of this project as proposed except we would like the corner property to be renovated for use as a commercial space on the first floor. A letter of support will be issued after the Zoning Committee chair receives and reviews redesigned plans.’” – Passed 11-0-0

Motion: By Rick Angeli, seconded by Monika Kriedie: “To approve the recommendation of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 1015 N. American St., i.e.: ‘Please return with a redesign that satisfies the referral for an accessible unit while maintaining 4 units, and ADA unit and 5 parking spaces.’” – Passed 11-0-0

Old Business

There was some discussion of the possibility of putting in a grant request to PTSSD for repairs to the Liberty Lands stage or another Liberty Lands project.

The meeting was adjourned by acclaim at 9:15 p.m.

Addenda:

President’s Report, May 2014

 1. PLANNING, DEVELOPMENT, AND POLICY

  • Businesses – We were successful in our application for a $5,000 matching grant from The Merchants Fund; and are planning to speak with the city Commerce Dept. sometime this month about Commercial Corridor support.
  • Piazza/Liberties Walk – The May 3 Radio 104.5 “Summer Block Party” generated multiple complaints from neighbors. I personally witnessed several incidents of inappropriate patron behavior, and spoke with the on-site security team as well. More information at our meeting.

2. EVENTS AND OUTREACH

  • General Membership Meetings – The April meeting, at Kearny School, was sparsely attended but featured a very interesting discussion with School Reform Commissioner Farah Jiminez, and visits from some of the candidates running in the May 20 Philadelphia Primary. The May General Membership meeting is Thursday the 22nd at the Community Center and will feature board elections. I welcome input on other agenda items.
  • I also would like to discuss the schedule and timing of such meetings moving forward, and possible changes to our Bylaws in that regard.

3. COMMUNICATION AND PUBLICITY

  • Email List – The email list is approaching 2,500, maintaining a 25-30% “open rate.”
  • Twitter – Neighbor Victoria Shuman – recruited by Katrina – has taken over the bulk of the NLNA’s tweeting. Since she began, our twitter followers have increased by about 10%, and we’ve gotten tagged in others’ tweets and retweeted much more often than ever before.
  • Instagram – Logan has been looking into getting us an Instragram account.
  • Web Forums/Discussion Board – We have begun the transfer of northernliberties.org and .net to the NLNA. We’ve made the first payment to John Myers, and after all the technical aspects are taken care of, we will make the second and final payment and the transfer will be complete. I anticipate that will happen by mid-May. Thanks to Don, Steve, Katrina, and Chris for their work on this.

4. OTHER ITEMS

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

Election Committee Report

Election committee members are: Monika Kreidie, Logan Welde, Jack Weiss, Sasi Judd & Paula Gansky.

Updates:

  • A letter was sent out informing current Board members that their term expired.
  • The letter was posted announcing the nominations meeting.
  • Frank Robertson has resigned leaving one year left to his term. We will need to elect 7 people to the Board, six 2-year terms, and one 1-year term.
  • Nominations were taken at the General Meeting on April 17th. Matt and Steve were nominated for President and Treasurer. Rick, Michael, Larry, Lystra, Chris, and Anne were nominated for a Board seat. Rick and Lystra have declined. We have not heard back from Chris. Also nominated were Sasi Judd, Dolores Lyons and Barbara Saverino. Sasi declined, but will serve on the Election Committee. Dolores accepted, and Barbara declined.
  • We do not have enough candidates, therefore nominations will be taken at the May general meeting, and we will vote again at the June general meeting.

Tasks:

  • Logan will keep the list of registered voters, and prepare the sheet voters must sign to receive a ballot.
  • Paula will keep the attendance list.
  • Monika will gather candidates statements, and give Matt and Katrina a letter about the election that includes candidates statements. Monika will also locate the ballot box.
  • Jack will prepare the ballots.
  • All EC members will help with the vote count.

ZONING COMMITTEE MEETING

Monday 4/28/14

Members present: Larry Freedman (chair), Charlie Abdo, Beth Emig, Ken Grono, Chris Issacson, Joe Mikuliak, Sharon Richman, Jonathan Sher, Michael Simons, Ira Upin   Members absent: Kyle Koenig, Melissa Magness, Tim McDonald,

823-25 N. Lawrence St. (to Leithgow) – ICMX – Nino Cutrafello: A return visit with a proposal to build 4 single family dwellings – no garages on Lawrence St.  [ February Motion (Joe) – 2nd (?): Vote 9-0 Thank you for your presentation. We want to have homes that have “eyes” on the street and adds parking spaces not removes them. Please return with plans for housing with doors and windows on the first floor of Lawrence, 30% open space, and 1:1 parking that is entered from Leithgow.  Please maintain the 38’ height.]   [March Motion (Joe) – 2nd (Jon): Vote 4-2-1 Thank you for your presentation.  Our motion is to reaffirm the previous motion. We want to have homes that have “eyes” on the street and add parking spaces. Please return with plans for housing with living space on the first floor of Lawrence St, 30% open space and 1:1 parking that is entered from Leithgow. Please maintain 38′ maximum height.] This revision still included 4 homes.  The changes include: eliminating the garages for the two houses on Lawrence, homes that are all 3 stories high (35’ to roof line) and have a pilot house, and the houses are set back 9’ on all floors with a roof deck that is 5’ off the property line allowing for a 9’ rear yard for each house.  The houses on Leithgow have a garage.  There is only 20% open space.  Materials will be grey and black metal siding, white brick and wood accents at street level where it can be easily maintained.  There is an 18” over hang about 1’ above the sidewalk.Discussion: The ZC thought the overhang on the Lawrence Street buildings infringed on the sidewalk space and the open space should have been 30%.  Neighbors wanted the structures to comply with the spirit of the code for residential zoning.

Motion (Mike) – 2nd (Joe): Vote 8-0-1  Thank you for eliminating the garages on Lawrence Street.  Please return with a redesign that: provides for 30% open space for all houses, even if it means that there are fewer units. Also, reduce the projection of the bump out to no more than 9” on Lawrence Street.

 

622 N. 2nd St. – CMX2.5 – Maya Pirok: A proposal for a veterinary clinic. Animal services are allowed in this zone but medical use requires “special exception”. The clinic is expected to begin operation in August.  There will be acoustical sound barriers in adjoining and exterior walls as well as in the ceiling to dull barking and other animal noise.  No animals will be kept in the clinic overnight. The exterior sign will be aluminum letters with LED back lighting.

Motion (Joe) – 2nd (Ira): Vote 9-0  Thank you for your presentation. We offer support for your project with the proviso that no live animals will be kept overnight in the clinic.

 

600 N. 4th St. – ICMX – Kevin O’ Neil:  A return visit with a proposal for (10) single-family dwellings. [February Motion (Sharon) – 2nd (Jon): Vote 9-0  Thank you for your presentation.  Please return to the Zoning committee with a detailed design for single family homes that are more compliant with all residential (RSA5) zoning requirements (e.g. height, open space, etc.).  Please include plans with room dimensions and photos of nearby buildings in context with this project.]  The units are focused around a private drive.  The façade of the 4th floor sits back 5’.  The first 3 floors are dark brick and wood.  The 4th floor and pilot houses are white.  The revisions included: reducing the height from 43’ to 40’; the ground floor garages on 4th Street were reduced to provide for a “flex space” of varying sizes (8’6”x10’, 11’x11’,11’x16’, 7’x9’); and, the sill heights were lowered.  Units A->G and Unit J have street frontage.  Units I and H have no street frontage.  All are 3 bed/2.5 baths.  The driveway is 24’ wide.  The proposed façade is a combination of brick, metal siding and smooth stucco.  Neighbors wanted confirmation that the cobblestone on Wallace Street would be properly replaced after the street was dug up for utilities and that Wallace Street would remain open for use by neighbors who live on Wallace during the construction process.  Neighbors and ZC members felt that the volume of the 4th floor and pilot houses were too massive and the materials should be changed. The next door neighbor on Green Street wanted to be sure that the wall from the existing structure that was going to remain was going to be structurally sound after the roof was removed and potentially reduced in height. Discussion: No one cared for the project.

Motion (Joe) – 2nd (Ken): Vote 9-0  We have seen 2 versions of 10 tall houses on this industrial lot and they do not meet the residential requirements of rear yard, open space, height or lot size.  This property may be able to be developed with fewer homes that more closely meet residential zoning requirements.  At this time, the present ICMX zoning presents no hardship and is more preferable to neighbors than the 10 homes proposed.

 

836 N. 3rd St – CMX2 – Herc Grigos:  A proposal for 26 single-family dwellings including two that have convertible first floor commercial spaces. Twenty-six homes, 2 of which have commercial units (20’ and 24’x36’ each with a powder room and kitchenette) were proposed that are 34’ high and included a pilot house to a roof deck.  There is 1:1 parking provided.  The façade would continue the use of the neighboring brick/stone at the ground level and then would vary from unit to unit. Discussion: Bollards were suggested for 3rd Street.  Neighbors preferred eliminating the car exit onto Orianna Street in favor of 3rd Street.  Everyone liked the façade.

Motion (Ira) – 2nd (Joe): Vote 9-0  Thank you for your presentation.  We like the façade and design concept.  We would like you to include the “flex space” on all the houses fronting on 3rd Street, except for the carriage house. The kitchen should be moved to the 2nd floor, with the powder room remaining, thus making the first floor more viable for commercial use.  Please return to the Zoning Committee with adjusted plans.

 

823 N. 2nd St. – Todd Lowell:  A proposal to renew the temporary variance for tattoo parlor.  The five year temporary variance is almost over and the owner would like to apply for a permanent variance.

Motion (Jon) – 2nd (Ira): Vote 9-0  Thank you for your presentation.  We offer our support for making your variance permanent with the continuation of the following provisos: – hours of operation will be Mon-Thurs (noon-10 pm), Fri-Sat (noon – midnight), Sunday (noon-4 pm); – no outsides speakers; and, – 4 workstations and one private room.

Anthony Bottenfield, an attorney specializing in construction litigation, appeared before the ZC for consideration as a new member. The ZC unanimously recommended that he appear before the board at the next meeting.

 

ZONING COMMITTEE MEETING – Tuesday 4/29/14

Members present: Larry Freedman (chair), Charlie Abdo, Beth Emig, Ken Grono, Melissa Magness, Joe Mikuliak, Sharon Richman, Jonathan Sher, Sharon Richman, Ira Upin,   Members absent: Chris Issacson, Kyle Koenig, Tim McDonald, Michael Simons,

1036 N. 4th St. – RSA5 – Nino Cutrafello:  A proposal for 3 single-family dwellings. The proposal includes the demolition of a warehouse on Leithgow that is in imminent danger of falling down.  The 4-story 2-car garage homes with roof decks and basements are proposed on 4th, George and Leithgow.  The homes are 38’ high. The open space for the homes is 30%, 48% and 22%.  They want to maintain the existing curb cuts on George and 4th Street.  Materials include brick, black metal panel and some wood. Refusals would be for open space, parking and lot size.  Streets Department would have to approve the garage on Leithgow (a small street).  Garages are recessed to allow more room for turning. Discussion: No “eyes” on the street.

Motion (Joe) – 2nd (Charlie): Vote 5-2  Thank you for your presentation.  The Zoning Committee could offer support for this project as presented with the following changes: – the rear yards of houses B and C should be reconfigured to provide an adequate yard for the house with only 22% open space; – glass should be added to the garage doors; – House B should have some living space on the 1st floor to provide “eyes” on the street. Please return to the Zoning committee with revised plans that reflect these changes.

705 N. 2nd St. – Bourbon and Branch – CMX2.5 – Chris Conover:  To discuss outdoor seating and Special Assembly License. The owners want to add 2-4 tops and 2-2 tops for a total of 12 seats on the sidewalk along the curb side.  A 36” high planter partition will separate the seated people from the parked cars. There is a live performance stage on the 2nd floor.  That floor, walls and windows are sound proofed.  On Friday and Saturday there are 3-4 live bands performing.  They stop performing at midnight. The first floor is a restaurant bar.  No outside promoter is used.

Motion (Group): Vote 8-0  Thank you for your presentation.  We support this project with the following provisos: 1 – service of all liquor and alcoholic beverages of any kind will end each day 2 a.m.; 2 – There will be no outdoor seating, food or beverage service of any kind after 12 midnight on Sunday through Thursday and after 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.  Furthermore, all outdoor seating must be vacated by patrons in accordance with the latter schedule.  3 – No music or loud noises which would be deemed a violation of the LICENSE shall emanate from the enclosed portion of TENANT’S restaurant.  Outside speakers, music, or other noise which is considered a nuisance to the nearby residences and neighbors is prohibited without exception.

613-25 N. 3rd St. and 616-620 Bodine St. – ICMX – Steve Maffei:  A return visit with a proposal for 9 single-family dwellings. [March Motion (Michael) 2nd (Joe): Vote 6-1-0  Thank you for your presentation.  Please return with a project that conforms to RSA5 building requirements.] They can build according to the previously approved variance which specified a 42’6” height. Now the height is 43’6”.  There will be 5 @ 4 story houses on 3rd Street and 4 @ 4 story houses on Bodine.   There is one curb cut on 3rd Street that provides access to covered parking spots for each home between the rows of houses under the rear decks.  The rear decks are at the 2nd floor level and are built to the rear lot line.  Decks are separated with a 5’ high fence and lower level planter.  No information was available to determine if the originally approved plan included a continuous set back of the 4th floor. Cement panels, brick and stone will be used in the construction. Discussion: Centered on the use of brick “beams” horizontally and vertically.

Motion (Melissa) – 2nd (Joe): Vote 8-0  Thank you for your presentation.  In order to receive a letter of support for this project as presented, please go to the UDC to discuss design, utility meters, façade materials and provide a detailed design of the garage gate.  Also provide signed and dated plans to the Zoning Committee chair.

360 Cambridge St. and 1133 N. 4th St. – I2 – Roland Kassis:  A proposal for 5 residential units and 1:1 parking. Of the 5 condos proposed, 2 are bi-levels and 3 are 1 floor units.  The entrance is on 4th Street.  The project is 38’ high. The curb cut is on Cambridge.  The only variance is for use.

Motion (Melissa) – 2nd (Ira): Vote 8-0  Thank you for your presentation.  A letter of support will be issued after a review by the UDC to discuss lighting, materials, and security of the space between buildings.  Please provide signed and dated plans to the Zoning Committee chair.

401 Fairmount Ave. – CMX1 – Herc Grigos:  A proposal to rehab 4 buildings on Fairmount Ave. and to demo building on 4th St. and the erection of 5 single-family dwellings. A carriage house is planned for 4th street.  The houses are 33/6’ high with a pilot house and roof decks. The rehab of the corner building looks like a commercial space, but is actually a 3-story house.  Discussion: Neighbors wanted the rehab of the current commercial space to remain a commercial property.

Motion (Ira) – 2nd (Jon): Vote 8-0 Thank you for your presentation.  We support the majority of this project as proposed except we would like the corner property to be renovated for use as a commercial space on the first floor.  A letter of support will be issued after the Zoning Committee chair receives and reviews redesigned plans.

1015 N. American St. – I2 – David Killian:  A return visit to add a first floor ADA unit which will remove one spot from a pre-approved plan of 4 upper units and 4 parking spots. (The committee felt that the last presentation was unclear and lacked the necessary details to make an informed decision). [Group Motion from January 29, 2013: 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.]

[January 2014 Motion: (Joe) – 2nd (Tim): Vote 6-0  We cannot support the project as presented.  We will support a project with 4 units and 4 parking spaces.]  Building has commenced utilizing permits issued based on previously approved plans that specified the construction of an elevator; however, they reconfigured the plans to exclude the elevator. They would like to revise the construction permit based on the revised plan, even though construction has already commenced.

Motion (Joe) – 2nd (Charlie): Vote 7-1 Please return with a redesign that satisfies the referral for an accessible unit while maintaining 4 units, and ADA unit and 5 parking spaces.