NLNA BOARD OF DIRECTORS MINUTES – Meeting of Jan 13, 2014

 

PRESENT:  Matt Ruben (MR), President; Don Phillips (DP), Vice-President; Steve Richman (Steve R), Treasurer; Rick Angeli (RA); Larry Freedman (LF); Monika Kreidie (MK); Sharon Richman (Sharon R); Anne Waginger (AW); Logan Welde (LW), Michael Coyne (MC); Lystra Harris (LH); Katrina Mansfield (KM)

ABSENT:         Chris Somers (CS); Janet Finegar (JF), Secretary

GUEST SPEAKER:       Joe Brunner, NLNA Accountant

The meeting was called to order by the President at 7:07 p.m.

Motion: by Anne Waginger, 2nd by Sharon Richman “To approve the minutes of the December Board meeting as presented.”  Passed 8-0-0

ACCOUNTANT’S COMPILATION REPORT (GIVEN BY JOE BRUNNER), AND
TREASURER’S  REPORT FROM STEVE RICHMAN (SEE ADDENDUMS)

Discussions:

Should we use our CDs to pay down our existing debt?
— Not advisable to spend down our reserves.

The number of our potential donors far exceeds our actual donors. He feels the need to find ways to reach out to these potential donors.
— To date we have been passively reaching out to potential donors online, with some direct marketing to business.

“Earmarked donations” for Operation Santa were nearly $1800 below expectation. This year we folded Operation Santa fundraising into Annual Appeal fundraising.  Next year, we need to decide whether to continue including Op Santa under the umbrella of the Annual Appeal or separate it out.

Motion  to accept Treasurer’s Report made by RA, 2nd by KM: Passed 10-0-0

ZONING PRESENTATION: LARRY FREEDMAN; REPORT ATTACHED AND REVIEWED. (SEE ADDENDUM)

 A general overview of the zoning process with definitions of zoning district acronyms, along with the City’s proposed Zoning Map Overlay for Northern Liberties was presented.

Discussion:

This “cheat sheet” will be made available on our website along with the NoLibs Master Plan.

Is there a master plan for Northern Liberties?

— Yes. The Zoning Committee refers to it often and fights to maintain its spirit of a light industry, mixed use neighborhood. However, the new zoning overlays may challenge the Zoning Committee in some ways, and help them in others to maintain the vision set forth in our master plan.

Motion to accept the Treasury Report made by AW, 2nd by MC: Passed 10-0-0

ZONING COMMITTEE REPORT: LARRY FREEDMAN; REPORT ATTACHED (SEE ADDENDUM)

Motion: By AW, 2nd by MK: “To support the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of
818-24 N. 4th Street, i.e.:

Thank you for your presentation.  We support this project with the following provisos:

  1. The owner or condo association must agree to maintain the small commercial space in the absence of a tenant so it does not appear to be neglected or used as a storage facility;
  2. Move the security door behind the entrance to the small commercial space to facilitate access and entry to the store; and,
  3. Trash must be picked up internally and not placed on the street.

Passed 10-0-0

Motion: By Steve R, 2nd by LH: “To support the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of
838 N. American Street, i.e.:

Thank you for your presentation of the initial plan for the development of 30 houses in the largest single property of our community.  We want you to return with a design for this project that has:

  1. non-residential space on 3rd Street;
  2. a variety in the sizes and façades of the homes;
  3. the entrance to the parking on wide N. American St. instead of narrower Poplar St.;
  4. a rendering that accurately shows the color, depth and size of various houses; and
  5. interior dimensions, especially of the 14’ wide houses.

On the present plan, the following is noted and suggested:

  1. a storm water management plan;
  2. a plan/explanation of how the utility meters will be hidden;
  3.  a trash and recycling plan;
  4. the trees in the two corner yards should become part of the common area, maintained by the homeowner’s association and finished with an attractive fence;
  5.  state the exact height of Ortlieb’s Bar; and,
  6. a description and rendering of the architectural elements.

Discussion:  Is a variance necessary for a ht of 45”?   No, the parcel is zoned industrial.

Passed 10-0-0

Motion: By Steve R, 2nd by MK.“To support the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of
838 N. American Street, i.e.:

Thank you for your presentation of the initial plan for the development of 30 houses in the largest single property of our community.  We want you to return with a design for this project that has:

1.         non-residential space on 3rd Street;
2.         a variety in the sizes and façades of the homes;
3.         the entrance to the parking on wide N. American St. instead of narrower Poplar St.;
4.         a rendering that accurately shows the color, depth and size of various houses; and
5.         interior dimensions, especially of the 14’ wide houses.

On the present plan, the following is noted and suggested:

1.         a storm water management plan;
2.         a plan/explanation of how the utility meters will be hidden;
3.         a trash and recycling plan;
4.         the trees in the two corner yards should become part of the common area, maintained by the homeowner’s association and finished with an attractive fence;
5.         state the exact height of Ortlieb’s Bar; and,
6.         a description and rendering of the architectural elements.

Passed 10-0-0

Motion: By AW, 2nd by DF.“To support the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of
801-05 N. 2nd Street, i.e.:

We cannot support the project as presented tonight.  We have serious problems with two or three of the homes situated under the billboards and the lack of an even grade with the homes to the north and south.  These problems include:

1.          issues with water drainage;
2.          insurability of the homes;
3.          long term maintenance issues of the pole and billboard; and,
4.          permitting issues. 

For our support, please supply the Zoning Chair with answers to the above issues, plus specific dimensions of the grading of both properties and a design for a buffer to minimize headlight intrusion to the rear of the homes to the south.

Passed 10-0-0

Motion: By KM, 2nd by MK.“To support the recommendations of the Zoning Committee in the matter of
927-31 Front Street, i.e.:

We cannot support the project as presented tonight.  We have serious problems with two or three of the homes situated under the billboards and the lack of an even grade with the homes to the north and south.  These problems include:

1.          issues with water drainage;
2.          insurability of the homes;
3.          long term maintenance issues of the pole and billboard; and,
4.          permitting issues. 

For our support, please supply the Zoning Chair with answers to the above issues, plus specific dimensions of the grading of both properties and a design for a buffer to minimize headlight intrusion to the rear of the homes to the south.

Passed 10-0-0

 

Liberty Lands Committee Report: Janet Finegar.

  • Lara made x-mas tree chipping happen, and there is a lovely pile of wood chips at the 3rd Street entrance as a result. (287 Trees!)
  • The next park meeting is tomorrow night — Tuesday — at 8 p.m. at the community center.
  • It’s been cold and snowy at the park. Not much happening.

 

Clean and Green Committee Report: by Katrina Mansfield (filed late! See addendum)

President’s Report: by Matt Ruben (See addendum).

Old Business

RA: Would like to see the NLNA engage with local businesses more aggressively in order for them to feel promoted by our organization.

Discussion: 

LF: Need to identify a point person to organize committee members for this outreach along with brainstorming on how this can be done.

MR: will reach out to schedule a meeting (this month) with core neighborhood business-owners to present brainstorm on how we can help each other. Matt will include Chris Somers in this meeting.

Some Ideas from Board Members:

  • Decals for annual appeal donors
  • Public Thank Yous
  • Invitations to speak, promote and provide samples General Meetings

Sharon R: Reminded Matt that he must submit NLNA essay to Sharron for submission to Jennifer Baker’s art/history exhibit of Northern Liberties. Matt promised to deliver.

New Business

LF: Based on recent experiences of harassment due to his position of chairman of the zoning committee, Larry would like to set up a Legal Fund for seeking council on how to navigate future incidents of harassment.

Discussion:

LH: pointed out that the police should be the first call any board member should make if harassed verbally or bodily. Ideally (if possible and in a timely manner) a DA should b  assigned and a restraining order can be obtained.

LF: Acknowledged that these steps are necessary. However, he would like for members to have access to prompt professional legal advice.

The Board approved to create a Legal Contingency Fund (LCF) in the amount of $2500 that could be used in emergency situations as authorized by the Executive Committee.

The meeting adjourned at approximately 9:40pm

ADDENDA:

ACCOUNTANT’S REPORT

Faktorow, Barnett & Brunner, L.L.C.
Certified Public Accountants
INDEPENDENT ACCOUNTANTS’ COMPILATION REPORT
To the Board of Directors Northern Liberties Neighbors Association, Inc. , Philadelphia, PA

We have compiled the accompanying statements of financial position of Northern Liberties Neighbors Association, Inc. (a non-profit corporation) as of September 30, 2013 and 2012 and the related statements of activities, functional expenses, and cash flows for the years then ended. We have not audited or reviewed the accompanying financial statements and, accordingly, do not express an opinion or provide any assurance about whether the financial statements are in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.

Management is responsible for the preparation and fair presentation of the financial statements in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America and for designing, implementing, and maintaining internal control relevant to the preparation and fair presentation of the financial statements.

Our responsibility is to conduct the compilation in accordance with Statements on Standards for Accounting and Review Services issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. The objective of a compilation is to assist management in presenting financial information in the form of financial statements without undertaking to obtain or provide any assurance that there are no material modifications that should be made to the financial statements.

TREASURER’S REPORT – JAN 2014

  1. A.       2013-14 Budget: December  Financials
  • For the three months ended on December 31st income was $36,410; this was $1,981 more than projected.  Expenses totaled $22,039, which was $5,629 less than anticipated.  Net income was $14,371 — $7,610 more than projected.
  • Significant variations from budgeted projections through December were:
  • Higher than anticipated income of about $2,400 from the Annual Appeal, $1,900 from the Fall Fest, $500 from community center rentals and $300 from fundraising for Project Clean Streets.  On the other hand, fundraising for Operation Santa is running nearly $1,800 below expectations.
    Lower than expected spending of almost $2,000 for administrative support, $2,200 for Liberty Lands maintenance, $350 for the Fall Fest and $500 for Madison Park also contributed to the positive balance.  In addition, no expenses have yet been recorded for Operation Santa
  1. B.        Other Items
  • NLNA had a $25,000 48-month CD with 3rd Federal Bank that matured in December.   Because of the low rates on CDs offered by 3rd Federal the Finance Committee authorized the Treasurer to look for better investment opportunities.  In the interim, the funds from the CD ($28,132) were deposited into the Reserve Account.  Given the likelihood of a rise in long term interest rates in the coming year it was decided not to put our money into another four-year CD.  Instead, we determined that the best approach would be to ladder two mid-term CDs.  We also discovered that Royal Bank, with a branch located in Northern Liberties, offers some of the best rates in Philadelphia on these CDs.  Accordingly, we are obtaining two CDs – one for 18 months and one for 24 months – from Royal Bank.  A Board resolution is necessary to authorize this investment.
  • The accountant hired by NLNA to prepare the 2012-13 annual statement and federal tax return has completed both products.  He will be presenting his work at the January board meeting.

 

ZONING COMMITTEE REPORT: LARRY FREEDMAN

Zoning Committee Meeting – Monday 12/16/13

Members present: Larry Freedman (chair), Charlie Abdo, Ken Grono, Joe Mikuliak, Jonathan Sher, Michael Simons, Sharon Richman, Ira Upin,

Members absent: Chris Issacson, Tim McDonald,

818-24 N. 4th Street– ICMX – Ted Singer: A return visit with a proposal for 13 residential units, 1 commercial unit and 14 parking spots – 4 stories.

[August 2013 motion: The adjustment to the previously approved plan for 818-24 N. 4th Street maintains 1:1 parking (14 spots) for the 13 apartments and 1 commercial unit, increases the height of the buildings on 4th Street by 3’ and 11’, and the 4th Street façade has changed from light, airy and transparent to solid, heavy and dark.  Please consider using the warehouse/garage façade as in previous plans.

The new commercial space is liked by neighbors, but the single store front should be prominent instead of the garage door being prominent.

The reduction of the number of units is appreciated.  We understand the parking change but want you to consider safety elements to mitigate danger to pedestrian and vehicular traffic upon entry into and exit from the garage.

Please return to the Zoning Committee with plans that reflect the above and lessen the negative impact of the façade on 4th Street.]

The buyer for the penthouse backed out of the deal so that unit was divided in two for a total of 14 residential units, not 13 as previously proposed. There will be 14 legal parking spaces with the potential for one additional non-compliant space. Access to the surface parking will be (in and out) through a gated garage on 4th Street. There is a walkway between both buildings. Both buildings will be 46’4” high.  Roof decks are set back from the building edge.

A second commercial space was created next to the garage to avoid a long stretch of a brick wall.  This space will only be 5’4” x 15’8” – more of a store front or “pop-up” store.  The 1600 sq. ft. commercial space at the northern end of the project will be occupied by the owner/developer (Domani).

The revised façade features a lighter look in brick color, wood tone and panels.

Motion (Mike) – 2nd (Jon): Vote 8-0

Thank you for your presentation.  We support this project with the following provisos:

1.         The owner or condo association must agree to maintain the small commercial space in the absence of a tenant so it does not appear to be neglected or used as a storage facility;
2.         Move the security door behind the entrance to the small commercial space to facilitate access and entry to the store; and,
3.         Trash must be picked up internally and not placed on the street.

 

838 N. American Street – I2 – Tower:  A proposal for 30 single family dwellings.

This is the site of the former Ortlieb Brewery.  Ortlieb’s Bar/entertainment venue on 3rd Street will stay with houses erected on either side (6 on the north side and two rows of 5 on the south side). There will be 5 houses fronting on Poplar Street and 9 on N. American.  Two of the 30 houses are 14’ wide and the remaining are 16’.  Backyards vary in depth (10’ – 50’).  All houses are 3 bedrooms, 2½ baths, 4 stories with basements and are 45’ high (top of the 4th floor) and 37’6” to the top of the balcony parapet.  Balconies are set back 5’ on the 4th floor. Corner houses will have windows on both streets. Surface parking is 30 spaces (1:1) surrounded by houses.  Entrance and egress to the parking is on Poplar Street.  Building materials are brick façade and metal panels with an entry canopy.  House designs are mirrored.  There will be a home owners association and landscaped areas on the 2 corner properties which they intend to deed to the property owners.  A/C units will be located on the roof and meters will be in the front of the homes.  The developer will go to the UDC to discuss aesthetics and location of the meters.

Discussion: This property is currently I2 but will become IRMX (industrial mixed use). Very few neighbors liked the parking lot entrance on Poplar Street and preferred that it was moved to N. American Street.  It was suggested that non-residential uses be added to the 1st floor along 3rd Street, especially the houses on the two corners. The neighbors were very vocal about the need to have more variation in the façades and the square footage to avoid the look of project housing.  The need for a 50’ back yard was also questioned.

Motion (Joe) – 2nd (Melissa): Vote 7-0

Thank you for your presentation of the initial plan for the development of 30 houses in the largest single property of our community.  We want you to return with a design for this project that has:

1.         non-residential space on 3rd Street;
2.         a variety in the sizes and façades of the homes;
3.         the entrance to the parking on wide N. American St. instead of narrower Poplar St.;
4.         a rendering that accurately shows the color, depth and size of various houses; and
5.         interior dimensions, especially of the 14’ wide houses.

On the present plan, the following is noted and suggested:

1.         a storm water management plan;
2.         a plan/explanation of how the utility meters will be hidden;
3.         a trash and recycling plan;
4.         the trees in the two corner yards should become part of the common area, maintained by the homeowner’s association and finished with an attractive fence;
5.         state the exact height of Ortlieb’s Bar; and,
6.         a description and rendering of the architectural elements.

 

801-05 N. 2nd Street – I2– Dawn Tancredi: A return visit with a proposal for a 2-story building with a Yoga studio on floor 2 and CMX2 proposed uses on ground floor.

[Motion from October 1, 2013: Thank you for your presentation.  We would like you to meet with the UDC for a review and then return to the Zoning Committee with final plans that include a bike rack and the refusal.]

Racks were included for 10 bicycles on 2nd Street and 6 on Brown Street.  Some changes were made to the initial design. The heavy timber columns supporting the marquee were replaced with metal supports.  Metal panels running horizontally replaced the brick originally proposed. The basement was eliminated because of cost.  Two trees are planned for Brown Street with bollards in front of them.  Trees could not be added to 2nd Street because of the wires on the street. The roof will be “green”. Utilities will come into the building on Brown Street and will be in a contained area behind the proposed trees.  The project will be submitted for LEED Certification.

Motion (Mike) – 2nd (Kenny): Vote 7-0

We support this project as presented on 12/16/2013.  In order to receive a letter of support, please provide a signed and dated copy of the plans that will be presented to the ZBA as well as a copy of the refusal.

 

927-31 Front Street – I2 – Dawn Tancredi: A return visit with a proposal for 7 single-family dwellings.

[Motion from October 1, 2013: Thank you for your presentation.  Please return with more detailed plans that maintain the 7-home configuration as presented.  These details include: drawings that will show this project in context with surrounding areas, elevations of all sides of the project, façade detail for Front Street and Canal Street, more information about the accessibility of the open area between homes #4 and #5 and how that area will be “treated” and detailed floor plans.]

 

There are 4 homes @20’ x 36’ with 2-car garages.  There is a 20’10” separation between these homes and the 3 homes @16’ x 36’ with a 1-car garage.  The top of the parapet is 46’11”.  The doorway to the first house on Front Street is on Front Street. The common driveway will be entered and exited from Front Street.  The majority of the homes will be brick with metal paneling and cement stucco.  They expect to receive refusals for use and rear yards.

Discussion: Several issues were raised.

  • Within the 20’+ separation of homes is an 80’+ high pole supporting a v-shaped double billboard.  Two and part of a third of the larger homes sit directly under the billboard.  There was no documentation or knowledge that that the home owners would be able to secure insurance because of their location under the billboards.
  • The grading of this property could cause water damage to the existing properties to the south of this proposed project.
  • There is the potential for headlights to shine directly into the homes to the south without proper screening.

Motion (Joe) – 2nd (Charlie): Vote 5-0

We cannot support the project as presented tonight.  We have serious problems with two or three of the homes situated under the billboards and the lack of an even grade with the homes to the north and south.  These problems include:

1.         issues with water drainage;
2.         insurability of the homes;
3.         long term maintenance issues of the pole and billboard; and,
4.         permitting issues. 

For our support, please supply the Zoning Chair with answers to the above issues, plus specific dimensions of the grading of both properties and a design for a buffer to minimize headlight intrusion to the rear of the homes to the south.

 

CLEAN AND GREEN COMMITTEE REPORT: BY KATRINA MANSFIELD (FILED LATE!)

I have created a Maintenance Agreement for Madison Park to be signed by Joe Morris and the NLNA. This agreement reflects fewer hours during winter and more hours during spring, summer, and fall. I will present this to Joe.

 

PRESIDENT’S REPORT JANUARY 2014

1. PLANNING AND POLICY-RELATED ISSUES

  • Mission – We’ll start promoting the SurveyMonkey survey this month.
  • Casinos – A PA Gaming Board decision is expected around March-April.
  • Central Delaware Master Plan – Councilman bill to repeal part the North Delaware Overlay was scaled back before final passage. We succeeded in keeping the Overlay in place in all areas of Northern Liberties where it has previously applied.
  • AVI/Real Estate Taxes – Gentrification Protection applications are open until February 17.
  • The NLNA has not yet heard from the BRT with a hearing date for the appeal we filed on the assessment of 700-702 N. 2nd St.

2. FUNDRAISING/FINANCES/ADMINISTRATION

  • Administration, Budget, and Finances – To the best of my knowledge, the Annual Appeal has met our budgeted projection of $12,000. I believe it also has met, or is close to meeting, the added projection for Operation Santa, which was folded into the Annual Appeal this time around.Last year the Annual Appeal raised more than $18,000. However, Anne reported that Annual Appeal donations were coming in as late as June. So it is likely we will exceed this year’s budgeted figure when all is said and done (though it is uncertain if we will reach $18,000 again).
  • Events – The next event is the mid-winter party, at North Bowl in mid-February.
  • Spring Garden Greenway – I believe DRWC will have something to show us soon, perhaps for the Feb or Mar General Membership meeting.

3. DEVELOPMENT ISSUES AND DEVELOPER RELATIONS

  • Piazza etc. – The Piazza/Liberties Walk General Manager position has turned over yet again. Lara has, I believe, made initial contact with the new person.
  • Sound Garden Hall – The 6th police district’s weekly incident reports continue to included reports of citations for underage drinking, public urination, public intoxication, and similar issues. Not all these incidents are related to Sound Garden; but Capt. Korn says many are.
  • Parking – No update.

4. OUTREACH/EVENTS/GENERAL MEETINGS

  • General Meetings – I’d like to get the board’s thoughts on holding a single General Membership Meeting in a new location (March or April).
    Discussion:
    We can invite local businesses to participate and promote themselves.

5. COMMUNICATION AND PUBLICITY

  • Internet – It would be great if we could regularly update the NLNA’s Twitter account. This would be easy to do, given the info available in the neighborhood emails, on the web site, and on the Facebook page.
    CM to do research.The email list and Facebook page continue to grow at a nice pace; they have topped 2,300 and 600, respectively.
  • Web site – Kat has done a great job getting news items to coexist with the annual appeal in a usable, visually appealing manner.

6. OTHER ITEMS

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