NLNA BOARD OF DIRECTORS MINUTES – Meeting of September 9, 2015

PRESENT:  Matt Ruben, President; Steve Richman, Treasurer; Janet Finegar, Secretary; Larry Freedman; Jesse Gardner; Sasi Judd; Monika Kreidie; Jeremy Lindemann; Barbara Saverino; Chris Somers; Anne Waginger.

ABSENT:  Michael Coyne, Vice-President; Troy Crichton; Frank Maimone; Don Phillips.

The meeting was called to order by the President at 7:12 p.m.

Motion: By Jeremy Lindemann, seconded by Barbara Saverino:“To approve the minutes of the August Board meeting as presented.”  Passed 7-0-2

President’s Report: Matt Ruben:

  1. PLANNING, DEVELOPMENT, AND POLICY
  • Piazza/Liberties Walk – No update.
  • Construction Impacts – Complaints about these continue, but appear to have subsided. Streets Dept. and SEPTA repaving work on 3rd, 4th, Green, and Girard has been completed and also has made things much easier. We still have a couple of problem sites, but the issues there are not causing daily traffic disruptions per se.
  • Spring Garden – Work continues on the Spring Garden connector, with real progress now on the new sidewalks, bumpouts, indigo bikeshare station, and so on. Soon the metal panels and lighting treatments will go in beneath the overpass, which will be great. In addition, the large Festival Pier site has been put out to bid by the DRWC.
  1. FINANCE AND ADMINISTRATION
  • FY2016 Budget – Steve will be presenting the draft budget at our meeting. We will devote a portion of the meeting to going over it. He will then provide the proposed final budget to the board at the end of the month, and we will vote on it at the October 5 board meeting.
  • Solar Array – Former board member and active neighbor Logan Welde has informed me that a solar power provider he works with has a 25 foot long trailer (8 feet wide, 7 feet tall) that functions as a solar power generator. If we would agree/want to have it parked in the Community Center Yard, it would provide free electrical power to the Community Center. I would like some direction from the board as to whether or not to pursue this possibility.
  1. EVENTS AND OUTREACH
  • General Membership Meetings – We need to decide on a date for the next GM. I propose Thursday, September 24. We also need to develop an agenda for the meeting. There also is a proposal from the Membership Committee to have a meet-n-greet on or around October 22, which I recommend we accept and move forward on. After that, we could have a GM in early December, or combine it with the Operation Santa giftwrapping party in mid-December. Apropos of that, we have an open invitation from Waterfront Square to hold a meeting there, which we should take them up on sometime in the next 3-9 months.
  • Fall Music Fest – This is September 12, 4-10pm, and as always, board volunteers are needed to help staff it. So if you are in town that day, please help out – and please bring friends, family and/or neighbors to attend!
  1. COMMUNICATION AND PUBLICITY
  • Internet – All seems to be well, and growing.
  1. OTHER ITEMS

After some discussion about dates, it was agreed that we would combine the October meet-n-greet with the general meeting on October 22nd and invite the candidates in the November election to attend.

There was a brief discussion about the suggestion to park a portable solar power generator in the community center yard. There was agreement that we should ask for a formal proposal that can address the many questions that were raised about the project.

Motion: By Janet Finegar, seconded by Jeremy Lindemann: “To approve all board polls taken during the previous month.”  Passed 10-0-0

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

Steve presented the Board with a complete draft of the proposed FY16 budget for consideration, questions, and feedback. As the budget is in draft form now, it remains confidential to the Board members. Steve asked that Board members send all input to him by September 20 so that a final version can be voted upon at the October meeting.

Motion: By Monika Kreidie, seconded by Anne Waginger. “To accept the Treasurer’s report as presented.”  Passed 10-0-0

New Business

Chris reported that he met with a representative from the Kushner Group (the Piazza’s owners) to discuss the vitality of the Piazza and Liberties Walk and establish a relationship for the future.

Liberty Lands Board Report – September 2015

  • Janet’s been away all summer, as happens, and so there haven’t been summer park board reports. Trying to catch up with everything now.
  • It has been a VERY hot and dry August. We have been spending left-over “honey-do” funds to pay a new guy, Chico, to weedwhack and do trash collection chores and Paul to water trees in an effort to get them through this summer.
  • Weeder’s Club stalwartly met through the hot days of the summer, doing some weeding and lots of watering.
  • After some difficulties, we managed to get the Potty Queen chemical toilet taken away and replaced by one rented and serviced by Mr. John (a local New Jersey company). So far, their service seems good.
  • The movies met with a very mixed reaction this summer: some people loved the gory and campy lineup while others felt it was the worst ever. It was definitely aggressively family-un-friendly, which several people disliked. More importantly, although the cost was supported by a PTSSD grant routed through the NLNA, there was a cost overrun that has not yet been reimbursed by Awesome Fest. The Liberty Lands committee is seriously looking at having a summer without movies for 2016.
  • There has been a noticeable uptick in problem- and annoying- park usage, which mostly seems to center around young adult parties. They are often held without reservations, involve a lot of alcohol consumption (and the attendant trash/recycling), and cause other problems. We have been working to educate people about the park rules. I also think that we’re seeing the effects of the Piazza being a moribund space: lots of the kinds of parties that used to happen there have moved over to the park. This is another reason for the NLNA to be invested in trying to get the Piazza “happening” again.
  • Liberty Lands activities were awarded an Activities Fund grant of $1,500 for the period from July 2015 to June 2016.
  • PTSSD grant: We are largely done with this grant; I recently submitted a request for an extension to finish out the last parts and that will be considered on September 16. The remaining pieces: Three of the four new trash corrals are in place and in action. We need to choose a new location for the last trash corral (putting playground pieces there). Meanwhile, it’s being a playground piece. 6 of the 10 new benches are there and have been immediately enjoyed! The rest will be done by end of September. Jen found a cistern controller, will price a pump, then we can just buy it and install. New playground pieces: Seth’s crew dig holes Oct. 9th; do volunteer build on 10th. Double-check locations at Weeder’s.
  • We will plant a magnolia in the fall in honor of a recently stillborn baby in the neighborhood. Look at the location possibility at Weeder’s. Also need to check health of another memorial tree in the triangle garden and make a list of memorial trees and other sites for our reference.
  • Laura Theime is moving away (sob!); need to start cultivating someone new to take over her roles with playground coordination.
  • Seth met with the Water Department to have our meter changed over to the new kind; we confirmed that we do have a backflow preventer. The meter is in-ground under one of the curbstones by the old shed. Janet will follow up with the Water Department about billing issues regarding stormwater and usage costs.
  • We rented a dumpster in late August to deal with the giant backlog of greenwaste. Unfortunately, after Seth loaded it the dumpster was parked in by cars towed from 3rd and 4th Street, so it wasn’t taken away until after a hard rain. As a result the weight was immensely more than we’d thought it would be, and the budgeted $500 dumpster was actually $1000 with overage charges. Bummer.
  • A Laurel Street neighbor was found in the act of putting household trash in our bins; he claimed he had the right to do so. Jen found an address in the trash and Janet sent him a letter explaining the issue and telling them again to stop.
  • Liz requested three new trees from Love Your Park: a persimmon, a serviceberry, and a dogwood. If it is large enough, the dogwood will replace the black locust removed this summer.
  • Jen will look into re-hiring Greg, the trash guy from 2014, as the current guy is not working out well. The company currently doing street sweeping for NLNA put in a bid, but it was $55 more a week than we are paying now, and we had a largely good experience with Greg.
  • We are proposing to end the experiment of having a local person mow the lawn at Liberty Lands after another summer of complaints, and go with a landscaping service, which gives us the advantage of a more regular schedule and also means that several people will do the job at once (i.e., it all gets done and quickly on one day). A landscaper who works with Liz is willing to do mowing at the park next summer for $200 a mow IF we can assure parking space for his large truck of equipment. The committee brainstormed ideas and Janet and Liz will look into them. We will mothball the park mower in Oron’s garage for a year while seeing if the landscaping company works out and, if it does, pursue donating it to another nonprofit.
  • Liberty Lands’ proposed FY16 budget will be discussed in the Treasurer’s Report.
  • Upcoming events:

Sept 12 – Music Fest

Oct. 2 – N3RD Street birthday party

Oct. 3 – Lux Arati fundraiser

Oct. 10 – Playground build

Nov. 1 – Fall Festival (?) Needs organizing!

Nov. 14 – Love Your Park work/play day

Dec. 12 – Krampuslauf

Operations Committee Report: Monika Kreidie:

Monika reported that we have a new tenant who is working out well.

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

Motion: By Steve Richman, seconded by Monika Kreidie. “To approve the actions of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 309-11 Green St., i.e.: ‘We support the project as presented with the inclusion of a drip guard under the bays and meters hidden as shown in the revised plan.’”  Passed 10-0-0

Motion: By Monika Kreidie, seconded by Sasi Judd. “To approve the actions of the Zoning Committee in the matter of 966-68 N. 2nd St., i.e.: ‘Thank you for your presentation. Thank you for the one enlarged set of floor plans. Please: (1) reduce the size of all balconies to 4’x10’; (2) create a safety plan for the driveway (gate opening warning, pedestrian warning, signs) and curb cut area, plus a security plan for the gate entrance (lighting, cameras, etc.); (3) set back the roof deck 5’ from the south edge; (4) maintain the 2nd egress (in the rear of the building) for emergency use only and not as a walkway for animals to the 10’ alleyway; and (5) provide drawings with room dimensions. A letter of support will be issued after the ZC chair receives the requested information.’”  Passed 10-0-0

Old Business

Matt reported the process by which the proposal for an independent valet parking service on 2nd Street has died away.

Matt updated the Board on the last steps of closing out the settlement with Marc Stein. At this time, Mr. Stein has not yet made the agreed-upon donation to the neighborhood schools that was part of the settlement; the lawyers will pursue getting that through the courts.

The meeting was adjourned by acclaim at 8:41 p.m.

Addenda:

 Zoning Committee Meeting Monday 8/31/15

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

 

309-11 Green St. – RSA5 – Nino Cutrufello: A return visit with a proposal for a 5 single family dwellings. Motion from July 27, 2015: Vote 6-0 Please go to the Design Committee with plans that include: Houses that do not exceed 38’ high; utility meter location; the location and size of all decks; and, façade materials and color options. Return to the Zoning Committee with revised plans. The revised plan includes using a variety of red tones for brickwork on Green Street. Weathered steel, which would eventually develop a patina, is being considered for use on Galloway Street 1st and 2nd floors facades with a light color used on the upper floors. None of the houses on Green and Galloway Streets exceed 38’ height. Utility meters are hidden in a wall or by an access panel. They are considering adding a lip below each bay to catch all drips from falling onto the sidewalk. All decks are set back according to code. There are roof decks on all homes. Yard space on Green Street is 34% and 32%.

Motion (Michael) – 2nd (Beth): Vote 6-0 We support the project as presented with the inclusion of a drip guard under the bays and meters hidden as shown in the revised plan.

 

903 N. Hancock St. – RSA5 – Justin Epperson: A proposal for first floor parking. ZBA has already approved a 4-story home above an existing garage. The owner is not sure of the integrity of the ground under the current garage and wishes to knock down the garage and put in proper footings for a new garage and only a 3-story building above it. He needs a variance to replace the existing garage. The lot is 18’x54’ and he is building on 83% of the lot, not the required 70%. The roof deck is set back 5’. He has refusals for open space and the garage.

Motion (Michael) – 2nd (Beth): Vote 6-0 Please go to the UDC with plans that show: (1) the rear set back of occupy-able deck area (no less than 5’ from the parapet); (2) rear elevation; (3) all materials and colors detailed and explained; and, (4) the location of hidden utility meters. A letter of support will be issued after notification from the UDC.

 

966-68 N. 2nd St. – CMX2.5 – Shimi Zaken: A proposal for 13 residential units, 8 parking spots and first floor Veterinary Center. This 5 story 55’ high project is permitted for 9 resdiential units, 4 offices on 2nd level and a commercial space on the ground floor. A veterinary hospital in the commercial space on the first floor requires a special exception. Developer wants to replace the 4 offices on the 2nd floor with 4 residences. The 5th story is for 2 penthouses. There would be a total of 19 residences with 8 parking spaces under the building. The lot is 48’x100’. Commercial trash pickup service would retrieve the trash from the basement accessed through the driveway. He would consider having a loading zone on 2nd Street for the veterinary hospital. He agreed to create a fence at the back of the property that matches/continues the existing fence along the 10’ alleyway. Materials include metals panels, cement board, exposed concrete walls, brick, etc. The refusals are for balconies (5’x15’ and 5’x16’) on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th floors and turning the offices into residences. Discussion: The size of the balconies was problematic. There was no opposition to switching the 4 offices to residences.

Motion (Beth) – 2nd (Michael): Vote 7-0: Thank you for your presentation. Thank you for the one enlarged set of floor plans. Please: reduce the size of all balconies to 4’x10’; create a safety plan for the driveway (gate opening warning, pedestrian warning, signs) and curb cut area plus a security plan for the gate entrance (lighting, cameras, etc.); set back the roof deck 5’ from the south edge; maintain the 2nd egress (in the rear of the building) for emergency use only and not as a walkway for animals to the 10’ alleyway; provide drawings with room dimensions. A letter of support will be issued after the ZC chair receives the requested information.