Armatage Neighborhood Association Meeting
Called to order at 6:32 by Board President, Betsen Philip
ANA board members in attendance: Tom Alagna, Kelly Falsani, Jeff Forss, Denis Houle, Bri Keeney, Nikki Lindberg, Betsen Philip, and Keith Swanson.
Others in attendance: Tina Erazmus, ANA staff member; Matt Perry, NEHBA and 14 residents.
CPP Annual Report
Community Participation Plan. Summarizes what the ANA did in 2013, including the summer festival, ice cream social, crime and construction alerts, etc. Motion to approve, seconded and carries.
Safety Update, Keith Swanson
Keith spoke with Jennifer Waisanen. Recently there was a house burglary at 55th and Penn; theft from a car at 56th and Penn. We are at 76% of our neighborhood with block leaders and we are working toward the city goal of 90%.
Park Update by New Park Director, Nikki Friederich
- KPAC/ACC spring sports registration starts next Tuesday at Kenny, and Thursday at Armatage for baseball, softball, and track. They still are in need of track coaches.
- Summer Movie in the Park proposed date is Saturday, June 7. Nikki asked if the ANA would consider helping with the $400 cost of the movie. This is not something we have funded in past, but we might be interested/willing to do lemonade/popcorn. More to come.
City Council Update by Linea Palmisano
- Public hearing for moratorium at City Hall 9:30 room 317 on Thursday (Zoning and Planning Committee). From her experience talking to people while campaigning, these teardown issues were the most emotional. They have tried to talk to builders about how to improve the process and haven’t gotten much response. The moratorium on new build and virtual tear-downs is to put a pause on the process. The study will be posted to website, which shows the rationale for the five neighborhoods included under the moratorium. Two focus groups at Linden Hills park and two at Pershing park (the two areas with the most concentration of teardown/rebuilds). Armatage residents are invited to these meetings. Kenny will be using their annual meeting to perform a focus group. Although not everyone is in support of the moratorium, everyone does agree there are problems that need to be addressed. Need a better construction management plan that we can use moving forward, that can work city-wide and overlay on existing projects. There is a waiver available to anyone who feels that this process will adversely effect you financially.
- The moratorium is effective immediately by unanimous vote of the City Council. It was decided this was the best way to address the situation and avoid a rush on building permits which could expand the problems. The moratorium will be codified by the City Council after the Zoning & Planning Committee and public hearings. Applies to full teardown, and to any projects adding 1,500 sq ft or more. Some things that could change (beyond finding ways to better enforce existing codes) could include changing rules relating to the permitting and placement of dumpsters (including winter restrictions); better guidelines for structure height measurement; rules for accessory dwelling units (multi-generational living); ways to be more environmentally sensitive (perhaps with incentives/points for recycling); etc.
It has been challenging to hold rule breakers accountable because of people passing responsibility on to subcontractors. The city could request a main contact for the project who will be held accountable. There have also bee issues of some rules not being clearly shared between builders and the city, which can create barriers to cooperation. She’d like to see a way for inspectors be able to address a suite of issues (not just one at a time). Overall it is her hope to not stop these types of projects, but to improve the process.
Ultimately, however things get resolved the solutions need to be applicable city-wide. and need to be equitable to neighboring cities so we don’t discourage building in neighborhoods that might need rehabilitation, for example.
Each neighborhood under the moratorium has been writing a position statement. Although responses from the board and residents were fairly split, all agreed that it is time to revamp process/codes. It seems there should be a way to track re-offenders, so the city can stop issuing permits to those bad actors, and, although better enforcement of current codes would surely help, we suspect a lack of resources prevents that from already happening. Clearly the moratorium did serve its purpose and is getting all the players to the table.
Board member, Kelly Falsani, presented a draft position statement which expressed the support of the intent behind the moratorium, but not the construction stoppage. Seconded. Discussion: statement amended to include a statement about respecting the goals of the moratorium, and to remove most of the second-to-last paragraph. Amendments accepted. Motion passes.
Coordinator Update by Tina Erazmus
- Annual meeting will be in May at Wagner’s and will have an environmental focus, and could include a bee expert, someone from the park board, etc.
- As part of our NPP plan and neighborhood safety goals, we will be hosting a personal safety seminar on Thursday, April 17 at our community center.
Roberts Bird Sanctuary Resolution by Brian Nalezny
Met Council sewer project will be reconstructing sewer pipe under the entire park. The resolution requests that they do it well, respectful of the sanctuary and do as little harm as possible. Resolution was presented to board and he requested our support . Motion to support the resolution (as submitted). Seconded. Carries.
Updated financial report distributed. Motion to accept report.
February minutes approved via email.
Matt Perry (NEHBA): they have applied for a $50,000 facade improvement grant (waiting for City Council approval, but have been good stewards in the past, and typically are awarded the grant monies). They have also applied for a $50,000 grant to help expand their bike/walk/shop local program. In April, he hopes to be joined by a restaurateur to discuss the charter regulation (70/30 food/alcohol sales) and what types of solutions could work for restaurants, neighbors and the city.
Meeting adjourned at 8:38 p.m.