January 10, 2008

General Membership Meeting 01 - 10

 EPIC General Membership Meeting
Minutes 1/10/2008

The next EPIC meeting is:
Thursday, February 14th, 2008 @ 6:30 PM
Holy Rosary Church
2424 18th Ave. S.
Enter door on 18th Ave. side under the “OFFICE” sign.

EPIC Board Members Present:
Rosie Cruz (RC), Carol Pass (CP),  Linda Leonard (LL), Aden Awil (AA), Juliet Thompson (JT), Mary Gonsior (MG), Sherzad Kordian (SK), Earl Simms (ES), Paul Wichmann (PW)
EPIC Members Present:
Brad Pass (BP), Jennifer Bjorgo (JB), Shirley Heyer (SH), Bruce Singer (BS), Ron Moey (RM), Margaret Kirkpatrick (MK), Kendra Allen (KA), Amy Pass (AP), Chiffon Williams (CW)
Guests Present:
Scott Vreeland (SV), Leah Seelhoff (LS), Mark redicker (MR), Marcus Moore (MM), Harvey Winje (HW), Gary Schiff (GS), Doug Vanderveen (DV).

CP  chaired and called the meeting to order at 6:40 PM -  Introductions.

MOTION:    EPIC moves to accept the agenda.  Motion Passed

MOTION:    EPIC moves to accept the November 8th 2007 General Membership meeting                                 minutes.         Motion Passed.

Announcements and Reports:
·      Public Hearing (Community Action Committee) meeting on the East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center-All Welcome!! Come see the Building Plans Jan. 24th at 7:00 PM at Holy Rosary Basement.
·      Link to the see the Park Center Plans: East Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center on the LHB Web site: http://www.lhbcorp.com/government/pf1.html 
·      Community/Law Enforcement Action Network(Clean Sheets): http://www.walterleegutzmer.com/
·      Forum on Minneapolis Comprehensive Plan – how the city relates to neighborhoods - at Lake Hiawatha Community Center, 2701 44th St. Changed from 10 am to 2 pm, this Saturday. Give your input on how the city intends to relate to the Neighborhoods
·      Last call for letters pro/con for the Midtown Eco Energy Biomass Plant , Monday, January 14th.
                 Contact: Paula Connell, 651-282-2605, email: paula.connell@pca.state.mn.us

Revisiting The Biomass Plant:
CP  After initial presentations from Kandiyohi Development on their proposed Biomass Co-Generating plant to be located at the old City incinerator site behind Dalsin Roofing and behind Pioneer Cemetery, EPIC initially supported the project. A local biomass power plant and district heating plant which would help reduce the carbon footprint of the area and help provide oil independence sounded like a good idea. EPIC wrote a letter of support for the project and signed a “Good Neighbor Agreement” with Kandiyohi Development Partners (KDP).

However, as residents became more aware of the particulates and pollution the plant would deposit on the neighborhood, many people started having second thoughts, State Rep. Karen Clark was among them. EPIC decided to do independent research and make a determination based on available facts as to whether or not the Biomass Plant would be a good idea for the community.
People were alarmed by the following findings:
ü  According to the MPCA’s proposed environmental permit, the facility could release up to one million pounds of particulate matter into the air above this community every year.
ü  These particulates would include lead, mercury, sulfur dioxide, arsenic, PAHs and others, many carcinogenic.
ü  According to the MPCA findings, “The Midtown district energy facility will be a major source of hazardous air pollutants” for the neighborhood.
ü  There are reports that the available clean waste wood fuel supply may not be adequate which according to State Law could permit the facility to burn up to 30% Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF – garbage) without additional permits. They claim they won’t do that. We would have no way to know. GNA doesn’t require reporting.
ü  The community already has many sources of pollution – Dalsin Roofing with their hot tar storage, Bituminous Roadways with their asphalt plant and asphalt hot storage, Smith Foundry, the Arsenic Triangle Super Fund site and the high levels of lead in local homes and yards as a result of past leaded gasoline and lead based paint.
This along with the fact that there are no studies of the cumulative affect all these sources of pollution on our health, led the EPIC Board to vote to recommend rescinding support for the Plant and question the Good Neighbor Agreement with Kandiyohi Developers and to recommend that the EPIC membership do the same.
            It should be noted that the Green Institute’s “Comments on Midtown Eco-Energy Biomass Facility Permit Application” became available to the EPIC Board after the   above recommendation was made. As such it played no part in our decision.

LL  All previous public meetings on the biomass plant were scheduled on the second Thursday of the month – the same time the EPIC meetings have always been scheduled. This prevented the EPIC members from attending either one or the other meeting. That is why the EPIC Board voted to cancel the December EPIC General Membership meeting. This enabled many EPIC members to participate in the last biomass public meeting.

AA  If this plant will produce so much pollution, why is the City of Minneapolis not against it?

GS  The City was told one thing by the developers. The City relies on the Pollution Control Agency (PCA) to set limits.
The developers must have three things in order for the City to sell them the land:
1)    A Power Purchase Agreement (PPA)
2)    A Good Neighbor Agreement with EPIC, and
3)    PCA approval.
At this time, the developer does not have a PPA.

PW  The agreement to sell the land states that the Good Neighbor Agreement may not be necessary if the neighborhood is found to be acting capriciously.

GS  The neighborhood is not being capricious – I think it is being responsible.

MOTION:    JT       EPIC rescinds any and all former endorsements of the Midtown EcoEnergy Biomass Plant project,
                                    Furthermore, EPIC will actively participate in opposition to the establishment of the Biomass plant,
                                    Furthermore, Given that there has not been a level of disclosure protective of the East Phillips Community, we do not believe there is sufficient confidence for the EPIC organization to continue as a signatory on the Good Neighbor Agreement with Kandiyohi. For this reason EPIC withdraws its signature from this agreement.  JT Moved.  MG Seconded.     No one opposed.  BP Abstained.

Super America:
CP  Minneapolis Licensing held a meeting today with Members of the community, CCP SAFE, the Third Precinct and SA management. The goal was to convince SA that they must improve their performance as a neighborhood convenience store or face license revocation.
In the end, SA agreed to work with the Community and the Council Member to address a long list of “Suggestions” which was compiled with community input.
SA reported that they have police presence Fri. Sat. and Sun. nights and have a roving cop driving from SA location to SA location in addition.
In the past, SA verbally asked the Police to be more “aggressive” in their approach to controlling illegal activity on their premises. They learned that the police they hire are not being proactive enough and will seek a written agreement with the police outlining mutual expectations.
LS  Gas Pump and parking lot congestion is awful. Try to figure out how to make traffic flow better and safer.
CP  Are you committed to leaving in Five years?
SA  There are size problems and that prevents this store from meeting the core strategy of SA. At present, we will probably leave within that time frame.
DV  As a close neighbor, I am not interested in seeing this store cycle between barely acceptable and horrific. I am adamant that the store close.
GS  A boarded building is also a problem.
DV  A vacant lot cannot be as bad as SA.
MG  SA has an obligation to provide security three nights a week – that’s nice but it doesn’t make it safe the rest of the time. SA is not doing enough.
JT  You need to do something about the litter and keep the store clean.
PW  As long as you are planning to leave in five years, why not leave now?

East  Phillips Park Cultural and Community Center:
BP  The $3.25 million funding that CLIC had recommended over two years for the project evaporated to $319,000. If asked, the Mayor would say that the funding is there in the budget – but the city “gave” the park board their own Tax Levi dollars, - dollars the PB relies on for maintenance and repair of all eighty some city parks and said, ‘here, use this for East Phillips’. East Phillips values the city park system and would not recommend stopping roof repair and water heater replacement on other parks for our project. Apparently the Mayor would.
To counter this loss, the Design Team in cooperation with the MPRB is creating a partnership of community corporations, foundations, nonprofits and individuals which will raise money for the bricks and mortar of the buildings as well as the ongoing operating costs of the community center. Everyone is invited to contribute, contact CP at EPIC for details (612-280-8418).

Crime Issues:
GS  Vacant and Boarded  Foreclosures are increasing alarmingly. They are bad here but much worse in North Mpls.
2846 17th Ave. S. shooting. JT  called police three times about serious trouble at this address BEFORE the shooting. What does it take to make a difference?
GS  The right people didn’t get the information. Call Gary Schiff at 612-673-2209 or Don Greely at 612-673-3482. The neighbors all knew but were unable to get 911 or 311 to respond. This is very frustrating. GS “I want to find out what and who screwed up.”
CP  2625 Bloomington is the same.

Greenway Town Homes 2931 Bloomington:
            CP  This townhome development on the North side of the Midtown Greenway East of Bloomington Ave is about to break ground – but – it needs people who might be interested in a very affordable town Home similar to those on 24th St between Bloomington and 17th Ave. S., to indicate their interest. This will not commit youin any way to anything. It only tells the builder and the lender that there is interest in this project. If there are enough interested people in this project it can become reality. If not, the land might be sold to someone else who might build 80 efficiency transient apartments in a six story building without adequate parking – as was planned before.
            If you are interested and can afford the payments,  please call Carol Pass @ 612-916-8478 and complete at non-binding  form which will help to secure the property and prevent the consequences.

Updates on other developments:
            CP  2603 Bloomington Ave project has been minimalized to the point that zoning variances are not required. Therefore the project will proceed as the property owners wish.
            Open Arms at 25th and Bloomington is still raising money for this wonderful project. If you wish to donate, contact EPIC at 612-280-8418.
            Franklin Station Condos:  are a very affordable housing option for those who value inner-city living in a reviving community. Ground –breaking is imminent and if you have an interest, in this buyers market, Contact Carol Pass 612-280-8478.

Future Neighborhood Funding:
            CDBG cut funding to neighborhoods NRP funding. They propose that neighborhoods ‘compete’ for very limited funds - they propose only $2 million for 80 (eighty) neighborhoods.
            At the same time, the city wasted $10 million on convention scheduling software which they farmed out to a Singapore company which took the City of Minneapolis for a $10 million ride.

Adjourned at 8:45 PM                                                       Submitted by Brad Pass on 2/3/2008
Reviewed by Linda Leonard on 2/3/2008
Approved by EPIC GMMM on

January 5, 2008

Board Meeting 01 - 05

January 5, 2008
Welna Ace Hardware

Mary Gonsior (MG), Carol Pass (CP), Sherzad Kordian (SK), Juliet Thompson, (JT), Rosie Cruz (RC)

Directors not Present
Paul Wichmann (PW), Earl Simms (ES), Aden Awil (AA), Linda Leonard (LL)

Meeting was called to order at 9:35 by CP. Agenda was distributed. MG was designated as recording secretary.


The agenda was approved with the addition of a Crime Announcement.

The minutes from the last board meeting were not available.

CP distributed draft minutes from the EPIC General Membership Meeting (EGMM) on 11/8/07. The next EGMM is Thursday, January 10, 2008 @ 6:30 PM at Holy Rosary Church.

Minneapolis Comprehensive Plan
CP announced that the open house at Lake Hiawatha Community Center, 2701 E. 44th St., has been changed from 10 am-Noon, to 2 pm – 4 pm. EPIC’s concern regarding the Minneapolis Comprehensive Plan focuses on how the city plans to “relate” to the neighborhoods. Will the city relate to the neighborhoods? What is the role of the neighborhoods in decision making?

ACTION: Directors should try to attend this meeting.

There was a shooting in the vicinity of 28th Street and 17th Avenue on Thrusday, December 27th. The community contacted Gary Schiff and learned that the building in question was an illegal boarding house with about 15 rooms in the house. Gary has pledged to the community to close any illegal boarding houses.

ACTION: JT will contact Gary and find out what is the definition of an illegal boarding house so that the community can assist in addressing this issue neighborhood wide.

The neighborhoods are asking for an environmental assessment worksheet regarding the proposed biomass plant on Hiawatha Avenue. This is a more comprehensive study of pollutants. We were not told about the pollution levels and what they were in earlier presentations by the developers. Documentation: Tech Support Doc. discussed. Other neighborhoods leaving it up to us. The EPIC Board has rescinded our initial motion of support for the Biomass Plant and is now on the offensive for a more thoughtful approach. We will discuss and vote on the Board’s December 1st, ’07 motion this next Thursday at our general membership meeting. This decision is in accordance with EPIC’s role as a member of the Good Neighbor committee regarding the plant, which pertains to plant operation.  Need to consider that this may be treated as a go-ahead for the project. The project is also moving ahead very quickly. The Board doesn’t see any real benefit to our neighbors and serious environmental justice issues. We were not told the whole story. Articles and information has gone out to the neighborhood. Residents are calling and asking questions.

ACTION: Directors will recommend the December Board motion to rescind support for the Biomass Plant to the GMM

On Jan. 10th Mpls City Licensing will be meeting with Super America owners/managers about licensing issues related to the SA on 25th and Bloomington   The License Settlement conference is the first hearing held to see if the city can get the licensee to agree to change their practices. Licensing present's evidence and SA can reply to the city's concerns.  The conference will be limited to discussion about licensing violations, not larger issues about the future of the store. 

Licensing has requested that any community member, who wishes to, provide a written community impact statement about issues, concerns that you have observed in the store or on the property. These statements will become part of the record and could have an impact on the stores future. You can email impact statements to Don Greeley - donald.greeley@ci.minneapolis.mn.us or to Julie Casey - julie.casey@ci.minneapolis.mn.us)

ACTION: CP, JT will attend the meeting (City Hall, room to be determined.)


On 11/8/2007 the GMM passed a motion to authorize up to $15,000 of NRP money to buy another portable camera for the MPD to be used in the East Phillips Neighborhood. JT opposed the motion and has concerns about whether the MPD has enough officers to monitor the camera. 

ACTION: Ryan Bruske will be asked to give an update on his research regarding cameras for the GMM. EPIC wants to know if the camera can be used as evidence to convict.


January 24th, Holy Rosary Basement, 7 pm, Community Advisory Committee, Public Meeting.
February 6th, Park Board Publick Hearing on Design, 5 pm at the Park Board building.

The community needs to attend the two meetings scheduled. The Park Board is saying that we need to spend the money that we have now. We want to slow things down so we can raise more money.

2601-2603 Bloomington – this project has shrunk to the extent that they no longer need a parking lot.

2931 Bloomington – this project has a permit to build; nothing is happening.

Boarded and Vacant properties are growing and 70% of these are rental properties. Landlords have been heavily fined and have let the properties go back to the banks. Forclosures are pending.

ACTION: It would be good to get a list of these properties.

Greenway Town Homes – the $48,000 NRP funds are still being stalled. CP distributed copies of a Preferred Buyer Agreement. This agreement reserves the units of the project, however, a Preferred Buyer may decline to exercise their option once the specific unit does become available. If enough people complete these applications, the town homes project will move forward.

CP submitted reports on EPIC’s CDBG funding and 2007 expenses, as follows:
  • EPIC's year end financial report
  • A final reimbursement request for 2007
  • An inventory list for purchases over $500.00
  • A letter regarding EPIC's 2008 allocation and lack of contract

EPIC is getting less money in 2008 ($7,500 instead of $9,425.) In addition CDBG is not providing a contract for our signature. The significance to EPIC is that without a contract, EPIC or any neighborhood’s  recognition of its official designation as the citizen participation organization for its community appears up for grabs. Even the meaning of that is up for grabs. This is viewed as a stepping stone to eliminating citizen participation by neighborhoods on the part of the city of Minneapolis. This contributes to eroding the city’s commitment to support neighborhood organizations, including NRP funding.

ACTION: CP will follow up on her request for a contract for the CDBG funds.

We received $56,000 in program funds from NRP (houses that were sold, money to be returned to the neighborhood upon sale.) If these funds are from the housing category, the board will propose a motion to the GMM to allocate these additional funds to the Greenway Town Home project to help move it along.

ACTION: CP will determine what category these funds came from in the original NRP plan.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:20 am.

Respectfully submitted by Mary Gonsior.