July 14, 2011

General Membership Meeting Minutes 07-14

July 14th, 2011, 6:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.
East Phillips Park Cultural & Community Center 
2307 17th Ave S.
EPIC web address: eastphillips-epic.com
Office: 2536 18th Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN 55404

Board Members present: Mary Gonsior, Carol Pass, Earl Simms, Chiffon Williams, Linda Leonard, Steve Struthers
Members present: Margaret Kirkpatrick, Brad Pass
Guests: Jana Metge, Scott Vreeland, Bruce Chamberlain, Cliff Swenson, Al Bangoura, Elana Bowman, Dallas Johnson

6:30   Introduction:
·       Greetings and Introductions
·        Approval of Agenda (passed with addition of update on Mpls Swims; by consensus)
·        Minutes from EPIC General Membership Meeting 6/ 9 /2011 (MG, ES; Passed)
·        Minutes from EPIC Special Meeting re: Hi-Lake Triangle Apartments 7/ 7/ 2011 (CP, MG; Passed)

6:40    Announcements:
  • Fun Festival in Stuart Park, July 23rd, 1:00 to 7:00 pm, Games, Food, Music, Heart of the Beast Puppets
  • Take Back Peavey Park Initiative- July 26th 3;45-5;15, Inspector Gerold seeks help from the Community.
  • “Bridging Phillips” August 13th, Saturday, A Celebration of our Connections on our one Connecting Street, 24th St.
  • Soccer Sign Up for Fall Park League.
  • NRP Policy Board passed a motion to send frozen NRP dollars to Northside Neighborhoods for Tornado relief.
  • News: Citizens for a Loring Park Community, CLPC, (Jana Metge) is being evicted from their office for opposing the plans of the developer who owns the building.
  • Mpls Swims - $500M bonding bill requested by Gov. The pool is included in the bonding bill and if funded, the pool will be funded. Needed badly so that funding may be sought for operating expenses for programming. 2 events coming up. Sunday July 17 a group will be swimming for Mpls Swims at Lk Harriet. July 23, info booth with Wolf’s Den.

7:00        Report: East Phillips Park facilities: the wading pool, additional basketball hoops, & soccer fields.
            -  Jayne Miller, new Mpls. Park Board Superintendent, (not present)
            -  Scott Vreeland, Park Board Commissioner,
            -  Bruce Chamberlain, Asst. Superintendent of Planning, and
            -  Cliff Swanson, Director of Planning will discuss these new, yet to arrive facilities at East Phillips Park.

Bruce expressed thanks to Al B regarding vendor issues and getting things moving forward. Cliff covered some of the details that we are trying to get the contractor to complete. For a variety of reasons, some things aren’t finished. The subcontractor for the wading pool went out of business; put contractor on notice that their contract will be terminated if not completed in 2 weeks. A new subcontractor has been hired, materials have been ordered. The State of MN has to issue a permit; hopefully we will get the pool functioning asap.

Can the park provide sprinklers for kids to cool off? Can’t do fire hydrants due to issues with erosion.

Without a commercial kitchen, want 4 extra hoops in the gym, need extra bike racks (stolen bikes); signage isn’t installed; inoperable doors; some items have been priced out. We have money to do the kitchen, hoops and bike racks. Procedures are cumbersome, but they protect the public. Sign outside leaning against the building; Staff will inspect the sign outside the door; - is this a safety problem?

The next component of the improvements are for the fields. Park Board is investigating the cost of artificial turf (AT) so that the fields can be utilized to their fullest potential. Planners initially thought that there would not be sufficient funding to pay for (AT); so the community would be in favor of using (AT)

MOTION: (MK, CW) EPIC enthusiastically supports the use of (AT) for fields at EPPCCC. Passed unanimously.

Soccer field is now 90% of full-size; the baseball field is 95% of full-size. This is a result of a compromise in order to fully utilize both fields. If the design contractor is able to get 100%, great! The community has approved 93% of Little League regulation size (13 and Under.)

Scott expressed thanks to Hennepin County Youth Sports Program for partnering to provide a working wading pool and finished fields.

7:45      Elana Bowman with Power Brokers Energy Forum. Invited the community to attend a community meeting regarding a plan to address the energy needs and challenges of the community. Will also be providing free 1 hour workshops in homes to learn about saving power. Finally, offering savings on insulation services by “co-oping” expenses with neighbors.

7:50        Report and Discussion on Hi-Lake Apartments Special meeting, Council Action and Continued            Concerns. See letter presented to the Community Planning Committee on Monday, July 12th. It contains the motion passed at our special meeting on July 7th. Next Steps?? Motion?? --Carol Pass

EPIC wants to speak to the people who did the marketing survey. EPIC’s immigrant residents have expressed that they do NOT want to live alone. Landlord experience supports this view. Our residents who are putting down roots in this neighborhood, are “intergenerational” ethnic groups, and their lifestyles, cultures and traditions are important to EPIC.

What will happen if 68 tenants come into this building and bring 68 or more cars? Parking is a real problem in this neighborhood already and this site isn’t addressing parking adequately. How will this impact the existing business owners at Hi-Lake? Some expressed the view that there is sufficient parking; it is just on the west side of the lot.

Asked CM Gary Schiff why developers met with neighborhoods south of Lake St. but not north of Lake St.? The businesses at Hi-Lake were not included in the conversation about further development at Hi-Lake. Gary met with Senior Advisory Committee and reported that some want diverse ages in building; others want a quiet senior building with services in the building. He also reported that there are too many single-family home “rentals” on the market right now, and there is no need to build “family-size” apartments right now.

Next steps: Asked CM Schiff for assistance with talking to the developer, especially in regard to the features that everyone supports.

8:30        “Bridging Phillips” Progressive Festival – A Special Festival connecting & celebrating the Four          Quadrants and the Multi-Ethnicities of Phillips: Our Diversity, Our Unity, Our Community, All Down Our          One Linking Street, 24th St. Music, Food, Enchantment! Aug. 13th. EPIC Participation at E. Phillips Park
            --Dallas Johnson, presenter (from West Phillips)

Connecting people of the Phillips neighborhoods; dispelling misinformation; Will work like a progressive dinner. The day will be really fun, and interactive; not just for “watching”. Faith community has been invited to prepare the week before the event; going through the neighborhoods and praying, etc. The event will begin with a water blessing ceremony. Many participants will contribute ceremony and celebration at points between Cedar Ave. and 5th Ave. along 24th St.

8:40        Organizing for youth issues – Ideas?  Actions?? Tae Kwan Do?? Youth Soccer?? Big Brothers/Big         Sisters? Update on Somali Community Focus NPI Project. Mohamed Cali, --Carol Pass

Working to provide more programming for 12-15 year olds, at least three times per week; we need to attend to these “bored” kids. Helping residents deal with crime, speaking up for themselves to community police, city council, etc.

MOTION: EPIC send request to Edie Oates that the city office convey to Henn County tax forfeited land has been a problem property for  a very long time and should never  be redeemed by Alex, any of his associates, businesses, aka’s to EVER redeem this property again, from tax 2527 18th ave so. (LL, CP) Passed.

8:45      Crime Concerns and Other Livability Issues “CLEAN Sheets. Come prepared to discuss current           difficulties on your block. There have been significant issues lately. Tracking hot spots, problems and             police assistance. Letter from City re: Foundry problem.

MOTION: EPIC opposed any permit application from the foundry until they have dealt adequately with violations of codes (shaking houses; excessive noise), (SS, LL) Passed.

EPIC needs someone to provide leadership for crime concerns and other livability issues outside EPIC meetings, such as attending court watch, reviewing clean sheets, reporting to community at EPIC meetings, etc. Contact Carol Pass with ideas, suggestions and to volunteer.

8:57       Adjournment:

July 7, 2011

Hi-Lake Plan Special Meeting Minutes 07-07

 July 7, 2011, 6:30 - 8:45
East Phillips Park Cultural & Community Center 
2307 17th Ave S.
EPIC web address: eastphillips-epic.com
Office: 2536 18th Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN 55404
6:35   Introductions:
Attendees: Judd Fenlen, Pete Keely, (Wellington) Rep. Karen Clark, Pat Fleetham, John Mortenson, Buddy Love, Gail Bjorgo, Marygrace Alton, Brad Pass, Chiffon Williams, Margaret Kirkpatrick, Shirley Heyer, Donna Neste, Audrey-Marie Leonard, Ticordia Copeland, Danny Hedin, Carrie Anne Johnson, Troy Benjegerdes, Maxwell Mortenson, Luke Jacob, Michelle Ferren, Mary-Juanita Leonard

Board Members: Carol Pass, Jenny Bjorgo, Linda Leonard, Earl Simms, Mary Gonsior,  Steve Struthers, Chiffon Williams
Short notice, terrific turnout. Important issue.

6:40   Mpls. Core Principles of Community Engagement, EPIC Process Expectations,
Core Principles of Community Engagement
1. Right to be involved – Public participation is based on the belief that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process.
2. Contribution will be thoughtfully considered - Public participation includes the promise that the public's contribution will be thoughtfully considered.
3. Recognize the needs of all - Public participation promotes sustainable decisions by recognizing and communicating the needs and interests of all participants, including decision-makers.
4. Seek out involvement - Public participation seeks out and facilitates the involvement of those potentially affected by or interested in a decision.
5. Participants design participation - Public participation seeks input from participants in designing how they participate.
6. Adequate information - Public participation provides participants with the information they need to participate in a meaningful way.
7. Known effect of participation - Public participation communicates to participants how their input affected the decision.
Copyright IAP2. All rights reserved. Adopted by Minneapolis City Council, December 2007

Introductions:  made after reading through the core principles of community engagement.

6:46   Presentation of  Hi-Lake Plan by Judd Fenlen,Wellington Developers

CP distributed copies of the development Plans from Sept. 29, 2010 (5 pages.) Judd F. of Wellington Management, and Pete (architect) gave a brief presentation of the plan, after which the floor was opened up to questions.

The plan is for a 68 unit apartment building, mixed use. About 7,500 SF commercial on the ground floor. Owner manages the Hi-Lake Shopping Center, which is 100% occupied. Also owns the former Green Institute, behind the Hi-Lake Shopping Center. As the managers of the center, they have dealt with ongoing maintenance problems with the triangle of land next to the Light Rail Station. The land was sold to Wellington, and have been working on the plan now for a couple of years.

Starting with a site map, Pete described the "triangular" site and the challenges that are involved with developing this site, including traffic signals, the shape of the site, a dead-end parking lot, etc. Getting access out and through the shopping center is a priority for the shopping center and the neighborhood. Would like to fix up the back side of the site to improve traffic flow, improve lighting and clean up trash issues etc. Plan leaves room for 46 stalls.

Upper level is senior housing, 68 units on five floors, 14 units per floor (minus 2 units on the top floor reserved for community space. Judd states this seems the best use of the site, due to limited parking. Seniors leaving homes to move into apartments would leave family homes for families to purchase. There is little green space and no ability to increase. There are some "green" grant proposals out on the project to manage the storm water treatment in the area.

7:05   Neighborhood Q an A

  • Where is water being directed; what methods are being used? Ans. parked in front of a train station is really the perfect location for "hard space", although agrees that more green-space is needed in the city. Using porous pavers; a chamber underground to collect water; putting in a gray water system (irrigation) for an "urban garden";

  • Parking issue; even if the tenants don't use cars so much, visitors and friends will come to the building. Ans. A ramp would not really add many parking spots. This is a transit site, and a primary goal is to alleviate traffic flow problems, and - working with the city - to multi-task the space under the train to better use.

  • Community knew nothing about this project, surprisingly when this project is so well developed; Everyone asked wants more 2 bedroom units; Regardless of what bicyclists or others say, people have more cars than previous planning took into account; management issues with single units are intense; what if seniors don't live there? We don't want all singles living there, and the neighbors to this building don't want this. Adding 50% 2-BR would cut the parking need in half. It would also impact the crime issues related to large 0-1-BR buildings. With the LRT there now, there are serious crime issues. What if a drug dealer gets in the building? You need to consider this. EPIC would like to make 50% 2-BR a requirement. EPIC doesn't want to struggle with the issues that come with single BR housing. Ans. We have worked with a number of senior experts and the city (who is very in favor of senior housing). There seems to be confidence that there is a favorable senior market.
  • What about safety for these seniors? There are a lot of young people "hanging" in that area. There is a lot of noise in that area. What about parking at night? What about when it snows? How will they walk in the snow from parking. Ans. Have developed housing on some very busy commercial locations. Conventional wisdom is that everyone is going to want to live at the back of the unit; the most popular units turned out to be the commercial facing side of the building. Wellington is a company that stays and continues to invest in their properties.
  • Being in negotiations about the Greenway easement, where is that now? Ans. When this property came up the easement was arbitrarily 40 feet. Need to negotiate a better way to use the land under the tracks AND to provide for the trolleys, etc. Not sure yet how that will look.
  • Can you comment on accommodations for seniors? What about parking on the first floor, instead of the commercial? Ans. Universal design includes the ability to have accessible units, and allows people to come in and add these things as needed; also use of common space is considered a program element for eyes on the street to help with security. We looked at a plan for ground floor parking. Biggest problem was not fixing the traffic flow.
  • Will you offer seniors discounts and free transit, similar to other senior buildings? How long has this project been in the planning? Ans. Open to discounts and offers, etc. Bought the site two years ago.
  • Detail all the variances that you are receiving for this project? comment: ugly big black building; six stories! can it be tiered back? Ans. Building is comparable to one or two in the five-story range. Stepping back, the site is extremely tight, adds complexity and cost. Again, the question is, Is this the right location for density? We think it is and will be a positive investment for the community. Not anticipating any variances required for the project.
  • Singles, 19-40 year olds was discussed at previous meetings. Now the plan is for senior housing. Are you changing the market you are appealing to because of comments by the neighborhoods? If you put underground water-vaults, is this preventing underground parking? Can you single out "seniors" in marketing? Can you keep out the criminal elements? Comments: There are people who want to live in Phillips; we have built units in the midtown exchange, for example. Work with the neighborhoods. Ans. Focus shifted to seniors; we've gone back and forth; partially hearing concerns about security, and because of the city's goals, and because of parking issues. Biggest issue with underground parking, b the time you get underground, you lose about half the space you are trying to obtain; prefer to put the money into the outside features.

  • What are you going to charge people to live there? Metro median-income - what is affordable range you are seeking? Have you dealt with HUD issues with high-voltage transmission lines; there was a denial by HUD due to health hazards related to electricity; can you check this out? Ans. Rents for workforce and seniors are different. Can't remember the rates discussed before, but will email the rates after this meeting. Will send the income range for these units by email. Will check out the HUD issue.
  • Is the LRT station accessible to wheelchairs? Will there be bike racks, accessibility to bicyclists? Ans. Will probably be a "walk-through" area.
7:20   EPIC Board Recommendations (from polling the Hi-Lake businesses and East             Phillips Residents

  • Somali and Latino community leaders and residents requests 2 bedroom units for small family groups. Their seniors live with families, almost never alone.
  • Above 60% median income is not "affordable". EPIC would support trust funds for making units more affordable.
  • Businesses favor and request fewer units to lessen parking impact.
7:40   Neighborhood Decision (EPIC Board Recommendation)       

MOTION: EPIC moves that:

1)  the neighborhood and businesses be involved in all future planning by Wellington for     the Hi-Lake Apartments,

2)  that 1/2 (50%) of the apartments be two bedroom to encourage small families or groups to rent to prevent crime and better serving the existing immigrant and diverse community.

3)  that all apartments be handicapped accessible in all areas.

4)  that there be real balconies to deter crime and provide ‘eyes on the station’.

5)  that there be a program of consistant security officers on site

6)  that the parking area be fenced and

7)  that the parking situation be worked out with the tenants.

 We would like to have 50% of the units 2-BR. We would like all the units to be "accessible". We would like "real balconies". We would like there to be a program of consistent security officers present (but these requirements may make that not necessary.) The building needs security from the LRT; the neighborhood doesn't want to have to deal with the crime. All the business neighbors are very alarmed about the parking. We ask that you involve EPIC and the current tenants at the shopping center in the decision-making.

Friendly amendment by Troy Benjegerdes: #8. Take a serious look at solar on the roof, and greening on the building.

Motion passed with one opposed, and two abstentions.

7:50   Meeting Adjourned

Notes: an additional question...after the meeting from LL: How will pedestrian traffic be handled when people park in the new lot, and want to shop at the center (LL).

July 2, 2011

Board Meeting Minutes 07-02

July 2nd,  2011, 10:00 am
East Phillips Park Cultural & Community Center 
2307 17th Ave S.
EPIC web address: eastphillips-epic.com
Office: 2536 18th Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN 55404

Attendees: Linda Leonard, Mary Gonsior, Rosie Cruz, Carol Pass, Steve Struthers, Earl Simms
Guests: Shirley Heyer, Brad Pass,
Meeting as COW until arrival of another Board Member. Steve and Earl arrived

10:00    Introduction:
·         Approval of Agenda LL/CP
·         Minutes from EPIC Board Meeting Minutes  6/4 /2011

10:10    Announcements: 
·         Special Meeting with Wellington Development re: Hi Lake Apartments—Thursday, July 7th, 6;30
·         EPIC General Membership Meeting Thursday, Junly 14th, 6:30 pm at the East Phillips Park Center
·         Midtown Phillips Festival at Stuart Park,  July 23rd         
·         NRP Policy Board passed a motion to send frozen NRP dollars to Northside Neighborhoods for       Tornado relief.
·         Carol was elected to the NCEC Board, Chiffon went for EPIC.  I relied on a phone vote and who was available.
·         News: Citizens for a Loring Park Community, CLPC, is being evicted from their office for opposing the plans of the  developer who owns the building.

10:20     DISCUSSION OF HI LAKE APARTMENTS - Organizing for July 7th Meeting with Wellington
            2845 working with Phoenix development, a for profit developer is putting in that development with significant input from the neighborhood. They are putting in both balconies and underground parking.
            Neighborhood Preferences:
  • wants some 2 bedroom room units in the Triangle development.
  • Consider 10-15% 2 bedrooms units.
  • Consider some first floor parking, possibly ½ floor of commercial
  • Consider real balconies.
  • Security, will you have a security guard. We would like increased security cameras.
  • We want to know what amount of money is actually coming from private funds?
  • Concerns expressed about preventing crime, in regard to security of parking, kids coming off the light rail.
10:50   Phase II Housing Issues:
            Contacted Doug Wise to help us research and set up plan for NRP Phase II . Housing Rehab support,        grant writing with CEE, foreclosure work, etc. Waiting for response to set up meeting.
            Suggested that NRP Phase II could set aside funds for owner occupant purchases instead of current          proposal for first time homebuyers.

11:15    Work on Met. Council Facilities and Pollution Issues:
            no new info on Met Council.

11:25    Report on NRP at the Legislature:
            Bob Miller is coming up with a new bill to reassert the importance of NRP

11: 30    Adjournment