September 13, 2012

General Membership Meeting Minutes 09-13

September 13th, 2012, 6:30 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.
East Phillips Park Cultural & Community Center, 2307 17th Ave S.
EPIC web address:
Office: 2536 18th Avenue S., Minneapolis, MN 55404

EPIC Members: Maggie Ewing, Brad Pass 
Board Members Present: Mary Gonsior, Carol Pass, Jenny Bjorgo, Linda Leonard, Chiffon Williams
Board Members Not Present: JoseLuis Villasenor, Earl Simms, Steve Struthers, Rosie Cruz
Guests: Nikki (student at Saint Mary’s) attending to gather information about health assessment needs. Lorretta (Banyon Center), Doug Wise, EPIC Housing coordinator

6:45            Introductions:

·       Greetings and Introductions.
·       Approval of Agenda; BP, JB; approved.
·       Approval of Minutes from EPIC 8/9/2012 General Membership Meeting; BP, JB; Additions: GS said that the city had no existing way to measure vibration; he also said he had received no complaints about vibration since March 2012 when he sent out a letter about the situation; he said his staff reads his email; he confirmed that the Alliance project doesn’t have adequate funding to move ahead.

6:55            Announcements:
Ø  Special Opportunity – Last chance to pre-register for Women’s Environmental Institute’s 3rd Annual Growing Power Training Weekend with Will Allen and his Milwaukee staff, talented instructors in sustainable urban farming techniques. $250.00, This Saturday, Sept.15 &16, 8:00 am, all day, Sun 5:00pm. BUT you might be able to register late…Call 651-583-0705 or email at: Scholarships from EPIC??
Ø  The Rembrandt Exhibit at the Minneapolis Institute of Art will end Sunday.
Ø  Raptor Night at the new Waite House, Special presentation by U of M Raptor Center, Thursday, Sept. 27th, 6:00 – 7:00pm  (Bilingual Presentation)
Ø  Clean Sweep – October 13th, 9:00 am at Welna’s Parking Lot, 24th & Bloomington Ave. Help Clean Up the Whole Neighborhood…Free incredible T-Shirts!
Ø  Phillips Criminal Justice& Community Partners Meeting Lutheran Social Services 2400 Park Ave. Wed. Sept. 19th, 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Ø  EPIC Community Garden Harvest Party, October 20th, 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm

7:10            Discussion and sharing ideas on marketing our Housing program. Update on Phase II Housing Contract with CEE – Doug Wise presenting

The agreement is now at CEE, they are reviewing it and if they sign it, we will then proceed with providing the agreement to the city for approval which will not be a problem. EPIC’s responsibility it to MARKET these deferred loan opportunities. We need to set up a meeting fairly quickly so we can get information about this out right away. Contact CP if you want to help with planning the marketing (plan to meet during the week of 9/17/2012.) Basic marketing materials would be a brochure/flyer for example. Do we need to market to renters? Are people willing to help distribute materials? Can we do this via the internet? Doug W. recommended meeting in person.

7:25            Land Use and Development Update: The situation so far. Updates on

Ø  Alliance Housing, 2600 17th Ave.
CP Update: This is a project for housing 20-22 homeless men in studio apts. This is not an appropriately zoned area for this building. If we don’t keep an area for low-moderate income housing, it will disappear from the city. Adjacent to the site, are a series of immigrant homeowners who made their investment on the assurance of the city’s zoning plan. They have voiced their opinion a year and a half ago, opposing this development on property value, re-salability of their homes, concern for the many small children there, inappropriate zoning and the negative precedent of ‘spot zoning’. Alliance Housing still has exclusive rights to the site; but on the grounds of false information regarding funding (the false claim of $750,000 Met Counsel grant) the best thing EPIC can do is to find an alternate site for this project. Alliance could do appropriate housing on this site.

Ø  Abbott Hospital air quality permit.

MN has the only law in the country that requires a cumulative impact study when considering adding industry that contributes to pollution. Abbott conducted a study, which was rejected because the study did not meet the standards of the Clark Bergland Environmental Justice Bill. We need to check back.    

Ø  Smith Foundry and Bituminous Roadways.

The city told EPIC that they couldn’t monitor the air quality in this area, so EPIC contacted MPCA (two months ago regarding the Abbott issues). Since then we have learned that MCDA, along with MDH and the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe DNRE, are planning to monitor PAHs in the air around Minneapolis. EPIC should partner with Little Earth to communicate about the location of these sites. The Midtown Greenway “pit”, the Longfellow Avenue stretch between 28th and 26th (the parking lot of Roof Depot, behind Smith Foundry).

Handouts: Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHS); Risk of cancer/illness from asphalt.

7:50            Report on Leadership Conference – Brad Pass

BP attended a four day conference on the “Art of Hosting” given by The idea is that there are many world views (certainly in this neighborhood), there are lots of different methods of doing things, and all of these need to be melded together into a practical plan and path forward. The training is very good and they do an amazing job. The training helps communities learn how to lead together to find a shared vision for solving local problems, and meeting local needs.

7:58            Report on Hi-Lake Triangle Apartment development project

CP attended the city council meeting, was 3 minutes late and missed the whole thing because there was no one present. There are going to be balconies to deter crime. EPIC sent a letter to the Minneapolis Finance & Property Services Dept. with 8 recommendations. Steve asked what we really want to happen at this corner – if we are worried about seniors living in a high crime area, could they build something else that would be profitable, and also improve the area. Wellington has their funding together and this project will probably happen. We have learned that there are variances under discussion with the city: sidewalk set-back and parking. We believe GS will support a variance because this site is in the midst of transit oriented development.

MOTION: PAT, CP; Passed.
EPIC is opposed to a parking variance unless a shared parking solution is worked out between Wellington, the businesses, and Corridor Flats Residents that will address everyone’s needs and concerns as pointed out in EPIC’s Letter to the mfpsd ON 9/7/2012. 

8:25            What should happen to the Waite House Building? Report on first meeting. Discussion and idea sharing. See Minutes.

As a matter of record, the “Waite House” no longer exists. The property at 2539 13th Ave S is now known as “a building owned by the MPRB. The Waite House programs now exist in another site. The MPRB has decided to sell the building; they went to Midtown Phillips in mid-June and ask the residents to deal with the RFP’s that are submitted for the building. Neither Midtown nor the MPRB informed anyone beyond a few people on the Midtown Board of the start of this process for almost three months. This is despite the fact that the initial RFP stated that there was to be representatives from all the various constituencies of the neighborhood. This requirement late vanished from the Park board’s RFP requirement.  The loss of time created an almost impossible time crunch for anyone who may have wanted to submit a proposal. Midtown decided to form a subcommittee in their housing committee to serve as a task force to evaluate these RFP’s.

Dawn Siggelkow is the park person who is working with Jennifer Naglak, who appeared to be chairing the process. The one of the very few decision-making committee members, Mark, is a Banyan volunteer. I was told that someone raised the issue of conflict of interest, but was told by Siggelkow that that was not a conflict.(see Linda for list). To be on the task force, you must be a voting member of the Midtown Association.

The park board seems to be convinced that the people who live on the block and in the immediate area should have the most say about what happens there. BP raised the issue that the building was bought w/ Federal money so the public should have a say.

The claim is that there are others who wish for time to put together proposals and want the building. We don’t know who they are because they haven’t had time to put anything on the table. The MPRB is not allowing the property to go for sale. The RFP has not been posted yet, but will be soon. In the meantime, the task force is charged with engaging the block, and immediate neighbors to assist with developing requirements from the community (preferences, etc.) to help decide who the new owners shall be.

All proposals will be due Friday, October 12, 2012.

Contact MPRB or Midtown Phillips if you have a group in mind that should submit a proposal.


8:50     Update on the Pool and Mpls. Swims (Hannah Lieder)

EPIC guaranteed the first money going into this project made a huge difference in this project. Funds have come in from Mpls. Swims, and Ventura Village. The task force is now assembling a design team, and if all goes well the process should move forward and be completed by the end of 2013.

8:55            New Business (if time permits) – table for next month.
o   Direct truck traffic
o   2830 Cedar, late night party parking lot in rear.

8:55            Adjournment