ECCO Meeting Minutes for December 2, 2010
Meetings are held at St. Mary’s Greek Orthodox Church at 7:00
Minutes submitted by Katherine St. Martin
Board members: Heather Wulfsberg, Blake Harper, Gael Ellis, Katherine St. Martin, Sarah Sponheim, Jim Smith, Brad Durham/Kaitryne Durham, Tim Norkus-Crampton, Nancy Ward (President)
Monica Smith, Lara Norkus-Crampton, Meg Tuthill
Minutes from Nov 4th Meeting approved
- Introductions for new Board member Jim Smith
- Nancy emphasized that participation and advocacy for Hennepin County Pollution Control Agency’s efforts to keep our lakes free of pollution is possible by making comments and contacting the Agency.
Meg Tuthill (City Council)
- Encouraged attendance at the Mon Dec 13th City Council Meeting at 6:05pm in the City Council Chambers. This is best venue to air disagreements with City Council decisions, i.e. property tax increases.
- The City of Minneapolis increased the property taxes for ECCO (10th Ward) as well as the 7th, 11th and 13th Wards by the maximum allowable rate of 7.5%. Meg emphasized that every percentage represents 2.5 million towards the City’s budget, which is critical due to the current deficit. The Wards with the highest increase were chosen because they were the neighborhoods with the least amount of property value decrease in the last year.
- Meg explained that the City only controls 24% of its own budget and the State owns the rest. The issue of City control of its own budget is a key issue that community members can speak out on during City Council Meetings.
- Snow Emergency notifications can be received via e-mail, twitter, facebook, text message, or by calling 311 or 348-SNOW as usual. Meg emphasized that the City will be ticketing and towing aggressively.
- Zoning Board of Adjustment encourages an ECCO member to volunteer to attend their meetings once a month. More information is available upon request; the main topics of discussion are the residential and business zoning issues such as variances and garage encroachment. These are all issues seen within our neighborhood.
- New parking meters that allow credit card payment and rate adjustment for high-density events such as Twins games and lower rates to encourage weekend shopping are being installed downtown Minneapolis. Uptown will eventually receive these new meters in later summer or early fall of next year.
- If you are interested in attending the next lunch with Meg on Dec 14th is between 12:00 and 1:00pm at the 5th Precinct, as always, contact her office at 612-673-2210 or email@example.com.
- Meg addressed a question regarding whom to call for repeated noise and disruption from “party houses.” She mentioned that having multiple neighbors call the police would put emphasis on a particular house during the police shift roll call. She also reinforced that her office can also take that call.
- · Nancy read Glen’s notes for this month’s report. Glen will be sending out the significant January 2011 report prior to the Jan meeting so that Board members can generate questions and notes. He reports that the $2,000 CPED Grant is ending and won’t be part of our 2011 budget.
Board moves to frontload the Zoning Committee report
- Crate and Barrel (CB2) Building Plan for NE corner of 31st and Hennepin Ave. Committee Chair, Heather Wulfsberg, started the report by reading the Zoning Committee’s written proposal statement of support for CARAG’s opposition to the current building plan. Her statement focused on the fact that the CB2 design does not conform to the Uptown Small Area Plan’s (USAP) call for multi-use buildings. The current building plan calls for a one-story building with modern façade. Blake Harper looked into current zoning issues and variances in Uptown and echoed Heather’s emphasis that our proposal needs to focus on what the city can regulate; the city cannot currently dictate facade aesthetic. Tim and Lara Norkus-Crampton contributed a large amount of history and handouts, which explained the Planning and Urban Development background of the USAP. The plan calls for mixed-use buildings particularly in the “gateway” areas where the CB2 store is contested in order to provide a transitional corridor between the business and residential districts. Lara emphasized the concept of City planning versus zoning and the importance of defending the USAP agreement. She also talked about the USAP’s spirit of consistency across aesthetic and the multi-storey setbacks.
Board moves to roll the Goal and Vision Setting Agenda Item in order to finish discussion of Zoning Committee’s topic.
- Nancy opened the floor for Board member discussion of the Zoning Committee report. The CB2 store had originally proposed a mixed-use design that upheld the USAP but revised their plan recently. They sited re-branding and economic times as the reasons for changing their design. Several Board members liked the modern design of the building and expressed concern about appearing anti-development by opposing the new store. They did not feel opposed to the aesthetic look of the building but thought the City could be more discerning about allowing exceptions to existing neighborhood agreements. Meg Tuthill could not give an opinion on the topic, but she did offer that it is a worthwhile community cause to hold the city to its agreements because every time we allow an exception, we allow a precedent to be set.
Board moves to accept Zoning Committee’s Statement of Support with the modified language to the effect of not setting a precedent of making exceptions to the USAP and including specific policy talking points for reference. Motion passes with 7 Aye votes and 1 Abstain vote.
- Zoning Committee will provide revised proposal in time to be included with the meeting packet for the City Planning Commission meeting on December 13th.
- Katherine St. Martin described the ECCO facebook page goal as a mirror and complement the ECCO website onto the ECCO facebook page in a similar form and function to the CARAG site. The events will be posted for public view by a site administrator in much the same way that the website is currently run. The event descriptions themselves will link back to the website and the website will have a “like” function that links the user back to the ECCO facebook page. One advantage to the facebook page is that an e-mail is automatically generated to the user when the admin posts an event to the page as well as duplicating the post on the personal profile pages of everyone that has clicked the “like” application. The focus of the website and facebook page is to encourage dissemination of information and reach out to the renter population.
- Monica Smith, website administrator, emphasized that the website was initially created with all the social media capabilities to link to facebook; by creating a facebook mirror of the website, we will be using the website as it was intended. She stated that she needed to re-organize the committee discussion forums on the website by adding the new members to the site. She sent out invitations to all the Board Members prior to the meeting.
- Board agreed to have the next neighborhood social in February 2011 instead of January. Social Committee should bring proposals to next meeting.
- CEE is managing the Phase II housing grant and loan programs. Eligible projects include improvements to home energy efficiency and/or exterior repairs or improvements. The Matching Grant Program features a matching grant of 25% NRP funds to 75% homeowner funds, with a maximum grant of $3,000. There are no income limits. The Low Interest Loan program offers 4% fixed rate loans with flexible terms with a maximum loan of $7,500. Household income limits apply. For more information, please go to the NRP section of our website: www.eastcalhoun.org. So far there is only one completed application before the initial due date of January 14, 2011. Monica proposed that the Board authorize an additional mailing to the non-owner occupied residences in order to reach out to these community members and spread awareness for this program. Owner occupied addresses were covered in the last mailing but the non-owner occupied homes are eligible for this program and the cost of a mailing would only be $250.00
Board moves to approve additional mailing for CEE program.
- Monica spoke on the topic of CPED grant money ($2,000). Some expenses that would normally be paid by our NRP funding (ECCO website and Uptown Neighborhood News) may be paid out of the ECCO account to make sure we can take full advantage of the $2,000 grant.
- Committee chair Sarah Sponheim applied for a community power grant from the county for as much as $5,000 for their “Waste Watchers” program for 2011 but hasn’t heard back yet.
Next ECCO Meeting will be held on January 6th 2011 at 7 pm inside St. Marys Greek Orthodox Church.