BOARD MEETING MINUTES – Monday, October 21th, 2019 – 7:00 p.m., Fuller Park
Board members present: Dan Williams, Carl Arrell, Dick Fiala, Kellie Hanson, Brian McDonald, Dirk Nicholson, Bernadette Tomko, Brenda Anderson, Brady Steigauf
Board members absent: Alyssa Thull, John Dukich, Pat Collins
Also present: Sally Bauer (TNA Executive Director), Councilmember Jeremy Schroeder, State Representative Jamie Long, Erik Takeshita
Called to order: 7:02
Treasurer – Brian noted we had a very active month with many events, thus much financial activity. TNA’s bank balance is $45,078.
Secretary – Carl made a motion to approve the August minutes, Dirk seconded. Voice vote, all in favor, motion approved.
State Representative Jamie Long
Jamie introduced himself and passed around his 2019 legislative report. He is the state representative for Tangletown south of 50th St. This is his first session in the legislature, though he has been on neighborhood councils for several years. A large achievement was passing a budget on time, which includes 2% annual increases in education spending and a couple 10s millions dedicated to closing the special education gap. This will help close Minneapolis’ school budget deficit. The budget also increased the MFIP amount for neediest families for the first time since the 80s.
Jamie personally introduced 16 bills of which 3 were passed this term. He helped pass the best wage theft law in the country and saved Minneapolis taxpayers $20 million due to an agreement to share old pension fund costs that the state reneged on in the past. He helped fund the 2020 census mobilization in an effort to help keep Minnesota’s 8th congressional seat. He also helped pass a bill to help commercial buildings get better energy efficiency. He is the author of the 100% Clean Energy Bill which passed the house but not the senate.
He also worked on criminal justice reform via the probation reform effort; Minnesota has 6th longest probation terms in entire country and his bill would have capped probation at 5 years.
The biggest issues he hears about from constituents in his district are education, the environment, and housing.
Councilmember Jeremy Schroeder
Jeremy focused on the recent Fullertown Flats development and related upcoming city council meetings.
Jeremy noted that the developer is allowed to build to zone R5 code without requesting any variance. The planning commission can only consider the parking variance. Normally this project would be required by the city to have 23 parking spots but the developer is requesting a variance to build only ten. The developer pulled the previously requested setback variance at the last minute. To get a parking variance you need to qualify by having a transit incentive. Jeremy was one of two on the plan commission who voted to deny the parking variance request, and was the only one to vote “no” on the site plan. He felt the variance didn’t fit transit incentive (which requires high frequency transit within ¼ mile which this project does not). City staff read the three frequent lines on Bryant and Nicollet as qualifying for the incentive even though they aren’t technically close enough to pass the letter of the incentive.
He also noted that if the developer doesn’t get the parking variance they would have to put 23 parking spaces in and make it luxury apartments, or reduce the number of units. He doesn’t feel there was enough of a dialogue with the neighbors, for example about environmental issues. He said he would stress this dialogue at the next planning meeting. He highly encourages people to write in before the next meeting. An appeal of the planning and zoning decision to grant the variance was filed and will now be considered by all City council members. The council has different views because of their closeness to constituents versus the plan commission of which many members are appointed.
Dick said parking seemed to be the biggest issue and asked if the city has done any follow-up to figure out how many cars people actually have for units that the city has reduced parking requirements for? Jeremy said that the developer has made that argument and this was one more thing that could have used more dialogue with neighbors..
With Jeremy’s and Carl’s permission, Erik Takeshita (the appellant) explained his view of the transit incentive and its read on the variance request. He said the project does not meet the letter of the transit incentive law and to get the variance requires practical difficulty and economic considerations cannot be considered a practical difficulty. He asserted that City staff decided said it was “close enough” to three transit lines.
Jeremy noted that living in S. Minneapolis is not a practical difficulty; transit requirements are pretty clear. He said that the developer originally proposed a five-story building but staff recommended reducing it. The developer could build underground parking. One of his frustrations is the developer’s apparent lip-service to affordability; if they really care about affordability they would do it, not turn around and rework the project into luxury apartments if they don’t get the parking variance.
Spaces: the committee is close to having signage for the Washburn water tower wrapped up. The board will have drafts of banner design finalists this week and the committee is looking for strong thumbs-down on various designs. Alley cleanup is November 2nd from 10am to 2pm with drop-off at Washburn High School or on-site pickup if residents need assistance.
Engagement: There were 200+ attendees at the Block Party event. The location worked great, looked full, had nice lighting, and the weather cooperated. The partnership with El Jefe was OK but they wanted to start earlier (perhaps to sell more food); with the later start time they sold a decent amount of alcohol but not much food. Lots of positive comments from attendees. Many people walked to the event. The property owner for the complex was in attendance and happy with the event, parking load, etc. There seems to be an appetite for this kind of event in the future.
Environmental: There will be an organics compost site tour this Saturday. Attendance is free for anyone in the neighborhood. The Sustainable Cooking class will be held November 15th at Wedge Table and is also free but with a suggested donation of $20. There is some left-over money from the organics education grant and the committee is trying to come up with some new ideas. Lots of people are taking advantage of the adopt-a-storm-drain program. There is a 4th submission for energy rebate and Sally thinks Jan/Feb will be a good time to do more outreach. The Litter-be-gone event had 8 volunteers even with date change due to weather.
Accounting Report: the City contracts with accountants to “audit” neighborhood organization finances every three years. Sally met with the accountants back in June. She included their report in our board packet and Brian and Carl are working on updates to our financial processes based on the suggestions.
CLCLT Opportunity: the board previously approved a $90,000 loan to the City of Lakes Community Land Trust (CLCLT) for affordable housing projects but the previously approved project fell through. The project still happened but was unable to use our loan due to changes in timing. CLCLT asked to use our $90,000 loan in their 4331 14th Ave South project instead. As before there are no probable properties in Tangletown and the board had previously approved the loan for a project outside Tangletown. Brian asked whether residents may ask if the board visited/reviewed the new property before making the investment, ie. what level of due diligence are we expected to perform for the neighborhood? Board has previously met with CLCLT twice to learn about their methodology and is confident they will do a good job. Once the money comes back from CLCLT it will no longer have the housing requirement attached and can be used for any TNA initiatives.
Dirk made a motion to approve the $90,000 loan with same terms as agreed for the previous property, pending Sally confirming that the neighborhood board in which the property exists is supportive. Kellie seconded. Voice vote, all in favor, motion approved.
Car accident follow-up: Sally was picking up lighting equipment for the TNA Street Party and had a car accident. Her concern is that her insurance company could contact Tangletown to cover some or all of the accident costs. Sally also has a $1,000 deductible on her insurance and the attorney and city and suggested the board could cover the deductible from CPP/NRP funds as it was work related. The attorney also expressed surprise that TNA doesn’t currently have worker’s comp insurance; Sally got a quote for $265 per year. Dick said having such a policy would make sense.
Carl made a motion to reimburse Sally’s $1,000 deductible and approve $265/yr for worker’s comp insurance. Brenda seconded. Voice vote, all in favor, motion approved.
Board Assessment frequency: one of the strategic plan recommendations was regularly assess board process and outcomes. Our last assessment was done in January 2019 and recommended no material changes. Sally asked if we should do the same thing in January 2020; the board agreed.
Strategic Plan Review
Tabled until November meeting.
Tabled until November meeting.
Minutes submitted by Dan Williams, TNA Secretary