Neighborhood Association Meeting Minutes
Alan Balkema, Sandi Clothier, Olivia Dorfman, Bill Baus, Vernon Sweeney, Cheryl Sweeney, Michelle Henderson, Rocky Festa, Jean Graham, Karen Duffy, Sheri Benham, Sita Cohen, Karlyn Grise, Beth Ellis, Tom Payne, Joe Neukam
Sandi circulated an email and and phone sign up sheet to make sure those attending the meeting would receive communications from the group.
The meeting was held in the gymnasium of the Banneker Center. Alan Balkema began the meeting by asking us to go around and introduce ourselves and say where we lived.
–Update of Historic Preservation Activities –
Alan said that a small group from the neighborhood (along with District 1 Representative Chris Sturbaum) had met with Conor Herterich, Bloomington’s new Historic Preservation Program Manager in the HAND (Housing and Neighborhood Development) office. Conor will be working with us on the historic designation process. (Conor had been invited to this NWSNA meeting but he did not attend, possibly because the invitation had not been confirmed.)
At the meeting with Conor, we tried to ascertain what assistance we could get from the city regarding names and addresses of property owners and the costs of contacting them. Sandi noted that we now have the list of names and addresses.
Sita asked why we needed this.
Alan explained that we are under legal obligation to notify all the property owners in the neighborhood about the historic designation proposal.
As part of the historic designation process, a series of three meetings need to be held at various times of day so that everyone who has questions about the proposal may attend. Michelle said that these meetings could be held at Fairview school or at the Banneker center. No liability insurance will be needed since these are required public meetings and the city’s insurance will cover them.
Rocky commented that we could do meetings in the public library.
Sita asked when the first meeting would be. Alan replied that three tentative dates had been suggested, all in late 2018. The issues are: coordinating calendars with members of the Historic Preservation Commission, HAND staff, and committee members; holidays; and being mindful of large community events that might cause low participation.
Karen asked if people would have to attend all three meetings.
Sandi replied that there would be three meetings so everyone would have the opportunity to attend one of them. At these meetings they would be able to view maps and the application and give feedback. There would also be someone present from the Historic Preservation Commission to answer their questions.
–Henderson Variance Request –
Michelle Henderson needs a setback variance in order to build a new garage at her property at the corner of 6th & Oak. She is proposing to construct a historically-accurate detached garage. She showed us a picture resembling the proposed construction as well as a map of her property.
Rocky commented, “You’re only asking for seven feet.”
Jean asked if her neighbors were okay with the addition and Michelle responded yes, she had talked with her neighbors.
Sandi moved to write a letter of support for the Henderson project. Tom seconded the motion and the motion passed by unanimous vote.
–Safety Hazard from Overgrown Vegetation –
Alan reported on a safety hazard in which he said “bamboo ate the corner.” The problem is overgrown vegetation at 1002 W 6th Street. He noted that he can’t walk down the sidewalk because of the overgrowth and has made multiple “uReports” about the issue. (FYI: uReports are a way to notify the City of community issues, such as potholes, graffiti, malfunctioning street lights, etc. on the city’s website at https://bloomington.in.gov/ureport) Then he noted that he saw a near-accident since the stop sign at the corner was hidden by the plants. He said the vehicle crept into the intersection and was almost struck by another car coming down 6th Street. He wrote a letter to Chris Sturbaum about the problem and the next day the plants around the stop sign had been trimmed.
Rocky noted that people have been reporting about that house since 2009.
Sandi said that someone lives there only in the winter and spends his summers in Arizona. She added that neighbors to the property had to put in a concrete barrier because the bamboo is so invasive. Sandi suggested the neighborhood association should write a letter to city about this.
Rocky commented that her experience with uReports has been very successful and rapidly resolved.
Sita asked, “What is stopping us from cutting it?” meaning the overgrowth.
Alan said, “Are we going to send a letter to the city council? They should pass a blighted property ordinance.”
Sita said “Should we start with a letter to HAND about safety and uReports on the house, and how can you help us?”
Rocky said, “Can’t we send a letter to the owner and cc the city?”
Alan asked, “What is the will of the people?”
Sita said, “Write a letter to HAND.”
Rocky said, “Start with the owner and copy HAND.”
Sandi said, “we have the owner’s address.”
Rocky said, “I move we send a letter to the owner of the home and copy HAND.”
Cheryl seconded the motion and the motion passed by unanimous vote.
–Proposed Change for Next NWSNA Meeting –
Sandi noted that November 13 at 7 pm, an important presentation by Marc Cornett will be held in the former McDoel Baptist Church building at 1008 South Rogers St. CONA (The Council on Neighborhood Associations) is sponsoring the talk, which is intended to get people interested and involved in the city planning process. A few years ago, Mark did a series of lectures in Bloomington about walkable neighborhoods and new urbanism.
Since this meeting takes place a week before the regularly scheduled NWSNA meeting (November 20), Alan suggests we should encourage neighbors to go to the CONA meeting on the 13th and call that our November meeting.
–Transportation Plan –
Cheryl brought up the new Transportation Plan that shows a connecting route going past her house and up Fairview St., which is very narrow.
Sandi said that it would be helpful to look at the Transportation Plan and then talk with the Council members about areas that we have concerns about. She remembered that at a previous NWSNA meeting Shahyar Daneshgar had told the group that the city may be planning to widen 9th St. She wondered, “What else is in their plan?”
Jean said it sounds like something two or three people could look at and present their findings to the group.
Sandi said the UDO (Unified Development Ordinance) is not going to be discussed until the Spring and that CONA will meet in the next couple of months to look at areas that are awful.
–Old Business –
Rocky asked about the neighbor who wanted us to send a letter about the people in the park. Neighbor Frank Marshalek had responded to the September meeting minutes with an email about dangerous things he had seen left in the park such as used needles. He had suggested a letter signed by residents of the neighborhood should be sent to the city about this problem.
Karen noted that she has seen the same things and even witnessed an overdose near the bathroom.
Sandi commented that the restroom will be closed soon for the winter.
On other old business, Sita asked what happened with our neighborhood liaison that was mentioned at the August meeting (the Neighborhood Resource Specialists). Sandi commented that they were invited to a CONA meeting but did not attend.