Near West Side Historic Preservation Designation Committee Announces Three Public Meetings

The Near West Side Historic Preservation Designation Committee* invites Near West Side neighbors to drop in to any or all of three public meetings where we will discuss the benefits of securing Historic District status from the City of Bloomington. Those meetings will be held:

  1. Thursday, December 6th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Banneker Community Center
  2. Wednesday, December 12th from noon to 2 p.m. in the Banneker Community Center
  3. Tuesday, December 18th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Banneker Community Center. This meeting falls on the third Tuesday and will constitute our regular December NWSNA holiday gathering. Everyone is encouraged to bring something to share (NO alcohol) at our annual Holiday Social.

Conor Herterich, Historic Preservation Program Manager with the City’s Department of Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND), and Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) members will be at the meetings to explain the process of becoming a Historic District and answer questions neighbors have about the process. Neighbors are free to drop in and leave the sessions as their curiosity is satisfied. Light refreshments will be available at all the events.

Our neighborhoods’ historic significance was confirmed when it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, underscoring the importance of this neighborhood to the entire Bloomington community. And the City wide Demolition Delay Ordinance also allows review by the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) of any significant changes done to the exterior of all contributing structures more than 50 years old within the City limits. This means owners of contributing structures currently take plans for alterations to the exterior of their property before Bloomington’s Historic Preservation Commission.

Securing a designation as a Historic District by the City Council gives our properties further protection than the 90-day demo delay. Bloomington residents know that developers are always looking for neighborhoods to turn into Smallwood “Villages”. Without the protection of a local Historic designation, the Near West Side will likely become a target for development, especially since other west side neighborhoods, including Prospect Hill, McDoel Gardens, and Maple Heights, already are or soon will be Historic Districts.

This flyer constitutes your official notice of the three public meetings, which we are required to hold before submitting an application for designation; any questions can be addressed to Conor Herterich, City of Bloomington HAND Department, at 812-349-3420.
*Members: Sandi Clothier, Alan Balkema, Bill Baus, Olivia Dorfman, Karen Duffy, Jean Graham, and Michelle Henderson.

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Minutes of October 16, 2018 NWSNA Meeting

Neighborhood Association Meeting Minutes

Present:

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.

 

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Minutes of September 18, 2018 NWSNA Meeting

Neighborhood Association Meeting Minutes

Present:

Alan Balkema, Sandi Clothier, Olivia Dorfman, Bill Baus, Vernon Sweeney, Cheryl Sweeney, Michelle Henderson, Karen Duffy, Rocky Festa, Jean Graham,   Sita Cohen, Shahyar Daneshgar

Update of Historic Preservation Activities –

Alan Balkema said that a small group had met with representatives of the city.  A new person will soon be hired by Bloomington’s Department of Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND) to work with us on the historic designation process.  The historic preservation group will be hosting three public meetings.  If all goes smoothly, the first of these will be this fall.

UDO Update –

Sandi Clothier spoke about the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). She said that Module 2 was released on the city’s website.  Module 3 will be released in late November.  The UDO has been broken down into separate modules, but the organization of the information does not correlate with the existing ordinance so it is difficult to determine what is being changed and how. The city’s Comprehensive Plan is the guiding principle for the UDO.  Next spring all will come together and then there will be public debate on the whole UDO.  The UDO will also have to conform to the Transportation Plan. A concern is that changing road types would change what could be built along those roads, which could impact the edges of our neighborhood.

Request to Change Parking Zone  –

Sita Cohen spoke on behalf of Sheri Benham, who is  requesting a change of location for a no parking zone in front of her house.  Sheri has already discussed this with her neighbor, who  has a driveway and does not need on-street parking.  Moving the zone would allow Sheri to park in front of her house and would put the no parking sign closer to the traffic calmer which is better for traffic flow.  Olivia moved to approve this idea, Michelle seconded it, and all present voted unanimously in its favor.

Request to Add a Second Kitchen  –

Shahyar Daneshgar would like to add a second kitchen to his house and the city told him to get the neighborhood’s blessing.  This would in effect create a second apartment in his house, which the city terms Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADU’s and which are sometimes called “granny flats.”  Sandi Clothier mentioned concerns with the City’s proposal for a by-right, one-year experiment to allow 30 ADUs to be built in Bloomington.  Sandi said we don’t object if the person lives in the house and gets a conditional use to age in place.  Bill Baus moved that the neighborhood association does not oppose Shahyar’s request, Sandi seconded the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.

Shahyar also noted that the city asked him to sign a paper that he would not object if the city chose to widen 9th St.

Question on Points of Order  –

Rocky Festa asked if we usually read the minutes at our association meetings.  She asked to have the minutes from the August meeting amended to clarify that she did not ask to become an at-large member of the board, but rather that the role was offered to her.

Reporting Local Crimes  –

Rocky Festa noted that a prowler had been in her back yard, tapping on the back door at 10:30 PM, and that she called 911 and it rang 15 times.  Officers did respond and arrested someone on 7th St. who was wearing gloves on a very hot night, and also someone on Maple St.  She said they tap on the door and if they don’t hear anyone then they try to break in.

Problems in Butler Park  –

Karen noted that there has been suspicious activity around the restroom at Butler park and that neighbors think the building may be used as a drop off for drugs.  There was a drug overdose in front of the bathroom this past Sunday.  Park workers were seen picking up needles used for drugs.  They said they had found needles in the playground  area as well. Karen stressed that if you see something you should call the police.  Rocky suggested we should have a meeting and cleanup in the park.  Sita noted that the bathroom will be closed in November when the city shuts down these facilities for the winter months.

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Minutes of the August 21, 2018 NWSNA Meeting

Amendment:

Rocky Festa asked  to have these minutes  amended to clarify that she did not ask to become an at-large member of the board, but rather that the role was offered to her.

Input Sought:

CONA:  The Mayor is interested in adding two Neighborhood Resource Specialists to the budget, and also mentioned the The Council of Neighborhood Associations  (CONA).  This will be discussed at the next CONA meeting. Our CONA representative Sandi Clothier would  like some feedback from neighbors about how this resource person might be used, and what sort of things you want to have officers do.  You can send your ideas directly to Sandi at sandiclothier@gmail.com and she can then bring these ideas to the next CONA meeting.

Radon:  Does anyone have a radon gas mitigation service to recommend? Margaret Key knows of VET Environmental Engineering (https://www.vet-env.com/) but would be interested in hearing from anyone who has used VET or any other local company.

Thanks in advance,

Margaret Key, 811 W. 8th St.

****************

Neighborhood Association Meeting Minutes

Present:

Alan Balkema, Sandi Clothier, Olivia Dorfman, Bill Baus, Vernon Sweeney, Cheryl Sweeney, Michelle Henderson, Karen Duffy, Rocky Festa, Jean Graham,  Karlyn Grise, Bob Grise, Sheri Benham, Sita Cohen, David Ferrand, Steve Schatz, Ren Campbell

Your Neighborhood, Your Story –

Alan Balkema presented a flyer from the Your Neighborhood, Your Story project, a collaborative effort by the Bloomington Storytellers Guild and South Central Indiana Housing Opportunities to collect and share stories from residents of various Bloomington neighborhoods.  The project will culminate in a photography exhibit at the Monroe County Public Library and a storytelling program at Fairview Elementary School.  If you would like to discuss the past, present and future of our neighborhood, contact Jennifer Perry at 812-360-5191 or by email at jeperry.librarian@gmail.com

Follow-up on Meeting with Bloomington Cooperative Living  –

Representatives of the co-housing group Bloomington Cooperative Living attended our July meeting to discuss their proposal to purchase the building at 921 W. 9th St. and develop it into from 16 to 26 units with shared bathroom and kitchen facilities.  Sandi Clothier reached out to members of CONA who gave her the following feedback:  CONA members recommended that we not support the proposal since it would require that the building be rezoned. This could set a precedent for the rezoning of other larger buildings in our neighborhood.  CONA members advocate locating high-density housing on the edges of neighborhoods or on busy streets, not in the heart of neighborhoods.  Sandi noted that the cooperative is not true co-housing since the tenants are not owners, but more like renters, that the issue has to do with ownership.

Cheryl Sweeney noted that the neighborhood has been adamant not to have more than three unrelated people living together in a house.

Rocky Festa asked how long the house has been empty and whether it could become an attractive nuisance.

Bill Baus commented that the building would be a perfect place for a group home.

The neighborhood association sent a letter to Bloomington Cooperative Living stating that we do not endorse their proposal.

Historic Preservation Committee  –

Alan talked about the rationale behind having our neighborhood designated as a local historic district.  He mentioned that the Bloomington Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) talks about increasing density in the city, and said that our district representative Chris Sturbaum warned that our neighborhood would be ground zero for development with the trades district so close by.  He noted that developers won’t be able to build in Prospect Heights or McDoel Gardens as those neighborhoods are already protected. Alan said we would need more teeth in our tool kit when demolition orders come, and that since we live in a consumer society, the pressure to develop our neighborhood is strong.  Since Rachel Ellenson is no longer the Historic Preservation Program Manager for the city, Sandi has been trying to arrange a meeting with other members of HAND (The City of Bloomington’s Housing and Neighborhood Development Department) so that we can move the process forward.  There was some discussion of the required public meetings presenting the proposal, but dates have not been set since more information is needed from HAND.

Sharing Neighborhood Information  –

Rocky Festa noted that she has  set up a Facebook page for the Near West Side, a public group called Near Westside Neighbors-Bloomington, and that she posts the meeting minutes there as well as other information of interest to people in the neighborhood.

Other Business  –

Jean Graham said she wants to be on the Historic Preservation Committee and was welcomed to join that group.  Rocky Festa said she would like to be an at large member of the board.  Sandi nominated Rocky, and Sita seconded the nomination.  Rocky was unanimously approved as a board member at large.

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Minutes of the July 17, 2018 NWSNA Meeting

Present:  Alan Balkema, Sandi Clothier, Olivia Dorfman, Bill Baus, Vernon Sweeney, Cheryl Sweeney, Michelle Henderson, Karlyn Grise, Bob Grise, Zackary Dunivin, Kenzie Givens, Rachel Ellenson, Sheri Benham, Sita Cohen

Bloomington Cooperative Living –

Zackary Dunivin and Kenzie Givens spoke as representatives of Bloomington Cooperative Living (BCL), a member-owned/run, non-profit organization and Bloomington’s largest low-income housing cooperative and intentional community with about 50 members distributed among three houses. The group is interested in purchasing the building at 921 W. 9th St. and developing it into multiple units ranging from 16 (if only the first and second floors are developed) to 26 (if the basement is also developed).  These apartments would include 3 or 4 “family style” suites and the rest would be dorm-style housing for single occupants. There would be one shared bathroom per floor. The BCL living style features a common kitchen and dining room arrangement in which group members share a communal evening meal.  Rents include food and utilities and would range from $480 to $640 per month for one year leases. The city would like BCL to provide a statement from the Neighborhood Association about our reaction to their proposal.

One neighborhood association member expressed concerns about parking if many group members chose to have vehicles.  Zackary replied that about one third of the members have cars, and that the city Parks and Recreation Department might allow them to rent parking in the lot adjacent to the Butler Park Community Garden.

Sandi Clothier expressed concern about a precedent being set that could lead to other properties being occupied by many unrelated people, and that other properties in the neighborhood might be so converted.

Another member questioned what would happen to the building if the BCL group were to fail.

The BCL has a Board of Directors composed of members of the Cooperative and community members.  Neighborhood association members expressed interest in meeting with the BCL Board.  Zackary and Kenzie also said they would supply the Neighborhood Association with copies of their membership contract and bylaws.

Bloomington Transportation Plan –

Sandi Clothier highlighted portions from the recently released draft of the city’s transportation plan that pertain to our neighborhood.  She noted that we can make comments and respond to this draft while it is still a proposal. Here is a link to the plan and the online survey where you can make comments:   https://bloomington.in.gov/transportation/plan

Sandi’s comments:

  • One concern is the designation of a route from Maple St. to Fairview as a Neighborhood Connector. This route which people are taking as a shortcut to avoid traffic on Rogers St. does not seem appropriate since it directs a lot of traffic right by the Fairview School, and Fairview St. itself is very narrow, as is Maple St. Sandi noted that the plan codifies behaviors which can inform the UDO in terms of land use.
  • Another thing to give feedback on is that Adams is slated to be connected both north and south, which would increase traffic on an already busy and narrow street.  In addition, the plan designates W. Kirkwood as a General Urban Street, which in the plans’ description includes two lanes of traffic, a central turning lane, bicycle lanes, and on-street parking–which seems a lot to fit into W. Kirkwood without dramatically changing its character.  It also has the potential to incorporate a change of use which could allow large scale development along Kirkwood.
  • The potential designation of 7th St. as a Greenway, which would be a bicycle route, is a positive thing.  As a neighborhood, we should be offering some opinions on these proposals.

Bill Baus mentioned earlier initiatives spearheaded by Mark Cornett and Jim Rosenbarger to have a series of planning charrettes (stakeholders’ meetings) that resulted in specific suggestions for the design of W. Kirkwood.  Sandi noted that Mark Cornett will be giving a talk on plans for the vacated hospital property.

Bloomington Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) –

Sandi spoke about the UDO, which governs land use and development throughout the city of Bloomington.  The first module features a map dividing the city into zones.  Part of the west side of Rogers St. is designated as “Downtown Edges,” which indicates transitional areas between downtown and the neighborhood.  Sandi feels this is a concern since it puts the edge on our neighborhood’s side of the street, rather than on the downtown side of the street.  Another concern in the proposal is that changes would be staff approval only.
The UDO Proposal originally included a recommendation that ADUs or Accessory Dwelling Units, be “by right” in Residential Core neighborhoods and “conditional use” in Residential Single family.  By right would allow anyone owning the property to get a permit and start building without notifying neighbors. Conditional use would require a public hearing for neighbors to see the plans. The Council of Neighborhood Associations (CONA) insisted on conditional use in Residential Core Neighborhoods. The concern about the ADU idea is that it could  create increased pressure on our area from developers who would want to add an additional unit to their property.

The UDO also has a minimum lot size for residential core of 55 ft. across, while our lots in the Near West Side are 40 ft. across, and thus nonconforming.  Neighborhoods can agree to confirm that their lot size is non-conforming, so that setbacks, etc. fit to their neighborhood, which is something we might want to think about doing.

Historic Preservation Committee  –

Alan spoke about meetings held by a group of association members to explore having our neighborhood designated as a local historic district. The group that met included Alan, Sandi, Olivia, Michelle, and Karen Duffy.  Alan mentioned some of the historical events that occurred in the neighborhood, including Hoagy Carmichael playing the piano in speakeasies located here in the 1920s.  Rachel Ellenson, the city’s Historic Designation Program Manager, explained that there is a specific process for designation, which includes three informational public meetings, followed by the commission voting “yes or no”. After this, if the neighborhood is to be designated a local historic district, a design committee is formed including several members from the city along with members of the neighborhood who together decide what the guidelines will be. It was noted that all of the currently designated neighborhoods and their individual guidelines may be viewed on the city website at: https://bloomington.in.gov/historic-bloomington/districts
Several members of the neighborhood association expressed concerns about who would be on the design committee and Cheryl suggested that design committee members should be elected. 
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Minutes of the May 15, 2018 NWSNA Meeting

Present:  Alan Balkema, Sandi Clothier, Olivia Dorfman, Bill Baus, Carol Gulyas, Vernon Sweeney, Cheryl Sweeney, Michelle Henderson, Rob Henderson, Zandro Pleimann, Fiona Taggart

Neighborhood Cleanup Recap –

Newly-elected neighborhood association president Alan Balkema thanked everyone for their efforts on the neighborhood cleanup last month.  All agreed that the cleanup was a success, and were very impressed with the helpfulness and efficiency of the city workers who assisted us that day. Alan noted that we collected .68 tons of trash and 49 tires.  For the 1800 lbs. of metal we collected, the neighborhood association was paid $140.

JB’s Salvage  

Alan shared an article from the Herald -Times about the recent plan commission meeting.  Carol Gulyas noted that speakers from the Waterman community made a great presentation against the proposal to rezone the JB’s  Salvage property from residential to commercial.   Sandi Clothier said we need to write a letter to the city council and the plan commission to express the neighborhood association’s position against the rezoning.

Preservation Committee Meeting  

The committee investigating historic designation for our neighborhood met April 21 at BloomingTea on Kirkwood. Following this meeting another meeting took place to prepare a handout for the cleanup day, explaining what preservation would entail.  This small group met with Rachel Ellenson, Historic Preservation Program Manager for the City of Bloomington, who will do a survey to identify properties in our neighborhood that are contributing to an historic district.  Alan noted that, based on a zoning map he got from the plan department, there seem to be clear boundaries for a historic district.

–Neighborhood Get-Together–

Noting that the neighborhood association has sponsored a picnic in past years, we decided to have a picnic in lieu of our June meeting at 1:00 on Sunday, June 17th.  Zandro and Fiona volunteered the use of their yard for the picnic, unless it rains.  If it rains, the picnic will be held in Butler park at a shelter.  Carol Gulyas suggested we have the city print flyers for us to distribute door to door in our neighborhood, inviting folks to the picnic.

–Blooming Neighborhood Celebration–

Alan, Olivia, and Michelle volunteered to represent our neighborhood at the Blooming Neighborhood Celebration Saturday, June 2, from 10:00 a.m. to noon at the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market.

–Black & Brown Arts Festival–

Saturday, May 19th from 12:00 to 4:00 PM the Banneker Community Center (930 W. 7th St.) is hosting the Bloomington Black & Brown Arts Festival, a celebration of African and Latino creative arts and artists. Everyone in the neighborhood is invited.  Elm Street will be closed (including the alley) from 10 AM – 5PM for the festival and no one should park on Elm Street. 

–In Other News–

Fiona Taggart announced that she and Zandro Pleimann will no longer be operating a bed and breakfast on their property and that, as of July, the house will become a rental.

 

 

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Minutes of the April 17, 2018 Neighborhood-wide NWSNA Meeting

Present:  Carol Gulyas, Sandi Clothier, Olivia Dorfman, Bill Baus, Alan Balkema,Vernon Sweeney, Cheryl Sweeney, Peter Dorfman, Karlyn Grise, Bob Grise, Beth Ellis, Tamera Theodore, Rocky Festa, Jean Graham, Michelle Henderson, David Ferrand, Vickie Provine

Neighborhood Cleanup  –

Vickie Provine of Bloomington’s Department of Housing and Neighborhood Development (HAND) spoke about our upcoming Neighborhood Cleanup on Saturday, April 28 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM.  Cleanup central will be in the parking lot of the Fairview United Methodist Church on 7th Street.

Vickie noted that our last neighborhood cleanup was in 2006. She also noted some dos and don’ts:

  • The city will take tires, but they should be removed from the rims.
  • The city will provide a metal recycling truck and pay us for the metal.
  • They will NOT take liquid latex paint.
  • They will NOT take any e-waste with screens, however Rocky Festa noted that, by coincidence, there will be an e-waste collection on Saturday April 28 sponsored by Cook Group in partnership with RecycleForce. The electronic waste recycling will take place from 9AM – 2PM at 301 North Curry Pike.
  • There will be a wood chipper on site.
  • The city will provide staff to man the site, but the cleanup must end at 1:00 FIRM.
  • Do NOT leave things at the curb. All items must be brought to the site.
  • There will be a repurpose area for free usable discarded items.
  • The cleanup will run rain or shine and will only be rescheduled in cast of lightning.
  • The city will provide blue pick it up bags for general neighborhood litter pick up.
  • The flow of traffic will be strictly controlled on Fairview.
  • For safety reasons, young children will not be allowed at the clean-up site.

If you need to arrange pickup of items or have questions regarding the cleanup, contact alanbalkema@gmail.com before April 21st. (812) 345-4440

JB’s Salvage  

Carol Gulyas noted that JB’s Salvage, Inc. has requested a rezone of a currently residential-zoned area to expand their recycling operations. The property is at 1816 W. Fountain Drive (within a mile from our neighborhood and generally located south of West 11th St.. and west of N. Adams St.), Bill Baus commented that his house is close to the JB’s Salvage operation  and that he can hear their machinery.  Sandi Clothier commented that five years ago a trash transfer station had been proposed for our neighborhood which was successfully fought and stopped by the neighborhood.  Carol said that there will be time for public comment on this at the next Planning Commission Meeting on Monday May 14 at 5:30 at City Hall and that residents from our neighborhood should attend.

Sandi initiated a motion from the neighborhood association against the request to rezone the unimproved property located at 1816 W. Fountain Drive from Residential to Industrial General.  The motion was seconded by Michelle Henderson and passed unanimously.

Election of Officers  

Carol nominated Alan Balkema to serve as President of the Near West Side Neighborhood Association.  Michelle Henderson seconded, and Alan was unanimously approved as President.

Cheryl nominated Sandi Clothier to continue serving as Vice President, Karlyn Grise seconded, and Sandi was unanimously approved as Vice President.

Olivia Dorfman was unanimously approved to continue as Secretary, and Bill Baus was unanimously approved to continue as Treasurer.  Michelle Henderson was appointed Board Member at Large.

Preservation Committee Meeting  

Sandi announced that the next meeting of the committee investigating historic designation for our neighborhood will take place Saturday, April 21 at noon at BloomingTea on Kirkwood.

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Minutes of the March 20, 2018 NWSNA Meeting

Present:  Carol Gulyas, Sandi Clothier, Olivia Dorfman, Bill Baus, Alan Balkema,Vernon Sweeney, Cheryl Sweeney, Peter Dorfman, Karlyn Grise, Bob Grise, Beth Ellis, Tamera Theodore, Shahyar Daneshgar, Sheri Benham, Eric Pearson, Rafi Hasan, Sean Starowitz, Gillian Field

– Banneker Community Center Programs  –

Eric Pearson, the Program/Facility Coordinator for the Banneker Community Center spoke on the variety of offerings at the center. Last spring he succeeded Leslie Brinson, who is now the Parks and Recreation Department’s Community Events Manager.

Pearson noted that the center serves everyone in the community.  Its programs are highly subsidized, with a 20% cost recovery goal, and serve children from all over town.  The center recently received a grant for a new mini-bus to improve transportation and fully cover the community.

The largest program is Banneker Camp–for $2. a day, participants receive breakfast and lunch, and enjoy a variety of recreational and educational programming. Enriching activities include farm tours, yoga, nature club, visits to the pool and other field trips.  Registration takes place each Friday for the following week. He explained that the program is similar to the Bloomington Kid City summer program, but costs less and provides meals.

During the school year, Banneker hosts monthly events, teen drop-in programs, and preschool programs. It also runs the after school program for Fairview Elementary School.

In response to a question, Pearson stated that the garden behind the center is at a crossroads–if funding is available the plan is to re-level the back yard and install a “unique form of playground,” different from other local playgrounds. If this happens, the garden would be relocated, most likely to the front of the building.  This spring, however, the Preschool garden club will continue using the backyard garden.

– Black and Brown Arts Festival at the Banneker Center, May 19  –

On May 19, the Banneker center will host the Black and Brown Arts Festival featuring performers with “Bloomington roots” presenting spoken work, music, poetry and various arts.  Rafi Hasan, Bloomington’s Safe and Civil City Director, explained that the festival has been developed by Bloomington’s Black History Month Committee, the Commission on Hispanic and Latino Affairs, and the Arts Commission.  The proceeds will help support programs in the area.  He noted that the Banneker center is a place of trust and rapport for young people who may have challenges in their lives. He also highlighted the importance of support from the community, and will provide residents with information, schedules, ordinances (re: amplified sound, etc.), and  explore options.  He offers to answer as many questions as we have and come to meetings as needed to alleviate concerns and recognize neighborhood voices.  Mr. Hasan may be reached at hasanr@bloomington.in.gov or phone (812) 349-3559

– Shayar Daneshgar Requests Construction Variance   –

Neighbor Shahyar Daneshgar presented plans for construction of an 8’ x 14’ deck in front of his house on 9th St. Since the deck will protrude closer to the street than the adjacent houses do, he needs a variance.  Those present at the meeting voted unanimously to approve the variance. NWSNA Secretary Olivia Dorfman will write a letter for him stating our approval.

– Removing Invasive Plants, Adding Native Plants    –

Gillian Field of the Grandview Hills neighborhood in Bloomington spoke about her neighborhood’s committee to get rid of invasive plants and plant native plants. She said that only 30% of the land in America is in nature preserves, so private landowners need to help restore native plantings.  She suggested working together as a neighborhood to develop working days to remove invasive plants and plant natives.  She noted that if we put together a group of ten property owners, we can invite people from the Monroe County Identify and Reduce Invasive Species (MC-IRIS) coalition to come help us and even loan us tools. For more information their website is: http://mc-iris.org/information-for-landowners.html

If you would be interested in an invasive plant removal day, let us know, and maybe we can get a group together for MC-IRIS.

– Neighborhood Cleanup, April 28  –

Alan Balkema reported that our neighborhood has received a grant for a city-sponsored neighborhood cleanup on April 28.

The cleanup will begin at 9:00 AM and end at 1 PM. The city will bring two dumpsters and a wood chipper for our use to the parking lot at Fairview United Methodist Church. There will also be a place for usable items to be set out for neighbors who might want them. The city may also supply gloves, rakes, etc. No contractors will be permitted. Alan Balkema and Bob Grise will be lead volunteers, and we will need volunteers to work in shifts at the dumpsters between 8am and 2pm on the 28th  to be sure no hazardous materials or tires are deposited.

Members of the board agreed to meet in the near future to discuss details of the event and prepare publicity. Neighborhood residents will be notified with a letter or flyer, and information will be on the website and list-serve.  Let us know in advance if you will not physically be able to move your trash or branches and we will try to get help for you. VOLUNTEERS ARE NEEDED…ESPECIALLY VOLUNTEERS WITH PICKUP TRUCKS!

Now is a great time to trim your bushes and overhanging branches.

After the cleanup, we plan to get together at the picnic tables behind the Banneker center for a potluck lunch.  Bill Baus offered to bring a big container for lemonade.

– Demolition Delay, Historic Preservation –

Carol Gulyas reported that the Historic Preservation Commission has notified us of the proposed demolition of a house at 711 West 9th St.  We can request a 60 day demolition delay in order to let the neighborhood learn more about the property and its condition. Sandi Clothier noted that, when she was a member of the Commission, they would notify the person proposing demolition to go to the neighborhood association for feedback.  The Historic Preservation Commission can only recommend officially designating a property as historic, or let demolition go through.

The neighborhood association voted unanimously to support a 60 day demolition delay and encourage the Historic Preservation Committee to follow the normal demolition delay timetable. Alan Balkema volunteered to attend the Historic Preservation Commission meeting on March 22.

According to Chris Sturbaum of the City Council: “The only alternative to demolition is local designation, and 711 W 9th would need to be part of a district. The district could be a relatively small number of houses on 9th but support would be important.  The purpose for the delay would be to attempt to develop and propose a district that includes this property as a contributing structure and see if it works.

The house is a contributing structure (like the majority of historic houses in town.)

That means that its value is as part of an historic area ( a contributor to the traditional historic form of a district )

This is why we have the delay: To give time to look over each property for one last time and evaluate the possibility of a district.

This is an unusual request for the full demolition of a viable structure for the land value below it.

This is worth examining for the precedent it would set and the implications such a decision to allow demolition of this historic structure and others like it could have on the historic character as well as affordability of the neighborhood in the long run.”

– Dues are Due  –

Neighborhood association dues are now due–if you want to be a member of the association, the dues are $2.50 per person or $5.00 per family.

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House for Rent

Historic home in Bloomington’s Near West Side available for rent as early as June 15, 2018 through July 31, 2019, with possibility for renewal. Elegant, spacious (1700 sq. ft.) two-bedroom/one bath home in desirable location just blocks from courthouse square, B-line Trail, farmers’ market, Banneker Community Center, Girls Inc. and Butler Park; 20-minute walk to campus. This beautifully restored and maintained gingerbread house with steamboat porch perched above leafy block in one of the city’s core neighborhoods boasts hardwood floors, 12-foot ceilings, huge windows and generous-sized rooms. Updated bathroom and farmhouse-style kitchen with modern amenities, including new dishwasher. New washer and dryer, radiator heat, ceiling fans in every room. Wooden deck off kitchen leads to large fenced-in backyard with mature trees, garden shed, and opportunities for gardening.  Attentive, responsive management by owner/landlord. $1300/month with one-month deposit. References checked. Please contact yksander@indiana.edufor more information.

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Minutes of the February 20, 2018 NWSNA Meeting 

Present:  Carol Gulyas, Sandi Clothier, Olivia Dorfman, Bill Baus, Alan Balkema, David Gulyas, Vernon Sweeney, Cheryl Sweeney, Karlyn Grise, Bob Grise, Jean Graham, Rocky Festa

– Neighborhood Cleanup  –

Alan Balkema suggested that we should apply for a city-sponsored neighborhood cleanup grant. Since Duke Energy is currently going through the right-of-way alleys between properties and chopping down trees and brush, now would be a good time for this activity. Alan Balkema reported that he talked to Vickie Provine of HAND (Bloomington Housing and Neighborhood Development) about the grants. She said it had been ten years since the Near West Side had a neighborhood cleanup, so we have a good chance to be chosen for a grant.

If our neighborhood is selected for a cleanup grant, the city will bring two dumpsters and a wood chipper for our use.  The city may also supply gloves, rakes, etc. No contractors will be permitted. Two lead volunteers will be at the dumpsters between 8am and 2pm on a selected Saturday to be sure no hazardous materials or tires are deposited.

Alan brought the application for the grant to the meeting and we provided input for completing it. Alan Balkema and Bob Grise agreed to be lead volunteers. The cleanup dates we chose are either April 28 or May 12.  We agreed that, if we win the grant, the neighborhood residents will be notified with a letter or flyer, and information will be on the website and list-serve.  We will also try to get volunteers to help individuals who let us know in advance that they will not physically be able to move their trash or branches. The deadline for the application is March 5, and winners will be notified on March 19. At the next NWSNA meeting on March 20 we should know whether or not we have won the grant and notify our neighbors accordingly.

Until such time as a cleanup is possible, or the town resumes yard waste collection, it was mentioned that Good Earth, a Bloomington recycling company south of Clear Creek will take branches, brush or yard waste for a fee.

– Guest Speaker at March Meeting  –

At the NWSNA meeting on March 20th we will have a guest speaker, Eric Pearson, Program Specialist at the Banneker Community Center who would like to discuss what the center offers and ways that they can interact with our neighborhood.

– Dues are Due  –

Neighborhood association dues are now due–if you want to be a member of the association, the dues are $2.50 per person or $5.00 per family.

Carol Gulyas made a deposit in the NWSNA bank account to maintain its active status.  She noted that Treasurer Sophia Hauserman has resigned and Bill Baus agreed to serve in that capacity.

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