Near West Side Neighborhood Association Meeting Minutes January 21, 2020
7:03 Meeting called to order and introductions followed: Fiona Taggart (secretary), Vernon Sweeney, Cheryl Sweeney, Peter Dorfman, Olivia Dorfman, Sandi Clothier, Alan Balkema (president), Bill Baus (treasurer), Jenny Stephens, Charles Reifsnyder, Karen Duffy, Michelle Henderson, Rob Henderson, and
Conor Herterich, City Historic Preservation Manager and NWSNA resident who has been working with the previous Historic Committee in the process that led to the neighborhood vote, and (later)
Jennifer Perry, Banneker Center Outreach specialist.
Only agenda item is to form two committees: 1. Guidelines Committee and 2. The Design Review Committee
- In December 2019 the Bloomington City Council unanimously approved the Near West Side Neighborhood Association’s application to became a Conservation District.
- This is a three year designation after which there will be a vote to become full historic or remain a conservation district.
- The Guidelines Committee must develop guidelines for new construction in the district.
- The Design Review Committee must review applications for demolition and new construction in the district.
- Anyone from the neighborhood can join and participate in one or both committees.
- The guidelines only apply to:
- new structure construction (building a house or detached garage etc.)
- full demolitions (tearing down an entire structure)
- Moving a structure
- Conservation District guidelines do not include guidelines for partial demolitions (less than 51% of a structure being demolished), or altering of a structure.
- Conservation District Review Committee: They receive from city staff the application for the proposed demolition, new construction, or moving of a structure and the committee comes up with a recommendation to the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC). This is an ongoing commitment.
- Connor prepares the materials for the committee to review (no more than two weeks before the City decision meeting)
- Applications fluctuate through the year but it’s an ongoing committee.
- Need to set up process for committee to operate. Do they have to meet in person or is email fine? What the minimum number of members etc.
- Conservation District Design Guidelines Committee: Creates design guidelines. This committee will write the guidelines and then dissolve.
- Connor can be of assistance to vet and insure correct and also that it aligns with the UDO.
- Current volunteers for the committee are Alan, Bill, Jenny, BJ, Sandy, Michelle, Nate, Olivia and are open to more participation.
- Decided to form one committee to work on Guidelines with the expectation that as applications for demolitions or new construction come in, some members of the Guidelines Committee will assume responsibility to review those applications.
- Discussion of committee meeting times. Decided that starting in February the meetings will take place on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month until the Guidelines are submitted to the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) for approval. Asked Conor to reserve meeting space in city hall on Feb 4th 5:30pm and at same time on subsequent 1st Tuesdays for the future. The 3rd Tuesday meetings will take place in the Banneker Center kitchen starting at 6, an hour before the regular NWSNA monthly meeting. The next meeting is Tuesday Feb 18th at 6 pm.
- At the first Guidelines Committee meeting Conor will have edited out of the current draft guidelines those sections that discuss façade renovations and other technical flaws.
- Members will have access to documents on Google Docs. Members will be able to review and edit documents in folder that includes guidelines from other neighborhoods to use as examples.
- We anticipate that the experiences of the Maple Heights Conservancy District, coming to fruition after a year of effort, will serve as examples.
- Regarding applications requiring design review: With other neighborhoods Connor gets responses via emails from the review committee and he’s not sure if they meet in person.
- He has neighborhoods that only have two people on the review committee and he doesn’t recommend that few. He’s also gotten five separate emails from different people rather than one email from the review committee and that is also not ideal.
- The HPC has received three demolition applications (two 9th properties and one on Kirkwood) since the City Council approved our district.
- The Guidelines will focus on properties listed in survey as contributing or a higher classification.
- Guidelines need to align with UDO, zoning restrictions and National Trust for Historic Preservation regulations.
- Need to keep in mind Kirkwood Corridor is part of our neighborhood and operates under different restrictions.
- Until our guidelines are completed the HPC must adapt to standards in other historic district.
Jennifer Perry: Banneker Center Outreach specialist, introduced herself and asked if the Banneker Center could do anything to support the neighborhood:
- The garden needs work and there’s a grant from the city available. There was talk about moving it to the front of the building so it would be more visible and have more sun but this growing season it will remain where it is. A program with Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard involves preschoolers working on it, and in the past they’ve talked about a teen program to work in there more often.
- The Center’s immediate focus is planning to use a grant from the Regional Opportunities Initiative to renovate the center starting in March during Spring Break. The mechanicals in the building will be upgraded and modernized to make the building more functional.
- They will host the annual block party on July 24 from 5-8 pm, a community event and everyone welcome. They grill out and have a bounce house and talent show. Would like to have more informational booths at the block party as well. Volunteers always welcome.