July 2010 Minutes

PDF of July 2010 minutes

Armory Park Neighborhood Association
Board of Directors Meeting
13 July, 2010
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Parish Hall

Board members present: Chuck Bressi, Elizabeth Burden, John Burr, Phyllis Factor, Elizabeth Garber, Karen Olson, Tod Santee, Chris Stebe, Tim Vanderpool, Tom Cline (alternate), and Nadine Rund (alternate)

Board members absent: George Mairs, Brooke Sanders, Jerry Swatez, Marian Gin (alternate)

Guests: Stephen Greenbaum, Senior Housing Group LLC; Michael Laatsch & Marie Harris, new neighbors; Jan O’Kelley, neighbor; Donovan Durban, Ward 6 representative; Officer Orduño, TPD; Michael Keith, Downtown Partnership; Brian Flagg, Casa Maria; John Miles, landscape maintenance in neighborhood & Pima County Housing Commission member; Adam Weinstein, Gadsden

Welcome, Introductions, and Approvals

  • Meeting called to order at 7:03 pm
  • Minutes for June: no changes; Phyllis motioned approval; Karen seconded; approved with one abstention
  • Treasurer’s Report: Phyllis motioned for filing; Karen seconded; report accepted unanimously

Presentations by guests

  • Tucson Police Department, Officer Orduño

There were 43 calls of service April through June: 5 burglaries, 18 larcenies, 8 grand theft auto, 12 criminal damage. This is noticeably increased from the previous period, but Office Orduño indicated that crime statistics always increase in summer around the city. There is no direct pattern.

  • Stephen Greenbaum, Senior Housing Group, LLC of Chicago

Senior Housing Group, LLC, has a contract to buy Armory Park Apartments, with closing targeted for November. Steve indicated that the group provides affordable housing projects in five states and that he wants to provide the best housing possible for the residents of the building he buys.

Plans are to own the building two years while a building for low income seniors near the Santa Cruz River is completed; current tenants of Armory Park Apartments will be moved there by the end of 2012. The current property management company may continue to manage Armory Park Apartments during the two years before residents move, although he will explore other options. He promised that it will be managed to the highest specifications. He made a 90 minute presentation to residents of Armory Park Apartments earlier in the day (July 13); his perspective is that residents are excited about his plans. All residents will have one bedroom apartments: many units in Armory Park Apartments are studios. Tim indicated that some residents have told him they didn’t want to leave the current location because of downtown conveniences such as the post office and the Senior Center.  Steve responded that  are trying to “amenize” the new site and that it will be serviced, within a block or two, by the streetcar. He is working with the Pima Council on Aging. Asked about grocery stores near the new site, Adam Winestein noted that Mercado San Agustín and 16 food based businesses will be available, and that these venues will not cater to “high end” consumers. His group is  developing a variety of housing for different economic groups in the area. Adam also recorded his impression that the residents at the presentation today were, overall, enthusiastic about the new building and site. Steve said that he believes in community outreach.

After the residents are moved, Steve indicated that he is not sure what he wants to do with the building in Armory Park: demolish it, sell it, or use it for something else. Asked if it might be turned into student housing, he responded that he has been approached, but is not committed to anything. Phyllis noted that the neighborhood would not favor this. Keeping the housing at Armory Park Apartments affordable was expressed as a goal. Armory Park Apartments has 143 apartments, 85-90 of which are occupied; 104 are studio efficiencies, the others are one bedrooms ; square footage is 250-500 square feet. There are 30 parking spaces, which would, noted John, be a problem with other types of tenants. Steve acknowledged parking as a limitation. He indicated that he hoped to meet with the Board in the future to determine the use of the building, that he will always commit to dialogue, but must consider economic factors. Security will be provided around the building once residents are moved out.

Chuck brought up the Development Principles that are under development by APNA and asked how receptive Steve would be to these. Steve indicated he would be “absolutely receptive” to them. Liz reiterated the Principles, and indicated that APNA will share them with Steve once they are approved.

Asked where he makes his money, Steve indicated in a  number of ways, largely by utilizing government programs as well as by repatriating capital and getting more out. He will receive tax credits for building affordable housing for seniors. Asked if he has investigated renovating the building, Steve indicated that he has. He feels that it’s cost prohibitive to renovate it for the current tenants, but empty it may be a possibility.

Old Business

  • Development Principles (please see separate document for a copy of the Principles)

The Development Principles were noted as important not just within the neighborhood but on the peripheries; there are numerous properties on the peripheries of the neighborhood that will be developed.

Michael Keith of the Downtown Partnership spoke at length about working with TEP. As an introduction to himself, he noted that he has rehabilitated over 30 buildings in the downtown area. He explained the Downtown Partnership as a broad-based coalition of over 40 members.

Michael indicated disappointment at the use of the site for TEP because it doesn’t improve mixed use. He described at length a presentation to TEP architects and officials made by the Downtown Partnership, the main point being that all sites left downtown are important as there aren’t that many, thus it is important to activate each site to provide magnets to draw people downtown. To do this, lines of sites for site activation are important, as well as retail spaces on both sides of the street because these spaces play off each other to create a stronger, more “activated” site. The ideas they used in the presentation are based on classical urban planning. The east side of the building is reconfigured for retail because of the Downtown Partnership presentation.

Michael indicated that TEP wants an office building, not a mixed-use building, and feels they are making a huge economic investment. Neighborhoods and outside groups can suggest new urbanism, but economics dominates. There is no money for housing right now in the lending community. For the undeveloped south third, he recommended that APNA frame its argument in good economic terms, using precedents elsewhere. It will not be effective to base it only on wants. He suggested that the neighborhood look at site-specific analysis, find those arguments and bring them forward to TEP. Further, he suggested APNA work with other neighborhoods to encourage with the same vocabulary and ideas new urbanism, that we start early and gently. He agreed to give input with an APNA Board sub-group.

One of the concerns of the neighborhood with the TEP site is that TEP is working 20 years behind new urbanism, which works with concerned neighborhoods.  Another is that they didn’t want as much retail space as the neighborhood wanted, which they felt would create empty space.

Returning to the Development Principles, Liz asked for input from each Board member. Overall, Board members were extremely supportive and made minor suggestions, which were:

o   that lighting be reinforced.

o   public safety be added

o   “bicyclable” be added to “walkable” in point #3.

o    that what we do in one part of the neighborhood might be different from another part in point #4

o   that something be added about business economics for developers

o    that the principles serve all of downtown Tucson, not just Armory Park

o   that sustainability be reinforced

o    that principles of new urbanism would be an addendum to the Development Principles

  • Progress on Goals for 2010

This agenda item was not addressed due to time.

  • Neighbors Care Alliance (George Mairs)

Written report: Robin Landers put George in touch with a senior working part-time at the Center who is experienced in and willing to undertake the record-keeping.  Robin has also offered neighborhood volunteers a space at the Center.  Eleven neighbors have responded to George’s emails and want to know more about NCA.  Fred Eisele organized an “aging in  place” movement in State College, PA, and has been an invaluable source of info.  George has a scheduled meeting with Judy Clinco, who directs Tucson’s Caregivers Training Institute and has helped organize NCA in her own neighborhood.  It remains to bring in Gladys Miller from PCOA to conduct an NCA how-to meeting for as many neighbors as will attend.  George suggested that this should wait until fall.

Committee Reports

  • Transportation/ Environs (John Burr) (supplementary forms were provided)

Proposed are:

    • Partial closure of 18th at Jacobus; residents can come through, trucks cannot.
    • Cut-through traffic from 22nd: trying to mitigate through use of medians at 18th and S. 4th Ave. but this might transfer truck traffic to 17th and 19th, which will then have to be mitigated.

The Kino-22nd St. Overpass Citizens’ Oversight Committee will fund these changes. Residents will have to be educated about these changes. Signage will go in at Euclid as well as 18th and Park, and on GPS devices. Phyllis suggested that signage and mitigation were needed also at 12th St.

Motion by John Burr: The Transportation Committee motions a vote by this Board to proceed with these petitions and mitigation plans. Phyllis and Tod seconded the motion. All voted in favor.

John also asked that reports on parking violations ticked by Parkwise be sent to him because ticketing in the neighborhood is significantly up. Phyllis reported that effective August 2010, parking permits are rising from $2.50 per year. She later provided the following payments:

Monday – Friday                 8 am – 5 pm             $48/year

Monday – Saturday             8 am – 10 pm           $60/year

Monday – Sunday               24 hours/day           $72/year

New enforcement hours:

Monday – Wednesday         8 am – 10 pm

Thursday – Saturday           8 am – midnight

One free visitor pass; a second pass is now available at the same rate as regular permits.

A ticket for parking without a permit  is $72, for meter violations $49, for safety violations (such as parking too close to driveways and fire hydrants) $175, and for parking in a handicap space without a handicap permit $582.

A service permit is $135 for 6 months.

  • Communications

No report.

  • Outreach (Karen Olson)

Karen reminded everyone that the next ice cream social is scheduled for August 22nd, 1:30-3:00 pm.

Written report: The Outreach Committee met on June 21.  Present were Karen Olson and Dolores Gohdes.  The main agenda item was this year’s ice cream social, the date for  which was set August 22, 1:30-3:00 p.m.  Dolores volunteered to reserve the  Armory Park Community Center for the event, which she successfully did the next day.  Via e-mail, Liz informed that she has been in contact with Uptown Bistro about getting the ice cream wholesale.  Karen posted an announcement to the neighborhood via the listserve and both she and Dolores got responses about possible connections to local restaurants that might furnish the ice cream and  toppings.  Dolores said that we still have enough paper goods from last year’s  event, so we will not need to purchase those.  Karen confirmed with Shawn Kebler that he and a few other musicians would be available to play that day. They also touched on welcome packets.  Karen requested more and agreed to check in with board members concerning their use.

  • Membership (Phyllis Factor)

Written report for May and June, 2010: Membership stands at 10 businesses, 37 couples, 34 individuals, and 1 associate.

  • Security/ Neighborhood Watch (Tom Cline)

No action item. Tom will file a written report.

  • Historic Zone Advisory Board (Nadine Rund)

Written report: Through June 16, 2010, two proposals were presented to the Board for review:

    • 521 S. Sixth Avenue, Rear of lot: Request for demolition of adobe structure. The request for demolition was recommended for approval by the APHZAB due to the extremely dilapidated condition of the building and the support for demolition expressed by the Tucson Historic Preservation Officer, Jonathan Mabry.
    • 610 S. Fourth Avenue, Rear of lot: Construction of a new shed on the footprint of a burned out building. The APHZAB recommended approval of the plan presented for rebuilding this shed. The replacement shed will not be as high as the shed that burned, thus meeting fire safety standards.

There will be one minor review of a fence at the rear of 546 S. 4th Avenue during July.

  • Special projects
    • Feral cat project (Tim Vanderpool): Tim reported that two cats were trapped and neutered.

New Business

  • Tucson Charter changes

To be discussed at a later meeting is whether or not the Board wants to take a position on the changes

  • Neighborhood boundaries (John Burr)

John made a motion that the Armory Park Board amend the bylaws to extend the neighborhood boundary north to Broadway based on the language in the separate attached and map. The motion carried unanimously.

Items for Future Meeting

  • Code of Ethics/ Principles
  • Repurposing of Armory Park Center
  • Changes to checking procedures
  • Tucson Charter changes

Call to the Audience

  • Jan O’Kelly, who owns the apartment building on the SW corner of  S. 5th Avenue and E. 16th Street and the house west of it, wanted to be able to divide the property so that the apartments and house are separate parcels. The properties are for sale and the banks have turned down two potential buyers because they won’t fund mixed use properties. The density of the apartment building should be 7.92 units based on the size of the lot, and they have nine units, but all are studio units with low density. Jan wanted a letter of support from the neighborhood to support her request to the city to separate the lots. The Board agreed to sign a letter to this effect that she provides.

Adjourn Meeting

  • The meeting was adjourned at 9:06 pm.

As APNA Board Meetings are not held in August, the next scheduled meeting of the APNA Board of Directors is Tuesday, September 14, 7:00-8:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall of St. Andrew’s Church.

Submitted,
Elizabeth Garber, APNA Secretary

Author: Ken Taylor

I am a relatively recent Armory Park resident (2/16) along with my wife, Donna and our little dog Lulu. Donna and I lived over 30 years in Anchorage, Alaska before moving to Arizona. We have been Arizona residents for 16 years before coming here including 12 in Green Valley and four in west Tucson. We love the neighborhood for its history, walkability and interesting residents. Lulu insists on walking every day so you may see us following her around and picking up trash to keep our neighborhood presentable.

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