Armory Park Neighborhood Association
Board of Directors Meeting
12 October, 2010
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Parish Hall
Board members present: Chuck Bressi, Elizabeth Burden, John Burr, Phyllis Factor, Elizabeth Garber, Karen Olson, Brooke Sanders, Tod Santee, Jerry Swatez, Chris Stebe, Tim Vanderpool, and Nadine Rund (alternate)
Board members absent: George Mairs, Marian Gin (alternate) and Tom Cline (alternate)
Guests: Mary Santini, Don Durban, Nancy McDonald, and Officer Orduño
Welcome and Introductions
• Meeting called to order at 7:05 p.m.
Approvals and Announcements
- Minutes for September: A clarification was made about the option described in the September minutes to pay Chuck to remain as Treasurer of APNA Board once he is no longer an Armory Park resident; Chuck indicated that it would be inappropriate to pay him for this year. If he continues as Treasurer or helps a future Treasurer, a nominal fee will be charged. Phyllis moved the minutes be accepted, seconded by Chuck; the minutes were approved unanimously.
- Treasurer’s Report: Chuck reported that Armory Park finances are largely holding steady, which indicates that perhaps APNA should be doing more. John moved to file the report, with a second by Tod; the motion was accepted unanimously
- Thanks and kudos: Karen thanked all Board members for their work on the Board and their support. She is resigning her position on the Board. She is also resigning Chair of the Outreach Committee; this meeting was her last. She intends to remain active in the community. Liz indicated that Tom Cline will be asked to step into the Karen’s position on the Board. A new Chair for the Outreach Committee will have to be appointed.
Presentations by guests
Tucson Police Department (Officer Orduño)
Crime statistics for Armory Park neighborhood are lower at this point in the year than they were last year: 6 burglaries this year vs. 17 last year; 8 vs. 13 stolen vehicles last year. These statistics are not representative for the city.
• Expansion of APNA Boundaries (John Burr)
The expansion involves about 23 property owners, a third of which are already in the federal and city historic district; another half are eligible. Thus many of the properties in the proposed area are already covered by APHZAB oversight. A notice about the expansion (postcard or flier) will go out soon to affected properties.
• Election committee and annual meeting (John Burr)
The election committee has not yet formally met.
• Carnaval representative (Brooke Sanders)
Brooke reported that she is able represent APNA on the planning committee for Carnaval. The event date is February 19; the next planning meeting is October 20. Batucaxe, the drumming group that will perform at Carnaval, wants to come to an APNA meeting. The APNA annual meeting next month was decided by Board members to be a good venue. The planning committee wants to know what role we want to pursue. Chuck indicated that during the first Carnaval, Armory Park put up money and made money from taking responsibility for the children’s games. The second year, APNA put up no money and made none, but provided volunteers.
Responsibilities APNA takes for the 2011 event were discussed in terms of “doing our fair share.” Chuck reflected his thoughts that Carnaval is at a critical stage due to normal organizational growth and tensions: to grow or to diminish. He indicated he believes it needs to become its own organization in order to continue to grow, which it has done exponentially in the last two years.
Chris and Tim reminded those present that civic engagement is one of the Board’s goals. Several Board members expressed that the neighborhood should be involved with Carnaval because it is a community event in the neighborhood, even if at the minimal level of hosting a table with information about the neighborhood and for Home Tour ticket sales. John proposed that APNA come up with a proposal for our commitment, circulate it before the next meeting, then vote at the annual meeting. A related proposal was to discuss at the annual meeting APNA involvement. APNA participation must involve more than Board members, with volunteers sought closer to the event.
Groups involved generally make a financial commitment, with $500 being the average. The money goes to performers, staging, permits, barricades, etc. Phyllis motioned that the Board make this financial commitment, with Karen making the second. The motion carried unanimously, with the stipulation that this is not an open-ended commitment, but will be reassessed each future year.
• Community Garden project (Chris Stebe and Tod Santee)
No progress. To be readdressed in November.
• Home Tour (Chris Stebe)
John indicates that information about the 2011 Armory Park Neighborhood needs to be turned into Blenman-Elm this week to become part of 25,000 booklets on Tucson’s historic neighborhoods. He also called for a firm date for the Home Tour so that it can be publicized. Chris indicated a tentative date of Sunday, March 27. To firm it up, factors such as other neighborhood home tour dates and availability of a base (St. Andrew’s, Temple of Music and Art, or Armory Center) were mentioned.
• Plasma Center construction. The Plasma Center is expanding, though not technically expanding square footage, because they are enclosing the patio area. The issue is noise in the early hours, including on the weekend. Phyllis has contacted owners, a construction manager, and the construction firm. Not all have responded; those with whom she has spoken are not flexible, indicating that they have a schedule to meet. Phyllis proposed that APNA request hours of 8 am weekdays, 9 am Saturday, and no construction on Sunday.
Other issues include the Plasma Center moving their garbage containers to Railroad Avenue, 10 feet from residents’ windows. The pedestrian entrance may be moved to 12th Street, which will change where people wait outside the building. The construction also means that the Center will lose five to six parking spaces.
John motioned that the Board write a letter to try to reign in the egregious work schedule, with no specifics mentioned in the letter. Phyllis seconded the motion, which the Board approved unanimously.
• Communications (Liz Burden)
- New website and eNews format: The new website is up. Board members can get an account and post stories; posting is very easy to do. Anyone outside the Board must first submit items for review. The communications committee serves as editors. A Board member will continue to maintain the Yahoo group, the website serving for more in-depth pieces. Julie Reed, who started Armory Park.com for APNA businesses, is interested in being connected to the new website.
- An eNews letter will be released periodically, as a critical mass of stories are completed. The print version will go out to those who need it.
• Outreach (Karen Olson)
No news to report. Karen, as outgoing chair, agreed to put together information for the next chair.
• Membership (Phyllis Factor)
APNA gained one new member in the last month. Any new memberships after early October are applied to next year; these members are not eligible to vote in the November election as APNA voting guidelines call for membership to be in effect 30 days before voting takes place.
• Security/ Neighborhood Watch
No new leads on vandalism but at least eight cables have been cut. The numbers “1451” appear to be a marker or tag for a property with cut cables. Police are not sure why this number is appearing: it might be in preparation for vandalism as cutting cables severs security systems as well as telephone lines.
• Armory Park Historic Zone Advisory Board (Nadine Rund)
Solar panels are a big issue as they become more popular: they must be installed so as to be unobtrusive in an historic district. This goes, as well, for satellite dishes and cisterns, which need to be located in back of a house with bushes around them so as not be be visually noticeable.
Other projects are going well: 426 E. 18th where three pillars were in the center was well done. A house expansion at 16th Street and Arizona Avenue is passing guidelines. Nadine was encouraged to post successful projects on the website.
• Neighbors Helping Neighbors: (George Mairs not present at meeting; Liz reporting)
A few meetings have been held, which indicate strong interest in the project. Armory Park Center has donated office space.
• Feral Cat: (Tim Vanderpool)
Cat neutering is taking place on a steady basis. The Humane Society has a grant and the project has been using this, so the $300 fund from APNA has not been used. Pro-Neighborhoods also gives grants for cat neutering. This program can be re-publicized on the website.
• Transportation/ Environs (John Burr)
John reported that the committee members are still working on petitions for the traffic circles.
Parking: John met with various city officials and ParkWise. Tucson Police Department Chief Villaseñor directed all community service officers to be proactive, which has sent them to look for cars parked for a long time in front of houses, as well as looking for other non-crime related issues. In other words, this is not only a downtown issue, it is city-wide. During the meetings, it was suggested that APNA could have non-tamperable, numbered stickers issued through neighborhood membership. This would be a pilot program: if it works in Armory Park Neighborhood, it will be honored within the Downtown Division as a separate program. Stickers are to be issued on a permanent, not annual, basis. APNA must coordinate the stickers by providing the number and information about the owner and property to the police, with the promise that the police won’t harass those cars. It doesn’t mean that residents can illegally park, however. What it means is that the police will be less aggressive to those living in the neighborhood who are parking “in the spirit” of the law. There is also indication that they might call if a stickered car is sort-of illegally parked. Still required will be moving a car weekly, parking outside of 5’ of curb cuts, and parking 20’ from an intersection, but the police may call and signal the infraction before ticketing. John suggested that the stickers could cut down on crime too, if neighbors keep an eye on cars. The stickers would also save residents from paying for parking in resident-restricted areas. For areas that already have ParkWise (in northern areas of the neighborhood where parking is restricted to residents), enforcement will continue through them, but the sticker signals that the car is attached to the property. Non ParkWise areas of neighborhood will be better: e.g. unused curb cuts will be let alone. The sticker system will also provide visitor passes, and if visitors are long-term, they will be able to get a numbered sticker. If a resident gets a new car or there is a new renter, there will be a contact person through which a sticker can be obtained. Density in this neighborhood, as downtown develops, will be worse: John thinks this is why the stickers are a good idea. Don Durban interjected that their office is interested in hearing from APNA if the neighborhood needs for them to pursue something. TPD’s Captain Neary, Chris Leighton (ParkWise), and Elsa Martinez (TPD Community Service Officer) wanted approval on the proposal the day after the October APNA meeting in order to make sure can dedicate a server. It was suggested that the parking sticker be an option on the APNA membership form. Tim suggested APNA hold a meeting to publicize the sticker program; another proposal was to publicize it at the annual meeting. The cost of the sticker program is to be borne by APNA.
Tod motioned that the Transportation Committee begin putting together a pilot parking program in APNA. Phyllis seconded the motion. Discussion included that a clause be added that APNA doesn’t endorse the aggressive city practices. The motion passed unanimously.
Tim made a second motion, that APNA work with TPD & City Council to review parking ordinances and enforcement policies and take into account the special needs of historic neighborhoods that do not have off-street parking. The motion was seconded by Phyllis and passed unanimously.
Call to the Audience
No one came forward.
Items for Future Meeting
• Development principles
• Peach Properties presentation on proposal for student housing on 4th Avenue and Congress
• Presentation(s) on other downtown development projects that may impact Armory Park neighborhood
• Liquor License Ruling: Don Durban suggested for November that the Board examine an exemption of a state law that requires 300 feet between an establishment with a series 6 liquor license and a school. He reported that in urban areas (such as Tucson downtown), the density of schools, especially charter schools, jeopardizes the growth of restaurants and bars and the city is working on proposing an exemption to the state law where schools and liquor serving establishments would coexist closer than 300 feet, but not coexist in times of operation. The city’s petition is connected to an exemption rule passed by the legislature this year, that a city can establish three districts of up to one square mile each where the liquor license rule would not apply. Applicants for liquor licenses would still go through the process of application. Don indicated that Christina Parisi from the City Manager’s office would like to come to an APNA meeting.
• The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 p.m.
The next APNA Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 9, 7:00 pm, at St. Andrew’s Parish Hall.
Elizabeth Garber, APNA Secretary