Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association

Minutes from Board of Directors Meeting on Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Hennepin Center for the Arts

528 Hennepin Avenue, Suite 310, Minneapolis, Minnesota

I.          Call to Order and Introductions

            Board Chair Carletta Sweet called the meeting to order at 6:33 p.m.

Other board members in attendance included Andy Hauer; Tom Hoch, Vice Chair; Denise Holt; Cynthia Newsom, Treasurer; Scott Parkin, Secretary; and George Rosenquist.  Board member Kim Motes was absent.    

Guests in attendance included:  Paul Abdo, Anxon, Inc.; David Abele, downtown realtor; Edith-Nichole Cameron and Gena Gerard, Restorative Justice Community Action, Inc.; Sue Jahn, organization for National Night Out in downtown Minneapolis; Jeff Laux, real estate developer; Ken Piper, Tanek, Inc.; and Allan Schlepsky, downtown resident.

Staff member Christie Rock also attended the meeting.

II.        Consideration of the Agenda

Board Chair Sweet asked if there were any additions or changes to the agenda. 

Hauer moved and Newsom second a motion to approve the agenda.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed. 

III.       Land Use Committee (LUC) Report

LUC Chair Andy Hauer introduced the following land use items that were reviewed at the Land Use Committee meeting held immediately prior to the board meeting:

·         126 North 5th Street (adjacent the Wyman-Partridge Building).  Swervo Development and Tanek, Inc. propose to construct a 2-story, street-level speculative restaurant space with rooftop patio seating, and a partial 3-story addition (for circulation space housing the stair, elevator and access to the neighboring Wyman-Partridge Building) at 126 North 5th Street within the Warehouse Historic District.  The project was granted a Certificate of Appropriateness by the Heritage Preservation Commission on February 13, 2007.

A tenant for the proposed restaurant space has not been identified.  The proposed project is 3 stories per the Zoning Code but functions as a 2-story space.  The first floor is a 20 ft. 6 in. high dining area and kitchen; the second floor consists of bathrooms, prep area, and vertical circulation between the main floor and rooftop dining.

The developer is seeking:  site plan approval; variance to 0 parking spaces; and variance to increase Floor Area Ratio from 6.91 to 7.25.

The DMNA Land Use Committee recommended approval of all three items.  This project will be heard at the July 16 Planning Commission meeting.

After significant discussion by the board, Parkin moved and Sweet seconded a motion to approve the site plan and variance requests on the condition that the developer improve the architectural features of the façade to better reflect the character of the surrounding neighborhood.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed. 

·         1115 2nd Avenue South, 1103-1/2 2nd Avenue South, and 1101 2nd Avenue South (Ivy Hotel and Residence)The Ivy Hotel and Residence development is located in downtown Minneapolis on the southeast corner of the intersection of 2nd Avenue South and South 11th Street. The development, which was reviewed by the Planning Commission in 2002, 2004 and 2006, is currently under construction and set to open in the fourth quarter of this year.

The developer, Jeff Laux, is seeking approval of two land use applications in order to install three wall signs near the top of the building for identification and way finding purposes.

Laux intends on locating three signs that read “Hotel Ivy” on the building towards the roofline.  There would be one sign located on the west, south and east sides.  The signs would be made up of individual letters illuminated by internal low voltage LED outputs.  At night the signs would appear white in color.

The DMNA Land Use Committee recommended approval of both applications.  This project will be heard at the July 16 Planning Commission meeting.

After discussion by the board, Hauer moved and Hoch seconded a motion to approve the developer’s request to install three wall signs on the Ivy Hotel and Residence.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed. 

·         814 Hennepin Avenue (State Apartments).  Paul Abdo is proposing to build a 2-story addition and a rear stairwell addition to an existing 6-story, mixed-use building constructed in 1910 at 814 Hennepin Avenue.  The Hennepin Stages Theatre is west of the site and a surface parking lot is located east of the site.  A hotel and a restaurant previously occupied the building.  The addition would increase the building height to 8 stories.  The applicant has indicated that the ground floor would be used for retail or a restaurant and the upper floors would contain 37 dwelling units.  A 7-space parking area exists behind the building. An easement over a portion of the property at 824 Hennepin Avenue allows access to the parking area.  The developer is seeking the following:

·         Variance to reduce the minimum parking requirements of a multifamily dwelling from 30 spaces to 18 spaces, where 13 of the spaces are grandfathered;

·         Variance to reduce the minimum floor area requirement from 350 square feet to 320 square feet for 8 dwelling units;

·         Variance to reduce the interior side yard requirement from 15 feet to 0 feet to allow windows to be located on the east building wall; and

·         Site plan approval.

The DMNA Land Use Committee recommended approval of all four items.  This project will be heard at the July 16 Planning Commission meeting.


                  After discussion by the board, Hauer moved and Sweet seconded a motion to approve the site plan, as well as the three variance requests.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed. 

·         City of Minneapolis Comprehensive Plan Update Board Member George Rosenquist gave a report to the board on the City’s process for updating the comprehensive land use plan.  He expressed concerns about the city incorporating the downtown land use plan into the larger, citywide land use plan.  Rosenquist also noted that there are no business owners on the task force.  The Downtown Council and BOMA have representatives on the task force.  He also explained that the update is on the fast track as it needs to be complete by 2008.  The Metropolitan Council requires all cities in the seven-county metro area to update their comprehensive land use plans every 10 years.  Rosenquist indicated that he has expressed his concerns in writing to the City.  He stated that he would share his letter and the City’s response with board members. 

IV.       Crime and Safety Committee (C&SC) Report

            C&SC Chair Tom Hoch gave the following report:

·         Keep Minneapolis Beautiful Hoch gave an update on the Minneapolis Beautiful project.  He noted that Comcast plans to produce a commercial for cable TV that promotes the kick-off event.  The kick-off event is tentatively scheduled for later in September.

·         Restorative Justice Community Action, Inc.  Hoch introduced Gene Gerard from RJCA, Inc.  He noted that RJCA is seeking continued funding support for its work in the Downtown community. 

RJCA’s Executive Director Gena Gerard began by recognizing her co-worker, Edith-Nichole Cameron, for the work she has done on behalf of the Downtown community.  Gerard went on to present the organization’s annual report for the DMNA funding cycle July 2006 to July 2007.  She noted that during this time period, RJCA addressed 526 incidents of livability crime across a 13-neighborhood service area.  She indicated that 85 cases were from the Downtown community.  Downtown cases included public urination, possession of drug paraphernalia, loitering with the intent to buy or sell narcotics, disorderly conduct, open bottle, consuming in public and underage consumption. 

Gerard noted that in recent years, Hennepin County District Court has moved many livability offenses into the payables system, which handles dispositions through tickets and fines.  In 2006, RJCA made a concerted effort to maintain effective service in the Downtown area by developing a new referral mechanism to capture eligible offenses.  This mechanism is known as police diversion.  This helped increase the number of Downtown restorative justice cases in 2006 and 2007.

After she finished presenting the annual report, Gerard went on to present the Scope of Service for 2007 – 2008.  RJCA is seeking $10,000 in NRP support from the DMNA.  She reviewed the services the organization will provide for the neighborhood. 

After presenting the Scope of Service, Gerard announced her imminent departure as executive director to spend more time with her family.  She indicated that the RJCA board is in the process of accepting resumes for her position.  She assured the board that RJCA would continue to provide quality restorative justice assistance to the Downtown community after she leaves. 

Recognizing the important work that RJCA, Inc. provides for the neighborhood, Hoch moved and Parkin seconded a motion to approve the 2007 – 2008 Scope of Service.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed. 

Board members thanked Gerard for her work and wished her the best of luck in her future endeavors. 

·         2007 National Night Out Celebration Hoch introduced Sue Jahn, organizer for the Downtown National Night Out celebration.  Jahn gave an update on the activities planned for this year’s celebration scheduled for Tuesday, August 7.  She noted that the following bands would be playing:  Bruce Henry Band, Debbie Duncan, and Corn Bread Harris.  There will also be farm-raised catfish served.  Jahn requested that the DMNA support the Downtown NNO event with a $1,700 contribution to help pay for the bands. 

Tom moved and Andy seconded a motion to provide $1,700 in funding for the 2007 National Night Out celebration, specifically to pay for the bands.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed. 

V.        Marketing / Communications Project Update

Board Secretary Scott Parkin gave an update to the board on the Downtown Identity, or marketing and communications project / logo redesign / website project. 

Staff Member Christie Rock presented the Scope of Service for the Downtown Identity project.  The budget is $16,500, with $1,500 for contingency.  Rock noted that the board must approve any expense that causes the budget to exceed $15,000.  She also explained that it would take approximately 6 weeks for the scope of service to move through the NRP processes, and encouraged Parkin not to engage Sassafras Design to do any work on the project until funds were available to pay Jennifer Vee Whittet, or advise Ms. Whittet that she would not be paid for her work until the NRP contract is fully executed. 

Rock also requested that the board formally approve a request that Webmaster Paul Barber to provide any relevant website data, (e.g., password, host) to Scott Parkin. 

Hoch moved and Hauer seconded a motion to approve the Downtown Identity Scope of Service and to formally request that Webmaster Paul Barber provide any relevant website information to Scott Parkin.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed.

VI.       Consideration of June 12, 2007, Board Minutes

Hauer moved and Parkin seconded a motion to approve the minutes from the June 12, 2007, board meeting.  Sweet called for discussion.  The motion passed

VII.     Consideration of July 2007 Financial Report

Staff member Christie Rock distributed and explained the F2007 Budget vs. Actual as of July 2007.

Hoch moved and Holt seconded a motion to receive and file the July 2007 Financial document.  Sweet called for any discussion.  The motion passed. 

VIII.    Old Business / New Business / Other Business

Discussion continued regarding the NRP Phase I evaluation.  Staff Member Rock indicated that she would begin working on survey questions related to the Phase I plan.  Tom Hoch advised he would be willing to help with the survey and suggested engaging NRP Implementation Committee Chair Kim Motes in the process as well. 

Discussion also continued regarding the 2007 General Membership meeting.  The board agreed to move forward with planning the meeting for Tuesday, November 13.  Staff Member Rock stated that she would be willing to contact NRP about reserving the second floor atrium for the event.  The board supported this location. 

IX.       Adjournment

Being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:00 p.m.

Signed this ________ day of ________________________, 2007.

_______________________________             _______________________________
Chair                                                                   Secretary