Charlotte Community Association
General Membership Meeting Minutes
May 4, 2015, 7 PM
Robach Community Center
To build a stronger community and to enhance the lives of our residents by providing a forum for sharing information, connecting neighbors and stakeholders, and fostering civic engagement while preserving and promoting the heritage of the Village of Charlotte.
Call to Order / Attendance
Meeting called to order by President Clare Stortini at 7:04 pm. In Attendance: Clare Stortini, president; Matt Juda, vice president; Susan Miller, treasurer; Sue Roethel, secretary; Jalen Juda, director;
Brian Labigan, director; Patti O’Brien, director; Pat O’Neill, director; Pam Postgate, director
This is the full board with a quorum to conduct business. There were approximately 49 people in attendance (plus 9 board members). Mr. Jack Foy led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Approval of Minutes
Minutes from the Special Meeting on 3/30 and General Meetings on 3/2 and 4/6 have been posted online for members to review prior to approval.
Motion: Joe Sirianni moved to approve the minutes from the Special Meeting on 3/30/15; Bob Owens seconded. By show of hands of voting members, the motion was approved.
Motion: Bob Owens moved to approve the minutes from the General Meetings on 3/2/15 and 4/6/15; Joe Genova seconded. By show of hands of voting members, the motion was approved.
Rochester Police Department (RPD) Update and Summer Safety
Presenting from the Lake Section were Capt.Ray Dearcop, Lt. Jeff Koehn, Sgt. Kevin Leckinger (new to Lake Section), Officer Jay Blanchard, Officer Kevin Cummings (new to Lake Section), Officer John Klinkhammer (midnight shift), and Officer Mark Monrad (field training officer, 3-11pm shift, 201 car covering Charlotte only)
Their goal is to get patrol officers out into the streets in cars and walking the beat. Crime update is that no robberies were reported for the last 30 days. The next Police & Citizens Interaction Committee (PCIC) meeting is May 19th, 7pm, Aquinas Institute.
Officer Blanchards hared the following home security tips and left handouts on burglary prevention for people to take:
- Don’t leave the front door open while working in the back yard.
- Keep first floor windows locked or use security tabs if windows have them; newer ones do.
- Garbage toters should be stored away from windows; they can be used as a ladder to break in.
- Keep garage doors and sheds locked.
- Don’t leave keys or ladders outside where they can be used to break in.
- At night, light up the property; dusk-to-dawn lights are better than motion-sensor lights as a deterrent.
- Be a nosy neighbor; watch what’s going on around your neighborhood.
- Use alarm systems and keep contact information up to date.
- Record serial numbers on items in your home (i.e. laptops); they can be used to identify and recover stolen items.
- Take photos of expensive and/or unique jewelry to identify them in a pawn shop.
We are also reminded of the following tips to maintain personal safety:
- Don’t carry large sums of money.
- Don’t broadcast that you have money on you.
- When using ATMs, choose heavy-use machines in daylight hours.
- For online purchases (i.e. Craig’s List), be wary of contacts and exchange plans; don’t go alone and let people know where you’re going.
In the Q&A session, these issues were brought to RPD’s attention:
- Snug Harbor is hit very hard with crime; an officer is posted there during the day.
- Frey St. is also a problem area with drug dealing. RG&E meters are getting damaged; violations are being cited.
- Vacant “zombie” houses are a problem with drug dealing and garbage being thrown onto other people’s property.
- On Beach Ave. near Clematis, cars do not always stop for the school bus with red lights flashing. (Capt. Dearcop will notify the day shift about this.)
- High school kids are still getting off the RTS bus at Stonewood Ave. and loitering. (RPD is aware of this ongoing problem.)
- Regarding speeding on Lake Avenue, Capt. Dearcop said that they have moved problem people out of Maplewood, Lyell Ave., and Lake Ave. and will add check points. He said the RPD is just two weeks into the reorganization, and the Lake Section is experiencing a staffing problem. They’ve seen reductions and are left with vacancies. The Traffic Reinforcement Unit, 4th Platoon has only 1 officer. The 5th Platoon (11 pm – 7 am shift) has 4 officers.
- Regarding speeding on Beach Ave., Capt. Dearcop said they can use speed readers (the machines on the road shoulder that tell you how fast you’re going). However, resources are needed for violent crimes down near Dewey Ave. and Driving Park area.
If concerned citizens see any crimes in progress, you are asked to call 911 immediately. Also call the Neighborhood Service Center (NSC) at 428-7620. If you have questions for Capt. Dearcop you’d like to ask at the monthly CCA meeting, send them ahead of time to CCA so that he or his designee can research and have answers ready for you.
The board’s new Safety &Security Committee (Sue Miller, board liaison) is working with RPD to report addresses of zombie properties. The new Planning & Zoning Committee (Patrick O’Neill, board liaison) has also identified ten problem areas of concern and will work with the Safety & Security Committee.
RPD’s Memorial Day preparations: They will be prepared this year. They’ll have officers posted on foot, in cruisers, and on ATVs with a command center all weekend at the beach. They have an emergency plan in place with other responders with specific roles. RPD will be in contact with the RTS dispatcher as well. There will be checkpoints to see who is coming down to the beach. They will also monitor social media for alerts if need be. They’ll make adjustments according to the weather that weekend. The CCA can help by being present, visible and actively involved by providing communication. Citizens can take an active role by calling 911 if they see anything suspicious.
As a final note, the officers asked that we keep prayers going for the family of Darryl Pierson. On Wednesday, 5/6 Officer Pierson will receive recognition as RPD’s Officer of the Year.
- New board member: The board welcomes Jalen Juda, who is appointed as the ninth member to fill the last vacancy.
- Retirement: Congratulations to Patti O’Brien, who retired on May 1st from Flower City Glass.
- Clean Sweep & Kite Flight: Thank you to all the volunteers and participants.
- Certificate of Incorporation and By-laws Review: The CCA By-laws lack clarity to give the board direction about many processes. The By-laws, which are posted on the web, are currently under review by the Not-for-Profit Status Committee. The goal is to adhere to our current By-laws until revisions are approved, and to respect the purpose of the organization.
- NYS Statewide Preservation Conference: Clare attended one day (4/18) of a 3-day state-wide conference in Geneva that was hosted by the Landmark Society of Western NY. Geneva is very involved with development and preservation/revitalization. It appears more people are moving to Geneva and starting small businesses. A workshop this conference hosted on Saturday involved touring an old building that once was a straight razor manufacturer and now is a privately owned 3-story renovated building that has been repurposed for furniture manufacturing, art gallery/reception hall/ community event center. Major takeaways are community place making/sense of place along with preservation and repurposing are areas that we should tap into for Charlotte and that the charrette will help us do that.
- Community Design Center Rochester (CDCR) Panel Discussion: Clare attended this Reshaping Rochester Series event on 4/21 at Gleason Works presented by the CDCR. It included a panel discussion with Kate Washington, City of Rochester NBD Deputy Commissioner, Buckingham Properties, Ibero American Development Corporation, President of PLEX Neighborhood Association and Tim Griffin, AIA, Director of Urban Design, St. Paul Riverfront Corporation. Primary takeaways are that community involvement from the beginning equals success and that, again, the charrette will allow us do that.
- Charrette/Vote of Members:The May issue of CCA News explains the charrette vote and included a ballot for members to cast their vote. The deadline is extended until May 11th to allow out-of-town votes to be mailed back and counted.
- Meeting expectations: We will cover protocols and rules of engagement at every monthly meeting. Speakers will need to be concise and mindful of time. Matt Juda will time speakers and help us stick to the agenda.
- Port Development Update: Clare and Matt met with Mark Gregor and Steve Golding on 4/22 to get an update. They discussed the marina development, the Harbor Management Plan, Edgewater’s plans, and the Port Terminal Building. Matt submitted a full report of this meeting, which will be will reviewed in depth by the board at their 5/7 meeting. The report will also be posted on the web after that. Takeaways are:
- Marina:The City is closing its 1stcontract with Pike for the marina construction. The 2ndcontract awarded to Crane-Hogan will use different operations than Pike. The marina is targeted to open in spring of 2016 with majority of work completed by end of summer/early fall of 2015. Operations of the marina are still being planned. A 3rd contract will go out to bid soon to renovate the Terminal Building for boater services.
- Harbor Management Plan: The City will maintain the Port Terminal Building. There are no current plans to sell the building, and they are not pursuing new tenants until construction is complete and marina operations are finalized. They said there is no evidence that digging the marina has disrupted the building; it’s a non-issue for the City.
- Edgewater: The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has no legal standing. The City has sent to Edgewater the Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) for attorney approval. This document stipulates the terms of sale for Parcel 1 North. Once all of the terms are met, the land sale will be finalized. Edgewater has the ability to develop Parcel 1 South if the development of Parcel 1 North meets all of the terms of the LDA. The same process would be followed again. Edgewater is still gathering funding, including EB-5, and refining the building design. The City acknowledges the community’s concern about the building height, but it is unlikely that the height will be reduced because it fits with zoning and economic plans. The nine deviations from the Marina District Zoning Code is being addressed for approval by the Zoning Board of Appeals prior to the sale of Parcel 1 North. Edgewater’s plan is to build into the bedrock.
Sue M. provided the board with a written report and summarized it for the audience. For the period ending 4/8/15, we have a balance of $27,748.
Standing and Special Committee Reports
Beautification Committee: No report.
Communications Committee: The committee has seven members. Ongoing work continues to produce and distribute the monthly newsletter, add postings to the website and Facebook page, and send out email blasts as needed. The subcommittee working on the web redesign is on hold temporarily because of scheduling issues.
Membership Committee: Four people serve on the committee. The focus includes businesses to advertise in the newsletter. The team is charged to review current pricing and policies for membership, advertising and voting privileges. They will bring a proposal to the board, and any recommended changes would also need to be approved by the membership as revisions to the By-laws. The committee is looking for additional members to join.
Nominating Committee: No updates; no activity needed at this time.
Not-for-Profit Status (NPS) Committee: Five board members serve on this committee. They are charged to work with an accountant and attorney to ensure we are in compliance with NYS Not-for-Profit Corporation Law (NPCL). They are currently reviewing the By-laws for recommended revisions.
Planning & Zoning Committee: Four people have agreed to serve on this committee; however, no one has yet stepped up as chair. The team has identified ten areas of concern around the neighborhood; they will work with the Safety & Security Committee, which is compiling a list of zombie properties that need attention.
Programming & Fundraising: One committee member so far plus the board liaison; they are looking for more members to help. They worked hard this past weekend with Clean Sweep and Kite Flight. The committee is charged to develop plans for a major annual fundraiser. Ideas and help are welcomed!
Safety & Security Committee: Six people are on this committee. Their focus is to help neighbors establish block clubs and initiate neighborhood watch activities. They are looking to recruit people for PAC-TAC training. The committee is also working to identify properties that may not be code compliant.
Scholarship Committee: Only one application received so far. There is a selection process that will begin after the competition closes. The deadline for applications is June 5th.
Community/Neighborhood Updates & Concerns
Here are the audience’s responses to various items from the President’s Report:
Nancy Owens: She is concerned about the statement on the charrette ballot that says, “No response to the ballot will be counted as a ‘yes’ vote.”
Fred Amato: He feels very strongly that we cannot count votes that aren’t returned and that doing so would be divisive. He also objected to the extension of the deadline, considering it to be unfair. He asked for a count to happen right now with no extension. He wants the vote to be clear and upfront.
Tom Riley: He supports urban planning and working with CDCR on the charrette. However, he echoes the concerns expressed by Nancy and Fred about the vote process. He quoted from another article in the May CCA News that summarizes results of a community survey saying, “The survey is not a valid reflection of the entire membership as the responses represent only 13% of all CCA members.”
Mark Thomas: What is the vote count at this time, including online votes?
Bill Brown: Regarding the charrette vote, the CCA hosted a public meeting that anyone could have attended to learn more, and information about it is posted online.
Board Response: We collected ballots and recorded online votes to date. During the meeting, Deb Cormier, CCA member, volunteered to assist Sue Roethel, board secretary, in counting the to-date votes. Cursory results are to be shared at the end of the meeting, and a final vote count will be taken after the 5/11 deadline, which has been already been published.
Virginia Kobylarz: Said she has been involved for years with the Landmark Society of Western NY and the Rochester Historical Preservation Society. She wants the community to help protect areas of our neighborhood that have historical significance.
Carl Giardino: Asked if Geneva did a charrette.
Board Response: No, they did not do a charrette. However, they have lots of development and preservation going on.
Nancy Owens: Expressed displeasure with the board, noting that new board members are added at each meeting without a vote.
Board Response: We are always looking for active, new members. The three vacancies that have been open since January have been advertised in the newsletter and at meetings to solicit candidates. The By-laws allow the board to appoint candidates to fill vacancies. In March we asked members whether their preference would be to have the board appoint or to conduct an election; members chose to have the board make appointments. We wanted to consider if any previous candidates from the December election would still be interested. Brian Labigan, chair of the Nominating Committee, contacted each of the December 2014 candidates to give them an opportunity to be considered.
Bill Brown: Mark Gregor said there’s no risk (marina and building construction). At the bidding conference for the 2nd marina contract, they said there would be installation of sensors to warn of any building movement. Bill noted that he videotaped the bidding conference and it is on his website.)
Virginia Kobylarz: The City’s statement that beach parkland will never be changed is untrue. For decades the City has wanted to develop the beach. She knows there was an attempt for a small parcel of beach to be incorporated into the Edgewater deal.
Mark Thomas: He asked for more information about the land issues as it pertains to building construction. (Note: It was suggested he attend Bill Brown’s presentation for the community on 5/21.)
Nancy Owens: The City changed the building codes a few years ago. We need to get zoning variances to prevent future high buildings.
Tony Rosati: Did Mark agree that the building would be built on bedrock?
Maureen Staves: What is the deadline on the sale of the property?
Board Response: Yes, we were told that the building would be built on bedrock. The engineering data raises questions that have unsatisfactorily been answered. Also, we were basically told that the MOU means nothing. The LDA is the pre-sale document that is now between the attorneys to agree upon. The City said they anticipate Edgewater to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals within three months.
The CCA Board is carefully monitoring and questioning all of the development issues and we will continue conversations with the City to communicate what the community wants. Clare said that when she met with Kate Washington, Deputy Commissioner of Neighborhood & Business Development, Kate wanted to know what Charlotte wants. Clare told her that we want the City to delay the development process until we can get more community input and community consensus is there continues to be concerns regarding height of thebuilding
The following are additional reports from various groups in the community:
- Department of Environmental Services: Meeting to be held on 5/6, 7pm, 10 Felix St.; Water mains cleaned and lined on Alpha St. and Wilder Terrace. Residents were notified in separate mailing to individual homes
- Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse Historical Society: Tom Brewer reported that the lighthouse is open for the season with a new sitting room. Everyone is invited to stop by and see it! He also reported on pictures taken from River St. and Latta Rd. of the dredging operation on the river.
- Turning Point Park Trailhead Project: Tom Brewer reported that the project was supposed to be finished last fall, but the contractor folded over the winter.
- Lake Avenue Project: Clare reported that delays have occurred; the City is still obtaining easements. More information is available on the City’s website.
- Ontario Beach Park Program Committee (OBPPC): Fred Amato reported that last Wednesday’s Big Band Dance had a capacity crowd. Admission is $2 per person. Wednesday Concerts by the Shore begin June 4th, and there will be another Band Dance Series in the fall.
- Port of Charlotte Merchants Association (POCMA): Marianne Warfle reported that the Farmers Market starts on June 1st in the Hose 22 parking lot. It will be open Monday evenings from 4-7pm. They will put up a banner on Lake Ave. and posters once sponsors are identified. They are recruiting vendors; three local homegrown vendors have signed up. Crafts people and artists are wanted, as well as community organizations. The City has approved the permit. Insurance is expensive, so they need underwriters to cover the costs.
- Charlotte Youth Athletic Association (CYAA): Brian Labigan reported that there are 220 boys and girls participating this year, and the baseball season has started. They play Monday through Thursday until July 1st. Fundraisers brought in $10K through private donations plus the City of Rochester made contributions; the money is for construction of bathrooms at the ball fields.
- Holy Cross: Jack Foy reported that the school has 300 students. He also shared that the President of France has given him a Medal of Legion of Honor for his service to the Battle of the Bulge.
- Northwest Quadrant Neighborhood Service Center (NWNSC): Ron Penders, NWNSC Administrator, thanked everyone for Clean Sweep. He reminded us that we can do a Mini Clean Sweep at any time; he will support it by providing tools and materials.
- CHARLOTTE Strong: Maureen Staves reported that Bill Brown is presenting to the community along with Dr. Richard Young, a professor of geotechnology at SUNY Geneseo. The public meeting is on May 21st at 7pm at the Robach Center. The purpose is to help people understand the geotechnology of the port and why it’s dangerous and very expensive to build what is planned there. Maureen said they’d love to have the Landmark Society attend as well as everyone else. The event has been posted on the CS Facebook page, in the CCA newsletter, in the Holy Cross Bulletin, and through door-to-door delivery of flyers. The press has also been contacted and City Staff and members of City Council have been invited.
- City of Rochester: Carla Palumbo reported that City Council surveyed the public on the use of body cameras at a cost of $2.2M. The public hearing happened and the Council will vote on it in May. The survey was via Survey Monkey and asked aboutwhat the policies should be for using body cameras. Monroe County has been using them in Gates, but there are no written policies to use as a guide. So far, 1,000 responses have been received, with 67% of those coming from City residents. Carla also reported that there will be a public hearing about the Harbor Master Plan, but no date has been set yet. She left handouts and her email address (Carly1002@aol.com), if anyone wishes to contact her.
- New York State Senate: Paula Kosiorek presented for Senator Joe Robach, who is in Albany this week. The May CCA newsletter article highlighted property tax relief built into the state budget. She also mentioned that the Democrat & Chronicle did an article on 4/21 that included what happens to the senate in the summer, rent control in NYC, tax caps, minimum wage in upstate versus downstate. Paula was at Kite Flight. After her updates she was asked about state responsibility for the wall on Pattonwood Drive that is falling down; she said she will investigate the issue.
- Monroe County Legislature: Legislator Tony Micciche reported that Monroe County is conducting a highway study. He stopped by the neighborhood for Clean Sweep and Kite Flight. The beach water quality is to be monitored. The county received $2.3M for day care. Tony also reported that a collaboration with Sen. Robach’s office resulted in a clean-up of graffiti on the light tower at the end of the pier. Dan O’Mara of Sherwin Williams donated the paint, and Tony painted it himself. Lastly, Tony said he is still advocating for railings on the gazebo at the beach. He’s been bringing this issue up for the last 7-8 years and will continue to do so.
- Board Vice President Matt Juda proposed that we start up a social group and invited anyone interested to contact him.
- Clare will send a thank-you note to Dan O’Mara at Sherwin Williams.
Cursory Count of the Charrette Vote
During the Committee Updates portion of this meeting, board member Sue Roethel and volunteer community member Deb Cormier counted the online and paper ballots received so far. Voting is open until May 11th, so the following is a cursory count of the votes to date:
78 ballots received
1 had no vote checked
Upcoming Events and Meetings
City Council Meeting – 5/19, 6:30 pm “Speak to Council” Session, City Hall, 3rd floor
Police & Citizens Interaction Committee (PCIC) Meeting – 5/19, 7pm, Aquinas Institute Band Room
Farmers Market Opens – 6/1, 4-7pm, Hose 22 parking lot
CCA General Meeting – 6/1, 7pm, The Robach Community Center
Bob Owens moved to adjourn the meeting; Tony Micciche seconded. Meeting adjourned at 9:28pm.
Minutes submitted by Sue Roethel, CCA secretary.