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Bethlehem Council MInutes
BETHLEHEM CITY COUNCIL MEETING
10 East Church Street – Town Hall
Tuesday, October 1, 2013 – 7:00 PM
PLEDGE TO THE FLAG
Pastor Robert Rentler, of New Covenant Community Church, offered the Invocation which was followed by the pledge to the flag.
1. ROLL CALL
President Eric R. Evans called the meeting to order. Present were Jean Belinski, David T. DiGiacinto, Karen Dolan, Robert J. Donchez, Michael D. Recchiuti, J. William Reynolds, and Eric R. Evans, 7.
2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The Minutes of September 17, 2013 were approved.
3. PUBLIC COMMENT
4. OLD BUSINESS.
A. Old Business – Members of Council
B. Tabled Items
C. Unfinished Business
1. Request for Public Hearing – Proposed Southside Bethlehem Community Benefit District
A. Director of Planning and Zoning – 2014-2018 Capital Improvement Program
The Clerk read a memorandum dated September 16, 2013 from Darlene L. Heller, Director of Planning and Zoning, to which was attached a copy of the Funding/Spending Schedule and the Project Descriptions for the 2014-2018 Capital Program that was approved by the Planning Commission at its September 12, 2013 meeting.
President Evans stated that a Committee of the Whole meeting
is scheduled on Wednesday, November 6, at 6:00 PM in Town
B. Housing and Community Development Planner – Proposed 2014 CDBG and HOME Programs
The Clerk read a letter dated September 27, 2013 from Irene Woodward, Housing and Community Development Planner, attached to which were the activities proposed for the City’s 2014 Action Plan that includes funding under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnership Programs. The 2014 estimate for CDBG funding is $1,026,000 and for HOME funding is $256,000. The amount of reprogrammed funds is $26,250.
President Evans referred the matter to the Community Development Committee.
A. President of Council
1. Councilmanic Appointment – Maureen P. Leeson – Recreation Commission
President Evans appointed Maureen P. Leeson to membership on the Recreation Commission effective until January 2014. Mr. Recchiuti and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution 2013-171 to confirm the appointment.
Mr. Reynolds inquired if Ms. Leeson was in attendance for questions. President Evans replied no.
Ms. Dolan, commenting that she knows Ms. Leeson, pointed out that Ms. Leeson worked with Jane Persa, Recreation Administrator, on recreation issues. Ms. Dolan, expressing it does not matter what Ms. Leeson is assigned to do, emphasized she will do it with energy, enthusiasm, and intelligence. Ms. Dolan complimented President Evans for seeking gender diversity and quality perspectives on the Recreation Commission.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. DiGiacinto, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Recchiuti, and Mr. Evans, 6. Voting NAY: Mr. Reynolds, 1. The Resolution passed.
1. Administrative Order – Ellen Cary Bearn – Sister City Commission
Mayor Callahan reappointed Ellen Cary Bearn to membership on the Sister City Commission effective through October 2016. Mr. Recchiuti and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution 2013-172 to confirm the appointment.
Ms. Dolan, advising that Ellen Bearn is a very active member of the Sister City Commission who is very involved, commented that she is worthy of reappointment.
Voting AYE: Mr. Reynolds, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. DiGiacinto, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Recchiuti, and Mr. Evans, 7. The Resolution passed.
C. Public Safety Committee
Mr. Donchez, Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, presented an oral report of the Committee’s meeting held on Tuesday, September 24, in Town Hall on the following subjects: EMS Bureau - Call Volume (3 Year Comparison), Percentage of Calls Handled by BEMS (3 Year Comparison), Update and Percentage of Calls Handled by BEMS - EMS Centers at Dewberry Avenue and Stefko Boulevard, Staffing – Full Time and Part Time; Vacancies; Retirements, Overtime, Equipment Needs – 2014; Fire Department - Staffing – Current Levels; Vacancies; Retirements, Overtime, Response Times, Inspections, Equipment Needs – 2014, New Programs/Initiatives; Police Department - Staffing – Current Levels; Vacancies; Retirements, Overtime, Updates, CODY – Update, 60 W. Broad Street – Substation, Wilson-Kramer Building, Crime Statistics – Update, Equipment Needs – 2014, New Programs/Initiatives.
7. ORDINANCES FOR FINAL READING
A. Bill No. 26 – 2013 – Amending Article 151 – Firemen’s Pension Fund
The Clerk read Bill No. 26 – 2013 – Amending Article 151 – Firemen’s Pension Fund, on Final Reading.
Voting AYE: Mr. Reynolds, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. DiGiacinto, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Recchiuti, and Mr. Evans, 7. Bill No. 26 – 2013, now known as Ordinance No. 2013-26, was passed on Final Reading.
B. Bill No. 27 – 2013 – Amending Article 153 – Police Pension Fund
The Clerk read Bill No. 27 – 2013 – Amending Article 153 – Police Pension Fund, on Final Reading.
Voting AYE: Mr. Reynolds, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. DiGiacinto, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Recchiuti, and Mr. Evans, 7. Bill No. 27 – 2013, now known as Ordinance No. 2013-27, was passed on Final Reading.
C. Bill No. 28 – 2013 – Amending Non-Utility Capital Fund Budget – Greenway – Plaza/Pavilion Project
The Clerk read Bill No. 28 – 2013 – Amending Non-Utility Capital Fund Budget – Greenway – Plaza/Pavilion Project, on Final Reading.
Voting AYE: Mr. Reynolds, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. DiGiacinto, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Recchiuti, and Mr. Evans, 7. Bill No. 28 – 2013, now known as Ordinance No. 2013-28, was passed on Final Reading.
8. NEW ORDINANCES
A. Authorizing Shared Use of Path Crossing Agreement – Greenway – PennDOT
Mr. Recchiuti and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution No. 2013-173 that authorized a Shared Use of Path Crossing Agreement with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania so that a crossing of the South Bethlehem Greenway can be pursued over South New Street.
Voting AYE: Mr. Reynolds, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. DiGiacinto, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Recchiuti, and Mr. Evans, 7. The Resolution passed.
B. Authorizing Supplemental Federal Aid Reimbursement Agreement – PennDOT
Mr. Recchiuti and Mr. Donchez sponsored Resolution No. 2013-174 that authorized a Supplemental Federal Aid Reimbursement Agreement for Pennsylvania Community Transportation Initiative (PCTI) funds from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation in a revised additional amount of $6,700 for a total project amount of $1,646,700 for the development of Phase III of the South Bethlehem Greenway. All construction has been completed, and the Supplemental Agreement allows the City to close out the grant.
Voting AYE: Mr. Reynolds, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. DiGiacinto, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Recchiuti, and Mr. Evans, 7. The Resolution passed.
C. Transfer of Funds – Non-Utility Capital Fund Budget – Greenway Plaza/Pavilion Project
Mr. Donchez and Mrs. Belinski sponsored Resolution No. 2013-175 that transferred $171,782 in the Non-Utility Capital Fund Budget as follows: $130,782 from Account 69999-66164, Nevin Place/Sun Inn Courtyard and $41,000 from Account 62013-66164, Nevin Place/Sun Inn Courtyard, to the following: $130,782, Account 69999-66117, South Bethlehem Greenway and $41,000, Account 62013-66117, South Bethlehem Greenway, for the Greenway Plaza/Pavilion project.
Motion – Considering Resolutions 9 D through 9 G as
a Group – Certificates of Appropriateness
Mr. DiGiacinto and Mr. Reynolds moved to consider Resolutions 9 D through 9 G as a group. Voting AYE: Mr. Reynolds, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. DiGiacinto, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Recchiuti, and Mr. Evans, 7. The Motion passed.
D. Certificate of Appropriateness – 127-129 East Third Street
Mrs. Belinski and Ms. Dolan sponsored Resolution No. 2013-176 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to replace the existing back door and garage door at 127-129 East Third Street.
E. Certificate of Appropriateness – 826 Evans Street
Mrs. Belinski and Ms. Dolan sponsored Resolution No. 2013-177 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to remove existing slate roof and replace with shingles at 826 Evans Street.
F. Certificate of Appropriateness – 118 Graham Place
Mrs. Belinski and Ms. Dolan sponsored Resolution No. 2013-178 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to build a new shed dormer on the third floor, replace the front porch door, light and railing, replace the garage window, and add new gutters to the garage at 118 Graham Place.
G. Certificate of Appropriateness – 217 Broadway (Signs)
Mrs. Belinski and Ms. Dolan sponsored Resolution No. 2013-179 that granted a Certificate of Appropriateness to install signs at 217 Broadway.
Voting AYE on Resolutions 9 D through 9 G: Mr. Reynolds, Mrs. Belinski, Mr. DiGiacinto, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, Mr. Recchiuti, and Mr. Evans, 7. The Resolutions passed.
H. Certificate of Appropriateness – 217 Broadway (Garage Door) DENIAL
Ms. Dolan and Mr. DiGiacinto sponsored Resolution 9 H to deny a Certificate of Appropriateness for the garage door at 217 Broadway.
Mr. Reynolds, affirming that Darlene Heller, Director of Planning and Zoning and Joseph Kelly, Director of Community and Economic Development, are in attendance, wondered if they had information about this matter.
Mr. Kelly, noting this is the location of the old Firehouse, said the new owner, Greg Salomoni, has done a tremendous job refurbishing the inside as well as the exterior. In May 2012, Mr. Salomoni received an approval from the Historic Conservation Commission to replace the existing garage door with a six panel by five panel garage door of aluminum material. According to Mr. Salomoni, what he related to the South Side Historic Conservation Commission was that when the door came in he had already removed the existing door and the new door ended up being a six panel by four panel garage door that was not quite what was approved by the Commission. Mr. Salomoni went back to the Commission to seek their approval. Mr. Kelly explained that without a garage door, the building would be open. Mr. Kelly remarked that Mr. Salomoni went back to the Historic Conservation Commission and they turned down his revised door by a 5-3 vote. Observing it was a close vote, Mr. Kelly said there was some support for what he had done.
Mayor Callahan, indicating there was a soft opening for the business in the past few days, said he had the opportunity to go through the building a number of times and remarked that it is a very spectacular project. Mayor Callahan stressed that Mr. Salomoni has put hundreds of thousands of dollars into the restoration of both the exterior and interior. Mayor Callahan explained that it had been a defunct fire station building, then a nightclub that became a bit of a nuisance bar, and Mr. Salomoni renovated the building to a much higher end restaurant and lounge. Mayor Callahan remarked that Mr. Salomoni has spared no expense in restoring the building. Mayor Callahan, expressing his understanding that the door that came in was not exactly what was specified by the HCC (Historic Conservation Commission) noted at that point Mr. Salomoni had to install a door, as he could not expose his investment he just made by putting up just cardboard or plywood. Mayor Callahan encouraged Council to go and see the interior and exterior of the restaurant if they are contemplating supporting the denial. Observing it certainly was not for lack of effort or expenditure of resources, Mayor Callahan stressed it is a huge investment in an area of the South Side of Bethlehem where the City has struggled to see similar investment.
Mr. Recchiuti informed the Members that he had the opportunity today to drive by the location and check it because it is on the Agenda. Mr. Recchiuti said the door looks nice, it is a good garage door, and he thought the HCC was a bit nitpicking in this matter. Mr. Recchiuti communicated it seems the HCC may have been more focused on the fact that it is an A. W. Leh building rather than working with the owner. Mr. Recchiuti highlighted the fact that he will be voting against the denial tonight.
Ms. Dolan, highlighting the fact that the historic boards are charged by the City and by the State to uphold certain design qualifications, pointed out that Council with maybe a few exceptions has respected the recommendations of the historic boards. Ms. Dolan communicated that she has a hard time understanding why someone would not at least look at the new door before putting it up. She added that once something is installed sometimes the person feels they can lean on the sympathies of the Commission and say it is up already. She denoted that City Council has had Certificates of Appropriateness before them where people already had spent money who were citizens, not a business owner, and Council upheld the HARB or HCC’s opinion, whether it was a 1-6 or 5-3 vote. Ms. Dolan communicated that the closeness of the vote is not applicable, as the historic boards are functioning as a democracy and it does not matter. Ms. Dolan, while relating she would not use the word nitpicking, stressed that the historic boards are there to uphold standards. Turning to the fact that it is an A. W. Leh building, Ms. Dolan exclaimed that the City keeps knocking down and mistreating A. W. Leh buildings, and Mr. Leh was the single most important architect who did his best work in Bethlehem. Ms. Dolan stated this is not a minor thing and with having wide panels it will instantly look like the suburbs. Ms. Dolan advised that she drove by the building and thought it makes a big difference. While remarking it may not seem like a big difference to people who do not appreciate the importance of upholding historical standards, Ms. Dolan questioned why does the City have this Commission if it is not to do just that. Ms. Dolan thought that Council should respect the Commission, and that the owner should get together some documents of the attempts to solve the problem because one of the reasons why he was denied was because he said he had a problem with the supplier but he did not receive any documentation. Since the door was only recently put up and it was not the door he ordered then it is incumbent on the supplier to replace the door unless he did not order the correct door. Ms. Dolan stated that it is not Council’s job to fix this by saying okay, because there could be the next situation where something that is inappropriate is installed and Council may not have the same feeling towards those people who put money into a project. Ms. Dolan thought this is fixable through the supplier, and documentation is the key and the hammer that will get the job done and get it switched to whatever was ordered. If Council were to back away, then the question may be why should he push to get the garage door he ordered, because he will have the approval, and others can just slide by when they get denied and can say something is already put up. Ms. Dolan related that this Council has never allowed that to be a reason to not uphold the Commission’s opinion. Ms. Dolan advised that she will be voting yes to support the Commission, with the understanding that the owner will probably get the correct door if he works on it.
Mr. DiGiacinto pointed out that it is a great old building, it has been renovated tremendously well, and there has been a lot of money put into it. Mr. DiGiacinto advised he has been inside the building, there was a soft opening this week, and the door has been on for a while. Mr. DiGiacinto thought the missing piece is what the owner ended up getting from the supplier versus what was ordered, and there is some functionality to the garage door that opens up. Mr. DiGiacinto said he does not see addressed anywhere as to whether the amount of panels, whether wide or high, affect how the garage door opens up. Mr. DiGiacinto advised there is no way one can recreate this A. W. Leh building again because it is not a firehouse anymore, and different doors are needed to have the restaurant effect. Mr. DiGiacinto related he has seen the door opened up, although he did not count the panels, but he wondered if it is the functionality that will affect those panels and how they are on the door. Mr. DiGiacinto commented that the owner can probably consider replacing the door if the functionality is provided by the door size and panels originally approved. Mr. DiGiacinto highlighted the fact that there is no way the door can be taken off right now without anything else to cover the building. Mr. DiGiacinto said as a minimum he would like to go back and have a discussion. Mr. DiGiacinto thought that Council does not have the detail here to tell if it was the supplier’s fault or the fault of who ordered the door, or is it a functionality issue. Mr. DiGiacinto, querying what if the other door does not exist and the functionality is not there, wondered what can Council do.
Ms. Dolan pointed out what has happened in the past when this sort of thing occurs is that the applicants go back to the Commission and hash through those issues. Ms. Dolan noted there is nothing in the Commission’s review about functionality and based on this information the owner went to the Commission with a door that opened and that door was approved so he must have presented something to the Commission that was approved. She continued on to say that would have been a door that was available and opened. Ms. Dolan stated the owner can show that this certain door is not available and can plead that case. Ms. Dolan observed one of the reasons why the owner was turned down is that he said there had been a problem with the supplier, and the Commission asked for documentation but they did not receive any. Ms. Dolan indicated there may need to be more effort on the part of the applicant to explain the problem. Ms. Dolan did not think Council should be the party who says okay to this because of the question of what happens in the future. Ms. Dolan pointed out that the Historic Conservation Commission can take a second look at this and hear more information because they can be very helpful, and there are often things that can be done that can mitigate even the appearance of an appropriate door, and sometimes there are things that can be done to the door that can solve this problem. Ms. Dolan stressed that Council would be turning down a clear and very documented reason for denial from a Commission that is there because the State authorizes them. Ms. Dolan asserted that for Council at this juncture to just say the owner gets a pass because they like his business sends a very bad message that says to the Historic Conservation Commission that Council does not respect what they do. Ms. Dolan stated she does not want to do this, especially with something that is so clearly documented as to why it was done.
Mr. Recchiuti commented he thinks this is the second time around in this situation in that the owner went to the Commission and got a door approved, and then went back because the door did not conform to what was approved. Mr. Recchiuti noted it appears the owner did try to work this out by going back to the Commission. Ms. Dolan stated this is the first time for this issue. Mr. Recchiuti pointed out that the owner went back to the Commission because it was a different door. He exemplified that in the case of the Kemmerer Museum and the issue on High Street, City Council did not vote on the Resolutions because they did not agree and sent it back to the Board and asked them to reconsider. Mr. Recchiuti denoted that in the past Council effectively denied or went against the historic boards’ recommendations. Mr. Recchiuti said generally he does agree with Ms. Dolan in that these Boards do the heavy lifting, they have the hearings, and Council should be listening to them but they do not get it right every time, and he thinks that they got it wrong in this instance.
Ms. Dolan noted that Mr. Recchiuti brings up some very good points about other options besides approving or denying. Ms. Dolan queried as to what are other options in response to this in order to perhaps move this forward one way or the other.
Christopher Spadoni, City Council Solicitor, advised that Council could approve the Certificate of Appropriateness Resolution, deny it, or could table it.
Ms. Dolan asked what tabling would do in this case.
Attorney Spadoni pointed out that tabling it would have no action by City Council and it may give a chance for further discussion or further information to be provided to Council.
Ms. Dolan asked if there is the option of delaying or postponing until a specific time.
Solicitor Spadoni affirmed that may be an option as well, and Council could certainly table it generally, or table it to a certain date and that may be more appropriate.
Mr. Reynolds commented that, no matter what Council does now, in the past Council has supported the power of the Historic Commissions if the end result is one that Council tends to agree with. Mr. Reynolds said it needs to be remembered that the Commissions are advisory and that Council has the final say. He related that Council has disagreed with them at some point, whether or not a matter has been tabled, voted for, or voted against. Mr. Reynolds added it is important to remember that the Historic Board and Historic Commission act as advisories. Mr. Reynolds emphasized that Council appreciates all of the hard work the Commissions do, and many of the board members have extensive knowledge on these subjects. Mr. Reynolds denoted that 98 times out of 100 if the historic boards approve something Council approves it also, or if they deny something Council denies it also. Mr. Reynolds thought that Council can also disagree with the historic commissions sometimes and it is important to remember that.
Mr. DiGiacinto thought that Council does not have all of the information they need in this matter. Council does not know whether the original door that was approved was even available for sale, and maybe the owner had to go to an alternative. He pointed out that even if Council agrees with the Commission, he does not think the door could come off tomorrow. Mr. DiGiacinto wondered does the owner have to go back to find an alternative door and go back to the Commission and perhaps that will happen, or does he go back with the original door which it is not known if it exists. Mr. DiGiacinto, commenting that he thinks Council is complicating the matter, added that he thinks the door that is on the building looks great. Mr. DiGiacinto communicated he is not sure if the 6 panels versus 4 panels really matters in the big picture, but he was not at the HCC meeting and he does not know what is available.
Mr. Reynolds advised that he drove by the building as well, and he does think that the door fits in with the character of the rest of the structures as well as the rest of the neighborhood.
President Evans denoted it has been heard from the Mayor, Mr. Kelly, and some Members of Council that they drove by the building, it is open, the door is there and is functional. President Evans commented that if the vote does not happen and if there is a motion to table and collect information, that does not change the operations of the owner. Mayor Callahan stated that is correct.
President Evans, referring to Ms. Dolan’s thoughts on a motion, affirmed Council would not be turning this down but at the same time it would not be approved, and will allow Council to get more answers. President Evans, emphasizing that going against the HCC’s recommendation should be done seriously, stated if there is no rush then Council should table the Resolution.
Ms. Dolan, stating she wants to make a motion in the spirit of what is at stake, communicated it is the reputation of City Council from inside the City and even more important outside the City, and the reputation of Bethlehem as a historic city that respects its history. Ms. Dolan further emphasized that Bethlehem’s standing as a City as a whole is on the balance when it lets these things start to slide. Ms. Dolan queried when is the next meeting of the South Side Historic Conservation Commission and how that date relates to Council’s next meeting. Ms. Heller noted the HCC meets on the third Monday of the month. Ms. Dolan observed the Resolution can then be considered at the next City Council Meeting that will be rescheduled on November 6 since it will occur after the HCC meeting.
Ms. Dolan moved to postpone the vote until the November 6 City Council meeting, with the intent of getting more information and also providing a chance for the parties to meet once again, and for Council and those involved to learn more about what is possible to fix this matter one way or the other. Mr. DiGiacinto seconded the motion. President Evans affirmed that the motion is to postpone the vote on the Certificate of Appropriateness Resolution until the Wednesday, November 6 City Council Meeting.
Voting AYE: Mrs. Belinski, Mr. DiGiacinto, Ms. Dolan, Mr. Donchez, and Mr. Evans, 5. Voting NAY: Mr. Reynolds and Mr. Recchiuti, 2. The motion passed.
10. NEW BUSINESS.
Committee Meeting Announcement
Chairman DiGiacinto re-announced a Community Development Committee meeting on October 9, 2013 at 6:00 PM in Town Hall.
11. PUBLIC COMMENT
Fees for City Services
Silagh White, 2351 Woodcrest Avenue, addressed City Council about an article in the Express-Times on September 21, 2013 in which was reported that for the second year in a row the Runners World Marathon events will not be charged the cost for City services. She noted the article stated that since last year’s race had City service fees partially covered by two sponsorships, St. Luke’s Hospital and Discover Lehigh Valley, there is still a remaining $13,000 that the City had to pay out of its own budget. Ms. White continued to say that the Runners World Marathon organizers put in significant efforts in designing the course, and while she can appreciate the concern over the possibility of relocating the marathon to another City she thought they most likely will not do this anytime soon. Pointing out that the race was incredibly well planned and praised by many runners in assessments she collected by reading multiple reviews of last year’s event, Ms. White observed that runners return to familiar courses and they also pay registration fees set by marathon organizers to cover costs along with sponsorships. Ms. White commented there are plenty of opportunities in these revenue collections to cover the City services fees. She stressed that when the Administration arbitrarily waives the fees for public events that require City services the taxpayer will bear the burden. Ms. White noted that on February 5, 2013 City Council voted to impose a new Amusement Tax to be applied to the price of admission, also dubbed the First Responders Fee, that was one of several measures Mayor Callahan proposed to cover an expected $4.8 million budget gap this year. She commented that the Mayor advocated for this tax saying that the revenue would go into the General Fund that covers City operations including the salaries of Police, Firefighters and EMS. Highlighting the fact that the tax only applies to the City of Bethlehem venues of a capacity greater than 200 and ticket prices greater than $10, Ms. White remarked the venues that have been collecting this tax can show records of sales that demonstrate a significant portion of those who are paying the Amusement taxes are Bethlehem citizens. More than passing along the cost of the events to the taxpayer, Ms. White asserted that this practice sets up an uneven playing field for other non-profit organizations that present festivals in the City and sponsor charity events. Emphasizing there is already a significant amount of competition for
audiences, sponsorships, and other assets in the community, Ms. White stated that unfairly charging City services builds unfavorable relationships among the various organizations leaving many to question what do they have to do to win favor of the City Administration. Ms. White communicated this also undermines the efforts of building civic engagement, civic pride and contributions for the greater good of Bethlehem. She commented that thousands of Bethlehem citizens contribute their time, expertise and dollars to provide amazing events for City and visitors to enjoy, and if the rules of the game keep changing people will no longer be willing to play. Expressing her dismay that the issue is not on the Agenda this evening, Ms. White asked City Council and the Administration to keep the fees and City services charges fair.
Certificate of Appropriateness – 217 Broadway –
Garage Door; Parking Lots –
Mary Pongracz, 321 W. 4th Street, informed City Council that Greg Salomoni was most uncooperative with the Historic Conservation Commission, of which she is a member. Relating he was given several possibilities that would remedy the situation, Ms. Pongracz said his behavior was such that he was insulting to her, and he was called out by a member of the Commission. Ms. Pongracz thought some of the comments tonight seemed to indicate that it does not matter what kind of windows are put in a house in the historic area, for example. Ms. Pongracz said she would like to know why 3 parking garages are needed in a 6 block area, one on Morton Street, one at Riverport, and one supposedly at Vine Street. While expressing her understanding that Third and New Streets will be redeveloped with stores on the first level, and medical offices on the second and third floors, and the parking lot will be used by employees of the medical center, Ms. Pongracz stressed that people in the City will be paying $1 an hour to pick up their milk and bread. Ms. Pongracz wondered what is wrong with the Parking Authority if they are spending $500,000 to benefit a private developer.
Stephen Antalics, 737 Ridge Street, remarked he is shocked and dismayed at the discussion about a garage door. He explained what disturbs him is the fact that one half block up on Broadway is located the historic Flatiron building, and the architect may be A. W. Leh. He recalled that a Resolution was approved by Council to put a large solar concentrator on the roof of that building and no one got upset. The person who did it violated the Resolution that was passed saying that it would not be seen, but it could be seen from many vantage points. He wondered why Council or the Administration did not ask the person at the Flatiron building to take the concentrator down. Mr. Antalics wondered how Council can make such a major issue of a garage door when a real issue is this major violation of the historic Flatiron building.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:55 p.m.