Monday, September 10, 2012

September WECAN Board Meeting Minutes (Draft)

WECAN Board Meeting September 6, 2012 at Merritt Park Meeting Room.

Board Members Present were: Byron Ballard, Joe Fioccola, Bret Frk, Yuri Koslen and Luke Perry. Board Members not present were Jeff Carnivale, Jessie Nell Coleman, Tom Gibson, AnnaBeth Hardcastle, Mike Kenton, Joanne Skinner and Suzanne Willis. Also present were: Officer Evan Coward, Sergeant Don Eberhardt, Darcel Eddins, Drew Godfrey, David Greenbaum, Hanni Muerdter, Prucilla Ndiaye, Patrick Pearson, Laura Piraino, Officer Adam Roach, Marsha Stickford and Pattiy Torno.
Luke called the meeting to order at 6:34 p.m. with a round of introductions.

NEIGHBOR UPDATES
. Elbert Davis who lived on W Haywood St passed away last month joining Jimmy Smith who passed away in July leaving behind over 50 cats that he cared for. WECAN received a thank you card from his Jimmy’s sister Daisy for our contribution to Forever Friends who took in the cats. Bret noted several properties were under contract. Hanni reported that all Clingman Lofts were now sold. Bret announced that his son Wade was 10 weeks old and had lost a little weight but was doing fine. Also that Mike Kenton’s family was expecting a bundle of joy and may miss some WECAN Meetings.

APD CRO UPDATE: Evan had received no complaints about the River Music Concerts on Riverside Dr and that the final one was set for Friday Sept 14. Pattiy was advised of some homeless camps on the back of the Crown Plaza across the river from WECAN. Byron reported that every Friday night there is a problem with people parking unsafely in the bicycle lane at The Bywater  on Riverside Dr. Luke did a ride-along with Evan and recommends it.

EAST OF THE RIVERWAY DAY:  Luke passed around a copy of the survey conducted by Appalachian State students 2 years ago.   As part of the nation-wide Obama-initiated Sustainable Communities Initiative the City of Asheville received a grant to work with the neighborhoods of the “East of the Riverway” area.  Marsha noted that the boundaries encompass most of Census Track 9. It appears to be a cobbled together group which includes  Lee-Walker Hgts, Southside, River Arts District, S French Broad, WECAN and Hillcrest but It may be that the Census tract represented a coherent community before the area was divided by interstates and schools. Luke passed out a flyer for and event: EOTR presents The Community Speaks: presentations and performances by community members that are strengthening our existing neighborhoods and communities. Presenting organizations include AB Tech Minority Student Leadership Academy, Green Opportunities, Hillcrest Resident Association, Just Folks, LEAF in Schools and Streets, Southside Community Advisory Board, Urban Arts Institute, WECAN Association. on Thursday Sept 13 from 6-8:30 at the Dr Wesley Grant Sr Southside Center at 285 Livingston St. Free Dinner Provided. The purpose is to educate, and build networking opportunities and encourage neighborhood groups and organizations to help each other out.  Discussion followed about EOTR funders (DOE, DOT HUD and GroWNC), their livability principles: Provide more transportation choices; Promote equitable, affordable housing; Enhance economic competitiveness; Support existing communities; Coordinate policies& leverage investment; Value communities and neighborhoods. Discussion about the progress and results. East of the Riverway Community Calendar: http://eastoftheriverway.com/community-calendar/ 

ENERGY PLAN FOCUS GROUPS:
Laura from the City’s Sustainability Office reported on another survey of Community Energy Use. The City is surveying all neighborhoods to find out how people use energy and  to do what they do and to think about options to save money and energy. They aim to look at programs, projects and policy influences to make a plan specific to EOTR. They will conduct focus groups as part of a series of re-visioning meetings. She passed out a flyer: Saving Energy: saves money. Increases the comfort of your home. Creates local jobs. Raises your standard of living. Improves health. Keeps housing affordable. Increases local spending. Is good for the environment. Can be done together. Can be done in community. A plan makes it easier. Help create yours. Participate in a COMMUNITY ENERGY PLAN  RESIDENT OR BUSINESS FOCUS GROUP for the River Arts District, WECAN, South French Broad, Livingston, Lee-Walker Heights and Hillcrest Neighborhoods to the Wesley Grant Sr Community Center.  Business Focus Group: Tuesday Sept 4 6-8 p.m. and Wednesday Sept 19 12-2 p.m. Residential Focus Group: Tuesday Sept 18 6-8 p.m. and Thursday Sept 20 6-8 p.m. Lunch /dinner provided and Gift Cards for Participation. RSVP by email to lpiraino@ashevillenc.gov or call 828 259-5590 no walk-ins.   Prucilla  stressed the need for better information and honesty to introduce the project to the community. Not to come in to it sideways but from the beginning involving the community by being inclusive and accountable. There is some residual distrust of consultants and surveys of the community over the years that are ignored or channeled to justify a predetermined result. Laura defended her efforts as not a foregone conclusion but as a resource of useful information that people can use today that will save them money and energy.

 WECAN MASTER PLAN:  Joe gave a brief review of previous WECAN plans. In 1996 the city developed a 2010 Plan that identified and defined the West End Clingman Avenue Neighborhood. One result was the formation of a neighborhood organization. WECAN was created in 1997. It actually lumped together two neighborhoods one predominantly African American and one predominantly Caucasian. Both were mostly working class homeowners.  In 2000 a week-long charette process was held that resulted in the WECAN Citizens Master Plan. It was formally adopted but the city in 2008. In the fall of 2009 WECAN reviewed the goals of the 2010 plan. (A copy follows these minutes.) Since 1996 there have been a lot of changes in WECAN. Yuri posed the question: Should the Master Plan be revised and updated? There was consensus that it was a good direction to go in. Next What are the initial steps that need to be taken to make it happen?  Bret suggested to audit the previous plans and identify the changes to and effects on the neighborhood. See if there is a shift in the goals of the current residents. What goals are different from the ones of the 1996 neighborhood and which remain the same. So the first steps are 1) auditing previous plans
(WECAN Master Plan: http//www.ashevillenc.gov/Departments/PlanningDevelopment/NeighborhoodPlans.aspx) 2) Contact City staff to align their plans affecting WECAN. 3)Raw Survey data to Pattiy 4) Identify other ‘players’ (independent developers) in the neighborhood and what their plans might be. There was also a question raised if the River Arts District should be separated from the residential area of WECAN. 5) We have the talent and expertise in our neighborhood to create a professional Master Plan ourselves. Luke suggested that we can use this angle to pitch for funding to pay us to do it. 6) Joe suggested a steering committee to look at and identify the process so that it is efficient, fair, inclusive and accountable. Luke asked for a committee to meet in the next month to begin the process. ( Luke identified Pattiy, Anna, Bret, Patrick, Drew, Hanni, Byron and Joe to meet.)  (Luke also identified the need to meet next week to review WECAN’s progress over the last 15 years for the presentation for the EOTR Event on  Sept 13. (Founding members Joe, Byron and Jessie will try to help.)

COMMUNICATION COMMITTEE BLOCK JESSIES: Committed so far: Block 1) Chicken Hill: Luke; Block 2 ) Patton: Jessie; Block 3) Rector: ?; Block 4) Merritt Park:?;  Block 5) Prospect Terrace:?; Block 6) Clingman:?; Block 7) Clingman Lofts: Hanni; Block 8) Jefferson: Yuri; Block 9) Park Ave:?; Block 10) Grey Eagle:?; Block 11) Roundabout:?; Block 12) Riverside: Pattiy;  [Joe suggests collapsing #10 and #11 into #12. And making #2 all north of Hilliard.)

EAST WEST ASHEVILLE NEIGHBORHOOD/NEW BELGIUM
: Darcel represents the East West Asheville Neighborhood Association (EWANA) and shared mutual concerns about New Belgium. Projecting 60-100 truck per day on neighborhood streets (Haywood Rd or Clingman Ave.) and 300 visitors expected every day. There are no sidewalks along the already narrow roads of Westwood Rd. and Waynesville Ave. EWANA would prefer rerouting truck traffic to Hazel Mill Rd and will be talking to New Belgium. She is also miffed that New Belgium considers themselves part of the River Arts District since they are on the other side of the river in a brownfield adjacent to a residential neighborhood and that they are hearing the state, city and county voices and not the community’s voice. She wants a dialogue with the corporation to get them to do something for the neighborhoods they will be directly affecting. She said it’s not about demonizing them just wants transparency and openness. She is happy to share conversations and concerns with EWANA. New Belgium may trigger other issues and concerns for EOTR and residential impact. There is a meeting on Friday and Pattiy reviewed WECANs expressed concerns so far about New Belgium and asked if there were any more to add to :Smell; Traffic; Noise; Property Taxes; Roberts Street as an alternate route and local jobs. (New Belgium FAQ’s: http//www.newbelgium.com/Community/ashevillebrewery/faq.aspx )

ROBERTS ST TRAFFIC COUNTS CLINGMAN BULBOUT STRIPING: Marsha presented the most recent traffic counts for Roberts St (Also following these minutes) Noting that for 85% of drivers the average speed was about 22 mph and 24 % of drivers were speeding. She noted that having an updated master plan could help make the case that the neighborhood has changed over time and the uses and needs of the community have changed as well which may affect other city plans. She also advised that The bulbouts on Clingman would be made more visible and that The process has begun to do a pedestrian/bicycle count at Clingman and Roberts and that volunteers were needed to spend an hour counting pedestrians and bicyclists that pass. Most volunteers are recruited through the Reuter Center but if anyone is interested in volunteering contact Marsha or Barb Mee. (Volunteers cannot be used if they are directly affected)   Clingman and Hilliard Ped Heads have been put out for bid. 
Luke announced that The Clingman Forest Greenway design team has been selected: Site-works Studios. They have done extensive work for the City of Asheville and Mountain Housing Opportunities. Luke is also still talking about a bike skills park in some other location still dealing with liability and other issues.


UPCOMING EVENTS:
Luke announced several items

Thursday Sept 13 6-8:30 East of the Riverway Day at Grant Southside Center (WECAN presenting) RSVP
Friday Sept 14 River Music
Tues Sept 18    Clingman Lofts Meeting at MHO conference Room.
Monday Sept 24 Bike Park Meeting 7p.m. at Battle Cat coffee house
Tuesday Sept 25 4 p.m. at FLS: River Arts District Business Association RADBA

Meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m.
Minutes submitted by Joe Fioccola

____________________________________________________________________________________
Traffic Counts for Roberts St

Combined Directions
Day        Volume                85%ile                  Avg Speed          # speeders         % Speeding        Avg Exceeding
Tues      2006                       26.6                        22.7                        577                         28.8                        27.5
Wed      2098                       25.9                        21.4                        435                         20.7                        27.4
Thu        2095                       26.4                        22.4                        512                         24.4                        27.3
Fri           2418                       26.2                        22.1                        577                         23.9                        27.5
Sat          1634                       25.9                        21.8                        349                         21.4                        27.8
Sun        1042                       25.9                        21.7                        234                         22.5                        27.5

               Southbound                                                                                        Northbound
Day        Volume                85%ile                  Avg Speed                          Volume                85%ile                  Avg Speed
Tues      1003                       25.5                        21.9                                        1003                       28.2                        23.7
Wed      1059                       24.6                        20.7                                        1039                       26.8                        22.4
Thurs     1106                       25.3                        21.6                                        989                         27.3                        23.0
Fri           1180                       25.1                        21.5                                        1238                       27.3                        23.0      
Sat          828                         24.2                        20.8                                        806                         27.5                        22.8
Sun        525                         24.8                        21.3                                        517                         27.1                        22.6      

_________________________________________________________________________________

10-1-2009
The following is from the 2010 Asheville City Plan West/End Clingman Avenue Neighborhood Plan January 23,1996.

HOUSING (page 15)
Goal #1.    REHABILITATION OF VACANT, DILAPIDATED HOUSES
                WHERE POSSIBLE.
1. Conduct building code enforcement inspections for all vacant, dilapidated
    houses within the study area to determine the cost of bringing each house
    up to code.
2. Develop a dialogue with the owners of all vacant, dilapidated houses to
    encourage housing rehabilitation and to inform owners of the existing programs
    and funding sources for housing rehabilitation.
Goal #2     DEMOLITION OF VACANT DILAPIDATED HOUSES NOT FEASIBLE FOR
                 REHABILITATION
1. Expedite the demolition of all dilapidated houses not feasible for rehabilitation.
2. Seek to acquire the properties containing condemned houses for possible future development
    of in-fill housing
Goal #3    PRESERVE EXISTING HOUSING STOCK THROUGH REHABILITATION
               OF OCCUPIED HOUSES, WHERE NECESSARY, AND ENCOURAGE NEW
               SINGLE-FAMILY HOUSING AND SOME SMALL-SCALE MULTI-FAMILY
               HOUSING
1. Designate West End/Clingman Avenue area as a "Target Neighborhood" for Community
    Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnership Program funds.
2. Develop a program to promote housing rehabilitation in the neighborhood.
3. Develop a program to promote new single-family and some small-scale multi-family housing
    in the neighborhood.
4. Ensure that any new programs encourage owner-occupancy and do not lead to displacement
    of existing residents or reduction in number of affordable housing units within the study area.   

FUTURE LAND USE (page 21)
Goal #1    PRESERVE AND ENHANCE EXISTING RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT
1. Secure the stability of residential areas through housing rehabilitation, demolition of struc-
tures not feasible for rehabilitation, and new single-family and small-scale multifamily hous-
ing.
2. Provide for a more compatible transition between residential and commercial areas.
3. Plan for complementary land uses adjacent to residential areas.
4. Implement zoning for the residential portions of the study area that would preserve the pre-
dominantly single- family, high density character of development.
Goal #2 PROMOTE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE RIVERFRONT
            THROUGH APPROPRIATE MIXTURE OF LAND USES
1. Encourage residential as a part of the mixture of uses along the riverfront.
2. Maintain and encourage a diversity of land uses such as commercial, recreational and enter-
    tainment, manufacturing, and residential.
3. Ensure the compatibility of uses within the mixed use area and limit uses which would create
    adverse impacts within the area.  
Goal #3 PROMOTE LAND USES THAT SUPPORT THE FIRST TWO GOALS WHILE
            ENCOURAGING THE MOST ECONOMICALLY VIABLE USES FOR THE
            STUDY AREA
1. Examine feasibility of utilizing vacant, publicly-owned land.
2. Promote existing businesses and encourage new types of businesses within existing commer-
    cial areas.
3. Where appropriate, ensure that a wide range of industrial, commercial, and residential land
    uses is permitted and encouraged.   

UTILITIES (page 22)
Goal #1    ENSURE ADEQUATE UTILITY SERVICE TO SUPPORT FUTURE
               REDEVELOPMENT
1. Extend sanitary sewer mains and upgrade existing mains where necessary to provide improved
    sewer services along Green Street, Girdwood Street, the lower portion of West Haywood
    Street and Jefferson Drive.
2. Make water system improvements to water mains along Jefferson Drive, Park Avenue, Green
    Street, and Girdwood Street.
3. Develop a schedule for replacing and/or upgrading existing undersized and old water lines
    and sewer mains.
4. Confirm the location, size, and condition of sewer mains serving Girdwood Street, Green
    Street, Park Square, and a portion of West Haywood Street.
5. Ensure that utility improvements do not encourage inappropriate growth.

TRAFFIC CIRCULATION (page 27)
Goal #1    PROMOTE PEDESTRIAN CIRCULATION WITHIN THE STUDY AREA
1. Construct new sidewalks and crosswalks as proposed on the Pedestrian Circulation Map.
2. Encourage property owners whose lots abut sidewalks to keep sidewalks clean and unob-
    structed by weeds and hedges.
3. in order to enhance pedestrian usage of streets, conduct a streetscape study which focuses on
    street trees, street furniture, street lighting, directional signage and other pedestrian amenities.
Goal#2        ENSURE THE EFFICIENT AND SAFE FLOW OF VEHICULAR TRAFFIC
                   WITHIN THE STUDY AREA
1. Limit truck traffic on certain residential streets as shown on the Traffic Circulation Map.
2. Promote the following route as the predominant route from Interstate-240 to the riverfront:
    I-240 to 19/23 North to Hill Street Exit to Riverside Drive to riverfront area.
3. Improve the five points intersection at Clingman and Roberts Streets, the T-intersection at
    Riverside Drive and Lyman Street, and the intersection of Patton Avenue and Clingman
    Avenue.

PARKS AND RECREATION (page 28)
Goal#1        INCREASE RECREATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR RESIDENTS
1. Implement changes to Aston Park to make it safer and more conducive to use by residents
    such as the establishment of a Park Watch program.
2. Expand Jean Webb Park and create pedestrian access from the residential area to Jean Webb
    Park.
3. Construct a new park within the study area.

NEIGHBORHOOD ENHANCEMENT (page 30)
Goal #1        PROMOTE THE INVOLVEMENT OF RESIDENTS AND PROPERTY
                   OWNERS IN DECISIONS REGARDING THE FUTURE OF THE
                   NEIGHBORHOOD
1. Create a formal neighborhood organization
2. Plan neighborhood-wide activities such as community watch and neighborhood clean-up
    projects.
Goal #2        IMPROVE CITY SERVICES TO NEIGHBORHOOD
1. Establish a dialogue between the neighborhood organization and the city
2. provide information to residents on the types and level of services offered throughout the city.
Goal #3        IMPROVE GENERAL APPEARANCE OF NEIGHBORHOOD
1. Clean up and maintain vacant lots within the area.
2. organize periodic neighborhood clean up efforts.
3. Post and enforce "no dumping" signs where appropriate.
4. Inform residents about their role in enforcing "junk car" and other nuisance ordinances.
5. Lobby the City to enforce "junk car" and other nuisance ordinances where necessary
Goal #4        INCREASE PRESENCE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT IN NEIGHBORHOOD
1. Work with law enforcement officials to solve problems resulting from drug dealing, prostitu-
    tion, and winos in and around Aston Park.
2. Eliminate prostitution and other illegal activity at Jefferson Street dead-end. 

 p.32 Housing
Goal#1    --Specific houses are listed in Appendix A
              --Attempt to purchase properties from owners who choose not to rehab or are not in a financial position to rehab the house.
              --Upon purchasing a house, conduct rehabilitation using CDBG/HOME funds  or market to non-profit/for-profit to do the rehabilitation.
Goal #3   --Concentrate on working with existing residents on housing rehab before promoting new housing.
              --Start promoting new housing on vacant lots after achieving some success with housing rehab.
              -- Attempt to purchase vacant lots for future infill housing development.
              --Monitor effects of housing rehab and new housing on existing residents and property values.
p.33 Land Use
Goal #2   --Amend Zoning Ordinance to allow residential in the Light Industrial and Commercial Service Zoning Districts.
              --Modify zoning map according to Proposed Land Use Map.
              --Amend the Zoning Ordinance to add a new zoning district oriented toward riverfront areas.
              Modify zoning map to implement the Proposed Land Use Map.
Goal #3   --Evaluate all city/county tax lots and unused portions of public rights-of- way for feasibility of new housing development or other appropriate uses.
p.34 Traffic Circulation
Goal #1   --Proposed Sidewalks:
               ---Hilliard St. (West Haywood St. to Clingman Ave.)
               ---Rector St. (entire street)
               ---Club St./Trade St. (entire street)
               ---West Haywood St. (Park Ave. to Roberts St.)
               ---Girdwood St. (entire street)
               ---Green St.  (entire street)
               ---Riverside Dr.  (entire street within study area)
               ---Roberts St. (West Haywood St to Haywood Rd.)
               ---Lyman St. (Clingman Ave to Riverside Dr.)
               ---West Haywood St. (Roberts St. to Smith Bridge)
               Repair Sidewalks:
               ---Park Ave.
               ---Jefferson Ave.
               New Crosswalks at Intersections:
               ---Clingman Ave. and Hilliard St.    
p.35 Goal #2   --Post no truck traffic signs as proposed on Traffic Circulation Map.
              --Post appropriate directional signs on the expressway.
              --Conduct a detailed traffic analysis to improve safety and traffic flow at the above intersections.
              --Modify intersection of Patton Ave. and Clingman Ave. to allow more direct and conventional left turn westbound from Patton Ave. onto southbound Clingman Ave. 
Goal #3   --Conduct an urban design study to determine appropriate streetscape elements.
p.36 Neighborhood Enhancement:
Goal #1   --Utilize services of Quality Forward in organizing clean-up efforts.
p.37 Goal #3   --Neighborhood Organization should work with Public Works Department in determining sign locations.    

11-5-2009
--------Reviewing 2010 Plan goals: Reviewed Housing first: (WECAN 2010 Plan page 15)
Goal #1.    REHABILITATION OF VACANT, DILAPIDATED HOUSES  WHERE POSSIBLE.  1. Conduct building code enforcement inspections for all vacant, dilapidated houses within the study area to determine the cost of bringing each house up to code. 2. Develop a dialogue with the owners of all vacant, dilapidated houses to encourage housing rehabilitation and to inform owners of the existing programs and funding sources for housing rehabilitation.
Goal #2     DEMOLITION OF VACANT DILAPIDATED HOUSES NOT FEASIBLE FOR REHABILITATION  1. Expedite the demolition of all dilapidated houses not feasible for rehabilitation. 2. Seek to acquire the properties containing condemned houses for possible future development of in-fill housing
Goal #3    PRESERVE EXISTING HOUSING STOCK THROUGH REHABILITATION OF OCCUPIED HOUSES, WHERE NECESSARY, AND ENCOURAGE  NEW SINGLE-FAMILY HOUSING AND SOME SMALL-SCALE MULTI-FAMILY HOUSING  1. Designate West End/Clingman Avenue area as a "Target Neighborhood" for Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnership Program funds. 2. Develop a program to promote housing rehabilitation in the neighborhood. 3. Develop a program to promote new single-family and some small-scale multi-family housing in the neighborhood.
4. Ensure that any new programs encourage owner-occupancy and do not lead to displacement of existing residents or reduction in number of affordable housing units within the study area.   The list of Vacant, dilapidated houses (Appendix A) includes: 26, 65, 72, 73, 116, 134 & 146 Clingman Ave, 6 Merritt St, 32 Clingman Pl, 4 Yarrow Pl, 15 ,21 & 29 Rector St, 12 & 42 Jefferson Ave, 453 W Haywood St, 41 & 56 Roberts St.  There are fewer vacant or dilapidated houses now. They include Yarrow Place, Park Place, the Club House on Trade St and the house above Grey Eagle on Park Ave. Other structures that are vacant include the Ice Storage building, the remnants of the Cotton Mill and the Hatchery.  Six of the 18 houses identified in the plan have been removed and not replaced; these are in addition to houses on Cope St and Clingman Ave north of Hilliard.  The rest have been rehabbed or improved. New buildings include:1 on Merritt St, 10 on Jefferson, 2 on W Haywood, 1 on Park, 1 on Roberts,  2 on Clingman in addition to Merritt Park Condos, Prospect Terrace Condos and Clingman Lofts.    

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