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McKnight Neighborhood Meeting 7/11/17

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Board Meeting: July 11, 2017

Approved August 8, 2017

Minutes McKnight Neighborhood Council

Meeting called to order by President Walter K at 6:15 pm. Board and audience introductions followed.

Board Members Present (9): Walter Kroll, President; Ben Swan, Jr, Vice-President; Bryan McFarland, Sec/Clerk; Brandi Gamble,

Asst Sec/Clerk; Elizabeth Stevens, Treasurer; Art Jones, Giselle Vizcarrondo, Cora Swan, Nikolaos Panteleakis,

Board Members Not Present (1): Lorenzo Gaines

Administrative Staff:   Elizabeth Lederman

Neighborhood Members & Guests who signed in: Dametrice Brown, Katrina Brown, David Gaby, Keith Reisinger-Kindle,

Damien Pittola, Stephen Gray, Roberta Kilkenny, Charlie Holmes, James Johnson

Guest Presentation: Matilda Pavao


  • Matilda Pavao—Request for Letter of Recommendation
  • Ms Pavao submitted an abutter’s application to the City for the purchase of the property at 62 Bowdoin St. It was approved by the Dept of Housing, and is pending approval from the City Council.
  • Ms Pavao owns the property at 70 Bowdoin Street and plans to incorporate the two vacant lots included in the parcel as part of her yard. She will be landscaping the area with trees and gardens. She shared some drawings of what the finished space will look like.
  • The application for purchase was granted by the Dept of Housing with stipulations that Ms Pavao will be complying with which include the removal of a dilapidated trailer. She will be paying Associated Wreckers to do a professional take down of the unit in compliance with all environmental regulations.
  • She has no plans to build housing on the lots, and said that the City’s contract excludes any building of that type.
  • Stephen G stated that he had objections to the abutter being granted these lots, because he had previously owned the rear parcel which he lost through some legal problems with the mortgage; and that he had tried to work it out with the City in the past but was unable to do so due to some tax problems. Mr Gray was one of three abutters who had made application to purchase the lots, and he expressed the opinion that he had been blocked by politics.
  • A discussion occurred about how tax issues relate to the abutter approval process and Mr Gray’s situation. Damien P observed that the abutter program excluded any applicants who had previously lost property through foreclosure on tax title by the City.
  • David G expressed the opinion that the abutter programs was developed with the intention of selling unbuildable and generally unmarketable lots to the interested parties who lived next to these properties, but that the individuals in the City’s Department of Housing were not following the guidelines of the program and were disposing of buildable lots through the program, particularly in historical districts. He contended that the City’s process in handling these properties was inappropriate, probably illegal, and deprecatory to the interests of the neighborhood; and that the Board should not approve the present abutter application or any other abutter applications in general and should oppose the City’s current practices.
  • Discussion followed about how the abutter program works, how City owned lots are supposed to be handled, and the history of the property at 62 Bowdoin—with some disagreement about whether or not the property had gone through all of the required steps before being offered through the abutter’s program.
  • The final consensus of the Board was to deal with question of approving the request for recommendation from Ms Pavao separately from the issues being raised about the City’s process of handling the properties that come into its possession.
  • MOTION: (AJ moved) that the Council be charged with investigating the City’s abutter’s program, including the overall process of demolishing houses and handling City-owned properties, with City Departments and elected officials such that the situation can be better understood and so that the Council can have input into any decisions made in the future (ES seconded); (WK call for discussion); Motion unanimous.
  • MOTION: (AJ moved) to support Ms Pavao’s application as awarded by the City; (ES seconded); (WK call for discussion); Rep Ben S asked if the Board was going to observe the policy in place of waiting until the next monthly meeting to vote on the recommendation. Agreement to waive the policy for the vote in this instance because the history of the property was familiar to the Board and the City Council meeting that the final approval process was being voted upon was occurring prior to the next monthly Council meeting. (WK called the question). Yes: 7 Abstentions: 1


  • PRESIDENT’S REPORT: (Walter Kroll)
  • Pres Walter K observed that going into the new year the strength of the Council as a whole will come from people’s willingness to participate in projects like the block party and the newsletter, and that issues such as the ones that have come up thus far in the meeting will be handled through Committee work; and he encouraged vigorous participation in order to make the work a success.
  • SECRETARY’S REPORT: (Bryan McFarland)
  • Sec Bryan M submitted the following minutes for approval:
  • Minutes of 5/16/17 Executive Board Meeting
  • Minutes of 6/27/17 Annual Meeting
  • Minutes of 7/06/17 Executive Board Meeting
  • MOTION: (ES moved) to accept as presented; (BG seconded); (WK call for discussion); (WK called the question); Motion unanimous.
  • TREASURER’S REPORT: (Elizabeth Stevens)
  • Final Report, FY17
  • Treas Elizabeth S submitted final report for FY17. All of the CDBG grant funds from the City for the year were utilized. All Council expenses for FY17 have been paid, and the current bank balance is $1819. The 4th quarter CDBG reimbursement request has been submitted for approximately $2000. She will email the exact amount of the reimbursement to Board representatives which is not included in the current report. The current bank balance plus the CDBG reimbursement will be the amount of money in the general fund with which the Council begins the new fiscal year FY18.
  • Budget Amendment, FY17 Budget
  • MOTION: (BS moved) to accept the budget amendment as proposed; (BG seconded); (WK call for discussion); (WK called the
  • question); Motion unanimous.
  • In order to utilize unspent CDBG funds for FY17 that remained in several of the budget categories, Treas Elizabeth S submitted a budget amendment request in the amount of $267.92.
  • Projected Budget, FY18
  • Tabled.


  • FY18 CDBG Contract
  • Vote to Approve FY18 CDBG Scope of Service—copies of FY18 proposal (based on previous FY17 document) distributed to Board representatives and audience
  • MOTION: (BM moved) to accept the FY18 Scope of Service as proposed; (AJ seconded); (WK call for discussion); Discussion included whether to make any specific changes at the present meeting—agreement to approve broadly and that it can be amended specifically at any time.   (WK called the question); Motion unanimous.
  • Vote to Approve FY18 CDBG Budget—copies of FY18 budget (based on previous FY17 document) distributed to Board representatives and audience
  • MOTION: (BM moved) to accept FY18 CDBG Budget as proposed; (AJ seconded); (WK call for discussion); Discussion included about whether to make any specific changes at the present meeting—agreement to approve broadly and that it can be amended specifically at any time.   (WK called the question); Motion unanimous.
  • Vote of the Corporation Authorizing President to Sign FY18 CDBG contract
  • MOTION: (BM moved) to authorize Pres Walter K to sign FY 18 CDBG contract on behalf of the Council;   (WK call for discussion); (WK called the question); Motion unanimous.


  • Committee Work & Chair Appointments
  • Standing Committees
  • Rail Trail, Elizabeth Stevens, Chair (continuing)
  • Public Safety, Walter Kroll, Chair (continuing)
  • Housing & Code, Nikolaos Panteleakis, Chair (new appointment)
  • Funding & Fundraising, Bryan McFarland, Interim Chair (new appointment)
  • Communications, Bryan McFarland, Chair (new appointment)
  • Ad Hoc Committees
  • Debate, Paul Swenson, Chair (continuing)
  • Beautification, Bryan McFarland, Chair (continuing)
  • Dover Amendment, Ben Swan, Jr, Chair (continuing)
  • Good Neighbor/Community Engagement, Giselle Vizcarrondo, Chair (continuing)
  • Community Center/Streets & Traffic (separated into two different committees)
  • Community Center, Roberta Kilkenny, Chair (new appointment)
  • Streets & Traffic, Damian Phillips, Chair (continuing)
  • Rebecca Johnson/Bergen Circle Public Saftey (committee combined with standing committee)
  • Food Access (committee retired)
  • Bylaws (committee retired)
  • Council members in attendance filled out volunteer sheets and also indicated in discussion which committees they were interested in serving upon.


Adjournment: MOTION: (AJ moved) to adjourn; (BS seconded); (WK called the question); Motion unanimous.


Submitted for approval by Elizabeth Lederman, Administrative Staff, 8/08/17