March 14, 2007
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MINUTES OF THE BOARD MEETING
OF THE SALEM REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
HELD ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 14, 2007
A regular meeting of the Salem Redevelopment Authority was (SRA) held in the third floor conference room at the City Hall Annex, 120 Washington Street, on Wednesday, March 14, 2007 at 6:00 p.m.
Chairman Michael Brennan called the meeting to order, and on roll call the following members were present: Michael Brennan, Conrad Baldini, Michael Connelly, Robert Mitnik, and Russell Vickers. Also present were Lynn Duncan, Executive Director, Kirsten Kinzer, CDBG Planner and Andrea Bray, Clerk
Chairman Brennan calls the meeting to order.
Approval of Minutes: January 10, 2007, February 21, 2007, and February 27, 2007 Meetings
Hartford states that the minutes are not yet ready for review and asks the Board to defer approval until a later meeting.
Executive Director’s Report
Duncan welcomes Kirsten Kinzer who will be shadowing Tania Hartford this month and next month, and will pick up the work for Tania while she is out on maternity leave.
Retail Market Plan Update
Duncan states that Karl F. Seidman Consulting Services with ConsultEcon is moving ahead with the Downtown Retail Market Plan. They are compiling a preliminary report, which should be ready by the end of the week. She asks Hartford for some additional comments.
Hartford states that the report is based on a very extensive survey in which about 500 residents in the market area were surveyed. The group made over 4,000 calls in all. Focus groups will be held the end of the month with various stakeholders. Duncan adds that the focus groups will be with retailers/restaurants, property owners, tourist organizations, college students, City officials, and Department Heads.
Hartford states that the first discussion of the findings will be in the end of April when the draft report is completed. She adds that the report will be finalized in May.
Brennan asked if they would talk to businesses that tried but failed in Salem to try to find out what when wrong. He cites the CF Thompkins and Z Crepe Cafe as examples. Duncan suggests that Hartford ask the consultant team that question.
Redevelopment Project Review
1. Old Town Hall Reuse: Discussion of the comments received at the public meeting and discussion/vote on allocating funds for structural analysis and building condition analysis and repair cost estimate
Duncan says that the SRA had a great meeting two weeks ago at the Old Town Hall. She wishes to discuss the meeting, as well as, some of the helpful issues that were raised, specifically about approving a proposal for the City to allocate funds for research into the costs for restoring the building back to a usable condition and an estimated cost for general ongoing maintenance.
Duncan distributes a list (attached) of some of the uses for the building, which were suggested at the meeting. She states that she would like to see a management entity running this property rather than have it managed by the City.
Some recommended criteria for the use of this Old Town Hall included having parking adjacent to the building and allowing public access and through foot traffic.
Duncan states that she wishes the SRA to put together the RFP for the Old Town Hall, which clearly states the criteria and the restrictions imposed by the Derby Deed. She adds that SRA should seek a viable long-term solution which promotes foot traffic through the building, and that may not necessarily be the highest revenue producer.
Duncan says that she appreciates the suggestion made that the SRA talk to the board at Hamilton Hall for comments and suggestions about managing this building and possible technical assistance. She notes that it is necessary to know what must be done to make the building usable. She adds that someone may need to do a specific improvement for a specific use, but the City could get an estimate for the base cost of running the building. Duncan lists other comments that were made at the meeting, which include the need to allow enough time to develop a good plan, and offering naming rights as a means to raise funds.
Vickers asks about the adjacent land at Derby Square, specifically what uses would be allowed with the deed restrictions. Duncan says that this summer Derby Square is being used for music and different activities. She adds that the SRA may not want to limit the use of Derby Square to any one organization.
Mitnik asks if the deed goes all the way past Front Street, and suggests the possibility of expanding the RFP beyond the building, possibly all the way to Derby Street.
Vickers states that we must be as creative as we can while considering the sustainability and viability of these proposals, and if they include more than the building we should look into it. He adds that in the early phases we should be more inclusive.
Duncan agrees that the SRA can, at first, have these discussions in house and possibly include those uses in the RFP.
Duncan distributes two requests for estimates for the Old Town Hall, one for a structural analysis and estimate for necessary repairs and one for estimates of ongoing general maintenance costs.
Brennan suggests using Hamilton Hall as a possible template for maintenance estimates.
Vickers suggests clarifying the request to keep it as specific as possible to avoid receiving an excessively high estimate.
Duncan agrees stating that she is only looking for ballpark figures and a number to get the building up to code for a generic base, not for a specific use. She asks that $15,000 be budgeted from the SRA account for the cost of attaining these estimates ($10,000 for the estimate on the building condition and $5,000 for an estimate for the ongoing maintenance costs).
Vickers made a motion to proceed with the analyses for the building condition and allocate $15,000 of the SRA funds to be expended on these analyses. Connelly seconded the motion. All members vote in favor. The motion passes 5-0.
Development Project Review
2. 275-281 Essex Street (CF Tompkins Building) – Discussion and vote on the Design Review Recommendation of the Schematic Design Plans for the proposed redevelopment.
Hartford advises the members that the DRB recommended the approval of the schematic design with conditions. She read the DRB recommendation:
At their meeting on February 28, 2007, the DRB recommended approval of the Schematic Design Plans with the following conditions to be included in the Final Design Plans:
1. Storefronts should be restored or opened up;
2. Bricks should be reused on the Crombie Street facade, where possible, and the reconstruction of the brick must match the existing building exactly;
3. Historical preservation specification for repointing, must be included;
4. Entry point for the retail unit(s) and egress for the residential units should be reconfigured;
5. Storefront on the Crombie Street facade should be looked at and redesigned;
6. Roof plans must be submitted; and
7. Residential entry point along Crombie Street should be more prominent.
Hartford states that one extra point was brought up after the meeting by the Chairman of the DRB. There is a wall being added into the interior that will be seen from the exterior, as it cuts right in the middle of a window well. The chairman asked that this be resolved prior to coming back for final design approval.
Duncan advises the members that the staff recommendation is that there be retail on the first floor, not commercial/retail.
Vickers asks for clarification on the first DRB condition. Hartford states that the brick arches are not ideal and the developer should explore this by opening them up to see what type of restoration could be done there. She adds that if a restoration isn’t feasible then another option should be examined.
George Atkins, attorney for the developer, states that the DRB was very helpful in making suggestions and each suggestion will be examined. He further stated that the developer will be sure that the brick work is done in accordance with these specifications. He adds that the developer wishes to have the option for another use on the ground floor if they cannot find a retail tenant for this space.
Duncan states the SRA needs to vote to recommend approval of the schematic design with the recommendations of the DRB. She adds that she wants retail on the first floor. The other issue she raises is Verizon Wireless, who must come before the SRA and the DRB for approvals for their equipment on the roof of the building.
Atkins states that he will make another request to Verizon, but that their stance is that they received a building permit from the City of Salem.
Duncan states that it is obvious that Mr. Atkins is doing everything that he can but that she would appreciate if he would again request Verizon’s cooperation with this.
Connelly made the motion to approve the DRB recommendation for Schematic Design Approval. Mitnik seconded the motion. The motion passes 5-0.
Small Project Review
3. 285 Derby Street – Discussion of the proposed plans for building improvements
Hartford says that this storefront is next to Salem Access TV and was the former home of the Hollywood House of Wax. She introduces Tim Clark, property owner, and Richard Griffin, architect, to speak about the plans for this property.
Griffin displays plans and describes them to the members. He refers to this as a small project, which will involve enlarging the windows to match the Salem Access TV storefront and replacing the exterior strip lighting with a more colonial style of lighting. He adds that he wishes to provide handicapped access to the building by building a slope ramp without the need for a handrail. Finally, he states that planters will be installed on either side of the entry.
Brennan asks if the ramp would be on the City sidewalk. Hartford states that the ramp would, in fact, be on the City sidewalk and that Mr. Griffin has spoken to City officials who have expressed approval, but he will still go before the DRB and the SRA for approval from an aesthetic standpoint.
Vickers asks if any special permits are needed for this ramp. Duncan states that she will check with the City Solicitor’s office on that point.
Baldini made a motion to send this site plan to the DRB for approval. Mitnik seconded the motion. All members vote in favor. The motion passes 5-0.
Outdoor Café Permit Review
4. 118 Washington Street (Gulu Gulu Café) – Discussion on the proposed outdoor café abutting Lappin Park
Hartford introduces Steve Feldman, owner of the Gulu Gulu Café, and explains that he also has a café in Lynn. She adds that his new Salem location will face Lappin Park and will be complementary to Fresh Taste of Asia. She explains the process for the outdoor café approval by stating that Mr. Feldman must appear before the SRA for preliminary approval. His next step will be approval by the DRB, Licensing Board, and Board of Health. After these reviews are complete, he will come back to the SRA for final approval.
Brennan asks what “Gulu Gulu” means. Feldman explains that his establishment was named after a café in Prague and that “Gulu Gulu” is french slang for “glug glug” (the drinking sound). He adds that the café will serve paninis, soups, salads, and desserts, and feature an eclectic beer and wine list. Feldman states that the café’s hours will be from 7:00 a.m. to mid night, and he is applying for a beer and wine seasonal license.
Hartford shows the members the map and indicates the location of the café.
Mitnik inquires about the size of the café. Feldman explains that the establishment, as a whole, will have 60 chairs.
Duncan requests that the cafe some consistency with Fresh Taste of Asia in terms of the outdoor seating, particularly the chain.
Hartford states that it would be more cost effective if Feldman asks the chain supplier for an estimate on something that will be the same for at least 2 restaurants.
Connelly made a motion to send the Gulu Gulu Café outdoor cafe permit application to the DRB for design approval. Baldini seconded the motion. All members vote in favor. The motion passes 5-0.
Baldini made a motion to adjourn. Connelly seconded the motion. All members vote in favor. The motion passes 5-0.
The meeting is adjourned at 7:10 p.m.