CANA Chair Howard Stoller called the meeting to order.
The minutes of the
Guest Speaker: Monique Wahba, Project
Manager, City of Albany Department of Development and Neighborhood Planning,
presented information about the Arbor Hill Neighborhood Plan.
The purpose of the Arbor Hill neighborhood planning effort is to develop
consensus on strategic actions to revitalize neighborhood.
As project manager, Ms. Wahba implements the coordination of the people
and agencies involved in the Arbor Hill Neighborhood Plan.
The Arbor Hill neighborhood planning area is contained within the area of
the city bordered on the north at Tivoli Street on the north; Broadway on the
east, Sheridan Avenue on the south, and Henry Johnson Boulevard on the west.
Within that area are two smaller neighborhoods--Sheridan Hollow and Ten
Broeck Triangle. The plan is guided
by the AH Neighborhood Advisory Committee which represents stakeholders such as
homeowners, tenants, lenders, neighborhood associations, faith-based groups,
service organizations, and the City of Albany.
Community Builders, Inc provides technical assistance and Behan Planning
Associates, LLC provides plans and designs through a grant from the HUD and the
Albany Local Development Corporation.
An initial public meeting was held in June 2002, and a design workshop
was held in September of 2002. The
final public meeting was held in June 2003.
Four focus areas were identified at the design workshop and committees
were developed and organized. Planning
consultants and staff developed budget estimates and matched actions to
Area I: Homeownership and Rental
Support new lower density housing
Rehabilitate existing housing and build compatible infill housing
Provide a variety of housing types
Use high-quality designs and materials
Support existing homeowners
Albany Community Development Agency and AHA development plan to
Renovate existing and build new housing in clusters by leveraging
Strive for equal ratio of owners and renters
Target abandoned buildings for demolition or rehabilitation
Control density with average of two housing units per lot
Provide for and integrate market-rate and subsidized housing opportunities
Form support networks for homeowners and renters
Serve needs by providing amenities such as off street parking
Support the re-opening of the former Robin Daycare Center
Implement an initiative to reduce the number of abandoned properties
Launch pilot program with Albany County to return abandoned buildings and
lots to productive use
Work with Enterprise Foundation to develop a strategy and entity focused
on acquiring, rehabilitating and/or demolishing abandoned properties in the city
Continue efforts to create more homeowners
Seek financial incentives for property owners to rehabilitate properties
Albany Housing Authority consulting with Arbor Hill Plan Committee
Pilot program developed with Albany County to transfer 13
buildings and 45 lots for development
Working with Enterprise Foundation to develop entity to acquire and
dispose of abandoned buildings
Area II: Arts, Culture and Heritage
Preserve historic integrity of neighborhood by maximizing reuse of
Support cultural institutions' applications for grant funding
Promote Arbor Hill as place for arts, culture and heritage
Expand public participation in the arts
Support reuse of historic buildings
Support ongoing Underground Railroad research and other research
pertaining to the African-American experience
Create Arbor Hill Arts, Culture and Heritage Committee
Support new library services
Focus Area III: Business
and Job Development
Support Henry Johnson Boulevard and Clinton Avenue as primary commercial
Expand services and promote growth of quality small businesses
Support and develop marketable sites
Build upon emerging ethnic restaurants and grocers
Make and enhance streetscape to improve image
Hold small business development workshops
Expand Empire Zone
Support opening of SEFCU branch in Arbor Hill
Support proposed Chinatown Plaza on No. Pearl St.
Support Whitney Young Health Facility's efforts to acquire Urban League
Building for use as pharmacy
Market strategic commercial sites on Henry Johnson Boulevard at Livingston
and Sheridan Avenues
SEFCU will be opening a pedestrian-friendly branch at 388 Clinton Avenue
A seven-week series of small business workshops were held; about 20 people
Focus Area IV: Quality
Improve relationship between police and community
Make physical improvements to enhance public safety
Support efforts to clean and beautify Arbor Hill
improve existing and develop new green spaces
Calm traffic and make neighborhood more pedestrian friendly.
Provide parking on street for residents
Strengthen physical connections to downtown
Establish Quality of Life Committee comprised of police officers and
Make lighting improvements and clear vegetation in problem areas
Encourage efforts to clean and beautify Arbor Hill
Continue code enforcement activities
Support efforts to light St. Joseph's Church
Remediate brownfield sites
Consider playground for New Covenant School
Investigate improvements to traffic flow on Henry Johnson Boulevard
residential parking permit system
Residents developed and signed a public safety petition
Clean ups are taking place
Neighborhood block parties being held
Work has begun to improve the neighborhoods parks
A spring block party is being planned
The implementation goals are to continue emphasis on
the plan's four areas of focus and provide different opportunities for
involvement and networking with other individuals.
The primary responsibility for implementing the plan will lie with the
sub-committees for the plan's four focus areas.
They will meet as needed. Participation
is open to all interested parties. Representatives
of the sub-committees will meet monthly to share progress.
A Friends of Arbor Hill organization will be established.
Questions and Answers:
How will the neighborhood be made traffic and pedestrian friendly?
Mass transit was not identified as an issue.
Street improvements are planned in the city during
2005, and Henry Johnson Boulevard is under consideration.
What areas are being
considered as playgrounds?
Areas in Sheridan Hollow include the splash pool area and
What are the City's zoning board's commitments?
The BZA reviews plans on a case-by-case basis and attempts to be flexible
to get developers
to invest and get a good return. A
worksheet is being developed to promote conformity of all applications.
The BZA knows that although homeownership is being cultivated, it is not
option for all individuals; therefore, rental units are a necessity even
though the City loses tax dollars
on multiple family dwellings.
What are the architectural plans for the Chinatown facility?
The present plan is for the structure to be one city block square with
parking not visible from
the streets. Two or three
houses presently on the site will be torn down and a church will be
conformed to commercial use. There
will be an outdoor cafe and several vendors within
CANA's financial report is contained in the meeting agenda.
The $3,000 grant from the Albany
Housing Authority has been received and deposited.
Neighborhood Works IV - Gene Solan
Neighborhood Works IV conference will be held on
Cable Television - Steve Winters
The mayor's cable committee has met three times; no specific ideas have
developed. A representative
from CANA spoke for 40 minutes at the last meeting and
suggested that the committee consider hiring a consultant.
Chairman Torcinello indicated that it is unlikely that the
services of a consultant will be used, and that the
committee will probably use the method it has used in the past.
Community Police Council - Helen Black
Chief Robert Wolfgang was contacted when CANA representatives did not
notice of the September meeting. He stated that Community Police Council
are cancelled until further notice. Chief
Wolfgang will be invited to the December CANA
meeting to discuss the Community Police Council.
The following resolution was introduced and adopted:
"The Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations
commends Commander Steve Stella for his strong leadership and support of
neighborhood and community policing efforts."
Grant to CANA from Albany Housing Authority
Nine proposals were made to the chairman for the allocation for the
$3,000 AHA grant.
A resolution was adopted to fund each of the proposals; therefore, each
of the following
associations may commit to their expenditures with the stipulations
Information regarding the disposition as well as copies of the
applications will be forwarded
to Steve Longo at the Albany Housing Authority.
Other neighborhood associations are encouraged to submit applications
should any money be not used.
CANA bylaws presently provide for the "Neighborhood Resource Center
to receive dues,
keep records and make disbursements".
A change to that bylaw will need to be
approved to substitute the NRC with the word "treasurer."
Additionally changes need to
be made to change the months that
November 5, 2003, CANA Tour and Meeting at Semaech
The tour of the Sematech facility and CANA meeting
are open to the public. CANA
representatives are encouraged to invite members.
The chairman will provide specific information about the locations at the
facility for attendees to meet both to take the tour and attend the CANA
Anti-Predatory Lending Programs
The number of sub-prime lenders mortgaging properties in Albany is
growing; there are
more sub-prime mortgages in New York State than any other state in the
Predatory sub-prime lenders
prey on minorities, low income households, and applicants
with a poor credit history. The
high of cost of these predatory loans can have a
negative impact on neighborhoods when homeowners' large mortgage payments
little or no funds to afford to maintain their properties or make needed
Afffordable Housing Partnership has introduced a new fair lending
HomeSave which is designed to help homeowners avoid predatory loans. The
is part of a national outreach effort.
Services offered include a loan pool for home
repairs; affordable loans to refinance high cost
predatory loans; counseling assistance
and legal assistance to avoid foreclosures; education designed to
of the dangers of high cost lenders.
Representatives of the HomeSave Fair Lending
Program are available to speak to homeowners at neighborhood
groups, community centers, etc. and can be reached at 434-1730.
Delaware Avenue Neighborhood Association
The October issue of Hudson Valley Magazine contains an article
Avenue area and its firehouse. A volunteer day and harvest festival will
be held at the
Normans Kill/Stevens Farm on Saturday, October 4 from 12 to 4. The farm
is owned by the City of Albany, is the last working
farm within its boarders, and is in need of
volunteers to help with horses, carriage trails, gardens, barns, trails.
Those interested in
becoming Friends of Normanskill Farm may contact Mary Connair or Louise McNeilly
at the Delaware Avenue Neighborhood Association.
October 22 is the deadline to apply for the upcoming Albany police
examination that will be administered on December 9, 2003.
The test is open to individuals who are 20 to 35 years of age.
Applications are available at city hall and police headquarters.
An electronic version will be emailed to Howard Stoller, which he in turn
will distribute to the
On October 26, 2003, a jazz review will be held at Club Matrix from 4 PM
to 8 PM to raise funds for Underground Railroad research.
Tickets cost $15.
The meeting adjourned at 8:55 PM.