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Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations


Meeting Minutes – October 2, 2002

Albany Public Library


  1. Howard Stoller, CANA Chair, called the meeting to order.


  1. Introductions


  1. Minutes – Minutes of the September 4 2002 , meeting were corrected to indicate that Julie Elson’s address is 510 (not 50) West Lawrence Street and Mary Connair represents the Delaware Area (not Avenue) Neighborhood Association.


  1. Guest Speakers:  Director David Casciotti and Monique Wahba, Sr. Planner,  of the Albany City Division of Planning presented information and answered questions about citywide and neighborhood planning initiatives.


a.      Abandoned buildings – The City has requested a grant to develop concepts and procedures to market abandoned buildings and lots.  A package will be developed to market the sites for residential, small commercial and residential/commercial combinations.  The Albany Home Store is working with city planners in determining the best redevelopment strategies, particularly in neighborhoods most greatly affected by this problem.


    1. Arbor Hill – The residents, city staff, business owners, and consultants who make up The Arbor Hill Neighborhood Advisory Committee continue to communicate their concerns, visions and needs at regular meetings and design workshops.  From those workshops and meetings a neighborhood is being developed.  One or more public meetings will be held later this year to communicate the Committee’s recommendations.  Subsequent to that, a draft of the plan will be presented and revised in preparation for a final report.   Following that, implementation plans will be addressed.

    2. South End – Several projects are underway in the South end such as work on the Pastures project, renovation of several residences in the Mansion neighborhood, and work on South Pearl Street .  These projects are the result of the collective work of residents, city officials, business owners and community leaders.


    1. Waterfront Development: The Hudson River waterfront is an asset to the entire city, not just the neighborhoods surrounding it.  If wisely developed, it has the potential to benefit the economy of the city.  The present Waterfront Revitalization Program calls for developing the waterfront from the core outward.  With the completion of the pedestrian bridge connecting the downtown area to the riverbank, the City will now concentrate its efforts to develop the North Albany Waterfront Plan.  The City has applied to New York State for funds to investigate the feasibility of developing a marina in that area, which is the basin of the Erie Canal .  The State has not yet responded to the request.  Construction of housing in the neighborhoods along the banks of the river is being considered.  Whether or not it will include a living history site is questionable.  Such a project is under the authority of New York State .


    1. Accessibility of Information:  Maps and plans for the Waterfront Revitalization are available.  Additionally, descriptions and progress reports of several development plans are available on the City’s website. 


    1. Downtown Development Plan:  The City is awaiting the authority to fund this plan.


    1. Harriman Campus:  The City is involved with New York State ’s in plans to convert the campus from government offices to a research and development facility.  Of particular concern is the impact the conversion will have on city services such as water, infrastructure, etc. and the access residents will have to the site for recreational purposes.


    1. University Heights :  The City is not currently involved in planning in that area.


    1. Upper New Scotland Avenue :  The City is awaiting funds for the preservation of some areas in that neighborhood before beginning to implement the current plan.


    1. Master Plan:  Albany does not have a master development plan.  The concept of municipal planning is a somewhat new concept to the city, and presently the needs of each area/neighborhood are addressed and implemented separately.    The City planning office is responsible for implementation of the plans it develops.


    1. The Home Store Involvement:  The staff of the Albany Home Store works cooperatively with city planners in the development and revitalization of all neighborhoods.  Presently they are seeking a grant to develop procedures and concepts to find buyers  who will renovate residences,  small businesses and commercial/residential combinations.  The income requirement for potential buyers has been expended to encourage homeownership and development in the city.  The staff of The Home Store will be attending and participating in neighborhood association meetings to give information and guidance to potential investors.  Members expressed an interest in the possibility of expanding residential development programs to include the conversion of larger buildings to condominiums.  This is a particularly  desirable and practical solution to the potential increase in Albany ’s population that will result from the building of the SEMATECH facility and the number of individuals who will be hired to work at the Harriman Campus site.   Home Store staff indicated the funds are not presently available for such development.



4.         Communications and Announcements


a.      County Executive Breslin has requested the opportunity to speak to CANA on November 6, 2002 .  Mary Witkowski will be contacted to schedule this or another date for the Executive to speak. 


b.      As of September 23 2002 , CANA ’s account balance at Charter One bank - $1,453.29: +$.63 interest; - $26.65 stamps.


c.      The four individuals running for election to the school board have been invited to participate in a candidates’ forum sponsored by CANA on October 16, 2002 , at 7 PM at the Albany Public Library Main Branch.  The Chairman will forward an announcement of the event after responses have been received from all candidates.


d.      Amy Schindler, a new resident of the Pine Hills Neighborhood, presented information about the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives located at the SUNY Albany Library Building .  The Department’s services of organizing, cataloging, preserving and archiving written, videotaped, photographed and recorded materials are available to CANA and all neighborhood associations.  Associations interested taking advantage of this service may contact the Department at 437-3935.  It was announced that CANA records five or more years old are forwarded to the Albany Institute of History and Art for archiving.


e.      A resolution was adopted that the Albany Common Council be notified of the present procedures of the Albany Zoning Board and requesting that the Council address the situation.  Presently the public is not notified of Zoning Board meetings or the scheduled appearance of any individual or group; there is either no agenda or no agenda available; no records of meetings are available; there is no microphone at the meetings that would enable attendees to hear the proceedings; and the Board will not take questions from attendees. 


5.         Committee Reports


a.      Committee on University and Community Relations – Tom Gebhardt,

in light of the recent disturbance on Hudson Avenue , and  the Committee and SUNY Albany administrators are pursuing the possibility of the member universities being notified of mischievous or illegal behavior of students off campus.  Procedures for disciplining students for such acts are being reviewed as well.  The condition of buildings in that neighborhood is of concern and several may not have CO’s or ROP’s.  Enforcement of that situation is being pursued.  The Committee is in contact with landlords in that area, and notifies property owners when they know in advance of a party or large gathering planned in their building.


b.      Neighborhood Works Planning Committee – Gene Solan

The Neighborhoods Work III Conference will be held on Saturday, November 23, 2002 from 9 AM to 3 PM at the First Lutheran Church , 646 State Street .  One of the themes of the workshops will be to call for more planning and “bottoms up: approach to identifying and addressing needs in Albany .   Paul Bray will deliver the keynote address and present information about how to partner.  The Quality of Life surveys will be converted to a useful document to identify needs and strategies.  Albany Law School has agreed to provide facilitators for the workshops.  The City of Albany has accepted the Committee’s invitation to participate; representatives of New York State have not yet responded. 


c.      Community Police Council

The last meeting was held on September 12.  Information about the term and procedures for “amber alert” were presented, and the objectives of the Council were reviewed.


The meeting adjourned at 8:46 PM .



October 2, 2002 Attendees





Howard Stoller

Daniel W. Van Riper

223 S. Swan St .

Pat Maxon

Upper Washington Ave NA

Matthew Montesano

Albany PD

Helen Black

Mary Connair

68 Summit Ave. , 12209

Gene Solan

126 So Allen St. , 12208

Colleen Ryan

Hudson/Park NA

Kathleen Kearney

Hudson/Park NA

Alice Oldfather

Center Square NA

Harold Rubin

Center Square NA

Thomas Gebhardt

University at Albany

Holy Katz

Mansion NA

Clare Yates

Center Square NA

Marggie Skinner

Marty Gawoski

West Hill NA

Joanne McElvoy

North Albany Shaker Park NA

Rev. Joyce Hartwell

Arts & Business of North Albany

453 No. Pearl St .

Mimi Mounteer

75 Manning Blvd.

Craig R. Waltz, Jr.

Helderberg NA

Stephen Winters

227 Second Ave. ( SANA )

Jeff Flowers

Hudson/Park NA

Mary Ellen O’Connor

Mansion NA

F. Perkins

11 Woodlawn Ave.

David Phaff

5 No. Pine Ave.

Elisabeth P. Griffin

Historic Albany Foundation

Amy Schindler

923 Mercer St .

William F. McMahon

50 Bradford St. Washington Square NA

Martin Haberman

Washington Square NA

Betsey Shearer