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Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations

Meeting Minutes, March 5, 2008

Albany Public Library


I.   Introduction

President Howard Stoller made brief remarks and everyone introduced themselves


II. Presentation

Shawn Morris Common Council President


Two years ago Morris commented on the incredible level of public participation, and that has only increased with a large involvement of CANA .  Some examples of that participation is:


   Gun Violence Task Force -- more citizens than public officials.

   Comprehensive Land Use Plan -- close to creating

   Civil Rights Group -- reinvigorated 1 1/2 years ago

   Vacant building program -- headed by Historic Albany

   Public access TV -- on the horizon


Government works best when citizens are fully engaged.  For years Albany had discouraged public activism.  Morris wondered how do we maintain this level of participation.


Many members of the Common Council have worked hard to encourage this, but the city budget does not seem to be part of that process.  The Common Council worked hard this fall analyzing the budget but citizens have little participation, and that lack of impact is very frustrating.


Morris is trying to establish an ongoing Citizens Budget Advisory Group, that would help inform council members on issues so that there is an impact before the budget is printed.  A process by which council members can start earlier on the reviewing process so there is:

   More time to explore options,

   Engage in up front discussions and become proactive, and

   The Council is “pre-informed” and information is free-flowing


Morris pointed out that government is a living for many in Albany , and there is expertise available in many areas that can help the city (waste management, roads, budget and finance, etc).  She also pointed out that there are five budget areas that she is looking for ongoing imput that have the largest impact on the City of Albany :

   Borrowing and Debt Service,

   Employees Benefits,

   Maintaining Infrastructure,

   Waste Management/Landfill Issues, and

   Youth and Recreational Services.


Morris than took questions from CANA members, and Mike O’Brien from the Common Council discussed his proposed legislation that would require written procedural rules for Albany ’s planning board and zoning board.


O’Brien stated that the board gets 20 cases a month, and they rely heavily on input outside the hearing process.  Cities such as Troy and Rochester have a public meeting process at all stages, but not Albany .  The public has one shot to comment, but no rebuttal.  He said that Commissioner Mike Yevoli (Department of Development & Planning) is on board to come up with something that will work. 


He than discussed the Comprehensive plan and how selections are being discussed.  The committee is close to being finalized.  The plan will be integrated into the Board of Zoning appeals as there will be new zoning ordinances with the plan.  There was more discussion on how the plan will change with the new Comprehensive Plan. 


Joe Cunniff and Dan Van Riper discussed their recommendations and that the final bill may not look like what is being presented.  A term limit of three terms for board members was agreed upon also.  It was suggested that the proposal be sent to Brad Glass who will forward it on to Mike Yevoli.


More discussion followed on the City of Albany website (Common Council was shut out of the process), the city budget, vacant properties (information not being up to date), and ethics.


III. Minutes

The minutes of the previous meetings were approved.


IV Committee Reports

Police Issues -- Officer Montesano reminded CANA members that in the law enforcement process there are other accountable parties (ie. judges, DA, parole officers).  He discussed this in the context of recent arrests that were perpetrated by repeat offenders and who had been released by the courts.  He suggested that everyone should let them know that you are watching how the system is working. 


He also went over the following: reminded everyone that GPS systems continue to be stolen vehicles; that the police department is creating a relationship with CDARPO (the Capital District Association of Rental Property Owners); the Citizens Police Academy; the delivery driver safety program; introduced Rick Romand, who is the new Community Service Officer;  and that he and Officer Janet Parker can be reached at 458-5669. Discussion followed.


Neighborhood Resource Center ’s Community Service Awards  --  Gene Solan discussed the awards and reminded everyone that they are still looking for nominations from the neighborhood associations and that they must be in by March 12th.  


Combined Sewer Overflow Committee -- Joe Cunniff discussed that the Capital District Regional Planning Commission is looking for public participation and he believes that CANA should be represented on the board.


There was a reminder that the retirement party for Bill Bruce is set for March 20.


V.   Adjourned

The meeting adjourned at 8:52 PM.



March 5, 2008 Attendees





Joe Cunniff


Daniel VanRiper

Lincoln Park NA

Jim Lyons

Melrose NA

Anne Brewster

Wash Park NA


John Paneto

Shaker Park


Bill Law

Mt. Hope

Eileen Murray


Danielle Williams

ARISE (Womans Justice T.F.)

Scott Jarzombek


Officer Rick Romand

Albany PD

Janet Parker

Albany PD

Matt Montesano

Albany PD

Brad Glass

Albany DDP

Beverly Brickner

Pine Hills and CDARPO

Donald Wardle

Hudson Park NA

125 Dove St.

Mike O’Brien

City Council

Rev. Joyce Hartwell

Westhill NA

Sharon Malloy

West Hill

Amanda Glaser

New Albany NA

Gene Solan

Pine Hills NA

Tom Gebhardt

University at Albany

Louise McNeilly


Holly Katz


Colin McKnight


Wendy Burch

Albany County Historical Association

Jack Moodie

Ten Broek Triangle

Harold Rubin

Center Sq. Assoc.

Howard Stoller


Andrew Harvey

Park South NA