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 Council of Albany Neighborhood Associations

Meeting Minutes March 1, 2006

Albany Public Library

 

1)     Introductions

 

Gene Solan distributed a survey about First night from the Albany Department of Special Events.

 

2)     Minutes

 

Minutes of the February 2006 CANA meeting were accepted.

 

3)     Guest Speaker:  Shawn Morris, President, Albany Common Council

 

The newly elected common council president discussed new perspectives and the opportunities to look at the city’s big picture.”  She recognized that CANA and other community advocates are driving forces in setting the Common Council’s agenda. 

As the Capital of New York State, Albany needs to be a livable city and the issue of retaining present residents and attracting new ones needs to be addressed.

 

The Council is more engaged than ever and is eager to be pro-active about difficult issues.  A formal planning session was held and the council will be focusing on issues of youth, the landfill, convention center and community policing this year and the next practical steps were identified.

 

·        Landfill:  Informational sessions on the future of the solid waste landfill are being scheduled.

·        Convention Center:  It is likely that a city authority will be appointed

·        Youth:  The Youth and Recreation Committee will develop a comprehensive plan to provide services

 

Several plans are taking shape and many people are engaged in undertaking the tremendous responsibility for government to guide and use public input for maximum usefulness. 

 

Ms. Morris addressed questions on the following topics.

 

·        The issues of race in the city work force and enforcement of rules in schools need to be openly addressed to create equal opportunity for all residents.

·        Equitable code enforcement is important to keep housing affordable. Many out- of-town investors have purchased two-family houses and take them out of the hands of owner-investors.

·        Federal funds for smaller building renovations are drying up and State funds are earmarked specifically for the convention center.  State codes limit the actions available for vacant buildings.  It may be possible to leverage other funds. 

·        As a result of CDBG policy choices individuals have been prevented from renovating buildings.  The council will revisit that policy this year and hopes for a public planning process to set priorities

·        The implications of the recent council approval for “spot zoning” to approve development of an area on Holland Avenue are major and effects precedent for future cases.  The planers overwhelmed the council with “pretty pictures” which deflected attention from the zoning change.  Once a comprehensive city plan is accepted there will be more rational decision making surrounding these issues.

·        Condominiums will probably be part of the housing mix as the city develops new housing options.

·        There is overwhelming support for the issue of getting city hall better “wired” on the internet, the televising of public and common council meetings, and upgrading the sound system in the common council chambers.  The cable contract has been stalled.  There will be public discussion to get the ball rolling.

·        The Pastures Neighborhood Homeowners Association owns the park at Franklin and Herkimer Streets.  Alternatives to that arrangement will be explored.

·        A bicycle safety measure has been introduced to the council.   The comprehensive planning process will further address making Albany “multi-modal.”

·        The CANA Comprehensive Plan Task Force (Gene Solan) acknowledged the efforts of L. Worden, M. Bailey, L. Amstrom, S. Holland , A. Kane, ___Clancy, H. Clayson, J. O’Grady, G. Levine, L. Turnelle, J. Viggiane, L. Weiss.

 The draft of CANA ’s comprehensive planning document was distributed and members were asked to review it.

 

A motion was approved to recommend that the Albany Common Council not approve a resolution (03.12.06R) that was proposed and held on 2/23/06 that would designate The Planning Board as the Developing Agency. Instead  CANA asks that the Council appoint a broad-based committee to be the lead agency in developing a comprehensive plan with the intent of giving more control to the council and elected officials.  The Planning Board has no particular expertise in this area.  The Planning Board meetings are difficult to access and public comments are not accepted.  The Board is an administrative body with expertise in zoning law; the Common Council is a creative body that is diverse and representative.  When making appointments to special advisory bodies, the Council advertises, contacts community groups, gathers letters and resumes and interviews candidates.  However, the enabling legislation may contain specific requirements.  If the Council appoints, Ms. Morris would suggest planning board and BZA representatives.  CANA ’s task force hopes that Common Council direct leadership will signal the importance of the effort.  Harold Rubin will advise Common Council members of CANA 's decision not to recommend approval of the draft resolution.

 

A motion was made for CANA to adopt guiding principles summarized in the “Guiding Principles for Conducting a Successful Comprehensive Planning Process for the City of Albany Vision 2020.”  After extensive discussion of whether it was vital to vote on that item at this meeting, it was generally agreed that CANA should be on record early in this process.  Some members expressed desire to have such important documents and proposals in advance to review them.  The motion was approved..

 

4)     Committee Reports

 

3.      CANA Anniversary Celebration Committee

The event will be held at the University Club.  It was suggested that a vegetarian meal option be added.

 

4.      Community and University Relations Committee

A celebration of the 15th committee’s anniversary will be held on March 21.

 

5.      Codes Committee

The committee will make a presentation at the next CANA meeting

 

5)     Announcements and New Business

 

·        Two positions are available on the Board of the Albany Public Library. Candidates will be discussed at the March 14 meeting

 

·        Eva Joseph has been invited to speak wt the May CANA meeting

 

·        Steve Winters is the producer and, therefore, the owner of the videotapes of CANA meetings.  They are available to be used by members but participants may have to sign statements to authorize the use of their image. 

 

·        Citizens for Responsible Zoning is collecting plaintiffs for Article 78 lawsuits concerning the recent zoning decision on Holland Avenue .   Dan VanRiper is coordinating.  Group hopes CANA will support its actions. Time prevented further consideration.

 

 

6)  Adjournment

 

 

                                                                                                Recorded by Pat Maxon

                                                                                                Transcribed by Deanna Colfels


.

CANA

March 1, 2006

Meeting Attendees

 

NAME

ASSOCIATION

ADDRESS

Lynne Jackson

Albany Bicycle Coalition

223 South Swan St

Daniel VanRiper

Lincoln Park NA

dwvr@atecone.net

Harold Rubin

Center Square

156 Chestnut St

Susan Holland

Historic Albany Foundation

196 Benson St

John Paneto

Shaker Park

JAP@cs.state.ny.us

Colin McKnight

Mansion

Colinnalbany&yahoo.com

Jeannine Sil----?(illegible)

SUNY Albany Planning Student

541 Western Ave

Pat Maxon

Upper Washington Ave

maxdanys@aol.com

Deborah Williams-Muhammad

North Albany

8 New Hope Terr

John Cirrin

Albany Public Library

cirrinj@uhls.lib.ny.us

Jeff Cannell

Albany Public Library

161 Washington Ave

L. Ternullo

 

186 Whitehall Road

Harold Rubin

Center Square

hrchestnut@aol.com

Peter Rinne

South Park

47 Morris St

Leif Engstrom

PHNA

232 Ridgefield St

Rebecca Brownell

ALDC/DDP

21 Lodge Street

Brian LeVine

Hudson/Park NA

92 Willett St

Susan Holland

Historic Albany

sholland@historic-albany.org

Jennifer Viggiani

HNA

29 Pinewood Ave

Gene Solan

PHNA

126 South Allen St

Howard Stoller

CANA

Hstoller@aol.com

Tom Gebhardt

University at Albany

tgebhardt@uamail.albany.edu

Leo S. Levy

HNA

29 Lawnridge Ave

Fred Perkins

NS/WNA

11 Woodlawn Ave

Joe Cunniff

UWANA

10 Croswell St

Tom Gebhardt

UAlbany

 

Matthew Montesano

Albany Police Dept

165 Henry Johnson Blvd

Jim Lyons

Melrose

101 Melrose Ave

Aimee Allaud

Melrose

85 Melrose

Hillary Tommaney

Historic Pastures

50 Westrelo St

Stephen Winters

SANA

sdoxie@aol.com