Community Development Committee meeting agenda – March 8, 7:00 pm


Community Development Committee 

March 8, 2011

Matthews Center, 2318 29th Av. S.

7:00 p.m. start time; all other times are estimated  



7:00   Introductions and approval of minutes from the February meeting.


7:15   Updates by Seward Redesign staff on their projects. 


7:30   Completion of discussion about guidelines for the current NRP Seward Housing Program (Seward NRP Interest Subsidy Grant Program).

8:00   Residents living near Franklin Avenue concerns about the impact of time limits on parking on Franklin and the amount of long-term parking on their streets, and consequently, their ability to find a parking space near their homes.  Discussion. 

8:50   Adjourn.  (The Park staff lock the outside doors at 9 p.m. so all attendees must exit).


A big ‘thank you’ to Peter Fleck for recording the discussions at the February meeting!


Draft Minutes – Seward Neighborhood Group Community Development Committee

February 8, 2011

Recorded by Peter Fleck

Present: Peter Fleck, Robin Garwood, Bob Hain, Katya Pilling (Seward Redesign), Charlie Hoffman, Scott Henderson, Joyce Hanson, Abigail Chen, Albert Rysavy, Robert Gratz, Ashley Caraway (Pizza Lucé), Jennifer Linnett (Pizza Lucé), Ewart Martens, Bruce Johansen, Tracy Singleton (Birchwood Café), Doug Wise (SNG Housing Coordinator), Pat Keithan, Mary Mateer, Sheldon Mains

1. Potential changes in the city’s mobile vending ord. that might expand the area that mobile vending could occur.  SCCA and SNG were asked to provide formal feedback.

Councilmember Cam Gordon’s office asked Seward Civic and Commerce Association (SCCA) and the Community Development Committee (CDC) for feedback on a proposed mobile vending ordinance. Robin Garwood, Cam Gordon’s Policy Aide, filled in some details. He said a mobile vending ordinance was put in place for the downtown area only in 2010. It was very strict. The ordinance was reopened this year allowing more carts on the street and the ability to serve from parking areas on the street itself. The Council is also looking at broadening the geographic scope and it looking for input from neighborhoods. In Seward, Franklin Avenue would likely be the site for mobile vending. Robin said mobile vending will not happen in Seward unless we respond affirmatively to the proposal (at least this time around).

Other details shared by Robin:

·        Permits are required and are annual

·        Vendors must be connected to a permanent kitchen

·        Robin is not aware of any health issues with vendors in the first year

·        This does not govern vendors at community fairs – events have different licensing requirements

Charlie Hoffman raised the issue of how valuable parking space is on Franklin Ave. Several others echoed this.

Ewart Martens stated that it would add to the fabric of our neighborhood.

No action was taken, so for 2011 at least, there won’t be mobile vending on Franklin in Seward Neighborhood.

SCCA also provided feedback to the CDC via email:

The Seward Civic and Commerce Association (SCCA) board had a brief discussion regarding potential changes in the Mobile Food Vendors ordinance at our board meeting last week.  We are still receiving feedback from the restaurants in Seward.  Here are some of our initial observations:


1.  We support having a variety of food choices in Seward.

2.  Current restaurant owners have made substantial investments in their locations, pay considerable annual taxes/fees and employ a number of Seward residents. Discussion took place about the possibility of asking that approved Mobile Food Vending locations not be allowed within a specified distance of an existing restaurant.

3.  The largest community event where mobile food vendors might want to operate is Kings Fair.  SNG has typically operated the food and beverage area at Kings Fair to defray the costs associated with the Fair.  Allowing Mobile Food Vendors to operate close to Kings Fair could reduce income for SNG.

4.  Safety and parking issues should be taken into consideration for any locations authorized in Seward.  Parking is at a premium and safety of persons walking or driving near any proposed locations should be considered.

2. Neighbors’ concerns about increased truck traffic on 29th Ave.

A request was made for the CDC to discuss the increase in truck traffic on 29th Ave. S.  The person who put in the request was not at the meeting. A brief discussion concluded we don’t know why traffic has increased. Robin spoke briefly about the City making 29th Ave. more bike-friendly.

3. Neighbors’ concerns about property on 2600 block of 37th Ave

Joyce Hanson (neighbor of the property) reported on the state of the property. There is an 8-foot fence which neighbors said they wanted removed some years back. Owner agreed but has done nothing. Inside the fence is like a junk yard with some large shipping container units. Business seems to be going on outside of the building which Robin Garwood thinks is not allowed. Charlie Hoffman stated the neighborhood will start complaining to the City and monitor progress.

4. Redesign report on activities: Tri-State Bearing building’s continued infractions; building site at 3010 E. 26th Street; the house at 2919 E. 26th Street.

Reported by Katya Pilling, Associate Director at Redesign

Redesign has purchased the lot at 3010 E. 26th St. which was a burned out home. They hope to use this purchase to merge with the next lot west where some developers are attempting to build a 3-bedroom home on a very tiny lot. Redesign and CDC have told the City they don’t support the new construction on the lot. However the City approved variances for the developers but required a garage which may have effectively blocked construction. Redesign’s hope is to merge the lots.

Redesign did a walk-through of the home at 2919 26th St. and found sub-standard construction. They are attempting to gain site control.

Redesign reports that Scott Henderson’s Tri-State Bearing property has not been cleaned up. Scott was present and stated that the weather has been an issue. Robin Garwood stated that another $2,000 citation has been issued on the property after a slight delay to see if there would be some cleanup. Redesign has not been able to meet with Scott recently.

No action taken.

5. Proposed changes to the Terms of the Seward NRP Interest Subsidy Grant Program


Doug Wise, SNG Housing Coordinator, reporting.

The Seward interest subsidy program currently reduces the interest rate on MN Fix-up Fund loans to income-eligible Seward homeowners for certain improvements.  The proposed changes would expand the types of improvements eligible for the interest subsidy.  The changes would also increase the maximum loan term and maximum loan amount.  These changes would make the requirements for the interest subsidy program consistent with the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA) Procedural Manual for the MN Fix-up Fund.

There have been very few applications to the program. It may be a publicity issue.

After discussion, it was decided that Doug would prepare a report for the next CDC meeting detailing what the proposal is and running some numbers. Peter Fleck (Seward Profile publisher) will work with Doug to increase visibility of the program.

6. Community Coordinator, Mike Rollin, resigning

Sheldon Mains reported that Mike will be leaving SNG at the end of February. All wished Mike well in his future endeavors!

SNG is accepting applications for the position until Feb. 28.

Seward Neighborhood Group

(612) 338-6205  ext. 119


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