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May 2009 GNL Meeting Minutes

May 18, 2009 – Blair Middle School

Board Members

Present: President Michael Spencer, First Vice President Paige Rose, Secretary Joan McEnery, Board Members Irene Blake, Henry Conde, and Jon Hanbury
Absent: Past President Mason Andrews, Second Vice President Sharon Plawin, Treasurer Dennis Russell, and Board Member Susanne Williams

Called to order at 7:06pm. Board, Members and Guest Introductions

Crime Report

There were 19 incidents that met the threshold for inclusion of the police’s monthly crime report. These incidents included five residential burglaries. Members inquired about the following incidents: an alleged purse snatching with injuries; a hit and run on Colonial Avenue and graffiti on the USPS mail boxes.

Featured Speaker

Norfolk Chief of Police, Bruce P. Marquis, provided an overview of law enforcement efforts and crime trends. Chief Marquis reported that all major crimes are down this year except for murder and burglary. He reported that a majority of murders are a result of “disputes between parties” and not random acts of violence. He also reported there were 8 reported aggravated assaults in 2008 and 4 so far this year, with all being assaults on law enforcement officials incident to an arrest. He also reported that larcenies had been down, but are now slowly increasing. The Chief answered community questions regarding the following: time of day of residential robberies, traffic on Hampton Boulevard, graffiti, gang activity, speeding on Colonial Avenue, home invasions, bicycle theft, nuisances, youth violence, Norfolk crime levels compared to other local cities and the status of the PACE program. First Vice President and Sector Representatives Chair Paige Rose, brought to the Chief’s attention the GNL’s concern regarding the gap between the all the incidents reported to the police and the limited number that are included in the monthly report. Board Member Murphy also asked about re-instituting the reverse 911 program. The Chief said he would look into both these issues. At the conclusion of the Chief’s presentation, President Spencer presented to the Chief the GNL’s contribution to the “Badges for Baseball” program in honor of Officer Gilda Klein.

Highland Park Petition

Citizens from Highland Park made a presentation on their effort to reverse the City Council’s split decision to rezone property in the Highland Park neighborhood from low density to high density.

Minutes

The Board unanimously approved the April 2009 Minutes.

Downtown Council Meeting

Board Member Murphy provided a report on the HRT light rail presentation. HRT is getting stimulus money for additional studies. HRT officials stated that light rail could go up Hampton Boulevard or Colley Ave.

Elizabeth River Crossing

Board Member Henry Conde provided an update and an overview of the West Ghent Civic League Meeting at which ERC and VDOT addressed the project. At that meeting it was clarified that under the current proposal any addition of light rail would encroach on one of the lanes thus leaving taxpayers paying a toll but being no better off than they are now. At the meeting, officials acknowledged that there would be a projected 25% increase in traffic volume with the new tunnel. Board Member Conde reported that the next Independent Review Panel meeting is June 10, 2009. The Board unanimously voted Henry Conde to be a designated representative on this issue and requested that he draft a white paper in this topic. The Board directed that a letter be submitted outlining the neighborhood’s concerns to the Independent Review Board.

Treasurer’s Report

No report

Ghent Task Force

President Spencer reported the following: The GBA’s “Heart of Ghent” June 20th event will promote businesses and non-profit organizations. The Ghent NET Loop is still not been resolved but there should be an answer by July. West 21st Street former Senior Center property is on hold. Spotswood Parking Lot construction starts in mid August and will be complete by December. The spaces will be metered with the proposed time of weekdays from 8am – 8pm with a 2 hour time limit. The bike racks are being installed and replacement of the oil barrel trash containers in Ghent is on the target list. Asst. City Manager Stanley Stein is handling the multiple complaints about the yellow house on the corner of Colley and Bossevain. The next Ghent Task Force meeting will be in July.

Ghent Business Association

No report

Block Security

No report.

Membership Committee

Chairperson Hanbury reported that the magnet layout has been finalized and the next step is to order the magnets.

Ghent Dog Park Association

First Vice President Rose reported that a required ordinance for the city to permit the GDPA to donate the fence is before the City Council. President Spencer will do a letter noting GNL’s support for the project.

Public Relations/Social Committee

Chairperson Blake reported that the GBA has asked the GNL to participate in a proposed Holiday homes tour to be organized by the GBA and Hope House Foundation for Thanksgiving Weekend. It was agreed that more specific details were needed.

Zoning Amendment

Secretary McEnery reported that there was a proposed zoning amendment pertaining to non-conformities that would apply to Ghent that appears on the Planning Commission’s next meeting agenda.

Audit Committee

The audit committee will provide its report at the June meeting.

Elections Committee

President Spencer reported the results of the elections and announced the 2009/2010 GNL Board. The Officers are Joan McEnery – President; Henry Conde – First Vice President; Paige Rose – Second Vice President; Ted Warren – Treasurer; and Irene Blake – Secretary. For the open General Board Member positions, Harry Worley, Brian Douglas Smith and BarBara Murphy, received the highest number of votes and will each serve a two year term on the Board. Susanne Williams will serve a one year term filling an open seat. Board Member Jon Hanbury continues on the Board being elected to a two year term last year and there will be one vacant Board seat.
At the conclusion of the report, President Spencer turned the meeting chair over to the incoming President.

New Business

  1. President Spencer reported that EVMS is planning a new academic building.
  2. President Spencer reported that Blair Middle School PTA has requested that the GNL be a sponsor of its annual fun run through Ghent on May 29th. The Board unanimously voted to donate $250.
  3. President Spencer alerted the Board that a new annual use agreement needed to be executed if the GNL would like to continue to use Blair for its meeting.
  4. A member alerted the Board that neighbors on Colonial Avenue are again seeking to have the City implement the Colonial Ave. traffic calming plan.
  5. July Agenda: featured topic will be historic preservation with the city’s historic preservation officer being a suggested speaker. Also suggested was an update on Core Ave. stop signs.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:10pm

Approved by the GNL Board
June 15, 2009

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