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February 8, 2010

Blair Middle School

7:00 PM

Board Members Present

Joan McEnery – yes

Henry Conde – yes

Paige Rose – yes

Irene Blake – yes

Harry Worley – yes

Brian Douglas Smith – yes

7:00pm  – Call to Order

Introductions of Board Members, Members, and Guests

Crime Report – 8 incidents total (2 larc to auto) – Conte’s Bike Shop – broke into twice – caught by ODU officer. Reminder to not leave your car running to warm up with out being in it. No new developments on Donut Dinette’s break-in.

BM Blake – asked about enforcement of cross-walks

Treasurer’s Report – none

Pending Planning and Planning Commission Items:

Presentations:

Sacred Heart Church Expansion – Revision

The revision was reduced do to the church felt they reached their limit of fundraising. The 2nd floor revision will be of the current building and the attached rectory. There will be much less impact to the neighboring condo’s. No parking will be eliminated. The materials used will be similar to the existing bricks and the slate roof (in order to use the historical tax credits). The Graydon Condo Association has reviewed the changes and found the changes to be fine.

Board Motion – Support Secret Heart Church’s revised plan changes. Motion approved by all present.

Monarch Bank 21st & Colonial –  New Project

The new construction will tear down the old Pizza Hut and build a 3 story building with the bank using the ground floor and office spaces on the second and third floors. The building will be placed close the the street to create a urban feel. It will be constructed of brick, cast stone and large glass windows with a large over hanging cornice facing 21st St. The drive-thru banking will be from the Colonial Ave side with other entrances from 21st St and 22nd St. A walk-up ATM will be located on the side of the building facing the parking lot. The parking lot will stretch from 21st St to 22nd St. with landscaping to continue the urban edge look.

Board Member Comments/Questions

BM – Expressed concerned about urban edge at the parking lot.

BM – Worried about traffic back-up into the Colonial Ave & 21st St intersection for those making left hand turns into the drive-thru heading north on Colonial Ave.

BM – Inquired to the traffic influx it will bring.

BM – Inquired to safety of walk-up ATM with the seclusion the landscaping will provide.

BM – Inquired about eliminating left-turns from Colonial Ave.

Bank rep said they do just not have the drive-up business that other banks have, therefor there will be little or no traffic coming from Colonial Ave.

Board Motion – To support the project but held concerns about the traffic and the urban edge at the parking lot.  – All present agreed in support.

Zoning Items:  None

Design Review Items:

1207 Colonial Ave aka Big House Church – no developments

Red Barn @ 630 Boissevain Ave – status – BM Rose said was reported to city again, also residents are still using handicap entrance as a drive over to the grass

Other  – none

PROGRAM

Featured Speaker: Sarah Fuller, Director, City of Norfolk Office to End Homelessness

Ghent has always had a chronic homeless issue. The Office to End Homelessness does not try to be a direct service provider. In the summer they do provide hydration services by donations from local grocers. Because of downtown construction has moved many of their normal homeless to the ghent area.

When Sarah Fuller came back to the Office to End Homelessness, she was surprised to see the homeless camped out between ghent and West Ghent and having medical and mental issues. Downtown does have a outreach system in place to their homeless population, but Ghent and West Ghent does not.

Norfolk homeless count – Last year Norfolk was included in a national survey that showed a large spike of single homeless. Many were new to homelessness.

Where as chronic homelessness is going down in city of norfolk.

Gosnold Project – It is 100% successful. They have had no evictions, only natural deaths, with one graduating to their own place. This was the first regional funded in country with a 60 unit apt building, 40 out of the 60 came directly from our neighborhood. Many at Gosnold are ghent employees. In Portsmouth a new facility called Cloverleaf just broke ground in the South-bay area.

Board Member Questions/Comments

Does the dept. work on regional projects? – yes

Does count include identification show point of origin?

What is our impact of the union mission leaving downtown? – The overall homeless capacity will increase, may already have seen due to down scaling in preparation for the move.

What are her strategic thoughts and what does it mean to our area? – There are large gaps in time for someone to work on ending homeless (i.e. no services or public buildings open). There is a need to increase service time. A plan made in 2005 with a 10 yr. objective. As of now no place has been  identified for this. Right now the only place for the homeless to spend their time between downtown and Ghent is the Van Wick Library as a public service center, which has seen a major increase due to the downtown library closing.

What is the percentage of those who pan-handle and what is the best way to handle this? The majority of pan-handlers are not homeless but more likely people who have homes but other issues such as drug usage. When dealing with pan-handlers you have to do what makes best sense to you. Giving will not have much of an impact, the biggest issue is a place to sleep – not hunger.

What is the progress of a “central feeding facility”? – Currently there is no model used across the country. Unless there is a already comprehensive support system in place at the location, centralizing will create “where you want homelessness to be”. Majority of those who use soup kitchens are not homeless.

Does the ghent community have a centralized by being all the churches who provide the services? – It does seem to create this type of effect.

Is Ghent being more impacted more? – No data shows this right now, but there does visually appear to be an increase.

What do we do? – Provide more services, take the homeless off the streets and find causes to help eliminate them stepping into homelessness

What level are people providing services (i.e. soup kitchens) working with her dept. to work together or help collect data? – Because churches don’t want to get involved in services then the data might not be useful.

REPORTS:

Ghent Task Force – none

Ghent Business Association – greening of ghent changes

Committee Reports

Sector Representatives – Had meeting, not all reps showed. Will be trying to meet every other month prior to GNL meetings. The issues discussed – blocking of driveways w/ officers reluctant to move – found that they person can park with in 3 ft of apron and allow enough room for cars to get in driveways.

Membership – none

Community Improvement and HAPC Update – none

Publicity/Social Events – none

Communications – none

Programs – none

Elections – Committee formed and asks that each board member email paige by end of month letting her know if you plan continue on the board.

Pending Community Concerns – none

NEW BUSINESS:

Resolution requesting City Council to establish a Board of Architectural Review for Historic Districts

Request for GNL support for Norfolk bid for preservation officer conference.

OLD BUSINESS: none

APPROVAL OF MINUTES – not done

ADJOURNMENT


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February’s GNL meeting will be one week earlier on MONDAY, FEB 8th at 7pm, held at Blair Middle School. The meeting was moved up one week earlier due to President’s Day falling on the normally scheduled meeting date.

Our guest speaker will be Sarah Fuller, the Director of the Office to End Homelessness. She will be discussing the homeless in the Ghent area.

Representatives from Sacred Heart Church will be presenting the churches revised plans for their remodel and renovations to the church along Princess Anne Rd.

Monarch Bank will be presenting a proposal on a new bank to be located at the old Pizza Hut location at the Colonial Ave. and 21st St. intersection.

(more…)

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