February 2013 Minutes

DRAFT – To be confirmed at the March 19 meeting
Please send changes/corrections to info@dickinsonsquarewest.org

Board/Community Meeting
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Mt. Moriah (410 Wharton)
1. 7:10 PM Call to Order.

2. 7:10 PM President’s Welcome & Message.
The President welcomed all residents who were in attendance. He explained the reasons for and the process of approving the name change of the civic, as well as the adoption of the proposed new Bylaws, which will be presented later in the meeting. He then encouraged all to enjoy the sandwiches and refreshments provided on the tables at the side of the room.

3. 7:15 PM Roll Call. Present were:
President Wiesner Director Armistead
Vice-President Hicks Director Lavini
Treasurer Hostettler Director Leonardo
Secretary Savage Director Winkel

4. 7:15 PM Minutes Adoption.
The President asked for a motion to approve the Minutes of the January 15, 2012 Board Meeting. The Vice-President so moved; Director Lavini seconded; and all present so approved.

5. 7:20 PM Reports of Officers, Board Members & Standing Committees.

  1. Finance Committee. The Treasurer reported that the DSWCA account has a balance of $9,474.63. She also reported that the Committee is continuing its investigation of a trash pickup service initially for 5th Street. Finance Co-Chair Emilie Rodan addressed the issue of the new real property assessments undertaken by the OPA, and urged property owners to examine carefully the letter received from the OPA, particularly the description of their property, which may include errors. She then briefly described the appeal process, which is outlined in the letter, and she urged all owners to file for the Homestead Exemption and to explore other programs to reduce the burden of property taxes.
  2. Green & Clean Committee. In the absence of the Committee Co-Chairs, the Treasurer announced that DSWCA will again participate in the Philly Spring Cleanup on Saturday, April 13th, from 10 AM to Noon. Members are organizing for the event, and residents should watch for email and website updates.
  3. Outreach Committee. The Vice-President reported that the Outreach Committee is working on a number of projects:
    • A logo for DSWCA to be used for flyers, letterhead, advertising, etc. and the consideration of a contest, similar to that in Queen Village, to select one;
    • Door hanger to promote the April meeting; 3. Website updates (the President noted that he has been speaking with a neighbor, who may be willing to help);
    • Welcome package to be distributed by Block Contacts and others to new neighbors;
    • Complete DSWCA profile for the South Philly Review;
    • An “idea bank” to consider bank texting for meeting notices, collecting pictures of the neighborhood for use on the website, etc.
    • The President then reminded all Committees that monies have been budgeted for their projects. The Committee should summarize the project and costs, submit the request to the Board for approval, and, if approved, the Board will authorize the Treasurer to honor the request. The Vice-President announced that Christina Lopaz has volunteered to Co-Chair the Committee.
  4. Safety. Gina Caruso updated the residents on the Operation Safe Cam program, which asks that residents with safe cams register with the police, who may ask permission to view recordings to assist in apprehending criminals. She also reported that South Philadelphia has a new ADA, Nicole Pedicino, who is already reaching out to concerned citizens from the 3rd, 6th, and 9th District PDAC’s to attend sentencing of a repeat offender with a long criminal record and to express to the court the impact these crimes have on our neighborhoods.
  5. Zoning. In the absence of the Chair, the Treasurer reported that one application will be heard on Tuesday, February 26th, 6:30 PM, at the Parsons Building. The request is from 1107 South 6th for a use variance for a 4-family dwelling and bulk variances for 10.9% open space where 30% is required and for a structure 41’ in height, exceeding the 38’ permitted. She said that our website has the details, and emphasized that as the building is a “gateway” into the neighborhood, any resident can provide comment.

6. 7:40 PM Old Business.

  1. Bylaws Revision. Director Armistead distributed a summary of the proposed revisions, which summary is incorporated herein as Schedule A, attached hereto. She emphasized the hours of thought and discussions by the Committee and the Board in drafting the Revision. The proposed revision of the Bylaws will be voted upon at the March 19th meeting by all members in attendance, and a two-thirds (2/3) majority will be required for passage. She then highlighted several important provisions, one of the most important of which is the requirement that residents complete a Membership Form approved by the Board. Currently all residents are automatically members, but notifying them of meetings, events, and important issues is burdensome and a hardship. All residents are still eligible to be members, but requiring the Membership form submission will more effectively permit the Board and Committees to keep members informed. The Director also said that there would be a new class of members – Associate Members. They would property and business owners, who do not reside in the neighborhood. They would be permitted voting privileges, but would not be eligible to be elected as an Officer or Director. She explained that, if a business were owned by more than one person, that business would have only one vote. When she asked for comments from those in attendance, one resident objected to a business owner being a member, since she felt that the civic should be for residents only and that business owners could possible unite and overrule the wishes of the members. The President and Director Armistead said that her concerns would be considered by the Board.
  2. Office Space. The President reiterated that the Board is seeking office space to store records, to house our printer and other equipment and possibly use as a meeting space. He reported that he has spoken with the owner of Grindcore, who might have space, and that he has met with the President of Pennsport, regarding the use of some of that civic’s space at 2nd and Mifflin. He will be presenting this matter to the Board and emphasized that, for purposes of obtaining additional grant monies, it would be very beneficial to have signed a lease for space.

7. 7:55 PM New Business.
Emily Rodan told the residents that VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program will assist persons of low to moderate income (generally $39,000 and below) in the filing of their individual tax returns for free. She said there is an office at 8th and Snyder.

8. 8:00 PM Announcements & Events.

  • Zoning: Tuesday, February 26th, 6:30 PM, Parsons Bldg.
  • Combined Committees Meeting: Tuesday, March 5th, 7 PM, Mt. Moriah
  • Next DSWCA Board meeting, Vote on Bylaws Revision, Tuesday
  • March 19th, 7 PM, Mt. Moriah
  • Finance: Monday, April 8th, 7:30 PM – for info, email finance@dickinsonsquarewest.org
  • South Philly Food Co-Op: Membership Drive – 75 members in 75 days; 400 members needed with
  • 365 so far.
  • Manton Street Park & Community Garden: Grant received from Fairmont Park Conservancy, augmented by Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, to permit major upgrade and improvements.

9. 8:10 PM Adjournment & Social.

Respectfully submitted:

Ted Savage, Secretary

Summary of Bylaw Amendments

Introduction: The proposed bylaw amendments are a product of numerous meetings, a survey of neighboring civic associations, and input from the community, including members of a former lawsuit. The goal of the amendments is to provide clarity to members and the Board, incorporate best practices, resolve past conflicts and avoid potential conflicts in the future. Any changes the Board makes to the proposed amendments will only be at advice of our lawyer. The membership will be voting on whether to adopt the proposed amendments at the March meeting on March 19, 2013. Please be aware that this document is only a summary of the biggest changes that the proposed amendments would make to the current bylaws. We encourage you to examine both for greater detail. Bylaws will need to be revisited and revised from time to time to adjust to the changing needs and practices.
1) New Name: Dickinson Narrows Civic Association to Dickinson Square West Civic Association
2) Organization: hopefully, it will be easier to find the information you seek
3) Principal Place of Business: Address listed is home of old board member, we have a P.O. Box and are looking for office space.
4) Mission statement – added
5) Definitions section has been removed but information therein is now under relevant section.
6) Membership

Old bylaws included everyone living in DNCA boundaries automatically. Board is required to notify each member of election, totaling about 4,000 people. Hugely burdensome to Board.
New bylaws make same people eligible, but must fill out a membership form that is accepted by Board. If filled out, not necessary to do another unless contact information changes.
Purpose of form is to allow Board to contact Members directly about election and other important issues as needed. Allows for quick communication and organization. Completing a membership form not burdensome since can get form on-line. Member must keep Board updated about contact information. Board may need to verify eligibility, but otherwise essentially gets rubberstamped.
Property & business owners eligible for membership. Have a stake in community so should be able to vote, give input, etc. Can often be useful resource. Only resident members are eligible to run for office.
Some civics have only a Board and no members, others have complicated membership classes. We felt this approach inclusive and allows for easy communication with membership.
Dues provision: determined by the board but enacted by a vote of membership. If enacted, member can apply to treasurer to waive.
7) Directors & Officers
No proxies at meetings. Not necessary since we have been using Facetime, Skype and even speaker phone to make Board meetings accessible to Directors and Officers regardless of their location. Greatly preferable to have directors and officers participate rather than proxy.
Took away requirement that Directors and Officers be free of any criminal conviction. No other civics have this requirement. Directors and Officers can be removed for conduct.
Slightly greater detail about responsibilities of Officers.
8) Committees
Election, Finance and Zoning required. Others as needed. Prior only required Finance and Bylaws.
Additional information about how Committees shall operate.
9) Elections, Voting, Removal & Vacancy

No absentee or proxy voting. A logistical nightmare. Especially since Board can’t be on the Election committee. There is variety in what other civics do.
Public notice – we no longer have to pay to advertise. Can advertise in South Philly Review for free. Have email and will be flyering area anyway. Not necessary and is expensive.
Clear guidelines on how to remove board members.
Clarity on method by which members can bring issues for consideration, discussion and voting (vs. election of Board).
10) Meetings

Clarification about different types of meetings and who attends which (membership vs. board).
Board can select governable rules to membership meetings. Roberts Rules of Order is extraordinarily long and complicated. Want Board to be able to choose other rules if believe will be easier to follow. E.g. Modern Rules of Order
11) Dissolution addressed.
12) Added sections: Conflict of Interest, Limitation on Liability, Indemnification and Directors
as Fiduciaries. Taken from other civics. Adds clarity for Board.