Forbidden Root ready for another round

Neal McKnight (left) fields a question from Chris Long.

East Village Association membership meeting minutes, February 3, 2014
Submitted by KK Goh


Forbidden Root
  • Clarification by Neal McKnight that there is no adversarial relationship between EVA and Forbidden Root. Forbidden Root had initially approached EVA to request lifting liquor moratorium.  EVA requested Forbidden Root to consider historical issues in the neighborhood and to consider alternative measures.  Forbidden Root was receptive to working with EVA to discuss alternatives.
  • In last public meeting, Forbidden Root suggested that first step will be to push for a legislative change on liquor licenses that are incidental to a brewery business, and if that fails the brewer might request lifting the current moratorium.
  • The brewery requested an opportunity to present plans for a Chicago Avenue zoning change (C1 with restrictions) and ordinance change (incidental liquor sales), complying with the license moratorium.
  • Attorney from Forbidden Root will send an updated proposal in a few weeks. EVA will publish on its website when available.
  • Forbidden Root also offered to present plans of operation for EVA review.
  • EVA has traditionally tried to push for consistent B zoning restriction to avoid heavy commercial enterprises such as car washes.
Membership
  • Some attendees voiced concern about low membership and lack of awareness of current events amongst residents in the neighborhood.  EVA board members and other longtime members responded that passion of residents is very commendable.  EVA encourages open discussions and consistent active participation beyond social media commentary. 
  • Open call to increase membership for more residents to get a say. Voting require 3 months as a member.
  • Suggestions were made to upgrade EVA website to make membership signup and information more easily accessible, especially to younger residents in the neighborhood.  Currently EVA website is more of a blog style. One suggestion was to have proper page tabs on top (as in Ukrainian Village).  Some members volunteered to assist with the upgrade.
  • Discussion on whether voting is allowed by proxy or online.  EVA is open to setting up online measures (videos of meetings and presentations, online voting).  Some members volunteered to form committee to look into this issue.
SSA expansion
  • The special service area is due for renewal and will apply to the city this month. A request will be made to present to EVA on the SSA mission and benefits.  EVA encourages all residents to attend the presentation.
  • SSA provides certain services to the neighborhood (cleanup, facade rebates, tree planting) but has tax increase implications for residents within its boundaries
  • SSA currently is business oriented but 51% of the properties are residential.  If SSA is to include residences, then perhaps the scope should be broadened to serve the whole community.
  • Question about critical mass of opinion required for SSA renewal.  Current survey results by SSA had poor response. The city Department of Housing and Economic Development suggested that a percentage of the property index numbers actually should sign on in support of the SSA.
  • Different opinions on benefits of SSA.  Concerns that SSA might not be very beneficial with relatively high fees to residents but only a few services offered like snow plowing and garbage pickup.  On the other hand they may be necessary since current streets and sanitation do not cover the affected areas.
  • Comment made that residents within the SSA boundary can mail directly to SSA to voice their opinion
Community group consortium
  • Neighboring community groups are discussing a united front on issues such as electronic billboards.
Officers' nominating committee
  • Open call for volunteers for EVA committees: Those interested to talk to Neal McKnight.
Parks
  • Three pocket parks will get new equipment in June or July.
  • Park District will get formal plea to acquire Chicago Avenue property to expand Commercial Park size and accessibility.
Schools
  • Deadline for candidates in local school council elections is Feb. 26.
  • Comment made about presence of great public schools in East Village and improvements to Wells High School and its infrastructure.
Newsletter/webmaster
  • Open call to new members interested in EVA web development or blog to contact webmaster Stephen Rynkiewicz.
Treasurer
  • About $2,900 in funds.
Neighborhood issues
  • Question about higher electric rate with Integrys provider over ComEd.  EVA to possibly raise the issue at future meeting.
  • Question about snow shoveling, especially with properties and vacant lots that do not shovel (Hermitage and Augusta).  Suggestion made to raise the issue with alderman to investigate the offending lots.
  • Catherine Garypie raised concerns about local USPS with poor delivery service to residents.  Mail often lost or misdirected.  She's planning to raise the issue with postal inspection service.  If any residents have concerns and want like to help, contact her.  Package theft issues should be reported to police and 311 to assist with investigation.
New business
  • Encouragement for members who have neighborhood businesses or want to see new businesses to present to EVA. 

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