BUENA VISTA NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION Minutes of the Meeting Tuesday, February 23, 2010 At the Home of Sally and Ken Henning at 347 Menker Avenue
Meeting called to order at 7:08 PM
PRESENT: [9 people present] Robert Solis (President) Loui Tucker (Secretary) Sabine Zappe (Treasurer) Sally Henning
Candace White Ruth White Brian Ward
MINUTES - Approved as presented and posted.
Lara Tran, representing City Councilmember Pierreluigi Oliverio's office
Debbie Morales, City of San Jose Code Enforcement Officer
TREASURER’S REPORT Sabine Zappe reported that the bank balance is $660.48. These are all BVNA discretionary funds. At the meeting she received two checks for $20 each for yearly dues. BVNA members are encouraged to mail checks to the post office or bring a check to the next meeting.
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS
Robert Solis reported briefly on the memorial service held for Robin Rogers at Rooster T. Feathers, where Robin used to work. The BVNA sent a bouquet of flowers which was reported to be very nice. Robert passed around a page from the memorial brochure. Robin’s brother, Steve Rogers, will get back to attending BVNA meeting regularly in another month or two.
Guest Debbie Morales, Code Enforcement Officer talked about her work experience in San Jose (4 years in parking enforcement; 4 years in multiple-unit housing compliance, now in Code Enforcement) and her job duties now. She talked about some of the problems she sees, what she is working, how we can help. Her habit is to read email and do paperwork in the morning so that she can be out in the neighborhood each afternoon whenever possible. She will be happy to accept email and phone calls (408-277-4628). Loui commented that illegal signage is way down due to Debbie’s efforts, as well as the incidence of people parking their vehicles on unpaved surfaces.
At the meeting we reported to Debbie that the lot slated for expansion as part of the Buena Vista Park is a mess - primarily a lot of weeds and broken fences. The heavy rain has caused a number of the fence posts to sag. It was commented that if this were the property of a resident, they would be cited for blight but the City seems to not care what the property looks like or that it is not secure. Debbie asked that someone email her photos and she will see what can be done.
STATUS OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD
It was reported to Lara Tran that there were two new mattresses dumped at McVay’s empty lot at 435 S. Willard and there was a couch abandoned at 485 Menker.
The overgrown palm trees on Buena Vista have not been trimmed, but they still have 30 days to comply with the letter to take care of them.
Minutes of BVNA General Meeting 2/23/2010
Lara announced there was going to be a “Visioning Meeting” regarding the Ohlone Project at 6:00 PM at the Korean Palace Restaurant on February 25. This is the property that was the old VTA bus lot on West San Carlos at Sunol.
Several people wondered about the status of the old house on Meridian that is getting a major “facelift” - paint, landscaping (including some large palm trees), a parking lot in the rear, and a fancy archway.
There were questions about the new Moonlight Café which took over the space where Anise Restaurant used to be in the strip mall on West San Carlos. The West San Carlos Business Association has raised some concerns about the location. There may be some illegal activity going on there. Lara said she would check on it. Debbie Morales said to call her with the information and she would check to see if there was already a Code Enforcement file opened on it.
There is still a need for [No Parking] signs on Willard between Douglas and Scott. All the ones that had been there have been hit and removed.
1. Park Extension. Robert reported on the meeting at Sherman Oaks Community Center about the park extension. There was a big discussion about using artificial turf because the City budget coffers are depleted and they are looking for areas to cut costs. They said they could put in a lawn, but there would be no money for maintenance. Residents are concerned because artificial grass can reportedly be hotter than grass and there may be more injuries when kids play on artificial turf than on grass. Others expressed concerns about cleanliness of the artificial turf. There will be another public meeting. Someone needs to define how much more it will cost to put in grass. After all, maintenance crews have to come out anyway to maintain the other side of the park.
The question was raised about having funds raised by the community or the maintenance handled by volunteers? It was noted that in some specific areas where there are chunks of land with foliage that needs to be maintained (e.g. the triangular piece of land at the intersection of Meridian and Park), the City has requested that volunteers take over the maintenance or the City will remove the foliage. This works because nobody is playing on these small islands as they would be in a park where there would be a question of liability if a community team maintained the lawn.
2. Three Bits of News on ‘In Lieu’ Fees a. Representatives of Green Republic, the development company that is planning
several of the new construction projects in our area, have made the statement that, “Since there is no money to build new parks now anyway, development companies should not have to pay ‘in lieu’ fees to pay for parks.” They managed to express their corporate greed and their contempt for the needs of neighborhood residents in a single sentence.
b. On the flip side, there is a move afoot to change the rules for development companies building affordable housing. In the past, as an incentive to choose to build affordable housing instead of high-end housing, companies choosing to build affordable housing didn’t have to pay ‘in lieu’ fees. Now the City wants to have them pay ‘in lieu’ fees too.
c. If the ‘in lieu’ fees are not used within five years to build a park or green space, the funds go back to the developer! And this is precisely what may happen to the ‘in lieu’ funds collected to pay for the Buena Vista Park expansion!
3. Bascom Library. The Bascom Library construction is still on track for an October opening. This will not happen if some compromise cannot be reached to allow for the staffing of the library. It is the position of the BVNA that all City libraries should feel the budget cuts,
Minutes of BVNA General Meeting 2/23/2010
and if other libraries have to close a few hours here and there in order to have money to staff the Bascom Library, then that is what should be done. It makes no sense to build a new library and then keep it closed because other communities insist that there be no reduction in the hours their local library is open.
4. Green Republic’s Latest Position. With respect to the Ohlone Project (old VTA lot on Sunol) Green Republic now says they don’t want to make it a mixed-use project. They just want to build housing, on the grounds that this area cannot support more businesses. “Retail is not viable” as they point to Coconut Willie’s and the adult stores.
5. The “Stadium Project” is being downsized because of transportation issues. Someone figured out that, with the light rail being part of the transportation equation, there will be traffic problems in Campbell where the primary light rail station is located. The City is still putting out $30 million to buy up land to build the stadium.
6. High Speed Rail. The “underground” option seems to be the most popular because it will be less disruptive to neighborhoods in the long run.
7. 490 Willard Street. Loui shared some “before” and “after” photos of the house on Willard where the two very large trees used to be. While it was a nice view with the trees, the sidewalk and street were both dangerously impacted by the roots. Loui plans to take a copy of the photos to the homeowners, along with a letter offering them the help of the BVNA ION Project with future landscaping and maintenance.
1. Loui thought that it might be a nice project to try to get more of our local homes into the American Bungalow “Family Album” pages. It means selecting a local residence, taking a high-resolution photograph, getting the owners to write something (with help) about their home, and send it in to the magazine.
2. Loui shared an email she got from Jacqueline Campos with City Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services Anti-Graffiti & Litter Program. Ms. Campos is looking for someone in the neighborhood to adopt the area of Chiechi that backs up against the Food Max. Years ago BVNA members planted ivy along the wall to reduce graffiti on the wall. Now the area is awash with trash. Loui suggested picking a date, advertising the pickup within the BVNA, supplying the bags, grippers, gloves, etc, – and then taking the crew out for pizza (BVNA would pay). Loui said she would try to schedule it some time in the next few months.
Public Comment on the San Jose City Budget will be in mid-March. The Great American Litter Pickup will be at the Sherman Oaks Community Center on March 20.
The next BVNA meeting will be on Tuesday, March 30. We have been rotating the hosting home among the BVNA officers, and it is Loui and Sabine’s turn to host. The meeting will be at 153 Race Street at 7:00 PM.
Meeting adjourned at 8:45 PM.