Fremont Neighborhood Council Board Meeting – June 22, 2015
Board members present: Stephanie Pure, Elfriede Noble, Norma Jones, Jim Engelhardt, Toby Thaler, Linda Clifton, Shawn Mulanix, Erik Pihl, Judie Clarridge.
Stephanie opened the meeting and invited everyone to introduce themselves and share any announcements:
Troll’s Knoll Park P – Patch – Kara Sweidel, Fremont resident
Kara gave an update on the plan to incorporate a 31-plot P-Patch into Troll’s Knoll Park. There will be 4 raised beds and a plot that will be dedicated to grow produce to be donated to the Family Works Food Bank, on N.45th in Wallingford. P-Patch volunteers have submitted a Matching Funds request and will be asking for community financial support to construct a toolshed, the raised beds, and other needs. They expect to find out if they received a grant by mid-July. If they have, they will contact the FNC to make a request. People who would like to have a plot are encouraged to volunteer for work projects. In-kind donations are also welcome.
There was discussion about concerns that had been raised early in the development of the Park regarding the potential impact to the P-Patch of pollution from Aurora Avenue, such as run off and exhaust; and the suggestion that soil testing be done.
Expanding the FNC’s Participation in the Traffic Signal / Utility Box Program: There was discussion about the 3 remaining boxes covered in the initial permit. Kirby Lindsay said that she understood that the artist was busy now but still interested in doing the remaining boxes.
MOTION: Norma moved that the FNC fund the remaining 3 boxes at $1,000 each. Shawn seconded. The motion passed.
There was also discussion about the need for funds to maintain the boxes and that maintenance of new boxes for the first year is covered by Urban Artworks, that FNC will pay an annual $140 City permit fee for the boxes, and that Urban Artworks is to put an anti-graffiti coating on the boxes.
Developing Fremont Design Guidelines: Toby presented background information on this issue. Fremont does not have design guidelines. In the mid-1990s, when Urban Villages were established in Seattle, there was an effort to establish neighborhood design guidelines. The Design Review process has thresholds (size of project, etc.) that are linked to SEPA. The City had established design guidelines; neighborhood guidelines would be an overlay to the City’s. Toby and Mike Peck were the focals for developing guidelines for Fremont. They wanted to open up the City’s design guidelines but the City did not want that. The effort for Fremont design guidelines did not proceed from that point.
There was discussion about the value of neighborhood design guidelines. Are they worth the time and effort that it takes to develop them? Jessica has had experience developing them. It is a long process. It takes at least 2 or 3 passionate people and an overall group of 8 people about 6 months to develop the guidelines, then another 6 months to get the City Council’s approval, and another 6 months to implement. Points raised in discussion was that it is worthwhile to have them and the importance of having a Neighborhood Council presence at Design Review Board meetings.
The FNC Land Use Committee plans to meet the 3rd Monday in July to discuss this issue.
Should the Fremont Neighborhood Council become a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization? – Alissa Haslam, Progressive Alliance of Washington
Alissa has many years of experience serving on the boards of non-profit organizations. She presented factors to consider as the FNC considers this issue. It takes about a year to become a 501(c)(3). There are 11 steps in the process with the state and IRS. It is important that the board decide why it wants to have this designation. If it is to do more fundraising, the board could start by testing the waters for raising funds. The board could ask an existing 501(c)(3) organization to be its fiscal sponsor during this time. The organization may charge the FNC a fee for providing that service (bookkeeping, submitting paperwork, etc.). The Fremont Arts Council and Literary Source are 501(c)(3)s in Fremont. There was discussion about a threshold that would make it worthwhile to become a 501(c)(3). Alissa thought that it might be if you were raising $100,000.
The board is ultimately responsible for the fiscal management of the organization. Insurance for officers and directors is necessary. Another issue is whether the organization has the energy and interest (sufficient volunteers for board positions, etc.) to continue for at least 5 years. It is ok that the organization advocate or educate on issues. It cannot advocate for candidates. Alissa suggested that the board make a list of what it wants to accomplish and ask if there are ways to do that without being a 501(c)(3) ourselves.
Fremont Neighborhood Fund: Toby said that the current board members of the non-profit may be interested in dissolving the organization into the Fremont Neighborhood Council.
Current board members:
There was discussion about inviting the board members to an upcoming meeting and placing the issue on the agenda.
Jim reported the following balances in the FNC’s accounts:
Verity Checking: $ 2,612.21
Verity Money Market: 56,890.89
46th Street Mural: $ 321.39
Minutes: There was a motion that the May minutes be approved as presented. The motion was seconded and passed.
Judie said she will not be able to attend the next board meeting. Toby offered to take minutes.
The meeting was adjourned. The next FNC Board meeting will be Monday, July 27, 2015.