OCTOBER 15, 2018, NACA
Those present: Board Members: Emily Nicholson, Val Hiscock, Anne Iskrant, Anne Oltmanns, Hugh Gordon, Maude W. Kent, Bonnie Perry, David Petkun
Visitors and Honored Guests: Nancy Scarlato, Mike Ogden, Todd Sinai, Doug Fones, Angelina Fones, Bob Marvin, Stan Joffe, Pam Joffe, Lois Davis, Libby Anderson, Christine Burke, Beverly Baserga, Bonnie Shuman, Roslyn Pollack, Sue Kendall, Chad Graham, Alison Graham, Michael Mennuti, Nancy Mennuti, Ed Williamson, Gary Littman, Joe Dellapenna, Maureen Schutz, Bobbie McElroy, Bridget Murnaghan, Jim Abbott, Marlene Kline, Kevin Scanlin, Harry Hummer.
7:30 – Introduction and elections of officers and directors. Hugh Gordon introduced himself. Val Hiscock announced officers: all elected. Update: Judy Weinstein and Joe Sensenbrenner are resigning.
7:35 – Nancy Scarlato, Executive Director, Ardmore Initiative-Has been on the Initiative board for the past 12 years: Summarized: We are a business improvement district. From the Acme to Just Chairs. Including Cricket and Rittenhouse. Goal is to create a vibrant downtown. A lot of our funding comes from grants. Planters, benches, bike racks. Dept. of Community and Economic Development grants and many more. We are south of the tracks. We organized Restaurant Week this summer. 15, 25, or 35 $ menu. October Fest. Cricket Cringle will be coming in late Nov. beginning Dec. There will be outdoor performances. Music, and ballet. A Taste of Ardmore was held at Ardmore Toyota with lots of vendors. Market studies: 1. Desire expressed for more family friendly and family serving opportunities. 2. There are over 50 restaurants but people want more specialty dining. More variety. 3. A need for increased opportunities for experiential retail that would surpass on-line shopping. These areas are those we want to work on. Another survey: a walk-ability audit….an exercise to take stock of the walk-ability of the neighborhood. This is being worked on. New to Ardmore examples: Parlor is new ice cream place, Poke Ono is Hawaiian food. Puns toys moved here from Bryn Mawr.
Dranoff project is slated to finish by 2019. 4 stories in front, 8 stories toward back. Landscaped green roof scheduled. Target is on hold. No final plans have been approved…yet.
Train station is also scheduled to be built.
7:50 – Mike Ogden, Director of Development for Kimco Realty Corp. Update summary: Showed us a redevelopment board- they have now started construction on the station row building. 39000sq. ft. The site work is still ongoing. West lot recently done. The improvements to the St. James area are nearing completion. Various new establishments are signing up to move in. Restaurants would be nice in the lower courtyard. Station row will have offices upstairs. Fusion academy will be moving in. In the station row, most shops are already taken. There will be an elevator installed for the train station platform. The design will be well thought through.
8:00 – Todd Sinai- Lower Merion Township Commissioner for Ward 12: “Economics of Real Estate in current climate”. Prospects for Lower Merion under the new zoning code coming Summer of 2019.
Introduced himself- real estate economist at Wharton. Summary: The real estate landscape- in general- has long term trends and we want to keep track of the trends. (he has not yet read the zoning code revision)We have been seeing certain areas becoming more expensive nationwide. Some places for example are 5 times more expensive than before. People have the ability to choose lots of different neighborhoods on basis of their personality. There is however a limit to what people will pay. No. of people entering USA has exceeded by far the number of people leaving. We are becoming more populated. This area is relatively expensive on the scale. Comprised of: 1. People who have enough money to live wherever they want so they choose L.M. 2. Others come who are willing to sacrifice to live here because of the schools, shopping and many amenities. Millenials: have had their formative years not wanting to be homeowners. Renter mentality. Between 25-29 yrs of age do not own houses very much in the US. Between ages 30-35 homeownership goes up. We have a large demographic bulge that is wanting to own homes. E-commerce is about 10% of sales, total spending is up…we have had a boom coming out of the great recession. Saving less, buying more. Buying more things like social retail- restaurants or eating out- and stores need to be a place where you experience your goods as you buy things. Dept. stores are doing badly. We see retail transitioning to smaller more experiential, etc.
As for our zoning code: Residential, Institutional, and Commercial. We want to protect our Residential areas- but at the same time allow everything to evolve. We have form based zoning as well. Something akin to a historic district. Commercial areas- will probably punt on a number of things. The downtown areas need to be true to the personality of L M. We shouldn’t overdo the “urban”. We don’t need too many apartments, we need a mix. Multifamily dwellings that are far away from transit are not a great idea. We are a built-out township. Institutional use- let’s try to have them be good neighbors and have good fences. He expects institutions to submit master plans for any changes that will need to be OK-ed by the neighbors and Township.
Economics are such that we will have an ever increasing demand for places like L Merion. We need to be very careful about how to preserve the quality of it’s personality. (He’s going to try to discourage too many apartments.) We also need to help people age in place.
Adjourned about 9:20pm.
Members who would like a copy of other board meeting minutes may obtain them by contacting NACA secretary. But remember – all North Ardmore Civic Association members are welcome to attend all NACA board meetings. Please do join us!