WEST END ASSOCIATION
Association Meeting Minutes
August 6, 2002
The association meeting began at 7:05 pm at the Tise House.
2002 Board members attending: George Bryan, Ann Doherty, Amy Lindsey, Bill Gibson, Lee Ann Manning, Linda Kirby, Steve Joiner, Jack Campbell, Kathleen Ramich, Alex Flowers, David Poythress
Announcements: George Bryan noted that tonight is National Night-Out for neighborhood awareness. He then asked any new members to introduce themselves. David Lambeth, joining membership tonight, introduced himself.
Winston-Salem Symphony Announcement: William Cole, Director of Marketing for the Winston-Salem Symphony announced the symphony’s new “Saturday Nights Live” series of pop concerts that will begin in September. Family tickets will be available, and tickets holders will have access to discounts at area restaurants and businesses. Dates for these concerts have been set in September, October, March, and May. Bill Gibson suggested that WEA members support the Winston-Symphony by buying tickets and noting on their checks whether they support the symphony board’s decision to terminate Peter Perret’s contract. George suggested that the WEA look into ways we can partner with the symphony to promote the WEA during these pop concerts.
Chatham Rd. Fire and Subsequent Release of Chemicals into Peters Creek: George summarized the events of July 30th on Chatham Rd, in which a business using many chemicals caught fire. The fire threatened the West End area. During control of the fire and explosions, it is believed that the chemicals in the building were caught in the water used to fight the fire, then ran off into Peters Creek. After the fire and control of it, dead fish were found in Peters Creek, prompting testing of the water. The EPA has been working with the city to investigate the chemicals, the source of those chemicals, and the impact on the environment and possible danger to those using areas around Hanes Park and Peters Creed.
George introduced Tom Griffin of the city’s department of engineering. Tom noted that as of today, the issues at hand were:
· Where the chemical run-off may have originated, because there are some questions about how far upstream the EPA took their samples
· What chemicals were found in creek so that more testing could be performed to pinpoint the source
· Results of tests are due tomorrow (August 7, 2002)
· They want to determine if there might be other sources for the chemicals than the business affected by the fire
· “Algae bloom” that has occurred in Peters Creek since chemical spill has been a concern. Tom explained that such a growth is not uncommon in stagnant water with no fish.
· He noted that it is pretty clear that the chemical runoff probably killed the fish, which started dying the afternoon of the fire
· While the algae is not believed to be harmful, samples have been taken to the state toxicology lab for testing.
· Best way to flush such an algae bloom is with rainfall. Short of natural rain, next way to kill algae is with special herbicides that can be used if necessary.
Tom then opened the floor for questions from members. Helping to answer questions were Mel Sadler and John Lucas, both of the city’s First Response Team . Questions and answers included:
· Would the chemical company’s liability insurance cover the clean-up of the creek? Tom is talking with the company’s lawyer. First, they must see what they find from testing and sources.
· Whose responsibility is it to do the inspections that would have kept this from happening? All noted this was a good question. State and federal laws should govern, but all records show a vacant lot where chemical company was operating. Businesses are required to report chemicals used, which leads to inspections, which lead to notification of fire departments. Without the trigger of a business reporting chemicals used, officials have no way to know of possible source of problems. Because property owners are required to register chemicals, there are penalties for not registering their use.
· Is the city looking into all the water going into creeks from storm drains for possible sources of chemicals? Tom noted that usual sources from storm drains are rainfall and sanitary sewer leaks. It was noted by attendees that some storm drains near Peters Creek are running continuously, even in this drought, so where is source of that water? Tom said he would look into source of that water. Normally, water samples are taken quarterly at various areas in creeks to determine any contamination and check levels.
· Do buyers have to prove they have licenses to use chemicals when they purchase those chemicals? Mel Sadler pointed out that buyers do not have to have licenses to purchase chemicals. The seller is responsible for making sure buyers have Material Safety Data Sheets for all chemical purchases, but that the buyer/user is responsible for registering his use of those chemicals.
George summarized that at this point, the warning signs have been removed from the creek access areas in Hanes Park; school children will return to school on August 9th and use fields in the Park; there are many residents that live near the creek and the Chatham Rd. area. In answer to the question of safety, he noted that while the creek is probably safe, residents probably don’t want to be in the creek, or let their pets drink from the creek. In a few days, the state toxicology lab will have the results.
One member asked that if the business owner wanted to reinstate his business, could he? Alderman Wanda Merschel noted that she feels this episode needs to be treated as an example for all businesses, not only in the cleanup of his site, but in the entire situation downstream for which he might be responsible.
George agreed that the big questions from this event are: how to deal with these issues; and how to clean up the creek. When the test results are received, George will circulate those to the West End members. Wanda highlighted that Mel and John are part of the First Response Team that met with President Bush when he visited Winston-Salem.
South Central Area Plan: Amy Lindsey reported that most of the concerns and issues that the WEA made in response to the proposed South Central Area Plan have been incorporated into the final proposed plan. A few highlights that she pointed out included:
· The plan will encourage that at certain times of the year, owner of property zoned for higher density could change the zoning to single family, free of charge
· While the city/county planning staff had noted that the Freeman House at the YMCA should be zoned “institutional” based on recommendations from YMCA staff., the SCAP committee feels the usage for that area should be “residential.” The YMCA said their ultimate wish for the empty lots by the Freeman House is for parking.
· Sunnyside Mill site – SCAP committee decided not to suggest “industrial” use
Amy reminded the members that the SCAP is a policy document. Decision makers will refer to this document in future decisions, but approval of the plan does not guarantee funding for any of the proposals in the plan. The plan will go before the aldermen this fall.
Expansion at St. Paul’s Episopal Church: David Poythress has been meeting with officials at St. Paul’s and residents regarding the issues of unused/unplatted alleys that the city has proposed the church close. David Parson, a West End resident whose home adjoins one of these alleys, is proposing that lifetime rights to the alley be linked to the property, not to the property owner. The church could keep parking areas; the property could keep the alley. Discussions are continuing, and David Poythress will keep the WEA updated.
Remarks from Alderman Dan Besse: Dan joined the meeting to ask if there were any unanswered questions from the earlier discussion about the fire and chemical runoff. He noted that one of his concerns is that the levels of “safety” from the state toxicologist are based on drinking water guidelines, which does not apply to Peters Creek.
Point of Order: Ann Doherty asked that we look at agenda items so that meetings are to the point and short. Some discussion from members on whether these meetings should be open for lengthy discussion of issues.
Approval of Minutes from July Meeting: Bill Gibson moved that we accept the minutes from the July meeting as written. Motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
Treasurer’s Report: Steve Joiner distributed the current financial report, showing cash on hand = $10,673.78; investments = $10,443.04; total assets = $21,116.82. Ten new members have joined in last month.
Plans and Concerns from Morning Dew Coffee: Jim Brady, owner of Morning Dew Coffee, came to the meeting to discuss plans for his planned move and expansion into the old Aurora Beauty College building on Burke St. Before he purchased the building, he received some incorrect information from the Zoning Board about the parking for such a business. Based on the square footage of the building, not the square footage he proposes using for customer, 40 parking spaces are needed – currently, the area only has 14 parking spaces. He will need to approach the Board of Adjustment for a variance or rezoning. Rezoning would change the are to “central,” but would apply to other businesses and allow for more bars in area. Jim asked the WEA if they would endorse his variance proposal. George asked the board members how they would like the issue handled. Bill Gibson proposed that the board members look closely at the proposal to be sure such an endorsement, if given, wouldn’t negatively affect other current or future businesses in the area. George asked Jim to bring his proposal to the WEA board meeting in August.
Social Committee: Alex Flowers reported that monthly socials will resume after summer recess on Friday, September 6, from 6:00 – 8:00pm, at the home of Myrna Doernberg at 818 Carolina Avenue.
House Tour Committee: Nora Garver reported that the 2002 Homes Tour will include 10 homes. An e-mail will go to all West End members, asking for volunteers to help in various areas.
Thanks: George thanked all those who helped weed the traffic island at the intersection of Thurmond, Broad, and West End.
Suggestion for Neighborhood Work: David Poythress asked if it would be possible to use inmate labor to repair the rock walls in the neighborhood. He asked if anyone knew about the program. Jim Brady said he has volunteered with the program for years and used the services; that the program is looking for just those kind of opportunities for work situations; anyone can contact the Cherry St. prison or Jim for more information.
The meeting adjourned at 8:40pm.
Lee Ann Manning