All posts by mmcfarland

Meeting Minutes: August 19th, 2014

Attendance: Matt & Amanda, Rick, Ross,  Chris & Helen, Jesse

WCRP – Collom St (

  • 35+ townhouse development proposed, w/ parking and community center and possible community garden spot.
  • LIHTC financing will be used, which means that they homes will be rented for at least 15 years, afterwards could be sold.
  • Primary candidates for tenants are families, who go through a screening process including criminal background for 80% GMI (family of 4 ~ 45k/yr).
  • WCRP manages the properties.
  • Construction starting in late 2015 if process goes on schedule.
  • On average, tenets of 5 years or more are able to increase income by 70%
  • Currently conducting a “listening project” about peoples experiences & hopes for living in Germantown.

Betsy from Mt. Airy TimeBank (

  • Meant to re-weave communities and promote social good.
  • Eventual goal is to help establish communities and sort of fade away, not associated with ‘monetary’ value,  only time spent providing services is accrued at the same rate.
  • Time 4 Time has about 200 members.
  • Might be able to become part of a larger banking system which lets you stay a local organization but spend time credits elsewhere.
  • Unlike barter system, IRS has declared time banking non-taxable.
  • Invites our members to join to see how we like the system.
  • Northwest Philly FixIt cafe is looking for volunteers.

Expanded Boundaries

  • Boundaries are expanded Church & Bringhurst to Germantown Ave

240 E Penn St / RHD

  • No Updates

234 E Penn St

  • It has been indicated to us that this is approaching a priority for L&I

5301 Germantown Ave

  • Community drafted letter was signed and sent by many local community groups.   A response was received from L&I stating that the use of a shelter is appropriate for “Safety Services”.  We feel that this is against the spirit of the zoning code and Cindy Bass was notified and claims to be introducing legislation to reword the change.

Micro Grants

  • RCO can apply for $100-1000 grants for beautification projects in Germantown.
  • 6 grants have been awarded.
  • Generate ideas to bring to the group!

Next meeting 9/9/2014

Meeting Minutes: July 08th, 2014

Attendance: Matt & Amanda, Rick & Alexa, Ross, Joe M., Kirsten,  Chris & Helen, Jesse, Jenna

240 E Penn St (RHD)

  •  Research into an address for the owner so that the city can serve court papers, no word if it has actually happened
  •  L&I remains hopeful they can process the violations

234 E Penn St

  • L&I has been denied access to inspect the property
  • Cindy Bass has been notified (again) who has forwarded complaint to L&I commissioner.
  • Brotherly Love House has restricted access to their website

5301 Germantown Ave

  • Letters to Cindy Bass are being circulated regarding our suspicion that the property has improper zoning
  • Building had a fire last week.
  • Jenna suspects the street might be closing illegally
  • Sarah’s cafe is launching a Kickstarter
  • Ross is meeting next week for a 1-on-1 with Ken W.Issues:
  • Trash location, Smoking, codes for dealing with that many people, loading dock (use of sidewalks), contact information for management offices, will they have contact with the neighborhood, safety/security from potential abusers seeking access, potential reuse of the building (apts) after the “next step” of development occurs, forcing residents to speculate rather than having dialog and addressing issues,  parking/traffic, improperly zoned as safety services rather than group living,

Extending BHN Boundaries

  • Extend our boundaries to Germantown Ave – all agree.

Waring House

  • Historic Designation: Joe does not believe it add restrictions to renovations, only that they can advise when applying for a building permit.  Will not prevent demolition, would only be used to inform the owners that they have an exceptional/important property.
  • Concern about it being impediment to rehab, if it raises the cost of materials.
  • No action will be taken as a group, but it is likely the individual members will proceed with getting the designation applied.
  • Frank, a local builder with historical renovation experience, might be consulted.
  • Rick has noticed bake sales and work groups doing landscaping.

Executive Team Update

  • Looking to expand the executive officers with more people from the neighborhood.

Rufe Meadow

  • Stalled out for now, looking for new partners to collaborate with.

Time Bank

  • Jesse attending a time bank workshop
  • A time bank exists in Mt. Airy already, no members from Germantown yet.
  • Anyone can join, an email will be distributed among the group

Mosquito Control

  • Flyers are distributed detailing instructions on placing Bt in water sources to kill mosquito larva.

Tire Rounup

  • Tires are piled up on Rufe St, the city has a program to have citizens drop them off and get paid $0.50 per tire for an RCO.
  • July 19th we will assemble to pick up the tires

Collom St Project

  • WCRP is putting up 40 twins on Wister/Collom, and looking for feedback.

Next Meeting: August 19th



Meeting Minutes: May 13th, 2014

5301 Germantown Ave – Ken W. & Sarah K.

  • Developing campus at 4811 Germantown Ave, Germantown & Roberts and 2 more on Old Stenton Rd
  • Proposed: Health food cafe & Community space in the ground floor of the renovated residential space.
  • Residential ‘Group Home’ non-profit of some sort is likely going into the building, but Ken is unwilling to make any comment.
  • Market rate apartments will make up residential portion.
  • Entire project should be completed by the end of summer 2014

New Location – Kathy

  • New meeting location at Wister Recreation Center, same time.  Address will be updated on the website when we know it.

New Officers – Ross

  • New officers needed for President.  Matt, Jim and Ross will meet as a small committee to discuss a process.

Time Bank – Jesse

  • – do a service for somebody, receive a “time dollar” which can be redeemed for work from other time-bankers.
  • Jesse will volunteer to coordinate and canvas the neighborhood in service of it

240 E Penn St – Joe

  • Group/Service home operates without proper zoning.
  • Joe attended hearing, spoke with Assistant City Solicitor who said Municipal Court would be for assigning fines for code infractions.
  • It is unclear as to the exact nature of the organization at the property
  • We believe there is not proper zoning, and we would like to be notified when they do.  We oppose a change a variance without a presentation or hearing to the group.

234 E Penn

  • An L&I Inspector is scheduled to walk through the house.  We suspect they may be moving out furniture prior to the inspection.

Waring House – Joe

  • Researching ownership, but is a murky situation.
  • Joe would like to submit the house for Historic Certification
  • Ross is concerned that it would impose too strict a cost for future rehabilitation.

Next meeting is June 3rd @ Wister Rec Center


Meeting Minutes: March 11th, 2014

PWD Stormwater Project

  • Two neighborhood projects: Wister Woods and K? Park
  • Rain gardens being installed in parks to act a rainwater filtration and sequestration system to reduce CSO issues.
  • Construction will likely start around March 24th
  • Water should drain within 72 hours, quick enough to not have mosquito problems
  • Overflow systems will divert back to sewer system, so no flooding
  • Nicolas DelColal (?) is point of contact
  • Projects will be maintained as normal infrastructure, including trash/dumping cleanup.
  •, Connie Chang would review.  Apply as group, with connections listed.
  • No additional amenities will be added as part of construction
  • RainCheck, program for CSO residents that help pay for stormwater reduction projects

 Sarah K. Small Business Survey

  • Gauging interest types of business that people would want to spend their money on.
  • General interest in anything, including cafe, grocery store, etc.
  • Local art, night time events, booze(?), internet access

Brotherly Love @ 234 E Penn St

  • By appearance, it seems there is a rehab house operating
  • L&I has been called and issues filed
  • As an RCO, our members have expressed opposition.  They are running a website which appears to be the house in question which claims to be operating as Brotherly Love.

Waring House

  • Contacts are being made to the current owners
  • Trying to register it as a historical house, will there be a detriment to future rehab work?

Spring Cleanup

  • April 5th, we’ll be signing up for the usual area, around
  • Gtown Restoration CDC, RCO meeting wants to meet up to discuss the cleanup – March 24th

Germantown Kitchen Garden

  • Farmstand is opening in May!
  • will have details in the future

Wakefield & Penn St House Collapse

  • Steve Porreca, Construction compliance supervisor (215) 685-2276


  • Ross will send out primer on Brotherly Love situation for use in calling L&I
  • Next meeting is May 6th

Meeting Minutes: February 11th, 2014


Ross, Matt, Amanda, Nikki, Michael & Melissa, Corrie, Tommy McCann, Carol, Nate & Evalyn Wells, Tom, Chris & Helen Nicholson, Chris & Kathy P., Glen B

SEPTA Meadow Project, Guest Tommy McCann from PSU Extension

  • Tries to get Faculty/Students from State College to work on projects in Philadelphia
  • Suggests possible partnerships with SEPTA, PWD, PSU and neighborhood groups possibly including  stormwater mitigation
  • Tommy will check with staff at PSU for interest and follow up with shared contacts from the group
  • There was general consensus that we would like to see whatever level of participation he can provide.
  • Church St Garden is working with PHS to provide similar stormwater strategies.


  • New Mailchimp system for email

  • Carol *may* be able to provide some graphic design support for a new logo

  • New website is needed to get timely updates from meeting


  • NW Neighbors association held a Queen Ln Stn meeting to discuss crime situations, were turned down for a mini-station

  • We are PSA-2/14th district, the liaison of our district holds a monthly meeting and we are encouraged to post questions and follow up with the police or our state representatives who have relationships with the police.

  • NW Neighbors are tracking their emails with the police and tracking crime themselves to try and keep the police accountable.

  • Germantown Ave used to have a mini-station, but apparently the Commissioner is against deploying any new stations.

  • Philly Rising is a program for chronic crime areas and may be something we should do look into.

  • Both systematic (decriminalization & gun laws) and immediate (actual shootings) problems were discussed and there are some lukewarm feelings towards the police’s ability to address the situation.

234 & 240 E Penn St

  • Still trying to pass the petition around

  • Someone is living there now, but it still seems stalled as for the group home plans


  • Milli’s hideout is turning into a corner store
  • RCO Application

    • Denied, but having to reapply as per new city regulation

  • Spring Cleanup Day: April 5th, 2014
  • Possible new meeting space

  • Wister Townhouses community center was suggested (Kathy)
    • GTF Meeting house (Ross)

  • Grumblethorpe Flea Market, 1st Sat April – October

  • Little Jimmy’s Coffee Co & Roasting is opening on the Maplewood Mall, Feb 14th.

  • PWD Stormwater project at Kembel Park


  1. Carol may be able to help with logo graphics

  2. Matt will look into website

  3. Tommy will consider options for the meadow

  4. Melissa, Amanda & Ross might do a PSA meeting in February or come up with actionable crime related items

  5. Meeting space (Ross, Kathy)

Meeting Minutes: January 7th, 2014


Attendance: Lois V., Matt M, Amanda S., Nikki K., Ross H., Rick B., Chris N., Helen N., Joe, Garth

Old Business

  • Amanda will pass the 234 E Penn Petition to contacts at the Wister Elementry school
  • Ross has not followed up with the SEPTA contact regarding the fence at Rufe St Wister Station
  • Amanda has not made much progress on the Wister Station “meadow” project, still making contacts for partners.

Mail Delivery
 Multiple people are receiving improper deliveries from the USPS, we suspect our regular mail person is away.

Waring House
Some movement on restoration, but stalled out. Wister Neighborhood council has some amount of access to the site. Joe proposed offering a partenrship with WNC, and would like involvement with the house
Joe will find additional contacts for WNC and will check with the bank to see if he can find any information

Penn St. at Germantown Ave Apartments
Ken Weinstein is starting development on apartments in the 6 story furniture building at the corner.

Meeting Minutes: October 1st, 2013

Baynton Hill Neighbors

Called to order @ 7:08pm


  • SEPTA fence art work is stockpiled at Rich’s house
  • Soliciting contact info for the surrounding apt. complexes
  • Germantown RCO Collective has invited us to a cross neighborhood group of community group.

SEPTA visits

  • Community relations representatives came to discuss Wister Station
  • Apologises for the state of the landscaping, will keep on top of it. Please let them know if it happens again.
  • Replacing damaged wrought iron fence with an ‘estate fence’, six foot high aluminum, should be up soon.
  • Kids are throwing rocks off the overpass at Belfield. If you witness, call police.
  • Police are being more responsive to SEPTA needs
  • Additional signage is being put together for the Rufe St side of the station.
  • Who should we call when there are nuisance or unsafe crowds? Notify police of time/places and they will put it on their regular patrol.
  • Could LaSalle be interested in providing security box or other security efforts
  • Q: Extend the inbound-side road from Wister Street? A: No plans at this time. Bollards are in place to prevent dumping.
  • 580-7800: messages will be sent to police.
  • Can we get organized for a group/escort for the people getting off at the station?
  • Concern about the herbacide use. SEPTA: we are mostly mandated to spray to keep things clear.
  • Q: Community adoption? Could we have access to open space for plantings? A: We are open to collaboration if certain legal requirements are met.
  • Form a commitee to discuss care of landscapable areas

234 E Penn St

  • Brotherly love house was discussed at last meeting.
  • Email was read from Cindy Bass’ office, she will not support their request.
  • Rep. Kinsey representative email was read, he will not support their request.
  • Gtown CDC (local RCO) will let us host a zoning change meeting, and they will support our stance.
  • Work seems to have stopped, have said all options are on the table.
  • A draft petition was read to state our opposition to the current plan as a residence treatment facility.
    • An updated draft will be produced based on feedback.
  • A proposal to get a zoning lawyer was pitched, without much feedback.
  • We should watch the zoning schedule to make sure we see any adjustment requests.
  • We are happy that there are no squaters living in there this summer.

Announcement/Job Opportunities

  • Penn St house was demolished, partial across the st.
  • Car breakins at the apt complex on Baynton, seems like their coming from the railroad side.

Meeting Minutes: September 3rd, 2013

Baynton Hill Neighbors

September 3rd, 2013

Call to order at 7:10p

Approximately 45 neighbors from Coulter, Wakefield, Bringhurst, Queen Lane and Baynton St. were present.

Ross Hennesy gave an introduction to those in attendance, giving a brief history of Baynton Hill Neighbors (BHN).

  • BHN contact is mostly via email lists but will try to contact via phone numbers if individuals don’t have email access.
  • Ross explained how in the void left by Germantown Settlement and Wister NAC, BHN is attempting to serve as a collective voice for the neighborhood. A representative from Wister Neighborhood Council corrected Ross explaining how although the NAC was lost, WNC still exists and wants to coordinate
  • District Office Chief of Staff from State Rep. Kinsey introduced himself, and says his office is interested in working with our group. Contact: Stacey A. Wright, (215) 849-6592,

Yard Party/ Potluck

  • Voting members agreed to move the date from September 15th to Sept 14th @ 5pm. It is a potluck and everyone in the neighborhood is invited. If it rains, the event will be held indoors.

PGW Gas works

  • Chris Paulmier announced potholes at Baynton/Church & Baynton/Penn from recent gas works projects.
  • Tripping hazards developing.


  • Ross was contacted by SEPTA for input on fence.
  • Community is concerned about the safety and appearance. Septa feedback was that repairing was not feasible and so the fence will be replaced.
  • BHN requests that the fence is repaired and painted. If it must be replaced, it should be replaced with wrought iron. BHN is not interested in replacing it with chain link and would rather it stay.
  • BHN requests that the artwork stay.
  • BHN requests that SEPTA be mindful of the foliage that grows behind the fence, and request that it

is landscaped and cared for, instead of overgrown with periodic herbicide spraying. There was some interest in helping care for this.

Police Roll Call

  • Another shooting occurred in August at Baynton & Coulter intersection
  • Kathy Paulmier’s police contacts encourage us to contact Capt. Fleming at 215-686-3140 (3141), ask for “a supervisor” to make a “complaint roll call” in order to receive additional police attention.
  • Patrols will be alerted in the morning as to all “roll call complaints”
  • Stacey (from Rep Kinsey) recommends roll call, call 911, and give him notice so his office call follow up additionally.
  • Roll call is not for crimes only, but can be used to preempt crimes if there is a pressing concern.

234 E Penn Plans

  • Ross invited the developers of that property to come talk and give facts and receive our feedback.
  • Ross asked that all in attendance be respectful and keep our questions for after the full presentation.
  • Presentation summary, details are supplemented by a packet handout:
    • Matthew Green (developer/real estate) & Devon Reaves (recovery specialist/social work)
    • Mathew and Devin hope to start Brotherly Love House. To date, their outreach consisted of informing local politicians
  • Matthew and Devin each explained their skills and qualifications in the area of drug rehabilitation, professional associations they are part of, and real estate experience.
  • Details were given about what is “addiction”, it was described as a disease.
  • Process: detox (medical), in-patient treatment, then a) move into private home, or b) recovery housing and lastly, long-term recovery.
  • Devon’s experience with recovery residences are that they are more effective than other systems.
  • Treatment center vs Recovery residences: the latter is more about self/community help programs, not treatments
  • Brotherly Love House: Level III facility, affiliated with various groups.
  • Up to 75,000 people in treatment for addiction in the city in a given year, city reports less than 2000 beds available for those people.
  • Goal is to be premier provider of recovery residences in Philadelphia
  • American Planning Associations claim the recovery houses have no impact on surrounding home values
  • Questions and concerns:

Concern: One individual who buys and sells real estate explained how he could not use the facility as a “comparable” since it would be a group home.

Q: Why place the home in a house within a residential neighborhood as opposed to rehabbing a non-residential building, ie an abandoned factory?

A: That would be ideal, but they don’t have enough money.

Concern: Penn St is a path for children from Belfield towards Wister School.

Q: How were they able to start without getting a zoning variance?

A: This is the beginning of the zoning processes, (mostly) only started construction on exterior work and BHN will be notified when the hearing will be.

Concern: Community feels “dumped on” – methadone clinic, sex offenders in the neighborhood, not a lot of warning, consider the children and property values. Community would like a family rather than a “program” to live in 234 E. Penn.

Q: How many people are proposed to live there?

A: 17-20

Q: How long is the program? How will they cycle through?

A: It is currently a 12 bedroom house. Each addict makes a 6-12 month commitment, but the length is up to the individual.

Concern: Some recovering addicts are good, and some aren’t.

Response: Brotherly Love does not do work release or receive outside funding, no RHD. The individuals pay for their own treatment.

Q: Is it good for recovering addicts to have a home so close to “open air” drug markets?

A: In the city, drugs are everywhere

Q: Are there other potential uses for the house?

A: Maybe

Q: Did you do research as to proximity to schools and other group homes?

A: Unclear / No answer

Conclusion: BHN understands the need in the city for drug recovery facilities, but this is not the right place for it (group strongly agrees)

  • Helen Nicholson reminded neighbors that this block once had a well run facility that deteriorated and became a serious problem to the neighborhood.
  • Neighbors were reminded to watch for zoning info and come to the zoning meeting.
  • It was suggested by one attender that other facilities might be more agreeable, such as elderly housing.
  • Chris Nicholson thanked Ross Hennesy for organizing and facilitating.

Adjourned at 8:50p

Meeting Minutes: July 30th, 2013

Baynton Hill Neighbors Association

July 30, 2013

In Attendance: Amanda Staples, Matt McFarland, Chris & Helen Nicholson, Ross Henessey, Tom, Alexa, Rick, Dorsey


5345 Baynton St
  • We believe Michael Holland has a successful bid on the Baynton St lot.
  • Glenn Bergman is still interested in the lot, but we have not heard directly from him.
Wister Station
  • Septa/City came by and cleaned up the Rufe St approach to the Wister Station
  • Ross wants a sign to indicate the station entrance
House for Sale
  • Our friends at 410 E Bringhurst are selling their house. Polling for interest.
  • Matt is putting together a website to host our meeting notes.
  • Are email addresses available for officers? – Yes
  • We should put up a form for people to sign up.
RCO with City
  • Bylaws, schedule, boundaries are required.
  • We need to pick a recurring date for meetings so the city can post on their calendar.
    • First Tuesday of the month, skip Aug 6th
Issues with draft/current bylaws
  • Consensus votes – should apply to all decisions,
  • Voting Memberships: A membership list should be kept which defines the voting members, which require meeting attendence (50% of meetings in last 6 months)
  • Non-voting, generally interested in the group and meet eligibility requirements
  • Quorum Requirement for Vote
  • Lower the age requirments to 16
  • Presidental term limits? Debated no confidence votes vs regular elections.
  • Election of Officers: Majority Vote
  • Change of Bylaws: Consensus – 1
  • Dispensing of Funds: Consensus – 1
  • All things but elections: Consensus – 1
  • Quorum Amount: 51% of Voting Members must be present for a vote
  • Membership/Attendance lists must be kept at each meeting
  • Term Limits: tabled until next meeting
Group Expansion
  • Empower the group to invite neighbors to our meetings
Neighborhood Potluck
  • Sept. 15th, 2013 – before dark (5pm)
  • Front yard BBQ/Picnic
Wakefield Block captain was contacted: Florence Palmer
Discussed helping as a group with the derelict house next to Tom (143 E Coulter St)

Next meeting: 9/3/2013

Action Items
  • (Amanda, Matt) Gun Violence form letter
  • (Matt) Email address/system
  • People will contact lawyerly people for help
  • Can we use relaim philly for “hotspot” map?

Meeting Minutes: June 13th, 2013

Baynton Hill Neighbors Association

June 13, 2013

In Attendance: Amanda Staples, Matt McFarland, Chris & Helen Nicholson, Ross Henessey, Tom ???, Darcy

What do you like and dislike about your neighborhood?

Things people like : Quiet, Trees, Friendliness of neighbors, Old architecture, Contrast of City/Country look and feel

Things people don’t like : Violence, blight, stupid street trees, trash/litter, lack of resturants

Agenda Items

  • We would like to finally approve the bylaws. The city has possibly changed the applicaiton process to be a little easier.
    • Reviewed the proposed bylaws
    • By next meeting (July) we will formalize a document, feedback is requested by the end of June
  • 5345 baynton St (Empty Lot).
    • Michael Holland is moving into Penn St awaiting his negotiations with the city on this lot.
    • Glen B. has expressed interest in the lot as well and was upset to discover there were plans in the works for it.
    • We encourage attendence at BHNA meetings to discuss these issues.
    • The group has no formal response or endorsement, however we can act as a forum to hear plans and provide individual feedback.
  • Block Captain
    • Ross has not gotten his signature yet for his candidacy, so no movement yet
    • Coulter St captain could not be located, no official captain is registered
  • Gun Violence
    • Shooting on Wakefield/Coulter.
    • Apparently shooting started blocks away and continued to Wakefield. Police reported no injuries.
    • Wondering what we can do, options aren’t apparent. We’d like to send letters to those in the city whose jobs regard public safety.
  • Contacts in local apartment
    • The current group members would like to establish more contacts with the residents of the apartments on the block
    • Should we have a block party/neighborhood party?
  • Road Construction (New Pipes)
    • New gas line on Church Ln on Baynton Ave.
    • We don’t know how much construction, or how long it will last, or what the street closures will be like.
  • 234 E Penn St Auction
    • Up for auction on June 2?. The Jukowski’s are interested in attending to see what happens and possibly make a bid
  • Email policy
    • Privacy policy for emails, no change. Emails will remain public.
  • The art work on Rufe St is covered with weeds, we’d like to free them up again
  • Announcment for the “Imperfect Gallery”’s fundraising effort.
  • Maplewood mall has several events the next two weekends regarding Juneteenth and also the revitalization of the mall.
  • Proposed new meeting date: Monday July 15th, 7pm

Action Items:

  • (Matt) Make a map of our boundaries for the bylaws document
  • (All) Review bylaws document and provide feedback via email by July 1st
  • (Ross) Check Wakefield, Penn, Lena St block captains
  • (Matt) Draft letters for local politician regarding our conern for gun violence
  • (Matt) Chop up some weeds around the art work on Rufe St