Housing Committee Minutes
June 14th, 2018


Diana Geis
Steve Bolton
Leila Kohler-Frueh
Nancy McCormick
Jackie Murray
Kitty Perkins
Sean Frye
Michael Siepp

Kristina Modula
Debra Young
George Kieb
Lou Packett
Edith Milliard
Sonia Eaddy
Robert Moyer


Welcome and Introductions:
Diana greeted everyone. Introductions and welcomes. Name, where from/who representing, as well as favorite memory of our grandparents.

CHAP Presentation 

Speaker: Walter Gallas
Historic Presentation Planner
Historic & Architectural Preservation Division
417 East Fayette St – 8th Floor
Baltimore, MD 21202 443-984-3343
Fax 410-244-7358

A small section of Mt. Vernon was the first historic district in 1964. The districts are designated by the group based on requests from residents. They have the authority to also designate landmarks. Within CHAP district, any work done to the exterior of the property has to be reviewed and approved by CHAP. Interior work in a home which is not part of a tax credit program, is unaffected by CHAP. CHAP is located on Fayette St.

National Register Districts are created based on Federal Guidelines. CHAP is only involved within these types of districts if the home owner is not part of any local tax district credits. If you live in a CHAP district or a National Register District, you qualify for a property tax credit. These must be applied to prior to any work being done on the home. It must meet the requires pre-improvement, based on an appraisal by the city appraiser. You then have to work with CHAP to make improvements. They do not require full restoration. They identify aspects of the home that should remain during an improvement project. An appraisal is done at the end of the project to reassess the property. The difference between the pre-project and post-project assessment is discounted from property tax for 10 years. This travels with the house if sold. This is extended to homeowners and investors/rehabbers.
State and Federal tax credits for historic properties are performed through the National Historical Trust and offer Income Tax Credits.
Overlapping Districts exist all over Baltimore. Franklin Square is a National Register Historic District. The Union Square District overlaps with portions of Franklin Square and Hollins Roundhouse District. CHAP and National Trust is only involved if a homeowner is participating in any tax program. Pigtown is a National Register District although it is not covered by CHAP. Small areas around the neighborhood are historic landmarks and memorials, for which CHAP is responsible for upkeep.

Question and Answer

Is it an advantage to be part of a CHAP district or a disadvantage? Many National Register Districts become CHAP district in time. The residents apply to become a CHAP district. A letter must be written to the mayor and request a study for designation as a historic district. There may be opposition amongst the neighbors. Local designation does not require a majority consensus to become a CHAP district. Older neighborhoods with older residents may not be able to afford to bring a neighborhood up to CHAP standards. CHAP does not assist with funds to make restoration/rehabilitation to the neighborhood. A neighborhood must make a decision as to whether they want to take this burden on. Residents are not required to bring their property up to full restoration. They are however concerned about what is visible from the street. There is leniency about what occurs on the rear of the property. Any work or changes to exterior in CHAP areas should be assessed by CHAP prior to the work.

If you live in a CHAP area, do you need CHAP permission to paint brick or remove formstone? CHAP does not allow people to paint brick that has not previously been painted. You may remove the formstone if you desire. It is best to take a test patch of formstone off before a full removal in order to find out the state of the brick underneath. They have allowed individuals to paint the formstone. There is not a set paint palette. Many times, paint companies have a “historic” palette. The application is online and is about 6 pages long. Many answers to questions on the application is “not applicable” for smaller restorations and rehabilitations.

Do you have any jurisdiction over new construction? Yes. Absolutely. The commission meets on the second Tuesday of every month. They hear major cases or problem cases in which the staff disagrees with what the owner wants to do. At staff level, most applications are reviewed, and authorization is given without issue in most cases. A number of new construction projects have come to the attention of the commission. roposed for construction. They were approved for the size of the street. 1 North Carey has begun construction without permits. Window Openings and Materials are important. As long as the design is acceptable to fit into the neighborhood, it is generally accepted.

How long does it take to get approval for new construction? Sometimes several months. The design elements can take some time if they do not bring all necessary details to the first hearing. Depending on how quickly the applicant comes back to the commission with all floor plans, elevations, renderings, and architectural design details requested. New construction must present a drawing representing how the new building will appear in place in the neighborhood. The iterative process can bring about a better product.

Does CHAP do a study as to how the conversion from National Historic Districts to CHAP districts? According to existing studies, it has been shown to build a stronger neighborhood.

How does a house become a CHAP protected property? It’s rare for a house to be designated a historic property in its own right. This goes beyond architecture into its past residents or its place in the history of the city.

Directories for historic restoration companies including architects, masons, painters, etc.
Maryland Association for Historic Commissions and Bolton Hill websites.

Approval of May 2018 Minutes
Approved by Dan Rodenbergand seconded by Ms. Edith Gillard. Approved. These were emailed and now should be available on the website once approved.

Committee Reports

We are holding off on visiting the neighborhood association meetings due to overlap with other groups doing the same. Encouragement to invite others.

Aging In Place
Events for seniors in the area to attend. No carding at the door although encouraging seniors to attend as the target audience. HUBS is going out to the neighborhood association to meet and discuss upgrades for homeowners in the neighborhood who may need assistance making repairs or making property accessible.

Concerning La Cite vs. Poppleton Now:
There is an extension on the property acquisitions so they won’t be in breech. The city is not looking to enter clauses concerning the community’s concerns. They are not able to make any modifications to the original agreements. They will allow transparency (as in welcoming the community to attend meetings) without making any changes based on the resident’s input. The city made the statement that they need 2 years to purchase properties. This shows more support of the developer than the neighborhood. That is very concerning to residents who are concerned that this developer continues to acquire properties and left to abandonment state and empty lots that are not cleaned or tended by the developer. The city is purchasing these properties and selling them to the developer for $1. This creates blight in the community.
The last meeting was a Q&A leading up to the planning commission meeting. This next hearing is on June 21st, 2018 at 1pm at City Hall. Poppleton Now will be putting together concise bulletin points about what the neighborhood would like to see. Our neighbors would like to encourage those who have more knowledge as to the questions to ask at the hearing to attend also.
Does the bill have a number? City Bill# 18-0243
Motion made by George to authorize Michael Seipp to testify if he and Sonia feel that this is appropriate in regard to any hearing regarding amendment of Poppleton urban renewal ordinance (URO). Seconded by Ms Edith. All Agree.

Committee Chair Report

BNI Workshops
Set of 2 workshops. One focused on renters and one focused on landlords
The proposed dates:
Oct 3 &10 7pm Community Engagement Center
Oct 4 & 11 SPARK or Enoch Pratt Library

20/20 Update State Application Summary
The United Workers meet at James McHenry Rec Center. They now meet every other week. They are supporting the 20/20 campaign. We were originally supporting it when it was first presented. It has morphed over time to become something new. John Bullock and all of the council members are supporting to the exclusion of the mayor. The proposal is 20 million dollars a year for the purpose of rehabilitating houses and green spaces. They have a commitment of 2 million dollars from the city and are beginning their first project. This was originally about the initiative to propose a bill for the 2020 ballot for a requirement that 20 million dollars a year for 20 years of city bonds would go towards the rehabilitation of the city through community development bond funds. The funds for these bonds already exist and do not need to be raised. In previous decades these bonds were readily available to neighborhoods and homeowners.
The Affordable Housing Trust was passed in 2016. It passed and has not been funded. Now they want to pass the Fund the TrustBill.There is a bill that will be proposed for the ballot to fund the trust with the transfer tax fee. This is separate from the 20/20 campaign.

Executive Director Report

  • PSA – Chess Tournament, Music Event at Hollins Round House, Movie Event at Traci Atkins.
  • Habitat for Humanity flyers werepassed out.

State Contract Summary

  • The project to redevelop the 1600 block of W. Pratt Street by Chris Taylor will not be moving forward. This included 8 properties. When the city was slow to get us title to these properties, we had 24 hours to respond to the next option of property development.
  • The unit block of Schroeder St. by Venroy July was ready to move forward. In order to not lose the money, Michael, with Diana’s nod, entered these properties in place of the 1600 Block of W. Pratt.
  • Motion to support this decision was made and seconded by Ms. Edith.
  • What keeps the developer from flipping the property on the free market? We as a community group have a second mortgage which would be repaid to us in the event that the home was sold to a homeowner.
  • St. Luke’s has indicated that they are interested in making the building available to SWP for a future CORE project. We are very interested in acquiring this building if we are able to enter the property to determine the viability.

State Application Summary

  • Acquisition demolition 300,000 300 Hollins 1504 W. Baltimore and Malachi Mills. All have moved along and we have spent 280,000. 75,000 remaining.
  • Alley Gating Grant. $35,000 check has been issued twice and has not been received either time. The city agreed to change the renewal process for the gates. The dept of transportation lost our application. We now have to start over again. Because it is 90 days old now, we may be required to start over with petition.
  • Bon Secour farm at the corner of W. Fayette and Fulton is doing well.
  • Receivership process on individual auctions. Lump sum auction on S. Fulton from Baltimore St to Fayette went up for auction. Unity was the only qualified bidder.
  • Received draft contracts for Mt. Clare and Franklin Square properties.
  • Neighborhood grants has awarded 25 of the 75,000 available.
  • Facade improvements can now be moved upon on the 1200 block of Baltimore St thanks to grants. The contribution is being matched by BDC(?).
  • City Tax Sale was agreed they would set properties aside for us to bid upon. We are awaiting the definitive list of properties that were not redeemed. Columbia/Fulton Bank are agreeing to a loan guarantee.
  • More information detailed in the handout given at the meeting by Michael.

HUBS Application
Program to allow aging in place by assisting with making upgrades and repairs through Civic Works. They put out a request for proposal to open a HUBS office in SW Baltimore. We need a team to put together a team to create the proposal. The School of Social Work would be the applicant. The school would offer student interns would be in the neighborhoods identify elderly in need. $60/year is not enough according to the School of Social Work. They are willing to assist in creating the proposal although they will only offer student interns going forward. Although 65 elderly home owners identified, and work completed in their homes each year. 1st come 1st serve for services and funding for the work to be done. There is already a waiting list for existing HUBS programs. This is all detailed in the handout from Michael.

A motion was made to submit an application by Lou and Seconded by Ms. Edith. 1 opposed.

Old/New Business

  • August meeting will need to be in a larger space as we will be discussing (?)
  • Bill# 18-0185 Non-Owner-Occupied Dwelling Units, Rooming Houses, and Vacant Structures – Rental Dwellings – Registration and Licensing. Enacted 5/7/18 https://baltimore.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3317951&GUID=7EB77044-69AA-47EF-ABDA-EB282B648C7C&Options=&Search=&FullText=1
  • Grant for Redevelopment of Poe Home and surroundings which include Poppleton from MLK to both sides of Carey Street, Mulberry to W. Pratt St. They are not sure if they will demolish Poe Homes or rehab them. They are looking for support for the grant. Redevelopment endeavor. The grant is supposed to be submitted in late June. The city spoke to Cecil Clark, the Biopark, Community Engagement Center, Homes Free USA, and Hollins House concerning this issue. The housing authority is allowed to submit every two years to do a study on redevelopment of public housing.
    • Motion made to support this grant and seconded by Lou.
  • Dan Rodenberg brought to our attention that Tuesday the 26th the Commercial Committee will meet at the Bipoark at 7pm to discuss1 North Carey.