WESTWOOD NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION
MEETING AGENDA DATE: March 17, 2021 7:00 pm
Place: Meeting place closed due to Corona Virus 19
I. Zoom Meeting held with information to be posted on web page.
II. Roll call of Board Members and count of attendees.
III. Discussion and approval of February 17, 2021 minutes.
A. Status of Public Safety.
1. Crime Report and any other information. (County-wide crime reporting)
V. Committee Reports:
A. Kalamazoo Township Planning Commission Notes. (if available)
B. Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 Westwood. Township Master Plan. Survey upcoming.
VI. Public Comments – Chance for neighbors to bring up issues not discussed.
Next meeting: WNA Meeting April 21, 2021. 7:00 pm. It will be a Zoom Meeting.
Westwood Neighborhood Association Minutes of Feb. 17. 2021via Zoom meeting
Meeting called to order by President Ron Huster at 7:00 pm
Attendance: Board members present include Bob Bolinger, Angie Ponzini, Ron Huster and Penny Thompson
Neighbors in attendance: Bob Schellenberg, Kim (no last name shown), Ray Helms, Cathy Ur, Steve Leuty, Jim Ferner, K. McPhail, Milton Fitzwater, Sherine Miller, George (no last name shown), Kevin Lavender Jr.
Guests in attendance: Jen Strebs, Kalamazoo County Commissioner, Kalee Henderson (volunteer host), Chief Bryan Ergang of Kal. Township Police Dept.
Crime and Safety report by Bob Bolinger and Angie Ponzini: Bob reports in the prior 4 weeks that there have been 81 reported occurrences within a 2 mile radius of the Westwood Fire Station. They included the following: Assaults including 2 domestic and 1 general. There is noted to be an increase in the use of weapons. Car break ins were down as was retail fraud. Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday are the most frequently reported days of occurrence.
Chief Ergang reports that the township may not be included in the crime mapping report Bob monitors. Township is working on a program which will be implemented in the near future (April?) Some troubling numbers recently include assaults, domestic violence, guns and crashes.
Nichols Road speed limit proposal: A house bill has been introduced which is aimed at turning the issue back to locals for the decision of increasing the speed limit.
The township is applying for grant money to get more “YOUR SPEED IS” trailers. Unfortunately, maintenance costs have increased, as has the cost of software for these applications.
Chief Ergang responded that the devices do not capture license plates.
Angie Ponzini asked Chief Ergang what should a neighbor do if someone comes to your door seeking help? Chief responded it is always advisable to call for professional help in that situation.
Non-motorized neighborhood usage by Steve Leuty: Steve provided an informative powerpoint presentation regarding non-motorized traffic in Westwood.
Access to public transportation: There are three operating bus routes in the neighborhood.
Why care? It connects us and builds our community
Has the potential to enhance health and save money
In Westwood, there are 68 miles of sidewalk, 5 miles of the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, and 4 miles of bicycle trails. Most of the sidewalks are in the road Right of Ways, and homeowners are responsible for those stretches.
Township sidewalk replacement program has the potential to reimburse homeowners up to $500.00 under certain circumstances. Consult the township website for more information about the program.
Most of the existing sidewalks were constructed between 1940 to 1960, and generally flow toward main roads or schools. For a few years, no sidewalks were required. The township board reinstated the requirement around 2000. 20-30 years ago Nichols, Gull, Kendall and W. Main sidewalks were installed.
A community survey was done in 2013 revealing the following priorities of residents:
1. Road maintenance: 77 %
2. Law enforcement: 72%
3. Fire response: 63%
4. EMS: 58%
5. Economic Development: 41%
6. Sidewalks: 39%
7. Bike and walking paths
Non motorized transportation committee’s strategy:
Safe routes to schools, complete the existing infrastructure, improve access to KRVT, install sidewalks on primary roads.
Recent projects: 2014 N. Drake to K Central and beyond. 2016 North side of Grand Prairie. Uncovered Olmstead Rd sidewalk, which KPEP helped clear.
A transportation bond in 2/2015 allowed for replacing curbs and gutters with ADA compliant ramps. 2015-2018 saw $10 million allocated to finance improvements, including 44 “orphaned” sidewalks (stretches which just stop before reaching their intended destination). This has resulted in enhanced safe access to schools and over 100 spot repairs, which usually average 1-7 slabs being replaced. 2.8 miles of signage for bicycle paths, mostly to tie to other roads.
Eastwood and Lakewood had major improvements, Northwood and Westwood improvements are continuing.
The Covid pandemic has stopped work in 2020 and so far in 2021, and also has greatly increased labor and material costs. The plan for the remainder of 2021 is to be determined, but tentatively includes the Edison neighborhood, Haskell street spot repairs, and W. Main on KALSEC property. Seminole sidewalks are currently scratched.
For 2022, orphaned corners will be a priority. Increased shoulder width on Nichols and improved access to KRVT, including curbs and gutters. On Lake Street, a final portion near the Expo Center will be completed.
Other improvement opportunities: Reduce barriers. Neighbors helping neighbors. Promote health benefits. The planning commission is to review and update the plan, promote sidewalk replacement progress, and seek additional funding. Steve feels they must remain nimble to maximize benefits and funding sources.
The planning commission is currently addressing sidewalks, solar panels, home offices, fencing for security, marijuana growing and gravel mines in our township.
Jim Ferner asked how much was spent and out of what funds? Since the township is not Act 51 eligible, Jim is concerned we are missing funding opportunities.
Jen Strebs commented that trees do not always need to be removed. In some areas, ramps or curved sidewalks can accommodate old growth trees.
Other neighborhood news: City employee Katie Reilly has married and will be moving away. Katie has been our neighborhood contact. Replacement unknown at this time.
Doorknob hang tags will be coming soon: They have Imagine Kalamazoo 2025 on one side and neighborhood information on the other side. If township residents respond to the survey, information will be forwarded to Westwood.
Angie Ponzini asked if the township has a staff grant writer. Steve Leuty responded there is no formal position, but some grant writing is occurring. Perhaps solicitation for a person in our newsletter may get some response?
Jen Strebs: Jim Rutherford of Kal Co Health Dept presented information to the county board regarding Covid vaccines. As of yesterday, (2/16/2021) 49805 vaccines have been administered. This represents 15% of our county’s population. Of the over 65 year old residents in the county, 37% have been vaccinated. The goal is 70% which is over 29000 doses. Kal County is leading much of the state in vaccines administered, with 35.6% of 65-74 year olds and 42.5% of those over 75 years old having received vaccines.
The link for Kal County is www.kalcounty.com/covid19.phpfor more information. Also, can call 373 5200 for more info. Currently anyone over 65 is eligible for vaccination.
Members expressed appreciation to Steve Leuty for his informative presentation.
Meeting adjourned at 8:35 p.m. by general consensus.
Next meeting Weds, 3/17/2021 7:00 p.m. via Zoom.
Log in on Zoom: 9143875082, password is 4KAyMU
Respectfully submitted: Penny Thompson, Secretary/ Treasurer
Westwood Neighborhood Association Meeting of January 20, 2021 via Zoom
Meeting called to order at 7:03pm by president Ron Huster
Board members in attendance: Bob Bolinger, Marti Nuyen, Angie Ponzini, Ron Huster, Penny Thompson.
Host: Kalee Henderson
Neighbors in attendance: Jim Ferner, Kim (?), Julie Rogers, Jeanne Hess, Deinise Hartsough, Warren Cook, Cocoa Cook Ann Wright-Parsons
First order of business:Marti Nuyen’s position on the board is up for renewal. Unanimously approved
Treasurer’s report:Our current balance is $319.33 in checking, and $95.00 in savings. Our most recent expenditure was a check for $50.00, which was a donation to Westwood Fire Dept.
Ron reports that our application for 501 C3 status has been submitted, with an anonymous donor paying the fees. Ron has thanked the donor, who wishes to remain unknown, so no thank you note will be sent.
Crime report: Bob Bolinger and Angie Ponzini reporting:
There were 171 reported crimes since Nov to current (2 months) Crime is slightly decreased currently. There were44 assaults of which 29 were domestic in nature ,14 burglaries, 30 cases of fraud, larcenies, breaking and entering, auto theft remain about the same as prior, 1 homicide.
Angie reports regarding an incident on 12/21, that the township has arrested a suspect with items in possession, thanks to residents reporting the occurrence promptly. We continue to be urged to “see something, say something, and to promptly report things that don’t seem right.
There was a question of possible gunshots heard tonight, but they were identified as fireworks.
Township Planning commission, Denise Hartsough reporting: At the most recent meeting of 1/7/2021, the following actions were taken:
2429 N. Burdick was approved as a marijuana growing and processing facility
3625 N. Douglas was changed from commercial to mixed use
Sidewalks, solar panels, offices vs. residential usage were discussed
The master plan is under development
Steve Leuty is our liaison. Jim Ferner expressed an interest in attending the meetings. For the sake of those in attendance, public comments were moved to first on agenda so guests don’t have to wait through the whole meeting.
Warren Cook reports the following: Sidewalk variations were discussed: width and materials, straight vs curvy. Kal SEC wants to build a sidewalk from Turwill to Solon, but the proposal has not yet been submitted.
A possible zoning ordinance regarding wind and solar is under discussion. They may need to be regulations regarding size and placement
Imagine Kalamazoo 2025: Marti Nuyen reported there have been 2 meetings with Katy Reilly, our mentor/ coach at the city. There is a link for IK 2025 available. The city will be photographing all city properties in Westwood beginning in late February. Marti needs a copy of our Westwood logo, which Ron will provide to her. Door hangers will be distributed to city properties re IK 2025, and will provide information regarding planned activity and links, plus a survey for input.
Marti contacted Friendship Village seeking their input also.
Ron will be taking a course regarding web page management with a volunteer from WMU who has indicated an interest in assisting our association. Ron wonders if door hangers might be beneficial for distributing other information such as garage sale, our web page, and township planning issues. Our web page has 100 new members recently added.
Street Safety: No speed limit signs have been changed yet on Nichols Rd. Warren Cook believes Cooper Township never sought a sign off from Westwood on the change. Julie Rogers believes it is not law that they must do that. Julie is attempting to draft a fix based on a special situation (being proximal to the school). Penny reports she spoke to both Julie and Sean McCann in January regarding our concerns. They both are attempting to advocate for us.
Neighborhood development: Traffic from Chick fil A has so far not been problematic, but that could change when dine in options resume. The BP station has finally been razed.
Jim Ferner reporting regarding non motorized travel. By guidance from Public Act 51, 1 % of state money goes to support non motorized travel. There is a movement afoot to stop this funding. Julie Rogers encourages residents of districts 60, 61 and 63 to contact the representatives to express their opposition to this change. New township trustee Ashley Glass is wanting to create a planning commission regarding non motorized travel. She is seeking input regarding traffic, speed limits and sidewalk conditions. There are many sidewalks in bad condition in the neighborhood. Marti Nuyen reports these issues will also be addressed in IK 2025. Ann Wright Parsons reports that she is willing to help walk the neighborhood sidewalks in order to assess their condition. Jim is seeking feedback about these issues.
Denise Hartsough wonders about having a guest speaker attend a meeting to discuss the issue. She expressed appreciation to Jim for his advocacy and efforts. Jim further cites the differences between the city and township regulations as part of the issue.
Angie wants to know who is responsible for paying for sidewalks and tree removal, etc. Warren reports that Steve Leuty has a vested interest in sidewalks and is quite knowledgeable re the issue. There is the possibility of township assessment of $70.00 per lot for maintenance.
Julie wonders about the possibility of a carve out from existing assessments for roads to be directed to non motorized issues.
Jim wonders who might be a contact/ point person for this issue. Denise suggests a meeting devoted to this topic with Steve Leuty and someone else who is knowledgeable in the subject. Denise also suggests it be publicized to attract interested parties. Denise suggests the township website under communities/ sidewalks which references funding, costs and guidelines.
Ron will contact Steve Leuty regarding scheduling his attendance at a future meeting.
Adjourned at 8:31 by consensus voice vote.
Respectfully submitted, Penny Thompson, secretary/ treasurer. email@example.com
Next meeting: February 17, at 7 pm via Zoom. Meeting ID is 914 387 5082, login is 4KAyMU