February 18, 2015

Clarendon Alliance

Board of Directors Meeting

February 18, 2015

Present:  Wade Franklin, Bill Gearhart, Jon Hoffmeyer, Debbie Kaplan, Jon Kinney, Paul LeValley, Ashley Naiman, Casey Nolan, Tom Petty, Tyler Schlandt, Stephen Taylor, Adam Thocher, Bill Trahant, and Julie Zalkind; also present, Executive Director Matt Hussmann and Economic Development liaison Karen Vasquez.

Not present:  Khalil Minor.

The meeting was held in the meeting room of Lyon Place Apartments and was called to order by Board President Adam Thocher at 6:30 pm, with a quorum present.

Approval of October 29, 2014, and annual meeting minutes.  The Board approved the minutes of the meeting of October 29, 2014, as presented and also the minutes of the Alliance’s annual meeting held at the American Tap Room on January 21, 2015.  It was noted that the Board had met on December 10, but without a quorum present, no business was taken at that meeting.

RA Sushi presentation.  Matt Roberts, representing the incoming business RA Sushi, made a brief presentation on behalf of his client, explaining that his client intended to open a restaurant in the new Penzance building at the corner of Washington Blvd. and N. Garfield St.  He said that the restaurant would be applying for outdoor seating for the warmer months, and that the seating would still allow for sidewalk clear width that equaled or exceeded the County requirement.

Election of officers.  Julie Zalkind presented a proposed slate of officers for the coming year:  Paul LeValley for president, Jon Hoffmeyer for first vice president, Jon Kinney for second vice president, Bill Gearhart for secretary, and Casey Nolan for treasurer.  There were no further nominations from the floor and the slate was elected by acclamation.  The outgoing officers, including outgoing president Adam Thocher, were thanked for their service.

Report of the executive director.   Matt Hussmann provided an overview of the Alliance’s finances and a recap of recent developments.  He stated that our finances are in good shape and that we are running ahead of our budget plan due in large part to the success of Clarendon Day and Court House events.  He noted that the County was able to provide a County bus for the originally scheduled Mardi Gras event (which was cancelled due to weather), at half the commercial cost.  There was discussion about a rescheduled date for the event, and it was agreed that Matt would poll participants and board members on a preferred date once he had cleared possible dates with the police.  He also noted that Comcast is no longer willing to hang banners for us across Wilson Blvd. to announce upcoming events, and said that he is trying to a replacement for Comcast.

He also noted that another arts event is scheduled for April 18-19 on N. Highland St. and Washington Blvd., in partnership with Howard Alan Events.  Based on the success of prior shows, HAE would like to do two events a year in Clarendon, but a fall date has not yet been set.  Matt said that he was about to file a third bid on behalf of the Alliance to run the farmers’ market at the Courthouse.  He said that the prior two bid events had been cancelled by the County before the process was completed.  He said that if the Alliance is awarded the contract to run the farmers’ market, he expects that it will generate a profit for the Alliance even after paying a manager to oversee the operation of the market.  There was brief discussion about the Wednesday afternoon farmers’ market at the Clarendon Metro entrance, and Matt noted that business was slow, perhaps due to the day of the week and parking difficulties, and that many of the farmers were driving a long distance but not selling much.  There was some question as to whether the market would continue to be viable.

Economic Development report.  Karen Vasquez noted that a series of technical zoning changes were on the County Board’s agenda for this coming Saturday, with a number of interest to the partnerships.  One such change would make it easier for the partnerships to hold events and markets (art shows, Christmas and other seasonal markets) on private property, including in empty retail spaces.  The change would eliminate a number of zoning and occupancy requirements that would otherwise apply in the case of a long term commercial lease.   In discussion it was noted that the County Board would be postponing adoption of the Retail Action Plan to allow more staff and community input.  It was noted that the plan as proposed would have limited ground floor uses in much of central Clarendon to shopping and restaurants and entertainment, without allowing new types of businesses or traditional service businesses such as banks, cleaners, and hair salons to occupy such spaces, raising the possibility that retail spaces might sit empty if the right tenant did not come along.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:43 pm.

Respectfully submitted:


Bill Gearhart