Monday, March 4, 2013

February meeting minutes

Meeting opened at 7:00 PM on Monday, February 25th

Captain Sullivan, LPD

Discussed parking issues with the kiosks. Reminder: There is an appeal process for parking tickets.

Violent crime is down however, street robberies of tech devices are up 15%. LPD asks that people are aware of their surroundings when using smartphones, etc.

Winterfest went well – Saturday was quiet due to storm

An individual named Ryan Parrot broke 20 cars, 8-9 businesses, and 10 houses in the downtown area recently. He was caught and remains in jail. Somewhat typical for a one person spree to go this way.

Will look at Handicapped Loading Zone signs. May not be large enough.

Traffic calming: Two-way street conversion pending. Raised Crosswalks? Eric Eby (Transit Engineer) to coordinate w/ Corey Sciuto (LDNA secretary). More information at end of minutes.

Associate planner Aaron Clausen

Flood Insurance – FEMA redrew maps, putting many downtown buildings against canals into an A zone, which is expensive to insure. Surveyors cannot help because there is no base flood elevation with canals, so buildings cannot get a map modification (LOMA).

Options for people downtown: Properties that are in Historic Districts do not get treated like they are in a flood plain. Contact Steve Stowell @ Lowell Historic Board for more information. There is also a grandfathering process for buildings that weren’t in flood plains when built/substantially modified. This is not a LOMA, but an insurance modification. New buildings in historic districts may not be able to get special rates in flood areas.

Due to their historic building status, Canal Place I and III just got put in an X again.

We discussed that on Thursday, March 7th at 6 PM, City Councilor Marty Lorrey will be holding a meeting with representatives from Army Corp of Engineers and FEMA. The meeting will be in City Council Chamber.

John Nappi - There is a new FEMA form for arbitration:
Now available! FEMA has launched their new web application – the Online LOMC!
Visit to learn more about the new Online Letter of Map Change (LOMC) application and to see the new live site. Applicants can use this new website to electronically request a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) instead of applying for a LOMA using the MT-1 or MT-EZ paper forms. A LOMA is a letter from FEMA stating that an existing structure or parcel of land will not be inundated by the base flood. LOMA-eligible requests must be concerning properties on naturally high ground, which have not been elevated by fill.
Are there any other condo associations trying to get voluntary flood/earthquake insurance? How was it priced? How do we need to know how much to buy? Ayer Lofts is wondering… Kathleen Marcin suggests we talk to a local insurance provider to talk to different associations.

Meeting ended at 8:15.

Adam Baacke - Assistant City Manager

The two-way conversion work is being designed now. We anticipate holding a public meeting at some point in the coming months to discuss it once we have the traffic analysis complete and know what is and isn’t possible. Construction could occur as early as the Fall, provided the Council ultimately approves the funding for the project in the Capital Plan, which will be presented to them in the early Spring.

With respect to the crosswalk, we agree with some of your concerns about it and also agree that the present location is not ideal. I believe it was located there by either the National Park and/or the former State Heritage Park. Nelson Nygaard and TEC, the design engineers working on the two-way conversion project, are looking at improving its location and associated sight lines for drivers in conjunction with the larger project.

Raised crosswalks have in the past been opposed by the Fire Department and DPW because of their impact on emergency response and snow operations. It is not immediately clear the extent of those concerns on Market Street if the overall two-way conversion plan is implemented and includes Merrimack Street. The two-way conversion will however have two significant benefits for pedestrian safety even if raised crosswalks are not ultimately feasible. First, two-way conversions have been proven to slow traffic speeds and in many cases eliminate speeding. Second, two-way traffic on streets with multiple signalized intersections discourages jay walking by eliminating the long gaps in traffic caused by red lights on one-way streets.

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