Meeting Minutes June 2024

Minutes for Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Normal Heights Community Center/Zoom

4649 Hawley Avenue


X = in attendance

XPaul Coogan (C)XJim BarossXScott Kessler (AABA)
XAllan Harjala (VC)XDan SoderbergXEmilie Kaman
XSami Burrows (S)Greg StoneXJacob Koopman
Frances Prichett (T)XNancy Lawler  

Paul called the meeting to order at 6:03 and read the opening reflection. Then reviewed Meeting Conduct to improve meeting flow, including: Time keeper and Parliatariam roles to keep order, normalize use of Robert Rules of Order and ability for anyone to call “Point of Order ”. 

  • Scott raised concerns of anyone calling Point of Order and that only Board members can request, Paul disagreed and advised he would look into it. 

Agenda Modifications

Paul advised Board make motion that we do Board election for open chair. Paul made motion to add. 

Jim second. 

Kate Kolhaus introduced herself, veterinarian/army veteran and interested in getting more involved. 

Second meeting. 

Unanimous approval to modify agenda to add election. 

Jacob reviewed bylaws and advised that more notice was needed to hold election, so this would move to action item for next meeting.

Second agenda item modification, #12 presentation on property lines–want to make it a voting item so that we can vote on whether or not to write a letter. 

Paul first. Jim second.

Unanimous approval. 

Point of order, Allan advised that it’s under the action/decision 

Scott said action item can only be add on action item 1) time sensitive 

Board members introduced themselves and shared what they are currently reading. 

Community Attendees

 10 zoom participants, 15 physical 

[Signed in virtual participants:]

[Signed in physical participants:]

Approval of previous meeting minutes

May 7th Regular Meeting 

Allan motioned. Emilie second.

Unanimous approval.

May 21st Special Meeting

Allan motioned. Dan second.

Jacob, Dan, Emilie, Paul, Jim, Sami, Allan, Nancy approved. Scott abstained due to not being present.

Treasurer’s Report

Paul advised Frances was absent, but balance remained same $332.46

Non-Agenda Public Comment

  • Gary Weber: American Landscapers Society Small Grant Program–available from now through August, $5000 to be used. Wondering if anyone knows about that or interested about it?
    • Paul will be in touch about it. 
  • Jim Baross: All Board Members attended a training to help protect reliability and ensure operate efficiently. Additional New news–apparently city decided that modification in change of Brown Act about attending meetings is in place. Soon city will allow planning group members to participate and vote and count as attending via telecommuting. If telecommuting, no longer have to provide the address of where you are participating, including home member.
    • Paul advised it has been approved and it will be effective next meeting. 

Action/Decision Items

Vote: Shall the board officially endorse/assign a timekeeper for meetings? If so should there be a gratuity for youth volunteers? We currently have a time keeper but this would be official and how this role will be assigned. 

  • Jim: Advise louder bell and that time keeper does not have to be a board member, can be under 18. 
  • Jacob: Give them an incentive, but non-monetary. 
  • Emilie: Volunteer hours. 
  • Sara – District 9: Offered she can offer certificates for volunteering. 

Paul motioned. Emilie second. 

Unanimous approval to create the timekeeper position. 

Vote: Shall the board invite Nico Calavita, Urban Studies Professor Emeritus SDSU, to speak at a future meeting? Paul advised he added as Nico expressed interest in speaking and advising on urban planning. 

Scott motioned. Jacob second. Jim also second. 

Unanimous approval. 

City Operating procedures submitted as part of CPG renewal process–turns out they replace bylaws and would make addendums for anything specific to us. Means we will need to renew our Bylaws and can make any adjustments we want as long as does not put restriction on voting or violate Brown Act requirements. 

  • Jim: Our current bylaws require at least two yes votes to be accepted onto the board, as in they cannot just vote for themselves. Request that we research and find out if it’s already in bylaws by city or if our procedures include this item. We also should ask if certain number of attendance is required. 
  • Allan: Recommended we form a committee to identify 
  • Paul motioned we should form a subcommittee to review bylaws and operating procedure, merge documents and review to submit to the Board for review and vote.
    • Jacob, Allan, Jim volunteered to be on subcommittee

Ministerial vs. Discretionary Projects – Emilie Colwell

Emilie provided a detailed presentation on the overview of ministerial vs. discretionary projects and how the city of SD handles these types of projects and the involvement of Community Planning Groups. Process 1 is ministerial–city staff and no appeals. Process 2-5 is discretionary and involves more levels/appeals (at least 2-3 review cycles). Community Planning Groups review projects that require a discretionary development permit against the Community Plan and provide advisory recommendations to City Staff and decision-makers based on Community Plan. Municipal Code establishes when is a use “permitted by right” or use requiring a “conditional use permit.” The full presentation and recording is available on

Presentation on Property Lines – Ramie Zomisky

Ramie provided a presentation about her personal experience identifying property lines through her own homeownership and challenges within the Normal Heights Community. Ramie overlaid GPS lines over satellite illustrating the change in property lines overtime. Overall, Normal Heights Community survey markers are inaccurate and have shifted all property lines by 12 inches in the same direction, which are not aligned with the reality of actual home locations. Ramie requested that the CPG issue a letter  The full presentation and recording is available on

Jim motioned to write a letter as requested and send to the parties as outlined. Jacob second.

Unanimous approval. 

[10 minute bio break] 

Elected Representatives

Sara Al-Agha  from District 9 Councilmember Sean Elo-Rivera’s office 

Sara encouraged everyone to sign up for District 9 Weekly Newsletter and provided a physical flyer to the room with QR codes to sign up. Parks After Dark beginning June 20th through end of summer.

Raised concerns about storefront at Ward Canyon Building that keeps getting graffiti and trash, they are still monitoring and the building will be demolished in the summer. Friday is final budget review meeting at 9AM for public to provide comment–agenda will be posted on city website.  

  • Scott requested Sara to follow up on a plan for the demo and want to make sure it’s the palm tree–not the large ficus tree. 

Chair report

Paul said Ad Hoc subcommittee to submit to Grand Jury has been completed. CPC approved documents and gone to chair for signature. All documents and notes are available at

Adams Avenue Business Association

Scott Kessler –  AABA had successful Alleys in Action event. Next event scheduled in November. 

Taste of Adams, June 30th, with 43 restaurants participating and right in line with ticket sales.

Street Fair submitted a new map to the fire department to get booths back into streets.

El Cajon Boulevard Business Improvement Association

Gary Weber –  meeting last week in Normal Heights to talk about the Boulevard central hub. They are beginning to work with Urban Land Institute and strongly advised the community to get in touch/involved to talk about what needs to happen to that area that has been ignored. There is a great opportunity to make it a destination and encouraged people to participate. 

NH Community Association & NH Urban Arts

Not present for update.

Adams Community Recreation Advisory Group

Nancy Lawler – Had a walk through of the proposal for the community garden–found water and able to get water in that area. Faced challenges with CalTrans and dust causing problems for community members. More discussions around mock building and trees that need trimming. Nancy also submitted several Get It Done requests that have been falsely marked completed. 

Encouraged community to attend 4th Tuesday at 6PM. 

Normal Heights for Smart Growth Poll & Community Garden

Paul advised there is a water meter where the community garden is being considered. Paul is putting together a plan for the engineer and how it overlaps from their current plan to help accelerate the viability of the community garden. Contest for Get It Done reports was completed and had three winners. and will involve a cash prize/gift certificates for person who submits the most Get It Done requests. Encouraged to submit requests so Sara can bring to GID tickets to the city. 

Mid City Community Plan Update Joint Committee 

Meeting is happening at the end of the month and asked if there is anything people would like incorporated into the community plan, should reach out to her to communicate. 

Historic Review

Dan – No update

Review of new subcommittees and membership

Paul advised next step is taking goals and allocating to subcommittees–existing or new ones. 

Jacob said five goals and will bring back for the next meeting to assign. 

Nominating committee

No report


Emilie – No update.

Traffic issues 

Allan – mentioned that city is good at trimming corner trees if they block traffic signs that are reported via Get It Done. 


Paul called the meeting to adjournment.