SARPA’s principal social event is our annual meeting held each November. This helps Summit Avenue residents meet each other, build a community, and foster communication. These serve as educational forums in that attendees are updated on issues faced by Summit Avenue – pedestrian and biker safety, traffic calming, parking, challenges in maintaining homes in a historic district, etc.
Attendance of 60 to 80 is almost exclusively Summit residents and/or SARPA members. Expense for each of the past two annual meetings was about $2,700, including food, beverage and venue. Expense for earlier years was lower in that SARPA board members hosted the annual meeting in their homes. Annual meetings make up about 5% of our activities.
Public Policy Meetings and Other Community Issues
Public policy meetings are held as appropriate. For example, 2015‘s pressing issue was the permitting process to convert an existing Summit Avenue property to a “boutique residential hotel”. The current year’s issue is the conversion of a historic Summit Avenue church – the “Church on the Hill” – to a commercial business enterprise. Summit’s residential zoning includes allowance for non-residential use for churches and colleges, but expressly prohibits commercial development. The developer was successful in obtaining permits and variances. However, significant restrictions on permitted commercial use were incorporated, particularly for the church property, in large part through SARPA’s efforts.
For such preservation related issues, newsletters and social media, together with impromptu community meetings, are most timely and effective. SARPA’s origin mission is “to preserve the historic, residential, and urban park character of Summit Avenue” through advocacy, communication, and education, and related exempt purpose.
SARPA provides education on historic preservation and advocacy to retain historic Summit Ave.