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Allendale boundaries in dispute

Published Sep. 16, 2005

(ran East, South editions)

The question of boundary lines is becoming a prickly topic in and around the exclusive Allendale area.

Three separate groups are in various stages of organizing formal neighborhood associations. This past week, a fourth group began talking about organizing another association.

The characters in this saga are Allendale Terrace, Five Points, Magnolia Heights (formerly Virginia Heights) and a group within Allendale Terrace led by Cathy Howard.

City program administration manager Roy Otto said many of the problems with overlapping boundaries were arising because "residents thought things were happening too fast."

Otto said he hopes all parties can find an amicable solution but is pleased to see so many residents getting involved.

As of June 30, organizers from the first three groups agreed on proposed boundaries. However, as word spread about the formation of several associations, residents began choosing a group without deference to the agreed-upon boundaries.

Tucker Hodges, president of Magnolia Heights, said he has registered his boundaries in writing with the city's neighborhood office and with the Council of Neighborhood Associations, or CONA.

Melody Jones, leader of Five Points, has published her group's boundaries via neighborhood fliers and discussions with CONA representatives.

Gary Stempinski, interim chairman of Allendale Terrace, said its boundaries may be expanded beyond those announced June 30 and are being discussed. The expanded boundaries, however, include Haines Road and the east side of Seventh Street N, areas already claimed by Magnolia Heights and Five Points, respectively.

Howard is a former boundary committee member for Allendale Terrace. Stempinski said she resigned from the committee and questioned new boundaries voted upon at a July 9 meeting. Howard indicated she may be forming another organization.

"I was very, very surprised that this happened," Stempinski said.

On July 17, Otto met with Howard and about 50 neighbors in a private residence to address organizational concerns.

There was also a misconception that only formal neighborhood associations could apply for Great Neighborhood Partnership Grants, Otto said. This year's grant deadline is Aug. 2.

Allendale Terrace Neighborhood Association is meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Grace Lutheran Church, 4301 16th St. N.

"We are planning our meeting like everything is normal," said the newly elected Stempinski, "and it's business as usual."

Howard, Jones and Otto plan to attend.

"There is no established procedure to deal with a situation like this," Otto said.