Regular Meeting on February 12, 2009

Meeting began at 7:38 pm. Councilmembers Patrick Wojahn, Jonathan Molinatto were present. Council members Bob Catlin and Mary Cook joined later.

Meeting started with the discussion on Central US 1 Corridor Sector Plan. Dan Janousek and Aldea Douglas of M-NCPPC’s planning division presented two rendered images of the Rhode Island Avenue (between Sunnyside Avenue and Greenbelt Road) and the surrounding area. Some members expressed dissatisfaction on how planners have handled the matter so far, especially around the Autoville and Four Corners area, and that the renditions did not reflect their comments at the Charrette. Moved by Diana Claburn, seconded by Stasia Hutchison: Have NCPCA take no position with respect to the Central US 1 Corridor Sector Plan. Motion passed.

In the President’s report, Larry Bleau reported that he sent NCPCA By-Laws and recent minutes to the Website Steering Committee to include on our web site; sent letter to County Council, with a copy to City Council, requesting a change to the Master Plan of Transportation; asked City Council, in person, to take a position in support of our position, which they did; appointed Kennis Termini to fill an empty position on the Variance Committee; and appointed Maureen Malone to the Website Steering Committee. He announced there would be a Post-Charrette meeting the following week; the Prince George’s County Police would hold a Domestic Violence Education and Awareness Seminar; WSSC is planning to replace water mains in northern College Park this year, and he will invite them to speak with us in March; and that the City is planning to install new sidewalks in northern College Park this year (there was a handout).

Treasurer Anna Ubeda reported that in the month of January, there was no deposit towards renewals, there were also no expenses, and the current balance is $1,969.

Moved by Mark Shroder, seconded by John Krouse: Approve the January 2009 minutes with the following corrections: in paragraph 2, “Stacy Hutchison” should read “Stasia Hutchison”; in paragraph 10, “Stasis Hutchison” and “anonymously” should read “Stasia Hutchison” and “unanimously” respectively. Motion passed.

Omar Madani, Chairperson of the Website Steering Committee, could not be present; in his absence committee member Arif Kabir reported that the committee completed its comparative studies on GoogleSites and WordPress and decided to use WordPress because of its superior design, archiving, calendar, and more extendibility feature. The committee uploaded the minutes and bylaws to the test website per request, disabled all the commenting features and didn’t put in any forums or blogs for now. Arif also presented a list of possible domain names for the new site. Members are requested to submit digital pictures of the neighborhood. Moved by Mark Shroder, seconded by John Krouse: Allow the NCPCA officers to decide on the NCPCA’s website activities. Motion passed.

NCPCA discussed various ideas for the upcoming City budget FY2009, including particular proposals put forward by John Krouse, Bob Catlin and Larry Bleau. Moved by Diana Claburn, seconded by John Krouse: Send the entire list of proposals to the city. The motion failed. Members later voted to pick the top five budget priorities, as determined by a show of hands; they were: (1) Bob Catlin’s proposal for a City Homeowner’s Property tax credit for low income homeowners; (2) Paint crosswalks across streets that have significant pedestrian traffic (Lackawanna St. in particular was cited); (3) Refund City property taxes; (4) Install about eight attractive new trash receptacles on concrete pads with landscaping at bus stops and high foot traffic areas; (5) Widen Edgewood Rd. where it meets US 1 to four lanes, instead of waiting for properties on the southern side of the street to be developed and widening the road at that time. In addition, the following items received significant support and thus members recommended that they should be considered if there are sufficient funds available: (1) Install additional Neighborhood Watch signs; (2) Increase contract police presence and/or patrols; (3) Set aside funds to improve the intersection of Edgewood Rd. and Rhode Island Ave., to be used when the County finishes its plans and allocates money (alternately, consider making the improvements ourselves); (4) Widen Edgewood Rd. between 52nd Pl. and 53rd Ave., where it is only 19′ wide; and (5) Have all city employees take customer service training.

Moved by Mark Shroder and seconded by Betty Rodenhausen: Extend the meeting beyond 9:30pm. Motion passed.

Maureen Malone quickly reported that the Variance Committee vote on variance request CPV-2009-01, to grant a variance for a front yard setback to enlarge a porch, was three do not oppose, two no response, and that the APC subsequently recommended granting the variance. She then resigned from the Variance Committee and the Website Steering Committee. Larry Bleau thanked Maureen for her service.

Members briefly discussed MD House Bill HB-27 to defund the Intercounty Connector (ICC), which has been brought by Del. Barbara Frush. NCPCA voted against the ICC in May 2007. Moved by Patrick Wojahn and Kennis Termini: Have NCPCA support Bill HB-27. Motion passed by a majority vote, with one opposed and one abstention.
During “Other Business” discussion period, members voiced concerns about the prostitution problems in the Route 1 area; in particular, the Comfort Inn, Budget Inn, and Branchville area. Ruth Herbert reported that Maj. Davis of the County Police had been informed about the activities. Members asked if the names of persons involved in such activities can be published on the city’s website.

Members also asked how to determine the status of code enforcement complaints. The City’s web site now lists property violations, and they are working on code enforcement violations on the site. (Note: When entering the property’s address, one must use uppercase letters for the street name.) Members asked staff if they could call the complainant to inform them of progress.

Moved by Mark Shroder, seconded by Jonathan Molinatto: Adjourn the meeting. Motion passed, and the meeting adjourned at 9:55pm.

Respectfully submitted by Fazlul Kabir, Secretary