Regular Meeting on January 08, 2009

Meeting began at 7:30 pm. Councilmember Patrick Wojahn was present.  Mayor Stephen Brayman, and Councilmembers Bob Catlin and Mary Cook joined later.

E. Fatimah Hassan, AICP, Master Plan Outreach Coordinator, Dan Janousak, Planning Coordinator, and Harold Foster, Project Manager, Countywide Planning Division of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) made a joint presentation on the Prince George’s County Preliminary Master Plan of Transportation.  The plan assesses the medium- to long-term needs of the transportation network in Prince George’s County.  According to the plan, Rhode Island Ave. (labeled C-118) is listed as a 4-lane road from Greenbelt Rd. through Powder Mill Rd., and a 2-lane primary road (labeled P-200) is listed as Autoville Drive North going from Cherry Hill Rd. south to connect to US 1 at Fox St.  The Plan does not propose building any new major roads except the ICC.  Pedestrian safety is a major concern.  Cross-county transit will be improved so that it reduces stress on the roads.  Bicycle amenities on the Rhode Island Avenue are also planned.  There will be a public hearing on Tuesday, January 27, 2009.  Written testimony and/or exhibits will be accepted in lieu of, or in addition to, oral testimony.  E-mails or faxes will not be considered unless followed by an original mailed to the Clerk of the Council until January 28, 2009.  The three presenters later answered members’ questions and concerns.  Moved by Mark Shroder (seconded by Patrick Wojahn): “Have NCPCA oppose the widening of Rhode Island Avenue as planned in the master plan” was later amended by Bob Swanson (seconded by Stasia Hutchison) to include opposing, “extension of Autoville Drive North, from Cherry Hill Road to Baltimore Avenue at Hollywood Road.”  The amendment and the motion passed with no dissenting votes and 2 abstentions.

Bob Ryan, Director of Public Services of the City of College Park, made a brief presentation on the city’s role in enforcing city codes and limited zoning regulations.  The details of such regulations can be viewed online on the city’s website.  The city had a budget of $35,000, but actually spent $65,000 in its operations in the last fiscal year.  In cases of violation issues related to commercial properties, the city typically deals with the owner of the properties on a one-to-one basis, before giving them citation violations.  Later, Jeannie Ripley, Code Enforcement Manager of the City of College Park, took specific concerns and questions on various specific code and litter related problems in the northern College Park area.  Members raised concerns on specific areas such as the bowling alley on Route 1; shopping carts from the Shoppers on Cherry Hill Road; problems of parking and unloading goods from trucks near the intersection of Route 1 and Cherry Hill Road during rush hours; a broken fence, illegally parked truck, painting and graffiti between Edgewood Market and Shen Yang Restaurant; litter on the Rhode Island Ave. bike lanes; vehicles parked overnight in the parking lot of the College Park Auto Service; and merchandise in front of the thrift store on Niagara Road.  Jeannie stated that containers with a permit are allowed in the front yard for 90 days.  Mark Shroder suggested the city issued permit to be posted on the premise during the duration of the permit.

In the President’s report, Larry Bleau stated that he appointed three to the Website Steering Committee, sent a letter to City Council regarding the litter problems as directed at the December 2008 meeting, sent a letter to City Council in support of Compassion Center per motion at the October 2008 meeting, contacted M-NCPPC about the Master Plan of Transportation and scheduled a presentation, and contacted M-NCPPC about the US 1 Sector Plan about a visit in February.

Treasurer Anna Ubeda was out of town and thus could not present the treasurer’s report.  She did send Larry an email, in which she reported there were no expenses, the renewals had been deposited (she can´t remember the exact number), and the balance, to the best of her recollection, is $1,969.

Moved by Patrick Wojahn and seconded by Mark Shroder, members approved the December 2008 minutes with the following correction: The text “between Lackawanna and Hollywood” in the 4th paragraph should read “between Lackawanna and 47th Pl.”

No variance was reported from the Variance Committee.

Omar Madani, Chairperson and Arif Kabir, Member, of the NCPCA’s Website Steering Committee made a PowerPoint presentation on the feasibility studies report of the proposed website. The main areas of the committee’s research report include the requirement goals, possible contents, various website options and recommendations.  They discussed various options of starting such websites, and recommended “all-in-one” website options, such as services provided by WordPress and GoogleSites over the other available options, which require some knowledge of website development and would cost NCPCA some modest monthly maintenance fees towards hosting.  The “all-in-one” options are mostly free, easy to develop and maintain, thus meeting the desired requirements as provided by the members in the December 2008 monthly meeting. 

Moved by Valerie Bleau and seconded by Jones Carol Poor, Extend the meeting beyond 9:30pm, motion passed.

Moved by Mark Shroder and seconded By Stasia Hutchison, “Provide the NCPCA officers the authority to adopt the Steering Committee’s recommendations and take actions as they see appropriate” passed unanimously.  Members also approved converting the Website Steering Committee to a standing Website Working Committee for future website development and maintenance.  The committee will work with the officers and members on available domain names for the site.  In terms of the content of the proposed site, members suggested the following modules to be developed first:  Minutes, By-laws, Events, and a Calendar.

Moved by Valerie Bleau and seconded by Peter Lakeland, Adjourn the meeting. Motion passed, and the meeting adjourned at 9:45 pm.

Respectfully submitted by Fazlul Kabir, Secretary