Regular Meeting on January 10, 2008

Meeting began at 7:34 pm.  Councilmembers Bob Catlin, Mary Cook, Jonathon Molinatto, and Patrick Wojahn were present; Jack Perry and Mayor Steve Brayman arrived later.  Faith Calhoun (on behalf of P.G. County Councilman Tom Dernoga) also attended.

Matthew Sadesko of Baywood Hotels gave a presentation on the Marriott Towne Suites development, planned for 9620 Baltimore Ave., next to the EconoLodge.  It would occupy two lots, one of which is currently vacant.  This will be an extended stay facility, with a one week minimum.  It would have 75 units, each with a complete kitchen; no restaurant or meeting rooms.  The target clientele would be those attending Dept. of Agriculture functions, training events, and summer UM events.  The building would be 75% brick, 20% efface, 5% concrete.  Both the minimum and maximum parking is 37 ½ spaces, but they are requesting 75 to have one space for each unit, a Marriott requirement; most of the parking would be internal, however.  There would be bicycle racks in the garage.  Access would be right-in, right-out; left-in would also be allowed until US 1 is reconstructed with a median.  There are no plans to address the sector plan’s traffic cap of 44 AM and 47 PM on this property.  There is one utility pole, which will not be removed, but all utilities from the pole to elsewhere on the property would be undergrounded, and Marriott would pay a fee in lieu toward future undergrounding of utilities.  The building uses efficient techniques but is not LEED design compliant.  Land to the rear has been dedicated for a future bicycle path.

Moved by Mark Shroder / John Krouse: As NCPCA did not object to the concept of an extended stay facility, that we write to City Council and urge them to negotiate a covenant of support subject to the following conditions: that Baywood Hotels provide a subsidy for its employees to use public transportation.  Moved by John Krouse / Bill Robertson: Amend the motion to include two additional conditions: they provide a shuttle service for their guests in perpetuity, and that they attempt to obtain LEED silver certification.  The amendment passed, and the amended main motion also passed.

City Planner Elisa Vitale and a consultant gave a presentation on plans to renovate of Duvall Field.  Three years ago the City started a preliminary design and approved a concept plan.  The City and consultant worked with the Boys and Girls Club and nearby residents to develop a detailed plan.  The R. I. Ave. entrance will be shifted opposite to Cherokee Rd.;  the playground will be moved towards the center; and parking will be moved to Delaware Rd.  There will be an entry sign; 78 parking spaces; a lighted loop trail system; three baseball fields; a full size football field; poles and netting at the end of each field; a portable batting cage and portable bleachers; side double fences with a break to allow access; a single full size restroom; and many trash receptacles.  Consultants will try to keep healthy trees on the southern end, about 35 yeas old, when the path is installed.  The estimated cost is $2 million based on the concept plan; funding sources are the City, Open Space funds, Community Park fund, and a contribution from the Greenbelt Station development.

Moved by John Krouse / Peter Lakeland: Voice approval of the plan, but encourage the City to preserve healthy trees.  Motion passed.

Moved by Peter Lakeland / John Krouse: Approve the minutes of NCPCA December 13 meeting with one change: In the 9th paragraph, 4th line, change “Aronson” to “Larry”.  Motion passed.

Treasurer Anna Ubeda reported in initial balance of $1,648, expenses of $166 ($25 for the party, $41 stamps, $100 Fisher House donation), for an ending balance of $1,482 on 12/31.  A motion to approve the Treasurer report passed.

There was no presentation on the College Park Auto Service plan for expansion as their designer was unable to attend; this will be rescheduled.  A reduced size drawing of their plans was circulated, however; it showed an enlarged parking area.

Maureen Malone, Variance Committee chair, reported that NCPCA had not given the committee any guidelines.  Larry Bleau has drafted a set of guidelines, which the committee will discuss and bring to the members for approval at the next meeting.  The committee received one variance request, which they unanimously opposed.  Arthur Eaton testified at the APC hearing on behalf of the committee.

Larry Bleau gave members an update on the transition to NCPCA’s new web based email list.  He invited all NCPCA members to join the new list, which now has 26 members; 67 have not yet joined.  The list can be accessed at http://groups.google.com/group/ncpca .

Moved by John Krouse / Mark Shroder: The Executive Committee should formulate a policy about appropriate content for the email list and present it to the members.  Motion passed.  (Note: NCPCA maintains a blog at http://ncpca.blogspot.com/ .)

John Krouse reported problems and code violations at Edgewood Rd. at US 1: potholes on both sides; tires and rubbish in the yards; north side of building does not look secured; sign on south side is in poor condition.  Code Enforcement is aware of the problem.

Maureen Malone reminded members to apply for the Homestead Tax Credit, which is being phased in starting this year.  (Note: One can apply for the Homestead Tax Credit online at http://www.dat.state.md.us/ or call 1-866-650-8783.)

Mark Shroder observed that the subprime mortgage crisis has local effects: At 9630 Narragansett Pkwy. work on a built up house has stopped and it looks abandoned; at 9721 53rd Ave. there is a trustee sale.

Mary Cook encouraged members to consider joining the Committee for a Better Environment, whose next meeting is on 1/28.

Joan Carol Poor said she read about Federal funds allocated to the City for “blight removal”.  Mayor Brayman clarified that these funds are associated with the East Campus development, and will be used to help the existing business district compete.

Arthur Eaton reported that MD Sen. Jim Rosapepe broke his leg while in Brussels; the organization will send a get well card to him.

Patrick Wojahn made several announcements: On 1/12, 2-4pm, at the Clarice Smith Center will be a Martin Luther King Day event “No Room For Prejudice”; on 1/27 will be a presidential debate in Laurel at the Oseh-Shalom Synagogue; on 2/12 is the MD primary.

Patrick Wojahn reported that the Board of Education has initially rejected the location of the proposed pedestrian bridge; the City may have to relocate the bridge to its alternate location at the south side of Davis Hall.  He said the City Council is discussing the bridge and invites all those who wish to have input to contact him or Jonathan Molinatto.

The meeting adjourned at 9:28 pm with a motion by Mark Shroder / Bill Robertson.                         Submitted by Larry Bleau, Secretary.

Regular Meeting on February 14, 2008

Meeting began at 7:33 pm.  Councilmembers Bob Catlin, Mary Cook, Jonathon Molinatto, and Patrick Wojahn were present; Jack Perry arrived later.  Margot Bauman (on behalf of MD Sen. Jim Rosapepe) also attended.

 

The designer retained by College Park Auto Service gave a presentation on the service station’s expansion plans.  The plan would add 16 new parking spaces but would remove 6, to be used for temporary vehicle storage during repair; add one new service bay on the east side; change the aesthetics of the building; and would relandscape the property.  There would be no new pumps.  Some areas on the side would not be dedicated to parking.  The property does not include the gully; Narragansett Pkwy. has a 120’ right of way.  While the landscaping plan has not been done yet, they anticipate adding greenery on the west side, possibly on the east as well.  Since expansion is on the opposite end from Rhode Island Ave. plans not be affected by any future intersection improvement at Edgewood Rd.  Access to the property, currently from Edgewood Rd., would not change.  There would be drainage towards the northeast corner, where a lip in the pavement would catch runoff, retain it underground, and separate water from oil or grease; another company, under a maintenance agreement, would remove the latter two on a regular basis.  Cars under repair would be removed from the west side.  The final plan, when submitted, will include a landscaping plan.  That plan will go before City Council as well as a County committee that handles special exceptions.

 

Moved by Mark Shroder: Recommend to the City, subject to adoption of an effective landscape plan, that NCPCA have no objection.  Moved / seconded by John Krouse / Betty Colonomos as a substitute motion: Take no position due to there being insufficient information.  Substitute motion passed, thus dismissing the main motion.  Patrick Wojahn suggested a field trip of the site, which he would organize.

 

The soccer stadium agenda item was dropped because it was too speculative and very premature.

 

Patrick Wojahn led discussion of the Al Huda site plan changes.  It is too early in the process for NCPCA to do anything.  The City asked the County to get involved, as there are several issues with the site plan.  They have inspected the outside, but not yet the inside.  Al Huda submitted some changes, but the site plan is a work in progress and not ready to bring before NCPCA.  The full amended site plan would come before NCPCA and the City for comment.  John Krouse observed that the problem, most likely, is that the County does not have a good idea how to handle zoning matters when there is a school and a church combined.


Moved by Betty Colonomos / Bill Robertson: Approve the minutes of NCPCA January 10 meeting; motion passed.


Treasurer Anna Ubeda reported a current balance of $1,396; expenses of $86.15 have been paid since the last meeting.

 

Kiersten Johnson gave a report on the East Campus Development; she is on the steering committee for the project.  The project would be mixed use, with residential (2000 beds for graduate housing), retail (including a large entertainment center), hotel, and parking.  The land is owned by the University of Maryland, a state institution, but they agreed to allow it to be subject to County zoning regulations and procedures.  It would have high quality retail, use good environmental stewardship, be high density, employ smart growth ideas, and “green” building techniques (LEED).  The Purple Line would go through the center of the project.  One fifth of the financing would be from County bonds.  Although the land itself is not taxable, the improvements would be subject to County property tax.  Open issues are hotel tax, arts and entertainment tax, if Silver LEED would be used, if prevailing wage would be paid to nonunion workers.  The steering committee approved a set of principles to guide the project, which she described as “having no teeth”.  The categories of principles are Design; Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability; Smart Growth, Transportation and Parking; Uses; and Project Initiatives and Resources.  The developer would like to break ground in one year.  The web site for the development is http://eastcampus.umd.edu/ .

 

Moved by Mark Shroder / Betty Colonomos: Thank Kiersten for her work.  Motion passed.

 

Ruth Herbert gave a report on opposition efforts against the proposed pedestrian bridge.  She wrote to the School Board about the matter, and on December 3 the City received a letter from them which stated the School Board does not intend to allow the bridge to be built on its property, which was the preferred alternative selected by the City.  Ruth also received a telephone call from the School Board.

 

Moved by John Krouse / Mark Shroder: Extend the meeting beyond 9:30.  Motion passed.

 

Maureen Malone, chair of the Variance Committee, reported that they received one variance notice, and the committee was unanimous in its decision to take no position.  The committee also presented for adoption a set of guidelines by which it would operate, which allow them to act on behalf of NCPCA between meetings.

 

Moved by Betty Colonomos / Mark Shroder: Adopt the guidelines as presented.  Motion passed.

 

Larry Bleau presented for adoption an Email List Content Policy.  Some suggestions made were: inform Kim Lugo and get a link to her report; look into archiving the list; possibly send messages as a digest; and add crime to the list of permitted uses.

Moved by Mark Shroder / Betty Colonomos: Adopt the policy as presented.  Motion passed.

Moved by Mary Cook / Delores Pasta: Adjourn the meeting.  Motion passed; meeting adjourned at 9:55.

Submitted by Larry Bleau, Secretary.

Regular Meeting on March 13, 2008

Meeting began at 7:32 pm.  Councilmember Patrick Wojahn was present; Jack Perry and Mayor Steve Brayman arrived later.  Faith Calhoun (on behalf of P.G. County Councilman Tom Dernoga) also attended.

The College Park Auto Service had not yet prepared their landscaping plan, so there was no presentation.  We expect the plan to be ready for the April meeting.

Moved by Peter Lakeland / Arthur Eaton: Approve the minutes of NCPCA February 14 meeting with the following changes, all of which are in the paragraph that starts “Ruth Herbert gave”: after “School Board” add “about the matter,”; after “December 3” add “the City”; at the end add the sentence “Ruth also received a telephone call from the School Board.”  The motion passed.

President Arthur Eaton reported that the MD Dept. of Environmental Resources is looking for office space in the neighborhood for a small satellite office, and businesses interested in donating space should contact them; on 4/2 at 7pm at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt M-NCPPC will conduct a Master Plan of Transportation Workshop; on 4/19 Prince Georges County will hold a countywide cleanup effort and invited NCPCA to participate.

Treasurer Anna Ubeda was absent, so there was no Treasurer report.  February’s balance was $1,396.

Patrick Wojahn gave a progress report on the Al-Huda school site plan.  There is little to report, other than an inspection of the inside of the building that was to have been conducted on 3/21 would have to be rescheduled since 3/21 is a city holiday (Good Friday).

There was no report from the Variance Committee as there were no new variances this month.

The Washington Post plant in College Park will be closing in 2010 as the Post scales back its operations.  This will have an appreciable impact on the city’s budget, as this is the source for about 8% of the city’s revenue.

Members discussed their preferences for city budget priorities.  Arthur Eaton read a list of the previous year’s budget priorities.  Mark Shroder suggested we proceed along the same outline.  Patrick Wojahn gave a few suggestions of his own.  Four motions were put forth, all of which passed, giving the following items as NCPCA’s top priorities for the 2008-2009 fiscal year:

1.     Increase the budgeted level of police services to meet the goal of 300 hours/week (Anne Riley / Peter Lakeland).

2.     Maintain, and if possible improve, code enforcement services (motion did not address parking enforcement) (Mark Shroder/ Judy Blumenthal).

3.     Fund one or more security cameras at the entrance to the Greenbelt Metro where Lackawanna St. deadends (Mark Shroder/ Judy Blumenthal).

4.     Place public trash receptacles in areas of high pedestrian traffic (Larry Bleau/Mark Shroder).

Moved by Mark Shroder / Judy Blumenthal: Close budget priorities, direct Arthur to write letter to City Council listing the priorities.  Motion passed.

Mark Shroder reminded the officers that at the April meeting the members will have to appoint a Nominating Committee, which would make its report in May for NCPCA’s June elections, and we should start reminding members about renewing the dues, which will be due 6/1.

Patrick Wojahn reported there is a vacancy on the Noise Control Board for district 1, and that David Milligan had been appointed chair of the Citizen Corps.

Moved/seconded by Mark Shroder / Larry Bleau: Adjourn the meeting.  Motion passed, and the meeting adjourned at 9:24 pm.

                                                                                                                                                                              Submitted by Larry Bleau, Secretary.

Regular Meeting on April 10, 2008

Meeting began at 7:30 pm.  Councilmembers Bob Catlin, Mary Cook, Jonathon Molinatto, and Patrick Wojahn were present; Jack Perry arrived later.  Faith Calhoun (on behalf of P.G. County Councilman Tom Dernoga) also attended.

 

President Arthur Eaton reminded members that their dues will be due in May, and that there would be a notice on the May newsletter about them.

 

Sandra Gallagher of RCP gave a presentation on the south core development at Greenbelt Metro Park.  The townhouses, owned by RCP, and the apartments, owned by Fairfield, have had their site plan approved.  There will be 378 multifamily units in these two development – the total for south core is 1022 units – and there will be 68,000 sq.ft. of neighborhood retail.  A bridge over Branchville Rd. to connect with MD-193 is now being built and will be open with base paving in about 6 weeks.  A trail system will connect to Branchville Rd. and provide access to Lake Artemisia; there will be two access points from the trail to the development.  There will be no access to Branchville Rd. by road from south core.  A shuttle will operate to take residents to Metro before north core is built, but only when warranted by the number of residents.  There will be sidewalks and bike lanes on the spine road.  There is a 5-6 year buildout for the townhouses.  The retail area will have 3 stores of residential above retail, 4 stories total.  There will be a pedestrian area at the back of the retail.  Parking will be in parking structures in the rear, with separate areas for retail and residential parking; the latter will be secured.  No residences will face the tracks.

 

Mary Cook spoke  to members about a State Highway Administration survey about access to UM from the beltway.  Although it may not be apparent from the flyer, the access is the same UM connector road idea that NCPCA voted against years ago, which would go through the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center property.  Mary urged members to respond to the survey with negative comments.  Jack Perry responded to a query about the City expanding its limits with a statement that the City is indeed examining the possibility of extending its limits north to the beltway to include the BARC property.  Larry Bleau observed that, if the UM connector road is ever built and retail development goes up along it, that development would then be within the city and add to its tax base.

 

Arthur Eaton reported that he attended the Purple Line meeting on behalf of NCPCA.  The only alignments considered at the meeting were the one that traverse the northern and southern parts of campus (editor note: a subsequent flyer sent by MTA shows only central and southern routes).  There would be 12 minute headway; 6 minutes during rush hour.  Construction is planned to start in 2012, finish in 2016.

 

Arthur Eaton reported he received a mailing about County budget priorities.  With respect to College Park, there will be an increase in police protection personnel, but the County will cut overtime.  Arthur expressed doubts there will be enough officers.  The budget hearing is on 5/13.

 

Moved by Peter Lakeland / Larry Bleau: Approve the minutes of NCPCA March 13 meeting without change; motion passed.

 

Treasurer Anna Ubeda reported a current balance of $1,273; she spent money on 123 stamps since the last meeting.  A motion to approve the Treasurer report passed.

 

Patrick Wojahn gave an update on Al-Huda progress.  Prince Georges County did an internal site inspection on 4/4; there is no report yet.  The next step is for some members of City Council and Staff, including the City Attorney, to meet with Al-Huda.  For violations the options are to remediate (remove) the violation or amend the site plan; if the latter it would come before Council and NCPCA first.

 

Maureen Malone, chair of the Variance Committee, reported that they received two variance notices.  The first was to add a carport to a house on 48th St.  The committee did not get the site plan for these cases but did request that NCPCA be made a party of record.  The other was to build a front porch to a new house on Kenesaw.  The APC recommended denial of the former and approval of the latter.  Maureen recommended that the committee be enlarged from 3 to 5 members and they make a decision on behalf of NCPCA by majority instead of unanimous vote.  (Note: NCPCA’s officers will take this up at their officers meeting.)

 

A Nominating Committee was formed to present to the members a list of candidates for office for the June elections.  The members appointed to the committee were Ruth Herbert, Fazlul Kabir, and Mark Shroder.  There are currently 107 paid members.

 

In other matters: Patrick Wojahn spoke about foreclosures, of which there were 52 in the city in February alone.  He distributed a flyer giving resources to consult before foreclosure becomes a problem.  There is an ongoing Postal Service investigation as to why mail was not delivered to certain address in the city.  About 350 homes were sporadically not receiving mail.  Kim Lugo suggested that should this happens for a few days one should contact the Postmaster promptly.  (Note: The telephone number for the Postmaster for North College Park is 301-345-8923; his name is Ernie Jones.)  Mary Cook reminded members that Public Works will be accepting electronics for recycling on Saturdays during April.  Patrick announced a new web site, http://www.cpdistrict1.org, devoted to citizens of College Park District 1.  Jack Perry announced that on 4/17 there will be a presentation at the Berwyn Civic Association meeting about a development proposal for the former Starlight Inn; that Council finished its budget in one day; that the proposed budget includes a tax increase; and that development activity has slowed.  Kim Lugo asked for more volunteers for crime watch.

 

The meeting adjourned at 9:40 pm.

                                                                                                                                                                              Submitted by Larry Bleau, Secretary.

Regular Meeting on May 8, 2008

Meeting began at 7:30 with Pledge of Allegiance.  President Arthur Eaton, Vice President Peter Lakeland present; Secretary Larry Bleau and Treasurer Anna Ubeda excused.  Mayor Brayman, City Councilmembers Catlin, Cook, Molinatto, Wojahn, and Faith Calhoun (County Councilmen Dernoga liaison) present.

President Eaton introduced Maryland State Senator Jim Rosapepe, Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk, Del. Ben Barnes who gave an update of recent State legislation.  Highlights included funding for Route 1 improvements, reconstitution of P.G. County Board of Education, access to U.M. Shuttlebus for City residents, anti-panhandling legislation, authorization of speed cameras, and much more.

Minutes of April 10 were reviewed; Mark Shroder moved to approve, seconded by Peter Lakeland; motion carried unanimously without correction.  There was no Treasurer’s report.

City Councilmember Patrick Wojahn reported on recent review of Al-Huda School site plan and interior building inspection by P.G. County regarding compliance with zoning code and approvals.  He also introduced the possibility of a new Good Neighbor Council which may be initiated soon and reported that a fire on May 3 in the school kitchen caused much damage.  A discussion of various issues ensued, at the end of which Councilman Wojahn invited residents to contact him directly with their concerns about traffic, litter or other problems in the area near Al-Huda.

Maureen Malone moved and John Krouse seconded a proposal to change the composition of the recently approved North College Park Variance Committee from 3 to 5 members, and allowing majority vote rather than unanimity for the adoption of positions by the Committee.  The changes were proposed as ways to improve the operation and efficiency of the Committee.  Discussion ensued, and the motion was approved with one nay. 

The report of the NCPCA Nominating Committee (Ruth Herbert, Fazlul Kabir, Mark Shroder) was presented by Mr. Shroder: for President, Larry Bleau; for Vice President, Kiersten Johnson, Peter Lakeland, Chris Nagle, Mohammed Talukder; for Secretary, no nomination; for Treasurer, Lisa Ealley, Anna Ubeda.  The nominations were accepted.  Fazlul Kabir was nominated from the floor by Mr. Sarwar for Secretary, and that nomination was accepted.  John Krouse, moved to close the nominations, seconded by Patrick Wojahn; the motion passed.  President Eaton reminded NCPCA members and candidates that dues must be paid to vote or be elected.  NCPCA elections will be held on June 12, 2008 at Davis Hall; an elections committee will be appointed on that day.

Mayor Brayman made comments and introduced Chief Charles Bailey of Branchville Fire Co. who presented news of recent equipment acquisition and other events.  He is interested in residents’ concerns; he can be reached by e-mail at charlesbailey20740@yahoo.com .

Kennis Termini and Bob Seward were nominated by John Krouse, seconded by Mark Shroder, to serve as the 4th and 5th members of the NCPCA Variance Committee; motion passed unanimously.

Councilmember Patrick Wojahn announced that widespread non-delivery of US Mail in North College Park reported at the April 10 NCPCA meeting was traced to a letter carrier, now no longer employed, and that a full investigation report regarding the incident was pending.

The meeting was unanimously adjourned at 9:32 pm.

Respectfully submitted, John Krouse, Acting Secretary

Regular Meeting on June 12, 2008

Meeting began at 7:30 pm.  Councilmembers Mary Cook, and Patrick Wojahn were present; Jonathon Molinatto, Bob Catlin, and Jack Perry arrived later.  Faith Calhoun (on behalf of P.G. County Councilman Tom Dernoga) also attended.

 

Mike Nagy and Gary Budson gave a presentation on development proposal at the Chinese Bible Church, at 9618 Autoville Dr.  The church wants to expand, has purchased adjacent property, and has filed a preliminary plan to subdivision to form a single lot, which would have a split zone (RR and MUI).  The church currently has 190 seats and would remain that size, but there would be additional offices, meeting rooms, rest rooms, a library, a warm-up kitchen, and a large multipurpose room.  While the church has a faith community of about 300 members, only 100 are served at a time due to language differences.  The parking in front of the property would be removed to make a more pedestrian friendly area; parking (total of 144 spaces) would be placed in the rear.  There is a single-family residence on the property, which would remain and be used for occasional visitors.  There are tree conservation areas behind the property.  An underground stormwater management system will filter runoff using a water quality device that would be maintained by the County before allowing it to drain into Paint Branch.  If all goes well they expect to get building permits in one year and complete construction in 1 ½ years.  There will be hearings in front of Park and Planning Commission (7/3) and City Council (7/8).  There is no access to the property from the south.

 

Moved by Betty Colonomos / Peter Lakeland: Approve the minutes of NCPCA May 8 meeting with corrections; motion passed.  The corrections were: paragraph 1, line 2, change “Secretary” to “Treasurer”; paragraph 6, line 4, change “Talukder” to “Sarwar”; paragraph 9, line 2, replace last clause with “that a full investigation report regarding the incident was pending.”

 

President Arthur Eaton reported one significant item of mail: Prince Georges County Council asked for NCPCA’s input on emergency legislation on dwelling units and standards that authorized the county to go through the neighborhood, fix problems with properties, and charge the owner.  This would be in addition to a similar ordinance passed by the City.  The measure was passed on 6/4.

 

Treasurer Anna Ubeda reported 28 new or renewing members since last month, for dues of $280 plus a $15 donation, giving a current balance of $1,629; no expenditures have been paid since the last meeting.  Larry submitted an expense request of $61.92 for copying and stamps, which Anna paid that night.

 

City Councilmember Patrick Wojahn had nothing to report on progress towards the Al-Huda School’s site plan; we are waiting for Prince Georges County’s action plan.  The recently conceived Good Neighbor Council has been deferred; it is still in the works with no specific timeline.  There will likely be two leaders: one from the Al-Huda community and one who is not a member of that community.

 

At this point, each of the candidates for NCPCA office that was present was given time to make a statement to the members, after which members voted by secret ballot.  The Elections Committee chair was Mark Shroder, with John Krouse and Betty Colonomos assisting.

 

While the votes were being counted, Maureen Malone, chair of the Variance Committee, reported that they received one variance notice, CPV-2008-02, for 5012 Iroquois St., which contained two variance requests: to repave an existing driveway that is crumbling, and to expand the driveway in front of the house.  The committee recommended approval of the former and was split on the latter.  The other committee members are John Krouse, Bob Seward, Kennis Termini, and Seth Weene.

 

Moved by Chris Nagle / Judy Pepoy: Have NCPCA take a position in favor of granting both variances.  Motion passed.

 

City Councilmember Patrick Wojahn reported that funds had been found for trash receptacle, and solicited members’ opinions on where they should be placed.  Suggested locations were 53rd & Edgewood at entrance to school; Cherokee St. at the triangle; a second one at the Metro entrance; on Cherry Hill Rd. at the bus stop across from Shoppers Food Warehouse; along 51st Ave; and west of there on Apache.

 

The Elections Committee reported that, for the office of Vice President there was not a majority, but only a plurality.  Of 52 votes cast, the two highest vote getters of the four candidates received 22 and 20 votes.  For the other offices, Larry Bleau was elected President; Fazlul Kabir was elected Secretary; and Anna Ubeda was elected Treasurer.  Members discussed at length what to do, since the By-Laws do not cover this situation.  Moved by Bob Seward / Fazlul Kabir: accept the election results for the three candidates, let the current Vice President continue in office until another election can be held, and hold an election for Vice President at the next meeting at which all four candidates would be on the ballot.  Motion passed 20-19, with President Arthur Eaton breaking the tie.

 

Faith Calhoun announced she would be leaving the area; she was thanked with a motion and a warm round of applause.

 

City Councilmember Patrick Wojahn reported that City Council increased the property tax by a small amount; he thanked the many people who came to speak on the budget; he queried NCPCA members on when the city’s contract officers should speak with members, either at a NCPCA meeting or another forum (members said the new officers should decide this); that the officers would cover each of the districts equally; and that he still wants a Postal Service representative to speak to members at a future meeting.

 

The meeting adjourned at about 9:40 pm.                                                                                                  Submitted by Fazlul Kabir, Secretary.

Regular Meeting on September 11, 2008

Meeting began at 7:35 pm with a moment of silence in remembrance of the September 11, 2001 victims.  Councilmembers Mary Cook, Jonathan Molinatto and Patrick Wojahn were present; Mayor Stephen Brayman and Councilmembers Bob Catlin and Jack Perry arrived later.  Prince Georges County Councilmember Tom Dernoga also attended.

 

In the Vice President’s election, the Elections Chair Mark Shroder explained briefly the two methods to handle a non-majority: Pick2 and a run-off (if necessary). Moved by Bill Robertson / Jonathan Molinatto: Use the Pick2 method of balloting. Motion failed. Moved by John Krouse / Kennis Termini: Use the run-off method to handle a nonmajority.  Motion passed.  Members then voted for Vice President by secret ballot.  The Elections Chair was Mark Shroder, with John Krouse and Barbara Aldrich assisting as tellers.

 

While the ballots were being counted, Elisa Vitale, planner for the City of College Park, presentated the City’s plan to erect five pedestrian way finding signs in North College Park. The proposed locations are: (1) the intersection of Route 1 and Edgewood Road (2) the intersection of Rhode Island Avenue and Edgewood Road, (3) the intersection of Lackawanna Street and Rhode Island Avenue, (4) the intersection of Narragansett Parkway and Lackawanna Street, and (5) at the entrance of Metro on the Lackawanna Street.

 

The Elections Committee reported that, for the office of Vice President, there was not a majority.  Of 40 valid ballots cast, the votes were: Peter Lakeland (20), Christine Nagle (16), and Mohammed Tuluckder (4). As 21 votes are required to elect, this led to a run-off election between the two candidates with the highest votes received, as per the earlier motion. Members again voted by secret ballot.

 

While the run-off ballots were being counted, Eileen Nivera, a planner with M-NCPPC, made a presentation on the city’s proposed plan to construct a skateboarding facility (skate spot) in Sunnyside Park. The only options for the location of the skate spot, which would be about the size of a basketball court, are the current tennis court location and in the woods, which would require removing some trees.  The City would pay for design and construction, and M-NCPPC would pay for operation and maintenance.  Moved by Mark Shroder / John Krouse: Have NCPCA take a position in favor of the plan.  Motion passed. The City and M-NCPPC would like community input during design phase.  Moved by Donna Weene / Kennis Termini: Form a committee to provide design guidance to the City, with Kim Lugo as its chair, and Donna and Kennis to serve as its initial members.  Motion passed.

 

Moved by Peter Lakeland / Mark Shroder: Approve the minutes of NCPCA June 12 meeting. Motion passed.

 

President Larry Bleau announced several upcoming events: (1) Central US 1 Corridor Sector Plan; (2) Climate Change video; (3) Smart Growth Listening Sessions; (4) Community Foreclosure Forum (Sat, 10/4, 10am @ Our Savior Lutheran Church, 13611 Laurel Bowie Rd. (Rte 197), Laurel, MD 20707); (5) Purple Line Draft Environmental Impact Statement Hearing (Thu, 11/6, 7pm @ Ritchie Coliseum).

 

Larry also made the following announcements / actions: (1) UM shuttle bus passes available to residents, apply at City Hall; (2) although we initially thought we had to pay a Davis Hall usage fee, there is no fee unless we damage facilities or it requires cleaning, and Larry signed rules on behalf of NCPCA; (3) City Council approved an extension to parking permit zone 2-B to include the 9600 block of 51st Ave.; (4) to sign up for crime alerts, contact Kim Lugo (Kslugo@yahoo.com), include what area you live in; (5) Larry thanked Syed (Ridwan) Ahmad, Mohammed Sarwar, Mohammed (Mukarram) Hossein and Farid Ahmed for supplying refreshments.

 

Treasurer Anna Ubeda reported, since last report, $240 were deposited from renewals and new memberships. Expenses were $145.92 for stamps and printing. Currently the bank balance is $1,742.

 

The Elections Committee reported that, with 44 ballots cast in the run-off election, the votes were: Peter Lakeland (27), Christine Nagel (17).  Larry declared Peter Lakeland as the Vice President for the 2008-09 term. He also commended Chris Nagel for offering to help in any way she could and, using his authority as president under the By-Laws, appointed Christine to the NCPCA Board of Directors.

 

Kennis Termini, on behalf of the Variance Committee, reported the VC did not receive any variance requests for August or September. The July APC meeting included CPV-2008-02 (5021 Iroquois Street); NCPCA members discussed this in June and voted to not oppose the 2 variances that were required to replace and expand the existing parking pad. Three new variance applications were received for July; they were: (1) CEO-2008-01 (4909 Hollywood Road) replace an existing 5′ fence with a 5′ fence – VC position is “Not oppose” (vote 4-0-1); (2) CPV2008-03 (Narragansett Rd.), applicant seeks a 3′ variance from the required 25′ front yard setback to construct a front porch, VC position is Majority “Oppose”  (vote 2-1-1); (3) CEO-2008-02 (5004 Kenesaw Road), applicant seeks variance from 25′ front yard setback to construct an extension of the fence on an existing 6′ fence, VC position is “Not oppose”  (vote 3-1-1).

 

Mark Shroder gave the By-Laws Committee report.  The report listed three ways to amend the By-Laws elections procedure to handle the event that no candidate receives a majority of the votes cast in future NCPCA elections: Pick2, runoff, and plurality. Two of the options (Pick2 and runoff) were moved and seconded, and will be debated at the October meeting. Members will receive the texts of the proposed amendments by mail before the meeting.

 

Eileen Nivera of the M-NCPPC gave a short overview of Central US 1 Corridor Sector Plan revision, whose planning boundaries include some Autoville and Hollywood residential neighborhoods Park and Planning wants to revisit the original plan, which was approved in 2002.  During discussion, County Councilmember Tom Dernoga assured members their feedback will be included in deciding the final plan. The initial public meeting will be on Wed, 9/17, 7-9pm, to describe the plan and solicit initial public comment.

 

Moved by Mark Shroder / Anna Ubeda: NCPCA favors the extension of the planning study area to include the four corners area of Edgewood and Rhode Island Avenue and the nearby commercial areas as part of the sector plan.  Motion failed (7-9-5). Moved by John Krouse / Patrick Wojahn: Take no position on the sector plan at this time but reserve the right to do so at a future time after members have had more time to discuss it.  Motion passed.

 

Due to the lateness of the hour the remaining agenda items were skipped.  Moved by John Krouse / Peter Lakeland: Adjourn the meeting.  Motion passed, and the meeting adjourned at about 9:55 pm.

 

Respectfully submitted by Fazlul Kabir, Secretary.

Regular Meeting on October 9, 2008

Meeting began at 7:30 pm. Councilmembers Jonathan Molinatto and Patrick Wojahn were present. Councilmembers Bob Catlin and Jack Perry arrived later.

Mr. Chad Williams of M-NCPPC made a lengthy presentation on the US 1 Central Corridor Sector Plan, which is just in its initiation phase. Mr. Williams is currently serving as the Project Manager of the plan. The plan boundaries are slated to be extended to include the Hollywood Commercial areas, Seven Springs Village, the Autoville area west to Northeast Branch Creek, and some residential homes north of Edgewood Road. In early December (12/5-10) there will be a week-long intensive, interactive planning activity known as a charette. Moved by John Krouse and seconded by Chris Nagel: Exclude Hollywood commercial shopping complex near four corners from the US 1 Sector Plan. Motion failed (vote 12 yes, 33 no, 1 abstained). Moved by Patrick Wojahn and seconded by Anna Ubeda: Exclude the residential area around the Hollywood commercial areas from the US 1 Sector Plan. Motion passed by a majority show of hands.

Members discussed at length the proposed plan to restripe Edgewood Road. The City engineer could not attend the meeting; however, the NCPCA officers presented a summarized version of the plan, which was also mailed to all members beforehand. Moved by Maureen Malone and seconded by Anna Ubeda: Have NCPCA approve city’s proposed restripe plan of the east bound lane of Edgewood lane near Rhode Island Avenue intersection. The motion failed by an overwhelming majority of members (8 yes, 39 no, 1 abstain). Moved by Peter Lakeland and seconded by Fazlul Kabir: Have NCPCA reject the proposed restripe plan. The motion passed with a similar vote count. Members amended the section of our By-Laws that deals with elections to specify that, if no candidate achieves a majority of the ballots cast, that a runoff be held that same night. Moved by Jonathan Molinatto and seconded by Peter Lakeland, the motion passed. Members approved a motion to extend the meeting beyond 9:30 pm (motion by Fazlul Kabir, seconded by Peter Lakeland).

Moved by Jonathan Molinatto and seconded by Peter Lakeland, members approved the September 2008 minutes.

Larry Bleau also reported having taken the following actions: appointed Stephen Jascourt to Variance Committee; worked with city engineer and others to prepare a flyer on Edgewood Rd restriping proposal; sent email to Gilbert Otero, of USPS, asking to reschedule his visit to the November meeting; received notice of planned development of Lucero Restaurant & Grocery at 5001 and 5003 Greenbelt Rd., requested a copy of site plan, and requested that NCPCA be a party of record; and communicated with Trent Smith, of JPI property (Baltimore Ave and Cherokee St), who wanted to meet with interested NCPCA members about changes his investor would like made to the project (meeting not yet held). Larry also thanked Mohammed Sarwar for supplying refreshments and Fazlul Kabir for getting the mailing out this month.

Treasurer Anna Ubeda reported, since last report, $340 were deposited from renewals and new memberships. Expenses were $47.05 for printing and labels in September and $176.54 for printing and stamps in October. Currently the bank balance is $1,859. Secretary reported that 8 members renewed their memberships in the last month. There have also been 12 new members in the same period.
Moved by Peter Lakeland and seconded by Fazlul Kabir, members ratified appointment of Chris Nagle by the President to the NCPCA Board of Directors; Chris was appointed last month.

Vice President, Peter Lakeland presided over the meeting while members considered how to proceed concerning variance CPV-2008-03. The APC had decided to grant a variance for CPV-2008-03. Members voted (6-5-0) to uphold NCPCA’s position to deny the variance. A second vote was taken ( 7-6-0) and members decided to appeal the decision of the APC. NCPCA President Larry Bleau and Councilmembers Jack Perry, Patrick Wojahn and Jonathan Molinatto left the room during the proceeding concerning the variance.

The Skate Spot Design Committee had no report, nor was anything reported about the Neighborhood Watch Signs.

Dr. Farid Ahmed, an NCPCA member and a resident of Edgewood Road gave a slideshow presentation on the traffic and safety Issues on the Edgewood road between 52nd Place and 53rd Avenue in the light of 2006 NCPCA report and the progress that has been made so far. Lourene Miovski disagreed on several aspects of the presentation and requested more time to be allowed. Larry Bleau did not permit this due to time constraint. Luai Alamawi spoke in favor of the presentation. Mark Shroder suggested inviting a representative from Polish Club to a future NCPCA meeting for further discussion on the topic.

Moved by Mark Shroder / Fazlul Kabir: Adjourn the meeting. Motion passed, and the meeting adjourned at about 10:16 pm.

Respectfully submitted by Fazlul Kabir, Secretary

Regular Meeting on December 11, 2008

Meeting began at 7:30 pm. Councilmembers Jonathan Molinatto, Patrick Wojahn and Bob Catlin were present. Mayor Stephen Brayman also attended.

In the President’s report, Larry Bleau stated that he reported positions that NCPCA members had taken to City Council, both in person and by letter. Secretary Fazlul Kabir reported that we have 86 active members, and that about 40 did not renew.

Moved by Mark Shroder and seconded by Peter Lakeland, members approved the November 2008 minutes.

Christine Nagel made a presentation on the recently completed 6-day charrette by Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC). The main feedback from residents occurred during December 6, Saturday’s session. Nine groups provided their general input on the entire corridor and then focused on a smaller area either downtown, midtown or a section of North College Park. The boundaries of areas under review this time included four new areas in North College Park: Seven Springs Apts, Paint Branch Stream Valley, 8 residential houses on 47th place (between Lackawanna and 47th Pl.), and the Hollywood Commercial District. Consultants want to bring in big sidewalks, place buildings at the street, reduce traffic speed, have a shuttle to UM events, allow parking on US 1, and allow townhouses around MOM’s and REI. The Hollywood table emphasized keeping MOMS and REI and redeveloping other commercial uses with businesses the community would use. The group was strongly opposed to any new residential development. Keeping the height of new buildings compatible with existing residential uses and not increasing the density was also stressed. The Autoville/Cherry Hill table put emphasis on development that would be compatible with the existing residential uses. Residents were adamantly opposed to any new roadways that would facilitate cut through traffic. NCPCA President Larry Bleau and Board member Chris Nagle attended a session for civic associations. Larry requested that M-NCPPC hold a mini-charrette with NCPCA in January. Chad Williams, M-NCPPC project manger stated that would cost too much as the consultants are located all over the country. Larry pushed for M-NCPPC to attend with some of their staff. The next scheduled event is a post charrette meeting that will be held in the end of January or February, followed by a draft plan, traffic study and marketing study.

Treasurer Anna Ubeda joined later and reported that the Treasurer report on the November minutes had some wording issues. It says “…since last report, $240 was deposited from renewals ….” . The amount was already reported in the October meeting. The balance should’ve taken into consideration that charges already reported in October were pending. For the December report, $20 was deposited towards renewals, there were no expenses, and the current balance is $1,909.09.

President Larry Bleau started the discussion on the proposed NCPCA website. Larry commented that almost all of the neighborhood associations have their own websites. Fazlul Kabir noted that the proposed website would give NCPCA its unique online identity, he also pointed out a varieties of possible contents other civic associations currently have. When Larry suggested an upper limit of $200/year for a web site, Mark Shroder gave the opinion that the proposed website should not cost that much to maintain. Peter Lakeland mentioned that the website should not replace the physical meeting. Moved by Fazlul Kabir, and seconded by Omar Madani: Have NCPCA form a committee to conduct a feasibility study on the content and cost of the proposed website. The motion passed anonymously. The committee is scheduled to report the finding of the study in the January 2009 meeting.

Kim Lugo of the Neighborhood Watch program could not be present. In her absence, Kennis Termini reported that one of the Neighborhood signs was stolen and requires replacement on Edgewood Road at Narragansett Pkwy on the side of 5007 Edgewood Road. The stand remains were it previously was posted. The other sign is located heading north from the intersection of Edgewood Road on RI Ave and is located on the left between the “Welcome to College Park” sign and the 35 mph speed limit sign. It is severely damaged and requires replacement. Any damages of these signs can be reported to city’s Bob Ryan. Mohammed Hossain urged the members to revive the Neighborhood Watch program and have an active participation, given the increasing rate of crime incidents in the neighborhood. About a dozen members signed up to volunteer in the program’s future activities.

Kennis Termini reported several problems in the neighborhood of the north-east side of the four corners area. Moved by Christine Nagel / Bill Robertson: Send a letter to City Council expressing members’ concern for the condition of the commercial and residential properties near the Hollywood Commercial district, in particular trash, sanitation, and general property condition, and asking Council members to attend the January NCPCA meeting to hear members’ specific concerns. Specific text for the letter was submitted along with the motion. Motion passed.

Kennis Termini also announced the canned food drive for the Pregnancy Aid Center.

Fazlul Kabir announced the first community winter clothing drive for the needy children, adults and the charities in the area. The event has been organized by members from a number of North College Park’s schools and faith groups, in particular Hollywood Elementary School, AlHuda School and the College Park Church of Nazarene. Fazlul also thanked the members for their generous donations at the NCPCA collection event.

Moved by Patrick Wojahn and seconded by Valerie Bleau: Adjourn the meeting. Motion passed, and the meeting adjourned at 8:45 pm. Members later joined the NCPCA’s annual holiday party after the meeting.

Respectfully submitted by Fazlul Kabir, Secretary