Regular Meeting on September 13, 2007

Meeting began at 7:36 pm.  Councilmembers Mary Cook, David Milligan, and John Krouse were present; Jack Perry arrived later.  Faith Calhoun (on behalf of P.G. County Councilman Tom Dernoga) also attended.

Elisa Vitale and consultants Rhodeside & Harwell gave a presentation of a concept of a revised Lackawanna Streetscape, which covers the area between Narragansett Pkwy. and the Greenbelt Metro.  The suggestions by the consultants, who met with residents of the street in focus groups, included: upgrade the sidewalks to a brick-like finish to match the homes, plant new trees, gradually change the fences to match the homes, build new crosswalks at intersections, use traffic control measure such as neckdowns (narrowing of roadway) to slow speeders, improve street signage, construct a more attractive gateway to the Metro station, add an alternate footpath to the Metro, and underground the utilities if financially feasible.  There was no discussion or vote.

John Krouse reported on the planned skatespot at Sunnyside Park.  On May 24 City staff met with M-NCPPC.  The City will put out a design build bid for the project.

Moved by Peter Lakeland/ Bill Robertson: Approve the minutes of NCPCA June 14 meeting without change; motion passed.

Treasurer Anna Ubeda reported a current balance of $1,752; no expenditures have been paid since the last meeting.  Moved by Peter Lakeland/ Bill Robertson: Approve the Treasurer report; motion passed.

Joan Carol Poor, chair of NCPCA’s JPI-West Committee, provided an update of actions taken on the large new multi-family project on the west side of Route 1, north of Cherokee Street, which NCPCA voted in May to support with conditions: College Park City Council approved the plan but added conditions of their own, which included an irrigation system; Mary Cook arranged a meeting with State Highway Administration to discuss the split signal at Cherokee St. that NCPCA requested (SHA not in favor); the Planning Commission met on Sept. 6 and recommended approved of the plan (they also discussed specific building materials, a “green” design, landscaping, and the issue of a dedicated road vs. an easement from JPI to use a local service road); the plan now goes to the District Council in either late Sept. or early Oct.

With respect to the Al-Huda traffic issue, the City has done a traffic study, which finds there is considerable speeding along Edgewood Rd., as well as 3522 trips per day, which is more than 3000 over the typical number for a residential street.  City Council has approved two speed humps: one near 51st Ave., the other near Narragansett Pkwy.

Larry Bleau gave the background on and led a discussion of variances.  In the past three years there have been 62 cases requesting variances, 39 of which have been from Hollywood or Daniels Park.  Larry posed the question if NCPCA should respond to and take a position on all, some or none of the variance requests.  During the past two years NCPCA become a party of record to or took a position on only one case.  Terry Shum, the City’s Planning Director, said the city could increase the notice period, giving NCPCA additional time to comment.  Moved by John Krouse/Lourene Miovski: Appoint a committee of three members to review variance requests and decide if NCPCA should take a position on them; motion passed.  The committee members will be Maureen Malone, Bill Robertson, and Seth Weene.  Moved by Mark  Shroder: Ask the City send variance notices to the committee’s chair.  Motion passed.

Mark Shroder asked about the status of the neighborhood planning effort started by the City last year.  Terry Shum responded that they are ready to release the draft plan for 5-6 neighborhoods in the northern College Park area.

Arthur Eaton reported that the College Park Police Study has been released in draft form, and it advises against the City establishing its own police department, but suggests increased use of County officers.  Since this was a draft report, NCPCA will wait until the final report is out to take a position, if any.

There is no new information on the Endelman property.

Barbara Aldrich reported that the District Council has approved the conceptual and detail site plan for 9904 Edgewood Road (“spooky house”).  They agreed there was a need to decrease the sign size.

Mary Cook reported that the City discussed a survey of residents opinions about the proposed pedestrian bridge to the proposed development south of Greenbelt Metro.  They will do a survey in late September, separate from its annual survey, of residents in the area near the proposed bridge site.  The survey area, whose is bounded by Greenbelt Rd., US 1, Edgewood Rd., and the tracks, will include a postage paid return postcard.

Arthur Eaton announced that the City will have four fall cleanup days – Sept. 22, 29, Oct. 6, and 13 – at Davis Hall.  There will be a seminar on how to care for your lawn on Tuesday, September 18, at 6:30.  Bill Robertson announced there will be an envelope stuffing session at Davis Hall, and that he would pay for copying an NCPCA flyer so it could be included.  Bill Robertson also announced there will be a College Park Funfest on September 29 from 1-3pm at Duvall Field.

Anna Ubeda read to members an email she received from Kiersten Johnson that PDC Campfire has a plan for 300 residential condos on only 1.34 acres on US 1 in Branchville, and that the preliminary plan of subdivision had been approved in February.  Jack Perry stated that the property owner had never intended to develop the property, but just wanted to get approval and “flip” the property.  Moved by Larry Bleau/Bill Robertson: form a committee, consisting of Mary Cook, Kiersten Johnson, and Anna Ubeda, to evaluate the proposal and report back at the next meeting.

Jack Perry made several announcements, including that the City had purchased two new garbage trucks, and the City was moving towards “single stream” recycling, in which all recyclables would be packaged and picked up together.

Larry Bleau and Jonathan Molinatto announced that they are seeking office of Councilmember for District 1 for the City of College Park.

Meeting was extended by vote of the membership at 9:30 pm and adjourned at 9:35 pm.                Submitted by Larry Bleau, Secretary.