Regular Meeting at Davis Hall on April 23, 2009

Meeting began at 7:38 pm.  Councilmembers Patrick Wojahn, Jonathan Molinatto and Mary Cook were present.  Also present were former Dist 3 Councilmember Andy Fellows; County Councilmember Tom Dernoga’s rep. Laura Moore; and State Sen. Jim Rosapepe’s rep. Stacey Baca.

Officer M. Rich of the Prince George’s County Police Department gave a presentation on the Community Response Team (CRT) program.  The CRT program is a new initiative adopted by several police departments across the nation involving the community and local county police.  CRT has been active in two parts of District 1 of Prince George’s County; each part having seven sections.  Ofc. Rich has been appointed to coordinate with the various community groups in the northern part of District 1, which includes North College Park.  He also worked in the Langley Park area for the past 5 years.  During the Q+A period, he suggested that members not allow expensive items to be visible from the outside of the residences, and to contact the police by calling 911 as soon as any suspicious activity is seen in the neighborhood.  To express concerns on community policing in your area contact Ofc. Rich directly at 301-699-2630 or by email at mmrich@co.pg.md.us . Neighborhood crime rate statistics can be found on the county’s website, and on www.crimereports.com.  He said that all 911 calls go to the call center; depending on the nature of the crime, the response times may vary.  Members expressed concerns on prostitution problems in several hotels on Rt. 1; Officer Rich opined that addressing such problems needs sting operations and full cooperation from the hotel administrations.  Members also expressed concerns on the annoying congestion problem at Rt. 1 and Cherry Hill Road that sometimes blocks Rt.1 and high–speed traffic racing / noise pollution on the Greenbelt Road.

Three representatives of Baywood Hotels – Paul Williams, director of development; Daniel F. Lynch, a zoning attorney; and Edward R. Umbrell, PE, of Bohler Engineering – gave a presentation on the proposed development of the hotels on the east side of US 1 between Cherokee St. and Delaware St., current site of the Ramada Inn, Days Inn, and Howard Johnson.  The proposal would keep the Ramada Inn but get rid of the other two and replace them with new hotels: Springhill Suites, owned by Marriot, and Homewood Suites, owned by Hilton.  There would also be small retail or office use at the southern end of the property, the exact type to be determined.  Springhill Suites would be for extended stay and have 106 rooms, each with a kitchenette.  There will be an indoor pool, meeting rooms, and an outdoor terrace for eating.  Homewood Suites would target business travelers with a typical stay of more than one week and would have 108 rooms, each with a cook top kitchen.  There will be lounge space, pool table, and spa.  The new hotels will increase the total number of rooms from about 200 to 275, and the new buildings would each be 4 high stories at the front entrance.  Parking would be 60% below ground, and 40% surface parking located at the rear and separated from residences by a 30’ landscape buffer.  There would be two access points: a right-in-right-out at US 1, and one on Cherokee St.  The air handler would be on the roof, which will be flat.  The dumpster will be at the basement level at the rear.  Outside lights will be focused down on the parking lot.  For runoff, there will be an underground water retention facility on the property.  Baywood Hotels, which owns the property, has not filed a detailed site plan yet, and would like input as to landscaping and other aspects.  The timeline is 6 months to file the detail site plan, 6-9 months for permits, and 18 months for construction.  Members asked Baywood Hotels to come back to the association once its detail site plan is ready.

The March Minutes were adopted with the following correction on the treasurer’s report (5th paragraph): printing $22.68, office supplies $40.03.

In the Presidents’ report, Larry Bleau stated that he sent a letter to Richard Hughes, Maryland Heritage Areas Program Administrator, in support of City grant application for improvement of Lackwanna St. streetscape, with copy to City Council; corresponded with Arif Kabir, chair, Website Committee, about updates to NCPCA’s web site; and reviewed the Council Wish List part of proposed City FY2010 budget.  (See separate report below.) Vice President Peter Lakeland announced his decision not to run for the V.P. position in the upcoming June election. Treasurer Anna Ubeda reported expenses of $84 (stamps) and $21.41 (printing) in the previous month, and a balance of $1,705.18.  Secretary Fazlul Kabir asked everyone to renew their annual memberships. President Larry Bleau reported that he appointed Christine Nagle to the Nominating Committee for the upcoming June’s annual officers’ election, and invited Mohammad Sarwar, who accepted the appointment at the meeting.  Larry encouraged other members to volunteer for this committee.

President Larry Bleau summarized how NCPCA’s budget priorities were included in the City’s proposed FY2010 budget.  Most were included in the current budget or were on the Council Wish List; see attachment for details.  Councilmember Patrick Wojahn reported that the city will be contributing $25,000 towards the capital improvement project.  He also asked members to attend the May 5 budget hearing.  

Moved by Margaret Wood and seconded by Joan Carol Poor: Remove reserving funds to widen the south side of Edgewood Road at the Rt. 1 intersection from NCPCA’s budget priority list.  Motion passed 8-4.

President Larry Bleau reported to members the Board’s evaluation of the various suggestions on how to improve NCPCA (see attachment).  The Board will follow up on most of these; some were not practical or were too costly.

Website committee chair Arif Kabir gave an update on the development of NCPCA’s website http://myncpca.org .  Currently the site contains the agenda of the current month, a map of Davis Hall, and separate pages for by-laws, minutes, officers’ bios and a contact page.  The minutes page currently hosts all minutes from Jan’07 to March’09.  The website content can be searched using a search box located on every page.  The committee hopes to add pages for archived files and event pictures.  Members were requested to send pictures of their neighborhood to the committee members.  Anna Ubeda stated that the committee should be careful in placing pictures on the site, citing privacy issues.  Fazlul Kabir stated that the website’s domain is currently registered in the name of the organization and that no officer’s name is listed in the contact list.

During Announcements, Councilmember Patrick Wojahn stated that the city is still looking for a chair for the Veterans Memorial Improvement Commission and people to serve on the Cable Television Commission.  He thanked volunteers, in particular from the Al Huda community and the UM Greek student body, for participating in the April 18 spring clean up and tree planting.  Bob Swanson thanked the UM authority for its decision to redirect traffic on Rt. 1 during the Maryland Day.  Bill Robertson warned members of a business painting house numbers on the street curb without a license.  Mark Shroder noted that Jack Perry is seriously ill; a proposal to send a card on behalf of NCPCA was adopted.  Stasia Hutchison, on behalf of her daughter Caitlyn Hutchison, collected coins to donate to the World Wildlife Fund for their Time for Change Earth Day campaign.  Andy Fellows announced his decision to run for Mayor this November.  Councilmember Mary Cook asked members to make sure their doors remain locked as advised by the Neighborhood Watch.  Mr. Jilani, owner of the World Grocery on Edgewood Road, introduced his store, which sells American and multi-ethnic foods and is open from 9am-9pm daily.

Moved by Bill Robertson Carol Poor: Adjourn the meeting.  Motion passed, meeting adjourned at 9:40pm.

Respectfully submitted by Fazlul Kabir, Secretary.

Attachment 1 – NCPCA Budget Priorities

Here is how the proposed City budget incorporates NCPCA’s budget priorities/projects; status in italics.

  1. Enacted by City Council, Ordinance 09-O-01, on 3/24. Budget amount $30,000.

2.    Paint crosswalks across streets that have significant pedestrian traffic.  Lackawanna St., for example. Crosswalks would cost $50 apiece. The FY10 budget includes fuinding for 6 new crosswalks.

3.    Refund, or decrease the amount of, the City portion of property taxes. No estimate given.

  1. Install about 8 attractive new trash receptacles on concrete pads with landscaping at bus stops and high foot traffic areas.  The receptacles cost $900 apiece, not including the concrete pad. The current FY09 budget include enough funds for 8 of these.

5.    Widen Edgewood Rd. where it meets US 1 to four (4) lanes, instead of waiting for properties on the southern side of the street to be developed and widening the road at that time.  Estimate is $500,000.

Other items that received significant support:

  • Add additional Neighborhood Watch signs.  There are sufficient funds to do this in the current budget.
  • Have all city employees take customer service training.  No estimate or mention of this.
  • Increase contract police presence and/or patrols.  Only 0.03 FTE increase from FY2009 to FY2010.
  • 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.  A newly established Capital Improvement Project, Hollywood Commercial Revitalization, will include this area.  Also, CBE has funds for new trees along Edgewood Rd. in this fiscal year. Note: Already planted.
  • Widen Edgewood Rd. between 52nd Pl. and 53rd Ave., where it is only 19′ wide.  No estimate or mention.


 

Attachment 2 – Ways To Improve NCPCA: Evaluation by NCPCA Board

Membership and Community Outreach

 
Block Captains We need more members to make this feasible.  There are roughly 3000 homes. At 50 homes per block captain, we’d need 60 block captains.
Send Minutes to all Residents Cost prohibitive, over $1000 each time.
Flyer Every House – students could deliver for community service, include with recycling package Will coordinate with Public Works for distribution in fall with recycling package.
Flyer with past Accomplishments Definitely. See above.
Put up Signs in Community Night of the Meeting Yes, Board will get cost estimate for 5 additional signs and proceed if reasonable.
Have a NCPCA Table at Community Events Good idea, but would need a team, cannot be done by one person, should not depend only on officers.
Newspaper Ad Cost is $45/inch/day for classified ads, higher for other types of ads.  Will investigate getting us listed in community section.
Targeted Delivery for Specific Issues Yes, officers will do this in the future as time permits.
Welcome Wagon Will design flyer City could give to new residents.
Coordinate with realtors Will research how to get data on new residents.
Pass Minutes along to non-members via Email Yes; members can do this.
One-on-one Talk to Neighbors Yes; members can do this.

How Meetings Are Run

 
More Community Updates: • Crime; • Activity in Community (new businesses etc.); • Highlights (Pertinent Events During Month in City and Community) • Invite police, COPS team; • Coordinate with Planning & Economic Development for notice of new businesses; • Send highlights by email, mention at meeting if timely.
Have a More Relaxed /Neighborly Meeting Will adopt tone that is less businesslike, more conversational.
Use of Roberts Rules -Relax them Yes, but would depend on item being discussed.
More Advanced Notice of Items Yes, whenever possible.
Provide Adequate Time for Presentations Yes, but may reduce amount we do at each meeting.
Be More Responsive to Issues Raised by Members Yes.
Reduce Time Spent Debating Each speak only once, limit each speaker’s time.
Recognize Councilmembers Yes.

 

 

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