Regular Meeting on May 14, 2009

Meeting began at 7:35 pm.  Councilmembers Patrick Wojahn and Jonathan Molinatto were present. Also present for a portion of the meeting were Senator Jim Rosapepe, Delegates Barbara Frush, Ben Barnes and Joseline Pena Melnyk and Senator Rosapepe representative Stacey Baca.

Community Response Team – Officer.Rich could not be present at the meeting  due to a prior engagement. He will be invited in the June meeting.

Edgewood Road and Rhode Island Ave. Intersection –  President Larry Bleau gave a short report on the Edgewood Road and Rhode Island Ave. intersection improvement progress. The County anticipates three changes in their plan to modify the intersection and install a traffic signal: (1) Extend the existing concrete median island between the access and egress to the REI shopping center. This would provide a safe area for bicyclists to travel along Rhode Island Avenue leading up to the intersection; encourage vehicles to travel slower as they approach the intersection; and reduce the asphalt surface area to be maintained in the future. (2) Eliminate the access point of Nantucket Road onto main Rhode Island Avenue. There is safety concern about the intersection being too close to the improvements at Edgewood Road. Currently, vehicles start from a stop position at the stop signs. With a traffic signal, when it is green there will a steady stream of traffic.  (3) Redirect access to the Hollywood Elementary School from the current crosswalk location at the REI driveway to the crosswalk at the new signalized intersection. Crossing at the signalized intersection is safer then at mid-block. County staff is currently discussing this matter with the School Board. Members asked to have a representative from County Transportation dept. at a future NCPCA meeting.

March 2009 Minutes- Moved by John Krouse, and seconded by Ann Riley, approve the March 2009 meeting minutes with the following corrections: the 3rd line in paragraph 3, ‘Hampton Inn’ should read ‘Howard Johnson’.

President’s Report– Larry Bleau stated that he (1) appointed the remaining members of Nominating Committee and sent them a membership list (Kennis, Sarwar, Chris) (2) corresponded with Arif Kabir, chair, Website Committee, about updates to NCPCA’s web site ( (3) inquired of City staff if they have any good pictures of North College Park (no response yet) (4) asked Public Services if signs announcing NCPCA’s meeting can be posted on city right-of-way (they cannot) (5) testified before City Council on the FY2010 Budget and Constant Yield Tax Rate hearings and put forward NCPCA’s position (6) contacted an NCPCA officer (Anna) to get a quote for additional signs to announce our meeting (7) spoke with City Public Works Director Robert Stumpff, who wanted to know where NCPCA wants to locate the additional trash cans. Larry invited him to the June meeting (Members: In the meanwhile think about locations) (8) appointed Stephen Jascourt as the new chair of Variance Committee, effective 6/10. He asked Kennis Termini to handle matters for this month.

Treasurer’s Report-  Anna Ubeda was out of the town. In her absence, President Larry Bleau reported expenses of $124.13, ending balance $1775.93.

Secretary’s Report–  Fazlul Kabir stated that there are currently 90 members and only about one-thirds of them have renewed their memberships so far.

Variance Committee Report_ Kennis Termini stated that the committee considered two cases.  The first case (CPV-20009-04) included a waiver of the parking area requirement, a variance of 3.3% from the 30% lot coverage requirement, a variance of 7 feet from the 8 feet minimum side yard setback requirement, and a variance of 5 feet from the 17 foot minimum combined side yard setback requirement, in order to widen the driveway by 16 feet and to validate an existing carport. The second variance (CPV-2009-03) was a request for variances of 2.44 feet from the 10 foot setback from the street for the existing building, 9.45 feet from the required 12 feet from the side of the side lot, and 25 feet from the rear lot line. This was for a commercial building.  The committee voted 1 yes, 1 no and 1 abstention (the member was out of town) on both cases.

Website Committee Update– Chair Arif Kabir gave an update on the development of NCPCA’s website .  The committee received a list of items from the Board. Since the last meeting, it has added a page on useful links and plans to add other pages as suggested by the officers. Mark Shroder commented that the site looks simple and easy to navigate and asked the committee to keep its layout the same in the future.

Nominating Committee Report- Christine Nagle presented the committee’s report on nominations for the June election. The other two committee members are Mohammad Sarwar and Kennis Termini. Nominations were: Larry Bleau (President), John Krouse (Vice President), and Fazlul Kabir (Secretary). The committee had no nomination for treasurer.  Larry Bleau invited members for nomination from the floor. Mohammad Taluckder volunteered to serve as Treasurer. Moved by Anne Riley and seconded by Bill Robertson- Close nominations for the coming year.  Motion was adopted. Note: Members can still write in other members’ names on the June election ballot.

Donna Weene volunteered to head the Election Committee.

Procedure of Elections– Discussion was held on procedures for the June elections and membership. A request was made by Kennis to have id’s shown at time of joining or renewal, also to change membership to $10 per individual instead of per family.  Moved by Bill Robertson and Alan Hew: Have members pay the dues by the end of May meeting and new members pay by the start of the June meeting to be able to vote in the June election. Fazlul Kabir pointed out that such motion would cause conflict with the by-laws which states that any member is eligible to vote in any NCPCA business matter if the dues are paid before the start of the meeting. Motion was withdrawn. Mark Schroder commented that adding restrictions such as residency verification may discourage new memberships. John Krouse asked not to use strict membership verification, instead asked officers to make sure new members fill out the address section on the membership application form. Members decided in a vote of 11-10, that those who join or renew membership in NCPCA need to show evidence of their residency. If payment is by check that has the address written on it, that is sufficient; otherwise, a driver’s license or utility bill.

Announcements- Patrick Wojahn announced that the Committee for the Better Environment will be hosting a Rain Barrel workshop at the Davies Hall on Saturday, June 13 from 10 am to 1 pm. Attendance is limited and members must pre register for the event by contacting Elisa Vitale  at 301-277-3445 or The first 20 College Park residents who pre-register for the workshop will receive a free pre-assembled 55-gallon rain barrel.

Legislative Update from the 21st Delegation– Senator Jim Rosapepe, Delegates Barbara Frush, Ben Barnes and Joseline Pena Melnyk presented their report on the 2009 Maryland Legislative session which ended on April 13. They highlighted the main achievements that include the use of President Obama’s economic stimulus funds to keep teachers in schools, expand and increase unemployment insurance to those in need, freeze college tuition rates for local students at the University of Maryland., expand medical insurance to those without it., invest in energy conservation and renewable fuels, reduce pollution of the Chesapeake Bay by repairing sewer pipes, and help protect neighborhoods by financing purchase of foreclosed homes. They also worked to re-regulate electric rates, which passed the Senate, but not the House. Led by Delegate Frush, they passed a bill to keep the Laurel Regional Hospital open. They passed Delegate Joseline Pena Melnyk’s bill (HB 641) to allow women-owned minority business to win state contracts in the Minority Business Enterprise Program. They also passed legislation drafted by Del. Barnes to keep guns out of the hands of abusers. They passed a law allowing speed cameras on streets and highways near schools and construction zones. They successfully opposed state funds to build a soccer stadium In Prince George’s County and passed a bill to address global warming by setting caps on carbon emissions.

Moved by Mark Shroder, and Peter Lakeland, extend the meeting beyond 9:30. The motion passed.

Delegates accepted members’ questions and comments. Chris Nagle asked whether the delegation had thought about trying some type of legislation like the ordinance proposed in Baltimore City that would allow people to stay in their homes for 365 days after foreclosure proceedings had been completed. Peter Lakeland asked Del. Barnes ( a member of the Assembly’s Judiciary Committee) to comment on press reports that less than 25% of criminal cases in Prince George’s County are ever brought to a completion. Barnes said that much of the problem is attributable to a shortage of county prosecutors. Despite the Assembly’s  urging, the County Executive alleges to he is bound by a tight budget. Mark Shroder thanked the Delegates for their foreclosure bill. Donna Weene expressed concerns on the prostitution problems around the hotels on Route 1.

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

Respectfully submitted by Fazlul Kabir, Secretary.