Regular Meeting on October 14, 2010

Meeting began at 7:30 pm.  Council members Patrick Wojahn, Christine Nagle, Marcus Afzali and were present. District 2 council member Robert Catlin joined later.

Prince George’s County Police Department (PGPD)’s new Commander for District 1 Major Robert Liberati made a PowerPoint presentation on the recent crime statistics in the area. (PGPD’s District 1 covers College Park). Maj. Leberati said overall violent crimes against persons, such as homicides, assaults, robberies from 2009 to 2010 have increased 10%, whereas crimes against properties, such as burglaries during the same period have gone down 18.4%. The percentage of changes in crimes against persons and properties from year 2008 to 2009 are -18.8% and -15.2% respectively. He attributed last year’s rise in violent crimes against persons to an increase in citizen robberies (from 17 to 22) and assaults (34 to 42). He also noted that the number of burglaries, thefts and stolen vehicles have gone down during the past year. At the end of his presentation he answered a few questions from the members. He asked members to notify the Police about any vacant or foreclosed houses, which he said the Police can keep an eye on. He commented that remotely monitored safety alarm systems may not be always effective, since most burglars know how to disable such systems by disconnecting telephone lines. He also cautioned against false alarms which may result in fines. He said 97% of alarms are false in nature. He said most of the burglaries are not done in a planned way, thus taking simple precautions may help in avoiding such crimes. He advised members to keep a record of their valuable property items’ ID so that they can be easily recovered should these items end up in pawn shops after thefts.

Ilya Zusin, the developer for the proposed Book Exchange property development made a presentation. The proposed development will include 6-story, 334-unit primarily student apartment building with 14,400 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. The proposal comprises 109 units geared towards visiting professors / grad students and 225 marketed to undergraduates (mainly quads). While proposed as one building, the development would read like two with different facades and lobbies if constructed. There would be about 830 dedicated student beds all housed within the part of the site closest to Route 1. The 109 unit building (roughly 170 beds) would have a different entrance and be located at the rear of the site backing up to Yale Avenue. With a few exceptions, most members spoke in favor of the project. Members did not take any position on the proposed development.

Moved by Larry Bleau and seconded by Leslie Booth, the September Minutes were adopted with the following correction on the final paragraph: Larry Blue should read Larry Bleau.

Treasurer Joe Smith reported that as of September 10, the ending balance is $1308.65 in bank. The expenses include postage $40.00. There has been a total deposit of $50.00

There was no one at the meeting to present the variance committee report.

Bill Robertson presented a brief report on the first College Park Day that happened on October 9. Mr. Robertson said he manned the NCPCA table at the event and distributed NCPCA literature to the visitors. Fazlul Kabir added that some 1000 people and 50 community groups attended the event which included free food, family friendly activities, a poster contest involving students from city’s six schools and a history slide show. A number of sponsors, including the City of College Park and the University of Maryland contributed $8000 to fund the event.

Bill Robertson also presented a brief report on the By-Laws committee. The committee was initially formed with 3 members: Bill Robertson, Kennis Termini and Tanweer Ahmed, but was later expanded to include Mark Shroder and Fazlul Kabir. Larry Bleau gave 6 pages of suggestions to the committee. It met a few times in the past 6 months.

President Mark Shroder said he requested the County’s Public Works to install “chokers” (partial obstructions) on the shoulders at each crosswalk proposed the Rhode Island and Edgewood Road intersection improvement project. These chokers would prevent cars from swooping around to the right. Moved by Larry Bleau and seconded by Leslie Booth, members adopted a motion authorizing NCPCA to request public works to conduct a study on proposed changes.

Sarah Jasz. Announced the 3rd Annual College Park Blues Festival, which is scheduled to be held on, November 6 at Ritchie Coliseum (across from University of Maryland)

In response to members’ question, council member Patrick Wojahn reported that WSSC will soon start the repair and resurfacing work on the city’s streets on the portions which was dug out during the recent water line replacement project.

Donna Weene updated the members announced that the school supply drive will continue until the end of October. Members can contact her or any other NCPCA officers to drop off donations.

Moved by Larry Bleau / Joe Smith, the meeting was extended beyond 9:30pm,

President Mark Shroder explained the six ballot questions in the upcoming November 2 gubernatorial election. Members did not vote to take any position on these ballot questions.

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

Respectfully submitted by Fazlul Kabir, Secretary.