Regular Meeting of June 14, 2012

Minutes of Regular Meeting at Davis Hall on June 14, 2012

Meeting began at 7:32 pm.  Councilmembers Patrick Wojahn and Fazul Kabir were present.  Bridget Warren (on behalf of P.G. County Councilmember Mary Lehman) also attended.

The guest speakers from the County Dept. of Public Works and Transportation were Andre Issayans, Deputy Director; Susan Hubbard, Public Information Officer; Jim Wilson, Chief, Highways & Bridges Division; Maureen Cissel, Project Manager; and Sherif Elkabbani, Traffic Engineer, Traffic Safety Division.  They described a pre-concept plan for improvement of Rhode Island Ave. between Greenbelt Rd. and Edgewood Rd.  Since this was first shown to the public five years earlier, there have been several updates: the traffic signal at Edgewood Rd. has been installed, the new paving for approach lanes and the intersection, and an additional crosswalk at Fox St.  The two roundabouts shown, at Hollywood and at Fox/Indian, were in the original drawing, and are present as traffic calming devices to slow the speed of traffic and hopefully encourage through traffic to use US 1.  These will have a new design with mountable curbs, making passage by emergency vehicles much easier; when this goes to the public for input DPWT will engage the local fire departments.  The floor was then opened to questions, which took nearly an hour to address.  A summary of the major points: there will be no pedestrian operated traffic calming devices; there will be no lights embedded in the road at crossings due to maintenance costs; while DPWT does not install pedestrian beacons or bollards, SHA does permit them, and DPWT will allow the City to install them as long as the City pays for installation and all maintenance; no raised crosswalks will be used, as this is a collector road; recent speed study shows speeds in the 85th percentile of 35mph or less; service road access points at the roundabouts will be cut for safety reasons (too many access points to roundabout), and other access points will be added as needed to allow access to neighborhoods (e.g., at Kenesaw on west side); signs will be added at crosswalks; chokers can be considered as part of the overall plan but not installed separately, as Federal law requires a study whenever drainage flow changes; rumble strips are warning devices and create a lot of noise, so are not appropriate for residential areas.  The cost and construction time frame is: phase II (Muskogee-Geronimo) $2.4million, 15 months, and phase III (Geronimo-Greenbelt) $3.5million, 18 months; no funds currently allocated; design and engineering phases typically cost 10-15% of project.  DPWT will consider turning Rhode Island Ave. over to the City.

Moved by Dave Turley / Marci Booth: Adopt the minutes of NCPCA May 10 meeting with two small changes; motion passed.

Treasurer Larry Bleau reported an opening balance for May of $1,389.26, deposits of $115 in dues, and a closing balance of $1,504.26; no expenditures had been paid since the last meeting.  There are outstanding expenses of $125.48 owed to Bob Seward which need to be paid.  Larry deposited $40 more in dues this day, making 42 paid members.

Moved by Larry Bleau / Dave Turley: Reimburse Bob Seward $125.48.  Motion passed.

Ballots for the annual elections were distributed to members.  Each ballot has only one candidate for each office: John Krouse (President), Mark Shroder (Vice-President), Larry Bleau (Secretary), and Tanweer Ahmed (Treasurer).  Moved by Jim Mullins / Marci Booth: Elect the entire slate by acclamation.  Motion passed by unanimous vote.

Committee reports: Safety (Donna Weene) met June 7 and reported that on the off ramp from the beltway to US 1 south, the left turn signs now have the word ONLY; State Highway Administration is unwilling to place NO U-TURN signs out of concern that drivers may proceed farther south and make a U-turn at a less safe location; there used to be LEFT TURN ONLY signs in the median along the approach to the intersection but they have been missing for a while.  Variance (Stephen Jascourt) recommended granting a small front yard setback for a covered stoop.

Cpl. Errol Lobin, the community patrol officer for the northern part of College Park, spoke with members and answered questions.  He reported catching a suspect in the recent and that there would be a community walk starting at Duvall Field at 7pm the next day.  Members reported out-of-state cars parked for a long period along 53rd Ave.; asked questions about the theft of copper wire from homes; and asked if the speed cameras can be moved (they can and have been moved, but there are limited locations available due to requirements of the law and angles at which to view traffic).

President-elect John Krouse polled members informally about having a July NCPCA meeting to discuss interest in and a vision for the organization.  Enough agreed it was a good idea that he stated there would be a meeting on July 12.

Councilmember Patrick Wojahn reminded members of a Q&A session at Davis Hall at 7pm on July 2 about the Rent Stabilization Ordinance, and a formal public hearing will be held on July 9 at 7pm at City Hall.

Moved Marci Booth/Dave Turley: Adjourn the meeting.  Motion passed, meeting adjourned at 9:14 pm.

Submitted by Larry Bleau, Secretary.

Regular Meeting of May 10, 2012

Minutes of Regular Meeting of May 19, 2012 Meeting

Meeting began at 7:35pm.  Councilmember Fazlul Kabir was present; State Sen. Jim Rosapepe arrived shortly after the meeting began.

Moved by Dave Turley/Arthur Eaton: Approve the minutes of NCPCA April meeting with the following corrections: In paragraph 1, replace from “John Krouse commented” through the motion with, “John Krouse commented that the sector plan is due to expire soon and that all the provisions gained through heavy negotiation previously will expire as well.  He made a motion that the NCPCA should not take a position on the FBI as tenants versus the current sector plan, but rather the NCPCA should push again for eastern orientation of connecting road, not rerouting of Narragansett Run, step down of building heights towards the neighborhoods, and neighborhood oriented retail.”

Treasurer Larry Bleau reported an opening balance for April of $1,316.26, received $70 in dues, no expenditures, closing balance $1,389.26.  We need to obtain new checks since the bank just changed.

Sen. Jim Rosapepe spoke to members on various topics related to State legislation and budget.  He expects a balanced budget to be adopted at a Special Session to be held the following week, which will include an income tax increase.  There was a last minute dispute about gambling which prevented the budget from being approved in the regular session.  The budget reduces the projected deficit in future years by about 60%.  There has been a large cut in transportation funding and investment.  Jim said he would propose a State amendment that would allow specific transportation projects to go to the voters for a vote; currently this is not allowed by State law.  Other matters addressed: on the environment, to help the Bay we need cleaner sewage, so there will be a fee increase on your water bill; authorize counties to deal with stormwater runoff for roads; for rural areas, prevent further development unless it is connected to a public water and sewer system; moved up $250 million in capital investment to public universities for new or overhauled facilities; no decision made yet on the CSX transfer station; on education and pension, the State will share pension costs 50/50 with the counties, which will be phased in over 3 years; the property transfer tax will be increased to bring more revenue to the counties, as well as initiating a recordation tax to buy/sell shopping centers; the State will be giving back money to the transportation trust fund; and taxes on cigars will be increased.

Larry Bleau, speaking on behalf of the Nominating Committee, reported Tanweer Ahmed agreed to run for Secretary and Larry Bleau for Treasurer; there were no volunteers for President or Vice President.  Moved by Fazlul Kabir/David Turley: Nominate John Krouse for President, mark Shroder for Vice President, Larry Bleau for Secretary, and Tanweer Ahmed for Treasurer.  Motion passed.

Fazlul Kabir distributed handouts budget on the proposed City budget, along with proposed changes.  There will be no change in property tax rate or fees or fines.  There was no motion to take a position on any of the proposed changes.

Committee reports: Greenbelt Metro: Mark Shroder will send a letter to Mayor and Council expressing NCPCA’s position.  Variance (Stephen Jascourt): There were two variance cases, but since only two members of the Variance committee were able to vote, the rules did not allow them to take a position on behalf of NCPCA.  Safety (Larry Bleau on behalf of Donna Weene): According to State Police, some GPS companies list using the College Park exit from the beltway and making a U-turn to head north on US 1 as the best way to get to Laurel; all new curbs at the fire hydrants have been painted yellow by the City; and new warning signs will be ordered for the children’s playground on Hollywood Rd.

In other matters: Memorial Day ceremony will be held on Monday at 11am, Arthur Eaton volunteered to lay the NCPCA wreath; College Park Day will be held on Oct 27, and volunteers are needed; Dave Turley asked about the stop work sign at the Exxon station on US 1.

Moved by Larry Bleau/Arthur Eaton: Adjourn the meeting.  Motion passed, meeting adjourned at 9:09pm.