Regular Meeting on February 14, 2013

Minutes of Regular Meeting on February 14, 2013

Meeting began at 7:32 pm.  Councilmembers Patrick Wojahn, Fazlul Kabir and Bob Catlin were present, as were Mayor Andy Fellows and P.G. County Councilman Mary Lehman.


Staffing at Branchville Fire Station

Chief Marc Bashoor discussed the removal of career firefighters from Branchville Fire Station, planned for March 1.  The Public Safety Master Plan requires a 7 minute response.  Since there are several fire stations within 7 minutes of all of northern College Park, the County will reduce some career staff at Branchville Fire Station.  This will reduce overtime and rebalance staff, and will allow the Fire Department to dedicate units by filling personnel, rather than hiring additional staff.  The Branchville station will not be closed, although it does have the lowest call volume and the lowest population density in its service area.  There are 4 stations within 7 minutes of north College Park that have 22 people staffing them.  Countywide, volunteer firefighters own 75% of the equipment and 70% of the stations.  Chief Bashoor, in unrelated items, stated that smoke detectors should be replaced after 10 years, as their ability to detect smoke is impaired; and fire trucks will soon use new radio (RF) for GPS.

At this time the meeting took a short recess; snacks and beverages were served.

Relocation of FBI to Greenbelt Metro

Mr. Garth Beall of Renard Development presented a possible development plan for FBI relocation to Greenbelt Metro Station.  The need is that the FBI has doubled the number of personnel in the existing Hoover Building, which is 50 years old and lacks needed security features.  The FBI has two significant infrastructure requirements in locating a new site: it must be near a beltway interchange, and near a Metro station.  Renard Development met with FBI in 2009, met with WMATA, and modified the Joint Development Agreement (JDA) with WMATA.  Other sites being considered are several in VA and a few in Montgomery County.  An important attribute of the Greenbelt site is that it is near Metro.  A security requirement is a 100ft setback for the building.  The conceptual design has one exiting the Metro station on foot, crossing a plaza that would hold retail, entering a pedestrian tunnel that would have a security checkpoint, and through it entering the FBI building.  The plan would expand the beltway interchange; would include a fence outside of the stream; would include a hotel and future office space near the beltway; and would include retail in the plaza.  Estimates are 2.1Msqft for the FBI building, 750Ksqft for office, 150Ksqft for retail, an 800 room hotel, and 800 residential units.  Renard will try to keep the maximum retail and hotel building height at 8 stories, less than the 12 stories allowed by the Sector Plan.  There would be an elevated access road, 90% of the vehicles would come from the beltway, overall traffic would be 40% less than in the previous plan, and Metro would not lose any parking spaces.  The FBI building would be 12 stories max, but it would be situated farther from the Metro station entrance, on the eastern side of the property just south of the access road.  The Senate resolution caps the number of parking spaces at 4300, which is more than what is needed.  The hotel is to have 20Ksqft of unsecured meeting space, which would allow meetings with contractors and other visitors to take place outside the secure area and thus alleviate security problems.  The retail would be an important component, and the plan would discourage retail inside the FBI building.  To address noise the plan calls for the buildings and parking structure to be broken up and staggered to mitigate reflected noise, rather than being a massive single structure.  The access to Cherrywood Lane would be relocated to the south; the traffic circle would be kept.  The parking garage would be 7 stories; Metro’s proximity requirement for the garage is that it be at most 600ft from the station entrance.  The flyover from the beltway would greatly reduce the impact on wetlands at the courthouse.  Of those accessing the FBI building each day, it is estimated that 3000 would drive and 7000 would come by Metro.

Greenbelt Sector Plan

John Krouse reported that the County adopted the Greenbelt Metro Sector Plan.

Announcements and Reports

City Budget Wish List Update

City Councilmembers reported they have requested additional noise enforcement, more code enforcement officers, and an improvement of the Hollywood Commercial District streetscape.  Other non-wish list items related to the City’s budget: an expansion of City Hall will go forward, property tax assessments have decreased 7.65%, and staff’s worst case estimate is a decrease of $0.75M in property tax revenue.

Officer Reports

President John Krouse reported that he distributed 600 flyers alerting the community about the Greenbelt Metro development presentation.

Moved by Mark Shroder/Dave Turley: Adopt the minutes of NCPCA January 10 meeting without change; motion passed.

Treasurer Cheryl Molinatto, earlier in the meeting, had reported a current balance of $1,443.61; no expenditures have been paid since the last meeting, and $25 in dues were collected.  There were no other officer reports, and there were no committee reports.

Councilmember Patrick Wojahn announced a new College Park Neighborhood Business Alliance discount card and distributed them to those present, adding that he had additional cards for anyone who wants one, and they one could pick up a card at City Hall.

Moved by Mark Shroder/Larry Bleau: Adjourn the meeting.  Motion passed, and the meeting adjourned at 9:58 pm.

Submitted by Larry Bleau, Secretary.