Regular Meeting on September 11, 2014

Minutes of Regular Meeting on September 11, 2014

Meeting began at 7:31 pm. Councilmembers Fazlul Kabir and Denise Mitchell were present.

Presentations

Bus Route Changes

Douglas Stallworth of WMATA presented proposed changes to routes 83 and 86, which run through northern College Park. These are both long routes that terminate at Rhode Island Ave. They are unreliable and often are subject to delays. The proposal is to split each route, terminating them at the College Park Metro. The northern routes (renamed 83N and 86N) would have their same starting location and end at the Metro station; the southern routes (renamed 83S and 86S) would start there and proceed to Rhode Island Sta. The schedules would be timed to allow transfers between the route segments. There will be an open house at City Hall on 9/29 at 6pm. The WMATA Board will vote in November, and the changes will take effect in March 2015.

Community Partners Program

Susan Hubbard of the County Dept. of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement spoke to members about her department’s activities, and distributed brochures that describe property standards. Last month (August) there were over 3000 vacant homes in the county, and over 10,000 foreclosed homes. Her office contacts community members to help with the assessment of the condition of the properties. If one thinks a property is vacant, one should write down the address and report it to her at sdhubbard@co.pg.md.us . A vacant home not only is not occupied, but it may have squatters. The department issues two notices to the owner, has a 10 day wait period, then cleans the lot boards up the windows, and cuts the grass, and finally, if there is still no response, demolishes the house and files a lien. If the courts are needed the time frame for this process can be from 3 months to 3 years. The Clean Lots program can take 10 months to get a contractor to clean the lot. The county does not do this within a municipality, but works with the municipality to inform them of problems. Utility companies are not allowed to inform the County when utility service is terminated. Data on the properties is available to Community Partners; others will need to file a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request. If a mortgage company walks away from the property, the County can take possession and do a tax sale.

CSX Request for Easement

There was supposed to be a presentation, but representatives did not attend. There will be an update next month.

Greenbelt Metro Development

NCPCA president Chris Nagel reported that she had sent two letters to State Highway Administration requesting that NCPCA be made a party to the process and discussions about the development. After not receiving a response to either letter, she contacted Sen. Rosapepe, after which SHA finally responded, only to say that NCPCA must file a FOIA request in order to obtain this information. The City has not been included in discussions, either. On 9/23, 5:30-8:30, there will be a scoping session at the Greenbelt Library on relocating the FBI to Greenbelt. There will be four sessions at different locations.

Fazlul Kabir stated he spoke with the developer, who will be at a City worksession, and was shown several areal perspectives, or renderings, of how the developed Metro station would look with the FBI building there. He showed these to members. They showed a mixed-use development, with up to 8 story buildings, residential, and a hotel. A process defined by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) will be followed when reaching a decision on which site will be selected, which should happen in fall 2015, with an award being made in spring 2016. This process will produce an Environmental Impact Statement, which hopefully will include impacts of the full interchange. One other concern raised was that the developer is asking for use of 29 acres of land that was preserved by the State for use as a security zone.

At 8:32 the meeting took a short recess; snacks and beverages were served. The meeting resumed at 8:45.

Police

Cpl. Errol Lobin, the community relations officer for area B7, which covers northern College Park, spoke to members about several matters. The police have a “knock and talk” initiative, in which they try to shut down late, noisy parties and underage drinking. The recent breaking and enterings have been through unlocked doors to cars and homes; one resident came home to find people rummaging through his belongings. He cautioned residents to keep their homes and vehicles secured. Upon request the police will do a free security survey of a home.

The Police non-emergency number is 301-352-1200, Cpl. Lobin’s numbers are 240-695-7472 and 301-699-2632, and his email is ealobin@co.pg.md.us .

Reports and Announcements

  • Treasurer – Jackie Pearce-Garrett reported a current balance of $1,378.47; she received $110 in dues and spent $30 in bank fees since the last meeting. She has successfully completed the transfer of NCPCA’s funds from Capital One to the State Employees Credit Union of Maryland; the latter does not charge bank fees.
  • President – Chris Nagel reported she received a letter regarding the South Core development of the Greenbelt Metro. Chris also reviewed the committees she’d like to see active: Variance (we need 3 members), Police Services (where do we want to go with these), Greenbelt Development Money (where does it get spent), Social Events/Hospitality, and Welcome.
  • There were no other officer reports.
  • Fazlul Kabir made several announcements: ● US 1 will get continuous ADA compliant 5′ sidewalks, SHA has $450k, and has found $200k additional funds to build the retaining wall; ● to demolish the house at the top of Edgewood Rd. will require $32k, the City has $14k, will split the cost with the property owner and will soon sign an MOU; ● the groundbreaking for Gateway Park is expected to be in late 2014 depending on funds availability; and ● the Rhode Island Ave. streetscape design effort will begin in late fall.
  • Future Agenda Items – Chris announced future agenda items on our schedule:
    • October will have SHA, Greenbelt Metro Development, Univ. of Md. Environmental Finance Center, stormwater drainage, City Hall relocation, the introduction of School Board members, and information on upcoming ballot referendum items
    • November will have the police, Neighborhood Watch, a UM representative to speak about parking and other impacts of UM entering the “Big 10”
    • December will have a visit by the newly elected County representative and a party
    • January will have a discussion of or report on the City budget, recycling, Animal Control, Animal Welfare, the charter school, 2015 tax update, and a strategic plan update
  • Art Events – Jackie announced that at The Clarice there will be a series of art events call Next Now Festival Sep 11-14.

New Business

  • Flyers – Moved by John Krouse/Jackie Pearce-Garrett: Print and distribute flyers listing the agenda items for future meetings, to cost no more than $100. Motion passed.

Moved by Larry Bleau/John Krouse: Adjourn the meeting. Motion passed, and we adjourned at 9:28 pm.

Submitted by Larry Bleau, Secretary.

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