Regular Meeting on February 12, 2015

Minutes of Regular Meeting on February 12, 2015

Meeting began at 7:31 pm.  Councilmember Denise Mitchell arrived later.


Hollywood Streetscape

City Planners Terry Schum and Michael Stiefvater presented members with results of a study on ways to improve the streetscape near the Hollywood Commercial District.  Although this area is addressed in a longer term plan, they wanted to look at public improvements that could be done in the short term by the City.  Rhode Island Ave. is owned by the County, which limits some of the options or requires County involvement.  The goals of the study are to determine better streetscapes, better connections to neighborhoods, better retail tenants, and environmental issues.  There were two themes: eco-district (how improvements can help economic revitalization), and wellness (teach wellness as a lifestyle).  Specific recommendations were: create a walking trail/wellness circuit around the REI shopping center; create gateway sign branding; improve bus shelters; expand sidewalks; add a sidewalks on the west side of Rhode Island Ave.; improve traffic flow at Edgewood and Narragansett intersection by adding a mini-circle, adding bump outs, reducing on street parking, or some combination; improve the Niagara and Rhode Island intersection; add decorative brick at the corners of Edgewood and Rhode Island; close some service road segments; add an outdoor dining area near the street; and add ornamental trees.  Members commented on the ideas and added some of their own.

Environmental Finance Center

The Director of the EFC,Joanne Throwe spoke to members about stormwater practices, then asked members to indicate with sticker dots on maps where drainage was a problem and could be improved. At this time the meeting took a short recess; snacks and beverages were served.

Stormwater Tax and Fund

Alex Hirtle explained to members the stormwater tax and fund that was passed into law by Congress and encompasses parts or all of MD, VA, DE, PA, and DC.  The 2010 pollution limits the EPA enacted aim to remove three pollutants: nutrients, sediments, and nitrogen and phosphates.  The stormwater tax goes into a fund, which currently has about $3M; the average tax on a property is $60 but it can vary widely.  One is exempt from the tax or it can be reduced for poverty or alternative improvements to stormwater runoff.  Property owners can be reimbursed for alternative compliance projects, such as: rain barrel (50 gal. minimum), trees, rain gardens, green roof, removing pavement, using permeable pavement, and a cistern.  The cap on reimbursements is $4000 per single family residence, $20,000 per multifamily residence.  The project must be approved by the County and completed within 12 months.  Once installed there will be a decrease in the impact fee for that property.

Announcements and Reports

Moved by Mary Cook/Jackie Pearce-Garrett: Adopt the minutes of NCPCA January 8 meeting without change; motion passed.

Treasurer Jackie Pearce-Garrett reported a current balance of $1,260; five members’ dues were paid.  Vice President Arthur Eaton reported WSSC distributed flyers on which water mains would be replaced.  President Chris Nagle asked members to help on one of NCPCA’s committees.  There were no other officer reports.

Neighborhood update: College Park Community Foundation will take over sponsorship of the Mothers Day Run; there was a gas leak in Autoville; in Branchville the gas pressure reduction station makes a lot of noise, more than anticipated. There will be a wine tasting at the Fishnet on 3/28.

New Business

Charter Amendment Bill HB-682

Moved by Larry Bleau/Arthur Eaton: Support HB-682, which would enable cities to amend their charter to lower the threshold of signatures of residents needed to petition an ordinance to referendum (currently 20% is needed, this would permit lowering to no less than 5%).  Motion passed.

Hollywood Streetscape Project

Moved by John Krouse/Jackie Pearce-Garrett: Have NCPCA go on record in favor of a project with goals similar to those that were presented.  Motion passed.

Three Tunnels

The three tunnels area has graffiti.  Chris Nagle will ask Public Works Director Bob Stumpf to come to a future meeting. Moved by Arthur Eaton/Jackie Pearce-Garrett: Extend the meeting by 10 minutes.  Motion passed.

Possible future agenda items

A change to the recycling program to mandate that businesses recycle; the Branchville Crossing project; update on the Greenbelt Metro development. Moved by Arthur Eaton/Larry Bleau: Adjourn.  Motion passed, and the meeting adjourned at 9:40pm.

Submitted by Larry Bleau, Secretary.