Regular Meeting on January 12, 2017

Minutes of Regular Meeting on January 12, 2017

Meeting began at 7:32pm.  Eric Hoffman presided in the absence of president Jackie Pearce-Garrett. Councilmembers Mary Cook, Fazlul Kabir and Christine Nagle were present.  Mayor Patrick Wojhan was also present.

Moved by John Krouse/Larry Bleau: Adopt the minutes of NCPCA December meeting without change; motion passed.


Tree Canopy

After City Manager Scott Somers opened the presentation, PEPCO Regional Vice President Jerry Pasternak explained the tree trimming and removal process. After severe outages in the past, in 2011 the State passed a law to create reliability standards, and the Public Service Commission implemented this with various regulations. As a result, electric utilities must review their electric lines every 4 years, create a plan to deal with potential problems, finalize the plan, and implement it. Creating the plan involves walking electric lines and checking for growth growing within a clearance area (which depends on line voltage), then noting if trimming or removal is needed and if it is on private land or in the public right-of-way. Prior to finalizing the plan the property owner or appropriate public authority for each tree is contacted and permission is requested to take the indicated action. Trees are never removed or pruned on private property unless the property owner agrees in writing; if they decline, nothing is done. The City has the same right to refuse action on a particular tree. The property owner assumes responsibility for impaired reliability for trees not pruned according to plan. After the plan is finalized the pruning or removal takes place. Different contractors are used for line review and trimming to avoid conflict of interest. PEPCO does not grind stumps, and leaves limbs on the property for the owner to clear. No MD utility grinds stumps or clears cut limbs. The City grinds stumps on public ROW. About 120-130 trees were removed this past year; a 1-to-1 replanting is done at an appropriate location (not necessarily the same place) and with an appropriate species. The City did a tree inventory in 2007, and as part of the Complete Streets project there was a tree inventory in 2012-13.

Stormwater Management Projects

Two area were identified by CORVIAS for possible stormwater management projects: 1) behind the Hollywood Shopping Center along Muskogee, and 2) between Attic Towers and Rhode Island Ave. The former site has a lot of trees that would have to be removed; City Manager Scott Somers is opposed to this site. Both of these are large projects; there is concern that no small projects were identified. CORVIAS will meet with City Council Feb 7.

Hollywood Park Update

John Krouse reported that the City sent a letter to the Dept. of the Environment, Prince Georges County Parks, opposing the creation of a large storm pond in Hollywood Park, and received a response.

John also reported that the Greenbelt Station Detail Site Plan is now available. It shows a parking garage on the current pond, and water would be diverted to the vernal pool area. There would be a lot more water flowing through that area east of the tracks. Essentially, water that previously drained into two areas would, under the DSP, flow into one. It is not apparent where the extra stormwater be mitigated, as it doesn’t seem to be on site. John suspects they were planning to use the large pond proposed for Hollywood Park to mitigate this change. Regardless, this change would have a large impact on north College Park.

In other park news, John noted that the picnic tables are now gone. While they were slated to be replaced, he had hoped the existing tables would remain until the replacements arrived; there is no date for that. There also used to be three grills; there is now only one. He also has questions about the location of the replacement tables.

Yard Sale

This item was skipped since its presenter was absent.

Reports and Announcements

There were no officer reports. Announcements: call Fazlul if you need help shoveling snow; Chris noted there was more crime recently and to call 911 first, then neighbors, and only then use email; Patrick reminded members that, if on vacation, they can request a premises check by the police; the Martin Luther King Day event will be held at Memorial Chapel; the City will be closed on 1/20, Inauguration Day; the Rosapepe on Sunday party will be at the College Park Airport; the community bulletin board has been installed at the entrance to the Metro station, Chris Nagle and Jackie have the keys; REI will close on 2/2.

New Business

Nothing was presented. Members did suggest the following future topics: tax update, beautification projects, park furniture, budget wish list.

Moved by Dave Turley/John Krouse to adjourn; meeting adjourned at 8:53pm.

Submitted by Larry Bleau, Secretary.