Minutes of July 2021 Meeting

North College Park Community Association
July 8, 2021 – Regular Meeting At the VFW and by Zoom

Attending: At the VFW, President Mary Cook; Jim Miller (College Park Parking Enforcement Director); Lisa Ealley, Carissa Janis, John Krouse, and a College Park Here & Now reporter; Virtual, Vice President Carol Macknis, Secretary Ellen Caswell; Mayor Patrick Wojahn; Councilmembers Maria Mackie, Fazlul Kabir, and Denise Mitchell; Scott Benedict Osborn (Operation Supervisor for Parking); Jerri Jones (Constituent Services Specialist in Tom Dernoga’s office); Judy Blumenthal, Stephanie Butler, Arelis Pérez, Hutchison, and a telephone caller.

Meeting called to order at 7:04 pm..

Officers’ Reports:

President Mary Cook: Cook has had no reply from DPI regarding the bollards on Cherry Hill Road.

Vice President Carol Macknis: (1) The Branchville Fire Department was *ecstatic* that we donated a catered meal. (2) Beltway expansion – vote taken, beltway expansion, I270, and American Legion Bridge portions were not included in planning for area. Means it won’t get federal funding. Governor Hogan will try for another vote this month. He’s still full speed ahead. Mayor Wojahn, who represents the city on the Transportation Planning Board, said that the Board voted to remove the plan to widen the beltway and I270. Governor Hogan has sent a letter threatening to remove other projects the tolls were supposed to support, including the not-yet-funded northern segment of the Baltimore Avenue reconstruction in College Park as well as the i495 interchange to the Greenbelt Metro Station.

Treasurer Jordan Schakner, reported by President Cook: We have $1,118.37 in total for both bank accounts, and another $30 in dues to be added.

Bylaws Amendment:

Following up on the motion from the May meeting, John Krouse read the proposed text:

Section 2: Nominating Committee. The President may appoint a Nominating Committee consisting of two (2), three (3) or four (4) members to make nominations. Any member may nominate another member up to the time of the election when the nominee is added to the ballot as a write-in candidate.

Section 3: Terms and Procedure. All officers shall be elected for a term of one year. The President shall cause ballots to be prepared for the June meeting with the names of all nominated persons, and shall appoint an election committee to count ballots. Elections shall be by secret ballot for each contested office; if an office has only one candidate, a motion from the floor to elect that candidate by acclamation shall be in order. A majority of the votes cast shall be required to elect each officer. Voting shall be open to all members of record and tallied as soon as possible after the ballots are cast. When the ballots for any office do not provide a majority of votes for a candidate, then the names of the two candidates with the most votes for the office shall be immediately entered into a run-off election. The candidate with the majority of votes cast in the run-off election shall be elected.

Section 4: Continuance in Office. In the event that nominees for an office cannot be identified for election at the June meeting, that officer shall continue in office until an election is held. If the election of officers cannot take place in June, the election shall take place at any regular meeting or special meeting in conformance with Article V of these Bylaws.

Vice President Macknis asked why we are specifying two, three, or four members rather than 1 or more. Krouse proposed changing the wording to “consisting of one or more members.” Macknis made the motion, Krouse seconded it, and it was passed unanimously.

Macknis then said that “any regular meeting” is too open-ended. After discussion, Krouse moved that the wording be changed from “the election shall take place at any regular meeting or special meeting” to “the election shall take place at the next regular meeting or special meeting”. Lisa Ealley seconded. The motion passed with one abstention.

The overall motion was then passed with one abstention.

Minutes of the May 13, 2021 NCPCA Meeting: Approved with a typo correction.

Future of the Stone Straw Property:

President Cook has been in contact with Profish again. The Terrapin Development Corporation is wooing them for South College Park. Krouse read Judy Blumenthal’s motion and quotes from the May meeting: “I move that NCPCA write a letter to Prince George’s County Councilmember Tom Dernoga, stating that NCPCA supports the vision of the Greenbelt Metro Area Approved Sector Plan and Sectional Map Amendment, 2001 regarding the former Stone Straw property and adjacent industrial properties in Branchville. NCPCA requests that any future development be designed in conformance with Chapter 14 of the Sector Plan, and that single family infill development be the preferred type of housing, consistent with the adjacent residential zoning of the community.”

Quotes from the Sector Plan:

“North College Park should be preserved as a low-density residential community supporting the Greenbelt station transit neighborhood.”

“Incompatible industrial uses in the southern portion of North College Park (Branchville) should be phased out and the land should be redeveloped with appropriate residential uses. Housing development plans submitted should be evaluated and reviewed for compatibility, appropriateness at a given location and the need for the type of housing”.

“Visual buffers and noise barriers should be provided along the eastern edge of the community to effectively screen the railroad tracks.”

“Infill single-family detached housing on vacant property should relate to the neighborhood’s character and existing structures’ style, setback, roof type, height, scale and proportion.”

“Industrial properties redeveloped to residential uses, other than single-family detached, should be compatible and contribute positively to the integrity and character of the North College Park neighborhood”

Vice President Macknis felt the motion should not limit recipients of the letter to Tom Dernoga. Blumenthal moved it be amended to say “send to appropriate public officials.” Ealley seconded, and the motion was passed with one abstention.

The overall motion was passed unanimously.

5G:

Councilmember Denise Mitchell gave an overview of 5G. The term Smart City comes into play, with faster technology, better infrastructure, access to wireless. It involves deploying small cells that cover smaller areas, with smaller antennas. Benefits include increased use of wireless and faster speed. Downsides include the placement of poles and articulation of right-of-way usage and raise the question of who benefits. In 2018-2019, College Park passed an ordinance, a memorandum of understanding agreement, that vendors must make an application, vetted by the city attorney, then a more detailed application before Mayor and Council. We’ve recently heard that a 5G antenna may be placed on Cherry Hill Road, which is a county road and thus bypasses the city ordinance. Councilmembers Mitchell and Mackie and President Cook met with Verizon, who made it seem like it’s a done deal. Mitchell proposes a letter to Mayor and Council asking for a work session and more discussion. Councilmember Kabir linked to a blog post with a map of possible locations. https://www.kabircares.org/college-park-may-get-5g-wireless-in-2021/. They’re planning 38 antennas across College Park; they will be smaller, about 15 feet tall, some on Pepco poles. Different carriers use different technology and different frequency bands. He supports further discussion. Mitchell says the Maryland Municipal League provided a template that was used to create the right-of-way lease agreement. Macknis requested that this information be consolidated, which Cook agreed to do.

License Plate Recognition (LPR) System:

College Park Parking Enforcement Director Jim Miller described College Park’s new parking permit system. The Council removed the permit fees but vehicles still need to be registered vehicle in areas with permits. No hang tag is needed. A virtual permit is registered in the database; you can register by mail, in person, or online. Visitor passes are still physical and are put on the dashboard. LPR vehicles recognize all license plates and give audible sounds indicating whether the vehicle is registered. There is a YouTube video that demonstrates the use of the equipment.

Operation Supervisor for Parking Scott Benedict Osborn provided a visual of what the new parking enforcement equipment looks like and how it operates. Left- and right-hand cameras are mounted on the LPR car and read the license plates as the car goes by. The system beeps when it recognizes a car or an alert if a vehicle is not recognized as having a permit for that location. When alerted, the parking officer gets out of vehicle to check for a visitor permit or an incorrect reading of the license plate. The system records the vehicle’s geolocation and alerts on a second pass if the vehicle is in a spot longer than allowed. The system is now fully operational.

Residents can’t tell whether vehicles have permits; if you see it on a regular basis and it’s not being ticketed, it has a permit. A permit for a particular zone is only valid in that zone. If you suspect a car is not legally there, let the parking enforcement people know. Miller says this system is much more efficient and effective than ever before.

Nominating Committee:

Arelis Pérez and Lisa Ealley volunteered to serve. If needed, there is online voting software available.>/p?

Future Agenda Items:

Some proposed items are: (1) a visit from UMD President Darryll J. Pines for October or November; (2) Information on what the county is doing regarding police reform; (3) A presentation by code enforcement; (4) and a Hollywood Streetscape update.

Announcements:

The Hollywood Dog Park ribbon cutting is scheduled for the following Friday.

Councilmember Mackie hopes people come to dog park ribbon cutting. There are just two Council meetings in July.

Councilmember Mitchell will provide a flyer for the International Diversity Cookbook of favorite recipes, providing a cultural history.

Mayor Wojahn says (1) they haven’t received relief funds but should in the next couple of weeks and hope to set up relief program. (2) Parking is still free evenings and weekends at the city garage downtown, as is Lot 11. (3) They are still taking nominations for the Jack Perry Award, a deserving resident who goes above and beyond in serving the College Park community, until July 15.

Vice President Macknis says the Community Police meeting is now the Community Public Safety discussion, coordinated by the city and covering all of the city. Time and date are still 7:30 pm on the second Monday of each month on Zoom.

Councilmember Kabir says (1) the main topic at the next Public Safety Meeting is code enforcement. (2) He recognizes Councilmember Mitchell as the next President-Elect of Maryland Municipal League and Mayor Wojahn as a member of the Board of Directors.

 

President Cook thanked the VFW for hosting.

Pérez moved to adjourn, Ealley seconded, and the meeting adjourned at 8:45 pm.