Minutes of December 2020 Regular Meeting

North College Park Community Association
December 10, 2020 – Regular Meeting by Zoom

Attending: President Mary Cook, Vice President Carol Macknis, Secretary Ellen Caswell, Treasurer Jordan Schakner; Mayor Patrick Wojahn, Councilmembers Llatetra Brown Esters, Fazlul Kabir, Kate Kennedy, Maria Mackie, and Denise Mitchell; Arelis Pérez, Brook Biddulph, Lisa Ealley, Judy Blumenthal, Phil Aronson, Shaymar Higgs, Marnice Williams, and Nikki Pancho.

Meeting called to order at 7:34 pm.

Officers’ Reports:

President Mary Cook: (1) Cherry Hill flooding. Park and Planning ripped out bushes to facilitate water flow. Cook is keeping in contact with them. (2) Bollards on Cherry Hill Road. DPWT are considering putting in a real median. They have agreed to Cook’s request that the neighbors be given an opportunity to provide input. (3) Hollywood Streetscape. Planning Director Terri Schum says the city plans to advertise for construction bids December 2020 to January 2021, award the contract for construction in February 2021, with construction starting in March and completion anticipated November to December 2021.

Vice President Carol Macknis: Beltway Expansion. The Navy has told MDOT they will not give up space from the Bethesda area. The state of Virginia was looking at more P3 Lanes and plans to hold off to see what Maryland does regarding the American Legion Bridge.

Treasurer Jordan Schakner: $1,335.70 is currently in the bank account, there are two dues checks for an additional $20, and he will reimburse Carol Macknis for the website domain fee.

Minutes of November 12, 2020 Meeting: Arelis Pérez moved to approve, Jordan Schakner seconded. Passed.

Hollywood PTA: PTA Co-President Brook Biddulph discussed the current fundraisers. The PTA raised $264 last month and are currently doing a food drive through December 23rd for the College Park Community Food Bank. Posh Cycling and Fitness is a dropoff location, but most other businesses did not agree. Biddulph is developing flyers, along with a list of foods that might be needed. NCPCA is a part of the initiative. There were many suggestions and offers for dropoffs and places to advertise. Marnice Williams, Grant and Project Manager for the Al-Huda School, is involved in food drives as well and offered to join in. A financial contribution may be sent to the Community Food Bank. A neighborhood cleanup is planned for the future.

The SPACE Free Art For All: Starting in his mother’s basement, The SPACE founder Shaymar Higgs has moved through many other spaces to, now, a nonprofit art space at Greenbelt’s Beltway Plaza in front of the AMC theaters. Website: https://www.freeartforall.org/. The space provides creative opportunities to people of all ages, including painting, fiber arts, literacy programs, computer coding from a talented 15-year-old volunteer, meditation, and art therapy. It’s a place to come together, meet new people, and share knowledge and skills. A number of creative people from his art spaces have moved to successful careers in the arts. The entire family can walk in and paint, draw, knit, and so on in an interactive environment.

Introducing Llatetra Brown Esters: Esters, the newly elected District Two councilmember and College Park resident since 1999, has watched the community develop on Route 1. The residents who live here want to feel that they are an integral part in of this community as it continues to grow; the development is beneficial. She focuses on public safety and fiscal responsibility. Pérez welcomed Esters, with whom she worked doing meal distribution for Attick Towers and Spellman House and other initiatives. Cook and Macknis introduced Esters to some history of the NCPCA.


Mayor Wojahn: Route 1 Communities Care (https://go.dojiggy.io/grcrocc) is doing a fundraiser to sell artworks, using the proceeds to purchase meals from local restaurants to support our community. There is also a need for volunteers for food distribution ( https://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c0f4da9ad2daaf94-delivery).

Councilmember Mitchell: (1) Mitchell thanked everyone for their kind responses to the passing of her parents. (2) A woman’s book club will be starting in January; to be added to the list, send her an email.

Councilmember Mackie: (1) District 1 residents can now walk the new path connecting with College Park Woods. (2) Snow may be coming; the College Park website has a lot of good information about what to expect. If possible, to park their cars in the driveway or on the even side of the street to make it easier for the Department of Public Works. Please help those who can’t shovel; it’s also very good exercise.

Councilmember Kennedy: (1) Kennedy is organizing a no-contact holiday cookie exchange as a way to connect with neighbors that doesn’t involve being in person or on a zoom call. She provided a link to a spreadsheet, planned to have cookies delivered December 19-20 to be organized and passed out. (2) The City of College Park is again doing the Deck the City holiday decorating contest.

Councilmember Kabir: (1) The monthly community police meeting for the following Monday is at the usual link (http://b.link/CPCommunityPolice). It’s a wonderful opportunity for everyone to come in and talk to the police officers who actually do the real job patrolling our streets. (2) There is a program in the community to help those in need with shoveling; he will send the link to the NCPCA list. (3) The Bureau of Engraving and Printing is coming to BARC in Beltsville. The College Park council sent a letter expressing many concerns, especially regarding traffic. The deadline for comments is December 21. (4) There is a real possibility that the FBI might move in during the new administration (https://www.bizjournals.com/washington/news/2020/11/13/officials-look-to-biden-to-renew-fbi-hq-search.html).

President Cook: Amazon is building a warehouse in Beltsville.

Future Agenda Items: (1) Pérez reminds us that Ms Macknis suggested a meeting on public safety with Bob Ryan. (2) Cook and Pérez agree on bringing back the smoke alarm law. (3) Aronson’s mowing question will be discussed after the new year.

Question: Lisa Ealley asked whether residents will be part of the interview panel for the new city manager. Mayor Wojahn says this has not yet been discussed. Councilmember Kennedy believes focus groups are planned.

New Business: Regarding Maglev, Macknis received an email requesting that people support extending the time for comment on the draft environmental impact study (DEIS). They want to petition to extend the period from 45 to 180 days. Should we as NCPCA piggyback into the petition? The DEIS is supposed to be submitted on January 22.

Meeting adjourned at 9:09 pm, followed by a holiday College Park Trivia Contest. Fun was had!

Minutes of November 2020 Regular Meeting

North College Park Community Association
November 12, 2020 – Regular Meeting by Zoom

Attending: President Mary Cook, Vice President Carol Macknis, Secretary Ellen Caswell, Mayor Patrick Wojahn, Councilmembers Fazlul Kabir and Maria Mackie, John Krouse, Bob Catlin, Arelis Pérez, Brook Biddulph, Nicola White, Judy Blumenthal, Carissa Janis, and Stephanie Butler.

Meeting called to order at 8:01 pm.

Officers’ Reports:

President Mary Cook: (1) Cherry Hill is working successfully with Councilman Dernoga’s office, Parks and Planning, and the county’s Department of Public Works and Transportation to resolve the flooding issue. (2) The graffiti on the children’s playground will be taken care of.

Vice President Carol Macknis: The community police meetings are working to revitalize Neighborhood Watch in North College Park’s District 1. Community Police information is at http://b.link/CPCommunityPolice; virtual meetings are the 2nd Monday of the month at 7:30. Questions or interest, contact Carol Macknis or Fazlul Kabir. (2) Communications about College Park events can be found at CollegeParkMD.org; at MYNCPCA.org (Google email, an email list, and Upcoming Events); in Mayor Wojahn’s weekly updates on NextDoor; and through Councilmember Kabir’s daily emails, which are posted on NextDoor and at KabirCares.org.

Treasurer Jordan Schakner (via email): We have a total of $1325.26 in the bank and another $10 check to deposit.

Minutes of October 8, 2020 Meeting: Arelis Pérez moved to approve; Carol Macknis seconded. Passed. Possible agenda item regarding mowing will be addressed at a later date.

Hollywood Elementary School PTA Presentation: Co-President Brook Biddulph (brooknotbrooke@gmail.com) and co-Treasurer Nicola White (nicolanettowhite@gmail.com) presented. The PTA has taken the tragic loss of their president and the unique situation of Covid as motivation to be inventive. President Cook invited them here to forge a relationship between the NCPCA and the PTA. The PTA is very active; initiatives include a Thanksgiving raffle, providing technology help, creating a language translation team teachers and parents can reach out to, arranging child care donations or vouchers, a food drive, a silent auction, a neighborhood cleanup, community building activities such as a school movie night, and people donating their change. We can help with advertising and volunteers, link activities on our site, and add them to our email list. The City Council recently awarded $8000 to Hollywood Elementary to buy Chromebooks.

McMansions in Our City: Judy Blumenthal proposed a motion:

I move that NCPCA establish a Committee entitled ‘NCPCA Residential Property Redevelopment Committee’ to work and understand more clearly what the Prince George’s County Planning Department, Planning Board, County Council, College Park City Council and City staff are pro-actively doing to:

(1) Maintain the residential quality of North College Park; and

(2) To prevent recurrences of inappropriate home development such as ‘McMansions’ etc. from being constructed in College Park; and

(3) To assist Prince George’s County and College Park to establish oversight and develop guidelines for the development of style, size, and lot coverage standards for future residential property improvements in North College Park and nearby communities.

Arelis Pérez seconded. A lively discussion about McMansions followed. The committee could gather facts, details, and wording, including a previous “mansionization” study and ideas for pattern guides for neighborhoods, to present to Councilman Dernoga. The motion passed. Judy Blumenthal, John Krouse, Arelis Pérez, and Mary Cook volunteered to be on the committee.

Attick Towers: Housing Authority board members Bob Catlin and Arelis Pérez presented. Catlin, the current chair, has been a Housing Authority member for the last six years and Pérez about 3 years; the rest are much newer. Executive Director Michelle Johnson has been on board since last December. Catlin discussed affordable housing, public housing, and section 8; Attick Towers has the oldest kind. With no money to renovate the system, Congress’s solution is to change it to something like Spellman House, managed by a private company. Catlin described the layout at Attick Towers; Covid prevents them from using all of the 180 units. The operating budget is about $1M a year. People who live there pay 30% of their income; the other two-thirds are from HUD affordable housing payments. They are in the process of setting up a nonprofit sister organization and an independent website. Pérez considers Executive Director Johnson a very well qualified director. With her experience in maneuvering through the county and the state, there will be a lot of positive changes for Attick Towers. They’re improving the use of technology and social media, and are providing training for the board commissioners. Quality of life for seniors and the disabled shouldn’t be any less. The Youth, Family, and Senior Services from the city have an office there, and Kiaisha Barber, Johnson, and their staffs check in on all residents on a weekly basis. Staff meet with residents to help with bills, Medicare, and so on. Communication is key, whether by email, text, voicemail, or the 24/7 call center. Pérez said the focus is on rebuilding morale, patience, dignity, integrity, love, compassion, kindness.

Multigenerational Community Center: A recent forum presented ideas for a center near Prince George’s Plaza. President Cook brought this up because Park and Planning said, “The formula 20/40 plan recommended a small indoor recreation facility approximately the size of a gymnasium be constructed in North College Park area. Our planning team is in the beginning stages of preparing a feasibility study for that amenity.” This nod to a North College Park center is encouraging. Cook wrote the November editorial, “Say yes to a community center,” for College Park Here & Now. Councilmember Kabir provided cautionary detail about various initiatives, says we should find out if this is related to Dernoga’s planned feasibility study with $250,000 allocated.

Official Announcements (limit 2 minutes):

Councilmember Mackie: (1) She loves College Park Here & Now and thanks President Cook for her article. (2) The One Warm Coat Drive won’t be held this year. Mackie suggests donating a gift card to buy a coat. (3) Remember to rake your leaves to the curb and not into the street to avoid flooding. (4) Help the Department of Public Works by bundling yard waste if you don’t have a beige tote. (5) There’s still time to sign up for meals for seniors and those with disabilities.

Mayor Wojahn: (1) Links for the meals for County District 1: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/grab-n-go-meals-for-seniors-residents-w-disabilities-pr-geo-co-govt-registration-126476583867 and https://bit.ly/D3Meals. (2) The city Tree and Landscape Board has proposed a controversial tree ordinance, to stem city tree canopy loss, limiting the ability of residents to cut down their trees and adding a requirement to replace trees. At the Council’s request, a forum is scheduled for Wednesday, November 18. (3) The College Park Food Bank, collegeparkfoodbank.org, had a turkey drive. You can donate nonperishables and limited perishables on Saturday mornings. (4) The city was holding the District 2 Special Election, via mail and in-person, with a live-on-video vote count.

Councilmember Kabir: The Lakeland Community Heritage Project, in partnership with the Maryland Institute of Technology, will hold a forum November 19 to discuss stories from College Park’s Lakeland Community.

New Business:

Councilmember Kabir suggests inviting the new Councilmember-elect, Llatetra Brown Esters, because part of District 2 is in North College Park.

Vice President Macknis suggested a meeting on Public Safety, updating information on a recent study’s recommendations, possibly with Bob Ryan who coordinates our contract police. People complain about speeding, stop signs, car vandalism and other issues on NextDoor.

Arelis Pérez and Mary Cook suggested bringing back the smoke alarm law of 2018 and inviting a fire marshal to demonstrate fire extinguishers and suggest where to take old extinguishers.

President Cook: Christmas party! Arelis Pérez suggests a virtual happy hour Christmas party.

Meeting adjourned at 9:26 pm; Carol Macknis moved, Arelis Pérez seconded.

Minutes of October 2020 Regular Meeting

North College Park Community Association
October 8, 2020 –  Regular Meeting by Zoom

Attending: President Mary Cook, Vice President Carol Macknis, Treasurer Jordan Schakner, Secretary Ellen Caswell, John Krouse, Lisa Ealley, Judy Blumenthal, Keith Busiere, Dawn and Kelvin Budd, Carissa Janis, Eric Duyck, Arelis Pérez, Phil Aronson, Lourene Miovski and Tom Bannister, Stacia Hutchinson, Mary Ann Hartnett, Ben G, and Stephanie Butler; as well as Michelle García, Chief of Staff to Prince George’s County Councilmember Thomas E. Dernoga; Mayor Patrick Wojahn; Councilmembers Fazlul Kabir, Kate Kennedy, and Maria Mackie; City Manager Scott Somers; Planning Director Terry Schum; and Finance Director Gary Fields.

Meeting called to order at 7:35 pm.

Officers’ Reports: President: The bollards on Cherry Hill road are not yet fixed. There was a meeting between people in the Cherry Hill neighborhood and Tom Dernoga’s staff regarding the recent flooding; additional meetings are planned. Vice President: Mary will handle the survey on the new Website; Jordan will be contacted for Paypal financial information. Comments on the WMATA Covid-19 service cuts are due October 19. The monthly community police meeting is linked on our site in Upcoming Events, http://b.link/CPCommunityPolice. Carol provided information on voting deadlines and County procedures. Treasurer: A lot of dues have come in and we’re now at $1,325.59.

Minutes of the September 10 meeting were accepted as submitted; Arelis Perez moved, Carol Macknis seconded.

Introduction of Board Members: Last year’s board members have agreed to continue and were asked to speak. Judy Blumenthal finds value in the power in numbers; it would be good if we could each bring one more person to the next meeting. It’s a serious time in our community. Hopefully 2021 will be a better year. Lisa Ealley discussed that North College Park is often forgotten, though there are projects in line.

City Budget Changes: Scott Somers and Gary Fields addressed the Covid-19-related budget changes. Scott reports that since March we’ve had to decrease our anticipated revenue by about $2M, mostly from hotel/motel tax and admissions and amusement tax. Gary Fields presented a detailed breakdown of the changes in revenues and expenditure. These are the only anticipated budget cuts for this fiscal year. Existing neighborhood projects are generally expected to proceed as planned. Questions led to a discussion on how the city might help businesses promote their services, including advertising to residents, having a Chamber of Commerce, and (in chat) using yard signs.

Ongoing Projects: Terry Schum gave a brief overview of the Hollywood Streetscape and Duvall Field projects. Duvall has a completed visioning process and a very conceptual design plan. After further design, the project will go out to bid. The construction phase is expected by summer 2022. When permits (a slow process) are acquired, the Hollywood Streetscape project will go out for construction bids for early spring construction. Michelle Garcia suggested Councilmember Dernoga’s office can help follow up on permits. Fazlul Kabir mentioned the “goat path” (high pedestrian traffic through a grassy area from RI Ave and Mom’s parking lot) permits and stormwater management being responsible for the delays in the Hollywood Streetscape. Terry says we’re working to get agreement to get the goat path paved.

Update on the Stone Straw property: At a Town Hall hosted by Councilmember Tom Dernoga, ProFish Seafood made a very preliminary proposal to use the property for a fish processing plant, market, and restaurant. A townhome project has previously been proposed by Finnmark, who owns the property. ProFish has not yet talked with Finnmark. Several have been to the existing ProFish property downtown and found it to be a good experience. You can’t smell the fish. ProFish offered to host Meals on Wheels and a North College Park Community Center. As an alternative, Arelis Pérez suggested that it’s an excellent location for multigenerational houses.

Update on the Beltway Expansion: Lourene Miovski, who lives across from the Polish Club property on Edgewood Rd, described how its proposed use as a construction staging site would cause a great deal of environmental harm – trees cut, federally protected wetlands affected, chemicals, exhaust. Lourene has suggested they consider using the far north parking lot of the Greenbelt Metro Station. Mary presented a draft letter of comment as NCPCA President regarding the impacts of the Beltway Expansion on College Park neighborhoods. Some additions were suggested. A motion to send the letter was passed.

Recreation Survey Update: This was largely a discussion about a North College Park community center. The current community center has limited programs, resources, and facilities; you need to reserve space a year in advance, and there’s very little accommodation for small groups. The survey recommends exploring renting a facility in the commercial district. Seniors have a difficult time navigating the website or driving down Route 1, especially at night. Acceptance of the survey was voted on the following week. There are currently four M-NCPPC Community Centers within four miles of College Park with different types of programs and activities and adequate parking. The County will be doing a feasibility study.

Announcements From Officials: Mayor Wojahn listed drop-off locations and announced a virtual Race and Equity discussion. Councilmember Kennedy described the City Halloween guidelines. Councilmember Kabir announced the October cleanup days and the upcoming community police meeting. Councilmember Mackie announced a Ballot Questions Town Hall for Oct. 14. The state level ballot questions are: (1) to allow the legislature to move money somewhere else if an expenditure is taken out of the budget, rather than just shrinking what is allowed to be spent and (2) whether or not to allow sports betting. Michelle Garcia announced a county budget forum, a grocery grab and go, and a splash pool “boo-through”.

Other Announcements: Arelis Perez announced that Prince George’s County is partnering with local restaurants to feed seniors, https://wjla.com/news/local/prince-georges-county-partners-with-restaurants-to-feed-seniors for the duration of the pandemic, including Mom’s Meals.

Possible Agenda Item: Phil Aronson would like to discuss why the city pays a contractor to mow on a county road. What does the county do in return?

Meeting adjourned at 9:23 pm.

Minutes of September 2020 Regular Meeting

North College Park Community Association
September 10, 2020 – Regular Meeting by Zoom

Attending: Mary Cook, Carol Macknis, John Krouse, Ellen Caswell, Larry Bleau, Judy Blumenthal, Dawn and Kelvin Budd, Oscar Gregory, Arelis P‚rez, Shirley Kerchner, Lisa Ealley, Nikki Pancho, Robert Boone, Carol Nezzo, as well as Mayor Patrick Wojahn, Councilmember Fazlul Kabir, Councilmember Kate Kennedy, Councilmember Denise Mitchell, and City Manager Scott Somers.

Arelis Perez recommends that the meetings be available to all.

Meeting called to order at 7:35 pm by President Mary Cook.

Officers’ Reports: Vice President: She has received four additional membership dues, for an additional $40. President: 1. The Department of Public Works; they will fix the bollards on Cherry Hill Road. They would prefer to put in a concrete median. 2. Recent heavy rain led to flooding in the Cherry Hill neighborhood. We’re working with Tom Dernoga on how to remedy that.

Minutes of the June 11 meeting were accepted as read; Ellen Caswell moved, Carol Macknis seconded.

NCPCA Election: The nominating committee, Oscar Gregory and Carol Macknis, suggested that the easiest option with no contested positions is to elect by acclamation; SurveyMonkey is an alternative. On Larry Bleau’s motion, with Ellen Caswell’s second, the upcoming officers were elected: President, Mary Cook; Vice President, Carol Macknis; Secretary, Ellen Caswell; Treasurer, Jordan Schakner.

Beltway Expansion Update: November 9 is the new deadline for comments on the Beltway Expansion Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). The potential changes were discussed. A short list is at: four-public-hearings-start-tomorrow-about-adding-toll-lanes-to-i-495-beltway; also: win-college-park-beltway-expansion-can-cause-loss-of-properties-green-space-kill-a-playground-and-increase-noise-pollution.

People are strongly urged to send comments, 495-270-p3.com/your-participation/provide-feedback. A good resource is Citizens Against Beltway Expansion, www.cabe495.com.

McMansions: A small house on 49th Avenue has added a huge connected house, with permit clearance. We discussed what can be done going forward to protect against properties that run afoul of a neighborhood’s character. Prince George’s County has the zoning authority; the city needs to initiate discussion of possible changes via legislation or changes in zoning. NCPCA could be a resource.

Report on the Recreation Survey: The finalized survey report was presented to the City Council. Priorities include trails and pathway connectivity, more open space and natural areas, and a community/senior center. Seniors want additional and improved transportation options, meeting facilities/programs, and exercise programs. College-Park-Final-Presentation-PDF-8.27.2020.pdf

The Children’s Guild Early Learning Center Update: They’ve begun renovation and are working on permits, hoping to start in the fall with 50 students.

New Website: Carol Macknis will develop a SurveyMonkey poll for suggestions regarding design, content, functionality, and services. She’s also investigating using PayPal for electronic dues pay.

Announcements: Mayor Wojahn: There are planned discussions on systemic racism looking at city practices and policies in racial equity context and on how the city is addressing racial inequality in Lakeland resulting from urban renewal. Regarding Corona  Virus, students are back; we’re doing what we can to address challenges, looking for crowding and other code violations. Kate Kennedy: There are upcoming strategic planning meetings. Also, she would like offline feedback on the mental health crisis, after being affected by several suicides. What are ways we can be there for each other? Denise Mitchell: Districts 1 and 4 will host a virtual Town Hall for the Department of Public Works with Bob Ryan; residents can ask questions regarding code enforcement, parking, and so on. Fazlul Kabir: The regular community police meeting would take place Monday. Also, there is milling and resurfacing planned involving Edgewood Road, Rhode Island Avenue, and Route 1.

Suggestions for Future Agenda Items: McMansions again, possibly involving PG Councilmember Dernoga; update on the status of streetscape for Rhode Island Avenue; enforcement concerning race car vehicles; formal letter from NCPCA regarding the Beltway Expansion to EIS during the comment period; update on the Stone property.

The meeting ended at 9:11 pm.

Minutes of June 11, 2020 Regular Meeting

North College Park Community Association
June 11, 2020 – Regular Meeting by Telephone Conference

Attendance.  Included Carol Macknis, Jordan Shackner, John Krouse, Judy Blumenthal, Lisa Ealley, Ellen Caswell, John Shofner, Annabel Shofner, Dawn Budd, Kelvin Budd, Mayor Wojahn, Councilmember Kabir, Councilmember Kennedy, as well as guests Councilmember Mitchell, Councilmember Mackie, Oscar Gregory, Julie Beavers, Suzie Fantos, Mark Goodson, Michelle Garcia.  President Mary Cook absent.

Meeting called to order at 7:35 pm by Vice President Carol Macknis.

NCPCA Officers Reports.  Carol Macknis announced that NCPCA dues are now due, and options are available for payment by mail; Prince George’s County Transportation Survey is available.  Jordan Shackner reported $1,070.34 in treasury + $50 new dues.

NCPCA Minutes May 14, 2020.  Approved unanimously with no amendments by motion of Ellen Caswell, 2nd by Lisa Ealley.

College Park ‘Here and Now’.  Mark Goodson presented information about the new monthly newspaper delivered via US Mail which launched in May with seed money from City of College Park to complement ‘Hyattsville Life and Times’.  Online version is coming soon.  Mark Goodson, mark@hyattsvillelife.com

Hollywood Farmers Market.  Julie Beavers presented info about 2020 operations under COVID, changes to Bylaws, composition of Board of Directors.  hollywoodmarketcp@gmail.com

NCPCA Elections.  Nominations were received for all positions except Secretary, but voting is not feasible at this time due to requirements of Bylaws.  Officers will continue in their positions, except Secretary.  Discussion of possible voting scenarios, including use of email, Survey Monkey, voting by acclamation, and other methods were discussed.

NCPCA will not formally meet in July, but an informational meeting may be feasible in July or August.  The September meeting will be an official meeting, and will resume the subject of elections, and a vote may be possible then.  The current nominees include:

    President:           Mary Cook
    Vice President:   Carol Macknis
    Secretary:           Ellen Caswell
    Treasurer:           Jordan Shackner

Citizens Against Beltway Expansion (CABE).  Carol Macknis provided update related to draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which is expected in July.  Hearing will follow 45 days after release.

McMansions.  The new construction at 49th Ave was discussed.  There is concern about size, lot coverage, parking, and two kitchens.  It is unclear whether all construction was legal, and the property is for sale.  A Zoom meeting with concerned residents will be scheduled soon.  City Councilmember Kabir is closely involved, and Prince George’s County Councilmember Dernoga is investigating.

At approximately 9:05 pm Secretary John Krouse was unable to continue with the telemeeting.

Minutes of May 14, 2020 Regular Meeting

North College Park Community Association
May 14, 2020 – Regular Meeting by Telephone Conference

Attendance.  Included Mary Cook, Carol Macknis, Jordan Shackner, John Krouse, Lisa Ealley, Judy Blumenthal, Ellen Caswell, Milie Tansill, Arelis Péres, Shirley Kerchner, Kelvin Budd, Dawn Budd, Nikki Pancho, Larry Bleau as well as Mayor Wojahn, Councilmember Kabir, Councilmember Kennedy, Councilmember Mitchell, Councilmember Mackie, and several other guests.

Meeting.  Called to order at 7:34 pm by President Mary Cook.

City Service Update.  Most City services are now restored; bulk trash pickup requires appointment; electronics are being recycled at Davis Hall; County services are not yet fully restored.

City Budget.  There was discussion of the City’s ‘rainy day’ reserve which is required to be ¼ of the anticipated budget. Councilmember Kabir has a budget video link for residents.

Hollywood Streetscape.  NCPCA priorities for the Hollywood Streetscape were discussed, a motion by John Krouse was jointly seconded by Judy Blumenthal and Lisa Ealley, and was approved unanimously:

NCPCA supports funding for final design and construction of the Hollywood Streetscape project, and particularly the less costly and most immediately valuable elements of the concept, including the paved walking path, benches, trash cans, street lighting, signs, trees and plantings, and similar improvements that will enhance the area for the benefit of residents and commercial visitors.

Officers’ Reports.  Treasurer Shackner reported $1,070.28. Vice President Macknis noted the May 5 letter of WSSC to MDOT that indicated proposed Beltway widening could significantly increase cost of water and sewer services to customers.

Meeting Minutes.  February 13 and April 9 NCPCA meeting minutes, moved by Mary Cook with second by Arelis Péres, approved unanimously.

Cherry Hill Road Bollards.  NCPCA will send a letter to request replacement and restoration of bollards in the median near College Park Marketplace. Moved by Mary Cook with second by John Krouse, approved unanimously.

Election of Officers.  Methods to collect dues and vote for officers in case of continued prohibition of meetings at Davis Hall were discussed. Per Larry Bleau, current terms of officers may be continued per Bylaws. NCPCA officers will consider SurveyMonkey, email and other alternatives. Carol Macknis will be assisted by Oscar Gregory to identify nominees, and Larry Bleau may assist with election.

Other Business.  There was discussion of political signs on property of Hollywood Gateway Park; concerns about noisy speeding on Rhode Island Avenue; Memorial Day celebration has been cancelled but signs will be placed.

Adjourn.  Motion by Arelis Péres passed unanimously; meeting adjourned at 8:48 pm.

Regular Meeting on April 9, 2020

North College Park Community Association
April 9, 2020 –  Regular Meeting by Telephone Conference

Attendance.  Included Mary Cook, Carol Macknis, Jordan Shackner, John Krouse, Lisa Ealley, Arelis Péres, Mayor Wojahn, Councilmember Kabir, Councilmember Kennedy, Councilmember Mitchell, Councilmember Mackie, and several other guests including County Councilmember Dernoga.

Meeting.  Called to order at 7:40 pm by President Mary Cook.

Officers’ Reports. March Meeting was cancelled, thus no minutes to approve.  Treasurer Shackner reported a balance of $1,090.34.  VP Macknis noted the NCPCA website domain registration problem was resolved; she has documented the issue to prevent future complications.

City Budget. Councilmember Kennedy noted that City has at least ½ of operating budget in reserve.

Councilmember Kabir reported significant revenue decline due to pandemic, including losses of hotel and other commercial taxes; UMD ticket admissions taxes; highway user gasoline tax; personal income taxes; and residential property taxes due to lower assessments.

Mayor Wojahn believes that hotel tax loss + UMD admissions tax loss will cause 10% loss of City budget.  Councilmember Mackie is optimistic.  Councilmember Mitchell believes that City is in a good position.  There are no plans to suspend City Hall construction; costs of a halt are not known.

City will likely fund new entrance sign on Metzerott Road; new bus stop facilities on US 1 at Cherry Hill Road and on Rhode Island Avenue; Meals on Wheels budget will increase; a new 1/2 -time senior caseworker will be funded; senior transport program will be extended; City exploring small business assistance due to pandemic closures.

Councilmember Dernoga reported likely major impacts to County budget, but full extent is not clear.  Beltway widening may be much more expensive due to unexpected need to relocate $1 or $2 Billion of WSSC water and sewer infrastructure.

Stone Straw Industrial Property Rezoning.  Councilmember Dernoga reported that zoning changes to enable development of townhouses does not have a clear path forward and seems unlikely at this time.

2020 Census.  Councilmember Dernoga reported that North College Park neighborhoods are among the least responsive in County.  Daniels Park at 30% response rate; Hollywood at 57%.

Monarch Academy at Methodist Church on Rhode Island Avenue.  Councilmember Dernoga reported that the project requires a special exception or zoning text amendment due to the small property size.  Construction is halted.  Discussions underway.

Adjourn at 9:27 by motion of Arelis Péres and Jordan Shackner, with no objection.

Regular Meeting on February 13, 2020

North College Park Community Association
February 13, 2020 – Regular Meeting at Davis Hall

Attendance.  Included Mayor Wojahn; City Councilmembers Kabir, Kennedy and Mackie; City Director of Planning Schum; City Engineer Halpern; and 38 others including representatives of WSSC.

Meeting.  Called to order at 7:30 pm by President Mary Cook; pledge recited.

January 9 Minutes were approved unanimously with amendment; motion by Carol Macknis, second by Arelis Péres.

Officer Reports.  Jordan Schakner (absent) reported NCPCA treasury is $1,100.13.

WSSC Muskogee Area Water Main Upgrade.  Ms. Wanpin Lee, (engineer) described an upcoming water main reconstruction project involving ~ 1.3 miles of pipe in the area bounded by 47th Place, Lackawanna Street, Rhode Island Avenue and Mangum Road.  Work will be completed in stages, and will not interrupt gas or electric services.  The project will begin ~ June 2020, and at conclusion all streets will be milled and overlayed with new asphalt pavement.  WSSC will send a copy of the PowerPoint presentation to NCPCA.

Youth & Family Services Director Kiaisha Barber presented information about programs at 4912 and elsewhere in North College Park that provide support to College Park community.  Two brochures were distributed.  Many questions and concerns were related to outreach and programs for seniors.

Finmarc – Lennar – Stone Straw Development.  Larry Taub (attorney) and Marc Solomon (owner) described a proposed townhouse development on property of the former Stone Straw industrial site adjacent to 51st Ave., Davis Hall and College Park Warehouse facility.  The development would include 235 total units of which 117 would be condominium townhomes and 118 would be owner occupied townhomes.  All buildings would be 4 floors tall; 118 units would be back to back; 67 units would be 16 feet wide; and 47 units would be 20 feet wide.  The development would occupy all land areas within the limits of the parcel.  Many questions and discussion were related to traffic and parking impacts on the nearby community.

Adjourn at 9:36 by motion of Arelis Péres and Carol Macknis, with no objection.

Regular Meeting on January 9, 2020

North College Park Community Association
January 9, 2020 – Regular Meeting at Davis Hall
Meeting Minutes Amended and Approved 2-13-20

Attendance.  Included City Councilmembers Fazlul Kabir, Denise Mitchell, and Maria Mackie and 10 others.  NCPCA President Mary Cook was unable to attend.

Meeting.  Called to order at 7:32 pm by Vice President Carol Macknis; pledge recited.

Agenda.  Approved with amendment to remove the item about U.S. Census, and to move discussion of Beltway Expansion to an earlier time in the agenda.  Motion by John Krouse and Ellen Caswell.

December 12 Minutes. Approved; motion by John Krouse and Ellen Caswell.

Officer Reports. Jordan Schakner reported NCPCA treasury is $1,062; 1 new member joined.

Presentation by Monarch Academy Preschool. Dr. Duane Arbogast of the Children’s Guild presented information about this new school that is currently constructing new space within the College Park Methodist Church on Rhode Island Avenue.  120 students are anticipated with two teachers in each class.  Some construction delays have been experienced.  Opening will be some time after April, 2020.  More info at https://monarchpreschool.com

Beltway Expansion / Toll Lanes. Planning progress was discussed.  Currently, the beltway from the American Legion Bridge to I-270 in Montgomery County is the only segment moving forward.  There is a lot of discussion underway in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties related to the need for transparency, and about ideas for Counties to capture up to 10% of toll revenue.

City Budget.  Councilmember Kabir discussed progress on the 2019 NCPCA City Budget Wishlist for the FY2020 City budget.  Dr. Kabir prepared a written summary which will be shared with NCPCA members.  There was discussion of progress of the NCPCA Budget Wishlist during 2019, as well as discussion of ideas for the FY 2021 budget.

Adjourn.  Motion approved by members at 9:34 pm.

Amendments.  The draft minutes were amended by vote of NCPCA members on Feb. 13, 2020.  The minutes presented above were prepared by NCPCA Secretary John Krouse.

Budget Documents:

Regular Meeting on December 12, 2019

North College Park Community Association
December 12, 2019 – Regular Meeting at Davis Hall

Attendance.  Included Ben Ross, Chairman of Md. Transit Advocacy Org.; Mary Lehman, Delegate, D-21 Maryland General Assembly; City Councilmembers Fazlul Kabir, Kate Kennedy, Maria Mackie; and Mayor Patrick Wojahn.

Meeting.   Called to order at 7:34 pm; pledge recited.

Agenda.   Approved without amendment.

November 14 Minutes.   Motion by Ellen Caswell, second by Carol Macknis, approved without amendment, but it appears per Councilmember Kabir that US 1 Shoppers Food Warehouse may not be closing.

Officer Reports.   Judy Blumenthal reported about NCPCA pro bono attorney.  Jordan Schakner reported NCPCA treasury is $1,069.  Mary Cook sent a letter to Larry Taub, attorney for Wawa Beltsville.


Cm. Kabir announced MLK event in January; 1st Council meeting is Jan. 7; request by city for no new leaves on street (we need clarification on street leaves vs. curb leaves from city works); reported that County is pushing for a new food store at the Shoppers space if they leave.

Cm. Kennedy announced that Council approved $30K for a newspaper in CP; College Park City University Partnership CPCUP is starting planning and listening session for new projects soon.

Cm Mackie stated that she wants to listen to residents; reported on Maryland Art show in Marriott and Mobile MVA @ Goddard Visitors’ Center.

Carol Macknis reported that 1st Thurs of each month is Police / Resident public meetings at Mom’s;  current concerns are petty crime, premises checks, porch pirates.

Presentation by Ben Ross.   Our statewide transit plan with greater MARC service is less costly than toll lanes.  The plan would help Baltimore, providing subway-like service on Penn Line.  Toll lanes encourage congestion, don’t stop it, $30-$50 tolls are needed to produce profit for firms.  Such lanes are bad for the environment.  P3 plan will pass legislature right to Governor and the BPW.  Updates since June: the contractor can choose its own construction firm after the award of contract, and a private negotiation with MDOT.  Franchot is swing vote on BPW; concerned residents are encouraged to email him.  MDOT admits they have P/L projections on different road segments – BUT these must be made public.  Only Phase 1 can be done under current Governor’s term, no guarantees for the completion of the other phases under subsequent governors.  Send email to Comptroller Peter Franchot at pfranchot@comp.state.md.us.

NCPCA Motion.   By Ellen Caswell for NCPCA to write a letter of opposition to Beltway expansion to Franchot; second by Carol Macknis.  Motion approved.

Del. Lehman Update.   Bag fee proposal needs state legislation approval.  Alcohol Awareness Bill: all venues must have someone with Alcohol Awareness training.  She is sponsoring a bill requiring majority consent by the taxpayers in counties with proposed toll lanes.

Cm. Kennedy Update.   Tree / Landscape proposal on tree canopies; speak with Todd Larsen of the Committee for a Better Environment for information.

Adjourn.   Motion to Adjourn by Ellen Caswell, seconded, approved by members at 8:46 pm.