Berwyn District Civic Association Thursday, February 18, 2016

  1. Agenda Item 1. Police Assigned to Berwyn Beat. Officer JJ Black is going to be moved to a different area in the same District. Officer Black’s replacement, Officer Nunez, was introduced by Officer Black. Officer Nunez will hand out business cards at the next meeting.

  2. Agenda Item 2. Special Guest: Scott Somers, City Manager of College Park. Mr. Somers encouraged anyone who isn’t already volunteering to serve on a City board or committee to do so.

    He gave a summary of his background, highlighting his experience in city and county government in locations such as Oregon, Minneapolis, and Saint Paul. He’s originally from Tucson and has a graduate degree in public administration from the University of Arizona. His Bachelor’s degree was in social work from Arizona State University.

    Mr. Somers thinks there’s a lot of opportunity in College Park. One of his goals on coming to College Park was to improve the communication between the City and its residents. The weekly bulletin is new. It’s a breakdown by departments of activities going on. He’s gotten good feedback on the letter. It lists upcoming events, meetings, etc. The City wants to reach a wide audience with the website and social media. It has eliminated two positions in Public Works in order to be able to hire a communications director. They’ve started interviewing candidates for that position this week.

    The City’s finance director is retiring. They have just started the recruitment process to find a replacement.

    Two or three people very important in Public Works have left this past year. The City has created an Assistant Public Works Director position; a national search is currently ongoing for that.

    The City is trying to change the focus of its Public Services Department (code enforcement and parking) to be more informational and educational.

    Mr. Somers thought signage at City Hall was confusing and not welcoming enough – that’s all part of improving communication.

    There’s been some controversy over where the new City Hall would be located, but it sounds like it will stay in the same location.

    In most jurisdictions, the City where one lives that does all the planning in the City. Here, you have to go to MNCPPC and the County. It’s a fairly unique situation. He thinks there’s a better way of doing planning. And the City permit is also usually required. Why? Because sometimes the County doesn’t get it right.

    There’s currently a lot of development going on in College Park. When he arrived, Route 1 didn’t have the capacity to handle all we needed. We need sidewalks, bike lanes, and buffers.

    Mr. Somers discussed the parking situation vis‐à‐vis the proposed “Metropolitan” development. College Park sent a survey to nearby residents asking them about parking issues.

    Randall Toussaint, the City’s Economic Development Coordinator, is sending out “meet and greet” invitations to developers. He’s sending out a monthly e‐mail about development in College Park.

    The staff meets once a month to review their progress in meeting goals set out in the strategic plan.

    A resident raised the possibility of getting “walking lanes” on neighborhood roads currently without sidewalks. The “Complete Streets” policy includes walking paths. Sidewalks are still controversial – a lot of people don’t want them. The City doesn’t have an easement in front of all the properties.

    UMD wants to rename Paint Branch Parkway to Campus Drive, all the way down to Route 201 (Kenilworth Avenue).

    Clark Developers would like to get out of the covenant attached to what was supposed to be the “View 2” development. The covenant requires them to provide 109 parking spaces. The View and the Varsity are set to lose all 300+ parking spaces on campus currently reserved for their tenants.

  3. Agenda Item 3. Officers Present. The following BDCA officers were present: President Kevin Young, Second Vice President Harry Pitt, Recording Secretary Liesl Koch, Treasurer and Neighborhood Watch Director Nick Brennan, Director Dan Blasberg, Director Bob Catlin, Director Christy Dollymore, and Membership Director Dan Stafford.

  4. Agenda Item 4. Approval of Minutes. A motion was made to accept into the record the minutes from the January 16, 2016, meeting. The motion was seconded, and passed by a show of hands.

  5. Agenda Item 4. Treasurer’s Report. Treasurer Nick Brennan made the following financial report:

    [see page 4]

    A motion was made, seconded, and passed to accept the treasury report into the record.

  6. Agenda Item 6. Membership Report. Membership Director Dan Stafford reminded people in the audience to complete the sign‐in sheet.

  7. Agenda Item 7. College Park Academy. Bob Catlin reported that College Park Academy received over 1,100 applications for 70–80 slots in an online lottery recently.

  8. Agenda Item 8. Councilman Monroe Dennis’s Report. Clark Developers, who built University View, are asking the City to revise the covenant existing on another property further north on Route 1 that they originally intended to build more student housing on. Clark no longer wants to construct more student housing, as College Park now has enough of it, and wants to sell the property, but potential buyers of the property are not going to want the covenant. Concern was expressed that the City Council doesn’t always “follow through” on covenants. Councilman Dennis met with the local representatives of the proposed “Lidl” grocery store where Clarion Inn currently is. Lidl is interested in hearing the neighborhood’s concerns. Lidl, a German company, wants to establish 8 or 9 Lidl stores in P.G. County, and more elsewhere in Maryland. They plan to have one distributor delivering to each store – not multiple trucks coming and going all day long. Concern was expressed that the corner of Berwyn Road and Route 1 is not a good intersection for the kind of traffic Lidl could expect.

The façade will look like two stories but inside there will only be one story. It will face Berwyn Road rather than Route 1. This location would serve our community and the local student housing – it is not intended to be a “destination” store.

Agenda Item 9. Councilman P.J. Brennan’s Report. The growth of City communications is critical. It allows the City to reach out to students as well as other residents, and creates a sense of community.

As a part of the Clark negotiations, we’ve received $160,000 from the developer to address some issues.

We’re promoting alternative modes of transportation. We got a $20K allotment that we can use for transportation/parking improvements within Berwyn and Lakeland. Possible improvements would be installing driveway aprons and offsetting some costs related to implementing permit parking: signage, etc.

Councilman Brennan has been in talks with the City planner and engineer about doing a study of where there’s sufficient easement that the City could install sidewalks. No one’s talking about adding sidewalks where no one wants them.

There was discussion about how to get Park & Planning to clear snow from its jurisdictions – for example, from the sidewalk to the Metro on Paint Branch Parkway. It’s possible the City could have a Memo of Understanding with Park & Planning and take responsibility for clearing certain areas that otherwise might not get cleared.

Workers on the building site where CVS is going are parking in our neighborhood now that the parking on‐site is gone. We may have to institute neighborhood‐wide permit parking only one of these days.

Regarding the University’s request to change the name of Paint Branch Parkway to Campus Drive, Councilman Brennan understands the point of view of those who want to keep the current name, but also the University’s point of view.

Councilman Brennan is working on an Aging in Place report for the Committee for a Better Environment.

He is also working on a Live College Park website.

Agenda Item 10. Mayor Patrick Wojahn. The City and University have put together a draft to submit to qualify as a “Rise” zone. If we get more development as a result of being a Rise zone, there will be a 5‐year property tax credit. It will impact the technology center that’s on campus, the M Square research park, and the innovation district where the hotel is currently being built. The only businesses eligible for this tax credit are technological ones.

Agenda Item 11. New Business. There’s information on the City’s website about when the pedestrian bridge is scheduled to be repaired. It won’t be during the Cherry Blossom Festival.

Agenda Item 12. Old Business. There was no old business.

Agenda Item 13. President’s Report. President Young reached out to the attorney for the Branchville Crossing project for a detailed site plan but it isn’t ready yet.

The March BDCA meeting will be held at the Fishnet restaurant, at 7:30pm.

The attorney for Lidl grocery stores called President Young and has agreed to attend one of our meetings.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:50pm.

Meeting attendees (from sign‐up sheet):

Dan Blasberg Sue Blasberg Nick Brennan PJ Brennan Bob Catlin Monroe Dennis

Christy Dollymore Lily Fountain Chris Gordon Harvey Himmelfarb

Marge Himmelfarb Doug Hunter Karyn Keating‐Volke Liesl Koch

Marie Labonte Janet McCaslin Harry Pitt Marc Pound Susan Rush Carol Savard

Gregg Savard Maia Sheppard Dan Stafford Chad Stern Forrest Tyler Sandy Tyler Patrick Wojahn Kevin Young

Liesl Koch, Recording Secretary, BDCA.




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Newsletter $279.84 $279..84

P.O. Box $0.00 $0.00

Events $0.00 $0.00

Bank Fees $0.00 $0.00

PavPal Fees $0.00 $0.00

Website $0.00 $0.00

Other $289.80 $0.00

TOTAL $569.64

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Membershios $15.00 $0.00

Donations $35.00 $0.00

Advertisement $275.00 $0.00







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TOTAL $325.00 $0.00 $0.00


$0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $0.00 $325.00









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