Berwyn District Civic Association

Thursday, February 20, 2014

1. Agenda Item 1. Welcome. President Kevin Young called the meeting to order and recognized Councilmen PJ Brennan and Monroe Dennis and COPS Officer Black in the audience. He announced that we would deviate from the standard order of business in order to allow special guests Christopher Hatcher and Andrew Shuckra to make a presentation.

2. Agenda Item 2. Crime. Officer Black spoke briefly about the recent uptick in crime in the neighborhood. In spite of the uptick in our neighborhood, overall the crime stats have been more encouraging. Last week there was only one crime reported (in the Old Town area). Yesterday however there was a break‐in in the Lakeland area. Please call the police if you see anything suspicious.

3. Agenda Item 3. Treasurer’s Report. Treasurer Young was not in attendance so President Young gave the Treasurer’s report. The previous balance was $4,288.99. The new balance (as of 2/19/14) is $3,816.76. Since the previous report there have been $472.23 in expenses (newsletter and new meetings signs). We have had no new or renewed memberships since last month.

4. Agenda Item 4. Minutes from the Last Meeting. A motion to accept the minutes from the January

16, 2014, meeting was made, seconded, and passed.

5. Agenda Item 5. Proposed Development for 4700 Berwyn House Road. Christopher Hatcher, an attorney with the developers of the proposed 4700 Berwyn House Road project, and Andrew Shuckra, Principal with Keane Enterprises in Ashburn, presented designs of the proposed apartment building for 4700 Berwyn House Road and took questions from the audience.

The site is currently occupied by the University Professional Center, which is an office condo. Over a period of time the various commercial condo units were bought up by a single group, which then went into bankruptcy, and so a bank now owns it. The proposed development would be a market rate, multi‐family, 275‐unit apartment building, with two stories of parking and five stories of residential units above the parking levels. The ideal renter would be a young professional. Their hope is that with the addition of some more non‐student housing, the area can reach a critical mass where there will be enough activity to support a lot of retail, to “lift up” that entire corner of Route
1 and Berwyn House Road. They’re trying to establish a nice streetscape; the property currently is pretty well treed and they intend to “keep that same spirit.” The buffer between the building and street will be “a pretty good distance” – probably 30 to 40 feet. They are proposing a mainly brick building, with accents in HardiPlank (fiber cement siding) and some fenestration to “break up” the look of the building a bit and create some interest. There will be about 320 parking spaces for the 275 units. Some in the audience expressed concern that renters who don’t want to pay the parking fee will end up parking on the streets in our neighborhood. They are sensitive about that concern, but think that the development is not going to attract the kind of renter who would rather park on the street in surrounding neighborhoods than pay for a parking space in the building. They believe that a one‐bedroom apartment will be in the $1,600/month range. The traffic engineer at Park and Planning will analyze the traffic plan. The hill behind where the proposed building will be
is 50 some odd feet from bottom to top; the proposed building, from grade level to the roof, will be
75‐80 feet high. They believe that the City will change rapidly in the next five years. The City may
become more walkable, if Kenilworth Avenue and Adelphi Road become the main thoroughfares
rather than Route 1. Currently, College Park is not very diverse when it comes to young professionals and young families. They still have to work their way through the approval process. If they are successful, they hope to break ground this summer.

6. Agenda Item 6. New Business. Richard Morrison, 2nd Vice President of BDCA and Chairman of the College Park Community Foundation, announced that the Foundation will hold a beer‐ and wine‐ tasting fundraiser at the FishNet restaurant on Sunday, April 6th. Food will be provided by the chef of FishNet.

7. Agenda Item 7. Unfinished Business. There was no unfinished business from the last meeting.

8. Agenda Item 8. City Councilmen Reports. Councilman Monroe Dennis reported that the Mayor and City Council are ramping up to prepare the budget for the next fiscal year. They’ve been told that monies for a wish list will be slim this year. The City is discussing the possibility of placing utilities

on Route 1 between Paint Branch and University Boulevard underground at the time the State Highway Administration is going to be upgrading that section of the road. The City would have to pay for this and has until April 1st to decide whether it wants to proceed. The City Council is also trying to determine a permanent site for the College Park Academy. They also need to decide whether to renovate the current City Hall or move to a new location. Councilman Dennis is going to push for more surveillance cameras to cover our district. So far we’ve been able to get state and federal grant monies for that. He does not know whether the University has been asked to contribute toward funding for the cameras, even though many University students will be
benefiting from the increased security.
Councilman PJ Brennan discussed the undergrounding of utilities as well. The section of Route
1 between Paint Branch and University Boulevard would be just the first phase and would cost $14 million. The City has to approve it, not approve it, or delay the project altogether. The
undergrounding would not be just the electrical power lines but Comcast and Verizon as well, since they “ride” on the current poles. Councilman Brennan has requested a meeting regarding the tree topping that recently occurred along the Paint Branch trail. The trees have been “majorly assaulted.” Because this is parkland, and lots of wildlife live there, he has asked people at the airport to come to the Council meeting on March 4th to discuss that. The Council will also discuss the future of the Branchville Fire Department at the March 4th meeting. At a recent meeting, the State Highway people gave a presentation about the changes they want to make to Greenbelt Road between Route 1 and 193. Councilman Brennan requested that they present their plans to us so
we get some input but there is no guarantee about that. The City is changing some lighting to be in accordance with the Dark Sky initiative. The newer lamps will direct the light downwards.

9. Agenda Item 9. Other Business. Berwyn resident Bob Catlin spoke briefly about possible future locations for the College Park Academy, one of them being the former Al‐Huda School building. The Academy expects around a thousand applicants for the lottery, which takes place February 21st. Some of the Academy’s students come from as far away as 20 miles. Mr. Catlin also spoke briefly about a meeting on campus about solar panels.

President Young announced that the March BDCA meeting would be held at the Fishnet restaurant, since we will not have use of Fealy Hall that month.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:50pm.

Meeting attendees (from sign‐up sheet):

Cpl. Jaron Black
Nick Brennan
PJ Brennan
Robert Catlin
Monroe Dennis
Michele Garnes
Karyn Keating‐Volke
J. Kiernan
Liesl Koch
Beth McAllister
T. McGonigle
Richard Morrison
Judy Popadink Harry Pitt Forrest Tyler Sandy Tyler Kevin Young
Liesl Koch, Recording Secretary, BDCA.