Berwyn District Civic Association

Thursday, June 19, 2014

1. Agenda Item 1. Officers Present. President Kevin Young called the meeting to order. Other officers also present were 1st Vice President Harry Pitt, Recording Secretary Liesl Koch, Board of Directors members Dan Blasberg and Bob Catlin, Neighborhood Watch Director Nick Brennan, Berwyn News Editor Elizabeth Kuligowski, and Welcome Committee Chair Christy Dollymore.

2. Agenda Item 2. Minutes from the Last Meeting. A motion to accept the minutes from the May

2014 meeting was made, seconded, and passed.

3. Agenda Item 3. Treasurer’s Report. Treasurer Lori Young was unable to attend. The BDCA board will receive the financial report within two days. The report can be forwarded for adoption at our next meeting.

4. Agenda Item 4. Annual Election of Officers. President Young thanked the nominating committee for preparing a slate of BDCA officer nominations for our consideration. The slate was offered for consideration and an opportunity to nominate someone from the floor was presented. A motion was made in favor of the slate. The motion was seconded and passed.

5. Agenda Item 5. President’s Report. President Young thanked everyone who attended the “Sunday in the Park” event on June 8th. We were able to reach out to a lot of new neighbors. The Greenbelt Concert Band provided great music. We may host the event again next year. President Young thanked the Dollymores for pulling everything together.

Even though the State Highway Administration is proceeding with its current design for the Greenbelt Road re‐design, neither Berwyn nor the City has given up on trying to persuade them to make it more pedestrian friendly where it crosses Rhode Island Avenue (i.e., next to the 7‐Eleven).
A proposal to move forward with the permaculture garden designed to extend along part of the Trolley Trail will go before the City Council on July 15th. Make your views known to your City Council representatives.

6. Agenda Item 6. Councilmember Dennis’ Report. City Councilman Monroe Dennis attended a work session where the permaculture project was discussed. It was agreed that there should be more discussion about the proposed garden. He looks forward to your feedback and comments.

At its last meeting the City Council voted to discontinue rent stabilization. That does not mean that the City will no longer address important quality of life issues. So far, there are 67 or so initiatives that have come out of the Rent Stabilization and Quality of Life Subcommittee – a
number of those initiatives are either currently underway or completed, but there are others that still need further action.

7. Agenda Item 7. Councilmember Brennan’s Report. City Councilman PJ Brennan reported that the City will send a letter to the State Highway Administration regarding the crossing at Greenbelt Road. He is in favor of a flashing median light. We want to encourage a more pedestrian culture.

The initial phase of the permaculture project would be a pilot phase that will serve as our test case to see whether we want it to be applied further along the path. There are tax implications, maintenance implications, and other concerns that locals have. Councilman Brennan wants the trees planted to be more mature ones so we can get an idea of what it will look like sooner.
With rent stabilization no longer part of the picture, the City may have to get more aggressive about enforcing its ordinance against more than 5 unrelated people living in one house. Currently, there is a $75 fine.
The City Council has invited the Director of the College Park Academy to attend a future City Council meeting (probably in August or September) to discuss the academy’s progress over this past year. There is concern that so many of the students are not from the surrounding area (it
accepts students based on a county‐wide lottery) that it’s not a community school. The City Council will provide the Director with questions in advance for her to report on.

8. Agenda Item 8. Neighborhood Watch Director’s Report. Neighborhood Watch Director Nick Brennan reported that several neighbors attended a Neighborhood Watch (NW) meeting in May, where they discussed issues facing the community and what the NW program should look like. It was agreed that instead of having block captains and other roles frequently found in NW programs, we would simplify the structure and have only the Director and representatives. Representatives would represent all the households within a certain geographical range and would be the go‐to person if someone who lived in that jurisdiction had a NW issue to discuss.

Although NextDoor has effectively taken the place of the Neighborhood Watch listserv that we previously relied on, a lot of people don’t use NextDoor, so we’re going to start a NW e‐mail group that will provide periodic updates on NW issues. This will not be a “conversation” group. It will be administered by Nick, the Director. Replying to an e‐mail sent to the NW e‐mail group will send
your reply only to the Director, not to the whole group. Nick’s e‐mail address is njpbrennan@gmail.com. Over 30 people signed up for this e‐mail group at the Sunday in the Park event.
Tuesday, August 5th, is National Night Out. Berwyn will have an event. More details will follow.
Anyone with ideas about innovative ways to keep an eye on things was encouraged to share their ideas with Nick. Some people have expressed a renewed interest in security cameras, or an interest in using GPS for tracking stolen bicycles, for example.
A resident mentioned two break‐ins that she said had occurred the night before. She is very discouraged by the amount of crime that has occurred. Police response times are slow. The police catch the same perpetrators over and over again; the judge then releases them from jail. Residents were encouraged to call either 911 or the non‐emergency number whenever they see anything suspicious. If you’re not sure which number to call, call 911 and let the dispatcher decide the level of importance. We need to be the neighborhood that would‐be malefactors avoid because they know the people here call the police whenever they see the least thing suspicious.

9. Agenda Item 9. Special Guests: Apartment Building on 4700 Block of Berwyn House Road. Mr.

Christopher Hatcher, an attorney with the developers of the proposed 4700 Berwyn House Road
project, Mr. Andrew Shuckra, Principal with Keane Enterprises in Ashburn, and Mike Lenhart, Traffic
Engineer, presented an update of the proposed apartment building for 4700 Berwyn House Road
and took questions from the audience. (They had made a presentation earlier, at the February
2014 BDCA meeting.)
The proposed Courtyard Marriott Hotel, to be located where the old Koons Ford building
stands, will have 156 guest rooms. A CVS and other retail will be part of the development. The
owners of that property and of the proposed 4700 Berwyn House Road property are not the same people.
The 4700 Berwyn House Road project will be a 275‐unit, multi‐family apartment building. They have submitted a detailed site plan for their clients. The apartments will not be marketed to
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students, although the law prohibits them from not accepting students. That said, there are certain things the City can do to discourage students from renting units, such as including covenants all future owners must honor, such as requiring co‐signers.
The building will be 7 stories tall. There will be 2 stories of parking over 5 stories of rental
units. The height of the building’s design was determined by considering the height of the Spellman
House across the street, the height of the future Marriott Courtyard Hotel, and the height of the
Varsity and University View apartment buildings across Route 1. It will sit back from the curb about
30 or 40 feet and there will be pretty dense landscaping between the street and the building.
About 1,000 square feet of retail has been added to the ground floor.
They have had one work session with the City of College Park and are scheduled to meet with
City officials again on July 8th. They are scheduled to go before the Prince George’s County
Planning Board on July 10th.
A lot of the questions they were asked earlier at civic association meetings in Berwyn and
Lakeland were transportation‐related. People want to know the impact of extra cars being on the street. At the time of the February BDCA meeting, they had not yet submitted their proposal to
Park and Planning. Now they have. There will be 318 parking spaces. A lot of the 275 units will be one bedroom or studio apartments. This works out to about 1.2 parking spaces per unit, which is consistent with what their market research is needed for a development like this, and is consistent with two other projects the City just approved. The building will be within one‐half mile of the Purple Line; they don’t believe most households are going to need two cars. There will be a Capital Bike Share station going next to the proposed CVS nearby. Terry Schum, College Park Director of Planning, said that if it turned out more parking spaces were needed than provided by the developer, the City would probably not agree to solve the problem by granting permit parking to occupants of the building. The presenters did not know details about where the building’s staff would park.
The person who conducted the traffic impact study said he looked at all the signals from
Greenbelt Road down to Lakeland.
The developer has asked Park and Planning to vacate about 210 feet of Osage Street that
appears on plats but was never actually built.
Expected completion time is early 2017.

10. Agenda Item 10. Unfinished Business. There was no unfinished business.

11. Agenda Item 11. New Business. There was no new business.

12. Agenda Item 12. Mayor’s Report. College Park Mayor Andrew Fellows reported that he was pleased with the budget process that was just completed. The concerns expressed about parking related to the Berwyn House Road project were well noted. Traffic on Route 1 has actually been reduced recently as a result of the Varsity and other buildings where students live and from which they can walk to campus. There’s a lot of interesting growth in this part of College Park. The Purple Line project has progressed in leaps and bounds the past few years. The City is doing what it can to reduce the amount of crime. Berwyn’s Neighborhood Watch program is resurgent. National Night Out is August th. The College Park Metro station is underdeveloped but there are plans to change that. There is not enough room near the College Park Metro for relocation of the FBI.

13. Agenda Item 13. President’s Closing Remarks. President Young announced there would be no

Berwyn Day this year. The annual bonfire will be held the third week in October.
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The meeting was adjourned at 9:50pm.

Meeting attendees (from sign‐up sheet):

Dan Blasberg Nick Brennan PJ Brennan Robert Catlin
Christy Dollymore John Dollymore Marina Dullnig Michele Garnes
Chris Gordon Harvey Himmelfarb Marge Himmelfarb Doug Hunter
Karyn Keating‐Volke Bob Kuligowski Elizabeth Kuligowski Liesl Koch
Victoria MacDonald
Janet McCaslin Marc McCaslin Harry Pitt
Maia Sheppard
Kevin Young
Liesl Koch, Recording Secretary, BDCA.
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