Berwyn Civic Association Meeting

Thursday, September 21, 2017


Meeting called to order at 7:33 p.m.


Rose Greene Colby introduced BDCA Board members in attendance: Bob Catlin, Karyn Keating-Volke, Chad Stern, Jim Nealis.  Rose announced neighborhood resident Russell Robinette will be recognized in November.


Prince George’s Co. Councilwoman Danielle Glaros addressed several issues: The Metro “Purple Line” broke ground in late August, and hopes it will be running by 2022. Initial work involves moving utility poles and other infrastructure.  On Sept. 1, the Univ. of Maryland Medical System took over management of PG General Hospital, and hospitals in Bowie, Laurel.  Plans are to break ground on Regional Medical Center in Largo this coming November.  Kaiser is planning a new facility near New Carrollton Metro. Apartments under construction at New Carrollton, with plans for apartments/hotel/retail complex at College Park Metro.  Plans to erect an FBI HQ in the county are on hold.  She has been focusing on ‘quality of life’ issues – trash, ‘pop-up’ restaurants, home-based businesses.  She is sponsoring a College/Career Fair at Parkdale HS on Oct. 12.


City Councilman PJ Brennan asked about selecting a new principal for Paint Branch Elem., where a Chinese immersion program has been established. Mayor Wojahn mentioned Hollywood Elem. had PTA/community involvement for their new principal search.  Chad Stern questioned why the developer of the old Plato’s Diner site should get a 22-year tax break. Brennan stated it was a 15-year break – they would be taxed at 25% of improved value, which was the trade-off for getting new development which would not be just another student apartment building.  Glaros said the County may not approve that break, which would cost the city $5 million, and the county $14 million.  One attendee asked Glaros about traffic light synchronization – she said some community transportation meetings to discuss lights, bike routes, etc., would be held soon.


Representatives from the PG County Police Dept., including our COPS officer Nuñez, also spoke.  The Burglary Squad claimed we only had three burglaries in past six months, largely thanks to the arrest of a man suspected in twenty break-ins in College Park and Beltsville.  They said 70% of car break-ins occurred in cars with unlocked doors or open windows. We were told neighborhood problem Sherrod Weaver is still in jail – they encouraged citizens to show up in force for the trials of such criminals, and will inform BDCA of trial dates.  Officer Nuñez stated home owners should install cameras, leave porch lights on. He can be reached at  Phone: 240-695-7493.  Another officer said always call 911 to report suspicious activity, and to sign up for drive-by inspections if a home owner will be out-of-town.  A city representative said report poor student behavior since they can be punished by the Office of Student Conduct.


City Animal Control Officer Vivian Cooper discussed the feral cat problem on Patuxent Ave. and elsewhere.  Home owners can borrow city traps, and PETCO is helping with adoptions.  She will ask MNCPPC if traps can be placed in our neighborhood park. Nick Brennan of the Animal Welfare Committee is also working on this problem.  Noise complaints fall under nuisance abatement laws – the owner or landlord pays a hefty fine.


Terry Schum, city Office of Planning, Community, Economic Dev., said Lidl grocery store on Rt. 1 at Berwyn Rd. has no firm construction date, but all permits have been submitted.  The Clarion Hotel there is taking reservations through Nov.  A small park/plaza there will include some art work, perhaps a mosaic.  “Dedication” bricks also. Chick-Fil-A proposed on Rt. 1 just north of Greenbelt Rd. – nothing definitive yet although they are trying to purchase more land there.  New subsidized apartment building near Branchville Fire Dept. is on hold – the BFD is in a dispute with them over some land.  State Hwy. is buying some parcels along Rt. 1 – for road renewal, medians, green space (incl. old Tailor Shop next to 7-11), etc.  Marriott is building Town-Place Hotel on Rt. 1 just south of Cherry Hill Rd., and a self-storage place is planned next to that, and another self-storage possibly on Branchville Rd.  The Boulevard, a 45-unit townhouse development, should begin construction just north of University Blvd. on east side of Rt. 1.  The bowling alley on Rt. 1 just purchased the Pizza Hut site. Schum’s office publishes a quarterly report, available on the city web site.


Mayor Wojahn reminded us that College Park Day will be on Oct. 7th at the Aviation Museum.  Councilman Brennan apologized for the ‘screw-up’, when the Council voted to allow non-citizens the right to vote, then later learned they had insufficient votes to approve such a change to the city charter.  He also mentioned new lids on yard recycling containers, stated Chick-Fil-A wanted a drive-thru which zoning would not allow, and announced the Boy Scouts were planning to improve the east end of Berwyn Rd. with planters, benches, etc.  Perry Plaza will also be spruced up, and the Berwyn bonfire will be Oct. 21.


Marina Dullnig stated the MNCPPC had done a great job of reseeding, maintaining our local park, but worried trash trucks would leave ruts in the new grass because they drive onto the park to empty trash/recycling containers. Janet McCaslin stated Oct. 7 and 14 are paper shredding and clean-up days, and said compost containers are now available.


BDCA Treasurer Stern said the Assoc. has about $2,000 in the bank, and we are now issuing annual calendar memberships and membership cards.  Rose thanked everyone for coming and reminded folks to call 911 to report all crime issues or activity. The Oct. meeting will include a candidates forum, and the Nov. meeting will be at White Lotus.  She said we are discussing a local business ‘open house’, a street festival, and the Bonfire.


Meeting was adjourned at 9:37 p.m.     Notes taken by Jim Nealis.