Berwyn District Civic
January 16, 2020
Meeting came to order at 7:35
p.m. Meeting held in Fealy Hall. BDCA
Board Members in attendance: Bob Catlin, Jim Nealis, Lily Fountain, Christy
Dollymore, Karyn Keating-Volke, Ron Cameau. Other attendees included Chris
Gordon, Oscar Gregory, John Dollymore, Maddie Koenig, Jason Daniels, Dwight
Mackall, Cynthia Wiggins, Melissa Harrod, Harvey & Margaret Himmelfarb,
Karen Pasta, Joshua Westgard, Sandy Tyler, Kevin Young, Tom Tanner and 3 members
of Branchville Fire Dept.
Bob Catlin reported approval of
improvements to be made on the bike trail.
Also, the Gilbane student apartment bldg. on Rt. 1 was approved by the
Co. Planning Bd. Today – that bldg. will raise the elevation of the site to
protect it from Paint Branch Creek, and the builder will make improvements to
the streambed. A house on 49th Ave.
facing Berwyn Park sold for $521,000, and several huge
trees in the front yard were removed.
New Berwyn business owners briefly addressed the
audience – Cynthia W. from Hullabaloo Rage Room allows patrons to relieve
tensions by smashing assorted items they bring to destroy, or items provided by
the business. Melissa H. from Eyez on
You Beauty offers various beauty/health treatments and procedures.
Jim Nealis gave a presentation on
the upcoming 2020 Census. The city will
mail two postcards to city addresses reminding folks to fill out the
Census. The Census Bureau will mail a
postcard in mid-March, informing people they can fill out the Census via the
internet or by phone or by mail. The
Census counts people actually ‘residing’ in the city on April 1st,
or who usually sleep and receive mail in College
who rent rooms in Berwyn
from home owners should be counted by the home owner on his/her census form as
a renter or boarder.
Kevin Young presented information
about issues of concern involving the proposed ‘work-force’ apartment building
proposed across the street from Branchville VFD. The site formerly included the home of the
city’s first mayor, Mr. Duvall. The fire
dept. first building was erected in 1923 and greatly expanded in 1954. The VFD erected a monument and preserved
trees from the Duvall homesite, the home having been demolished in the early
1960s when State Hwy.
built University Blvd. Cruz forced them to move the monument. In 1987 Cruz Development purchased the site
which had been rezoned for apartments.
Cruz signed an agreement with our Civic Assn., agreeing to items such as
allowing a proper turning space for fire trucks, providing on-site 24-hour
management, etc. But their construction
plans fell through and the spot remained vacant. About 2015 Cruz again announced plans for
apartments, but their new plans seem to ignore the BDCA agreement and to
violate numerous zoning restrictions.
The site requires 50% green space, but new plans
only allow 30%. The site was supposed to
require about 50% one-bedroom units, the new plan is well under that, which
creates concerns the building will not provide enough parking spaces. The VFD states the site is about 60 spaces
short of requirements – where will those extra cars park – on FD property,
local streets? Will drivers use the FD
traffic light to enter University
Blvd., interfering with the FD access to that
road? BVFD member Tom Tanner stated Cruz
is planning “too much development for too little land”. There is agreement that the bldg. would not
become student apartments. Karyn and
Lily mentioned concerns about controlled/gated parking, lighting on parking
lots, noise mitigation, the use of a 30 year-old
traffic study. Mr. Gregory wondered if
the bldg. qualifies for city tax credits? Some claimed Cruz is awaiting new zoning laws
that might allow even fewer parking spaces.
It appears that ‘site plans’ can expire, so is the agreement made with
BDCA now expired also? The meeting
attendees seemed quite concerned about the new development plans.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:05
Notes compiled by Jim Nealis
The meeting ended at 8:50 p.m.
Notes compiled by Jim Nealis