Berwyn District Civic Association Meeting

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 Park.  Students 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 p.m.

 

Notes compiled by Jim Nealis

 

The meeting ended at 8:50 p.m.

 

Notes compiled by Jim Nealis