Berwyn District Civic Association

Thursday, November 15, 2012

1. Agenda Item 1. Officers Present. Officers present were President Kevin Young, 1st Vice President Harry Pitt, Corresponding Secretary Timothy Triplett, and Recording Secretary Liesl Koch.

2. Agenda Item 2. Koon’s Ford Property. A motion to suspend the normal order of business in order to hear a presentation about the Koon’s Ford property was made, seconded, and passed.

Christopher Hatcher, Andrew Shyuckra, and Chip Reed introduced themselves. Mr. Shyuckra described Koon’s Ford’s plans for its former automotive site. Koon’s is working with Keane Enterprises to redevelop the 2.5-acre site. They plan to put a 157-room Marriott Courtyard franchise there, along with 24,000 square feet of retail on the first floor. Check-in, meeting rooms, etc., will be accessible through the back of the building. The plans are to have a 3-level garage in the back, with approximately 280-290 spaces. Approximately 18 surface spaces will be adjacent
to the hotel and retail. The main entrance to parking will be from Berwyn House Road. The area for hotel check-in will be in the back of the hotel. They hope CVS will lease most of the retail space; brokers are currently actively monitoring the market right now to find other tenants. They anticipate that the primary users will be visitors to the University and to M Square.
The planners believe the design will maintain a healthy buffer from the neighborhood. The hill is a natural buffer, as there’s a 40-foot difference in height, and they hope to maintain a 60- to 70- foot buffer from the back of that garage to the property line. Those two buffers, along with the existing natural tree stand, should help mitigate the impact on the neighborhood. The traffic study they conducted showed a very nominal impact on the neighborhood. In response to a Berwyn resident’s expressing concern that the development would not provide adequate parking for its
own employees, as has been the case with other retail in nearby buildings, Mr. Shyuckra said he did not know how many employees there would be and how many would need parking spaces. Hotels tend to not contribute much to peak traffic times, as their guests tend not to arrive or depart at those same times of day.
The site is in a flood plain; they are required by code to raise the finished floor elevation above the flood plain, so there will be steps leading to the entrance. They’ve designed the steps to look a little grander and more attractive than what you normally see. They will be planting some trees
and shrubs to enhance the landscape.
The Koon’s project people are currently putting together a package to submit to Park and Planning. If submitted by next week, it could possibly be accepted sometime in December. If it is, there may be a planning board hearing sometime in February. This particular application would have to go to the County Council – hopefully sometime in March or April 2013. Half the property is zoned for one thing, the other half for another, so they’re trying to have the property rezoned. After all these other approvals, they would have to obtain a building permit, which could take another 6
to 12 months. If all goes as planned, they hope to have a permit to start construction this time next year.

3. Agenda Item 3. Minutes from Last Meeting. A motion to accept the minutes from the October

2012 meeting, with two corrections, was made, seconded, and passed.

4. Agenda Item 4. Treasurer’s Report. Treasurer Lori Young was not in attendance. President

Young reported on her behalf. The current balance is $4,707.70. This includes deposits of
$159.00 and expenses of $352.85 (Minuteman Press) and $41.94 (website fee) since the previous balance of $4,943.49.

5. Agenda Item 5. New Business. There was no new business.

6. Agenda Item 6. Councilmen Reports. City Councilman Bob Catlin reported that the WSSC work has not begun yet because of a problem—he expects the work to begin next spring.

The City is going to make the sidewalk along the first part of Berwyn Road wider (5 feet) next spring.
The City has gotten the okay from Holy Redeemer to have the FishNet try to get a liquor license.
Councilman Monroe Dennis stated that the subject of traffic light synchronization, especially from downtown College Park to Greenbelt Road, has been the subject of discussion at the City Council. The City Engineer told Mr. Dennis that he has been in touch with the State Highway people about that and that he expects new synchronization plans to be in place sometime in the next month or two. Mr. Dennis would like more attention paid to the traffic light at Berwyn House Road and Route 1 during the planning of the Koons Ford property.
The City’s planning staff produced a document on the development efforts up and down Route
1. There may be some new apartment buildings on the west side, on the old Lasick’s property.
College Park Day was about as successful this year as it was last year. Early voting at Lakeland Elementary School, and the attendant traffic, may have discouraged some people from attending.
A study group for rent stabilization and quality of life has been formed; there are 20 or so members. An agenda for its meeting on November 19th was published today. That agenda mentions in general some of the metrics that will be used to govern the group and mentions the possible formation of a number of subgroups to study particular projects. The study group consists of a number of City Council members, a number of citizens, some landlords, students from the University’s student government, and University personnel.

7. Agenda Item 7. Mayor’s Report. Mayor Andrew Fellows reported that College Park Day was a big success. It was also exciting to see all the early voters.

Mayor Fellows said that it was possible the City could avoid rent stabilization if it could provide incentives so there was less interest in renting to students.
The College Park Academy is moving forward, albeit glacially. The old Friends School building needs a lot of work so the Academy might now open as early as previously though. They hope to use this building for most if not all the Academy.
The University is concerned about public safety in the City although UMD’s chief of police says it is a pretty safe area. There has been talk about expanding the UMD police force into the City and holding University students accountable for off-campus behavior. The UMD police could, for example, respond to calls related to student parties. The City hopes to announce something on this initiative by the end of the year.

8. Agenda Item 8. Other Business. President Young reported that the neighborhood’s Christmas

Party will be held on December 15, from 1pm to 3pm, in Fealy Hall.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:20pm

Meeting attendees (from sign-up sheet):

Robert Catlin Monroe Dennis Liesl Koch Harry Pitt
Acquenetta Thurston
Robert Thurston Timothy Triplett Forrest Tyler Sandra Tyler Barbara Valentich
Richard Valentich Ferhat Yalcin Kevin Young
Liesl Koch, Recording Secretary, BDCA.