Berwyn District Civic Association Meeting

November 16, 2017

 

Meeting came to order at 7:35 p.m.  Meeting held at the White Lotus Wellness Center Annex.  Board members in attendance: Chad Stern, Bob Catlin, Karyn Keating-Volke, Kevin Young, Tim Triplett, Jim Nealis.

 

First order of business was a “Thank You” tribute for neighborhood resident Russell Robinette, who works diligently to keep our neighborhood neat and clean.  He received a proclamation certificate and a gift card to Burger King.  Following the presentation, refreshments were provided to those at the meeting by Anne Contee of White Lotus and donations from others.

 

Ray Ranker  from College Park Estates spoke in support of “small donor funded elections” in Prince George’s Co.  Similar efforts have won support in Howard and Montgomery Cos.  Essentially, candidates for local office can “opt in” or “opt out” of the program.  Candidates cannot accept money from outside the county, but small donations they receive from inside the county can be matched from a county government fund. A $25 donation can be multiplied up to 6 times by the fund to help candidates “compete” against better-funded candidates.  There is a maximum cut-off amount.  Some meeting attendees signed a petition to County Councilwoman Glaros asking her to support this.

 

The minutes of our October meeting were accepted and approved.  Treasurer Chad Stern explained why Bank of America had placed a “hold” on our BDCA account – the bank requires an updated list of authorized signatures of our new Board Members who can access the account.  That problem should be corrected in a few days.  Chad also has filed updated Maryland Tax forms for the BDCA to cover 2016 and 2017.

 

Bob Catlin reports the Clarion Hotel on Rt. 1 at Berwyn Rd. is not accepting reservations beyond Nov. 29th.  This property is slated to be the location of a new Lidl grocery store. One attendee expressed concern about traffic from the store – as of now, Berwyn Rd. averages about 2,000 car trips per day.  The large new apartment house on Berwyn House Rd. that was damaged by a fire in May has been torn down to the parking garage level and the builder is preparing to begin erecting a new building.  Branchville Fire Dept. has lost a lawsuit over the nearby “Cruz” property where a 6 or 7 story apartment building is proposed, but new regulations may only allow a 4-story building, so this project may be on hold.  One person asked if absentee landlord/investor owned homes can be limited to a certain number, but Bob said probably not.  He stated higher home prices should deter people from such investments and encourage more home purchases by families.  Bob also mentioned that many college towns limit the number of ‘non-related’ adults who can live in a home to three, or sometimes just two individuals, but Prince George’s Co. (which controls local zoning) allows five, and the County has shown little interest in changing that.  Several attendees indicated homes here often have more than five – Bob said the city does not really enforce this rule.  One person mentioned a home near her was purchased through a HUD loan which requires the purchaser to live in the home, but BDCA member Karyn Keating-Volke said the law requires you to “intend” to live there, but this is easily circumvented.  The home in question is entirely student-occupied at this time.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 p.m.

 

Notes compiled by Jim Nealis