Berwyn District Civic Association Thursday, November 18, 2010
  1. Agenda Item 1. Introductions and Door Prize. Kevin Young, President of the BDCA, called the meeting to order. Members of the audience introduced themselves. Tickets to a door prize left over from Berwyn Day were distributed to audience members.

  2. Agenda Item 2. Officers Present. The recording secretary noted officers present: President Kevin Young, 1st Vice President Harry Pitt, Recording Secretary Liesl Koch, Treasurer Lori Young, Board of Director Jerry Anzulovic, Neighborhood Watch Director Kevin Carter, and Berwyn News Editor Michele Garnes.

  3. Agenda Item 3. Minutes from Last Meeting. A motion to accept the minutes from the October 2010 meeting was made, seconded, and passed.

  4. Agenda Item 4. Treasurer’s Report. Treasurer Lori Young reported that the balance as of 11/18/10 was $3,613.97. This figure includes $701 in deposits, $420 paid to Minuteman Press for the publication of two newsletters, and a $394 expense for a laptop computer, which will be used in producing the BDCA newsletter. A motion to accept the Treasurer’s report subject to audit was made, seconded, and passed.

5. Agenda Item 5. Special Guest. A motion to suspend the normal order of business in order to accommodate the special guest was made, seconded, and passed. University of Maryland (UMD) Campus Police Chief David Mitchell was unable to attend due to a schedule conflict at the last minute. Major Chris Jagoe, substituting for Chief Mitchell, introduced himself. Major Jagoe briefly summarized Chief Mitchell’s career. Major Jagoe himself has been employed at the University of Maryland – which he had attended as a student – for 26 years. Over the years he moved through the ranks until obtaining his current position as supervisor. UMD has concurrent jurisdiction with the Prince George’s County Police. Currently the concurrent jurisdiction starts at Lakeland and goes to Rowalt Drive and Calvert Road on Route 1. It goes up Route 193 at the Comcast Center to the intersection with Adelphi Road, and up Metzerott Road as far as the UMD System property. The larger section of it is Old Town College Park between College Avenue and Knox Road, back to the railroad tracks. The UMD Police force also of course has jurisdiction over the old Washington Post property, now called the Severn Building. The Pocomoke Building – the old firehouse next to the Maryland Book Exchange – houses the security camera operations and building security services. There are over 300 security cameras on campus to monitor. That operation will be moved to the Severn Building. In response to a question from the audience, Major Jagoe said that the biggest problem on campus is theft. It has proven difficult to convince students of the importance of locking their doors. In spite of three layers of security in the high-rise dorms, students have managed to circumvent them all. The Thirsty Turtle recently surrendered its liquor license, but alcohol consumption by the student population, including underage students, remains a big problem. A stabbing took place near the Thirsty Turtle recently by people who had been patronizing the bar earlier that night.

The Santa Fe Café had also contributed to the City’s alcohol-related problems but has been long-shuttered. It is estimated that it would cost close to $1 million to bring the building up to code, install sprinklers, etc., so its future is up in the air for now.

The campus police talk to incoming freshmen about security concerns. They also have an orientation for the students’ parents. The police remind the parents that “we can’t police our way out of it” if students continue to leave doors unlocked, etc.

1st Vice President Harry Pitt remarked that he had been to a noise hearing a month ago and heard that the campus police were patrolling Old Town and had stopped to talk to students in a house where there had been some problems. Mr. Pitt was pleased with this kind of policing. Major Jagoe replied that the campus police hadn’t had concurrent jurisdiction over the bars and shopping center in College Park before, and that he thinks the area the campus police patrol will have to grow larger. He anticipates that they will pick up some jurisdiction. The Park Police want to keep jurisdiction of the future park to be located just south of the new Varsity student apartment building going up. He doesn’t hear of many problems related to the University View property. He believes the University View management has adopted a disciplinary role regarding its residents; for example, its residents have been told that there will be fines imposed if they bring in characters who cause trouble.

The campus police have seen problems with house parties in Old Town. Residents in houses hosting some of the parties have claimed that they didn’t know who the kegs on their property belonged to. The liquor board has very limited jurisdiction over what goes on in houses. The campus police have worked with the City in the past, and the State’s attorney has become involved by, for instance, sending letters to the property owners, putting them on notice that their tenants run an unruly house. Some landowners have gotten some pretty significant fines for the behavior of their renters.

The campus police have initiated a “Safe House” program, where the police would notify renters of the risks they are taking in hosting large house parties. For example, the police will inform the renters that they could be arrested if they serve alcohol to minors, or that someone attending the party might be casing the house to see what is worth stealing in it.

The campus police do not have a SWAT-type unit.

There are currently 89 full-time police officers on campus and 120 student police aides, who can be seen riding Segways, etc.

Berwyn House Road is the jurisdiction of the Prince George’s County Police.

City Councilman Jack Perry stated that in the event of loud parties, residents should call the police first and the City’s noise enforcement unit second.

For serious crimes such as murder, etc., that are outside the campus police’s usual jurisdiction, the campus police will turn over the detective work to the Prince George’s County Police.

President Young asked if it would be possible for the campus police to patrol down Roanoke Street, at the back of the old Washington Post building. There have been a number of vehicle-related crimes (break-ins, etc.) on that street. Major Jagoe replied that we would have to “get in line” because a number of other local communities have asked them to patrol certain areas that are off campus as well. The campus police already lose money doing work off the campus.

The campus police receive 60,000 calls for service per year.

Someone in the audience remarked that the Washington Post had a “graffiti-free” policy concerning its property; he was worried that University of Maryland wouldn’t show the same commitment toward the property, as it did not appear to have a similar policy for its buildings on campus. Major Jagoe disagreed that graffiti is allowed to remain on buildings on campus.

When the East Campus development begins, the campus police will have to relocate their headquarters. The old firehouse building – the Pocomoke Building – needs a lot of work. But the plan is to have the police headquartered there.

Someone in the audience asked about the University’s policy on off-campus student conduct. Major Jagoe replied that the University has expanded its policy after problems with rioting on Route 1 after games. The student conduct rule was also used in a stabbing that occurred outside R.J. Bentley’s.

Someone in the audience asked about the increasing prevalence of scooters on campus and in the area. Major Jagoe replied that the University’s legal team is looking at the campus’ ability to enforce a helmet law. Off campus, State law says that if the vehicle is under 49cc’s, the rider is not required either to insure or to register it. That said, the campus has a pretty aggressive campaign against riding scooters on sidewalks, etc.

The pathway under Route 1 near the firehouse is the jurisdiction of Park and Planning police.

Someone in the audience stated that, with the holidays coming up, it’s important to

remind student renters who will be leaving town to thoroughly secure their residences.

Major Jagoe said that the campus police sends out a mass mailing with crime prevention

tips.

6. Agenda Item 6. Call for New Business. A member of the audience stated that she has taken photos of graffiti that has been along the bike path between the park and Lakeland for some time, and wondered if we were allowed to paint over the graffiti. President Young stated that the Prince George’s County Police used to have graffiti-removing equipment. He asked the audience member to send him the photos of the graffiti and he would see to it that either the City or County would look after it.

7. Agenda Item 7. City Councilmen’s Reports. Councilman Robert Catlin reported that the Cordish Company, which will be the developer of the East Campus development, will host a public forum at Ritchie Coliseum to solicit comments from the community about the proposed development. The City Council’s Redistricting Committee will put together a plan after the U.S. Census numbers are released in the spring. The College Park resident survey is now online. It can be completed in approximately 20 minutes; you don’t have to complete it all at once. It’s due the second week in December. The contract for the Maryland Book Exchange property is going ahead. University View has applied for building permits for the third phase of its development. The third building will be erected where the bank and Jiffy Lube properties are. Someone in the audience asked if there was anything we could do to encourage a business such as Trader Joe’s to establish a store in the area, such as on the old Koons Ford property. Council Catlin responded that the parking potential on that site has been a deterrent to some prospective retailers.

In response to a question from the audience, Councilman Catlin stated that the first phase of the East Campus development is still supposed to include the Birchmere and graduate student housing.

Councilman Jack Perry stated that the City’s charter requires that voter registration be examined every 10 years – usually right after the U.S. Census results are released.

When the apartment housing developments on the west side of Route 1 are completed,

there will be 2,000 beds. The developers refer to their population potential by the number of

beds, not bedrooms.

A number of people have stated that they would like a supermarket on the old Koons

Ford property but supermarkets don’t like “structured parking lots.” Whole Foods looked at

College Park for a potential site but didn’t find a space that would have suitable parking.

Meanwhile, the students at University View and other nearby properties have to eat at

McDonalds and have no convenient place at which to buy their necessities.

Cluck-U-Chicken was 3 or 4 months behind on its rent and is now gone.

The City Council is now meeting earlier in the evening and adjourning earlier too. Mayor Fellows keeps their discussions moving along at an efficient pace.

The Maryland Book Exchange property will bear watching. The Civic Association for Old Town is squarely against the proposed plans for it because of the increased number of students it would bring to its community. Mr. Perry doesn’t know how close the nearest owner-occupied residential property is to the Maryland Book Exchange site.

The development formerly known as Starview is now called the Enclave. What we see of it from Route 1 is only half the size it will be.

8. Agenda Item 8. Report by Mayor Fellows. College Park Mayor Andrew Fellows spoke. The new President of the University of Maryland – Wallace Loh – met with Mayor Fellows during his (Loh’s) first week in office. They will have dinner together soon. President Loh also went to Ledo’s recently for an event. Having good relations with the City seems to be important to him. Mayor Fellows was pleased to see Major Jagoe at the meeting. There is a lot of collaboration between the City and University police. The Old Town Civic Association isn’t as old as BDCA but has been around for a long time, and its members are very concerned about the plans for the Maryland Book Exchange property. Their concerns are and should be important to the City Council.

The University may allow up to 4,000 new students but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the additional students will be coming to the College Park campus. UMD President Loh has a background in working with municipalities. He and the Mayor discussed the student drinking problem.

    1. Agenda Item 9. Report by BDCA President Young. President Young reminded the audience that holiday wreaths are available for sale. Proceeds will support BDCA. Order forms can be found in the newsletter.

    2. The East Campus public forum will be held Tuesday, November 30th, from 7 to 9 pm at Ritchie Coliseum. BDCA’s annual Christmas party will take place December 11, from 2 to 4 pm. Jerry Anzulovic and Lori Young are chairing the planning committee. Estate Buyers – located at the entrance to the old Washington Post building – has been closed the past 5 weeks, but we don’t know why. 1st Vice President Pitt will be presiding at the January meeting, as President Young will be unable to attend.
  1. Agenda Item 10. Unfinished Business. The door prize – a dinner for two at the Silver Diner

– was won by Mr. Doug Hunter. The property at the end of Berwyn Road is on sale for $4.6 million. There has been activity at the 8501 Rhode Island property – it appears that someone is

considering purchasing it. Someone in the audience asked if anyone knew anything about the raid that took place that morning at 4713 Berwyn Road. President Young would like someone to represent Berwyn at each of the weekly coffees with police. Up to 40 people attend.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30pm.

Meeting Attendees (from sign-up sheet):

Jerry Anzulovic Gordon Breigher (sp?) Billy Cann Andrea Carpentieri Kevin Carter Robert Catlin Chris Dullnig Marina Dullnig Andrew Fellows Michele Garnes Harvey Himmelfarb Doug Hunter

Liesl Koch, Recording Secretary, BDCA.

Chris Jagoe Liesl Koch Helen Long Ann Perry Jack Perry Harry Pitt Forrest Tyler Sandra Tyler Diane Welsh Larry Wenzel Kevin Young Lori Young