A motion to accept the Treasurer’s report into the record was made, seconded, and passed.
4. Agenda Item 4. Special Guests, Discussion of University of Maryland’s Purchase of Washington Post Site. Gloria Aparicio Blackwell, the University’s Assistant to the Vice President for Community Relations, introduced herself, and then introduced Mr. Carlos Colella, Director of Capital Projects, and Mr. Frank Brewer, Assistant Vice President, Facilities Management. The University of Maryland plans to purchase the recently closed Washington Post (WP) facility on Greenbelt Road, northeast of the neighborhood. Mr. Colella made a relocation proposal slide presentation, which he had previously presented to the Mayor and City Council. Most of the facilities that would move to the former WP site are currently located on the proposed East Campus development site. The greenhouse has already been located elsewhere on campus. Facilities currently on the East Campus site that would move to the WP site are the post office, shops, etc. The original plan was to develop East Campus in one stage, but now it is planned to be done in several stages. Before the WP site became available, the University planned to relocate its facilities currently located on the East Campus site to various sites around the campus, including the so-called wooded hillock site. The shuttle bus facility and its repair facility will be moved to parking lot 4i on campus – it will not be moved to the former WP site. The Public Safety unit will be moved to the Pocomoke Building (the old firehouse building). The WP property is approximately 18.5 acres. There are just under 300 parking places. Some units could move to the WP building immediately. The motor pool, vehicle repair unit, mail facility, shop space, and facilities warehouse can all fit on the first floor. The University hopes these units can all be transferred to their new location within one year’s time. Approximately 80–90 people will be working there during that time frame. The route the University’s vehicles will travel from the WP site to the University will be University Boulevard, not Route 1. In terms of commuter traffic, those now traveling to the East Campus site from the north will no longer be contributing to congestion on Route 1 south of Greenbelt Road. Mr. Colella believes that there will be some behavior modification to avoid driving in heavy traffic times.
Most of the employees at the former WP site will be getting their orders and dispatched within 30 minutes of their arrival in the morning, so trucks would probably be leaving the facility between 6:00am and 7:30am, and returning between 2:15pm and 3:15pm. So their schedule will be off-peak, traffic-wise. There will probably be about 150 vehicles (pick-up trucks and panel vans) leaving the WP site each morning, within a two-hour window. Noise of coming and going should not be a problem for people living alongside the site.
There is expected to be about 275 employees at the former WP site once it is fully up
and running. The guests were aware of the covenant that BDCA had with the Washington Post. The guests assured the audience that University employees at the WP site would not cut
through the neighborhood. The University intends to be a good neighbor. If we suspected a University employee located at the WP site was cutting through the neighborhood, we should report the tag number to Mr. Brewer, and he will follow up on it. He will make sure the neighborhood has a telephone number to call to report such violations, if necessary.
The University has no plans at this time to use the railroad stop at the site. Excess library books will also be stored at the facility. There will be no 24/7 shops. They have a night shift (approximately a dozen people)
that ends at 11pm. There is a small emergency crew for the hours 11pm to 6am.
Security for the site will be provided by University police. There may be someone staffing the gate at the entrance, and/or staffing the reception area inside the door. That is currently under discussion.
The WP site employees will under no circumstances use our neighborhood for “overflow” parking. There will be a sufficient number of parking places at the WP site. The University’s vehicle fleet located at the WP site will use the fueling station that is
located on the site. The motor pool fleet will be relocated once the shops move in. Mayor Fellows, who was in attendance, suggested that the University do a traffic impact
assessment to address people’s concerns about how the neighborhood might be affected. The second floor of the building will probably be used mostly for storage. An audience member pointed out that the light at Rhode Island Avenue and University
Boulevard is relatively short, and that it might be difficult to get the 150 trucks expected to leave the site each morning out onto University Boulevard in a timely fashion. The University might want to look into seeing if the length of this light can be lengthened.
Miss Blackwell stated that her office puts out an “E-news” brief and that anyone in the neighborhood can contact her (firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask to be put on the listserv for that.
5. Agenda Item 5. New Business. Lily Fountain, who lives on 48th Avenue, discussed the difficult parking situation on her street. There are 22 houses between Pontiac and Berwyn Road. There is a real problem with emergency access and driveways being almost blocked by parked cars. The number of parked cars, on both sides of the street, has made this street into a virtual one-way street. Stand-offs have been witnessed where 2 cars are facing each other, unable to pass each other, each refusing to give way to the other. Construction workers and students (such as at University View) are part of the problem.
The City Engineer was contacted and came up with two possible solutions: one idea was to require parking permits, the other to erect a no-left-turn sign on 48th Avenue at the top of Pontiac.
President Kevin Young said he would contact Lily sometime later, and that if Lily could pull together some affected residents they could all meet together to try to come up with a solution. A request to include the end of 48th, at Ruatan, was made. The Mayor said he would try to attend the meeting.
Councilman Jack Perry said that Duvall Field area requires parking permits during the season the field is used. Permits can be restricted to 3 per household. There are only 60 parking spaces available on the street. Two of the houses on the street do not have a driveway. Restricting parking permits to a certain number per household and restricting the
need for a permit to certain times or days of the week could be the solution.
Harry Pitt led the streetlight committee. Twenty-one streetlights were reported to Pepco as being out. Pepco has replaced the bulbs; this has already made a big improvement. Since the last meeting, President Kevin Young has sent a letter to Maryland Auto Parts on behalf of BDCA, thanking that business for enhancing its appearance.
At the last Board meeting, Councilman Jack Perry submitted a draft of a letter to the Washington Post, thanking it for its contributions to the neighborhood over the years. The corresponding secretary will write up the letter.
President Kevin Young tried yet again to get the money the Washington Post agreed to contribute toward the moonbounce from last year’s Berwyn Day’s festivities. President Young also sent a letter to Bob Ryan about stop sign enforcement in the neighborhood, as well as about the vandalism occurring in the James Adams park.
The Berwyn Cafe is placing ads in the Berwyn News for two months. There is a 10 percent discount ad in this month’s newsletter. It is important to support our local businesses.
One of President Young’s goals is to form an audit committee to look over the BDCA’s finances. The committee will probably need to meet no more than once or twice a year. Please let President Young know if you are available to help plan this year’s Berwyn Day festivities.
Sandy Forrest reported that she is working on a few projects in Lakeland regarding Lakeland history. This year is Lakeland’s 120th anniversary and there will be several fundraising events, including a dinner dance on March 12th (the original February 14th date was snowed out) and a music concert (at the chapel on campus) in May. President Young suggested both events be mentioned in the next issue of the newsletter.
8. Agenda Item 8. Council Reports. Councilman Bob Catlin reported that University of Maryland President Dan Mote will be resigning at the end of August. A search committee will be formed soon. We should hope that the next President will be city-friendly and interested in improving town-gown relations.
State Senator Jim Rosapepe, who was in attendance, said that he talked to University of Maryland Chancellor Brit Kirwan and suggested that someone from the City be on the search committee. Chancellor Kirwan said he would consider it.
Councilman Jack Perry spoke about the speed camera in school zones ordinances. The City got some money for surveillance cameras. The City is working on its strategic plan. Councilman Perry reminded members of the audience that the Census forms would be arriving and to put down College Park as our City on our tax forms.
Senator Rosapepe spoke about the speed camera in school zones issue. He said that he worked hard to get it passed. The University and Holy Redeemer will both be considered schools vis-à-vis this ordinance. The City can put these cameras on city roads but not county roads. Senator Rosapepe asked that we let him know if we want a camera somewhere where the City can’t place one, and he’ll see what he can do.
Mayor Andy Fellows stated that the City Council voted to not oppose the University’s
purchase of the Washington Post site conditional on PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes).
An audience member stated that the staff at the University of Maryland are good people for the most part and that he doesn’t anticipate any problems we might encounter will be with the staff. Any problems we’ve had have been with the upper echelons at the University. But he thinks that the University will be a good neighbor.
Another audience member stated that she would like to discuss the vandalism and loud parties in rental properties at a future BDCA meeting. The Mayor said that he had recently attended a meeting an Old Town about the same thing.
Senator Rosapepe reported that the plan is to get a new president at the University by September 1st (or at least an acting president). We might consider putting together between now and September 1st a list of priorities that we can then present to the new president. Harry Pitt suggested that we could do that right away, using findings from the Neighborhood Preservation Committee.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:50 pm.
Meeting Attendees (from sign-in list):
Jerry Anzulovic Robert Hunter Gloria B. Liesl Koch Frank Brewer Janet McGrath Bob Catlin Christine Nagle Marina Dullnig Jack Perry Andrew Fellows Harry Pitt Lily Fountain Forrest Tyler Larry E. Garnes Sandy Tyler Michelle Garnes Larry Wenzel Harvey Himmelfarb Patrick Wojahn Margaret Himmelfarb Joshua Young Doug Hunter Lori Young
Liesl Koch, Recording Secretary, BDCA.