Berwyn District Civic Association

Thursday, February 21, 2008

1. Agenda Item 1. Introductions. Jerry Anzulovic, President of the BDCA, called the meeting to order.

2. Agenda Item 2. Presentation by Steven McBride of Proposed Development in Front of University Towers. Steven McBride, Trey Burke, and Peter Chiweshe of SJM Partners, Inc., made a presentation. When the plan for the building was originally approved, there was going to be an office building in front. The apartment building is student housing. The office buliding would have hidden the parking ramp. SJM Partners, Inc., was able to purchase the Koons QuickLube property. They spent three-quarters of a million dollars to get the office building in the plans. Another building behind the Maryland Bank building was proposed. They were told however that the City really wants student housing. Building will progress in three phases. There will be a 12-story building in front of the parking garage that will house 154 units for student housing. There will be retail on the first floor. SJM plans to work with the City of College Park to put a light at the intersection in front of the building, directly across from the “paper” street that runs off of Berwyn House Road. Osage Street is the street that runs up the hill. The existing Berwyn House Road will be widened to include the “paper” street. Regarding the second phase : SJM has purchased the QuickLube and Maryland Bank building. On this land they’ll put up a 9-story building, with a structured parking garage behind it. During the third phase of the building, they’ll extend the path that goes across Paint Branch. For stream reconstruction there’s a matching grant between the Army Corps of Engineers and P.G. County. The northernmost building will have 950 beds. Currently there are 1,100 beds. SJM’s partners are Clark Construction and Otis Warren. The work is expected to begin in November or December 2008 and is expected to be finished by May 2010. The second new building is expected to take another 15 months to finish. Lot 11B of the University of Maryland is directly behind University View, and that’s where the University wants University View students to park. The idea is that a lot of the residents cars will be parked on the other side of the stream. The City wants the campus to absorb all the parking the new buildings will generate so that the neighborhoods won’t have to. The whole project is expected to cost $140–150 million, if not more. Regarding traffic, we could actually see some traffic reduction if a lot of the students who move to the new development would otherwise have driven to College Park from elsewhere. The units will not be subject to College Park’s rent stabilization, but they will be inspected by the City. The restoration of Paint Branch project will bring the stream back to its original path – currently there’s a lot of erosion behind the Comfort Inn and Jiffy Lube.
3. Agenda Item 3. Discussion of Proposed Berwyn Community Garden. Park and Planning owns the triangle between the trolley trail and Patuxent Avenue. The organizers of the community garden want a letter of support from the BDCA to present to Park and Planning. The organizers have a well-thought-out proposal. We have a brand new director of Park and Planning, so this will be the first community garden he’s worked on. The City Council is also going forward in supporting the garden. The garden committee would be under the control of the BDCA. They have initial seed money from the University. BDCA would not be financially liable for the garden. The organizers have a large device for holding water. The City can deliver water on a truck and has discussed helping out by doing so. A motion to support the organizers’ proposal was made and passed.
4. Agenda Item 4. BDCA Officer Reports. Gary Vunovich passed away. His wife was a Past President of BDCA. In lieu of flowers, he wanted money sent to radio station WAMU. A motion was passed to send $25. The annual potluck will take place on March 29th in the Four Seasons Room of Holy Redeemer. We need a separate flyer to advertise it, rather than just announcing it in the newsletter. The Oasis is the 36-unit condomium building at the western end of Tecumseh. The want to be accepted as part of the community. The City’s trash trucks chronically leak hydraulic oil, which is a problem that needs to be fixed.
5. Agenda Item 5. Council Member Reports. Bob Catlin announced that tThe City has applied to Park and Planning to get approval for the parking garage. Construction could begin as early as April. Some retail will be associated with it. Bob ran into the owner of the proposed new College Park hotel whose project has been approved. Construction may begin by summertime. Jack Perry announced that the City’s budget is coming up. There are interesting proposals and interesting expenses. The City manager presents the budget, and the Council can approve it or not. There will probably bbe a $50–60 per household tax increase to pay for the extra police. We got a grant for $50,000 for a surveillance camera. The University has 300 cameras. The Washington Post is scheduled to close its plant in Old Berwyn in 2010. The City will of course lose the tax dollars associated with it. Verizon is currently installing fiber optic cable in the neighborhood. The grafitti committee has been at work. The Kidwell building has been painted over. Also on the bike path and on the retaining wall next to the path. BDCA is a party of record for the Latino restaurant proposed by the owners of the Mexican market on the north edge of the neighborhood, along Greenbelt Road. We may get a State grant to help pay for extra police.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:20 pm.

Meeting Attendees:

Jerry Anzulovic

Bob Catlin

Monroe Dennis

Doug Hunter

Bonnie O’Donoghue

Coleman O’Donoghue

Jack Perry

Harry Pitt

Tim Triplett

Forrest Tyler

Kevin Young

Liesl Koch, Recording Secretary, BDCA.