Berwyn District Civic Association Thursday, September 15, 2011
  1. Agenda Item 1. Officers Present. Officers present were President Kevin Young, Recording Secretary Liesl Koch, and Board of Director Jerry Anzulovic.
  2. Agenda Item 2. Minutes from Last Meeting. A motion to accept the minutes from the June 2012 meeting was made, seconded, and passed. [The recording secretary will correct a typo in Agenda #5, where President Kevin Young was misidentified.]
  3. Agenda Item 3. Treasurer’s Report. Treasurer Lori Young was unable to be present. President Young reported that BDCA’s previous balance was $3,075.56. The ending balance is $1,887.32, although some expenses have not yet been accounted for, such as a $116 charge for flowers in memory of Gladys Thomas who passed away this week. A motion to accept the Treasurer’s report was made, seconded, and passed.
  4. Agenda Item 4. Mayor Andy Fellows. College Park Mayor congratulated Berwyn on a successful Berwyn Day. He was on his way to a County briefing in City Hall on streamlining the permitting process. The County wants to shed its reputation as a difficult place to do business. The Mayor will return to next month’s meeting when candidates for the City’s upcoming election will speak to the audience.
  5. Agenda Item 5. Unfinished Business. There was no unfinished business from the previous meeting.

6. Agenda Item 6. President’s Report. National Night Out was on August 2nd. President Young would like us to consider possibly participating in a larger group, such as the City’s, next year. August is a busy time of year for people. Berwyn Day was very successful. President Young is waiting to hear about a grant from the City that would cover the expense of the band that performed. Last year we had no renewed memberships at Berwyn Day; this year we got nine memberships and two Berwyn Day donations, one for $35 and one for $10. There were also two donations to the Civic Association, one for $100 and one for $50. An unnamed individual donated $500 toward the cost of setting up the surveillance cameras (it will not be used to buy the cameras themselves). There were 46 individuals who volunteered for Berwyn Day. Several individuals met over the summer with City Engineer Steve Halpern and two individuals from the State Highway Administration about the traffic flow around the parking lot of the Village Pump liquor store. The State Highway people have not completed their report yet. Steve Halpern was asked at the same time if he could get the chunks of concrete that were torn up during the big snowstorm two years ago removed. Chunks of concrete were also left after a repair to a storm drain. Chunks were removed from one location but not the other, so President Young will contact Steve Halpern again. The surveillance cameras should be up and running soon. Holy Redeemer is going to be celebrating its 80th anniversary on October 14th with a Family Fun Night, which will be held in the parking lot and have a carnival-like atmosphere. President Young said the church has been very supportive of us over the years, so he encouraged us to support it. Over the summer, President Young received something from the Maryland National Park Police about a new initiative called Operation Care. It seems to be a community policing program.

President Young will report to Steve Halpern about a chunk of concrete on Berwyn Road that

needs to be removed.

7. Agenda Item 7. Councilman Catlin’s Report. Councilman Bob Catlin reported that the Pregnancy Aid Center on Greenbelt Road recently purchased the Compassion Center on Route 1 and Erie. A lot of money has been spent fixing up the place. The Pregnancy Aid Center is not moving from its current location, so they must be planning to use the new building for other activities.

The College Park Hotel will be demolished soon and will become a 50-room Best Western Hotel. The Koon’s Ford property will become a 150-room hotel and restaurant.

Councilman Catlin went to the ribbon-cutting of the Varsity last week. Looney’s hopes to open by the end of the month. There will be 28 tables outside. Inside, there are going to be 50 television sets and a very long bar, but there will be room for a lot of tables as well. Looney’s plans to operate a shuttle bus, but what its route will be is not yet known. Royal Farms, at the north end of the Varsity, is scheduled to open by the end of the month. The retail space will also house a salad place.

There was a meeting last week in City Hall about the the Cafritz project. Whole Foods has signed a contract to have a store there, provided it can open by 2014. The project’s first phase will include the Whole Foods store and other commercial outlets. The second phase will include additional commercial outlets and 900 units of housing. They’re exploring the possibility of extending the development beyond the railroad tracks, but that would be a $15 million project so Councilman Catlin doesn’t think it will be financed. Concerns about traffic will have to be resolved before some people are on board.

The Trolley Trail will be extended through Riverdale Park and Hyattsville. In Hyattsville, there’s a shortage of parking at Busboys and Poets because more people are

going there than expected. Azteca restaurant has opened on Route 1. Traffic on Route 1 wasn’t as bad at the beginning of the school year this year than it has been

in years past.

None of the new student housing buildings are full so we will probably see more competition trying to lure students to those buildings. There is a proposal to build an apartment building on the site where the Maryland Book Exchange is currently located.

The Enclave’s retail space is not close to being filled. Buildings on the east side of Route 1 cannot exceed 4 stories.

8. Agenda Item 8. Councilman Perry’s Report. Councilman Jack Perry stated that the Enclave is supposed to build a second building behind the current one; the two will be connected. Some of the current developments planned may not materialize because of the current financial situation. For example, the City, in partnership with the University of Maryland, bought and renovated some houses and is now having a hard time selling them, despite a $5,000 subsidy for the purchaser, who is not required to work for the City.

Holy Redeemer will be having a pancake breakfast soon – please support them, as they have been very supportive of us. The City Council is going to send a letter to an official with the U.S. Postal Service regarding the complaints it has been hearing about mail delivery, particularly in north College Park. Maryland’s General Assembly is looking at ethics reform and has created two sets of guidelines: one for smaller towns and one for bigger towns. The City is working with the City of Bowie and other towns in the County to get more zoning approval. Currently, there is a multiplicity of steps one has to go through in order to get approval.

The City has finished its redistricting process; the final plan has been approved by the Mayor and City Council. Berwyn is still in the same numerical district as before, but the boundaries have changed a little bit; our district has picked up some dormitories on campus.

Councilman Perry suggested that BDCA send a letter to thank Park and Planning for cleaning up the park after the storm so that it would be ready for Berwyn Day. President Young said he would ask the Corresponding Secretary to do so.

Often, when students vacate a rental house, they throw out a lot of special trash that the City has to come pick up, and then when the landlord cleans the house, he or she leaves another pile of trash for pickup. If you see a pile of trash that haven’t been picked up in a reasonable amount of time, call Public Works and ask them to pick it up the next time they make their rounds.

College Park operates a Pavement Management System which addreses pavement problems as soon as possible rather than letting them deteriorate. Councilman Perry invited members of the audience to call him if they have any questions.

  1. Agenda Item 9. Special Guest: Ferhat Yalcin, Fishnet. Mr. Ferhat Yalcin, owner of Fishnet restaurant, which will open soon in the old Berwyn Cafe space on Berwyn Road, stated that he has been in the restaurant business for a long time. Fishnet will serve mainly fish, cooked to order (deep-fried or grilled), served on ciabatta and accompanied by homemade sauces. He will serve one or two kinds of soup and probably lobster rolls and soft-shell crab sandwiches. It will be a casual place; people will order at the counter but there will be tables for approximately 40 people. He hopes to open in the next two or three weeks. It will be open just for dinner for the first week or two, but then he hopes to open for lunch as well.
  2. Agenda Item 10. Non-Agenda Items. College Park’s Old Town’s civic association will hold a meeting on the proposed development on the site where Maryland Book Exchange is located this coming Monday at 7:30pm at the old parish house.

Most of the plantings at the end of Berwyn Road died over the summer. We can possibly get money for new plantings from the College Park Committee for a Better Environment. Something low-maintenace – not roses – would be preferable. We can consult with the City’s horticulturist to see what would thrive there.

The City does enforce its codes about when trash cans may be put out to the curb and when they must be put away.

Jerry Anzulovic and Chuck Ireton are updating the welcome wagon.

Councilman Catlin should have more information about the East Campus development next month. The proposed Phase 1 of the project, submitted recently to the City Council, has been scaled back considerably.

The Severn Building (the old Washington Post building) is one of the largest buildings in the State of Maryland with solar panels. IKEA will be installing solar panels too, so two of the largest buildings in the State with solar panels will both be in College Park. The cost of solar panels has come down drastically in the past two years. The City Council has been discussing the possibility of installing them in the City’s parking garage.

The University of Maryland cleaned out the culverts around the Severn property before the big storm last week; the culverts handled the runoff water properly as a result. Kevin Davis, of College Park, is now second in command on the P.G. County Police force.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:20pm.

Meeting Attendees (from sign-up sheet):

Jerry Anzulovic Harvey Himmelfarb Jack Perry
Bob Catlin Margaret Himmelfarb Carol Savard
Rob Bock Doug Hunter Robert Weber
Gordon B ... ? Liesl Koch Kevin Young
Andrew Fellows Thomas McGonigle

Liesl Koch, Recording Secretary, BDCA.