4. Agenda Item 4. Zoning issues. BDCA President Young was approached by Alvin Jenkins in spring of this year. Mr. Jenkins is one of the biggest property owners in Berwyn. Mr. Jenkins informed Kevin that he was appealing the current zoning in Berwyn. Mr. Chad Williams, a Planner Coordinator with the Maryland‐National Capital Park & Planning Commission, and Terry Schum, Director of Planning for the City of College Park, were invited to BDCA’s meeting to discuss what a “CA” zone is, what change Mr. Jenkins is proposing to make to it, what the process is, and what it will mean to Berwyn. Mr. Williams showed a map of different zones for the county. There are about 60 different kinds of zones. He gave examples of several different kinds. A “CA” zone stands for commercial‐ancillary zone. It is a small‐scale neighborhood zone, with maximum usage of 3 acres. Eating and drinking establishments are allowed, but no drive‐thrus. Medical offices, barbershops, etc., okay, but not things like Jify Lube or gas stations. Less than 1 percent of the entire County is zoned “CA”. The creation of the CA zone predates everyone who currently works in MNCPPC right now. The CA zone has changed twice – both times in 1989. Landscaping standards were incorporated into the CA zone. The changes in 1989 also corrected previous errors in the zoning. One way to change zoning standards is for the County Council to look at zoning more closely – but that is not on the upcoming agenda or in the FY11 budget. Another way is for the property owner to apply to have the zone changed. They have to demonstrate that there has been a change in the community that warrants the change. It is a difficult and uncertain process and is therefore attempted rather rarely. Berwyn would possibly be looking at an MXT (mixed use transportation) zone. But the burden would be on Mr. Jenkins, who wants to expand his opportunities for the properties he owns in the commercial area of Berwyn, to show that he meets certain criteria. Dannielle Glaros, who works for Councilman Eric Olson, attended the meeting. She said that the other option is to explore legislation to see if more kinds of businesses can be added to the existing CA zone. Councilman Olson’s office is waiting for input from the City before taking any action. They wrap up the legislation session in October, so the earliest they could move forward with any legislation would be in January.
Mr. Jenkins’ attorney is Rush Shipley. There are other individuals in addition to Mr. Jenkins who might be interested in pursuing this. Mr. Jenkins has stated that he can’t rent his properties because the parking restrictions are onerous. So how would zoning changes affect the parking situation? The parking is based on the use – it isn’t based on its own. Mr. Jenkins could always ask
for a “departure” from parking restrictions. He only wants to change the uses in the code for CA zoning. The idea is that they would be neighborhood‐oriented businesses.
Ms. Terry Schum reported that the College Park Planning Department got a call from Mr. Shipley asking for a meeting, so they met with him. Mr. Jenkins is mainly interested in finding tenants, and he thinks the problem he has finding them is mainly related to zoning restrictions. The City staff decided that the zoning category needed to be revisited and revised. However, the College Park City Council does not plan to put this on its agenda anytime soon.
If the City Council makes a change to legislation regarding use, then Mr. Jenkins could put any allowable business there, without community input.
Someone observed that other local communities’s commercial districts that were built before cars, similar to ours—such as Riverdale and Mt. Ranier—have also had to deal with a lack of parking. Ms. Schum said that if a business were to move in without the required parking, it would have to ask for an exception to providing on‐site parking.
The end of Berwyn Road is zoned “I1,” which stands for “heavy industrial.”
In response to someone’s question about whether windmills could be allowed, Ms. Schum said no, because zoning is by default restrictive – i.e., if the zoning doesn’t say you can have it, then you can’t.
More information on planning and zoning in Prince George’s County is available at www.mncppc.org/pgco.
(A lot of stolen property ends up in P.G. County pawn shops. Three and one‐half years ago there were 36 pawnshops in the County; now there are 27. But that’s still more than there are in Baltimore. There is legislation that forbids pawn shop owners from owning another business in the County.)
Mr. Jenkins’ attorney will not have to present Mr. Jenkins’ plans to BDCA in order to get approval, but it would be a good idea for him to do so. Ms. Schum will send BDCA a map of commercial properties in the CA zone here in Berwyn.
5. Agenda Item 5. New Business. Mr. Harry Pitt proposed that BDCA write a letter to the City in support of obtaining a community block grant to do the following:
Someone suggested that BDCA develop a policy about who may set up tables at Berwyn Day. The Board will take it up at a future meeting.
Someone asked whether signs could be put up at the intersections of the trolley trail with streets indicating that no motorized vehicles were permitted on the path. Riders of minibikes over 55 cc’s are required to be get them licensed and tagged, and to wear a helmet.
Someone asked if the signs reminding people to rcycling can be removed. The signs are ugly and everybody knows by now that recycling day is Monday. Someone expressed the wish that the City would enforce the code about how soon before trash collection day you can put your trash out to the curb.
The recent crimes committed locally were discussed. Someone asked how we can convince the students living in the neighborhood to not leave their doors open, as that makes them prey. There have been problems with the behavior of the occupants of 4803 Berwyn Road, prompting one
resident to ask if code violations could be enforced. There’s a nuisance ordinance – we should use it. Someone asked whether there was anything to prevent the owners of the house from renting to Section 8 residents ; no, but it would be impractical to do so, given that a landowner could make more money renting to someone else.
Someone asked whether it was legal to have a bonfire in one’s backyard, as one of her neighbors recently did. The neighbor had told her that the Fire Department had said it was okay, but she was skeptical.
President Young has talked with Steven Halpern, the City engineer, about the persistent water problem on the corner of Quebec and Rhode Island.
6. Agenda Item 6. President’s Report. President Young reported that Berwyn Day this year was a
success and thanked everyone who participated. Brian McAllister has become a BDCA Director. Gene Baur has become the 2nd Vice President. President Young thanked Michele Garnes for assuming the editorship of The Berwyn News and
Harry Pitt for securing advertisers for the newsletter. Don’t forget to order your BDCA Christmas wreath this year. President Young met with Holy Redeemer to agree on the use of Fealy Hall for BDCA meetings
this coming year. Saturday, October 23rd, is the tentative date for this year’s Octoberfest. The Christmas party in Fealy Hall will take place on Saturday, December 11th.
7. Agenda Item 8. City Council Report. Councilman Jack Perry stated that fire trucks would come down Rhode Island Avenue this coming weekend and terminate in Branchville. There will be a parade on Rhode Island Avenue. Lakeland Heritage will also have a parade – Forrest Tyler is to be one of its honorees.
The Maryland Book Exchange property has been sold. The new owner wants to put housing there. This proposal is very contentious.
The University has selected a new partner for the East Campus development. The new partner is from Baltimore. Irrespective of who the partner is, East Campus will be built in stages. MTA says the Purple line is going in regardless of East Campus timelines. The State of Maryland says the Purple line is going down Campus Drive, despite the University’s objections.
On a related note, the University said that its experiment of closing Campus Drive this summer was successful.
Mr. Perry thinks that there’s more trash that should be going in the blue recycling bin going in the green garbage cans instead. He asked us to talk to our neighbors who don’t recycle and encourage them too, as the City has to pay, per pound, for everything that is hauled to the landfill.
Many of the sales of houses in Berwyn have been investors’ properties. But the people who would benefit by living here aren’t getting the message that it’s a great place to live. The property where the old Koons Ford and racquetball building used to be – 4 acres – has sold. It remains to be seen what will be done with that property. The bike path between Berwyn and Lakeland is City property, so if there are problems there, call the regular police, not the Park police. And don’t let them tell you otherwise. No more than five individuals unrelated by blood or marriage are allowed to occupy a single
house. If you want to be on a City committee, please give Mr. Perry a call – volunteers are needed. If you would be willing to deliver copies of The Berwyn News, let Mr. Perry know. We need to push our contract police to be more vigilant and available on side streets, not just
on Route 1. The police don’t want to patrol on a set schedule.
Councilman Bob Catlin stated that the Japanese restaurant Amani in Campus Village is applying for a beer and wine license. The City Council does not object. Amani is in competition for the license with a restaurant in Beltsville.
Ledo’s Pizza seems to be doing very well in its new location. There are 120–150 cars on average parked in the garage. The garage could hold up to 100 more cars, but the numbers are trending in
the right direction.
The meeting adjourned at 9:55 pm.
Jerry Anzulovic Robert Catlin Marina Dullnig Michele Garnes Dannielle Glaros (Councilman Olson’s office) Harvey Himmelfarb Margaret Himmelfarb Liesl Koch
Liesl Koch, Recording Secretary, BDCA.
Brian McAllister Jack Perry Harry Pitt Terry Schum (City of College Park) Heber Silver Forrest Tyler Sandra Tyler