Berwyn District Civic Association

Thursday, September 21, 2006

 

 

1.         Agenda Item 1. Roll call for officers.  The meeting was called to order by BDCA President Tim Triplett at 8pm.  Also present were officers and board members Jerry Anzulovich, Liesl Koch, Al Cutino, Debbie Mimms, and Bob Baca. 

2.         Agenda Item 2.  Minutes from last meeting.  Minutes from the June 2006 meeting were accepted into the permanent record.

3.         Agenda Item 3.  College Park Motel presentation.  The College Park Motel cancelled it’s presentation for the meeting and will reschedule.

4.         Agenda Item 4.  Treasurer’s report.  The Treasurer, Al Cutino, made his report.  The BDCA still hasn’t received the $750 the City contributed to Berwyn Day, but it was reported in the balance anyway.  The current income over expenses is $1,544, which is ahead of where we were last year at this time.  A motion to accept the treasurer’s report was passed.

5.         Agenda Item 5.  Proposed condo/apartment building at 8400 Baltimore Ave.  Trey Burke of SJM Partners, Inc., made a presentation of the proposed apartment/condo complex for 8400 Baltimore Ave.

§         The group owns the former Maryland Bank building, which they proposed to tear down.

§         The Koons Ford building on the west side of Route 1 will be torn down if SJM is successful in buying it (so far the asking price has been too high).

§         The proposed building will be mixed use, with retail below and either condos or apartments above (SJM would prefer condos, but it depends on demand).  There will be four levels of parking, topped by eight residential stories.  The building will be more traditionally residential – targeting professionals, professors, etc. – than University View, and will house 308 units (45 percent 1-bedroom and 55 percent 2-bedroom).  There will be 10,000 sq. ft. of retail space – all the retail will be on the ground floor, although that will be a double-high floor.  There are no preconceived tenants.

§         Mr. Burke was asked if SJM would agree to allow for no more than 10 percent of their condos – if they end up as condos rather than apartments – to be allowed to be non-owner occupied.  He said he would get back to us about that.

§         The building will be officially part of Berwyn.

§         The sidewalk in front won’t be as large as the one in front of the University View building because part of the space will be needed for parking for the retail space.

§         The entire area is in a floodplain.  The front part of the building will be on grade, the back part will be above the 100-year floodplain level.  In the middle will be a huge turnabout circle.  There will be two access points into the garage.  For 308 units, SJM is required to provide 338 parking spots; they hope to provide 50 more than that.

§         The developer will provide direct access to the hiker-biker trail behind the building.  Someone asked if anyone was going to improve the creek behind the proposed building.  The Army Corps of Engineers has plans to restore it by building up its banks to control flow.  Someone put forward that they hoped the creek would be allowed to retain its meandering path.  Mr. Burke’s partner Steve McBride is very active in pushing forward for the stream restoration.  It will look natural when it’s done, and will be maintenance-free.

§         SJM is proposing a traffic light on Route 1, even though they believe one isn’t absolutely necessary.

§         Someone asked how SJM would meet the College Park Planning Department’s objectives of moving parking to the rear of buildings if SJM puts parking for its retail sites in front.  Mr. Burke said that they can’t bring the building forward because of the floodplain, so that space would be wasted otherwise.

§         The building’s dumpster will be inside in a service area.  SJM hopes to also provide a place inside for “commercial trash.”

§         There will be a pool on the 5th floor.  The pool, which will have a club room and bath house, will overlook Paint Branch Creek.  Current plans have the pool at only 4 feet deep, but SJM is looking into depressing it so that it can be deeper.  There will be no terraces on the roof.

 

6.   Agenda Item 6.  Proposed pawn shop.  A number of Berwyn residents showed up at the County Planning Board meeting on September 14th to object to the proposed pawn shop near the entrance to the Washington Post property.  The testimonies by residents were described as “passionate and articulate.”  On October 11th there will be another hearing, at which a lawyer will cross-examine those who make presentations.  Whatever the hearing examiner in the zoning process decides is final unless the decision is appealed.  The attorney for College Park will be there.  Someone suggested that Mrs. McAllister’s synopsis would be good to give to the city attorney.  Bob Caitlin’s testimony was good because it showed that the neighborhood is not against all change – we accepted the Washington Post, for example.  It was proposed that BDCA send thank you letters to Mayor Calvo of Berwyn Heights and Mayor Judith Davis of Greenbelt – thanking them for personally appearing.  (It was suggested that “Visit us at myberwyn.com” be on all our letters.)  Only parties of record who appeared at the first hearing will be allowed to speak at the October hearing, although everyone is encouraged to go, just to make a crowd.  The city can’t pass a law against pawn shops – that must be done by the county, through zoning.

7.   Agenda Item 7.  Updates.

§      Welcoming Committee.  They need a coordinator.  Residents are encouraged to let the committee know of families who are renting.  Also, suggestions for what to include in the welcoming bags are welcome.

§      Park Committee.  The committee did a good job of getting good, new equipment at Cherry Park.  It was suggested that the spring potluck be held in the park next year.

§      Neighborhood Watch.  Graffiti was found on park benches in Daniels Park.  Concern was expressed that it was gang-related.  Forty or so young people participating in a “skip day” were recently seen in the neighborhood.

§      Berwyn Day.  Berwyn Day was very successful, even if the DJ was a little too loud and the moon bounce collapsed on the kids.  It was decided that BDCA should send a thank you letter to the city for the money it donated toward the event, and also to Holy Redeemer for ... ?  Janeen already send a letter to the two police who were there.

§   Annual Bonfire.  We were not able to get a permit for the park this year but we’ll have something anyway.  It will be the next to the last Saturday in October.  It was proposed that we call it “Bonfest.”  We should clean up ashes better afterwards than in past years.  The actual site of the fire itself should be moved so that it isn’t directly under trees.  On the other hand, it shouldn’t be so close to asphalt that the asphalt melts.

§   The Berwyn News Newsletter.  Everyone is encouraged to submit something to be printed.  It was suggested that photos of kids in their Halloween costumes could go in the newsletter, depending on how the photos look in black and white.

§   Agenda for next meeting.  Tim Triplett will invite all 18 school board candidates to speak.  Ideas for future speakers encouraged.  We don’t meet in December – hold holiday party instead.

§   Pedestrian crosswalk at Paint Branch Parkway.  One resident is going to ask the city to put a radar machine that says “Your speed is ...”

§   Food trucks.  Food trucks have shown up in College Park.  A law is in the works that would bar them from parking in one place for more than 15 minutes and would ban them from playing music.

§   Signage at Amigos store.  Signage outside the Amigos store (near the Washington Post entrance) needs repair.  It was suggested that the person who brought this up call Public Services to ask if the store is in compliance with the law.  The city is able to enforce these laws.

 

  1. Agenda Item 8: College Park Reports from our Council Representatives

§   Downtown project.  City Councilman and Berwyn resident Bob Catlin attended the downtown project earlier in the evening.  The meeting went well, with 35–40 people in attendance.  The city bought two houses on Tecumseh where the parking garage will go.

§   Heather Iliff, School Board candidate.  Bob Catlin enouraged people to vote for Heather.

§   City Councilman and Berwyn resident Jack Perry spoke about the city’s code enforcement.  An officer will work Saturday and Sunday, taking two other days off instead.  Noise enforcement can bring in $7,000 in fines in one weekend.  It is no longer necessary for two complaints about the same offender to be made before a fine can be issued.

§   City budget.  The city projects a $1.2 million surplus.  But there are a lot of expenses coming up.

§   Trash pickup.  The city is trying to reduce people “on task.”

§   Leaf pickup.  Leaf pickup is last Monday in October.  We usually get two pickups in Berwyn.

 

Meetings Attendees:

 

Jerry Anzulovic

Bob Baca

Bob Catlin

Al Cutino

Chuck Ireton

Eric Justh

Debbie Mims

Jack Perry

Amelia Reese

Mark Seaton

Tim Triplett

Forest Tyler

 

Liesl Koch, Recording Secretary, BDCA