Berwyn District Civic Association Meeting

January 17, 2019


Meeting came to order at 7:35 p.m.  Meeting held at Holy Redeemer.  Board members in attendance:  Bob Catlin, Chad Stern, Jim Nealis, Dan Blasberg, Tim Triplett.  Other attendees included PJ Brennan, Josh Westgard, Brooks Boliek, Margaret and Harvey Himmelfarb, Bonnie O’Donoghue, Chris Gordon, Felipe Truncoso. 


The minutes from the October and November (2018) meetings were approved.  No minutes for the December meeting were taken – we held a Christmas/Holiday gathering on December 20th and gave a Burger King gift card worth $50 to Russell Robinette to thank him for all he does in the neighborhood.


Chad Stern (Treasurer) explained we are on a calendar year basis for BDCA dues/memberships, and several in attendance gave their annual dues to him at this meeting.  City Council member PJ Brennan mentioned the passing of long-time resident Forrest Tyler.  A discussion was held regarding a memorial tree for Mr. Tyler, possibly near his home or near the now-closed intersection of Rhode Island Ave./Greenbelt Rd.  Some grant funds or city funds may be available for the tree.  Maybe a chestnut hybrid can be planted? Several residents were mentioned (incl. Diane Jeffries, Gina Tomko, two others) who worked to create a mosaic of ‘historic’ Berwyn to be placed near the new Lidl grocery store, which should open this spring. Some benches for seating are also planned.  PJ said the city Homestead Tax Credit should remain at 0% for now, but there are concerns about a rapid increase in the amount and cost of bulk trash pick-ups.  There may be a 5-item, once-per-quarter limit on such items.  It appears some folks outside our city may be dropping these items, and possibly construction debris, along our streets for pick-up – this pushes up city costs


Tim Triplett urged folks to check with the county or state to determine if their property is receiving the Homestead Tax Credit.


Chik-Fil-A has a ‘ground lease’ on the property near the Veterans Memorial – the city leadership continues to oppose opening any restaurant with a drive-thru at this location since it violates current zoning and would generate heavy traffic in an area already plagued with traffic problems.  The PG County Council has the final say, so contact our Councilmember Danielle Glaros to support or oppose the Chik-Fil-A at that site.


The new Lidl site will have plants/screening to block views of the large HVAC equipment.  Chad Stern lives near the site and says the noise has not been too bad.  Chad returned the discussion to bulk trash issues and he and another attendee questioned the way the city calculated the bulk trash vs. regular trash collected, and indicated a recent study was flawed.


Should Berwyn sponsor a dinner for workers furloughed during the current federal shutdown?  Maybe hold it at Holy Redeemer or Branchville. Maybe a pot luck, possibly held quarterly?


Fealey Hall work is almost done, some flooring needed replacement.  PJ Brennan was thanked for new sidewalk installation.  We learned a van was broken into, some tools taken.  We need more prevention – Dan Blasberg mentioned a group purchase of anti-crime cameras.  PJ said the ‘Ring’ camera and the city were discussing a rebate for purchases of Ring cameras.  Chad Stern suggested ‘Nest’ cameras.  Some expressed worries that Wi-Fi cameras can be jammed, and that Ring personnel have ability to ‘watch’ homes and home owners through their system.  Why there is more petty crime in Berwyn – maybe poor lighting, students don’t lock doors, etc.  Should we re-start Neighborhood Watch?  Nobody volunteered to do that.


Meeting concluded around 9:00 p.m.


Notes compiled by Jim Nealis