Berwyn District Civic Association
Thursday, May 19, 2005
Agenda Item 1. Roll call for officers
Agenda Item 2. Minutes from last meeting
Agenda Item 3. Presentation: Northgate Development Project
Agenda Item 4. Proposed City regulation: residential fences
i. Front yard fences greater than 4 feet in height would be regulated, regardless of material.
ii. Construction of all fences will require a building permit.
iii. The regulation does not apply to decorative fences four feet high and under; to any decorative fence less than eight feet in length; nor to shrubbery planted in the front yard
iv. Residents will be able to apply for a variance if they want to put up a front-yard fence.
Agenda Item 5: Neighborhood Night Out
Agenda Item 6: Treasurer Update
Agenda Item 7: Updates
1. Neighborhood Preservation Coalition: Mr. Pitt reported on the following NPC issues:
a. The next NPC public meeting will be Saturday, May 21, 2005. Scheduled presentations include:
i. Jim Rosapepe, U of Maryland Regent
ii. Heather Iliff, College Park Housing Fair
b. Mr. Ridgeway has appealed the court’s March 9, 2005 decision regarding fines and abatements for his property.
c. Mr. Eichberg has decided to sell his property on 49th Avenue, which he was permitted to rent to six unrelated tenants.
d. Rent Control: Residents, students, and the NPC is in favor of the proposed College Park rent control regulation; landlords are opposed.
i. Landlords are petitioning for a charter referendum for a “Fair Rent Control Act” in which rent control would apply to all rental units in College Park, not just for single family homes. Presumably, if rent control applied to all rental units, it would not pass.
ii. Landlords need to collect 2300 – 2400 signatures for this referendum to appear on the ballot.
2. Welcoming Committee: This committee is gathering materials for their baskets. They are asking for donations and offers from local businesses to include in the baskets.
3. Berwyn Website:
a. Mr. Triplett has registered www.myberwyn.org. He expects to be able to move the files this weekend; the site should be “live” by next week.
b. The website address will be listed in the Berwyn News.
c. The website costs $30 for six months for registration of the domain name and server space. The website cost is half the cost of the BDCA post office box.
4. BDCA Bylaws: Mr. Triplett noted an error in the Bylaws. They currently state that elections of new officers takes place at the May meeting. Mr. Triplett made a motion to amend the bylaws so that the elections take place at the June meeting. Mr. Anzulovic seconded; no one was opposed. The list of candidates for office will be published in the June newsletter; elections will be held at the June meeting.
5. Maryland Senatorial Scholarship: John Gianetti’s office has a scholarship of up to $2000 for an undergraduate student. If anyone knows of a likely candidate for this scholarship, please see Mr. Triplett for an application.
6. Suspicious activity: An increase in suspicious activities has been noticed as follows:
a. Cars stop by Cherry Park during basketball games; the game stops, a basketball player quickly approaches the car, then the game resumes. There is suspicion that drug deals are being made. Residents are encouraged to call Park Police if such suspicious activity is noticed.
b. An individual has been walking through the neighborhood, checking to see whether car doors are locked. Some residents have noticed that loose change has been missing from their cars. Be sure to lock your car at all times to help prevent theft.
7. Liquor licensing: a new restaurant is under development on Route 1 at the site of the old Los Panchos restaurant. The management has applied for a liquor license. There will be a hearing regarding the license on Tuesday. Mr. Triplett asked the group if the BDCA wants to be represented at the hearing. General discussion followed:
a. Mr. Catlin commented that in the past, the City has asked businesses to wait one year before applying for a liquor license. In addition, the county Liquor Board expects businesses to present their business plan to neighborhood associations; in this case, the owners have not expressed interest in presenting their plans to any associations.
b. Residents are interested in seeing how the business will be marketed: primarily as a bar, or as a restaurant serving food and alcohol. There is concern that a restaurant in such a location could become the “neighborhood bar” once the high-rise apartment buildings start to open.
c. Several residents opined that the BDCA should wait to give an opinion until we hear what the liquor board has to say about the license. There was an opposing viewpoint, stating that if the county is interested in the opinions of the City and neighborhoods, we should give our opinion.
d. Dr. Tyler made a motion that the BDCA write a letter in support of the City’s position; Larry Wenzel seconded the motion; the vote was six in favor of the letter, and three opposed.
Agenda Item 8: College Park Reports from our Council Representatives
1. From Bob Catlin:
a. The City has hired Joe Nagro to be the new city manager. Mr. Nagro has many years of experience in College Park, which includes having served as Acting City Manager.
b. The City’s Public Works Director is resigning. A search process for a new director will begin in the summer.
c. City budget: the budget passed, and is basically unchanged.
d. $200,000 is budgeted for police services for next year; the city will have approximately 90 police hours per week.
e. The tax increase will be 5-6%. College Park has the second-lowest municipal taxes in Prince George’s County.
f. Berwyn Road streetscape: construction is expected to begin in July; the proposals are ready to go out for bid. The project is composed of two segments: Rhode Island Avenue and east, and Rhode Island Avenue and west.
g. The Berwyn Plaza court date is set for early August.
h. The landlords’ group’s lawsuit against the annual $180 trash fee was dismissed in tax court.
i. The fourth hearing for the Old Town Historic District is scheduled for next week. The landlords’ group opposes the Historic District.
Andrea Carpentieri, Recording Secretary, BDCA