Cool Spring Terrace Civic Association Meeting, April 22nd, 2017 (Approved Saturday, June 24th, 2017.
Officers in Attendance: Marguerite Mickens, President; Anika Halota, Treasurer; Michelle V. Rowley, Secretary
Members in Attendance: Approximately 19
The meeting was called to order at 11:05 a.m. at which point the new association officers
introduced themselves to the members in attendance. Also present were Deni. L. Taveras, Member, County Council – Prince George’s County, Carolyn Cook, Constituent Services Liaison, and COPs Liaison, Corporal Bhaskarnauth Tiwari, Prince George’s Police Department.
II. Announcements and Officers’ Reports
- The minutes from February 2017 were read and approved.
- Incoming treasurer, Anika Halota, indicated that she was familiarizing herself with the transferred documents and would be better positioned to report on the Association’s finances at the next meeting. The previously announced CSTCA balance of 1527.01 was restated, along with a reminder that the membership voted to give 190.00 to the Christian Science Society as a gesture of appreciation for the use of their facilities.
- Member Jon Robinson provided an update on plans underway to build a middle school behind Mother Jones Elementary. Mr. Robinson has been working to encourage the school board to broaden their search for an appropriate school site. In a meeting attended by Senator Rosapepe, Mr. Robinson proposed three alternative sites for consideration. While the suggestions were positively received, there was concern that they would not be taken up. The members voiced additional concerns about the potential conversion of the woods at University/Adelphi intersection (Cool Spring Forest) for development purposes. The discussion then turned to a preliminary exploration about how the Association might acquire said woods to stave off further conversion. This included a suggestion that the woods be given to the Association as “compensation” for lands lost due to the middle school construction. Councilwoman Tavares reminded members, this property is privately owned and did not foresee this to be a possibility.
III. Community Policing Update
The Association then heard from Corporal Bhaskarnauth Tiwari (Cpl. T), who has replaced Corporal Rickert as the Association’s COPs liaison. Corporal Rickert is now the liaison in the Kennilworth/Riverdale area.
Cpl. T introduced himself, he invited us to use “Cpl. T” and provided his contact info:
He indicated that his preferred method of communication is email. Cpl. T invited the members to register on NextDoor.com, an online neighborhood networking website. It is a free service and once registered, allows you to directly communicate with your neighbors as well as Cpl. T, who is also a member. This site allows you to disseminate your own community information and you can post concerns to which the police can then follow up.
By way of example, Cpl. T accounted for a situation where members inquired about the caution tape that had been posted at a home on Cool Spring Road, police follow-up revealed that a resident attempted to provide support to a utility company working in the area. The site was visited by the police and the resident was required to remove the tape. Cpl. T noted that similar issues could be posted to Next Door for police attention.
In his community crime update, Cpl. T reminded members to not leave items in their car noting that GPS units were most susceptible to theft.
Members raised a number of concerns with Cpl. T. These included:
- Concerns about the dumping of large bulky items (mattresses in particular) on Cool Spring Road
- Parking congestion on Osage and Pawnee. This congestion recently impeded an EMT vehicle
- Concerns about commercial vehicles parking in the community e.g. 26th Place
- The need for a traffic light on Cool Spring and Riggs to facilitate easier entry to and exit from the community
- Speeding. Members asked about the procedure for installing a speed bump on 26th Place to help alleviate this problem.
- Difficulty turning onto Adelphi from Cool Spring Road because of un-mowed and uncut hedges and bushes.
Members also discussed the possibility of the Adopt-a-Road Program, which with county support, might allow for a more efficient maintenance of the Adelphi/Cool Spring intersection.
In response to these concerns, Cpl. T noted that a speed bump and a traffic light would require a traffic study. He also noted that the Association would need to confirm who held responsibility for the identified roads, observing that some roads fell to the state, while others to the county. Cpl. T indicated that he would investigate the issues that fell under his purview (e.g. commercial parking, army truck, illegal dumping) and encouraged the Members to also raise these issues with Councilwoman Taveras. He indicated that he would inquire and convey the correct channel of communication for the traffic study.
IV. District #2 Councilwoman Taveras
Councilwoman Taveras presented an overview of the county’s 3.8 billion budget (FY 2017). Among the highlights, Councilwoman Taveras noted that $1.96 billion was earmarked for education – a projected increase of 30 million. She also noted the intent to hire an additional 200 police officers and 115 firefighters, 25 new deputy sheriffs and two new classes of correctional officers.
Councilwoman Taveras stated that there was the need for a rat abatement program following on the county’s move to one day a week trash pick-up. She also signaled her intent to put forward legislation aimed to address residential overcrowding in the community.
Members voiced their concern about the efficiency of trash collection, noting that the trucks were now too packed to function effectively. We were encouraged to report any incidents to 311.
Councilwoman Taveras informed the membership that there were ongoing efforts to improve property standards code enforcement and that there was now Saturday area inspection. The county is also working to enforce the monitoring of abandoned vehicles.
Taveras is also working toward having trash cans placed at bus stops.
Members then voiced the need for a sidewalk at Cool Spring and Adelphi. Councilwoman promised to conduct a site visit as part of her follow up on this issue.
Member Robinson used the opportunity to speak with Councilwoman Taveras about the loss of green space to the middle school at Mother Jones. Member Robinson argued that if the woods were acquired with “Open Space” funds, then there should be some form of replacement/exchange of open space.
Councilwoman Taveras noted that the alternative locations suggested by Member Robinson might not be appropriate given that school sites/placement need to meet set criteria, which are hard to find and that there was a need to redress overcrowding in the county’s schools.
The Councilwoman’s liaison officer, Carolyn Cook, encouraged the membership to contact her office with any ongoing concerns.
V. Election of New Officers
After some discussion, Mr. Ikem Ukachu was voted into the position of Vice President and joined the Officers at the table.
VI. New Business
- Members were encouraged to visit an upcoming an exhibit of art proposals for the new purple line metro – April 27, College Park Community Center, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
- Members were asked to occasionally visit the Association’s Facebook page to avoid removal from the site.
- Members were asked to convey any changes to their contact info. to the officers. The new membership form is on the Association’s website.
- Member Kim Crews gave an overview of the upcoming community clean-up day (April 29).
- Member Crews also noted that there were a number of homes in violation of property standards and asked for ongoing community code inspection.
- The Association then began a preliminary discussion of residential permit parking and asked to read the materials distributed for a later conversation.
- The Association discussed the ongoing late-night noise that extends into the community. There is some speculation that the site is on University Blvd. Cpl. T reminded the members that the county’s noise ordinance is a 24-hour ordinance, and the membership was informed that the Association has been registered as a party of record to the “Special Except” application made by Emily’s Restaurant; this request asks that they, Emily Restaurant, be allowed to play music beyond midnight. The Association extends its thanks to Member Robinson for drafting the opposition letter that was submitted on the Association’s behalf.
- President Mickens-Mosley spoke to the need to re-engage block captains as well as the intent to begin a weekend walking group.
- Treasurer Halota alerted members to a “Raincheck Rebate” program in the community and indicated that it was possible, in the future, to invite the Department of the Environmental Resources (DER) to do a presentation on the program.
The meeting was formally adjourned at 1:08 and was followed by a community Seed Swap.