Meeting Minutes: February 2018

Date: February 24, 2018

Officers in Attendance: President Marguerite Mickens-Mosley, Treasurer Anika Halota, and Secretary Michelle V. Rowley.

Also in attendance: Mr. Zachary Hare, Solar Energy World Representative, Candidates Mr. Matt Dernoga, Ms. Candace Hollingsworth, Mr. Ashanti F. Martinez, Ms. Deni Tavares and Constituency Outreach Officer for Councilor Tavares, Mr. Michael Harris.
Members in Attendance: Approximately 16

I. Welcome/Gathering

The meeting was called to order at 11:16 a.m. with President Mickens-Mosley presiding.
Michael Harris apologized for his absence from a previous meeting,meeting; this was a result of a recurring knee injury. The Association welcomed him and extended our wishes for continued recovery.

II. Announcements and Officers’ Reports:

  • Treasurer Halota provided an update on the Association’s account, which presently stands at $1632.00. The Association gave an end of year gift of appreciation to the church ($200.00).
  • The minutes from December 2017 were read and approved.
  • The agenda was then re-ordered to first facilitate the candidates who were present followed by Mr. Hare’s presentation.

III. Candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates (District 22), Mr. Ashanti Martinez
Candidate for the Maryland Hose of Delegates (District 21), Mr. Matt Dernoga
Candidate for County Council (District 2) Ms. Candace Hollingsworth, Mayor of Hyattsville
Candidate for County Council (District 2) Ms. Deni Tavares, Incumbent

Mr. Martinez realized that we are not in his district only after extending a request for time at the Association’s meeting. He used his time to outline why he was running for office, these reasons included the urgent need for new leadership from folks who share their community’s values and the need for new, younger energy.

Matt Dernoga then spoke to the Association. In his presentationpresentation, he centered his commitment to environmental issues and highlighted previous work done on this issue – as a student at the University of Maryland (UMD) he was a member of UMD for Clean Energy, advocating for clean energy solutions, and he worked to establish an Office of Sustainability at UMD.

At the county level (District 1) he has worked to pass thirty different pieces of legislation – some of the highlights include code enforcement, discontinuance of polystyrene, increasing minimum wage, addressing food insecurity through improved access to locally grown food.

He noted that he was running on a platform that was pro-environment and pro-labor. He was committed to maintaining A+ constituent services, and that it is possible to get hold of him within a day or two at the most.

He has continued to walk the communities and signaled his willingness to walk with the Saturday CSTCA Walking Group. His community walking sessions have highlighted concerns about litter, a desire to protect trees and environment and he identified himself as an ally on these issues.

Member Ted Hull asked the candidate about his willingness to sponsor a bottle deposit bill.

  •  Candidate Dernoga noted that there was momentum for such a bill in 2015, this died off and it would be important to think about how to re-energize the process. Momentum, he noted, is challenged by the local departments that benefit from this recycling, there is concern that such a bill might siphon resources away from those agencies.

Member Andrea Kenner asked the candidate to speak to improved options for the removal of hazard waste.

  • Candidate Dernoga noted that on an issue like that he would be willing to work with the council member to advocate for safe removal of hazardous waste because those issues are addressed at local county meetings.

Member Cynthia Bauer asked the candidate to talk about the communication strategies he uses to communicate with constituents.

  •  Candidate Dernoga observed that his preference was for door to doordoor-to-door contact and that this was going to be a feature of his time in office, not just in election years. He has found that there is no better way to find out what the issues than to walk the streets. He has also used social media and has worked to use a range of differentof different platforms.

Member Mickens Mosley (M) asked the candidate to speak to his commitment to the youth, particularly the need to have more young people involved in the political process.

  • Candidate Dernoga noted that the critical hours for young people are 3-6 p.m. when they get out of school. He noted that he intends to make a push in terms of going into schools and classroom and talking about how he got involved in politics. He spoke to the importance of working with young people of color who might serve as role models. He noted that he has been pro-active in terms of inviting young people into core campaign meetings so that they can see how the process works.

Candidate Dernoga was followed by candidate for Council, Candace Hollingsworth.

Candidate Hollingsworth, current Mayor of Hyattsville, provided an overview of her background. She is originally from Memphis, Tennessee, she moved to Hyattsville MD, and her children are in the local public school system. She is driven by the desire to build a community that her children, when adults, will see as a place that they would like to come back home to – a place with professional opportunities, cultural assets, and diversity. Will work collaboratively toward change.

She highlighted the importance of customer service – and that county administrators needed to take the lead on this. She emphasized her aversion for poor public service and committed to leading by example on this.

Member Michelle Rowley asked the candidate to speak to the young people caught in the Deferred Action Child Arrival (DACA) debate as well as deportation threats to members of the Salvadoran community.

Candidate Hollingsworth observed that responses to these issues were indicative of a community’s moral compass. She noted that in her capacity as Mayor of Hyattsville, one of her very first meetings was with CASA de Maryland. She has worked collaboratively to gauge interest in extending community based votes to no non-citizens, to strengthen community policing so that individuals can report crimes without fear of retribution, and to establish an Immigration Services Working Group – tasked with coordinating resources so that various departments can have greater synergy with each other. This Working Group she noted was subsequently supported with funds from the Vera Justice Center and support from Councilor Taveras.

She also noted that Hyattsville has signed on to the amicus brief emerging out of San Francisco. This brief aims to push back against removal of resources for cities that have been identified as “sanctuary cities.”

Incumbent Councilor Deni Taveras then spoke briefly. She pointed to her very active presence in the community for the last four years. She pointed to the tangible examples of her commitments, these included key pieces of legislation and initiatives such as “Take Pride in our Community Initiative,” her work to curb willful evictions, attention to trash collection, curbing the presence of prostitution brothels and beer houses. She also pointed to her work on to reduce residential overcrowding in rentals, as well as her support for immigration services and language access. Councilor Tavares also noted that she has been very aggressive in asking for funds for the District and has brought 1millon dollars into community and has invested 50 million into repaving roadways.

She concluded by reiterating her support toward the protection of the Cool Spring Forest. She encouraged the membership to reach out to her with our concerns.

IV. Zachary Hare, Solar Energy

Mr. Hare began his presentation by thanking the Association for the invitation and noting that inthat in light of increasing environment threats – chemical leaks, fracking, oil spills, climate change – there are significant advantages to going green.

He noted that in terms reducing greenhouse gases solar is second only to wind. In one month, Mr. Hare noted that a 1 kWh solar system prevents 170 lbs. of coal from being burned and 300 lbs. of CO2 from being released.

He also noted that 35 million Americans have made switch to solar power and that solar costs are now down given that demand has increased.

He also noted that the recent administrative 30% tariff that was placed on solar related imports will not affect his company’s pricing.

Solar, he informed, is installed every 2.5 minutes in the United States. It is reliable, given that the satellites are powered by solar, it is easily adaptable, there is no need to have someone come out to do maintenance, they monitor the system from afar if something goes wrong.

Member Andrea Kenner asked Mr. Hare to speak to the structural integrity needed, e.g. if the roof secures a leak what happens. Mr. Hare noted that the company offers a roof penetration warranty and that they do not install on roofs that do not have the right integrity. If the owner wishes to change their roof at a later date, the company will come out to remove and replace the system, nominal charge for the service. He also noted that Solar Energy emerged out of a merger between a solar company and a roofing company. If a new roof is needed prior to installation, they are able to replace the roof at cost.

He further explained that the installation method used by Solar Energy avoids damage, when bolts are used they can sometimes explode – his company uses a “rail system.” They do not offer systems that track the sun and HOAs he noted can restrict the mode of installation but legislatively, they cannot refuse homeowners who wish to install a system.

Member Carol Hurwitch asked about shade coverage, how can a potential consumer know how much of the roof will need to be covered in relation to shade and the orientation of the room. Mr. Hare noted that his company works with software that simulates shade given pitch and weather history for your zip code. They come out and do sun-eye readings before designing a system. He advised folks that it is always better to have the company come out rather than assume that your home was subject to too much shade for solar. He advised against purchasing a solar back-up battery system at this point, noting that the technology was still very much in its infancy.

Member Hurwitch asked about the company’s willingness to work with community co-ops, if there was a critical mass in order to facilitate a discount. He noted that the company does offer this possibility but the number has to be fairly substantial to be cost effective, they recently won a bid in Montgomery County, but this was a grouping of 150 people.

Federal and State Subsidies
Mr. Hare then noted that there are a number of incentives to help offset the cost of installation. These include:

  •  Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit of 30% of qualified expenses, which rolls over if not all claimed in a given year e.g. a 30,000 system would yield a 9,000 Fed. Tax credit. This is locked in at 30% through 2019.

State and Local Solar Incentives

  • $1000 Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) state grant for systems that are smaller than 20 kilowatts (kW), is located at your primary residence, and that your installer has the standard certification.
  • For residents in PG County there is a $5000 property tax grant for purchasing or a $2000 grant for leasing.

He also noted that it is possible to sell your SRECs solar credits (energy generated but not used)– he did however alert the Association to the fact that SREC credits are more beneficial in DC than in Maryland. In Maryland 1SREC = $8.00, in DC it is worth $400.00 (supply/demand – greater buy in for solar in Maryland)

Member Andrea Kenner raised the question of aesthetics– the panels just aren’t attractive, what might that do to the value of your home.

Mr. Hare noted that the newer panels are flat black and tend to be a bit more attractive. He noted that a Berkeley study found that the installation added value to the home and he also noted that it is factored into Fannie Mae appraisal of homes.

Finally, he summarized by observing that when questioning whether solar is too expensive it is important to remember the incentives, the fact that electricity rates have increased by 4.5% over the last decade, that electricity grids are old, some unsafe and the maintenance of this old system is being passed on to consumers.

He noted that his company offers a very competitive option to purchase $0 incentive financing, 18month delay on repayment to give you time to acquire your tax credit. They also offer financing at 2.99% for 12 years

For those wishing to lease this is possible with the option to purchase at a later point in the agreement. The systems come with a 20-year warranty. And for those interested in leasing, you may not be eligible for the larger incentives but you do get  $2000.00 credit from the county.

He also noted that in terms of home re-sale, it is more likely that your home will be purchased by a younger person, and generationally there is even a greater interest in solar driven homes.

V. COPS Report

President Mickens Mosley conveyed the report on behalf of Cpl. T. We were reminded that if we see something suspicious, we should call 911, if an object, do not pick it up as this tampers with evidence.

VI. New Business

Candidates’ Forum
President Mickens Mosley announced that the Association was working to host a debate for candidates running for Delegate and Council. She noted that the goal was to have it scheduled before the primaries. Invitations will be extended to surrounding associations.

The Executive Board is presently exploring a location for the event.

Member Hermitt Mosley (H) suggested the possibility of a membership meeting in the coming month (March) to help facilitate the process.

President Mickens Mosley noted that the Executive Board would consider a special meeting if planning does not align with Association’s existing schedule of meetings.

Member Carol Hurwitch volunteered to help with the organization of the debate

Clean Up/Green Up

President Mickens Mosley solicited support for the community’s clean-up day. Members who turned out in 2017 were only able to complete Cool Spring Road. Point persons for this upcoming activity are Members Kim Crews and Cynthia Bauer.

Member Hurwitch thanked the invited speakers, and reminded the membership that Tom Dernoga, father of Matt Dernoga, wrote the legal brief that helped the membership to save the Cool Spring Forest.

Motion to adjourn 1:15

Next meeting will be held on April 28, 2018.


CSTCA February Minutes 2018

Advertisements

Meeting Minutes: December 2017

Cool Spring Terrace Civic Association Meeting, December 16th, 2017

Officers in Attendance: President Marguerite Mickens-Mosley, Vice President Ikem Ukachu, Treasurer Anika Halota, and Secretary Michelle V. Rowley

Also in Attendance: Councilor Deni Tavares and Representatives from the Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPW&T), Mr. Samuel Isenberg and Ms. Courtney Ward.

Members in Attendance: Approximately 20

Welcome/Gathering

I. The meeting was called to order at 11:13 a.m. with President Mickens‐Mosley presiding.

Announcements and Officers’ Reports

II. Treasurer Halota provided an update on the Association’s account, which presently stands at $1592.

III. The minutes from October 2017 were read and approved.

Agenda Item IV: DPW&T Representatives

DPWT Representative, Ms. Courtney Ward, noted that many people tend not know the breadth of the work done by the Department and provided the Association’s members with an overview their scope of activities. These activities include, for example, the maintenance of approximately 2000 miles of roadway, 3000 acres of grassy area, road maintenance when it snows, storm drains and traffic signals among other things. They are also the umbrella department for the sub offices of Administrative Services, Transportation and Highway Services. By way of additional examples, Ward noted that it is DPW&T’s traffic engineers who assess the need for speed humps in a community; they also hold responsibility for The Bus, which now manages twenty fixed routes, and offers para-transit services such as taking folks to dialysis.
dialysis.

Ms. Ward also informed the Association about their range of community maintenance and beautification programs:

  • Adopt‐a‐Road program– requiring only just four clean up required a year once a site has been selected.
  • Clean Up, Green Up – a spring and fall program that provides communities with the need materials to clean their communities.
  • Neighborhood Design Tree – removal of hazardous trees and replanting program.

The representatives reiterated the importance of using the 311 Click reporting system as the primary reporting mechanism and the best way to get non‐emergency requests into the system.

Members were then able to lay out specific community related concerns, which included:

  • A request to have a felled tree on University removed, left behind by contractors.
  • Replacement of the faded “No U‐Turn” sign on Adelphi and Cool Spring.
  • Request for a flashing pedestrian crossing light on 26th and Adelphi.
  • Need to clean drains. In winter water spills on to Adelphi Road becoming a sliding hazard when it freezes.

The representative, Mr. Isenberg, indicated that he would address these issues in the following week.

Among other concerns raised with the representatives were:

  • The community’s disappointment about the decision to not place a traffic light on Cool Spring and Riggs. The Association maintains that it is a driving hazard for members entering on to Riggs from Cool Spring. Riggs Rd is a state maintained road and the SHA study results did not conclude enough evidence to warrant a traffic light.
  • The lack of follow‐up after complaints made to 311. To this point, they reminded us to place an email contact along with all requests submitted. 311 processes requests in order received but prioritize in terms of emergencies because
  • Need for a sidewalk along Adelphi and University.

The community thanked the representative for the upkeep of median strip along Adelphi.

Mr. Sam Isenberg, who took the community’s transportation specific requests, followed Ms. Ward’s presentation.

As a follow‐up to the community’s inquiries about the parking permit process, the community requested clarification on the process needed to have handicap‐parking 3 signage installed. Isenberg noted that if permit parking is instituted, those individuals who have long‐term help and caretakers will be able to have their caretakers park in the community with the use of handicap‐parking permits, requests for these need to be made to the Motor Vehicle Administrative. It is possible, he noted for a household to have 3‐4 permits, up to 72 hours.

Mr. Isenberg reported on the recently concluded assessment of parking in the community. As part of his general assessment, he noted that cars cannot stay in place for longer than 72 hours, commercial vehicles two hours. He identified a few parking hot spots in need of redress; these include Pawnee, 26th Place, Navajo, Osage and Cool Spring Roads. The department’s primary concern is that emergency vehicles will have difficulty navigating these streets.

To this end, he noted that The Department of Public Works and Transportation has deemed it necessary to mark “no parking zones” at intermittent points along the following streets:

  • Corner of 26th Ave and Cool Spring, extending along 138 feet on Cool Spring (in the direction of Riggs Road)
  • Along 26th Avenue (east side) and along Pawnee and Navajo (north side).

These signs will be intermittent (alternate sides) to allow for sight distance of vehicles (particularly emergency vehicles, school buses), thereby increasing safety of members of the community, cars and incoming vehicles. DPWT has already laid down the street notation. If any of the above is unclear, then look for the white notation that is presently on these streets, these will mark the location of the new signage. DPWT representatives also reminded the membership that parking is not allowed within 30ft of any “STOP” sign.

Agenda Item V: WSSC / HomeServ Curb-to-Home Water Plan Protection

Representatives from WSSC were invited to attend the meeting; they asked for additional time to prepare and will come to February. The WSSC representative who communicated with President Mickens‐Mosley indicated that the HomeServ Protection plan is optional, does not originate from WSSC and is primarily intended for homes with older plumbing systems. WSSC is in the process of repairing the mains and are using HomeServ to provide support for customers should there be any curb to home damage or any related damage that might not be covered by traditional home insurance. They noted that this was the plan that was used in Baltimore during their infrastructure upgrade and is presently 4 being suggested for our area. They recommended getting it as a precaution; members were encouraged to decide after doing their own research.

VI. COPS Report

There were several stolen vehicles with the closest activity being in the Chatham 3400 block.

VII. New Business

Membership was asked to contribute to District 47’s upcoming toy drive, scheduled for December 21st at Mexico Lindo.

The membership extended birthday greetings to Councilor Tavares. President Mickens Mosely represented the Association at her recent birthday bash.

Members of the CSTCA walking group alerted the membership to the gang graffiti tags on the Northwest Branch Trail. This has been reported to the community’s police liaison. If you see any other graffiti tags, please let us know.

Motion to adjourn 12:23 at which point the membership proceeded to their planned Christmas celebration.

Next meeting will be held on February 24, 2018.


CSTCA December Minutes 2017

Meeting Minutes: October 2017

Cool Spring Terrace Civic Association Meeting, October 28th, 2017
Officers in Attendance: President Marguerite Mickens-Mosley, Treasurer Anika Halota, and Secretary Michelle V. Rowle

Members in Attendance: Approximately 20

Welcome/Gathering

The meeting was called to order at 11:06 a.m. with President Mickens-Mosley presiding. Also in attendance were Inspectors Rooks and Elliot, representatives from the Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement (DPIE), as well as, Mr. Michael Harris, Constituent Services Director, Councilor Deni Tavares’ Office.

Announcements and Officers’ Reports

  • Treasurer Halota provided an update on the Association’s account, which presently stands at $1591. 39. Three members paid their dues, there were no expenditures and Treasurer Halota reminded members that they could begin to pay their dues for 2018 now.
  • The minutes from August 2017 were read. A request was made to clarify that our discussion of permit parking included representation by a family member on behalf of his elderly mother. With this amendment recognized, the minutes were approved.

Agenda Item One: Community Policing Update

Corporal Bhaskarnauth Tiwari (Cpl. T) forwarded an overview of crime activity in the community and surrounding areas, this was shared by President Mickens- Mosley.

Reminders were given to remove contents from cars and to lock the doors to ward off possible theft. To this point, members shared recent incidents of theft from vehicles and backyards within the community.

Agenda Item Two: Inspector Rooks and Inspector Elliot – DPIE Representatives

The DPIE inspectors provided an overview of the agency’s departments and their respective areas of oversight. They identified Inspector McLaren, as the first point of contact, if unresponsive, then, Inspector Rooks, asked that we leave a voice message with our concern.

They shared their department’s FAQ pamphlet along with other materials and reminded members that despite any difficulty, it was still important to report issues to Dial Click 311; this process, she noted, will allow your concern to receive a case number.

In addressing the community’s concerns about the increase in rentals, the Inspectors noted that a license is needed for all rentals (115.00/two years). They noted that the licenses are only waived in instances where one is renting to an immediate relative.

Members raised ongoing concerns about parking, in particular the hot spots of 26th and Pawnee. Inspector Rooks asked for additional information to be emailed to her, and while not under her purview she promised to follow up.

Mr. Harris also reminded the membership that Councilor Tavares’ CB37 legislation will help address issues of overcrowding in the community.

Members expressed skepticism with regard to Click 311, the primary concern was their 90-day response window. Inspector Rooks indicated that while 90- days is the stated turn-around time, in practice responses often occur within two weeks.

Members suggested that the Association develop a “welcome sheet” that would outline the community’s expectations of new neighbors. President Mickens Mosley pointed to the Association’s “good neighbor code” and suggested that we scan it and place it on the Association’s website.

Member Hurwitch suggested that the Association’s existing code be expanded to provide guidelines for individuals who have turned their residence into a rental e.g. “If You Must Rent: This is What You Should Know” FAQ sheet.

Members were reminded of the need to be alert to vacant properties to minimize the likelihood of squatting.

Members also made inquiries about “noise pollution” and nuisance houses. We were informed that noise pollution is now assessed via decibel level and not time of day. As a result, a noise complaint could be made regardless of the time of day. With regard to nuisance households, members were encouraged to a) report to the police, b) report to County Click 311 – the latter begins a ticket and with eight complaints within six months the matter is forwarded to the nuisance abatement board. Members were also encouraged to keep the CSR number assigned to the case and to keep their own log of calls made.

Questions were also raised about recent solicitations to acquire curb to house water insurance. Members discussed the legitimacy of these solicitations and asked that a member from WSSC be invited to talk with the membership about the program.

Old Business

Member Robinson provided an update on the quest to secure alternative sites for the middle school. He indicated that Senator Rosapepe was working to contact owners of the woods with an inquiry to purchase; this has turned out to be more difficult than anticipated. With the coming of the Purple Line, there was also the sense that land-owners were waiting for the improved infrastructure before selling.

Members suggested alternative sites for the middle school. Efforts are also being made to have the woods acquired as park lands by Park and Planning. The appropriate office has moved and they have cited this move as the reason for their delayed responses.

Concern about development on the site was raised after members saw surveying and soil sampling activity underway. Inquiries about this activity revealed that the owners are most likely responsible for the work.

Suggestions were made to think about cheaper and more modern, environmentally friendly ways of building – repurposing abandoned warehouses as an example. The membership was also encouraged to be in conversation with Dinora Hernandez, BOE Member. President Mickens-Mosley indicated that an invitation had been extended but that there were scheduling conflicts that made it difficult for her to attend.

Member Robinson noted that there are individuals on the school board who are sympathetic to the community’s concerns and suggested that we also be in conversation with those individuals.

Parking

Vice President Ikem Ukachu was scheduled to provide the membership with an update on the outstanding questions re: parking but was unable to make the meeting. President Mickens Mosely indicated that the update would be sent via email.

Fair Elections

Also present at the meeting was a representative from Progressive Maryland– Diana Torres.

Ms. Torres provided an overview of the organization and invited members to sign on to a petition to constrain the use of big money in election campaigns. The organization is working to build a cadre of small donor financing by providing an alternative way to fund the campaign and strengthening the ability of ordinary citizens to run for office.

New Business

President Mickens Mosley placed a question on the table to change the distribution of the association’s newsletter from every meeting to quarterly or twice a year. The membership voted for a quarterly distribution and asked that email be used if a quick response is needed from the membership. This new cycle will begin in 2018.

Distributors are needed for three areas. Member Hurwitch volunteered to help fill gaps when needed e.g. copying and, or distribution.

Business owners in the community were invited to share their business information with President Mickens Mosley so that it could be included into the newsletter. Free advertising!!

The membership agreed to host a community end of year celebration. The next meeting, scheduled for December 16. This meeting will begin with membership business, followed by community celebrations.

Meeting Adjourned 12:39 Next General Membership Meeting is scheduled for December 16, 2017.


CSTCA October Minutes 2017

Meeting Minutes: August 2017

Cool Spring Terrace Civic Association Meeting, August 26th, 2017
Officers in Attendance: Marguerite Mickens-Mosley, President, Ikem Ukachu, Vice President and Michelle V. Rowley, Secretary.
Absent, Anika Halota, Treasurer.

I. Welcome/Gathering

The meeting was called to order at 11:07 a.m. with President Mickens‐Mosley presiding. Also in attendance were First Reader, Robert Snyder of the Christian Science Church, Council Member, Deni Taveras along with Michael Harris, Community Constituent Liaison.

II. Announcements and Officers’ Reports

  • Robert Snyder, First Reader of the Christian Science Church, where our meetings are held, took the opportunity to share a bit about the congregation and its ongoing activities and issues. He clarified that his position as First Reader functions along the lines of a brought equivalent as Pastor —Sunday services are held at the following hours: 10:30-noon and 7:30 – 9:00p.m. Theirs is a testimony format, the First Reader brings a sermon and then there are testimonies and sharing. All are invited.
  • First Reader Snyder then alerted the group to a problem they have had with land erosion and drainage that affects the property below (parking lot). The congregation is being asked to correct the drainage problem (approx. 40-50k). As the First Reader noted however, this erosion problem resulted, not from any action on their part, but building decisions that were made in the construction of the parking lot. The members present talked with Mr. Snyder about a range of corrective possibilities that included reforestation, legal consultation, and construction possibilities.
  • Treasurer Halota through President Mosley extended apologies for her absence from the meeting. President Mosley give the Treasury report stating the association presently has a balance of $1555.00. Two members paid dues and there was an expenditure of $35.00 used for photo copying the meeting notifications.
  • The minutes from June 2017 were read and approved.

III. Community Policing Update

Corporal Bhaskarnauth Tiwari (Cpl. T) was not present. The Corporal was celebrating his birthday. Happy Birthday Cpl. T.!

The good news is that there was no crime to report for the intervening period.

Old Business

Newsletter: The membership discussed the possibility of an electronic-copy of the newsletter because of the labor-intensive nature of copying and distributing to house-holds. Ideas for content were solicited. Please contact President Mickens-Mosley with your ideas.

New Business

  • A Nextdoor.com petition has been generated to start a bus service into Adelphi, because of decreased service from WMATA. President Mickens-Mosley will circulate petition when available, for us to support. Joel Ryerson agreed to be the point-of-contact on this initiative, working with Ms. Shelby, the originator of the petition.
  • Concern was raised about a perceived increase in residential sub-leasing. Community instability due to a constant flow of different people coming in and out of the community. Association is uncertain about how to address this. Council-member Taveras reiterated the need to pass legislation that would address over-crowding and was uncertain about options should the turn-over be a result of Airbnb services. She reminded the community that seniors must be allowed a 24-month mandatory lease in terms of housing, and provided an overview of three-part legislation – “Thriving Communities,” intended to alleviate housing. Details of this legislation also listed in August’s CSTCA Newsletter.
  • Licenses are also required if renting (75.00/yr). The community pointed to the need to go after the landlords, not the renters, when issues arise, given that owners, not renters, are responsible for upkeep and code enforcement. Council-member Taveras promised to follow up on specific locations that were identified as specific areas of concern in the community.
  • Speeding. Association members were reminded of the speed limit. Cpl. T has, when possible, been surveilling the community for speeders and caught approximately 8 different drivers within a short time span. All but two were of the speeders were residents of Cool Spring Terrace. Cpl. T has also sent in a request to support the existing crosswalk with signs or flashing light. Members have asked for a pedestrian signal at the crosswalk (Adelphi and 26th Place). Members were also reminded to not confront speeders themselves. Some drivers have been both belligerent and confrontational when stopped by community residents.
  • Residential parking. The community revisited this conversation on parking permits. A number of important concerns were raised in this discussion. Among these were concerns about the elderly in need of multiple care-givers, varying modes of access to online registration, concerns about whether registration would be assigned to a home or to a vehicle, nature of enforcement, and concerns about failing to have permit parking in light of the impending purple line and even further over-crowding. In addition to concerns about elder care, a member also made inquiries about any possible constraints that could be placed on visiting family members responsible for the care of aging parents. Vice President Ukachu is conducting additional research on this matter.
  • In response, members of the executive clarified that there is no cost to the community. There is no need to begin with the entire community, it is possible to begin with a few streets. A community based petition with a 60% threshold is required to initiate the process. There are also 72 hour visitors’ passes that are available. Inquiries will be made regarding issues such as long-term care, out of state tags and college students.
  • Members of the association recounted earlier parking horrors in relation to UMD football games, which resulted in “No Parking” signs being placed along Cool Spring Rd. and the median along Adelphi.

Council-member Taveras

Council-member Taveras spoke with the Association about ongoing legislative efforts that would empower citizens to argue their case the Nuisance Abatement Board. Concerns are presently raised via one or more agencies that will determine whether or not a case merits going before the Board. This legislation would empower citizens to raise these concerns and put a case together and bring it before the Nuisance Abatement Board. They Board itself can enforce their position by sending someone in violation to jail six months or fine to up to $1000.00. (For any additional information please see: CB-063-2017 AN ACT CONCERNING NUISANCE ABATEMENT BOARD for the purpose of amending the powers and duties of the Nuisance Abatement Board by authorizing the Board to enforce civil violations, and preside over administrative hearings pursuant to Subtitle 13, Division 12 of the County Code.)

For additional information on the Thriving Communities Overcrowding bill, which Taveras discussed further please see: CB -037-2017: Housing & Property Standards Law to Prohibit Overcrowding – An act concerning housing and property standards for the purpose of amending the Prince George’s County housing and property standards to address overcrowding. Taveras also noted that this legislation is not family specific but rather, guided by square footage/person. Therefore, it has the potential to close the loop
hole of folks identifying household inhabitants as “family members.”

Members of the association voiced skepticism over the introduction of new legislation given the non-enforcement of existing code and laws (e.g. trash, open drug dealing, beer houses etc.).

Council-member Taveras provided an update on the upcoming ground breaking for the Purple line and reminded members that there was a planned stop on Adelphi and University.

Impending zoning rewrite was said to be moving along slowly. No anticipated change to the community’s designation.

The Council-Member also highlighted other development efforts underway e.g. Riverfront West Hyattsville, Gin Warehouse which will now have 183 townhomes, 9000sq. ft. of commercial space and 4.5 acres of green space.

The members present then held an extended conversation with Council Member Taveras about the abutting forest, the Northwest Branch pathway and voiced concern that ongoing development plans can serve to remove the community’s environmental buffer, further compromise the water ways and place a greater burden on existing infrastructure (e.g. schools). The Association strongly encouraged the Council Member to think in more symbiotic and synergistic ways about the environment and the need for space “to develop.”

The Council Member then shared information about her upcoming Latino Diaspora Conference (Sept 30) as well as an anticipated conference to be held in January, 2018 on the African American Black Diaspora (Rolling Crest Community Center).

The association voiced its own commitment to intergroup dialog and referred to a desire to have meetings held in English/Spanish, as well as an interest in translating materials (e.g. newsletter) into Spanish. There was however, need of specific language expertise. President Mickens-Mosley noted that the community’s block party was beginning to help bridge these gaps, and voiced an interest in revisiting these gaps given the community’s growing population of Latino neighbors.

Meeting adjourned 1:08pm.

Next General Membership Meeting is scheduled for October 28, 2017.


CSTCA August Minutes 2017 (PDF file)

Meeting Minutes: June 2017

Cool Spring Terrace Civic Association Meeting, June 24, 2017
Officers in Attendance: Marguerite Mickens, President; Michelle V. Rowley, Secretary
Members in Attendance: Approximately 18

I. Welcome/Gathering

The meeting was called to order at 11:01 a.m. with President Mickens‐Mosley presiding. Also in attendance were Senator James Rosapepe, Delegate Barbara Frush and COPs Liaison, Corporal Bhaskarnauth Tiwari, Prince George’s Police Department.

II. Announcements and Officers’ Reports

  • Secretary Rowley explained why the minutes for the April meeting were
    circulated via email, rather than posted online ahead of the meeting (i.e.
    allows for correction of errors and any misrepresentation before becoming a
    public document). The membership voted and agreed to having the draft of the minutes circulated via email and posted online after they were read and
    approved.
  • The minutes from April 2017 were read and approved.
  • President Mickens Mosley conveyed apologies on behalf of Treasurer Halota
    for her absence and gave an update on the Associations funds as provided by
    Treasurer Halota. Currently, there is $1567.00 in the Association’s account.

III. Community Policing Update

Corporal Bhaskarnauth Tiwari (Cpl. T) provided an update on the following issues that were previously raised as concerns by the membership:

  • The incorrect turn sign at the Adelphi/ University intersection has been
    removed.
  • The military truck in the community is gone, but Cpl. T informed the community that the truck has historic tags, is legally registered and is therefore not in violation.
  • Abandoned vehicle on Adelphi Court and Chapman Road addressed and removed.
  • Cpl. T spoke to the difficulty of addressing the community’s problem with the dumping of mattresses. Follow up is contingent on catching the violation in process.
  • Homeless commune addressed. Property owner has cleaned the area and empowered Cpl. T to serve as “acting agent.” In the future, he can therefore request that they move.
  • Cpl. T alerted the membership to be on the lookout for cars parked in the community with illegal temporary tags showing a sample of a fraudulent TEXAS temporary tag.
  • Provided an overview of SmartWater Technology and provided the forensic kits to those members who were interested in registering their valuables with the PGPD/SmartWater Program.

 

Issues Raised with Cpl. T:

  • Members of the community continue to be concerned about folks speeding
    through the community
  • Drivers refusing to stop at crosswalk for pedestrians
  • Follow up needed on property code violations
  • Commercial parking issues continue (Cpl. T reminded folks to call to report
    these violations so that there is a record of complaints)

Senator Rosapepe

  • Senator Rosapepe informed the membership that MD legislature is vigilantly attending to cuts that occurring at the federal level. They remain
    attentive to particular areas of vulnerability, areas such as health care, issues of reproductive health, food support for the elderly, among other things. He noted that if state programs are threatened as a result of federal cuts, the
    legislature will explore how they might supplement these programs to ensure that they continue.
  • Senator Rosapepe also noted that they were paying particular attention to
    the national healthcare debate. Delegate Joseline Peña‐Melnyk’s committee, he noted, is monitoring these debates and should the health care bill pass, will identify the aspects of Maryland’s healthcare system that are affected and take steps to rectify.
  • He informed the members that the State and Federal funds for the Purple Line have been appropriated and planning work is underway despite efforts to bring it to a halt.
  • He provided an update on the new middle school, needed to deal with overcrowding and a discussion about finding an alternative location to the
    Mother Jones site ensued.

Delegate Frush

Delegate Frush told the community that she and her colleagues were very
committed to protecting the environment. She also outlined a number of measures that have been taken, along with legislation passed. These include the:

  • Personal Vehicles Rental Law
  • Increasing the number of bike paths on the roads
  • Preservation of forests
  • Support for the use of solar energy
  • Legislation banning fracking
  • Banning the use of polystyrene

Issues Raised (Frush and Rosapepe)

  • Assurances for Maryland’s ongoing protection of the environment, in light of the decision to leave the Paris Accord.
  • Any possibility of drawing on the profits from MGM Grand to support ongoing efforts to improve Metro
  • Concern about the reduction in bus service
  • Increase energy efficiency by using solar panels on schools

Old Business

President Mickens‐Mosley gave an update on the following:

  • CSTCA Saturday morning walking group.
  • Neighborhood clean‐up. Member Hermitt Mosley suggested that this be held
    again since the group was only able to complete Cool Spring Road and Cpl. T
    indicated that the young members of his Explorers Program would be able to
    help should another clean‐up be held.
  • The membership revisited a discussion of residential permit parking

New Business

  • Members volunteered to serve as block captains. Captains still needed for part of the community.
  • Member Hermitt Mosley revisited the idea of our annual block party
  • President Mickens Mosley circulated a draft of the forthcoming newsletter
  • The membership encouraged the leadership to provide an overview of the
    parking issue in the next newsletter
  • The membership extended their condolences to the friends and family of Ms.
    LaVerne Williams, member of the Lewisdale Citizens Association.
  • Member (Joel’s Ryerson) suggested that we invite our representatives and
    delegates to go walking with the CSTCA Walking Group so that they can see
    the code violations and needs of the community.

The meeting was formally adjourned at 12:47


CSTCA June Minutes 2017

Meeting Minutes: April 2017

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

I. Welcome/Gathering
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:
Phone: 240-762-1545
Email: batiwari@co.pg.md.us

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.


April Minutes 22nd (PDF file)

Meeting Minutes: February 2017

Cool Spring Terrace Civic Association Meeting, February 25, 2017

NOTE: The December 2016 meeting was postponed until February due to a snowstorm on December 17.

Officers present at the February 2017 meeting: Ted Hull, President; Glenn Kirkland, Vice President; Andrea Kenner, Secretary

Number of attendees: Approximately 20

I. Welcome/Gathering

The meeting was called to order at 11:14 a.m. Cpl. Rickert from the Prince George’s County Police Department was our special guest.

II. Announcements and Officers’ Reports

The minutes from the October 2016 meeting were read and approved.

President Hull gave the treasurer’s report: As of the beginning of the meeting, the treasury held $1,527.01. This amount included a dedution of $100 that the Association donated to support its opposition to Question D, which was on the ballot during the general election in November 2016.

Vice President Kirkland announced that membership dues for 2017 were due. Dues were collected from a number of the members present at the meeting. Also, the membership voted to donate $190 to the Christian Science Society, Hyattsville, in appreciation for the use of their meeting room.

III. Announcements

Member Jon Robinson updated members on the status of community opposition to the school board’s plan to build a middle school behind Mother Jones Elementary. In meeting with other local community groups, Mr. Robinson learned that nearby residents are concerned about the environmental impact of building a school on that site, which appears to be on a floodplain. The county is currently using the site for playing fields for the elementary school. Parents report that those fields are often too soggy for play, and the high water table there attracts mosquitos. Local residents have already spent between $20,000 and $50,000 each to waterproof their basements due to flooding. The fear is that building a school on that site could cause even more water damage to the surrounding homes and could render them unsalable.

Mr. Robinson also said he thinks that the county may also be considering Cool Spring Forest as the site for a future middle school. Our community association has concerns about that plan as well.

IV. Cpl. Rickert’s Report to the Association

Cpl. Rickert informed the association of the passing of Laverne Williams from the Lewisdale Civic Association. The Cool Spring Civic Association sends its condolences to Ms. Williams’s family.

Cpl. Rickert reported on the homeless camps that have sprung up along the power lines near University Blvd, and on an increase the incidence of gang violence at the Marylander Apartments and Campus Gardens.

Members expressed concern with loud music that appears to emanate from night clubs along University Blvd. Several members said that they hear the music continuing late into the night, but had been unable to determine its source. Cpl. Rickert said that he would check into this for us. Members also expressed concern about loud student parties on Curry Place. Cpl. Rickert reminded us that we can contact the University of Maryland to report loud student parties in the neighborhood.

Members again expressed a desire to have a traffic light installed at the corner of Cool Spring Road and Riggs Road. This still appears to be unlikely.

V. Election of New Officers

After much discussion, the following new officers were nominated and unanimously elected:

  • President: Marguerite Mickens-Mosley
  • Treasurer: Anika Halota
  • Secretary: Michelle Rowley

A nominee was not available for the position of Vice President, and members agreed to table the selection of a new Vice President until a future meeting.

VI. New Business/Comments for the Good of the Association

Members discussed several ideas for engaging community members in participating in our association:

  • Reinstating the CSTCA newsletter, publishing it in both English and Spanish, and delivering it door-to-door
  • Reinstating the block party
  • Reducing crime by keeping a lookout for each other
  • Revitalizing the block captain program

The new board will take up these ideas and more.

Adjournment: The meeting adjourned at approximately 1:15 p.m.