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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.