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.
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.
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.
- 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 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)