August 2005 Town Meeting
Town of Cheverly
August 11, 2005
Call to Order
Mayor Mosley called the meeting to order at 8:00 p.m. in the Cheverly Community Center. There were 8 citizens in attendance.
In attendance: Town Administrator Warrington, Attorney Colaresi, Chief Robshaw, CMs Watson, Schachter, Hofmann.
Pledge of Allegiance
Mayor Mosley opened the meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance.
A quorum was not present
Mayor Mosley asked to add an announcement regarding the website.
Mr. Warrington reported that the audit is still under way. A budget adjustment was approved at the Worksession for Greenleaf Road and work will be completed in the fall. A request for bidding went out for Chev-Tux Park lighting and no responses were received. Mr. Warrington stated that he would ask the Mayor and Council for permission to draft a proposal to negotiate a contract. Mr. Torres will present the proposal at the next Worksession. Park and Planning had no objections to the design departure for the Police Department and bidding is expected to begin soon. The exceptions were minor and did not involve the building.
Mayor Mosley commented that National Night Out was a huge success and had a record number of attendees. The Moon Bounce that was donated was a hit. Giant, the Cheverly Food Mart, the Cheverly Exxon and SAMS Club donated food. Mayor Mosley also thanked former County CM and the current Executive Director of Minority Business (for the County Executives Office) Floyd Wilson and his wife Dot were in attendance the entire evening. Bill Boston, Community Liaison for Congressman Albert Wynn also attended.
Chief Buddy Robshaw reported that National Night Out had approximately 300 attendees. Plastic police badges were handed out to the children. He thanked everyone for attending.
He thanked those who attended the demonstration on Less-than-Lethal Weapons; Corporal Billy Gleason from the Prince George’s Police Department displayed and demonstrated weapons. Surveys were issued to attendees and most were favorable with some exceptions. This year, the Department has been involved in a number of SHA programs (Click it or Ticket, Smooth Operator, etc). Chief Robshaw stated that the program challenges police chiefs to aggressively write tickets for seatbelt violations. There were a total of 6546 tickets written in the County for the month, of which the Cheverly Police wrote 1001 tickets. Greenbelt came in first with the most number of tickets written and they have four times the number of officers as Cheverly. Officer Aaron Locke wrote 222 traffic citations in the one-month period.
Officer Aaron Locke, a 10-month veteran, announced that the Department will focus on specific areas in Town when school begins. Stop sign violations have been a problem at the following intersections and will be actively enforced:
Euclid Street & Crest Avenue
Lockwood Road & Tremont Street
Lockwood Road & Crest Avenue
Speeding enforcement will occur:
6000 block Reed Street
2400 block 59th Place
63rd Avenue at G.N. Spellman School
There is a new 25 mph sign located at the intersection of Jason Street & 64th Avenue.
The first recipient of the Cheverly Police Department Anti Burglary Partnership is scheduled to receive their sign soon. In addition to having the sign installed on their property, an article will appear in the Gazette.
Chief Robshaw gave the report for July (copy attached to original of the minutes). Crime would be reduced to half if car theft could be eliminated. Cheverly is a safe town. He added that in the last three months, $100,000 worth of illegal drugs has been confiscated and 15–20 arrests each month are attributed to the drug culture.
Chief Robshaw added that he has begun active enforcement of unregistered, inoperable and abandoned vehicles. If these vehicles are found on the street, they will be towed. If the car is on private property; a sticker will be placed on the vehicle and after 15 days a certified notice will be sent to the home notifying the resident that the car will be towed. There were 40 cars tagged this week.
Mayor Mosley added that there is a problem on 2300 Belleview that she wants to talk with him about after the meeting. She thanked everyone who attended National Night Out.
Chief Robshaw thanked Public Works for their assistance at Cheverly Day and for assisting the Department each day.
Mayor and Council Announcements
Mayor Mosley announced that a quorum was not present due to illness and action items might not reach a vote. She announced the attendance of Senator Gwen Britt, Delegate Victor Ramirez and Delegate Doyle Niemann.
Worksession: Reports from Department Heads, Objectives (closed), Capital Plaza development discussion, email policy, boat restrictions (might be bumped), Belmont Street (will be bumped), 5708 Annapolis Road, bumping expense allocation, Mrs. Nash – move discussion of parking at Boyd Park (special meeting w/Chief, CM Schachter and residents), Dog Park will be bumped.
CM Watson welcomed Delegate Ramirez to Ward 2. CM Watson announced that the Zip Code Task Force has gotten a dozen responses as a result of the Newsletter article. He would like to run the announcement again in September to get more feedback; which can be emailed to him directly or dropped off at Town Hall. He is compiling a list of complaints for submission to the Post Office. Hopefully they will come to a Town Meeting to address concerns.
Barbara Pejokovich mentioned that the Annual Flea Market will be on October 1, and reservations will be taken starting September 1. Tables are $15.00 and can be reserved by calling her at 301/773-5883. The first meeting will be September 27 at 8:00 PM in the Community Center.
Cheverly Day Committee
CM Watson summarized that the finances from Cheverly Day are still being settled. The next Cheverly Day will be on April 26, 2006 and will have a parade commemorating and diamond jubilee (75 years). Pictures of the 2005 Cheverly Day can be found at www.chevelryday.com.
Mayor Mosley added that she has received inquiries from residents wishing to highlight well-known residents and former residents in the Cheverly Day booklet.
Theresa Roebuck, 6601 Oak Street, complained about the park, speeding, poor lighting, loitering, drug activity. She has asked CM Ford about lighting and wanted to go on record at the Town Meeting with her request. Ms. Roebuck added that she approached the Hanson Arms apartment manager about the trash at the end of Oak Street and they cleaned it one day. She has also contacted Code Enforcement. She applauded the National Night Out efforts and vowed to remain involved and to encourage her neighbors to do the same.
Senator and Delegates Legislative Report
Mayor Mosley introduced Senator Gwendolyn Britt and Delegates Doyle Niemann and Victor Ramirez.
Senator Britt summarized that the 2005 session was more challenging than both 2003 and 2004. There were 2500 bills introduced and of those about 2000 were brought before either the House, the Senate or both for consideration. She thanked residents of Cheverly for staying in touch.
The state budget was $26B and it contained $250M for school construction with $96M of new money for schools and programs in Prince George’s. The Capital Budget allocated a lot for the State and for Prince George’s. District 47 had eight (8) local projects for which bond bills were submitted; six (6) of which received funding allocation. Projects included the municipal center improvement in Colmar Manor, the Boswick House renovation in Bladensburg, Joe’s Movement Emporium (Arts Movement) in Mt. Rainier, the North Brentwood African American Cultural Heritage Center and the Multicultural Service Center in Langley Park. Additional funding recipients included the only battered women’s shelter (located in District 47) and the Children’s Guild which serves emotionally challenged
children and is located In Chillum.
Controversial Bills: the minimum wage bill passed both houses raising wages from $5.15 to $6.15 and was vetoed by the Governor. Hopefully there will be an override. The Fair Share Health Fund Act (aka the Wal-Mart bill) passed both houses, was vetoed but will be presented again.
Other legislation focused on teen drivers: there will be a five (5) month prohibition on driving with other teens; a prohibition on the use of cell phones while driving with a provisional license/learners permit; and there will be an extension of the Learners Permit period from four (4) to six (6) months with the requirement of an additional 20 hours of supervised driving.
Senator Britt summarized the bills she introduced which were passed: Physical Education, which requires the State to hire a Physical Education professional to work with local school districts to develop a program that will require more physical activity. Task Force to study the impact of Auto Immune Disease.
Delegate Ramirez summarized that the delegation brought back over $700M for K-12 education; more than in previous years. Transportation received $37M and Program Open Space received $7M. In total, $833M was brought back to the Maryland.
Legislative highlights: closing liquor stores earlier (midnight versus 2:00 AM). Establishments that carry alcohol licenses can no longer provide nude dancing. Increase in the Homeowner Tax Credit to benefit fixed income residents. Slots were defeated and there was a funding increase for adult literacy.
Mayor Mosley added that Delegate Parker was not able to attend the Town Meeting.
Delegate Niemann touched on upcoming priorities which include taxes and budget, the roll back property tax increase, education, a return to an elected school board (at large or district), Prince George’s Hospital Center revitalization, economic development (zoning laws, site amendments), child welfare reform, juvenile justice and correctional reform.
Delegate Niemanns’ bill on foreclosure fraud passed. The bill will make it more difficult for con artists to steal properties.
He added that 2006 is an election year for both State and County offices and voter registration is important.
Senator Britt said that should the Primary date be changed from September to June, which would allow Democrats more time to raise money for the general election. Republicans would have less time to campaign. This issue will be addressed in the General Assembly and will greatly impact the Board of Elections, giving them less time to prepare.
CM Hoffman thanked the Delegates for supporting the Obesity Legislation and for supporting the defeat of slots. He asked how to get rid of non verifiable voting machines (Diebold).
Senator Britt responded that the Committee of Education, Health and Environmental Affairs is examining this issue. Last summer, various companies gave presentations on their voter verification equipment, none of them were foolproof. This issue is being reexamined.
CM Schachter asked whether the Maryland Senate and the House of Delegates have committee systems similar to the Federal system where there is governmental oversight.
Delegate Niemann responded that Congress has oversight over the State only. The County Council has oversight of the County Executive and his offices.
CM Schachter suggested passing legislation that would require feedback be given on how County funds are being spent. For example, Route 202 has undergone beautification, however, there has been a lack of maintenance.
Delegate Niemann recommended the Town make noise on this issue so that the matter gets attention.
Mayor Mosley added that the Town is concerned about what happens to Prince George’s Hospital
Delegate Niemann responded that the Landover Mall property is a conceivable location for the hospital, but it is not final.
Mayor Mosley added that the Mayor and Council attended the Governors Department Head Roundtable at the Maryland Municipal League and were concerned that the Kenilworth Avenue Interchange ranks third in priority. The Town has contacted Congressman Wynn and the Governors office regarding this issue. Additional issues for Cheverly included the sound barriers along Route 50, the zip code, the fact that there is no Express Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) service center in Prince George’s. Mayor Mosley suggested that in conjunction with the Nellis Corporations’ development of Capital Plaza, the Bobs Big Boy could be a possible location for an MVA Express.
Mayor Mosley thanked the Delegation for helping Cheverly obtain the $100K grant for the police station. She also requested that they work to protect Project Open Space.
Senator Niemann responded to CM Watson that the CSX Bridge project in Bladensburg is underway and should be complete in 1½ years.
CM Watson asked about medical malpractice.
Del. Ramirez responded to CM Watson that with regard to medical malpractice, Congress wants doctors to stay in Maryland, and legislation was passed to give more control over frivolous lawsuits.
Delegate Niemann responded to CM Watson that they are committed to pressure the Transportation Department to do something about Kenilworth Avenue. He suspects that the long-term solution for that intersection as well as for Tuxedo Road depends upon what happens with the Metro. He encouraged Cheverly to establish a group to work on this issue and the Delegation would help.
Attorney Colaresi asked whether the legislation intends to narrow the public use definition for urban renewal purposes.
Delegate Niemann responded that a Task Force has been created to work on this issue, but none of them are involved. Delegate Ramirez added that this is a Republican issue.
Attorney Colaresi sated that in Maryland, Lyme disease is becoming an epidemic. Healthcare insurers are only required to provide two (2) weeks of antibiotics whether or not the patient recovers.
Senator Britt responded that a Bill was before her committee on this topic and there was compelling discussion as well as testimony that evened out the urgency resulting in no vote. A task force was formed out of those discussions and there should be a briefing before the next session.
Mayor Mosley added that the Town has used its condemnation authority wisely and do not want to lose this ability.
CM Hoffman asked whether there is a way that an administrative fee could be added to speeding tickets so that the Town could get some proceeds. Currently, 100% of proceeds from speeding tickets go to the State.
Delegate Niemann responded that he sits on the Public Safety Committee and would be interested in discussing that idea further.
D’Ranch Restaurant – Mr. Paschal Agwubuzo
Douglas Meister, Attorney for Mr. and Mrs. Agwubuzo (owner/managers) of D’Ranch Restaurant for 2 ½ years. Mr. Agwubuzo is the manager and Mrs. Agwubuzo has an ownership interest. They have made an application to the Board of Licensing Commissioner for an alcoholic beverage license.
Mr. Agwubuzo stated that they have come to the Town Meeting seeking support and they are fully aware that Cheverly is interested in protecting its community from night clubs. They are the only restaurant in Town and have been in business the longest. They have worked hard and have sacrificed for the restaurant and would like to be judged by their face-to-face actions versus hearsay. Mr. Agwubuzo stated that 80% of their customers live in the community. D’Ranch serves African, Caribbean and American food. The restaurant is a means to support their family, and also serves Cheverly by providing a tax benefit.
CM Schachter suggested finding creative ways to enter in to an agreement with the Town that would have binding conditions. In exchange for Cheverly’s support, they would promise that there is no nude dancing, etc. He suggested that there could be consideration given to annex D’Ranch. He recalled that D’Ranch applied for a liquor license a few years ago, and because there is a church located within 500 feet of the restaurant, it was not granted.
Attorney Meister responded that Mr. Agwubuzo has already asked him to examine mutual agreements with Cheverly along with other neighboring communities. They will reserve their argument with the Liquor Board regarding the law requiring an establishment wishing to sell liquor be located new closer than 500 feet.
Attorney Colaresi asked whether only beer and wine would be sold on the premises.
Attorney Meister responded that the decision would be based on customer demand, and he could not commit to a response right now but would agree to discuss it later.
Mayor Mosley added that if the issue of the church is resolved, she believes that a Liquor License would have to be transferred.
Attorney Meister responded that the license would be transferred from a Capital Height’s establishment previously run by Mr. Agwubuzo called D’Revolution.
Mayor Mosley added that the Black Scorpio Club, which was run by members of his family in the Cheverly Industrial Park had many problems. Mr. Agwubuzo responded that he was not involved with that business. D’Ranch is family oriented
Mr. Agwubuzo responded to Mayor Mosley that the decision to close D’Revolution was the result of the lease agreement in addition to lost revenue. D’Revolution was a restaurant that provided adult entertainment on weekends. Police Officers can vouch for the low incident of violence there. Mr. Agwubuzo added that he also manages the Ultimate Hair Shop also located on MD Avenue.
Attorney Meister responded that if you visit D’Ranch, you will see that their clientele is coming in to eat.
CM Schachter responded that this may be because there is no alcohol.
Mr. Agwubuzo invited the Mayor and Council to visit the restaurant for a complimentary meal so that they can observe the ambience. The restaurant seats 68.
Adoption Resolution Regarding Wal-Mart @ Capitol Plaza
Mayor Mosley summarized that Cheverly sent a letter to Rhoda Washington, Community Affairs Director for Wal-Mart asking for written confirmation of outstanding issues. At the July Town meeting, an artists’ rendering of the elevation was provided; which the Council did not like. The Council asked to collaborate with Wal-Mart on designing the façade. Mayor Mosley had a meeting with the Nellis Corporation to determine how Cheverly could help and George Hasser, architect and Cheverly Resident, helped to draft a number of architectural standards. (Another resolution might be passed on those standards.)
Mayor Mosley stated her concern that Wal-Mart has permits to build; however, the demolition permit had not been issued. They have been in touch with CM Harrington Deputy Executive Director Al Cornish. Mr. Levitt has been in touch with the Real Estate division of Wal-Mart. Rhoda Washington contacted Mayor Mosley (today) and indicated that Wal-Mart still stands by their verbal agreement to give hiring priority to local residents, adhere to specified ours of operation, that there would be no grocery store, no liquor or firearms sold. She added that the Town would not receive another letter from her office but that Wal-Mart intends to send a letter to County CM Harrington saying that they wish to work with all the government agencies involved in this project.
Deputy Executive Director Cornish has been very helpful and he has assured the Mayor and Council that the County Executive’s office has heard them loud and clear and will not allow anything to be built that Cheverly does not support. Mr. Cornish suggested that the Town delay voting although CM Harrington did not make that recommendation. Two Cheverly CMs who were very active in this issue are not in attendance, although a quorum is present. Mayor Mosley’s recommendation is that the vote be delayed until Mr. Cornish and CM Harrington are able to bring all interested parties to the table for the community’s benefit.
CM Hoffman reported that he received a response from the Town Ethics Commission regarding his participation in this issue. Their response was that since the proposed Wal-Mart site is not within city limits and the resolution is not binding, he is allowed to participate.
CM Watson recommended not voting because of the absence of CMs Oslik and Ford.
· CM Watson moved to excuse CMs Oslik and Ford. Seconded by CM Schachter. Unanimously approved.
CM Schachter agreed that this item should not be voted on because Wal-Mart has not responded to Cheverly’s request for an additional letter. He hoped to negotiate with Wal-Mart to the point that they would give Cheverly a letter agreeing to the conditions in the Resolution; which would be a binding agreement.
Mayor Mosley stated that she is not in favor of voting on this item because she is not entirely certain that she would not consider a voting measure opposing Wal-Mart if something fell through on the current agreement. She added that she is looking forward to further discussions with all interested parties.
· CM Watson moved to table the resolution to the August Worksession.
· CM Schachter moved to amend the motion for a vote to occur at a televised public meeting.
The motion was amended.
Seconded by CM Schachter. Unanimously approved.
CM Hoffman asked that everyone keep in mind that if Wal-Mart is denied the opportunity to move in, no one may want the property.
Mayor Mosley added that Cheverly has promised to help Mr. Levitt develop the Capital Plaza property.
Adoption O-1-05 Amending Chapter 22 – Police Mutual Aid
Attorney Colaresi summarized that the State of Maryland has passed a law acknowledging and encouraging local jurisdictions to collaborate. One proviso is that the legislative body has to address it, and he drafted an ordinance enabling the Town if it wishes to participate in these agreements and conform to state law. Anything more than 60 days needs to be approved by the Mayor and Council. It is not a commitment at this point, but will lead to a commitment (copy attached to original of the minutes).
· CM Hoffman moved adoption of Ordinance O-1-05, Amending Chapter 22 – Police Mutual Aid. Seconded by CM Watson. Unanimously approved.
Adoption O-2-05 – Amending Chapter 8 Building Permits
Mr. Warrington summarized that this ordinance is being updated to reflect the County ordinance. Town Code currently states that 100 square feet is required, whereas the County requires 150 square feet. He read the ordinance (copy attached to original of the minutes).
· CM Schachter moved adoption of Ordinance O-2-05, Amending Chapter 8 Building Permits. Seconded by CM Hoffman. Unanimously approved.
Town Meeting Minutes, 7/14/05
CM Watson added that he was not included in the list of attendees. Mayor Mosley asked to defer discussion of this item to the Worksession for follow up with Mr. Warrington.
Worksession Minutes, 7/28/05
The minutes were approved as written.
Mayor Mosley reported on behalf of CM Oslik that there are two options for the Cheverly web address. One is to stay with “.com”, the other is to use “Chevelry@maryland.gov”, which is CM Osliks preference. Only a governmental entity can have a “.gov” suffix.
Adjourned 10:30 p.m.
Town of Cheverly
Summary of Action
August 11, 2005
1. CM Watson moved to excuse CMs Oslik and Ford. Seconded by CM Schachter. Unanimously approved.
2. CM Watson moved to table the resolution to the August Worksession.
3. CM Schachter moved to amend the motion for a vote to occur at a televised public meeting. Seconded by CM Schachter. Unanimously approved.
4. CM Hoffman moved adoption of Ordinance O-1-05, Amending Chapter 22 – Police Mutual Aid. Seconded by CM Watson. Unanimously approved.
5. CM Schachter moved adoption of Ordinance O-2-05, Amending Chapter 8 Building Permits. Seconded by CM Hoffman. Unanimously approved.