December 14, 2006 Town Meeting
Town of Cheverly
December 14, 2006
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: Mr. Warrington, Attorney Colaresi, Chief Robshaw, CMs Oslik, Watson, Oladele, Ford, and Callahan.
Pledge of Allegiance
Mayor Mosley added a discussion item for a possible land acquisition. The agenda was approved as amended.
· CM Callahan moved to excuse CM Schachter. Seconded by CM Oslik. Unanimously approved.
Minutes - Town Meeting – 11/9/06
Approved as written.
Minutes – Worksession – 11/30/06
Approved as written.
Minutes – Special Worksession – 12/7/06
CM Watson recommended changing “…authorizing the Mayor” to “…authorize the Mayor” in the third item for symmetry. Mayor Mosley added that a few lines of explanation for this motion was included in the minutes from the previous Worksession. The January Newsletter will feature the clarification from the Special Meeting.
CM Oslik stated that the second motion on the November 30 minutes did not clarify what the second letter was for. Mayor Mosley stated that changing the verbiage would constitute changing the motion. However, a note of explanation can be included to explain that the letter was drafted to Park and Planning requesting a feasibility study.
Town Administrators Report
Mr. Warrington reported that completion of the police building is scheduled for January 15. Temporary power will be turned on to allow for immediate occupancy.
CM Watson asked for an update on the pathway lighting. Mr. Warrington responded that the County is currently reviewing the permit. The bases and wiring have been completed.
Mr. Warrington responded to Mayor Mosley that the auditors have met with Town Staff. There was an error in the Management Letter regarding the funds for 5907 Annapolis Road. The letter should be corrected next week and he hoped to release it to the Mayor and Council by next Friday. Mr. Warrington added that he would do
a synopsis of key pages. If the Management Letter is not ready, he will present the audit anyway. The audit went well (funding and management) with the exception of there not being adequate checks and balances.
Mayor Mosley added that the audit has become more complicated.
Mr. Warrington added that the Town is looking to fill the following positions: a police officer, a full time Administrative Assistant and a part time Records Clerk. Job descriptions are posted on the web and will also appear in Sundays’ Washington Post.
CM Oslik commended Mr. Warrington on the successful completion of the audit.
Police Department Report
Chief Robshaw reported that graduation the Departments two newest members will graduate tomorrow bringing the headcount to full minus one. He gave the report for November (attached to original of the minutes).
Chief Robshaw added that he has been looking at how to get timely and relevant information out to the community.
Code Enforcement Officer Berry summarized that he used a yahoo grouping to send out mass emails of the Lookout Newsletter. The CPACT Group facilitated this method of sharing of this information. Links to CPACT and Lookout are on the Cheverly website.
Chief Robshaw reported that on four of the last five weekends night time burglaries occurred in the 3300 – 3400 blocks of Belleview Avenue at Cheverly Avenue (close to Route 202) and Montrose Road. During the most recent incident, which occurred on Belleview, extra patrol was on duty and the officers pursued the suspects in to the District. They never caught the vehicle and the tag information did not provide any leads. In three of the four burglaries, stolen autos were involved. It seems likely that the same individuals committed these crimes; there might be another incident this Friday.
On December 7, a Metro walker was approached and robbed by a suspect in a Cadillac Escalade.
Overall, crime is still down 15%, robberies are up 50%, carjackings and car thefts about 60%. There will be a detailed report on 2006 provided at the January Meeting. The nighttime burglaries have been reported in neighboring districts as well, and although the Department has been able to identify most of the suspects, they have not been apprehended.
Chief Robshaw responded to Vice Mayor Ford that so far, the stolen items have not shown up at area pawnshops.
CM Oslik asked whether it would be useful to leaflet homes in the affected area to alert everyone. Chief Robshaw responded that a number of the impacted residents have been contacted already and they plan to reach out to others. He is hoping that the email Lookouts can help. He is also considering a block captain approach to help disseminate information.
Discussion regarding Metro walkers.
Mayor Mosley re-ordered the agenda.
Public Hearing – Amending the Cheverly Urban Renewal Plan – 5901 Medical Terrace
The public hearing was opened by Mayor Mosley and the Urban Renewal process was explained, amending the plan and steps to be taken.
Dr. Nwankwo, the property owner, requested an opportunity to address the town’s concerns prior to adding his property to the Urban Renewal Plan.
Vice Mayor Ford did not object to voting until January with the caveat that deliverable dates are set for repairs beginning and completion.
CM Oladele stated that he wanted a timeline and that timelines will depend on the thoughts and expectations of the Town Administrator. Otherwise, they should prepare to begin work immediately.
Dr. Nwankwo added that when he purchased the property it was in need of much repair. He desired to combine his two practice locations to one. The property has the following challenges: it consists of four lots – two commercial, two residential and zoning will be difficult to combine; the taxes are expensive; and he has had to call the police on numerous occasions for because of theft and dumping.
Mayor Mosley suggested they meet with Mr. Warrington to discuss the repair and rehabilitation of this property. While this property was not in the best shape in the past, it was secure.
CM Schachter supported delaying action on this item until January. He suggested installing lighting as a cost affective way to mitigate criminal activity.
Mr. Warrington responded to CM Callahan that a dumper was caught with the help of the Code Enforcement Officer and the debris cleaned. He suggested that jersey barriers be set up at the driveway entrance. This and other inexpensive steps can be taken to secure the property.
Mayor Mosley added that this item would be deferred to the January 11 Town Meeting.
Cheverly Day Committee
CM Watson reported that Cheverly Day is on May 19, 2007 featuring the Cicada Crunch. Volunteers are needed.
CM Oslik added that he would like to see the walking course extended to include the same distance as the running course. He suggested recognizing multi-generational families living in Cheverly in the Program Booklet.
There was no report.
Mayor and Council Announcements
Mayor Mosley announced there was a special meeting held on December 7th to discuss Addison Row, where the Douglas Development Company explained their proposed development. She recited the motion:
Action Taken at December 7th Worksession
CM Watson moved to support the rezoning of the 34 acres known as Addison Row from I1, I2 and CO to MXT zoning and that the Mayor convey that, in writing, prior to the December 14th Prince George’s Planning Board Meeting, contingent upon negotiating and executing a written agreement specifying green space, density, traffic and quality for maintenance and construction covenants with Jamals Fairfield Farms, LLC and the Town of Cheverly. Seconded by CM Schachter. VOTE: 5–0. CM Oladele absent.
An emergency meeting was called on December 13th due to questions around the depth of the contract.
The original action was nullified.
A draft letter was prepared to Chairman Sam Parker (PGC Planning Board) that the Town supported the application for rezoning but they had concerns and recommendations mostly having to do with density (reduce the number of residential units to 2000 versus 2400-2600) and that the total development on the property be limited to uses that generate more than 1683 AM and 2323 PM peak vehicle hour trips. Other concerns around traffic and environmental and the current land uses and conditions for this property were typical of what has been in that area for generations. Some of the uses of I1 and I2 prevent quality development and this is why they supported rezoning.
Action taken at December 13th meeting.
CM Callahan moved that the letter drafted by the Mayor and Council be sent to the Prince George’s Planning Board for their consideration in support of the rezoning application A-9811 to rezone the property from I-1, I-2 and CO to MXT. Seconded by CM Watson. Approved 4-1, CM Oslik against, Mayor Mosley cast 4th affirmative vote.
Mr. Warrington summarized that the applicant presented their case and Park and Planning presented their case and they agreed with the Town on some points. The Planning Board gave a brief presentation – they did not review the traffic study. They did get testimony from the Town Administrator, and Mr. Eley raised an issue asking that the name Cheverly be removed. The Planning Board understood the Town’s position and that there should be progress toward something other that what is there – and they voted for a zoning change. They feel that there needs to be stimulation in this area. There was a lot of discussion on the word “vicinity” to a Metro station. Seat Pleasant, Capital Heights, Fairmont Heights and Cheverly are all in favor of the zoning change.
The principal of Fairmont Heights High School recommended the zoning change in turn; the developer has reached out to the school to set up an entrepreneurial program that will give free space to a student who has an enterprising idea.
Mayor Mosley clarified that the record will be final on the February 7 Zoning Hearing Examiners file. She asked the Town Attorney to set up a meeting with the developer.
Attorney Colaresi added that there are going to be many milestones and he wants the Town to be able to comment freely at every stage of the process. Thus the decision to abandon the contract, because he felt the Mayor and Council were giving up that right too quickly.
CM Oslik clarified his “no” vote and remains concerned with the impacts of density, particularly as it relates to transportation. There was not adequate opportunity to work through those issues and he believes that the Town is moving forward with a significant project absent global transportation plans that takes in to consideration the impact of such a development (Route 50 and Kenilworth Avenue). He remained concerned about the number of residential units even after the number of units was reduced. He remains hopeful that there is a good development.
CM Schachter stated his support of a zoning change but did not think he would have voted in favor of the letter.
Discussion on conditions around zoning changes.
Vice Mayor Ford added that the traffic problem would have to be handled at a regional level. Concerns should be expressed to Congressman Wynn and the recommendation made to develop a committee to examine this issue.
Mayor Mosley responded to CM Watson that the Council needs to clarify green space conditions, density, and dialogue with the Developer. She is not sure the Council is trying to get a contract until the next meeting. As Attorney Colaresi pointed out, a contract might limit the Town versus helping the Town.
CM Schachter stated that he was confused about the Town’s legal options.
CM Oladele supported CM Ford’s recommendation of creating a committee. He suggested partnering with neighboring cities on transportation and other issues.
Attorney Colaresi added that Cheverly has unique interests that differ from those of surrounding municipalities.
CM Callahan added that the letter would be posted to the website.
CM Oladele added that the Town should be able to push for significant changes with the new Congress.
CM Oslik added that he supports working toward a contractual agreement prior to the Zoning Hearing Examiners session and hopes that they have an agreement before the January 25 Worksession.
Mayor Mosley announced that the Town has been working with the Nellis Corporation who is seeking the Town’s support to bring quality dining establishments to Capital Plaza. Due to licensing requirements, it has been challenging to get larger chains to consider coming to Capital Plaza. State-Delegate Neman has been helpful by introducing licensing exceptions; however, his legislation failed in the last session because it was tied to another bill that failed for other reasons. Thus, the licensing legislation was reintroduced as its own bill.
A hearing has been scheduled for January 19 at 7:00 PM at Prince George’s Community College. CM Watson added that the hearing is a meeting of the Prince George’s County Law Enforcement Committee, and they plan to discuss approximately 15 bills. Delegate Ramirez is the Vice-Chair of this committee.
CM Oslik added that public hearings are scheduled for December 18 and 19 before committees of the Prince George’s County House Delegation. Interested residents can go to www.princegeorgeshousedelegation.com.
CM Oladele was excused from the meeting.
CM Watson clarified that the Cheverly 3 on 3 Basketball and Cheverly Handbook are on the January Worksession agenda. He added that he would like to discuss the current budget and the preliminary FY’08 Budget at upcoming Worksessions. Another item he would like to discuss is electronic participation in Town Meetings for Councilmembers.
In response to CM Oslik, Mayor Mosley asked Mr. Warrington to follow up with Mr. Baker (PEPCO) on the promised report.
Lela Riazzi, 3406 Belleview Avenue expressed concerns about the condition of Medical Terrace and speeding on Belleview Avenue. She also stated her support of more greenspace and greenspace infrastructure (trails, etc) for the proposed Addison Row development. She stated her concern about the developer shying away from the regional approach. She commended her CM for putting out a newsletter disclosing meeting discussions with the developer.
Resolution R-5-06 Setting a Filing Fee for Cable Franchise Applications
Attorney Colaresi summarized that Verizon is applying for a franchise agreement with Cheverly, which means that a fee must be established. Most municipalities charge a fee of $5000. He asked the Mayor and Council to pass the resolution so that terms can be viewed and negotiated. The ordinance allows Cheverly to charge the fee for processing costs.
· CM Oslik moved adoption of Resolution R-5-06 setting a filing fee of $5000 for cable franchise applications. Seconded by CM Watson.
CM Watson stated that the draft of R-5-06 does not include the word cable. Discussion. Mayor Mosley re-read the Resolution with the word “cable” inserted.
VOTE: 5 to 0 in favor, CM Oladele absent, CM Schachter now present.
Adoption O-3-06 Amending Chapter 10 Special Trash
Mr. Warrington summarized that this change allows the Town to raise fees if trash is
over 50 lbs. per item or if there are more than three items left for special trash collection. It also states that automotive parts will not be removed.
· CM Ford moved adoption O-3-06 amending Chapter 10 Special Trash. Seconded by CM Callahan. VOTE: 5 – 0. CM Oladele absent.
Dog Park Update
Mayor Mosley summarized that a letter requesting a feasibility study has been sent to Park and Planning.
Attorney Colaresi summarized that he was asked by the Council to draft for discussion an ordinance that will name specific dog breeds (American Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Toza, Dogo Argentine, Fila Brazilero, Presna Kanareo, Coni Corso and the Conise Panthers) in the ban. Dogs of these breeds already living in town will be grandfathered. Rather than make the ban breed specific he added, “any dog identified as having specific characteristics of those breeds”. There has to be an expert that can determine that a dog in question has those characteristics and the owner has to be able to prove it does not should there be a dispute. The County would have the satisfaction to make such determinations. Attorney Colaresi stated that he would email pictures of these dogs to the Mayor and Council.
CM Callahan thanked Attorney Colaresi for drafting the ordinance and he thanked Mayor Mosley for sending the letter; he has received more feedback on the Dog Park.
Attorney Colaresi responded to CM Callahan that there would be no differentiation in enforcement between owners and renters in the ordinance.
Attorney Colaresi added that there is a website sponsored by The Animal Advocates Society of DC that features a section on what they consider dangerous dogs.
Purchase of Greenspace Property
CM Callahan summarized that there is a double lot located off of Cheverly Avenue that has access to the Cheverly Nature Park. The property will be up for sale and rights of the land can be purchased to allow access in and out of the park from Belleview Avenue. He asked for consideration of whether this would be a good expenditure of land acquisition funds. CM Callahan added that there have been attempts to get independent real estate agents to conduct an assessment on the land and there is a contract on the land outlining what the open market price would be.
Vice Mayor Ford added that at the end of Forest Road there is an easement that allows access to park land. It is currently not in use; perhaps homeowners living adjacent to this property would agree to have this easement used as access to the park.
CM Callahan recommended a Scout Troop build a trail that would mark it as public property. He clarified that there is an offer on the land – no contract on the property.
Mr. Warrington responded to CM Oslik that the money proposed for spending on this project was on hold for purchase of the Palm Readers property on Route 202. He is still waiting for an appraisal on this property. If purchased, the funds would be a combination of these previously earmarked funds as well as Project Open Space funds. If this purchase of the greenspace goes through, funds for the Palm Reader property will come from General funds.
This item will be placed on the January Town Meeting agenda.
Mayor Mosley closed the hearing.
Meeting adjourned 11:00 p.m.
Town of Cheverly
Summary of Action
December 14, 2006
1. CM Callahan moved to excuse CM Schachter. Seconded by CM Oslik. Unanimously approved.
CM Schachter arrived late to meeting.
2. CM Oslik moved adoption of Resolution R-5-06 setting a filing fee of $5000 for cable franchise applications. Seconded by CM Watson. VOTE: 5 – 0. CM Oladele absent.
3. CM Ford moved adoption O-3-06 amending Chapter 10 Special Trash. Seconded by CM Callahan. VOTE: 5 – 0. CM Oladele absent.