Town of Cheverly
April 14, 2005
Call to Order
Mayor Mosley called the meeting to order at 8:00 p.m. in the Cheverly Community Center. There were about 20 citizens in attendance.
In attendance: Town Administrator David Warrington, Attorney Colaresi, CMs Cullen, Oslik, Watson and Adegboyega.
Pledge of Allegiance
Mayor Mosley opened the meeting was opened with the Pledge of Allegiance.
There were no changes.
Town Meeting Minutes, 3/10/05
The minutes were approved as written.
Worksession Minutes, 3/24/05
The minutes were approved as written.
Mr. Warrington announced that mulch deliveries would end soon. Mulch Day is April 16. Program Open Space money has been received and new playground equipment has been installed in Town Park.
CM Oslik inquired about water line replacements by WSSC. Work on Wayne Court will begin in the next few weeks. Mayor Mosley said that the Town has heard from PEPCO and the transformer upgrade is forthcoming.
The Mayor and Council asked for a light at the end of Lake Avenue and it was installed a month ago. Mayor Mosley thanked Mr. Torres for following up on that issue.
CM Oslik asked about lighting around Tot Park to discourage loitering. Mr. Warrington responded that he needed the address nearest to where the light should be installed so that he could place the order.
Mr. Warrington responded to CM Mosley that the water line installation on Hillside will not be disruptive for traffic even though its in the center of the street, but that’s good for the trees.
Police Chief Jeffery Krauss reported that criminal incidents were down, but that there was an increase in stolen autos. These incidents were concentrated in 6500 block of Landover Road (Cheverly Terrace Apartments). There was one arrest related to the stolen autos; in addition there were 5 drug arrests and one gambling call. There have also been break-ins in the Industrial Park; however, evidence has been obtained that he hopes will lead to the closure of those cases. Detective Green was nominated and awarded Police Officer of the Year at their recent banquet.
CM Ford inquired about the apartment’s security proposal. Chief Krauss responded to CM Ford that apartment management has been cooperative.
CM Oslik asked whether code enforcement warnings are issued prior to tickets. Chief Krauss responded that warnings are issued prior to violations being written. Mayor Mosley added that it is at the officers’ discretion whether to write a warning first or to issue a citation.
Mayor and Council Announcements
Mayor Mosley announced that the Council Election would be held from Monday May 2, from 7 – 8 pm. There are four council seats that are unopposed and two open seats. She thanked CM Cullen and Adegboyega for their service to the Town.
· CM Oslik moved to excuse CM Schachter. Seconded by CM Ford. Unanimously approved.
CM Oslik reminded residents that April 16 is the Anacostia Watershed Society’s annual Earth Day Clinic and Celebration from 8:30 – 2 PM. Volunteers are needed.
Worksession Agenda: Text Amendment for Senior Housing, vehicle exception request for 3115 Laurel Avenue, discussion amending Planning Board Policy (new members are needed), email policy, amending Section 8 building permits, CDBG participation agreement, Chief Krauss’ contract renewal, the Dog Park (behind tennis courts), Budget and CIP, award of budget adjustment for the Jason Street repaving contract.
CM Watson asked that a discussion regarding rock-climbing wall at Cheverly Day be added to the agenda.
There was no report.
CM Watson announced that there would be a Meet the Candidates Forum on April 27 in Town Hall at 7:30 pm that will also be broadcast live. There will be a Ward 2 barbecue on May 1 at 2413 59th Place from 12 –3 pm. The next meeting on the zip code Task Force is May 11 at 7 pm in Town Hall.
Cheverly Day Report
CM Watson reported that Cheverly Day would be even bigger this year. There will be a second stage for amateur venues and a rock-climbing wall. The rock-climbing wall will cost $4-5 per climber and will be staffed. Participants will also be asked to sign a waiver. The next committee meeting is April 26 at 7:30 pm. There is still time to get a program ad.
Margie Burns, 6103 Lombard Street, mentioned highly contagious flu virus being sent to area labs and inquired about the impact on Cheverly residents.
Mr. Warrington responded that the News Media reports that the Center for Disease Control is tracking all samples and those that were sent to local hospitals and labs have been destroyed. The Maryland Department of Hygiene is tracking what was sent to Maryland.
Cathy Smith, 6019 Inwood Street with Friends of Lower Beaver Dam reported that on Saturday, in conjunction with the Anacostia Watershed Society, they would have Clean Up Day. The State Highway Administration is going to supervise and remove the trash. Volunteers should meet at 9:00 am at Tot Park. After clean up, they will plant 40 trees that were obtained from the County’s Peace Tree Program. Additional clean up days are scheduled for April 30 and May 28. Volunteers are needed.
Discussion –Wal-Mart @ Capital Plaza
Mayor Mosley summarized that there would be no vote on this item and it will be up for discussion two more times. She introduced Wendell Levitt of the Nellis Corporation (owner of Capital Plaza) and Attorney Larry Taub.
Wendell Levitt, President, Nellis Corporation, (owns Capital Plaza Mall) and out parcels (McDonalds, Chevy Chase Bank and former Bob’s Big Boy). They purchased the property in December 1991 and subsequently purchased the adjacent Safeway. The shopping center was in decline and national retailers left as their leases expired. Six years ago, they began to search for a new concept for the property. A deal with Home Depot fell through and subsequently; discussions with Wal-Mart began about a year ago. The planned redevelopment involves complete demolition of the mall and office building currently located on the property. The outposts will remain? Wal-Mart will occupy 16 acres and additional retailers will have an opportunity to locate there. Shoppers Food Warehouse is interested in
redevelopment once Wal-Mart has broken ground and there have been discussion of a discount department store also locating there.
In September 2004 existing tenants were notified and the mall is now closed.
Margie Burns, 6113 Lombard Street inquired when the short-term lease policy was initiated. Mr. Levitt responded that most leases were month to month – but some retailers were offered leases that allowed Nellis to terminate as they determined.
CM Ford asked how the site would be affected by the new bill addressing minimum wages. Mr. Levitt responded that that would be a question for Wal-Mart. The front of Wal-Mart will face the rear of the old Hechinger store.
Catherine Soffer, 2807 Belleview Avenue, asked what permit Wal-Mart needs in order to build. Attorney Taub responded that the property was zoned CSC (retail Commercial). The proposal is permitted by right. The building permit process is necessary only for insuring code compliance.
Mr. Levitt responded to Margie Burns that the store would be 42,000 sq feet – which is an average Wal-Mart size. Shoppers Food will be about 6,000 sq ft and will be located close to the Wal-Mart.
Dan Smith 6019 Inwood Street, asked about the lease agreement and whether there is an escape clause. He also asked whether other development strategies were considered besides a mall, for example mixed use development.
He responded that they explored a number of alternatives. This shopping area will not be a mall but what is considered a power center. There is no escape clause at this point.
CM Oslik asked if Safeway would remain open with Shoppers coming. He responded that they are not happy that Shoppers is coming.
Bill Nell, 3319 Belleview Avenue asked for a timeline for the project and how many employees would be hired by Wal-Mart. He has concerns about Wal-Mart from a social and economic point of view.
Mr. Levitt responded he does not know how many employees Wal-Mart would hire. He estimated that demolition would begin by July 1 and last 2-3 months. The entire project would take less than 2 years.
RJ Eldridge, 3009 Belleview Avenue, asked if there was an exit strategy/performance bond and how does this development tie in to the Annapolis Road corridor study. Mr. Levitt responded that the span is 20 years.
Cathy Smith, 6019 Inwood Street, commented that a strip mall would not be visually appealing. She asked whether there was an environmental impact study conducted and if Wal-Mart is going to have a permit to sell guns and liquor. Mr. Levitt responded that he did not know about their permit, and whether or not they will sell guns and liquor has not been discussed. He does not think the mall will be visually unappealing.
A resident asked to what degree Wall Mart will receive grants, subsidies, zone breaks. This is an enterprise zone, which will receive some form of credit.
Mr. Levitt responded that the Enterprise zone encompasses the beltway area. Wal-Mart would be entitled to the same tax benefits that any business that chooses to relocate would receive.
Mr. Warrington added that if an employer hires someone designated as being of lower or moderate income, they’ll get a $1500 corporate tax credit spread out over a 3-year period, which equals about $500 per year for three years as a credit on corporate taxes. There is a County bill encouraging redevelopment that calls for a phasing in of improvement assessments. They may reap an incremental assessment for some of the improvements over a 5-year period.
Margie Burns, 6113 Lombard St, asked why lease agreements were not made more public. Mr. Levitt responded that discussions are ongoing over several years.
CM Oslik asked whether Wal-Mart could pull out of the lease. Mr. Levitt responded that if they do, they would owe rent for 20 years.
Robin Williams, Community Affairs Coordinator United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 400 introduced Tony Perez Political Director. The Commercial Workers Union represents employees for Shoppers, Safeway and Kaiser Nurses to name a few. They oppose Wal-Mart opening a new store because it does not support livable wages or health care for its employees. Wal-Mart would rather close stores because they do not want to unionize workers. Additionally, the company either has or is facing discrimination, child labor and labor suits.
Tony Perez, Political Director and former Wal-Mart Employee tried to organize a union in 1994 and he was terminated as a result. He commented that there was a minimum wage bill that was passed that is going to the Governor. There is also a fare share healthcare bill where an employer with 10,000 or more employees would be required to pay 8% of its payroll for healthcare. Wal-Mart has paid 5% in the past and they have indicated that they pay now between 7-8%. He asked for the Town’s support on employer’s health care.
Mayor Mosley asked if there was ever agreement of Wal-Mart coming in if they did not carry food. Tony Perez responded that they would not support Wal-Mart either way because Wal-Mart hurts small business and is against unionizing.
Madeline Golde, Progressive Cheverly, 3020 Park Way summarized that her organization is comprised of Cheverly residents who consider issues affecting the future of Cheverly and is committed to getting citizens involved. She stated that Progressive Cheverly is not in favor of Wal-Mart opening a store near Cheverly and shared a position paper (copy attached to original of the minutes). Highlights include healthcare, wages, the selling of guns and liquor, damage to small business, green space standards and opportunities for the unemployed.
Their next meeting will be held on May 5 at the Hoyer Center from 7:00-9:00 pm.
County CM Harrington described the process Wal-Mart would need to follow in order to build.
Mr. Levitt clarified that Wal-Mart would not have to follow the permit application process because they have a right to build on that property.
CM Ford suggested that Wal-Mart design a store that is aesthetically appealing versus a big box.
CM Ford asked the status of the hospital. County Councilmember Harrington responded that recommendations have been made by the Hospital to receive $6.6M from the State, $1.6M for operating expenses and $5M for capital expenses. They need to see what it would take to join the hospital with a university system, which would make it a teaching hospital. Another idea is to make Landover Mall into a medical mall, which may or may not involve the hospital. There is an $80M bond debt that must be addressed. The County does not have the resources or the expertise to run the hospital.
Karen Dill, 3000 63rd Avenue, commented that Wal-Mart is not a store that depressed communities need. She expressed disappointment in the fact that residents were not involved in this process sooner.
Mr. Levitt responded that they have a reputation in the County for being open about working with impacted communities. Landover Hills has been a big supporter of this project. The County Executive’s office has been involved and hearings have been held. It is not fair to say that they have not been up front about this project.
Mayor Mosley explained that Mr. Taub and the Nellis corporation had approached the Town a year and a half ago regarding their discussions with Wal-Mart; however, the Town is surprised to hear how far along the process has come.
Karen Dill clarified that she did not mean to imply that the Nellis Corporation had anything to hide.
Mayor Mosley responded to CM Oslik that the Council could consider taking CM Harrington up on his offer to have a special meeting on this topic. This item will be up for discussion on the April Worksession and the May Town Meeting.
Discussion Amending Chev-Tux Park Master Plan
Mayor Mosley summarized that CM Watson requested lighting for the path along the edge of the ball fields at the Judith Hoyer Center. Mr. Warrington reminded that in light of the 99-year lease with the school and a master plan that was adopted when improvements were made to the park, the first step would be to amend the Master Plan.
Mr. Warrington notified the school facilities department of the amendment and their only concern was who would pay for the electricity.
Mr. Warrington responded to CM Ford that the principal would be notified as well.
Mr. Warrington responded to CM Cullen that a decision regarding the size of the lights is still outstanding
Discussion Amending Chev Tux Master Plan
CM Watson summarized that this item is for lighting on the path that connects the Hoyer School and Chev-Tux Park with Valley Way and 59th Place. The Town Administrator has solicited input from residents. He suggested this item be moved to the May Town Meeting agenda.
Prohibiting Access – Cheverly Avenue & Parkway Alley
CM Oslik summarized that the alley that runs from Inwood to the Methodist Church permits vehicles only up to a certain point. Cars that do venture down the alley get stuck and tow trucks get stuck trying to get cars out. A barrier and sign prohibiting traffic except in the event of an emergency is recommended. Pedestrians and bicycles will be permitted. Residents have been notified.
· CM Oslik moved to authorize the Town Administrator to install a barrier to prohibit vehicular traffic in the alley behind Cheverly Avenue and Park Way. Seconded by CM Watson. Unanimously approved.
Introduction FY06 Operating Budget and C.I.P.
Mr. Warrington summarized that he does not anticipate recommending a tax increase this year. There is a balance that is within the parameters set at $646,000 that allows the Town to meet all financial criteria. There will be a memo issued to the Mayor and Council with suggestions from Department Heads that had not been previously incorporated, which include salaries. The Police Department construction and the Jason Street construction have been added. The only addition has been a Gast Park glider. Other items in the budget include a dump truck, a pickup truck and a single beginning lease purchase for the police department. A transmittal letter outlining additional requests from department heads will be drafted for the next Worksession. There is a counter
copy of the budget at the front office for resident review.
The budget will be discussed at the April Worksession, the May Town meeting, and the May Worksession and will be up for approval in June.
Discussion – Intersection Landover Road and Cheverly Avenue
CM Oslik asked to defer this item to another meeting.
Adjourned 11:00 p.m.
Town of Cheverly
Summary of Action
April 14, 2005
1. CM Schachter moved to excuse CM Watson. Seconded by CM Cullen. Unanimously approved.
2. CM Oslik moved to excuse CM Schachter. Seconded by CM Ford. Unanimously approved.
3. CM Oslik moved to authorize the Town Administrator to install the barrier to prohibit vehicular traffic in the alley behind Cheverly Avenue and Park Way. Seconded by CM Watson. Unanimously approved.