Town of Cheverly
July 10, 2008
Call to Order
Mayor Mosley called the meeting to order shortly after 8:00 pm in the Cheverly Community Center. There were 6 residents in attendance.
In attendance : Mayor Mosley, Vice Mayor Ford, Mr. Warrington, Chief Robshaw, and CMs. Callahan, Eldridge, Schachter, Watson and the Town Attorney.
Pledge of Allegiance
Approved as written.
Minutes – Town Meeting 6/12/08
Approved as written.
Minutes – Worksession 6/19/08
Approved as written.
Town Administrator Report
Mr. Warrington stated that the Town is closing out the old budget, and auditors have provided preparatory work. The Town should be ready for its audit in early August.
CM Watson thanked Mr. Warrington for the State highway letter regarding the walk sign on Columbia Park Bridge. The letter indicated that the County acknowledged it was responsible for keeping the “Welcome to Cheverly” sign lit. Mr. Warrington stated that he believed that the sign was lit.
CM Watson asked on the status of printing the handbook. Mr. Warrington responded that we were waiting for approval. Mayor Mosley inquired as to the pull out map for the interior of the handbook. Mr. Warrington stated the pull out map was not available and the printer is not in business anymore. Mayor Mosley stated that this would be an item for the worksession; as well as electronic recycling.
CM Eldridge asked if there was a process or policy for notifying residents on tree removal. Mr. Warrington stated that there is no process with respect to street trees.
It was suggested that a process for this type of tree removal may be a topic for future discussion.
Police Department Report
Chief Robshaw reported that last year was a banner year for the department. There is no noticeable difference this year of actual numbers of reported crime on a monthly basis compared to last year. There was a 10 percent reduction of violent crime. The Task Force has been in effect since mid-June, and thus far has made 52 arrests, issued 283 traffic citations, prepared 100 field-op reports, made 4 arrests for breaking and entering. The Cheverly Public Safety Day will be September 22, from 6-8pm. The Outback is the main sponsor. Cheverly Public Safety day will be a bigger demonstration of National Night Out.
Chief Robshaw thanked the residents of the Town for its vehicle donations. The Town purchased 2 more tasers, and 2 in-car computers that hook up to the County communication system.
The Stated recently approved a $12,000 great for a program called “Cheverly Watch,” which puts 20 portable radios in the hands of citizens allowing for direct communication of criminal activity to the Cheverly police. This should make response time faster. The 20 radio systems are in the station, and the police are waiting for an upgrade to our radio system. If there is any citizen in Town interested in the radio program, and is home during the day, please contact the police department.
On July 4, at approximately 11pm, 5 Cheverly officers made a traffic stop on 6 suspicious persons at the 6300 block of Landover Road. They were juveniles out late. During the course this traffic stop, a suspect fired 4 shots at the officers. There seemed to be no association between the suspect and the stopped persons. Two more shots were fired from the suspect as a pursuit initiated. No shots were fired from the officers. No one was harmed. The suspect fled the scene. Chief Robshaw stated that in the last six months, there was only one case of shots fired. About three years ago there were shots fired at the Howard Johnson.
Chief Robshaw requested that the Mayor establish a reward to assist in apprehending the suspect. The County police sent two violent crime squads to Town, and made several arrests. One of the arrests was a unrelated handgun violation. Chief Robshaw requested that the reward be in the amount of $2000.
§ CM Schachter made a motion authorizing a reward in the amount of $2000 in connection with information leading to the arrest of the individual(s) firing a firearm at Cheverly officers. CM Johnson seconded. Unanimously approved.
Chief Robshaw stated that pedestrian traffic near the intersection of Kilmer and Landover Road can be a problem. The state is paying the Town for overtime to enforce pedestrian violations. A recent accident at this intersection was handled by the County because a County vehicle was involved.
Vice Mayor Ford questioned whether Chief Robshaw could speak with the apartments about placing a fence around their parking lot to prevent pedestrians from crossing to the shopping center. Chief Robshaw has requested the State Highway Administration to install a fence, and is waiting for a response.
CM Callahan suggested the possibility of moving the bus stop west of the shopping center. Mayor Mosley stated that this could be discussed at the worksession.
Chief Robshaw provided an update on Platinum Security. He spoke with several residents about the selling of these alarm systems. The initial action taken by the police was to issue a cease and desist given that Platinum did not acquire a Town permit. Platinum was threatened that its employees would be arrested. Platinum’s corporate office stated that they would not come back to Cheverly. However, a Platinum employee entered Cheverly the next day, whereupon the police arrest this employee. The Chief is not aware of any return visits. Other towns are looking at fraud issues, but there is no indication of fraud here. There is a Town code against solicitation, and the sales people were so insistent and did not leave the premises upon the residents’
request. Police could have made a full arrest for trespass of such individuals if the police were called after the solicitors were asked to leave the property. Instead the Cheverly police were only able to issue civil citations.
Mayor Mosley stated that it would be helpful if residents would cooperate with the police in swearing out complaints.
Proclamation Declaring July Eagle Scout Month
Mayor Mosley read the proclamation recognizing Benjamin Misleh, Eagle Scout, troop 257. He was honored for his project that improved the quality life for the people of the community by collecting approximately 50 bicycles, refurbishing them locally, and distributing them to needy children in Africa and Asia through Bikes for the World. Eagle Scout Misleh organized and involved other scouts from the troop, the Cheverly Methodist church, and the Town. He also graduated with highest honors from Dematha Catholic School.
§ The Mayor and Town Council proclaimed July 2008 Benjamin Misleh Eagle Scout month.
Mayor and Council Announcements
Mayor Mosley thanked Larry Thomas and the Town Council on the success of the Cheverly Schools Open House. Public works is speaking with the principal of Hoyer on constructing sidewalks.
Two permitted events that took place at the Town park did not go well. At one event, food may have been sold. That individual was told they would not be given a permit again. The other event last week had a crowd that far exceeded the park capacity and the number allowed on the permit, and extremely loud music. At the worksession, there will be discussion on restricting activity, and how to prevent this from occurring again.
The explosions are no longer happening very often. However, the Mayor is working with the Council Members on resolving the explosions. Senator Exum came to a meeting at Hoyer and invited the Town Council for a tour of Smith’s Junkyard.
On the 29th at 8:00am, the Town Council is having an administrative meeting not open to the public. There will be no special work session on the first Thursday in August. Mr. Warrington is trying to schedule Ernie Baker from Pepco at the September Town meeting, and the State police in charge of the helicopters for the October Town meeting.
Residents have questioned the money for Project Open Space money and the renovation of equipment in Gast park. In the past and in the future, when the Town considers a significant renovation of the park, the Town Council invites public comment. However, it is not the custom to hold a period of public comment when it is replacing fixtures. Replacing fixtures is discussed during the budget. The total replacement for some of the fixtures is about $70,000 and ¾ of that was in Project Open Space money. The Town was notified this week from delegate Victor Ramirez that it would receive a grant for Boyd Park to fix the basketball court.
CM Eldridge discussed the green infrastructure plan. The Steering Committee held a meeting on June 30, which was well attended and all committee members attended. The Friends of Lower Beaver Dam are applying for a grant for certain outreach efforts. The Mayor wrote a letter of support.
CM Watson met a group of citizen activists willing to take leadership of the zip code efforts. There will be a note in the newsletter looking for others interested in helping. In addition, the State police were contacted regarding the State helicopters. There are eight locations around the State. One of their locations, Andrews AFB, regularly serves PG Hospital. CM Watson did a fly along to understand challenges facing the pilots, including wind and the types of helicopters flown.
Mayor Mosley stated that the next worksession is July 24. Chief Robshaw will be in attendance. There will also be discussion regarding the noise from the community center basketball courts; a potential land acquisition; the budget; department head objectives; the handbook and its deadline. The dedication of the in-Town veterans was moved to September.
There was no one present for the Recreation Council.
Cheverly Day Report
There was no one present for the Cheverly Day report.
There was no citizen input.
Presentation – Donation from Cheverly Soccer Camp
CM Callahan stated that the Town Council had a special session on the issue of the lack of soccer goals for the British Soccer Camp, and thereafter purchased the soccer goals. The camp has provided a donation to help defray the cost of the soccer costs. Mayor Mosley accepted the $500 donation on behalf of the Town Council.
Adoption – Newsletter Guidelines
Mr. Colaresi stated that the changes to the newsletter guidelines relate to the policy of not permitting advertisements by any of the local Cheverly organizations. Under the proposed changes to the Newsletter Guidelines, any registered Town organization is permitted to advertise events in the Town Newsletter’s bulletin section. Those organizations permitted to advertise shall be organizations that consist of at least 8 members; at least fifty percent of the organization’s membership shall be Cheverly residents; and have a lawful purpose. Organizations not permitted to advertise are those organizations primarily of the purpose to market a product, provide services, or make a profit. Finally, the organizations part of a separately qualified Town organization, i.e. sub-group
of an organization, shall advertise through the parent organization. There are procedures for filing a statement showing that all of these facts are true, for becoming a Town organization eligible to advertise Town events. The term advertising is used to describe the posting of events.
CM Eldridge commended the Newsletter Guidelines as a way to promote the use and viewing of the newsletter.
§ Vice Mayor Ford made a motion to adopt the revised Newsletter Guidelines. Seconded by CM Schachter. Unanimously approved.
Storm Drain Designation Approval
Mayor Mosley announced that the Town has not received any negative responses from residents on the Storm Drain Designation.
Vice Mayor Ford stated that the oval stencil installed in DC is attractive. Mayor Mosley stated that the PVC decal chosen by the Town Council looks better than the storm drains. CM Callahan stated that the public education process also is an important aspect of the Designation.
§ CM Eldridge made a motion to approve the Storm Drain Designation Program (which helps communicate to the residents of Cheverly the impact of their actions and our connection to the environment). CM Watson seconded. Unanimously approved.
Discussion – Cheverly Tree Commission
Mayor Mosley announced that there is interest in reviving the Cheverly Tree Commission, particularly from Nathan McElroy. There would be a need to appoint new individuals to the Commission.
CM Schachter noted that Mr. McElroy is highly knowledgeable of trees and a dedicated volunteer, however, he is also an employee of Pepco and his employment relates to trees. Therefore, a conflict may exist and discussion is needed.
CM Callahan noted that the Commission’s work would be to prepare an annual report on the condition of the urban forest; oversee preparation of the master tree plan (which Cheverly may not have); notify and recommend to the Mayor and significant events relating to the urban forest; produce and maintain a master tree plan; provide education to the residents of the Town. Members of the Commission would be helpful in providing a more robust plan. The volunteerism in Cheverly in general recently is greatly appreciated. With respect to the potential conflict of Mr. McElroy, the size of the Commission should be large enough to provide oversight.
Mayor Mosley invited the CM’s to bring its input and suggestions with respect to forming the Commission to the Town meeting in September.
Capital Plaza Sign
Mayor Mosley stated that the Town has worked closely with the Nellis Corporation, the owner of the Capital Plaza Shopping Mall. With the assistance of a Cheverly architect, the Town proposed 1.3 million dollars to the additional improvement to the design of the Wal-Mart, which was implemented. Despite efforts by the Nellis Corporation, it has been unable to secure additional “anchor” stores. Mayor Mosley was contacted recently about the Capital Plaza Sign, and asked to have the Town Council send a letter to the County Council members in support of the Nellis Corporation’s plans to replace the existing sign with a new sign. County Council approval is needed. There are regulations that prevent changes to a sign by an owner when that sign is not on their property. The sign is not of the property of the Nellis Corporation. There is concern about the replacing the present sign with another sign of an equally large size.
Mayor Mosley stated there are three options: 1) send a narrowly drafted letter in support of a bill in support of the Nellis Corporation discussing the new sign with Park and Planning; 2) a letter of support in changing the sign as proposed by the Nellis Corporation; or 3) not voting tonight and put it on the worksession agenda.
CM Eldridge believes that the County zoning ordinance provides that the maximum height of a sign is 25 feet in a commercial zone. The proposed sign is 52 feet. It is a replacement of the existing sign. Given the high visibility from BWI, there is a chance to improve the landscape of this area. CM Eldridge supports the initiation of the modification of the sign by the Nellis Corporation, and would support a less obtrusive and more modestly sized sign.
Vice Mayor Ford stated that the proposed size is very large, when the trend now is for smaller signs. He is in favor of changing and improving the sign, but not with the currently proposed size.
Mayor Mosley does not oppose the size of the sign. However, further discussion can continue at later meetings.
CM Schachter stated that the proposed sign appears to be more attractive than the current sign, however, opposes the size of the sign.
CM Callahan recommend holding off the Town Council recommendation for two weeks. It is apparent that the owner is working hard and delaying income in order to secure highly desirable tenants with the mall area. In addition, the sign is more attractive. Therefore, we should have more discussion on this issue and try to work with the owner of the Nellis Corporation.
Mayor Mosley was in favor of sending a letter in support of initiating a change to the present sign to Councilwoman Harrison, without addressing the specific design of the sign. In addition, the letter should support the County Council proceeding with removing the restriction for the Nellis Corporation to have discussions with Park and Planning on changing the sign.
Mr. Colaresi stated that the Nellis Corporation is seeking first an amendment to the County zoning ordinance because presently the sign cannot be changed given its designation: “Off Premises Advertising,” which essentially designates the sign as a bill board, when it is not. The Nellis Corporation would likely then request from the County a departure from the current zoning ordinance. Mr. Colaresi aggress with the suggestion that we narrowly tailor the letter.
§ CM Watson made a motion in support of legislation removing the Capital Plaza sign from the “Off Premises Advertising” restrictions. Vice Mayor Ford seconded. Unanimously approved.
Mayor Mosley discussed briefly a recent article in the Washington Post regarding the County Executive and its negotiations with developers. One project mentioned was the Point at Cheverly. The Mayor will provide an update in the next newsletter. The Town opened all of its records to the Post about 2 years on all of the Town’s work on the Pointe. There was no report from the Post at that time. There was nothing factually wrong with respect to the recent article discussing the Pointe, however, the Mayor disagreed with the tone of the article when referencing the County Executive and others certain individuals trying to make this project happen. The Mayor believed that the County Executive and developers were working hard at trying to move this project forward.
Meeting adjourned at approximately 10:00 pm.
Town of Cheverly
Summary of Action
July 10, 2008
1. CM Schachter made a motion authorizing a reward in the amount of $2000 in connection with information leading to the arrest of the individual(s) firing a firearm at Cheverly officers. CM Johnson seconded. Unanimously approved.
2. The Mayor and Town Council proclaimed July 2008 Cheverly Eagle Scout month.
3. Vice Mayor Ford made a motion to adopt the revised Newsletter Guidelines. Seconded by CM Schachter. Unanimously approved.
4. CM Eldridge made a motion to approve the Storm Drain Designation Program (which helps communicate to the residents of Cheverly the impact of their actions and our connection to the environment). CM Watson seconded. Unanimously approved.
5. CM Watson made a motion in support of legislation removing the Capital Plaza sign from the “Off Premises Advertising” restrictions. Vice Mayor Ford seconded. Unanimously approved.