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January 12, 2012 Meeting Minutes
DRAFT
Town of Cheverly
Meeting Minutes
   January 12, 2012

Call to Order
Meeting called to order at 8:00 pm in the Cheverly Community Center.  

In attendance:  CMs Eldridge, Cook and Thorpe.

Pledge of Allegiance

Agenda/Approval/Changes

Minutes – Town Meeting 12/8/11
Approved as written.

Minutes – Worksession None

Awards Presented for Best Holiday Decorating

  • Motion CM Coolen to excuse CM Thorpe and CM Riazi.  Seconded CM Cook.  Approved 4-0. Mayor cast the fourth affirmative vote.
Town Administrator Report

Mr. Warrington we had a water main break today and the water was turned off.  Don’t drink out of the water fountain tonight as we are trying to clear our system.  We have put markings on the raised crosswalks onto 63rd Avenue. We will be stamping and painting in the spring.  We will see what we can do on Belleview as far as marking with this weather.

Police Department Report

Chief Robshaw listed a number of incidents and asked what the year was?  The Exxon Valdez oil spill, the top film was Batman, the Simpson’s premiered and the World Series was interrupted by an earthquake.  The significance was it was the last time we had this low of an incident rate as 2010.  We made 499 arrests and wrote 7,712 traffic tickets.  This has been our biggest crime drop in some time.  We recently received tips and three days ago executed a search and arrest warrant and closed a number of cases as a result of some media coverage and assistance from Prince George’s County Police Department.  The reason we had such a low crime rate is the aid of citizens in our crime reduction efforts.  We have 50 radios out in homes with those families helping us reduce crime.  I am proud to be issuing to two citizens a Chief’s award tonight.  Liz and Alex (mom and son) noticed a suspicious person in their yard and called in to the Cheverly Police and their efforts resulted in the capture and incarceration of a very dangerous individual.

 
We want to note that we have a critical missing person’s alert out for a Cheverly resident, Mr. Weaver.  He was in alternative living arrangements, but has walked away.  We feel he may return to his home on Cheverly Avenue.  If you see him, please call the Police.  He does suffer from some dementia.  He is a white male, 78 years old, 5 foot 8, no teeth, walks hunched over.  He was last seen on University Boulevard at the McDonalds.  

Committee Reports

Recreation Council no report.

Cheverly Day no report.

Green Infrastructure Report, CM Eldridge noted we have been looking at the CSX trail report.  that the Councilmembers are still looking for ward appointments.  If you are interested, please contact your councilmember. The Planning Board discussed the Monroe Gardens project, the re-zoning of property outside of town and the BW widening was discussed.  The public is welcome at the meetings on Tuesday.

Citizen Input

Ms. Fred Price, Jr. old fourth ward.  I read the newsletter and there was mentioned in the concrete plant article that SE 4618 was in fact the Try It Again car parts.  The special exception was to allow for a salvage facility, which was denied.  The County needs inspection and compliance for this property.  I would ask the Mayor and Council to put forth an effort to have the County to do so.  The fourth ward civic association is very concerned about the dumping on Marblewood and the CSX railroad crossing on Route 50 with all the graffiti on it.  It makes it look like a ghetto.

Mayor and Council Announcements

CM Eldridge  next week there is the 4th annual schools fair to be hosted at the American Legion on January 19th at 6:30-8:30pm.  There will be many schools there.  There is an online survey to the Planning Board’s Envision Cheverly.  The goal is to obtain what is of value in Cheverly and what we would like in Cheverly.

Mayor we have noted to CSX about the graffiti and to SHA and will make the County aware of your concerns.  Ann Barsi found the free leaf bag comment in the Newsletter and she is receiving a set of free leaf bags.

Discussion Monroe Gardens Letter

Mayor we received from the County Planning Board a revitalization request from a developer for a property right on Quincy Run just outside Ward 1.  They are taking 7 small homes and building 127 apartment or condo units directly on the stream bed creating a tremendous stress on the stream and the community.  We penned a letter that went out under the Mayor letterhead because we didn’t have time to have a meeting to vote.  I would like to get a motion to make the letter from the Mayor and Town Council at this time.
  
  • Motion CM Eldridge to approve and endorse the letter regarding the Monroe Garden Site Plan Letter.  Seconded CM Coolen.  Approved 4-0. Mayor cast the fourth affirmative vote.
Discussion MTA/CSX Letter

Mayor there has been discussion of widening a portion of the CSX tracks to allow for double tracking of trains just outside of Bladensburg.  They are trying to improve the MARC train access and efficiency.  The Town of Bladensburg and our Green Infrastructure Committee are in favor of other improvements.  We are asking them to add a bike trail from that part to Bladensburg.  We also ask that they consider Bladensburg’s request to raise a bridge.  We also ask that they attempt to daylight the end of the Quincy Run stream.

  • Motion CM Cook to concur and endorse conceptually a letter regarding the MTA/CSX widening.  Seconded CM Eldridge.  Approved 4-0. Mayor cast the fourth affirmative vote.
Mayor I forgot to talk about the upcoming agenda. On January 26th we have a vehicle exemption request, a speed camera discussion, tentative discussion with the Aldi Shopping Center folks regarding security, Gast Park traffic circle, Anacostia Trails Heritage Association, 2013 Revenues, Capital Improvement items discussion.

Discussion Variance V-122-11

Mr. Warrington explained that the corner lot at 5800 Dewey Street has requested a variance from Prince George’s County for a number of variances needed for a building started without a permit.  The County found that there are three structures on the property without permits and all requiring variances.  The County has lumped all of the variances into one.  So, we have two positions for the Mayor and Council.  One is for denial of the variance since all of them are lumped together.  Approval of the variance would be for all these violations.  The second statement tries to extract out the partially constructed structure for denial, but we will agree to grandfathering in the garage and canopy.  I don’t know how the Board of Appeals will handle this.  I don’t know if they will separate out the partially constructed building.  They may approve or deny everything.  One building was built between 05-06 and one appeared 08-09 and if permits had been properly obtained, then these issues would have been addressed then and we wouldn’t have this lumping together of multiple violations.

Mr. Ben Winters 5804 Dewey Street and I am speaking in support of the variance.  The structures have been there for some time and it is a triangular lot and the front of the house faces the point of the triangle.   The owner takes very good care of his property.  I would urge the Council to support the variance.

Mayor if this was a fence, it would not be allowed and perhaps that is something we should look at in our Code in the future.

CM Eldridge would this open the door for others if the variance were granted?

Mr. Colaresi this is a self made problem requiring a variance so the hardship is self imposed.  The law says you can’t do that, but the County allows it anyway.  The law says each lot is unique and the law does not allow for the use of another variance for justification, but the County has been far more lax regarding such grantings.  Because the County has not been diligent in inspecting its permits, the County has approved self created hardships because they were not inspecting buildings properly.  They feel badly that they have not been diligent and therefore approved variances.  The Town should be of record in order to appeal.

Mr. Warrington I would like to give a few examples.  The last variance we supported was for a deck that was 18 inches too close to the property line and was built in 1947.  This was more of a validation.  We opposed a porch that was closed in to be made living space.  The County approved both, but addressed the concerns of the neighbor regarding a fire jump, which is why there are set back restrictions, by adding additional fire stop and fire retardant materials as a requirement.

Mayor I would like to see us take the option of opposing the Variance with the idea that we are opposing the new construction of the shed.  Can I get a motion?

  • Motion CM Coolen to send Version 2 of the letter that the Town oppose the Variance, but to allow the existing structures and oppose the new structure.  Seconded CM Cook.  Approved 4-0.  Mayor cast the fourth affirmative vote.
Mayor I have an announcement.  Our red light camera technology has improved and the cameras can now catch you going right on red if you don’t stop.  You will now get a ticket so be fore warned.

Mr. Warrington we have posted an example that you can view.  Please note that is a Cheverly Police car and it glided through in order to illustrate the technology.

Mr. Colaresi I would like to add a discussion to the upcoming Worksession regarding the renewal of the Comcast franchise agreement.  This will be coming-up soon.  David is going to attend a meeting with the County coalition and we will have to decide if we want to join them.  There are going to be a number of items up for discussion this time around.

Meeting adjourned.


Town of Cheverly
Summary of Action
January 12, 2012

  • Motion CM Coolen to excuse CM Thorpe and CM Riazi.  Seconded CM Cook.  Approved 4-0. Mayor cast the fourth affirmative vote
  • Motion CM Eldridge to approve and endorse the letter regarding the Monroe Garden Site Plan Letter.  Seconded CM Coolen. Mayor cast the fourth affirmative vote
  • Motion CM Cook to concur and endorse conceptually a letter regarding the MTA/CSX widening.  Seconded CM Eldridge.  Approved 4-0. Mayor cast the fourth affirmative vote.
  • Motion CM Coolen to send Version 2 of the letter that the Town oppose the Variance, but to allow the existing structures and oppose the new structure.  Seconded CM Cook.  Approved 4-0.  Mayor cast the fourth affirmative vote.
        





 
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