OGCA Meeting Notes - November 1, 2017

Old Goucher Community Association
Meeting - Wednesday, November 1, 2017 Lovely Lane U.M.C.

Kelly Cross, President
Jay Orr, Vice President
Theresa Murphy, Treasurer
Mike Pruett, Secretary

Meeting called to order at 7:06pm

1. Planting and Bioswale Project
Next tree planting is next Saturday (November 4) at 12 noon, filling tree pits. New bioswale along 23rd Street between Maryland and Charles. Jay Orr is working on streetscape guidelines... convert existing concrete to pavers on sand, setting a new precedent.
 

2. Safety & Security
No police officer present at the meeting for briefing. Increase in property crimes observed (break-ins/thefts) mostly on east side (Guilford Ave.) Mostly on darker streets; Charles Village is struggling in this regard. Seeking input/observations on Guilford Avenue: Solutions need to be passive as no business to generate natural foot traffic. Individual relayed account of being robbed on corner of 22nd & Guilford. Fencing on Guilford Ave.: 8 foot wrought iron with spikes. Area will also be beautified without taking out cement (planting pots.)
 

3. New Entertainment District
Proceeding well... 7 new businesses on 2300 block of Charles and 2300 Maryland. Elaine started construction on her project, including biergarden in carriage house/wine bar. Small grocery store, small bookstore and coffee shop. Liquor license hearing for B&O Brasserie downtown tomorrow (Thursday November 2.) Giselle: Clavel also opeing on 2300 block of Charles. Remington investor to also purchase on 2300 block of Charles. All these open by spring 2018.
Comment: inquiry made about status of Paul Chen’s Hong Kong Restuarant (2400 block Charles.) Down street from Hong Kong (old Dawn’s Office Supply), possibly a new Asian restaurant project.
 

4. Incoming Investment
Pace of investment has picked up last 6-12 months. Mostly investors from New York and DC. Lots of underutilized land throughout Old Goucher.
Thoughts about where neighborhood should go: Establish CHAP district (historic preservation.) Establish guidelines for new investment.
Comment from (current/former?) Fells Point resident (Fells being in a CHAP district). Can possible have negative effect of creating barrier for lower income people (artists, students, etc.) are cut off from doing certain things with their buildings through additional red tape. Fells Point CHAP is weaker than before and could be used to favor bigger players seeking development.
Kelly mentions that we currently have no protection from demolition of historic buildings, besides National Register status of individual buildings (such as Lovely Lane.) Comment asking about tax credit status from historic residential and commercial renovation. Jay replies that although not sure about exact amount, tax credits are available for historic renovation. At turn of the century this area was most beautiful part of the City, much of it now lost. We will need CHAP to protect from further demolitions. Old Goucher buildings are in National Register District, but doesn’t protect against individual demolitions. Federal grants and other opportunities are open to CHAP districts.
Question: Could historic status impede environmental considerations down the line? (e.g. climate change, sea level rise) Jay replies you are not required to construct historic-appearing buildings, only protect what’s left.
Kelly: mailing went out to property owners about CHAP district, but link provided on the letter was broken. Also need to consider desired geographic area to cover, and re-issue letter to proceed.
Question: Will this (CHAP) freeze out affordable housing? Remington condos had affordable housing requirement in exchange for approval of higher density condo development.
We are only liberal city to cling to minimum parking requirements. New zoning code passed last winter, going into effect June 6. Parking adds up to 25% cost to current projects.
Book: The High Cost of Free Parking by Donald Shoup. Question: There are lots of rooftop decks in Southeast Baltimore, will CHAP prohibit this?
No. Rooftop decks only require a variance. There is no barrier to roof decks in historic codes.
 

5. Amazon Proposal
Submitted a bid to Amazon to market Old Goucher for HQ2. Lots of feedback received after the attempt. Frustration with the amount of attention given to waterfront and Port Covington compared to other areas. The reflexive reaction to doing something good in Baltimore is to stick it along the waterfront. Old Goucher has over 200 acres of severely underutilized land-unheard of for an East Coast city. New York Times article about Baltimore’s bis mentions historic architecture as possible reason for Amazon to choose Baltimore.
 

6. Calvert Street Park Plans
Mention made to district manager about need to have flower beds. We also need our own water source. The Lab School uses the area for play. Also, the drug clinics use the park for team-building exercises.
Movie night was scheduled for National Night Out this year but was rained out. Open for suggestions as to outdoor movies in park this coming year. Scheduled for second Saturday in July. Equipment will be provided and will create other activites. Karolina asks about plans for Calvert Street. Teens still demolishing planters-need to discuss.
Kelly: After the work is done with Charles Street, the next focus is Calvert Street Park. Park is currently utilized by children. Discuss ways to enhance adult usage? Should create a group, “Friends of Calvert Street Park” and meet with current people already there. Karolina: Diagrammatic plan with proposal as starting point.
Kelly: Adults/children mixture is key. This can also discourage criminal element.
Comment: Need to extend geographic area of discussion. Keep communication open by extending. Orange table on one side of park (on 23rd Street side) knocked down by car. Missing seat on chair. The Calvert Street Park sign was defaced-now fixed. Should be covered with Lexan. Gate coming to Calvert Street.
Theresa Murphy resigned as Treasurer. She was thanked for her service to the Association. The floor was opened to volunteers to stand for open position.
Kristi Posival was installed as new Treasurer with none opposed.

7. Adjournment
Meeting was adjourned at 8:10 p.m.

 

Mike Pruett
OGCA Secretary

Mike Pruett