April 2013 General Meeting
Monthly Meeting MinutesApril 29, 2013 Lovely Lane Church
PRESENT: 18 people were in attendance at the meeting, including presenters.
CALL TO ORDER: Jeanne Knight called the meeting to order at 7:07pm.
TREASURER’S REPORT: Peter Duvall stated that the current available balance is $6,150.01.
Katie Horn and Marie Stratton own a snack business in Baltimore, doing mostly wholesale. They recently signed a lease on a commercial kitchen space on Morton Street, behind WYPR. They are fundraising for an oven and other needed items through Kickstarter. They have set a campaign goal for $12,000.
Ray Davis, who owned a restaurant in Curtis Bay, opened a restaurant at 2110 North Charles Street on April 1. Ray did not attend the meeting, but Reni provided this update.
Old and Ongoing Business
Cathleen O’Neal said there is now a waiting list for the community garden, and the plots have now been planted. The gardeners are in the process of adopting the empty lot at 22nd and Hunter Streets, will clean and make temporary space for potential use next year as a satellite garden. There will be a cleanup with a city dumpster on May 4.
Katie asked about composting at the garden. Cathleen said that currently the garden can’t compost food scraps because it’s an open system, but some gardeners had expressed interest in a closed system.
Jason Pyeron said that in the past he had discussed setting up a composting system for Charles Village and that perhaps it was time to revisit a search for properties for that purpose.
Land Use Committee
A couple who purchased a house on the 2100 block of Saint Paul Street met with the Land Use Committee to discuss how they could convert the large house into three units while maintaining the house’s historical integrity.
Kelly Cross brought up a pleasant conversation that he had with a new resident on Guilford Avenue, who was moving from Carroll County to take advantage of the Live Near Your Work incentive.
Charles Village Community Benefits District (CVCBD)
Bob Brent stated that the CVCBD reports that the security patrols are moving the prostitution to Remington at some hours.
Bow refuted that claim and said that a new group of “rougher” prostitutes has moved in and has been working mornings. She said she’d never seen the trike patrols. Larry reported large groups of prostitutes at 23rd and Calvert Streets on weekend mornings. Bob reported that the criminal justice system was now forcing 50-100 hours of community service on the prostitutes. Mateusz said he believes the emptiness of some of our blocks has brought the prostitutes here.
Jason Pyeron asked Councilman Stokes about why the problem persists. Carl responded frustratingly that prostitution is not allowed south of North Avenue and offered that the Midtown Benefits District has a model to root out the problem. He said that the CVCBD response has not been professional enough and the problem is expanding. Several community members said they had never seen the trike patrols. Peter asked if there was flexibility in setting the schedule, since the activity has moved to the early morning.
Ira Kowler said that in his community organizing experience, our neighborhood has some of the most active residents and believes our voices are being heard. While many good people attend our meetings, there are also many neighbors who enable the problem to continue.
Jeanne pointed out that our own quad rep does not believe the prostitution is a problem. Jason pointed out that less than 50 percent of the revenue is collected in the southern part of the district but more than 50 percent is spent here.
Kelly brought up a related problem that many property owners in our neighborhood do not pay their fair share of taxes. He and others will meet with Delegate McIntosh to discuss issues about non-profit status and artificially low assessments.
Carl Stokes asserted that businesses in our neighborhood would contribute more funding if we offered them a plan to respond to their needs.
Jason spoke of a mobile application his company is developing to take photos of crime and graffiti, which would link to 311 and the Benefits District.
Phil LaCombe informed the group that he is working with the University of Maryland, College Park to put together an historic preservation graduate-level studio project. They will likely do research that will contribute to a future CHAP district nomination. Baltimore Heritage’s Johns Hopkins has indicated that he thinks a new CHAP district might not be possible at this time due to its position with the City Administration. The UMD students received a tour of the neighborhood and will determine the scope of work for the project this fall.
Mateusz Rozanski said that part of this effort to create a CHAP District is to target slumlords. Phil added that a CHAP designation would allow the community to review the designs for infill development on vacant lots.
Phil reported Neighborhood Design Center (NDC) application to produce a master plan for Old Goucher is now complete. Reni and Phil met with NDC director Jennifer Goold, who suggested focusing on public spaces.
Reni reported that she will pursue grants from the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Baltimore Community Foundation.
Phil said that Phase 3 of Telesis redevelopment was recently announced. Homes on the 2000 block of Calvert, 300 blocks of 22nd and 23rd will sell for between $175k and 279k.
Ira announced that the BMOG meeting will be on May 6, 6-8pm.
Reni announced the next North Avenue planning workshop will be May 4, 9:30-11:30am at Windup Space. The group is working to design streetscape improvements between Howard and Greenmount.
Community Get Together
Mateusz suggested a neighborhood party after the Garden Walk. He and Jeanne suggested Kris organize it.
Mayor’s Cleanup Competition
Cathleen explained a competition to win $1,000-5,000 for cleanup efforts. Ira suggested the key to winning is to take lots of pictures with many people working. We can get extra credit for adopting lots, which we already intend to do. We need to send the application by May 15. The work needs to be completed by September 20.
Jeanne has got Charles Village Discount Liquors to agree to plantings in their vacant tree well.
Cathleen needs a list of streets, alleys, and storm drains to clear and clean. She will start a thread on Nextdoor. Carl noted that Greater Greenmount, Greenmount West and Remington, all surrounding neighborhood in the 12th District, won last year. Ira is happy to put us in touch with the coordinators from those neighborhoods.
Bow asked about mulch for existing tree wells. Cathleen and Mateusz have been able to acquire free mulch from the City.
Other New Business
Jason informed the group that Greater Homewood is going to hold an event for the Barclay Rec Center.
Peter says there will be tree plantings on May 18 and 19, sponsored by Telesis.
Jeanne asked about graffiti. Carl asserted that we should adopt a broken windows policy, hiring our own people to deal with it immediately. John advocated for the use of the 311 app.
John reported an illegal auto garage on Morton Street. Peter said they’d been cited.
Bob asked about the temporary door at 2114 block of Saint Paul Street. The problem goes before the Land Use Committee next week.
The meeting adjourned at 9:00pm.
May 1 – Safety Advisory Committee Meeting
May 6 – BMOG Quarterly Meeting
May 20 – Next Monthly Meeting
June 2 – Charles Village Garden Walk