February 2013 General Meeting

Old Goucher Community AssociationMonthly Meeting Minutes February 25, 2013 Yum’s Asian Bistro

Officers’ Reports

PRESENT: 23 people were in attendance at the meeting, including presenters.

CALL TO ORDER: Jeanne Knight called the meeting to order at 7:05pm.

TREASURER’S REPORT: Peter Duvall stated that the current available balance is $8087.43. OGCA spent $47 for web hosting.

Presentations

Station North Arts & Entertainment District

Rebecca Chan stated that re-designation guidelines won’t be available from the State until May. The application isn’t due until October 1. The District is looking for people who need work spaces. Rebecca says she doubts we could double in size. The current proposed scenario is to expand up to the CSX tracks, between Howard and Saint Paul Streets. Peter expressed concern that the Greater Greenmount Community Association would want to be included in the expansion. Station North will be doing an asset mapping to work out different scenarios. Peter will post the link to the resources map for people to add uses.

Old Business/Ongoing Business

Comprehensive Rezoning

Jeanne reported that the meeting on Saturday went very well. The City Planning Department received our suggestions very well. Sharon said that she needs community input by Wednesday, though she said she has a lot of input from Old Goucher from the meeting.

Community Garden

Cathleen reported that community members built 48 raised beds over the last two weekends. There are currently only three 4’ x 4’ beds available. She asked for cardboard donations of all sizes to use as weed blocker.

Community Greening

Kelly reported that Tree Baltimore has donated a number of new trees that will be placed along Calvert Street, bringing the neighborhood total to 50 trees. Patapsco Valley Supply donated two very large planters, of a retail value of around $1500 each, which have been placed at 24th and Charles Streets.

Peter stated that college students may be volunteering labor to create new tree pits. Larry asked about marking concrete to be removed, Peter said he should move forward with getting permission for new tree pits.

Jason said that Mateusz has found from the City that we may be able to put trees in empty pits without permission.

Land Use Committee

Jeanne notified the association of a zoning appeal to use the ground floor of a building on the 2400 block of Charles Street for digital/graphic design, apparel, dermographics and modern art. The applicant will meet with the Land Use Committee, and Jeanne has asked him for a business plan.

Peter stated that the appeal is very strange in its wording. Jenny stated that a similar proposal was made on Harford Road and turned out well, with an art gallery in the front and tattooing in the rear. Jeanne stated there was no application available on the website, so it was difficult to find information.

Peter stated that the City has released a report prepared by a consultant to dispose of City-owned historical landmarks. The City’s buildings on 2300 Maryland Avenue, old college dorms, were included in the report. Peter expressed some excitement at the possibility that the City would work with us on an RFP to repurpose the buildings.

Jane expressed concern over the possibility of a grocery store being incorporated in Johns Hopkins’ development of the vacant lot at St. Paul and 33rd Streets.

25th Street Station

Jeanne stated that the community fought hard on the planned unit development, and that we will be very active on the next go-around. Peter said that the developer would like to break ground before the end of the year, but he doubts it will happen. Kelly noted that a very similar proposal was made in DC, where the Lowes also pulled out and there was replaced by a Burlington Coat Factory.

Charles Village Community Benefits District

Jason implored that community members provide input on what services the CVCBD should provide in the next year. He informed the community that he would like to work on rat abatement in the coming season.

Safety and Sanitation

Bow said that she often finds many bags of household trash by the large green trashcans in the southern part of the neighborhood. She questioned why the CVCBD should pay to deal with household trash that should be taken out to be collected by the City. Jeanne has noticed more trash by the CSX tracks. Bow stated that birds have caused sanitary issues on the sidewalk on the 2100 block of Charles Street. Orenda offered the idea of shooting bottle rockets or putting an owl in the tree as solutions.

Sharon said she has been very impressed with the turnout and level of commitment in the OGCA as of late. She informed the community that the CVCA has created a report recommending changes and improvements in our strategies.

Sharon encouraged community members to sign up to the Northern District open house. She said we have been too complacent about our expectations in regards to the CVCBD Safety Program’s communication with BPD.

Orenda recommended that community members call 911 about suspicious vehicles, especially ones with engines running.

Website

Phil reported on the updates made to the website, including pages for OGCA’s committees and information on buying a home in Old Goucher. The OGCA extended its gratitude!

Social Services

Peter reported on a meeting with IBR in which they provided names of agencies operating in our neighborhood and their funding sources. Phil said that our Google Map of the information will be updated accordingly.

Jeanne said she met with the people who run the drop-in clinic on Charles Street. The youth may help with the tree wells in the summer.

The representative of Man Alive who will be working on the proposed orchard on the 2000 block of Charles Street was not able to attend the meeting. Jeanne is concerned that without the proper fence and security it will become a place for prostitutes to congregate.

New Business

Retrofit Baltimore

Ben explained his role at CivicWorks. He works on Retrofit Baltimore, a state-funded project to weatherize homes, which helps mediate between homeowners and fully-vetted contracts. The center does job training for underserved people in the city. People can save 20 to 50 percent on their energy bills. He said that we have great turnout for a neighborhood association! His website is http://retrofitbaltimore.org.

Traffic Calming

Sharon explained that the CVCA has not taken a stance on converting St. Paul and Calvert Streets to two-way use, but that it has been asked to be a part of the discussion by Midtown-Belvedere and Mount Vernon. She said she has learned how the JFX exit on St. Paul was supposed to be temporary, and a solution needs to be found. The impact on Maryland Avenue and Charles Street needs to be assessed. There will be a meeting March 11 at the CVCBD offices.

Sharon said community members can add suggestions for traffic calming by using the form on the CVCA website and sending them to her and Jeanne. She suggested we do a systematic survey of the neighborhood.

Peter asked whether the attendees would encourage the study of two-way conversions. Jason objected. Sarah said she would object to two-way conversion of Maryland Avenue if it would mean the elimination of the proposed cycle track. Sharon asked for details about the proposed design, and Phil explained that it is in 30% design and DOT has been stalling approving it so it can move forward. Sharon and Phil agreed that the community should be informed sooner rather than later.

Jason asked about the purpose of two-way conversions and Phil explained that they have been shown to benefit business districts across the country, in addition to slowing traffic.

The meeting adjourned at 8:40pm.

MeetingsPhilip LaCombe