July 2013 General Meeting
Monthly Meeting MinutesJuly 29, 2013 Lovely Lane Church
PRESENT: 22 people were in attendance at the meeting, including presenters.
CALL TO ORDER: Jeanne Knight called the meeting to order at 7:00pm.
Jeanne presented a motion to accept the minutes. Cathleen O’Neal seconded. The motion passed.
TREASURER’S REPORT: Jeanne Knight presented in place of Peter Duvall. She stated that the current available balance is $6,149.91. In the past month, Peter has deposited $75.00 and written checks for $50.00 (National Night Out) and $75.00 (Charles Village Tree Stewards). OGCA will transfer $2,000 to Greater Homewood Community Corporation to seed our Fiscal Agency relationship. We can now take tax-free contributions, including combined contribution/reimbursements for expenses paid on behalf of the Association.
The representative cannot attend this month’s meeting though they were invited Jeanne spoke about child abuse and neglect. There are comments on Nextdoor. Jeanne sent an email to the concerned neighbor advising her about what to do.
Whitney presented about the program which is a part of Baltimore Civic Works. Retrofit is under the Baltimore Center for Green Careers. The program usually trains underserved people in Baltimore in order to create jobs in Baltimore. Program activities include home energy retrofitting, making sure that the building envelope is properly secured. The State is helping to make the work affordable.
National Night Out
Max and Jessica Grace and LaTonya Brooks did not attend to present on their work but they’ve clearly been doing a lot of work. Jeanne reported that the group has been approaching business for contributions.
Charles Village Community Benefits District Update
Bob Brent gave an update. The new Northern District Major is Kim Buress. The Police Department described her as a “superstar.”
Jason Pyeron said that he encourages the community to share any concerns with the benefits district, particularly concerning effectiveness. He shared some concerns about the CVCBD’s lack of enforcement power. Jason is looking for input about how to benefits district might go about remedying the problem. Could the benefits district possibly deputize citizens to enforce trash and sanitation laws? Jeanne Knight expressed an interest in this, reporting emphatically, “We would love that.”
Jason reported that compacting trash cans have a higher ongoing cost than the conventional trash cans. He also reported that there has been a decline in trash service on the weekend.
Jason expressed a difficulty with the negative reports about employees because they don’t contain enough information. He needs to know the date and time. He is specifically looking for information about the worker doing something. He wants to improve efficiency. Jeanne expressed concern about trash at the storm drains.
Chris shared an observation of a golf cart with a vacuum hose picking up trash. Jason said that this is not effective in our neighborhood because of the large number of parked cars in the neighborhood. Jason reported that the crew is not pulling weeds even though they’re supposed to do so. He’s looking at getting the crews Roundup. Jason is also looking into getting bulletin boards at four locations throughout the neighborhood to better provide information to residents without internet access.
Safety Advisory Committee
Bob Brent reported that there has been an uptick in crime in the area. He alerted neighbors of a person with a reputation for stealing air conditioner coils: white male with one leg, blondish hair, 160 pounds, uses a crutch. Bob recommended using the term “suspicious person” on 911 calls.
Security cameras are being delivered. We were supposed to get a large number a few months ago but when the city tore up Charles Street they neglected to put in the conduit for the cameras. Locations for cameras are on St Paul at 21st, 23rd and 25th Streets, Charles at 21st Street, and Guilford at 22nd and 25th Streets. Jason said he will send out a map for the group to distribute. The CVCBD is looking for grants to fill gaps in funding and is considering eliminating one camera and using $15,000 from of the general budget. The Abell Foundation rejected the idea of having cameras mounted on private residences. The tree canopy is considered in the placement of the cameras.
K.D. Kuntz reported that Calvert & 23rd has become a prostitution hotspot. K.D. also shared an experience of a neighbor who was observed masturbating in his car and then entered his home of 2300 block of Calvert. Joe James shared information about a house in the neighborhood that appears to be serving as a prostitution hotspot.
Jean Yahudah asked if the group is aware of the registered sex offenders in the neighborhood. She suggested that the community association advocate for a limited number of sex offenders to be allowed in the neighborhood. Jeanne reported that there are at least 15 sex offenders living between 25th and 21st Streets.
K.D. reported that this weekend was quieter. There was no noticeable increase in police presence in spite of Artscape.
Urban Renewal Ordinance Committee
Jason reported that Charles Village Benefits district is debating whether or not it wants to have a seat on the Urban Renewal Ordinance review panel, but asked if it would create a conflict of interest. Jeanne shared some information about the purpose and function of an Urban Renewal Ordinance (URO). K.D. shared that Calvert Street is covered by a different URO. Jonathan Maxwell asked how the URO is enforced. The URO votes on matters and then it’s up to the City to enforce anything that goes against the permit.
Kelly Cross reported that the URO has been trying to get buy-in from the City to enforce the decisions of the URO. He shared good news that officials agreed that URO’s are still intact and enforceable. Kelly said that the panel is going after specific, problematic landlords. Kelly is trying to convince Stokes to sponsor some language to help support the URO and want to amend the legislation to say that the CVCBD is not the “supervisor” of the URO.
Kelly Cross met with Delegate Maggie McIntosh about property taxes. Specifically, slumlords are not paying their fair share of taxes because of systematic underassessment. He reported buy-in from McIntosh. Kelly’s next meeting with Delegates MacIntosh and Washington will address the topics of property taxes and the Baltimore Streetcar. He is looking for changes on the state level.
OGCA and OGBA Vision and Master Plan
The Community Charrette for Old Goucher Vision Plan will be held on August 24 at the 29th Street Community Center. Jeanne Knight explained the purpose of the charrette and a desired focus on issues like trees, lighting, etc. Jean Yahudah also shared some information about what the charrette will involve. The Community Association and Business Alliance are working with the Neighborhood Design Center to develop the plan. Jeanne stated that we intend to plug our plan into any plan that Charles Village might develop in the future.
Cathleen O’Neal reported on the continued success of the Community Garden. She also reported on the Mayor’s Cleanup Competition, which could win the neighborhood some funding for new projects. A scrapbook must be submitted in September.
A representative from Charles North shared information about the Big Belly solar trash compactors on North Avenue. Joe raised the issue of people putting their household trash by public trashcans, and Jean shared concerns about bulk trash in the neighborhood. Joe shared that he placed a call to 311 and they came the next day and looked through the trash for identifying information. The issue of trash at 25 ½ Street by the Village Learning Place was raised again.
Kelly shared that we received a $5,000 grant to remove asphalt on 2300block of Maryland Ave and put in a garden.
CV Land Use Committee Update
Jeanne reported that the zoning appeal to allow a clothing store at 2129 St Paul was removed. The applicant has a lawyer and will probably re-file. Other cases include 221-3 and 237 E 25th Street. The owner wants to put move dwelling units in his building. Jeanne is not sure of the zoning code, but she will post the case on Nextdoor.
Jeanne also shared some information about the meeting with Evan from Seawall. Seawall will copy and distribute information about National Night Out and the Charette. Seawall will pay for the person to flier.
Safety in Parks
Jean Yahudah shared that people have been lingering in the park at night. It is used for prostitution and then after the act is completed they continue to hang out around the park, playing basketball and playing on the swings. Jean reported some information about a broken swing and a child being injured, as well as persons smoking marijuana.
A neighbor has been faithfully cleaning the park every day. He called the police because children were on top of a neighbor’s air conditioner. Jean shared that some children have been observed with pellet guns, and that a cat was shot by a child with some sort of pellet gun. Lotte reported that on Thursday she observed a group of 12-14 kids on 22nd Street and asked if they go to the playground every day. Lotte said that we have to understand that the children need constructive ways to spend their time. An intern in her office is looking at resources and will be doing asset mapping.
The meeting adjourned at 8:29pm.