Kira started the meeting by having everyone introduce themselves. There was a low turnout!
The minutes had been posted on the web site. Peter Mansbach had previously made corrections, which were in the posted minutes. There was a motion to approve the minutes, which was seconded and passed.
The guest speaker was Fritz Hirst, from the Rollingwood Citizen Association which is in the Chevy Chase area. He spoke about the micro pave that the County is doing. Fritz is leading a movement to get the County to somehow acknowledge that they have made a mistake in using micro pave and to see if there are any remedies. He contacted us as one of the neighborhoods that was affected by the micro pave.
Rollingwood is the unincorporated area of Chevy Chase that borders the District of Columbia on the south side, Beach Drive on the east, and East-West Highway to the north. Like Parkwood they are an association.
He told us he is trying to start a movement. Their community was micro paved just last Spring. They were very excited when they got the notices in their mailboxes from the County saying they were going to re-surface their roads. Their roads were in good shape prior to this micro pave treatment. They were surprised when the County came through and they were left with covered man holes, deep impressions, sloppiness where you have the shoulder of your gutters where it clearly goes well beyond the reasonable edge. This is the first citizens association that he had an invitation to come and talk to. One of their main concerns is the County's response - "we hear your concerns but we do not have the resources right now". However, when the County Executive came out with his capital budget in January he came out with what he calls a new initiative. This is a new initiative for rural and residential roadway resurfacing. What that calls for is a massive increase in funding for residential and rural roads in the County to do a better job. They admit that they have not done a very good job in keeping up with infrastructure and as a result it has fallen into disrepair. Part of that proposal calls for a complete abandonment of residential communities for this micro pave. They do not have sidewalks in their community so their roads are also used for skate boards, roller blades, those who walk, etc. now no one can use the roads -his children are even afraid to walk on it in their bare feet. So that is what got Fritz involved.
Then when the County came forward and said because of those problems that micro paving recipients are experiencing we are now, as a policy matter, going to prevent those problems from happening elsewhere. He said wait a minute - what about us? We are the reason why you are changing course - they said we understand your concerns - we can come back and deal with the edges - we can uncover the manholes (if they can find them). Because of the County's response Fritz came to the conclusion that to affect real change and get the County's attention on this, it would have to be a bigger issue than just Rollingwood, Chevy Chase. In his view we are being left behind because the County doesn't want to deal with the issues of our roads. He encouraged PRA to give this some consideration and consider joining citizens groups like his to figure out a collective approach to the issue. He does not have any answers - but he believes strongly that we need to expand the realm of citizens.
Question: What action are you looking for?
If you know of other communities that have this problem, he would like to get in touch with them and have the same talk. He needs to identify those areas. And secondly, ultimately, his suggestion would be putting a letter together to the County signed by a number of groups. We have to get to critical mass. He doesn't know precisely what that is, but it's more than one or two citizen associations.
General discussion followed.
Fritz can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information go to his website: www.sosmontgomery.com
A motion was made to join forces with Rollingwood, Chevy Chase to strengthen the effort to find a resolution to the micro pave issue. The motion was seconded and carried.
BRAC: At the January meeting we voted to send a letter to the Navy on behalf of PRA in response to the draft environmental impact statement, which was done (the letter is posted on the PRA web site). Kira also sent a personal letter. Kira said that the Navy is scheduled to come out with the final environmental impact statement in April, but probably more likely June so keep an eye out for that and see if they have dealt with our concerns.
Traffic: Lara Akinbami had an issue about getting the County to repaint the white lines and improving the street lighting at Franklin and Saul. She has not heard back from the County. The County redid the speed studies on Parkwood, but we still did not meet the numbers to get speed bumps. One of the residents actually talked with the police officer while he was conducting the survey. He did not have a speed camera (as was indicated as part of the test to PRA), however, he stated that he could tell the drivers were in excess of speed because their cars were dipping in an effort to stop at the stop sign because the police officer was there. Discussion followed.
Rock Creek Park Clean-up: Kira had been told by the man who was in charge of the Friends of Rock Creek Park Environment that there would be a clean up on April 5 and he would give her more details later. He was the one who came with the Scouts last year. Then he did not answer back about more details but he assured Kira it would be on April 5th. That date was put in the newsletter. Then Kira finally contacted the boy scout who had done the organization of last years cleanup. He routed the letter around and finally someone replied and said the Park is so clean that they were not going to mobilize the neighborhood to help cleanup the Park this year, and the Scouts were going to do the clean-up on the 19th of April instead of on the 5th of April. But of course, they will not turn away anyone who shows up to help. This year they will assemble at Beach and Franklin.
Paula Flicker, treasurer, presented the 2008 budget, which is very similar to last year's. We did not get quite the $3200 budgeted last year, but with our inclusion of envelopes with the newsletters maybe we will do a little better this year. We didn't spend as much on beautification last year as the budget says, but we have in previous years. Plans for a garden on the Wildwood Rd island were postponed due to the drought and use of the area by the County during road repaving. Paula increased the administration cost because we would like to get more meeting announcement signs.
Discussion arose on how much the existing signs had cost and the amount to allot. General discussion arose about the budget in general. A large discussion arose about the treatment for the Norway spruce tree on the island on Saul Road. With regards to the spruce tree, a motion was made to have the experts come back and re-evaluate the tree for bugs before we proceed with treatment. This was seconded and passed.
The only anticipated change to the budget would be if money is needed to go towards the treatment of the tree. Motion was made to approve the budget, seconded and passed
Kira asked somebody to volunteer for president, and we got a volunteer, Bailey Condrey. Julie Tierney had volunteered to be vice-president and newsletter editor. Gerald Sharp, who had volunteered to be treasurer, was traveling on business so he could not be there. He works at NIH and says he can do math. He donated the envelopes for the envelope project in January to increase the membership donations. Maryann Dillon, who has been a diligent and quadruple newsletter editor for four years, has volunteered to be secretary. Motion was made to accept the new officers, seconded and passed.
Kathy Byars has reported that 16 people have signed up for the community yard sale, which is being held on May 3 at the school. To host a table, a donation of $10 is needed for the ad in the Gazette. Any money left over will be donated to the PRA.
Kira said she had sent in a Beautification Grant application to the County to put a garden in at the Wildwood Rd and Saul Rd intersection island. The dead tree has been cut down, and because the lawn crew did not want to mow around the stump, they got it ground up.
Lara Akinbami is interested in doing something about the speeders on Saul. One option was to have one of those speed cameras. Discussion followed. These issues are in the pipeline.
Kira pointed out that we still need a beautification committee chair. As part of this discussion, Kira made the suggestion we speak with homeowners/neighbors who are doing tear downs and rebuilds to see if we could take the plants that will be thrown away and replant them on the islands. Kira volunteered to even go to the individual home and dig the plants herself! After some discussion Gail Condrey volunteered to be the beautification chair.
Question and discussion followed about treating the mosquitoes in the park.
Next meeting will be held in June. The date is pending. Hope to see you all there!!
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