Parkwood Residents Association
Member Meeting
January 26, 2010


       Officers:    Bailey Condrey, President
Julie Tierney, Vice President
Maryann Dillon, Secretary
Gerald Sharp, Treasurer
Directors: Gail Condrey, Chair, Beautification
Kira Lueders, Chair, Block Captains
Peter Mansbach, webmaster
Kitty Stone, Membership
Members: Approximately 18 other PRA Members

1. Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by President Bailey Condrey at 7:40 PM.

2. Old Business:

Printed meeting minutes of 7/14/09 and 10/19/09 were distributed. Julie Tierney moved (Peter Mansbach seconded) to approve both sets of minutes. Motion carried.

3. Cell Tower Recap:

Members reported back regarding meeting with representatives of Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church on January 15 regarding a proposal to install a cell tower on church property. About 300 neighbors attended and 30 testified, all in opposition to the proposal. On January 19, the church Board of Trustees voted not to pursue the cell tower proposal. Members expressed relief at the decision.

4. Snow removal:

Bailey noted recent listserv discussion, reiterated that only County officials have a role in ensuring snow removal. He reminded members that the PRA website has links to the correct County officials for each issue. He is aware that Thornwood at Everett and Wildwood, Clearbrook, and Ashwood had been identified as streets that have chronic problems getting snow removed. A resident of Thornwood spoke, stating that Thornwood always seems to get missed, that Thornwood was never plowed after the recent blizzard, and that she had contacted several State and County officials and only Delegate Al Carr's office responded. Liz Brennan suggested following up with officials now, when there was no snow emergency, since officials were likely overwhelmed with requests during the recent blizzard. Kira Lueders suggested contacting Tom Pogue who is County Liaison for Parkwood. Tom has been responsive in the past and spoke with PRA members at a prior meeting. Gerald Sharp suggested we use the strength of our membership numbers to support elected officials who do help. Liz Brennan reminded members to get cars off streets or organize neighbors to park on just one side of street where possible to encourage snowplows. Julie Tierney moved (Kitty Stone seconded) to send letter to Council Member Valerie Ervin, c.c. Tom Pogue, complaining of the "horribly inadequate" snow removal on Thornwood, Ashwood and Clearbrook, and that PRA expects better service next time. Motion carried.

5. BRAC/Coalition of Military Medical Center Neighbors (CMMCN) Update:

Bailey reported that Congressman Van Hollen obtained $300 million in federal funds for Fort Belvoir and Bethesda Naval Hospital upgrades. $157 million is earmarked for Bethesda Naval which is sufficient to pay for three out of four "tiers" of infrastructure priorities.

CMMCN met with Council Members Roger Berliner and Marc Elrich who are advocating redirecting some of these funds to a rapid transit bus study and system for the 355 corridor from White Flint to the District line. There is some concern among CMMCN members that this would be "cherry picking" funds allocated to BRAC for other uses. Given this federal infusion, it is likely that the $20 million previously allocated by the State for Tier 1 improvements would be pulled, and that a $40 million federal grant application submitted by the County for a tunnel to link NIH with Bethesda Naval would also be pulled. Plans for how the $157 million will be spent will be decided over the next several weeks.

6. Treasurer's Report:

Treasurer Gerald Sharp distributed the Treasurer's Report on the listserv last week and summarized the report at the meeting. In 2009, PRA collected $3,210 in membership dues plus $2,015 in Beautification donations for $5,315 total income. Expenses were $2,591, with about 55% for the newsletter and the balance for Beautification, fees, website, and membership expenses. PRA has a positive annual income of over $2700 in both 2008 and 2009 and currently has $8,654 in the bank. Gerald asked what PRA should be doing with these funds. Liz Brennan reminded officers that PRA had voted to install several neighborhood identification signs. Liz moved (Gerald seconded) to allocate funds in the budget for the purchase and installation of these signs. Motion carried. Liz further moved (member seconded) that the Beautification Committee review its strategic plan and make recommendations at the next PRA meeting for spending additional funds. Motion carried.

Gerald noted the need to develop a FY 2010 budget to present at the next meeting.

7. Beautification Committee Report:

Gail Condrey reported that the Beautification Committee will meet to prepare a 2010 plan for review at the March PRA meeting. The plan will include estimates for (1) dog cleanup bag dispensers, (2) Parkwood neighborhood identification signs at two locations and (3) 2010 budget needed to accomplish 2010 plan. Community members are encouraged to reach out to Gail if you have an area you desire to install the dog cleanup bag dispensers near you.

8. Spring Membership Drive:

Bailey stated that the next PRA meeting would be the 9th or the 16th of March. Members agreed that the newsletter should be circulated by 2/12 or 2/19 with membership renewal notices and envelopes attached. Julie suggested the officers decide offline how to organize the envelope stapling, and to let her or Gerald know if you're willing to volunteer to help put the newsletters and envelopes together.

Kitty Stone suggested members brainstorm about reasons why people should join PRA and include them as a marketing pitch in the next newsletter. Members mentioned Beautification, advocacy (White Flint, cell tower, BRAC, etc,) as reasons why PRA should be supported.

Liz Brennan stated that the March meeting should include FY budget approval, and suggested PRA try to strengthen the Welcome Committee, and constantly push volunteer opportunities through listserv. Kitty suggested we list one-off volunteer opportunities. Gail will check if some of the more generous donors to the Beautification Fund would be willing to be recognized in the next newsletter. Jim moved (member seconded) to create an online 2010 membership drive flyer in color listing rationales for membership to be sent through the listserv and on the website. Motion carried.

9. Community Issues:

White Flint Sector Plan: Liz Brennan reported on Coalition of Kensington Communities (CKC) meeting with Council Chair Nancy Floreen. CKC is concerned with density of site, which is to include 9,800 additional residential units, but Floreen was not sympathetic. Liz went to the Town Hall meeting held by Councilmembers to ask about the influence of campaign contributions from developers on any decisions. CKC will meet with Council Member George Leventhal next Monday to press their concerns. White Flint plan is still in Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee of Council. Council Member Marc Elrich proposed reducing the number of units but the motion didn't carry. PHED is pushing for reduced parking of one space per unit to discourage car ownership. CKC will be asking individual residents to write to PHED Committee regarding their concerns. Julie Tierney reported that she's been working with the White Flint Community Coalition which is pushing for lower densities and more amenities.

Kensington Sector Plan: Liz Brennan stated that she will post to listserv any updates on this draft sector plan. Since there's been little discussion or controversy, she assumes the plan remains similar to what was proposed at Park & Planning, with higher density in select parcels near Connecticut/Knowles and Connecticut/Plyers Mill. She believes it is basically a good plan.

Liz reported that CKC will be hosting a Candidates Forum this Fall at Kensington Town Hall, since all nine County Council Members and State officials are up for re-election.

Dorothy Crankshaw reported that several teen boys from Walter Johnson HS had been trespassing along Parkwood Terrace and had assaulted a youth. Police have been called and they have identified several of the teens. She encourages neighbors to call the police if they see any incidents.

Julie Tierney stated that a neighbor on Everett between Cedar Lane and Thornwood has requested that PRA write a letter of support to Del. Al Carr to install a "Do Not Enter" sign along the one-way portion of the street not already marked so. Julie made a motion to write the letter (seconded). Motion carried.

Kathy Byars reported through Gail Condrey that a local Boy Scout troop is once again organizing a clean-up of Rock Creek Park of April 10 and encouraged Parkwood residents to volunteer. Gerald Sharp moved (motion seconded) to give $100 to the troop in support of its efforts. There was some discussion re: appropriateness of singling out one troop when other volunteer organizations do things that benefit Parkwood neighborhood as well. Vote was tied, so motion did not carry.

10. New Business:

A member noted that the sign announcing this meeting as posted at Saul Road is too small and hard to read, especially for seniors. There was discussion re: need for additional signs. Maryann Dillon pointed out that PRA could purchase inexpensive plastic signs with a fixed message, such as "Meeting Next Monday" that could augment the signs we have, which are very expensive. Officers agreed to put purchase of these signs in the budget.

Bailey Condrey reported that the light timing at Grosvenor and Beach Drive by Rockville Pike had again been adjusted to add more seconds to cars exiting the park, which appears to have improved traffic flow considerably. A member expressed concern about backups along Beach Drive increasing as Walter Reed expands and once there is construction along the Cedar Lane bridge.. Bailey asked that members send him any comments they want included in a letter he's preparing to officials reminding them PRA supports keeping Cedar Lane a two-lane road (there are no current plans to change this, but there is some concern that officials may suggest this in the future).

PRA will be holding elections for new officers at its March meeting, and Bailey encouraged members to volunteer to run. Maryann Dillon stated that she has been an officer for six years, four as VP and two as Secretary, and she would appreciate being able to step down.

There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 9:10 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Maryann Dillon

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