Glenn Dale Citizens Association
June 19, 2007




Opening.   The meeting began at 7:40 with all officers present.


Secretary’s Report.   Jim Titus summarized the previous meeting.  No corrections were suggested and we adopted the minutes.


Treasurer Report.   $1643.43 after $6 in membership fees.   Henry added:  Dues are tax-deductible. 





Meeting started at 7:35 PM.  We started doing announcements while awaiting a quorum.


Alexandra Hiatt is Brooke Garner’s replacement.  Brooke is now at the Washington Observer, as an assistant editor. 


Tomeka Bumbry legislative chief of staff for Councilwoman Ingrid Turner attended as well. 


Construction is underway at the BP gas station near Belle Station Rd and Md-450.  No one knew whether the computerized gas pumps would force people to hit extra keys to avoid accidentally buying a carwash.


Kaz developers are sending out invitations to be a person of record related to the golf course development  (Glenn Dale Golf Course active adult community).   The entire 159 acres is the subject of the application.  What we need to do is send in letters to park and planning identifying ourselves as persons of record.  Henry:  Being a person of record is what gives you a right to testify.


There is a proposal for a day-care center on Mt. Oak.


Mitchellville Montesori.  Application for revised detailed site plan.  Notice from planning board approved preliminary plan on May 3, 2007.  They are moving into the detailed site plan phase.  This project is on the west side of Hillmead Road near Prospect Hill Road, near the “active adult community”.   DSP-04005/01.   The Secretary added:  “It is interesting that they want to build a school next to a new development that will not allow kids.”


NASA:  Draft environmental assessment for proposed roadway and security upgrade project.  This includes a new North Gate near Soil Conservation Road.


Eastgate Staybridge Hotel.  Notice of Planning Board approved the detailed site plan.  Henry: Concerns that we have expressed have been heard by elected representatives.  There is a possibility that the district council will review it.  Mary:  Woodstream is concerned.  We have a dialogue ongoing.  We may be able to turn it from an eyesore/traffic problem to an amenity.


Gorgeous Prince Georges Day:  Reforestation and Tree planting is offering us opportunities for tree planting.  We have learned that 250,000 trees have been planted through this program. 




New Business


First Annual Meeting of Community Leaders from District 3”.   Henry and Mary attended meeting of community leaders.   Eric Olsen addressed the group.  Head of Department of Environmental Resources was there.  They have hired more staff and hope to be more responsive.  They have a new web site.  If you need a permit you will be able to submit application online.  Police chief is trying to get more police.  They are having good results except for graffiti.  The truancy issue came up.  (Delegate Levi appeared and mentioned truancy and drivers’ license statute).


Henry added:  The CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) has funding for a Lincoln-Vista community center.  


Washington Business Park.  Henry learned that Glenwood Estates opposes the proposed shopping center.  


Expansion of MD-193 Good Luck and Greenbelt.   Fred Gasper is trying to ensure that countdown crosswalks are included there.  Fred gave us the contacts.  We have diagrams for the plan. 


Titus moved:  “I move we send a letter to SHA asking them to explain their plans for the expansion of MD-193 and any other roads that they plan to expand.”  Motion seconded and passed.  Fred will help Henry with the letter.   Delegate Levi added:  When you have SHA out here, invite Senator Peters and Delegate Levi.


Palumbo Brothers property.  We have been interacting with them for two decades and several representatives of theirs.  During the last master planning process (over a decade ago), they successfully pushed to get their zoning changed.  Several years ago, BP wanted a modern-retro gas station.  We persuaded BP to adopt architecture that would look a bit more like Marietta.  They wanted a larger car-wash.  They had a buffer.  We have detailed site plan for gas station and vague plan for the rest of the site.  The deal that had been struck was that there would be a 50-foot landscape buffer. 


Mary told the story of BP Gas.  A sign was posted indicating that the station management will try to be exempted from the landscape buffer.   Some intrusions into the landscape buffer have been allowed.  BP’s Lynch said that he intends to honor the landscape buffer (with those intrusions).  The request for removal of the landscape buffer may be from the rest of the development.  This may be a landscape buffer—it does not say whether this is part of the tree conservation plan.  Some amount of on-site woodland conservation is required (though we are not sure how much.)


The Palumbos had wanted C-M zoning changed to CSC by text amendment.  We had not endorsed it.  They had mentioned that their zoning would allow muffler shops, which C-M would not allow.   C-M means commercial miscellaneous:  (e.g. muffler, mattress).  CSC is commercial shopping center.  (See presentation, below).


Treasurer Report.  $1640.65.    Several people attending this meeting have not paid their dues this year. 


John explained that some zoning lines will need to be changed so that the entrance to the development will be in a more appropriate location.


Jim will miss the July meeting.  Mary will take the minutes.


Meeting Adjourned.




Ed Gibbs, Attorney representing Richard and Vincent Palumbo,  owners of Bell Station Center. This is 8.99 acres, their land excluding the BP station.  He got involved in efforts seeking CSC zoning.  Only recently did he hear about the 50-ft strip.  He will ask Tom Millborn to address that issue.  The Palumbos had 10 acres, and they needed to subdivide to carve out the property for the BP Station.  “What I saw when I read the resolution, was that there was a requirement for a 50-foot buffer yard.  Within that 50-foot buffer, a 40-foot landscape.”  That does not necessarily mean tree conservation.  That is what was in planning board action when the preliminary plan was approved. 


Gibbs continued:  The resolution also talks about connectivity with adjacent parcels, so that you can walk between parcels.  When you read the requirement it is clear that the reason for the buffer was to provide protection for the mansion (Magruder-Brannon House).  Not to preserve trees, not to provide the Chesley building a buffer, but to protect the mansion.  So if you look believe the planning board’s resolution, the justification for the buffer is no longer applicable, now that the mansion has been moved.


Gibbs further explained:  The owners have also filed a tree conservation plan.  They did show retention of existing trees at the southern end of property.   That is independent of the buffer.   The benefit of on-site tree conservation is that off-site conservation generally requires a 2:1 mitigation ratio at $40,000/acre.


Gibbs went on to explaing that Mr. Chesley said that he would need a 12-15 foot retaining wall at the boundary for his building.  However, it would be possible to avoid a retaining wall by grading the property (which would be consistent with the goal of connectivity).  So why not file amendment to tree conservation plan.  Grading takes away trees of course.   Owners may now be thinking that it is more cost effective to do the off-site conservation than to pay for these retaining walls.   Note:  there will still be a 50-foot buffer yard and a 40-foot landscape.


The Palumbo site is higher.  To some extent there is misinformation about the plans, caused partly by the engineers, who applied for 50-foot buffer without talking to people.  The problem is that no one knew what Mr. Chesley had in mind.   A landscape plan will be prepared, probably pine and cypress trees.  Ed Gibbs added that the landscape manual would not have required a buffer


Mary:  There are some significant beautiful trees being taken down.  

Q:  We would like to know which approach saves more trees.  Recognizing that the retaining walls bury roots.   

A:  At times, you can actually do tree planting somewhere.  We have another project where our offsite remediation will be tree planting in Glen Arden.

Titus:  So it sounds like there may be three options:  tree conservation onsite,  tree planting nearby if the Glen Arden precedent can be extended, and off-site mitigation.  From an\ habitat perspective, the off-site mitigation would have significant environmental benefits if it protects trees along streams and floodplains.  But people here are mostly interested in conserving trees in Glenn Dale.  An obvious question is whether any of the HOA’s would work with you to start planting significant shade trees along the streets.  You could save energy and the ambient summer temperatures could be lowered by a degree or two if there was an aggressive effort to plant shade trees in all these yards which were wooded before the developments came.  But I guess most of these HOA’s are not that interested in trees.

Mary:  That is not correct.  My HOA is very interested in tree preservation.

Titus:  I would encourage you to look for opportunities in Glenn Dale to replace sunny lawns with shade trees.

Member:  But shade trees do not provide much habitat.

Titus:  Shade trees help some birds.  If you are worried about turtles, frogs, foxes…that little triangle won’t do them much good anyway


Gibbs:  We view our request as a downzoning.  What we are looking for is actually less than what we have now.   Realistically, given the upscale development you are getting, C-M is probably not in our interest.  We hope to be successful. 


Henry added:  We view this development as a gateway to Glenn Dale.