Glenn Dale Citizens Association

Meeting Minutes –October 18, 2005

Prepared By Jim Titus, Secretary

Meeting started at 7:35 PM. Secretary arrived at 7:40PM. The President (Henry) accounced that at the end of the meeting we would have a guest presentation from an organization interested in preserving Glenn Dale Hospital without seeking a change in the statute. All officers were present.

Secretary’s Report [7:50 PM]

Minutes accepted.


Beaverdam cleanup next weekend. Call Kate Levendosky (COG) 202-962-3374

Treasurer’s Report:

We got $6 + $9 for a total of $1448.81


Old Business

Naco Building. Goodluck Rd. Building is lower than roadside. Now a berm along Good Luck Road. The VP (Mary) found out that there will be an acceleration land onto Good Luck from Northern. There will be a 10-foot utility right of way. Landscaping is not what we were supposed to have. A berm is not totally bad. The landscape was supposed to have hemlock.

East Glenn Dale Sector Plan. The preliminary staff plan is publicly available. The big surprise had been the corridor node. Henry: this was result of Douglas Development Corporation. But now the staff has retreated on that issue. (The owner, Douglas Gemal, was indicted for giving presents to DC employees; there is no evidence that he gave gifts to PG or MNCPPC employees. We are unsure about his contributions to Council candidates.)

Mary: On golf course. Many uses suggested in original plan. The new plan recommends R-R, with some amenity constraints, which conformed to original plan for golf course. The recommendations by staff are consistent with what Planning Board has raised during the detailed site plan. John Shoelds: It had been remanded due to trails, and a few other matters. The plan seems to force golf course to be used as R-R and nothing else.

Secretary: "John, I don’t understand what you just said, could you please send me a pragraph or two for the minutes explaining what you just said." John: "Ok"

Mary: Regarding other properties. Property along Amtrak, where vehicles are stored: Owner wanted zoning change to Industrial. Michaels wanted property near Hilmeade/Springfield rezoned to townhouses—that was refused.

<>Glenn Dale Business Campus wants to consider entire area as a whole, including apartments. Revising the vision. Staff modification made plan less dense. How does that change things? Mary: Millstein (staff of Douglas Gemal) had proposed extremely dense development, 1431 units, condos, 10-story building. They also wanted commercial development. Mary had suggested that they try senior living there, but Gemal said that would not make a profit. They have bought all this property, and want to cover their costs. One problem: the need for NASA contracting space has declined.

Process: East Glenn Dale plan will be officially approved on October 27. Then the council will have a work session on Nov 22. Lawyers will all be there. It is not a public hearing, but people can come. Of course, Council can change any of these recommendations. In the case of Bowie, property was downzoned. The edge of the rural tier has been moved into Bowie more. Today, that was evidently accepted by Council, which will necessitate a second public hearing.

We will not know whether a second public hearing is possible until we see how many changes take place. But anyone can lobby the Council. How do we influence them? Henry: "Think about letters to the Editor. We are not without avenues. Realistically, nothing will happen until February." We will invite Councilman Peters to the next meeting. If he can’t make it that evening, Henry will try inviting Tom Hendershot or seek an alternative evening, as the case may be.

Henry added: Sending letters is worthwhile. Try Samuel H Dean, council chair, because letters that go to the Chairman are forwarded to all members.

Glenn Dale Hospital [8:20}. County is soliciting expressions of interest though October 11 for developing the site. So far, St. Paul’s/Coscan Adler have responded. The National Center for Sustainable Development and Brownfield’s Development have submitted. In addition, former Governor Glendenning’s group has expressed interest. Although we have spoken with St. Paul’s, we have never been fully satistied. County will determine who is qualified, and then solicit proposals. Henry: For the county to be doing something is a step forward. (See presentation at the end of this meeting.)

Gabriel’s Run. A development along MD-193, covering both sides of MD-193 along Bell Station. Twelve units on east side. We have a continuing issue with outfall, clearing, and now plan for a triple concrete culvert. But recently, people turned out and reversed that plan. Original deal: Do nothing, or go back and re-engineer culvert, or a concrete culvert. For example, put the ditches or swails that once were along Bell Station Road. Question: Why do they even need to improve road? Answer, DTPW gets exactions all the time. It is too late to deal with the right of way they cut for WSSC. Henry warned: the water line will be put back in there.


New Business

Bell Station: Palumbo brothers. Last master plan, Palumbo’s wanted C-M zoning and got it. This is commercial-miscellaneous (e.g. a muffler shop). The Palumbos decided they would rather have some different uses. They wanted to add some commercial uses, without giving up anything. Henry met with Judge Palumbo and Dan Sichel at Councilman Peters’ office. Henry explained that the problem is that they will not give anything up. Judge Palumbo had no specific use. Henry said we are happy to support a special exception that will allow amenities. Judge said "What if we gave up C-M?" Henry said I don’t know, why don’t you come out and talk to us?

Emergency Preparedness. Tony led this discussion. Tony sent a list of possible questions around. Tony has an interest, and canvassing. Tony is looking for feedback. See Appendix for his list. John: They have done #5. We need to prepare a list of questions. County has a plan. John: What are our traffic options?

Glenn Dale Business Campus: Mary will be meeting with them. October 27 or Nov. 1 at 6:30pm. Mary is pretty sure that he will push for something, so they need to get to him first. They will go for mixed-use residential, most likely. Mary: nothing wrong with an office park, nicely landscaped. But a warehouse is not so nice. There are covenants on 29 acres bordering Northern Avenue. We need to see the covenants to see what the restrictions are.

Elections: If you want to be an officer, you should let us know. We will have elections for officers at the November meeting.

Meeting Adjourned at 9:05 PM.

Presentation from National Center for Sustainable Development and Brownfield’s Development

Mitchell used to drive a Pepsi Route, then a ban president, and now is Chairman of this Cener.

The Center thinks that the signature buildings are key to the hopital site. They understand that the statutory use for CCRC is a good idea. In this day and age, those structures would be good. Center once worked on site of a battery cracking plant in Dalls (possible a secondary lead smelter), whose toxic soils were blocking development of the entire area. The "pump-and-treat" requirement is difficult for a developer to deal with. Lenders don’t want to go through a state cleanup program.

Center has worked with state on cleanup and remediation. They put in an expression of interest. They bought "Eagle Ford" in Dallas. This was the site of much industrial activity, formerly owned by Union Pacific Railroad. Somehow, people thought the site was part of a Superfund Site. They are working with multifamily developer on that site. Also cleaned up a dry cleaning site in Dallas.

Hall-Martin is their partner. Their thinking is that there is no need to change the legislation. There is an interest in supporting a green infrastructure project. Traffic is becoming a nightmare—adding more townhouses not necessarily good. This firm is not always a profit maximizer, but rather has social goals that may build reputations, by solving intractable problems. Therefore, they are able to undertake projects that a pure profit maximizer would not.

In addition, the Center’s approach is essentially an arbitrage on different perception of environmental risk. Lack of understanding leads developers to shun sites with possible environmental problems, even though the problems are—on average—treatable for less than the enhanced value of the land. Therefore, one would expect that this organization would require fewer concessions from the government (e.g. the additional 50 acres that Toll Brothers and St. Pauls’s want) to take on a project.

Second Speaker (Hall). Usually does government contracting. They are aware of various proposals. It seems natural to them that this would be a useful facility.

Jim: You envision campus setting.

A: Yes.

Mary: How many buildings do you envision adding?

A: (Mitchell) The old buildings are substantial. People for a CCRC would be looking for a smaller place. People have, or know someone who needs two rooms, not 8-10 rooms.

Hall: Those building can be remediated.

Mitchell: If you have something to start with…In Dallas it gets hot. They used to have steam tunnels for central heating. When energy became cheaper, everyone wanted their own climate control. Now people are going back to central heat.

Tony: If you are not driven by profits, what are you driven by?

Mitchell: Our trustees come from law, regulatory, finance… These deals often don’t come together because the property is less valuable than cost of using the land. They try to make enough to maintain continuity of the mission—so we are not a profit maximizer, but we can’t be losing money either. As a native Washingtonian, I would prefer not to see speculative development.

Q: How have you been dlong doing this?

Mitchell. Five years, before I was President of a Bank.

Q: Are there toxic cleanup issue?

A: You have lead paint, asbestos insulation on pipes and tile. What you don’t know, is how much other stuff was dumped into the "back 40." In a hospital environment, they may have been more careful.

Q: Would you do assisted living and non-assisted?

A: Yes….We are envisioning the full spectrum from non-invasive care to invasive.

Q. Will you build a golf course?

A: Not yet sure… In the renovation of old buildings, you have the opportunity to do things you can’t do when you are just trying to flip a property. You can put in the better infrastructure, and the green features. In Silver Spring, across 16th Street, there is a community with geothermal. Energy will be a big part.

Secretary: How long will it take to get a handle on whether this is really feasible? Can you really do this, or will you end up finding out the costs require townhouses and 100 acres like the others.

Mitchell: It is hard to know. We have not been able to get all the info we’d like from MNCPPC. But in general, there are often a lot of ways of doing things that people just don’t realize.

We don’t want to walk into a buzz saw, or a deal that has been cut. When I visited enforcement division of EPA, I found that redevelopment is quite popular.

Mary: This is in line with what we’d like to see. We understand that you have had difficulty penetrating MNCPPC.

A: We think we can run those tracks. At this point, we are trying to manage the expectations of people.

Henry: Who would do the CCRC?

Hall: Many possibilities. Sunrise, one in NJ and NC. Interest in our demographics. But they want to get farther in their process. First, we get the site a clean bill of health—then these organizations can look at it

Henry. What about tax credits?

A. We do not syndicate remediation tax credits, because they are typically about $500,000. People will say they plan to use section 198 tax deductions, some may be qualified. There are other things that can be done. When we met with Chuck Montrie,, we met with head of MDE as well. The state is trying to find projects that they can talk about. They need to know up front what they are getting into. We try to underpromise and over-deliver. But we are not inclined to bang pots and pans until they know that they can make a go of it.


Appendix:  Excerpt from Tony Drake email on Emergency Preparedness:

<>This is a list of ideas, some more practical than others, that might be considered by members of the GDCA to prepare for local emergencies. I'm not specifically recommending anything; just providing ideas for thought. We may simply chose to help our members be better informed on personal emergency preparedness, or we may chose to consider a broader view of community preparedness. Everything below is based on voluntary participation (with consideration for individual privacy protection). However, it would be morally difficult to exclude citizens during an emergency who actively chose to not participate in advance.

1. Prepare a list of national, state, and local emergency providers; distribute to GDCA members and/or all Glenn Dale residents as a service

2. For planning inspiration, assemble a history of past local or regional emergencies (how?)

3. To aid in planning, write up possible emergency scenarios, then consider each for desired personal or community preparations and plans (e.g., extended snow-in, major wind/rain storm, utility shutdown, quarantine, nearby rioting, etc.)

4. Arrange for GDCA speakers on emergency response and preparedness, i.e., fire department, police, Red Cross, etc.

5. Prepare a list of Glenn Dale citizens with special needs that are in medical danger if an emergency situation occurs (loss of any utilities, quarantine, travel restrictions, etc.); determine what response is appropriate

6. Prepare a list of out-of-area emergency contacts for everyone interested, to be used if the citizen cannot make such a contact him/herself due to community emergency

7. Make up a daisy-chain calling list to check on folks if an emergency situation threatens or occurs; determine what response is appropriate

8. Contact local ham radio operators to ask if they’d relay messages during a communications outage (find out what is reasonable/possible to do)

9.  Do we need to consider how to protect ourselves in the event of a breakdown of civil society?

10. Make up a list of who might provide emergency deep-snow transportation

11. Make up a list of local volunteer doctors, nurses, paramedics (how to compensate?)

12. Create a recommended reading list on emergency/survival preparations/skills

13. Consider a community emergency preparations bank (food, water, propane, heaters, blankets, tarps, rope, flashlights, batteries, generator, etc.); determine how to fund, how to maintain, where to keep

14. Create a list of citizens who are willing to provide emergency services for free or for a fee during an emergency, such as tree-cutting and hauling, snow removal, medical services, well water (certified potable), auxilary electricity (small/large batteries, recharging, generators, etc.), transportation, etc.

<>15. Agree on an informal community radio channel/frequency to share for CB, FRS,  GMRS communications during emergencies

16. Create a special GDCA fund for community emergencies only (would require careful thought to devise rules for use)

17. Coordinate preparations and plans with neighboring community associations

18. Coordinate preparations and plans with local emergency responders