Annual Meeting Minutes
November 18, 2013
Lovely Lane Church
PRESENT: 53 people were in attendance at the meeting, including presenters.
CALL TO ORDER: Jeanne Knight called the meeting to order at 7:05pm.
TREASURER’S REPORT: In Peter Duvall’s absence, Phil LaCombe announced the Treasurer’s Report. The Association has $5,655 in the General Fund and $1,638 in Encumbered Funds, making a total balance of $7,329.
Old and New Business
Late Night Commercial Operations
Councilman Bill Henry spoke on the topic of late night commercial establishments. He stated that for a long time, there were no regulations for these establishments until recently. Notice must be posted in order for a business to operate between 12 and 5am. Chains are permitted to get their licenses all at once. The process is loosely modeled after the liquor license process. The City’s Finance Department manages the licenses.
University of Maryland Historic Preservation Project
Two graduate students of historic preservation from the University of Maryland, College Park presented on their studio project about the Old Goucher neighborhood. They will make their final presentation in December.
Bob Brent asked for nominations from the floor. Ning Li nominated Jason Pyeron for CVCBD Representative. Jane Shipley made a point of information asking about the nomination for the 29th Street Community Center Representative. The candidates stood to introduce themselves.
Jeanne announced the winners of the election:
- Kelly Cross, President
- Jeanne Knight, Vice President
- Ibrahim Sheik, Treasurer
- Damien Nichols, Secretary
- John Henderson, CVCBD Representative
- Theresa Murphy, 29th Street Community Center Representative
Old and New Business
Charles Village Community Benefits District
David Hill explained the form provided to the community to gather input about CVCBD programming. Community members can give feedback to inform the CVCBD’s programs for 2014.
25th Street Station
Bruce Willen summarized the changes proposed for the 25th Street Station PUD, and pointed to http://oldgoucher.org as a resource for community members to learn about the development. He thanked the community for providing feedback, which has been passed on to the City Planning Department. Bruce stated that the greatest concern is that the Planning Department is allowing the changes to be considered as a minor amendment, preventing input from our elected officials. The OGCA’s reading of the law is that the changes definitely make it a major amendment. Bruce reported that Councilman Stokes is now “leaning” toward pushing for the major amendment process. The final decision may be made by the Planning Department Thursday November 21 at 3pm.
Jane Shipley made a suggestion that we vote as an association to give a formal opinion. Jeanne stated that the community expressed unanimous support for the major amendment process. Ning Li asked what it would take to stop the project and suggested that Seawall would create a much better development. Bruce reiterated that it’s most important to make our voices heard.
Damien Nichols explained that the developer would lose its stormwater waiver if the design were changed, and that because all of the retailers but Walmart have dropped out we don’t know who they will be. Bruce will compile the information into a new Nextdoor post. He will have an op-ed in the Baltimore Sun.
Theresa Murphy asked about Councilwoman Clarke’s vote, to which Bruce replied that she is sympathetic to our concerns and will support Councilman Stokes. Jane Shipley expressed the importance for civil disagreement.
Joan Floyd said she looked at the Planning Commission file and informed the community that letters sent to UDARP or other bodies are not in the file, so community members should address new comments to Tom Stosur, the planning director. Chris Shipley asked if emails should be sent to the planning commissioners, to which Joan said that it is best to send letters to the planning director. Members should notify Jeanne if they plan to attend and she will notify the Planning Commission.
Michael Young spoke to the community about his new business called Club K. He connected with the Korean community to open an art and entertainment space formerly occupied by a restaurant and karaoke bar. The venue has won awards from City Paper. Michael wanted to open a space that would mix Korean cuisine, culture and underground music and performance. Other businesses have opened in the area and Michael had the idea to bring the businesses and venues north of North Avenue together. There will be an event to highlight the unique Korean restaurants and independent establishments.
Vacant Lot Development
Adam Link, the owner of the parking lot at 24th and Morton Street, traveled from Florida to speak to the OGCA. The 17-space parking lot has been in the family for 40 years, and the family would like to contribute to the revitalization of the neighborhood. Future Care currently operates the lot, although there are some trash issues on the lot. Adam expressed his interest in working with the community to potentially develop the lot. Kelly Cross will pass on contact information to address issues with the lot.
Charles Village Civic Association
Kelly Cross addressed the OGCA’s relationship with the Charles Village Civic Association. The CVCA claims to represent a very large area that includes at least four neighborhoods, including Old Goucher. The CVCA has supported a minor amendment process for the 25th Street Station project. Following the process that related to that decision, the CVCA Board has asked Kelly to step down as a member of the CVCA Board. Kelly asked that the community declare is sovereignty so that OGCA is the primary community body to represent the body.
Sarah asked if we could be better represented on the CVCA Board. Kelly stated that there is no mechanism for the CVCA membership to vote in members on the board.
Phil informed the membership of the geographic distribution of the CVCA Board: 16 of the 17 members live north of 27th Street, 9 board members reside on Guilford Avenue on blocks also part of either Harwood or Abell, 7 board members live on blocks that are part of no association other than the CVCA, 1 board member (Kelly Cross) lives in Old Goucher, and none live in Barclay and the area represented by the Greater Greenmount Community Association.
Chris Shipley said that he was the first board member of CVCA to live south of 26th Street and he was not able to get the Board to fairly represent the residents of Old Goucher. He illustrated the disagreement with an example of the Board opposing the Women’s Housing Coalition’s move into the neighborhood. He commented that the problems we face are very different than those in Charles Village and that we want change, while the CVCA resists change. He said that we can continue to work together but the 25th Street Station development shows our irreconcilable differences.
John Schneider asked about the relationship between the CVCA and CVCBD. Kelly clarified that they are two separate organizations, the CVCA being a civic association and the CVCBD being a body created by law to manage safety and sanitation. Our relationship with the CVCBD would not change if we separated with the CVCA. He stressed that the issue is a land use matter.
Jason Pyeron reiterated that there is no relationship between the CVCA and CVCBD. He stated his concern about the lack of recognition of Old Goucher as a neighborhood. Kelly clarified that Old Goucher is on the Planning Commission map but not in accordance with the boundaries in the OGCA bylaws. Jason suggested that we poll all residents. Ning Li asked how we would have a voice on the CVCA. Kelly said that the CVCA does not elect board members individually but as a slate which is chosen by the Membership Committee. Kelly has told the CVCA that he won’t step down until the organization redraws its boundaries.
Chris Shipley said that the real question at hand is whether we want to be an independent community association. He informed the community that the situation has changed significantly: the CVCA has proposed changing their boundaries in the past but members in the south objected over the lack of the alternative. Now that the OGCA is strong, there is an alternative.
Bruce Willen reminded the community if we separate, we will need to be even more active and committing more time. Kelly pointed out that they do attend Liquor Board hearings among others but do not represent our interests.
Jane Shipley pointed out Old Goucher is ripe with potential, having many vacant lots.
John Schneider said that the CVCA is not meeting the obligations of geographic diversity in its bylaws. He called for the OGCA to take a collaborative approach, with Kelly creating a standing committee on organization to further investigate the cause. Kelly noted the point and stated that he would like to take a vote at the annual meeting because it best represents the membership.
Jane Shipley motioned that the OGCA adopt the position put forth by Kelly Cross, that “The Old Goucher Community Association is a sovereign, independent organization and that the OGCA be the initial and primary source of approval for all developments, initiatives, regulatory approvals, legal issues, et cetera that occur within the boundaries as defined in the bylaws of the Old Goucher Community Association.” Joseph James seconded the motion. Jean Yahudah asked for clarification about the CVCBD vs. CVCA.
Jason Pyeron moved to amend the motion: “move to have the Old Goucher Community Association facilitate the recognition of its boundaries as defined by its bylaws by local, City, State, Federal authorities and other associations.” Jane Shipley rejected the amendment.
John Schneider expressed concern that our action will cease all OGCA involvement in the CVCA Land Use Committee, and that we will need to create a new land use committee very quickly while development projects are in the pipeline. Kelly said that the CVCA cannot write out Old Goucher until they hold a full membership meeting and receive a two-thirds vote to amend their charter. We will have at least a year until the next meeting.
Bruce Willen suggested we set up a transition committee. Damien Nichols suggested that we declare we must be approached first in decision making and drop the confrontational language. Chris Shipley called the question. Kelly suggested we set up an exploratory committee. Jane withdrew her motion.
Jason amended his motion: “The Old Goucher Community Association will work toward recognition by local, City, State, and Federal authorities and other community organizations of the Old Goucher Community Association boundaries as defined by its bylaws. “
Jason called the question. Kelly Cross took the vote. The OGCA membership approved the motion unanimously.
The meeting adjourned at 9:30pm.