Wheaton Hills Civic Association
November 18, 2015
The meeting was called to order at 7:35 by President Norris Thigpen, who noted that we did not have quorum.
President’s Report: Norris briefly mentioned a leadership training grant that he and Sean Corbin received on behalf of the WHCA (See details in new business section below.)
Treasury: Randall Spadoni, Treasurer absent, but sent notice of nothing new to report.
Education committee: On the issue of sports jersey’s worn at local area schools, which some find objectionable, the Committee decided not to take a position or become involved in the issue with the schools at this point. There was no consensus or unified stance on how to proceed, and considering WHCA’s new, positive relationship with area schools and PTAs, addressing this issue was not considered the best way to move forward at this time.
Committee also reported that while Highland Elementary school was slated for expansion, that project was cancelled in favor of making much-needed repairs/upgrades, and in light of the fact that the school is not overcrowded. The school will receive funding for repairs to be done this summer, while the school is closed. Summer activities previously at Highland will have to be moved to another location.
Beautification, Environment and Land Use Committee: Norris thanked Sharon Skowronski for heading up the successful WHCA clean up in September.
Traffic, Crime and Safety Committee: Jared Hautamaki reported on the Bus Rapid Transit decisions of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee. WMATA will institute a Q9 bus as an express bus with limited stops. It will run from Wheaton to Rockville. The County will see how ridership is before moving on with other rapid transit changes. The Q2 bus will now stop at Wheaton, rather than continuing on to Silver Spring. Riders will have to transfer to the Metro or Ride-on buses for the rest of their trips. Next meeting planned for November, but no date set.
Membership Committee (Communication and Bylaws Committee): The Committee has been working on ways to engage the schools in encouraging membership, and will do a joint flyer with Connecticut Ave. Estates Civic Association to approach schools on disseminating information about the Associations and how to join. There were no local elections this November, so WHCA unable to carry out a membership drive at polling places. Laurie Weitzenkorn is in touch with the County office that promised us a translation of our bylaws this fall, to see if they are on their way to completion.
To help increase membership participation in meetings, Norris asked that all regular attendees try to bring another member with them to the meetings to increase community involvement.
Remaining business: Despite much work and neighborhood canvasing by Sara Goberdhansingh, including knocking on doors and leaving voting instructions on August 8, September 12, and October 11, there was not and 80% vote in favor of speed bumps. No responses are considered no votes. Thus, the initiative did not pass and cannot be revisited for 2 years. Other ideas suggested involved writing to the St. Catherine’s Church community to be good neighbors, by obeying speed limits and traffic signs when the drive to and from the church. Ellen Jane Pairo offered to draft the letter. Other suggestions to help with this issue included not allowing left turns from Newport Mill and holding signs outside the church on Sundays. This will be discussed again at another time, when there is quorum.
Inter-neighborhood Traffic Advisory Board report from Michael Marriott: Working with the Montgomery County Housing Partnerships Visioning meetings, WHCA, Forest Glen and Connecticut Avenue Estates Associations discussed parking, traffic, and speed bump issues. A survey with basic questions on citizens’ concerns/ideas will be send to some 3,000 households in these three areas. The survey will be completed by the end of the year and a plan should be in place to present to the County by the early next year. The cooperation was prompted by similar concerns in all three areas.
WHCA Neighborhood Grant report by Norris Thigpen: Residents of WHCA and Glenmont Forest has received $2,000. Community leaders decided to put together a book of stories of residents here, representing the three groups of citizen’s in the area: Original home owners from the late 40’s/1950s); New, diverse residents of the neighborhood from the 1980s and 1990s, and residents moving here around the time of the 2008 economic downturn. Aside from creating a historic portrait of the area, the project will help all residents involved get to know each other better and provide a link to the library where this history will be available to residents. Thus, project leaders will be looking to association members to suggest interview subjects and carry out the interviews. The book will include 20 of the interviews carried out and there will be a book party at the end of the summer. Ellen Jan Pairo suggested we announce the idea and begin discussions at the holiday party (no date yet selected).
Blueridge Sinkhole (Subsidence): Jared reported that the County has not responded adequately to complaints or come through with promises to do an engineering study. Jared himself paid for a study. The county did look at the sinkhole and promised to link action with future resurfacing efforts, but there has been no further communication. Norris will look into resurfacing and subsidence plans with the County.
Parker Avenue Crosswalk: Based on previous traffic studies in the area around Highland Elementary School, WHCA will survey membership on ideas for signs for pedestrian crossings and crosswalks. A list will be sent to member for a vote on priorities. Membership was reminded that walkability and quality of life were WHCA priorities for the year.
Paul Dever mentioned a recent masterplan for the redevelopment of Wheaton Regional Park, and suggested that someone come talk to the group about that. We may schedule this with other associations.
Two more issues were brought up at the end of the meeting. Norris reminded the group that the library will be closing by the end of the year and that he is working to have future meetings at
Highland Elementary School once every 2 months. Thus, our next meeting will be in January.
Norris also announced that he and Della will be having a baby in February, but that he will complete the year term he promised when elected last year. Thus, we’ll need to elect at least one, and possibly two, new WHCA officials. Paul and Jared volunteered to be on the nominating committee.
The meeting was then adjourned.