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MRIA Meetings:
Minutes 2001
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Note: Revised minutes of the special meeting will be available soon, the original meeting notes were removed due to concerns that persons who had expressed opinions, were also identified by name in a document which was posted on the web.  If you have thoughts on this issue, please direct them to Stan Smith.

Meeting_date: december6, 2001
Posted_by: Clare Barkley


Minutes of MRIA Board Meeting December 4, 2001

Board members present: Joel Balsham, Polly Duke, Connie Lisch, Hal Pollard, Tim Vaeth, Barbara White, Henri Daniels, Deborah Phinney, Perry Cooper, Kevin Dorsey, Dolph Druckman, Joe LaMastra, Donna Beth Joy Shapiro, Dan Gilbert, Stan Smith, Tod Myers

MRIA President called the meeting to order at 8:06 p.m. Minutes of November 6 meeting were approved. Major J. Charles Gutberlet III, recently appointed to the Central District, reported that three arrests related to attacks have been made. The police have been working overtime and are having a greater presence in Bolton Hill. He invites citizens to contact him directly with any problems or concerns. His phone number is 410-396-2410; email, . Overall, crime is down 42 percent from last year. Haydee Rodriguez, representing the State’s Attorney’s office, said she is looking forward to working with Bolton Hill’s Court Watch program. Her phone is 410-878-8579; Email is MRIA volunteers are needed for Court Watch. Board Member Barbara White, Chair of Parking Committee, asked for and received MRIA approval to allow 31 daytime use parking permits for people that work in various churches, schools in the neighborhood. MRIA has written a letter in support of The Maryland Institute’s plan to modify the existing traffic pattern on the 1400 block of John Street while the renovation of the former nursing home continues. The plan is to route traffic one way on John Street. MRIA also supports the request of Hidden Bean to have the traffic move northward from Lafayette to Mosher in order to minimize the negative impact on the business. The letter also states the importance of retaining parking on both sides of John Street. Rutter’s Mill Park Association, Inc. asked for support from Mount Royal Improvement Association to obtain cooperation of The Midtown Academy, Midtown Community Benefits District and the City of Baltimore in enforcing existing regulations and agreements. These regulations and agreements are as follows: 1. Enforcement of existing City regulations regarding parking and double parking in the 100 block of West Lafayette Ave. and the 1400 blocks of Rutter Street, Mount Royal Avenue and John Street. 2. Enforcement of existing noise limits for residential areas such as the Rutter’s Mill Park, the 1400 block of John Street and the 100 block of West Lafayette Avenue. 3. Enforcement of rules agreed to by The Midtown Academy, Inc. for use of the Rutter’s Mill Park. These are the same rules which apply to residents and the general public. 4. Equal application of the precedent set by MIRA in opposing institutional expansion into residential property in the Bolton community, i.e. earlier agreements with the Maryland Institute College or Art. Father Rich Bozzelli, pastor of Corpus Christi Church, will mediate between Rutter’s Mill residents and The Midtown Academy. President Dan Gilbert asked for and was granted permission to write a letter in behalf of MRIA to oppose situating the Greyhound Bus Station near Penn Station. He encourages citizens to write letters to the mayor opposing this plan. The City has announced the designated Arts District, to be known as Station North, that will stretch along North Avenue from Penn Station to Guilford. MRIA will write a letter to zoning officials opposing a request for rezoning of 1212 Eutaw Place, the McDonald-Jentry property near the Key Monument. The owners’ intent is to have six apartments to be rented at market rate, offices, day care center for infants to toddlers, a beauty parlor, and a convenience store. The main opposition from MRIA is to the proposed beauty parlor and convenience store along with skepticism regarding the stated rental plan for the apartments. Sav-A-Lot has purchased the shopping center where the Superfresh store was, but as no phone calls are returned to MRIA, no opening date is known. Midtown Community Benefits District has purchased four large Christmas trees and installed them in Penn Station. Each of the four neighborhoods is invited to add decorations to their tree. Board Member Donna Joy Beth Shapiro is investigating the possibility of buying two computers to be awarded to a middle school student and an elementary student of Mt.Royal School. The idea is that competition for computers will be an incentive to improve school performance. She will report to MRIA when she has more information. MRIA still needs a volunteer to serve on the School Improvement Team at Mt. Royal School. Board Member Debby Phinney has asked MRIA to write a letter to the Parks Department requesting modification of benches installed in Contee-Parago Park on Dolphin Street. The benches, which have no middle division, invite loiterers to sleep on the benches while those that have middle barriers discourage this practice. Bolton Hill’s City Council Representatives Carter, Branch, and Young have invited Bolton Hill residents to a party at Hammerjacks December 18 from 6-9 p.m. MRIA and Sumpter Park Residents applied for services by the Neighborhood Design Center. This application has been approved, and representatives will meet in December. Irene Smith reported her intention to buy the building formerly occupied by the Jr. restaurant and to open a restaurant in the same location. She is interested in knowing what Bolton Hill residents want and expect in a neighborhood restaurant. The next MRIA Board meeting is changed to January 8, 2002 ,because the regular meeting time, the first Tuesday of the month, is a holiday.

Meeting_date: November 6, 2001
Posted_by: Clare Barkley


Minutes of November 6, 2001 MRIA Board Meeting

Board members present: Debby Phinney, Hans Pawlisch, Barbara White, Hal Pollard, Connie Lisch, Donna Beth Joy Shapiro, Dolph Druckman, Paul Caiola, Henri Daniels, Barry Harris, Tim Vaeth, Stan Smith, John Kyle, Tod Myers, Barry Blumberg, Clare Barkley, Dan Gilbert

The meeting was called to order by President Dan Gilbert at 8:12 p.m.

Minutes of the previous meeting were approved as corrected. (Corrections: John Kyle is Chair of the MRIA Parks Committee; Connie Lisch was present at October 2 meeting; crime in the Midtown district, not Bolton Hill, is down 40% from last year.)

Jim Hall from the City Planning Department presented an overview of buildings and open space in Bolton Hill, using a map developed from opinions of teams of residents who walked through the neighborhood in February, 2001. The residents rated the buildings and spaces as spectacular, very good, and inferior. A second map was used to show possibilities of further residential and commercial development in the area.

Dan Gilbert reported that the Zoning Board of Appeals has granted continuation of zoning which allows a dinner theater in the New York Palace at Sutton Place. This zoning designation was originally given as a result of a 1994 agreement between the owners of the restaurant and MRIA. Dan attended the hearing at which the restaurant owners actually were asking for a more liberal “live entertainment” use. The Zoning Board made it clear that dinner theater is the only approved use and promised that the restaurant would be monitored.

The property at 1700 Eutaw Place has been foreclosed and taken over by HUD. MRIA had suggested that the current 24 apartments be reduced to no more than 12, but the space indicates that 16 is an appropriate number. MRIA’s position is that there be no more than 16 apartments to be rented at market rate.

The Jentry McDonald property owners have proposed still another plan to develop 1212 Eutaw Place. This proposed plan includes 6 apartments, corporate offices, and a daycare center for children from 0-3 years old.

Fred Shoken reported that Hiram Grand Lodge presented a modified design for review that was more in keeping with the architectural quality of EutawPlace, but still had several problems. Both CHAP and the Bolton HillArchitectural Review Committee required the building to have a full masonry facade, true double hung windows and design elements to fill up blankbuilding walls before a Notice to Proceed would be issued for a building permit. These changes were accepted, but funding for this project is very tentative. If sufficient funds are not available to build a quality structure, the site may remain vacant.

Neighbors immediate to the women’s hospital met with Maryland Institute to discuss some changes during the ongoing construction at the site, particularly the loss of the sidewalk and some parking spaces during the day. MICA has arranged for off-site parking for workers.

Barry Blumberg reported that the By-laws Committee has finished rewriting, is now editing the amended version of the MRIA by-laws. This will be presented to the Executive Committee in November; copies will be given to Board Members at the December meeting or mailed to those Board Members absent. The general membership will be asked to approve the by-laws at the annual meeting in May.

Investigation of prices for proposed message kiosks is ongoing.

John Kyle, Chair of MRIA Parks Committee reported that the Sumpter Park Residents Association has been recognized as a neighborhood association. That group, together with MRIA, has applied to the Neighborhood Design Center for assistance in planning improvements to Sumpter Park.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:50 p.m.

Meeting_date: zoning letter
Posted_by: Clare Barkleu


October 24, 2001

David Tanner Baltimore Municipal Zoning Appeals Board Room 1432 417 E. Fayette Street Baltimore, MD 21201

Re: hearing #304-0IX

Dear Mr. Tanner,

In regard to the rezoning application of the restaurant at Sutton Place, 1111 Park Avenue, I wish to register an objection on behalf of the Mount Royal Improvement Association. Despite our efforts to get information about this requested change, the Association has had no response from the owners of the restaurant or their attorney.

Preliminary discussion among Board Members of MRIA was generally unfavorable to introducing live music entertainment into a primarily residential neighborhood. Specific objections were raised by residents who have moved to Bolton Hill from Charles Village and Seton Hill. In both instances, venues featuring live entertainment had an immediate and lasting destructive impact on the neighborhoods.

Given our decided lack of information, the Mount Royal Improvement Association must strongly object to allowing a use of the Sutton Place property that is incompatible with the adjacent residential neighborhood of Bolton Hill. Thank you for considering this objection.

Sincerely yours,

Dan Gilbert, President Mount Royal Improvement Association 1605 Park Avenue Baltimore, MD 21217

Meeting_date: 10/02/01
Posted_by: Clare Barkley


Minutes of October 2 MRIA Board Meeting

Board members present: Joel Balsham, Polly Duke, John Kyle, Deborah Phinney Dolph Druckman, Barry Harris, Joe LaMastra, Jack McFadden, Donna Beth Joy Shapiro, Barry Blumberg, Tod Myers, Dan Gilbert, Clare Barkley

The meeting was called to order by President Dan Gilbert at 8:05 p.m.

Sgt. Charles Hess reported that crime in Bolton Hill is down 40% this year, and had decreased by 40% last year. Comments were made that several crimes had been reported during the past few weeks. Sgt. Hess suggested that MRIA send a representative to the Mayor’s forum on “Resolution of Community Conflict” October 15. He also requests an MRIA presence at the Mid-Atlantic Policing seminar November 13-14.

Polly Duke explained a plan to install historic markers on certain houses in Bolton Hill where famous people have lived. While funding might be available from the Baltimore Heritage Legacy program, MRIA was asked to contribute $500 to the tentative budget of $4,150. Barry Blumberg moved that MRIA comply with this request. The motion passed unanimously.

Russ Moss from the city Arbor Division outlined plans to landscape the median area on North Avenue from Mt. Royal to Madison. He asked that MRIA adopt an area to plant and tend. This opportunity to help will be offered to the community.

John Kyle, Chair of Sumpter Park Improvement Committee, moved that MRIA participate in the application to the City to have oversight of Sumpter Park transferred from the Housing Division to the Parks Department. Tod Myers seconded the motion, which passed unanimously.

Dan reported that no reliable information is available re: Rite Aid shopping center. He also updated information on Sutton Place’s request for MRIA approval of permit for live entertainment. Since this is a zoning matter rather than a liquor license application, the outcome could have long-lasting implications as zoning affects the property use until it is changed. No date for the zoning hearing has been set. Dan will keep the membership apprised of developments.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 p.m.

Meeting_date: 9/4/01
Posted_by: Clare Barkley


Minutes of the September 4 MRIA Board Meeting

Board Members present: Estelle Turner, Donna Beth Joy Shapiro, Connie Lisch, Ruth Cobb, Stan Smith, Michael Gray, Barry Blumberg, Joe LaMastra, Dolph Druckman, Barry Harris, Hal Pollard, Debby Phinney. Perry Cooper, Tod Myers, Dan Gilbert, Clare Barkley

The Board Meeting was called to order by Dan Gilbert, President, at 8:05 p.m. New Residents were introduced. The minutes of the June regular Board Meeting were approved.

Barry Blumberg reported that the By-laws Review Committee expects to make recommendations for revision by the end of September. When this is done, copies will be mailed to Board Members for review. Approval could take place at the November Board meeting.

Dan Gilbert will appoint MRIA committees after the By-laws committee submits its proposals.

Russ Moss will be invited to the October meeting to explain a landscaping project on North Avenue.

Stan Smith gave an update on the Rite-Aid situation. No deal has been finalized with Rite-Aid by either Save-A-Lot or Stop, Shop and Save. Recently BUILD sponsored a meeting for neighborhood groups with both Save-a-Lot and Stop, Shop and Save. At that meeting a list of expectations for a satisfactory grocery store were presented to the company representatives.

Barry Blumberg moved that MRIA write a letter stating our endorsement of the BUILD list of expectations and reiterating our desire for a quality grocery store. The motion was amended to seek approval of Board Members to adopt the BUILD list as MRIA criteria. This amended motion was seconded and unanimously approved. Barry Blumberg moved that MRIA send a letter to concerned parties informing them of our criteria for an appropriate grocery store and also reminding them that the shopping center is in an historic district, which means that renovations must fall within certain guidelines; furthermore, the letter should express our strong desire for Belle Hardware to remain a part of the shopping center. This motion was seconded and unanimously approved. Dan will write the letter, which will be posted on the website.

Dan Gilbert reported that Jim Hall from the City Planning Department said letters of response were being sent to those who wrote in favor of preserving Sumpter Park as a green space. These letters will state that the City has no interest in allowing houses to be built at that site. Neighborhood residents are charged with creating a plan for the “best, safest, most useful park” we can have. Professional help is offered by the City.

Dan Gilbert appointed John Kyle chair of a committee to work with design professionals to improve Sumpter Park. This appointment was unanimously approved by the Board.

A representative of the Sumpter Park residents group gave a presentation showing the current uses of the park.

Midtown requested an MRIA representative to join its Board of Directors. Stan Smith was unanimously elected by the Board to represent MRIA.

The restaurant at Sutton Place has tentative plans to institute live entertainment and has asked for opinions about this from MRIA members. Dan will ask for more specific information and will ask at the October meeting for opinions.

Frank Shivers will be asked to come to the October meeting to explain his proposal to install historic markers on certain Bolton Hill houses.

Dan will investigate possibilities to install kiosks for community announcements.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:50 p.m.

Meeting_date: 8/2/01
Posted_by: webmaster


Planning Department Meeting Report

Meeting: Arnold Sumpter Park Reuse Proposal- meeting with representatives of adjacent neighborhood organizations

Reporting: Jim Hall Participants: Angelo Hernandez, (DHCD); Jim Hall, (Planning); Dan Gilbert, (president Mt. Royal Improvement Association); and 15 interested citizens and representatives of the Mt. Royal and other adjacent neighborhood organizations

Copies: C. Graves, A. Hasson, J. Leviton, L. Feinberg, S.Lefstein- (Planning) / W. Horton, A. Hernandez- (DHCD) / L. Schwartz, (Mayor’s Office) / S. Dixon, P. Branch, J. Young, B. Gaddy, A. Welch, K. Mitchell, jr, C. Pugh- (City Council)

Summary: This summer, Blair Mc Daniels, the developers of Spicer’s Run in Bolton Hill, delivered to the City an unsolicited proposal to purchase from the City and redevelop Sumpter Park, a 2.75 acre park that is adjacent to Spicer’s Run.. The proposal included 23 new “Historic Townhomes” facing a new smaller park in the center of the site.

Sumpter Park was created in the early 60’s as part of the implementation of the Madison-Park North Urban Renewal Plan. It is a City owned parcel that is identified as a park in the Urban Renewal Plan and is the responsibility of the Department of Housing and Community Development. The park is maintained by the Department of Recreation and Parks.

The City responded to the developer’s proposal by agreeing that if a large majority of the residents in the surrounding neighborhoods believe that this redevelopment is a good idea that it would issue an open RFP for the redevelopment of the land. The City would work with the neighborhood associations to develop standards and controls that would insure that the redevelopment met the needs of surrounding community.

A preliminary meeting was held on July 26 by the Mount Royal Improvement Association, a neighborhood group that represents all of Bolton Hill, to discuss how their members felt about the idea. After a long, thorough meeting that included 33 speakers, this group took a straw vote– I was told that a very large majority of the people at the meeting voted to keep the existing park.

The purpose of this August 2 meeting was to work with representatives of the Mount Royal Improvement Association and other nearby neighborhood associations to determine if a consensus about the redevelopment of Sumpter Park for housing could be reached. After a 31⁄2 hour, vigorous, yet civil discussion exploring a vast range of feelings and issues the following conclusions and proposed next steps were reached:

· The neighborhood needs more time to consider the proposal to sell the land for housing. Sumpter Park is too important as the only larger open space in Bolton Hill to simply sell it for more housing. The group came to this conclusion even though they understood that the existing park has many problems, some serious, with its design, uses, safety, and maintenance. · The park was constructed before the concepts of designing for public safety were well understood. Except for a new row of Spicer’s Run houses, it is completely surrounded by the backs of houses and streets that are used by few pedestrians. The center of the Park is depressed 4 to 6 feet below grade. Double rows of dense trees all around the perimeter decrease the visibility from the outside. Clearly the existing configuration of the park does not promote the level of public safety that is required for a successful urban park. · The meeting participants understood that building houses on the site that front on the remaining park would add more eyes on the park, but they also wanted to explore other options for making the park safe.

Next steps: · The Mount Royal Neighborhood Association has volunteered to sponsor a short but careful planning process for the park that emphasizes physical changes that can help make it a safer place so that it can become a positive focal point for northern Bolton Hill. The process would explore plans with and without new housing. I proposed that the Planning Department could help the Association with developing and conducting the process and help communicate the results back to the rest of City government. · The sponsors will find a way to bring in experts and citizens to help create carefully thought out designs. The process will produce several alternative design solutions. Each alternative design will be documented to show the ways in which it makes the park stronger and safer. Rough estimates will be prepared for each design showing the construction cost of the changes, the impacts on the maintenance and operation of the park, and the income from property taxes, if new houses are built on part of the site. · The alternative designs will be widely shared with the neighbors and the neighborhood associations. A series of public meetings will culminate in the selection of the design favored by most of surrounding community. · While this process is occurring, the neighborhood association will continue to develop and implement a Friends of Sumpter Park organization. This group will be instrumental to the continuing future success of the Park. · It is proposed that this process be completed by November 15, of this year so that if the selected design includes new houses on part of the site, the City can begin the process of subdividing the lot and preparing an RFP for the development of new houses.

8/1101 addendum per D. Meckelburg:

The July 26 list (not all spoke) of the majority vote against housing had over forty names. Supporting Majority opinion of July 26 meeting (40 names): Dan Gilbert: MRIA Pres.; Joe LaMastra, MRIA Board Member; Dianne Mekelburg: MRIA Parks Chair; Kevin King, Spicer's Run (follow-up random poll of Spicer's Run- 3 pro, 5 neutral -18 AGAINST); Man (name?) - Spicer's Run Pres.?

Twenty-two of the majority vote represented residents who live on the park including 12 from 1800/1900 Eutaw Pl., and 4 from Linden Ave.

Linden Ave Rep: John Rogers - vote:? Tod Myers, MRIA VP, vote: pro housing;

Eutaw Pl. Rep: Joe Miller, vote: pro housing. Michelene McNeal, vote: pro housing. Rod Rodriquez , Eutaw Pl. resident representing? – vote: pro housing.

Stan Smith: MRIA VP - wanted more time. Donna BJ Shapiro: NBHA Pres. – compromise. Fred Shoken– compromise (presented a plan).

Meeting_date: 8/01/01
Posted_by: webmaster


Notes from MRIA Special Meeting July 26, 2001

The meeting was called to order by President Dan Gilbert at 7:12 p.m. The purpose of the meeting was to determine the wishes of the neighborhood regarding the proposed residential development of Sumpter Park in anticipation of MRIA representatives meeting with the City Planning Department.

Those who wanted to speak to the subject signed in and were asked to limit their statements to three minutes. Stan Smith recorded the statements.

At the end of the meeting, people indicated their desire to help maintain the park by signing in. President Dan Gilbert has that list.

Following is a summarized list of comments:

Greg Baranowski Generally in favor of development. Druid Hill Park is good accommodation for park users. Sumpter Park is not a quality park.

Ms. Hayakawa Opposed to development, doesn’t think Sumpter Park is detrimental to the neighborhood.

Will Williams Opposed to development, likes park as it is.

Keith Holliday Favors development because the park is not maintained. Dog walkers don’t pick up, prostitutes use the park.

Al Joyner Opposes development, believes the park can be improved. He instigated having the lights turned on, has seen improvements over the past couple of years.

Fred Shoken Favors development because no one “takes ownership” of the park now. If houses are built facing the park and park-like space is reserved, the best of both options can be achieved.

Charlie Duff Believes development would be beneficial because it would widen the parameters of northern Bolton Hill; houses could be built to face all directions, giving a presence to the area; it would serve to tie Bolton Hill to Eutaw Place.

Paul Cailo Development plan should allow a park space big enough to accommodate playing fields for sports.

Micheleen McNeill Favors development; has seen the park become safer with the development of Spicer’s Run.

Alex Boston Favors development if it includes park space.

Kevin King Opposes development. Spicer’s Run residents have a stake in the park. The park has improved and will continue to get better.

George Lavdas Opposes development. Sumpter Park is unique as a neighborhood park; Druid Hill Park is not an option to provide what Sumpter Park does. The park should be developed as a safer, more useful space. If residential development does occur, the plan should allow for park space at least as big as a football field.

Jeremy Walston Opposes development. Sumpter Park is the only viable open space in the neighborhood.

Donna Beth Joy Shapiro Park space the size of a football field should be included in any development plans.

Joe LaMastra Adamantly opposes development.

Debbie Diehl The city needs money that would be generated from the tax base of a new development. This project can be considered as phase two of an earlier plan. Neighbors should participate in design, hope for green space.

John Dugan Opposes development; the city can develop elsewhere; Bolton Hill needs green space.

Lorri Angellos Opposes development; Sumpter Park is the only space for playing. If development occurs, it must allow for a football-field size park area.

Gary Anderson Residents should try to keep control of the process. The city planners will listen; the neighbors should listen to those who live nearest the park.

Paul Hinkel At least a football-size space should be preserved. Maintaining green space is a necessity.

Brian Petry Opposes development; green space is needed. If developed, substantial park area should be included.

Joel Ripley Miller Would like to see Sumpter Park developed.

Briggs Bodigian Opposes development. Sumpter Park is an attraction that helped him decide to buy the house he is just moving into. Hopes the surroundings can be refurbished; is willing to help in the upkeep of the park.

Perry Cooper Believes development will occur. Neighbors should work together to exert some control of design and to assure green space. Bolton Hill residents should use the park—have neighborhood events such as picnics and yard sales there.

Dwight Bell Opposes development. Green space is needed.

Chris Wisted Opposes development. Will help maintain the park and will donate a sculpture.

John Rogers Neighbors must work together to maintain the park.

Keiffer Mitchell (City Councilman, 4th District) Undecided.

Dennis Small Opposes development; wants park left as it is.

Alan Shanter Opposes development. City should rehab existing buildings. Ken Kupfer Need to compromise.

Jamie Cunningham Opposes development; need to keep the park. Ask the developers to go to North Avenue.

Sandie Moulin, Opposes development; keep the park.

Meeting_date: June 5, 2001`
Posted_by: Stan Smith



Board Members Present: Perry Cooper, Al Joyner, Donna Beth Joy Shapiro, Barbara White, Tod Myers, John Kyle, Barry Blumberg, John Massad, Tim Vaeth, Polly Duke, Connie Lisch, Mike Gray, Dolph Druckman, Debby Phinney, Joe LaMastra.

The Board Meeting was called to order by D. Gilbert, President, at 8 P.M.

New Residents were introduced.

The minutes of the Annual Membership Meeting, May 1, 2001, were approved.

F. Shoken described the new tax credit programs for historic restoration that are available from the State of Maryland and also Baltimore City. Handouts were available describing the programs.

J. Brodie from the Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) spoke about the future of Baltimore City, especially the development of the west side of the city. Changes in demographics have made cities the preferred choice of residence. Suburbs are not aging gracefully, and people are looking for investment in urban housing rather than suburban housing. Children who grew up in the suburbs are moving back to urban sites now that they are adults. After many years, trends are favorable for cities. The new Baltimore City administration is working hard to reverse the attitude of failure that was so evident in the prior administration, and is succeeding in many areas. New development in Baltimore is focusing on the colleges and universities in the city.

F. Lazarus from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) spoke about plans for the old Women’s Hospital site and future campus expansion.

Baltimore City Police representative answered questions about prostitution and student behavior at Mount Royal School.

B. White thanked everyone who helped with the parking registration for Bolton Hill. 509 households registered vehicles this year. There are approximately 890 parking spaces in the neighborhood, with 871 vehicles registered. There will be a house-to-house survey on vehicles and parking later this year, which will lead to recommendations for modification of the parking permit process. D. Druckman is working Artscape parking options. The city has proposed making all streets one-way out of Bolton Hill, with only McMechen St being open for ingress at Eutaw Place.

M. Gray gave an update on the shopping center; Rite-Aid is in negotiations with Save-a-Lot to take over the empty Superfresh store. Stop/Shop/Save has offered to buy the shopping center from Rite-Aid and to invest several million dollars in renovating the site. The meeting was adjourned at 10:15 P.M. (minutes prepared by Stan Smith.)

Meeting_date: 5/1/01
Posted_by: DD


Minutes of Annual Membership Meeting May 1, 2001

The Annual Meeting of the Mount Royal Improvement Association was called to order at 8:15 p.m. by President Stan Smith.

New residents and guests introduced themselves.

Mayor Martin O’Malley sent by video his explanation of the city’s finances and the necessity to collect more money. Izzy Patoka, Director of the newly formed Mayor’s Office of Neighborhoods, introduced the program.

The minutes of the April MRIA Board meeting were approved unanimously.

Committee Reports: Doreen Rosenthal asked for two volunteers to be docents for Web pages on Mike Gray announced an upcoming meeting with the Regional Director of Rite Aid. Henri Daniels reported on the need for further negotiation with Jentry McDonald Dan Gilbert reported that Fred Shoken will replace him as Chair of Architectural Review Committee

Treasurer’s Report Our fiscal year ended 4/30/01. The preliminary financial report shows our revenue at about $11,300 compared to a budget for the year of $11,100. Our expenses were budgeted at $11,000. And should come in at just over $10,000. Increased income from the rental ad program on our web site, and reduction of printing costs for the bulletin both contributed to having a small surplus. The budget for fiscal 2002 will be prepared in June.

MRIA Past President Doreen Rosenthal presented Recognition Awards to Debbie Diehl, MICA, Kevin McAnally, Fred Shoken, and Jack Young.

President Stan Smith’s report of State of the Neighborhood will appear in the Bolton Hill Bulletin

The following officers were elected by acclamation: President, Dan Gilbert; First Vice President, Tod Myers; Second Vice President, Stan Smith; Treasurer, Barry Blumberg. Board members elected to serve a term ending in 2004 are John Kyle, Rod Rodriguez, Polly Duke, Joel Balsham, Tim Vaeth, Connie Lisch, Hal Pollard, Barbara White, Kevin Miller, and Ruth Cobb. Elected to fill vacancies for Board term ending in 2003 are Joe LaMastra and Mike Gray.

There was no old business.

New business Phil Baty from Midtown announced the Flower Mart. Donna Joy Beth Shapiro announced a meeting of the North Bolton Hill Association. An unidentified member of the audience complained about the condition of streets in Bolton Hill.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:15 p.m.

Meeting_date: May1, 2001


Meeting_date: April 3, 2001
Posted_by: Clare Barkley


Mount Royal Improvement Association Board Meeting, April 3, 2001

Members in attendance: Henri Daniels, Bob Nicholls, Ellen Williams, Kathleen Knust, Michael Gray, Dolph Druckman, Brian Ramer, Donna Beth Joy Shapiro, Debby Phinney, Charles Blackburn, Perry Cooper, Hans Pawlisch, Lois Schenck, Tod Myers, Barry Blumberg, Stan Smith, Clare Barkley.

President Stan Smith called the meeting to order at 8:08 p.m.

New neighbors and those attending MRIA meeting for the first time introduced themselves.

Minutes of the March meeting were approved unanimously.

Committee Reports: Doreen Rosenthal reported on the Central District Police Council, which meets every other month and recently featured speakers from YANA (You Are Not Alone), an organization which is designed to help women get free of their life as prostitutes. A second speaker discussed granting agencies which could potentially be of help to Bolton Hill specifically. She also reported that Web site docents are in place and doing their work. Mike Gray reported that the Amenities Committee is monitoring the progress of Rite Aid and those working to bring a grocery store to the old Superfresh site. A meeting is scheduled with the real estate officer who is responsible for Rite Aid properties. With the closing of Jr and the unresolved problem of a suitable grocery store, the Committee expects to become more active in the weeks ahead. Dan Gilbert, reporting for the Architectural Review Committee, said the work with MICA in relation to the renovation of the nursing home is ongoing and will eventually require some variances. He also updated the membership on activities of the Task Force which is charged with working with the authorities at Mt. Royal School to alleviate vandalism and other problems caused by school children. Meetings with school officials and monitoring of the neighborhood continue. Doug Kelso reported that the MRIA/MICA Committee had not met since the last MRIA meeting, but has scheduled a meeting for April 4. Barbara White said a block-by-block analysis of parking patterns is underway, and the Parking and Traffic Committee will welcome anyone who wants to work on this ambitious project.

Stan Smith suggested that establishment and approval of committees be postponed till September following a thorough review of the by-laws during the summer. The Board agreed.

Stan Smith presented the following slate of candidates to be voted on at the Annual Meeting May 1, 2001: John Kyle, Rod Rodruguez, Polly Duke, Joel Balsham, Tim Vaeth, Connie Lisch, Hal Pollard, Barbara White, Kevin Miller, Ruth Cobb—all for terms ending in 2004. Also Joe La Mastra and Mike Gray to fill vacancies in terms ending in 2003. Officers presented are Dan Gilbert, President; Tod Myers, First VP; Stan Smith, Second VP; Barry Blumberg, Treasurer; Paul Caiola, General Counsel.

Debbie Diehl informed the members of the next step in the effort to have Chang’s liquor license rescinded. A hearing will be held soon—probably at the end of April. If the neighborhood expects to have its wishes heard, it is necessary to have a significant number of people appear at the hearing. The members will be informed when the date is set. The discussion that followed focused on the history of Chang’s violations, including selling liquor to minors. When his license was suspended for five days recently, the store was closed, which suggests that his business is not about selling groceries, but is primarily a liquor store. MRIA has strongly opposed his activities and has testified against his licensing in the past. Another view that was discussed was that Chang’s store is the only easily accessible market for elderly people now that Superfresh is closed and that strong opposition should be taken up at a later time. This idea was countered with the view that anything less than strong opposition could be construed as tacit approval of Chang’s illegal activities and a loss of continuity in MRIA’s position. Tod Myers moved that MRIA stay the course to oppose the renewal of Chang’s liquor license. This motion passed with the majority of Board Members present voting aye.

Sara Daley, a representative of YANA, reiterated Doreen’s explanation of the program.

A policeman asked the members about problems in the neighborhood, which he noted and will relay to his superiors.

The meeting closed with a viewing of “Great Drives,” a cable telecast which featured Bolton Hill

Meeting_date: March 6, 2001
Posted_by: Clare Barkley


MRIA Board Meeting Minutes March 6, 2001

Board members in attendance: Stan Smith, Mike Gray, Tod Myers, Clare Barkley, Doreen Rosenthal, Jack McFadden, Debby Phinney, Dan Gilbert, Charles Blackburn, Brian Ramer, Perry Cooper, John Massad, Henri Daniels, Donna Beth Joy Shapiro, Kevin Dorsey.

The regular meeting was called to order by MRIA President Stan Smith at 8:05 p.m.

Viewing of the video “Great Drives,” which includes Bolton Hill, is postponed till the April meeting.

New neighbors introduced themselves.

Major Steve McMahon, Central District Commander, representing Commissioner Ed Norris, spoke about police protection throughout the city and especially in Bolton Hill. He answered questions from members, explaining police procedure in responding to calls and reassuring callers to 911 that the caller does not have to give his or her name.

The following committee reports were given: MRIA/MICA Committee—Doug Kelso Jentry McDonald Committee—Henri Daniels (MRIA will send a letter to the Zoning Board opposing any change in zoning to the Jentry-McDonald building.) School Task Force—Greg Tucker Urban Parks Committee—Dianne Mekelberg Amenities Committee—Mike Gray Architectural Review Committee—Dan Gilbert Web site—Dolph Druckman

The Board voted to postpone action on MRIA sponsorship of the Spring Festival, requesting clarification, including budget information at the next regular meeting.

The motion to establish ad hoc committees was tabled till the next regular meeting. A motion to allow current committees to function for one month passed. The suggested committees are amenities, urban parks, traffic and parking, clean, zoning, architectural review, COP, MRIA/MICA, Jentry McDonald, neighborhood schools, government relations, promotions and programs, Midtown Plan implementation/Bolton Hill plan, problem properties, Web site, new homeowner welcome committee, school task force, membership.

Connie Lisch presented information about Midtown Academy.

Doreen Rosenthal alerted the members that Chang’s liquor license renewal comes up in May, and the members will be asked to appear at the hearing.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 p.m.


Minutes and Summary of Special Town Meeting to Address School Problems

February 13, 2001

Stan Smith, president of Mt. Royal Improvement Association (MRIA), called a Town Meeting for February 13, 2001 to give residents an opportunity to express concerns about the behavior of some students from the Mt. Royal School on their way to and from school.  The meeting was co-chaired by Stan Smith and Greg Tucker, who is president of the Northern Bolton Hill Association and also a board member of MRIA.  

The meeting was held at the Strawbridge Methodist Church.  Attendance was approximately 80.  Twenty-three residents spoke during the two-hour meeting.  Although this meeting was set up specifically for residents, the school principal, Mr. Frankel, was invited.  Mr. Frankel was not in attendance, although a member of his staff was.  Mr. Frankel had indicated his intention only to meet on these issues with his stakeholders present.  

One result of the Town Meeting is that MRIA will appoint a Task Force to summarize the issues from the Town Hall and seek solutions with Mr. Frankel and his stakeholders.

General Summary of Specific Problem Behaviors:  

n       bothering, teasing, inciting dogs in backyards

n       kicking over garbage cans

n       foul language and slurs

n       littering

n       graffiti

n       damage to the fountains on Park Avenue

n       knocking on doors (with both hands and sticks) and ringing doorbells

n       throwing bricks and rocks at people and at property (buildings, cars, sky light)

n       breaking glass and windows

n       yelling and being noisy

n       threatening residents

n       urinating on sidewalks and bushes

n       pulling up flowers and stomping on plants

n       assaulting each other; older kids bullying younger ones

n       trying to open car doors and damage to cars

n       climbing on roofs

n       general destruction and vandalism

n       safety issues re children when they walk in alleys where there is limited space for cars and for garbage trucks. 

How many times/often: Throwing rocks at people: several incidents in the past month.    Frequency of other behaviors ranged from "not a regular problem" to "under fire every day."  

How many kids are involved?  Estimates ranged from 5% to 2% to 1% of the school population to "just a few."  

Location of most problems:  Primarily: 1700 block of Park Avenue, and Mason Alley between Wilson and Roberts near Sumpter Park.  Direct reports came from residents of 1600 and 1700 blocks of Park, 1700 block of Bolton, 1700 block of Linden, 1800 block of Eutaw, and 1900 block of Mt. Royal Terrace.

 Solutions discussed:

n       recognize that this is a community problem and that we all need to be part of the solution

n       re-route children’s walk home via Mt. Royal rather than Park Avenue

n       station teachers (or other school personnel) at key intersections

n       restrict children from using the alley behind the houses on the east side of Park Avenue in the 1600 and 1700 blocks

n       remove soda and snack machines from the school premises

n       have Baltimore city police stationed on Park Avenue during school dismissal times

n       determine the required roles for school safety officers and expect them to be upheld

n       encourage residents to engage children in positive ways when they can (both with general greetings and with reminders of responsibilities as neighbors and citizens)

n       encourage residents to volunteer and participate in activities with children when they can

n       encourage curriculum approaches at the school: "Keep America Beautiful" curriculum; basic lessons in civility

n       expect enforcement both from school safety officers and from Baltimore city police

n       more supervision – there are some parent escorts – need more

n       have someone at the school that residents can talk to when problems occur

n       determine ways to identify the kids that are doing the inappropriate behavior (both criminal acts and non-civil acts) and hold them accountable

n       look at who attends the school and determine if out-of-district children are attending; if they are among the problem ones, ask them to leave


Meeting_date: 2/06/01
Posted_by: Clare Barkley


Minutes of MRIA Meeting February 6, 2001

1. Board Member Attendees: Stan Smith, Tod Myers, Mike Gray, Doreen Rosenthal, Barry Blumberg, Bob Nicholls,Hans Pawlisch, Barry Harris, Brian Ramer, Dan Gilbert, Ellen Williams, Estelle Turner, Donna Beth Joy Shapiro, Debbie Phinney, Jack McFadden, Joel Balsham, Henri Daniels.

2. The meeting was brought to order by Stan Smith at 8:05 P.M.

3. New neighbors were introduced

4. Mr. Frankel, Principal of Mt Royal Elementary and Middle School, discussed some of their students’ educational achievements and the recognition that the school is receiving. A discussion ensued over the propriety of discussing Mt Royal student behavior in Bolton Hill. The board voted to conduct a “Town Meeting” to allow a presentation of residents’ concerns so that a committee could articulate the neighborhood issues with the school and all of the school’s stakeholders. The meeting was scheduled for February 13.

5. Mr. Dick Brinker, Developer of Cecil Towers on Eutaw Place and Mr. Ken Amanze, Baltimore Community Development Financing Corp. discussed Cecil Towers and assured the association that Cecil Towers will have only market rate rental units.

6. Old Business: a. The Firehouse on North Ave. was discussed. A Request for Proposal from the city will be available in the near future. b. No new information on the shopping center was known. Estelle Turner discussed the procedures for getting senior citizens to local food stores. c. Sgt Rodney Butler discussed neighborhood crime which is down significantly with the exception of car thefts.

7. New Business: a. The MICA/Hospital Committee Members were announced to the board. b. The Community Workshop scheduled for February 10th was announced. c. Parking permit renewal was discussed by Barbara White.

8. The meeting was adjourned at 10:07 P.M.

Meeting_date: Jan.2, 2001
Posted_by: Mike Gray



January 2nd, 2001

Board members present: Joel Balsham, Barry Harris, Donna Beth Joy Shapiro, Trail Mathias, Debby Phinney, Jack McFadden, Mike Gray, Hans Pawlish, Brian Ramer, Henri Daniels, Doreen Rosenthal, Stan Smith.

Minutes of the December meeting were unanimously approved. Stan Smith spoke of the need for volunteers to maintain the COPS program. Since the decision that residents would ride alone – rather than with police officers – participation has dropped dramatically. Doreen Rosenthal noted that volunteers were also needed as website docents and for the walkers’ patrols.

Police Sgt. Scott L. Bloodsworth, Operations Coordinator, Central District, gave the year-end figures for crime in Bolton Hill. Robbery was down 58%, burglary down 28%. A rise in aggravated assault was attributed to redefining that crime. Auto theft showed the most signifigant rise – up 75%. Sgt. Bloodworth said that most autos are stolen by young thrill riders (as opposed to experienced criminals) who are discouraged by safety devices. In summary, serious crime (assault, robbery, larceny, etc.) was down 25% while part 2 crime was down 42%. The police are making every effort to respond to citizen complaints regarding prostitution on Eutaw but are frustrated by seeing prostitutes they’ve arrested back on the street within a matter of hours.

Sergeant Bloodsworth invited citizens with complaints or concerns to contact him directly at 410-396-2411.

Doug Frost of MICA confirmed the sale of the former Women’s Hospital to the college and thanked the MRIA for the community support which contributed.

Stan Smith reported that Midtown has hired new people and obtained new equipment for weekly street cleaning in Bolton Hill. If that isn’t happening, contact Stan directly.

The Liquor Board has scheduled Jan.11th to hear the charge that Chang’s Market sold liquor to a minor (in a police sting operation). City Councilman Bernard “Jack” Young will attend (as may other council members) in support of the community. Probability is that Chang will be fined or prohibited from selling liquor for ten days. A more crucial hearing is slated for April when Chang’s liquor license comes up for renewal. At that time, said Doreen Rosenthal, it will be important to have a large community turnout.

Stan Smith reported that the letter to Rite-Aid, approved by the MRIA Amenities Committee at its last meeting, will be posted on the web for two weeks – but urged board members to not to delay the process unless there are serious obhections. The letter to SuperFresh, based on input from committee and MRIA board members, is being completed and will be posted shortly.

Stan Smith stated that the developers of Jackson Towers have reportedly changed their plans from market rate housing to section 8 housing. Given the density of section 8 housing in the immediate area, Stan said that he will take up the matter with Midtown and ask the MRIA Board to consider withdrawing its previous support of the project.

By the same token, Henri Daniels reiterated concern with the Jentry-McDonald project which has undergone several changes, most recently as a proposed faciluty for at-risk youth. Councilman Young recalled that the developers had received a substantial check, presented by Senator Mikulski. It was recommended that the MRIA question why the building remains undeveloped, how the funding they received has been spent or allocated, on what proposal the funding was based and to what degree that proposal has changed.

There was further discussion of how best to monitor problem properties throughout Bolton Hill – including Jackson Towers, Jentry-McDonald, the Masonic Lodge and several others.

Stan Smith thanked Councilman Young for joining the meeting which adjourned on schedule at 9:30 PM.

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