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MRIA Meetings:
Minutes 2002
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Meeting_date: December 3, 2002
Posted_by: Clare Barkley

Minutes of December 3, 2002, MRIA General Meeting MRIA President Dan Gilbert called the meeting of the general membership to order at 8:05 p.m. The purpose of the meeting was ratification of revised bylaws. Barry Blumberg, who chaired the process of updating the bylaws, summarized the revisions as “bringing the bylaws into accord with practices of the Association.” The proposed bylaws were mailed to each MRIA member in October and posted on the website. The Executive Committee and the Board discussed the changes at previous meetings, but members of MRIA were responsible for final acceptance. The vote to ratify the revised bylaws was unanimous. Dan Gilbert extended thanks on behalf of the Association to Barry Blumberg and to MRIA members John Denick and Debbie Diehl, attorneys who revised the outdated bylaws. A letter will be sent to the neighborhood organizations in Reservoir Hill explaining the new northern boundary of MRIA that extends to North Avenue. Minutes of December 3, 2002, MRIA Board Meeting Board members in attendance: Dan Gilbert, Stan Smith, Barry Blumberg, Perry Cooper, Barry Harris, Mike Gray, Donna Beth Joy Shapiro, Joel Balsham, Barbara White, Roger Marks, David Rocah, Steve Sisson The minutes of the November MRIA meeting were approved. Treasurer Barry Blumberg gave the quarterly financial report. Perry Cooper, co-chair of the Nominating Committee, named the following members who have agreed to serve on the Board to fill vacancies: Neil Friedlander, Patsy Andrews, Jeffrey Robinson, Ray Kraft, Linda Rittleman, and Mike Molla. Kieffer Mitchell, City Councilman and MRIA member, explained that the Mayor would present his map for new City Council districts by February. A City Council committee consisting of the Vice President of the Council and the senior members from each of the existing six districts will propose a map. The final approval of the new Council districts will be made by the current City Council. The new structure of the Council is mandated by an overwhelming vote on a referendum in the November election. Fred Shokin, MRIA member, has devised a 14-district map, which appears on the website in its entirety and has been sent to the Mayor and the City Council. Barbara White, Chair of the Parking Committee, was authorized to send a letter to the parking officials stating the desire of the MRIA to continue the current program of securing parking permits, with possible improvements such as getting the permit itself on the day of registration. She also wants to reactivate the Parking Committee to complete the comprehensive neighborhood survey started earlier. David Rocah reported that the Madison Avenue police substation is in need of donations to complete the paving of the parking lot. The MRIA Board voted unanimously to ask the organizers for a memo of understanding that MRIA will help with the paving project in the amount not to exceed $500.

Meeting_date: November 5, 2002
Posted_by: Clare Barkley


Minutes of November, 2002, MRIA Board Meeting President Dan Gilbert called the meeting to order at 8:05. Minutes of the October meeting were approved. George Lavdas explained the intent of the traffic committee to request the necessary studies by the Transportation Department so that improvements in traffic flow might occur. After extended discussion and approved amendments, the Board voted to send a letter to appropriate city officials asking that studies begin as soon as possible and that MRIA representatives be notified when the studies begin. No MRIA member will be present or participate in the surveys. Neil Friedlander reported on the neighborhood meetings that have been held to learn the status of the synagogue on Bolton Street and the intent of the developers. Donna Beth Joy Shapiro reported that at least 8 message kiosks will be ordered to be placed in various places throughout the MRIA boundaries. The meeting with city officials or their representatives to discuss the prostitution problem has been rescheduled for December 4. The meeting was adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

Meeting_date: October 1, 2002
Posted_by: Clare Barkley


Minutes of MRIA Board Meeting October 1, 2002 Board members present: Steve Sisson, Perry Cooper, Joel Balsham, Greg Baranoski, Donna Beth Joy Shapiro, Connie Lisch, Polly Duke, Lottie Shivers, David Rocah, John Kyle, Tod Myers, Barry Blumberg, Stan Smith, Dan Gilbert. President Dan Gilbert called the meeting to order at 8:05 p.m. Minutes of the September meeting were approved. MRIA members welcomed Dr. Carolyn Freedman, Principal of Mt. Royal School. She expressed pleasure with her assignment and explained her intent to have the school and neighborhood work together harmoniously. Michele Pankow, Midtown liaison, reported that Midtown would sponsor a water stop for the runners in the Baltimore marathon October 19. Michele plans to meet with Maryland Institute students to talk about responsibility to the neighborhood. David Rocah reported that about 25 people met September 10 to discuss possible solutions to the prostitution problem on Eutaw Place. Steps that have been taken include calling 911, asking prostitutes to leave the area, increasing walker patrols. The group is seeking a meeting with Police Chief Norris, States Attorney Jessamy, Mayor O’Malley or their representatives. Elijah Cummings offered to send a letter to Ms. Jessamy to facilitate action. David Rocah moved that MRIA join Midtown in writing a letter to city officials asking for a meeting with a tentative date of November 12. The motion was seconded and approved unanimously. Fred Shoken, Chair of the Architectural Review Committee, indicated that CHAP is not following its guidelines to require that all replacement windows be wooden. The Committee will urge compliance with the guidelines. The Sumpter Park Residents Group and MRIA Committee on Sumpter Park announced a Halloween event/fundraiser to be held October 28 from 12 –5 in Sumpter Park. City Councilman Keefer Mitchell asked that voters vote yes for the bond issue on the November ballot. The money is needed for such capital improvements as new schools. John Warmath distributed a copy of a letter to be sent to Michael Rice at the City Traffic Department asking for some changes in traffic patterns and practices in Bolton Hill. Acting in the absence of George Lavdas, Traffic Committee chair, John explained the work of the committee and the current status of the request. After lengthy discussion, it was moved by Donna Beth Joy Shapiro that MRIA sponsor a community meeting at which the Traffic Committee will explain the changes it recommends. The motion was seconded and passed. It was moved, seconded, and approved that MRIA comply with MICA’s request to write a letter in support of banning parking on either side of Mt. Royal Avenue from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. on weekdays. MRIA stipulated that the ban be effective only for the duration of construction of the Brown building. Julie Koebbe and Donna Beth Joy Shapiro will investigate possibilities and prices for various designs of message kiosks to be placed in the neighborhood. The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 p.m.

Meeting_date: September 3, 2002
Posted_by: Clare Barkley


Minutes of MRIA Board Meeting September 3, 2002 President Dan Gilbert called the meeting to order at 8:05 Midtown representatives Charles Smith and Michele Pankow were introduced. Michele announced plans for two meetings to discuss concerns about prostitution on Eutaw Place. The first meeting is September 10. The second will be announced. President Dan Gilbert thanked the neighbors for their cooperation in seeing the Women’s Hospital turned into the Meyerhoff House, with special thanks to George Lavdas for his work with the Maryland Institute. Barry Blumberg, Chair of the By-Laws Committee, announced that the November MRIA meeting will be a general membership meeting for the purpose of ratifying the revised by-laws of the Mt. Royal Improvement Association. George Lavdas, Chair of the Traffic Committee, reported that the committee met with representatives from the Transportation Department and Councilman Bernard Young to discuss the committee’s specific proposals to lower the speed and volume of traffic in Bolton Hill. He acknowledged the helpfulness of the Mayor’s office. Now the committee will wait for the City’s response. As plans take shape, there will be information of the website. Greg Baranoski expressed dissatisfaction because the near neighbors were not notified that stop signs were to be installed at Wilson St. and Park Ave. Wider use of the website was suggested as a remedy for improving communication. Doreen Rosenthal spoke on behalf of Verna Jones, Democratic candidate for State Senate. Senator Clarence Mitchell requested time at the meeting and was invited by MRIA to attend, but he failed to appear. David Rocah reported that he is organizing Eutaw Place residents to care for new plantings on the median of Eutaw Place. Jonathan Blank has volunteered to take over Court Watch. The meeting was adjourned at 9:30.

Meeting_date: June 4, 2002
Posted_by: Clare Barkley


Minutes of June 4 MRIA Meeting

Board Members Present: John Kyle, Gregory Baranoski, Tod Myers, Barbara White, Polly Duke, George Lavdas, Donna Beth Joy Shapiro, Chris Taylor, Joel Balsham, Steve Sisson, Roger Marks, David Rocah, Dan Gilbert, Joe LaMastra, Barry Blumberg

The meeting was called to order at 8:07 p.m.

John Kyle, Chair of Sumpter Park Committee, reported that the group has met with the landscape architect and that sketches are posted on the website. One can obtain copies of the plans by contacting John. The Committee will hold an open meeting with the architect and interested residents at 7 p.m. June 25 at Strawbridge Church.

MRIA has received a $500 grant from the Mayor’s Neighborgood program along with Comcast for the crab feast to show appreciation to the the police and firefighters in our neighborhood. Volunteers are needed for this event later in the summer.

Buzzy Cusack announced that he wants to arrange a meeting with the neighbors to explain the need for support to transfer the liquor license to the new restaurant that will be opening at 1501 Bolton Street. The date of the hearing will be announced later.

Joe LaMastra asked for volunteers to join the newly organized “Problem Properties” Committee.

Mary Porter of the Parks and Recreation department asked for and received unanimous support to proceed with the plans to remove 43 trees from the park area on Eutaw Place. Most of these are diseased pine trees. They will be replaced by 44 trees of various types. After the new trees are planted, volunteers will be asked to help with watering. Henri Daniels will organize another walk-through of the area for neighbors who missed the first one.

The following changes to the proposed revised by-laws were approved by Board Members present: Article II the northern boundary extends through the median strip of North Avenue. Article V, Section 3 A proposed budget shall be submitted by the Executive Committee at the June meeting of the Board for consideration and approval and sent out in advance. Article V, Section 5 c Any contracts and financial commitments in excess of $500, deeds or legal proceedings shall be approved by the Board of Directors. Article 5 Add Section d. There shall be a quarterly report of assets and expenses.

The minutes of the May meeting were approved.

A special meeting will be July 2 at 8 p.m. at Strawbridge Church for the purpose of finishing discussion of revised by-laws. The meeting was adjourned at 10 p.m.

Meeting_date: May 7, 2002
Posted_by: Clare Barkley


Mount Royal Improvement Association Minutes of Annual Meeting, May 7, 2002

Board members present (according to the sign-up sheet): Barry Blumberg, Stan Smith, Polly Duke, Joe LaMastra, Michael Gray, John Kyle, Perry Cooper, Barbara White, Debby Phinney, Donna Beth Joy Shapiro, Tod Myers, Henri Daniels, Connie Lisch, Clare Barkley.

The meeting was called to order at 8:10 after a wine and cheese reception for members.

The minutes of the April meeting were approved with the correction that Barbara White was absent at the April Board meeting.

President Dan Gilbert made the following announcements: the June meeting will be devoted to discussion and approval of proposed by-laws revision. Russ Moss is moving ahead with landscaping on North Avenue;MRIA will pay the $500 pledged to the project. The same traffic controls as last year will be used for Artscape weekend.

John Kyle reported that three design concepts for Sumpter Park have been prepared by the Neighborhood Design Committee and will be posted on the Bolton Hill website. The redesign of the park will be a future agenda topic.

Thanks were given to retiring Board Members Henri Daniels, Norma Epstein,Kathleen Knust, John Massad, Deborah Phinney, Rolf Schmitt, Jeff Thompson, Estelle Turner, Gregory Tucker, Hans Pawlisch.

The following members were elected unanimously by those present to serve a three-year term on the Board: Greg Baranoski, Joe LaMastra, George Lavdas, Roger Marks, Kevin Morton, David Rocah, Lottie Shivers, Steve Sisson, Chris Taylor, and Mildred Zindler.

Treasurer Barry Blumberg gave a financial report. The written report will be submitted to the Board at the June meeting.

Dan Gilbert paid tribute to Nancie Verkerke for her service to the Association over 30 years. She served as Executive Secretary, Editor of the Bolton Hill Bulletin, organizer and keeper of the membership rolls, and assisted in many other capacities. She was presented with a plaque which displayed a replica of page 1 of the Bolton Hill Bulletin along with thanks and good wishes from the Mount Royal Improvement Association.

Dan Gilbert gave the “State of the Neighborhood” message. (filed)

Past MRIA President Stan Smith presented awards of appreciation to the following members: Doreen Rosenthal for her work in many aspects of MRIA, including the website, BHEN, and Courtwatch; George Lavdas for monitoring the health of trees in the neighborhood and ordering replacements when necessary; Richard Richardson for his many years of organizing the summer Band Concert; Richard Rosenthal for leading MRIA and a local business to a satisfactory agreement regarding liquor sales in the neighborhood; Audrey Davis for her untiring efforts to eradicate graffiti.

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

Meeting_date: April 2, 2002
Posted_by: Clare Barkley


Minutes of the April, 2002, MRIA Meeting

Board members present: Estelle Turner, Perry Cooper, Dolph Druckman, Joe LaMastra, Donna Beth Joy Shapiro, Polly Duke, John Kyle, Connie Lisch, Barbara White, Henri Daniels, Stan Smith, Barry Blumberg, Tod Myers, Dan Gilbert.

The meeting was called to order by President Dan Gilbert at 8:10.

The minutes of the March meeting were approved . Sgt. Hess of Central District reported on crime statistics in the district and the importance of reporting crimes. Incidents are to be reported to Sgt. Dull at 410-396-2240. They should also be reported directly to BHEN.

Haydee Rodriguez and Joyce Wright from the States Attorney Office presented information on the juvenile justice system in Baltimore City. For information, call 410-396-5035.

Sandy Sparks, Executive Secretary of Midtown, and Chris Shein, architect, spoke about streetscape plans for Midtown. Angela Burton of the Druid Hill YMCA explained programs at the facility. For information, call 410-728-1600.

Ellen Richardson, President of Bolton Hill Garden Club, asked that MRIA write a letter to the City Council and the Mayor in support of the budget as presented by the Director of Parks and Recreation. It was moved and seconded that MRIA write the letters.

Fred Shoken will organize an event to mark the 35th anniversary of Bolton Hill as an historic district.

The Maryland legislature left the historic tax credit largely intact, a direct advantage to Bolton Hill and Midtown.

A special meeting may be called or the June meeting will be devoted to reviewing by-laws revision. Changes will be noted in a message sent to Board Members prior to the meeting.

Some suggestions for MRIA committees under consideration to be revitalized are Clean Committee, Courtwatch, Problem Properties, Zoning, Parks, Parking, Safety. The Clean Committee, Parking, and Safety have chairs.

It was moved and seconded that MRIA send a letter of support for opening the Lillie Carrol Jackson Museum.

Meeting_date: March 5, 2002
Posted_by: Clare Barkley


Minutes of MRIA Board Meeting March 5, 2002

Board Members present: Joel Balsham, Kevin Dorsey, John Kyle, Barbara White, Henri Daniels, Deborah Phinney, Hans Pawlish, Mike Gray, Perry Cooper, Dolph Druckman, Barry Harris, Jow LaMastra, Donna Beth Joy Shapiro, Dan Gilbert, Stan Smith, Tod Myers, Barry Blumberg

The meeting was called to order by MRIA President Dan Gilbert.

The minutes of the February 5 meeting were approved with the following addition: “A resolution reaffirming the past policy of the Mount Royal Improvement Association of opposing conversion of residential property to institutional or commercial use was moved and passed.”

John Kyle reported that the MRIA group working on Sumpter Park changes is meeting regularly with landscape designers from the Neighborhood Design agency. Eventually a suggested plan will be presented and prioritized so that work can move ahead.

Fred Shoken, MRIA Architectural Review Chair, said property owners of 1212-1214 Eutaw Place have been with CHAP, which required more details regarding renovation of the building. At the most recent meeting, CHAP approved the design of a wood-framed window and learned that the builders now have an architect.

Dolph Druchman suggested creating a “problem properties” page on the website and suggested that a committee might be considered to keep track of such properties. Doreen Rosenthal offered to develop a process for asking homeowners to maintain properties.

Maryland Institute will soon begin construction of a parking lot on its property adjoining the Commons.

Board Members had received copies of the proposed revisions to the MRIA Bylaws, the first revision in nearly 50 years. Volunteer attorneys John Denick and Debbie Diehl had reviewed the proposed revisions.

Joel Balsham moved that the revised by-laws be accepted. Barry Blumberg seconded. After a short discussion, it was determined that the Board needs more time to study the original by-laws as well as the proposed changes. The motion was withdrawn.

Doreen Rosenthal suggested that the proposed revised by-laws be put on the website so that comparisons can be made with the current by-laws already on the website. Dolph Druckman will create a web page for discussion of by-laws.

Dan Gilbert asked Board members to help establish action committees to facilitate the work of MRIA.

Donna Beth Joy Shapiro volunteered to coordinate Block Captains. She replaces Ellen Williams, who has been coordinator for the past several years. Greg Baranoski will tend the Home Improvement Resources Directory on the website. He replaces Nancie Verkerke, who is moving from the neighborhood.

Dan Gilbert mentioned the Mayor’s Clean-Up Day. The main problem in Bolton Hill is graffiti. Joel Balsham said Bolton Hill resident Audrey Davis regularly cleans up graffiti.

Rutter’s Mill residents met with the Director of Midtown Academy to review the rules of the park and to tour the school. The Midtown staff agrees that supervision could be better in the park. In some past agreement the residents became owners of the concept of Rutter’s Mill Park. The history of this arrangement and of the park will be printed in the Bolton Hill Bulletin.

There are some complaints of panhandlers and pickpockets at the newly opened Sav-A-Lot store in the shopping plaza.

The prostitution problem continues on Eutaw Place. The phone number for “You Are Not a Alone,” an agency which purports to motivate prostitutes to change their ways, will be posted on the Safety Resources page on the website.

Lois Schenck and Perry Cooper are chairing the Nominating Committee. Suggestions for new Board members can be given to them.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:45.

Meeting_date: February 5, 2002
Posted_by: Clare Barkley


Minutes of February 5 MRIA Meeting

Board Members present: Polly Duke, Connie Lisch, Barbara White, Henri Daniels, Deborah Phinney, Hans Pawlish, Dolph Druckman, Joe LaMastra, Donna Beth Joy Shapiro, Dan Gilbert, Stan Smith, Tod Myers, Barry Blumberg, Clare Barkley.

The regular Board Meeting of the Mount Royal Improvement Association was called to order at 8:05 by President Dan Gilbert.

The January Board minutes were approved as corrected.

Police Sgt. Hess from Central District reported that there were 21 robberies this month in Reservoir Hill and Bolton Hill. So far six of these have been attributed to robbers who have been arrested.

MRIA responded favorably to a request by Hiram Grand Lodge for support in applying for a grant to be used for repairs to its existing building. The property at 1829 Eutaw Place owned by Charles Graves, Director of the Planning Department of Baltimore City, was granted a zoning variance to allow five apartments in the building. This contradicts the MRIA position on roll backs to conform to present zoning. The only redress is to file a lawsuit. Kinsett House, 1700 Eutaw Place, will be sold by a Regional HUD. The McDonald-Jentry property at 1212-1214 Eutaw Place is meeting with CHAP to discuss exterior renovations. There is still no clear evidence that the project will move forward with adequate financing. The property has been approved for six apartments, a day care facility, and offices. It was moved and seconded that MRIA continue to do all we can to support roll back policies. The motion was approved unanimously. It was moved and seconded that the Mount Royal Improvement Association mailing list be used only for Association business. Donna Joy Beth Shapiro reported that the mechanism has been established for awarding computers to two Mount Royal students at the end of the school year. It was moved and seconded that MRIA contribute $500 toward an estimated $1500 expense for the computers, printers, and supporting software. The motion was approved unanimously. The Rutter’s Mill Residents reported that Midtown Academy had corrected some of the problems regarding trash, noise, and traffic. Academy Director Dianne Issel offered to meet with the residents to resume talks. The meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.

Meeting_date: Jan. 8. 2002
Posted_by: Clare Barkley


Minutes of MRIA Meeting January 8, 2002

Board Members present: Joel Balsham, Polly Duke, John Kyle, Connie Lisch, Barbara White, Henri Daniels, Deborah Phinny, Perry Cooper, Dolph Druckman, Barry Harris, Donna Beth Joy Shapiro, Stan Smith, Tod Myers, Barry Blumberg, Clare Barkley

The meeting was called to order at 8:05 p.m. by Tod Myers, First Vice President, in the absence of President Dan Gilbert.

Connie Lisch, MRIA liaison with Midtown Academy, reported that discussions between Midtown Academy and Rutter’s Mill residents were ongoing with the arbiter and that progress was being made.

Doug Kelso said the two groups are still working to solve problems related to parking, trash, use of Rutter’s Mill Park and that there is still the plan to acquire residential property on Lafayette . He asks that MRIA reaffirm an earlier commitment to opposing institutional encroachment in residential areas.

Joel Balsham inquired about this commitment. Is it a written policy? Doug Kelso answered that somewhere there is a written policy, but no one present at the meeting knows where it is. Doug will look for it. Joel further suggested that copies of a written MRIA policy regarding use of buildings in residential areas should be available to MRIA Board Members at the next meeting.

Henri Daniels and Tod Myers attended a zoning hearing for the Jentry-McDonald property on Eutaw Place. Henri reported that the building will house a day care center for infants and toddlers, six apartments to be rented at market rate, regulated ten-minute parking for day care drop-off, and administrative offices. The Zoning Board had some questions about safety, but apparently were satisfied after a conversation with the builders.

Fred Shoken, MRIA Architectural Review Chair, met with Jentry-McDonald representatives. It was agreed that the gaping windows could be covered with boards while new, architecturally compatible windows are being made. Jentry-McDonald agreed to replace the windows appropriately. They must seek approval from CHAP.

It seems that the project will go on, but some skepticism was expressed about the progress of the renovation, which seems to be at a standstill. MRIA has no knowledge of the financial viability of the scheme. Dolph Druckman asks that MRIA develop a consistent practice of having a signed record of understanding for all meetings at which MRIA representatives meet with principals or agents of building projects which affect the neighborhood.

Donna Beth Joy Shapiro reported that Principal Frankel of Mt. Royal School approves the donation of two computers, one to be awarded to a fifth grade student and one to be awarded to an eighth grade student at the end of the school year. Criteria to be used in the competition will be developed and put in writing. The money ($250) that is periodically donated by MRIA to the school library will be used for this computer fund, and the rest of the money required for the computers as well as one year internet access for each of the students will have to be raised by other means.

Tod Myers, Board Member of the Midtown Development Corporation, reported that the Corporation is gathering two million dollars to buy derelict property, which will be handed over to responsible developers. Most of the resources and attention is focused on Mt. Vernon. A bit of vigilance is in order to be sure Bolton Hill, Charles North, and Madison Park are not neglected. Midtown Benefits District opposed placing the Greyhound bus terminal at Penn Station. Subsequently, the Mayor changed his mind. The new location has not been announced.

Barbara White, MRIA Parking Chair, said registration for parking permits will be held at four sites in Bolton Hill. The Bolton Hill Bulletin has the requirements and schedule in the January edition.

John Kyle, MRIA Parks Chair, said MRIA and Sumpter Parks residents are involved in a six-month process of making a plan for Sumpter Park. The implementation plan will be presented to the Neighborhood Design Center, which requests a donation of $250 from MRIA.

Polly Duke, reporting on the Blue Plaque program, said that 102 prominent people who lived in Bolton Hill have been identified. To develop a map and companion literature for the project $5200 is required. CHAP supports the project.

Sgt. Hess of Central District said he has, at least temporarily, personnel who will ride with COP, walk with Walkers’ Patrol, and work with Court Watch.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:30.

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